Category: NewsWatch

Has Gilmore Hoisted The White Flag In West Lancashire?

The Tory parliamentary candidate and Brexiteer Jack Gilmore needs every vote he can win to overtake Rosie Cooper, whose advantage over him is as sitting MP [and admitted remainer], and her proven constituency work.

So what does he do? He pops off to Southport

“Today I was proud to campaign, along with many others, to re-elect @Moore4Southport,
Jack Gilmore happy to help out!”.

As a former Tory councillor suggests

“Tories Failed to deliver Brexit, local Party a basket case!”. Well, its leadership proves that’s true enough?


Germany In Tears?

Have Brits already stopped buying German products?

German exports to UK drop again, by 3.4% in first nine months of 2019. This is on top of an 8% fall from 2015 to 2018, since the Referendum. The latest official figures out of Germany show that its goods exports to the UK have continued to fall this year.


Germany’s falling exports to the UK. • In the first 9 months of 2019, Germany’s goods exports to the UK have fallen by a further €2.1 billion-This is on top of an 8% fall from 2015 to 2018-The downward trend of goods trade with the United Kingdom observed since the Brexit referendum is persisting”-Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), Germany’s official statistics agency, 2019 as  Brexit gets blamed by the Germans.

A few weeks ago Germany’s state-funded media outlet Deutsche Welle headlined an article:
“German businesses already incurring Brexit losses, says industry boss”. “German businesses have already been suffering from the negative effects of Brexit, said Holger Bingmann, head of the foreign trade industry group BGA, pointing out losses to German exporters worth €3.5 billion this year”. 

What about Germany’s economy as a whole? The German media these days is full of stories about the worsening economic situation in their country. Only yesterday, a KPMG report presented a gloomy picture on foreign direct investment into Germany.

Foreign direct investment in Germany plummets.• Foreign direct investment in Germany declined by two-thirds in 2018 compared to the previous year.

Only 24% of US companies asked, intend to invest €10 million or more in the next three years in Germany. • This compares with 47% in 2017. That’s a 50% drop in US companies planning major investments in Germany – in just one year. “Surely the uncertainty of Brexit plays a role”, says Germany’s state-funded media Deutsche Welle. There has been a marked drop in the value of goods exports from Germany to the UK since the Referendum.

There are of course many reasons for this, including the crisis in Germany’s once-dominant car industry since the scandal over diesel emissions. Nevertheless, Germany’s problems go deeper. With half as many US firms planning major investments in Germany over the next three years, and manufacturing confidence falling, only an increase in domestic consumer spending prevented Germany from falling into recession in the last quarter. Readers may wish to imagine how the BBC would present all the bad news coming out of Germany, if all this were happening in the UK instead of Germany.

Buy British? Various ‘Buy British’ campaigns have sprung up in recent years. Long may they continue!

Has Rosie Sniffed Out A Tory Bribe?

Rosie Cooper

seems excited about the resurrection of the Skelmersdale railway line and station. She claims to have “Delivered Skelmersdale Railway As Promised”. But is that true?

Various publications, including the Construction News, Guardian, Yorkshire Post, Telegraph, state “Prime Minister announces Beeching Reversal Fund. In a speech relating to spending packages for neglected towns in the UK, the Prime Minister set out plans to finally reverse the railway spending cuts that were recommended by Dr Richard Beeching in the 1960s through the establishment of the Beeching Reversal Fund.

“Through this spending, the Prime Minister will, according to the aforementioned speech, reserve a grand total of approximately £500M for the revitalisation of railways and railway stations, with a proportion of £99M being dedicated to the reinstatement of train stations in Ashington, Seaton Delaval, and Blyth in Northumberland.

“Furthermore, a total of £18M will be allocated to the West Midlands where the stations of Willenhall and Darlaston will be reopened whereas, in the North West, an undisclosed amount of funding will be awarded to connect Skelmersdale to Liverpool and Manchester and an abandoned line will be revitalised to incorporate Thornton-Cleveleys and Fleetwood”.

In a statement Boris Johnson said “For too long, too many towns and villages across Britain have been overlooked and left behind. When the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, many communities felt their voices had been heard for the first time in decades and that their lives would improve. We will invest in these communities and help people put the heart back into the places they call home”.

Rosie said “The Government has confirmed that Skelmersdale railway station will be built”. So how much money will she confirm out of £500million offered for Beeching Reversal will be used in West Lancashire? It’s going to be spread very thinly among many bids.  Nothing has been delivered yet, just promises promises, or bribe upon bribe?

Bonanza Time For Returning Officers

Next Week Will Be Bonanza Time For Returning Officers

West Lancashire Borough Council Statement of Accounts 2018/19 includes, for Salary & Election Fees, Chief Executive, £108,657. For the West Lancashire Constituency its Returning Officer will receive £3,523. Maximum Constituency total costs, £194,273.

Reports that “Salary boost makes returning officers the winners in general elections. A bumper five years for elections have earned highly paid council chiefs tens of thousands of pounds in extra payments. A council chief has received nearly £150,000 in four years for being a returning officer on top of his salary, prompting calls for a review of how public officials are paid to oversee elections.

Tom Riordan

“Leeds city council’s chief executive, has been paid £147,921.66 in fees since 2015 on top of his £182,085 salary, even though much of the election work was carried out during his normal office hours. For this month’s general election he is entitled to a further £28,424, making the total fees almost a year’s salary since the 2015 general election. The council defended the payments and said Riordan could have received even more had he not passed on to his deputies £12,754.33 for this year’s European election.

“Council bosses across the country have benefited from a glut of polls in recent years, including three general elections, the EU referendum and the European election. Riordan does not receive a fee for local elections, though many chief executives do.

“At Sunderland city council, which traditionally wins the race to declare the first general election result, chiefs have received a total of £140,746 since 2015. The payments, received by four holders of the post, include fees for two police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections and local elections as well as the national and European polls. The current Sunderland chief executive, Patrick Melia, who has a salary of £180,000, received an extra £50,168 this year for local elections, a PCC vote and the European poll. He stands to get a further £10,008 for next week’s election.

“Glasgow city council said Annemarie O’Donnell, its chief executive, had received £122,444.42 since 2015. She is entitled to £21,267 for next week. Her annual salary is £176,855. O’Donnell’s total, which included a Scottish parliamentary election in 2016, was less than she was entitled to. She declined a fee for the last round of local council elections and an unspecified share of her fees was passed on to staff, charities and community groups.

“According to parliamentary fee orders governing payments for returning officers, Manchester city council’s chief executive has been entitled to £94,578 for European and national polls since 2015, with £18,691 due for next week. The council was unable to confirm whether the two officers who have held the chief executive position had received their full entitlement. Joanne Roney, who has held the role since 2017, has a salary of £205,671.

“Newcastle city council confirmed that its chief executive, Pat Ritchie, had received £68,216 in fees on top of her salary, currently £183,891, since 2015. She does not receive payments for local elections but will receive £8,820 for the general election.

“The payments were described as “totally unsustainable” by the TaxPayers’ Alliance. Cat Smith, who was Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister before parliament was dissolved, has called for a government review into the fee system. Riordan is thought to be the best-paid returning officer in the country. Leeds is the second-largest local authority area. The largest, Birmingham, operates a pay policy that precludes chiefs from receiving returning officer fees. The entitlement is distributed to less senior staff carrying out election work.

2019 No. 1454
The Parliamentary Elections (Returning Officers’ Charges) Order 2019

“The maximum payments available to returning officers, who are nearly always council chief executives, for national, European and crime commissioner polls are set in parliamentary statutory orders, with the sums calculated according to electorate size. Most payments are the responsibility of the Cabinet Office, but local authorities take care of council election fees. Returning officers: maximum recoverable amount for specified services. “In January last year the Cabinet Office said the fees would be part of a wider review into election funding, which has yet to be concluded. Leeds city council said “Elections require those involved to work most evenings, weekends and bank holidays for a prolonged period”.

So “even though much of the election work was carried out during his normal office hours” sounds like double funding for the “rich get rich” brigade. But it’s taxpayers who pay! Where have we heard that before?


Tensions With France Come To Surface

Reports as Britain musters a fleet to repel foreign trawlers

Grimsby, a Labour constituency, relies on the fish industry…except the pic shows Whitby!

Austin Mitchell tweets “A sad example of the journalism of the south. This is a picture of glorious Whitby masquerading as poor bloody Grimsby”.

Britain is building up a fleet of more than 40 ships and two surveillance aircraft to keep EU fishing vessels out of its waters after Brexit, ministers have admitted. It follows the “scallop war” of September 2018 when French vessels rammed British trawlers off the French coast and recent comments from Didier Guillaume 

France’s fishing minister, who said that French boats would ignore any post-Brexit restrictions.

French fishermen have also threatened to blockade Channel ports if they are expelled from UK waters. At least eight of the UK ships will be armed naval vessels, part of the fishery protection squadron operated by the Royal Navy, which has been told to triple the number of days it spends patrolling fishing grounds.

Another 25 ships will come from England’s 10 inshore fishery conservation authorities, each of which has one or more vessels, ranging from fast “rigid inflatables” to 90ft ocean-going vessels. Inshore fisheries officers have been given extra legal powers to board EU fishing vessels and impound them.

The fleet will also include the Welsh government’s three fishery patrol vessels and another three operated by the Scottish government. This was revealed in a briefing document released to the House of Commons library before parliament was dissolved.

Patrols will be overseen by the government’s Marine Management Organisation, using a satellite-based vessel monitoring system and two surveillance aircraft with high-definition cameras to record illegal fishing. The tension follows Guillaume’s comments in July when he said “There is no scenario in which French fishermen should be prevented, could be prevented, would be prevented by Boris Johnson from fishing in UK waters. There is no reason for it. And on that point I really want to fight”.

The potential for fishing to become a post-Brexit battleground has been heightened by the UK as well. This weekend it was announced that French, Spanish and other foreign boats exploiting UK fishing grounds would be forced to employ British crews and land their fish in UK ports once Britain has left the EU.

“A lot of the UK’s fishing quota is now owned by foreign fishermen and Britain gets no benefit because the quota is caught by EU vessels and landed in EU ports” said George Eustice

the fisheries minister. “Post-Brexit fishing agreements are going to take some time, but what we can do immediately is enforce the requirements for an economic link so that EU vessels will need to land about half their fish in the UK, have 50% of their crew from the UK and do half their boat maintenance here”.

Eustice’s comments are designed to match a similar pledge in Labour’s manifesto, which lambasts the Conservatives for failing to protect North Sea cod stocks. These have plummeted by up to 60%, partly as a result of overfishing. Britain’s fishing industry is economically trivial, generating only about 0.1% of GDP. But it is politically important because many ports are in marginal constituencies where fishing is crucial for the economy.


Cornwall’s largest fishing port, is in St Ives, where the Tories beat the Liberal Democrats in 2017 by 312 votes. Labour is defending a majority of 2,565 in Great Grimsby, a town reliant on fish processing as well as fishing, while the Lib Dems are defending majorities of 3,512 in North Norfolk and 4,563 in Orkney and Shetland.

Fishing communities have complained for decades about the EU’s common fisheries policy, under which the UK, to gain entry to the then Common Market, surrendered many of its traditional fisheries to the French and Spanish.

“The EU fleet now catches six times more fish in UK waters than we do in theirs” said Barrie Deas of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations. “The French get 84% of cod in the Channel but we get 9%. In the Celtic Sea, from northern France to the Irish Sea, France gets 66% of the haddock and we get 10%. We want these anomalies corrected.”

Paul Joy, of the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society, said Brexit could mean a bonanza for south coast fishermen if politicians keep their promises. For other sectors, such as shellfish, the benefits of Brexit are far less clear because most of the catch is exported fresh to the EU. Brexit could mean tariffs and delays at ports, risking the catch being degraded.

Eustice said he wanted a deal but was preparing for conflict with the new fisheries protection vessels. “We have also signed a contract for two surveillance aircraft to monitor foreign fishing vessels and are looking at drones, too”.

The New EU Presidents Are Already On The March

Facts4EU reported yesterday

at the “House of European History” [should be “EU History” – Ed.] in Brussels, four of the most important new EU Presidents celebrated the entry into force on 01 December 2009 of the Lisbon Treaty. This created the European Union as a legal entity. It also created much more besides, including the EU Commission.

“None of these four EU Presidents celebrating yesterday were elected to their positions by popular mandate. Here is what the new EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said yesterday:- “Starting today, we are the guardians of the Treaties, the custodians of the Lisbon spirit.”

“Ten years ago, our predecessors were still discussing whether Europe should have a flag or an anthem. But in these ten years, millions of people have taken to the streets waving the European flag, our flag. And millions have been inspired and moved by the Ode to Joy, our European anthem.” – EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Brussels, 01 Dec 2019

• In fact neither the EU flag nor the EU anthem appear anywhere in the Lisbon Treaty. As with so many things EU, these have been ‘adopted’ by the EU but are not included in any Treaty. For information, the final version of the EU flag was designed by a Frenchman, the music was composed by a German, and the lyrics (“An die Freude”, or “To joy”) were written by another German.

The Lisbon Treaty made the European Union into a legal entity for the first time

• Only five countries were given a referendum on this – and it was rejected by the people in three out of the five
• The British people were promised a referendum, but it was cancelled by the Labour government
• Lisbon gave the EU the power to sign international treaties, binding the United Kingdom
• It established a de facto EU Foreign and Defence Secretary, called “the High Representative”
• It gave the EU “exclusive competence” over many areas, including:
o A Common Commercial Policy – setting high tariffs on imported goods
o The running of the Customs Union
o The running of the Single Market
o The EU’s use of British waters, under the Common Fisheries Policy
o The Lisbon Treaty also made the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights legally binding

“Critically, the Lisbon Treaty removed the UK’s national veto in over 40 key areas of policy. This was replaced with the principle of majority voting, known as QMV.

“Who in the British government approved all of this? At the time of the signing of this Treaty in 2007, (it took two years to ratify), Labour’s Gordon Brown was Prime Minister.

“The British people had been promised a referendum. This never happened. At the debate in Parliament on the Treaty, Brown was not even present. At the signing ceremony of all the EU national leaders, Brown was again absent. The then Foreign Secretary David Milliband provisionally signed, for appearance’s sake. Brown turned up several hours later and signed the Treaty quietly in a side room.


“The Lisbon Treaty was a major event in the development of the EU superstate. As readers can see, the tenth anniversary of it coming into force was celebrated yesterday by four of the EU’s many new Presidents. This Treaty was yet another in a long line of treaties which transferred sovereignty from the Crown and the British people, to the technocrats of the extremist Euro-federalist machine in Brussels.

“This is not a matter of debate for Remainer MPs, it is a fact. It’s all there in black and white if they care to read the Treaty that so many of them voted for twelve years ago, and which entered into force on 01 December 2009. Labour PMs Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown both promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. As so often, their manifesto promises were broken and the British people were denied their say.

“In 2016 the people were finally given their say, thanks to the electoral threat of UKIP. Despite a simply astonishing effort by the Establishment, including outright lies from Government ministers, the people voted to leave the autocratic European Union and regain control, as an independent country again.

“It is scarcely credible in our opinion that here we are, three and a half years later, with the majority of political parties campaigning to overturn the largest democratic vote in British history”.

Brexit and Lexit, A Tale Of Two Unions

Rosie Cooper declares herself to be a member of USDAW

(Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) which states “We share the TUC’s view that the consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a catastrophic for working people. The TUC has today made it clear that any deal must meet their tests and the people must have their say on any deal with an option to remain”.

But a move to change Aslef’s policy on Brexit

(the train drivers’ trade union was the first to come out in favour of leaving the EU after a referendum was called by David Cameron), was decisively rejected at the Annual Assembly of Delegates in Leeds in May 2019.

Aslef stated “The EU referendum, which was about infighting in the Tory Party, not about the best interests of the UK, is the most democratic, and most destructive, exercise in our history. We did adopt a Lexit, a left exit, position and that position was debated, at length, by the executive committee. And nothing we said at the time has changed.

“The Lexit argument didn’t take off because we have forgotten what it is like to be a socialist. We have a Brexit, not a Lexit. The Tories are not going to deliver a Brexit for workers. So we have two right-wing arguments, made for staying and leaving.

“The EU is a capitalist trading bloc, with the free movement of capital and labour, and we feel the EU is beyond reform in its present state. And we want to change our own government, too, which is in a mess.”

General secretary Mick Whelan said “We didn’t lie to people. Our Lexit was not about stopping people moving, but about stopping social dumping. I’m the son of Irish immigrants and have nothing against people moving if they get paid the same as everyone else.

“John Major lied [no surprise there then!] when he said membership of the EU meant we had to privatise our railways. And we lobbied against the Fourth Railway Package because we didn’t want our colleagues and comrades on the continent to go through the pain we have”.

Delegates voted 77-3 not to change Aslef’s policy on Brexit.

So, anyone who smears #Brexit as a ‘right wing project’ might want to tell the ASLEF trade union. Their delegates have just voted overwhelmingly 77-3 AGAINST changing Aslef’s pro Brexit policy stating “We feel the #EU is beyond reform”.

“Whatever way you cut it, any Parliamentary manoeuvre to vote against the deal is playing politics, and playing politics with potentially dangerous consequences. The backlash against any parliamentary blocking of democracy will be fierce. The uncertainty caused by continuing delay will deepen distracting divides and harm the economy.

“The deal ends the control of the unelected, neoliberal Commissioners and anti-trade union, anti- worker European Court of Justice. It ends the fiscal constraint rules of the EU that have devastated our public services.

“It ends the procurement rules that have rubbled our industries. It brings our territorial waters back under our control and lays the basis of re-establishing our fishing industries. It brings our borders back under our national control enabling us to begin proper labour market planning.

“It gets rid of the Common Agricultural Policy and compels us to construct a greener, more self-reliant plan to produce more of our own food. It ends the dark policy underpinning the economy whereby the EU demanded Britain focus on financial services instead of real production and a balanced economy.

“It means we can avoid becoming embroiled in the EU’s developing common military policies and formation of an army. Above all it cleanly removes us from the single market and customs union, which is why many say it is worse than the May deal.

“It therefore frees our elected Parliament from the control of those we don’t elect. It puts our country back in our own hands. This is why the fear mongers who say it will lead to deregulation and a hand over to the US miss the point”.