Yes address terrorism but terrorism from where!
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.
I know I am a photographer and artist so you may wonder about my credentials for discussing such an important issue as in or out of the European community. Through my work in handling creative projects for major City of London institutions I drifted into the financial world of the late 80s through the 90s including a stint running hedge funds and being a member of the board of directors on more than a few city companies.
The more I look at this referendum the more I believe it should never have happened. The decision on the 23rd of June will be taken on the basis of personal pride, hypothesis, the desire to be contrarian, supposition, ignorance and assumption. It is the man in the street who will sway the balance and there is not a political party that has given clear arguments. I’m not even sure that if the arguments were given clearly the average person could make a distinction. The concept of democracy does not exist in any country in any part of the globe today and probably with good reason that in a world of 7 billion people and growing there needs to unity and management. Now as a highly intelligent uncle of mine once said variety is the spice of life and I would certainly not want to live in a world where we are all the same or a world where 1984 is the norm. Striking a balance is what creating a comfortable planet is ideally all about – difficult for combative human nature. The contribution that immigrants have made to the UK is great in the NHS and business.
To quote from the Economist:-
Concern about the economic impact of immigration has centred on two areas: the effect foreigners have on native workers’ wages and employment; and the extent to which immigrants, in particular those from countries within the European Union who are free to move around at will, take from a system to which they have contributed little. Research by Christian Dustmann of University College London and Tommaso Frattini of the University of Milan focuses on the second.
By calculating European immigrants’ share of the cost of government spending and their contribution to government revenues, the scholars estimate that between 1995 and 2011 the 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.
The authors point out that the cost of some government services—in particular “pure public goods” such as defence spending—remains the same no matter what the population, so the overall cost of providing them to immigrants is zero. Calculate the amount per person, and the price for Britons goes down as the number of immigrants rises, since the cost is shared between a larger number of individuals.
Immigrants’ overall positive contribution is explained in part by the fact that they are less likely than natives to claim benefits or to live in social housing. Between 1998 and 2011 as many as 37% of natives were receiving some kind of state benefit or tax credit; European immigrants were nearly eight percentage points less likely to collect them. Those from Europe were also three percentage points less likely to live in social housing than Britons.
Another immigration myth that I would like explained is Britain is not member of the schengen agreement, so there is no restrictions on British border control. This points to a government failing.
This points to the immigrant argument as being somewhat of a ‘red herring’ and fear promoter.
The other issue is that immigration should not have any racial connotations it is purely a volume issue. The question I ask is why with strong government policy even from within the EU is it not possible to control immigration. The UK border force is undermanned and underfunded will this change outside the EU and don’t say some of the £350 million per week will go towards this that’s already spent on the NHS and elsewhere? Besides it is not a weekly £350 million contribution only without rebates/batteries not included.
There is also a spurious argument that rules are made by faceless unelected bureaucrats based in Brussels this is not entirely correct as there is a body of elected MEPs from each member state. Now I’m not saying I agree with the elected representatives on all issues much is wrong. I will though put forward an argument that to come out of the EU would put Britain in the hands of a small myopic political establishment that could erode any semblance of leaning towards some minor form of democratic governance, Within the EU there are 28 member states all arguing their agenda this does create a senate even if the strong percolate through to the top of the table, not true, Greece is an example of eating from the bottom of the table and it should be pointed out that the Greek debt was not compounded by the Greeks but by that blight on the financial world Goldman Sachs. When I see the infrastructure Spain has put in place using EU money, railways and Roads/highways years ahead of the UK I see a benefit as with many other EU countries that have benefited from membership. A country with infrastructure will grow. I ask is leaving and indication that our political elite are shirking their duty of strong negotiation. If the EU finances the Spanish infrastructure why can’t they finance a well-funded border force. We have seen European countries put up physical barriers to Middle Eastern immigration/refugees without substantial repercussion from the EU – why can’t a powerful member state such as the UK force change and get deals? The way to change a club is to be elected to the board of directors in order to do this you have to be a member of the club.
The UK has low productivity in relation to much of the developed world. If this was higher I could see more of a reason for Brexit. Trade deals will take time to negotiate and breaking into the Asian pacs and US American continent pacs will be a long-term project. These pacs are already set in their procedures and have been for many years. It is possible but will take a considerable amount of time. Canada has been trying to ratify a deal for nearly 5 years. Norway is a very wealthy country and would say they are better off outside the Union however Norway has some products vital to Europe and the world mainly substantial oil. Norway is also currently trying to renegotiate some of it’s EEA (European Economic Area) deals for trading with the EU. It is in a different position to Britain but all is not well if you need to renegotiate some of your arrangements. There is a global drift towards trading blocks to name some; African Union (AU), Union of South American Nations (USAN), Central American Integration System (SICA), Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC), Arab League (AL). Although the EU was not originally created as a trading group but to reduce the possibility of further wars in the European zone it has developed into a strong trading block with the largest GDP in the world giving it massive negotiating powers..
Most car manufacturers in the UK have foreign ownership and are here for the access to a 508 million market the biggest trading block in the world with the biggest GDP. If their market goes from 508 million to 65 million it is naive to believe there will not be redundancies. Also countries like Spain Italy Germany already have the infrastructure to accommodate car manufacturing so it is not beyond the possibility for companies to move camp. This is only one of many foreign-owned business sectors that find the UK legislatively comfortable to operate from but don’t be under any illusion most also point to Europe 45% of UK exports go to Europe.
The City of London generates 22% of the UK’s GDP. The current job environment in the City is one of despair that generates a culture appearing to be greed. The city is a vicious hire and fire culture forcing employees to reach for greater and great targets. There is a general recognition that like justice regulations need to be seen to be done a blind lady of regulation. There is far too much incest between the political establishment and the banking and fund management fraternity. With a vote for exit and a further lowering of manufacturing production the dependence on the City could become even greater. This could lead to blind eye despair banking and fund management taking even more dodgy capital from despotic regions of the world, the city’s best method for increasing business will be to deregulate. Remember what was said to Cameron at the conference on corruption that took place some months ago, when the president of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari was asked when his government would commence tackling corruption his reply was “when you stop taking the money” . The City is already a culture of despair and knee jerk regulation. The need to pump up the capital flows through the city due to lower industrial productivity could end up being and even greater necessity.
Brexit is a brave idea a step in the dark with promoters falsely believing that the political class exist that can manage the transition they have not existed in the past so why suddenly now? Strongly negotiated membership could have many benefits and does not necessarily mean giving up a vague form of sovereignty with an even vaguer belief in obscure democracy. Closer EU integration could be contested from within if not then maybe that is the time to say we will leave this could be a negotiating hand. I don’t believe past negotiations have been very strong but contested by weak UK political management who have failed in their obligations to the British public. Also it should be noted that the UK stays as a member of the European Council.
Few of the general public understand the issues and my conclusion is that such a decision is for the elected parties to fight out in the elected houses with all their expert advisors and to make a parliamentary decision. Unfortunately we currently have a self-interested political system with little interest in discussing the options but more interested in scoring political points.
I have only mentioned some of my thoughts here and I sure the exit group could put up strong counter-arguments to these thoughts and that is what is needed. There is much wrong with Brussels management and the question needs to be asked can Brussels be forced to change. Many member states have substantial grievances with the EU. These grievances are also a reason why the EU will not be able to strike favorable deals with the UK, as such deals would open the floodgates. the EU can’t also offer a deal to the UK that is better than member states get.
Shane Aurousseau – Photographer
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