Sunday, 23 October 2016

Canada-EU trade deal vetoed by Wallonian regional parliament

Belgium's Wallonian regional parliament has vetoed the EU-Canada trade deal (CETA), finally putting an end to 7 years of fruitless negotiations and drawing scathing criticism from the Canadians who have declared the EU impossible to do business with.

The UK accounts for more than a quarter of Canada's total trade with the EU and is Canada's fourth largest trading partner. Excluding the UK, only six EU countries feature in Canada's top 20 trading partners. CETA was very much a UK+EU treaty and many experts believe that trade negotiators will simply chop out the EU bits and present that as a trade agreement for the UK only. With an estimated 15-20% increase in trade on both sides expected from CETA, it's hard to believe that Canada wouldn't grasp the opportunity with both hands.

One thing the collapse of CETA has shown us is just how wrong Project Fear was when it claimed that we needed the EU to do our trade deals for us because we're so small and insignificant. The EU has a terrible track record for agreeing trade deals thanks in no small part to the irreconcilable problem of having to satisfy 28 competing sets of priorities. Our Commonwealth partners can't wait to start trade negotiations whilst our so-called friends in the EU are still competing with each other to see who can get the most publicity for threatening to block any EU-UK trade deal and undermine our financial services sector.

The EU's inability to sign trade agreements might hold up and EU-UK trade deal but as it will almost certainly involve paying billions into the EU's coffers for the "privilege" of trading with the world's fastest declining economic bloc, we only stand to gain from trading under WTO tariffs anyway.

Chair of Russell Group universities says universities should embrace Brexit

The chairman of the Russell Group of universities, Sir David Greenaway, has broken ranks with other university heads and declared Brexit "the catalyst we all need" to become "more global" and "more outwardly facing".

Sir David is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nottingham which has jumped four places to 21st in the latest university league table by the Complete University Guide. It plans to take advantage of Brexit by strengthening its ties with partners round the world.

Paul Nuttall and Suzanne Evans join leadership contest

Paul Nuttall and Suzanne Evans have thrown their hats into the ring for the re-run of the leadership election following Diane Evans' resignation after just 18 days.

Evans was barred from the previous leadership election as she was serving a suspension following her conduct in the London Assembly election campaign. It is very much to her credit that she stuck with UKIP despite what she and others (rightly or wrongly) felt was unfair treatment.

Nuttall pulled out of the previous leadership election and the decision was in no small part because of threats and abuse from far left activists. As a working class, old Labour northerner Nutall is seen as a huge threat to Labour and the Corbynists in particular.

London Assembly member Peter Whittle was an unexpected addition to the leadership race when he announced his candidacy a little under a fortnight ago. Whittle is one of the most senior openly gay politicians in the country (UKIP MEP for Scotland, David Coburn, is another) and was the only gay candidate for London Mayor.

West Midlands MEP, Bill Etheridge, is the only candidate from the previous contest to put himself forward again. He came third behind Diane James and Lisa Duffy and ahead of Phillip Broughton and Liz Jones.

The final declared candidate so far is the London editor of the hard right American political website, Breitbart, Raheem Kassam. Kassam was ineligible under the rules of the previous contest as he hadn't been a member for long enough but qualifies now the criteria have been relaxed.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

First so-called "child" refugees arrive in UK

The first so-called refugees have been relocated to the UK under a scheme to reunite unaccompanied children living in the "jungle" camp in Calais with their relatives living here. But if you were hoping to see the young primary school kids with tears rolling down their grubby cheeks that the media broadcast at us every day you'll be disappointed.

Facial recognition software has put the ages of most of the "children" anywhere from mid-20s to late 30s. One so-called refugee claimed to be under 18 but is believed to be 38. A fostering charity - TACT - claimed he was an interpreter and said anyone using him to criticise so-called refugees is racist but they later backed down when they discovered he was actually a grown man pretending to be a child.

The Home Office is refusing to carry out dental checks on people who are clearly grown adults claiming to be children because it's "intrusive". Disabled people already living here can be subjected to intrusive medical checks and degrading interviews to prove their continued entitlement to disability benefits but young men in their 20s and 30s who've travelled more than 2,000 miles across the Middle East and Europe might find having an x-ray traumatic so Home Office officials have to take them at their word.

Home Office officials are also not checking whether the family these so-called refugees claim they have in the UK actually exist or whether they're willing to look after these young men. Many of those young enough to get away with calling themselves children are likely to end up being put up by local authorities when they turn out to be homeless.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Steven Woolfe resigns from UKIP, won't "honour the responsibility in his pledge to UKIP members to represent them"

Steven Woolfe has "reluctantly" resigned from UKIP and will sit as an independent MEP.

Woolfe openly admitted to having talks with the Tories about defecting when he missed the deadline for standing for leader of the party but had decided against it. Presumably the Tories decided they didn't want him after all.

Back in January last year when Amjid Bashir defected to the Tories after being suspended over allegations of financial misconduct and interfering with candidate selections, Woolfe said:
I am deeply disappointed with Mr Bashir, for not honouring the responsibility in his pledge to UKIP members to represent them.
So Woolfe will be resigning and letting the next person on the UKIP list take on the responsibility of representing UKIP members? No? Only applies to other people presumably.

Friday, 14 October 2016

UKIP come close second in Kent by-election

UKIP candidate James Halford came a close second in yesterday's by-election for the Swanley division of Kent County Council.

There are already 15 UKIP councillors on Kent County Council making the party the official opposition.

Michael HorwoodConservative71732.41
James HalfordUKIP61527.80
Angela GeorgeLabour51823.42
Robert WoodbridgeLib Dems36216.37

EU's internal auditors refuse to sign off accounts for 22nd year running

The EU Court of Auditors have refused to sign off the EU's accounts for the 22nd year in a row as levels of error and fraud reach new highs.

Their 320 page report highlights serious fraud and errors amounting to 3.8% of the EU's total budget. As much as 42% of spending under the ERDF, CF, ESF and OP programmes was affected by material errors. Projects in Azerbaijan and Mozambique - neither of which are in Europe, let alone the EU - were highlighted as examples of spending where there was no evidence the projects that were being funded even existed. They also highlight the EU's propensity for measuring the success of projects by the amount of money they put into them rather than what the projects achieve.

The amount of error and fraud comes to about £4.8bn. That's the size of the entire Child Trust Fund or the English NHS maintenance and repair budget before George Osborne slashed it this year.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Remain-supporting Unilever trying to inflate price of Marmite and blame brexit

Unilever have come under fire for trying to put up the price of Marmite by 10% and blaming the fall in the value of the pound as an excuse.

As Guido points out, 100% of Marmite is produced in Burton using ingredients sourced entirely in the UK. A weak pound makes Marmite cheaper to sell abroad, this is an attempt to rip off consumers using Brexit as an excuse. Unilever, of course, was part of Project Fear.

Tesco have refused to pay Unilever's unjustified price increases and have even gone as far as withdrawing some of their products. Tesco makes their own version of Marmite so it's not like their customers are going to have to go without.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

French Interior Minister tries to shirk his responsibilities over child immigrants in Calais

The French Minister for the Interior has said that the UK has a "moral duty" to take in unaccompanied child illegal immigrants who have made their way to Calais and have family in the UK.

The French government has been failing to take proper care of the children living in the illegal "Jungle" camp at Calais for years and is quite persistent in trying to shift responsibility to the UK. Bernard Cazeneuve's suggestion that the UK is responsible for the welfare of children in France related to other illegal immigrants that his government have failed to stop illegally entering the UK is ridiculous.

Whilst it would be sensible for unaccompanied children to live with relatives rather than in an institution or with strangers, it would only encourage other children to make the dangerous journey across Europe if they thought that it would be easy to get in to the UK if they can just get to Calais. Once they have successfully claimed asylum and are legally living in a safe country they should be reunited with their family in the UK if there is no better option and it is in the best interests of the child to do so.

An automatic right of entry sends out the wrong message and would put more children in danger. The French government needs to stop shirking its responsibilities, remove the unaccompanied children from Calais and demolish any illegal camps erected at the ports which cause these safeguarding issues in the first place.

Theresa May's #Bexit plans will sink the UK.

Theresa May must be made to change her mind - so by default all EU law should cease on Brexit. Only specific, new, necessary law, compatible with the UK's system of justice should be created.

UK can fly outside the EU - but...

The EU Single Market exists to protect inefficient EU businesses from external competition - but it is not entirely the EU businesses who are at fault for their inefficiency.

Much of the inefficiency - and so over pricing - is due to EU red-tape and over-regulation. In decades when IT and tech should have been streamlining business 'business at the speed of thought' - the EU have been soaking up any such efficiency gains with evermore pointless regulation - much of which was then gold plated by the UK's own politicians/mandarins when being implemented here in the UK.

Leaving the EU gives us back control or our laws and trade and borders - but we will only benefit from this when the newly returned control is actually used to strip away the many, many layers or anti-competitive, bureaucratic red-tape, controls, directives, standards, that needlessly drag on EU companies.

Unfortunately, Theresa May has indicated that she is to do exactly the opposite of this - she has said that all EU law (over 200,000 pages of it) will be transferred wholesale into UK law, immediately added to - and then over many years is expected to be gradually reviewed.

This will kill the UK - we will have floundered and drowned before even a tiny fraction of the baggage has been removed, it will drag us down.

To get the benefit of Brexit, the UK must have a lean and agile economy - an economy as dynamic, flexible and imaginative as the people of the UK have always been when the state has got out of their way.

Theresa May must be made to change her mind - so by default all EU law should cease on Brexit. Only specific, new, necessary law, compatible with the UK's system of justice should be created - we have two years to specify this law, ready to come into force when Brexit is complete on the expiry of the Article 50 notice period. But this change of mind must be rapid, as time will run out if it is not started ASAP.

[First published at:]

Sunday, 9 October 2016

EU immigrants will be allowed to stay after Brexit

The British government have announced that all EU immigrants living in the UK will be allowed to stay after we leave the EU. An amnesty will be granted for EU immigrants living here illegally.

The announcement comes as no surprise given that collective expulsion is illegal under domestic, EU and international law. Whilst Leave campaigners were talking about controlling future immigration and pointing out that EU immigrants wouldn't be deported, Remain campaigners were spreading scare stories about mass deportations which have caused fear and distress amongst the immigrant population that clueless Remainiacs have blamed on Brexit.

The idea that people living in the country legally would be rounded up and transported back to their country of origin because we've left the EU is ridiculous and the scaremongering irresponsible.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Hope not Hate troll Steven Woolfe in his hospital bed and fail

Poor Hope not Hate, they've got more money than they can spend thanks to the Jo Cox memorial fund but they're still an amateurish bunch of propaganda merchants.

Steven Woolfe (they could at least spell his name correctly if they're trying to exploit his misfortune for propaganda purposes) is being treated under a reciprocal health care agreement with the EU. The NHS also has reciprocal health care agreements with Anguilla, Australia, Bosnia, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Montserrat, New Zealand, Norway, St Helena, Serbia, Switzerland, and Turks & Caicos.

In fact, if he was from Algeria, Andorra, Benin, Bosnia, Cape Verde, French Polynesia, Gabon, Iceland, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Mali, Morocco, Monaco, Montenegro, Niger, New Caledonia, Quebec,Serbia, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia or Turkey he would also be receiving free healthcare in France without being an EU citizen.

Friday, 7 October 2016

UKIP gain Hartlepool Headland & Harbour

UKIP's Tim Fleming has gained the Headland & Harbour seat from Labour on Hartlepool Borough Council.

UKIP is the official opposition on the council with six councillors.

Tim FlemingUKIP49649.16
Trevor RoganLabour25525.27
Steve LatimerPutting Hartlepool First15515.36
Benjamin MarshallConservatives414.06
John PricePatients not Profits363.57
Chris BroadbentIndependent262.58

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Steven Woolfe is doing ok but why are our MEPs fighting?

At a meeting of UKIP MEPs this morning in Strasbourg an altercation between Steven Woolfe and another UKIP MEP (rumoured to be Mike Hookem) ended with Woolfe being punched, banging his head on a metal bar and later requiring hospital treatment after collapsing in the EU Parliament.

Steven is staying overnight in hospital as a precaution but he's sitting up in bed, talking and sending emails. CT scans have shown that he doesn't have a bleed on the brain as rumoured earlier today but he does have numbness down one side of his face.

It's great news that it wasn't anything serious but extremely disappointing that our MEPs are doing bloody stupid things like fighting when the party is going through the upheaval of losing our new leader after just 18 days in post and desperately needing direction. In the absence of a leader and an NEC that seems devoid of common sense our MEPs should be taking the lead and keeping the momentum that built up during the referendum campaign, not fighting with each other.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Diane James resignation statement

Diane James has released a statement confirming her resignation as leader and citing a lack of authority with party officers and MEPs as her reason for quitting.

It has been suggested that this means Nigel Farage is still technically leader but he resigned some time ago. The Electoral Commission may still have him listed as leader because Diane James didn't formally accept her nomination but he isn't the leader of the party any more.

Who will take the reins while a new leadership election is held is a bit of a mystery. Paul Nuttall resigned as deputy leader at the party conference last month and no replacement has been appointed. Presumably that will fall to Paul Oakden as party chairman.

Here is Diane's statement in full:
It is with great regret that I announce that I will not be formalising my recent nomination to become the new Leader of the party with the Electoral Commission.

Having won the enthusiastic support of party members, I was nominated by them as the new Leader at the recent UKIP Bournemouth conference.

Since that time, I have been in discussion with party officers about the role. It has become clear that I do not have sufficient authority, nor the full support of all my MEP colleagues and party officers to implement changes I believe necessary and upon which I based my campaign.

For personal and professional reasons, therefore, I will not take the election process further.

I will continue to concentrate fully on my activities and responsibilities as an elected Ukip Member of the European Parliament for SE UK region.

This is my final media statement on this issue.