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Saturday 6 May 2017

Britain's fish will feed Europe - at a price

One key outcome of Brexit that must form a Red Line for the UK is the reclaim of our exclusive economic zone from the EU. Do not take this for granted; they don't want to give it up, and no wonder. There will be a fight over this, but in the over-riding national interest we must be implacable. No deals, no shared sovereignty - we'll have the lot back from 2019. 

A glance at the bathymetric map will reveal our advantage. French and Spanish EEZs also extend to 200 miles - but mostly over deep waters. Ours are almost wholly over the rich, fecund, warm continental shelf on which sea life thrives - if not overfished. Britain's fish resources are the richest in Europe, and currently belong to the EU. 

This is also a key reason to form a close and mutually beneficial alliance with Norway; also outside the EU; between us we own 70% of Europe's fish. Denmark, NL, Belgium, Germany and France all have inconsequential fishing waters.  

Make no mistake, we will have our waters back, no exceptions, no qualifications. And we alone will decide who may fish those waters and how much may be taken. A robust conservation policy coupled with determined and aggressive enforcement will restore these seas to a marine resource teeming with life. One thing is clear - Europe will pay far more dearly for its fish in the future than now. 

Friday 5 May 2017

Surely now is the time to honour Farage?

Well, the electors seem to be clear; UKIP has done its job and can now retire with honour and dignity. UKIP members have seen the evolution of their party from a fringe movement to a vast steamer that garnered 4m votes and scared the stools from a complacent Tory party that previously thought Euroscepticism was manageable. It was UKIP that forced Cameron into a referendum, and Nigel Farage that won it. No mean achievements either for the leader or any of the party's members. 

Leave is now mainstream, gaining new supporters daily, helped in no small part by the undecideds seeing for the first time the brutal naked aggression of which the Brussels federation is capable. Remainers are becoming like flat earthers. Farron reminds me of the chap who used to parade a placard on the steps of the Mirror building on Old Fetter Lane declaring that meat caused sin. The whine from the Guardian is growing less shrill, and June 8th should kill off a whole cohort more of remainers, as the country shifts firmly behind Theresa May as the best champion for Britain. 

Yes, I know there are those who think May the devil in disguise and that it's all a great conspiracy to rob UKIP but I really don't think this is the case. What I do believe and believe strongly is that Nigel Farage should be recognised by his country, and perhaps now is a good time. He's achieved something extraordinary, and I'm sure we will see him limned in bronze at size-and-a-third at some stage in some prominent place. Oh, we don't give away Apsley House type gifts to our victors any more, but Farage deserves something tangible. 

Tuesday 2 May 2017

More Assets, more money to come to UK from EU ..

It may just have escaped your notice that the EU's propaganda showhouse, called "The house of European History", is set to open in four days. With an architectural style of which Herr Speer would surely have approved, it lacks only naked blond corn-m├Ądchen with laurel wreaths on the pediment. 

Of course, the museum is empty of both objects and interpretive exhibits, save for the Nobel medal for something meretricious or the other given to the EU. It is the sole exhibit. This is for two reasons. Firstly, the construction budget over-ran initial budgets by a factor of four, to a total of €137m, swallowing the exhibits budget to pay for the building. When last I built a new museum the exhibition costs (lighting, cases, interpretation, simple interactives, audio visual etc) came to £1,500/m2 for a low key delivery. You can double that for the EU museum - which has 4,000m2. 

The second reason is that the 27 can't agree how to interpret European history. What can the museum say about the Germans?  I fear any interpretation of the past is doomed to failure, but that's now the business of the 27.

The question is, what of our share? Do we ask for 12% of the cost back, or demand that they now build a detached annex, under our control, in which to display just British history?

Incidentally, I publish below the EU's own table from

If you divide the total by 52 you get, erm, €350m a week. Oh, and we also passed over 75% of €4.27bn ( €3.2bn) in tariffs for goods coming in through the UK.

Monday 1 May 2017

Post-election Parliament must be ready for a raft of emergency Bills

The government has recently realised that our powers to impose sanctions currently arise from the EU - and that when we leave, we will need domestic legislation in place to legally do so. Legislating to remediate this situation may be no great problem. Now it is clear that we are leaving the EU, one way or another, an Act can be passed with a 'Coming into force' date co-terminous with our formal exit date. However, not all the legislation we will need will be so straightforward.

As Juliet Samuel makes clear in a cogent and compelling piece for the Telegraph;
Despite the EU’s moderation on paper, however, prospects for a smooth Brexit are currently far from rosy. The weekend’s headlines were flavoured with a classic Brussels tincture – a poisonous media briefing and a Jean-Claude Juncker soundbite. None of this would have been unleashed without Berlin’s blessing and suggests that German attitudes are hardening. Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to have bought into the idea that the EU must make an example of Britain in order to protect itself. The wrong side is winning the argument. This may be because most EU governments don’t yet believe they have much to lose. They cannot conceive that Britain would ever walk away from a deal, however unpalatable its terms. On this, they have misjudged.
Samuel makes clear that we must prepare now to walk away without a deal, and assume that this will be the outcome of the negotiations. If we manage to reach a satisfactory deal, fine. But if we don't, as seems more likely, we will be ready. 

We should not underestimate the global economic and financial shock of leaving with no deal. We must be prepared to look after the UK's interests, and if possible those of the Commonwealth and of the USA - the anglosphere. We will need emergency wartime powers and more importantly a national consensus that may mean a wartime cabinet - with opposition ministers sitting in government. Parliament needs to be ready to legislate on the hoof, reservists ready to be called up, the red duster fleet ready to serve the nation and yes, possibly even rationing systems to be devised and rolled out and temporary state control of food, fuel and power. Bills must be drafted NOW to meet an emergency.

This election is an essential fore-runner to facing a time of such emergency. The Prime Minister needs the backing of the country - the Commons will not be of one voice in the debate to reject a humiliating and wounding offer from the EU, but once the house has voted in favour of walking away, they will all be behind it or face the wrath of voters. The Lords are a different kettle of fish. We cannot allow these deeply corrupted and befouled fifth columnists to sabotage the national interest. Mrs May no doubt also has a reserve plan to deal with these foreign agents in our midst.

I do hope the Bank has been quietly buying back the nation's gold reserves so foolishly squandered by the last Labour chancellor. As the talks collapse and gold shoots past £1,400 an ounce we will need every kilo we can get.