Showing posts with label #democracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #democracy. Show all posts

Friday, 23 August 2019

It is the EU, not Brexit, that is the Right Wing Plot OR Combating Climate Change & other Left Wing reasons for Brexit

It is called "The Big Lie". If you repeat a lie often enough, society will eventually, despite all the evidence to the contrary, regard it as the Truth. Or as a certain German dictator put it, no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously".

The Big Lie that the main stream media, New Labour, the Yellow Tories and the Establishment would have you believe is that Brexit is somehow a Right wing Coup.

These siren voices of the Establishment want you to forget that we had a "once in a lifetime" (Prime Minister David Cameron) referendum that produced a clear result. The biggest single vote for anything in UK electoral history. The UK voted to Leave the European Union (EU), including most of the constituencies represented in Parliament by Remain MPs who got elected in 2017 by promising to honour the referendum result, but who are now breaking that promise. Another Big Lie.

These siren voices want you to forget that there are many left wing reasons for leaving the EU and that many of the giants of British socialism like Barbara Castle, Tony Benn, Bob Crow and Peter Shore campaigned for the UK to leave the EU. Indeed as Union Leader Bob Crow, said in 2013:
"The EU is largely a Tory neoliberal project. Not only did the Conservative prime minister Edward Heath take Britain into the common market in 1973, but Margaret Thatcher campaigned to stay in it in the 1975 referendum, and was one of the architects of the Single European Act – which gave us the single market, EU militarisation and eventually the struggling Euro.
After the Tories dumped the born-again Eurosceptic Thatcher, John Major rammed through the Maastricht treaty and embarked on the disastrous privatisation of our railways using EU directives – a model now set to be rolled out across the continent."

Supporters of Extinction Rebellion should note that it is the EU neo-liberal economics that makes it impossible to make the required changes to combat climate change in the UK. As was noted as early as the 2013 climate change conference in Warsaw (COP19):
"If the world wishes to avoid exceeding the two degrees 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."
Also at the Climate Change conference in Warsaw in 2013 we were told that: "continuing with economic growth over the coming two decades is incompatible with meeting our international obligations on climate change".

But the UK cannot change this as the EU dictates UK economic policy. The EU is a neoliberal economy committed to economic growth; designed to make the rich richer and the rest of us to pay for it. It shows it's true form when you see the EU put austerity into action; in Greece, in Ireland, in Portugal, in Spain, in Italy and even in relatively rich countries like Denmark. In Greece for instance, EU diktat has meant a 42 year plan of austerity, which the Greeks cannot get out of until the year 2060.

Measures taken by the EU in Greece include:
1. Right to evict families from their home.
2. Privatisation of all saleable state assets and a ban on re-nationalisation in the future.
3. Reductions in pensions and pension funds.
4. Curtail rights to trade union representation.
5. Further cuts to wages.
6. Right to overrule Greek court decisions.
7. EU control of Greek central bank and economics ministry.

As Green Baroness Jenny Jones once said, before she was seduced by the dark side: "the EU has become a dictatorial imposer of austerity and deregulation, uncaring about its impacts on the wellbeing of people and planet, and determined to derail any elected government that dares to dissent from its neoliberal ideology."

The four pillars of the EU, ironically called its "freedoms" actually mean the freedom of multi-national corporations to move people, capital, goods and services to wherever makes them the most money. Invest your capital in sweat shops where the labour is cheapest to make the goods, move people to ensure wages are kept low and ensure contracts are kept short and temporary to avoid giving labour rights. Provide your services from tax havens and allow profits (as capital) to freely flow back to those tax havens, whilst paying as little tax as possible.

The European Commission currently dictates Britain’s trade policy with the world.
Despite the internationalist rhetoric of the EU’s proponents, its trade agreements with some of the poorest nations on earth have a modernist colonialism at heart, imposing free market dogma (i.e. "Free Trade") to extract natural resources in the 21st century from the same countries colonised with military force up until the 20th.
After the UK leaves the EU, we could help the developing world to develop their own economies with bilateral fair trade, thereby reducing in part the push factor that is forcing so many developing world citizens to swell the migrant crisis.

Achieving this is unlikely whilst we follow the European Commission in imposing programmes such as the Raw Materials Initiative, which prevents developing nations such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo from raising investment through export taxes or regulating conditions in their dangerous raw minerals sectors.
This is yet another humanist left wing policy that will become available to the UK after we leave the imperialist EU. It would create a new model of fair trading that could then be followed by other countries in Europe and other developed economies, without the need for "Free Trade" agreements.
(See article by Fraser Watt "Left Wing Reasons for Brexit").

Because here is the crux of the matter. Brexit is simply a means to an end, not the end in itself.

After Brexit we don't have to have a Boris Johnson led Tory Government.

After Brexit, the British people will be free to choose an alternative Government that puts forward left wing priorities like re-nationalisation of utilities and transport, currently illegal under EU's competition rules.

Be free to reverse the privatisation of the NHS introduced by New Labour using EU competition rules and developed by the Tories and their yellow running dogs, the Lib Dems.

Be free to favour local producers and not have to put everything out to tender under EU procurement rules.

Be free to support and encourage UK manufacturing in exciting new industries like electric vehicles and put tariffs on gas guzzling automobiles from Germany.

Be free to develop a more highly skilled labour force, by investing in training for UK citizens, not poaching talent from abroad.

Or to put it another way, like another left wing hero of mine (Martin Luther King), "Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we will be free at last."

Monday, 25 March 2019

My Resignation letter to Green Party

Dear Green Party,
It is with great sadness that I tender my resignation from the Green Party. This is not because I have changed my mind on the need for a strong ecologically based political party in UK politics, quite the opposite. It is because the current leadership of the Green Party has taken the Party away from its guiding principles of democracy and fighting for a sustainable society and embraced the undemocratic autocracy and neo-liberal economics of the EU.

For several decades the policy of the Green Party on Europe has been
"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. We want to foster co-operation on issues of common interest, not establish international institutions for their own sake." (Policy EU100) and

"EU101 We recognise the value of the original goal of the founders of the European Communities, who sought to remove the threat of another war between European states. This has been distorted by vested political and economic interests into a union dominated by economic interests, which lacks democratic control, and promotes the goals of multinational corporations which are interested in profit not people, and which runs counter to the professed core values of the Union."

However, now the leadership is actively campaigning to overturn the democratic will of the British people that it promised to uphold. Prior to the referendum, in our 2015 manifesto, the Green Party promised the British people to respect the outcome of an in-out EU referendum. The Green Party said:

"The biggest lesson of the Scottish referendum was that when people are given the responsibility for making big decisions, they grab it with both hands." (Section 11)

"We support the proposal to have an in-out referendum so that the British people can have their say. This is because much has changed since the UK joined the Common Market in 1974. Endless debate on membership is a diversion from more important matters, such as ending inequality and adapting our economy to one-planet living."

The Green Party is now encouraging that endless debate in a concerted attempt, (funded by the same big business interested only in profit not people that the Green Party previously condemned), to overturn democracy and frustrate the British people from their choice to leave the European Union. This endless debate is frustrating the fight against global extinction by diverting the attention of the media away from the climate change crisis towards a campaign to reverse the decision on leaving the EU that the Green Party had previously promised to honour. (This was clearly demonstrated this weekend when climate change demonstrations in Newcastle and elsewhere were over shadowed by the rally to overturn the referendum result in London.)

Indeed, the leadership of the Green Party of England and Wales knows that the long term EU neo-liberal economic policies, which recently forced Greece into 42 years of austerity, make effective action on climate change, like promoting de-growth, impossible in the time the UN says we have left to attempt to reverse climate change. And yet they continue to sacrifice our planet so that they can continue to get their thirty pieces of silver from the EU.

This is cynical, self-centred hypocrisy and I can no longer be a party to it. Therefore, I resign my membership of the Green Party.
Yours Faithfully,

Leslie A Rowe
Richmond Green Party Parliamentary candidate 2005, 2010 & 2015

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Leave Means Leave to sue for Euro elections if Art 50 extended

Leave Means Leave to sue for Euro elections if Art 50 extended

Leave Means Leave, the cross party campaign group for a true Brexit, is to mount legal action against the UK Government to ensure that European Elections will be held in the UK on May 23rd 2019 if Article 50 to leave the EU is extended. The organisation has appointed City law firm Wedlake Bell as well as Counsel from Field Court Chambers to prepare this claim.

The Prime Minister confirmed in Parliament in January 2019 that in the event of an extension, such European Elections would most likely be held. Leave Means Leave has written confirmation from the Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission that it is preparing and will be ready for these polls on 23rd May. However, concern is mounting amongst many Leave supporters that senior politicians are looking for ways to avoid holding such elections, for fear of the result.

There have been suggestions that a limited extension to Article 50, ending before the new EU European Parliament sits in early July, would negate the need for the UK to participate in EU elections. Leave Means Leave does not accept this argument. Such timing is clearly a tactic to avoid UK participation and cannot be trusted. Moreover there is nothing to suggest that a very short extension would change anything, especially since there will be no EU decision making capability while the Commission is in transition pending the May 23 polls. There is every likelihood of a further delay, leaving the UK a member of the EU without representation. This is unacceptable.

Leave Means Leave’s legal action is designed to ensure that if the UK is still a member of the EU on the 23rd May, European elections must be held on that day.

John Longworth, Chairman of Leave Means Leave, said: “Recent events show that politicians can no longer be trusted to stick to their word on Brexit. European elections must be held in the UK if we have not left on 23rd May."


John Longworth - Chairman, Leave Means Leave - 07775 876986
Richard Tice - Vice Chairman, Leave Means Leave - 07785 900300

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.

David Malone "The Death of Democracy"
War on Want:
Michelle Sforza and Mark Vallianatos Chemical Firm Uses Trade Pact to Contest Environmental Law April 1997
European Commission February 2016 Investment provisions in the EU-Canada free trade agreement (CETA)

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:

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

Friday, 29 June 2018

Looking Forward, not Back, the campaign by Leslie Rowe to be the new leader of the Green Party

Leslie Rowe has submitted his nomination to be leader of the Green Party in England and Wales. Here is the statement accompanying that application.

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 the interests of democracy, 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 the UK leaving 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.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

A History Lesson: Did the UK join the EEC for the wrong reasons?

Giving all the fuss about Brexit, you may have wondered why did the UK join the EEC in 1973 and did the UK achieve the goals it set itself?

The reasons can be traced back to a study made by the Macmillan Government in 1959. The "Future Policy Study" was a long range study of UK overseas policy during the decade to come (1960 to 1970). It revealed amongst other things that the then French President, General De Gaulle, regarded the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community in 1957 (the EEC, the forerunner of the EU) as a purely commercial treaty, which De Gaulle admitted he would not have signed, if he had been French president at the time.

The Britsh prime minister Harold Macmillan still wanted the UK to be a world player. However, the summit meeting in May 1959 between the four "great" powers of the time (USA, USSR, UK and France) had failed to achieve any positive outcome, because of the shooting down of an American U2 spy plane over Russia earlier that month. It was at a time when the UK was losing its Empire and Macmillan realised that on its own, the UK could no longer be the "World player" that it had been. The study suggested that the UK had two possible routes, either to help develop the emerging economies of the Commonwealth or to throw in its lot with the EEC.

As historian Peter Hennessy wrote in his book "Having it so good: Britain in the Fifties" , "EUROPE, for the British was not a shining collective goal in itself, but a means of sustaining BRITISH power." As the French philosopher Raymond Aron put it in 1962, "those for whom Europe is to be a fatherland cannot avoid recognising that in British eyes (except for a small minority) it will never be anything but a means for something else".

The main reason for joining the EEC then, was to sustain Britain's powers in international affairs. Indeed the reports suggested that the UK expected to become the lead player in the EEC, if it joined. Hennessy described UK "wishful thinking" in not believing what the Treaty of Rome said about ever closer union in its opening paragraphs on the grounds that only French "mystics" could subscribe to it.

However the report acknowledged that joining the EEC might be unpopular. " It is to be expected that , if we were to join the Six (the original six countries of the EEC) there would be considerable opposition from some sections of public opinion.."

In a conclusion that Hennessy describes as "chilling", the 1959 report declared " This opposition would require careful handling; intensive RE-EDUCATION would be needed..."

This re-education started before 1973, when the UK joined the EEC and continues to this day. However, the UK never did achieve the dominance over the EEC that was its original goal. That honour now clearly lies with Germany. Indeed the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, then the Amsterdam, Nice and then Lisbon treaties increasingly took power away from Westminster and gave it to Brussels. The UK went from being a net exporter to the EEC to having a massive trade deficit with the EU (£82bn in 2016).

Notes to the 1959 report also concluded that the UK " should consider full membership, but seek special terms to meet our fundamental interests and those of the Commonwealth." Edward Heath, who took the UK into the EEC, failed to achieve any special terms and the UK has continued to fail to negotiate any meaningful "special terms" even when the EU was faced with Brexit (as David Cameron discovered).

The time has come to recognise that the UK failed in its original objectives and that the EU juggernaut will continue towards its goal of "ever closer" union until a United States of Europe is achieved or the EU implodes as its nation states collapse.

It may or may not be too late for plan B, to develop economic ties with Commonwealth countries. But it is time to recognise that the massive private and public debt (more than doubled since 2010 under Tory "austerity" to over £2 trillion) that the UK has amassed by being part of the EU must be addressed. As the 1959 report predicted:

"Whether we join the Six or not, we shall have to reduce the proportion of our output devoted to consumption and increase the proportion which is invested or exported."

We have ignored this advice in the forty five years since we joined the EEC, which has left the UK in massive debt. Now is the time to reverse that situation, exacerbated by the urgent need to reduce consumption in order to reduce the risk of global warming. We need to stop pretending we are a global power and instead put the needs of the British people and the country first.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

An Opinion on the House of Lords and Brexit by Leslie Rowe

Brexit is a wonderful opportunity, a catalyst if you will, for change. The day after the EU referendum, I presented the GreenLeaves (the Green campaign for Brexit) nine point plan for change.
See below (in 2016) and pined to top of

One of these points was the plan to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with a directly elected chamber, representative of the regions of the UK.

Never more starkly does the need to abolish this chamber of privilege present itself than now. Blithely their Lordships ignore the democratic wish of the people and vote again and again to try to reverse the vote for Brexit.

Who are these people who feel that their wishes outweigh the 17.4 million UK citizens who voted for Brexit? Take for instance Baroness Ludford, the author of the motion to keep the EU charter of fundamental rights enshrined in UK law and one of the one hundred or so unelected Lib Dem peers (far more than the twelve members in the House of Commons).

I knew Sarah Ludford when I was chair of the Liberal European Action Group and she was vice-chair. She was made a peer even before she was given a top slot on the Lib Dem European Parliament list. Like so many others whose backsides polish the red benches, I have absolutely no idea why she was given a seat in the House of Lords.

One of the many reasons why I eventually abandoned the Lib Dems and joined the Green Party, was because, in my opinion, the Lib Dems were about who you know, not what you know. (Clearly I am not a Party animal, having changed my mind on the EU and am now in disagreement with the Green Party leadership over Brexit).

Ms Ludford continues to turn a blind eye to inconvenient truths. Such as that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is a political tool (set up to bind the EU closer as part of the Lisbon treaty), not a judicial one. The European Court of Justice is very selective in what it decides to prosecute and no action is taken if it is politically inconvenient for the EU establishment.

For instance, the EU is itself contravening several Articles of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights by supporting the Spanish government’s actions against supporters of Catalan independence. Similarly the EU is in direct contravention of the Charter in their disregard for the basic rights of the Greek people including the right to trade union representation.

In both examples and many more the EU is directly contravening:
Article 1: The Right to Human Dignity
Article 6: The Right to Liberty or Security of Person
Article 11: Freedom of Expression and Information
Article 12: Freedom of Assembly and Association
Article 21 Non-discrimination (on political or any other opinion)
Article 54: Prohibition of Abuse of Rights

These rights are being denied in Catalonia and Greece. When Catalans want to exercise their right in a democratic vote, the Spanish government calls it treason and sends in police thugs to beat up Catalans and repress their legitimate right to freedom of expression. Why has the European Charter of Fundamental Rights not been implemented?

Because the EU institutions, including the Court of Justice, allow politics to overrule legal protections. In Greece the legitimate Syriza Government and the wishes of the Greek people were overruled by an EU body with no legal standing (the Eurogroup). As Yanis Varoufakis says in his book "Adults in the Room" "..democracy had indeed died the moment when the Eurogroup acquired the authority to dictate economic policy to member states without anything resembling federal democratic sovereignty (pg237)."

We need a UK Charter of Fundamental Rights, administered by impartial UK courts, not the politically motivated European Court of Justice, which would have the power to overrule the democratic wishes of the British people, just as the EU has done in Catalonia, in Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and many other EU vassal states.