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BREXIT NEWS : 01-15 SEPT 2017  
 BATTLE OF BRITAIN DAY
15 SEPTEMBER
We will remember
Below is a little reminder of what those brave lads were fighting for, and which we still appreciate today thanks to their sacrifice. Please show to any WWII veterans in your family, if you think they would enjoy a nostalgic moment.
Photo right: In memory of the father of one of the Facts4EU.Org Team, a WWII Spitfire pilot.
 
© YouTube
And here is a link to the RAF Benevolent Fund.
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READERS' COMMENTS
 WHILE THE CBI REMOANS,
DYSON DOES
© Dyson
The business of Brexit
Yesterday one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and businessmen, Sir James Dyson OM CBE FRS FREng, gave some interviews. Here is what he said:
DYSON ON BREXIT
  • “Just have a clean break, it's not a big deal”
  • No transition period necessary, and in fact it’s not desirable
  • WTO terms will be fine
  • The EU is declining - “The rest of the world is growing at a far greater rate than Europe, so the opportunity is to export to the rest of the world”
  • The term ‘Single Market’ is nonsense – “It's a series of different markets with different languages, with different marketing required and different laws.... it's actually a very highly complex and broken up market”
Sir James Dyson, 14th September 2017
Dyson does, others just talk about it
Sir James has in the past spoken of his concern at the lack of enough young people studying engineering and technology at university. He feels there is too much focus on ‘soft’ subjects.
Sir James being Sir James, what happens? He builds a new engineering-focused university at his centre in Wiltshire. Students will work and be paid, but they will also complete an undergraduate degree in engineering.
“There is a huge shortage of engineers in Britain - it's estimated we'll be two million engineers short by 2022 - but more interestingly we're short of very good engineers. We want to develop the best tech in the world and make products that conquer the world.”
“It's blindingly obvious that we need to take on more engineers, and if people study here then they'll be learning from some of the best in the world.”
The Bottom Line - Dyson's last results
  • Annual sales of £2.5 billion, up 45% on the previous year
  • Profit (EBITDA) of £631m, a 41% rise on the previous year
OBSERVATIONS
We know that Sir James is working on AI and robotics. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with. In fact if you’re reading this Sir James, one or two of us here would love to get involved!
Finally, it's an unavoidable fact that every post-Brexit British home needs a Dyson. Why not take a look at their product range? And when you look at the prices please remember: they may not be cheap but they're superb quality and excellent value!
[No, we weren't paid for that - we're just happy to support British companies like Dyson.]
As ever, you can comment on the above piece here, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: BBC | Sky News | Dyson ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 15 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
 THE REMOANING CBI
WRITES ANOTHER LETTER
This weekend you will see stories about a letter to the government which the CBI has organised, signed by so-called business ‘leaders’, urging the government to back-peddle furiously on Brexit.
It seems that the letter’s signatories may even include businesses in the EU27. According to the early reports we’ve seen, the letter says:
“Our businesses need to make decisions now about investment and employment that will affect economic growth and jobs in the future.
“Continuing uncertainty will adversely affect communities, employees, firms and our nations in the future. Businesses across the EU and UK are clear: being able to plan for a transition of up to three years that avoids a cliff edge is critical for all of our prosperity.
“Until transitional arrangements can be agreed and trade discussed the risk of ‘no deal’ remains real and has to be planned for, with inevitable consequences for jobs and growth on both sides.”
IDS VERSUS THE CBI
Former Cabinet Minister Iain Duncan Smith responded very firmly. He accused the CBI of trying to “bully the British government”.
“I begin to despair of the CBI. All they do is talk down British business. All you hear from them is a storm of negativity.
“Most businesses don’t look to the CBI, and aren’t scared of change and new markets and the opportunities of Brexit.”
He appealed to the CBI to “stop moaning and bellyaching and help their members get ready” for post-Brexit Britain.
 
THE CBI AND ITS LEADER
Prior to the Referendum, the CBI and its Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn were amongst the fiercest pro-EU, Remain organisations in the country.
Since the Referendum it hasn't given up, so we thought you'd like to know who runs it. Below is a snapshot of a piece we ran prior to the vote last year.
© Facts4EU.Org 2016
OBSERVATIONS
So the CBI wants a transition period so long (3 years) that we'll almost have forgotten that the country voted to leave. No great surprise there.
Ms Fairbairn has every right to be involved in the luxury French hotel business which she founded with her husband - and her place looks beautiful. We just thought that voters had the right to know who was lecturing them how to vote, and what these people's own particular circumstances might be.
Aside from her French business, you only have to look at where Ms Fairbairn has worked. Previously Partner at McKinsey, Director of the BBC, Lloyds Bank, Capita, UK Statistics Authority, Financial Services Authority.
Frankly we would far rather listen to Sir James Dyson, founder of a multi-billion pound company manufacturing and exporting around the world, than to a bureaucrat who part-owns a French chateau business.
No disrespect of course.
As ever, you can comment on the above piece here, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Too many to list ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 15 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
 ‘AHOY ME HEARTIES
IT'S EU-LAND AHEAD'
Parliamentary Sketch
Juncker’s State of the Union Speech
Yesterday EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave his annual ‘State of the Union’ speech to the EU Parliament. Liberally splashed with nautical references, his overall message was upbeat as he laid out what he considered to be progress in some areas, and he then painted a picture of where the EU is going.
In summary, this was a ‘full steam ahead’ speech. Full steam ahead to the EU becoming one nation, integrating much deeper and faster than anyone had anticipated.
You can read the whole speech here, or watch it below, or read our sketch which analyses it with a dash of British humour.
TRADE DEALS
On trade, President Juncker gave two successes and two new prospects.
‘Successes’: Canada (not yet started) and Japan (not even a trade deal).
‘Prospects’: “Today, we are proposing to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand”
We find it interesting that the EU Commission mentions Australia and New Zealand – both countries with whom the UK is seeking early trade agreements. In each case, these countries expressed their keenness to start with the UK, and initial discussions have already begun. It’s almost as if the Commission named the two countries most likely to annoy the British.
As an aside, you may be interested to know that President Juncker announced on 15 November 2015 that the EU would 'start the process towards a comprehensive and high-quality Free Trade Agreement' with Australia. That’s nearly two years ago. Quick workers, these EU-Johnnies...
THE PROTECTIONIST EU
President Juncker laid bare the protectionist nature of the EU. They are certainly not believers in free trade: “Let me say once and for all: we are not naïve free traders. Europe must always defend its strategic interests.”
Regarding the biggest and easiest trade deal the EU could do in the next 12 months, President Juncker did not say one word. It seems that the UK’s vast market is of no interest to him and his colleagues. Er... Ahem... Herr Juncker? We haven't even left yet and already you seem to have forgotten us..
THE MIGRANT CRISIS
President Juncker spent a lot of time on this. Far more than he did on trade, for example.
In general terms, Mr Juncker spouted the usual naïve, idealistic sentiments, mentioning things like being “proud of the young Europeans volunteering to give language courses to Syrian refugees”.
It is clear that he has learnt very little from the disastrous two years since Frau Merkel’s rash and unilateral action in opening her borders and creating the biggest societal crises in Europe since the war.
Here’s another example of his misunderstanding of the problem: “We will also work on opening up legal pathways. Irregular migration will only stop if there is a real alternative to perilous journeys.” Mr Juncker seems to think that opening up legal immigration and letting people in ‘legally’ is the answer. He goes on: “legal migration is a necessity for Europe as an ageing continent”. Not true of course, but that’s not the subject of this article.
FIVE POSSIBLE FUTURES BECOME SIX
Just six months ago the EU Commission published its document setting out a vision for five possible future paths for the EU. These varied from ‘Go back to being a trading bloc’ to ‘Full steam ahead, United States of Europe here we come!’
Well now it seems there’s a sixth path. This one is Mr Juncker’s own, personal, yellow-starred, brick road.
If nothing else, this demonstrates what a shambles this organisation called the EU really is. As if five paths weren’t enough to choose from, now Juncker comes along with a sixth? Give us strength.
The next time a Remoaner says something to you like:
“We voted for departure, but no-one told us what the destination would be”
we have some advice. Firstly, please resist any natural urges you might have. Brexiteers are peaceful and calm. No matter how infuriating the little blighter is, all you have to do is ask them:
“Which of the 5 - now 6 – EUs were you voting to remain in?”
At this point in his speech, Mr Juncker went off on one of his airy meanderings. This involved the use of words like values, equality, law of the strong, unity, peace, etc. He didn’t quite round it off by talking of “truth, justice, and the American - I mean European - way” but you could see he was getting there.
As if to shake himself out of his reverie, the President suddenly announced that he had enlargement of the Balkans on his mind. No sooner had we begun to digest this rather unusual thought, he said that in future accession candidates had to be nice, and that: “This rules out EU membership for Turkey for the foreseeable future.”
Now, there are many who would take issue with Turkey on many subjects, but Mr Juncker chose to major on.... journalists. “Turkey has been taking giant strides away from the European Union for some time. Journalists belong in newsrooms not in prisons. The call I make to those in power in Turkey is this: Let our journalists go.”
Regular readers know how often we have to point out the EU’s obsession with PR and the media. They simply don’t stop caring about their appearance – physically in the case of the preening mantis Michel Barnier and other major players like Federica Mogherini – or reputationally in the case of the other bureaucrats like Juncker.
So, when it comes to attacking Turkey, what better way to do that than by criticising its treatment of some journalists, in the hope that this will produce positive copy in the next day’s newspapers.
“I WANT...”
President Juncker then went on a shopping spree, listing all the things he wants. Sometimes these included very contentious items, such as one common corporation tax for the whole of the EU (Irexiteers please take note), and so this will require changing the way decisions are taken in the EU.
Basically, where there was a risk of nation states having to agree something before it became EU law, well…. Democracy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, according to Mr Juncker. He proposes taking a sickle to the principle of voting unanimously and reducing far more EU business to ‘qualified majority voting’. This means countries having even more rules and laws imposed on them by the EU, that they never wanted.
Mr Juncker then rattled through some major changes so quickly that some of us started fondly reminiscing about the good old days, when he arrived at the despatch box in a state which we might describe as one bottle short of a distillery. Gone were those halcyon days and in was the new high-speed, super-fast, TGV Juncker.
'A WHOLE NEW EU' - WHAT MR JUNCKER WANTS
  • An Economy and Finance Minister
  • All states to be members of Eurozone, Banking Union and Schengen area, by end March 2019
  • An EU form of ‘FBI’
  • More foreign policy to be decided by EU, not nation states
  • A “fully-fledged European Defence Union” by 2025
  • Slashing nation state democracy – discriminating against Eurosceptic parties
  • ‘Transnational lists’ of candidates, so you might have (say) a Belgian candidate like Guy Verhofstadt to vote for
  • A directly elected President of the EU
  • Merge President of the Council and President of the Commission into one President
Regarding the final points, Herr Juncker's words were extraordinary, given that no-one has actually been suggesting the EU should have a president with governing powers:
“Europe would be easier to understand if one captain was steering the ship. Having a single President would better reflect the true nature of our European Union as both a Union of States and a Union of citizens.”
This is pure “United States of Europe” stuff. Forget individual nation states like France, Italy, Hungary, Portugal. When you go on holiday you’ll be going to somewhere like ‘Florence, EU’, or ‘Ibiza, EU’. Countries will gradually seek to exist is any meaningful sense.
FINAL WORDS
At the end of President Juncker’s speech it’s as though everyone involved in writing it had lost interest. To be honest we don’t blame them. It wasn’t that much fun to read, or to listen through either.
That said, this is a serious document for the EU. It’s been trailed for weeks. The EU has regularly tweeted out photos of teams of people slaving away with Herr Juncker in bunkers deep in the Berlaymont building, researching and writing it. If Fact4EU.Org had the resources which the EU applied to this one speech, we could churn out ten times as many articles per day.
So how is it possible for the end of the speech to make no sense?
Or rather, to make sense as words and sentences but not in terms of matching even the EU’s loose hold on reality? We’re referring to the final part where President Juncker says:
“My hope is that on 30 March 2019, Europeans will wake up to a Union where ... being a full member of the euro area, the Banking Union and the Schengen area has become the norm for all EU Member States... Where a single President leads the work of the Commission and the European Council, having been elected after a democratic Europe-wide election campaign.”
Er.... But it’s not remotely possible for the remaining non-Euro states of Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden to adopt the Euro as their currency by 30 March 2019, even if they wanted to which they don’t. Nor would Schengen membership be remotely likely for Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus, and Ireland. And the idea of merging the EU President of the Council with the President of the EU Commission by then is ridiculous.
Then look at his idea of a “Special Summit in Romania on 30 March 2019” where the entire EU will decide on its future. Incredibly he expects people to vote on whatever this radical new shape of the EU is, in the European Elections in mid-May: “If our citizens wake up to this Union on 30 March 2019, then they should be able vote in the European Parliament elections a few weeks later with the firm conviction that our Union is a place that works for them.”
If it took weeks of work for dozens of people to produce this speech, and it ends with complete tosh, what value is the rest of it?
And what does this say about the dire quality of this dysfunctional shambles, which Remainer policians, commentators, and journalists continue to want you to believe in?
AND FINALLY, FINALLY, BREXIT
These days when President Juncker speaks of the UK, it is with barely-concealed loathing. Yesterday was no exception, particularly when he went ‘off piste’ and departed from his written notes.
He practically shakes when he has to talk about Brexit. His animosity is so strong, it is perfectly obvious there would be no possibility of the UK coming to any sensible agreement with the EU, if he were in charge.
Fortunately he’s not in charge, but it doesn’t stop him colouring the entire process and making it as difficult as he possibly can.
In this, he is acting clearly and directly against the interests of 443 million citizens of the EU27.
This is the nature of the beast we are leaving.
As ever, you can comment on the above piece here, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below in the grey box below.
[ Sources: EU Commission | EU Parliament ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 14 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
 UK TO LEAVE EU,
BUT TO LEAVE
ITS ARMED FORCES BEHIND
The Betrayal of the British People
By Remainer Politicians and Civil Servants
From the MOD, FCO, and DExEU
 
Yesterday the government issued the latest in its Brexit papers for the EU.
This was the Government’s title:
“FOREIGN POLICY, DEFENCE AND DEVELOPMENT
– A Future Partnership Paper”
The government's title may not sound sexy, but if you want Brexit then this paper really matters.
The government knows full well that if it produces a paper of 24 pages, 99.99% of people will never read it. Well guess what? You weren’t meant to.
This paper was written for the bureaucrats of Brussels, and for the fiercely pro-EU leaders of the majority of the EU27 member states. In fact there will be many in the British government - particularly including civil servants in the departments concerned - who hope that you never read this paper.
 
UK Armed Forces to be left
stranded on the beach?
'UNPRECEDENTED'
In case you think we’re exaggerating the importance of this, here is what the document says in its conclusions:
“What the UK is offering will be unprecedented in its breadth, taking in cooperation on diplomacy, defence and security, and development, and in its depth, in terms of the degree of engagement that the UK and the EU should aim to deliver.”
The government used the word ‘unprecedented’, not us. The really troubling aspect of this paper is what it says about the EU common defence agreements which have already been signed up to by the government since the EU Referendum.
“It should take as its starting point the degree of existing cooperation that has evolved through the UK’s membership of the EU”
‘AS IF THE VOTE FOR BREXIT NEVER HAPPENED’
This is effectively saying: ‘We’ll continue to give you everything you’re already getting from Europe’s biggest military power. This includes all the commitments and money for the new EU Army you’re building and which we’ve signed up to since the Referendum. But that’s just for starters. We’ll offer you a lot more too.’
It seems to us to be no exaggeration to say that if this paper isn’t withdrawn, our Armed Forces and our country’s foreign policy will stay in the EU, while what’s left of the country leaves.
The government’s intent is made clear in the summary, when it says:
“This paper explores how the UK and other partners currently cooperate with the EU on foreign, defence and security, and development policy, before considering how the UK could do the same once the UK has exited the EU.”
Photo right: Secretary of State for Defence Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP, notable Remainer
 
In other words, those responsible for this paper would really prefer to carry on very quietly as they have been doing, getting into ever closer military and foreign policy union with the EU.
YOU KNOW IT STINKS WHEN...
You know a UK government policy or action is anti-Brexit when someone like the fanatical EU-federalist Guy Verhofstadt MEP, Brexit Co-ordinator for the EU Parliament, doesn’t complain about it.
In this case he read it yesterday very quickly and actually called it “very welcome”, which is very bad news indeed.
© Twitter
OBSERVATIONS
There is always a difficult balance to strike when reporting on a critical item like this. Firstly we really want people to read about it, as so much is hidden from the average John or Jane by the mainstream media. Some of this is deliberate, some of it is pure incompetence or laziness. Sometimes it’s because a professional journalist trying to do his or her job can’t get their articles past the editor.
COLONEL RICHARD KEMP
Last night, Colonel Richard Kemp CBE was interviewed on the BBC News about this story. As the former Commander of British Forces Afghanistan, Col Kemp was treated seriously and with respect by the interviewer. He is not a man who minces words, but we noticed a slight hesitation before he referred briefly at one point to an ‘EU Army’.
We understand that many former military officers will be reluctant to use what they might regard as sensationalist terms, for fear that the public will think they’re crying wolf.
In fact, Colonel, sir, this was an appropriate time to use that term. We must now wake up that great wise mass of ordinary British people who often tend to know what to do, better than some politicians do.
The independence of our military has, ironically, never been under more threat than since the country’s democratic decision to leave the European Union.
There has been a conspiracy of silence about this, with relatively few organisations speaking out effectively. We’re proud to have been one of these organisations and have been on active duty on this subject for a long time, publishing articles well before the Referendum and continually since.
We would also highly commend Veterans for Britain, a pro-Brexit group which campaigns strongly on veterans’ and military issues. They have written some very detailed pieces on this threat.
SO WHAT NEXT?
Well, firstly we strongly recommend that you read the next article. This will give you some real meat on which to judge whether this Brexit paper represents the clear and present danger which we consider it to be.
Secondly, we recommend that you read some of our previous articles, particularly our summary report on the UK government’s moves towards common EU armed forces, written in July. That’s July this year, over a year after the Referendum which supposedly decided we would leave the EU. There’s a set of links below the next article.
Thirdly, if you believe that Brexit Britain should be:
  • An independent country with its own armed forces not beholden to any EU structures or policies
  • Not paying into the EU’s Defence Fund, and
  • Not being forced to combine its defence industries and procurement inside the EU
... then please support us. Please help us to fight this appalling proposal that our Armed Forces should effectively stay in the EU, while the rest of us leave.
Please support us so that we can campaign strongly to all branches of government and with influential senior MPs, ensuring that these policies are ‘realigned’ with what the British people voted for a year last June.
We believe that post-Brexit Britain should continue to cooperate fully with our neighbours. We believe that joint military exercises and missions should continue. We believe that some large equipment projects are best provisioned by collaboration between allies.
However we believe that all of this should be the decision of the British people and its government, free to make whatever decisions are in the best interests of the country at the time, unencumbered by formal obligations, and with a military and a defence industry which hasn’t been subsumed into the EU morass.
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As ever, you can comment on the above piece here, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Dept for Exiting the European Union ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.45am, 13 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
 ‘SELLING ENGLAND
BY THE POUND’
(Note: Applies to all UK,
read on for explanation.)
The Betrayal of the British People
By Remainer Politicians and Civil Servants
From the MOD, FCO, and DExEU
PART TWO - WE CHALLENGE THE GOVERNMENT
In Part One above, we gave an overview of the government’s latest Brexit paper, called “Foreign Policy, Defence And Development – A Future Partnership Paper”.
In it, we quoted short excerpts showing how it is the intention of the government to adopt all military and defence industry commitments already signed up to both before and after the Referendum, and to offer even more integration, as part of overall negotiations with the EU on trade, customs, and other matters.
DENIAL
Facts4EU.Org has been supportive of the government in many aspects of its Brexit policies but has consistently warned over the manoeuvres of the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding defence and foreign policy matters.
We know for a fact that many senior politicians are completely unaware of the extent to which the government has signed the UK up to the EU’s ever-faster agenda for full military integration. About that agenda there is no doubt – the EU now freely admits it in an enormous number of documents, whilst constantly pretending that of course it has no desire to supplant the role of NATO. Regrettably, few MPs seems to be aware of this, but it’s a fact.
More regrettably still, however, is that MPs have been lied to over the fact of the UK government signing up to every one of the EU’s military agenda items since the Referendum.
We must repeat: this is indisputable. It’s in document after document, in black and white. It doesn’t matter what some junior minister says in Parliament in answer to a question. It doesn’t matter what the MOD says in a written reply to a Parliamentary Committee enquiry.
MPs are being misled.
We very much hope that this new Brexit paper from DexEU on defence and foreign policy will show up enough of what has been going on for MPs to start to probe a great deal more.
Below we will give you more excerpts from the government’s paper which go into some more detail.
“The UK was a founding member of the EU’s CSDP, [Common Security & Defence Policy], which provides the framework for military operations and civilian missions conducted in support of the overarching EU Common Foreign and Security Policy.”
“The UK contributes people, finance, equipment or operational support to all 15 CSDP [Common Security & Defence Policy] operations and missions.”
THE RAPID DEVELOPMENT OF EU MILITARY POWER
The paper sets out in summary how the EU’s defence power ambitions have started snowballing since the EU Referendum:
“The EDA [European Defence Agency] was established in 2004 to facilitate cooperation on a wider basis across the EU. The EDA has signed Administrative Arrangements with Norway (2006), Switzerland (2012), Serbia (2013) and Ukraine (2015), enabling them to participate in EDA projects and programmes.
“More recently, in November 2016, the European Commission launched the European Defence Action Plan. This paved the way for the launch of a European Defence Fund (EDF) in June 2017, which will help coordinate and financially supplement Member State investments in defence research and capability development. Under the EDF, the research component – the Preparatory Action for Defence Research – is open to EU Member States and Norway. The drafting of regulations concerning a major element of the capability component, the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, is ongoing.”
Note that the European Defence Action Plan, the European Defence Fund, the Preparatory Action for Defence Research, and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, have all been agreed since the UK’s Referendum.
THE EU HAS GREAT PLANS, BUT WHAT ARE WE SIGNING UP TO?
See below for the performance of the top EU countries which are also members of NATO over the past few years. This doesn't inspire confidence in many people.
© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2017
HERE’S WHAT THE UK GOVERNMENT IS PROPOSING TO THE EU
“Our future relationship and cooperation could take a range of forms, including by mirroring participation by other third countries contributing to European security, which offer differing levels of assets and capabilities.
“The UK would like to offer a future relationship that is deeper than any current third country partnership and that reflects our shared interests, values and the importance of a strong and prosperous Europe. This future partnership should be unprecedented in its breadth, taking in cooperation on foreign policy, defence and security, and development, and in the degree of engagement that we envisage.
“It should take as its starting point both our shared interests and the degree of engagement that has evolved through our membership of the EU.”
This paper proposes that the EU takes everything the UK has been giving so far – including the huge defence commitments since the Referendum – and actually go further. It clearly states that the status quo is a starting point.
We then come to the ‘meat’ of the document, which you can see in the sections below. The emboldening of some phrases is the government’s, not ours.
© HMG
© HMG
WANT ALL THIS MR EU? YOU CAN HAVE IT IF WE GET A TRADE & CUSTOMS DEAL
Buried in the last section above is a sentence which perhaps sheds some serious light on why the government might be intent on giving away our independent armed forces and our independent foreign policy.
“Open markets and customs arrangements that are as frictionless as possible are important to the continued success of this sector and to ensure that British and European Armed Forces can access the best war-fighting capability to keep us safe.”
So, Mr EU, we’ll give you the most potent Armed Forces in Europe for all your future operations, whatever they might be, to encourage you to be nice to us over trade and customs arrangements.
OBSERVATIONS
Firstly, we should explain the title of this article, in case it's not obvious.
‘SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND’
In 1973, a British rock band called Genesis wrote an album which came to mind when one of us was reading this new government Brexit paper. The album in question was ‘Selling England By The Pound’ and this is how it starts:
“Can you tell me where my country lies?”
Said the unifaun to his true love's eyes.
“It lies with me!”
Cried the Queen of Maybe
For her merchandise, he traded in his prize.”
The lyricist was Peter Gabriel and we hope he’ll forgive us for transposing his beautiful lyrics which romanticise a fabled land, into the murky world of EU politics, power and money. We also hope our readers from all corners of the UK will understand that we are not England-centric and that this all applies equally to all UK citizens.
REALITY, ANYONE?
There were times when reading this document that we thought a hint of reality had crept in. It occasionally seemed that the government recognises the insidious threat which the EU elite hierarchy represents.
For example: “The context, however, is changing, driven by the growing role of non-state actors and criminal political elites”. This, we thought, might be an attempt by a lonely, closet pro-Brexit member of the government’s team to sneak in a reference to the EU in less than favourable terms. Alas we fear this is wishful thinking.
The article which will shortly appear below contains a list of links to articles we wrote in June and July on the subject of defence. You may find these interesting.
WHAT NEXT?
We find it deeply regrettable that the government seems prepared to sell out our independent armed forces and the independence of our foreign policy in return for anything at all.
The fact that they appear to be doing this purely in the hope that the EU27 will be nice to us over trade is frankly profoundly shocking.
The government will of course deny all of the above. Just like they used to deny that there was any ambition for the EU to have a military capability – an ‘EU Army’. We called their integrity into question then, and we were right.
Very sadly we are having to do the same again now.
As ever, you can comment on the above piece here, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Dept for Exiting the European Union ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       08.30am, 13 Sept 2017
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 DEFENCE SUMMARY
Regular readers know that we cover the full range of issues in relation to Brexit. Recently we've written more stories than usual about defence, culminating in the two articles above following the government's Brexit paper released yesterday.
At the end of July we produced the list of links to defence articles that you can see below. These only cover June and July - regrettably we just don't have the resources to do things like this very often.
OUR DEFENCE ARTICLES IN JUNE AND JULY 2017
SPECIAL REPORT: How the UK government signed up to EU defence forces post-Brexit
Defence in relation to the EU has come up several times since the end of July, but you'll have to look through the news pages for August and September.
ARE YOU SHORT OF TIME?
If you're short of time, read this article. It gives the basics on what the UK government has inexplicably signed up to since the EU Referendum.
WHERE IS SHE?
 
Our online tracker for the UK's magnificent new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth. Click here to view a real-time map of her progress as she continues her sea trials and heads south to her home port of Portsmouth.
OBSERVATIONS
We've written more than usual about defence matters recently, principally because the British public are not being informed of what's being done in their name. The issues are complex and regrettably they are almost never covered on the TV news - which remains the principal source of news for most Britons.
[ Sources: EU Commission | NATO | EU Council | UK Parliament | and many other bodies ]
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
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 “BRITISH WE ARE.
    BRITISH WE STAY.”
© Gibraltar Chronicle
GIBRALTAR HOLDS UP BEACON OF BRITISHNESS
AS IT CELEBRATES DEMOCRACY AND SOVEREIGNTY
British MEP Dr Julia Reid (UKIP) talked exclusively to Facts4EU.Org from the Rock
This year’s National Day celebrations in Gibraltar had particular significance, as the people marked 50 years since the historic referendum in 1967 when they voted by 99.64% to 0.36% to stay British.
In the main Casemates Square not a single EU flag was anywhere to be seen, as the crowd waved Union Jacks and the flags of Gibraltar.
EUROPE MINISTER AND PRIME MINISTER
The UK’s Europe Minister Sir Alan Duncan spoke to the crowds, reminiscing about his time on the Rock as a child when his father commanded the RAF squadron based there. Mrs May also put in an appearance but only by video screen. Nevertheless she was cheered by the large crowd, as she declared:
 
“We will resolutely safeguard Gibraltar, its people and its economy and Gibraltar will remain British for as long as it chooses to do so.”
Photo left: Prime Minister May on the big screen. Photo © John Bugeja
BACKGROUND
Gibraltar has been British for 304 years, since the Treaty of Utrecht when Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity.
10th September is Gibraltar’s National Day, designated to commemorate an historic referendum on that day 50 years ago when the Gibraltarians declared to the World – and particularly to the Spanish – that the people of the Rock were British and wished to stay that way. 99.6% voted to stay British.
DR JULIA REID MEP (UKIP) SPOKE TO US EXCLUSIVELY
Dr Reid’s EU constituency covers the South West Counties and Gibraltar. She flew out to Gibraltar to celebrate with her consituents, and this year she gave us her thoughts.
 
Speaking exclusively to Facts4EU.Org, Dr Reid told us:
“I was thrilled to be present in Gibraltar on this momentous occasion and to share in the celebrations commemorating the 1967 referendum when the people of Gibraltar voted (12138 to 44) to remain British.
Photo left: Dr Julia Reid MEP (UKIP) South West Counties and Gibraltar
“It's always so uplifting to see hundreds of people waving Gibraltar and Union Flags in Casemates Square on Gibraltar National Day, dressed in red and white, but seeing the photos and films on the screen at the Gibraltar 1967 Referendum Memorial Concert, taken on the day of the referendum, was exhilarating. Everywhere there were banners and placards saying "British we are. British we stay," which was echoed by the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, at the end of his rousing Gibraltar National Day speech.”
Dr Reid is an impressive person. You may wish to read more about her in the next article.
CHIEF MINISTER’S STIRRING SPEECH
Dr Reid refers to the stirring speech that was given by Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, the very personable Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP. Addressing the crowds gathered in the main square he told them:
“Exactly 50 years ago today they were marching into the polling stations. With no more than pencils and ballot papers. With only the weapons of democracy in their hands. With the power of the ballot box.”
“The referendum generation wrote for themselves the modern history of the Gibraltarian. With 12,138 carbon marks on a ballot paper.”
And Mr Picardo added: “You defied a dictator. You defeated fascism. You pierced the heart of the fascist claim to our home. You gave birth to a nation. The referendum generation delivered the Gibraltarian nation into the world.”
SPANISH BACKLASH
Chief Minister Picardo referred in his speech to events which took place many years ago, so it’s perhaps worth recounting what happened.
50 years ago the 99.6% vote to stay British resulted in Spain severing the land border with Gibraltar as well as all communication links. It was a severe action taken by Spanish dictator Franco to beat the plucky Gibraltarians into submission. However this over-reaction by Spain had followed years of increasing restrictions placed on Gibraltar by the Spanish, and the Gibraltarians never buckled.
PAYING THE PRICE OF FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY
Here is Chief Minister Picardo, in an excerpt from a joint statement with Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, released in advance of the celebrations:
“Despite the obvious threat of greater punishment from Madrid, the Referendum generation voted overwhelmingly to remain British. They did so in a brave show of defiance to the Spanish dictator and those in the UN General Assembly who had supported his sovereignty claim, but they did so too with a genuine sense of pride in their identity as British Gibraltarians.
“That vote was taken in the full knowledge of the potential uncertainty and hardship that the result would bring. It was to lead to the closure of the land frontier, the ending of maritime links with Spain and the cutting of telephone communications. Safeguarding the sovereignty of Gibraltar in the hands of the people had a high price.
“Gibraltar became a city under siege dependent on UK development aid and military spending. Despite this, Gibraltarians worked hard to re-orientate the economy in order to withstand and even prosper under this final siege. Indeed, it was a time when local democratic institutions were reformed and strengthened under a new Constitution: a direct consequence of the British choice.
“Our forefathers refused to sell our birth-right. They did not surrender to the bully next door. More than three hundred years of British rule have taught us not to give in to bullies.
“Fifty years later, in 2017, our resolve to assert our British sovereignty and defend our right to self-determination remains as strong as it has ever been.”
Eventually Spain started lifting its blockade, but this was only done when it was seeking to join the EU, which it finally did in 1986. The UK which was already a member had the normal veto over the accession of any other state, so Spain had no choice but to ease the blockade.
OBSERVATIONS
We make some observations in our second piece on Gibraltar below, which focuses more on Gibraltar as it relates to Brexit and the EU.
As ever, you can comment on the above piece here, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Dr Julia Reid MEP | Government of Gibraltar | Gibraltar Chronicle | MoD | United Nations | EU Commission ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.55am, 12 Sept 2017
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Name: : Sibelius Fan, UK      Date/Time: 13 Sept, 10.47am
Message: After the Referendum, I heard and read several comments from Scots to the effect that they would have preferred the UK to leave the EU but voted "Remain" (as they were encouraged to do by their leaders) on the assumption that the UK as a whole would vote "Remain" and they didn't want Scotland to be at odds with the rest of the UK. I wouldn't be surprised if the same were true of some voters in Gibraltar and indeed in Northern Ireland i.e. these "Remain" majorities were perhaps not the wholehearted vote of support for the EU that they might seem.
 GIBRALTAR, THE UK,
SPAIN, AND THE EU
Gibraltarians now “far more positive” about Brexit,
UKIP MEP Julia Reid tells us
Vigilance is nevertheless required against possible EU future actions
We asked UKIP MEP for Gibraltar (and South West England) Dr Julia Reid how she saw the current mood amongst Gibraltarians about Brexit, bearing in mind that they produced the highest Remain vote of all in last year's EU Referendum.
 
Dr Reid told us: "I was so pleased to find that the mood in Gibraltar is far more positive now than it was this time last year, which was only three months after the EU Referendum when 96% of Gibraltarians voted to remain in the EU. Fears that the BREXIT vote would immediately be bad for their economy have been unfounded, as were similar fears that were forecast for the UK economy."
After the celebrations Dr Reid said: "It was heart-warming to hear the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, say, that as Britain had voted to leave the EU then Gibraltar would be leaving with her and remaining part of the UK family. Fifty years ago the Referendum Generation worked hard to make their decision to remain British a success for future generations and the BREXIT Generation would do the same."
SPAIN’S VETO ON BREXIT DEAL
One of the typical actions of the EU hierarchy as they were starting to put their Brexit ‘positions’ together was to declare Gibraltar as a special case.
Alone amongst all EU27 countries, Spain was given a unique veto by the EU over the terms of the UK’s future Brexit deal. Quite why this was done remains a mystery. There are many EU member states which could lay claim to having a ‘special interest’ in Brexit.
Nevertheless, Spain’s veto is a fact. Here is what the EU Council’s official Brexit negotiating guidelines say:
“After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.”
KING FELIPE CLAIMING GIBRALTAR LAST SEPTEMBER
King Felipe is Spain’s ruling monarch since the abdication of his father.
The British Foreign Office might have viewed it as highly regrettable to say the least that King Felipe tried to assert Spain’s right to the British territory of Gibraltar, when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on 20th Sept last year.
“I invite the UK, on this first occasion at the UN after Brexit, to end the colonial anachronism of Gibraltar with an agreed solution between both countries to restore the territorial integrity of Spain and bring benefits to the people of Gibraltar and the Spanish area of Campo de Gibraltar.”
- King Felipe VI, UN General Assembly, New York, 20 Sept 2016
OBSERVATIONS
JULIA REID
We will comment firstly on Dr Reid, the UKIP MEP for Gibraltar in the European Parliament. Julia Reid is a rare animal in politics - she has a background in science, having been a research biochemist. Perhaps this is why she comes across as being packed full of common sense.
Older readers may recall another female politician who started life as a research chemist.... (Clue for younger readers: this other person is widely credited with bringing the country back from the economic ruin it had fallen into, and she served as our Prime Minister for 11 years.)
Julia Reid currently serves as Environment Spokesman for UKIP, and represents the South-West counties of England in addition to Gibraltar.
SPAIN...
British tourists spent £6.5 billion in Spain in 2015. British residents prop up the property market in large parts of southern and eastern Spain, and British supermarkets are vital to the incomes of Spanish farmers. We mention these facts purely to counteract the 'doing-down' of the UK which we see and hear on a daily basis in the media. The simple facts are that it is to Spain's advantage to enjoy friendly and cooperative relations with the UK post-Brexit.
UNFRIENDLY ACTS BY EU ALLY
It is another unfortunate fact that the state vessels of an EU member state and NATO ally (Spain) are illegally and repeatedly infringing into British territorial waters. This happens on a daily basis. Complaints have been made via national as well as EU channels but the illegal incursions continue.
STRATEGIC LOCATION
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. It has an area of 6.7 km2 (2.6 sq mi) and shares its northern border with Spain. Crucially Gibraltar has geographical and therefore strategic significance, with a large British naval base and an airport used by both civilian airlines and by the RAF.
Appropriately perhaps, Gibraltar was showing off its strategic importance during the National Day celebrations. The runway at RAF Gibraltar was busy with aircraft carrying supplies to be picked up by HMS Ocean, bound for the Caribbean to deliver humanitarian aid to British Overseas Territories hit by Hurricane Irma.
COOPERATION ON SECURITY, ANYONE?
One further aspect of Gibraltar’s military and strategic significance is worth mentioning. Gibraltar is home to a location of UKSIGINT – the network of signal interception stations all around the world. This network is part of what makes the UK a leader in the global western intelligence community, and yet another reason that the EU wants to retain its full intelligence cooperation with the UK, regardless of Brexit.
FINALLY, AN INTERESTING AND POSITIVE POSTSCRIPT
Yesterday, the Gibraltar government announced the introduction of its new, paperless, electronic customs system.
Why is this significant?
Well, how many times have you been told that Brexit will result in chaos at our borders? Anyone would think that no countries in the world are able to clear goods for customs purposes as they cross their borders, unless they’re part of the EU.
Yes, there are of course some complications in relation to the Eire/N.I. border, but these can be solved with some goodwill and intelligence. The Brexit Dept has tried to inform people of the developments in customs clearance technology. We were recently talking to Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP who was expressing his own frustrations at the false claims by Remainers on this exact subject.
Now we have the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar demonstrating just how such a scheme can work. We wish Gibraltar well with this, and with its next 50 years of successful overseas Britishness!
As ever, you can write to us here, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below. If your message is not for publication please mark it as such.
No-one else today will be running stories like the two above. We don't just recycle stories you can read elsewhere, like so many other Brexit websites.
Can you please help fund our work? We rely 100% on small voluntary contributions, which means we barely make it from one week to the next. We really could use your help in working for a clean and true Brexit.
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A BIG THANK YOU TO THESE SUBSCRIBERS AND DONORS
VIP MEMBERS -   M J Donnan, Middx
GOLD MEMBERS -   Pamela Barnes, Gloucestershire  |  Judith Slater, Essex  |  P Ingram, Monmouthshire  |  John Murphy, Scotland  |  D Price, Berkshire  |  C Latham, East Sussex  |  D Cooper, Berks  |  G Gardner, Cheshire  |  Anonymous, UK  |  J Holmes, Shropshire  |   C Mainds, London  |  P Abbott, E Sussex
MEMBERS - Simon Jones, Wiltshire  |  Anonymous, UK  |  S Cooper, Surrey  |  N Brooker, London  |  M Wood, Ceredigion  |  R Parkin, England  |  Anonymous, UK
VALUED SUPPORTERS - BBW Davies,Dorset  |  Stuart C, Lancashire  |  P Bushell, West Midlands  |  D Joyce, Powys  |  William Crook, Lancashire  |  R Halton, UK  |  G Reakes, London  |  S Lerigo, Northampton  |  J Hatfield, South Ayrshire  |  F Carstairs, W Sussex  |  N Martinek, W Yorks  |  A Hammond, Lincs  |  Anonymous, Aberdeen  |  P Derbyshire, GB
[ Sources: Dr Julia Reid MEP | Government of Gibraltar | MoD | United Nations | EU Commission ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       08.20am, 12 Sept 2017
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 MIGRANTS?   OOH... MILLIONS
COSTS?   OOH... BILLIONS
The EU Parliament’s casual summary
of the EU migrant crisis
We thought you’d like to know what the EU itself is admitting to, regarding the migration crisis which has dominated the lives of so many people across the EU since 2014.
In one of its regular ‘look how things are getting better’ communications, the EU Parliament drew attention to its latest ‘EU migrant crisis: facts and figures’ sheet.
First we’ll give you what the EU Parliament said – their ‘facts and figures’ – and then we’ll show you two simple graphs we've produced which might put things into perspective.
HIGHLIGHTED DATA ON EU MIGRANT CRISIS, BY EU PARLIAMENT 2017
    1. ASYLUM
  • “In 2015, the number of people applying for asylum in the EU peaked at 1.26 million”
  • “In 2015 and 2016 alone, more than 2.5 million people applied for asylum in the EU”
  • “member states issued 593,000 first instance asylum decisions in 2015”
  • “over half of them positive”
  • In 2016 “1.1 million asylum decisions were made”
  • “61% of those were positive”
  • “In 2015 and 2016, more than 2.3 million illegal crossings were detected”
  • “In 2016, 388,000 people were denied entry at the EU’s external borders”
  • 2. ILLEGALS
  • “In 2015, 2.2 million people were found to be illegally present in the EU”
  • “In 2016, the number had dropped to 984,000.”
  • “In 2015 533,000 people were ordered to return, but only 43% actually left”
  • “In 2016, half of the 494,000 ordered to do so, returned home.”
  • 3. COSTS
  • “EU’s 2017 budget, MEPs secured a reinforcement package of €728 million for mainly migration-related funds”
  • “green light on 5 April 2017 to… €3.9 billion in additional support”
Unfortunately we have to correct the EU Parliament on their first figure. Asylum numbers peaked in 2015 at 1.32 million, not 1.26.
ADDITIONAL FACTS4EU.ORG INFORMATION:
The figures above are what the EU Parliament is admitting to and are official figures. Below we show some extra information, also based on official EU raw data.
What our analysis of the data shows is that whilst the numbers of migrants coming into the EU are extraordinary, the numbers being expelled as illegral immigrants have barely changed.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
As you can see, the proportion of deported illegals to asylum seekers has plummeted. In simple terms there are two possible explanations for this:
  1. As numbers entering the EU have rocketed, the status of these new arrivals has soared and a far higher proportion of them are entitled to EU citizenship than when immigration was relatively controlled, OR
  2. The EU’s ability to identify illegal immigrants and deport them has been woefully inadequate.
OBSERVATIONS
On Wednesday, President Jean-Claude Juncker of the EU Commission will give his annual ‘State of the European Union’ speech. This event has been copied by Mr Juncker directly from the USA. In the speech this year, Mr Juncker will doubtless touch on the migrant crisis. It is expected that he will crow about the lower numbers of migrants into the EU this year.
The first point to make is that this hasn’t helped poor Italy, which has seen numbers rise this year.
Secondly, the Turkey route has produced lower numbers because of the huge sums (€6 billion) being thrown at Turkey to prevent them. The UK has inexplicably picked up 14% of the cost of this.
Thirdly, the EU has shown itself to be incapable at managing the numbers it has already let in. The number of deportations has barely increased, despite huge increases in migrants entering.
Fourthly, the EU is so far barely recognising the total financial cost of this terrible mistake in opening its borders. The EU Parliament in its document has admitted to costs for ‘migration-related measures’ of €4.6 billion (approx £4.25 billion) which have been agreed since December.
We could go on but it would get embarrassing for President Juncker and his Commission.
Our final point is on language. The EU Parliament document is careful to define what is an ‘asylum-seeker’, and what is a ‘refugee’. Strangely, the word ‘migrant’ isn’t defined, despite it being in the title of the document.
One of the reasons the migration crisis is such a problem today is precisely because no-one was allowed even to talk about it until very recently, without instantly being shouted down as a racist.
It’s imperative that no-one in power is coy with language when discussing this problem. We abhor the measures taken by governments across the EU (including to an extent the government of the UK) to close down freedom of speech. In doing this they risk exacerbating feelings of large parts of the population and creating a powder keg.
Worse still no-one in power will ever be able to address the problem correctly if they can’t even identify its component parts and talk openly about them.
As ever, you can write to us here, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below. If your message is not for publication please mark it as such.
No-one else today will be running a story anything like the one above. We don't just recycle stories you can read elsewhere, like so many other Brexit websites.
Can you please help fund our work? We rely 100% on small voluntary contributions, which means we barely make it from one week to the next. We really could use your help in working for a clean and true Brexit.
Subscribe With a monthly donation
From £1.20 / week
        Donate Make a one-off donation
from £10 upwards
A BIG THANK YOU TO THESE SUBSCRIBERS AND DONORS
VIP MEMBERS -   M J Donnan, Middx
GOLD MEMBERS -   Pamela Barnes, Gloucestershire  |  Judith Slater, Essex  |  P Ingram, Monmouthshire  |  John Murphy, Scotland  |  D Price, Berkshire  |  C Latham, East Sussex  |  D Cooper, Berks  |  G Gardner, Cheshire  |  Anonymous, UK  |  J Holmes, Shropshire  |   C Mainds, London  |  P Abbott, E Sussex
MEMBERS - Simon Jones, Wiltshire  |  Anonymous, UK  |  S Cooper, Surrey  |  N Brooker, London  |  M Wood, Ceredigion  |  R Parkin, England  |  Anonymous, UK
VALUED SUPPORTERS - BBW Davies,Dorset  |  Stuart C, Lancashire  |  P Bushell, West Midlands  |  D Joyce, Powys  |  William Crook, Lancashire  |  R Halton, UK  |  G Reakes, London  |  S Lerigo, Northampton  |  J Hatfield, South Ayrshire  |  F Carstairs, W Sussex  |  N Martinek, W Yorks  |  A Hammond, Lincs  |  Anonymous, Aberdeen  |  P Derbyshire, GB
[ Sources: EU Parliament | EU Eurostat statistics service | EU Commission ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 11 Sept 2017
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 WHAT'S IN A NAME?
THIS IS
Naming ceremony for HMS Prince of Wales, Friday 8th Sept 2017
The two largest warships in Europe...
...and both of them are British
HERE'S HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, SISTER SHIP TO HMS PRINCE OF WALES
On her way to her home port of Portsmouth three weeks ago.
VIDEO
If you would like to watch a video to give you a flavour of the naming ceremony for HMS Prince of Wales, the consortium which built her have put together a fun compilation lasting just 5 minutes.
And if you would like to learn about how and why the UK has been signing up to every EU common defence development since the EU Referendum, when you thought we were escaping all that nonsense, then click here.
OBSERVATIONS
Last week the First Sea Lord, Admiral Philip Jones, referred to this as "a moment of profound strategic significance for the UK".
We agree.
Over and over again we see young British people interviewed by the BBC, Sky, or ITV, talking as if their country were some tin-pot embarrassment which couldn't possibly survive without the full support of the EU or other international bodies.
It worries us that they have clearly been brainwashed throughout their education into thinking that the UK is incapable of doing anything on its own, and that anything it has done in the past is something to be thoroughly ashamed of.
Well guess what guys? Look at the two very powerful beauties above. The UK's EU membership had nothing to do with either of them. Maybe you might decide to look at some facts for yourselves and re-evaluate some of what you might have been taught.
We welcome your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: MoD | Carrier Alliance ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       10.30am, 10 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
'PEOPLE'S MARCH FOR EWE'
LONDON, 9TH SEPT 2017
#peoplesmarch4eu
READERS' COMMENTS
 THIS IS WHY THE EU
DOESN’T WORK
On Thursday last week (7 Sept 2017), the EU Commission released the minutes of its meeting of 12 July 2017. The contents – in regard to Brexit – got headlines in the British media, and you have probably read of the insults levelled at David Davis which are contained within this document.
© EU Commission
The minutes demonstrate three things:
  • The arrogance of these unelected EU bureaucrats
  • Their desperation for money
  • The way they’re focused on the EU looking good, not on a successful Brexit for both sides
The Full Monty
In some parts the minutes are not far short of a verbatim account. If you’re looking for a synopsis of what was agreed, forget it. If you want brevity and something practical, it seems you have to come to us. The EU doesn’t do practical.
If you would like to read every word, this EU document carries the full minutes of the Brexit section of the meeting. We should warn you however that just the Brexit section runs to 2,650 words. That’s the typical length of a university research paper. The entire minutes for this meeting run to over 6,800 words.
Alternatively, here are our selected highlights:
9. STATE OF PLAY OF THE NEGOTIATIONS ON THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION
Brexit negotiations are “not Davis’ priority”
“Mr BARNIER felt, however, that the hardest tasks still lay ahead. He observed that the United Kingdom had not yet really engaged in the negotiations or spelled out its positions. He noted in this regard that David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, did not regard his direct involvement in these negotiations as his priority and there was also a possibility that he might not be present at the full opening session of the July cycle of talks.”
‘Accept our demand for money or we don’t start trade talks’
“On the specific question of the financial settlement, the UK’s real aim seemed to be to use past debts as a means of buying future access to parts of the single market, something which the Union could not accept … If the United Kingdom did not acknowledge in July that it had financial obligations towards the Union, there was no prospect of reaching an agreement on the first stage of the negotiations in October.”
UK’s offer on citizens’ rights not ‘fair or generous’
“On the question of citizens’ rights, the United Kingdom had published its position on 26 June. However, this offer was deemed to be insufficient as its effect would be to diminish the rights of European citizens and it could not therefore be described as in any way fair or generous.
“... he noted that the UK wanted to apply its own law, which could change over time, and it was refusing any role for the Court of Justice of the European Union, even though it was the only body with jurisdiction to interpret and implement Union law.”
Demand for money (again)
“As regards the financial settlement, he announced that his aim was to ensure that the United Kingdom acknowledged the following week that it had financial obligations towards the Union, so that talks could begin on the methodology to be applied to determine the amount involved.”
The ECJ ruling the deal
“On the question of governance, he explained that the Union was proposing to set up a joint EU-UK committee to manage the withdrawal agreement once it had been concluded, with the Court of Justice as the dispute resolution body, in line with the mandate given to the Commission.”
Get ready to speed up negotiations
“... he considered it highly unlikely that ‘sufficient progress’ could be deemed to have been made or that it would be possible in October to move on to the second stage of the negotiations, at which the future relationship with the UK would be discussed.
“In this regard, he invited the Commission Members to be prepared to accelerate the negotiation timetable between August and October by holding a negotiating round every three weeks instead of four.”
Barnier ‘regretted UK’s lack of clarity and will’
“Meanwhile, he felt that the UK should genuinely commit to a precise mandate, and regretted the lack of clarity and will shown so far by the British government.”
AFTER BARNIER, THE REST OF THE COMMISSION HAD THEIR SAY
In the course of the discussion that followed, the Commission as a whole raised the following key points, amongst others:
What the Commissioners thought:
  • EU running out of money, arising from UK exit
  • British public ‘don’t understand and need educating’
  • Need to do PR – stress that EU is focusing on people not money
  • Need to do PR – stress how well prepared EU are, so that people like the EU
  • Need to do PR – stress that planes may stop flying if no deal
  • Need to do PR – stress that David Davis just isn’t there all the time
Here are the actual words in the minutes regarding the above:
  • “the short-term budgetary questions arising as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the Union, particularly from 2019 and in view of outstanding commitments that must be fulfilled”
  • “the British public’s lack of understanding of the financial aspects of the UK’s withdrawal from the Union, and the need to inform the public in order to explain that commitments undertaken as a Member State created a legal and financial obligation”
  • “the appropriateness of the approach chosen for the negotiations, which gave priority to citizens rather than goods and capital and demonstrated in a practical way that the EU was above all a Union of men and women”
  • “the positive image that the Union was projecting by its state of preparedness and transparent working methods, and the resulting positive impact this was having in the Member States on the level of popular support for the EU”
  • “the immediate concerns raised by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the aviation sector, in view of the risk that aviation relations would be broken off if the negotiations failed and the need for the airlines to programme their activities many months in advance”
  • “the difficulties that might be caused by any potential absence of the chief negotiator on the British side, since this risked jeopardising the negotiations by multiplying the number of negotiators.”
(David Davis rather visibly not absent.) © EU Commission
AFTER THE COMMISSIONERS' COMMENTS, BARNIER RESPONDED:
Good PR is needed
“... to demonstrate the multitude of benefits acquired thanks to European integration. These benefits represented advances that were forgotten by citizens and undertakings in day-to-day life at a time when the decision of a Member State to leave the Union was calling them into question. He invited the Members to take advantage of this exercise in order to inform the public on the progress that had been made within the Union and the numerous practical benefits enjoyed by its citizens as a result.”
Barnier responded again on the demand for money
“With regard to the financial settlement, Mr BARNIER reiterated the consensus existing among the 27 Member States that the UK should honour all its legal and financial commitments.”
Barnier stressed again the need for UK to provide ‘stable’ person
“Lastly, he emphasised the importance for himself personally of being able to negotiate with a stable, accountable and authorised interlocutor who was available for the negotiations, in his view a fundamental condition for their smooth conduct.”
FINALLY, PRESIDENT JUNCKER:
“Winding up the discussion, the PRESIDENT expressed his concern about the question of the stability and accountability of the UK negotiator and his apparent lack of involvement, which risked jeopardising the success of the negotiations.
“He pointed out, as Mr BARNIER had done ... that the lack of an agreement would lead not to the status quo but rather to a disorderly withdrawal of the UK from the Union.”
“The Commission took note of this information.”
Not a leak
It’s important to stress that this document wasn’t leaked. It was the normal release of the minutes of an EU Commission meeting, almost two months after the meeting took place.
The ‘news’ was that these minutes were the first ones which cover the start of the Brexit negotiations, and the EU seemed to forget that they were likely to be scrutinised and reported on because of the Brexit content. They therefore contained some ‘juicy’ bits.
The reason these minutes from the Directorate-General of the EU Commission are issued so long after the actual meeting is because they are so lengthy and because they cover so many areas of activity. This means that hundreds of people needed to check them, and numerous changes were no doubt requested.
Often these changes will not be corrections. They will be alterations requested because a certain Commissioner or Directorate doesn’t like how they’ve come across. In other words reality has to be redrafted.
OBSERVATIONS
Prior to the EU referendum campaign, we were pointing out the mentality of EU bureaucrats and Europhile politicians across the EU member states. This is a difficult thing to explain; the best way is simply to experience it by listening to their speeches all the time, and particularly not to miss the Q&A sessions afterwards when the speakers are often less guarded.
In broad terms British people know roughly how their politicians think, because they appear on TV and in the newspapers. Even if someone has no interest in politics they will subliminally pick up generalities.
The problem for those of us who have been constantly trying to shed some light on the daily nightmares taking place across the Channel is that our TV news barely covered it for decades.
Millions of people in the UK really don’t know what the EU’s elite bureaucrats, most of its MEPs, and all the hangers on are really like. Instead, they have some gilded mental picture which has been touched up by British pro-EU politicians who should be ashamed of themselves.
Brussels isn’t the HQ of a Garden of Eden, it’s a nest of vipers. It’s home to people who are ready to sink their fangs into every aspect of people’s lives and ruin them. This may take decades but they have the time. They may talk idealistic claptrap which might appeal to more idealistic British people, but if you listen to them long enough you become very cynical about their intentions.
When we read the minutes described above, we had little interest in what caught the headlines: David Davis being called ‘unstable’ and effectively lazy. No, what interested us was just how these minutes laid bare the unbalanced thinking of people who have been living in their underworld for too long.
At the end after Monsieur Barnier had given his briefing, it’s clear that the Commissioners immediately wanted to home in on the public impression of all of this. A large part of Brexit for them is the PR part. They are desperate to show the EU in as positive a light as possible and to show the UK as an incompetent villain who will suffer endless agonies for an eternity.
Well, they might continue to fool vast swathes of Europe, but fortunately in the United Kingdom these Emperors have been caught without their clothes and are more visible each week.
Facts4EU.Org will continue for as long as possible to shine a light on them.
We welcome your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Commission ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 10 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: : Wellingborough, UK      Date/Time: 10 Sept, 5.03pm
Message: Of course the EU are going to look after the other 27 member states, it is what it exists for, no deal can be as good as membership, that is a fact. There aren't exactly loads of countries anywhere near us queuing up to get a trade deal either from what I have heard! Would you rather continue destroying the UK economy, making European travel a lot harder, making it very difficult and expensive if you want to live, work or even love in 27 of our nearest neighbouring countries? Why anyone would want to do this escapes me!
 THE BONZER, BREXIT-BACKING,
STRAIGHT-TALKING SENATOR
FROM DOWN UNDER
Australia’s youngest Member of Parliament
talks to Facts4EU.Org about Brexit - PART ONE
Sen. James Paterson with his lovely wife Lydia
“Brexit provides Australia with a unique opportunity,”
says Australia’s youngest-ever Senator
Senator James Paterson’s views on the EU:
  • ‘bloated, undemocratic and hostile to freedom’
  • ‘lurches from crisis to crisis’
  • ‘is clearly on the way down’
At 29 years old, Senator James Paterson is currently Australia’s youngest Member of Parliament, and the youngest ever Liberal Senator. He is already chair of the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee.
Whilst this hardworking senator from Melbourne is making a name for himself on the Aussie political stage, of far more interest to most of our readers will be Senator Paterson’s views on Brexit and on possible future ties between the UK and its Commonwealth friends.
 
Speaking exclusively to Brexit Facts4EU.Org he said:
“I was the only Australian politician to speak publicly in favour of Brexit prior to the vote.”
Photo left: Senator James Paterson of Victoria, Australia
‘EU IS BLOATED, UNDEMOCRATIC AND HOSTILE TO FREEDOM’
Below is the video of Paterson’s speech in the Senate on April 19th last year. In it he makes clear his views on the EU and on Brexit.
“The European Union project may have begun with good intentions, but the reality is that the EU today has strayed very far from those intentions. It has become bloated, undemocratic and hostile to the freedoms that made Britain great.”
“From where I sit, the choice is clear: Britain would be more prosperous, free and secure outside the European Union.”
“Rest assured that your friends around the world—including in Australia—would welcome you back into the international community outside the European Union and that you would have a strong, prosperous and stable relationship with us if you chose to do so.”
PATERSON BACKED BREXIT WHEN THE AUSSIE GOVERNMENT COULD NOT
Early last year the Australian government was no different from any other government around the World. They thought the UK would vote to remain.
And just like other countries, they had no wish to annoy David Cameron’s government nor the elites of the EU by making any favourable noises about a vote to leave.
James Paterson had no such compunction and he called it as he saw it. Crucially he made the argument for this in the Senate.
“They argue that Australia and the world indirectly benefit from this [the UK's continued membership] by preventing the EU from making worse decisions.”
“We are asking our friends and allies in the UK to bear a very, very high price for an uncertain benefit for us.
“To ask them to shackle themselves to the EU which lurches from crisis to crisis, which is clearly on the way down and hurtling towards possible disintegration is too great a request to ask of our friends.”
Speech to Australian Senate, 19 Apr 2016
At that time, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Australian government wanted Britain to remain tied to Brussels because:
"a strong UK as part of the EU would be in Australia's interests"
Photo right: Australian Foreign Minister (and Deputy Leader of Sen. Paterson's party) Julie Bishop
 
Since then of course, the Australian government has been able to be much more supportive of Brexit. During a recent visit to London, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was keen to progress a new free trade deal with the UK:
“Australians are fleet of foot, we don't muck around...
we will move as quickly as the UK is able to move.”
OBSERVATIONS
Like us, Senator Paterson has no antipathy towards individual EU countries and their citizens – quite the reverse. It is the EU he takes issue with, for what he sees as its undemocratic nature, its lack of freedoms, and its constraints on free trade.
Quick explainer on Australian politics
Senator Paterson is a Liberal Senator, but ‘Liberal’ has a very different meaning in Australia to its current usage in the UK. Broadly, the Liberal Party of Australia is a centre-right party, whereas most objective commentators in the UK would describe the UK’s Liberal Democratic Party as being firmly on the left of British politics.
By contrast, James Paterson comes at things from what we might describe as a more libertarian point of view. A very personable young man, he has the backing of the youth wing of his party. It is no surprise to us that his analysis of the EU/Brexit debate in the UK saw him siding very firmly with the Leave position.
Senator Paterson has strong views on global free trade, many of which chime very nicely with the UK’s needs going forward. In Part Two we look at his proposals for a CER/CANZUK arrangement between the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
NEXT ARTICLE (below): ONE OF BREXIT’S EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES
We welcome your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Senator James Paterson | Hansard Australia | Australian Parliament TV service | ABC Australia | Youtube ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.15am, 09 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: : FullEnglishBrexit, Cambs      Date/Time: 09 Sept, 11.40pm
Message: Good for Mr Paterson - at least someone down under was prepared to speak out for us last year. The CANZUK idea sounds interesting and I look forward to hearing more about it from you.
 “What's that Skippy?”
“You would have voted Leave if you could?”
 
 THE BREXIT OPPORTUNITY
Australia’s youngest Member of Parliament
talks to Facts4EU.Org about Brexit - PART TWO
Sen. James Paterson with his party leader and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
“With Australia, New Zealand, and Canada all lining up to sign post-Brexit trade agreements with the UK, we have an opportunity to push for a wide-ranging agreement between all four Commonwealth nations,”
says Australia’s Brexit-backing Senator
The nations being discussed are:
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
Collectively these are known as the CANZUK group.
In the last week, Australian Senator James Paterson has once again been using his influence to push for much closer ties going forward between the four main Anglosphere members of the Commonwealth.
Senator Paterson has written articles on the subject, and last week he spoke again about it in the Senate. Below you will find a video of the Senator's speech, but here we distil the key messages from his speeches and articles.
“These countries – known collectively as CANZUK – have a combined GDP of $US6.5 trillion and account for global trade of $US3.5 trillion dollars.
“More importantly, the CANZUK countries share unparalleled political, cultural, and institutional ties based on a shared history, values and heritage. All four countries are parliamentary democracies based on the Westminster tradition; all have common law legal systems; all are members of the Commonwealth; and all have Queen Elizabeth as Head of State.
“Along with the United States they form the core of the Anglosphere and already have incredibly close military and intelligence ties through the Five Eyes alliance. Adding closer economic ties to this relationship just makes sense.”
Senator Paterson told Facts4EU.Org exclusively:
 
“One of the exciting opportunities provided by Brexit is renewing the strong historic relationships of the Commonwealth. CANZUK would be a great start in that direction.
“Free trade and visa-free travel between countries that have so much in common just makes sense.”
The Senator talked about the possibility of using the ready-made Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER) as a template for such a deal. Here is what he told the Australian Parliament last week:
“Unlike many multilateral trade agreements, a CANZUK agreement shouldn't require what are often long, difficult and drawn-out negotiations. This is because we already have a highly successful agreement to base it upon—the Closer Economic Relations agreement between Australia and New Zealand.
“The CER agreement already prohibits all tariffs and trade restrictions on goods originating in a free trade area. It contains measures to minimise market distortions such as export subsidies, and it has protocols to reduce barriers to investment such as higher screening thresholds. Rather than drafting an entirely new agreement from scratch, Australia should advocate adding Canada and the UK to the CER agreement, with only a few major changes, if required.
“Taking this approach would limit the need for regulatory harmonisation. This is because the CER is based on the mutual recognition of goods and occupations. This would distinguish it from the ever-closer political union of the European Union, which the British people understandably rejected last year because of the way it eroded their democratic sovereignty.”
FREE MOVEMENT?
The Senator fully understands the sensitivities around the suggestion that the four countries might adopt a form of free movement.
“Like the CER, CANZUK would include free movement of people between the four Commonwealth countries. This may sound controversial, particularly given the role that immigration played in the Brexit referendum. But polling conducted by the Royal Commonwealth Society has shown that CANZUK freedom of movement has clear majority support in all four countries: 82 per cent support among New Zealanders, 72 per cent support among Canadians, 70 per cent support among Australians and 58 per cent among citizens of the UK.”
“Clearly visa-free travel is less controversial when it involves countries that share a common language, culture, heritage and economies at similar levels of development. Integration is almost a non-issue.”
OBSERVATIONS
There is no doubt that the shared history and values of the CANZUK nations make them far more suited to having close ties than is the case with many EU member states.
There are several other key differences too, not the least of which being CANZUK's mutual recognition of goods and services, rather than the EU's regulatory harmonisation approach which was of course due to its desire for all the EU member states ultimately to become one.
There would have to be considerable discussion around the issue of free movement however, because in the UK this is a difficult topic. Right now, many people doubt that the government will ever deliver on its promises to reduce dramtically the current levels of net immigration.
We will be publishing more on CANZUK in the coming days and weeks, and we will also give you some statistics on trade and other matters. However in the meantime we'd be interested to know your thoughts about our two articles above. And if any of you have any thoughts for Senator Paterson, we're happy to pass them on.
As ever, you can write to us here, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below. If your message is not for publication please mark it as such.
No-one else today will be running a story anything like the one above. We don't just recycle stories you can read elsewhere, like so many other Brexit websites.
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[ Sources: Senator James Paterson | Hansard Australia | Australian Parliament TV service | ABC Australia | Youtube ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.15am, 09 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: : Anna, UK      Date/Time: 10 Sept, 10.15pm
Message: I am delighted that Brexit will provide the opportunity for closer ties with our Commonwealth kin. We treated them shamefully when we threw in our lot with Europe, and abandoned people who had supported us, fought for us and died for us. I have always made a point of buying Commonwealth goods and I hope new trade deals once we escape the EU will ensure that we see more of them.
 11.5% JUMP IN UK EXPORTS
Latest ONS figures show 11.5% increase
since Referendum
For once we'll just let the graph below speak for itself
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
OBSERVATIONS
As usual we welcome your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Office for National Statistics ]
    Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       5.55pm, 08 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
 BRAVE, PRINCIPLED, AND RIGHT
Ms Kate Hoey MP - Best of British
Below is the speech given by Ms Hoey yesterday afternoon. In delivering this, Ms Hoey stood on her principles and flew in the face of Jeremy Corbyn’s 3-line whip which he is reported to have imposed on all Labour MPs, to vote against the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill next week.
Not only that, but Ms Hoey’s constituents in the Labour borough of Vauxhall voted by 77.6% to stay in the EU. Hers is the 11th most pro-EU constituency out of the 650.
It is a testament to this brave and principled woman that despite her very public pro-Brexit stance, her pro-EU constituents returned her at the June election with an increased majority.
Here is her speech yesterday:
Words of Ms Hoey that will resonate with many:
“I am not a lawyer, and the vast majority of the public are not lawyers. They will be watching today, and they will be judging all of us, whatever our party politics, on whether we are doing what is in the long-term, best interests of our country.
“I do not believe we should be playing some kind of political game about not voting for the Bill because it might make it look to some people in our party as if we are standing up to the Government. This is about the future of our country.”
There were many good speeches yesterday in addition to that of Ms Hoey. Below we have selected just three others.
Sir Bill Cash MP
Rt Hon John Redwood MP
Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP
OBSERVATIONS
“Insufficient democratic control,” they cried, over the attempt to reintroduce democratic parliamentary control.
Oh the bitter-sweet irony of watching a parliamentary litigation of Remoaners, (if you have other ideas for the collective noun for Remoaners, do send them) protesting at not having enough scrutiny of how the thousands of EU laws will be transposed into British law, where previously their precious EU had given MPs no possibility to reject one dot or comma.
This debate is about the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. If passed, it will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 which enshrines the supremacy of EU law in the United Kingdom. It will have the effect of transferring thousands of EU regulations into British law and will thereby ensure legal continuity once we leave the EU.
This is the Second Reading, after which it will go to the Committee Stage where it will be pored over and amended. In effect, Labour - and the coterie of Remainers including Clarke, Grieve, Soubry and Morgan whom we find hard to abide - are coming over all high and mighty when the Bill can only be an improvement on what we currently have.
Yes, we have one or two issues with certain provisions in the Bill, but we're sure these will be smoothed out in committee. The key thing is to keep progressing, as there are only 18 months until we leave the EU and there is much to be done.
CONSERVATIVE ROLL-CALL OF SHAME
Former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, and former ministers Nicky Morgan and Anna Soubry all raised major concerns about the Bill yesterday. What a shameless bunch these people are. They wouldn't know democracy if it came up and slapped them in the face.

Ken Clarke
 
Dominic Grieve
 
Anna Soubry
 
Nicky Morgan
We will comment on the conduct of the Shadow front bench and of other Labour MPs next week.
'OUR' KATE
How much more pleasant on a Friday morning to think of Kate Hoey, who put all thoughts of her personal self-interest behind her and who has been uncompromising in her staunch advocacy of Brexit. Various members of our team have differing opinions with Ms Hoey on a variety of other matters, but on Brexit we are as one.
It has at times been a lonely job for Ms Hoey, being a firm Brexiteer in the Parliamentary Labour Party. However she has in fact been a truer representative for her Party than the majority of her colleagues. They might do well to look at our chart below.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
Kate, we're proud of you!
We welcome your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Hansard | Parliament TV service | UEA ]
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       07.15am, 08 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
 “WE DON'T OWE THE EU ANY MONEY”
PARLIAMENTARY GROUP & LAWYERS FOR BRITAIN ISSUE REPORT DEMOLISHING EU’S CASE FOR ‘FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT’

Charlie Elphicke MP
 
Yesterday Charlie Elphicke MP of the Conservative European Research Group, and Martin Howe QC of Lawyers for Britain, produced a 30-page report which demolishes all known claims by the EU for what the EU refers to as:
‘The Single Financial Settlement’
 
Martin Howe QC
In effect yesterday’s report represents the final nail in the coffin for the EU’s desperate attempts to suck as much money out of the UK as possible before - and for some years after - it leaves the European Union on 30 March 2019.
In March, the pro-EU House of Lords EU Committee produced their report which concluded (perhaps reluctantly) that the UK had no outstanding financial obligations to the EU and that the ECJ would have no jurisdiction over this.
Last week in Brussels the British negotiating team launched a two and a half hour ‘death by Powerpoint’ rebuttal of all the EU’s claims. By all accounts this left Monsieur Barnier and the EU’s Article 50 negotiating team flabbergasted and then apoplectic.
And now this latest report from a parliamentary group and a group of experienced barristers. As the saying goes, perhaps it’s time for the EU to get its coat.
Main conclusions of the report:
  • No basis in law for further payments after March 2019
  • No basis for payments to EU’s pension scheme, unless EU wants to give UK share of all assets
  • No-one pays or receives on entry into the EU, therefore no-one pays or receives on exit
  • No precedent in international law for a divorce bill like this
  • European Investment Bank (EIB) is a separate case: UK is entitled to its shares (c.€10bn)
  • ECJ has no say in all of this – UK could propose that neutral international tribunal decides
“Frankly barmy sums” - former Minister
 
Earlier this morning we spoke to former Cabinet Minister Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP for his reaction.:
Mr Paterson has always been clear in his view on the Brexit bill and he told us:
“This report clearly demonstrates that there is no case whatever for paying any of the frankly barmy sums demanded by EU negotiators.”
The report's authors were unsurprisingly frank yesterday:
Charlie Elphicke MP for the ERG said: “The EU is trying to blackmail Britain into handing over billions of pounds. Yet this detailed analysis shows that legally we owe the EU nothing. In fact, it turns out they owe us €10bn.
“The Government should stand firm and not be blackmailed into a multi-billion pound divorce bill.”
Martin Howe QC for Lawyers for Britain said: “In law, we will owe no money at all to the EU when we leave, with some small items being more than cancelled out by the value of the UK's shareholding in the European Investment Bank.”
OUR PREVIOUS WORK ON THIS
Regular readers will know we've been consistent on this subject, and have published our own views and supporting information on many occasions. Here is just one example:
OBSERVATIONS
This report once again has a caveat regarding its scope. We have previously commented on a variety of EU ‘off-the-books’ funds to which the UK is party. These include the so-called European Development Fund and the ‘Refugees for Turkey’ Fund.
Here is the caveat in the report issued yesterday:
“It should be borne in mind that this analysis only looks at the principal items of the EU’s claim and there could be other claims and liabilities, or indeed other assets potentially claimable by the UK, arising out of the complex finances of the EU and the complex organisation of its many subsidiary bodies and agencies. However, looking at the headline items, it would seem that overall the UK should be entitled on exit to a net payment in its favour, corresponding approximately to the value of its capital invested in the EIB.”
Over a long period we have reported that the EU has taken to using these ‘off-the-books’ funds to channel money from richer member states like Britain, without these vast sums appearing in the official account of the UK’s ‘contributions’ to the EU. Worse still, these amounts are never included when bodies like the BBC’s so-called ‘Fact Check’ service calculate the net contributions which the UK makes to the EU each year. The House of Commons Library also seems to be unaware of them when it does its final sums.
We stand by the figures we have given since before the Referendum.
Why weren't we told?
We would like to make a point which never seems to be made about this Brexit divorce bill. If it is so normal and obvious that the UK would owe the EU potentially up to €100 billion euros on departure, how is it that this wasn't mentioned by anyone in the EU Commission, or the EU Parliament, or the EU Council, or by our then pro-EU government of Mr Cameron, or by any Remain campaign representative in the UK?
With all the claims that all these people made about how much better off we would be if we stayed in the EU, you would have thought that someone on the EU or Remain side might have mentioned this?
Is it just possible that no-one mentioned it because no-one had thought of such a ridiculous idea until after we voted to leave?
Our opinion on this divorce bill
We have been consistent since this subject first came up. Any suggestion from the EU that any sum whatsoever is payable should be rebutted firmly. It's a little late now for Mr Davis, but we would have met the initial demand with nothing short of incredulousness and then laughter.
We are where we are, so the government now needs to be absolutely firm. There will be no 'single financial settlement', nor will there be any payment for access to their single market, nor any other absurd claim on the UK's coffers. If we have any spare money, we have plenty of priorities to spend it on in the UK, thank you.
We welcome your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Conservative European Research Group | Lawyers for Britain ]
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       07.00am, 07 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
 “IT IS SEEKING
TO OBTAIN MONEY”
David Davis sums up EU’s demands in one sentence
We analyse the first parliamentary Brexit session since the summer negotiations
Yesterday at 4.41pm, the Rt Hon David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union rose to speak to the House.
Mr Davis gave a summary of progress, which we will précis still further:
Citizens’ rights
Significant progress and actual agreements. Main difficulty remains EU’s unprecedented demand to operate its own law inside the UK after Brexit. This 'ECJ' question will apply to most other areas too.
Separation Issues
“Close to agreement on our approach to post-exit privileges and immunities”. Good progress but EU will need to be “more imaginative and flexible in its approach”.
Northern Ireland and Ireland
“There has been significant, concrete progress”. However the key issues “will need to form an integral part of discussions on the UK’s future relationship with the EU”.
Single Financial Settlement
“The UK and the EU will have financial obligations to each other that will survive our exit”. “It is clear that the two sides have very different legal stances. But ... the settlement should be in accordance with law and in the spirit of the UK’s continuing partnership with the EU.”
Transition
“In terms of the implementation or transitionary period — call it what you will — there is now widespread agreement across Europe that it will be beneficial to have an implementation period.”
Overall message to EU Commission is that they must: “put people above process”.
Finally, in answer to Sir Keir Starmer’s reply for the Opposition which criticised progress overall, Mr Davis said of the EU that
“It is seeking to obtain money. That is what this is about.”
QUESTIONS TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE
A significant number of MPs wanted to speak and many prominent backbenchers from the Brexit and Remain sides were called. We have selected just a few prominent questions/ speeches. What follows is merely a flavour and we have cut out some sentences. For the full transcript please consult Hansard.
As usual the Speaker firstly called the Great Disgrace himself, Mr Ken Clarke, who bored with the usual rubbish. Mr Clarke was followed by IDS.
 
Mr Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green) (Con)
“On transition and implementation deals, over which the Opposition have got very excited, may I remind him of one simple fact: you cannot have any discussion about transition or implementation until you know what you are transitioning to? Thus the agreement over what we get with the European Union comes before any discussion about transition deals.”
Hilary Benn (Leeds Central) (Lab)
“Why does he not recognise, therefore, that the only way now to give business the stability and certainty it requires is to say that we will remain within the current trade and market access arrangements for a transitional period in order to allow a final deal to be negotiated and agreed?”
 
Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con)
[Speaking of the Opposition]
“In other words, they have now moved from being remainers to reversers.”
 
John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con)
“I congratulate the Secretary of State on explaining that we have no legal liability to pay money above our contributions up to the date of departure. We want to get on and spend that on our priorities. Does he agree that the EU has a simple choice to make, which I hope it will make sooner but which it will probably make later: it can either trade with us with no new tariffs or barriers, because we have made a very generous offer, or it can trade with us under World Trade Organisation rules, which we know works fine for us because that is what we do with the rest of the world?”
Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
[Some confused nonsense few could understand.]
 
Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) (Con)
“Has my right hon. Friend raised the thought with Monsieur Barnier that if a member state that is a net beneficiary were leaving, would he expect to pay it a large dowry? When he realises that the answer to that question is obvious, does it follow that the European Commission’s demand for money with menaces is ridiculous?”
Mr Chris Leslie (Nottingham East) (Lab/Co-op)
“On the financial settlement, can the Secretary of State confirm that the Government will bring forward a separate and distinct vote in Parliament to authorise any billions of pounds of divorce bill from the European Union?”
Mr David Davis, reply:
“The Bill does not cover separation payments ... My expectation is that the money argument will go on for the full duration of the negotiation. The famous European line that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed will apply here as it will everywhere else, but there will be a vote in which the House can reflect its view on the whole deal, including on money.”
 
Mr Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) (Con)
“May I ask my right hon. Friend to confirm that it was Michel Barnier who described the idea of a transition period without a clear agreement at the end as a bridge to nowhere, so will he dismiss some of the advice that he has received on transition periods?”
Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP)
“I welcome the Secretary of State’s paper on Northern Ireland, particularly the assurances to Unionists that the border will not be drawn along the Irish sea, and equally to nationalists that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. I especially welcome the fact that those goals are achievable because of the practical measures suggested in the paper. Is he therefore disappointed by the Irish Government’s negative response to his paper, especially since they have so much to lose from an EU punishment beating of the UK? Has he had any assurances from the Irish Government that they will not act on the spiteful advice of Gerry Adams that they should block any agreement between the EU and the UK?”
 
Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab)
“Would he therefore agree that, although people might have difficulties with parts of it that can be discussed in Committee, anyone who votes against the principle on Second Reading is betraying the will of the British people?”
Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East) (Con)
“Does it remain Government policy that a clean break in 2019 is better than a bad deal, as it may lead to more fruitful negotiations further down the line after we have actually left the European Union?”
Mr David Davis, reply:
“The answer is yes, because the Prime Minister reiterated that just the other day.”
 
Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
“Will the Secretary of State give this House an absolute undertaking that on 31 March 2019 we will leave the EU, whether a deal has been reached or not, and that there will be no case whatsoever of considering an extension to the negotiations?”
Mr David Davis, reply:
“One point that I think is sometimes confused is the idea that a transitional or implementation period means an extension of the negotiations. We need, essentially, to have arrived at a decision by the end of March 2019, but the simple truth is that the article 50 process stops it there. That is it; that is where it goes to. So even if I did not give the promise, it would happen.”
 
Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering) (Con)
“Has it not become depressingly clear this afternoon that, with some honourable exceptions, most Opposition MPs have swallowed the EU negotiating line hook, line and sinker? They want us to transition to staying in the single market and the customs union, and if possible to staying in the whole EU, thus preventing us from regaining control of our borders, and they are displaying a catastrophic loss of nerve at the first whiff of grapeshot from the European Commission. May I commend my right hon. Friend for his cool head and his steady nerve, and may I urge him to hold the line and not to listen to the remoaners who have become reversers who would sell our country short?”
OBSERVATIONS
Mr Davis put on a decent show yesterday, exuding confidence and bonhomie. It’s worth mentioning that he also seemed full of energy for a 68-year old man who has spent the last week travelling between Yorkshire, London, Brussels, Washington, Illinois, and London again. Very impressive.
Regular readers know that we have differences of approach with Mr Davis. We favour a much harder stance – and we do not approve of being blackmailed into paying money nor of being pressured into any transition period by the incompetent, delaying style of the EU in absolutely everything they do.
That said, much of the rest of what Mr Davis is doing seems to be working well. He and his team have certainly made remarkable progress in the area of citizens rights and some of the technical but important separation issues.
If we were running these negotiations, (and part of the team has experience in complex, multi-million, international negotiations), we would confront the two big elephants in the room head on. Much better in our view to disabuse the EU of the notion that they will be getting any payment from us as a parting gift. We would also reject completely any notion whatsoever of legal oversight by the CJEU (ECJ) or of there being any duality of legal regimes operating in the UK post-Brexit. Finally we would insist on the UK being able to make new trade deals operational immediately upon exit in 2019.
An independent country is just that, and the EU should have no say on anything that happens in the UK after we leave. Does anyone seriously imagine that all the other countries of the world would have a different standpoint to this if it were them? If the EU tries to push its dictatorial style much more in these negotiations, the rest of the world will finally get to realise just what a monster it really is.
And what’s even worse for the EU’s elites, their own peoples might finally start to realise too.
We welcome your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Hansard ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.15am, 06 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: : Getahead, Troon      Date/Time: 06 Sept, 3.31pm
Message: "Finally we would insist on the UK being able to make new trade deals operational immediately upon exit in 2019." Absolutely correct. An "extension period" where the UK was unable to make new trade deals with the rest of the world would be self-defeating.
(A Facts4EU.Org Opinion)
 NOT HIM AGAIN....
VERHOFSTADT HOLDS FORTH ON BREXIT
Yesterday Guy Verhofstadt, Brexit Co-ordinator for the EU Parliament, updated the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) about the progress of the Brexit negotiations.
Verhofstadt isn't conducting the negotiations, and isn't part of the EU team that is. Nevertheless, he regularly parades around various EU Parliamentary committees to 'update' them.
Below is the video from yesterday, in case you want to watch it. We started, but soon lost the will to live. Life really is too short for this kind of thing.
Verhopeless appears at around 5.15pm, around an hour into the broadcast. Apparently he was late because he was having a meeting with Hilary Benn MP, Chairman of the Exiting the European Union Committee of the House of Commons. (Yes, you may well ask!)
               © EU Parliament
OBSERVATIONS
If anyone wants to listen to this and let us know if he said anything remotely interesting, please do and we'll publish it.
[ Sources: EU Parliament ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       5.00pm, 05 Sept 2017
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 FORGET NEW TRADE DEALS
FOR YEARS, SAYS DAVID DAVIS
                                                                       © US Chambers of Commerce
Brexit Secretary surrenders the main economic benefit of Brexit
On Friday, David Davis gave a speech to the US Chamber of Commerce. He had flown to Washington direct from Brussels, following his negotiation ‘wrap-up’ press conference with the EU’s Michel Barnier.
David Davis clearly stated that the UK would not be able to implement any new trade deals for years after the UK leaves the EU.
We ran the speech live-streamed on our site, because politicians often say much more in a foreign country than they would ever say at home – particularly in off-scripted answers to questions after the speech. This proved to be the case.
We commented at the time, but no mainstream news organisation picked up the story, so here we are laying everything out very clearly. It's important.
Mr Davis was asked about the timetable and practicalities of the UK having a free trade deal with the United States. Here is his answer, in verbatim form, and then translated into simpler written English.
David Davis Verbatim:
“What happens if we end up here with what I call an implementation period, other people call transition phases and so on? What I would say to you is my expectation is that we would not have an implementation into force during a transition period or during an implementation period, because that would be building a big loophole in Europe’s (sic) common external tariff barrier.
“But we could certainly conclude the negotiation and we could certainly be ready to go on Day One once it’s over, so in timetable terms that’s how it goes. Now that’s not er.... er.... very much out of line with what would be the timetable anyway.
“Between us we’re big, complex economies with huge volumes of existing trade but even bigger volumes of potential trade so you must expect the deal we do to be quite complex and quite extensive, so I don’t think, although it’s a technical limit on it, I don’t think it will actually prove to be a real limit.”
Summarised into Simple English:
“No trade deal with the US can start until after the ‘implementation’ or ‘transition’ period, because the EU won’t allow it.”
Watch the full speech and Q&A here.
David Davis and other senior members of the government are all now talking as though a ‘transition’ or ‘implementation’ period is a decision they have taken. In other words, it’s government policy.
Furthermore, from his answer above, it’s clear he has accepted that no trade deals can come into effect until AFTER any transition period of 2-3 years. This means that the trade deals which Dr Liam Fox is working on will not be able to start until 2021-2022.
FURTHER EVIDENCE
Last month we analysed one of the Brexit papers which the UK government sent to the EU, called ‘Future Customs Arrangements - A Future Partnership Paper’.
Here is the dramatic highlight from that analysis:
The key problem isn’t what the government’s new document says about customs arrangements. The key problem is what it says about timing.
Here is the most important part to read:-
“Our ultimate customs arrangement will depend on our negotiations with the EU. However, under either approach, both the UK and EU Member States would benefit from time to fully implement the new customs arrangements, in order to avoid a cliff-edge for businesses and individuals on both sides. The Government believes a model of close association with the EU Customs Union for a time-limited interim period could achieve this. It would help both sides to minimise unnecessary disruption and provide certainty for businesses and individuals if this principle were agreed early in the process. The Government would need to explore the terms of such an interim arrangement with the EU across a number of dimensions. The UK would intend to pursue new trade negotiations with others once we leave the EU, though it would not bring into effect any new arrangements with third countries which were not consistent with the terms of the interim agreement.”
THIS ISN’T BREXIT, IT’S CARRYING ON WITH THE EU
IT MEANS NOT BEING ABLE TO TRADE FREELY WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD
IT MEANS ALL OF THE PAIN AND NONE OF THE GAIN
SO, TRADING FREELY WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD ON BREXIT?
  • The government’s position paper to the EU says NO.
  • The Secretary of State for Leaving the EU says NO.
It appears to be the current government policy to surrender the main economic benefit of Brexit, for many years.
OBSERVATIONS
We happen to think this is one of the more serious stories we’ve run in the last couple of months. And yet we suspect it might not be widely read.
Why?
The ability for the UK to strike its own trade arrangements with countries globally is one of the big benefits of leaving the EU. These countries are literally queueing up.
How on earth can the UK government talk so glibly as if it’s now a fait accompli that we have to wait until the end of some yet-to-be-determined transition period after 2019?
We genuinely do not believe that people yet realise that this is the government’s policy. Our editor was even speaking to a very senior pro-Brexit politician the other day, who did not think that this had been agreed.
We offer a simple challenge. If any member of the government would like to show how we have got this wrong, we will happily publish their answer in full. We would love to be proved wrong on this.
Final point: we really would like to support the government fully in its discussions and negotiations to secure a clean, efficient Brexit. We do not publish very many critical stories at all, but this is one where we feel we must speak out. What do you think?
Do you have any thoughts? As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
No-one else today will be running a story anything like the one above. We don't just recycle stories you can read elsewhere, like so many other Brexit websites.
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[ Sources: US Chamber of Commerce | DExEU ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.15am, 05 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: : Carole, Merseyside      Date/Time: 05 Sept, 8.58pm
Message: This is only if the transitional period involves a customs union with the EU. This is what the EU will push for. I'm hoping such an arrangement would be extremely short lived and limited if we have to have one at all. I still feel no deal is very much on the cards.
Name: : Sibelius Fan, UK      Date/Time: 05 Sept, 6.01pm
Message: Great - so we're back where we've been for 40+ years, with all political parties holding the same view, so we get no choice. Exactly why UKIP came into being!
Name: : BrexitBabe, Middle England      Date/Time: 05 Sept, 10.55am
Message: This article is exactly why I read Facts4EU every day. Somehow you find interesting things which don't appear elsewhere and often they're very important. I agree with you when you described this one as important. Like you I picked up David Davis' reply to the first question the moment I first heard it (on your site a few days ago) and I was amazed. As far as I see he put it on the record that Britain won't activate new trade deals until some transition period is over. God knows how long that will be. Personally I don't think they'll ever do a deal and we should call them out on this. While political idiots and EU-fanatics are in charge of the negotiations on the EU side we're wasting our time.
 LISTEN UP, BRITISH PEOPLE
A leetle reminder of why we're leaving,
courtesy of Monsieur Barnier
Michel Barnier spoke on Saturday 2nd Sept in Italy.                                 © EU Commission
We believe Monsieur Barnier was trained at the French charm school attended by former French President Francois Hollande.
 
“We intend to teach people... what leaving the single market means”
Chief EU Negotiator Michel Barnier, 2 Sept 2017
 
“There needs to be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price.”
Former President Francois Hollande, 15 Sept 2016
 
“This is not an amicable divorce.”
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, 24 June 2016
(The day of the Referendum result.)
OBSERVATIONS
They just can't help themselves, can they?
We have previously intimated that Monsieur Barnier doesn't have a reputation for being the tallest peak in the mountainous French Savoie region, but even he must realise how inflammatory such statements are in the UK. In fact we can't imagine they go down well in many other parts of the EU, where high-handed attitudes are already causing serious rifts to open up.
The problem for these europhiles like Barnier, Hollande, Verhofstadt, Merkel, et al is that they've spent so long in the other-world of the EU, they just can't stop themselves uttering what in the real world sounds outrageous.
Long may it continue.
Do you have any thoughts? As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       09.45am, 04 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: : Denis Cooper, Berks      Date/Time: 04 Sept, 2.26pm
Message: It’s quite amusing that Michel Barnier arrogantly believes he should “educate” us about the EU Single Market and teach us what it will mean to leave it, because five years ago he was inadvertently teaching us just how little value there was in being part of it.

Here he is as the Commissioner for the Single Market providing the Foreword to a 2012 EU publication entitled “20 years of the European Single Market”: The most interesting claims were on page 13, under “Main Macroeconomic achievements and impact”: The collective GDP of the EU member states in 2008 was 2.13% higher than it would have been if the Single Market had not been launched in 1992. Over the same period, the Single Market helped to create 2.77 million new jobs, a 1.3% increase in employment across the EU. Interestingly those meagre improvements in GDP and employment corresponded to a very much larger increase in the volume of intra-EU goods trade – in other words, thanks to the Single Market a lot more stuff was being shipped around within the EU, but that had not actually made the inhabitants significantly more prosperous.

This report did not try to gauge how the average or overall benefit had been distributed across individual EU member states, it was this other source: which suggested that for the UK the gain had been below the average, more like 1%.
Name: : SibeliusFan, UK      Date/Time: 04 Sept, 2.23pm
Message: So we can infer from this (if we didn't already know) that there will be no "deal". Therefore why on earth do they imagine we'll pay an exit fee (except of course what we genuinely owe.)
Judging from our postbag we seem to have picked up a lot of new readers recently
If that's you, welcome to the best site for original Brexit news packed with facts from indisputable sources. If you're a politician, you're joining colleagues in Westminster, Brussels, the devolved capitals and even internationally. If you're a think-tanker or journalist, you're not the only one who finds our occasional in-depth reports very useful.
And if you're just, well.... you, then you're especially welcome. We started this site well before the EU Referendum exactly for people like you. People who want clear information from reliable sources. And people who appreciate a bit of original thought, too.
Enjoy, and don't forget to write!
 DEMOCRACY IN DEUTSCHLAND
Merkel-Schulz TV debate                                                                       © ARD
With 20 days to go before the German elections,
here’s a snapshot of last night’s debate
About the debate itself
  • Only one leaders’ TV debate before election on 20 Sept
  • The 2 leaders – Merkel and Schulz – of the government coalition parties
  • ‘The grand coalition debating itself’ - no other leaders allowed
  • No studio audience to ask questions
  • All questions decided by broadcasters
  • Broadcasters outnumbered debaters, four to two
Interestingly, Brexit wasn’t a topic. The main topics were migration, Turkey, Trump and North Korea, employment/economy/social, and ‘Dieselgate’.
IMMIGRATION
“Integrating one million people
is a generational task.”
(Martin Schulz, in last night's debate)
Photo right: Martin Schulz, when he was President of the EU's Parliament
 
Chancellor Merkel stated her view that migrants are “no threat to Germany,” although she admitted that the 2015 migrant crisis has left Germany with the “difficult task” of integrating all the migrants who had come.
On opening Germany’s borders
Herr Schulz attacked the Chancellor over her dictatorial style. Commenting on Frau Merkel’s unilateral decision two years ago to open Germany’s doors, he said: “We made the mistake of not consulting with our European partners beforehand, which led to countries like Hungary and Poland not standing by their obligations, and letting us down, although Germany is transferring a large amount of money to these countries.”
Accused by Schulz that she had “put democracy in the sleeper cabin”, Merkel responded that “I had zero hope that Viktor Orban would change his position”. This seemed to suggest that she had decided not to discuss the decision to take in millions of migrants because she thought other EU leaders wouldn’t agree.
“Islam belongs in Germany”
Neither leader sees any issue with Muslim immigration into Germany. The Chancellor said that “although radical Islamists are perpetrating acts of terror in Europe,” she continues to believe that “Islam belongs in Germany.”
Herr Schulz agreed with Frau Merkel that “integration of Muslim immigrants presents no greater challenge,” in comparison to any other group. He merely felt the government should be doing more to stop hate preachers spreading radical ideology.
As for the large, looming question in Germany about family reunification for migrants, both leaders dodged the question. This is the elephant in the room for Germany, as it faces huge numbers of family members of those migrants who have made it into Germany already, applying for their families to come and join them.
On Turkey
“It is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the European Union,” said the Chancellor. She went on to say that she would discuss with fellow EU leaders to see if “we can end these membership talks”. She also said that she didn't “see [Turkey] ever joining and I had never believed that it would happen”. We hardly know where to begin with this.
OBSERVATIONS
Okay, so Brexit wasn’t discussed. Strange perhaps, given that it has an impact on Germany in so many ways, but there are other foreign policy issues which dominate in Germany apart from Brexit.
Trump got a look in, of course, because everyone there likes to thump Trump. In that sense German politicians and the German media are very similar to their British versions.
Despite the absence of Brexit, the debate was of interest to a UK audience. What Germany does over immigration matters. It has already had a huge impact, with its knock-on effects to countries outside Germany, including the UK.
To give just one example, Merkel’s deal with Erdogan to stop the flow of migrants, dressed up subsequently as an EU deal, cost the UK hundreds of millions of pounds in extra EU contributions. None of these contributions are ever counted by official bodies in the UK when telling you the UK's net contributions to the EU, of course, as they don't appear officially in the annual contributions calculations. It doesn't stop them having to be paid, though.
It is our opinion that German immigration policies in recent years – and particularly in 2015 – have been nothing short of insane. What last night’s debate between the two leaders most likely to be German Chancellor showed, was that the insanity will continue no matter who is in charge.
Of course, the winner of the contest in 20 days’ time will almost inevitably be Frau Merkel. According to the latest opinion polls we saw on Friday, her CDU/CSU coalition party currently enjoys a lead of something like 37% to the SPD’s 23%.
Who actually governs Germany?
It amused us after the last General Election in the UK to see EU politicians gleefully jumping on the result, claiming that Mrs May no longer had a mandate to lead the country.
We even produced a Facts4EU.Org report, showing how Mrs May had the biggest mandate of any leader of the 10 biggest economies in the EU.
Chart © Facts4EU.Org 2017
The Conservatives won 42.3% of the vote at the General Election 2017. That is the highest of any political leader in the top 10 member states.
Germany is currently run by a ‘grand coalition’ government. Not only is Mrs Merkel’s CDU party in coalition with its Bavarian cousins the CSU party, in the last election in 2013 it was forced into a grand coalition with the socialist SPD party of Herr Schulz.
Can you imagine a Con-Lab coalition?
This is like the Conservatives in the UK being in coalition not only with the DUP of Northern Ireland, but the Labour Party too.
Martin Schulz – former president of the EU parliament and Brit-hater
Herr Schulz was President of the EU Parliament until January of this year. Having watched innumerable proceedings of that body, we would say that his behaviour towards, and bias against, British MEPs was quite shocking.
In his final year, when he was presiding over heated debates before and after the EU Referendum in the UK, his words and actions frequently appalled us. We have a major problem with the current Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, but his antics pale into insignificance against the German atrocity that is Herr Schulz.
We’re sorry if that offends any of our German readers, but he really was not fit for office and we must call it as we see it. We love Germany - some of us have lived there - but some German Eurofanatics are hard to tolerate.
Now that Schulz is no longer in power in the EU, there was a moment in last night’s debate which amused us. It provided an interesting insight into the workings of his mind.
When talking about Frau Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s borders, he criticised Merkel for not telling EU countries in advance that they were to be overrun, but then immediately criticised those countries for “not standing by their obligations”. Surely if they hadn’t been consulted, then they had no obligations?
Do you have any thoughts? As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: ARD and other broadcasters ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.15am, 04 Sept 2017
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 NOW, PAY ATTENTION PLEASE
Your Foreign Secretary Speaks                  © EU Commission
YOU AGREED THIS, REMEMBER?
 
IT'S TIME TO GET ON BOARD
© EU Commission
“We are removing the obstacles to the deployment of the European (sic) rapid reaction force: the Battlegroups.
“Over this past year, our common defence has advanced more than in the previous 60 years.”
– Federica Mogherini, High Representative and Vice-President of the EU Commission
Ms Mogherini is effectively your Foreign Secretary. No, you didn't elect her. How could you? She's a member of the EU Commission.
She does have, however, an enormous amount of power over people's lives and over their money. In the last year, she has also been able to start grabbing real, hard power in the form of military capability.
THIS AFFECTS THE UK, 'DESPITE BREXIT'
It's a simple fact that since the Referendum the UK government has not voted against a single measure proposed by the EU Commission in relation to its common defence plans. All have been approved.
The EU's race to full military capability is now in full swing. Anyone from the UK side who is involved - be they in the MoD, defence contractors associations, quasi-governmental bodies, the military top brass, or the junior and senior ministers themselves all the way up to Theresa May - cannot help but know what's going on and what the UK has signed up to.
Furthermore, it is blindingly obvious to anyone working in the defence arena with half a brain that the EU fully intends to replace NATO completely as the primary defence agency acting in the European theatre.
This isn't just our view, it's the view of every impartial and informed person we know in this field. In November General Thompson spoke exclusively to the Editor of Facts4EU.Org about the EU and its plans for the future defence of Europe.
MAJ GEN JULIAN THOMPSON, CB, OBE
“I’m quite clear that the intention of the European Union is to set up its own defence organisation which - I believe - they hope will eventually replace NATO.”
Distinguished Royal Marine officer who led 3 Commando Brigade and as British Land Commander led the amphibious assault to retake the Falkland Islands, now Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies, King's College.
When it comes to defence of the Realm, who would you rather trust?
RT HON NICK CLEGG MP
“The idea of an EU Army is a dangerous fantasy
that is simply not true.”
Former EU Commission bureaucrat, lobbyist, MEP and MP, who led his party to a crushing defeat in the 2015 General Election and was EU Party Spokesman who helped to lose the EU Referendum.
THE 'EUROPEAN EXTERNAL ACTION SERVICE'
We obtained the latest information from the EU and its 'European External Action Service'. If you are not familiar with the EEAS, here is how it describes itself:
“The EEAS is the European Union's diplomatic service. It helps the EU's foreign affairs chief – the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – carry out the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy.”
The EEAS was created by the Lisbon Treaty and only came into force in 2011. Since then it has been busy, particularly since former Italian Communist Federica Mogherini took over in 2014. Finally last year she was able to get her hands on real power - the military kind - and developments have been faster than anything we've ever seen in all the areas of the EU we follow.
Naturally, the EEAS pushed at some open doors at first. It's interesting how much of its work seems to happen in French-speaking former French colonies in Africa, for example. France certainly saw the potential of the EU's new EEAS to fund some of its existing commitments.
While researching this article we looked at a great deal of information and several EU videos - all of them are in French. That is not the case for EU videos in general of course.
WHERE IS THE EU's MILITARY BUSY?
© EU Commission
Here are the EU's current 'military missions', as it describes them:
  • EU Training Mission Mali
  • EU Training Mission Somalia
  • EU Naval Force Somalia (Operation Atalanta)
  • EU Training Mission Central African Republic
  • EU Naval Force Southern Mediterranean (Operation Sophia)
  • EU Military Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Operation Althea)
MILITARY OR CIVILIAN?
Even when a mission is described by the EU as being ‘civilian’, the reality seems to be a little different. For example, there is an EU video for the EUCAP Sahel Niger mission which clearly states “About 120 international experts, mostly from security forces and justice departments in Europe, are permanently deployed in Niameh and Agadez.”
The EU identifies this mission as clearly civilian.
© EU Commission
The screengrab above shows a French ‘civilian’ adviser from the EU mission, working with large numbers of Nigeriens in military uniforms. For a civilian he is surprisingly adept at demonstrating the use of sidearms. Older readers will no doubt recall that the USA's adventures in Vietnam started with the deployment of ‘civilian’ advisers.
Incidentally, Niger is not to be confused with Nigeria. Niger was French, Nigeria was British.
Whatever people like Nick Clegg may pretend, the evidence for the rapid acceleration in the EU's military ambitions is plain for all to see. As Remainers can be a blind bunch, below are a couple more photos from our files, both taken in the last year.
    
© EU Commission
The photo on the left is from Brussels, where a bizarre ceremony took place last year for the handover to the new Director General of the EU Military Staff. No-one seemed terribly sure of what to do or where they should stand, and that's never a good look for a bunch of very senior military officers.
The photo on the right is from the Central African Republic, a former French colony where forces under the EU flag are working currently.
OBSERVATIONS
The security and defence of its people is the first duty of government.
This is one of the reasons we have repeatedly conducted research into this area in relation to the EU and Brexit. We are reasonably calm people and are certainly not alarmists by nature. All of us are concerned about the government's apparently laissez-faire, nonchalant attitude to what they've been agreeing to since Brexit. It also worries us deeply that there has been almost no parliamentary scrutiny of this.
We hope we have once again given you a perspective on what the EU is up to and why the UK needs to disentangle itself from this area of activity. We shall continue to use whatever influence we have in senior political circles to reverse the current policy of the May government.
It's Sunday and regular readers will know that we always try to leave you on a lighter note on this day in particular, so....
IT HELPS TO BE FRENCH
 
Currently it's obvious that if you're an army officer or other rank and you want to be deployed overseas by the EU, it helps enormously if you're French. Failing that, you'd better be able to speak it, because that's the language that army operations are mostly conducted in.
Having said that, being French didn't help Général Pierre de Villiers recently. He had the misfortune to be France's Chief of Defence Staff under the young Macron. After some disagreements about the defence budget being slashed, he was dispatched by the new President before you could say “Garotte or guillotine, mon Général?”
Do you have any thoughts on any of the above? As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: EU Commission | MoD | Own sources ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 03 Sept 2017
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 EU KEEPING THE PEACE?
WHAT A LOAD OF BALTICS
Typhoon                                             © MoD Crown copyright
RAF JETS DEFENDING THE EU’S SKIES
FROM THE BLACK SEA TO THE BALTIC
“We were ambassadors... for a truly global Britain”
– RAF Commanding Officer
You don’t have to like fighter jets to be interested in this article (though it doesn’t hurt). It’s about Britain’s defence, NATO, and the EU’s claims to power. Stay with us while we give you some background from last week, and then we’ll talk about the EU’s relevance to all of this.
This week we watched RAF Typhoons from 3 Squadron RAF Coningsby completing a deployment in Romania, where once again they were supporting a NATO mission in defending an EU country. In this case they were defending Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria – all EU member states.
These top of the line fighters form part of the RAF’s 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (135 EAW) and were in country for several months. The Typhoon (or ‘Eurofighter’) is the most the world’s most powerful and reliable swing-role combat aircraft.
Eight RAF personnel stationed in Romania on these NATO operations received the Romanian Air Force's highest peacetime award at a ceremony in Bucharest on 22 August.
135 EAW’s Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Andy Coe said: “I can't express how proud I am to receive such a high honour from our Romanian friends and allies. But I'm absolutely clear that those of us who were honoured received our awards as ambassadors for our teams, for NATO and for the Royal Air Force. We work as a Whole Force, and that's how we'll celebrate too.”
Photo right: Wg Cdr Coe with General Anastasof, Romania’s Chief of the Air Force Staff
 
Summary of 3 Squadron’s achievements in their NATO role:
  • Supported and NATO-trained Romanian, Hungarian and Bulgarian air forces
  • More than 150 days on operations
  • Flew more than 280 sorties
  • 27 sorties flown with MiG-21s
  • More than 340 hours flown in total
  • One Alpha scramble - response to Russian air activity over the Black Sea
The RAF mission was completed on Tuesday when it was handed over to the Royal Canadian Air Force, to continue the overall mission for NATO.
 
Wg Cdr Andy Coe, said: “As we hand over NATO duties to our colleagues in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the men and women of 135 EAW can be proud of what we have achieved. In our five months here, we were ambassadors for the RAF Whole Force, and for a truly global Britain.
“It’s been a privilege to lead a team who have embraced NATO’s principles with complete enthusiasm and dedication.”
Photo left: The Typhoons departing last week
2 DAYS LATER, THE RAF WERE PROTECTING ESTONIA
On Thursday, just two days after the Romania deployment wrapped up, we watched as the Minister for Armed Forces Mark Lancaster TD MP met the first two Typhoon Fighters from 3 (Fighter) Squadron to deploy to Estonia.
They had flown from Romania, to begin an Air Land integration training with the British Army Battlegroup currently deployed in Estonia as part of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Operation.
“We now have more than 800 troops stationed here in Estonia,” said Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster. “This is another example of NATO stepping up to the challenge.”
THE ‘EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON’ IS NOT MADE OR FINANCED BY THE EU
The full name of the fighter jet deployed by the RAF in Romania and now in Estonia is the Eurofighter Typhoon. Given the propensity of the EU to claim credit for successes which aren't theirs, it's important to give you the derivation of this aircraft. It is built by the leading aerospace and defence companies of four countries: the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Note: The EU had nothing to do with it.
Where the EU is heavily involved, however, is in a rapid escalation of its own military ambitions.
“THE EU HAS KEPT THE PEACE SINCE WWII”
The EU and its bureaucrats regularly credit the EU with preserving the peace in Europe since the Second World War. This has been implied or even claimed on many occasions, by those in official positions.
Only two weeks ago on the 100th anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele, the French Embassy in London tweeted this:
                                             © Twitter / French Embassy
It seems that Europhiles will even use sombre occasions like these to promote the 'EU has given us peace' agenda.
It is no longer denied that the EU is pushing as rapidly as possible towards the establishment of a full military capability. This is now official policy.
Nor can it be denied that the UK has agreed to every one of the major new military policies which are allowing this development, all of which have been agreed SINCE the referendum.
Alongside this is the growing acceptance within the EU elites of a common foreign policy for the EU. This is now spoken about openly.
What is denied is that the actions the EU is taking will rival and ultimately replace the capability of NATO. We comment on this below, under ‘Observations’. For the record, the EU deny repeatedly that this is their intention.
 
Above: Tweet last month by Guy Verhofstadt
The main purpose of this article is to demonstrate what just one part of just one of the UK’s armed forces was doing last week, in just two geographical areas of the European Union – all under the banner of NATO.
The RAF, working within the NATO structure, were successfully engaged in the defence of the EU, as they have been for decades. It is NATO which has kept the peace in Europe for generations and this is an incontrovertible fact.
OBSERVATIONS
For those of us with fathers and grandfathers who fought in the service of His Majesty the King and subsequently in the service of Her Majesty the Queen, it’s not easy to listen to the ‘EU has kept the peace’ rubbish without reacting fairly strongly.
Only in the vast open terrain of a social justice warrior’s vacuous brain could such a possibility exist for a nanosecond. Not only is it patently untrue, it is an insult to so many who work so hard to preserve the peace today, and to so many who have done so in the past and to those who have laid down their lives in the process.
The UK is, thank God, leaving the ghastly construct that is the European Union. In doing so it is essential that it leaves all the EU military organisations, structures and funds that it has signed up to. There can be no equivocation about this. The UK's defence is not safe in the hands of the Italian former Communist who is the de facto Defence Minister of the EU.
If we were given the chance, we would gladly provide a seminar for the Chief of the Defence Staff and his team, demonstrating beyond any doubt using EU videos and official documents that the EU is committed to a military future which could never consistently be in the interests of Her Majesty, her people, or her government.
On a lighter note we’ll leave you, dear readers, with the words of Wing Commander Coe as he and his team left Romania this week.
“We were ambassadors... for a truly global Britain.”
We like this man. He should be promoted to Group Captain immediately!
Do you have any thoughts? As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
Note to 'Brown Jobs': We've run a fair amount on the Navy, what with their big new toy in Portsmouth, and now this piece on the RAF... but what about the army? If any of you army-types have some interesting tales, related to our membership of the EU and imminent departure therefrom, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We're pro our military (and are supporters of Help for Heroes) and we do not discriminate based on the colour of your uniform! Anonymity absolutely guaranteed if required.
[ Sources: MoD | RAF | Eurofighter Typhoon consortium ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 02 Sept 2017
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READERS' COMMENTS
Name: : SibeliusFan, UK      Date/Time: 02 Sept, 4.46pm
Message: I wrote to my MP last month about EU/UK defence plans and received this reply from the Ministry of Defence. Not sure what to make of it!
Editorial note: This reader did not want her MP identified.
 ARTICLE FROM A READER
(To watch the video, see note in 'Observations' below)                   © EU Commission
THOUGHTS ON M. MICHEL BARNIER’S STATEMENT AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE FOLLOWING ROUND THREE OF THE BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS
By Michael Donnan
M. Barnier said that trust needs to be built in two areas. First, he stated that recent events reinforce the need to ensure that citizens’ rights are directly enforceable before national jurisdictions. However, he then at a stroke reduced that thus far unobjectionable statement to absurdity by adding “under the control of the European Court of Justice.” M. Barnier seems not to have taken on board the simple truth that once the UK ceases to be a member of the EU, it becomes an independent sovereign state. No sovereign state can sensibly permit residents or visitors within its territory who are not its citizens to be subject to a foreign legal system instead of its own, or to have a foreign court take precedence over its own courts in respect of those non-citizens.
Furthermore, the task of the ECJ is to ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties (Article 19). However, under paragraph 3 of Article 50, upon the entering into force of a withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU or, in the absence of such an agreement upon the expiration of the prescribed two-year period (an extension being possible but highly unlikely), the Treaties will cease to apply to the UK. It presumably follows that the UK will then automatically be beyond the ECJ’s jurisdiction.
The second area is the financial settlement. Here M. Barnier resorted to mere sophistry in order to appear to be making a case. Having recited some projects - such as the granting of loans to the Ukraine and the support of development in Africa and elsewhere – he said that it is clear that the UK does not feel legally obliged to honour its obligations after departure. Note the phrase “its obligations”. However, the point at issue – which M. Barnier carefully avoided - is whether the continued financial support for such projects actually is a legal obligation for the UK: if not, it obviously ceases to be one of “its obligations”.
But that is not the end of the sophistry. M. Barnier said that EU taxpayers should not pay at 27 for the obligations undertaken at 28, as that would be unfair. He said that we have joint obligations to third countries (the Ukraine loans and the development support mentioned above) and that we have also jointly committed to support innovative enterprises and green infrastructure in European regions until 2020. This language was intended to convey the idea that the UK entered various joint ventures with the other 27 EU members (and is now trying to duck the consequent obligations). However, the projects in question are not joint ventures undertaken by the UK in partnership with the other 27 member states: they are projects undertaken by the European Union. Under the Treaties (see Article 47) that Union enjoys legal personality: it is therefore an entity that is legally distinct from its member states, irrespective of whether those states are taken individually or in aggregate. The financial obligations remain those of the European Union as the responsible legal entity and should therefore be paid out of European Union funds and not be apportioned (even notionally) among individual member states.
OBSERVATIONS
In his article, Michael Donnan argues cogently and makes some excellent points.
If you would like to remind yourself of what M. Barnier said in his statement, there's a video in our 'Barnier Blows Cold' article below.
As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Michael Donnan, longstanding Facts4EU.Org reader ]            06.55am, 02 Sept 2017
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 RT HON DAVID DAVIS MP
US-UK BUSINESS COUNCIL, WASHINGTON D.C.
TALKING ABOUT POST-BREXIT GREAT BRITAIN
This was a public service by Brexit Facts4EU.Org, broadcast live.
The event and the webcast were organised by the US-UK Business Council
of the US Chamber of Commerce.
Below is the recording of the event.
               © US-UK Business Council
OBSERVATIONS
We just listened to Mr Davis' speech and his responses to questions, and here are our immediate reactions.
Very disappointing. Firstly he stated that new trade deals won’t start during the ‘implementation phase’. No, no, NO! This is not acceptable. It means no trade benefits will accrue to the UK until 2021/2022 at the earliest.
We know this is what has been intimated before and we commented on it then, but this is the first time we have heard it directly from Davis since the internal Cabinet arguments with Hammond.
Secondly, he had many opportunities to counter the appalling nonsense which the EU’s propaganda officials spew out to the international press. There Davis was, in Washington, talking direct to US business and with the US press in attendance. He singularly failed to explain to them that everything they’ve heard about Brexit is wrong.
Okay, we’re exaggerating a little, but the British case is virtually SILENT when you’re overseas. All you hear is the EU case. We’ve cited this in our editorials many times this and have lobbied on it ever since the Referendum, but still not much has changed.
The exception is the Dept for International Trade which is doing much better now, but David Davis and his Dept of ExEU really need to wake up and smell the coffee. His performance today in promoting the UK and its position vis-à-vis the EU was frankly very weak. No wonder his Dept has been so slow in getting the British public behind it – they clearly lack the right direction and attitude.
We need a far more robust leadership on many Brexit issues now. The UK is in a much stronger position than Mr Davis seems to think. And even if he thinks we’re not in a strong position, he should act the exact opposite. Mr Davis is capable of strong leadership, but it must be leadership in the right direction.
Basic stuff.
We don’t normally criticise members of the government like this, but we feel very frustrated that idiots and Remainers are too closely involved in running Brexit in government and civil service circles. Mr Davis is neither an idiot nor a Remainer, which makes his rolling over on the subject of trade deals all the more irritating.
We're interested to know what you think. Are we being too harsh?
Incidentally now the event has finished we'll try to get a recording of it, but these things all take time and resources, and we're not funded by any hedge fund managers or major corporations, alas!
Please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: US-UK Business Council ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       1.00pm, 01 Sept 2017
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Name: : Carole, Merseyside      Date/Time: 01 Sept, 5.09pm
Message: You are being a little harsh, except on your comment re. trade deals during an implementation phase. This is not a foregone conclusion and needs to be negotiated. I do think he is the right guy for the job, and has to be dispassionate but determined.
Reply: Thanks Carole. On the UK not being able to start any trade deals until after implementation phase, the problem is that it's too late to negotiate this - he effectively gave it away for free in his speech! We do like his views on free trade generally, some of which he expressed well today.
 
LATEST ROUND OF BREXIT TALKS END WITH BARNIER IN TROUBLE
Below are the two statements, from Monsieur Barnier and from David Davis, from the 'Round Three' Press Conference in Brussels yesterday. We think they are worth listening to and studying for a moment or two.
    
               © EU Commission
OBSERVATIONS
Weeks ago we were the first to read the body and spoken language of Monsieur Barnier and to pronounce him rattled and shaken. The press conference yesterday marking the end of the third round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels merely proved our point.
Barnier is - how shall we put this kindly - not exactly known for his intellect, and yet you would have had to be fairly stupid not to have seen a broadside on the Brexit Bill coming. As we pointed out again yesterday, there is no basis of any kind for the EU's absurd demands for financial compensation.
By now you will have read in newspaper accounts or seen on the TV that the UK's Brexit team delivered a bit of a blow to Monsieur Barnier by demolishing his punishment bill demands in one 3-hour Powerpoint session by a young British civil servant. According to accounts, a line-by-line hatchet job was performed, leaving Barnier holding nothing but the bulging French notes he was so proud of when negotiations started all those weeks ago.
The EU's position was and is untenable. There is no legal or moral justification for their absurd demands. Our view is simple: if you walk into the room wearing no clothes, don't act surprised if you are then exposed.
Clearly Barnier and his comrades are very annoyed that a country is entitled to leave their club but even they couldn't prevent that, no matter how hard they tried.
It simply isn't good enough for them to play with people's lives and jobs in this way. The EU side needs to shape up and start dealing with the many substantive issues which have to be discussed and agreed before the United Kingdom exits the EU at midnight on 29 March 2019.
What do you think? As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Dept for Exiting the EU | EU Commission ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.40am, 01 Sept 2017
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Name: : John Murphy, Scotland      Date/Time: 01 Sept, 12.28pm
Message: Many years ago, as a former junior civil servant, I was required to attend some meetings on agricultural topics in Brussels. That was when there were only 12 Member States, and what a complete waste of time, effort and money they were!! I would therefore loved to have been a fly on the wall at the above mentioned Powerpoint presentation. The civil servant should get a big bonus!! Any chance of this being published or further details provided. Keep up the good work.
Name: : Stuart S, UK      Date/Time: 01 Sept, 11.17am
Message: Isn't a place one is not allowed to leave actually called a prison? Seems rather fitting to me.
Name: : SibeliusFan, UK      Date/Time: 01 Sept, 06.45am
Message: Oh no! Don't say we've upset Monsieur Barnier again!
 'Toto, I've a feeling
we're not in Brussels anymore'
HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL TRADE & POLITICAL VISIT
Declarations, memoranda of understandings & strong support
Yesterday, 31st August 2017, Prime Ministers Theresa May and Shinzo Abe spoke to a business delegation of UK and Japanese businesses to develop trade relationships & discuss future trade opportunities. They attended the event which was organised by the Japan-UK Business Forum, accompanying UK Secretary of State Liam Fox and Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko.
               © Dept for International Trade
Japan is the 3rd-largest economy in the World, dwarfing the vast majority of EU member states, and is therefore important to the United Kingdom's economic future, post-Brexit.
The meeting was important for other reasons too. Japan is an important ally and has been going through difficult times from a security point of view, with tensions in the South China Sea and the continuing problems with the rogue nation of North Korea.
Crucially, the UK and Japan have agreed that the new trade deal between the two countries will be based on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). This will short-circuit much discussion between the countries following Brexit. They also signed various Memoranda of Understanding.
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:
 
“As an international economic department, it’s important that we’re building upon our already strong trade relationships with global partners like Japan as we leave the EU, and it is our intention that we will lay the ground for an ambitious trade deal based on the EU-Japan agreement.
“Leading the UK business delegation to engage with Japanese buyers and investors is a key part of showcasing what the UK offers the world now and as we leave the EU, and every penny of investment secured boosts local economies and creates new jobs back in the UK.”
Photo left: Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko
Aston Martin investment announcement
Aston Martin Lagonda, the producer of luxury hand-crafted sports cars, will drive trade and investment between the United Kingdom and Japan worth up to £500 million, it was announced in Japan.
“As we prepare to leave the European Union," said the Prime Minister, "it is vital that we build on our existing ties with friends and allies. Aston Martin is a prime example of the innovative and world leading firms the UK is proud of and I’m delighted they are joining me on this important trade mission.”
Photo right: Sheer automotive heaven, in front of a Japanese temple
 
OBSERVATIONS
It is inevitable that the BBC and the rest of the anti-Brexit media will make light of yesterday's events in Japan. The simple fact is that Japan is a very important country, whether Britain is inside or outside the EU. Given that the UK will soon be outside, and able to conclude its own trade arrangements with Japan, we feel that Liam Fox's visit with his trade delegation, and the Prime Minister arriving for defence and foreign policy talks and to conclude all the ceremonials, is a very good thing.
In particular we would like to single out Liam Fox, since no-one else seems to be doing so. He appears to us to be working like a Trojan. Every week it seems like he's in a different country, on a different continent, talking up the United Kingdom. Mr Fox is of course an avid Brexiteer and always has been, which perhaps explains his positive, can-do attitude to the UK's future.
Finally, in the Brexit year of 2019, we should mention that Japan happens to be hosting the Rugby World Cup. Perhaps this will provide additional friendliness to the already cordial relations in what will be a very important year for this country!
Do you have any thoughts? As ever, please feel free to send us your comments, using a pseudonym or your real name. They will appear below.
[ Sources: Dept for International Trade ]     Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.55am, 01 Sept 2017
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