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Beating the Backstop: How to make a hard Border in Ireland and with any of our EU Neighbours irrelevant when Brexit is delivered

August 1, 2019 Leave a comment

Beating the Backstop

A few days ago, I visited Gloucester Quays with my son. Not noticing the technology surrounding us as we drove into the multi-storey car park that sits above the shops, the speed of our exit – with the barrier lifting before we even had the chance to stop – reminded me of just how simple the solutions to the Irish Backstop issue should really now be.

Like Brexit itself, the Backstop is a complicated issue that should actually be very simple to resolve.

The problem is that there are so many different viewpoints in the mix that look upon the practicalities of a technical solution to the hard border problem from only their own perspective.

Whether they are a politician, a computer coder or a haulier – they are not open to the reality that there isn’t just one solution that they themselves will recognise or understand as immediately workable for the Border.

They do not appreciate that the whole issue is about weaving together a series of very different solutions in order to get the whole job done.

Regrettably, many of the decision makers – many of them in Government right now – do themselves share this particular view and understanding.

Whether this tunnel vision is borne of simple ignorance, lack of beyond-their-own-sector-understanding, or just the fact that they haven’t got the wherewithal or real-world savviness to recognise how different this opportunity for progress really is, they treat the whole thing like it is just another government project.

This is not the way that the battle for an Open Border Solution is going to be won – no matter what the final terms of Brexit will be.

It has been said that the wheels of government move incredibly slow. But in a time of national crisis, time is not something that is within a government’s gift.

Urgency must open up to agility. The government must not only set the new agenda, it must also keep the momentum of it going too.

In terms of tangible delivery, this means that delivering a practical and real-life solution like the Backstop cannot be left to rely on standing procedures, processes and the mentality in government that ‘this is the way that things have always been done’ – particularly when many of the processes that could hinder or delay the timely delivery of a working Open Border Solution have been created by the EU – the very entity that solving this problem will allow the UK to Leave.

There are a range of specialists from very different technical and service industries who can bring significant knowledge, expertise and yes – the very services and products that all Borders will need to keep everything flowing like it does now and then make the new UK-EU working relationship better than it has already been.

Yet the development and the implementation of the border solution cannot and must not be allowed to be allocated to any one government department to control or lead, other than DEXEU.

Otherwise, the right solution will not be found for everyone. Because whatever comes from the process will only be framed in terms of the wants and needs of the ideas and motives of the people at the top of those particular organisational trees, rather than being fully inclusive and considerate of everyone involved.

Equally, the Government cannot rely on the monolithic public sector contractors to offer up the right solution.

They are too big. Too self-focused. Too profit orientated. And above all, they are simply not agile enough to deliver the right solution on the right timeline to ensure that the Backstop job is properly done.

This is how the solution to returning to a hard Border in Ireland and keeping goods moving across all our EU Borders can be found:

Open Border ServiceThe Open Border Solution (abridged)

  • There will be no hard Border.
  • There will be no physical barriers or stops at the Border.
  • Vehicle movements will be monitored using ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) using cameras located at all Border road entry points.
  • Using existing vehicle Number Plate Recognition Software of the kind that we experience in most of the car parks that we now drive into, Hauliers and Companies that Export to and Import from the EU will be able to join a Trusted Trader & Transit Scheme – which we will call the Open Border Service.
  • As Members they will be able to access their own portal to a database/e-commerce/transaction system – that we will call the Open Border System.
  • Within the Open Border System, Members will be able to store the identity data – including registrations – of their Vehicles and Trailers.
  • Vehicles and Trailers entered on the Open Border System will have to correspond with the DVLA Database and Databases of any Vehicle Licensing Body in the EU or beyond that manages Vehicles and Trailers that will transit into or via the UK.
  • When Members have a load of goods to carry into or via a UK/EU Border (EU-UK, UK-EU or EU-EU), they will be able to register or notify the Open Border System of the manifests of their load, identifying correlation with the Taxation Groups provided by HMRC.
  • To secure the registered load for monitoring during transit, Members will be able to purchase ratchet-tie-tags that will affix to the rear doors of Vehicles and Trailers that carry a bar code, chip or data strip that can be read by any Government Officer, at pinch points such as the Ports, on Cross Channel Ferries, at the Channel Tunnel and by any other authorized representative equipped with mobile scanning equipment.
  • Tags will be available in different colours to immediately identify the nature of the journey from a distance (such as a following police car) and tags removed for inspection will be replaced with a unique colour that shows the vehicle has been stopped, with the data being updated in live time, so that the code of the new tag will correspond with the same load once the journey is complete or is being inspected again.
  • Scanning equipment or apps will automatically communicate with the central database and confirm the legitimacy of the load.
  • Taxes owed will be payable on terms and at rates to be confirmed by HMRC following negotiation with trading partner Countries.
  • Countries that do not sign up to the scheme will not be authorized to transit and any vehicle without a valid tag will be stopped and impounded.
  • Payment will be taken by Members at point of Registration via the Open Border System via Merchant Services integrated into the system, or via Invoice to Companies authorized by HMRC to pay by Invoice later.

Getting the Open Border Solution done…

So here is what the Government should do if it really wants to get a speedy and workable Backstop solution in place:

  • Forget what the EU wants
  • Forget all the political arguments
  • Put the right people in charge & remove all the barriers to progress
  • Hold a conference with all the companies who might be interested and would be able to provide one or more of the technical elements of the Backstop Solution, or would be prepared to work collaboratively with others to get the job done.
  • Set out the terms of a Tender for Development
  • Allow suppliers to qualify themselves
  • Commission no less than 3 separate solutions to be developed by a foxed date
  • Select the Solution
  • Implement
  • Brexit
  • Develop the service further allowing any inter-departmental integration to take place that was not possible before

1. Forget what the EU wants

The most simple thing the government needs to do in identifying, delivering and then implementing an open-border solution between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, is get on with it and do it without letting the EU or any of their Representatives becoming involved.

The EU is on a mission to stop Brexit at any cost, as it is aware and very fearful that anything that can be interpreted as a successful departure from the EU – and that includes the development of a post-departure working relationship that works – will encourage other Member Countries (what they call States) to Leave.

On past form alone, it appears very likely that the EU would deliberately and willingly expose itself and therefore the Irish Republic too, to difficulties over Brexit, just to ensure that they can present a picture of chaos and problems that could only be avoided by Remaining – to all other Parties involved.

2.Forget all the Political arguments

Left, Right, Leave or Remain; Conservative, Brexit Party, DUP, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat or whoever else they might be, the time for allowing anyone with any vested interests to reframe the Brexit and therefore the Backstop debate has already been and gone.

This is now about the doing. About delivering. About returning the UK to its sovereign, independent, self-governing status once more.

Nobody can add any value to the backstop by turning it into a political debate.

Nobody in the UK wants a hard border in Ireland. It’s time to get practical and get the job done.

3.Put the right people in charge and remove all the barriers to progress

Sounds simple I know. But it can be and it needs to be. Brexit simply will not happen meaningfully if those with responsibility for delivering it continue to try using tried and tested formulas and methods of working to get a completely new and significant task done.

It is unlikely that even the most senior civil servants have the wherewithal to get the Backstop Project working as it should. Equally, the Politicians appear to be no better and the solution is not to appoint expensive consultants or even worse, get friends and people within networks on board, just because you think they would be good at it or have a CV or work history that suggests they might be able to get something done.

The Project needs to be led by people who understand, have working experience or fluency of all the kinds of services and technologies that will be involved – or most importantly, have the skills and attributes necessary to step outside of what they do know whilst being credible to everyone they are dealing with, so that a culture of trust can be the first thing that is created.

To support them, all of the rules and regulations on buying or commissioning government services simply must be upheld. Lets face it, this is all about Leaving the EU, so none of the rules that just about every part of government has already become used to will be required because its all about Leaving!

4.Hold a conference with all the companies who might be interested and would be able to provide one or more of the technical elements of the Backstop Solution, or would be prepared to work collaboratively with others to get the job done.

Although this one sits at No.4 in the list, it’s actually as important as 1, 2 and 3 and they should all be happening simultaneously.

There’s a very big opportunity for the companies and providers that get involved with delivering the Backstop Solution.

One of the keys to managing the benefit of their input is not to allow them to take over and dictate the process.

Believe me when I say that it is the companies who are willing to play by the rules of the process who will actually deliver on time, on target and in a way that opens the right doorways to future working.

There should be a conference called within a couple of weeks with an open invite to all companies that can provide the services and technologies involved and can qualify themselves appropriately and immediately. They must also be prepared to sign up to an NDA that has financial penalties involved if they should leak information.

Within that there should be care to ensure that those who speak and input are bringing genuine, experiential thought and views, rather than opinion which has now too often become the case. It is easy to overlook the reality that people we culturally recognise as business leaders are often no such thing. They are managers without comprehensive understanding of their own businesses at a practical level. It is equally vital to value academic input in the same way.

Worst of any of the organisations that it would seem natural to involve those who sell themselves as being representative of an industry because they suggest that they are representing members.

Yes, many organisations and businesses join member networks and when it comes to bodies such as the FSB, small businesses gain access to many things which bring immediate value to what they do. Yet when it comes to lobbying or influencing decision makers upon policy that will affect whatever it is that their industry does, it is rare once again to find people in charge with the in-depth knowledge of the industry their represent from the bottom up and more often the case that the words they speak come from their own view of the world, rather than being anything even remotely akin to what it is that the businesses at the cutting edge of that industry does.

It is necessary to labour this point, because it is essential that good, productive representation from all the industries that have a stake in the success of the Irish Border Solution are involved in this process and given the opportunity to contribute and collaborate positively and proactively to ensure that from their own vantage point, they have genuine but nonetheless joint ownership of whatever it actually does.

Some will argue that such a meeting cannot be convened in such short a time as a couple of weeks and particularly so during the summer. Yet the opposite is true, because if Brexit is as important to these organisations and they either want influence or the opportunity to gain further business, being there, being agile and being ready to make it work under pressure is just something that they will be ready and equipped to do.

Set out the Terms of a Tender for Development

Sounds like that will take time – I hear you think. But it won’t.

The Border Solution requires a wholly different approach. One that encourages every business and organisation involved to step beyond their comfort zone and to see the Brexit opportunity for exactly what it is.

Leaving the EU cannot be held up by regulations that are only relevant if we are members.

So the solution will come by conducting a three stage process:

  • Tender for development
  • Date-critical development
  • Implementation, servicing and further development

5.1. Tender for development

The most critical and quickest part of the process is qualifying and selection the provider(s) who will develop Border Solution Options.

Options, because to ensure that the UK is ready to Leave the EU and keep the Border fully open at the same time, it is critical that this responsibility is left at the whim of a single private contractor or collaboration thereof, that can create delays and raise prices just to ensure that greater levels of additional profit will automatically be involved.

What needs to be recognised across the board is that the Border Solution already exists. The solution itself is therefore not one that needs to be invented. The solution itself is just a question of identifying the right elements or pieces of the jigsaw that will fit together to make that solution, and to then manage the contributions of all the different parties that will inevitably become involved.

The Suppliers will include:

  • Number Recognition Cameras & Software
  • Access & Integration with the DVLA Database and Databases of all International Vehicle Licensing Bodies likely to have vehicles transiting to or via the UK from the EU
  • Database Software (The Core of the Open Border System)
  • Merchant Services Solutions
  • Scanning Hardware & Software
  • App Development
  • Vehicle Tags
  • Access & Integration with the HMRC Database
  • Others that will inevitably become apparent

The Organisations will include:

  • HMRC
  • DVLA
  • Representatives of the Haulage Industry
  • Representatives from Businesses conducting UK-EU exports and imports
  • Representatives of the Farming Industry
  • Others that will inevitably become apparent

All of these organisations should be present, but a framework agreed and presented for what the Border Solution will look like, the functionality required and above all, what it should actually do. The adversary organisations will be present just to answer questions on practicalities such as what the volume or weight and the number of crates would be on a standard Euro-Pallet on a vehicle trailer and how many Euro-Pallets that vehicle might hold. They will not be there to influence anything other than the accuracy of the data input for the tender process.

Contrary to what the fearful tell us, a Border Solution is not rocket science or anything like it. A Border solution already exists. The Border Solution is simply about joining up the dots. The dot joiners and the creators of those dots are only there to execute the task.

5.1.1. Number Recognition Cameras & Software

The key to removing the need for a physical or hard border, border checks and the presence of a full time contingent of the UK Border Force is simply to monitor all the traffic that crosses the Irish Border – no matter how many times, and whatever the direction.

ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology has been in use by the Police for many years and helps them to identify vehicles and drivers, along with any red flags that might be associated with those vehicles in live time, so that they can literally or rather automatically pull over vehicles in live time, as and when they see them.

Today ANPR technology is everywhere and nowhere less prominent than in car parks, where Companies such as NCP or the private overseers of car parks in places like out-of-town retail parks have cameras set up which record your number plate when you arrive and then when you leave. There is no need for attendants and limited requirement for staffing on site as administration can all be done remotely, often the other side of the Country – making the whole exercise very profitable.

The software in use commercially already links to the DVLA Database, and if you have any qualms about the speed that a camera can recognise a number plate or vehicle, why not try entering your car on the We Buy Any Car site to get a value and see how quick it comes. A current advertising campaign on Radio featuring Phillip Schofield as good as promises that the whole exercise takes less than a minute. A time that at its worst should reassure about how quickly a well-thought out and designed software system could manage seamless border crossings along the Irish Border.

I refer back to my own experience recently that I began with above and the reality that the system at Gloucester Quays was so good, it didn’t even need to read my paid-up ticket as the system identified the number plate with the ticket that had been paid a few minutes before as soon as it saw the plate.

Fundamentally this is off-the-shelf technology, which is only going to get better. Its use will be an essential part of the Border Solution and it’s the link with the Open Border Service that is the real task.

5.1.2. Access & Integration with the DVLA Database and Databases of all International Vehicle Licensing Bodies likely to have vehicles transiting to or via the UK from the EU

Essential to creating a fully collaborative UK/EU/International System is access to the Registration Data for all of the vehicles (tractors & powered chassis) that will be crossing UK/EU Borders – irrespective of the exact location.

All of the Countries and EU Member States will have these and the UK already has access to this information for the purposes of policing and enforcement of international traffic on the UK Roads.

Yes, it is possible that the EU will attempt to restrict access to this data in order to frustrate the development of what will otherwise be a very simple system. To restrict such data sharing post-Brexit would be bloody mindedness on the part of of the EU.

The way to address any potential problem with Vehicle Database access is to simply bar entry to UK roads for any Vehicle and the Owner that cannot be identified. Bearing in mind that the Open Border Solution is all as much about the EU and its Members and probably more so than UK Hauliers and Companies that Export, it is in their interests to cooperate fully. Especially as this whole system can and arguably should be mirrored, and potentially managed by a joint UK/EU Organisation.

5.1.3. Database Software (The core of the Open Border System)

Whilst IT specialists or ‘experts’ will happily and passionately tell you otherwise (I have already seen a Tweet on my own feed which says there’s no way a solution can be coded), the reality of the Open Border Solution is that it is nothing more than a database solution, integrated with scanning and e-commerce technology which has multiple administration points in addition to customer portals.

The companies that you want working on this project are not those that immediately tell you that this will take years; can’t be done; would have to be designed from scratch or that it is simply too complicated to be done.

It isn’t any of those things. And any company or so-called expert that suggests otherwise will not be one that you want at this conference when facing a piece of significant work which can only be delivered by people who have the mentality to do what is necessary to deliver on time.

Primarily, this is not a project and will not be a contract for one of the large Public Sector Contractors that will always place its own priorities first and is used to working with Officers and Civil Servants who will believe anything that they say.

No. This is not about precluding existing Contractors. But it is about making clear that this Brexit is an opportunity for all and not just those in a position to exploit it.

The companies that offer database development will already be able to demonstrate off-the-shelf or open-source-type technology that can work with the type of systems that the Government already uses.

Just bear in mind that there are already a series of commercially available accountancy packages that already integrate with HMRC – and it is on the basis of working with, adapting and integrating systems that are already known, that the Border Solution can be quickly and efficiently achieved – not by pretending that there must be a reinvention of the wheel in order to get all this done.

This process must be open to companies of all sizes, start-ups included. As it is only through experiencing the reality of the offering that is out there that would not necessarily qualify under EU Tender Rules, that it will become clear that there are much more effective ways to get jobs for the public sector legitimately done.

The key to getting the required result is presenting the companies with a detailed process map for the system. Coders are rarely unable to come up with all manner of effective ways to get software to work and complete a task as long as it is clear what you want it to do. This isn’t a task that you can expect a coder to complete cold.

5.1.4. Merchant Services Solutions

One of the simplest aspects of the software side of the solution. Many companies are already leading the way with multiple-medium payment entry. Some of them will be amongst the list of those interested in providing the database solution immediately above.

Either way, payment portals, whether online, by app or otherwise will be comparatively simple to introduce as the technology is already very successfully in use.

5.1.5. Scanning Hardware & Software

Effective enforcement of an Open Border Solution will be the key element to ensuring that a hard or physical border is not required again – irrespective of whatever the trade or tariff arrangement between the UK and the EU becomes.

Scanning software is now developed enough that it can work as an app on a Smartphone. Likewise, there is a complete range of specialist hand-held, mounted, 3G, Wi-Fi, networked and other scanning devices. And making them available at key pinch points such as at ports, on ferries, motorway services and for the Police and any Government Officer carrying out enforcement work will be essential.

Representatives of companies providing hardware and software solutions for the scanning requirement should all be invited, subject to appropriate qualification.

5.1.6. App Development

Many of the big Hauliers that transit the EU Border have specialist employees who will take care of the administration of loads and correct data entry. Some may even have direct portals involved.

However, many others will be smaller or even self-employed owner drivers. And where it is the case that the Company they are carrying for has not made direct submission of their own, it is essential that a low-cost, effective version of the portal be available as an app, simple enough that with the corresponding data that exporting or importing customers will be required to provide, a driver or small business operator can load the data themselves before mounting the corresponding tag on the vehicle or trailer.

Again, this is not an original task and integrating it with its own scanning function – as exists with many apps such as the National Lottery App – means that the process can be made very simple and as such, a very efficient task to get done.

5.1.7. Vehicle Tags

Yes, this sounds too good to be true. But companies such as the big supermarkets have been monitoring their loads and keeping them secure against theft and driver infidelity for decades.

The basic solution is a tie-ratchet-tag that fits to the back doors of rigid body vehicles and trailers and to a secure cable that runs through the length of the whole body on either side of a curtain side vehicle or trailer.

These would carry a barcode and/or chip that would provide a unique journey number that corresponds with the load that has been registered for transit on the system.

Any vehicle crossing the Border or transiting a recognised pinch point such as a port or registered ferry, would by law be required to have a tag fitted, protecting the exact load that has been notified to the Open Border Service.

Different Colour Tags would be used to identify types of journey. For example UK-UK = Blue, EU-EU = Red, UK-EU = Green, EU-UK = Orange, Load Checked and Passed = Silver etc.

There are a number of manufacturers of these tags and their input would be required simply to ensure the simplicity, durability and integration of the tags with the Open Border System.

The Tags themselves would only be available to Companies registered with the Service and either sold centrally or through registered sale points with the reseller themselves registered by the Scheme.

5.1.8. Access & Integration with the HMRC Database

As outlined above, there already exist a number of accountancy packages that interact with HMRC already such as Sage, QuickBooks and Xero.

HMRC have already had to undertake considerable work on integration with other systems to do this and this work would inform the development of the Open Border System – if only for an immediate way to ensure that the correct Taxation Codes are available, if a fully integrated system is not available in the first instance.

HMRC must be involved at the outset to ensure that the system is conversant with their taxation rules. However, like all suppliers, participants and stakeholders, they cannot be allowed to dictate anything other than the Taxation Rules – e.g. they must not be allowed to dictate the operational platform itself – so long as it is clear that the Open Border System will administer the taxation of transferring goods to their rules.

5.1.9. Others that will inevitably become apparent

Like any project, there are always unknowns and these must be allowed for.

It could be as simple as another way of monitoring vehicle movements across the border without the need for cameras – such as GPRS tracking.

Whatever might present itself as an option, there has to be an open door approach to anything that could make the Open Border Solution even more Open than this Solution suggests that it could be.

The Organisations will include:

5.1.10. HMRC

As discussed in 5.1.8. above, HMRC must be a key stakeholder/respondent in the Solution Development,

5.1.11. DVLA

Unhindered access to the DVLA Database is a must. DVLA will also have a clear understanding of the issues regarding access to all other relevant Vehicle Databases in the EU and beyond.

Like HMRC, it is essential that they are treated as a key stakeholder/respondent in the Development stages.

5.1.12. Representatives of the Haulage Industry

The default setting when it comes to speaking to industry, is for the Government to give priority to Member and Lobby Organisations that portray themselves as being the voice of the Industry. They should not.

Yes. In this case, organisations such as the RHA (Road Haulage Association) have a part to play. But not when it comes to opinion.

Getting the right views and feedback does include member organisations. But the best people to get involved are those actually doing the jobs, not the managers of or more often than not the mangers of the managers of the mangers of the people who do the jobs, who have never actually done the jobs themselves.

By making clear that the Industry needs to inform practically, but not try to influence the Brexit process itself, large companies that are responsible for significant numbers of journeys into the EU are much more likely to support the Government by making the right people available to inform the process, rather than those with a name or profile who are eager to push their own view.

Drivers are often the very best to give practical viewpoints about how an operation involving lorries will actually work, and like everyone, they will be more than happy to help by answering questions if they understand that we will appreciate their view.

5.1.13. Representatives from Businesses conducting UK-EU exports and imports

Again, for the purposes of designing a system that works operationally, businesses that import from and export to the EU must be involved and asked to inform on the development of the Open Border Solution, with reliance not being placed on Member Organisations like the CBI and FSB to inform accurately alone.

Whilst journalists are adept at soliciting the angry or negative side of business owners when it comes to Brexit, the priority of business people is for the Open Border Solution to be developed in the best way possible so that it helps them to get along.

From this point of view, handled appropriately, most businesses that will be affected by Brexit will be happy to discuss what they experience now, and what they believe to be necessary post-Brexit, in order to get a successful Open Border Solution done.

The important thing is recognising what the important and common goals between exporters/importers is, and how this rolls out in to the functionality of the Open Border System.

5.1.14. Representatives of the Farming Industry

Last but by no means least, farmers. Because of the nature and scope of moving animals and foodstuffs and the very different approach that will be required to monitor the movement of animals, it is vital that organisations like the NFU are again actively involved, but not allow to dominate the process with a wish to make it a political debate.

Like the involvement of any organisation and industry representative, this process is no longer about their opinion. It’s about facts, figures and the practicalities of getting the job done.

From this point of view, it remains essential that Member Organisations only form part of the pool of Farming and food producer representatives that are invited to consult and that producers and farmers and involved in this process in real time.

5.1.15. Others that will inevitably become apparent

5.2. Date-critical development

Taking a considerably more commercial, time, cost and value approach to the tendering process, Developers (or Teams thereof) will be asked to present a tender for the development of the Border Solution (or Parts thereof) rather than the delivery of the complete thing.

As the hardware required for the ‘Service’ already exists, this element of the bids will be comparatively easy for contractors to cost, even where installation is required.

It is the development time and steps proposed to be taken to adapt the software solution that connects hardware and what might be a multiple number of different, potentially government-run databases that will both need to be projected realistically for both time and cost, but also to ensure that any potential contractor is fully aware of the cross-organisational working that will be involved.

Nonetheless it is the assurance from all bodies involved that they will not hinder or hold up progress that will be a key element of the process. For this reason, the development of the Border Solution might need to be in 2 steps. The first only to develop a stand-alone solution which is only dependent upon reference data from Government Agencies (such as the DVLA Database or HRMC Tax Codes). The second, over time once running, to integrate fully with all departments involved.

To ensure that the development of the Border Solution is kept within schedule, a minimum of three bids will be accepted, with the most appropriate chosen for implementation once delivery has been assured, the product tested and it is clear that nothing will hinder delivery on time.

5.3. Implementation, servicing and further development

The reward for the successful contractor(s) would be a 5 or perhaps 10 year maintenance and development contract to support the early years of the Open Border Service

Overview

The reality is that the success of the Open Border Solution – and Brexit itself, is all about the people doing the jobs.

The Open Border Solution can be delivered quickly, economically and to the standards necessary to meet the needs and expectations of all stakeholders. As long as the focus is on and only on the job in hand.

The moment that opinion on the part of anyone within the process is allowed to overshadow fact and practicality, the Open Border Solution will be one step further away from being delivered.

It’s all about the people. And all of the people involved have got to put their own views, priorities and aims to one side, and commit to doing everything necessary to get the Open Border Solution delivered, working and done.

Download this Blog in PDF: Beating the Backstop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Conservative Party MUST have a New Leader, New Manifesto AND New Electoral Mandate BEFORE 31 October – AND they ALL have to be just right

April 25, 2019 8 comments

img_3013When Parliament has already voted to overrule the Executive, a Party Grandee who has been a Party Member for longer than the lifetimes of many MPs leaves to stand for a protest party, and Conservative Councillors and even MPs too are telling the media they are about to Vote against their own Party in an upcoming Election, anyone with enough sense and concern for what is going on around them would know that what is happening no longer fits with any rules they know. They would accept that following those rules is not now going to bring the situation to a close.

That our lawmakers have no real appreciation for the responsibility they have been given by the Electorate has now become painfully obvious to the People outside of Westminster.

Worse for all conservatives, whether members of the Party, tribal voters or simply lapsed, is the realisation that a horrible reality is now becoming manifest in Westminster. One where there are simply not enough Conservative MPs in the Parliamentary Party that have the understanding, stamina, wherewithal and everything that it takes to deal with a serious crisis – not one created by any external threat, but by something made manifest from within its own walls.

Those who observe and consider the steps of the journey that Brexit has taken will eventually realise that the decisions made by Theresa May and her enablers since June 2016 – right up to the 1922 Committee’s decision last evening not to put the flames out engulfing the Party that are now in open sight for all to see, have and are continuing to fuel a fire that has not only taken the Conservative Party to the edge of the precipice, but is on the verge of condemning the whole of the UK to political, if not civil chaos too.

We have reached a point where the true chronology of events that led to the Vote to Leave the European Union, the mess of the Brexit Process and the now the critical condition of our democracy too, is in imminent danger of being forgotten and responibility for all ills being laid squarely at the feet of the only Political Party genuinely capable of getting the UK through Brexit and to the promise of the opportunities that lie ahead for us all on the other side.

It is painful for many to admit that the disease within the Conservative Party may have already been allowed to spread too far. That if the majority of the MPs that are still obstructing change from within the Conservative Parliamentary Party do not put their self-interest, fear and obsession with maintaining a system that now, thanks in no small part to them no longer exists, that not only will the Party that gifted them their time in the public eye be gone, but the Country itself could be thrown into chaos and darkness of a kind that those amongst us still alive to remember the consequences of such times had long since hoped had been left behind.

People who I and many have time for and respect from right across the political spectrum, are now falling in behind Nigel Farage to support the Brexit Party.

Any serious conservative with an eye on the future and what happens next would be foolish not to read the electoral runes right at this moment in time and see what is about to happen to British Politics during the Month of May.

But whilst one of the key straplines of this very serious and credible protest party is changing politics for good, the Brexit Party only has the cohesiveness between its Membership and support provided by just one issue.

This commonality between Brexit Party supporters will evaporate the moment that the promise made to respect our democracy and Leave the EU has been made good.

In days and certainly no more than weeks, the Conservative Party has a final and defining choice to make about the part that it wants to play and can offer the British People as a choice for the future.

If the Conservative Party does not choose to take it, the Brexit Party could well become the overwhelming force in domestic British Politics that UKIP never could.

The anger, palpable amongst the British People today that could so quickly be addressed with reason and delivery, could instead be completely unleashed.

Make no mistake. A Political Party without professional governance, systems and procedures is not going to deliver the overnight change it is now promising us – even if it currently benefits from having many well known and well meaning names up front which gives it an even more credible feel.

The choice that the Conservative Party has to make is whether to do nothing and allow May to continue in a way that only she seems to know how. Or to commit to a hard-decision-laden and timely process that will require unbending commitment, coolness of character and dedication to a cause much bigger than themselves and their Party, all boiled down to the willingness to do whatever it will take to get things done.

Step 1. A NEW Leader

May MUST go.

May MUST go now.

May MUST be replaced quickly.

This is not the time for an incumbent PM to be allowed to run down the clock in an attempt to let history look more kindly upon her tenure than anyone actually does right now. It won’t.

The ridiculous infighting, self-interest and ambition that have created so much of the Brexit impasse and constipated version of Parliamentary Politics we have witnessed over the past year has to stop and be consigned to the bin.

There MUST be a practical acceptance of the reality that right now, in this climate and with our Country facing the issues that it is, that there is no such thing as the ‘best’ or ‘Perfect’ candidate to be Prime Minister. It is now all about putting the person into the role who will be best placed to get results and yes, get the job done.

Under such circumstances, there is little doubt that whilst far from a perfect situation, the Party Membership would support an immediate ‘crowning’ of a new Party Leader and de facto Prime Minister, AS LONG AS THE PARLIAMENTARY PARTY APPOINTS THE RIGHT PERSON IT HAS AVAILABLE.

As recent polling work undertaken by the Conservative Home Website has shown, which is reliable for gauging the mood of the grassroots Party, the Membership wants a Brexiteer PM in Downing Street.

By far, the PM that the Membership wants is Boris Johnson.

The lack of understanding and appreciation of what really gets results, instead replaced with private ambition and the idea that each and every Member of the Cabinet is the only one who really knows best and can be the next Prime Minister, is precisely why so much of this has gone wrong already.

Trying to control or obstruct a workable solution to these problems for personal reasons, rather than doing what’s best for everyone, no matter how challenging or distasteful or unpalatable the alternative might be, is likely to replace one bad Prime Minister with another. Not because the alternatives aren’t capable or any good at what they do. But because they cannot be the person to bring together the formula that this Country needs right now and effectively become the necessary catalyst for change and for good.

Boris is very electable, as has been demonstrated by his highly effective campaigns to become and to be re-lected London Mayor.

Yes, Boris has a propensity to look silly at inappropriate times. But he also identifies his own destiny as being closely aligned with the success of the people and the policies that he leads. And as Prime Minister he will know that he MUST surround himself with the full range of best talents and voices. To be inclusive, but to make sure that the results achieved are good for all parts of our society and not just those who are directly involved.

This is where the opportunity lies for all who can see, accept and facilitate what now needs to be done to align themselves, contribute and for their genuine ambition to do good for others to be recognised fully for the part they play in delivering for the much bigger Public cause.

2. A NEW Manifesto

No. Oddly the next step IS NOT to worry about Brexit and the EU.

For right or for wrong, we now have until Thursday 31st October 2019 to sort out the Brexit mess and to get things done.

That’s 6 Months. And with a week being a long time in politics, as long as the Conservatives get moving quickly AND do all that needs to be done, 6 Months will be plenty of time enough.

The first priority is to create, promote and engage the public with a NEW Manifesto.

A Manifesto that demonstrates:

  • That the kind of working relationship that WE ALL want with Europe can only be created and developed once we are a fully Independent and Sovereign State once again and that to do this WE MUST FULLY AND CATEGORICALLY LEAVE.
  • That the Conservative Party is NOT only the Party of the rich, but the Party of all those with aspiration. The protector and safe-guarder of all those in genuine need and all those who want to succeed as a result of genuine effort and not riding off the backs and exploitation of others. A Party which really is for ALL of us too.
  • That Politics is in fact the means and not the ends to get things done. That it is a calling, not a job and that those who gain the very special and privileged elevation to Public Office must be able, prepared and committed to engaging fully foremost and as a priority with the People that they represent.
  • That good governance of this Country can no longer be something regurgitated from history, read from a book, accepted as an established rule or contrived on the basis simply of how it will look.
  • That decisions will be taken no matter how hard, to ensure that Government delivers fully for everyone, without bias, favour and with fairness as we are all right and justified in expecting that it should.

It will not take months or years to formulate.

The Conservatives only have to look beyond themselves and begin to engage everyone in a natural conversation, without the hard sell and without falling back on statistics and analysis to confirm what being out there will soon tell them should then be a quickly changing mood.

3. A New Mandate

With a New Leader and New Manifesto, the Conservative Party then MUST go back to the People.

It MUST have the faith, confidence and guts to know that if the Party has done Steps 1 & 2 right, the People will come back and provide the Party with a New Mandate.

A New Mandate that is required not only to break the Brexit impasse that can only come from our clean-break Leaving the EU. But to deliver the change that the People now require of our politicians. So that the UK can find its place and ensure that we are all secure in an ever changing World, where the agility and flexibility that our status as an Independent and Sovereign State is the only way that we can effectively adapt as a Country to ensure that we can continually work together towards the prize of something better for all.

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever the Brexit deal, our inability to leave at will makes it a prison cell and arbitration will not be a key to unlock the door

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Whilst the whole exercise has been played up as a cause for hope that May’s tragedy of a ‘deal’ will pass in the next two weeks, the reality of Geoffrey Cox being sent off to Brussels to negotiate a by-pass to the Backstop, has been nothing more than an elaborate play on time.

The fact that the goalposts have now moved to a discussion with the EU which has already again ruled out a time clause or unilateral exit mechanism, and moved on to a one-sided debate about arbitration instead should be telling everyone, everything once again that they should already know.

May’s deal is not a deal. It is a deliberate, intentional and malevolent trap which will be the equivalent of a prison cell for the UK, unless we retain the ability to walk away from it unilaterally and without the consent of any other party, at any time.

That the EU are currently insisting that an arbitration mechanism would have to involve the ECJ again demonstrates just how essential it is to them that the deck is not only stacked in their favour, but in respect of Brexit, is well and truly rigged.

Even if Cox should succeed in an agreement for a third-party system of arbitration without the ECJ being involved which could be argued as being impartial and therefore fair, it’s use overlooks the fact that arbitration, mediation, dispute resolution or any other system of negotiation that you could ever wish to involve in circumstances in any way similar to these, only determines the terms under which an agreement is or can be reached, and how things go forward from that point thereafter.

Arbitration is not a system that is there to make the decision to do something for anyone. It is about method and nothing more.

To use arbitration as a method of making a choice would in effect be the surrender of decision making responsibility to a third and non-involved party to make that choice for and on behalf of one and/or both parties.

It takes the decision at the very heart of the problem away from the two constituent parties that are involved.

That is why the EU will not even consider the option unless it’s own Court system, the ECJ is the elected arbitrator and therefore the decision would always be beneficial to them rather than the UK.

It is both sad and highly regrettable that so many opportunities have been missed to stop Theresa May and for the whole Brexit process to have been taken a different and fundamentally beneficial-to-the-UK way.

Now, the excuse we have for a Parliament is on the verge of selling out everything to nothing more than Foreign Rule, because the EU have placed a very good bet that Remainers and those other Politicians in the majority who cannot see beyond their own fears and self interest, would cave in at the last minute and back this travesty of a so-called agreement which is the bastard child and legacy of Theresa May.

Whilst Malthouse offered a sensible compromise for anyone who genuinely wanted to find a collective way forward, such plans are and never were in the favour of Prime Minister May.

The only option available to any MP who wants to see Brexit delivered and democracy in this Country existing after the time of May is to vote down May’s deal yet again and then vote for a no-deal exit on the 29th of March the following day.

Yes, the maths in Parliament now means that a delay is more likely than not. But the certainty that would have been available to this Parliament if May had been removed earlier is no longer available as a choice.

So without the control which is simply not present within any of the current choices, riding the wave and making the right decision each and every time there is one to be made is the only way that the right result for the People will be reached and a real Brexit delivered in the end.

Deal or No Deal, the technology already exists for a seamless Irish Border after Brexit and as many of us already know, it works just bloody fine…

January 30, 2019 Leave a comment
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A number plate recognition and recording camera being installed in a supermarket car park in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. January 2019.

The Brothers Grimm would have been busy indeed, had they been alive and based in London during the times of Brexit.

With myth after myth entering the lexicon of public understanding, most often created by those who by the rule of fear intend for the UK to Remain, the range of stories and prophecies that have been created up to now from the very beginning of the Referendum Campaign would be priceless, were it not for the impact that foolish interference with very serious and far reaching matters of state can have.

Whilst many of the latest entrants to the pop chart of Brexit fantasies are being debunked just as quickly as they have been produced, one of the most ridiculous but nonetheless effective tales to have been told is the one about the need for a backstop to prevent a hard-border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, because a technological solution doesn’t exist which would keep goods moving as they would do if the UK were to Remain.

The claim is particularly laughable, given that we live in a surveillance society where estimates back in 2013 placed the number of cameras observing us already then at one camera for every 11-14 people within the population.

Even if monitoring equipment on the Irish Borders did not already exist, the installation of equipment and software of a like which has been in use by the Police forces for years in the form of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) would not be an arduous task. It is already being put to many uses in civilian form too, and if you have fallen foul of Car Parking Rules where one of these offshoot systems has been installed, you will know only too well how effective they are when a Penalty Notice with accompanying photographic evidence lands at your door.

The real problem and reason why too many of the people at a level of influence will tell us that no such technological solution exists is because of the sclerotic system for purchasing products like these for ‘government use’ and the way that companies who could deliver a working and effective solution in what would be a comparatively ‘overnight’ timeframe, are excluded from a supplier system which would benefit us all if they were to be included.

Government purchase is based on a system which favours the monoliths in public supply. Companies that overcharge by gargantuan levels o justify their huge structures, are avoidably slow to deliver – pushing up prices even further, and are the favorites of a coterie of consultants and advisors who themselves are pre-programmed with everything they do to simply be on the make.

If the political will, foresight and vision existed to implement a transparent border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, stepping outside the purchasing rules – YES, those required by Membership of the EU itself, is pretty much all it would take. We simply need agility in thinking, doing and making sure that everyone involved is doing the same.

The opportunity to deliver the trouble-free Brexit that the British People Voted for has been squandered by Politicians afraid to look outside of their own Westminster box. We should be under no illusion that in terms of upholding the realities of the responsibility that they have been given by us, they are well and truly afraid of their own shadow.

The best thing that those who lead us could do right now is to forget going cap in hand to the EU as Theresa May now surely will. Direct the installation of the infrastructure on the Irish Border, commission the necessary software from the very bright and agile small businesses that the UK has, and then make a very public statement that as far as the UK is concerned the Border will be open from 11.00pm onwards on the 29th March 2019, will be functioning like just one of the many other administrative hoops that logistics & supply chain operators, public transport companies and international travelers have to jump through when they are going anywhere, and that the UK is more than capable of taking a lead on anything and everything, come what and despite of whatever May says.

The UK must have the ability to Regulate the Internet, control and respond to data management issues in ways that we never will with the rules-for-the-sake-of-rules EU involved

December 2, 2018 Leave a comment

How we govern the Net, it’s use, the transfer, storage and sharing of data is a Policy area that like many others our Government should be on top of and ahead of the game.

That it isn’t and that many of our politicians simply have no understanding of what is happening around us in the parallel world of data is not, however, a sign that we need the EU Bureaucracy to take over and install a set of draconian and out of touch rules that demonstrates Brussels has even less understanding of the changing world than Westminster does.

Scare stories some might think.

But the reality of what the EU is attempting to do is very real and the iceberg which is coming is very much deeper beneath the surface than the relatively tame tip we now know to be GDPR.

Right now, we could be well on the way to being legally unable to share material such as newslinks from the Internet, or even take pictures of or in public places because of what the EU is now attempting to deem as being assumed copyright for things like buildings.

Idealistic, dangerously impractical and without any real regard for how life works within the world of the Internet and in its relationship with everything else, unelected bureaucrats lurking in an office somewhere in Brussels are about to take nanny-stating and big brotherish concepts to a whole new level.

If we either Remain or worse still, embrace May’s deal, we will have no choice but to accept these undemocratic and choking restrictions however far reaching and personally restricting they might be.

In governmental terms, the arrival of Internet based technology and the online universe has caught legislators napping.

To many, a fallacious idea now exists where the Net has broken down geographical boundaries and barriers and heralds a new age where concepts such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain will make localised governance systems redundant and that markets will now reach across the world and take care of everything that crops up in between.

They won’t.

The reason they won’t, is that no matter what we do online, be it personally or for our business or employer, the dehumanisation of relationships which the rise of the internet has already inflicted upon us has shown that real life requires a level of tangibility and physical stimulation that technology will never offer us, even through virtual reality.

Centralising and ceding power to the EU over data and the rules which govern our Internet access and use would be a catastrophic abuse and denial of the real opportunity to take control and influence the response necessary to the powerful technological and informational changes taking place around us. And to do so for the better.

Our businesses, our people and the physical environment across the UK are very different to the 27 other Countries that make up the EU.

We must have regulation which is sensitive, tailored and responsive to UK needs. Regulation must not be set on a one-size-fits-all basis which at best will be modelled on a false commonality between 28 very different Countries and more likely will be much worse, offering no basis of practicality at all or any sense in which we could identify consideration of any specific UK need – either domestically, or for our interactions with the whole of the outside World.

This will not be possible if the UK’s choice to Leave the EU is ignored. Or through the dishonesty and lack of responsibility to the Electorate on the part of Politicians, the UK is coerced into a much closer and technically irreversible union with the EU as will be the outcome of May’s deal being adopted, or an alternative series of false choices are created which mislead us to Remain.

We will only have the flexibility, the adaptability and the necessary cultural intuitively to give the UK the right Data Policies that we need, if we Leave the EU, take complete control of our own Policy making once again, and then push our self-orientated Political classes to get on and deliver the key Policy areas like Data which will return the UK to the place where we can meet opportunity or crisis from wherever it may come, head on.

 

image thanks to entrepreneur.com

UK security is best served kept in our own hands. The EU would only increase risk to itself by burning the bridges between us when they benefit disproportionately from what we already give

November 29, 2018 Leave a comment

To hear Theresa May and her coterie of die-hard Remainist Ministers speak, you would think that the UK is backward in just about every respect and incapable of making its way in the World without the stewardship and direction of a load of unelected bureaucrats shouting demands at us from an office across the English Channel and somewhere in the EU.

With the history we have – some of which will still be within the living memory of the Politicians who surround her – it is as amazing as it is sickening that people elected to the highest positions of power in the UK, could have not only adopted, but are hell bent on convincing everyone else of the validity of this view.

Yet this is where we are, and for as long as people who can only prioritise themselves are able to influence our destiny as a Nation, there remains a risk that they will take the UK and our people to places that we never belonged.

Security is once again a multifaceted and complex issue relating to Brexit which many of us do not understand.

In reality, we should never need to do so as we should be able to trust our decision makers to have a complete and objective view of everything which has happened, is happening and of course, that which either wont be or simply hasn’t yet come into view.

Regrettably they don’t.

This means that we are yet again being sold a story of our place in the World which is thoroughly demeaning. One that is only ever intended to convince us wrongly, that the UK risks finding itself out in the cold and that we have a dependence on the EU which has never ever had any reason to exist.

Defence & The Armed Forces

The EU now has very ambitious and documented designs on developing a Euro-Army of its own. A clear sign that the plan for a United States of Europe is clearly manifesting itself and one which makes clear that it would be foolish to believe that the phyrric freedoms that Theresa May is trying to tell us she has won, would continue to exist for very long.

Militarily, the World is an increasingly dangerous place. The Russians are already testing borders around Eastern Europe itself, but are also parked on our doorstep, even testing the airspace which is above the UK itself.

Meanwhile the USA and China are on a competitive journey both in trade and in places like the South China Sea which in less than a decade could escalate to a level which leaves military action the only way it can be resolved.

With the seemingly limitless level of chutzpa that the EU leadership already employs, it is clear that their own ambition for power and control and to be seen as a de facto world player will soon get them into significant trouble if they are ceded power over so much military power.

If we were to be tied in on the Terms of any form of Remain or May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, it is almost certain that we would be dragged in and inevitably involved in anything that the unelected bureaucrats with power over 28 different Countries decide that they we and other Member States would be required to do.

The only way that we can guarantee complete control over the use of our Armed Forces and the choice over what future wars we may or may not wish to become involved with is to Leave the EU without an unnecessary and avoidable deal. We must take back control of everything with the first step being the reestablishment of trade with everyone – i.e. Leaving on WTO Terms.

Intelligence

On the gathering and use of security intelligence, Theresa May and her Remain-bent supporters are selling the UK very short too.

We have one of the best security and intelligence services in the World. We were at the forefront of intelligence service development and many Countries – not least of all the USA – have developed their own abilities based on the ground breaking and innovative work that we have done historically here in the UK.

There is and has never been any need for the UK to operate in any way other than alone.

We have always shared data with our allies and we survived very well indeed before the EU and its fearful disciples came along.

It is ridiculous to believe that we can improve the security of the UK by removing borders and harmonising everything that we do and have with foreign powers.

Those Remainers who read this and suggest that simply remaining would have meant that everything would stay the same as it is now are being either ignorant or disingenuous at best.

The evolution of the EU is and has only ever been one way. That is the centralisation of power of all kinds in Brussels and the removal of localised – ergo Nationally identifiable structures which could be used to initiate a democratic claw back by Nation States or in any other way get in their way.

Remember that it is not we the UK who are threatening to withdraw cooperation with the EU once we have finally rescinded our Membership.

It is the EU that is creating the problems.

It is the EU’s desire for overall control which is overriding the continuing benefits of working together sensibly.

It is the EU that has so much more to loose.

Cyber Security

Whilst the topic still remains without great attention from the media, it is the area of cyber security where the benefits of our continuing to work alone and without the dilution of other misleading interests that tell us the UK must continue to steer its ship and be happy standing out in the World alone.

We face threats of a technological kind, leveled at us from World players who in conventional military terms are not even on the risk list. Yet in terms of their current and developing abilities to access and potentially disrupt vital infrastructure at the touch of a button, they may already have the power to affect this and other Western Countries in ways which could only be more severe if we were to experience the fallout of a full scale nuclear war.

Joking aside, countering such threats is not something to be all communal about and leave to people who have no interest in the people and businesses of the UK.

We simply cannot trust the EU to protect us from the threats that we are already working against in the UK and have been for a considerably long time.

Terrorism

Terrorism is the final thing that we hear scare stories about that are used as a basis for our Independence to be denied. Yet returning our own borders is a much safer option for us to ensure that both malevolent would-be terrorists, foreign actors and arms shipments will be continually denied and not made more likely by the mission creep of the EU to abolish any form of meaningful self-government, its policy and rule.

Yes, we must continue to collaborate with our friends wherever possible. But giving them control over our future security is foolishness in the extreme. We must take back all power that has already been granted to foreign powers and share whatever we can when it is possible, whilst accepting that it will always be best to keep security as a key policy for our own Government to determine and decide.

 

Image thanks to unknown source (From the Film ‘War Games’)

 

 

No Prime Minister, Brexit wasn’t just about immigration and pretending so is as ignorant as it is to call Leavers racist

November 24, 2018 Leave a comment

Brexit Problem

Like many, I’ve been wrestling with what makes Trident Tongued Theresa tick in recent weeks.

Treachery on a level which would have once seen her hung, drawn and quartered is now firmly in the open, even if it is being skilfully denied.

But whether the Prime Ministers actions are borne of simple stupidity or something far more sinister, trying to even understand why she has been so set on a UK sell-out and where exactly her direction is anchored has been quite an eventful ride.

Finally, with a welched Brexit made manifest within a Withdrawal Agreement that has zero resemblance to the UK leaving Membership of the EU and will tie us in even more firmly than the majority of people had voted Remain, we see No.10’s spin focusing on the result of restricting immigration. And therein we see how the lie was given to May’s form of Brexit, and where she has placed her focus and misplaced her aim.

To have done so underlines the reality that the Prime Minister has never understood the mechanics of Brexit. Why so many more voted Leave, rather than Remain. Why perception definitely is everything, but that each and every perception is different and that immigration may look like a simple thing to understand, but that like the whole plethora of issues surrounding Brexit, it is multifaceted, multilayered and has always had no defining link between a binary choice of Leave vs Remain.

To have and to continue to ignore all of the other concerns and by this I mean just those which are documented and tangible, strikes of ignorance on the part of the Prime Minister and those around her in the extreme.

It certainly gives value to the question of how someone with such a closed-off view of what is going on around them can get elected into a public role, never mind taking control of all our destinies from that highly coveted office, buried deep within No.10.

To have determined to negotiate the do-called withdrawal on the basis of settling the immigration question itself certainly answers a lot of unsettling questions. It certainly explains how the vote to leave could have been misread so very badly by those in power and interpreted as an opportunity to bind us more closely to a foreign power – especially when led by people who cannot employ impartiality when it comes to their own views prioritising Remain.

But it also makes clear that the whole negotiation process has been flawed. That the Withdrawal Agreement is democratically worthless. That the whole ‘deal’ must now be binned and replaced with a process and conclusion which brings all sides together. One that prioritises the UK, it’s people and businesses, but does not allow the motivations of any one or another become more important than what is right and proper, balanced and fair and considered in terms of the consequences and knock on effects for years and generations to come.

The UK voted Leave and whatever the words which form the document covering our departure, Leaving MUST be a process that simply works for us ALL.

Brexit will be a problem for everyone until the focus switches from agreeing a deal with the EU to actually leaving it.

Instead of allowing fear to rule the future of the UK any further, the opportunity to return the process of Leaving the EU should be returned to the place where it should have been started.

That of accepting that we will have left the EU, and all that remains is to agree the terms under which the UK and the EU will thereafter conduct a relationship, as we would do with any other Foreign power.

We must not in any way continue to entertain the false idol of a special relationship with our European neighbours being necessary, just because of geography.

Globalisation has already more than demonstrated that we are otherwise much closer to the other side of the World, to places beyond entire Continents and great Oceans.

We should not place ourselves open to the undue influence of other countries who’s primary aim has always been to subjugate us by any means. To remove us as competition and to take away any form of influence which encourages us to believe and trust in everything that makes us British; instead, aiming to condemn the people and businesses of the UK to a permanent position of not knowing who or what we actually are, but always making us feel that we are continually somewhere in between.

At 23:00hrs on 29th March 2019, the UK must leave the EU, adopt the WTO rules that it always should have, and only then begin to build up its new relationships with each and every Country of the World, side-stepping self-interest and building a future which is good for all of us. One which doesn’t just serve the interests of the EU and its disciples – but for us all is a genuine ‘win-win’.

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