The Government Brexit Leaflet

This is part of the EU Fact File

The leaflet was circulated to all homes in the UK and therefore became the basis for the referendum.

Some facts1:

  • Author: HM Government2
  • Size: 14 pages
  • Cost: £9.3m
  • Circulation: 27m houses
  • Leaflet Title: Why the Government believes
    that voting to remain in the
    European Union is the best
    decision for the UK

The leaflet stated clearly what the referendum was all about.

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Quote on the purpose of the leaflet (page 2):

This leaflet sets out the
facts, and explains why the

Government believes a vote
to remain in the EU is in the

best interests of the people of
the UK. It shows some of the

choices the UK would face if
there were a vote to leave.

Quotes on the terms of the referendum:

  • The Government believes the UK should remain in the EU (page 2)
  • The referendum on Thursday, 23rd June is your chance to decide if we should remain in or leave the European Union (page 14)
  • This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide (page 14)
  • The EU referendum is a once in a generation decision (page 16)

Quotes on the consequences of the referendum (my comments in italic):

  • Remaining inside the EU guarantees our full access to its Single Market. By contrast, leaving creates uncertainty and risk (page 4).

    In other words the referendum is about leaving the EU and the single market

  • A more limited trade deal with the EU would give the UK less access to the Single Market than we have now – including for services, which make up almost 80% of the UK economy. For example, Canada’s deal with the EU will give limited access for services, it has so far been seven years in the making and is still not in force (page 8)

    Here the government make the public aware of the Canada deal as NOT an option as it is taking too long

  • Some argue that leaving the EU would give us more freedom to limit immigration. But in return for the economic benefits of access to the EU’s Single Market, non-EU countries – such as Norway – have had to accept the right of all EU citizens to live and work in their country.

    Here the government make the public aware of the Norway deal as NOT an option as it allows free movement

Summarising:

  • The vote is about leaving the single market
  • We will not consider a Canada nor a Norway style deal if we do leave

Some dodgy quotes with comment (in italic):

  • The Single Market makes it  easier and cheaper for UK companies to sell their products outside the UK, creating jobs as a result (page 4).
    Yes, to the EU, but not to the rest of the world. Largest growth is outside the EU


  • Being inside the EU also makes it more attractive  for companies to invest in the UK, meaning more jobs (page 4).
    Maybe, but why not invest somewhere else in the EU where labour cost is lower then?
    In fact businesses will get a EU grant to setup business in Eastern Europe.


  • If the UK voted to leave the EU, the resulting economic shock would put pressure on the value of the pound, which would risk higher prices of some household goods and damage living standards (page 6).
    Yes and no, as a lower pound promotes buying local and enable increase in export; which is good for business.
    Main pressure on the pound is created by the low interest rate imposed by BoE governor Mark Carney.


  • From next year, mobile  phone roaming charges will  be abolished across the EU, saving UK customers up to 38p per minute on calls (page 6).
    Well 3 (Three) already had this facility plus additional countries including roaming in the USA, well before it was introduced by the EU


  • EU membership also gives UK citizens travelling in other European countries the right  to access free or cheaper public healthcare (page 6).
    Well in theory yes, but most travel insurances offer little or no discount if you have a E111/EHIC card, as you need a travel insurance anyway.
    Few insurances offer a minor reduction in excess if you bring a E111/EHIC abroad.
    Additionally the E111 does not provide transport home if needed so get an insurance in any case!

  • The Government judges it could result in 10 years or more of uncertainty as the UK unpicks our relationship with the EU and renegotiates new arrangements with the EU and over 50 other countries around the world (page 8).
    That could be right if the break with the EU is not a clean break. A clean break would make everything certain as the UK would be like any other non-EU country.
    A no deal Brexit would instantly stop the uncertainty as the UK would be on the well known WTO term.

  • The UK is part of the EU,  a group of 28 countries which exists to promote economic security, peace and stability (page 12).
    A questionable statement as many southern European countries are suffering economically and the EU is seeking to have an EU army on it’s own in addition to NATO, why if all is fine?
  • EU membership means you and your family have the right to live, work or study abroad in any of the 27 other member countries. It also guarantees many employment rights (page 12).
    We can live, work or study abroad  anyway in most cases in most developed countries just as well as they can do same in the UK.
    If you have worked in London you would have been working with Americans, South Africans, Chinese and others.
    EU employment rights are just normal in a developed country and many countries have stronger employment rights than enforced by the EU directives.

Good Articles (subscripted)

  1. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/eu-referendum-facts-leaflet_uk_57053f77e4b01e4956fcddd8

References (superscripted)

  1. https://fullfact.org/europe/governments-eu-leaflet-introduction/
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/why-the-government-believes-that-voting-to-remain-in-the-european-union-is-the-best-decision-for-the-uk

Change log:

  1. 26/9-18: Created

EU – Quangos

This chapter will look into the various EU quangos either fully or semi controlled by the EU.

There are quite a few, so watch this space.

Galileo

Official Name: GSA

Budget: 30mill 20177 however financial resources are 2290 mill

Personnel: 1167

This is a EU funded GPS system initially designed for civil purposes but it was later agreed5 to include military purposes.

GPS is crucial for monitoring and assisting troop movements; and for autonomous and automated guided weapons systems.

There are several issues with the functioning of Galileo and the US and NATO supported system2+3 both technical and political.

The civil part of the system is utilised in cooperation with Canada6 and China4.

Until recently it is estimated the UK has paid £1bn into this project8.

Questions to be asked:
  1. Does the inclusion of the military use indicate EU want it’s own army independent of NATO?
  2. If China and Canada are partners and Canada and Switzerland are on the council; why are the UK then being excluded due to Brexit?
  3. Why does the UK need access to Galileo when the UK can use the US based GPS as part of NATO?
  4. Should the EU not return the 1bn to the UK when the UK has no part in the asset being created?

Europol(900+)9

Benefiting from its central position in the European security architecture, Europol offers a unique range of services9:

  • support for law enforcement operations on the ground
  • a hub for information on criminal activities
  • a centre of law enforcement expertise

So this is mainly a coordinating organisation for the police in the EU except Denmark, which is excluded from Europol.

Europol cannot directly engage in policing or arrest anybody.

Europol is governed by the European parliament as opposed to Interpol that has a lack of governance10+11.

Drawback is however Europol can only operate inside the EU using the EU arrest warrant.

Interpol has been used for political purposes due to the lack of oversight11.

Yet to come

Silly Quangos (staff employed 2018)

These ones are not important but shows the excess in the EU.

Community Plant Variety Office (45)

Protecting new plant varieties throughout the EU helps uphold breeders’ interests and ensures that their investments in research and innovation are profitable.

European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (137)

The agency manages the 3 main IT systems dealing with visas, asylum requests and sharing information to guarantee the security of the Schengen Area.

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (98)

At the crossroads between education systems and the world of work, Cedefop operates as a forum, allowing the organisations with a stake in its work to share ideas and debate how best to improve vocational education and training in Europe. It shares its expertise with political organisations and the 2 sides of industry in the EU countries to help them generate learning and working opportunities.

European Institute for Gender Equality (50)

EU agency working to make gender equality a reality in the EU and beyond. For this, it provides research, data and good practices.

Eurojust (240)

It helps EU countries combat terrorism and serious organised crime involving more than one EU country.

Good Articles (subscripted)

  • None yet

References (superscripted)

  1. Galileo – GSA
  2. https://essay.utwente.nl/58840/1/scriptie_C_Guney.pdf
  3. https://www.slideshare.net/jhasik/galileo-military-benefits
  4. https://www.gsa.europa.eu/newsroom/news/eu-china-cooperation-gnss-gains-momentum
  5. https://www.dw.com/en/european-parliament-approves-military-use-of-galileo-satellite/a-3474226
  6. https://www.gsa.europa.eu/category/website-sections/gsa?page=40
  7. https://www.gsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/annual_report_gsa_web-02.pdf
  8. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44232269
  9. Europol
  10. https://www.dw.com/en/interpol-who-polices-the-worlds-police/a-40171868
  11. https://www.liberties.eu/en/news/interpol-arrest-akhanli-sends-wrong-message/12863

Change log:

  1. 5/8-2018: Created document
  2. 7/8-2018: Minor changes to references document
  3. 26/8-2018: Added to-do and silly quangos

Catalonia – Catalunya

In the wake of the independence discussions I thought a fact page would be good to have.

Flag of Catalonia

Geography

Area1: 32,108 km2

Population

2017 estimate3: 7.477.131

This is around 16% of the Spanish population.

Economy

GDP4: €M 223,629

For comparison5 :

 

GDP €M

GDP per Capita

Population

Catalonia

223,629

29908

7,477,131

Finland

215,615

39134

5,509,717

Denmark

277,339

48243

5,748,769

Portugal

185,179

17962

10,309,573

Greece

174,199

15576

11,183,716

Catalonia has a good GDP for a south-European country, but nowhere near the Nordic countries.

History1

This is basically to highlight that Catalonia was a principality and therefore a country until 1716

The name Catalonia dates back to 1117.

The area was ruled by the counts of Barcelona and the House of Barcelona until 1410.

Catalonia was a principality together with the Kingdom of Aragon in the Crown of Aragon.

From 1164 to 1410 additional Kingdoms were added to the House of Aragon:

  • Kingdom of Valencia
  • Kingdom of Majorca
  • Sardinia
  • Corsica
  • Duchies of Athens and Neopatras (for a short time only)

This to a degree ties-in with the geographical reach of the Catalan language2.

1469 Ferdinand II of Aragon married Queen Isabella I of Castile creating an early version of Spain.

However both regions kept their separate status, parliaments and laws.

In 1716 the Principality of Catalonia was made a province after loosing the battle of Barcelona in 1714.

References

  1. Wikipedia – Catalonia
  2. Wikipedia – Catalan Countries
  3. El Instituto de Estadística de Cataluña (Idescat) – Población a 1 de enero. Provincias
  4. El Instituto de Estadística de Cataluña (Idescat) – Gross Domestic Product (Base 2010). Supply
  5. Eurostat – Gross domestic product at market prices

Public Sector Employment

Often talked about – but what are the facts…

I will be looking at full time equivalents (FTE); seasonally adjusted (SA) all readily available from ONS.

Observations:

  • Public sector employment is still high even during the conservatives
  • Central government has increased mostly due to NHS staff increases
  • Local services has been decreased mostly due to cuts in social and health services
  • NHS staff has increased also during conservative government
  • Social services has been cut during conservative government
  • HM Forces being reduced. Only increase was during labour
  • Administrations is being cut during conservative government

Governments since:

  • 1979: Conservative
  • 1997: Labour
  • 2010: Conservative

Total Public Sector

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Looking at the numbers below it does not add up:

2,602,000 + 1,610,000 = 4,212,000 so missing 285,000 FTE’s somewhere to get 4,497,000

Labour was in power from 1997 to 2010, which may explain the rising slope from 1999 to 2008.

The big jump in 2008 was due to bank nationalisations during the 2008 crisis.

Still in 2017 the public sector employment is high even during a conservative government.

Seems like austerity only applies to the private sector.

Central government

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Increasing even with a conservative government.

Local government

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Local services has been cut during the conservative government.

Public Administration

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Administration has been reduced during the conservative government.

NHS

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NHS staff has significantly increased since 1999 during both governments.

Hiring was very high during the 2008 crisis, which may have worsened the deficit.

Health and Social

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May explain cuts to social and mental services and reduction in local government.

HM Forces

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HM Forces has been continuously being reduced during both governments.

Only increases has been during labour governments.

Education

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Massive cut in 2012 but still higher than in early labour days.

Police

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Been cut during conservative government and still falling.

Civil Service

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Been falling since 2005 during both governments.

Other

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This clearly shows the nationalised businesses and the selling of Royal Mail in 2013.

Unemployment

Based on ONS employment figures.

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So nearly no unemployed then?

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Seems like we are missing around 20%, which is the “economically inactive”:

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Which translates to:

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4.6% + 74.8% + 21.5% = 101%

ONS states:

Everybody aged 16 or over is either employed, unemployed or economically inactive

The definition of each of these are for people aged 16 to 64:

  • Employed:
    • had paid work (as an employee or self-employed)
    • in a job that they were temporarily away from
    • on government-supported training and employment programmes, and those doing unpaid family work
  • Unemployed
    • without a job, have been actively seeking work in the past 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next 2 weeks
    • out of work, have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next 2 weeks
  • Economically Inactive
    • without a job who have not sought work in the last 4 weeks and/or are not available to start work in the next 2 weeks
    • students, people looking after family and home, long-term sick and disabled, temporarily sick and disabled, retired people and discouraged workers

Employed

You are counted as employed even if you have a “zero hour contract” as you are in a job you are “temporarily away from”.

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Unemployed

The key “actively seeking work” means anybody getting Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

Lots of people would not register for JSA as they would not get anything anyway.

Some examples from JSA rules where you would not get anything hence people would not sign-on then:

  • More than £16,000 in savings
  • Your partner works more than 24 hours per week

Economically Inactive

This is complex but looking at the data below it seems to be falling.

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Male inactivity is increasing not sure why?:

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Female inactivity is falling as more females are having a career:

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It may be explained by more people on benefits but needs further investigation as graph below is not in % of total population:

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