Category: NewsWatch

I’m An Original Sinner, I Voted To Leave The EU

Things are getting serious, apparently!

John Redwood wrote that “Germany yesterday, we are told, asserted herself again as the leader of the EU. In a few harsh words Mrs Merkel effectively said to Mr Johnson he was wasting his time and the time and energy of the UK government in seeking changes to the Irish backstop. As far as she was concerned the EU needed the full backstop, customs union and single market alignment”. But we always knew this, didn’t we?

And Speaker John Bercow has accused Brexiteers of ‘blaming the referee because they’re losing the match’ in his parting shot as Speaker. In a wide-ranging interview with CNN the Speaker dismissed claims of bias from hardline Brexiteer MPs. “If you are losing the match, it’s quite bad form to blame the referee” he said.

He added that he did not believe he was “a remainer enabler. I would say that I’m an enabler of all colleagues across the House who want to express their different points of view”. Really? What a clown! Bercow is facing allegations of ‘plotting’ today after it emerged he met the EU Parliament chief to discuss their ‘shared’ desire to avoid No Deal. David Sassoli revealed he held talks with Bercow in London this morning, telling MEPs they were on the ‘same wavelength’.

Another village idiot, Jean-Claude Juncker , has warned that “No Deal Brexit” will ‘lead to the collapse of the United Kingdom’ as the EU heaped pressure on Boris Johnson to cave to its demands. The commission president dismissed suggestions that the bloc will be to blame for failure to get an agreement, jibing that Britain had committed the ‘original sin’ of trying to leave.

The combative comments came amid claims the EU is considering offering the UK an extension lasting just weeks, rather than the three months that had been mooted.

Some member states want to deprive Boris Johnson of the time to hold an election, arguing that if he secures a majority it will put him in a stronger position. Creating a No Deal ‘cliff edge’ could maximise the bloc’s leverage to force Mr Johnson into a humiliating climb-down. Negotiations appear to be on life support after Mr Johnson had a brutal clash with Angela Merkel in a telephone call yesterday.

In an interview in French newspaper Les Echos, Juncker said it would be the UK’s fault if Brexit turned sour [It has already hasn’t it, for three years!] ‘If that’s the case the explanation is actually in the British camp because the original sin is on the islands and not on the continent’ he said. ‘A no-deal Brexit would lead to a collapse of the United Kingdom and a weakening of growth on the continent”.

And Brussels is braced for Boris Johnson to storm out of next week’s EU summit on Brexit after the expected failure to secure agreement on a replacement for the Irish backstop. Speculation is rife that the prime minister will walk out of the European Council in Brussels as part of a British strategy to “fabricate a crisis”. EU diplomatic sources warned that the tactic would fail in forcing the bloc to shift its red lines. “You can hit your fists on the table but in the end only the fist will hurt” one EU diplomat said.

Best not to go there at all, to allow them their opportunity to humiliate the UK. Just leave! But first make them understand that “The UK’s economy is bigger than 18 EU member countries COMBINED. Even if all these 18 EU member states left simultaneously, the EU’s total economy would not shrink as much as it will after Brexit. In effect, Brexit is the economic equivalent of the EU28 becoming the EU10”.

Local Resident Puts Virgin Health Under The Spotlight

The Champion has published a letter from Ormskirk resident Barrie French that asks serious questions of Virgin Health Care.

Mr French wants to know more about the “short intensive support service” which he thinks is a new contract awarded to Virgin Care. But the CCG insist it is simply an additional service under the community service remit which Virgin Care was commissioned to deliver. 

Surely Mr French, and all of us, should know how residents can hold private providers to account, and who could disagree with that? Out-sourcing the NHS is providing profit for these companies outside the public service. How much longer can this go on?

Boris Goes Nuclear!

According to Peston

“Downing St has tonight said explicitly that EU governments which oppose a Brexit delay will be rewarded by Boris Johnson, and that if the EU approves a delay Johnson will do his damnedest to sabotage the functioning of the EU, pending Brexit. This is the most explosive Downing St briefing in modern times. The diplomatic repercussions will be significant. If it is even half true, the bad blood between the UK and EU could last a decade”.

Gerrof, Peston, Boris is just showing he’s got balls! Sod diplomacy, bring on democracy!

 

John Redwood Bang On The Free Trade Money

John Redwood writes

“Mrs May always refused to dig in or to cease making concessions. Every time the EU dug in she gave more ground. The result was a disastrous Withdrawal Treaty which united Leave and Remain in opposition to it.

“The present PM needs to tell the EU that his Irish border proposals to get talks going are neither an invitation to assume the text of the rest of the Withdrawal treaty is fine, nor an invitation to get rid of all the best bits of the border fix from the UK point of view in subsequent one sided compromises. The press when the PM launched the ideas said it was take it or leave it. To change that approach now would be seen as weakness in Brussels.

“The best way forward now is to offer a Free Trade Agreement and no Withdrawal Agreement”.

Hear hear!

Meanwhile, today, the government

has (8 October) published an update to the UK’s temporary tariff regime if we leave the EU without a deal. The temporary tariff regime provides a balanced approach on tariffs for both consumers and producers.

British businesses would not pay tariffs on imports into the UK for the majority of goods if we leave the EU without an agreement.

This will mean lower prices in shops for consumers and the opportunity to source the best goods from around the world. For example, honey from New Zealand will see its tariff fall from 17% to zero, grapes from Brazil will reduce from around 15% to zero and other products, such as tennis rackets and wines will no longer face a tariff.

The regime would apply for up to 12 months while a full consultation on a permanent approach to tariffs is undertaken from January, as part of work to develop the UK’s independent trade policy. All businesses, interest groups and consumers will be able to share their views about the permanent tariff regime with the government through this process.

Brexit Deal Is “Essentially Impossible” Says Frau Merkel

As news breaks that “Boris Johnson spoke to the German chancellor earlier about the proposals he put forward to the EU, but the No 10 source said Frau Merkel made clear a deal based on them was “overwhelmingly unlikely”. No surprise there then! We wonder if they discussed the state of the German economy including its car industry?

They also claimed she said a deal would never be possible unless Northern Ireland stayed in a customs union.

Meanwhile, we refer back to the Irish Govt customs bosses ‘no border infrastructure needed’ report yesterday. The devastating testimonies that prove the Irish Government and EU are playing politics with Brexit.

Why won’t the Irish Government and EU listen to its own experts?

On Cross-Border Trade In Agricultural Products And Animals, Mr Niall Cody (Irish Customs): “Food integrity is clearly a major challenge, and the agrifood sector will need careful handling. It is primarily one of the areas that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will lead on. There is an integrated nature to the supply chain of the agrifood sector, which is probably the biggest sectoral challenge. It is interesting in the context of the task force as this issue is primarily driven by environmental health, so DG SANTE leads in that regard, and we are kind of subcontractors after the event. Nobody underestimates the challenge that Brexit brings but we will be starting from a position of an equivalence of standards. As Mr. Keegan argues, when somebody leaves the club, equivalence changes over time. That is an asset challenge but we will be a support to agriculture in that area.”

On Irish Goods Transiting Through The UK

Q: “Let me give an example of a haulier who has a truck going to France via the Border. Mr. Cody has outlined the role of Revenue at the Border. What will happen when this truck crosses into Northern Ireland, travels to England and crosses to France? Could Mr. Cody say how many checks a truck would have to undergo on that journey?”

Mr. Niall Cody “It would depend on whether the United Kingdom is part of the common transit arrangement. If it were part of the common transit area, there is a facility whereby a truck leaving Dublin can go under the transit arrangement to its final destination in France”.

Q: “Would it have been checked once?”
Mr. Niall Cody “It would probably not have been checked at all.”

Q: “Is that a possibility?”
Mr. Niall Cody “Yes. However, if the United Kingdom transit arrangements do not work, for whatever reason—–”

Q: “Is it not in the interests of the United Kingdom to have a transit arrangement in view of the fact that some of the trucks from the North come to Dublin or trucks coming into Wexford travel to the North?” Mr. Niall Cody “It is absolutely in the interests of the United Kingdom to have transit arrangements. We imagine the UK will have such arrangements, but one cannot guess.”

And here is what the UK Customs boss said

“There are no formal conversations with either the French or the Irish. We cannot talk to Customs or taxation management organisations in either of those countries”. Sir Jon Thompson 

Chief Executive of HM Revenue and Customs, giving evidence to the Exiting the European Union Committee, 29 Nov 2017. Sir Jon went on to say that discussions with the Irish Revenue had started, but were halted, and not by the British.

“Two years ago Michel Barnier was caught on a hidden camera in a meeting with Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Parliament’s Brexit Co-ordinator, discussing the use of Ireland. And here is what Barnier said “For me there is also a strategic and tactical reason, which is using Ireland for future negotiations. Isolating Ireland and not closing this point, leaving it open for the next two or three years.” Michel Barnier, Chief EU Negotiator, caught on camera by BBC4 documentary.

“If the EU and the Irish Government had been remotely interested in preserving the Good Friday Agreement and peace in Northern Ireland, what would have been more logical than for the civil servants responsible for each side of the border to discuss new arrangements? Instead, the Irish side has been banned from doing so for the last three years. This was a deliberate act.

“A quick solution to altered arrangements for the NI border, sorted out by those who know the most about it, the Customs teams on each side, was not in the EU’s interests. The EU wished to use the border as one of their three pre-emptive issues to prevent trade being talked about and to keep the UK in the Single Market and Customs Union. In this, they have succeeded to this day”.

And what of the Irish politicians involved in this?


“The EU had a willing partner in this subterfuge in the form of the fiercely nationalist Irish government of Messrs Varadkar and Coveney. Despite a ‘no deal’ Brexit being catastrophic for the Irish economy, it is our opinion that they put their own political considerations above the interests of their own people, and effectively weaponised this issue. In so doing, they have been played by Brussels. It remains to be seen if the Irish people will ever forgive them”.

It’s All About Ireland, The Country We Bailed Out!

You’ll recall the huge bailout the UK delivered to Ireland? Circa £7billion in 2010?  Ireland still paying interest on it? How times change.

James Forsyth writes in the Spectator

“The negotiations will probably end this week. Varadkar doesn’t want to negotiate. Varadkar was keen on talking before the Benn Act when he thought that the choice would be ‘new deal or no deal’. Since the Benn Act passed he has gone very cold and in the last week the official channels and the backchannels have also gone cold.

“Varadkar has also gone back on his commitments, he said if we moved on manufactured goods then he would also move but instead he just attacked us publicly. It’s clear he wants to gamble on a second referendum and that he’s encouraging Barnier to stick to the line that the UK cannot leave the EU without leaving Northern Ireland behind. [Or perhaps the EU is giving Varadkar his orders!]

“There are quite a few people in Paris and Berlin who would like to discuss our offer but Merkel and Macron won’t push Barnier unless Ireland says it wants to negotiate. Those who think Merkel will help us are deluded. As things stand, Dublin will do nothing, hoping we offer more, then at the end of this week they may say ‘OK, let’s do a Northern Ireland only backstop with a time limit’, which is what various players have been hinting at, then we’ll say No, and that will probably be the end.

“Varadkar thinks that either there will be a referendum or we win a majority but we will just put this offer back on the table so he thinks he can’t lose by refusing to compromise now. Given his assumptions, Varadkar’s behaviour is arguably rational but his assumptions are, I think, false. Ireland and Brussels listen to all the people who lost the referendum, they don’t listen to those who won the referendum and they don’t understand the electoral dynamics here. If this deal dies in the next few days, then it won’t be revived. To marginalise the Brexit Party, we will have to fight the election on the basis of no more delays, get Brexit done immediately.”

As to how the Government would then deal with the Hilary Benn “Surrender” Act, the source explains “The Act imposes narrow duties. Our legal advice is clear that we can do all sorts of things to scupper delay which for obvious reasons we aren’t going into details about. Different lawyers see the ‘frustration principle’ very differently especially on a case like this where there is no precedent for primary legislation directing how the PM conducts international discussions… Those who pushed the Benn Act intended to sabotage a deal and they’ve probably succeeded. So the main effect of it will probably be to help us win an election by uniting the Leave vote and then a no-deal Brexit. History is full of such ironies and tragedies.”

Leavers might ask, where is the tragedy in the votes of 17.4million people, after over three years, delivering what was actually voted for and promised in writing? If the establishment gets a bloody nose, so be it, and enjoy it! As the former Labour MP Bryan Gould

considers the antics of “those MPs who have contrived to frustrate the will of the people” he concludes “Those whose response to defeat for their viewpoint in the referendum has been a rearguard action using these guerrilla tactics do not seem to realise that the difficulties they have helped to engineer in the way of the UK leaving the EU make the eventual departure even more certain”.

Irish Govt Customs Bosses “No Border Infrastructure Needed”

In an astonishing exposure of how the Irish Government denied the existence of there being no border infrastructure needed, Brexit Facts4EU.Org

can present the testimonies given in 2017 to a Committee of the Irish Parliament by the senior members of the Irish Revenue & Customs and by the Taoiseach’s Brexit adviser.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary. Testimonies were given on the basis the entire UK would be OUT of the Single Market, and OUT of the Customs Union. The three people questioned were:-Niall Cody, Chairman of the Board of the Irish Revenue Commissioners, Liam Irwin, then Irish Revenue Commissioner, and John Callinan, Head of Economic, International & Northern Ireland Division, Taoiseach Department.

These official Irish Government experts said:-No checks at the border will be required; Declarations will be electronic, customs checks at warehouses and away from the border; No plans for anything along the border; 82% of goods imports are already under the system proposed by the UK.

Observations

“The EU and the Irish Government only like experts who give the ‘right’ answers. The testimony of these three Irish State experts was not helpful to the EU nor to the Irish Government. They show that the UK Government’s assertion that the Irish border issue can be solved by relatively simple measures – most of which actually apply today – are correct.

“Readers may well ask why these expert testimonies were not publicised. Well, we tried several times. Readers may also ask why they did not immediately result in the necessary preparations being made over two years ago.

“These are the IRISH customs officials, giving testimony to the IRISH parliament. ON THE NATURE OF THE NEW BORDER. Liam Irwin: “Whatever happens, it is clear that a border with the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, would not be what we saw in 1993 just because customs have moved on and become electronic.”

“We are planning for trade facilitation, enabling goods to move. We have absolutely no plans for anything along the Border at this stage. We are examining what the various forms of declaration might be, primarily or almost exclusively electronic, with anything requiring inspection being signalled for inspection somewhere in general proximity to the Border, but if I were to hazard a guess, not on the Border.”

Q: “Revenue has identified several locations where customs posts could be erected in–”. Mr. Liam Irwin (Irish Customs): “That is not true.”
Q: “That is not true?”
Mr. Liam Irwin (Irish Customs): “That is not true.”
Q: “Is Revenue looking at several suitable locations?”
Mr. Liam Irwin (Irish Customs): “We are not currently looking at any locations. No planning has reached that stage. We are examining what we might need in terms of infrastructure but not where it might be. We are not looking at sites-”
Q: “What does that mean? The witness said it would be beside the Border but not on the Border. What does that mean?”
Mr. Liam Irwin (Irish Customs): “It would be in some proximity to the Border. It might be 10 km or 15 km back from the Border.”
Q: “Would it be a facility? What is the purpose of it?”
Mr. Liam Irwin (Irish Customs): “Declarations would be electronic. Electronic facilitation could be done using anything from a big computer system to apps on a mobile device such as a tablet or a phone. Most transactions would be immediately approved and that would be the end of that. There would be free movement for those items thereafter. Perhaps 6% to 8% of items, mainly comprising container traffic—–”
Q: “Would be diverted to this facility?”
Mr. Liam Irwin: “—-would be diverted. Based on current experience, most of those items would be diverted for a documentary check and a small number sent for physical inspection. There would not be customs stops on the Border such as applied until 1992 as described by the Deputy. That is not the process we envisage. Declarations will be electronic. The stations will be there mainly for trade facilitation to clarify issues. There would be some form of customs intervention but not at those stations. It would probably comprise mobile intervention of some consignments, either randomly or randomly with risk rating. The trade facilitation station will be very different from the customs stations the Deputy remembers.”

Mr. Niall Cody (Irish Customs): “In 2016, 6% of import declarations were checked and less than 2% were physically checked. The vast majority of these checks were carried out in approved warehouses and other premises with a very small number at a port or airport. The low level of import checks is the result of pre-authorisation of traders, advance lodgement of declarations and an extensive system of post-clearance checks, including customs audit, which are carried out at traders’ premises.” “Authorised economic operators, AEOs, have a special status in the system and under agreed protocols are allowed to operate greatly simplified customs procedures. There are currently 133 AEOs, which account for 82% of all imports and 89% of exports. It will be very important that the bulk of trade continues to be through AEOs after Brexit.”

It is now EU policy for customs across the EU to be managed electronically.
Mr. Niall Cody (Irish Customs) “The EU policy is to go to an IT-based customs process that is totally paperless. The Vice President of the European Commission gave a speech at the European Parliament last week about evaluating customs performance and management as a tool to facilitate trade and fight illicit trade.”

Mr. Niall Cody (Irish Customs) “Under EU treaties, customs policy is a competence of the Commission. The law governing customs, the Union customs code, was introduced in 2016. The administration of controls is a matter for national administrations provided that the systems in use satisfactorily address any risk to the EU”.

There is more of this report, to follow.