Friday, 3 August 2018

Problems with a "Pure" WTO Brexit.

Okay, I voted Leave. As I have stated infinite times. But what sort of Brexit did I vote for?

Well, I didn't vote for a "pure" WTO Brexit. I had assumed that the government would be able to extricate the majority of us from EU regulation and agree with the EU that businesses that wish to trade directly with the EU would pay a fee to be opart of an independent standards compliance verification system that would ensure that any goods sent to the EU would comply with EU standards.

Essentially they pay a tariff to trade with the EU, but at the border the trade is frictionless as the goods have essentially been guaranteed as EU compliant.

Whatever form that regulatory body takes and the hoops the companies would have to jump through would be down to the negotiations with the EU after article 50 was enacted. But the negotiations would just detail the complaince structure and implementation only.

The negotiations have been complicated by a desire to keep the whole country aligned with the EU when there was no need for it.

In fact it shows the level to which EU legislation has pervaded all levels of society, industry and business: The government thought it from the perspective of staying in the EU and getting away with as little de-regulation as possible that could be described as Brexit.

Instead of working from the fully-out perspective and working out how little regulation was required to allow frictionless trade.

Just as an example of how the negotiations might go:

UK: I want to deliver goods to the EU.

EU: Those goods need to comply with EU standards.

UK: Ok, any goods supplied by businesses will comply to EU standards, but we reserve the right to produce goods to our own specs within the UK.

EU: but how would you guarantee compliance for goods you export to the EU? We would require ALL goods imported and sold into the UK top be EU compliant.

UK: There is no need for the whole country to be EU compliant: we set up a regulatory body whose job it is to investigate companies who wish to trade with the EU from top to bottom and certify compliance with EU standards.

EU: but who will pay for this regulatory body?

UK: the UK government will set it up in partnership with the EU. We envision that the EU would share some of the cost of setting up.

EU: we won't pay.

UK: Okay, we concede the UK government will pay to set up the regulatory body but the EU has to agree to provide the body with any and all tools to deliver compliance.

EU: Who will make judgements in disputes?

UK: the ECJ will rule on disputes but their judgements will be limited to the regulatory body only, it will not affect UK law.

EU & UK: OK, job done. On to the next issue.

Now EU law makers are very good at drilling into the detail and making a mountain out of a mole hill. For instance they could argue that the lorries hauling the goods would need to adhere to EU standards or come up with some other micro-management rule.

But that's where the UK team have to be savvy and resist that push from the EU team to micro-manage every single atom crossing the border. And if there is an impasse, leverage other areas of the negotiations to our advantage.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018


Nope, not the boaty kind, but instead the web kind.

It seems that some of my posts from almopst a decade ago are of interest to someone.

I checked out what they were reading and it was strange to read the words that I'd written way back even before the Coalition government and the Tories.

I seened to be a lot more lucid and covered a wider range of subjects back then. It seems I have gone all ranty in my old age. I should really get back to quoting articles and linking to them.


Monday, 30 July 2018

The Future is not Bright.... The Future is Authoritarian.

Authoritarians to the left of me, Authoritarians to the right....

We are closely coming to a crossroads on UK (if not World) politics. On this I'm deadly serious.

On the left you have an essentially Communist Labour party who would like nothing more than to interfere with your life in an increasingly intrusive way.

On the (almost) right we have the Tories, wilfully ignoring the will of the people and trying to "negotiate" the softest Brexit ever, leving us under the ever-more interfering and anti-democratic EU.

The choices for centrist liberals would normally be the Liberal party, but they have also hoist their flag to the authoritarian and anti-democratic EU in a most un-liberal way.

All the major parties want to take more tax without incresing the burden of accountability and now the EU has started making overtures about an EU-wide income tax and an EU Army without any concession in the way of making the organisation more open and democratically accountable.

So what choice does a Democratic, centrist, minimal-interference-from-government, out-of-the-EU, greater-accountability-in-Government loving voter do these days? Just where can I mark my X?

It seems there is very liitle choice at the moment. I have thrown my hat into the ring with UKIP, having become a member of that party. They are the nearest to a centrist party these days.

Despite the media's biased reporting of UKIP and some of the more unpalleatable comments coming from Gerard Batten their leader, they are the best hope for the common man to rally round and support to break the anti-democratic elitist deadlock we have in the UK.

For many months there have been rumours of a new party, a movement, a this, a that and probably an other, but with little actually happening. I've said before that Turkeys don't vote for Christmas and such a party would have a hard time getting decent funding because it's essentially a party that would remove the political priviledge and power of the elite..... and only the elite have the money to fund a new political party from scratch. Catch 22.

Of course now that voters are moving back to UKIP in large numbers, the smear stories are appearing in large numbers about anyone that has anything to do with the party as the elite desperately try to shut the growing movement down.

Also it seems that the Elite are trying to stifle "off-message" speech, hence the debate about a crackdown on "fake news" on social media. Which of course itself ironically is fake news. The truth is it's about control of the narrative and control of the public's access to alternative news outlets.

The Elite are really scared at the moment. Brexit and Trump were shots across the bows in what I suspect will become a war for freedom in the future. The problem is the Elite have the backing of the Leftist educational establishments, who happily peddle politically correct tosh at schoolkids.

All they have to do is wait and the Elite will be handed a whole population of sheep that have been taught not to question anyone in authority.

Authoritarianism is the new goal of the Elite, whether it comes from the thuggery and bullying of the left, the anti-democratic unelected European union, or the fascism of the extreme right.

Permission to Speak Sah!!

It's fitting, but also quite depressing that on the 50th Anniversary of Dad's Army (a TV programme about people that fought for the freedom of the country), that politicians are now discussing shutting down free speech and political discussion and eventually we'll have to use Jones' catchphrase in order to say anything.

After the Brexit referendum and the Trump election win, the supposedly liberal prograssive left (actually non of the sort) blamed their losses on outside influences, mainly Russia and their use of social media.

Now, it's very easy to blame Russia as a culprit, because all of those dodgy marketing notices to get about "you'll never believe what she said", or "Guess what this politician has been up to" variety are mainly hosted on Russian hosts. The reasons are cheap hosting for one and a weak adherence to regulations are another.

Guido's website hosts in teh Rebublic of Ireland for a similar reason in that injuctions forbading release of information that apply to the UK, don't apply to Eire and so Guido is free to publish that which the UK-based media cannot.

There is no super-secret plot to destabilise governments, it's just business: businesses host crap sites cheaper abroad and they don't get regulated about spam as much.

"Fake News" is a term that has been done to death, but there are many interpretations of the phrase. Most people would say that fake news is untruths being stated as fact.

Basically fake news as promoted by the Elite is any news that does not follow their narrative. Truth doesn't come into it. Politicians and the news never tell the absolute truth. There will always be some spin, bias or slant to the information presented to the public. It's up to the public to inform themselves of the signs of this and peel away the half-truths to get at the real picture.

I always use the NHS as an example. On the Tory side they say they are putting ever more money into the NHS. Labour say that the NHS is suffering from cuts. In this instance both sides are telling the truth. How can that be/ You can't have cuts AND be putting more money into the NHS surely?

But both are correct, because more money IS going into the NHS budget but LESS of that money is getting to the front line and ending up in treatment.

There are several reasons for this, but the biggest is the NHS' legal bill. Incompetence and mistakes cost the NHS almost half it's budget settling lawsuits. But you never hear this news, why? Because it would kill the narrative of both side of the debate. Our adversarial politics likes to have opposing views: to make things black and white. Greyness has no place in politics because you can't rally the troops round fuzzy grey logic.

And this is where the latest discussions around fake news and the regulation of social media are going at the moment: Control of the Narrative. Politicians want control of the news from specific outlets, they want the message to be pure and unmuddied. They do not want alternative media outlets that can usurp the mainstream.