Legislation that will impact on the constitution should be put to a public vote. This will include any legislation that affects the independence of the UK, such as the European Communities Act 1972.
In order for more referendums to be feasible an updated voting system may be needed. This could be a combination of electronic voting machines running open source software, and physical tallies of the number of voters. The tallies would be done by humans to validate the number of votes counted electronically.
The reason for using open source software is that the code can be inspected by anyone. This means that its credibility as a system for facilitating the democratic process can be checked by any person who has the right skills.
Currently, the vast majority of money (about 97%) is created by commercial banks through the process of them making loans. Only about 20% of this lending goes into the real (productive) economy. The rest goes into financial services and existing real estate.
The power to create money should be transferred from commercial banks to the Bank of England. With this system of money creation most new money would enter the economy through public spending, which is directed towards the real economy ie products or services such as infrastructure or the NHS, and people who will spend money into the real economy – soldiers, public servants, veterans, retirees, NHS workers etc.
If you would like to know more about this policy visit my campaign page for it here.
The primary issue of social justice facing us today is that of child sexual abuse. This is a completely unacceptable crime. As long as it is going on in our country and we are aware of it we can’t claim to be a moral pillar of the world. And the situation today is that we are aware of its reach, from Westminster to churches to grooming gangs to care homes and beyond. No public authority (police, council, social services) has ever faced criminal charges for failures to act when information regarding child sexual abuse was presented.
This is a list of UK grooming gang scandals. They are listed by the nominal number of victims in each case.
Health & Environment
There is doubt about the ability of the Global Climate Models (GCMs) to accurately predict the future climate. One reason for this is the lack of validation and verification of the models. This is exacerbated by the number of unconstrained parameters that can be altered within the GCMs.
There is also doubt about the reliability of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) figures that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) includes in its reports. The ECS is the amount of global warming that could be expected after several centuries if the CO2 levels were to suddenly double. In its 2013 AR5 report the IPCC stated:
…there is high confidence that ECS is extremely unlikely less than 1°C and medium confidence that the ECS is likely between 1.5°C and 4.5°C and very unlikely greater than 6°C.
Christopher Monckton and his team have said that this is based on an incorrect feedback formula. They say that when the formula is corrected the ECS is 1.25°C, which doesn’t doesn’t put us in any danger.
If the warming that has been observed since 1850 did not occur because of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, why did it then happen? A Danish professor called Henrik Svensmark has shown that cosmic rays affect the amount of cloud cover and that solar activity affects the amount of cosmic rays entering our atmosphere.
Svensmark’s studies show that there is a mechanism by which solar activity leads to an amplification of warming. The basis of this mechanism is that cosmic rays contribute to the growth of aerosols in the atmosphere, allowing more particles to reach the size necessary to form clouds. Since solar activity blocks cosmic rays, when solar activity increases, the amount of cloud cover decreases, causing a rise in temperature.
Svensmark concludes that this mechanism ‘might actually be important’ in the feature of warming we have seen over the course of the 20th Century.
Monsanto was the original developer of glyphosate in the 1970s. Roundup is the trade name of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide. In 2018 Monsanto was acquired by Bayer.
This substance is unlikely to be genotoxic (i.e. damaging to DNA) or to pose a carcinogenic threat to humans.
A large number of internal Monsanto documents have been released over the years. They are organised on the website of an American law firm, which is representing plaintiffs in legal cases regarding potential negative health effects of Roundup.
There are many emails included amongst the documents. One email exchange from 2015 between Monsanto employees shows them discussing how to pay scientists that are sitting on a supposedly independent expert panel which will be reviewing glyphosate. The two scientists are Larry Kier and John Acquavella.
These two scientists sat on supposedly independent expert panels which produced a study of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate. The study was published in 2018. It is titled A review of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate by four independent expert panels and comparison to the IARC assessment. This paper was in response to the IARC’s conclusion that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. It concluded,
…glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.
There have also been concerns about the manner in which the IARC arrived at their conclusion that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. It was discovered by Reuters that the IARC had removed citations of studies from its final paper that were included in the draft paper. These studies went against the notion that glyphosate is carcinogenic
Glyphosate in combination with glyphosate resistant GM crops has increased the crop yield in countries such as India. However, the potential health effects of glyphosate must be adequately communicated to farmers and consumers so they can make informed decisions.
My view is that in the absence of definitive scientific results, it must be clearly labelled on all glyphosate herbicides that the safety of glyphosate has not been proven one way or the other.
The Office for National Statistics says:
Net migration continues to add to the population of the UK as an estimated 283,000 more people moved to the UK with an intention to stay 12 months or more than left in the year ending September 2018.
A House of Lords 2007/2008 report looked into the economic effects of immigration. It said,
In the long run, the main economic effect of immigration is to enlarge the economy, with relatively small costs and benefits for the incomes of the resident population.
The report is critical of the use by the government of GDP as a measure of the economic impacts of immigration:
GDP—which measures the total output created by immigrants and pre-existing residents in the UK—is an irrelevant and misleading measure for the economic impacts of immigration on the resident population.
It suggests that GDP per capita is a better way to show the economic impacts of immigration:
Rather than referring to total GDP when discussing the economic impacts of immigration, the Government should focus on the per capita income (as a measure of the standard of living) of the resident population.
These comments are in response to suggestions from various institutions that immigration has a significant positive impact on the UK economy. One of these claims was from then Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne MP. He said,
…there is a big positive impact on the economy which is worth about £6 billion…
He does go on to mention per capita GDP, saying that his evidence suggests that this is positive. He doesn’t say how positive and the House of Lords report says, as quoted above, that the overall effect is small.
In my view, the economic impact of immigration is not a primary concern. It should be monitored, but the main economic problems have their roots in the way the monetary system operates. This issue is addressed in my National Money campaign.
Cultural divides are a more pressing concern with regard to immigration. In a 2012 study by Pippa Norris and Ronald F. Inglehart using data from the Pooled World Values Survey, 1981–2007 it is said that,
…the position of Muslim migrants proved to be located approximately halfway between the dominant values prevailing within their Destinations and their Origins. This suggests that Muslims are not exceptionally resistant in levels of integration, as Alberto Bisin et al. (2008) suggest; instead, the centrist position documented in other studies for Mexican and for Latin American migrants also applies to this population (Moreno, 2005). Migrants do not wholly reject their cultural roots, it seems, but neither do they fully adopt the values of their host societies.
This is the graph that accompanies this analysis:
It clearly shows that Muslim migrants move towards the beliefs of the host country, but that they do not go all the way. This suggests that the native population either has to meet them somewhere near the middle, or else we all adopt an understanding that we will not agree on everything. The second option seems more feasible.
In my view it is good to have your views challenged, and open and honest debate should be fostered. This, I believe, would help integration. However, because this type of debate can feature strong criticism, it is not currently part of the national conversation. This is because of fears of causing offense held by many leaders and influencers in politics and popular culture.
…it was difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverged from Convention [European Convention on Human Rights] values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervened in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.
This ruling was in response to the aim of the Turkish Welfare Party to establish a sharia based regime. This ruling is relevant with regard to The independent review into the application of sharia law in England and Wales, which was commissioned by the UK government. This review gave recommendations to improve the position of the women using the Sharia councils in England and Wales. The review made clear that there are many examples of bad practises within these Sharia councils. It also recognised that they perform an important function, mainly being the vehicles through which Muslim women can get religious divorces.
Conversely to Tommy Robinson’s criticisms of Islam, Muslims can be critical of ways in which things are done in the UK. For example, many Muslims have expressed opposition to sex and relationship lessons that are based on the No Outsiders program. One parent said that these lessons have led to,
…girls…asking whether it is true they can be boys, boys as young as four asking whether it is true we can be girls.
There are Christians that are also critical of this program, and personally I find the No Outsiders program concerning because it introduces transgender concepts to very young children.
In 2016 the Casey Review was published. It is a report looking into how to increase the integration of immigrants into UK society. It was commissioned by David Cameron and Theresa May.
It details many problem areas with regard to the integration of immigrants, such as education, religion and employment. It puts forward a series of recommendations for the government, which are designed to foster a sense of British values and improve integration. For example, it is suggested that immigrants should proclaim an ‘Oath of Integration with British Values and Society’ on arrival in the country. This suggestion was not implemented as far as I know. It seems a bit superficial, so that’s probably a good thing.
Integration is a massive subject, with the definition even being under debate. The most pressing areas are where immigrants’ cultural values lead them to engage in criminal behaviour. Female genital multilation (FGM), child sexual abuse and honour violence are prime examples that need to be addressed more robustly. Tackling these crimes will remove a hurdle in the journey towards a more cohesive society.
In order to achieve this, the first step is for leaders to speak accurately and openly about these issues, articulating what they are doing to tackle them. The Casey Review pointed out that,
…the causes of inequality…taken to their extremes, are criminal acts [and] may be described, excused and all too often ignored or ‘swept under the carpet’ as cultural or religious practices.
One of the factors in the Rotherham grooming gang scandal was an unwillingness by some to address the ethnicity of the perpetrators, which in part led to there being no engagement with the Pakistani community.
Female genital mutilation has been illegal since 1985 and only 1 person has ever been charged with it. There are however an estimated 103,000 women and girls living with the effect of it in England and Wales as of 2011.
Honour based violence is also a problem for women and girls. The authorities’ mishandling of the issue is shown by the case of one woman who was murdered by members of her family after expressing her concerns to the police.
These key issues need to be addressed with significant resources.
In terms of the level of net immigration, I think we need to reduce it while we focus on integrating immigrants already here. The Conservative promise of getting it down to the ‘tens of thousands’ is a good target. While it is a nice idea to have very open doors it can cause problems, which if not dealt with cause negative situations for the immigrants and people already here.
With regard to the actual method of choosing who can come in, an addendum to the points based system could be limited mutual quotas between the UK and countries all around the world. This would mean negotiating deals where we would accept a number of immigrants from a country in return for them accepting a number of immigrants from the UK. With this system, multiculturalism would be increased because of the wider variety of nationalities that would be welcomed. At the same time, segregation would be made less likely since there wouldn’t be very large numbers of people with a single cultural background arriving.
Syria & Human Rights
The current conflict in Syria started in 2011 with the reported brutality of government forces against protesters. However, since before 2011 there has been western support for regime change in Syria. This can be shown from a leaked 2009 US State Department cable, which says:
As the Syria policy review moves apace, and with the apparent collapse of the primary Syrian external opposition organization, one thing appears increasingly clear: U.S. policy may aim less at fostering “regime change” and more toward encouraging “behavior reform.” If this assumption holds, then a reassessment of current U.S.-sponsored programming that supports anti-SARG [Syrian Arab Republic Government] factions, both inside and outside Syria, may prove productive as well.
That there was western support for an opposition movement before 2011 is also indicated by former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, who said in 2009 that the British,
…confessed while trying to persuade me that preparations were underway in Syria…Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.
In practise, the credibly reported or verified support operations that have been given to the Syrian opposition by the UK are:
- In July 2012 it was reported that, ‘A British Army source revealed last night that former SAS soldiers are training Syrian rebels in Iraq in military tactics, weapons handling and communications systems.’
- On 10 August 2012 it was reported that the UK government would give £5m to the Free Syrian Army for ‘medical supplies and radio and satellite equipment’. It was also reported that the UK had previously made £1.4m available in “non-lethal support to the political opposition” in Syria, which included training and assistance to human rights groups. The £5m was in addition to £27.5m in humanitarian aid.
- In March 2013 it was reported that Jordanian security forces said that French, American and British personnel were providing military training to rebel Syrian forces in Jordan.
- On 3rd December 2015 the UK Parliament voted in favour of airstrikes against ISIS. While this was not primarily for the purpose of supporting the opposition, it has helped opposition groups that ISIS in an enemy of.
- There are a number of ongoing aid projects in Syria run and/or funded by the UK Government. These are listed on its website. A number of the agencies conducting these projects are listed as ‘Undisclosed Agencies’.
The British Goverment’s position that the President of Syria, Bashar al Assad, needs to be removed is based on the idea that he acts with brutality towards Syrian civilians. One event that was used by our government as an example of Assad’s brutality was an alleged chemical weapon attack in the city of Douma on 7 April 2018.
The blame for the alleged chemical weapon attack was laid at the feet of Assad soon after it supposedly happened. Before the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had investigated, the UK, France and the US conducted coordinated missile strikes against Syria. These occurred on 13 April 2018.
On page 7 of the final OPCW report, dated 1 March 2019, it says:
The analyses indicated that the structural damage to the rebar-reinforced concrete terrace at Location 2 was caused by an impacting object…
This is in reference to the possibly-chlorine-containing yellow canister that is alleged to have been dropped by Assad’s troops on an apartment block in Douma.
In contradiction to this statement, a leaked OPCW engineering assessment, which looks at the event at Location 2, says:
…the observed appearance of the cylinder and the rebar were not consistent.
This statement is referring to the allegation that the cylinder was dropped from a helicopter and stopped by the rebar in the reinforced concrete roof. If the cylinder was not dropped from a helicopter then it was not Assad’s troops that delivered it.
It is of concern that the OPCW had in their possession a contradictory conclusion to that which they published. This apparent manipulation of the facts suggests the possibility of political pressure behind the conclusions of the final OPCW report.
At the time of the missile strike against Syria, the legality of it was challenged by Jeremy Corbyn. Now that the assumption that Assad carried out a chemical weapon attack on 7 April 2018 is less credible, the legality of that missile strike should be in further doubt.
Our foreign policy, with regard to our humanitarian stance, is inconsistent across countries. Our ally, Saudi Arabia, targeted a school bus just a few months after Assad’s alleged chemical weapon attack. Around August 8 2018 the Saudi air force struck a bus containing mostly children, reportedly with a laser guided American made missile. At least 29 children died in the strike according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. The UK has issued licenses for £billions of military equipment to be exported to Saudi Arabia since the Yemen conflict began in 2015.
Why are we more concerned with human rights when it comes to Syria? In 2013 the Foreign Affairs Committee published a report entitled ‘The UK’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’.
The first line of its ‘Conclusions and recommendations’ chapter is:
The Gulf is a region that remains important to the UK’s defence interests and offers substantial commercial opportunities.
With regard to our defence interests, the report goes on to say,
…the FCO considers Saudi Arabia to be the UK’s “key operational partner” on counter-terrorism in the region, as well as a “strategic partner in our global efforts”.
With regard to the UK’s commercial relationship with Saudi Arabia, the report says,
Saudi Arabia’s current economic advantages are one of the Government’s major reasons for its push to improve bilateral relations. Saudi Arabia is already the UK’s largest market in the Middle East, comprising 20% of our exports in goods and services to the region in 2011, and it is our 18th largest market globally, with £7.5 billion in exports of goods and services in 2012, and overall bilateral trade worth an estimated £15 billion per year.
So, it appears our human rights position is influenced by economic and defence interests.
In my view we should take a hands-off approach to foreign conflicts. This means not actively facilitating the deposition of Bashar al-Assad or the crushing of the Houthi rebellion in Yemen by Saudi Arabia. By providing arms and non-lethal support for certain players in these conflicts we are fighting proxy wars, the consequences of which are felt by the civilians that are caught up in them. Our aim should be exclusively to mitigate the suffering.
If the UK were to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia income would be lost for the UK defence industry. But this could be made up through government contracts. For example, in 2018 then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced a new project for a primarily British built fighter jet. I think this is the right approach, and if we had followed this wisdom years ago, instead of signing up to the shambolic American-driven F-35 program, we would likely now have a functioning fighter jet, which we could service and manufacture under our own direction. Turkey was involved in the manufacture and maintenance of the F-35s, but its purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system has caused Washington to cut it out of the F-35 program.
Perhaps the most significant reason for leaving the European Union is its ambition for European defence union.
The Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) says the EU should,
…assert its identity on the international scene, in particular through the implementation of a common foreign and security policy including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence…[p.7]
The Treaty of Amsterdam also established the position of High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, who was to oversee the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) mentioned in the Treaty of Amsterdam. This post had been held in its expanded form since December 1st 2019 by Josep Borrell. The post was expanded by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, which renamed it High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and gave it additional positions, such as Vice-President of the Commission. This post is now assisted by the European External Action Service (EEAS), of which it is the head. The EEAS was formally established in 2011 by virtue of the Lisbon Treaty. The EEAS is the diplomatic branch of the EU, representing its interests on the world stage.
The EEAS reiterates the above quote from the Treaty of Amsterdam. It says:
EU Member states have committed themselves to a Common Foreign Security Policy for the European Union…The European Security and Defence Policy aims to strengthen the EU’s external ability to act through the development of civilian and military capabilities in Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management.
…was established…to support the Council and Member States in their effort to improve the Union’s defence capabilities in the field of crisis management and to sustain the European Security and Defence Policy.
Those Member States whose military capabilities fulfil higher criteria and which have made more binding commitments to one another in this area with a view to the most demanding missions shall establish permanent structured cooperation within the Union framework.
Pesco was formally created with Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2315 in 2017. Pesco allows participating states to engage in joint projects without a Council vote, which is required (Chapter 2 Article 42(2) TEU) for missions under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
The CSDP implements civilian and military missions as part of the EU’s approach toward ‘crisis management’:
The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) enables the Union to take a leading role in peace-keeping operations, conflict prevention and in the strengthening of the international security. It is an integral part of the EU’s comprehensive approach towards crisis management, drawing on civilian and military assets.
The CSDP has its roots in the Treaty of Brussels, which was signed in 1948 by Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the UK. This treaty included a provision for collective self-defence, so each member nation committed to defend any other member nation if it were attacked.
The Political and Security Committee (PSC) – This comprises the member states’ ambassadors in Brussels. It recommends strategy and policy positions to the Council, among other functions.
The European Union Military Committee (EUMC) – This is comprised of the member states’ Chiefs of Defence. It provides the PSC with advice.
The European Union Military Staff (EUMS) – This is the main source of military expertise within the EEAS. Apart from naming the director general of the EUMS, there is little info on the EUMS’ webpage about who comprises this body. The director general is Lt General Esa Pulkinnen, who is Finnish.
The Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) – This is under the command of the director general of the EUMS. Its purpose is to provide a Brussels based command and control centre for non-executive [see page 9 of this document for the EU’s definition of ‘non-executive’] military missions, in order to allow the mission staff in the field to focus on their immediate circumstances.
The Civilian Planning and conduct Capability (CPCC) – This is the operational headquarters for civilian missions under the CSDP. It is under the political control and strategic direction of the PSC, and receives its mandate from the Council. It works closely with the MPCC through the Joint Support Coordination Cell (JSCC).
European Defence Agency (EDA) – This has already been mentioned above, but briefly, the EDA aims to increase European defence capabilities through the promotion of research and technology, the strengthening of the European defence market and the fostering of cooperation between member states.
To help clarify how the EU has arrived at its current level of military power, here is a quote from the ‘Conclusions of the Presidency’ for the European Council meeting of 3-4 June 1999:
…the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and a readiness to do so…
This document does make this marginally reassuring statement:
Member States will retain in all circumstances the right to decide if and when their national forces are deployed.
In my opinion, the continuing push by the EU toward obtaining autonomous military capabilities for itself is a signal that it is time to leave. We should focus on rebuilding our own failing military.