Conservative Peer moves to Lib Dems and talks of misplaced loyalty


This is an amazing resignation letter

Dear David,

Please take this email as notice of my resignation from the ACP 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) noone 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

 

Towards the End of May at the Beginning of June


Now that the local elections are over and party manifestos will start to come out, the focus shifts to shaping the 8th June election outcome. It is not a normal election, but a referendum on Theresa May and her determination to pursue a super-hard Brexit.

May is asking us for a blank cheque for her to negotiate for Britain to leave the European Union at any cost. She seems obsessed by the idea of pursuing a super-hard Brexit so that she can continue to crow that “Brexit means Brexit”, regardless of the damage that her brand will inflict on our economy, our livelihoods and our international standing. She is asking us to give her a licence for drive recklessly at top speed up a dead-end road.

The conclusion of this election will shape Britain’s future, not for 5 years but for generations to come.

The progressive opposition parties can only defeat May and her the Conservative party if they make this their sole objective and work together to achieve it. It is worth it, because if each party goes it alone, this will simply strengthen May’s hand and weaken each of the opposition parties still further. The tactical voting arrangements already under consideration, while a step in the right direction, will not oust the incumbent government.

This conclusion has been amply confirmed by the results of the local elections. The message is that business as usual is a non-starter, a recipe for the eclipse of any meaningful opposition.

It means a pre-election agreement to create a coalition government committed, in very simple terms, to a fairer and more prosperous Britain and to a positive rather than confrontational future relationship with Europe whether from within or outside the EU.

In practical terms, it means quickly creating a Progressive Parties Pact to fight the election and to promoting local Pacts in each constituency. It requires that each party’s candidates contest the election but without wasting their energies in fighting against each: 7 to 10 days ahead of the election date, a single PPP candidate would be identified locally (either by consensus or by drawing lots) to challenge the Conservatives in each constituency, and the others would withdraw.

Successful candidates would give priority to representing their constituents’ expressed priorities, once in the House of Commons, including those on future relations with Europe, regardless of their party. A consensual view on the full range of government priorities would emerge within six months of the government’s election – a reasonable time-frame after a snap election decision by the incumbent majority.

While a PPP management team would have to be put in place with the full backing of all concerned party leaders for the election period, more permanent governance arrangements for the Pact would be put in place only after the election. In the event of victory, these would include a process for selecting a future Prime Minister.

There is already much common ground between the Progressive Parties on domestic economic, social and environmental policies, with a strong emphasis on fairness. There is also a consensus on the need to reassert Parliament’s oversight of the executive branch of government. There is a wish to recreate an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect that has been a hall-mark of British values. There is a need to assure young people that their aspirations are given due weight in key decisions on Britain’s future. And it is vital that the devolved governments also have their proper say in determining what is best for them.

On Europe, it should be possible to arrive at a consensus vote-winning platform along the following lines:

  • Confirm to EU that Article 50 invocation still stands but call for a pre-negotiation dialogue on options for addressing key issues of special concern for Britain (see below):
  • Immediate unilateral recognition of EU residents’ rights in UK;
  • Immediate request to EU countries to recognise rights of UK citizens in Europe;
  • Immediate agreement to welcome qualified overseas students in British schools and universities, outside of any possible future constraints on immigration;
  • Commitment, prior to moving into detailed Brexit negotiations under Article 50, to explore with EU the options for UK remaining in the Single Market while taking measures to trim EU immigration when this over-stresses absorption capacities, and addressing other British expectations emerging from the election process.

The main focus of the short campaign should not be on policies (except on where there is already a clear inter-party consensus) but on discrediting the personal capacity of May and leading right-wing Tories (and their UKIP allies) to lead the country safely forward.

May is highly vulnerable because she has nothing to show for her ten months in office. All the evidence demonstrates that, though portrayed incessantly as “strong and stable” by her PR team, she is, in reality, a “weak and fickle” opportunist with authoritarian tendencies, driven by personal ambition and obsessions rather than any principles.

Theresa May is a weak Prime Minister:

A strong PM would have tried to pull the country together after the divisive referendum vote, adopting a moderate stand rather than aiding and abetting the extremists in her own party who are now engaging in tactical voting with UKIP, and doing nothing to counter the general hardening of attitudes towards foreigners and minorities in Britain.

A strong PM would have explored ways for UK to stay in the Single Market rather than choose to exit even before negotiations start.

A strong PM would listen to – rather than dismiss – the many groups who see themselves negatively affected by her policies:  By dismissing the concerns of the Scots, she risks breaking up our United Kingdom and she doesn’t seem to care. Her failure to listen to Irish and Northern Irish leaders over the border issue reopens prospects of violence. Her fixation over opting out of the Single Market (driven, it seems, mainly by her personal grudges against the European Court of Justice) puts thousands of jobs and businesses – as well as our overall economy and fiscal stability –  at risk. Already, major players in the financial sector are moving out of Britain, taking jobs with them. 

A strong PM would be able by now to point to some positive achievements during her time in office. Instead, she has no results to show: she has spent much of her energy trying to undermine the authority of Parliament, not yet developed a feasible Brexit strategy, and done absolutely nothing to address the urgent problems facing the NHS, the education system and marginalised communities.

Mrs. May is a fickle opportunist who acts on impulse and grudges rather than conviction:

She backed “remain” in the referendum, expressing strong personal support for the Single Market, and then, as soon as the chance arose to become PM, did a complete U-turn, turning her back on the advice that she herself had given to voters: she was a traitor to her own declared beliefs and never said sorry to anyone.

She stated that she would not call a snap election, and then did a sudden U-turn also on this, after a week-end walking with her husband.

She calls for Britain to reclaim sovereignty, and then does her best to exclude Parliament – the institutional locus of British sovereignty – from playing its due constitutional role in the most important policy decision of recent years.

She exhibits autocratic tendencies, not only in this disdain for parliament, but also in relation to human rights and the rule of law. Like many insecure people in high places, she is intolerant of dissent even amongst her fellow-travellers.

Before she has even started to negotiate with the EU, she needlessly ruffled the feathers of her opposite numbers.

Beyond all of this, Mrs May must be targeted for:

Continuing to reiterate her statement that “No deal is better than a bad deal”. The united opposition should challenge this with a claim that “Remain is better than a bad deal!”.

Interpreting “the will of the people” as widespread support for a self-harming super-hard Brexit.

Failing to acknowledge that she has run around the world hunting for new trade deals and has drawn a blank, except for selling more arms to dictators.

Allowing her personal gripes to call for Britain to leave the jurisdiction of European Court of Justice and – eventually – the European Court for Human Rights, run by the Council for Europe.

Failing to do anything to temper the wave of hate crimes against foreigners and religious minorities in Britain.

Failing to confirm the rights of EU national residents in Britain ahead of negotiations on a new agreement.

Muzzling her MPs to prevent them from representing their constituents in the decision to invoke article 50.

Happy to call an election but unwilling to defend her policies in a television debate.

–       And so on……

The verdict is that Theresa May is not fit to be entrusted with setting the course of British history for coming generations.

She must, at all costs, be sent packing from Downing Street on 8th June. And the only way to be sure that this will happen is for the progressive parties to combine forces for the next 4 weeks.

By combining forces, the progressive opposition parties could put forward an outstanding group of candidates to successfully challenge May and all her friends.

 

Thanks to the futureforourchildren for this.

EU Myth 3


Myth no 8

The European Parliament wants the creation of an EU army, to be paid for by the British taxpayer.

The true story is that MEPs voted on a non-binding resolution on the “Defence” part of the Common Security and Defence Policy agreed ages ago by all member states (including the UK) in the Lisbon Treaty.

 

The resolution stressed that Nato must continue to be the backbone of collective defence in Europe and that any Defence Union must be agreed to by all EU countries.

 

So, this is about pooling resources and joint defence procurement, rather than about setting up a European army. And something that doesn’t exist, doesn’t need to be paid for, not by UK taxpayers.

 

Myth no 9

“The EU accounts have never been signed off”

 

Not true. There is a persistent myth (reliably recycled every year by UK newspapers) that the European Court of Auditors has refused to sign off the EU’s accounts, but this is entirely false.

 

According to the European Court of Auditors, around 0.2% of the EU budget may have been subject to fraud. Any amount of possible fraud is unacceptable and needs challenging. But it’s worth noting that the figure of 0.2% is much lower than most national budgets

 

 

Myth no 10

Britain has too many immigrants

 

If you’ve read this far you probably know that we need immigrants. Here’s some forecasts from consultancy firm Mercer

“Businesses face an unprecedented labour shortage. The impact of the UK’s ageing population on the UK economy and access to labour has been masked in recent years by positive net migration – until now”

 

Some future scenarios for the British labour market.

1         he economy and migration progress as expected in the years leading up to 2030:

“No change to the government’s expectation that migration drops from the current 335,000 per year to 185,000 by 2020 and thereafter. In this scenario, the total population increases 5.5 million from 65.7 million in 2016 to 71.2 in 2030 with the workforce increasing by 1.7 million from 33.4 million to 35.1 million over the same period. While the least dramatic scenario, it’s worth noting that there are already skill shortages in many industries.”

2        

“The workforce increases by 1 million workers from 33.4 million in 2016 to 34.4 million in 2030.  The overall population increases by 4.5 million from 65.7 million to 70.2 million meaning that fewer workers are supporting a larger population with related pressures placed on pensions and healthcare funding and compounding current skills shortages and demographic pressures.”

3 EU Remigration”

“This scenario envisages an outflow of EU-born and Non-EU born workers caused by an unwelcome social environment in the UK. This is combined with a net outflow of UK-born workers too (a group, which according to the Bank of England, historically have left the UK in higher numbers than return since records began in 1964). The UK’s working population shrinks by 700,000 to 32.6 million while the overall population increases by 2.3 million from 65.7 million to 70.2 million. The inability of certain sectors of the UK economy to fill roles could be dramatic.”

Does Brexit give us more control?


Quitting the EU will lead to less control, not more.

We were one of Europe’s leaders. We, along with other key players instigated the single market, and drew up the rules. We were a central player in Europe’s fight against Islamic terrorism. We helped secure the climate change deal in Paris.

Today and henceforth we are on the side lines. Putin is still in the Kremlin, Trump is still in the White House, North Africa and the Middle East are still unstable and China continues to grow its economy.

How can we believe we have more control on our own to face this unstable and dangerous world? Why are we antagonising 27 like-minded nations instead of making common cause with them? How can we influence them when we have walked away?

In order to survive as a trading nation we will have to abide by global trade rules.  We won’t be making the rules any more. How is that improving our global situation?

Not only this but twenty seven commonwealth countries have free trade with us through the EU. When we leave initially we will revert back to WTO costing them an extra £800m a year in Tariffs, yes we might negotiate new deals, or they might just deal with the EU or China.

 When we trade with Europe, Brussels will write the rules; when we trade with America, Washington will write the rules; when we trade with China……. need I say more.

 

Is that taking back control?

Let Donald Tusk know Teresa does not represent the whole of Britain


If you are opposed to leaving the EU or Teresa May’s approach to a hard Brexit down load this letter and mail it to Donald Tusk to coincide with Teresa’s letter. Remember to add your own address.

Remember to check back here at Hope for Europe for our campaign to oppose a destructive exit from Europe.

 

 

 

 

David Davis finally tells some truths about Brexit. Just a shame he does not understand what it all means!


During the evidence session, with the committee shadowing his Department for Exiting the European Union, Mr Davis hinted no assessment of the Brexit options will be carried out, saying: “You don’t need a piece of paper with numbers on it to have an economic assessment.”

And he appeared to downgrade the Government’s pledge that the UK will enjoy the “same economic benefits” outside the EU, telling the MPs: “I was expressing an ambition.”

On the impact of crashing out with no deal, he said: “It’s not as frightening as some people think – but it’s not as simple as some people think.”

Mr Davis also:

* Said it was “probably right” that holidaying Britons will lose EHIC cards, which provide free or subsidized healthcare across the EU, but added: “I have not looked at that one.”

* Admitted he did not know the implications of leaving with no deal on the transfer of personal data, which is crucial issue for the booming tech industry.

* Acknowledged UK producers of dairy and meat would face tariffs of up to 40 per cent under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules – “the numbers in agriculture are high”.

* Described the argument that the UK could walk away without paying a penny to the EU, if no deal is reached, as “interesting” – “a very good start in this exercise”.

* Said he expected Northern Ireland would end up with a “very light border, not a hard border” with the Republic.

* Said he “assumed” the ‘Open Skies’ agreement – which has slashed airfares across the EU – will be lost, although he would fight for a successor.

* Confirmed financial services firms are poised to lose ‘passporting rights’ to trade in the EU, saying: “I would expect that to be the case, that’s an area of uncertainty.”

 

Thanks to the Independent for most of this summary and Ben Jennings illustration

This still makes me laugh and getting more true every day


Since the UK voted to leave the EU back in June, you may have noticed quite a lot of debate about it since.

By “quite a lot” we mean “practically every single conversation until Trump got elected”.

Pre-June was a much simpler time.

Thankfully, someone wrote a letter to the Financial Times summing the whole thing up.

It reads:

So, this is how the debate reads so far. I kid you not, it’s practically verbatim:

 

Remainers (left holding the Brexit baby after the Leavers… left) “WTF?”

Leavers “We voted Brexit, now You Remainers need to implement it”

Remainers “But it’s not possible!”

Leavers “The People Have Spoken. Therefore it is possible. You just have to think positively.”

Remainers “And do what exactly?”

Leavers “Come up with a Plan that will leave us all better off outside the EU than in it”

Remainers “But it’s not possible!”

Leavers “Quit with the negative vibes. The People Have Spoken.”

Remainers “But even you don’t know how!”

Leavers “That’s your problem, we’ve done our bit and voted, we’re going to sit here and eat popcorn and watch as you do it.”

Remainers “Shouldn’t you do it?”

Leavers “It’s not up to us to work out the detail, it’s up to you experts.”

Remainers “I thought you’d had enough of experts”

Leavers “Remain experts.”

Remainers “There are no Leave experts”

Leavers “Then you’ll have to do it then. Oh, and by the way, no dragging your feet or complaining about it, because if you do a deal we don’t want, we’ll eat you alive.”

Remainers “But you don’t know what you want!”

Leavers “We want massive economic growth, no migration, free trade with the EU and every other country, on our terms, the revival of British industry, re-open the coal mines, tea and vicars on every village green, some bunting, and maybe restoration of the empire.”

Remainers “You’re delusional.”

Leavers “We’re a delusional majority. DEMOCRACY! So do the thing that isn’t possible, very quickly, and give all Leavers what they want, even though they don’t know what they want, and ignore the 16 million other voters who disagree. They’re tight trouser latte-sipping hipsters who whine all the time, who cares.”

By Ishtar Ostaria

 Hopefully all the right people are attributed in this and we found it in the Huffington Post. Thanks.

Ladies – what did the EU ever do for us?


Reflections of Brexit for International Women’s Day

 

However you voted you wouldn’t have thought that the outcome of the Referendum could damage your rights. However we can now see a real possibility that in a low tax, low regulation economy women will suffer even more than men because the rights of part-time workers and pregnant women at work and to equal pay for equal value derive from the EU. Obviously laws about the rights of pregnant women and equal pay are important to us women but laws about part time working are important too as over 55% of the female workforce work part time.

We cannot assume that any of these are secure in the Brave New World of Brexit Britain, even where British rights are superior to EU law we have no guarantee they won’t be attacked.

 

What does the White Paper say?

“The Government is committed to strengthening rights when it is the right choice for UK workers and will continue to seek out opportunities to enhance protections”.

 

But what does “right choice” mean? 

One of the things the government reviewed under the Red Tape Challenge was the Equality Act to identify which measures in the Act placed unnecessary or disproportionate burdens on business. Sounds ominous? The vision of a low regulation economy points to under-cutting the  EU rather than protecting women’s rights. The Great Repeal Bill may give the Government powers to make expedient changes to existing rights. Will we go back to the days of job interviews probing to find out plans for starting a family and discarding pregnant women as a burden on business? Will the right to equal pay for work of equal value remain or will women go back to being cheaper labour?

 

EU cross-border co-operation is vital to tackling FGM and human trafficking which disproportionately affects women.In the UK alone, there were 5,700 cases of female genital mutilation in 2016. Will work to eradicate this practice continue when we are isolated? Women and girls are overwhelmingly the victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation—96%—and the majority of victims of trafficking for all other purposes, at 75%. Not only is there a risk that cross border co-operation will be weakened, there is a danger that vulnerable women and girls escaping violence will be neglected if the  EU victims directive no longer applies.

The Government may continue with parts of EU policing and justice co-operation. However the White Paper omits mention of violence against women as an area for continued co-operation.

The Government says it has a plan for Britain and a better deal for ordinary working – has it remembered that more than 50% of ordinary working people are women? people – has it

Hope for Europe. Thoughts on the financial future


Investors in the UK stock market should be very pleased with the returns they earned in 2016. UK equities gained of 19 per cent last year, with the Footsie  ending the year at an all-time high.

What’s not to like  we hear you say if you are lucky enough to have money invested.

Well where’s it all going now? Is the upward trajectory going to continue in 2017?  HopeforEurope has no financial expertise but will merely observe that

the market has slipped back – a series of high-profile profits warnings from companies including BT and Pearson during the second half of January prompted a change of fortune for investors.

The outlook for the UK stock market is uncertain to say the least. The Brexit vote resulted  in a decline in the value of the pound to a three-decade low point.

That drop has boosted some British businesses with  non UK-earnings, but many think that  Brexit threatens to badly damage the UK economy – and the companies that depend on it.

One effect of the falling pound has been higher inflation – now up to 1.6 per cent and climbing – as import prices have increased. It would not be unexpected for this to reduce consumer spending,as rising prices squeeze people’s disposable incomes this year.

With the announcement from the May government that the Uk will leave the single market and the customs union, a failure to reach a deal on trade with the EU within the two years may well mean that British businesses forced to pay high tariffs to sell their goods and services inside the bloc.

A trade deal looks a tall order in the time allowed so what does this mean for the future of the British economy.

And by the way Europe’s largest management consultancy has warned against investing in Britain. Might be sour grapes .. might be indicative of the way things are going.

 

 

 

EU Myths 2


Myth No 5 The European Court of Human Rights is forcing us to…”

 

The European Court of Human Rights has nothing to do with the EU. It’s an entirely separate institution, with separate membership, set up by Britain after World War II to enforce the Convention on Human Rights which we helped to write. Britain has always been a signatory to this convention, and leaving the EU wouldn’t change that.

he court, which was set up in 1959 in the French city of Strasbourg, considers cases brought by individuals, organisations and states against the countries which are bound by the convention; namely, all European nations except Belarus.

Most of the nations which have signed the human rights convention, including the UK, have incorporated its principles into their own laws. The court will only hear a case when all domestic legal avenues have been exhausted.

 

 

There is a widespread myth that the European Court of Human Rights and the UK are forever at loggerheads, figures show that the Court rules against the UK in less than 1% of all the cases we’re involved in! ( based on 2015 figures)

 

Myth No 6 Bananas

Perhaps the most persistent myth of all:Neither straight or bendy bananas are  banned by the EU. People are mad enough to base their judgement on whether we should stay ot leave on this myth.

 

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/bbc-question-time-audience-member-i-voted-for-brexit-because-of-straight-bananas-a3457326.html

 

Bananas are classified by quality and size so they can be traded internationally. Quality standards are also needed so that people know what they are buying and that the produce meets their expectations.

Commission Regulation 2257/94 identifies certain restrictions for fruits that producers have to conform to in order to sell their produce within the EU. The regulation states that bananas must be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature.”

Class 1 bananas can have “slight defects of shape” and Class 2 bananas full-on “defects of shape”.

 

Despite what Boris Johnson said there are no rules about the number of bananas in a bunch.  ( he claimed that the EU would only allow bunches of two or three bananas – completely untrue – but that’s Boris Johnson for you).

 

Myth No 7 – Displaying EU flag at sporting events

Despite what the tabloids say the EUis not demanding its flag to be displayed at sporting events. The European Union is not empowered to adopt legislation on sport policy at all. There is a draft resolution which says that European Parliament “encourages that national Olympic committees and sport federations of the Member States to adopt and use the EU flag and symbol, together with individual flags and national symbols, on the occasion of international sport events”.