Author Archives: silentmaj

EU Referendum – Remain in because…

“The moment there is a suspicion about a person’s motives, everything he does becomes tainted” Mahatma Gandhi

David Cameron and his cabinet supporters (with the backing of multi-national big business) have just published a leaflet entitled “Why the Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK”. The estimated cost to the taxpayer is said to be around £10 million and now over 100,000 people have signed a formal petition demanding that the government stops spending public money on biased campaigning – a view supported by the Electoral Commission. Here’s a summary of Cameron’s Remain message with commentary in italics:

  • The EU is by far the UK’s biggest trading partner, therefore we need to be a member of the EU. No mention of a free trade deal achieving the same result, no mention of EU constraints on our ability to trade with non-EU countries. Just talk of how countries with relatively small economies have to pay to trade with the EU and must abide by its rules, plus very brief reference to the length of time the virtually no-strings Canada/EU trade agreement took to conclude. The UK is one of Germany’s biggest export markets – as a PR man, has Cameron forgotten that the customer is king?
  • Leaving the EU would put pressure on the pound which would risk higher prices on some household goods and damage living standards. The Bank of England has been actively seeking to devalue sterling for some time and this policy is supported by the government as a means of boosting  exports and the economy
  • Voting to leave would create years of uncertainty and potential economic disruption. “Nothing is going to happen if we come out…There will be absolutely no change…It’s not going to be a step change or somebody’s going to turn the lights out” Lord Rose, Chairman of the  IN (Remain) campaign
  • Immigration – the government has negotiated a deal which will make our benefits system less of a draw for EU citizens. Some 250,000 EU immigrants enter the UK every year and there’s no mention of by how much a temporary restriction on access to welfare benefits is going to reduce this number, if at all. The leaflet is equally silent on the huge pressure this creates on the NHS, schools and infrastructure generally
  • EU membership means UK police can use law enforcement intelligence from 27 EU countries. Why on earth wouldn’t this arrangement (if it exists in practice) continue in the event of a Leave vote?  And of course there’s no mention that the EU’s free movement rules mean that criminals and terrorists can travel from the EU to the UK undetected. “…pulling out of the EU would have very few security implications – neighbours help each other regardless…”  Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6

David Cameron together with George Osborne and a few cabinet cohorts have decided to ignore the British tradition of fairness and integrity and have displayed zero confidence in the UK’s potential to remain a world leader and world trader. Instead, they’ve just sidelined the electorate which seems to be a deliberate policy. Remember their determination to pursue HS2  (the ludicrously expensive, blank cheque railway line that no-one wants and we can’t afford)?  And then there’s Cameron’s illogical overseas aid budget of £12 billion which amongst other things apparently includes a £35,000 payment to boost Panama’s hospitality and tourism industry. The UK has struggled to recover from the Blair/Brown government’s economic and social disaster and now it seems that exiting the EU to regain control of our destiny will need to be followed by finding a leader that believes in Britain – a genuine vote winner.

EU REFERENDUM-the new deal: it’s no deal!

“Cameron’s talk about the reformed European Union is where hyperbole tips into dishonesty” Christopher Booker

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time but ….” Abraham Lincoln

Prime Minister David Cameron has concluded negotiations with EU representatives on the new terms that will govern the UK’s continued membership of the European Union. Prior to last year’s General Election, Mr.Cameron promised that a new deal seeking reform, including the transfer of significant executive power back to Westminster from Brussels, would be secured prior to asking the British people to vote on whether to remain in or leave the EU. The referendum will be held on the 23rd June – here’s the deal offered by the European Council, but subject to ratification by the other member states and the EU courts.

  • Welfare Benefits for EU immigrants – to be temporarily limited, subject to European Commission approval.
  • Discrimination – Britain will not be discriminated against because it is a non-Eurozone country, subject to European Council review if there’s a dispute.
  • Working hours – the EU remains in control of working hours regulation.
  • EU budgets and waste – no prospect of a change in ways.
  • Child Benefit – paid to EU migrants with children living abroad – payments to continue.
  • Sham marriages and illegal working – no change
  • Unwanted legislation – if 55% proportionately of EU parliaments object to a piece of legislation, the European Council will hold a “comprehensive discussion” on the objections.
  • Ever closer union(federal government) – it will be recognised that the future use of the term “ever closer union” shall not apply to the UK.
  • Security – deportation of known terrorists; taking suspects past conduct into account could be sufficient grounds to act!
  • Monetary union (the euro) – whilst the EU’s main objective is to establish “an economic and monetary union”, it is also stated that “not all member states have the euro as their currency” – at present? 

So there it is, a range of cosmetic, unenforceable platitudes which have zero effect on improving the UK’s ability to govern itself and control its borders. The electorate of the world’s fifth largest economy are not fooled by this charade – it is neither a vote nor a referendum winner.

 

EU REFERENDUM -“Leave” or forget democracy

“Within a decade it [the European Union] will have morphed into a gigantic eurozone political union made up of perhaps 25 countries – and four much smaller non-euro members. The eurozone political union will set the rules and the rest of us will have to agree” Andrew Lilico, Senior Economics Correspondent, Daily Telegraph.

The  EU referendum date has now been set for the 23rd of June and the people of the United Kingdom will be asked this question: “Should the United Kingdom REMAIN a member of the European Union or LEAVE the European Union?”

In the forthcoming months the UK electorate will be bombarded with irrelevant scaremongering by the Prime Minister’s supporters and the European Union leadership (of which there’s many presidents, commissioners, MEPs and an army of very well paid support staff – none of whom want to lose the massive income stream from the UK). There will also be a huge amount of groundless  negative propaganda from misguided multinationals – especially companies that have lucrative business links with EU member governments and the European Commission. This will be pretty much the same crew that insisted  we should jettison sterling and adopt the euro in order to survive.

The campaign has just started – the prophesies on the impact of the UK leaving will be dire from the “remain” camp but the British tradition of tolerance and fair play has been pushed to the limit and as the fifth largest economy in the world it’s time for us to exit and to let the United States of Europe proceed towards its stated goal of non-elected government from Brussels. The United Kingdom moving forward as an independent democracy and global trader has to be a vote and referendum winner.

BBC CHARTER REVIEW – PUBLIC OR SELF SERVICE ?

” To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise” Voltaire

” In a liberal society, the government should provide only “public goods” that the market cannot or will not provide if left to its own devices … Arguments for public broadcasting now rest on emotion or self-interest ” Adam Creighton writing in The Australian about the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The BBC’s charter review is under way but why should we have a public broadcaster in the 21st century? What is its purpose? And if the decision is to keep the BBC, what form should it take going forward and how can it be effectively controlled and regulated?

These are the current six purposes of the BBC in its Royal Charter: 1. Sustaining Citizenship 2.Promoting Education 3.Stimulating Creativity 4. Representing the UK 5.Bringing the UK to the world and vice versa 6. Delivering to the public the benefit of emerging communications.

This is an extremely comprehensive remit for an organisation with no accountability to the electorate and with no control over its political bias.

” The BBC is a publicly-funded urban organisation with an abnormally large proportion of younger people, of people in ethnic minorities and almost certainly of gay people, compared with the population at large ” All this he said “creates an innate liberal bias inside the BBC” Attributed to Andrew Marr in the Biased BBC website

There appears to be no prospect of returning to the fair minded and non-partisan ideals upon which the corporation was founded as is there no sign that it wishes to empathise with the UK’s silent majority’s views, loyalties or concerns. There’s talk of developing more personal, audience focused content in its programmes but when on air, current affairs viewers and listeners are “educated and informed” as per the ruling BBC ethos, e.g.  global warming is not up for debate, Israel is always a villain, remaining in the EU is essential (as was joining the Euro), public spending cuts mean austerity, political parties other than Labour and the Lib Dems are the enemy, etc., etc. The in-house attitudinal problem also includes a history of arrogance coupled with a total disregard for loyalty to the UK. For example, it was recently revealed that during The Falklands campaign, guidelines issued to BBC staff by management required that reports were to remain neutral because “We are not Britain. We are the BBC”

” They were sometimes reporting as if they were neutral between Britain and Argentina. At other times we felt strongly that they were assisting the enemy by open discussions with experts on the next likely steps in the campaign. My concern was always the safety of our forces. Theirs was news” Margaret Thatcher

There’s also the unhealthy relationship with The Guardian, a loss-making left-wing newspaper with a rapidly diminishing circulation. The paper is used as a reference point for news stories; its journalists regularly appear on BBC programmes and it’s the publication of choice for advertising BBC job vacancies.

“In the later stages of my career [at the BBC], I lost count of the number of times I asked a producer for a brief on a story, only to be handed a copy of The Guardian and told “it’s all in there”.” Peter Sissons, BBC News anchor for 20 years.

Then there’s the lack of commercial efficiency or competence. There was the Digital Media Initiative shambles which wasted over £100 million before it was scrapped (the executive responsible for it was paid £290,000 a year plus bonus). And what about the Top Gear fiasco? Worldwide revenue from this programme was reported at in excess of £150 million a year but management felt compelled to fire the Top Gear’s mainstay after an altercation, despite his global popularity. And of course there’s been the widely reported massive and unnecessary termination payments to managers caught up in the cross fire of BBC scandals. The list goes on. At the back of this is licence fee (television tax) income of over three billion pounds and there’s even a move to make it payable by people who don’t have TVs but who may watch BBC material on computers, iPads, etc. The fact that it’s mandatory and guaranteed makes it easy to understand why there’s no urgency within the corporation to (a) make sure that the majority of its subscribers are satisfied with the service and (b) increase efficiency and cut costs.

” …they [the BBC] are heavily overstaffed, there are too many jobsworths and the organisation is not run in a manner that a commercial organisation would be…” Lord Sugar addressing the House of Lords

Nobody denies that the BBC is a world class broadcaster and is exceptionally good at a broad range of programmes, especially in the natural history, drama and light entertainment categories. It just needs to re-set its priorities to avoid needless criticism.

The BBC’s mission statement is “to inform, educate and entertain”. In its adopted number one public purpose, Sustaining Citizenship, it intends to focus on “providing an in-depth explanation of the most significant issues facing the UK and the world (such as the Middle East, global terrorism, climate change, public service reform, crime and immigration). Rather than pursuing some kind of quest to disseminate its own agenda, the BBC needs to focus on its strengths and weaknesses. It needs completely restructuring. As Alan Sugar stated “There is a need for a more commercial approach with an experienced board of directors…” The first step should be to draw up a three year plan financed with the current level of licence fee followed by detailed progress monitoring and reporting. If the plan targets are not met then the BBC should be scaled back to a core entertainment and news service with a reduced licence fee and independent external supervision. In the 21st century, the future of terrestrial TV is under serious threat from entertainment services provided via the internet and the BBC must radically adapt if it is to be a key player in this new challenging marketplace.

Focused on its strengths and appealing to the majority of the population, an entertainment driven, non-biased, commercially disciplined BBC would definitely be a vote winner with UK audiences.