reclaim our democracy!

On Thursday over 17 million British People voted to leave the EU in the belief that their vote was going to restore British Democracy.  How ironic then that the first major impact of their decision was the resignation of the Prime Minister and the announcement that the British political elite of the Conservative Party (which received only 37% of the popular vote at the last General Election) will impose a new Prime Minister on us in 3 months time.

This Prime Minister would be one we have not elected, one who has no mandate to govern and one who quite frankly flies in the very face of British Democracy.

I’ve made a petition – will you sign it?

Click this link to sign the petition:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/134416/sponsors/xLNCkBvjKybPXgm9brhj

My petition:

We want Parliament to dissolve Parliament and call a General Election.

The U.K. Government should be elected by the people for the people, and the resignation of a Prime Minister should automatically trigger dissolution of Parliament and a General Election.

Three of our past seven Prime Ministers (James Callaghan, John Major and Gordon Brown) were imposed by Parliament without the popular consent of the people. In a democratic monarchy it is essential that the Prime Minister enjoys the support of the people through a democratic vote and therefore it should be incumbent on our democratic system that Parliament should be dissolved and a General Election held immediately on the resignation of the Prime Minister.

the potential impact of Brexit on the food we eat!

Household food bills could be about to rise by a staggering 14% as a direct result of Britain’s decision to exit the European Union due to the predicted fall in the Pound against both the Euro and the Dollar.

Britain produces around 54% of the food we consume, with a further 27% coming from the EU and 19% from the rest of the world.  The direct impact of the drop in the value of the pound on the cost of that food will be substantial, and will be felt in the pockets of the British people in a matter of weeks.

Global source of UK food

Since entering the EU, inflation in the British economy has remained relatively low (between 2007 and their peak in 2012 food prices increased by an average of just 1.6% a year) but all that is about to change as the British economy contracts following the EU referendum.

In the first day of post referendum trading the Pound fell 8% against the dollar and 5% against the Euro, but it is predicted that there could be a further 10% drop as the markets adjust to take account of the massive contraction of the value of the British economy, which in one day dropped from the second to the third largest economy in Europe having been overtaken by France.

The value of the pound has a direct impact on the cost of the food that we eat, the lower the pound and the more we have to spend on the food that we import and therefore the higher the cost of the food we buy.

Sources and notes: 

Food Statistics Pocketbook 2015 In Year Update: DEFRA | © Crown copyright 2016

  1. Total consumer expenditure on food, drink and catering in 2014. On average, around 11% of all household spending is on food. (p.6)
  2. Food prices rose 11.5% in real terms between 2007 and their peak in June 2012 as measured by the Consumer Price Index, following a long period in which they had fallen. Gradual price reductions since 2013 have reduced that real terms increase to 8.0% compared to 2007.

BBC Website

  1. The pound’s dramatic fall started overnight as the outcome of the referendum became clear. At one stage, it hit $1.3236, a fall of more than 10%.  By early afternoon, it had partially recovered, but was still nearly 8% down on the day.
  2. Against the euro, the pound dropped 7% to about €1.2085. By Friday lunchtime, it had risen again but was still 5.3% down on the day.

EU Referendum results sparks a petition for a second referendum

With 48% of voters wishing to remain in the European Union, calls have already begun for a second referendum and a petition to parliament set up on the Government website has already attracted tens of thousands of signatures at the time of writing, and climbing at roughly 1000 signatures a minute, and crashing the Government petitions website.

The petition reads that ‘We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based on a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum,’

All petitions to the site that receive over 100,000 signatures must be considered for debate in Parliament, as was the case with the cannabis legalisation one.

Britain voted to leave the European Union by a narrow margin yesterday.  With a turnout of 72 per cent, leave won the referendum with 51.9 per cent (17,410,742 votes), while Remain finished on 48.1 per cent (16,141,241 votes).

Prime Minister, David Cameron, who backed the Remain campaign, announced his resignation outside Downing Street this morning stating that ‘it was “not right” for him to be “the captain that “steers the country” in a new direction.’ and I agree wholeheartedly with his assessment.

The next question we have to ask ourselves though is, if we are really intent on taking back power, why should a Conservative Party that gained only 37% of the popular vote (23% of the potential vote) in last year’s General Election be allowed to determine who should replace David Cameron as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.  Surely when a Prime Minister resigns (as Blair did and as Cameron now has) it should trigger an immediate General Election so that the people of the United Kingdom can determine who should lead us.

To support calls for a second referendum click here!

project Fear must not be allowed to win tomorrow

Many people will by now have voted in the European Referendum basing their vote on what they know of the European Union and Britain’s relationship with it, but for those who haven’t here is my response to some of the worst of the negative campaign messages of project fear.

Project Fear states that Britain is suffocating under European legislation and red tape.  This is simply not true.  The majority of the so-called red tape that project fear highlight are interpretations and extensions of EU legislation imposed by the British Civil Service under a system whereby they take sensible EU rules and extend them beyond recognition.  The UK parliament has the opportunity to question and discard these additional rules, but rarely does.  These rules are entirely made in Britain, and only 14% of UK Legislation is made in the EU.

Project fear states that Britain will be ‘swarming’ with immigrants from Turkey as soon as the referendum is over.  This is nonsense because firstly the UK controls its own borders, we are not a member of Shengen, and secondly Greek Cyrprus has a veto on Turkish membership of the EU.  That veto will ensure that Turkey is not admitted at any time soon, it won’t even need the British Veto.

Project Fear states that Britain cannot get her own way in Europe, which is also not true.  Britain is the second largest economy in the EU, we got our own way on the Euro (we didn’t join), Shengen (we control our own borders), Banking (our banks are not subject to EU regulations) and employment law (particularly the bit that allows Junior Doctors in the NHS to work longer hours than in any other EU member state).

Project Fear states that the EU is aiming to become a European Superstate.  With Britain at the heart of the EU that cannot happen, with Britain out of the EU it almost certainly will.

Project fFear plays on our national pride, but I am proud of the Europe that Britain has helped to create.

Project Fear plays on xenophobia and hatred, but I actually like mixing with people from other European states.

Project Fear claim our NHS is in danger, but every expert states that the economic impact of not remaining in the EU would seriously damage our NHS.

The Britain I believe in is a united union of nation states working together for the common good, oddly that is also the Europe I believe in.  If anything the EU is the natural progression of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, democratic states pooling our sovereignty and resources to tackle poverty, ignorance and conformity.

There are those who say that Nato has delivered peace in Europe, and it has contributed, but the reality is that it was the economic muscle of the EU that brought down the Berlin Wall, not the military might of NATO.  It was the prospect of prosperity within the EU that ended the Balkan wars, not the prospect of military intervention (that had already happened).

We have peace in Northern Ireland, and the UK as a whole, because we pool and share our sovereignty with the Republic of Ireland within the European Union.

I am going to go one further than the timid politicians leading the Remain campaign.  I am going to say that I want to see a United States of Europe.  Strong, economically and culturally vibrant and playing its rightful place in leading the world to a peaceful co-existence with each other and with the planet on which we live.

Think of the scientific advances in the last few years that have come about because of co-operation across European boundaries:  Graphene, Cerne, The European Space Agency, and drugs to combat HIV and now even Cancer.  It is no co-incidence that the greatest human advances in science and technology have come about at the same time as the EU.

Project fear are scared of being part of a bigger stronger democratic union, they hark back to an Empire long gone; a special relationship with a USA that tells us we will be at the back of the queue for any trade deals; trading agreements with a Commonwealth that we already have agreements with and which urges us to stay in the EU.

Don’t let Project Fear, Project Xenophobia, and Project Little Britain win tomorrow.

Vote ‘REMAIN’

voting Labour gets the status quo (and no, I don’t mean the pop group)

Once the EU Referendum has taken place the next big political battle in the UK will be on the future of our nuclear deterrent.   Like this EU Referendum the argument over whether Trident will be continued, mothballed or decommissioned seemed to split the country into three clear camps, with the Conservatives and Labour supporting like for like renewal, the SNP and the Greens supporting decommissioning, and the Liberal Democrats opting for mothballing.

In terms of mothballing, of course, I refer to the peculiar policy stance the party has taken of supporting a part time nuclear submarine on zero hours contracts with the weapons left at home until needed.  This is of course aimed at keeping the multi-literalists on board whilst ensuring that any replacement would never be fired.

I had thought that this stance looked somewhat foolish, but now I find that our position looks a lot less so as whereas it will result in a vote against like for like renewal of Trident, the Labour party have managed to go one better in that according to the Telegraph, Jeremy Corbyn is planning to force Labour MPs to abstain from a key vote on renewing

Of course we all know that the Labour leader wants to scrap the deterrent but the majority of MPs back renewal and so a forced abstention would mean any Labour MP who voted for Trident could be disciplined for disobeying party rules.

Mr Corbyn is thought to see a forced abstention as a compromise. A spokesman for the leader said the party “does not discuss whipping” but the reality is that it will simply ensure that the Conservatives are once again neither supported nor opposed by Her Majesty’s loyal opposition.

Switzerland formalises withdrawal of its EU membership application 22 years after it withdrew

The latest nonsense meme being circulated by the campaign against Britain remaining in the EU relates to a recent realisation by the Swiss Government that they did not complete the paperwork 22 years ago when they decided not to join the EU.  Switzerland stopped pursuing its application in 1994 when it decided instead to go it alone and the shocking (and in Swiss culture embarrassing) news is that they forgot to complete the paperwork.

In more recent news, on 9 February 2014 Switzerland voted “Against Mass Immigration” and in favour employers giving preference to Swiss nationals when hiring workers. Brussels refused any renegotiation of the freedom of movement agreement to facilitate this and the first consequence has been a 25% cut in the number of EU students attending Swiss Universities and the stalling of plans to cut Swiss electricity costs by interconnecting their supplies with those of the EU.

Furthermore, Switzerland was told that in addition to requiring that re-opening its borders, the EU is now also demanding that its banking system be opened to EU scrutiny before normal relations can be restored.

These instructions were issues by the British Commissioner, Lady Ashton.

It is clear from the Swiss model that if Britain does not remain in the EU any British access to the Common Market would be subject to our becoming a member of Shengen, thereby losing our special status of controling our own borders and subjecting our Banking system to European scrutiny, thereby losing our special status for banking.

Regular readers may recall my earlier blog regarding the worstening Swiss relations with the EU. CLICK HERE

Labour’s Brigadoon Campaign

In the film Brigadoon we are told the tale of a mysterious town that vanished in the mists and reappears once every hundred years.

Today we see the Labour party taking a similar approach to public campaigning on the European Referendum, as it spends more time debating the rights and wrongs of sharing platforms with political opponents in common cause than it does campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union.

Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists, Welsh Nationalists and the Green Party have all managed to unite behind the Remain campaign, to share platforms and to express their various differing reasons as to why the UK should remain in the EU.  We have been joined on platforms by Conservative and Labour activists alike.

UKIP have similarly manages to largely unite behind the Leave campaign and to share platforms and express their different reasons to leave the EU alongside Labour and Conservative MP’s on the Leave side of the debate.

The Conservative leadership has quite successfully split into two cavalries, one riding with Remain and the other riding with Leave, and although the splits in the party are now more stark than ever, they are somehow managing to retain a degree of civility towards each other whilst this civil war is fought.

Labour, however tell a very different story with Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell this week having made absolutely clear the reason why Jeremy Corbyn must  never be Prime Minister of this country.

Any claim by Labour activists that an SNP-Lab coalition (or indeed a Lib-Lab coalition) could ever happen under Labour’s current leadership was laid to rest when Mr McDonnell stated that ‘sharing a platform with the Conservatives “discredits” Labour’, because the reason given was that Labour’s reaons for supporting Remain are different to those of the Conservatives.

When it comes to the question of whether Britain should remain in or leave the EU, the Labour party is in the strange position of having its most Eurosceptic leader in a generation, and furthermore the Vote Leave campaign is chaired by a Labour MP, Gisela Stuart.

Labour MP’s claim to speak for the party, but they can not claim to speak for their leader, and this week’s veiled attack on Sadiq Khan for sharing a platform with David Cameron in a campaign where they share common concern totally undermines Labour’s ability to ever participate in a coalition government.

To form a government Labour would have to work in coalition or partnership of some form with the SNP whose very reason for existence it to break up the very United Kingdom that Labour is sworn to protect.  If the Labour leadership can not share a platform with members of another party when they in agreement on an issue, then how could they share Government with a party whose ambition it so fundamentally opposes on a parallel issue of equal importance.

The Labour Party’s Leadership, and many of their members, have given an absolutely clear indication this week that the party is not capable of forming a stable Government whilst Jeremy Corbyn is its leader.  This indication comes not through its principles or philosophy, but rather through the attitude it has shown towards sharing a platform with members of other political parties (in this case Sadiq Khan sharing a platform with David Cameron).

If like Brigadoon, Labour is only to be seen in public isolation once every hundred years then it is doomed in the long term to permanent opposition and carping from the sidelines.  Like Brigadoon, it may reappear from time to time but it is eventually destined to fade away.