Make Votes Matter

Britain is heading to the polls for the third time in four years. Millions will cast their votes, but not all votes are equal! Why votes don’t count for more than half of all electors?

VIDEO SCRIPT:

All voters are equal, but some are more equal than others! The politicians’ dirty little secret is – for most of us, our votes don’t count!

In a democracy, we the people decide who’s in power, so for Britain’s upcoming General Election, everyone is encouraged to vote. But the truth is three quarters of the 650 parliamentary seats will not change hands. They never change hands. They are safe seats with huge majorities, held virtually in perpetuity, by Labour or the Conservatives.

If you live in one of those constituencies and don’t like the local ruling party… too bad. You might as well put your ballot in the bin.

In the last election, in 2017, only 70 parliamentary seats – that’s 11% – got a new MP from a different party.

This time, the battleground is in 169 marginal constituencies, where the present MP has a majority of less than 10% of the votes cast.

Here, there’s a viable chance of the seat changing hands, but only if people vote tactically for the party most likely to beat the candidate they don’t want to win.

This cynical and negative approach to voting is the inevitable consequence of the first-past-the-post system.

In my view, there is only one good thing about the current system… generally it delivers a clear winner… a party with an overall majority in parliament, able to form a stable government… which is absolutely necessary.

However, there are better ways to secure stable government, such as directly electing a Prime Minister, with a clear separation of powers between the executive and legislature.

We need to do this because our voting system is in disrepute and contributing to declining trust in democratic institutions.

Here’s what I suggest… a ranked choice system of voting for MPs. Instead of putting an X next to one candidate, we mark our first choice and second choice candidate.

All the first choice votes are counted and if anyone has more than 50%, he or she is elected.

If no one has reached this milestone, the least popular candidate is eliminated and his second choice votes are allocated.

This process is repeated until a winner is found.

The ranked choice system allows us to vote with our heart on the first choice, choosing the candidate we really believe in; and then we can vote with our head, tactically on the second choice, choosing the least worst option among the other parties.

The outcome likely will be a House of Commons, where no party has a majority, and smaller parties are better represented.

We can also count all the first preference votes cast and use this to create a perfectly pro rata, National Assembly to replace the unelected House of Lords.

This would do something to restore faith in democracy, ensuring every vote really does count.

Sleep Paralysis

Imagine awakening to the sound of an intruder in your house. You try to jump out of bed, but your body is completely paralysed. You cannot move your hands, your legs, even your eyes. What do you do?

VIDEO SCRIPT:

Imagine being awoken by the sound of an intruder in your home. He enters your bedroom, hovers above you, but you cannot move. You cannot scream. This is sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis could be your worst nightmare, but for millions of people – myself included – it’s a frequent reality. It happens when there is an overlap in your physiological system between dreaming and waking up.

When you dream, your brain is hyperactive and your muscles are paralysed. When you awaken, both your brain and muscle activity should return to normal, simultaneously. If you have sleep paralysis, you regain consciousness, but your body remains motionless.

PROFESSOR POUL JØRGEN JENNUM. DANISH CENTER FOR SLEEP RESEARCH.

“So, it’s a condition where a person wakes up, being conscious, but with inhibited and paralysed muslces. Maybe 5%-10% of all people will experience sleep paralysis. It’s a physiological phenomenon. It’s not dangerous. You may feel you cannot move and even not breathe. But your breathing will persist because you have another system ensuring your respiratory function.”

Sleep paralysis is frightening because you cannot move and you don’t know you’re still dreaming. This might last ten seconds, but you experience a detailed dream that can span hours, days, even longer. You’re conscious and paralysed inside a nightmare you believe is reality.

PROFESSOR POUL JØRGEN JENNUM. DANISH CENTER FOR SLEEP RESEARCH.

“The relation between what you experience in sleep paralysis is very linked to the fact it comes from REM sleep, rapid eye movement sleep, where dream activity is very obvious. So, dreams in REM sleep are often very vivid, very associative and can contain many components, also threatening components.”

Sleep paralysis has inspired many works of art and pop culture. ‘The Nightmare’ painted by Henry Fuseli in 1781 depicts a demon visitation, one of three common dreams in sleep paralysis. The other two: an intruder in the room; and an out-of-body experience. Combine all three and you get alien abduction.

The ‘X Files’ popularised stories of aliens taking humans aboard their spacecraft, where they would perform surgery before returning the victims to their beds, where no time has elapsed. This fantasy fits perfectly with what scientists know about sleep paralysis.

PROFESSOR POUL JØRGEN JENNUM. DANISH CENTER FOR SLEEP RESEARCH.

“That may be why people have associated sleep paralysis with the risk of being affected by demons or devils or anything like this. Today, we know it’s part of the dream content and the fact you cannot move.”

Scientists use polysomnography to record multiple brain and body signals of patients while they sleep.

PROFESSOR POUL JØRGEN JENNUM. DANISH CENTER FOR SLEEP RESEARCH.

“Brain activity, muscle activity, submental activity means we can see people snoring”.

They can see episodes of sleep paralysis by cross referencing patterns of electrical activity in the brain with eye movement, muscular movement and heart rhythm.

I get sleep paralysis a few times a year, but I haven’t been abducted by aliens… yet! Some unfortunate people experience sleep paralysis every night; and there is no cure.

If it happens to you, doctors advise: stay calm, breathe slowly and try to move your fingers and toes until you gain full control over your body.

From my experience, even when you know what it is, it’s not easy to persuade yourself the intruder about to strangle you in your bed is a figment of your imagination.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Sweet dreams.

Taxes Made Simple

Albert Einstein complained taxes were more complicated than physics. Why do politicians make the tax system so complex? Isn’t it time to simplify the UK tax code?

Video Script:

Forget relativity, “the hardest thing in the world to understand is… tax”. So said Albert Einstein. So, isn’t it time to make them less complex?

Taxes are never popular, but why are they so complicated? The UK tax code is a mammoth library of books, estimated to contain 10 million words. It’s time they were cut down to size?

When the American bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robs banks, he replied “because that’s where all the money is”.

That impeccable logic is also true of taxes. Governments impose tax where the money is.

Over the years, taxes have led to riots, even civil war.

So politicians play sleight of hand, so you don’t realise you’re being taxed. They cut tax over here, hoping you don’t see them raise taxes over there. Then they throw in some sweeteners to benefit their party supporters.

All this deception and political cowardice has contributed to the mess that is the current tax code, filled with contradictions and ambiguities. So much so, the government tells us to calculate our own taxes based on broad principles, not on the vague words written in statute.

In 2017-18, the government raised £700 billion in taxes. That’s 34% of GDP.
Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT bring in the lion’s share.
Then Corporation Tax, Council Tax and Business Rates.
Duties on fuel, tobacco, alcohol and motor vehicles are important.
Capital… and other small taxes make up the balance.

At least thirty main taxes, each with numerous sub-categories. All require an army of accountants, lawyers and civil servants to administer.

What if we simplify this picture and raise the same money from fewer, bigger taxes?

You remember the story of Sleeping Beauty. In real life, she would not have been awoken by a princely kiss, it would be a bailiff banging on the door with a summons to pay a hundred years of backdated Council Tax.

I don’t think we should incur taxes while we sleep. We should only tax economic activity, such as spending money and earning money.

We could roll together Income Tax, Employees’ National Insurance, Council Tax and Capital Taxes into a single Personal Tax, applied to all income, including capital gains and dividends. A marginal flat rate of around 35% would bring in the same revenue.

Taxes on business are also a mess. Loopholes allow multinationals to pay little or no Corporation Tax. Employers’ National Insurance is a 13.8% tax on every job, which incentivises companies to replace humans with robots. And Business Rates are a cruel overhead, killing the high street.

Take a look at fashion retailer, Next.

Last year, it had revenues of £4.2 billion.
Profits of £723 million.
Its tax bill included:
Corporation Tax, Business Rates, Employers National Insurance and Net VAT remissions.
Totalling: £418 million.
Which is 10% of the company’s turnover.

So, we could replace all these individual taxes – including VAT – with a single Business Tax, charging 10% of turnover. This rate would make no difference to most businesses, but it would level the playing field with online retailers who exploit the present tax regime.

Other taxes are a myriad of duties on specific products and industries. Most raise relatively little money and should be scrapped. Instead add a percentage point to either the Personal or Business Tax.

Some of the larger duties could be simplified.

Take alcohol. Taxes on alcohol raise £11.6 billion a year.
If I buy a pint of beer, I pay 43p in beer duty.
A glass of wine attracts 74p in Wine Duty.
And a double shot of whisky costs 57p in Spirits Duty.

Why discriminate between different beverages? A flat rate, 2p for every millilitre of pure alcohol would raise the same amount of tax.

Taxes on motor vehicles are another big earner for government.
£6.2 billion from Vehicle Excise Duty.

Motorists also pay £28 billion a year duty on fuel.

Why have two taxes when one will do? Scrap the vehicle duty and increase petrol duty by 24p a litre. The average motorist would pay the same.

Petrol duty is fairer because it’s linked to how much you use your car. It’s not an overhead and it’s collected by retailers, so doesn’t require a massive government bureaucracy to administer.

All these suggestions are calculated to be revenue neutral and remove loopholes and special treatment.

Most of all, they would create the simplest, fairest and most effective tax system in the world.

Brexit: Endgame

Decision time for Brexit. Theresa May has negotiated the worst deal for Britain since Neville Chamberlain came back from Munich in 1938. It’s time for a change of Prime Minister and for MPs to deliver what the people voted for.

VIDEO SCRIPT:

Decision time for Britain’s future outside Europe.
Do these scenes in Paris predict the future for London if MPs back away from Brexit?

Hi, I’m Leon Hawthorne. The streets of Paris are speckled with blood and debris… not for the first time in recent history.
It’s another sign of populist sentiment sweeping across Europe… anger at a political elite, distant and condescending towards ordinary people.

Across the Channel, parliament prepares to give its verdict on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal. Few doubt the outcome, so it’s possible the government will chicken out and cancel the vote.

The big problem is MPs are overwhelmingly in favour of remaining inside the EU. Theresa May doesn’t believe in Brexit, which is why she’s come up this disastrous deal, the worst piece of British diplomacy since Chamberlain returned from Munich.

She’s agreed to give away £39 billion pounds, as well as sovereignty over Northern Ireland in exchange for what? We don’t even have a trade deal.

So, what happens next… a second referendum?

The only people calling for that are those who never accepted the outcome of the first referendum. They want a re-run. It’s even more democratic to do it twice, they say. In which case, let’s have a third and a fourth referendum too.

If there is another referendum, it would be the political elite sticking up two fingers to the people. I fear the people will respond in kind.

The riots in Paris will cross the Channel… the likes of which we haven’t seen since the days of Mrs Thatcher’s poll tax.

Also, a rise in attacks on Muslims, Poles, Romanians, Jews, black people… anyone perceived as not traditionally British. It would be a boost in recruitment for extremist groups, some of whom would be elected to the European Parliament next May, because those elections would be back on.

Besides, what would be the question? EFTA, EEA, Norway Plus, Canada Plus Plus… a multiple choice questionnaire of political jargon.

Let me talk about the so called Norway Plus option. This is where the UK technically is outside the EU, but everything stays virtually the same. A bit like getting divorced, but sleeping in the same bed.

We would still pay dues. Still be subject to a European court. Still no control over immigration. The only difference is – we have no vote and no say. Brussels would fax us new laws, which we would be obliged to implement.

This would be a national humiliation, the worse kind of compromise. Norway Plus is worse than staying inside the EU.

You cannot be a little bit pregnant. We are either in or out; and we voted out. We were warned there would be economic consequences and we still voted out.

This is what should happen…

Mrs May must go. A Brexiteer like David Davis can step in as caretaker Prime Minister. The UK can then agree a framework for a Canada-style trade deal with the EU, where we are a completely separate, sovereign nation.

Northern Ireland border issues can be dealt with by administrative and technological arrangements.

We can have a two-year transition phase to this, starting on March 29th next year.

But if the EU doesn’t agree to this, or parliament refuses to back it, then we must be prepared to crash out with no deal, saving ourselves as much as £39 billion and then move onto World Trade Organisation rules.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.

Undercover Kids

British police are using children as undercover agents to infiltrate organised crime gangs and terrorist groups. And a new law means the children don’t have access to a parent or lawyer while meeting with their police handlers.

VIDEO SCRIPT:

Children should be in the classroom.
Instead the police are putting them in danger.
Why are the cops using undercover kids to catch criminals?

Hi, I’m Leon Hawthorne. We used to send children up chimneys and down coal mines. Now British police are sending them onto the streets to catch dangerous criminals.

Children are being turned into confidential informants by the police and intelligence services. Kids who come into contact with the authorities are being flipped, converted into spies, wired and told to get close to drug dealers, terrorists and organised crime gangs.

Yes, I really did just say that. In 2018, our government thinks this is acceptable.

CLIP: ‘White Boy Rick’

The news comes as a new Hollywood movie – ‘White Boy Rick’ – is released. It tells the true story of Richard Wershe, a 15-year old, used by the FBI to infiltrate a drug gang.

Just like White Boy Rick, most of these kids are not angels. Probably, they are already involved in crime, but the job of the state surely is to remove them from that environment, not encourage them to get even more involved, placing them at serious risk of violence, perhaps murder, if their cover is blown.

Security Minister, Ben Wallace said: “[child spies] have a vital role to play in investigations by public authorities and can provide crucial evidence that cannot be obtained by any other means”.

But the Home Office refuses to say how many children have been used or whether any of them have been killed or suffered serious physical harm during the time they were acting as informants.

In July, the government changed the law simply by writing an Order in Council. This is like writing a letter, which has the same effect as passing a Bill through parliament, but does not require the same degree of scrutiny.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Juveniles) (Amendment) Order allows police to use children as spies for four months; and removes safeguards for 16 and 17 year olds to have lawyers or parents present during their meetings with police handlers.

The Children’s Commissioner says she has been lobbying government for a change in policy: “It can’t be right that children are put in potential danger, for any reason, and their safety must always be the top priority.”

The truth is many of these children are black or poor white working class; and frankly, the authorities don’t have their interests in mind. They will end up like White Boy Rick. When he stopped working for the Feds, he got further into crime and spent 30 years in prison.

CLIP: ‘White Boy Rick’
“Ask yourself this: would you believe a 15 year old kid was working for the federal government?”
“But he was.”

Runaway Turkey

Turkey’s relationships with the US, NATO and EU are in jeopardy. A trade war and diplomatic sanctions from Washington are merely the latest signs that Europe’s only Muslim power is about to realign itself with Russia.

VIDEO SCRIPT:

Two preachers, a missile and a diplomatic wedding.
Is NATO’s only Muslim member about to go to Russia with love?

Hi, I’m Leon Hawthorne. Turkey’s relationship with the west is in jeopardy. Its potential membership of the European Union is a pipe dream; the US has hit it with economic sanctions; and now Turkey’s membership of NATO is hanging by a thread.

Pastor Andrew Brunson is an American evangelical preacher, held in detention in Turkey, charged with terrorism and espionage linked to his supposed work for the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, designated by Ankara as a terrorist organisation.

Pastor Brunson has been living in Turkey for 23 years. Most serious commentators think the charges against him are absurd.

So, this has led to a dangerous diplomatic row with Washington, which has raised tariffs on Turkish aluminium and steel; and imposed sanctions against Turkish politicians.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders. White House Press Secretary. (August 1st 2018)
“We’ve seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong and we believe he is the victim of unfair and unjust detention by the government of Turkey. At the President’s direction, the Department of Treasury is sanctioning Turkey’s Minister of Justice and Minster of Interior, both of whom played leading roles in the arrest and detention of Pastor Brunson.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can’t afford to lose face, all the while his country’s economy sinks into an abyss. He’s threatening retaliatory tariffs against American imports, as the Turkish lira goes into freefall. It’s lost eighty percent of its value in the past twelve months.

So, why was Pastor Brunson really arrested? One theory is – Turkey’s anger at America’s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Muslim cleric, living in exile in the US. He’s seen as the spiritual leader of the failed 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.

President Erdogan is quoted as saying: “You have one pastor as well. Give Gulen to us… then we will try Brunson and give him to you”. [Source: Independent].

Erdogan was also reported to have offered to return the pastor if Washington waives billions of dollars owed by Turkish banks. The Trump Administration rightly saw that as a ransom demand and refused.

Is there a way out of the impasse? Turkey was once hailed as a beacon, a secular Muslim democracy, thriving civil society, ally of the west and even of Israel. But President Erdogan has become increasingly autocratic, detaining over 100,000 people since the coup attempt and stamping down on a free press.

Turkey’s relations with NATO are strained. Its historical resistance to Kurdish independence means it has been obstructing western efforts to work with the Kurds fighting against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

If that wasn’t enough, it’s furthered angered its NATO partners by spending $2.5 billion to buy Russian-made S-400 missiles.

Heather Nauert. State Department Spokeswoman. August 23rd 2018.
“You know it goes against our policy to have a NATO ally such as Turkey use an S-400 system. Part of the problem with that, it is – that it is not inter-operable with other NATO systems”.

Relations with the EU are no better. Turkey’s been waiting 31 years to join, but it will never happen. The list of countries opposed to allowing 140 million Muslims free movement in the rest of Europe is too long to mention. [Correction: Turkey’s population is 80 million].

But Turkey presently is preventing a fresh wave of migration of Muslim refugees into Europe. Something for which the EU pays it €3 billion in “aid”. If relations falter, Turkey won’t be so cooperative.

Erdogan is looking to Russia and Iran for his country’s future. Turkey’s drift away from the US, EU and NATO seems inexorable.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.

Strip Search

Why is the Metropolitan Police strip-searching so many men, women and children, some as young as ten years old? One every 20 minutes! In one case, four policemen held down a young woman and violently ripped off all her clothes, leaving her naked while other cops watched on CCTV.

VIDEO SCRIPT:

Held down and stripped naked.
Don’t call the cops.
They’re the ones doing it.

Hi, I’m Leon Hawthorne. British police are strip-searching innocent men, women and children in staggering numbers.

Imagine you’re being questioned by police. You haven’t been charged with any offence. You’re not even under arrest but they tell you to take off all your clothes. If you refuse, they will hold you down and violently rip them off.

Sounds like sexual assault, but it’s perfectly legal.

In London, the Metropolitan Police carries out 25,000 strip-searches every year. That’s one every 20 minutes. Including on more than 1,000 children, some as young as ten years old.

Why? The Police and Criminal Evidence Act allows police to strip-search if they believe a person is carrying drugs, weapons or other contraband.

But shockingly when I asked Scotland Yard and the Home Office how many of these strip-searches results in anything being found, the answer is… huh?

They don’t know how effective strip-searching is as a policing tool for discovering evidence.

We do know, four out of five “intimate searches” find nothing.

An intimate search is different from a regular strip-search and is carried out less frequently. A strip-search is no hands… they merely look at your naked body. But in an intimate search, your anus or vagina are physically penetrated. And yet four out of five people are hiding nothing and will, understandably, feel they have been raped by the state.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the official police watchdog, looked at strip-searches and said:

“Where we did observe strip-searching, it sometimes seemed unnecessary… it appeared to be undertaken almost by default in certain circumstances, for example if the detainee was intoxicated or uncooperative.”

The same report found black detainees were twice as likely to be strip-searched as whites.

“…we consider that police forces are at considerable risk of discriminatory strip-searching practices.”

Five out of six people ‘stopped and searched’ by police are released without being arrested. They are completely innocent, yet like George the Poet, the artist who performed at Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, they can be humiliated on the street and strip-searched in the back of a police van.

The rules governing strip-searches are laid down in ‘Annex A of PACE Code C – the Code of Practice for the Detention, Treatment and Questioning of Persons by Police Officers’.

This states a strip-search must be conducted by at least two officers of the same sex as the detainee; with nobody of the opposite sex present.

But the police watchdog:

“…observed a woman being strip-searched in full view on the CCTV screens in the booking-in area of a custody suite.”

There are strict rules for searching young people. But the inspectors found:

“Strip-searching of children was not always done in the presence of an appropriate adult as required by statutory guidance.”

The rule book says detainees should never be totally naked. They should be allowed to remove the top half of their clothing first, then re-dress, before moving on to the lower half.

But in 2011, a 26-year old woman was held down whilst every item of her clothing was forcibly removed by police in Chelsea, with her bra cut from the front of her body. She was left naked in a cell.

That woman sued police and was awarded £37,000 in damages.

And that’s the only way this abusive practice will be changed… if more people sue the police for discrimination, or for failing to follow statutory guidelines.

Look – fighting crime is a difficult business and I support decent police officers who work hard to keep our communities safe, but there’s no evidence strip-searching – on this scale – works at discovering contraband. It’s unnecessary and there’s a significant risk of harassment, sexual abuse by police officers and traumatising children.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.

The Party’s Over

With the British Government embroiled in yet another crisis, would it be better if both the Conservative and Labour Parties split and their factions realigned? Our democratic system is not fit for purpose and establishment party politics doesn’t serve the interests of the people.

VIDEO SCRIPT:

Theresa May in turmoil.
Under attack from all sides.
Proof for the Conservatives – the Party’s Over.

Hi, I’m Leon Hawthorne. The latest turmoil in Theresa May’s government is proof, if further proof were needed, that the way we do politics is broken.

The party’s over. Not just the Conservative Party, but also Labour. These two behemoths have held power, intermittently in Britain, for the last one hundred years. Now both are showing signs of age and obsolescence.

The idea there’s one big party on the right, one on the left, a blue team and a red team, and we pick a side, once every five years… and that’s democracy? No.

This approach is overly simplistic and out of touch with the expectations of an electorate who can vote with their TV remote controls and their mobile phones.

The political party system itself is based on a big lie. Does anyone believe 300-or-so MPs all support the policies put forward by their leadership?

Yet, they go on TV and say how great the policies are and vote for them in the House of Commons. But when the cameras are off, those same MPs trash talk their Leader and stick the knife in behind their back.

Or, in the case of the former Brexit Secretary David Davis, he writes a resignation letter saying he hasn’t agreed with any of the key policies in the past two years.

No wonder most people think politicians are all liars. Our system of doing politics requires them to be so.

Of course, all political parties are coalitions of different factions. There are social conservatives alongside free market libertarians.

In Labour, the are some hardline Marxist-Leninists who sit with moderate Christian social reformers.

However, these coalitions look increasingly fragile. Brexit has fractured the Conservatives, while Jeremy Corbyn’s ascendancy has put most Labour MPs out of kilter with the mass membership of their Party.

It’s time to shake things up. The old parties need to split and their factions realign.

I believe political parties should be like hair styles. Nobody expects to have the same hair style all their life, or worse still, the same style as their grandparents. Hair styles and political parties should come and go. New ones arrive. Old ones die off.

One problem when parties split is who gets the assets? The old Party name, its database, its money and the brand loyalty from old supporters?

That’s why it can be easier to takeover a Party and change it in your image, rather than set one up from scratch.

In America, Donald Trump won the Republican Party leadership, even though he had been a long time supporter of the Democrats and had previously run for the Reform Party.

Ambitious politicians use established parties as vehicles for their own self interests.

In France, Emmanuel Macron was different. He left the Socialist Party to create his own movement, En Marche. From nowhere, in one year, a new party seized the presidency and the French parliament.

New populist parties are emerging everywhere. Italy has the Five Star Movement, Spain has Podemos. Greece has SYRIZA. And there are countless more examples on both the extreme left and right.

And that’s the danger. If established parties like the Conservatives and Labour don’t realign and start listening to ordinary people, charismatic extremists will emerge to fill the void.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.

Migration Crisis

As President Trump puts children into cages and Italy refuses to allow refugee boats into its ports, how should western democracies respond to the growing migration crisis?

VIDEO SCRIPT:

America puts traumatised children into cages.
Italy: happy to leave refugees stranded at sea.
The migration crisis exposing our worst instincts.

Hi, I’m Leon Hawthorne. European Union leaders hold a summit on migration this week, but don’t hold your breath for any solutions.

Migration is a big problem for Europe and North America. Presently, there are huge movements of people – mostly black and brown – fleeing their homes, risking their lives to travel thousands of miles to get into rich, western democracies.

They’re coming from the Middle East and North Africa into Europe; and from Central America into the United States.

The reaction has been a rise in racism, cruelty and – from our politicians – a complete lack of policy solutions.

Building a wall and separating children from their parents is not the answer for the U.S. Nor is allowing millions of Muslims to come into Europe.

So, why are there so many displaced people?… War, especially civil war. And we in the west are directly to blame for wars, from which many of the migrants are fleeing… in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen.

We have aided and abetted in so many conflicts; and we are shocked when casualties turn up on our doorsteps.

In Central America, the problem is the War on Drugs, which has converted so many countries into narco states, with daily bloodbaths on the streets… corrupt police, judges, politicians and soldiers.

Drug consumption in the United States has created this mess. And the U.S. catalyses the problem by selling the guns used by the cartels to terrorise the public.

If Central America legalised drugs, the violence and corruption would end overnight. When was the last time someone from Coca Cola murdered a rival from Pepsi? It’s prohibition that is the cause of all this carnage.

So, foreign policy, drug policy and the final problem is our trade policy.

The EU’s Customs Union is tantamount to a wall around Europe’s borders. It imposes barriers on goods coming from Africa and the Americas. While recent Economic Partnership Agreements have reduced some tariffs, overall policy stifles economic growth in developing countries; and the resulting poverty fuels migration.

The solution to the migration crisis is simple.

Change foreign policy that creates war and prolongs civil wars.

Assist in creating peace, even if that installs regimes we don’t like, or it leads to the natural break-up of some countries.

End the futile War on Drugs that is laying waste to so many countries.

And change trade policies that keep poor countries poor.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.

Abolish the EU

After Brexit, who’s next? Italy? Spain? Greece? The European Union is a threat to democracy, peace and prosperity and the peoples of Europe should now unite for its abolition.

VIDEO SCRIPT:

Abolish the European Union. Time to burn the EU flag and tear down the institution.

Hi, I’m Leon Hawthorne. The European Union is a threat to democracy, peace and prosperity and we the people should demand it is abolished.

The European Union was inspired by people of goodwill. In the aftermath of two world wars, European leaders tried to find a way to avoid a third.

Their solution was to replicate the American model… form a United States of Europe to remove the nationalist rivalries of old world powers.

Even Winston Churchill championed the strategy:

“It is to recreate the European family… We must build a kind of United States of Europe.”

Churchill asked if there could be a sense of enlarged patriotism and common citizenship for the peoples of Europe. Well, Mr Churchill, the answer then and now is ‘no’.

The bonds that hold us together as citizens of Europe are too weak, compared to the bonds that unite every Briton, or every Frenchman, or every German.

Nationalism is natural. We share an affinity with members of our own clan, which often means race, religion, history, language and culture. Outsiders, immigrants, can join, so long as they fit into the national culture.

But there is no country called Europe. There is no European citizenship that inspires love or devotion.

Take my football test. If there were a team called Europe FC, competing against a team representing Africa or Antarctica, would grown men cry with joy or despair at the outcome of the match? No.

The EU is a Tower of Babel, built on faulty foundations, doomed to collapse. I say we should begin to pull it apart, safely.

Or else, first Brexit, next an Italian exit, maybe a Spanish economic collapse, a National Front victory in France, more racist extremists elected in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden.

The irony is the EU was invented to prevent the worst aspects of nationalism. Yet that is exactly what it has created.

“The Nobel Peace Prize for 2012…”

In 2012, a group of globalist sycophants gave the EU the Nobel Peace Prize. At the time, the EU was maneuvering politically in Ukraine… events that threatened post Cold War relations with Russia and led directly to the crisis over Crimea.

The EU has never had any democratic legitimacy. The European dream was imposed by an aristocratic political elite, who never asked the people for prior consent.

When we have voted… in France, in Britain, Denmark and Ireland, we say ‘no’. Then they find some way to ignore that response and ask the question again, until they get the right answer.

The EU is like a forced marriage, where we the people are the battered wives, handcuffed in the basement, unable to break free.

It needn’t be this way. They could loosen the shackles and form a confederation of nation states, which could even embrace Russia. No European parliament, Commission or supreme court. Just an a’la carte menu, from which each country can pick and mix.

Like a pay-as-you-go mobile phone contract. No strings, no chains, no problem.

Of course, this will not happen. Too many people riding the EU gravy train, and eurocrats with big egos and big pensions who think they know better than the people who pay their salaries.

I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.