Thursday, 31 March 2011

Imigracji

That immigration is the most important issue has been discussed on this blog before, but it's a point neatly illustrated when a BBC 'digital TV switchover' letter comes through my door today. On the back of the envelope is the following (which I've scanned in, in full - click image to enlarge):

Out of nine translations the only EU languages are Romanian and Polish (I think - correct me if I'm wrong) - though apparently if you call the freephone number this can be rectified.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Not Making Plans For Nigel

I've only just seen this, from Guido:
Yesterday’s Yes2AV launch was conspicuously Clegg-less, but he wasn’t the only leader missing. Despite probably being the campaigns most useful asset in getting through to real people outside of the beltway, Guido hears that Nigel Farage and UKIP are a little miffed that they were left out in the cold. It was alll [sic] smiles with Caroline Lucas from the Greens, so it’s not as if smaller parties were a ruled out. A Yes campaign source said the decision didn’t come from them and it was Miliband’s office that refused to share a platform.
It's true that Caroline Lucas is an MP (and a slightly eurosceptic one at that) but the votes at the last election were as follows:

Greens: 285,616
UKIP: 919,546

UKIP received more than 3 times the Green vote but still no MP. Surely that's as good evidence as any that the current political system is broken. No not according to Ed Miliband (who likes to compare himself to suffragettes). Interesting that Ed is ignoring UKIP but apparently during his Labour consultation a referendum on the EU is being considered. Well we all know how that will turn out then.

Politicians cannot simply stick their fingers in their ears and shout; 'la la la we can't hear you', forever.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Don't Panic Mr Mainwaring, Don't Panic

A wonderful 'the world's going to end' headline from the Daily Mail today:

Radioactive particles are discovered in...wait for it...capital letters...Oxfordshire. Not only that but in the....sleepy village of Chilton.

Nothing to do with the fact that one of the UK's main atomic research centres is based just around the corner - a 1 minute's drive away - and has substantial radiation measuring facilities, which were used to inform the Government during the Chernobyl crisis.

Portugal Downgraded Again

Portugal has now been downgraded twice in less than a week. Default looms unless there's a bailout:
LISBON/ATHENS, March 29 (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's downgraded Greece and Portugal on Tuesday, citing risks that the countries' debts could be subordinated to any future European bailout mechanism, and sending their bonds sharply lower.
Interestingly (my emphasis):

The downgrades left Portugal one notch above junk and Greece's creditworthiness below that of Egypt, deepening the debt troubles for two of the weakest countries in the euro zone.

When will this nonsense end?

Eg Hitler

I was searching the Daily Express website for an EU story, and the suggested option in the search field for typing in 'EU' came back with this (click to enlarge):

However other searches come up with different suggestions in 'search the Daily Express' field.

Oh What A Web We Weave

It looks increasingly likely that the EU-fanatic - that is David Cameron - is coming unstuck over the impending bailout of Portugal. It was always inevitable; the UK policy of speaking pro-EU to Brussels but pretending to be anti-EU to UK voters, becomes harder and harder to maintain with each EU power grab.

And so it proves, with Cameron desperate to blame Labour for what will be an unpopular bailout of Portugal, it now seems, unsurprisingly, that the Tories were just as enthusiastic all along. Richard North has the details:
Of course, it is a classic Cleggeron tactic to blame Labour – as indeed we got so used to hearing about eighteen years of "Tory misrule" from Labour, but in this instance, the blame lies fairly and squarely with our membership of the European Union.

And there we see the real Euroslime coming to the fore. He is quite happy to slag off Labour, any day of the week, but when it comes to his darling EU, not a word of criticism will he utter. It would never do to let the voters know that he is just as powerless as the rest of them.

This is developed further by Bruno (above). Alongside The Mail, he also relays the claim that Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor, in the dying days of the last Labour administration, sought and obtained "cross–party consensus" before agreeing the establishment of the fund.

A document to that effect has now emerged (below), and we have Darling denying that, during an emergency meeting in Brussels on 9 May he ignored advice given to him by Mr Osborne. Darling says: "What we discussed was not voting against but abstention, recognising that Britain could have been outvoted".

Now Dave is having to come to terms with the reality of EU membership, and he doesn't like the idea of being seen as a powerless clone, who has to fall into line with whatever our masters decide. But that is the reality. He can scweam and scweam until he is thick, but it won't make the slightest bit of difference.
Douglas Carswell is, predictably, not happy.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Libya And Farage



Again Russia Today is the place to receive some kind of anti-EU media exposure.

hattip: Muffled Vociferation

Different Class

Aside from Miliband's 'gaffe, what's been revealing about the 'uncut march' violence is the Police's response on Saturday, and indeed to other similar recent protests. Their relative restraint to wanton damage to property and intimidating violence has been obvious. My view apparently puts me in the 'passive' territory argued by Boris Johnson:
They will be content to see the police being unfairly attacked on all sides, for being too passive (the Right-wing press) or too brutal (the Guardian)
Now, I have no wish for the Police to go overboard in their response and I understand that they were overwhelmed by numbers and that; they faced being attacked with light bulbs filled with ammonia, fireworks filled with coins and smoke bombs. However it seems odd to me, that shops weren't as protected as they could have been and only now are stop and search polices being implemented because of the threat to the Royal Wedding.

It is my view that if the Police had experienced similar problems from another group of people then their reaction would be far less passive.

The much larger group of people I refer to face far more draconian measures by the Police on a weekly basis. They also do so despite having exactly the same problem of a minority of people grabbing the headlines by wanton violence. The majority, however, endure such measures largely without the same sort of sympathy from others. These vast majority of peaceful people are:
  • 'Kettled' as soon as they arrive at a train station

  • Sometimes being kettled in an area too small for the number of persons held. Crushing happens and panic ensures. The response to the panic is a vigorous use of Police batons. Children are being crushed. People outside the kettled area desperately trying to help to pull children out of the crushing are also batoned, as are the children themselves. 10 and 11 year olds feel the full force of the law!

  • Forced by the Police to reside in the nearest designated pub regardless until said Police decide to move them on.

  • Not allowed outside the pub, even for a cigarette if it's outside the pub's boundaries, and the pub doesn't have a garden.

  • Marched to the place of destination deliberately 15-20 minutes late.

  • Subjected to a Section 60 search, usually without one being granted - it will be done retrospectively. Details such as names and address etc will be taken under Section 60 though the Act does not permit this. Any objection will be dealt with appropriately i.e. a threat of a trumped-up charge. Coins, newspapers and shoe laces are confiscated because they could be used as weapons.

  • Subjected to another Section 60 search which takes place minutes later by a different policeman. No coins in the wallet apparently raises suspicions, but the answer that a previous Policeman confiscated them is not accepted either.

  • Removed from destination and given a 'Rodney King' style beating down an alleyway separating back-to-back terrace housing. Other Policemen look on and laugh.

  • Deliberately marched, after said activity, to the wrong platform and put on the wrong train.

  • If put on the right train, it sometimes involves no lights, no bar, no seats and no toilet. Too many people crammed - standing - on such a train for a 3 hour journey.

  • Forced out of a city or town, by the Police, under Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, even if they have not committed an offence and even if they did not originate from the Town/City that the Police want them to return to.

  • Legally disadvantaged because anyone convicted of a Section 2 offence at this event will receive a harsher sentence than other section 2 convictions - sometimes it is double the custodial sentence usually given.

  • Legally disadvantaged because anyone convicted under section 2 at this event will be banned from large areas of every city and town in the country on certain days for years.

  • Legally disadvantaged because anyone convicted at this event will be banned from taking holidays at certain times of the year.
The large group I'm referring to are football fans. I do not condone violence at all but had it been football fans involved in the wanton destruction on Saturday the reaction by the Met would have been much much different.

All people are equal, but... The so-called anarchists should consider themselves lucky.

Still Second

Despite winning the Labour leadership, Ed Miliband still comes second to his brother, not only here, but...on Google results:

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Dear Portugal

A wonderfully caustic editorial from the Irish Independent today, I reproduce here in full:

Dear Portugal, this is Ireland here. I know we don't know each other very well, though I hear some of our developers are down with you riding out the recession.

They could be there for a while. Anyway, I don't mean to intrude but I've been reading about you in the papers and it strikes me that I might be able to offer you a bit of advice on where you are at and what lies ahead. As the joke now goes, what's the difference between Portugal and Ireland? Five letters and six months.

Anyway, I notice now that you are under pressure to accept a bailout but your politicians are claiming to be determined not to take it. It will, they say, be over their dead bodies. In my experience that means you'll be getting a bailout soon, probably on a Sunday. First let me give you a tip on the nuances of the English language. Given that English is your second language, you may think that the words 'bailout' and 'aid' imply that you will be getting help from our European brethren to get you out of your current difficulties. English is our first language and that's what we thought bailout and aid meant. Allow me to warn you, not only will this bailout, when it is inevit-ably forced on you, not get you out of your current troubles, it will actually prolong your troubles for generations to come.

For this you will be expected to be grateful. If you want to look up the proper Portuguese for bailout, I would suggest you get your English-Portuguese dictionary and look up words like: moneylending, usury, subprime mortgage, rip-off. This will give you a more accurate translation of what will be happening you.

I see also that you are going to change your government in the next couple of months. You will forgive me that I allowed myself a little smile about that. By all means do put a fresh coat of paint over the subsidence cracks in your economy. And by all means enjoy the smell of fresh paint for a while.

We got ourselves a new Government too and it is a nice diversion for a few weeks. What you will find is that the new government will come in amidst a slight euphoria from the people. The new government will have made all kinds of promises during the election campaign about burning bondholders and whatnot and the EU will smile benignly on while all that loose talk goes on.

Then, when your government gets in, they will initially go out to Europe and throw some shapes. You might even win a few sports games against your old enemy, whoever that is, and you may attract visits from foreign dignitaries like the Pope and that. There will be a real feel-good vibe in the air as everyone takes refuge in a bit of delusion for a while.

And enjoy all that while you can, Portugal. Because reality will be waiting to intrude again when all the fun dies down. The upside of it all is that the price of a game of golf has become very competitive here. Hopefully the same happens down there and we look forward to seeing you then.

Love, Ireland.

Sunday Independent

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Idiot

That Ed Miliband has compared himself with previous historical civil liberties campaigners is rather ill-judged:

"We come in the traditions that have marched in peaceful but powerful protest for justice, fairness and political change," he said.

"The suffragettes who fought for votes for women and won. The civil rights movement in America that fought against racism and won. The anti-apartheid movement that fought the horror of that system and won."

The difference is that Labour lost a democratic election. All of those that Miliband compares himself and Labour with, never had that option. Therefore Miliband is, in effect, trying to dismiss the views of an electorate who threw his party out of power by pretending that our country didn't have a choice.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Open Letter To Cameron

There's a letter today in my local paper, that I thought I would reproduce here. The popularity of the Tories is only going to go in one direction - plummet - particularly as the economic realities hit home. So you would have thought that Cameron would want to keep as many of his Tory friends on side as much as possible. Not so, he has more 'important things' to consider.

'Wait til we're in power' they cried, well we're still waiting:

THE following is an open letter to David Cameron.

I voted for your party. I thought you might have reformed the Human Rights Act. I thought I was told you would, or perhaps scrap it altogether. I was mistaken.

I thought you would give me a vote on Europe. I was mistaken.

I never in my wildest dreams thought you would put someone in a high position who wants to give prisoners the vote and cut compensation for close relatives of people who have been murdered; someone who wants to release people early and close some prisons. I was wrong.

I thought you might have cut foreign aid until we are in a better financial position. I was mistaken.

I am sure you told me, when petrol was 20p a litre cheaper than it is now, that it was too expensive and that you would introduce a fuel stabiliser.

Am I imagining things as I get older? I hope not; the NHS may not be able to help me.

I thought immigration might be stopped or severely curtailed, to allow us to absorb the immigrants we have, until our infrastructure is suitable to accommodate more people. I was wrong.

I thought I was voting for someone who would be tough on crime. I was mistaken.

I thought I was voting for someone with guts, who would stand up for the hard working people of Great Britain, against the unelected parliament in Europe – the accounts of which auditors have refused to sign off for 16 consecutive years.

One of its latest directives, that we have to obey, will put up car insurance for female drivers.

Europe needs us more than we need it. Show some of the guts that we thought you had when we voted for you; put a referendum to the people: in or out?

I had hoped I voted for someone who had good old common sense.

I voted Conservative, but now I don’t know why I bothered.

Steve Chandler, Sandford Lane, Kennington

Thursday, 24 March 2011

EU Defends Anti-Democracy Crackdown

From the EU Observer (my emphasis):

A senior advisor to EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has defended Bahrain's security forces after they opened fire on protesters with live ammunition last week.

Speaking to MEPs in the foreign affairs committee in Brussels on Tuesday (22 March) after visiting Bahrain, Robert Cooper, Ashton's top advisor on the western Balkans and the Middle East, said the island is normally "a rather pleasant, peaceful place."

He went on: "I'm not sure if the police have had to deal with these public order questions before. It's not easy dealing with large demonstrations in which there may be violence. It's a difficult task for policemen. It's not something that we always get right in the best Western countries and accidents happen."
Accidents happen apparently.

Hattip: Open Europe

Update: EU fires water cannons and tear gas on protesters:

Thousands of protesters urging an end to Europe-wide austerity measures are marching in Brussels, the Belgian capital, outside a venue where regional leaders are meeting.

Police fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse groups of demonstrators close to the European Union summit on Thursday, after activists blocked key roads in the city and caused a traffic gridlock.

The EU really hates this democracy malarkey doesn't it?

Hattip: The Talking Clock

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Open Your Wallets (Again)

On budget day here when, laughably, we have had a so-called "budget for growth", the Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates has resigned after the country's parliament rejected an austerity budget:
Britain is facing another multi-billion euro bail-out bill as Portugal followed Ireland into debt crisis when the country's government on Wednesday night lost a confidence vote on austerity measures.

The prospect of a new Portugal crisis and a potential bail-out worth up to £61 billion will overshadow Thursday's EU summit, a meeting aimed at repairing the damage done to the euro by Irish and Greek bailouts last year.
Portugal is about to be bailed out - with our money.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Deutschland, Deutschland And The Euro

Some time ago, I lived in Germany for a number years on and off, as part of a secondment by working for a German company. One of things that I noticed (among many) was that the German press had a far far less critical view of the EU than ours - perhaps understandably for obvious historical reasons. However this, almost slavish, praise of the EU was at odds with the views of the many Germans that I spoke to when I lived there (sound familiar?)

It's with this in mind that I highlight this from the German news magazine Der Spiegel, titled:
Why Ditching the Euro Would Be a Bad Idea.
Der Spiegel is currently embarking on a '5 big myths of the Euro and why everyone is wrong about the D-Mark' article. Now, it's not for me to say if this is a coincidence as there is an impeding bailout of Portugal, undoubtedly with German taxpayers' money, or that the Lisbon Treaty is currently being self-amended for the first time to provide 'a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro'.

Naturally the German taxpayers are wary of more of their money being used to bailout out other countries, unless it is on their terms. But what is interesting are the arguments put forward for Germany's continued membership of the Euro / EU:

Still, even without a direct referendum on the matter, no one can seriously argue that Germans never had a chance to air their views. Germans have never been shy about taking to the streets in protest. They also had their say at the ballot box. In the end, it was their own parliament that approved the Maastricht Treaty. If they had wanted to block the introduction of the euro, they could have voted for different representatives.

Similar arguments are always used here as well, for example Tory MP Alan Haselhurst in 1991 on the Maastricht debate:
Let us consider what we spend our time doing. The Order Paper shows the various matters that concern us. Our constituency mail bags show us the matters that our constituents want us to consider. We should recognise that we are not dealing with great international issues all the time. I must have had about three letters about the Maastricht treaty, but I had 10 times that number about Sunday trading and similar matters.
And Labour MP Mike Gapes on the Lisbon Treaty:
Many words have been spoken about the great interest in the [Lisbon Treaty] outside the House, but I have had only one e-mail and one letter from my constituents— [ Interruption. ] I am waiting for more to come.
(of course this reasoning is never applied to climate change policy which usually doesn't even register in polls of voters' concerns).

I can't help feeling, with the Der Spiegel going big on the pitfalls of leaving the Euro, that someone somewhere in Germany is getting a little nervous.

Quote Of The Day

Well, more accurately, a quote from last Sunday's Irish Independent, regarding Ireland's request for a change in the interest rate it pays on its bailout terms. Sarkozy had asked Kenny, Irish Taoiseach, for a "gesture" on Ireland's 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate. The Irish Independent's response?
"Well, he deserves a gesture -- but a gesture involving two digits and no other numbers"

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Tories Boast That We're Ruled By The EU

The Tories are now actually boasting that we no longer run our own country. From England Expects:
"The Tories didn't dare do it, the Lib Dems don't care about it and frankly the Labour Party isn't there on the subject at all" said Nigel Farage this afternoon, after the Labour proposal to scrap the VAT increase on Fuel was defeated in the House of Commons due to EU rules that ban more than three rates of VAT duty.

"To do what Balls wanted would break EU law", he went on, "But all that the Government have managed to do by pointing this out is to show their utter weakness in the face of Brussels dictat".

"When will they get it into their thick heads that they, and the Labour Government before them have given away the independence of this country?" He said.

"Think about it for a moment. The Conservative led Government defeats an Labour motion to reduce tax, by boasting that it doesn't have the power to set UK tax rates.

Extraordinary, and disgraceful. And Mr Cameron refuses to offer a referendum because he thinks that we are better off in the EU?"

"Will somebody please tell me what the point is of Mr Cameron? What is the point of his Government? We would be better and more honest closing down Westminster and opening it up to tourists - carefully remembering not to give discounts to UK citizens - because that would breach EU equality legislation", said Farage.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Guess What's Missing?

My MP Ed Vaizey has a regular column in most of the local publications across our contistuency as you would expect. Here's an extract from his latest column in my local magazine regarding fishing:
Over recent weeks I have received a great many emails on two issues in particular: fish and forests...The other issue that has excercised a lot of people is the future of our fish stocks. There is curently a very popular Early Day Motion in Parliament about the damaging practice of discarding unwanted fish. At present, when fishermen trawl for fish, they often throw back up to half their catch, because the fish are too small, too young or too unpopular a species to be sold. These discarded fish are mostly killed by being caught; they are beginning to pollute our seas which will harm the future of our fishing industry. It is also morally wrong, I believe, to kill animals that will not be eaten.

The Government is therefore looking at a number of ways to reform the fishing industry. There have been remarkable results from a pilot scheme which incentiveses fishermen to design more selective nets and DEFRA is looking at new quota systems that will measure the amount caught, instead of the amount brought into dock.
No prizes for guessing what is missing from Mr Vaizey's article - perhaps he forgot to mention it, afterall the Tories promised to get tough on the EU, so surely Mr Vaizey would wish to use this as an example of repatriation, by the Tories, of powers back from the EU.

Surely?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Doing Nothing Is The New Getting Tough

One of the consequences of the Daily Express' recent 'out of EU' campaign is that, probably inevitably, the Daily Mail appears to have taken a harder stance against the EU itself (perhaps it has realised that EU stories sell papers). Not so long ago, stories on immigration barely mentioned the EU element, not any longer.

Today we have another such story in the Mail, one which has a 'The Tories think we really are stupid' element to it:
The ‘mistake’ of giving millions of new EU citizens immediate rights to work in Britain will not be repeated, Damian Green vowed last night.
Ooooh are the Tories going to get tough on the EU and immigration (are they hell), so how does Damian Green propose to avoid Labour's mistake of letting immigration run riot:
The immigration minister said the toughest possible restrictions...would apply to nations trying to join the union.

They include Turkey, Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia and Montenegro.

So the possible restrictions only apply to new states; controlling immigration from states who are already members is of course not possible. Even here with new states there's a catch, as the article points out. There is a transitional period where restrictions can be applied, to help limit the initial impact on the Labour market:
The transitional arrangements in the Accession Treaties of 16 April 2003...provide that for the first two years following accession access to the labour markets of the EU Member States that formed part of the EU before the respective accessions will depend on the national law and policy of those Member States. In practical terms, this means that a worker from one of the Member States that acceded is likely to need a work permit.

National measures may be extended for a further period of three years. After that, an EU-Member State that applied national measures can continue to apply such national measures for a further two years if it notifies to the Commission serious disturbances in its labour market.

It's during the transitional period that the Tories intend to impose the strictest possible (what the EU let's us do in other words) restrictions. But then the transitional period expires:

The transitional arrangements cannot extend beyond an absolute maximum of seven years.
Because of course the free movement of workers is a fundamental part of the EU.

So there you have it, the Tories' idea of getting tough, is to do nothing about current EU immigration, and ask the EU commission nicely if we can limit immigration for 7 years from new member states. And when the 7 years expires then...er...do nothing. So we will be in the same position as under Labour but with a 7 year hiatus instead.

What a deeply insulting and patronising party the Tories are. I think it's time to use a new word in anger that Witterings from Witney has posted about - it's all bollitics.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Minority Report

Now no longer fiction but fact thanks to the EU. The EU Arrest Warrant can now be used for crimes you may commit in the future:

Monday, 7 March 2011

Can We Sink Any Lower?

I return from my short interlude to this:
Eight SAS soldiers detained by Libyan rebels near Benghazi have left the country aboard HMS Cumberland, according to Sky News sources. According to reports, the group had been taken to Benghazi after being apprehended near the port city.
this:
A conversation purportedly between Richard Northern, the British ambassador to Libya, and a spokesman for Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the former Libyan justice minister, who now heads the rebel National Libyan Council in Benghazi, has been intercepted and released on Libyan state television

Richard Northern, who left Libya last week, called for the release of an SAS mission being held by rebel forces in Benghazi, saying there had been a "misunderstanding".
And this:
The Duke of York paid the price for his association with a convicted paedophile as the Government decided to downgrade his role as Britain’s trade ambassador.
Our Special Forces, diplomats and Royal trade envoy have becoming laughing stocks. Can our country's reputation get any lower? I'm very tempted to get back on the next available plane and bugger off out of here.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Hardly Anybody Gives A Monkey’s?

Despite my previous post, and currently being on holiday albeit at Heathrow, I couldn't resist this final post before I return. Mike Smithson of the mostly marvelous Political Betting site, is a Liberal Democrat, with pro-EU tendencies that often emerge in his posts, for example November last year:
Has Britain’s membership ceased to be an issue?

Last week my post on the public not really “caring a monkey’s” about the EU caused a little bit of a stir in some places. My argument was simple - we’ve been in the EU for 37 years and Britain’s membership has ceased to be an issue for all but a very small minority on voters.

I quoted the latest MORI issues index where those naming the Europe/EU as the “most important issue facing Britain” simply did not register and did not even rate a one percent figure by the pollster.

There have been times in the past when the response on EU-related matters has been very high but the long-term trend is one of decline to almost zero.

I stick with the point I made. Hardly anybody gives a monkey’s.

It's the same point that EuroGoblin repeatedly and misleading argues for. Now today Mr Smithson has changed his tune somewhat:
Why’s the ECJ being so breathtakingly stupid?

Should Britain say it will defy the court?

The story that’s made me most angry today has been the extraordinary decision by the European Court of Justice to stop insurance companies from allowing women to pay smaller car insurance premiums even though they are less likely to have accidents.

This is being stopped on ground of “gender equality”. Andy Cooke on the previous thread had this right:-

What a stupid ruling by the ECJ!

The different premiums aren’t based on sexism, but on demographic differences in propensities to have an accident! Will it be illegal to charge different premiums based on age? Illegal to charge different premiums based on where you live? On how experienced you are? Whether you’ve had accidents or traffic violations in the past?

So millions of teenaged girls will have to pay extra to subsidise teenaged boys. Women will have to subsidise men.

Soon, those of us in their thirties, forties and fifties will have to pay a bit more for the teenaged drivers (otherwise there will be significant age discrimination, surely?)

The ECJ are hardly improving their image - more like reinforcing the stereotype of stupid, out-of-touch politically correct idiots.

Could this be an opportunity for the coalition to have a battle with Europe?
Now who gives a monkey's? First they came for...