Macron’s Brexit speech 31st January 2020

On the eve of the United Kingdom’s departure from formal membership of the European Union, President Macron of France gave a televised address devoted to Brexit.

He explained that France respected the sovereign decision of the British people, and said that it was not for him to comment on the reasons for the vote. Having said that, he then proceeded to comment saying that the Referendum campaign was characterised by lies, exaggerations, over simplifications, and false promises. Mr Macron’s previous public statements make clear that such criticism is reserved for the Leave campaign, not Remain. It is also clear from previous declarations that Macron regards anyone who wishes to leave the EU as having Nazi sympathies [no exaggeration !]

The only exaggeration I know of made by the Leave camp was the assertion that the UK sent £350 million per week to the EU. In fact that figure was the Gross contribution determined by EU Budgetary arrangements but it takes no account of the various EU funds allocated back to the UK, nor the famous Rebate. In short, £350 million per week was never sent  because the liability was already offset.  However, the figure was the full liability, and the return of offsetting funds was a decision in the power the EU, not the UK.

The associated promise suggested by Leave was to invest that EU budget liability sum of £350 million a week in the NHS – that promise was kept by May and has been maintained by Johnson.

The primary promise, of course, was to restore sovereignty, and specifically control over our own laws, budgets and borders. We have yet to see that promise to Leave voters fulfilled and it still depends on the outcome of coming negotiations on the future relationship. 

Significantly, Mr Macron said that lying was a threat to democracy. Indeed it is, Mr Macron, indeed it is !

President Macron said that Brexit had been a shock – for the first time a country was leaving the EU, not joining. Lessons need to be learned he said. Indeed they do, but the conclusion Mr Macron drew in his speech was basically more EU, not less. The EU should not be made a scape goat [as he manifestly believes the British have done] because in point of fact the EU was the answer to a range of issues, such as ecology, migration, technology.

President Macron sees a need to establish a strong, politically integrated Europe to stand up to China and the United States of America. [No mention of Russia …] Yes, America is now regarded as a threat against which the EU must now prepare itself with its own security and military capabilities.

This is the same United States which sent tens of thousands of men to die in Europe to deliver us from Nazi Germany. The same America which rebuilt the European economy via the Marshall Plan after the Second World War. This is the same America which has borne the largest share of the NATO burden in money, resources and manpower to protect our western way of life. This is the same America which co-authored the Atlantic Charter in the Second World War to protect and promote the worldview and values of western civilisation in the post war world.

But now Europe must regard America in the same category as China – a  country with a newly minted Dictator and an incipient digital social credit system worthy of Orwell’s 1984. The country Hong Kongers so fear, they prefer the days of British colonial rule to reintegration with the mainland.

President Macron explicitly sees America in the same category –  a threat to resist. 

President Macron went on to assure us that while the EU certainly needed reform, he would be lying to us if he said the answer was either withdrawal or less EU rather than more. More and more EU, and less and less national democracy and sovereignty is the only way ahead, according to Mr Macron. Even though that led to Brexit.

He doesn’t get it, because he doesn’t want to.

President Macron pointed out that nothing concrete would change this year 2020 for any of us – French or British – although UK nationals could no longer stand/ vote in the coming French local elections. The UK has left the institutions, but the everyday impact will not otherwise be felt during the eleven months of transition to December 31st 2020.

The future relationship will be negotiated during 2020 and understandably the President said he will defend the interests “of our fishermen, of our farmers, of our industry, of our researchers, of our workers, of our students”. He wants a good relationship with the UK, but it will inevitably be different because the UK will now be outside, not inside the EU.

Overall, French fishermen rely for 30% of their turnover on fishing in British territorial waters, and for some this exceeds 50%. They regard this as their right and fail to see why they should lose out. Macron has the same attitude. Who cares about the state of the British fishing fleet or British rights in their own territorial waters. If this was the other way round, there would have been riots on the streets in France, I can assure you. But the British are expected to submit to it. 

The French and Spanish fishing fleets have prospered at direct cost to the British fleets which have suffered for decades now.

The President acknowledges the debt to the British in the war when De Gaulle was kept safe  in London –  June 2020 marks the 80th anniversary of De Gaulle’s broadcast to France to keep alive the hope of future liberation from Nazi Germany. France would never forget this, and looked forward to strong bilateral relations in defence, science and culture.

We cannot hide the fact that it is a sad day, he said. But this setback must inspire greater efforts to build a more powerful and effective Europe.

Vive l’amitié entre le Royaume-Uni et la France, vive l’Europe, vive la République et vive la France

the President concluded.

Ray Catlin

the full official text of the speech is on the Elysee Palace site at

reality at the heart of the EU

You may be aware of strikes and protests in France against the Macron Government proposals to change the state retirement pension system. The railway and tube systems have been particularly affected – the French railway operator SNCF is reporting a loss in revenue approaching one BILLION euro since the dispute started in early December 2019. Ports and refineries are now being targeted with mounting losses to business.

All this comes on top of the year long gilets jaunes protests. French retail outlets were badly hit by their protests in December 2018; Christmas 2019 was hit by the transport strike.  The Christmas period is critical to the turnover of many businesses, especially retail. It often means the difference between making a profit or suffering a loss for the financial year. Small and medium size businesses are particularly vulnerable.

None of which matters to the Unions orchestrating the strikes. They take such action at such a time because it will do damage.  They have their Rights and their privileges to protect – tough on everyone else.

When I say privileges let me give you an example. The Paris tube drivers can look forward to an average pension of around 30,000 euro per year – and that becomes 43,000 euro per year if they spend their entire working life in that job.

Compare that to a state pension of just 6,000 euro a year – yes that is six thousand – for millions of others who worked in non strategic jobs like retail or agriculture.


Retail and agriculture cannot hold the country to ransom, of course. Key sectors like transport can. Which is why they are privileged. This is the reality of life in the Rights-based Republic of France, motor of the Peace and Harmony Project called the European Union. The strong can do as they please and the weak must meekly submit to serious injustice.

Now I am very wary of Monsieur Macron. I believe he has Napoleonic pretensions regarding Europe. But he is surely right on this one.

His system ensures that French people start getting pension rights whenever they earn. That means that large numbers of part time and casual contract workers will start accumulating credits towards their state retirement pension as soon as they start earning, and whenever they earn. The present system requires minimum levels of earnings gained over a minimum period.

The President’s proposed system will also redistribute the contributions of the highest earners, like the privileged lawyers, to the poorer end. Thus his system will guarantee that everyone gets a minimum pension of 1000 euros per month – 12,000 euro a year.

Everyone who has made contributions to the system – basically the entire workforce.

And because this is inevitably about the need to balance the accounts as well, the new age for retirement on full pension will go up to 64 for most people [certain categories will still be able to retire much earlier because of the nature of their work, and you can still retire earlier at 62 but with a % reduction on your pension].

Yes 64 –  not 65 or 66 or 67 or higher as is the case in other advanced western economies.

Macron’s pension system will look a lot more like the British with its universal set rate for all and a universal age for retirement. But then the British system was far more egalitarian when it started over one hundred years ago – long before the EU existed.

Yes the French with their totem mantra of equality and fraternity are that out of date.

The Unions are dead set against this, however, even though only a fraction of the workforce are union members.  

Neither side wants to budge, and now it comes down to a naked power struggle – a struggle which  is taking a new, nasty and dangerous turn. Because strikers are going back to work, new tactics are being deployed.

Friday 17th January 2020,  Monsieur et Madame Macron were at the theatre in Paris. Three rows behind them sat someone whom France 24 refers to as “the activist journalist Taha Bouhafs”. Bouhafs tweeted out photos, suggesting that protestors outside might enter and disrupt the proceedings.

Dozens of protestors then tried to physically force their way in to the theatre but police repulsed them.

Next day, Saturday 18th January, French news broadcast pictures of a burned out Parisian restaurant, La Rotonde. It had been firebombed earlier that day. The culprits have not been identified but the restaurant is famous for being the venue Emmanuel Macron chose to celebrate after qualifying for the second and final round in the Presidential Election of 2017.

These are not legitimate tactics in a democracy. But they are seen as legitimate tactics by the fascistic Left in France: the anarchist Black Block see nothing wrong in fire bombing police officers in their vehicles, and Eco extremists  have caused millions of euros of damage in Nantes alone in recent years during their violent protests against the new airport there.

Before Christmas, gangs of trade unionists protesting against pension reform entered secure electricity control centres in the main towns of France and cut off the current for several hours knowing full well the dependence of most French people on electric heating in winter …

Monsieur Macron was elected President of France. His party has an overall majority in the French national Assembly. His manifesto made clear the need for reform of the pension system.

In a democracy, people have a right to express their opinion and to assemble to voice their views. They have the right to stand at the next election and persuade the electorate to back them to change the law in the way they want.

They emphatically do not have the right to treat a constitutionally elected politician as a target for intimidation, nor the right to intimidate the population at large into acceding to their demands.

But the Rights based culture in the politically correct France and European Union enables people to forget their responsibilities and justify their unjust privileges.

Ray Catlin




the point of Parliamentary scrutiny

A great deal has been said in recent months about parliamentary scrutiny of the UK government over Brexit – a degree of scrutiny rarely accorded to the laws handed down from Brussels during the time of the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU.

UK Parliamentary scrutiny now knows no bounds given that Brexit is so close – or is it ?   All the scrutiny is aimed, of course, at ensuring that the UK remains in one form or other as a member or dependent associate. That the Westminster parliament should remain subject to the EUrocracy orchestrated from Paris and Berlin. 

The Westminster parliament has this year broken the bounds of our Constitution, and the Supreme Court has aided and abetted in the violation of the Constitution framed after 1688 – a Constitution which provided

  • the framework for our current constitutional monarchy
  • the  all important Rule-of-Law to protect property and personal rights
  • and therefore enabled Britain’s subsequent commercial success
  • and provided rights to the peoples of Britain’s colonies, witness Hong Kongers fears and protests today

See my assessments on 25th September and 3rd October 2019 at

But there is good news from Europe ! Or should I say, from the European parliament which is flexing its muscles in what limited powers it has to hold the Executive to account.

The following is a verbatim report from the EU Observer – an online pro European news service concerned about the democratic functioning of the EU.

By Koert Debeuf and Andrew Rettman


Sylvie Goulard, France’s nominee for the European Commission, lost the vote on her candidacy on Thursday (10 October), with 82 MEPs against her, 29 in favour, and one abstention.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, now has no choice but to name an alternative.

“We were quite surprised to see that someone as experienced as Sylvie Goulard was not able to take a number of concerns away,” Esther de Lange, a Dutch politician from the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), said after the vote by two European Parliament committees.

Goulard was not able to dispel questions on “double standards”, de Lange said.

“How can you be unfit to be minister in France, while at the same time be good enough to be a European commissioner?”, she added.

De Lange referred to an ongoing French investigation into Goulard’s alleged misuse of EU funds in her time as an MEP, which saw her step down as French defence minister back in 2017.

But the death blow to the French liberal candidate came after an EPP nominee (from Hungary) had also fallen by the wayside and after Macron had earlier killed an EPP man’s chances of becoming commission president.

An EPP tweet, which accidentally showed one of the group’s internal messages online, reinforced the idea of a revenge plot.

“Guys, we are going to kill her in the vote later but do not say a … [sic] until then”, the EPP tweet said on Thursday.

The Elysee alluded to the plot in a statement, saying Goulard’s rejection was due to “political game-playing directed at the entire European Commission”.

But Goulard herself said only that she “took note of the decision” and thanked those MEPs who had voted in favour of her.

The decision came after MEPs had called in the French candidate for a second hearing in Brussels earlier the same day.

The EU funds investigation aside, Goulard’s previous €13,000 per month consultancy job for a US think tank had also raised doubt on her integrity in an initial hearing.

And Francois-Xavier Bellamy, a French centre-right MEP, continued to strike at the sore spot the second time around.

He alleged that “pressures have been put on many of my colleagues in this room from national heads of state and governments to dismiss” the tough questions.

Pernille Weiss, a Danish-centre right MEP, also accused Goulard of “double standards”, echoing the group line.

And questions on the sore subjects also flew in from green, far-right, and far-left MEPs.

She was “blurry on integrity … still very evasive and ambiguous”, Valérie Joron, a French far-right MEP said.

Dramatic upset

Goulard’s fall marks the biggest upset so far to Ursula von der Leyen, the new European Commission president.

Goulard had insisted on Thursday that she had spoken with Von der Leyen on the issue of the EP funds probe and they both decided it was ok for her to apply for the EU post.

The commission’s legal services had also cleared her application, Goulard added.

And if the French authorities ever brought formal charges against her, then she would consider resigning, she had promised.

The €13,000/month post was not illegal, but may have been in poor taste on “more subjective” grounds, she had also said.

Liberal MEPs and some other centre-right deputies did ask less controversial questions on Goulard’s portfolio, which was to include the single market, defence, and culture.

She pledged to fight for social cohesion, in a counterpoint to her own lucrative consultancy income.

She also pledged to reduce carbon emissions, protect intellectual property from Chinese firms, promote European film, and defend small businesses and women’s rights.

The fate of two other candidates – from Hungary and Romania – also hangs in the balance after MEPs rejected two initial candidates, with von der Leyen yet to say if she accepted their replacement nominees instead.

Goulard’s early exit also calls into question von der Leyen’s stated intention to have a gender-balanced commission, with 13 women.

Now, together with French president Macron, von der Leyen has to look for another candidate for France as well.

the original report is to be found at

Paris and Berlin saw former French Defence minister, Sylvie Goulard as a key member of Von der Leyen’s top team – a team being tasked by the Franco-German axis to establish a fully fledged European Army and Defence Industry in the course of the coming 5 year term of office.

Von der Leyen was formerly German Defence minister.

Nick Clegg categorically asserted otherwise in debate with Nigel Farage.

And post Referendum Prime Minister Theresa May involved Britain in this  project – despite Brexit …

Ray Catlin