No poppy on sale at Mount Stewart, National Trust


Visited National Trust, Mount Stewart yesterday. On the way in I noticed folk wearing poppies, thought I would buy one at reception. None to be seen so I enquired, nope dont have British Legion poppy box. Rang National Trust Mount Stewart today asking if the lack of poppy was policy or an oversight. It appears that Mount Steward did not have poppy box (something I dispute but could be wrong) in the past. Their reasoning is that as a charity themselves they do not wish to collect for another charity diverting funding from themselves. Understandable perhaps but I did suggest that British legion was a special case and that the £1 i may put in the box was not going to deprive National Trust in any way as I am a member. They also said, again understandable, that if they collected for an outside charity others would wish their boxes on display also. As already stated British Legion is a special case and an exception should be made.

Brexit is going to happen come what may

The High Court’s ruling on Article 50 has excited some denialist Remainers. Its impact shouldn’t be overstated. Brexit is going to happen – even if it takes another general election.

All this decision proves is that lawyers and financiers can be relied upon to be obstructive. But we knew that already. It won’t change the fact we are leaving the EU. Indeed, it won’t especially change the process.

Whether or not Parliament votes on Article 50, it was always going to have a vote on the Brexit process. MPs will need to pass the Great Repeal Bill to void the 1972 European Communities Act.

Some Remainers – both in Parliament and outside – may have convinced themselves they can use these votes to veto Brexit. But that’s a fantasy.

The Brexit majority is already bigger than it was at referendum day. According to a recent poll, a fifth of Remain voters have accepted the result and want the government to get on with implementing it. Among Conservative Remain voters, that figure rises to 35%.

So if MPs really ally with lawyers and elites to try and block Brexit, what do they expect to happen? If this Parliament won’t accept what the government has a mandate to do, the public will elect one that will.

Indeed, if this kind of petulance does affect Brexit, it won’t be in the way the denialists imagine.

Ever since the referendum, I’ve put all my effort into promoting a liberal, outward-looking Brexit, based on free trade and a global outlook. By behaving this way, Remain elites are making that more difficult to achieve.

I receive a lot of angry e-mails from my constituents about these naked attempts to reverse the referendum result. The more obstructionism we see, the harder it is to reassure them that their votes won’t subverted.

If the Prime Minister has to call an election on Article 50, so be it. Given that she has an 18 point lead in the polls, I doubt she’s quaking at the prospect. But obstructionist Remainers should think very carefully about what that election will be like.

Brexit will curb judicial activism

The High Court will rule today on whether the government can trigger Article 50 unilaterally. The prospect of judges subverting the will of the people is appalling. But it’s also a reminder of why it was so important to vote Leave.

The petitioners for Parliament to vote on Article 50 claim it would be undemocratic to do otherwise. That’s a disgraceful subterfuge.

Evidently, their aim is not for Parliament merely to rubber-stamp Article 50. What they want isn’t a vote, but a veto. They seriously believe it would be legitimate for MPs to block Brexit, and for judges to collude in allowing them to do so.

Judicial activism – whereby judges increasingly make the law – is fundamentally anti-democratic. Fortunately, Brexit will constrain it.

Prior to joining the European Common Market, it was impossible for a court to strike down an Act of Parliament. When it came to lawmaking, the elected legislature was supreme.

That changed when we joined. The supremacy of EU law over UK law entails the ability of the European Court of Justice but also British courts to annul an Act of Parliament in the event of a conflict with European law.

Taking back control is not just about restoring powers ceded to the European Parliament, Council, and Commission. It’s also about limiting the powers of unelected judges to shape our laws.

Brexit can’t prevent our own elites from trying to impose an outcome against the people’s wishes. That’s an ongoing battle. But it will, at least, overturn an anti-democratic mechanism built into our legislative system.

Just one reason why we can’t leave soon enough.

We need procurement reform to keep Britain safe

MI5 chief Andrew Parker’s warning about the Russian threat to the West is a reminder that post-Cold War peace can’t be taken for granted. It should also make us think about the cost of wasteful protectionist procurement.

British armed forces are smaller than they have been in decades. The army has fewer than 90,000 regular troops. The Royal Air Force, fewer than 250 combat aircraft. The Royal Navy, fewer than two dozen warships.

Britain also has serious capability gaps. We currently have no maritime patrol aircraft. We have no aircraft carriers. And, when the new carriers are delivered, we’ll initially have no planes for them to carry.

Part of the reason our armed forces have shrunk is reduced funding. Despite being one of the government’s primary responsibilities, defence always seems to be the first target for spending cuts.

But it’s also about the way the budget is spent. Vast sums are spent on inefficient procurement. Contractors routinely deliver equipment that is years late, millions over budget, and often doesn’t work.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The problem is protectionism.

Rather than open up the procurement process to manufacturers around the world, the Ministry of Defence favours a cartel of companies with some operations in Britain. Guaranteed contracts for favoured firms means they have little incentive to deliver equipment on time and on budget.

The pretence is that this policy maintains industrial sovereignty. But since many of these firms have long since been merged into pan-European conglomerates, that’s not the reality.

In truth, often only a fraction of equipment is actually manufactured in the UK. As UKIP PRU research revealed last year, so-called “buying British” actually requires the permission of multiple foreign governments – compromising operational sovereignty.

Protectionism comes at a serious cost. The more we spend on subsidies for inefficient contractors, the smaller our military will be.

Misusing the defence budget puts our national security at risk. To keep Britain safe, procurement needs to be reformed.

John Rees-Evans

After years of supporting from the behind the scenes, John Rees-Evans begins explaining why he has finally decided to play a foreground role for UKIP, but while filming he is surprised by an encounter in the street.

Interest rates need to rise

Should Mark Carney stay on as governor of the Bank of England? It was wrong for him to politicise the office during the referendum campaign. But the more important question now is: will he stop peddling Project Fear, and raise the interest rates?

Britain has now had eight years of record-low interest rates and quantitative easing. These were supposed to be emergency measures, in the wake of the financial crisis. Instead, they have become the norm.

There always seems to be another lame excuse for ultra-loose monetary policy. We were assured it was necessary to ward off deflation – even though inflation has never stopped. We were told it was essential to stimulate growth – but when growth resumed, interest rates didn’t return to normal.

Rather than raise the rates after eight years, Carney and co. have pushed them even lower. This time, the excuse was that Britain was about to suffer a post-referendum recession. But, instead, Britain currently has the fastest-growing economy of any developed country. Once again, the case for monetary easing doesn’t hold water.

Keeping rates low isn’t about playing on the safe size. Loose monetary policy is the big risk to the global economy.

By making it artificially cheap to borrow, central bankers are intensifying economic imbalances. They’re driving up household borrowing while dropping pensions into the red. They’re encouraging savers to pump capital into unsustainable asset bubbles rather than productive investment.

As UKIP’s Economy Spokesman, Mark Reckless, has written in a new paper (and in City AM), loose monetary policy is one of the biggest factors behind stagnating productivity.

The real reason the Bank of England finds any excuse to keep rates low has nothing to do with what’s best for Britain long-term. Loose monetary policy is just a short-term fix to prop up zombie banks and let the government get away with fiscal irresponsibility.

Cheap credit is like cholesterol clogging up the arteries of our economy. There’s no justification for it to continue.

The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meets again on Thursday. For Britain’s long-term economic health, it needs to raise the rates.