Thursday, 28 October 2010

Round-Up

Blimey, we're being inundated by EU news today. The budget in particular is dominating the newspapers and even BBC Breakfast led with Cameron and the budget this morning (though in part that was an opportunity to rehearse the old Tories are split agenda).

Summary of the budget row so far is; the EU parliament thought of a figure they wanted as an increase, then doubled it. Tories condemn it as unacceptable, at a time of domestic cuts. Cameron plays the tough 'best deal for Britain' card, will probably negotiate the budget down to circa 2.9% by agreeing to treaty changes without a promised referendum. Then Chamberlain Cameron will claim a victory. In reality far more will be given away than was won, as Witterings From Witney spots here. It's all well worn Tory rhetoric, though the tone of the coverage suggests the 'victory for Britain' bit might not being going as well as hoped.

The Telegraph editorial has this corker:
At this week's EU summit, our most instinctively Eurosceptic Prime Minister for 20 years faces a tricky set of challenges.
Hilarious. Cameron is euroscpetic in the same way that I'm a professional footballer (and no that's not me). The comments underneath don't seem convinced either.

Then aside from the budget, the Telegraph has this:

MEPs last week voted for rules that would extend maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay and introduce a compulsory, fully-paid fortnight off for new fathers. Conservative MEPS voted against the plan, which the Government has promised to oppose.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph today, business groups representing thousands of British firms urge the Prime Minister to fight the introduction of the rules, which they say would cost Britain £2.5 billion and stop them hiring new staff.

And then this (hattip England Expects)*

The EU has been accused of trying to "hijack" Remembrance Sunday with a £4.7 million plan to put euro-branded commemorative plaques marking "European integration" on war cemeteries and memorials.

MEPs approved plans for "European Heritage Label" to mark sites with "a symbolic European value" that "have played a key role in the history and/or the building of EU".

Given the EU flag already defaces our castles, so it's no surprise they want to move onto war memorials. Apparently you'll be able to send in designs:
The plaques, to be designed by an open competition next year, aim "to strengthen European citizens' sense of belonging to the EU".
Somehow I don't think my entries will win. Then there's two stories which don't mention the EU but are affected by our membership:

Maternity leave, paternity leave, health and safety, PAYE, sex discrimination, ageism, flexible working, parental leave, tougher employment tribunals, a new Equalities Act.

It’s amazing that Britain has any entrepreneurs left at all, given the mountain of red tape that businessmen must cope with — and that’s before they can get on with creating jobs.

And:

Highly skilled migrants have been told to expect much tougher restrictions on coming to the UK without a job offer after Home Office research showed many recent arrivals have ended up in unskilled jobs in Britain.

The report showed that as many as three out of 10 people who were given so-called “Tier 1” visas, which are awarded to high flyers from outside the European Union, ended up doing menial jobs such as shop assistants, security guards and supermarket cashiers.

I'm sure there's more I've missed. Meanwhile here's Douglas Carswell on last night's BBC Newsnight (23 mins in):

*Update: The Telegraph story has drawn an angry response by the EU:
You claim that the EU wants to ‘hijack’ Remembrance Sunday with a plan to put euro-branded commemorative plaques marking “European integration” on war cemeteries and memorials in the UK (27 October). This is nonsense and a serious distortion of the facts, which were explained in some detail to your correspondent.

Under our proposal, which was backed by the European Parliament this week, it will be up to national governments to nominate sites for the award, if they want to. The sites might include places of remembrance. An independent expert panel will assess the nominations it receives from national governments and decide which of them merits the heritage label.

If the panel receives no nominations from the UK, no sites in the UK would display the European Heritage Label.

The EU cannot unilaterally impose the heritage label on anyone.

Though the Telegraph didn't actually say the EU has hijacked Remembrance Sunday, it said; 'The EU has been accused' which might be true if a reporter popped into the nearest pub and ask someone at random what they thought of the proposals.

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