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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Fear and Failure Will Define Cameron's Premiership:

I can't imagine that it would surprise anyone to learn that David Cameron is a highly enthusiastic supporter of and proactive cheerleader for the economic, socio-political experiment that we all refer to as the European Union, although to be fair, our current Prime Minister has never pretended to be anything else but an avid Europhile.
 
However, the unofficial disclosure this week that Mr Cameron's entire EU referendum strategy will be based around his creating a fear factor about a potential British withdrawal from the EU, as opposed to him being able to announce that he had successfully wrung a host of meaningful concessions from our European partners, is disappointing to say the least, but not at all surprising, when one considers his previous history on other such vitally important matters.
 
After all, this is the same David Cameron who has only recently won a general election on the back of an almost wholly negative election campaign, which saw him and his party scare the living daylights out of the English electorate, at the prospect of a Labour government being held hostage by fifty-odd Scottish National Party MPs. The same David Cameron who used a similar message of potential economic ruin to fatally undermine the SNP's own Independence referendum campaign; and the same David Cameron who has consistently warned that the UK will go to economic hell in a rickety handcart unless he's allowed to impose the most swingeing sort of public sector cuts on the neediest of our nation's citizens.
 
This is the David Cameron who promoted the idea of the Big Society, as a means of having everyday civic-minded people carry out some vital public services for free, thereby allowing his government to reduce public expenditure on them, thus mitigating the inevitable loss of services to their local communities. At the same time, this is also the David Cameron who introduced the Bedroom Tax, which was purportedly intended to help reorganise social housing stocks to help alleviate shortages within the market caused by under-occupancy of larger properties by single person households. Unfortunately, as with so many of Mr Cameron's big ideas, not only was the Bedroom Tax generally unsuccessful in releasing large numbers of bigger homes into the market, but where such downsizing did occur it often came with an additional cost to the public purse, thus defeating the entire object of the exercise.
 
One only has to look at the outcome resulting from David Cameron's more recent Help To Buy scheme, which although laudable, has achieved little, other than to further limit accessibility to the housing market and increase the personal indebtedness of those few participants who could afford to apply for inclusion in the scheme. With the odd few exceptions, house prices in the UK have been steadily increasing month on month, thereby putting home ownership out of the reach of an increasing number of first-time buyers, whether the Help To Buy scheme applies or not. With fewer people able to get on the property ladder due to rising prices, it is almost inevitable that most properties will eventually be sold for use in the rental market, which in turn will force up rental costs, which then in turn has an adverse effect on housing and council tax benefit claims, thereby making the entire strategy yet another Cameron failure.
 
It is hardly rocket science to recognise that low paid, part-time jobs will almost inevitably have a largely negative effect on the public purse, if only because they don't generate tax, or more likely that low wage workers will inevitably be entitled to child tax credits, working tax credits, council tax and/or housing benefits, all of which help raise the country's overall welfare spending yet again. When one considers then that David Cameron and his party were elected to address such public expenditure issues, the almost incalculable national debt and the escalating deficit, just how many voters realised that it was his own party's drive for austerity that was inadvertently causing a major part of the problem, by effectively subsidising low wage employers, who get a cheap workforce at the governments, or more crucially at the taxpayers expense?
 
In a similar fashion, hasn't David Cameron's decision to triple student tuition fees simply helped to fuel the level of debt that he and his Conservative colleagues profess to despise and that they've vowed to eliminate by cutting back on the most vitally needed public services?  Notwithstanding the millions of pounds that are doubtless lost to overseas students who skip the country leaving their debts behind (£43 million, at the last count), or the foreign governments who refuse to repay what their nationals owe the British Exchequer, what about the billions in home grown debt that our native students have amassed and that will almost certainly never be repaid. If 40-50 or even 60% of students are unable to repay some or all of their £30,000+ debts, then what happens then? Assuming they don't generate a salary that allows them to repay their debts, then it doesn't seem likely that they'll ever afford a mortgage either; and even if they do, will they be continually hounded by the government, or more likely by debt collectors until such time as their tuition fees debt is settled in full?
 
Clearly, the colleges and universities who are being paid the student fees are doing very nicely out of the deal, allowing them to expand, buy up local housing stock, build new accommodation blocks and campuses, as well as pay very good rates of pay to their teaching staff, but does anyone else actually benefit from the scheme? The students certainly don't, as they end up carrying high levels of debt almost as soon as they leave full-time education. The taxpayer doesn't benefit, as they're unlikely to see any meaningful return on their investment anyway, as it's all part of overall government spending. Local homeowners or homebuyers won't see a major benefit, other than to see their local housing stocks either being devalued by high volumes of student accommodation, or conversely being priced out of the local market by cash rich colleges or universities that are greedy to acquire more student housing. 
 
Moving on though. Let us not forget that this is the same David Cameron who has personally overseen the reduction and under-funding of our country's armed forces since 2010, at exactly the time that their numbers, their expertise, their professionalism and their equipping is most badly needed by the UK, bearing in mind the dangers that we face in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. This is the same David Cameron who authorised the destruction of billions of pounds worth of RAF reconnaissance aircraft, only then to have countless Russian warplanes and submarines begin testing our international borders. The same David Cameron who was subsequently forced to ask our NATO allies if we could borrow their surveillance assets in order to counter these overt Russian incursions.
 
This will be the same David Cameron who has placed his own personal political legacy above the rights and needs of his own country's people, by insisting that the UK gives away 0.7% of its GDP in Foreign Aid, monies that are too often being borrowed from the markets and on which interest is being paid. This is the David Cameron that has committed the country to paying out monies that it doesn't actually have and that no other developed nation currently matches, purely in an act of personal political vanity that benefits the few, rather than the many. No doubt it will be reassuring for most British taxpayers to know that their hard earned monies are being used to buy weapons, to build luxurious presidential palaces, to purchase executive jets, to build roads that don't actually go anywhere, to fund aspiring foreign pop groups, or for tens of millions of pounds to simply be deposited in secretive bank accounts?
 
It's also worth remembering of course that this is the same David Cameron who authorised the bombing of Libya and through that military action the removal of Colonel Gadaffi, which in turn has resulted in the almost complete breakdown of law and order in that pivotal country. So, rather than bringing peace, stability or any other recognisable form of democratic government to that troubled country, Mr Cameron's ill-advised military adventure has caused a fracturing of that state, thereby allowing various criminal gangs, Al Qaeda, IS and any number of individual tribal groups to seize control of various areas. Little wonder then that David Cameron and other European leaders are now having to deal with an almost biblical refugee crisis in the Mediterranean that the likes of Italy, France and the UK helped to create in the first place.
 
Related to this same military adventurism, in the past few days we have all watched aghast as up to 30 of our fellow citizens have been mercilessly slaughtered while they were on holiday in the Tunisian resort of Sousse, apparently at the hands of a local follower of Islamic State. Certainly, this brutal terrorist group, based around the Syrian city of Raqqa, have claimed responsibility for the bloody outrage; and may in fact have played some part in providing the perpetrator with weapons or logistical support. In response, David Cameron has declared that western democracies are "at war" with this particular Islamic death cult, yet all that he seems to offer in response to their murderous outrage is words.
 
There was a time when a militarily strong Britain would have responded to such an outrage with a show of martial strength, an "eye for an eye", if you will, against those who claimed to have carried out the bloody act, just as the kingdom of Jordan did, when one of its pilots was murdered by IS. One cannot imagine that the likes of Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, or any of those other neighbouring Arab states would have simply offered reassuring words as a national response to such an unwarranted assault on their citizens, but in all likelihood they would have had military assets in the air within hours of such an atrocity taking place.
 
But then again, it's worth remembering that this is David Cameron we're talking about, a politician whose personal and political judgement is about as flawed as it can possibly be. After all, this is the man who has helped undermine our fighting forces, at exactly the moments that we require them to be strong. A man whose own economic thinking is highly questionable at best; and who would put the financial interest of anonymous foreigners above those of his own people. A man who would attempt to undermine the sanctity and status of a traditional heterosexual relationship within society by enacting legislation over the heads of the majority of the British public. A man, who through his own weakness and prevarication will almost certainly be responsible for the end of a 300 year social, political and economic union that was once the envy of the world.
 
Although it's probably true to say that David Cameron is a thoroughly decent man, husband and father, one suspects that just like his political predecessors William Hague, Michael Howard, John Major and Iain Duncan Smith, British history will not reflect well on his time as Conservative party leader, if only because he single-handedly managed to annoy as many party members as he managed to please. Along with his Prime Ministerial predecessors, John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown it seems highly unlikely that history will recall him as some great political colossus striding across the world stage, but probably more like an irritating minor player who came, who saw, who tinkered about, who fucked things up and who left!  

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Europhiles Create And Inhabit Their Own Little World:

There seems to be a common myth that those of us who are fundamentally opposed to our continued membership of the European Union, do so because we are afraid of the bigger world outside of our own national borders and that we are somehow incapable or unwilling to accept that the wider world has fundamentally moved on from the period when Britain still had a vast territorial Empire that stretched across the world; and on which the sun never set. And so the same argument goes, Britain's Eurosceptics are not only insular, but also isolationists, who would quite happily turn our backs on all of the benefits that a truly globalised economy might bring to our country, in return for living in a Britain that resembles the best bits of the 1950's and 60's.
 
It's all stuff and nonsense of course, as that presupposes we'd all like to be living without our improved standards of living, our coloured televisions, personal computers, tablet devices and mobile phones, which of course we wouldn't. The very idea that those of us, who are opposed to the concept of a European political union, have some sort of rose-tinted view of Britain prior to us joining the Common Market, is not only ridiculous, but patently untrue.
 
Britain during the 1970's was often a pretty grim place to be, what with a massive decline in our industrial base, high unemployment, rampant inflation, power cuts and wildcat trade union strikes virtually every other week, all of which contributed to us being seen as the "sick man of Europe". However, let's not be completely misled about this, even though our entry into what was then known as the European Economic Community undoubtedly helped to stabilise and regenerate certain areas of our national economy, through the various trade mechanisms, ultimately it was sovereign British governments and not the foreign based EEC, that resolved most of the social, economic and industrial ills that were blighting the country at the time.
 
Even though you can continue to argue indefinitely about the causes of Britain's industrial decline, whether or not it was the bosses or the unionised workers who ultimately brought  about industrial ruin, either way, the almost wholesale de-industrialisation of Britain was carried out by a sovereign British parliament, albeit in conjunction and with financial aid from the EEC. Similarly, virtually all of the Trade Unions legislation enacted to limit the immense financial and  human power of unionised labour in the UK was also initiated by a sovereign British parliament, elected by the British people to both regulate and restrict the enormous social, economic and industrial influence of the Trade Unions Movement.
 
The point is that the EEC was never in any way responsible for fixing the multitude of social, economic and industrial problems that were affecting Britain during the 1970's despite what the most avid supporters of the European Union might choose to claim. Most of this country's ills were in fact "fixed" by a strong and independent sovereign British parliament, which consisted of elected British representatives who were finally prepared to bring the full force of their executive powers to bear, in order to fix an assortment of social, economic and industrial issues that had been allowed to fester for so long, that they were in danger of destroying the entire country. Let's not forget that Britain joined the EEC in 1973, had a referendum on our continuing membership in 1975 and yet large-scale industrial disputes were still raging in 1984/5, some ten years after we had first joined the supposed customs union, so any claim that the EEC/EU has been responsible for bringing peace, love, stability or even prosperity in its immediate wake is fanciful at best.
 
One of the other great myths surrounding our membership of the EEC/EU is that the other 27 member states have not, would not and will not continue to trade with Britain, were we to put ourselves outside of the customs union by deliberately leaving the club. Then of course there's the added threat to the estimated two millions British ex-pats who live, work, or who have retired to other member states, whose entire position would be brought into question were the UK to willingly withdraw from its membership of the EEC/EU. Clearly, to follow the EU supporters argument to its logical conclusion then, prior to 1973, Britain didn't trade with the likes of France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands or Portugal, we didn't sell anything to them and they didn't sell anything to us? In a similar fashion, prior to 1973, there were no Britons living, working or safely retired to any of those European nations, nor were there any French, Germans, Belgians, Italians, Spaniards, Greeks, Dutchmen or Portuguese living, working, or safely retired to the UK?
 
Now I could be wrong, but I rather suspect that foreigners of all descriptions and nationalities have been living, working and residing in the various countries of the European Union for hundreds of years, without the need for a treaty or binding agreement to allow them to do so. Likewise, Britain and most other major European states have been happily trading goods with one another for hundreds, if not thousands of years, yet still didn't need an overarching or restrictive international treaty to allow them to do so. Ancient Britain was known to be trading with a number of Scandinavian and Mediterranean countries prior to the Roman invasion of Britain in the first century; and yet we managed to do that without the so-called "benefits" that are attached to our membership of the modern day EU. Fundamentally, people deal with people, trader deals with trader, countries deal with other countries, very often without a single word being written down on paper, let alone the tens of millions of words that the various EU treaties have involved.
 
The very idea that German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish or any other foreign consumers or manufacturer would refuse to continue purchasing British made goods, just because they happened to originate from outside of the European Union's self imposed tariff boundary is quite frankly ridiculous, given that we all continue to consume American, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Taiwanese made products every single day. After all, it's not even as if British manufacturers and producers are regularly supplying the sort of cheap tat, that might be produced elsewhere in the world, but for the most part are actually supplying the sorts of high-end luxury items that Britain is renowned for. British exports, be they financial, industrial, agricultural, aeronautical, automotive, fashion or petrochemical are generally some of the very best products in the world, so the claim that global consumers would simply stop buying them, just because Britain was no longer in the EU is an infantile suggestion.
 
As for Britain's global influence being diminished by an EU exit, well that's yet another myth perpetrated by those pro-EU'ers who would have us stay shackled to the project regardless of any disaster that might befall it, now or in the future. Unfortunately, it gets very tiresome having to endlessly repeat the facts that Britain is not only one of the largest economies on the planet, but also has some of the best funded and militarily capable armed forces in the world. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has been a founding member of virtually all of the world's most important international organisations, has a diplomatic network built up over decades and is a central member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It can boast historic links to virtually every continent on the globe and enjoys healthy diplomatic and trade relationships with nearly every nation of the English speaking world, so quite how anyone can suggest that Britain lacks global influence, let alone requires our membership of the European Union to somehow bolster it, is just beyond parody.
 
The truth is of course that those who would caution us against withdrawal from the EU are the real isolationists, the real Little Europeans, who would have us turn our face against the wider world, to concentrate instead on reserving our place in the limited, finite marketplace that is western continental Europe. They would have us settle for a potential market of 500 million people, rather than the billions of potential consumers who inhabit other parts of the world, many of whom reside in the newly emerging markets in China, India, Russia and South America. Why on earth would we want to cut ourselves off from the billions of people in these regions, simply to concentrate on the millions who happen to live within the artificially created borders of the European Union?
 
Might it be because it is the Little Europeans themselves who lack the confidence, the foresight, the confidence to strike out into the big wide world; and it is actually they who are busily looking back to a world of the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's, when the idea of a single unified Europe was being set against an almost common memory of a devastating military conflict. Is it also perhaps that the likes of Kenneth Clarke, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Jean Claude Junker, Angela Merkel and all of those others Europhiles who would have us become good "Europeans" are just small men and women trying to inflate their own personal egos and political legacies, by creating what is in effect their own small pond, in which they can appear to be much, much bigger? There is an argument to be made therefore that if anyone is turning their backs on the wider world, it is the likes of Kenneth Clarke, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and their associated Europhile followers, the very people who will campaign for the UK to say YES to remaining as a member of that same backward looking, insular, isolationist and anti-global customs union.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Cameron's Negotiations Are Simply A Charade:

I'm sure that it's not just me, who can see the yawning chasm that exists between what Prime Minister Cameron will actually demand from his European counterparts; and what most British citizens would like to see him deliver, when it comes to renegotiating the specific terms of our EU membership prior to the European referendum that will be held in 2016 or 2017.
 
This after all, is the same Prime Minister who came perilously close to losing the Scottish Independence Referendum, which would have seen the 300-year-old union between England and Scotland finally broken and that ultimately resulted in Mr Cameron being forced to offer the Scottish Nationalists the sort of concessions that they once could have only dreamed of. But then that's what you can expect to happen when you have an inexperienced British Prime Minister who not only lacks real political gravitas, but is also missing the sort of patriotic fervour that one might reasonably expect to be a basic requirement for that particular office of state.
 
Clearly though, Cameron has absolutely no intention of demanding that Britain should regain its historically sovereign right to control its national borders, in order to counter the huge influx or migrant workers that have inundated the country over the course of the past 20 years, as for him to do so, would directly contradict one of the European Union's founding principles, that being the free movement of labour.
 
Given that the European Union's existence is almost entirely founded on the basis of its four key pillars, the free movement of people (ie: workers/labour), goods, services and capital, there is little or no likelihood that any of the other member states are going to be inclined to allow Mr Cameron to reinstate the sorts of border controls that existed in Britain before 1973. For them to do so, would not only undermine the very principles of the EU itself, but also for one or two of the community's generally poorer states, it would almost certainly prove to disadvantageous, as their more needier citizens would immediately be denied access to jobs in one of the Union's wealthier states.
 
Although it's been said before on numerous occasions and with good reason, it is perhaps worth reiterating the point that Prime Minister Cameron is, was and will always remain a committed Europhile, presumably because he takes the personal view that Britain is bigger, better and more influential within the bloc, than it would be outside. Whether or not that's true surely depends on your personal viewpoint and whether or not you believe that Britain in the 21st century is completely incapable of managing its own national and international affairs, in terms of its trade, finance, welfare, social services, diplomatic relations, energy, education, transport, industrial manufacturing, immigration, agriculture or fishing. After all, it's worth recalling that prior to our accession to the European Economic Community in 1973 we had managed all of these various national competencies quite well; and although we'd had various hiccups along the way, successive sovereign British parliaments had done a pretty good job of running the country for hundreds of years, prior to the EEC/EU being created.
 
Evidently though Prime Minister Cameron and many of his parliamentary colleagues, on both sides of the chamber, now seem to believe that they themselves are totally incapable of running our country and would much rather hand many of those same vital responsibilities over to un-elected foreign officials and administrators in Brussels and Strasbourg. Which sort of begs the question, just what do we need Mister Cameron and the rest of his parliamentary colleagues for, if our country's major areas of responsibility are actually being decided by foreign officials, administrators and representatives based in Strasbourg and Brussels?
 
Anyhow, to get back to the subject of Prime Minister Cameron's so-called EU renegotiations that have been much talked and speculated about in the British media recently. Given his full and unwavering personal support for the European project generally, any hopes that Prime Minister Cameron might genuinely attempt to reform the EU, let alone consider taking the UK out of the Union, were always likely to prove difficult, if not impossible, for him to contemplate. Despite his public rhetoric regarding the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have arrived in this country during every year of his premiership, in common with his predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Cameron almost certainly regards these extraordinary migration figures as a price worth paying for our continued membership of the EU.
 
However, in order to continue the pretence of being the UK's most pragmatic Eurosceptic Prime Minister and supposedly putting the needs of our country before all else, he has currently invented a wholly deceitful strategy of trying to convince British voters that the only meaningful way of controlling the high levels of immigration into the UK, is by reducing or eradicating the single greatest "drag factor", which in his opinion is the various Welfare Benefit Payments available to all workers in Britain, foreign or domestic. By removing the rights of migrant workers to receive such mandatory benefits for a period of at least four years, Mr Cameron hopes that this measure alone will result in the number of migrants coming to the UK each year falling from the hundreds of thousands that it is now, to the tens of thousands that he previously hoped to achieve several years ago.
 
Of course his strategy overlooks several important factors, not least of which is that the new Welfare rules that Prime Minister Cameron would need to introduce, in order to prevent any new migrants from receiving such UK based entitlements, would almost certainly be found to be discriminatory by the courts. Although today, the European Union has found that Germany is perfectly entitled to withhold benefit payments from new migrant workers for up to a period of three months, that is entirely different to the British proposal to withhold payments for up to a period of forty-eight months, which some foreign workers might argue is both unreasonable and discriminatory.
 
And even then Cameron's suggested course of action pre-supposes that the vast majority of migrant workers are entirely driven by a desire to access the UK's generous benefit system, when most pro-European pressure groups will tell you that isn't the case at all. Not forgetting the fact that vast numbers of newly arriving migrant workers are from relatively poor areas of the world, be that Eastern Europe, or the Indian Subcontinent, then logic would tend to suggest that even a basic pay packet in the UK is going to be far more than they could earn in their home countries, so financial "drag factors" would still exist, whether they're accessing the British benefits system or not.
 
Obviously those migrants who are intent on exploiting the UK's fairly generous welfare system might well find such sources unavailable to them for a period of time, be that three months or four years, but either way, their mere presence in the UK will still allow them unfettered access to our health and education services, our social services, food banks, charitable institutions, legal services, housing stocks and at least some form of living expenses, so what sort of loss are they really suffering, were Prime Minister Cameron to get his way in Europe?
 
The reality of course, is that Cameron's proposed measures are simply window dressing to try and convince the British public that he is being tough on Europe, tough on migration and in touch with the millions of British voters who are rightly concerned about the numbers of foreign migrants who are inundating the country every year, with a further three million expected by 2020. In truth however, Prime Minister Cameron is not only being weak with Europe, by asking for virtually nothing in his purported renegotiation with them, but is also being dishonest with the British public, by promising them reductions in immigration numbers that will almost certainly never be achieved, simply because of the free movement of labour that is integral to the entire European project. It is only by renegotiating or completely rejecting that particular treaty clause that Britain and Prime Minister Cameron can ever hope to genuinely limit the numbers of people arriving here every day; and Cameron loves Europe far too much, to ever do that.
 
In bringing this specific post to an end, it is also worth pointing out yet again that controlling our national borders and the numbers of strangers who cross them every single day, is only one particular aspect of our current EU dilemma; and even if Prime Minister Cameron were to solve that (which he can't and he won't), there would still be plenty of other problems to resolve. The immigration issue is just one of many national competencies that successive British Prime Ministers have handed control of to Europe; and if that were ever settled to our satisfaction, there would still be the question of the others, including our trade, finance, welfare, justice, social services, diplomatic relations, energy, education, transport, industrial manufacturing, agriculture and fishing, to name just a few.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Human Rights: Making A Mockery Of The Law

Perhaps it's only the practice of so-called advanced western nations, to continually tinker with their legal statutes to such a degree that almost inevitably they end up with a legal system that is not only completely unfit for purpose, but ultimately acts as a direct impediment to the equitable dispensation of justice for all of its citizens. If, as they old saying goes, "the law is an Ass", in that it can be asinine, obstinate, stupid and often unjustified, then that it because it has been made that way, or at least interpreted in that way, by those individuals who practice it, the judges and lawyers who are employed within our various judicial systems.
 
The law, Common or otherwise, is thought to have been founded on the basis of plain common sense, traditional practice, historical precedent and cultural norms, thereby offering the people who were governed by such laws the security of knowing that a full set of often rigid legal rules were in place when it came to issues like criminal behaviour, property rights, personal ownership and a wider adherence to a range of mutually accepted social customs. The Magna Carta of 1215 was said to have consolidated and confirmed the most important aspects of England's historic Common Laws within its text; and in a similar way was subsequently reported to have been used as the legal basis for many of the legal statutes that have followed on from its sealing by King John at Runnymede.
 
Even though Magna Carta is commonly regarded either as part of an uncodified constitution, or simply as a legal charter guaranteeing the rights of the nobility from the unreasonable demands of a monarch, most legal experts now agree that the charter itself has little or no judicial relevance, as most of its terms have subsequently been repealed, after having been overtaken by later modern precedents. In addition to Magna Carta, a number of other statutes were introduced to protect the rights of individual citizens, including the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus Act 1679, as well as the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949. These in their turn have in whole, or in part, been replaced by the terms of the European Human Rights Act, which was initially drawn up following the humanitarian outrages of the Second World War; and that the Labour government of Tony Blair finally incorporated into British law in 1998.
 
Clearly, whilst no right-thinking person could reasonably object to having a common set of rules that protect the life and liberty of individual citizens, regardless of where they happen to live within continental Europe, as with any legal system driven almost entirely by legal precedent, opinion or interpretation, especially one incorporating 28 disparate states and 500 million individual people, there are going to be problems. What might be traditional, or customary in one European country, may not be so in another, given that most modern European states have historically developed their legal systems from a combination of Roman Law and their own unique civil legislation, while for their part England and Wales have traditionally used English Common Law as a means of regulating their societies.
 
According to most UK commentators, the principal reason behind Britain's adoption into law of the European Human Rights Act, was not that its citizens were without such legal protections, but rather that the decision was intended to speed up and offer greater accessibility to those claimants who wished to pursue justice under the terms of the relevant human rights legislation. Where previously claimants had been forced to take their cases to the European Court in Strasbourg, a lengthy and expensive route, it was intended that such claimants could pursue their claims through the English Judicial System, which was now required to be mindful of rulings previously made by the European Courts of Justice in Strasbourg. That is NOT to say and neither was it initially intended that British courts would automatically defer to the ECJ when it came to handing down justice, although that is exactly what has happened over time, British courts and judges have either deliberately or mistakenly handed primacy of Human Rights legislation to a foreign court.
 
Unfortunately, as is often thought to be the case in a number of foreign countries, possibly most notably in the United States, the previously impartial judicial systems have allowed themselves to become increasingly politicised by members of various ruling Executives, often at the direct behest of un-elected special advisers, focus groups and special interest minorities. Where most citizens of a nation would happily accept that "the law" that they live by, should be a living, breathing thing, in that it's accessible, understandable, equitable and adaptive, all too often nowadays political appointees are being used to both interpret and manipulate the laws that we live by, not for the betterment of society as a whole, but rather in pursuit of their own, or someone else' particular ideology, be that legal, social, economic or political.
 
One only has to look at some of the absolutely bizarre and outrageous judgements that have been handed down by British judges in court cases involving the European Convention on Human Rights. Where once the "rights" of the "victim" would have taken precedent over any perceived rights of the perpetrator, which common sense would dictate were abandoned at the outset of their own criminal actions, now it seems that the perpetrators "rights" to a family life, to legal protection under the law, are not only paramount, but sometimes outweigh the rights of their victims, the wholly innocent people who had committed no wrongdoing, but who have suffered as the result of someone else's?
 
Common sense would suggest that someone who enters our country illegally has through their own actions put themselves outside of the law, so just why should they enjoy the protections of our legal system, when they are content to ignore it in the first place? If the basic argument that "ignorance of the law is no defence" holds true, then how does someone having unlawful sexual relations with an underage girl escape a custodial sentence? Where is the common sense in allowing a violent foreign offender to remain in our country, even though he has no real right to do so, other than the most spurious excuse brought under the terms of the HRA? Just how does any migrant make a legitimate claim for asylum in the UK, when often they have previously travelled through any number of "safe" western countries in order to get here?
 
Yet again it seems that Prime Minister David Cameron will attempt to renege on the electoral promises that he made to the British people, this time on his pledge to replace the Human Rights Act with a much more reasonable and manageable British Bill of Rights, although given that such civil rights already existed prior to 1998, it rather begs the question, is such a replacement really necessary at all? Clearly alarmed by the public outrage expressed by a handful of human right's activists, celebrities, human right's lawyers and a few backbench MP's, it seems that Mr Cameron would rather our judicial system remain an international  mockery than actually take the politically uncomfortable decision necessary to redress the balance in our courts, by actually returning legal primacy from Strasbourg to Britain itself.
 
Britain has an extensive and extremely proud heritage when it comes to making laws that people can live by, both at home and on the international stage. It's worth remembering that Britain was one of the principal powers behind the creation of the charter of European Human Rights and is a signatory to virtually all of the international treaties that guarantee people protection under the law. British laws have been the basis for all of the world's great democracies, including America, India, Canada, Australia and all of the Commonwealth nations that continue to exist today, so for anyone to suggest, let alone a member of the United Nations, that Britain risks becoming a "Nazi" state, simply because it might choose to regain primacy over its own Human Rights legislation, is not only absurd, but is downright insulting.
 
Native Britons were being accorded their freedoms and rights long before many of today's international states even existed and certainly long before the United Nations and the European Union were even founded, so I'm not sure we need to be taking lessons from anyone about how to protect the individual human rights of our citizens, not even the European Courts of Justice in Strasbourg!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Saying "No" To The EU Is The Right Thing To Do:

So, David Cameron and his new Conservative government have finally come clean about the actual wording of the question that they intend to put to the British electorate with regard to our country's continuing membership of the European Union, which is scheduled to take place before the end of 2017.
 
“Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?” is the question to be posed to the British people, ostensibly in the hope that most will support an affirmative response, simply because that's human nature; and it's what we're instinctively programmed to do. Because most, though not all of us, are naturally predisposed to take the easiest and most positive option whenever we're offered a variety of choices, especially ones where the potential outcomes may be difficult, uncertain or unknown, it can hardly be a huge surprise to anyone that Prime Minister Cameron has opted to make the "YES" vote, a choice of doing nothing, whilst the "NO" vote becomes a choice of doing something.
 
Of course, doing nothing, or simply voting "YES" to the question being posed, will offer some degree of security to those millions of British citizens who are rightly concerned about their jobs, their incomes, their vital services, or even their basic ability to travel abroad. After all, why change something that they've grown accustomed to, that on the face of it has little immediate impact on their daily lives, or that is somehow inevitable anyway? Why risk everything they have, everything they know and everything they take for granted, just on the off-chance that things might be better, if they were to gamble what they know they have at present, for what they might have in the future, assuming of course that everything goes to plan? Given those two differing choices, perhaps it is little wonder that as a rule, people tend to stick with the status quo, opt to do nothing; and in this particular case probably vote "YES" for the UK to remain as a member of the European Union, despite any individual misgivings they might continue to have about the European project generally.
 
At the same time, it will be incredibly difficult for any "NO" campaign to try and persuade these very same millions of British voters to actively "do something" about our country's continued EU membership, when all they can really promise them is a range of possible outcomes, were Britain and its people brave enough to free themselves from the social, economic and legal entanglements that have emerged from Brussels and Strasbourg over the past forty years or so. It would be no mean feat to try and turn back the clock, to a point where Britain first agreed to join a simple European trade bloc, rather than the supranational political union that the EU has since become.
 
Could it be done? Could Britain return to being an independent sovereign nation that simply wants to trade with its European neighbours, rather than being socially, economically, politically and legally entangled with them and their monolithic centralised organisation? Common sense would suggest that just as it's taken forty years to stitch the UK and the rest of Europe together, so it would take years to slowly unpick the layers of EU  related legislation that have been woven into Britain's everyday rules and procedures, although that isn't to say that such long term unpicking is impossible. By simply invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, Britain would begin the slow disentanglement of the country from the European Union; and start the formal two-year process of re-establishing a trade-only relationship with our continental neighbours. It isn't hard, it isn't over complicated, but what such a process does require is for a majority of the British electorate to summon up the sort of self-confidence and courage that used to be characteristic of the nation as a whole. 
 
Saying "YES" to our continuing European membership is easy, because it simply requires us to put our fears and concerns ahead of our hopes and our confidence, while saying "NO" to Europe requires us to put our hopes and our confidence ahead of our fears and concerns. Each of us in our turn have to decide whether or not Britain is big enough, brave enough, bold enough, or bright enough to confront the modern world head on and if necessary alone, or do we stay as we are, a much smaller and much diminished nation within a much larger European organisation, thereby leaving ourselves reliant on the likes of Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Poland, etc. for any of our future successes.
 
Speaking only for myself, as and when the UK's EU referendum finally comes around I will be voting "NO" to our continued membership of the European Union, if only because I believe that for us to continue as we are, towards becoming little more than a federal region of a much larger United States of Europe, will ultimately be BAD for Britain and its people.
 
In voting that way, I am saying "YES" to Europe as purely trading partners, but "NO" to the European Union as my system of government. At the same time, I am also saying....
 
NO to foreign rule by a foreign parliament based in Brussels and Strasbourg
 
NO to the usurping of the UK's traditional values, customs and practices by foreign powers
 
NO to the UK subsidising and maintaining wasteful foreign countries and administrations
 
NO to the UK being inundated by hundreds of thousands of foreign workers and migrants
 
NO to the wilful exploitation of our Welfare System by unentitled foreign workers
 
NO to the inexorable undermining of our sovereign state by continental nations
 
NO to the reduction of our nation's diplomatic influence around the globe
 
NO to the restriction of our foreign trade and international treaties by the EU
 
NO to the unlimited interference in our nation's Social, Economic, Legal and Political life
 
NO to the burdensome European regulations that blight our business and commercial sectors
 
NO to the abandonment of UK's traditional global role and its place on international bodies
 
NO to the EU policy of "Ever Closer Union" and deeper European integration
 
NO to EU interference in the internal electoral processes of individual nation states
 
NO to EU's revisionist agenda regarding the history of the European continent
 
NO to the expansionism of the European Union project into Eastern Europe
 
NO to the very idea of a single integrated European Union Army
 
NO to EU control of our national energy markets and other vital infrastructure
 
NO to the widespread sell-off of our vital services to foreign firms under via TTIP

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Will Britain Choose To Remain A Cheap EU Whore?

Although the idea of whoring oneself is generally used in an entirely sexual context, in a much broader sense it could just as easily refer to the idea of an individual, or a group of individuals, selling their bodies, their integrity, their rights, their principles, or indeed their very freedoms, for a given price. It doesn't necessarily have to be a fair price, just one that the individual person, or the particular group of people are content to sell their bodies, integrity, rights, principles or freedoms for, while still being able to convince themselves that they've somehow still got the best end of the bargain.
 
With David Cameron and his Conservative colleagues planning to start the difficult journey to our long promised EU Referendum in 2017, so the cheapest possible price tag for the right sort of outcome is currently being decided by the various parties. It's important to note here, that even though the British people will ultimately make the final decision in 2017, they will play little or no part in setting the price of our continued EU membership, or not, as the case may be, as they themselves are simply the prize that will be awarded to the eventual winner of the ongoing European argument.
 
On the one side of the campaign we have the very much larger party of "IN", which includes the majority of the political establishment, large numbers of heavily invested publicly and privately owned businesses, much of the mainstream media, and the European Union itself, which will be ably supported by any number of foreign leaders, dignitaries and its army of well paid, highly motivated political advisers.
 
On the other side of the argument will be the much smaller "OUT" party, a rag-tag army of Eurosceptics drawn from the entire political spectrum, who have been variously described as fruitcakes, loons, gadflies and Little Englanders, such is their resistance to Britain's continued membership of the European Union.
 
And whilst they have significant support for their cause amongst the general population, small business community and even some parts of the press, it is important to recognise that they will almost certainly be outspent, out-briefed, out-campaigned, out-published and even completely out-propagandised by the much wealthier, much more influential and the much scarier prospects that will inevitably be offered up by the political establishment's entire "IN" campaign.
 
However, regardless of the eventual outcome of the referendum in 2016 or 2017, we can all probably be certain of one thing and that is the arguments over our membership of the EU will continue to rage on and on irrespective of how the country actually votes in the national ballot. If the UK decides to remain "IN", then it is almost inevitable that the EU will try to extend its authority even further, giving the "OUT" campaign grounds for demanding yet another vote at some point in the future. If the "OUT" campaign were to win, then every single social, economic or trading setback would be sufficient for the "IN" campaign to demand that a future government reconsider Britain's decision to leave. And of course, these take no account of any dormant Scottish, Welsh or N Irish demands that they be exempt from any subsequent "OUT" vote, as the SNP and Plaid Cymru have already made plain.
 
Such potential future difficulties aside though, ultimately it seems likely that the campaign will continue to be dominated by a variety of discussions, claims and assertions relating to the usual range of subjects including, immigration, trade, governance, national sovereignty, the environment, finance, economic planning, education, welfare, transport, energy, defence, foreign affairs, consumer rights and legal powers, exactly the same old thorny issues that have continued to be bones of contention for the past forty years.
 
Putting these individual areas of competency to one side however, at the end of the day, only one single overriding issue really matters; and that is the question of primacy, the ability of each national parliament to govern for and on behalf of its own national electorate, as opposed to it having to defer to what is fundamentally a foreign and unelected power, as is the case now with the European Union. First and foremost Britain should be ruled by elected Britons, Poland should be ruled by elected Poles, Spain should be ruled by elected Spaniards, France should be ruled by elected Frenchmen, etc. Whatever the member state, it should be primarily ruled or governed by its own elected nationals, not by a largely unelected, unrepresentative foreign parliament in Brussels or Strasbourg that has authorised itself to usurp the will of national leaders, government ministers or elected representatives.
 
Were the EU or its European Parliament a congress of equals then perhaps that wouldn't be quite so bad, but clearly that isn't the case at all. Neighbour favours neighbour, economic muscle provides additional influence, individual political and economic influence dictates overall Union strategy and planning. Is Chancellor Merkel's political influence equal to, or greater than any other European leader's political influence; and if so why, in a congress of supposed equals?
 
Rather than being any great step forward in democratising European nations, wouldn't it be truer to say that the EU is little better than a political, social and economic version of the Eurovision Song Contest, but without the laughs. At least in that debased competition there is an implicit understanding and acceptance that the entire thing is a parody, a spoof of the original Europe wide singing competition, but one where it's clearly understood that nobody is really taking it seriously; and that it's designed to entertain, to irritate, to repay regional favours, but definitely not to be taken too seriously.
 
Now, where Britain might be content to "whore" its reputation in a European Song Contest and as a result humble its international standing in terms of its singers and songwriters, or obvious lack thereof, that is a whole lot different to "whoring" its long and hard won reputation in terms of border controls, defence capabilities, judicial rigour, international trade, fiscal planning, economic competence, international relations, diplomatic leverage, manufacturing excellence and everything else that goes into making a seriously successful, world leading sovereign state.
 
The very idea that Britain has been improved or enhanced through its membership of the European Union is a complete nonsense, unless of course the act of shackling itself to a diminishing political entity, whilst at the same time preventing ourselves from making individual trade deals with any number of newly emerging markets, is a sign of success? Historically, Britain built its vast empire, its international reputation, its diplomatic networks and its economic success on the back of its ability and willingness to trade with anyone, anywhere in the world; and it certainly didn't shackle itself exclusively to a stagnant European continent where most of its immediate competitors were based.
 
Just as it's commonly the case that many of those who willingly, or unwillingly commit themselves to a life of "whoring" in a purely sexual context, find their own self respect is one of the first things to suffer, as a result of their lifestyle, so too one wonders if a entire nation can see their national self-esteem diminish, as a result of seeing their traditional cultural and social values handed away to a foreign power? Few of our national competencies remain completely untouched by the EU's parliament sitting in Brussels and Strasbourg, be it our environment, our courts, our roads, our agricultural sector, our energy production, our fishing grounds, our industries, or even our ability to control our own national borders.
 
However, having now been a "whore" to Europe's demands for the past forty years, it remains to be seen whether or not our increasingly debased Britain is strong enough, or indeed brave enough to finally walk away from its European Union shackles and return to being the sort of global trading nation that it successfully managed to be for hundreds of years before the EU was even first imagined by its continental creators.
 
And in closing this, it is perhaps worth making the final point that even the worst sort of "whore" expects to make money from selling their body, their reputation or their freedom; and yet Britain as a nation, doesn't just give them away for free, but it actually pays the EU billions of pounds to regularly f*ck us over each and ever year, at the rate of £55 million per day; and that being the case, not only have we become whores of the great European project, but we've become incredibly cheap ones at the same time. 

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Hope Everyone Likes "Fudge"

I think it's interesting that if you were to take the time to look up a list of British politicians who are most widely respected and whose legacy is most highly valued by the British public, you would almost certainly come down to the same three candidates every single time; and they would be Clement Attlee, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. Conversely, if you were to look for lists of British Prime Ministers whose reputations have suffered most over the course of time; and whose legacies are mostly viewed in a highly negative way by the British public, then once again you would find a similar three candidates, only this time in the form of Neville Chamberlain, Gordon Brown and John Major, although not necessarily in any fixed order of disrepute.
 
At the time that most, but not all, of these various lists were actually being put together, Tony Blair was still the British Prime Minister; and so it is pretty fair to say that if these same lists were put together now, or in the near future, his name too would feature prominently on any lists of Britain's worst politicians, not least because of the widespread unravelling of his own personal legacy, as significant numbers of his New Labour "chickens" have inevitably come home to roost, so to speak. In the same way, David Cameron currently fails to feature on many of these lists, generally because they were constructed before he became Prime Minister, although on at least one of the more up-to-date lists, he had at least begun to feature, right down at the bottom, alongside one of his Conservative predecessors, Sir John Major.
 
It is desperately sad to think that politicians from several decades ago are now still much more respected and esteemed than those who would seek to govern us today, that Margaret Thatcher, one of the most socially divisive and ideologically driven politicians of the 20th Century even today, stands head and shoulders above her political successors. While Winston Churchill undoubtedly deserves his plaudits for helping to rally the country and the wider international community in opposition to the Nazi menace, some of the lists referred to, see Clement Attlee, the post-war Labour Prime Minister as being the greatest peacetime political leader this country has ever had, easily overshadowing the reputations of the likes of Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
 
Perhaps it's a case of history often being kinder to political reputations, as time passes, memories fade and long term policies ultimately come to fruition, although for the likes of Neville Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement towards Adolph Hitler, his reputation still continues to suffer, albeit not on the same scale as it did in the 1940's and immediately beyond. Maybe too, it's because our modern day country hasn't faced the sort of catastrophic events that confronted the likes of Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee or Margaret Thatcher, whether that be the threat of Nazi invasion, the devastating wartime destruction of our country, or indeed the threat of unionised labour bringing the entire country to the very brink of social and economic ruin.
 
Cometh the hour, cometh the man (or woman) goes the old expression; and perhaps it is precisely because we haven't faced such a grave crises since the late 1970's that none of our leader since then has had the opportunity to shine, to prove what a great national leader they are in the face of an impending disaster ? But then, that isn't exactly true is it? We've had a range of political, military and humanitarian disasters in Eastern Europe where the outcome of our country's intervention has been mixed. We've had the Exchange Rate Mechanism disaster that occurred under the Major government, that was thought to have cost the country billions in lost revenues. We've had our involvement in the Iraq War thanks to Tony Blair, that not only removed Saddam Hussein from office, but also helped turn that country into an almost biblical disaster area, which is continuing through to the present day. We've also had Gordon Brown selling off the nation's gold reserves at knock down prices, raiding pension funds, with the result that investors lost out; and we've had a failure to properly regulate the city, which resulted in near financial meltdown when the world markets caught a cold. We've had military interventions in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Libya and almost the very same thing in Syria, which but for a dose of common sanity, might well have been an even bigger disaster for our country than both Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
 
And over the same period of time, we've had hundreds of patients dying because of NHS incompetence, billions of pounds being wasted on ill-thought-out computer projects, the NHS and schools being put into hock for billions of pounds under the PFI program; and we've seen billions more wasted on wasteful procurement programs for our Armed Forces. In addition, we've seen millions of foreign migrants come into the country, both from the European Union and elsewhere in the world, while at the same time spending hundreds of billions to maintain our membership of the EU's political union, which in return has surreptitiously supplanted our elected British legislature, with an un-elected foreign one based in both Brussels and Strasbourg. It is hardly any wonder then, that when people are asked to name a British political leader who they believe has brought credit, character and strength to our nation, they don't choose the likes of Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, or even Chamberlain, because for the most part these men are examples of failure, of weakness and of poor judgement, definitely not the sort of characteristics that we would look for in our national leadership.
 
Okay, okay, some people will point out that the country has just re-elected David Cameron and his Conservative Party to a second term of office, although it's equally fair to point out that only one in four people actually voted for him; and even that was with a weak opposition and the country being scared witless by the threat of an insurgent political party, the SNP, taking substantive control of the levers of government. Hardly a ringing endorsement then of David Cameron's political status within the country as a whole, or indeed of him as a political leader, but rather just another compromise candidate that the country has got into the habit of electing to high office ever since the early 1990's. Of course this dearth of serious political candidates for the job of Prime Minister isn't David Cameron's fault, because he along with the likes of John Major, William Hague, Michael Howard, Iain Duncan Smith, Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband, are simply symptomatic of a British political that is fundamentally broken. And it is broken to the point that the British electorate have little or no faith in it, to the extent that in this most recent election more people chose NOT to vote at all, than chose to vote Conservative, making the entire electoral process a complete and utter sham. How can any political party that only attracted one in four votes possibly claim to have any sort of democratic legitimacy in the country, when three out of four voters chose to vote elsewhere, or not to even cast a ballot in the first place. It is absolute madness!
 
The question about the current Conservative government's democratic legitimacy aside however, perhaps we should be more worried by the fact that one of this country's worst performing Prime Ministers is now back at the helm, making some of the most important decisions that will ultimately come to define Britain's role in the world, now and into the future. There's the major constitutional issues over additional Scottish devolution, along with Mr Cameron's proposals to devolve more powers down to the various city states and regional centres, as in the case of Manchester, where the Conservatives hope to create their much talked about "Northern Powerhouse".
 
There's the issue of implementing the second round of the Conservatives previously promised austerity measures; and the reduction of billions of pounds in the nation's welfare bill and other vital services, while at the same time squandering billions of pounds on Foreign Aid and vanity infrastructure projects like HS2, etc. Then of course, there's the ever thorny issue of Britain's EU membership, the fabled renegotiation of our treaty terms with the other twenty-odd member states, followed by a national IN/OUT referendum by the end of 2017. On top of these major time consuming issues, the Conservative government of David Cameron will also have to deal with protecting the NHS, our national defence capabilities, the threat of religious extremism, the plight of African refugees in the Mediterranean, and carry forward parliamentary boundary reforms. In addition, Mr Cameron will need to find extra public funding to finance the myriad of "pet" projects that he has agreed to support, help solve the issue of the Libyan refugee crisis (that he himself helped to cause), try to protect Britain's interests in the face of a militarily resurgent Russia; and come to some sort of conclusion as to what action, if any, he intends to pursue with regard to IS and the ongoing conflict in Syria.
 
Just looking at that brief list of political objectives that David Cameron and his Conservative colleagues have to address during the 5-year term of this parliament, one well might imagine that the Labour Party will subsequently come the view that they have ultimately "dodged a political bullet", in terms of not having to deal with some of the most divisive and intractable issues that are currently facing the country today. With the Scottish independence genie firmly out of its nationalist bottle, thanks in part to Mr Cameron's own political actions, the very idea that Britain, or more properly the United Kingdom, can remain "united" is patently absurd, if only because Cameron is facing two of the shrewdest political operators in the country, in the shape of Nicola Sturgeon and Alec Salmond. No matter what executive powers he offers, no matter how much ground he cedes, it will never be enough for them, or more importantly their nationalist electorate, to settle the issue, unless or until full independence is offered.
 
In similar fashion, the issue of regional devolution is a social, political and economic accident that's just waiting to happen; and in my own mind is simply a modern equivalent of the Anglo Saxon "Heptarchy" and medieval city states that preceded our single unified nation. For those who might point to London as a shining example of what the likes of Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool or Leeds could become under such a devolved political system, simply consider the disparity between London and elsewhere in the country, in terms of social and economic costs, or the fact that some London boroughs are known to be exporting some of their poorer inhabitants to other cheaper parts of the country, a form of socio-economic cleansing if you will.
 
As regards the other great pressing issue of our time, our membership of the European Union and all of the vital national competencies directly associated with it, including trade, immigration, transport, energy, education, welfare, justice, defence, foreign affairs, etc. there is probably little to no chance that David Cameron's Conservative administration is going to allow us a referendum campaign that is balanced, fair or informative, simply because as a dedicated supporter of the European project, it isn't in his personal interests to do so. It is almost certain that the "IN" campaign will be financed and supported by big business, the CBI, the BBC, the Trade Union movement, most of the British press, the European Union itself and in fact by any number of UK and foreign based third parties who have a direct financial interest in our country remaining as a fully paid up member of the European Union.
 
Opposing them will be a mixed collection of small to medium sized British businesses, individual politicians from all sides, a very small number of national newspapers and almost the entire membership of UKIP, the political party that was specifically founded to fight against Britain's continued membership of the European Union. By any measure, this particular subject will be the defining issue of David Cameron's second premiership, simply because, as a committed Europhile and undoubtedly as one of the leading figures of the "IN" campaign, were he to lose the referendum on the question of our membership of the EU, it is surely inconceivable that he could or indeed would, want to be the man charged with renegotiating Britain's exit from the European Union.
 
It is impossible to imagine any circumstances under which a British Prime Minister has led a referendum campaign, be it fair or foul, who has lost the argument, only then to expect that he could continue in his previous role, even though his personal judgement had not only been questioned, but his entire argument rejected? Either David Cameron is brave enough, or foolhardy enough to take the risk of such a ballot, or more cynically one might actually question whether the entire referendum process is being organised in such a way, as to guarantee a more favourable result for the Prime Minister, in other words, a complete stitch-up?
 
Perhaps it is worth remembering, that as with all political pledges, the promises are cheap and it's the actual delivery part that tends to be expensive, as we'll undoubtedly find over the course of the next five years, assuming of course that David Cameron and his Conservatives don't fall foul of a Scottish nationalist ambush, or they don't unexpectedly lose the European membership referendum to a largely disadvantaged OUT campaign. And that doesn't even begin to touch on the problems that they might face, if they were to cut our military forces ever further, or were to renege on their promises regarding the NHS, the Human Rights Act, housing, education, taxation, apprenticeships, employment and everything else they promised to increase, at the same time that they promised to keep spending budgets under control. But then again, just like the previous issues of MP's expenses, the phone-hacking scandal, NHS waiting times and any number of the pledges that they made in 2010, including the promise to eradicate the deficit, David Cameron and his Conservatives are extremely good at finding excuses for why they haven't managed to keep their promises; and where they can't find a viable excuse to give to the public, well then, they simply fudge the answer, so I hope everyone is prepared for plenty of fudges over the course of the next 60 months?