Even Jeremy Hunt has had EUnough

Introduction

As the Secretary of State for Health in a Conservative government, it’s fair to say that Jeremy Hunt has not always been the most popular of politicians. But even he must have had millions of voters nodding in agreement during his refreshingly frank interview on 3 October 2017 with Ian Dale on LBC..

Hunt admitted in the interview that he’d supported Remain in the EU referendum due to his concern about the short-term impact of a Leave vote on the British economy. But he’d been pleasantly surprised at how his worst fears had not been realised. He also expressed his impatience with the attitude of the EU in the Brexit negotiations, lamenting what he termed their “arrogance” in the face of the UK’s repeated gestures of goodwill.

What conclusions do we draw from Hunt’s comments?

Hunt’s answers to Dale’s questions are interesting in two respects.

First, they tend to confirm what this writer has long believed about a good many Remain voters: that many of them voted to Remain not out of any great enthusiasm for the supposed “benefits” of EU membership, but because, like Hunt, they had been scared into supporting the status quo by the relentless propaganda of Project Fear.

Thus, if during the referendum campaign, the government had been more honest and less intent upon dressing up unlikely worst case scenarios as presumed facts, the Leave majority would probably have been much higher than 52% of the vote.

The second interesting aspect of Hunt’s comments is that they suggest the EU’s continued obstructionism and intransigence in the Brexit talks is finally starting to convince even moderate Remainers that the Commission is not negotiating in good faith.

This is important because the more unreasonable the EU is and the more absurd its demands are (and they are absurd), the more likely it is that even those who would have favoured compromise in the negotiations are coming to realise that we may have to leave without a deal. In other words, just as the EU pushed the UK too far during David Cameron’s ill-fated attempt at “renegotiation” in 2016 leading to an eventual Brexit vote, so the EU could be making the same mistake again.

In our next post on Brexitblog, we will examine what the government can and should do to change the mindset of the current negotiations and wrestle back the initiative from the EU. Sadly, whether Theresa May is capable of following this advice remains to be seen…

Norgrove censures Boris. But who will hold HM Treasury to account for their disgraceful antics before the Referendum?

Introduction

On 15 September 2017, the Telegraph published a bold article by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary in which he set out his vision of a positive future for Brexit Britain. This sent shockwaves through Westminster and prompted an immediate Remoaner backlash as anti-Brexit forces reacted in desperation to denigrate Johnson and spoil his positive, uplifting message.

That much was to be expected.

But the astonishing lengths to which the Remoaner establishment have gone to try and blunt Boris’s views has surprised even this cynical observer.

First, the BBC rushed out a rebuttal article penned by a hack under the unintentionally hilarious name Liz “Corbin”. In it, she castigated Johnson over his reference to the £350m a week for the NHS as being misleading. The real figure was only £252m she bleated.

Again, no surprise there. The BBC has long ago abandoned any pretence of impartiality when it comes to Brexit.

Official watchdog

The more extraordinary intervention was to come in the shape of Sir David Norgrove, Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority.

Sir David took the unprecedented step of publishing a letter he had written to the Foreign Secretary criticising him for using references to the now infamous £350m figure that had formed one of the slogans used by the Leave campaign during the referendum. The Remoaner MSM and politicians were quick to seize on Sir David’s intervention. However, it soon backfired on them as Boris and others hit back.

In his response to Sir David, Boris was unrepentant. He accused Sir David of wilfully distorting what he had said. Others promptly came out in support of Johnson. Even Michael Gove, the man who memorably ended Boris’s tory leadership challenge, sprung to his erstwhile friend’s defence.

Norgrove’s hypocrisy and poor judgment

Norgrove was clearly guilty of poor judgment in jumping in to criticise Johnson without properly reading the article in question. But more questionable still is his total silence on one of the greatest falsehoods ever committed by a UK government in living memory.

On 16 May 2016, just over a month before the referendum, HM Treasury published the results of a so-called analysis of the impact of Britain voting to leave the EU.

This paper sought to paint a terrifying picture of what Brexit Britain would look like. It was deliberately designed to scare the electorate against voting to leave. No doubt it succeeded in doing so for a great many people.

But what was said in that paper has proven to be completely untrue, so much so that one is entitled to question whether those compiling it could ever have seriously believed what they were saying.

Treasury falsehoods

In the document, the Treasury stated that following a leave vote, the UK would be plunged into a recession. In the most “optimistic” scenario, the prediction was that two years after a Leave vote, GDP would be 3.6% lower than following a vote to remain.

The second more “profound shock” scenario stated that GDP would be 6% lower following a Leave vote.

Meanwhile, the paper concluded that in scenario 1, unemployment would have increased by 500000 and in scenario 2 it would have gone up by a horrendous 800000!

The reality is so far removed from this “analysis” that it is impossible to see how the “experts” who came up with the figures could have done so.

Far from falling by between 3.6% – 6%, based on the 5 quarters since the referendum, GDP is likely to have increased by at least 3% in the two years following the vote. There has been no recession.

Far from unemployment rising by 500000-800000 according to official statistics, since the referendum it has fallen to the lowest levels on record. Meanwhile, the numbers of people employed in the UK have risen by more than a staggering 350,000 compared to before the referendum.

What is Norgrove doing about this?

While Norgrove and other Remoaners dance on a pinhead and ceaselessly bleat about the £350m a week slogan, the staggering scale of the falsehoods perpetrated by the Treasury in advance of the referendum go unpunished. Why?

Enquiry needed

It is high time that those who put together and published that disgraceful propaganda document were held to account. A public enquiry into why such biased and one-sided misinformation was circulated by the Cameron government is needed. The dangers of allowing governments to pressure supposedly impartial public servants into towing a partisan line were graphically demonstrated prior to the Iraq War – with calamitous results. The EU referendum has provided another example.

So, Sir David, if not your department, who will speak up for the millions of voters misled by taxpayer funded Treasury propaganda during the referendum? We deserve an answer.

EU’s Brexit insanity

Introduction

As David Davis embarks upon another Brexit negotiating round with his opposite number in Brussels, let’s take a rain check.

The EU 27 export over £300 billion of goods to the UK each year.  They do so tariff free and make a healthy trade surplus in doing so.  Huge numbers of jobs within the EU and the livelihoods of millions of families depend on that trading relationship.  You might think, therefore, that the No.1 priority for the EU27 in their Brexit negotiations with the UK would be in securing that crucial economic relationship.  Wouldn’t you?

Well, you’d be wrong.

It is abundantly clear that the EU elite and their ridiculous “negotiator” Mr Barnier have no interest protecting those jobs and livelihoods.  Their sole priority is to protect the edifice they are building, namely the authoritarian,  centralised European superstate they call “the Union”.  They believe that in order to protect their cherished dream of an “ever closer union” of European states, they must be seen to punish anyone who steps out of line.  The Greeks briefly rebelled against “the Union” but inevitably were crushed.  Their gigantic economic mess left them too weak to resist.

But the UK, for all its problems, is a different beast.  A majority of its voters had the guts to resist an unprecedented campaign of fear during the UK’s 2016 referendum.  Despite large numbers of people no doubt being cowed and scared into voting Remain, astonishingly a majority still voted to leave the EU.

Despite various attempts since last June to derail the referendum decision, the UK remains on track to leave in March 2019.  Meantime, the biggest threat to a successful Brexit outcome continues to be from within.  Divisions within the government as to how to approach Brexit and the treacherous manoeuvrings of the opposition threaten to weaken our negotiating stance at the very moment when we need them to be strong.

It is time to put the remoaners in their place.

Upside down negotiations

The EU is terrified of the impact of losing the UK’s enormous budget contributions – believed to be net figure of around £10 billion a year.  It has continued to press – absurdly – for the UK to pay a golden goodbye in the form of a “Brexit bill”.  There is no legal liability for such a payment to be made and no justification for it.  But by trying to strong arm the UK and refusing to talk about trade, they are hoping to bully the British people (or rather the politicians representing them) into easing the EU’s budgetary headache after we’ve gone.  Their gambit is to refuse to talk about their own £300 billion trading relationship with the UK until we surrender on the “Brexit bill”.  They no doubt derive encouragement from the “useful idiots” (i.e. the remoaners) in the UK establishment tweeting their support.

Article 50(2) of the EU Treaty, very sensibly envisages that when a member state leaves the EU, the parties need to resolve not only exit terms but also at the same time how they will trade with each other going forward.

The EU is wilfully departing from that obligation.  It refuses to discuss both aspects of Brexit

Its conduct is reprehensible.  It is also irresponsible.

How much longer are elected politicians in EU countries going to sit back and allow Barnier and his cronies to behave in this fashion?  It is insanity.

Wake up call

If no deal is reached with the EU concerning future trade, then from the end of March 2019, the parties will fall back on WTO rules.  Tariffs will be imposed on the £300 billion of goods sold by the EU to the UK (and vice versa).  But with the pound having fallen so far in value and with a big deficit on trade with the EU, this can only hurt EU exporters harder than it will hit the UK.

The grown ups in the EU, elected politicians there and business leaders need to wake up and fast.  If they do not, then they will find their dole queues lengthening and their export markets shrinking.    The UK may not emerge unscathed.  But – politicians permitting – we at least will have the freedom to take measures to protect ourselves.   We can lower taxes and cut regulation to make the UK even more attractive for overseas investment and job creation.  We can open up markets through free trade relationships with other countries.    By contrast, the EU is sluggish and cumbersome.  It cannot do anything quickly or flexibly.

If Brexit proves to be a success, it is the beginning of the end for the EU.

Torn apart by the migrant crisis and soon to be squabbling over who will make up the budget shortfall caused by the UK’s exit, it is unlikely that Britain will be the last country to leave.

Stay firm Mr Davis.  This is a defining moment for the country.

 

Remoaners are the EU’s “useful idiots”

Introduction

In politics, a “useful idiot” (or “useful fool”) is a person perceived as a propagandist for a cause, the goals of which they are not fully aware of, and who is used cynically by the leaders of that cause.  It’s a term coined during the Russian revolution in 1917 which is making a comeback in Brexit Britain.

In the run up to the UK’s referendum on EU membership, barely a day went by without a relentless barrage of increasingly hysterical “Project fear” propaganda from the pro-EU side,  warning us of instant economic disaster if we dared to vote Leave.

Since 23 June 2016, virtually none of those predictions have proved to be correct.  Apart from the fall in sterling (which has its upsides too), supporters of the Project Fear mantra have largely been discredited.  The instant doom they promised us has not happened.  So they’ve been forced to change tactics.

Now, we are told, Brexit is going to be a disaster.  This Project Fear Mark 2 has been in action for months now.  Every piece of pro-EU news is trumpeted as proof of how silly we’ve been to think of leaving.  Meanwhile, every possible effort is made to denigrate the UK government and the country and to convince us all that resistance to staying in the EU is futile.

Something has happened to those “Remainers” who supported staying in the EU before the referendum.  Many of them have morphed into what we now call “Remoaners”.

These Remoaners display common characteristics.

They pour vitriol on those who voted to leave and dismiss all of us as dimwits and racists who fell for a slogan on a bus.  Yes really.  They want to set aside the referendum result and would happily ignore the clear majority vote to leave.

They lost the biggest democratic vote the UK has ever had.  But they refuse to accept it.

“Useful idiots”

In the process, however,  they do nothing but divide and undermine the country.

To the EU’s Brexit negotiators they have become what Lenin used to describe as “useful idiots”.  By suggesting that we might yet change our minds on Brexit and reverse the decision, they simply encourage Brussels to believe that being aggressive and unhelpful to Britain will yield results.

The ridiculous demand made of the UK to pay a so-called “Brexit bill” for which there is no legal case whatsoeveris part and parcel of that, as are dire warnings of lories queuing for miles to the channel ports while customs paperwork is completed.  Given that most of the goods travelling across the channel are actually goods coming from the rest of the EU to Britain, such threats are insane.  Yet such is the detachment of the pampered bureaucrats who run the EU, that they simply don’t understand – nor appear to care -what damage they will do to the lives of ordinary people whose jobs and livelihoods depend on smooth trade with Britain.

But never mind –  the Remoaners are right behind them.

Cracking up?

After years of the UK economy outperforming most of the EU,  few months of data have been cited as proof by the Remoaners that it’s all going pear-shaped for Britain.  A bank that employs thousands in the UK opens a representative office in Germany for a handful of staff and suddenly the Remoaners scream that all our jobs are going abroad.  You know the drill:  British agriculture will die without foreign fruit pickers; the NHS will collapse without migrants.  And so on.

It’s nonsense.

Yet astonishingly, so determined are these new Project Fear merchants that the UK should suffer after Brexit that they would rather scupper any chance of a UK trade deal with our single most important trading partner – the US – rather than see us succeed.    Yes, so desperate have the Remoaners become, that even hapless chlorinated chickens have been drafted into the forefront of Project Fear’s arguments.  Never mind the millions of poisoned Dutch eggs brimming with illegal insecticides that the EU allowed to be imported into the UK.   They don’t matter.

Personally,  I think the Remoaners are cracking up.

Message to EU: Reality can bite you back.

An Article  entitled “Reality Bites” published by the head of the European Policy Centre starkly highlights arrogance of the EU elite and how they could be about to make another massive blunder over Brexit.

Introduction

The European Commission’s Deputy Chief Brexit Negotiator is Sabine Weyand.   On 24 July 2017 she approvingly tweeted an article by Fabian Zuleeg, the CEO of the so-called European Policy Centre.  The article was entitled “Reality Bites” and purports to give the view of Brexit negotiations from the other side of the Channel.

The article provides an illuminating insight into the mindset of the EU establishment and of the arrogant attitudes held by some towards Britain: the same attitudes that directly contributed to Brexit happening in the first place.  These attitudes may well cause further damage to Europe in ways they do not expect.

EU’s attitude to Brexit

This commentator is not alone in regarding the EU’s behaviour towards Britain following the Brexit vote as having been nothing short of a disgrace.

We are a country that has contributed many billions of pounds to the EU over decades. We are still doing so even now.

Having helped to rescue Europe from Nazi tyranny in WW2, we subsequently kept a standing army in Germany at vast expense to help protect Europe from Soviet aggression during the cold war.  In fact, our contribution to the European continent’s peace and prosperity has been above and  beyond the call of duty.   Yet we are now vilified and treated as pariahs by the EU.  Why? Because, following the biggest democratic vote in our country’s history, our electorate made a historic decision to leave the EU – as we are perfectly entitled to do in accordance with the EU Treaties.

It is typical of the EU elite that instead of accepting this decision with good grace and adjusting their financial planning to take account of the impending loss of the UK’s huge budget contributions, the EU has instead behaved like a petulant child and demanded money from us with menaces    In effect, the ridiculous (wholly unjustified) demand for Britain to agree a €100 billion “divorce” bill from the outset of negotiations is nothing less than an attempt at extortion.

Against that background, it is extraordinary that Mr Zuleeg’s article should criticise Britain for the way it has supposedly “burned bridges” in the Brexit negotiations.   We would respectfully suggest that he re-reads Theresa May’s eminently polite Article 50 letter and then reads a digest of speeches and statements by EU leaders since the referendum.  Enough said.

Frankly, to anyone who knows anything about British history, the whole idea that by threatening to punish the UK and making unreasonable demands of us, the EU can somehow bully us into coming back in, displays a level of self-delusion that is hard to fathom.

EU mindset

Mr Zuleeg’s article is clear in its themes: the EU’s position is strong while the UK’s is weak; the EU cannot compromise but the UK must do so in order to get a deal; the UK is politically divided while “the EU27” are united; a no-deal Brexit will be very damaging to the UK, but not really for the EU.  Blah Blah Blah.

Much more interesting than this tiresome posturing, is his perception of how the UK’s negotiating has been affected by the general election result.  Further,  as those of us who support Brexit have feared all along, the antics of the minority of Remoaners at home and their continued opposition to Brexit have been deeply damaging to our country’s national interests.  If what is stated in this article is to be believed, their efforts are evidently helping to fuel the erroneous belief in Brussels, that there is somehow an increasing appetite in the UK to reverse the referendum result and for Britain to crawl back into the embrace of the EU.  Nothing could be further from the truth

In the 1980s,  the support given to the IRA by left wing politicians like Jeremy Corbyn encouraged the Provisionals to believe that their campaign of terror would eventually weaken Britain’s political resolve towards Northern Ireland.   It was a delusion.  In the same way, in 2017,  the relentless, sneering negativity about the UK’s prospects from the Remoaners, and the continuation of their absurd Project Fear campaign, appear to be encouraging Brussels to believe that if it takes a tough enough line in the negotiations, the UK will crumble.

Mixed messages from members of our own government have admittedly not helped the situation.   Nor has the now lame duck premiership of Theresa May.  Certainly these factors do not assist in persuading to take Britain seriously.  But we are where we are.

However, despite these undeniable negatives, the fundamentals of Brexit have not changed.   It was the right decision last June and it is the right way forward now.

So the time has come to stop dividing ourselves and for the UK show some fighting spirit. We do not have to dance to the EU’s tune.  We can stand tall in these negotiations.  And if we don’t like what is on offer, we can and should walk away.   There is a whole world out there beyond the EU and it is the EU that currently enjoys a trade surplus with us, not the other way around.  During the next full multi-annual financial framework period, if it had stayed in, the UK would have been expected to contribute net sums of over €80 billion to the EU budget.  That is a massive financial hole to fill and the EU are petrified of having to fill it – as they will have to do.

Ultimately, if we walk away, sooner or later the EU will want to talk to us again.  A sensible trading arrangement might then become possible.  But only when EU officials finally grow up and emerge from their post-Brexit sulk.

Contempt for democracy

Mr Zuleeg, like other pro-EU figures,  cannot hide his contempt for the concept of democracy and political accountability when it comes to the European Project  With astonishing frankness he sums this up when he says::

“A deal….will only be possible if the UK accepts the EU’s red lines while..breaking the promises made to the UK electorate….”

The mindset behind the EU’s uncompromising stance towards the UK is further highlighted by this passage:

“If the UK realises that any deal would be far inferior to full membership and inflict significant political costs on the UK, there could even be a reconsideration of the UK’s decision to leave…….”

(There is no suggestion of course that the UK electorate should have any say in that “reconsideration” of our EU Membership.  Perish the thought).

Mr Zuleeg is deluded if he thinks that there is any wish on the part of the UK electorate to reverse the Brexit process.  The EU’s arrogant and hostile stance towards the U.K. has surely hardened the Leave vote and probably converted many Remain voters into supporting Brexit too.

Another more amusing theme of Mr Zuleeg’s article is the supposed unity of the so-called “EU27” which he contrasts with his view of the UK’s divided society.

Unity of the EU27.  Really?

In reality, the notion of EU unity is laughable.

One does not doubt for a moment that many EU countries are united by a desire to extract as much money as possible from the UK when it leaves, so as to prop up the EU’s spending plans.   (Britain’s departure will cost the EU many tens of billions of Euros over the years immediately following our exit).  The alternative is for EU spending to be cut (something they are pathologically unable to do) or for Member States to increase their own contributions to the EU budget.  Neither are palatable options.

But that is as far as it goes.  The fault lines in the EU are already visible for all to see.

For example,  the Commission is at war with Poland and Hungary over their flat refusal to countenance taking in quotas of migrants from Africa and the Middle East.  Poland’s recent constitutional changes have also led to the threat of suspension of its EU voting rights.  Meanwhile the EU’s total paralysis in the face of the continuing migrant crisis is causing tensions from the Mediterranean to the North Sea.  Voters may not have swept anti-EU parties to power in Holland or France earlier in the year.  But if things do not change,  the likes of Le Pen and Wilders will bounce back.  Italy meanwhile teeters on the brink, it’s banking system is still in crisis and anti-EU parties  continue to ride high in the polls.

The victory of the pro-EU Macron in France may have caused a sigh of relief in Brussels, but rabid EUphile that he is, even Macron recognises the need for reform if the EU is to survive.  The trouble is, in the eyes of the Germans, his recipe for reform is about as welcome as a dose of arsenic.  It will not happen.

Finally, while the EU negotiators posture and sneer at Britain, there are signs that businesses in EU countries are becoming uneasy at the potential damage that will be done to hundreds of thousands of German, Spanish and Italian jobs if Britain ends up imposing tariffs on the EU with whom we have a huge trade deficit.

in short, the potential for squabbles to break out among the EU27 over Brexit is limitless.

Reality check

The EU overplayed its hand when sending David Cameron home empty handed from his ill-judged attempt at the “renegotiation” of Britain’s relationship with the EU.  All the signs are that EU leaders have learned nothing from that episode and that they are about to repeat the same mistake in the Brexit negotiations.

Politically, it would appear at present that the government is keen to secure a tariff-free trade deal with the EU, probably in return for some sort of annual subscription.  That, so it appears to think, would look good to the electorate.  But the more voters see and hear of the arrogance and disrespect being shown towards Britain by Barnier and his negotiators, the more obvious it will become that the EU’s agenda is to try and punish Britain and to bully it back in.  The EU also wants to continue controlling us through its Court of Justice.

If the EU’s aggressive and bullying stance does not change, it is more likely that the UK electorate will demand a tougher line from its political leaders.   If enough work is put into preparing for a “no deal” exit scenario, it may be that “no deal” will prove a popular (and vote winning) option after all.

Reality can bite back

So the message to the likes of Ms Weyand and Mr Zuleeg is that reality does indeed bite. But it may bite the EU back in ways they do not expect and in a way which may cause a great deal of  political and economic pain for the EU.

The solution is clear: stop treating the UK with contempt and stop cutting off Europe’s nose to spite Britain’s face.  You will only regret it in the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

London Bridge attack: What can the government do?

Introduction

In the aftermath of the appalling terror attack in Central London last night, the news channels and Twitter are full of comment and condemnation.  Theresa May has made a speech outside No.10.   In all, it has become a depressingly familiar sequence of events in recent weeks as murderous Islamist terrorists have struck yet again.

Amid the anger and grief at yet another act of deranged Islamist barbarism, it is understandable that people are demanding action and solutions.   But given the value we all place on our democracy and freedom and our determination not to give an inch to the killers and their sponsors, what can our government reasonably do?

In the aftermath of the Westminster attack, we saw footage of the shambolic security around the Prime Minister as she was allowed to wander towards her car before finally being ushered away to safety  We also learned that it was only by pure good fortune that a minister’s bodyguard happened to be in the right place at the right time to stop the terrorist involved.

It now turns out that the first police officer on the scene at London Bridge to bravely confront the murderers was unarmed and thus powerless to stop them.  This only serves to underline the fact that lessons still do not seem to have been learned.

Knee jerk reactions should generally be avoided, but we have seen enough to require some urgent changes to be made before any more needless damage is done.

Voice of Reason’s suggestions for action

We do not claim to have all the answers.  But we would suggest that the following steps are essential.

First, the government must promise that if re-elected, it will rip up its foolish commitment to stay within the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) for the next parliament.  It must promise to repeal the Human Rights Act (HRA) immediately and so remove the ECHR from applying within the UK. Unless this happens, the government will find it impossible to enact the measures required to keep us safe.

Secondly, with the ECHR and HRA out of the way, it must promise to immediately legislate to confirm that henceforth, in the case of non-UK nationals who are suspected of terrorism or who present a serious threat, that they can be immediately deported from the UK.  The case law dating from 2004 which declared it unlawful to discriminate between UK and non-UK citizens must be overruled.  We have no duty as a country to bend over backwards to criminals or terrorists from overseas who would abuse our hospitality and do us harm.  This step is a no brainer.

Thirdly, in the case of such non-UK suspects, their deportation must not be subject to endless appeals and there should be no requirement to take their personal circumstances into account or to enquire into what may become of them if they are returned to their country of origin.  Far too often, as with Abu Hamza and other cases, huge sums of public money have been wasted providing such individuals with benefits and legal aid to tie up our  government in endless litigation.  That madness must stop.

Fourthly, as regards UK-citizens, there must be a robust legislative system for ensuring that upon presentation of sufficient evidence to a High Court judge, they can in exceptional circumstances, be detained and subjected to effective control orders.  It is totally unacceptable to place the so-called “human rights” of such individuals in priority to the need to protect our citizens from danger.  Appropriate safeguards must of course be put in place to protect against wrongful detention of UK citizens and to give rights of appeal.  But the priority must be the protection of innocent people in our country.   The adoption of such measures has been endlessly impeded by the ECHR and the HRA.  With those pernicious obstacles eliminated, the government will have no excuses for failing to do what is necessary to protect the country.

Fifthly, sentences must be increased for anyone convicted of terrorism offences.  Islamist terrorism must be an aggravating factor when convicted defendants are sentenced.

Sixthly, those preaching or promoting violence against the citizens of the UK or our allies must be relentlessly prosecuted, not tolerated.  There must never again be despicable scenes where hate preachers and their thugs stand on British street corners spouting hate,  under the protection of police officers.

Seventhly, public authorities, including schools and universities, must have a statutory duty to promote British values and the guiding principle should be that anyone who comes to live in our country must not expect us to modify our values, behaviours or laws to fit in with their religion, their prejudices or sensitivities.   There is no place for sharia law in the United Kingdom.   No place for treating women as second class citizens.   It goes without saying that the vast majority of muslims are law-abiding citizens.   No one blames them for the evil acts of Islamist criminals.   No one expects muslims, Sikhs, christians or any other religious groups to abandon their faith or beliefs.  But if anyone chooses to live in the UK, then they must accept that no one is above the law.  Nor can  they expect special treatment.   There should be no more reports of self-appointed busybodies who take it upon themselves to ban such things as union jack flags and nativity plays on the grounds that they offend minority groups.

Eighth, until such time as it is adjudged that the threat has eased, British police officers, in cities must all be armed – whether they like it or not – with handguns, and given at least basic training in their use.  At the same time, the laws governing legal liability for the use of firearms by the police officers in the line of duty must be reviewed and if necessary changed so as to give the necessary confidence to police officers that they will not be unfairly prosecuted, should they have to use their guns protecting the public  Similarly, there must be strict time limits for deciding whether or not to prosecute any policeman or woman who does use a firearm.   Common sense must be applied here.  We have to support the forces of law and order.  Arming officers in this way could make the difference between losing or saving innocent lives.  If we continue to leave unarmed officers to be first responders, we are putting their lives at risk and missing the chance to save the lives of others.  These terrorists did not have guns.  Imagine if they had.

Finally, we will have to invest more money in improving the state of our border security and our police and intelligence services.  The scandalous waste of taxpayers money on excessive and wasteful overseas aid must end.  The  aid budget must be cut and the savings used to fund these improvements.  There is no reason why the huge sums we currently send overseas should not be subject to cuts at a time when the UK is still borrowing a billion pounds a week.    Immigration policy is part and parcel of improving our borders.  It beggars belief that the Liberal Democrats wish to import 50,000 Syrian refugees at a time like this and that the Labour party evidently has no intention of doing anything whatsoever, to control immigration into the UK.

Summary

Words from politicians will not change anything.  Nor can we revert to being a police state.  Our anger towards those who have carried out the latest attack and their sick,  poisonous ideology should not lead us to make the situation worse or to blame minority groups.  But as the Prime Minister has said: we cannot go on as we are.

The opposition parties clearly have nothing to offer in helping to secure our country.   The very idea of Diane Abbott as Home Secretary sends shudders down the spine.

But having herself been Home Secretary for many years before becoming PM,  Theresa May knows better than anyone what needs to be done.  She must now act.

If she is re-elected on June 8th, she knows there can be no more excuses.

 

Macron wins in France – so what?

Introduction

If Twitter is anything to go by, the EU elite in Brussels and their remoaner allies here in the UK are beside themselves with glee at Macron’s victory in Sunday’s French presidential election.  They see the win as somehow a validation of the status quo.and a blow to so-called populism.  They think that it strengthens the EU ahead of its negotiations with the UK over Brexit.

The reality is rather different.

Deep divisions

In first round of the presidential election,  nearly half of French voters backed anti-EU candidates.  In the final run off, nearly a third of voters spoiled their ballot papers or abstained altogether.  Another third voted for Marine Le Pen.   So whilst Macron undeniably scored an emphatic victory in the final poll, in truth, France remains seriously divided.

It also remains in the grip of a debilitating state of emergency in response to repeated terrorist attacks and its ailing economy is still crying out for meaningful reform.

Sclerotic economy

The bloated French state is far too big, consuming a staggering 57% of the country’s output.  Growth has been slow and unemployment has remained stubbonly high in comparison to the UK.  French labour laws and bureaucracy remain excessively onerous and a major obstacle to attracting inward investment and entrepreneurs.  High taxes have driven many French wealth-creators to up sticks.  The French instinct remains protectionist.

For as long as these features of the French economy remain unrefomed,  it is pure fantasy to suggest that large numbers of banks and multinationals will flock to set up home in France following Brexit.   Dream on Macron.

Previous French politicians have tried and failed miserably to introduce any tangible reforms aimed at addressing France’s myriad of problems.  How will Macron be any different?

No chance of reform

The new president has no party political apparatus behind him.  But even if he cobbles together a legislative programme, as soon as he tries to do anything to rationalise the state,  increase pension ages, tamper with the 35 hour working week or try to water down French employment protection, the ever powerful French trade unions will no doubt bring the country to a standstill.  They always do.

Moreover, in less than two years’ time, the UK will no longer be contributing to the EU budget and billions of Euros will either have to be cut from EU farm subsidies or else remaining Member States including France, will have to pay more to fill the gap.  If Mr Juncker and his cronies have their way and no deal is done with the UK by March 2019, then France’s huge multi-billion Euro trade surplus with the UK will also be at risk – threatening to lengthen dole queues in France still further.

Meanwhile, France remains trapped in the totally inflexible Euro monetary system controlled by Germany,  with no way to reform it for the better.

On top of its economic predicament, France still faces a particularly serious threat of Islamic terrorism and has thousands of dangerous jihadists among its population.  If, as Macron has threatened, he tears up the border arrangements with the UK, France will become even more of a magnet for mass immigration from Africa and the Middle East.

Should France join the EU Commission in trying to bully and punish the UK for Brexit, it will be doing so from a position of weakness not strength.

What next?

“France has succeeded” Mr Macron proclaimed in his vacuous victory speech.  No it hasn’t.  It hasn’t even started.

When the flag waving celebrations on the Champs Elysees have died down, it won’t be long before the usual strikes break out and the picket lines and barricades to go up very soon.

Macron?  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.