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Outside a dysfunctional EU with its common defence agenda, we must champion and strengthen Nato

Lord Owen writing for the website brexitcentral.com

….The EU policy paper Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe. A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy was presented to the Heads of Government Brussels summit meeting on 28th June 2016 quickly followed on 13th July by the publication of the German White Paper on German Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr. Both papers had been held back deliberately to avoid debate during the UK referendum. These documents are likely to be the defining moment in the creation of a continental United States of Europe and the deepest political reason for the UK voting to leave the EU.

….There are people in the UK who take a largely French view that Europe alone can deal with its own defence, that we do not need the US and need not worry about a decline in NATO. The facts simply do not bear this out in terms of the money EU countries spend, the numbers in the military and the quality and total armaments held. Indeed, it is questionable whether some of our European neighbours have the necessary will and resolve in foreign affairs to make the difficult decisions.

Read the full text here: brexitcentral

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“For the first time in 14 years we have the leader of the Labour Party unequivocally committing the party to reversing the legislation which has created in England a broken down, market-based healthcare system

Statement issued by the Rt Hon Lord Owen following Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that he would ‘remove’ private provision within the NHS as part of plans to renationalise the health service.

“For the first time in 14 years we have the leader of the Labour Party today unequivocally committing the party to reversing the legislation which has created in England a broken down, market-based healthcare system: one which is unrecognisable from that which was introduced in 1948 and which still exists in the rest of the UK.

“Surely now the whole Labour movement can combine together, left, right and centre to make this official party policy at this year’s autumn conference.”

Background:

“Jeremy Corbyn’s statement means that the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 and the Health and Social Care Act 2012 under these proposals are, in effect, rejected and will be replaced. This surely must end all Labour’s troubled equivocation over a marketised NHS and provide a political route on which party members and supporters can campaign together. Already in Scotland this is in effect government policy.

“The Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill has been campaigning on a cross party basis for this outcome through successive Private Member’s Bills in both the Lords and the Commons ever since I presented the first National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill [HL] in January 2013.

“It is a triumph for learning together, with cross party grassroots organisations working closely with health and legal professionals with persistence and dedication.”

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“I mourn the loss of a great Frenchman and fine internationalist.”

Statement by the Rt Hon Lord Owen following the death of his friend, former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard, on 3 July 2016.

“Michel was my friend of the heart and the brain for fifty years. We agreed on a social democracy for the 21st Century. We believed in Europe as an enriching entity in all its many manifestations. For him Europe would be a supranational political design; for me a grouping of states. On that difference there were many arguments. In Paris this Spring on a European Mouvement political platform we spoke together in unison. The time had come for the EU and the Eurozone to be a United States of Europe and for Britain to leave the EU but with our friendship with France enhanced by that process. I am glad that he lived to see that British decision. But I mourn the loss of a great Frenchman and fine internationalist.”

For further French citation available here: Michel Rocard : Un grand Français et un internationaliste subtil

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Lord Owen on the Chilcot Report. “Let us be courageous enough to face the need to examine this issue in Parliament.”

Read the full speech here: HLIraqInquiry12.7.16

Extracts: It would have been much easier if the former Prime Minister had made an open confession that he had made many mistakes. Unfortunately, on the day of the report, having no doubt had access to it for some time, he produced a written statement of defiance. That defiance – the only word to describe it – cannot be left unchallenged.

He said: “If I was back in the same place with the same information, I would take the same decision”.

If that is left to stand unchallenged, Chilcot will have failed. Let us be quite clear: that statement is unacceptable and it is no honest reading of the Chilcot report.

Some people say that there should be no scapegoating. No, there should not, but it is the duty of Parliament, and particularly the House of Commons, to examine this report and make judgments.

… We now have a body of civil law to represent a civil society. It is for the courts to decide on that for the families of the soldiers who tragically lost their lives, or those suffering appalling injuries, much of which we still do not really know about.

There is the question of bringing Parliament into disrepute. That is why in another place they are perfectly right and proper to examine whether this represents contempt of Parliament.

Otherwise, what do we do? Do we just leave it? How many people ever knew, years on from the Suez crisis, that we had colluded with the Israelis and the French to occupy the Suez Canal? It is absolutely essential that this much is learned, because I am one who believes that we may have to intervene in the future.

I do not want what happened in the aftermath of this war to condemn all military interventions in the future. Let us be courageous enough to face the need to examine this issue in Parliament.

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“At Lunch With … Lord David Owen”

Lord Owen talks candidly and engagingly over tea with reporter Becky Milligan for BBC Radio 4 series “At Lunch With …”

Or visit the BBC website for “At Lunch With….”

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Stop dithering. We must leave the EU ASAP.

Lord Owen writing with Lord Lawson in City A.M., 4 July 2016.

Read the full article here: CityAM 4Jul16

Extract:

“Whoever is the new PM must enter Downing Street with clear views to discuss with a new Cabinet and when agreed, issue instructions for Whitehall to prepare to leave the EU swiftly and smoothly.

“We owe it to the business community, and to our EU partners, to minimise the period and disruption that is involved in leaving the EU

“We also owe it to the British people to deliver on the referendum vote, and not to cavil or delay taking back control over our laws, our borders and our financial contributions to the EU.

“That means starting to leave in a few months, not stretching it out for years, while discussing the transition within a democratic framework.”

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We are going to have a relationship with Europe but also a relationship with the rest of the world…Young people do not realise how much they miss from not being able to govern our own country.

Lord Owen speaking on Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show on Friday, 24 June, said:

“It is a good and clear result and we now have to implement the decision of the British people. Involving in that discussion right from the start the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish is a very good one. I personally think it would be quite wrong to proceed without taking all parts of the UK into that discussion and as part of that discussion. I think we can settle to all fair minded people a further serious devolution of power to the other nations and parts of the UK so we can remain united.

“We have to address the anxieties of the young and the challenges for them; that we are not going back on being Europeans. We are going to have a relationship with Europe but also a relationship with the rest of the world. They do not realise how much they miss from not being able to govern our own country. We did govern our own country and we knew what that meant for our democracy.

“I feel that we will be enriched in this process but for someone who has never experienced it and who has lived all their life within the EU they see all its problems. We need to take time to think through very carefully what is the right way forward.

“I do not today see any form of panic; we should wait for  solutions. We have already seen some stabilisation on the exchange rate, we have seen that the world goes on.  Change will not be implemented rapidly.  We have time to take a view and one advantage of the Prime Minister going but still staying to “settle the ship” as he calls it, is we can have those discussions and make no decision on Article 50 until after there is a new leader.”

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We continuously underestimate the underlying passion and commitment of the powerful people who run Europe and steer it towards a United States of Europe.

Speech to the Bruges Group, Monday 13 June 2016.

Read the full text here: BrugesGroup13.6.16

Watch the video of the speech and Q+A here: BrugesGroupVideo

Extract: …how is it that Margaret Thatcher, the most powerful Prime Minister we have had since we joined the Common Market in 1973, totally failed to slow down, let alone halt, the continued integration of the EU despite being, on the face of it, the most hostile Prime Minister ever towards the end result of integration – a United States of Europe.

… The answer – and it has direct relevance to why we should leave on 23 June – is that as a nation of pragmatists or shopkeepers, call it what you will, we continuously underestimate and simply will not address the underlying passion and commitment of the powerful people who on a day-to-day basis run Europe and steer it towards that end result, a United States of Europe.

We also ignore how effectively the Brussels believers turn the mind frame of the diplomats, civil servants and experts from the Member States to their ‘idea of Europe’. Part idealistic, part realistic they constantly reiterate the idea that a nation state is rather old-fashioned in a complex world. That supranationalism enshrined in Treaties, which cannot be amended, is the only way forward. That democracy is untidy, inefficient and needs to be managed and tempered by expertise. They have both a design, a method and tenacity.

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