Who will lead UKIP? First off Bill Etheridge 

Bill Etheridge 

Thrown out of the Tories for having a love in with golliwogs … 

He once praised Hitler for his ability to work a crowd and gave a speech to the youth wing of ukip on how to use Hitlers skills to inspire an audience. Unfortunately for Bill his own speech making abilities are a tad lacking. This photo was taken at one of his vote leave meetings during the question and answer session:- 

How about his policies for the future (charging people for jail,  bringing back the death sentence, banning the burka) they will will appeal to the very cross type of ukip member. Bill has a leadership Twitter account @bill4leader, it only has 210 followers which matches his rather pathetic fund raising for his campaign – so far standing at £8.00. 

He’s a big fan of promoting his friends businesses on his official MEP Christmas cards

He really hates Islam, so much so he at one point seems to have joined a hate group 


Finally apparently what he wants to be is a “tool for the authorities to use”

Those pesky Brexit questions, still no answers 

A few weeks ago I posted some questions that I wanted answers to. Yesterday a UKIP supporter posted a blog with replies @thunderdriver, George Choy – currently resident in Hong Kong. 

The answers offered by George are in Italics, my rebuttal is directly under each one. 

Will we still have access to the single market? If not what will the replacement look like?
”

Yes, just like any other non-EU country. The UK and EU will need to negotiate a trade deal.”

This has not answered the question, in fact you seem confused. You have said that we would remain part of the single market – free to sell our goods and services without restriction whilst stating that we need to negotiate a trade deal. It is either one of the other. You have failed, along with most that want to Brexit, to address the model that the trade deal would take. 

To vote to leave and then to expect to trade under the same conditions is wishful thinking at the least and highly foolish in reality.

Will we be able to sell services, 78% of our economy, to the EU free of WTO tariffs? 
”That depends on trade negotiations between the UK and the EU. Don’t forget there is EFTA which is a tariff free trade deal between the EU and non-EU European states.”

Again, you have assumed a model that has not been confirmed. EFTA members have had to accept freedom of movement. Since Brexit is being sold to the public on the basis it will lower immigration we can not apply to, and join EFTA , without accepting that there will be freedom of movement. Since the other gripe is the implementation of EU regulations, those who want to leave to make their own laws may interested in this report from the government of Norway which shows they have implemented 75% of EU regulations without any representation from elected officials. 

If after two years there is no agreement, which according to the Brexit lot is highly likely since they constantly moan about the long time it takes for all the EU members to agree. Trade between the EU and the UK would revert to WTO rules, these would mean the introduction of fixed tariffs on services and agricultural products, amongst others. It would also mean a whole slew of non-tariff barriers to trade. 

I also refer you to the following answer on customs union. 


What kind of non tariff barriers will we face?


“Ditto the comments about trade negotiations.”

If those wishing to Brexit can not offer an answer to this question, then it is realistic to look at the current situation facing MEDCs who trade with the EU with or without a trade deal in place. 

If you wish to again refer to EFTA then note EFTA is currently not part of the customs union with the EU this means that goods produced in the UK which include components not produced under the Pan –Euro Med convention, for example cars which are assembled with parts not made in this area, would be subject to customs duties. Rules of origin mean that for each component contained a movement certificate would have to be produced – this would very likely increase the cost of our exports making us less competitive. 

The lack of a customs union is very concerning when much of our manufacturing production is owned by those who specifically invested in the UK to take advantage of the customs union.


Will there be a visa system for holiday makers? 


“This is a very interesting strawman that just popped up.  I now live in HK and after HK went back to the PRC in 97, most HKers were given HKSAR passports instead of the BNO. The HKSAR passport allows visa free access to all Schengen states and the UK.  If EU countries want UK tourists then I guess it would be in the EU’s interest not to put up visa conditions on UK nationals. Otherwise, if the EU puts up visa restrictions then UK people will just have to spend their holidays in the UK, thereby helping the UK economy and cutting down the carbon footprint.  This is a pretty poor reason for remain, methinks.”

It is not those who wish to remain who have mooted the question of visas

And although VISA restrictions might be a small matter the complication faced by the airlines are not.

Will the CAP payments be maintained at the current level and for how long? 

“Can’t believe you are using the CAP as a reason to stay.  CAP subsidizes farmers for producing more than enough cheap food, which is then dumped on the third world, thereby destroying local markets and livelihoods. Which then creates poverty, conflict, migration etc. CAP is actually a very good reason for Lexit as it benefits a few rich people.  Speaks volumes that you as a left-liberal should use this one.”
It speaks volumes that you are unaware that food dumping no longer occurs, export subsidies are being eliminated. One of the problems with those who wish to Brexit is that they do not actually know what is happening in the EU and rely on out of date newspaper articles and biased commentary without looking at the facts. 

Ditto there are no tariffs on food imports from most African nations under the anything but arms deal that has been in place for a number of years. There has already been considerable reform of CAP as regards these issues. 

As for the EU and food production in Africa, one of the problems faced by African farmers a lack of technical assistance to enable them to produce food sustainably for themselves and the local market place. To this end the EU has invested a large part of its overseas aid and technical assistance to farmers in poorer regions of the world. 


How do we get future governments to guarantee CAP payments at EU levels? When agriculture, in reality, employs few people in the UK and does not have the influence of numbers


”See above regarding CAP”
Again you have failed to answer the question. CAP exists and is essential to upland farmers in particular. The agricultural industry is worth only 0.6% of our national value added, how can those advocating brexit guarantee that payments to farmers will remains the same as now in real terms into the future. British farmers benefit from the greater collective bargaining power of strong farming groups around the rest of the EU.

In addition many of those who want to brexit claim food prices will fall with increased imports of food. One oft quoted example is lamb from New Zealand as part of commonwealth reconnect. I am sure upland farmers in Scotland, Wales and Northern England will not be impressed by being undercut in a product that already, often, costs as much to produce as sell. 

How will we ensure that governments of different hues will maintain structural  aid, even when it’s directed at areas where it would give them no political gain?


”Why would it not continue to happen post-Brexit?  As someone who grew up during the Thatcher ’80s in South Wales and later in Manchester, I saw lots of various government projects and aid pouring into both depressed areas.”

Let’s take Liverpool, in the 1980’s its population declined by over 40%, the public aid that it received which created a climate for private investment was objective 1 structural funding initially in 1994 followed by ongoing objective 2 structure funding. Much of the money invested by the government was EU funding that had to spent in a designated area. Again you demonstrate a typical brexit trait to ignore the facts and to make stuff up. You can get the gist of the importance of EU structural funding for Liverpool here.  

Perhaps you can attempt to answer the original question, for example by comparing the amount spent by the current government on infrastructure/arts projects in London compared to the far more deprived North of the country.

 

Northern Ireland and Wales are net gainers from the EU budget. Will the Westminster government maintain this investment? 


“Ditto my comment above. Further why should UK taxpayers pay a larger amount to a supra-national body and then get a smaller amount back to invest in NI and Wales?  Why can’t we bypass the EU in the first place and cut out the middle man?”
See my comment above, successive governments have shown clearly where funding priorities lie. By the way the net cost of the EU is a small price to pay for the inward investment and trade benefits we receive .. See all my previous answers on EFTA .. Very small. 



What is an acceptable loss of GDP over the next 20 years? 


”Why do you think there will be a GDP loss because of Brexit?”
Again not an answer to the question. Financial models including those who are pro brexit show that should brexit supports get their desire regarding migration GDP will fall or fail to grow at a level that it would in the EU.

One of the main funders of Brexit, Arron Banks, has stated any price is worth paying. So what do you think is an acceptable loss of GDP over the next 20 years? If you think there is not going to be a loss, show this with a peer reviewed study.

 

How exactly will making our own trade deals increase the amount we export?


“The amount we export depends on the quality of our goods, service and the cost.  In fact it is possible that we could export more, without the shackles of EU rules and regulations.”
Which shackles would you remove, although try to remember that we do not have to comply with EU regulations to sell to the rest of the world now and we will continue to need to comply to sell into the single market. 

By the way, I expect that for most people detail would include a list of regulations that you intend to get rid of.

 

Explain in detail the reasons you think food will be cheaper? 


“Blimey the CAP again.  The food is ‘cheaper’ because it is subsidized by EU taxpayers.

Again a failure to answer the question.

Leave campaigners claim we can cut the cost of regulation. Account for which regulations will be removed in order to achieve this lower cost.

“These regulations don’t account for local cultures and business practices.  It is trying to force a one size fits all across the EU states.  A good example of this is the 48 hour EU working time directive which is unworkable and forced on the UK.”

Since the UK is already the least regulated economy in the EU, both for production and as a labour market, you might consider that we already opt out of what we don’t require. For example almost anyone can choose to opt out of 48hr week Of course you may want a bus driver driving 60hrs a week, most of us would prefer they did not. 

This is another example of where your knowledge seems to be limited to UKIP soundbites and not actual facts on the ground. 

The reality of regulation is thus 

“Take regulation. The Paris-based OECD club of mostly rich countries says that Britain has the least-regulated labour market and second-least-regulated product market in Europe. The most damaging measures, such as planning restrictions and the new living wage, are home-grown. Post-Brexit Britain would almost certainly choose not to scrap much red tape, since the call for workplace, financial and environmental regulation is often domestic and would remain as strong as ever.” Economist October 2015 

How are you going to address the very real fears of NI and Eire?


“Eire is a sovereign state, its people can deal with the EU themselves.  As for NI, what fears are you referring to?”

I suggest that you do a little reading you can start here . Many of fears are replicated on the Northern side of the border.

The Working Time Directive is often seen as a Cost to  businesses. Do you envisage it being removed from UK employment regulations, if so what would replace it?

 
”I think it should be removed, what should replace it should be decided by British people.”

Again no answer. 

The leave campaign claim fuel prices will be cheaper. If this is through a removal of VAT, where will the government recoup this loss in income?
  
”This can also be decided by the British people.”

This will be decided by any government in power, if you can not suggest a way that this loss can be recouped then I suggest you have no ideas of your own or know that the answer would be unpalatable!

How will you guarantee that a government in thrall to busines does not erode my right to paid leave? 


You can vote out that government if enough people are dissatisfied with it.  Can you do the same to the EC commission?”

A very weak answer that does not address the issue. Until the working time directive paid holiday leave was contractual not statutory, most people do not want a different regime of regulations every five years, depending upon the hue of the government. 

Overall you failed to answer the questions and displayed a typical lack of knowledge on some key issues. Like most UKIP supporters you fail to check facts, for example on CAP, and rely on soundbites from fellow kippers on social media, friendly newspapers and Nigel Farage. 

Bizarre Brexit Bods

There are many reasons for people to want to leave the EU. There are some “genuine” political concerns based on sovereignty and power sharing. There are also the frankly bizarre, the racist and the truly misinformed.

The Tory led campaign has made this about sovereignty, UKIP has made is about the fear of immigrants, just watch their misleading  “Turkey” video to witness the lengths they will go to,  and the labour left about corporate greed and big businesses ruling us through Brussels – the threat of TTIP. All of these have been throughly debunked more than once by the excellent infacts, although you can guarantee that the hardened brexit bod will never read it.

But to back up these “big” issues are the frankly bizarre and occasionally bigoted reasons put forward as “fact” by brexit supporters.

Reason number one. The threat of military dictatorship from a secret base – that has an open day in a few weeks.


This was posted on the all politics discussion page on Facebook. It long ago ceased to be all politics and us now largely a place that frankly bizarre reasons for brexit are shared.

Reason number two. The desire to brexit and beat the Hun! A hangover from WWII. These brexit bods are convinced that by choosing brexit we will “show those Germans” and “bloody Jerry’s nose”,

 

Reason number three. Without brexit we will become a muslim country with sharia law so vote brexit to save the grandkids! This of course has been encouraged by UKIP with constant references to Turkey by the leadership.

Meanwhile they want commonwealth reconnect, I can only presume they want to allow immigration based on religion.

Reason number four. The EU is part of the “New World Order” This is the David Icke wing of brexit bods, they watch videos like this and imagine a future of giant concentration camps and a population forced to become coffee coloured. There is a tinge of anti semitism in this with references to the Rothchilds and to Cultural Marxism. UKIP themselves have a thing about cultural marxism  – the oft used stick to hit ‘progressives’ with that has distinct Anti Semitic overtones.

With the far right advocating brexit, its worth taking a look at the Daily Stormer . The ideas here, that the vast majority would find shocking, have been watered down in the main stream media for those who would deny being far right, as legitimate reasons for brexit.

 

Reason number five. The EU is communist or the EU will take over once we vote in. Whilst the leave left and UKIP tell is its all about big business wanting to rule over us and corporate greed, this branch of brexit madness think its a plot by ex communists to turn us into a socialist state. Quitters are encouraged in this by those like Ian Duncan Smith  

And there is this: 

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These views may seem amusing to most of us but to the people who believe them they are genuine worries that they have about the EU. These worries are constantly being stoked by comments made to encourage such beliefs by those who have the ear of the media. Take any day in The Express or Breitfart and you see headlines designed to scare and articles that twist reality in such a way to cause genuine fear and distress.

Is it worth countering these “reasons for brexit” yes absolutely. Is it possible to show the already convinced how mistaken they are, doubtful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Women .. Love the EU .. 

There is lots of evidence at how the right see women only as victims of “Islamic” aggression, a useful tool to promote Brexit and borders ( which we already have ). Ukip have consistently failed to vote for the protection or the promotion of women in the EU. The Tory government has failed to ratify the Istanbul Convention which aims to protect women from abuse. There is a growing trend to call feminists – Feminazis.  

The 8th of March is International Women’s Day. The memes below are based on facts readily available without much effort and they promote the idea that Women in the EU are Stronger In as part of a strong vibrant community of 250 million.

If you want you see what women in the EU lobby for go here, it’s worth a visit.

Women in Europe do not yet have equal pay or an equal amount of power, but over 250 million women are further forward than they may have been. Europe is going forward for women and I would like to carry on moving in that direction.

     
    
    
    
   

Feel free to share the pictures if you don’t want to share the post. It’s important that a positive case is made for women in the EU.

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Hey  ukip and BREXIT bods some questions 

The leave campaign, such as it is, has as yet not actually managed to offer the public a concise picture of the future. 

Will we still have access to the single market? If not what will the replacement look like?

Will we be able to sell services, 78% of our economy, to the EU free of WTO tariffs? 

What kind of non tariff barriers will we face? 

Will there be a visa system for holiday makers? 

Will the CAP payments be maintained at the current level and for how long? 

How do we get future governments to guarantee CAP payments at EU levels? When agriculture, in reality, employs few people on the UK and does not have the influence of numbers

How will we ensure that governments of different hues will maintain structural  aid, even when it’s directed at areas where it would give them no political gain?

Northern Ireland and Wales are net gainers from the EU budget. Will the Westminster government maintain this investment? 

What is an acceptable loss of GDP over the next 20 years? 

How exactly will making our own trade deals increase the amount we export?

Explain in detail the reasons you think food will be cheaper? 

Leave campaigners claim we can cut the cost of regulation. Account for which regulations will be removed in order to achieve this lower cost.

How are you going to address the very real fears of NI and Eire?

The Working Time Directive is often seen as a Cost to  businesses. Do you envisage it being removed from UK employment regulations, if so what would replace it? 

The leave campaign claim fuel prices will be cheaper. If this is through a removal of VAT, where will the government recoup this loss in income?  

How will you guarantee that a government in thrall to busines does not erode my right to paid leave? 

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  Ukip, The Commonwealth and BREXIT 

The idea that by joining the EU we abandoned the Commonwealth Nations is not a new one. In 1975, when we last voted on membership, it was thought to be enough of an issue to be addressed in the leaflet sent to each household:


In 1975 the government of Australia was clear and things have not changed, in a recent interview in The Telegraph the ex deputy prime minister had this to say:

“International companies from outside the EU – from, say, the US, Japan and, indeed, Australia – base themselves in the UK in no small part so they can access the wider European market. The single market is especially beneficial for your vibrant and world-beating financial services industry, which benefits from having all of Europe as its home market instead of just Britain. I can see no good reason why the UK would want to give up such a beneficial economic relationship with its nearest and largest trading partners – nor am I clear what you would replace it with”

It seems clear that the views of one of the wealthiest Commonwealth Nations have not changed.

So where does this idea of Commonwealth reconnect come from. It’s certainly not a new idea, those like Rory Broomfield, who is a director at the think tank The Freedom Association and of Better off Out, have been pushing this view for some time: (it is worth remembering that The Freedom Association has as its aim the deregulation of the labour market)

The book that was written to help promote this view is sadly no longer available from the links found here but can be found as a kindle edition on Amazon. What it has at its heart is the rather paternalistic view that the Commonwealth Nations want trade with the UK at all costs and are prepared to enter a free trade agreement with us.

It also has a belief that a trading block can be formed that would either replace lost trade with the EU  and, or, would allow us to make trade deals that would increase our trade with these nations. Something they claim we can not do whilst still a member of the EU.

Let’s address these separately: 

The claim made by many a kipper and brexiter is that the Commonwealth at over 2 billion people with a GDP fast approaching that of the 550 million people of the EU, is a better long term trading partner that the EU. They will make grandiose statements about growth rates across the Commonwealth and expect you to be bowled over by the wealth of trading opportunities.

What are the realities?

I am a geographer and a teacher so I like maps and I like to think out side of the box. The reality is that much of the commonwealth, has not yet reached the toothbrush for each family member  stage of development, this article from Anna Rosling-Rönnlund will explain. Or as Hans Rosling would put it, they are not yet in the washing machine economy. If the vast majority can not afford a toothbrush , its laughable to assume they will be buying financial services products.

How about the maps? 

The data for GDP Per capita is easy to find, you can use PPP data to make it fairer and I have, a simple on-line map maker and you can produce a map that can be downloaded for use on a blog.

You can find the online version here (it does not work well on tablets and phones):

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This map clearly shows that we have a problem if we want to trade with the Commonwealth our goods and services services are simply too expensive for the vast majority of those living in countries with a GNP per capita of less than $6000 per annum. If you need more help in understanding try this, gap minder and Dollar Street  .

Income is not the only consideration, a small or medium sized company doing trade in the EU is protected by a plethora of regulations and can be assured that the cost of doing business is not increased by corrupt practices:

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All those countries that are pink and yellow have a lamentable record of corruption and governance, more details can be found at Transparency `International 

There are those who strongly advocate a Commonwealth Reconnect but the reality is that there are many divisions within the Commonwealth and a real problem with the emerging countries in the Commonwealth being considerably less open to trade then we would want as well as less keen on democracy, some of the opposing views are discussed here. The conclusions reached are clear, in reality most of the Commonwealth shares little with the UK.

The problem goes still wider. Look at the voting records of the United Nations Security Council, or the UN’s grisly sub-committees on human rights, and compare Britain’s votes with (a) votes of other EU members and (b) votes of other Commonwealth members. Whether Eurosceptics like it or not, Britain is far closer to (a) than (b). Many Commonwealth members are far removed from Britain’s way of seeing the world, aligning themselves firmly with the “south” in an inchoate “north-south” stand-off. The EU may not have played a blamless role in the decade-long misery that is the latest round of talks at the World Trade Organisation. But in truth, one of the biggest obstacles to a deal for a long time has been India, a Commonwealth giant that is far from a reliable ally on free trade and market-opening.

While I am being difficult, I would leave readers with data from the latest Chatham House YouGov polling for 2011, which asked British voters to rank foreign countries in terms of favourability and unfavourability. True, Commonwealth stalwarts Australia, Canada and New Zealand take the top three favourability slots for non-European nations, with only America coming anywhere close.

But the same British respondents are strikingly hostile to the other Commonwealth nations on the list, such as India, South Africa (6% approval apiece) and above all Pakistan (1%), which comes bottom of the table, just above North Korea. It would be depressing if at least some British public support for the “Commonwealth” meant nothing more than liking unthreatening, English-speaking western countries that look rather like us. (The Economist 2011)

With many UKIP supporters deeply distrustful of Muslims countries you can safely assume that they see the Commonwealth as a handful of countries which closely share our culture and religion – the rest of the Commonwealth being full of those who they are more likely to call “swarms” than trade with.

Do the Commonwealth Nations want our Trade? 

This question assumes we don’t trade with the Commonwealth so consider these facts:

  • UK’s exports to Commonwealth countries have been increasing at over 10% a year
  • The increases (over two years) of 33% to India, 31% to South Africa, 30% to Australia and 18% to Canada. In fact
  • Since 2004, British exports to India are up 143%
  • EU already has agreed trade deals with 64% of Commonwealth countries, and is negotiating with another 26%

If we lost 10% of our trade with the EU we would need to increase our trade with the Commonwealth by 40%. Since most of the trade between the EU and the Commonwealth will be covered by FTAs by the time of BREXIT, and with the UK starting from scratch with negotiations, one can rightly wonder how likely that it! More facts of the sort BREXIT run away from can be found in this article by Steve Peers .

Both UKIP and Brexit Tories share the belief that the Commonwealth Reconnect can be flogged to the public as an alternative to aid for developing counties. Its worth noting that the developing nations have made huge improvements in education and health outcomes and in GDP per capita and much of this is down to targeted aid. The UN has a 15 year plan to help the last stubborn few up out of absolute poverty. Trade with the UK is not going to help them achieve this. Indeed this is where I and the EU fall out as for me inter African trade is far more important than the EU encouraging trade between African and the EU. The bulk of the region’s trade is with Europe and America: only 12% is with other African countries, according to research by Ecobank, a Togo-based bank. By comparison 60% of Europe’s trade is with its own continent. The same is true in Asia. In North America the figure is 40%. Whilst the African Union is busy creating a Continental Free Trade Area , recognising that their ability to develop lies in unity and improving that 12%, we are busy trying to exit the EU.