A letter from our President to Mr Corbyn

Dear Mr.Corbyn,

I appreciate the attention you give to letters from concerned people so I hope you will reply to mine.

I am older than you and proud to have grown up in a small working class terraced home with socialist parents who knew very hard times. I am particularly proud of certain events in my lifetime in which I have participated whilst remaining of independent mind politically.

As a father of two small children and without being a member of any organisation, I travelled alone to London to sit in the Stranger’s Gallery of the Commons to watch and listen to Howe and Heath sell our country into the EC by 8 votes majority by deceit and by withholding the terms of entry from MPs. I was privileged to film great friends of mine, Labour MPs Nigel Spearing and Eric Deakin quoting their memories of that final debate and their speeches from copies of Hansard open on their laps. As Nigel stated as the last Labour MP to speak before the government winding up “It is like being asked to sign a blank cheque”. The film can be found under Nigel Spearing’s name on the internet.

Along with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown you first gained your seat in Parliament in 1983 and that would have been on the Labour manifesto promise that, if elected, Labour would take us out of the EU as Blair on his candidate address to his Sedgefield constituents stated clearly that membership was bad for trade and jobs. Labour after that defeat changed its policy to support on the encouragement of Kinnock and later lost.

You say that you are committed to remain in the EU for reasons I find questionable and inconsistent. I understand and I agree with you that you would nationalise our railways.

My first question to you therefore is how can you nationalise legally or at all whilst a member of the EU?
My second question is that you and I are greatly concerned about protecting our NHS, jobs and services against financial austerity cut backs. We pay according to present official figures, £33,000,000 net every single day to the EU. Presumably therefore you believe it is better to give this money away every day by remaining in the EU rather than spending it to prevent the closure of care homes, closure of libraries, post offices, cut backs to social, police, fire brigades and ambulance services and increasing council taxes plus being unable to legally provide state aid to save what is left of our steel industry? Incidentally I worked 51 years in engineering manufacturing watching it all go downhill especially in the West Midlands after joining the “Common Market” that was supposed to give us all greater prosperity and job security.

You and I remember the visit to England by super-salesman Jacques Delors in 1988 and the fine job he did whilst addressing the British TUC. I wonder what British seamen still think of being replaced by cheaper workers on Irish ferries and what, as only one example, the crushed, unemployed workers in Greece think of the EU rather than the view of their government? I think growing violent street demonstrations, not only in Greece, give the answer. We remember the famous newspaper headline “Up Yours Delors” in response to Delors attempts to force European Federalism on the UK. The TUC hierarchy remain surprisingly committed to EU membership.

As for worker’s rights, we recall the replacement of 543 directly employed seamen on Irish Ferries by predominantly eastern European agency crew in 2005. That resulted in Irish Ferry ships being laid up in Welsh and Irish ports for nearly three weeks. That dispute eventually was resolved but led to the employers being given the green light to proceed to outsource crews at lower incomes on its Irish vessels and reflag its vessels to Cyprus. I understand that all vessels then became managed on a contract basis to Dobson Fleet Management based in Cyprus and all new employees employed by Dobson. No doubt this meets with the TUC and your stand on international workers solidarity but I wonder what the replaced seamen still think of what has happened.

I am opposed to Conservative austerity measures, puzzled by what appears to be your inconsistent stance on EU membership and I never thought much about Liberal Democrats musings. I am aware and appreciate that you have opposed various treaties over the years.

I look forward to your reply but with regret that my father is no longer alive to compare your present Labour policies with those of much earlier days before Blair, Mandelson and Campbell did a makeover on the Labour party. I hope you will reconsider providing support to Lord Rose and Britain Stronger in Europe and now come out in favour of leaving. I prefer an outward looking future for the UK free to decide its own future and laws. It is why some of my relatives were killed to protect and to help liberate the countries and peoples of Europe.

With best wishes,

George West

Peter Lilley – a reluctant convert to leaving the EU?

This piece appeared as an op-ed in Friday’s Daily Telegraph.  We may not agreee with Mr Llley’s assessment of David Cameron, but his testimony of a seeingly reluctant conversion to a pro-withdrawal position is well worth reading.

When David Cameron invites you into No 10 to discuss your concerns he  can be immensely persuasive. His courtesy and frankness are disarming;  his grasp of detail, impressive. Last time I visited, he persuaded me  to shift my position on bombing Syria. I hoped that this time, on  Tuesday, he would overcome my concerns about remaining in a largely  unreformed EU.

In 1975, I campaigned to remain in. I love Europe: I did an apprenticeship in France, have a holiday home there, chaired a small  German company, worked in the Netherlands and Belgium, and speak French. But I’m not so fond of the EU – not without fundamental reform.

Some have suggested the largely inconsequential outcome of Mr  Cameron’s negotiations means he is a closet Europhile or a weak negotiator. He convinced me that neither accusation is true. He is our most euro-sceptic Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher’s last term and a determined negotiator. The insubstantial outcome reveals all the more powerfully the intransigence of the EU establishment.

I am a gradualist by temperament – not one of those content with nothing less than immediate and complete restoration of sovereignty.  Given that Britain lost its powers in a series of salami slices, I accepted that we could only hope to get powers back bit by bit. I wanted the PM to start that process but knew it would be difficult. It  would mean abrogating the doctrine that once a power has been transferred to the EU it can never return to a member state. That  doctrine (not “ever closer union”) has driven the process of European  integration and is held tenaciously by the European Commission.

To reverse that ratchet required two things. First, create a precedent by getting some modest powers back. Sadly, the PM was unable to get back a single power conceded to the EU. Secondly, whenever the process of integrating the eurozone involves directives or treaty changes requiring our consent, use that leverage to insist on devolving more powers to the UK. Unfortunately, the draft agreement pledges that the UK “shall not impede the implementation of legal acts directly linked to the functioning of the euro area”. That would mean throwing away our trump cards.

I understand that wording may be watered down. But without a single precedent for returning powers and with our leverage in doubt, Britain remains vulnerable to the ratchet. Each new directive, regulation and court ruling will leach power irrevocably from Britain to Europe.

What would Britain’s position be if the UK electorate decides to remain in the EU on these slightly modified terms? Clearly we have abandoned the “heart of Europe” strategy. If that meant paying enthusiastic lip service on the continent to the European Project, so much the better. Supporting measures we did not want so as to win influence to prevent them happening was never a credible strategy. We have voted against 72 EU measures and lost every time.

Instead, we would be adopting the “appendix of Europe” strategy. The appendix is the one bit of the anatomy, left over from evolution, which serves no function. Likewise, our membership no longer serves any function in a body whose primary purpose (political union) we reject, whose main projects (the euro; Schengen) we are not part of, whose laws we find onerous and whose economic attractions have turned into costs. The alternative is to leave.

That was not my initial position. I was concerned it might involve  disruption. But closer study convinces me that it can be done smoothly. There are plenty of precedents for countries leaving far closer unions than the EU. First we should adopt existing EU law into UK law: we would then be free to amend them in due course.

Next, under the “principle of continuity”, we would accede to most EU trade and other treaties on existing terms. In the unlikely event the EU refused a trade agreement, we could ensure our export trade was unaffected by using the savings on our EU contribution to reimburse the tariffs exporters would otherwise face, still leaving £4 billion to spare. We could make our own trade deals. As the minister who
implemented the Single Market, I believe membership brings little further benefit but exposes us to ever more regulation.

I respect Mr Cameron’s views as I believe he does mine. Maybe he failed to convince me because I have heard too many assurances that European political integration has peaked or that Britain has erected barriers to it – only to see the tide flood in and the barriers washed away. Only if we leave can we regain control of our laws, our money and our borders.

Export of services – a British success story

The lates briefing note from Global Britain summarises the growth in export of services by the UK.

In the period 2004-14, notwithstanding the Great Recession, exports of services grew at an  average rate of 6.7% – a remarkable achievement in the circumstances.

Significantly, export growth to non-EU countries was higher than that to the EU. British exports of services to the EU grew at a “respectable” average rate of 5.8% per year, but British exports of services to the Rest of the World (“RoW”) grew 26% faster, at an average rate of 7.3% per year.

Insurance and Pension services recorded the fatest growth rate – an average of 9.9%.

The full analysis can be read here

Toyota:- a Letter from our Chairman to the Derby Telegraph


Back in 2000 Derby City Council issued a leaflet to businesses entitled ” New Century, New Currency” , telling us that the euro currency was coming and we had jolly well better get ready for it.

At the same time, the most senior management in Toyota was telling us that they would not invest another penny in Britain if we did not adopt the euro. So did Mr Dyson, the vacuum cleaner manufacturer.

Other colleagues and I wrote respectfully to Mr Toyoda in Japan, pointing out that his esteemed company did a great deal,of trade with China. Yet, as far as we knew, he was not advocating political union between Japan and the People’s Republic of China to help him sell his motor cars there. We have written to the company several times since along similar lines.

Mr Dyson (now Sir James) has long since recanted his view and thinks we could prosper outside the EU,  so I have removed his company from our household embargo list and will have pleasure in doing the same for Toyota, now the company has withdrawn its support for Britain’s ever closer political union under the government of the EU Commission.

It would be nice to think that our letters played some small part in this decision. However, I think it is more likely that other considerations prevailed. It used to be thought that Britain and its motor manufacturers needed to be in the EU to be at the ” top table” where regulations were made.

This is no longer the case. Whilst regulations governing motor cars come to us via EU Directives, they are not made in Brussels any more. The EU Commission is merely the conveyor belt for global regulation made elsewhere – in this case by UNECE ( The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) which is based in Geneva.

Our EU membership actually keeps us off that top table. Yet independent Norway with no car makers is represented there. Little Norway actually chairs the division of the world food standards body Codex Alimentarius which deals with fish – and this is the organisation which tells the EU what to do in that respect.

For twenty years now the EU has been legally bound to accept global standards, made by bodies like UNECE, the World Trade Organisation ( WTO) and others. Again Britain is not represented there. Our representation has been outsourced to the EU where we are only one voice among twenty eight and have to do as the Commission decides in its ” common position”

Yours faithfully

Edward Spalton

William Hague’s political schizophrenia

William Hague stated at the end of last year that he is minded to vote for Britain to remain in the European Union partly because he fears “Brexit” could lead to the breakup of the UK and partly because “Brexit” would weaken the EU. This has hardly been a case of coming off the fence. Hague’s euroscpticism has always been suspect. The general public saw through its shallowness in the 2001 General Election when they returned Labour to power and ignored the Tories’ half-hearted campaign under Hague’s leadership. His current position is much confused both intellectually and politically. He has failed to grasp that it is not possible to believe in democracy as well as EU membership.


William Hague may have been in the forefront of politics for many years and is much respected. However this does not confer any automatic right for his confused views on the EU to be takne seriously.  On the other hand, it is useful for those of us who support withdrawal to listen to such a Europhile ally of the PM as it will help us to sharpen our attacks on supporters of “”remain”.

In this piece, where I comment respectfully upon his words in a Daily Telegraph article dated 22nd December, I will be using the excellent rebuttal of the Europhiles’ arguments by Robert Oulds on this website, which also contains a rebuttal by CIB of 7 major Europhile issues.


The security of Europe rests not with the EU; indeed the EU does much to unsettle it. Most certainly security depends not upon the forces of Luxemburg or even of the other smaller 25 EU members nor even with the might of the UK with France and Germany but upon NATO, where we work with the USA. It is NATO that provides security for Europe and the wider world. [Please see footnote A].

The EU has endangered that security with interference in the internal affairs of states from the Balkans, the Ukraine, Iraq, and North Africa as well as by its trade negotiations, as in Ghana for example. The EU provides no safety for anyone through its sclerotic involvement in foreign affairs. Yet Mr Hague says “We still need the EU to provide the safe harbour for the docking of fragile democracies, and it would be strange to champion that idea but abandon it ourselves.”

I need hardly remind Mr Hague that there is not an ounce of UK-style Democracy in the EU.  The EU “parliament” has only limited powers [Please see footnote B] and Mr Hague has acknowldged its limitations: “As to the European parliament, it does not remotely provide democratic accountability for the simple reason that most voters across Europe do not take elections to it seriously and are not usually aware of the identity of their MEPs. It is not possible to be accountable and anonymous at the same time.” He misses the point of course. It is just because the EU parliament is without a strong set of democratic teeth that no one can take it seriously. Ask the MEP’s in the UK.

Accordingly the idea of there being a democratic dock within the EU for “fragile democracies” is nonsense. The EU actually destroys national democracy. It was designed to do so and will not change its course.


“And I am often asked whether the years I spent in EU meetings and negotiations made me less Eurosceptic than when I toured the country 15 years ago with my ‘Save the Pound’ campaign” said Mr Hague. “The answer to that is “no”, since close acquaintance with central bodies of the European Union does nothing to create enthusiasm for them. The Commission itself, generally the best-performing of the EU institutions, could benefit from the spending cuts and rigour to which most national governments have been subjected. The European Court of Justice has pushed the boundaries of treaties and is capable of imposing burdens on businesses which suggest a detachment from reality.”

“Even more worryingly, some of the most cherished projects of European unity are in deep trouble – the Schengen zone buckling under the weight of new migration, and the euro bedevilled by flaws which were obvious at the start. There is a legitimate question as to whether the EU can survive in its current form two or three decades from now.”

These statements are unquestionably true. The totalitarian Commission maintains its fundamental straight course onwards towards an united non-democratic federal auperstate, as it alwasy has done. Mr Hague knows this full well.

“It is high time for a vigorous debate to get going. So far, what I have written above would be cheered on by my old friend Liam Fox, who has advocated withdrawal, by old Cabinet colleagues tempted to campaign to leave in the forthcoming referendum, and even by Nigel Farage as he reels from the discovery that a rebel who joins you from another party simply becomes a rebel in your own.” Correct in part only!


“Yet here I part company with these fellow critics of the EU, distinguishing between deploring the state of an organisation and deciding it is best to leave it. I wait, first of all, for the outcome of the negotiations the Prime Minister has launched, the importance of which should not be underestimated in continental capitals.”

Mr Hague forgets that how many issues which desperately need addressing are not on the PM’s little list of four items which he is discussing. There is no reference to the ECJ and its control over the UK Supreme Court, Fisheries, the Free Movement of Peoples, the UK’s right to represent itself on global bodies (The Top Tables), the cost of our membership, the red tape suffered by the 80% of UK GDP involved only with internal UK trade, reform of the CAP and so on.

In conclusion there is no substance to the PM’s negotiations or “thin gruel” as Mr Rees Mogg called them. Their conclusion will be trumpeted as a success but in reality, the fanfare will merely be a repeat of Chamberlain’s “Heston moment” in 1938 as John Petley refers in his January 2016 Article on the CIB web site.


“The arguments about what is best for our economy will rage back and forth. Those who say we have to be in the single market to shape it and benefit from it have the edge and that will be a vital edge as the public weighs the implications of their choice for their jobs and businesses” says Mr Hague.

Many businessmen and economists would disagree. We can access the Single Market from outside the EU, by joining Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, who have plenty of say in the formation of EEA- relevant regulation, even if they do not take part in the final vote. People like Lord Bamford and Sir James Dyson may not have made detailed analyses of the best exit strategy, but thier confidnece that we can not only survive but prosper outside the EU is well founded. With only 20% of UK GDP linked to total global exports and of that only a diminishing 7% of UK GDP comprising trade with the EU, it makes little sense for that tiny dwindling tail of 7% to wag the growing dog of 93%!


It is clear that Mr Hague is politically and economically generalising and being economical with the actuality. There is no attempt by Mr Hague to support his line of argument with facts and reasoning. Mr Hague’s current position is much confused both intellectually and politically. It is not possible to believe in national democracy and at the same time support our bondage to the EU?

Furthermore, how can Mr Hague think that the UK has any possible useful influence inside this total disaster?

Why a tariff union, Mr Hague? It is entirely counterproductive to the UK trade outside the EU which comprises 64% of UK exports.

Why must the UK guarantee the obligations and debts of the Euro and its failed experiments to the ECB and the IMF? This weakens the UK and makes it vulnerable as it borrows ever more to do this and then borrows more to pay interest on the borrowed sums! Hence Mr Osborne imposes more and more taxes on those who can least afford it!

Why has the UK lost so many of its seats on important world bodies just to be represented by one member acting for 28 with conflicting and confused objectives? Why support our membership of a political union if all we are talking about is a free trade area, Mr Hague?

In short, Mr Hague, who seemed to show such promise when he made that memorable speech at the 1977 Conservative Party Conference when he was only sixteen years old,  has proved one of the great political disappointments of recent years.  His schizophrenia over the EU suggests that for all the hype of his early years, he possibly never was a suitable person to lead our country after all.


A) NATO: Since 1999 NATO changed from being a highly successful defensive alliance into an aggressive, go anywhere- bash anyone organisation with unlimited ambitions to “humanitarian interventions” anywhere in the world which suit US/EU policy. The first such adventure was Yugoslavia (1999),an unprovoked attack, admitted to be illegal but thought, as in “1066 & All That”, to be a “Good Thing”- also completely contrary to the then existing NATO charter but Blair & Clinton just did it. And the Bundeswehr used the opportunity to cease being “citizens in uniform” and become a force able to operate overseas. As General Naumann (whose title would have been Chief of the Great General Staff in palmier days) put it “German forces will be engaged for the protection of the market and access without hindrance to the raw materials of the entire world”. NATO is up to its neck and beyond in the operations in the Ukraine and elsewhere, targeted against Russia. Victoria Nuland, US Under Secretary of State, boasted of spending 5 billion dollars destabilising Ukraine and the EU itself, plus sundry intelligence agencies (like the Bundesnachrichtendienst and state funded NGOs like the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung) are not far behind). The EU has a slightly different terminology for these operations and calls them “The Export of Stability”.

B) The Powers of the EU parliament: – Actually the parliament (so-called) has acquired some powers, like confirming or rejecting the proposed President and members of the EU Commission. Whilst its function is mainly “advise and Consent”, it can withhold consent in committee and sometimes does. The Commission with the vital and perpetual sole power of initiative then has to come back with a modified proposal. What the parliament (so-called) does not have is any democratic legitimacy, as Mr Hague rightly points out. There is not much demos but quite a lot of kratos in it. It is by no means powerless and is asserting more power and influence than ever. If the parliament’s majority opinion (taken from the large central groups that control the EU parliament) coincides with that of the Commission, it is very likely to prevail. The European Council (of prime ministers and presidents) would have difficulty in resisting determined, long-sustained, combined pressure by the Commission and Parliament singing from the same hymn sheet. The EU institutions do have a life and power of their own – just as Dr. Hallstein (see Edward Spalton’s CIB earlier paper) intended.

Photo by Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UK trade is reorientating itself away from the EU

It is vital to state at the outset on any study of UK trade that our country must retain access to the EU’s single market on independence. However, analysis  of the latest trade figures in the government’s Pink Book by Ian Milne of Global Britain indicates that the EU is declining in importance as an market for UK exports.

Two stastistics highligh this. Firstly,  the absolute value of UK exports to the EU in 2014 was lower than before the Great Recession – in fact, the value of UK exports to the EU in 2014, of £ 289 billion was slightly less in terms of value than almost a decade earlier, in 2005/2006. (The average of 2005 & 2006 export values to the EU was £ 293 billion.)

Secondly, the share of UK exports going to the EU as a proportion of UK exports to the whole world shrank from 48.5 % in 2004 (£ 225 billion divided by £ 464 billion) to 42.6 % in 2014 (£ 289 billion divided by £ 679 billion).

The full analysis can be read here