Flashback: On This Day 2016

theresa may

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Richard Ottoway Resigns from European Movement

Now drippingly Europhile Richard Ottaway, veteran former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, has resigned from the European Movement:

Following reports that the European Movement has combined with Open Europe [sic, should be Open Britain] to campaign in the General Election against Brexit Candidates from all parties I have resigned from the European Movement.

As a long standing member of the Conservative party and having been a Conservative MP for 28 years I cannot support an organisation that is campaigning to defeat Conservative candidates

Best wishes

Sir Richard Ottaway

Europe used to split the Conservative Party, now it splits the Europhiles…

Britain’s £40 Billion-a-Year Untapped Trade Potential

Britain’s untapped trade potential will comfortably offset any effects of Brexit on exports to the EU, new research by the think tank Open Europe has found. Their new report in conjunction with Prosperity UK has located £41 billion-a-year of under-performing non-EU export markets. Remarkably, Britain is currently on track to under trade with India, Canada and Israel by £10 billion-a-year…

Membership of the EU has stopped the UK trading freely with faster-growing non-EU countries, though the report argues we should not focus solely on Free Trade Agreements, instead seeking bilateral investment treaties and targeted agreements to address particular trade issues. It argues for greater engagement with India, Canada, Israel and China prioritising UK service exports. These are practical, sensible solutions to make Brexit work from Open Europe’s director Henry Newman, who says:

“With the right trade policy, the UK can seize the opportunities that Brexit will create, while compensating for its impact on exports to the EU… whatever Government is formed after 9 June, it should prioritise trade with India, Canada, and Israel, and – in the case of services – China. The UK needs a trade policy to fit the future and by 2030, our model indicates, the UK will have £41 billion of untapped trade potential with the top ten countries for goods and services.”

The parlous state of Britain’s exports was immediately identified by Theresa May’s government when they took office. Liam Fox, far from twiddling his thumbs as some tiresome Remainers would have you believe, has spent most of his time at DIT trying to get exports up to shape. There is a lot of work to be done but this will be key post-Brexit…

Open Britain Falls Apart: Tory MPs Quit Group

This morning Guido reported that Tory MPs were under pressure to quit Open Britain over the group’s decision to target Tories in LibDem marginals. Well, Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan have just resigned from the group:

“As long standing Conservative Party members and MPs it is untenable for us to play any further role in an organisation, such as Open Britain, which is advocating campaigning against Conservative MPs or candidates, and we will not be doing so.”

Dominic Grieve and Neil Carmichael have also quit the group. Really stupid strategic error from Open Britain, what on earth were they thinking?

UPDATE: Change Britain, the Brexit-backing rival to Open Britain, sensibly says it will sit out the election:

“Change Britain will be standing aside during the election period. We are a genuine cross-party campaign and therefore do not believe it is our place to encourage the public to vote for certain candidates during a general election. We will work with whoever gets elected after June 8th to ensure the referendum result is respected.”

Soubry and Morgan Under Pressure to Quit Open Britain

Open Britain, the zombie Remain campaign formerly known as BSE, has published a hit list of 20 MPs they are aiming to unseat in the name of fighting Brexit. You would have thought the 20 would all be Brexit backers. Nope, Open Britain are targeting Remain-voting Tory MPs Nicola Blackwood, James Berry, James Heappey and Luke Hall. It is no coincidence that all four of these MPs are in LibDem marginals. This is completely blatant from Open Britain, a supposed all party group which has exposed itself beyond all doubt as a LibDem front.

How can Open Britain’s Tory MPs stay in the group when they are so obviously campaigning against their Tory colleagues, even ones who voted Remain? Nicky Morgan has this morning clarified “To be clear I shall campaign for all Conservative MPs/PPCs to secure strong Conservative Govt”. Alistair Burt has joined her: “Tory Remain MPs support all Tory candidates regardless of last years vote”. As we go to pixel Anna Soubry hasn’t commented. This Open Britain hit list has gone down incredibly badly in Tory circles and the feeling is Tory MPs should no longer associate with the group. Seems a strategic error from Open Britain, the mask has slipped…

UPDATE: As Leave Means Leave’s Richard Tice puts it:

“I urge Alistair Burt, Dominic Grieve and Anna Soubry to clarify whether they are will be campaigning with the Conservative Party or with Open Britain, in which case they should resign and stand as an Open Britain candidate.”

Disloyal Mandelson Questions Corbyn’s Loyalty

On Newsnight last night Lord Mandelson was less than helpful on the eve of Keir Starmer setting out the party’s nuanced Brexit policy, designed to respect the result and not upset voters in Labour’s heartlands whilst placating Labour’s overwhelmingly pro-Remain MPs. He called it an “equivocal, fence sitting position”…

The Prince of Darkeness then said that Corbyn should go after losing the general election “I hope he doesn’t stay”. He said that “any Labour leader with an ounce of loyalty to the Labour Party” would go after losing an election. Conveniently forgetting that Neil Kinnock appointed Mandelson as Labour’s director of communications in 1985 and stayed on as leader even after losing the 1987 general election…

Labour’s left will see this as Mandelson getting his betrayal in early. Why Labour moderates keep undermining the election campaign baffles Guido. Tom Watson is wisely keeping his powder dry and every utterance loyal. Watson knows Labour’s selectorate will not back a candidate tainted by regicide.

Goldman Sacks Pound Bear

Goldman’s top currency-market strategist Robin Brooks left the bank last month. Goldman Sachs was advising its clients that its “top trade” for 2017 was to short the British pound against the US dollar. It has now reversed its recommendation.

In a research note published yesterday the bank offered a mea culpa and recommended clients sell dollars to buy pounds. At one point earlier this year people were talking about the £ going to parity with the $, it is now at $1.28. Hard to know how the Remainers will spin this…

New European’s Sneering at Skegness Plan to “Stir Up Controversy”

Remain-cheerleading newspaper The New European has accidentally released an internal marketing note detailing its plan to “stir up controversy” and inflame community tensions across Britain’s Brexit heartlands. Guido today unveils the newspaper’s shocking front cover image which will lampoon residents of the Lincolnshire town of Skegness. The staggering picture – set to be displayed on newsstands across Britain within hours – belittles Skegness’s iconic ‘jolly fisherman’, depicting him as a two-finger saluting, evil-clown-faced Leave voter wearing a “Go Away” sweater, accompanied by the headline “Skegness is SO Brexit” and the strapline “Anthony Clavane visits the seaside to see if they still love Leave”.

The sneering front page was emailed out this afternoon accompanied by a note revealing The New European‘s ploy to sow division in order to boost sales:

“The cover story – Skegness: The seaside town that Brexit could close down; this is unlikely to go down well, locally, and there is an opportunity to stir up some controversy locally – worth sending the cover and the story to local television and newspapers (as I don’t suppose we sell many copies there).”

The image is indeed “unlikely to go down well locally” . Lincolnshire recorded the highest vote (75%) for Brexit in Boston, a town just 40 minutes drive from Skegness. Never mind Skegness, does the paper sell many copies anywhere?

UPDATE: Embarrassed New European has sent out a new email recalling its first message:

Nasty stuff…

Toxic European Parliament: Legionella Outbreak Hits Hot Water

The EU Parliament’s Directorate-General for Infrastructure and Logistics has ordered the immediate closure of the distribution of warm water in Brussels and Strasbourg Members’ offices following detection of Legionella bacteria. It has happened before in 2002 – the futuristic building was only opened in 1999. The problem is the offices are empty more than half the time with water stagnating…

UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge tells Guido

“If it wasn’t so serious it would be comical. On one hand the European Union is fighting to retain control of the UKs fishing waters, yet in Brussels it cannot manage to control a little warm water to MEPs offices. With these offices only fully used half the time due to constituency work and the ridiculous monthly move to Strasbourg, the stagnating water in the Brussels pipes is a disaster waiting to happen. The Parliament here is similar to the water; infested, dangerous and cold. Roll on 2019.”

It would be terrible if all those MEPs were struck down by Legionella. One of the early symptoms is “mental confusion”. So be on the look out for MEPs exhibiting this symptom…

How Do You Solve a Problem Like 73 Empty Seats?

Meanwhile in Brussels… the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs is meeting today to scratch their heads on a tricky problem: Brexit Britain will leave behind 73 empty seats in the chamber. The next European Parliament elections are in 2019. What to do with those empty seats…

  1. Abolish them: The simple answer would be to abolish the United Kingdom’s seats and shrink the European Parliament (from 751 to 678 – not exactly a deep cut). But cutting the number of MEPs would mean leaving a lot of officials with less work to do and would be a symbolic body-blow. Is this likely to happen in a super-massive bureaucracy?
  2. Redistribute to other member states: The obvious answer – but then the question becomes how to distribute 73 seats between the remaining EU-27. You could even out the number of seats so as to distribute them equally between the remaining countries. Or you could distribute them proportionally according to the current number of MEPs per country. Or you could distribute them to less-represented countries. The numbers on this are being crunched
  3. Create a pan-European list: The most intriguing possibility is that Britain’s seats could be re-allocated to form a pan-European list, meaning every EU citizen could have a say in who should replace British MEPs. A European electoral college would run alongside the current party system. The idea ran into trouble in committee earlier this year but is still being actively campaigned forEurophiles call this “making elections European again”…
There is one other answer, of course. Who cares?

Public Still Not Sure What Labour and LibDems Believe on Brexit

A deeper dive into the Lord Ashcroft’s latest Brexit poll reveals the public remains confused about Labour and the LibDems’ position on Brexit almost a year after the historic referendum vote. The full report shows an near perfect four-way-split amongst respondents when asked to name Labour’s position. Remarkably, the majority think Labour “would still like to prevent Brexit from happening if at all possible” despite Jeremy Corbyn making media appearances for months to emphasise that his party will not seek prevent Brexit and “respects the will of the people“. Either people are not listening or Jeremy is not getting enough cut through…

As for the Lib Dems, almost 37% of respondents “don’t know” the party’s position at all – but at least those who do come to a consensus. Meanwhile, UKIP and the Tories dominate in the battle for clarity on Brexit…

Item Club Quadruples GDP Forecast

Independent economic forecaster the Item Club – sponsored by City professional services giant EY –  today reports a headline prediction of 1.8% GDP growth for 2017. This is well up on even the 1.3% prediction it made last October. And it is incredibly well up on its post-referendum forecast…

The Item Club sent shock-waves through the City last summer when it downgraded its forecast for 2017 GDP growth to an absolutely dismal 0.4% after the Brexit vote. This prediction of dread set much of the business media agenda: the Item Club is taken seriously because it uses the same economic models as the Treasury. Between July 2016 and today the Item Club has revised up its forecast by an eye-popping 1.4%…

Peter Spencer, chief economic advisor to the Item Club, said today:

“Although the starting gun for Brexit has just been fired, the UK economy has been adjusting to life outside the EU since the referendum…”

And the Item Club has been adjusting its numbers…

Farage to European Parliament: “You’re Behaving like the Mafia”

Go on, Nigel!

UPDATE: Click for full text of speech below. Continue reading

Soubry’s Manifesto Double Standard

Anna Soubry has repeatedly used the 2015 Tory manifesto commitment on the Single Market to support her own position that the UK should retain membership post-Brexit. This is really not as clever as she thinks it is. First, the referendum obviously gives the government a new mandate to leave the Single Market. Second, it turns out Soubry doesn’t actually care for manifesto promises when they don’t suit her. Her article for the Indy today calls for the government to drop its manifesto commitment to cutting immigration. Soubs has run on three straight Tory manifestos calling for immigration cuts. She is demanding the government sticks to the manifesto on the Single Market but breaks it on immigration – truly having her cake and eating it…

Neil Coyle’s Spicy, Pricey Spanish Sausage

Spare a thought for Labour MP Neil Coyle. Neil is perhaps the most publicly aggressive Corbyn-hating Labour moderate in parliament. An arch-Remainer, he is taking Brexit particularly badly. And his Bermondsey seat is under significant threat from the LibDems. So this weekend Coyle tried to cheer himself up by going shopping. In a package for the Sunday Politics, he paid a visit to the Brindisa Spanish food shop in hipster heaven Borough Market. It really is the pantry of the metropolitan elite, you can buy an “artisan selection box” for £65, a single Spanish ham for £800, as well as an assortment of expensive hampers and tapas sets perfect for a London Labour dinner party.

Set to sad, slow jazz, Coyle reported the sob story of how Brindisa prices are going up post-referendum. Brexit is just terrible, dahling, how will we ever afford our £800 Spanish hams now? 

So Spain, What About Ceuta?

The Spanish have long argued – years before the referendum – that Gibraltar existing as a British enclave means the “disruption of national unity and territorial integrity” of Spain, and that it hurts the Spanish economy. There is just one question Theresa May and Boris Johnson need ask their Spanish counterparts: what about Ceuta? Ceuta (and another city, Melilla) are two low tax Spanish enclaves on the northern coast of Morocco. They are the EU’s only land border with Africa. Morocco want them back, but the two enclaves are autonomous, have their own governments, and return deputies and senators to the Spanish parliament in Madrid. Well, Spain, do Ceuta and Melilla disrupt the economy, national unity and territorial integrity of Morocco? 

Miriam: “Two Sides” to Gibraltar

Miriam Clegg, who is being used increasingly by TV producers as an ‘expert’ pro-Remain talking head, made some revealing comments on Gibraltar on Mair this morning. She reckons there are “two sides” to the dispute and defended Spain’s apparently “conciliatory tone”. Brave tactic for the wife of Britain’s chief zombie Remainer. The only “two sides” are the right one and the wrong one…

Green Deputy Leader Gets Brillo’d

Green deputy leader Amelia Womack well out of her depth and without an answer for why she says the government is pursuing an “extreme” Brexit…

Clegg to ‘Hold Government to Account on Dramatically Reduced Immigration’

Curious that Nick Clegg has pledged to “hold the government to account over their Brexit contract with the British public”, including making sure that immigration is “dramatically reduced”. Huh? Clegg has been a vociferous supporter of free movement for years. He’s said, for example: “I want to be unequivocal: freedom of movement between EU member states is a good thing”. Just a few months ago he wrote a paper arguing it would be impossible for “control to be re-established” over immigration and for the UK economy to survive. Now he says he wants to hold the government to account on immigration being “dramatically reduced”? Did Clegg actually read that sign before he stood next to it? Wouldn’t be the first time…

Siemens U-Turns, Now Talking Up Brexit Opportunities

Siemens is Europe’s biggest manufacturing firm and employs 15,000 people in the UK. During the referendum the company was a paid-up member of Project Fear, sending out doom-mongering statements threatening to pull investment from Britain in the event of a Leave vote:

“Brexit would disrupt the economy in the short-term and we believe that uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU could have more significant and negative long-term effects… [this] could make the UK a less attractive place to do business and may become a factor when Siemens is considering future investment here.”

Yesterday, Siemens chief executive Joe Kaeser met Theresa May at Downing Street where he said he was “confident and optimistic” about the “big opportunities” in Brexit Britain:

“There is no reason not to invest tomorrow, if there is a demand and a commitment from the customer. 

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Lionel Barber tells Prosperity UK Conference…

“FT values this initiative to find constructive solutions, the UK having clearly decided to leave EU.”

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