Hold on to your hats!

The terms proposed by the EU for a transitional deal, even if this had only lasted for 21 months, are totally unacceptable, as we have pointed out. Our fishing industry would be decimated. However, it seems that the government is now talking about this arrangement lasting more than 21 months.

Opposition  to any transitional agreement on these terms in growing. Mrs May recently received a letter signed by 62 Tory MPs reminding her of the “red lines” in her own Lancaster House speech. These include:-

  • Take full control of UK tariff schedules at the WTO with the power to change them without sign-off from the EU27
  • Enjoy “full regulatory autonomy” with the ability to change British laws and rules unilaterally
  • Be free to start trade negotiations immediately after leaving the EU, which may involve ensuring the UK has the power to discuss the division of the EU’s Tariff Rate Quotas with non-EU trading partners bilaterally
  • Have the freedom to negotiate and sign other trade agreements during the implementation period in line with WTO principles

There has been a much greater level of disquiet about the EU’s terms among backbenchers, as these four points (and other vital issues, such as the end of any role for the ECJ) would not be permitted, but some other MPs were bought off by the assurance that it wold only be for 21 months and then all would be well. The Cabinet meeting at Chequers today could be rather turbulent.

Now this is looking less likely, we could be entering a period of far greater political turmoil. It is hard ot predict what will happen next. Although the majority of Tory MPs supported remain, real headbangers like Anna Soubry are a small minority and most Tories know that they will face electoral oblivion if the government botches Brexit. The stakes are clearly getting higher. However, it may require some senior heads to roll if the transitional blind alley is to be averted. It is a case of holding on to your hats.

Perhaps rather ironically, the combination of the narrow margin of victory in last June’s general election and the remainer-inspired initiative to give Parliament a vote on the final deal may work in our favour. Mrs May dare not force through the transitional deal relying on Labour votes, but she looks unlikely to get it through otherwise. Hopefully, a discreet change of tack will take place to avoid what would be an unmitigated disaster for the PM.

Meanwhile, Anti-Brexit campaigners are planning a six-week blitz in the Midlands and North of England, according  to the Financial Times.  Predictably, George Soros who was neither born in this country nor lives here, is involved.  If anyone comes across such groups canvassing,   we would ask them to be polite, even though it is very tempting to behave otherwise! Thankfully, although remainiacs have been trying to subvert democracy for over 18 months now, there is little evidence of any significant shift in public opinion. As one London street newspaper vendor said recently, most people are sick of Brexit.

In these troubled times, it is encouraging that a group of pro-Brexit academics have come together. We would commend their website Briefings for Brexit to your attention and you may, in particular, enjoy reading this piece by Professor Robert Tombs of Cambridge, which points out how ill-advised the remainers are and that far from being a position of stability, EU membership exposes us to considerable uncertainty. Perhaps one should add that the uncertainty may have increased still further next week with next Sunday’s Italian General Election unlikely to usher in a government with much sympathy for the federalist vision of France’s Emmanuel Macron

Going back to the academics, these people are brave individuals, who have had to take far more flak that most of use here. They will need thick skins, says Dominic Lawson. He mentions one academic who said,  ‘I can’t come out as pro-Brexit, it would make my life impossible here.’
How sad that in many of our once great universities, the very sensible and rational idea that we should once again be self-governing seems to engender such hostility.
But then this reminds us of one important reason why many of us voted to leave the EU. If successful, it could and hopefully will be the start of a massive and long overdue shake-up  of our society, including politics, the media and our entire educational system. The latter will be a particular challenge, but it is encouraging to know that there are a few sane voices out there.

Photo by ™ Pacheco

The Beginning of the End for Britain’s Fishing?

Fishermen’s Organisation Fishing for Leave highlight that the leaked (and soon after published) Government DRAFT TEXT FOR DISCUSSION: IMPLEMENTATION PERIOD detailing the Government position on the Transition deal show a deliberate effort to fashion Brexit in name only.

The group accuses the government of engineering terms that fly in the face of the biggest democratic instruction in British history.

The document says the government believes-

The UK believes this document demonstrates that there is broad alignment between the UK and EU positions, with only a small number of areas requiring discussion.

Has enraged most Brexiteers who see this as a brazen confession that the government sees “broad alignment in position” as an admission the government is prepared to capitulate what they see as the EUs stringent transition terms.

The Terms of the transition as that although the UK will have officially left the EU and no longer be a member the UK will re-agree to obey all EU law after we leave. Many back bench brexiteers with Jacob Rees-Mogg heading them say Britain would be reduced to being some sort of ‘vassal state’.

Fishing for Leave say the document is a sneaky admission of the disastrous situation the government are digging not only fishing but the country as a whole

NOTES
The official terms in Article X+4 – Specific arrangements relating to Fisheries Policy – say;

[Paragraph 1] As regards the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities … for any period prior to the end of the Period (i.e. the transition), the EU and the UK shall agree the fishing opportunities related to the UK prior to the decision-making process within the Council. The United Kingdom shall participate alongside the EU and other coastal States in international fisheries negotiations.

The changes to paragraph [1] are to clarify the need for agreement between the UK and the EU with regards fishing opportunities during the (transition) Period, in advance of the formal processes at the December Fisheries Council, in which the UK will no longer have voting rights. The changes also reflect the consequences of the UK’s status as a third country for participation in negotiations with other coastal states.

They say that the text above is an admission that the government has to engineer an arrangement to allow the UK as a non-EU member but an independent coastal state to surrender its fisheries resources and waters to the EU as part of a transition deal where we must obey the CFP of “equal access to a common resource”.

Many Brexit groups have highlighted because the UK is would not be a member of the EU it cannot be officially recognised by other non-EU nations as being party to deals they have with the EU.

Fishing for Leave cites that this would work in reverse on fisheries As the UK will no longer officially be an EU member the EU cannot officially act or speak on behalf of the UK in international agreements – such as international fisheries agreements

Alan Hastings FFLs spokesman said “Saying the UK and EU will participate at international negotiations is a way to ensure the UK signs off whatever the EU tells us. We then return home and have to surrender our resources to the common EU pot to be divided out under the same grotesquely unfair shares of the CFP to obey the transition arrangements between us and the EU”

“To give some sort of context as a rough legal comparison think of a husband (the EU) and wife (the UK)”.

“Although they are married (i.e. the transition deal) it is a matter of fact the wife (the UK) is a person/country in her/our own right (a coastal state). The husband (the EU) cannot sign for the wife (the UKs) inheritance (fisheries resources agreed international)”.

“However, as they are married (transition deal) once the inheritance (fisheries resources agreed internationally) are concluded the inheritance (our fish) belongs and is divided between their common household where the EU under the terms of the CFP only gives us half of what should otherwise be solely ours”.

FFL say this is why the government has made this provision and shrouded it in opaque wording.

NOTE
This is why DEFRAs official statement to the press when questioned below goes all fuzzy at the end.

Our proposal makes clear that when the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, we will become an independent coastal state. The Treaties will no longer apply, we will no longer be a Member State, and we will leave the Common Fisheries Policy. 

“Our proposal means that during the implementation period we will sit alongside other Coastal States as equal partners in international annual quota negotiations. 

“We are expecting more detailed discussions on the text with the EU. The details of how this apply will be discussed there.”

Alan Hastings said on DEFRAs statement; “Yes, unequivocally, as a legal matter of fact, when we are an independent coastal state this confers the right to sit at the table and exercise sovereignty over our resources as the statement admits”.

“What the statement then fails to highlight is the government has built a mechanism to facilitate selling us out where we can surrender our waters and resources to the EU as part of the terms of the transition deal where we must obey the CFP thereafter – that is what is key”.

“The disgracefulness of this is amplified because they know and recognise that we will be an independent country but have deliberately contrived and decided to throw all that away to be trapped in the CFP. To sell our resources and fishermen out to the EU again but with just a different legal underpinning”.

“It is nothing short of evil, calculated maliciousness hid behind deliberately opaque wording and a PR exercise – those within the establishment who ore engineering something so heinous need to be called out”.

All fishermen’s representative bodies are aghast at the transition saying it could be used to finish of the UK fleet.  They question why fishing needs to be in a transition at all when the government recognises that we can walk away and be an independent coastal state with full control over all our waters and resources.

They are angry that the government failed to back Michael Gove’s and George Eustice’s calls to not include fishing in a transition and to leave the disastrous CFP entirely on 29th March 2019.

Alan Hastings concluded “We fear that the powers that be have laid the ground work to sacrifice Britain’s fishermen and coastal communities to continued demise trapped in the CFP where we will be another British industry consigned to museum and memory”.

Post-Brexit, the UK economy could flourish if it is innovation-led

Recent economic predictions from the Treasury are probably grossly underestimating the potential positive benefits of Brexit, if only our government can seize the initiative.  After all, economists, especially those within the Civil Service don’t usually have extensive, if any, ‘hands on’ business experience. So how do they know the degree to which European Union (EU) legislation and regulation  – along with our government’s gold-plating and inertia – have held back many businesses, especially small and innovative enterprises?  However, loosening the bureaucratic chains is not that easy, especially when we are talking about people who are largely ignorant of their undesirable consequences, or not interested in doing anything.

Access to domestic and export markets for trading purposes are not enough in a highly competitive world.  UK Limited needs to provide goods and services that customers want to buy at prices they can afford in more attractive ‘packages’ than available from elsewhere.   To be able to pay high wages UK Limited needs to produce high value-added goods and services efficiently and continue to stay ahead even as competitors try to catch up. So how well are we, as a nation, doing?

The United Kingdom is a middle size economy with a poor record of productivity improvement. Whilst good at creating new jobs, these are overwhelmingly low wage, low productivity ones.  Major problems are poor labour force skills, under-investment and a ready supply (or over-supply) of low wage labour.  In effect then the UK is losing the ability to create high value-adding productive jobs; the world’s first ‘third world’ country in a cold climate.

The government could kick-start a change with Brexit. Controlling poorly skilled immigration would create an imperative for higher productivity and enable higher wages to be paid; it would stimulate innovation, training and investment.  Tax incentives, grants and risk sharing could also help. Encouraging home-grown start-ups and high value-adding foreign investment would also lead to better paid jobs. Public sector procurement could be a facilitator of wide ranging innovation. Yet the real key to success is the creation of an innovation-led economy for high value-added goods and services; develop, improve, become competitive, become world-leading, export and grow, repeat. However, this needs an understanding both of the nature of successful innovation, particularly low-cost innovation, and of mandatory regulations, including their objectives and implementation, in order to facilitate the former by manipulating the latter.

There is a common misconception that because we have been traditionally good at invention, we must be naturally good at innovation – doing existing things noticeably better. Not so. Many inventions and high or advanced technology products have failed commercially here for a variety of practical reasons including the lack of a viable market, pushing out the bounds of technology too far without sufficient development and politically driven lack of support.  Eric von Hippel in his book Democratizing Innovation identifies users as an important source of innovation; they identify a need and a commercially viable innovative product (for themselves and others) which subsequently moves back along the supply chain to suppliers and producers.

Any form of legally sanctioned regulation, with few exceptions, tends to create and then maintain a mandatory status quo, which may be far from evolving ‘best practice’.  It is difficult and slow, if not impossible to introduce changes, which obviously frustrates innovation.  It has been reported by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) (reported originally here and recently here) that “more than 90 percent” of the EU’s Single Market rules (and by extension, those of  the European Economic Area, EEA) come from the UN and other global bodies, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), OECD, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), all of which have been faithfully transcribed into EU law. The EU also tends to expand the basic requirements into mandatory bureaucratic processes, procedures, approvals, European Court of Justice rulings etc., and then our government, frequently gold-plates the rigidity, often leading to situations more favourable to larger (less innovative) businesses.

After Brexit, as a direct member of global bodies, the UK will be able to exert its influence directly to champion principles and practices in our innovation-led economy’s interests. Current EU membership prevents this. Temporary or permanent EU vassal status, (aka the Transitional deal on offer from the EU) would also prevent this.  The potential is also there, after Brexit, to adapt measures (or the way they are implemented) that don’t suit our interests, or to opt out to some extent.  We can become somewhat more flexible than total EU control-freak rigidity, although exporting does impose conformity with the regulatory framework applicable in the overseas market, which may well follow EU or EEA practices.

Public sector procurement could illustrate what is possible after Brexit.  The public sector (definitions vary) makes up somewhere between 40-50% of the economy and has considerable purchasing power. Procurement is governed in the main by the Public Contracts Regulations, which implement EU Procurement Directive 2014/24/EU, itself an implementation of the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) under the auspices of the WTO.  Yet although the preamble to the EU directive pays ‘lip-service’ to the need to encourage small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and innovation, its implementation in this country often achieves the opposite result, as originally outlined here.

Outside the EU, it is perfectly feasible to rework and streamline the Public Contracts Regulations, to facilitate user-led innovation, and to support local entrepreneurial SMEs, social enterprises and start-ups, whilst maintaining the WTO GPA core. The time-consuming complexity of the procurement process and legislation incorporating ECJ judgments is a real problem at the moment, leading to the awarding mainly of large contracts and a fear of facing a legal challenge by an unsuccessful tenderer. Also the process is poor at managing risk (for example, Carillion) or in including local socio-economic factors. Collaborations between user and supplier (to facilitate innovation) are also discouraged in mainstream procurement. Such reworking of these regulations naturally needs strong governmental commitment and understanding of the ways in which they lead to discrimination. Unfortunately it is likely that Mrs May will retain the EU directive indefinitely, although it is not mandatory outside EU Member States.

Economic forecasts that largely ignore the effects on the economy of innovation are obviously suspect in the real world.  However, they do provide an indictment of government performance and its inability to seize the opportunities to facilitate an innovation-led economy.  If the government understood how innovation could be facilitated by Brexit and its policies adapted accordingly, then the future prosperity of everyone in this country would be considerably greater.

A transition will void all international agreements

Press Release from Fishing for Leave, 20th February 2018

The implications of the transition should be of grave concern. What is proposed is not only an existential threat that could see our fishing industry culled, but a diplomatic and constitutional suicide pill the result of which would be an anathema not only to “taking back control” but to the point of a transition itself.

A transition is not part of leaving the EU under Article 50 – it is part of a new ‘transition’ treaty as both David Davis and Steve Baker have candidly admitted.  This is significant as it means we will not be party to current agreements, but the transition is a new treaty that stands alone.

The EU terms are the UK must adhere to all EU law but as we will no longer be an EU member should have no say. This is the EU sensibly safeguarding its interests – our government is doing the opposite.

The implications of Clause 14 and 15 of the transition terms have a severe impact on all international agreements the UK is party to through the EU.

They defeat the whole raison-d’etre of HM Governments for a transition – trade.  For the fishing industry it means the “transition” could void UK participation in all international fisheries agreements that we were party to as a member of the EU.

TRADE

Clause 14. During the transition period the United Kingdom will remain bound by the obligations stemming from the agreements concluded by the Union…while the United Kingdom should however no longer participate in any bodies set up by those agreements.

The intention is that the UK will still have obligations to the EU to adhere to the consequences of agreements concluded with non-EU countries in respect of the EU vs UK transitional relationship. In doing so this maintains the integrity of the EUs dominions and also appears to placate the UK position of everything continuing as is.

However, since the withdrawal agreement cannot bind non-EU countries, they will no longer have obligations to the UK as we will no longer be an official member of the EU but merely maintaining regulatory alignment in an EU vs UK deal.

The UK would only be able to be recognised within such agreements if other non-EU countries agree to continuing existing obligations in force through another agreement with the UK.

The negotiation of such an agreement between the UK and non-EU ‘third countries’ is the subject of the next transition Clause 15 which seemingly makes that an impossible contradiction.

Clause 15. Any transitional arrangements require the United Kingdom’s continued participation in the Customs Union and the Single Market (with all four freedoms) during the transition. During the transition period, the United Kingdom may not become bound by international agreements entered into in its own capacity in the fields of competence of Union law, unless authorised to do so by the Union.

The UK will be unable to negotiate and sign treaties within the transitional period, even if those treaties only come into force afterward – we will only be able to begin to negotiate treaties AFTER the transition period.

This means that other non-EU nations will have no obligations to recognise the UK being party to agreements signed by the EU as the UK will no longer be an official member but also a ‘third country’ when the ‘treaties shall cease to apply’ under Article 50 and our membership terminates on the 29th March 2019.

However, the catch 22 paradox is that to obey the transition the UK will not be able to enter into any agreements with other non-EU countries to seek recognition that the UK is party to EU arrangements with those countries even if they wanted to.

THIS MEANS WE WILL BE ON WTO TERMS FOR 65% OF OUR TRADE AND UNABLE TO SIGN NEW DEALS…………………..WHICH IS THE WHOLE REASON LOCKING OURSELVES INTO THE EU WAS MEANT TO AVOID! 

In respect of fisheries this could mean any agreements the EU has signed with other coastal states would no longer be binding for the UK as we wouldn’t be officially a member only a vassal state which has agreed to maintain regulatory alignment with the CFP.

This catch 22 between Clause 14 and 15 means the UK could lose agreements on access to Norwegian and Faroese waters for our pelagic and largest whitefish vessels.

The EU can’t be any clearer that this is the case;

As part of the EU Commission document ‘Internal EU27 preparatory discussions on the framework for the future relationship: “International Agreements” 6th February 2018’ the EU makes explicit the consequences regarding international agreements concluded by the EU:

Point 13: “Following the withdrawal, the United Kingdom will no longer be covered by agreements concluded by the Union or by Member States acting on its behalf or by the Union and its Member States acting jointly”.

The EU then continues;

In principle, as a non-Member State, the UK would be able to negotiate international agreements But

  1. the bona fide application of the Withdrawal Agreement prohibits conflicting obligations
  2. duty of sincere cooperation

iii. explicit provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement: “During the transition period, the UK may not become bound by international agreements entered into in its own capacity in the fields of competence of Union law, unless authorised to do so by the Union.”

The Withdrawal Agreement can oblige the UK to respect “the obligations stemming from the agreements” However, the Withdrawal Agreement cannot guarantee the extension of the benefits from those international agreements to the UK!

IT CANNOT BE ANY CLEARER! How will the UK be party to continuing EU deals?

How will the UK be able to seek and agree recognition with other non-EU third countries?

It would be interesting to hear a proper government and DexEU response to how the UK can conclude a future “deep and special” trade deal with the EU under the transition as David Davis professes is required if Clause 15 bars us from concluding agreements… the Government tried (and miserably failed) to do so in;

HM GOVERNMENT – TECHNICAL NOTE: INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS DURING THE IMPLEMENTATION PERIOD – 8th February

In this document the Government asserts that

  1. …the implementation (transition) period would be based on the existing structure of EU rules and regulations. In its negotiating directives, the EU has adopted the same position. It has stated that “the Union acquis should apply to and in the United Kingdom [during the implementation period] as if it were a Member State”. This is echoed in the Commission’s paper on Transitional Arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement, which states that EU law “shall be binding upon and applicable in the United Kingdom” during the implementation period.

EU law and agreements are binding on the UK as agreed in a transition treaty between the UK and EU. Such a treaty cannot bind the other non-EU ‘third country’ nations who the EU has an agreement with.

  1. This would be achieved by agreement of the parties to interpret relevant terms in these international agreements, such as “European Union” or “EU Member State”, to include the UK.
  2. Such an approach could be used both to ensure the UK’s continued participation in mixed EU third country agreements… At present the UK as an EU Member State is bound by obligations, and benefits from the rights… It is proposed, with the agreement of relevant third countries, that those rights and obligations continue to apply to the UK on the EU side of the agreements for the duration of the implementation period.

The UK can’t sign agreements with other parties as Clause 15 of the Transition terms forbid the UK from entering any agreements, deals or treaties with other non-EU ‘third countries’. In addition to this the words ‘proposed’, ‘could’…… would…. should….. mean that the position the government is digging itself into relies on the EU and other countries benevolently recognising the UK to be party to EU agreements.

Rather than leaving cleanly and being free to operate as an independent sovereign nation the transition (by the governments own admission) digs this country into a subservient position with no guarantee of being party to any international agreements through the EU.

The position the government is digging itself into relies on the EU and other countries benevolently recognising the UK to be party to EU agreements.

Rather than leaving cleanly and being free to operate as an independent sovereign nation the transition (by the governments own admission) digs this country into a subservient position with no guarantee of being party to any international agreements through the EU.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE FISHING INDUSTRY

In respect of fisheries all the Clauses above means that although the UK will follow the CFP as a vassal state (through the terms of a transition treaty between the EU and UK) countries such as Norway, Faroe and Iceland have no obligation to recognise the UK being party to EU arrangements and even if they wanted to Clause 15 means the UK can’t sign any deal as an EU satellite.

Yet because the UK will have submitted to an EU vs UK “transition” agreement we will have agreed to re-obey the CFP where we re-agree to give the EU our fishing waters and resources to divide out as the EU see’s fit through relative stability and agreements it reaches internationally.

This would mean the UK would still have the EU catching 60% of the resources from our waters and the EU would be able to use UK whitefish and pelagic quota as negotiating capital but we would be unable to take back control and then use our position of strength as a new independent coastal state to make our own mutually beneficial agreements with our Nordic neighbours.

The UK would continue to lose out in the CFP but also lose access to Norwegian and Faroese waters for the most powerful catchers in the UK fleet. We would lose twice rather than gain twice by walking away. We would be hit 4 times over in a transition where we loose international agreements but are still in the CFP;

We would see some of the most powerful catchers in the UK Whitefish fleet displaced from Faroese and Norwegian sector waters.

 These vessels would be back into an already stretched UK sector with the EU still pocketing half of our whitefish resources.

It would see our pelagic fleet lose access to Norwegian waters for mackerel and atlanto-scandiv herring

The EU can further exploit UK quota (especially pelagic) to make deals to benefit the EU27 fleet due to our compliance with the CFP.

To stick the final nail in the coffin a continuation of the quota system where fishermen have to discard in order to find the species their quota allows them to keep conjoined with a fully enforced discard ban can be used by the EU to finish the UK fleet.

Under the discard ban rather than address the cause of the discard problem, that a quota system does not work in mixed fisheries, the symptom of discards is banned. Under the discard ban a vessel must stop fishing when it exhausts its smallest quota allocation – these “choke species” will bankrupt 60% of the UK fleet as detailed by the governments own figures through Seafish.

This would destroy our catching capacity and allowing the EU to claim the “surplus” of our resources we would no longer be able to catch under terms of UNCLOS Article 62.2 due to such a culling of our fleet.

Signing up to a transition on will see the ruination of what is left of the UK fishing industry when Brexit should be its salvation. Another 2 years of the CFP and a continuation of the quota system will see our fishing industry become yet another British industry consigned to museum and memory.

CONCLUSION

Under the auspices of this proposed transition “deal” (more an edict to obey) the UK will be on WTO with the rest of the world, unable to conclude deals with the rest of the world until after the transition and will be locked into maintaining regulatory alignment whilst obeying the entire Acquis (with continued freedom of movement).

The UK will be trapped in the CFP where our fishing industry will be culled to make way for the EU fleet whilst also losing any access to Faroe and Norway which will diminish fishing opportunities further.

It is nearly unbelievable that the political establishment could contemplate locking the 5th most powerful nation in the world into such a subservient position especially against the expressed wish of the British people to leave the EU in its entirety as voted for in the biggest vote in British history.

A TRANSITION MEANS BRITISH FISHERMEN ARE STARING DOWN THE BARREL OF A GUN!

Security – partnership but not participation

Mrs May’s speech on security cooperation last Saturday was given in Munich, famous for the meeting between Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler in 1938 where an agreement was signed which Mr Chamberlain, on his return to the UK, would lead to “peace in our time”.

His hopes were sadly shaken a year later. Mrs May did not come away with any agreement, She was not expecting to. Instead, she went to Munich to deliver a speech which, like that by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, earlier in the week, was good on mood music and aspiration but not at all satisfactory when it comes to detail.

Michel Barnier had stated that upon Brexit, we will no longer be part of Europol or the European Defence Agency. He did not mention the European Arrest Warrant, but it is not unreasonable to assume that we would be excluded from this too. At this point, virtually everyone who voted for Brexit should have been giving three loud cheers. Mrs May, in her speech, however, seemed to be saying what a disaster this would be. “Let’s be clear about what would happen if the means of this cooperation were abolished. Extradition under the European Arrest Warrant would cease. Extradition outside the European Arrest Warrant can cost four times as much and take three times as long. It would mean an end to the significant exchange of data and engagement through Europol.”

Fine, for as far as the EAW is concerned, as we have pointed out many times on this website, its convenience is outweighed by its serious flaws – flaws which have caused great grief to a number of UK citizens,  For example, Edmond Arapi was subject to an Italian EAW in 2004, being convicted in absentia of a murder in Genoa, even though he had never visited Genoa in his life and was working in a café in Staffordshire on the day of the murder. Andrew Symeou, a UK citizen, was extradited to Greece, denied bail and incarcerated for 11 months on charges of “fatal bodily harm” thanks to the signature of a Greek magistrate that no UK judge could overturn despite the evidence against him being obtained under duress. Mr Symeou published an account of his ordeal in a book called Extradited. He pointed out that unless, like him, you suffer from a miscarriage of justice, you are unlikely to appreciate just how flawed the EAW is.

Then, although we may be ejected from Europol, we would still be members of Interpol. If the EU is keen to cooperate with us on matters relating to criminal justice, which it would be foolish not to do, there are other models available which would enable us to maintain our independence.

Mrs May was right to highlight the need for close security cooperation between the UK and the EU after Brexit but we should be seeking to distance ourselves from the EU’s confrontational stance towards Russia. As Peter Hitchens put is, “Russia is no more of a threat to the UK than the Klingons”

Unfortunately, Mrs May has not freed herself from the widespread misapprehension that today’s Russia is merely the former Soviet Union under another name. She referred to “Russia’s hostile actions.” The reality is that blame for the current hostility between Russia and the EU lies as much, if not more, with Brussels than with Moscow. True, NATO must shoulder some of the blame for rapidly extending its reach to the boundaries of Belorus and Russia, but until 2009, it appeared that Russia was not that worried and might even have been considering joining NATO itself. It was the EU’s meddling in Ukraine, working behind the scenes to oust the pro-Russian but democratically elected Viktor Yanukovich, which has been the principal factor behind the deterioration in relationships between Russia and the West in recent years. Free from any vested interest in seeing Ukraine join an organisation which we have just voted to leave, we have the opportunity to re-set our own relationship with Russia rather than having to toe the EU’s expansionist, provocative line. It is surely wrong to seek to maintain enmity with a nation with whom we share a common European culture when it is possible to be friends.

Mrs May proposed that an new UK-EU treaty should be signed covering cooperation in defence and security issues. Will the EU play ball? Without a separate deal, it will take up to three years after Brexit for Britain – as a “third country” – to receive EU approval for data to be freely exchanged, so says the Independent. It will not be us who will be the biggest losers if the EU sticks rigidly to its rules about “third countries”, but then, if it is prepared to make an exception for security issues, this then poses the question, why not for trade?

All in all, the impression given by Mrs May’s speech is that she fails to see that in these issues, she has the whip hand and can use it to ensure that we achieve a full and complete break with the EU, replacing  participation in its agencies with a partnership which can still keep Europe secure. We just hope that as the negotiations proceed, in this area as well as in other key Brexit issues, her MPs will continue to give her a few gentle prods to ensure we do indeed achieve a proper Brexit in these key areas.

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Take part in the campaign to make sure that Brexit is not blocked – Email the Lords

Take part in the campaign to make sure Brexit is not blocked

 

Please ask the members of the House of Lords not to oppose, nor water down, Brexit.

Email them to support the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Petition the Peers to respect the referendum result and vote the right way.

Ask the Lords to support our exit from the European Union. The referendum of 23rd June 2016 must be the final say on this issue.  The EU should not be led to believe that the UK will settle for anything less than a full exit from the European Union.

The Members of the House of Lords, having approved the referendum, should keep faith with the result.

Ask them to conclude the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill’s passage through the House of Lords without opposing it or seeking to water down Brexit. And above all else without stipulating that there should be a further and thoroughly unnecessary second referendum. Nor should there be an opportunity for the decision to leave to be overturned.

Click here to email individual members of the Lords

This will send an email to your chosen Peer, or Bishop, concerning the EU (Withdrawal) Bill