The EU has much bigger problems than Brexit

And so it goes on. The Euro crisis looms larger than ever. Six years since Greece hit trouble, financial contagion is still spreading. Britain can’t leave this unfolding disaster soon enough.

As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard highlighted in yesterday’s Telegraph, the Eurozone is set for its biggest crisis yet. The Target 2 payments system has facilitated a huge socialisation of debt.

Debtors in southern states (especially Italian banks) now owe northern bloc central banks, via the ECB, hundreds of billions of dollars – money that they won’t be able to repay. If – or rather when – they default, the aftermath will engulf the entire Eurozone.

The debt crisis happens in the context of a banking system that is already dangerously fragile, even in Germany and France.

Research published by the UKIP Parliamentary Resource Unit in 2015 found that major European banks were still dangerously undercapitalised, in spite of post-financial crisis banking reforms. The weakest of all was Deutsche Bank.

Then there’s the politics. Depending on elections this year and next, both France and Italy could attempt to leave the Eurozone. Either scenario would amount to a huge debt default.

Many British commentators look at Brexit as if it’s happening in a vacuum. They seem to assume we’re leaving a successful economic project that will sail serenely on.

That’s clearly not the reality. We’re leaving a failed political project that is heading for economic catastrophe – possibly, as Allister Heath suggests, even before Brexit negotiations are completed in 2019.

The EU is collapsing under its own weight. The sooner we’re out, the better.

Government must get a grip as migration still spirals out of control

Responding to today’s migration statistics UKIP Immigration Spokesman John Bickley said, “Almost 600 thousand migrants arrived in the UK last year according to figures released by the ONS this morning. After emigration is subtracted – including 228,000 UK citizens that is a city the size of Hull arriving to stay permanently.

“Today’s migration figures show yet again that the Tories’ promise of reducing immigration to the tens of thousands is a hollow promise: are they misleading the British people or incompetent, most likely both.

“Earlier this week the Brexit minister David Davis let the cat out of the bag by indicating that uncontrolled immigration from the EU may never be brought under control. What happened to Vote Leave to ‘take back control’.

“The Conservatives have no intention of controlling immigration: non-EU immigration is something that the Government have total control of and yet they have totally failed in bringing the numbers down in any meaningful way. They simply cannot be trusted to control immigration and our borders.

“Today’s figures also show that migration from Romania and Bulgaria has soared to its highest ever levels. UKIP warned about this but were slated by the political and media establishment, perhaps they might listen to us in future.

“However, let’s not forget that today’s figures, which continue to show immigration at unsustainable levels, were seeded by Labour, who deliberately engineered mass uncontrolled immigration for electoral advantage.

“In last year’s Referendum 17.4 million made their views clear about unsustainable levels of immigration, and with their vote to Leave they voted to take back control of immigration and of our borders. UKIP is the only party telling the British people the truth about immigration and is the only party that can be trusted to deliver what the majority of British people want.“

Bill Etheridge slams do-gooders for “funding terrorism”

Bill Enteridge

UKIP Defence spokesman Bill Etheridge has slammed the soft UK Government and “do-gooder” lawyers for funding terrorism.

His comments come as news emerged that the Mosul suicide bomber was a former detainee of Guantanamo Bay. Islamic State group said two days ago that Abu-Zakariya al-Britani detonated a car bomb at an Iraqi army base in Tal Gaysum, south-west of Mosul.

Al-Britani is believed to be Ronald Fiddler, 50 from Manchester, who was sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2002. He was released after two years of internment and the Daily Mail reported he was awarded a million pounds in compensation.

Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said “These repeated compensation payments are funding terrorism.

“With the recent cases opened about former servicemen and their actions in theatres of war, to the tank-chasing lawyers and now compensation paid to former detainees, we have seen too much money wasted. These are funds that should have gone towards defending our citizens.

“The United States would not have gone through all the time, trouble and international criticism if they had not suspected the detainees were capable of committing atrocities.

“It is time to stop the thinking that there is good in everyone and realise that there are people out there that wish to do us harm.”

 

Paris is no match for London

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says he wants London’s talent to move to Paris post-Brexit. A decade ago, Nicolas Sarkozy made a similar pitch to French citizens in Britain. There’s a reason they stayed here.

France isn’t exactly in great shape economically. The unemployment rate in France right now is 10%, compared to 5% here. That figure rises to 26% among young people, as opposed to 12% in Britain.

Which is why many have left France to work here. Estimates suggest London is home to as many as 300,000 French citizens – and has been for years. It’s no coincidence that Sarkozy campaigned here in 2007. France’s loss of so many able people is our gain.

Britain has higher employment partly because our labour market is much more flexible. In France, not only is the working week legally limited to 35 hours, but it can also be impossible for employers to dismiss underperforming staff.

Increased protection for workers is great – if you already have a job, that is. Not if you don’t. Because it’s so hard to get rid of staff, employers are reluctant to hire them in the first place.

Brexit doesn’t change the fact that the cost of employing people in France and elsewhere in the EU is often prohibitive. Far from relocating, as Macron might hope, British banks are already identifying Brexit opportunities.

Not for the first time, business is months ahead of politics.

But there’s a more important point here.

Economic prosperity comes from flexibility. To thrive, economies need to adapt to changing conditions. Static economies decline.

Brexit allows our economy to become more dynamic – because we’ll no longer be subject to single market overregulation. That’s why economically – not just politically – we made the right choice on June 23rd.

All the President’s pundits

Media types seem to be perpetually outraged at President Trump’s comments about the press. If they want to rebuild public trust in journalism, they are going the wrong way about it.

Reporters called the President’s press conference last week “extraordinary”. But was it? He has been criticising the media consistently for almost two years. It’s part of what won him the election.

Trump’s attacks on the media resonate with voters in middle America because they have long since lost faith in the press. Rightly so.

The leftist bias of mainstream American news outlets, like CNN and NBC, is pervasive – much like it is at the BBC. Yet, just like the BBC, they refuse to acknowledge it.

You would think growing public dissatisfaction with the press would prompt some humility and reflection. Instead, it appears to have the opposite effect.

Journalists now seem to think of themselves as great heroes of the Trump “resistance”. The greater his criticism of them, the more sanctimonious and self-congratulatory they become.

Apparently, pundits still don’t get that they are merely justifying his message in the eyes of voters. They aren’t hindering the President. They’re helping him.

The remarkable thing about President Trump isn’t that he attacks hostile media. It’s that he has managed to harness them. He has made them his useful idiots.

Throughout the campaign, Trump got billions of dollars of free publicity thanks to news outlets broadcasting his every critical tweet. He has created a kind of feedback loop: the more he attacks the press, the more hysterical they become, the more support he wins.

There’s a big gap in the market for reasoned, dispassionate, insightful analysis about what’s going on in Washington. If mainstream journalists weren’t so preoccupied by their own wounded pride, some of them might seize it.

UKIP Defence Spokesman calls for European countries to increase defence spending

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UKIP Defence spokesman Bill Etheridge has called for European nations to increase their spending on defence.

The call comes as news emerged that the UK had failed to meet its pledge of 2% after an increase in GDP.

European leaders in Brussels received a warning from US Defence secretary Jim Mattis that allies must significantly increase their defense spending “if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance”.

Such has been the decline in spending since the break-up of the Soviet Union that the Belgian military was forced to ask the U.S. for hand-me-down flak jackets for its soldiers when it deployed domestically in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels in recent years.

Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said “With the twin threats of Islamic fundamentalism and a resurgent Russia, it is imperative that all NATO nations meet or exceed the agreed 2%.

“We have a crisis in Armed Forces recruitment despite government protestations there is no problem. We have a severe lack of heavy artillery, of operational submarines, carriers without aircraft and insufficient infantry fighting vehicles.

“The UK should not be in a position where an uplift in GDP means we miss our 2% target. We should be spending much more than that because we have a ground to make up after years of deficiencies.

“Unfortunately after years of Blairite internationalism where we send our troops to everyone else’s conflicts and the mistaken belief that spending billions on foreign aid is better than defence spending, we have insufficient numbers of armed forces who are not properly equipped, and a Defence procurement system which is not fit for purpose.”

How to cut the cost of living

A third of British households now live on inadequate incomes, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. To increase prosperity, it’s not enough to raise wages. We need to scrap the policies that are pushing up the cost of living.

Unemployment is exceptionally low in the UK. That’s the upside. The downside is that high employment has been achieved through wage compression.

Downward pressure on wages is partly the result of the free movement of cheap labour from Eastern Europe. But that’s not the only reason.

The government is also subsidising low pay – through tax credits. Employers are incentivised to keep wages low, knowing taxpayers will top them up. In-work benefits are also an added incentive for immigration.

But low pay isn’t a stand-alone problem. Wage stagnation is an issue because the cost of living is high and keeps rising. For that, government bears much greater responsibility.

Regressive taxes – VAT, ‘green’ levies, duties on fuel, alcohol and tobacco etc. – place the greatest burden on the least wealthy households. According to official statistics, the poorest fifth of households spend an average of 30% of their disposable income just on indirect taxes.

The poorest are also hit hardest by monetary policy. Decades of low interest rates have not just raised prices that would otherwise have fallen, but also stoked a housing bubble – transferring wealth from the asset-poor to the asset-rich in the process.

Letting people keep more of their own money, and not debasing its value through constant monetary expansion, would raise the welfare of the poorest at a stroke.

The answer isn’t more state intervention. It’s less

UKIP winning in Stoke Central will be game, set and match for Brexit

Speaking in the Stoke Central constituency this morning, Gerard Batten MEP, and UKIP’s Spokesman on Brexit has urged the voters of Stoke to elect Paul Nuttall as their MP on 23rd Feb.

He said: “Labour stopped representing the working class a long time ago. Stoke Central needs Paul as their MP so that he can speak up for their interests and for the regeneration of Stoke-on-Trent.

“Brexit is in danger of being betrayed, and who better to demand a speedy exit from the EU in the House of Commons than than UKIP’s Leader.

“The 70% of Stoke’s voters who voted to leave the EU will endanger that decision if they elect another Labour MP.”

UKIP Leader and Stoke Central candidate Paul Nuttall said: “UKIP winning in Stoke Central will be game, set and match for Brexit.

“Every voter in the constituency has the opportunity to send a powerful signal to Remain MPs sitting in Leave constituencies that they’d better not attempt to frustrate the will of the people.”

The left’s problem is pessimism

Across the West, the left is losing. Badly. But that’s not, as leftists seem to think, because the world has suddenly become reactionary. It’s because the left has lost its own belief in progress.

Last week, Nick Clegg claimed UKIP exists as ‘a voice for people who don’t like the modern world’. He couldn’t be more wrong.

It’s not right that is stuck in the past today. It’s the left.

The Lib Dems cling onto the mid-twentieth-century dirigisme of the EU. Labour can’t see beyond 70s-era socialism. As for the Greens, they hark back to a mythical pre-industrial paradise.

Leftists are often described as progressives or liberals. But they have ceased to be either. They won’t admit that the world is getting better, let alone that freedom is the root of progress.

Fundamentally, the left can’t accept the idea of a self-organising society. That’s why they are always trying to fix things by grand design – and why they place so much faith in ‘expert’ elites.

Yet elitism is what voters are rebelling against. Most people recognise that they can run their lives better than a remote bureaucrat can. They are turning to the right to take back control.

Progressive politics should be about defeating oligarchy. It should aim to spread power outwards and downwards. My new book – Rebel ­– sets out a manifesto for freeing liberal democracy from the crony cartels.

Meanwhile, the backward-looking left is on the side of the oligarchs. No wonder they’re losing.

Don’t pretend the EU protects the environment

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Car buyers are increasingly choosing hybrids over diesels. That’s good news for the air quality in our cities. But let’s not forget that, if it weren’t for the EU, diesel cars would never have become so prevalent in the first place.

One of the big Europhile myths is that the EU has been great for the environment. It hasn’t.

The Common Agricultural Policy has damaged the countryside. The Common Fisheries Policy has wrecked our fish stocks. But on a par with both is the EU’s legacy on pollution.

Diesel-fuelled cars are a European phenomenon. They make up 50% of the market in the EU, compared to just 3% in the US. That’s no coincidence.

Ever since the 1990s, the EU has favoured diesel over petrol. The justification was that diesel is cleaner, because burning it emits less carbon dioxide. On that basis, taxes on petrol were ramped up, while diesel was subsidised.

What we weren’t told is that its other emissions are far more toxic. Diesel cars produce 15% less CO2 than petrol, but four times more nitrogen dioxide – and 22 times more particulates, which directly harm human health.

Moreover, we now know that the big corporations that pushed for diesel – like Volkswagen – were gaming even the lax rules they lobbied for.

Now consumers – who want better air quality – are correcting the regulators’ mistakes in the market. Something for the champions of top-down, supranational government to ponder.