EU Election: build-up, analysis and fall-out

This is in the form of a journal, covering the days leading up to the EU election, the election itself, the results, and of course, it concludes with an erudite analysis.

Yes, it’s another biggie, but broken up into daily sections for easier consumption. Enjoy!

WEDNESDAY

I can barely hear myself think, what with the brass bands playing out in the street, dogs barking, rival party canvassers hurling abuse at one another – look! one of the Change UK crew just punched a Green Party (of England) canvasser who’s dressed as a parsnip! It’s all happening here, I tell you.

I’ve just been to Tywyn for my morning coffee and it’s hectic there, too, a riot of colour; I’ve never seen so many posters up in windows and placards in front gardens and fields. People are intoxicated with excitement and are already queuing outside the polling station, Thermos flasks and sandwich boxes in their backpacks.

In fact, I haven’t seen such excitement since news of the relief of Mafeking came over the telegraph wire.

(Sod it, I can’t keep this up.)

Truth is, you’d never know there was an election happening. I have not seen a single canvasser, poster or placard, just minimalist leaflets delivered by the postie. If democracy is in peril – as the left keeps screeching – then it might be because nobody cares.

I’ve just watched BBC ‘Parliament Live’ and it’s obvious that Theresa May is on her last legs, there is little support for her anywhere in the House. Her legacy might be that through blind stubbornness she will have delivered what few really wanted just a few months ago – a hard Brexit.

Image courtesy of WalesOnline, click to enlarge

Here in Wales, Plaid Cymru is happy because a poll puts them on 19% for tomorrow’s election. But with the two main parties in complete disarray, the not-quite-dead Lib Dems on 10%, the Green Party (of England) on 8%, and a party that didn’t exist a few months ago on 36%, maybe 19% isn’t really that impressive.

Especially as Plaid got 15% in the previous EU election in 2014. And this time around is promoting itself as the last best hope for Remainers.

In Scotland, the same polling company came up with the following figures: SNP 38%, Brexit Party 20%, Green 11%, Labour 10%, Conservatives 10%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 2%, Change UK 2%, Other 1%.

It would appear that for this election much of the Unionist-Brexit vote in Scotland is coalescing behind the Brexit Party, and it’s worth bearing in mind that the Green Party in Scotland supports independence. So even though this is a EU vote there could be a majority tomorrow for pro-independence parties.

I’ve got a hell of a cold.

To be continued . . .

THURSDAY, ELECTION DAY

I can’t report ‘fevered activity’ because there isn’t any, certainly not on the EU election front. This election we shouldn’t be having has people thinking of things other than who gets to sit in the EU Parliament.

For most in the Conservative Party the objective now seems to be removing the Prime Minister. Earlier in the week the cabinet agreed on a way to proceed with Brexit, but by the time Mrs May brought it to the House of Commons the agreed plan had changed in ways that most cabinet members couldn’t accept.

This sealed Mrs May’s fate. Another blow was the resignation of Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House. It’s only a matter of time now.

But back to the election where, on Twitter, Plaid Cymru seems to be anticipating a good result. Time will tell.

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Despite having a hell of a cold I bravely decided to stay up to watch Newsnight. An interesting panel for the discussion (27:25); people who were there at the end with Margaret Thatcher, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, plus Fraser Nelson of the Spectator.

It was generally agreed that Mrs Thatcher would go after President Trump visits in early June. Fraser Nelson pointing out that in the morning she meets Sir Graham Brady of the 1922 Committee and if she can’t produce an acceptable plan for slinging her hook then he will open the dreaded sealed envelopes and that will be that.

Talk inevitably turned to her successor, and the usually well-informed Fraser Nelson told us that Boris Johnson is “so far ahead with the country” that there might be no contest. In other words, the Tory grassroots want someone who might win a general election, or be able to repel – even align himself with? – the Farage juggernaut.

By 36:55 talk turned to the Union, and a how a ‘no-dealer’ like Boris Johnson might threaten this sacred bond. The view was that, essentially, the harder the Brexit the more likely it is to result in Scottish independence.

The other side of this coin, is of course that staying in the EU – which is what Plaid Cymru wants – is more likely to hold the Union together. Which in turn means that by becoming a Remainer party Plaid Cymru could be seen as turning its back on Wales and independence to play silly, British, games. And not for the first time.

For me, as ever, the priority is independence, and I don’t care if it’s delivered by Old Nick himself.

Elsewhere . . .

The Assembly sat and debated a Conservative motion reading, ‘The Welsh economy has stagnated since devolution’.

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The motion was lost because Plaid Cymru supported Labour, as it always does.

Over the years I’ve noticed that Plaid Cymru is quite prepared to mildly criticise Labour . . . until the Conservatives appear. Then it’s socialist solidarity all the way. Labour knows this and can play Plaid Cymru like a violin.

In fact, I think the motion was rather generous. The Welsh economy hasn’t stagnated since devolution – it’s gone backwards. And it’s all due to Labour and Plaid Cymru. Which is why they could hardly admit it.

Still suffering with my cold.

To be continued . . .

FRIDAY

My cold is worse. (I knew you’d be worrying.)

Theresa May has finally resigned. It’s almost anti-climactic, it feels like we’ve been here so many times recently. As Fraser Nelson said on Newsnight, “Ever since she lost her general election her card has been marked”.

Reminding us yet again that for the Conservative Party in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century ‘Europe’ has become what Ireland was for the nineteenth century Liberal Party.

In her farewell speech outside No 10 Mrs May mentioned ‘the Union’ a number of times which, with the increasing prospect of Boris Johnson replacing her, comes under greater threat. The prospect of dealing with Johnson may have prompted Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to go straight for the nuts with this tweet.

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But of course, the SNP is in a bit of a bind. On the one hand, yes, most Scots voted to Remain. But if the loonies take over the asylum and broadcasters are forced to run Churchill speeches interspersed with musical interludes by Dame Vera Lynn and the Band of the Coldstream Guards then – as I argued in my previous posting – it greatly increases the chances of Scottish independence.

The same applies in Wales. Wanting to be on the side of the angels is all well and good over a skinny latte in Corruption Bay, but when you know that the ‘devils’ are more likely to deliver what you have yearned for all your life then you have to be pragmatic.

I shall definitely have an early night tonight.

To be continued . . .

SATURDAY

This cold of mine could be psychosomatic, connected with the lack of football on the telly, but there are three games today. One being the Scottish Cup Final between Hearts and Celtic, then Newport play Tranmere in the League Two play-off final, and finally, this evening, Barcelona play Valencia in the Copa del Rey final.

The games at Hampden and Wembley both kick off at 3pm. How difficult would it have been to move the Newport v Tranmere game to 5pm? What does it say about the Union? Did somebody in the English FA say, ‘Oh sod that game up there, only the Jocks will want to watch it’. Wrong!

One of the best games I’ve seen in recent years was the 2016 Final between Hibernian and Rangers. With the Hibbees winning in injury time, their first triumph in 114 years. This was followed by fans brawling on the pitch and then, after the polis eventually restored order and got the Gers fans out, we were treated to a glorious rendition of Sunshine on Leith.

What other sport offers you all that?

Being Saturday, there’s little happening on the political front. Though my attention was drawn to a piece on Nation.Cymru yesterday entitled This EU Election was a big disappointment by Remain parties, an outcome Ifan Morgan Jones attributes to a lack of preparedness on the part of the Remain parties combined with Liberal Democrat perfidy.

On the sporting front, Celtic beat Hearts 2 – 1, Newport lost in extra time, and the Copa del Rey final wasn’t even bloody televised! What the hell am I paying for? Never mind, I watched Roscommon beat Mayo in the football (Gaelic) from Castlebar. I kept thinking, ‘I’m sure there’s a Rebel song with a reference to chasing “redcoats through old Castlebar”‘.

The cold persists. I have been bringing up impressive amounts of phlegm from the bronchial region and I’m also into the runny nose stage. The Jac nostrils will need to be plugged tonight ere I lay down my aching head.

To be continued . . .

SUNDAY – THE RESULTS!

Before I could settle down and start working myself up into the required frenzy ahead of the results I had a few chores to fulfil. One being to deliver grandchildren home to Tywyn ahead of the local carnival.

After dropping them off and doing some shopping I was driving past the Co-op when I felt a knock and realised that my nearside wing mirror had been pushed in. Obviously a coming together of my wing mirror with that of a parked car. The traffic made it impossible to stop so I drove on intending to pull into the school driveway.

But then I realised that I was being pursued by a gangly youth, soon joined by another youth, also gangly. The first of them ran in front of my car and stood there with hands on my car bonnet. Then he took a photo of my number plate before demanding that I get out. Which I did.

This first youth then ranted about damage to his vehicle and pointed to my still pushed in wing mirror as evidence of collateral damage to my vehicle. (With his erudite mate contributing ‘Yeah’.) So I walked round, pulled the mirror back into position, showed him that the glass was intact, and that what he insisted was ‘damage’ to the outer shell was just dead bugs. This deflated him somewhat.

Unkind words were then exchanged to the merriment of the growing crowd and we parted acrimoniously, with the first youth – the more loquacious of the two – aiming a kick at the rear of the Jacmobile as a parting shot.

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Picture the scene, gentle reader: a man who never annoys anyone and who has always supported the tourism industry is accosted on a public thoroughfare by two young persons visiting from Englandland. Oh! the irony, the irony.

(Am I over-egging this?)

Anyway, as insurance, the incident was reported to North Wales Police soon after I got home. A young lady called at 2:09 from a withheld number, and assured me that someone would be in touch in a few days to take further details.

Then I settled down to watch  Sunderland lose to Charlton in the last minute of injury time. No luck for these Black Cats.

All other matters aside – but still struggling with my cold – I turned my attentions to the elections, the results of which will be out tonight. Though not all the results from Scotland or Northern Ireland; due to Hebridean Sabbatarians and the complexity of the voting system over the water.

To get us warmed up for the main event Ifan Morgan Jones is doing his now customary routine on Nation.Cymru with his live election blog. Despite bigging up Plaid Cymru IMJ has to concede that both Lib Dems and Greens will do well.

Though other projections only serve to illustrate how lightly people take these EU elections. IWJ reports that Greens are expected to win 23% of the vote in Ireland, up from 1.2% last time. If true, then a jump like that can only attributed to a ‘What the hell? – these elections don’t really matter’ attitude.

I have a bottle of Malbec uncorked and I shall soon settle down for the results programme.

It’s now 1am and I’ve seen enough to tell me that this is an unreal election. I’m not saying that tonight’s results will not have lasting implications, but I am saying they will not be repeated in a ‘real’ election.

I shall conclude this marathon piece tomorrow with a more thorough analysis of the results in Wales and beyond. Perhaps even the Western Isles.

And anyway, there’s no rush. Today is a Bank Holiday, people will have other things to do, places to go. I shall now return to my Malbec.

But before rejoining that most glorious product of Argentina I must comment on this tweet I just picked up.

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Why should a football fans’ group, supposedly appealing to fans of all political persuasions, takes sides politically? Do those running this Twitter account seriously believe that all Welsh football fans agree with their sentiments? This is the social media ‘echo chamber’ at its worst.

Are we supposed to believe that people who voted Brexit don’t sing Hen Wlad fy Nhadau? Don’t support the national football team? Aren’t proud to be Welsh?

Remainers are proving to be very divisive in Wales, and in areas where Brexit should not intrude, such as the movement for independence, and now – football!

To be continued . . .

MONDAY, ANALYSIS

Here are the headlines: The SNP increased its dominance in Scotland, but in Wales and England the clear winner was The Brexit Party, formed less than two months ago. The two ‘main parties’ got hammered everywhere.

If you regard Thursday’s vote as some kind of second referendum on Brexit, then a) you’re probably a Remainer, and b) you really should get a life.

Remainers are claiming victory because, they argue, parties backing a second referendum, or staying in the EU, ‘won’ what was really a party political election. In other words, we must regard Thursday’s vote as another referendum on Brexit! Or maybe a referendum about a referendum?

Which explains why turnout was higher in areas that voted Remain in 2016 than in areas that voted Leave. And this is why I would urge caution in interpreting Thursday’s result. Because if Remainers were more successful in getting their supporters out then that is not necessarily a good indicator of how a second referendum might pan out.

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Something else worth remembering is that the turnout on Thursday was just 37.1% in Wales. The UK figure for the 2016 referendum was 72.2%. Which means that there are a lot of Brexit voters out there who gave the polling stations a miss on Thursday.

That’s because those who voted Leave in 2016, and with Brexit now on the horizon, felt no urgency to express their views. As in life, you’re more likely to make a fuss if you feel you’re being ignored, or if you’ve lost.

Now let’s look more closely at the result in Wales. And previous results.

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As you read at the top, the winner by a mile was The Brexit Party. Greens and Liberal Democrats were both pleased with their performances. Even though they won the EU elections ten years ago on Thursday the Tories got less than half the Lib Dem vote and only just beat the Green Party of England.

This is obviously due to the disastrous premiership of Theresa May. Which means that with the right replacement the party should recover much of the ground lost.

While the Conservative share of the vote was down to just over a third of what was achieved in 2014, Labour did rather better in slipping from a poll topping 28.15% in 2014 to 15.3%.

But this defeat can also be attributed to the party leader, though unlike the Tories, Labour seems to be stuck with theirs. The nominal leader of Labour in Wales, a Matt Drakewell, responded to the result with uncharacteristic decisiveness and, perhaps even more surprising, he seemed to challenge Comrade Corbyn:

“Faced with the damage of a hard-line, Tory Brexit, Welsh Labour believes that the final decision must be made by the public in a referendum. And, for the avoidance of any doubt, a Welsh Labour government would campaign, in such a vote, for Wales to remain in the EU.”

No doubt that announcement will be welcomed in Corruption Bay, from where so much EU funding has been distributed to cronies, but it’s guaranteed to lose Labour tens of thousands of votes in the heartlands that should have seen that money.

Now let’s turn to Plaid Cymru.

Publicly, Plaid is claiming a great victory because, as leader Adam Price put it, “This result is an historic one for Plaid Cymru, beating Labour in a national election for the first time.” Except that . . .

Many in Plaid Cymru expected to get well above 20%; to be achieved by getting some of the votes that eventually went to the Greens and the Lib Dems. For as I said earlier, Plaid had been assiduously promoting itself as THE Remainer party in this election, but too many voters refused to buy it.

Yes, Plaid’s vote was an improvement on 2014, but ten percentage points below what the party achieved in 1999 under Dafydd Wigley. Then again, maybe Adam Price should be thankful Plaid didn’t do better, otherwise he might have found himself out of a job.

‘Progress’ for Plaid Cymru means ignoring the steps backwards and only remembering the forward steps trying to make up lost ground. Overall, taking the long view, there has been no progress at all for Plaid Cymru in twenty years. Or maybe ninety years.

With Labour tearing itself apart over Brexit Plaid Cymru has never had a better chance to win an election, but it still lost to a party less than two months old, with no manifesto, no policies, no nothing.

My cold is much improved. Nice of you to ask.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Brexit is not going away. It is set to haunt and bedevil the politics of these islands for many years to come.

Which might explain why Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, speaking in Dublin today, promised a second independence referendum in the second half of 2020. She wants out, and believes that enough Scots agree with her to deliver a Yes vote next year.

Plaid Cymru wants a second EU referendum, but what purpose would it serve? If it delivered a Remain victory then those who voted for Brexit in 2016 would argue that they have been cheated. If it reaffirms Brexit then Remainers will still not accept it.

While the SNP wants to leave this mess behind Plaid Cymru wants to get involved in an English civil war. That’s because for Plaid Cymru Brexit is now more important than independence. To the point where many Plaid Remainers regard those who voted for Brexit or the Brexit Party as some form of untermensch.

Here’s one Plaid supporter tonight calling the people of Blaenau Gwent ‘Morlocks‘! These are Welsh people being insulted by a Plaid Cymru supporter for holding different views to him – yet Plaid will soon be asking these people for their votes!

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When did Plaid Cymru become such an extreme and intolerant Remain Party? And why has a ‘socialist’ party turned on the working class?

England is on the road to chaos, Brexit simply exposes older and deeper divisions, over class, the north-south divide, anger at London being so rich while former industrial areas are left to rot. This could get nasty.

Which is why I believe that the priority, now more than ever, must be independence. To maximise support for independence we need another political party to reach out to those that Plaid Cymru is not only unable to reach, but is now insulting and alienating.

This tweet is from Channel 4 director and producer, Martin Durkin. In Wales Plaid Cymru has also adopted the Brahmin left position – at the prompting of the third sector. Click to enlarge.

Those who are not socialists, those who have reservations about the EU, those beyond the echo chambers and the incestuous networks of Corruption Bay. Those that so many in Brahmin left Plaid Cymru now regard as poor, stupid and inferior.

Fortunately we have such a party in Ein Gwlad. A party that will never be flattered or cajoled into lining up with those who don’t give a damn about Wales. A party that knows who Wales’s friends are, and can also identify her enemies.

And I can promise the people of Blaenau Gwent and other parts of Wales that Ein Gwlad will never call desperate Welsh people in abandoned communities ‘Morlocks’.

♦ end ♦

 

37 thoughts on “EU Election: build-up, analysis and fall-out

  1. Dennis Morris

    Some people who voted for the Green Party were more concerned about pollution rather than the EU issue, yet the Remainers count them as Pro-EU, there is no evidence for this. Plucking imaginary figures out of the air to back-up the Pro-EU argument is a sign of desperation.

    1. I was thinking that about the Greens. Climate change has had a lot of publicity lately, this was bound to push up the Green vote.

  2. Red Flag

    Remainers are claiming victory because, they argue, parties backing a second referendum, or staying in the EU

    That figure is reached by lumping 2nd Vote parties in along with immediate revocation parties (i.e. hard and soft Remain combined), and by only counting the Hard Brexit vote and ignoring that the Tory vote was a vote for a softer Brexit. (the Tories stood on a Leave ticket). And just disregarding the Labour vote totally as well (when they also stood on a fluffy soft Brexit ticket).

    What the vote shows is that Leavers of all hues got more votes than Remainers of all hues, and that given a choice between Revocation, 2nd Vote, Soft Brexit and Hard Brexit, Hard Brexit came top..

    Watched two serious top-dog analysts on TV earlier. They reckon in a General Election, if we are still in the EU and Labour switch to full-on Remain, around 35-40% of the Tory vote and 20-25% of the Labour vote will switch to Brexit.

    All eyes on the Peterborough by-Election in a fortnight. A Tory-Labour marginal in a Leave area, which Labour need to win to win the next election. Current local polls suggest the Brexit Party will romp it, with a vote twice as high as Labour and Tory combined. If that happens – ot#r even if Brexit Party only narrowly lose, the appetite within Labour for a General Election will evaporate and Parliament will want this finishing by 31 Oct so that the Brexit Party disappear from the mix.

    Two interesting facts:-
    Of all the people that voted in the Referendum in 2016, only 1 in 16 is open to changing their mind.

    Nowadays, only 1 voter in 5 is loyal to a political party through thick and thin.

  3. Anonymous

    Who is NS kidding!!!!!! Thinking that the EU would welcome Scotland with open arms – she needs to get real. Spain would boycott that notion for a start – what with their agitators in their country. Divide and conquer is the EU’s style.

  4. Wynne

    Glad to hear your cold is better Jac. If the gangly youth, and his erudite mate, who ambushed you in the jac-mobile [not to be confused with the bat-mobile] realised who you were he would probably have asked for an autograph: to be handed down to his grandchildren and, in due course, proudly displayed on the Antiques Roadshow at a future date.

    Sorry to lower the tone of the political debate. I see the Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford has taken a momentous decision to distance himself from the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbin.

  5. Brychan

    Why is everyone claiming Plaid Cymru is a REMAIN party? In the 2017 Westminster election the Plaid Cymru manifesto said “Plaid accept the result in Wales of a pro-Brexit vote and offer to deliver a Brexit favouring Wales”. They only landed on the ‘Peoples Vote’ policy after the liberal metro-centric elite in London got traction for the concept of a second referendum, and jumped on a bandwagon.

    Let’s get real. Wales is not a member of the European Union and never has been.

    It’s inside because the United Kingdom is a member of the EU. Wales is included whether we like it or not. Some argue that because Scotland is well on the road to independence and very much a remain country, we must take the same road. There is a difference in Scotland, they have consistently elected a SNP government for over 10 years, the majority of Westminster MPs are SNP, and most importantly because of this, the benefits of membership of the EU has been experienced by the poorest of Scotland. Unlike in Wales, the SNP has never propped up a British Nationalist party in government, in fact, if I remember correctly, they bought down a Labour government in Westminster in 1979.

    In or out of the EU, there is only one thing that will liberate Wales – Independence.

    1. Brychan

      I see that Adam Price, the leader of Plaid Cymru has just called for an electoral pact with other REMAIN parties. This would be the Green Party of England. This translates as a call to close down Port Talbot steelworks, the largest single emitter of greenhouse gasses in Wales.

      At Port Talbot Steelworks, a mix of limestone, sintered coal (coke) and iron ore is loaded into the blast furnace, this liberates molten iron at the bottom of the furnace. This is then infused with oxygen to burn out excess carbon to make steel. In both stages, vast amounts of carbon dioxide is liberated. There is no other way of making steel. Currently, the Port Talbot steelworks is exempt from the levee provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008, in the form of ‘kickbacks’, €30million/pa.

      I was wondering when Bethan Sayeed (nee Jenkins) AM of Plaid Cymru is going to turn up in her constituency and argue to close this steelworks in order to honour the ‘Remainers Pact’ with the Green Party of England.

      It’s also a question for the Brexiteers. Well over half of the output of Port Talbot steelworks is to the EU and Brexit will exclude the rolled coil output from the EU market. This will close the plant. A fact not highlighted to those who voted Brexit Party in that particular part of Wales. This is the missed opportunity for Plaid Cymru who are naively opting to ignore it, in order to run to the hills to knit some lentils.

        1. Brychan

          Adam said it on the Clair Summers Breakfast Show on BBC Radio in Wales. Just after the latest gossip on the Spice Girls concert and the Upper Boat traffic shout. I assume that the BBC don’t do serious journalism any more and have appointed some totty in a flowery dress to dumb down their output and their politics coverage now just invloves phoning Llandeilo once a week.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-48417474

          Mr Price agreed, telling BBC Radio Wales’ Breakfast with Claire Summers: “I would like to explore the possibility of a fully-fledged electoral pact between Remain parties.

      1. Red Flag

        Brexit will not exclude the rolled coil output from the EU. We will still trade with the EU – just under different terms and conditions, which will apply both ways.

        We are the EU’s single biggest export market on earth.

        1. Chopper Harley

          I think that ‘ they need us more than we need them ‘ angle has been tried previously and shown to be lacking in reality If the merger between TK and Tatasteel is eventually approved by the EU Commission, and we sit outside the EU then Port Talbot will be sacrificed by the new steel conglomerate. The loss of Port Talbot would then have a snowball effect on the already vulnerable Trostre operations which would be unlikely to survive, maintaining other operations at Deeside and Newport could also be called into question.

          The loss of steel making in Cymru will only add fuel to the fire of those who shout that we could not survive economically as an independent nation. Outside the customs union and single market and without a FTA agreement, then trade tariffs will almost certainly make it unviable to move HRC between mainland Europe and this country. Be careful what you wish for, Brexit may have the opposite effect on the quest for independence than you seem to believe.

          1. Eos Pengwern

            Since we’re not part of the Euro, any tariffs placed by the EU on UK goods will be compensated for in short order by a corresponding drop in the value of Sterling by the same amount, making UK goods no more expensive from the point of view of European customers. Of course that drop in the value of Sterling will make goods of EU origin more expensive in the UK, causing further damage to their export market. It’s just basic economics. Businesses deal with exchange rate fluctuations on a much bigger scale than WTO tariff levels all the time.

            The only circumstances under which problems would arise would be if the UK government sought to maintain Sterling at an artificially high value. Then that would be damaging for Welsh exporters, just as it was in the late 80s/early 90s when Sterling was part of the Exchange Rate Mechanism. That in turn would bring the economic case for independence into very sharp focus, since an independent Wales would have the freedom to decouple from Sterling and aim for an exchange rate more appropriate to a country with a strong export industry, such as Wales has.

            1. Chopper Harley

              Yes but in the context of the steel industry in Cymru which has to import raw materials the drop in the value of sterling could create a tipping point.

            2. Eos Pengwern

              On the contrary, even though a falling currency increases the price of imported raw materials, the price of the finished steel would still be more competitive from the perspective of foreign buyers (for whom raw material costs are neutral). Moreover, in the domestic market, imported steel would become relatively much more expensive, so stimulating domestic demand for home-produced steel without the need for any tariff barriers to be applied.

          2. Red Flag

            The week before last, the merger talks between Tata and Thyssen-Krupp were abandoned after indications from the Commission that they would not get EU monopoly/merger clearance

            From that point, both companies are actually finished in their present forms without massive shutdowns both in the UK and across the EU. And if you think the european arm of Tata has problems, it’s a piddle compared to Thyssen-Krupps who only a few years ago were profitable and are now in a tens of billions loss position, with no way of servicing their debts.

            The Customs Union/Single Market angle is nothing to do with it – it’s to do with productivity and competing against US Steel and Chinese steel-dumping (which even with EU tariiffs is still below cost price of anything the UK or EU can produce), EU internal competition laws, and carbon emmissions.

            I’m waiting for the next Remainer argument about Airbus – which was shot down last week by they themselves releasing a statement saying they were staying in the UK irrespective of whether we leave with or without a deal. Os the fact that Honda, Ford and Nissan are putiing more car workers out of work across mainland europe than here in the UK and closing more plants than here. (In fact, Germany then Spain is the hardest hit, even including UK).

            I hark back to the Commission and Anglesey Aluminium and Russian Aluminium imports and lifting tariffs thereof. The Commission isn’t interested in 10,000 workers here, 20,000 there etc etc they are utterly irrelevant and expendable Their glorious carbon targets and diesel particulates are the new religion and decider of all things industrial and victims of them are of no consequence in their eyes.

          3. Brychan

            Over half of the output from Tata operations in South Wales goes to the EU and the hot rolled coil is priced in € even when Volkswagon buy it in Sao Paulo under the Brazil-EU trade deal. The trading currency of Tata UK is Euro. It had a ‘hedge fund’ to sterling to cover variances in payroll costs and converts it’s books to pounds for annual accounts.

            http://steelbenchmarker.com/files/history.pdf

            Current prices for hot rolled coil are €635 per tonne US, €529 per tonne EU and €487 per tonne China (after trade tariff intervention from WTO). The drop in profit for Tata and Tyssen two years ago was because the WTO intervention against China had not come into force. It now has, and there’s an even keel and profits. The idea that after Brexit that Port Talbot product can be sold in £ sterling on the world market is BritNat fantasy. Even to get access to these markets you’d have to get the rest of the world to rip up existing trade arrangements, let alone the contract price.

            Hard Brexit is likely on October 31st resulting in Port Talbot and Trostre being closed by the end of the year. No doubt this will focus minds, if not riots. I refer to my comment on this blog dated 04/04/2016.

            Port Talbot

            The Tyssen-Tata merger was about technology transfer. Netherlands and Germany spend their EU grants on energy efficiency enhancements to the top of a blast column. That money in Wales was spent on the third sector to allow posh people to lord over the poor.

            The full data to the steel market can be purchased for £3,800pa on subscription. Has the Welsh Government subscribed? It works out at less than £1 per job at risk. We see Adam Price and Stephen Kinnock are reading poetry at Hay-On-Wye today. When will we see a ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’ mural painted on the hot slab mill at Port Talbot steelworks?

            1. Eos Pengwern

              Port Talbot steel wouldn’t need to be sold in Sterling to benefit from a currency shift. The mere fact that it’s production costs were incurred in Sterling would be sufficient to reduce its Euro price on the world market.

              Such a cost reduction would also go some way to redress the huge disparity in electricity costs borne by Port Talbot relative to its European competitors: 50% higher than in Germany and double those in France, and this in a country which is a huge net exporter of energy. This is crazy, the result of ill-thought-through environmental regulations which Plaid Cymru wants to make far worse.

            2. Brycahn

              The iron ore is currently imported from Brazil, and priced in € in the Brazil-EU trade deal. Coal is advanced bid at global spot in $. I see no prospect of Brazil relinquishing it’s ‘preferred’ status after Brexit. I cannot see Australia signing up to an Anglo deal, as it’s main markets are China, Korea and Japan.

              The electricity consumed at Port Talbot is the oxygen production. The blast stacks obviously generate it’s own energy via the coke charge. Tata Ijmuiden in Netherlands and the German steelworks are actually net exporters of electricity to the grid. They have their own integrated hot gas recycling from the columns into it’s own on-site power station and have district heating infrastructure. There would need to be massive capital investment for Port Talbot to do this, and this was part of the logic of the Tyssen merger.

              A no-deal Brexit will close all steel making in Wales, unless the Royal Navy intends to blockade Dampier and invade parts of Africa and Brazil. The UK would also drop out of the Paris global emissions agreement, as has the US. There’s also no accessible market for a ship full of rolled coil priced in sterling. That’s a BritNat fantasy.

        2. Brychan

          Under WTO rules (hard Brexit) the EU will have to apply the same trade arrangements for any of its steel imports from the United Kingdom as it does to Russia, China and Ukraine.

  6. Big Tato

    Great blog Jac, I like the personal insights… reminds me of when I first discovered your writing on the old WalesHome website around a decade ago. Remember your coverage of the 2010 World Cup?

    I was a pinko Plaidista back then (I was a student, see) who believed in ‘dencentralised ecosocialism’ but your blog persuaded me to consider a more right-wing perspective.

    I took a copy of ‘Sons of the Romans – The Tory as Nationalist’ with me on a holiday to Llangenydd in 2011 and haven’t looked back since. I know I’m not the only one either. Keep up the good work.

    Diolch

  7. Red Flag

    Full breakdown and stated campaign position.

    LEAVE/PRO-BREXIT PARTIES
    The Brexit Party 5,248,533 (WTO Leave)
    UKIP 554,463 (WTO Leave)
    TUV 62,021 (WTO Leave)
    York Party 50,842 (WTO Leave)
    Eng Dems 39,938 (WTO Leave)
    Labour 2,347,255 (Leave with a deal)
    Tory 1,512,147 (Leave with a deal)
    DUP 124,991 (Leave with a deal)
    TOTAL LEAVE 9,940,190 (57.8%)

    REMAIN/ANTI-BREXIT PARTIES
    Lib Dem 3,367,284 (Remain)
    Green 2,023,380 (Remain)
    SNP 594,553 (Remain)
    ChUK 571,846 (Remain)
    Plaid 163,928 (Remain)
    Sinn Fein 126,951 (Remain)
    Alliance 105,928 (Remain)
    SDLP 78,589 (Remain)
    UUP 53,052 (Remain)
    UK-EU 33,576 (Remain)
    WEP 23,766 (2nd referendum)
    TOTAL REMAIN 7,142,853 (41.5%)

    NO OBVIOUS POSITION
    Animal Welfare 25,232
    INP 7,641
    SP-GB 3,505
    Independents 80,280
    TOTAL NO POSITON 116,658 (0.7%)

  8. Jonathan Edwards

    Tying Wales to a Brexited England would be a horrible result. Wishing for this is like wanting to get chaos and desperation so that the people will rise in the new Communist Dawn. Not the way it works. We already have a bad deal with England. We are blocked from a proper deal with the EU, like that of Ireland and the other small EU countries, who love their deals. Yes I know Wales would face the Catalunya problem, maybe, within the EU. But we can handle it. Provided we solve the age-old problem of our preferring our state of infantilism and servitude. Which Plaid have not tackled anything like enough. Tackle that, Jac, as you do so well. But don’t wish a fired up Brexited England on us, please.

    1. Big Gee

      Can someone explain the logic of this thinking – that for some reason England will turn on us if the UK leaves the EU?

      It puzzles me greatly. We’ve been colonised and subjugated since the 13th century and survived in periods when England could get away with far nastier behaviour than they can in the 21st century. Now after a few decades attached to Europe, some kind of mentality has sprung into existence that we are somehow sheltered from the machinations of England by the EU!

      Make no mistake, the end game for the EU is the absorption and assimilation of ALL nations that allow themselves to be swallowed up by it, because the agenda is to break down borders, eradicate the unique identity, culture and heritage of those countries. Catalunya is a prime example of how they react to any country small or large that threatens independence and a breaking away from this behemoth.

      So lets cut out the scaremongering shall we? It’s Chicken Licken territory.

      The creeping tip toe encroachment by this product of the deep state is wide open for anyone to see, why do people choose to ignore that gigantic fact? Or is it a case of those who are blind because they don’t wish to see?

      The EU is an intricate piece in the march towards a Global, dictatorial regime. World government and control with no opposition tolerated. The healthy option is independence and a healthy distance from this monster. Why is that so difficult to understand? The evidence is there in front of your eyes.

    2. Jonathan, I know I’m arguing for something drastic, that could have serious implications for Wales, but to remain in the EU, and the UK, and just carrying on as before, managed decline and gradual assimilation, should not be an option.

      Look at the chaos around us; Labour in Wales is in one hell of a mess, and it’s not due to anything Plaid Cymru has done – it’s all down to Brexit. The Tory government in London is a shambles, it has people in Wales who’d never considered independence before thinking about it – and it’s all down to Brexit.

      If simply delaying Brexit, and confusing people, can achieve the meltdown of the two major parties consider what a total Brexit cock-up could achieve.

      1. CapM

        “If simply delaying Brexit, and confusing people, can achieve the meltdown of the two major parties consider what a total Brexit cock-up could achieve.”

        It could achieve an Englandandwales.
        A problem we have is that because the Brexit vote in Cymru was aligned with the Brexit vote in England we can’t say the consequences of Brexit are due to Cymru being part of the UK. Scotland can.

        Of course we can blame those consequences on the Tories/Labour/Media billionaires/disaster capitalists (even the EU for not letting us have our cake and eating it ). But so too can the people of England. Same views, same complaints, same Englandandwales boat.

        There may not have been enough Welsh nationalists who voted Leave who could have voted Remain to have tipped the Referendum balance in Cymru but every single one of those votes has contributed to making in harder to avoid an Englandandwales outcome.

        1. You’re not thinking it through beyond Brexit. My argument is that a really tough Brexit could result in Scottish independence and Irish reunification.

          If that happened then we’d be faced with the choice of Englandandwales or independence. How Wales had voted in the referendum, or EU elections, would be irrelevant. The angry and the pissed off in the forgotten areas who voted for Brexit are losing faith in the existing political parties and the current system. Many of them could be won over to independence.

          Radical political change rarely comes suddenly, out of a clear blue sky.

          1. CapM

            A strategy that relies on “The angry and the pissed off” to bring about an independent Cymru seems risky to me.
            You seem to assume that these people will identify the same solution for being angry and pissed off that you do. There is no guarantee that they will.

            “The angry and pissed off” in Cymru would have a much bigger and therefore politically more powerful group of others of a similar disposition in England to join up with and together with them allocate blame. That’s basically what happened in the EU referendum.

            1. There is obviously no ‘evidence’. It’s a political hunch based on my knowledge of my country and my people.

            2. CapM

              “But NOT if they’re confronted with the choice between assimilation and independence.”
              Why not? What evidence leads you to be so certain?

          2. Brychan

            The threat to Wales does not come from the ‘Brexiteers’ or lumpen chavs who vote for Farage in England. They only exist because media millionaires can whip up discontent amongst the poor that Labour have ignored, and the main nationalist party in Wales, unlike Scotland, has failed to step in. The real threat comes from “Welsh” Labour. The clique of middle class trendy commissars. Today Lesley Griffiths, the Rural Affairs Secretary, had announced her revamp of agricultural support.

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-48503111

            She proposes abolishing the basic rural payments system with ‘grants’ that can be applied for to “reverse biodiversity decline, meeting our carbon budgets and hitting our clean air targets”.

            Can anyone tell me if the air that blows over the Cambrian Mountains is ‘dirty’ and needs to be ‘cleaned’? Can anyone tell me why organic farming in Wales is the cause of biodiversity decline are not the new motorways from England, massive estates of executive housing, and hordes of tourists littering Wales with plastic? As for ‘carbon budgets’ as far as I am aware agriculture actually takes carbon from the air and transforms it into food.

            The Welsh Government are not legitimate.

            They have no democratic mandate to rule, and an election is needed to evict these squatters. Plaid Cymru need to develop an organic farming policy, call out Labours betrayal, and support a Welsh agricultural product preferable to post-Brexit imports, and if they don’t, then someone else needs to. Ein Gwlad?

            1. This policy has been feared for a long time. It suggests that farmers will ‘change their ways’ but that’s disingenuous because we already know who’s waiting in the wings – George Monbiot and his ‘rewilders’, with whom ‘Welsh’ Labour has been negotiating for years.

              I’m sure that Ein Gwlad will prioritise the needs and interests of Welsh people, Welsh industries and Welsh communities. That will be its selling point.

            2. CapM

              For info on net carbon footprint contribution of livestock farming see the UN FAO website. For air pollution from agriculture see
              https://royalsociety.org/-/media/policy/projects/evidence-synthesis/Ammonia/Ammonia-report.pdf

              You say “The Welsh Government are not legitimate.” In what way?

              Rewilding is a very real threat to the agricultural community and has repercussions for the identity of Cymru itself. Pity that a majority of farmers voted to leave a farmer friendly Union and trust in the tender mercy of a farmer unfriendly Union.

              “Plaid Cymru need to ……. support a Welsh agricultural product preferable to post-Brexit imports,”
              If you voted Leave it’s a bit rich demanding that a Remain Party sort out damage that Brexit will deliver.

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