Is Populist Democracy an erosion of Democratic Values

Democracy is a given in the Western World – or is it? There is so much debate in recent times about democratic rights of various factions my head is spinning trying to comprehend how this word is being used – or abused.

If we go back to the fundamental meaning of democracy, we need to consider nation States where civil liberties and fundamental political freedoms are not only respected but also reinforced by a political culture based on democratic principles. If we consider the characteristics that should define a democracy, we will see freely elected government representation, respect of civil liberties, an independent judiciary, organised and elected opposition, all enshrined within the Rule of Law.

Being a member of Chatham House I was invited to participate in a session entitled ‘The Pandemic, Populism and the Democratic Recession’ during which Professor Larry Diamond from Stanford University in the USA outlined his argument that, especially during the past 20-years, democracy as we understand it is on the decline as Nation States throughout the World labelled as democracies remove ever more powers from and/or impose more authority over the people, currently Hungary and Poland within the EU. Whereas I fundamentally disagreed with his understanding of both the UK and the EU, both politically and economically, his view that democracy is in recession resonated. I also agreed that the rise of Modern Populism is a major factor in degraded political governance. But what is driving this degradation?

As a Christmas treat in 2004 I took my then 14-year old daughter to Boston and New York City in an attempt to give her some feel for life in the USA using the more sedate and conservative Boston as a marker against the cut and thrust of New York City. Whilst in New York we passed the CBS Building more commonly known as Black Rock. In the window there was a large screen stating, ‘United States of America – the oldest surviving democracy in the World’. This statement, for me, encapsulates the problems encountered by Americans throughout the World. I question whether the USA can consider itself a democracy when I see President Trump with connivance of the Republican led Senate impose their choice of person in the form of Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court Judge for life. This can only be described as political stuffing of the Judiciary where such body is defined as independent within a democracy. Furthermore the turbulence over recent years where the whole Government apparatus becomes stagnant because the Senate and House of Representatives cannot agree a budget suggests the Political System in the USA is in need of structural reform to redefine and enhance democracy to better serve all the people before preaching their form of democracy to others. During my teenage years, segregation was still rife in the USA, and recent events stirring the Black Lives Matter upheaval suggests problems still exist.

Having close ties with Switzerland since the late 1970s I recall earlier this millennium being asked by a former Federal Counsellor of Switzerland to review their speech to an upcoming gathering of EU ministers considering the further integration into the EU of the former satellite states of the former USSR. There was a section in this speech lauding democracy, declaring Switzerland as a glowing example of a stable democracy. I could not help but point out that, in Switzerland, the Executive has total control over the judiciary with several recent occasions where the Federal Council has overridden judicial review to protect their own interests. I consider Switzerland as a Police State where people are declared guilty until they prove themselves innocent – hardly democratic. And they clearly have difficulties trying to govern in four different languages and associated cultures.

Countries such as Russia and China are accepted as undemocratic. We have witnessed both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping engineer their longevity in leadership amending constitutional rules as needed to secure their positions. Opposition is summarily dismissed even using horrendous methods such as Novichok agent with apparent impunity. China’s reversal of democracy in Hongkong with its latest dictum that MPs in Hongkong must be patriotic to Beijing if they want to serve demonstrates blatant disregard for the democratic freedoms afforded the people of Hongkong under the hand-over Treaty with the UK.

The recent elections in Belarus demonstrate that power corrupts leaving most of the former socialist States, even those classified as democratic, revealing the flaws in their leadership determined to retain authoritarian power by any means as the people become more aware of the rights they should enjoy as citizens. And, of course, we should not ignore the corrupt Governments in Africa whose leaders will use any level of guile and oppression to retain their corrupt power.

The citizens of the World are becoming more aware of the concept of democracy and seek to exert their rights within the accepted democratic framework. Authoritarian leaders who cannot easily apply direct oppression are seeking other means to retain their power. Knowing that many people have very little if any understanding of politics or economics they use Modern Populism as a powerful aphrodisiac. Knowing the affection of the people for pop artists and movie stars authoritarian leaders personify themselves as superstars worthy of the embrace of the people. Such charismatic leaders manipulate receptive voters by promising outrageous utopia whilst vilifying opponents using the ever-increasing wealth gap to decry the corruption and self-interest cronyism of the elite. Unfortunately, this works for enough voters to swing elections from capable Government into governments in name only. The star-struck voters get what they deserve, only realising their error when it is too late for 4 – 5 years, or as we are witnessing in countries such as China and Russia, for life of the leader holding the power. Constitutions are revised to cement the power base; democracy becoming no more than a word of convenient political rhetoric. This herald back to kingdoms where the leader has absolute power for life – no matter what.

The recent Brexit debacle in the UK sheds interesting light into this discussion. After the first Brexit Referendum the so-called Remainers – the voters who wanted the UK to remain part of the EU – made many outrageous claims that the Brexiteers were duped by Populism, being too uneducated to understand the issues. This view carried into Parliament where MPs from constituencies who clearly voted to leave the EU chose to ignore their local constituency vote instead voting to stifle the process. It took two further elections and the loss of a number of seasoned politicians and some younger opportunistic politicians to give Boris Johnson a mandate to leave the EU but many Remainers still argue that voters were casting their vote to prevent Jeremy Corbyn from leading a Government, not to leave the EU. Thus, we have a perplexing problem of voters not considered capable of casting a reasoned vote thus voting a Populist ticket, and the losers not accepting the outcome yielding a breakdown in credibility of the democratic system.

An alternate way of reading the last General Election in the UK is that Boris Johnson saw the opportunity to use the voters to disguise the Brexit issue within the Jeremy Corbyn ultra-left-wing Modern Populism and rely on the voters to see reason that the outrageous promises to the voters by a Jeremy Corbyn led Government would condemn the UK to the Dark Ages again. The results tend to suggest even in the more depressed, typically Labour stronghold constituencies of the UK the voters were savvy enough to know what they didn’t want both in Corbyn and the EU.  

One of the long-held complaints with the EU is the unelected but powerful European Commission. How can the EU declare itself founded upon democratic principles? The agenda of the EU is clear to ever more of its citizens. The UK has responded. Who’s next?

The current Presidential election in the USA could be described as Modern Populism versus Pragmatism but look how close the popular vote. If we apply the argument that many voters are not capable of understanding the debate one would expect the vote to be more pronounced in favour of Populism or Pragmatism. I don’t envy President elect Joe Biden who must repair such a polarised nation not least because of no clear Republican or Democrat majority in either House likely creating stagnation in policy agenda. And the losing voters will consider themselves robbed of victory especially if led by Donald Trump when his legal challenges fail.

Why is democracy failing when so many oppressed people in the World crave the liberty and freedoms it promises? I grew up in the aftermath of WWII where people relied on resourcefulness and resilience to survive and thrive. Communities worked together to rebuild their lives. Life was not idyllic, far from it, but an attitude was instilled that essentially meant that if you wanted to achieve you are responsible to make it happen. This attitude accelerated during what I call the Youth Revolution – the period between the 1966 World Cup and the landing of Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969. Resilience and resourcefulness built in prior years now could be expressed in ways which changed the UK from an essentially conservative Government to a more liberal approach. Much wealth creation during this period across the spectrum of voters – class boundaries fracturing. People felt liberated and empowered to determine their own destiny in the World and demanded a more liberal framework by Governments.

This empowerment led to the people looking to exert their rights to whatever they could get for their votes building a now overburdened welfare state where an attitude of entitlement overshadows the need for resourcefulness among the poorer sectors. For example, could a political party now get elected on a ticket of much needed scale back and structural reform of the NHS to reflect need over want? Resourcefulness has morphed into indoctrinated entitlement. Resilience has morphed into insecurity with a new lexicon of mental disorders amongst younger people. Instead of the resilience to cope, people crumble. Having observed the depressing inability of people to cope with Covid-19 lockdown goodness knows what would happen if the lights went out for any length of time. Today there are still many families who have members who survived some 6 years of WWII in the shadow of bombing raids, losing loved ones, coping with rationing, and extreme workload to support the war effort. Has what I would term as Modern Socialist Populism created a complacency that quietly forgets the price paid for the freedoms they enjoy? Thank goodness for the emergence of heroes like Capt. Tom whose positive resilience injected a much-needed dose of reflection and goodwill.

However, we digress. Or have we? Creating unaffordable expectations among the masses in the pursuit of votes is destined towards a reality check. Corporate taxation at uneconomic levels, and personal taxes at levels significantly affecting quality of life are a formula for disillusionment, recrimination and ill-will towards the Government. Modern Populism hits the buffers. The Government coffers are empty. The people are disillusioned with Liberal Democracy and must pay for their sins with a period of Conservatism to rebuild the economy and reset voter expectations.

Is there not a note of déjà vu in this progression? I remember in the 1970s living under a widespread social engineering period by Labour Governments to support its popularity essentially bankrupting the country in the process requiring some 18 years of Conservative resets to prosperity. Then in 1997 Tony Blair and Gordon Brown emerged with New Labour on a Populist ticket spending a further 10-years of cradle-to-grave social entitlement engineering finally leaving the Government coffers empty in 2007 and so many young people disillusioned with their new but worthless university degrees and massive student debt. Another reset to Conservatism, austerity, and realism. The banking crisis did not help but the coffers were empty in any event. And, just as prosperity and the freedom from the EU were set to propel the UK into a new period of accelerated growth, we are hit with Covid-19. Should China have the moral fortitude to inject $2-3Trillion into the global economy to compensate for its failure to contain this virus we will most certainly see the UK thrive and prosper post-Covid-19 before the next General Election thus thwarting the Populists who will certainly make hay if recovery is still slow. In the event that China fails to stimulate the global markets but seeks to exploit the global economic weakness resulting from Covid-19 I would expect the West to reinvigorate the Marshall Plan along with a healthy dislocation from China from where three serious viruses have emerged in the past twenty years.

So what is different today? Before social media and the degradation of conventional press reporting to satisfy 24-hour news channels using their own brand of sensationalism to compete with online social media, voters could only derive information from a limited number of outlets. Social media has completely changed the dissemination of information; good, bad, or downright false or misleading. Unscrupulous entities from individuals, organisations, and even foreign powers can, in minutes, pollute social media platforms with lies, misrepresentation and complete fabrication intended to sway receptive victims to a desired outcome. I overheard a journalist from a broadsheet newspaper declare that the demand on her for articles each day meant that she had no time to fully research and validate her stories. But who, today, reads the second page corrections if indeed any are printed?

An analysis of which degradation came first would take another essay. But what is clear is we have a collision of culture and belief where national boundaries are blurred by new global organised activism built on conspiracy theories. We experience truth decay where facts no longer matter, and people lie with impunity, some merely to seek their 15-minutes of fame, but others with a more cynical intent. We observe more authoritarian countries attempt to curb access to social media. We also observe Western countries trying to marshal content but with little effect to date. One observation of this proliferation of false or il-considered content is the need of people to feel involved in this new-found freedom of expression which requires instant gratification regardless of consideration lest they be left behind. How many celebrities take the view that they need to be connected until the vitriol received causes them to retreat?

Thus, Populists and their cohorts can exploit the lack of any integrity in published works on any platform. If voters are not happy with what is, they can easily be swayed to the promised land. How such interference in democracy can be regulated will be debated relentlessly with little or no consensus throughout the World. Democracy could well become as toothless as the UN.

I put it to my readers that the degradation of integrity in politics has created a mistrust of democracy. This is a breakdown of social cohesion that amplifies by clever manipulators through social media platforms creating false impression, disenchantment, and social discourse. History repeats itself regarding the few people needed to stoke people into war with insane losses before sanity prevails. Does democracy need to follow the same cyclic course before people understand its values and limitations. It was Winston Churchill who remarked that democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all the others. Is it time to revisit the pillars of democracy, ensure that they are relevant, fully understood and implemented, and then guarded against abuse?

Covid-19 and Airnergy+ Active Oxygen

Covid-19 is presenting challenges to healthcare, the most significant of which is the supply of ventilators to help people for whom coronavirus has attacked their lungs making it difficult for them to breath. We now hear that Imperial College, London are working with Mercedes Formula1 racing in Northampton to produce a device that can attach to a source of medical oxygen and deliver the required oxygen through a facemask. But Mercedes Forumula1 can only produce 1,000 units per day and you still need 1,000 hospital beds with an oxygen supply, and the care staff.

But there is an established German technology, only known to the astute few in the UK, but widely used throughout Europe by the like of elite sports people and Formula1 racing drivers that can extract this valuable active oxygen, the life support system of every major organ in the body, from the air we breath and without the need to be attached to it for more than one hour each day if Covid-19 positive. For general preventative maintenance no more than 2-sessions of 20-minutes per day. Which means a family can use one device in the comfort of their own home without any medical supervision.

As you would expect the medical grade version of this technology is not cheap, but significantly cheaper than the alternatives. And it is easy to use. So, what is the science that makes this so valuable at this time?

All cellular metabolic processes in the human body are dependent on oxygen. As every child knows no human being can live for more than a few minutes without oxygen before taking another breath – or dying. Life begins with our first breath and ends with our last. But, as was found with the space program in the 1960s, pure oxygen can make you sick. The Americans used pure oxygen for the atmosphere within space vehicles which made astronauts sick after just a few days whereas the Russians secretly realised that they needed to emulate an atmosphere corresponding to the ideal atmosphere on earth. So, what is the difference?

We do not breathe air, we breath atmosphere which consists of air and at least one variable, the water content – the very essence of life. This water content is measured as relative humidity and temperature. The combination of these two variables determines how comfortable we feel but, more importantly, how healthy we feel.

Water defies all universal laws of physics on earth, but there is no life without it. Years of research, and no less than 3 Nobel prizes has taught us that the water in the air we breath is fundamental to our well-being. However, mankind has noted that the more industrialised we become, the more pollution in the air we breathe, the more respiratory illnesses. As the elementary presence of water in the atmosphere becomes contaminated the mucous membranes in the nose dry out slowly losing their natural filtering function allowing fine dust, pollen, viruses and bacteria to penetrate our bodies. As a result, the bronchi clog, reducing their capacity to cough fine dust. The lack of elemental water in the air we breath and the fine dust invading our lungs, the alveoli, whose natural purpose is gas exchange, lose their membrane function. Gas exchange in the lungs decreases, vital oxygen required by all organs of the body is not transferred to the blood, and CO2 is not adequately disposed. The dysfunctional oxygen transportation via our lungs into the blood results in illness and ageing, and the primary responsibility for this is the lack of elemental water in the air we breathe and the indispensable catalyst in the alveoli.

The respiratory epithelium is a layer of specialised epithelial cells that line most of the respiratory tract but is not required for gas exchange but for cleansing the respiratory tract and is dependent upon the water content of the respiratory air. Gas exchange occurs in the alveoli. So, the function of our lungs drives our well-being but is not solely reliant upon oxygen, but also upon the water in the air we breathe with its energetic qualities.

This energised water is created in nature by turbulence in water such as streams and rivers and by infrared radiation of the sun in connection with chlorophyll, the green pigment of leaves and plants in nature. Scientists have proven the existence of a special form of water molecule in the atmosphere under natural conditions which plays a dominant role as energy sources in all known biological processes including the driving force behind gas exchange in the lungs. This energy source is called Active Oxygen.

Today technology can convert the low-energy, polluted ambient atmosphere in which most of us live into clean, high-energy breathing air that will re-energise our lungs and provide the natural organs of our body with the Active Oxygen they need to function well. One such patented technology is Airnergy+ and which has been used now for some years, primarily in elite sports, and is referred to as Spirovital Therapy. I found the need for this technology after recent heart surgery where an over-zealous surgeon tightly sutured so much of my soft tissue that my left lung was barely functional for some 7-months. Amongst the numerous resulting health issues, I noticed my eyesight had significantly deteriorated so, in December 2019, went for my annual eye test. My regular optometrist was shocked at the deterioration, especially the presence of intermediate macular degeneration. I went to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London only to be told there was no known treatment (in the UK) for AMD. As a former scientist, I scanned the world looking for answers. I came across much work on Active Oxygen, including the Nobel prizes for the detection of this special Active Oxygen in our atmosphere and its fundament relevance to human well-being. I quickly realised that I had suffered oxygen starvation throughout my body because of the significant reduction in my lung capacity. I eventually managed to tear the scar tissue to rid me of this impediment but needed to turbocharge the Active Oxygen in my blood to see if I could reverse any of the damage.

I was surprised to find that the eyes are the most significant user of Active Oxygen of any organ in the body. Optometrists now tell me that they have long suspected that degradation of eyesight, and especially macular degeneration (AMD), has something to do with oxygen supply in the blood. After much research of clinical trials over some years I opted to try the medical grade Airnergy+ Pro Plus which at some £4,600 is no mean investment for a retired individual (lesser active models available). After just five weeks of two session of 20 minutes per day I went to a specialist optometrist in Harley Street, armed with the data from Moorfields Eye Hospital and my pre-surgery eye test, to be told that my sight had almost restored to pre-surgery levels. Her word was ‘remarkable’ and wanted to know more.

Unfortunately, that trip into London exposed me to Covid-19. I increased my use of Airnergy+ to 3 x 20 minutes per day preventing coronavirus any ability to attach itself to my lungs. Eight days later and 5kg lighter I am now through Covid-19. I encouraged a very special medical friend in Switzerland who suffers from asthma to try this therapy to protect him. After just two weeks his asthma, and general well-being has significantly improved. The evidence of the efficacy of this technology is clear and should be deployed in the fight against Covid-19 as a relatively cheap and most certainly effective protection.

Airnergy+ info at:

UK: www.biolifesolutions.co.uk

Other: www.airnergy.com

Should you use the Airnergy equipment I would be really interested in your feedback why you used it and the impact you feel attributed to this technology.

Corbynism -Attack on the Wealthy

Jeremy Corbyn/John McDonnell have announced their brave new world of far-left socialism. What will be the impact of trying to tax the rich and business to engage in unaffordable social engineering and to destroy the UK economy? Let us illustrate this in terms that Labour supporters should understand. It’s a sobering message.

Suppose that once a week, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to £100. If they paid their bill the Corbyn expects to collect our taxes, it would go something like this:

  • The first four men (the poorest; out of work, zero hours, etc) would pay nothing
  • The fifth (labourer) would pay £1
  • The sixth (skilled worker) would pay £3
  • The seventh (professional) would pay £7
  • The eighth (management) would pay £12
  • The ninth (executive) would pay £18
  • And the tenth man (richest) would pay £59

The ten men drank in the bar every week and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until, one day, the owner caused them a dilemma. “Since minimum wage, corporate and income taxes have been increased” he said, “I have to increase the cost of your weekly beer by £20.” Drinks for the ten men would now cost £120.

They realised that £20 divided by five is £4 but if added to everybody’s share then not only would the first five men be drinking for free, but the sixth man would have his contribution increased by 133%!

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. The first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free but what about the other six men – the paying customers? The fifth member was employed by a small business which could not cope with the increases so was made redundant thus joined the first four and paid nothing. How could the remaining five divide the £20 increase so that everyone would pay his fair share?

The bar owner suggested that it would be fairer to increase each man’s bill according to the principle of the new tax system and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

The result was that the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (a 100% saving).

  • The sixth man now paid £4 instead of £3 (a 33% rise)
  • The seventh man now paid £9 instead of £7 (a 28% rise)
  • The eighth man now paid £15 instead of £12 (a 25% rise)
  • The ninth man now paid £22 instead of £18 (a 22% rise)
  • And the tenth man now paid £70 instead of £59 (a 16% rise)

Each of the last five was worse off than before with the first five now drinking for free.

But, once outside the bar, the paying men began to compare their rises.

“I paid 33% extra; double the tenth man,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, “his share was much less than mine!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he only pay 16% when I paid 28%? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first five men in unison, “we can’t get a job because of this new system. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up demanding a greater contribution from him.

The following week the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important – they didn’t have enough money between them to pay for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Corbyn/McDonnell tax system will work. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally consider their position. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just might not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier, and take their business with them. This happened in the late 1970s when higher rate tax rates were 83%. Didn’t work then; won’t work now.

Lest we forget when Labour lost the General Election to the Conservatives in 2010. Liam Bryne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Gordon Brown, left a note for his successor stating, ‘I’m afraid there is no money.’ This has been the case with every Labour Government since the war.

Any political promises more than 5 years away are pure fantasy because they exceed the term of a Government and thus why spades of such promises are put out there to woo the gullible. As for free broadband (re-nationalise BT with 5G driving future internet access??  – whoops), there is no such thing as a free lunch. Even the air you breath leaves you exposed to pay taxes. Anything for free will be abused, as we see in the NHS. Someone has to pay at the end of the day.

There is also an assumption by Corbyn/McDonnell that the financial community will agree to fund an additional £55 billion p.a. for 10 years – not likely, not least because much of this funding is not directly linked to increased productivity. A more likely consequence of a Corbyn Government would be a downgrade in the UK credit rating which would increase the cost of any available borrowing thus negating the McDonnell argument that borrowing will be cheap. The more modest extra £20 billion p.a. for 5 years spending pledged by the Conservatives will raise eyebrows in the financial markets; even with a majority Conservative Government.

It is only possible to spend if you have a strong underlying economy. Without the rich, and wealthy businesses to provide jobs and generate profits upon which the Government depends to accumulate tax revenues, there is no money to spend.

Should we bear the Responsibility for our Ancestors?

Two seemingly unconnected news stories last week found their one minute of airing amongst the sensational reporting from the G7 Summit, the continuing saga of the EU vs BREXIT, and the burning of the Brazilian rain forest. Although my readers would probably expect me to comment on the suspension of Parliament, I think these two stories have a chilling connectivity worthy of debate.

One story was the admission from the University of Glasgow that it took contributions in the form of gifts and behests towards the construction its Gilmorehill Campus between 1866 and 1880; probably derived from the slave trade. Although these announced reparations of £20 million are not being distributed to individual descendants of slaves it sets a disturbing precedent.

The second story relates to the significant rise in white supremacy/nationalism throughout the Western World in the past two years. These people have moved from the shadows of internet activity to violence on the streets including mass shootings. And their numbers are growing at an alarming rate.

There are now so many ethnic and religious lobby groups trying to rekindle the past in a blame game euphemistically aimed at some moral admission of wrongdoing, but with the ultimate intent on financial reparations for events that occurred generations ago. I take the view that I am not responsible for anything my father did without my involvement or consent, and I do not expect my children to be held responsible for anything I do without their support or consent. Therefore, why are we tolerating lobby groups looking for reparations on activities that occurred so many generations ago that it is only recently that online genealogy allows us to remotely track such ancestry? When do these people realise that nasty activities such as slavery have existed since the dawn of mankind, and still exist today in various parts of the world. The great historic monuments of the past relied on slaves to construct them. We can take a social view today that slavery should be eradicated, but we cannot go back in time and legislate for the past.

I’ve debated with someone from the Indian subcontinent about the need for the British to pay considerable reparations for activities throughout the 18th and 18th centuries – the days of the British Empire. I suggested that India thrives today on both the constitutional Government and the railway system left by the British. Without the extensive rail network built in the time of British occupation India would suffer the transport problems that we see in countries today such as Brazil. China is building a massive rail network because it needs it to thrive. What would happen in India if our Health and Safety Regulations were applied throughout the Indian rail network? The country and its economy would come to a standstill. Very often it’s mentioned that Cuba sits in a 1920’s time warp but India also lives in such a time warp, but the quality of the British engineering still prevails, as in Portugal.

As for contributions to the University of Glasgow what about contributions from the tobacco and sugar trade? Both of these goods are now considered detrimental to human health so what about the people who suffered harvesting such goods, and then the consumers whose health may have suffered? Indeed, the City of Glasgow was built on these trades so do we demolish Glasgow as an unacceptable relic of our so-called terrible past as with the desire by a radical few to demolish statues of large benefactors to other universities and institutions where their wealth was derived from such activities. What about if Facebook put up the £20 million being sought, but in 100 years from now Facebook is considered a scourge on society and everything connected with it should be deemed poison?

By far the most damaging problem caused by these ill-considered lobby groups is the fuelling of racism. This card has now been so overplayed that white people are afraid to use large parts of the English vocabulary lest someone interprets such language as racist. And politicians seeking any votes possible to pander to their need for power have even legislated against such language without serious debate about the consequences. We have coloured minorities playing the victim card in their attempt to seek some ideology of equality, or even supremacy. I would argue that white people have had enough of being made to feel guilty for the activities of their ancestors and the continual pressure of the racism card which together with political correctness have overstressed tolerance. And this leads me to the connectivity to the rise of white supremacy and nationalism. White people are being eroded of their identity, their culture, and their heritage. Fodder for groups who are at the extremes.

My view is that Governments and Universities need to slam on the brakes regarding ethnic and religious lobby groups; take a break from any further antagonistic legislation or reparations touted in the name of equality; and study the impact of existing legislation on the indigenous population. Has the University of Glasgow attempted to determine if any descendant of a slave has prospered from a degree from their august hallows? Statistically this is highly probable as some slaves where transported back to Glasgow. Whilst there remains a suggestion that people today bear some historical responsibility for the activities of their ancestors, we have a cauldron that feeds extreme supremacy and nationalism.

BREXIT – In this week of tribute to the Bard

Shakespeare lives here

In tribute to the greatest Bard

Compose some lines, it will be hard,

But once again, we are faced

With treachery, to be embraced

EU reform was his spoken mandate

Failed; now he moves to collaborate

Heed well the falseness of his word

The fear to force you into herd.

 

Those who claim to fight our case

Have failed, but want that we remain in place

What do they have us to believe?

That they knowest best; are we naïve?

EU citizens with their feet do vote

The UK is the place they bloat

We would like to welcome those

Who satisfy our needs and goals.

 

Rule Britannia, let not you fall,

Remember all you do enjoy

May this fair land we love so well

In dignity and freedom dwell

Be remembered those who gave their future

To make this nation free to prosper

Let not your spirit be subdued

By fear of raging platitude.

 

Let’s not to foreigner’s bow

Their voices hollow, not in favour thou

They would not heed to what they say

So why would we bend to their way?

We are made of sterner stuff

With resolve and fortitude, we rebuff

We are strong; not slave to obey

So bid them well, be on your way.

 

Compare ye not with a lesser realm

Who have not our powers to overwhelm

Our omnipotence they do not share

Nor standing and heritage to declare

When we do call, our voice will be heard

They dare not our call to be spurred

They will not treat us with disdain

Lest Europe will despair again.

 

Our past doth show our stealth and pride

Thus let not our omnipotence be denied

And think of England’s pleasant land

Is not for those of foreign land

Who wish to smite our honours past

And crush our national interest

Shout it loud, Britons awake

Lest those abroad your life will take.

 

So harken all you Brits, be true

To what it is you need to do

To save this land, its history share

With those you are yet to bear

Let not your offspring be denied

The hopes and dreams for which men died

Or be defined by those abroad

Whose plan for us is truly flawed.

 

Remember to the words we sang

When faced with that beleaguered land

Vera Lynn, our spirits raised

Again we showed; our courage blazed

‘There’ll always be an England

And England shall be free

If England means as much to you

As England means to me.’

 

And in the words of the great Bard himself:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
this other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

Shakespeare’s Richard II

BREXIT – Could The Right Thing To Do mean Uncertainty?

univestBREXIT – Could The Right Thing To Do mean Uncertainty?

I had hoped to move on from Brexit for a couple of weeks but my ears are ringing with the flagrantly misleading messages from the ‘Remain’ faction of the Government, especially self-serving junior ministers protecting their personal future career by towing the party line.

Over the recent past we have continually heard the pathos statement on every political issue ‘The Right Thing To Do’, and it is still in use today. In the Brexit campaign the repeated messages from the ‘Remain’ politicians are ‘Could’ and ‘Uncertainty’. Philosophers over the centuries have argued that in mankind there is no such thing as ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’; only ‘Acceptable’ and ‘Unacceptable’. And the interpretation of both are subject to regular change. Even such hard statements such as ‘It is wrong to kill your fellow man’ has numerous exceptions – what are armies for? In certain branches of mathematics 2 + 2 = 4 would be the wrong answer.

The word ‘Could’ has to be the weakest example of the words available such as ‘Likely’, ‘Will’ or even ‘Inevitable’. And in life the only certainties are that night will follow day, and of course, taxes.

So why are these words so prolific in the Brexit debate? As none of them has any defined substance, and thus can be used without any political accountability, one can only assume they are expressions intended to induce fear, and even terrorism amongst the population, without recourse. Is this referendum considered so irrelevant by the ‘Remain’ faction of the Government that they can trivialise the issues in this way? Sounds like their message to the population is ‘We know better than you what is good for you and your offspring, but you will not understand the arguments, so just do as we say’. I can only hope that the population get this message loud and clear, the hackles flair, and the backbone that won the Battle of Britain prevails. After all Cameron’s so-called deal could be compared with the Chamberlain letter of pacification from Hitler – before Winston Churchill came to the rescue.

As we are discussing political rhetoric, perhaps a revisit to the wisdom of Aristotle may help.

LOGOS: We are faced with the option to leave the political body known as the EU. We must weigh the arguments for and against, and make our decision by means of a referendum of the people to be held on 23rd June. We, your Government, acknowledge and accept that the EU is in need of significant reform as we do not agree with its current course. We have debated with the autocrats in Brussels seeking commitment to these necessary reforms to protect the British people and their way of life – but we have failed in all respects to date, even though the autocrats in Brussels are aware that this could result in the UK leaving the EU.

ETHOS: We, the Government, are fully aware of our failings to date, but we still believe that we should continue to argue our case from within the EU in the hope that we may, some day, convince the autocrats that we do not wish to become part of an undemocratic United States of Europe. In the mean time we have achieved some exemptions from further integration, albeit open to challenge.

PATHOS: We, your Government, reluctantly accept that our resolve during the Bloomberg discussion leading to this referendum has failed to materialise, in spite of best efforts on our part. We further accept that our stance is a real gamble that we can effect major reform before the EU slowly, but surely, erode our exemptions. But we, your Government, truly believe (well at least half of us) that the right thing to do, in the interests of the UK people, is to remain, as an exit could mean an uncertain future.

Which way would you vote?

 

BREXIT will not isolate the UK in Europe

univestBREXIT will not isolate the UK in Europe

I have received a number of comments suggesting that BREXIT will isolate the UK in Europe. As I have absolutely no interest in isolating the UK from Europe I would like to address these comments.

If you look back to the various blogs about the EU I generated in 2013 it should be clear that I consider that the UK should be at the very heart of Europe. If we look back at the two configurations suggested by Winston Churchill we essentially see one option where the UK would act as broker between the then OEEC (Organisation for European Economic Co-operation) and, primarily, the USA – a role we still perform in part today. The other option was to create a United States of Europe where the UK was the dominant player at the very heart of Europe. Never, in his wildest dreams, would he consider a role as a marginalised player in the autocratic EU of today.

So where is the confusion? Fundamentally BREXIT is about leaving the political system that is the EU – not Europe. Furthermore, BREXIT would lead the way for others member states, who cannot wield the power of the UK, but of similar mind, to follow. Other EU members who do not favour or qualify to join the German-Franco dominated Eurozone, could also combine with the UK to seek a new arrangement. This is where the UK, after the experience of BREXIT, would be ideally placed to take the lead role. A new grouping, under UK leadership, would be based on free trade with the Eurozone core (not the nonsense contributory scaremonger version), and on mutual interests elsewhere in the world – not least the Commonwealth countries. The new form of cooperation would be between independent sovereign European Nations and absolutely free of compulsion towards economic convergence or political integration.

Thereafter survival of the remaining EU ultimately depends on the fiscal union of those who use it. Fiscal union, defacto, demands political union. So the EU can only survive for as long as the remaining rich countries are prepared to transfer a proportion of their wealth to the poorer ones, and those poorer ones are prepared to endure the stark conditions of austerity the rich countries impose on them for receiving it. But the imposition of political union on the 19 nations that use it, (let alone the other 9 who do not, and may join the UK) no longer looks like a realistic option. As with the failure of the Schengen agreement on open borders, common sense suggests that we must have a fully integrated United States of Europe model for the Eurozone to survive. The reality is that there is little appetite to integrate 28 nations with disparate economies, different backgrounds, culture and languages under an undemocratic autocracy. Therefore, we need to find another way.

What I have always insisted is that the UK must have an alternate plan for Europe post-BREXIT that provides for the unity of the countries of Europe, but without the political integration. It would even be possible to keep the Eurozone for those member States that feel it beneficial (remembering that fiscal union means political union), albeit with a democratic oversight.

I am still firmly of the opinion that BREXIT will be the beginning of the end of the EU in its current form. The EU blind determination to continue its drive for ever closer union is in fact driving it rapidly towards the rocks of disintegration. If the EU were to recognise the impending disaster in time to materially change course before the June referendum, then it might be in the UK’s interests to stay in and participate in the process of reconstruction. But this is the only positive argument that can be made for staying in. As we saw with the Cameron negotiations the EU hierarchy seem so obstinately oblivious of the impending danger, that the case for us to leave is compelling. Remaining in without major reform would consign Britain to being a second-tier state in a United States of Europe controlled by the German-Franco-led Eurozone – which is totally unacceptable.

I was lucky enough over the past weekend to gain access to a paper ‘The Referendum – a step towards a Democratic, Prosperous and Safe Europe’ jointly written by Walter Reid, formerly Professor of Accounting and Financial Control at the London Business School, and Chairman MDA Training Ltd, and D.R. Myddelton, Emeritus Professor of Finance and Accounting at Cranfield School of Management. Rather than me summarise a lengthy paper I will provide an extract that speaks volumes of a proper English approach to the referendum:

Quote:

The paper proposes the establishment of a European Multi Currency Union [EMCU] to operate alongside the Eurozone.  Unless the Eurozone and the Brussels Commission come to realise that some such change is essential to hold the EU together – which seems unlikely – it will be necessary for it to be set up by a new Treaty outside the EU by member-states wishing to be free of the current Mission.  A parallel structure between the EU and the EMCU will enable Europe to present a common position in areas such as defence and internal security and any other areas where it is in the mutual interests of both parties to work together.

Britain has an important role to play in helping to set up this new democratic Europe.  It could provide a way for both Britain and our fellow-member-states who also want to escape the oppressive actions of the Eurozone to protect their national interests and build together a democratic and prosperous Europe.

To help achieve this crucial aim, David Cameron should adopt an approach that would mitigate further acrimonious and divisive argument between the Remain and the Leave groups – which could split his party and indeed the country. This would involve agreeing that his recent negotiations achieved much less than the ‘fundamental and far reaching change’ he sought in his Bloomburg speech and that the concessions gained are being challenged.  Further, they are causing serious divisions across Europe as other countries seek similar exemptions.

End Quote

The last paragraph indicates a needed change in position by David Cameron which would also stop all of the adverse speculation in the markets, which in itself is unnecessarily damaging the UK. I would hope that this paper becomes readily available in the public domain.

Once upon a time ……. In Europe

univestOnce upon a time ……. In Europe

Once upon a time there was a fairy kingdom that lived inside a place called Brussels and was surrounded on all four sides by a land called Europe containing the Outer Realms. Brussels is aligned with another kingdom called Strasbourg. Both are inhabited by disembodied heads that speak from the walls of bars, and with yet another closed kingdom called Berlin, the abode of Brunnhilde and her Only Party. These Kingdoms are in eternal political syzygy and speak not with the people of the surrounding lands, of whom they know nothing. The following is a chronicle of what could befell them, and why.

After years of peace, the Kingdoms were taken greatly aback by the rise of the BREXIT Monster, their surprise being proof that they know nothing of the Outer Realms. They know nothing for good reasons, of which there are two. The first is that they pass their lives with each other and among each other and talking to each other and writing about each other and reading about each other behind the high walls of their Kingdoms. In organs of their own Insider community they endlessly write stories of the form ‘A soothsayer in Brussels replies to what some other sayer of sooth in Strasbourg said about yet another’s attack on someone else’.

They all dwell in monasteries called the EU Commission and the EU Council, where they are indoctrinated that they are the wisest of men, and inerrant. They have no idea that they are so hated in the strange lands without their walls, which on their maps are drawn as fog with notations such as ‘Here dwelleth dragons’. They do not know that there are people who agreed not with them. Were they not right about all things?

The other reason for their puzzlement is a powerful spell called ’Political Correctness’. This strong magic prevents the outlanders from saying anything that the Three Kingdoms do not want to hear. Anyone who engages incantations are branded slurs, which are truthful thoughts about sacred tribes, or who say inappropriate things about a certain little country whose only importance is being that it produces vast wealth for the Kingdoms, is now thrown into durance vile. Thus, the Three Kingdoms never hear anything they don’t like, and so believe that almost everyone without the walls loves them. They have scarce an idea what furies are roiling and boiling and stirring under the surface of the Outer Realms.

Now, until the BREXIT Monster appeared, the Three Kingdoms were ruled by a pseudo-democracy of one Bicephalous Party with two names. The Only Party consists of blackguards and quislings and pickpockets bought and paid for by the plutocratic oligarchy of large corporations, and the very rich. These tell the two halves of the One Party what to do. Every four years there is played a great tournament in which candidates of the Two Names of the One Party engaged in the most savage combat imaginable.  This is to distract the people outside the walls in the Outer Realms. Afterwards, nothing changes and all goes on as before though the division of the spoils may shift a little.

And in their ignorance and pride, the Three Kingdoms now engender a monster called BREXIT, and it has bitten them.

The Only Party always controls the villains because it controls the choice of pretenders to the throne. A pretender gains the Presidency by paying homage to the Only Party, and the rich who provide that money controls, as vassals, those who accept it. The pretenders are as straw and melons sold in a market.

Furthermore, the scribes and oracles of the Kingdoms say aloud only those things that are meet for the surrounding serfs to hear.  The persistent spell of Political Correctness amounts to a societal mute button and prevents the Holy Orders within the Three Kingdoms from noticing what stirs without.

Until the BREXIT Monster came raging, slouching toward Bethlehem, with which the Kingdoms confuse themselves.

And there is fright, and desperation, and rending of teeth, and gnashing of hair, for many are the rice bowls threatened.

The darkest of horrors is that the serfs might come to choose the manner of their government. For long years, the Bicephalous Party had presided over that most desirable form of democracy in which the people have no power. This laudable state they have maintained by never talking about anything of substance, such as unending wars in remote lands beyond the edges of the maps, or the importation of slaves from curious and unwholesome countries, or the manufacturers of all things by foreign dwarves, or the satiate life of the Insiders within the kingdoms.

A great broil now ensues. The people of the little country see for the first time a chance to manage their destinies and rise up for the BREXIT Monster.  Inside Brussels, the Wise and Good – for do they not so denominate themselves? – are greatly astonished. ‘What manner of wight can this be?’ they ask in wonder. They say that the BREXIT Monster is beguiling fools, the cracked, and those who represented the worst in Europe. And the scribes and oracles are sore afraid, for most of the outlying populace appear to belong to these tribes.

One of the Two Names of the Only Party have sent forth their dreadful creature, Brunnhilde, to fight in single combat with the BREXIT Monster. Her very visage turns men to stone, it is said. She is held to be of one blood with Boadica, Jeanne d’Arc, and Lucretia Borgia.

The Three Kingdoms are at one with her, as she has corrupted them to her ways, being mendacious, and ugly, as well as suffering coughing fits and dizzy spells. Surely, say the scribes and oracles, any monster must fly screaming from her mere presence.

Yet it seems that BREXIT is no common monster. Every time it is beset by the scribes and oracles of Brussels, it grows stronger, and a sulfurous smoke breathes from its mouth. With drawn swords the BREXIT Monster and the crumbling ruin yclept Brunnhilde circle each other.

And beyond the parapets and crenellations of the three Kingdoms the sky grows darker. Inside Brussels and in Strasbourg, the disembodied heads rail and rage, but with every blast, the helots joint the BREXIT Monster in larger numbers, for they hate the Insiders. In Berlin, the half-educated narcissists say ever more stupid things, but these have not their usual effect.

In their pride, the Three Kingdoms had engendered Nemesis, and they watch in terror behind the ramparts as the sky grows darker and strange shapes twist in the looming clouds as the BREXIT Monster strides ever nearer, breathing fire.

 

BREXIT – What a difference a week makes

univestBREXIT – What a difference a week makes

The past week has yielded so many interesting events that I have shelved my scheduled blog to consider the potential impacts to the whole EU debate.

In no particular order let us start with the UK Budget speech given by George Osbourne last Wednesday. All sounded good with much bravado albeit two of his three fiscal rules were already in shatters. But the economy is growing so such rules are only political rhetoric. However, he used this platform to make a clear statement that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had provided evidence that UK exit from the EU would damage the UK economy in the short-term. This statement clearly aggrieved the OBR as, by tea time, they had completely refuted his representations as they only provided (conveniently selected?) views provided by third parties.

Then he expounded the view that we were all in this together as he slashed corporate taxes at the same time as slashing benefit payments (some £4 billion) to the most disadvantaged. Whereas there is no doubt that the welfare budget in the UK does need to be reined in, it cannot be achieved merely by setting arbitrary limits and crossing out figures on a spreadsheet with a complete disregard for social justice. Again, by the end of the week, these welfare cuts had diluted from hard cuts, to a discussion, to kicking into the long grass, to being scrapped with the very public resignation of the Work & Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith who gave an impassioned account of his position on the Sunday morning Andrew Marr show. Let us not forget that this happened to Osbourne in his last budget as well.

Also, during his budget speech, he confirmed that the continued refusal by the EU to relax VAT rules to allow tampons to be zero rated, the so-called tampon tax (some £500 million pa), would result in the taxes collected continuing to be distributed to various women-based charities. The following day David Cameron went to an EU Summit meeting in Brussels regarding the important refugee crisis. Apparently, during a coffee break, all 28 EU leaders agreed to relax the EU VAT rules. Clearly not planned. Has Europe realised that BREXIT is gaining support? How many more rabbits will be drawn from EU hats between now and 23rd June?

It was interesting to tour the Highlands of Scotland a few weeks before the Scottish Independence referendum to test my view that Scotland would be stronger in the Union, and thus the vote would be to stay part of the UK. Having purposely stayed in B&B and small privately owned hotels it was interesting to speak privately with the Scottish people about their thoughts. In those 8 days only one person clearly stated that they wanted independence. Much was offered by the UK Government in fear of the noise by those shouting ‘independence’. Had they copied my trip they would determine that no deals were necessary. Everyone else was keeping their thoughts to themselves because of what they were seeing in places like Glasgow where Alex Salmond’s equivalent of Hitler’s brown shirt nationalistic youth movement were intimidating those who openly wanted to remain with the UK. Come the day the silent majority, proud of their heritage within the UK, prevailed. I would therefore suggest that rabbits from the EU, at this late stage, will not work. Indeed, I think the canny Scots are likely to deal Nicola Sturgeon a blow in the EU referendum. Ouch, Nicola.

Then we have the third fiscal rule imposed upon himself regarding converting the current budget deficit into a surplus by the end of this parliament. The general view on this pronouncement is that he needs a major event, such as an exit from the EU, to provide a credible excuse for missing this target, as most surely will be the case. But not because of misguided ambition as a budget surplus should be the goal for fiscal prudence, but the target has to be reasonably achievable with a balanced approach. Ouch for political ambition.

And Peter Mandelson amused me by suggesting that if Maggie Thatcher was still in charge that she would vote to stay in. Having known her views, I’m sure that she found the surrender of so much UK sovereignty to the EU by Tony Blair in her final years as depressing, and would certainly have returned from negotiations with a credible reform deal before even thinking of such a stand to remain a member. It was also interesting that Mandelson had conveniently forgotten that he proposed we join the Euro. Beware of the so-called Prince of Darkness.

Then I read a City Comment in the London Evening Standard by a journalist with the name of Anthony Hilton. Firstly, he was abusing a quote by a long deceased industrialist, Sir Arnold Hall, “What problem do we have which is so serious that (BREXIT) could possibly provide the answer”? Then he used comparators that demonstrated his armchair approach to journalism. For example, he states that the German economy can operate very well within the EU, so why can’t the UK? If he remotely understood the difference between the German and the UK economies he would understand the answer. Whereas the UK sits with the USA economy as an outsider, or open structure, the German economy is quite the opposite as an insider, or closed structure. Ownership of German companies is protected with incestuous patrimonial linkages between German banks and companies, with preferential proxy votes and cross-shareholdings. Foreign ownership of a German company is so rare that it is major news. An example of the vast difference this closed structure reveals can be illustrated by reference to the steel dumping by China. The incestuous linkages in Germany mean that steel users (car production construction, and other major engineering companies) can be compelled to buy from German steel manufacturers rather than buying cheaper steel being dumped by China. This is protectionism. Our open system cannot compel our companies to use British steel. So when our steel companies suffer the impact of dumping we can do nothing about it because it would require Government intervention – not allowed by the EU. And will Germany fully support an anti-dumping campaign against China – not likely as China is an important market for Germany exports. We should also remember that Germany makes the trade rules within the EU to favour Germany, as with the Euro fiscal policy.

He further cites Wolfgang Schäuble, the German Finance Minister, and one of the nationalistic dinosaurs standing in the way of the much needed radical EU reform, who stated at the recent BCC conference that, after BREXIT, any trade deal with the EU would be conditional on maintaining free movement, and continuation of some form of payment into Brussels. This is typical scaremonger nonsense. Do the USA, or even Canada suffer such impositions in their trade agreements? The German Foreign Minister was far more realistic. He endorsed the view that a free trade deal would be agreed within days of BREXIT irrespective of EU political views not least because the German Government would be bombarded by their major companies and banks because of the high level of exports to the UK, not to mention that imports from Germany to the UK are significantly larger than UK exports to Germany.

I could further dismantle his arguments, but would suggest that he listens to someone like Sir Peter Hargreaves, the co-founder of the very successful Hargreaves Lansdown investment manager, who has a real-world experience and suggest that not only would the UK be better off outside of the EU, but such a stimulus would re-energise the British people to take more pride in the UK, buy British, and put the ‘Great’ back into Britain. For certain the UK has problems in productivity, poor venture investment, and lack of manufacturing. Perhaps a refusal by the EU to provide goods will stimulate the UK to make their own – a boost to employment, and needed reduction in the balance of payments – all positive. We could also relabel our much heralded sparkling wine as Champagne (as do the Americans), retain our traditions of sausages, Cornish pasties, pork pies et al without meddling interference in the British way of life from Brussels.

My final observation for today is the visit by Obama to Cuba. The opportunity to re-engage with Cuba has been staring at Europe for some years, with the doors open to engage. Whilst visiting a few years ago on an exploratory trip ‘America’ still invoked hatred with the Cuban people because of the Bay of Pigs incident. The opportunities for European businesses was considerable, as was the opportunity to substantially re-establish original European businesses in sugar, and other agri-products, as well as new off-shore oil & gas finds. The inward looking nature of the EU has surrendered this opportunity to the USA who will now move in and, no doubt, ignore repatriation of former European assets. The British understand the importance of such opportunities because of their historic trans-global, outward view of the world, in stark contrast to the introspective view of the EU.

Let us hope that the coming weeks are somewhat quieter, and less damaging.

 

 

BREXIT – What Deal?

univestBREXIT – What Deal?

When David Cameron elected to engage in a referendum regarding UK membership of the EU his pronouncement was that he would seek much needed fundamental reform to the EU, or support an ‘out’ vote. These reforms included substantial issues such as curtailing the role of the European Court of Human Rights in UK determinations, to scrap the Human Rights Act, reclaiming sovereignty for both our parliament and our judicial system, and to have sanction over immigration into the UK.

What he achieved is zero reform; only some tweaking at the fringes which, until written into Treaty are no more than what the Courts call mitigating circumstances in determinations, the existing Treaty being the fundamental basis on which they will make determinations. Few, if any of the EU leaders who agreed this tweaking will be in office when the next Treaty is discussed, and the European Parliament can most certainly vote down any, if not all of the concessions. Thus why the ‘deal’ is already in the dim past of the EU referendum debate.

As a trained negotiator I have an unease about the lack of any substance to the ‘deal’ as Germany most certainly needs to keep us within. Did Cameron not have the heart for such a negotiation? Is there a deal behind the scenes regarding the future of Cameron? Was he the wrong man to negotiate? History may tell us the answer, but until then we must accept that the ‘deal’ does not remotely meet with the initial basis of the referendum.

I am not going to debase my discussion by using speculative monetary values, or the use and abuse of statistics. As it is clear to see in the media the business and financial community are divided on opinion based on their specific vested interests – thus irrelevant. As argued in previous blogs this debate is about the future of the people in the UK. All of the economic and political arguments pale against the right outcome for the British way of life. Business and finance will continue regardless of the choice made in June. As one dear lady so elegantly put it in a Jeremy Vine interview last week, ‘so-called experts built the Titanic, but not the Ark’.

I do not believe the people of the UK will engage with the current political and business debate. So let us bring the argument down to a reasonable comparator argument that anyone can understand. Our base will be a recently new golf club where the charter debenture holders (the people who essentially financed the building of the club) sought preferential treatment as part of their contribution. This creates a two-tiered system of membership even though much of their initial investment has been redeemed through subsequent debenture sales. What will happen over time is policy committee members will change, and privileges of the charter members will become fuzzy, and erode, until they have no more privileges than any other member, i.e. harmonising rights to all members. This is what will most certainly happen in the EU. Fuzzy memberships such as Norway, the UK, and Switzerland will be tolerated in the short-term, but over time the boundaries will be eroded until they are eradicated. In Political Risk parlance this is called creeping expropriation. If the UK elects to remain an EU member it will most certainly not retain any special status over time.

The generally accepted current situation of the EU is fragile, and in need of serious reform. So what is the future if the UK votes to remain within – uncertainty. What is the future if the UK votes to leave the EU – uncertainty. So what is the difference – control of the uncertainty. The UK is not a Switzerland or a Norway. The UK is the 5th largest economy in the world – and carries much power and influence in the world in its own right (as endorsed by the German Foreign Minister on Radio 4).

Let us look at uncertainty, again in an easily understandable form. Uncertainty is as much part of life as day and night. The obvious relevant examples are life-changing decisions to get married, have children, or God forbid – divorce. They all require uncertain adaptability, but are all undertaken with the hope to a better future. For a while they can be a struggle, but the outcome is generally worth it. Ask any woman who has gone through labour, but yielded a healthy baby – the pain of labour is soon forgotten. A BREXIT includes a 2 year ‘grandfather clause’ where all of our existing relationships with the EU continue giving time to agree alternatives such as free trade agreements. The UK will see some immediate benefits in that the irksome elements of the Human Rights Act can be ignored, immigration can be brought under control, and our transport infrastructure can quickly progress without the interminable interference of Brussels. Therefore, our uncertainty has a short-term safety net which negates the scaremonger argument that the short-term will be turbulent; but does have some valuable upsides. The UK successfully recovered from 2 World wars without help, so a relatively simple exit from the EU should be a breeze. I would suggest that most people will not feel any immediate difference.

There is one element of the uncertainty that I have yet to see any comment. What is likely to happen to the EU without the UK as a member. There are a number of relevant uncertainties. Other net contributor countries could see the UK exit as a sign that the current EU model is really broke, and thus elect to do the same – especially as the EU will have to increase contributions of other member States to fill the vacuum left by the considerable contribution by the UK. The right-wing elements of France could rise and depose the French Government. France has much to lose by a UK exit. Where were these concerns in the deal negotiations – or wasn’t the threat of the UK leaving a serious consideration?

If Germany can find the means to support the Eurozone then it will more rapidly consolidate its hold over the Euro countries – and the people of the UK will be thankful that they departed. Of course we still have the Greek issue which will most certainly be a thorn in the side of Germany – will this lead to conflict within the Eurozone? We have seen that the poor response by Germany to the economic situation in the Eurozone when they refused quantitative easing some 4 years ago. The too little – too late plan by the ECB yesterday was greeted with derision by the markets.

The UK has a proud history as the banking centre of the world boasting excellence in financial capability (even when Labour are in Government), and the ability of the UK to rise from both the irresponsible spending of the last Labour Government and the financial crisis lays testimony to the intelligent and speedy response to such events. Should this be sacrificed to the incapable Eurozone mandarins who clearly do not have the experience, or the global market understanding?

In summary BREXIT will yield uncertainty whichever way it goes. Therefore, the issue is whether or not the people of the UK want control over such uncertainty, or do they want to surrender decisions to Brussels – unaccountable to the people of the UK, and not so interested in preserving the British way of life.