Break the tether of fear and re-discover your freedom.
Quick links to the sections in this post:
Published 6 March 2019 by Tony Abbott
Iam going to attempt to show how our Great British nation was built on more than just the conquest of the Normans. That was then, this is now. This nation has press-ganged its subjects to create an empire, it has defended this island from invasion and has called upon its colonial cousins to defend the faith against the dark forces of fascism in all its forms. Many hundreds of thousands of people have died so that many millions could live. Yes ‘we’ are a unique people are we not.
With March 29th approaching it’s somewhat of a relief for half of the population. It doesn’t mean half are racist because they want to sever ties with Europe. Neither that the other half doesn’t love the British spirit and way of life. The main thing from the referendum aftermath was the so-called ‘lack of information’ soundbite – I’m sorry but the internet has been around for a long time. Otherwise history shows that these things end in civil war.
Also, blockheads who refer to Britain as ‘my country’ need to be slapped about the face with a gelatinous salmon. Please ignore these ignorant imbeciles who see no further than the swastika tattoed on their useless hands. Discount the petulant fifty year old who leaves home wearing a football shirt every other weekend and shouts ‘You’re gonna get your fucking head kicked in …’ while watching 21 year old kids playing on grass – please – these people have done sweet FA for this country.
For every immigrant that’s let in, please can one imbecile be turfed out. It’s our country when we’re fighting side by side in the trenches but not when we’re throwing the remnants of a greasy kebab at a Pakistani on the way home from the club-house.
Rejoice in the knowledge that we each represent a National Insurance number on the state’s database. The right to live here depends on that number. No one owns territory like these imbeciles believe, because the Crown conquered it way back. If you own a freehold house, do you think you can refuse a compulsory purchase order if the Crown decides it needs its land.
How many imbeciles voted to leave Europe based on uneducated beliefs simply because they ‘want their country back’? What will they do with it when the Crown hands them the deeds on 29 March? Just as it’s always the uneducated mob that calls for a lynching, so too have the imbeciles helped to ensure a break from the rest of Europe. Sometimes the irony kills me. If not for them, the vote would undoubtedly have swayed the other way.
So with one calendar month to go, after all the arguing about brexit, what happened to the so-called ‘information’ that we needed to know about. I have not come across one iota since, so if a 2nd referendum came tomorrow I would have no reason not to vote to leave again. You see, it’s not really about the people that voted to leave having made an uninformed decision, rather it says more about those who cannot come to terms with the democratic process.
The big rip-off has always been in Europe having taken advantage of our glorious nation. The EU makes no distinction between Britain and the bankrupt nations that it has been admitting to the Union for years, or the Slavic states that drain it. It fears in its decline, that the Slavic countries might construct their own Union if denied entry to the EU and given such a scenario Russia would willingly join them, having so far refused to apply for EU entry.
The EU is in denial because it cannot cope with the post-millenial pressures – The EU members in 1993 were Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; today there are 28 countries. Britain will be the first sovereign nation to leave it. When Denmark, Ireland and Britain joined its predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973 under the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, there followed a UK referendum on continued membership of the EEC in 1975. The electorate voted ‘Yes’ by 67.2% to 32.8% to stay in Europe.
In 44 years of EU membership, Britain has been largely Eurosceptical because it was not one of the founding members. Sitting on the outside doesn’t bide well with us folk. Britain is a founding member of the United Nations and one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is also one of the twelve founding members of NATO. The approval of membership of the EU by the British public has only briefly ever been above 50%, and by 2010 was dipping below 30%. A referendum back then would have likely resulted in a far larger majority for leaving.
The organisation Britain will be leaving is far from a confident political union. There are only four Member States, namely France, Italy, Germany and Britain which contribute shares greater than 10%. Together, these four countries make up over 60% of all contributions, with Germany contributing the largest single proportion of 19% and Britain between 2014 and 2017 having contributed 13%. Of the 28 EU members Britain is one of ten to contribute more than it gets back. Is it any wonder the EU is bitter that Britain is leaving.
Yes there will be lost the opportunity to help shape the future of Europe. But Europe is being overrun by neo-fascists once again and it would seem appropriate to leave them to it; two world wars in the last century would suggest they haven’t reached full maturity yet and if they want to start another war, then let them do it alone. The costs of EU membership far outweigh the benefits of remaining in the Single Market.
The European Union promised a lot and we gave it a serious go but they are many and we are few so the fears of untying the knot have caused a divide. If you strip back the racism, I’m probably referring to the immigration thing, and remove any fears of deserting a sinking ship, then the sea looks calmer over the horizon.
At the outbreak of World War One the British called on people across the world to sacrifice themselves to the cause: the British West Indies Regiment was formed within the British Army. Among the colonial non-white troops of the British empire, only Indians were allowed to fight in Europe. Sikh units fought as the ‘Black Lions’. 60,000 Black South African and 120,000 other Africans served in uniformed Labour Units with soldiers from Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, Gambia and other African colonies recruited to defend the borders of their countries which adjoined German territories.
The units that have fought side by side in the British Army have composed of the unlikeliest cousins such as the Nepalese Gurkha soldiers, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indians, Burmese, and many others.
The Anglo-Indians and the Pakistanis that came here; and the Windrush generation; they form part of England’s identity. England is not the place it was in Tudor times. Several generations ago we were a French speaking nation, before that we were ruled by the Dutch. The imbeciles who think England is their country by right of birth actually believe they are descendants of the Anglo-Saxon people – ignorance is bliss, for them!
(Energy & industry)
Extreme views have gained ground across Europe but it is wrong to suggest that Britain is racist against its European neighbours. Linking brexit to racism as the United Nations have done is just irresponsible for an organisation of that magnitude to say. My experience of racism is what I saw in the 70s and 80s witnessing football hooligans – But I never linked that with immigration.
There is no doubting that Britain is an eclectic people, but saying we’re racists because we don’t want raft loads of Somalians crossing the Channel is out right ludicrous. When immigration isn’t properly controlled it becomes a problem, but where is the word ‘immigration’ ever synonymous with ‘racism’ – that’s were the EU and UN come in and throw a spanner in the works – fearmongering.
The EU implanted a simple subliminal message, that it’s safer within the harmony and stability of the Union than in the turmoil and uncertainty of a revolutionary state as Britain. This fear that they created resulted in a higher voter turnout of 72% at the 2016 referendum compared to any general election since 1997.
79% of Remain voters thought immigration was a good thing and 62% thought that globalisation was a force for good and 71% thought that Multiculturalism was a positive thing. However 81% of Leave voters viewed Multiculturalism in a negative light. The race demographic of the brexit vote highlighted this fear, the percentage from ethnic minorities which voted Remain were 66% of Asian, 73% of black and 70% of Muslim voters. 53% of white voted Leave.
Of voters aged 50 to 64: 61% of men voted Leave. But of voters aged 18 to 24: 61% of men and 80% of women voted Remain. 18% of Remain voters made that decision in the days before the vote, that’s almost a fifth of Remain voters that were undecided up until the end. And they were right to be hesitant – Europe has an ageing population and high levels of unemployment as well as the worst refugee crisis Europe has ever faced, not to mention the rise of anti-immigration movements and racial divides. In fact if not for the EU we might well have seen Germany and Italy rising up yet again.
However, the EU paints a picture only of its successes: Germany makes great cars, France is its leading agricultural power accounting for one-third of all EU agricultural land and is also the largest tourism industry in the world followed closely by Spain which is its main source of income. Denmark have Lego, the world’s largest toy manufacturer. Finland accounts for 10.7% of the world export market for forestry products. Italy makes precision machinery. Belgium make chemicals, fine chocolates and finished diamonds. Cyprus for haloumi cheese and citrus fruits. And so on.
The U.S. is by far Britain’s largest trade partner but if you add the European Union countries together then the EU is a bigger trading partner for imports and exports of both goods and services. 80% of the British economy at home is dominated by the service industry which has grown every year since the turn of the century but in terms of exports; goods are still ahead.
Great Britain is a global brand. With made-in-asia labels permeating across the EU one might think that British manufacturing is dead but actually factories across the country employ 2.5 million people (1 in 13 of the labour force) making Britain the world’s 11th largest manufacturer.
Britain’s aerospace industry now called BAE Systems, is the second-largest national aerospace industry in the world, the world’s third largest defence contractor and Europe’s largest defence contractor. It employs 34,000 people and makes £18 billion in revenue. Like most British top companies it invests many millions in research & development and despite the brexit fearmongering, BAE’s response has been “it’s just not that big a deal”.
On the subject of trading with Europe, most larger firms believe nothing much will change. For example Johnson Matthey specialise in chemicals and move just under a million tons of goods between Britain and Europe each year, making £3.8 billion annual revenue. Commenting on a looming brexit the company stated “we are prepared for everything”.
The confidence of the larger British companies is reassuring but we shouldn’t expect to be self-sufficient in everything. It is the case that Britain has a high level of self-sufficiency in energy, the main agricultural products and fisheries but it does not produce enough food for the country’s needs.
Britain has larger energy resources than any EU member, including oil and natural gas. Since the start of oil production in 1975, more than half of the North Sea oil reserves have been extracted. The quantities brought ashore from the North Sea have grown each year, and Britain is self-sufficient in oil and even an exporter, producing an average output of nearly three million barrels per day, and making Britain one of the world’s largest oil producers.
The move away from petroleum means companies like BP and Shell are looking again at oil extraction, just off the Shetland Islands for instance and several other locations within British waters. BP is a British company and Shell a British/Dutch company and between them they dominate in Europe.
It’s a different matter with natural gas because the supply is declining. 80% of the UK’s 25 million homes are powered by gas and a quarter of electricity is generated by gas-fired power stations. The reserve in the North Sea and East Irish Sea was estimated in the late 1990s at 760 billion cubic metres which is not much when you consider the total gas consumption in the UK for 2017 alone was 74.3 billion cubic metres. Increasingly more gas is required from overseas, but thankfully of the 47% of gas purchased from Europe, 36% of it comes from Russia and 21% from Norway, both nations not members of the EU.
Energy needs are not reliant on gas. Electricity can and still is generated from oil and coal. Britain has the largest coal reserves in Europe. In fact when in 2017 there was a slight problem of gas supply from Europe, Britain responded by generating 80% more electricity from oil and for a week in February, more than a fifth of all power came from coal, (according to MyGridGB).
Another huge British multinational is Centrica plc, an energy company with a revenue of £28 billion. Its subsidiaries include British Gas, Scottish Gas and Bord Gáis Energy in the Republic of Ireland. It supplies electricity and gas to businesses and domestic consumers in Britain, Ireland and North America.
Nuclear power generates around 20% of the total electricity. There are nine operating nuclear power stations with plans to replace them with ten more modern plants. The nuclear power industry started with a state run company British Energy and was sold to the French state owned energy company Électricité de France for £12.5 billion in 2009, with a deal for Centrica to purchase a 20% stake. Thankfully it meant that after the government having sold off an entire industry, a British company is now back in control of one fifth of it.
Renewable energy from sources like biomass and water turbines is only just beginning, and hydro plants already generate 1.5% of total electricity (ref: .gov.uk). Wind power perhaps surprisingly, delivers 15% of total electricity and is growing year on year. By mid-December 2018, there were 9,391 wind turbines making Britain the third largest producer of energy from wind after France and Canada. If you are wondering what will take over from gas when it’s all gone, this is it; renewable and unlimited energy right off our coast.
(Fisheries part 1 of 2)
Not every EU member is a rich island and it’s another major reason why the EU is bitter about losing its stake in the North Sea, the Irish Sea, the North East Atlantic, The Celtic Sea, and Gibralta Territorial Waters (96% of Gibralta voted to Remain). Not forgetting Norway which isn’t an EU member, whose territorial waters will join with Britain once more, effectively cutting off EU access to most of the North Sea and the Atlantic around Scotland.
These valuable resources were lost when Britain entered the EU with 60% of the British fishing fleet getting the chop to make room for EU fishers. Is it conceivable that Britain, with a population of 60 million and the richest waters in Europe, catches 14% of Europe’s fish (EU having a population of 500 million), but only catches 26% of the amount that Norway does, a country sharing the same North Sea but with a population of just 5.2 million. It’s simply because one nation is in the EU and the other is not.
In the negotiations leading up to Britain’s membership of the EU the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was rejected. The original six Common Market members drew up the first fishing rules in 1970 (Council Regulation 2141/70) because they realised the four countries applying to join (Britain, Ireland, Denmark including Greenland, and Norway) controlled the richest fishing grounds in the world.
The CFP gave all members equal access to all fishing waters. It was the EU’s mission to secure a deal with the new applicants, a deal that would make the EEC a major economic power with the largest fishing zone in the world encompassing just over fifteen and a half million square miles of sea.
Eventually Britain succumbed by the end of 1971 and subsequently signed the Accession Treaty on 22 January 1972. This gave the EU control of around four fifths of all the fish off Western Europe. Norway was not persuaded and did not join. And Greenland having gained partial independence from Denmark in 1979, held a referendum in 1982 (52%) and chose to leave the then European Economic Community (EEC) which they duly did in 1985.
The smaller populated countries do not connect with distant markets such as China and Japan and so they benefit through EU membership with access to those markets. The CFP was a major reason for countries with both substantial fish resources and small home markets, like Norway, Iceland, and Greenland to stay outside the European Union.
When Greenland voted to leave the then EEC much of the negotiations focused on fisheries agreements. The world’s largest island, with a population of 56,000, resented being told how much they could fish and watching their fish stocks hoovered up by EU factory trawlers. Therefore in its withdrawal negotiations it allowed limited continued access to its waters in exchange for tariff-free access to the EEC market for fisheries products.
Norway has never joined the EU but it is part of a separate union that gives it access to EU markets and therefore it has to abide by some EU laws. They held a referendum in 1994 and it was decided not to join (52.2%). They were protecting Norway’s huge natural resources and retained their oil, fish and hydroelectric power. Iceland applied for EU membership in 2009 but the CFP was not acceptable to them and so they withdrew their application.
We can see how important Western Europe’s fishing waters are to the EU. Particularly as most Mediterranean fishing is confined to the twelve mile strip of each nation’s territorial waters. In terms of gross tonnage Spain is by far the largest fishing fleet catching almost double what Britain does, closely followed by France. The 28 European nations, jointly fished 6,404,000 tonnes in 2015, of this the three largest fishing fleets Spain, France and England caught 2,769,000 tonnes, that’s well over a third of the EU’s combined yearly catch.
It has been an industry in long-term decline since the 1990s. You can’t blame the EU entirely for that as British catches have declined by 94% over the last 118 years. But it is partly due to EU policy for sustainable fishing. In a nutshell scientists tell the EU each year how much of each fish it is safe to catch and this is divided into quotas between the EU fishing members with countries like Britain, Spain and France having a larger quota because of their sovereign claim to their coastal waters.
The EU fishing limits extend to 200 nautical miles offshore to accommodate fishing by other EU members. Additionally whereas other nations can extend to British waters, Britain herself has been curtailed in that she is prevented from fishing outside of EU waters, in those rich waters off Iceland for example.
When Britain leaves the EU the territorial waters will exclusively become hers again under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. A separate international agreement called the London Fisheries Convention (1964), covering the twelve miles closest to the shore, will also be terminated, meaning no foreign vessel will be allowed to fish in British waters without strict permission.
The hard brexit we hear about means just that from day one. The soft brexit requires just a couple of concessions, firstly that Britain pays back £36 billion which the EU says is owing, and secondly that the rules of the CFP will continue to apply until December 2020.
Around the British coast are cod, haddock, mackerel, whiting, plaice, lobsters, crabs, and oysters. Estuarine fish farming, mainly of trout and salmon, has expanded considerably making salmon Britain’s second largest food export after whisky. But the effects of EU membership have reduced Britain’s total catch more than the other EU members with the result that the country’s fishing industry now supplies only half of the total need when it could easily be a net exporter.
Mackerel and herring move between EU coastal areas and the North Sea during breeding and migration and what the EU are saying is they will intercept the fish before they reach British waters. By revoking the Common Fisheries Act set up when Britain entered the EU, the Exclusive Economic Zone will be effective once again and close Britain’s waters.
The EU has been very petulant and brazen about Britain reclaiming its waters, one EU diplomat said: “Those who have said they want to take back control of British waters forget that you can have the water, but we’re not talking about water we’re talking about fish. The fish don’t have passports. Some of these fish could be fished earlier when they’re smaller, so they won’t ever get to British waters. That might not be good for everyone.”
Fishing is a viable national business for Britain. British companies currently export 80% of their catches – mostly to other EU states – while most of the fish bought by British consumers is imported from European firms. Basically Britain buys and sells with Europe but the rest of Europe is free to connect with the larger Asian markets. British companies have faced increasing difficulty competing with imports under the EU, especially from Asia.
(Fisheries part 2 of 2)
Scotland lands more than 60% of the total British catch at its ports scattered all along the coastline. These ports have been around for centuries claiming exclusive rights to fishing in inshore waters from the fifteenth century. Up to 50% of their population work in the fishing industry with not much alternative employment around. The Scottish fish processing industry accounts for 49% of the turnover of the British fish processing industry, and accounts for far more jobs than the catching industry itself.
Despite the abundance of local fish stocks including the Shetland’s, restrictions under the CFP have affected Scotland severely in recent years. When it became apparent to nations with large fishery resources that their stocks were being over-exploited by foreign fishers, the 1973 UN Conference on Law of the Sea gave nations the right to claim a 200 nautical mile boundary which in 1977 the then EEC told members to do. But for Scotland the 12-200 mile zone has never been fished solely by the Scottish fishing industry, because of the adoption of the CFP into British law.
Executive officer of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association Simon Collins said: “Over the years, the CFP has degenerated from a simple failure to a shambles. It is now imposing severe and often highly questionable cuts in key quotas. The CFP ensures that the European Commission can mismanage fisheries at will and other countries can gang up to harvest more of the natural resources around our shores than we can. This has to end.”
Scottish Conservative MPs, including the Scottish Secretary David Mundell, said that it would be a betrayal if the EU retained any control over fishing rights and they feared fishing communities would end up at the bottom of the heap amidst complex brexit negotiations.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “In the end, it is clear that our best interests can only be put first when we have left the CFP and are able to decide who catches what, where and when in UK waters.”
Following the British referendum of 2016, in October 2017, several coastal communities across nine European Union member states called on Brussels to make British fish exports to the EU conditional on EU vessels having access to British waters. In simpler terms the EU is saying it will not buy British fish if they cannot fish in British waters.
In a rare support for the Prime Minister from former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, he stated for the Sun newspaper: “We surrendered our fishing waters in 1972. It was an act of betrayal that the brexit Vote put right. The only foreign vessels fishing in British waters should pay us for the privilege and operate under our rules.”
In fact well before the referendum the EU had already developed plans to relocate the North Sea Advisory Council from its base in Aberdeen to the continent. So it’s appropriate that a YouGov poll commissioned by the Scottish Fishermens’ Federation found that 59% of voters wanted EU fishermen to lose automatic access to British waters on the official departure date of 29 March 2019 without any transition period and a separate poll revealed that eight in ten voters want Britain to seize back control of its waters by the end of 2019 even if there is a two year transition period after brexit.
The EU has acted like a spoilt child, its only aim to keep Britain from leaving. The only tactic has been to humiliate our Prime Minister by ignoring her proposals showing the world that brexit is insignificant against the EU Goliath. They had hoped to cajole the British people into sparking a second referendum. They knew all along that should Britain reclaim her waters and become self-sufficient in fish once again, and even secure lucrative distant-fishing deals, that others might follow, Spain or France perhaps – and then the EU would return to being a mediocre trade organisation.
Only now in the last month, and at the eleventh hour, do EU leaders change their tune when they realise they have achieved nothing. All they have accomplished is a clear road to a no-deal brexit notwithstanding the Prime Ministers tireless efforts in the face of two attempts to remove her from office and constant attacks from her ministers and opposition leaders.
Just this week the EU said it will not stand in the way of a possible postponement of the deadline for Britain’s departure if it helps to avoid a no-deal brexit. Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen stated “I believe everyone will be flexible, no one wants the UK to leave the EU in a disorderly way.” A little too late to change tactics now isn’t it.
New trade deals will have to be made with other countries or with the EU members and it will become essential to look at all angles. For example The National Sheep Association has warned that domestic lamb producers will struggle if Britain makes a free trade deal with New Zealand to import their meat. If there are no regulations and we start buying from New Zealand, the lambing industry in this country will be finished overnight.
But it’s not leaving the EU that’s a problem, it’s going to be dealing with the resentment from EU members that will impose new regulations and barriers to keep British goods and services out as a way of punishment. We will have left them with the Euro, their rising immigration, their bankrupt members, and political uprisings, and now they will be forced to compete with one of the greatest economies in the world.
Britain has been threatened many times and always met it face on. In 1588 the Spanish Armada sailed from the port of Lisbon into the English Channel intent on invading England. The greatest power in the world and the largest fleet ever assembled went face to face with a small nation with a little navy – and that armada was defeated.
(The Single Market and Defence)
The EU Single Market came into force on 1 January 1993 and alongside the Customs Union the Common Market became the Single Market. It facilitated the free movement of capital, people, goods and services, as if Europe were a single country, and helped to make the EU a heavyweight in international trade.
Being a member state has many advantages, especially these days when China is fast approaching the largest economy in the world. But as far as the single market goes, the European Union’s chief brexit negotiator has said that Britain has until the end of 2020 to change its mind about leaving. The EU is the world’s biggest exporter of manufactured goods and services, and the biggest import market for over 100 countries and of course, it is the world’s largest single market area.
So in light of the fact that 51.4% of British goods exports go to the EU, Theresa May has responded that Britain will quit the EU single market and the customs union on the set leaving date. It may seem like she is burning bridges but as the saying goes, ‘you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs.’
We discussed in part 3 that Norway gains access to EU markets through a separate route. Norway negotiates free trade agreements with other countries through the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA).
EFTA is a free trade organisation consisting of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, none are EU member states. It allows each country to make free trade deals with each other, while as a group they trade with numerous non-EU countries like Canada and Mexico. They are effectively a mini EU.
However it is the EEA which enables the extension of the EU’s single market to non-EU members so that the EU members and the EFTA members form an internal market governed by the same basic rules. This demonstrates that you do not have to be an EU member in order to have unrestricted free trade between member and non-member states.
Also, 23 of the 28 EU members form a group known as The Schengen Area (named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement). This EU treaty abolished all border controls allowing free custom-less movement. Three of them are non-EU members; Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland. In fact the EU has agreements allowing free trade with countries such as South Africa and South Korea. This demonstrates that you do not have to be an EU member in order to have unrestricted movement between member and non-member states.
The EU has chosen to facilitate non-EU members so that it can trade with them. However, with Britain with whom it has been a partner for many years, it has in effect slammed the doors. Most people have no idea that several countries already trade with the EU as if they were EU-members. In reality it is about the EU being very worried about Britain’s departure, and they have probably realised by now that they need Britain more than Britain needs them.
By population alone, Britain’s 65.4 million people are a larger Single Market than fifteen EU countries combined: Malta, Slovenia, Finland, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Denmark, Cyprus, Croatia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Ireland, Austria, Latvia, Slovakia, Hungary. These countries have a combined population of 61.3 million.
Of course there are many disadvantages trading outside of the EU, like tariffs on exports to the EU and perhaps a lack of investment from international companies that want to set up in Europe and a loss of jobs when companies want to relocate offices to an EU member state away from Britain. In the finance sector too there will be disturbances as London loses its status as Europe’s financial hub.
Let’s look at these two areas briefly with examples. Of American investment banking staff assigned to work in the EU, 87% of them work in the UK and of the EU’s capital markets, 78% of activity is conducted in the UK. Therefore should less people work from the UK and less capital investment be made through the UK, then there is a net loss that will relate to less revenue and fewer jobs.
On the other hand Britain is a leading global financial services centre and the single most internationally focused financial marketplace in the world. It is the world’s largest exporter of financial services and it has a regulatory system that is fair and principled and as a result more overseas financial institutions and investors choose to do business in, and with, Britain than any other country. The City of London has an average daily turnover of around £1.5 trillion.
The EU keeps claiming that it is the biggest this and the strongest that, but how do you think things will look for them when Britain leaves the EU. Consider the following according to The EU regional Social Progress Index which is based on fifty indicators, primarily from Eurostat that measures social progress for each of the 272 regions of the 28 member states:
What are the strongest countries in the EU?
2. United Kingdom.
Which country has the strongest economy in the EU?
Countries by GDP (in Million of euros€)
1. Germany 3,457,889
2. United Kingdom 2,437,240
3. France 2,340,454
In terms of defence, Britain’s defence industry has an annual turnover of some £65 Billion, of which some £35 Billion is exported. It is reckoned to provide jobs for almost a million people in all, of which about 10,000 are apprentices. Britain is the largest global defence exporter with a market share of around 12%; the largest exports were to the Middle East, North America and Europe. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE are major national importers and Britain, America and France are the major suppliers to the region. Britain is also the most successful exporter to the USA and the EU’s leading defence exporter.
Countries with the strongest armies in the World:
Britain’s armed forces are a crucial part of Europe’s collective defence and what has become apparent since the referendum vote, is that long-term EU defence-related budgets seem to be based upon the UK maintaining its current financial contributions. Britain and France are Europe’s only two nuclear powers and the only two European countries with permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.
No one in the EU can doubt the fact that Britain has one of the most capable and professional armed forces in the world, and certainly the strongest in Europe. Given all that is going on with Russia and the Middle East, there are probably a few countries who will actually welcome the withdrawal of the British military. The EU most definitely does not.
In terms of the defence manufacturing and technology industry, if Britain crashed out of the EU tomorrow, indeed it probably will later this month, there are many huge current contracts in place that will run on for years and decades even. It may be impossible in a post-brexit world for Britain to participate in projects such as the Typhoon Eurofighter but for the rest of the world’s militaries, they have to rely on non-domestic technology and production to have access to the latest weapons-systems and Britain make the best of these.
Britain won a number of air contracts in 2017-2018, including numerous F-35 sales to America and more than £5,828,515,000 (i.e. £5.8 Trillion) worth of F-35 aircraft to Australia. But can British companies depend on sales to America and Commonwealth nations and the rest of the world? No-one really knows. America has indicated it is supportive of brexit – but in reality America doesn’t buy much foreign defence equipment.
There is no real certainty in markets. And anything can lead to a deal that employs 10,000 people for ten years or one that decimates the workforce. BAE Systems gained contracts in recent times due to the global instability as countries increased defence spending, but in 2018 the largest pension fund in the world, Norway’s Government Pension Fund, decided to terminate involvement with BAE because of their connection with making nuclear weapons. BAE does maintain weapons systems but states on its website, “We do not provide or manufacture nuclear weapons.”
Britain’s defence industry is largely privatised. In addition to BAE Systems, there is one called GKN plc (Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds,) another British multinational company, that dates back in some form or another to 1759 (the Industrial Revolution). Between them they dominate the European aerospace industry. More than 3,000 aerospace companies operate in Britain alone, which has the largest small and medium sized aerospace enterprise base in Europe.
GKN employ 58,000 people, around 21,000 in their aerospace division and the company has a revenue of £9.67 billion (2017). They own 50 manufacturing locations in 14 countries, and serve over 90% of the world’s aircraft and engine manufacturers. Plants in the EU include 6 in Britain, 7 in The Netherlands, 2 in Romania, 1 in Norway, 1 in Sweden, and 1 in Germany.
GKN’s production plant in The Netherlands will from this year manufacture Flaperons and electrical wiring for all Dutch F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft that are currently flying or in production. The GKN Aerospace division is the world’s leading technology supplier to the aerospace industry.
Also in The Netherlands is registered a European aerospace corporation that make far larger passenger aircraft than Boeing, called Airbus. Their jets fly on the largest wings in the world designed and engineered in Filton near Bristol, and manufactured in Broughton, North Wales with each site employing more than 6,000 people.
As you can imagine, we have not even skimmed the surface when it comes to defence contracts and civil aviation, of which Britain has the largest air transport system in Europe, accounting for approximately 217 million passengers each year. We have only looked at a drop of what this country is doing and capable of achieving without the EU.
The type of movement we are going to see for the rest of this year surrounding the withdrawal from Europe will serve to create a higher rate of productivity, which is exactly the impetus needed to move to the next tier on the global stage, and just think what we can do when we are set free.
(Institutions, research and car production)
The Royal Family and the National Health Service (NHS) are British institutions that need no introduction. They are two bodies that cause a wide division of opinion. On the whole of it the NHS has been the pillar of the welfare state since 1948 and the first of its kind in the world to offer a free public health service. The bane of its troubles has always been due to under funding. The Royal Family have been around since before the government and are patrons to around 3,000 organisations, unfortunately in harsh times of austerity people often think of them as the haves and compare them to the have nots.
Institutions like the NHS and the Royal Family are the backbone of this country. Just as NHS ground breaking techniques and discoveries reach far abroad, so does the Royal Family generate serious income from abroad and helps businesses exploit numerous trade opportunities. A poll in 2015 found that 68% of the public believe the Royal Family are good for the country and similarly a British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey in 2017 found that 57% of the public are satisfied with the NHS overall.
It’s thanks to the NHS that diseases such as polio and diphtheria were eradicated. New drugs and antibiotic discoveries in the 1940s have saved millions of lives. Other discoveries include the contraceptive pill launched in 1961 and statins to help lower cholesterol introduced in the 1980s. Today the NHS offer fifteen kinds of contraception and statins have become the most commonly prescribed drugs in Britain.
Britain’s first kidney transplant took place at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 1960. The country’s first heart transplant was carried out at the National Heart Hospital in Marylebone in 1968; paving the way for kidney, liver and lung transplants. The world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, was born through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in 1978. Keyhole surgery was first used in the 1980s in an operation to remove a gallbladder. In 1972 the first computerised tomography scanner (CT) was developed by Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield, who won the Nobel Prize for his invention. And Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were introduced in the 1980s.
Despite Britain’s successes there is always a trade deficit when dealing with the EU. In this case, medicinal and pharmaceutical products make up 8% of all goods exports to the EU, valued at £13 billion. Whereas they make up 8% of all goods imports from the EU, valued at £20 billion.
The Royal Family will contribute an estimated £1.5 billion to the country’s economy this year with around a third coming from tourism. The highly respected Royal Warrant Holders Association, formed in 1840, will manage the Royal Warrant of Appointment for approximately 900 goods or services held by around 800 companies or individuals who have supplied the Households of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales for at least five years, and who have an ongoing trading arrangement.
Warrant holders are made up of individual craftspeople or global multi-nationals alike. Their businesses benefit hugely with the addition of the Queen’s crest on their products as it is the best form of advertising, and it comes for free. Jaguar Land Rover was granted a Royal Warrant by King George VI in 1951 and the Queen still drives one today.
Every year the Royal Family carry out more than 2,000 official engagements throughout the UK and worldwide. Every Royal event is watched by the world. The reported cost of William and Kate’s wedding in 2011 was just under £26 million, the bulk of it for security. But the estimated worth of what the wedding generated for the economy was just over £2 billion with an added increase of 3% in tourism that year.
There will always be those that criticise the NHS no matter how well it performs, or criticise the ministers for running it in to the ground. Likewise there will be those that call for the abolishment of the monarchy, or who believe the Royals are a drain on the tax payers (perhaps by anarchists that don’t pay any taxes).
The fact remains that Britain as a leading health service operates on far less than other countries, for example 50% less per person on health than Switzerland, 25% less than Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, Sweden or Norway, and over 10% less than France, Belgium, Denmark, Canada or Australia. As for the Royal Family, the public cost is around 70 pence for each tax payer per year. In 2019 the Queen will receive £82 million of which includes around 13% of a grant to refurbish Buckingham Palace.
The BBC in its abbreviated form is probably the most recognised media brand in the world, providing broadcasting services around the world. It makes huge sales from selling its programmes to other broadcasting companies and sells its box sets and books directly to the public. For example the Sky at Night magazine is licensed by the BBC to the Immediate Media Company. Programmes like Peppa Pig, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey and many more are sold or have their format licensed in a remarkable number of countries.
There are many broadcasters but none with quite the authority as the BBC. Their excellence means that commercial competitors have to be at the top of their game. British TV exports were worth £1.28 billion last year, which gives an indication of how popular British media is around the world.
The top four universities in Europe are in Britain and these are also in the top ten in the world. They continually out perform the others, having the highest graduate output in Europe. Britain was independently ranked in 2013 by the World Economic Forum Networked Readiness Index as the leading major European location for Information and Communications Technology and 7th in the world. We appear to value entrepreneurs, presumably because of the inherited legacy of British inventors that have in a major way helped to shape the world.
People like John Harrison and his marine chronometer (1761); Richard Trevithick’s steam engine (1801); Peter Durand’s tin can (1810); Michael Faraday’s electric motor (1821); Joseph Aspdin and cement (1824); William Henry Fox Talbot and photography (1835); JS Fry & Sons chocolate bar (1847); Henry Bessemer and the steel Bessemer process (1856); Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone (1876); Joseph Swan’s light bulb (1880); Charles Parsons’s steam turbine (1884); Hubert Cecil Booth’s vacuum cleaner (1901); Harry Brearley’s stainless steel (1913); John Logie Baird’s television (1925); Percy Shaw’s cats-eyes (1933); Frank Whittle’s jet engine (1937); Owen Maclaren’s collapsable baby buggy (1965); John Shepherd-Barron’s ATM (1967); Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web (1989).
How would the world look without the items above. There can be no denying that Britain changed the world forever. We could have gone on and on: penicillin, the toothbrush, the fridge, the flushing toilet, the corkscrew, the fire extinguisher, the light switch, the toaster, the automatic kettle, and the wind up radio, all British. And let’s not get started on British engineers – what this country has done is simply staggering.
Britain was named Europe’s strongest environment for research and development in 2011 by Elsevier, a Dutch information and analytics company. From DNA fingerprinting to Steri-Spray, Britain for one thing or another has won 77 Nobel Prizes in natural and physical sciences.
And talking of physical science, the facilities available to, and the successes made by, our scientists is yet another area where Britain excels, particularly in engineering solutions and medical research. It helps when the greatest research centres of excellence are also the greatest universities in the world, like Oxford and Cambridge. For example the human genome was first sequenced in 2000 at the Cambridge Sanger Centre.
The government through the Medical Research Council fund over three-quarters of a billion pounds of research every year. The rest is made up from charities such as Cancer Research UK. The Sanger Institute as it is now known, plays a leading role in medical research attracting top students and researchers from around the world.
Britain was once the leader in long-distance rocket technology but never developed manned space flight so British astronauts have had to piggyback with NASA or ESA. On 30 November 2018, it was announced that British satellites will no longer be affiliated with the European Space Agency’s Galileo satellite system when Britain leaves the EU. Consequently the UK Space Agency will become more prominent as it operates an independent satellite system.
In itself this is no problem as the satellite business is booming. Far from being a setback Britain can now target specialist areas for development. Britain already designs many of the components that travel on NASA and ESA spacecraft but in particular Britain produces about 44% of the world’s small satellites and has extensive facilities to operate them once active, like Surrey Satellite Technology that build and operate small satellites alongside the UK Space Agency. And last year, Europe’s largest ever telecommunications satellite, built in Stevenage and Portsmouth, was launched.
Car production is rather more contentious because the once great car makers were sold off and bought up by more forward thinking nations at the time. Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley, Aston Martin, Lotus, Mini, MG, Morgan and Vauxhall for example are not British owned. For many people it was seen as a disgrace that government should allow the best of British to wither thus. Unless, you look at it as a necessary evil where foreign companies took control, invested, then in the distant future the industry returns to its former glory – What then should it matter who owns what.
In this scenario Britain has today some of the most productive vehicle plants in the world making more than a million cars and commercial vehicles and over two million engines a year. The quality of British cars and the brands are so prestigious that most of them are still registered at Companies House and made here.
Henry Royce and Charles Royce founded their company in 1904 in Derby and sold their cars in London. Rolls Royce helped defeat Hitler’s war effort and without the Rolls-Royce powered Spitfires, Hurricanes, and Merlins the Battle of Britain would have been lost. The irony that today Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited (wholly owned by BMW – a German company) are the exclusive manufacturer operating from across the historic Goodwood Circuit in West Sussex. But, it is Rolls-Royce Holdings plc (the aviation engine part), a British multinational company that owns Rolls-Royce cars, and they license the rights to the Rolls Royce brand name and logo. BMW acquire the rights to the Spirit of Ecstasy separately from Volkswagen AG.
Aston Martin, the car associated with James Bond, is another iconic car and luxury export. Formed in 1913 the Warwickshire-based company changed hands frequently. From the mid-90s until 2007 it was a subsidiary of Ford until they sold it in a £479 million deal to a consortium led by a British motorsport and advanced engineering group based in Banbury called Prodrive made up of private American and Kuwaiti finance. That same year Aston Martin recorded its highest-ever revenues of £876 million. In 2012 Italian equity fund Invesindustrial bought just over a third of the company.
What the two examples above show us, is that whilst the companies and plants fell into foreign hands, which is part of the way things work with global businesses, the cars are still made in Britain by British workers and in both examples the brand name is retained by British companies. The money the owners make is the price we have paid to save the industry. Two things are always true; successful companies invest for future prosperity and the tax collector get their cut no matter who is in charge.
In this regard Britain is now competing with car manufacturers across Europe and the world because of its eclectic ownership and it can only get more competitive. For example Britain’s access to the Asian market is through Jaguar Land Rover, originally two companies sold by Ford to the Indian company Tata Motors, still registered at Companies House, still built in Coventry, but which have their most profitable market in China.
In 2017, road vehicles were Britain’s single largest export to the EU with a revenue of £18 billion. It represented 45% of the total exports of road vehicles and 11% of all goods exports to the EU. Conversely, road vehicles were also Britain’s single largest import from the EU valued at £47 billion which represented 83% of total imports of road vehicles and 18% of all goods imports from the EU. It’s just another example of a net loss when trading with the EU as a member.
One may be forgiven for thinking things went too far. Since 2006 Heathrow Airport has been controlled by a consortium of international investors led by the Spanish Group Ferrovial. Transport For London is controlled by the Greater London Authority, but the double-deckers have operated through international partners since 2010, the largest being Arriva, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, the German national railway consortium.
So Germany have invested great stakes in our modes of transport because they are the best of nations, they rank first for GDP in Europe, first for exports amongst NATO countries, have the highest population of any EU member, and are one of the six founding EU members. It’s safe to say that Britain is a solid investment for them, something that will not change overnight because Britain exits the EU. Indeed it has yet to be seen whether in due course dealing with a powerful non-EU country is more beneficial to Germany and anyone else that want to trade with Britain.
No other country in Europe has the wealth of foreign involvement and investment in its base industries. There is a stereotypical view of British workers always drinking tea and having too many breaks, but not German efficiency, nor Scandinavian flair for simplicity, nor Italian eye for design nor anything else, can ever dominate the sheer brilliance and spirit of Britain in the workplace.
And Britain of course – has one of the largest economies in the world.
(GDP, Conglomerates & Multinational companies)
Having looked at areas where Britain excels doesn’t the prospect of facing brexit feel less stressful now. Those sauerkraut-fritter nibblers sure know how to scaremonger. Even the government has remained impartial about the effects of brexit, so no one knows for sure. But there are indicators, for example the dramatic rise in defence contracts since the referendum of 2016.
British defence exports in 2017 were worth £9 billion, which was a 53% increase on 2016, with a world market share estimated at 12% which equates to a third place ranking, up from fourth in 2016. What a considerable achievement for that industry.
The global security export market experienced a similar growth worth £4.8 billion in 2017, a 12% increase on the £4.3 billion of 2016 – And it’s rising. Britain is significantly the highest placed European exporter of security exports ahead of France, Germany and Italy – the other three top exporters in this field. On the .gov.uk website it states:
“The UK brand remains very strong around the world and there are plenty of opportunities to pursue in this growing market, particularly the continued exploitation of UK industry expertise in cyber, border security and CNI.” (Nb. Critical National Infrastructure)
So we must be making something, right. Why then does Britain’s world share of GDP gradually decrease every year. Even India has a larger quota of the world economy with 2.83%. Britain’s share for 2019 is estimated to be 2.2%; in 2018 it was 2.24%, for 2017 it was 2.29%. The only real success story in Europe is Germany which ranks the fourth largest economy in the world by GDP.
By the time of the single market in 1993 there were still just 12 member states in the EU. We have seen from the graphs in part 5 that as new states were added the total value of exports reduced in comparison with non-EU countries whose exports increased. This was also the case with the EU per se as a percentage of world GDP whereby in 1993 it stood at around 24% and by 2020 is expected to drop below 15%.
I like to think of GDP in very simple terms. It’s everything ‘we’ sell, every investment that made money, any and every way that wealth came into the country, the whole shebang MINUS the total cost of wealth paid out for imports, building roads, depreciation. It’s a bit more detailed than the difference between imports and exports. GDP can then be used in many comparisons.
America is the juggernaut with nearly a quarter of world GDP (23.3%) and China (seeing 6% + growth in 2018) in second place (16.1%). If you slot the EU into the leaderboard it would just nudge China out with its 16.29% but this year the EU will move down to third.
When you look at projections, China will soon overtake America and India will do the same by 2035. The growth projected for China and India will continue for the rest of the century, but Britain and France stay together around the 5th and 6th positions with Germany slipping down to 9th by the end of the century. But who really knows how accurate these things ever are.
These projections however do suggest a continued confidence in British industries and is somewhat backed up by looking at what is being achieved at home and on the wider stage. The only negativity towards Britain comes from the EU. If the two other major economic powers Germany and France decided to leave after brexit instead of continuing to prop up the rest of Europe then the EU will be finished or remain as a union of the poorest countries.
Let’s look at some British interests that operate around the world not just in Britain. The revenue figures vary somewhat depending where you look and as I didn’t check the end-of-year accounts most are 2017 figures and all should be taken as ‘thereabouts’ figures. Remember that revenue is how much a company makes in sales and not how much profit they make.
PUBLISHING: Excluding religious and political books where circulation numbers are unreliable, only seven books have ever sold more than 100 million copies. Of those, five are from British authors – The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, And Then There Were None, She: A Story of Adventure. British authors continue to do extremely well in the publishing world.
PETROLEUM: British Petroleum (BP). The 6th largest oil and gas company in the world and the world’s 12th largest company by revenue – operating in more than 70 countries to produce 3.6 million barrels of oil a day. Revenue £184.7 billion.
MINING: Rio Tinto. A multinational British/Australian company with headquarters in London. Rio Tinto is the name of a Spanish river with a nearby mining complex which the company bought in 1873. It’s a world leader in the production of aluminium, coal, copper, diamond, iron ore and uranium. Revenue £30.23 billion.
PHARMACEUTICALS: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plc. The 6th largest pharmaceuticals company in the world since 2015, following the merger of two smaller companies in 2000. Headquarters in Brentford. Revenue £30.2 billion.
TELECOMS: BT Group plc. A British multinational telecommunications holding company with headquarters in London. It operates in around 180 countries and is the largest provider of fixed-line, broadband and mobile services in Britain, also providing subscription television and IT services. Revenue £24 billion.
TOBACCO: British American Tobacco. Formed when the Imperial Tobacco Company and the American Tobacco Company merged in 1902. It dominates the tobacco market in over 50 countries. Revenue £21 billion.
ELECTRICAL GOODS: Dyson. Sir James Dyson created this household brand in 1991. Revenue £4 billion.
RETAIL: Asos. An online retailer founded in 2000 that ships the clothes, shoes and beauty products of 850 brands to over 200 countries. Revenue £2.4 billion.
TRAVEL: TUI Travel plc. A British leisure travel group that operates in 80 countries. Revenue £1.46 billion (2014).
LEGAL: DLA Piper. A British legal firm operating in over 40 countries and one of the largest and most recognised law firms in the world. Revenue £1.54 billion.
HEALTHCARE BEAUTY: Since Boots UK was bought up by Walgreens, the largest pharmacy company in the world, it means the mantle passes to British manufacturer PZ Cussons, who operate worldwide, especially in Africa and the commonwealth nations. Revenue £809.2 million.
CONGLOMERATES: Britain has been very much ahead in terms of producing conglomerates.
– Virgin Group ltd
A multi venture capital company established in 1970 providing travel and leisure related operations as well as telecom, media and financial services. The Virgin Group have facilities in over 30 countries. Revenue £20.5 billion.
– Sky Ltd
A British media and telecommunications conglomerate with headquarters in London. It operates in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. Revenue £13 billion.
Founded in 1998 with headquarters in London. It has diversified into multiple divisions including Airlines, Bus services, Car hires, Internet and Hotels. Revenue £6.69 billion.
– The Bestway Group
Founded in 1962, it is the second largest Cash and Carry operator in Britain, the leading cement producer in Pakistan and the majority shareholder in UBL one of the largest banks in Pakistan. Revenue £3 billion.
– Weir Group plc
A British engineering company founded in 1871 with headquarters in Glasgow. It has three divisions – Minerals, Power and Industrial, Oil and Gas. Revenue £2.9 billion.
FINANCIAL SERVICES: British Multinationals.
– Prudential plc
A life insurance company with 26 million customers. Founded in Hatton Garden in 1848. A global ranking of 56 and 61st in Europe. Revenue £85.6 billion.
– Aviva plc
An insurance company with headquarters in London. Formed in 2000 in a merger of two British insurers; Norwich Union and CGU plc. It has around 33 million customers across 16 countries and is the UK’s largest general insurer and a leading life pension provider. Ranked 54th in the EU. Revenue £50 billion.
– Legal & General Group plc
An insurance company selling life insurance, general insurance, pensions and investment management. Headquarters in London and a world ranking of 49. Revenue £43.5 billion.
– HSBC Holdings plc
A bank and holding company with headquarters in London. It is the 7th largest bank in the world and the largest in Europe. Revenue £41 billion.
– Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds began in 1765. In 2009 Lloyds TSB became Lloyds Banking Group making it the largest retail bank in the UK, bringing together RBS and the Halifax. It has over 16 million customers in the UK and it’s the oldest insurance marketplace in the world with a global ranking of 121. Revenue £35 billion.
– Barclays plc
A British investment bank which ranks 43rd in Europe. Revenue £21 billion.
– Standard Chartered plc
A multinational banking and financial services company with headquarters in London and employing 87,000 people. It has a network of more than 1.200 branches across more than 70 countries. Revenue £14.42 billion.
FOOD (British Multinationals): Food plays a massive role in the UK’s economy contributing more than 10% of the total UK government tax income, and providing one in every fourteen jobs in the country.
– Tesco plc
Founded in 1947 with headquarters in Welwyn Garden City. Tesco sell groceries and general merchandise. It is the ninth largest food retailer in the world measured by revenue. Revenue £56 billion.
A British/Dutch company and the world’s largest food and drink producer with 400 brands. Revenue £50 billion.
– Compass Group plc
The largest contract food service company in the world with headquarters in Chertsey. Operating in 50 countries, employing 550,000 people, and serving around 5.5 billion meals a year. Revenue £22.57 billion.
– Associated British Foods plc
It is the world’s second-largest producer of both sugar and baker’s yeast as well as other ingredients like emulsifiers. Also owns brands like Twinings and Patak’s. Revenue £15.3 billion.
– Marks and Spencer (M&S)
A retailer with 1,463 stores worldwide employing more than 80,000 people. Revenue £10.62 billion.
– Tate & Lyle Sugars
A global supplier of food and beverage ingredients. The Thames Refinery is the largest sugar refinery in Europe. Revenue £3 billion.
Figures for GDP may vary across diagrams or graphs as these were made across various dates.
(Immigration, Enoch Powell and Buy British)
It was a Jewish Polish refugee called Michael Marks that started a market stall in Leeds and later met Thomas Spencer and together they formed the partnership that created Marks & Spencer.
Stories like this are in every business startup, whether descended from the clans that scattered South after the battle of Culloden, the Jewish immigrants that re-settled the Huguenot areas of London’s East end, the refugees from Uganda or Somalia, or modern day immigrants from across the EU. Immigrants are industrious.
The original British Nationality Act 1948 enabled the right of all 800 million British Empire subjects to live and work in Britain. There was a presumption of course, that they would not all want travel to Britain en masse.
Mass migration was encouraged to help rebuild the country after the Second World War to fill labour shortages like for the newly created NHS and for London Transport. The first of the Windrush generation brought 492 Jamaican’s to Brixton and that ship the ‘Empire Windrush’ continued to ferry migrants from the Caribbean until 1954.
Immigration became a controversial political issue after Windrush because it seemed that the government had extended those open borders to the rest of the world.
The British Nationality Act was made in order to distance mainland Britain from the overseas territories, so much so that by the 1990s even our beloved ghurka’s couldn’t come to Brtitain – and yet everyone else was welcomed. It is estimated that between 300,000 and 500,000 illegal immigrants are living in Britain today.
Immigrants have been allowed to enter the country in their thousands for generations and this is what troubles people and why immigration is such a fundamental point. The same applies to asylum seekers who are directed this way. Research conducted by the Refugee Council revealed that asylum seekers in the UK had their destination chosen for them by agents, rather than choosing Britain themselves.
Immigrants come to Britain for the same reason asylum seekers do, because there is little control and a much better success rate of getting in. The figures show that around 68% of applicants are refused entry, but what if the remaining 32% equates to one million people – what then?
Some people over-complicate the issue and many over-simplify it, by talking too much about immigration or by just shouting racism. This divide means that if you want to allow people in then you are ruining the country and if you want to keep people out then you are racist.
If any connection exists at all between immigration and racism then it started in 1968 when Enoch Powell gave his famous speech warning of the consequences of continued unchecked immigration. But he was actually talking about migration from the Commonwealth countries which was in fact by invitation of the government to fill the labour gap.
Many people were horrified by Enoch Powell’s speech because they saw it as disrespectful to the nations of the old empire that had fought in campaigns alongside Britain. The result for Mr Powell was that he was removed from the Shadow Cabinet by the Conservative party leader Edward Heath the next day.
Three days after the speech, 2,000 dockers marched on Westminster to protest against his dismissal and the day after that another 400 meat porters from Smithfield Market handed in a petition to Downing Street in protest. Nothing came of the protests but a Gallup poll revealed that 74% agreed with the speech.
A few years earlier The Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 had restricted immigration for Commonwealth members. Then a few years after Enoch Powell’s speech the Immigration Act 1971 was passed to prepare for future membership of the EU in 1973. So in effect Britain tightened immigration from the Commonwealth and loosened it for Europe. This was the real slam-in-the-face for our Commonwealth family.
It was all intended to form Britain’s immigration policy but as soon as the 1971 Act was enacted on 28 October 1971, the government was under severe pressure to take responsibility for the Asian minority in Uganda following a coup d’état led by Idi Amin earlier in February of that year. Within twelve months Idi Amin issued an ultimatum and the British government decided to accept the migration of 27,200 people displaced from Uganda, in 1972.
“Our deliberate policy is to transfer the economic control of Uganda into the hands of Ugandans, for the first time in our country’s history.”
— Idi Amin, quoted in Uganda: a modern history
This was what Enoch Powell had been warning about just four years earlier. In 1967, a year before his famous speech, he stated his opposition to the immigration of Kenyan Asians to Britain following the leader Jomo Kenyatta’s policies which lead to the flight of Asians from that country. And after his speech of 1968 The Sunday Times branded his speeches ‘racialist’.
When it was first discussed in 1969 about Britain joining the EEC, he spoke openly of his opposition to such a move. Another Gallup poll in February 1969 revealed that he was the most admired person in British public opinion. And following the flight of the Ugandans in 1972, the Daily Express did a poll which showed him to be the most popular politician in the country at that time.
What many people were seeing was an uncontrolled influx of people from various parts of the world which they interpreted as less jobs and less housing for themselves. Throughout the seventies a form of neo-nazism was felt as people rallied against immigrants and groups like skinheads went out paki-bashing.
However, he was not a racist in the same way that someone hates someone else due to the colour of their skin, as he openly asked “what’s wrong with racism,” insisting that nationalism was based on the similarities between races. He once said “I can love India without wanting to see India on the streets of Birmingham.” At a speech in Cardiff he responded to a heckler saying “I hope those who shouted ‘Fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ are aware that before they were born I was fighting against Fascism and Nazism.”
During the 1975 referendum on British membership of the EEC, he campaigned for a ‘No’ vote, having voted 106 times in parliament not to join. He was asked several times to stand as a candidate for the far-right National Front which he declined, and Margaret Thatcher said of him that he was the best politician she ever knew.
So if immigration is linked to racism then it’s because the government has created that association by not taking control of immigration. Given the ignorance around immigration is it any wonder when there is recession, high unemployment or austerity that immigrants are the first to be targeted.
The problem with this type of nationalism is that everyone is affected. Commonwealth migrants don’t see the immigration problem because they feel the racist element. If you go out in the street and can feel the prejudice, taste it in the air, simply because of your colour, then you know it is a fear brought on simply because of your colour.
So how did Somalia come into play because the British ceded Somali territory to the Ethiopian Emperor in 1897. During the 1980s and 1990s, civil war in Somalia produced a large number of immigrants, comprising the majority of the current Somali population in Britain. You only have to walk through Finsbury Park to see it.
As for Enoch Powell, in a nationwide poll by the BBC in August 2002, he was voted 55th in the List of 100 Greatest Britons of all time. Here’s the thing, if he was such a racist, and racism is so wrong, then why is he still so popular. No doubt he would have had a lot to say about the current state of immigration; Iran, Pakistan and Iraq were the main origin countries of asylum seekers in 2017.
The fact that Enoch Powell was against European membership and for controlling immigration, also happened at a time when many third world countries were getting their houses in order, and also because the seventies was a time of strikes and disorder. I believe this is how the link between immigration and racism was formed.
A fact is, the entire UK food system is dependent on migrant labour. Food is Britain’s largest manufacturing sector but one third of its workforce is migrant. Horticulture also has massive dependency on migrants to pick the foods we need. In 2017 one in every four EU migrants were employed in retail, wholesale, and hospitality.
What can we do post brexit to help things along. We already have a healthy migrant workforce doing the jobs you do not want to do, so perhaps we can be a bit selective about our purchasing choices.
I’m not saying you should brave the choppy Welsh coastline in a canoe to gather rock samphire from the cliff edges because it is British rather than just buying Dutch asparagus instead. Just that we should be mindful that Europe and half of Britain want us to fail post brexit if only to say ‘I told you so’.
It’s quite fun to get familiar with brands and in time you get to know the British ones. For example if you had a choice between marmite and bovril which would you select? Well it doesn’t really matter as they are both made, owned and distributed by Unilever UK. What about PG Tips or Lipton’s? Again, both owned by Unilever.
But what about Hellman’s or Heinz for mayonnaise? If you chose Hellmans great, made by Unilever, but Heinz – that’s American. It just takes a little practice. They are very selective elsewhere you know, If you go to France, you won’t see McDonald’s and Burger King on every street corner like you do here. They prefer home grown produce.
It’s difficult for chocolate as the market is saturated by the big names. All the great British brands like Cadbury’s and Rowntree have long been sold off. But how about a choice between Comfort (unilever) or Lenor (Procter & Gamble) – much easier.
British tea labels are desired but many are not owned by British companies. Tetley for example, founded in 1837, is the second largest tea manufacturer in the world, the largest in Britain and Canada, and was the first to sell tea in tea bags in 1953. But it’s owned by Indian company Tata Global that was recently exposed for using child and bonded labour (i.e. slaves).
Typhoo is owned by Apeejay Surrendra Group an Indian conglomerate and there are many brands that are Indian for obvious reasons. But there are still some great British teas to chose from. PG Tips, Tazo and Liptons owned by Unilever for example, the world’s largest tea company and Liptons being the world’s best-selling tea brand.
Yorkshire Tea by Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate is British and what can we say about Twinings, maker of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and malt drinks. Established in 1706 by merchant Thomas Twining, who opened Britain’s first known tea room at No. 216 Strand in 1706, a shop that still operates. Owned by Associated British Foods.
And finally one last example about sugar. Bagged sugar accounts for just 15% of the market with most going to food and drink manufacturers. You may think that sugar is only grown in sub-tropical areas such as Brazil, Australia and Peru – but that would be sugar cane. Sugar beet is a more versatile grower and at Bury St Edmunds in East Anglia the Silver Spoon Company has been producing only home-grown sugar beet since 1972.
They process it in four plants in the East of England and the East Midlands. It can produce 14,000 tonnes of sugar beet per day, more than 4,000,000 1kg packs per week. Every year, 2,000,000 tonnes of sugar beet are produced by 1,000 UK growers.
Just behind the processing plant is a Tesco supermarket that recently decided to drop Silver Spoon sugar in favour of rival Tate & Lyle, a British company that sold its sugar business in 2010 to American Sugar Refining, Inc. and who make sugar from raw sugar cane grown overseas. It was not Tate & Lyle’s fault, but the EU who restricted supplies of sugar cane in 1981 which forced Liverpool’s Love Lane sugar refinery to close down.
The chairman of the National Farmers’ Union, Michael Sly, said the sugar beet industry across the east of England supported just under 10,000 jobs and that Sugar beet growers across Suffolk were hugely disappointed at the decision by Tesco.
In response, a Tesco spokesman said it was putting its customers first to keep prices down. But the National Farmers’ Union retorted that supermarkets make a great play of supporting British food and locally grown produce but all too often when it comes to a contract stage and they get presented with a choice – for fractions of pennies they will go the other way.
Home-grown sugar which is produced sustainably, benefits both the economy and the environment alike. This is what the world has come to, shipping in sugar from hundreds of miles away when there is a sugar factory next door. Vote with your food choices every time and vote British.
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