Friday, 13 July 2018

More Problems with th Chequers Proposal

Before I discussed the fact that the lack of border be default allows free movement of people, which crosses one of the red lines for Brexit.

Okay, here's some more.

Over at ConHome in the comments I've been challenged but not one person has been able to counter my argument. I was even thrown a handy link that one chap thought disprove my assumptions, until I plucked the paragraph out that confirmed my statements. Love it when that happens.

Anyway, the second problem with the Chequers proposal is the Primacy of EU regulation. In effect ALL goods bought and sold within the UK will have to comply with EU regulations, whether they are being sold on to the EU or not. By extension that means ALL goods imported into the UK have to comply with EU regs.

That last point effectively kills any independent trade agreements, because we will not have the ability to diverge from EU regs in areas that don't involve trade with the EU. Might as well stay in and let the EU do the negotiating on our behalf. At least that way we have some form of voice in the process.

But we can't for instance do a deal with the USA to allow importation of FCC certified radios under some mutual regulatory framework. Nope, it's EU standards or nothing.

No freedom to negotiate trade agreements. Isn't that a red line?

The next problem is that fact that only 15% of our economy is earned by trade with the EU. But that 15% determines the rules and regulations for the other 85%. It's like the tail wagging the dog.

All our local shopkeeprs that have never and will never trade with the EU will be subject to EU rules and regulations. It's effectively the EU imposing a cost (a tariff) on trade within the UK.
All the products sold within the UK will have to conform to EU standards and will be able to be sold legally even if they are inferior to the applicable British Standard, thanks to the continuing primacy of EU law and adherence to EU standards.

Why should Becky at the hardressers be forced to use EU standard goods, when she is not trading with the EU? Why should she be forced to use EU-compliant goods when other goods may be cheaper? Why should her business be forced to pay over the odds (effectively a tariff imposed by the EU) to trade within the UK?

Why should taxpayers pay a tariff to access the EU at all? Why can't businesses that trade directly with the EU finance their own compliance verification process and leave the 85% of the country out of it?

Why should the old lady that bakes cakes to be sold at the church fete have to be inspected for compliance to EU food hygiene regulations?

Are our own regulatory bodies like British Standards not able to create decent standards?

Primacy of EU laws and regulations over UK ones. Isn'ty that another red line?

No divergence from EU standards possible. Isn't that a third red line?

Tariffs imposed on trading within the UK by the EU, surely another red line?

I should read the rest of the Chequers proposal, but really aren't there enough red lines to reject it already?

Thursday, 12 July 2018

The Decline of the Self-Employed.

Way back when (within my lifetime), it was easy to spot the difference between an employed person and a self-employed one.

The employed person took a weekly pay packet and job security over higher earnings. There was a mutual contract between the employee and the employer: the employee would work for the company full time and exclusively with minimal time off and in return the employer would provide a decent weekly wage, job security and decent working conditions including things like sick pay and pensions.

The self-employed person took a risk: they had no security of employment but instead leveraged a specialist skill against the risk of no work. They earned more than an employed person, but this was generally used as a buffer against the lean times. They had no security of employment, no sick pay, no pension (unless they paid for it themselves). They also had to stump up extra expenses like accountants. The trade off was being able to offset expenses against tax and other perks through the tax system. Hopefully once you have paid for goods, heating, lighting and all other expenses including pension and put a little aside for rainy days, you have some left over. It's called making a profit and is the raison-d'etre of any self employed person. To make a profit to re-invest in getting better equipment so you can do the job better and faster, or maybe some training. Of course you may take that profit and pay yourself a crafty dividend at low, low corporation tax rates. But the choice is yours. Don't forget it's unlawful to run a company in an insolvent state, so making a profit is key.

Recently the lines have been blurred. The GIG economy and zero-hours contracts make employment with no job security look very similar to long-term self employment.  In fact the self-employment option can look significantly more attractive than employment, given the flexibility it affords.

But now the courts and the Inland Revenue are crashing in and blurring the lines even more. Self-employed contractors that work on the client's premises are classed as employees and stung for tax and employees and employer's national insurance (how you can be classed as both employer and employee stumps me). Not only in the I.T. field. Now the NHS is moving towards a crisis as the I.R. start go go after the self-employed in the NHS. Agency nurses that work on the premises and can be at any niumber of different wards, hospitals and scenarios are still classed as employed, despite their flexibility over and above that which an employed nurse would have. Docotors that work for the NHS one day and private the next are being stung as well. 

Employers are offereing ever more stripped-down contracts with no job security, no time off, no sick pay but demanding loyalty for up to 12 months at a time.

The lines are blurred enough that self-employed contractors are sucessfully climing employee rights in court. How someone for instance who is self-employed can claim sick pay from a client still eludes me. That's the risk you take when you opt to go self-employed and the fee you charge goes partly to fund you for the off-days. If you happen to take a contract that does allow you to afford to see you over the lean times, you don't really deserve to be self-employed. Instead head for the comfort blanket of employment.

Of course there is a reason for all of this: tax. The government is using the Inland Revenue to grab ever more tax from people that have no means to agrgue against them. In virtually every case where the defendant has had the means to mount a decent rebuttal if the IR case, courts have found in favour of the defendant. The IR is a tax-grabbing steamroller that will not be satisfied until everyone is classed as an employeee and in the case of the self-employed employer too. Two lots of National Insurance to pay and collect.

Government sanctioned daylight robbery.


Just call me a 'Kipper.

Yup, I just gone and done it.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Problems with the Chequers proposal.

Okay, as I see it, here's a big problem with Theresa may's  Chequers proposal on Brexit.

In order to continue with a seamless border with Southern ireland, she has proposed regulatory alignment with the EU on goods.

So I'll get onto the "Not Brexit" points of that stance later, but here's some detail around the Irish border issue.

In order for the issue of a seamless border with Ireland to work for goods, we also have to accept free movement of people. You can't have a non-border and then claim to control immigration.

Because if people from EU countries have freen movement from the EU mainland to Southern Ireland and there is no border between Northern and Southern Ireland, what is to stop an EU citizen walking across the border to the UK?

If regulatory alignment allows us to have no border between Southern Ireland and then there are no border checks between Northern Ireland and the UK mainland, then by default the border between us and Europe is open and there is free movement of people.

So that's one promise broken, there will be no control of borders and there will be free movement of people. It cannot be anything else unless there is a hard border in Ireland.

To UKIP or not to UKIP?

For the first time ever in my life, I have been looking at joining a political party.

Yesterday I looked at joining UKIP. Membership fees look reasonable even for a broke bloke like me and chucking a few quid their way and bolstering their membership gives them a financial and moral boost.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The Not-Brexit: Excuses to watch out for over the coming days.

Okay, so we know know the stance that Theresa May is taking over Brexit. Instead of a complete break from Brussels she's trying to keep us in the customs union and single market.

Both of which add up to adherence to EU laws and by default staying under ECJ rulings. You can't have regulatory alignment without the EU making teh regulations and the ECJ enforcing compliance can you? So the primacy of EU law remains, whichever way you slice it.

So, how will the spin doctors spin this capitulation?

Expect over the coming days for those at the top to start talking about the 48% that voted leave. That the government has to respect the wishes of those that voted to remain. So there cannot be a hard Brexit because of them.

But just put the shoe on the other foot: what if the vote was 52% remain and 48% leave? Would leavers attract such generous consideration? Of course not. There could not be any be any such concession because the EU does not allow it.

Remember when David Cameron went to the EU and tried to get concessions on immigration? Remember how he was embarrasingly sent back with no deal, even though he threatened to hold the referendum? Remember how it was that humiliation that triggered the referendum?

The EU does not compromise. The EU does not accept any other way than it's own. It demands slavish acceptance. It is anti-democratic. It is authoritarian.

At it's inception, the EU was designed to be anti-democratic. It was designed thus because it knew the people of Europe would not accept the removal of their individual identity. Many wars have been fought in Europe over just such ideals, so the EU quashes that by not allowing the people of Europe a say in it's governance. Everyone at the top is appointed. Not a single person is voted into office. There is a Parliament that is voted in, but they do not have any power. They in effect rubber-stamp directives handed down by the unelected beaurocrats.

That's why 52% of us voted leave. 52%, a majority. The people that would have had no concessions had the vote gone the other way. We would have had to suck it up.

The Conservatives would have imploded and we would now have a Labour government willingly signing up to an EU Army, controlled by Brussels, signing up to EU scrutiny of our budgets and negotiations would have started on "harmonising" taxes (with a percentage syphoned off to the EU I'm sure).

The only reason the EU have slowed down on these issues is Brexit. They are waiting to see how the negotiations pan out and how much they can bitch-slap us for daring to even consider leaving. Pour Encourager les Autres.

Those Conservative MPs that support leaving the EU and are still in the Cabinet really need to look long and hard at what their party is doing. It is not following the wishes of the majority.

Democracy is not being served.

Monday, 9 July 2018

B-Day?... more like Toilet.

So, the shit has hit the pan and today has revealed a number of resignations from the DexEU office, most notibly David Davis.  UPDATE: Boris Johnson has gone, so maybe he's the most noteworthy resignation now.

It appears that I was right: the Brexit that May came up (sorry, I meant ambushed her cabinet) with on Friday is not the Brexit her MPs were thinking about and neither was it the one that the puiblic voted for.

This was an entirely shiny new BRINO Brexit that tied the UKs laws to the EU for ever and a day, without any representation. Brilliant, the exact thing I voted leave to put an end to. In fact, the rumour is that it would have tied any country supplying us to EU laws too, which puts the block on us negotiating free and fair trade around the world.

Of course her staffers tried to get tough and force a show of unity by thereatening to remove car rides home for the rebels. So how long would that aparrent loyalty last? Yep, just as long as it took for the cars to get the rebels home and for them to sit down and draft a resignation letter.

The proposal, despite the fluffy good words that Theresa May and her staffers used to describe it, is Brexit in Name Only. 85% of the country has to follow rules and regulations that only 15% of the economy requires to trade with Europe. Not only that we have even less representation politically in Europe.

It could quite easily have been settled by putting that 15% into an offshore status, where they comply with the rules of the EU and pay to have that compliance verified on a regular basis. They get to trade under EU rules and are separated from trading directly with the reat of the UK and the world without tariffs. Companies can then chose to join the EU bubble or trade outside it, but they and they alone chose to do that and fund the compliance verification system. The taxpayer does not pick up the bill.

The same would go for companies in Northern Ireland that wanted to trade with the South.

But no, Theresa may ambushed her cabinet members first stating for the past 2 years that her Brexit is something entirely different than the Brexit she revealed on Friday.

Now it's up to the Tories to sort the mess out. Either Theresa May moves back from BRINO or.... what exactly? Is there time to come up with an alternative proposal, nor is there time for a leadership change .

I'm almost thinking that this is deliberate: that we end up with a WTO solution and the elite engineer a catastrophic failure of the UK economy to teach us commoners a lesson. Rather than take advantage of more freedom to trade with the rest of the world. After all those cushy jobs in the EU and those easily-hidden backhanders in Brussels would be lost to the elite. They would ruin the country to get them back.