Donald Tusk (not Trump!) Reminds us why we voted to leave

We will not be providing you with a blow-by-blow commentary on the progress of the European Union (Notification of withdrawal) Bill as we believe that, in spite of opposition from the Lib Dems, the SNP, some Labour MPs and Ken Clarke, it will complete its passage through Parliament in time for Mrs May’s deadline of 9th March when the government will formally trigger Article 50.  There will be plenty of press coverage and analysis for people wanting to follow the Bill’s progress through both houses of Parliament but this website will confine itself occasional comment on the key moments of the Bill’s progress. We will also be monitoring which MPs support and which oppose the will of the people.

Of more immediate interest is a speech by Donald Tusk, the President of the  European Council, which provided a welcome reminder why we voted to leave. In order to understand where Mr Tusk is coming from, we need to remember that next month marks 60 years since the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which formally inaugurated what has become the European Union. Naturally, the EU wants to celebrate this milestone but we pesky Brits have already spoiled their party with Brexit and, to add insult to injury, the USA has voted for a president who, in the words of Ted Malloch, the new US ambassador to the EU, “doesn’t like an organisation that is supranational, that is unelected where the bureaucrats run amok and that is not frankly a proper democracy.”

So what was Mr Tusk’s response?  The answer is – guess what – More Europe! “We must therefore take assertive and spectacular steps that would change the collective emotions and revive the aspiration to raise European integration to the next level”, he said. Yes, he means further integration. Just to make sure no one could be in any doubt, he also added “If we do not believe in ourselves, in the deeper purpose of integration, why should anyone else? In Rome we should renew this declaration of faith.”

He did not go into much detail about how integration was to proceed, There was no mention of fiscal or monetary union within the Eurozone, although he did talk of “strengthening the foreign policy of the EU as a whole.” Brexit received only a very oblique mention when he claimed that “the disintegration of the European Union will not lead to the restoration of some mythical, full sovereignty of its member states, but to their real and factual dependence on the great superpowers: the United States, Russia and China. Only together can we be fully independent.”

Why could no EU member state be fully sovereign? On which superpower is New Zealand, with a population less than one eighth of Mr Tusk’s native Poland “really and factually” dependent? Or Australia, India, St Helena, South Africa or Morocco, to name a few countries at random.

There is a particular irony in this statement given that many EU member states are also members of NATO and have been accused, with good reason, by President Trump of being too dependent on the USA for their protection.

Tusk complained about “Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine” without the slightest mention that the EU must take the blame for the current state of that country by fermenting opposition to a democratically-elected leader.

He also complained that, faced with “national egoism….becoming an attractive alternative to integration”, the pro-European élites (his own term, may I add) were suffering from “a decline of faith in political integration.”

In other words, it’s the same old message, underpinned with the belief that if it is repeated sufficiently, it will convince the doubters. Tusk’s political rival Jaroslaw Kaczynski, however, is unlikely to be impressed. The leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party has called not for more integration but for the very opposite- a new treaty which would return power to the member states. “The vision of the EU forced upon us by the Lisbon Treaty has failed”, he said.

Thinking back to this time last year, we will recall that David Cameron went to Brussels asking for something similar – a return of some power back to the UK. He came away with only a few crumbs which ultimately didn’t sway the voters and we wisely voted to leave.

Neither Poland nor fiercely EU-critical Hungary looks likely to follow us out of the door at the moment, but Mr Tusk’s words were those of a man who realises that supporters of the European project are on the back foot at the moment. Unfortunately for him, the determination he expressed to carry on ploughing the same old furrow is unlikely to address the growing disillusion with the project across a number of EU member states.

“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging” goes the old saying and there is much wisdom in it. Unfortunately, Mr Tusk and his friends in Brussels seem both unable and unwilling to turn their digger off.

Photo by Glueckstadt

President Trump gives the EU (and other supranational organisations) a health check

During last year’s EU referendum campaign, Michael Gove said “I think the people of this country have had enough of experts.” In full, his words actually were “I think the people of this country have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong“, but it is the first few words which made the headlines. In one sense, the American electorate showed a similar distrust of “experts” in rejecting Hillary Clinton, the classic political insider, in favour of Donald Trump, the only US president to date who had never previously held political office.

The new incumbent of the White House is thus a fresh pair of eyes and ears, unencumbered by years of working with people who have – at times subconsciously – adopted the accepted wisdom about certain aspects of today’s world order (including the role of certain supranational organisations), without question. He has therefore been able to come in as an outsider and give these organisations a “health check” from a refreshingly different angle. His diagnoses, however, have not been very welcome in some quarters.

Even before his election, his call for other members of NATO to pull their weight caused a few ripples of discontent, but few could dispute his logic- why should the USA continually guarantee the defences of countries who are not prepared to defend themselves? The chart in this article is a damning indictment of the USA’s partners’ stinginess when it comes to their armed forces. Only four other countries, including the UK, met the agreed target of spending 2%  of GDP on defence whereas America spent more than 3.5%.

NATO, however, looks likely to retain President Trump’s support, in spite of his description of it as “obsolete”.  What does appear obsolete is the “liberal interventionism” beloved of Tony Blair, which moved the goalposts of NATO’s original objectives and turned it into an aggressive force in the Balkans. for instance. Last week, in her speech to the Republican Party’s congress in Philadelphia, Mrs May received solid support for saying “the days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.”   NATO needs a re-boot, but looks like it still has a future.

But what about the European Union? President Trump has continued to express the same support for Brexit he showed during the election campaign and has since made clear the degree of his distaste for the EU as well. Theresa May has already travelled across the Atlantic to meet with him while Angela Merkel has had to be content with a phone call. Trump’s dislike of bureaucracy has already manifested itself in a freeze on hiring federal officials except for the military. It is therefore unsurprising that he dislikes the EU.

In the words of  Ted Malloch, the new US ambassaador to the EU, “He doesn’t like an organisation that is supranational, that is unelected where the bureaucrats run amok and that is not frankly a proper democracy.” The appointment of Malloch, an American academic based in the UK, will not go down well in Brussels. He was a strong supporter of Brexit and is no admirer of the EU project, being quoted as saying “I helped bring down the Soviet Union, so maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming,”

Malloch also described Jean-Claude Juncker, the current President of the European Commission as a “very adequate mayor of some city in Luxembourg”. Given that it was the USA – or rather the American CIA, which was the driving force behind establishing what has become the EU in the 1950s, the language from Team Trump represents a significant change of policy towards Brussels. Anthony Gardner, the previous ambassador to the EU appointed by President Obama, has expressed concern at this change of policy. His statement that there was a “good reason” for the USA to support European integration will nonetheless cut little ice with the new President whose inaugural speech, peppered with references to “America First”, highlights his belief in the nation state as the best means of advancing the interests of its citizens.

The reaction in Brussels to the Trump victory and its aftermath has been pretty grim, especially as it has emboldened anti-EU parties in France, Germany and the Netherlands in a year when elections are looming in all three countries. As far as Brexit is concerned, however, the presence of a sympathetic President in the White House will do our country no harm. Mrs May handled her transatlantic visit well and even though it contained more symbolism than substance, that symbolism was very significant:- her successful meeting with the US President coming the same week as the Article 50 Bill was published has taken us still further past the point of no return even though we haven’t even formally begun the exit process.

It is not only the EU which may feel a cold blast from Washington. President Trump is rumoured to be planning a substantial de-funding of the United Nations – another supranational organisation which clearly doesn’t impress him.  There is some support for such a move in Congress. “The United Nations (U.N.) has proven to be an ineffective and wasteful bureaucracy. The U.S. bankrolls nearly 22 percent of the U.N.’s annual budget,”  said Representative Mike Rogers from Alabama. It is not totally impossible that the US may withdraw from the  UN completely, in which case, its very future may be in doubt.

These policies may sound radical, but it must be remembered that the decade following the end of the Second World War which saw the establishment of the world’s leading international and supranational organisations – NATO, the UN, the International Monetary Fund and at least in embryo,  the EU – is now a long time ago. In those days, there may have been widespread consent that these organisations were necessary to rebuild the world after one world war while helping to prevent another, but the world has moved on since the late 1940s and 1950s. What is wrong with someone asking whether these organisations are still fit for purpose or even necessary some 70 years later?  After all, many features of daily life in the late 1940s, such as Watney’s Red Barrel, rationing and the regular use of steam locomotives have long since disappeared.

Even President Trump will have to battle hard to overcome vested interest – the lobbyists of Brussels and people who have made a very lucrative career as supranationalist bureaucrats. Even so, no fair-minded person should complain that once in a while the whole world system should be given a health check, especially given the alternative is “as it was in the beginning (or at least the 1940s and 1950s)  is now and ever shall be. Bureaucracy and supranationalism without end. Amen.”

Photo by Gage Skidmore

The UK must embrace Gibraltar more closely and not allow it to be a dispensable pawn in the Brexit talks

By Andrew Rosindell MP

Every year, on 10th September, you will always find me in Casemates Square, Gibraltar, where I am proud to join the people of Gibraltar in celebration of their National Day.

Gibraltar is one of the 16 British Overseas Territories that have chosen to remain under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, which continue to demonstrate their abiding loyalty to The Crown and where the Union Flag is always flown with great pride. The people of “The Rock” never stop celebrating their Britishness, whilst at the same time upholding their right to self-determination, and their National Day is an amazing show of their national colours: red and white.

On the day, a great crowd of Gibraltarians gather in a square that was built in the 12th Century, celebrating with music, confetti, fireworks, balloons, speeches and more. To me, this dynamism is quintessentially British and is indicative of our eternal ability to decide and make our future.

The British people have for a thousand years decided their own destiny and the loyal British people of Gibraltar must have that same right. On 23rd June 2016, Gibraltarians voted, along with the English, Scots, Northern Irish and Welsh to determine Britain’s status with European Union, but unlike the rest of the UK, which was deeply divided on the issue, the Gibraltarians had no doubts and voted 96% to remain in the European Union.

Being attached geographically to Spain, one understands their belief that the EU was very much part of their future. Most Gibraltarians speak Spanish and many have Spanish heritage; some even have homes in Spain, but make no mistake about it, the people of Gibraltar are not Spanish and their being in the EU was seen by many as a protection against Spanish ambitions to one day take control of the Rock.

There is no doubt in the minds of people in Gibraltar that they are British and will only ever be British. Indeed, in some ways they exert a sense of Britishness that is hard to find in the UK itself. Their European identity is important to them, but their British identity is more important than anything else. The power of this is not to be underestimated.

Gibraltar has been unflinching in her three centuries of allegiance to the Britain. This was confirmed in the 1967 referendum and again in the 2002 referendum, with 99% and 98% respectively supporting British sovereignty. Furthermore, despite Spain’s foreign minister’s previous statement that the EU referendum result “opens up new possibilities” for Spain to regain control of Gibraltar, on 8th January he conceded that they have little chance of achieving this without the willingness of Britain to negotiate.

Therefore, when we talk about British withdrawal from the European Union, with regard to Gibraltar it isn’t the question of sovereignty that we should be discussing, is it the welfare and security of its people.

Spain has a history of maliciousness about its dealings with Gibraltar. Spanish dictator Francisco Franco closed the Spanish frontier with Gibraltar in 1969, which cut Gibraltar off from supplies and deprived it of workers. Since the border fully re-opened in 1985, Gibraltar has flourished into a rich and diverse embryonic Monaco. The rock is home to a Royal Air Force base, a Royal Navy base, a significant digital economy that is vital to much of Europe, the most southern mosque on the continent, a world heritage site and more. This sort of established success cannot be completely taken away, but it can be damaged.

This is what Prime Minister, Theresa May, and Brexit Secretary, David Davis, must prevent in the upcoming negotiations. It would be totally unforgivable for the United Kingdom to consider Gibraltar as a dispensable pawn in the discussions over Brexit and it would send very questionable signals to the rest of the world about the UK’s commitment to the right of self-determination.

Moreover, the people of Gibraltar rely on the broad shoulders of the UK to ensure their welfare. Gibraltar could be damaged by reckless Spanish policy and so it is our duty as a nation to fight for Gibraltar to have continued and uninterrupted access through the border with Spain and for Spain to stop committing unlawful, and often very dangerous, maritime incursions into Gibraltarian waters. Any other bullying tactics by Spain to undermine the self-determination and prosperity of Gibraltar must be pointed out and shamed by the UK and the international community.

Furthermore, the United Kingdom must investigate all other options to protect Gibraltar. For instance, there have been several studies on creating a single market between the United Kingdom and Gibraltar post-Brexit, to ensure that Gibraltar – which has the third highest GDP per capita in the world – has continued access to the financial services sector in the United Kingdom.

Additionally, I believe if we are to treat Gibraltar as fully part of the British family, there is no argument now for them being denied the right to have their own elected representation in the Westminster Parliament and, if they so wished, to offer the people of Gibraltar the opportunity to become an equal component part of the United Kingdom, as opposed to an external territory. Both of these decisions would strengthen British-Gibraltarian ties and send strong signals to Spain and the rest of the world that the UK is asserting herself to defend our interests abroad and uphold our historic principles.

The UK must slam the door firmly shut in the face of Madrid and make it clear, without room for doubt, that Gibraltar will always be British, as determined by the Gibraltarian people. The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, said on National Day last year that British means British and I wholly support his drive to deliver Brexit successfully for Gibraltar. It is the inhabitants of The Rock who must decide the destiny of their homeland and nobody else!

(This article first appeared on the Brexit Central website and was originally published on BC. It is reproduced with permission. Photo Credit: David Stanley)

2017 – make or break for the EU?

The strong UK economic performance in the second half of 2016 defied the gloomy predictions of many economists. Nevertheless, these same people are determined to tell us that Brexit will result in economic problems in 2017 instead. According to a number of economists surveyed by the Financial Times, growth will slow markedly during the year. Well, we shall see. The fall in sterling will almost certainly cause a rise in inflation, but worst case estimates put the annual Comsumer Price Inflation figure at something between 2-4%, which in recent historical terms is not that high, albeit not terribly good news for consumers.

In spite of Brexit, however, it is events in a number of the other 27 countries of the EU which are likely to cause far more concern during the course of 2017. While the Eurozone economy is recovering, it is still not strong enough to manage without the Quantitative Easing programme which the European Central bank began in early 2015. Italy in particular is looking very wobbly. It is estimated that 18% of all loans made by its banks are “non-performing” – in other words, are highly unlikely ever to be repaid.  These amount to a staggering €360 billion in total.

Furthermore, outweighing the economic concerns is the political scene. This year will see general elections in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic and possibly Italy. The likelihood of parties from outside the “mainstream” making significant gains or even ending up in power has been widely reported (See for instance here and here.)   Indeed, Mark Blyth, an academic based at Brown University in the USA, has predicted has predicted that the EU will cease to exist by the end of this year.

As James Forsyth wrote in the Spectator article mentioned above, however, “The British, it is said, always underestimate the sheer political determination to keep the European project moving forward.” Perhaps he has a point. Many of us who campaigned for Brexit regard the whole EU project as at best misguided and at worst, simply daft. Both during referendum debates and in articles for this website, I have publicly declared “I wouldn’t wish EU membership on my worst enemy”, but is this a sentiment confined to a minority of people in one country which has never been that keen on the EU project anyway?

Certainly Angela Merkel in Germany still exhibits the determination of which Mr Forsyth speaks. She reiterated her belief in the European project only a couple of weeks ago. “We Germans should never be deceived into thinking that a happy future could ever lie in going it alone nationally”, she said in her New Year message.

Meanwhile the Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico (whose surname, out of interest, should be pronounced “Feet-so“) has urged member states to stop their “adventures” – in other words, holding referendums on domestic issues  – because they “pose a threat to the EU.”

What will we do if … there is a referendum in Italy on the euro and Italian citizens decide they don’t want the euro?” he asked. What indeed?

On the surface, it appears that Mr Fico is singing from the same songsheet as Frau Merkel, but scratch a bit deeper and it very apparent that the former Soviet bloc countries, while seemingly committed to the EU, have a rather different idea of the way forward. In Poland, for instance, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the governing  Law & Justice Party, has called for a new EU treaty in the wake of Brexit which would stop, if not reverse, the flow of power from national parliaments to Brussels. “We need reforms which clearly define that the EU is an association of national states and that national states are the foundation,” he said.

These words are hardly in the spirit of the “Ever closer union” from which David Cameron sought to exempt the UK last year – and it needs to be remembered that this phrase goes right back to 1957. It features in the preamble to the Treaty of Rome which was the treaty which launched what has become the European Union. It is a foundational concept to the whole European project.

Kaczynski is often labelled “Eurosceptic” as is his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban. Whether or not this is an accurate label, there is no doubt that their vision of the EU is vastly different from that of the Western European leaders 20 or so years ago. Indeed, according to Martin Schulz, the outgoing president to the European Parliament, the attitude of these men has hamstrung the entire EU project:- “The generation of [Helmut] Kohl and [François] Mitterrand travelled to Brussels with the attitude that a strong Europe is in the interest of our country… The [Viktor] Orbán generation says ‘we have to defend the interests of our country against Europe’ – as if they were being attacked by Brussels.”

Schulz went on to defend both the €uro and the eastward enlargement of 2004, even though both have created enormous problems for the EU. The former has brought Greece to its knees and has given Italy a “lost decade” economically, the latter has brought in a group of nations whose outlook on life is very different from the mindset of Herr Schulz or his Chancellor and are none too keen to change.

It could be that Mr Forsyth is right and that, in spite of both the misery the Single Currency has caused to several Mediterranean nations and the opposition to multiculturalism, social liberalism and various other -isms in Eastern Europe, the EU will muddle through. On the other hand, throw into the mix the forthcoming General Elections and the fact that 2016 did not turn out as the “experts” predicted and  it would be a brave man who would bet his money on it.

The post-truth era – when it really began

Those who were shocked by the referendum vote to leave the EU and by the election of Donald Trump have attributed their disappointment to a “post truth” style of politics. The reverse, I suggest, is the case. However imperfectly, a majority of voters grasped that the long-accepted  “liberal” narrative was simply untrue.

Increasing suspicion of the official line on anything was massively increased by the revelation of the untruth of Tony Blair’s and the US government’s claims about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq. But the organs of disinformation had rather a successful practice run in 1999 over the invasion of Yugoslavia. This was so effectively promoted in the mainstream British media as to have quite a high public approval rating. Tony Blair was always aware of the tremendous electoral boost which the “Falklands Effect” had given to Mrs. Thatcher and this was the closest he came to achieving it. Of course, the Falklands war was about repelling a genuine invasion of British territory and liberating its inhabitants from a truly fascist regime. Yugoslavia was very different, as I pointed out in the following article from 1999, to which I have added a few notes with benefit of hindsight.

NATO’S MALIGN METAMORPHOSIS TO AGGRESSOR

by Edward Spalton  published in Freedom Today, October 1999

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has undergone a profound change, says Edward Spalton. In its new association with the EU , he argues, NATO is no longer a purely defensive alliance but a force which may be used for forcing questionable western values on other states.

When the troubles first started in Yugoslavia, reporting was fairly even-handed. The atrocities of all sides were shown. Gradually the media became gleichgeschaltet (as Dr. Goebbels would have put it) or “on message” as New Labour would have it: only the Serbs were demonised then. The defining moment was Germany’s recognition of Croatia before any of the normal criteria for full diplomatic relations existed  – settled government, recognised frontiers etc. The rest of the EU states, having vigorously opposed such a move, shuffled into line as part of the EU Common Foreign Policy. From this point the waters became ever muddier.

The Bosnian and Kosovo tragedies followed as night follows day.

As the intervention developed, the UN dropped out and NATO changed its character utterly, in contradiction of its own charter.

In concert with the developing Western European Union (the supranational armed forces of the European Union) it ceased to be a defensive alliance, protecting the sovereignty of its members and became an imperial entity, waging its first war of conquest.

The American, British and mainland Western European peoples have not yet fully grasped the enormity of this metamorphosis. Yet they are all now pieces in the Great Game being played with their countries by the unaccountable, undemocratic, supra-national new agencies of New NATO and the EU.

Throughout the past 50 years until very recently, there were few institutions which seemed more beneficent and protective than NATO. It was a purely defensive alliance in which members agreed to come to each other’s aid if attacked. Just how they did that was up to them. Most came into the NATO command structure, but the French left it, knowing that the rest would still come to their aid: having their cake and eating it as usual.

Nonetheless it kept the Soviets from carrying out Mr. Kruschev’s stated intention: “We will bury you”. The Marshals of the Red Army, who frequently proclaimed their indifference to the prospect of countless millions of casualties, were deterred by the clout of this united front, backed by the might of America and steadfastly supported by Britain and Canada. Mainland Europe owes Old NATO two generations of peace and deliverance from totalitarian rule.

This was nothing to do with the European Union, which did not exist when NATO was formed. From its inception the EU worked to destroy the sovereignty of European democracies (rather more effectively than the Red Army, as it turned out).

NATO was often cited as an example of “pooling” sovereignty, as in the EU, but this was never true. It was an organisation of sovereign states co-operating under international law for a limited purpose. It contained provision that states might leave by giving notice to other members (unlike the EU). There was no NATO Commission and there were no NATO Directives over-ruling members’ domestic laws.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has changed its character beyond recognition. It is no longer purely defensive but has arrogated to itself the right to go adventuring in other states. At its 50th anniversary celebrations, Tony Blair proclaimed a new doctrine which would justify NATO invading territory from the Atlantic to the Urals and beyond in defence of “peace” “democracy” “stability” or “human rights”. More or less any state in the world of second rank or less could qualify for the treatment, if it was not in the good books of Tony and his cronies.

He has also linked Britain’s NATO contribution with the Western European Union (WEU), a hitherto shadowy organisation which is now defined as the EU wing of NATO. Under the guise of closer co-operation, this is nothing less than the creation of an EU army, navy and air force. British forces will still wear British uniforms for the time being, but their command will be so integrated with the WEU as to be beyond control or recall by Parliament.

General Naumann, Supreme German Military Commander, gave a strong hint of WEU and New NATO thinking when he said “German troops will be engaged for the maintenance of the free market and access without hindrance to the raw materials of the entire world”. The implication is that if the entire world does not agree, so much the worse for it. We have ways of making you trade!

Tony Blair demonstrated his contempt and disregard of Parliament during the Kosovo war. William Hague made little enough objection although Madam Speaker said a few choice words. Those EU states with traditional, constitutional or treaty obligations of neutrality,  Sweden, Finland, Austria and Ireland, are being railroaded into associate WEU/NATO membership through an initiative called ” Partnership  for Peace”. This is Euro-Newspeak for “Command Structure for War”. WEU institutions contain no provisions permitting members to leave.

The atrocities of the various sides in the break-up of Yugoslavia were very similar. The leaders of Croatia and Bosnia, maintained in power by WEU/NATO, are both on record calling for genocide. They practised it vigorously when they had the chance. In this respect there is no difference between them and Milosevic. Yet only the Serbs were castigated. WEU/NATO succeeded in managing the media with frightening totality to minimise the atrocities of its clients.

The policy of New NATO and Germany in particular was to break up the Yugoslav state in which the Serbs were the senior partners rather as England is in the UK. Following the footsteps of pre 1914 Austro-German policy, this was the active aim of Germany from the early Eighties and they persuaded the Americans to their view.

Anti-Serb bias is profoundly ingrained in the psyche of southern and central Europe. Before he concocted his own racial theories, Hitler, like any other Roman Catholic Austrian subject would have imbibed the officially approved attitude that Orthodox Serbs were “worse than Protestants”. The Nazis later recruited Roman Catholic and Muslim Slavs (Croatians and Bosnians, genetically indistinguishable from Serbs, as well as Muslim Albanians) as honorary Aryans in elite, volunteer Waffen SS units. The Orthodox Serbs always remained SlavUntermenschen. Recent events reflect the continuance of this mindset in a hardly less overt form. Today’s government of Bosnia resurrected the name of one SS unit the Handzar Division. It provides the life guard for the President.

Collaborating wartime states like Slovakia and Croatia were clerico-fascist in nature, supported both by the local church hierarchies and by the Vatican.

Cardinal Stepinac, wartime Archbishop of Zagreb, wrote exultant reports to Pope Pius XII of of the hundreds of thousands of forced gun-point conversions of Serbs in Croatia. His clergy were active as concentration camp commanders and extermination squad leaders, dealing with those stubborn Serbs who refused to become Roman Catholics and thus “de-Serbed”

Yet the present Pope has set in motion the beatification of this gruesome character. John Paul II has apologised for the Roman church’s failure to speak up for Jews. Yet, despite his oft-expressed wish for reconciliation with the Orthodox churches, he shares the Roman blind spot with regard to the holocaust of Serbs, Jews and gypsies, carried out in his predecessor’s name and full knowledge within living memory.*

There are plenty of extant photographs of the papal legate to Nazi Croatia giving the fascist salute to parades of the Ustache, a force whose methods revolted even the SS. They were at work under clerical management well before Germany issued its Europe-wide Directive for the Final Solution of racial problems.

The achievement of an ethnically and religiously purified state of Croatia had to wait until 1995 when NATO’s “Operation Storm” caused the expulsion of all the Serbs from the Krajina region.

Warren Christopher of the US State Department callously remarked that this ethnic cleansing of Serbs had “simplified ” the Croatian situation. Compare this with the rightful humanitarian concern for other racial groups which suffered similarly. The West took a very different attitude to the no less appalling Serbian attempted “simplification” of Kosovo. Serbs, it seems, don’t count.

More recently Clare Short, British minister for overseas aid, said that the Serbs fleeing Kosovo were not refugees at all, but “people who had decided to move”. They were therefore unworthy of humanitarian aid as a lesser breed, outside her much publicised, caring compassion for humanity in general. The politically correct Ms. Short would not dare to display such racist bias against a minority at home.

This attitude to Serbs persists today, mostly unthinkingly but sometimes it is startlingly explicit. Among the most bloodthirsty advocates of condign punishment and all-out war on Serbia was an influential member of the European parliament, one Dr. Otto von Habsburg, heir presumptive of the former Austrian Empire, a blast from the past with malice aforethought, long matured! The terms of the Rambouillet agreement were just as extreme as the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia which touched off the Great War in 1914. The terms were quite impossible of acceptance and designed to be so.

A wiser leader than Milosevic might have preserved the Yugoslav federation, but the plans of the separatists and their backers had been long laid. They were also supported by aid and arms for the Bosniaks, Croats and Kosovo Liberation Army from the arsenal of the former East Germany and elsewhere. Germany trained and equipped the KLA from at least 1996 much more munificently than Colonel Gadaffi ever supported the IRA. Prior to this the unrest in Kosovo had been at a lower level than in Northern Ireland, as measured by reported deaths. Germany ensured a big enough conflict in Kosovo to provide a pretext for intervention.

The EU and the Americans had decided that a group of small, tractable, client states in the Balkans was preferable to a strong Yugoslavia, capable of self-defence. These statelets also provide economic Lebensraum for the EU. The treaties ending this phase of the Balkan wars are quite explicit in this respect. The new states must follow EU-decided economic policies, regardless of the wishes of the inhabitants. So the British people, unknown to themselves, have become accomplices in the creation of an old-style continental land empire with far more than its share of disputed frontiers and ethnic conflicts.

“Divide and rule” has long been a favoured maxim for imperial powers. We are experiencing the same principle applied to ourselves, as Britain too in this country is balkanised into regions.

While we owe a debt of gratitude to Old NATO for past services, New NATO and its associated EU organisations are profoundly inimical to freedom, as we have always understood the term. New WEU/NATO is no friend to a sovereign Britain nor to a sovereign anywhere else. From drinking the euro-federalist potion, Dr. Jekyll has become Mr. Hyde in the person of George Robertson. (The NATO Secretary General of the time).

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am indebted to many people who gave information, encouragement and comment upon drafts of this article. Among them are Rodney Atkinson, Jim Bogusz, Andrew Bond, Ron Dorman, Hugh Meechan, John Ryan, Simon Stoker and Dusan Torbica. All errors and infelicities of expression are entirely my own.

* Courageous individual Catholics, lay and clerical, performed many acts of mercy at great risk. They appealed in vain for Archbishop Stepinac to denounce the terror. Official Church publications of the time show beyond all reasonable doubt that the Croatian hierarchy was politically committed to fascism, genocide and forced conversions

Note  December 2016

With benefit of hindsight, I should have included more about the Muslim aspects of the war in Bosnia where the Americans winked at the importation to Europe of Jihadi warriors, the same sort of people whom they sponsor today in Syria. I also gave far too much credence to NATO’s blackening of the character of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serb leader (“The Butcher of the Balkans”). Very, very quietly in July 2016 the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia exonerated him from complicity in the atrocities in Bosnia – 1,303 pages into the 2,590 page verdict on Radovan Karadzic. Milosevic died in custody before the verdict in his case had been delivered. So, in the Western propaganda myth, he “escaped justice”. PLEASE SEE ATTACHED REPORT ON TRIAL.

I consulted widely amongst colleagues in the independence movement because 1999 was the year when UKIP first gained its three seat foothold in the European parliament. The party was not successful in the East Midlands where Hugh Meechan was first candidate and I was second. Some people felt the article might make UKIP appear to be anti-Catholic. Hugh’s advice was particularly useful. Not only was he a barrister, able to weigh the evidence on which I had based the article, but he was also a devout Roman Catholic. He neither suggested nor requested alterations but I did insert the footnote after consulting him. Sadly, Hugh died of cancer in 2000, a great loss to UKIP and the independence movement. At his insistence, his funeral service was conducted in the Latin rite.

The Balkan territorial settlement, enforced at Western gunpoint, remains in shaky, unstable existence. Croatia is now an EU member state. Parliament decided that the war against Yugoslavia was “illegal but legitimate”. Because of highly effective propaganda, the war was the nearest New Labour came to achieving a popular “Falklands effect” like Mrs. Thatcher, something Tony Blair was very keen to emulate. General Naumann was made an honorary KBE.

Subsequent NATO “humanitarian interventions” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have been uniformly unsuccessful and the Western proxy wars in Ukraine and Syria have not prospered either. Public trust in propaganda for such enterprises was fatally undermined by Tony Blair’s lies about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq.

All the King’s horses…..

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men 

Couldn’t put Humpty together again

As 2016 draws to a close, it is ending on a note that few of us could have dared imagine a year ago.

For a start, most informed opinion did not expect any referendum until 2017. David Cameron was widely expected to use the UK’s Presidency of the European Council, originally scheduled for the second half of next year, as a chance to showcase the EU and thus maximise the chances of a remain vote. In the event, he presumably decided that waiting nearly 18 months gave the leave side a bit too long to get its act together. Instead, he decided to cut and run, counting on the disorganisation and in-fighting among the leave groups, the lack of an agreed exit strategy, the full machinery of the government and civil service being at his disposal and the well-documented habit of electorates worldwide endorsing the status quo in referendums.

Thankfully, his gamble backfired and we woke on June 24th – at least, those of us who had been able to sleep – to the wonderful news that the UK had voted to leave, with a majority of over one million. For many of us, it was a result for which we had been striving for years if not decades. It had meant four months of total commitment, putting anything resembling a normal life on hold – indeed, some of us are still catching up with the legacy of the manic lives we were forced to lead in order to secure our goal – but it was worth it.

Of course, we’re not out yet and Article 50 has yet to be triggered. We do not know the Government’s negotiating strategy and much debate in the media has been little more than running round in circles with serious analysis very much at a premium.

However, we can be confident that the formal process of leaving the EU will begin in the first months of 2017. There are some very vocal and extremely prominent remainiacs who are clearly unhappy about this, but we believe that our analysis that Parliament will not obstruct the will of the people will prove correct. A recent poll confirms that six months on, voters stand by their decision.

Andrew Hawkins, the chairman of ComRes who commissioned the poll, was pretty blunt in his analysis of the result. “This poll should serve as a warning to Remain campaigners who want to force a second referendum that the clock cannot be turned back without risking a huge public backlash. Most of the public think the June result should stand and even some 17% of those who believe their personal finances will worsen post-Brexit would still vote to Leave,” he said.

Perhaps the big surprise for some of us has been the attitude of the EU. After the initial shock of a result few in Brussels were expecting, the prevailing mindset seems to be that we must make our departure ASAP. No serious attempt to get us to change our mind; the main objective being to cauterise the wound and to prevent the infection spreading to other member states.

This point cannot be overstated. Whatever the machinations of Gina Miller, Richard Branson or Tony Blair, a massive blow has been struck. Like Humpty Dumpty, the EU project took a massive fall on June 23rd and even before the Brexit negotiations begin, the damage to its reputation caused by one country voting to leave is immense and irreversible. The creation of regional superstates like the EU looked like the way forward which everyone sooner or later would have to accept. A few years back, I recall listening to an interview with a number of Swiss voters who all greatly valued their democratic system which they all viewed as vastly superior to EU membership. “But how long can it last?” I recall one of them saying – the implication being that inevitably, one day or other, Switzerland would have to give it all up and join the EU.

Brexit has dealt that sense of inevitability a body blow. What was seen as a one-way street where the only choice you were given was the speed at which you progressed along it now seems to be open to traffic in both directions. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men – in other words, King Jean-Claude and his acolytes in Berlin, Paris and indeed Washington – cannot sell the European Project with the same authority and confidence as before. Even before the Brexit vote, Aleksander Vucic, the Serbian Prime Minister said that EU membership is no longer the “big dream it was in the past…. The EU that all of us are aspiring to, it has lost its magic power.” The same article also quoted Bohuslav Soboktka, the current Czech Prime Minister who faces a challenge from an even more Eurosceptic challenger in elections next year, who claimed that his country may follow the UK through the exit door,

Furthermore, the election of Donald Trump to the White House will do nothing to restore the EU’s tarnished brand. From the 1950s onwards, the US – and the CIA in particular has been one of the main motors driving the European project forward, albeit sometimes covertly as far as its relationship with the UK was concerned. Now America will soon have a president who has compared his own election victory with the Brexit vote and who has consistently spoken very positively about our decision to leave the EU.

All in all, a much better outlook than we could have imagined this time a year ago. The recent claim by the President of the National Union of Students that Brexit would be “a catastrophe for our generation” is just plain silly. We face a bright future and it is the young who will be the long-term beneficiaries. On 23rd June, we finally lanced the boil that has poisoned our country for over 40 years and young people should be grateful that this long-standing problem has not been bequeathed to them to sort out.

On this note, we wish you a very Happy Christmas and look forward to seeing the beginning of our formal departure from the EU in the New Year.