Tag Archives: EU

Hard border mainland UK

Borders, NoB orders and Brexit

Hard borders, soft borders, no borders, we’ve heard it all. There has been much debate about which type of border would exist between a post Brexit Scotland and England in the event of Scotland being able to avoid sinking, along with the rest of the UK, into an insular little xenophobic fug with post-imperialistic tendencies. There are various permutations of the argument but we know that the British parties and their “Scottish” stooges will always plum for the most extreme variation in order to scare people into complying with their way of thinking. So lets take a look at that extreme option.

Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a hefty margin, of course the democratic will of the Scottish people matters naught to the British Fundamentalist so they insist that Scotland retains its chains to the sinking ship Britannia and we’ll all sing Jerusalem as we descend to the bottom of the North Sea amid glorious waves of red, white and blue. But let’s assume that Scotland somehow manages to retain her full EU membership (or something very close to it). This option could probably only be achieved with full independence since there is no political will on the part of the British Fundamentalists to do otherwise. They know best you see, just get back into your tartan shortbread tin Scotland.

The British Fundamentalists tell us that a hard border would exist between Scotland and England so we would should really understand what a hard border looks like. First up is the Irish border as it used to look during the euphemistically named “troubles”.

A watchtower on the Irish border

A watchtower on the Irish border

The border itself was very porous with no actual fence or wall dividing Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland. There were roadblocks and checkpoints, watchtowers positioned at strategic points and armed soldiers manning them all. This was a hard border. It existed between two EU member states. It blocked the movement of goods, people and services and damaged both countries economies.

The next border is another hard border, more extreme than the last one. It is the former Inner German Border which used to exist back in the days of the Cold War. I used to patrol it and it was scary, it looked like this:

Inner German border

Inner German border

There were walls, anti-vehicle ditches, mine fields (the ploughed strip above), fences, war dogs on running leashes, watch towers, armed troops and all manner of listening and observation devices. The main difference between this border and the former Irish border was that this one was designed to keep people in, not out. I like to think that this would be the type of border that would exist between England and Scotland, one which is designed to keep the poor little Englanders in since they all aspire to get into the prosperous Scotland which stayed in the EU, well maybe not.

The fact is that all borders are artificial constructs, animals and birds do not respect borders. They are by human beings, for human beings. Designed to keep human beings on one side or the other. They exist only by the will of man.

So would this type of border exist between a post Brexit England and an European Scotland? If it did it would be an extension of the English southern border. It would be an English construct since Scotland neither needs nor wants one. The only people who would want one are the UKIPpers and their Daily Express reading followers who have been fed a constant diet of the dangerous migrants and glorious Britain with its smashing Empire. It would be the border between what remains of the UK and the EU/EEA. If rUK made it difficult at one point the EU would make it difficult at all points.  If rUK made it difficult to cross from Scotland within the EU/EEA into rUK then the EU would make it difficult to cross from all EU ports into rUK. For this reason sanity dictates that it would never happen (assuming some sanity still exists in this world).

Now our Tory Brexiteers insist that there would not be a hard border between a post Brexit Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. No real border exists there now and that’s the way that most people on the emerald isle want it to stay. So how can that be? How can Northern Ireland remain within the UK and have no borders with the Republic of Ireland? Well here’s how:

Hard border mainland UK

Hard border mainland UK

The border would exist around mainland UK! Taking us back to dark days of WWII. If you want to travel around the UK you will have to show your papers. Fancy jumping on a ferry to Larne? You’re going to need your passport. Live in Belfast and want to sell those goods to mainland UK? You’re going to have to pay customs duties and fill in lots of paperwork. This is the reality which awaits Northern Ireland and its soft border with the Republic of Ireland, the hard border will exist but it will be on the mainland.

So to sum up, no hard border will exist between Scotland and England whether or not Scotland retains EU membership or not. If NI remains part of UK it will have a hard border at the UK mainland and no border to speak of with the Republic of Ireland, but if NI remains within the EU it won’t have a border at all. Got it?

I have a "Special Deal"

The Perma-Tory hell of Brexit

Our beloved leader has cast aside his bestialist ways and got us a super deal which gives us “special status” within the EU. Not that the deal amounts to much, it just tinkers around the edges of immigration policy and benefits. But the PM’s biggest achievement is the exemption of the City of London from any EU regulation. How’s that for light touch regulation? Paul Double, the City of London Remembrancer, will be pleased.

Now we are expected to decide whether we want to stay in the EU in a referendum which is to be held on the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the timing is against the wishes of all of the devolved parliaments and assemblies since the referendum campaign will overshadow the May elections. The referendum will continue to dominate the agenda until then and it will provide a free platform to UKIP which may see their first MSPs at Holyrood.

This referendum is all about the tories and the advance of UKIP who have outflanked them on the right. The tories have always been split on the EU, some tories split from the main party to form UKIP. Tory party grandees fund UKIP and it is they who are driving the anti-EU agenda.

Before we get lost in the EU referendum let’s remember that UKIP want to abolish the Barnett Formula which they conceded in their 2015 manifesto, “…will result in substantial reductions in funding for Scotland.” But hey, that’s OK because we will have some super new powers of our own to compensate for the shortfall. This places UKIP up there with the red tories who want us to raise income taxes in order to mitigate for tory cuts. But they are purple tories after all.

So what would the UK be like if the result of the referendum is to leave?

Well the first thing to go would be those pesky Human Rights that are forced on us from the EU. That would be the end of freedom of speech, we wouldn’t be able to complain about being tortured or having our privacy invaded. The tories would be able to do as they please once the shackles of the European Court of Human Rights are thrown off. We would have no right to life, no right to freedom, no right to property and definitely no right to protest. Goodness no, that would never do.

The next thing to go would be those irritating employment laws, you know the ones that protect the employees from the worst excesses of the employers? So out would go union laws, we won’t be having any of those. Then the tories will make it even easier to get rid of people and as for holiday entitlement, ha ha ha. Pay would be driven down, unless you are a boss of course, and those working conditions would be, how should I put it, improved.

Once you have been booted out of your job and you become “no longer economically active” well, what use are you? You may think that all those National Insurance contributions counted for something but you were wrong. There will be Universal Credit if they ever get the computer system sorted out, but IDS will make it impossible for you to claim it. If you are unable to work through sickness or disability IDS will make you jump through all manner of hoops before declaring you fit to work, so you get nothing. The new benefits regime will be called Work for Freedom.

Did we mention pensions yet? The tories will reduce the state pension but not too much, they do rely on the silver vote after all so it will be nice and subtle. Those other benefits like winter fuel allowance and free TV licences will all have to go, after all we need to pull together now that there’s a war on, spirit of the blitz and all. Didn’t we mention the war? We’ll get to that. The bus passes will have to go, but then pensioners are not economically active so why do they need to get around? As for those company and private pensions, all that lovely cash sitting around is just too tempting to resist, Gideon already has his greedy eyes on that honeypot. After all there is a war to pay for.

Oh yes, the war. Well it turns out that nuclear weapons are no deterrent after all. The £167 billion which was funnelled into arms companies didn’t prevent the war. Well it wouldn’t would it, because war is so much more profitable than peace. If there’s something a tory loves it’s money and cushy non executive directorships, both of which can be had by the bucket load if only the house votes for war.

We’ll need someone to do the dirty work, boots on the ground so to speak. There weren’t many volunteers so the tories re-introduced conscription. Now all our youth must serve in the armed forces, but only working class youth of course. There are lots of exemptions so if you have enough cash your son/daughter will not have to join the slaughter discipline enhancing institutions of the armed forces. Before you know it they will be off to the sand pit with sub-standard kit, made by the lowest bidder, to fight in a perpetual war which cannot be won.

Back home in Blighty there will be fear, lashings of it, all over the MSM. We need to have fear to keep the people in their place you see. There will not be any facts, good lord no. We can’t have the plebs making informed decisions can we? That would never do. The media will do the government’s bidding because they are one and the same. All part of the same establishment because that is what tories stand for: the few at the expense of the many.

Article 6 European Convention of Human Rights

European Convention on Human Rights, Article 6: Right to a Fair Trial

Article 6 enshrines everyone’s tight to a fair trial, including a public hearing, before an independent and impartial tribunal within reasonable time. The article also enshrines the presumption of innocence and other minimum rights for those charged with a criminal offence, such as adequate time and facilities to prepare their defence, access to legal representation, right to examine witnesses against them or have them examined and the right to the free assistance of an interpreter.

Of course this has already happened with the introduction of the Justice and Security Act 2013 which means that you can be charged, tried, convicted and sentenced without knowing of any of the details of the case against you. You will not hear any of the charges against you. You will not get to know any of the evidence against you. You will not be allowed to be present in the court which decides your fate. You will not even hear what your sentence is. The first thing that you will know will be the police coming to your door to arrest you and place you in prison to serve your sentence.

This legislation is in direct contradiction to Article 6, which is probably why the Tories want to get rid of the Human Rights Act so they can chuck whoever they please into prison.

The Lying PM

PM Lies Like a Cheap NAAFI Watch

The Prime Minister thumped his tub in parliament today saying, “Britain will not be paying €2 billion to anyone on 1 December.” David Miliband tried to find out when the UK Government knew about the increased payments but the Prime Minister brushed the question aside. So the questions are, who knew what and when?

The budget, and the changes to each countries charges, was discussed on 26th May 2014. The measures which increased the UK’s share of the budget were waved though, “without discussion.” On the same day the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson issued a press briefing which said, “Asked about the European Commission’s intention to increase its budget, the PMS pointed out that this was an annual budget, which formed part of a 7 year spending period. And, as a result of negotiations led by the Prime Minister last year, the EU budget would fall in real terms over that period.” So David Cameron KNEW about the increase to the budget the day before he flew out to have an informal dinner with other EU leaders on the 27th May 2014, but he was too busy crowing about the European election results to be bothered to bring the topic of a £1.7 billion increase in the UK’s contribution.

On the 24th October 2014 the PM said, “Well I first learnt about this yesterday on Thursday, and immediately started to seek allies, and I found allies in the Italians and the Greeks and Dutch and others, on just how unacceptable this is. In terms of when the Treasury got this information, it was a little bit earlier in the week. And I think the answer to that is when these sorts of memos come about is that they have to be interrogated, they have to be examined, people have to work out what lies behind them.” This is clearly a lie.

So why are the press not going for the jugular? Because Dave is ‘their’ man in Downing Street perhaps? Or are the press doing the government’s bidding? Or is it both?

Danny Licks George's Spittle

Cameron Promises to Default on UK Debt

The Prime Minister has promised that the UK will not pay it’s debt to the EU on the 1st December which would leave the UK in default. David Cameron said, “If people think I am paying that bill on 1 December, they have another think coming.” This will henceforth be known as the “Call Me Dave” defence so the next time HMRC come knocking, wanting you to pay your tax bill by such and such a date, you just have to tell them that your name is Dave and the problem will disappear. How do you think that will work out? Exactly, and the same thing is going to happen here.

The spat is designed to make the PM appear to be tough on the EU but the effect so far is to alienate our trading partners and neighbours as well as diminishing our global standing. Who is going to trust a country which does not pay its’ debts? As Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Tory Lickspittle, said during the Scottish Independence Referendum about the SNPs’ promise not to pay its’ share of UK debt, “The Scottish Government’s plan to renege on Scotland’s share of the debt in the event of independence is simply not credible. Mortgage rates would go up, credit cards and bills would go up and the Scottish Government would have to resort to the bond markets equivalent of Wonga to raise money to pay for public services in Scotland.”

So that’s it then, we can expect higher mortgage rates, credit cards and bills to go up and UK government will have to go cap in hand to Wonga to bail them out. Just because Dave want’s to appear to be tough on the EU. Just because the Tories are running scared from the UKIP threat. We’re definitely Better Together now then.

David-Cameron-Nick-Clegg

PM Squeals about “Pooling and Sharing” of Resources

The Prime Minister has “demanded” emergency talks with the EU about their demands for more money from the UK. The demands themselves stem from the UK economy’s outperformance since 1995 and they amount to £1.676 billion. The Netherlands, Greece, Italy and Cyprus are also in the frame for their underpayments to the EU. These “demands” have been acceded to by the EU.

Some countries have been made overpayments to the EU and now they are due a refund. The countries are: France, Germany, Denmark, Poland and Austria. Given how strong these countries’ voices are within the EU, and the fact that they are due a rebate, I don’t think that the PM stands much of a chance of getting the surcharge waived.

This announcement from the EU is a big blow to the Pm and the Tories, with the Rochester and Strood by-election coming up on 20th November and UKIP nipping at their heels. The PM has to appear to be tough on Europe or risk losing more votes to the right wing UKIP. Unfortunately for David Cameron the majority of people are against leaving the EU so the PM is really on the hook. If he succeeds then the Tories will look good to UKIP voters but if he fails then he can expect a backlash against his party.

But what about our moral obligations? Think of it this way, if you had under paid your taxes to HMRC you can be sure that they would want you to pay that money back. So what is the difference here? Are the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition involving themselves in tax dodging?

They’re just like their rich chums.

David Cameron Doh

New poll is huge blow to Tories/UKIP

A recent IpsosMORI poll shows that 56% of Britons wish to remain within the EU, the highest proportion since 1999. The poll is a clear warning to the Tories and UKIP that their Euroscepticism is falling on deaf ears throughout the land, with even Tory support for continued membership above 50%.

Among the other parties 73% of Labour supporters and 82% of Lib Dem supporters favour continued membership. Unsurprisingly only 11% of UKIP supporters are in favour of remaining within the EU.

The new poll is a big blow for David Cameron, who is pushing for an in/out referendum on the issue in 2017 if the Tories are re-elected. He is responding to the threat of UKIP which has seen 2 Tory MPs defect to it in recent times. But it is clear that his message is not getting through to the majority of the population. Membership of the EU has always been one of the major fault lines of the Tory party.

The poll also shows that UKIP are not reaching the majority of the population with their xenophobic message.

Labour are marginally in the lead ahead of the next general election in 2015 but they are not immune from the threat of UKIP either which has lead to a further lurch to the right for the party with David Miliband announcing new controls on immigration if Labour are elected in 2015. But Labour supporters have traditionally been more in favour of immigration than the other parties.

Among Scottish people 60% were in favour of remaining within the EU. Unfortunately there were no breakdowns of political party affiliations within this segment of the poll.

There was no mention of this poll on the BBC, is this censorship by omission?

European Commission President Barroso

New Blow to Tory Immigration Plans

In a fresh blow to the Tory party’s UK immigration strategy the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told British Prime Minister David Cameron that he risked upsetting allies and trading partners, as well as losing international clout if he pursued an anti-immigration agenda designed to placate domestic voters.

Mr Cameron’s false flag operation, aimed at reducing the numbers of low skilled workers entering the UK from the rest of the EU, is a direct result of the threat to the Tories posed by UKIP. It gives him the impression of being tough on the EU, however he knows that the free movement of people is enshrined in the Maastricht Treaty which created EU Citizenship. This means that it is a fundamental to the EU that all EU citizens have the freedom of movement within the EU and the freedom of residence throughout the EU. So any restrictions on the movement of EU citizens would be in contravention of EU law and thus it would be completely unacceptable to the rest of the EU.

The only legal way to restrict the number of EU migrants would be a renegotiation of the founding EU treaties, which would require the agreement of all of the other EU states. This is very unlikely to happen. So when the rest of the EU says No, Mr Cameron will be able to say, “We tried to renegotiate but they were not willing so now we must hold a referendum on leaving the EU.” This would make him appear to be tough on the EU, partly countering the xenophobia of UKIP (and the Eurosceptics within the Conservative party). He would see this as a mandate for his proposed referendum, assuming the tories get re-elected.

The compliant media are all singing from the proffered hymn sheet, ramping up the anti immigration and anti EU rhetoric.  All the while giving UKIP, with one elected MP, loads of free publicity. It’s almost as if UKIP are being lined up by the establishment as a protest vote, side lining the Lib Dems, but in reality they are just the right wing of the Conservative party. The media are also not asking the important questions, like “what would be the cost to the UK of an exit from the EU?” The media are constraining the breadth of acceptable discussion, limiting the debate to narrow confines, not allowing the bigger picture to be spoken about. This is how referendums are won and lost.

Of course the general election is just round the corner and the tories are just laying out their stall, trying to steal some of UKIP’s clothes in order to hide their dismal record in government, particularly on the deficit. Expect to see DC in a pub soon, supping a pint like “common folk” would.