A very funny article the days parliament story would do John Sullivan, Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn proud. All of Only Fools and Horses and Yes Minister.
Click link then click on Images by Shane Aurousseau
The Myths of the Referendum
There are many legitimate arguments on both sides of the referendum divide. Brussels and its bureaucrats have been removed and disinterested in the real working and living populations of not just the UK but throughout Europe. This is now giving rise to a worrying move to the ultra-right-wing. Brussels bureaucrats along with many of the key national governments have not been listening and this is allowing the gap between the wealthy and the poor to increase and I now include the middle classes in the poor. With the rising costs of food utilities and housing the middle classes are now under substantial pressure. The outcry from a referendum that I believe should never of happened could prove to be one of the greatest protest votes in history. Unfortunately, this referendum could become an economic disaster if politicians continue in their current vein .. I have little doubt that the UK will find a way to survive possibly as a smaller economy providing its politicians get tough and really believe in a direction.
The problem I have with this referendum is that as one man one vote, one company one vote the final word has been left to the man on the street. It was like loading a gun to fire at a target no one could see. The ruling classes did little to explain the direction to fire in. Consequently, most voters voted on the basis of misunderstanding. In a previous blog I pointed out why I believe the immigration issue was a red herring, as it is estimated that between 1995 and 2011 migrants made a positive contribution of more than £4 billion ($6.4 billion) to Britain, compared with an overall negative contribution of £591 billion for native Britons. Between 2001 and 2011, the net fiscal contribution of recent arrivals from the eastern European countries that have joined the EU since 2004 has amounted to almost £5 billion. Even during the worst years of the financial crisis, in 2007-11, they made a net contribution of almost £2 billion to British public finances. Migrants from other European countries chipped in £8.6 billion. Research by Christian Dustmann of University College London and Tommaso Frattini of the University of Milan
I have heard many incorrect assumptions made on reasons for voting Brexit from bringing back democracy to non-elected MEPs in Brussels. Democracy does not exist here or elsewhere the only thing that matters is does your country have a workable government that protects the people and increases their wealth. The UK like most counties is run by an establishment not all elected. MEPs are elected every 5 years.
The United Kingdom’s component of the 2014 European Parliament election was held on Thursday 22 May 2014, coinciding with the 2014 local elections in England and Northern Ireland. Given the subsequent Leave vote in the 23 June 2016 referendum, it is likely that this will be the last time the UK participates in a European Parliament election.
Most of the results of the election were announced on Sunday 25 May, after voting closed throughout the 28 member states of the European Union. In total, 73 Members of the European Parliament were elected from the United Kingdom using proportional representation. England, Scotland and Wales use a closed-list party list system of PR (with the D’Hondt method), while Northern Ireland used the single transferable vote (STV).
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) came top of the poll – the first time a political party other than the Labour Party or Conservative Party has won the popular vote in a British election since the 1906 general election. It is also the first time a party other than the Labour and Conservatives won the largest number of seats in a national election since the December 1910 general election.
The Conservatives, the party at the time in governing coalition with the Liberal Democrats, were pushed into third place for the first time in a European Parliament election, the same position as Labour in the previous 2009 European Parliament election. It was also the first time since 1984 that the largest opposition party failed to win the European Parliament election.
Figures released in December 2014 showed that the Conservatives and UKIP each spent £2.96m on the campaign, the Liberal Democrats £1.5 million and the Labour party approximately £1m.
Unfortunately, few people take any notice of European elections and this election happened with only a 34% turnout. I am only pointing this out and as many will demonstrate to me there is much wrong with this system. However, where is the will to make it work.
The plunge has now been taken and will come down to a rather ineffective so called political elite to negotiate the best divorce possible. There are going to be many problems the first is the hope that an EEA (European Economic Area) deal similar to Norway’s can be negotiated. The European Economic Area (EEA) is the area in which the Agreement on the EEA provides for the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the internal market of the European Union (EU). Norway’s deal includes the acceptance of open borders. As this election was fought and won on immigration this will not be an acceptable compromise for the UK people.
It has also been muted that banks and financial groups should wait before moving, as a new Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MFID) is about to be launched. Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2004/39/EC (known as “MiFID”) as subsequently amended is a European Union law that provides harmonized regulation for investment services across the 31 member states of the European Economic Area (the 28 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein). The directive’s main objectives are to increase competition and consumer protection in investment services. As of the effective date, 1 November 2007, it replaced the Investment Services Directive (ISD). My understanding and correct me if I am wrong is that a state must have a EEA agreement in place to be part of MFID. Referendum
MIFID is very important to London and the UK to be able to participate in such an agreement.
However, a more important issue is the clearing of Euro denominated business. It is already the European Central Bank’s view that euro-denominated business worth hundreds of billions of euros would be better executed – or “cleared” – on the continent. This is the reason for HSBCs indication that it may move a 1000 jobs to Paris others could follow. This could potentially be a major loss for the city. Some say up to 70,000 jobs could go. These are real issues that the average voter has no knowledge of. Without the city the economy will shrink and this will have a major effect on the lifestyles of the average voter.
Other myths that we need to stop and take count of, firstly Britain is not a member of the Schengen agreement so why can’t border controls be put in place now. This points more to UK government political failure than an EU issue an an underfunded border service.
Of course we all Know about the misrepresentation of the £350 million figure closer to £110 million. A case that the advertising standards committee won’t even look at. Now it is being admitted that the money won’t be available until exit in 2 years + and by then there could be a new government in place with other pressing problems, they may not want to use that money for the NHS. Unfortunately, the British public continue to get stitched up by the political class in Brussels and the UK.
This morning a Nordic trade bloc has been muted this could be a very viable solution for the British even keeping Scotland and Northern Ireland as part of the Union and solving the problem of a corrupt and disjointed Brussels. Such a bloc could have the strength to force deals out of the EU; especially with the EU falling trade figures; while being free to negotiate internationally.
Australia comprises a land mass of around 7.629 million square kilometers. It is about 50% greater than the European Union. When I did my first trip overseas in the early 1970s the population was around 10 million today it is 24 million people. The latest visit to my homeland started to give me an insight into the deficiencies in the infrastructure of this vast and exciting country. I mentioned in a previous blog the difficulties in travelling to the major inland city of Dubbo from the National Capital. There is only one bus a week Saturday and this travels through many outback small towns. Australians whom I spoke to and as an Australian I do understand the lingo generally felt that there are not enough people to justify building the infrastructure. This is rather like saying that Woolworths and Coles with their 18.3 million customers and total control of the $85 billion grocery market should not have built stores until the 18.3 million people where queuing up in front of the vacant plot picked out for the first store.
I spend my time now between Spain and Australia and have pointed out on many occasions the strong High Speed Rail Network that has gone together in Spain – Alta Velocidad Española (AVE)
Now I know that much of this network is built via EU (European Union for those Australians who don’t know where the EU is) loans. This money is however much better spent on infrastructure than going into some greasy politician’s pocket. The last 6 months have seen Spain coming out of recession with a growth rate as good as Germany’s. The infrastructure in Spain will pay off the country now has the second best High Speed Rail network in the world after China, where is Britain and Australia. The road system of Spain is now mostly silk like highways. Goods and tourists can move faster companies like this type of investment. Ford motor company is putting 2.8 Billion Euros into manufacturing in Valencia what a confirmation of trust; one of the biggest car manufacturing investments ever. What of Australia’s car manufacturing it has stopped, even the
iconic Holden has left the shores. Australia loosely welcomes 5 million tourists per year. I will add that at least half of these tourists are probably Chinese families coming in and out to visit relatives. Spain has 70 million tourists, France 85 million and Britain 35 million. Now most Australians while over the Barbie will tell you that it is due to the distance, from where the antarctic, Asia including China and Japan are in striking distance as is much of the East Coast of the USA. Tourists can lift an economy the Greeks may have to survive off the tourist industry. Greece attracts 22.5 million tourists per year with a population of 11 million; tourism contributes over $30 billion US per year to the economy. Now it is the birth place of democracy whatever that is, however Australia has a people who can be traced back 50,000 years and are living on one of the oldest continents on earth. The differential between what other countries achieve in attracting tourists and what Australia with its stunning and much unspoilt countryside, outback and beaches achieves should make the tourist board ashamed. Thailand gets 22 million plus Tourists annually.
Australia is generally believed to be a dry land once away from the coast. However the Great Artesian Basin is the largest and deepest artesian basin in the world covering 1.7 million square kilometers some 23% of the continent this is a massive sweet water cache, It is also an under used resource with many of the great Australian Rivers being pumped dry.
The Darling river with its tributaries is 2,844 km long making it the largest river system in Australia. The Murray river is Australia’s longest river at 2508 Km. The Murray Darling confluence is at Wentworth New South Wales.The Murray Darling river system is one of the longest in the world.
There was a period when steamers came up the Darling river today you would be lucky to paddle a canoe up this great river. Industry and to some degree intensive cotton farming and its hunger for water have had a great effect on the water level of both the Darling and Murray rivers.
The Murray still has some depth to it but the Darling has little left. Cubbie Station located near Dirranbandi South West Queensland the largest irrigation system in the Southern Hemisphere covering some 240,000 acres has dammed of more water than the total volume of Sydney Harbour from the Darling river system.. All of this intensive agriculture is damaging the environment and having an effect on the native commodities wheat and the wool industry. The problem seems to be that successive governments have been more concerned with their political power and personal financial gains rather than investing management skills into protecting this exciting continent and growing the real wealth of the country. It is hoped that the Aboriginals who control the rights to most river banks will step in and help fight this destruction of the environment.
The only state at the moment that has a sound financial base is New South Wales but I wonder how long that will last, possibly NSW should go for independence the Scots would support them. With sound management Australia has the mineral / commodity wealth to be one of the leading countries in the world. Australia is the 11th wealthiest country in the world, Spain is the 12th. Generally speaking the country left to the Australians would go bust. It’s lucky that the Chinese have come however the joint deals need to be managed so that the Australians also benefit. There is the population for both a manufacturing base and commodity base. The Australian Dollar is at the mercy of commodity and especially mining prices – good business spreads the risk.
Photographer Shane Aurousseau