Saturday, 10 December 2016

Softbank headquarters $100bn investment fund in London

Japanese conglomerate, Softbank Group, has announced that it is headquartering its new $100bn technology investment fund in London.

Softbank is the 165th largest public company in the world and has its fingers in many pies including internet, telecoms, microchips, media and finance. The decision to move the high tech fund to London is another vote of confidence in post-Brexit UK.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Disqualified Dudley Labour councillor charged with possessing child porn

A Labour councillor in Dudley who lost his seat earlier this year after failing to turn up to a meeting for 6 months has been charged with possession of child porn.

Derrick Hemingsley was first arrested in November last year and released on bail pending an investigation. He was suspended by the Labour Party but refused to give up his council seat, pocketing around £4,700 in allowances before he was disqualified.

He will appear before magistrates in Walsall in January.

McDonalds moving non-US business to UK

McDonalds is moving its tax domicile from Luxembourg to London under a new holding company that will manage its non-US licensing deals.

This week the EU Commission launched a formal investigation into a tax deal between the Luxembourg government and McDonalds which allows the company to pay an effective corporation tax rate of 0%. The Commission has already decided they're guilty, they're just looking for the "evidence" to justify the fines that they'll want to impose.

When the EU Commission is in open economic warfare with the US it's hardly surprising that the American companies the EU is targeting want to escape their jurisdiction.

Article 50 case - The Final Day

Today is the fourth and final day of the Supreme Court hearing over whether or not the Government has the ability to Trigger Article 50 of The Lisbon Treaty to start the procedure to leave the European Union or whether it has to go to a Parliamentary vote.
Royal Courts of Justice
The Government argue that they do not need to have a vote and can use The UK Royal Prerogative in light of the Leave vote at the referendum on 23rd June, a position that the High Court has already rejected.
The case, brought by Gina Miller, argues that Parliamentary Democracy needs to be upheld and as such the Government should be accountable – indeed, she has painted herself as somebody who is fighting for our democracy.
With that in mind, it is worth both Ms Miller and the judges looking at the following instances pertaining to the European Union –
1972 – UK Prime Minister Edward Heath used the RP to sign the treaty for the UK to join the European Economic Community (Common Market) without prior UK Parliament approval
1987 – UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher used RP to sign the Single European Act without prior UK Parliament Approval
1992 – Prime Minister John Major used the RP to sign the Maastricht Treaty without prior UK Parliament approval
1997 – Prime Minister Tony Blair used the RP to sign the Amsterdam Treaty without prior UK Parliament approval
2007 – Prime Minister Gordon Brown used the RP to sign the Lisbon Treaty without UK Parliament approval
2016 – November 3rd – UK High Court decides that Prime Minister Theresa May cannot use the RP to enact Article 50 – withdrawal from the European Union – without prior approval of the UK Parliament
Surely, ‘Stare Decisis’ should come in to play – the legal principle of determining points in litigation according to precedent. Indeed, many find it puzzling that the High Court did not come to this conclusion during the original case although , as highly qualified and respected Judges, they must have had their reasons.
It also begs the question – why are these ‘Champions of Democracy’ only acting now when Parliament has been bypassed using the legislation on previous occasions pertaining to the EU? Is it because this time they do not like the potential outcome?
However, last night saw a Parliamentary vote on the Government’s timetable for activation of Article 50 and came down heavily on the side of the motion by 461 votes to 89 – irrespective of the outcome of the case they now have the Parliamentary approval to push ahead, although worryingly they accepted a Labour amendment to the motion saying that Parliament would need to be informed of the details, effectively tipping our hand in negotiations with Brussels.
brexit-demo-nov-2016
The Charade of Article 50
Whilst the High Court and Supreme Court cases, plus the Parliamentary vote itself, have produced hours of media coverage and masses of newsprint, this whole charade misses a major essential point.
Article 50 was put in to The Lisbon Treaty as a mechanism that was never supposed to be used. The Government only need to send a quick fax or letter to Brussels informing them that they wish to leave to trigger the proposed 2 year ‘negotiation’ period. During this ‘negotiation’, the remaining 27 member states decide what terms they wish to trade with us under upon departure – our own team can make suggestions but will not be involved in those negotiations. Effectively, we will be twiddling our thumbs waiting for what the EU deign to come back and give us.
If the Government do get their ‘deal or no deal’ at the end of the two years then it has to come back to Parliament to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act which took us in to the ‘Common Market’ (as it was then) in the first place.
If the Government genuinely want us to Leave with the best deal possible, they could impose a three line whip to repeal the Act now and negotiate afterwards from a position of strength. After all, in the worst case scenario we go back to WTO rules immediately which would cost the country half of what our EU membership does at the moment even if maximum legal tariffs were imposed – those tariffs, as a net importer from the EU, would harm them far more than they would harm a globally trading, outward looking and independent Britain.
We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by ignoring Article 50 and triggering repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act. The question is, does this Conservative Government really want to give the people what they voted for or do they wish to fudge and delay either to a watered down version where we remain in the European Economic Area (EEA) with continued payments to and regulation from the EU or even, dare I say it, a second referendum? If so, history and the ballot box will not be kind.
The Road to Freedom
GB 2 7th July 2010
If you would like further information on how we should leave the EU, we would highly recommend Gerard Batten MEP’s book, ‘The Road to Freedom’ – this can be purchased via the following link

SNP Transport Minister caught driving without insurance

The Scottish Transport Minister has been caught driving without insurance.

SNP MP Humza Yousaf was stopped by police for a routine check whilst driving a friend's car when it was discovered that he was not insured to drive any car other than his own.

Yousaf claims that after splitting up from his wife he forgot to transfer her insurance policy into his name so that he was the main driver and thus able to drive any other vehicle. He says he will accept any punishment from the courts for the offence which is very magnanimous of him as the courts will no doubt take a dim view of the Transport Minister committing a serious motoring offence.

Lib Dems fined £20k and reported to police over £184,676 of fraudulent expenditure

The Lib Dems have been hit with the maximum £20k fine for making false expenditure declarations totalling £184,676.

An Electoral Commission found 307 items of expenditure from last year's general election we fraudulently split between local and national campaigns. They consider the offence so serious that they have also reported the party to the Metropolitan Police to consider criminal charges.

The Electoral Commission is also calling on the British government to give them more powers as they rightly point out that a £20k fine is peanuts when parties are spending millions on election campaigns. The Electoral Commission should be able to impose larger fines, recover fraudulent expenditure and issue court proceedings itself, including petitions to nullify election results. It is ridiculous that the body responsible for ensuring elections are free, fair and not corrupt is basically powerless to prevent corrupt practices.

MPs vote to trigger Article 50 in March

MPs have voted to respect the British government's timetable for Brexit in a compromise deal that saw the Conservatives vote for a Labour motion that Parliament will get to scrutinise any proposed deal with the EU in exchange for Labour voting for a Conservative amendment that says Article 50 will be triggered by March next year.

Although both sides are claiming it as a victory and a compromise it is really a capitulation by Labour. Any proposed deal with the EU would have gone before Parliament anyway because it would require primary legislation to transpose any treaty into domestic law and it would, by necessity, need to be discussed in parliament beforehand to ensure the primary legislation could be enacted and not delay any treaty ratification.

Assuming the Supreme Court throws out the ridiculous Scottish and Northern Irish claims to be able to veto Brexit tonight's vote pretty much nullifies the High Court judgement obtained by anti-democracy campaigner, Gina Miller as Parliament has consented to the government taking us out of the EU.


In the end 89 MPs voted against respecting the outcome of the EU referendum including all SNP MPs and the sole Green. Only one Conservative - Ken Clarke - voted against the motion.

Here are the MPs who voted to ignore our votes:

CandidateParty
Ken ClarkeConservatives
Rushanara AliLabour
Graham AllenLabour
Ben BradshawLabour
Ann CoffeyLabour
Neil CoyleLabour
Stella CreasyLabour
Geraint DaviesLabour
Jim DowdLabour
Louise EllmanLabour
Chris EvansLabour
Paul FarrellyLabour
Mike GapesLabour
Helen HayesLabour
Meg HillierLabour
Peter KyleLabour
David LammyLabour
Chris LeslieLabour
Ian MurrayLabour
Barry SheermanLabour
Tulip SiddiqLabour
Angela SmithLabour
Catherine WestLabour
Daniel ZeichnerLabour
Alistair CarmichaelLib Dems
Nick CleggLib Dems
Tim FarronLib Dems
Sarah OlneyLib Dems
Mark WilliamsLib Dems
Caroline LucasGreens
Mark DurkanSDLP
Alasdair McDonnellSDLP
Margaret RitchieSDLP
Natalie McGarryIndependent
Michelle ThomsonIndependent
Jonathan EdwardsPlaid Cymru
Liz Saville RobertsPlaid Cymru
Hywel WilliamsPlaid Cymru
Tasmina Ahmed-SheikhSNP
Hannah BardellSNP
Mhairi BlackSNP
Ian BlackfordSNP
Kirsty BlackmanSNP
Philip BoswellSNP
Deidre BrockSNP
Alan BrownSNP
Lisa CameronSNP
Douglas ChapmanSNP
Joanna CherrySNP
Ronnie CowanSNP
Angela CrawleySNP
Martyn DaySNP
Martin Docherty-HughesSNP
Stuart Blair DonaldsonSNP
Marion FellowsSNP
Margaret FerrierSNP
Stephen GethinsSNP
Patricia GibsonSNP
Patrick GradySNP
Peter GrantSNP
Neil GraySNP
Drew HendrySNP
Stewart HosieSNP
George KerevanSNP
Calum KerrSNP
Chris LawSNP
Angus MacNeilSNP
John Mc NallySNP
Callum McCaigSNP
Stuart McDonaldSNP
Anne McLaughlinSNP
Carol MonaghanSNP
Paul MonaghanSNP
Roger MullinSNP
Gavin NewlandsSNP
John NicolsonSNP
Brendan O'HaraSNP
Kirsten OswaldSNP
Steven PatersonSNP
Angus RobertsonSNP
Alex SalmondSNP
Tommy SheppardSNP
Chris StephensSNP
Alison ThewlissSNP
Mike WeirSNP
Eilidh WhitefordSNP
Philippa WhitfordSNP
Corri WilsonSNP
Pete WishartSNP

Monday, 5 December 2016

Immigration reaches another record high

The Office for National Statistics has released some inconvenient figures for the British government as immigration continues to spiral out of control.

In the latest set of figures for the 12 months to June 2016 net immigration was running at 335k, almost half of which was EU immigration. Gross immigration for the same period was 650k, again with almost half coming from the EU alone. A quarter of all EU immigration came from Bulgaria and Romania, proving Nigel Farage's warnings right.


NET IMMIGRATION

335,000 net immigration
189,000 from the EU
196,000 non-EU
82,000 EU immigrants arrived looking for work
54,000 Romanians



GROSS IMMIGRATION

650,000 gross immigration
384,000 from the EU
289,000 non-EU
130,000 immigrants arrived looking for work



NATIONAL INSURANCE

924,000 NINo numbers requested by immigrants
629,000 for EU citizens
195,000 for non-EU citizens



EFFECT ON LABOUR FORCE

454,000 more people in work between July and September
47% UK citizens
49% EU citizens
4% non-EU citizens
25% of EU immigrants were from Bulgaria and Romania


Supreme Court appeal against High Court Brexit judgment starts today

The Supreme Court is hearing the British government's appeal against a High Court judgement obtained by anti-democracy campaigner, Gina Miller, that parliament should have to vote to start proceedings to leave the EU.

David Cameron said that he was going to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty immediately if we voted to Leave but perhaps seeing an opportunity to drag things out he resigned instead leaving the whole process open to vexatious legal challenges. Theresa May - another Remain campaigner - has continued the prevarication, eventually allowing the process to be challenged in the courts.

The hearing will take place over the next four days with judgement expected in the new year. But that is unlikely to be the end of it because the Supreme Court is not, in fact, supreme. Ironically, the ultimate authority on if, how and when we leave the EU is the EU courts. If that doesn't underline the extent to which successive British governments have given away our sovereignty then what does?

You can watch the proceedings live on the BBC website.


Italians vote down constitutional reforms, Renzi resigns

The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has resigned after Italians voted against his constitutional reforms by a wide margin.

Renzi had wanted to change the constitution to take most of the power away from the senate and hand it to the central government and to replace the directly elected members of the senate with appointments from regional assemblies. It would have made the Prime Minister and his government very powerful and upset the careful balance established by the post-facist era constitution whilst establishing the primacy of EU law in the Italian constitution. It's all a bit Blairite but that's hardly surprising as he has been compared to Blair since first rising to the top of the Italian Democratic Party.

With most polls counted the country is divided roughly 60/40 against the proposed constitutional changes on a 70% turnout and Renzi conceded defeat this morning. The Five Star Movement - UKIP's main partner in the EFDD group in the EU Parliament - is putting itself on a war footing in preparation for early elections next year but it is likely that the President (himself a member of the Italian Democratic Party) will appoint a caretaker government instead.

Italy's debt to GDP ratio is 133% which is second only to Greece amongst €urozone economies, their banks are teetering on the brink of collapse and unemployment is through the roof. This is a major cause for concern in the €urozone given that Italy is their third largest economy.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Article 50, #Brexit - all systems go! High Court case starts on Monday 5th, call your MP to account!

There had been a suggestion that Nigel Farage would lead a march in London near the Supreme Court when this case started. This has now been entirely discounted - there was not time to address all the issues that such a (potentially huge) event would have raised regarding planning, safety etc.

However, here in Brighton we have been working on other plans partly because not everyone can spend a weekday in London at the drop of a hat - it is expensive and 'leavers' (unlike remainers) generally have jobs and work to do! And partly because the idea of marching on the courts seemed a bit off as at the end of the day it is MPs who are accountable to us and have the power...

The Constituency Flash Rally - local constituents gathering for half an hour (12:30-13:00 so working bods can do it in their lunch hour) to put on a bit of a show and sign a petition specifically for their MP. So not just names, but constituents petitioning their own MP to act in accordance with the Referendum Result!

We have held one, and now have one planned for Monday, 5th December (12:30-13:00) this is for constituents of Hove and Portslade (Kyle, Labour), Brighton Pavilion (Lucas, Green) and Brighton Kemptown (Kirby, Conservative) - if one is your MP, would be great to see you, if not why not organise your own the date/time are set, just select a suitable location in your constituency and get people along!

This is a petition:-

And here's our flyer! (online at http://eepurl.com/cqCrhb - facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/583692151826921)

MPs must respect the democratic will of the People. They must respect the EU Referendum result.

Monday 5th Dec 12:30-13:00 Steine Gardens.

Together we can make our MPs listen.


Today the Supreme Court starts hearing the governments appeal against needing a parliamentary vote on invoking Article 50 and starting the UKs exit from the European Union

But it is not the courts or judges who will decide whether we leave or not, we have already made that decision - we will be leaving on WTO terms plus whatever is negotiated in the two year, Article 50, notice period.

Our MPs voted 6 to 1 to let us, the public, decide if we should stay in or leave the European Union. 33.6 million votes were cast and the choice was clear, that we should leave the European Union.

We were told that once we had voted the government would promptly invoke Article 50 and we would start the process of leaving. Not one person at the time suggested there would be any further vote or debate - quite the reverse - we were told over and over that it was a one off, irreversible choice.

We made our choice.

We have already waited too long to have our decision implemented - the government and parliament are not just ignoring the 'leave' voters, they are ignoring all voters, the whole democratic process of the referendum is being challenged. The British public's democracy and sovereignty is being challenged by parliament - the very MPs who are supposed to be acting on our behalf.

We are organising this our second 'flash rally' - just half an hour, in your lunch hour, join us and sign a petition - specifically for your own MP, the person elected to parliament to represent you.  Our event is for constituents of Hove and Portslade, Brighton Pavilion and Brighton Kemptown. And we hope other constituencies will copy the idea and have their own, one per constituency at the same time right across the country - even if not this time, maybe next or the next or the next...

Just turn up at Steine Gardens (the bit of green in Old Steine nearest the sea down from the pavilion with the big fountain!) and join us for half an hour from 12:30 to 13:00 on the Monday the 5th of December.

This is for everyone - leaver, remainer or even non-voter who simply wants the democratic referendum result of the British people to be implemented without further interference. Bring family, bring friends, bring neighbours.

If you have friends in other constituencies - get them to select a location in their constituency for a similar rally at the same time 12:30-13:00 on the 5th,, and get their fellow constituents along. Lets make this one of the first of many multi-sited national events for voters to call their MP's to account!
The People Have Spoken, Brighton Flash Rally.
Steine Gardens at 12:30 to 13:00 on the 5th December - bring friends, family, neighbours and anyone else you know who lives in Hove and Portlsade, Brighton Pavilion or Brighton Kemptown.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Paul Nuttall elected leader of UKIP

Paul Nuttall MEP has been elected leader of UKIP by a huge majority.

Paul Nuttall62.4%
Suzanne Evans19.3%
John Rees-Evans18.1%

The new leader's first appointments are Peter Whittle AM as Deputy Leader, Paul Oakden as Party Chairman and Patrick O'Flynn MEP as Principal Political Advisor.

Paul has used his acceptance speech to call for unity and warned that members who just want to cause trouble will not be welcome in the party. The time for infighting and factionalism has come to an end.

Leadership election result today

The results of the leadership election will be announced at lunchtime today with Paul Nuttall the bookies' favourite by a wide margin.

Most bookies are offering odds of 1/7 for Paul Nuttall with John Rees-Evans at 6/1 and Suzanne Evans at 8/1. Nobody is going to get rich backing Paul Nuttall!

John Rees-Evans has made a preemptive complaint about the election process as some members didn't receive their ballot papers from the Electoral Reform Service and were allowed to vote by email to the returning officer, Paul Oakden. The number of eligible members who didn't receive a ballot paper is unknown but not thought to be significant.

Due to the number of candidates and the impracticality of voting by email for the NEC election, that deadline has been extended to 9th December.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

MEPs approve "dangerous fantasy" EU army

A fairly narrow (by EU standards) majority of MEPs have tonight voted for an EU army.

Nick Clegg described an EU army as "a dangerous fantasy" and denied the existence of plans to create one. Even when the plans drafted by the Germans were leaked before the referendum, Project Fear still denied the EU would be getting its own army. Now they're getting their own army in the next 12 months with a £76m budget and a mandate to operate outside of, and contrary to, NATO.

Oh and we'll be paying for it.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Diane James resignation, the NEC and the heart of UKIP

Diane James has resigned from UKIP, citing an "increasingly difficult" relationship with the party and lack of support from the NEC during her brief stint as leader.

There have been a few senior resignations or defections since the referendum which, whilst disappointing, isn't particularly concerning. What we're seeing is the Tories in UKIP clothing and protest members going back to their old political lives and those who are left behind are the real UKIPpers.

What is of concern is Diane's comments about the NEC. It's a common criticism amongst those that are leaving the party under a cloud that the NEC are making irrational decisions and are impossible to deal with. The NEC can't keep lurching from one disaster to the next and not take responsibility. We need to not only bring in fresh blood in the NEC elections that close this week but look at how the NEC needs to change to make it work better for the party and its members.

Leadership contender, Suzanne Evans, has suggested that Diane Evans should resign along with Steven Woolfe, Amjid Bashir and Janice Atkinson as UKIP was elected not them as individuals and she's right. UKIP won 24 seats in the EU elections and those seats should be filled by UKIP MEPs. That's what people voted for and that's what they should get.

There will probably be more people walking away from UKIP in the coming months who came along for the ride but were never really UKIPpers at heart. UKIP is its grassroots members and supporters - those of us who stand in council elections, hang around on street corners giving out leaflets, put up posters and work for the communities we live in - and while we're still doing our bit on the ground the party will survive and thrive despite the tantrums, politicking and manoeuvring at the top.