Monday, 28 December 2015

Mind your language - EU or Europe?

"After several months of campaigning, you'd think that the respective camps would have their patter off to a tee. One appears to be struggling with the basics".

The language used around the referendum debate changes over time as people gradually educate themselves on the subject matter. The endemic looseness of dialogue due to lack of critical thinking from legacy media outlets has contributed to this considerably.

However, the language is now clear. The suggested wording from the Electoral Commission highlights exactly what this campaign is all about:

"Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

Laughable as it sounds to have to say it, this referendum is all about our relationship with the European Union. It has absolutely nothing to do with 'Europe'. One is a political institution with federalist ambitions, comprising of 28 member states - and the other is a continental landmass encompassing 50 nations. I trust that everybody knows which is which.

Suffice to say, the EU and Europe are so vastly far apart that they conjure significantly different emotional responses in people.

For me, Europe invokes thoughts of fantastic holidays; a vast array of subtly differing cultures; some of the best eating and drinking experiences I've ever had; lengthy conversations about the beauty of Kim Wilde with continental relatives - and learning to swim in Austrian lakes (nobody told me about the giant catfish or it wouldn't have happened).

With the EU we get different responses. How does it work; How do failed politicians like Kinnock and Mandelson end up with top flight jobs in the Commission; Why does it need so many presidents - and who votes for them; How do people so removed from me have so much influence over my day to day life?

So it's interesting to see the 'Stronger In' campaign consistently using the term 'Europe' in their messaging rather than 'The EU'. At first you wonder whether they've got a disengaged Grad in, churning out memes and being relaxed with the wording. But actually, when you look at them, the whole foundation of this organisation is built around conflation of the two terms. Their slogan is 'Britain Stronger in Europe' and not 'Britain Stronger in the EU'. Meme after meme - info-graphic after info-graphic, it's Europe, Europe, Europe.

They've been told repeatedly that they're misleading people, yet they ignore the fact and continue with their deliberate befuddlement of the electorate. Their aim - to associate a vote to leave as the abandonment of the continent of Europe rather than the rejection of a repugnant and wholly undemocratic institution. This subtle trick, which they can get away with from their unregulated position, is constantly repeated as a classic act of misdirection.

What do you do with this sort of dishonesty? Sunlight being the best disinfectant, I thought I'd highlight it in a video. And it's worth mentioning, each tweet is unique (none used more than once) and there were so many examples that I simply didn't have time to fit them all in.

I'm not expecting the leopard to change its spots but we can always let the electorate know of their little tricks.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Splendid Hypocrisy

Sovereignty [noun]:

  1.  Supreme power or authority 
  2. The authority of a state to govern itself or another state 
  3. A self-governing state
(Note - the term 'Europe' is used liberally throughout this post but consider it in the context of the time, or the source material it's referring to. The EU and Europe are not one and the same).

Volte-face it would seem!

John Major poked his head up this week to declare his considered views about our relationship with the EU in a statesmanlike manner. I guess he's got time for that now considering that he's too old to dip his wrinkled little soldier in to Eggwina's yolk.

Okay, cheap jibe - but satisfying. It's hard not to feel contempt for the man who Peter Oborne describes as sneering at parliamentary sovereignty. You have to wonder why he surfaced with his 'Remain at all costs' message at the time of the European Council meeting.

In his article, Oborne also goes on to describe the historic relationship between Major, Cameron and Osborne who served him at a time when he was be besieged by the people he labelled 'bastards'. Oborne suggesting that the Radio 4 plea by Major was an orchestrated intervention and a collusion between the three. I couldn't agree more. You can read the article here:

Just as important, Oborne gains journalistic credibility for doing his homework and presenting the facts around the referendum time-scales. With credit to Dr Richard North, he points out that a summer referendum is unlikely on account of being illegal; the Electoral Commission requiring a ten month period between Royal Assent and the vote itself*. It's a shame that so many other journalists failed to seek any council before rushing off to publish the noise from the echo chamber.

If you're still convinced that Cameron's negotiations are sincere then consider this. In spite of his public facing position, that he's battling hard for Britain, it would seem clear that David 'EU cuff links' Cameron has just declared his loyalty to the European Project in front of the European Council. As tweeted by @whitewednesday recently:

Snivelling weasel in action

Original tweet here:

If that's how Cameron battles for Britain, God help us. If there's ever a war, he'd be straight in the kitchen getting the tea and biscuits ready for his new friends. There can be no acceptance of this charade any more. Enough is enough.


What we've seen with the EU project is a succession of Prime Ministers who have acted against the interests of the British people from the perspective of their democratic rights. They don't see themselves as spearheading up a nation and protecting the rights of the people who elected them, more like caretaker managers working for a company that's been taken over. Their job is to transition the business functions across to the new model of ownership whilst trying not to frighten the existing staff away (before it's convenient to make them redundant of course).

When we elect a party, we do so on the basis of their promises and where better to look at their promises than their party manifestos to see what they have to say about the EU (or Europe as the case may be). Does the rhetoric match the reality?

Conservatives 1987 (pre Maastricht)

"The battle we had to fight to ensure that Britain paid no more than its fair share of the European Community Budget. We now get automatic rebates - this year, over £1.3 billion."

Basically - a swipe at the EC saying how hard they will fight for our national interests.

"Over a million extra jobs have been created since 1983 more than in the rest of the European Community put together. Unemployment, a problem throughout Europe, is now firmly on a downward trend - with youth unemployment in this country below the European average."

A nice brag about our national strength when compared to the rest of the EC. UK strong - EC weak.

"We will continue to play a leading part in European Community negotiations to reform the CAP"

Promises of reform. You get used to those being pledged and never fulfilled after a decade or two. Here comes the main section on our relationship with Europe:

"Europe Grows in Strength

This Government has taken Britain from the sidelines into the mainstream of Europe. But being good Europeans does not prevent us from standing up for British interests. The agreement we negotiated on the Community Budget has saved Britain £4,500 million since 1984.

We will continue to work for strict controls on the Community Budget.

Britain has led the way in establishing a genuine common market, with more trade and services moving freely across national boundaries.

We will campaign for the opening of the market in financial and other services and the extension of cheaper air fares in Europe.

We will also continue to work with our European partners to defend our own trading interests and press for freer trade among all nations.

All of this will help safeguard existing jobs and create new ones.

We will continue to play a responsible leading role in the development of the Community, while safeguarding our essential national interests."

It's nice to see that even then politicians were obsessed with using cheap air fares as a vehicle for EU promotion. Some things never change.

But largely, it's fair to say that the tone is one of strict regulations in order to rein in budgets, promotion of free trade and defence of our interests. Yet during this period we encounter The Maastricht Treaty - once known as the Treaty on European Union. The European Project advanced significantly at this time, moving in to areas like justice and foreign policy and creating the dreaded 'Euro'. 

Maastricht was signed in February 1992, on the cusp of another general election for the UK - yet it had to be subsequently ratified by the UK parliament. So looking again at the relevant manifesto for the winning party (Conservatives) of the April 1992 election, we can see what important things they have to say about the EU. Let's start with an extract from the 'Forward' written by John Major himself:

"we must stand up for our interests in shaping a free-market Europe of sovereign nation states"

and then there's this warning ..

"There is, of course, an alternative on offer: [snip]; to succumb to a centralised Europe while calling it 'not being isolated;'[snip]. To risk this alternative would be a disaster for our country."

So the former Prime Minister pledged to us, when the seeds of the modern day EU were being nurtured, that we should have sovereign nation states - and to avoid using isolationist rhetoric in order to drive further federalism. Yet twenty three years later and he's doing exactly that on national radio.

His words on Radio 4's Today program "... to break off and to head in to splendid isolation doesn't seem to be in our interests"

Cretin. Hypocrite.

The manifesto goes on to discuss "A Confident, United and Sovereign Nation" -  also suggesting they would "seek a partnership of nation states in Europe, and not allow Britain to be part of a federal European state."

Whilst there was no manifesto pledge to support the level of integration that Maastricht would set in motion, and the ruling party had lost the confidence of many of its own MPs who famously rebelled - Major fought to ensure that the treaty was ratified in spite of the fact that it laid the foundations of the very federation which their manifesto promised to protect us from.

Do the electorate sit through and read a manifesto cover to cover? Do they understand many of the topics that are discussed? The answer for most people is probably not - but it's important from the point of being a reference to the party in question. From the manifesto, we can judge their promises against their actions - and where we don't understand the detail, we use the tone of the message to fill the gaps.

Examining the tone, we see - continual anti EU sentiment; assertion of reform; suggestion of containment and the complete repudiation of Federal Europe.

If you want to read any of the previous party manifestos, you can look at the following link:

This is the slow, drip drip approach of the European Project in effect, as promoted by the caretaker managers at the helm of national government. The tone of the content is the misdirection here, gently assuring the reader that they will be protected from enlargement and encroachment, similarly bigging up Britain to project an image of immutable sovereignty. Yet when time passes, the opposite is shown to be true. For the caretakers - the end justifies the means - say one thing and do another. And for this reason, it's to our own shores and previous 'leaders' that we should be venting our frustrations; it's in our own back yards that the betrayals have been happening.

I have no reason to believe that Cameron will be any different. Yet he's not willing to wait twenty three years to demonstrate his two faced nature. It's happening now before our eyes. To the British public he promises to battle hard, even suggesting that he will front the Brexit camp if he doesn't get his way in negotiations. Yet, when speaking to the European Council, he's the king of the sycophants telling them what a compliant European he is. I liken him to Grima Wormtongue, the vile corruptor of words whose lips continually spill malevolent dark charms in order to mislead and confound King Theoden. His role is to neutralise any genuine concern and ensure inaction in order to remove resistance when it is needed the most.

Regardless of what spills from his mouth, what Cameron desires is to keep us hitched to the EU. He's made the fatal mistake of allowing the people to have a democratic say and now he's got to make sure that the result goes in the right direction. If he fails to enchant us with his lies, we can only hope that he will ride off in to exile just like Wormtongue because it will likely mean the end of his political career.

Consider the definition of Sovereignty at the start of this post and then consider all the manifesto promises that were made to defend it. In spite of everything that has been said, there has only ever been more and more EU - and our sovereignty is fading fast. It is our right to regain that sovereignty and a moral obligation to stand up to self serving liars like Major and Cameron who would happily give it away over our heads.


* For more clarification on the required referendum timescales, this article by Christopher Booker in the Telegraph makes it quite clear:

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Turning their own weapons against them

"A 'think tank' called Brit Influence have recently been goading those of us that want to leave the EU, demanding that we answer their key questions and demonstrate that we have a plan for exit. They've repeatedly barked out their demands with po face aplomb, projecting an air of confidence that would suggest they know for certain that there are no happy answers."

Letting the unelected speak for you increases influence .. apparently

But there are answers - very clear and concise answers. If fact, more detail than you could shake a fist at. And Brit Influence have been repeatedly given those answers, yet continually choose to ignore them and continue their mantra.

Take a look here at the Leave.hq site's answers to the Brit Influence 10 questions challenge:

So, without providing the courtesy of a response, Brit Influence have proven themselves to be nothing more than a vapid fart cloud of meme generators (more stink tank thank than think tank), lacking the balls or know how to face the results of their own challenge. The one time one of their staff attempted to debate with me online, they seemed to demonstrate only a rudimentary understanding of the frailties of the EU. When challenged on the democratic deficit, their only defence was to suggest that "sovereignty is relative, not absolute". You have to wonder why these people are in the game.

What this proves is that a detailed exit strategy is key to credibility for the Leave path. The majority won't walk it unless they know where it's headed. These are the basics that all Leave campaigns must understand in order to have a chance of crossing the finishing line. Brit Influence know that - which is why they desperately ignore credible responses. They can't handle the truth. If all Leave campaigns exercised the same level of technical vigilance, there would be no place for simpering and unconditional Europhiles to hide in the debate.

But why should we be on the defensive? This referendum is winnable and for many good reasons. Hence we need to lead the debate rather than be reactive and get the Remain camp on the back foot.

Lead with the way with the exit strategy. 

Taken at regular intervals - this cures all known Europhile Brexit FUD

Flexcit is the most detailed illustration of how to undo the EU straight-jacket that there is. Best of all, it's meme free and realistic - providing the perfect antidote to Cameron's planned triangulation of the EU debate.

Whilst the press conduct a Punch & Judy show between two unachievable extremes, Cameron will step forward with 'The British Option' which will be a re-badging of pre-ordained changes outlined in the 'Five Presidents Report'. His 'change' will be dovetailing in to those existing EU plans but he will sell it as his own reform. If there's a lack of credible alternative, he'll get his way.

Flexcit is that credible alternative. The more people that we can share this with, the better.

Use the enemy's own strategy against them.

Whilst the likes of Brit Influenza and Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) continue to crow that we don't know what the future would look like on Brexit (which we have demonstrated to be a wrong) - recognise that they have no idea what the future will look like if we remain in. They can no more illustrate where the EU is headed than they can predict the lottery. In its current stressed state, which we have no reason to believe will ease off, the EU is prone to make any changes it feels necessary in order to keep the project on track and maintain momentum towards the EU becoming a single country.

Take this article for example:

"The EU is to establish a single border guard that has the right to patrol a member state’s border against its wishes, under plans to be unveiled by Jean-Claude Juncker next week."

No, we're not in Schengen, but (if the report is true) it's a clear demonstration as to how the EU works, taking any opportunity to make the power grabs it needs to advance to the next step. Using a crisis in order to further transformation, driving the project forward. It's exactly the kind of unilateral action that Brit Influence or BSE can't predict and don't want to highlight. They'd much rather suggest that we'll remain with the status quo, because it projects a vision of certainly rather than the unbridled and uncomfortable change that is really on the horizon.

Take that uncertainty and use it as a stick to beat them with - then use Flexcit as the lantern to guide us out of the mess that is the EU.

All that said, remember that these pro EU organisations are nothing more than pawns in the game. It's Cameron / Osborne who are the master strategists. Expect some surprises from them in the future. Surprises that go against the grain of the current press tune that says he's going to deliver 'nothing'.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Democracy - Used and Abused

"It’s been a busy week for parliamentary democracy as our politicians stepped up to debate the bombing of IS inside Syria. Apparently our meager contribution in terms of air-power will put our expertise at pin point targeting to use in the crowded city of Raqqa, capital of the new enemy."

The eyes of death! Corbyn burns a hole in the back of Benn's head.

Although this post isn’t intended to be a commentary on the effectiveness of - or judgement on the morality of this action, I have my doubts. “Cut off the snake’s head” someone told me the other day. Truth be told, the notion that we’re fighting a traditionally organised army is not only an obvious fallacy but it’s a lesson that we should have learned through experience with Al Qaeda since the turn of the millennium. There is no decapitation strategy because what we’re fighting here is an ideology that is seeded through the whisperings of a great number of people that may not be aligned to one another in a more conventional light. They have a common enemy, albeit that hatred is founded on a myriad of differing reasons, a common notion that God is on their side and the will to do harm to anyone who is perceived to stand between them and their holy mission. I also suspect that the cells in operation are self motivated rather than operating under a command structure that sits round a table in deepest Syria plotting western demise.

There’s more that could be done to disrupt IS. Working against the warped logic of the ideology and more importantly, attacking the source of funding and the supply of its weaponry. One simply doesn’t waltz in to Syria and Iraq and set up a caliphate. This takes planning, huge levels of funding and organisation. Astronomical levels in fact. When looked at with a long lens in the light of ‘the arab spring’ - you’ve got to really wonder what’s behind all the regional disruption. Was it really sporadic? I doubt it but who really knows.

What’s most important here is whether this action brings the increased peace and stability that ordinary people crave. Only time will tell, although if we look to the not too distant past we can see that none of our previous interventions have proven to be a panacea. We’re still knee deep in what appears to be an Orwellian never ending war.

The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.

It certainly feels like it.

Back to the HoC, where the elected recently stood at the dispatch box and made their views known. Watching parliamentary democracy in action is a wonderful thing - the debate so highly charged with so many impassioned pleas being made by the people we selected to represent us. As I understand it, the PM doesn’t actually need the consent of the house but it happens now on precedent and rightly so because there are few matters more serious than those of military action, owing to the huge consequences for all involved.

Yet two things stood out for me; one was a curiosity and the other an irritant.

Firstly, We know the EU are planning an army, no matter what that feckless europhile Nick Clegg has to say on the matter.  The EU will want this because it’s a natural step towards the EU transforming in to a country in its own right.

So what would this debate have looked like in the event that the EU had its own army?  Where would the debate have taken place? Who would have had the debate? Would we have a veto - or even a say? Surely an EU army must have its own authority without relying on case by case permissions being dished out via committee - and in all likeliness, the mechanisms for sending British nationals in to war would be far removed from what we have now.

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions but the thought sent shudders down my spine. It’s this kind of perspective that the people looking to vote ‘Remain’ have to consider. Remain doesn’t mean get what you have now. It means that you’re giving the green light to the EU and local Europhiles to further erase national sovereignty.

Then there was the second point. The thing that really irked me. Many of those in favour of bombing danced with glee when Hilary Benn spoke to the house and explained his reasons for supporting the bombing initiative. Twitter was full of people spasmodically erupting praise at his passionate and statesman like performance which left Corbyn looking like a toothless second rater. Benn has been in gentle opposition to Corbyn since inception and when the time comes, I think he’ll ‘reluctantly’ step in to bring the party back to the centre.

But when he spoke, Benn uttered the words “They hold our democracy, the means by which we will make our decision tonight, in contempt.” - at which point I became apoplectic. Yes, he may well be right - because those bastards must loath a society which enshrines equal rights for men and women, allowing them to deny the existence of any God should they so wish whilst endowing them with the power to hire and fire the people who are in charge. But to cite defence of democracy as justification for your actions only works when you have proven that you truly believe in the power that it gives to the people.

What is a contemptuous abuse of public perception is to enshrine democracy on the one hand and then deflower it with the other. It’s vile a form of insidious hypocrisy and I’d condemn such actions.

So why is Benn a hypocrite (and likely Cameron and almost certainly Blair for that matter)? Because they are in support of an institution that has consistently, for the last forty years, removed democratic powers from member states and undermined the rights of people like us in the process. The EU is an un-democratic institution which has been on a multi decade power grab with the untouchable Commission spewing laws at us from a distance, increasingly dictating how we must live.  This doesn’t just happen though. The powers are transferred treaty by treaty with aiders and abetters from within our own ranks. The people you and I have elected have taken that privilege and abused it right under our noses.

If you support the EU, you support this ongoing process and are complicit in the deconstruction of democracy. Benn supports the EU. Cameron supports the EU - as did that most regretful of Prime Ministers Tony Blair. And for that matter, Gordon Brown is also an enemy of democracy for walking away from the Lisbon referendum promise on a technicality; a disgraceful con if ever I saw one. Hence to cry ‘democracy’ in order to get the bombing you want whilst actively supporting a process which moves power away from the people over to the unelected is a wicked and devious act of duplicity.

If we ever get out of this mess .... the one thing we must do is properly protect our right to democracy and clearly state its definition, so that we can never ever be manoeuvred in to this position by career politicians again. We need a new constitution to underpin this more than ever before.

For an interesting take on the true value of democracy and the necessity for a constitutional convention - I’d urge you to consider looking at ‘The Harrogate Agenda’

And naturally, vote to leave.