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Posts Tagged ‘Withdrawal Agreement’

Don’t be tempted to treat the Public as fools over the EU Boris, just like so many of your predecessors have done…

October 12, 2019 Leave a comment

Hands up. I’m hoping – probably against hope – that whatever Boris is and has been working on this week will be the key that unlocks the door to Brexit and opens up the pathway to all of the opportunities that lie behind.

Whilst it might be better for us all if we were to find ourselves with a completely new Withdrawal Agreement written on virgin paper with a brand new pen in about a weeks time, it was and always will be inevitable that at least some of the content of any Withdrawal Agreement with the EU is going to echo that of Theresa May’s.

But echoing and meaning are not necessarily the same things. And it is the hope that the two key differences – being able to walk away From the EU at any point and not selling out Northern Ireland – that would be the defining differences and the clear blue water that distinguishes whatever Boris comes to Parliament with in a weeks time with that cooked up by Mrs May.

My concern today – especially as Boris has been making so many noises about flawed ideologies such as the One Nation Conservatives project – or what I call the old politics – that the corner he has been backed into by the miscreants in Parliament has left him as little more than a frightened rabbit in the headlights, ready to leap backwards and use every trick that defined the rotten politics that created Brexit in the first place, simply to get out and save his own neck.

The more polite amongst the opinionati call what might now be coming In the next few days a fudge.

But the EU are time-served masters at publicly manipulative choreography and we should all be concerned that the way things suddenly seem to be coming together at the 11th hour for Boris might turn out to be more along the lines of the Theresa May in bed with the EU era and what came before it, rather than Boris leading us out to be a fully Independent and Sovereign UK as he has promised.

You can’t polish a turd. But you can roll it in glitter. And if Boris is now telling us that he has a deal cooking with the EU that doesn’t cross our red lines when it actually turns out that it does, the new Prime Minister will have defined himself not by being a leader in his own right, but by simply being no better than the sell-out PMs that have been in office since Thatcher before him.

May’s Withdrawal Agreement was a travesty.

Not because it contained technical proposals that were dubious from the start.

But because it simply tied the UK in to a situation where we could never just walk away whenever we decided. So in terms of our ability to negotiate sensible, fair or indeed favourable terms with the EU, we would in practice never have been equipped with the legal devices necessary to achieve anything other than the same results as if we had overtly Remained as a Member State within.

So whilst the situation of leaving with any deal would feel far from perfect to a great many of us, particularly as it is not the outcome of the binary choice we voted for, any deal that ultimately allows a future UK government to walk away from the EU without any ties or obligations to it and with the UK left fully in tact is not only a sensible compromise but realistically with today’s structure in Parliament, the only realistic choice – provided that is what it genuinely turns out to be.

If Boris offers this option and it is refused, there is little doubt that in the circumstances he will have done all that he can with the responsibility he has been given.

But if it turns out that he really is on the verge of trying to pull yet another political fast one, we should start perhaps start weeping for this Country. Because the point will have been well and truly made that none of our politicians can be trusted and that they are all exactly the same.

Has Boris blown Brexit?

September 11, 2019 Leave a comment

Politics is no longer just broken. Our current Parliament is in the process of crushing democracy into dust as well – and is attempting to break our system of law and the constitution itself as they do.

What is most difficult for the real people outside of Westminster to fathom, is whether this treacherous rump of MPs is really so detached from reality that they believe they can do whatever they want, tell the people that they are doing the right thing, and they will then be believed and that we will ultimately thank them for taking things their own way.

It certainly looks that way. The problem for MPs is that over three years of blatant lies, obfuscation and outright contempt for the electorate, completely in the open and plain for all to see, has made even the most disenfranchised members of the UK electorate aware of how things are now so very wrong and how they actually should be.

Regrettably for Boris, his options and therefore chance to get his legacy as prime minister right have been all-too-predictably slim. And with his exquisite choice of appointing Dominic Cummings as his principal advisor and at the same time tying himself to the flawed concept of One Nation Conservatism as the only way to deliver Brexit, he is now on the cliff edge of being the Prime Minister that consigned Brexit – and our democracy – to the bin.

His decision to rebuff Nigel Farage’s offer of an electoral pact will surely come back to haunt him – and all of us. Not just because he has in all likelihood just removed any chance of a ‘no deal’ Brexit for the foreseeable future, but because he is likely to have just made the decision that could lead to a General Election this Autumn in which a Marxist – by default – will win.

Whilst Boris might well find the prospect of working with the Brexit Party unpalatable, the truth is that it is only by working with them that the Conservative Party can now precipitate a General Election and win.

People can see what the collective Opposition in Parliament are doing. And the deadline of Halloween that Boris has committed to will not be a problem for him if the delay is out of his hands. But a purely Conservative victory – based on his now clear commitment to the old politics which is One Nation Conservatism – is not an outcome that is within his grasp.

The focus now must be delivering Brexit and nothing more. There is nothing else that any MP has the power to control. And it is only the delivery of a proper, guaranteed no-deal, no-ties, no EU-rule-sharing Brexit that will give the UK the positive future – that works for all of us – that the majority of the British Public now want to be assured.

The implications of the poor choices that Boris now appears to be making could quickly prove to be disastrous for us all.

Whilst hard, late and a minefield in every form, the pathway from the 23rd of July still allowed for Boris to get Brexit right. He just needed to be a leader and do what was necessary – and right.

Unfortunately it now appears that the honeymoon has quickly proven itself to be over. And we must ask if Boris has blown Brexit, and with it a peaceful and fruitful future for us all?

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 1 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 Service

The 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 fixed 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 reduced to the bare essentials.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Parliament has a majority of modern-day quislings as MPs and they are about to engineer the biggest betrayal of them all

January 14, 2019 Leave a comment

img_2445As expected weeks and months ago, based on what has now become this Government’s oh-so-reliable behaviour patterns and pretty much guaranteed form, we today see Theresa May’s scare-game entering what some of us do hope will be its final death throws, but alas, probably just another stage before we see even more.

Back in the Autumn, there were many of us out here in the real world who still hoped that there were enough MPs left in this Parliament actually prepared to put duty the People above self-interest. Not just tell us that is what they will do.

Yet on the Eve of what may in time turn out to be one of the greatest Parliamentary decisions which has an impact right across the British way of life, it appears that the a baseline of doing what is actually right on behalf of the whole Electorate is now a quality and driver which is absent within the make-up of our MPs, save for what is clearly a remarkably small number and perhaps no more than just a few.

Perhaps the most frightening fact about all of the Machiavellian behaviour, manipulation and the flurry of ideas which are repeatedly being sold as the reinvention of the wheel – in so far as a ‘Brexit deal’ is concerned, is the reality that all this rubbish is having the effect of making Theresa May’s claim to have negotiated what the British People Voted for, look almost credible in a way which it would never do so, if such comparisons had never been born.

Yes, we should take very seriously the prospect that there is a strategy at work behind all of this. Because being bullied by fear as we were in the run up to the Referendum has been seriously overused by the Establishment and this Government, and it has required them to develop their web of deceit in order to make what is in effect one giant lie look highly plausible when compared to what appear to be all other forms.

What none of us should take seriously is the idea, suggestion or otherwise, that leaving the EU without ‘a deal’ is anything less than what the British People actually voted for. And that furthermore, that it will disadvantage the UK in anything other than the short and therefore immediate term – IF people should be put in charge who actually believe in the UK and what real opportunity is there to be used for.

Be under no illusion.

Theresa May’s ‘deal’ was, is not and never will be the Brexit that the British People Voted for.

This is a deal which if passed tomorrow or even in a few days or few weeks time will simply tie us back into a relationship which will always be one sided in terms of benefits to the EU. It is not ‘leaving’.

It is Brexit in name only with not even a meaningful tweak added since the point when anyone with any common sense realised that under May’s leadership, Brexit was never going to be the end result, no matter what she says or predicts as being yet to come.

But the ‘solutions’ put on offer by others, the ‘would be kings & queens’, such as Norway, Canada +++, Switzerland, the inappropriately named ‘People’s Vote’ or even a forced General Election offer nothing better in themselves. They do not even offer a direction of travel towards the position of UK Independence of the EU, whish is what the majority of British People instructed and therefore compelled our Parliament and successive Governments to deliver as the end result. To do whatever necessary to ensure that is what the UK becomes.

The relationship that these sell-out MPs and the Establishment has with the EU would perhaps be best viewed as one they would have as drunks with a pub landlord. One where the first sip of the drink tasted undeniably good, but then the damage being done took place without conscious intervention, both at the time they knew they were drinking and over the longer term when they didn’t realise they were.

The drinkers were blasé about the real impact as they got high in an unreal world that they were all the time paying for, whilst that landlord kept on supplying them with more.

The sensible drinker in such a pub would hear the inner voice when it says ‘it’s time to leave’, ‘let’s get away from here and go home’, ‘we need to get sober’, ‘we don’t need anymore’; leave promptly and behind them close the door.

But the Remainers instead stood up at the bar and demanded a deal to leave, something that the landlord was only too happy to oblige with, knowing well that as drunks the Remainers would voluntarily and willingly subjugate themselves, just so they could come back, get shitfaced all over again and then place themselves in a situation where they would just give away even more.

No, not many people see the truth in any of this. But that is why we use metaphors and especially so when we are far too close to reality to understand what’s going on around us, at a critical moment in our history when knowing the truth about what these so-called representatives of the people are actually doing on their own behalf is vital, because they are telling us and letting many of us believe that its for us all.

There is nothing beneficial for the UK or our People taking place in this Parliament.

The majority of our MPs are sold out either directly to the EU or indirectly via misplaced loyalty to the people who are leading them – and therefore all of us, over a very steep edge.

Whether deliberate or by accident, they are all modern-day quislings. They are aiding a foreign power in the guise of the EU to take control over us all, step-by-step, lie-by-lie, rule-by-rule. And they are content to do so as they believe that their roles in Parliament will continue to be assured, knowing that they are selling out their own People and over 300 years of Democracy in order to facilitate any policy that will allow them to do so.

Anything other than leaving the EU without a foolish and unnecessary ‘deal’ – no matter what steps are now taken to bring it about – will be a complete betrayal of the British People.

It is not what we the British People Voted for.

And from any Elected Representative, we have the right to expect a whole lot more.

 

images thanks to unknown/’Brick Top’ from the Film ‘Snatch’

Rename Remain ‘informed consent’ or anything else you’d like to try to overturn Brexit. The democratic decision to Leave has not yet been delivered and that’s the truth your obfuscation can never deny

December 4, 2018 Leave a comment

Culturally, perhaps one of our worst pastimes of the day is the habit of trying to make everyone else wrong.

Whilst the clearest manifestation of this behavioural menace is that of the blame culture, it is the adoption of this approach as the standard tactic by Remainers in their continuing efforts to overturn Brexit where its presence is most clearly and most dangerously felt.

I have met and spoken at length with many people and friends who are Remainers. Individuals and professionals who are intelligent, sensible and have the wherewithal to steer their way through the day-to-day minefield which is the voter end of the political spectrum – just as long as the politicians are being honest and the truth isn’t actually being denied.

What They all have in common is that none of them have been able to provide genuine reason for Remaining a Member of the EU other than some form of personal advantage, such as banking or what their employer does, or it simply being most often the case that they hate notified change and they want to maintain the status quo.

It is clear that the vitriol which drives the Remain faction is based upon a sense of loss of control, the sense of personal cost or just the sense from fear of change.

There is nothing tangible about benefits to the wider community, the interests of anyone beyond those they care about or the surfacing of any argument which indicates that Remaining a Member of the EU is a genuine solution to all the ills around us – it being the case that since June 2016, this is what we have been repeatedly told.

So it is the media support and manipulation through communication and the disingenuous behaviour of our Politicians which form the basis of this sell-out of our Sovereignty to an accumulation of different foreign shores. And when there is no real substance to anything that they are telling us or even saying, it comes as little wonder that so many of their messages and soundbites are so freely susceptible to change.

The big problem with all of this is that Leaving the EU properly offers UK People and Businesses a clearly discernible difference to everything that we have for over 40 years experienced and to that which we are still being drip-fed and directly told.

But a real Brexit as yet hasn’t been delivered. This despite the fact that the objective was set in stone as a democratic instruction. It was given by the People, by a majority and in direct response to the binary choice which was binding – as the same Politicians who are now trying to commit us to the EU, convinced us before that historic European Referendum and underlined their very clearly in bold.

So no matter how much effort is spent on trying to repackage the same old story, it is clear that the same old lack of substance Remains.

This whole plan is still about selling out the UK to a foreign power. One driven by an autocracy that wants to use the UK as a resource for nothing more than its own empire building, doesn’t care about democracy in the UK or the people or businesses within it. Yet it will do everything within its power to sell the idea that we cannot live without the influence and control of 27 other countries and that Remaining is the only way that we can ever be safe, secure and feel prosperous, when the truth is quite the opposite.

Put in the words of one of the World’s most influential statesman, ‘You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time*’.

So go ahead. Rename Remain ‘informed consent’ or anything else you’d like to try to overturn Brexit.

The democratic decision to Leave has not yet been delivered and that’s the truth your obfuscation can never deny.

image thanks to unknown

*Abraham Lincoln

Meglamaniac May ignores her Remainer-in-Chiefs; the Cabinet wont act because they all want to be PM and all who could stop this madness are prepared to leave her fate to a Parliamentary Vote – irrespective of what new hell this chain of irresponsibility will unleash

December 3, 2018 Leave a comment

May Halo 2

We all love a parliamentary parody, but not when it has actually become real life and instead of seeing a script acted out, we are witnessing the daily evolution of the real thing.

Make no mistake. The story we are now seeing unfolding bears no similarity to what the principle of democracy and the will of the people was ever supposed to be about.

The lunatics have taken over the asylum and the impact of everything that they are now doing is not going to be without significant cost to us all, in the many ways that the Brexit charade delivers its range of consequences and fall-out.

We see a full Cabinet of Ministers propagating the myths of the current Prime Ministers making, just so they can keep their hand in when it comes to the ‘expected’ pool of choices when the potentially imminent Conservative Leadership Contest begins.

We see Remainers so hell-bent on overturning the decision of the People which they took so personally, that they now have to prove that the majority of the British People were wrong. They are prepared to destroy democracy by pushing for a second Vote, when through the actions of their own camp, the Country has not even delivered upon the first.

We see Brexiteers still so fixated on their own idea of what Brexit should look like, that they have themselves forgotten what it was that the British People have voted for. They are overlooking the strength in numbers that comes from recognising and working on the democratic principle of commonality. By doing so, they have surrendered their own strength to the misunderstanding and mistrust that Remain continue to sew, which Brexiteer unity would quickly push aside.

An at the top of the tree, we have a Remain-obsessed Prime Minister who has become so fixated with the belief in her own hype, that she is now even ignoring the advice of her own Remain-obsessed Civil Servants. She is prepared to withhold Legal Advice to Parliament so that she can single-handedly ensure that her closer union with Europe, sold as Brexit can be coercively pushed through Parliament and British Democracy not just now, but for ever then be denied.

What should perhaps be most worrying, is that most of the MP’s in Westminster know that we are riding the cusp of a constitutional wave which has the potential to deliver changes for the UK which in any form they now come will be very sinister.

The status quo has now been cracked right down the middle and even staying exactly where we are would not resemble anything like the 22nd of June 2016 – in terms of what some still see as an option labelled ‘Remain’.

This obsession with being seen to keep ones hands clean or simply to save ones job means that inaction is continuing to rule the day.

Like the many Theresa May related events which have materialised before, Conservatives with the ability to precipitate change are waiting to see what happens.

They are ignoring the fact that they are going around in circles and are likely to find themselves giving May yet another chance just as soon as she steps out of the Voting Lobby next Tuesday after the ‘first vote’ hits the floor, puts out the begging bowl and blithely asks them ‘Please MP’s, can I have some more?’

Labour don’t come out of this any better. And their obsession with getting into Government at any cost, aided by the inaction of the Conservatives on both front and back benches may very soon come to pass.

By taking the easy option and waiting for the ‘meaningful vote’ to take place on December 11th, all of our MP’s are setting themselves up for a very difficult and possibly monumental task.

Whether Theresa May decides to go back to the Country, the Remainers push for another Referendum which puts democracy firmly in the past, the Government falls and with the DUP ‘walking the floor’, or Jeremy Corbyn and a rainbow coalition walk right in to No.10 before Christmas, it is clear that Parliament now has no discernable power or direction, nor the ability to make any decisions which have legitimate longevity and as such the surety to even last.

This free-for-all of ‘my idea is best’ and ‘I will do whatever I can to make everyone else wrong’ is actually beyond parody. In fact, it is becoming a real-life tragedy.

Whilst MP’s have been doing shocking things for a very long time, the transparency that the Internet and age of Social Media has brought means that their idea of what responsibility looks like is already having a far-reaching impact.

It is now action and not more words the People are looking for before there is even the chance that some faith in our Parliamentary system could even begin to be restored.

If MP’s seriously want to regain their credibility, they must do whatever necessary to stop the Theresa May show right now.

The best thing for us all will be an immediate change in Conservative Leadership, to someone who is not self-obsessed with the idea that getting into No.10 is all being in politics has ever been about.

Someone who can look all the Remain hyperbole in the eye, face it and the ever-controlling EU down and then push through a process to Leave which works for all of us, guarantees the UK its Sovereignty and freedom, and outs the ridiculous idea that anything even remotely Remainish is going to be of genuine benefit to anyone or any home-based business in the UK.

 

 

 

 

28 different people will always have and need a different relationship with money. So why would the UK be any different when it comes to the economy and 27 Countries in the EU?

November 28, 2018 Leave a comment

img_1894

Everything we perceive is relative. We often forget to see it that way. Or, we simply lose the grasp on individual perspective when we could and should be applying its use to many other things.

In everyday life, the consequences are often played out in our misunderstanding of others, just because we overlook the opportunity to at least try empathising and seeing a situation from the point of being stood in someone else’s shoes.

Regrettably, the relativity between one situation which appears materially different from another is much easier to overlook, even though once the similarities are thought through, the same principles are often easy to apply.

How this Government and the Remain contingent are treating our relationship with the EU is sadly no different.

It is regrettably too apparent that the care and consideration, coupled with the intelligence and common sense that fuel an objective reality for the future of this Country are in this case being dangerously denied.

Economics is the topic of the day for the Government’s denial over the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

We see Phillip Hammond being wheeled out as part of May’s life support, knowing that like the coterie of other fear-driven Ministers that surround her, in the Prime Ministers immediate future is where their own legacies and political destiny will permanently lie.

Like one person who earns differently to another, has different family commitments and needs, has different resources handed down, lives in a different place, has different tastes and has a different culture and approach to spending, the individuality of our approach to economics relates to what we have, what we are, what we can get and what our independent priorities are – or yes, are allowed to be.

It’s part of how we are defined, how we survive and is inescapable as a key ingredient of how within a world ruled by money, we can be flexible enough to go forward and survive.

Countries are no different. In fact they are far more complex and have an ongoing need to be able to respond malleably to the needs of the markets in which they operate, to the needs of the majority of everyday businesses which operate within them and above all, to whatever might be the requirements generated by their own population – i.e. their own domestic need.

If you have need of any example to illustrate how removing economic flexibility can go wrong when you have the idea that synchronising your economic system with other Countries is the place where you belong, you only need look at the cases of the EU Members Greece and Italy to get a very good idea of how the idea of harmonising economics between different Countries can go dangerously wrong.

We are fortunate that we were able to leave the ERM at that point that we did in the 1990’s when the Conservative Party was last on a downward trajectory after getting so much about its responsibilities to the Electorate so wrong. It could otherwise easily have been the UK today which suffering so catastrophically, as we would be unable to make our own rules on money and be ruled completely by the will of 27 other Countries when it came to everything financially that we did.

Put simply, we would already be the EU’s bitch, and if Theresa May is allowed to continue with her treacherous sell-out, that’s exactly where each and every part of our Country is going to be.

The scare stories being propagated by Ministers only interested in saving their big jobs and their own skins are a travesty of misinformation and bear no relation to the reality that it is only when you have control over the choices that you make, that you are fully equipped to adapt to each and every battle, and reach a position where as a Country, we can economically win.

There are already many Countries who want to do business with us, whilst remaining shackled under Theresa May’s Welched Brexit ‘deal’, will only ensure that all these massive opportunities will very quickly end up in the bin.

We must not be in fear of the EU. They have much more to lose by working against us, and everything to gain fro working with the UK to facilitate a genuine process for us to Leave, and then build a relationship with us which facilitates the same kind of access to each others markets that everyone but the EU itself wants and knows we can keep open – what is for all of us very much the ‘win-win’.

Growth and prosperity are only there for us as a Country to enjoy if we actually have and maintain control over them.

It will not be until we have recovered and used that Great British step into the unplanned unknown and broken all ties with the EU that we will again taste the real opportunities that meet and are open to our culture.

It is here that we will be able to achieve without restriction in our own markets, across the whole World including Europe, and be on a pathway to once again as a Nation being proud of who we are and appreciative that we are capable of so much more.

 

Image thanks to unknown

 

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