Montserrat, OTs and Caribbean – the UK – leave or remain EU

(Adapted)

Following our presentations and enquiry to which we have received scant response, we observed that we sparked discussion of sorts on the UK – EU referendum.

The Governor’s office on June 2 said, “…the UK has now entered a period of purdah in advance of the referendum, and there is to be no public discussion on our part.”

Reaction from another source at that time  said: “It seems obvious that a UK in the EU is a stabler environment for aid, and frankly it would be on the whole better for the UK and the world too. For instance if UK leaves, the Scottish exit will re-open and that on very different terms. None of which will be happy.

Either case, the miss on drawing on DFID during the time its budget grew from 5 to 10 billion, is going to hurt us…Has been hurting us.”

Meanwhile, a few days later, Minister of Agriculture, Trade and Environment Claude Hogan said in an early response, explained: “The current agreement for the EU programmes and projects for Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) is directly with each OCT and the EU, including Montserrat, up to 2020. Naturally, because of our status, the UK Administration is involved in our negotiations and conclusion of such agreements.  If the UK were to exit the EU arrangement this agreement is unlikely to be affected at least up until 2020.

“Of course there could be considerations arising if say the UK budget contribution to the EU were to decrease, but that is for a later discussions, especially as the basis for EU development assistance has been linked to the needs of people and not there political affiliation, but we are truly in new territory here with this Brexit drive from within the UK.

“In trade terms, Montserrat is unlikely ‎to be immediately affected any more than its CARICOM neighbours as it also enjoys an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) equivalent to that between CARICOM and the EU.

“We would need to deal with any impact to services trade say in financial services or to tourism with the rest of the region.

“There could be a lot of speculation about this question of Brexit, but it should be generally greeted with concern as it asserts political autonomy over the economic needs and expectations of people and the global market, especially those in the British Overseas Territories who have no vote on the matter, but will suffer the potential and real effects of a Brexit.”

From the Independent (UK) Newspaper:

How will the Passport Office cope if we vote for Brexit?

One reader wonders how the passport office will deal with every UK citizen trying to change their passport from EU to UK (Getty Images)

One reader wonders how the passport office will deal with every UK citizen trying to change their passport from EU to UK (Getty Images)

I have read and heard much talk from both the Leave and Remain campaigns, but neither has pointed out the simple fact that if Britain votes to leave the EU we will all have to apply for new passports.

Given the backlog of passport applications that already exist at HM Passport Offices, one wonders how they will cope when 42 million passport holders apply to exchange their EU passports for UK-only.

Mick Hall
Grays 

Some reactions to the debate:

It may seem a little over-dramatic to suggest that if, on 24 June, I wake up to a Remain victory then I will no longer be British but European. But there is an adjustment to be made, and that is as good a time as any to make it.

We can’t go on forever complaining that we’re not allowed to favour “our own people” in jobs and housing. If we now fail to change our political reality then we must instead change our sense of who we are. We need to resolve our identity dysphoria one way or the other.

This would be unfortunate for the poorer of the formerly-British, for who then will feel any particular responsibility towards them? We have so far helped by subsidising them in work that can’t otherwise generate a viable income. But what is the point of our continually trying to mop up unemployment when the labour taps are open and the European sink is overflowing?

Once we are all Europeans we can tell the unemployed to get on their bikes, or onto the Eurostar, to find a job, or a cheaper place to be jobless, in another part of our European homeland.

Everyone who matters will be happy. Conservative businessmen can import new workers to keep their profits up. Labour politicians and trade union leaders can import new voters to keep them in well paid jobs.
John Riseley
Harrogate

Any chance of Michael Gove providing examples of the EU as a constraint on 1) ministers’ ability to do things they were elected to do, or 2) using their judgement about the right course of action for the people of this country? Should be illuminating.

Brian Phillips
Ilkley

Caribbean Overseas Territories could suffer Britain votes to leave European Union.

Map of worldCMC – Britain’s Caribbean Overseas Territories could suffer significantly if it votes to leave the European Union in the June 23 referendum, according to a report released in London.

The report commissioned by the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) on the benefits of the European Union (EU) to the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs) notes that the  UKOTs have benefitted “in several important ways from their relationship with the EU, and many of these will be placed at serious risk if the UK decides to leave the EU”.

The UKOTA said that the overall aim of the report is not to force the UKOTs onto the campaign agenda but to demonstrate the value of the EU to the UKOTs and the prospects for their future relationship with the EU pending the referendum outcome.

There are 14 UKOTs spread across the globe, of which nine are directly associated with the European Union (EU) via the Overseas Association Decision (OAD) adopted by the EU in 2013. These are Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St Helena and Turks and Caicos Islands. Ascension and Tristan da Cunha fall under St Helena in the OAD.

The report notes that the UKOTs benefit currently from economic and environmental cooperation with the EU, as well as development assistance and policy dialogue.

Practical aspects of cooperation are welcomed by the UKOTs. For example, Bermuda’s financial services industry with its focus on insurance is aided by its close links with the EU, both in terms of it being a large market, but also as the EU recognises Bermuda’s regulatory system as equivalent to its own.

The report, titled “The United Kingdom Overseas Territories and the European Union: Benefits and Prospects,” notes that the EU market is a major one particularly for Bermuda, with its focus on insurance. Service sector imports from Bermuda to the EU amounted to Euro21.7 billion (One Euro =US$1.29 cents) in 2014 according to the European Commission.

“In addition, Bermuda benefits from the EU’s recognition that the standard of the island’s insurance regulation is equivalent to its own. Second, within the institutional structures highlighted previously the OCTs (Overseas Caribbean Territories) are able to discuss financial services and tax issues and initiatives with the EU before they are implemented. “

The report also noted that the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is the Co-Chair of the OCT/EU Financial Services Partnership Working Party (PWP), which brings together technical experts from the OCTs and EU to discuss issues of mutual concern.

“This platform is important for mutual understanding and to make sure that the interests of the OCTs are taken into account by the EU in its decision making.”

The report said that a number of the UKOTs are highly dependent on a small number of industries, and this increases their vulnerability.

“Thus several are investigating ways in which they can diversify their economies. For instance, BVI is exploring the commercial expansion of its fisheries industry, with the EU as a potential export market,” the report added.

It said that funding from the EU is also having a positive impact on the UKOTs, amounting to at least Euro 80 million between 2014-2020.

The report notes that recent and ongoing projects are focusing on supporting their economies, and helping the territories to address environmental challenges such as climate change, disaster preparedness and the conservation of their biodiversity.

“Beyond the policy benefits, the deepening institutional links between the UKOTs and the EU, particularly via the European Commission, have been supported by the Territories, providing as they do more direct access to EU policy makers.

“In addition, the growing cooperation between the UKOTs and Dutch, French and Danish territories in the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) has brought real gains, including greater political visibility of the territories in Brussels and a higher international profile,” the report added.

More on the debate

It is unfortunate that, as part of the Brexit debate, you repeat the myth that leaving the EU would prevent workers from coming to the UK, which would indeed be bad for many parts of the economy, especially the NHS.

But there would, in fact, be nothing to stop the UK allowing or even encouraging immigrants. The difference is that we could decide the basis on which they came, and where from, opening up the available pool rather than being forced to accept anyone from EU countries.

Mike Margetts
Kilsby

Universal benefits are not the answer to disadvantage

An education charity, the Sutton Trust, says that those from deprived backgrounds are still far less likely to get to university in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, with the rich four times more likely to go to university in Scotland than the poor.

Once again we see that universal benefits, in this case free tuition, are not a miracle cure. Overcoming the attainment gap is a complex and difficult task, not least because, at its core, you are trying to address the effects of poverty, which has proven to be a huge challenge for any government, no matter where they sit on the political spectrum.

In Scotland, the SNP has thrown its lot in with universal benefits in many areas where progressive-sounding initiatives might actually take funding away from those who need it most. By favouring the majority with “free” universal benefits, there is less scope for valuable targeted support for those who need it most.

No government ever has a bottomless pit of funding. The SNP has to decide if electoral popularity will continue to be prioritised above focusing help and funding where the need is greatest.

Keith Howell
West Linton

How do we define elitism?

Beulah Devaney’s piece on literary festivals must be one of the most sneering and patronising pieces you have run in a long time. Yes, the Hay Festival may be rather cosy and a bit stuck in its ways, but the rest of her arguments about literary festivals as a whole are undermined by her own examples. She talks about elitist literature and Michael Palin in almost the same breath, when his travel books were popular television tie-ins which sold in huge numbers. This raises questions about her definition of elitism.

Her second point, about charging as a sign of exclusion, is also irrelevant when my local third tier football club, Port Vale, charges three times as much for a 90-minute game. Would she attack the club, or a working class father taking his children to see a match there, as elitist?

As for the comment about a quarter of the population not reading for pleasure, this is actually one of the lowest figures in the developed world.

Jim Radcliffe
Newcastle under Lyme

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

(Adapted)

Following our presentations and enquiry to which we have received scant response, we observed that we sparked discussion of sorts on the UK – EU referendum.

The Governor’s office on June 2 said, “…the UK has now entered a period of purdah in advance of the referendum, and there is to be no public discussion on our part.”

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Reaction from another source at that time  said: “It seems obvious that a UK in the EU is a stabler environment for aid, and frankly it would be on the whole better for the UK and the world too. For instance if UK leaves, the Scottish exit will re-open and that on very different terms. None of which will be happy.

Either case, the miss on drawing on DFID during the time its budget grew from 5 to 10 billion, is going to hurt us…Has been hurting us.”

Meanwhile, a few days later, Minister of Agriculture, Trade and Environment Claude Hogan said in an early response, explained: “The current agreement for the EU programmes and projects for Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) is directly with each OCT and the EU, including Montserrat, up to 2020. Naturally, because of our status, the UK Administration is involved in our negotiations and conclusion of such agreements.  If the UK were to exit the EU arrangement this agreement is unlikely to be affected at least up until 2020.

“Of course there could be considerations arising if say the UK budget contribution to the EU were to decrease, but that is for a later discussions, especially as the basis for EU development assistance has been linked to the needs of people and not there political affiliation, but we are truly in new territory here with this Brexit drive from within the UK.

“In trade terms, Montserrat is unlikely ‎to be immediately affected any more than its CARICOM neighbours as it also enjoys an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) equivalent to that between CARICOM and the EU.

“We would need to deal with any impact to services trade say in financial services or to tourism with the rest of the region.

“There could be a lot of speculation about this question of Brexit, but it should be generally greeted with concern as it asserts political autonomy over the economic needs and expectations of people and the global market, especially those in the British Overseas Territories who have no vote on the matter, but will suffer the potential and real effects of a Brexit.”

From the Independent (UK) Newspaper:

How will the Passport Office cope if we vote for Brexit?

One reader wonders how the passport office will deal with every UK citizen trying to change their passport from EU to UK (Getty Images)

One reader wonders how the passport office will deal with every UK citizen trying to change their passport from EU to UK (Getty Images)

I have read and heard much talk from both the Leave and Remain campaigns, but neither has pointed out the simple fact that if Britain votes to leave the EU we will all have to apply for new passports.

Given the backlog of passport applications that already exist at HM Passport Offices, one wonders how they will cope when 42 million passport holders apply to exchange their EU passports for UK-only.

Mick Hall
Grays 

Some reactions to the debate:

It may seem a little over-dramatic to suggest that if, on 24 June, I wake up to a Remain victory then I will no longer be British but European. But there is an adjustment to be made, and that is as good a time as any to make it.

We can’t go on forever complaining that we’re not allowed to favour “our own people” in jobs and housing. If we now fail to change our political reality then we must instead change our sense of who we are. We need to resolve our identity dysphoria one way or the other.

This would be unfortunate for the poorer of the formerly-British, for who then will feel any particular responsibility towards them? We have so far helped by subsidising them in work that can’t otherwise generate a viable income. But what is the point of our continually trying to mop up unemployment when the labour taps are open and the European sink is overflowing?

Once we are all Europeans we can tell the unemployed to get on their bikes, or onto the Eurostar, to find a job, or a cheaper place to be jobless, in another part of our European homeland.

Everyone who matters will be happy. Conservative businessmen can import new workers to keep their profits up. Labour politicians and trade union leaders can import new voters to keep them in well paid jobs.
John Riseley
Harrogate

Any chance of Michael Gove providing examples of the EU as a constraint on 1) ministers’ ability to do things they were elected to do, or 2) using their judgement about the right course of action for the people of this country? Should be illuminating.

Brian Phillips
Ilkley

Caribbean Overseas Territories could suffer Britain votes to leave European Union.

Map of worldCMC – Britain’s Caribbean Overseas Territories could suffer significantly if it votes to leave the European Union in the June 23 referendum, according to a report released in London.

The report commissioned by the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) on the benefits of the European Union (EU) to the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs) notes that the  UKOTs have benefitted “in several important ways from their relationship with the EU, and many of these will be placed at serious risk if the UK decides to leave the EU”.

The UKOTA said that the overall aim of the report is not to force the UKOTs onto the campaign agenda but to demonstrate the value of the EU to the UKOTs and the prospects for their future relationship with the EU pending the referendum outcome.

There are 14 UKOTs spread across the globe, of which nine are directly associated with the European Union (EU) via the Overseas Association Decision (OAD) adopted by the EU in 2013. These are Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St Helena and Turks and Caicos Islands. Ascension and Tristan da Cunha fall under St Helena in the OAD.

The report notes that the UKOTs benefit currently from economic and environmental cooperation with the EU, as well as development assistance and policy dialogue.

Practical aspects of cooperation are welcomed by the UKOTs. For example, Bermuda’s financial services industry with its focus on insurance is aided by its close links with the EU, both in terms of it being a large market, but also as the EU recognises Bermuda’s regulatory system as equivalent to its own.

The report, titled “The United Kingdom Overseas Territories and the European Union: Benefits and Prospects,” notes that the EU market is a major one particularly for Bermuda, with its focus on insurance. Service sector imports from Bermuda to the EU amounted to Euro21.7 billion (One Euro =US$1.29 cents) in 2014 according to the European Commission.

“In addition, Bermuda benefits from the EU’s recognition that the standard of the island’s insurance regulation is equivalent to its own. Second, within the institutional structures highlighted previously the OCTs (Overseas Caribbean Territories) are able to discuss financial services and tax issues and initiatives with the EU before they are implemented. “

The report also noted that the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is the Co-Chair of the OCT/EU Financial Services Partnership Working Party (PWP), which brings together technical experts from the OCTs and EU to discuss issues of mutual concern.

“This platform is important for mutual understanding and to make sure that the interests of the OCTs are taken into account by the EU in its decision making.”

The report said that a number of the UKOTs are highly dependent on a small number of industries, and this increases their vulnerability.

“Thus several are investigating ways in which they can diversify their economies. For instance, BVI is exploring the commercial expansion of its fisheries industry, with the EU as a potential export market,” the report added.

It said that funding from the EU is also having a positive impact on the UKOTs, amounting to at least Euro 80 million between 2014-2020.

The report notes that recent and ongoing projects are focusing on supporting their economies, and helping the territories to address environmental challenges such as climate change, disaster preparedness and the conservation of their biodiversity.

“Beyond the policy benefits, the deepening institutional links between the UKOTs and the EU, particularly via the European Commission, have been supported by the Territories, providing as they do more direct access to EU policy makers.

“In addition, the growing cooperation between the UKOTs and Dutch, French and Danish territories in the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) has brought real gains, including greater political visibility of the territories in Brussels and a higher international profile,” the report added.

More on the debate

It is unfortunate that, as part of the Brexit debate, you repeat the myth that leaving the EU would prevent workers from coming to the UK, which would indeed be bad for many parts of the economy, especially the NHS.

But there would, in fact, be nothing to stop the UK allowing or even encouraging immigrants. The difference is that we could decide the basis on which they came, and where from, opening up the available pool rather than being forced to accept anyone from EU countries.

Mike Margetts
Kilsby

Universal benefits are not the answer to disadvantage

An education charity, the Sutton Trust, says that those from deprived backgrounds are still far less likely to get to university in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, with the rich four times more likely to go to university in Scotland than the poor.

Once again we see that universal benefits, in this case free tuition, are not a miracle cure. Overcoming the attainment gap is a complex and difficult task, not least because, at its core, you are trying to address the effects of poverty, which has proven to be a huge challenge for any government, no matter where they sit on the political spectrum.

In Scotland, the SNP has thrown its lot in with universal benefits in many areas where progressive-sounding initiatives might actually take funding away from those who need it most. By favouring the majority with “free” universal benefits, there is less scope for valuable targeted support for those who need it most.

No government ever has a bottomless pit of funding. The SNP has to decide if electoral popularity will continue to be prioritised above focusing help and funding where the need is greatest.

Keith Howell
West Linton

How do we define elitism?

Beulah Devaney’s piece on literary festivals must be one of the most sneering and patronising pieces you have run in a long time. Yes, the Hay Festival may be rather cosy and a bit stuck in its ways, but the rest of her arguments about literary festivals as a whole are undermined by her own examples. She talks about elitist literature and Michael Palin in almost the same breath, when his travel books were popular television tie-ins which sold in huge numbers. This raises questions about her definition of elitism.

Her second point, about charging as a sign of exclusion, is also irrelevant when my local third tier football club, Port Vale, charges three times as much for a 90-minute game. Would she attack the club, or a working class father taking his children to see a match there, as elitist?

As for the comment about a quarter of the population not reading for pleasure, this is actually one of the lowest figures in the developed world.

Jim Radcliffe
Newcastle under Lyme