Friday, April 3, 2020
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Brexit and tourism

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chester city centre

Chester is a tourist City – the Romans stopped by a few hundred years ago, we have our famous Walls, the Rows and the oldest racecourse in Britain.

It is a little sad then to discover that to discover that Britain’s tourism industry is already suffering because of the prospect of a ban on European visitors travelling to the UK using an identity card.

According to the Government’s own website during 2021 we will stop accepting national ID cards for entry to the UK for EEA citizens” But according to the European Tourism Association the move is already deterring visitors. If we place an extra barrier on tourists from Europe it is not surprising that they will choose instead to travel to any of the 27 other countries of the EU that they can visit with their ID card. Why would those tourists go to the extra expense of obtaining a passport just to visit a country that places barriers in their path?

At a session at the World Travel Market, 2019 delegates were told that European visitors are concerned about both the red tape involved in post-Brexit travel to the UK and the warmth of the welcome. Many Chester residents, especially those involved in the tourism industry, will certainly do their best to provide a warm welcome, but we are powerless to prevent another layer of travel bureaucracy deterring people coming in the first place.

Except – we haven’t left yet. In just a few days we will elect a new set of MPs. We can only hope that they will recognise the importance of tourism to our country and put a stop to this Brexit nonsense.

NHS – not for sale (but we’re open to offers)

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nhs dismantled car

The Conservatives want you to believe that the NHS is safe in their hands. Bit like the Police, Fire Service, Libraries, Social Care, Justice, Prisons (add all areas of the public sector here). Safe, but just a bit smaller. Quite a bit smaller, until some crisis occurs and then they make great play of funding new Police Officers, Nurses and so on.

But the Tories are built on a theory of free enterprise, letting the market decide etc. At least they were, I’m not really sure what their overarching polictical philsophy is now. I know that Boris wants to have sexual relations with business, whcih seems a strange way to promote economic growth.

The NHS has always been an election issue for the party in blue – Labour’s proudest achievement, loved by the public, free at the point of need – but always a target for rapacious management consultants and political reorganisations.

In the event of a Tory majority and a right wing party devoid of its centrist wing (Clarke, Gauke, Hammond etc) they won’t sell off the health service overnight. It will just be salami slicing – a small charge here, a minor increase there. We won’t notice these you see, and by 2024 we will look back and think that we can recall when we had free hospitals, doctors, ambulances. Cheap medicines, free prescriptions for those most in need. A trick of the memory of course.

All very expensive of course, and the market says that we should pay the going rate for being sick. Small and subtle changes, quite unimportant – unless you’re in a hospital bed and first guy you see is the one with the credit card machine.

Is the NHS safe?

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we love our nhs

Boris Johnson has lied to us again.

He said he wasn’t going to sell our NHS to the highest bidder. But leaked documents show he’s already put our NHS on Donald Trump’s negotiating table.

This is a real risk to the NHS. American healthcare companies have a range of interests in our healthcare “market”. They want to raise our drug prices to approach the higher prices in America, they want to increase the patent licensing period to benefit themselves – and they want increasing access to our health data. and our policymaking on health.

They also want more influence in policymaking. This is the erosion of the NHS as we know it. They want more pharmaceutical industry involvement in decision-making so it’s their rapacious corporations whispering in the ears of our politicians. They will push aside our universities and charities focused on our patients’ welfare and the public good, to benefit their own shareholders.

Bluntly, if Boris Johnson wins this election, it could mean the decline of our say over our NHS. Just look at the fact that this document had to be leaked. In what universe is it in the public interest to keep these machinations secret from public knowledge and all our public institutions? Why was it hidden away?

On December 12th, we must choose. Do we want to elect

(A) a Parliament that backs a People’s Vote for *us* to decide how to proceed

or

(B) a government that will secretly develop then hurriedly pass a Johnson-Trump Trade Deal that destroys our NHS but benefits wealthy interests?

The people of Cheshire must decide – if you support a Conservative candidate you can’t say you weren’t warned of the consequences.

The morality of Mr Johnson

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boris johnson

Over the years, the character of  Boris Johnson has proved to be a vehicle for some pretty horrible rhetoric.  The man has a history of making inflammatory statements that appeal to a particular audience and then denying, obfuscating or simply ignoring any subsequent outcry. One might almost think he has learnt this tactic from across the Atlantic

Some examples  –-

His declaration that a Muslim woman wearing the niqab resembled “a bank robber” and that it was “absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letterboxes”.

He has called homosexual men “bum boys”.

He has – unbelievably – written about “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”.

He blamed single mothers for “producing a generation of ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate children”, saying that social housing was an enticement for them to become pregnant – plus some fairly racist comments about Nigerians.

His trick seems to be to scuttle behind the increasingly tattered defence that he is only trying to be funny, that his remarks have been taken “out of context”, that he is the victim of our old friend, political correctness gone mad.

There have been a few other problems too –

He has been fired not once, but twice, for dishonesty

The Sun  helpfully publishes a guide to his many children

And lets not even get into prorogation and lying to the Queen.

If the country elects a man with this character on 12 December – we can’t say we haven’t been warned.

Number 10 Fails to Share Report on Russian Interference

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Former Tory Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, now standing as an independent MP, has severely criticised Boris Johnson’s government for refusing to publish an intelligence report on Russian interference in, amongst other things, the 2016 Referendum campaign. Mr Grieve was head of the influential parliamentary committee that compiled the report and told the press he could see no valid reason for the government’s refusal to approve the release of the findings, which cover the threat posed by the Kremlin to British elections.

MI6, MI5 and GCHQ have already cleared the 50-page file as safe to publish but the report cannot be published without approval from Number 10 who have refused to release the findings to the public before the general election.

There have been several different excuses by Tory MPs defending the decision by Boris Johnson but Mr. Grieve said   “It is beyond my understanding as to what the valid objection is to the publication of this report.”

Bombshell – Brexiteer MP admits we will have 10 Years of Brexit Pain

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victoria-prentis

Tory MP Victoria Prentice came clean about theproblems of Johnson’s Brexit deal saying: “We’ve got years and years to talk about this. I wish I could say this (Johnson’s deal) was the end of Brexit”.

She admitted that the deal was a climb down for Johnson: “27 EU countries have agreed the deal, that’s good enough for me…We have to get the deal through. People are frightened about the prospect of more uncertainty.”

Johnson’s boast that he could ‘get Brexit done’ by 31stOctober meant he would accept any deal to meet his deadline.

He agreed what was essentially an early deal offered to Theresa May who had refused it. Cheshire farmers, car makers and chemical companies are quietly furious that Johnson’s deal really means a never-ending Brexit and doesn’t protect British goods from cheap imports from countries with poor animal welfare and weak environment protection.

One farmer says:“With no reciprocal tariffs on produce such as grain, how can we compete?” Antoinette Sandbach MP says: “Farmers in Eddisbury receive approximately £28 million from the EU as payment for delivery of environmental benefits including Cheshire wildlife trust.”

The beautiful Cheshire countryside will suffer if farmers can’t afford to maintain the environment.

Johnson’s Deal could lead to No Deal

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A burnt cake

The Conservative Party are making a Big Deal out of their election slogan – Get Brexit Done. They know, but they don’t want you to know, that Brexit will not be “done” at all. Even if he succeeds in getting the Deal through in January, we will be engaged in lengthy negotiations over the UK’s future relationship with the remaining EU 27 – and we haven’t exactly covered ourselves in glory with our negotiating performance over the last 3 years.

If we leave on 31 January, we enter a transition period which ends in December 2020. The liklihood of an agreement being secured in those 11 short months is remote – according to The Guardian “Trade talks between advanced economies can fill the best part of a decade”.

So if Johnson succeeds in securing a majority on 12 December and gets his Deal passed by a supine Parliament, we can expect years of negotiations. Failure to complete a Free Trade Agreement by his self imposed deadline will raise again the spectre of No Deal in 12 months – as confirmed in the Conservative Party manifesto.

This time around though we will not still be enjoying the fruits of our EU membership, unable to secure a last minute extension and those lorries really could be stationery in Kent. As ex members, we will be exposed to the cold, hard realiities of trade and economics – a falling pound, rising costs, business failures all around.

It could take years to recover – are we really sure we want to do this?


This blog is published by Chester For Europe – contact us if you want more information about our campaign activities

Facebook Political Advert Banned

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facebook image on a mobile phone and social media in letters

The Fair Tax Campaign, run by a former Boris Johnson aide, has been running an ad which was taken down recently by Facebook for breaking political advertising rules. The Fair Tax Campaign is run by Alex Crowley – a former aide to the Prime Minister who left Downing Street in September.

The advert was banned because although it shows it was sponsored, nevertheless it fell foul of the rules by not stating who was paying the bill. Mr Crowley claims his thinktank is not connected to the Conservative Party, but the advert made specific claims about Labour tax policy before the Labour Party had even published their tax plans.

In September Facebook removed an advertisement paid for by the Conservative Party. The ad carried a headline purporting to be a BBC headline reporting a “£14 billion pound cash boost for schools”. However the actual story it linked to on the BBC website quoted the figure as £7.1billion.

Facebook removed the paid for post on the basis that its advertising platform had been misused. Further controversy raged around the integrity of the Conservative electoral campaign on Social Media when a video of Keir Starmer was edited in such a way as to make him appear to be confused or hesitant in answering a question when the full footage clearly shows this not to be the reality of the interview.

Prominent Tory politicians shared this edited video put out by the political party on twitter. Conservative MP Johnny Mercer even tweeted later that it was doctored and claimed he would remove his original tweet although at the time of writing the Cheshire Patriot has found Mr, Mercer’s original tweet sharing the misleading video clip is still on the platform.