Tuesday, May 31

There will be a referendum in the UK

For the avoidance of any doubt I am of the view unequivocally that there will be a British referendum on the EU Constitution next year.

I stress this because comments made to me since my piece in The Northern Echo (31 May) have resulted a number of calls from 'fellow travellers' to check my position and query as to why I am stating the opposite to other eurosceptics; the reaction has been interesting.

As Churchill once said: ''I do not resent criticism, even when, for the sake of emphasis, it parts company with reality''.( House of Commons 22 Jan 1941)

Much of the past two days comment in the press and on the news and current affairs broadcasts is missing the key aspects of the 'fallout' from the French referendum result. Be under no misunderstanding, the decision to carry on with the ratification process is not one that can be made by any member state. Even Chirac knew that. It is "owned" by the European Council, which will meet on 16/17 June and then make its formal announcement.
As it stands, 24 of the 25 member states – the one exception being the UK – has already committed to continuing with ratification. And, as Thatcher found to her cost at Milan in 1985, a Council vote is carried by a simple majority.
On that basis, Blair will not submit himself to the humiliation of being outvoted and being instructed by the "colleagues" to continue with his referendum plans. He will therefore declare that it is his decision to carry on, in the "interests of democracy" after ''a period of consideration''.
That, in effect, will give him the moral high ground, because he will have decided to "listen to the people". It will give him "ownership" of the referendum, back footing the Tories who have been calling for it to be abandoned. Furthermore, a referendum on these terms could be winnable for the yes campaign!

Blair would simply say that, with the French out of the way, Britain could take the leadership of Europe. "Vote 'yes' for reform", would be the strong, and persuasive message.Perversely, that could also bring the French back on-side of the EU architects.
Under a new president in 2007, the message could be that the "Anglo Saxons are capturing Europe – we must get back in to rescue it".
For the moment, though, the managers of 'Europe' are looking to buy time, and the only option available to them, short of conceding defeat – which they cannot and will not do - is to continue with the ratification. That is why, even despite the expected Dutch "no" on Wednesday – which has already been discounted as not relevant - they will take this course of action.
Thus on 16 or 17 June, if not before, Blair will announce that the referendum will go ahead.Then the injunction given by Blair on 20 April 2004 to the House of Commons - as he announced his intention to hold a referendum - will really come alive: "Let the issue be put and let the battle be joined".

As those across the water, that have caused much of this dam problem, often say:
Liberte - Egalite - Fraternite.

From the Farm -12

Pork Scratchings from the WTO
In 1980, some 76% of the global human population was found in developing countries and these people consumed one-third of the world’s meat and milk.
It is estimated that by 2020, they may account for 80% percent of the world’s population, but two-thirds of direct consumption of meat and 60% of milk consumption.

So says a paper on the globalisation livestock sector, presented recently to a committee of United Nations food/agriculture organisation FAO. It also noted how pork had been a major part of the growing meat demand in developing countries.
The consumption of pork in the developing nations grew by 60% between 1983 and 1997, it said. What is more, they remain among the Top 20 exporters and importers in value terms for livestock products including pigs and pork.

But the paper warned that the developing countries still face a difficult trading environment internationally, even after the actions taken under World Trade Organisation rules to liberalise market access.
It also contained some warnings about health risks from globalisation. Longer market chains and sourcing of products from wider geographical areas may be a fact of life in the modern age, it indicated, but they increase the risk of spreading disease and heighten the challenge of traceability. Although approximately 10% of the livestock produced worldwide are now traded across international borders, up from only 4% in the early 1980’s, the developed countries of the world prefer to trade with partners of a similar health status.

Monday, May 30

Article by Peter Troy

The Northern Echo - Tuesday 31 May 05
Winston Churchill once commented that constitutions should be short and obscure. The Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe with its 482 pages of text is far from short and is both complex and contradictory.

It is no wonder that two days after the French people rejected the EU Constitution the consensus of opinion of people that I have spoken to in the North East is that it is businesses as usual. Quite simply nothing has changed and life goes on.

The EU Constitution is in fact more important than any other European issue todate. It is the blue print not of a Supranational Europe, nor even a Federal States of Europe but of a Centralised State of Europe. The detail of the Constitution will, if it were to be ratified fundamentally change the structure and the nature of what we have been persuaded to call 'Europe'. The importance of the debate on the EU Constitution is that it will impose a centralising control on all aspects our lives; debate on this Constitution is vital.

The rejection by the French people does not mean that the constitution is dead. Far from it, the architects of the European Union only have one policy and one objective - political integration. The fanatically focused approach of the political and unelected officials in the driving seat of the Union will continue with what they know best, forging ahead regardless of democratic obstacles.

The strategy of our political masters is already clear. Tony Blair has responded with the same words uttered by the Foreign Secretary, saying it was ''too early to decide whether or not Britain will hold a referendum on the EU Constitution.''

Following the expected no vote in the Netherlands tomorrow the political focus will then move to Brussels and the European Council gathering on 16/17 June. There I predict with certainty the argument will prevail that it would be ''unfair'' to allow just a few countries to dictate the future of Europe - every country must have a chance to express its opinion on the Constitution.

The History of the EU however, confirms that it is immune to public opinion. The genius of the founding fathers was to design a system in which supreme power was wielded by unelected officials and in which the peoples were presented with a series of fait accomplis. When in 1992 the first No vote in Denmark 's Referendum on the Maastricht Treaty our masters were so set in their ways to consider respecting the result they carried on regardless.

We do not need to have EU Centralised Integration to improve the quality of life in the UK. In the interests of democracy the process of ratification must continue in a full reasoned debate with the issues openly discussed; that means that we need a Referendum on the Constitution. After all in the North East we are rather good at rejecting issues in Referendums that politicians tell us we need, business as usual indeed.

Yes Minister more is better !

''The unnecessary bureaucracy is a burden, both on business and the public sector'' A true statement taken from a job advert placed by the Cabinet Office in the Financial Times last week.

The large amount of 'red tape' and regulation that is imposed upon the process of businesses is well known especially to those who do not work in the public sector (or any of the numerous organisations that are in reality owned or over influenced by government business agencies whose true priority is to tame dissident groups).

In the sprit of Jonathan Lynn's and Anthony Jay's Ministry of Administrative Affairs (Yes Minister 1981-2) the Cabinet Office at 70 Whitehall has announced that ''the government is committed to a major reform programme - one of the most ambitious and far-reaching in the world.''

How does HMG plans to cut through these extraneous layers of red tape and bureaucracy ? Well in what could be the script for a remake of the hilariously funny comedy classic 'Yes Minister' civil servants have issued details of two new government bodies that are to be set up immediately.

'A Better Regulation Executive' to work at the centre of government in the Cabinet Office and 'A Better Regulation Commission' to take on the existing advisory and challenge the role played by the 'Better Regulation Task Force', which will provide ''external scrutiny of departmental progress''.

With so much better bureaucratic planning, two new better government organisations and their no doubt better quality systems to control and co-ordinate the growth in the public sector's self deluding business support industry is clearly guaranteed, whilst actually removing the acknowledged barriers to business growth will remain ''under progress''.

Explaining that better regulation is less regulation and most regulation comes from the EU will be like shouting ''the Emperor has no clothes'' but with the consequence of the modern addition of a long enforced visit to the Ministry of Truth for those that state the obvious.

Comments can be forwarded to the editor c/o room 101 at the Ministry.

Sunday, May 29


With 83 percent of votes counted in for the EU constitutional referendum in France, the score now stands ( at 2235 BST) at 57 per cent NO - 42 per cent YES
The result will almost certainly result in the rejection of the EU constitution by the French People. The likelihood of a referendum in the UK will now be remote yet the implementation of much of the content of the constitution will be implemented by 'the back door' via existing treaty agreements will be a continuation of the great deception that started 80 years ago.
More comment to follow.

Marchons, marchons !

As France votes and Netherlands watches.
The result of the EU constitutional referendum in France today and the one in the Netherlands on Wednesday has perfound implecations for the UK. Dr Helen Samamuely comments:

It is no longer the “peripheral” countries like Britain or the Scandinavians, let alone the new East European members that cause or are likely to cause problems. The rot is there at the heart of the project in a way that has astonished the euro-elite.
A couple of days ago I took part in a short discussion on Sky News about the French referendum with Baroness Ludford MEP. (I have maintained for some time that the broadcasters do no favours to the yes side by inviting MEPs and other official beneficiaries of the system. Perhaps, nobody else will agree to take part. But who is going to listen to someone who spends her life dashing from the European Parliament to the House of Lords, travelling 1st class on the Eurostar at the taxpayers’ expense?)
Baroness Ludford was not too happy. She tried all the usual arguments about streamlining the rules, defining roles and giving various rights to parliaments. But she could not get round the fact that a 400-plus page document is not precisely streamlining or, my final argument, that the project has trundled on for years, as one of the political elite. Now the people are finally speaking up and they do not like it.
The good baroness flounced out of the studio, muttering about the many thousands of pages that the British constitution consists of but not waiting for any replies.
It has always been clear in the minds of the founding fathers, like Monnet, that the European project must be pushed forward without any inconvenient intervention by the people of Europe. And how right they were. If only Giscard d’Estaing had not come up with his grandiose plans for a Constitution, this treaty, too, might have slipped in with nothing much more than a bit of grumbling on the periphery.
Indeed, that was expected with some disdain. In January at a conference in Vienna, I debated with Aurore Wanlin, a research fellow at the Centre for European Reform. Her arguments, pronounced with a charming French accent were that the Constitution was making the EU more democratic because it was introducing more layers in the structure.
Mine were much simpler: if there is no accountability there is no democracy. But the funniest discussion, in retrospect was about the possibility of Britain voting no.
Well, she said primly, France will be quite happy if Britain simply leaves the EU. I asked whether France would be quite so happy to lose Britain’s financial contributions and answer came there none.
A couple of months later I noticed that Ms Wanlin published an article in which she explained that the success of the French no campaign showed that the EU had lost touch with the people of Europe. Amazing what one can find out in two or three months.
The Centre for European Reform, an erstwhile perestroika europhile think-tank, now a flag-waving, cheer-leading supporter of the project (with young Mark Leonard as its foreign affairs director), seems to be brooding on the possibility of no votes in France and the Netherlands.
They are a wonderful institution and their papers appear to be solid, well researched and carefully argued in a balanced sort of way. Except for the fact that there is no possibility envisaged of the project not being the best thing since sliced bread. The two recent papers on the possibility of a French no and the probability of a Dutch one are carefully given to a discussion of what to do, how to salvage the treaty in that dire situation. One solution would be to save parts of the treaty and effectively introduce them in a more surreptitious fashion.

“Of course, such attempts to save parts of the constitutional treaty – either through informal application or a mini-IGC – would be highly controversial. Eurosceptics in Britain, France and elsewhere would complain that once again political elites were arrogantly strenghtening the EU behind the backs of the people. If a single EU government felt weak-kneed at the prospect of incurring eurosceptic wrath, such attempt could not work. Both the informal application of parts of the treaty and a mini-IGC would require the unanimous support of every member-state.”
Note, please, the reference to that inconvenient aspect of the whole process, the people, now known as the source of “eurosceptic wrath” to be overcome by the wise and strong-minded governments. And what if the Dutch vote nee? Well, surely, says the Centre for European Reform, we have been here before. After all, the Danish and Irish governments managed to persuade their countries to vote yes the second time round.
It seems quite extraordinary, but these people actually do not understand what it is they are saying.
In the meantime, let me remind our readers of one of the most glorious if seriously ridiculous scenes in cinema history.
The film: Casablanca, the place: Rick’s Bar. German officers start singing the Horst Wessel Song when Viktor László, the leader of the Czech resistance, for some reason bearing a Hungarian name, takes over and instructs the band to play the Marseillaise. They do so and one by one all the staff and customers join in, till the entire bar resounds to the words:
Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos battaillons!
Marchons, marchons!
Qu’un sang impure
Abbreuve nos sillons!


From the UK's best viewed blog 'eureferendum'
No means: "full steam ahead"

Pending announcement of the French result, this Blog has received an intriguing document produced by the Instituto Affari Internazionali, entitled "The European Constitution: How to proceed if France or the Netherlands votes 'no'".
In short, the authors conclude that, in the event of one or both countries voting "no", the ratification process should be neither suspended nor abandoned. They assert that all member states have expressed a commitment to proceed with ratification by virtue of Declaration 30, appended to the Constitutional Treaty.
Member states cannot unilaterally or collectively decide to change the ratification process.
Thus, member states which have not already ratified should continue with the process whence, once 20 members have done so, the matter should be referred to the European Council.In the meantime, the authors caution that "the European Union must not remain paralysed". Rather, they say, "it must continue and intensify its efforts to relaunch its policies, even by implementing in advance, where possible, the provisions of the Treaty that do not meet with open opposition".
Hence, the considered response in the event of a rejection of the constitution should be "full steam ahead". Member states should implement it even faster than they are doing already.
So what, precisely, do we have to do to stop this thing?

Highland Democracy

Levelling the (Scottish) Playing fields.

In the wide open spaces of Scotland the demands of the governments much heralded private finance initiative will mean that many pupils are being crammed into their schools while their playing fields are being built on.

Such is the result of a £ 100 million Private Finance Intitiative (PFI) project to be signed shortly by Highland council under which a private business initiative will build and importantly run 11 new schools, two of which are going ahead despite loud opposition.

Portree High School in Skye is to be rebuilt on its existing inadequate site despite calls for new premises. One of the two playing fields will be lost and the planned new school has already been described by the Royal Fine Arts Commission as ''extremely disappointing'' and by the council's own planning officer as ''mediocre'' and ''not the sort of uplifting place extolled by the executive''.

Back on the mainland in Dingwall, the existing secondary school is to be replaced with a new one on what are now playing fields. New playing fields are to replace the old ones, however these will be of man-made surfaces less suited to school sports and the childhood habit of falling over.

In true local authority tradition, Highland Council reported receiving 205 letters in support of the development but neglected to mention the ballot of over 3,000 Dingwall residents who in a ballot (run by the Electoral Reform Society) rejected the project by 7.5 per cent.

The two Highland Councillors (one of them a member of the Scottish Labour policy forum) claimed that local campaigners were jeopardising the whole PFI project and backed the deal despite the rejection from both the Dingwell community council and the local people.

Bulldozing the childrens playing fields and local opposition seems a very odd way to improve local democracy and indeed children's fitness. Power to the people indeed.

The Sunday Quote -111

The Sunday Quote:

''The European Union is in big trouble - and it has only itself to blame. The looming crisis over the constitution is no more of an accident than the tragedy engulfing the Eurozone Economy.
How do we get ourselves out of this mess without even greater grief ? Not easily. The problems begin and end with the bloody-minded arrogance of a Brussels elite who dish out rules and regulations with total indifference to the millions of people they effect.''

Trevor Kavanagh, Political Editor of the Sun - writing in The Guardian supplement: Is it all over for the European Project ?

In the same article John Cridland the infulencial Deputy Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) wrote:

''I think the EU faces a choice. It can stick with the old model of ''fortress Europe of building a wall around the EU and trading with each other. The problem is that this model relies on the state providing, but the state is becoming overburdened.''

Tony Benn's contribution (the left wing Labour Politician who campaigned to persuade the Government to agree to a referendum) remarked:

'' The Real issue facing us in Europe is a democratic one, who is to govern it, to whome will it be responsible, and why should any nation be required to obay laws that have been made by those we did not elect, can not remove and who will not listen to us.''


Desert Island Wind Turbines

Sundays would not be Sundays without Booker's Notebook in The Sunday Telegraph.
In the column this morning, Booker takes apart Malcolm Wicks, the UK's new energy minister, who last week launched his crusade to build "2000 more wind turbines" across the UK. Writes Booker, "he was guilty of such a stunning act of misinformation we can only believe he did so from ignorance."
The story is accompanied by a stunning photograph, which really brings home the impact of the renewables policy. Unfortunately, it has not been reproduced online so, to see it, you will have to go out and buy a copy of The Sunday Telegraph.
For his second story, Booker reminds us that, according to President Chirac, speaking to journalists in Paris on 28 April 2004, any country voting "no" to the constitution must leave the EU. He may not wish to be reminded of it today, but this was what just after Tony Blair announced that he was to hold a British referendum. Chirac, already under pressure to follow suit, was angry with Blair and said, as the Financial Times reported two days later, it was a matter of "ratify or quit". Booker continues:
As the unthinkable possibility now looms that it might be the people of France who face the "European project" with its most embarrassing setback in 50 years, the one thing certain is that every kind of pressure will be mounted to ensure that the "project" and its constitution remain on course.
So single-minded are those behind it that they have long since jumped the gun by implementing various provisions of the constitution even before it is ratified. These range from setting up the EU’s own worldwide diplomatic service and its police college in Hampshire, to co-ordinate EU-wide police training and procedures, to launching the EU's Galileo space programme and the European Defence Agency, to co-ordinate the ‘Union’s’ defence forces.
At present all these are being pushed forward on an "intergovernmental" basis, because it is only when the constitution is ratified that they can become fully-fledged "Union’ institutions", paid for from the "Union" budget.The project Brussels is particularly keen to see brought under its wing is the European Space Agency. This is because its Galileo satellite programme, unlike its US equivalent, will charge for its services, including a "tax" on all aircraft entering the "single European sky" and an EU-wide system of congestion charging and road tolls.
There is much the EU can get on with without the constitution. But without the ability to raise cash through Galileo, the ‘Union’ stands to lose billions of euros a year. Meanwhile we look forward to hearing President Chirac announce that France, which itself stands to earn billions from Galileo, largely a French project, is now obeying his own injunction to "ratify or quit".The third story is yet another account of the baleful effect of the implementation (and lack) of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. The story needs no elaboration:

Two items in Fishing News bring home the ongoing tragedy of Britain’s fisheries. In Yorkshire, two Bridlington fishermen, Peter and Bob Ibbotson, announced they are giving up fishing, after a lifetime in the industry, after Whitby magistrates imposed on them more than £5,000 in fines and costs for breaching EC fisheries regulations.
Their crime, after 36 hours at sea with only two hours sleep, had been to enter Scarborough harbour without giving advance warning to ministry inspectors.
Under EU rules, if a boat is carrying a ton of cod, a phone warning must be given, so it can be inspected. In fact the inspectors were already waiting when the Wayfarer arrived. They also found that, although the catch itself was wholly legal, the two men had not yet completed their extensive ministry paperwork.
Peter Ibbotson, leaving court, said that "unworkable bureaucracy" now made it impossible for small fishermen to earn a living.Elsewhere was reported the recent devastating onslaught of 10 large Russian trawlers on haddock stocks around Rockall.
When Scottish fisheries inspectors boarded the Russian boats, they found each was carrying between 200 and 400 tons of haddock, whereas Brussels allows Scottish boats to catch only 562 tons in a year. The Russians were also using minute 50 millimetre mesh nets, allowing nothing to escape, whereas the Scottish boats use much larger mesh nets, allowing small fish to go free. It is good to know that European Commission officials later spent a "full day discussing the problem" with their Russian counterparts.
Booker's fourth story has a go at that great doyen of science, Sir David King, appointed by Mr Blair as the government's chief scientist during the foot-and-mouth crisis.
Booker reminds us that at the time of the foot and mouth crises Sir David failed to heed the advice from two of the worlds leading foot and mouth experts. As the government was later to concede, the massive cull was against the law. The Government had no legal power to distroy healthy animals which had not been directly exposed to the virus. As Booker concludes:

''I hope there are no animals on Sir David's desert island''

Whatever, there most certainly will not be a public enquiry into the events; that would never do.

Explosive European Money

The European Union special programme for peace and reconcilliation in Northern Ireland has handed over £900,000 to assist in the manufacture of missiles in the troubled provance.

The French owned arms firm Thales Air Defence Ltd. bid for the ''peace money'' was successuful. The grant will help develope a new missile system at the firm's stie in Castereagh, in Northern Island, a government statement added that ''this effort would boost the Ulster economy and assist in consolidating the peace process''.

Again Indeed !

Thursday, May 26

Cost of ID Cards

The Government's plans for [big brother style] identity cards have been dealt a fresh blow following news that the Tories will vote against the legislation at its second reading.

The move means that the prime minister is set to face an early but crucial test of his much reduced Commons majority.

To be phased in over coming years, the compulsory ID cards would include the holder's name and address along with 'biometric' data such as a computer scan of a person's iris, face or fingerprints.

It is clear from the rising costs of introducing ID Cards that chancellor Gordon Brown's original decision to back the scheme on the condition that it is self-financing, is now causing serious problems.

The overall estimated 10-year cost of the project has grown from £3.1bn three years ago to more than £5.8bn now as new problems emerged yesterday over the effectiveness of the new biometric technology that is supposed to safeguard the security of the cards.

Ministers said the £93 figure was only an estimate of the "unit cost" of the combined passport/ID card to be phased in from 2008. But since it does not include the start-up costs or cross-subsidies of free ID cards for pensioners and the poor, it is likely to top £100 by the time the scheme gets under way. It currently costs £42 to renew a 10-year passport.

Home Office ministers also announced yesterday that they intend to include three electronic biometric identifiers in the new ID cards, taken from the eyes, hands and face, instead of just one or two, after an enrolment trial placed question marks over the effectiveness of the technology.

But the home secretary, Charles Clarke, who reintroduced the bill scuppered by the general election to the Commons yesterday, said he was confident he could get it through despite opposition from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

He talked to rebel Labour MPs in the Campaign group but they have indicated that, despite voting against the legislation this year, they are likely to abstain on second reading this time.
The immigration and asylum minister, Tony McNulty, defended the reintroduction of the bill, saying: "A secure compulsory national identity card scheme will help tackle illegal immigration, organised crime, ID fraud, terrorism and will benefit all UK citizens."

Mark Oaten, of the Liberal Democrats, said: "If there was ever any doubt that the costs of this scheme were going to spiral out of control, the new figures should put paid to them; £93 is a ludicrous amount of money to ask people to pay, especially when you consider the combined cost for a family with children over the age of 16."

Making clear the Conservatives' official opposition despite Michael Howard's personal support, the shadow home secretary, David Davis, said: "Our concerns include the cost-effectiveness of the scheme."
This blog's concerns on ID cards inculude all the issues that neither Her Majesty's Government nor the Official Opposition wish to openly address.
More soon.
Euro Tories suspend MEP in row over EU president
By David Rennie

A Conservative MEP had his party membership suspended yesterday by the head of the British Tory delegation in the European Parliament after an angry debate about excessive European Union secrecy.

Four other British Conservatives were threatened with expulsion from the European People's Party, the parliament's majority centre-Right faction, by the EPP's German leader, Hans-Gert Poettering.

The suspension left Roger Helmer, the Conservative MEP for the East Midlands, in a legal and political no-man's land.

Mr Helmer's punishment threatens to shatter the fragile consensus that has allowed British Tories to sit in the 286-strong bloc, despite its strongly pro-European leanings.
The suspension was triggered after Mr Helmer publicly accused the Tory leader in the European Parliament, Timothy Kirkhope, of "inappropriately" demanding he remove his name from a motion of censure against the European Commission.

Mr Helmer accused Mr Poettering of being behind that "pressure", telling the EPP leader he had "brought shame on this House".

Moments later the German MEP abruptly told parliament that Mr Helmer was no longer a member of his grouping, a declaration that followed no known parliamentary rule.

Within hours Mr Helmer was stripped of his British Tory whip - a move that angry colleagues said was designed to save Mr Poettering's face.

The row was expected to extend to Westminster last night, where MPs pledged to raise Mr Helmer's suspension with the backbench 1922 Committee.

The extraordinary scenes began when the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, presented himself in the European Parliament chamber in Brussels to answer a formal "motion of censure" tabled by the UK Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage.

The motion was tabled and signed by 77 MEPs from across the political spectrum after Mr Barroso refused to answer a parliamentary question about a holiday taken aboard the yacht of a Greek billionaire, Spiros Latsis, citing his right to privacy.

Five of the MEPs who signed were British Conservatives: Mr Helmer, Daniel Hannan, Chris Heaton-Harris, David Sumberg and Martin Callanan.

Wednesday, May 25

Seven Minutes to Change Change the World

by Dr Richard North
Seven minutes to change the worldToday, at a time yet to be decided (as we write) José Manuel Durao Barroso,president of the EU commission, will stand up in the chamber of the EUparliament in Brussels to defend himself (and his commission) against amotion of no confidence, brought by Nigel Farage and 73 or more other MEPs
Although there will be no vote on the day, the result is a foregoneconclusion. All the major political groups oppose the motion and, when itcomes to a vote in Strasbourg, they will easily defeat it.Farage will have exactly seven minutes to make his case, giving him about athousand words to set out an indictment that could, with justice, run tohundreds of pages.
Apart from the headline issue of Barroso takinghospitality from multi-billionaire Spiros Latsis, when one of his companieswas awaiting a decision from the commission as to whether it could be paidover €10 million in state aid grants, there are many other issues that couldbe aired.For instance, it is of some considerable public interest to establish theprecise nature of the funding at Athens Sparta Airport, and the precise roleplayed by the Latsis Group of companies, not least Eurobank, which handledthe payments of EU money.
In a country that is awash with EU money, under the multi-billion euro"Community Support Framework III" programme, a country that is also aby-word for corruption, questions might be asked about the funding of themotorway and road building programme – set to receive over €9 billion in EUfunds and loans.In particular, questions could be asked about the tenders for the Elefsinato Patra Motorway and the Ionian Road, and the contract, valued at over €200million for which two consortia, Olympic Roads and the Aegean MotorwayGroup, have been recently short-listed with commission approval.
The latter group should, perhaps, get special scrutiny as it includes a firmin the Lamda Group – one of Latsis's companies – and a firm called Hochtief,one of Germany's largest building companies, one, incidentally that managedthe Sparta airport contract.Hochtief is an especially interesting company, with a chequered history. Ithas been named in relation to the bribery scandal in the World Bank-FundedLesotho Water Project, where a dozen major international dam-buildingcompanies lavishly bribed at least one top official on the project,allegedly giving nearly US$2 million in bribes over ten years. The HighlandsWater Venture, a consortium which included Hochtief, was directly linkedwith $733,404-worth of bribes.
Then there is the affair of the Southern Cross Airport Corporation Limited,to which the federal government awarded the ownership of the SydneyKingsford Smith Airport, involving Hochtief in circumstances which had anAustralian "waste and corruption" website flag it up. Add to that, theaffair of the Berlin airport, and why Hochtief was disbarred from biddingfor redevelopment by the courts, and an interesting picture emerges.
Yet, Hochtief is one of the companies on whose behalf Schröder intervenedwith President George W. Bush, asking him to invite them to bid for $4.5billion worth of contracts. In this context, it could well be asked whatprofessional or other links there are between Schröder and Hochtief, and therole this company might have played in funding Schröder's SDP.One might then ask why Schröder took it upon himself to intervene personallyto prevent the EU parliament's socialist group calling Barroso to explainhis links with Latsis, one at least of whose companies is linked withHochtief.
All this Farage could do, but for the fact, in what is a parody of"transparency", he has precisely seven minutes. In short, Farage has sevenminutes to change the world – or, at least, the EU.
He isn't going to beable to do it, but he might lay down some interesting markers.

Tuesday, May 24

These Green and Pleasant Isles

Great Britain, the United Kingdom and the British Isles do not mean the same thing, but the two former are included in the latter. The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain - the main island made up of England, Scotland and Wales - and Northern Ireland, while the British Isles also includes islands such as Ireland and the Channel Islands. The United Kingdom was established on 1 January 1801.
The Channel Islands, Principly Jersey and Guernsey are self governing islands that are out with the European Union.

Monday, May 23

Modern Useage

Below is an explanation of words frequently used by public sector managers and keenly encouraged by government business support services in their rush to placate the culture of sounding good but meaning nothing. Like Orwell's Newspeak the language of the public sector is designed to integrate many other terms and words with similar, but not the same meaning and thus shrink the language. Thus by reducing the words available to the small number of licensed dissidents that are permitted to comment on the centralised free market 'they' remain in total control. Such is the subtlety of this technique that a only a short explanation is possible without appearing to be a freak.

Best Practice
Establishment-approved ways of doing things

Carrying forward
To appear to be supportive and pro-active whilst in actuality doing nothing

Centres of excellence
Establishment-approved set-ups

Civil society
Members of any special-interest group

The apparent unanimity resulting from the elimination of opposition by a skilled' 'facilitator

The process by which 'stakeholders' are fooled into believing that they are wanted to go down those paths anyway.

The end result of a process of meaningless 'help' by stakeholders in a government backed project that looks good in objective planing documents.

Often used when meaning regionalisation, much used in the North East during the recent referendum. Devolution is the process of transferring power from central government to the a local government whilst giving the impression of greater accountability.

The end result of a process of meaningless 'help' by stakeholders in a government backed project that looks good in objective planing documents.

A lose concept to cover a growing trend to sound caring about the planet and fluffy animals in particular.

Equal Opportunities
Favouring one group at the expense of all others and sounding sanctimonious at the same time. The women only candidates policy in safe Labour seats being a good example.

Once a term for the continent of Europe now used to refer to the European Union which is a political project to bring together the people of Europe so they don't have different ideas of how to govern themselves on their own and create untidy democracies that are not integrated and harmonised.

Equal Opportunities
Favouring one group at the expense of all others and sounding sanctimonious at the same time. The women only candidates policy in safe Labour seats being a good example.

A term frequently used by a non functioning committee to sound important. Increasingly now is a trend merge the legislature and the judiciary nationaly for administrative convenience.

The stooge trained in group dynamics who make sure the 'consultation process' doesn't go astray.

The replacement of representative government with techniques that steer tame stakeholders along pre-determined paths towards a desired outcome. The word is increasingly wrongly used by Business Link types as a new bonding term when they are referring to regional government or parliament.

Integrated approach
The reduction of choice and controlled participation.

Law Maker
An up-and-coming term, increasingly used as a synonym for representatives to government support agencies.

A misused functional commercial term now meaning collusion among 'stakeholders' in pursuit of their own interest, with out regard for those barred from participation in 'participatory democracy'.

The supranational political and academic establishment, plus influential 'stakeholders' who have achieved 'consensus via corruption of the 'consultation process'.

Route to Market
A term used by public body types so as to sound knowledgeable about business.

A democratic right well fought for over many centuries now used as a control method of corrupting democracy. Increasingly the trend of soviet style methods particularly of not revealing results to participants has sought favour by licensed dissident business organisations.

Of Cost and Constitution

Not since this time last year has the issue of the UK's membership of the European Union been so prominently in the news.

As expected the issue was well buried by all three of the 'old' parties during the general election and not even the most seasoned of political commentators concentrated on the true government of out land in Brussels.

Currently the UK's payment rebate - not an insignificant 3.8 billion a year - is now under threat from the EU and the 'European' Constitution which is shortly to be voted on in French and the Netherlands is impacting on the UK news systems.

Payments to the EU

Lets be clear on how much the payments are from the UK tax payer to the EU. I stress payments, that's what HM Treasury pays to the EU coffers not the total massive cost of compliance to the EU which businesses and the public also have to pay out for daily.
The latest payment figures that can be accurately quoted are from the government's own sources.

The Treasury paid £ 13.1 billion in 2003 ('The Pink Book' 2004, Table 9.2) That is the equivalent to £ 252.33 million per week which was an increase of 11per cent on 2002.

Payments back from Brussels were £ 8.3 billion which was an increase of 9 per cent, the UK net. contribution increased by 15 per cent in 2003 to hit £ 4.811 billion. equivalent to £ 92.52 million per week.

Let us be clear, the net payments to the EU in 2003 were £ 4.8 billion, if the UK's rebate is cancelled the net figure will be at least £ 3.8 billion more. All these figures are from 2003. The contributions are increasing year upon year in order to fund the expanding EU project. In 2003 when there were only 15 member states the UK's contribution will have risen in 2004 and again in 2005 to accommodate the needs of the 10 new members.

The EU Constitution and referendum.

'The Treaty Establishing a Constitution For Europe' is not like any other previous EU Treaty.It is the blue print not of a Supranational Europe, nor even of a Federal States of Europe but of a Centralised State of Europe. The constitution is key to the centralising political process of the EU which is the fundamental reason why it should be rejected.

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary has warned that a rejection in France's referendum on the EU constitution this Sunday would present "a problem for Britain".

The foreign secretary's comments come amid fears that the forthcoming British presidency of the EU will be derailed by the need to address the wrecking of the constitution by No votes from the Dutch and French people.

Straw's remarks reflect a near unanimous belief within the government that Britain will be unable to go ahead with its own referendum next year in the absence of a Yes vote.

Downing Street has actually confirmed that the referendum might be shelved.

Tony Blair's official spokesman said: "It is a statement of the obvious that the results in France and the Netherlands will influence the context in which other countries debate the matter."

An ICM poll for the Vote No campaign, meanwhile, suggests the public is nearly two to one against the constitution: 54 per cent to 30. Specifically in Scotland a survey for the newspaper Scotland on Sunday by You Gov recently found that 40 per cent of Scots opposed the constitution with 34 per cent for, 19 per sent undecided and 7 per cent admitting they will not vote.

Two salient point however will remain, even if there is no referendum in this country.
Firstly, how much of the centralisation plans contained in the Constitutional Treaty will be implemented via the UK 's 'back door' and what is plan B from our EU masters ?

Sunday, May 22

Royal Retreat

The commanding officer of The Royal Military Collage Sandhurst, the awesome Major General Ritchie, warned parents of the recent intake of Officer Cadets of the struggles ahead for their off spring.

''Expect the odd anguished telephone call '' he told them.

In the case of one parent HRH Charles, The Prince of Wales the CO might have saved his breath. HRH was staying in a retreat in an isolated Romanian monastery, blissfully far beyond the reach of telecommunications.

The Sunday Quote: 110

The Sunday Quote:

''Rum fellow that Sadam Hussein, He's wearing an Eton Ramblers' tie.''

Lord Home, the former and late Prime Minister, while watching the former Dictator on television during the first gulf war.

Source: Ned Sherrin, In his ancedotage (1993).

G8 All At Sea ?

The US Navy will be parking (sorry anchoring) a huge aircraft carrier packed with hundreds of US Marines off the west coast of Scotland for the G8 summit at Gleneagles.
Would it not be better for all concerned to hold the meeting with the heads of Government (or State) on the American aircraft carrier and keep the marines in reserve at Gleneagles ?
More fun for the US Marines and a lot less bother for the locals.
Just a thought.

The Gathering Storm

The second 'leader' in Today's Sunday Telegraph highlights the public's critisism of the new graphics employed for the BBC's weather forecasts. The lack of clairty of the signs and the dull colours used are causing uncertanty and deep confusion amongst the very weather conscious British public.

As The Sunday Telegraph (ST) comments:

'' A few years ago Dr. John Thornes, a reader in applied meteorology at Birmingham University, spent two months compairing Radio Four's forecast with what actually happened. Whilst his findings seemed at first to suggest that the forcasts were accurate 85 per cent of the time, he realised that he could achieve nearly the same result simply by using today's weather report as tomorrow's forecast.''

The ST leader goes on to suggest that the new graphics are deliberately vague, since it is possible to read virtually anything into the mass of blue-grey smudges.

Perhaps the BBC weather forecasters should seek the opinion of a focus group of new politicians. It was that greatest of Britian's politicians, Sir Winston Churchill, who when asked what was the most desirable qualification for any young man who wishes to become a politician responded:-

'' It is the ability to forecast what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And have the ability afterward to explain convincingly why it did not happen.''

Looking out of the window of my study I predict:

A gathering of storm clouds from the continent with silverlinings, followed by intermittent rays of sunshine from the blogosphere. The normal accumilation of hot air over Westminster will contiune for sometime causing the depression mid Atlantic to effect shipping. The warmest area in the British Isles will be Jersey which, as always, benefits from the Americas (good old gulf stream) rather than the prevailing constant uncertanties from it's close neighbour, France.

Of Cash and Troy

BBC Radio 4 this afternoon (Sunday 22 May) broadcast a piece which reported the view of the 'left' in France who consider the EU constitution as an Anglo-Saxon Trojan horse.

Following the BBC piece I had was considering the desirability of a trip over to Paris as a volunteer when the vacillating Conservative MP Bill Cash interrupted my thoughts. He was being interviewed in both English and French by 'auntie's' Paris correspondent.

Clearly I concluded there is nothing further that I, nor indeed any one else, could now do to ensure that the French vote in such a way as to guarantee that Blair can not wriggle out of giving the British People the opportunity to reject d'Estaing's constitutional treaty.

Her Majesty's subjects may well yet all be grateful to Mr Cash in a way he perhaps does not intend.

It is indeed a funny old world.

159 MPH Good One Pound of Bananas Bad

The Booker Column in today's Sunday Telegraph contiunes to report on the detail of the control from those that really govern the UK.

After the fishermen, (some) farmers, abattoir owners, electricians, food supplement retailers, chemical manufacturers, lorry drivers, magazine distributors, small business owners, and sundry others too diverse to mention – to say nothing of the operators of Sally B - it is now the turn of Britain's small animal vets to feel the pinch from Brussels.
Thanks to an EC directive, Booker writes in today's column, they could soon have to spend a quarter of their working lives recording mountains of almost wholly irrelevant data, forcing them to increase their bills to pet owners by up to 25 percent. He continues:
The threat arises from just one article in the proposed Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2005, implementing directive 2004/28 and now out to 'consultation', which will affect Britain’s 2,500 small animal veterinary practices.
The new regulations stem from a series of Brussels directives which, since 1990, have sought to protect meat eaters from adverse reactions to drugs used to treat farm animals. But the directives make no distinction between animals for human consumption (including horses eaten on the continent) and domestic pets such as dogs, cats and guinea pigs.Article 66 of the proposed regulations, headed "Record Keeping", lays down that every time a vet buys in a medicinal product, he or she must record the date, product, quantity, manufacturer's batch number and expiry date. Each time it is dispensed the same data must be recorded, with client details.
At the year’s end all drugs dispensed must be checked against stocks remaining, and records kept for five years. All this might not seem unreasonable until one looks at what it means in practice. As pointed out by Simon Gubbins, the West Midlands vet who drew this to my attention, "every time I see a dog with a bad ear that might get an antiobiotic injection and an anti-inflammory injection, followed by two sorts of tablets and possibly two sorts of topical drops, I will have to spend up to five minutes recording 12 sets of numbers on the clinical records".Michael Jessop, president-elect of the Small Animals Veterinary Association, explains "in an average day, we may prescribe 200 items, each of which must be recorded, then audited". 30 consultations a day, with five minutes each logging-in time, adds up to two and a half hours a day, or twelve and a half hours a week.
This is more than a quarter of the time a vet will be permitted to work under the EC's working time directive.The implications are horrendous. The loss of time will inevitably mean longer waits for appointments and higher bills. Even with dedicated software, so far not available, tallying up this data will be hugely time-consuming.
For the 25 percent of practices not computerised, as Mr Jessop points out, "it will be all but impossible". Any errors will be treated as a criminal offence punishable by fines or imprisonment.
This "batch recording" requirement derives from just one article in a set of regulations 115 pages long. The original purpose of the legislation which inspired them was to protect humans. Not many dogs, cats and guinea pigs are eaten in Britain. Even if the officials now claim it would also be useful to be able to track down any batch of drugs found to be faulty, almost all those millions of pieces of data solemnly logged-in and kept for five years will never be looked at again.The VMD admitted it will have no "information on the cost of keeping the necessary records" until the consultation is complete. But it insisted that "implementation of the directive's provisions is an obligation of membership of the EU".It is those last few words that chill the heart: "implementation of the directive's provisions is an obligation of membership of the EU".
That also sounds a little bit familiar. Only yesterday we read in the Telegraph, in relation to the absurd rules that have grounded Sally B, the words of a "senior officials from the Department of Transport", who said that "nothing can be done about the rule." And that is because – you guessed it – it is an obligation of membership of the EU. Let the Euro-luvvies explain that away.
Anyhow, for his next story, Booker picks up on Matthew McGregor, styled as "Head of Campaigns – Vote-No", and his debacle on Newsnight last week, plus sundry other matters, all to write a “state of play” article on the forthcoming – possibly – referendum campaign. He writes:
As the campaign for a referendum on the "Constitution for Europe" stutters into gear, unsure until France votes next Sunday whether we will have one at all, both sides will need to get their act together rather more convincingly than was evident last week. Considering the gravity of the issues at stake, many viewers must have been stunned by the Newsnight discussion last Wednesday, when the spokesmen for each side seemed not just far too young and inexperienced but singularly ill-briefed.Fronting for the "Yes" side is "Britain in Europe", with its shambolic track record, hoping that Mr Blair will soon be sending in some rather more heavyweight reinforcements than Douglas Alexander, after his faltering start as our new Europe minister.
Along with the Lib Dems and a few Tories, led by Kenneth Clarke, their aim will be to downplay the contents of the Constitution as far as possible, hoping no one will actually read it, to see how much further it would subordinate Britain to a supranational form of government which in almost all significant respects will be able to dictate how our country is run.
Front-running for the "No" camp is an uneasy alliance between Michael Howard's Tory Party and an all-party "No" campaign, set up by the businessmen behind "Business for Sterling" which campaigned effectively against the euro. A central weakness of these groups is their almost comical determination to show that they have nothing against Britain’s membership of the EU as such, but only oppose the constitution.This will involve them in wondrous intellectual contortions, as they try to distinguish between those bits of the Constitution which are new and those which are simply carried over from previous treaties. The result can be as embarrassing as the young "No" spokesman’s reply to Jeremy Paxman, when he stammered "I don’t think anyone in the No campaign is against there being a constitution". In other words, these "Yesno" campaigners would welcome an EU constitution. It is just this particular constitution they don’t care for.
So far glaringly absent from this line-up is a broader-based "People's Campaign", appealing to ordinary voters who want a grown-up, free-ranging debate on Britain’s relationship with the EU rather than one so tightly constrained from the top as to be meaningless.
Next Wednesday at 2 pm, various Eurosceptic groups will meet at Abingdon House, 13 Little College Street, opposite the House of Lords, to discuss launching such a "People's No Campaign". Anyone is welcome to join former Tory and Labour MPs and Neil Herron, the doughty campaigner from the North East, to plan a campaign which is not being set up in rivalry with others but to complement them - in a way which after next Sunday may seem badly needed.
The Queen’s Speech did not "brake the record" by proposing 45 new Bills. Booker thinks that those that report that it did should be sent on a beginners' course in how our country is now governed:
For a start, the only way Blair's proposals for an 18-month session challenged for a record was not in how many Bills he put forward but how few.
When John Major put through only 41 in 1994-5, this was historically a record low. Through much of the post-war era, 150 to 200 Bills a year were commonplace.
A more important point to which many journalists are oblivious is that most of our legislation no longer needs be discussed by Parliament at all. It is issued in the form of statutory instruments or ministerial edicts. Since 1990 the number of these has soared, so that they now average 3,400 a year. Although much of this "secondary legislation" is trivial, it also now includes many of the more onerous and far-reaching laws going onto our statute book, notably the hundreds of regulations required each year to implement legislation from Brussels (even 10 of Blair’s new Bills are EU-related).
If journalists are troubled by what the Evening Standard's Anne McElvoy called this "juggernaut" of new laws our Government is imposing on us, they should first find out how most of our laws are now made, and then recognise which "government" is actually imposing them.The final story, or "four", deals with two of my own personal obsessions, "speeding" and compulsory metrication, combined in an unexpected way. Booker writes:

There was understandable uproar over the decision of District Judge Bruce Morgan in Ludlow to acquit PC Mark Milton on a speeding charge for driving his police car at 159 mph on the M54.
The Judge even criticised the bringing of a prosecution, on the grounds that, as a "crème de la crème" advanced police driver, Milton needed practice at driving fast.
Interestingly, it was this same Judge Morgan who, in April 2002, had no hesitation in finding a Sunderland market trader, Steve Thoburn, guilty of a criminal offence under EC-inspired law for selling a "pound of bananas".
The late Mr Thoburn was clearly not "crème de la crème". To sell a pound of bananas is obviously a criminal act, but it is fine for a policeman to break the speeding laws by 90 miles an hour. This perhaps tells us more about today's Britain than His Honour Judge Morgan may have realised. It does indeed – one rule for us, and one for them. I wonder if 'they' realise the extent to which they are held in loathing and contempt.

Saturday, May 21

Court Humour

Who said Judges do not have a sence of humour ?
''This is an appeal with a hole in the middle. It is dismissed''
Mr Justice Muumery on Nestles final attept in the Court of Appeal to register the Polo mint shape as a trademark.

Thursday, May 19

Thought for the day

The reason that all but a minority of the population accept the dictates of bureaucrats and also standard 'off the peg' service from corporate commercial giants is that they spend too much time accepting the propaganda that is broadcasted on on popular TV and Radio and not enough thought, on even the most basic analyis, of the news in the press; most of which impacts on peoples daly lives.
The 'standardization' of the Western World is 'outlawing' individualism.
Comments welcome !

Sunday, May 15

The Sunday Quote - No 109

Anne Robinson: ''Which single-issue political party was formed by Sir James Goldsmith in 1995 to campaign against European integration ?''

Contestant:'' The Conservatives.''

Anne Robinson: ''Have you ever read a newspaper, listened to or watched the news ?''

The Weakest Link BBC 2.

Small Business Issue

From Christopher Booker's notebook (Filed: 15/05/2005) The Sunday Telegrapgh
EU directive delivers a nasty shock.
The sole measure EU directive delivers a nasty shock To Tony Blair, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy, "Europe" is a lofty abstraction which, for various reasons, they don't much wish to talk about. But for Dave Walker, a 43-year-old electrician in Bristol, it has become a very frightening reality, forcing him to wonder whether he and his family can afford to go on living in their home.
Last February, Mr Walker was asked by Mrs Godfrey, a pensioner living in a council flat, to fit a heated towel rail in her bathroom. Up to January thiswould have presented no problem. He could have carried out the work quickly and efficiently, charging her around £60.Now, however, Mr Walker was aware of the new "Part P" building regulations,rushed through last summer by John Prescott to comply with EC directive 98/34,under which Britain had to harmonise with various European electrical standards.
This meant that, to carry out all but very minor domestic electrical work, MrWalker had two choices. Either he would have to be certified as a "competent domestic installer" by the Government-approved National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC). Or, to carry out wiring or anywork in a bathroom or kitchen, his work would have to be approved and inspected,for a fee, by his local council.
Mr Walker therefore applied to NICEIC to be certified, on a yearly basis, which currently costs £877.50. He even sent a cheque. But he was told he could not be certified unless NICEIC could inspect his work on a whole house.
Since his work consists only of small jobs for homeowners, and the only house he had wired washis own, which did not count, NICEIC was unable to certify him and sent back his money.Despite the fact that he has full City & Guilds qualification, which required five years' theoretical and practical work, and has done his job for years without complaint, Mr Walker had to tell his customer that, under the new rules, since the towel rail was for a bathroom, she would have to ask the council's permission.Bristol city council replied, in what it calls "a standard letter", that it had "no objection to the installation of a heated towel rail".
To get approval,though, Mr Walker would have to provide a certificate guaranteeing the safety ofall the electrical installation in her home. This, he calculated, would involve more than a day's work, inspecting and reporting on all her wiring and each plugand light socket, and would cost about £600 - which was plainly out of thequestion.
After further consultation with the council, the problem was solved byplacing the towel rail outside the bathroom.
But Mr Walker now finds himself disqualified from doing do much of the workwhich until recently provided most of his income. If it were not for the moneyhe gets for fostering two children, he says, he would be unable to keep up his mortgage payments.
According to NICEIC, the purpose of the new regulations is to stamp out the"cowboys" who do faulty and dangerous work. But the effect, it seems, is the opposite.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that many small electricians are either surviving only by ignoring Part P, or are giving up. (When Mr Walker went to the Jobcentre he was told many electricians had been in asking about other work). This creates an opening for precisely the "cowboys" Part P was intended to eliminate.
It seems many householders must choose between a "competent" electrician who has had to raise his charges to pay for certification, or a "cowboy" who can do it on the cheap.
What few homeowners have grasped is that Part P applies equally todo-it-yourself electrical work. To carry out any work in a kitchen or bathroom without council permission is an offence punishable by a fine of up to £5,000. And to have it inspected will cost you an average £65.
Thank you, Mr Prescott -and of course those diligent civil servants who pointed out directive 98/34 tohim.

29 May

The site for Businesses to say no,
no to the EU constitution and a lot more
Launch date 29 May 05

Saturday, May 14


Tony Blair gave a more than interesting response on Thursaday at the regular press conference held at 'Number 10'.
Sandwiched between questions about binge drinking and anti-social behaviour Tony Blair was asked: ''Prime Minister, one of the next big things on the horizon is the European referendum on the constitution. Have you a time and a date planned for that, and do we assume that you plan to lead the Yes campaign for that?''
''Absolutely. Exactly when, we haven't decided yet. It will be done in a stable and orderly way.''replied Mr Blair.
So we can be comforted by two assurances from the new improved, low majority, listening PM. Firstly no matter what the result of the French vote on 29 May there will ''absolutely'' be a referendum in the UK. Secondly, there will presumably not be mass disorderly postal voting to cast a shadow over our tried and tested voting system.
We shall see.

Friday, May 13

National Numbers

Number of votes cast for eaach party at the General Election was:

Labour 9,562,183
Conservative 8,775,980
Liberal Democrat 5,982,045
UK Independence Party 606,398
SNP SNP 412,267
Green GRN 257,758
British National Party 19,850
Plaid Cymru PC 174,838

As Ragan Once Said .......

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidise it.”.

The Late President of the USA Ronald Regan.

With thanks to 'eu referendum'

Latest Endorsements - EU Constitution

Unsurprisingly, the Slovakian parliament has endorsed the E U constitution ( The Treaty Establishing A Constitution For Europe ) 116 deputies voted in favour, 27 against and 4 abstained.Members of the right-of-centre Christian Democrat Party (KDH), who had been in favour of a
referendum but were overruled by their colleagues in the government coalition, voted against.According to the Slovak Spectator:
“During the parliamentary debate prior to the vote, KDH chairman Pavol Hrušovský complained that the document lacks democracy, Christianity and sincerity.
"A lack of democracy threatens Europe, and the smaller countries will be weakened in favour of the larger ones," he said.”
The Communist Party also opposed the Constitution but, interestingly, Vladimír Mečiar, leader of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, whose rather less than democratic government was severely criticized by all west European countries and the European Union, has become a born-again proponent of European integration, explaining that he would welcome the creation of a United States of Europe, admitting that it was unlikely to happen in his lifetime.
Meanwhile, Germany's Bundestag has overwhelmingly approved the constitution: a total of 569 members voted in favour, with 23 against and two abstentions. Addressing the Bundestag just before the vote, Schröder told the deputies: "I ask you not to be too petty or too obsessed with the detail of the odd half sentence that may not completely meet our expectations.''

Thursday, May 12

Working Knowledge and Time

The egregious BBC hackette Martha Kearney – slated as successor to Andrew Marr – was interviewed on Wednesday night by Paxman on Newsnight. Showing her erudition on things European, she explained to him what was going to happen now that the amendment to the Working Time Directive (WTD) had been agreed by the EU parliament, telling him: ''…this isn't the end of the story. It still has to go to the Council of Europe…

As we all know, and Martha Kearney should know, the Council of Europe is not a part of the European Union and the WTD is not '' to go'' there anyway, there is no point.

Since most staff journalists have contracted out of the WTD the salient point that the compulsory compliance with the directive will have a negative impact on competitiveness in business will now, I hope, hit home. Perhaps also some better understanding of how the EU works might be reported.

Monday, May 9

Jersey - 10 May 1945


A well-known schoolmaster came into the 'E.P' {Evening Post, Jersey} office yesterday and whispered to a member of the staff ''Have you heard the latest ? They have got Goering.'' You needn't whisper'' replied the E.P man. ''No I forgot,'' replied the schoolmaster and immediately shouted it to all the people present in the office. No, there is no need to whisper, not any more; but it shows clearly the effect of five years of repression miscalled ''freeing Europe.''

The above paragraph is extracted from the front page of The Evening Post, St Helier Jersey May,10 1945. Written by The News Editor William Troy MM, (1889-1976).


With the compliments of William Troy's Grandson, Peter Troy

An Other EU Scandal

The Barroso and Spiros Scandal

The matter of the payment of 10 million Euros in state aid to a company owned by Greek billionaire Spiros Latsis following Barroso's holiday on his luxury yacht has reached the EU parliament in Strasbourg.
Attempts by UKIP MEP Nigel Farage to call Barroso to the parliament to give an account of his actions, and the potential for conflict of interest, have been blocked by MEPs. They rejected a motion this afternoon calling for him to give an oral explanation by 147 votes to 29 in favour.
Mr. Farage believes he has shown Barroso and the commission at their worst - out of touch, off hand, and anti-democratic. "His refusal to answer a question posed by an MEP because he found it personally inconvenient was quite disgraceful", he says. However, Conservative MEPs were under a three-line whip to reject the motion and most complied, together with their colleagues in the EPP group, thus refusing to support moves to bring the commission president to book.
The Independence and Democracy Group of MEP's in the EUP (of which UKIP MEPs are members) is now seeking 72 signatures from MEPs to support the tabling of a motion of censure against Barroso. If they are successful, the vote will be held on 27 May, two days before the French referendum. But, whether 72 MEPs have the cojones to take on the commission remains to be seen.

WEEE Regulations

New Electrical Industry Regulations - effective August 2005

An article in the May edition of the Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB) regional publication North East of England Voice headed ''Environmental Legislation'' implies that at '' two high powered'' meetings in April'' the FSB will be ''discussing the way forward'' for some meaningful changes to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations and the influence of the Federations involvement.

The delay in the implementation of these EU originated regulations, which will seriously effect all small businesses in the electrical industry, is purely due to the fact that the government has not yet implemented the compliance and inspection mechanism for this particularly complex and costly piece of regulation. The detail of the regulation is now fixed. The impression from the article implies that the FSB can still influence the text of the regulation; which it can not because it is too late. The regulation was drafted in Brussels by the EU Commission in 2003 and passed by the EU Parliament last year.

My understanding is that the FSB was not involved, as indeed it should have been, in the avoidance of this seriously restrictive regulation but actually in the complete opposite - how best to implement and inspect the compliance of this nasty, anti-small busineess, new law.

I will aviod detailed comparrisons with 1940/4 Vichey France as well as Quisling governments, however readers will I hope take my point.

Clearly is it a part apart of the culture of the FSB's so called anti-regulatory ('quality-parteneship') ethos of compliance to assist the government in the implementation of regulation rather than opposing clearly restrictive regulatory barriers ?

Sunday, May 8

Booker's Column

The first story Booker's column this week reminds us of how tangential the general election really was, demonstrating yet again, how much of the government agenda is dictated by Brussels. The three other pieces reminds us of the depth of the 'rule' from the EU.

The Sunday Quote

'' The loyalities which center upon number one are enormous. If he trips he must be sustained. If he makes mistakes he must be covered. If he is no good he musr be pole-axed.''
Their Finest Hour (1949),p15 - Churchill.