Eurozone recovery is the real bombshell surprise economic story of 2017! 

We all know that Britain’s foreign owned tabloids have a lot to answer for when creating an atmosphere of fear and hate against the EU and foreign immigrants. We also know the same papers love to downplay any good economic news emanating from the Eurozone, while at the same time creating an illusion the economic prowess of the UK is unrivalled, certainly compared to other G7 economies. But an Express article by Brexit bimbo @katiemansfield_on July 5th really takes the biscuit with the following headline:

“Britain’s economy to outperform France, Germany and Eurozone, says bombshell report”

Having just read that ONS for the second time had to downgrade UK GDP Growth recorded for the first quarter of 2017 from 0.3% to 0.2% growth, naturally I was surprised. On that basis the annual growth rate for Brexit Britain would amount to just 0.8%, hardly something to write home about.

On the other hand is was widely reported, that the Eurozone Economy seems to be powering ahead. On a similar annual basis, CNN Money reported that the eurozone grew by 1.7%  or more than twice as fast than the UK!

I am quite used to rags like the Express not actually providing HTML links to the reports their shoddy reporters claim to have read. Certainly the providers of the report ‘Oxford Economics’ make no mention of the report on their web site. On the contrary, all I could find is older bad brexit news stories! So contacted their service help desk and they kindly provided me with copies and a link where the Daily Express quoted report can be downloaded from. See that wasn’t so hard to do was it Katie? Now some actual quotes rather than Katies fanciful imagination:

The impact of Brexit on Trade

“Since Brexit the UK economy has slowed, with a sharp weakening in the first quarter of 2017. The preliminary estimate of UK GDP growth of just 0.3% was significantly below the 0.7% achieved at the end of  2016 [ML: and was since then further revised downwards to 0.2% by ONS]”

Here it should be noted that the report quoted by the Express makes an assumption that the UK would leave the EU in early 2019 and that this is followed by a three year transitional arrangement followed by a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU.  Those who follow the brexit news know that this ‘soft brexit’ scenario is far from certain as we speak. Over the alternative ‘hard brexit’ scenario that most Express readers lust after the report says:

“This would be a economically damaging outcome and would mean our forecasts are far too optimistic……….The increase in trading costs that would result would lead to a degree of Trade destruction.”

“On balance our baseline forecast shows slower growth in both exports and imports as a result of Brexit with the slower exports causing, and the slower imports caused by, slower GDP growth than would otherwise have occurred.”

UK economic performance over the next decade (after Brexit)

Are you still with me dear reader? So far we have seen optimistic assumptions and pessimistic outcomes predicted for Brexit. Now we come to the bit that poor old Katie tries to sell you as “bombshell good brexit news”. IF ( and it’s a big if) David Davis MP manages to negotiate that elusive Free Trade Deal with Europe and the much more sensible Chancellor Philip Hammond and the CBI get their three year transitional brexit period, than maybe, maybe the following report prediction might come true….

“We forecast an average increase in UK GVA of 1.9% a year in the period 2018–27. This means that the UK will grow more slowly over the next decade than in the period leading up to the financial crisis, but will continue to outperform many of its peers, including those in the Eurozone”

I’ll let that sink in: The UK will grow more slowly out of the EU! and if (and it’s a big if based on unsafe assumptions) the UK grows 1.9% a year after brexit it might outperform the dreaded Eurozone.  Only we’ve just seen that the Eurozone is already growing at 1.7% and we’re still in the doldrums with just 0.8% growth.

Conclusion:  More unsubstantiated Express UK bullshit…. Shame on you Katie Mansfield! Like me more discerning readers of the Oxford Economics report clearly must come to the conclusion you haven’t actually read the report you write about?

Eurozone recovery is the real bombshell surprise economic story of 2017! 

Read more about this in the FT here



Posted in #brexit, EU, EURO, Eurozone | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The implications of Macron’s presidency for Brexit

One of the nice things about following the #brexit hashtag on Twitter is that you get pointed to all sorts of interesting pro and anti EU blogs, that you might otherwise not come across. The LSE blog I read today is titled ““Macron’s Presidency will not have a huge impact on Brexit per se, but [will] on the future of the EU”

Alexandre Holroyd knows what he is talking about as he is the En Marche! candidate representing the French living in Northern Europe. One sentence seems to have got kinda lost in translation. He says:

“Macron has developed a measure in his program called a ‘democratic convention’ that will be launched by the end of 2017 in all the Member States. The objective is to grasp what the citizens expect from the EU taking into account the coherence in different countries. It is similar to the way En Marche! program was developed by crowdsourcing in information from hundreds of local committees across the country and followed by experts working with the results to translate them into concrete policy proposals”

If I translate ‘measure’ into the Dutch meaning of ‘maatregel’ the sentence becomes clearer. It seems to be some sort of EU policy proposal to run a vast public enquiry to find out what people really want from the EU, especially when it comes to addressing the heartfelt democratic deficit that many leave voters seem to experience and complain about.

From personal experience living in France I have come across En Marche! researchers at my local Market at ‘Les Herolles’ and even though I pointed out I didn’t have a vote [yet], they courteously heard me out on all my bug bears and grievances with French bureaucracy as an EU immigrant. It was all noted in their little black book. This to me was a total new experience and made me want to vote for Macron and join his mouvement.

Typical En Marche activist gathering citizens opinions in a French Market Town ( borrowed from @ELanderne )

Anyway at the bottom of the blog post there was a comment section. In todays IdentitySpace post I want to share my comments and hope that I get one or two reactions from my growing list of subscribers.

The rest of this post is a straight copy and paste from the blog as commented by me. Why not hone your own comments= skills here here and then cut and paste the result into Alexandre’s blog in return? Who knows Macron will get to read them and act on them.

Now there’s a thought 😉


I would like to add as comments my personal view what the EU should do for it’s citizens.

Note I am Dutch from birth, a UK-expat of 30 years and have made full use of my EU freedom of movement by working in several EU countries.

In my world view there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a bit of EU protectionism if it protects our rights as EU citizens, consumers or workers. Some argue EU market entry rules are to the detriment of developing countries. Especially Africa is often mentioned with huge crocodile tears when discussing the benefits of #brexit, #frexit or #nexit .
I have a deep mistrust of the real motivation driving those save Africa arguments. The same people often lament the fact that EU rules stop protectionism at a National level. It is well documented that the British representatives in the EU council of Ministers were the ones determined to block any EU  measures against Chinese steel dumping practices. After all they were Britain’s new friends financing a new nuclear reactor at Sizewell.

It’s just the fact that we in the EU practice this kind of sensible protectionism at a EU level, rather than a national level, that these Nationalist can’t get their head around. It doesn’t fit in their “them vs. us” narrative.

The very same people that shout we should give poor African Farmers a chance trading freely with them are the people that shout loudest we must do more to buy ‘British’ or ‘French’ etc. in other contexts. The main reason for a common agricultural policy is and always has been to give us food security at an EU level. If we have seasonal shortages in our common market we should use our common EU purchasing power in a responsible way. Not to buy up food stuff in Africa while locals go hungry (by pricing them out of local markets). The principle of the recent EU-Africa partnership deals seems to me exactly the right way to make our purchasing power a force for change for good on that continent. But of course it has to be monitored by ethical committees so it does not end up like modern slavery.

Free Movement of people
To illustrate my thinking here I would like to recall to you all a program shown recently on UK TV called “brexit wife swap” In it a fervent British white nationalist man takes his pro-EU partner for the week into an ethnic diverse community in East London. The camera zooms in on stall holders of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin and then on the white man complaining he feels like a stranger in his ‘own’ country.

Wait a minute, is my reaction, aren’t these all immigrants from UKIP’s favourite ‘Commonwealth’? What on earth does that have to do with EU free movement or brexit? Yes, continues the man’s feeble argument, they all get here via Europe’s borderless Schengen agreement. It’s complete bullshit of course, but that’s how British uneducated minds work. They see brown faces in Calais camps and Farage posters. Next they see brown faces on a london market. Hence they must be the same people. It’s racism pure and simple. The government does not own up to the fact that most of these people fly in by passenger jet from the Asian sub-continent. Some Doctors, some nurses, some for family reunions, all perfectly legal. Nothing to do with EU or Calais refugees.

Later in the program the same ukip voting types are heard complaining that polish plumbers work hard for ten years only to save for a mortgage on a property back home. It seems the money they earned should all be spent in the UK. Don’t us British ex-pats buying our ‘place in the sun’ do exactly the same thing? You can’t complain about UK housing shortages in the same breath as condemning East Europeans returning home!

In conclusion the EU and member states have failed educating their people on the difference between EU protectionism (largely benign) and globalism (experienced as a threat).

The EU is always the easy scapegoat for weak national politicians and dubious tabloids playing on the fear of people.

What better way to present a new unpopular Westminster austerity initiative as something that is handed down by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels?

The only way to counteract this is by increasing the democratic mandate of the EU parliament and by holding our national representatives to the EU council of ministers more to account what they conspire in Brussels. This could be done by asking them to justify this in National Assemblies like Parliament in a special EU question time session once a week.  Now that would make for an interesting EU directive!

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Conservative Peer Edmund Limerick Brexit Resignation speech. Chapeau!

I’d like to share with you a resignation speech from a Tory Peer, who is ‘crossing the floor’ to the Liberal Democrats, shared with his permission. His speech makes so much sense. I dare any of the leave brigade to counter his arguments.

His name…. Edmund Limerick.

Dear David,

Please take this email as notice of my resignation from the ACP [Association of Conservative Peers] and the Conservative Party. I was recently advised that the three qualities required for a prospective Tory peer were experience, hard work and loyalty. A year ago loyalty meant commitment to remaining in the EU. Now it apparently means commitment to leaving the EU Customs Union. I cannot be loyal to this unmandated and suicidal policy. I remain convinced that a hard Brexit is the greatest mistake this country can ever make, and one which will haunt us for generations to come.

We have spent over 40 years building a common market with our EU partners and although the work is far from complete, it has resulted in remarkable economic and political success for the UK and Europe as whole, acting as a magnet first for southern nations such as Spain, Portugal and Greece to transition from dictatorship to democracy, then for the newly liberated countries of eastern Europe to join the club, all of them with strong British encouragement.

The large EU country which has benefited most of all is arguably the UK. Our free trade traditions, English language, natural borders and retention of our own currency have given us all the benefits and few of the costs of membership. Notably we have largely escaped the effects from mass immigration from North Africa which are so afflicting southern Europe at present. It makes our present obsession with immigration look petty and selfish, against a backdrop of real misery and crisis in the Middle East and Africa and along its EU borders.

Economically we have benefited from becoming the international gateway for foreign investment into Europe. Margaret Thatcher made huge efforts to attract the likes of Honda and Nissan to the UK, turning us over 30 years from the sick man of Europe into one of its leading car exporters.

Bankers may not be popular, but the City of London has created great wealth for the south east, and it also contributes at least 11% of the country’s tax income and enables the UK to run a current account deficit and public services it would not otherwise be able to afford.

I acknowledge the result of last year’s referendum but I fundamentally disagree that a 52% protest vote, a vote denied to EU nationals living in the UK, gives the government a mandate to do anything more than to negotiate exit terms with the EU and then report back to Parliament and the country as a whole for a further vote once it becomes clear what Brexit really means.

What will it mean? It is delusional to think that the EU under its reinvigorated Macron-Merkel Franco-German leadership will do anything other than defend the EU’s own interests, foremost of which is a demonstration that leaving the EU is a costly and disastrous mistake. Juncker was right: the EU will act to ensure that the UK is punished. And they’ll gladly pick up our financial services industry and our other exporting industries rendered uneconomic by the risk of future tariffs.

There is simply no way that any possible deal with the EU will be better than the one we have just torn up. The results of hard Brexit or no deal (the most probable outcome considering it took the EU and Canada 8 years to agree a marriage, let alone a divorce and then a new relationship) once the Article 50 two years have expired will include inflation, a rise in the cost of living, collapse of foreign investment, significant job losses not only in the City but across the country, a loss of international influence, and quite likely the secession of Scotland (if the English can ’have their country back’ why should they not too?) and Northern Ireland, which will not be happy about the reimposition of customs and immigration controls along its border with the Republic, which will have better living standards to boot.

The United Kingdom will no longer be united. Great Britain will no longer be great. Little Englanders will have got what they wanted: little england. I predict considerable public anger, especially amongst the young who voted overwhelmingly to remain and whose futures are being so casually squandered.

And what will this new England be like? Our negotiating power will be feeble. A free trade agreement with China which still has political prisoners and slave labour will flood us with cheap imports and do nothing for protection of UK jobs and standards. A free trade agreement with a protectionist USA will flood us with subsidised food products that would also not meet current UK or EU standards. We shall likely see 30 mile queues towards the Channel Ports as the French reimpose customs inspections in Calais. Apart from fishermen (the only Brexiteers whose views I respect) no-one will be better off.

If you have bothered to read this far I thank you humbly for your patience and urge you to use your position within a party that looks set to gain a substantial Commons majority to back the voice of common sense and reason, no matter what the pressure from the Whips. Unless there is a crisis resulting in a new general election it seems that the focus of debate will move to within the Tory party.

As for me I am joining the Lib Dems in the hope that a grand coalition of the sensible, moderate, non Europhobic and non suicidal public might be created out of the hitherto silent ranks of sensible Tories and sensible Labour supporters who are neither hard Brexiteers nor Corbynistas.

We may yet see the creation of a new centre party. For now the Brexit tail is wagging the Tory dog, and I am bowing out.

Sincerely, Edmund Limerick

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10 Brexit myths exploding in Leavers’ faces

Today I felt like demolishing ten brexit myths as pointed out to me by a nut case on Twitter going by the name of @DancerGuard. He proudly points to them from his profile page, along with his funky dance moves.

I’d say that rather than proving to be myths, they are quickly turning to grim daily Brexit realities.


First of all it is worth pointing out that the three million job loss figure originates from an official Government answer to an Open Europe ‘Freedom of Information’ request(FOI). The official answer actually said that approximately three million UK jobs were “linked”to trade with the EU. Brexit might put these jobs “at risk” most remainers naturally said, which is of course rather different from claiming they’d disappear ‘overnight’ after after Article 5o was triggered as the Sun and arch leavers like Ian Duncan Smith would have you believe. Cameron actually was very careful with his words, said nothing of the kind. Yet this is how a Brexit myth is created. Apparently we should not take Vote Leave promises of 350 M. extra to the NHS on the side of busses too literally but when it comes to Project Fear’s indirect references to 3 m. jobs being put at risk, we should interpret that as “disappearing overnight” ?

Don’t know about you folks, but from the daily stream of Brexit attributed UK job losses I see, I feel this ‘Project Fear’ prediction is actually already in full swing, even if we are still two years away from leaving.

But this is not my argument with this myth. It’s the use of the word “imposing”. Imposing suggests the use of threat or force. What? Are they suggesting UK sends in the gun boats to demand Free Trade like they did at the time of the ‘Opium Wars‘ with China? Are they planning to block the Suez canal again to get their promised Free Trade Agreements?

Of course in this section they mention their dreaded EU-UK trade deficit again, but I have debunked that particular excuse of a negotiating strength so many times on IdentitySpace I am not going into that here again. Remember buying from abroad is the easy bit. Selling your wares abroad takes more than bleating “We buy more from you, than you buy back from us”. Slapping your closest customers in the face and threatening to sell more to your far away ‘Commonwealth’ friends is a playground argument and doesn’t cut it.


Actually the main threat to UK jobs from Brexit derives not from new tariffs but non-tariff technical barriers to trade after Brexit. Filling in customs forms for everything we ship to the mainland and customs inspections in Calais are examples of such technical trade barriers. Neither ‘Services’ or complex customs procedures are covered by current so called ‘Free Trade Agreements’. But you can argue this till the cows come home with these Brexit types. They just see lorry queues on the M20 approaching Dover as a new business opportunity to sell waiting drivers cups of tea, coffee and bacon sandwiches.

-The EU has free trade agreements with over 50 countries to overcome such tariffs, and is currently negotiating a number of other agreements. Brexit Britain just doesn’t have the manpower, the required number of trade negotiators to replace the EU agreements it currently benefits from.

True, the EU now exempts  many goods from duties anyway using a quota system. So as a whole customs duties might average out to 1.76% on non-EU imports. This does not mean that the EU Common Market is basically redundant as a customs union with tariff walls. On specific goods that UK exports rely on for foreign revenue and UK jobs the percentage is much higher. So UK Nissans attracting an extra 10% could well kill that trade and 50% on Scotch Whiskey would also put a huge damper on sales of that popular aperitif in France and Italy. Welsh lamb would attract an extra 67% according to an NFU document I recently read.


Regional trading blocks are actually all the rage according to the WTO.  With Brexit Britain is going against the flow. More than 250 RTAs notified to the WTO are in force today, and around 30 new trade agreements are under negotiation. With the exception of Mongolia, all WTO Members have notified participation in one or more RTAs. Brexit UK is about to leave one of the most successful ones! I can’t figure out how this benefits UK, unless it wants to be more like Mongolia.


The main argument here is that over 70% of the UK’s GDP is generated within the UK, but still subject to EU law. Leaving the EU would lead to a true ‘bonfire of regulations’. But this simplistic view sort of assumes that consumers in the UK don’t need the same level of protection as our more sophisticated EU neighbours. Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg is on record saying “Britain could slash environmental and safety standards ‘a very long way’ after Brexit”. He was exposed to a barrage of ridicule for suggesting we could lower our standards to those in India. What is clear is that for the 30% of our economy that would like to continue exporting to EU markets it would be a nightmare having two set of regulations to comply with. Imagine two production lines for everything? One demanding quality controlled one for EU and one producing seconds shite for dumb local folk?

The whole idea that regulation hinders trade and slows the economy is a false one. International standards are essential so we’re not constantly worrying if things made abroad are safe to use or eat. By representing a powerful economic block the EU has more chance of influencing international standards than UK by its lonesome self.


I have not heard one serious politician say that Britain should not settle it’s bar bill as it leaves the EU Golf Club. Our credit rating would be slashed to Zimbabwean levels if we took the approach to just walk away. I am sure accountants can work out the exact amount of the bill owed to our neighbours. No need to speculate about how high the bill will be, until they have done their job totting up liabilities and assets.

By the way, in this section ‘Better Of Out’ still propagates the contention that as an independent sovereign nation and the world’s 5th largest economy the UK would have more influence in the world if it wasn’t part of the EU. It seems that it has escaped their attention that the very act of contemplating Brexit already made the UK’s economy drop two places in the World’s GDP league table. The drop in the value of the pound means that both France and India have recently overtaken the UK, so we’re now number 7. In percentage terms that’s just 4% of global GDP. That’s just not as impressive as the EU’s 25%!

It seems  ‘Better Of Out’ supporters are not content that the UK currently has only 8.4% of voting power in the EU. Surely the rules were clear and agreed when they joined? Do they not want to belong to a club unless they are automatically elected ‘Head-Boy’ or ‘Head-Girl’?

The same people that moan about lack of influence vote for UKP MEPs that have some of the lowest attendance rates on record in the EU parliament. And when they vote they always vote ‘no’ as a protest vote, even when it goes against UK interests!

Let’s not forget that the expansion of the EU with the former Communist East-Block was one of Britain’s pet ideas to try and dilute the Franco-German power axis they saw as a threat in the early days of the EU. Now they complain it also dilutes Britain’s vote? Please!


Here we have the old NATO brought peace in Europe, not EU bug-bear again. Well call me an old hippie, but NATO is a fighting force and ‘fighting for peace’ to me is like ‘fucking for virginity’. NATO is our insurance policy against the outside world. EU keeps the peace inside EU borders because people that trade generally don’t fight.


‘Better Of Out’ would have us believe that British industries such as fishing, farming, postal services and manufacturing have been devastated by Britain’s membership of the EU. I have in this blog argued that on the contrary, it was Britain’s disastrous decision not to join the Eurozone that was the final nail in the coffin of UK Manufacturing.  Now Brexit threatens our Financial Service industry in pretty much the same disastrous way. How can Vote Leave argue that a low Euro benefitted German Manufacturing in a competitive sense, but that same benefit would have eluded us in the UK? Why do they think the EU will let us keep our profitable London based Euro clearing business after brexit? Keep EU agencies that other member states pay for in the UK? Why do leave voters insist on drawing parallels with Greece’s economy rather than Germany? Are we a poor mediterranean country?

The UK fishing industry was already on it’s last legs due to overfishing and the aftermath of the Icelandic ‘Cod Wars‘.  The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy has been amended and fine tuned so that today we have returned to a sustainability of North Sea fish stocks that benefits all EU fishermen. As an Island Nation the UK in fact has/had one of the highest fishing quotas of the EU. You can’t blame it on the EU that UK fleet owners sold their quotas to the Dutch and the Spanish with full support of the UK Government. Again a case where leave voters simply don’t realise who’s screwing them.

The Common Agricultural Policy presents a similar story. People forget that in the immediate post war years food was rationed. Providing food security was one of the primary objectives of the EU and a complete success story. OK in the past it was sometimes too successful, but butter mountains and wine lakes are now a thing of the past.

The EU’s agricultural subsidies have many benefits. Our food is plentiful and of a high standard, the envy of the world. It doesn’t have to travel expensive air miles from places on the other side of the world to get to our plates. Remember long supply lines are vulnerable supply lines. We know this from WWII food convoys and from the fuel crisis in the seventies.

A second benefit is that farmers are the custodians of the countryside we love to holiday in. Once a farmer packs it in, watch how quickly things deteriorate. The single farm payments allow for land to be set aside for wildlife, while if push came to shove and there was a food shortage, it could quickly be brought back into production. Theresa May has assured UK farmers that these payments would continue after Brexit. Why if they are such a bad idea?

And it’s not true that in the EU we can’t get cheap New Zealand lamb. In fact New Zealand has a sizable tariff free EU export quota, which for years it has not fulfilled.


That this is not a myth has been clearly demonstrated by the assurances the UK government had to give to Nissan UK to keep producing in Brexit Britain. Japan has warned UK Government enough times it could move factories to mainland EU countries.


This myth can easily be debunked by pointing out that even within the EU Britain has managed to maintain a substantial ‘portfolio of power’ in its own right, which includes membership of the G20 and G8 Nations, a permanent seat on the UN Security Council (one of only 5 members) and seats on the International Monetary Fund Board of Governors and World Trade Organisation.

-The UK also lies at heart of the Commonwealth of 53 nations. Moreover, London is the financial capital of the world and Britain has the sixth largest economy. The UK is also in the top ten manufacturing nations in the world. Despite being in the EU or because of being in the EU?

-Far from undermining British influence in the world, the EU seems to amplify it!

Looking at the above migration Graph, it is clear to see that up until about 2010 UK migration to EU countries roughly mirrored EU migration into UK. The UK was swapping retired inactive citizens looking for a place in the sun for young economically active EU workers filling in labour shortages in the UK.  It is only since the UK pushed for enlargement of the EU with former Communist countries (without using the migration restrictions that the EU had actually allowed for but UK chose not to use) that this trend seems to have been reversed. But all along migration from outside the EU surpassed that of EU migration!

The Commonwealth is not discriminated against by the EU policy on visas. They simply do not enjoy EU freedom of movement EU citizens because they are not EU member states. The majority of UK immigrants are not from the EU; they are more likely from the UK’s old Commonwealth partners. This has a lot to do with the right to family unification afforded, which is a UN right, not an EU right. I’d go as far as to say that with freedom of movement and cheap air fares in the EU there doesn’t seem to be such a need for family unification. Why bring your Mom and Dad or Mother in Law over when you can buy them a cheap RyanAir ticket to visit you? There is a big chance that many hard working EU immigrants will end up retiring in their country of origin rather than suffering Britain’s inflated real estate prices. Families that settle from Pakistan are more likely to stay.


Funnily this last myth may actually turn out to be closer to the truth than any of the other nine preceding ones. We’ve had of course the Gina Miller High Court challenge, but that may not be the end of it. Similar challenges are under way in Dublin and in France a lawyer is challenging brexit on the grounds that EU expats were illegally denied a vote in the UK’s EU referendum. I don’t believe the interpretation that Article 50 is revocable is challenged any more. This was confirmed by Barnier, Kerr etc. SO I end with a block quote from Rosie Slowe’s UK human Rights Blog: Article 50 Notice and Implied Conditionality

A general election [now called by Theresa May] or a second referendum is not beyond the realms of possibility, and a difference in public and/or Parliamentary opinion ought not to be ruled out.

The question then arises as to the consequences if the constitutional requirement of Parliament’s express statutory approval is not satisfied upon conclusion of Article 50 negotiations. The Three Knights Opinion contends that, if Parliament is unwilling to consent to the negotiated agreement, or approve of withdrawal without any agreement in place, the notification issued under Article 50(2) would either lapse or could be unilaterally withdrawn. In such circumstances Article 50(3) would not automatically expel the UK as no Member State can be forced to withdraw otherwise than pursuant to a voluntary decision taken in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.”

Why do I write these blogs? Because it’s not too late to reverse Britain’s disastrous Brexit decision. The UK’s EU referendum was deliberately made ‘not binding’ for that very purpose. Sir Humphrey left the emergency exit open. Let’s use it! Vote tactical in the next election and stop this madness. Do what’s best for Britain and click here!

Posted in #brexit, #CAP, #CFP, Article50, EU | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Let’s unite behind Theresa May and make Brexit a success!!

As it’s the first of April and the British Government has been making a fool of itself the entire week leading up to it, I thought I’d be supportive and help Theresa May and her Brexit cabinet make the most of their long awaited Article 50 announcement last Wednesday. It’s time to unite behind her instead of my usual sneering from the side lines.

Time and time again the British government has been told there can be no start to formal EU-UK future trade negotiations until the formal UK-EU divorce arrangements and final EU leaving bill has been agreed. UK Minister for Brexit David Davis doesn’t seem to want to take ‘no’ for an answer and insists these two thorny issues can and will be discussed and decided in parallel. He’s in control you see?

The issue of free trade with EU is important because brexit voters have been told time and time again that Britain buys much more from EU countries than the other way around. So they need us you see?

“They’ll trade, because they need us more than we them” is the usual leave mantra.
Kippers are convinced the EU is for the chop as soon as Bankers in the City of London stop spending their inordinate annual bonuses on prestige German cars and fine French wines. And those lovely folk in the City are just dying to show their solidarity (if they still have a job after brexit of course).

In fact it is true that trade in goods with the EU shows a massive deficit for the UK. This deficit is only partially offset by a positive trade in ‘Services’ as the ONS figures below clearly confirm.

UK looses its shirt wherever they trade. They're just not very good at it?

UK balance of trade in goods and Services 2016

Brexit voters in the UK’s EU referendum last June were told by the Leave campaign that somehow this pernicious UK trade deficit could be blamed on restrictive and protectionist EU trade practices. Somehow ‘they’ refuse to play ball and buy British in return for ‘our’ EU brand loyalties. Kippers were also led to believe that contrary to EU trade, trade with the non-EU Rest of the World (ROW) was not only growing fast and furious, but also showed a healthy surplus. This the above figures published by the UK’s Office of National Statistics clearly exposes as another brexit lie.

What the above figures seem to tell us is that the UK just isn’t very good at trading profitably. The buying from abroad bit comes naturally to Brits who venture abroad. They instinctively believe all foreign sellers of goods and services (like their Greek holiday waiters) are just as much in awe of the precious Pound in their pocket as your average kipper. That the currency markets seem otherwise inclined has not really hit home with brexit voters yet. During the first few months after the brexit vote British consumers were shielded from the negative effects of a devaluing pound because big companies had prudently booked currency deals well in advance of the referendum to cover risks to their outstanding import bills. These currency deals are now slowly running out and inflation from more expensive foreign imports is starting to bite.

Only last week the Guardian reported rising food and fuel prices have hoisted UK inflation rate to 2.3%

So the obvious solution to the UK’s brexit balance of payment deficit conundrum seems to be importing less from a protective and expensive EU and more from all these third world countries we’ll sign ‘Free Trade’ deals with.

‘Buy British’ where possible is also a possible remedy, but this has time and time proven almost impossible to keep up for the discerning British consumer.


So why not start a major global export drive after Britain leaves the largest single market right on its doorstep? New World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs will soon offset any price advantage afforded by the UK’s fast depreciating currency, so we urgently have to up our game UK!

Below are my two pennies worth of contributions for Theresa May to make brexit a success in terms of increased global trade and closing that worrying trade deficit for brexit Britain. As someone with a Business degree from the prestigious ‘Rotterdam School of Management’ (RSM) I used a ‘strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats’ (SWOT) analysis, making use of insights gained from thirty years of living and doing business in Great Britain. It all points to one glorious conclusion!

Exploit UK comparative advantage as a modern knowledge based ‘Services’ economy.

According to the Financial Times the so called ‘Services sector’ now represents close to 80% of the UK economy. It would play to the UK’s strength to concentrate brexit negotiating efforts in this area, as it may represent a ‘quick win’ for May. The fact that most of UK’s manufacturing sites on the edge of towns have been turned into John Lewis and Waitrose supermarkets means we can’t quickly ramp up production of physical goods anyway, so let’s sell the world fiction. There seems to be an almost limitless supply of that particular UK resource amongst leave voters.

Here is my own list of best selling services export opportunities:

  1. Ideas above our station.
    Brits excel at thinking they’re better than anyone else. Even though after the brexit vote the UK tumbled two places in the global GDP ranking, we still firmly believe we’re the fifth largest economy in the world.  If and when we join a club, we’re the natural leaders be cause we can speak English slowly and clearly in a loud voice, giving us natural authority. This means we can be Chairman of the Board or Managing Director of any foreign tin pot company or NGO.  The fat salary British executives demand [after Brexit] could be repatriated and taxed by HMRC with a brexit levy supporting our National Health Service! This would make good on another vote.leave promise! UK folk channeling foreign earnings to tax havens in the Cayman Islands or Panama will have to be outlawed of course. Not a problem for a true Tory that has promised brexit would benefit all of us right?
  2. Queueing Services
    One thing Brits are undisputed leaders in the world in is queuing for services.
    They spontaneously form the most orderly and well humoured lines, whether it is at village Post Office counter or inner city Food Banks. Of course after leaving the EU Customs Union queuing could become a whole new economic activity for ONS to report on and boost GDP figures. The M20 will turn into a gigantic lorry park for UK lorries to clear French customs facilities. It would just not be fair to leave lorry drivers in their cabins unwashed and unshaven for days on end. We can train UK youngsters to baby sit parked trucks in between picking fruit at Kent farms. Why not let our most experienced queuers perform this valuable service world wide?
  3. Pomp and Ceremony
    Nobody does pageantry better than the Brits.  Got some minor Royal marrying, giving birth or popping their clogs? Let Brits do the PR for your event, plan the opulent festivities or wake, lay on the music and turn this into a real spectacle for billions of TV viewers worldwide. Remember our recent Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies were also second to none.
  4. Army for hire
    After the USA, Russia, China, India and France the UK is listed as the sixth Country ranked by Military Strength and fire power. You can discount France anyway, because they are surrender monkeys. The USA will testify we’re always willing to step up to the plate and join in some foreign military adventure. With the UK army in tow, you can call your expedition force a “Peace making coalition”, which sounds much nicer than a “foreign invader” on a pretense mission. In return all we ask is to sign a “Free Trade Agreement” in which you promise to buy lots of weapon systems from BEA Systems in return for something we need like oil.
  5. Distorted world views and popular fiction
    Britain once had an Empire on which the sun never set. Some might cheekily say that God did not trust us in the dark, but that’s blatantly not true. Just look at the genuine warmth with which our Royal Family is greeted by Aboriginals anywhere on the planet.We also learned the following from a leading Leave campaigner Dan Hannan:

    “Far-flung Commonwealth nations would make a far more natural trade bloc than the EU. It never made much sense to abandon a diverse market, which comprised agricultural, industrial and service economies, in favour of a union of similar Western European states.”

Never mind that was only true during the reign of Queen Victoria and the UK’s Industrial Revolution when the UK was the industrial sweatshop of the world. It still sounds good today to kippers even though the rest of us know China took over that global role a long time ago. The bit where Mahatma Gandhi spun his own yarn and wove his own loin cloth was a bit of modern history Hannan obviously never read in Oxford.

I could go on for a while, but was hoping a for a few additional ideas from my growing number of blog subscribers and Twitter followers.

Maybe we could start a new trend with hash tag #Export4Brexit ?

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Selling the family silver (2)

In June 2015 I posted a blog titled “Selling the family silver”.  In it I remarked that the UK’s exports of gold to China (via Switzerland) were boosting the Eurosceptic No voters mistaken belief, that trade with the non-EU ROW was healthy and rising.

I called it selling the family ‘s silver [gold actually!]


A recent article in the FT took the lid some more off this dirty little secret of Theresa May’s Tory party.

“The Chinese market uses gold bars in a different size to the ones that are held in London so they import via Switzerland where the bars are recast, said Oliver Harvey, a foreign exchange analyst with Deutsche Bank. In the final three months of 2016, UK goods exports to Switzerland increased by 282 per cent to their highest level ever.”

So it dawned on me that’s maybe how the disastrous Q3 non-EU trade figures ONS reported were suddenly reversed in Q4! See the devil is all in the detail.

So I decided to delve a little deeper into the ONS latest Trade report for December 2016 and sure enough, I found the confirmation all is not what it seems to be with Britain’s healthy Brexit trade figures. The report gives us the long anticipated Q4 figures, the second full quarter after the UK’s disastrous Brexit vote.

Look how “unspecified goods” dominate the so called booming post Brexit exports to non EU countries.


The main commodities contributing to this growth, in particular exports to non-EU countries, were unspecified goods (including non-monetary gold)

In conclusion, I remain an arch sceptic when it comes to all this fake news, purporting to show that after the June 24 decision to leave the EU is far from being in economic melt down. It quite literally is!

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Yes I am Marching again on March 25

I think the last time I was angry and motivated enough to join a protest march was at an anti-Vietnam-war Jane Fonda rally in Ann Arbor Michigan in the seventies. I now have RyanAir flights booked to join an anti Brexit March being organised in London for May 25th.


A friend of mine on FaceBook responded: “Why can’t people accept the vote was a majority against remaining in the EU? Instead of implying that we are all idiots, we should be pulling together and working to implement the decision that was made by a fair vote.”

A fair vote? More people were excluded from that vote, than voted in favour of leaving the EU.  I  for one was in a disenfranchised “can’t vote” category even though I paid 30 years of UK National Insurance contributions. Yet young Australian backpackers that happened to be in the UK a few weeks could vote for fun. How is that fair? Why do British ex-pats living in another country for more than 15 years lose their vote on something that important that affects them more than anyone else? Why could 16-18 year olds not vote? They have to live with the consequences of Brexit much longer than any of us?

How is it fair that my UK born daughter could in theory be asked to sit a UK citizenship exam after Brexit, when she’s been teaching British kids all her adult life? Just because she renewed her Dutch passport once or twice? An EU passport I foisted on her as a baby and she kept for fun as part of her European identity of which she is proud!

I for one have no problem putting the referendum result aside, just as I think it’s fair to strip an athlete of any medals gained when found to have been cheating to win a race.
Let’s not forget:

  • The leave vote includes many voter types who would have easily cancelled each other out, had this not been made into a fake binary choice to stay or leave EU.
    So we have socialist workers wanting to keep open outdated UK power and steel plants voting to leave EU alongside ‘free trade’ types that openly admit that shutting such outdated clapped out plants down would be the first consequence of opening the UK up to open global competition after Brexit. Note in reality it was the UK government who blocked EU raising punitive tariffs on Chinese steel dumping practices, but it suits those same UK politicians if the blame for not protecting UK jobs can be laid at Brussels doors instead of much closer to home. The UK government is now totally reliant on Chinese investors to keep the UK’s trade books balanced.
  • In the UK we’ve seen 40 years of relentless anti EU propaganda by the likes of Rupert Murdoch who owns the Sun and  the Times. The pornographer Richard Desmond who owns the Express and arch Eurosceptic Paul Dacre who edits the Daily Fail
  • The UK government excels in bypassing parliament by proposing unpopular but necessary rules and regulation in Brussels, getting it passed there by a majority vote. They like this because in this way they can pass the blame on faceless EU technocrats instead of taking flak back home. Nobody in UK parliament holds UK representatives to account, how they actually voted in the EU council of Ministers. Nobody asks them about their shadowy deals, if they stood up for Britain in Brussels. Instead we see a lot of ‘it wasn’t me Guv’ crocodile tears.
  • Then we have the tendency for Whitehall types to gold plate every directive that comes out of Brussels and pride themselves to implement them the very next day. Few realise UK regulators restrict financial institutions more in London than mandated by Brussels. Perhaps because the UK knows how crooked the City is?
    Or in the case of restrictions on free movement for recently joined poor Eastern EU countries, who in the UK knows we could have applied travel restrictions quite legally for years and years!…. But, Oh no we won’t do that. No need for all that. If it all goes pearshaped we’ll just blame Brussels again.

I could go on and on like this. Just read other articles in this blog. And if you get the impression, well actually we have been rather pigheaded and thick as pig shit in Britain in our past EU dealings, well I could’t agree more. My tactful reply in ‘House of cards’ style would be: “You may very well say that, I couldn’t possible comment”.

Point is the referendum was not made legally binding by clever Whitehall design or by shere Tory dimwit negligence. If Jacob Rees Mogg checked his golf club association rules he’d soon discover there a 52% majority can’t set ground rules, like allowing lady players, aside. Usually they need at least 70% of members to agree fundamental changes. He’d argue that kind of protection is built in most club rules for good reason. But something as important as EU membership only requires a simple majority? Think again folk! Over confident arrogance doesn’t even begin to cover it!

Maybe it was Sir Humphrey deliberately not reminding Camoron of that little emergency ‘advisory only’ exit for the shit storm he surely saw coming. After all the UK had a much respected ambassador in Brussels in Sir Ivan Rogers, who kept ringing alarm bells that things were being misrepresented, over simplified. He’s now fired for being ‘unpatriotic’. That’s how far dealing in expert facts get you in Brexit Britain.

Fact is you Brits should count yourselves lucky to have a way out of this Brexit madness. More and more people are waking up to the fact, that rather than pointless asking half of the country to start engaging in collective self harm with a bunch of loony kippers, we need to pull back from the brink. Rather than shooting ourselves in the foot, killing our services sector by restricting the free movement of people our most profitable economic sector requires, we should embrace it for the personal freedom it gives us in return. Freedom to retire to a place in the sun for hundreds of thousands.

Why not come to our collective senses and admit we’ve been had by some very louche types, some clearly racist types, some irresponsible free trade types. People who don’t give a damn about the collective costs of it all.

Let’s stop making ourselves the laughing stock of the free western world sucking up to the likes of Trump. Earning ridicule trying to make up for the loss of our nearest and biggest car and agricultural markets by selling weapons to the the likes of Erdogan in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

This is not the cool Britannia I know! I’m with chunkymark on this. Watch the video to end this evenings entertainment.



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