Monday 30 November 2009

Congratulations... Devil's Kitchen aka Chris Mounsey who has just been elected this weekend the new leader of the Libertarian Party UK.

Here, there and everywhere

I’m a huge fan of Beatles’ music and as a consequence I tend to take a more forgiving view of their personal antics than I would normally – even Sir Paul’s dalliance with Heather Mills.

When, however, a pop star or an actor suffers from a severe case of bono-itis* then it’s not something I can ignore easily, even if it is a Beatle:
Sir Paul McCartney will this week throw his weight behind a growing campaign to address global warming by reducing the amount of meat we eat, lobbying EU politicians for their backing.

Sir Paul said yesterday: "The message that I am taking to the European Parliament is...
The UK Parliament not good enough then? Since he's so concerned about climate change, let’s have a brief overview of Sir Paul’s carbon footprint shall we:
  • Sir Paul has an extensive portfolio of property, right across the globe including in; London, Scotland, LA and New York. These obviously all require the use of a private jet to visit them.

  • He has owned countless luxurious cars, including a Cadillac CTS sport and a C5 Corvette, and recently had his luxurious Lexus eco-car (which does an 'environment' friendly 29mpg) flown 7,000 miles from Japan.

  • He has toured over 3000 times since 1961, which of course involves transporting himself, his extensive entourage and equipment (These amps go up to 11, but don't worry I’ve planted an extra tree to compensate!).

Sir Paul is currently on tour, so how is he going to visit the EU Parliament?
The former Beatle will interrupt a European tour to fly to Brussels on Thursday

Bless, he's flying to help increase slow global warming.

Sir Paul of course has been a vegan for many years, a conversion prompted primarily by his concern over the welfare of animals, so this is another wonderful example of climate change being used as a peg on which to hang lots of other causes.

At a time when the science of climate change has been significantly undermined, as wonderfully detailed here, another multi-millionaire pampered pop star decides to lobby an institution, with a significant democratic deficit, in order to tell encourage the rest of us what to do.

Let them eat cake indeed (as long as it's a vegan one).

*Bono-itis. Pretty self evident, best summed up by this joke: “Q: What’s the difference between Bono from U2 and God? A: God doesn’t walk down the street thinking he’s Bono”

Saturday 28 November 2009

Car insurance

I received my renewal for car insurance today and was intrigued to read this amendment to my policy:

"We have revised this section to make it clear that cover does not apply when the vehicle is being driven on the Nurburgring in Germany"

Oops looks like someone became a cropper recently and tried to claim! (it wasn't me honest!)

Friday 27 November 2009

UKIP Leadership Campaign

The new UKIP leader to replace Nigel Farage, who is stepping down to fight the Speaker John Bercow in the General Election, will be known later today.

There are five candidates standing in the contest and they are:

Lord Pearson,

Gerard Batten MEP

Mike Nattrass MEP

Nikki Sinclaire MEP

and Alan Wood, a councillor from Wiltshire.

In a contest that has seen some controversy Lord Pearson appears to be the favourite, and he is the preferred choice of Farage, who upset the other candidates earlier this month when on the BBC Daily Politics show he claimed:
"Only one of them is a serious credible candidate, and that's Lord Pearson"

Lord Pearson himself, made some comments critical of Muslims claiming that they are:

“breeding ten times faster than us. I don't know at what point they reach such a number we are no longer able to resist the rest of their demands. We must be looking at somewhere between 10 or 20 years. If we don't do something in the next year or two we have in effect lost."

During the campaign it also emerged that candidate Mike Nattrass is being investigated over his expenses.

Given that UKIP are the only genuine eurosceptic party worth voting for, yet again it seems they display much better talent at shooting themselves in the foot than promoting the eurosceptic cause.

The announcement should be about 3pm today, although the result will probably be known before then.

Update: No surprise, Lord Pearson is the new leader of UKIP.

Results are as follows:

Lord Pearson 4743
Gerard Batten 2571
Nikki Sinclaire 1214
Mike Nattrass 1092
Alan Wood 315

Thursday 26 November 2009

Tired of the EU

The BBC reports today that the EU is meddling introducing a new tyre labeling system apparently to try to encourage fuel efficiency, safety and noise reduction.

According to the BBC:
tyres will be graded from best-performance - green A class - to worst, red G class.

That sounds strangely familiar, though of course HIPs have nothing whatsoever to do with EU Directive (2002/91/EC), because 'trusted' news outlets like the BBC failed to mention it, so it can't be true.

The most obvious way of improving a tyre's fuel efficiency is to lower the resistance, and this can been done with less grip and making them thinner to reduce drag.

So no prizes for guessing what grading will be used for the 225/40 R18 tyres which my car requires.

One wonders how long it will be for taxation to be introduced to reflect the tyre's graded performance, especially given that President Rompuy-Pumpy appears to be so keen to introduce direct EU green taxes.

Bank Charges

I note that the excitable Martin Lewis was interviewed last night on BBC News at Ten regarding the UK Supreme Court’s ruling on bank charges, here’s what he had to say:
I think we need to spit, I think we need to kick, I think we need to make sure that every MP in this land knows quite how angry that we are over this…

All well and good I’m sure. MPs will no doubt be aware of the anger but as EUReferendum points out there’s not a lot they can do about it even if they wanted to:
According to the judgement handed down, the issue depended "on the correct interpretation (in its European context) and application of Regulation 6(2) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 SI 1999/2083."

However, we then see that: "The 1999 Regulations were made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 in order to transpose into national law Council Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts."

The UK Supreme Court has in effect based its judgment on EU law, specifically Council Directive 93/13/EEC, and unfortunately no amount of pontificating at MPs is going to change that - they are powerless.

As Dr North also points out, no reference is made to this EU Directive in the media, so how many millions of people this morning will be directing their anger in the right direction? Judging by the BBC Have Your Say site, not many.

There lies the insidious genius of the EU.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Why John Redwood is wrong

UKIP does not help Euroscepticism John Redwood argues on his blog, claiming that UKIP are part of the problem not the solution regarding the EU question.

Now I don’t doubt for one minute Mr Redwood’s personal eurosceptic views and indeed I have a collection of his publications, but I wonder if this is a case of doth protest too much.

Let’s not forget that he’s a Conservative politician so it is obviously in his interest to try to negate a potential threat to his party’s vote share.

Mr Redwood does seem to be adopting a rather similar attitude to Labour - point out that something doesn't matter thus inadvertently revealing that it does. Labour, of course, claimed to be so unconcerned about The Sun newspaper switching party allegiances - during their conference - that they took to ripping up a copy of the paper on stage in frustration.

According to John, UKIP are part of the problem because voting for them is based on two falsehoods. So let’s look at those two in more detail. The first:

is that a vote for UKIP will take the UK out of the EU. It never has, and on current polls is miles away from doing so. To make that a honest proposition UKIP would need to be polling 40-45%. It is currently polling 3%. Far from strengthening the eurosceptic cause, this specialist Eurosceptic party claims an embarrassingly small portion of the vote allowing federalists to say it proves people are not very worried about the issue.

It is true that UKIP are ‘miles away’ from attaining the lead required to form a government (although UKIP is currently polling 6% not 3%) but that is almost impossible for a mainly single issue party which receives relatively very little publicity in contrast to the three main established ones.

It’s worth noting, however, that UKIP are a relatively new party (formed in 1993) and has established itself in a very short time as the major fourth party often breaking electoral records. It achieved the highest vote ever by a fourth party in a UK election in the EU election of 2004 and surpassed this in 2009, coming second - this is not to be dismissed lightly.

It's intriguing that Redwood should without much resistance succumb to, and acknowledge, the traditional attack line of not many vote for UKIP so it means people are not very worried, rather than point out that there are other issues that don't register strongly either, but are given much more prominence.

Take this list of concerns from, crime and the economy naturally feature near the top but climate change is not even listed as a subject on its own. It would probably come under the 'catch-all' phrase of pollution / environment and yet that still only comes tenth. The Green Party, another largely single issue party regularly polls less than UKIP.

Despite this, all the main parties' try to out do each other on how green they are; green taxes, regular 'urgent' climate change conferences such as Copenhagen next month, and the Tories have even changed their party logo to reflect these new green 'concerns'. It seems that the embarrassing small portion of the vote principle doesn't apply here, why can't Mr Redwood acknowledge this, why doesn't he put up more of a fight?

Conversely immigration comes third in the list of voter's concerns but this is an issue that the parties have tried, until recently, to studiously ignore.

Mr Redwood continues:

By showing how little support its cause has it fails to bully the Conservative leadership,

But that's no reason not to keep trying, bullying of major parties works. That is essentially what the BNP have done with Labour over immigration. For many years Labour’s strategy has been to dismiss as racist anyone who is concerned about levels of immigration into the UK.

As a regular viewer of Question Time, what was significant to me regarding the Nick Griffin episode, apart from his appearance and the inevitable reaction, was that it was the first time I had heard the issue of immigration discussed at all, let alone in the measured way that it was. It was only the threat of a minor (odious) party that forced politicians to discuss the issue.

I'm not suggesting that UKIP adopts the BNP's more repulsive views but UKIP polls much better and so, despite Mr Redwood's rather dismissive attitude, attacking the Tories voting share will work in the long term, and they will not be dismissed so readily come the general election in six years time when the Tories have yet again failed to deliver on the European Union issue.

And that leads me onto Mr Redwood's second point:

There is a democratic Eurosceptic opposition to the Labour and Liberal Democrat federalists in the Commons. It is not UKIP.

It's true that UKIP do not have a Commons seat yet (with one dubious exception Bob Spink) but Mr Redwood's claim that the Tories are a Eurosceptic party is, of course, utter bollocks when considering the principle of judging a man by his deeds and not his words. By this criteria the Tories fail every time.

The Tories have given more power away to Europe than any other party, via the ECA, the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty - a treaty which, in my view, was more of a power grab and betrayal than the Constitution Lisbon Treaty.

To illustrate how non-eurosceptic the Tories are, 'cast-iron' Dave on the Andrew Marr show recently said:

I don’t want an ‘in or out’ referendum because I don’t think ‘out’ is in Britain’s interests.”

And William Hague, Tory Shadow Foreign Secretary said:

There will be no instant bust up with Europe

This is confirmation that the Tories know the voters have reservations about Britain's relationship with the EU, but will carry on regardless. Business as usual in other words.

The inevitable problem comes for the Tories, however, when the Constitutional Lisbon Treaty begins to bite, and bite hard, then their policy of 'please trust us' will fall apart.

Overall, it's hard not to conclude that Mr Redwood is more interested in preserving the Tory Party from UKIP, rather than the UK from the European Union.

Someone likes him

While the rest of the world continues to be underwhelmed by the appointment of Herman Van Rompuy as the new EU President of the European Council, it would appear that he has his fans in Japan, as the writer of haiku - a form of Japanese poetry.

Kaoru Fujimoto, an official of the Haiku International Association says:

"We feel very proud that the first EU president ever elected loves haiku,"

Not sure about the elected part. The article continues:

Van Rompuy, with his thinning grey hair and spectacles, comes across as a rather reserved intellectual.

Hmm reminds me of someone else

Tuesday 24 November 2009


From the Daily Telegraph today we have a story that the new caring cuddly Tories are proposing to use the carrot option of paying people to recycle more.

In the same paper today, however, we also have the unsurprising news that the country is skint, broke, out of cash.

So how will the Tories pay for it? After all, 'cast-iron' Dave said during his about-turn over the Lisbon Treaty:
If we win the election, we will inherit the worst public finances of any incoming government for fifty years. That has to come before anything else [including the EU question].

Well the clues are hidden away in the article.
Councils are currently taxed by the Government for every tonne of waste they send to landfill.

Indeed they are.
The Conservatives claim that the savings in landfill taxes would fund the cash voucher plans,

And why do we have landfill taxes? Hidden away further down the article is the answer:
The Conservative plans …are likely to be welcomed by many councils who fear that they face swingeing European Union fines if they do not cut landfill.

Haha! The pesky EU Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC)

Of course what the Tories are inadvertently going to do is effectively impose a fine on the country whether we recycle or not.

If we don’t recycle then it’s a fine from the EU thus costing the taxpayer, and if we do recycle (on orders from Brussels) the Tories will pay you for it thus costing the taxpayer.

So being in the EU will cost the taxpayer enormous sums of money over recycling which could be better spent…er…paying off the national debt which 'cast-iron' Dave said comes first.

Contradictions indeed

Monday 23 November 2009

EU President Rompuy-Pumpy 0.008% Legitimate

Hattip: Daniel1979

My first tentative hop into the water

Well, blimey, here goes. This is my first attempt at maintaining a regular blog, so it may take me a little while to get the hang of it.

Firstly welcome to my blog, and thank you very much for visiting.

I’m non-partisan in terms of party politics however my overwhelming political passion is the European Union and its (mainly detrimental) effect on the UK. Up to now my frustrations at the ongoing EU project, and the subservience of British MPs to it, have largely been confined to me ranting at the TV every day during the news; boring my wife in the process.

Then I discovered blogging; it’s free, it gives me a voice and hopefully it will enable me to reach out and interact with like-minded people.

My blog will reflect my views on the EU and on British politics, with some other whimsical nonsense chucked in as well.

I aim to blog at least a couple of times a week, so I hope you like this site and please feel free to post your own comments or criticisms at any time.

To paraphrase Dave in the film The Full Monty “I may not be right good, but I’m here…”