05/1/17

Best quote I read today on Jean-Claude Juncker

Best quote on Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, after the (now infamous) dinner (#Junckerdinner on Twitter) last week with Prime Minister Theresa May was by Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader. “It’s clear and obvious,” Smith said, “that Juncker briefed this story [to a German newspaper] with the sole intention of making himself look good. This is all part of his self-aggrandisement and if nothing demonstrates that the vote last year to leave was a good decision it is this miserable and rude action of the president of the EU.”

Can’t trust Juncker, can’t trust the European Commission to negotiate in good faith for a Brexit “success. The goal is to extract as much as they can from Great Britain, and show no respect to a majority of British voters in the process.

Zero Hedge has a good reading on the dinner and surrounding controversy here.

 

04/28/17

Top Three Worse American Quotes About Great Britain Since 1940

As an American student in Britain during the glorious 1980s, I was often astounded by some of the quotes I’d hear about America. But republican Americans have been equally offensive to British subjects.

These three quotes are candidates for the worse since 1940.

Joseph Kennedy: “Democracy is finished in England.” November 1940

Dean Acheson: “Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role.” December 1962

Barack Obama: “The UK is going to be in the back of the queue.” April 2016

03/16/17

Unelected Labour Peers and Brexit

From the Independent today: “Labour Lords have launched a new drive to secure greater influence over Theresa May’s Brexit and secure the rights of EU citizens in the UK.”

Unelected members of a minority socialist party holding up the traditional rights of the British in order to protect the rights of foreigners. Do socialist peers think the European Union will not look after their citizens?

 

 

06/3/16

Brexit 101 for Yanks

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent video for Americans entitled, “Brexit 101: The U.K.’s EU Referendum Explained.” President Obama can be found beginning at 2.32 minutes in the video giving his now infamous ‘back of the queue’ jib at British voters. The President should have known better rather than leave such a flippant and incorrect remark for posterity.

05/26/16

Chris Grayling’s Congressional Address on Brexit

The Leader of House of Commons addressed a large, full room in the Rayburn House Office Building last Monday evening, 23 May 2016.  His spirited arguments on behalf of Britain leaving the European Union provoked many questions from a collection of House and Senate staffers, many of whom will probably never have an opportunity to question such a leading British political leader again in a room of Congress. Rep. George Holding (R-NC) introduced Grayling to the audience. In his introductory remarks, Holding, finding parallels like Margaret Thatcher would surely have between Brexit and American independence, noted, “It is also appropriate that Chris delivers a Brexit address on this trip to America in the United States Congress. Why? It was an older Congress, the Second Continental Congress, that had its own vote for independence, and adopted the Declaration of Independence. A vote for Brexit would be a British declaration of independence from the European Union.”

Grayling’s address can be viewed by clicking here or the picture:

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05/23/16

The Rt Hon Chris Grayling speaking in Congress this evening on Brexit

I’m attending the The Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom event tonight (23 May) with The Right Honorable Chris Grayling MP, Leader of the British House of Commons. The event is in cooperation with Representative George Holding (R-NC), and being held in The Gold Room, Rayburn House Office Building, from 5pm-6pm. The title of Chris Grayling’s address is, “Brexit, Britain and the United States”. The Thatcher Center description of the address includes challenging President Obama.

Mr. Grayling, formerly the Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary from 2012-15, and currently the Conservative Leader of the House of Commons, is an outspoken supporter of British exit from the European Union, and a defender of the principle of democratic sovereignty. In his remarks, he will challenge President Obama’s contention that British membership of the EU is in the best interests of Britain and the United States, and make the case that Britain would be more prosperous, more free, and a better ally outside the EU.

To my knowledge, it will be the first pro-Brexit address by a prominent British leader in the Congress.

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(Source: Belfast Telegraph)

05/4/16

Do Brits need their own Declaration of Independence from the Americans?

The Daily Mail reported yesterday that “legendary US investor Warren Buffett has weighed in to caution that Brexit would be a ‘big step backward’, and former US President Bill Clinton is reported to be planning an intervention later in the campaign”. This is part of a larger trend that has come from the center-left in America to threaten British voters either explicitly or implicitly if they vote to leave the European Union. President Obama led the charge in the UK last month with his (now infamous) use of “queue” in applying what he mistakenly thought was the full weight of the U.S. government to threaten the UK if it left the EU. We can only wonder what old Rhodes Scholar Bill Clinton will say, or why he feels compelled to make any statement, other than yellow highlighting his wife’s position (anti-Brexit).

It is ironic that some leading Americans, many perhaps descendants from British subjects who violently severed their relations with the Crown, would now engage in threatening British voters, if they declare independence from the European Union. At this stage, it might be in the interest of independent minded Brits to craft hurriedly their own declaration of independence from Americans meddling in the affairs.

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British subjects drafting their independence from the United Kingdom. Note the flag of St. George in background: A symbol of ancient English rights, which spread throughout the world, beginning in Philadelphia.

 

05/2/16

The Awful Ronald Reagan Film Project

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President Reagan during his second term

There is some (rare) good news from Hollywood that a so-called comedy based on the alleged onset of President Reagan’s Alzheimer’s in his second term has (for the time being) been shelved. It was in profoundly bad taste, and met with considerable opposition from the Reagan family, and many other Americans. Can you image Hollywood making fun of President Roosevelt’s polio or President Kennedy’s Addison’s disease … nor can I.

But allowing for the bad taste in basing any comedy about Alzheimer’s, alleging that President Reagan showed evidence of the disease in his second term is even more egregious. John Fund writing about the whole insensitive film project, points to evidence debunking allegations that President Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s during his second term. Fund recommends reading the transcripts of President Reagan’s negotiations with the Soviet Union.

Indeed, historians who have read the declassified transcripts of the talks between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the period between 1985 and 1988 say that a man who articulated such complex and ordered thoughts could not have been suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Perhaps actor Will Ferrell, who was to play President Reagan, thought since Meryl Streep portrayed Margaret Thatcher suffering dementia after she left office, he could do the same with Ronald Reagan while in office? Maybe even rising above a dreadful plot, like Ms Streep, and winning an Oscar? But the fact that a Reagan-with-Alzheimer’s-film was to follow a Thatcher-with-dementia-film, demonstrates a complete lack of respect for two icons of the 20th century. Neither Alzheimer’s or dementia is relevant when considering them as leaders.

04/22/16

Back of the Queue: The President doesn’t speak for the whole U.S. government on Brexit

Today President Obama said the “UK is going to be in the back of the queue” if the British vote to leave the European Union in terms of any free trade agreement. The priority for the U.S., the President said, was a trade agreement with the EU. For the UK to have a free trade agreement with the U.S. any time soon, if ever, the country would have to remain in the EU.

The President made the point that he was speaking for the American government. This was presumptuous at best, arrogant at worse, for he was only speaking for the Executive Branch, and even then only for an administration in its waning months of power. The Congress has an equal role in trade agreements, and legislation can be enacted at any time instructing an administration to enter into trade negotiations with Britain, if the country leaves the UK. Furthermore, the Congress could make passage of any trade agreement with the European Union contingent on Britain being extended the same privileges as the EU.

What might prompt such action by Congress? Because Members of the House and Senate would be acting in the best interest of the United States. The UK is America’s 7th largest trading partner, and the 2nd largest trading partner in the EU, after Germany. Why would any country want to reduce its trade with such a top trading partner? The President’s comments were gratuitous and insulting to Britain. He should have remained neutral, and offered to assist the British — an ally in three wars, WWI, WWII, and the Cold War — in any way, no matter how they voted on EU membership.

© Imperial War Museum

D24990 Women and children queue for fruit and vegetables from a London greengrocer, 1945. Fruit and vegetables were not rationed in Britain during the Second World War, but some, like bananas, oranges and onions, were either unobtainable or in short supply. © Imperial War Museum

04/20/16

Bernard Ingham, Benjamin Franklin & Margaret Thatcher

The robust Sir Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher’s chief press secretary from 1979 to 1990, has an article (here) in the Yorkshire Post today, “Brexit is our chance to restore authority to the Mother of Parliaments.’ For any American who may wonder what Sir Bernard means by “Mother of Parliaments”, it’s the British Parliament. A view, it should be noted, once deeply embedded in the minds of the original American colonists. As Benjamin Franklin said (here) before the House of Commons on 13 February 1766 in the context of repealing the infamous and hated Stamp Act:

Q. In what light did the people of America use to consider the Parliament of Great Britain?
[Franklin]. They considered the Parliament as the great bulwark and security of their liberties and privileges, and always spoke of it with the utmost respect and veneration….

 Q. And have they not still the same respect for Parliament?
[Franklin]. No; it is greatly lessened.

Sir Bernard makes an argument that is similar to the one Franklin made regarding the view British colonialists had of the British Parliament after enacting the Stamp Act. The European Union, like the Parliament for the American colonials, hasn’t proved to be a “great bulwark” in protecting traditional British “liberties and privileges”.

Unlike the United States – as President Barack Obama should acknowledge this week in advocating Britain’s continued membership – the EU is not fully democratic with a federal government in Brussels.

Nonetheless, it now generates most of the laws which the UK is required to observe and its courts have precedence over the UK’s. This situation is anathema to those who want to restore British sovereignty.

It’s an interesting turn of events that Britain today is fighting for many of the same “liberties and privileges” Americans fought for in 1776, albeit this time peacefully and through a ballot. In this context, Britain leaving the European Union becomes an act within the great tradition of freedom found in the English-speaking world. As Margaret Thatcher told an interviewer (here) during the 1989 celebration of the French Revolution:

Interviewer: In the margins we have read a great deal about sniping between you and the French which started with your remarks about the French Revolution. Do you think, on reflection, that it was perhaps a little unkind of you, it is the only Revolution they have got and they are very proud of it?

Prime Minister: No, nor do I think very much to your comment. I was asked about human rights and whether I thought human rights started two hundred years ago. Most certainly they did not and I gave the reasons why they go right back to Judaism, to Christianity, they go right back to Magna Carta, they go right back to our Bill of Rights, 1689 after we had our 1688, the American Statement of Independence 1776 was one of the most brilliant pieces of English literature in proclaiming the liberties of man and the government is there to serve the liberties of man.

We may be able to add soon to Lady Thatcher’s history lesson the leave vote in the European Union referendum in Britain.