Thursday, November 26, 2015

More quotes of the day 26th November 2015

"I always think it's important to know what your political opponents are thinking"

George Osborne, on why he's keeping the copy of Chairman Mao's little red book which shadow chancellor tossed to him over the despatch box during the Autumn statement debate. He also said

“The shadow chancellor literally stood at the Despatch Box and read out from Mao's Little Red Book.”

He then opened it and said, “Oh look, it’s his personal signed copy,”

and added

"The problem is half the shadow cabinet have been sent off to re-education."

Some more quotes on the same issue:

"What a pity that, when Chairman Mao explained to his Communist Party colleagues how ‘political power grows out of the barrel of a gun’, it did not occur to him to mention that the idea is not to point it at your own face and then pull the trigger."

(Tom Peck's sketch in the Independent)

"A century ago yesterday Albert Einstein set out a general theory of relativity that identified parts of the universe where space and time have become so distorted that all light has been swallowed up. This is what it must feel like to be a moderate Labour MP.

"Let's quote from Mao" John McDonnell said in his response to George Osborne's Autumn  statement.

"But he didn't seem to have considered the symbolism of quoting from a brutal dictator. Imagine the uproar if a Tory had embellished his speech with a spot of Mein Kampf. He then chucked the book across the table at Mr Osborne, who could not believe his luck.

"This was not what Labour supporters meant when they called on Mr McDonnell to throw the book at the chancellor."

(Patrick Kidd in The Times)


Jim said...

"I always think it's important to know what your political opponents are thinking"

so do I George, so do I.

that is why I am pondering why the PM is going so far out of his way (iceland), to criticise the "Norway option" - the EFTA/EEA route may not be perfect, which is why in flexcit its a temporary option, but why go so far out of your way to shoot down the one single option that can in fact give the PM everything he himself says he wants?
Im working on what I am missing.

Jim said...

lets look at his demand list.

Protect access to the single market.

Jolly marvelous. But we we would have a stonger position outside of the EU, because most Single Market rules are made at a higher level and only implemented at EU level. Of course, it is a matter of record that most trade rules are made at a world level, or at least at UNECE and CODEX.

It would appear that he is addressing a fear that doesn’t really exist, that the EZ will restrict access to the single market for non EZ countries. Of course, as the single market is actually governed by the EEA agreement, and the EEA relevant legislation (about 20% of the total EU Aquis), adhering to the other 80% of EU law would be the price.

What Cameron (and the media) have failed to point out is that the rights he asks for here already exist, and can actually be assured from OUTSIDE the EU completely – as EFTA members utilising the EEA agreement. We have them as members of the EU already. In essence, he’s talking not about manufacturing or services, but about the Finance industry – the City. There is fear that the EZ countries will seek to protect their own against the competitiveness of the City of London. However, any assurances he gains here will be thin gruel. If the need takes them, the EZ is more important than any agreement, or any treaty, as we have seen as the ECB has torn up the treaties and bailed out Greece and others. The politics has run ahead of the law, and if the need arose, it would always do so. This is the very nature of the Supranational EU.

Jim said...

Ending Abuse of the Freedom of Movement Rules.

The problem for Cameron is that actually there isn’t that much ‘abuse’. He wants to change how freedom of movement works (due to the way benefits are claimed), but actually there is no freedom to claim enshrined in law – just a right to equality. The EEA agreement cites the freedom of movement for workers , not for claimants. It is the nature of the British system which is not contributory, that creates much of the problem. We also have to accept that, for example, the ability of Polish claimants to send home money is actually very important to the capital inflow levels of the Polish economy, so there are real obstacles to removing this. But most of the problem lies in the nature of our own system, and the intractability of altering anything in the welfare state. Governments constantly blame the EU for this because it is an easy distraction from the real problem – simply that the welfare state isn’t working as its founders intended. Despite that, Germany is also wary of the current system, and is looking to for some protections in the next treaty.

Jim said...

Exemption from Ever Closer Union

This is a great demand, as it is meaningless. Ever Closer Union is achieved through two methods – Treaty Change is the first, which removes competencies away from the nation states to the EU. The second is the creeping jurisdiction of the ECJ, which then goes on to push the boundaries by interpreting EU law in ever stricter ways – judicial activism is the wandering hand of supranationalism. Nowhere does Cameron request any relief from this. So any talk of exemption is just a smokescreen.

His ploy here is to play the next treaty as a result of his negotiations. There will soon be a treaty which will set out a two speed EU – the Euro Zone and a group of Associate Members, of which he sees Britain as the natural leader. This would, however, raise the profile of the PM and his successors, and give the politicians a particular role, a kind of permanent undeclared but effective ‘presidency’ of this group by virtue of the size of the British economy. But in reality, we will not be free of ever closer union, just because the compulsion to join the EZ will be removed from this group of nations. The ECJ and the voting weight of the EZ block will always seek to use the beneficial crisis to extend the power of Brussels. It is in the nature of thing – cats don’t bark.

Jim said...


All the things Cameron has set out here that he says he wants can be achieved by removing ourselves from the political EU structures, and remaining in the EEA agreement via EFTA membership. We protect ourselves in the Single Market as much as is actually possible, and gain our role back in setting Single Market Rules at a global level. We also get access to the Twin Pillar EFTA/EU process which pre-empts the setting of new EU legislation which is EEA effective.

We also escape Ever Closer Union by escaping from the ECJ’s judicial reach, as well as leaving the treaties. The Social Chapter is not part of the EEA, so we can look to simplify employment laws and other social red tape.

Environment would be returned to National Competence. We could be much stricter on more pressing concerns such as water borne pollution, flood prevention, Nitrous Oxide, and then look to increase our energy supply and security. Cheaper energy is the key to advancing manufacturing in the UK, not simply cheaper labour (which is what has happened in recent years due to over supply).

Freedom of movement rules remain, no deal which offers access to the single market will ever come without the four pillars, of which freedom of movement is one. But the benefit tourism issue is one that is largely domestic, and can be cured at home if government finds the will to do so. Removing the non contributory right to welfare would remove a possible incentive for labour to come to the UK, markets would then force labour prices up – which is what the government desires so that it can remove the Tax Credits system and return to the normal situation of work actually supporting living. It’s not strictly an EU policy issue.

So it is strange then that the government (and other leave campaigns) have moved quickly to deny the plausibility of the Norway Option, the one option which delivers everything that the PM has actually said he wants.

However, it fails to deliver one specific thing – leadership of that ‘outer group’ of associate members. It’s a ‘vanity’ issue. Is this government willing to give up the opportunity to secure a real future for the UK - outside of the EU with all the safeguards it says it wants, simply so that they can sit at an imaginary supposed ‘Top Table’ and parade the appearance of influence that that brings?

It would appear that they are.

Jim said...

And thats exactly your point isn't it George, know your Opponents, well we know you and the PM. That is why I can see you hoping for Vote Leave or Leave.Eu to win the official designation, that is the only way your Middle way of Associate membership (dubbed the "British Option", has a hope).