The Grayling Lecture – Brexit: The Next Steps in the Fight Against it

The Grayling lecture “Brexit: The next Steps in the Fight Against It“, will be on Saturday 21 April from 6.15 at New Beacon School Sevenoaks.

Professor Grayling is a committed Remainer and has spoken and written  extensively about why people voted to leave the European Union and why the UK should not do so.

There is more about Professor Grayling on his website.

After the lecture, Professor Grayling will take questions.

There will then be a Question Time Panel discussion on “Brexit and Kent – The Law, Trade, our NHS and the Young Voter“. There has been no Impact Assessment of the likely or potential effects of Brexit on Kent and it is high time we are more informed on this.

The Panellists will be:

  • Hugh Mercer QC – Barrister
  • Dick Dunmore – Former scholar of Peterhouse Cambridge and a distinguished transport consultant.
  • Dr Carlo Berti – South East Coast Regional Council Executive member and a Consultant in Kent.
  • Madeleina Kay – Musician, author, political activist and campaigner.


Tickets are £7.50 / £2.50 for under 26s, and can be bought in advance here. Continue reading “The Grayling Lecture – Brexit: The Next Steps in the Fight Against it”


One of the EU’s great recent achievements is abolishing mobile roaming charges.

It used to be that when crossing a border within the EU, you’d see the savvy travelers swapping their PAYG SIM cards, while the not-so-astute contract customers would absorb horrendous roaming charges (which they’d only notice on their bills at the end of the month). Continue reading “Roaming”

The Cambridge Brexit Report (published 28’th April 2017)

The Cambridge Brexit Report is a collaboration between Cambridge for Europethe Cambridge University European Society, The Wilberforce Society, Polygeia, and Cambridge Stays. It was commissioned by Daniel Zeichner MP, and is the second part of a project that began with a Conference on 24 February, entitled Cambridge and Brexit: Discussing our Future. This Conference brought together more than 100 Cambridge community members across the political spectrum in a series of presentations and discussions about the implications of Brexit on various sectors. Both the Conference and the Report seek to understand how we can work together in mapping the way forward for Britain after Brexit, and integrate both local and national perspectives.

The Cambridge Brexit Report consists of twelve chapters, covering the Economy, Trade and Business, the Pharmaceutical Industry, Creative Industries, Agriculture, Universities and Research, Freedom of Movement and Immigration, the Constitution, Devolution and the Regions, Human Rights, the Environment, and the NHS. Each has its own approach, structure, and conclusions.


These two recommendations cut across all chapters:

  1. The vote to leave the European Union has created uncertainty as to the United Kingdom’s future; all should be done to dispel such uncertainty as soon as possible, for it proves damaging to business, investment plans, research projects, life decisions, etc.
  2. Brexit will be a momentous transition for the United Kingdom, opening up a range of opportunities in a number of fields. This Report puts forward the concerns, hopes, and recommendations of the Greater Cambridge community; other communities across the country should be offered a similar opportunity to have their say. What was achieved by a team of volunteers in Cambridge could easily be achieved by local and central government on a larger scale; we therefore recommend that the Government launch public consultations in cities and towns all over the UK, and rely on the resulting reports to inform its Brexit negotiations and policies.

The Cambridge Brexit Report

Introduction & Executive Summary

Chapter I: The Economy

Chapter II: Trade and Business

Chapter III: The Pharmaceutical Industry

Chapter IV: Creative Industries

Chapter V: Agriculture

Chapter VI: Universities and Research

Chapter VII: Freedom of Movement and Immigration

Chapter VIII: The Constitution

Chapter IX: Devolution and the Regions

Chapter X: Human Rights

Chapter XI: The Environment & Climate Change

Chapter XII: The NHS


Chlorinated chicken and more….

Don’t forget, imports from the USA could also mean:-

  • Beef washed in ammonia (american pink slime)
  • Genetically modified food
  • Meat products laced with antibiotics
  • Swine flu (from battery pigs)
  • Flawed drugs testing (FDA)
  • Contaminated blood & blood products
  • Fake Whisky (Jack Daniels could wipe-out our Scottish industry)
  • Fake French Wines from California, labelled “produit de E-U
  • Aggressive marketing (MLM – Pyramid selling – Ponzi schemes)
  • Litigation culture
  • High CO2 emission manufactured goods (outside Paris accord)
  • 3-D printed guns that can kill, but cannot be detected
  • Erosion of personal privacy

And Sajjad Karim has a good blog here of how negotiations with Donald Trump are likely to go: Hey Brexiteers – watch out Liam Fox! – The European public (especially UK citizens) did not want TTIP; we’re unlikely to change our mind now.

Seems the Tories now agree:

Operation Stack after Brexit

What will happen to Operation Stack if Britain leaves both the Tax and Customs Union?

Whatever one’s views of Brexit are, it is undeniable that a reintroduction of customs and tax checks will result in much longer delays at the ports, and it is hard to see how this could be managed without impact on the roads of Kent.

The port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel see an average of at least 10,000 trucks per day, and the people of Kent are well aware of what can happen when this flow is interrupted by adverse weather or striking dock workers: The lack of geographical space in Dover and Ashford means that lorries have nowhere to park, and with such a volume of trucks there simply is no feasible alternative to turning large sections of the M2 and M20 motorways into temporary parking lots.

But how far will it go? Fears that Operation Stack could extend up the M20 as far as the M25 junctions at Swanley or Sevenoaks may seem far fetched, but on closer analysis they are not in the realm of the impossible.

As most recently seen during the strike by French dockyard workers in the summer of 2015, Operation Stack can extend over 30 miles as far as Maidstone, and there is little reason to think this marks the ultimate limit of how long it could become.

While it probably is extremely unlikely that it would extend as much as an extra 20 miles up the M20 to reach Swanley, it is just as unlikely that there would be no impact at all. A more realistic estimate would probably sit somewhere between these figures – taking us a further 5 miles up to Leybourne, or 10 miles as far as the M26 Junction at Wrotham.

Increased Frequency as the bigger Problem

While these are estimates based on what are currently extreme scenarios, there is another dimension to this debate that is far more important – rather than looking at how long the queues for Operation Stack could become, we should asking how often we will have to deal with it.

The answer to this is – much more often. The increasing frequency of Operation Stack is much more assured than its increasing length in distance.

A reintroduction of customs at the ports will cause delays no matter what the weather, so what are now seeing as extreme scenarios will become regular occurrences in future. The time it takes to inspect each vehicle being loaded onto a ferry or the train is simply too long to avoid doing so without causing long queues at customs controls. It is a problem that has long been recognised – and was long resolved – by the creation of the EU Customs Union.

Recommended Further reading: For more information on this subject, please see this report from the Road Haulage Association.

New EU AFCO Study: Brexit and the European Union

A very insightful new study about Brexit written for the EU Constitutional Affairs Committee has just been published, providing what appears to be the most comprehensive analysis of legal steps for the Brexit process and options for the UK’s future with the EU so far.


Trade under WTO Rules – What does it mean?

What are the implications of “trade under WTO rules” if the UK leaves the single market?

The parliamentary International Trade Committee has been interviewing subject specialists to provide insights into the legal and political dimensions of trading under WTO rules only.

This session on Parliament TV has particular emphasis on technical issues such as non-tariff barriers to trade agricultural trade, the legality of establishing a new farm subsidy system outside the CAP, and the practical difficulties of extracting the UK share from the EU in the WTO quota system.

PARLIAMENT TV: International Trade Committee – WTO Rules and UK Agriculture (excerpt)