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We in Northern Ireland face an uncertain political future given recent revelations which question the very competency of our local administration.
Put simply we do not have the required talent available within Stormont to effectively lead or govern our people.
Hopefully change will come and we will face 2017 with renewed trust in those who administer this Province.
2016 has been the most incredible year in British politics in my lifetime. But what’s truly amazing is that there is so much more to come.
Brexit was the reason I went into politics. But when I first stood for Parliament in 2001, the idea Britain could leave the EU outright was considered absurd even among the majority of Eurosceptics. A referendum on our EU membership was a distant hope.
So, for me, just having that referendum was astonishing – let alone winning it, and seeing Brexit become official government policy.
Of course, the job isn’t done yet. There are still people intent on undermining Brexit, by trying to keep Britain in the single market and the customs union.
But when we are finally out of the EU for good, that won’t be the end. It’ll just be the beginning.
Once Britain is a self-governing nation again, we can ditch the tired technocratic consensus that has dominated our politics year after year, and – for the first time in decades – start to have a real, public debate about what kind of country we want to be.
Whichever way you voted in the referendum, that’s an exciting future in prospect.
Yesterday’s so-called story, making out the PM has no friends in Europe based on ten seconds of footage, only shows how much pundits have bought into Project Fear. The reality is EU countries aren’t united on Brexit – any more than they are on anything else.
Brussels may have tried to put up a united front against Britain, but it has already fallen apart. Behind the scenes, member states don’t agree with the Commission, and the Parliament doesn’t agree with the Council.
That’s hardly surprising. When has the EU ever been able to speak with one voice? It’s because there isn’t a single supranational interest which unites all of Europe that we voted to leave the federalist project – and why other European countries may soon follow suit.
The federalists at the Commission might want to punish Britain pour encourager les autres, but they aren’t the only people who matter. Other European nations are not blind to the mutual benefits of trade. They won’t back a negotiation based on spite.
Our media do nobody any favours by swallowing the Eurocrats’ hype.
When Philip Hammond told the Treasury Select Committee he supported a transitional deal with the EU, he noted that his opinion is the “universal view among civil servants on both sides of the English Channel.” Why does that make him think it’s a good idea?
Cheerleaders for a transitional deal claim it’s essential to avoid economic instability. But the public pretext for a policy and the motive for it aren’t always the same thing.
The real reason the mandarinate – along with the rest of our Europhile establishment – backs a transitional deal is that it could very easily turn into a permanent arrangement.
There’s no genuine justification for a stopgap. Because Britain is starting from the position of total regulatory equivalence with the EU, sorting out a new trade deal needn’t be so complex that it can’t be done in two years.
So the imperative should be to get on with it. Brussels should know we’re not prepared to wait forever.
Whitehall has always opposed Brexit. If we let officialdom dictate how the negotiations are run, we’ll never leave. This is no time for ministers to go native.
Higher fuel bills. Risks of power cuts. Massive taxpayer subsidies to Big Green. Decarbonisation hasn’t saved the planet. But it has ruined our energy market.
Peter Lilley’s new report on the cost of the 2008 Climate Change Act is a must-read. He calculates that, on average, every British household is forking out over £300 a year to cut carbon emissions – and will be paying more than six times that in 2020.
And what have we got to show for it?
Shutting coal power plants has left us desperately short of supply. Renewables are too intermittent to fill the gap, while new nuclear plants won’t come online for another decade.
But at least the planet has been saved, right?
Since we passed the Climate Change Act, China has increased its annual emissions by a billion metric tons of carbon – more than eight times our total annual carbon output.
So, whatever your stance on anthropogenic global warming, Britain’s CO2 cuts haven’t made a blind bit of difference to the planet.
There’s no justification for this decarbonisation disaster. The government’s priority should be cutting costs and keeping the lights on. For that, we need a free-market energy revolution