Sunday, 25 November 2018

Not just the UK the Brexit Betrayal of Europe

It is now clear that Theresa May and the metropolitan elite have betrayed the British people in a grand conspiracy undreamt of in modern times.

The Brexit deal that she and her allies have signed up to could not have been worse, if the EU bureaucracy itself had sat down and written it for her. The likelihood is that that is exactly what they have been doing.

The plan seems to have worked beautifully. For over two years, the people of the United Kingdom have been strung along, been made to believe that May was negotiating a Brexit trade deal. But at the end of it there is no trade deal, just a Gordian knot designed, if accepted, to give the UK no legal route out of a permanent vassalage, unless the EU agree to free us from it, which of course they will never do.

At the same time her allies in all political parties, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, Scottish Nationalists and Greens have all been carefully manipulated and orchestrated in a well paid for campaign (paid for by people who got very rich in the EU controlled market) to seek a second referendum to reverse the popular vote.

The future ploy of this minority Prime Minister is now clear. Unless the House of Commons has lost its wits entirely, they will reject this ridiculous deal. The conspirators will then say, as May has now said, the alternative to this bad deal in not, as was promised, no deal, but no Brexit. The Government will bow to the orchestrated campaign for a second referendum. Huge resources will then pour in to persuade the British people that they were wrong to choose independence and that they must, to save their very lives, vote to stay in the EU.

At the same time as this has been going on, supporters of Brexit, both big and small, have been and continue to be bombarded by legal challenges. The fact that more than twice as much money, money from the Government and shady foreign-backed characters was spent on the Remain campaign is ignored. The money spent by the EU itself, by the IMF, by numerous overseas interests, including the then President of the USA, has been and will be ignored in the grand push for the UK to remain under the yoke of Brussels.

Every critical referendum in EU history has been reversed, either by a second referendum or Government capitulation. Ireland, Greece, Netherlands, Denmark France, the EU has always managed to coerce and cajole a reversal of the anti-EU vote.

They knew, however, that the UK would be harder, the 2016 referendum having been the biggest popular vote in the UK's history. But the EU is used to playing a long game. Just look at Greece, locked into ant-austerity measures by the neo-liberal dictatorship of the EU for the next 42 years. Or Italy, where Governments have been rejected and brought down by the EU.

I myself would not have dreamt of such a conspiracy until I read Yanis Varoufakis' book "Adults in the Room" which showed the lengths that the EU deep establishment would go to bend the will of a sovereign nation towards its own agenda. As Varoufakis said in that book, it is the death of democracy in the EU.

No sovereign nation in Europe is now free to choose its own path. There are sufficient traitors, used to living off the EU's shilling, who are willing to continue to conspire to keep the tyranny of the unelected elite who control and run the EU forever in control. The fourth Reich is here, a reality that, unless a decisive revolt happens now, this time WILL govern the enslaved peoples of Europe for a thousand years.

Monday, 13 August 2018

How the Retail Sector can be better off after the UK leaves the EU

Once again we are seeing a large retail chain under threat. For the time being, with the takeover of House of Fraser, that threat has been averted, but for how long?. Over the last decade, retail chain after retail chain has fallen victim to overseas multinationals selling online from tax havens. How can we protect our retail heritage and at the same time ensure that the multinationals are paying tax on everything they sell in the UK?

The answer is a Lexit Brexit. After we leave the EU, the UK will be no longer fenced in by the EU trading laws that favour the tax avoiding multi-nationals. After a Lexit Brexit, a Green Party in Government will be able to ensure that all trading in the UK is done through a UK institution and ensure all profits are taxed when they are distributed either to an individual or to another corporate entity (see tax voting paper being put to the 2018 Green Party autumn conference in Bristol).

Photo: visitlondon.com

Such radical reforms of the taxation system are impossible in the straitjacket imposed by the unelected officials in Brussels who control the EU fiscal policy. Outside of the EU, we can, if we have the right Government, protect British industry, agriculture and commerce and begin to, at last, reduce the massive and unsustainable balance of trade deficit we have with the rest of the world. Rather than being a threat to the retail sector, Brexit could be its saviour.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

The UK exit from the EU: a catalyst to re-unite Ireland after 200 years?

At the EU referendum in 2016, I predicted that the UK leaving the EU made the possibility of a referendum on a united Ireland much more likely, thereby eliminating any border problem. (See 2016 blog below).

If polls suggest that if there is a majority in Northern Ireland in favour of reuniting Ireland, the UK government, under the Good Friday agreement, is legally bound to offer a referendum on reunification.

And polls do show that. According to "The Week", polling of Northern Ireland residents by LucidTalk in December 2017 found that - in the event of no deal between the UK and the EU, support for remaining in the EU through reunification with the Republic was marginally greater (48%) than support for staying in the UK (45%).

(http://www.theweek.co.uk/northern-ireland/89293/will-ireland-unite-after-brexit )

Driving support for reunification is thought to be the fear of a hard border between the north and south. The UK government and leaders in Dublin and Belfast have all repeatedly said border posts and physical checks, synonymous with the chaos and conflict of the Troubles, will not return.

However, Ireland and the EU remain adamant that they want to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union, a plan that has been roundly rejected by both parties in the Tory / DUP alliance. Both Ireland and the EU have also rejected the use of technology to police trade between the north and south. However, a frictionless border is incompatible with Theresa May’s promise to leave the EU customs union.

As part of the alliance deal with the Tories, the DUP received assurances that there would be no referendum or border poll on Irish unity. As we have seen, this appears to contravene the Good Friday agreement, so probably could be successfully challenged in court.

Following the collapse of power-sharing talks, and the effective re-imposition of direct rule by Westminster, Reuters said that Irish nationalists “fear that that their unionist rivals may effectively govern the province through their influence of May”.

In a Guardian article, Powell, who was the chief British negotiator during the Good Friday Agreement talks called the Tory-DUP alliance a “a terrible mistake with lasting consequences” that “would risk undermining 20 years of hard work”.

Northern Ireland voted Remain by 56% to 44%, so is at odds with the English and Welsh who voted strongly for Leave. But a U.K.-wide referendum cannot automatically over-ride the terms of the Ireland-wide referendums on the Good Friday agreement of 1998, and a majority within Northern Ireland for remaining in the EU.

The obvious solution to this impasse would be to call for a border poll to give people the option of remaining within the EU through Irish reunification—especially if there is no alternative that respects the clear local majority preference to remain within the EU. The very same compromise may also weaken the pressure from the Spanish government for the U.K. to cede sovereignty over Gibraltar. Gibraltar also voted to remain in the EU.

This might just then be the catalyst that would solve the Irish problem; 200 years after Ireland joining the UK caused it.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Revisited: Why you should vote to look Forward and not Back. Why you should vote for Leslie Rowe as leader of GPEW

This blog is linked to the Green Party website to give members an insight into the alternative paradigm for the Green Party being championed by Leslie Rowe in his bid to be leader of the Green Party in England and Wales. Here is the statement accompanying his application repeated and updated, so that it appears first on his blog. No other candidate is putting forward such a radical ecosocialist agenda.

Have you looked out of the window lately? You know as well as I do that climate change is not a campaign for the future, its effects are being felt here and now.

That is why I am standing for leader of the Green Party. I want the Green Party to focus on climate change, on localism, democracy and economic de-growth and not on the EU. Prior to the 2016 EU referendum we, in our 2015 General Election manifesto, faithfully promised to accept the result. We should do that now and move on.

Our basic message has long been of replacing a pro-growth consumer society with a society wedded to conserving our environment. We have been told many times that if the world wishes to avoid exceeding the 2°C rise in global temperatures that will trigger non-reversible climate change, then the wealthiest countries, including the UK, have to adopt a de-growth strategy for a limited period.

"Having even a 50/50 chance of keeping the planet under a 2-degree level of warming is incompatible with economic growth," author Naomi Klein said at the 2014 Leipzig De-growth conference.

We should return to our roots and actively campaign for a UK de-growth economic policy, a beacon for the rest of the world to follow.

In the Green Party policy statement, EU100 we state "In our Green vision for Europe we seek to replace the unsustainable economics of free trade and unrestricted growth with the ecological alternative of local self reliance and resource conservation, within a context of wider diversity."

This is totally at odds with the declared aim of the EU for continuing Economic Growth. In his opening statement laying out his vision for the single market, the President of the European commission, Jean Claude Juncker put economic growth as the main goal of the single market.

There is no evidence that this policy will change in the foreseeable future.

In fact, economic policy in the EU is controlled by the unelected and secretive Eurogroup. As Yanis Varoufakis said in his book "Adults in the Room" ..."democracy had indeed died the moment the Eurogroup acquired the authority to dictate economic policy to member states without anything resembling federal democratic sovereignty" (page 237). It is the Eurogroup who continue to force privatisation on Greece and other EU states.

So it is time for the Green Party to campaign not for the EU and continued growth, but for a sustainable future based on de-growth and meeting the societal needs of the British people.

We can carve out a unique position by opposing ALL UK free trade agreements (including the EU single market) and focus on reducing the out of control UK trade deficit by supporting sustainable UK manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries. This may lead to disputes within the World Trade Organisation (WTO), but it would re-balance the UK economy and give us a unique position in UK politics.

Campaign to embrace localism in our procurement policies for schools, hospitals and other public institutions, making it a virtue of buying local, preferably organic, food and other supplies.

Step up our opposition to the creeping privatisation of the NHS, especially now that the Tories would no longer have the excuse of EU neo-liberal policies on procurement. Campaign to use the extra money for the NHS in tripling the number of training places for doctors and nurses, reintroducing bursaries and abolishing student fees.

Point out that leaving the EU does not mean that we have to leave the European Court of Human Rights, which is a separate and older institution. Indeed we can champion the Court in our opposition to Tory attempts to water down our rights.

Campaign for a progressive UK Government, supporting universal basic income and Positive Money; to reverse the neo-liberal economic policies favoured by all successor governments since Thatcher, both Labour and Tory.

Campaign to re-nationalise the UK railways and utility companies unhindered by EU Directives such as 2012/34/EU establishing mandatory competition in a Single European Railway Area.

Solve the Northern Ireland border issue by actively campaigning for a referendum for a United Ireland.

Renew our campaign for the abolition of the House of Lords and the creation of a new elected senate of the regions.

Actively campaign for more local democracy with proportional representation, a new independence referendum in Scotland and greater autonomy for Wales.

In this way we can renew and invigorate the Green Party by following a more radical agenda. If you agree, please vote for Leslie Rowe as GPEW leader.


Leslie Rowe is a retired accountant who stood for election for the Green Party in Richmond (Yorks) in the general elections of 2005, 2010 and 2015, the European Election of 2009, along with many other local council elections. He has been a Green Party member since 2003 and is a former treasurer of Yorkshire and Humber Greens and Richmond (Yorks) Green Party.

Promoted and Produced by Leslie Rowe as part of their campaign for election to the post of Leader. This is not an official communication from the Green Party of England and Wales.
Voting is open to all paid up members of the Green Party in England & Wales as at the 29th July 2018.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

CETA, TTIP, "Common Rule Book" & all Free Trade Deals

If you look at the fine print of Ms May's Chequers compromise on Brexit, you will see that resolution of disputes may be done through "binding independent arbitration".

This will be the notorious Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) so discredited as part of all Free Trade deals, such as NAFTA, TTIP and CETA. These arbitration decisions undermine democracy and have forced changes in laws that protect the environment and even changes in taxation.

In this article I discuss the dangers of Free Trade Deals like May's "Common Rule Book" proposals, using the example of CETA (Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU currently going through the ratification process, but, in the words of War on Want, "under the EU’s anti-democratic procedures, it has applied most of the content of CETA on a provisional basis already, without worrying about any accountability to the people of Europe".)

There was a vote recently in the House of Commons on the ratification of CETA. There was very little debate and this infamous trade deal was backed by Tories, Lib Dems and Labour MPs, who, frankly, should have known better.

By signing up to CETA, the UK has given away far more sovereignty than was given to the EU.

At this point I must be honest about the debt I owe on this subject to David Malone, the Green candidate for Scarborough. If you haven't seen his talk called "The Death of Democracy" on YouTube, then please see it ASAP. It is three years old, but still relevant as all he says about TTIP applies equally to CETA. Most especially, because, as War on Want also point out, "CETA not only gives rights to EU and Canadian companies but also for any US firms with offices in Canada (which is most of them)."

The biggest threat to the UK from CETA is the threat to our food standards. The EU claim that they have built in safeguards to our food safety standards in CETA; no chlorinated chicken, they claim. But if standards remain, why have a trade agreement? The declared aim of a free trade agreement is to lower mutual tariffs, to gain access to each other's markets and to harmonise regulations.

The corporate lawyers have, time and time again, shown themselves to be more adept at drafting legislation in their own favour. That's why they get paid millions.

The EU itself said that 80% of the benefit of Free Trade deals is from reducing non-trade barriers (i.e. standards).

The heart of a Free Trade Deal (FTD) like CETA and the proposed "Common Rule Book" between the UK and the EU is the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). These treaties always have four main elements and CETA is no exception.

1. Expropriation: to protect the assets of any company trading in the Free Trade Area (FTA). That includes any future profits of that company as was shown when Vattenfall, a Swedish nuclear energy company sued Germany for abandoning nuclear power generation at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Even changes in tax have been successfully stopped as being a form of expropriation.

2. Equal Treatment: Governments are not allowed to stop Companies from bidding for any service, such as the NHS and the BBC. So if you have a Government, as we do, that favours privatisation, it becomes irreversible and as we have seen, companies can sue if they are not awarded contracts in the NHS.

3. A Fair and Equitable clause. This was used to stop the Canadian Government from banning a petrol additive, MMT. The Ethyl case set a precedent where, under NAFTA and similar agreements, a government has to compensate investors when it wishes to regulate them or their products for public health or environmental reasons.

4. Arbitration via the toxic Investor State Dispute Settlement procedure. ISDS is not a court, has no judge and no jury. Traditionally, three corporate lawyers decide the merits of an arbitration dispute. Civil society has no representative; there are no rights to know what evidence was considered or who brought it, no right of appeal and no right to know the reasons for the decision. Worldwide, just 15 corporate lawyers have decided 55% of all disputes.

The EU claim in their document, "CETA, ISDS" that arbitration will be done " in a transparent and impartial manner". Apparently our national courts are not good enough to settle these disputes. Personally, I have no faith that the corporate lawyers will not be too clever for them on this and dominate any permanent investment Tribunal set up by CETA.

In the past this arbitration has been used to overturn laws, moratoria and even taxes.

Defenders of this insane policy argue say that only countries that sign up to this arbitration will receive foreign direct investment (FDI). There have been several studies, however, notably from Yale and the World Bank in 2003 that conclude that there is no correlation between Bilateral Investment Treaties and FDI.

The General Equilibrium economic models that state that CETA will increase UK trade, in common with many of the economic models used by the Treasury, have been shown to be flawed. For instance, the models assume that if any part of our economy shrinks, then another part will automatically expand. So why has the UK developed such a massive trade deficit since joining the Single Market?

In October 2014, the UN policy economic model was used to assess the effects of TTIP (and by implication CETA) and showed that TTIP would result in a loss of net exports, a reduction in GDP, a loss of Government income, an increase in inequality and 800,000 job losses across the EU.

Sources:
David Malone "The Death of Democracy" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fDCbf4O-0s
War on Want: https://waronwant.org/what-ceta
Michelle Sforza and Mark Vallianatos Chemical Firm Uses Trade Pact to Contest Environmental Law April 1997 https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/212/45381.html
European Commission February 2016 Investment provisions in the EU-Canada free trade agreement (CETA) http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2013/november/tradoc_151918.pdf

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Leslie Rowe's Response to the Fudge issued from Chequers on Brexit

The BINO (Brexit In Name Only) Chequers statement from May's Tory Government is a joke worthy of a comic book.

By suggesting that "The UK and the EU would maintain a common rulebook for all goods including agri-food," the Tory Fudgeteers have committed the UK to remain in an ever destructive economic growth regime in perpetuity, with an international treaty to bind the hands of any future Green Government.

It would lock in the ever growing UK trade deficit with the EU27 for the foreseeable future. Rising UK debt makes this totally unsustainable and will lead to the EU forcing more austerity, fire sales of public property and restrictions on organised labour on the UK, as they have already done in Greece.

My message to Green Party members is that we must, to avoid exceeding the 2°C rise in global temperatures that will trigger non-reversible climate change, plan for a de-growth economy as has been recommended by successive climate change conferences.

But this Tory BINO would make that illegal, as it would be against the common rulebook set by the EU, making the UK perpetually subservient to the neo-liberal economics set by the unelected and secretive Eurogroup (the committee that control EU economic policy).

The Green Party (when in Government) is committed to assisting the development of UK sustainable industries, like new tidal barrages, community wind and solar farms and a state owned viable public transport infrastructure.

However, the Tory BINO commits the UK to "apply a common rulebook on state aid and establish cooperative arrangements between regulators on competition".

In other words, subservience by the UK to all EU regulations on competition, including a ban on re-nationalising the railways and adherence to EU Directives such as 2012/34/EU establishing mandatory competition.

This is contrary to both Green Party and Labour Party manifesto commitments. I call on all Green and Labour MPs to reject this comic book policy and pursue a "de-growth" strategy to have any chance of saving our planet.


Promoted and Produced by Leslie Rowe as part of their campaign for election to the post of Leader. This is not an official communication from the Green Party of England and Wales

Leslie Rowe Video

My home made but heartfelt video to accompany my campaign to be leader of the Green Party in England & Wales is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnSckiWLLOg

The transcript, if you need it, is set out below.

"Hello. Today I want to talk about the weather. Is climate change a problem to be addressed? NOW? If not now, when?

In eight years time? Forty years time? Can we REALLY wait THAT long?

We have been told many times that if the world wishes to avoid exceeding the two degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures that will trigger non-reversible climate change, then the wealthiest countries, including the UK, have to adopt a de-growth strategy.

Kevin Anderson & Alice Bows-Larkin presented compelling research on this at the Climate Change negotiations in Warsaw in 2013 which stated that: "continuing with economic growth over the coming two decades is incompatible with meeting our international obligations on climate change".

That was five years ago, and what has the Green Party's focus been on since? Curbing consumerism? Climate Change? Or our continued membership of an organisation wedded to economic growth for the next forty years?

In the Green Party policy statement, EU100 we state "In our Green vision for Europe we seek to replace the unsustainable economics of free trade and unrestricted growth with the ecological alternative of local self reliance and resource conservation."

THIS is the goal the Green Party should be pursuing.

But, this is at odds with the declared aim of the EU. In his opening statement laying out his vision for the single market, the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker put economic growth as the main goal of the single market.

There is no evidence that this policy will change in the foreseeable future.

In fact, economic policy in the EU is controlled by the unelected and secretive Eurogroup.

May I quote the Irish Examiner as an impartial observer of the Greek tragedy?

"Until 75% of Greece’s public debt is repaid — in 2060 at the earliest — the country will be subject to ‘enhanced surveillance’.
This means 42 years of quarterly reviews, during which the European Commission and the ECB, “in collaboration with the IMF”, may impose new measures on Greece, such as austerity, fire sales of public property and restrictions on organised labour."

The neo-liberal, pro-growth economic policy of the EU has been locked in for the next 42 years. What chance of de-growth in that period?

Unless, WE, we in the Green Party of England and Wales, provide an attractive and unique alternative paradigm of promoting De-Growth and the championing of conservation over consumption. A beacon of hope for other nations to follow.

And we can start by accepting the result of the EU referendum so that we can offer a unique and attractive sustainable future for Britain.

I am offering you a chance to vote for a new direction, a path that means we manage our own economy.
As was said in Molly Scott Cato's trade report:
"Greens have always argued for greater self-reliance and stronger local economies. It now looks like such a path will be the best future on offer for the UK outside the EU."

Or as was said in her farming report:
"Brexit could be a unique opportunity to move towards an ecologically sustainable farming system."

We could promote widespread re-nationalisation.

We could support sustainable industries and start tackling the enormous public and private debt by ensuring all companies that trade in the UK pay tax in the UK.

And yes, we could fund the NHS.

My name is Leslie Rowe and I am standing for the leadership of the Green Party.

If you want the Green Party to focus on climate change, on localism, democracy and economic de-growth and not on the EU, indeed to have its own unique appeal to the electorate then please vote for me. I believe in a new Green revolution that would transform our country. If you share that dream, then vote Leslie Rowe for leader.

Promoted and Produced by Leslie Rowe as part of their campaign for election to the post of Leader. This is not an official communication from the Green Party of England and Wales