Friday, 31 October 2008


Any acts of hospitality, such as Mandelson's stay on the Queen K yacht owned by the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, are not declared. Inexplicably, under the commissioners' code of conduct, we have no right to know who entertains them.

And guess who drew up this extraordinary code? No, not Mandelson, but his old boss, the Welsh windbag himself, Lord Kinnock. The code was Kinnock's considered response when the European Commission was plunged into yet another corruption scandal under Jacques Santer in 1999.

It's true: holidays, stays on yachts, meals in expensive restaurants.....these simply don't have to be declared by EU Commissioners.

Andrew Symeou

The extradition case of Andrew Symeou was finally decided yesterday. He's to be dragged off to Greece on the basis of very dodgy information indeed and to be tried for manslaughter. This is under the european Arrest Warrant, which assumes that because we're all lovvy dovvy in this European Union then of course all of the courts work to the same standards of evidence, to the same standards of protecting the innocent.

Which, to put it mildly, isn't true.

Gerard Batten has a nice piece in the New Statesman explaining it all.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Don't these people understand?

Lordy, it's bad enough that we're ruled by foreigners, but do we have to be ruled by ignorant ones as well?

The European commission has given leading players in the £380tn derivatives market until the end of the year to come up with "concrete proposals" to reduce the risks these complex products pose to the financial system.

Charlie McCreevy, the EU internal market commissioner, is pressing the industry to agree to central clearing for credit default swaps (CDSs), the instruments viewed as being at the core of the financial turmoil.

There is already central clearing for CDSs.


So what is Charlie wittering on about?

Oh Good Grief!

This is one of those little things that seriously annoys me. OK, so they're going to spend some money of electric cars. Wonderful, I hope they have fun. One of the justifications put forward is this:

Building on an announcement made by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in July this year, Monday's plans could lead to the creation of 10,000 new British jobs and help preserve many thousands more.

"Creating jobs" isn't a good thing. Jobs are a cost of whatever it is that you're doing. We could create lots of jobs by banning tractors and insisting that farmers use teams of chavs to pull their ploughs. But I think we all agree that this would make our food cost more, said people needing more money to run than a tractor does?

The same with 10,000 jobs with electric cars. We've got to pay those 10,000 people each and every week. So their wages are a cost to us of this scheme. "Creating" 10,000 jobs just means 10,000 more people we've got to pay.

And to go a little further into hte economics, it also means that we lose whatever else it was that those 10,000 would have done if they weren't checking the acid level in our batteries. This is what economists call opportunity costs. If they're working on our cars then they're not building windmills, or wiping babies' bottoms, discovering the cure for cancer or lagging our roofs.

Time for everyone to grasp this simple fact....creating jobs is a cost of a scheme, not a benefit.

M'Lord Tebbitt

Well, of course I like what he's saying.

LORD Tebbit will tonight call for a referendum asking whether Britain should quit the European Union........

Baroness Thatcher, 83, is expected to be a guest at the event hosted by the Tory Euro sceptic Bruges Group in her honour. Lord Tebbit will say: “I hope that the Conservative Party will set out a negotiating brief that the next Conservative government will take to Brussels early in its next term, and that it would within two years of the next election, present to the British people the outcome of its negotiations.

“Then in a referendum the British people would decide whether to accept what was on offer – or simply to leave the union.

It's a useful political test actually. I've long argued that there are two groups in politics. There are those who pursue a specific idea or ideal. Then there are those who are more tribal.

Those latter we know about, those who would only ever vote Labour or Tory. In a way they're not so much interested in ideas as in it being their tribe doing the ruling.

I put myself in the former group.....and I think that most of my fellow members of UKIP are as well. It isn't so much that we should be running the country, that our tribe should be on top. Rather, we're united by the idea that Britain should rule Britain.

And the usefulness of the test here? This idea is being proposed by a Conservative, yes, but is it a good idea? Would I support it? I can only speak for myself of course, but yes, I'd support a call for an in or out referendum whoever it came from.

Yes, even if it were Richard Corbett calling for it, which I think shows my attachment to principle, doesn't it?

Saturday, 25 October 2008

The European Union will shorten your life!

No, really, it will.

THE World Health Organisation recently reported that Andorra, that little pocket tucked in the Pyranees, has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world. One can speculate on the many reasons why this would be so: in addition to the mountain air and lifestyle, being well-situated to pick and choose from the best of French and Spanish culinary influences (all in moderation, of course) can't hurt.

It turns out that other little places do pretty well in the life-expectancy league tables too. Another ranking puts Macau, Singapore, San Marino and Guernsey in the top 15 globally. This would seem to bode well for other places in Europe: Malta, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican City are all smaller than Andorra.

You see, people who live in smaller political units, in small countries, live longer than those in larger countries and political units.

And as we know, the aim of the European Union is that we should all end up livingin one large political unit, one large super state, all 500 million of us. Which of course will mean that we will die younger than if we had been left to go our own sweet way in nation states.

See, it's true! The EU will shorten your life!

A frank exchange of views.

Maurice Golden, a 28-year-old campaign manager for Keep Scotland Beautiful, was asked by a political magazine which one law he would repeal, if given the chance. "European Communities Act 1972," he told the Total Politics website, without a moment's hesitation.

The act took Britain into the European Economic Community and its repeal would entail withdrawal from the EU. Cameron declared only a few months into his leadership that MPs advocating withdrawal would be barred from serving on his front bench.

After Mandrake informed the Tory leader, who was campaigning in Glenrothes yesterday, about his candidate's remark, the pair appeared to have had a frank exchange of views. "David has spoken to Maurice and there is no question of him wanting to pull out of the European Union," said his spokesman. "Maurice believes that there should be changes to the act, but not that it should be repealed."

What a wonderful modern Tory Party we have here.

You can't even speak your mind any more.

Well Nick laddie....

Mr Sarkozy said the state would take dramatic action in all fields of economic management to head off the worst crisis since the "franc fort" deflation of the 1930s. "We will intervene massively whenever a strategic enterprise needs our money," he said.

The fund managed by Caisse des Depots – the investment arm of the French state – will be used to buy shares in any company falling prey to sovereign wealth funds from Asia and the Middle East, hoping to snap up Europe's crown jewels on the cheap after the stock market crash.

"We mustn't be naive and leave companies at the mercy of predators. Europe must not be the only one not to defend its interests. There is no reason why we shouldn't do what the Chinese do, and the Russians do. There is no reason why France can't have an industrial policy worthy of the name," he said.

Actually there is a reason why you can't do this.

It's illegal.

Far be it from me to back the European Union, but if you're going to be in hte club then you do have to obey the rules. And those rules say that you're not allowed to have national champions, nor an active industrial policy, nor benefit French firms over others.

Now if you want to do all of that, well, good luck to you. I happen to think it's a bad idea, certainly, but I'll not insist that you don't do it. However, if you are going to do that I think I would rather want to insist that you've got to leave the club to do so. And the thought of us being free from the influence of France in the EU is just so delicious that I'll even hold the door open for you on the way out and make sure that it doesn't hit you on the bum as it closes.

No, not au revoir, rather good bye.

Flags and number plates

Just a small insight into what it is that I do all day. This story turned up in The Telegraph:

Drivers who display national flags face a £60 fine and also could find they fail an MoT test because of an illegal number plate. It is thought thousands of motorists have chosen number plates with their country of origin flag, but exact numbers are not known.

Jim Fitzpatrick, a transport minister told MPs of the restrictions when replying to a parliamentary question from Bob Spink, a the United Kingdom Independence Party's only MP at Westminster.

According to Mr Fitzpatrick regulations which came into force seven years ago only allowed the display of the European Union symbol of 12 yellow stars on a blue background.

Mr Spink, MP for Castle Point, raised the issue after being contacted by motorists who had been fined for displaying national flags.

Many people were unaware of the regulations. He said: "No one believed it. This is outrageous.

"Europe is gathering around itself the trappings of a country because only countries can have a flag. Europe is becoming the country and Britain is just a region. This is just not acceptable."

Well done Bob for asking the question in the House and getting the answer.

But, but, couldn't this story be taken further? Well, actually, yes it could, for we'd had a contact from a party supporter asking us about this law. His daughter had just been given a ticket for having a Cross of St George on her plate. Surely this wasn't right, was it?

Sadly, as above, I had to tell him that it was, that really is the way the law is (badly) written. But did he think that his daughter would be interested in talking to a newspaper about it?

You know, show the ticket, show the number plate with distraught maiden etc etc. Yes, me too, we can all think of several papers which would love just such a story and indeed we had one raring to go. Something on a Sunday it was, large circulation sort of thing, would have been great.

Sadly, the young lady in question (and there's certainly no blame attached here, keeping clear of the hounds of the press is usually a good move) decided that her employers might not be all that keen on her appearing and thus declined.

So, err, that's one of the things a press officer does. Expends great effort to get nothing at all achieved. Just so you know like......

Some people

Philip Bushill-Matthews had a letter in The Guardian about the European Arrest Warrant.

All about how the Tories had said that it would all lead to tears from the start.

Nigel wrote in in response:

Philip Bushill-Matthews (letters, October 23) tells us the Conservatives in the European parliament warned of the troubles to come with the European arrest warrant. Why didn't they vote against it then, as my Ukip colleague
Jeffrey Titford and I did?
Nigel Farage
Leader, UK Independence party

Rather heavily edited unfortunately, but the point gets across, no?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

There's a story behind this.

"They want to fine me £300 for sandwich wrappers. The world's gone crazy. We got a letter from the council's environmental waste department, like everybody else, about six months ago asking us to declare the waste we produce.

"I wrote back to them saying we don't have any. We didn't get anything back and so I though nothing of it, until an officer walked into the office out of the blue for an inspection. There was no warning, he just bounded in and demanded to inspect our waste.

"He accused us of lying and said there are dire consequences for trying to avoid having a proper licence."

Mr Hughes claimed the official was simply looking for reasons to charge him, rather than conceding that he was acting within the law.

He said: "I remembered that my wife had made me cheese sandwiches that day so I produced the cling film and said, 'the only waste here comes from my sarnie wrappers'.

"But he jumped on that saying, 'Well that's waste!' He also asked if we drank tea and when I said 'yes' he told me that tea bags were also classed as waste.

"It was laughable really, I thought he was joking. We take the wrappers and bags back home with us at night.

"But he said we should pay for a licence and save them up for a week and then call them for collection. I showed him the door and he said we'd be getting a £300 fine."

It's not just some jumped up little snot nose having a laugh. There's a reason why the laws are the way they are and it doesn't come from Westminster.

No, all environmental laws now come from Brussels. And thus this law must have come from Brussels. And indeed it has done...that industrial waste (yes, even sandwich wrappers) cannot be dealt with in the same manner as domestic waste is a direct result of the directives and regulations coming out of Europe.

Well done Bob!

Once again, Bob Spink gets an interesting answer to well crafted question in the Commons.

It does grate that we've got a law that says it's OK to put EU on your car's number plates but it's illegal to put GB on the same ones, don't it?

That European Arrest Warrant

Something else we can note about the European Arrest Warrant.

The increase is largely down to the volume of European arrest warrants (EAWs), many of them issued by Poland.

EAWs, requiring the arrest and extradition of suspects from one EU country to another, are being used by Poland for a "large volume of trivial extradition requests", according to Detective Sergeant Gary Flood of Scotland Yard's extradition unit.

He estimated that 40% of all extradition cases dealt with by the Metropolitan police originated in Poland, adding that many of the offences were so minor they would lead to either a caution or no investigation at all in England and Wales.

In one case, according to Flood, a carpenter who fitted wardrobe doors and then removed them when the client refused to pay him, was subject to an extradition request by Poland so that they could try him for theft. In another case, the Polish authorities requested the extradition of a suspect for theft of a dessert. "The European arrest warrant contained a list of the ingredients," Flood said.

The problem is that there's no one who is (in the words of my colleague here, Clive Page) responsible for common sense. There are things which could, if we really tried, if we were prepared to be entirely nuts about prosecuting every piece of trivia, which could be court cases.

But we do (and had even more in the past) a system which did exactly that. Magistrates could look at a case in front of them and, while not actually saying as such, simply reject it as being trivial.

But what this EAW does is ties us in with legal systems that don't have that.

Aren't we lucky, eh?

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Well said Peter

On the subject of Imperial and metric measurements.

Our official classes hate our ancient, polished-in-use, human measures precisely because they are ours and because they are British.

Like the Common Law, jury trial and constitutional monarchy, we fashioned them here during a thousand years of freedom and independence.

And they have all got to go because that freedom and independence are rapidly coming to an end. We live in the afterglow of our dying liberty. From now on it’s top-down, do-as-you’re-told standardised, globalised, bland, inhuman and ugly, like it or not.

Those who think this is just a quirky side issue are mistaken. Once the State has the power to force its way into private transactions between individuals, you are no longer free.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Tommy Cooper

Presented without comment.

In 1964 Tommy Cooper used the same technique, just as successfully, on the Queen, in the line-up after the Royal Variety Show. "I say, Your Majesty - may I ask you a personal question?"

"As personal as I'll allow," the Queen replied.

"Do you like football?"

"Not particularly."

"Well, could I have your tickets for the Cup Final?"

Friday, 17 October 2008

Well done Bob!

Bob Spink has won the Westminster dog of the year contest with his two greyhounds, Fozzy Bear and Jessie.

Mr Spink, who defected to UKIP from the Conservatives earlier this year, beat off competition from 11 other entries

A dog breeder, Mr Spink took on the retired greyhounds last Christmas and said he hoped his good experience would encourage more people to do the same.

"I am delighted we scored a victory for greyhounds as a breed," he said.

The contest, run by canine welfare organisation the Kennel Club, is open to MPs, peers and political journalists.

Monday, 13 October 2008


I've got a piece over at The Guardian today, picking up from a question that Bob Spink asked in the Commons.

Just how much does recycling cost us, is it in fact a sensible thing to do?

I'm wondering whether I will, in the comments, get any actual answers to the questions I ask. It would be fun if I did I think.....

Letters to the editor

There's a certain annoyance, it has to be said, in the way that letters to the editor get edited. Take this one:


Wanstead & Woodford Guardian

Guardian House

480 – 500 Larkshall Road

Highams Park

London E4 9BD

Dear Dominic Yeatman

An all party committee consisting of leading Labour and Conservative MPs, a former Archbishop of Canterbury and a Moslem peer has called for a cap on immigration. They suggest a policy of “balanced” immigration only allowing in the same number of people as those who emigrate.

The population of this country is now over 60 million and under this government’s open door policy is set to rise to over 78 million by 2050. Under these new proposals it would “only” increase to 65 million.

England is now the most densely populated country in Europe, apart from Malta, with most of the overcrowding in London and the South East according to government figures.

This inflow of people as a result of this government’s policy of uncontrolled mass immigration has not been accompanied by a similar increase in infrastructure and services to cope with the additional demand on schools, the NHS, public transport, water, and power supplies. As a result, services are under severe strain and the situation will only get worse as there is no more money in the kitty

This policy of balanced immigration is exactly as UKIP have advocated for a long time as we have always said it is a question of numbers of people on a crowded island. This latest conversion by policy makers is of course too little too late

Nick Jones

Redbridge & Waltham Forest

UK Independence Party

Yes, they published it, but they took that last paragraph out altogether. Which rather diminishes the point of the letter, that we've eben saying this all along.


Sunday, 12 October 2008

Peter Mandelson and conflicts of interest under the Ministerial Code

I think this is absolutely fascinating.

The EU rule book decrees that Mandelson, who left his job as Trade Commissioner last week before completing his five-year term, will be eligible for about £78,000 a year for each of the next three years in 'transitional payments'. A total of £234,000 will be paid in instalments of £6,500 a month until the end of 2011. It will be subject to preferential tax rates devised for EU officials.

So he'll be paid by the European Union for the next three years, eh? While he's in the Cabinet? I thought there were very strict rules about what outside interests a Minister could have. For example, they don't get paid if they write for a newspaper, they can't publish a book and get royalties.

There's more here and here.

The cash cushion will be taxed at only 26 per cent under special ‘community rates’ open to EU officials. A tax expert said yesterday that a similar payment in the UK would be subject to tax at the higher rate of 40 per cent.

And he pays tax at a lower rate than everyone else. Rather dangerous, that, don't you think? That the political rulers don't have to pay the taxes they set for everyone else?

But more than that, here's the Ministerial Code. That's what the extract at the top is from.

Here's the way I read it. Ministers should not have such outside financial interests. However, sometimes these are indeed allowed (one can imagine someone with a family firm for example). When they are allowed they must be declared. And if they are declared then that Minister must abstain from dealing with matters concerning that interest, up to and including the point that certain documents should be withheld from them.

So if all that is followed, Mandelson must a) declare his interest in continuing to receive money from the EU and b) not deal with EU matters, to the point of not even seeing the documents.

Which, given that the EU provides some 80% of our legislation is really quite a lot that he won't be able to do as the new Business Secretary.

Are we all sure that this is a good idea?

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Quite Nigel

The UK Indepen­dence Party leader Nigel Farage attacked the move as “an outrage”. He said: “The sooner Britain gets back control of immigration policy, the better.”

But have a look at what this is all about.

MORE than 50 million African workers are to be invited to Europe in a far-reaching secretive migration deal, the Daily Express can reveal today.

Do go and read the rest.

Quite Leo

This all makes good sense:

As the turmoil worsens in the financial markets the Euro­pean Union is proving utterly incapable of handling the
crisis. Far from rescuing the economies of its member states the EU itself is starting to buckle under pressure.

The great American free-market economist Milton Friedman long maintained that the EU’s monetary union would not survive a serious recession – or “the first bump in the road”, as he put it. His prediction is looking all too accurate as the European banking system teeters on the edge of meltdown.

The looming catastrophe exposes the folly and deceit of all the enthusiasts for the EU who argued that the sacrifice of national sovereignty was a small price to pay in return for dynamic growth. Now the EU member states who signed up to the euro are experiencing the worst of all worlds.

Not only have they lost their national independence but they are also experiencing the start of the worst slump since the Second World War. The currency they adopted is chronically weak, the union they joined is imploding. The EU’s aggressive destruction of the nation state has been in vain.

Precisely because it takes no account of differences in national economies, the institution of European monetary union has proved hopelessly ill-equipped for the present crisis.

They decided to have the currency first and then build the nation. Unfortunately, that doesn't work. You've got to have a nation first and then you can build a currency. They thought that political will could overcome the economics of the matter.

But the truth is that while you can ignore economics, economics ain't gonna ignore you.

Royal Mail and the EU

This is a little odd.

The Daily Mail revealed the scheme to deliver 60 per cent of post after midday in August last year.

Bizarrely, Royal Mail tried to pin the blame for the later deliveries on an EU directive which limits the speed large lorries, including those carrying post, can travel.

It said the slowing of its lorries had meant moving back delivery times for all.

In reality, they are part of a wider cost- cutting exercise that will slash the workforce by 40,000 and reduce overtime payments.

Now we do know that the Royal Mail is constrained by EU rules....that we're not allowed to subsidise rural post offices as we might like for social reasons because we're not allowed to subsidise companies in a competitive market above a certain level. And, yes, the PO faces such competition because of the EU.

But it's really rather odd to find them telling such a story about the lorries but refusing to tell the story about the PO closures.

This'll be interesting

Brian Cowen, Ireland's Prime Minister, must explain to a summit of Europe's leaders next Wednesday how he is planning to resuscitate the EU Treaty, which was rejected by Irish voters in June.

While the final decision will be taken in December, Mr Cowen will hear demands from France and Germany that a second referendum take place as early as March 2009, before European elections.

I'm intending to be there myself, assuming my passport holds out.

It's something of a pity that as always, no only means no until the next time you're asked the same question, while yes means yes forever?

Friday, 10 October 2008

Good Question there Bob

Bob Spink asks a question.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the average time per year spent by a household in sorting and recycling rubbish.

The answer?

No such estimate has been made.

The implications of this are in this old piece of mine.

Now think this through for a moment. What is the ultimate non-renewable resource? The one thing we can never recycle?

Yes, of course, it is our time. Once it's gone it's gone. So we have a system whereby we are not measuring our use of irreplacable resources in recycling our resources.

There's something seriously wrong with this system, isn't there?

And where does it come from? Yes, you've guessed it, the EU.


How did we get here?

A gardener who fenced off his allotment with barbed wire after being targeted by thieves has been ordered to take it down – in case intruders scratch themselves.

No, seriously, how did we end up being ruled by these sorts of people?

Nice letter Derek!

This pleases me no end, seeing letters like this is the regional press.

Dear Editor, According to Neena Gill MEP (Post, Oct 4): “The UK exports more to Holland than it does to the entire Commonwealth”. That’s like me saying all my post goes to the Royal Mail.

Such statements made by those who desperately try to defend the indefensible, try to deceive people into thinking that there are benefits to membership of the EU – which there are not. The Dutch ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam are like vast Royal Mail sorting offices. Container ships go there, their loads are then sorted and put onto other ships which are then dispatched to all points on the globe. By using the above sweeping comments Neena Gill can make such claims, even though the final destinations are to places where we do most of our trade such as the USA.

In fact, when you look at British trade in total, of the 100 per cent of trade 80 per cent is internal, which includes you buying your Birmingham Post at the corner shop. Of the 20 per cent that is left for exports, around 60 per cent is claimed to be to the EU and the other 40 per cent to non-EU nations, but that does not take into account the above Amsterdam and Rotterdam effect. Although there are no accurate figures for this effect, it probably reverses the figures to around 40 per cent of trade to the EU.

The end result of this is that we are being asked to sacrifice 100 per cent of our sovereignty to the EU in return for around 10 per cent of total trade. It seems a pretty poor deal to me.

Derek Bennett,
Regional Liaison Officer,
UK Independence Party.

The EU Anthem

Yes, after they took the flag and the anthem out of the Constitution so they could call it the Lisbon Treaty they've gone ahead and voted them back in again anyway.

Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the final movement of his choral ninth symphony, will be used to open the parliament after each election and for formal sittings where heads of state are present.

The blue flag with 12 gold stars will be flown on all parliament buildings and displayed in parliament meeting rooms and official events.

This particular version of the anthem will not be to manys' taste. A little too much emphasis on bodily functions perhaps.

But appropriate somehow.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Gold Plating

It's not enough of course that we've those people over the water making 80% of our laws for us. We also have our own home grown bureaucrats gold plating them.

A market trader was convicted yesterday of selling fruit and vegetables using imperial measures – even though the EU says it should not be an offence.

Metric martyr Janet Devers, 64, said she had been made a 'scapegoat' after being sentenced for selling goods on her market stall in pounds rather than kilos.

The mother of two fought back tears as she was ordered by magistrates to pay almost £5,000 in costs and told she would have a criminal record after being found guilty of eight offences under the Weights and Measures Act.

In September last year, Gunther Verheugen, European Commission vice president for enterprise and industry, said Brussels never intended to criminalise those who sold in pounds and ounces.

But the laws under which Mrs Devers was prosecuted are still on the UK statute books.

Just a few days after Mr Verheugen made his remarks trading standards officials from Hackney Council, supported by two police officers, arrived at Mrs Devers's market stall to confiscate two sets of imperial, non-metric scales.

We've also got the most appalling bunch of.....well, no, better not use those sorts of words.....who have the gall to actually try and enforce these stupidities.

Anyone wanting to contribute to Mrs Devers's costs can send donations to the Metric Martyrs Defence Fund, PO Box 526, Sunderland, SR1 3YS.

If current events have left anyone with any money at all that might be an idea, eh?

Smacking children

Sensible words from Bob Spink here.

A SOUTH Essex MP has labelled a proposed ban on parents smacking their children as “political correctness overriding common sense”.

Bob Spink, UKIP MP for Castle Point, spoke out after a cross-party group put forward changes to a Gover-nment Bill which would remove the rights of parents to carry out reasonable punishment.

Mr Spink dismissed calls for a law change and insisted parents should be allowed to discipline their children.

He added: “I think it is political correctness overriding common sense.

“Of course, parents shouldn’t abuse their children physically, or in any other way, but this is an inappropriate measure to be taking.

“There are many more important things which should be discussed in the House of Commons.

“Parents should be able to discipline their children. Evidence shows children who are disciplined in a caring way are more socially responsible.”

There has to be some method of dealing with the ankle biters, doesn't there?

I have to admit though that this rather amused me.

NSPCC head of policy and public affairs Diana Sutton backed the call to stop parents smacking their children.

She said: “Smacking children is outdated and doesn't work.

“It’s no longer an acceptable means of discipline.

“It is a national embarrassment. The UK is one of only five remaining EU countries not to have banned, or committed themselves to banning, the physical punishment of children.

As we all know, the reason for the invention of the EU was to stop Germany invading France. Again.

Quite how tapping little Timmy on the tushy might cause the Wermacht to holiday in Paris once again escapes me. So why bring up the EU at all.


Public opinion has turned against smacking.

Good oh. So if people aren't doing it because they oppose it then we don't need to make it illegal, do we?

Our game, our rules

That's the way the European Parliament operates.

A written declaration is like an Early Day Motion at Westminster. Not going to become law but gets an issue aired. It's entirely common for posters to be put up advertising one inside the Parliament, flyers to be handed out, all that sort of thing.

Except, if your declaration is something that the Parliament authorities don't like, oooh, say, getting rid of the monthly move to Strasbourg, then they ban you from putting up such posters.

Dear President Pöttering,
with astonishment I have received the email from Mr. Rizzico you will find below .
After consulting Mr. Rizzico, he informed me that it is from now on (Tuesday, 7.10.2008) generally forbidden to promote or advertise Written Declarations in the European Parliament.
I am wondering how the administration may take a decision that far reaching, especially since it has been allowed for the last four years to promote Written Declarations.
Especially as the quoted paragraph of the rules of procedure do not relate to the question of setting up a poster on the passarelle or elsewhere in the house.
Maybe I am misinformed but as I understand the rules such a decision may only be taken by political bodies of the European Parliament - so far I have not seen a single note on this issue, neither from the conference of presidents nor from the quaestors.
President Pöttering, this issue is a serious interference with the right of Members of political expression which will be examined under the possibility of taking court action against the European Parliament for infringement of the rights of Members.
Also, as I have not received a clarification from you concerning the incident which happend last plenary session, please recall my emails from the 25. and 26.9.2008 addressed to you. Until today I have not received an answer.
Therefore I would again urge you to reply to the content of this email and help clarify the situation since I am sure that we both desire to avoid legal action. Additionally I belive that this is a matter of interest to all Members of the house since it touches their right of political expression.
Sincerely yours,
Alexander Alvaro

A lovely bunch, our rulers, eh?

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Sexism! Sexism!

Janet Street Porter on her being on question time and Nigel not:

It is my second insult in a week. When Nigel Farage, the head of UKIP, a party with big aspirations and limited success, was bumped off Question Time, he told newspapers that I only appeared to give the show "gender balance". Female voters, please take note.
There is indeed sexism there of course. It emanating from the BBC who both told us that was the reason the Janet S-P was to be on the program and Nigel not and, of course, took that decision solely on the basis of the sex of the two individuals.

And if that ain't sexism then I'm a banana.

Oooh, we like this

Yes, yes, we do. A fight, a fight!

Firstly we have a certain Mr. Helmer talking about why he wouldn't appear at the Brgues Group meeting with Nigel Farage.

Essentially, no one told him not to speak, they didn't tell him that three weeks before and anyway, it isn't true that if he had spoken nasty things would be done to him because no one had in fact....well, you get the message.

Then Trixy tells us a little more of what happened. Her sources say that that nice Mr. Helmer was threatened with deselection from his seat if he did in fact share the platform with Nigel.

Odd party, the Conservatives really. Exercising your rights to free speech mean that you could lose your seat while funnelling your expenses through your family company means that you get it confirmed. Strange way to run things....

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Don't get your hopes up.

A fine post here which I would urge you to read in full. But the basic point is worth reiterating.

There's a lot of people out there insisting that the current problems are "the end of capitalism".

Hmm, it might be a hiccup, it might be heartburn, but it ain't a fatal heart attack. The [people claiming the end of it seem not to realise what capitalism actually is:

....there is a certain silly gloating in the press, and commentators who should know better labelling this crisis as the end of capitalism. The Guardian seems particularly smug. But don't take predictions of 'a new world system' to replace capitalism too seriously. If the entire world financial system crashed tomorrow, wiping out every bank and making currencies worthless, by the end of the week someone would be striking silver coins in a local mint as a means of exchange; by next month some individuals would have acquired a surplus of coins and by next year capitalists would be back, evaluating risk and investing in merchant ventures.

Local Press

It seems a little odd to find that some of the local press have a better grasp of international issues than the nationals at times.

Most people in the UK will be breathing a huge collective sigh of relief that EU bureaucrats have decided not to attempt to meddle in the current meltdown. If the federalists had had their way and every member state of the EU had been dragooned into the single currency, then the European Commission and the European Central Bank would have been in the box seat and taken action on behalf of the 27 member states.


Are we surprised?

Gawain has the news over here.

There's a bulletin board where you can go and discuss the EU. But, it being run by the EU "discussion" means that you can modify how you praise the EU rather than anything so unkind as actually to discuss or, heaven forfend, actually criticise it.

No, I can't say that we are surprised actually.

Well, yes Caroline

We knew this, you know this, but some people seem still not to get it.

(Reading Evening Post, 6 Oct): "Dr Caroline Lucas, newly elected and first ever leader of the Green Party in the UK, is also a Member of the European Parliament for the South East, which makes her one of Reading’s MEPs. The Evening Post asked half a dozen passers-by who she was and at first no one had a clue...When it was suggested to her that not many people knew who she was Dr Lucas said: “Well, it isn’t any real surprise given the lamentable way the media covers the European Parliament.” When it was suggested that people did not really care about the EU, she said: “People should care about it because 90 per cent of the environmental legislation that affects this country comes from the EU."

Yup, 90 % of our environmental laws come from the do some 80% of all of them. Which is exactly what we're all complaining about of course. We simply want to be able to work out ourselves what our own laws should be on such vital international matters as landfill, recycling, rubbish collection and the rest.

But there's good news in there as well of course. Not knowing who Caroline is will preserve the sanity of many of our fellow citizens.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Peter Hitchens on the Tories

Yes, I like this.

Oh, and he also pretended to be ‘tough’ on the European Union. But the reality is very different. Two Tory Euro-MPs who are genuinely critical of the EU last week withdrew mysteriously from a fringe meeting where they would have been speaking alongside people calling (rightly) for withdrawal from the EU.

In the Tory Party you can posture about Brussels, but in the end you must support it, as Mr Cameron enthusiastically does.

If you want to get out you've got to be part of the only party that is actually arguing that we should get out, that is, us.

Well spotted!

Chris Huhne has been getting all teary eyed about how the European Arrest Warrant means the end of Englishmens' freedoms, the intorduction of thought crimes, Magna Carta, did she die in vain (cont. pg 94)...

As, of course, we've been saying ever since the idea was first mooted. And as, umm, Chris Huhne hasn't. Indeed, he voted for it as an MEP, as did Nick Clegg, and the man organising the whole thing is now the leader of the Liberal group in the European Parliament.

How bone headed do you have to be to take 7 years, to realise that the EAW was a damn fool idea?

Friday, 3 October 2008

Unhappy Tories

But the Tory MEPs who will go into battle on Mr Cameron's behalf are not a happy bunch Already forced to sign up to new rules on expenses, they are now under orders to withdraw from the centre-right coalition that dominates business in the European Parliament.

This was a promise Mr Cameron made to his Eurosceptic Westminster party when he was fighting David Davis for the party leadership. But insiders warn that it threatens to reopen the fault lines on Europe within the Tory party at large and could also undermine Mr Cameron's hopes, should he become prime minister, of a fruitful working relationship with Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France....

The fault line they're talking about is that whatever the Tory Party says to us here in the UK makes no difference to anything. Almost all of the MEPs they send are in fact federasts of the worst order. There are a couple of exceptions of course, but it's true of the vast majority of euro Tories, that they're a great deal more euro than they are Tory.

It just doesn't matter what Dave or anyone else in the UK Tory party says about Europe. The part of the Tory party that actually deals with Europe is thoroughly integrationist.

Hobbies are good

No, they are, hobbies are good for you. In fact, everyone should have a hobby. As Prodicus does.

Much better than miniature trains, or building cathedrals out of matchsticks, isn't it?

I like this letter.

I can't see that it's online but here it is in its glory as sent:

Wanstead & Woodford Guardian

Guardian House

480 – 500 Larkshall Road

Highams Park

London E4 9BD

Dear Dominic Yeatman

In your columns I have been called “a UKIP moaner” because I said that the smoking ban is killing the pub trade. Last week you did a feature on the problems the pub trade is having locally but the report dismissed the smoking ban as being part of the problems all pubs are facing. Cheap supermarket beer was given as one of the main causes. People do not go to pubs just to drink beer. They go to pubs to socialise. Sitting at home with a 50p can of supermarket lager is no substitute for that

In a recent announcement, the British Beer and Pub Association cited various reasons for the sudden increase in pub closures, running at five a day, including cheap supermarket beer and the smoking ban forcing pubs to increase food sales which have smaller margins than pints and shorts. For the smaller pubs with limited cooking facilities, the smoking ban has been terminal they say

The BBPA also fears the government’s beer escalator tax and unnecessary red tape such as statutory codes of pub conduct will hit operators hard

Those of us who actually use pubs have seen with our own eyes the devastating effect that the smoking ban has had on the pub trade thanks to this anti business pc government

Nick Jones

Redbridge & Waltham Forest

UK Independence Party

Absolutely Nick, telling it as it really is.

Yes, they did publish it!

Nice to see this again

Yes, we've all seen it. But with Peter Mandelson coming back into government it's worth seeing again, don't you think?


Frederick Toben

This case is something we've been watching with great alarm here at UKIP Towers.

Holocaust denial is of course appalling behaviour and I'd quite happily describe Toben as being, in my opinion, a scumbag for putting the view forward. However, as Nigel notes, there's another side to this:

Campaigners are also concerned that the UK is assisting the extradition of someone whose views appeared on the internet - rather than being published in Germany itself.

Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, said that while his party in no way condoned Dr Toben's views, "not only has he not broken any UK laws, but in seeking to arrest him, Germany is claiming censorship rights to the entire internet network."

This view is shared by Australian free-speech campaigners who have accused Germany of trying to "legislate for the entire world" by treating downloadable internet material as a German publication.

As far as we can all tell the claim is that whatever he put on his website in Australia is subject to German law. Are we really certain that we want a system like this? That anything you or I write on the net must conform to German law? Or French, Italian, Greek, Slovenian or Lithuanian? That's what the German claim amounts to.

This is one of the basic problems of the European Arrest Warrant. That it abandons the idea of double criminality. That is, you can only be extradited from a place if what you're being accused of is a crime both in the place you're in and the place doing the claiming.

Holocaust denial isn't a crime in the UK. Thus the whole issue would simply not exist if we didn't have this EU warrant.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

So now we know!

Understand more, condemn less. That's the way forward. Ask not why the Tory MEPs Daniel Hannan and Roger Helmer - those titans of Euroscepticism - were curiously absent at the fringe meeting specifically convened to debate the European Union. Perhaps they were "nobbled" by Tory high command who didn't want them on the same platform as Ukip's Nigel Farage. Perhaps they were "frit", as Ukip says.

I can confirm to The Guardian that the frit explanation seems to fit best.

A certain amount of pressure from the Tory High Command perhaps....wouldn't want three people all saying sensible things about the EU now, would we?

Aaand...He's back!

Bigger, brighter than ever, Gawain returns to blogging!

Well, not quite. He isn't threatened any more with losing his job or having his pay docked for running a blog.

But he is still so threatened if he says nasty things about the European Union.

Which really explains it all, doesn't it. You can say and do what you like, just as long as you don't criticise the EU.

Tim Congdon on the crisis

Tim Congdon has a great piece in The Times on the current problems. Of course, we like Tim because he's one of us. But don't forget he's one of the leading economists in the country too.

He explains just why we want that American bailout to work, how important it is. There's nothing very new about that tactic, it's one that has worked many times before. The only difference this time around is the size of the problem and the size of the necessary solution.

Those banking problems

Last week there were chortles all around Europe. Those silly Anglo Saxons and their crazy free market capitalism. Look, see how their banks are falling over!

As Ambrose EP points out today, there's not quite so much laughing now.

By Monday, Mr Steinbrück was having to orchestrate Germany's biggest bank bail-out, putting together a €35 billion loan package to save Hypo Real Estate. By then Europe was "staring into the abyss," he admitted. Belgium faced worse. It had to nationalise Fortis (with Dutch help), a 300-year-old bastion of Flemish finance, followed a day later by a bail-out for Dexia (with French help).

Now it may well be that new and different regulations are needed in the finance industry. But that doesn't mean that we need more European style regulation. Sure, we've got to get through this mess first, but exactly what type of future regulation we need will be more apparent a little later.

For example, are us Anglo Saxon style economies going to get through this better than the more rigid Continental ones?

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Mike Hume

Nice to see Mick Hume quoting JS Mill in the papers today:

In his essay On Liberty, J.S.Mill took a stand not only for freedom of thought and speech, but also for “liberty of tastes and pursuits...of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow [ie, if you smoke don't sue tobacco companies] without impediment from our fellow creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them, even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse, or wrong”.

That's pretty much what liberty means, that we all get left alone to plot our own path to the grave as we see fit. Our behaviour may only be restricted if we're doing damage to another, or to their rights to plot their own path as they see fit.

Why is it that some people find this so hard to understand?


So Mary Honeyball tries to slag off our own Godfrey Bloom.

Hey, no fair! We're the only people who are allowed to slag off our Godders!

Have a look here.

And note, as Vindico does, that Godfrey comes out of this rather better than Mary Honeyball does.

A moment in the life of a press officer

If you think about it for a moment, it's not actually possible for someone to read every article in every newspaper every day. There's, what, 12, 13 national papers? Another dozen major regionals? Then the locals and so on.

So of course what happens is that a press officer, like myself, doesn't in fact read every newspaper. There's a lot of speed reading and some sections get barely a glance. Then of course there's the computer systems that can be used to search for certain words: UKIP say, or "Gerard Batten", to see if there's a hidden story somewhere of interest to us.

This system can cause problems though. As it did today.

Part of the job here is to see stories before they happen, that way we can talk to journalists and have our say about the subject before they start writing their stories.

So I noted that the ban on short selling was leading to problems with the HBOS and Lloyd's merger. Hmm, that's interesting, so I phone up a City Editor and:

"Hello, this is Tim from UKIP"

"Hello Tim, what's up today?"

"Well, I've just realised that this ban on short selling of financials is causing problems for HBOS."

"How so?"

Well, everyone's worried that the HBOS price is so low as compared with the Lloyd's offer price. Makes people think the deal won't go through."


"But speculators might want to take advantage of that low price...HBOS is 121p, but Lloyd's is offering 191p in its own shares. So a hedgie would buy HBOS and short Lloyd's so as to lock in his profit. This would bring the two prices closer together, make the deal more likely to happen and make everyone worry less. But he can't short Lloyd's so he won't do the deal at all."

"You're absolutely right Tim. Which is why we ran this story in our finance pages this morning. That the ban on shorting financials is having some very bad effects upon the markets".


Even though I can't read all of every paper each day, I am going to have to read more of them, aren't I?