newsletter 07/04/24


A consortium of lawyers have called for the UK to stop exports of arms to Israel over concerns about breaches of international law by the IDF.

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Dear Subscribers,

A consortium of lawyers have called for the UK to stop exports of arms to Israel over concerns about breaches of international law by the IDF. Put aside questions of right and wrong in Gaza and it becomes clear once again that ‘international law’ is being used to justify policies which are ineffective and damaging. Imports from the UK form a negligible part of Israel’s military arsenal, while Israel, itself a major exporter of arms, is an important regional ally.

Figures published this week suggest that UK manufacturing is growing for the first time since July 2022. Standard and Poor’s PMI rose to a 22 month high, and data for the UK was much stronger than data for the EU. In the first quarter of 2024, almost 60% of British manufacturers said they expected production to increase in the next 12 months.


A good year ahead for UK manufacturing

In its latest attempt at self-immolation, CCHQ is reportedly blocking candidates with right wing views from being selected to stand as MPs. 2016 and 2019 prove that there is a winning electoral coalition for a party with pro-Brexit, small-c conservative policies. The Conservative Party has decided it wants to be neither and would apparently rather lose than let conservatives stand for office.

Scotland’s controversial new hate crime law has taken effect, with predictably disastrous effects. Senior officers have warned that cuts will have to be made elsewhere to deal with the huge volume of complaints from people reporting alleged hate crimes. As everyone who has ever been on the internet will know, policing comment sections for inflammatory language is a fool’s errand. Attempts to crack down on trolls are unlikely to be successful, while the impact of fewer police resources to fight real crime will be felt acutely.

European police arrested 22 people and seized assets worth millions of pounds as part of an investigation into fraudulent use of Covid funds. This particular group is thought to have taken €600 million from a fund intended to help struggling businesses through the pandemic. It is thought that billions of euros were lost to fraudsters over the course of the pandemic and there are currently more than 200 live investigations.


Italy cracks down on Covid fraud


Blogger Jupplandia on the great lie of international law

Patrick O’Flynn on the huge defeat awaiting the Conservatives


More propaganda from the FT by Catherine McBride

The FT is determined to convince its video viewers that the UK needs to rejoin the EU. This time they are claiming we need a Veterinary Agreement to reduce border friction – we don’t. Only 0.5% of UK exports would ever need this, and we have continued to export beef and dairy products to the EU since Brexit, without one. So, what is the FT’s real agenda?

The best analysis on the FT’s ridiculous propaganda video was made by Barney Reynolds, Head of Financial Institutions, Shearman and Sterling,  whose contribution made more sense than anyone else:‘Giving away sovereignty to reduce border frictions is an extraordinary notion. It is not an approach adopted by major countries in the world, let alone a G7 country, so why are we thinking in this extraordinary sort of craven way? I just think it represents a failure of analysis of the opportunities for the UK.’

Why the OBR is wrong about Brexit by Derrick Berthelsen

When you compare apples with pears and then bananas you might get a half decent fruit salad but you will definitely get terrible analysis.In a recent conversation, Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King’s College London, informed me that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast for the cost of Brexit was “always only trade, and they’ve always modelled migration separately”.The trouble is I know that is both factually incorrect and also only the tip of the iceberg of the issues with the OBR Brexit analysis.

The OBR’s Brexit analysis is fundamentally flawed. Not only does it compare apples with pears, not only does it exclude any positive economic effects from leaving, it also includes unreasonable and unjustified predictions for productivity. The OBR should take its own advice and admit that the only costs of Brexit which can be safely and reasonably modelled and assumed are the direct costs. And that these direct costs are in part mitigated by post Brexit reshoring of production. The rest isn’t just apples and pears but unproven bananas.

Key Points

The think tank Labour Together, founded by (among others) Rachel Reeves and Wes Streeting, released a report this week which gives some indication of what immigration policy might look like under a Labour government. It is interesting not just for what it says about immigration, but for what it shows about how the current Labour leadership thinks about political problems. Public opinion is something to be managed rather than heeded, and the solution is always more state control.

The report recognises that Britain has lost control of its borders, but it refuses to recognise the impact the resulting high levels of immigration have on living standards. There is no mention of the effect an annual arrival of half a million people concentrated in urban centres must have on housing and public services. Opposition to immigration is put down to concerns about the contribution that immigrants make to British society and to concerns about how orderly the immigration system is.

Labour Together have an ingenious solution to these concerns: noting that many people think taking citizenship is a promising sign of commitment to the UK, they recommend making it easier for newcomers to apply for British citizenship. Refusing to recognise the problems that are caused by high levels of immigration is one thing, proposing as a solution policies that give migrants more incentives to come is positively mad.

But numbers do not seem to be a problem for Labour Together. They seem satisfied that “a combination of security, competence and pragmatism can gain public support, even

while migration numbers remain relatively high.” In other words, public opinion (that immigration is too high) can be ignored so long as there is veneer of control and orderliness as opposed to the sense of chaos that currently prevails.

But if control is not for reducing the numbers then what is it for? Labour Together think that it is for integrating immigration policy with economic development and public services. Controlling the type of people that come in can give Westminster more control over the labour market and more control over the skills flowing into the country. Put another way, rather than letting the markets decide what skills need to be imported from abroad, a Labour government will decide instead, using the rhetoric of ‘chaos’ to justify more state intervention in the economy.

The Conservatives have undeniably failed when it comes to immigration. After 14 years, they will have nothing to show but soaring rates of net migration and a total loss of control of the borders. But electing a Labour government will be out of the frying pan and into the fire, as they do little to bring numbers down and use past chaos as an excuse to intervene in areas of life that are better off without centralised planning.

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