DYSFUNCTIONAL EU – MILK QUOTAS – COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY

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A comment by Anthony Sargeant:

In 2015 the EU commission headed by Jean-Claude Junker and as part the highly protective and subsidised Common Agricultural Policy removed milk quotas across the EU. The message to dairy farmers across Europe was “expand”.

As a result Dutch Farmers increased their herd size by 200,000 in just two years and invested in more high-tech automated milking systems. But please note, this was not for Dutch or even European consumption but primarily for export to other, especially third world developing, countries (The Netherlands exports something like 80% of its agricultural produce).

Given the nature of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) this vast over-production might look like ‘dumping’ of produce on the developing world. Such dumping destroys local production and farmers in the third world who are unable to compete. There is a view that this is immoral.

But now the farcical but tragic EU dysfunction. Two years after encouraging farmers to increase production the European Commission is saying that the cows are a problem. Cows produce muck which is normally spread on the land and which in moderation is not a problem, but in excess it contaminates the land and water sources in the form of phosphates and nitrates. As a consequence the EU commission is now compelling Dutch farmers to slaughter  200,000 cows (yes you are right that is the number they encouraged the Dutch to increase their herd size by just two years ago) with immediate effect. The consequence is a tragedy for those Dutch farmers who invested millions of Euros in expanding herds and installing expensive milking systems. Now those very same farmers are being encouraged to slaughter their cattle and leave the industry with financial incentives so to do.

If you want to see a summary of this example of EU dysfunction look at BBC 1 Countryfile for the 9th April on Catch-up.

If I were Theresa May…..

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In the light of the European Parliament and the increasing belligerent and bullying approach of the EU politburo and their confederates it seems that any ‘negotiation’ with the EU will be prolonged and futile.

Thus Anthony Sargeant reflects that ….. if I were Theresa May ….. I would have the courage to call an early general election with a manifesto pledge to leave the EU with immediate effect. I have no doubt that she would achieve an impressive victory, if only because British people do not take kindly to bullying and threats.

The consequence of immediate withdrawal would probably be very positive for the UK given the precarious position of the EU and Euro economies (Greece is yet again on the brink – desperately trying to find an agreement with its creditors – aka the European Central Bank – aka Germany) – but Portugal, Italy, Spain and others are not much better off – even if hidden from view. In many EU countries there is massive youth unemployment rising above 30%.

On leaving the EU the UK  can immediately open negotiations with the rest of world on such free trade deals as seem beneficial (even, dare one say, deals with the EU – which as a net exporter to the UK might quickly think this is a good idea). In the meantime WTO rules and their tariffs are not as significant to exporters as fluctuations in exchange rates as James Dyson has pointed out.

But trade is not the real point – the real point is British Sovereignty. That is having control of our own destiny. As Karl Popper famously observed, the point of western democracy is not that you necessarily get the government that you want, doing what you want, but that at the next election you can get rid of them – unfortunately this is not true of the un-elected EU politburo in Brussels.

Who, for example, voted for Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the European Commission? A former Luxembourg Prime Minister who in that role and in a little known secretive EU committee vetoed any attempt to limit cross-border tax avoidance. Then you might ask why are Amazon and other multi-national companies located in the tiny principality of Luxembourg? to the benefit of guess who? Jean-Claude Juncker and Luxembourg (which has the second highest GDP per capita in the world after that other well known democracy Abu Dhabi). A position that at the very least might be considered hypocritical and at another level verging on corrupt.

But anyway and in addition to controlling our own destiny the UK would no longer be a cash cow sending money to Brussels to support a political project which is out of date and frankly, after 60 years, out of time. A political project which is now, in all but name, a German controlled European Superstate – the Holy Roman Empire revisited (which was the 1st Reich for those who know the numbering system of the 3rd Reich – NB the Weimar Republic was classified as an ‘interim Reich’ so it did not count).

And then finally Scotland –  …… if I were Theresa May ….. I would also put into the manifesto a pledge to have an immediate referendum on Independence. It would be the honourable thing to do.

A referendum would give the Scottish people a chance to review the situation and make their own decision about the future. One understands the emotional and sentimental appeal of Independence for a proud nation. A nation which it could be argued has made a disproportionately large contribution to the historic Union. Without Scottish engineers, philosophers, artists, writers and others the United Kingdom would have been a much poorer nation.

In addition there has been the contribution of Scotland to the UK military over many years and many wars. In my lifetime the ‘United Kingdom’ stood alone and thereby rescued Europe from German tyranny and genocide, but only after massive sacrifice of UK military and the civilian populations  (including my maternal grandparents killed in the London Blitz). Who can forget the Scottish piper at El Alamein, or on the beach on D-Day?

So, ……if I were Theresa May ….. ,  I would commit to a very early referendum on Independence for the Scottish people. They deserve no less. If they choose to leave the historic Union and become an independent country one would wish them all speed and so very many thanks for their massive contribution to the United Kingdom over many years of the Union. Of course, and in passing, one would hope that they would not then vote to lose the independence they chose by becoming a minor province of a dysfunctional European Superstate controlled by Berlin through Brussels – a 4th Reich in all but name.

 

UK and EU – Rats and Sinking Ships-An almost Freudian Slip by EU negotiator Guy Verhofstadt ?

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In response to the Ex-Prime Minister of Belgian and now EU Parliament negotiator for Brexit talks, Guy Verhofstadt, likening the UK leaving the EU to “rats leaving a sinking ship”. Anthony Sargeant says that there are two interesting points about the comment; (1) the Belgian Europhile seems to think the EU is sinking (which it probably is) and (2) rats are an extremely successful species which thrives around the world (which may well turn out to be how the UK fares in terms of global trade post-Brexit). But as a Belgian you can imagine the dismay at the very thought of the collapse of the EU infrastructure and consequent redundancy of all of those vanity-project buildings in Brussels – what will Belgium do with them? And what will it do as an economy no longer propped up by the income generated by over 50,000 well paid EU civil servants in Brussels, plus ancillary staff. If you think that closure of the Port Talbot Steelworks would be bad for Wales then the collapse of EU would be a disaster for Belgium which is economically challenged, not least by the internal schisms of its society on language and religious grounds (this leads to duplication not just of language in government documentation but also of whole institutions. So in Brussels for example, you have the Universite Libre of Brussels but also the Vrije Universiteit of Brussels and so on down the educational system in towns and Villages across the country.

The Problem faced by the Eurozone

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Anthony Sargeant thinks that the following analysis is interesting. Also one might reflect that Mervyn King as a past Governor of The Bank of England might have some insight into the problem. It may be that the only solution for the Eurozone is either total financial integration within a Federal Europe which is indeed the aspiration of those who support the EU political project : Or dissolution of the Eurozone and the EU political project and reversion to a simple free trading bloc of sovereign countries. The problem is that total financial integration implies central European control of salaries, pensions, taxation, public services. It would be a federation of ‘unequals’ where the future life chances of those living in the ‘less equal’ regions will be determined by the dominant region (presently called Germany). How long that could be sustained and become a true democracy is highly questionable since the inevitable nature of the new European Empire would require an integration of not just every aspect of daily life with inevitably enormous regional inequalities but also an homogenisation of culture and mindset. In essence the whole project would succeed or fail on whether, for example, Sicilians or Greeks would want to, or could be persuaded, cajoled or forced, into adopting a German approach to life and government necessarily abandoning their own culture and identity in the process. It seems an unlikely proposition.

Mervyn King warned that the project is doomed, is it time for the Eurozone to be broken up?

Ruth Lea, economic adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, says Yes.

The Eurozone was always primarily a political project, a major stepping stone to the “ever closer union of the peoples of Europe,” but one with the profoundest economic consequences. Members have no control over their interest rates, their exchange rate or, indeed, fiscal policy. And, as we have seen in recent years, many Eurozone members have paid a bitter price for their loss macroeconomic sovereignty. Under the austerity cosh and with no ability to devalue their currencies, growth has disappointed and unemployment rates remain alarmingly high in Greece, Spain (albeit partly-recovering), Italy and Portugal. Looking ahead, there is no reason to believe the policy situation will fundamentally change. Fiscal discipline is entrenched and unremitting and, contrary to speculation, there are no signs that Germany will ever agree to a fiscal transfer union in order to support the weaker countries. The Eurozone simply lacks the demos and “solidarity” to enable the currency bloc to work for all. It’s time to break it up.

[Read the full article at Source: http://www.cityam.com/235669/as-mervyn-king-warns-that-the-project-is-doomed-is-it-time-for-the-eurozone-to-be-broken-up ]

Anthony Sargeant reflects on the UK Referendum leaflet on EU membership which was sent out by the Government

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The House of Commons voted by an overwhelming majority of 6 to 1 to hold a referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU. Anthony Sargeant shows the leaflet sent out to every UK household by the British Government prior to the official start of the referendum campaign. It clearly offered a partisan view on how the electorate should vote with no mention of any counter arguments. It used taxpayers money amounting to millions of pounds to avoid restrictions on what would have been illicit funding  of such propaganda once the campaign started some few days later.

But it did clearly state in the second column “This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide”. Now despite the decision to ‘Leave’ taken in the face of the most incredible and, it turns out misleading warnings of the dire economic consequences, we have some who would like to overturn the original decision of the democratically elected House of Commons to hold such a referendum and abide by the result. These include various stalking-horse millionaires including, Gina Miller, Branson, Blair, and others but also current politicians like Tim Farron MP the present leader, and Nick Clegg MP the previous leader of what it seems are the ‘Undemocratic Liberal Democrats’ who clearly want to stop Brexit. Please watch their interviews with Andrew Neil if you are in any doubt about their intentions. But then this is a political party that immediately reneged on its cast-iron manifesto promise with respect to University Tuition fees in order to prop up a conservative government two elections ago.

Once the campaign began officially the government’s leafleting would not have been allowed.  Instead when it did start they recruited anybody who might aid the Remain campaign by warning of the dire economic consequences – sustained scaremongering and threats -which came to be known as ‘Project Fear’.

George Osbourne himself warned that the economic impact of a ‘Leave’ vote would require an emergency budget within days of the referendum. Remarkably and 6 months later there has been no emergency budget. Then Christine Lagarde, recently found guilty by a court in France of corrupt practices when a Minister in the French Government (yet still Head of the IMF), warned of the terrible economic consequences. Then the now clearly wrong predictions and badly judged intervention of the supposedly independent Bank of England by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England. The EU politburo were enlisted and spoke with one voice that disaster would befall the UK if it left and with the threats that the UK would be severely punished in any negotiation if they voted to leave. Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the EU commission – President but not elected by the people of Europe) weighed in with his warnings and threats. This is a politician who as Prime Minister of tiny Luxembourg offered tax avoidance to multi-national companies in his own country and then blocked attempts in a secretive EU committee to address the issue making himself and Luxembourg very rich in the process. As a result Luxembourg has the 2nd highest GDP per capita in the world (after Qatar that other well known bastion of democratic and transparent politics). And so the roll call goes on, Obama warned that the UK would go to “the back of the queue” in any trade deal negotiation – that the USA wanted to deal with the EU not tiny UK (but note the UK is the 5th largest economy in  the world by some calculations). And what has happened? After decades of talks EU/USA attempts to sign a trade deal collapsed once again in disarray and Obama has become yesterday’s man. Then we had threats from the president of the European Central Bank, Francois Hollande (also yesterday’s man), Angela Merkel (surely yesterday’s politican by the end of 2017), the president of the European Parliament, in fact probably all seven Presidents of EU Institutions – did anybody know there were seven Presidents much less name them all. But then they are not elected in any meaningful way by the people of Europe.

Anybody with a vested interest real or imagined in keeping the UK in the EU was recruited to Project Fear in order to threaten or scare the UK electorate with warnings of immediate economic disaster following a decision by the UK to Leave the EU all of which turned out to be deceitful scaremongering – lies by any other name.

The truth is that first of all the British do not take kindly to being threatened – and so it may have been counter-productive, but secondly many thoughtful people looked at the dysfunctional, anti-democratic and immoral workings of the EU and decided that we were better off out of the mess being created. They may also have reflected on “the only thing we ever learn from history is that we never learn anything from history”. History is littered with attempts to create  a European Empire and all have failed. They might also have reflected that the only surviving Federation is that of the  USA which only held together after a devastating and bloody civil war between the poor agricultural south and the rich industrialized northern states who sent in the army to suppress attempts at secession from the Union. Greeks might be concerned that a EU Army might one day be used in similar fashion – to suppress civil unrest – although only of course at the request of the Goldman-Sachs approved Greek Government of the day.

The European Union and the UK

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The European project is collapsing around us – it is out of date and out of time.

It is undemocratic, unworkable and unnecessary.

How many people know who their Member of the (incredibly expensive) European Parliament is? or what their real power is?

Of course it is not in Germany’s interest to see the UK leave the EU, and certainly not in the interest of the economies of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, etc etc – but despite this obvious self interest, the vanishingly small ‘concessions’ that Cameron has “negotiated” are worthless and pointless (they actually miss ‘the point’ totally).

[Moreover the various nature of the ‘negotiations’ themselves are an illustration of the undemocratic nature of the EU since none of the heads of government have consulted their own electorates over new legislation giving the UK ‘special status’ within (but not within!) the EU]

Look at the composition of the EU – with so many member countries which have endemic corruption and others with homophobic, misogynistic and fascist leaning governments.

As for the suggestion that being a member of the EU makes the UK an important ‘World Power’ – surely that is a delusion – how can being submerged in a union of 28 other nation states make the UK itself ‘more important’ ?

Do we really want to be a member of that club? One is reminded of Groucho Marx’s jest  “Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”