Peer says PM is ‘grossly overstating his powers’ in claiming that the Britain will never join the euro

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon

(Independent Labour)                                                                                          

News Release

 

29th March 2016

 

PM is ‘grossly overstating his powers’ in claiming that Britain will never join the euro says Peer

 

The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has taken the Prime Minister to task for claiming that ‘Britain will never join the euro’, pointing out that Mr Cameron is ‘in no position give such an undertaking because it is not supported by our constitution, which makes it perfectly clear that no Parliament may bind its successor.’

In a written question to the Government, Lord Stoddart had been asking whether Parliamentary approval would be required for any decision to join the eurozone and why the Prime Minister has stated that the UK will never join.

Replying for the Government, Lord O’Neill of Gatley said:  ‘As set out in Protocol 15, the United Kingdom is under no legal obligation to adopt the euro as its currency. Under the EU Act 2011, a decision by the UK under Protocol (No 15) leading to a decision by the Council under article 140 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union would require an Act of Parliament and a referendum result in favour before a Minister of the Crown could support it.

‘The Prime Minister has been clear that Britain will never join the euro.

Lord Stoddart said:  ‘I am not sure whether the Government either understands or respects the constitution.  The constitutional position is clear – no Parliament may bind its successor.  It is perfectly possible for a future government, of whatever colour,  to repeal the EU Act 2011 and take Britain into the euro, without even bothering to hold a referendum.

‘For the Prime Minister to categorically state that ‘Britain will never join the euro’ is palpably untrue and grossly overstates his powers.  Therefore, despite what Mr Cameron says, there is no question that remaining in the EU is a serious threat to the future of the pound.’

Ends

The full text of Lord Stoddart’s question and the Government’s response, is as follows:

Lord O’Neill of Gatley, HM Treasury, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL6811):

 Question:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether parliamentary approval would be required for any decision to join the eurozone, and if so, why the Prime Minister has stated that the UK will never join the eurozone, in the light of the fact that one Parliament cannot bind its successor. (HL6811)

Tabled on: 08 March 2016

Answer (22nd March 2016):

Lord O’Neill of Gatley:

As set out in Protocol 15, the United Kingdom is under no legal obligation to adopt the euro as its currency. Under the EU Act 2011, a decision by the UK under Protocol (No 15) leading to a decision by the Council under article 140 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union would require an Act of Parliament and a referendum result in favour before a Minister of the Crown could support it.

The Prime Minister has been clear that Britain will never join the euro.

European Electorates reject the EU

Among the European Union’s (EU’s) ruling élite, concern is growing as their EU superstate project – to merge the nations of Europe into a federal superstate governed largely by unelected bureaucrats – continues to unravel. Across Europe, disillusioned electorates are responding against this cruel reality being imposed without their consent.

In this country, Prime Minister David Cameron has begrudgingly agreed to a referendum which gives the electorate the opportunity to leave the EU and for the UK to regain independence, sovereignty and democracy. The EU’s increasingly disastrous mistakes, however, are worrying voters in other countries too. Ironically, it is not just in the South of Europe, where a generation and more of young and old have been made unemployed and without hope by misguided EU policies, notably the straitjacket of the Euro, but in the North and the former Eastern bloc countries where enthusiasm for the EU is crumbling.

Danes retain “Opt-Outs” from EU control
In December, the Danish electorate rejected their (pro EU) government’s proposal to end the country’s opt-out from EU domestic and judicial policies. Following its rejection of the Maastricht Treaty (extending the EU’s powers) in a referendum on June 2, 1992, Denmark obtained four “opt-outs” which pertained to the single currency, the EU’s foreign, security, domestic and judicial policies, as well as naturalization laws. Consequentially, Denmark has not joined the Euro, does not participate in the EU’s military policies, and has preserved a certain margin of manoeuvre for its domestic policies beyond EU directives. However, the ECJ has overruled Denmark’s EU agreements at least 79 times despite explicit agreement to the contrary!

This referenmdum delivered the “wrong result” as far as the vast majority of Denmark’s ruling élite was concerned. They still support their country’s complete submission to EU policy. This should come as no surprise. Mr Cameron and our ruling élite take a similar line here – namely, EU rule for their own benefits, not for us, the people who voted them into office.

Euro exit by Finland?
In Finland, the EU project is also becoming increasingly unpopular, thanks largely to problems with the economy. Although the UK’s recovery from the Great Recession has been rather sluggish, at least we have been out of recession for several years now. By contrast, Finnish GDP has dropped 0.6 per cent in the last quarter of this year – more than in Greece. Finnish economists, looking to neighbouring Sweden and Denmark, point out that without the Euro, the crisis could have been prevented.

A citizen’s initiative, campaigning for a referendum on exiting the Euro, has garnered more than 50,000 signatures. Next year, the Finnish parliament must consequently debate returning to the Finnish Markka.

France – the charge of the ‘fringe’ Eurosceptics
The first round of France’s regional elections saw Marine le Pen’s Eurosceptic Front National top the polls in six of the country’s 13 regions and gain 28% of the overall vote – ahead of both the ruling Socialists and former President Sarkozy’s Les Républicains. In the Nord- Pas de Calais region, the FN polled over 40%. The two EU-fanatic establishment parties responded by creating an unholy alliance to keep the FN from power, with the socialists standing down in two regions and, encouraging their supporters to back ‘arch rival’ Sarkozy’s party. Voters may, however see there is little to choose between the two establishment parties, and many chose to vote for Mme le Pen.

France’s system of having a two-stage election prevented the FN gaining power in any region and will prove an even greater obstacle to winning the Presidency in 18 or so months’ time. However, Marine le Pen’s alleged “dédiabolisation” of the party since replacing her controversial father as leader has paid off. Her party may still be seen as a pariah by the leadership of two establishment parties, but much less so by voters. Although she failed to win a region, she gathered over 6 million votes. Whether it still is a “nasty party” is impossible to judge, especially given the enthusiasm of some sections of the media to apply the “far right” label indiscriminately to any political party with an ideology any major distance to the right of Jeremy Corbyn or Josef Stalin.

It is clear, however, that the FN’s anti-EU stance along with its calls to return to the Franc, for tighter controls on immigration and the need for a more cohesive society are clearly seen as necessary by many French voters and economists.

Eastern European and German worries
Pegida, the anti-Islamification movement in Germany, has enjoyed a renaissance since the attacks in Paris. Indeed, Pegida has spawned similar groups in other countries, including the Czech Republic where the country’s president Miloš Zeman spoke at a meeting of a political action group called ‘Bloc Against Islam’. This is part of a trend in several former Soviet bloc countries, including Hungary and Poland, where parties from outside the pro-EU “mainstream” are either in power or are gaining support, with worries about immigration and Islam being major factors.

In the Spectator, Rod Liddle wrote perceptively about Europe’s ruling élites: “It is an irony that the liberals are being vanquished as a consequence of their support for that least liberal of ideologies, Islam.” The growing anti-establishment mood across Europe engendered by fears of terrorism and Islamification will do nothing to bolster support for the European Union, which disingenuously tries to portray itself as rooted in liberal democracy. There is no democracy in the EU whatsoever, as we all know.

In summary, if the voters in an increasing number of member states are either looking at parties other than the fanatical Europhile “mainstream” or else are turning away from “more Europe” altogether, for how long will they and their worries be ignored?

For how long will repressed Western Democracy stay subjugated? When will the tax revolt commence? When will the people cease to co-operate and the member countries cease to permit themselves to be so enslaved that they become ungovernable as they reject the tyranny of Brussels?

The Euro And Schengen: Common Flaws And Common Solutions

This article, written by Professor Paul de Grauwe of the London School of Economics, was brought to our attention by Dr Anthony Coughlan of Dublin.  It illustrates the threat to national sovereignty that both the EU’s flagship projects pose.

What do the Euro and Schengen have in common? Both are projects that have the same flaw: they’re unfinished business. And therefore they risk falling apart.

The Eurozone is a monetary union, with one currency, the euro circulating in the Union and managed by one central bank, the European Central Bank. What’s wrong with that? One may ask.

The fundamental problem of the Eurozone is that national governments have their own budgets and issue their own debt. When recession strikes, the system gets into trouble. During a recession government budget deficits automatically increase. Countries that are hit hardest by the recession show larger budget deficits and debt increases.

Financial markets that are fully integrated in a monetary union are lurking, ready to strike when observing signs of weakness. Countries hit hardest by the recession experience “sudden stop”: investors massively sell the government bonds, raising the interest rates and pushing these countries into illiquidity.

The other countries in the system profit from this, as investors in search of a safe haven buy these countries’ government bonds. Thus during recessions, free capital movements destabilize the Eurozone and plunge the weaker countries into a “bad equilibrium” of ever deeper recession and rising unemployment.

What about Schengen? As the Eurozone, it is an unfinished project. The residents of the Schengen area move freely within the area. The problem is that the architects of that area forgot to integrate the police and the intelligence services. Moreover, they forgot to transfer the authority to control the external borders to one European body.

As a result a problem arises in the Schengen area that is similar to what happens in the Eurozone. Criminal gangs move freely within the area. They commit burglaries in one country and flee to another one. In contrast police forces have to stop at borders. Terrorists are planning from Brussels how to attack Paris and escape from the radar of the national police forces and intelligence services. National police forces and intelligence services are not integrated and can no longer guarantee the security of their citizens.

The danger of unions that are unfinished is that they will disintegrate. Without a fiscal union free capital movements will create great instability when the next recession strikes the Eurozone. In the long run, governments that can no longer guarantee a minimum of economic stability to their citizens will be tempted to leave the Eurozone.

The choice we have today is simple. If we want to keep the Euro we will have to create a fiscal union. This implies that a significant proportion of national budgets and national government debts will have to be centralized. A formidable transfer of sovereignty from the nation states to European institutions. If we want to preserve the Schengen area, we will have to integrate police forces and intelligence services while creating a joint control at the external borders. Failure to integrate further dooms both projects, the Eurozone and the Schengen area.

The Eurozone and the Schengen area have fundamentally weakened national governments while nothing has been put into place at the European level to offset this loss of power of nation states. The Euro and Schengen can only be saved if we create European institutions that can do what national governments no longer can do, i.e. to ensure economic stability and security for the citizens of Europe.

 


The CBI’s foolish games

Towards the end of the 1990s, during drinks after at a debate at Bath on joining the euro, Mr Idris Francis, a long-standing supporter of withdrawal from the EU, asked Kate Barker, the CBI’s chief economist at the time, why she had not produced any calculations on the effects of joining the euro. She replied, in front of several others, that, “There are so many effects subject to such wide margins of error that it is impossible to know what the consequences of joining would be.” But he then asked her “But do you and the CBI want to join anyway?” to which she replied “Yes.”

Mr Francis quoted this exchange at several later meetings. At one Labour-organised meeting in Bournemouth, he was threatened with eviction by a senior figure in the Britain in Europe campaign. He also received a letter from Kate Barker, objecting to him quoting her words, but at the same time she confirmed what she had said.

Kate Barker must now be regretting her foolish support for the Euro. The CBI was thankfully dissuaded from supporting it as far back as 1999, thanks to the Business for Sterling campaign group. However, it has certainly not changed its policy of supporting our membership of the EU, come what may.

The Vote.Leave campaign recently gained access to the leaked minutes of the CBI’s president’s committee in July 2015, where former Chairman Sir Michael Rake told the meeting, “It is important not to overplay our hand in the negotiations with Brussels, like Greece, and that [the] CBI should be strong in making the case for competitiveness within Europe”. The meeting was attended by Lord Maude, Minister for Trade and Investment, as well as other government officials.

It should be noted that this is the same Sir Mike Rake, who was the deputy chairman of Barclays Bank, which was fined £284.4 million by the Financial Conduct Authority over “brazen” currency rigging.

It seems from his comments that no lessons have been learnt by the CBI in the years following its misjudgement on the Single Currency. Indeed, it is frightening to think that the CBI will almost certainly end up supporting another leap in the dark as untried and as doomed to failure as the Euro – namely UK associate membership of an EU. This will place the UK permanently in the EU’s powerless second division while the First Division  – the Eurozone members  – call all the shots.

It is so obviously a bad solution ot the UK’s “problems” with the EU, but it is almost certainly what  David Cameron will be offering us in the forthcoming referendum, aided and abetted, no doubt, by the CIB. It is sad indeed that an organisation claiming to be “the voice of business” dopes nothing more than play silly games.

Neverendum!

The Bank Holiday has only just come and gone but already, developments are coming thick and fast with the forthcoming EU referendum.

First of all, the Electoral Commission has decided that the wording of the referendum question needs to be changed as it appeared to favour the supporters of staying in the EU. Voters will now be asked whether they want the UK to remain in the EU or leave the EU. In other words, the two campaigns won’t be the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns but more likely the ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ campaigns. Whether this change, to which David Cameron has agreed, will benefit those of us wanting UK independence (whatever we are now going to call ourselves) remains to be seen. While there is an instinctive desire in many people to want to please by affirming the positive (in other words, to say ‘yes’ is seen as being obliging rather than awkward), ‘leave’ could still be associated with a step into the unknown with ‘remain’ as the safer option. This, of course, can be overcome if ‘leave’ is seen as embarking on an adventure – a gateway to a more promising future while ‘remain’ is equaterd to stagnation and decline. Incidentally, another reason for the change in wording is that the Electoral Commission believed that some people may not actually realise that we are in the EU in the first place and may have been confused by the original wording! After over 42 years, this seems a bit incredible, but you never know with some people.

Another concession which David Cameron may find himself forced to make concerns the so-called Purdah period before the referendum. A period of 28 days of government silence before a referendum has become the accepted norm, as it is seen as preventing Government intervention on the side which they want to win. Apparently, as many as 40 Conservative MPs may support a Labour amendment banning public spending during the referendum campaign. The Government’s argument is that such a restriction would prevent it from carrying out its regular business in Brussels for four weeks. This, however, has not convinced a number of Tory MPs nor, it seems, their Labour counterparts. One of the Tory MPs keen to see the Purdah period observed warned of the dangers of “Neverendum” – in other words, a vote to stay in being regarded as rigged and therefore not a valid result and not putting the issue to bed at all.

It is very apparent that Cameron is very, very desperate to ensure we stay in and will only allow a level playing field with great reluctance if at all. His master plan, it seems, is a spin-off from the desire among the leaders of the Eurozone countries (although not necessarily their populations) for closer political and economic union. Accepting – well, seemingly – that the UK will never adopt the Single Currency in the foreseeable future, we will be offered some form of associate membership, except it will called something else. It will be sold as the looser relationship with the EU that everyone desires, no doubt with an exemption from “ever closer union” thrown in as a sweetener. In reality, it will be an official second-class status within the EU and the worst of both worlds. We will be excluded from the EU’s “top table”, at which Mr Cameron insists we must have a seat, yet will still be subject to the full EU acquis, enforced by European Court of Justice. In practise it will be little more than taking the slow train to the same destination which the Eurozone leaders want to zoom towards in their TGVs. At the same time, we will still be locked out of the really important top tables, UNECE, the World Trade Organisation and other bodies where the EU is represented as a single entity. It is a vastly inferior option to the EEA/EFTA alternative which Mr Cameron, either through misleading briefings from his civil servants, sheer ignorance or plain pig-headedness refuses to consider and what is more, this route would accomplish the objectives he publicly professes a desire to achieve. No matter how well his arguments get shot down, as they surely will be, he just doesn’t want to go down in history as the UK’s Lee Kwan Yew, the man who reluctantly led his country to independence and prosperity. Still, if we play our cards well, he will have no choice and the Neverendum conundrum can finally be laid to rest for, given that the referendum will not be a fair fight, if we vote out, no one can claim the result was rigged.

Photo by shonk

The UK’s financial vulnerabilities as an EU member state

UK MEMBERSHIP OF THE EU.
TRADING ARRANGEMENTS ARE NOT SO IMPORTANT AS THE UK’S FINANCIAL WEAKNESS INCURRED BY EU MEMBERSHIP


We are often asked for the full presentation of all the financial aspects of the UK’s relationship with the EU and the EU referendum.

While trading arrangements are important,they have not been as decisive as balance sheet destabilisations throughout history.

This latest analysis by Futurus considers the diminution in UK assets because of its budgetary contributions and the UK’s increased liabilities and contingent liabilities due to EU membership.

Its conclusion points out that “While EEA states have no risk exposure to EU liabilities, the UK has enormous exposure. Moreover, it is, in part, one-sided with no corresponding EU risk exposure to the Bank of England. It is likely that further collapse in the finances of eurozone governments and banks will not attract open-ended EU entity support as in the period 2009-13 and resort will be made to bail-ins and haircuts on bondholders. However, prudent finance would be for the UK to leave the political and monetary structure of the EU and move to EEA status urgently.

To read the full report, click here