Anti-Democratic and Second Class

This letter from our Chairman, Edward Spalton, was sent to the Derby Telegraph on 14th October 2015

Sir,

From the beginning, the EU project was anti democratic. Dr Hallstein, the first President of the European Commission (1958-1967), asserted that the unelected Commission was “empowered to take all measures necessary…on its own authority without having to rely on special and specific approval by the Council of Ministers” (now the European Council).

More recently the EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, gave the brush off to a petition by War on Want with over 2 million signatures against the highly secretive negotiations for TTIP, the EU/USA trade agreement. She told them that she does not take her mandate “from the European people” . As John Hilary of War on Want said “In reality, as a new report from War on Want has just revealed, Malmström receives her orders directly from the corporate lobbyists that swarm around Brussels”.

Although Britain pays a first class membership subscription, second only to Germany, we remain a second class member without influence. This was demonstrated when Mr. Cameron opposed the appointment of Mr Juncker as President of the EU Commission without success. Nobody took any notice of him. Mr Cameron is there to pay in our money and do as he is told.

Mr. Juncker has the usual EU view of referendums.“If it is a yes we will say “on we go” and if it’s a no we will say “we continue””. That is the rule which will apply as long as Britain remains an EU member under any terms.

For three years now the EU authorities have been preparing for a new treaty after the British referendum. Essentially it will allow the countries of the Eurozone to merge into a single economic government with a permanent majority of votes. Mr. Cameron is waiting to hear what sort of “associate membership” they will offer him. Our second class status will be institutional and permanent.

When they tell him, he will come and tell us of the wonderful deal he has made. But, of course, it won’t have happened before our referendum .So, if people are persuaded to vote to remain in the EU, the eventual outcome will be out of Mr Cameron’s or Britain’s control. It will be a blank cheque for a future government to make us pay. The EU does not have a good record in keeping its word in such cases, as British politicians have learned over the years – or maybe they haven’t.

Yours faithfully

Edward Spalton

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

Mr. Cameron’s smart EU-turn

“The commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcasses of dead policies.” Lord Salisbury, 1877

Mr Cameron, according to many media reports, is definitely not for turning, and has set himself the goal, whatever happens, of tying the British People into the European Union (EU) forever. Arising from recent electioneering and reporting, this could include, as necessary, manipulation of the Electorate using fear, deceit, deception, fake arguments and ‘victories’, etc. However, there are some very good reasons why Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne might wish swiftly to reverse this less than ethical activity if they want the Conservative Party to have a future in 2020 and beyond. However, it needs some background and analysis to see how and why this could happen.

The ‘No’ (let’s leave the EU) campaign in the forthcoming EU referendum is likely to adopt some of the aims and rhetoric of a typical independence or liberation struggle; for example: pursuing freedom, national sovereignty, democracy, justice and social justice; reaching head and heart; opposing a reactionary status quo. Liberation movements and their political parties have often subsequently had leading roles in their newly independent countries for years afterwards. These leading roles come about regardless of their economic illiteracy, socialist inclinations or other unattractive behaviour. Following the Scottish Independence Referendum, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has demonstrated this effect through rapid membership and voter increases, decimating the other parties in Scotland. The EU Referendum is likely to boost subsequent eurosceptic support. This boost will be greater if there is a respectable pro-independence vote or the referendum result (for Mr Cameron) lacks democratic honesty. As things stand, UKIP will be the beneficiary, gaining from all establishment or legacy parties. The silenced eurosceptic part of the Conservative Party could also regain vigour against internal party pro-EU bullying.

For the General Election in 2020, Mr Cameron or Mr Osborne’s greatest nightmare, as campaign strategists is, probably, that the currently shambolic, declining Labour Party revives and the Conservative Party is confused and deeply divided. So could these actually occur?

Not much chance of Labour reconnecting with its core support as an EU-phile party (pro-EU) that sells out hardworking British families to EU taxes, corporatism (in favour of big business and vested interests), mismanagement, mass uncontrolled immigration, and job-destroying ideologies and regulations. Labour’s appeal would also fall through sharing platforms in the referendum campaign with europhile Conservatives, Lib Dems, Greens and Scottish or Welsh Nationalists, and defending their policies rather than showing up the deceit and shallow fallacies of EU membership. How would they honestly deal with some straightforward questions on the ‘Big Picture’ of EU membership? (for example see A Simple Approach for Considering EU Membership.)

Labour, then, has some good reasons for rapidly turning eurosceptic and standing out as a true British working people’s party; its only serious competition being UKIP. Scotland could be regained and, thus, the key to winning England (since voters’ fears of any discriminatory post-election pact with the SNP would disappear). As the EU continues to make the headlines for the wrong reasons (destroying the employment prospects and quality of life of many throughout the EU) it becomes increasingly difficult to keep defending it and Mr Cameron’s empty ‘renegotiations’.

However, Labour could find that it has missed the boat, if the Conservatives have already moved into the eurosceptic slot, with Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne admitting defeat on changing the EU. Could Labour then actually outmanoeuvre these consummate politicians and convincingly claim that it could do better in challenging or reforming the EU? – better even than socialist politicians in Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, et al? Life within the EU is not about standing up for the British People, rather it means doing what the unelected, privileged EU commissariat and its fellow travellers want.

The Conservative Party would undoubtedly seethe with resentment of the Cameroons if Labour revives in 2020 on the back of euroscepticism, as Mr Cameron could have largely averted this by a pre-emptive EU turn and some smart shenanigans to wrongfoot them. The divisions would be hard to heal or to prevent some (possibly many) defections to UKIP. Increasing numbers of the Electorate would in any case deliver their judgement on being manipulated and ignored by the Cameroons at the 2020 General Election ballot box with votes for Labour and UKIP. Would Mr Cameron really want to be remembered for his major mistakes?  – with unflattering comparisons drawn with, for example, Ethelred the Unready (always paying the demanded EU-geld), King John (devious disaster in Europe) and Neville Chamberlain (‘cap in hand’ EU appeasement)?

Making an EU turn to euroscepticism and then campaigning to leave the EU does not look difficult or embarrassing for a Conservative (or Labour) leader and Prime Minister; indeed, quite the opposite as it is both easy and commendable. The apparent confidential nature of renegotiations can be used to shut down inquisitiveness. Blame can be attributed elsewhere anyway. Spin and communications skills can be used to talk up the already substantial advantages of leaving the costly political straightjacket of the EU. Defying the squealing and machinations of EU-fanatical vested interests makes for a heroic, substantial patriot, someone to capture the popular imagination and votes in 2020.

How would Mr Cameron reply in future when presented with the question posed by the great economist, John Maynard Keynes who reputedly said, ‘When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, Sir?’

Photo by Berto Garcia

Photo by SiSter PhotograPher

EU NO Campaigners to launch Coventry campaign

Members from the main four political parties  planning on supporting the ‘OUT’ campaign in the forthcoming referendum on the UKs Continued membership of the EU; will launch their local Referendum Planning Group in Coventry on the 19th of August in a bid to persuade local Coventry residents to vote NO. The meeting’s theme “A Referendum is not an Election – How to win it and How to lose it”  will be addressed by Edward Spalton Chairman of the national cross party Campaign for an Independent Britain and the group’s local organiser Derek Bennett(contact [email protected]) followed by a short video and Q&A from attendees.
Speaking ahead of the meeting Edward Spalton said ‘’let’s be honest. The truth is that there is no point complaining about many of the issues facing Britain today unless we first address the real problem – Britain’s disastrous membership of the European Union.  We’d all be better off out.  Contrary to many statements by business leaders, we do not need to be part of the EU’s political structure to have access to the Single Market. Much of the regulation which comes to us via the EU is actually made by global bodies, like the United Nations, World Trade Organisation etc. Britain’s membership of the EU actually keeps us off the “top table” and without a voice at these bodies which really shape world trade. It is in the wider world where trade is expanding, not in the declining, inward-looking EU. The economies of Eastern EU countries are being massively weakened by the large scale emigration of their skilled workers”
He added that, following the Conservatives’ election victory in May 2015, various Euro sceptic groups had been getting their act together and that his own CIB was stepping up its activities locally in preparation for the referendum on EU membership which David Cameron has promised to hold before the end of 2017. Pronouncing that the CIB organisation is fully committed to playing a role in the “no” (i.e., the “Out”) campaign in the West Midlands.
 
Local organiser Derek Bennett, who is co-ordinating  the upcoming meeting, commented that in the Coventry and surrounding area his new group would be working flat out right up to polling day. ’’We will have leaflets to deliver, street stalls to man, dinners, public meetings, and door to door canvassing to arrange – in fact everything you would expect of an election campaign’’ and pleaded with interested members of the public or those wishing to learn more about how Britain would be better off out the European Union to attend its inaugurak meeting , which will be held at
7.00 pm on Wednesday 19th August at Coundon Social Club, Shorncliffe Road, Coventry CV6 1GT.

Photo by Nigel’s Europe & beyond

Only one outcome will clear the air

David Cameron wants us to stay in. The Foreign Office is even keener that we stay in. In spite of polling which suggests that supporters of remaining in the EU are in a majority, there are some fearful people in positions of power who are very, very worried about a vote to leave the EU.

Whatever the real reason behind David Cameron’s announcement of a referendum on our membership of the EU in his Bloomberg speech, for better or worse, he is now committed to holding it before the end of 2017. If we in the “Out” campaign can get our act together – and that’s unfortunately still a pretty big “if” at the moment – we have the better arguments and, unlike the Scottish referendum, where the weaknesses of Alex Salmond’s economics were not exposed until the very end of the campaign, the economic debate is already under way. We haven’t won it yet, but put forward a sensible, seamless exit strategy and victory on this front should be ours well before the electorate goes to the polls.

Unsurprisingly, the supporters of “in” are keen to tilt the balance as much as possible in their favour. Hence the “purdah” vote was taken so early in the life of the new parliament, while the new intake of Tory MPs were in awe of the whips and hadn’t had the chance to develop the 2010 intake’s habit of rebelling. Referendum law is much less well-defined than the legislation surrounding Westminster or local elections as we have had so few referendums, but Section 125 of the Political Parties and Referendum Act 2000 (PPRA 2000), setting out the rules which apply to the 28 days in the run-up to the referendum, is very sensible. During this period, the government and Civil Service have to avoid taking any actions, making statements or spending taxpayers’ money which could influence the outcome of a referendum. Why should anyone be unhappy about this? After all, shouldn’t we be distancing ourselves as far as possible from the likes of North Korea and Zimbabwe where any vote must only have one outcome – or else? The Government doesn’t think so, arguing that if these rules were applied, it could not conduct business in Brussels. This is a pretty disingenuous argument. After all, our government conducts its business in Brussels at the moment without any fanfare. Most people are blissfully unaware of just how much time and money goes into our dealings with the EU. It’s not too much to expect that it could be done quietly and discreetly during the 28 day period before the referendum, with no propaganda being involved.

Thankfully, a few warning shots have recently been fired across the Government’s bows. The cross-party Public Administration Committee has challenged ministers’ arguments that a relaxation in these “purdah” rules was needed to allow them to continue the work of government. The Committee’s Chairman, Bernard Jenkin MP, wrote to David Lidington, the Europe Minister, saying that there was no case for modifying Section 125 and that “the government’s proposal has cast a cloud of doubt over the propriety of the process, even at this early stage. We regard this as completely unacceptable.” This warning has clearly hit home. Sir Jeremy Heywood, head of the Home Civil Service, has claimed that any suggestions that the Government had not allowed a fair debate could result in legal challenges “by people with deep pockets.” Whether these warnings will result in a change to the Government’s tactics remains to be seen, but a very valid point has been made. It is Cameron’s dream to settle the EU question once and for all and he is not attempting to hide the way he wants it to be settled. A vote for “in” which was seen to have been obtained unfairly would not settle the issue at all, however, especially if the margin was very narrow. The threat of legal challenges would mean that the Government just couldn’t ride out the ensuing storm in the hope that it would die down and withdrawalists would roll over and admit defeat. In other words, a skewed result would solve nothing.

There therefore remains only one way of putting this issue to bed – to strain every sinew to gain that critical “out” vote. Considering the disadvantages we face, no one could remotely complain that a vote to leave would have been achieved by fraud, deceit or manipulation. It would be the best and the only way by which the air could finally be cleared in this long-standing issue so critical to the very survival of our nation.

Peer calls on Government to honour commitment to keep President Obama out of EU debate

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

24th July 2015

Peer calls on Government to honour its commitment to keep President Obama and other foreign leaders out of EU debate

Lord Stoddart of Swindon, the independent Labour Peer, has called on the Government to honour a commitment made by Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in a reply (17th June) to a written question from him, in which he was promised that efforts would be made to keep foreign leaders out of the debate about Britain’s future in the EU, ahead of the referendum.

The Baroness said that ‘the decision in the referendum will be one for British voters to make’ and that ’The Government will make this clear as necessary in its discussions with foreign leaders and EU officials.’

Lord Stoddart has written to Baroness Anelay to remind her of the commitment she made, in light of the latest statement from President Obama in which he has blatantly involved himself in the debate about the EU, ahead of the referendum.  He has urged her to ensure that the Government makes representations to the President on the matter.

The full text of Lord Stoddart’s message of 24th July, to the Baroness is as follows:

FAO: The Rt Hon. the Baroness Anelay of St Johns DBE

Dear Joyce

Further to your written reply of 17th June 2015 (see web link below) and the Prime Minister’s article in the Daily Mail of today’s date, may I assume that the Government will be making representations to President Obama in relation to yet another statement from him, reported this morning, urging the UK to stay in the European Union.  His interventions are improper and are a gross interference in British politics that is widely resented.  They also do nothing to dispel the impression that the UK is the USA’s poodle in the EU.