Conservative Party Tells Theresa May: Just Go!

The British Prime Minister Theresa May has come under increasing pressure from her own party to resign, following her mishandling of Brexit.

Government ministers are currently holding talks with senior Labour Party members in a bid to thrash out a Brexit deal which would secure the support of MPs across the house, thus cutting out the need for Mrs May to rely on the support of Brexiteer Conservative MPs.

However, the move has angered the pro-Brexit right wing of her party, who have intensified their calls for her to set a clear leaving date.

Mrs May is due to attend a meeting of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs this evening, at which the need to set a clear date is likely to be put to her. Sir Graham Brady, chair of the Committee, has already requested “clarity” on her departure.

Leading Eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash told the Press Association: “The time has come for her to resign. She needs to be given a date. The sooner the better. But it needs to be done in an orderly manner.”

Mrs May had previously pledged to quit if her Withdrawal Deal gains majority support in Parliament, but with the deadline for Brexit now pushed back to October, it is not clear what plans she has to go if the deal is not passed.

A landslide loss of council seats by the Conservative Party at last week’s local elections has further ratcheted up pressure on Mrs May. Party bosses were quietly touting a figure of 1000 losses as their nightmare scenario – but on the night they shed in excess of 1,300 seats.

The party is expecting similar losses in the upcoming European elections, due to be held on May 23rd. Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 Committee, has insisted Mrs May announce a “road map” for her resignation following the European elections.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told the Press Association: “I’m amazed she is still there.”

Meanwhile, grassroots Conservatives are planning to vote on a motion of no-confidence in Mrs May on June 15th.

Members of the National Conservative Convention will be asked to vote on a motion stating that “we no longer feel that Mrs May is the right person to continue as Prime Minister to lead us forward in the negotiations” and “therefore with great reluctance ask that she considers her position and resigns”, Conservative Home has reported.

FORMER AUSSIE PM RUDD: UK trading with the Commonwealth to make up for leaving the EU is “utter bollockS”

By Penny Hoffmann

Kevin Rudd, the 26th former Prime Minister of Australia, is sometimes a quite the unprofessional politician like many of Australia’s choices. Among various situations he has put himself in from being so down-to-earth, he has become a bit of a cheeky fella in the news and on the political stage for playing handball with school kids, needing a fitness instructor to lift him up for chin ups, being caught eating his ear wax during Question Time, and saluting George W. Bush at a NATO summit which “was just uhh… it was just a joke”.

Mr. Rudd’s take on brexit will surely ruffle the feathers of many brexiteers.

Rudd tweeted the following on March 11:

“With the clock ticking down to Brexit Day, here are my arguments in the London Guardian on why Britain should remain in the European Union. In contrast to Howard, Abbott and Downer cheering on the Brexiteers – all to reconstitute a British imperial rump.”

He stated in a recent article by The Guardian that swapping the current Britain-European Union trade agreement and relationship with a Britain-Commonwealth one is “the nuttiest of the many nutty arguments that have emerged from the Land of Hope and Glory set now masquerading as the authentic standard-bearers of British patriotism”:

“I’m struck, as the British parliament moves towards the endgame on Brexit, with the number of times Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India have been advanced by the Brexiteers in the public debate as magical alternatives to Britain’s current trade and investment relationship with the European Union. This is the nuttiest of the many nutty arguments that have emerged from the Land of Hope and Glory set now masquerading as the authentic standard-bearers of British patriotism. It’s utter bollocks.”

Rudd stated that Britain should remain in the European Union, and that “Labour and the Conservative remainers should unite to defer the exit date beyond 29 March 2019. They should then support legislation for a second referendum”.

Kevin Rudd describes brexit as a suicide note that will leave a large mark in world history:

“If Britain proceeds with giving effect to what future historians will legitimately describe as the longest suicide note in history by leaving the union, the cold, hard reality is that the mathematics simply don’t stack up in terms of credible economic alternatives to Europe. Much as any Australian, Canadian and New Zealand governments of whichever persuasion would do whatever they could to frame new free-trade agreements with the UK, the bottom line is that 65 million of us do not come within a bull’s roar of Britain’s adjacent market of 450 million Europeans.”

Remaining in the EU, according to Rudd, would benefit Britain economically and politically because authoritarians around the world seek to bring down the unification of Europe on things such as values, thus weakening the west.

Rudd supports a second referendum because it offers “a clear, informed choice between two tangible, concrete proposals: either voting for Theresa May’s deal, or for Britain to remain in the Union. That’s when I believe Britons’ native common sense, as well as their wider sense of international responsibility, would ultimately prevail”.

Rudd described Australian (“Oz”) brexiteers as having a goal of returning to old Anglo-Saxon times:

“They too, like the core of the British Brexiteers, are driven by a conservative political romanticism that we can all somehow go back to that ancient Arcadia of a white Anglo-Saxon world with “imperial preference”, all consummated by the solemnity of a Lord’s Test.”

Brexit day is scheduled for the 29th of March, 2019.

 

FARAGE IS BACK: What will his return entail for the future of Brexit?

By Stefan M. Kløvning

Britain, Brexit – Nigel Farage announced his return to British politics on Friday in a Telegraph article entitled “The time has come to teach the political class a lesson: I’m back fighting for a real Brexit,” where he pledged “to give Leave Means Leave my absolute and total support. I will help them to raise funds and will go back on the road to campaign once again.” In the article, he also labelled the Chequers statement as a “betrayal”, a document delineating Conservative PM Theresa May’s suggestions for the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Farage is especially known for his Euroscepticism, having left the Conservative party in 1992 after they signed the Maastricht Treaty, and becoming a founding member of the United Kingdom Independence Party. In 1999, he was elected as a Member of European Parliament (MEP) and was subsequently reelected in 2004, 2009 and 2014, causing countless controversies in the parliament through his numerous rants about the flaws of the EU. He summarized his views on the EU as follows:

Post-1949, there was some sensible ideas put together, namely, the Council of Europe. Let’s have a Europe where we sit down together, where we have a free-trade agreement, minimum standards on work, on the environment… We can do all of these things without a European Commission, without a European Parliament, and without a European Court of Justice. Yes, it’ll mean you’ll lose your job, Mr Barosso [11th President of the European Commission], but apart from that, why can’t we do things as mature democracies? Yes, I want you sacked Mr Schultz as well, I want you all fired. We can do those things, and that is a positive way forward. Taking away from people the ability to govern themselves, and transferring that power to the European Commission, we’re headed for a Europe of rebellion and violence. Let’s take the democratic route.

After 52% of Brits voted to leave the European Union in 2016, he spoke before the European Commission again, asserting “Isn’t it funny, that when I came here seventeen years ago, and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me! Well, I have to say, you’re not laughing now, are you?” Farage has thereby been perceived as having had a large impact on the results in 2016, ranked 2nd “most influential Right-winger” by the Telegraph in October 2013, and named “Briton of the Year” in 2014. After he resigned as leader of UKIP in 2016, he hasn’t been particularly influential in British politics, outside of his op-eds and podcast/radio show on London Broadcasting Corporation. In 2017, he also became a contributor on Fox News, where he additionally comments on American issues, promoting Trump and was in July one of the proponents of him earning the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring better relations between North- and South Korea. Yesterday, he asserted he’s coming back to British politics:

Over the last few months, and particularly since the Chequers betrayal, scores of people have stopped me in the street to ask: “When are you coming back?”

Well now you have your answer: I’m back.

Back in the game of British politics, ready to make an influence on Britain to move it back in the right direction for a “real” Brexit. But whither does this direction lead? What will his return entail for the future of Brexit?

Farage describes the organizers of Leave Means Leave, Richard Tice and John Longworth to be “principled businessmen” who see “Brexit as the ultimate opportunity to regain some national self-confidence, to restore our democracy and to make us all richer and more successful by going global. They want to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit that burns so brightly in millions of men and women.” On their website, they assert that “Unequivocally, Leave means leaving the Single Market, leaving the customs union and UK courts no longer being subservient to the European Court of Justice.” Chequers do not mean Brexit, they say, for its suggestions do not meet these criteria.

Leave Means Leave was established in July 2016 in the aftermath of the Brexit vote as a political pressure group campaigning and lobbying for “a clean Brexit.” “This week,” says Farage, “it declared plans to re-launch the referendum campaign up and down the country.” The founders explained on Thursday,

When we set up Leave Means Leave after the referendum, we thought it might be needed for six months. We hoped that we could trust the Government to do the job they had been instructed to do by the British people. People knew what they were voting for. They dismissed the ridiculous scaremongering of Project Fear and voted in the largest numbers ever to leave the EU.

None of us imagined that, two years on, we would have to refight the battle. We never dreamt that we would have to attack some desperate “Chequers” proposal from the Prime Minister, which led to the resignation of two of the most influential Brexit-supporting Cabinet ministers [David Davis and Boris Johnson]. None of us feared being let down by other Cabinet Brexiteers, who we thought we could trust. Today, they are trying to sell thin gruel to Brexit voters as if it were some sort of delicacy. It is a con, and must be exposed as such.

Crucially, this will be a nationwide effort, not an intellectual exercise from air-conditioned offices in London. We want to take our campaign to the people. So many ordinary voters feel let down by their MPs.

The next six months will determine the future direction of our country. It is nothing less than a Battle for Britain. Do we want to remain handcuffed to an outdated, protectionist bullying bureaucracy as a vassal state? Or do we want to be a bold, ambitious trading nation, retaking our rightful place on the global stage as a strong independent country, enjoying the significant economic benefits that flow from a proper Brexit?

With Farage’s “absolute and total support,” Leave Means Leave is sure to get a boost of influence considering his reach and reputation (for instance, he has 68 times as many followers on Twitter as them), but is the British public open to their message? According to the latest annual British Social Attitudes report by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen Social Research), the party most against “allowing free movement of people in return for free trade in the EU” is, unsurprisingly, UKIP, at 67%, but they also have a large minority of 40% in the Conservative Party to appeal to, though its leader was the architect of the Chequers Statement.

Leave Means Leave know their base, and what they stand for, but as they weren’t sufficient in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, is it reasonable to expect that things will now turn out differently? Is Farage the steroid they need to win the race for the future of Brexit, and can he make them sufficient for achieving this goal? Or will they again be overhauled by the political establishment they consider to be indifferent to the wishes of the British majority?


More by Goldfire Media:

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Main Enemy of Brexit: Soros donates £400K to pro-EU campaign

[Image: OLIVIER HOSLET/AFP/Getty Images]

UK – Billionaire investor George Soros has received immense criticism again recently by giving £400,000 to pro-EU campaign ‘Best for Britain,’ whose chairman – Lord Malloch-Brown – has plead to stop Brexit by bringing down the Tory government. He is one of three main figures planning to launch a nationwide advertising campaign at the end of the month, which they hope will lead to a second referendum to keep the United Kingdom in the Union.

 

Their strategy is to convince Tory MPs to vote against Theresa May’s negotiation deals – regardless of its content – to trigger a new referendum or general election. “Malloch-Brown and his backers believe that, if Parliament rejects the Brexit deal, the government will fall, and Brexit can then be stopped,” Nick Timothy of the Telegraph explains.

 

Soros has, of course, gotten a lot of critique for supporting such a movement openly. A supporter of Soros, Fraser Nelson, for instance, critiqued him in a recent article called George Soros is a champion of democracy, but on Brexit he is on the wrong side:

“Many people think the elites have stolen their democracy,” Soros wrote a year ago. Quite so, yet he has now ended up bankrolling a campaign to reverse the biggest vote cast in the history of British democracy.  

He denied accusations of him undermining democracy and said that the movement had his “wholehearted support.” Soros has – as a rationale for this position – referred to Britain doing economically better than the rest of Europe before Brexit, and claims that this has now been reversed, “with Continental economies powering ahead while Britain lags behind.” Such claims require great evidence, which he has not been cited to provide, but even regardless of whether this is true or not, the critique of him undermining democracy still stands. If the people have been given a vote, and the majority has voted for a path they want their country to follow, it naturally undermines the democratic system if it is attempted to nullify the results or make them arbitrary. That’s essentially what Soros does here. If he doesn’t like an outcome of an election or a referendum, he will do what’s in his power to override the results. Fraser says, “Soros is a great advocate of doing research before spending money, but failed to do enough before donating £400,000 to Best for Britain.” The sum itself isn’t enough for it to be likely to change public opinion drastically, but it has drawn attention to interventions in politics by such people as Soros. Fraser describes Best for Britain as they “could have been put together by a committee of sadistic Brexiteers wishing to caricature their opponents as out-of-touch elitists.” A quite telling illustration of the movement.

 

Soros doesn’t have much to gain of supporters by this investment, but he does have a goal, and his goals have been working out quite well for him in the past. He is known as the man who “broke the bank of England,” when he won a fortune in a gamble against the sterling on Black Wednesday in 1992, forcing the UK to withdraw from the European Exchange Rate mechanism after having tried desperately to increase interest rates to prevent it. He funded the Open Society Foundation (OSF) in 1979, which he has donated over $32 billion since its launch, making it the second largest philanthropic fund in the world.

 

Fraser quotes former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakshvili – whom Soros helped get elected – to have said “Soros was at his best in a clear battle between democracy and authoritarianism, but when he starts to play politics, he’s not that good.”

 

Could the “Norwegian model” with EU work for Britain?

By Stefan Matias Kløvning

Britain – The world is watching as Britain’s process of leaving the European Union continues on. An observer may wonder what will happen, how they will deal with the situation and how they will end up. Brexit was only a close victory, and it is not everyone who are satisfied. Yet some of them decides to deal with the situation as it is and works to get a soft Brexit which is sustainable for the British economy. The Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, for instance, holds this position, and suggests that they should follow the Norwegian model of relationship with the European Union1. So, what is the Norwegian model, and how could it fit in a British context?

 

As Professor Lazowski boldly claims, there is no such Norwegian model2. It refers to the relation Norway has with the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA). Norway is one of four members comprising the latter. Participation in the EEA is optional for EFTA members, but is compulsory for those that are EU-members. Norway, along with Iceland and Lichtenstein, are called “EEA-EFTA states,” and this is what is referred to when the “Norwegian model” is mentioned. Lazowski calls the EEA “a very complex, heavily institutionalized and rather expensive alternative to EU membership.” An article on the website of the Norwegian government explains EEA as a treaty meant to ensure free flow of the “four freedoms,” goods, people, services and capital between its nation members3.

 

A little history lesson of Norway’s relation with the Union might make things a little bit clearer. Polls since 2003 have shown that the people of Norway are generally a bit sceptical to the EU4. The highest result against Union membership was held in August 2012, where a stunning 74.5% of the population rejected it5. There have been two official votes of whether Norway should join the Union, one in 1972 and one in 1994. The people voted no both times but won with a lower margin in the latter. Neither of these were anywhere close the result gotten in the poll from August 2012, and in both cases was victory only 2-3.5% over a tie. If the vote was held again in the autumn of 2012, perhaps it would have had such a result.

 

We have now seen clearly the Norwegian Euro-Scepticism, but now we are left with the question: Why, or how, then, did Norway get into such a relation with the Union? The short answer is that rich countries, such as Norway and Switzerland, who didn’t want to join it, had to find a way to trade internally with the EU members within the continent without becoming it themselves. As the European Commission, and eventually the European Union, became an increasingly powerful international political body in the years following its creation, so it couldn’t be expected that one could avoid trading with its member states. The government of Norway concluded in October 1992 – and taken into effect in 1994 – with a majority of ¾ that the nation should become a member in the EEA6. According to a brochure published by the Norwegian government in 1993, has the main reason for joining the cooperation agreement been that “the member states can achieve more by taking decisions together rather than on their own.” In current Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s words, “to strengthen trade and economic ties with the EU – and, some would say, to prepare the ground for EU membership.7” She also says that the EEA agreement became a political compromise as proponents of joining the Union saw it as standing in the way for full membership, whereas those against EU disliked it for transferring power to Brussel. Agreement in disagreement, you could say, but it was surely the second option which was far less divisive than the question of full membership or none.

 

There are, of course, downsides to this option, which Mr. Lazowski describes. One of the most important ones is that neither Norway, Lichtenstein or Iceland can sit by the negotiation table in the Council of EU, although they have to follow all different kinds of directives and laws therefrom through the EEA. Another point is that switching from being an EEA-EU state to a EEA-EFTA would cut the United Kingdom from the Common Agricultural Policy, which has benefited British farmers by direct subsidies in over 40 years. He claims that it is “an illusion” to believe that the United Kingdom would gain sovereignty by leaving the EU and swapping for the EEA-EFTA. “Instead, it would go from being a law-maker to a law-taker.” If his presumptions are correct, the “Norwegian model” therefore becomes a flawed one to build on for the UK. David Cameron agrees, saying “while they pay, they don’t have a say.8

 

Are there any good case in support for Britain building on the Norwegian model? Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor for the Daily Telegraph, made such a case last summer in his article Leave camp must accept that Norway model is the only safe way to exit EU. He responds to Cameron’s view with that Norway does indeed have a say in the EU. They can de facto veto over EU laws under Article 102 of the EEA agreement, and their net payment of £106 a head in 2014 is “trivial” according to Evans-Pritchard. He also claims that Norway doesn’t even need to implement “all EU law as often claimed.” Here he refers to a report by the Norwegian government, which shows that it has adopted “just” 1,329 of the 7,720 EU regulations in force, and 1,369 of 1,965 EU directives. “The elegance of the EEA option,” Evans-Pritchard opines, “is that Britain would retain access to the EU customs union while being able to forge free trade deals with any other country over time.”

 

If it is such a good solution to Britain, why does both its Prime Minister and its EU minister advocate against them adopting the model? Erna Solberg stated her opinion on this on the website of the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2013. First, she mentions the difference in population size between the countries. Norway is a small country with merely five million people, whereas the UK has over 63 million, in addition to it being an international power reaching far wider than Norway. Second, 75% of exports from Norway go to the European Union, whereas the UK has good trade relationships with the rest of the world, though also a large chunk of that is indeed with the EU. “We simply have different comparative advantages and priorities vis-á-vis the EU,” she says. Mrs. Solberg states her support for the nation staying in the Union (reminder: this was written in 2013), but this question does not go within our topic of discussion.

The Norwegian EU minister Berger Rosland agrees, though for other reasons9. She states that there is a difference in attitude between Norway and Britain towards the European Union, in that Norway has the four freedoms – transport of goods, people, services and capital – whereas the Leave-campaigners are against the free movement of people, i.e. immigration. She therefore thinks that it is contradictory, if one holds these beliefs, that Leave-campaigners would agree on becoming an EEA-EFTA state. If we look back to Evans-Pritchard’s article, we can now see why he supports Britain following the Norwegian model. He is a strong advocate of these four freedoms, including movement of people.

 

It seems apparent now that division between the following question is the fundamental one in determining whether one supports Britain becoming an EEA-EFTA state: Is EU-controlled immigration good for Britain? Of course, the other pros and cons are also of huge importance, but this seems to me to be the major one. Immigration is one of the most controversial issue in Europe, and it shouldn’t be difficult to find merit in that the standpoint in question is, at least by many people, rooted in this issue. The complicated issue is now simplified, but one should take not of Adam Lazowski’s writings on the issue for a better understanding of it. There are many more objective factors he mentioned, as already mentioned, which determines whether one supports it or not. Conclusively, the position on this matter is largely a matter of values, not merely of objective pros and cons. Therefore it can be difficult in finding agreement here, but we shall all see where Britain may end up when the time comes, whether the result be good or not.

 

 

Sources:

[1] Kentish, B. (2018) Corbyn will pledge to keep UK in customs union, Welsh First Minister says. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-jones-carwyn-jones-jeremy-corbyn-economically-daft-customs-union-labour-eu-withdrawal-bill-a8192006.html

[2] Lazowski, A. (2016) Norwegian model for the UK: oh really? http://ukandeu.ac.uk/norwegian-model-for-the-uk-oh-really/

[3] https://www.regjeringen.no/no/tema/europapolitikk/fakta-115259/ofte-stilte-sporsmal/id613868/#HvaerEOS

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway–European_Union_relations#Opinion_polling

[5] Ntb (2012) Høyrevelgere deler ikke partiets syn på EU. https://www.aftenposten.no/norge/i/zGXPv/Hoyrevelgerne-deler-ikke-partiets-syn-pa-EU

[6] Regjeringens informasjonsutvalg for Europasaker (1993), 55 minutter om Norge og EF

[7] Solberg, E. (2013) The ‘Norwegian model’ would be a poor alternative to EU membership for the UK. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2013/04/19/norwegian-model-poor-alternative-eu-uk-membership-eea-erna-solberg/

[8] Evans-Pritchard, A. (2016) Leave camp must accept that Norway model is the only safe way to exit EU. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/01/leave-camp-must-accept-that-norway-model-is-the-only-safe-way-to/

[9] Bosotti, A. (2018) Remainer hopes DESTROYED as Norwegian EU minister says Norway-option NOT good fit for UK. https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/916657/Brexit-news-latest-update-Norway-UK-EU-future-trade-deal-European-Union-EEA-video