Tag Archives: EU



Of course I’ve no idea whether its deliberate or not, but anyone watching the British Bolshevik Corporation’s Business Live programme this morning could not fail to notice how both presenters repeatedly insisted on talking down the UK’s prospects of success in our negotiations with the EU.

This came after the opening round yesterday and statements from both sides. There was the definite feeling that guests were being encouraged to offer the same views as the presenters.

Sky News’ turn came an hour or so later with Bolton’s opening salvo that with the Queen’s Speech imminent, we still have a minority government. Did he expect things to have changed overnight? More to the point, did he want someone or something to change the situation overnight?

Are these people reporting the news or trying to make it? In particular, the BBC should be reminded yet again that it is a public service broadcaster and is supposed to be impartial in its presentation.

Many of us feel that it long ago crossed the line.

To add to the day’s fun, that rollicking laugh a minute Governor of the Bank of England, gave his Domesday assessment of the economy during Brexit in his usual coma-inducing style.

Do any of these people actually understand that trade between the UK and the EU is a two way street? People seem to have lost sight of the fact that the EU need the same hassle-free arrangements for their trade as we do.

Furthermore, the Conservatives and Labour for whom more than 80% of the people of this land voted recently, are far from poles apart on the need to leave the EU on the best possible terms for the UK. Isn’t it time we all showed some unity at least in talking this country up and by being positive about our future?




MRS MAY STILL DESERVES SUPPORT despite the election debacle. The luckless Timothy & Hill have gone. Chapter closed. May is still by far streaks ahead with the right qualities to get the optimum deal on Brexit. But she must discard running the show in secret and become a team player. The revelation that she allowed two people to shut out critical input from her own MP’s and Party activists is deeply disturbing . She may be forced out eventually, but Party unity must be the priority right now.

Of course, the current state of crisis in the country might have been avoided if PM Cameron had returned from Brussels last year, with one or two concessions from the EU. Instead, too clever for his own good, he tried to flim-flam the electorate with meaningless mumbo jumbo on what he supposedly achieved for Britain. He paid the price. So have the rest of us it seems.

May’s first big mistake was to have a 7 week campaign which has proven disastrous. Was it Macmillan who said a campaign should never be longer than 3 weeks as it gives your opponents too much time to cause problems? Sounds like common sense to me. I would settle for 4 weeks.

Secondly, no one with any real experience in politics would introduce such a controversial and quite unnecessary manifesto commitment in the Social Care minefield, quickly named by opponents as the Dementia Tax. As if this was not bad enough, two of the English language’s most reviled words -means test- were introduced to determine future Winter Fuel Payments! These words are anathema to most of the grey vote and no better way to alienate them.

Obviously, this sent the electorate’s perception of Mrs May as a caring politician immediately into free fall from which it never recovered.

Also, the quasi-presidential style of campaigning by the PM excluded most of the big beasts of the Tory Party whose experience and input should have been regarded as essential in the hustings.

Public Finances, Investment, and the needs of Business generally were little mentioned. There was a perceived reluctance to commit on future Personal and Corporate Taxation while Labour boasted loudly of their limited tax hikes for the rich. Some detail on the Government’s basic strategy in the Brexit talks would have relieved much public anxiety. Also, where did the Party reach out to the young? It will certainly have to recognise their much vaunted new found power next time round.

DUP support will save the Tories’ bacon for now. However, the combined tiny Commons majority will soon be eroded likely leading to another election by October or next Spring, if May is allowed to soldier on till then. Tory vultures are already circling.

Lessons must be learned or we could be stuck after the next election with the text book Socialist Mr Corbyn and the UK ‘s transformation into a banana republic.



We hope!

The media and the rest of the chattering classes are all geared up for Theresa May’s big speech tomorrow in which more definitive information on the Government’s Brexit strategy is expected.

The problem of uncontrolled migration from EU countries into the UK was a key factor in the Referendum outcome last June. If the result is to be respected, it follows that the UK must leave the single market and also the customs union. The only way we could stay in both is if we were allowed full and continued access to EU markets on the same terms as we now enjoy, but without being shackled by the freedom of movement requirement, and without the imposition of tariffs. This is the position for which our negotiators should aim. Would the EU countries not benefit from a similar future reciprocal trading situation with the UK, ie an ‘open’ relationship?

Obviously, British markets will remain vital to other EU countries. We should therefore be confident in our attitude to the negotiations to access and operate within the single market, without the freedom of movement and any other conditions. If the EU proves to be obstructive or unreasonable in the negotiations, and all things considered one cannot see why they would want to be, we should waste no time in giving Brussels notice of our intention to leave the EU at a time advantageous to us. Future trade would then be conducted under WTO rules.

Following the PM’s recent comments, it appears that leaving the single market may well be the direction of travel. It would be far from the end of the world. No trade agreement exists between the UK and the USA, for example, yet they are our largest single export market. Free trade deals with other countries facilitate and help to expand existing trading bonds. These ties have been continued by successive generations of British entrepreneurs on a foundation built by their predecessors over many centuries. Our business men and women are the real deal-makers.

With goodwill on both sides, we can retain our current strong trade links with Europe. But we must also re-establish serious trading links with other non-EU countries, unhindered by unacceptable conditions imposed by Brussels. If necessary, and as a matter of priority, the Government must be prepared to introduce radical new measures to make the UK an even more attractive place to do business. Here, inter alia, I refer to significant changes to existing tax and investment rules. In other words, we would change the UK economic model to make us seriously more competitive.

I’m sure Mrs May will not disappoint! 


Although a competent enough and shrewd politician in the past, it seems that the leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, is becoming increasingly politically desperate and painting herself into a corner from which she is unlikely to be rescued unscathed. Of course, when you’re at the top of the heap, there’s usually only one way to go after that, and its not higher.

Instead of getting down to the serious business of trying to reunite Scots in the face of the country’s many serious economic problems, the First Minister has done little since the Brexit referendum in June last year, but indulge in non-stop spinning because of the Brexit decision, and frequently threaten us all with the prospect of yet another Indyref which we would all welcome like a hole in the head, except for her most ardent hard-core supporters.

Her latest diatribe came this week when she warned us all that she ‘wasn’t bluffing’ about holding another referendum. She then said that one would not be held this year. The SNP former leader, Alex Salmond, has predicted that a 2nd referendum would be held next year. The former SNP Justice Secretary, Kenny Macaskill, a powerful SNP figure, has just said that the economy now is worse than it was in 2014 when the last referendum was held, and lost by the Yes campaign. He points out that circumstances for another vote are both less favourable and more complicated than during the failed referendum in 2014. 

It should be noted that Ms Sturgeon said she would respect that result. Why doesn’t she? And by the way, who gave her the power to call another referendum?

The respected Recruitment and Employment Confederation – ‘Jobs transform lives’ – has just reported a fall in the number of Scots finding permanent work and that the Scottish economy is underperforming the rest of the UK. While the Brexit vote has had a UK-wide effect on confidence, Scotland has double the uncertainty with the prospect of a 2nd Indyref constantly being threatened.

Obviously, the SNP strategy for growth is not working, and the Scottish budget deficit is now approaching 10% of GDP. Instead of getting down to tackling the serious underlying problems in the Scottish economy, and they now have sufficient legislative powers to do this, the SNP continue to live in their own magical fantasy la la land, still stubbornly cherishing the impossible dream of becoming an independent country within the EU.

Its important to get back to basics. Ms Sturgeon and her SNP wonks must have forgotten that the Scottish budget deficit of some 14.8 billion sterling is the worst of any nation in Europe including Greece. With a deficit level comparable with GDP of 9.5%, this is more than twice the rate of the rest of the UK. Now, unless things have changed dramatically since I last looked, to be a member of the EU you should have a budget deficit of no more than 3% of GDP. We all know that this can be fudged, manipulated, or whatever, but to the degree required in Scotland’s case?

There is also the little problem of Catalonia. Who could doubt that Spain would be determined to vote against Scottish membership, or is this just a minor detail to Ms Sturgeon and her SNP cronies?

So Ms Sturgeon, to qualify for EU membership as an independent nation, would you be prepared to cut your Government’s spending by 10% of GDP – or make all of us living in Scotland pay 20% more in tax?

Dream on!



Despite having lost his job over his bad judgement in calling a referendum on Great Britain’s membership of the European Union,  apparently Mr Cameron continues to cling to the notion that he knows best, and that he lost both the referendum and his premiership to the ‘rise of populism’!  As he reportedly and somewhat grandly put it, ‘to the rise of a populist movement of unhappiness that also led to the election of Donald Trump and the downfall of the Italian premier, Matteo Renzi’.

In his recent speech to university students in the USA, in what some would regard as a wide-ranging egotistical rant, Mr Cameron stated that he ‘stands as a great optimist on how ‘we’ can combat populism’!  Do you mean democratic choice, Mr Cameron?

It seems he has only now become aware that the Euro could collapse as a result of the EU’s economic problems, and that some member countries have lost decades of economic growth! Furthermore, while a single currency, the Euro, was in place, there was no single fiscal system or single tax system.

You dont say Mr Cameron?  No doubt the undergraduates at DePauw University in Indiana will take all this hype in their stride, but we must ask where Mr Cameron has been all this time. 

Put simply, everything Mr Cameron now appears to belatedly acknowledge has been well known to most of us for a very long time. He is the man on whom many in this country relied to bring at least one or two concessions back from his negotiations in Brussels. The fact that he completely misread the mood of the British people, and that, for example, he was oblivious to the degree to which we Brits were greatly concerned about the lack of proper control over immigration, and the powers of the European Court of Justice over our British Courts in EU matters, was much resented.

What he gave us in Brussels instead, was a series of late night dramas and messing about with no finale. He failed to convince the other European leaders of the gravity of the British situation, and thus failed to divert them from their self-destruct mission. This is how many of us will remember him. The first step in the break-up of the EU may well be his legacy, because one cant readily think of a more signal achievement.

Let us also not forget that David Cameron is the man who unnecessarily agreed to the failed Scottish Independence Referendum, the consequences of which are still with us, and which could have lead to the break-up of the UK.



This is the headline many Italians will be looking for after the Referendum tomorrow.

Officially, the Referendum has been called by PM Renzi to decide on whether the constitution should be changed to limit the powers of both the Italian Senate and Regions in the country’s bicameral parliamentary system. This was set up in 1948 by the allied powers and specifically engineered to prevent a return to Fascism. 

There is genuine opposition to Renzi’s plans based on the fear that it would lead to a centralising of power. However, the establishment are greatly apprehensive that the electorate will seize this opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the way business is conducted in the Eurozone.  Many are also unhappy that Renzi seems to have made the vote about himself. This miscalculation may therefore provide voters with the ideal opportunity to punish a serving prime minister.  Renzi has made a commitment to resign if he loses the vote. If he goes, a number of anti-establishment parties like the Five Star movement has promised to hold a referendum on retaining the Euro. This would send the rest of the Eurozone’s leaders into very dangerous territory.

Undoubtedly, the wave of popular unrest globally which swept Cameron out of power in the UK, and  lead to Trump’s victory in the USA, is about to engulf Europe. The EU is a war zone fighting off disintegration and economic collapse from within. The Right is on the march everywhere and both France and Germany face critical national elections next year where incumbent leaders face unprecedented challenges from powerful Eurosceptic movements. 

Furthermore, if the Austrians on Sunday choose as their president the gun-loving populist and Islam critic, parliamentary speaker Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party, this would further exacerbate the mood in Europe. While Hofer has not threatened to leave the EU, he is committed to a referendum if Brussels moves to further centralise EU powers.

For Italy itself a No vote on Sunday will not only lead to dangerous political instability, but to massive problems for the country’s banking sector for a start. Italian banks hold huge bad non-performing loans which are reported to total some Euros 360billions which are unlikely to ever be repaid. Obviously, this will have a huge effect on the Eurozone’s other banks. There are serious legal and financial constraints which would prevent a bank bailout by the Italian Government. These constraints are imposed by the Eurozone’s banking regulator. So the cherished Eurozone project of closer banking union may be doomed before it’s off the drawing board.

It seems that British PM May has everything to gain by playing a long cool Brexit game. The later she leaves invoking Article 50,  perhaps the more amenable the other EU leaders may be to her exit strategy, considering the other huge and potentially insurmountable problems they may have on their plate!