The ineptitude and dishonesty of BSE

Your petition signature could be worth £3,000 in benefits

Protect Workers’ rights in the UK 

So says a petition forwarded to us by a supporter. You can view it on this link, but if you do, take care – don’t  press the wrong button and sign it accidentally! The petition site Care2 is not to be blamed; it is a forum for people to start petitions about anything they like. The culprit is the petitioner, our friend Britain Stronger in Europe.

Anyway, for the benefit of anyone who does not want to click on the link, the petition goes on to say:-

£3,000 per year for every UK household.

That, according to the Confederation of British Industry, is how much UK membership of the European Union (EU) is worth. EU membership bolsters trade, jobs, investment — and vital worker protections.

Don;t let these importanr benefts slip away. Show your support for the UK’s membership of the European Union.

European law has enabled UK workers to enjoy paid maternity leave, guaranteed holiday leave, protection for women in the workplace, equal pay and anti-discrimination measures. But you may lose these protections if the UK leaves the EU later this year.

And that’s not all that is at stake. Three million jobs are linked to trade with the rest of Europe. Membership in the EU also helps reduce the cost of consumer goods and travel — which is especially important as conservatives continue to pursue aggressive, across-the-board policies of austerity.

Take a stand for your economic security. Add your name to this important petition to join the fight for UK membership of the EU.

No, please don’t! These assertions are inaccurate. Firstly, the CBI study suggesting each household would be £3,000 better off per year has been widely criticised. Even Open Europe, not exactly an enthusiastic supporter of withdrawal, was highly critical of the methodology, claiming it was “based on limited and selective analysis” and calling the £3,000 per year claim “flawed figures”.

What of those anti-discrimination measures which European law has allowed us to enjoy? One law which comes into this category is the Working Time Directive. Would this be repealed if we left? Not unless we wanted to fall out with the International Labour Organisation, where the legislation originated. The EU merely acted as a conduit. Furthermore, there is no reason to suppose that withdrawal from the EU would necessarily lead to the repeal of any pieces of employment protection legislation which  did originate with the EU. What is more, if they were repealed, the action would be undertaken by the democratically elected government of the UK. That’s the nature of democracy; sometimes you get a government you didn’t vote for.

To round it off, we then have the absurd three million jobs myth recycled yet again. I doubt if any visitor to this site is unaware that the claim has no foundation in fact. I hardly need to put up a link to our Busting the Lie booklet or to mention that When Danny Alexander MP repeated this silly story last year when he was Chief Secretary to the Treasury, his own department countered his claim after a Freedom of Information request from Open Europe.

If this is the worst we were up against, the game would be over by now. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. The leader of the “remain” campaign is the Prime Minister and shooting down BSE’s pathetic lies on this website is much, much easier than persuading the public that Mr Cameron’s misinformation campaign is just as bad, if not worse.



Business and Brexit

At last the message is getting across that not all businesses are in favour of remaining in the EU. Some 250 business leaders have been listed on Vote Leave’s website stating that they support withdrawal, including former HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan, the founder of Phones 4u John Caudwell and the hotelier Sir Rocco Forte.

Also brought to our attention recently was an excellent article by Michael Petley, chief investment officer  at ECU group (And no relation to your author as far as I am aware!) who discusses the risks of remaining in the EU with the threat of eurozone disintegration at some point in the future.  The article points to the unhappy relationship between the UK and the EU:- “Could we rub along together a bit longer in this unhappy marriage? Yes, of course.  Is the marriage likely to last? Absolutely not.  Is one better off agreeing a divorce under “good leaver” terms in an amicable way?  Absolutely. We can either embrace the changes now, when we have some significant influence and control over events, or face the consequences of a messy divorce later.”

The article is positive in tone and very welcome amid all the scare stories about the financial disaster which would allegedly result from leaving. However, an extremely optimistic claim by financiers New World Wealth, reported in City AM,  that everyone in the UK would be £21,000 better off by 2020 if we left, needs to be treated with considerable caution.  The Express repeats the claims, which include the usual comments about “red tape” which, as has often been pointed out here, may well include regulations emanating from global standards-setting bodies which would still apply if we left.

Flexcit (AKA the Market Solution”) suggests that the initial period of withdrawal would be “economically neutral” and with good reason – it will take some time before the UK government could begin a strategic review of all legislation which EU membership has bequeathed to us. India didn’t begin a similar process until 1955, eight years after independence.

In summary, it is encouraging that business voices are speaking up for the benefits of withdrawal. Mood music can make some difference to the campaign, but unrealistic optimism and inadequate knowledge about the mechanics of exit are another matter. Rest assured, our opponents will be poking holes in any weak points in the Leave side’s arguments. We cannot afford to give them any more opportunities to do this. Naive predictions of instant prosperity on withdrawal are best noted and then ignored.

In or out? The sixty-minute plain-speaking guide to the EU Referendum

James Bacon has published  a new book called “In or out? The sixty-minute plain-speaking guide to the EU Referendum”

The book is aimed at the undecided in the hope that, once they see the arguments/benefits on both sides laid out side by side, they are likely to support withdrawal in the forthcoming referendum.
To find out more about the book, please see this video clip.
If you would like to order copies, the link to the appropriate page on Amazon may be found here.

Press release:- The Leave Alliance launches with a definite exit plan

LONDON, 18 March 2016 – The Leave Alliance has launched in London with a definitive Brexit plan and a positive vision for a United Kingdom freed from European Union control.
At its official launch in London on Wednesday, representatives of the seven groups that make up The Leave Alliance dismissed as unnecessary and misleading David Cameron’s warnings that jobs, commercial interests and British influence in the world would be lost if the UK voted to leave the EU.
The Leave Alliance presented its plan, called The Market Solution, which details how the UK can leave the EU but remain a member of the European Economic Area (EEA, or Single Market) until a more permanent solution can be negotiated.
The approach enables trade and commercial links to continue as they do today, providing vital reassurance to business and the markets that Brexit can be de-risked, withdrawing from EU political control without impacting the economy.
Anthony Scholefield, the Director of the Futurus think-tank said, “The Leave Alliance is an antidote to the fear, uncertainty and doubt that is being sown by those who want to stay in the European Union. After giving notice to withdraw as set out in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, we have shown how we should use the two-year period that follows to negotiate an agreement to remain in the single market after we leave the undemocratic and outdated EU.
“Independence will give us real agility in matters of global trade, and restore our voice and vote on the global bodies where rules and regulations are determined before they are given to the EU for implementation. There will be no leap into the dark.”
Dr Richard North, political researcher and author of The Great Deception and the specialist blog said, “An effective strategy is essential. What sets The Leave Alliance apart is our plan, The Market Solution. It debunks the arguments of those who want to remain, it offers a positive vision for how the UK can leave the EU, and it reassures people that we can withdraw from the EU without the negative consequences David Cameron claims would follow.
“Voters are demanding to know how we can leave the EU without harming British interests. Our plan answers that question, removing the fear of Brexit and explaining how we can leave the EU before gradually departing further from the EU’s sphere of influence and control.”

About The Leave Alliance
The Leave Alliance (TLA) is made up of seven groups; The Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB), The Bruges Group,, FUTURUS think-tank, Save Britain’s Fish, The Harrogate Agenda and the Blogger’s Army.
TLA advocates and promotes ‘Flexcit’, a clear, researched and de-risked six-stage plan for UK exit from the European Union, but remaining a member of the European Economic Area (EEA, also known as the Single Market) until a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) can be negotiated.
The Market Solution – Flexcit:
The Market Solution – Flexcit presentation:
TLA is not seeking Electoral Commission designated lead campaign group status and is not competing with any other ‘Leave’ group. It will support and work with any of group that supports the need for a detailed and seamless exit plan and our vision of how we can prosper after leaving the undemocratic and bureaucratic EU.
TLA believes it is impossible to reform the EU and for this reason we support invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which sets out a two year period to negotiate UK withdrawal. TLA is also clear that we will need to stay in the Single Market for an interim period for two main reasons:
(i)             To counter the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt which the ‘Establishment’ will deploy to try and frighten the electorate into voting to ‘Remain’
(ii)            To ensure our trade and commercial interests are not interrupted while we negotiate for a new free trade deal for the 59 countries of Europe, as opposed to the 28 in the EU.
Voters need to be made aware that the EU is now at best irrelevant and at worse a deterrent to trade as global bodies increasingly determine and produce the rules and regulations governing world trade.
For more information, or interview requests please contact:
Contact: John Ashworth
Tel: 01439 770219

Could Ireland follow us out of the EU exit door?

Our Chairman, Edward Spalton, spotted this piece in the Irish Times – a paper known for its strong pro-EU stance.  Obviously, it’s only speculation at this stage, but Mr McCoy’s comments do suggest that  Brexit may well cause some other member states to review their stance. He also qustioned the fear tactics being used by David Cameron and his supporters and pointed out that similar tactics were used about the Single Currency – and proved to be unfounded. In view of the number of Irish citizens resident in the UK who are eligible to vite in the referendum, a relatively upbeat assessment of the prospects for an independent UK from an Irish source is very welcome.

The boss of Ireland’s largest business lobby group has said an Irish exit from the EU might become “inevitable” if Britain leaves the union.

Danny McCoy, who has led Ibec {the Irish Business and Employers. Confederation} since 2009, told Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview that Ireland’s departure from the EU could not be ruled out in a “Brexit” situation.

After his election victory last year, British prime minister David Cameron promised an in/out referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017.

“If Britain should decide on an exit, there will definitely be a debate in Ireland on whether we should not do the same,” Mr McCoy told the German paper.

“I can imagine circumstances in which that might become inevitable.”

Mr McCoy’s intervention comes amid a deepening Irish debate on the implications of the looming referendum in Britain.

‘Brexit’ impact on Ireland

He told The Irish Times today that Ireland would have to assess its own position if the referendum in Britain leads it out of the EU.

“The notion that the calculus for Ireland remains unchanged regardless of the decision Britain makes on ‘Brexit’ is ludicrous,” he said.

“If they go, circumstances have changed as a result of that. Keynes said: ‘When circumstances change, I change my opinion. What do you do sir?’”

In the FAZ, Mr McCoy said Ireland could suffer “potentially enormous” damage if Britain post-exit became a magnet for foreign direct investment on the back of lower business taxes and economic deregulation.

Such moves could lead multinationals based in Ireland to relocate to Britain, calling Ireland’s EU membership into question.

“We would prefer if the British remained in the EU. But after a Brexit, Britain could become a very attractive location for business,” he said.

“We would then be in a totally new situation. I’m not so sure if EU membership would be all that important for Irish multinationals,” he said.

Speaking to The Irish Times, he questioned automatic assumptions that the best option for Britain was to stay in the EU.

“Everybody says Britain will lose out by leaving – all based on the assumption that somehow Britain’s decision to leaves would be very costly for them,” he said.

“There’s only one concrete example of this kind in the past. That was in relation to Britain’s decision to stay out of the euro. Britain was told: ‘If you don’t go into euro, London as a financial capital would be diminished.’

“This never materialised and the City of London financial market had strengthened in the period since the single currency was introduced.

“So why should similar threats in relation to Brexit be as clear?”

Photo by Alex Zanutto