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Saturday 12 October 2019

Internet shopping post-Brexit

I am an inveterate internet shopper. This is generally because I am an ingrained price-chaser and source stuff from across the world - including knock-off Poulsen luminaires from China, still a third of the cost of the originals even with shipping and customs duties and VAT added. So I am used to the process, which is simple and efficient here. The Post drops you a card with a URL and reference, one logs-on to the website, enters a few details, scans a couple of documents and makes a SOFORT transfer and then the goods are delivered. Not a problem a few times a year - but what about those regular weekly / monthly purchases from UK suppliers or UK eBay?

Well, those regular suppliers, you won't be surprised to know, are already ready for Brexit. Everything bought via the internet from outside the EU needs a customs sticker as the delivery of a couple of memory sticks from 7-day shop yesterday shows -

After Brexit the value will be the critical factor. No VAT is payable on imports under €22, and no customs tariff on imports below €150. UK suppliers who are VAT registered will in future make sales to EU customers free of UK VAT. Thus purchases under €22 will (I expect) be 20% cheaper - like my memory sticks.

One of my other regular monthly buys is from Screwfix (the Kingfisher group's success story).  Screws, fixings, blades and discs, sealants, adhesives mostly - much cheaper than local. They offer free delivery to Europe on orders over £50 and looking at my order values over the past year -

They're all well under the €150 customs duty limit - the UK cost will (I expect) be 20% lower, local VAT will be payable at 20% so the net result is zilch.

There will always be a few exceptions that will no longer be economic. Pallet deliveries, mostly. I've become used to booking my own pallet deliveries online, for as little as £160 a pallet. Stone floor tiles from Italy, a nation whose border is fifteen minutes drive away, cost no less than £65/m2 plus delivery (a minimum of €200 per pallet load) from any of the EU27 but can be bought from the UK for £27/m2 plus delivery. Yes, the exact same tiles from the same quarries. I need another 14m2 for an unfinished bathroom so will have to figure this out after Brexit. 

But so far, the personal impact of Brexit looks to be .... nil. Bring it on.

Friday 11 October 2019

The EU army's theatre of operations ...

It's a slow day so let's have a bit of fun. Let's presume there is a future shake-out of military alliances, with the EU choosing to go its own way, after having admitted Ukraine. Let's presume also that the neutral countries stay neutral, and that the UK, Norway and Iceland remain in NATO. Turkey? Well, not in NATO, clearly. And unlikely to have been admitted to EU membership. Which would lead Turkey to look to Russia for an alliance.

Now the military types amongst you will appreciate the position better than I, but if I were the EU, I think I'd want very much to have Turkey on my side rather than Russia's. With a population of 82m, 12m of which are men of prime military age and not soft and woke like EU youth, what's the bet that the EU will go-a-courting again? If they have to defend three fronts, will that cost them more or less than the 2% they're supposed to spend on NATO?

NATO blue, Russia red

NATO blue, EU green, Russia red

Turkey is a Rogue State and must be treated as such

Long time readers will no doubt recall I have been consistent for many years in promoting the dangers of our alliances with both KSA and Turkey, the two greatest fomenters of conflict, terrorism and instability in Europe. I have been consistent in advocating the expulsion of Turkey from NATO. Back in July I even congratulated the Telegraph's Con Coughlin for unusually lunching with the right MOD briefer and writing -
When Turkey joined Nato back in 1952, the idea was that it would help to protect Nato’s eastern flank from Moscow’s aggression. Now that is clearly no longer the case, and European leaders should join their American counterparts in facing up to the fact that Turkey under Mr Erdogan is a lost cause. The days when Turkey had a genuine interest in cementing its ties with the West by joining the European Union are long gone. Instead, we have a country that openly associates with those who wish to do us harm.

Consequently, now that Mr Erdogan has demonstrated that he feels more at home in Moscow than he does in Brussels, we should acknowledge where Turkey’s true interests lie, and terminate its NATO membership.
As far back as 2015 I was of the opinion that only internal action by the Turkish people to remove Erdogan could turn things around but was later forced to admit the failure of that course -
Well, the coup was tried - and failed. Tens of thousands of civil servants have been dismissed, hundreds of the most senior military officers imprisoned, and at least a score of them judicially murdered in custody ('fell out of a window' 'had a heart attack' etc). Erdogan appreciated his isolation and moved to make an ally of Russia, with $20bn of arms purchases. It is pertinent that at least some of that money comes from the EU, the billion-Euro bribes for not sending migrants across the Greek border.
Turkey's invasion of northern Syria can hardly come as a surprise to anyone. That a NATO member can undertake such unlawful aggression without the sanction of immediate expulsion is a disgrace. That Turkey can threaten Europe with a tsunami of 3.6m migrants if anyone objects to its unlawful invasion is proof if proof were needed that Turkey is now a rogue state.

On the subject of baddies, a word of advice to shirt-and-tie characters who are desperate to cultivate a cool image with designer stubble. Like a teenager with a face full of bumfluff trying to grow a moustache, make sure you have enough facial hair before you try - or you just look dirty and unshaven. EU commissioner Johannes Hahn and XR's Rupert Reid please note. 

EU functionary Johannes Hahn and XR man with a suit Rupert Reid

Thursday 10 October 2019

Histrionics and small cows

Yesterday I felt a yearning as never before for a world free from reports that the EU 'insists' that the UK does this or that, that the EU 'refuses' consent for Britain to do something, that the EU finds 'unacceptable' a British position. The relief of being free of such impertinences will be like being free of a bully that blights our lives. The closer we get to Brexit, the more nakedly dogmatic and peremptory the commands from the Brussels Kanzlei are becoming, and the less heed we pay to them. It's like watching a clueless leash-holder shouting ineffectually at a dog who doesn't give a fig and revels in disobedience with a huge grin; 'heel! heel!' 'stop! stop!' shouts the fool as the dog drags him to explore an interesting smell.

The recent histrionics from both Guy Verhofstadt and Donald Tusk, surely two of the world's politicians least in control of themselves, only underlined the utter, bodging amateurishness of the whole EU. It's really no use the standing at the edge of the park holding the lead and shouting 'Come back! I order you!' as a joyful dog bounds off into the distance.

Guy Verhofstadt in particular confirms his folie de grandeur every time he gets on his hind legs with his pronouncements about 'Europe'

Some weeks ago I wrote to Der Spiegel's London correspondent about a reasonable and well considered piece he had written under the utterly false strapline 'Boris hates Europe'; he's a reasonable chap and responded "What can I say? You are right, there is a huge difference between Europe and the EU – and I hope and believe that my article makes that distinction. The cover catchline is a total different matter though. It’s not in my responsibility, and often even we writers only see it at the very last moment .." He promised to pass on the point to the magazine's subs and it seems to have had some effect - I haven't read the same error since. Someone needs similarly to point out to Guy with great patience the difference between a continent of 730m people that includes nations such as Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom and a little empire of 460m people within it. Perhaps only Father Ted would have been up to the task ...

Wednesday 9 October 2019

A black swan moment for Brexit

Well, twenty-four hours really is a long time in politics. The surprise is not that the EU has demanded Northern Ireland as the price for Brexit but that the gloves are now off and that Number Ten has made it public. I suspect strongly that Mrs Merkel said exactly the same thing to Mrs May, which explains much of the draft Selmayr-Robbins treaty (Selmayr himself said explicitly that losing the six counties was the price Britain would have to pay for leaving). Mrs May did not of course tell us that this was the EU's position - and I wonder whether she mentioned it to the Queen during her regular weekly briefings.

That Downing Street made the demand public - a demand that could not be denied by the Bundeskanzlerei, as the conversation was undoubtedly recorded - marks the real political change. Mrs May aimed for an agreement that the EU would find acceptable; Boris is looking for an outcome that the citizens of the UK find acceptable. That is an enormous difference in approach. 

I've no doubt that some fatuous idiot will pop up and opine that as NI voted 'remain' this is reason enough for the EU to insist on sovereignty over the province. Asinine. Demography in Northern Ireland may mean that at some time, maybe in five years, maybe in twenty-five, that there will be a majority in the Province to join with the republic of Ireland. This is wholly a matter for the people of Northern Ireland, wholly a matter for a referendum for only that purpose. That decision has not yet been made. 

Well, I cannot take pleasure in being correct when I doubted that the Prime Minister's deal would get the three green ticks it needed, but yesterday's events have brought us to a point that is hardly unexpected - a clean Brexit. It also leaves remainers in the position of advocating the loss of Northern Ireland as the price they would pay for a deal with the EU. Not a position, I suspect, that will be popular with voters. 

Tuesday 8 October 2019

People -v- Parliament: Round 3

With parliament prorogued today for the rest of the week, at least remain MPs will be unable for a few days to keep digging the hole they're in. Parliament is today held in greater contempt than at any point in my life. The one clear finding of today's Comres poll for the Telegraph is that the nation overwhelmingly blames parliament for the Brexit mess - Boris gets away relatively unscathed;

The public have quite accurately identified their enemies - and any election in the next month or two will irrevocably be coloured by the contest between people and parliament. I can tell you in advance that parliament will lose.

The privileged elite, having captured all the institutions of the State, naively assumed that they could do away with the will of the people, could dispense with democracy. MPs became deluded to the point of imagining that they were important as individuals, that their personal opinions on this matter were more important than the people to whom they had lied in 2017 to win their seats.

All they have done is to ensure that constitutional reform is now inevitable. Everything starts with the elector. Universal suffrage, the secret ballot and the right to associate and form and subscribe to political parties are fundamental to the security of every single citizen in our isles - leavers, remainers and those who don't care. If the elite try to subvert our system of representative democracy, we will constrain our representatives. If the Speaker abuses the privileges of the Chair, we will constrain the powers of the Speaker. If the Supreme Court starts to play politics, we will make its composition a political matter. Power in this nation is delivered via the ballot box, and votes are won not by threat, violence, closing the streets or silly stunts but by reason and argument, by establishing and maintaining a narrative that chimes with the lives and experiences of the electors. People -v- Parliament has lodged in the people's mind and cannot now easily be dislodged.

If you haven't yet seen it, I commend the 27 minute video in the post below. Just ordinary electors, real people, you and me, talking calmly to the camera. The elite will no doubt find it astonishing that we common folk value our democracy so highly.  

Monday 7 October 2019

Boris fighting for a democratic Britain

The illiberals and anti-democrats have had it their way for so long that they still can't accept that the will of the people, the democratic mandate, can override their wealth, power and privilege. Beaten at the ballot box, they have resorted to the millionaire's cudgel of lawfare; ejected from the leadership and membership of the Conservative party they continue to use power, influence and media to frustrate the will of the British people. A few eminent citizens are so far in the pockets of the Brussels mafia - Blair, Major and their dags - that they directly betray the interests of their own country for their corrupt ideology, their own interest. Their collaboration with those who wish us ill befouls our nation and stains our public institutions.

Macron is an énarque, isolated and shielded from the people by a wall of bureaucracy. The thick windows of the Élysée keep the enraged cries of the people, the fumes of the tear gas and the burning streets from his Lillipution nostrils, a triple line of balaclavered black-clad armed riot police keeps the people from the gates of his palace. No wonder he believes Blair and Grieve more than he does Boris - and they are promising him that they will sabotage democracy from inside the country whilst he acts to damage the UK from without. They are urging him to hold out against a deal, to pin Britain against the ropes. And they are wrong.

We are leaving. One way or another, we are leaving. We will not allow the dismemberment of the Union, not permit the EU to remain as Britain's overlord, not tolerate subjugation as a Satrap state under the heel of the unelected Brussels cabal. M. Macron had better start to believe Boris rather than Blair and the other weasels.

This week the Prime Minister embarks on a series of meetings to tell them this face-to-face. He is bolstered by a whole series of polls that show that his party has a commanding lead, that voters are turning against the illiberals in droves, that two-thirds of voters want Brexit done, now. The sabotage-delays engendered by the establishment elite, the ruling privileged class, are about as popular as a cup of cold sick with voters.

We are Leaving.

French police, exhausted from months of street combat with the Gilets Jaunes, are invited to change sides
This from Spiked - calm, rational and reasonable. Just people who believe in a Fair Go. I commend.