Successful Liberal Exchange with Antony Hook MEP candidate and Monica Harding Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

Our Liberal Exchange with Antony Hook MEP candidate and Monica Harding Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Esher and Walton last night in Esher was inspiring, encouraging and energising. Thank you both and great to have a good crowd join us. Now we are campaigning across the constituency for all ‘remainers’ to vote for the Liberal Democrats in the European election on 23rd May. We can still stop Brexit!

Liberal Exchange about Euro elections with Antony Hook MEP candidate for the South East and Monica Harding Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Esher and Walton

Having only just ‘wrapped up’ the local Elmbridge election there’s another election looming in a couple of weeks – the European Parliamentary election on 23rd May.
Here’s an opportunity to learn more about European Parliamentary election, Parliament itself, how it works and how our MEPs are contributing.
We are delighted to have Antony Hook, Liberal Democrat MEP candidate for the South East join us this Sunday 12th May at 7pm at King George’s Hall in Esher (opposite the Civic Centre) to tell us more about European Parliament and its role. You’ll be able to put questions to Antony and engage in a discussion about the current state of affairs in Brexit negotiations.

Antony is an international criminal barrister by professional background so he also knows a thing or two about cross border crime, and why European cooperation is essential. But not just in crime, but also in how to tackle climate change and air pollution, transport, research cooperation, agriculture, technical standards and other key areas.
The event will be hosted by Monica Harding, Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Esher and Walton.

You and your friends are warmly welcome on Sunday night (12th May at 7pm) to this free event!

Guess what – Surrey admits Brexit is bad for us

Brexit is bad for us says Surrey County Council’s impact assessment – now that it has finally been revealed.

Thanks to Monica Harding working with other local Lib Dem members and our campaign with the Surrey Advertiser, the Information Commissioner’s Office have ordered Surrey County Council to release their Brexit Impact assessments.

And guess what, brexit is really bad.
‘No deal’ means that the UK would be treated by the EU as a 3rd country and would be subject to full 3rd country controls, including completing customs declarations and being subject to a variety of border checks.

Brexit is not included as a risk within the National Risk Assessment 2016. Although the risks associated with BREXIT can be drawn from this document

On the Surrey Community Risk Register in a no deal brexit scenario the following risks are identified:
H14 – Food Supply contamination
H60 – High consequence dangerous goods / transport accident
H24 – Emerging Infectious Diseases
H25 – Major outbreak of exotic notifiable disease in animals (including birds)
H37 – Influx of British Nationals

The following risks have also been identified in the SCC report:

  • Loss of cover due to industrial action by workers providing a service critical to the preservation of life (such as emergency service workers)
  • Local accident on motorways and major trunk roads
  • Public Disorder
  • Notifiable plant disease / Notifiable exotic invertebrate species

Within SLRF partners own risk management processes there is the risk to the supply chain where goods and products are imported from the European mainland

And the kicker – as of 20 July 2018, HMG has suggested that partners should have plans in face for a four week period of disruption (that is increased controls by EU states at ports, including Eurotunnel) plus a two week period to allow the impact to return to relatively normal levels of service.

Key consequences:

  • Surrey expect long delays in accessing Dover ports and Eurotunnel in Kent.
  • Temporary closure or permanent changes to all or part of the M20 and M26 to support Operation Stack and other mitigations for port delays.
  • Significant reduction in the capacity of the Surrey Highway Network, with consequential increase in local and pan Surrey road journey times, impacting on local residents and businesses.
  • Significant long term detrimental impact on county’s economic competitiveness, attractiveness
  • Significant disruption to health and social care delivery within the community; for patients travelling to hospitals for treatment and for critical staff in getting to work

Significant disruption to the food supply chain with delays in the exportation of food from Britain, and importation of food from the rest of Europe and non EU countries.
Significant disruption to the distribution of medication around the county along with supply chain of medication from outside of Britain.

Significant economic and environmental impacts for Surrey or in other words – total chaos to our supply chains. That’s food and medicine supplies to the shops. We learn of nearly half million homeless in Britain, and one in five children living with severe food insecurity, and then Brexit contingency plans say supplies will be disrupted. Welcome to the land of hunger.

When was the government last right on a timescale? The Prime Minister couldn’t even get the date of the meaningful vote delivered, a simple vote in parliament. What hope ferries delivering vital food and medicine to Britain? How long will four weeks stretch on for with failing Chris Grayling, four months? four years?

Surrey hid it from us, even though it all its contents were already in the public domain. Why?

Surrey County Council has only included in its impact assessment existing published information. Why did they try to hide it from residents? Were they ashamed of their own lack of activity, or following the minority conservative governments orders against the interests of the residents of Surrey?

Surrey County Council obviously feared the residents of Surrey would be unhappy to learn of their plans, and so decide to keep them hidden. They found the only legal argument they could to try and hide behind. To refuse to provide local residents with information about Brexit preparations, to deny FOI requests, and to keep secrets from residents. They relied upon an exception intended for cases of national emergency and public order. They relied upon the section 36(2)(c) exemption – the catch all exception – using “safe space arguments” to delay the publication of supposedly important contingency plans.

And they have been found to have done so improperly, with the ICO ordering the information be released.

A victory for Surrey residents against a secretive county council seeking to keep the residents of Surrey in the dark.

Yet the plans are half baked, barely worth the effort of reading. What a farce of a county council.

Surrey residents left in the dark again.

Opinion and Analysis – Time to turn to the pro-EU party

By Sam Vete

Braab braab black (belt) sheep, have you any wool? 
                         No Sir, no Sir none at all!
Said there would be plenty, but the bags are empty – it is plain!
     Nothing for the businessmen
, working hard down the lane!

Walton and Esher Tory voters, you have been warned! Dump Dominic, the monomaniac ideologue who puts his personal fantasy before the interests of his voters. He displays laughable ignorance of ‘realpolitik’; the significance of the Dover/Calais trade route and the difficulties of a small island (not an empire) in the maelstrom of global trade.

Braab, poster-boy of the referendum campaign, becomes the emasculated bell-wether black sheep, entering the pen along with retrogressive 17th century throwbacks; the ERG and Parliamentary hard-core brexiters. He rejects the directions of ‘one dame and her dogs’ (May and the whips) and has chosen his own selfish dogma. He even puts the UK at risk of a ‘no deal’, acknowledged to be far worse than any other deal.

Leaving aside the merits or otherwise of May’s BINO (brexit in name only) deal, like it or not, it would be better to stay in the EU. Braab has shown himself to be out-of-step with the electorate, locally and nationally. It is time to rid politics of such extremists. He should either be deselected (q.v. Kate Hoey) or voted out.

Don’t imagine for a minute that Labour will be galloping to the rescue. That way lies shepherd Corbyn’s brexit crook and a return to 20th century socialism.

Now is the time to turn to the pro-EU party, the LibDems. Our agenda deals with real issues:
Schooling and education
Affordable housing
Protection of the green belt
Realistic funding options for the NHS
… And, of course, an ‘exit from brexit’!

Brexitometer highlights anti-Brexit sentiment in Elmbridge

Monica Harding, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Esher & Walton, together with her campaign team are hitting the streets of Elmbridge and asking residents about their Brexit concerns – using Brexitometer. In it locals are invited to give their view on five Brexit-related questions, by placing star stickers in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ boxes. So far this street action has taken place in Walton and Claygate. Esher, Cobham, Molesey, Thames Ditton and Long Ditton are next in line.
There is no doubt about how Elmbridge residents are responding to Brexit – it is not going well, it is bad for our future, it will hurt NHS and economy. Mr Raab also gets a thumbs down when it comes to his role in the process. So no wonder a large majority of residents demand a People’s Vote.

If you’d like to hear more about Brexitometer or talk with Monica about your concerns, get in touch by emailing her – monica_harding@hotmail.com – or call her on 07799 704816.

 

Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

Have you heard any MP claim that they have read Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement?  Have a look here.  How many pages can you read before you loose the will to live. How likely do you think it is that your MP has read it?  I am not expecting you to read it but do have a little look.  This is the legal document between the Britain and Europe.   If you want to have a more digestible overview then look here.

Remember that the withdrawal agreement is just a small part of the whole process.  The big decisions have yet to be made and could take many years.

If you would like to have a peek at the political declaration for the basis of the future relationship between Britain and Europe then look here.  This is not a legal document, purley an aspiration.  It is well to remember that we would have left if we are negotiating this framework.  Therefore we will be in a much weaker position because Europe is far bigger than we are.  This declaration is is the best we can get and, if it comes to this, the deals will be far worse.  If you want to have a more digestible overview then look here.

 

Liberal Democrats select Monica Harding in Esher & Walton to fight the next general election

As the party prepares for a possible early general election, the local Liberal Democrats have selected Monica Harding as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Esher and Walton.

Monica is challenging the incumbent Conservative MP Dominic Raab on an anti-Brexit platform and the Conservatives’ chaotic management of and continuing underinvestment in public services.
Monica said: “60% of Elmbridge voted to stay in the EU and our MP continues to ignore us. Raab’s hard Brexit views do not represent us as a community – that’s why I’m running.”
“I will campaign for a People’s Vote to end a Brexit that serves Dominic Raab rather than his constituents’ best interests. The time for putting self-interest and party politics first needs to end. I will fight for local residents’ interests and represent the views of our community honestly.”
Monica has lived in Thames Ditton for over a decade and is married to
Jon, with four children at local schools in the borough. She is Vice Chair of Governors at a state primary school in Thames Ditton and has held positions on the boards of several charities.
“I demand better for our children – and a different kind of future than the Tories offer. I will fight school cuts, underinvestment in the NHS, the black hole in social care spending, cuts in policing and the justice service, climate change, and the continuing chaos on South Western Railway which lets down our residents on a daily basis.”

Monica has held high profile positions in the public, private and third sector in the UK and internationally. Her CV includes: Associate
Consultant at PA Consultancy, CEO of the Industry and Parliament Trust, CEO at Refugees International Japan and Director of Communications for the British Council – working in Japan, China, France and the UK.
In these roles, she has honed her skills in communications, campaigning and advocacy, strategic direction and driving organisational efficiency.
As a Liberal Democrat Monica will stand up for liberal values and progressive policies and is committed to bringing transparency and integrity to politics.

For more information, please contact:
Monica Harding, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Liberal Democrats in the Esher & Walton constituency
Email – monica@monicaharding.org

Opinion & Analysis – Raab’s Cake is Dog’s Brexit

By ‘Sam Vete’ – 1st November  2018
From an InFacts article: “Raab’s proposals mean that amendments to the motion approving May’s agreement with the EU would not be voted on until after Parliament has decided whether or not to accept the deal … The culture of the Brexiters is that … any action that [brings about] Brexit is justified, no matter the price in terms of law, decency or democratic principles.” ( https://infacts.org/brexiter-chicanery-shows-they-arent-winning-argument/ )

Raaab’s version of Johnson’s cuisine is: “Once we’ve eaten the cake, then you can have it – soaked in bile that is evidence of the chaos of hard-line brexiter regurgitation”. As Justice Minister, this would have been equivalent to executing the suspect before trying the case; as Housing Minister, equivalent to building on green belt before the planning meeting. In these roles, Mr. Raaab’s feet scarcely touched the ground. His meteoric rise to BrexSec left him little time other than the opportunity to practice the kind of ambiguous empty rhetoric which is a prerequisite for a key role in the monomaniac brexiter government that May has cultured.

Since his appointment (which saw the emasculation of his political negotiating powers by May a few days after his elevation!), his behaviour has been reminiscent of a puppet automaton, contributing only the repetition of the dogma: “This Government is committed to leaving the EU”.

Clearly, Mr. Raaaaab is sitting on the pot but has produced only hot air – and, to anyone committed to remaining in the EU, an obnoxious effluvium. It is time for the worthy Tory voters of Walton and Esher to prise the sycophantic Mr. Raaaaaab’s sweaty glutaeal muscles from his safe seat.

For our constituency, the LibDems offer the only centrist activity that can sweep aside the brexit travesty and get Britain back on track.

Trade Deals

Do you want to know what the British proposal is for handling customs after Brexit? Alright then here you go, it’s very simple really…..

If Britain imports something from outside the EU-27 and then that product is shipped into the EU-27 then the British government collects the EU tariff and pays it on to the EU once the goods have been exported onwards.

Say, for example, we import a Harley Davidson motorcycle valued at £10,000 into Britain and the EU has a 10% tariff then if that bike is then exported into an EU-27 country then we would pay the EU £1,000.

Let’s look at another example. Say we import 20 tons of beef from Argentina (at £1,000 per ton with a 10% EU tariff) and two tons are shipped into the EU-27 we would then pass on the tariff of £200 on the two tons.

See I told you it’d be easy.  Oh but wait…. what if we use ten tons of that beef as materials for making beef curry and then sell on that curry as a ready meal into the EU-27? We would have to calculate the proportion of the meal that matches the beef tariff from Argentina.

Oh and if we are importing vegetables in that meal from Asia then we’d have to look at the tariff on each ingredient and then calculate how much we owe the EU-27.

What about car parts? Say we export a car into the EU built by Nissan in Sunderland? Valued at £20,000 export price we’d have to identify the value of specific parts that came from the EU (with a tariff), identify what parts came from outside the EU (with different tariffs) and then when it’s exported into the EU deduct the tariffs on the parts from the EU and pass on the tariffs we collected on non-EU parts.

Getting more complicated now eh? Bear in mind that a car has 30,000 parts! We’d have to do this for all 4,500 plus product nomenclature (product groups) that we trade with the EU.  Bear in mind just one product group like steel plate has over 3,200 different grades of steel and you can begin to see the size of the complexity – and THIS my friends is the top suggestion that Theresa May is still trying to get all her Cabinet and party to agree on from the Body Bag Summit at Chequers, despite the fact that it’s already been ruled out by the EU as completely unrealistic and unworkable. And they’ve categorically stated that the EU will not allow a third country to collect tariffs and duty on its behalf. If there was a dispute then where would Britain as a third country go for resolution outside the EU?  The incompetence of this administration is simply astounding. It’s almost as if they don’t know what they are doing!

Chequers Accord

The Chequers Accord was dead before it was written and the cabinet should have known that after being told for two long years that it is illegal to cherry pick the four pillars/freedoms of the European Union (EU).

The very foundation of the four freedoms of the EU, freedom of movement of goods, capital, people and services are indivisible. If the EU decided that it was going to allow Britain to split these freedoms by permitting cherry picking for goods but not services then they would have to make these same allowances for fifty plus other countries too… because the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules state that you cannot provide a better deal for one nation that you do for others.

In order for the EU to accept the Chequers Accord they’d be in breach of their own international treaties. I suggest that this is a highly unlikely scenario as they’d likely have to start re-negotiating the Canada-EU deal and the Japan-EU deal amongst others.

Another key WTO rule is that if you want to trade favourably then a country must check, measure and control goods coming in and going out of the country. All members of the WTO have agreed this so that they can ensure the right tariffs and quota and quota are being applied.

However, the sovereign British parliament’s EU Withdrawal Act that recently received royal assent by Her Majesty the Queen specifically states in Section 10 that it would be illegal for a British government to do anything that creates new checks and controls on the border on the island of Ireland or damage the Good Friday Agreement. This means that if we crash out of the EU with no deal then we would be subject to the highest possible external tariff regime for every single country in the WTO.  And it would also be impossible for Britain to negotiate free trade deals to mitigate these extortionate tariffs. This would devastate British exporters. completely.

So where are we?  With six weeks of negotiations left before the conclusion of the Article 50 talks, the only proposal from the British government is to ask the EU to break its international treaties and agreements or we leave on the absolute worst possible terms for Britain. A situation you wouldn’t even consider in a nightmare. Or…. alternatively…. we could remain in the EU where we currently trade all around the world, make our own laws in Westminster while also heavily influencing the laws of the largest trade bloc on the planet, control our standards and quality, while also not bringing the country to a standstill. Did you know that between 1990 and 2016 the British economy grew by 68%? That’s faster than the G7! It’s already been damaged since the referendum to one of the worst on our continent.

It’s not too late. Stop Brexit and stop the damage – now before it’s too late.