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 A New Deal for Brexit
This is Technomica Paper 15 by Stephen Bush and is tipped to be the way through the Brexit log-jam!

Negotiating with the EU after we have left

The Times correspondent Simon Nixon’s quote from an EU official that “once the UK has left, we will be able to be much more flexible” (21 February)” is surely  right. It points the way to unblocking the present impasse.

Let the EU and the UK agree to postpone the leaving settlement until after the UK has left on March 29th together with an Agreement that both sides keep the existing tariff and customs regime for say 12 months, extendable by mutual agreement if a replacement regime has not been agreed.

Under GATT article 24 this would not require extending the EU’s common external tariff to third parties, as WTO would be informed that this “Tariff Standstill Agreement” was a precursor to a long-term Trade Agreement.

This way, everything becomes possible: Parliament would get a proper, considered say over the final  agreement, the European Research Group would be able to argue for low tariffs; Britain would be free at the end of the standstill period to conclude negotiations with other countries as well as the EU; new border arrangements could be properly trialled including those at the Irish border; Mrs May would fulfil her solemn declaration to take Britain out of the European Union according to the Withdrawal Act, on March 29th. and could retire with honour if she and her colleagues wished this. There would be no need to fiddle around with contentious Article 50 extensions.

 

 

Don't Miss Clean Break - Fresh Start
Find the latest Technomica paper from Prof Bush, showing the advantages of “No Deal”.

Brexit Muddle
If anybody in the world is in doubt about the basic reason for the terrible muddle in Parliament and in the country over Brexit, consider this. On a visit to a school on January 25th, Theresa May (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) was asked by a child what Brexit actually meant.  Mrs May reportedly answered: “That’s a difficult question to answer because every MP seems to have their own idea.” [more »]

Fear of Clean Break
Don’t Miss the excellent new paper by Lord Peter Lilley and Cllr Brendan Chilton “30 Truths About Leaving On WTO Terms”.

Top

Huawei: Industry Strategy Missing

In all the fuss about awarding the giant Chinese telecoms company Huawei an unspecified share in supplying equipment for the so-called Fifth Generation (5G) networks in the UK, two key points have been completely missed by government and mainstream media.

First

Contracts to supply are hugely valuable commercially. Government should make building the 5G equipment manufacturing factories in the UK a condition of supply contracts from any supplier, not just Huawei. This would help to redress the huge UK deficit in electronics goods manufacture[1].

Precedents are numerous. In the 1920s General Motors (of America) was persuaded to build a truck and van factory at Bedford in return for access to the British armed forces’ supplier list. The three-ton Bedford truck became a British army icon, seeing service in all the army’s World War II campaigns – Burma, the Middle East, North Africa, Italy, North West Europe, as well as the UK.

If the government insisted on 5G telecoms suppliers manufacturing most, if not all, their equipment in the UK, ideally in partnership with one or more British owned companies set up for the purpose, then it would know precisely what UK technical secrets Huawei was accessing and what gadgets and software they were installing.

Second

David Lidington is referred to as Mrs May’s deputy. His apparent assertion that Huawei posed no danger to the security of UK intelligence and defence networks exposes yet again the astonishing naivety of many in the present government. Whether Huawei is commercially separate from the Chinese state would be irrelevant in a crisis or even a period of tension between Britain and China.

BAe Systems, while commercially independent of UK defence organisations, is closely intertwined technically with all of them. In World War II and beyond into the 1950s, secrets flowed freely between government agencies and armaments suppliers like the submarine, aircraft, tanks, bombs, guns, radar manufacturers, as indeed they do today in particular areas of technology. Why should anyone expect China – Huawei – to be any different?

Reference

[1] Stephen Bush, “Comparing routes to Brexit”, page 18, Figure 1, published by Global Britain, February 2019.