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 Solving the EU-UK Customs Problem
This was a letter from Prof Bush published in the Daily Telegraph on 17th May 2018 called “Solving the EU-UK Customs Problem: Pay Where You Enter”.

EU Effects on the Tory Party
In his respected Times column (Thursday 19th July), Iain Martin suggested that Tory divisions over a so-called hard Brexit – which go back to the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 – will lead to the break up of the Tory party. In fact a proper Brexit, i.e. a free trade agreement like EU-Canada and EU-Korea having the present EU-UK zero tariffs and standards, maintained for say 5-8 years, after which there could be mutually agreed modifications in the light of experience – is the path of sanity and would take the EU issue right out of British politics for ever. Presumably not even the Scot Nats would support EU efforts to exclude British-registered aircraft landing at EU airports. [more »]

Latest Brexit Scare Story: Airbus & the UK
From press and TV reports we hear that Airbus is thinking of disengaging itself from Britain at Filton and Broughton. Now (Sunday Times interview 23rd July), here is Tom Enders, Chief Executive of Airbus, saying that the proposed BAe Systems project for a completely new fighter-bomber for the 2030s and 40s (“Tempest”) should be combined with a possible Franco-German rival (not specified) as part of a “European Aircraft Company”. This is to include Saab of Sweden and Leonardo of Italy as well as Airbus and BAe Systems. Britain’s Ministry of Defence has apparently assigned £2 billion for the prototype work. Evidently Airbus is not too worried about Britain’s post-Brexit position then, although like everyone else they would like to know what the post-Brexit terms of trade will be.

Disbenefits of the UK's Single Market Membership

Don’t Miss Latest Published Letter from Stephen Bush

Click on Disbenefits of the UK’s Single Market membership

More Euratom Red Herrings
The government’s confirmation of Britain’s intended exit from the Euratom Treaty is much to be welcomed. As our post of 29th June stated, the anxiety over this step – prefigured when Article 50 to leave the EU was triggered on March 29th, is entirely confected by people who don’t know that they are talking about. This is usually the case when anything with a remotely scientific content is concerned. [more »]

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Scare-mongering again: Electricity supplies in N Ireland

The Times report (August 22) about an “emergency agreement between London and Dublin” being needed to keep electricity flowing through the all-Ireland grid in the event of a no-deal outcome to the UK-EU negotiations gave a wrong picture of the position of Northern Ireland’s supply position.

Firstly, Northern Ireland’s part of the grid is not only supplied by the Republic. It has two major power stations of its own, one of which, Ballylumford in County Antrim, alone has a capacity of 1300 MW, 70% of Northern Ireland’s total demand (1800 MW). Secondly, there is the Moyle 500 MW interconnector from Auchencrosh in Ayrshire, Scotland, to Ballycronan in Antrim, 30% of Northern Ireland’s demand. Thirdly, another 500 MW East-West interconnector from Woodland in the Republic to Shotton near Liverpool supplies the Republic’s part of the grid. These connectors are part of a general system connecting the UK with continental Europe. The UK-France connector has been in operation for years, passing up to 2000 MW between the two countries (mainly France to the UK of course).

There is thus no need on our side for any new agreement to continue to operate a single grid in the island of Ireland.  If the Irish wish to unbalance their part of the grid by somehow blocking electrons flowing to Northern Ireland, we will have several options to rebalance our part of the grid to ensure normal electricity supplies to our fellow citizens there, without resorting to such absurdities as towing barges with diesel generators on board. Someone needs to tell those “senior figures” in Greg Clark’s department referred to in the report, before more unnecessary obligations to the Irish are entered into.