If you have any comments on these or any other issues in the news today do post them below. We’d love to hear what our members and supporters think!
So now we are told that the EU is willing to be a little more “flexible” over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, but only if they are given “real-time access to data” on all goods moving between GB and NI, so that the EU can vet these and grant their gracious approval. The deceitfulness of the EU knows no bounds. Laughably, they claim that there is “almost no difference between the UK’s demand for “no checks” and the EU’s offer of “minimum checks, done in an invisible manner””. But hang on – how can they possibly be given such information unless detailed forms are completed by anyone wanting to move goods between these two parts of the UK? And that is the problem. Why on earth should UK companies, moving goods within the UK, have to complete lengthy, time-consuming forms and gain EU approval in order to do so? This is what is so completely unacceptable.
Northern Ireland is part of the UK, just like Cornwall or Yorkshire. There are zero checks or forms on the movement of goods between these counties, and there should therefore be an equally zero number of checks or forms on the movement of goods between GB and the six counties in Northern Ireland. I really don’t see what is so difficult to either understand or accept about the fact that there should be no internal border of any kind within the UK. No other country in the world has such a border, and if Liz Truss agrees to this EU demand she will be continuing the betrayal which ‘Boris the Traitor’ started. The fact that she has – like her treacherous predecessor – refused to use Article 16 of the Protocol to drop all these appalling barriers to GB-NI trade proves that Truss can’t be trusted when it comes to defending the integrity of the United Kingdom.
I see that Ukraine is making huge territorial gains in its counter-attack in the north-eastern Kharkiv region. This is not at all surprising, given the superiority of both their equipment and their training – both of which have been provided by the West. Ukrainian forces have recaptured more than 20 towns and villages and over 1,000 square miles in the Kharkiv region in the past days, as well as some 200 square miles in the south of the country. Russian troops are either fleeing or being captured, and the general commanding Russia’s western army group has been sacked after just 17 days in post. Russia has historically, had a very low tolerance of military failure by its leaders, and the catastrophic defeats suffered in Ukraine undoubtedly endanger Putin’s position. Indeed, we now learn that municipal deputies from 18 districts of Moscow and St Petersburg have signed a public statement calling on Vladimir Putin to resign.
Britain’s contribution to Ukraine’s success has been pivotal. We have supplied the Ukrainian military with multiple-launch rocket systems, several types of anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, self-propelled guns, artillery rounds, counter-battery radar systems, mine-hunting equipment, a number of different drones, loitering munitions and GPS-jamming equipment. In addition, Britain has hosted thousands of Ukrainian recruits in order to train them to use all this new and highly sophisticated equipment. In total our military aid has been worth some £2.5 billion, and we have also contributed around £1.5 billion in humanitarian and economic support. The UK has given Ukraine more aid than the whole of the EU combined.
My question is this: why are we just giving Ukraine all this aid? Why are they not being asked to pay for it? During the second world war the UK had to agree to pay for all the aid we received from the United States, despite them being our ‘allies’. The US loaned us £2.2 billion under a scheme known as lend-lease, and also charged us 2% annual interest, so that by the time we finished repaying it – which we only did at the end of 2006! – we actually paid them back a total of £3.8 billion. If we were asked to pay for our own survival, why on earth are we not imposing the same requirements on Ukraine? Ukraine is not a poor, third-world country. It has (in peace time, anyway) huge agricultural exports, as well as oil and gas reserves. In fact, at around a trillion cubic metres of natural gas reserves, Ukraine has more gas than any European country apart from Norway. On top of this Ukraine is a mineral mother lode, being home to 117 of the 120 most widely used minerals and metals. Ukraine has immense reserves of wealth, so I repeat: why are we just giving them aid rather than asking them to agree to pay for this?