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Sunday 23 November 2014

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In the Sunday Times today we see Owen Paterson reported as, tomorrow, seeking to place himself at the head of a future "out" campaign by arguing that Britain can be better off outside the EU.

He will challenge the prime minister formally to set out ahead of the general election how he would quit the EU, according to a source familiar with his thinking.

It is understood that Paterson favours a move, that the government invoke article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which triggers a two-year period of negotiations if Britain wants to leave. He believes that will focus minds in Brussels and extract the maximum concessions before Cameron's planned in-out referendum in 2017.

He is expected, says the paper, to declare: "We're much better making laws in our own parliament".

Richard North 23/11/2014 link

Sunday 23 November 2014

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There is nothing at all sinister about Booker's column not appearing fully on the website, with just this piece on the site. However, the full column is up here … click to readable size.

Richard North 23/11/2014 link

Saturday 22 November 2014

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A weary few days and some miracle-working by North Jr and friends has got us back online (with the forum and other tweaks to follow when we can), after a series of massive DDOS attacks. So focussed and relentless were the attacks that we conclude that they were directed specifically at EUReferendum, with a view to taking us out of circulation.

Against that and the added stress of extremely arduous day jobbing, the election of a second-rate politician seemed very minor. And, in the grander scheme of things, it was indeed a minor event. In six months, it will be distant memory, as indeed will Reckless the Repatriater, who will have faded into the obscurity he justly deserves.

Of current interest, though, is the fallout, which has the Daily Mail reporting that Conservative MPs are calling for David Cameron to toughen his stance on the EU.

The newspaper is asserting that the way to "take the legs from under Farage" is for the prime minister to campaign for an "out" vote. That is an obvious line to take except that it suffers the obvious flaw. Those unwilling to believe Mr Cameron's promise for a referendum are just as likely to disbelieve any commitment to fight against EU membership.

What might deal a death blow to Farage's ambitions, however, is the double whammy of explaining to the voting public that his party has no idea of how to manage our departure from the EU (and no capability in that respect) while simultaneously demonstrating that a workable plan does exist and can be implemented quickly and easily, to the very great advantage of the UK.

This, in my view, is what is needed to transform the debate. Having long accepted the need to leave the EU – for any number of reasons – I no longer wish to endure the tedium of the continuous tales of woe on how badly we are treated by the Barons of Brussels.

Rather, I am in the market for some "sunlit uplands", the very thing Mr Farage and his dysfunctional acolytes have no means of bringing us. His shambolic party is set to deliver the only thing of which Ukip is capable -  its own brand of discordant negativity. It will never achieve anything but chaos and disruption.

In order to defeat Ukip, what the Conservatives need to realise is you don't fight a negative with a negative. The only thing that cancels out a negative is a positive. All Farage's party can do is tell us how bad it is inside the EU. The Conservatives need to tell us how good it is on the outside.

That, in fact, is quite difficult to do. Any fool can tell us that we need to leave – very few people can come of with a credible, structured plan for making it happen. And as this is a task quite beyond the capabilities of Ukip, and neither Labour nor the Lib-Dems have any intentions of filling the void, this leaves the field wide open to the Conservatives.

This is why the next few dys and weeks are going to be increasingly interesting. Gradually, there is a realisation emerging that the need to get out of the EU is only a tiny part of the equation - the easy bit that even the febrile minds of Ukip supporters can grasp. It is how we get out that matters more. Unless a safe exit can be assured, it is never going to happen.

Once it is evident that the feat can be done, though, it is much more likely that it will then happen. Thus, the realisation that we need an exit plan may be one of the most enduring effects of this period. Knowledgeable commentators will then see the pressure to withdraw as a child of the time. Others will try to link unrelated events, and argue cause and effect.

What we are seeing, though, are effects with common causes. Some have taken the cul-de-sac towards Ukip while the more enlightened are looking for the way to the sunlit uplands. The reasons for those actions are deep-rooted and do not lie in recent events. But the outcome is not to be denied – it was going to happen sooner of later. And even if later, that is better than not at all.

Richard North 22/11/2014 link

Friday 21 November 2014

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I think the political quote of the week comes from the anonymous pundit who reported of Rochester and Strood: "Labour suffer crushing defeat by losing safe Conservative seat to Ukip". But he only just caps Mr Eugenides, who tweets: "Stupid woman tweets photo of white van and flags, resigns. Stupid man calls for compulsory repatriation of legal EU residents, is elected".

Turnout is reported at 50.67 percent, against 51.13 percent at Clacton. Reckless thus came in with 16,867 votes, representing 22.5 percent of the electorate - one in five of the voting public. This is significantly down on Clacton where Carswell took 30.5 percent of the popular vote. We are seeing  yet another failure of the Angry Party to set the election on fire.

That Ukip was going to win, though, has not been in doubt for some time, which means "death camp" Reckless the Repatriater is briefly returned as MP - albeit the indications are that the margin will not be as great as some expect.

His tenure will perhaps last only until the general election. But his move to Ukip will bring no tears from Peter Oborne. He describes the Repatriater as "a brutish and low-grade specimen who ought not have been permitted to stand in the Conservative interest". His defection to Ukip nearly two months ago, Oborne adds, "reflected well on David Cameron's Conservative Party, making it a better place".

Interestingly, Reckless will be addressing the Bruges Group annual conference in London on Saturday. He was invited while he was still a Conservative MP and, if he turns up, will be able to put his views on his change of heart to a discerning audience.

By coincidence, this will be followed on the Monday by Owen Paterson, who is planning a major speech on the EU. Oborne expects Mr Paterson "to develop the argument that Britain's future lies outside Europe", and that may well be the case.

If Mr Paterson goes further and outlines details of how we should go about leaving the EU, he will be ramping up the pressure on UKIP which, after 20 years of existence, is still unable to deliver a coherent (or any) EU exit plan.

And, trailing in the wake of the Guardian, which led the fray in noting the great UKIP policy vacuum, we now see the Telegraph picking up the same thread. "The party can no longer get away with simply behaving like the outsiders of British politics", the paper says, "free to dish out criticism but outraged when it is directed towards them". It adds: "Over the next few months, their policies on every issue should be subjected to the closest possible scrutiny".

This is an interesting observation. We have been known to remark the Ukip supporters, uniquely, seem to believe that their party should be immune from criticism. Now, the Telegraph lends its way to a counter view.

Meanwhile, we are being regaled with rumours of additional Conservative MPs deserting to the policy-free UKIP, maybe attracted by the relief of not having to remember what your party's policies actually are.

However, we are now past the six month cut-off, which means there will be no more by-elections this side of the general. Any MPs who do jump ship and follow the Carswell-Reckless model in resigning their seats are likely to be out in the cold until May – or even longer – reduced to burning their rosettes.

At least, now, we are spared the sight of prancing politicians and prattling pundits giving us the benefit of their ignorance. Instead, we can revel in Mr Kelner's claim that other parties haven't a clue how to beat Ukip – until Monday, that is, when we may get an illustration of how policy trumps vacuum.


Richard North 21/11/2014 link

Friday 21 November 2014

Evenin' folks, webmaster here!

Sorry about the service outage. Some Vietnamese chaps were trying to hijack the site to sell you discount Ugg boots but I thwarted them eventually. Personally, I wasn't aware our reader demographic was into that kind of thing. But thanks to the ministrations of, we're back.

Meanwhile, being a complete bastard, I've been busy over on my blog. We have maintained for sometime that the rump of the Ukip vote is in the bag come an EU referendum. In order to win it, we need to start cultivating a new breed of eurosceptic with bigger ideas and give them more positive reasons to leave the EU.

Here at Eureferendum we've charted everything that's wrong with the EU and we've been informing the debate for a decade, but we're preaching only to the converted. Now is the time to start fighting to win. This isn't about tribal supremacy or the success of Ukip. This is about selling an idea bigger than the EU. Flexcit is a start but Harrogate Agenda is the ultimate destination. We can't afford to waste time with the Mr Angry Party.

You can follow us on Twitter at @eureferendum. Retweet us, share us, work with us. Let's show the world you don't have to be a little Englander miserablist to want bigger and better for Great Britain.

#Flexcit #HarrogateAgenda

Peter North 21/11/2014 link

Thursday 20 November 2014

For nearly 24 hours, the EU Referendum domain has come under massive denial of service (DOS) attack, from servers bearing Chinese IP addresses. All the action we can take is being taken, but there are limits to what can be done to deal with what is a deliberate, malicious attack, directed specifically at EU Ref. 

We hope to be up and running soon, but in the meantime please bear with us.

Richard North 20/11/2014 link

Thursday 20 November 2014

The fun started when ITV's Meridian asked Mark Reckless what would happen to EU migrants already living and working in Britain if the UK chose to leave the EU in a future referendum. His answers made it to the front page of the Telegraph and most of the other legacy media, after his comments were interpreted as an intention to deport EU migrants once we had left the EU.

Complete Bastard rightly posits that this is what happens when a political party goes public without having worked out its policies in advance. Then, without an established "line to take" and message discipline, it is easy for a motor-mouth candidate like Reckless to go off the rails – as he did with Libya, making unforced errors which then dominate the headlines.

And this really is UKIP's problem which, compounded by the profound ignorance displayed by spokespeople and candidates alike, means that they are constantly suffering from foot-in-mouth disease.

From the outset, the very idea of repatriating migrants who had exercised their rights of freedom of movement or establishment, under the EU treaties, is a clear breach of the international law doctrine of "acquired rights".

This is dealt with admirably in a Parliamentary briefing note and is so well established - having been formally evaluated by the International Law Commission in 1959 – that it has now taken on the status of customary law.

No one who had made any serious attempt to inform themselves of the state of art could possibly have made such fools of themselves. It is the rank amateurism of the man that rankles– a man at the cutting edge of the debate who is so ill-informed that he can offer in the name of his party a clear breach of international law as a serious policy suggestion.

Only later, via the Guardian, amongst others, do we get the official line from a "Ukip spokesman", disowning their own candidate, having to admit on the eve of the Rochester by-election that the 2.8million EU nationals living and working in Britain would be given the right to stay in the UK after an EU exit.

"Ukip's position on migration is entirely clear", says the spokesman. "We need to sort out our borders, and we cannot do so whilst we remain in the European Union. Those who are in this country lawfully, such as those from EU nations, would have the right to remain".

However, even now, Reckless doesn't seem to have a grip on the issue, apparently saying that people already in Britain "would be issued with work permits and nobody would be deported". Thereby, he seems unaware that even issuing "permits" would be a breach of law, making an absolute "right" conditional on an administrative procedure.

That brought Farage into play, telling the BBC, "When we invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which sets us off on a two-year negotiation to leave the EU, part of that renegotiations is what happens to retired people from Britain living on the Costa del Sol and what happens to people from Warsaw living in London".

"Let me make this clear", he added, "during our divorce negotiations, even if the EU was to behave badly and say [British] people living in Spain were to be threatened with not being there, we would maintain the line that we believe in the rule of law, we believe in British justice and we believe that anyone who has come to Britain legally has the right to remain".

 Nevertheless, this does not even begin to address the fatuity of the broader Ukip response. The ritualistic offering that we cannot "sort out our borders" whilst we remain in the EU is getting to sound a little tired, although none of the media seem to asking whether leaving the EU, per se would be enough to solve the problem.

This is the distinction between necessary and sufficient, with Ukip failing to appreciate the difference. On the other hand, implementing controls already permitted by EU law, addressing ECHR issues, dealing with drivers of migration, in terms of reducing "push" and "pull" factors, and then improving the lamentably poor administration of migration control, would doubtless yield greater dividends than the incoherence of a party which, to this day, can't even get its act together on an EU exit plan.

The point, of course, is that dealing with immigration in a post-EU Britain demands a considered policy response. So far, all UKIP have been able to do is play around with the idea of an Australian points-based quota system.

This, as an intelligent policy response, does not qualify. Britain is so different is so many ways from Australia that only a leap of imagination into the abyss could suggest it is of any utility. This country with its larger, more diverse economy, on the edge of a continental land mass, demands an entirely different response to a huge, under-populated land mass. Not least, this country has to deal with nearly 33 million visitors, against Australia's seven million, the greater number making the tracking of illegal immigrants that much harder.

All that UKIP has managed to achieve from this imbroglio, therefore, is to tell the voters that there is nothing it can do about the migrants already in place, with nothing to suggest that they know how to deal with migrants yet to come.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the controversy lasted long enough for the BBC evening news remarking on the 6pm news that the policy gap is showing once more. But then, as Complete Bastard points out, this is UKIP. The only way there isn't going to be a policy gap is to rebuild the party from scratch.

Richard North 20/11/2014 link

Wednesday 19 November 2014

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Following on from Siemens propaganda over the weekend, where the happy Mr Maier was telling us how good the EU was for business, the European Commission has issued a press release telling us exactly the opposite.

This mea culpa, however, isn't exactly transparent – one has to read into the title which hides its light under a substantial bushel: "the 11th report on potentially trade-restrictive measures identified in the context of the financial and economic crisis". What it conceals is the catalogue of failure of the entire global trading system.

In the 13 months covered by the report, we are told, G20 members and other key EU trading partners adopted a total of 170 new trade-unfriendly measures. The countries that have adopted the most such measures, by the way, were Russia, China, India and Indonesia.

At the same time, only 12 pre-existing trade barriers have been removed. This means that hundreds of protectionist measures adopted since the beginning of the economic downturn continue to hamper world trade, despite the G20 commitment to easing barriers.

This is very much a hidden failure, though. Twenty years ago, at the inception of the WTO, replacing the GATT, tariffs were still very much the issue. Then European levels typically at 20 percent. But now, with levels in the order of five percent, one might think that the problem was over (or diminishing).

Indeed, while the process of reducing tariffs globally has been considered a successes, it has also been described as like draining a swamp. The lower water level has revealed all the snags and stumps of non-tariff barriers that still have to be cleared away.

After thirty years of swamp draining, the stumps have started to grow. Observers are thus noting that decades of ever tighter regulation of goods - most of which was adopted for purely domestic policy aims - have escalated regulatory protection.

As a result, these "Non-Tariff Measures" (NTMs) – or, alternatively, technical barriers to trade (TBTs) - have become more important than tariffs. By way of background, we see that in 1995, the WTO received 386 formal notifications (complaints) of TBTs. By 2013, this had risen to 2,137 (see chart below).

Putting clothes on this, we see the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) complaining that non-tariff barriers such as different regulations and standards add over 20 percent to the cost of trading between the EU and US. Trade barriers have replaced tariffs.

Any which way you look at them, the data suggest that restrictive measures are increasing: trade is still a long way from free and, since the global crisis of 2008, is becoming even less so. The great experiment in "free trade", of which the EU is a central part, has indeed been an almost unremitting failure.

This puts to bed all this "motherhood and apple pie" rhetoric about free trade. We can waffle all we like about free trade areas, WTO and all the rest. Decades of labour and millions of man-hours (and not a few women hours) have simply changed the nature of the barriers which businesses encounter.

Interestingly – or perhaps appallingly – we don't even know how to measure trade properly, or assess the impact of trade flows.

For instance, ONS published the definitive trade statistics for 2013 recently, with much made of the trading deficit with the EU, running at £66 billion. This is out of a total deficit in goods running at £110 billion – a disastrous performance until one adds in services, whence the deficit drops to £33 billion.

Now here's the thing. Trade in goods is geographically rooted. We can tell where our deficits in goods come from, but that is not the case with services. Much of the foreign currency which is gained from trade which qualifies as "exports" of services is earned in the City. But then international tourism also goes in that bag, so it gets extremely difficult to pin a flag on the money. 

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As long as we keep goods and services in separate boxes, though, we can moan about the imbalance of, say, car sales as between the UK and Germany. But are services and goods so unrelated? It is said of Ford that they make no money out of assembling cars. Their profit comes from financing the sales, selling high-priced loans to eager buyers to let them drive their showroom-fresh dreams out of er… the showrooms.

Cars, in this context, are just the mechanism for selling loans. That makes them part of the financial services industry, at which the UK excels. While the Germans make their money screwing nuts onto bolts, we could be making more by lending their customers the money to buy them. We could, but we just don't know.

Then there is the nature of the automotive industry itself. It accounts for four percent of our GDP (£60.5 billion) and currently provides employment for more than 700,000 people in the UK.

But the thing to appreciate is that it is an automotive industry – it sells components as well as cars. The UK produced 1.6 million cars and commercial vehicles but it sold almost 2.6 million engines in 2013. And about 75 percent of components production is exported to mainland Europe.

Then, according to statistics collected by the SMMT in 2013, 2.3m new cars were registered on UK roads and we built 1.5m cars, of which 1.2m were exported. That left us to import about 2m cars. But that doesn't tell the whole story. We are the second largest premium vehicle manufacturer after Germany, so the average per car came to £20,600, while the average value of imported cars was £13,000. We exported, in value terms £24.4bn and imported £24.7bn - the deficit only £0.3bn.

Now we factor in the components, and here it gets doubly interesting. The European manufacturing industry works at a regional level. For UK-built cars, about 35 percent of components are sourced from other EU countries. But, since about £5bn-worth of UK-produced components are exported – with 75 percent to EU countries - some components come back to us, built into assembled cars. Others are exported to other countries. German cars become vehicles - so to speak - for British exports.  

And that's the real reason why the industry is so nervous about the UK leaving the EU. The supply chain is so complex that no one really understands it. And with a totally integrated industry - much of it working on a "just-in-time" basis - disruption of the supply chain engendered by the loss of the single market would bring the industry to a halt, Europe-wide.

What this isn't about, therefore, is relative trading disparity. We don't know how to measure trade, we're not measuring it properly and we don't really know where it is all going. And, in terms of trying to improve trade, we're not really much better off there, either.

It seems to me, in fact, that we have a long way to go before we even begin to understand how the system really works. And as long as we have so many parties churning out their dogmas, we're not even making a start. What we mustn't do, though, is put a dirty great spanner in the works. We must be able to assure industry that, when we leave, the goods will keep flowing.  


Richard North 19/11/2014 link

Tuesday 18 November 2014

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Readers may recall our piece ten days ago on the ECHR judgement preventing the Swiss deporting an Afghan family back to Italy, where they had first illegally entered mainland Europe. The report was picked up by Booker, the only legacy media journalist to have done so, leaving an important part of the immigration story largely untold.

The essence of the ECHR case, though, was that the conditions in Italian reception camps was so poor that keeping people in them amounted to "mistreatment", thus breaching their human rights. But that meant that the "penalty", such as it is, falls on those countries which are unable their illegal immigrants back to the place where they first entered Europe.

Now, it seems, more direct action is being considered against Italy, on a different but related matter – the treatments of the Roma, who are complaining bitterly about their housing conditions in a centre in the suburbs of Rome. What makes this different, though, is that there is persistent reference to the European Commission getting involved.

The trigger for this seems to be the Italian government determination to house their Roma in separate camps or controlled housing, and the latest concern is plans for a camp in Rome, "on a very remote and inaccessible site, fenced in with a surveillance system".

Such a scheme, it is being suggested, "seriously limits fundamental rights of those concerned, completely isolating them from the surrounding world and depriving them of the possibility of adequate work or education".

Currently, the focus in on a property named, "Best House Rom", described as a "windowless centre on the outskirts of Rome that is a temporary home to some 300 people". The residents have just 2.5m² of space each, despite the local council having poured €1m into the properly last year.

The camp dwellers are prevented by council regulations from applying for public housing even if they were born in Italy, trapping them permanently in fenced-off centres far from schools, shops, health care centres or workplaces.

It is this isolation of a community essentially on ethnic grounds that is the primary concern of officials in Brussels. "The conditions are worse than in prison. There's a total lack of human rights, we cannot allow people to be treated like beasts", says Senator Manuela Serra of the Five Star Movement – Grillo's outfit, the one that is keeping Farage afloat in Brussels.

The irony of a group associated with Farage supporting the Roma should not be allowed to pass, but the main issue is a continuous and systematic breach of the Roma's "human rights" which have come the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

These reports are proving highly embarrassing to the Commission, especially as they are being told of reports of daily discrimination and violence against Roma in "an ever-growing climate of racism".

Already, the ECHR has ruled in a case of discrimination brought by 18 Roma students from the Ostrava region in the Czech Republic. They had complained they had been "systematically assigned to segregated schools based on their racial or ethnic identity rather than intellectual capacities".

Now the European Roma Rights Centre and Amnesty have sought Commission intervention under the Race Equality Directive (2000/43/EC), in the hope that infringement proceedings will be commenced.

Now the "Best House" case has reared its head, infringement proceedings against Italy are also being talked about, putting the Commission seriously on the spot. The Italians have had enough of the Roma and have lost patience with them, as has virtually every other government in Europe.

Nobody wants the Roma but this is freedom of movement writ large and it's now payback time. The Commission has created a situation which is unsolvable, but they can't afford to ignore it. They have to solve the unsolvable because, as they have so often said, freedom of movement is non-negotiable.

The only problem is that unsolvable really is unsolvable and there is nothing quite as unsolvable as the Roma.


Richard North 18/11/2014 link

Monday 17 November 2014

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When confronting our so-called "captains of industry" speaking about the merits or otherwise of the European Union, we have to deal with the possibility that many of them are either rather ignorant, or they think we are and are lying through their teeth to us.

We got this with Stephen Odell, CEO of Ford Europe. In July last year, he was bitching about EU regulation, apparently oblivious to the fact that most of the regulation affecting his sector came not from the EU but from the World Forum on Vehicle Harmonisation, hosted by UNECE.

Nevertheless, the Europhiles and the EU-supporting media keep trotting out such people, but whether it is Open Europe, the CER or the CBI, it is always a similar message based on the same profound misrepresentation of reality.

This time, though, it is the Telegraph, giving space to Juergen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK and advisory board member of Business for New Europe. It is he, representing a company not known for its probity - a company that had to hire a firm of lawyers to investigate its own the web of corruption - who is stepping up to the plate with the usual diet of tosh, half-truths and downright lies.

As always with these people, he fails to make the distinction between EU and EEA membership, thus asserting that there is "a pretty wide consensus in business … such as the belief that the EU delivers very significant value to the UK economy".

This, however, is just one building block in what is quite evidently developing into a political argument, for Mr Maier goes on to concede that this EU "does not work as well as it could and needs to be reformed".

Then, with a degree of understatement normally reserved for the British, he introduced a note of pretend balance, telling us that, "there is some disagreement over how that reform is to be achieved, with one school of thought advocating a referendum".

That referendum, he says, "may or may not happen, at a date yet to be decided upon, with a choice between two unknown options". And this, the poor darling bleats, "is profoundly worrying for business leaders".

The "worried" Mr Maier then sits back and observes that the EU "will certainly change over the next few years", and then complains that "we have not been provided with any details at all about what our relationship with our largest market would be in the event of an 'out' vote".

The thing is, a company the size of Siemens, with its huge resources – a £3.6bn turnover and 14,000 employees in the UK – could very easily make some informed guesses. But that isn't Mr Maier's game. He wants to bitch about "uncertainty".

As we blink back the tears over the plight of this poor man, we are assailed by concern for his beleaguered "business persons". These poor people need "... to know what conditions they will have to operate in". As if this was the unique prerogative of these precious persons, he then tells us, "Businesses need clarity". 

For all that, Mr Maier offers a little bit of sense – in a limited way. "The benefits of remaining in the EU are often overlooked", he says. "Take regulation. We all know that new regulations and directives coming from Brussels cause squeals of anguish from some corners in the UK".

"But", he continues, "the fact is that EU regulation almost always involves replacing 28 national sets of standards with one, Continent-wide standard. This means British exporters only have to comply with one set of rules – hardly an example of suffocating red tape. This is a boon to business, not a burden".

As we absorb this, and ponder the sense in it, we wonder if Mr Maier is being deliberately obtuse.  I sometime wonder whether being thick is a necessary qualification for being a "captain of industry". 

This is a man who is happy to argue about the advantages of selling to a market of 500m consumers "without worrying about complying with 28 different reels of red tape". Yet Siemens is a global company selling to over a hundred countries. What is good for 28 countries, therefore, has to be better for four times as many countries. Companies such as Siemens don't just need to satisfy Europe. They need global standards.

No more so is this necessary than in the car industry and, sure enough, Mr Maier tells us to: "Take the car industry". Well, let's take the car industry. "There are 2,350 businesses in our automotive supply chain", says Maier. These are dependent for their prosperity on foreign-owned car manufacturers, half of whose exports go to the EU.

At Siemens, Mr Maier's wonks have calculated that 25,000 jobs in the supply chain are dependant on UK operations, many of which are in small or medium-sized British businesses that often export to the EU through this company.

But what this deceitful little man does not tell us is that the regulatory system depends on Directive 2007/45/EC, EU law on the face of it, but only on the face of it. This Directive actually "establishes a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles". Leaping then to Recital 11, we see:
Consequently, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Regulations to which the Community accedes, in application of that Decision, and amendments to UNECE Regulations to which the Community has already acceded should be incorporated within the Community type-approval procedure either as requirements for EC vehicle type-approval, or as alternatives to existing Community law. In particular, where the Community decides, by means of a Council decision, that a UNECE regulation shall become part of the EC vehicle type approval procedure and replace existing Community law the Commission should be empowered to make the necessary adaptations to this Directive.
What this little gem tells us is that the regulator of record is UNECE, not the EU. Mr Maier's car industry needs global regulation and, within the limitations of that system, is getting it. And Norway is part of the body that makes the law. When it has helped decide what the standards are, they are faxed (or e-mailed) to Brussels, for processing under 2007/45/EC. 

"It is perturbing that those who claim that Britain would be better off out have not put forward a detailed alternative for what 'out' means", Maier now says. We have, of course, but the likes of Maier don't trouble themselves with detail, or look round them to see what is on offer. They prefer their lies.

"The average Norwegian pays more than half of what the average Briton pays for access to the Single Market, and is ruled by a 'fax democracy' where the government must implement regulations it had no say in", this liar says.

The average Norwegian doesn't pay that money for access to the Single Market. Not even an above average Norwegian pays that. Norwegians do pay €1.8 billion for Norway/EEA grants but these are not membership fees. They are voluntary contributions. Nor are the programme contributions part of the membership fees.

Reviewing the actual EFTA budget, the sum attributed to "EEA related activities" is €8,145,000. That is the membership contribution, out of the €22,369,000 total EFTA budget, of which Norway pays just over half (55.35 percent). In effect. Noway pays about €5 million a year for single market access.

However, after clogging us with his lies, Maier insists that "businesses can only make an informed choice if they are presented with a vision of what Britain would look like outside the EU". "This worrying lack of clarity from Eurosceptics", he adds, "combined with a growing realisation about the risks of leaving, means that I believe the voices of businesses large and small shall begin to be heard".

Then says the man, "the majority of them will be singing the same tune – that Britain will be better off staying in the EU and leading the Continent in carrying out the reforms that business needs to see".

But this is a total non-sequitur. Mr Maier is getting his pound of [regulatory] flesh. Businesses have nothing to fear from leaving the EU. The "lack of clarity" is largely self-induced, brought on by obfuscation and mendacity by a man who should know better.

We should also get better from the likes of the Telegraph as well though, but we are not going to get anything from that quarter, any more than we are from Mr Siemens.

And this is where we have our own political point to make. To deal with the lying likes of Siemens, we need some serious heavy lifting, the sort of that the UKIP millions and its media access can give.

Instead of serious effort, though, we're getting this sort of garbage, while the party is preening itself over the result to come in Rochester and Strood.

Yet the battle to come is not going to be fought in high-profile by-elections but in a referendum. There, unless we defeat it in detail, the "lack of clarity" that the likes of the lying Mr Maier are so keen to disseminate will exert a powerful effect and we will lose the fight.


Richard North 17/11/2014 link