Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: World

UK leaves EU

On 23/6/2016 UK held referendum on Brexit. On 24/6/2016 vote counting was over. UK had voted to leave EU by 51.89% to 48.11% votes.
Brexit issue had divided parties. Conservative Party was divided. Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer were in Remain Camp. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary Michael Gove were in Leave Camp. Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn did not show enthusiasm for Remain Camp. London Mayor Sadiq Khan was in Remain Camp. David Cameron and Sadiq Khan appeared together to ask voters to choose Remain. Some Labour MPs favoured Leave.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney favoured Remain. Some questioned his propriety.
Former Prime Ministers John Major, Anthony Blair, James Gordon Brown campaigned for Remain.
Many foreigners joined Brexit debate. US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, IMF President Christine Lagarde wanted UK to remain in EU.
Currency dealer George Soros and many industrialists favoured Remain.
During the campaign Labour MP Helen Joanne Cox was murdered. Conservative MP Sayeeda Warsi switched from Leave Camp to Remain Camp.
UKIP favoured leave. When it was clear it was victory for Brexit UKIP leader spoke.
He said: “Dare to dream he dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom. If the predictions are right this will be a victory for the real people, for the ordinary people, and for the decent people.”
“We fought against the multi-nationals, we fought against the big merchant banks, we fought against lies, corruption and deceit”.
“Honesty, decency and belief in nation is going to win. And we will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired.”
“We’ll have done it by damn hard work. By people like my friend Arron Banks; by people in Labour, the Conservative Party, UKIP and in no party.”
“We’ll have done it not just for ourselves, we’ll have done it for the whole of Europe.
“I hope this victory brings bring down this failed project. Let’s get rid of the flag, the anthem, Brussels and all that has gone wrong.”
“Let June 23 go down in history as our Independence Day.”
Later he said “June the 23rd needs to become a national bank holiday, and we will call it Independence Day.”
David Cameron announced he will step down during Conservative Party’s Convention in October.
Donald Trump was in Scotland to open a golf course.
“I think it’s a great thing that happened. People are angry, all over the world. People, they’re angry.”
“People want to take their country back. They want to have independence, in a sense, and you see it with Europe, all over Europe. You’re going to have more than just — in my opinion, more than what happened last night, you’re going to have, I think many other cases where they want to take their borders back. They want to take their monetary back.”
Markets crash all over the world. There was no rational explanation. There was no good reason for Sensex to crash or rupee to crash against dollar. Pound’s crash seems manipulated.

Brexit

Brexit
On 23/6/2016 UK will have referendum on Brexit i.e., whether the British should exit EU.
Margaret Thatcher was opposed to EU. She said all empires put together either by force or by benevolence come to an end. The Greek Empire came to an end. The Roman Empire came to an end. The Spanish Empire came to an end. The Portuguese Empire came to an end. The Dutch Empire came to an end. The French Empire came to an end. Even the benevolent British Empire came to an end. For Margaret Thatcher the British Empire was benevolent. For many in British colonies it was malevolent.
Opinion is divided in UK over Brexit. Parties are divided. In Conservative Party some favour Brexit, some oppose it. Similar is the case with other parties.
David Cameron opposes Brexit. He says it is good for UK to remain in EU. Leaving EU will damage UK’s economic recovery.
Boris Johnson favours Brexit. He said on 15/5/2016 “Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods. But fundamentally what is lacking is the eternal problem, which is that there is no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe. There is no single authority that anybody respects or understands. That is causing this massive democratic void.”
European Council President Donald Tusk reacted to Boris Johnson’s comments on 17/5/2016. He said “Such absurd arguments should be completely ignored if they hadn’t been formulated by one of the most influential politicians of the ruling party. Boris Johnson crossed the boundaries of rational discussion, demonstrating political amnesia.”
Barack Obama wants UK remain in EU. He said Britain will have to go the end of the queue for trade deal if it leaves EU.
Donald Trump in his interview to Piers Morgan said if he becomes President UK does not have to go the end of the queue for trade deal if it leaves EU.
Fujitsu official said the company leave UK if UK leaves EU.
UK did not join Schengen Area. So it retains control over its borders. Refugees and migrants do not have free entry to UK from Schengen Area. France had to stop them at Calais.
UK did not join Eurozone. That was a good thing.
On 23/5/2016 UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, said if UK leaves EU it will result in job losses of at least half a million in two years, fall in the value of pound, rise in inflation, and 3% lower workers’ earnings.
There are three types of lies; lies, damned lies, and statistics. UK need not suffer job losses, higher inflation, devaluation of pound, and decrease in worker’s earnings.
Europe without borders is an idea whose time has gone. Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, and Sweden have introduced border controls.
UK is better off outside EU. It will have sovereignty. Sovereignty is more valuable than imaginary economic benefits. Greece would have been better off if it had not joined EU.

Panama Papers

On 4/4/2016 International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Indian Express and Suddeutsche Zeitung made public many documents, around 11.5 million, related to firms registered in Panama.
Mossack Fonseca is a law firm in Panama. Documents of Mossack Fonseca that have become public have resulted in problems for those who figure in them. Ramon Fonseca, founding partner, said his company was hacked by servers abroad. He said nobody is talking of the hack and that is the only crime committed.
Amitabh Bachchan was linked to four companies as director. Sea Bulk Shipping Company Ltd in British Virgin Islands, Lady Shipping Ltd, Treasure Shipping Ltd and Tramp Shipping Ltd in Bahamas. One document showed Amitabh Bachchan resigned from Tramp Shipping Ltd in September 1997.
Amitabh Bachchan said he was not Director in the four companies. His statement said “I do not know any of the companies referred to by Indian Express – Sea Bulk Shipping Company Ltd, Lady Shipping Ltd, Treasure Shipping Ltd and Tramp Shipping Ltd. I have never been a director of any of the above stated companies. It is possible that my name has been misused.
I have paid all my taxes including on monies spent by me overseas. Monies I have remitted overseas have been in compliance with law, including remittances through LRS, after paying Indian taxes. In any event, the news report in Indian Express does not even suggest any illegality on my part.”
Aishwarya Rai, her father Krishna Rai, mother Vrinda Rai and brother Aditya Rai were shown as directors in Amic Partners Limited in British Virgin Islands. The company was registered on 28/10/2004 and wound up on 30/4/2009. Aishwarya Rai was director from 14/5/2005 to 18/6/2005. After that she continued as shareholder. Aishwarya Rai’s media advisor Archana Sadanand said all information is totally untrue and false.
Harish Salve did not appear on any TV channel. There was no mention of any journalist trying to get in touch with him for his comment.
Vinod Adani was mentioned as elder brother of Gautam Adani, who is close to Narendra Modi. Adani Group issued a statement. “Mr. Vinod Adani who is the elder brother of Mr. Gautam Adani has been a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) for about 30 years and has his own established business interests outside India.
It is strange that Mr. Gautam Adani’s name in mentioned in the headline though he is not the account holder and the story actually pertains to Indians having not legitimate bank accounts abroad. This is a deliberate attempt to draw Mr. Gautam Adani’s name, not just to mislead the readers at large but mischievously sensationalising the matter.”

Ian Cameron, father of David Cameron, had some shares in a company. David Cameron said he sold the shares he inherited and paid tax on them in January 2010, five months before he became Prime Minister.
Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunlaugsson had to resign on 5/4/2016 after revelation that his wife owned a firm with claims on Iceland’s collapsed banks. Iceland’s Foreign Minister was in India on a visit from 3 – 9 April. On 5th he had met India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko is in the list. He justified his ownership. He said “Having become president, I stopped participating in the management of my assets, having delegated this responsibility to the respective consulting and law firms.”
Russia said it was a conspiracy against them. Some documents had names of Vladimir Putin’s friends and close associates.
China blocked news of Panama Papers. The names included President Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law.
There is no name from USA. Some say it is a CIA plot. May be Americans registered with some other law firm.
In Argentina there was demonstration against Mauricio Macri. He said his father started the company and it shut some years back. It is four months since he became President.
In Panama it is legal to buy companies or set up offshore companies. Those who bought companies there or became Directors in the companies did not break any law in Panama. Some Indians have claimed they are NRIs and what they have done is legal. Some claimed they have permission of RBI. Many companies were bought in British Virgin Islands.
Laws differ from country to country and sometimes within a country. Someone on BBC said secrecy of accounts and firms is allowed in Delaware and New Jersey in USA. That can be one reason why Americans do not figure in Panama Papers.
We have to see whether those who own foreign accounts or companies have defaulted on loans or have gone for corporate or strategic debt restructuring. If yes, the swindlers should be in jail.

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