The propaganda war against my country is heating up. The Bad Guys must be seriously worried.
In the last week alone we have had more hysterical warnings about the supposed dangers of Brexit from Prime Minister Cameron, the IMF and the Institute of Fiscal Studies, an EU-funded and pro-European NGO, which is campaigning for a Remain vote. The government and the EU haven’t threatened that plague of locusts yet, but don’t be surprised if they do! I doubt that you could buy a locust in Brussels for either love or money at the moment.
The G7 has joined in the act, panicked no doubt at the threat to German exports should the UK withdraw from the EU. Sadly, four former Supreme Allied Commanders Europe, two of whom I have met (I used to be a strong supporter of NATO), have also joined in, with a silly letter to the Sunday Telegraph urging the UK to remain within the German orbit. That’s not quite how they put it, of course, but that’s what they meant, or maybe they didn’t actually draft the letter. If they want the UK out of NATO as well the former SACEURs could not have done a better job.
As I explain in my book Spyhunter, the plans for the European Economic Community (Europäische Wirtschaftsgemeinshaft) were drawn up by officials of the German Nazi Government in 1939-1940 as a means of ensuring continued German domination of Europe without committing Nazi Germany to the expense of maintaining huge forces of occupation. Modified in the light of Germany’s crushing military defeat in 1945 and pushed by German assets like the blood-drenched Jean Monnet, the EEC became instead a means of reversing that defeat.
That historically-illiterate, house-trained idiot (no offense intended), Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, writing in the Sunday Telegraph on May 29th, pushed the absurd idea that the EEC was created to ensure that there would be peace in Europe. No, Michael. The EEC was set up as part of Germany’s post-war soft-power strategy, to avoid the need for military conquest by Germany, since their armed forces hadn’t managed to get it quite right even second time around.
If you’re a Euronutter (i.e. someone who actually believes in the EU) and don’t like my description of Monnet as “blood-drenched”, have a look at his record in World Wars I & II. Thousands of Allied sailors drowned as a result of his passing shipping intelligence to his German masters in 1917-18. It was a tragedy that the Free French didn’t guillotine him, nicely of course, in 1945. Few men have done more to deserve execution.
By not executing traitors like Monnet the Fourth Republic sowed the seeds of its own downfall. Again as explained in Syphunter, the Vichyists took over again in 1958, after a bloody German-sponsored rebellion in Algeria and a sordid deal between Admiral Canaris and General Charles de Gaulle. Canaris of course held a great deal of blackmail material over de Gaulle concerning his personal life, which was far more interesting than as portrayed in his memoirs. (I understand that the Vatican intelligence on him is also worth reading.)
The Silly IFS Report
Purporting to be a balanced economic report (it’s actually a piece of campaign literature operating outside the referendum expenditure limits) the Institute of Fiscal Studies document was published to media adulation on Wednesday 23rd May. Strangely, the IFS claims that the UK GDP would shrink and public sector finances would deteriorate if we left the EU.
Puzzled, I asked the IFS what values they had ascribed to:
(1) Cost of EU-sourced regulations for British business.
(2) The boost to UK manufacturing from import substitution and
(3) The cost of EU labour dumping on the British labor market.
They didn’t reply of course. They couldn’t – their document, with respect, lacks intellectual rigor and was not designed to survive expert scrutiny. It’s aimed at economic illiterates like journalists and MPs, and gullible members of the public, which is no doubt why it was bounced on the public in the middle of a heated referendum campaign.
Let’s turn away from pro-EU propaganda and look at some facts.
The UK’s Contribution to the EU
For some odd reason the IFS used the UK’s net contribution to the EU. Why? The UK gets minimal say in the way in which EU money (in effect, our money) is spent in this country. Some of it is spent on worthwhile projects we might choose to support anyway. Much of it is not.
The UK’s gross contribution to the EU last year, after allowing for the Thatcher rebate, was of the order of £13 billion, getting on for $20 billion. As the UK economy outperforms her European rivals this figure, part of which is GDP-related, is set to increase.
There is no reason at all to use the net figure. That is a lot of sterling flowing out of the country each week. Moreover the rebate is not permanent, as it was never incorporated into the treaties. Prime Minister Blair gave some of it away and future pro-EU leaders are likely to give away even more. There is a reason why Brussels did not want our rebate incorporated into the Treaty.
Cost of Regulation
As a member of the EU the UK is subject to a crushing regulatory burden. The overall number of EU regulations, directives and decisions runs into the tens of thousands. They cover a disparate range of topics, from lawn-mower noise to the curvature of bananas (I kid you not). Precise calculation of numbers is not easy but broadly speaking there about 35,000 secondary instruments, to which must be added a plethora of international agreements to which the EU is a party.
Of course business has to be regulated, but not to this extent. Figures vary on the additional cost to UK plc of unnecessary regulation, but in its internal calculations in 2005 on the cost of EU membership, the Treasury appear to have accepted a figure of around £50 billion a year. The figure now is probably higher, as the EU typically adds to the burdens on business. It rarely reduces them. It may talk about reducing them, but it hardly ever acts.
In addition to this massive, unwanted burden on business there is an additional burden, often overlooked, on central government, including the National Health Service, and local authorities. The burden on state businesses is probably about £25 billion a year. Just one directive alone – the Working Time Directive – has been calculated to cost the NHS about £10 billion a year. Its implementation has led to revised contracts for doctors and a protracted industrial dispute.
Another cost, rarely calculated, is to the railroads, with a knock-on effect on consumer prices and industry. By reason of an absurd EU directive (91/440/EEC), which works well in Luxembourg, but nowhere else, ownership of railroad tracks and trains in Britain has to be separate.
This has caused chaos, accidents and hideously complicated bureaucracy. The train operating companies are powerless to tell Network Rail to let their trains run. I was on an absurdly overcrowded train to London recently, caused by Network Rail suddenly closing a stretch of track after a car (not even a truck) had hit a bridge.
Network Rail are publicly owned and like most publicly-owned businesses are not actually that bothered about the paying customers. If the train operating company had been able to take the decision, it would probably have just imposed a speed limit after a quick preliminary inspection. It probably wasn’t even a British car, just a Japanese or Korean one, with thin steel. It’s not actually that easy to knock out a railroad bridge with a small car, unless you’re carrying a load of C4 in the trunk.
The sane way to privatise our railroads was to bring back the famous ‘Big Four’ (the GWR, LMS, LNER and SR). Vertically integrated railroads would be simpler and safer to run, more efficient and cheaper for the customer. Who knows – after we leave the EU we might even be able to get a proper breakfast on a British train again! Oddly enough, the only thing the much-maligned British Railways was ever able to get right was breakfast. This was just as well, as you wouldn’t want to eat their sandwiches for lunch.
Speaking of breakfast, it is symptomatic of the fact that the Europeans don’t really like or even understand us that after 43 economically disastrous years, for Britain, of EU membership, you still can’t get marmalade for breakfast in a European hotel, except in Denmark. The importance of marmalade for breakfast, for an Englishman, cannot be over-emphasised.
In 2013 the Krauts exported 16 billion euros worth of cars to the UK. In return they probably bought a handful of Jaguars, a couple of Discos and a Rolls-Royce. I exaggerate, but not by much.
Automobiles, trucks and buses are the single most important category in UK-EU trade. The imbalance in favour of the EU is massive and the single biggest reason why the UK trade deficit with the EU is so huge.
Obviously if the EU impose their Common External Tariff on UK imports we would retaliate, probably with a tariff at the same rate. This would damage UK exports to the EU, but they’re so economically insignificant, who cares? Companies like Jaguar LandRover would see a massive increase in their sales, as inferior products from BMW and Mercedes-Benz became more expensive.
Moving our trade account with EU member states back into surplus, as it was before Ted Heath dragged us into the EEC (without a referendum) would mean lower interest rates in the long term. Tariffs would also be a useful source of revenue. The IFS, of course, makes no reference to this new revenue stream.
You deal with the inflationary effects of tariffs by not including goods which you can make yourself in the basket. You don’t need to import inflation along with 3-series Beamers.
The point made by EU supporters and economic illiterates is that most EU migrants are in the UK to work, not claim benefits. So what? With mass unemployment in Britain (by mass unemployment I mean over one million on the dole) each unskilled or semi-skilled migrant from the EU displaces a British worker.
The EU migrants may not be claiming benefits directly, but they are not paying enough tax to cover the welfare costs of the workers they are displacing, nor in many cases are they even paying tax. What is more, they are depressing wages and sending much of their earnings back to Europe, a further drain on sterling.
The overall cost of an unemployed worker, including lost tax, is of the order of £25,000 a year. It’s not just unemployment benefit, indeed apart from free NHS prescriptions out of work benefits are usually the smallest part of the costs. Housing benefits tend to be much greater and then there’s the lost tax revenue, including indirect taxes such as VAT.
That’s just the fiscal cost. The human costs of mass unemployment are greater, not that the government or the EU are worried about those.
No one is quite sure how many EU migrants there are in the UK, as they just walk in and no count is kept. It’s at least two million, more likely three and possibly as much as four. No count is kept of the number of non-EU nationals claiming derivative settlement rights, e.g. via marriage. Labour substitution and the economic costs of depressed wages could be costing us as much as £75 billion a year.
Remain campaigners like to bang on about the number of British Citizens exercising treaty rights in other EU states. A large number of these however are pensioners, i.e. they are taking their pension money out of the UK and spending it in Europe. The number of British Citizens actually working in Europe is not that large, and many of them possess skills we need at home.
It is not as easy as all that for a British Citizen to get a job in Europe. Aside from the language barrier, the TEU is something which works against us, rarely for us. For Brits the rights we get as ‘EU Citizens’ are often paper rights only.
Why Vote Leave
Aside from being a nice chap, Daniel Hannan MEP is quite well-informed, for a politician that is. He still thinks that the EU was set up for ‘lofty motives’ and probably thinks that Jean Monnet was on our side in both world wars.
However he has produced a readable little book called Why Vote Leave (2016, Head of Zeus Publishing). It’s a good primer for those wishing to understand the arguments. At least it uses rational arguments, not propaganda. Like most Euro-sceptics Dan is a straight-shooter.
Despite Project Fear and the enormous pressure being placed on the British electorate to vote for the EU and Germany on June 23rd, I still predict a win for the home team.
There are several reasons for this. We British do not like being ordered around by Johnny Foreigner. Secondly, the debate on the economics of Brexit has barely started. The Remain camp arrogantly believe that they have won the economic argument, but they haven’t actually deployed any arguments, just fake stats and bluster. Remain propaganda like the IFS pamphlet is likely to be subjected to close scrutiny in the remaining weeks of the campaign.
Thirdly, the polls are almost certainly under-estimating the Leave vote, in much the same way as they under-estimated the Conservative vote in last year’s General Election. This phenomenon can also be seen in the States, Australia and Israel. Polling organisations are still unable to produce reliable, objective data. In the UK they got it badly wrong in 2015, but they’re just repeating the same mistakes in 2016.
It’s noticeable that telephone polls are showing a higher vote to stay trapped in the EU than online polls, probably due to a reluctance on the part of voters to give their true voting intentions to an interviewer. Most polling organisations favour staying in the EU and it is unclear how good they have been in eliminating their own pro-EU bias.
Response to Comments on Egyptair
Sadly, some of the comments were simply anti-Semitic. I learnt long ago that there is no point debating with anti-Semites. Their prejudice tends to overpower their reason. I repeat – there is no reason at all to suppose that Israel was involved in the bringing down of Egyptair Flight MS 804.
I made the point last week that the ACARS data may have been faked. There is still no credible explanation for the delay in its release.
Assuming that at least some of the data actually came off from the plane, then there are signs of decompression, consistent with a missile strike. Decompression can lead to fogging in the fuselage, which would normally trigger smoke sensors. Remember a smoke sensor normally measures a drop in light levels, it’s not actually detecting smoke, let alone fire.
From the time that I cracked AF 447, I have been battling with people who do not understand proximity fuzing. Commentators, especially in the media, tend to obsess on the idea that a missile attack on a civilian airliner involves blowing it out of the sky. They assume explosive decompression of the fuselage.
As with 447, a fuselage peppered with fragments from a proximity-fuzed warhead detonating nearby will tend to depressurise slowly. Since about 1943, you do not have to hit the target to bring it down.
In the absence of any credible alternative explanation, disregarding as junk the Egyptian military government’s rejection of the Greek ATC and military primary radar readouts, I am now inclined to the view, provisionally, that Flight 804 was brought down by an Iranian Fakour-2 missile launched from either an Iranian Kilo class or German DVD 212 class SSK, fired from starboard of track in semi-active radar homing mode, with proximity-fuzing. I estimate detonation within 150’ of the target at approximately Flight Level 170 (17,000’), following initially successful evasive maneuvers by the pilot in command, probably Captain Shukeir, who almost certainly would have taken over the controls if his less experienced colleague had been flying. I note there are eye-witness reports consistent with the exhaust trail of a powerful missile at night, although of course the witnesses would not have realised what they were seeing.
I also predict that no official body anywhere in the world is even going to try to get at the truth of what happened in the night sky over one of the deepest parts of the Med. That’s why I comment on mysterious aircraft crashes. I don’t want them happening again.
Review: Battle of Jutland: The Navy’s Bloodiest Day, BBC2, Airdate May 29th 2016
I appreciate that most readers will not have seen this, although it may be repeated on US TV. We are coming up on the 100th anniversary of the Royal Navy’s great victory over the Imperial German High Sea Fleet in the Battle of Jutland.
Unfortunately, German propagandists got their story out on the morning after the battle, spinning it as a victory, on the basis that they lost fewer men than ships. At the same time the Admiralty were frustrated by German assets in Whitehall, and took days to respond.
What the Kaiser’s propagandists were trying to hide of course, is that the High Sea Fleet fled from the scene of the battle, conceding supremacy at sea to the Royal Navy and ensuring Germany’s ultimate defeat.
Typical for the BBC, the program adopts an anti-British stance, blaming the Royal Navy for the tragic loss of the three battlecruisers, including the mighty HMS Queen Mary. As expected the BBC are equivocal about whether the battle resulted in a British victory. The documentary-makers could not resist taking a pop at Admiral of the Fleet Sir David Beatty, who commanded the Grand Fleet’s Battlecruiser Force during the battle.
There are some irritating factual errors, e.g. describing the 14” guns of the dear old USS Texas as the largest in the world at that date, when the Queen Elizabeth class had introduced the bigger 15” gun. The BBC also got the name of the German fleet wrong, a common error. It was called the High Sea Fleet, not the High Seas Fleet.
The program does at least make the fair point that British warships tended to have nearly as many sub-divisions as German, correcting a common misconception. Whilst they are correct that shell-handling procedures on the battlecruisers were risky and contributed to their loss, what they don’t state is why magazine doors were left open and cordite bags placed near to the guns. The idea was to increase the rate of fire.
Since a higher rate of fire than your enemy is a good thing, it’s a little harsh to blame the turret crews, who after all gave their lives.
The intelligence background to the battle is given in Spyhunter. The former First Sea Lord, Prince Louis of Battenberg, was a German (strictly, an Austrian) spy, as was Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer when the battlecruisers were ordered. Important British fire control technology was handed over to Germany before the war and kept off British ships on Treasury orders. Moreover the Treasury insisted on the battlecruisers having insufficient armor protection.
The Royal Navy not only understood long-range naval gunnery, they’d practically invented it, with HMS Dreadnought. The technology-minded Admiralty had moved rapidly to the 12”/50 caliber, 13.5” and 15” guns, each of which was a long-range weapon with high muzzle velocity. The British 15”/42 caliber Mark 1 gun still holds the record for the longest range at which a target was hit in combat, over 20,000 yards (HMS Warspite).
The BBC reserve their criticism for the Admiralty. The villains of the piece, Lloyd George and the Treasury, escape censure.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.
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