Q172 Chair: Okay. Is there anything you want to add, Mr North? Before you get going, I know that you were due to come before another Committee earlier this year that, for reasons I will not go into, at the very last minute told you were not required. You then said: “[The Committee] has no credibility outside its own circle and is just another symptom of the decay of Parliament as a meaningful institution.” You then carried on that you wanted to place on record “this cowardly behaviour by a committee of MPs who obviously lack both manners and the courage to address me personally, and skulk behind their staff, getting them to do their dirty work. It is a measure of these loathsome creatures, however, that they don’t even have the self-awareness to be ashamed of their own behaviour.” I only wanted to put that on the record to say you are very welcome to give evidence to this Committee and we are looking forward to hearing what you have to say. This issue, or whatever it was, for the purposes of this hearing we should set aside completely.
Dr Richard North: Thank you. That is appreciated. May I register my thanks that you are prepared to listen? I hope that it will be worth your while. First of all, the WTO agreement is a treaty. It is an international treaty, and therefore it is subject to the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties. There is nothing the EU or any other party can do to exclude the United Kingdom from full membership of the WTO. That is not on the agenda. Furthermore, within that framework as it stands, the requirement within the European Union is that we agree a common position on WTO matters right across the board and that variously different member states—usually the Presidency—will represent us or represent the common position. Therefore, once we leave we will once again return to the point where we speak for ourselves and are able to vote for ourselves. That is a clear advantage.
Brexiter Richard North: WTO “a complete non-starter.” https://t.co/Z6JABb98Wj via @YouTube
Is North Nato controlled opposition? Oceana (NATO) Eurasia (EU MILITARY) The Bankers Man , (how to invade Poland without Tanks)?
— RogerGLewis (@PMotels) June 26, 2019
The Elephant In the Room.
Having watched the treasury committee meeting today we are now seeing a lot of the debates we should have had prior to the referendum and it really shows just how shallow the debate was. I have been saying it was more complex than complex. Well, it’s more complex than that. Really refreshing to hear genuine expertise about trade from new faces, adding another dimension to the arguments.
The general impression from the whole panel is what we said from the outset. CETA and WTO options are completely out there. For the birds. And though the expertise we heard today was extremely valuable in adding to our understanding we still see a deformation professionelle at work as our trade experts tend only to look at it from a trade perspective, neglecting to take into account, defence, cooperation programmes, aviation and the rest of the EU institutions.
We can say that the meeting was wholly inconclusive. All we can hope for at the moment is terrain mapping, giving politicians an idea of scale and disabusing them of some of their more surreal ideas.
These hearings were packed when the amateurs like Cummings and Banks were giving evidence pre-referendum, but now, the most serious and difficult issues don’t pack seem to attract any interest
“That, however, is a political decision, not a technocratic one. I think when it because clear that there are more than just trade considerations we will see sense prevail”.
“What is clear now is that this is very much the domain of technocrats who are now stuck with trying to get the best deal for Britain while also making way fro some of the political demands, some of which are wholly irrational and do us no favours”.
Richard Anthony Edward North is a British blogger and author. He has published books on defence and agriculture. He was previously the research director in the European Parliament for the now-defunct political grouping Europe of Democracies and Diversities, which included the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
North has collaborated with the journalist Christopher Booker on climate change, public health and other issues. He has co-written a number of books with Booker, as well as collaborating on Booker’s journalism.
He began collaborating with the journalist Christopher Booker in the early 1990s, co-publishing on a range of issues, including the European Union. Their works advance a popular though academically disputed historiography of the UK’s membership of the European Union. Their first book, The Mad Officials: How The Bureaucrats Are Strangling Britain (1994), focused on EU regulation in the UK, and was followed by The Castle of Lies: Why Britain Must get Out of Europe (1996) and The Great Deception: Can the European Union Survive? (2005). In 2004, he published a Bruges Group paper on the European Union’s Galileo satellite navigation system.
In a post on his eureferendum.com blog, in May 2015, North called on supporters of the UK withdrawing from the EU to contact him with the aim of forming a volunteer unit to “monitor, add, and edit” Wikipediacontent to be more favourable to their views. Furthermore, he claimed that Wikipedia’s “wrong” coverage of climate change, of which North is a notable sceptic, proved the need for such endeavors.
North is the original author and main proponent of Flexcit (standing for “Flexible Continuous Exit”), a policy suggestion involving gradual British disengagement from the European Union. It has been claimed by Andrew Orlowski of The Register that Flexcit became a point of reference for civil servants.
Flexcit argues that exit from the EU is “a process rather than an event”, so advocating a phased repatriation of powers, which has been described as “Brexit lite”. The document proposes that Britain should retain membership of the European Economic Area by rejoining the European Free Trade Association, often called the Norway option. Under the proposal, Britain would initially adopt the community acquis of the European Union, the accumulated legislation, legal acts, and court decisions which constitute the body of European Union law. North argues that under this approach to EU exit there would be very little visible consequence of Britain’s change in status, either for the better or the worse. Further renegotiation of trade and governance would become a longer term option.
North was one of seventeen shortlisted entrants invited to submit a full submission to the Institute of Economic Affairs‘s 2013 Brexit Prize competition. Entrants were asked to imagine an “out” vote in a proposed referendum on United Kingdom membership of the European Union and asked to compose a blueprint for the process of withdrawal, taking account of Britain’s relationship to global governance and trade systems. His proposal reached the shortlist for the final. It became the official policy of Arron Banks‘ Leave.EU campaign that vied unsuccessfully for official recognition as the official Leave campaign.
Reception of the academic community
The EU politics writer and blogger J. Clive Matthews has argued that North is guilty of “pandering to his audience’s preconceptions and prejudices”. A European Commission official and academic has argued that North and Booker are best seen as “latter-day pamphleteers”, who “exaggerate their case”, advancing an “all-embracing, Kafkaesque conspiracy, the “System”, consisting of an evil partnership between Brussels and Whitehall”. A review of North’s co-authored book The Great Deception: Can the European Union Survive? (2005), in the academic journal The Historian described his “skewed portrayal” of European integration “against the will of a bamboozled European public”, as “not so much false as ludicrous”, noting “the book loses whatever credibility it accrues in its better chapters by its persistently exaggerated language”. Princeton University’s Andrew Moravcsik, whose research is cited in the book, has accused the authors of “misconstruing” his work as supporting their narrative and failing to demonstrate that there were any viable alternatives to European Union membership, with Booker and North’s economics being “even dodgier than their history”. He further argues that their “Eurosceptic dogma” of an “”undemocratic” scheme of centralised regulation” is undermined by their own examples; that it is largely “British officials exercising their own discretion” and juggling the fate of special interest groups against the wider economy.
Responding to a question on “Flexcit” by a supporter of North during a live Q&A on Reddit, the Jean Monnet Chair of EU Law at the University of Liverpool, Michael Dougan, noted that North’s “academic work on EU law” was not known to him as it was not published in the mainstream international peer-reviewed journals for the field of European legal studies. Dougan suggested further that it does not meet the “internationally recognised” standards for the discipline.
The 406 page Flex report THE LEAVE ALLIANCE Flexcit A plan for leaving the European Union may be found at the link.
Reading through the Report over the past two days, I extracted these highlights which I think make the basis of a good thesis for the reality that Brexit need not be the disaster that the Hard of Thinking would urge those, the still Asleep, to believe it will be, or indeed that a ´Hard Brexit´is even a thing. That is not to say that Brexit is beyond cocking up, politicians of all stripes are always more than capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Extracts that caught my eye.
- (with Christopher Booker), The Mad Officials: How The Bureaucrats Are Strangling Britain (1994)
- (with Christopher Booker), The Castle of Lies: Why Britain Must get Out of Europe (1996)
- The death of British agriculture: the wanton destruction of a key industry, Gerald Duckworth and Company, 2001
- (with Christopher Booker), The Great Deception: Can the European Union Survive?, Continuum Publishing, 2005 (EU Referendum Edition was published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC in April 2016)
- (with Christopher Booker), Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth, Continuum Publishing, 2007
- Ministry of Defeat 2003–2009: The British in Iraq 2003–2009, Continuum Publishing, 2009
- The Many Not the Few: The Stolen History of the Battle of Britain, Continuum Publishing, 2012
Wednesday 26 June 2019
Jeremy Hunt’s approach to Brexit, he tells Laura Kuenssberg, “is not too different to what Boris wants”. Hunt wants to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, “changing the backstop” and introducing a “technology-led solution” to avoid a hard border with Ireland.
Nor should we exercise any restraint in our condemnation of the men who will take us to this unwanted destination. We are not dealing with office juniors here, but seasoned, senior politicians. They should know full well that what they are embarking on in terms of seeking renegotiation is impossible, and that the necessary outcome of the pathways they have chosen is a no-deal Brexit.
Parliament, of course, must share a considerable part of the blame, for refusing to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement. But the key element – with both candidates – is the determination to remove the backstop from the agreement and to replace it with “alternative arrangements” to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Against my better judgement, I attempted to watch the BBC leadership debate. That resolution lasted into the third question whence I concur with the broader judgement – that the programme was “chaotic”.
More to the point, not one of the candidates had anything approaching a credible strategy for Brexit, not that such a remarkable thing lies in the realms of the possible. The only option which avoids a Brexit as chaotic as the debate involves parliament ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement. And since that is unlikely to happen, no matter who is chosen, we end up on the slippery slope towards a no-deal.
That even turns Rory Stewart into a fool – the one man of the five who seemed to be committed to avoiding a no-deal, believing that parliament would block it. Despite his expensive Etonian education, he has not sussed that this is the default option which is triggered by EU law, over which parliament has no sway.
It was in December 1962 that Dean Acheson remarked that Great Britain had lost an empire and had not yet found a role. Yet, just over a year earlier in July 1961, the British cabinet had already agreed to join the EEC, marking a shift in national strategy that would eventually define Britain’s new role as an active member of the European Community. Even as he spoke, therefore, Acheson was out of date.
EU military unification and Money Creation are the Lacunae in Norths thesis as far as I can tell is this ignorance or a deliberate omission indicating the Technocratic instincts
of an albeit Knowledgable Know it all.
Doubt increases with Knowledge, but not for Technocrats it seems?
I will return to this theme of which side is Dr North for, it is all too apparent who he is against, who are though his allies?