Hong Kong

I have just spent a week in Hong Kong.

Before visiting my grandfather showed me pictures of the place from when he was here in 1946. It has changed!

Hong Kong is a city of 7 million people. People from all around the world have flocked here. They have prospered.

Insecurity
There is an interesting uncertainty that is just below the surface. Many of the Chinese hong lingers fled here from mainland communist china. Many of them were prosperous but lost everything and many lost most of their families to the tyranny of Mao. With the communist dictators now running the city state – or at least their appointed voice – many wonder if change will return again.

Pollution
The air pollution is appealing. What you think is fog at first sight is in fact smog. It seems it is from mainland china’s factories across the sea.

I could never understand why people wore the face masks like those worm for garbage burning. I now understand why they do.

Companies
Chatting to informed people it is interesting to learn, or have confirmed, that many Chinese companies Are simply fronts for the red army or communist party leAders.

Green and concrete merge
The island is a mix of shopping malls, tower blocks and green. The tower blocks are tasteful and go on for miles and miles.

Consumerism
The culture is focused on consumerism. Women will spend up to 20% of their income on facial skin hair products. It’s a boom for companies selling $200 shampoo. They sell well!

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Diving into the Unknown – Little Britain Leaving Europe

Little Britain Leaving the EU

 Anti-europeans want the UK to leave. A friend who sees themselves as one of their number gives many reasons for his support for exit.

Many of these reasons hinge around the UK’s bizzaire way of implementing EU rules. The EU’s regulation of bin collections and waste dumps are good examples. That the EU’s rules did not touch on the issues that created the sense of frustration is just one more part of the rich tapestry of UK debate on the EU.

I realise that the reasons held by many are not xneophiba. They run much deeper. And, the very weak UK pro-European movement has made the latent distrust become mainstream in Britain.

Fisheries – The Tide Against Europe

I have been active on fisheries and europe for a long time. In fact, Sir Teddy Taylor, the hard working and devoted anti-EU membership MP, inspired my interest in fisheries policy many years ago.

Three Basic Questions to Ask Before Jumping

 If the UK leaves the EU, the UK’s fishing fleet is going to be hit badly.

Where Are the UK’s own waters?

The UK has  an Exclusive Fisheries Zone. You can see it here.

Marine boundaries UK

It is not very big and very soon we bump into other EU and non-EU countries waters.

We are not Iceland, Greenland, New Zealand or Australia. They have the benefit of few neighbours to start claiming their sea (and fish) is theirs.

The UK tried to do that with Iceland in the 1970s and the UK lost.

 Will the UK need to have a bilateral agreement with the EU to access EU waters?

The UK will need to start negotiating with tits former EU  partners and Norway, Iceland and Greenland to access their waters.  The UK won’t have the influence it does at the moment – and it is considerable- and they will be one party amongst many and all with few fish to trade access other country’s waters and fish.

There are some historic fishing rights that seem to pre-date the birth of Europe that would still allow Belgiums and the Irish to still access UK waters.

 If Scotland stays in the EU and the rest of the UK leaves, will Scotland keep their territorial waters?

Scotland manages its own waters today.

Scotland is, in effect, responsible for 63% of the UK’s sea area and the biggest share of its fisheries.

If England leaves and Scotland does not, the UK won’t have even less sea or fish to take.

Leaving to Save the Fish?

Now, if the UK wanted to be very conservation minded, it could copy the Danes or Swedes, who have done very good things even within the EU and current CFP.

Copy Norway

They could copy Norway. There a government got rid of subsidies, banned discards and introduced ITQs ,  and all on the same day. A social democratic government did it.

There is no chance of the UK doing that in or out of the EU.

And, as the Danes have shown, you can do all that even with the EU – they introduced ITQs, basically eliminated subsidies, and introduced a huge discards ban trial.

What Could They Do Outside the EU?

There are things that the UK could do outside the EU.

Ban the Spanish Fishermen

They could  restrict ownership of the UK Quota. It seems around 25% of the quota is owned by Dutch, Icelandics and Spanish men owning UK companies. But, the idea of banning ownership of companies based on the nationality of the owner is a very dangerous and silly idea. Will will be ban Rupert Murdoch operating press and TV stations because he is an American?

And, before we did that, we should find out who actually owns the UK quota. The British government have been keeping the ownership very secretive for a long time. It seems that they have no idea who really owns a significant parts of the UK Quota.

 There is always the small threat that the Spanish would ban British people owning houses in Spain or finding their medical insurance invalid – as it would be outside the EU E 1 11 scheme.

Grow the Fish Stocks

They could grow the fish stocks. But, the UK’s stocks are historically low and they share most of the key stocks with European neighbors. And, the UK has little track record of taking decisive action – rather than catch up – to conserve their own stocks.

What No Plan A or B

Of course, the anti-Europeans may just be playing chicken. That they will loose does not seem to matter. They have no alternative vision to the UK outside the EU. They are not   Norwegians  or the Swiss.

They want to take a huge leap in the dark and see where things land up. Exciting for some, madness for others. It can be a lonely place cast adrift alone in the high seas.

China’s Communists Lie and Kill Their People

Mad as Hell Communists

The Chinese Communist Party are not happy. They have been trying to cover how horrendous the air pollution is in China.

Stop the Truth Getting Out

The US Embassy in the capital was monitoring it to tell US citizens. As a good and modern government, the US sees its jobs as informing and protecting its citizens.

The Communists hated this. They tried get the Americans to stop. They  guessed that well educated Chinese people would find out where to find out how bad the air pollution really is.

How Do You Hide This?

They were seeing the reality (see below) and the Communists did nothing to protect their people.

 

whatairpollution

China Daily’s report on the government’s response is well worth reading.

 

 

Let’s Just Do A Deal – Closing the Loop on Fishing Reform

A Friend of the Fishermen

Ireland is not  a progressive country on fisheries policy.  On CFP reform it counts itself as the same camp as France and Spain.

Ireland for the Irish

Ireland is against the introduction of TFCs because it thinks that only the Irish should own on the Irish fishing quota. I have doubts that the Irish government have a clue who really owns the Irish fishing quota in practice but that is another matter. It is like the economic mantra of the Free State in the 1920s and 1930s. It is economic and ecologically illiteracy, but foolishness is never a reason to stop a government doing something.

Simon Coveney – Fresh Ideas

I found the Irish Agriucture and Fishing Minister, Simon Coveney, comments in the Parliament Magazine of interest.

He wants to bring about a deal on the CFP Reform and bring it about quickly.

The Parliament Magazine quotes the Minister:

“Looking forward to the Irish presidency, the reform of the CFP will be foremost on our work programme with agenda slots on most of the agriculture and fisheries council agendas in the new year. I will actively endeavour to reach agreement on the reform package during the Irish presidency in the first half of 2013. Our aim will be to facilitate the negotiations between the council and parliament with a view to brokering a compromise agreement by June”.

Reform may happen sooner. That will be good for the fish. The time for delivering real and concrete improvements to fish stocks is urgently needed. Without the fish, the fishermen will have no future.