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David Gauke: An election won. But a year on: “You promised us you’d get Brexit done, but all we hear about is Brexit”

David Gauke is a former Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary.

November 2020. An all-day Cabinet Meeting had concluded. The decision had been reached and an anxious Prime Minister was preparing to address the nation from the Downing Street lectern. The meeting could have gone worse – only three resignations – but there was no concealing the fact that the Prime Minister and the Government were in a tight spot. The honeymoon had finally come to an end.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had had a good few months. He was the first leader of the Conservative Party since Margaret Thatcher to win a comfortable majority last December. Even though he had lost a few seats in London and the Home Counties (one particularly eye-catching shock in Hertfordshire), the fear of Corbyn and a desire to ‘get Brexit done’ had been enough to breach the red wall and return a majority of over 30.

His Withdrawal Agreement Bill had been rushed through Parliament and, on 31 January, the UK finally left the European Union. It was a moment of great historical significancem even if the moment itself was much of an anti-climax. After all, the terms of the implementation period meant that nothing very much changed on 1 February.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats, although receiving a majority of the votes between them in last year’s general election, had entered into a period of introspection. A few elder statesmen warned of the consequences of leaving the EU on the terms agreed, but no one was listening. After all, the people had spoken in both a referendum and a general election. Who cared what a few out of touch Jeremiahs had to say?

That spring, the economy continued to drift on comfortably enough. It is true that the oft-promised tidal wave of investment that was supposed to flood the country did not materialise (after all, investors wanted to know about the future relationship), but many businesses remained sanguine that, now that Brexit had been delivered, the Prime Minister would pivot to finding a sensible accommodation with the EU.

The Prime Minister had said that he would get a comprehensive free trade agreement before the Implementation Period expired, but would not extend the Implementation Period beyond 31 December 2020. There was more than a little scepticism about this position and some confidence that these were pledges not to be taken literally.

At least, that was the position until the political excitements of May. Alarmed at the lack of progress towards reaching a free trade agreement, sources close to Sajid Javid had suggested to The Times that ‘EU intransigence’ meant that it may be necessary to extend the Implementation Period by 12 months.

The reaction soon put paid to that idea. Within hours, a letter of objection had been submitted by 25 newly elected Conservative MPs – all of whom had become members of the ERG – pointing out that they had won their seats on the basis of ‘getting Brexit done’ and that ‘extending vassalage wasn’t getting Brexit done’. Senior Cabinet Ministers briefed that they would resign rather than allow the Implementation Period to be extended. Lord Farage threatened to form a new party.

By the end of the day, the Chancellor had made it abundantly clear that he was resolutely opposed to any extension of the Implementation Period and that he had not authorised any briefing to the contrary. The pound fell.

Progress towards a trade deal remained slow throughout the summer. The UK said that a deal should be easy because the parties began the process aligned on a large range of matters. The EU pointed out this was all very well if the intention was for both parties to remain aligned. An agreement could be quickly agreed if the UK accepted ‘dynamic alignment with EU regulations’. The Prime Minister said that this didn’t constitute Brexit.

The EU also offered a ‘barebones’ deal, but it required all sorts of concessions from the UK that appeared politically impossible. The French made some threatening noises about fish; Scottish Conservatives MP (who had happily seen off the SNP last year) demanded that our fishermen should not be betrayed; the Prime Minister deployed the Royal Navy, the practical purposes for which were not entirely clear.

Meanwhile, discussions with the US about a free trade deal had run into the ground. The Prime Minister won much praise for robustly dismissing demands from the US for acceptance of their food standards and increased drug prices. Donald Trump said that the Prime Minister had been ‘very, very mean’ and withdrew an invitation to the Prime Minister to visit Washington. None of this did the Prime Minister any harm with the public, although he was forced to admit that no progress was going to be made in reaching an FTA with the US until after the Presidential election.

The Opposition made a push towards extending the Implementation Period in June but Johnson saw off all Parliamentary manoeuvres with ease. He had the numbers. And he remained confident that a trade deal was in sight. The markets were not so sure. The pound fell.

Party conference was a triumph. It is true that the economy seemed to show signs of slowing as uncertainty grew. Clearly, Brexit had not been entirely ‘done’ but the Prime Minister delivered a barnstorming speech attacking the European Union for being cumbersome and bureaucratic, and that its delays in signing up to an agreement just demonstrated how right we were to escape the clutches of this sclerotic entity. The audience loved it. And the pound fell.

Post-conference, the mood began to change. Inflation picked up as the consequences of the depreciation in sterling worked its way through the system. Living standards were starting to fall; business investment was now falling fast.
Much of the country blamed the EU for the failure to reach an agreement. But much of the country did not. ‘Get Brexit done’ was now a phrase only used ironically.

A clip of the Prime Minister being harangued by an angry first-time Conservative voter from Wakefield went viral. “You promised us you’d get Brexit done but all we hear about is Brexit”, Johnson was told. “Why should I ever trust you Tories again?” To be fair, it was the only interrogation the Prime Minister had received for some weeks after he had declined broadcast interviews for weeks.

Not long afterwards, the deadlock in the EU negotiations was broken. The UK had been curiously reluctant to set out its positive demands for an FTA and it was left to the EU to take the initiative. It brought back the proposal was a ‘barebones’ agreement. It addressed tariffs and quotas which mattered to the EU.

But it did nothing for services, left the UK as rule takers in a host of areas and, when it came to fish, required that the demands of the French and others were accepted in full.

‘What else are you going to do?, the Prime Minister was asked after a testy exchange with the President of the European Commission. ‘You have weeks left before the Implementation Period comes to an end. This is the deal. Sign it or Great Britain leaves on WTO terms.’

That takes us to our emergency Cabinet meeting. So what does the Prime Minister do? Agree to a deal that, on any fair assessment, gives the EU all that it wants but fails to deliver any of the UK’s negotiating objectives. Or leave on WTO terms having, one year previously, acceded to the EU’s objectives on the divorce payment, citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland.

Two very bad options. The Treasury advises that the economic hit of both choices will be considerable but that, in this case, a bad deal will be better than no deal. Politically, the Prime Minister ponders whether he could sell such a deal as a triumph. It evidently isn’t a triumph, but that hasn’t always stopped him in the past.

Either way, the honeymoon is properly over. A general election may have been won on promises to put Brexit behind us and move on, that getting a comprehensive free trade agreement would be easily achieved and that our post-Brexit future would be filled with opportunities to trade with the rest of the world. A year later, those promises collide with reality. There is a price to be paid.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

David Gauke: Labour struggling. The LibDems not cutting through. The Conservatives winning by default. My take in this unusual election for me.

David Gauke is a former Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary.

This is the first general election in 32 years in which I am not campaigning for the Conservative Party and the first in 22 years where I have not been a Conservative candidate. Given that this is not a time for half measures, I am not just sitting out this election but standing to win my old Parliamentary seat as an independent.

During the past couple of weeks, I have spent most waking hours talking to voters in South West Hertfordshire – whether in the high streets, outside train stations, on the doorstep or in pubs and coffee shops. I have spoken to thousands of people of all political persuasions.

This gives me an unusual perspective as to the state of public opinion and what is likely to happen in the election. But before setting that out, I should state a couple of qualifications.

First, as with most Parliamentary candidates, I find myself following the national news less than I would normally. There isn’t the time to read the newspapers, scroll down Twitter or watch or listen to the news as I would usually.

Second, this election is clearly going to be more local than any other one in recent times. There won’t be a uniform national swing one way or another. In my seat, there is the added complication that I am standing, so extrapolating what is happening here only gives a partial story. What is happening in Berkhamsted and Rickmansworth won’t tell you what is happening in Birkenhead and Redcar.

With those caveats, how does this election look to me?

Before turning to the political parties, it is worth saying a word or two about attitudes to Brexit. It is clear to me that we remain as polarised as ever. People either want to leave and are not that bothered about how as long as it constitutes ‘a proper Brexit’ (in other words, prominent Brexiteers back it) or they want to remain. Some of us have long argued for a compromise whereby we leave the institutions but maintain good access to EU markets. Sadly, such an approach will leave nearly everyone dissatisfied. That option is not on the table and it won’t come back to the table. The choice is stark; we will end up with either a hard Brexit or no Brexit.

Turning to the parties, let’s start with Labour. They achieved a respectable second place in South West Hertfordshire last time and won over lots of middle class votes. Much of the national focus has been on Labour Leavers in the north and midlands, but the evidence from here is that they have a problem with their middle class voters.

There is little enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn, and no sign that he is cutting through to the public in the way that he did in 2017. The chances of a Labour majority look vanishingly small. However, that Labour vote is very anti-Boris Johnson. It won’t go Conservative, but it will turn out and vote to try to stop the Conservatives.

It is harder for me to assess the Liberal Democrats. I am not going to dwell on the situation in South West Hertfordshire, but the question most Liberal Democrats are asking themselves here is who is best placed to defeat the Conservatives. Of course, I was disappointed that they decided to stand in South West Hertfordshire, but there was a view in the party at a national level that the Liberal Democrats would still get second spot here even if I stood. A couple of weeks in to the campaign, there are very few Liberal Democrats locally who still think that.

Turning to the national situation, I am surprised that they are not doing better. There is definitely a hunger for a revived centre ground and I would not rule out them overturning some substantial majorities. Notwithstanding my little local difficulty, I think Jo Swinson is underrated. In my experience, she is smart, principled and likeable. They have not cut through yet but I don’t think it is too late for them to make progress.

And the Conservatives? I have frequently used these columns to warn that the strategy of the Conservative leadership risks losing the support of longstanding moderate supporters. I have talked to hundreds of such people in recent days and that risk is real.

The Brexit policy is a problem for many, and I will say more about that in a moment. There is also distaste at some of the methods. The disregard for normal standards of behaviour – the prorogation of Parliament, the criticism of the Supreme Courts, last week’s nonsense over the ‘FullFactUK’ twitter name – feeds in to a sense that this is a Party that believes in winning at all costs and is reckless as to what happens afterwards. It is all just a little too much like the 2016 Vote Leave campaign.

Trust is a problem. The endless spending and tax cut pledges all sound too good to be true. There is a sense that promises are being made but neither those making the promises nor those hearing the promises really believe they will all be delivered. Mind you, there was that sense during Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party leadership campaign and it didn’t do him too much harm.

In seats in the south east, I expect that longstanding Tories will desert their former party. However, the national polls look encouraging for the Conservatives.

Two factors are helping. First, the fear of  Corbyn is strong. Understandably, people want to vote to stop him.

Second, there has been little scrutiny of what Boris Johnson’s Brexit policy will mean.

Refusing to extend the implementation period beyond 2020 means that there is not time to negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement. An agreement in that time would mean signing up to continued alignment (which the Prime Minister has ruled out) or a barebones deal which looks remarkably like a No Deal Brexit. The Government’s stated objective of a bespoke deal is simply not negotiable in that time frame.

We are on course for a WTO Brexit at the beginning of 2021. Given the opinion polls, the media’s attention would be best focused on the implications of such an outcome for the country. I believe it would be immensely damaging for it but we are sleepwalking towards such a disaster. That this has been a relatively minor issue in the election so far is something the country will come to regret.

So, in summary, where do things stand nationally? Labour struggling because of Corbyn; the Lib Dems not cutting through; the Conservatives winning by default but with the public distrustful and its central policy under-scrutinised. The electorate are sceptical about all the parties and many voters have yet to make up their minds.

There may be a twist or two left in this election yet.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ryan Bourne: Beware the push by Hammond and others to make Britain an EU rule-taker

Ryan Bourne is Chair in Public Understanding of Economics at the Cato Institute.

Perhaps torture works. The collective waterboarding that is the impending Brexit deadline is forcing confessions, anyway.

Philip Hammond was in a government whose stated policy was a desire for new post-Brexit trade deals once it could exit the Northern Irish “backstop” of a single UK-EU customs territory. Now, with Boris Johnson tunneling for just that, the former Chancellor’s official position has shifted. Economic sense, he says, actually means Britain should stay in the Single Market for goods anyway, abide by “level playing field” commitments with the EU, and junk dreams of an independent free trade agenda. Buccaneering Britain, Hammond thinks, is an illusion.

Brexiteers who foresaw May’s backstop as an excuse by her to bounce us into Brussels’ permanent trade and regulatory orbit have seemingly been vindicated. But the danger has not passed. Alongside The UK in a Changing Europe’s new report, Hammond’s intervention pressures wavering Labour MPs and former Conservatives to reject Boris’s proposed “Canada Plus” destination as “too hard a Brexit” for Great Britain. At stake here is whether Britain ultimately repatriates meaningful economy policy, or becomes a rule-taker that’s only ever one small step away from EU re-entry.

Hammond couches his argument in economic terms. Everyone acknowledges trade-offs exist between policy freedom and EU trade frictions, with the latter more easily quantifiable, and the former dependent on active choices. But Hammond’s preferred modelling by the Treasury and others is based on assumptions. Results that suggest a free trade agreement Brexit must reduce GDP by 4 to 7 percent by 2030 relative to Remain, while new free trade agreements and regulatory freedoms could only possibly compensate by 0.2 to 0.5 percent of GDP, do not pass the smell test.

Pre-referendum, such results came from “gravity models,” built around observed relationships showing trade volumes rise in proportion to the size of economies and fall with distance between them. Treasury analysis back then had estimated EU membership raised trade volumes for members, on average, by 115 per cent beyond these factors, suggesting leaving full membership for an FTA would produce a large, long-term 6.2 pe rcent loss of GDP. Importantly, liberalising trade elsewhere could only weakly compensate, because of longer distances to new export markets.

Those results were challenged extensively. The model risked chalking up gains from general deregulations over recent decades (which wouldn’t be lost after exit) as EU membership benefits. Cambridge economists pointed out that the model itself overpredicted UK exports to the EU compared to real trade flows, suggesting a UK-specific trade uplift of a much smaller 20-25 per cent. Global evidence suggests services trade is much less influenced by distance anyway. Treasury results then looked biased towards big negative effects.

Since then, Hammond’s Treasury has changed model but not conclusions. Their November 2018 publication estimated a permanent net loss of 4.9 percent of GDP from a simple FTA Brexit, rising to 6.7 percent if net EU migration ceases. This is much higher than the more static estimates of trade expert and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, who estimates first-order net costs of about two per cent of GDP (before any compensatory trade liberalisation). When you hear much larger results, the findings are usually based on “black box” assumptions about large effects of trade on productivity (analysis where economists agree on the direction but disagree on magnitudes).

Four large assumptions that we can assess drove the Treasury’s results:

  1. That significant “non-tariff barriers” to UK-EU trade will arise if we leave the customs union and single market for an FTA
  2. That repatriated regulatory powers bring practically zero upside
  3. That customs procedures at the border will prove significantly costly
  4. That an independent UK free trade agenda would produce little upside.

Do these stack up? At the point of exit, UK exporters will be fully compliant with EU product standards after decades of integration. Assuming then that we’d face the same non-tariff barriers (NTBs) as existing FTA partners looks like a significant overestimate of initial new frictions. Yes, there would be economic costs associated with rules of origin requirements (though the WTO thinks these are small), and a loss of some mutual standards recognition outside the EU legal system. But bigger NTBs arise if regulations deviate. One would hope that sensible governments, Jeremy Corbyn notwithstanding, would only pursue regulatory change if it perceived net economic benefits anyway.

Indeed, it’s baffling to presume both that there will be no upside to repatriating regulation (the Treasury assumes a GDP gain of just 0.1 per cent) but that standards will significantly deviate. Current political moods might be non-conducive to widespread deregulation, but Open Europe once estimated politically feasible changes worth 0.7 per cent of GDP; let alone the potential benefits long-term of avoiding further EU labour market harmonisation, financial sector regulation, and shirking the EU’s precautionary principle in agriculture, health innovation, AI, and robotics.

Customs costs at the border look exaggerated too. Swiss estimates suggest these could be as small as 0.1 per cent. The UK’s would be higher outside the single market, of course, but Paul Krugman thinks the UK would adopt new systems relatively quickly, unilaterally lowering standards if necessary. Previous meta-analysis has found that extensive FTAs have a bigger trade boosting impact than customs unions, suggesting customs costs aren’t really prohibitive to trade flows. NAFTA, for example, is not a customs union.

But it’s really on external trade where the analysis was most slanted. Not only did Hammond’s government say the UK would not unilaterally liberalise tariffs or meaningfully reduce EU non-tariff barriers on the rest of the world; it suggested signing free trade agreements with the US, Australia, New Zealand and TPP countries would only raise GDP by 0.1 to 0.2 per cent. Closer inspection shows why: it assumes only half of the non-tariff barriers on goods and a third on services are “actionable” through these deals, and then only a quarter of these get eliminated in new FTAs. Overall then, given the countries examined for FTAs, the model assumes that the upper-limit for NTB liberalisation is eliminating 6.25 per cent of the very high level of NTBs we are assumed to want to keep.

If anything has become clear recently, it’s that Conservatives have an appetite for a far more expansive free trade agenda. Economists agree free trade boosts growth. Australia’s government estimated it has increased GDP by over five per cent over 20 years through manufactured goods trade liberalisation alone; the government’s own analysis suggests a UK FTA with the EU would life GDP by three per cent relative to WTO terms. So the conclusion that free trade policies don’t matter, especially in regards an FTA with the US, is baffling, even accounting for trade distance. Of course, the gains from a UK-US deal are bigger still when it and the EU look set for a trade war. And the UK is arguably much more likely than the EU to pursue service sector-heavy FTAs as the world becomes richer, to our own benefit.

Now I’m not arguing here that there’s no risk and uncertainty to “breaking free.” It’s difficult to ascertain precise GDP effects from trade negotiations that haven’t happened, regulations that haven’t yet been avoided, and new customs procedures that haven’t been tested. But it’s important to remember Hammond’s favoured analysis largely assumes no upsides to Brexit by construction and calculates downsides based on evidence for policies that the UK shouldn’t want to pursue, or relationships elsewhere that we wouldn’t replicate.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iain Mansfield: Brexit by October 31. Stop using the Left’s language. And stand for skilled workers. Essentials for our next Prime Minister

Iain Mansfield is a former senior civil servant, winner of the Institute of Economic Affairs Brexit prize and a Conservative councillor candidate. He writes in a personal capacity.

Our next Prime Minister will take office at the most challenging time since the 1970s. Not only is there Brexit – an issue of fundamental national importance, that has destroyed the last two Prime Ministers and poses an existential challenge to the future of the Conservative Party – but the old political assumptions are changing. Across the West, traditional voter coalitions are shifting, as citizens reject centrist compromises. Flatlining productivity, unaffordable houses and millions of voters feeling abandoned, either culturally or economically, are just some of the challenges they will face.

Many of those who voted for David Cameron in 2010 are lost to the party, alienated by Brexit. In Britain today, age and education level are better predictors of a person’s vote than class. To win a general election, our next Prime Minister must forge a new coalition of voters that unites the traditional Tory shires with the left-behind Leave voters in the Midlands and North. Even more importantly, they must deliver authentic right-wing policies that address the causes of ordinary working people’s dissatisfaction. People want change and, if the Conservative Party does not deliver it, they are likely to seek answers in the flawed blandishments of Jeremy Corbyn’s socialism.

In that context, there are three essentials that our next Prime Minister must prioritise for the good of the people, the nation and the party:

  • Leave the EU by 31 October, on WTO terms if needed.
  • Openly champion conservative values rather than speaking the language of the left.
  • Reposition the party as the natural home of the skilled working and lower middle classes.

Leave the EU by 31 October, on WTO terms if needed

Not only is delivering on the outcome of the referendum a democratic imperative, it is vital for the continued existence of the party. Recent polling shows that, if we have not left the EU, the Conservatives are likely to suffer devastating losses in a general election; these figures could be even worse if large numbers of members, councillors or even entire associations defect to the Brexit Party. Many members have held on over the last few months purely out of hope that the next Prime Minister would deliver where May failed: another betrayal in October would see these members permanently lost.

Leaving with a deal is preferable, if some changes to the backstop can be agreed and Parliament will pass it. If not, as I have argued previously on this site, we have nothing to fear from No Deal. Preparations for such should be put into top gear on the first day in office. The Prime Minister must make clear that they will under no circumstances ask for an extension; and that they are, if needed, prepared to systematically veto any measure put forward by the EU on regular business if the UK is for some reason kept in. While every effort should be made to secure a deal, if it cannot be reached, Parliament must be faced with the simple choice of permitting a WTO exit or voting no confidence in the Prime Minister – a gamble, admittedly, but one that is preferable to another disastrous extension.

Openly champion conservative values rather than speaking the language of the left

In recent years too many Conservative politicians have allowed our opponents to define the playing field. We cannot beat the socialists by adopting the language and assumptions of socialism. Our next Prime Minister must stop feeding the narrative of identity, grievance and division, with its assumption that an individual’s potential is defined by their characteristics, that so-called ‘burning injustices’ are solely the responsibility of the state to address, and that the government always no best.

Changing the narrative will be a long endeavour. The systematic appointment of those with conservative values into key ministerially appointed positions; an authentically right-wing approach to policy making in Whitehall; and the withdrawal of state funding from the network of organisations that maintain the left’s grip on the policy narrative are essential. But over and above this, the Prime Minister must be willing to personally stand up and champion individual liberties and freedoms; to condemn progressive authoritarianism and to be visibly proud of Britain, our culture and the rich global heritage of our citizens.

Reposition the party as the natural home of the skilled working and lower middle classes

Young, metropolitan graduates may once have been natural Conservatives, but no longer. There is little hope of reversing this in the immediate aftermath of Brexit. Instead of squandering our effort here, our new Prime Minister should instead make the party the natural home of the skilled working and lower middle classes, particularly in the midlands and north.

Such voters have a natural affinity to the traditional conservative values of low tax and individual liberty, but also greatly value and rely day-to-day onn strong public services. This places the Conservatives in a difficult position after a decade of austerity: Labour made hay campaigning on cuts to police numbers and falls in per pupil spending in 2017. But how to fund significant increases in core services without raising taxes or alienating core Conservative voters, such as via the disastrous proposals on social care in the 2017 manifesto?

To find the funding the next Prime Minister must be bold enough to slay the progressive sacred cows that soak up billions annually in public funding. Three immediately spring to mind:

With the additional £15 billion plus a year, the Prime Minister could at a stroke increase police funding by 25 per cent (£3 billion), boost school funding per pupil by 20 per cent (£8 billion) and increase spending on social care by 20 per cent (£4 billion). And then split the proceeds of further growth between public services and tax cuts.

As well as this, we should champion the interests of the high street, enterprise and small businesses and oppose crony corporatism. Multinational companies that make use of aggressive tax avoidance, abuse their market position or actively work against UK sovereignty should not enjoy government grants, procurement or time in No. 10. Fundamentally, our next Prime Minister should spend more time listening to the Federation of Small Businesses and less time listening to the CBI.

Conclusion

As members, we have two candidates set before us. Both are able politicians and tested leaders who represent the best the Parliamentary party has to offer. As we assess who should be not just our next leader, but our Prime Minister, we should do so against their ability to deliver these vital elements.

Both have committed to delivering Brexit by October 31 – but which one has the ability, the genuine will and the courage to do so by any means necessary? Both are true-blue Conservatives – but which one will truly champion our values, taking the battle to our adversaries with the eloquence and conviction of a Thatcher or a Churchill? Both recognise the importance of reaching out to new voters – but which one can devise and push through the policies needed to unite the Tory shires with the Leave voters of the north? Consider carefully and cast your vote.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Henry Newman: The Alternative Arrangements Commission offers the best route through the backstop problem

Henry Newman is Director of Open Europe.

It’s now three years and a day since the referendum was declared for Leave on the morning of 24th June 2016. And yet Brexit seems – if anything – further away than it has for some time. The Conservative leadership race will change the occupants of Downing Street, but will leave the three essential paths unchanged: Brexit with a version of the current deal, Brexit with No Deal, and no Brexit. With almost no Parliamentary majority, it’s hard at this point to see a way through to any one of those paths.

Over the next few weeks things may become clearer, unless Brexit day ends up being delayed again. A new Prime Minister will make no difference in of himself to the Parliamentary maths – although the stock of patronage in the Whips’ office may be reset. But various Conservative factions are already threatening to bring down the next government. One group would withdraw confidence if the Government pursues a No Deal Brexit; another has also threatened to do so if the Government fails to deliver Brexit on 31st October.

Opinion has polarised in Parliament and across the country. There’s little mood for compromise. The spoiled ballot paper in the final round of voting on the leadership last week was ominous. To make matters worse, the Conservatives will soon face a challenging by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire. The Tories face a simultaneous squeeze from both the Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats.

The landing zone for a negotiated way through Brexit is slim but just discernible. At its core would be ensuring that the UK can avoid being permanently trapped in the backstop. The Alternative Arrangements Commission, chaired by Nicky Morgan and Greg Hands, and backed by Prosperity UK, is attempting to provide reassurance on that.  The Commission argues that the backstop is “at the heart of the UK Parliament’s objections to the existing Withdrawal Agreement”. Of course, the only time when a majority was found for a particular Brexit scenario was Graham Brady’s vague amendment on replacing the backstop with Alternative Arrangements – the Commission is attempting to clarify what that could entail.

I have previously argued that the Withdrawal Agreement (including the backstop) is more advantageous to the UK (and to Northern Ireland) than many critics accept. I have also outlined how the backstop itself poses various problems. But we are rather beyond that sort of analysis now – Parliament has refused to support the deal as is. That’s why it’s so crucially important that the Government gets behind the work of the Commission on Alternative Arrangements.

There’s plenty of cynicism about the Interim Report and the Commission overall. And certain pundits seemed keen to dismiss all the suggestions out of hand. But, although some of the ideas are ambitious, they deserve serious consideration. Radical ideas will be needed to find a way through. Brexit poses unique problems for Northern Ireland, and it’s overwhelmingly in the interests of the UK, Ireland and the EU to find a way of resolving these issues together.

The EU has somewhat legitimately complained that the UK had not put forward proposals to resolve the Irish border. (Although, of course, the entire Chequers policy was designed to do just that). But if Brussels and Dublin reject out of hand all innovative answers to address the border, then it will be hard to persuade Brexiteers that the UK will not end up trapped in the backstop.

Back in March at Strasbourg both the UK and EU agreed to fast track the search for alternative arrangements. The EU agreed that these alternatives could apply on a provisional basis to allow the UK to avoid the backstop altogether. The Strasbourg instrument also places obligations on Brussels to find alternative arrangements. A Policy Exchange report concluded that “it would be clearly incompatible with its obligations… for the EU to adopt a negotiating stance that boils down to the position that only ‘backstop 2.0’ can replace the current backstop”. So, the EU must accept workable alternatives to the backstop and these can’t simply be the same thing packaged up with a different name.

Yesterday’s interim report by the Alternative Arrangements Commission argues that working alternatives should be up and running within three years. They note that there is no single solution to the border, and that a combination of existing technology and best practice will be needed. Importantly, the report argues that “futuristic high-tech solutions are not required”.

Several of their interim recommendations tally with arguments that Open Europe has previously made, including an expanded trusted trader scheme in Northern Ireland with exemptions for smaller businesses. The most radical proposal amounts to an option to create a common area for Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary measures between the UK and Ireland. Irish sources have dismissed such a possibility out of hand. There are obvious problems with this sort of suggestion, but it’s also the sort of bold idea that both sides will need to consider if a way through is to be found that can provide a sustainable answer for region and meet the concerns of the UK, Ireland and the EU.

Unfortunately, trust is in short supply. That’s hardly surprising when European capitals watch British politicians promising to use Article 24 of the GATT treaty to provide for tariff free trade in the event of No Deal. Or when they hear senior figures suggesting we use a transition period to negotiate a trade deal, if we leave with No Deal. And they watch as some claim that we should “just” go back to the offer of an FTA which Donald Tusk made. (Unfortunately, Gatt 24 would only work if the EU also agrees to tango in the event of No Deal – so far they have refused; there will be no transition period without a deal; and the offer from Tusk (and indeed the EU as a whole) was always an FTA with a backstop for Northern Ireland.)

On the other hand, the EU will need to accept that the trust issue cuts both ways. The more that the Commission rubbishes alternatives to the backstop, the harder it will be to persuade people that a path out is possible. Equally, Brussels must now see that something will have to give. There is practically no chance that the exact same deal can pass the Commons, without further legally-binding changes. The EU’s preferred answer of a cross-party arrangement failed to bear fruit. And there is still little sign of a majority for a second referendum, nor indeed a clear swing in public opinion against leaving the EU.

Back in April, Tusk pompously warned the UK not to “waste” the extension to Article 50, while the Council decided to delay Brexit by the worst possible length of time – long enough to ensure that MPs felt no pressure to make decisions, but too short really to allow for a change in politics or a reset in negotiations. With Brussels out of action following European elections, and with August summer breaks looming, these months were always going to be largely fallow. When things do get back underway, there will be precious little time to get anything agreed before the first scheduled meeting of the European Council on 17th October – the biggest priority for both sides must be to rebuild trust.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pauline Latham: Why I am voting for McVey

Pauline Latham is MP for Mid Derbyshire.

The political class has exhausted the country over the last couple of years. Deadlock in Parliament and our failure to grapple with delivering the historic referendum result has ensured that our Party has been pounded in the recent elections.

Not only do people feel ignored, but the Brexit stagnation has meant that we haven’t been able to focus on other important areas, such as health, housing, local transport, education and policing. We can’t continue blindly marching on in the same way as before. If we do, we may as well crown Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister today.

We have had a great record as a Party over the last nine years. We’ve seen the fastest growth in wages in almost a decade, record amounts of money going to the NHS, high employment levels and economic growth.

But we have become inward-looking, and seem to have stopped listening to what people out there are saying. We must re-connect, start listening to voters, remember why we’re in the political business in the first place, and start to renew that fragile bond of trust with the British people. And the way to start this is by delivering Brexit.

We need a leader who believes in Brexit, and who is passionate about us making a success of our future as an independent, self-governing nation. They must be prepared to rule out, unequivocally, any extension to our leaving date of October 31st. Businesses have prepared, the country is ready to leave the EU and it’s only politicians who seem to be lagging behind, causing endless fatigue and uncertainty for people and businesses.

The EU and our excellent civil servants have spent months agreeing an array of mini-deals so that we won’t be operating under World Trade Organisation rules alone from November 1st. Deals will be in place ensuring that planes fly, lorries can move their goods and business can continue.

So we need a clean break: no resurrecting the botched Withdrawal Agreement and no more talk of backstops. We are tired of it, we’re ready to do without a Withdrawal Agreement deal – and the only candidate who is calling for this is Esther McVey, which is why I am backing her for the leadership of our Party.

Esther is one of the rare politicians I’ve met who is able to communicate authentically with voters in all parts of the country. People hate it when politicians are not completely straight with them, and we need a leader who can reach out beyond our core supporters, and who say it as it is. We need someone who doesn’t hide behind bland, non-committal, political waffle; who isn’t posturing on Twitter but who’s out there, talking to real people and saying exactly what she thinks and what her values are. That’s the kind of straight-talking politics the public are crying out for.

Labour has been taking its northern heartlands for granted and has abandoned hard-working families and communities, who used to vote for them in favour of their metropolitan members. This is an opportunity for us as a Party ,and Esther will be able to capitalise on it. She will be able to articulate how Corbyn’s socialist plans will destroy these voters’ jobs and leave them worse off, and her Blue Collar Conservatism project demonstrates that she shares their values too.

Esther has been out in the country, talking to voters to hear what their priorities are as we move beyond Brexit. There’s one thing that people are saying, time and time again, and that’s that they want us to stop the cutting the amount of money we give to our police and schools.

The Conservatives have already made changes in education that have been transformational, but we are now risking all that by under-funding our schools. Classrooms are creaking at the seams and, whilst more money is not the answer to everything, it will make a real difference to teachers.

And our police are becoming increasingly stretched as well. There’s nothing officers in my constituency want more than to be able to do the best possible job in keeping our streets safe and stemming the tide of rising violent crime. But we have cut their budgets to the bone.

So Esther has pledged an extra £7 billion for our police and schools, allowing our public servants and communities the chance to breathe. £4 billion will go towards making up for shortfalls in the education budget and £3 billion a year extra will go our police. This works out as a huge 25 per cent boost on the current funding we are giving to the police, and nine times what the Home Secretary has promised. This debate shouldn’t involve politicians setting headline-grabbing, arbitrary numbers of police officer numbers. It should be about making a transformative shift in priorities so that the police, themselves, can develop a force that’s fit to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

And Esther has now gone further than this. She wants to enshrine the nation’s thanks to the police – for all the tireless work they do to keep us safe and to protect us – in a new Police Covenant, similar to the one we developed for our Armed Forces. We expect so much from our police and it’s time we treated them with some respect. The Police Covenant will support officers during their service and in their retirement and, importantly, part of the £3 billion will be used to ensure that officers’ pay rises in line with inflation.

This is what Blue Collar Conservatism is all about: practical, Conservative policies that will make a real difference to the lives of our hard-working communities. And it’s exactly the direction our Party needs to take, under Esther’s leadership, if we are to become a fighting force at the next election.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Stanley Johnson: Unplugging or unscrambling? Lamy, high priest of harmonisation, sets out a Brexit choice.

Stanley Johnson is a former MEP and parliamentary candidate.

Pascal Lamy’s recent speech at to a packed meeting organized by the Henry Jackson Society in Committee Room 9 in the House of Commons, chaired by Suella Braverman, was both invigorating and illuminating.

If any man knows his oignons  as far as the EU is concerned, that man is Lamy.  When Jacques Delors became President of the European Commission in 1985, he brought Lamy with him to Brussels as his Chef de Cabinet. In that position, Lamy was one of the most influential personalities in the Delors Commission.

If the Common Market evolved, as it did during the 19080s, into the Single Market, it was because of the clear understanding that Lamy and his colleagues had that you could not have frictionless trade between the member states of the EU (then the EEC) without a degree of regulatory alignment in key sectors (transport, agriculture, industry etc).

The concept of ‘harmonisation’ provided much scope for journalistic parody (one-size-fits-all condoms, straight bananas, lawn-mower noise etc) but the Delors Commission (supported by the Thatcher Government and by Britain’s Trade Commissioner, Lord Cockfield) was tough to the point of ruthlessness.

The mechanism which enabled the Single Market project to progress as rapidly as it did was the introduction of Qualified Majority Voting in the Council of Ministers.  In that context, of course, the issue of ‘sovereignty’ rapidly became more salient and, in some quarters, toxic.  As Lamy wryly observed last night, the real Brexit negotiation seems to have been taking place not across the Channel but within the UK itself.

And those internal dilemmas still have to be resolved.

Lamy was quite clear about it.   The UK politicians who seek to deliver Brexit face a choice.  They can ‘unplug’ or they can ‘unscramble’.

He admitted that ‘unplugging’ – the ‘clean break’ concept; would involve a degree of disruption.   On the issue of the Irish border, for example, it was – as he saw it – inevitable that problems would arise, if two separate countries, in this case the UK and the Republic of Ireland, headed off on different regulatory trajectories.

The alternative to ‘unplugging’ was ‘unscrambling’. The idea that the UK could negotiate a fully-fledged trade agreement with the EU within the time-frame of the so-called ‘transition period’ was far-fetched.  As a former Director-General of WTO, Lamy knows a thing or two about negotiating trade agreements.  And he pointed out that a successful negotiation, however long it took, would most likely have to be succeeded by a possibly equally long implementation period.  We are talking years, not months.

Lamy did not exclude the possibility that the Withdrawal Agreement, the necessary first step in the long unscrambling process, might be adopted in the next few weeks.  Speaking from the floor, I put it to him that the chances of the agreement being approved by the House of Commons might be considerably improved if the EU took the Brady Amendment seriously on board and agreed to drop the Irish Backstop from the Withdrawal Agreement, remitting the Irish issue to the post-Brexit ‘negotiation’ period where it properly belonged.

Lamy prudently avoided giving a direct answer to that question, referring instead to the EU’s time-honoured practice of ‘stopping the clock’ in order to allow time for a last minute compromise. We must wait and see.

Whenever it happened, there would be consequences.  “You can’t get the egg back out of the omelette”.

He also wisely refused to express an opinion as to whether a Second Referendum was a good idea. “That is a matter for you” he said firmly.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Manufacturing is Back – Now We Need a Food Manufacturing Restoration

When President Donald Trump was Candidate Donald Trump – he promised a restoration of the US manufacturing sector.

Which his predecessor – thankfully-ex-president Barack Obama – dismissed as impossible:

“When somebody says – like the person you just mentioned, who I’m not going to advertise for – that he’s going to bring all these jobs back.  Well, how exactly are you going to do that?  What are you going to do?  There’s no answer to it.  He just says ‘Well, I’m going to negotiate a better deal.’  Well, how exactly are you going to negotiate that?  What magic wand do you have?  And usually the answer is – he doesn’t have an answer.”

Undaunted by Obama and the Downers, just after winning election – Trump yet again teed up his administration:

“Our goal as a nation must be to rely less on imports – and more on products made here in the USA….This is our mantra: Buy American – and hire American….Our country is all about making dreams come true.  Over the last number of years – that hasn’t been necessarily the case.  But we’re going to make it the case again….My focus has been all about jobs.  And jobs is one of the primary reasons I’m standing here today as your President.”

Two years hence, it would appear Trump is a combination of Merlin and Gandalf – wielding magic wands aplenty.

The Trump Manufacturing Jobs Boom: 10 Times Obama’s Over 21 Months

Things do not appear to be slowing down.

Trump’s Policy ‘Magic Wand’ Boosts Manufacturing Jobs 399% In First 26 Months Over Obama’s Last 26

All of which is, of course, spectacular news.

Westlake Legal Group farm-aid-panorama-620x241 Manufacturing is Back – Now We Need a Food Manufacturing Restoration WTO World Trade Organization Welfare trade wars Trade War trade tea party Taxes tax reform tax day Tax Tariffs tariff sugar subsidies sugar policy modernization act sugar republicans Regulation President Barack Obama Politics Policy Obama News merger law Government Google Front Page Stories Front Page Free trade food stamps fiat farm policy farm law Farm Bill EPA Environmental Protection Agency elections Economy Economics EBT donald trump Department of Agriculture democrats Cronyism crony socialism crony capitalism China Chicago Campaigns Budget Affordable Care Act acquisition “federal spending”

The world has spent the last half century-plus – totally tilting the global market playing field against us.

Titanically stupidly – we have been allowing the world to do it.

Which Citizen Trump spent decades pointing out.  Here he is on The Oprah Winfrey Show – in 1988:

“We let Japan come in and dump everything right into our markets.  And it’s not free trade.  If you go to Japan right now and try to sell something – forget about it, Oprah.  Just forget about it.  It’s almost impossible.  They don’t have laws against it – they just make it impossible.  They come over here – they sell their cars, their VCRs.  They knock the hell out of our companies.  And hey – I have tremendous respect for the Japanese people.  You can respect someone who is beating the hell out of you.  But they are beating the hell out of this country.”

Oprah says “This sounds like presidential talk” – and asks if he’ll ever run.  To which Trump responds:

“Probably not.  But I do get tired of seeing the country ripped off….I do get tired of seeing what’s happening to this country.  And if it got so bad – I would never want to rule it out totally.  Because I really am tired of seeing what’s happening to this country.  How we’re really making other people live like kings – and we’re not.”

(Certainly sounds like a guy who would sell out to the Russians to get elected, does it not?  What a bunch of idiots those people are.)

Flash forward three decades – and Citizen Trump…is now President Trump.

Stupid Trade Policy Isn’t the Only Reason We Lose Jobs – But It’s a Big One

Crony Socialism: Governments All Over the World Are Messing Up a Free Trade Market

Trump Rightly Demands End to All Trade Tariffs And Subsidies – of Everyone

President Trump’s chief weapon to better the trade playing field – has been the tariff.  Dishing out an infinitesimal amount – of what we have been taking on the chin by the ton for decades.

The DC People who allowed the global market to become so anti-free trade and anti-American – freaked the heck out.  Bizarrely, in the name of “free trade.”

Is Trump’s Protectionism The Death Knell For Global Free Trade?

There’s a Glaring Problem with Trump’s Trade War that Could Drag out the Fight Indefinitely

As Trump Ponders Auto Tariffs, Free-Trade Republicans Push Back

And the DC People – were dead wrong.  And they STILL don’t get it.  To wit:

Despite Trump’s Tariff and Border Threats, Mexico Is Now the Largest U.S. Trading Partner

Not “DESPITE Trump’s tariffs” – “BECAUSE OF Trump’s tariffs.”  Trump put pressure on Mexico – and Mexico buckled.

It’s happening – all over the world.

Trump Tells EU’s Juncker He Seeks ‘Reciprocal’ Trade

No Deal: EU Resists Trump’s Zero-Tariff Trade Offer, Prepares New List of Sanctions to Add Pressure

Except less than seventy-two hours after that latter headline….

Trump and EU Officials Agree to Work Toward ‘Zero Tariff’ Deal

It’s almost like – no, it’s exactly like – Trump was right all along.

And despite Trump’s tariffs – oh wait…BECAUSE OF Trump’s tariffs – how’s our economy doing?

U.S. Economy Grows 3.2% in the First Quarter, Well Above Estimates

“Well above estimates?”  Oh look – the DC People were wrong AGAIN.  Shocker.

Just as we globally trade just about every other commodity – we globally trade food.

And just as we have with every other commodity and their manufacturers – we have allowed the rest of the planet to screw our farmers…and the rest of us.  To wit:

Tiny Thailand’s 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $407 billion.  Tiny Thailand subsidies sugar – just sugar – at $1.3 billion per year.  Which has ably assisted tiny Thailand – to cheat its way controlling 10% of the global market.

That’s nothing.  Bigger Brazil’s 2016 GDP was $1.8 trillion.  Bigger Brazil subsidizes sugar – just sugar – between $2.5 and $4 billion per annum.  Which has ably assisted bigger Brazil – to cheat its way to controlling almost 50% of the global market.

More than one hundred countries sell sugar on the global market.  Two countries – control 60% of that market.  Because they government-money-cheated their way to the top.

We import sugar.  Which means we are importing the government-money-poison Brazil and Thailand are injecting.

Which is obscenely unfair to our farmers.

Brazil’s subsidies – allow them to charge 20% less for their crop.  Thailand’s subsidies – allow them to charge about 10% less for their crop.

Which is obscenely unfair to our farmers.

Thankfully, Trump is also looking to straighten out the farm market.  To wit:

Trump Looks for End to Japan Farm Tariffs Ahead of Two Visits:

“President Donald Trump urged Japan to end tariffs on U.S. farm products when he met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe….

“‘We’ll be discussing very strongly agriculture because as the prime minister knows Japan puts very massive tariffs on agriculture, our agriculture, for many years, going into Japan, and we want to get rid of those tariffs,’ Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with Abe on Friday.”

Trump REALLY needs to have a sugar talk with Brazil’s new president.  Methinks he might find him receptive.

Conservative Jair Bolsonaro Elected President of Brazil

Jair Bolsonaro: Brazil’s Firebrand Leader Dubbed the Trump of the Tropics

The Great Brazilian Foreign Policy Realignment:

“If Jair Bolsonaro continues to push for privatization in infrastructure and a drastic reduction in red tape, then foreign investment will likely follow.”

And actual free trade will follow as well.

For sugar – and everything else.

Which would be a whole lot fairer for manufacturers – food and all others – everywhere.

Most importantly – here in the US.

Most importantly – because #AmericaFirst.

The post Manufacturing is Back – Now We Need a Food Manufacturing Restoration appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group SteveSeagal-300x191 Manufacturing is Back – Now We Need a Food Manufacturing Restoration WTO World Trade Organization Welfare trade wars Trade War trade tea party Taxes tax reform tax day Tax Tariffs tariff sugar subsidies sugar policy modernization act sugar republicans Regulation President Barack Obama Politics Policy Obama News merger law Government Google Front Page Stories Front Page Free trade food stamps fiat farm policy farm law Farm Bill EPA Environmental Protection Agency elections Economy Economics EBT donald trump Department of Agriculture democrats Cronyism crony socialism crony capitalism China Chicago Campaigns Budget Affordable Care Act acquisition “federal spending”   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

US Farmers Are Food Manufacturers – and We Need Policies that Keep Them Here

Westlake Legal Group us-farmers-are-food-manufacturers-and-we-need-policies-that-keep-them-here US Farmers Are Food Manufacturers – and We Need Policies that Keep Them Here WTO World Trade Organization Welfare trade wars Trade War trade tea party Taxes tax reform tax day Tax Tariffs tariff sugar subsidies sugar policy modernization act sugar republicans Regulation President Barack Obama Politics Policy Obama News merger law Government Google Front Page Stories Front Page Free trade food stamps fiat farm policy farm law Farm Bill EPA Environmental Protection Agency elections Economy Economics EBT donald trump Department of Agriculture democrats Cronyism crony socialism crony capitalism China Chicago Campaigns Budget Affordable Care Act acquisition “federal spending”

As we have very often pointed out, the US spent the last half century-plus very stupidly outsourcing our prosperity to the rest of the planet.

This has been devastating to the middle class.  A vital, once-thriving driver of our once very successful nation – we have spent decades thinning this essential herd to near extinction.

The chart lines run all-but-parallel: As we decimated our middle class – we decimated our economy.

A fundamental component of this inanity – was outsourcing our manufacturing.  Over decades, this represented hundreds of millions of middle class jobs – packed up and sent away.

The Rust Belt – wasn’t always rusty.  It was once the thumping heart of a robust US economic engine.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal of massive government expansion didn’t end the Great Depression – it exacerbated and elongated it.

It wasn’t paying for parks and artworks that restored prosperity.  It was modernizing and maximizing our manufacturing that did.

Hideki Tojo’s Japan bombing Pearl Harbor – ended the Great Depression.  We ramped up our domestic manufacturing of everything needed for the Second World War – and set ourselves up for the glorious Dwight Eisenhower 1950s.

We couldn’t have won the War – or restored our moribund economy – if we had in the half century prior outsourced our manufacturing to Chairman Mao’s Communist China.

Imagine trying to fight in Europe and the Pacific – while awaiting delivery of our guns, tanks and planes…from the other side of the planet.  Delivered in ships – subject to half-a-world’s worth of open water attacks from our enemies.  The very worst supply lines – in the history of warfare.

Imagine the massive amounts of money it took to win the War – not being spent in America.  We would have spent the War – setting up Communist China to dominate the latter half of the Twentieth Century.  Which would have been additionally fantastic news – what with our looming half-century Cold War with Communist Russia.

God bless President Donald Trump – who has prioritized bringing back American manufacturing.  Thank God – it is working.

Westlake Legal Group Kenney US Farmers Are Food Manufacturers – and We Need Policies that Keep Them Here WTO World Trade Organization Welfare trade wars Trade War trade tea party Taxes tax reform tax day Tax Tariffs tariff sugar subsidies sugar policy modernization act sugar republicans Regulation President Barack Obama Politics Policy Obama News merger law Government Google Front Page Stories Front Page Free trade food stamps fiat farm policy farm law Farm Bill EPA Environmental Protection Agency elections Economy Economics EBT donald trump Department of Agriculture democrats Cronyism crony socialism crony capitalism China Chicago Campaigns Budget Affordable Care Act acquisition “federal spending”

Of course, before we can manufacture anything – we have to eat.  Food (and water) – trump everything else.

And farmers – are manufacturers of food.  Maintaining and protecting domestic food manufacturing – is more important than…everything else.

The US Department of Agriculture recently released its Census of Agriculture:

“(A) complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land – whether rural or urban – growing fruit, vegetables or some food animals count if $1,000 or more of such products were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.

“The Census of Agriculture, taken only once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures….

“The Census of Agriculture provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation.”

How our food manufacturing sector is doing – is something you want to keep a good eye on.

And lately – it’s been more than a little extra tight.

The Midwest Flooding Has Killed Livestock, Ruined Harvests and Has Farmers Worried for Their Future:

“Historic, widespread flooding will continue through May, NOAA says.

“These are especially cruel times for Nebraska and Iowa farmers who had to scrape money to keep going just eight years ago, when floods overtook their lands in 2011.

“‘I would say 50% of the farmers in our area will not recover from this,’ Dustin Sheldon, a farmer in southwestern Iowa’s flood-devastated Fremont County near the swollen Missouri River, said this week.”

These floods are an act of God.  About which we mere humans can do nothing – in advance. But we can do something in response – and we absolutely should.

Because domestic food manufacturing – is a national security imperative.  Our supply lines should be as short as possible.  Our food supply lines – should be the shortest of all.

We can not alter acts of God.  We can alter terrible government policy.

The traditional conservative/less government movement – has spent a ton of time and effort, air and ink trying to end the US government’s relatively infinitesimal farm programs.  Their efforts – are decidedly misguided.  Well…mis-aimed.

As on all things global trade – we import foreign government subsidies that are orders of magnitude larger than ours.  Which is inordinately stupid – because it is devastating to our domestic manufacturers.

Take sugar.  Which ain’t just in your coffee and on your cereal – it’s in just about everything.  Food is a staple – and sugar is a food staple.

In the name of the free market, conservatives have for decades been freaked-the-heck-out about our TINY sugar program.

Public Interest Groups Oppose Sugar Subsidies – Competitive Enterprise Institute

Top Five Reasons to End U.S. Sugar Subsidies – Americans for Tax Reform

Sugar Subsidies Hurt Consumers and Cost the United States Jobs – FreedomWorks

You know what these well-intended groups – never, ever mention?

In Global Trade, We Need Equal Protection from All Governments:

“Brazil’s government gives its sugar industry every year more than $2.5 billion in cash infusions and other favors.  That’s a lot.

“Think that leads to a free global market?  Of course not.

“Brazil’s massive subsidies have warped the world market into a Brazil-dominated unequal nightmare mess:  ‘Brazil currently controls, roughly, 50 percent of global sugar exports. To put that into perspective, Saudi Arabia controls about 19 percent of the crude oil exports….’”

Brazil dominates the global market – because their government cheats.  Billions and billions of dollars per year – in cheating.

Which is decidedly unfair to our domestic manufacturers.  Who I am quite sure would like a fair shot at some of the 50% market share Brazil has unfairly grabbed.

Instead, we have allowed Brazil to continue its massive unfairness.

And even worse and stupider – we have imported Brazil’s massive unfairness.

Which has been dramatically damaging to our domestic manufacturers.  Who have had to compete – even in their own domestic market – against Brazil’s massively subsidized product.

This ain’t a free market.  This ain’t free trade.  It ain’t fair trade.  It is suicide trade.

We have engaged in this stupidity for decades – on just about every farm product produced.  And various governments the world over – subsidize to excess just about every farm product produced.

And then we blankly stare – and wonder why our farmers are struggling.

And then we go back to demanding we end the US’s TINY farm program.

Tell you what: We’ll end ours – when they end theirs.

And in the interest of proportionality and best time allotment – let’s expend our effort on the government programs requiring the most reform.

Which are – by orders of magnitude – theirs.  Not ours.

The post US Farmers Are Food Manufacturers – and We Need Policies that Keep Them Here appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Kenney-300x224 US Farmers Are Food Manufacturers – and We Need Policies that Keep Them Here WTO World Trade Organization Welfare trade wars Trade War trade tea party Taxes tax reform tax day Tax Tariffs tariff sugar subsidies sugar policy modernization act sugar republicans Regulation President Barack Obama Politics Policy Obama News merger law Government Google Front Page Stories Front Page Free trade food stamps fiat farm policy farm law Farm Bill EPA Environmental Protection Agency elections Economy Economics EBT donald trump Department of Agriculture democrats Cronyism crony socialism crony capitalism China Chicago Campaigns Budget Affordable Care Act acquisition “federal spending”   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

US Farmers Are Food Manufacturers – and We Need Policies that Keep Them Here

As we have very often pointed out, the US spent the last half century-plus very stupidly outsourcing our prosperity to the rest of the planet.

This has been devastating to the middle class.  A vital, once-thriving driver of our once very successful nation – we have spent decades thinning this essential herd to near extinction.

The chart lines run all-but-parallel: As we decimated our middle class – we decimated our economy.

A fundamental component of this inanity – was outsourcing our manufacturing.  Over decades, this represented hundreds of millions of middle class jobs – packed up and sent away.

The Rust Belt – wasn’t always rusty.  It was once the thumping heart of a robust US economic engine.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal of massive government expansion didn’t end the Great Depression – it exacerbated and elongated it.

It wasn’t paying for parks and artworks that restored prosperity.  It was modernizing and maximizing our manufacturing that did.

Hideki Tojo’s Japan bombing Pearl Harbor – ended the Great Depression.  We ramped up our domestic manufacturing of everything needed for the Second World War – and set ourselves up for the glorious Dwight Eisenhower 1950s.

We couldn’t have won the War – or restored our moribund economy – if we had in the half century prior outsourced our manufacturing to Chairman Mao’s Communist China.

Imagine trying to fight in Europe and the Pacific – while awaiting delivery of our guns, tanks and planes…from the other side of the planet.  Delivered in ships – subject to half-a-world’s worth of open water attacks from our enemies.  The very worst supply lines – in the history of warfare.

Imagine the massive amounts of money it took to win the War – not being spent in America.  We would have spent the War – setting up Communist China to dominate the latter half of the Twentieth Century.  Which would have been additionally fantastic news – what with our looming half-century Cold War with Communist Russia.

God bless President Donald Trump – who has prioritized bringing back American manufacturing.  Thank God – it is working.

Westlake Legal Group Kenney US Farmers Are Food Manufacturers – and We Need Policies that Keep Them Here WTO World Trade Organization Welfare trade wars Trade War trade tea party Taxes tax reform tax day Tax Tariffs tariff sugar subsidies sugar policy modernization act sugar republicans Regulation President Barack Obama Politics Policy Obama News merger law Government Google Front Page Stories Front Page Free trade food stamps fiat farm policy farm law Farm Bill EPA Environmental Protection Agency elections Economy Economics EBT donald trump Department of Agriculture democrats Cronyism crony socialism crony capitalism China Chicago Campaigns Budget Affordable Care Act acquisition “federal spending”

Of course, before we can manufacture anything – we have to eat.  Food (and water) – trump everything else.

And farmers – are manufacturers of food.  Maintaining and protecting domestic food manufacturing – is more important than…everything else.

The US Department of Agriculture recently released its Census of Agriculture:

“(A) complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land – whether rural or urban – growing fruit, vegetables or some food animals count if $1,000 or more of such products were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.

“The Census of Agriculture, taken only once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures….

“The Census of Agriculture provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation.”

How our food manufacturing sector is doing – is something you want to keep a good eye on.

And lately – it’s been more than a little extra tight.

The Midwest Flooding Has Killed Livestock, Ruined Harvests and Has Farmers Worried for Their Future:

“Historic, widespread flooding will continue through May, NOAA says.

“These are especially cruel times for Nebraska and Iowa farmers who had to scrape money to keep going just eight years ago, when floods overtook their lands in 2011.

“‘I would say 50% of the farmers in our area will not recover from this,’ Dustin Sheldon, a farmer in southwestern Iowa’s flood-devastated Fremont County near the swollen Missouri River, said this week.”

These floods are an act of God.  About which we mere humans can do nothing – in advance. But we can do something in response – and we absolutely should.

Because domestic food manufacturing – is a national security imperative.  Our supply lines should be as short as possible.  Our food supply lines – should be the shortest of all.

We can not alter acts of God.  We can alter terrible government policy.

The traditional conservative/less government movement – has spent a ton of time and effort, air and ink trying to end the US government’s relatively infinitesimal farm programs.  Their efforts – are decidedly misguided.  Well…mis-aimed.

As on all things global trade – we import foreign government subsidies that are orders of magnitude larger than ours.  Which is inordinately stupid – because it is devastating to our domestic manufacturers.

Take sugar.  Which ain’t just in your coffee and on your cereal – it’s in just about everything.  Food is a staple – and sugar is a food staple.

In the name of the free market, conservatives have for decades been freaked-the-heck-out about our TINY sugar program.

Public Interest Groups Oppose Sugar Subsidies – Competitive Enterprise Institute

Top Five Reasons to End U.S. Sugar Subsidies – Americans for Tax Reform

Sugar Subsidies Hurt Consumers and Cost the United States Jobs – FreedomWorks

You know what these well-intended groups – never, ever mention?

In Global Trade, We Need Equal Protection from All Governments:

“Brazil’s government gives its sugar industry every year more than $2.5 billion in cash infusions and other favors.  That’s a lot.

“Think that leads to a free global market?  Of course not.

“Brazil’s massive subsidies have warped the world market into a Brazil-dominated unequal nightmare mess:  ‘Brazil currently controls, roughly, 50 percent of global sugar exports. To put that into perspective, Saudi Arabia controls about 19 percent of the crude oil exports….’”

Brazil dominates the global market – because their government cheats.  Billions and billions of dollars per year – in cheating.

Which is decidedly unfair to our domestic manufacturers.  Who I am quite sure would like a fair shot at some of the 50% market share Brazil has unfairly grabbed.

Instead, we have allowed Brazil to continue its massive unfairness.

And even worse and stupider – we have imported Brazil’s massive unfairness.

Which has been dramatically damaging to our domestic manufacturers.  Who have had to compete – even in their own domestic market – against Brazil’s massively subsidized product.

This ain’t a free market.  This ain’t free trade.  It ain’t fair trade.  It is suicide trade.

We have engaged in this stupidity for decades – on just about every farm product produced.  And various governments the world over – subsidize to excess just about every farm product produced.

And then we blankly stare – and wonder why our farmers are struggling.

And then we go back to demanding we end the US’s TINY farm program.

Tell you what: We’ll end ours – when they end theirs.

And in the interest of proportionality and best time allotment – let’s expend our effort on the government programs requiring the most reform.

Which are – by orders of magnitude – theirs.  Not ours.

The post US Farmers Are Food Manufacturers – and We Need Policies that Keep Them Here appeared first on RedState.

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