Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A tongue-in-cheek riposte to the Guardian's ECHR video

"Apart from the sanitation, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health what have the Romans ever done for us?" The brilliance of Python, demonstrated in one of the best scenes in Life of Brian. It's a steadfast rule that anyone explaining a joke is, in common terms, a twat, So consider my twat t-shirt proudly displayed and corresponding headgear also donned for this post.

The hilarity of that scene rests in the fact that everything listed are indeed things the Roman Empire brought to it's subjects. Given the worthy reverence that Python gets, it's small wonder their canon has been adopted and adapted to all manner of political causes and ideologies over the years. The latest arrived this week in the form of a Guardian video parodying the famous 'what have the Romans ever done' scene, asking 'what has the European Convention on Human Rights ever done for us?'

Convinced of it's cause, it cocks up right away, like a blind man believing he has regained his sight falling head first into a hole, by immediately conflating being a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) with being a member of the EU. The ECHR was signed in 1950 by the 47 members (including 28 current EU members and 19 non-EU members) of the (non-EU) Council of Europe (not to be confused with the European Council, which is an EU body. Can you see why people struggle with political transparency on a European level now?)
It's enforcement is enacted by the European Court of Human Rights, another non-EU body, not to be confused with the European Court of Justice, which implements EU law. Yeah I know, my head hurts too.

So, bottom line, being signatory to the ECHR has absolutely nothing to do with Britain's EU membership, continued or otherwise. Despite this, Patrick Stewart playing the role of Bulldog-spirited PM (excellently I might add, the man is a genius) rants about Brussels bureaucrats taking our sovereignty. Technically true, but sweet FA to do with the ECHR.

In the spirit of Python it then lists the various things the ECHR has given us, only again it misses the whole point of the gag by not actually being accurate at all. It mentions the right to a fair trial (which we can attribute to Magna Carta), freedom from torture (the British Bill of Rights and more recently the Geneva Convention take care of that one), freedom of religion, free expression (the same thing those two, also taken care of by our good friend Mr Bill O' Rights in 1689), freedom from slavery (outlawed in these fair isles nearly 70 years prior to the ECHR in 1883) and protection for domestic violence victims (that one covered by the Matrimonial Causes act in 1878 as well as all the usual criminal acts of rape, violence, harassment etc.) It then ridiculously suggests that war would immediately break out in Northern Ireland were it not for the ECHR,

It's clear from both the timing of this video's release and the false conflation of Brussels (the European Court of Human Rights is actually in Strasbourg) with the ECHR that this is a ham fisted argument for the Remain campaign, designed to make people think that our withdrawing from the EU means withdrawing from the ECHR and an impending abolition of all these rights, presumably by the champagne quaffing, baby-eating Tories. Like most of the arguments employed by those who'd rather we stayed in the EU though, it is in fact, complete bollocks,

So apologies for having to be that guy, arguing with a joke. I just figured some people may be confused and felt the need to point out the glaring errors in the video, given that it came from a respected (by some) newspaper rather than say, Russell Howard on BBC Three, and could potentially mislead people in the run up to one of the most important political decisions the British electorate has made in decades. Oh and as much as we all love Sir Pat Stew, he's not the messiah...

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Why Vote Leave - Part 2: The Economic Argument.

In the run up to the referendum I intend to post a blog each Sunday detailing the reasons why Britain will be better off outside the European Union. These posts will cover the following topics: the economy, influence, democracy, security, the environment, cost, and reform.

"Its's the economy, stupid", to paraphrase Bill Clinton's campaign strategist. Just like a general election, of all the arguments in the referendum debate, of sovereignty, of influence, of immigration, the economy trumps all. Will they be better or worse off will ultimately be the deciding factor for many people when they enter the polling booth on June 23rd, so it's important to set out why leaving the EU is economically sound. This argument takes two forms. Firstly, how do we mitigate any possible negative economic shocks from leaving, and secondly will we ultimately be better off longer term as an independent nation, or as part of a federal EU acting as a global trading bloc.

Every argument you hear about jobs and investment from the remain camp makes the same false conflation of EU membership with access to the single market. There are 28 members of the EU yet 32 nations are members of the single market. This single trade area runs right the way across the continent, encompassing both EU and non-EU countries alike. It cannot be repeated enough, one does not need to be in political union in order to trade with Europe. By rejoining the EFTA we maintain access to the single market, thereby eliminating any potential short term damage leaving the EU may cause to the economy. This is detailed to a much greater extent in the excellent Flexcit document from the Leave Alliance, and pursuing this 'off the shelf' path as an interim measure is easily accomplished within the two year time frame allowed by Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty for negotiations with members leaving the EU. Commonly referred to as the 'Norway option' it allows us to continue trading with other members of the single market in the exact same way as we do now, but crucially frees us up to pursue our own trade deals elsewhere in the world, without being bound by the EU's common trade policy. It's worth stating that contrary to what the In camp would have you believe, this does not mean a loss of influence over the rules. Norway, by virtue of being an independent nation, has access to the actual top tables of global regulation, allowing it to exert it's influence where it really matters, before those regulations are adopted by the EU. Whilst repatriating the whole of current EU regulations ensures stability in the short term, before adjusting, repealing or indeed strengthening as necessary further down the line, it also means we're not bound by any excessive regulation that comes from Brussels from the moment of our joining the EFTA onwards. Norway for example adopts only 1 in 5 of all EU laws. I shall, however, address the issue of influence in more detail next week.

So having ensured we maintain access to the single market, what positives can be derived from our new status as a non-EU country? Well, by repatriating our trade policy we can pursue agreements with the rest of the world. Although on the face of it being part of a large trade bloc lends more weight to negotiations, it can offer just as many obstacles as benefits. The common position of the EU, acting as it does not as a free-trade area but an increasingly protectionist customs union, must accommodate all of the various wishes of it's member states. The much hyped Canadian trade deal is now under threat of being vetoed by Romania over arguments about visa restrictions. The TTIP deal with the US has gone from being massively flawed to practically dead in the water after major components of it have been removed to satiate histrionics this side of the Atlantic. It's unlikely Congress will ratify it, or indeed, if it will pass here. Italy is blocking a deal with Australia and after 9 years of negotiations, talks with India have been shelved. Having to secure the agreement of all 28 members, each with their own, often disparate agendas, renders the EU next to useless in trade negotiations. It's not beyond the realms of reason to suggest that giving our historical links with each of these countries, and the fact that as the 5th largest economy in the world we're an important market, we would have had trade deals in place with each of them years, if not decades ago were it not for our EU membership. The UK rejoining the EFTA would mean that trade bloc would become the 4th largest in the world, meaning we could still benefit from collective clout whilst enjoying the freedom to pursue our own arrangements as and when it suited. It really would be the best of both worlds.

And it is to the world we should be looking. At a time when technology has made geographical proximity meaningless, it's backwards to be locked in a common position with our neighbours on the continent. Especially when you consider the EU's declining position in the world. It's a stagnant market, growing at a much slower pace compared to giants such as the US and rapidly expanding markets like India and China. Our exports to the EU have dropped by roughly 10% over the last 10 years, now accounting for less than half our total, whilst exports to the rest of the world have climbed by the same margin. Furthermore we run a huge trade deficit with the EU, buying far more from them than they do from us, whereas we sell more to the rest of the world than we buy. It's these global markets where our future prosperity lies but only by shaking off the shackles of EU membership can we fully engage with them. Given our links across the world and the relative wealth of our country, we should have no trouble at all striking up deals of various scope with all players in the global market. If Iceland with it's population of 320,000 is capable of negotiating and securing a deal with China, then the 70m strong, newly independent UK should have no problem at all.

Upon fully extracting ourselves, whilst we shall still have to meet EU standards when selling to Europe - just as we would have to meet Japanese standards when selling to Japan - crucially we shall have no need to apply these standards to our domestic market. EU VAT laws for example, have crippled small digital businesses across the continent and freeing ourselves of that sort of convoluted regulation will contribute to our economic growth post-Brexit

It's important to remember that Brexit is not an event but a process. Little will change overnight, but our long term prosperity is far better served engaging with the rapidly expanding global marketplace, whilst maintaining single market access, than remaining trapped in a protectionist customs union.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Why Vote Leave - Part 1: Outlining the case for Brexit

Over the next 8 weeks I intend to post a blog each Sunday detailing the reasons why Britain will be better off outside the European Union. These posts will cover the following topics: the economy, influence, democracy, security, the environment, cost, and reform, but beginning this week with a rough overview of why I shall be voting Leave on the 23rd June.

I got into politics when I was about 14 or 15 years old, and not for any ideological reasons. I used to listen to the likes of The Now Show and Dead Ringers on the radio at the weekend and I merely read the news in order to get the jokes. The side effect of this was my becoming interested in current affairs and, for as long as I've been engaged, the issue of the EU has been one that has garnered the most attention for me. I confess, like most 15 year olds, I didn't really have a clue what I thought or what the issues were. Much of my viewpoints were probably a combination of received wisdom, my dad's influence, and a general vibe picked up from the stuff I read in the news and indeed what I heard on Radio 4 comedy shows. However, I've always been what you would call a Eurosceptic, believing that the EU did more harm than good and was too meddlesome in UK affairs. Whether it be ridiculous stories of outlawing bendy bananas or indeed the impact of immigration, I rarely agreed with EU policy. Interestingly though, as my political beliefs have developed, changed, and (I hope) matured, my opposition to Britain's EU membership has gone from being a vague sense of disdain fuelled by wild (and often inaccurate, as the bendy bananas story was) tabloid journalism to a firm belief that far from being a benign nuisance, the EU is actively harmful to both it's member state's prosperity and, more importantly, to democracy itself.

Whilst it may have been formed with noble intentions, bringing the previously warring nations of Europe together to trade and co-operate, it has morphed into a bureaucratic nightmare. It is no longer a free trade area but a protectionist customs union, marching inexorably along the path to a federal United States of Europe, with a common government, common army, common currency and fiscal policy, common foreign policy, flag, anthem, and all the other trappings of statehood. The people of Europe have rarely been consulted about this plan, and when they have, they have been routinely ignored, the EU swatting aside unfavourable referendum results and forging ahead regardless. Indeed, this anti-democratic nature is bred into the very way the EU is structured. Whilst we may vote for our MEPs, the European Parliament has no power to introduce, repeal or amend legislation. This is all done by the European Commission, an appointed body, not elected. The fact that people have power to introduce laws that affect us all and yet are completely unaccountable to the electorate should be enough of a reason for anyone to vote to leave.

This is, of course, all done in the name of peace and prosperity, but the EU is the slowest growing market in the world and is continuously shrinking as a share of global GDP. This would be of little consequence were it not for the fact that it's members cannot negotiate trade with the other emerging economies of the world, bound as they are to the EU's common trading position. In today's rapidly changing, global economy, it is not large trade blocs that are best equipped to strike deals, but smaller nations, more easily adaptable to the prevailing economic winds, and better suited to pursue their own interests without being compromised by competing interests in the same bloc.

As for peace, one need look no further than the terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS fighters arriving under the guise of the refugee crisis, the rise of far right parties across the continent, or the civil unrest in places like Greece and Spain to see how laughable a proposition the EU fostering unity is.

Despite what the Remain camp profess, it is possible to leave the political institutions of the EU and maintain access to the single market. The European Economic Area runs all the way from non-EU Iceland to non-EU Turkey and leaving the EU to rejoin the EEA via the EFTA (European Free Trade Area) will negate any negative economic effects of withdrawal. From this position we can maintain our trading relationship with our neighbours in Europe whilst forging new trade links with the other emerging economies of the world, and crucially, take our place at the top tables of world trade, helping shape global trade regulations before they are passed down, and indeed watered down, at EU level.

As the 5th largest economy in the world, a permanent seat holder on the UN Security Council, a nuclear power, and a leading member of the G8, linked by history, language, common law and culture to every continent on the planet, freed from the shackles of EU membership, we can wield our substantial influence on the world stage rather than being marginalised in the corridors of Brussels. 

Friday, 15 April 2016

REVIEW: The River 68's - Piece EP

Piece is the third EP from Glaswegian rock n soul band The River 68's, following their initial self-titled effort and the recent 'live and acoustic at La Chunky'. Those who know the band will already be familiar with their soulful, rock n roll sound and this EP continues in that vein with great success. The four tracks here are all feel-good, uplifting numbers, with subtle gospel vibes to each that can't help but raise your spirits. The guitar work on the two openers is just dripping in Stones-esque swagger, complimented perfectly with honky tonk piano and exquisite vocal harmonies. This is all set off by the goose bump inducing vocals of lead singer Craig McCabe, surely the UK's finest undiscovered talent. There's some variety included in the slow burning Forget Your Illusion, a track capable of giving even this hardened atheist a spiritual moment, before Make Hay When The Sun Shines combines the best of both worlds to bring the EP to a close. It's another slice of genius by the Scottish outfit that is over all too quickly, but hopefully they'll be hitting the studio soon with a view to recording a full length effort. Without doubt ones to watch.


Sonny And The Second Hand Store
Forget Your Illusion
Make Hay When The Sun Shines

You can download this EP from the band's Bandcamp page here.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Disappointment of Jeremy Corbyn

"We have a European bureaucracy, totally unaccountable to anybody. Powers have gone from national parliaments, they haven't gone to the European parliament, they've gone to the Commission."

Not a quote from Nigel Farage but from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. I confess that whilst I disagree with large swathes of his politics, I was rooting for Corbyn to win the Labour leadership. Aside from the cynical desire to see socialism quashed in UK politics for at least another generation, here was a man who had routinely defied the party whip throughout his tenure in parliament and stuck to his principles - a trait sorely lacking in Westminster. Moreover, Corbyn had a lifetime of Euroscepticism and criticism of the EU behind him. David Cameron had promised an in-out EU referendum and having narrowly won a majority in the election, we would be getting it. Here was an opportunity to have a lifelong Eurosceptic lead the second largest party in UK politics and make the left-wing case for withdrawal, devoid of the unpleasantness some feel that UKIP taints that idea with.

Alas, after his speech today, Corbyn has stuck to the general theme of his opposition and disappointed, setting out as he did a case for Remain. Corbyn of course stated back in February that he would be backing the Remain camp, thus performing a complete 180 on his previous stances. He voted to leave the then EEC in 1975, he voted against the Maastricht Treat in 1992 and the Lisbon treaty in 2008. His website was full of articles decrying the EU and it's corporatist nature, which have now been taken down, displaying the sort of double-dealing and hypocrisy that his supporters saw him as an answer to.

The main thrust of Corbyn's speech was that yes, the EU is awful, so that's why we need to stay in in order to reform it. This completely disregards the EU's unwillingness and inability to reform, as David Cameron discovered in his ill-fated 'renegotiation.' Indeed, one of the most impressive diatribes Corbyn almost gave was his evisceration of Cameron over his inability to achieve any meaningful reform. I say almost because he rightly lambasted the EU's failure to stop the erosion of jobs in vital sectors like the steel industry. He pointed out that the EU enforces the privatisation of public services (meaning that Corbyn's policies of rail re-nationalisation and the like are incompatible with EU law). He decried their austerity measures, their failure to protect worker's rights, and it's severe lack of democratic accountability. Unfortunately, Corbyn shunned the obvious conclusion of this litany of offences and endorse an exit from the European Union, instead opting to back staying in regardless.

It's entirely possible of course that Corbyn has indeed reassessed his view on our EU membership, though one can't help wondering if this about face is more to do with trying to maintain some sort of party unity. The early days of Corbyn's leadership were dogged with infighting and disagreements over policy, such as Trident for example, and at the time of Corbyn's announcement he would be backing In, a further split could well have spelled disaster for his fledgling leadership. Indeed, when asked why he had changed his mind, Corbyn stated that the Labour Party backed EU membership and that 'that's the party I lead and the position I am putting forward', suggesting that this speech was by Jeremy Corbyn the leader of the Labour Party, rather than Jeremy Corbyn the man.

Regardless, his actual speech was full of the kind of nonsense we have come to expect from the Remain camp. From his stating that EU membership is crucial to worker's rights - something that is formulated at the global level by bodies such as the ILO and then passed down to the EU to implement, not drawn up by the EU itself, to stating that 'not that many people come here' with regards to the EU's free movement principles. Regardless of where you stand on immigration, a tally of over 200,000 can hardly be classed as 'not that many.'

It was also telling that one of the arguments Corbyn made was the threat of the Tory party dumping worker's rights such as maternity pay, annual leave and equal pay. Never mind the fact that the Conservatives have no such policies - it would be electoral suicide if they did - but supposing the British electorate wanted a more deregulated, free market economy and voted for a party to implement such a scheme. Corbyn is in effect endorsing the overrule of British democracy by the European Union, the biggest bone of contention that every advocate of a Leave vote from all over the political spectrum has with the EU project.

So yes Jeremy, I understand the need for party unity, lord knows we could use an effective opposition right now, that your party is currently far from providing, but it's a shame that in the name of that unity, you have abandoned that trait which your supporters revered and your opponents, however much they may disagree, respected; your elevation of principle over politics.

Monday, 11 April 2016

David Cameron and the Tax Haven of Panama.

I wasn't going to write about this. Frankly, the PM has followed the law to the letter (which is part of the problem, more on that later) and the sustained bluster that has followed has been complete garbage. I frankly didn't want to add to the noise surrounding what, despite what some people who are clearly unfamiliar with the story think, is a non-issue. But as it seems to have no intention of dying down any time soon - thanks in part to Cameron's own woeful handling of the situation - I figured I'd throw in my own two cents on the issue.

After sustained pressure from the aftermath of the Panama papers leak, David Cameron has disclosed that he owned shares in the tax haven fund Blairmore Holdings, which were sold in 2010 for a profit of £19,000. It is important to distinguish here that Cameron was not running any money through this company in order to avoid paying tax, he merely held shares in the company. Now, one can rightly remonstrate with him about fighting to close tax loopholes and reduce tax avoidance whilst having previously owned shares in a company that allowed people to do just that. Frankly, anyone who is involved in any of these schemes, in any capacity, whilst working to ensure that the rest of us have no such luxury is both hypocritical and a scoundrel. But when Cameron sold those shares in 2010, making a somewhat decent profit, all taxes due were paid. So far from actually doing anything illegal - such as tax evasion - he hasn't even partaken in tax avoidance, which is perfectly legal and should be encouraged. Anyone who has ever taken out an ISA, held premium bonds, or stocked up at the duty free on the way back from a holiday has avoided tax. Minimising your tax bill within the confines of the law is a perfectly reasonable and sensible thing to do. I'm reminded of this 1929 quote from Judge Lord Clyde: "No man in this country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or to his property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel into his stores."

The irony of this whole charade of course, is the fact that this isn't even new information. The Guardian first reported on Cameron's links to Blairmore Holdings back in 2012. Four years ago. This is probably why the Guardian's main focus of it's Panama papers leak wasn't Cameron, but in fact Vladimir Putin and other world leaders actually involved in dodgy financial practices.

There has since been further revelations about Cameron's inheritance but the idea that people are decrying a mother giving money to her son, rather than applauding it, is ludicrous. I have even seen one Times columnist calling for Inheritance Tax to be 100%. The idea that you can work hard all your life and build a nest-egg for your children so they don't have to worry quite so much about money is a noble one. Having the state confiscate part or all of that should seem abhorrent to anyone.

Cameron is really only guilty of catastrophically mismanaging the situation. He should have been far quicker to volunteer that he had previously had an investment in his father's fund, though I'm inclined to agree that a person's private investments should remain so. Cameron has now taken the unprecedented step of releasing his tax return from the last 6 years. This of course tells us absolutely nothing new as the Prime Minister's salary is a matter of public record, as are any extras received by MPs. But having uncorked this particular genie's bottle, there are now cries for all MPs to disclose their tax returns, and even that of private individuals in business and the media. Why people are seemingly so obsessed with the financial affairs of others is beyond me. Full credit to the first politician who confronts these calls with 'no chance, that's a private matter.'

Now, there is a further point to be made here. The fact that tax avoidance schemes are so prevalent indicates two things. Firstly, that taxes are too high. The accountants and other personnel required to set up these schemes don't come cheap but they're self-evidently worth the money if you're minimising your tax bill by a greater amount. Were taxes lower it would cease to be worth the effort and the expenditure, plus there's a lot to be said for letting people keep a greater sum of their own money.
More pressingly though, it demonstrates that the tax code is clearly too complicated. People exploiting the rules and loopholes to their benefit is not an argument against those people but rather an argument against the Chancellors who concocted the rules in the first place. There would be a much greater sense of fair play and much less resentment against those wealthy enough to employ someone to decipher the pan's labyrinth that is the UK tax code, were taxes simpler and flatter.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

REVIEW: Tax The Heat - Fed To The Lions

Fed To The Lions is the debut album from Bristol quartet Tax The Heat and as debut albums go it's an absolute barnstormer. This isn't a band still in search of their sound as many initial efforts can be, but rather a highly polished effort showcasing a real identity. A bed of hard rock riffs and 60's R&B swagger gives the foursome a hearty base from which to launch their songs.

And what songs they are. The singles Highway Home and Animals kick things off with aplomb, giving a strong indication of what to expect – ballsy guitars and big choruses – without giving too much away about what's in store further down the line. Whilst ostensibly 'blues rock' the glossy production and Alex Veale's thoroughly modern delivery of the vocals ensure that Tax The Heat are miles away from your bog-standard classic rock band. Though there's still some blistering lead runs by Veale that will keep that audience more than happy, there are moments when indie flavours seep through to compliment the overall hard rock vibe.

Three tracks from the band's 2013 EP are reproduced here including the song for which this album is named. Any other track following the Wolfmother meets QOTSA Under Watchful Eye would sound tame by comparison but the massive guitar sound, furious drumming and stop start vocals make it one of this writer's favourites on the album.

The true stand out track though arrives at the mid-point in the shape of Some Sympathy. Appearances at Download, Calling Festival and others, as well as arena shows alongside the likes of Thunder cry out for some sort of anthem and Tax The Heat could have a stone cold classic on their hands right out of the gate. With a huge sing-a-long chorus and simple, one-two punch riff, it's no wonder they were able to win over those sorts of crowds.

The album rattles along at a good pace, the quartet eschewing ballades and opting to keep the riffs coming right up until the climactic Lost Our Way, a real showcase of the musicianship these lads possess. A guitar god opening, giving way to a melodious chorus demonstrating a command of light and shade, it's a massive closing track that is just begging to be given an extended workout live.

All in all, few freshmen efforts can claim to be as polished and self-assured as Fed To The Lions. If their career trajectory is any indication, off the back of this record, Tax The Heat are poised for big things.


Highway Home
Under Watchful Eye
Fed To The Lions
Hit Me Hard
Stood On The Platform To Leave
Some Sympathy
Devil's Daughter
Learn To Drown (You're Wrong)
Your Fool
Lost Our Way

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Government's Remain Propaganda

News broke this evening that the Government will be carpet bombing homes in Britain with a leaflet explaining how 'remaining in the European Union is best for the UK'. This comes at a cost of £9.3m to the taxpayer and represents a bid on the part of the Government to significantly skew the referendum in their favour.

Each of the camps, Remain and Leave, receive funding from the state. One can argue as to whether or not that should be the case in the first place but, regardless, any funds provided by taxpayers should be distributed equally to both sides in order to ensure as fair and as balanced a referendum as possible. Each campaign is allowed to spend up to £7m of public money during the campaign. This leaflet campaign, funded as it is in addition to that £7m, in effect more than doubles the amount of public money being spent on the In campaign than Out. By funding this outside of the purdah period (which, lest we forget, Cameron wanted to scrap) the Government circumvent these limits. They have justified this propaganda campaign by saying that polling indicates 85% of people want more information before making a decision. Unfortunately, the leaflet itself doesn't present cold facts but rather Remain spin and deceit. The misrepresentation starts on the first page:

Given that the Government contains several ministers who in fact believe the exact opposite, it is already a misrepresentation of the facts. Inside it goes further, even perpetuating the long since debunked '3 million jobs rely on our EU membership' myth.

What's more is that the issuing of this leaflet reneges on promises made by the Government itself. Minister for Europe David Lidington is on record as saying in September of last year that the government has: "...no intention of legislating to allow the Government to do things such as mailshots, paid advertising or leafleting."

I don't blame people for wanting more information before making up their minds on this issue. The level of debate on both sides has been absolutely woeful. This intervention from the Government however is merely an extension of the Remain campaign and whilst it may not technically break the law, it is certainly highly questionable ethically and an affront to democracy. The information people need is readily available, it just needs a little bit of work and half an hour or so on Google to find. It is an important issue, and people should seek to gather as much information as they possibly can before deciding. This leaflet though is pure propaganda, disgustingly paid for by the taxpayer.