Referendum

Westminster gets its second referendum on Brexit

If the House of Commons needed any reconfirmation of the mandate to leave the E.U. – because there was ambiguity over the Brexit referendum – this should clear it all up. Interesting how Brexit stops at Hadrian’s Wall. If a second referendum was held, Leave would be an even bigger margin. Interesting to see the oxymoronically named Change UK (Remain) had no impact.

The European Muppet Show

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The EU has agreed to postpone Brexit till October 31st. This will give more time for PM Theresa May, undoubtedly the most incompetent PM in British history, to dither and faff around with another 27 versions of a plan that will still resemble the initial deal.  No amount of lipstick on this pig will sell it to the British public. How she hasn’t resigned given the lack of authority is beyond comprehension? Opinion polls already show an overwhelming preference for No Deal.

Yet the 77% of remainer MPs inside the Commons somehow think they know better than the peons. What these elected officials are failing to grasp is that their constituents are questioning the respect shown to the very democratic processes which gave them the privilege to serve in the first place. Many existing members will see their employers sack them at the next election. May has destroyed the Tories.

At the same time, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will romp home in the EU elections in May and add to the already rapidly rising trend of populist eurosceptic parties across the continent.  While the EU thinks the extension will just provide a path to keep the UK inside the union bar the nameplate, it actually significantly raises the risks of further revolt within the ranks. His party, not a month old is already polling 3rd, behind Labour and the Tories.

The Britons are being viewed as a calm, placid and polite people but when pushed the lion will roar. What we are witnessing is a complete rewriting of the rules. That all of the legalities surrounding the treaties are being ignored to get a different result to that originally agreed. It is shameless.

Perhaps the UK should look at it this way. If Westminster passes a result that locks the UK into the EU, requiring the latter’s unilateral approval to leave, maybe Brits should show the same exact disdain for legal process and choose to ignore it when it suits. What will the EU do? Invade?

Brexit – Deal or No Deal

As UK PM Theresa May dithers on whether she wants to extend the deadline to buy more time on Brexit, 115,000 people on a Facebook poll want No Deal than the ridiculous half measures being concocted in the Commons. Politicians may think they know best but it is evident that they don’t. People are fed up with inaction.

The referendum was simple – Leave the European Union – Yes or No? There is little grey area – no backstops, no customs union. It was to leave. In the past 3 years, the EU leaders have only made it more self evident that the UK should quit this federalist bureaucracy. To think they approved Theresa May’s first deal inside 45 minutes tells us all how bad it must be for Britain.

CM is for No Deal. The EU needs reform and signing a deal that allows unelected bodies to dictate national terms and conditions only prolongs the necessity to clean house.

Do Brits really want people like this in control?

EC President Jean-Claude Juncker has managed to find himself drunk again before an African-EU dinner this week. He last embarrassed himself ahead of a NATO dinner where he had to be propped up by those EU member state leaders around him. Poor old Boris Yeltsin would feel outdone by this.

How wonderful that the man who refuses to yield to PM May on Brexit can’t seem to show any leadership in public. Why would Brits want to cede power to unelected bureaucrats like Juncker who take no responsibility in public for their inebriated behaviour? While his term is nearing the end, there is no doubt he’ll retire on a juicy state pension courtesy of member states.

We shouldn’t forget that in July 2016, Mr Juncker sent a letter to all 650 UK MPs claiming the referendum was not a real exercise in democracy and should be disregarded.

No Deal is the absolute best outcome for the Brits. It respects the result of the referendum as it breaks all ties with Brussels. The UK has always been a friend to the continent but the EU is treating the Brits like hostages. Apart from Project Fear it would be fair to say the world’s 5th largest economy will find trading partners soon enough. The auto industry will be the first to ask for a deal with the UK. Others will follow. The EU doesn’t want to lose a big contributor to the coffers.

It was soon after the referendum that we were told the UK economy would collapse. Nothing could be further from the truth. So why pay the Bank of England any mind with its prophecies? Former BoE Governor Mervyn King has publicly stated No Deal will be the best outcome.

Juncker proves again why the Brits should revert to type and be plucky. They just need a leader who is prepared to have a spine and respect the will of 17.4 million voters.

Unconditional Surrender

There is absolutely no way on earth that the 17mn who voted ‘Leave’ envisaged a Brexit plan that gave away money, took away voting rights, kept the country tied up in all current and future EU red tape, open borders and laws they’ll have no say over. On every level it’s a lose-lose. May’s plan virtually guarantees Britain will be worse off. No deal would make way more sense.

The UK is the 5th largest economy in the world. It should have been enough reason to negotiate FTA’s with anyone. Obama might have threatened that Brits would go to the back of the line, but who was he fooling? 17mn Brits thought otherwise. The people spoke.

Of course the Remainers will crow about their foresighted wisdom. Leavers will wonder why the Tory party room are prepared to back a deal that just looks so ridiculous. It doesn’t look like a negotiation took place. Unconditional surrenders have come with more  favourable T’s & C’s. If May is such good mates with Trump, why didn’t she take a leaf out of his negotiation tactics with the EU? EC President  Jean-Claude Juncker stumbled on the White House lawn after agreeing to sign an FTA with America in one day. Of course the Europhiles will argue the fine print will overwhelmingly protect EU rights, but the point is May never went into bat for her constituents. She sold her countrymen and women down the Thames.

Boris Johnson correctly summed up,

I really can’t believe it but this Government seems to be on the verge of total surrender. With every day that passes we seem to be getting more craven. We have already agreed to hand over £40bn for nothing – and certainly not a trade deal – in return.

We have agreed to become the punk of Brussels, signing up not just to their existing rulebook but to huge chunks of future regulation – even though we will have no say in drafting that legislation. We have agreed against all promises that the European Court of Justice will have a say in the enforcement of that regulation in the UK.

We have been so feeble in our preparations to leave the EU on WTO terms, and so unnaturally terrified of the consequences (greatly exaggerated by the scaremongers) that we have now said we will remain in the so-called customs union.

Which means that our trade policy will be run by Brussels at least until 2022, and – at this rate – long beyond that date. We will not be able to do free trade deals of any great value. We will not be able to take back control of our tariffs, our borders, our money, our laws. It is not even clear whether we will be able to set our own VAT rates – and yet we will have no one round the table to argue the UK case…”

With any luck, the bill will be blocked by Parliament. Leave Rebel MPs should vote against this travesty and look to file a no confidence motion to boot May. This is not what the people voted for. Regardless of whether people may or may not have changed their minds, everyone knew what was on the table and what the expected  outcomes. The ticket stated clearly in black and white,

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So May’s plan technically keeps the UK in the EU without being a member.  No doubt she has been promised a fat cat advisory role in Brussels when she is turfed, which she surely deserves to be.

We should not overlook the behaviour or Brussels with unruly members in the past. Austria, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Ireland etc. You can take it to the bank that the EU will go out of its way to punish the Brits. Easier to bully the UK which may yet sign  away their own rights as if they were the vanquished army in war.  This isn’t a negotiation but a total capitulation.

So much for protecting democracy and respecting the results of a referendum. Why bother holding it in the first place?

 

Italy votes – will it mimic the referendum?

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Remember the 2016 Italian referendum which was to decide on  whether to grant more power to the incumbent party to accelerate decision making? Well it ended up being a vote on ousting then PM Renzi who put his resignation on the ballot if it failed. The split between the yes/no was largely decided by economic condition. The poorer southern regions were distinctly red while a smattering of wealthy areas voted green (yes).

It is kind of telling that the furthest province in the north (Bolzano/Bozen) had the highest YES vote (63.69%) in the country while the Province of Catania (south-east Sicily) had the highest NO vote at 74.56%. Bolzano/Bozen was diligent with a 67.41% turnout vs 57.41% in Catania. It is a rich/poor divide by the looks of things. If you wish to dig into the details look no further than this site for who voted how.

The last poll showed Beppo Grillo’s eurosceptic M5S party leading with 28%. Berlusconi’s centre right Forza Italia alliance with the anti-immigrant The League is expected to get around 29%. The incumbent PD is looking at around 20%.

Since the collapse of Lehman in 2008, Italy has added 3mn to poverty (now 18mn or 29.7% of the population; EU average is 25%) with the unemployment rate above 11%. Since Merkel’s open door policy 600,000 illegal immigrants have flocked to Italy from Libya.

Italy is the 3rd largest economy in Europe and 30% of corporate debt is held by SMEs who can’t even make enough money to repay the interest. The banks have been slow to write off loans on the basis it will eat up the banks’ dwindling capital. It feels so zombie lending a la Japan in the early 1990s but on an even worse scale.

Monte Dei Paschi De Siena, a bank steeped in 540 years of history has 31% NPLs and its shares are 99.9% below the peak in 2007. Even Portugal and Spain have lower levels of NPLs. The IMF suggested that in southern parts of Italy NPLs for corporates is closer to 50%!

However one views the rising wave of nationalism in Europe, Italy will likely follow the pattern of Austria, the UK, Germany, Holland, Poland, Hungary and France. A growing number of European citizens want to be first in line rather than feel they have an EU directed obligation to bow down to political correctness. How else do we explain the AfD’s surge past the SPD?

If the eurosceptic/anti-immigrant patties get up  we shouldn’t be the least surprised. More Europeans want their own countries to be made great again. The house of cards is crumbling.

Hungary to be stripped of its EU voting rights?

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The EU is voting to strip Hungary of its EU voting rights for consistent failure to heed their values, including migrant quotas. Last year an apathetic turnout to a referendum held on the subject said 98.4% of Hungarians were against forced migrant quotas. Putting to one side the altruism of the EU, trying to force a member state to tow the line is absurd, not so much for the country but the migrants.

Let’s not forget this is the EU making up for Merkel’s single-handed poorly executed thought bubble in the first place. She put forward a come one come all rhetoric on her own.

In a sense the EU can rant on all it likes about humanitarism (although 80% are economic refugees (i.e. not fleeing war zones) according to figures by Eurostat) but forcing asylum seekers into a country that doesn’t want them doesn’t seem optimal. We can snigger at Hungary and call them bigoted, racist or worse but the fact of the  matter is migrants on the whole won’t be welcome.

The EU forcing unwanted guests to a Hungarian dinner table has obvious consequences. The embittered host is likely to ruin the goulash and spoil the palatschinke in an attempt to get the visitors to leave.  Many are unaware the third largest political party in Hungary is Jobbik (won 21% of seats in the 2014 election) which has all the hallmarks of Roehm’s SA, right down to the uniforms. Jobbik has a record of roughing up Jews, Gypsies and Roma so before Brussels tells Budapest it must accept migrant quotas perhaps an assessment of the reality would be wise. Jobbik is left to do its ruffian business and Hungarian authorities turn a blind eye. That is the bigger issue at sort before imposing quotas.

Surely if refugees were asked Hungary is the last place they want to go after leaving their homeland. Refugees aren’t cattle but the EU is treating them so. Aren’t they surprised when the majority seek Germany as the end destination because of the relative generosity? Do the EU authorities think these migrants don’t have excellent internal information networks? Of course they do.

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To rachet this down a notch what are EU values anyway? The Brits are leaving because they don’t agree with EU values. The Greeks are being trodden on for refusing to accept EU austerity values. The Austrians were threatened with sanctions and punishment if they democratically voted in a right wing president. Are these worthy values? The Swiss handed back a 30 year free pass to join the EU presumably because they didn’t believe in EU values. The list goes on.

Sometimes it is had not to think of the EU as the Gallactic Senate from Star Wars trying to get aliens from different galaxies to agree on everything.

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We all know how unwelcome visitors are treated in the Star Wars Bar when different backgrounds and cultures literally don’t see eye to eye. The EU would do well to respect the diversity of its members, which includes diversity of thought and culture. It is not to say the EU doesn’t have a point from time to time they are dreadful executors of it.

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