Video commentary on the UK paying Brussels until 2064, UK defence and the Sergei Skripal case and should we be fracking for UK energy independence.
Much is being made of a report that says the UK will have to keep paying the EU for 45 years after Brexit.
You may have heard this story doing the rounds that the UK will be tied into paying Brussels a Brexit divorce bill until 2064.
That does sound a bit alarming and could be used by unscrupulous people in certain quarters to try and get voters to question why the UK is leaving the EU, if we're going to have to pay for all this time anyway.
The 45 years time frame stems from a report by the Office for Budget Responsibility that has estimated the total Brexit so-called 'divorce bill' at £37.1 billion and then broken down how that would look as we paid it off.
I've written a quick article with a graph about it on The Economic Voice and put a link to it in the description box below.
Now the £37.1 billion cost is what the UK has already agreed to (although many Brexiteers dislike it), but the real point is how we pay and that's where the 2064 end date comes in.
Basically, 75 percent of the total cost will be borne in the first five or so years and the rest will amount to an average of about 150 million euros a year until 2064 and in some years we will actually get some money back.
So, paying the bill for 45 years when the annual amount is so relatively small suddenly doesn't become the issue it initially sounds.
Moving on I now want to make an observation or two about the Sergei and Yulia Skripal case.
Not about the horrific nature of the attack itself or Russia's culpability. But about the potential for using it to try and tie the UK into EU foreign and defence policy.
Firstly, the PM should be congratulated for showing that she has some fire in her belly by exhibiting leadership and steel in her statement to the House of Commons today announcing that 23 of the 58 London based Russian 'diplomats' would be expelled within 7 days amongst other measures such as sourcing gas from other countries.
This is in stark contrast to the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn who, unlike many of his own backbenchers, could not quite bring himself to condemn Putin and Russia.
With Theresa May replying to the consensus of the condemnation across parties and Corbyn's weak statement with:
"I am only sorry that the consensus does not go as far as the Right Honourable Gentleman, who could have taken the opportunity, as the UK government has done, to condemn the culpability of the Russian state."
I must say though that I wish she had shown this sort of backbone throughout the Brexit negotiations. We could be getting a corker of a deal!
Anyway, there is talk of the Skripal case being brought up at next weeks EU Council talks with Frans Timmermans, the first EU Commission vice president, saying the bloc's leaders had a responsibility to help their ally.
Couple this with recent talk of the UK being too weak to defend itself without EU help and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where certain highly placed people want this to go – i.e. towards the UK signing up to the new EU superstate foreign and defence policies! To which I say no!
The Express reports today on Dr Nathalie Tocci, special adviser to the EU foreign affairs commissioner, Federica Moghereni, saying at the Royal United Services Institute that the UK is so small and needs the EU to defend it.
But I'm with Jacob Rees-Mogg, who said:
"I think the EU adviser has it the wrong way round. Europe needs the UK as the bulwark of its defence, except for France the rest of the EU are non-starters in defence terms."
And the Tory MP for Romford, Andrew Rosindell, called Dr Tocci's words a gross insult, adding:
"For decades Britain has defended Europe from tyranny.
"Even now British troops are defending the eastern border against Russian aggression."
And a spokesman for Veterans for Britain said:
"Dr Tocci's pitch is frankly unbelievable – she is in effect telling us to give up control of the UK Armed Forces to joint EU institutions.
"Unfortunately, this is exactly what Whitehall officials are currently being ushered towards in the negotiations.
"If only more MPs understood what an institutional agreement really means, it would be a national disgrace and they would stop it immediately."
But I'm concerned that many of our mainly Remain politicians do know exactly what is going on with our foreign and defence policy and will eagerly push it along to keep us tied as closely as possible to the EU.
So, I am worried that this event will be used a some sort of excuse to sign us up to EU control of our security and armed forces as well as having to kow-tow to EU foreign policy.
That must not be allowed to happen or we will never be an independent sovereign nation ever again!
Now, on our reliance on Russian gas, now that we need to re-examine our relationship with Putin – maybe it's also time to look seriously at fracking here in the UK. Now, you may not like that idea but we have a choice – rely on gas from states around the world with questionable human rights records or develop our own properly controlled cheap and reliable domestic supply that could keep our homes warm.
And I'll finish by saying that it seems that this event has come very close to my back door with the army and police deployed right now in the town of Gillingham in Dorset twenty miles to the West of Salisbury and a few miles down the road from me.
"Gillingham in Dorset is on lockdown with army tanks swarming the streets amid fears traces of the deadly nerve agent Novichok used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter may have spread." Reports the Express.
It's now time for the UK to take firm charge of its own safety and substantially boost defence spending and stop wasting money abroad, which has obviously not helped us at all except making the UK look like a soft touch. And most definitely do not rely on the EU to keep us safe – we must do that for ourselves!