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BREXIT NEWS   01 - 12 DEC 2017
How the EU’s share of the world economy
has shrunk by over 1/3rd in 25 years
  • EU27’s share of world economic output: 18.3% in 2016
  • In 25 years, EU’s share of world output, excluding UK, has fallen from 29.1%
  • From 29% to 18% represents a 37% fall in the EU’s percentage share
  • This is despite the EU more than doubling from 12 to 28 member states in 25 years
  • Last year, the world outside the EU27 represented 81.7% of world output, and growing
                            Chart © Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2017
A year ago, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker visited a small Dutch border town called Maastricht. He did so because it was there, 25 years earlier, that a Treaty was first drafted which defined the direction of the EU.
At Maastricht, it was decided that the EEC (European Economic Community) would become the European Union. They changed from pretending to be a trading bloc to being what they were always intended to be by their founders: a political project to subsume all European countries into one giant superstate.
So it was that a year ago Jean-Claude Juncker decided to revisit Maastricht, in homage to the place where the Maastricht Treaty was drafted which would enable the European Union to come into being nearly two years later, on 1st November 1993.
In a typically rambling and unstructured speech, Mr Juncker made some astonishing admissions :-
  • “We are a relevant part of the global economy: 25% of the global GDP”
  • “In 10 years from now, it will be 15%”
  • “Europe is the smallest continent... 5.5 million square kilometres.”
  • “And from a demographic point of view… we are losing weight”.
  • “So those who do think that time has come to deconstruct, to put Europe in pieces, to subdivide us in national divisions, are totally wrong. We won't exist as single nations without the European Union.”
In fact Juncker got his facts wrong, as usual. At the time he made his speech, the EU28 (including the UK) represented 21.8% not 25% of world GDP. It was even less, at 16.9%, if using the PPP method of calculating this.
In our graph above we have excluded the UK from the EU figures, because we’re looking at the picture as if the UK were on the outside. The GDP figures are from the IMF’s official WEO database and were calculated using current value data.
Have you ever noticed how the EU seems able to celebrate the same thing about three times on three different anniversary dates? This is because of the cumbersome decision-making structure of the EU, and also because the EU likes to keep celebrating things it thinks people approve of.
In the case of the Maastricht Treaty, once again the EU has three dates to celebrate. There is the date of the EU Council meeting at which the first drafts were undertaken: 10th December 1991. This is the date which Juncker decided to commemorate with his ‘25th anniversary speech’. Then there is the date that the Maastricht Treaty was signed: 7th February 1992. And then there is the date it came into force: 1st November 1993.
In that speech a year ago, President Juncker was still reeling from the UK’s Referendum result and was doing everything possible to keep ‘the project’ on track. This has always comprised a carrot and stick approach.
The carrot is “Just look at this progress. Everything in the garden is lovely.” This explains the constant propaganda the EU produces which is normally either wrong or wildly distorted. It is this which we have to combat on a weekly basis.
The stick is “Ooh look, it’s a cold hard world out there. Your country is puny and you must accept being swallowed into the much more powerful EU or you’ll be in big trouble.”
Part of the ‘stick’ approach is sometimes to state how even when inside the EU, things will be tough. This is the approach Juncker used a year ago. He wanted to scare everyone that individual member states simply can’t survive on their own in the future.
Remoaners continue to fight the Referendum as if they hadn’t already lost it. Worse still, they continue to trot out the same tired and inaccurate information that they did during the campaign last year. (That’s a polite way of saying they’re still lying.)
We’re never going to get the worst culprits to admit they’re wrong, that much is clear. What we must do, however, is combat their nonsense each and every day. Each of us, in our own way, has a part to play.
The next time you hear someone saying that we “can’t afford to be outside the EU as we need to be part of something big”, you could gently point out that in the last 25 years the EU has lost almost 40% of its share of the world’s economic output.
You could add that the EU27’s share is down to 18.3%, and falling.
If you’re told that this is rubbish, tell them these are the official figures from the IMF and World Bank.
And if that still doesn’t work, tell them that it was the IMF that George Osborne and the Remain campaign were calling as references at the time they were giving their economic Armageddon projections....
We don’t have wives or husbands who are hedge fund managers, we’re not part of any political party, and no big business interests seem to be interested in us. It’s only you, dear reader, who keeps us fighting for a clean Brexit.
Someone has to produce great info like that above, which will then be repeated by those who might have the 'name' but who somehow never seem to do the work. We don’t care about that. We just want to ensure the facts get out there, however that happens.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
[ Sources: IMF WEO tables | EU Commission ]            05.15am, 12 December 2017
Name: : Sally T, UK      Date/Time: 12 Dec 2017, 3.16pm
Message: It's a simple fact the EU's importance has been reducing over time as developing countries' growth rates have far exceeded those of more established economies. Added to that, the strictures of the Eurozone have held back some EU economies, like Italy, Greece, etc. Then you have all the smaller EU countries whose economies were tiny in the first place. Despite all this, Remainers seem to think the EU is huge and is such an important part of global trade. The truth is that we'll be looking outwards at all the fasting growing areas of the world, as well as doing more business with the anglosphere. As you mentioned on Twitter, the trend really is our friend!
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                            © WTO
The Eleventh Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation opened in Buenos Aires last night. The plenary sessions start today and will run until 13 December 2017.
The Brexit Facts4EU.Org team will monitor events and bring you a summary of anything interesting to the Brexit cause. In the meantime, we thought you might like the chart below.
                            Chart © Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2017
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            07.05am, 11 December 2017
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                            © EU Commission
EU’s sinister “European Solidarity Corps”
had its first birthday last week
The oddly named “European Solidarity Corps” is the EU's new youth arm, started one year ago by the EU Commission.
By the numbers:
  • Current target for members: 100,000 by 2020
  • 42,745 young people have already signed up
  • New target for members: 1.5 million young people by 2025
  • Current proposed budget: €341.5 million
  • Next proposed budget: €6 billion from 2021
This new EU youth organisation requires allegiance :
  • Membership is open to all EU citizens under the age of 30
  • “The European Solidarity Corps will in the first place be based on the value of solidarity”
  • Members are required to sign up to its ‘mission’
  • Members must “declare their engagement and willingness to undertake solidarity-minded activities”
What this new Corps does :
  • Members will be deployed across borders : “Members of the Corps could be deployed in their home country or in another EU Member State”
  • “Rebuilding communities following natural disasters; addressing social challenges such as social exclusion, poverty, health and demographic challenges; or working on the reception and integration of refugees”
  • Example : “A young Greek social worker from Athens takes up a job offer to work in a refugee reception centre in Thessaloniki. He will join forces for the next eight months with a team of psychologists, social workers and teachers, to help refugee children adjust to their new reality. He will receive a net monthly salary as well as a monthly allowance.”
This isn’t ‘volunteering’, it's paid for by the taxpayer :
  • Members receive a salary and living allowances, paid via the EU
  • Part-time members receive a minimal salary, plus living and travelling allowances
Echoes of where this kind of thing went in the past:
We find this new organisation deeply troubling. Just stop and think for a moment. What is its purpose?
It has none, other than to indoctrinate still further the young people of the European Union. The activities it purports to undertake are already undertaken at country level, without any need for the EU to be involved.
And why on earth does it need a ‘mission’ that all members must sign up to? Why does it force its members to engage in ‘solidarity-minded activities’?
Facts4EU.Org has consistently campaigned against this sinister organisation since it was first mooted a few years ago. The mainstream media don't seem to be interested.
Maybe they will start to get interested when they see that the EU Commission is proposing an increased budget of €6 billion from 2021. Don't forget, this organisation is already consuming money and that money is coming from British taxpayers, as the UK is the second-highest net contributor to EU funds.
If the EU cut out indoctrination projects like this, it wouldn't have the need to demand such an enormous ransom payment from the UK.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            06.05am, 11 December 2017
Name: : Norman C, UK      Date/Time: 11 Dec 2017, 1.58pm
Message: Been there before. We have been here before, remember the Hitler Youth? Are we going to have to dig Europe out again? Will we be at war with Europe in the not too distant future?
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Brexit currency confounds doomsayers
Occasionally we look at general economic indicators to keep you informed. Below is the progress of the pound against the dollar this year.
  • From 01 Jan 2017 to date (11 Dec)
  • The pound has risen by 9%
Last week we showed you how UK exports have grown by 16% in the year to Sept. Above you can see that the pound has been on a long rise against the dollar since the start of the year.
Positive news with which to start the week!
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            04.55am, 11 December 2017
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The EU-UK Phase 1 Agreement
Over the weekend there was no agreement in the UK, EU, or Republic of Ireland as to what the EU-UK Phase 1 agreement means.
We do not propose to waste much time on the continued talk about what Mrs May agreed in Brussels last week.
Over the weekend, a variety of British politicians from all sides desperately played with words in attempts to show that their interpretation of the Prime Minister’s Phase 1 agreement with the EU was correct. In the Republic of Ireland and in the EU, the same process was under way.
The interpretations are contradictory and clearly they can’t all be right.
We stand by our original assessment that the agreement is a betrayal of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union. It doesn’t matter that the sell-out may be overtaken by events and may never materialise. As things stand it is our opinion that the government has sold out on various fundamental red lines of Brexit.
After watching Secretary of State David Davis MP once again chuckling his way through a Marr interview yesterday, and forcing words to mean things they clearly didn’t mean, we will just restate our view.
The EU will never agree anything remotely sensible or reasonable in any final deal. All that will happen is that we will all waste huge amounts of time and effort. Ministers can say what they like. The EU will just do what it wants, and that’s to punish the United Kingdom.
Once again, here’s the link to the document that was agreed. We know the way in which the EU are (and will be) interpreting it, and it’s their version that matters. You may want to read the document yourselves and make up your own mind what you think it means.
Our message to all parties is simple: stop messing around with words and expressions, and stop playing politics with people's lives and money. If there’s going to be a row let’s have it now and get it done with. Confront the issues and accept that we’re never going to agree with the EU. Then we can all start planning for the future as it will be, rather than as some people hope it might be.
Politicians should stop playing – the rest of us have real lives to get on with.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            03.45am, 11 December 2017
Name: : William, Hove, UK      Date/Time: 11 Dec 2017, 10.47am
Message: Brexit fudged / alleged agreement. Do they think the British people are stupid ? Theresa May is the 21st century version of Neville Chamberlain
Name: : AMB, London      Date/Time: 11 Dec 2017, 09.24am
Message: I agree. I've listened out particularly for the comments of Parliament's Brexiteers, who if they disagree with it say that the words are meaningless & it won't happen. What I'm hearing is platitudes. It all reminds me of Kaa the snake in the Jungle Book - Trust in me. What seriously concerns me is if any form of deal is agreed, this mess of an agreement will come into being. Who is the arbiter of EU rules & whether they are complied with, as to whether 'full alignment' is achieved/being maintained? The CJEU. My only hope is that if businesses need certainty by March, and nothing will now commence until February, any agreement is unlikely. Given that the remainers are now running the negotiations, with DD no more than a Brexiteer figurehead to keep us quiet I pray for, but don't believe, that an announcement of WTO will happen in March. We need a campaign to push for no deal, as that is better than what is currently on offer & would be part of whatever is agreed. We also need to open people's eyes as to the end state of the USofE. Even Cable has said that it's a red line, but like the army it is a 'fantasy'. Still very, very angry.
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“The big problem we face isn't fake news - it's the news, full stop. And that really is what the BBC's new initiative aims to sort.”
– BBC Media Editor, Amol Rajan
There’s no easy way to say this. This piece can only be prefaced by reminding you that the date is not April 1st, and by reassuring you that the only alcohol I've seen all week has quite literally been of the medicinal kind.
The BBC, bless its former Bill Cotton little socks, thinks it has the answer to ‘fake news’.
Its cunning plan is to ‘educate’ our young people.
‘Fake News’, you will recall, is the term being used by the Establishment for news which doesn’t fit the currently-accepted narrative. Examples might include the worst excesses of pro-Brexit journalism, such as the Brexit Facts4EU.Org output, or some articles in the Express, Mail or Sun. One thing is for sure. It’s rare for fake news to be involved in stories whose subject matter doesn’t support left-of-centre or globalist causes.
It seems that quoting undeniable facts from official sources, as we do, is definitely a warning sign of neo-fascist material likely to warp the minds of the young and confuse them.
In the US, it’s the President himself who is most often under fire for promulgating fake news, such as the time he was castigated for his comments about Sweden, which (rather inconveniently for America’s mainstream media) were proved right within 48 hours.
Fake news is a big issue for organisations like the BBC and unfortunately they are now offering help – particularly for our young – in dealing with it.
Over the last week the BBC has been telling people how it plans to come to the rescue of the country’s vulnerable young people.
                            © BBC
Here is what the national broadcaster said:
“For many people, fake news is a useful enemy. For Donald Trump, fake news is synonymous with a hostile media. By attacking the ‘fake news media’, Trump can motivate his base, obstruct scrutiny of his policies, and potentially undermine his opponents.
“For ambitious politicians keen to flaunt their digital knowledge and boost their profile, the fake news phenomenon is a handy option.”
“The BBC's plans to tackle fake and false news through a new initiative, in which online mentoring and school visits (including from me) promote better judgement about misinformation online.”
“It's the news, stupid”
“The big problem we face isn't fake news - it's the news, full stop. And that really is what the BBC's new initiative aims to sort.”
Yes dear reader, the BBC’s Media Editor Amol Rajan, actually wrote all that last week. The worst of it is that we’re fairly certain that if we sent him this article, he really wouldn’t recognise any bias at all in what he wrote. Impartial journalism doesn’t seem to have been taught in the country’s journalism schools for decades.
Here is another BBC story from the day before:
                            © BBC
And here is what they wrote about an 'education' programme paid for by you, the BBC licence fee payer:
“The project is targeted at secondary schools and sixth forms across the UK. From March, up to 1,000 schools will be offered mentoring in class and online to help them spot so-called fake news.”
“BBC journalists including Kamal Ahmed, Tina Daheley, Amol Rajan and Huw Edwards will also take part in events aimed at helping students.”
“James Harding, the director of BBC News, said: ‘This is an attempt to go into schools to speak to young people and give them the equipment they need to distinguish between what's true and what's false.’”
The concept of ‘fake news’ has been around since journalism was invented. It has appeared on a regular basis during politically-charged times, going back over centuries. The only difference now, perhaps, is in its reach.
It should come as no surprise to our readers that we abhor the absence of facts in the journalism we read each day. To be fair to journalists, part of the reason for this is that the politicians of today are equally ill-informed about the majority of the subjects they speak about.
Naturally there are exceptions. There are MPs who are indeed masters of their subjects. There are also others who prefer not to offer hard opinions when asked about a subject they know less about. We respect people like that.
Unfortunately there are an increasing number of MPs who were ignorant before they were elected, and are just as ignorant since becoming MPs. The obey some form of inverse law: the less they know, the more likely they are to speak to camera with apparent great authority.
In our specialism of Brexit and the EU we see this many times each day. Scarcely an interview happens during which we don’t find ourselves wincing at some howling inaccuracy or outright lie.
Very regrettably, the quality of TV journalism has now fallen so far that almost none of them are capable of asking intelligent questions when one of the politicians utters complete nonsense. How often do you just see the journalist nodding along?
To us it is astonishing that these people can call themselves journalists and have no qualms working on a story about the EU or Brexit without having any knowledge about the subject. We really don't know how they aren't monumentally embarrassed half the time.
For Brexit, this matters. Not only are we facing an absurd imbalance of anti-Brexit spokespersons appearing on TV (the ratio on some news programmes is over 75% Remainers), we are also seeing the increased repetition of facts which aren’t facts, gross distortions, and barefaced lies.
The worst example for us in the current Fake News ‘epidemic’ is none of the above. It is the insidious drip-drip feed of bias which infects the vast majority of the output of the BBC and other news organisations.
We call this – in a departure from our usual search for pithy epithets – ‘insidious remoanerism’. This is bias of the creepy and invasive kind, seldom called out, but deadly in its quiet effect. We’ll leave you with a very small example from earlier this week, when we called out the BBC’s ‘Brussels reporter’ Adam Fleming.
Adam seems like a nice chap. He was parachuted into Brussels earlier this year when the BBC suddenly realised that Brexit might indeed happen and that they had virtually no-one there apart from their (Austrian) Europe Editor Katya Adler. Being a native German speaker Katya’s handy when they need someone to interview a German MP no-one’s ever heard of, but apart from that her output has barely touched the consciousness of all the licence-fee payers for years, including the run-up to last year’s referendum. She is of course pure Europhile, no matter how much she might want to deny it.
Back to Adam, formerly of the Daily Politics when Andrew Neil ran the show and when it was must-see political television. On Tuesday this week Adam tweeted something about Brussels, just before the PM was due to arrive for the abortive ‘agreement’. We don’t normally stoop to such things as we’re far too busy researching real information for you. On this occasion however, we thought we’d see what would happen. Below is the exchange:
Here is how it started. Adam posted a photo he took of the flags outside the Berlaymont building. As you can see, the air is still and they're all drooping.
                            © Twitter
We then posted a sarcastic reply and below is how it went from there.
                            © Twitter
We have previously written on this site that we felt most journalists were so far gone that they wouldn’t even be able to recognise their own bias. We stand by this. Adam really couldn’t see the bias in his tweet, even when we pointed out that in the context of the drip-drip feed of ‘EU great, UK bad’ information that comes out of the BBC and other broadcasters it should be obvious.
His rather flippant final comment of ‘I was describing the state of the flag!’ shows that he’s either incredibly thick – which we don’t believe – or he’s indoctrinated and indoctrinating – which we do.
There were 27 EU flags and 1 Union Jack flying that day, and yet the BBC's Brussels reporter singled out the Union Jack and called it droopy.
It’s such a small thing to have taken the BBC’s Brussels correspondent to task over, we know. However the cumulative effect of this garbage makes the BBC’s latest ‘initiative’ to help young people to deal with ‘fake news’ seem like an insult too far.
This is most decidedly not personal about Adam Fleming who always seems like a bright and entertaining chap. He and this little Twitter exchange is just one tiny example of why the BBC must never be allowed anywhere near the political education of our children.
BBC, give us your news service to edit for 24 hours – purely the EU/Brexit part – and we’ll show you what ‘balanced’ means. We will drop our pro-Brexit bias which we adopted purely because of the huge Establishment forces railed against Brexit. We will edit the news fairly and without any viewer knowing which side of the debate we favour.
We know we can report impartially. Alas we know you can’t.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
[ Sources: BBC ]            09.45am, Sunday 10 December 2017
Name: : Steve R, UK      Date/Time: 11 Dec 2017, 4.24pm
Message: One of the most damaging pieces of fake news started by the BBCand now repeated every time by other media - even the Telegraph - is that Boris said that Mrs Ratcliffe was 'teaching journalism IN IRAN'. He did not say 'in Iran', as this official record shows at 15 mins 16 secs in. He had been briefed that the reason she was held was because of her work teaching journalists when employed by the BBC Agency which assists BBC Iran, which works to spread western values in a country run by religious hardliners. In fact the whole story had been explained in an article in the BBC's partner the Guardian the month before. This was available online for any Revolutionary guard to read. The media should be asking whether the BBC warned the Ratcliffes about the extreme risk of going to Iran, as their staff had been targeted before. Far from Boris increasing her sentence in the planned hearing this month, the BBC and other fake news saying over and over that Boris said 'in Iran' cannot be helping. The BBC should try repeating that her role was only to train journalists in technical measures only and not as an active propagandist. Let's hope Boris has persuaded their president to let her come back to the UK and stay here. Here is another Guardian article showing the BBC's row with Iran and why Boris referred to the problem. The thought of these liars going into schools to get at children is Orwellian.
Name: : Susie P, Manchester      Date/Time: 10 Dec 2017, 11.27am
Message: What a great read for a Sunday morning! Agree with everything you wrote.
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An opinion by our learned friends at Lawyers for Britain
                            © M Howe
Exclusive – our summarised version of Mr Howe's opinion
Plus the full, unexpurgated, original version for the first time
The Chairman of Lawyers for Britain, the eminent QC Martin Howe, gives his opinion on the ‘Phase 1’ deal which Mrs May has agreed with the EU.
The full opinion is relatively long. Therefore with Mr Howe’s agreement we have produced a special Brexit Facts4EU.Org summarised version, with bullet points and more headings, to make it more digestible. Below we also provide a link to the complete version which we have created for you – exclusive to our site.
Some of you may have seen part of this on Brexit Central, but they slashed the final third of Mr Howe’s article for reasons we can only guess at. We are publishing the full version in addition to our summarised version, as we believe Martin Howe’s conclusions are important.
By Martin Howe QC
The British government on our behalf is offering:
  • To pay the EU around €40-45 billion of money that we don’t legally owe
  • To allow our courts and our Parliament to be overruled by a wholly foreign court after we’ve left
  • To keep our regulations in agriculture and possibly other fields ‘aligned’ with the EU
  • To jeopardise our ability to do trade deals with other countries in the future
To make matters worse this agreement doesn’t deliver a trade deal with the EU, it merely starts a process of eventual talks about a trade deal.
It is clear that we do not legally owe these vast sums to the EU. Indeed it is probable that in law we have a net credit in our favour. (See my article with Charlie Elphicke MP.)
The fact that we do not owe the money does not necessarily mean that it is wrong to agree to pay some money if the overall benefits of a settlement made it worth it. But if you are going to agree to pay a large sum of money that you do not owe, you need to look carefully at the benefits you might get in return. The benefit is supposed to be the future trade agreement but no one has actually looked at what the EU will realistically offer.
Are the benefits of a trade deal worth €40-45 billion – or indeed anything at all?
The key question about any trade deal with the EU is whether it will be open or closed.
Open trade agreement: UK and EU27 can trade all goods meeting required standards. Other countries can also trade freely with UK.
Closed trade agreement: As above, but other countries can’t trade with the non-EU UK unless their goods or services meet standards that UK has agreed with EU27.
The Single Market is a closed trade agreement. In many cases the ‘standards’ for goods and services are artificial. This is protectionist: it disallows cheaper and possibly better goods and services from outside the EU.
The UK may be forced to apply rules internally in order to trade with the EU - this is what they have been suggesting - and this would then prevent free trade with other countries, who would have to meet EU standards.
These features of a closed trade agreement will render it difficult or sometimes impossible to conclude beneficial trade agreements with third countries. For example, the UK may be unable to offer a third country effective access to its insurance market because of home country regulation. The third country will then be most unwilling to agree a trade deal under which the UK’s insurers can access their market on the basis of home country regulation.
The government rightly rejects seeking continued UK membership of the Single Market for this reason, as well as for the reason that Single Market membership would necessarily also involve continued free movement of persons.
Here is what Michel Barnier said on 20th November 2017 (emphasis added):
“The UK will, of course, have access to the Single Market. But this is different from being part of the Single Market. And a good deal on our future relationship should facilitate this access as much as possible. And avoid a situation where trade would happen under the WTO rules for goods and services.
“To achieve this, there is a third key: we need to ensure a level playing field between us. This will not be easy. For the first time ever in trade talks, the challenge will be to limit divergence of rules rather than maximise convergence. There will be no ambitious partnership without common ground in fair competition, state aid, tax dumping, food safety, social and environmental standards.
“It is not only about rules or laws. It is about societal choices – for health, food standards, our environment and financial stability. The UK has chosen to leave the EU. Does it want to stay close to the European model or does it want to gradually move away from it?”
To achieve this, there is a third key: we need to ensure a level playing field between us. This will not be easy. For the first time ever in trade talks, the challenge will be to limit divergence of rules rather than maximise convergence. There will be no ambitious partnership without common ground in fair competition, state aid, tax dumping, food safety, social and environmental standards.
It is not only about rules or laws. It is about societal choices – for health, food standards, our environment and financial stability. The UK has chosen to leave the EU. Does it want to stay close to the European model or does it want to gradually move away from it?”
He went on to link these issues to the ratification of the UK’s future partnership with the EU. Those who choose to ignore these comments do so at their peril.
It is clear that the EU will not be willing to conclude a free trade agreement with the UK unless we accept wide ranging obligations across our own internal market, and also necessarily as regards imports from third countries. Of particular significance are the references to “food safety” and “food standards”.
  • UK is net importer of food
  • EU membership has caused UK consumers to pay inflated food prices for 45 years
  • Low-paid families – many who voted Leave – have suffered most
  • EU has no interest in UK food safety
  • It only wants to lock in the UK’s market for its own food producers
  • It wants to exclude cheaper producers from the rest of the world
  • Highly damaging to UK’s prospects of securing trade deals with USA, Australia, etc
The Irish border issue is not about the peace process - it is about Ireland's wish to maintain exports into a protected UK market.
The Irish government present this as being about concern for the Northern Irish peace process. It is nothing of the kind. Both the Irish government and their EU backers are cynically exploiting that issue as a lever to drive the UK to agree to follow EU agriculture rules after we have left, in order that Irish and other EU27 producers can continue to exclude competition from the rest of the world from the lucrative UK food import market.
That the UK government has agreed to "maintain full alignment" with EU Single Market and Customs rules as a condition of accessing talks on trade is sheer madness.
The ‘spin’ seems to be that the actual scope of this commitment (i.e. which Single Market and Customs Union rules, and what exactly "alignment" means) has been rendered so ambiguous and unclear that the UK can declare that these words mean what the UK says they mean.
This is a dangerous game. Let us quote the actual paragraph in the Phase 1 Agreement:
"49. The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting North-South cooperation and to its guarantee of avoiding a hard border. Any future arrangements must be compatible with these overarching requirements. The United Kingdom's intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship. Should this not be possible, the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement."
There is no doubt that the EU will insist that this means what they want it to mean, which is that the UK has unconditionally accepted a wide ranging obligation to keep our regulations on agricultural and other goods in line with EU regulations and also to keep external tariffs in line - otherwise what can the reference to the Customs Union possibly mean?
They will insist on such terms being inserted into any free trade agreement on offer to us, and we will have gravely undermined our negotating ability to avoid the imposition of such terms.
It is obvious that the EU will use the same tactic of forcing the UK up against the clock which has worked so well in causing the negotiating collapse by the UK which led to the Phase 1 agreement. They will push the trade negotiations to late 2018, and say that a trade agreement and transition period will only be available to the UK if we accept their terms for a free trade deal however unpalatable to us.
7.1 The Third Way?
The referendum campaign involved two opposed visions for Britain’s future. Where we stand today, we are in grave danger that neither vision will be achieved.
Instead, we are in peril that a third scenario will come about, one not favoured by either side. That is for the UK to cease its formal membership of the EU, thereby losing its vote on EU laws but at the same time remaining subject to continued EU control of our tariffs and external trade policy, and continued EU control of a huge range of market-related internal laws.
We would have changed our relationship with the EU from being a Member State into being a Vassal State: a mere rule taker who must comply with laws devised, interpreted and enforced by foreigners and by foreign institutions. This would have the gravest economic and political consequences.
7.2 The economic consequences
In this scenario we would be unable to reduce the very high duties and non-tariff barriers which the EU’s policies oblige us to impose on basics such as food and clothing. We would be severely hampered or prevented from concluding free trade agreements with non-EU markets.
Such a vassal-state Brexit would inevitably lead to Brexit being dubbed a failure, when the truth would be that Brexit had never been tried.
7.3 The political risks
But the political consequences would be even more dire. Such an outcome would be - and would be seen to be - a clear betrayal of the promise made to all who voted in the referendum that their decision would be implemented. There could be nothing more corrosive to the already strained trust of millions of people in our political system, or more likely to produce an explosion of frustrated anger.
Far from it being worth paying the money in the Phase 1 agreement in order to reach a beneficial free trade agreement with the EU, it is increasingly and glaringly clear that the only free trade agreements on offer from the EU are likely to be ones which it would be worth paying good money not to belong to.
And it seems that in the process of getting to the point of talking trade, our government is willing to compromise the independence of our courts and the sovereignty of our Parliament over our laws, and to give a commitment about aligning our regulations with the EU’s which - even if unclear - will endure even if no trade agreement is reached.
The only possible escape from the trap is to prepare actively for a no-deal exit in March 2019, and to be willing to execute that plan if the EU insists (as it will) on terms in a trade agreement which stop us trading freely and independently of the EU.
Summarised version by Brexit Facts4EU.Org of the original piece
by Martin Howe QC, Chairman, Lawyers for Britain
10th December 2017
We sometimes think that we and Lawyers for Britain are the only pro-Brexit organisations that believe in a normal, clean Brexit. Forget the big boys with big names and big budgets - they seem to want to keep in with politicians far too much. If only Lawyers for Britain and ourselves received the kind of funding that the bigger names get...
We think Martin Howe’s piece is important because in addition to making many specific arguments of interest, it points up the significant dangers in the direction Mrs May is taking. This will become more of a ‘story’ for the newspapers in the coming weeks, when it is said that the PM will finally talk to her Cabinet about her vision for the kind of Brexit she wants to see.
We are deeply concerned that Mrs May’s version will leave the UK far too close to the current arrangements. Our policy is for a truly independent and global United Kingdom. We do not favour any talk at all of ‘alignment’ in any way, shape or form. We understand the economic power of the UK as a market anyone would want to sell into. The UK must be completely free to engage with other countries to discuss trade deals, unencumbered by any ideas from Mrs May that the UK should somehow not diverge from the EU’s standards and policies.
If we go down that route, as Martin Howe points out, we will be unable to benefit from the tremendous opportunities of truly free trade with the rest of the world.
Some readers believe we should wait and see what Mrs May actually produces in the end. Unfortunately if we did that, and if Mrs May continues to follow the line she has followed so far, it would be too late. All we want is to leave the EU and take back control of our country - is it too much to ask that the government follows that brief in the spirit and letter of the Referendum result?
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
[ Sources: Martin Howe QC, Lawyers for Britain ]            04.05am, Sunday 10 December 2017
Name: : John Finn, UK      Date/Time: 10 Dec 2017, 12.09pm
Message: Martin Howe has understandable concerns regarding future non-EU trade deals. Unfortunately, it is not possible to assess the validity of these concerns since the wording in the joint report can be interpreted in a number of ways. However, a Politico article (a reasonably independent source) includes the following: "The message to Euroskeptics, according to those familiar with the Brexit department’s interpretation of the agreement, was clear: Don’t worry about the clause promising alignment, it’s nowhere near as binding as its critics are making out. Their argument rested on “outcome equivalence,” which British negotiators said amounted to a pledge to achieve the same regulatory goals as the EU27 but left open the path to get there. Far from binding British hands, they said, this left plenty of room for divergence within a new free-trade deal." If it is a "trick" it seems that it has not been missed by UK negotiators at least.
Reply: Thank you, John. Firstly, Politico is heavily pro-EU and they are journalists, not any kind of authoritative source for information. Provided you read their output in that light they are definitely worth reading. Regarding your overall point, there is a massive effort under way in the UK to persuade the public that Mrs May's agreement doesn't commit the UK to anything. We're with Martin Howe. He knows the EU, we know them. When he says things like "There is no doubt that the EU will insist that this means what they want it to mean" he's right, in our opinion. We know some readers really want to believe the best of Theresa May and the negotiating team. We would like to be positive too but unfortunately we can't be, based on experience. If we end up being proved wrong in the end, no-one will be happier to admit it than us. Until then we must continue to warn and perhaps be unpopular.
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A Brexit Facts4EU.Org Economic Analysis
                            © Dept for International Trade
The good news just doesn’t stop.
All those who told us that a vote to leave the EU would precipitate a recession, job losses of up to 820,000, the need for an emergency tax-raising ‘punishment’ budget.... Well they are looking sillier by the day.
BOOMING BREXIT BRITAIN – exports up by 16%
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
The good news just keeps on coming. Below we analyse the latest figures produced by HMRC on exports. And before anyone tells you that any good news on exports is purely down to the fall in the pound, that is untrue, as we show below.
Here is a graph we produced at the beginning of the year, to show that the pound was falling before the Referendum, despite what Remainers were saying. It is very appropriate to look at it now, in relation to the growth in exports.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
If the growth in exports is all down to the fall in the value of the pound, how come exports didn’t rise before? As you can see above, the pound was falling well before the Referendum too.
Incidentally, the data came from the Bank of England. It always takes time to find definitive information from official sources but we think it's worth it, so that you have facts you can rely on.
  • Year-on-year UK exports are up by 16%
  • Total annual value of UK exports increased to £324 billion, in year ending Sept 2017
  • Exports were up from all UK countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Exports were up from every English Region
  • The numbers of businesses exporting rose by 4,205 or 4% since the Referendum
Remainers continue to try to find reasons why Brexit good news isn’t good news. If news is good, then it’s for some other reason. The classic excuse in this case is “oh, that’s just because of the massive drop in the value of the pound.”
Well, once again that won’t wash. Yes of course the pound finding a more appropriate level – something which started long before the Referendum – has helped exporters, but it doesn’t explain the extent of the surge in exports in the last year.
If we were Dr Liam Fox’s Department for International Trade, we might want to point out that a lot of hard work has gone into raising the profile of exporting since the department was created last year.
If we were Dr Fox we might also want to say that foreign visits promoting the UK for trade have been relentless. Facts4EU.Org has mentioned this many times in recent months, as it’s always nice to report positively on the work of a government department. DIT is a success, as far as we’re concerned.
We hope you enjoyed this good Brexit news to start your weekend on a high!
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            06.15am, 09 December 2017
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A Brexit Facts4EU.Org Analysis
                            © EU Commission
You can learn a lot by watching how the other side reacts to events like yesterday’s.
Following yesterday’s dawn meeting between Mrs May and EU Commission President Juncker in Brussels, word reached EU Council President Tusk that the Commission was ready to recommend that “sufficient progress” had been made by Mrs May on capitulating to the EU’s demands on the first three areas it would discuss.
His acceptance statement, which had already been written prior to its expected outing on Tuesday when the deal was called off at the last minute, was dusted off and President Tusk duly presented it in a press conference.
It’s worth reading properly. Below we show you the video and also a link to the full text. Analysing the text helps the reader to understand just what Mrs May signed up to yesterday.
PLEASE NOTE: If the wrong video shows for you below, please click here to see the correct one with President Tusk yesterday. (There seems to be a problem with embedding videos from the Commission at the moment.)
© EU Council 08 Dec 2017
Summary of statement by President Tusk, Brussels 08 Dec 2017:
  • Very little ‘crowing’ (see below)
  • Recommends to start negotiating transition period “immediately”
  • Transition period to be like EU membership, but with all the costs and fewer benefits
  • Trade deal talks will need new ‘guidelines’ next year
“And we will be ready to discuss this, but naturally, we have our conditions. I propose that during this period, the UK will respect:
  • “the whole of EU law, including new law;
  • it will respect budgetary commitments;
  • it will respect judicial oversight;
  • and of course, all the related obligations.”
“Clearly, within the transition period following the UK's withdrawal, EU decision-making will continue among the 27 member states, without the UK.”
“On our side, we are ready to start preparing a close EU-UK partnership in trade, but also in the fight against terrorism and international crime as well as security, defence and foreign policy. For this to happen, the European Council will have to adopt additional guidelines next year.”
So President Tusk is making things very clear. The EU will take everything Mrs May has given, thank you very much (only he doesn’t bother to say thank you), and will then demand much more. We can’t say he didn’t warn us.
In Phase 2 the UK will once again be treated like a poor supplicant and told what it must do – exactly like Phase 1 of the talks. Tusk makes it clear that the UK will be treated like a member of the EU and will continue to pay heavily, but with no decision or voting rights.
Massive annual payments will continue to be made, the UK will be under the jurisdiction of the ECJ. Border policy will be decided by the EU with free movement as standard, and the rules of the Single Market and Customs Union will apply. No new trade agreements will be possible.
The UK will be to all intents and purposes a member of the EU, paying far more than all full members except Germany, but only getting associate member benefits.
The EU27 will continue to make decisions on changes to the EU – and we have seen in the last year how they have rapidly admitted to making dramatic changes such as the EU common defence forces – but the UK will have no say.
Under Mrs May’s deal, Brexit will not be delivered on 29th March 2019, no matter what you're told.
One advantage for President Tusk of the false start on Tuesday, when the EU thought Mrs May had capitulated but before Arlene Foster of the DUP stepped in, was that Tusk learnt he must rein back on his childish enthusiasm for having won so comprehensively.
On Tuesday he rather prematurely tweeted “Tell me why I like Tuesdays”, in anticipation of doing the deal with Mrs May. This got him a great deal of bad press from Brexiteers who quite rightly pointed out that it showed just how delighted Tusk was with the terms of the deal.
                            © EU Council
This time, he was careful to curb his evident delight. Don’t be fooled though. The word out of Brussels is that they believe they won hands down and humiliated the United Kingdom. Unfortunately we have to agree with that assessment.
We don’t care how No.10 tries to spin it, nor how pro-Brexit but loyal Conservative MPs make wholly disingenuous statements to the media, the UK will effectively remain in the EU until way past March 2019.
As things stand, the very earliest the UK could be free would be March 2021, nearly five years after the Referendum. In reality and knowing the EU, the UK’s “transition period” will last longer than two years as the EU will drag their feet.
And at the end of it all, what does the UK get for trying to be so nice to its continental partners? Nothing. We are 100% convinced that the EU will never offer a trade deal which is remotely reasonable or worthwhile.
If you look at Tusk’s statement, he is already linking a trade deal to “the fight against terrorism and international crime as well as security, defence and foreign policy.” This is of course Mrs May’s fault once again, as she has insisted on talking about her ludicrous “deep and special partnership” that she wants with the EU, as well as unconditionally offering them a Security and Defence Treaty.
The trade deal will go the way of the much-vaunted TTIP trade deal that the EU spent years trying and failing to secure with the United States, and which collapsed towards the end of Obama’s presidency last year. If they couldn’t even agree anything with EU-lover Obama, they’ll never agree it with more neutral presidents.
And they will never offer the UK a sensible trade deal which would have any value, because that is precisely what they want to avoid. The EU elites will do everything they can to make the UK suffer post-Brexit.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            04.35am, 09 December 2017
Name: : Carole, UK      Date/Time: 09 Dec 2017, 2.57pm
Message: We are leaving the single market and customs union in March 2019. That doesn't have to be negotiated, it just happens as the treaties fall away. Any agreement on the transitional period will thus be about regulatory alignment for a fixed period with the EU for the sake of business. I have yet to find any Cabinet member who has said that we are not leaving the single market and customs union in March 2019 and that includes Hammond and Rudd. It will only be a matter of weeks or maybe a month before we know more and I hope you will hold back on your rejection of the PM until then.
Name: : cs2011, UK      Date/Time: 09 Dec 2017, 11.59am
Message: I watched Andrew Neil's 'This Week' show the other night, and he also said that after the transition period, a dispute involving an EU immigrant would only be heard by the ECJ if the case was referred to it by a British judge (much as Carole said in her comment on the article below). I also think that people are reading too much into the 'regulatory alignment' issue. Goods we sell into EU countries have to meet EU regulations irrespective of whether we are in the EU or not (Eg. CE marking).
                            © EU Commission
Brexit Facts4EU.Org analysis of EU-UK negotiators’ 15 page report on “Negotiations under Article 50 TEU on the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal from the European Union”.
We have conducted a quick analysis of the EU’s new 15-page document in the time available since it was released. This deal represents the outcome of all the months of negotiations with the EU in the first ‘phase’ of talks related to the exit of the UK from EU membership.
The negotiations covered the three EU-dictated areas as follows :-
  1. “protecting the rights of Union citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the Union;”
  2. “the framework for addressing the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland;” and
  3. “the financial settlement.”
“Negotiations under Article 50 TEU
on the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal
from the European Union”
A short Facts4EU.Org analysis
EU citizens can live in the UK in perpetuity. Their family and any future unborn children can come and join them at any time. Benefits, healthcare, etc, will continue to be available in full, and (for example) childcare benefits received in the UK can continue to be sent abroad.
“This Part of the Agreement establishes rights for citizens following on from those established in Union law during the UK’s membership of the European Union; the CJEU is the ultimate arbiter of the interpretation of Union law.”
EU law will have precedence for 8 or 10 years from 29th March 2017 - we think they mean 10 years. In other words the UK will be subject to EU law until 29th March 2027. A figure of 8 years is mentioned, but it seems this is achieved by subtracting the 2 years of the proposed ‘transition period’. We believe the true figure to be 10 years.
“The implementation and application of the citizens' rights Part will be monitored in the Union by the Commission acting in conformity with the Union Treaties.”
On exiting the EU, Article 50 states that the EU Treaties shall no longer apply. By the back door, the EU has reintroduced them into the agreement that Theresa May has just signed.
In general terms, it is our view that the EU seeks to interfere in the sovereign rights of the United Kingdom to conduct its affairs within its own territory, Northern Ireland, and in bilateral relations with the Republic of Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement does not concern the EU. Despite the EU constantly rewriting history and claiming to be responsible for peace across Europe since WWII (before it was even born), the EU was NOT responsible for the GFA and should not interfere in any way with it.
Here is part of what the document has to say on Northern Ireland:
“The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting North-South cooperation and to its guarantee of avoiding a hard border. Any future arrangements must be compatible with these overarching requirements. The United Kingdom's intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship.”
“Should this not be possible, the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.”
In effect, this could mean that if there is no future deal with the EU – which we do not expect there to be – then the UK agrees that Northern Ireland must effectively stay in the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union and that the rest of the United Kingdom will follow, in having its rules “aligned”.
It looks to us that the DUP has been bought off for now by the EU adding that “In all circumstances, the United Kingdom will continue to ensure the same unfettered access for Northern Ireland's businesses to the whole of the United Kingdom internal market.” In other words, no border in the middle of the Irish Sea.
However we think the DUP are playing the long game here. In reality they will never sign up to what the EU wants as a full deal, come March 2019. When you have power, use it when it can achieve the maximum result.
As part of the deal, it seems that Mrs May has agreed that the UK will continue to pay into EU programmes in respect of Ireland.
“Both Parties will honour their commitments to the PEACE and INTERREG funding programmes under the current multi-annual financial framework. Possibilities for future support will be examined favourably.”
This section of the document is profoundly depressing. In essence, Mrs May has agreed that the UK will keep on paying the EU billions for decades to come. We will write separately on this subject.
“The UK will contribute to, and participate in, the implementation of the Union annual budgets for the years 2019 and 2020 as if it had remained in the Union”
“The UK will contribute its share of the financing of the budgetary commitments outstanding at 31 December 2020 (RAL).”
This is massive, and represents all the monies ostensibly committed, but not yet spent by the EU. Every year it’s a huge amount and elements of it stretch back for more than 10 years.
“The UK will remain liable for its share of the Union’s contingent liabilities as established at the date of withdrawal.”
Again, this is an enormous sum that can’t even be quantified yet.
“Union assets relating to Union space programmes (EGNOS, Galileo & Copernicus) are not part of the financial settlement.”
So, the EU will not include the assets the UK has built up as a result of being a major payer into the EU’s space programme. What is it saying, that we get nothing back?
“Except for the UK payments relating to UK participation to Union annual budgets to 2020 as set out in paragraphs 59 and 60, the UK share in relation with the Union budget will be a percentage calculated as the ratio between the own resources made available by the UK from the year 2014 to 2020 and the own resources made available by all Member States, including the UK, during the same period.”
We cannot be sure but we have a horrible feeling this means that the UK’s annual budget rebate will not apply after 2020. That means an increase of billions per year if the transition period which Mrs May wants runs past Dec 2020.
“Participation in Union programmes will require the UK and UK beneficiaries to respect all relevant Union legal provisions including co-financing.”
In other words, where there is a programme funded jointly by the EU and member states themselves (very common) the UK must pay its share. i.e. where the member state pays in €2 euros for every €1 euro paid from EU funds, the UK will continue to pay 2/3rds on top of what it has already paid into EU central funds.
European Investment Bank (EIB) – “In this context, the UK will provide a guarantee for an amount equal to its callable capital on the day of withdrawal.”
It looks like we don’t get our money back for years, due to potential liabilities, but this is a complex area and we will let others whjo are more qualified comment on the EIB.
“Facility for Refugees in Turkey, European Union trust funds
83. The UK will honour the commitments it made before withdrawal for participating in the Facility for Refugees in Turkey and the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. The existing modalities of payments will be maintained unless otherwise agreed in the second phase.”
European Development Fund (EDF)
“The UK will remain party to the European Development Fund (EDF) which is governed by a separate international agreement and is outside the Union budget until the closure of the 11th EDF. The UK will honour its share of the total commitments made under this EDF and the payments related to its share of the outstanding commitments made under previous EDFs. The existing modalities of payments will be maintained unless otherwise agreed in the second phase.”
This is yet another massive ‘off-the-books’ fund which the UK pays into. Essentially, it looks like we just keep on paying.
“96. This report is put forward with a view to the meeting of the European Council (Article 50) of 14 and 15 December 2017. It is also agreed by the UK on the condition of an overall agreement under Article 50 on the UK's withdrawal, taking into account the framework for the future relationship, including an agreement as early as possible in 2018 on transitional arrangements.”
These negotiations covered the three EU-dictated areas of money, money, and money.
The EU colloquially refer to these three areas as:
  1. Citizens' rights
  2. Northern Ireland, and
  3. The financial settlement.
These three areas were of course artificial constructs of the EU, designed to take people’s minds off the fact that really they were only interested in the UK’s money.
Mrs May's 04.30am flight to keep her appointment with the unelected officials in Brussels.
                            © HMG
What was she thinking of? A 4.30am plane to meet a bunch of jumped-up, washed-out ex-politicians?
In summary, the deal agreed by Theresa May is nothing short of pitiful. It does not in any way resemble what the British people voted for on 23rd June 2016.
It is so far away from what is acceptable that we regret there is no alternative to call for Mrs May to be replaced as Prime Minister as soon as possible. We see no need for a General Election, merely a change at the top. The government could announce that all policies would remain as described in the manifesto, and that the change of Prime Minister was being made solely for the proper enactment of the Referendum result.
It has been a long day since 3am when we started. We would very much like to know what you think of this deal.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            5.00pm, 08 December 2017
Name: : cs2011, Devizes, UK      Date/Time: 09 Dec 2017, 3.46pm
Message: Your summary section 2 (EU LAW HAS JURISDICTION OVER UK LAW) is factually incorrect and misleading, because the 8 year period after transition relates to the rights of migrants (EU to UK and UK to EU), and not to UK law as a whole. This is very clearly set out in the full document.
Reply: Our reply below refers. If we had more resources we could produce more information, more quickly. It will come.
Name: : Carole, UK      Date/Time: 08 Dec 2017, 9.05pm
Message: The role of the ECJ is advisory only. They will be called upon by UK courts and tribunals conducting cases for registered EU citizens, to interpret EU law where there is no existing case law.
Reply: We wish the ECJ would be only advisory. We will publish more on this.
 We couldn’t stop him. Despite being hooked up to tubes and wires, our Editor shooed out the medics and insisted on having his say on this morning’s events. Here is more or less what he dictated earlier.
                            © EU Commission
First Editorial on Prime Minister May’s ‘Agreement’ with the EU
The Brexit Facts4EU.Org team has conducted its initial analysis of the new agreement which Mrs May has agreed with the European Union.
We will be publishing more details based on actual facts and wordings in due course. Firstly, a an overview.
In overall terms, here are some initial thoughts:
  • The agreement is completely unacceptable on almost every level
  • It starts on the wrong premise, that the EU’s world is ‘normal’, and tries to stick close to that
  • EU law will continue to apply in the UK for 10 years (8 years on top of the transition period)
  • New EU laws will be made in Brussels, without any say from the UK, and these will apply in the UK
  • If no trade deal is done, the UK will stay ‘aligned’ with the EU, without being able to improve
  • Northern Ireland will be marginalised, and the UK will continue to pay the EU for the Irish programmes
  • The UK will continue to pay the EU for years, as if it had never left
  • On 29th March 2019, there is no chance the UK will leave the EU in anything like a meaningful way
This supposed new agreement is so serious we must now look to MPs to address the problem. Theresa May has achieved nothing short of a complete sell-out and has embarrassed and humiliated the country in the process. We say this by considering the vote to leave the European Union and what it meant to the majority of people, and the outcome that Mrs May has achieved. We also know what is said across Europe as we monitor their media and governments.
Please note: It doesn't matter what spin you hear about this agreement on TV or in the mainstream media today. They will either not understand the document we've just read, or will deliberately misinterpret it. Please believe that none of us in the Brexit Facts4EU.Org team would ever deliberately mislead you.
In the next article which will appear above this one, you will read some of our notes on the new ‘agreement’. Firstly though, we have to make our position clear to all the politicians who read our news.
  • The new agreement does not represent ‘leaving the EU’ in the way it is commonly understood
  • Mrs May is clueless in world affairs and is being very badly advised
  • We regret this is now beyond the point where we’re pulling our punches
  • All pro-Brexit MPs must now stand up, and do and say the right thing
  • Reputations will stand or fall based on the next 72 hours
We have already heard that Michael Gove backed this deal on BBC Radio 4 and TV this morning. If that is true, then he no longer has any support from us. If other Cabinet Ministers come out in similar vein today, they too will lose our support.
It’s time to stop pussy-footing around. Stop this absurd textual rubbish, where words are added, twisted, massaged or ‘nuanced’ to make it possible to persuade the public that a full and abject surrender hasn’t been conceded by Theresa May.
Let’s be absolutely clear. She has surrendered. Her approach to the EU was defeatist from the first day. Hopeless on the world stage, we nevertheless did our best to support her and her government. Enough is enough.
We don’t see the need for an election and a change of government. We do however see an urgent need for a change of Prime Minister. The new Prime Minister must be someone who backed Brexit. It must also be someone who really and truly believes in Brexit, unlike some of the cabinet ministers who supposedly do. Mr Gove and Mr Davis please take note.
We would like to stress that this isn’t normal politics. This is Brexit. By common agreement this is the biggest issue for the country in our lifetimes.
If we have just been through the phoney war, then Mrs May’s government has just surrendered before the real fighting has even started.
We have a wonderful little team. They have a lot of great stuff they’ve been working on, in addition to all the new work they now have to do as a result of Theresa's 'Midnight Run'. If you can donate to the cause, they’ll see you proud.
A more factual assessment of this morning’s agreement between the UK and EU will appear above shortly.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            11.10am, 08 December 2017
Name: : Jdgarfunkle, UK      Date/Time: 08 Dec 2017, 1.42pm
Message: I keep having to point out. The agreement over ECJ jurisdiction only states it will last 8 years after 'transition'. It does NOT say it will stop after that time.
Name: : Michael Z Freeman, UK      Date/Time: 08 Dec 2017, 11.42am
Message: May is the Globalists "fixer" bought in to clean up mess of people's revolt against United States of Europe. But just as Obama and then Clinton thought they had everything sewn up ... elections loom in the distance.
The PM this morning                                                                  © EU Council
Below we are providing you with the raw documents we have obtained in regard to the agreement reached by the Prime Minister, Mrs Theresa May and the EU Commission, this morning 8th December 2017.
We will be providing more analysis and summaries in due course.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, said:
"This is a difficult negotiation but we have now made a first breakthrough. I am satisfied with the fair deal we have reached with the United Kingdom. If the 27 Member States agree with our assessment, the European Commission and our Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier stand ready to begin work on the second phase of the negotiations immediately. I will continue to keep the European Parliament very closely involved throughout the process, as the European Parliament will have to ratify the final Withdrawal Agreement."
Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, said:
"The Commission's assessment is based on the real, genuine progress made in each of our three priority areas. By agreeing on these issues, and settling the past, we can now move forward and discuss our future relationship on the basis of trust and confidence."
We will continue to report today as soon as all facts become clear.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
             08.25am, 08 December 2017
The PM this morning                                                                              © EU Council
We are stunned that the Prime Minister Mrs May has once again rushed off by plane to Brussels. She and Juncker are talking as we write - AT 6.30 IN THE MORNING.
What on earth does the PM think she's doing? We are currently waiting for details of what has been agreed. In the meantime we must say that it is deeply embarrassing to see the British Prime Minister getting up in the early hours of the morning, to fly over to the headquarters of a foreign power for nothing more than a press conference with a bloated and unelected bureaucrat from the European Union.
We almost don't need to see the full text of the agreement which has apparently been reached. The fact that the PM has jumped on a plane for a dawn press conference with a creature like Juncker tells us everything we need to know.
We will of course submit the text of any documents to our usual rigorous scrutiny and will report to you in easily-digestible, summary form, with links to the the full papers for those who wish to read them.
We wish we could sound hopeful. Based on what we have seen this morning so far, our hopes are at a very low level. In fact we doubt that what the Prime Minister has agreed will in any way match the minimum standards required by the British public who voted to leave the European Union.
It may take days, and we may have to battle the Establishment media, but in the end we expect the deal the prime Minister has done will prove to be a very sick joke from which a future Prime Minister will have to extricate the country.
We will report fully this morning as soon as all facts become clear.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            Starting 05.30am... Latest update: 07.15am, 08 December 2017
                            © Guardian
How did things ever get this bad?
We would like to ask you a question. Are public lies worse than ever, and if they are, is this serious?
Let’s take an example from the Guardian. We could have chosen Osborne’s Evening Standard, or we could have picked a broadcaster like the BBC or Sky News. However we saw a particularly shocking example in the Guardian so let’s use that for illustration purposes.
The piece is the editorial, entitled “The Guardian view on Britain and the customs union: just do it” and it was published on Tuesday evening in the online edition. Here is how it starts:
“In 2016, more than 17 million British people voted to leave the European Union. But – as the journalist Tim Shipman’s new book, Fall Out, which covers the political turmoil of the 15 months since the referendum, makes clear – only two British people decided that this meant leaving the European single market, the customs union and the jurisdiction of the European court of justice.
“Those two people were Theresa May and her former aide Nick Timothy. These fateful national decisions were their personal interpretations of the vote to leave the EU – and theirs alone.”
The Guardian’s contentions are therefore that:
  1. Voting to leave the EU did not mean leaving the single market, customs union, or the ECJ
  2. Only two people interpreted the vote to mean this
  3. These two people happened to be the new prime minister and her chief of staff
The first point is demonstrably a lie. It was most famously dealt with when Andrew Neil humiliated Nick Clegg on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme, with one clip after another showing David Cameron, George Osborne, and prominent Leave campaigners all saying the same thing. Clegg himself also said it.
Below is a recent video compilation, regarding what was said about membership of the EU and membership of the Single Market.
Thanks are certainly due to 'Channel Brexit' for finding and assembling all the clips.
The second and third points claimed by the Guardian were that only two people interpreted the Leave vote to include leaving the Single Market and other key aspects of EU membership, and that these people were the PM and her chief of staff. We won’t even stoop to address such idiocy.
Even without this proof, we have previously and repeatedly shown how membership of the EU is inextricably bound up with membership of the single market, membership of the customs union, and subjection to the ECJ’s jurisdiction.
To say otherwise would be like saying that you are no longer going to celebrate Christmas, but you will buy a Christmas tree, decorate it, send out Christmas cards, cook a turkey according to a traditional recipe with all the trimmings, go to midnight mass, and continue to give presents to all your friends and family on Christmas Day. But you’ve cancelled Christmas. Oh yes.
For almost everyone, Christmas means all the things that are associated with Christmas. You can’t cancel or ‘leave’ Christmas unless you leave all the things that make up Christmas.
(We used Christmas as a metaphor because we thought there is a pretty good chance that Guardian journalists don’t believe in that either, and it might therefore irritate them further.)
The video above is all about the Single Market, as that is the part of EU membership most frequently worshipped and mentioned by Remoaners. However the same could also be said for the Customs Union, for jurisdiction of the ECJ, for free movement, and for whatever else the Remoaners at the Guardian and elsewhere come up with.
Their desperate attempts to try to break down elements of EU membership and to claim that these elements could somehow be retained whilst they claim that the vote to leave the EU was still being honoured? That is simply absurd.
Now if it’s so demonstrably untrue, then - and here’s the rub – perhaps all that is required is not to care that it’s untrue.
And there we have it. This piece isn’t about what ‘Leave’ means. Everyone knows that - even Guardian journos irrespective of what they might say. This piece is about the quality of public debate.
We started the article with a question. Are public lies getting worse and if they are is this serious?
None of our readers are naïve. Everyone knows that politicians lie and always have done. But has the result of the Referendum made some of them sink to new depths? Increasingly, journalists have been also been sinking in the public’s estimation and they are being joined by academics, lawyers, and other professions.
Daily you can watch Remoaner politicians, as well as journalists, broadcasters, and all manner of so-called ‘experts’ holding forth on Brexit. The vast majority haven’t got the first idea what they’re talking about. Those interviewing them haven’t either. Facts disappear into the ether and are rarely to be seen.
Here at Brexit Facts4EU.Org we actually bother to research facts. Call us old-fashioned, but we find it comforting to know what we’re talking about before we spout forth on a subject. It seems we’re becoming an endangered species.
On one side of us we have people who will say anything, regardless of whether they know it’s true or false, in order to advance their agenda. On the other side we have people who seem hell bent on ensuring that lies can never be shown up as such. This second group are busy putting in place ‘hate speech’ laws and procedures, so that people like us can never get the truth out there.
Yesterday, YouTube (owned by Google) placed an official video produced by the Polish government into a form of quarantine. You can’t find it by searching, and if you do arrive at it by clicking on a direct link, a warning message appears.
So, in 2017 a globalist corporation is effectively censoring a video from the government of a country that until nearly 30 years ago was a totalitarian state that did not allow free speech. No law had been broken. The young radicals at YouTube just didn’t like what the Polish government were saying. Our irony meter almost broke under the pressure.
Brexit is our fight. It is under extreme pressure right now. At the same time, we need to push back on the other front of the encroachment on the last vestiges of free speech. Both battles must be won. Lose now, and it will be almost impossible to win ever again.
If you can help us to win on both fronts by supporting our efforts financially, we will do everything we can. We don’t want to give up because of something as boring as a lack of resources. Give us the Spitfires, we’ll fly ‘em.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            05.30am, 07 December 2017
Name: : Carole, UK      Date/Time: 07 Dec 2017, 3.25pm
Message: How do we stop this pack of lies from spreading across the internet and reaching the gullible?
Name: : J Slater, UK      Date/Time: 07 Dec 2017, 11.26am
Message: Come on everybody. Let's all show our support by funding this work. It is the Facts 4EU Team who are keeping us, and politicians, informed with true facts. Long hours, colossal research and analysis, done in their own time. I am so grateful to them all. They seek truths in a world where lies abound: lies we are being fed by big businesses, the media, universities (with their EU bias), and yes even some of our politicians and not forgetting the Dishonest, Dastardly, Disingenuous, Dictators of the EU. This provides our pro Brexit politicians with some really useful facts, which Civil Servants don't, having as their boss Sir Jeremy Heywood, an arch Remainer. He is reputedly the instigator of the phrase 'alignment' in the latest round of talks with Junker, which the DUP stopped. This was a deliberate ploy to get us into a soft Brexit. The Civil Service are not working for us, they have their own agenda. Who do we trust? Facts 4EU. Who do we support? Facts 4EU. We must not ignore their pleas for funding and 'spitfires'. Every penny is well spent. So, please, loosen those purse strings and send them your financial support. And enjoy your Christmas, whilst we are still permitted to celebrate this Holy time.
Reply: Wow. Thank you so much! And thank you very much for your own donations.
“OH NO...”
“I knew I forgot something.”
“I keep meaning to donate to
those poor, hardworking people at Facts4EU.Org”
Alas none of us are hedge fund managers... or married to one. The Team (and one member in particular) has donated as much as it can. Can you please help fund our work?
Unlike many Brexit websites, we do our own research, write our own content, and create our own graphs.
Unfortunately we barely make it from one week to the next and we rely 100% on voluntary contributions.
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       Best regards, the Facts4EU.Org Team, Dec 2017
Facts4EU.Org have analysed the latest trade figures produced by the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency – the equivalent of the Office for National Statistics.
We looked in particular at the amount of goods crossing the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, compared to Northern Ireland’s trade in goods to and from all sources.
  • Only 5.0% (£3.6bn) of N.I. goods sold, cross the border to the Republic of Ireland
  • This is less than the percentage going to the Rest of the World (5.4%)
  • Four times as much is sold to mainland Great Britain
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
  • The Republic’s sales to N.I. are equally low
  • Just £1.79 bn of ROI goods were bought, representing 5.2% of total goods purchased
  • Once again, N.I. bought more from the Rest of the World than from the Republic
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
In the context of overall world trade, the above figures are minuscule. For the UK as a whole the sums are tiny and it must be said that even from Northern Ireland and the Republic’s points of view the numbers are still small. This goes a long way to explaining how the British government were originally able to propose that the vast majority of businesses be exempted.
We find the whole question of the border to be an absurd construct of the EU, playing the Republic very nicely, in an attempt to be as difficult and vindictive as possible to the UK.
We do not for one moment believe that the Good Friday Agreement should be under any threat whatsoever from Brexit. Those who claim that it is are doing so for their own political motives. Those who know what they’re talking about, such as former N.I. Secretaries of State like Owen Paterson and Theresa Villiers, have explained in simple terms how the issues can be resolved.
It merely requires normal people to negotiate normally, in good faith. It is very clear to us that this is not happening from either the Irish or the Brussels sides, which unfortunately does not come as a great surprise.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            05.30am, 06 December 2017
Name: : SibeliusFan, UK      Date/Time: 06 Dec 2017, 10.32am
Message: Perhaps I'm being very superficial but... if the UK had a free trade agreement with the EU, the border between the Irish Republic and NI would surely be much as it is now. Therefore, by magnifying the importance of the issue aren't the EU representatives simply signalling that they have no intention of agreeing a free trade deal with the UK?
Intellectual games indulged in by mandarins must stop
Brexit Facts4EU.Org has tried to take a step back from the minutiae of the negotiations of the last few days, to look at some basics.
It has become clear from various sources – these are the unattributable but official government sources working for No.10 – that the approach to negotiations seems to have been taking place on the wrong bases. It appears that mandarins were rather pleased with themselves for coming up with various ‘forms of words’ to resolve various issues with the EU.
We do not believe this is the correct approach when it comes to negotiations with the EU.
There are certain things the EU has been demanding that are simply not acceptable in any way. When these came up in talks, the answer from the UK side should have been short, sweet, and immediate: ‘no’. Instead it appears that civil servants have been trying to find magical ‘forms of words’ to keep both sides happy.
This sort of intellectual jousting may be fun for the mandarin mind, but it is shockingly bad behaviour when one is supposed to be looking after the national interests of the United Kingdom.
Let’s take the example which was most prominent yesterday. This was the question of “regulatory alignment, convergence, or harmonisation”.
Here is what David Davis said in the House yesterday:
“The presumption of the discussion was that everything we talked about applied to the whole United Kingdom. I reiterate that alignment is not harmonisation. It is not having exactly the same rules; it is sometimes having mutually recognised rules, mutually recognised inspection and all that sort of thing. That is what we are aiming at.”
Over the past few days we've heard many slight variations on this theme. Apparently the nuances of words like alignment, convergence and harmonisation are all important.
Many people will think that playing around with words is not what is required. One of the major benefits to be gained from Brexit is precisely that the UK will be able to go its own way, clearly and proudly holding its head up high. It is very surprising to hear that the government seems bent on keeping everything about the UK’s rules and laws as close to the EU’s as possible.
Already yesterday, the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he didn't see any difference between 'regulatory alignment' and 'no regulatory divergence'. More worryingly still, an EU official told Daniel Boffey of the Guardian yesterday that “The UK will not have any say on the decisions taken in Brussels and will basically implement them without having any influence over them... It makes the UK kind of a regulatory ‘protectorate’ of Brussels”.
Whatever the failings of civil servants and the government, let us not forget Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition whose constantly changing Brexit policies are a complete and utter shambles. Here was Sir Keir Starmer yesterday:
“But let us not be fooled that yesterday was just about choreography. There are two underlying causes of this latest and most serious failure. The first can be traced back to the Prime Minister’s conference speech in October last year, when she recklessly swept options such as the customs union and the single market off the table, and ruled out any role for the European Court of Justice, yet maintained that she could avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.”
We have lost track of how many times the Labour Party has changed its policy on the Single Market, the Customs Union, the ECJ, free movement, and every other important aspect of Brexit. Some time ago we stopped commenting on it because it was such a movable feast on a daily basis, depending on which shadow minister was speaking.
We have received several emails taking us to task for criticising in the government in recent articles. It has always been our desire to support the government in its negotiations with the EU, wherever possible.
Unfortunately in recent days (in particular) we have felt there was no option but to criticise the government. We regret that we simply can’t support incompetence nor the very real prospects of compromises which go much further than we believe the majority of the British public voted for.
One of the simplest words in the English language is ‘no’. Where the EU is concerned, the government should start to learn how to use this word, rather than pussyfooting around with ridiculous ‘forms of words’ dreamt up by mandarins, which very quickly come back to bite them.
With the Brexit timescales, the UK simply doesn’t have the luxury of indulging in a series of fudges which will unravel over the coming 18 months or so. In the end, real documents will be produced containing detailed texts on what is agreed. At Brexit Facts4EU.Org we know what the EU is like. When the final wordings appear they will be EU wordings, and we strongly believe they will prove to be unacceptable.
Isn’t it much better to take a firm approach now, disagree strongly with the EU perhaps, but end up with each side knowing exactly what might be possible in terms of an eventual deal?
When it comes to certain basic principles such as the right to have whatever laws, rules and procedures we want, and the absolute right to have no interference, involvement or mention of the ECJ whatsoever, let's not bandy words around. Let's call a spade a spade and an EU bureaucrat or politician an idiot, if they spout any more nonsense.
They have to start understanding that their absurd ideas and concepts hold no sway for an independent Brexit Britain. None of the rest of the World would ever tolerate their absurdities.
One of the big bonuses of Brexit is that soon we shan't have to either.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            05.30am, 06 December 2017
                            © DUP
Readers will be familiar with the general sequence of events yesterday in Brussels.
There are just three main points to make:
  • Firstly it seems clear Mrs May would have signed if the DUP hadn’t stopped her
  • How is it possible for her to be unaware they would stand firm?
  • It seems Mrs May was ready to surrender on all three key points
At best, Mrs May looked out of her depth yesterday. She started the day grinning excessively in a photo call with President Juncker. Presumably this was when she was expecting to announce a great triumph for the UK, by signing a deal with the EU to surrender on all three key points under discussion.
Theresa May grinning inanely in Brussels today                            © EU Commission
The media has focused on the DUP’s role in preventing the abject surrender from taking place. For this, it is quite clear that the rest of the country owes them a debt of gratitude.
However there has been remarkably little comment about the fact that Mrs May seemed ready to agree to the EU’s demands for a ransom payment and for the continued role of the ECJ in the UK – specifically in relation to the rights of nearly 4 million EU citizens.
As we pointed out yesterday, all the EU players could barely conceal their delight at the deal they thought was about to be signed. If EU Presidents and MEPs were delighted, we are certain in our minds that any normal leave voter in the UK would have been horrified. Had the phone call between Theresa May and Arlene Foster not taken place, it seems clear that Mrs May would have signed up the UK to a grotesque surrender on every level.
In other words, forget the DUP for a minute. Every single Brexit-supporting MP in Parliament should have been shouting from the rooftops. They should have been making the Prime Minister’s office aware that they would not be able to support the government if it acquiesced on any one of the three issues.
In most governments, the Prime Minister would have been made aware of the views of her party and would negotiate agreements accordingly. The PM would know that he or she would require the MPs’ support for the deal. When it comes to Mrs May, however, we are starting to doubt very seriously that she has any idea of what is and is not acceptable to Tory MPs, to say nothing of what would be acceptable to the country at large.
It would reassure a large part of the country greatly if the body of MPs representing the majority view of the electorate in the Referendum were to start speaking rather louder about their red lines.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            05.30am, 05 December 2017
Name: : John Finn, UK      Date/Time: 07 Dec 2017, 7.38pm
Message: Re: J. Slater's response to my comment. First, for what it's worth I don't believe there is any PR spin or subterfuge taking place. I'm simply pointing out that, FOR VERY GOOD REASONS, we don't know what's going on. The UK has been negotiating with itself for most of the past 18 months. The EU has been able to sit back and watch the divisions play themselves out in the public arena. Many people were deluded enough to think that the Labour Party backed Brexit, Labour have no interest in supporting anything the Tories. There first, second and third priorities are to gain power. If that means sabotaging Brexit - then so be it. THe SNP and LibDems make no secret of their hostility towards Brexit and both the media and CBI are largely opposed to it. May is, therefore, caught between a rock and a very hard place. If May does play tough and it all goes wrong she'll soon find herself without friends. There won't be anyone who will admit that they favoured the "walk away" option. It's time for us to stop pretending that there is a huge public appetite for Brexit. There isn't. Latest polling shows that there is now a significant majority who think the decision to Leave was the wrong one. May has to tread very carefully
Name: : J Slater, UK      Date/Time: 05 Dec 2017, 8.11pm
Message: In response to Mr John Finn below: There is no place in politics for PR spin, subterfuge, hiding your real intent or any other kind of games that it appears Mrs May might have been playing. We need open and honest and believable and trustworthy politicians. Is this really too much to ask for? Tell it to us, the public, as it is. We should not be left guessing what our leaders are up to, especially on such a critical topic as Brexit. We are in the strong seat and therefore the negotiations do not need to be held under a cloak and dagger. It's the very fact that nothing is at it seems, that we are left to conjecture. Of course we do because we want and should know what is going on in the name of the British people. One rumour going round is that Mrs May was advised by a foreign leader (Eire) not to show the negotiating document relating to Northern Ireland to the DUP. If this is so, it is explosive. Since when has our Prime Minister acted according to the instructions of a foreign leader? More than one issue at stake here. Answers must be forthcoming after over a year of our waiting and watching.
Name: : Paul A, UK      Date/Time: 05 Dec 2017, 2.34pm
Message: May and her USSR loving civil servants playing good cop bad cop and fixing everything with the DUP! If you believe this you believe anything. May makes Cameron look honest. She will betray Brexit and the DUP again and they should remove support unless she is removed. If an election results then the Conservatives will be finished and we will have a bunch of Marxist loons in charge. The Cons would rather have someone honest in charge than face this prospect. Only George Sorearse would weep.
Name: : Carole, UK      Date/Time: 05 Dec 2017, 2.07pm
Message: I suggest those who doubt the resolve of the Tory party to deliver Brexit listen to David Davis in the Commons today. I don't believe this is Brexit in name only although it is a compromise to what I personally believe would be the best course. I accept this discrepancy in deference to the needs of business and the narrowness of the referendum majority.
Name: : John Finn, UK      Date/Time: 05 Dec 2017, 10.35am
Message: The previous article to this one is entitled "SELL-OUT RUMOURS ABOUND". They certainly do. Quite a few are being put about by Facts4EU who seem to be as frustrated at the rest of the UK media that they have resorted to the same tactics. YOU KNOW NOTHING. Not a thing. Nothing about the talks is being revealed. May would not have signed anything to-day (or yesterday) even if there had been no intervention from the DUP. For all we know the DUP input might be a deliberate move - a sort of good cop bad cop tactic. NOTHING at all has been agreed so it is you who is spreading the rumour and, in the process, weakening the appetite for Brexit among the UK public. Well Done! My intended contribution is back on ice.
Name: : R Ellison, UK      Date/Time: 05 Dec 2017, 10.17am
Message: The DUP and Arlene Foster in particular are heroes both for Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. PM Theresa May yesterday was poised to sell us off to the Devil. She is what we suspected all along: a traitor to Britain and a quisling. No more proof is needed. What is more, the Tory Party this morning must realise that she and her Cabinet and Advisors have created total and complete distrust in the Conservative Party as it stands now. Unless they do something immediately to stop her and her advisors, this will almost certainly spell the end for them as a reliable and vote winning Party. After Cameron's numerous failures and May's deviousness, the Party must act quickly and decisively. Who in the Conservative Party has the backbone to sort this mess out? There is more than enough outrage at the flagrant deception towards the majority, who voted for a clean break from the EU. Now is the time to act. Remove May from post. Book Remainer T. May and her Remainer banker husband a removal van. Today Parliament must act before T. May does even more damage and mayhem. She stands down or is voted out by the Party and they MUST replace her with someone who is strong, intelligent, honest and most crucially a firm Brexiteer. And a huge apology is owed to the people of Northern Ireland and the DUP. What May tried to sign away yesterday to the EU was subversive, traitorous and totally out of order.
Name: : Jon, Wales      Date/Time: 05 Dec 2017, 09.36am
Message: Thank goodness for Ms Arlene Foster. Had she not intervened, our United Kingdom may at this point be in a terrible state. We should not put up with effectively being 'blackmailed' by EU negotiators. I thought we were better than that. Mrs May, with great respect, I believe you are perhaps well out of your comfort zone dealing with our exit from the political European Union. This affects everyone in our country, and you appear to be giving in to EU demands far too quickly and easily. Mrs May, may I respectfully suggest you NEED assistance, and ask you to seek help from the Facts4EU team? They have the knowledge and expertise to advise, for which they should of course receive some funding. Facts4EU is non-political, and is therefore not biased towards one party or another. It would be in your interests to make contact for the sake of our great country, even if only for their opinion to further our common cause. Kind regards.
Theresa May grinning inanely in Brussels today                            © EU Commission
STOP PRESS. 15 page draft agreement - EU are delighted. Belgian MEP who has seen the document and is on the Brexit Steering Committee says he would 'put money on it being signed'.
He also admitted Brexit MPs will not be happy.
From everything he said, if it's true that this has all been agreed informally, then Mrs May has capitulated fully.
There will be huge problems ahead for the Prime Minister, as the concessions to achieve this will be much too far for any genuine pro-Brexit or DUP MP to accept.
UPDATE FROM BBC, 3pm: "Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg that the UK had made a concession on the Irish border.
"The BBC's political editor said Mr Lamberts said the UK was prepared to accept that Northern Ireland may remain in the EU's customs union and single market in all but name. But, she stressed, the BBC has not yet seen the draft document nor has it yet been signed off."
UPDATE FROM 4pm: Joint press conference with May and Juncker announces that there will be no decision today. This is exactly what we predicted in one of our series of four articles we published at 7.15am this morning. Below is a snapshot of what we published. For the full article click here.
One of our pieces from this morning                            © Facts4EU.Org
We observe and comment on the EU on a daily basis. We know how they think and act. If they're happy with the deal - and they are most certainly delighted - then it means Theresa May has sold out to the EU on every level. We don't even need to read the eventual agreement to know this is the case.
3pm: Now, even the BBC's political editor is admitting what an MEP from the EU Parliament's Brexit Steering Group (who has seen the document) admitted to her - that "the UK was prepared to accept that Northern Ireland may remain in the EU's customs union and single market in all but name".
4pm: All bets are now off.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            12.15pm, 04 December 2017
Name: : S.H. Ashurst, UK      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 7.37pm
Message: ‘Regulatory alignment.’ Now that really is worthy of Gerry Adams weasel words. The tweet that really brought the talks to standstill.
Nicola Sturgeon at 14:46 with - If one part of UK can retain regulatory alignment with EU and effectively stay in the single market (which is the right solution for Northern Ireland) there is surely no good practical reason why others can’t, then followed by Sadiq Khan.
What does that clever Laura Kuenssberg make of it. "Hearing it was the DUP call that sunk today's chances of a deal - Foster held her press conference , 20 minutes later May leaves talks with Juncker to call her, goes back into the room and the deal is off".
But that's not the half of it. Theresa May is not just negotiating the Irish Border on behalf of N.I., but for the whole of the UK. A sniff of a separate single market & customs union deal for N.I. and every remainer wants special consideration.
End of negotiations, an interpretation of those two little words ‘regulatory alignment’, that is tantamount to breaking up the United Kingdom, Theresa May could not agree to that. No point in blaming the DUP Laura!! The Taoiseach must live in la-la land if he was happy to accept, convergence, no divergence or regulatory alignment, and that all those things essentially meant the same thing. No UK Prime Minister could knowingly make a deal that would be responsible for the breakup of the UK. Not even Jeremy Corbyn if he came to power.
Name: : AMB, London      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 6.57pm
Message: I wrote a comment early this morning but lost it before submission. It basically said that today's meeting was pointless other than another public humiliation of May begging & further (unnecessary) concessions for no return. I now thank God for the DUP & am eternally happy that May lost the majority she expected. She has caved on money (which has to be borrowed). She is caving on CJEU & almost managed to give away NI. She's guaranteed that we won't seek any advantage with any other countries & unconditionally agreed our defence & security compliance. No doubt the reselling of our fishing territory awaits ddown the line. This is more than incompetence. This is complicity in the wilful destruction of our country. Neither of the major parties is interested in delivering on what the people voted for. It's a sad day when you are praying for the EU to reject any 'deal'...Not in recent times has a PM been in such a position of potential greatness, other than Scameron, by restoring our independence, & sealing a great legacy yet has thrown it all away & seems intent on our destruction. Let me know when we can take to the streets...
Name: : Brexiter Braintree Essex      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 6.55pm
Message: Just who are the advisors to the Prime Minister,are they all children? They obviously never studied history, they have never been to Northern Ireland. Go to Londonderry yes it's official title is that, go into the city see the red white and blue kerbstones the murals of King Billy on his horse. There was no way that the people who live there would accept their Province being annexed to become in effect a "united Ireland". The ignorance of both May's negotiators and the EU is frankly breathtaking. I exclude Eire from that criticism because they would have known, what mischief that so called Irish solution, would have caused. We are being governed by fools. There is no fudge available on the Irish border issue. Out means out, lets get on with it.
Name: : Patrick H, Greater London      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 6.53pm
Message: Theresa May - humiliation in Brussels and now humiliation from Northern long can this individual last as a credible PM of the UK? Enough is enough she must go!
Name: : Rosie, Bristol      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 6.07pm
Message: Thank God for Arlene Foster and thank God for Fabian Picardo, two true patriots who will not let her give their people away. (You may be sure Gibraltar will be next.) And if only we could have Nigel Dodds as our negotiator instead of this treacherous woman with the raucous voice.
Name: : Brexiter Braintree Essex      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 5.10pm
Message: 763 British troops were killed in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. Did these troops die in vain? They were there to maintain the law in a British Province. The EU are fostering more dissent by trying to force the UK Government into annexing the Province. Let's just remind the Prime Minister May, 17,410,000 voters of all political persuasions voted to leave the EU. We don't need trade deals, we can trade under WTO rules. This grief which is being orchestrated by the EU Commission, because they still think they can stop the UK leaving. Let's just get out, regain our right to self-determination, our jurisdiction, as we have done for nearly a thousand years previously.
Name: : Simon Jones, Wiltshire      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 4.50pm
Message: Draft communiques are agreed by civil servants before the meeting, that would be from the UKG and the EU. Thankfully, the DUP have vetoed the attempt at breaking the UK Union.
Name: : Carole, UK      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 3.53pm
Message: Tut, tut. You are getting as bad as the rest of the media. Unsubstantiated rumours. How can you believe that the UK would move the Northern Ireland border to the Irish sea.
Name: : cs2017, UK      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 3.37pm
Message: Before this capitulation, there were 40 Tory MPs willing to force a leadership challenge, but it needed 48. With a bit of luck, they will now achieve the magic number, and this latest travesty can be stopped.
Name: : Brexit means Brexit, Halstead, Essex      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 1.36pm
Message: What is becoming clear the UK is going to be saddled with paying into the EU budget, and with their regulations for decades to come. The British people are being sold down the river by their EU loving MP's. There seems to be no end to the concessions that May will make. Why are we so desperate for a trade deal, and at what cost? The outline of the deal about Northern Ireland, if true, will cause more trouble for May, as other devolved Parliaments, Wales and Scotland will want the same. How is that going to work over say, the fisheries policy, if Scotland wants to stay in the EU? Could you then get a situation that English boats from say Hull, be banned from fishing in EU/Scottish waters? Unless we get a complete break from the EU we could find a complete breakup of the UK. This is what the EU wants remember Divide and Rule, this is what the EU striving for, a break up of sovereign countries.
© EU Commission
Today is the day that Theresa May and David Davis go to Brussels in an attempt to persuade the EU Commission to recommend that the Brexit talks move on to the second phase.
This ‘deadline’ has been set by President Tusk of the EU Council, in much the same way that the EU has dictated every aspect of the Brexit process to date.
It should also be noted (as it has been forgotten by the mainstream media) that the EU were supposed to have moved to the second phase of talks back in October, but refused to do so. The UK has already been kept waiting for another two months.
The outcome of today’s talks will be discussed by the EU Commission on Wednesday, and a recommendation will then be made to the EU Council ready for its meeting on 14-15 December at which it will decide formally whether the Brexit talks can go to the second phase.
The second phase, if it happens, is merely the opening up of the talks to everything that should have been discussed by the EU since day one. It would take in all aspects of the UK exiting the EU, and would include the UK government’s desired ‘transition period’, as well as the future trading arrangements between the UK and the EU.
The EU set three arbitrary hurdles for the UK to jump over, before it would talk about anything else.
As everyone knows, the EU's 3 hurdles were:
  • For the UK to agree to a massive financial demand from the EU without any legal basis, and
  • An insistence that EU citizens living in the UK are to live under EU (not UK) law in perpetuity, and
  • An insistence that Northern Ireland cannot leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of the UK.
Unlike the vast majority of Brexit organisations in the UK, Brexit Facts4EU.Org has always adopted a straightforward position that the British people voted to leave the EU. We didn’t hold with all the government’s compromises that other organisations seemed to accept too willingly.
It is our view that the British people didn’t expect to make continued financial payments, they didn’t expect nearly 4 million EU citizens living in the UK – and their descendants - to lead a privileged life under a set of foreign laws, and they didn’t expect the EU and the UK’s nearest neighbour to try to split up the United Kingdom as part of the Brexit deal.
We also believe that no-one imagined the UK would accept the EU's refusal to discuss Brexit until these three demands had been met, nor that there would be any period of years after the supposed date of exit when the UK would remain to all intents and purposes in the EU.
In short and in simple overview, we believe that the outcome of the Brexit talks to date - which has delivered all of the above - has been nothing short of pitiful.
Given that
  • the EU has simply taken every single concession offered by the UK government, and
  • the EU has offered nothing in return, and
  • each time the EU has then increased its demands
we believe it’s now more than time to call a halt.
It is our view that the British government has been weak and cowardly and has sought to appease the EU at every stage. If it has not been weak, then the only other explanation is that it deliberately set out to deceive the voters and to thwart Brexit.
We call on the Prime Minister to refuse to submit any longer to the excessive, vindictive, and wholly unreasonable demands of the EU. She should tell the EU Commission that in light of the continued extortion in the last week from the EU as expressed by the EU Council President, by the Commission’s Chief Negotiator, and by senior members of the EU Parliament, the UK’s patience is at an end.
We call on Mrs May to inform the EU that the British government considers the EU’s actions to be a ‘constructive dismissal’ of the talks, and that no country in the world could be expected to continue dialogue in these conditions. A substantial global communication exercise should immediately be commissioned by the government, to explain to the rest of the world why the UK was forced into this action, and to demonstrate the positive economic impacts for the future of the UK of a timely and clean break from the EU.
The UK should now put all its efforts into exiting the EU in accordance with normal, decent standards of international behaviour and in particular should proceed with preparations to trade internationally under WTO rules.
Naturally the above won’t happen. But don't you think many people would stand tall and proud this evening if that is what Mrs May did today?
In the article below we look briefly at what might realistically happen.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            07.15am, 04 December 2017
© unknown
Brexit Facts4EU.Org has looked at the possible outcomes from the Brexit talks today and presents the likely outcomes. We have done this on the basis that ‘the past is the best indicator of future behaviour’.
In this scenario, the Prime Minister sacrifices whatever she has to, in order to get the EU to agree to the next phase of talks. Mrs May stays true to form and gives in supinely to everything the EU has asked for. The only questions will relate to the way the information is presented to the British public.
Whatever the spin put on it by No.10, if Mrs May wants a deal then the British government will have to agree to massive financial payments to the EU – extortion, in effect – which will start from April 2019 and continue for many years.
Regardless of what No.10 or anyone else says about all of these payments being conditional on a trade deal being agreed, they won’t be. [BBC bias warning: do not believe everything you will be told.] Part of these payments will take place anyway. We will explain this in the weeks to come.
The ECJ will continue to have jurisdiction in the UK after 29 March 2019, no matter how the government describes it. Yesterday the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Robert Peston on ITV that:
“There's going to need to be some kind of co-operation between the legal systems of the EU and the UK to make this work. But this is a detail, the big thing is that European law will not hold sway over British law.” Rubbish.
© YouTube / ITV
Finally, on the Irish border question, this has become even more complicated for Mrs May in the last 72 hours, following Donald Tusk’s visit to Dublin on Friday.
In effect the Prime Minister will have to agree to a different treatment of Northern Ireland – trade and other matters – compared to the rest of the United Kingdom. No.10 will once again try to fudge this, but it will be much harder as the politicians of Northern Ireland will not let her get away with it.
We believe this is the most likely outcome. The Irish border problem makes it unlikely that a deal will be reached in principle today. Mrs May might be able to obfuscate a massive financial settlement, and to obfuscate the continued jurisdiction of the ECJ, but the Irish government will ensure that their issue remains on centre stage for as long as possible.
We believe we are in for several days of ‘last minute’ talks. This is of course the way of the EU. In all the important EU negotiations we can think of, not one of them was resolved in a normal timescale. In Brussels, deadlines are there to be missed. It makes everyone involved feel so important....
During this time Mrs May's instinct will continue to be to try to reach agreement with the EU, despite their behaviour being more and more impossible. We think it will take some very serious discussions within the Conservative Party before she might be persuaded that enough is enough.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            07.15am, 04 December 2017
© UK Parliament TV
A foreign court having power in the UK
One of the aspects of any agreement between the UK and the EU is that the EU will insist on the CJEU (ECJ) as arbiter. It will do this in respect of the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and in respect of any ‘transition period’ requested by the UK.
In effect the EU wants a foreign court – its court – to have power in the United Kingdom after the UK exits the EU.
Quick note on terminology: If you hear ‘CJEU’ in the coming days and weeks, this is the formal name of the EU’s court: the Court of Justice of the European Union. Previously called the ECJ (European Court of Justice) it was forced to change its name because of course it isn’t a European court. Its powers are limited to EU member states, and to its influence over the EFTA court. We will generally refer to it as the ECJ as that is how most people still think of it.
Below we present just two aspects about the ECJ. The first is the question Jacob Rees-Mogg MP asked of the Prime Minister a couple of months ago in the House of Commons.
It was nearly two months ago that Jacob Rees-Mogg got the Prime Minister to admit her plans in respect of the legal jurisdiction of Brussels over the UK after Brexit. Sadly, this was barely covered by the BBC and other broadcast media. We are therefore reporting it yet again below.
The Prime Minister confirmed that the UK will continue to be governed by EU law under the ECJ after the supposed departure date of 29 Mar 2019. She then further confirmed that the UK will even be subject to new EU laws after that date.
Here is the video of the exchange in full, between Jacob Rees-Mogg and Theresa May. Below it is the transcript from Hansard.
UK Plans for Leaving the EU - Statement by the Prime Minister, 9th Oct 2019
Question from Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg to the Prime Minister
Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) (Con)
“Will my right hon. Friend confirm unequivocally that after 29 March 2019 the European Court of Justice’s writ will no longer run in any way in this country and that any new laws agreed under the acquis communautaire after that date will not have effect here unless agreed specifically by Parliament?”
The Prime Minister
“My hon. Friend has actually raised two separate issues but elided them together. The first is about the European Court of Justice. As I have just said in answer to a number of questions, we want to have a smooth and orderly process of withdrawal with minimum disruption. That is why we want the implementation period. We will have to negotiate what will operate during the implementation period. Yes, that may mean that we start off with the ECJ still governing the rules we are part of for that period, but we are also clear that we can bring forward discussions and agreements on issues such as a dispute resolution mechanism. If we can bring that forward at an earlier stage, we would wish to do so.
“The second issue my hon. Friend referred to was the question of new rules brought in during the implementation period. Given the way things operate, it is highly unlikely that anything will be brought forward during that period that has not already started discussions through the European Union to which we are being party of until we leave and on which we would have been able to say whether they would be a rule that we would sign up to or a rule that we would not wish to sign up to. Any new rules put on the table during the implementation period, given the way these things operate, are highly unlikely to be implemented during the implementation period.”
So, for nearly two months is has been clear that the Prime Minister was prepared to surrender the sovereignty of the United Kingdom in respect of its legal system. This is despite the fact that she declared this as a red line in her original Lancaster House speech in January, which she still refers to on a regular basis as if it were sacrosanct.
The next article gives you the letter written to the Prime Minister before the weekend by the Rt Hon Sir Richard Aikens, former Lord Justice of Appeal and President of Lawyers for Britain.
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            07.15am, 04 December 2017
© Brick Court /YouTube
“An abject voluntary surrender of sovereignty”
In a scathing letter, the former Lord Justice of Appeal the Rt Hon Sir Richard Aikens has attacked the Prime Minister in terms that we can’t ever recall seeing from any senior member of the British judiciary.
© Sir Richard Aikens
Sir Richard warns Theresa May using very clear language over her apparent inclination to surrender yet further to the EU in the Brexit talks. This is particularly important today because the role of the ECJ forms part of any agreement that the Prime Minister might reach with the EU.
© Sir Richard Aikens
Put very simply, we do not believe that any agreement is possible with the EU unless the Prime Minister surrenders on the question of the role of the ECJ post-Brexit.
This has been clear in all statements from the EU, which we have reported on all year. And to be equally clear, this is an absolute red line for us.
It is also a red line for Sir Richard, for Martin Howe QC and the other members of Lawyers for Britain, and for some very influential MPs such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and former ministers John Redwood, Owen Paterson, and David Jones.
If the Prime Minister should attempt any surrender on this point, she must expect a significant number of MPs to rise up to oppose her. The MPs who have already put their names to this are known as being loyal supporters of the government in almost all circumstances. On the matter, however, we believe they will find themselves unable to support the Prime Minister. And many other MPs will joining them.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
            07.15am, 04 December 2017
Name: : Jon, Wales      Date/Time: 05 Dec 2017, 08.51am
Message: Brexiteers should consider ourselves fortunate to have an unequivocal intervention by the Rt Hon Sir Richard Aikens, former Lord Justice of Appeal. I trust everyone, including UK remain MPs and peers, will read his letter to Mrs May, for there are concerns Mrs May is about to sell-out our country to a foreign entity? So far as we understand, the UK has already caved in to EU demands. MPs and peers have no authority to give away our country. I trust Brexit MPs will ensure they circulate Sir Richard's letter in both UK Houses of Parliament? One must live in hope Mrs May fully understands what taking back control really means? That she understands our UK Supreme Court will again be the supreme and final court of our nation? That she restores UK territorial waters under international law. That she understands ALL citizens living in, or visiting the UK from wherever in the world they come, will be subject to UK laws, and no other? The CJEU is only relevant to EU member countries, and will cease jurisdiction over the UK when we exit the EU. Should citizens across the EU choose to live in America, for example, they MUST accept jurisdiction of US law, etc. In my considered opinion, the EU are trying anything to keep us in the EU 'by the door' and to keep us shelling out £billions. They are attempting to rule our lives after exit. They do not realise the rebellion they will cause - but maybe that's their intent? Thank you to Sir Richard.
Name: : Brexit means Brexit, Halstead, Essex      Date/Time: 04 Dec 2017, 12.23pm
Message: When the Lord Justice of Appeal the Rt Hon Sir Richard Aikens, has to send the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, a letter outlining her responsibility to the rule of law that governs our country we the British electorate are in trouble. Why would any Prime Minister,when they have a chance to regain the sovereignty of the country they lead, contemplate surrendering that sovereignty? Surely this one demand from the EU, underlines what a undemocratic totalitarian regime the EU has become. This Prime Minister IS the red line..... just walk away now!
 We regret that this article has had to be removed
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[ Sources: [Removed] ]            11.15am, 03 December 2017
Name: : Michael Donnan, UK      Date/Time: 03 Dec 2017, 9.54pm
Message: The letter dated 1st December 2017 from “Leave Means Leave” to the Prime Minister, admirable though it is in many respects, seems in my opinion to make an unwarranted and damaging concession. It states that the EU “is demanding vast sums of money from the UK but [is] declining to set out what the UK will get in return” and goes on to suggest the EU officials should be informed that “Britain will not make any payment to the EU unless [certain specified] criteria are agreed”.
It should be noted that the payment proposed by the signatories to the letter is called a “goodwill payment” and is therefore to be distinguished from any payment in respect of those nebulous “commitments” or “obligations”, about which we hear so much but which are never itemised, costed and shown to be legally justified. To put it bluntly, the signatories are endorsing, no doubt unthinkingly, what is simply a bribe to encourage the EU to negotiate in a proper manner.
This is tantamount to conceding that the UK has to purchase the right to start negotiations for a trade agreement with the EU. The fact that payment of the purchase price is to be deferred until the EU agrees does not change that assessment. Did the EU demand that the United States, or Canada, or Japan, should undertake to make a substantial payment to it before it would start negotiations with them for a trade agreement? Of course not. So why should the UK be expected to make such a payment?
Name: : Brexiter Braintree Essex      Date/Time: 03 Dec 2017, 5.13pm
Message: That letter lays out in detail how normal negotiations between friendly European States should be conducted. Unfortunately there is no provision in it for the EU to inflict a punishment beating to the UK. For having the gall to exercise their right under an Intergovernmental treaty to leave their club. The UK could have walked away without any cost incurred, as per the treaty. Instead they offered to make generous financial provision to the remaining club members until their departure date March 2019. This approach has been rejected by the EU negotiators, instead to deter others from leaving the club the EU has made threats and resorted to blackmail to retain the UK inside their organisation. Any right minded person would say the UK, having had these concessions rejected should just walk away now. No deal is definitely better than a bad deal made under duress.
Name: : Denis Cooper, Berks      Date/Time: 03 Dec 2017, 12.02pm
Message: A cracking letter, and as John Redwood has so far been too modest to mention it I have submitted a comment about on his blog, and also mentioning my own letter printed in the Maidenhead Advertiser on Thursday under the headline "Conciliatory approach thrown back in UK's face" ...
The final countdown
© EU Commission
Brexit bill, citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland
Tomorrow is the EU’s deadline that it has placed on the UK for the EU’s three arbitrary issues of the Brexit bill, citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland.
These are the only issues it has been prepared to discuss since the UK invoked its Article 50 notification on 29 March this year. At lunchtime tomorrow Theresa May will meet unelected EU Commission President Juncker and his Brexit Negotiator Barnier and set out the UK government’s offer to them.
On Wednesday the EU Commission will then meet to discuss and agree its recommendation to the EU27 leaders who meet on 14-15 December. It’s at this last meeting that the EU will graciously allow full and normal talks with the UK to proceed.... or not.
When it comes to the negotiations such as they have been, the EU hasn’t moved at all. For the EU27 this hasn’t been a negotiation, it has been a set of notifications and demands. In almost 18 months since the Referendum, the EU has become more intransigent, more demanding and more vindictive. This is not our opinion, it is a statement of the facts evident to any impartial observer.
© EU Commission
At every stage it is Mrs May’s government that has capitulated. Let’s just take one example: the phasing of the talks. Do you recall when David Davis laughed at the idea that the UK would accept the EU’s arbitrary insistence on discussing only three issues and nothing else?
Within weeks his words had been shown to mean nothing. The UK lamely followed the EU’s bizarre imposition of discussing nothing except three very limited issues out of hundreds of key ones.
That has been typical of Brexit. The EU has made demands with menaces – generally for money – and the UK government has given in.
There are some fundamental differences between what the EU demands, what the UK wants, and what might be reasonable compromises.
The problem is the intransigence of the EU over its ridiculous demands. We call them ridiculous because no objective evaluation by any western country outside the EU would ever consider them to be reasonable. They would just never be accepted – ever.
So let’s be honest about the differences before Mrs May’s crunch lunch tomorrow:
  • The EU wants a vast amount of money from the UK, with no legal justification at all. It wants the formulae to be agreed so that it can work out the approximate sums. The UK government doesn’t want the sums to be admitted.
  • The EU wants the money to be unconditional. Mrs May knows her backbenchers would revolt so will pretend it won’t be agreed unless there’s a transition deal and a future trade deal. In fact the money will start to be paid without a future trade deal agreed.
  • The UK government wants a transition period of 2+ years after 29th March 2019. The EU just wants the UK to keep paying as at present.
  • The UK wants to be out of the EU on 29th March 2019. The EU’s idea of a transition period is the status quo – to all intents and purposes still in.
  • The EU will insist on the application of all rules, laws, regulations, and directives during the transition period. Specifically this will mean continued free movement, continued subjection to the ECJ, inability to negotiate trade deals, continued massive annual payments, and all the other paraphernalia of membership, but without the right to vote on anything. It has stated all of this explicitly. The UK simply wants to pay for continued access to the Single Market.
  • Northern Ireland: The UK doesn’t want a hard border and won’t impose one. The EU wants Northern Ireland to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union, otherwise it will impose a hard border. The Irish will not accept a hard border and they blame the British - not the EU who are the ones who would impose it. The British will use imaginative technology for cross-border trade so that there is no visible border. The Irish have said they won’t even accept an invisible border, even though that is what is currently there. Impossible to win whatever the UK says.
  • Citizens’ rights: The EU still insists on ECJ jurisdiction over EU citizens living in the UK. No other country in the world would accept a foreign court’s jurisdiction over its territory.
Looking at the above, is there really any point in carrying on? Why doesn’t Mrs May impress us all tomorrow by telling it like it is to the EU? It’s then up to them to be normal and reasonable.
Unfortunately we believe that Mrs May will continue to capitulate. In particular we are concerned that she will capitulate over payments and over ECJ jurisdiction. If she does, then some very serious questions will need to be asked by Conservative MPs as to her future, if their party's fortunes are not to be ruined forever.
If the EU chooses not to be normal and reasonable, the UK government must then embark on a massive PR campaign to tell the people of the EU27 countries, and of the rest of the world, just what the EU elites are demanding. We should be happy to let the people of the EU27 and of the world decide who is right and who is simply crazy.
The British government should also then do what it should have been doing ever since the vote: preparing for an exit from the EU on the assumption that they will never be normal or reasonable.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
[ Sources: All our previous research ]            06.55am, 03 December 2017
Name: : Brexiter Braintree Essex, UK      Date/Time: 03 Dec 2017, 10.30am
Message: The EU wants the UK's money. They don't want to give us a trade deal. They want to punish us, the British people, because we want to decide our own destiny. Our politicians and civil service are scared people, they haven't had to govern or run a country for more than 40 years. They don't know how, it is so apparent as the exit negotiations are progressing, how every aspect of our life has been controlled by unelected bodies in Brussels. All our politicians had to do was write the cheques, and preen themselves on the European stage at "Summits". The European Commission are in denial that the UK will leave their cosy cartel. They still believe we will stay. This week publicly the Irish Deputy Prime Minister Coveney called on our Government to stay inside the Customs Union and the Single Market as the border solution to Northern Ireland. He knows and we know, to do that means we have to stay in the EU. The EU Commission are putting obstacles at every opportunity to try and derail the exit procedure. All British Prime Ministers look for a legacy to their tenure in that great office of State. If May, despite all the bile and criticism heaped on her by colleagues and her opponents, holds firm and does not cave into the EU demands for more cash, and then has the courage to walk away if the trade deal is not good enough, she will cement a legacy as the Prime Minister who finally set the British people free from the undemocratic EU institution.
Name: : Steve R, UK      Date/Time: 03 Dec 2017, 09.03am
Message: It isn't only the EU elites but ours too that are capitulating and using ordinary taxpayer's money to pay for their project. The don't think of it as capitulation as they are paying for themselves. They feel secure to 'lead beyond authority' of the democratic system because government is riddled with people who consider themselves 'above authority' and that they are the unelected authority. May is controlled by them, - the USSR loving Robbins and many more. Decent patriotic MPs are powerless.
Why Dyson, Rees-Mogg, Digby Jones, Tice, Redwood, Paterson, Farage etc would come home with the real deal
Mrs May
© Dyson                                                                            © EU Commission
There is a big difference between mandarins negotiating fudges and business people negotiating real deals.
How often have we heard that Brexit negotiators are struggling to “find a form of words that both sides can accept”, or words to that effect?
Here’s a UK official in Brussels on Friday, talking about Northern Ireland:
“The whole issue is around regulatory divergence. But it’s how we solve the wording.”
No. it’s not how you solve the wording. It’s the basic facts which need to be confronted and dealt with. Finding some wording which is sufficiently ambiguous that each side can pretend back home that it has got what it wanted is pointless. This will only come back and descend into a shambles when the final deal is drafted – probably at the last minute.
In business when you negotiate a deal, real money is at stake, in return for real goods or services. When you sign something, what’s in the contract must be definable and quantifiable. Each side knows what it has agreed to and what is expected.
When it comes to political negotiations however, everything is about fudges. ‘Forms of words’ are played with until both sides agree on something which they can sell back home. In effect there has been little agreement on substance, it’s all about finding words which can mean one thing to one party and a different thing to the other. It’s nothing more than a pretend agreement.
The mandarins don’t mind. Firstly they’re trained to compromise. The idea that they should actually take a position on something and hold it...? That’s complete anathema to them.
Right: Ollie Robbins, Brexit official for Mrs May
Secondly an agreement which is built on sand will require constant care and attention as it descends into squabbles, and that will keep a great number of politicians, mandarins and lawyers busy for decades.
In business you persuade the other side to accept something. Sometimes you have to give way on one aspect of a deal in order to get what to you is the bigger prize. In the end, you’ve either won or you haven’t. The results will be tangible.
You know you’ve won when you walk out of the negotiation knowing you’ve persuaded the other side to give you more of what you want - and that this is significantly more than the bottom line you walked in with.
In the Brexit talks, the EU had a number of positions with which it entered the discussions. It hasn’t compromised on these. The UK has simply acquiesced, piece by piece, month by month. We simply can’t think of any aspect where the EU has made a concession.
Occasionally the UK had a success, like the time when a British civil servant gave a presentation to the EU side on the legal aspects of the Brexit Bill. His presentation apparently decimated the EU’s argument that a financial settlement had to be made by the UK. It showed that there was no legal case whatsoever – something which Brexit Facts4EU.Org has argued since the beginning.
It seems that the EU side was both shocked and furious. Shocked at how they were shown to have no case and furious that they had been shown up so completely.
So is the government going to pay the EU nothing?
No. It won the argument completely, but the EU behaved like the legal case decimation never took place. It refused to budge and so the PM has kept increasing the offers of money to the point where she is now offering to throw simply vast sums at the EU for nothing more substantive than vague hopes of a future transition and trade deal. The figure being quoted is now in the £40-50 billion range, which means it will end up being more than £50bn. Naturally most of the politicians are using the lower figure of £40bn.
We then had the pathetic sight of supposedly senior Brexiteer MPs and MEPs like Iain Duncan Smith and Daniel Hannan appearing on television or in the newspapers telling us that in fact the government hasn’t cost us £50 billion, it has saved us £350 billion. They did this by telling us that the money had to be thought of over the next 40 years.
40 years? Where did that come from?
© The Sun
Here is how they twisted the facts last week:
If we didn’t leave the EU we would be sending them roughly £10 billion per year net. Over 40 years that makes £400 billion. So if we have to pay £50 billion for a deal, in fact this represents a net saving of £350 billion. Please note that this is their logic not ours.
Why stop at 40 years, Iain and Dan? Why not go for 100 years and tell us, the gullible public, that the government has saved us £950 billion?
Sorry, but this kind of thing insults the intelligence of the British people. It is factually incorrect (that’s a polite way of saying that the politicians coming out with this are lying) and it doesn’t remotely resemble what is actually being discussed in Brussels.
If the UK had fielded a small team of people with business experience instead of career politicians and mandarins, a deal could have been done in 3-6 months.
Whatever it was possible to agree would have been agreed. The UK would then have started ploughing ahead with all the arrangements for its independent future.
Naturally the EU would still have adopted ridiculous negotiating positions but they would very quickly have learnt that these would be rejected. If agreement had been possible in some areas, it would have been reached. If not then the UK would have walked away.
Everyone would have known where they stood. Decisions would have been taken and preparations would have been well under way. The precious ‘certainty’ that the pro-EU media claim business is so desperate for would have been delivered.
There are some stunning Brexit talents around. The problem is that almost none of them are in Mrs May’s cabinet or in the Civil Service.
How is it possible for the Prime Minister not to use the best possible talents in pursuit of the best possible outcome in the Brexit talks for the United Kingdom? We’ll just have to let history judge.
It’s not too late of course. Mrs May could open her eyes and appoint a dream-team of Brexit talents to direct the negotiation strategy, and train and advise the on-the-ground negotiators. We then strongly advise that when the UK next meets the EU at the top level, she lets the dream-team do the talking.
Let’s be honest, how could they possibly do worse than the incumbents?
You might notice we have talked about a businesslike approach to the negotiations, and then mentioned some politicians who could form part of the new approach. This is because there are some pro-Brexit politicians with great business experience and/or with great experience of handling the EU.
© Parliament
Examples include Jacob Rees-Mogg, John Redwood, Owen Paterson, Nigel Farage, Peter Lilley, Theresa Villiers and others. These people generally spout common sense, too, which is always helpful when dealing with the EU.
What is all this garbage about a ‘deep and special partnership’ with the EU? What planet is Mrs May on? Who writes this stuff for her? She’s met these EU elites many times, for goodness’ sake, she must know what they’re like.
Her ‘strong and stable leadership’ mantra failed spectacularly in the General Election. The ‘deep and special partnership’ mantra will fail with the EU. She needs to stop the Europhile language. It’s almost Christmas. She needs to start talking turkey instead.
Tomorrow Mrs May flies to Brussels once again to eat with Messrs Juncker and Barnier. Regular readers know our views on this, however let’s agree that it’s now too late to cancel.
The very least she must do tomorrow is walk into the Berlaymont building like she owns it.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
[ Sources: EU Commission | EU Council | The Sun | All our previous research ]            06.55am, 03 December 2017
Name: : Hugeeuge, UK      Date/Time: 03 Dec 2017, 09.52am
Message: Does the EU have any border on the Med coastline ? 1 billion a year for 40 years. So that could be covered by our withdrawals from the EIB, in other words we pay nothing more.
© Twitter
Day after day we watch, listen or read media bias. When it's from the BBC it's particularly irksome, as the public is forced to pay for it whether they want to consume it or not.
The example above is minor, which is why we chose it. It occurred only a few minutes ago from the BBC's Brussels reporter, Adam Fleming, on his Twitter account.
Tony Connelly is RTE's Europe Editor. He is heavily pro-EU, as are almost all mainstream journos in Brussels. RTE is Ireland's state funded broadcaster, by the way. Connelly has written a thoughtful, if pro-EU piece, and has tweeted out a link to it.
Adam Fleming retweeted Connelly's tweet and added a message:
"Tony saying that as of Friday night the U.K. hadn’t tabled a text about their commitments for the Irish border ahead of the May/Juncker lunch on Tuesday."
Now in and of itself that sounds innocuous doesn't it? However the fact is that it's just another in a very long line of tweets - echoed in this BBC reporter's journalism for BBC TV and radio, to say nothing of podcasts - which suggests that somehow the UK should have done something (because the EU is expecting it) but hasn't.
Day after day, drip drip drip, this is the twaddle the British public are fed. The narrative goes like this: 'Everything the EU says is correct. If the EU demands something that's because it should be provided.' If the UK fails in any way to do what the EU wants, there is an undercurrent of "tut, tut, tut" reporting. This comes from the BBC, and also from almost all the other British journalists who are based there.
It isn't just the BBC of course. We know of other British journalists from other broadcasters and even journalists from pro-Brexit mainstream newspapers who have been posted to Brussels and who have completely 'gone native'. Some of them will be reading this.
Any product of a British journalism university or college course has been brainwashed by lecturers whom we would instantly fire for lack of standards. Goodness, these lecturers don't even believe in the concept of impartiality. They believe in commenting on the news from a political standpoint, not reporting it dispassionately.
One of the main reasons that Brexit Facts4EU.Org exists is because the journalism 'profession' in the UK is irrevocably indoctrinated and is incapable of providing unbiased output. In fact we think Adam Fleming is a nice chap who genuinely doesn't realise how much his bias penetrates his work.
We ourselves don't claim to be impartial of course. We are merely a very underfunded and very small news team punching far above our weight.
We try to strike regular blows for truth by researching and producing facts from the official information contained within Brussels, Whitehall and internationally. MPs, MEPs, and former ministers read our work, and our output has been picked up by the mainstream media many times. We are read around the EU and globally - for example we number at least one Australian Senator amongst our readership.
The two journalists we mention above are both highly intelligent and produce interesting output. (We could have written about the idiot from Sky News but that would have been too easy.)
Connelly in particular is experienced and writes well. Neither Connelly nor Fleming come out with anything blatantly and glaringly biased - the bias is always subtle, which is one of the reasons we decided to write about it when we saw this today.
In Connelly's case he's Irish and it is entirely up to the Irish whether they want unbiased reporting or not. However in the case of Fleming, he works for the BBC. That means we require him to produce impartial and balanced journalism about Brexit. And that, alas, is not something he can do. Nor, it has to be said, would most people working in BBC News & Current Affairs know what balanced journalism was if it came up and bit them in the derrière.
This is why we have to keep going even though we would all like to stop tomorrow. Certainly none of us would like to start at 3am as usual, to finish the Sunday edition.
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Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
[ Sources: Twitter and all media ]            12.30pm, 02 December 2017
Name: : Jon, Wales      Date/Time: 03 Dec 2017, 03.30am
Message: As a BBC licence fee payer which I object having to pay, I submit the BBC should clean up their act. Why should British people pay for their often biased reporting, albeit not all the time? If the BBC wish to be taken seriously, and to portray themselves as a WHOLLY impartial national news outlet, they need to take a good look at their business model. I will agree they have some good programming, though news items often appear to have an 'angle' (against the UK). In my opinion, the BBC as a national broadcaster should be supporting our country as its primary duty. I don't want the BBC supporting the other side? As the BBC has in the past received additional funding from the EU [which is our money] for their media arm, it puts things into perspective, for it means they're required to support the EU. Take BBC 'Question Time' for example. The panel have been unequal in thought for quite some time, and how they achieve audience equality is questionable? I challenge the BBC to report the opportunities which are ahead of us. Let them report positively for a change? Let them be on the side of the UK?
Name: : Brexiter Braintree Essex      Date/Time: 02 Dec 2017, 7.55pm
Message: You have got to understand that the state funded broadcasters are trying to set that days news agenda. They tweet this stuff, a lot of it their own opinion pieces, and then try and find some politician to either endorse or reject their view. This is then picked up by rival news organisations, and either projected further, or rubbished, depending on their own media outlet views. They do this because they are trying to fill 24hour rolling news programmes. Even when nothing is happening, something must happen to fill all that blank screen time. Most of these so called experts are ignorant of the background and substance to the stories, they only have to fill 30 seconds so the public are fed fluff sound-bites with no facts. They are helped by the fact that few politicians have an in-depth understanding, so spout platitudes which fits the TV medium.
Name: : LongTermRich, UK      Date/Time: 02 Dec 2017, 5.24pm
Message: I have been a reader of "The Times" for many years: it holds itself out as a balanced newspaper of record, and it used to be just that. Month by month for the past two or three years, I have found myself enjoying it less and less as it has become more left wing and endlessly anti Brexit. Last month the paper ran a Times+ subscribers' event: "An evening with Peter Brookes" their (award-winning) Cartoonist.I like cartoons (if you have never been I strongly recommend the Cartoon Museum in London) and I went to the event. Peter Brooks' cartoons lampoon Theresa May and are relentlessly anti-Brexit. He told us that his Editor gives him freedom and he draws what he likes. Now we come to media bias. Peter Brookes said that he absolutely hated Theresa May (applause from a good portion of the 200 or so people in the audience, so he's probably pleasing a good number of readers. When the opportunity to ask questions, I asked "If your Editor said to you: "Peter, I need you to produce a cartoon that is favourable to Brexit, could you do it?" "No!" he said (more applause). I was disappointed but unsurprised. In my view, that once great newspaper has lost it's way.
Name: : Patrick H, Greater London      Date/Time: 02 Dec 2017, 2.35pm
Message: Hardly surprising BBC journalists et al, based in Brussels, would not try to keep their high paid jobs there continuing, using pro-EU sophistry as their preferred tool? Rather funny really....self-interest, right down to an individual need for self-preservation... Human nature will always rule!
  • “If the UK offer is unacceptable for Ireland it will also be unacceptable for the EU”
  • “The key to the UK's future lies, in some ways, in Dublin”
  • “I realise that for some British politicians this may be hard to understand.”
Donald Tusk, EU Council President, 01 Dec 2017
Yesterday EU Council President Donald Tusk flew to Dublin for an urgent meeting with Irish Taoiseach Varadkar, to discuss Brexit.
The outcome was extraordinary – even when looked at against the backdrop of the EU’s behaviour over the past 17 months.
Below we show you the two speeches made following the meeting, by the Irish PM and the EU Council President. We then provide some analysis of these speeches. Then in subsequent articles we give you some further information and discuss reasons, intentions, and likely outcomes.
Press statement - Taoiseach of Ireland Leo Varadkar
© EU Council
This statement is either naive or extremely ill-advised
  1. “The European Union is a family, and families stick together.”   Yawn.
  2. “There has been some good progress in relation to the UK financial settlement and also EU citizen rights and these issues are crucial for all EU member states.”   Particularly the money, as Facts4EU.Org has repeatedly pointed out.
  3. “On the question of the border, as I’ve said many times, the best and most obvious solution would be for the UK to remain in the Customs Union and Single Market.”   This is designed to fuel the Remoaner lobby. Varadkar knows full well that staying in the Customs Union and Single Market is the same as staying in the EU, so his comment is tantamount to telling the British people to change their minds about leaving.
  4. “We have to ensure we avoid the risks posed by any potential regulatory divergence from the rules of the Internal [Single] Market and the rules of the Customs Union.”   This is an excellent example of the total lack of understanding of the EU elites as to what Brexit is about. We will comment on this in the ‘Observations’ box below.
  5. “However I’m also prepared to stand firm with our partners if needs be if the UK offer falls short on any of those three issues, including the Irish ones.”   In other words, the Irish will side with the EU at all times. There is absolutely no sign of the friendship which is supposed to exist between the UK and Ireland. So be it.
  6. “I need to be clear. The EU27 can’t declare sufficient progress, without firm and acceptable commitments on the border, and that’s a position which is shared across the political spectrum in Ireland.”   It is certainly the case that the Irish government has wished to sound tough, in order not to lose support to Sinn Fein.
Press statement – EU Council President Donald Tusk
© EU Council
This was nothing short of an intentional put-down by Donald Tusk. Even his manner was - for him - unfriendly and aggressive. British politicians may try to put the best possible spin on this, but there is simply no way of misinterpreting his remarks. Here are just some of the points you may wish to note.
  1. “We cannot allow Brexit to destroy this achievement of the Good Friday Agreement”   – Note that once again the EU are trying to make it sound as if the GFA was their achievement. It wasn’t.
  2. “It is the UK that started Brexit and now it is their responsibility to propose a credible commitment to do what is necessary to avoid a hard border.”   No, the UK has presented proposals which do not require a hard border. It is the EU that seems to want to impose one.
  3. “Let me say very clearly: if the UK's offer is unacceptable for Ireland, it will also be unacceptable for the EU.”   This is blatant. Suddenly the EU has unequivocally given a veto to the Irish. This isn’t just a veto over a final trade deal. Talks cannot even progress unless the Irish agree.
  4. “I realise that for some British politicians this may be hard to understand.”   This is nothing less than a calculated insult to the intelligence of British MPs and ministers.
  5. “This is why the key to the UK's future lies, in some ways, in Dublin, at least as long as Brexit negotiations continue.”   Tusk says this to humiliate the UK, stating that the future of the British people is in the hands of their much smaller neighbours.
It’s surprising how often we find ourselves in the role of having to state the obvious to politicians and bureacrats involved in the EU.
Varadkar makes mention of the three key points which ‘have to be agreed’ before the talks can move on to transition periods, the future trading relationship, and all the many thousands of other issues.
It was an arbitrary decision by the EU not to hold normal, full exit talks with the UK. The EU decided, bizarrely and with absolutely no legal justification whatsoever, to limit talks to a ridiculously small number of topics. It did not attempt to agree this with the UK, it imposed the decision. We say that the topics chosen were arbitrary because it’s possible to make a case for all kinds of other topics to have been included instead.
The reality, of course, was that the EU wanted to blackmail the UK over money. The other two topics were added to make the EU sound like it cared about people.
So Mr Varadkar, we're afraid we care not one jot about agreeing your precious EU’s three key topics before discussing others. Never have, never will. In the case of Ireland this is particularly important, because it’s impossible to agree the precise details of arrangements on the island of Ireland without knowing the future trading arrangements between the UK and the EU.
Our second major point relates to the “potential regulatory divergence” you refer to when it comes to the Single Market and Customs Union. May we point out something very obvious that you and your colleagues in the Irish government – as well as in the Commission and in other EU countries – appear to have overlooked.
The UK is leaving your little rules-laden club. One of the whole points is that we disagree with your rules. Why on earth would we want to abide by your rules going forward? Of course there will be ‘divergence’.
We feel we must make this very clear: We will not be bound by any of your rules after we leave. That would be ridiculous. It isn’t done elsewhere in the world. You don’t dare tell the USA what its internal rules can or can’t be. Well guess what? Neither will you be telling us. We’ll do as we please, thank you.
And when you see our economy thriving and our country getting happier, we hope you will slowly see that you should be happy for us, and will drop the rather vindictive and unpleasant approach you have taken since we voted to leave the EU. If you don’t then you will of course not be surprised if the British people reflect your behaviour when they are selecting the goods and services they buy each week.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
[ Sources: EU Council | Department of Taoiseach ]            06.55am, 02 December 2017
Name: : AMB, London      Date/Time: 03 Dec 2017, 08.50am
Message: It's quite a mystery, isn't it? I just don't know how we've managed to cope over all of the years with all of those goods crossing the border with different VAT rates & a different currency. Perhaps it was managed by paperwork, after all - the paperwork forms part of the returns (& income) to the EU. The border also differentiates Income & Corporation tax rates. On both sides there is random & also targetted checks to ensure that cargo is legal. The CTA will still exist (though I hope that it's withdrawn the moment Ireland are required to join Schengen). All of these border controls currently exist. Yet, the added paperwork of a customs declaration is declared 'unsolvable'. It's not rocket science to see this for exactly what it is - an engineered 'problem' that is only an issue because one side refuses to engage, sadly encouraged by anti-democrats on 'our side' who wish to destroy this country & are batting for the supranational totalitarian 'utopia'. It's a puzzle, isn't it?...
Name: : Jon, Wales      Date/Time: 03 Dec 2017, 04.34am
Message: I never cease to be amazed by recent statements from elected Mr Varadkar, and from unelected bureaucrat, Mr Tusk - By this I mean both are not elected by the British electorate. From a UK point of view, we should not put up with their constant rhetoric and threats. Mr Tusk is wholly aware UK markets are essential to the EU (which at present includes Eire). Indeed, Mr Varadkar has stated the UK is a huge export market for Eire. So one must question WHY these gentlemen wish to undermine friendly trading relations between us? If we must revert to WTO rules, it will not be the fault of the UK, so perhaps Mr Varadkar should ignore Mr Tusk and put his own country first. The EU commission know the UK has arrangements with Ireland that pre-date the EEC/EU, which I'm certain will continue between us with some slight modification of technology. The extent of modification depends entirely how much the EU wish to politically frustrate what are quite straightforward issues? I often say, this is not 'rocket-science'.
Name: : Brexiter Braintree Essex      Date/Time: 02 Dec 2017, 5.09pm
Message: The Irish are about to trash their economy, well Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach is. Most of Ireland's exports to Europe travel through the UK. All the lorries filled with goods travel by ferries through Wales and Scotland, there are some ferries to France, but they don't have the capacity for the volume of exports. Imposing border controls by the EU with Irish co-operation will add delays and costs to their exports. The audacity of the Irish and EU in trying to force the UK, to reject a democratic vote from the UK electorate. Although it's the EU way, re-vote until the result we desire. It is looking almost inevitable we resort to trade on WTO terms. Let's hope our political masters have the resolve to stand firm against this pressure from the EU other 27 countries.
Name: : Denis Cooper, Berks      Date/Time: 02 Dec 2017, 4.02pm
Message: This is what the Irish Europe minister told Sky News: “We have been very very clear from day one, there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland, it is not an option for us”. So there's no point in any further discussion; the Irish government are being allowed to veto trade talks, the UK government will not agree that Northern Ireland or any other part of the UK can stay in the EU Customs Union, in effect any customs arrangement is "not an option" for the Irish, so that's that and we should say "Forget it, we'll go to WTO terms".
Name: : Patrick H, Greater London      Date/Time: 02 Dec 2017, 2.38pm
Message: Excellent article, thank you. Of course, this is again all delusive smoke and mirrors (which are actually crystal clear)to deflect from their real priority of intent - how much money they can eventually screw out of Britain. A little like a Spanish airport's attempt to take every holidaymaker's last euro, for their under-par services, before they leave to return back to the UK. However, for a committed anti-EU-love Europe individual, such as myself, I am very happy how things are proceeding? The EU is slowly but surely, overplaying its hand, as did all the duplicitous elitist Remainders during their ridiculous attempts to frighten the populace into submission (with their lies and outrageous puerile behavior!). Nobody within my family, my circle of friends, colleagues, and customers (including Remainers now)are blindsided by all this devious political nonsense! For one thing, the EU mandarins do not understand the British, with its gritty resolve not to yield under the dark forces of the EU and its nefarious corporate supporters/masters. The more the EU opens it's farcical comodo, the more the people in the UK and around Europe will see it for what it is, a nasty reincarnation of the old Soviet ideology. Which, incidentally, is a complete unequivocal anathema to the British psychology? As I have said before, we can count on the EU to eventually and royally screw up these proceeding....just give them a little more time and we will be walking towards WTO! That said, my only fear is that our own Government will acquiesce to the EU's demands and become quislings? The character of the British people, its strength and resolve, is sadly not reflected in our self-indulgent elitist establishment!
© EU Council
As we report above, the EU has said that the UK’s future is currently in Dublin’s hands. We therefore thought you might want to to look at a couple of indicators of the relative size of the two countries.
Fig 1 – Relative size by GDP
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
Fig 2 – Relative size by population
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
If you look at the two graphs above, you might wonder why Ireland’s GDP is 1/9th of the UK’s, whereas its population is only 1/14th that of the UK. This would suggest that Ireland produces a lot more per person than the UK does.
Indeed if you look at EU comparison tables, Ireland seems to be the richest country per capita in the EU. In fact this is a deception and highlights one of the little spoken-of shocking facts about Ireland.
Ireland’s government has pursued an aggressive strategy to attract some of the world’s largest corporates to place their European headquarters there. Companies like Apple and Google rushed to take advantage of Ireland’s generosity and this is why they have paid virtually no tax for their activities in the EU. Things are so bad that Oxfam branded Ireland ‘one of the world’s worst tax havens’ in its latest report.
The presence of so many large corporations declaring their revenues in Ireland has the effect of artifically inflating the country’s economic performance.
The reality about Irish production and wealth generation is that it is far lower than the figures suggest. In 2010 the country almost went bankrupt, and would have done so without a hefty bailout from the EU and international bodies. During this period – only a few short years ago – it also benefited from huge bilateral assistance from the UK of circa £20 billion.
Ireland is still paying back the money it was lent as emergency assistance by the UK, to stop it from going bankrupt. Some readers may find it shocking that the Irish government seems to feel absolutely no appreciation for what the UK did, so recently, to save it.
When it comes to the relative size and importance of the two countries, it has never been the UK’s way to throw its weight about to the exclusion of the Republic’s sense of independence. However when the President of the EU Council Donald Tusk tells us that “the key to the UK's future lies - in some ways - in Dublin”, then we feel obliged to point out the differences.
We would be very surprised if the British people were prepared to be dictated to by a relatively very small number of people, who are supposed to be friends but who have consistently acted the opposite in the last two years.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
[ Sources: Official EU Commission Eurostat data | Bloomberg ]            06.55am, 02 December 2017
Name: : Patrick H, Greater London      Date/Time: 02 Dec 2017, 2.21pm
Message: "We would be very surprised if the British people were prepared to be dictated to by a relatively very small number of people, who are supposed to be friends but who have consistently acted the opposite in the last two years." The Irish Government may act in a way that is unfriendly, even anti-British, but the "people" of Ireland are by and large very friendly to the British. There can hardly be a person in the indigenous UK that does not have some historical Irish blood running through their veins? Governments never act in the interests of its own citizens, unless forced to, and we should always refer to Government's political wishes and vested interests, rather than its people! Interestingly, the Irish Government, it seems, looks naively unaware they are being used/seduced by the EU for its own ends?
Once more to Brussels
to break bread with a bureaucrat
© EU Council
A Brexit Facts4EU.Org Opinion
In negotiations, there is such a thing as the perceived balance of power. Unfortunately, whenever the current British Prime Minister has gone to Brussels, she has consistently looked like the proverbial poor relation at a wedding.
At times this has been excruciating to watch, as when she was snubbed by the other EU leaders at a summit in December. Whilst the behaviour of the other 27 leaders was deplorable on that occasion, it was clear she had no idea how to act. She lacked any aura of power and failed to march up to any of them, demanding to be noticed. In allowing herself to be demeaned, she demeaned her own country.
In these recent stages of the Brexit negotiations we regret to say the Prime Minister has allowed herself to be dragged over to Brussels purely to see the unelected functionaries Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier. On Tuesday she will go once again, to have lunch with him and to present the UK’s last proposals for the consideration of the EU when it meets in two weeks’ time.
This is all wrong. Under no circumstances should the leader of the fifth most powerful economy in the world be running over to the offices of a bureaucrat like Juncker. What on earth is she thinking? What idiot is advising her?
Members of the Brexit Facts4EU.Org team have experience of multi-million pound international negotiations. If these team members had ever behaved in their business lives like Mrs May is behaving in these negotiations, they would not have stayed in business for very long.
The only reason you are not hearing voices from big business slamming Mrs May’s negotiating tactics is because the majority of them are Remainers who want negotiations to drag on and for the Referendum decision to be reversed.
We simply fail to understand how it is that the Prime Minister of this country - albeit not a natural at such things, which is not necessarily her fault - has not been given some basic training for such an important task as holding forth on the world stage. Nor can we understand how the advice she is clearly being given in terms of negotiating strategy can be so far off the mark.
We must admit to a very high degree of nervousness back in early July last year, when it became apparent that the Civil Service had carried out absolutely no preparation for a Leave result in the Referendum. At the time we called - and still do - for the Head of the Civil Service and the heads of the major government departments (especially the Treasury) to be fired.
Our worry was that the standards of the Civil Service had fallen woefully low in recent years. We were concerned that this would translate into a poor negotiation process. For months after month we tried to sound positive and optimistic, but events made this increasingly difficult.
Now we are where we are today, with the President of the EU Council openly insulting the UK and its politicians, and a relatively minor country being given a veto over the UK's future. Is it possible that the senior members of the Civil Service who are so key to these negotiations are in fact all ... how shall we put it... somewhat mediocre?
Naturally we have to generalise and there will of course be many civil servants doing a fine job. Those who are organising the itinerary and negotiations for the International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox, for example, seem to be doing an excellent job. The man's feet seem to have hardly touched the ground in months.
Unfortunately the main negotiations with the EU just seem to have been disastrous and we simply can't hide our feelings about this any more.
TOMORROW: We hope to look at the implications for the events of the last few days on the possible range of Brexit outcomes.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
The Brexit Facts4EU.Org Team        06.55am, 02 December 2017
Name: : Jon, Wales      Date/Time: 03 Dec 2017, 05.35am
Message: It will take just ONE single VERY PUBLIC act from Mrs May [UK PM] to show up the EU commission and its puppets, that the UK will not be threatened, bullied or pushed around. This act could be by walking away from discussions and moving towards WTO. They need to understand we're serious. It's about time the UK government displayed its resolve, as failure is tantamount to surrender. The EU must realise there is no legal obligation upon UK taxpayers to fund EU member countries beyond our obligations - THIS WILL END. I say to the EU, reduce your spending and learn to support yourselves, and by the way, please detail down to the last Euro your ever-changing cash demands upon the UK. Any accountant with half a brain would demand this. If one seeks to take over another company, for example, the first thing is to open the books in confidence to check if it's a viable proposition, and if not, you leave it well alone. At present, the UK government is acting like an EU puppet. The public perception is that Mrs May is being kept in her place by the EU commission. Mrs MAY MUST CHANGE THIS PUBLIC PERCEPTION AND LEARN TO SAY NO? This would be assisted by more support from elected MPs. In any event, the entire world can now see how threatening the EU is when they don't have their own way, just because a member chooses to exit. Is the EU dictatorial and protectionist? TOTALLY. (In my opinion).
Name: : Brexiter Braintree Essex      Date/Time: 02 Dec 2017, 09.10am
Message: The EU are deliberately humiliating Prime Minister May, can you imagine Trump or Merkel sitting alone in an outer room waiting to be summoned. Not a chance! A picture of her alone, being released to go worldwide, to demean and intimidate her - this is your friendly, caring, cuddly EU. She should have walked out and returned to London, explaining to waiting media attending the EU summit, she had an urgent meeting with Director General of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo. Can the UK retrieve the initiative? Possibly, by going to the December summit and announcing the British Government has decided WTO is the best option for both the EU and UK, and to that end, all offers on monies have been withdrawn, EU citizens can stay in UK, but their status and rights are same as British citizens, no ECJ, just British Common Law, take it or leave it. At least then every country in Europe and every business can plan for the future.
USA is UK’s biggest trading partner
USA dwarfs EU’s defence spending
Some reminders to keep everyone’s feet on the ground
Fact 1:
The government has let it be known that it has communicated a vastly increased financial offer to the EU, which unsurprisingly has gone down well in Brussels.
Fact 2:
The Prime Minister has spent the last few days in the Middle East, in countries which are longstanding allies of the UK. Some of these countries have human rights records which can only be classified as dire.
Fact 3:
Whilst the PM was abroad, President Trump tweeted as usual – this time retweeting some tweets of a conservative commentator in the US of some videos posted by a right-wing British political party.
Fact 4:
The Westminster bubble and commentariat have exploded in outrage over Donald Trump’s tweets. The £40-50bn EU extortion payment has been sidelined.
We comment on all matters relating to Brexit and the EU, not general political matters. However when the British government makes yet another move capitulating to the EU, breaking all logic and reason, we get irritated when our politicians and the media seem to care more about some tweets from across the Atlantic than they do about the future of this country.
The USA is the UK’s biggest trading partner. And unlike the EU where Britian trades at a massive deficit, in the case of the USA the UK is in surplus. The UK sells more in goods and services to the US than the US sells to the UK.
Yesterday the MOD released the latest figures on NATO defence spending. You won’t have heard about it, because the media was obsessed with attacking President Trump.
Facts4EU.Org has been analysing the new figures and perhaps you might find the following graph interesting in the context of the media’s current obsession. It shows how much the US has spent on NATO in the last five years, compared to what all the other 26 member nations have spent.
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
We will not comment on the latest Trump tweet story for three reasons.
Firstly we don’t consider it to be more important than the EU capitulation story (the £40-50bn extortion payment offer from the May government) which it has surplanted in column inches and hours of 24 hour news coverage.
Secondly, we hate hypocrisy. The PM has just spent the last couple of days in countries with, shall we say, highly dubious records on human rights. She has allegedly been beating the drum for British business, whilst also talking about aid.
Now, we believe that British interests must always come first, and that often means remaining friends with regimes whose behaviours would not be acceptable in the UK. In fact it can often (sadly) be in the best interests of the peoples of a region for a less-than-desirable regime to be in power. The alternatives can often be far worse.
Apparently Mr Trump’s tweets are far worse than the policies, actions, and continued behaviours of some of the governments with whom Mrs May is currently treating. A great many MPs slammed Mr Trump yesterday while saying nothing about the governments of the countries Mrs May has actually been in. Now that’s hypocrisy.
Thirdly and finally, when the British media starts reporting normally – being open with facts and without prejudice either way – about societal and security issues which principally involve a particular faith, then they might conceivably have the right to criticise the leader of the most powerful country on the planet.
Until then, they should look to their own behaviour. Here we will carry on shining a light on all matters related to Brexit and the EU, in order to achieve the best possible clean Brexit without compromise.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
[ Sources: Ministry of Defence | NATO ]            07.55am, 01 December 2017
Name: : Brexiter Braintree Essex      Date/Time: 01 Dec 2017, 8.08pm
Message: So the future of negotiations are in the hands of the Irish. If they don't get a deal over the Irish border they will veto the UK to EU trade talks. Well that makes May's response simple enough, no deal over the border, save £50billion, go to WTO trading rules. I hope the Irish have thought this through job losses in meat sector 40000, job losses in fishing sector, 12000 fishermen, 60000 fish processors. Good luck Leo Varadkar selling that to your electors! We were always going towards WTO rules, all this does is give business longer to plan. Having saved £40 billion the UK can now plan for a very bright future out of the EU.
Name: : Rosie, UK      Date/Time: 01 Dec 2017, 5.42pm
Message: You rightly say you won't waste time on less urgent matters like tweets. I would like to take a smidgeon of time to say I like the tweets. No PC jargon, no euphemisms, no cliches. Good plain English the whole world can understand, and invariably pertinent and to the point. We need these tweets as antidotes to the MSM who can't tamper with them or censor them. That is why they are so furious and want them stopped.
Reply: Thank you, Rosie!
Name: : John Finn, UK      Date/Time: 01 Dec 2017, 11.01am
Message: You quote a £40-£50 bn figure yet do not cite a source for this figure. According to John Redwood, the government have not proposed a figure but have simply identified areas to which the UK might be prepared to make ex-gratia payments if a beneficial trade deal could be agreed. Let's not forget that the EU has its own reasons for making it to look as though the UK is being shafted.
Name: : Anonymous [Please give us at least a pseudonym - Ed.]      Date/Time: 01 Dec 2017, 09.50am
Message: Does any one really believe that the EU is going to give the UK Government a good trading deal? To do that would show the other 27 countries that make up the block, that you can survive and prosper as an independent sovereign nation. Barnier's constant sneering about the UK being a third country after March 2019, and that the only trade deal is either a deal like Canada or Norway have. Wrong answer the EU only get 45 billion if we have the same access to EU markets as we have now. If not we pocket the money and trade under WTO rules. Remember this eventual trade deal has to be ratified by more than 27 Parliaments. It won't happen, someone will be unhappy and vote against, and the whole deal will collapse. The major countries France, Germany and the UK already have "no deal" contingency plans in place. The other factor that is emerging is British public opinion, it's hardening as services are being squeezed across the UK. Paying the EU £45 billion is becoming toxic. People are saying don't pay them that money, what about our services, our schools, roads and hospitals, we need it, it's our taxpayers' money, spend it on us. Especially as the House of Lords Committee has said we owe the EU nothing. Barnier and the EU may have overplayed their hand.
Monsieur Barnier, EU civil servant, with Mr Davis, elected Minister                       © EU Commission
Yesterday the Ministry of Defence released its latest figures on spending, after NATO had revised some of its figures for expenditure of its members over the last 5 years.
These figures show that Michel Barnier, the EU’s increasingly discredited Chief Brexit Negotiator, was extremely ill-advised to make the comments he did about the United Kingdom on Wednesday in Berlin.
To remind you, he told the Congress on European Security and Defence in Berlin that “rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the Union, the British chose to be on their own again.” He went on to imply that the UK was abandoning the EU’s defence, when Theresa May has in fact already promised completely and unconditionally the opposite.
Below we have analysed the latest figures from NATO and the MOD and produced some information in graph form that Monsieur Barnier may wish to reflect upon.
There are 22 EU member states who are also members of NATO. By far the most important is the United Kingdom.
Fig 1: Who paid the required minimum 2% of GDP for defence last year?
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
Only 3 EU countries exceeded the minimum of 2%: Greece (which buys a lot of military equipment from Germany), the United Kingdom, and Estonia. Poland met the minimum exactly.
18 out of the 22 EU member states failed to meet the required standard.
You will note that the lowest spender on defence is Luxembourg, the country of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. He was the Prime Minister of that country for years and presided over the manipulation of tax schemes to attract multinationals, which is still being investigated to this day. Defence was never a priority of Herr Juncker - until he became President of the EU Commission and found that other countries would pay to make the EU into a military power.
Fig 2: The Top 4 EU spenders on defence
© Facts4EU.Org 2017
As you can see, the UK consistently spends more than any other EU country on defence. If a large number of MPs in Parliament get their way, this sum is likely to increase substantially over the next few years.
The EU is racing full-speed into its Defence Union. It has already established a ‘European Defence Fund’, a military headquarters, and battlegroups, and is busy putting in place everything which will give it full military capabilities to act independently of NATO.
Given that the EU member states – with the exception of the UK - have been incapable of funding defence for decades, these developments are both extraordinary and deeply worrying to anyone who cares about the security of the continent.
Monsieur Barnier hails from the mountainous Savoie region of France. It’s beautiful there. It still retains so much of what many British people think of as ‘traditional France’. Being rural and mountainous it has seen little immigration and its issues are more likely to revolve around agricultural matters.
Now its most famous son, Michel Barnier has carefully cultivated his image. He is ‘Monsieur Brexit’, the EU Commission’s Chief Negotiator and still referred to by some British journalists as ‘the dapper Frenchman’.
Well, it’s a little different in the offices of Brexit Facts4EU.Org. Here he’s increasingly known as ‘Barmier’. His speeches on Wednesday in Berlin were classic examples of why this is so.
Remember the scene on Wednesday. Mrs May had just effectively raised the white flag and agreed to pay an enormous sum to the EU… for what, no-one knows. All we do know is that the UK once again looks like the poor little supplicant, instead of a powerful nation standing up to tyranny and extortion from an undemocratic, dysfunctional, and dictatorial regime of the worst order.
What does Barmier do, faced with this capitulation by the British? He reads out two speeches which could hardly be more designed to antagonise the dormant British bulldog. The worst instance was his speech regarding defence.
Perhaps Barmier thought that with his experience having been Jean-Claude Juncker’s former defence specialist (oh yes, that’s what he was), he was qualified to talk about Brexit in relation to defence.
Well sorry to disappoint you, Michel. Let’s be honest, you’re pretty much a mountain short of a range. You just don’t have the intellectual muscle, something which is well-known in Brussels. You’re much better off spending your time checking your image in the mirror before you go on stage in Brexit negotiations, than in grandstanding on subjects you don’t really understand.
In Theresa May we really don’t see how you could hope for an easier opponent. How you can then mess things up by antagonising the British public even further on the day she has proffered yet another embarrassing capitulation is beyond us.
Anyway, study the graphs above Michel, and perhaps you might want to retract your vile slurs against the UK. Many of our readers would like to educate you about the events of over 75 years ago. We won’t mention that for the moment, we’ll just leave it hanging.
Please send us your comments and we will publish them below. You can of course use a pseudonym if you prefer, and it's always nice to know roughly where you're writing from. Please always state the headline of the article you're commenting on.
[ Sources: EU Commission | Ministry of Defence | NATO ]            08.10am, 01 December 2017
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