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There is much to cover in the aftermath of the EU elections held in the UK.

Hell certainly broke loose at the end of May, and I don’t mean Theresa.

Labour

After many months, if not a year, of anti-Semitic slurs coming from some elements of the Labour Party, the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) finally took action:

During the BBC’s programme about the EU election results on Sunday, May 27, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell declared that he had voted for the Liberal Democrats, the largest Remain party. The Labour Party duly expelled him, then decided to review their decision:

Kate Hoey, on the other hand, has played her cards well as the most prominent Leave Labour MP since 2016. She believes that The Brexit Party deserves a seat at the negotiating table:

The Brexit Party

Nigel Farage is absolutely correct about Theresa May’s ‘deal’, or treaty:

Meanwhile, party chairman Richard Tice, one of three newly-elected MEPs for the East of England region, isn’t taking any nonsense:

On May 29, Westmonster reported:

Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice has issued a legal letter to an SNP MEP following allegations of money laundering were made in a Sky News interview on Monday.

Alyn Smith accused the Brexit Party of being “shysters” who were “a shell company for a money laundering front”.

The interview which has been circulated across social media for the last 48 hours was brought to the attention of Tice whose solicitors have now issued Mr Smith with the following letter:

Conservative Party

The race continues for party leader, succeeding Mrs May.

The overall picture of the runners and riders shows gaps in their commitment to delivering Brexit:

Priti Patel has been committed to delivering a proper Brexit since 2016:

She also recognises the despair at grassroots level among the loyal, tireless volunteers:

It won’t be long before we see how this develops for the Conservatives.

I hope true Leavers do well. More to come as the leadership contest narrows.

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Between Thursday, May 23 and Sunday, May 26, European voters let their leaders know what was on their minds.

The 2019 EU elections were quite the eye-opener, as nationalist parties and the Greens did very well indeed:

Like them or not, interesting trends emerged:

Italy

Matteo Salvini was thrilled:

France

Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN) — National Rally — edged past Emmanuel Macron’s LREM — Renaissance — list:

Politico reported that Le Pen’s party:

scored about 24 percent of the vote, compared with roughly 22.5 percent for Macron’s centrist-liberal party, according to two initial projections.

United Kingdom

The biggest news came from the United Kingdom. The six-week old Brexit Party won nine out of ten regions.

The Telegraph reported (emphases mine):

The Brexit Party has won nine of the 10 regions to declare their results in the European elections, claiming 28 of 64 seats in the European Parliament

Nigel Farage’s party came top in the North East, North West, East of England, Wales, West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire & Humber, the South West and South East

This came largely at the expense of the Conservative Party. Theresa May’s party have lost a huge share of the vote across all regions, so far losing 15 MEP seats to leave a total of three. The party is in fifth place, with its lowest vote share in a national election since they formed in 1834.

Good grief!

However, The Brexit Party is represented in 10 out of 10 regions, as this Scottish result came in early on Monday morning:

It seems that Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will now hold one more seat than Angela Merkel’s CDU Party: 29 to 28!

Nigel Farage gave his MEP acceptance speech in Southampton, saying:

These are some of the regional results (click on image to enlarge):

Here are the other new Brexit Party MEPs.

Hearty congratulations, ladies and gentlemen!

What an amazing result!

Like the Conservatives, Labour also suffered. The Liberal Democrats received a lot of Remain votes from Labour voters, as did the Greens. In Scotland, the SNP took a substantial share of Labour votes.

You can read more about the EU election results on the BBC’s website and at the Daily Mail.

Any Remainers who missed last week’s BBC4 Storyville documentary about Brexit from a Brussels perspective must watch it before voting in the EU election on May 23, 2019.

The two-part documentary was made by Belgian film-maker, Lode Desmet, who spent two years with Guy Verhofstadt and his team in Brussels.

I did not watch it at the time, because it features Verhofstadt, whom I consider to be odious.

At the weekend, I read a British website where two Remainers commented after watching it. Both said they had changed their minds — to NO DEAL! Amazing.

After that, I looked the Storyville documentary up on YouTube, because BBC iPlayer said their videos could not be played at that time. On BBC iPlayer, part one is here and part two is here.

Each part is just under an hour long. I highly recommend them to everyone, particularly Remainers:

 

Conservative MP Mark Francois is absolutely correct:

What follows is part of his article for Brexit Central (emphases mine):

On one occasion – incredibly, bearing in mind he was on camera – one of Verhofstadt’s staffers, exclaimed on hearing that we had agreed to the 585-page so-called “Withdrawal Agreement”, that “We have made them a colony!”. The sheer joy that was evidenced on the faces of the European negotiators when it became apparent that we had acceded to the “Withdrawal Agreement” tells you everything you need to know about why they regarded it as a clear victory over Britain.

Again and again throughout the documentary, the UK’s negotiating tactics are derided by their interlocutors, including the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier. The Prime Minister and her team are repeatedly disrespected and only on one occasion – when Dominic Raab took over as the Brexit Secretary – did any of the Europeans appear to believe that we had started to resist …

Verhofstadt and his highly self-satisfied team are then filmed watching the result of the first Meaningful Vote in Parliament in January 2019. When the “Withdrawal Agreement” was defeated by 230 votes (the largest defeat in parliamentary history as it turns out), their disappointment is palpable. The pattern is repeated for MV2 and MV3 – by which time Verhofstadt cannot bear to watch, as he has clearly realised what is going to happen.

I have never doubted that I was right to vote against the “Withdrawal Agreement”, but this dramatic insight only confirmed my deep conviction that we were fighting a surrender to the European Union all along. Indeed, Martin Selmayr, the Secretary General of the European Commission said some time ago (although not in the programme) that “Losing Northern Ireland was the price the UK would pay for Brexit”. It seems on reflection the House of Commons was not prepared to pay this price – and rightly so.

One other thing struck me when I watched the programme – as a patriotic Brit – which was that I could not help but be angered by the sheer arrogance of the people on camera and the utter disdain that they had for our country and its people. I was discussing this only yesterday with a TV producer who is a self-declared Remainer but who told me, in her own words:

I have always been pro-EU and I gladly voted Remain, but when I saw that documentary all I could think was – how dare you talk about us like that, f**k you!

As a media expert, she also volunteered that these people were not in any way self-conscious about being filmed – because they clearly thought that they were doing nothing wrong.

Ultimately:

I would urge every MP and indeed everyone who is thinking of casting a vote in the European Elections on 23rd May (which I hope will be as many people as possible) to watch this programme before deciding how to cast their ballot.

The European elite have completely given themselves away – on camera – and proven once and for all via this programme that 17.4 million people were right all along.

The EU elite do not give a fig about Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They are interested only in our money to fund their lavish Brussels lifestyles.

I am surprised that the BBC even showed this documentary, because it really paints a most unflattering portrait of the EU elite.

Therefore, this is one of those rare times I can honestly say, ‘Thank you, BBC!’

On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Theresa May triggered Article 50 to begin the process of the United Kingdom exiting the European Union.

May signed the letter on March 28 and a British official presented it to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, in Brussels the following day around 12:30 p.m. BST.

This tweet by Financial Times columnist Janan Ganesh is dated March 28, 4:15 p.m.:

Tusk takes receipt of the letter on March 29:

Nigel Farage, former party leader of UKIP who pressed hard for the 2016 referendum, gave an interview earlier that day:

He also discussed it on his talk radio programme in London:

Contents of May’s letter

Bloomberg is one of the few news sites to have the full text of Theresa May’s six-page letter to Donald Tusk.

The first four paragraphs follow (emphases mine):

Dear President Tusk

On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament on 16 March.

Today, therefore, I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union. In addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I hereby notify the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this letter to the European Union should therefore be taken to include a reference to the European Atomic Energy Community.

This letter sets out the approach of Her Majesty’s Government to the discussions we will have about the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and about the deep and special partnership we hope to enjoy – as your closest friend and neighbour – with the European Union once we leave. We believe that these objectives are in the interests not only of the United Kingdom but of the European Union and the wider world too.

Article 50

The European edition of Politico has the full text of Article 50, which is brief and comprised of five provisions. Wikipedia explains it further.

These are the salient items:

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

This means that the UK is still part of the EU until the exit process is complete.

However, we are no longer allowed to participate in European Council discussions. In fact, it was interesting that the English text ‘European Commission’ has been removed from signage in Brussels. It has been replaced with another European language, with the French words underneath.

From March 29 onwards, news reports will refer to 27 EU nations instead of 28.

The UK is in an EU limbo until our exit. We must still pay monies to the EU and are subject to EU law.

Article 50 means simply that the exit process begins.

The Telegraph has more. Briefly:

A withdrawal agreement, covering financial liabilities, citizens’ rights and the border in Ireland, will need to be accepted by a majority of 72 per cent of the EU’s remaining 27 member states.

The agreement would then need to be approved by the European parliament, voting by a simple majority.

The motion makes clear that the UK will remain bound by the rules of the EU and that trade talks with third party countries are not allowed for as long as it remains a member.

The irony of Article 50

There is a certain irony behind Article 50.

It was written by a Briton between 2002 and 2003 to apply to EU countries that could become dictatorships.

Veteran diplomat John Kerr, now Lord Kerr of Kinlochard — a cross-bench peer — told Politico that he never envisaged the UK invoking it. Lord Kerr:

drafted the text that sets out the procedure for leaving the European Union as part of an effort to draw up an EU constitutional treaty in the early 2000s.

That initiative was scuppered by referendum defeats in France and the Netherlands but some elements ended up in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009.

One of the sections pasted across became Article 50

“I don’t feel guilty about inventing the mechanism. I feel very sad about the U.K. using it,” Kerr told POLITICO. “I didn’t think that the United Kingdom would use it.”

When he was writing the text 14 or 15 years ago:

the rise of Austrian far-right leader Jörg Haider was a big worry for mainstream EU leaders and some southern European EU members had returned to democracy only in recent decades. Kerr imagined that the exit procedure might be triggered after an authoritarian leader took power in a member country and the EU responded by suspending that country’s right to vote on EU decisions.

“It seemed to me very likely that a dictatorial regime would then, in high dudgeon, want to storm out. And to have a procedure for storming out seemed to be quite a sensible thing to do — to avoid the legal chaos of going with no agreement,” Kerr said.

He calls attention to the fifth provision of Article 50, the possibility of reversing a decision to leave the EU:

In other words, during the two-year negotiating period set out in the text, Britain could decide not to leave after all and simply remain an EU member. However, he says he cannot imagine how politics in Britain would allow such a U-turn.

Kerr summed up the exit process simply:

The process outlined in the text is, he noted, “about divorce … about paying the bills, settling one’s commitments, dealing with acquired rights, thinking about the pensions. It’s not an article about the future relationship.”

What is the timetable?

The BBC has a full timetable from now through March 2019. Of course, it is not written in stone, but it is the Brexit objective.

On Thursday, March 30, Brexit Secretary David Davis presented the Great Repeal Bill to Parliament, which will come into force as soon as the UK leaves the EU, i.e. in 2019 (all being well).

On Friday, March 31, Donald Tusk will publish negotiation guidelines that the EU will use.

In April, the 27 remaining EU members will adopt negotiation guidelines at the EU summit.

When Parliament opens again in the Spring, the Great Repeal Bill will be announced in the opening statement.

Michel Barnier, representing the EU, will begin participating in negotiation talks with the UK by late May or early June.

Late this year, Parliament will review the Great Repeal Bill in greater detail. If laws must be passed in certain areas to close any gaps, this will be done by mid-2018.

By the end of 2017, it is expected that Michel Barnier will have concluded the first round of negotiations. He expects to complete the negotiating process by September 2018.

At the beginning of 2019, both the UK and the EU will hold separate votes in Parliament and the EU Council, respectively, on the exit plan.

It is expected that the UK will leave the EU sometime in March 2019.

Impact of negotiations

The next 18 months will require careful negotiation to ensure that the UK is not adversely affected.

Attention to preserving human rights — including those for EU residents living and working in Britain as well as British expatriates living in Europe — will be essential.

Also essential will be negotiations concerning EU-sensitive industries such as farming and fishing.

The Telegraph and the BBC both have good Brexit Q&A on these topics and more (see halfway through).

Trade on food will also be negotiated. Currently, UK supermarkets sell a lot of EU fruit, vegetables and dairy products. We also export comestibles to the EU.

Banking and educational institutions are also weighing up their options. On March 30, Lloyd’s of London confirmed they will be opening a branch in Brussels. Oxford and/or Cambridge might open satellite universities in EU countries.

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I’ll have more on Brexit soon and what we might expect to see over the coming months.

What a week for interesting news going all the way back to Abraham Lincoln!

Here’s a selection of what was in the media. Emphases mine below.

Prolonged childhood problematic

Charlotte Gill, a young woman writing for The Spectator, deplores games such as Pokémon Go and Candy Crush as well as games franchises, e.g. Nintendo. These products distract too much from real life which young adults should be embracing:

I genuinely believed that my generation would get over Pokémon – that there would be a collective ‘growing up’ – but I was wrong. Data shows that 49 percent of Pokémon Go users are 25 or over

Such games are viewed as ‘a bit of fun’ – a nice distraction from the world. After all, who thinks about Isis when they’re searching for Pokémon? But I can see a wider issue about Generation Y and its obsessions; a huge denial about being adults. Frankly, it’s all a bit sad.

The trouble with all these baby hobbies is that they distract twentysomethings from doing something good with their lives. And, I know, we all deserve to have downtime and can even turn passions, like gaming, into a career. But for many young people, these enterprises become hugely absorbing, and steal the best years of their lives. The irony is that they will not know that this is happening; franchises with cute, sweet animals come across as harmless and nostalgic.

As a generation, we need to grow up. The world is becoming a more frightening, competitive place all the time; it has never been more important for young people to buck up, get some skills, even set up their own businesses, instead of indulging in the toys and franchises we should have left behind years ago …

The strange thing about all of these pursuits is that young people take pride in them. They think it’s funny to be trivial. It’s ironic, they say. In reality, it seems ignorant. Girlfriends complain to me about men who won’t commit in relationships; it’s no wonder, given that they live in a society that wants to immortalise childhood

Such pastimes are bread and circuses on a small scale. We could be approaching Idiocracy sooner than we think.

London Tube: attempted murder – terrorism or state of mind?

In December 2015, Muhiddin Mire attempted to slit a man’s throat at Leytonstone Tube station in east London.

He was given a life sentence on Monday, August 1 and will have to serve a minimum of eight-and-a-half years.

Law enforcement, barristers and doctors disagreed as to whether the cause was extremism or his mental state. During the attack, he yelled:

This is for my Syrian brothers. I’m going to spill your blood.

Police said that, given some of the content on Mire’s phone, he could have been influenced by extremist propaganda. However, the court heard that he was also suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the attack. Was his state of mind exacerbated by the extremist material?

In any event, he will start his sentence at Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire.

Over the past few weeks I have read several letters to the editor in the UK and in France from mental health workers on recent terrorist/extremist attacks. These people are asking for an investigation into any psychotropic medication that those carrying out the attacks might have taken in the weeks and months beforehand.

It is a legitimate question, one that needs further investigation, especially in light of the American lady who met with a tragic and terrible death in Russell Square the night of August 3. Although police are no longer considering terrorism as a motive:

The Met Police’s assistant commissioner for specialist operations, Mark Rowley, said the investigation was increasingly pointing to the attack being “triggered by mental health issues”.

A 19-year-old is in police custody. Originally from Somalia, he lived in Norway before moving to the UK. Police say he is a Norwegian national.

Sky’s report proves what my late mother often said about London — it is the crossroads of the world. It’s worth reading to see the variety of names and nationalities.

Saturday night scare in London’s Camden Town

On Saturday, July 30, an alert member of the public contacted the Metropolitan Police about a suspicious vehicle in Camden Town, London’s nexus for young adults and hipsters.

At 10:50 p.m. police evacuated several pubs and clubs. The Mirror was one of two (that I can see) news outlets to carry the story. Their story pointed out:

It was a major operation on one of London’s busiest high streets at its peak time.

The Met sent in one of their police robots to investigate the car. The London Evening Standard story has a photo.

Fortunately, the car presented no threat. Police allowed night spots to reopen around midnight.

Well done to the quick reaction of the member of the public and the police.

Burger chain, bogus papers and bugs

The UK has several trendy burger chains, one of which is Byron. Its founders sold the business to an investment firm, Hutton Collins, for £100m in 2013.

On July 27, news emerged that immigration officials carried out a raid on several branches. That was on July 4. A Spanish newspaper in London, El Iberico, reported the story before MSM did. Over the past week, leftists bombarded certain branches of Byron with bugs and protests.

The Home Office had contacted Byron to say officials would be going in to their premises on July 4. Byron management sent notifications out to staff that health and safety training was going to take place that morning. As such, staff attendance was mandatory. The restaurant chain refused to comment on whether the health and safety training was set up under false pretence.

The Guardian published Byron’s statement on the incident:

It said: “We can confirm that several of Byron’s London restaurants were visited by representatives of the Home Office. These visits resulted in the removal of members of staff who are suspected by the Home Office of not having the right to work in the UK, and of possessing fraudulent personal and right to work documentation that is in breach of immigration and employment regulation.”

A Home Office source told the newspaper that 35 people were arrested in connection with the raid. They had come from Brazil, Nepal, Egypt and Albania.

The Left went into overdrive online and on the ground.

On Friday, July 29, two central London branches of the chain had to close. Activists smuggled in bags of insects into the Holborn and Shaftesbury Avenue sites. The Guardian reported:

In a joint statement published on Facebook, London Black Revs and Malcolm X Movement said the direct action was in response to the chain’s “despicable actions in the past weeks having entrapped waiters, back of house staff and chefs in collaboration with UK Border Agency”.

“Many thousands of live cockroaches, locusts and crickets [have been released] into these restaurants. We apologise to customers and staff for any irritation, however, we had to act as forced deportations such as this and others are unacceptable, we must defend these people and their families from such dehumanised treatment,” the statement said.

Obviously, these people do not believe in borders. No doubt, there are any number of anarchists among them.

The activists invited Huck‘s Michael Segalov along for the occasion:

On Thursday evening my phone vibrated, a number I’d never seen before had sent me a text.

“Dear Journalist, this is a tip-off”, it read, “info: 8000 locust, 2000 crickets, 4000 cockroaches. See you tomorrow night.”

The bug barrage went as planned. Customers scarpered. Those who were there might have left in panic, without paying. The rest of the night was one of lost income and massive clean-up. The manager of one of the branches was, quite rightly, angry. Segalov wrote:

I get it, sort of. This was his place of work, which was now a shambles, it wasn’t his fault that the raids had happened (he probably didn’t even know they were planned) and now his team were going to spend the night chasing crickets and picking cockroaches out the red-onion relish.

Outside, a female passerby reminded him that staff and the manager were going to have to deal with the mess, no one else. That said, this woman and Segalov think it was still worthwhile.

Why? The people arrested had forged paperwork. They entered the country illegally.

A huge protest of no-borders lefties took place on Monday, August 1 outside the Holborn branch. The Evening Standard reported that the branch was closed after they heard 1,300 protesters might attend. Police were on the scene. The Standard reported:

Byron said in a statement: “In response to the recent Home Office investigation, we would like to reiterate the following.

“Byron was unaware that any of our workers were in possession of counterfeit documentation until the Home Office brought it to our attention. 

“We carry out rigorous ‘right to work’ checks, but sophisticated counterfeit documentation was used in order to pass these checks.

“We have cooperated fully and acted upon the Home Office’s requests and processes throughout the course of their investigations: it is our legal obligation to do so. 

“We have also worked hard to ensure minimal impact on our customers while this operation was underway.”

Well stated.

Taking legitimate citizens’ jobs through forged papers is theft.

Jean-Claude Juncker’s little black book

The EU’s most disliked bureaucrat, Jean-Claude Juncker, told Belgium’s Le Soir that he has a little black book with all his enemies’ names in it.

The Guardian reported on the interview. Le Petit Maurice, as Juncker calls his notebook, serves as more of an aide-memoire than anything else. He thinks it is also a useful deterrent:

He would tell people attacking him: “Be careful. Little Maurice is waiting for you.”

On UKIP MEP Nigel Farage, Juncker:

claimed he respected the Ukip leader and found him “very funny” and erudite.

Yet, he said that he had not embraced Farage during the last European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg:

I whispered something in his ear that was not a compliment. The photos gave the impression that I embraced him.

Juncker has no plans to go anywhere. Juncker has no regard for European citizens. He wants an EU army to cope with the migration crisis, a perfect way to impose more control over us. He is upset that EU countries have not taken in more migrants and despises the reimposition of border controls in the Schengen Zone. I wrote at the end of May:

People like Jean-Claude Juncker are the reason why many Britons will vote for Brexit. Juncker and Co’s arrogance is unsurpassed.

In June, two days before the EU Referendum, I reminded readers of two of his most outrageous quotes:

On EU monetary policy

“I’m ready to be insulted as being insufficiently democratic, but I want to be serious … I am for secret, dark debates”

On British calls for a referendum over Lisbon Treaty

“Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?”

Jean-Claude Juncker: another reason to be happy Brexit won.

The Khan controversy

For my readers who do not live in the United States, an attorney by the name of Khizr Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention last week in Philadelphia, flanked by his wife in traditional dress.

The Khans came to the US from Afghanistan via the United Arab Emirates, where their son, Humayun, was born. The family became American citizens once they were eligible.

Humayun became a captain in the US Army and was killed in 2004 in Iraq when he was investigating a car fitted with an explosive device. Americans can be grateful for his honourable and courageous service.

At the DNC, Khizr Khan sharply took issue with Donald Trump’s policy on restricting or temporarily banning Muslim immigration until Homeland Security figures out what is going on.

Trump politely responded in television news interviews by saying the Khans would have been vetted — current policy — and admitted, were he in the Oval Office. However, the polemic continued from Democrats and Republicans, including Khan and Trump.

On July 31, Trump tweeted:

I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic Convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!

Charles Hurt defended Trump’s position in a July 31 article for The Hill. Hillary supporters should note the following:

Stop for a moment and ask yourself how exactly the Clinton campaign arrived at the decision to trot out the Khan family in the middle of their highly-choreographed, exhaustively produced convention?

Were they just looking to give voice to the parents of a soldier? That would be a first. Did they want parents of anyone who had died abroad in the defense of their country? Gee, why not pick the parents of one of the fallen warriors who died defending the U.S. consulate in Benghazi? Oh, that’s right. They would have called Hillary Clinton a liar. Can’t have that.

No. Politicians like Hillary Clinton do not see people like Capt. Humayun Khan as a soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice on a foreign battlefield in defense of his country

Politicians like Hillary Clinton see him only a demographic, a dispensable political pawn to be scooted around an electoral map, the way generals used to move armies across giant maps of the lands they were invading.

Here’s the kicker:

Perhaps a better testimony from Khizr Khan would have been for him to talk about how Hillary Clinton was in the U.S. Senate when she voted to invade Iraq. Years later, after that position became politically unpopular, she changed her mind and joined new political forces to vacate all the land across Iraq that so many great American patriots like Capt. Humayun Khan had died for.

It was her vote that sent Capt. Khan to his death. And then it was her decisions later to render that sacrifice worthless.

Of course, the media will run and run with this one, whilst continuing to deprecate Patricia Smith who spoke at the Republican National Convention about her son Sean who died during Benghazi. Mrs Smith is right in saying that Hillary Clinton must come out with the truth. Mrs Smith said she was not even allowed to talk to people at the State Department; they told her she was not ‘immediate family’!

Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his stepbrother

And finally, a fascinating letter from Abraham Lincoln to his stepbrother John Daniel Johnston appeared on Real Clear Life this week.

Lincoln’s stepbrother had asked him for $80 in 1850, the year the letter was written. $80 in today’s money is a sizeable $2,424.24!

Lincoln minced no words in refusing the request. He reminded Johnston this was not the first time he had given him money:

but in a very short time I find you in the same difficulty again. Now this can only happen by some defect in your conduct. What that defect is, I think I know. You are not lazy, and still you are an idler … This habit of uselessly wasting time, is the whole difficulty; and it is vastly important to you, and still more so to your children, that you should break this habit. It is more important to them, because they have longer to live, and can keep out of an idle habit before they are in it easier than they can get out after they are in.

A shorter version should be printed on billboards (hoardings, for my British readers) and posters. It should be displayed on public thoroughfares and in schools. We have way too much idleness today. Idleness brings trouble. Remember when our parents and grandparents used to say, ‘The devil makes work for idle hands’?

He went on to acknowledge Johnston’s kindness to him and proposed that, if Johnson worked over the next five months, Lincoln would match the sum of his earnings dollar for dollar.

Kindle owners can find a book of Lincoln’s letters on Amazon. Maybe that has a follow-up.

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That’s all the news you might have missed over the past seven days.

Have a great weekend! May it be non-newsworthy except in the best possible way.

When the EU Referendum debates and discussions were going on this year, the widespread understanding among the British public was that, should Leave win, the Prime Minister could trigger Article 50 to start the separation from the European Union.

David Cameron implied as much in his resignation speech on June 24.

In other words, it did not require a vote in Parliament.

Now that Leave have won, elite Remainers say that invoking Article 50 requires a separate Act of Parliament, i.e. a vote in the House of Commons.

Hmm.

Remainers were out in force at the weekend.

There was a Remain protest in London with at least 30,000 protesters taking part.

Then former Deputy Prime Minister (2010-2015) Nick Clegg, a Liberal Democrat, added an additional layer of procedure, saying there should be a fresh election before Article 50 is triggered. The Guardian reports (emphases mine):

Under Clegg’s scenario, MPs after an election would scrutinise the government’s specific plan to ensure it was legal and workable, and crucially, article 50 should only be triggered following a vote of consent from MPs. He points out that many top legal experts have disputed the notion that the prime minister can invoke article 50 on her or his own.

“Finally, the definitive, negotiated terms both of our exit from, and our future relationship with, the EU must then be put back to parliament for a vote of consent,” argues Clegg.

Conveniently, legal experts are already in place, no doubt hired by the Remain elite. Mishcon de Reya is the firm’s name. They are highly expensive and out of the reach of most Britons except for multi-millionaires and billionaires.

The Guardian tells us:

A prominent law firm is taking pre-emptive legal action against the government, following the EU referendum result, to try to ensure article 50 is not triggered without an act of parliament.

Acting on behalf of an anonymous group of clients, solicitors at Mishcon de Reya have been in contact with government lawyers to seek assurances over the process, and plan to pursue it through the courts if they are not satisfied. The law firm has retained the services of senior constitutional barristers, including Lord Pannick QC and Rhodri Thompson QC.

Their initiative relies upon the ambiguous wording of article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which sets out how states could leave the EU. The first clause declares: “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.”

It would be interesting to find out more about their proposed case, because Article 50 is EU — not British — legislation.

It is odd that this is coming up now, in light of a Leave result. It seems that hiring Mishcon de Reya is a Remain tactic to overturn or push aside the Leave result. Worse, it may be establishing conditions that do not need to exist in order for us to begin ‘divorce proceedings’.

In February 2016, MP Philip Hammond — the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs — led a debate on the EU Referendum. The question of a parliamentary vote arose.

Note that Scotland’s Alex Salmond said the Foreign Secretary — not the Prime Minister — invokes Article 50.

Excerpts from Hansard follow:

Alex Salmond (Gordon) (SNP)

The Foreign Secretary invokes article 50. Before notification was given under article 50, given that the referendum is an advisory one in terms of the constitution, would there be a vote in Parliament? Would there also be a vote in the Scottish Parliament, given the impact on devolved competencies under the Sewel convention?

Mr Hammond

The Government’s position is that the referendum is an advisory one, but the Government will regard themselves as being bound by the decision of the referendum and will proceed with serving an article 50 notice. My understanding is that that is a matter for the Government of the United Kingdom, but if there are any consequential considerations, they will be dealt with in accordance with the proper constitutional arrangements that have been laid down.

The next question seemed to concern revoking the Communities Act of 1972, UK legislation which was necessary in order for Britain to become a member of the EU:

Mr Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) (Con)

I rather concur with the right hon. Member for Gordon (Alex Salmond), because I think that before the Government could move to any action as a consequence of the referendum, it would be essential for Parliament to debate the matter and for the Government to obtain consent from Parliament.

On the question of what happens if we leave, may I enlighten the Foreign Secretary? First, there is no obligation to go for article 50. Secondly, we would be taking back control over our borders, our laws and the £10 billion a year net that we give to the European Union. It would buy us plenty of options, which the Government seem determined to prevent us even from discussing.

Repealing the Communities Act would leave us in no man’s land and would immediately cut us off not only from the EU but from other countries with whom we trade. Whereas Article 50 keeps us in the EU and maintains our trade agreements with non-EU countries during a negotiated divorce period, revoking the Communities Act would leave us with nothing. As we are not WTO members because we are in the EU, we would have huge problems. Mr Hammond explained:

My hon. Friend raises again the suggestion that there is no need to treat an exit vote as triggering a notice under article 50. He seems to suggest that there is some other way of doing it. He raised the question on Monday and I looked into it, because he caught my imagination, but I have to tell him that that is not the opinion of the experts inside Government and the legal experts to whom I have talked. We are bound by the treaty until such time as we have left the European Union. The treaty is a document of international law, and Ministers are obliged under the terms of the ministerial code to comply with international law at all times.

The UK’s current access to the single market would cease if we left the EU, and our trading agreements with 53 countries around the world would lapse. It is impossible to predict with any certainty what the market response would be, but it is inconceivable that the disruption would not have an immediate and negative effect on jobs, on business investment, on economic growth and on the pound. Those who advocate exit from the EU will need to address those consequences—the substantive consequences, of the kind that the British people will be most focused on—in the weeks and months of debate to come …

Alex Salmond

… I asked the Foreign Secretary earlier about the circumstances that would arise if the vote went for out and when article 50 would be invoked, and I have been reading the Library paper in preparation on exactly that issue. The Library paper suggests that the likely formulation would be that there would be a vote in this Chamber before the Government invoked the position, but the Government could say it was an Executive decision and just go ahead anyway. What it then goes on to argue is of great importance.

Philip Hammond

I wish to clarify something. I answered the right hon. Gentleman on this point earlier, but I have taken advice since. It is the Government’s position that if the electorate give a clear decision in this referendum to leave, the Government will proceed to serve an article 50 notice; there will be no need for a further process in this House.

In his blog, Conservative MP John Redwood foresees a combination of the two approaches. Whatever happens, we do not need lawyers getting involved:

Parliament effectively control the prerogative powers of government. The government can send a letter triggering Article 50 without asking Parliament. Like all such deeds Parliament can review or vote down any action of the government. If the government uses powers in ways Parliament does not like Parliament can pass a vote of no confidence. We do not need lawyers telling us how to legislate or control government.

It is understandable that Leavers, from voters to government campaigners, are concerned by the controversy surrounding Article 50 or the possibility that the result could be ignored.

The Spectator‘s readers have been mulling this over. One wrote:

Someone on another platform (one of my family actually) just said to me the following:

We have a precedent – the 1974 referendum on whether to stay in was binding on the government of the day, so this referendum is also binding on the government. Can’t have it both ways.

He went on to say:

Article 50 is part of the Lisbon treaty, which is part of UK law, so that shouldn’t need a separate Act of Parliament to enact and the referendum should be binding on the government by precedent, so I’m not sure how it’s going to win. I think this is a time-wasting strategy – tie it all up in the courts, so that a general election can be called before a decision is made, in the hope that a new government won’t be bound by the referendum of the previous one.

The EU could try to force our hand by invoking sanctions under Article 7, inferring that Britain’s instability is affecting the rest of the member countries as it is not conducive to the values of the EU. Most EU leaders understand that a Leave vote requires time to for us to develop an exit strategy. Some, like France’s Alain Juppé, a conservative French MP and presidential candidate in 2017, would like us to invoke Article 50 sooner rather than later:

[Brexit] does not mean we are going to punish the UK. We need to find ways to co-operate, to find a solution to have the UK in the European market, one way or another – whether that is part of the European Economic Area or something else.

They can’t say yes, no, maybe. Now they must draw the conclusions of the vote. When you get divorced, you don’t stay in the same house. It’s not a question of days, but it has to be fast.

Philip Hammond made a statement today criticising Mishcon de Reya:

He says the challenge would fail because a decision had been made and this was ‘essentially a political question’.

With regard to the next Prime Minister, the first round of votes in the Conservative Party leader race take place on Tuesday, July 5. One candidate will be eliminated then, a second by the end of the week, subsequently followed by a third. This would then leave two remaining candidates to set out their stalls more fully before a grassroots party member postal vote takes place, which ends on September 8. The result will be announced the following day.

A week ago on Friday, June 24, Britain woke up to a Brexit result and Prime Minister David Cameron tendering his resignation.

Today, I am starting a new, intermittent series called Brexit Chronicles to chart the progress of the result of the EU Referendum. As with my Brexit series, all posts can be found on my Marxism / Communism page.

Labour Party

Since then, we saw an intransigent leader of the Labour Party hold on, despite a clearance of the shadow Cabinet, which he quickly replaced. However, some party MPs and members are still calling for Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation for not having done enough to support the Remain campaign.

It seems to me Corbyn is a closet Leaver, but who knows?

Labour’s John McDonnell — shadow Chancellor — held a press conference today at which he said he expects a leadership challenge within the next few days.

Conservative Party

The best scriptwriters in the world could not have devised a storyline as dramatic and unpredictable as the events of the past week.

I wrote on June 27 that Boris Johnson, the Leave campaign leader, spent the weekend planning his party leadership bid which, if successful, would have seen him accede to No. 10.

However, on June 30 — the deadline for Conservative Party leadership bids — the former two-term Mayor of London and serving MP announced he would not be running. Those attending his press conference were shocked. That includes his brother Jo, also an MP, who was planning on supporting his brother’s candidacy.

Boris spoke at length, then:

Dropping the bombshell to gasps of horror from some, he added: “Having consulted colleagues, and in view of the circumstances in Parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me”.

Boris’s father Stanley Johnson, a former MEP, placed the blame for his son’s decision on Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Justice. Gove was supposed to have supported Boris and was at his home on Sunday. Gove had said many times before he had no intention of running for party leader and, by extension in this situation, PM. Then his tune changed and he threw his hat into the leadership ring this week:

… Stanley Johnson likened Mr Gove to the Roman senators who murdered Julius Caesar.

Stanley said: “’E[t] tu Brute’ is my comment on that.

“I don’t think he is called Brutus, but you never know.”

Gove blamed Boris and said that tension over his leadership bid had been building over the past several days. Gove concluded:

“I came to the conclusion that ultimately Boris could not build that team, and could not provide that leadership and that unity.

“It had to fall to someone else.”

He added: “There were a number of people who said to me during the week, Michael[,] it should be you’.

“As someone who had argued consistently that we should leave the European Union, and as someone who’s experienced at the highest levels in the Cabinet, I felt it had to fall to me.”

Boris’s people saw it differently. One said:

There was always an odd smell about Gove’s involvement.

Something wasn’t right from the beginning.

Another MP, Jake Berry, tweeted:

There is a very deep pit reserved in Hell for such as he.

Whilst voters are naturally disappointed Boris will not be running, someone in the know told me last weekend that he wouldn’t. I was shocked. Yet, some people close to him said that his backing of Leave was an opportunity to enter No. 10, not a firm personal conviction:

… many believed his backing for Brexit was a calculation — just the latest opportunistic move to further his career at the expense of any of his own real (if somewhat hazy) instincts.

Some venture, after observing him changing his mind on subjects as diverse as the EU and climate change, that he does not really believe in anything at all. Apart from, possibly, himself.

To thicken the plot further, Michael Gove’s wife Sarah Vine is a columnist for the Daily Mail and has written articles this week supporting her husband and explaining his decision.

Samantha Cameron has not taken this lightly. In fact, she is furious, vowing not to speak to the Goves again, even though they were close friends over the past 15 years.

Gove first provoked her earlier this year when he came out in favour of Brexit. Now she has termed his leadership bid as:

treacherous.

And:

The PM’s wife was also livid about a newspaper article that Ms Vine had written to explain Mr Gove’s tortured dilemma, in which she aired his private conversations with the Premier about it.

The pair ended up raising their voices and “effing and blinding”, sources said.

They haven’t seen each other since, but did exchange texts last week to mark Sam’s 45th birthday.

But now the rift appears to have become irreparable given Mr Gove’s manoeuvring for the leadership.

The Guardian had a round-up of today’s headlines:

Julius Caesar aside, three more of the bard’s dramas got mentions too. The Scottish play was widely cited by writers who cast Michael Gove’s wife, Sarah Vine, as Lady Macbeth.

A Radio 4 reporter favoured the denoument of Hamlet, with bodies littering the stage, as the most appropriate description of the Conservative party carnage. And the Times thought Gove would now “have to find his inner Henry V.”

Along the way, there were also references to the House of Cards – Vine as Robin Wright’s ruthless Claire Underwood? – and to Game of Thrones (yet another example of Metro’s wonderfully apt front page headlines).

Most national newspaper editors chose straightforward descriptions in their headlines for what the Guardian’s Gaby Hinsliff rightly called “the most vertiginous fall in modern political history”: “Tory day of treachery” (Daily Mail); “An act of midnight treachery” (Daily Telegraph); “Dramatic act of betrayal” (The Times) and “The betrayal” (The Guardian).

The Sun, which devoted 11 pages to the story of Johnson’s transformation from hero to zero, preferred a pun, “Brexecuted”, while the Daily Mirror revelled in the chance to stick its own knife into Johnson: “Justice!”

Intrigue aside, four other MPs are running for party leader: Home Secretary Theresa May, Leave campaigner Andrea Leadsom, Leave sympathiser Dr Liam Fox and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb.

Leadsom is the only one who hasn’t served in a Cabinet post. As capable as she is — and despite her brilliance and courtesy during the EU referendum debates — the lack of Cabinet experience might hold her back.

Unless … Michael Gove has blotted his copybook. He held a press conference today. Only five MPs were in attendance. That could be because many were attending Battle of the Somme commemorations. It was still bad timing.

As I write on Friday morning and afternoon, betting oddsbefore Gove’s press conference — showed May in front and Leadsom in second place:

Theresa May is a strong candidate — and a vicar’s daughter. In her speech on June 30, she said:

The campaign was fought … and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door and no second referendum. … Brexit means Brexit.

And finally, on June 29, the Conservative Party held their summer party at the huge and exclusive Hurlingham Club, in London’s Fulham, along the Thames. (I’ve been there twice. It is unbelievable!)

The Sun reported that the mood was ‘very sombre’ and that the speeches were so supportive of David Cameron that, at one point, he was seen to be discreetly dabbing a tear from his eye.

Brexit timetable

My aforementioned insider acquaintance told me last weekend that few Conservative MPs have the stomach to exit from the European Union. Even those who do will try to find the best pro-EU compromise possible.

Leave voters are naturally frustrated by the delay, which, even with a new PM in place by the beginning of September, might not take place until the end of the year!

The sooner we start, the better off we will be. It seems we might be able to count on at least the shadow chancellor, Labour’s John McDonnell, who held a press conference today. The Guardian reported:

There is no appetite from McDonnell to contest the next election on a platform of staying in the EU, the shadow chancellor inferred in his speech today.

Also:

McDonnell says he wants to be absolutely clear on immigration. After the UK leaves the EU “free movement of labour and people will come to an end.”

Anti-immigration feeling stemmed from austerity and economic uncertainty, he says, which Labour also needs to confront.

Before the referendum vote, some in the Leave campaign implied that the UK would be able to hold informal negotiations before invoking Article 50. However, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström reiterated what other European leaders have said. We must trigger Article 50 before we can negotiate.

In the worst case scenario, it could take up to ten years to finalise negotiations.

However, Dr Liam Fox, one of the Conservatives running for party leadership, strongly criticised that notion:

He said it was ridiculous to think that French and German politicians would have to go into their national elections next year telling their electorates they do not know how much French wine or German cars they are going to be able to export. He said the commissioner’s stance was doubly bizarre since she had admitted her timetable and interpretation of the procedure would damage the economies of the EU.

Someone will have to hold the new PM’s feet to the fire on Article 50. There is no reason it could not be triggered as soon as s/he assumes office.

Andrea Leadsom is the only candidate who could be trusted to do it quickly. The others, even Theresa May, would no doubt obfuscate and find a variety of excuses to delay it.

Gove would not do it this year — nor does he expect anyone else to!

There is considerable undercurrent of tension right now. Government must end the uncertainty in September.

The Brexit result will further energise Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

It is easy to portray both Leavers and Trump supporters in the usual binary way: unenlightened, uneducated racists and bigots. However, there is more to the story.

Brexit

In the case of Leave, perspectives were much more nuanced, regardless of what politicians, the media and Remainers say.

As a Leaver on PoliticalBetting.com put it on June 25:

The Leave coalition is quite a diverse one, lefty leavers were for Leave as a vote against globalization, centrist leavers supported Leave as a vote for democracy, right leavers supported Leave as a vote against mass immigration.

As Leave politicians said in the televised debates, their supporters favoured common sense over expert opinion.

The EU Referendum was won by people who rejected the political class, the media, corporatism (including big banks), experts and the elite.

On June 20, Tom Harris wrote an excellent column for The Telegraph, one which took issue with the haughtiness of the Remain camp. An excerpt follows:

Not many people would say it outright, but it’s implicit in some of the discussion around this that merely having a referendum is in itself a dangerous thing, a risk we should avoid.

This is obviously stupid on a surface level. We are a democracy, and democracy entails uncertainty. If we’re going to worry about “jitters” whenever we go to a vote, we might as well give up on the idea of voting at all. Focus groups including Welsh plumbers and single parents in Teesside could be disbanded in favour of specialised all-City panels (better dressed, better canapes). We’re not going to do that, so we’ll all have to find it in ourselves to accept the occasional market wobble.

But on a deeper level the saga of the pound also reveals the suffocating, restrictive groupthink which has dominated the last few months. Remain supporters talk less and less of the “positive” reasons for voting Remain, and more and more about how, since everyone else agrees with them, so should you. And another aspect of the same groupthink is the increasingly frequently stated view that, in fact, referendums in general are a bad thing, and that this should be the last one ever.

The little people (those who live outside SW1) just aren’t clever enough to decide on such a complicated issue as membership of the EU. All those facts and figures are just too difficult to analyse for themselves. That’s why we have a parliamentary democracy, so that our MPs can get on with running our lives while we focus on what’s important to us. Like whippets. Or eating fry-ups.

Harris rightly notes that, were it left up to Parliament, nothing would have been done about our place in the EU. David Cameron worked hard at renegotiating various aspects but, in reality, left Brussels with very few concessions.

We cannot be sure that the EU even ratified them.

The innate superiority of Remain was ever-present, as evidenced by this tweet from actor Robert Webb, a Cambridge graduate, who took issue with Boris Johnson’s Independence Day speech in the final debate on the BBC:

Johnson offers ‘hope’ with a clenched fist as a prelude to invoking ‘Independence Day’ to wild applause from thick people.

Television and talk radio journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer addressed similar sentiments in The Telegraph on June 22:

… perhaps you are afraid of being called a xenophobe or a racist or a Little Englander if you want to vote to control our borders? Well, rest assured that the many millions of people who are voting Leave on 23 June are not nasty, bitter old racists who want to go back to the 1950s. This isn’t about closing our borders and turning our backs on the world. On the contrary, this is about escaping the chains of the past and a positive vision for our future in the 21st century global economy. There is absolutely nothing racist or xenophobic about being concerned about the pressures on housing, schools, the NHS, our roads, public transport and community cohesion that years of mass uncontrolled immigration has brought.  

In closing on the ‘little people’, betting patterns were interesting, with Remain on top until shortly after 2 a.m. on June 24. A PoliticalBetting.com reader contributed this comment on June 21 explaining why (emphases mine):

Ladbrokes political betting man on Sky News.

Says those betting on REMAIN bet an average of £450 whilst those betting on LEAVE bet on average less than £100.

So rich people placing bets on REMAIN and poorer people placing bets on LEAVE – no doubt based on the opinions of the people they mix with.

Hence the difference between the betting odds which strongly favour REMAIN and the pollsters’ 50/50.

On June 25, The Telegraph published an article discussing Vote Leave’s man behind the scenes, strategist Dominic Cummings, said to have won the referendum. He carefully ran various talking points by focus groups. In the end:

With a group of only 60 staff inside Westminster Tower and minimal resources, Mr Cummings virtually single-handedly plotted an “asymmetric” campaign against almost the entire political and financial establishment

By early May, he had settled on the three key points that would form the basis for the final weeks of the campaign: a promise to take back control of £350million a week of taxpayers’ spending from Brussels; a promise to take back control over immigration; and warnings that countries such as Turkey and Serbia were in line to join the European Union in the years ahead.

The Remain team brought Obama over to tell us that if we didn’t vote to stay in the EU, we’d be at the ‘back of the queue’ with regard to the United States. More Project Fear. Ho hum.

Lord Ashcroft Polls has this helpful graphic which explains the reasons both sides voted the way they did:

https://i1.wp.com/lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Leave-vs-Remain-podium-rankings-768x989.jpg

Note the risk averse reasons from the Remain side versus the ‘take back control’ principles from Leave.

The disagreement about national sovereignty was acute. Remain did not even mention it, which recalls this quote from 1939 saying that national sovereignty is the root of all evil:

This Leaver’s letter to the editor (Telegraph?) further illustrates the Remain mindset:

I’ve just mugged a ‘Remain’ supporter — I took £350 out of his wallet, but he didn’t seem to mind.

I felt a bit sorry for him, so I gave him half of it back, but only on the condition that he spent it on things I say he can and that everything he buys should have a picture next to it of me saying I paid for it. He agreed!

We are meeting again tomorrow to do the same thing. He said that it was a fantastic idea and that he wouldn’t be able to survive without me.

Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed on June 23. The Telegraph published this letter on June 25:

SIR – An email that I received early on Friday from a dear Swedish friend said it all: “What you have done will mean so much for so many, and gives us all hope that democracy will survive and is stronger than all those who wish to control us. Thank you.”

Trump

What is Donald Trump gleaning from Brexit?

Not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton and Obama sided with Remain. Trump, by contrast, saw it this way. In May, when asked of the possibility of leaving the EU, he said:

I would say that they’re better off without it, personally, but I’m not making that as a recommendation. Just my feeling.

On June 24, he issued a statement on Brexit:

Statement Regarding British Referendum on E.U. Membership

The people of the United Kingdom have exercised the sacred right of all free peoples. They have declared their independence from the European Union, and have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy. A Trump Administration pledges to strengthen our ties with a free and independent Britain, deepening our bonds in commerce, culture and mutual defense. The whole world is more peaceful and stable when our two countries – and our two peoples – are united together, as they will be under a Trump Administration.

Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence. Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first. They will have the chance to reject today’s rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by and for the people. I hope America is watching, it will soon be time to believe in America again.

He soon followed it up with a tweet:

Many people are equating BREXIT, and what is going on in Great Britain, with what is happening in the U.S. People want their country back!

When he was in Scotland last week to reopen his newly refurbished golf resort at Turnberry, he gave an interview to The Times in which he predicted the breakup of the EU:

“The people have spoken. I think the EU is going to break up. I think the EU might break up before anybody thinks in terms of Scotland.” Trump said in an interview with The Times.

“I really think that without the immigration issue [the EU] wouldn’t have had a chance of breaking up … the people are fed up, whether it’s here or in other countries. You watch: other countries will follow.” Trump added.

I’m less sure that immigration was the primary overall reason. It was the continual loss of sovereignty that many of us found frustrating. Regardless of what pro-EU people say, many European nations’ laws come from EU directives that must be enacted and obeyed, whether those concern weights and measures and fruit shapes or — coming soon — defence policy and tax ID numbers.

Just before Trump went to Scotland, he gave a well-received speech on June 22, in which he explained why he was running for president, his reasons for opposing Clinton — and how he perceives the current state of play in America.

This sounds very similar to Leave’s perspective:

Everywhere I look, I see the possibilities of what our country could be. But we can’t solve any of these problems by relying on the politicians who created them.

We will never be able to fix a rigged system by counting on the same people who rigged it in the first place.

The insiders wrote the rules of the game to keep themselves in power and in the money.

That’s why we’re asking Bernie Sanders’ voters to join our movement: so together we can fix the system for ALL Americans. Importantly, this includes fixing all of our many disastrous trade deals.

Because it’s not just the political system that’s rigged. It’s the whole economy.

It’s rigged by big donors who want to keep down wages.

It’s rigged by big businesses who want to leave our country, fire our workers, and sell their products back into the U.S. with absolutely no consequences for them.

It’s rigged by bureaucrats who are trapping kids in failing schools.

It’s rigged against you, the American people.

That is the Leviathan that Leavers opposed on Thursday, June 23.

Americans will have that same opportunity on Tuesday, November 8.

Brexit proved that every vote counts.

The same holds true for American voters.

Money seekingalpha-Living4DividendsThe newspapers from April 23 and 24 presented the worst case scenarios for British business in case of Brexit.

One of the reasons the government is delaying triggering Article 50, which formally begins Leave proceedings with Brussels, is to give businesses time to plan for the future. There are, of course, other reasons for the delay, mainly David Cameron’s resignation. He clearly said that his successor, to be decided by October, will be the one to invoke the article.

The business section of Le Monde on June 23 had two good articles about Brexit. One of their correspondents, Eric Albert, interviewed a few British business experts (‘Le casse-tête des accords commerciaux post-Brexit’, Économie et Entreprise, p. 4). Highlights follow, translation and emphases mine.

How much of British trade is with the EU?

Currently, the European Union (EU) represents 45% of British exports and clarifying the commercial trading framework will be a matter of urgency.

Article 50 provides for a two-year period of exit negotiation. After two years, it can be renewed and extended.

‘The most rapid EU free trade agreement to date, with South Korea, took four years to be negotiated,’ recalls Jessica Gladstone from the legal firm Clifford Chance. ‘Negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom could be accelerated, but both parties would have to agree to that.’

At the moment, there are no trade frameworks that would ideally suit the UK’s position.

Norway is not part of the EU, but it is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and benefits from full access to the single market. But, in return, it is obliged to follow the rules and regulations from Brussels; it contributes annually to the EU budget and it abides by free movement of persons. For the United Kingdom, this would change nothing.

Relations between Switzerland and the EU are founded on nearly 120 bilateral agreements. But these do not include financial services, extremely important to the United Kingdom.

Turkey currently has access to the single market without accepting free movement. But that agreement pertains only to goods, not services. Yet, 80% of the British economy relies on services, particularly financial services. Furthermore, Turkey is obliged to adopt European rules and regulations.

Other countries — Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Ukraine — have distinctive agreements which include various aspects of political collaboration. However, those agreements are designed to help those countries become members of the EU. Britain would not benefit from that type of framework.

Another possibility is for Britain to return as a member of the World Trade Organisation. However, that would mean that customs and tariffs applied between the UK and EU. In short, the UK would be no different to India or China in that respect.

So, this leaves the UK in a position of having to renegotiate all 53 free trade agreements which exist between the EU and the rest of the world in order to maintain the commercial status quo in a Brexit Britain. Brussels would have to make significant concessions to Britain, which seems unlikely, but who knows? We would need to have a trading framework specifically tailored to our needs.

Another article on the same page in Le Monde was a Q&A with Andrew Balls, fund manager at Pimco (‘”La faiblesse des salaires nourrit le rejet d’Europe“‘). Balls explained — as the title says — that the British rejected Europe because of increasingly weak salaries.

Reporter Marie Charrel asked Balls whether Brexit would have as ‘violent’ an effect on the UK as the economic crash of 2008. Balls said that, outside of initial market and currency dips in the immediate aftermath, he did not foresee chronic problems in the long term. This is because everyone was aware we were undertaking an EU referendum, whereas no one foresaw Lehman Brothers failing in 2008.

Charrel then asked him what the overall financial impact of Brexit would be. Balls replied:

The heaviest consequences would be concentrated on the British economy. The doubts about an exit process, which could last for months, would penalise investment. A recession is not out of the question, but, overall, [making] any estimates would be tricky.

For the European Union, economic consequences would be more limited. We are much more worried about political risks that a Brexit would only amplify: the rise of Eurosceptic populists, Spanish legislative elections on June 26, the Italian referendum on constitutional reform this autumn … The list is a long one.

She then asked Balls the reasons for these political risks. He said:

Populist movements in Italy or in France, just as the rejection of the EU in the United Kingdom and even the popularity of the Republican Donald Trump in the United States have one thing in common: they are fed by weak growth and salaries which have been going on for years. Moreover, a number of citizens feel that aid given to the banking sector has not actually benefited the economy, and that income inequality has been further reinforced during this crisis [of 2008].

One wonders if our Treasury started developing Brexit plans during the campaign, despite our Chancellor George Osborne’s Project Fear. It could be he was so confident of Remain winning that no one thought of developing — or was allowed to formulate — a Plan B(rexit).

Time permits only a brief post today.

The British people have spoken via the ballot box.

Will June 24 be considered as the UK’s ‘independence day’? I hope so.

The results of the EU Referendum were 51.9% Leave and 48.1% Remain with turnout at just over 72%.

Unfortunately, our Prime Minister David Cameron resigned shortly after 8 a.m. today, Friday, June 24. He did this of his own accord. He stated that he would remain as PM until the Conservative Party conference in October, when a new party leader will be chosen.

Brexit may well trigger a second independence referendum in Scotland.

However, despite market upsets earlier today in stocks and Sterling, similar exit referenda might now be held elsewhere in Europe. I was listening to RMC’s (French talk radio) programmes today. The flagship morning programme took a listeners’ poll on the topic; 73% of them would like a referendum! A conservative French MP said that Brexit was a clear signal that EU elites in Brussels need to start listening to European citizens. He is absolutely right.

Columnist Brendan O’Neill said the same thing in The Spectator:

This result should send a clear warning to every politician and bureaucrat: do not dare to take the people for granted; do not presume that they think the same way as you do; do not underestimate their capacity to think about things and discuss them and to chuck out political ideas and systems they don’t like. There is plenty of time for breakdowns of how Britain voted, for tears among the Remain campaign, and for celebrations among Leavers; but for now, let us marvel at the fact that democracy works, that democracy is powerful, and that the people can think for themselves. It is rare that politics makes me get a lump in my throat, but today it has, because generations of people fought and died for the right we have just exercised — the right to determine the destiny of our nation and to change the world.

I can’t top that.

I will be celebrating in full today: lunch with a party to follow this evening.

More analysis will come in the coming weeks.

To all those who voted for the people and democracy, many thanks!

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