Those who have long believed that David Cameron is a PR man whose politics are driven by managerialist opportunism, not principle, will be unsurprised by the latest u-turn announced yesterday.Cameron is a spineless fraud. What took you so long to work it out Benedict?
What’s more interesting though is the pattern of these tactical compromises that is becoming the leitmotif of Mr Cameron’s administration. The issues on which he has trimmed are piling up: school sports, free milk, the Lisbon treaty, repatriation of EU powers, mandatory sentences for knife crime, reversing the hunt ban, packing the ‘22 Committee are the ones that come to mind. Some of it might be put down to the exigencies of Coalition. But others suggest a hair-trigger response to bad headlines: anything that might disrupte the Coalition or undermine puiblic support is to be avoided: go around obstacles, don’t crash against them. Where Tony Blair had no reverse gear, and Lady T was not for turning, Mr Cameron has a full gearbox and power steering that allow him to execute swerves and three point turns.
Monday, 27 December 2010
Friday, 24 December 2010
Monday, 20 December 2010
I'm puzzled. Surely Monbiot et al should be happy that winters are getting colder because it helps mitigate dangerous runaway global warming that they warned of, or are they just disappointed that a catastrophe hasn't happened because they can't say; "I told you so"?
Saturday, 18 December 2010
I never expected this blog to change the world, thinking that of course would be plain daft, nor did I particularly wish it to be as successful as the shamelessly self-prompting Iain Dale (now deceased - the blog that is - and of no great loss).
Blogging for me was a way of helping to instill self-discipline in my research thus improving my knowledge of the EU, by virtue of submitting it to public scrutiny. Yet therein lies a contradiction. In order to fight a battle, you need to know your enemy. But I don't want to know my enemy. Learning more about the EU is not only deadly deadly dull but I hate it with every sinew of my being. I just want the whole thing to magically uplift and plonk itself into the Bermuda Triangle.
And it's not just the EU. That the Tories, and especially Cameron, are europhiles is of no surprise. But only 6 and half months have gone since the election and the integration pace is unprecedented - there's another 4 years or so at least of this. I feel I'm doomed to repeat myself ad infinitum. Despite the wonderfully versatile nature of the English language there are really only so many ways that you can call Cameron a fucking liar.
Then I see this and this:
The Government has published a new set of principles which it wants to govern the relationship between new EU laws and UK law. It wants to reduce the degree to which EU Directives are changed and tailored for the UK.Basically in order to become an MP you only have to answer two questions:
"The key to the new measures will be the principle of copying out the text of European directives directly into UK law," said a statement from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). "The direct ‘copy out’ principle will mean that British interpretations of European law are not unfairly restricting British companies."
"This move will bring an end to the charge of 'gold-plating'," said Business Secretary Vince Cable. "The way we implement our EU obligations must foster, not hinder, UK growth by helping British businesses compete with their European neighbours."
- Do you know what an EU Directive is?
- Do you know what Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V means?
I shouldn't even be writing this blog post tonight; I should be at a Christmas meal. That's now been canceled because of the snow, I'm snowed in completely and the roads near me haven't been gritted in two days so subsequently they are dangerously icy, and to top it off I couldn't even watch live football. Not that inconvenient facts about the weather stops the Telegraph. The travel chaos made pages 1, 4 & 5 yet on page 24 we get a full page spread on how to reduce carbon emissions in transport to save the planet from global warming (can't find online):
Transport...it's the heart of economic activity yet the more we use it the more carbon emissions are pumped into the atmosphere. With technology and more thoughtful planning we could make fewer journeys in a greener Britain...etc etc.Kenneth Williams, in his final words summed it up; "Oh what's the bloody point". However then I read this post by The Filthy Engineer which articulates wonderfully what I'm thinking and that in itself cheers me up albeit in a depressing way.
SIR – Learning that most passwords are easy to crack (report, December 15) made me realise that the two years of Army National Service I spent in Singapore and Malaya in the 1950s were not wasted.
My eight-digit Army number was burned on my brain and makes an ideal password which is impossible to break.
Thanks John, we all now know that your password is 8 digits long and contains no letters (upper case or otherwise), that makes the task much easier (10 seconds apparently is all it takes). We also know your name, where you live, that you were in the Army, where you were and when. That can help us find out your password via other methods.
Impossible to break? I beg to differ.
Friday, 17 December 2010
Baroness Thatcher may be the ultimate symbol of the Conservative Party, but it seems that she has sympathies with UKIP. Before the general election, she had lunch with Lord Pearson and they discussed the problems that Pearson, then UKIP’s leader, was having in keeping the support of activists.If this is the case then Alex's final paragraph is spot-on:
She advised him to hire Viscount Monckton, a former Telegraph journalist, who she said had done a brilliant job for her in the Number 10 Policy Unit.
...there’s a question [the Tories] should be asking themselves. If even Margaret Thatcher, the longest-serving Conservative PM of the 20th century, now thinks that UKIP is worth helping, aren’t the Tories getting something seriously wrong?Quite.
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Despite the press speculation, the judgment isn't a significant departure from current Irish law. It has ruled that abortion access must be made easier in life-threatening situations, an extension to existing law in Ireland - which was the result of the 'X' case, however the ECHR has not ruled that abortion must be widely available in other circumstances. So technically Ireland is not required to legalise abortion but will probably be under pressure to adopt a more flexible position in subsequent attitudes.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Irish abortion laws violated the rights of one of three women who sought terminations in Britain.
The woman, who was in remission for a rare form of cancer, feared it might return as a result of her pregnancy.
This still leaves a couple of issues. Can Ireland implement the ECHR's judgment without breaching the anti abortion condition of the constitution; the eighth amendment? If it does breach this, it would trigger a referendum. Even the Court acknowledges the implementation will be difficult to implement:
As to the burden which implementation of Article 40.3.3 would impose on the State, the Court accepts that this would be a sensitive and complex task. However, while it is not for this Court to indicate the most appropriate means for the State to comply with its positive obligations (Marckx v. Belgium judgment, § 58; Airey v. Ireland judgment, § 26; and B. v. France, § 63, all cited above), the Court notes that legislation in many Contracting States has specified the conditions governing access to a lawful abortion and put in place various implementing procedural and institutional procedures (Tysiąc v. Poland judgment, § 123). Equally, implementation could not be considered to involve significant detriment to the Irish public since it would amount to rendering effective a right already accorded, after referendum, by Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution.Given the current circumstances, should a referendum be triggered it's hard to imagine that the Irish will do anything other than reject further perceived erosion of their sovereignty, thus putting the nation on a collision course with the ECHR. Certainly at the very least Brian Cowen's 'clarification' on abortion, in order to secure a 'yes' in the second vote on Lisbon, looks a very empty one indeed. Can his already record low support in the polls get any lower?
But there was a more potential and fundamental far-reaching outcome of this judgment. Has the ECHR just effectively by-passed the domestic courts, thus breaching its mandate? Article 35/1 of the Convention of the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms requires that all possible domestic remedies be exhausted before the ECHR has jurisdiction:
The women in question; A,B & C, did not exhaust 'domestic remedies' and this formed part of the Irish Government's defence.
Article 35 – Admissibility criteria
- The Court may only deal with the matter after all domestic remedies have been exhausted, according to the generally recognised rules of international law, and within a period of six months from the date on which the final decision was taken.
In the Court's response to this defence, it's important to note that there is a difference between C’s claim and that made by A&B. C’s complaint was that her situation was allowed under the Irish constitution but no suitable domestic remedy was available to her - there was a lack of legislation that allowed her to have her abortion case to be assessed properly despite being entitled to. Her ability to exhaust domestic remedies was limited, therefore the court ruled accordingly:
154. The third applicant feared her pregnancy constituted a risk to her life and complained under Article 8 about the lack of legislation implementing the constitutional right to an abortion in the case of such a risk. She argued that she therefore had no effective procedure by which to establish her qualification for a lawful abortion in Ireland and that she should not be required to litigate to do so.
155. In those circumstances, the Court considers that the question of the need for the third applicant to exhaust judicial remedies is inextricably linked, and therefore should be joined, to the merits of her complaint under Article 8 of the Convention (Tysiąc v. Poland, no. 5410/03 (dec.) 7 February 2006).
4. The Court’s conclusion
156. Accordingly, the Court dismisses the Government’s objection on grounds of a failure to exhaust domestic remedies as regards the first and second applicants and joins this objection to the merits of the third applicant’s complaint under Article 8 of the Convention.
Conversely A&B were bringing a case that was not permitted under the Irish constitution. And it's clear from the judgment that the ECHR considered that any domestic remedies would have been next to pointless which is why they also considered their cases - again the ability to exhaust 'domestic remedies' was very limited:
147. However, the Court does not consider that it has been demonstrated that such an action would have had any prospect of success, going against, as it would, the history, text and judicial interpretation of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution.Thus the view that domestic remedies were virtually non-existent permitted the ECHR to rule on these cases, allowing them to bypass domestic courts.
The Court's rulings though have essentially upheld the Irish constitution. It did not condemn abortion and in the case of A&B it appears to have tried to strike a balance between women's rights and the wishes of the Irish people:
The Court considers it reasonable to find that each applicant felt the weight of a considerable stigma prior to, during and after their abortions: they travelled abroad to do something which, on the Government’s own submissions, went against the profound moral values of the majority of the Irish people.However the Court ruled that C's case was a failure of the state to legislate properly under her right of the constitution:*
‘The Court considers that the uncertainty generated by the lack of legislative implementation of Article 40.3.3, and more particularly by the lack of effective and accessible procedures to establish a right to an abortion under that provision, has resulted in a striking discordance between the theoretical right to a lawful abortion in Ireland on grounds of a relevant risk to a woman’s life and the reality of its practical implementation‘In my view the ECHR has pulled off quite a deft trick here (if cynically you think courts judge in political terms not legal ones); subtlety changing Ireland's abortion laws without breaching legally its mandate.
Though I doubt any appreciation of the slight trick of the hand will be enough to pacify Ireland, as anti-Europe emotions are still running high; the reaction is likely to be altogether different.
*It's worth noting here, that I think a conflict arises here between the ECHR's (and EU state's) 'positive obligations' and Ireland's common law based 'classical obligations'.
The European Court of Human Rights is due to rule on whether the Irish Republic's anti-abortion laws violate women's human rights.
The case was brought to the Strasbourg-based court by three Irish women who say their health was put at risk by having to travel abroad for abortions.
The ruling could have all sorts of significant implications and the gravity of the decision is reflected by the decision of the court to issue its ruling at a public sitting rather than by a written statement.
We will know shorty whether Ireland will face another attack on its sovereignty.
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Now clear? Where have you been for the last 5 years? Wakey wakey:
David Cameron’s true position on Europe is now clear – he’s an integrationist.
His administration has written to the European Commission asking it to invoke a provision in the Lisbon Treaty called “enhanced cooperation”. This allow groups of EU countries to push forward with speedier integration, without every member taking part, and the Government wants to use it to create a single European patent system.Well what a surprise, the Tories love more integration, we already know that:
Currently, member states have their own patent offices. These work together as members of a non-EU body, the European Patent Organisation, which helps companies gain patents across 40 countries.
Of course, the European Commission believes that this is terrible – and, with the British Government’s support, wants to grab control of patents. It claims that the status quo hurts European companies because it burdens them with higher costs than those faced by their Japanese and American rivals. But, like so many integrationist arguments, this is feeble.
Of course it's feeble but Tories still want to integrate further. Even Open Europe admits it wants to remain in the EU:
Mats finally admitted that Open Europe does not want the UK to leave the EU
And in summary, Alex Singleton states the obvious:
...What David Cameron’s administration is supporting is yet another poorly-conceived act of European integration – and one which would remove patents from democratic control and place them at the mercy of Brussels legislators and the lobbyists who take them for lunch. David Cameron’s support is unforgivable, and this provides another reminder that, on Europe, the current lot of Tories cannot be trusted.Of course the Tories can't be trusted but their supporters will still continue to do precisely that, i.e trust them. Oh what is to be done?
Sunday, 12 December 2010
A German man has failed in an attempt to circumvent the EU ban on 100 watt incandescent lightbulbs by rebranding the product as Heatballs.
An EU wide ban on the importation and sale of the powerful bulbs was imposed last year on environmental grounds.
Customs will now seize and destroy 40,000 bulbs imported by Siegfried Rotthäuser must be destroyed.
Mr Rotthäuser had advertised the lightbulbs as a source of heat and the components of a resistance art project.
Nevermind, not only does it create a black market (more money) but being British there's a wonderful loophole to get around the EU ban. As a result I have a garage stuffed full of pallets containing light bulbs should anyone wish to buy any.
Thanks EU, you're helping to pay my mortgage.
...and how do we ensure that someone elected predominantly by voters in rural areas gives due weight to the issues affecting inner-city Bristol? How do we stop them pandering to populism? I have real concerns that we’ll end up electing a demagogue or worse. After all, the track record on elected mayors isn’t great…"The record on elected mayors isn't great". Wonderful arrogance, the wishes of the electorate aren't up to Kerry's standard. That's the funny thing about democracy you might not get the result you like. If there's a danger of electing a demagogue (i.e. someone you don't agree with) perhaps we should abolish democracy altogether? Oh wait Kerry, you've done a good job of acheiving that already. And every one of her objections, highlighted above, could be used against electing MPs. After all the track record in elected Members of Parliament isn't so great either.
Ms McCarthy's real agenda is contained in the phrase 'pandering to populism'. A euphemism to smear those who have to live with genuine problems but whose ideas regarding practical solutions are at odds with hers. Critics of populism essentially argue that if you allow all the hoi polloi to have a say; "then...well... they come up with the most inappropriate ideas - they need to be told the 'right' direction to go in". Another way of looking at the proposals of elected Police Commissioners is that they will be more receptive to the wishes of the public because of the power of the ballot box, rather than the top-down out-of-touch priorities imposed by Government.
And as a victim of crime on a number of occasions it's pretty clear to me (and I suspect many others) where Police priorities really lie. Been burgled? Don't bother ringing in unless you need to claim on insurance. The response you will get when you report it is (and I received on 3 separate occasions); "Look, we can't be arsed to visit, so here's your URN for insurance purposes, now sod off." I wonder if Ms McCarthy considers that to be due weight given to the issues affecting certain people?
Have a disabled wife? In a wheelchair? She parks in one of Tesco's disabled parking bays, clearly displaying a blue badge. She then gets verbally abused by a middle aged man who thinks she isn't 'crippled enough' and subsequently physically threatens "to knock her head off". Big lump of a husband (me) returns from putting trolley back, intervenes to protect said wife. Guess who the Police issued a Section 5 to because it was easier to process. Go on you'll never guess.
It's long overdue that the state starts responding to the wishes of the people they serve. That's what Ms McCarthy is really scared of.
Saturday, 11 December 2010
The main three parties are all on the same page when it comes to the major issues. Whether it is EU membership, climate change, taxation and public spending, defence, or any number of issues, the only disagreements are matters of nuance rather than substance. The wishes of the people are simply ignored until it is time to publish a tissue of lies masquerading as manifestos before the electoral charade every 4-5 years. Once the election is over, it is business as usual and the disconnect from the public is re-established.Democracy is a contract; in order for the state to expect me to obey its laws, then I should have a say in how those laws are made (via the ballot box), and also the opportunity to voice my opinions publicly. By signing up to an unaccountable bureaucracy (EU) the state has breached its side of the contract and effectively disenfranchised us.
The student disorder of recent weeks has brought this subject to the fore. Regretably these protests were not about matters of real substance, such as our democracy, our liberty and our sovereignty. They were about a misplaced sense of entitlement and a wish to continue indulging their choices at the expense of taxpayers. The behaviour was therefore unjustified. The students positioned their protest ‘against the rich’ and the ‘establishment’. They spectacularly missed the point that they should be protesting in a targeted manner against the political class and the ruling elite. Their protest did not warrant or justify the violence we witnessed.
However I can now envisage violence being justified as a means to an end – not in order to demand money from the government, but rather demanding the restoration of democracy and representative governance. Not violence to attack the police, law and order. But rather to remove those in the ruling class who abuse the law for their own ends and subvert our country, handing it over to foreign control from underneath us without mandate or permission.
The rules of the game have changed. By making it impossible for us to remove the political clones from power through democratic elections and select a genuine alternative the political class has left the population with no option but to engage in civil disobedience and possibly direct action in order to ensure the our wishes are respected and the country is run in our interests.
As Autonomous Mind points out when this happens direct action regrettably becomes the only realistic option.
Now just over a week since the open and honest voting procedure took place we learn that Barcelona has a new shirt sponsor. Barcelona are famous for never having a shirt sponsor, the shirts remaining unsoiled by corporate logos (though they have recently paid to support the UNICEF cause). Something which the fans were rightly proud of.
That has all changed as Barcelona have signed up to biggest shirt sponsorship deal in history, worth £125 million. And the new sponsor? The Qatar Foundation. Surely a coincidence?
Thursday, 9 December 2010
As an aside, for such a pro-climate change party it's interesting that they used the same music as a famous ending of Top Gear's tribute to the car. Marvellous.
hattip for the video: all seeing eye
MORE than 100,000 people have signed up to the Daily Express’s crusade for Britain to quit the European Union, it can be revealed today.I'm not sure by the last line whether it means all newspapers or just in the Express's history, but either way it's good news and a sure sign that the Express has successfully tapped into people's concerns which hitherto have long been ignored.
The newspaper has received a deluge of our special crusade coupons calling on David Cameron’s Government to organise an orderly withdrawal from the EU.
Support has hit six figures in just over a week since the historic crusade was launched. It is on course to become the fastest growing campaign in newspaper history.
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Personally I'm rather pleased that it won't work. I don't want a referendum on every single transfer of power to the EU - what a waste of time (and money) - I just want the one referendum; 'in or out'.
A strong and successful referendum lock would have made the 'out' cause that much harder. It will allow the Tories to argue that they were genuine eurosceptics shown by the fact that regular referendums were held, it won't negate all of the previous EU competencies that have been agreed so our real government would still reside in Brussels regardless.
Having a weak referendum lock will ensure that integration will continue apace, which means the 'out' cause not only becomes easier all the time to argue for but that exit gets ever closer. By introducing such a weak bill, Cameron has unwittingly helped in our cause. More integration means a quicker exit.
In other words we need a Queen sacrifice to force checkmate.
Monday, 6 December 2010
"Would you like some stamps?" inquires young girl behind till.
"No Thanks" I reply.
Then the young girl spots the much larger card with the words 'to my wife' emblazoned across the front:
"This one is a large letter size, you'll need a large-size stamp. Would you like to buy one?"*
" Er no, the card's for my wife and I live with her, unsurprisingly" I reply.
*Large letter sizes? Yep that'll be the EU
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Meanwhile here's a cracking post by Autonomous Mind, who blogs, about the recent debacle of Sepp Fatter et al and England's failed World cup bid, far better than I.
We've clearly lost because of media reports. A Panorama investigation 3 days before? It was obviously deliberately timed as such as to destroy our bid. I can see copious champagne bottles entering Broadcasting House now.
Update: At least we won't have to use the abomination that is Stadium: MK.
In truth much of what is said could apply to any of the main political parties and to arguments such as; leaving the EU, controlling mass immigration and climate change. It's well worth a read in full, but here's a couple of extracts:
But there is an arrogance at the heart of our politics that is going to make it difficult to really understand why we lost. It is an arrogance that says that we alone own morality and that we alone want the best for people. It says that our instincts and our motives alone are pure. It’s an arrogance that belittles others’ fears and concerns as “isms” whilst raising ours as righteous. We then mistakenly define ourselves as being distinctive from our opponents because we are morally superior rather than because we have different diagnoses and solutions. It is lazy, wrong and politically dangerous.If you think that I am being harsh, just think about what we say about our opponents. We assume that they are all in it for themselves, that they are indifferent to the suffering of others. In fact, that they are quite happy to induce more suffering if it suits their malign ends. What we don’t think is that they may want the same things as us, but just have a different approach. Instead, we cast high-minded aspersions on their morality and humanity.
But does it matter? Well, yes, I think that it does. Because our arrogance has the effect of stopping us listening. In fact, it is worse than that: we think that we are listening when many voters know that we are not. If we are honest, all too often we do believe that our version of the world is not just better than anyone else’s, but also more moral and in fact just plain right. It makes us believe that if people don’t agree with us then they are either less moral or need educating. Possibly both. It is how we dismiss the opinion polls which show people being concerned about things that we would rather they weren’t, like immigration and welfare abuse.The irony being I doubt many of the political class will take much notice of the salient points within this piece because of their...well...arrogance.
So now you know.
"Winters will get milder with climate change, however scientists have said that they will actually start off getting colder as the melting Arctic ice takes effect".
*Update: I should make it clear that the above statement was made by a spokesperson for The Weather Club (Yes, yes the irony) but the assertions went completely unchallenged and the two BBC presenters nodded approvingly.
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
This one from Grove & Wantage:
Ok UKIP came last, but look at the 'official council' pie chart...
...all the parties' are named except UKIP with is labeled as 'other' despite no 'other' party standing.
And this is even worse:
The Green party is named with 9.29% but UKIP with 12.52% is just dismissed as 'other'.
This is an official council website. It's an undemocratic disgrace.
Update: There's plenty more examples.
Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch:
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford to Lord Tebbit on 10 November (WA 80), what areas of United Kingdom national sovereignty have been transferred to European Union competence since 1972 under (a) majority voting, and (b) unanimity, in the Council of Ministers; and what areas remain under the sole control of Parliament.[HL4192](My emphasis below):
So there it is in black and white, Conservative Lord Howell of Guildford admits that Parliament could say no but doesn't. We can remove ourselves from EU competences, and EU governance, (though now slightly more difficult) if only our MPs knew what a spine looks like.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): No areas of competence have been transferred from the UK to the EU under majority voting or unanimity in the Council of Ministers. The limits of EU competence are clearly set out in the EU treaties, and only an amendment of the EU treaties can transfer any competence to or from the EU.
Parliament is sovereign; and EU law has effect in the UK because-and solely because-Parliament wills that it should. The EU Bill currently before Parliament includes a clause which seeks to place on a statutory footing this common-law principle.
The pilot of the plane which crashed with UKIP leader Nigel Farage on board has been charged with threatening to kill him in a separate incident.Wow.
Justin Adams, 45, from Faringdon, Oxford, appeared before magistrates in the city on Tuesday charged with two counts of making threats to kill.
It is believed the second count Mr Adams faces relates to the threatening of an aviation official.
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
So what do I do? I need to save up enough money to finance a multinational petition covering at least three EU countries with at least 300,000 (yes, three-hundred-thousand) signatures.
And that's not even half way there. The European Commission then decides whether the interests of those 300,000 people from a minimum of three EU countries is worth their time or own interests shutting it down immediately, or giving it the thumbs up for phase two. Phase two can't be that big a deal can it? After all we've convinced 300,000 people from more than 3 EU countries to sign a petition and then we've convinced the EU Commission that all 300,000 people's interests are worthy of their attention. So what more?
After the thumbs up, we need a total of 700,000 more signatures from a minimum of a total of nine EU countries. Oh and that's not the only thing. You know those signatures I've been banging on about? I slipped up. I need to go back to those 1 million people and convince them to also give me their national identification number, in the form of their social security numbers or passport numbers.
Not only that, due to data protection laws I have to also invest in security measures to protect the information of over 1 million people with a minimum of 7 million pieces of information. The costs of all of this would be a minimum of half a million pounds. That's assuming I get the bare minimum of requirements fulfilled.
And even after following all that successfully, it's still not enough. The EU then turns round and says it still doesn't count:
The entry into force of the EU's new citizens' initiative (ECI) - a petition procedure under the Lisbon Treaty allowing European citizens to demand action in a particular area - is likely to be welcomed by a legal battle between Greenpeace and the EU institutions.
A legal battle? Why? After all...
The environmental NGO has successfully collected the required 1 million signatories in a petition calling on the EU to ban GMOs...Job done surely?
...but officials from both the European Commission and the European Parliament say the move is premature.Oh FFS!
"We've always said that we take their opinion very seriously but it's not an ECI as the legislation is not yet in place," [said] Michael Mann, the commission's administration spokesman.So what about those one million signatures already collected?
"Strictly speaking, they would have to do it all over again," he added.
It's almost like they're making the process as difficult as possible. Surely that's unthinkable? Still, at least more taxpayers money will get
wasted spent in the meantime:
A European Parliament official concurred. "We may end up going to court on this," the contact said.
Monday, 29 November 2010
"The EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Olli Rehn, has said that it would not be advisable for any new government in Ireland to attempt to renegotiate either the interest rate on the EU/IMF loan or the use of the National Pension Reserve Fund in repairing the banking sector."It won't be advisable to any new Government which has an elected mandate? So if the majority of the Irish vote to default, then tough? Why not do away with elections altogether then Mr Rehn?
In an interview with RTÉ News, Commissioner Rehn said it did not want to involve himself in democratic politics in Ireland.Of course not, democratic politics is an alien concept to you, much better to remain above it all, directing operations but out of the grasp of accountability.
He said he 'fully understood' the frustration and anger of the Irish people about the banking sector, which he said had made big mistakes in the past.Ahhh 'fully understood'? How sympathetic, however...
'...we have to move on and the essential thing is to complete the repair, implying both the restructuring and downsizing of the banking system,' he said.In other words, the people, their jobs, their lives, their concerns are irrelevant.
Mr Rehn said he did not see any tensions or reservations in other member states approving the loan. 'I trust there is the same sense of responsibility and solidarity both for Ireland and Europe as a whole,' he stated.Not from where I'm standing there isn't. If Mr Rehn comes anywhere near this country with such statements then he's going to promptly receive an oversized, ticking, Jiffy bag with the letters ACME stamped on it.
Mr Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East) (Con): What will happen if another eurozone country requires a bail-out? Will Britain’s involvement be kept to a minimum?...and Spain and Italy and Belgium.
Mr Osborne: I say this about any future action that we may or may not have to take. On the bilateral loan, I said last week that there were some very specific—I stress the words “very specific”—circumstances that would lead us to support Ireland because of the interconnectedness of our economies. I also said that the European financial stability mechanism, the EU fund, was something that the previous Government had signed up to, and that the UK could not block its use because it operated under qualified majority voting.
Can we leave yet please?
Oh and Cameron's happiness index nonsense is somewhat similar to other proposals (my emphasis):
UK likely to opt in to EU cross-border traffic finesThe EU is to agree on a new directive on Thursday, which would enforce cross-border road traffic penalties in Europe, the Sunday Times reports. Under new rules, British motorists could face six-figure fines if they are captured exceeding the speed limit in other EU countries. Sources close to negotiations have said that the new proposal, for which the UK has an opt-out, is expected to be endorsed by UK officials.
David Cameron has said “From April next year we will start measuring our progress as a country not just by how our economy is growing, but by how our lives are improving, not just by our standard of living, but by our quality of life. … We’ll continue to measure GDP as we’ve always done, but it is high time we admitted that, taken on its own, GDP is an incomplete way of measuring a country’s progress.” The PM asked the Office for National Statistics to develop subjective measures. It seems that potential indicators will include health, levels of education, inequalities in income and the environment. David Cameron’s ideas seem overwhelmingly similar to proposals by the European Commission on measuring GDP.Obviously in practice the EU 'happiness index' survey will go something like this:
The Commission has pointed out that GDP and unemployment figures are published on a timely basis but not environmental and social data. They will therefore endeavour to produce environmental and social data more rapidly. The Commission wants to put in place a more accurate reporting on distribution and inequalities in order to allow a better definition of policies on social and economic cohesion.
- EU: "Are you happy?"
- Me: "No".
- EU: "Wrong answer, try again".
But when you look at the money quote, it's a liiittle bit different. The Tory Government agrees in principle it just has concerns with some of the logistics:
"While I support greater cooperation between member states over the issue of road safety, we feel there is still more work to be done on these proposals to address a number of important issues," said Mike Penning, the road safety minister.So that's a yes we'll be opting in then
This is not a rescue plan. It is the longest ransom note in history: do what we tell you and you may, in time, get your country back.
The extent of the abandonment of Irish national interests is clear from three aspects of the deal.
No, Irish democracy was abandoned by its very own people who agreed to further EU integration.
The interest rate, at almost 6 per cent, is viciously extortionate.
The National Pension Reserve Fund, which is all we’ve got left for strategic investment to rebuild our economy, is to handed over – in a brazen example of “demanding money with menaces” – to failed banks.
The disastrous banking strategy is to be continued: “an intensification of the measures already adopted by the Government” is the Government’s own phrase. And a savage attack on low-paid workers, in the form of a huge reduction in the minimum wage, is to be written into a binding agreement.
Would the Irish people, if asked, vote for any of these measures as decent solutions to our very real dilemmas? That the answer is so obviously “no” tells us the brutal truth: Irish democracy has been abandoned by a zombie government.
Sunday, 28 November 2010
- US diplomats spy on people?
- America doesn't like Kim Jong-ill of North Korea very much.
- Shock horror French President Nicholas Sarkozy is "thin skinned" (and short).
- There are concerns about Iran's nuclear programme. And the other countries in the middle east are nervous. Really?
- Cameron is a 'lightweight'.
- Gordon Brown is 'deranged' (I wondered why he lost the election).
- The Afghan government is corrupt (that allegation shocked me the most I have to say).
- There are links between the Russian government and the Russian mafia. Blimey next the USA will be telling us that the Russian tea making capabilities are lethal.
- The UK armed forces lost in Iraq and is losing in Afghanistan. Yep we already know.
- Inappropriate remarks by a member of the British Royal family about a UK law enforcement agency and a foreign country. Inappropriate remarks? By a member of the Royal Family? Nope I can't think of a suspect either.
- The Chinese hack stuff.
- 'Saint O'bama' doesn't like the UK.
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Supermarkets are to be banned from selling wine, beer and spirits below a national "minimum price" under plans to be unveiled by ministers.Only one paragraph in the Telegraph article hints at the problem:
Overall, their plans will be hard to introduce because they will run up against existing competition laws which ban unfair discrimination against firms which can supply goods at the lowest cost.I wonder why. It's perfectly clear that this article is deliberately ignoring the EU issue, despite it being pointed out. It's time to do 'a Liverpool' to all the MSM.
The European Union's ruling on giving British prisoners the vote is a blatant breach of our sovereignty.It was an institution of the Council of Europe ruling, not the EU, but on the other hand any anti-EU publicity is good, however confusing, especially given that other devastating EU policies get ignored.
However that the Telegraph makes such a basic error says a lot about its journalism.
BRITAIN could quit the European Union virtually overnight to herald a new era of independence and freedom, campaigners declared yesterday.Quoting Douglas Carswell:
They poured scorn on Britain is now so tied in, departure is impossible. Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: “It would be relatively straightforward. The idea it would be a hugely complex process is just not true.”
New rules attempting to stop nations quitting the EU were introduced three years ago under the controversial Lisbon Treaty. A new two-year departure process was introduced in a bid to discourage any bolt for the exit door as support for the union sank across Europe.The Express article makes it seem as if it's a simple case of repealing the 1972 European Communities Act. Before Lisbon that was true, however the ratification of Lisbon changes that position significantly. It's no longer that easy and here's why.
...once the parliamentary procedure was complete, EU bosses could do little to stand in Britain’s way.
Countries exiting international organizations are covered by the Vienna Convention on the Law on Treaties. Article 56(1) states (my emphasis):
1. A treaty which contains no provision regarding its termination and which does not provide for denunciation or withdrawal is not subject to denunciation or withdrawal unless:So if there's no specific provision for exit then members states can be free to leave by terminating the treaty, and as no EU treaties have had any such provision before Lisbon, then previously we could have simply repealed the ECA and it's bye bye EU.
a) it is established that the parties intended to admit the possibility of denunciation or withdrawal; or
b) a right of denunciation or withdrawal may be implied by the nature of the treaty.
However, Lisbon is different because it does have a provision for exit via Article 50:
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.Therefore it's covered by Article 54 of the Vienna Convention on the Law on Treaties (my emphasis):
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.
The termination of a treaty or the withdrawal of a party may take place:We are bound therefore by international law to follow the method laid out in Lisbon. Either by negotiating our exit with the agreement of the other 26 member states (unlikely) or failing that enduring a 2 year 'cooling-off' period during which, as Lisbon Treaty Article 50(4) above makes clear, we would have no participation in EU affairs at all although still technically a member state. The EU, could then during that period (out of spite) pass all sorts of financial, and other, penalties on us.
(a) in conformity with the provisions of the treaty; or
(b) at any time by consent of all the parties after consultation with the other contracting States.
Our exit is likely to be costly and painful. We were stitched up by the French, twice over, on the way in and undoubtedly we will be stitched up on the way out.
Friday, 26 November 2010
Which has done nothing to lessen the markets fears:
Portugal insisted this morning that it was under no pressure from its European Union partners to accept a multimillion euro bailout that could prevent the crisis in the eurozone spreading to its neighbour Spain.
After Financial Times Deutschland reported eurozone nations and the European Central Bank were urging Portugal to follow Ireland and capitulate to financial aid, the office of the Portuguese prime minister José Sócrates said it was "totally false" that the country was under such pressure.
The contagion is gathering momentum and spreading:
LONDON (Dow Jones)--Denials by the Portuguese and Spanish governments that Portugal is under pressure to seek financial aid failed to prevent another sell-off in both countries' sovereign bonds Friday.
The yield premium that investors demand to hold 10-year Portuguese sovereign bonds rather than German bunds rose 12 basis points to 444 basis points, according to Tradeweb.
Spain's 10-year bund spread rose 15 basis points to a fresh euro-era record high of 267 basis points.
"[Talk of Portugal being forced to accept aid] all looks like papering over the cracks and will not lead to any confidence in the single currency,"One wonders how long the EU can keep putting off the inevitable. said in a note. "It seems that factors are lining up now to conspire against the euro. No amount of jawboning from various officials will lessen the chance of contagion spreading."
Update: Spain are doing the denying bit now:
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain flatly ruled out needing a bailout and said results of extra health checks on its ailing savings banks would be published next spring, as its government and central bank stepped up efforts to calm uneasy investors.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said there was "absolutely" no chance Spain would need to seek outside help to manage its finances..
That's "flatly ruled out"...and..."absolutely no chance".
Thursday, 25 November 2010
"It is inconceivable that the euro fails,"Glug glug glug
Glug glug glug.
So says today's Express:
hattip: All Seeing Eye
THE Daily Express today becomes the first national newspaper to call for Britain to leave the European Union.
From this day forth our energies will be directed to furthering the cause of those who believe Britain is Better Off Out.
The famous and symbolic Crusader who adorns our masthead will become the figurehead of the struggle to repatriate British sovereignty from a political project that has comprehensively failed.
Update: I've purchased a paper copy, it took ages as all the newsagents near me had sold out of the Express (but not the other papers). Now I've not bought a paper copy of the Express for a very long time, so this maybe normal thus I'm reluctant to read too much into this but it appears encouraging. Anyway you can sign a petition here or print off further vouchers from here.
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
[French] President Nicolas Sarkozy was yesterday accused of calling French journalists "paedophiles" in a furious off-the-record exchange at the Nato summit in Lisbon last week.
One wonders, as Sarkozy is so short, he feels threatened?
Police are blocking in thousands of student protesters in central London, after a wave of protests against higher tuition fees and university cuts.But when even the BBC website leads with this, then you know there are more important things going on in the world:
A No-Nonsense Guide for UK Citizens to what the European Union Delivers.I think we've already worked that out for ourselves, thanks.
This website is firmly in the "we haven't got our message across" camp, the default position of every deeply unpopular government who's unable to comprehend why. Labour were masters of this before the last election.
The website even has it's own EU Myths page. Pro EU loving types simply adore these, as if dispelling a few silly tabloid articles somehow justifies its existence. It doesn't.
Funnily enough, that the EU is a fundamentally corrupt, undemocratic, self-serving bureaucracy which won't take 'no' for an answer doesn't appear under EU Myths. I wonder why?
Update: Reading the myths, they don't even give an original source as to where the story came from. And quite often, as I posted here they are result of assuming a paper has said something which it hasn't.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will encourage or require the installation of closed circuit television cameras in abattoirs.I'll be honest and admit that my first response to reading this was; why? Are they trying to catch which pig is nicking the biscuits? Anyway it's to do with animal welfare so not an ignoble cause. The subsequent debate trundles along for a few minutes arguing pros and cons until we get the real answer:
My Lords, we have no power to insist that every abattoir should have CCTV, and that will be made even clearer when the latest EU regulation, Regulation 1099/2009, comes into effect.That's right. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley) is admitting that the Government has "no power".
What's the point of Parliament again?
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Shocking, I mean the voters might get a say on how their Government has acted or on the budget. Of course this is utterly disgraceful. EU commissioner Olli Rehn has also waded in:
EUROPEAN OFFICIALS have warned that any collapse of the Coalition before an EU-IMF rescue deal was struck would be “very irresponsible”.
As the Greens signalled their exit from Government in January and anxiety about contagion risk from Ireland’s crisis weighed on the euro, a source familiar with the position of European negotiators said it was their clear understanding with the Irish authorities that the Government would be able to pass the 2011 budget next month.
It is essential that Ireland will pass the budget in the timeline foreseen and certainly sooner rather than later because every day that is lost increases uncertainty. Let's adopt the budget, let's get it out of the way, and let's move on.Let's get it out the way? Let's move on? Rather like the Lisbon Treaty? Piss off you unelected tosser.
Monday, 22 November 2010
Tough! The Irish have had their democratic mandate, they voted, via referendum, yes to:
- Third Amendment (8 June 1972): Permitted the state to join the European Communities.
- Tenth Amendment (22 June 1987): Permitted the state to ratify the Single European Act.
- Eleventh Amendment (16 July 1992): Permitted the state to ratify the Maastricht Treaty.
- Eighteenth Amendment (3 June 1998): Allowed the state to ratify the Amsterdam Treaty.
- Twenty-sixth Amendment (7 November 2002): Allowed the state to ratify the Nice Treaty.
- Twenty-eighth Amendment (15 October 2009): Allowed the state to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon.
The Irish people expected to pay in austerity cuts for their banks' sins have another option. Reject the ECB and IMF, ditch the euro”And the Aussies have noticed:
EUROPE'S single-currency trial is looking more and more like an error.The simple answer? No
AS Europe's money men bail out Ireland to the tune of about E80 billion ($110bn), the next key question concerns the European Union's failing currency: can it survive in its present form?
But Ireland's woes threaten not only the euro - the grandest of the EU's grand projects - but the EU itself. The kind of rhetoric normally reserved for hardened Eurosceptics has found its way to the heart of the European mainstream and its seat of power in Brussels,Good. And the Irish bail-out saga is not quite going to plan either:
The latest is that Ireland's government is on the brink of collapse. The Green party, a junior partner in the current Irish coalition, called for a General Election. The prospect of an election is likely to undo the short-lived stability the markets demonstrated on this morning, we are told.hattip for Guardian article: Douglas Carswell
"We [the UK] should join [the euro] as soon as the economic conditions are right"Ken Clarke yesterday (circa 19mins in):
"I never advocated joining the exchange rate...(spot the backtrack moment)"The desperation to engage reverse gear is a joy to behold as the Tory Europhiles' precious project goes tits up.
And as a Brucie bonus here's an Independent article from 2002.