Election Day Newsletter 2017

Category: Newsletters
 Vote Conservative today! June 8 2017
A vote to decide the success of Brexit

The person we choose for Prime Minister today, Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn, will be sitting down in a couple of weeks to square off against the EU’s negotiating team. These will be the most important negotiations our country has ever faced, get it right and we lay the foundation for our future prosperity as a truly global, outward-looking trading power. Get it wrong and we risk economic disaster and permanent decline into irrelevance. It is up to you to decide who sits at the table to represent Britain’s interests.

While Theresa May has been steadfast in her negotiating strategy, Jeremy Corbyn has already told the EU all they need to know; he would ultimately be prepared to sign up to a bad deal at whatever the cost. With this being Labour policy, why on earth would the EU be inclined to make any concessions to Britain when they now know that Corbyn as Prime Minister will sign whatever punishing deal they place in front of him? With Labour waving the white flag, Juncker’s lust to punish Britain with Versailles treaty-style reparations of €100bn would become a reality.

So the choice is simple. Jeremy Corbyn cannot be trusted to deliver Brexit – Theresa May can. It was Theresa who, despite attempted sabotage from the left, duly triggered Article 50. As promised, on time and with a mandate from the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In turn we must give her our mandate. Every vote for Theresa May and the Conservative party strengthens her hand in the negotiations. Let us empower her to deliver the Brexit deal that works for Britain and our future prosperity.

In defiance of terror, we should be more vocal in defence of Western values

 

Two more horrific, evil terror attacks have struck our society. In Manchester, mainly young adults and children were murdered at what should have been an enjoyable, memorable evening for them. In London, innocent people were cut down with knives in a brutal display of barbarism. Across the Middle East and Africa, this same jihadi movement, most noticeably so-called Islamic State, murders, destroys and enslaves all who dare to oppose their fanatical tyranny. This represents the greatest existential threat to our peace and security we have seen since the days of the Iron Curtain. Once again we face an enemy that holds our values of liberal democracy in complete contempt. We must recognise this challenge and be prepared for the situation to get worse before – or if – it gets better.

I pose the concern: ‘if’ it gets better. For this is ultimately a clash of ideals rather than territories, and the main threat is not external military forces but something more internal: a conscious rejection of the innate value of Western principles. Seen mainly amongst the political left is this form of cultural suicide, a self-loathing for the values of which the West holds dear – or once held dear. This form of Western masochism is seen principally in the assertion of moral and cultural relativism; an ‘uncertainty principle’ that rejects the value of our own traditions while deferring to the possible motivations of our attackers. This is defined as ‘tolerance’ but tolerance of what? Whilst we within the West afford political and

ideological opponents the right to disagree and debate, no such offer is reciprocated from our attackers, who seek only to kill. We might then muse upon the words of Ayaan Hirsi Ali when she said ‘tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.’

This unwillingness to take a stand for Western values is a critical error of judgement. The principles most liberals would claim to support have become the principles they seem least willing to vocally defend; in addition to a failure to hold the opponents of said values to rigorous scrutiny. This is best exemplified by their failure to oppose this radicalised, warped and violent form of Islamism.

If western populations no longer have the confidence to stand for anything, our future against a fearless enemy fuelled by hate and conviction is very bleak indeed. If we do not stand for our values, and say, this is the way we want to live, who will? And what are these principles that I have referred to as ‘Western values’?

They are by no means exclusive to the geographical west (Japan and South Korea represent non-western examples); but they are historically prevalent in the continents of Europe and North America. The victory of Liberal Democracy over Fascism and Communism brought peace, progress and prosperity to billions of people. It embraces individual freedom, a democratic process, a pluralistic society, the free market, separation of Church and State, codified human rights, freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion; rationalism, equality before the law and the recognition that each person regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or creed is worth equal dignity and value.

Never in the darkest moments of the 20th century did the British people lose faith in the justice of these causes. Whether that courage and tenacity will stand firm during this new age of relativism is yet to be determined.

A better way to approach international development

As we look ahead to a post-Brexit Britain and seek new connections across the globe, the way we shape our international development policy will be up for debate. The old grant system is something I have for years sought to replace with a more nuanced investment system that seeks to harness the private sector’s capabilities in unison with an aid budget. This is something I have managed to push through in the European Parliament with my Legislative Act, “Private Sector Investments in Development.” This has enabled the €4.1 billion of grant aid to be leveraged into €62 billion of investment funds. For many in the development field, far too used to grants and handouts, this was heresy and I was marked out immediately as a troublemaker. To others this was magic conjuring money out of thin air. To City bankers this was common everyday stuff; leveraging investment funds from deposits.

For previous fifteen years we were told that large grants would inevitably abolish poverty. Over that time the EU distributed out a total of 414 billion euro, as grants, gifts and hand-

outs, sinking more money into more and more failing projects. We did not abolish poverty. Far from it. And the Sustainable Development Goals that guide the development agenda are still facing a funding gap of $2.5 trillion. Additionally, the African population is exploding, predicted to reach 1.7 billion by 2030 and 2.5 billion by 2050.

How are all these people going to live, eat, manufacture and trade? Certainly not by getting handouts from the economically-beleaguered West. So I revisited our entire aid strategy and realised that it was simply not working. We cannot keep handing out money that only seems to keep people trapped in ever worsening poverty while our own schools, hospitals and roads were in crisis; with an ever-increasing tax burdens on an aging population.

If we are to make Africa, the ACP countries 37 of whom are Members of the Commonwealth and the poor in the Asian sub-continent richer and trigger a genuine wealth creation process how are we to do it? First we need to harness the disciplines of the Private Sector; the engine of real wealth creation. Second we need to employ huge and substantial quantities of investment.

This realisation led me to persuade the European Parliament not to give aid except humanitarian aid and instead leverage out our development funds. We have already leveraged the first 4.1 billion euro into €62 billion. Eventually the total aid budget previously handed out as grants, of €23 billion a year will be leveraged into €300 billion of Investments – a huge amount— a modern Marshall Plan for developing countries.

The funds will be guaranteed by the European Fund for Sustainable Development Guarantee, the 11th European Development Fund and from the newly created External Investment Bank. How will these funds be spent and who will receive them? Large infra- structure projects will be public-private-partnerships having mobilised leveraged long-term private finance. They will apply due diligence and market discipline into project appraisals holding the private sector wholly accountable as investments are made. The stifling hand of Government bureaucracy will only identify national priorities and leave the private sector to find the money and finish the job.

We will also provide targeted capacity building for private sector representatives, including chambers of commerce, social partners, and organisations representing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (which account for 60% of developing world’s employment with 70% receiving no help from financial institutions) to bring projects and investments to market, using traditional investment criteria, marketing tools and reporting.

The eligible sectors include, energy, water, transport, information and communications technology, environment and social infrastructure – investments in human capital, social impact investments, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, focused on job creation, for young people and women.

These new jobs, creating new products and new wealth, will not only increase intra African, intra ACP and intra Commonwealth trade but present new opportunities for a post-Brexit UK. I anticipate a plethora of new trade deals. In negotiating them, how idealistic or realistic we are will be our conundrum. How we structure the trading environment in the current climate of anti-globalisation and manage expectations that provide the “greatest good to the greatest number” while “giving maximum benefit to uplifting those who are the most disadvantaged in our societies” will be the challenge of our generation.

European Parliament Updates

Backwards step from the EU on new broadcasting rules

 

Despite Conservative MEP resistance, the Audio-visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) will advance straight to negotiations with the European Council and Commission, without first being debated in the European Parliament. This draconian directive which seeks to regulate on-demand content will stifle consumer choice, increase red tape and threaten freedom of speech.

Platforms such as the American company Netflix, who have led the way in creating quality products enjoyed on-demand by millions, will be imposed with a quota for the amount of EU-produced content to be no less than 30%. A move which is little more than poorly-disguised anti-Americanism.Furthermore, the Commission’s proposal seeks to weaken the country of origin principle at the heart of the AVMSD by allowing Member States to impose a levy on providers delivering content to their domestic audiences. In addition, AVMSD will scrap the current limit of 12 minutes per hour of advertising in favour of a daily limit.

Alongside my Conservative colleagues, I will continue to push for a compromise though this looks much more unlikely now that the Parliament has been bypassed in favour of a Commission stitch-up.

Better access abroad for online TV and music subscribers

 

In contrast to the aforementioned AVMSD, some progress has been made eleswhere towards a single digital market. Subscribers to services such as Sky Now TV, Netflix and Spotify will soon be able watch programmes or listen to music while abroad following a vote backed by Conservative MEPs. The legislation, which will come into force early next year, will allow subscribers to view their content online when in another EU Member State.

At present they are blocked from logging on while abroad. This will apply to people who are “temporarily” outside their home country, for instance for holidays, business trips or short study periods. To prevent abuse, service providers will verify a subscriber’s permanent residence through a variety of methods such as payments details, an internet contract and IP address checks.

Progress towards an EU-Indonesia trade deal

A major trade deal between the EU and Indonesia has edged closer following a visit by members of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee. The talks were originally launched in July 2016. Sajjad Karim, my Conservative colleague and our spokesman on this matter stated:

“This agreement has great potential. It will open doors for EU business to a dynamic market of more than 260 million consumers on one hand and bring investment, help transfer technologies and create wealth in one of the most dynamic ASEAN countries on the other. As legislators we want to guide this process along, to offer experience and guidance. It is more and more clear that it is not about what to do – both sides know this – but rather how to do it.”

One sticking point yet to be resolved remains Palm oil production, one of Indonesia’s most important industries. The EU, itself being one of the largest importers of palm oil, has put pressure on Indonesia to make the sector more sustainable and halt forest destruction.

I will be back in touch with you again very soon. In the meantime you can check my website www.nirjdeva.com for regular updates and if I can be of any assistance to you on anything raised here or anything else for that matter, please do not hesitate to contact me at nirj.deva@europarl.europa.eu.