Some Brexit insights from Ireland

Dr Anthony Coughlan, a leading supporter of  “Irexit” and long-term acquaintance of Edward Spalton, our Chairman, has recently forwarded some interesting insights into Brexit which come from a well-placed Irish friend of his.

“The editorial in today’s Irish Times and the article by Stephen Collins are saying – obliquely – what you … and others have been saying since the referendum, i.e. that the British and Irish Governments have to sit down and work out a post-Brexit border regime, which requires technical and pragmatic solutions according to Michel Barnier.

Indeed it does, but the European Commission was not saying that at first. It is doing so now, I suspect, because the continental Member States are getting fed up with the Irish Government and the European Commission, along with British Remainers, attempting to use the border to scupper Brexit. The Continentals just want the thing sorted.”

This is one glimmer of light in what has not been a happy time for negotiators as far as the Irish border issue has been concerned. Barnier’s “backstop” proposal of keeping Northern Ireland in the Customs Union was greeted with widespread anger among Unionists in Northern Ireland. It does not bring the issue any closer to resolution but does suggest that, not withstanding public shows of solidarity by the other 26 EU member states, the Irish government will not garner much support for being deliberately obstructive over the search for a resolution to the border issue.

On a less encouraging note, however, Dr Coughlan’s friend goes on to say:-

I suspect, incidentally, that if the West attacks Syria the British Government might use it as an opportunity to “suspend” Brexit. I have little doubt that the British Foreign Office is working up something along those lines to present to Theresa May. If there is a really serious war, i.e. WW3, it won’t matter, but a shooting war that is something less than WW3 would suit the Remainers down to the ground.

The latter are well capable of urging an attack on Syria for that purpose. I hope the Brexit community in the UK is alive to this possibility, particularly Tory MPs, some of whom might otherwise be expected to be gung-ho for war over Syria.”

Since Dr Coughlan sent us his friend’s comments,  a military force including the USA, the UK and France has bombed Syria. The first polls taken after this action suggests that there is strong opposition from the UK public to these actions, with supporters outnumbered by two to one. Furthermore, Mrs May faces strong opposition from Parliament, annoyed at not being given a vote. So while an escalation of the conflict may be in the remainiacs’ interests, it does not look particularly likely at the moment.

Even so, this bunch of bad losers needs careful monitoring. A meeting of remoaners took place yesterday (Sunday 15th April ) in London, with the hope of launching a major drive to stop Brexit. Our friends from Leavers from London turned out in some force with a counter-demonstration, holding placards yet being polite and friendly.

It remains our opinion that a badly- executed Brexit remains a far greater concern than the activities of disgruntled, incorrigible remoaners,  but they must not be underestimated.

The EU: Some personal reflections

“Brexit means Brexit”, we are constantly told, but what does “EU” mean? Here, to give us some insight into what we had actually been signed up for in the Treaty of Rome and subsequent treaties is the Chairman of the Campaign for an Independent Britain.

Edward Spalton describes himself as “not very political – country corn merchant and family feed milling business”, who was mildly europhilic until the arrival of the European Agricultural Policy in 1972. What made him change his mind? In his talk, he will give some personal reflections on the origins and development of the European Union, the ‘Weltanschauung’ driving it and living independently alongside it. And he will give a world preview of a new video ‘Witness to History – An insider’s view from the Foreign Office of 1950”. After a break, he will lead a discussion on “An amicable divorce – why breaking up is so hard!”

Media Bias – a letter from our Chairman

We cannot expect a fair debate in the run-up to the referendum as far as the media is concerned  – especially from the BBC. Our Chairman’s comments on the reporting of last Friday’s Grassroots Out meeting in London, sent to a number of newspapers,  illustrate all too well what we will be up against.

Sir,

On Friday 19 February I attended a very successful, enthusiastic rally, organised by the Grassroots Out campaign in the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre London. It was standing room only. The platform included speakers from across the political spectrum – Conservatives, Labour and UKIP, all committed to returning our country to democratic government. That, of course, means leaving the EU.

Yet all that people had heard from the media by Saturday morning was that some people had walked out when George Galloway addressed the meeting. The meeting was running well past its scheduled time and I was one of those who left – not because of Mr. Galloway but because I had a train to catch. Others did the same just before he spoke

I was able to hear his speech on the internet today and it was as rousing and inspiring as the rest. He paid tribute to Nigel Farage of UKIP and said that we would not have had the referendum without UKIP’s campaigning. Much as he disagreed with UKIP politically, they had a common interest in ending the bureaucratic tyranny of the rich man’s club of big company corporates, which is the EU. The platform also included the Rt. Hon. David Davis MP (Conservative), Kate Hoey MP (Labour), Peter Bone MP (Conservative), Tom Pursglove MP (Conservative), David Campbell Bannerman MEP (Conservative), John Boyd of CAEF – of the Labour and Trade Union Movement and others – all united in the cause of our country’s freedom.

George Galloway’s speech received a standing ovation – yet all my neighbour knew about the meeting on the following morning was that people had walked out!

The BBC is up to its tricks again. In the Seventies , they were under daily instruction from a high Foreign Office official, Sir Norman Reddaway, as to how the news concerning the “Common Market” should be presented. This was admitted in a BBC programme twenty five years later. One news presenter, Jack de Manio, did not toe the line. He was sacked and BBC programmes have been overwhelmingly Europhile ever since.

It was a strange inversion of function. The Foreign Office supposedly exists to represent our country abroad but, when it came to the EU, it represented that foreign power to us!

The BBC is probably so well-trained by now, like Pavlov’s dogs, as not to need a minder. But, as Lord Tebbit famously put it, “It’s called the Foreign Office because it works for foreigners”.

Yours faithfully

Edward Spalton.

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.

Foreign Office’s “Sticky fingers” all over Queen’s speech in Germany

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon

(Independent Labour)                                                                                          

 

News Release

 

25th June 2015

 

Queen’s speech in Germany has “sticky fingers of the Foreign Office all over it” says Peer

The independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has expressed his disappointment with Her Majesty the Queen’s speech in Germany, on European unity, accusing the Foreign Office of using the Royal family as “pawns” in the pre-referendum debate.

Lord Stoddart said:  It is very unfortunate that the emphasis on European unity in the speech has led to speculation that Her Majesty was supporting the pro-EU side of the referendum debate.  The speech has the sticky fingers of the Foreign Office all over it and I believe it was a clumsy attempt by them to place the monarchy on the side of the UK remaining in the EU.

“The division in Europe referred to by Her Majesty in her speech derives from the chaotic nature of the EU and its attempts to extend its empire eastward while, at the same time, pursuing financial, economic and social policies within its borders that are leading to huge reductions in standards of living and rioting in some nation states.  The Foreign Office should beware of using the Royal Family as political pawns in the debate about this nation’s future as a member of the EU.

“Her Majesty should reflect on the fact that her status has been reduced to that of a European Union citizen, without so much as a by your leave.”