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

Don't Miss Brexit Book by Stephen Bush
This illuminating study can be bought from Amazon UK for £6.99. Reviews available on site.  It’s an invaluable guide to understanding Britain’s position in negotiations on Brexit. [more »]

The Fear Campaign Worked
Polls over the last two years have shown a huge majority (65-75%) in favour of curbing immigration. On the doorstep, person to person, canvassers found that immigration was the number one reason for voting to leave.  So why was the vote for Leave at 52% so small? Reason: the fear of dire economic consequences pumped out at the British people by: the government, economists, charities, bankers, think-tanks, quangos, talking shops at home and abroad, nearly all sucking on the public sector money teat, or in the case of bankers, on their own shareholders’ cash. [more »]

Cameron's Motive
Why did David Cameron not carry out his undertaking to join the Leave campaign when he didn’t get the EU to restrain the flow of immigrants in any meaningful way? Seemingly he had everything to gain. Most, if not all, the Cabinet would have joined him, as would virtually all the Conservative Party in the Commons and the country.  Some of the 6 million Labour voters who will vote Leave tomorrow might have been permanently deflected from voting Labour again.  With Corbyn still in charge of Labour, a united Tory party would have been on course for winning big in 2020. [more »]

Attempts by Cameron to swing the Referendum vote his way
On June 8th in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Cameron announced that he was trying to get the Electoral Commission, which is set up to be entirely independent of the government, to extend the deadline for registration to vote in the EU Referendum from midnight on June 7th because he wanted to “allow as many people as possible to take part in the Referendum” as if it were some sort of game.  This announcement followed complaints by many of those attempting to register on-line from 10 pm until the deadline at midnight, that the registration website was not coping with the large numbers of people attempting to register at the last minute.  To satisfy these complaints, an extension of 24 hours at the most would appear more than enough. In fact the Electoral Commission has permitted a 48 hour extension to the registration period to midnight on the 9th June. [more »]

More Academic Special Pleading
The relentless barrage of letters from the university community about their grants from the EU continues. In their letter of 26th May to the Daily Telegraph, the Chairman and President of King’s College London maintain that the UK’s leaving the EU political project would somehow “weaken our research base by undermining relationships with European partners”.  They also complain that EU researchers coming to Britain would be subject to onerous visa requirements. They should take a look at the European Research Council (ERC) website which welcomes international collaboration and specifically grants support on a competitive basis “to individual researchers of any nationality and age”. The ERC maintains missions and contact points in 29 non-EU countries, including Switzerland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. [more »]


Overly Complex Brexit Negotiations

The various issues in our present relationship with the EU have been deliberately conflated by some commentators to make the future negotiation look horrendously complicated (Letters to the Daily Telegraph, Saturday 22nd October).

Two issues predominate: the future rights of EU nationals to settle and seek work in the UK, and future trade relations between Britain and the EU countries. No trade agreement anywhere connects these two issues, and all other EU-UK issues are completely secondary.

For the first issue we should say now that this is not a negotiating matter. We intend to be a fully sovereign country once more.  EU nationals will have the same freedom to come to Britain, as visitors, as do Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, US and Japanese citizens under the current visa–waiver system. But for work, EU nationals will, like them, need to obtain a work permit.

For the trade issue, we need to state that our aim is not to disturb the present tariff-free trade in goods and will not impose tariffs on EU goods if they don’t impose them on ours.

The only real issue for the British government is whether or not to continue with the present EU tariffs applied to non-EU industrial goods imported into Britain (on average about 3%).  Accepting this would avoid negotiating a separate agreement for each product exported from Britain to the EU which might have some non-British content. British exporters would be very relieved to avoid this.