By Adrian Ekins-Daukes, angry ex Tory Councillor from Tunbridge Wells.
During the run-up to the referendum, the extremist group of ‘Economists for Brexit’ predicted leaving EU would create a 4% boom for the British economy. This has not materialised. But also, Brexit guru Professor Patrick Minford admitted that it would “effectively eliminate” British manufacturing industry. That prophecy is proving spot on.
Officially, manufacturing accounts for only 10% of the economy, but in fact it is much more important. It produces 45% of all UK exports and pays for 65% of private R&D. It employs the services of many other industries, from catering to software design and logistics. Manufacturing workers are well paid, with wages 15% above the national average, which is reflected in the tax take. In fact manufacturing probably accounts for 20% of the economy, and is vital to our trade balance, science base and general prosperity.
Much of our manufacturing industry is owned by foreign firms. who decided to base themselves in the UK largely because it offered access to the EU’s single market which enables products to be sold freely across the continent, . But Brexit has put an end to UK access to the single market, creating trade barriers, extra costs and delivery delays. Government figures show that red tape at the border with the EU costs £7bn per year.
As a result, many foreign firms which had established their HQs in London have moved to the continent, taking the trade, money and jobs with them. Those who remain are investing less. The level of investment by such firms used to be above the average of their UK counterparts. Now it has fallen to about half. Brexit is also proving to be a disincentive for new foreign investment. Before, the UK attracted more foreign investment than any other EU member state but now it has been overtaken by Germany and others are catching up . In particular, Germany has replaced UK as the favourite destination of Japanese firms whose investment is rising in many EU countries but falling in the UK
BREXIT KILLS OUR MOTOR INDUSTRY
The decline of our motor industry since Brexit is grim. The number of new cars made in the UK has sunk to its lowest level for 66 years, with production having fallen every year since 2016 . Our car plants are being overlooked when manufacturers consider where to build new models. Elon Musk bypassed Britain and built his Gigafactory in Berlin instead. The new electric models of Jaguar, Lotus and BMW’s mini are all going to be built abroad . Once sale of new petrol and diesel cars becomes illegal in the UK by 2030. There are fears within the industry that its decline may be terminal.
One major cause of the industry’s decline since Brexit is the decision by our Brexit negotiators to withdraw from the single market. An essential feature of vehicle manufacturing in the EU is the absence of any checks or delays at its internal frontiers, enabling vehicle components to be shipped throughout Europe without hindrance. The supply chains are now so extensive that, it is said, “it takes a continent to make a car “ But the barriers erected by our Brexit negotiators abolished seamless access for our our car manufacturers , subjecting their products to checks and delays, and hence causing them to be excluded us from the system.
BREXIT DOUBLES RED TAPE
Our negotiators have inflicted similar damage on our important chemical industry.That is because they refused to permit the industry to remain in the EU’s ‘REACH’ system, an organisation which had registered, tested, approved and regulated virtually every chemical in use, and which it had cost our industry billions to join. Instead, our Brexiteer government decided to create its own. This duplication means further huge costs for companies having to register with and access two different systems, possibly comply with two differing sets of legislation, and even perhaps repeating some tests as well, The chemical industry is a clear victim of the doubling of unnecessary red tape which Brexit causes.
Brexit is also damaging exports of many other industrial products for which CE marking is obligatory before they can be put on the EU market. These include machinery, construction materials, electric and gas appliances, cosmetics and toys, to name but a few. The CE mark is proof that a product conforms with specified EU safety, health and environmental standards. Once it has been applied, normally by the manufacturer himself (who is responsible for drawing up documents proving compliance), the product is then accepted across the EU without the need for further delays or inspections. We could have had an agreement guaranteeing equivalence between our own standards and those of the EU, thus enabling UK/EU trade to continue to flow as freely as before. Johnson actually reached an agreement with the EU to this effect in early 2019. However, following his triumph in the general election of that year, he chose to renege on it in order to appease the extremist bigots amongst his backbenchers, preferring instead to diverge from EU standards and create a UK version of the CE mark. He thus increased bureaucracy and inflicted new heavy costs on industry to no one’s advantage . Far from freeing us from EU red tape, as Brexiteers claim, they have doubled it for any company that manufactures for both the UK and EU markets.
There are other essential sectors of our economy which are being as seriously damaged by Brexit as manufacturing. Michael Gove claimed recently that “on balance, Brexit has been a significant success for the country.” This opinion might be shared by the super-rich cliques who sustain the Government and some City fat cats but opinion polls show that even 2016 Leave voters, let alone the rest of us, see it as a bare faced lie.
It has come to my attention that The European Movement (EM) have continued a sustained smear campaign against me and my work, asking members and volunteers to censor my output, by stating that it was inappropriate and irrelevant, restricting its sharing on social media platforms across the UK and beyond. In elitist media circles this is known as ‘deplatforming’. The latest manifestation of this is shown below in the form of a Facebook post made innocently into the Warwick District for EU group by another person, who was unaware of my ‘ban’.
The person had recommended that members of the group view my Brexit social impact film. You can view it by clicking here to check whether it is inappropriate or irrelevant. I understand that it is European Movement policy not to publish my posts due to the alleged ‘damage’ I have done to the organisation. No further communications were received, despite the offer to discuss privately and the person’s posts put on approval, thus blocking any further communications.
This censorship has been widespread across all social media platforms across the UK and as far as Spain, possibly further. It seems that this was a deliberate policy on the part of Anna Bird (CEO) enacted via members of the Executive / EM Council / Grassroots for Europe senior figures over an extended period. There are two sides to every story and I have decided to record here (with the evidence) my side of the story. I have done this in the form of a Q&A, as it is a complex affair. Censorship and deplatforming are the realm of hard right Brexit extremists, but it seems that the left also use the tool to control the minds of activists and grassroots people.
What position did I hold?
I have held the position of Chair of The European Movement (Mid Kent) for some time before this took place and was fired unilaterally by the CEO without reference to the Executive or National Council, in contravention of EM policy. A review took place with Dominic Grieve QC and the National Council and I was exonerated, nonetheless Anna Bird persisted with her decision.
Why was I expelled?
The CEO of EM was clearly irritated by two things I can talk about and one that I cannot. These almost certainly informed my expulsion without reference to the National Executive or Council and against EM policy.
In 2020 I was encouraged to apply to become Branches Forum Chair by senior EM figures. During the election campaign, it emerged that a concerted smear campaign had been organised against me and leveraged underground in secret WhatsApp groups by various individuals who favoured the other candidate. Sadly, one of the main agents of this (Patrick Reynolds) did not know how to use e-mail properly and inadvertently mailed me a copy of the smear letter, see below. Please note that there were only two candidates for election, so the other person mentioned in the red box below but not named was myself. Those involved: Reynolds, Wancke, Gaskell, Jacobson, Hammond and Gordon ran away when I challenged them on the matter directly.
The key point about this letter is that I understand that it was sent to all 14 000 members of The European Movementdue to e-mail incompetence. This undoubtedly set the tone for everything else that took place and still means that people with whom I have had no contact are wary of me or block my content out of hand without any knowledge of what took place. I asked the other candidate, Yvonne Wancke, to ask these people to stop the smear campaign within her own campaign team. She refused. See her reply to me below.
I am not at liberty to discuss the reasons as to why Patrick Reynolds and Yvonne Wancke’s campaign team decided to do this. Suffice to say that there had been a previous legal challenge against EM which they lost, but which is subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) or what is more usually referred to as a ‘gagging order’, so I have confined myself to subsequent matters to respect this agreement.
The second issue took place in 2021 when I was asked to attend the Reading Festival on behalf of the Young European Movement (YEM) to engage festival goers with anti-Brexit stickers and generally to raise awareness of YEM on their behalf. YEM sent a contract which explained that I could claim travel expenses. This I did, but EM ‘lost the claim’ multiple times over a matter of several months. Although I was complimented on my work at the festival, the process for follow up payment of expenses was shambolic.
I counted approximately 150 e-mails sent about the expenses claim. Eventually the YEM President invented the excuse that I was older than their target demographic, should not have been invited to attend and refused to pay the agreed expenses. Nine months later, after I issued Small Claims Court proceedings, they paid the trivial sum that was owed, claiming that they did not have my contact details as the reason for gross incompetence and inefficiency. This is, of course, incorrect. As Branch Chair, they had access to my e-mail, phone number, address and so on. I had sent the claim by e-mail on up to five different occasions with bank details / Paypal contacts and so on. The submission to the Small Claims Court explains more of the timeline and sequence of excuses used.
This case continues, as there are court costs and charges to be paid. Naturally it is a source of irritation to the EM CEO, as they are in the ‘Prince Andrew’ position, having paid up for breaking the contract but now trying to claim zero responsibility for what happened. In November 2022 I offered in court to waive all charges and settle for the £50 court fee, but the President of YEM said he was unable to authorise this amount of money. I can only presume that the EM CEO blocked his ability to settle. Two weeks after the court hearing, and apparently after a board level consultation with Lord Adonis / Heseltine et al to authorise the £50 payment, the YEM President offered to accept my offer of paying the £50 court fee, but asked for a no-blame clause on their part, when they are clearly culpable, having been fined £3000 by HMRC before.
Was my expulsion from EM handled correctly?
No. Anna Bird claims that I was expelled for using bad language during my conversation with the YEM President. It’s absolutely true that, in sheer frustration, having been given the runaround by about four members of YEM over three months and about 150 e-mails, that I got the number of the YEM President and called them. They were not around to take my call so I left a voice message. Within the message I stated that ‘the payment processwas a fucking mess’. This was twisted into the idea that I had abused him personally. This is untrue. I was very specific when I talked about the process being a mess. Abuse would have been something like saying the person had one leg longer than the other and / or that they had bad breath etc.
Anna Bird then acted unilaterally without reference to the EM Executive or Council. I was made aware by a senior EM figure that she and Lord Adonis had an hour-long meeting to consider the ‘Reading Gate’ affair. I had originally been invited to an EM Council meeting to present my case. At short notice I was uninvited without explanation and told that the item was not to be tabled at the meeting after all. I then received an e-mail to tell me that I had been defenestrated without reference to any meetings, committees or EM policy.
I had originally been invited to an EM Council meeting to present my case. At short notice I was uninvited without explanation and told that the item was not to be tabled at the meeting after all. I then received an e-mail to tell me that I had been defenestrated without reference to any meetings, committees or EM policy. Some members of the EM Council felt strongly that this treatment was disproportionate, given that EM’s own media relations staff swear regularly on public fora. It was also against neurodiversity. A special general meeting was called with The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve (former Attorney General) in attendance, where these matters were considered. I was sanctioned for the language used to describe the sheer incompetence and obfuscation, but it was not considered a matter for expulsion. Anna Bird ignored the EM Council recommendation and the judgement of Dominic Grieve. At the present time I believe I am in the Schrödinger Chair position i.e. both Chair and not Chair at the same time.
Was the smear campaign restricted to these incidents?
No. For example, I had been invited to an event featuring Gavin Esler by East Kent European Movement. I was subsequently uninvited, based on my decision to take EM to court for illegal acts. Below is the e-mail banning me from attendance. Mr Beevor clearly knew nothing of the real reasons for the court case, as he indicates that he has no idea why I took EM to court. Generally speaking, people don’t take people to court and win their case if there is no case to answer. Please note the ‘not so hidden hand’ of Chris Hammond in the cc list. He was part of the previous smear campaign for Team Wancke and this demonstrates the pervasive long-term nature of this campaign and its impact on people who have no idea what took place, hence the need for this transparency statement.
Did I try to sort this out myself rather than whingeing on here?
Of course I did. I wrote to Lord Adonis and Richard Wilson (Grassroots for Europe Chair) on more than one occasion. This was the result:
You may be wondering why Bremain in Spain and The National Rejoin March (NRM) joined in with the blocking here. This is a key point. The smear campaign on WhatsApp and other platforms coupled with how social media works means that people who do not know the story or the people involved spread the message without any real knowledge of what actually took place. In Bremain’s case, Sue Wilson (Chief of Bremain) is closely connected to Wilson and Adonis and Wilson worked behind the scenes on the NRM. The NRM know nothing of my work but took Sue Wilson’s word for it. When I challenged them on the matter, they too ran away.
Have I damaged EM?
No. One of Anna Bird’s claims is that I have damaged The European Movement. I have made a lot of suggestions on how EM can be a more effective national movement over the years and offered my services pro-bono as a professional business and OD consultant way back, something that most organisations I have worked for as a business consultant and author generally welcome. But I have not told lies, deleted inconvenient truths, blocked people who disagree with me or targeted personalities in my suggestions for better strategy, organisation and execution of strategy and so on.
In any case, all businesses and organisations are subject to a thing called customer feedback. If I were to challenge Virgin, Tesco, Currys, Pfizer, B&Q at al on matters of product design, customer service, strategy, innovation and so on, or make suggestions for improvement to their offering, most intelligent enterprises would at least look at the suggestions rather than shooting the messenger out of hand. Why then do EM believe that they should be excluded from such scrutiny? As a former Council board member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), part of our role was to be a ‘critical friend’, as the eyes and ears of the enterprise, to help it seize opportunities and head off or avoid threats etc. This is normal business practice and the reason why most companies have Non-Exec Directors.
Moreover, Richard Wilson’s own feedback in the private WhatsApp group demonstrates that I have not damaged EM. See below. Richard published some other messages in this group but then deleted them as they were potentially libellous. Anna Bird is a member of this group and thus had oversight of these messages. She chose to do nothing, allowing the rumour machine to grow out of control. More recently, Mike Galsworthy reported that EM has gone from strength to strength in an attempt in his bid to become Chair of EM to replace Lord Adonis. Over the period of the alleged damage, EM membership has increased by 2000, a healthy 14% set against an environment when most pro-EU / anti-Brexit activists have given up campaigning about Brexit faced with mass gaslighting by the Government and a virtual silencing of the media and political opposition on the subject of Brexit. Anna Bird has also reported outstanding EM growth under her watch just recently.
In the below message, Peter Packham requests that an article I wrote for London for Europe be censored. He is told by Emma Knaggs that it is up to groups whether they do this but clearly indicates a deliberate policy that had reached ordinary members of EM. She also has no idea why I had been defenestrated from EM but repeats the lie. Sussex for Europe booked me to talk at one of their events and also faced pressure to ban me from appearing in Brighton. They refused.
What does reputational damage really look like?
In one single tweet, Lord Andrew Adonis caused more damage to The European Movement than anyone else that I can recall. Adonis launched a campaign to demonise Tories holding seats in the red wall area of Britain. In doing so, his indiscriminate campaign targeted former remain Tories such as David Lidington and others who had remained loyal to EM and the cause of rejoining the EU. This led to the departure of The Conservative European Forum (CEF) from The European Movement, with figures such as The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC placing distance between themselves and the EM and Lord Heseltine having to act as a bridge to hold the fractured organisation together. If you are a Labour voter you may well say “so what if the Tories are expunged from EM?” However, Brexit is a cross-party issue requiring skilful advocacy within all political parties. Andrew’s tweet disenfranchised remain voting Conservatives in one move. My activities, claiming immoral and indecent behaviour in elections and illegal accounting practices pale into insignificance by comparison and are completely justified in any case.
The accusation that I had ‘thwarted’ the EM’s efforts is reminiscent of the recent interview by Isabel Oakeshott and Richard Tice with Lord Heseltine, where Oakeshott suggested that Heseltine had thwarted Brexit singlehandedly. It’s a ridiculous accusation, since Leavers have held the levers of power for the last six and a half years and have had plenty of time to execute Brexit. Simply to say that Brexit hadn’t been done because someone else without power chose to moan about it is faintly ridiculous. It is just as ridiculous to suggest that I singlehandedly thwarted the EM, an organisation of now 17 000 members, with an international reach and budget to match. A colleague remarked that they were surprised that EM had not suggested that I started the war in Ukraine and / or to have brought aliens to land hot air balloons in the USA or sent Liz Truss to mediate in China.
Cock up or conspiracy?
A reasonable question to ask would be “Is all of the above this just a series of unfortunate events or a deliberate policy?”, in short, cock-up or conspiracy? The reason I favour a planned deliberate campaign (conspiracy if you will) can be summed up as follows:
The physical evidence of smear letters sent to all 14 000 EM members, only some of which can be reported here.
Many WhatsApp exchanges, only some of which are reproduced here.
The fact that people who could not possibly know of my activities or who I am have an impression of what I do without having ever experienced or seen any of my work.
Anna Bird indicated that this was a policy decision in a reply to the person who complained about the censorship. She says “but many, like Warwickshire, have chosen not to engage or to share his content”. The word many implies some kind of top-down briefing rather than a gradual diffusion through people who actually know me, in the same way that Patrick Reynolds applied the ‘send to all’ button in his smear campaign.
Conclusions and next steps
I’m a firm believer in truth and transparency and have written this detailed report in the spirit of balancing what is taking place here. It is up to others to judge for themselves what is taking place and to decide where the truth lies. I have been libelled for raising legitimate moral concerns about electoral processes and raising a Small Claims Court case about illegal accounting practices at The European Movement.
It is now incumbent upon The European Movement to make amends for the spread of fake news and various deletions, distortions and generalisations that have occurred, wilfully in my opinion. I will be writing to the Executive and some others asking them to issue a full unreserved and public apology to put things right in due course.
From Don Adamson in Yorkshire. Brexorcist First Class, campaigner, writer and impressario:
This week’s quotes: “ Brexit re-enactment society: historical re-enactments are popular in Britain … fans of the genre should go the House of Lords … scrutinising the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) bill … lawmakers know the bill is dangerous, wasteful and one of the silliest pieces of legislation ever to come before Parliament … Parliament is again galloping towards an avoidable blunder … it is like lighting a fire in a library and handing the librarians a photocopier and a marker pen to save what they can … ministers do not know how many laws are in scope … hands the executive broad powers to make laws with no idea as to how the power might be used …
Treasury fears it could lose billions in tax challenges … an almighty time sink … for the vanity of those for whom the battle to leave the EU was the highlight of their careers … parliament is imprisoned by the shrill politics of Brexit … some of the most damaging features of the Brexit process … a sane country would never allow itself to be put in this vice … familiar mix of terror and irresponsibility … blithe optimism smothers debate …
Labour is wary of opposing Brexit … terrible mistake … a clear majority of Brits believe that to Leave the EU was a mistake … Brexit causes politicians to lose their judgement … The Old Bailey focuses mainly on murder, rape and terrorism cases … the majority of terrorism cases involved people on the far right of British politics. A minority involves Islamic terrorist cases …
Thick Lizzie addressed a reception at the Japanese Embassy … the feet shuffling mood hovered between embarrassment and cringe coated pain … Thick Lizzie assumes publishers would flock to offer her big bucks for her memoirs … interest varied between minimal and zero … must be hurtful … Johnson is clocking up millions for his memoirs and after dinner speeches … while persuading Richy Scumbag to fund lawyers to help Johnson pretend that he did not lie to Parliament over Partygate …
Brexit is choking the arts and the government is doing nothing about it … touring orchestras and music sales – British culture and arts are a huge success story … Brexit means struggling with tough opposition from abroad … rivals get better tax breaks … children’s TV is suffering … movies of all kinds, music, live theatre, dance, audio books and video games … the world loves British cultural exports but Brexit makes it far harder to sell them … games firms give £7B a year to the economy … music exports are worth £3.5B … creative industries contribute £116B to the economy … yet is one of the worst hit by Brexit … government is totally indifferent … British government promised to make up any shortfall but has not done so … huge problem for the industry … harder and more expensive … a ruinously expensive waste of time … hurt an industry where Britain has huge advantages … You have to be something of a strange breed to want to be an MP in the first place …
Daily Telegraph runs pieces overtly critical of Brexit and Johnson … Johnson can only count on Daily Mail and Sunday Mail for blind loyalty … Michael Gove admitted ‘I ask myself if Brexit was the right thing to do ‘ … Gove’s loyalty lasts only so long as it suits his interests … wants to distance himself from the Brexit recriminations after the next election … frankly hilarious death spiral the governments poll numbers have been taking for months …
Thick Lizzie continues to peddle her ‘it was all the fault of communist currency traders’ … ‘le grande illusion’ encapsulates Brexit … Johnson’s audacity … ‘that is what Louis XVI did and he got the guillotine … Redevelopment at Teesside Freeport is Europe’s largest and most risky Brownfield project… highly toxic land and riverbed is churned up at breakneck speed …
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey has little interest in protecting the environment … toxic waste is taken from remediated areas and piles driven into contaminated land … ‘business partners’ make tens of millions … Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy … it was in the days of Nigel Lawson and Peter Walker that this vital industry last enjoyed civil servants with genuine energy expertise … the timing of these disruptions could not be worse … a new defence export advocate to promote arms sales … given the job to a Tory peer … under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office … there are more health professionals of Ghanaian origin working for the NHS than in Ghana … Brexit is not a complete disaster, it is an incomplete disaster … Brexit does not need fixing stormed Lord Frost to the Daily Mail …
Brexit is not a complete disaster, it is an incomplete disaster
In the wake of Suella Braverman’s “sorry not sorry” apology to asylum seekers, in this film, we look at the social impacts of Brexit, including things like immigration, social care, the cost of living, freedom and various other things, lest they be forgotten by the sheer pace of Government gaslighting and dead cattery.
This follows our economic stock take film:
Write to your MP to tell them that enough is enough !!
Just in case you missed it all – I think you’ve decided to take a break from Twitter after your last car crash pronouncements – you’ve really thrown Katy under the bus and are now trending like no other MP since Matt Hancock was filmed grabbing his assistant’s bum in his office.
In particular, you may wish to find the clips from James O’Brien’s radio show on LBC this morning. It’s a corker.
MP Dawn Butler has a bit to say about you on Twitter as well, as does Mike Galsworthy. You should make an effort to read these, if no others.
#PoorKaty is trending on Twitter as well, due to your poor judgement.
You have made a huge mistake by doubling down on your original ‘30p’ message, first with ‘own brand’ Weetabix, and now by using Katy. Did you not think that she would come under the microscope? The whole country knows about her background now.
You should feel ashamed of yourself. You have once again showed the country, in fact the World, what an ignorant fool you are.
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