Welcome to Britain Watch

All the signs are that the governance of Britain is spiralling out of control: record trade and budget deficits; a swollen bureaucracy; an inadequate but costly education system; a government incapable of providing for our future energy needs; record emigration of native Britons, unprecedented levels of immigration; a mind-set putting the non-citizen ahead of the British citizen.

Britain Watch has been set up to highlight key examples of these trends and to promote practical reforms to reverse the incompetence and loss of national self belief they engender. All readers are invited to participate.

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Short News

More Electricity Madness
Reports in the Sunday Telegraph (19th October 2014) that the Prudential Insurance company is planning to invest in large infrastructure projects is encouraging, but its choice of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project will, if confirmed, prove disastrous for Prudential’s pensioners and the British taxpayer. [more »]

Is winning the next election more important to the Conservatives than keeping Britain in the EU?
Here is a real, momentous decision facing Prime Minister Cameron. He can have either of the above alternatives, but not both. If the Conservative manifesto contained two commitments: [more »]

Good News for Britain from Ineos
Ineos is one of those largely British industrial success stories rarely heard of by the British public (or even most of the British government). Instead of the miserly 1% of fracking revenues offered by the UK Oil and Gas Producers’ Association (UK OOG), Ineos will offer 4% to the owners of land where Ineos bores wells (most owners own the rights anyway) and 2% to the communities within a 39 square mile area of a 200 well cluster. Over a 30 year period, Ineos expects these payments to exceed £2.5 billion which will not only make some owners very well off, but ensure opposition to this vital development is minimal. Good News indeed. [more »]

Only a major expansion of manufacture and developing new indigenous energy will solve Britain's economic problems
As we have pointed out many times, right back to the first posts in 2008, and this author in TIME (The Importance of Manufacture to the Economy in 2000), at £110 billion per annum the goods trade deficit is an even bigger problem than the government’s fiscal deficit of about the same size. Why is this? Firstly the goods deficit is made up basically of imported manufactures, raw materials, and foodstuffs, offset to a degree by net services exports (principally technical and financial), aerospace, and oil goods, none of which the government feels it can do much about. Oil exports have declined by over 50% since the peak years 1998-2002 to a still very significant £30 billion or so, but as a result we are now, for the first time in our history, net importers of energy, getting worse as North Sea oil and gas production continue to decline. [more »]

Life in an Independent Scotland would be much worse
One of Scotland’s most prominent exports is Andrew Marr, the BBC commentator on all things Scottish and British (although he says he’s not sure what these terms mean, even after a career spent in the BBC). At Kings College London recently, in conversation with Mary-Kay Wilmers of the London Review of Books, he opined that Scottish people, in their view, “have to vote against the Union because frankly life could not be worse”. Well here are a few facts of life which would be definitely worse had Scotland voted for separation from the UK. See our post of 18th September (Referendum day) for 11 things which individual Scots citizens would definitely not be able to count on in their civic life, and 3 things which would be huge inconveniences for individual Scots in their personal lives. [more »]


Facts about Negotiations with the EU

On 30th November the Sunday Telegraph published two articles about negotiating a change in Britain’s relationship with the European Union.  One of these articles, by Nigel Wilson, CEO of a substantial FTSE insurance company – Legal and General – writing under the “Voice of Business” by-line, lamented the fact as he saw it, that “no-one has articulated what renegotiation means” and that “invoking clause 50 (of the Lisbon Treaty) as a starting pistol for renegotiation is arcane and doesn’t resonate outside Brussels or Westminster”.

Only phoney negotiations on offer from David Cameron

Certainly starting a negotiation without a clear idea of what you are setting out to achieve is madness.  It is clear, however, that Prime Minister Cameron is very clear about his personal objective and that is to be re-elected as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in May next year.  To this end he is using smoke and mirrors to persuade the British people that he “understands” their “concerns” about unrestricted EU immigration and if re-elected will be able to get the other 27 EU member states to agree to UK measures to stop it.

Article 3: Freedom of Movement of Persons

On this website (6th November) and in previous publications by Stephen Bush, it has been pointed out that Article 3 of the Rome Treaty (to which all subsequent EU treaties are regarded as additions not amendments) is sacrosanct to the other EU states, like the Ark of the Covenant in fact.  Article 3 therein refers to the

“freedom of movement for persons, services and capital”

as a fundamental provision of the EC, now EU.

Why do British politicians and corporate businessmen as well wilfully misunderstand this straightforward 57 year-old declaration by asserting that the word “person” really means “worker” so that free movement doesn’t apply to children, grannies, students and so on.  But it does apply to everyone without exception.  Deporting EU people without jobs – as Cameron suggested (Wednesday 26th November) he would aim to do in his “negotiations” with the other 27 EU countries is a complete non-starter as has been made abundantly clear by the Germans, Poles, French and the European Commission.  Cameron must know this.

Article 50 the Lisbon Treaty 2007

This is the last article of Part I of the Treaty and is entitled

“Voluntary withdrawal from the Union”.