Nobody likes cheats in athletics but in plebiscites we should respect the result?

Today one of my anti Brexit tweets seems to have resounded more than usual so I want to elaborate on it in more than 140 characters.

It struck me last night watching BBC Question time, that even under the most fervent ‘Remain’ panelists, no politician has the strength of conviction to just admit: “Actually I don’t respect the referendum outcome and neither should you!” The atmosphere in the months between this ill fated UK referendum and UK Prime Minister May actually invoking the next logical step of Invoking Article 50 is so tense, that nobody remotely considered a ‘public figure’ dares to stick their head above the parapet in case they get branded ‘undemocratic elite’. “You lost, get over it” is the prevailing mantra in post-brexit Britain.

In contrast every time one of the world’s sporting heroes fails a drug test, UK tabloids would be the first to demand and strip the cheats from their medals. In sports like cycling or running marathon’s, the time difference between No. 1 and No. 2 is comparable to the 2.1% victory of vote Leave over Remain in EU. It’s marginal, but we accept that last minute blood doping dose or use of other banned substances in sport can make the difference between winning or loosing a match or a race. We think nothing of it that number 2 now becomes number 1 and the champion gets stripped of his/her medal, but it’s alright to print outright lies on campaign busses and get away with a fraudulently obtained EU referendum result?

What about ‘project fear’ Eurosceptics might argue, did they not lie as well? Actually no! Most of the dire prediction of economists, think tanks and the IMF are slowly materialising. Never mind that the UK hasn’t actually left the EU yet! Never mind the selective perception of the British anti EU press, who now report any successful ‘closing down sale’ as  “#brexit wasn’t as bad as the remoaners would have you believe, folks!”
At least the foreign tourists are still spending our devalued pounds. Higher prices at the pump and supermarkets are only just now starting to bite. Hence Marmitegate.

So here’s the thing: It’s alright not to respect a marginal result in Britain’s EU referendum, when it was swung by outright lies about EU costs and benefits, scare stories about immigrants. But if it makes you feel better you can use the the pretext of a constitutional challenge playing out in the High Court today.  Or you can leave, yet stay in EU by another name, like Norway, Switzerland, even Turkey. UK ‘ll pay though! Nu such thing as having your cake and eat it!

But please stop asking us who fought passionately to remain to respect the hollow victory of brexit cheats. That is to democracy as doping is to sports.

I leave you with a graph from  British Election Study, an academic group dedicated to voting trend research. It has found that the portion of Leave voters who regret their vote (or “don’t know”) is greater than the total margin of victory for Brexit. The poll was also noticed by The Economist: (note I found this source after penning the above post so my 10% guess not far off)


Brexit regret vs Remain regret

That level of post-poll regret is unusual; only 4% of voters regretted their ballot in the 2015 general election.

The margin in the Brexit vote was 52% to 48% in favour of Leave. The BES study suggests that if the vote were taken again today then Britain would stay inside the EU.

Posted in #brexit, EU, Europe | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Trust me kippers, skipping stones eventually sink after n+1 bounces


Pound recovery (after dramatic #brexit plunge) sets new stone skipping record

Most sane people would agree that in the last couple of months after Britain’s EU referendum a good 90% of all economic indicators for the UK economy have been pretty abysmal. And this is before Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, the one where the UK formally notifies the EU Commission of its intention to leave, is even triggered yet. Those who shouted for Brexit loudest just call this sour grapes rationalization. They’d rather engage in their own favourite version of selective perception called sweet lemon rationalisation. For extra effect leading brexiteers like Dan Hannan retweet any glimmer of positive economic news under the hashtag #despitebrexit and for extra effect add #projectfear was based on lies etc. An unexpected upturn in the UK’s manufacturing index serves as a good example of this behaviour.



I hate to rain on your parade dear kippers, but there is a perfectly logical economic explanation for a short term revival of things like UK retail sales in July and UK Manufacturing exports in August.

First of all I would venture that the spike in UK retail sales were mainly driven by foreign tourists making good use of a rapidly decreasing pound and an increasing number of closing down basement bargain sales’. There was a good example of this when a London dealer in expensive old whiskeys decided to get rid of a lot of stock while it was still worth something and before Brexit would add 50% in export tariffs to whiskey exports to the EU. Was this really a reason to be cheerful about Brexit?

Also supermarkets may have not have increased prices in the immediate aftermath of brexit because they, like wholesalers have plenty of pre-brexit stock bought with a pre-brexit strong pound. They can afford to keep up the pretence that prices won’t rise after brexit until it’s time to replenish those empty warehouses. For a country that imports roughly 60% of what it consumes, that is the moment of truth when higher prices will start to hit UK consumers lulled into this false perspective that ‘they need us more than we them’.
Sure, they’ll trade as Dr. Ruth told us ad nausea, but they want more Sterling for their wares priced in dollars and Euros and guess who’s paying? You suckers!

Also in the stock markets and the housing markets we’ve seen temporary ups after weeks of downs. This is a natural effect of the sharpest of speculators with ‘short positions‘ taking their short term profits profit while gullible followers get tricked into dipping their toes in the market once more (only to get burned again a few days later). Also kippers are not aware that the UK FTSE share index is priced in sterling and that sterling is now worth 10% less, representing a net loss for overseas investors.

I am sure this post, like the man milk produced by Dan Hannan (still touching his EU MEP salary), will all go over the heads of your average disenfranchised ukip brexit voter. So I made a picture for them. With your brexit vote you threw the UK’s economy spinning into the water while humming your stupid nationalistic dam buster songs. Believe me, these short lived upward bounces you see are as predictable as a skipping stone. You all know where they eventually end up right?


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Brexit means Brexit whatever that means


With thanks to Chris Riddell who is the political cartoonist for The Observer and author of The Ottoline books, Goth Girl, and The Edge Chronicles with Paul Stewart.

This week I have mainly had fun trolling dimwitted Roger Helmer MEP on his WordPress blog where he entertains simple minded kippers with his almost daily post referendum debriefs. The problem I have with Roger’s exercises in selective perception is that instead of doing the job he is elected to do and between visiting massage parlours, he seems to spend all his time trawling what passes for UK news media for #brexit stories with a happy ending. This in order to justify the deceit he and the rest of the vote.leave campaign has foisted upon an unsuspecting dimwitted British electorate.

Of course we now all know that there was never a unified leave camp with a common post Brexit vision. In the leave.EU camp we saw raw xenophobia combined with naked racism but also the odd free marketeers who just want to sign as many Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with emerging markets as possible. This because they were led to believe that the EU is some sort of protectionist neo-colonial racket. Then we have deluded labour supporters that have read in the Daily express that Brussels stops the UK from protecting ‘our steel industry’ but in equal numbers we find verbose ‘free marketeers’ for whom tariffs and customs union are dirty words. Never mind that it has been widely reported that in fact it was the UK Government led by Camoron and Osborne that blocked the EU raising punitive tariffs on their new-found Chinese bankrolling friends, when they were dumping their surplus steel on EU markets.

On top of this toxic mix we have of course a third group of Brexiteers that only want to leave the EU in all but name. They think Brexit could be achieved by copying some sort of Norwegian fudge and renewed/continued Efta/EEA membership like Norway and Lichtenstein seem to have. This group follows the ramblings of Dr. North as explained in his Flexcit pamphlet. In numbers they again are almost neutralised by an equally fervent group of Brexiteers that just want to invoke Article 50 willy-nilly and trade under standard WTO terms with the rest of Europe and the world. While Dr North ideas are well researched and could work in theory, I suspect this last group think Britain could thrive by signing Free Trade Agreements in Asia, India and Souh America and get rich just by pocketing the EU’s common external tariff as a customs union. When you ask them how they would deal with the EU’s stringent ‘Rules of Origin‘ restrictions Norway has to respect, their eyes just glaze over. Maybe they just think they can start an old fashioned EU smuggling operation from Dover?

Gradually more discerning Brits are starting to realise that the likes of Prof. Patrick Minford (with his barmy free market ideas) make unlikely bedfellows with kippers screaming that a UK Government in the EU can’t protect their jobs in a run down, low-productivity UK manufacturing sector. It also dawns on them that Dr. North EEA/Efta ideas are diametrically opposed to those who would have Britain default to trading under WTO rules.

If these four brexit options had been on the ballot paper alongside the ‘Remain in EU’ option us remaniacs would have won by a landslide. The only thing that unites the brexit voters is their hatred of anything EU, where all European nations are treated equally. They just can’t stand it.

So here’s the thing Roger. You can’t in the same blog post claim Nissan’s stance (as reported by the BBC) and Minford’s stance ( as reported by the Daily Express) are both good news for brexit. Both views are incompatible. Nissan’s chief executive says they’ll look favourable on continued investment in Britain if it stays in the Common Market while Minford says Britain should leave that same common market to prosper. Both views are mutually exclusive and as a politician you should take sides. By claiming both are good news you are basically admitting that like most brexit shouters you haven’t got a clue what comes after.


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Brexit post mortem

All of last week I now realise I have been in mourning trying to deal with some very raw emotions, having poured heart and soul into the case of Britain remaining in the EU.

On twitter I changed my profile picture and description. It sort of encapsulates how I am feeling right now.


Back in old Blighty we saw the usual spectacle of political backstabbing and infighting and desertions. Seems we’ll have another British Premier that will resort to slamming her handbag on the table when she doesn’t get her way.

My main scorn however is reserved for Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, who having gnawed a huge hole in the ship they’re sailing in, now have swam ashore like rats.
They want nothing to do with the mess they created. Never had a plan what to do next.


Farage and Johnson getting their lives back

Meanwhile the widely predicted crash of the stock market and pound sterling has happened. Although the Ftse 100 seems to have recovered a bit the picture around the globe remains gloomy. Brexit shouters do not seem to understand that the FTSE100 is denominated in Sterling, so that even today a Dollar investor in that index is looking at a loss in value of more than 10% since June 23rd. And before you ask, no I am not an investor with a huge portfolio of shares. However like most British ex-pats, a) my pension fund relies on the stock market doing well and b) will net me less and less with a plunging Pound Sterling. This is why for us Brexit is a double whammy.

Another ironic  consequence of this Brexit currency shock is that that according to the Independent France seems to have overtaken the UK as the world’s fifth largest economy. Remember how  pro leave.EU campaigners used to brag about being no. 5 in the world GDP rankings? Talk about UK scoring a massive own goal. Talk about devastating blue on blue casualties in this phoney British class war.

I leave you with an upbeat block quote from GQ Magazine, who capture my mood brilliantly:

“I really miss last week. Leaving aside our historical dalliances, Britain has done some terrible things in recent years. Wars, foot and mouth disease,Love Actually. But when it comes to out-and-out unequivocal f***-ups, the EU referendum result takes some beating.”


Posted in #brexit, EU | Tagged | 1 Comment

‘Remain’ can’t advance a single quantifiable, economic reason for staying in the EU: Really?

Today on father’s day the best gift of all was seeing all my children posting powerful pro Remain stories on Facebook. I am glad we brought them up to be be warmhearted Europeans rather than little Englanders.  I will just give one block quote from my son’s FaceBook post to give you an idea of his thinking:

“When I think about being ‘British’, whatever that means, I don’t think of short term reactionary politics that result in us throwing our toys out of the pram because the group we’re part of won’t let us have our way. I think of a nation that has learned from its checkered past (you don’t have to dig too deep to see where a nationalist, colonialist nation gets you) to become a leader in our geo-political system. That is democracy. That is being part of a global community. That is being part of the EU.”

Of course my son got the usual flack from some of his not so bright buddies. I did not want to troll these guys on my son’s time line so I block quote one of their #brexit arguments, to lay waste to it here rather than on FaceBook, where few will see it anyway. This is what one friend, I’ll call him Kevin from Essex, commented:

“Unfortunately like most ‘Remain’ arguments, this [my son’s post] doesn’t advance a single quantifiable, economic reason for staying in the EU, instead choosing to focus on the perceived bigotry of the opposition. We were told years ago that not joining the Euro would be disastrous for our prosperity. The decision not to join the Euro is now seen as a critical factor in our ongoing economic success. We’re one of the few net contributors to the union. Despite this, our influence in Europe is virtually non-existent. “

Why do Brits believe that tired line, that not joining the Euro zone in 1999 was so clever? Just because “wrong then, wrong now” has been repeated so many times, it seems to have become part of British folklore. Like people called Robin always stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. But that doesn’t make it true. Sure the UK could in theory have ended up in the gutter like poor Greece. But if you really believe in your country like my son, you might equally speculate in the Euro zone – rather than having an over valued Pound Sterling pricing British goods out of world markets- using an under valued Euro we’d be rich alongside Germany, the world’s foremost manufacturer and exporter of quality cars, engineering tools and household appliances. Our balance of trade in goods might show a healthy surplus like our trade in ‘services’.

Our clever Westminster government never cared much what went on North of Watford.
So instead we have our City of London, undoubtedly  the world’s leading financial centre. Are we about to kill that off as well as our manufacturing base with a #brexit ?


Vote.Leave supporters like to make a big thing about the fact that the UK is a net contributor to the EU budget (alongside most of its Northern European neighbours actually). They simply can’t see that our payments are solidarity payments like the ones you make into a mutual insurance company. I always count myself lucky I’ve never had to call on my home insurance policy because my house didn’t burnt down. Your average brexit shouter has the mentality of someone on low wages blowing ten quid each week on the lottery. An amount more than their government pays to the EU  per UK citizen by the way. They feel they have a right to win at every draw and get angry if their numbers don’t come up. They feel the same way about foreign aid to developing countries. It’s all about me, me, me! Kevin says:

 However, do I think we’re getting an equitable deal from our membership of this bloated, un-elected bureaucracy? Not even close.


Next the discussion takes the predictable path of the “We buy more from them than they from us” discussion. “We have a negative trade balance and we have to pay for the privilege”. Cameron on BBC Question time today was actually confronted with the same question. I thought Cameron answered it very well. There are direct and indirect benefits to the UK’s EU membership. What UK farmers receive from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is easy to quantify. The billions of extra business revenue UK exporters receive by being part of the common market is much harder to measure, but it is estimated that for every billion spent on our EU membership UK businesses enjoy a tenfold return of investment in higher exports to the continent than they’d otherwise would have been. This in turn fuels economic growth, more jobs and more tax revenues.

The real die-hard Eurosceptics at this point will produce quotes from dodgy economists like Professor Minford or they may have read the Civitas report “Where’s the insider advantage.  I have dealt with these demagogues in two separate blog posts

  1. Where’s the outside advantage
  2. Who’s the idiot in front of the select committee

I suggest you follow the links provided above if you’re up for it.

Today’s post I’d like to finish by block quoting my older sister Louise, who shares with us her insider EU knowledge in dismissing the VOTE.LEAVE claim that for all the money it pays into the EU the UK has so little influence. She replied specifically to Kevin’s following point:

  • our influence in Europe is virtually non-existent. We’ve ‘made a stand’ more than once, but it has proven to be nothing more than a short-lived token gesture before we’re eventually press ganged in to doing as we’re told

Please allow me to break into this conversation. I am a step aunt of Marcus’s step son and recently retired from a 40-year career as a translator for the EU Council of Ministers. I translated many of the legislative texts as well as the debates leading to their adoption. Let me respond to a few points made here. First of all the bureaucracy. The size of the EU administration is about the size of that of a major British city or the Treasury. Then the idea that the UK has been gang pressed to accept legislation it did not want. EU legislation is proposed by the Commission, then discussed by the EP as well as by the national parliaments. The phrase I translated most frequently was probably “UK enters a reserve for parliamentary scrutiny “. If anyone gang pressed it was the UK. Especially on financial legislation, which happened to be my specialty. It has always been tailored to the needs of the City. And lest you forgot, it was the City that was largely responsible for the first and the second financial crisis. It was also the UK that pressed for enlargement of the EU, time and again. It was the UK that pressed for the larger role of Heads of State and Government, which led to the politicisation of the decision making process. This, not bureaucracy, is the reason that decision making has become slow and flawed. It has become an intergovernmental negotiating process. That is exactly what you will get after Brexit, except that it will be only Britain against the rest of the world.

Posted in #brexit, #CAP, EU, EURO, Europe, UKIP | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The irony of UKIP’s perverse ‘points system’


With just days left till the dreaded EU referendum this blog post is penned, with some trepidation, to counter the ugly anti immigration tide the VOTE.LEAVE  side is taking the public debate. I will be skating on thin ice and risk being called a racist myself, but here it goes. Let me know if I went too far in the usual ‘comment’ section.

I don’t believe for one moment that the Australian points system advocated by ukip #brexit shouters is anything other but naked racism dressed up in some sort of respectable packaging designed to hide later intentions of racist mis-use. See illustration if you don’t catch my drift.

The premise of my EU ‘Free Movement’ counter post is that EU immigrants to the UK, after making a welcome and much needed contribution to the UK economy, mostly return home with a packet to buy or build  their dream house in their EU country of origin and live there happily ever after. I am in fact myself a point in case but diverted to France.

In doing so EU immigrants make use of the same guaranteed ‘freedom of movement’ that got them to the UK in the first place. Scrapping Freedom of Movement only dams them in.

We really have to start thinking of EU migration as an economic tide of ebb and flows, not one way UK. The same north south flows make the USA such a successful economy.

The so called Australian style “points system” however is just a means to filter out foreigners whose skin people don’t like (except if they are a doctor or a nurse or a software engineer). In other words acceptable slaves of this day and age, working long hours for wages we pull our noses up for.

The ‘irony’ in all this “we’re less racist towards our Commonwealth friends” grandstanding is, that I have the impression that rather than returning home, commonwealth citizens really make the UK their permanent home and can’t wait to bring their entire family over. I have no proof of this, so that’s maybe where I’m skating on thin ice and could be accused of racism myself. Is it not true that we see ghetto forming in our big cities? It’s not polish quarter’s that are formed, rather Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani neighbourhoods. A polish plumber does not feel the need to be constantly surrounded by his countrymen, because he can just take a short weekend break with RyanAir if his family is homesick.

Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, tell it like it is, rather than dressing up an immigration stance as less racist, because you slip the words ‘Commonwealth friends’ in.

A British Asian friend of mine agrees and has been using the same anti Brexit argument for months. He told me: “The brexit brigade are in denial. They might hate Eastern Europeans, but I assure you, they hate us viscerally foreign “Pakis” a lot more. And brexit would mean *even* more of us would come over.”

The reality is that most #brexit shouters  much prefer that the Commonwealth were just the nice white people of Canada Australia and New Zealand… maybe South Africa too…

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Brexit Brits just don’t realise who is screwing them, so EU is the easy scapegoat


It always amazes me when brexit shouters have a go at the EU for their common agricultural and fishing policies. Don’t they realise Britain is a ‘Services Economy’ ? Don’t they realise successive UK governments have steered not only the UK economy that way, but that they also actively pursued the interests of the City of London in the EU corridors of power, at the detriment of UK Manufacturing, Agriculture and Fisheries?

I remember clearly reading in a Sunday Newspaper that a lot of the agricultural subsidies in the UK ended up in the wrong hands, because the British delegation in Brussels insisted that Agricultural Subsidies had to be dished out as ‘rights’ so that they could be sold independent of the land they were originally dished out for. This would give UK land owners a little nest egg on retirement and the City another commodity to trade in. The Guardian called it “a blatant transfer of cash to the rich“.

The scandal reported by the Sunday papers that millions of EU subsidies changed hands in this way and ended up filling the pockets of rich City folk and newspaper proprietors with large hunting estates instead of supporting marginal farmers on arable and grazing land.

Click this link to Google how easy it is to find confirmation of this

A similar think I recall happening when the EU common fisheries policy was reformed to support conservation of fish stocks in the EU.  British fleet owners found it harder and harder to make a profit with high UK wages on the one hand and dwindling fish stocks on the other.  So again they made sure the Brussels lobby made fishing quotas something you could sell separate from the original UK boats they were assigned to and rich UK fleet owners were quick to offload them to either Spanish boats where the crew were on lower wages or the more efficient high tech boats the Dutch started using when fishing became tough.

Here is a screen shot of a simple Google search using the words “uk fleet owners sold fishing quotas“. Why don’t you try how easy it is? Why do so many Brits prefer to believe the words of a Charlatan like Nigel Farage who reputedly only attended one of 36 EU fisheries committee meetings, where he was supposed to represent British interests?


Posted in #brexit, #CAP, EU, UKIP | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments