Posted on April 13, 2017 by Robert Henderson
I am waiting for a reply from the No 10 unit to this email
13 April 2017
I am waiting for a reply from the No 10 unit to this email
13 April 2017
The governing body of English cricket the ECB is concerned about the number of foreign players playing in English cricket. So is David Letherdale, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association.
“It is hugely disappointing that some counties have felt the need to sign players as Kolpaks or on EU passports instead of developing and producing home-grown players themselves for the future benefit of English cricket. We are concerned that the number appears to have risen again in recent months. It is a situation that gives us cause for concern and one that we will continue to monitor.”
The deterioration in the England cricket side can be dated from 1969 when the residential qualification rule was dropped and foreigners came into county cricket in numbers. Although it took a decade or so after 1969 for the full effects to be felt the 1980s saw the damage it had done becoming apparent as the England team became more and more restricted to a small pool of players . Eventually in the 1980s the selectors turned to foreign imports who had qualified as English after less than ten years residence in England.
After the freeing up of entry to the County Championship in 1969 there was no limit to the numbers of foreign players who could come. Restrictions were eventually placed on the number of foreign players who could play but it still meant that every county bar Yorkshire had two foreign imports who normally played regularly . This meant that 34 or so places were barred to English players, There were also a few foreign players who came with EU passports and more who arrived with British passports or the right to one because of one or more of their parents or grandparents was British.
The final nail in the coffin for English cricketers was the creation of the Kolpak status in the 2000s. This allowed anyone who could claim a passport from an EU country or from any country which had an associate relationship with the EU which included freedom of movement to have the right to work in the UK. The countries with EU associate status include South Africa, Zimbabwe and several in the Caribbean.
The argument for foreigners
The argument for importing large numbers of foreigners into English cricket has rested on two claims both of which is false. When the residential qualification rules were removed in 1969 it was argued that high quality foreign players would substantially increase crowds particularly at County Championship games. This never materialised as a sustained phenomenon. The arrival of a particular star such as Gary Sobers at Nottinghamshire or Barry Richards at Hampshire might result in a temporary boost in the numbers of spectators but it did not last.
The second claim was that having high quality foreign players in County Cricket would raise the standards of the English players. This argument was developed when the increase in crowds argument had become a dead duck. It can be comprehensively shown to be untrue. Between the mid 1970s to the mid-1990s the general quality of foreign imports was at its highest and the imports were contracted for the whole cricket season. Many of these imports remained with the same County for years so English players had every chance to learn from them if learning was possible simply from observing them. Yet it was during this time – and particularly the 1980s and 1990s – that the England side was hideously unsuccessful, indeed, arguably the twenty years from 1980-2000 were the least successful overall for any extended period in its history. The truth was that English players learnt nothing of use from the foreign imports, either from playing with them or against them.
Since the invention of the Kolpak status and the rise of T20 the quality of the foreign imports has declined sharply and the foreign players who do come often play only part of a season and rarely stay with the same clubs for years on end.
But it was never simply a question of the quality of the foreigner brought into county cricket. The problem was whether of Test quality or not the foreigners have displaced English players in large numbers.
The problem with foreign players goes far beyond their numbers. They tend to be pace bowlers and upper order batsmen. These players normally occupy the best batting spots and their pace bowlers will generally get the new ball. Foreign bowlers of any type will also tend to get choice of ends and to be under bowled when a pitch is benign. English players have take the crumbs which are left after the foreign players have been fed. It also means that there have been times in the past 50 years when the England selectors have had precious few upper order batsmen and opening bowlers to from which to choose, for example the lack of quality pace bowling in the 1980s and 1990s because so many of the foreign imports were pace bowlers.
It is important to understand that the influx of foreigners does not affect just the first class county first teams. Foreigners are increasingly flooding into the second elevens of the first class counties, the minor counties and good quality club sides, in fact, any team which can pay them.
There are and have been plenty of very promising young English cricketers over the years who have never been given an early chance when their second team performances for first class counties have justified it or even worse were never given an extended run in the first team. A, Gordon, PC McKeown, B Parker, G P Burnett, R J Bartlett, JW Cook, A R Roberts, JD Fitton, PJ Lewington, D M Cox. Any of those names ring a bell? I doubt it but they were all very successful second eleven players who have played since the 1969 influx of foreigners but who never got a sustained chance in their respective first teams. (Details taken from the First-Class Counties Second Eleven Annual)
No other Test playing country in the cricketing world opens its first class domestic competition to huge numbers of foreigners. Neither should we.
The extent of the current infestation of foreigners
The 2017 County Championship season has just begun. In the first round of matches begun on 7 April 2017 the foreign component was as follows:
There were 6 matches comprising 12 teams of 11 players = 132 players in total
43 of these players were born outside the British Isles
This means 33% of players in this round of county matches were not born in the British Isles
The counties which did not play in this round of matches are Derbyshire, Durham, Middlesex, Somerset, Sussex, Worcestershire. If they have the same proportion of foreign born players on average as the 12 counties which played , that would mean another 22 foreign players to add to the 43 making a total of 65 players out of possible 216 players (12 x11) from the 18 counties.
Analysis by County of the foreign born players in the six matches played commencing 7 April 2017
Essex: RN ten Doeschate, SR Harmer, N Wagner (3)
Glamorgan: B Cooke, CAJ Meschede, M de Lange, JA Rudolph, N J Selman, CA Ingram (6)
Gloucs: CT Bancroft, GL van Buuren (2)
Hants: RR Rossouw, SM Ervine, , KJ Abbott, GK Berg, BTJ Wheal, FH Edwards (6)
Kent: AP Rouse, ME Claydon (2)
Lancs: S Chanderpaul, DJ Vilas, R McLaren, KM Jarvis (4)
Leics: CJ McKay, PJ Horton, CN Ackermann, MJ Cosgrove (4)
Northants: RE Levi, SP Crook, RK Kleinveldt (3)
Notts: MJ Lumb, MH Wessels, SR Patel, JL Pattinson (4)
Surrey: KC Sangakkara, SM Curran, TK Curran, JW Dernbach (4)
Warks: IJL Trott, SR Hain, TR Ambrose†, JS Patel (4)
Yorks: PSP Handscomb, GS Ballance, Azeem Rafiq, (3)
It is also likely that there are foreign players missing from the early Championship games as they complete other cricketing obligations in foreign T20 tournaments or for their national sides.
Analysis of the role(s) these cricketers play
The groups is very heavily slanted towards upper order batsmen and pace bowlers
JA Rudolph, N J Selman, CA Ingram, CT Bancroft, RR Rossouw, S Chanderpaul, , PJ Horton, CN Ackermann, MJ Cosgrove, MJ Lumb, MH Wessels, RE Levi, KC Sangakkara, IJL Trott, SR Hain, PSP Handscomb, GS Ballance
Wicket keepers (3)
B Cooke*, A P Rouse*, TR Ambrose*
Pace Bowlers (18)
RN ten Doeschate* CAJ Meschede*, M de Lange, N Wagner, SM Ervine*, KJ Abbott, GK Berg*, BTJ Wheal, FH Edwards, ME Claydon, R McLaren*, KM Jarvis, CJ McKay, SP Crook*, RK Kleinveldt*, JL Pattinson, TK Curran*, JW Dernbach
Spin Bowlers (4)
SR Harmer*, GL van Buuren*, JS Patel*, Azeem Rafiq*
* Denotes any player other than a specialist batsman is a competent batsman
Analysis of players by country of birth
Australia: PJ Horton, MJ Cosgrove, SR Hain, PSP Handscomb, CT Bancroft, N J Selman , TR Ambrose, ME Claydon, CJ McKay, SP Crook*, JL Pattinson (11)
New Zealand: JS Patel*,
South Africa: JA Rudolph, CA Ingram, RR Rossouw, , CN Ackermann, MJ Lumb, MH Wessels, RE Levi, IJL Trott, B Cooke*, CAJ Meschede*, M de Lange, N Wagner, KJ Abbott, GK Berg*, BTJ Wheal, R McLaren, RK Kleinveldt*, TK Curran*, JW Dernbach, SR Harmer*, GL van Buuren* (21)
West Indies: FH Edwards
India : None
Pakistan: Azeem Rafiq*
Sr Lanka KC: Sangakkara
Zimbabwe: GS Balance, A P Rouse*, SM Ervine*, KM Jarvis (4)
Dear Robert Henderson,
You’re not done yet!
Forward the email below to your potential supporters.
5 people need to click the link and confirm their support for us to publish your petition.
I’ve made a petition – will you sign it?
Click this link to sign the petition:
The UK to use the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to leave the EU now
The EU can spend two years giving the UK the run around whilst pocketing two years of further UK contributions and obliging the UK to honour all EU laws and regulations including freedom of movement. At the end of the two years the UK is unlikely to have an agreement which will effect Brexit .
The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties gives the UK ample grounds for repudiating all EU Treaty obligations on the grounds of bad faith by the other treaty members and the failure to apply the rules of the EU, for example, the repeated failure to produce accounts which satisfy the auditors, the multiple breaches of Eurozone rules and the failure to enforce government aid rules against the likes of Germany, France and Italy – see https://englandcalling.wordpress.com/
Click this link to sign the petition:
If the UK is trapped for two years within the EU ( or even longer if all parties agree to extend the negotiating period) a great deal of damage can be inflicted upon the UK by hostile EU member states egged on by the British remainers who have not accepted the referendum result and will do anything to produce a “Brexit” which is no Brexit in anything but name. Consequently our best course of action is for the UK to leave now and trade under WTO rules, a course of action embraced by the likes of Lord Lawson and James Dyson .
Leaving the EU now and trading on WTO rules would have considerable benefits. These are:
If we continue with the two years after the activation of Article 50 that will mean the UK will have paid 33 months worth of contributions to the EU since the referendum.
The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties provides the legal basis for the UK walking away from the EU right now. The relevant passages are these: .
PART III. OBSERVANCE, APPLICATION AND INTERPRETATION OF TREATIES
SECTION 1. OBSERVANCE OF TREATIES
Article 26 “Pacta sunt servanda” Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.
SECTION 3. INTERPRETATION OF TREATIES
Article 31 General rule of interpretation 1. A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.
Article 32 Supplementary means of interpretation Recourse may be had to supplementary means of interpretation, including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion, in order to confirm the meaning resulting from the application of article 31, or to determine the meaning when the interpretation according to article 31: (a) leaves the meaning ambiguous or obscure; or (b) leads to a result which is manifestly absurd or unreasonable.
SECTION 2. INVALIDITY OF TREATIES Article 46 Provisions of internal law regarding competence to conclude treaties
Article 60 Termination or suspension of the operation of a treaty as a consequence of its breach
Article 62 Fundamental change of circumstances
These provisions mean the UK could summarily leave by arguing (1) the EU are not acting in good faith because of the many threats to punish the UK for leaving the EU made by EU functionaries and politicians; (2) that the Treaty leads to a result which is manifestly absurd or unreasonable or (3) that the circumstances which now exist are radically different from what existed when the last EU treaty was signed by the UK (The Lisbon Treaty).
Statements by EU politicians and functionaries that Brexit will be deliberately punitive for the UK to dissuade other members from leaving clearly go against the provisions of Article 50 – see examples at the bottom of this post. Having a provision for leaving in a treaty implies that states leaving according to the provisions of the treaty have a right to leave. Deliberately making leaving very damaging for the leaving member of a treaty nullifies the right to leave. Ergo, that is clear and emphatic bad faith. In this context it is important to understand that the Vienna Convention does not require all parties to a treaty to act in bad faith to nullify a treaty – see section 2 of the Convention quoted above
But it is not only direct threats of penal treatment of the UK which matter when it comes to bad faith. Suppose the EU passed legislation during the negotiating period which placed the UK at a grave disadvantage the UK would still have to implement the legislation regardless of its effects on the UK during the period of negotiation. A good example, would be legislation which would have severe ill effects on the City of London such as a transaction tax.
As for circumstances being radically different take the massive deterioration in economic performance by some Eurozone countries resulting from the actions of the European Central Bank which are arguably directly at odds with the rules of the ECB for managing the Euro. This mismanagement has created severe problems within the EU both in terms of economic instability and the increased tendency of migrants from the suffering countries to move to the richer EU countries including the UK. The failure of the Eurozone to manage its affairs honestly must count for a radical change of circumstances. (The vote by the UK to leave does not count as a radical change of circumstances because it is something engineered by the UK and the Vienna Convention disqualifies such deliberate changes as a cause to repudiate a treaty.)
Even though Article 50 has now been triggered that does not mean the UK could not leave under one or more of the Vienna Convention permitted reasons because any of those reasons and especially that of bad faith could be invoked at any point in the negotiation process.
Examples of EU functionaries and politicians threatening the UK with a damaging Brexit
Here is just a minute sample of the many threats made to the UK about Brexit:
French President Francois Hollande “There must be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price, otherwise we will be in negotiations that will not end well and, inevitably, will have economic and human consequences,” the French president said.
Robert Fico, Slovakia’s prime minister, on Monday said that member states intend to make it “very difficult for the UK” and said Britain is “bluffing” when it says it can get a good Brexit deal.
The British people will be treated as “deserters” following a vote to leave the European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker has warned.
Spain will ‘take control of Gibraltar as soon as Britain leaves EU’ says Spanish Foreign Minister
Wolfgang Schäuble , the German finance minister also said the UK would be forced to pay EU budget bills for more than ten years, echoing proposals for the UK to pay an exit bill of up to £43billion.
Guy Verhofstadt has now said he expects Britain to cough up over £500bn to the European Union as it extricates itself from Brussels.
Former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt claimed Britain will have to foot a €600billion bill before leaving the EU.
MP Party June 23 referendum result
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh SNP 60.7% Remain
Heidi Alexander Labour 64.6% Remain
Rushanara Ali Labour 69.1% Remain
Graham Allen Labour 63.8% Leave
Rosena Allin-Khan Labour 74.7% Remain
Richard Arkless SNP 54.6% Remain
Hannah Bardell SNP 56.2% Remain
Luciana Berger Labour 64.2% Remain
Mhairi Black SNP 65.8% Remain
Ian Blackford SNP 56.6% Remain
Kirsty Blackman SNP 56.9% Remain
Philip Boswell SNP 61.3% Remain
Ben Bradshaw Labour 55.3% Remain
Tom Brake Lib Dem 56.3% Leave
Kevin Brennan Labour 55.2% Remain
Deidre Brock SNP 78.2% Remain
Alan Brown SNP 60.4% Remain
Lyn Brown Labour 52.6% Remain
Chris Bryant Labour 61.2% Leave
Karen Buck Labour 67.0% Remain
Dawn Butler Labour 57.1% Remain
Ruth Cadbury Labour 60.5% Remain
Lisa Cameron SNP 62.0% Remain
Alistair Carmichael Lib Dem 59.7% Remain
Douglas Chapman SNP 60.0% Remain
Joanna Cherry SNP 72.1% Remain
Ken Clarke Conservative 58.7% Remain
Nick Clegg Lib Dem 64.1% Remain
Ann Clwyd Labour 57.0% Leave
Ann Coffey Labour 51.8% Remain
Ronnie Cowan SNP 63.8% Remain
Neil Coyle Labour 73.0% Remain
Angela Crawley SNP 64.5% Remain
Mary Creagh Labour 62.0% Leave
Stella Creasy Labour 63.6% Remain
Martyn Day SNP 58.4% Remain
Thangam Debbonaire Labour 79.3% Remain
Martin Docherty-Hughes SNP 62.0% Remain
Stuart Donaldson SNP 61.4% Remain
Stephen Doughty Labour 55.1% Remain
Jim Dowd Labour 65.5% Remain
Mark Durkan SDLP
Maria Eagle Labour 52.1% Remain
Louise Ellman Labour 73.1% Remain
Paul Farrelly Labour 61.7% Leave
Tim Farron Lib Dem 52.5% Remain
Margaret Ferrier SNP 62.7% Remain
Vicky Foxcroft Labour 75.3% Remain
Mike Gapes Labour 56.1% Remain
Stephen Gethins SNP 61.9% Remain
Patricia Gibson SNP 57.7% Remain
Patrick Grady SNP 78.4% Remain
Peter Grant SNP 53.5% Remain
Neil Gray SNP 59.9% Remain
Lilian Greenwood SDLP
elen Hayes Labour 77.9% Remain
Drew Hendry SNP 58.6% Remain
Sylvia Hermon SDLP
Meg Hillier Labour 77.8% Remain
Stewart Hosie SNP 61.7% Remain
Rupa Huq Labour 71.8% Remain
George Kerevan SNP 64.6% Remain
Calum Kerr SNP 56.8% Remain
Peter Kyle Labour 66.1% Remain
David Lammy Labour 66.6% Remain
Chris Law SNP 58.8% Remain
Caroline Lucas Green 74.3% Remain
Angus MacNeil SNP 55.2% Remain
Rachael Maskell Labour 61.5% Remain
John McNally SNP 58.0% Remain
Kerry McCarthy Labour 53.2% Remain
Stewart McDonald SNP 71.8% Remain
Stuart McDonald SNP 62.1% Remain
Alasdair McDonnell SDLP
Natalie McGarry Independent 56.2% Remain
Catherine McKinnell Labour 57.1% Leave
Anne McLaughlin SNP 59.3% Remain
Carol Monaghan SNP 68.5% Remain
Paul Monaghan SNP 50.6% Remain
Madeleine Moon Labour 50.3% Remain
Roger Mullin SNP 58.3% Remain
Ian Murray Labour 77.8% Remain
Gavin Newlands SNP 63.9% Remain
John Nicolson SNP 73.3% Remain
Brendan O’Hara SNP 60.6% Remain
Sarah Olney Lib Dem 72.3% Remain
Kirsten Oswald SNP 74.3% Remain
Steven Paterson SNP 67.7% Remain
Stephen Pound Labour 51.2% Remain
John Pugh Lib Dem 54.5% Remain
Margaret Ritchie SDLP
Angus Robertson SNP 50.1% Remain
Alex Salmond SNP 55.4% Remain
Liz Saville Roberts Plaid Cymru 51.6% Remain
Virendra Sharma Labour 55.7% Remain
Tommy Sheppard SNP 72.4% Remain
Tulip Siddiq Labour 76.5% Remain
Andy Slaughter Labour 69.0% Remain
Jeff Smith Labour 73.7% Remain
Owen Smith Labour 54.2% Remain
Chris Stephens SNP 59.1% Remain
Jo Stevens Labour 69.6% Remain
Alison Thewliss SNP 71.2% Remain
Michelle Thomson Independent 71.2% Remain
Stephen Timms Labour 53.1% Remain
Mike Weir SNP 51.9% Remain
Catherine West Labour 81.5% Remain
Eilidh Whiteford SNP 54% Leave
Alan Whitehead Labour 50.7% Leave
Philippa Whitford SNP 57.3% Remain
Hywel Williams Plaid Cymru 65.1% Remain
Mark Williams Lib Dem 54.6% Remain
Pete Wishart SNP 59.8% Remain
Daniel Zeichner Labour 73.5% Remain
May’s speech of 17 January 2017 was a classic Theresa May performance , mixing statements somewhere between a boast and a threat to give the idea that the UK would be looking to its own interests first, second and last with suggestions which undermined the Britain First message. Contrary to the many media reports welcoming it as giving clarity it is, with the exception of the Single Market, a speech with a great deal of wriggle room not least over her acceptance of a transitional period and suggestion that the UK should remain attached to some unspecified EU projects. Here is some of the Britain First rhetoric:
“Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out. We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave.
“That means taking control of our own affairs, as those who voted in their millions to leave the European Union demanded we must.
“So we will take back control of our laws and bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.
Leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. And those laws will be interpreted by judges not in Luxembourg but in courts across this country.
“Because we will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws.”
“But I must be clear. Britain wants to remain a good friend and neighbour to Europe. Yet I know there are some voices calling for a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path.
“That would be an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe. And it would not be the act of a friend.
“Britain would not – indeed we could not – accept such an approach. And while I am confident that this scenario need never arise – while I am sure a positive agreement can be reached – I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.”
Balanced against the Britain First rhetoric were statements which directly or by implication undermined the idea that the UK would be truly sovereign. Around a miasma of waffle the details May gave allowed for a large amount of wriggle room. Her “I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain” is meaningless because she has never properly defined what a “bad deal” would be. The only thing which could be said to be certain (in the sense that it was not covered with overt qualifications) is that the UK will not be joining the Single Market. However, even with that seemingly unequivocal statement it is important to understand that the ground which the Single Market covers including freedom of movement could be brought back in part by whatever agreement , if any, is concluded between the UK and the EU.
Remaining attached to the EU
A good example of the lack of clarity is May’s rejection membership of the Customs Union, but leaves the way open for the UK to become a semi detached member: viz:
“…I do not want Britain to be part of the Common Commercial Policy and I do not want us to be bound by the Common External Tariff. These are the elements of the Customs Union that prevent us from striking our own comprehensive trade agreements with other countries. But I do want us to have a customs agreement with the EU.
Whether that means we must reach a completely new customs agreement, become an associate member of the Customs Union in some way, or remain a signatory to some elements of it, I hold no preconceived position. I have an open mind on how we do it. It is not the means that matter, but the ends.
And those ends are clear: I want to remove as many barriers to trade as possible. And I want Britain to be free to establish our own tariff schedules at the World Trade Organisation, meaning we can reach new trade agreements not just with the European Union but with old friends and new allies from outside Europe too.”
May also wants to keep open the possibility of the UK continuing to contribute money to EU programmes, viz:
“…because we will no longer be members of the Single Market, we will not be required to contribute huge sums to the EU budget. There may be some specific European programmes in which we might want to participate. If so, and this will be for us to decide, it is reasonable that we should make an appropriate contribution. But the principle is clear: the days of Britain making vast contributions to the European Union every year will end.
“…we will also welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research, and technology initiatives.”
“With the threats to our common security becoming more serious, our response cannot be to cooperate with one another less, but to work together more. I therefore want our future relationship with the European Union to include practical arrangements on matters of law enforcement and the sharing of intelligence material with our EU allies.
Then there is immigration, viz:
“Britain is an open and tolerant country. We will always want immigration, especially high-skilled immigration, we will always want immigration from Europe, and we will always welcome individual migrants as friends. But the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver.
“Fairness demands that we deal with another issue as soon as possible too. We want to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain, and the rights of British nationals in other member states, as early as we can.
“I have told other EU leaders that we could give people the certainty they want straight away, and reach such a deal now. “
This is a woolly commitment which could mean virtually anything as to how many EEA migrants could come to the UK, both skilled and unskilled. Large numbers of skilled people will give British employers no incentive to train our own people and the fact May does not rule out unskilled or low skilled workers suggests there will be large numbers of these.
As for the position of UK nationals living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK , if an agreement is made to simply guarantee the rights of UK nationals and EU citizens in the countries which they are living, then the UK will be losers because the benefits which most countries within the EU offer are much less generous than those offered in the UK to EU citizens. Health service provision is the outstanding example of this. There is also the question of how honest each EU country will be when it comes to allowing UK nationals access to their benefits after Brexit. For some years there have been reports of the Spanish making access to their health services by UK nationals difficult and since the British vote to leave the EU Spain has been trying to get the UK to pay the medical costs of UK nationals living in Spain. .
Perhaps most immediately disturbing is May’s commitment to a transmission period with different periods of transition, vz:.
“I want us to have reached an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two-year Article Fifty process has concluded. From that point onwards, we believe a phased process of implementation, in which both Britain and the EU institutions and member states prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us will be in our mutual self-interest. This will give businesses enough time to plan and prepare for those new arrangements.
This might be about our immigration controls, customs systems or the way in which we cooperate on criminal justice matters. Or it might be about the future legal and regulatory framework for financial services. For each issue, the time we need to phase-in the new arrangements may differ. Some might be introduced very quickly, some might take longer. And the interim arrangements we rely upon are likely to be a matter of negotiation.
But the purpose is clear: we will seek to avoid a disruptive cliff-edge, and we will do everything we can to phase in the new arrangements we require as Britain and the EU move towards our new partnership.”
Any of the items mention under the heading of Remaining attached to the EU might have a specious rationality about them, but they all offer considerable opportunities to prevent a genuine Brexit simply by their multiplicity.
May made this commitment:
“I look forward to working with the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole of the United Kingdom.
“Part of that will mean working very carefully to ensure that – as powers are repatriated from Brussels back to Britain – the right powers are returned to Westminster, and the right powers are passed to the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“So we will work to deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic, while protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom’s immigration system.
“Nobody wants to return to the borders of the past, so we will make it a priority to deliver a practical solution as soon as we can.”
This could be an excuse for substantial new powers to be given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in an attempt to stifle opposition to the UK withdrawal from the EU. But every time new powers are granted to the devolved administrations this edges them nearer to independence because it prepares them for independence.
The Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland
Independence is a medium to long term problem. The border with the Republic of Ireland (RoI) is an immediate and very serious problem . If the Common Travel Area is retained then the UK will not have control of her borders because anyone wishing to settle in the UK can do so via the ROI.
May will doubtless come up with claims that new surveillance techniques based on computer systems to identify and track migrants working or drawing benefits will substitute for physical border controls, but does anyone have any faith that the British state will have either the resources or the will to identify those working illegally (many will simply work in the black economy) and to deport them?
The lack of a hard border between the RoI and Northern Ireland would also mean that EU goods could be smuggled into the UK if a tariff wall exists between the UK and the EU.
Our Europhile Parliament
But whatever agreement is finally made between the government and the EU it will not be a done deal. Why? Because May revealed that she could “confirm today that the Government will put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and the EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament, before it comes into force.”
By committing to allowing both the Lords and Commons to vote on whatever is agreed she has greatly increased the opportunity for Parliament to either delay or even thwart Brexit altogether. Whether the vote is on a motion or on a Bill either can be amended, so matters could be delayed or sent back to square one not only by a vote against the motion or Bill, but also by amending the motion or Bill to overthrow the terms of the agreement between the Government and the EU .
As the Prime Minister has committed the Government to allowing the Lords and Commons a vote, it would be impossible to meaningfully accuse those in Parliament who voted against the terms of the agreement between the Government and the EU of acting against the will of the people because by agreeing to allowing the Lords and Commons a vote they have accepted that Parliament has the right to refuse or amend the terms agreed with the EU. Not only that it would be politically hideously difficult going on impossible to ensure the Lords voted for whatever terms were put before them by arranging to have hundreds of new peers created who could be trusted to vote for the terms. Not only that, but by agreeing to a vote by the Lords May has given the peers who want to remain in the EU a respectable excuse for going against the referendum result and, if the Commons did vote to agree the terms, of thwarting the Commons as well by delaying matters. The Government could use the Parliament Act to force a Bill through after a year or so but has no power over a defeated motion, so if a motion was rejected a Bill would have to brought forward which would mean further delay. Because of this a Bill is more likely than a motion of both Houses.
There is the further complication of legislation to give legal post-Brexit status to all the EU law which the UK is already committed to – “as we repeal the European Communities Act, we will convert the “acquis” – the body of existing EU law – into British law.”
Presumably this would be legislation separate from any legislation brought forward to allow the Lords and Commons to vote on the terms agreed with the EU. If so that would allow further opportunities for substantial delay. Moreover, if the UK leaves after two years (the period stipulated in Article 50 if the EU does not agree to an extension) without any agreement having been reached between the UK and the EU, the need to pass a Bill making EU derived law UK law would still exist and the opportunities for delay or rejection by one or both of the Houses of Parliament would still be there, arguably in an enhanced form.
As things stand the earliest the UK can escape from the EU will be March 2019. The next General Election is due on 7 May 2020 according to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011. The only ways an election could be called earlier is either two thirds of the House of Commons (that is two thirds of the total number of Commons seats not two thirds of those who vote – 417 seats out of 650) vote for an earlier election or the Government loses a vote of No Confidence. With the present balance of the Commons and the state of disarray in the Parliamentary Labour Party the first option is very unlikely and the second would require the absurdity of Theresa May somehow engineering a vote of confidence against her own government. Hence, either is very unlikely. That would mean that when Parliament gets to vote on whatever agreement is reached by the Government and the EU , even the Lords alone would have the power to delay matters either into the general election or shortly after it.
The political weather might change radically by 2020. It could be that the EU deliberately gives the UK the run around for two years or more and no agreement is reached before March 2019 or one or more of the 27 remaining EU members refuses to ratify the proposed agreement. The UK would then be forced either to leave the EU without an agreement and trade under WTO rules or the UK government under the pressure of time would have to cave in and agreed to very disadvantageous terms for the UK. It could even be that the Government, their backbenchers or the entire Parliament of both Houses will secretly be delighted if the latter happens because it would probably re-attach the UK to the EU it is a way to enable future UK Governments to be able to embed the UK ever more firmly back into the EU. Improbable? Well, remember this, the Government , the Commons and the Lords are strongly in favour of the UK remaining in the EU. The Prime Minister, Chancellor and Home Secretary are all remainers at heart and the Foreign Secretary is a shameless opportunist who would come out for remain at the drop of a hat if he thought it would aid his political career. Not only that but the Civil Service at least at senior levels are also very wedded to the idea of the UK being in the EU.
The idea of leaving and trading under WTO rules until if and when new trade arrangements can be made with the EU is not an unattractive one. The problem is that if it happens in 2019 that will have cost the UK a great deal . If it was done now this would have a number of great advantages. It would immediately bring certainty whereas delaying the UK’s departure until March 2019 or even later will involve a great deal of uncertainty. In addition The UK could stop paying the huge subsidy the EU extracts from the UK each year soon, decide where the money the EU currently returns to the UK with strings attached may be spent, be immediately removed from the reach of the European Court of Justice, be free to make new trade deals with the rest of the world, control immigration from the European Economic Area (EEA) and repeal or amend any of the EU inspired legislation which is on the Statue Book.
If the UK remains entwined within the EU until March 2019, regardless of whether any agreement is reached between the UK and the EU , will have since the vote to leave on 23rd June last year have paid 33 months of the huge annual subsidy to the EU (33 months worth would be around £26 billion), have had to spend the money which the EU currently returns to the UK on what the EU directs it shall be spent on, accept any new EU laws and regulations which cannot be vetoed, remain under the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction and, most importantly , be unable to control immigration from EEA, which if it remains at the level of last year (net EEA immigration to the UK is estimated to be 189,000 in the Year Ending June 2016) would mean around half a million more immigrants by the time the UK leaves the EU (and it could easily be higher as would-be immigrants scramble to get in before the UK’s departs the EU).
The long and the short of the speech is that despite its range of topic May’s speech provided precious little clarity overall about either what the Government will be seeking or what will happen once an agreement is made between the UK and the EU or no agreement is made.
Single Party State Monopoly
A boardgame for four or more players.
The object of the game is to capture all the MSP seats.
Weighted dice ensure SNP always win
Wee Pretendy Parliament Kit
When assembled looks to the casual glance like a real parliament with powers to tax and spend
WARNING Complaints that the tax functions do not work are being investigated
Virtual reality site in which players attempt to be build an independent Scotland
Fiendishly difficult but great for lovers of fantasy
Intriguing puzzle which requires the player to remain part of the EU whilst staying in the UK after Brexit
See how quickly you can make it fit together
Nicola Sturgeon Doll
Whines incessantly when activated
Has a store of hilarious Catch Phrases such as
“Scotland pays its way”; “Scotland would be richer after independence” and “Scotland wants to become independent by being a member of the EU”
Powered by four AA batteries.
Guess the oil tax revenue sweepstake
Players write down what they think will be the oil tax revenue will be in twelve months’ time
Hours of innocent fun
WARNING SNP supporters with bad hearts are advised not to play
Comes complete with plastic figures representing patients, doctors and nurses
WARNING: Due to problems with the finance and the suppliers there are very few doctors and nurses but huge numbers of patients
Just like the real thing
Make your own school exam Grade inflation kit
Too few children are passing exams? No problem. Our grade inflation kit will soon put that right..
Just drop the pass mark and hey presto! the problem vanishes
National Police Jigsaw
The jigsaw contains pieces which represent all the police forces in Scotland that existed until recently. When completed the jigsaw design shows just one national force.
WARNING: ensure the jigsaw is kept in a safe place when finished or it will fall apart.
Independence Referendum Roundabout
Toy roundabout with a selection of figures representing the various parties in Scotland
Once set in motion it continues indefinitely
Made of the finest plastic
Show where your heart lies with a T-Shirt emblazoned at front and back with the Saltire
Made in all sizes
Buy one for the bairns
Become one of Nicola’s Blue and White Shirts
North Sea Oil Money Tree
A popular game with Independence supporters for many years but now rather old hat.
Alex Salmond Jock-in-a Box
A one-time Xmas favourite which has fallen out of favour.
Still amuses small children as he pops up with his catchphrase whine
HURRY HURRY HURRY WHILE THE SCOTCH NUMPTY PARTY LASTS