May’s deal: “Out of Europe but still run by Europe.”

Former CIB President George West gives his personal reaction to the prime minister’s deal and the political fallout, and concludes that the battle to leave the EU has only just begun.

Theresa May says that if Parliament does not accept her Brexit deal we will be back to square one. If only that were possible – but starting with a Leave-voting prime minister.

To get her way May resorts to bullying tactics and deceit, just as Edward Heath did in 1972. Con O’Neill, the civil servant who led the UK’s negotiating team for Heath, summed up Britain’s negotiating position as “swallow the lot, and swallow it now.” May is now expecting parliament to do the same.

She tells us the deal is the best she can get. That alone should put a stop to her political career and further damage to the UK.

Dominic Rabb boldly told us that the Withdrawal Agreement is worse than staying in the EU. That should enhance his future political career.

Lucy Harris, founder of Leavers for Britain, appeared on the BBC’s Politics Live programme on Friday. When asked to choose between the draft Withdrawal Agreement and staying in, she wisely chose not to be drawn in to such a false choice.

If only Nigel Farage and UKIP leader Gerard Batten had kept silent, rather than trading blows on internal UKIP business in public.

What are loyal UKIP supporters to think now of Farage, who opened his mouth at this critical stage and attracted more post-Henry Bolton bad publicity? And what are UKIP supporters to think of Batten’s ill-advised choice of Tommy Robinson as a special advisor and speaker for his Brexit rally, in a bid to attract Tommy’s followers?

The campaign to actually leave the EU is nowhere near an end. It is a very long time until 20XX – the year that the transition period can potentially be extended to. It is even longer until ‘never’.

Where is the new effective leader of the Brexit movement to extricate us from this mess? Quite possibly Lucy Harris, who is of an age to appeal and talk sense to the younger people who have grown up exposed to propaganda myths such as that the EU has “kept the peace in Europe”.

Mrs May seems to be intent on earning her place in history alongside those other notorious Conservative Europhile traitors, Edward Heath and ‘green peas’ John Major.

For years we have been fed dishonest political slogans to trick us into accepting the forward march of EU integration. We were told we must not “miss the train”, and that we could be “in Europe but not run by Europe.” A more honest slogan for Mrs May’s deal would be, “Out of Europe but still run by Europe.”

After 46 years of campaigning to leave the EU it seems to me that the battle has only just begun.

Brexit and Jazz journal

A letter from our former President George West to the Jazz Journal – an unlikely place for a debate on the merits of Brexit, one might think

For the attention of Mr. Mark Gilbert, Editor, Jazz Journal

Dear Mr Gilbert,

In reply to the reader’s letter from Alan Laney (JJ May 2018) the answer to whether Jazz Journal is the right place to discuss Brexit, my answer is a resounding No.

I terminated my subscription to Jazzwise because of Brexit contributions from doom and gloom writers who based their blinkered articles and letters high on speculation and short on facts. Either they had conveniently forgotten that British jazz musicians performed frequently in Europe prior to the UK entering the full of false promise Common Market or they had swallowed and failed to question the Conservative and Labour-led Project Fear.

If in doubt about freedom to perform in European countries before membership of the EU please read, by way of example, Clark Tracey’s excellent book about Stan “The Godfather of British Jazz”. Musicians performed in Europe before 1972 and will do so after Brexit departure that is for sure

If wearily wanting to know more about Brexit then turn to radio, press and television any day of any week rather than open the pages of Jazz Journal. How do I know so much about the undemocratic and complex EU? I sat in Parliament the very evening Heath stitched up  Parliament into joining by deceitfully withholding terms of entry from all MPs, hiding under the 30 years rule a damning letter from Lord Kilmuir to Edward Heath (Research Paper 10/79 December 1960) all of which enabled Heath to ease the UK into membership by a slender majority of only 8 votes. How much better off we are all likely to have been these past 46 years had all MPs been honestly and openly briefed and had we remained in control of our own affairs whilst continuing to trade with and travel within  the EU

In truth and fact, anyone who really knows about the EU, its history and continuing  political intentions , should  view any prospect of remaining in the EU with “deep foreboding” rather than leaving.

If Jazz Journal does not want to lose readers, then please ask Brexit alarmists to spare us their scare stories

Yours sincerely

George West

Former Jazz Centre Society director, founder of Birmingham Jazz and former President of cross party national The Campaign for an independent Britain founded in 1969)

A tribute to Nigel Spearing MP

A Master of Parliamentary Procedure

Mr. Nigel Spearing

Born 8th October 1930 – Died 8th January 2017

A glowing tribute to a man highly respected for his integrity and well known for his boundless energy, enthusiasm and opposition to UK entry to the Common Market and persistent opposition to EU membership

As a Labour MP, Nigel held the Newham South seat from 1974 until 1997 when the constituency was abolished.

A non-conformist Christian, Nigel was my mentor and friend from the days I joined CIB and met him. He was a Vice-President of CIB under Lord Stoddart and Sir Richard Body and before then a well-established elected member of the national executive of our Campaign for an Independent Britain

He was the last Opposition MP to speak before the government minister wound up the debate before the vote was taken to pass the Bill to accept European Communities Act 1972 into UK law, stating at the time that MPs were being asked to sign a blank cheque since the terms of entry had been withheld from them. Nigel made a great play on the Parliamentary democratic bypass still in effect to this day because of Clause 2-1 of ECA 1972. He was without power to have the wording changed from EU legislation being introduced to UK law “without further enactment” to “may with further enactment” to enable full scrutiny and debate by our Parliament. I am quietly proud that I was able to have two films made of Nigel and his Labour MP colleague, Mr Eric Deakin in Nigel’s home, both of them recounting their memories of their opposition to the Common Market in one of the films quoting from Hansard open on their laps. These films can be found on the internet You Tube under Nigel Spearing’s name or in the video section of CIB website here and here. Both films are of historical importance

Nigel was well known for his perilous travelling to all meetings in London on his bicycle as well as his fitness by rowing on the River Thames. Both he and his wife Wendy enjoyed their holidays on their boat on the Norfolk Broads.

I treasure three special memories, including walking the corridors of Parliament with Nigel and being impressed by the way he was so affectionately greeted by older politicians who remembered him. Secondly, I remember as we waited together for a meeting to start he embarked on a long and expert explanation how weather and tidal conditions around the coast of Britain could, and can still, overcome the flood defences and overwhelm London. I wish that day I had a tape recorder with me.

Thirdly, when I was Chairman of CIB Regional Planning Sub-Committee, our meetings were held in an upstairs room in South Kensington in a pub populated downstairs by boisterous Australian back-packers in those far off days. On an occasion the room was packed and I found the meeting difficult to control because of the level of heckling dissenting voices. Nigel sat to one side in the front row listening intently. I noticed his sparkling eyes. Afterwards to my surprise bearing in mind the countless debates he would have attended in his career he told me, ”That was one of the most exciting debates I have ever attended”. In his final years his mind remained focused upon and stimulated by EU matters of great concern to him

Of the e-mails I have received praising Nigel, I have selected a few.

“Nigel Spearing had something of the manner of a benevolent house master. He was very kind and patient with us new boys in explaining the geography, history and procedures of the House of Commons, an institution which he loved deeply. It was this love which drove his resolute opposition to Parliament’s subordination to the EU. He was very generous with his time and advice to all who supported the cause. He was unstuffy and realistic about the way politics worked. He once told me “I was brought up in the Evangelical Christian tradition, so I avoided the scrapes which some of my colleagues got into and the whips never had anything on me”. He used to cycle to our committee meetings in the House of Commons well past his eightieth birthday. He continued as long as he was able. When we knew his mind was beginning to cloud over, he invited us to tell him when to leave. Of course, we never did. As my colleague Stuart Notholt remarked “Nigel is family” and that is how we remember him” – Edward Spalton, Chairman, CIB

I am sorry to hear of Nigel’s death. From what I know about him – mostly of all his tenacity and also the disgraceful manner in which the Labour Party removed him as Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee for no reason other than the things which have turned out in the referendum that he was right – his passing is a great loss to the Labour party and the country.” – Sir William Cash MP

“I knew Nigel from fringe meetings etc, a 100% good man.  Sorry to hear of his death but at least he lived to see his objective within our grasp.” Idris Francis (outstanding political activist)

How sad to see yet another of our fellow-warriors passing away. I too met him in 1999; he sought me out about Corpus Juris, we met several times (he came to Vincent House, he took me to the H o C where he had been an MP and introduced me to another EU-sceptic Labour MP, from Wales, whom I had lunch with, and we met again in Bournemouth).

It was he (Nigel) who provided me with the Parliamentary Report on the Tampere EU summit, where the EU decided to “replace” the Corpus Juris idea of a single criminal code for all, with the idea of “mutual recognition” which led to the European Arrest Warrant. I say “replaced” but actually it was a stepping stone to the ultimate Corpus Juris destination.” T.D. Erikson (Journalist)

I am so sorry to hear of the sad loss of Nigel. He was one of the great parliamentarians, having not only a great knowledge of parliamentary procedures but a great respect for them as well. Having been present in the House of Commons when his colleagues voted away the sovereignty of that esteemed House, he worked tirelessly to recover it. His knowledge and experience have been of immense benefit to the campaign to restore Britain’s sovereignty.”  John Harrison (previous CIB Treasurer)

“I’m very sorry to hear of this news. I know from the videos you provided that Nigel was a very eloquent speaker who made a passionate and principled stand against the Europhiles. I hope he was able to derive much satisfaction at the referendum result of 2016 and deserves recognition and our gratitude for the significant contribution he made in bringing us to where we are today.” Nigel Finnis  (Retired television film-maker)

A memorial service will be held in the weeks ahead at a time and place to be later announced

George West, President

The Campaign for an Independent Britain

 

Betty Simmerson RIP

Mrs Betty Simmerson has recently died aged 92 but will never be forgotten.  She and her husband, Reg, were among the first fighters against the United Kingdom joining the EEC and their consistent and active opposition heartened and inspired others to support the fight and to join it.  When Reg died, Betty continued to campaign for our withdrawal from what has become the European Union  and she supported The Campaign for an Independent Britain and many other organisations fighting for the freedom to govern ourselves.  We should all be glad that she lived just long enough to see her own consistent efforts  and those of others, including Reg, to regain the freedom to govern ourselves supported by the British people. Our country is now on the road to recovering its sovereignty so cavalierly sacrificed by successive parliaments since 1973.

Betty will be missed by all who knew her and she has died as a heroine of the great and successful campaign to get our country back. During the Second World War Betty nursed wounded servicemen returning from battlefields on occasions, she told me, severely burned or with intestines hanging out. At night she would be on the roof of her London hospital with a stirrup pump putting out incendiary bombs fires. She is remembered for the occasion when she aimed and hit Edward Heath with brown paper bags filled with flour at a Common Market meeting in Caxton Hall and was dragged away to be interrogated by Scotland Yard. She sold her grand piano to take activists to Belgium to demonstrate against Heath as he signed the treaty taking us into the Common Market and was thrown into prison because Heath had ordered no demonstrations should be allowed to spoil the occasion. Looking like everyone’s favourite grandmother, Betty was truly a British patriotic through and through.

(Photograph shows George West, CIB’s then Chairman, presenting an award to Mrs Betty Simmerson on 4th April 2009 at the CIB Annual Meeting in London.)

 

An opportunity to correct an historic mistake on 23rd June – a letter from our President to the Leicester Mercury

Married with a son and daughter plus three granddaughters, I have lived in Leicester for 20 years. I am not a member of any political party, now aged 81, having worked in engineering manufacturing for 51 years watching our heavy engineering virtually disappear and our fishing fleet destroyed by the EU.

I organised demonstrations to close down the EU-inspired East Midlands Regional Assembly and also had the EU flag taken down because it was being flown illegally above the main entrance to the Town Hall. In 2000 under Magna Carta I organised and, with the help of Groby voters, won hands down a Parish Poll to save the pound against the euro. For good measure, under the ancient law of Misprision, I laid evidence of alleged treason against Tony Blair at Leicester Magistrates Court which the Bench felt they couldn’t handle although I had done my duty as a citizen in making a detailed report.

I spent 10 with Leicester Jazz Society voluntarily promoting concerts and a jazz festival in the city, plus two years trying to establish St George’s Day celebrations in Castle Gardens. Now I spend my spare time on three NHS-related committees locally, plus organising Head & Neck Cancer Support Group meetings monthly at Coping with Cancer at Helen Webb House, Westleigh Road, Leicester. Having survived major cancer surgery to my head five years ago I am now used during the final exams at the Royal Infirmary for trainee doctors and those wishing to become Consultants

Around the age of 17 in 1951, I followed my father into a large engineering factory. There was little problem trading with and travelling around the continent before we were drawn into the Common Market. Becoming married and a father I became suspicious that we were not being told the truth about joining the EEC so I sat in the Commons the night we joined by a slender majority of 8 votes obtained by the withholding of crucial information from MPs about the terms of entry and a legal warning from Lord Kilmuir about the surrender of sovereignty hidden for 30 years. (see video film of former Labour MP Nigel Spearing on MPs being asked to sign a blank cheque)

At the stroke of midnight 1st January 1972 we turned our backs on and discriminated against our Commonwealth friends. We had to cancel duty free and other food contracts with those countries to enter the higher cost food market of the EEC without any thought to the major impact upon the economies of those countries who had historical and multicultural links with us. As Barbara Castle of the Labour party put it “This is the new internationalism, selected relationships dictated and controlled by a powerful European bloc. What kind of internationalism is it that henceforth this country gives priority to a Frenchman over an Indian, a German over an Australian and an Italian over a Malaysian”?

Since then I have campaigned to reclaim the sovereignty of our Parliament and Courts to make our own laws and regain the freedom to trade globally within and outside an ailing crisis-ridden EU of rising unemployment and social unrest

There are three issues and many more that worry me should we remain in the EU.

  1. The British public want truth and calm debate, not hysterical crystal ball predictions and threats bombarding us from the remain side. We began to distrust long ago politicians fobbing us off as though the British public are fools such as the time then Minister for Europe Keith Vaz claimed that the European new Charter of Fundamental Rights “would have no greater legal standing than a copy of the Beano”. Peter Hain said of the EU’s draft Constitution for Europe, the forerunner of the Lisbon Treaty setting the EU’s course for the next 50 years that it was, “a mere tidying up exercise”. We are getting bad tempered insults, mud-slinging with an eye to winning the next general election. The Labour party is as bad as the Conservative. It is the scratching of infected scabs left by long standing party conflicts.
  1. I owe my life to the NHS. I fear that the TTIP trade treaty being negotiated in secret between America and the EU will bring the full weight of privatisation, pharmaceutical, insurance, financial investment companies and legal professionals to fall upon the NHS. David Cameron says the NHS will be exempt. I do not trust him.
  1. The biggest concern is uncontrolled immigration. We need controlled immigration. Our history is built upon immigration over centuries. Our culture evolves over time if newcomers integrate gradually rather than bringing the problems of their own countries with them. We need to leave the EU and elect a Parliament to begin to get to grips to find the right balance between the types of skills and labour that are needed matched with the adequate provision of homes, schools, hospitals, transport systems and the many services that are required to avoid social tensions and civic unrest. It ought to be made known that economic immigrants on arrival should not expect to take or be given priority over UK residents. Joining the EEC required us not to set any limits on immigration from within the Community. Although Turkey is expected to join according to our government’s policy, on top of those arriving from other EU countries, 100,000 would be expected to arrive every year from Turkey. This is the estimate given by Lord Green to the Migration & Asylum Select Committee on 7th June based on the pattern from east European of known arrivals Our towns and cities are becoming overcrowded and air polluted whilst our countryside is coming under increased pressure with new urban sprawls

The evidence of uncontrolled immigration is perfectly clear to those who live, travel and work in cities, to those who want their children placed in schools, to those who want GP appointments and to those who want hospital treatment.

The Office of National Statistics state that at the time of my birth in 1935 the UK had a population of 46,870,000. It is now 65,089,427 with a projected increase to 74.3 million in 2039.

My wife’s parents were invited and came to the UK from the West Indies in early 1960s. Caribbean immigrants were needed to fill job vacancies because we had to cope with the loss of people killed in the second world war (326,000 military and 62,000 civilian deaths) who would have provided more children had they lived. Those immigrants arrived and came speaking the English language, wearing western dress and bringing Christianity as my wife reminds me. They had a rough time but in reasonable numbers integrated over time. We have never before known the scale and different cultures and different languages we have arriving now in the UK. We are told we need immigrants to counter an ageing UK population. This is perfectly true when a balance can and should be created and managed once we leave the EU. Sad to say our UK population is on average ageing as many women need or decide to work longer before couples can afford or want to start families. We should not raid the skills and labour especially for medical staff needed by the remaining populations in poorer countries. It is wrong morally to recruit doctors and nurses as a cheaper and short term alternative to spending money and time to train our own youngsters

I liken the EU to a lorry without insurance and MOT certificates travelling on worn tyres and defective brakes driven by under-qualified drivers along rocky roads to a destination signposted “Ever Closer Control”. David Cameron says he changed the signpost from “Ever Closer Union” but yet again, I do not trust him.

I trust the common sense and instincts of the British people to have the confidence to vote Leave to be governed in future by our Parliament by MPs we elect and not to be governed by unelected Commissioners we cannot get rid of.

Upon leaving the EU we would save billions of pounds. It is just not the money that we transfer directly to the EU but the even greater amount of money which burdensome regulations cost the UK economy. How much better when we are spending our hard earned money on our own needs and making laws and regulations to suit our own country and people. A brighter future beckons when we leave and take control.

George West

Don’t undo democracy – a letter from our President to the Leicester Mercury

The beaming photogenic chairman of Loughborough Lib Dems (First Person 17th May) started his column by referring to the roots of the EU that are actually the cause of subsidence and collapse of democracy. The “great work of democracy” to which he refers was undone at the stroke of midnight 1st January 1973 when our Members of Parliament sub-contracted their work to Brussels.

When reading what he wrote and reaching the passage “Europe now is peaceful, economically successful and a beacon of democracy in a troubled world” I wondered whether his television set needs re-tuning. The evidence to the contrary fills our screens almost daily ranging from labour reform riots across France, Greek people crushed by austerity measures and people injured by riot police. I have not known lasting peace in Europe for the past forty years. There have been attacks upon us by IRA, war in the Balkans, bombings in Madrid and, more recently, slaughter in European capitals. As for the economic success to which he refers, the euro single currency is a failure predictably doomed from the outset and unemployment queues amongst younger people across the continent grow ever longer.

No wonder I have never voted Lib Dem as a party seemingly so divorced from reality and never will. The prospects for a brighter future rest in re- joining the wider world and stepping off the gravy train driven by unelected bureaucrats to an unpredictable and worrying destination

 

George West