Monday, 30 May 2011

Intolerant And Selfish?

According to our dear leader; Van Rompuy, who was democratically and directly elected by the peoples of Europe, is not really interested in power, believes that he should be accountable to the people, isn't paid £250,000 (more than the UK Prime Minister) and didn't use EU official cars to take his family on holiday, has just decided that everyone else in Europe is not as altruistic as himself:
"This long march to freedom and justice. This is not then the time for us Europeans to become less open, less tolerant, more selfish or materialistic..."
If only we could all be like him.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

CIA Warns Of Miltary Coup In Greece

Richard North at EUReferendum highlights a CIA report which warns of dire consequences in Greece if its austerity measures continue:
Letting the cat out of the bag, however, is the German popular daily Bild, which has got hold of a CIA report warning that the tough austerity measures and the dire situation in Greece could escalate and even lead to a military coup.

This in repeated in the Turkish press and you can bet your sweet life that Ankara is monitoring the situation very closely. A military junta on its doorstep, perhaps looking for foreign adventures to keep minds off domestic troubles, is not what is wanted at this juncture.
As Richard rightly points out that a Greek default is a matter of when, not if and the likely European consequences of a Greek default make for very sober reading economically and politically. There are no good options at this point, which is reflected in the fact that the British media and most UK MPs are all doing their hardest to pretend that it's not too much to worry about (with the added exception now of an opportunistic Labour party who resides in opposition). And EU politicians are too busy panicking and bickering.

A bit like the brazen bull; there's lots of noise and heat and the outcome is inevitable - can we just get it over and done with?

British Understatement

From Calling England:

It reminds me of the famous story from the Korean war where 600 British were under attack from 10,000 Chinese soldiers, and the British brigadier; Thomas Brodie reported to the American Commander that the situation was "a bit sticky, things are pretty sticky down there" i.e. hurry up with them reinforcements - now! Needless to say to the Americans the phrase; "a bit sticky" didn't quite have the same urgency.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Ferrets And Sacks

In news not entirely unexpected, Sepp Blatter has been implicated in the latest corruption charges surrounding Fifa;

World football's governing body has been plunged deeper into crisis after its ethics committee widened a bribery investigation to include Sepp Blatter.

The Fifa president will appear in front of the ethics committee on Sunday with Mohamed bin Hammam, his Qatari rival, who is accused of offering cash bribes, and Jack Warner, the Concacaf president who has clung to a pivotal role at Fifa for 28 years despite a string of alleged scandals.

...this battle of the Fifa presidential election is turning out to be very messy indeed and Jack "the clown" Warner (corrupter-in-chief) has had further allegations made against him. I suspect though despite it all Blatter will win the election on Wednesday unopposed- such is democracy within Fifa, (I wonder if Cameron regrets this).

Yet this leads me on to a wider point. Yes, Fifa is a wonderful example of how unelected international bureaucracies are corrupt precisely because there are no checks and balances, but also at fault is the compliance, or apathy, of those it represents; note the silence since from UEFA over the scandal of the world body of football (UEFA President Platini is rumoured to be in line to replace Blatter)

And then we come onto the FA - run by unelected buffoons since 1863. An organisation who thinks that the "fit and proper persons test" is really just a measure of the size of your cheque book, that it's a good idea for England to play Germany in 1935 at White Hart Lane (home of 'Jewish' team Tottenham Hotspur) 2 months after the Nazis passed the Nuremberg laws, and who gave away control of our top diversion in 1993 to the Premier League to 'get one over' their political rivals; the Football league, and then could not control the monster it created. Added to this the FA has had a long and illustrious track record of applying different sanctions to clubs for the same crime depending on how rich that club is, for example recently; Luton and QPR were both found guilty of a breach of FA Football Agents Regulations, A1:
A. GENERAL
1 A Player or Club must not at any time use the services of, or seek to use the
services of, pay, or seek to pay, either directly or indirectly, an Unauthorised Agent
in relation to any Agency Activity.
Luton Town was bankrupt but admitted its guilt, QPR is owned by billionaires and lied to cover up its guilt, one was given a "smack on the wrist" fine and the other was deducted 10 points - no prizes for guessing which punishment went to which club.

The worst apathy though is the fans. We all know that the organisations of the FA, UEFA and FIFA stinks but the reaction that presides most of all is a shrug of the shoulders. If Blatter wins on Wednesday there will be some indignation but little else - ultimately he will be President because he can.

Your club run by crooks? Run by more crooks? And by even more crooks? Managed by fascists? As long as the team keeps winning, and you get your tickets for the World Cup in Brazil in 2018 then no-one cares. That's how they get away with it. And on a bigger scale that's how the EU gets away with it - apathy.

Greek Youth Follow Spanish Example

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Not A Smart Cookie

From midnight tonight, the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 comes into force. This amends the 2003 Regulation and enhances the powers of the Information Commissioner particularly regarding internet cookies.

The amendments require companies and website owners to gain explicit permission before setting a cookie on an internet user’s computer. Failure to abide by this Directive could lead to a fine of up to £500,000 for a serious breach.

This amendment has been controversial for a number of reasons. Firstly there's the catch-22 situation. When visiting a site a message will appear; "do you consent to cookies from this site". If you click 'no' the website cannot leave a cookie to remember your response so when clicking on a second page on the site, another pop-up window will appear requesting your consent again - and this will happen continually until you consent. Shopping online with EU websites, as a consequence, will become an unpleasant and intrusive experience, which leads onto the second point. These rules will not apply to non-EU sites, making them more of an attractive experience and putting EU sites at a commercial disadvantage, not least also because of the additional over-heads of complying with the rules.

My Europhile Tory MP; Ed Vaizey (Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries) has previously expressed his concerns, regarding this directive:
"...a good example of a well-meaning regulation that will be very difficult to make work in practice."
Concerns that also included traditional Tory friendly words like:
"I am not a big fan of regulation."

"...it is so important for us to adopt a flexible approach"

"...a one size fits all solution will not cover everything"
But as Mr Vaizey's open letter this week makes clear, he has every intention of complying:
DCMS looks forward to continuing its close collaboration with the ICO and other stakeholders on the development of appropriate technical solutions to this challenging and difficult provision. We remain firmly convinced that the UK implementation is correct that it is good for business, good for consumers and addresses in a proportionate and pragmatic way the concerns of citizens with regard their personal data online.
And:
"...there will be no immediate changes to how UK websites operate as a result of new EU rules".
There will be no immediate changes, which only means that we will comply eventually, and we must because the Information Commissioner has told us so:
British businesses have one year to make sure their websites comply with updated rules governing the use of cookies, the UK's data protection authority has warned.

...the cookie consent laws will not be enforced immediately, information commissioner Christopher Graham said on Wednesday.

"We're giving businesses and organisations up to one year to get their house in order," Graham said in a statement. "This does not let everyone off the hook. Those who choose to do nothing will have their lack of action taken into account when we begin formal enforcement of the rules."

We therefore only have a year's respite before the EU Directive is implemented, and in many cases it will be implemented earlier.

So an unelected bureaucracy issues laws that are then implement by an unelected quango in the UK regardless of the wishes or concerns of the elected representative, to the detriment of British business. Therein lies the state of British democracy.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

"I'll Do Anything To Survive"

For 11 years Sepp Blatter has been President of FIFA and he has not achieved that without dubious practices - his tenure has consistently been dogged by allegations of corruption. For almost a decade, in order to hold on to power at FIFA, Blatter has without question relied on Jack Warner to provide 35 votes that he controls in the Caribbean and North and Central America. In return Blatter has turned a blind eye to Warner being able to make himself, and his family, millionaires; plundering football in his region and FIFA itself.

However, Warner's controlled bloc of votes (including the USA) has come at an increasingly high price, which has lead to less than opaque corruption:

One of Fifa's most senior executives could profit by more than £10m from World Cup ticket sales in a scandal that will horrify supporters and raise fears that some senior officials ­ and individuals within sponsor companies ­ are exploiting their positions to milk the tournament for personal gain.

In a move that has caused outrage in Trinidad & Tobago, who face England in the group stage, the Caribbean nation's entire ticket allocation has been allocated to a travel agency owned by Jack Warner, a Fifa vice-president who is also the president of CONCACAF and a special advisor to the Trinidad & Tobago FA.
Now it seems that with an impeding FIFA Presidential election, and with further evidence of corruption swirling around FIFA, Blatter is dropping his ally, and also his Presidential opponent, in the smelly stuff in a very naked attempt at self preservation:
Fifa presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam and vice president Jack Warner have denied wrongdoing after Fifa opened disciplinary proceedings against them following bribery allegations.
Blatter is up to his eyeballs in this stuff and I don't believe that Jack Warner will let this go without a fight. Cue the popcorn.

This Is What Standing Up To Europe Looks Like

Question: Do you want to throw away lots of hard-earned taxpayers' money trying to save the Eurozone, even though it's illegal to do so:

Those who said 'No' (46):

Baker, Steve Bayley, Hugh Bingham, Andrew Campbell, Mr Ronnie Carswell, Mr Douglas Cash, Mr William Clappison, Mr James Cooper, Rosie Cryer, John Davidson, Mr Ian Davies, Geraint Davies, Philip Davis, rh Mr David de Bois, Nick Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M. Drax, Richard Gardiner, Barry Goldsmith, Zac Gray, Mr James Harris, Mr Tom Henderson, Gordon Hoey, Kate Hollobone, Mr Philip Hopkins, Kelvin Jenkin, Mr Bernard Leigh, Mr Edward McCartney, Jason McCartney, Karl McDonnell, John Mitchell, Austin Nuttall, Mr David Percy, Andrew Reckless, Mark Redwood, rh Mr John Rees-Mogg, Jacob Shannon, Jim Sheridan, Jim Simpson, David Skinner, Mr Dennis Stewart, Bob Stringer, Graham Tomlinson, Justin Turner, Mr Andrew Vickers, Martin Walker, Mr Charles Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Those who said 'Yes please' (267):

Adams, Nigel Afriyie, Adam Aldous, Peter Amess, Mr David Andrew, Stuart Arbuthnot, rh Mr James Bacon, Mr Richard Bagshawe, Ms Louise Baker, Norman Baldry, Tony Baldwin, Harriett Barclay, Stephen Barker, Gregory Barron, rh Mr Kevin Barwell, Gavin Bebb, Guto Benyon, Richard Birtwistle, Gordon Blackman, Bob Blackwood, Nicola Blunt, Mr Crispin Boles, Nick Bottomley, Sir Peter Bradley, Karen Brake, Tom Bray, Angie Brazier, Mr Julian Bridgen, Andrew Brine, Mr Steve Brokenshire, James Brooke, Annette Browne, Mr Jeremy Bruce, rh Malcolm Buckland, Mr Robert Burns, rh Mr Simon Burrowes, Mr David Burstow, Paul Burt, Alistair Burt, Lorely Byles, Dan Cairns, Alun Campbell, rh Sir Menzies Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair Carmichael, Neil Chishti, Rehman Clark, rh Greg Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Coffey, Dr Thérèse Collins, Damian Colvile, Oliver Connarty, Michael Cox, Mr Geoffrey Crockart, Mike Crouch, Tracey Davey, Mr Edward Davies, David T. C.(Monmouth) Dinenage, Caroline Djanogly, Mr Jonathan Donohoe, Mr Brian H. Dorries, Nadine Doyle-Price, Jackie Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain Dunne, Mr Philip Ellison, Jane Ellwood, Mr Tobias Elphicke, Charlie Eustice, George Evans, Graham Evans, Jonathan Evennett, Mr David Fabricant, Michael Fallon, Michael Field, Mr Mark Foster, rh Mr Don Francois, rh Mr Mark Freeman, George Freer, Mike Fuller, Richard Gale, Mr Roger Garnier, Mr Edward Garnier, Mark Gauke, Mr David George, Andrew Gibb, Mr Nick Gilbert, Stephen Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl Glen, John Goodwill, Mr Robert Gove, rh Michael Graham, Richard Grayling, rh Chris Green, Damian Greening, Justine Grieve, rh Mr Dominic Griffiths, Andrew Gummer, Ben Gyimah, Mr Sam Hague, rh Mr William Halfon, Robert Hammond, rh Mr Philip Hammond, Stephen Hancock, Matthew Hands, Greg Harper, Mr Mark Harris, Rebecca Hart, Simon Harvey, Nick Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan Heald, Oliver Heath, Mr David Heaton-Harris, Chris Hemming, John Hendry, Charles Herbert, rh Nick Hinds, Damian Hoban, Mr Mark Hollingbery, George Holloway, Mr Adam Hopkins, Kris Howarth, Mr Gerald Howell, John Hughes, rh Simon Huhne, rh Chris Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy Huppert, Dr Julian Hurd, Mr Nick Jackson, Mr Stewart James, Margot Johnson, Gareth Johnson, Joseph Jones, Andrew Jones, Mr David Jones, Mr Marcus Kawczynski, Daniel Kirby, Simon Knight, rh Mr Greg Laing, Mrs Eleanor Lamb, Norman Lancaster, Mark Latham, Pauline Leadsom, Andrea Lee, Jessica Lee, Dr Phillip Leech, Mr John Lefroy, Jeremy Letwin, rh Mr Oliver Lewis, Brandon Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian Lidington, rh Mr David Lloyd, Stephen Lopresti, Jack Lord, Jonathan Loughton, Tim Luff, Peter Macleod, Mary May, rh Mrs Theresa Maynard, Paul McIntosh, Miss Anne McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick McVey, Esther Menzies, Mark Mercer, Patrick Metcalfe, Stephen Miller, Maria Mills, Nigel Milton, Anne Mordaunt, Penny Morgan, Nicky Morris, Anne Marie Morris, David Mowat, David Mulholland, Greg Mundell, rh David Munt, Tessa Murray, Sheryll Murrison, Dr Andrew Neill, Robert Newmark, Mr Brooks Newton, Sarah Nokes, Caroline Norman, Jesse O'Brien, Mr Stephen Offord, Mr Matthew Ollerenshaw, Eric Paice, rh Mr James Parish, Neil Patel, Priti Pawsey, Mark Penning, Mike Penrose, John Perry, Claire Phillips, Stephen Pickles, rh Mr EricPincher, Christopher Poulter, Dr Daniel Prisk, Mr Mark Pritchard, Mark Pugh, John Raab, Mr Dominic Randall, rh Mr John Reid, Mr Alan Robertson, Mr Laurence Rogerson, Dan Rudd, Amber Ruffley, Mr David Russell, Bob Rutley, David Sanders, Mr Adrian Scott, Mr Lee Selous, Andrew Sharma, Alok Shelbrooke, Alec Simmonds, Mark Simpson, Mr Keith Skidmore, Chris Smith, Miss Chloe Smith, Julian Smith, Sir Robert Soames, Nicholas Soubry, Anna Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline Spencer, Mr Mark Stephenson, Andrew Stevenson, John Stewart, Iain Stewart, Rory Streeter, Mr Gary Stride, Mel Stuart, Mr Graham Sturdy, Julian Swales, Ian Swayne, Mr Desmond Swinson, Jo Swire, rh Mr Hugo Syms, Mr Robert Thurso, John Timpson, Mr Edward Tredinnick, David Tyrie, Mr Andrew Uppal, Paul Vaizey, Mr Edward Vara, Mr Shailesh Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa Walker, Mr Robin Wallace, Mr Ben Walter, Mr Robert Ward, Mr David Webb, Steve Wharton, James Wheeler, Heather White, Chris Whittaker, Craig Wiggin, Bill Willetts, rh Mr David Williams, Hywel Williams, Mr Mark Williams, Roger Williams, Stephen Williamson, Gavin Willott, Jenny Wilson, Mr Rob Wright, Jeremy Wright, Simon Yeo, Mr Tim Young, rh Sir George


UK Government Censors Youtube

Trawling through Hansard this morning, I spot that John Hemming was again highlighting the ludicrous situation regarding injunctions. However this part of his speech caught my eye (my emphasis):
"We have no true freedom of speech when people can be jailed for complaining about their problems. This country seems to have a penchant for covering up problems that would be discussed openly in others.

Florence Bellone, a Belgian journalist, recorded an interview with Carol Hughes and Lucille O’Regan in Ireland, which was broadcast on RTBF in Belgium. A copy was placed on YouTube, but access in the UK is now blocked as a result of what YouTube calls a “government request”. What can be so frightening about that interview that people in the UK are not allowed to see it, but it can be broadcast in Belgium?"

And sure enough, trying to access the relevant video, titled "Please take me home" prompts the message pictured above. There is fortunately another version available which has yet to be censored, so we can see what the fuss is about, or not. As Hemming rightly asks what's so frightening about the interview - it's nearly all in French anyway (although there is a rough translation in the comments below). Not only that but Hemming himself is featured in the video, so our Government is censoring videos to ensure that we cannot see or hear our own elected representatives being interviewed.

It's another example of the "Ryan Giggs effect" - I wouldn't have bothered searching for or watching the video if it hadn't been subjected to a "Government removal request" and it's wonderful how illiterate governments are when it comes to the internet. Not only can we download the version available and keep uploading it as fast as it's taken down, but a simple use of a proxy server website by-passes the restrictions in seconds.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Tories Stand Up To Europe...

...by attempting to put a wrecking ball through Mark Reckless' anti-Euro bailout motion today, the Tory Government's amendment replaces the word "requires" with "urges". Despite that the Euro is doomed, that the eurozone contagion is spreading to Spain and Italy the so-called Eurosceptic Tories want to throw more of our money down the drain.

Oh and as an aside our public borrowing is the worst on record.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Ryan Giggs

Finally, Mr Giggs has been named in parliament as the footballer who has an injunction against Big Brother (how ironic) wannabe contestant Imogen Thomas.

As I've blogged before, and like many others, I couldn't care less about Mr Giggs' personal life, but I do care that his actions have led to the possibility of journalist Giles Coren being arrested in secret, tried in secret (without a jury) and jailed in secret - for the first time in British history.

Oh what a wonderful mess the European inspired Human Rights Act has made of our justice system.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Friday, 13 May 2011

At Last

Local elections were last week. Nearly all of the results were announced by last Friday evening. The news that UKIP won, for the first time, control of a Town council - Ramsey in North Cambridgshire - was also known on Friday - a fact ignored by the MSM. And it's taken until today for the BBC to acknowledge that fact - a week later - the news hidden away on its website and hidden away even more on its TV Ceefax service.

It's so blatant in its bias it doesn't even care.

Blogger

As I'm sure many of my readers are aware, Blogger has had some technical difficulties over the last 24 hours which now appear to be mostly resolved. However as a result - so far - comments have been lost on some of my posts. Apologies.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Euro Is Starting To Break

Unfortunately I haven't got time to blog about this in depth but the marvelous Richard North has:
... all this will be yours. The summer hasn't even started yet, but the Greeks are on (another) general strike, and the government is even flogging off the tea towels in a bid to avoid default. This is NOT going to succeed, and we are not insulated from it, any more than we are from the growing crisis in Ireland, or the impending disaster in Portugal.
Even the fanatical pro- EU Financial Times is saying that "Greece and Portugal should go gracefully" (page now unavailable).

The Daily Mail reports:
Marinas, casinos and former Olympic venues could be up for grabs after Greece announced a massive fire sale to help service its debt.
Let's not beat around the bush here; Greece is fucked - people's lives and jobs are at stake here. Greece desperately needs to leave the Euro - which is inevitable, the longer this charade goes on the worse it will be. All that prevents this inevitability is the EU political elite 'saving face'.

I hate them, I really do.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Carry On Injunction

This is getting ridiculous:
Fans of David Schneider, the comedian and actor, have taken to Twitter to complain about the star's silence on the social networking site.

He is often used by BBC radio as a "talking head", giving his opinion on Twitter developments.

His fans have taken to Twitter to complain about the silence: "Hey @davidschneider have been missing your comedy – seems like you have been chained to your desk recently!", said one.

"Looks like @davidschneider hasn't tweeted for a few days now, he must have his hands full"

St. Schuman

As my readers know, today is Europe Day, but reading this article from the EU Observer I had to wonder whether today was actually April the 1st instead; there are more ironies contained within the article that you could shake a stick at. The biggest irony is this:
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - With EU personalities over the weekend speaking out on the occasion of Schuman Day, Robert Schuman himself, an early architect of the Union, has hit a hurdle on his way to becoming a Roman Catholic saint due to the lack of a miracle...the Vatican has been enquiring into his eligibility for 21 years. But despite abundant material testifying to his piety and good works, the Schuman dossier has hit a major stumbling block.

"I even asked him [Pope John Paul II] myself on this point ... and he answered clearly that in the case of a politician, it is necessary to proceed with great rigour and to demand a miracle," Pierre Raffin, the Bishop of Metz, wrote in a letter in 2004 forwarded to EUobserver by his office.

Despite the Vatican using the Euro, it is not in the EU because it is an absolute monarch therefore not democratic enough to be eligible to join (no really don't laugh). However that doesn't stop the EU wanting said absolute monarch to give one of their supposed founding fathers special status: sainthood.

However, apparently, the difficulty is:

When asked if the situation had changed under Pope Benedict XVI or if any new information had come to light, a contact in the Vatican's embassy to the EU in Brussels said: "We are still waiting for a miracle. One miracle is required for beatification and two for sainthood."

I can think of one miracle - that the EU has lasted so long.

Flying The Flag


I have a flag pole in my garden of which I've taken a picture today. I bought it for the 2006 World Cup, but I also use it to fly the Union flag on the official dates. Today is one such day and I can assure my readers that the 'mistake' is quite deliberate.

The Super-Injunction Farce

The press have got themselves in a lather over the release of information on twitter of some of the names behind the recent super-injunctions. I don't really care what z-listed celebrities get up to in their private lives, but I do care about a free press. Not having a free press leads to this and this.

Most of the information on that twitter account appears largely correct - the Spanish press have already named the footballer. However Clarkson doesn't have an injunction for the reasons stated. Given that the press have been dropping clues all over the place - for example this odd article from yesterday's Mail on Sunday about Hugh Bonneville - most of the information is probably common knowledge now anyway.

Of course Parliament could do something about judges effectively writing a privacy law, but, apart from a couple of notable exceptions, I wouldn't hold your breath.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Clarkson Favourite For Next EU President

My fun online poll from last week has now closed, and by an overwhelming margin Jeremy Clarkson is favourite amongst my readers to be the next President of the European Council. Many thanks to all those that have taken part, here's the results in full:

Ryan Giggs
3 (4%)
Hugh Bonneville
2 (2%)
David Threlfall
2 (2%)
Jeremy Clarkson
66 (90%)

MP Takes Out Super-Injunction

This is a disgrace:

A serving MP may have taken out a super-injunction preventing details of their activities being exposed, it was disclosed today.

The revelation came in the Commons as MPs discussed future Parliamentary business - including whether to debate creeping judge-made privacy laws and the spiralling use of gagging orders.

As soon as I find out who they are, I'm naming them.

Update: from Guido Fawkes:


Voting

I've just visited my local polling station and for the first time ever I've voted for myself (for District Council)- a slightly surreal experience.

Regarding the AV referendum, I was in two minds right up until the last minute of whether to refuse the ballot paper or spoil it with an EU referendum message. I decided on the former - mainly because any messages on spoiled papers will get ignored; a lower turnout sends a better message. The chap at the polling station got a little irritated by my request, he tried to insist that I had to take it (no I don't).

Anyway the upshot is that I haven't partaken in the referendum.

Update: If I had chosen to spoil my ballot paper as indicated above, I was going to take a picture and post it on here. However I find, courtesy of Douglas Carswell, that such actions would have been illegal:

NB. Out of interest, I checked with the Electoral Commission before posting a photo of my ballot paper on line. Apparently, it is legal to do so if you vote by post. But not if you vote in a polling booth. It's unlawful to publish information about what happens in a polling booth.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Quote Of The Day

Ed Milliband wrote into Labour’s 1997 election manifesto the promise to hold a referendum on voting reform:
We are committed to a referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons. An independent commission on voting systems will be appointed early to recommend a proportional alternative to the first-past-the-post system.
Today, when asked John Humphrys on BBC's today programme why the pledge was broken, Wallace replied (from 4:55mins in):
“Because we got a majority of 170”
A marvelous lesson in casual political cynicism.

hattip: Telegraph's David Hughes

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Two Thirds Of Germans Now Eurosceptic

A Case about Bird Flu highlights a poll by Allensbach which shows that 67% of Germans now have little or no trust in the EU, indicating a dramatic loss of confidence in the project, and only a minority believe that the eurozone stability fund will save the euro currency.

Also today - ironically on Labour day - Germany's restrictions on free movement of workers, which were negotiated in 2004 when Eastern European countries joined the EU, hits the 7 year deadline and comes to an end. The Telegraph reports that the Germans are now bracing themselves for a influx of Polish workers on the scale that happened here in the UK:

Under European Union rules that come into force on Sunday, May 1, Germany will open its doors fully to jobseekers from Poland and other Eastern European nations for the first time, paving the way for a flood of cut-price carpenters, plumbers and other budget labour of the kind that swept Britain in 2004.

However, with German trade unions predicting that up to a million Poles may arrive in the first year alone, not everyone feels like welcoming the new arrivals from the other side of the River Oder.

Now Germany's moratorium is expiring - just as the global recession and last summer's Eurozone crash mean severe cuts in health, social service and welfare budgets in Europe's biggest economy.

That has fuelled a German swing against immigration in general, and a growing sense that a people which has long supported the EU project no longer gets a fair deal.

The deadline also applies to France and Italy - just what these countries need when they are already squealing about current problems in the Schengen area. Immigration and nationalism is now beginning to become an issue in a country which for very obvious historical reasons has avoided debate:

There was also rare criticism of Mrs Merkel from a senior member of her own centre-right party, Erika Steinbach, who warned that the CDU was seen as too left-wing on immigration, and that a charismatic politician could easily peel off voters to a new hard-right party.

Another renegade ex-CDU member, Rene Stadtkewitz, has already announced the creation of a right-wing Freedom Party similar to that of Geert Wilders in Holland.

Success for such a party would mark a decisive break with Germany's post war-liberal consensus, in which memories of Nazism have often inhibited frank discussion on nationalist issues.

It's all very well promoting the ideal of abolishing something as intrinsically important to the human condition as the nation state, but all that happens is it strongly provokes the very reaction you're trying to abolish.