Saturday, 29 November 2008

How the EU spends your money

Is there anything that can be usefully said about this?

"A Concert with Vegetables."

Thus spake a commission spokesman today to a dumbfounded press room.

"Next Friday evening there is a Concert with Vegetables, that is for you. The press corps are expressly invited to attend this 'concert of vegetables' in the framework of the launch of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation" he told journalists.

That's where our tax money goes.


Friday, 28 November 2008

Sikhs and turbans

I have to admit that this story really rather puzzles me.

A Sikh man who wanted the right to wear a turban while being photographed for his French drivers' licence has lost his case in the European Court of Human Rights.

Shingara Mann Singh, a French national, lost a series of appeals in France against the authorities who refused to issue a new licence with a photograph of him wearing a turban.

Under French regulations, motorists must appear 'bareheaded and facing forward' in their licence photographs but the Sikh religion requires men to wear a turban at all times.

Mr Singh, 52, took his case to the ECHR but the Strasbourg-based court dismissed the case.

No, not the way that, as always seems to happen, the French go to Strasbourg they get their way and we almost never do (thus showing that European law is very similar to French and very different from our own).

No, it's something different. Why do the French authorities insist that he be photographed without his turban?

After all, he's always going to be wearing one so surely that's what you'd like his ID photo to look like, wouldn't you?

Derek Clark and Bobby Silk

This little campaign seems to be getting a little more airplay. The Beeb in Brussels ahs picked it up here.

Derek Clark is a UK Independence Party MEP for the East Midlands. Robert Kilroy Silk's behaviour is doubly annoying for him.

The former TV presenter was elected as a UKIP MEP in 2004 - but left the party shortly afterwards to found his own Eurosceptic party, Veritas. Six months later he gave up as leader of the fringe party - and now sits as an Independent.

"We think he should resign altogether and give the seat back to us," Mr Clark told the BBC.

"This chap has taken himself out altogether. ITV won't let him communicate with anyone in the outside world at just the time he has a job to do. He is being paid and he is not doing his job, simple as that."

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Kilroy Step Down!

A fun little site just launched this afternoon.

An online petition for people to sign asking Robert Kilroy Silk to step down as an MEP.

As Sky News puts it:

Keen advocates of the ‘adding insult to injury’ school of thought they’ve now put their name to a petition calling on the Silver Fox to stand down as an MEP.

Oh, what fun they must have had putting the news release together.

“All five of the East Midland's MEPs (that is, all of the region's MEPs other than Kilroy Silk himself) are backing an online petition calling for him to stand down,” they write.

MEP Derek Clark then puts the boot in: “Its not just that he hasn't been working while in the jungle, it's that he hasn't spoken in the Parliament since 2005. No one has seen him in the region for years, we even had a competition for anyone who could spot him.”

I have to say I do like that line "keen advocates of the ‘adding insult to injury’ school of thought".....

Now this is what the internet is really for

No, really, it is. A website devoted entirely to bacon.

If a story's got bacon in it they'll publish it. No bacon, no story as far as they are concerned.

Bacon Today in all it's porcine goodness.

Remind me, what was it we all did before we had toys like this to play with?

Spending other people's money

It's always very simple to spend other people's money. And as Milton Friedman pointed out it usually ends up being spent very badly:

There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.

Now that refers, of course, to our owwn government spending the tax money they extort from us. If we take it up another level, to the money that the European Union spends....

A European package of spending increases and tax cuts said to be worth €200bn (£170bn), or 1.5% of the European Union's gross domestic product, was unveiled yesterday as the EU's answer to the swelling financial and economic crisis.

The important point here isn't the amount of money nor whatever minor fiscal stimulus it will bring. Rather, it's where the money is coming from.

The commission's two-year plan is aimed at restoring consumer and business confidence, shoring up employment, getting the banks lending again, and promoting green technologies. It reshuffles EU spending schedules and increases loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB), but leaves the bulk of the extra spending and fiscal stimuli to the 27 member states.

The 27 countries would provide €170bn of the €200bn - or 1.2% of European GDP - while the other €30bn would come from Brussels' coffers in the form of EIB loans, and accelerating payments from the cohesion and structural funds, which go mainly to the new members in central Europe.

So they're not announcing that the EU is going to be spending the money the EU already has. Rather, they're announcing that the EU is going to spend money which the national government's have to find from the pockets of the taxpayers. That is, an unelected body is telling elected bodies how they should gouge the citizenry.

So, to go back to the four ways to spend money. The fourth method provides the very worst result....and this announcement is of the fourth way squared. Without even the limitations placed by the ballot box upon how the money is splurged.

Given that it's very difficult indeed to believe that this money will be anything other than entirely wasted....if not spent on things which make matters actively worse.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Who are the BNP?

This is really rather shaming. I know, I know, I'll be contrite. But it does pain me to have to admit that I even know about the existence of the newspaper Socialist Worker, let alone that I know where to find it on the web.

But they do have this interesting little graphic.

Based on 500 or so of those names from the BNP list, this is who the BNP are.

There's nothing amazing there, I agree. Just interesting, that's all.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Comment of the week

At the bottom of a Times editorial.

Central to the appeal of the new movement was its claim to be economically competent and fiscally prudent, a claim it pursued in office and was, for many years, generally accepted. New Labour believed that wealth creation and social justice depended upon each other. It was, as one of its leaders put it, “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”. It determined not to raise the tax rate paid by top earners, for three election this was a manifesto commitment that symbolised how it had come to share the hopes and ambitions of middle class families.

Yesterday Alistair Darling, using the sombre tones appropriate to the occasion, provided Members of Parliament with details of new Labour's tragic end.

Yes, yes, OK, so another group of politicians have been shown to be know nothings....but then the comment:

So the New Labour model was finally tested and found to be defective. Faced with a return to old Labour or the conservatives I know which way I would go... UKIP

Rex Lester, Surbiton, UK

Rex, as and when you're in central London, allow me to buy you a pint would you?

Dang, I've spent years working on how to write, how to get a point across, and here I am entirely outclassed by someone who simply speaks his mind. D'ye think I might have to spring for the second round as well?

Sometimes you don't get the credit

But even so the message still gets across.

Of course, we all remember Gerard Batten's report of last week on the costs of the EU. We do, that is. (I obviously do as I was running around with Robert Oulds trying to get people to write about it ....after Gerard's done all that work it's worth trying to get a bit of coverage.)

And of course we'd all be thrilled if all the newspapers wrote up the report, name checked Gerard, mentioned UKIP and so on. Which, sadly, of course they don't. But that's only one side of this whole political game. Sure, we want our party to win, we want our party to get lots of publicity.

But we also want to get our message across. Yes, of course it's better if the message and the party are linked but getting just the message across is still a win.

All of which is a lead up to this column in The Sun. What should we be doing about the current financial and economic problems? What's the very first suggestion for concrete action?

Let’s have a referendum on leaving the EU (saving: �65billion a year).

No, they don't mention us or Gerard. But in only a week that figure that he calculated has become a generally accepted fact in Britain's largest selling daily newspaper.

We'll accept that as a victory for getting the message across I think?

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Cutting VAT

It's rather nice to see all these newspaper reports about cutting VAT. Almost none of them fail to make the point that 15% is the minimum that we can cut it to because of EU rules. That is, that we don't in fact control our own tax levels.

However, there's one more point it might be worthwhile to get across.

According to the Telegraph, the cut "could save the average family as much as £10 a week.

£10 week eh?

It's generally accepted that CAP costs the average household an extra £25 a week on top of what food prices would be in the absence of CAP. So let's get out of the EU, abolish CAP and benefit the average household by two and a half times more than this £12.5 billion a year borrowing splurge will cost us.

Plus, of course, abolishing CAP will cost us nothing.

I assume that the only reason more people don't propose this is because the modern education system has left people incapable of doing simple arithmetic.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Good news in the SW


TORY activists are preparing to down tools and not campaign in next year's European elections in a row over the selection of Giles Chichester as the region's number one candidate, the WMN has learned.

Sections of the party's rank and file are so concerned about the South West MEP's re-selection that they are preparing to call on Tory HQ to intervene.

The split stems from Mr Chichester's admission that he wrongly channelled EU funds through a company he helped run – but was later cleared of profiting from the breach of the rules.

EU watchdogs found that the £400,000 had been correctly used for secretarial and assistant services, but the practice contravened rules on MEPs using companies they are connected with to handle the money.

There's more of course:

The rebels are keen not to be publicly seen as divisive but fear Mr Chichester being top of the Tory selection list will not only hit the vote in the EU poll, but also undermine campaigning in county council elections in the region, which take place on the same day, June 4.

Leading activists, including parliamentary candidates and senior councillors, are understood to be so unhappy with Chichester's inclusion they are threatening to down tools and not campaign or even vote for the party.

Always happy to see a federast being unhappy....

Fools, fools

Can we please just get this straight?

We want to run the economy for the benefit of consumers, not the benefit of producers.

Frederick Toben

This is good news (however despicable his actual ideas are):

The Holocaust denier, Frederick Toben, has been released from custody after the German government gave up its legal battle to extradite him from Britain.

This was all under the European Arrest Warrant of course. Sadly though, it's not really cleared up the law, rather, it has muddied it.

"I said, 'We will go all the way to the House of Lords with this and let the House of Lords decide'. But when the draft extradition Act passed through the House of Lords in 2002, one of the questions was what would happen if someone was arrested on a European arrest warrant to be extradited to a country where Holocaust denial is an offence.

"The response was, 'No, that will never happen'."

This was a political deal: this particular person will not be extradited. But we'll still be liable to being extradited for things which are not an offence in this country, things which lack dual criminality. It'll depend rather on whether the person accused has enough political (or financial) weight to fight it and that isn't justice as we either know it or want it to be.

Gerard's Report

Good couple of pieces of press coverage of Gerard Batten's report on the costs to us of the European Union.

Here in the Mail, here in The Sun.

I'm told that he's on LBC in the morning discussing it too (but sorry, I don't know when).

Thursday, 20 November 2008


What is it about these people?

Women are to be banned from returning to work within six weeks of giving birth under new EU plans.

They seem to have no concept of what the point of all this government actually is, to maximise the amount of freedom and liberty that we the people enjoy. They also seem to miss the meaning of the word "liberal". That is, the aim to increase the amount of liberty that, again, we the people enjoy.

It might be that having a law that allows women to have 6 weeks maternity leave after the birth is a good idea. I'd certainly not fight against such a law nor I think would many others.

But there's a huge difference between "allows" and "insists". The first is an increase in liberty, the second a diminution. That is, it's profoundly illiberal because it reduces peoples' choices.

OK, this isn't that much of a shock, but it is further evidence that the EU is an illiberal institution.

Bob FM

Bob seems to have a letter in the Swindon Advertiser (no link, sorry).

"Little realising one would suspect that all EU Parliament sessions are recorded on video, Christopher Beazley MEP for the Tories, has rather let the Tories policy for our continued membership out of the bag, and staggeringly disclosing the Tories real intentions over the pound. Readers should go to my site at and watch for themselves what he says. He concludes by saying this: " I look forward to the next Conservative Government applying to join the Euro Zone really quite shortly.""

Good work that man!

The real John Sergeant story

This is what happened. Yes, really....

As the nation mourns the apparently voluntary departure of John Sergeant from Strictly Come Dancing because he says, he was worried he might win (how bizarre is that?), we've come up with a solution: Peter Mandelson, who has said he quite fancies a twirl for Bruce and the Judges

Send for Mandy: It seemed to have worked for Gordon Brown!

But our light-hearted idea appears to have taken a very odd twist: A conspiracy theory, no less, courtesy of UKip.

In an internal memo, they talk of "dark forces at work" - blaming Alastair Campbell (really) of forcing the BBC to create a vacancy on the show for Lord Mandelson who "has already proved to be nimble on his feet as he hot-footed it from Hartlepool then Brussels and waltzed into the House of Lords".

They say he also "skipped away" from answering any awkward questions about his relationship with a certain Russian billionaire and, they point out, "not by chance Mr Sergeant's dancing partner is from the former USSR"

It ain't much as conspiracy theories, even humorous ones, go - but we thought we'd share it with you anyway.

We thought it was pretty good as a humorous conspiracy story but then taste in jokes really is rather fickle, isn't it?

Saying it all about the BNP

It does this, doesn't it? Say it all?

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: “It says it all about the BNP that so many of those on their database seem to be worried about being revealed as members. Who would join a party where membership is a social and professional embarrassment?”

Well, quite.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Yes, I like this, I like this.


Correcting The Times

Slightly concerning to see this this morning.

Many are now looking nervously towards next year’s European elections. The absence of UKIP, which squeezed the BNP vote in 2004, means that Britain’s first BNP Euro MP could be just months from taking office.

Absence? That makes it sound like we're not going to be fighting the election!

Yes, we have been on to him and yes, he does say that the sub-editors mangled what he meant to say. More like "in the absence of UKIP's strength of 2004" and a correction or clarification will be run tomorrow. Even that's wrong of course, for no one at all has done any polling at all about how people are likely to vote at the euro-elections, so no one can make any informed comments upon relative strengths.

But just to set minds at rest, yes, we are fighting the elections, no we've not all gone home.

As you've been told, you shouldn't believe everything you read in the newspapers......

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Graham Watson

Graham Watson (the entirely insufferable Lib Dem MEP) is to give a speech with the following title.

Four years after the Constitution, one year after the Lisbon treaty: Is the EU being held hostage by its citizens?

There really are times when you just can't make things up, improve upon the humour that the natural world offers.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Jamie Oliver

So, I wonder, has anyone sent Jamie Oliver a membership pack yet?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

This is a very elegant argument

I'm not sure that I wholly agree with it but I do think there's at least some truth to it. It's also a very elegant argument. Why is it that, given that Fascism and Communism were roughly equally foul murderous systems, we tend to forgive former communists more easily than we do former fascists?

This of course has echoes with our own attitudes, we're far more likely to welcome a former leftie activist (one or other of the flavours of Revolutionary Communism for example) into UKIP than we are a former BNP one.

This is a matter of psychology, not philosophy. In most Western countries, people look upon Communists with bemused disdain; Nazis, in contrast, they view with horrified disgust. Since the stigma against Communists is far weaker, the Communists manage to attract some vaguely normal adherents... or at least they used to. In contrast, the stigma against Nazis is so intense that you have to be virtually psychopathic to join. Once you send that signal, it's almost impossible to trust anything you say - even if you claim that you're no longer a Nazi.

As I say, I'm not sure I buy this 100% but it certainly is an interesting way of looking at it.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


Oh, very good, very good indeed.

You do want to go over and have a look at what the Anoneumouse has worked out.

In order to meet the conditions for joining the single European currency, all citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland must be made aware that the phrase 'Spending a Penny' is not to be used..........

Monday, 10 November 2008

Marta Speaks Out

Marta Andreassen has a nice piece in The Times this morning. The full thing is here.

Here we go again. Today, for the 14th year in a row, the European Court of Auditors will unveil their report, telling us that they refuse to clear the EU accounts. What's worse, no one will really seem to care. We are told that the accounts won't be cleared until 2020 - if then.

Having worked inside the Brussels nomenklatura and having being sacked for my insistence that financial controls have to be strengthened, I am not surprised to find that nothing has changed other than the arguments deployed to defend this state of affairs. What the auditors have been saying for years is that most of the payments made by the Commission from its £70 billion-a- year budget cannot be deemed legal or regular. That is, that they cannot confirm those payments have been made to the correct person for the correct purpose and for the correct amount. It stretches credulity to insist, as the Europhiles do, that this does not mean that there is fraud.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Cutting VAT

This is a really silly idea actually.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research argues for an eye-catching five-point cut in Vat, taking the rate from 17.5% to 12.5% for a period of two years. It makes a lot of sense, helping families up and down the social scale – a bigger proportion of the income of the lower paid goes on Vat – and providing small firms with a fillip. It would certainly be noticed, unlike fiddling with tax credits.

Not silly in an economic sense, rather, silly in a political sense. Because our provincial government in Westminster doesn't in fact have the power to cut VAT to such a level. We are bound, by our real government in Brussels, to keep the main VAT rate at or above 15%.

Just another example of how we no longer have the power to do as we wish in our own country.

Oh Dear


Lord Mandelson did discuss European Union trade issues with Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch, despite his denials that they had ever talked about the subject.

I do wonder how far this is going to go. Are we going to end up with a third resignation?

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Baiting Sarkozy

I think this is a lovely little story. So Sarkozy and Barroso are giving their press conference after the latest little meeting where they've decided to save the world by abolishing freedom.

Yet none of this seemed to have dismayed Mr Sarkozy one bit, as he boasted of how his proposals had received unanimous backing from the 27 member nations of the union at the official summit press conference. Then came the turn of José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, to speak. And Mr Barroso, often rather unfairly portrayed as a poodle to important leaders like the French president, managed to disconcert Mr Sarkozy in an instant. His method: he spoke English.

It was a very odd moment. Mr Barroso speaks many languages: including his native Portuguese, excellent French and English, and a magnificently mangled form of Spanish. But the French presidency of the EU has gone out of its way to stress the French language, in a rather vain attempt to stem the tide of English as the near-automatic working language of the EU institutions. Mr Barroso normally speaks French in such circumstances. But this time, he began by announcing that he would speak English "for the sake of linguistic diversity, and for the protection of minority languages". Why not speak Portuguese, if you want to defend minority languages, snapped Mr Sarkozy, before muttering audibly that French was a minority language nowadays.

To the French president's visible irritation, Mr Barroso went on in English, and on. Mr Sarkozy's English is pretty ropey, but pride (presumably) did not allow him to put in his earpiece to hear a simultaneous translation of what his fellow president was saying.

Two possible reasons suggest themselves for Mr Barroso's linguistic rebellion. He was getting his own back after one too many instances of bullying by Mr Sarkozy. Or, knowing that the summit might feature on international news channels, guessed that if he spoke English, he stood a good chance of being shown on screen, instead of Mr Sarkozy, whose French remarks would need to be dubbed.

Rather "tee hee" no?

Thursday, 6 November 2008


Anyone thought of sending Jamie Oliver a membership pack yet?

Same woman MP: But EU commissioners are meeting in a weeks time to look at this again, so what is your message to them?

Jamie: I just have no faith that anything good will come out of it. It'll take ages, it'll be disappointing and it'll be unclear, and there'll be loopholes. I wish it [the EU] never existed. And labelling is a perfect example - Britain cannot decide what its minimum standards for labelling and clarity are, because it has to go through the EU, and the EU has a lot more to worry about than just Great Britain, and frankly I only care about Great Britain. I can take you to a supermarket now and it will say sourced in the UK, and on the back it will say 'From Denmark'; how dare they!...It's a big old subject. Don't get me off on one or I will go on a tangent.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Getting to the heart of the matter

On this thing about the British opt out from the Working Time Directive. This is very much the point.

To which I say, what about the principle that if I want to work my bollocks off for 60- hours a week, why can't I and what right does a load of MEPs that have no link with my country have in telling me I can't?


Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Westminster North

This is interesting...about that near entire ward branch of Conservatives who moved over to UKIP.

NORTH Westminster Conservatives are in disarray after their entire Harrow Road branch jumped ship to the UK Independence Party amid discrimination claims.
Former refugee Jasna Badzak, the chairman of the Harrow Road ward association, claimed she was told by a ­party agent that she could not progress in the Conservative Party because of her background.
The accusation is strongly rejected by the Westminster North Conservative Association (NWCA), which has carried out an internal investigation.
Chairwoman Amanda Sayers said: “Any indication that this association takes decisions on the basis of ethnicity or background will be taken extremely seriously.”
But despite the assurances, Ms Badzak resigned on Friday and was immediately followed by Susan Jacobs, the party’s vice chairman, membership secretary Drgomir Mikulic and the secretary Luli Beqiri.
They are each adopting the same roles for the newly formed Westminster North Association of the UK Independence Party.
Ms Badzak, who has a business Masters degree at the University of Westminster, said: “I have been told by the party agent that people like me can forget about progressing in the Conservative Party. This is not just locally, but nationally.
“It is just jobs for the boys. Unfortunately, I did not go to private school. I did not go to Oxbridge. Well I have said no thank you – this is not the way to do things. People should be judged on their ability.”

Read the rest, as they say.

Monday, 3 November 2008

More BNP stuff!

Have a look at this BBC piece.

The BNP said a deal made sense. UKIP says it would not work with the BNP.

BNP leader Nick Griffin told the BBC it made electoral sense for the two parties to avoid standing against each other at the euro elections in June 2009.

That makes the offer official, not just something Mottram thought up on his own.

Pinheads, pinheads they are.

That NEC meeting

All sorts of excitement at this afternoon's NEC meeting. The police called in, someone having to be escorted out with their assistance, lots of shouting and even, whisper it though I only dare, some swearing.

The basis of it all was an appearance by Buster Mottram who the more rich in maturity will remember as the Tim Henman of his day. As he's not actualy part of the National Executive Committee, there was a certain wonderment that he was there at all. Still, he said that he had something very important to, OK, say it then.

Now, put down your cup of coffee, remove any liquids from the immediate area, we wouldn't want you to damage your keyboard or screen as you snort (whether in derision or laughter) at this proposal.

That there should be an electoral pact between UKIP and the BNP!


No, no, really, he said it!

OK, so, calmed down again now?

Good, the details were that the BNP would fight the seats in the north and UKIP would have a free run at the seats in the south at the euro/elections in 2009.

The end result was that, after the shouting (and I put in parentheses, for those who might be shocked by such, the information that there was indeed at this point some swearing) had died down, Buster was ejected from UKIP....I don't know quite what charge was used but in my opinion willful stupidity would be sufficient.

He then refused to leave and plonked himself down ....leading to the police being called and two uniformed officers escorted him gently from the room.

After all that was over there was further interesting news. Martin Haslam (an ex-officio member of the NEC), Eric Edmonds and David Abbot all had their membership of the NEC removed from them. (Edited at Eric's request)

What jolly japes for a Monday afternoon, don't you think?

What really gets me is the stupidity of the basic idea. What on earth makes Griffin and Mottram think that we'd want to make a deal with a group of racist, socialist pinheads?