• Tory Eurosceptics: Living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

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    The Eurosceptic press is in ebullient form today. “…A day for Britain to salute Mr Cameron…” gushes the Daily Mail in its editorial.

    This ebullience illustrates the naivety of the Tory Eurosceptics. They believe that they can have their cake and too eat it too. Ironically, one of the most sensible comments has come from that Arch-Europhile, Denis MacShane (above) who commented; “…There is now little point in Britain staying in the EU. I congratulate ….. the Eurosceptics on their victory. It is a historic turning point and Britain might as well get out now, as Europe’s future will be settled without us….”

    Of course, Mr Cameron is fully aware of the momentous decision he had to take at the summit meeting. This of course why he put on such an elaborate coup de théâtre. In yesterday’s article, Treaty? What Treaty? One could be forgiven in concluding that this organ failed to draw the reader’s attention to the significance of the impasse.

    Of course Mr. MacShane would very much like Mr Cameron to turn around and propose the UK leaves the EU immediately. He is of course not going to do this. Cameron has got to allow the situation to develop.

    In yesterday’s article we used the terms “smoke and mirrors” and “coup de théâtre” as the UK has been subject to such from before the Arch-Traitor Heath took this country into the European Community in 1973.

    Remember the “Common Market?” The free trade group that never was? The term “Common Market” was a term exclusive to Britain. That marked the opening scene of the coup de théâtre orchestrated by Heath. Throughout the time of this country’s suzerainty to the EC/EEC/EU there has been a continual deception practised upon the British People that somehow British Sovereignty was not impaired. When this lie became impossible to sustain the term “pooled sovereignty” came into being.

    We would refer the reader to Jean Monnet who said, “Europe’s nations should be guided towards the super-state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.”

    Monnet’s statement described the truth that generations of British Europhile politicians have sought to shield the British People from. Now, Cameron realises that the moment may be approaching where the charade is coming to an end. He has to prepare the ground for a British exit. How is this going to go down?

    Insofar as the Tobin Tax is concerned, the French and the Germans have a simple decision to make: to proceed or not to proceed. They will of course be informed by the fact that a 26 member wide Tobin Tax with 1 exempted (the UK) member (whose capital London, is the premier financial centre in the EU) is a non starter. Such would be a huge boon to the City of London as the inevitable result of such an arrangement would be a large transfer of profits (and employment) from EU financial centres to London. The French and the Germans are NOT going to allow this to happen. Therefore the choice is plain: they abandon the plan OR institute such and get the lawyers to draft a text which extends the EU’s writ to cover the UK and rely on the ECJ to affirm the legality of the move.

    Theirs will be a gamble. Will the British People vote for a party with a manifesto commitment to leave the EU? Of course the French and the Germans are thinking way ahead of the Tory Eurosceptics who naively think that they have secured by Cameron’s coup de théâtre, a “British opt-out.”

    Here is a probable scenario:

    The UK’s fellow twenty six members will formulate an international or executive agreement within the terms of the Treaty of Lisbon to put in place the necessary structure of a federal economic government over the Eurozone. Additionally measures will be put in place to ensure that the “Tobin Tax” or Financial Transaction Tax across the EU. The officials in the EU at the behest of the French and the Germans will put in place a form of words which the authorities in Brussels will deem applies to the financial institutions in the City of London – the clause will define the limits of the Tobin Tax as those states that form part of the Single Market – which of course includes the UK. When this happens the [expletive deleted] will hit the fan.

    Clearly the coalition government will declare that the EU is acting Ultra Vires. This of course will go straight to the European Court of Justice. Anybody who thinks that the ECJ will give judgment in favour of the UK is living in cloud cuckoo land!

    At that point Cameron will be forced into the position of making a decision. Accept the writ of Brussels or not. Refusal to accept the ECJ’s judgement will result in the government being forced to repeal the European Communities Act of 1972. Accepting the writ of Brussels will result in political annihilation for the Tories.

    Before he set off, Cameron knew what was going to go down. The French and the Germans were determined to impose the Tobin Tax. This would have resulted in the City of London being hugely damaged and the Tories holed below the waterline. Thus he walks out. He now has to wait.

    Of course, Cameron would like the EU to roll over and allow the UK to continue as before. He would like the EU to accept that the UK can “opt out” of what it does not like. But the French and the Germans are not going to allow this. People across Europe are suffering and their politicians will want to be seen, “making the British pay.” The French have already argued that the problem [the European debt crisis] started in the financial services sector. This is like an alcoholic blaming the whiskey distillery for his alcoholism.

    Cameron realises that it can only be by being able to portray the EU as being “unreasonable” and a threat to British interests that he can present an argument (disingenuous) that the EU has changed in such a way that the UK is better off out. This in fact is another necessary charade in order to allow the Tories to accept an argument that does not appear to be contradictory.

    Of course, this is more than likely to result in a General Election than a referendum. We can see the Liberal Democrats are in a dilemma following what has just taken place. It is difficult to imagine how the coalition could endure the Tories wishing to defy the ECJ. It will be at that point both Labour and the Tories will realise that the forthcoming election will be a straight two party contest between them. That the Lib-Dem vote will be annihilated, that the UKIP vote will also be annihilated. The Greens will probably pick up some votes from unhappy Lib-Dems, but the First Past the Post electoral system will work against them.

    Be prepared to go to the polls at some point before Christmas 2013. Of course, the Labour Party will say that it was the Tories abandonment of the UK’s seat at the table that led to this. That would be wholly dishonest. But then, Mr Ed Miliband is a perjurer so what’s new? Labour will focus its attack on the fact that the Tories will appear to be protecting the interests of “the bankers” and the “City of London.” Of course, this is absolutely vital as carp as you may, the City of London is the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    Of course, Cameron’s most powerful opponent will be the Brussels Brainwashing Commissariat which announced Cameron’s veto in suitably doom laden tones. Be sure that this agent for Treason will seek to hinder any effort to restore lawful government to the UK.

    • We were never in the EU legally anyway and Britain will be chucked out. I predicted this in 2010 to Downing Street; it would mean judgement from God would follow.

    • It was this month, ten years ago, December 2001, that the UN ordered debated the imposition of either a, Carbon Tax, or a Tobin Tax, as a means of wealth redistribution, from the rich countries of the West, to Africa. It was the UN’s premier think tank, Club of Rome, headed by Gorbachev, that decided upon frightening people into believing that global calamities would ensue, unless anthropogenic use of fossil fuels were curbed.

      “The common enemy of humanity is man.
      In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming,
      water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these
      dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through
      changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome.
      The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
      - Club of Rome, premier environmental think-tank, consultants to the United Nations

      “We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination…
      So we have to offer up scary scenarios,make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts…
      Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
      - Prof. Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology,
      lead author of many IPCC reports

      “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue.
      Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”
      - Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation.

      “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…
      climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
      - Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

      “The data doesn’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations
      on the data. We’re basing them on the climate models.”
      - Prof. Chris Folland, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research

      “The models are convenient fictions that provide something very useful.”
      - Dr David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University

      “I believe it is appropriate to have an ‘over-representation’ of the facts on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience.”
      - Al Gore, Climate Change activist

      (source http://www.thegreenagenda.com)
      From Africa Recovery, Vol.15 #4, December 2001, page 22

      Can the financing gap be closed?

      UN panel suggests new international taxes to help fund development
      By Jullyette Ukabiala

      As aid from rich countries slides further, a UN independent panel on development financing recently proposed new ways of raising more funds to rescue millions of people from poverty — most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. In 1999, donor countries gave just $12 bn to the region as official development assistance (ODA), $6 bn less than they gave in 1995. Such aid, even at its peak, fell far short of the continent’s needs.

      The panel, chaired by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, was set up by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to identify innovative methods for raising the estimated $50 bn needed yearly to implement the UN’s commitments to poverty reduction and sustainable growth in developing countries. Its recommendations will be considered by the UN conference on financing for development, to be held in Monterrey, Mexico, in March 2002.]

      Among the proposals are taxes on the consumption of fossil fuels and on international currency transactions. The panel urges new ways to boost aid and investment flows to poor countries, and to assist countries raise funds from within their own economies through better political and economic management, including by improving their ability to collect domestic taxes. Such efforts would be supported by the establishment of an international tax organization and the holding of a summit that would address problems arising from globalization, the panel stated.

      Members agreed that reversing the widening and “shameful” gap between rich and poor countries “is the pre-eminent moral and humanitarian challenge of our age.” And sub-Saharan Africa, they noted, should be a priority. “Nowhere is a global commitment to poverty reduction needed more than in this region. Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest proportion of people living on less than one dollar a day, and indeed, its people are almost as poor as they were 20 years ago.”

      A currency tax

      Combating poverty, the panel argued, requires the provision of vital services which strengthen social and political stability, such as peacekeeping, healthcare facilities and programmes for environmental protection — described collectively as “global public goods.” To secure the enormous amount of money needed yearly for that, it said a global system of taxation is necessary, either through a currency transaction tax or a tax on the consumption of fossil fuels.

      A currency transaction tax, also known as a “Tobin tax” — named after Yale University economist James Tobin, who first proposed it — would have individual countries collect a “small tax” of between 0.1 and 0.5 per cent on all foreign exchange transactions in their national currencies anywhere in the world. With the total value of such transactions currently put at $1,600 bn a day, up to $400 bn yearly would be raised at a minimum tax rate of 0.1 per cent. Each country would keep part of the revenue collected and release the remainder to international agencies funding global public goods.

      The panel noted that such a tax could have a side benefit of helping to curb potentially damaging speculative buying and selling of currencies — aimed at making profit later when prices change. Such “gambling” was in part blamed for the devastating capital outflows that plunged Southeast Asian countries into economic crisis in 1997-98.

      The Tobin tax has been criticized on the grounds that it could be evaded, might not actually yield the expected benefits and could unwittingly hurt global economic growth by discouraging financial transactions of all kinds. However, several major industrial nations have voiced support for the tax, which is also backed by a growing coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The panel decided that “further rigorous technical study is needed” before any conclusions could be reached on its feasibility. Ms. Robin Round, policy analyst for the Halifax Initiative — one of the NGOs promoting the tax — told Africa Recovery that the call for further study “gives us an important opening to educate more people about the promises of a Tobin tax and to keep pushing for the consensus necessary to adopt it.”

      Taxing fuel consumption

      The Zedillo panel also proposed a tax on the consumption of fossil fuels. Support for such a “carbon tax” has been growing since the 1992 UN Earth Summit focused international attention on the damage to the environment caused by excessive use of fossil fuels worldwide. The release of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, contributes to global warming and climate change.

      The main energy sources that would be affected by a carbon tax include coal, petroleum, kerosene and natural gas. The tax would be reflected in an increase in their price, at a level based on the capacity of each type of fuel to emit carbon dioxide. The higher the carbon content, the higher the minimum tax rate. The tax would likely be collected by fuel vendors. Implementation would not be difficult since many countries already impose taxes on fossil fuels. An additional carbon tax, the panel hoped, should encourage consumers to shift to lower or non carbon-emitting sources of energy, such as hydro-power, solar energy and wind power.

      The panel gave no estimates of how much a carbon tax could generate. Industrial countries would agree to release their carbon tax revenue to international organizations funding global public goods. Developing countries would invest their proceeds in their own economies, enabling them to increase public spending.

      The panel members agreed that reversing the widening and “shameful” gap between rich and poor countries “is the pre-eminent moral and humanitarian challenge of our age,” with sub-Saharan Africa as a priority.

      African states, like most other countries, are heavily dependent on fossil fuels for transport and industrial activities in both urban and rural areas. A carbon tax, which would make fuel more expensive for many families, would therefore also reduce the amount of money available for food and other basic necessities. Public demonstrations in countries like Nigeria and Zimbabwe following fuel price increases also indicate that a carbon tax could aggravate social discontent and political instability.

      Would such a tax be good or bad for poor African countries? Good, says Ms. Emira Woods, programme manager for development policy issues at InterAction, a US-based coalition of over 165 NGOs, many of which are involved in development and humanitarian activities in Africa. Besides helping to clean

      up the environment, it would provide them with more development funding, she notes. Similarly, the deputy director of the regional bureau for Africa of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Mr. Jacques Loup, told Africa Recovery that a carbon tax in rich countries would help “boost the international resource base for aid to Africa.” However, Mr. Geoffrey Mwau, an economic and social policy adviser at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), cautions that the benefits would be lost if the tax collected from rich countries is treated as a “substitute” for ODA.

      An international tax organization

      With increasing cross-border movement of goods, services and capital in the world today, states are less able to collect taxes from multinational corporations, the panel observed, bringing substantial losses in potential revenue. Pointing out that taxes have become a potential source of conflicts among states, it noted that “the taxes that one country can impose are often constrained by the tax rates of others.” The lack of precise and established regulations for taxing the income of multinational corporations makes it difficult to determine which country is entitled to which tax. All that exists are “complex and in some respects arbitrary conventions,” the panel said.

      Several international and governmental organizations already deal with international tax issues, including a UN group of experts on international cooperation in tax matters. The panel said a new international tax organization should be created to assume all functions performed by existing institutions. It would serve as a global intergovernmental forum for international cooperation on all tax issues. It would also help resolve conflicts between countries and help them to increase tax revenue by fostering information exchanges and measures that could reduce tax evasion on investment and personal income earned at home and abroad. Funds raised could be used to increase spending on public services.

      The capacity of many African states to generate income on their own is often hindered by inefficient tax collection. Mr. Loup of UNDP believes the proposed international tax organization could help African governments reform their tax policies, but it should not interfere with their authority to design their own tax systems. The real problem with the tax policies of African states has more to do with corruption, Mr. Mwau of ECA believes. Most Africans are poor and the small number of the rich from whom substantial taxes could be collected “are able to avoid taxes through corruption.” For as long as that remains the case, he argues, tax reforms alone would not help Africa.

      Globalizing decision-making

      Existing international bodies, “largely designed for the world of fifty years ago,” are no longer equipped to address problems arising from the growing interdependence of nations, the panel stated. There are no satisfactory means of dealing with global economic “shocks” and no effective way to ensure that all voices are heard. “Global economic decision-making has become increasingly concentrated in a few countries.”

      The panel called for the creation of a global council to lead the international community “at the highest level” in managing today’s global issues. The council would be more broadly based than the Group of Seven industrialized countries or international financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Its decisions would not be legally binding, but it should have the political clout to promote development, encourage major international economic organizations to improve their policies and build consensus for resolving global economic and social problems. The panel recommended that the UN convene after next year’s Mexico conference, a “globalization summit” of heads of state to decide on the shape and status of such a global council.

      African leaders and advocacy groups have been complaining about the continent’s increasing marginalization and impoverishment as a result of globalization and are not sure how the proposed global council and summit could benefit them. They “would be worthwhile,” Mr. Loup said, so long as they devote adequate attention to issues that seriously affect Africa — crippling debt, aid flows, information and communication technology, market access and the environment. Mr. Lamin Manneh, UNDP’s strategic and regional programme adviser for Africa, said more needs to be known about how a global council would help resolve “the problems we face today.” A special forum or channel, he argued, should be created to enable African countries to express their concerns forcefully within the new institutions. The “big problem” is that the council would not have binding legal authority, says Ms. Woods, who nevertheless remains optimistic about the potential benefits of a global council to African states.

      The ECA’s Mr. Mwau notes that “attempts to deal with global issues through the existing mechanisms have failed not just because the institutional arrangements for dealing with them are inadequate, but more fundamentally because there is no political will.” The creation of a new global council by itself would not help unless the international community commits to enforcing the council’s decisions. African states, he argues, would benefit only if they are not excluded from making those decisions.

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