@StrongerIn what do you mean when you speak of trade? @afneil #Marr @BBCNews

January 25, 2016

This a letter I sent to the DailyExpress (25/1/16), prompted by an item in the Daily Mirror. I would have sent it to them, except their Political Editor and Sub are obviously New Labour. Plus their letter column likes to pick a theme and print related letters only.

It looks as if the EU referendum campaigns will be waged with half-truths.
Voters will not be properly informed on the pro’s and con’s but will be subjected to scare stories, rumours, emotional slogans and what are, in effect, lies.
E.g. the “Stronger in” campaign has announced that “Britain’s trade with Europe is 55% higher than it would be thanks to our EU membership”.
Ignoring the attempt to confuse Europe with the EU, what does it mean by trade?
Most voters will assume that trade refers to exports, which implies concern for a loss of British jobs.
But Trade can also mean imports, which implies a lack of concern for loss of British jobs.
For instance a new wind farm near Port Talbot is being built under contract to Siemens, a German firm, which will import the steel from China.
Siemens will be taking a commission and putting it in its bank in Germany.
This would count as an “invisible” import.
Since joining the EU, there has been a huge increase in these “invisible” imports.
German and French firms have contracts for bus services, ambulances, train services, water supply, gas and electricity supply.
Even the refitting of one of the Queen’s was contracted to a German firm.
Then there are the tangible imports such as railway carriages being built in Germany, whilst British firms close down.
How much of that 55% increase in trade is to our benefit?
If it’s mainly imports then this “increased trade” is an argument for “stronger out” and it’s the duty of The Media to prevent politicians trying to deceive us with such ambiguous terms.


February 4, 2015
Stephen Hall
Stephen Hall 3 February 14:33

Stephen Hall
Stephen Hall 3 February 14:33


The time has come for real democracy and a real deal that puts people first.

Today, supporters of the Greater Manchester Referendum Campaign join with our fellow citizens of Manchester in publicly condemning the imposition of non-stop mega-cuts to Council funding and vital services.

Manchester Council leader Richard Leese is right to say, as he did on Twitter last week, that the savage cuts are “excessive and unfair” and “bad for Manchester”.

Also, with official auditors confirming that more than half of all Councils across the country are at risk of financial failure within a few years, it must be clear to most people, that we must change course urgently.

We welcome Richard Leese’s new passion for speaking out against cuts and austerity. We hope it grows and lasts beyond May. However, this new found passion would appear somewhat at odds with his and Manchester City Council’s enthusiastic support for the so-called Greater Manchester Devolution Agreement a.k.a. ‘Devo Manc’.

Central to this agreement is not only a reformed local governance system and new powers, which will be imposed on all of us, without any of us having any say in it whatsoever, but the enshrining of further cuts, and privatisation of local public services, and a policy of continued austerity across the whole of Greater Manchester for years to come.

Together, we must reject outright such outrageously dodgy democracy and any dodgy deal cooked up behind closed doors, without any reference to the views of the people of Greater Manchester, that will effectively lock millions of us into further brutal austerity policies, never ending cuts and public asset-stripping, which will have consequences for decades.

We ask Sir Richard to now join our growing pro-referendum campaign and bring his passion with him.

Pro-referendum campaigners will soon be visiting his Crumpsall ward to ask if the 2,499 people who voted him into office in 2012 and the 77% of the Crumpsall electorate that didn’t vote for him, agree with what he has done and what he is doing on their behalf.

In our view, the time has come for real democracy and a real deal that puts people first. Let’s do it.

Sign our online petition at:

Next meeting at the Mechanics Institute, Princess Street, Wednesday 25th February 7.00pm start. Open to all Greater Manchester residents supporting the call for a referendum on Devo Manc.

See our facebook page for further information and details of meetings and other activities in your area.