Saturday, 5 November 2016

UK High Court tells UKGov that it cannot by-pass UK Parliament to invoke Article 50

UKGov sought to use the Royal Prerogative to invoke Article 50, the letter from UKGov to European Union to say that the UK is leaving.

The Royal Prerogative is a means by which UKGov can engage in international treaties lawfully.  Fine.  But, as with all common law systems, laws co-exist and apply in parallel.  In other words, the scope with which UKGov can use the Royal Prerogative is limited by Parliament’s will, i.e. Acts of Parliament.

And the blindingly obvious factoid that UKGov appears to have missed is best described as European Communities Act 1972.  If UKGov were to invoke Article 50 without Parliament’s express permission, it would effectively breach the Act.  The UK Constitutional Law Association has published a more rigorous analysis.  (In any event, the Referendum Act 2015 did not permit an automatic annulment of the ECA72 according to the outcome of the referendum.)

An activist spotted this and did something about it.  Step forward Gina Miller (linkedin) et al.  The court judged in favour of Ms Miller.  Hardly a surprise.  Hardly controversial.  The justices underpinned Parliamentary democracy and Britain’s rule of law.  That’s what we need.  That’s what we want.  For those who voted in the referendum to leave the European Union, this judgement fundamentally enforces what they voted for.

And yet… a can of worms has exploded with the full force of a small nuclear war.  Stupidity has erupted on both sides of the non-issue, such that Remainiacs and Brexiteers have almost swapped roles!

Those who engaged in Project Fear (today’s Remainiacs, engaging in Project Sabotage) now seem set to drag their beloved European Union into a farce that disserves the interests of the European Union.

Those who engaged in Project Fantasy (then and today’s Brexiteers), formerly calling for us to “take back control”, are now calling for Napoleonic European-style dictatorship to override Parliament.

The Brexit media has now deployed precisely the same smear campaign as the Remainiac media did prior to the referendum.  The International Business Times summarises the major headlines of the British press; little of it is pretty reading.  Unacceptably, Ms Miller herself has become the victim on online trolling (the Independent presents a sample of the trolling).

What’s going on?  We need to start with understanding the Remainiac desire for this court case.

The political objectives of the court case

The court case permits the performance of two matters that Remaniacs rather like.

The first matter is the typical European polémique pour piquer the enemy.  It’s about forcing Brexiteers to do what they said they wanted.  “You said, ‘Take Back Control’?  Well, that’s Parliament.  So put Brexit through Parliament, stop Government by-passing Parliament.  What’s to fear?”

The second matter is to engineer the most devastating answer to that question, “What’s to fear?”.  The second matter is that Remainiacs hope, and pray, that the unelected second chamber of Parliament - the House of Lords - will either delay or block Brexit, or otherwise to destroy UKGov’s negotiating position such that the European Union’s interests shall supersede Britain’s national interests during the course the two-year period of Article 50’s process.  A Remainiac can only tolerate an independent Britain if Britain can be so economically sabotaged that it needs subsidy from Europe to survive.  In this respect, a Remainiac uses the European Union like a drug-dealer sells crack-cocaine.

Politically, this matters.  By forcing the Brexit issue into Parliament, Parliamentary Remainiacs can use a variety of tools to undermine the will of the people, or wreak damage upon the people as revenge for shattering Parliamentary tin-pot ideologies.  And the best place for Remainiacs to fulfil their evil intentions is in the second, unelected chamber of Parliament.

(See the theme?  Remainiacs love unelected things.  Taxation without representation: the ultimate Remainiac goal?)

The House of Lords is the next available tool in the Remainiac toolbox


Two days after the court’s judgement, Patience Wheatcroft - a Tory journalist, ennobled for no meritocratic reason as far as I can see (services to propaganda?  services to a political party mafia?  any suggestions?) - piped up, writing her opinion in the Grauniad.

The strapline reads, “It’s not our [the Lords’] role to defy the will of the people. But faced with potential calamity, we can ask the government to think again.”  The strapline sums up the muddled, emotional, reactionary silliness, masquerading as rational thought, that bedevils the crony class of the House of Lords.

Let’s start off being generous to Wheatcroft, i.e. that she has no sinister ulterior motive.  In this light, to me, Wheatcroft’s opinion demonstrates a typical attitude of the assiduously under-informed, non-technical, research-avoidant, overly-interested, overly-reflective amateur, armchair speculator, worrying about irrelevant details for the futile clamour for certainty.  In promoting over-reflection, Wheatcroft is actively encouraging a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom.  How?  By seeking to prolong the Brexit process, she is willfully calling for more legal and commercial uncertainty to accumulate during the prolongment.  This uncertainty was something Project Fear said was a reason to vote to remain, so why advocate prolonging the delay now?

It’s very painful to read.  She grasps the central point of this, but clearly chooses not to understand all of the collateral damage of delay.  She wrote:

The difficulty with this argument [for a second referendum once we know with absolute certainty what the exit deal is] is that, by the time that there is any clarity on the terms of a deal, it may be too late to turn back. Once the UK has triggered the exit process by giving notice under article 50 of the Lisbon treaty there is no provision for withdrawing that notice. The treaty is clear that, once a member state has given notice of its decision to leave, there is a period of two years within which terms can be agreed and, failing that, the state is officially kicked out of the club.

From Wheatcroft’s words above, the blindingly obvious least-risky strategy is to get Article 50 in quickly (far more quickly than March 2017, in my opinion), get the two year period over earlier, and then start concluding quick trade deals with parties outside the European Union.  

But instead of reflecting on the strategic implications of her own words, Wheatcroft allows herself to be distracted about all sorts of irrelevant emotional rubbish, delivered by blunderbuss.  She blunders through parliamentary sovereignty, our childrens’ futures (tell that to French children today: what future?!), the misleading pre-referendum campaigns, the apparently correct predictions of economic (she’s wrong for the wrong reasons, how embarrassing!), and so on.

Now let’s review Wheatcroft’s opinion in a more likely, plausible, sinister light.  In this light, Wheatcroft’s opinion isn’t really for public consumption, even though it appears in a publication for public consumption.  It looks more like a strategy piece for other Remainiacs in the House of Lords.  And there are a lot of Remainiacs in the Lords.  The House of Lords substantially comprises failed politicians and media people, appointed by Prime Ministers.  Many of the Lords could be called “Tony’s Cronies” and, more recently, David Cameron appointed a pile of Remainiacs to the House in his resignation dishonours list [endnote 1].  Collectively, they have the power to draft legislation - and therefore to delay its passage through the law-making process - but they have zero accountability to the public.

Sometimes, the delay is useful and results in better quality legislation, especially prior to 2000, when the Lords contained a far smaller percentage of political cronies than it does today.

But for Brexit, the opportunity cost of delaying Article 50 is high, because it creates the very uncertainty that Remainiacs said in the referendum campaign was so damaging to Britain.  So why set out to delay Brexit?  The answer to this question can logically be only one thing: a desire to conduct economic sabotage.

So it’s easy to see why UKGov, supposedly determined to deliver Brexit (in an unspecific timescale) seeks to by-pass Parliament.  UKGov is probably right to perceive Parliament as a threat to UK interests, government interests (UKGov, EUGov and European governments), and the EU itself.

Why? Because, to me, today’s Parliament - in both Houses - substantially comprise amateurs, demagogues, ideologues and opportunists, who are more in adept to polémique-pour-piquer each other instead of serving their peoples’ interests.  Yet, the Brexit issue requires due care and attention be paid to another major stakeholder in the Brexit process: the European Union.

To what extent have Remainiacs assessed disclosure of the European Union’s position being exposed, even indirectly, via UK Parliament’s scrutiny of the Article 50 process?

This question is something Remainiacs - in their emotionally-driven, irrational, hyper-insensitive, thuggish zeal to have as many referenda as it takes for Britain to vote to remain - have yet to ask themselves.  How useful is Remainiac loyalty to the Sovietesque European Union, if Remainiac actions end up blowing the gaff on the corruption - the deals, the favours, the lobbying, the opaque cashflows, dare I say perhaps the ‘money laundering’ - that holds the Union together? (“solidarity”, remember?)

Moreover, I perceive the European Union itself to be keen on Brexit, the sooner the better.  Brexit enables a deeper European integration that Britain has sabotaged for nearly 40 years.  So what on earth are Remainiacs trying to achieve?!

Whilst I am strongly in favour of Parliament taking back control for its people, I am wary that Parliament is currently too clueless to know how to do that professionally, for the mutual benefit of both UK and EU.  Much as I dislike UKGov by-passing Parliament, my guts tells me that, on this occasion, it’s a necessarily bitter pill to swallow, simply to get this two-year Article 50 started and ended as quickly as possible.  Ultimately, when Parliament has repealed the European Communities Act 1972, then - and only then - will it be possible for Parliament to have a proper renaissance.

But a renaissance might be some time off.  For example, if Parliamentarians really gave a damn, every single one of them would have read the Flexcit plan from the day Cameron won the 2015 election.  But I bet that 99% of Parliamentarians haven’t bothered to any basic research to find out whether a Flexcit plan existed, let alone read it...

The Brexiteers

The court case has prompted some Brexiteers to froth at the mouth with rage about the insubordination of judges against the supremacy of the people.  These Brexiteers have completely lost the plot.  They have no idea how democracy can best enforce its democratic will!

The incoherence of the Brexit lobby has always been clear to see, but on this incident, it turns into full-screen, three dimensional, Technicolor incoherence complete with quadrophic stereo sound and scratch-n-sniffs.

In the meantime, we can laugh at these rabidly reactionary Brexiteers and their infantile sledging of the High Court.  Be happy that the people voted in favour of their government leaving an organisation that exports unchallengeable foreign law into the British statute book without proper democratic scrutiny, and enjoy the deepest irony when Britain’s unelected Lords intend to scrutinise the Brexit ‘deal’.

Epilogue

UKGov shall appeal the High Court ruling to the Supreme Court.  I can’t see why the Supreme Court would overturn existing law to accommodate UKGov’s whims, but, of course, corruption works in all sorts of way.  So I shall wait and see.


[1] Electoral Reform Society, opinion Grauniad, opinion Telegraph, opinion with some facts Telegraph.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

European Court of Auditors tuts about an obtuse point of detail, completely misses the bigger picture

Reported by out-law.com on 27Oct2016, the European Court of Auditors has pointed to a weakness of a control within the Common Agricultural Policy (“CAP”).  It seems that the bureaucrats who run the CAP have decided that aerial/satellite images are a means by which to identify land subject to subsidy under the CAP.  Moreover, it seems that the same bureaucrats have chosen to believe that simply seeing a picture is apparently proof (beyond reasonable doubt) about the identity of the owner, and therefore the identity of the subsidy’s claimant.

The European Court of Auditors have correctly pointed to the Single European Amateurism and Half-Measures that characterise the implementation of policy throughout Europe (and not just at the level of the European Union; member states have more than just a hand in this systematic botch, too).

But the European Court of Auditors has chosen not to comment the blindingly obvious fact about the CAP: it’s a scam.  Amongst its many problems, it is deliberately designed to be economically dysfunctional.  It results in a market price so high that it effectively launders excess cash from consumers to landowners.  Where the consumer is also a taxpayer, then the same individual has paid for the same food product at least twice: once via his income taxes, twice via a supermarket till..  There are more efficient, and less prone-to-fraud, subsidy systems available.


The CAP is something else a Brexited Britain could scrap, especially if it has the confidence to beat up its own landowners, kicking them back into line with the people.


After all, revolutions - in Europe, of all places - have started on far less.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

The European Common Corporate Tax plan arrives: shall Remainiac rhetoric demand an outcome that the typical Remainiac doesn’t want?

While Remainics in the UK fight for as many referenda as it takes for Britain to re-vote in favour of the economic suicide of the European Union (most recently Tony Blair, a fact spun in this delicate way by the Daily Mail), the European Union progresses with its integrationist agenda.

Having first proposed the common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) in 2011, the European Commission announced on 26Oct2016 (reported by Out-law.com) further ideas about how to implement it.  The European Commission launched a public consultation on 09Oct2016.

Some member nations of the European Union are far from happy with the principle of CCCTB, correctly seeing it as a threat to each members’ ability to define its tax base, and therefore the substantial part of each state’s taxation policy.

Taking a neutral perspective, one could argue that the CCCTB is a European equivalent of the existing corporate tax base in the United States of America, whereby each state relies upon the federal calculation of taxable income, from which to calculate each state’s tax take.  An apportionment regime applies in an attempt to reduce exposure to double-taxation, although this regime is far from perfect.

But the European implementation is likely to be much more complex, and much more political.  We have already seen that the European Commission is far more interested in the politics of pique, polémique and posture against its member nations, most obviously the Commission’s recent decision against Republic of Ireland re Apple, and to hell (apparently) with the collateral damage it has on the enforceability of international tax laws relating to European Union corporate taxpayers.

The promise - the near-sexual, sheer lust - of Brexit has almost certainty prompted the European Commission to step up the integrationist agenda.  By promoting yet another issue that UKGov never supported, the pique et polémique from the European Commission is clearly one of, “Oh, are you lot still here?  Well, hurry up and piss off.  We have a Soviet Europe to build.”

What is the impact of the CCCTB on Brexit?

UKGov disagrees with the CCCTB, largely because of its mandatory nature.  Corporate taxpayer groups similarly dislike it, largely because it prevents corporations from moving between European companies to optimise the value they get from each state relative to the taxes they pay, i.e. no fiscal arbitrage, no substitutability.  (Reality has a very different mindset from the deliberately misleading left-wing media narrative that wrongly screams crap about all corporate taxpayers being 100% tax evaders.)

In turn, this makes the position of some Remainiacs even more curious, especially for those - like former prime ministers, e.g. Blair - who defended UKGov interests by fighting against (some) European measures, such as the Single European Army and the CCCTB.

Therefore, to be rational, logical and consistent, that particular breed of Remainaic would need to vote in favour of leaving the European Union if, by the date of Article 50’s second anniversary, the European Union had committed (by treaty or by European law) to a CCCTB.


Given that all Remainacs are driven by pure emotion, with no logical sense, what is the chance of that?

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Car safety equipment: an example of a “technical” obligation for wasteful trade

Car safety equipment: an example of a “technical” obligation for wasteful trade

As if import tariffs and technical barriers to trade aren’t toxic enough to undermine the European Single Market that apparently depends on them, there is another form of economic corruption that European states foist upon their dozy consumer-electorates.

This type of corruption is the obligation for wasteful trade and it typically forms part of a series of other non-economic obligations whose breaches trigger a cash-fine.

One of the best examples of the latter is the list of “safety equipment” that car drivers need to have when driving in Europe… and each country is different!

This list, compiled by the AA, summarises the variation of laws that apply.  Some laws are consistent, including those whose obsolescence is now unquestionable (e.g. “original registration document”, a relic of an era when no-body had colour laser printers at home and the forging of such documents was so hard that it would be a big criminal enterprise to try to forge such documents; nowadays, all such registrations would/should be electronic to comply with basic common sense).

Too many of these laws vary.  Clearly, if safety were the real issue, then the standards would be congruent between all countries.

For example: the warning triangle would be practical only if it is large enough to be seen from over a kilometer away.  Fine, but such devices would fit on an open-backed truck, not inside the boot of the standard saloon car.  Thus, the warning triangles that consumers apparently need to buy are pathetically small and therefore offer zero benefit to any road user.

Worse, to deploy the small triangle at all means that the driver would need to walk a long way away from his vehicle on the road… and expose himself to avoidable danger as a consequence.  So the only sensible use of a mandatory piece of safety equipment is itself dangerous.  And only a few of the countries who mandate the triangle also mandate a reflective vest!  One simply couldn’t make it up!

The mess of laws relating to car safety represents classic European wonky thinking, yet none of car safety law is particularly difficult to figure out.  Yes, the range of road environments between countries can vary considerably.  The road environment can even vary within the same county, e.g. southern Finland compared to northern Finland, especially in winter.  One standard clearly can’t fit every environment, but the difference in law does not perfectly match the difference(s) in road environment.  You might expect vehicles in Finland to require resilience against being hit by a reindeer, especially in rutting season, but some such protections (e.g. cow bars) are banned in Britain, even though Britain has a similar risk in its moorlands.  So why have European governments made such a hash of it?

The answer can only be that European law generally follows the demands of pressure groups, including lobbyists, instead of a top-down, rational, logical, objective policy calculation.

We can thus conclude that, for these laws, “car safety” is actually a smokescreen, a mere excuse to introduce such laws.  The real objective of these laws can only be economic protectionism for vested interests, who lobbied hard for a law of “drivers need to buy my client’s products regularly and keep it in their car, even if it’s next to useless.”  A brilliant example of corruption that results in the “obligation for wasteful trade”.

As for child safety seats, the matter just gets even more absurd.  Child booster seats that meet Italian standards don’t meet French standards, so the world’s safest child booster seat (if one exists) would fail to comply with at least one of those two countries’ laws.  According to the AA, the Italians appear to have understood that point, to the extent that if you drive in a foreign-registered car, then your foreign child booster seat law applies, and not local Italian law.  So if your country’s safety standard is lower than that of Italy, you can lawfully breach Italian safety standards.  The net result is so absurd, it demonstrates the futility of having the safety standard in the first place (let alone the law!).  Again, one simply couldn’t make it up!

And all of this, along with import tariffs, is just fine and dandy in the European Single Protectionist Zone.

At least the European Commission has documented the consequences of the problem, producing a website that summarises each country’s requirements, in a way that makes quick comparison between countries impossible.  Wasn’t the European Commission supposed to be calling for the Single European Driving Zone as part of the Grand European Project?

12,651 European Union import tariffs!

12,651 European Union import tariffs!

If ever one doubted that the so-called ‘Single Market’ is a protectionist scam, one research has counted just how many protectionist measures the so-called ‘Single Market’ needs to remain cohesive.

No wonder European living standards are stagnant, or falling in real terms.  The imposition of a tariff amounts to a stealth tax on both production and consumption.  It would be worth imposing tariffs on goods that were price-inelastic, in the same way as indirect taxes.  It makes tactical sense to impose tariffs on businesses whose immediate customers are other businesses, so the cost of the tariff is effectively laundered throughout the supply chain until the end-consumer pays for the whole lot.  So import tariffs are more likely than not to be a deeply regressive artificial cost imposed upon consumers with low incomes.

The Economic Policy Centre compiled the data, mounted at website http://www.eutariffs.com/.  The CEO summarised his findings on brexitcentral.com.

Before conducting this extensive research, I assumed that most tariffs would involve food, the motor industry and steel. But in terms of revenue these amount to very little. By far the largest number of tariffs – 1,409 in fact – are levied on “organic chemicals”. These include tariffs on goods with names that one can barely pronounce like 2-Bromo-5-iodo-benzenemethanol at 5.5%, also introduced since 23rd June.

More seriously, retailers like Sports Direct which depend on dollar and euro-priced imports and have been hit by the falling pound could only gain from the elimination of a 16.90% tariff on sports footwear.

But as the depth and scale of the tariff wall became clear to me, the greatest issue of all struck me as the lack of democratic accountability behind these tariffs. Who decides, and on what basis, which tariffs are introduced, increased or even reduced?

Do they make these decisions on the basis of collection of revenue, strategic interest, crowding out competition or following industry specific lobbying? Or are they just some leftover tariff for something that doesn’t really matter any more?

16.9% tariff on imported sports footwear!!  Who gains from this tariff?  Vested interests, or those on low incomes who have to pay the greater burden of this tariff?  If the objective of the tariff were to reduce the quantity of sports footwear bought locally (and therefore imported), then wouldn’t that artificial suppression of sales also induce reduced earnings in the exporter’s country?

And this issue is just about tariffs.  Just think about the damage caused by other restraints of trade, the “technical” barriers to trade, or the “obligation for wasteful trade”.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

SHOCK HORROR: Boris Johnson accused to trying to set out his thoughts before coming to a conclusion

The idiots who run our mass media went into a frenzy of over-driven stupidity on Sun 16Oct2016 when it emerged that BoJo had drafted two articles prior to the referendum of 23Jun2016.

One of BoJo’s articles was an attempt to bolster the case for UKGov’s continued membership of the European Union.  The second sought to bolster the case for UKGov’s departure from the European Union.

2 days after drafting the articles, BoJo chose to join the Leave Campaign.

The draft article came to light as part of a book plug bya newspaper hack.

The BBC’s coverage was particularly infantile, its evil left-wing agenda dripping through every word of every version for each medium.  Here’s the web version.  The BBC’s line is that any attempt to rationalise a thought process is “duplicity”.