Edward Spalton received the following reply to his letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury from one of his staff:-
Edward Spalton received the following reply to his letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury from one of his staff:-
Playing the EU’s Game on the Border Will Damage Ireland’s Interests, says former Irish diplomat in Politeia’s new analysis.
Dublin should accept UK border plan and work with Britain to make Brexit a success for both islands
The Irish border has become an obstacle to the Brexit negotiations. All sides want to keep the border ‘soft’ and friction free and preserve the gains of the Good Friday Agreement. But the EU and Dublin have rejected Britain’s proposals.
In Politeia’s next publication, Brexit and the Border: where Ireland’s True Interests Lie, Ray Bassett considers the border against the background and reality of Ireland’s economic and political interests, and the options for the UK government. A former diplomat, who served as Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada and was also a Good Friday Agreement negotiator, Dr Bassett explains that the Irish Government’s present policy is not in the country’s best interests. It leaves Ireland dangerously exposed if the border problem scuppers an overall EU/UK deal.
The author analyses the different options floated to ‘solve’ the border question. Politically the only possible solution is one based on technology along the lines proposed by the UK. This would be based on a trusted trader programme. Proven models, such as that in Australia, already exist from which some useful features might be adopted.
By contrast the EU’s proposals would endanger the stability of the island. Brussels should abandon its red line that anything on the island of Ireland must “maintain the integrity of the Union’s (i.e. the EU’s) Legal Order”. Bassett questions the wisdom of the Irish Government in aligning itself with Brussels at a time when the EU itself is undergoing changes, none of which are in Ireland’s interests. Moreover, a number of national elections across the EU have made clear a rising alienation of voters from the centralising policies of the present EU.
Irish leaders should change course and work to resolve the border dispute rapidly and towards a comprehensive free trade agreement between the UK and the EU. Given the historic, ethnic, cultural and economic links between Ireland and Britain, it is strongly in their country’s interests to do so. Ireland needs a successful Brexit.
The author concludes by proposing the Irish government should:
* Make clear both to London and Brussels that the Border must not be used as a weapon to thwart Brexit.
* Enter into immediate and practical bilateral discussions with London to resolve the border question.
* Work with the British government and the political parties in Northern Ireland to avoid any undue hardening of cross-border arrangements on the island of Ireland.
* Work with the British government to avoid any new barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
* Seek to join EFTA and leave the EU. EFTA membership would facilitate continued trade with the EU and allow a free trade with the from outside the Customs Union
Commenting on the legal framework, Professor David Collins explains that legally Bassett’s proposals would work well to Ireland’s interests. Liam Halligan explains why economically, Ireland cannot afford to play the EU’s game over the border, but should accept that Ireland’s economic interests demand that it should work with Britain to develop and put into effect the technological solution.
The paper was launched at a special meeting in House of Commons Committee on Thursday 17th May, with the speakers including the author, Ray Bassett, David Collins, Professor of International Economic Law, City University, and Liam Halligan, co-author of Clean Brexit with Gerard Lyons and Economics Columnist at The Sunday Telegraph.
Dr Ray Bassett has been a senior diplomat at Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin and has served as the country’s Ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas 2010-2016. Other diplomatic postings include Copenhagen, Canberra, Belfast (twice), London and Ottawa. He was involved in the Good Friday Agreement negotiations as part of the Irish Government Talks Team and participated throughout the discussions, including the final session at Castle Buildings in Stormont.
The Transition deal the government is agreeing with EU has dire implications and presents an existential threat for what’s left of the British fishing industry and coastal communities.
The government hopes to ratify this transition as part of the withdrawal agreement and treaty after parliamentary approval. The terms of the transition subject the UK to re-obeying all EU law, including all new laws, after Brexit and the official termination of our current membership.
By subjecting the UK to re-obeying all EU law the transition negates the clean slate provided by Article 50, which states (as agreed by the EU) that the “treaties shall cease to apply” and with that all rights and obligations accrued under the treaties – including the disastrous, inept CFP. The transition squanders the chance to automatically repatriate our waters and resources to national control by reverting to international law (UNCLOS) and domestic legislation.
The 21month transition period means the EU will be free to enforce detrimental legislation to cull what is left of the British fleet. The EU has every incentive to do so to enable the use of international law (UNCLOS Article 62.2) to claim our resources we would no longer have the fleet to catch.
The EU can do so in 21 months using the inept EU quota system which is wholly unsuited to our highly mixed fisheries and forces fishers to catch more than necessary and then discard to find the species their quota allows them to keep.
As of 2019 the EU discard ban is to be fully enforced, however, this ban addresses the discard symptom not the quota cause. Consequently, from 2019, when a vessel exhausts its smallest quota it must stop fishing to avoid discarding. These ‘choke species’ quotas will force vessels to tie up early in the year. Public body Seafish calculates 60% of the resources the UK is currently allocated will go uncaught and resultantly a similar proportion of what’s left of the British fleet will go bankrupt.
The EU has every incentive to fully enforce such a ban which would cull the UK fleet as under international law (UNCLOS Article 62.2) if a “state does not have the capacity to harvest the entire allowable catch it shall… give other States access to the surplus of the allowable catch”.
The above is not conjecture, the EU also stated this possibility in a previously un-noticed document; Research for PECH Committee -Common Fisheries Policy and BREXIT – June 2017 (page17). The EU is therefore quite aware of the implications and obligations of Article 62.2 and the discard ban.
SLASH UK RESOURCE SHARES
To compound this, HM government has agreed through ARTICLE 125 of the draft agreement that the UK will be subjected to the allocation of fishing resources through the CFP.
Part 4 of Article 125 states;
Without prejudice to article122(1), the relative stability keys for the allocation of fishing opportunities referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article 125 shall be maintained.
Paragraph 1 relates to Article 43(3) TFEU;
The Council, on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt measures on fixing prices, levies, aid and quantitative limitations and on the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities.
Therefore, contrary to government assertions, the EU Commission therefore has sole power to alter the ‘relative stability’ resource shares. These can and have been altered – as happens on a state’s accession – and the EU is free to do so to the UKs detriment. A further skewing of the already disproportionately unfair share the UK receives would exacerbate and compound the discarding and discard ban problem.
12 MILE LIMIT
The EU can also abolish – indeed it may terminate with our current membership – the 12 mile limit which gives protects our inshore and shell-fishermen along with nursery grounds. The 12mile limit was established in Article 100(1) of the UK Treaty of Accession as a 10 year derogation from Article 2 of the CFP founding Regulation 2141/70.
This derogation, although reiterated in subsequent 10 year CFP renewals, ultimately stems from the UKs Treaty of Accession. With the termination of the UKs membership under Article 50, our Accession treaty will ‘cease to apply’ and the EU will be free to abolish the 12mile before its current 10 year period expires in 2023 if this does not happen automatically upon withdrawal.
In addition to this the governments protestation that all will be well is through the assurance that the proposed agreement will be exercised under the provision of “good faith”.
Article 4a – Good faith;
The Parties shall, in full mutual respect and good faith, assist each other in carrying out tasks which flow from this Agreement. They shall take all appropriate measures…..to ensure fulfilment of the obligations arising from this Agreement and shall refrain from any measures which could jeopardise the attainment of the objectives of this Agreement. This Article is without prejudice to the application of Union law pursuant to this Agreement, in particular the principle of sincere cooperation.
Therefore, under draft withdrawal agreement of 19 March, ‘good faith’ far from being an all will be well clause obliges HM Government to rigorously enforce all the terms of the agreement, including our re-obedience to the CFP in its entirety – it is actually a swallow the lot clause.
Consequently, ‘good faith’ means the UK has signed up to a Transition agreement which means fully re-obeying and subjecting our fleet to a fully enforced discard ban and resulting choke species.
Has agreed to follow ‘relative stability’ shares and the ability of the Commission to alter them – possibly to our detriment. The UK will have agreed to re-obey the ‘raw’ CFP of ‘equal access to the baseline’ with the possible abolition of the 12 mile limit derogation with the termination of of our current membership.
The public perceive the transition as rendering all government and MPs commitments, promises and assurances to reclaim British waters as worthless semantics
It imperative for the survival of fishing communities in a multitude of constituencies that there is a reversal on fishing being included in a transition and that all sovereignty and control over all waters and resources within the UK’s EEZ reverts to Westminster at 11pm on 29th March 2019 on this symbolic issue.
In addition to this a clear termination clause similar to Article 50 must be inserted to the transition treaty to ensure that the transition and all rights and obligations accrued under it cease to apply on the 31st December 2020 to avoid any contention. Failure to do so would be perceived as a tangible demonstration that there is no intention of making a serious stand on fishing or Brexit nor fulfilling “taking back control of our borders” as optimised by this ‘acid test’ of Brexit.
We would like to draw your attention to the videos of our annual rally on 14th April in London, which featured impressive contributions from highly qualified speakers.
Dr Graham Gudgin is a rare creature – a senior academic who is not only understandable but supports Brexit and is prepared to say so publicly. More than that, he is one of the men behind Briefings for Brexit, a website set up in order to provide “factual evidence and reasoned arguments” in support of Brexit, with the articles written by fellow-academics who are specialists in various fields.
Dr Gudgin’s speech can be heard here. He touched on some economic issues, including the contentious issue of the unsustainability of current immigration levels, in an authoritative, balanced and easily understood manner. He comprehensively debunked all the predictions by fellow-economists who predicted economic meltdown if we voted to leave, showing the fallacy of their approach. His introductory remarks about the way leave voters were dismissed as ignorant will also be very welcome to anyone feeling irritated at being caricatured by remoaners as mentally challenged. Anyone who makes such an unfounded assertion can be referred to Dr. Gudgin and his company of fellow eminent academics.
He concluded with an upbeat assessment of our long-term economic prospects after Brexit, believing that we would achieve a trade deal with the EU and that the level of short-term disruption would be relatively minor.
A Press Release from Fishing for Leave
A News Report from 1991 showed that the fundamentally flawed EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was the cause of over-fishing and bad management.
These failures resulted in decommissioning schemes which scrapped 60% of the British fleet, ripping the heart out of communities.
The failing CFP has driven continual cuts and a scramble to survive with continual consolidation to last man standing.
Family community fishing is driven out of a livelihood and ever increasing monies are spent leasing and buying quota to remain stagnant and survive – it is a circus that fails fish and fishermen.
Contrary to Europhiles the EU did not save stocks but caused the problems which it still fails to address.
The EU caused overfishing through “equal access to a common resource” which stopped Britain exercising her rights to manage her waters and address increasing vessel technology and power.
The EU gave grants to build more powerful boats and incentivised overfishing with minimum market prices which stopped market gluts & low prices halting over supply.
The EUs caused a problem and then implemented Quotas which DO NOT work in mixed fisheries as the video shows fishermen have been saying since 1991!
Fishermen cannot determine what mix of species they catch. Quotas led to illegal landings or mass discarding. Quotas forced fishermen to OVERFISH and catch MORE than necessary to find what they could keep.
Quotas caused inaccurate science and exacerbated the fleet over-capacity caused by the EU. To add insult to injury when quotas were set under EU ‘relative stability shares’ the UK only received 25% of the resources although British waters contributed half the seas and catches.
As the system failed the EU heaped on more rules and bureaucracy to make a bad system work.
To add insult to injury when Quotas were set under EU ‘relative stability shares’ the UK only received 25% of the resources although British waters contributed half the sea areas and catches.
This deprivation of our own management and resources coupled with EU funded over capacity and a failed quota system is what killed over half the British fleet.
Some say this is accidental others think it a deliberate series of pretexts to cull the British fleet to make way for an EU fleet ruled by an EU policy.
Not only do EU member states directly take 60% of the resources from British waters under ‘relative stability shares’ but EU ‘freedom of establishment’ laws allowed EU owned but UK registered flagship companies to buy out family-owned British fisherman struggling under EU rules.
These EU flagships now own around HALF of the 40% slither of our own fish the UK receives as part of the EU heir legal challenge in the Factortame case overturned and forced the government to allow this to happen, proving the British parliament and courts no longer sovereign.
EVEN WORSE!! The incoming EU 2019 discard ban addresses the discard symptom not the quota cause. As of 2019 when vessels exhaust their meagrest quota they must stop fishing and tie up for the rest of the year.
This final drive into a 30 year cull-de-sac of failed management will ruin around another 60% of what’s left of the British fleet.
This is why British fishing cannot be trapped in a transition. Why we must escape the failed CFP ASAP.
It is why post-Brexit the government cannot replicate the same failed EU quota policies to appease vested interests now a minority of powerful vested interests running some fishermen’s federations who wish to keep the failed system and last man standing due to investment driven made in it to survive.
We must have new mixed fishery management based on limiting time at sea in exchange for allowing fishermen to land and record everything they catch in a time at sea/quota hybrid.
This would result in catching less but landing more and generate accurate stock data and management response – currently we are forced to do the opposite of all these.
In addition to this the government should retain the British FQA entitlement system to retain the investment vessel were driven to make in order to survive.
These FQAs should be converted from being entitlement to arbitrary weight-based quotas that force fishermen to discard to Flexible Catch Compositions (FCCs) that set percentages of species fishermen should aim to catch.
If fishermen exceed their FCCs which are based on their track record of catches and investment then they don’t need to discard or tie up but can swap a value of time equivalent to the value of the “wrong” fish caught.
This means there is no financial incentive to Race-to-Fish for high value species or for species the vessel did not traditionally have entitlement to catch but it means there is the flexibility to land all catches.
The loss of time is paid for by the value of the “wrong” fish meaning fishermen can make a living but needn’t work on catching more fish.
This system would preserve large scale investment in FQAs whilst allowing the flexibility for all fishermen to prosper across all sizes and sectors to rebuild coastal communities.
Crucially fishermen would be catching less fish with no discards and a limit on time at sea whilst generating real time data which allows real time management responding to natural fluctuations.
This would give Britain a unique, world leading discard free management system, allowing Britain to husband her resources sustainably in a system that allows all fishermen and communities to prosper.
WE CANNOT CONTINUE WITH A SYSTEM THAT HAS FAILED SINCE THIS VIDEO WAS MADE IN 1991!!
BREXIT provides an unusual opportunity in the history of our nation. It is an opportunity to recharge, reflect, rethink.
What Brexit is not is an opportunity to restart the country again from scratch. That would be too radical. We must, after all, bear in mind the narrowness of the victory for the “leave” side in the referendum.
However, it is an opportunity for a soft reset: just to remind ourselves of where we have come from, where we are now, and where we are going.
Two examples spring to mind.
“Take back control”
The first, controversially, but perhaps in chime with the aims of the Campaign for an Independent Britain, is to reshape our political landscape, so that we do have full power again over our own destiny.
“Take back control” is the perhaps now tired but still in essence true mantra of the leave EU movement.
We must become responsible for our actions in a way that perhaps we have not been since the end of empire. We must forge new alliances, regain true international, independent competitiveness, and – perhaps – be a beacon for the world, combining our democratic vision with economic and industrial inventiveness and our sense of fair play. Lawmakers and judges, take note. Note to mention satirists…
Can we achieve this?
Britain is too precious to be left to our own devices if we cannot hack it ourselves. Game on.
The second area is our soft culture, our history – second to none, surely – and community.
We must remind ourselves and restate what it means to be British: that relates to the sort of people we are, what we do, and where we live.
On that last point, let me introduce myself.
I am campaign manager for British Counties Campaign (BCC), a lobby group seeking to legislate formal recognition of the 86 traditional counties of England, Scotland and Wales. NB, for what it’s worth here, the six Northern Ireland counties remain intact in the public consciousness as real entities.
Conspiracy theorists – don’t you just love ‘em? – will say that our entry into the EU coincided with the destruction of ancient county identity in this country for a reason: all part of a masterplan, concocted in and around the 1970s to stop us feeling British – and independent – in any number of ways, including through our loyalty to local identities that existed since the dawn of our time: Kent, Sussex, Lancashire, Glamorgan, Cromartyshire. Were MPs and ministers also manipulated?
Whether the theorists are right or wrong, one thing is certain: these things happened at the same time and, as a happy result of Brexit, they can be put right at the same time.
We can ditch EU-imposed so called regions – at least where they mangle county identity – and reset our cultural landscape so we can identify with our counties as the Irish do, or the Americans (with their states), or the blessed Swiss with their fierce, independent and integrated Cantons.
Don’t mangle administration, or services areas, or media areas, with counties. Give us back what we had before. Stop treating people as worse than idiots – as non-existent in their feelings and sensitivities – and give them back what they had before. Local, county identity. It won’t cost anything. It will remind us of what we are.
As campaign founder Pam Moorhouse says, stop bullying people into accepting forced change against their will. You don’t know better. You charm people. You build on the past.
It is dangerous for BCC to link with any other movement, because the point of the campaign can easily become obscured. By extension, it is dangerous for other movements to link with us.
However, common sense suggests a tiny, tiny overlap between those wanting – rightly so – to see Brexit now fully implemented and those wanting to see our historic nationhood restored in just a few soft, important ways.
For example, county ways. To celebrate the beauty of and pride in their country at this slightly wacko level: the level of cheeses, cricket, Pevsner references, roses, horses, foxes, bears, leg-pulling (Yorkshire!); a sign on a stretch of road, a line on a map, a bleep on the Satnav, just to keep the kids entranced a bit longer – sometimes.
Don’t mess with identity. War with local government? War with civil service. Who knows? Sounds familiar? Game on again. God bless.
British Counties Campaign [email protected]