Tuesday, 20 March 2018


The so-called agreement announced yesterday (19/3/18) proves just one thing. The Tory government has yet again kicked the can down the road on the Brexit negotiations. They should be dealing with the difficult issues first, not last, to avoid wasting time making agreements that can never be implemented. Many people realised months ago that this Tory Government is incapable of negotiating a fair Brexit deal and are spinning it out just to remain in power for a few months more. They know that admission of failure is likely to trigger an immediate general election, especially as they will lose the support of the DUP over the Irish border.

The big issues the Tories are not able to deal with and have therefore postponed:

1. The Irish border: there is no way that you can have a soft border with the Irish Republic unless Northern Ireland effectively remains part of the Single Market and the Customs Union. Green Leaves recognised this from the start and have been calling for an Irish re-unification referendum since before the 2016 EU referendum. The only other alternative is to move the customs border to between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a situation totally unacceptable to the DUP and Ulster Unionists. A referendum vote to re-unite with the republic is the only way that that Unionist veto can be over-ruled.

2. Fishing: under Article 125 of the agreement, the UK will not be taking back control of our fisheries when we leave the EU – something which the Government had previously promised. I predict every MP representing fishing communities will agree that we must have absolute control of our waters and fish from the end of March 2019 and anything less is totally unacceptable. As this must be put to a vote, there is no way that this will pass in the House of Commons.

3. The EU is suggesting that the EU Court of Justice should decide on any impasse between the UK and the EU. For instance if there was no agreement on Northern Ireland, the EU’s draft protocol for a ‘fallback’ option to resolve the Irish border would take precedence, which would see Northern Ireland remain in the EU Customs Union and aligned with much of the Single Market after Brexit. Again unacceptable to the DUP.

4. But the big issue: not even mentioned by the UK Tory negotiating team, is the massive trade deficit that the UK has with the EU and the unsustainability of this ever expanding trade to the world's environment. The UK must develop self sufficiency after Brexit; learn to live within its means if it is not to become bankrupt, both financially and environmentally. Financially its trade is in a worse situation than the likes of Greece, which has been crippled by austerity. Environmentally, we are still learning just what a horrific disaster 100 years of plastics have been and we know that drastic action to vastly reduce our consumption is needed now. Not in three years, ten years or fifty years. We should be campaigning for Brexit be the catalyst for action on the environment NOW!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Remain supporter condemns EU interference in elections

It is a shame that so main "Remain" supporters like Vince Cable resort to personal abuse when describing "Leave" voters. It's as if they know that they own arguments often lack veracity, so they similarly make up reasons why the majority of UK voters in the EU referendum opted for Brexit.

For myself, there were a number of reasons why I voted for Brexit, including the lack of sustainability of the EU economic model and the undermining by the EU Commission of European democracy. In particular their (I believe illegal) interference in the election of Governments in EU member states and the outcomes of EU referenda.

A classic example is described by ardent "Remain" supporter, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in his recent book, "Adults in the Room". He describes how the European Central Bank (elected by no one) deliberately tried to affect the outcome of the Greek general election in 2015.

Varoufakis says "..the ECB had just announced that in the near future it would stop accepting the IOUs issued by banks and backed by the governments of bailed out countries as collateral for further loans. In other words, a vital component of the smoke and mirrors machinery (set up by the ECB, EU and IMF to mask Greece's insolvency in 2010 and stop them leaving the Euro) used by Greece's four largest banks to ensure their day to day liquidity would be removed. The date on which the new policy became effective set alarm bells ringing in my head: March 2015 - the month the president of Greece's term expired, when new elections were likely to be held and in all probability Syriza would form a government."

"The ECB was creating the conditions necessary to close down the (Greek) banks without any warning or reason just as Syriza was taking over."
(Yanis Varoufakis "Adults in the Room" page 84).

Coming from such an ardent "Remain" supporter, this criticism is striking and nor is interference by the EU an isolated case. There are literally hundreds of examples, including new "technocratic" governments put in place to replace democratically elected governments who refused to toe the (unelected) EU Commission line. Further examples can be found not just in Greece, but also in Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Cyprus to name but a few. The bullying attitude of the EU now displayed in the so called negotiations on Brexit with May's weak Tory Government is, therefore, par for the course. Let's hope it won't be too long before the UK can walk away from this corrupt institution and that other countries will see the light and follow suit.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018


(A poem copyright Leslie A Rowe 18th January 2018)

I am the man that fell at Hastings,
Whose heart was pierced at Bannockburn.
Who was cut down at Agincourt
Even as I let my arrow fly.
The King he wooed his Kate
As MY lips were eaten by the crows.

At Marston Moor I did fall;
At Worcester was I trampled underfoot.
I drowned off Trafalgar
And lost my life at Waterloo.
At the Somme and at Passchendaele,
You will find my broken body
Left behind at Dunkirk
My corpse floats on the waters of Normandy.

I am the common man
Who has laid down his life
For his country, so many times.
And yet, and yet
What has this country done for me?
A country ruled by the generals
Who sat upon the hill, as
I shed my life below.
A country sold to the very foe
From whom I died defending.
A country now run by the selfish and the greedy.
Our country represented by thieves and usurpers.
Our voice ignored, our wishes spurned.

Once only in our lifetime has our voice been heard.
Above the clamour of the chattering classes.
But once again the wicked and the charlatans
Bend the rules to their own favour and
Cloud the issues with prattle and fakery.

Rise up; rise up, my fellow country folk.
'Tis time to cast off this yoke
Of subservience to those in power
And call this our finest hour
When we, once more, take up the sword
Bend our bows and fight
To declare our right
To rule our country and distain
Those who would take it from us again.
Yes, take back control
Take back our right
To stand up tall against the might
Of those who would claim
Their right to rule over me.

Send me no Kings nor Queens nor false politicians
Spare me from false princes
Hiding their ancestry behind pomp and circumstance.
My life, my country are mine own
To do with as I will.
'Tis time, 'tis time to walk the walk
To talk the talk
And defend our rights as human beings.
Defend our rights to the country
Our forebears fought to free,
But only succeeded in giving
To thee, mine enemy
Your right to bury me.

Leslie Rowe 18/1/2018

Youtube link:


Tuesday, 2 January 2018


Happy New Year!

Made a New Year resolution yet? Money tight after an expensive Christmas? Well now is the time to resolve to live a bit more frugally in future and preserve just a few more resources to help your pocket and the planet! Here are a few tips from your friendly retired accountant!

When you go shopping make two lists. On the first list put everything you need and on the second list put everything you want. Then throw the second list away!

Go through your "needs" list and decide whether you really need them. For instance, butter in the UK has doubled in price in the last 18 months. Even English butter, so the exchange rate is no excuse. It's time we, as consumers, started wielding our power NOT to consume. So strike things you don't really need from your list or find a cheaper alternative.

Eaten far too much chocolate over Christmas and the kids drunk too many fizzy drinks? The UK government's latest propaganda campaign to distract you from their appalling cock ups is that children should not have sugary snacks of more than 100 calories. Healthy eating is in fact cheaper than unhealthy eating, which you will know if you have ever compared the price of an apple to a chocolate bar.

It's also cheaper to be a vegetarian than an omnivore....

Next: don't buy brands. I know you always buy that coffee made by a multinational company that has just moved its HQ to a tax haven overseas, but do you need to? If you go to a store they will probably have just as good a product marketed under their own brand. For instance, you can get 40 one cup tea bags from Tesco for just 25p (and the bag is not plastic and so therefore biodegradable).

Finally, and by no means least, don't buy the fudge being sold to you by the terrible Tories. Get out of the house and protest at the privatisation of the NHS, the fracking of our countryside or the failure to protect our population from floods and fires. In particular, whether you are in favour of Brexit or in favour of Remain, please get off your backside and protest about the fudge being peddled by May and Co. You know that policy of being in the single market (to ensure no hard border in Ireland) and out of it (as promised by Brexit) at the same time is totally impossible. We either leave the EU entirely or we Remain in the EU: there are no other viable alternatives!

The sooner we get this ridiculous minority Tory Government out of office, the better it will be for all us. So start THE revolution now, forget the shopping and get down to the barricades!

Friday, 22 December 2017

The Establishment talks to the Establishment

Have you noticed how it is always the usual suspects who appear on all the talk shows and write all the newspaper columns?

What the establishment says needs to be treated with such scepticism, as lies and half truths spew out of the TV and radio.

The BBC yesterday in parliament programme reported this week, for instance, that the Liberal Democrat former minister Tom Brake had claimed that the EU referendum result was in part because of Russian cyber terrorism. Then they reported the Tory grandee Edward Leigh saying that this was just sour grapes, because liberals could not accept that the working class rejected the left wing in the EU referendum!

Finally "Yesterday in Parliament" shamelessly reported, that "the UK democracy is the most robust in the world." Robust yes, democratic no. Just look at the makeup of the Houses of Parliament. The Lords full of unelected establishment yes men. The Commons full of brown nosed sycophants, who also owe their position to patronage and an undemocratic electoral system which allows a government to be elected by just one third of the electorate. No surprise that MPs do not reflect the views of the majority in the country on such a fundamental issue as Brexit. No, democracy to Parliament is voting to allow themselves to overturn the will of the people on Brexit if they disagree with the dog's breakfast being served up by this minority government.

There are many such examples touted as truth by the Ministry of Truth, aka the BBC and the mainstream media.
If you believe the establishment, there is no such thing as a left wing supporter of Brexit or a right wing remainer. How often do you see Labour Leave invited onto the talk shows and yet we hear from Tony Blair all the time, despite the fact that he has been out of office for almost ten years. As a member of Green Leaves, the organisation of Green Party supporters who support Brexit, I am not aware that any of our members has ever been invited by the media to comment since the EU referendum. Why are the views of Labour Leave or Green Leaves less relevant than those of Nigel Farage or Tony Blair? More importantly, why are the alternative paths to Brexit they propose not reported?

The establishment continues to have the same agenda that the BBC have had throughout its history. To limit the voices you hear through the establishment media to the people who control the selection of MPs, the appointments to the House of Lords and the rest of the ruling class.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

EU / UK joint report on Brexit is a blank cheque made of fudge

The EU / UK joint report on Brexit is a fudge. Most glaringly, it has fudged the issue of Ireland, kicking the can down the road yet again. However, unless a way is found to do the impossible of allowing Northern Ireland to be part of single market and outside it at the same time the fudge says:

"In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement."

It also says: "the United Kingdom will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom..."

In other words, the whole UK will remain bound by EU rules forever.

This is not Brexit: just capitulation by a weak and wobbly Tory government!

Now is the time for Brexiteers to declare that no deal is better than this fudge. But Tory Brexit supporters are too scared of a general election and a Corbyn win to rock the boat. Tory flag waver Jacob Rees-Mogg cravenly concedes defeat:
“Arlene Foster saved the day and the Prime Minister has done well to secure a deal that Brexiteers can live with."

Yet again the Tories have shown that they put their own interests above those of the country. It is time for the rest of us to demand the Brexit we voted for.

This EU / UK joint report on Brexit reads as if the whole lot was drafted in Brussels, which indeed it was. It uses EU jargon to muddy the waters and hide the dangers lurking within.

The consequences of this agreement are frightening. Not only will the UK be bound to the Single Market and the Customs Union forever, but also the financial consequences are probably under estimated.

Take one paragraph: "In particular, the value of the RAL, as audited by the European Court of Auditors, will be adjusted to take into account the actual implementation of the Union’s commitments, taking into account decommitments and assigned revenue. The UK opt-outs leading to non-participation in Union programmes existing at the date of withdrawal will continue to apply in respect of the financial settlement."

What on earth does this mean? The RAL stands for Reste à Liquider which, according to the Huffington Post ( http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/adam-hamdy/eu-referendum_b_10625150.html ) is "a fancy monicker for the EU's unfunded future liabilities." According to the HP "The EU commits to expenditure on the assumption that member states will continue to fund it. So it might agree to fund a €100 million infrastructure project over three years, but only receive the money for it over a much longer six-year period. This creates a gap between income and liabilities. The original idea behind the Reste à Liquider was to enable the EU to smoothly manage its commitments and not to be tied to receipts from member states."

"The only problem is that the gap between income and liabilities has kept growing to the point where it now stands at around €220 billion (in 2016). Total unfunded liabilities now equate to approximately 25% of the entire EU budget over the last six-year cycle, or over 140% of the EU's annual budget. The liability gap is so large that the ECR Policy Group has warned that the EU may soon be unable to pay its bills. The liabilities are starting to look a lot like an unapproved overdraft that's getting out of control."

The Court of Auditors is so unreliable that they were recently raided by the fraud squad. The EU's finances have never been properly audited, let alone the RAL. So the commitment for the UK to fund all EU expenditure "Committed" before the withdrawal date (according to the EU sometime in 2021) is basically a blank cheque. There is no way that anyone can actually put a figure on these unfunded future liabilities and who knows what additional financial commitments the EU will agree to before 2021. A European Army? The building of the capital of the United States of Europe?
The estimate of a net cost of £36 - £39bn is just a guess. The UK has no legal obligation to fund any of these " future liabilities", so why should we commit ourselves to pay for an unknown figure just to allow the EU27 continued free access to the UK market?

In the last year the UK trade deficit with the EU27 has been £90bn. This will continue and expand if this dodgy deal is allowed to stand. The UK just cannot afford to finance the incompetence of this Conservative minority administration. The country should rise up and demand that as we voted for Brexit, we should have Brexit and have it without this stitch up by the EU.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Tory plan for a United Ireland?

The day after the Brexit referendum on 23rd June 2016, I set out my vision on how to achieve a Green Brexit (see below). I think I can safely claim that my planning was considerably more advanced than that of the Tory Government who have looked totally without vision and bumbled from one crisis to another ever since.

One of the positive aspects of Brexit, I predicted, would be a referendum on a United Ireland, a simple solution to the Irish border question. Well, at last, the Tories seem to have caught up, with their proposals for "a continuing regulatory alignment" between Northern Ireland & the Republic, strongly welcomed by the Irish Taoiseach & the EU, but not surprisingly, rejected by the Ulster Unionist Parties. Rejected as it is clearly a first step on a united-Ireland agenda. As both the Tories and the DUP are scared that a general election will see Labour gain power, expect to see a loosely worded re-branding of this "alignment" accepted next week.

Thereafter it will only be a matter of time before Scotland also asks for the same arrangements and new referenda on Irish reunification and Scottish Independence lead to the new paradigm I hoped for.

(You will find my original post from 24 June 2016 in the history of this blog, but I reproduce it below):

Priorities for a post Green Brexit
Those priorities, I believe, should be, as follows:
1. The UK having addressed the democratic deficit in the EU, our next priority should be to address the democratic deficit in the UK. We should call for immediate discussions on electoral reform to give the people of the UK a more representative voting system. We got this referendum because of internal Tory Party squabbles and a weak Prime Minister who promised the EU referendum in the clear expectation that he would not get a majority in the House of Commons in 2015 and not then have to deliver on that promise. Now literally hoisted on his own petard, the Green Party should take this opportunity to attack the electoral system that got him elected with the support of less than one quarter of the electorate and demand proportional representation.
2. Similarly we should renew our campaign for the abolition of the House of Lords and the creation of a new elected senate.
3. The Green Party in England & Wales should support the demands for a new independence referendum in Scotland and a referendum for a United Ireland.
4. One of my greatest criticisms of the position of the Green Party over Europe is that we seemed to have forgotten our basic message of replacing a pro-growth consumer society with a society wedded to conserving our environment. We have been told many times that if the world wishes to avoid exceeding the 2°C, then the wealthiest countries have to adopt a de-growth strategy for a limited period. We should return to our roots and actively campaign for a de-growth economic policy.
5. That would embrace localism in our procurement policies for schools, hospitals and other public institutions, like the military. Making it a virtue of buying local preferably organic food.
6. Step up our opposition to the creeping privatisation of the NHS, especially now that the Tories will no longer have the excuse of EU neo-liberal policies on procurement.
7. Given the new spirit of rebellion engendered in the EU by the UK's unprecedented rejection of the arguments put forward by international vested interests, I believe TTIP is now dead. Obama has already promised that the UK will be put to the "back of the queue" regarding a free trade agreement and we can carve out a unique position by opposing ALL UK free trade agreements.
8. Point out that leaving the EU does not mean that we have to leave the European Court of Human Rights, which is a separate and older institution. Indeed we can champion the Court in our opposition to Tory attempts to water down our rights.
9. Try to develop an electoral pact with the Corbyn wing of the Labour Party, to increase the possibility of a truly socialist and progressive UK Government, to reverse the Thatcherism and austerity favoured by all successor governments since Thatcher, both Labour and Tory.
In this way we can renew and invigorate the Green Party by following this more radical agenda.