Saturday, June 30

Wot No Small Bussineses !

The New Prime Minister has announced the creation of a new Business Council for Britain (BCB) comprising senior representatives of UK based businesses ''to advise him on issues that affect enterprise, business and the long term productivity and competitiveness of the economy.''

The remit of the BCB will be to:
.
''Advise the Government on its ongoing policies and priorities; conduct its own reviews on the areas it believes will determine the future economic well-being of the UK; and where issues are particularly important, have the power to establish Special Commissions to make recommendations for reform.''

The full list of members of the council comprises the good and great of corporate business:

Sir Richard Branson: Founder, Virgin Group
Damon Buffini: Managing Partner, Permira
Sir William Castell: Chair, Wellcome Trust
Mervyn Davies: Chairman, Standard Chartered Bank
Sir Rod Eddington: Director, News Corporation
Dr Jean Pierre Garnier: CEO Glaxo SmithKline
Stephen Green: Chairman, HSBC
Tony Hayward: CEO, BP
Sir Terry Leahy: CEO, Tesco
Sir John Parker: Chair, National Grid
Sir John Rose: CEO, Rolls Royce
Stuart Rose: CEO, Marks and Spencer
Arun Sarin: CEO, Vodafone
Dame Marjorie Scardino: CEO, Pearson
Sir Alan Sugar: Chair and CEO, Amstrad

Conspicuous by their absence are the representatives of the economic engine room of UK; the small business community? There are now about 4 million small businesses in the UK who employ over 12 million people which is 54 per cent of the of the private sector workforce. Small Businesses contribute over 50 per cent (that's over £500 billion) of our great nation's GDP. Small (or a better term is independent ) business people are the innovators, risk takers, entrepreneurs and the commercial inspiration of our country. Well over 60 per cent of new commercial innovations come from small businesses.

So why is it only the corporate business world represented on Gordon Brown's new initiative - is it because for so long they have in actuality called the shots in the forming of new (mostly EU) legislation and "European" (EU) Economic strategy?

One assumes that the UKs largest member based business organisation The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) will be knocking on the door of Number 10 on Monday morning and complaining about their exclusion; as Sir Terry Leahy will agree ''every little helps''. Not that small businesses are little, with out their input there quite simply would be no thriving UK economy. One assumes that the Prime Minister is aware of that, which makes their absence from the new Business Council indeed quite curious.
.

Parking Where Prohibited


On Friday in London two crude but terrifying and potentially lethal car bombs aimed at committing mass murder were found in the early hours in central London.

The first car is spotted by a paramedic in a passing ambulance, who promptly calls the police and they bravely and promtly defuse the bomb. The second car a Mercedes is spotted by a local authority parking attendent (local tax collector). Acting in the true (unthinking) traditions of his 'profession' he slaps a parking ticket on it and an hour later realising the vehicle has out stayed its welcome arranges for it to be towed (in the modern manner) to the nearby underground pound to await collection by its owner (after payment of a huge fine).

One must assume that the Courts, Police and Local Authority will not spend to much time persuing the driver for non payment rather than terrorism!

Friday, June 29

The (dishonest) End of Week Quote

This week it could be expected that the End of Week Quote would quote either the outgoing or incoming Prime Minister. We have decided that both have been well, if not over reported this week. So instead we quote Patientline's Commercial Director Charlotte Brown who said to Graham Scatchel of BBC news three weeks ago:

''Patientline does not encourage hard-selling and our advisors are merely there to provide information and support to patients.''

That is pure B......ks! This week Patientline have stressed to all their 'advisors' who daily patrol the wards in 157 UK hospitals that they are expected to achieve pre set targets on key performance factors including sales of pre pay cards.
.
Recently BBC News, with our help, exposed, in detail the pressure that Patientline staff are put under to sell an unreliable and over priced service to sick people. In many of the Hospitals that Patientline operates an unacceptable amount of equipment (normally 10 per cent of bedside units) is regulary out of commision due to technical faults.
.
So much for the Blair/Milburn 'Patient Power Programme'. Clearly Mr Gordon (Change) Brown needs to put this national disgrace on his list of change priorities.
.

Thursday, June 28

Fireing the Changes


The New Cabinet sat today; only one member remained in the same post that was the quietly efficient and very effective Defence Secretary Des Browne.

The New Prime Minister has created three new departments: the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

As with all Government announcements the devil is in the detail. The Department for Trade and Industry has been abolished, along with the Department for Education and Skills which has been split into two.

The DTI becomes the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, with John Hutton as Secretary of State.

The new department will take the lead in "creating the conditions for business success" and promoting "productivity and enterprise" across government and within the European Community, according to Gordon Brown. Exactly how the new department will be able to influence the reform the mass of EU regulation that impacts badly particularly on the UKs small and large business community remains to be seen.

It will also take joint responsibility with the Department for International Development on trade policy and with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on trade promotion.

The Prime Minister said in his statement that the changes would "sharpen the focus of central government" on the "new and very different challenges" that Britain will face in the future.
.
Mr Brown also made history by appointing his faithful leadership campaign manager and former Leader of the House, Jack Straw, as the first non-peer to bear the centuries-old title of Lord Chancellor.

He was able to replace Lord Falconer in the role thanks to Labour's 2005 shake-up of the judicial system, to the fury of traditionalists particularly the editor of this blog!
.
Clearly our new Prime Minister is very keen on change. A particularly curious change Gordon Brown announced was the creation of the Business Council for Britain, which will work closely with the newly formed business department. It sounds, on first impressions all very impressive.

We understand that the new council will apparently be made up of senior leaders and figures from the business community, including the Amstrad boss and star of BBC1's The Apprentice, Sir Alan Sugar.
.
The Council will report to the government and Parliament on Britain's progress in improving its economic and business environment. Actually that is pure window dressing since it is the EU government in Brussels that makes all the important decisions that impact on businesses. Maybe that is exactly what the new Council members will tell the new PM. Perhaps even better Sir Alan will endorsee the vote from a few years ago of branch delegates of the largest member based business organisation in the UK, the Federation of Small Businesses, and tell the EU: '' Your fired '' !


_______________________________

Who is who in the Brown circle ? See:




.

The Brown Government

This at-a-glance guide, with thanks to the BBC, shows who held what position in the Blair Cabinet and will be updated throughout the day to show who will be doing what in the Brown government.

Prime Minister ; Deputy PM ; Chancellor; Justice ;Chief Whip; Commons Leader ; Culture; Defence ; Development ; Duchy of Lancaster ;Education ;Environment ;Foreign Secretary ; Health ;Home Secretary ;Industry ;Leader of the Lords ;Community ;Northern Ireland ; Transport ;Treasury ;Without Portfolio; Work and Pensions
.

Going Going Gone

Probably the best "take" on Blair's exit.

Send for Coventry


Whilst we were all watching, hearing or reading the end of the longest good bye in British politics Courtney Coventry the ''actress'' and former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner the playboy boss, who was once given a tour of Downing Street, was flown to Britain from France at public expense by the police on Tony Blair's last day as Prime Minister. When in London she made a statement to the London police about her dealings with the Labour Party leadership in relation to the long running 'cash for honours investigation'.
.
Whilst Mr Blair was being driven to The Palace to formally resign the Californian actress Courtney Coventry, 25, was grilled over her links to Labour’s chief fundraiser Lord Levy.
.
Apparently Courtney Coventry and her husband called themselves the Count and Countess of Rozel to fool party fundraisers into believing they were serious donors. Lord Levy introduced Courtney to Tony Blair and Labour’s high command at a swanky fundraising bash She and British-born husband John Coventry, 46, were invited to the glittering ball at the Hilton Hotel in London’s Park Lane in April 2004 after they pretended to be willing to make a big cash donation.

.
Such is an example of some of Mr Blair's legacy played out on the sidelines on his last day as Prime Minister. One can assume that one of the many of Mr Brown's changes will be an end to this sort of sleeze; then that was what Mr Blair said back in '97. Oh well, it can only get better.

Patientline in the Press (again)

The Pain of Patientline, click to enlarge.
.
On Wednesaday Blog Editor Peter Troy called, both on Radio Sun FM and in The Northern Echo, for the Patientline operation to be run by a series of newly established non profit making companies.
.
MPs (when they have settled down) will be discussing this in the Commons -details to follow. Perhaps the Patientline problem will be on Mr Brown's list of changes.
.

Wednesday, June 27

By-Election at Sedgefield


Tony Blair announced his resignation today not only as Prime Minister but also as a Member of Parliament. At a meeting late this afternoon at the Trimdon Labour Club Mr Blair announced his resignation as the MP for Sedgefield who he has represented in the Commons since 1983.

The by-election will probably be held in three weeks time (we shall know for definite tomorrow). As well as all the main parties putting up candidates there will no be a number of independents who will be keen to take advantage of the opportunity to make a point or two. As we have said before, watch this space.
.

The Man Who Sold Out Britain


By Dr Richard North
.
So, prime minister Blair stood to a packed House for his final question time - taking a few anodyne questions from the leader of the opposition, David Cameron - after a record-breaking ten year reign.There could be no doubt that we were watching a small piece of history being made.
.
As I write, Blair was already being driven to the Palace, accompanied by his wife, to tender his resignation to the Queen. In so doing - although no other commentator will make the point - he also tenders his resignation from the de facto government of Europe, the European Council, ceding his place to his successor, Gordon Brown. Gordon Brown will later arrive in his own car and, after being "invited" by the Queen to form a government, will leave in the prime minister's car.
.
Gordon Brown will also leave as a fully paid-up member of that European government, the European Council, bound - if the proposed treaty goes through - to serve the interests of the Union ... the European Union.
.
Thus, if the Merkel stitch-up holds, Brown will only have a short time as leader of what was once a proud, independent nation. He will become, by virtue of the very treaty he so far endorses, a bonded servant of the European Union and member of a fully-fledged EU institution.
.
On that basis, when Gordon Brown leaves the Palace this afternoon in the prime minister's car - to feed the media frenzy on the cabinet reshuffle - it would be perhaps appropriate, although unlikely, if he acknowledged the reality. There has already been a Cabinet reshuffle, in Europe. A new member has just joined the European Council.
.
The shiny car in which he is driven to Downing Street should be bearing not a Union Jack but a ring of stars, to remind us of his coming servitude.That also would be an acknowledgement of Tony Blair's true legacy to this nation. Ten years ago, he entered Downing Street to a flurry of Union Jacks, waved by enthusiastic supporters. Today, he leaves - to an unprecedented standing ovation of the House - bequeathing his successor a blue flag with twelve yellow stars.
.

The House of Commons at 12 noon today
.
Sign the petition for a Referendum on the EU Treaty NOW.

It Can Only (Yet Again) Get Better


Gordon Brown's performance before the Parlimentry Monetary Policy Committee on 17 June by Blog reader R.J. Rankin from East Scotland.

For me, this was an insight into the character of he who is about to be Prime Minister, and I very much hated what I saw, and consequently I fear for our future. Yes, I had seen him perform in his budget speeches in Parliament and observed his blitzkrieg of statistical information and how marvellous he had been as the keeper of the economy, but the body language of both he and the members of the committee told it all.

Brown was flanked by two minions from the Treasury whose job it was to pass GB crib sheets every 5 seconds. They were extremely on edge and nervous of Brown.

Questions asked by committee members were “answered” by either (a ) a mumbled, gruff puffing out of statistics on RPI and CPI which went on ad nauseam; (b) a supercilious smirk followed by “you have obviously not read, been appraised of, misunderstood etc” without any mollifying precursory remarks such as “As you know”; talking to his ‘feeders’ as if not even listening to the question; or when all else failed, then a long reminder of the shambles he took over in 1997 and how he had turned everything around and had 10 years of sustained economic growth.

The committee members body language showed a resigned giving up as they were getting nowhere. This ‘IMF’ (Interminable Mother F…..) was treating them with the utmost contempt. So he is dictatorial and doesn’t listen. Asked about inflation and interest rates: those were matters for the BofE’s MPC. He, in his munificence, had granted such powers to BofE in 1997. (Nobody mentions that it was an E.U. prerequisite for joining the EURO that these powers had to be conferred on that country’s Central Bank.)

Although not strictly an MPC matter, somebody might have asked: “Where are you getting the money from for the £51,000,000,000 bribe for peace in Ulster?”. Nobody quoted back at him the exponential rise in Government (National) Debt during his 10 years. Nobody mentioned the £47,000 000, 000 annual interest payments to the Banks which would not have to be paid if the State issued its own money instead of asking the Banks to create it as a book entry instead. Nobody mentioned the PFI debt which is £50,000,000,000 and rising. (This wheeze was to get round the E.U. Stability and Growth Pact’s Micawberesque restrictions on Government expenditure vis a vis income.) Nobody brought up the annual £5,000,000,000 raid on pension funds. Nobody dared ask any pertinent or impertinent question during the whole hour!

Perhaps our anthem should be changed to:

God -save -us -from -ungracious –Brown
For -it -is -he -who -now -wears -the -crown
God –help -us -all!

Tuesday, June 26

Patientline LINKS

There is nothing else at the moment that we have not already said about Patientline, so we will link to others sites thanks to Google.
.
Google News Alert for: Patientline
.
Patientline Loss Widens In FY07; Revenues DeclineRTT News - Williamsville,NY,USA6/25/2007 4:12:49 AM Patientline Plc (PTL.L) reported a full year 2007 loss attributable to equity shareholders of GBP 33.2 million or 35.9 pence per share.
.
UK small caps weak, near lows midday; Patientline drops amid ...Forbes - NY,USAPatientline was the major small cap casualty at midday, shedding over 25 pct in value with a 0.90 pence drop to 2.60 on debt worries. ...See all stories on this topic
.
Patientline seeks debt remedyIndependent - London,England,UKBy Nic Fildes Patientline, the controversial hospital entertainment system developer, is in crisis talks with its banks to restructure its onerous debt.
.
London pre-open: Nervous start predictedShareCast - London,UKPatientline, the hospital phone and television provider, has confirmed it is in crisis taks with its banks after running up losses last year of £17m.
.
Monday newspaper round-up: Patientline, LSE, Standard LifeShareCast - London,UKLONDON (SHARECAST) - Patientline, the hospital phone and television provider, will say today that it is in talks with its banks to put together a bailout.
.
PRESS DIGEST - British business - June 25Reuters.uk - UKPatientline (PTL.L: Quote, Profile , Research) is expected to announce today that it is in talks with its banks about a bailout package that could require.
.
Minnow miner strikes rich seamTimes Online - UKAmong the fallers, Patientline lost 1 1/4 p at 2 3/4 p after it posted a near-doubling in annual losses and began talks to restructure its £80 million debt.
.
Patientline warns current debt levels unsustainable Hemscott - London,UKLONDON (Thomson Financial) - UK hospital communications provider Patientline said current levels of debt threaten to overwhelm the company.
.
UK small caps weak, near lows midday; Patientline drops amid ...LONDON (Thomson Financial) - Shares in UK smaller companies remained weak, close to session lows midday mirroring falls in the broader market, with Patientline the biggest faller amid worries over its debt pile.
.
Patientline in sick bayBy Rodney Hobson Patientline, the provider of bedside telephone connections in hospitals, is feeling the effects of bad publicity over its high charges. It is ominous that patients find using mobile phones cheaper.Rodney Hobson reports...Company News From Hemscott - http://www.hemscott.com/news.do
.
Patientline in last-ditch restructuring talksBy rss@pennysharesonline.com Patientline, the hospital phone and television provider, has confirmed talks are ongoing with its banks over a financial restructuring after it racked up more huge losses last year.
.
Monday newspaper round-up: Patientline, LSE, Standard LifePatientline, the hospital phone and television provider, will say today that it is in talks with its banks to put together a bailout package that may require a debt-for-equity swap.
.

Monday, June 25

Patientline's Terminal Decline

This piece will be updated regularly during the day. Patientline is termanly ill and our thoughts are with the company's 11,000 staff at this time. PT Editor
.
Patientline's Senior Director Nick Winks was unconvincingly stating this morning on the BBC radio four programme that the company's latest £33 million loss is really not too bad, well nothing like a bit of positive thought on a wet Monday morning. As Peter Troy said on the BBC programme's email notice board : '' Patientline's failure is directly as a result of its failure to understand the needs of its customers''
.
It is ominous that revenue per bedside terminal per day - one of the vital signs of life for Patientline - declined by 6.4% last year to only £1.62.

We really don’t see how Patientline can get out of this mess; the comany is in terminal decline. A view supported by the stock market, where Patientline’s sickly shares slipped another 1.125p to a low of 2.375p this morning.
.

Sunday, June 24

From the Editors Notebook


The Government confirmed last week that releasing prisoners early has a hidden cost, oh yes they are intitled to compensation would you believe. Prisoners released early are to receive a cash payout of up to £172 to compensate them for loss of bed and board. Some 25,500 prisoners are expected to be released up to 18 days early to solve the prisons overcrowding crisis, and will receive cash payments totalling £4.5m. The payments - equivalent to £10 each day - are intended to cover living costs during the time the ex-convicts would have been in prison because legally, as prisoners, they cannot receive benefits.

Who is Boss?

Written large in the European Council presidency conclusions on Friday is a provisions which breach the fundamental principles of national sovereignty and if unchallanged make formerly independent sovereign member states subordinate to the European Union.
.
This is a serious matter,it will effct all the peoples of Europe. It will determine whether the UKs new Prime Minister Gordon Brown will have any freedom to negotiate in the forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), which is set to start in July under the Portuguese presidency.The crunch comes in Paragraph 11 of the presidency conclusions, which states:

11. The IGC will carry out its work in accordance with the mandate set out in Annex I to these conclusions. The European Council invites the incoming Presidency to draw up a draft Treaty text in line with the terms of the mandate and to submit this to the IGC as soon as it opens.

This is then amplified by Annex 1 of the conclusions, headed "Draft IGC Mandate", where the very first paragraph – the preamble – declares:

The present mandate will provide the exclusive basis and framework for the work of the IGC that will be convened according to paragraph 10 of the European Council conclusions.

The practical implication of this – if the text is accepted at face value - is that the representatives of the member states are effectively bound by the terms of the "mandate" and cannot introduce other matters, or seek treaty changes not foreseen by this "mandate". At a national level, the effect would be that Gordon Brown would not be able to change the agenda set by the European Council, as agreed by his predecessor Tony Blair.
.
In EU constitutional terms, this is indeed a dramatic development. In these short paragraphs is a fundamental challenge to the sovereignty of the member states of the European Union.
.
The central tenet – and ultimate safeguard – in the relationship between member states and the Union is that the member states are sovereign. They alone have the ultimate power and authority to decide the terms of the treaties under which the European Union will operate.
.
In this presidency conclusion, however, the European Union – as represented by the European Council – is seeking to dictate to the member states what they shall (and shall not) include in a treaty (the text of which it has defined), effectively barring them from discussing anything else. If the member states accept this, they are effectively conceding that they are subordinate to the European Union, thereby acknowledging that the Union is the supreme power.This would represent a fundamental change in the relationship between the member states and the European Union, one not brought about by treaty, but by an informal de facto arrangement emanating from the European Council - setting an extremely dangerous precedent.
.
Thus, Gordon Brown's first challenge on becoming prime minister is not only to address the detail of the so-called "mandate", but to re-assert his right, as leader of a sovereign, independent nation, to decide on the terms of a treaty which will cede "competences" to the Union. He and his fellow heads of state and government, acting on mandate from their respective peoples, alone have the power to decide this.
.
It is wholly unacceptable, he should tell the European Union, that as a treaty organisation subordinate to the member states, it should attempt to usurp the power that belongs exclusively to the member states.
In short, Gordon Brown's first task is to tell the European Union who is boss.

The Sunday Quote

''All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don't know by what you do; that's what I called 'guess what was at the other side of the hill''.
.
Arthur Wesley, The First Duke of Wellington.

.

A Referendum on the EU

Both The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times today offer powerful leaders demanding a referendum following yesterday's European Council. Both have also – with commendable speed – sussed that the treaty "mandate" is little more than another attempt to get the failed EU constitution, dressed in the different clothes of an "amending treaty", onto the statute book.
.
The Sunday Times offering is backed up by a well-argued opinion piece from Lord Owen, making the case for a referendum, while The Guardian has been recording that demand for a referendum is growing.Thus does the Mail on Sunday report that Brown has an "EU timebomb" as the "treaty" starts to unravel.
.
Many newspapers are reporting that a "treaty" has been agreed, but the message is nevertheless clear – once again the British people have been deceived with bland assurances that their interests have been safeguarded, while yet another prime minister has sold us down the river.What is different now, of course, is that Brown does not face an election between now and the projected timetable for the treaty ratification. Blair, on the other hand, when he agreed to an EU referendum in 2005, was seeking to neutralise the issue of the constitution, to avoid it becoming an electoral drag.But there is another difference. For months now, the message has been that the constitution is "dead" and that the only thing on the table is an "amending treaty" embodying the minor administrative changes needed to make the EU function more efficiently.
.
As more and more people realise they have been deceived yet again, even those who are indifferent to the EU issue are going to be annoyed. People, as a rule, generally tolerant of being taken for a ride by their politicians, nonetheless do not particularly appreciate having their noses rubbed in it.

Thus, it seems more than a possibility that we will actually see a growing clamour for a referendum and, while Mr Brown can afford to tough it out, the clamour will be an unwelcome distraction from the agenda he wishes to pursue as a newly appointed Prime Minister.
.
Despite having already – and rather unwisely – having ruled out a referendum, he might find himself having to concede one, simply to enable him to concentrate on other issues;one can only hope. Watch this space.
___________________
.
Christopher Booker writes:
.
A coup d'état in the fine print.
.
The resolution agreed yesterday in Brussels by the European Council on the EU's proposed constitutional treaty represented an extraordinary coup d'etat, unprecedented in the history of the "European project". To understand the awesome significance of what happened it is necessary to appreciate just how this weekend's decision marked a complete departure from all the normal rules which govern the agreement of such treaties.
.
All the previous treaties extending the powers of the body now known as the European Union, from Rome through Maastricht to Nice, have been preceded by what is called an "inter-governmental conference" (IGC), a process of negotiation lasting several months between the governments involved. Under the rules of the Vienna Convention governing international treaties, the participants in an IGC have acted as sovereign governments in their own right, free to agree, on a basis of unanimity, which further powers they were prepared to hand over to the supranational government of the EU.
.
On this occasion, to secure the new treaty they are all so desperately keen to see in place, there will still have to be an IGC, as the rules require. But what is wholly new about yesterday's resolution is that, for the first time, the European Council has given an "exclusive mandate" to all the governments involved that they can only be permitted to discuss the treaty the European Council wants. In other words, they are no longer allowed to act as sovereign governments, as the international rules on treaties require, but can only act under the orders given them by the European Council.
.
This may sound like a typically arcane nicety of EU procedure, but it is of huge significance. The European Council is itself a "Community institution". It is therefore ordering the sovereign governments to hand over more powers to itself. This is something which, until it so dramatically changed the rules yesterday, no one would have thought the Council had the power to do.
.
We are thus to be presented with the constitution it wants, without any further opportunity for it to be amended. But, unless they decide to change the rules yet again, it will still have to be ratified by all 27 member states, several of which will need to hold referendums. Mrs Merkel's clever coup d'etat is not yet quite complete.
.

Saturday, June 23

The European Council's Mandate

Inevitably, it now falls to Drs Richard North and Helen Szamuely and their associates to take a fine toothcomb to the detail of European Council's mandate decided yesterday.
.
Owing to the vital importance of understanding the issue, the effects and the process of EU politics the detailed analysis will be produced, as fast as possible, a comprehensive document, outlining and explaining the changes proposed, putting them in a political and constitutional context, complete with links to other useful documentation. This will be publised as a .pdf document for ease of ongoing reference and available via this Blog.

A draft document is posted
here.

Patientline's Slow Death


Patientline, which operates the bedside telephone and TV services at 160 hospitals is due to report full-year figures on Monday.
.
The struggling under performing and debt ridden company, which reported a loss of £3.7m in the six months to 29 September said at the end of last year that it had embarked on a business recovery plan which included the closure of its US operations. Amazingly a pivotal part of that business recovery plan was to increase the price of its services particularly to the elderly and force its overworked and increasingly unpopular staff to adopt inapropriate direct selling techniques on the wards.
.
Without doubt the business suicide attempt by Patientline's Directors in the first half of this year, will shortly prove be terminal. Gordon Brown will, if he is alerted to the situation (and this Blog will do so), will need to order the (possibly also new) Health Secretary to establish a recovery plan which will set up non-profit making companies in each of the 160 Hospitals in which Patientline operate to continue the (much improved) service of the failed (and shamed) company.

.
On Monday the financial announcement by Patientline's much harassed Chairman, Geoff White, (pictured left in better days) will confirm that intervention from the new occupant of Number 10 next week will prevent further stress on the wards of at least 160 UK hospitals. In the meantime Patientline's service levels continue to decline.


End of the Week Quote

Nicely timed for the European Council this week the latest survey on public opinion in the European Union has been rushed out, telling us that more people love the EU than ever before.
.
This weeks quote is from our old friend Eurobarometer (presumably mercury-free) and the EU Commission. Overall, the three main indicators of attitudes - support for EU membership, perceived benefits of membership and the EU's image - rose in the last six months by 4, 5 and 6 points to 57, 59 and 52 percent respectively and – if you can believe this - the level of trust for the EU Commission and the EU Parliament showed a similar trend, each rising 4 points to 52 percent and 56 percent respectively over the same period.
.
Interestingly, support for EU membership in the UK rose by five points (see below). Eurobarometer, of course, is the organisation that predicted a "yes" result for the French and the Dutch on their EU referendums, so you can take the findings with a pinch of salt.
.
No doubt, they will also take heart from the finding that there are no EU member countries where more citizens are opposed than are supportive of membership - although Eurobarometer notes "significant minority opposition in the UK (30 percent), Austria (25 percent), Finland and Sweden (both 24 percent) as well as France (21 percent).

Well there you have it this Blog is a part of a ''significant minority'' !

Thursday, June 21

A fine Piece

An excellent piece in last Monday's Daily Telegraph from Ambrose Pritchard-Evens. Too fine a work to summarise, read the whole thing.
.
PS - Back in September 2002 I had the pleasure of shareing dinner with Ambrose and others in a fine bar and resturant in Strasburg. Ambrose was keen to find out from me which particular EU Regulation I thought had the most negative impact on British Business. I spent most of the third course expounding on the fact that it was the accumulative effect of so much legislation that is the barrier to business growth. Over coffee and a fine Claret I was able to explain that the single European market was a misnomer; it is in fact an EU wide customs union. Clearly both points are now well accepted.
Peter Troy

More from the EU.


From 27th May to 19th June this year the European Union (EU) has passed 112 laws that will impact on the UK.
.
The EU has announced more plans, which include rules relating to shipping that will undermine Britain’s ability to negotiate maritime law on the international stage.
.
A series of directives and regulations are being proposed that will take control over Britain's tourism trade, what ever next.
.
Well next is draft legislation currently working it’s way through the European Parliament will if it comes into law will in effect stop UK businesses selling to anyone in the EU outside the UK on the internet.

.
What is proposed is that the law of the buyer’s country applies rather than the law of the seller’s as now. That means 27 sets of consumer law. It will surely mean that UK traders websites will have to be translated into all the languages of the European Union member states!
.
The Federation of Small Business (FSB) commissioned top law firm Clifford Chance to examine the cost of compliance through legal and translation fees to operate in just one EU state. They “conservatively” reckoned it was £10,000 before considering issues such as VAT and staff costs.Comply with all 27 states and the cost would be nearly £250,000. How many small businesses selling on the web could afford that?

Tina Sommer, the FSB’s EU Affairs Spokesman, said recently:
.
“This proposal would send shopping back into the dark ages. It is short-sighted and does not assist consumers – it restricts their choice.The internet has revolutionised shopping for consumers – giving them choices and information that they never had before. Shoppers can now use the web to compare prices online before buying, whether on the internet or on the high street.
.
“To introduce these proposals would force many businesses to remove information from their websites. They would not be able to afford specialised legal advice to understand consumer laws in every EU member state. We speak on behalf of ourmembers who are also consumers - many are self-employed – and so buy as individuals. This proposal does not protect buyers, it merely adds to the EU red tape burden and returns us to the pre-internet age. The EU needs to think again.”
.
Indeed so, the whole suggestion is ludicrous and if the European Members of Parliament have any commonsense they will all vote against it. But then they did want straight cucumbers and they have not thought again about that!
.
So much for the single European Market; so why do we carry on as members of the European Union? Answers in the comments section below please.

.

Wednesday, June 20

To Encourage the Others

By Dr Richard North
.
Lt General Robert Fulton - former Commandant of the Royal Marines – came very highly recommended, and those who have seen his full report on the Iran hostages incident retain their opinion of him.
.
His report concludes that the events of 23 March were the result not of a single failure or any particular individual's human error, but rather of an unfortunate accumulation of factors - many relatively small when viewed in isolation - but which together placed our personnel in a position that could be exploited through a deliberate act by an unpredictable foreign state.
.
The Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, adds to that, saying of the report:
''…it does identify a number of weaknesses, including the coherence of strategic and operational direction within the coalition environment, the handling of intelligence, the development of doctrine and the conduct of training.''
.
As a result, we (the taxpayers) lost £350,000-worth of kit and suffered national humiliation. There is also a case to be made that the loss of "face" put other service personnel in the theatre at risk. Somebody must be responsible – heads must roll, etc., etc.
.
The inclination, therefore, is to dismiss Fulton's report because it does not tell us what we want to hear – that it does not support our prejudices, our hunches and our quite natural wish to see someone held responsible. But it was General Fulton who listened to the evidence, it was Fulton who conducted the inquiry and it was Fulton who wrote the report. Thus, whatever unease we may harbour, we must accept his findings.
.
In the final analysis, it comes down to a matter of trust. Here we have a man who is hugely respected amongst his peers, who has a reputation for taking no nonsense and yet is regarded as being scrupulously fair. Thus, while cynicism and mistrust has its necessary place in politics, in this case, trust has to prevail.
.
Further, while there is no disciplinary action planned, the Navy has its own way of doing things. Men (and women) who cannot be sanctioned for their individual failings – only because it would be invidious to pick on them and not others – will find their careers less than glittering. They will be driving desks or handing out stores for the rest of their (short) careers.
.
In other words, there are many ways of skinning a cat, (sorry Hector) and we do not always have to shoot our admirals to make a point: Voltaire is not the only sage in town.

Dispair

Letter published today in The Northern Echo.

.
Sir,

I write in despair. Most of the British press are getting the detail of the Prime Ministers meetings in Europe this week badly wrong.
.
Tony Blair is not attending a "summit" and he is not going to sign the treaty on 22 June. Tony Blair is attending a meeting of the European Council. That is an institution of the European Union, which cannot (by its own rules) agree a new treaty, as this is agreed by individual member states acting in their own name.All the European Council can do is convene an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), which is exactly what the German leader is going to propose. The summit (of the IGC) will, if everything goes to plan, be held towards the end of the year, at which point – if all 27 member states agree the details – a new draft treaty will be signed.

There is, therefore, no reason for Mr Blair to "cave in" and "sign up" Britain to anything this week. There is no treaty on the table yet and indeed nothing to sign.


Whilst the danger of further erosion of sovereign powers in the direction of the EU and away from the UK (and indeed other member states) is forever present news of the death of British sovereignty is at this time greatly exaggerated.


Peter Troy - Editor of the Blog Very British Subjects

The Great VAT Robbery

The piece reproduced below was published today in The Journal's in my view with series where the Editor is a regular contributor.
.
By Peter Troy
.
Back in April 1967, the European Commission issued a directive to launch a tax system unlike any seen before, which it described as "achieving the highest degree of simplicity". So amazingly complex did Value Added Tax (VAT) turn out to be that it has subsequently had to issue 35 more directives, which in practice has made the Tax even more complicated as most small and medium size businesses know to their cost.

Governments like VAT because that it turns the business community into tax collectors. To collect VAT from their customers, with all the accompanying paperwork, costs businesses four times more money than it costs the government to receive it; this ongoing cost of course particularly impacts on smaller businesses. Part of the price of forcing firms to collect the government's taxes in this way is that VAT has become a huge crime opportunity.

VAT fraud now costs the UK Treasury £4.75bn in 2005-06 and is estimated to be worth €250bn (£170bn) annually across the EU as a whole, according to a House of Lords report published last month.

The figures involved are of such staggering dimentions that they defy comprehension. Those of us, who are old enough, however, will remember the Great Train Robbery - committed 44 years ago. A huge £2.3 million was stolen - £40 million in today's money – and the publicity was huge, the crime is now a part of our national folklore.By comparison, UK is currently losses to VAT fraud in 2005-6 the equivalent of 120 great train robberies a year, or one every three days. At a European level, that number soars to a colossal 11 per day.
.
For sure, more recently, the UK government has got to grips with some of the more obvious scams – involving computer chips and mobile telephones – through increased enforcement and tightening procedures.
.
However the House of Lords argues that these measures are in the long term unsustainable.
.
Simply carrying out the checks involves about 1,500 staff, at a cost of £95m a year, with some supply chains under scrutiny involving up to 600 companies. Better VAT enforcement carries the danger of withholding money from legitimate, smaller, importers and traders, possibly pushing some to the brink of going out of business.Furthermore, the House of Lords report warn that the system change will simply shift the fraud from goods like mobile phones to others instead - such as cosmetics, precious metals, and computer software. Thus the fraud "will continue to migrate and mutate.''
.
The only way we can get to grips with this fraud, therefore, is to change the VAT system, ideally to a return to a simple Purchase Tax and that – as even the Lord's Committee who identified the huge fraud cost acknowledges – is not going to happen. The reason is that VAT is a European Union (EU) tax, it requires unanimity of all 27 member states to change, and the majority are very much against any fundamental changes.

In the meantime small Businesses and indeed their representatives will continue to despair at the complexity and draconian enforcement of VAT regulations and collection methods brought about because of the depredations of organised criminals.

The UK's largest member based Business organisation the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) will continue to support its 205,000 members who come under VAT investigation whilst at the same time demanding simplification of the EU tax, but there is there is absolutely nothing that can be about it, short of leaving the EU. Which is probably one of the reasons why FSB representative members voted (by over two thirds) to do just that back in 2001.

Monday, June 18

Falklands - 25


A spectacular flypast on Saturday over The Mall with 49 planes and helicopters representing every one of the crucial aircraft without which the Falklands would never have been liberated.

Sunday, June 17

The Footballer, The Broadcaster and a Publicist

The photograph above is and will remain a rare sight on this Blog. The young man signing the football shirt is Lee Catermole an England and Premier League Player who generously donated his time for a fundraising event. Thanks to the Editor's son Tim a full detailed and instant 'biog' was made available for the benefit of the event press co-coordinator, the Editor, whose knowledge and indeed interest in Football being absolutely nil; which makes the event even more unique. The occasion of the photograph was a fundraising event in aid of a very special and needy Teesside Charity.

Broadcaster Stewart McFarlane MBE and Lee Cattermole (Middlesbrough FC and England Under 21 Player) were present at the special open evening to celebrate 10 years of being in business at Jigsaw Hair Spa, Beckfield Centre, Ingleby Barwick. A large number of people attended the evening where they were shown how the newly refurbished impressive Hair Spa works while eating strawberries and drinking wine courtesy of Sharon Trotter the owner of Jigsaw (http://www.jigsawhairspa.co.uk/ 01642 763661)

Stewart McFarlane politely refused to have his beard coloured, he and Lee added greatly to the evening, Lee signing Middlesbrough Team Shirts and Stewart announcing that on Sunday 24 June there would be a special Charity Day in aid of the Butterwick Hospice Care, see
http://www.butterwick.org.uk/ .

A raffle was also held in aid of the Hospice. Jigsaw's proprietor has generously donated 6 Vouchers to the Hospice to allocate as they wish at the Hospice and the lucky recipients will have a complementary Hair Spa and Lunch at Jigsaw's impresive Hair Spa at Ingleby Barwick.

More on the Butterwick Hospice will follow since this Blog has become somewhat involved in the need to urgently raise £ 750,000.

.

Praise be the Lords (on the EU)

Lord (Malcolm) Pearson of Rannoch

Why do Members of the House of Lords not declare their well-paid interest in the EU?
by Christoper Booker
.
A fine example of how our political class looks after its own has been a long-running saga in the House of Lords over its normally strict rules about "declaring an interest". Lord Pearson of Rannoch has long been exercised over the fact that, although as the father of a handicapped child he has been formally instructed that he must always declare this when contributing to debates on disability, no such strictures seem to apply to the dozen or so peers, such as the six former EU Commissioners, who receive hefty pensions from the EU.They are free to lavish fulsome praise on the EU and all its works whenever they wish without ever having to mention that it is paying them up to £75,000 a year.
.
After pressure from Lord Pearson and various other peers, including two former senior cabinet ministers, the former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf was asked to pronounce on this matter on behalf of the Lords Privileges Committee.
.
He recommended unequivocally that "members of the House in receipt of pensions from the European Union should as a matter of course declare such pensions as a financial interest when taking part in debates, statements and questions onEuropean Union matters".
.
Uniquely, the committee, including Lord Williamson of Horton, the EU's former top civil servant, and Lord Howe of Aberavon, has now decided that Lord Woolf's recommendation can be ignored. Sure enough, in yet another debate on the EU last Thursday, Lord Williamson and a bevy of former Commissioners came out with their usual stream of pro-EU platitudes, without once having to mention those handsome cheques they receive from Brussels.

.

The Sunday Quote

Above: Colin Stratton (right) now NE Chairman of the FSB, with Peter Troy.
A cartoon drawn by Veronica Wilkie,1999.

''If every thing else in this nation of ours were lost but cricket - her Constitution and the laws of England -it would be possible to reconstruct from the theory and practice of cricket all the eternal Englishness which has gone to the establishment of that Constitution and the laws aforesaid.''

Neville Cards (1889 -1975) English Critic and Writer.

The Patientline Scandal

News of The World - page 14 -17/06/07. Click to enlarge


From the Editor's Breakfast table.
By Peter Troy
.
Congratulations to Dan Evans the intrepid investigator from the News of The World who went undercover at the Bolton Royal Hospital in Lancashire for four days as a Patientline Customer Services Advisor (Salesman). Dan's report yet again highlights the high pressure sales techniques that the hard pressed Patientline staff are being forced to use on sick people in the 160 hospitals in which this much written about company operates.

Comments I am told are pouring in on the News of the Word Site (some are even publishable) to the piece on page 14 of today's edition see
http://notw.typepad.com/thebigone/. (For the benefit of Lynn Peter's one of Patientline Deputy Managers who is keen to make anonymous comments on this site I was consulted by the newspaper last week - there will no doubt be more, much more revelations and comment to follow)

As regular readers are aware I worked part-time for Patientline at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for eighteen months.(See Labels at the bottom of this piece to link to previous postings). I resigned in April in protest at Patientline's price changes which meant that sick people were forced to pay over £5 for two ten minute calls. Also, older and long term patients could no longer pay a very much reduced rate. I felt very sorry for the patients who were getting a poor deal and also for the Patientline Staff who were taking a lot of hassle both from nursing staff and from Patientline's Customers with virtually no support (or understanding) from Patientline's senior management.

Clearly Patientline is sales obsessed; where as the company should be obsessed with delivering a high level of service with value for money. Sick people would happily buy TV viewing time and telephone time if the service was reasonably priced and reliable.

Because of the company's operational difficulties and high prices only about 30 per cent of patients that could become Patientline's customers in fact do so. This is why Patientline's front line staff are put under extreme pressure to sign up patients and sell pre-pay cards and/or debit/credit card sales as well as extract from bewildered sick people the phone numbers from their personal address books; mostly by using devious sales techniques.

During most of my time with Patietientline at least 10 per cent of the bedside equipment was faulty at any one time; a problem that still currently is causing stress on the wards in most of the 160 hospitals that Patientline operates in across the UK.

Patientline's Senior Management are like the generals from the First World War - they are sending their sales staff over the top into the wards to face the mass hostility of both patients and nursing staff with unreliable equipment, dodgy propaganda, badly trained and badly led - the senior management hardly ever visit the sales front to see the stress and upset that the company is causing to sick people. Yet they continue to issue inappropriate sales targets. Lest the NHS Trust Managers forget what is being done on their wards.

Today's revelations in the News of The World highlight Patientline's Commercial Director, Charlotte Brown's comments to BBC journalist Nigel Satchel three weeks ago : "Patientline does not encourage hard-selling and our advisors are merely there to provide information and support to patients." To be kind Ms Brown clearly has no idea what is going on at the front - i.e. in the wards!

If Patientline's products were reliable, reasonably priced, simple to operate with support staff that were free of inappropriate high pressure sales targets Patientline would see an increase it its sales. Whilst Patientline's senior management remain oblivious to the stress they are causing on the wards (and not least to their own staff) they will continue to fail. But Patientline's failure is not in the public interest.

Since it is not, I submit to our readers, healthy for Patienline to continue to operate on the Wards of 160 hospitals with their current unacceptable business practices (as highlighted in the media in recent weeks) then Patienline should be closed down (this can be ordered by a court action from the DTI or as a health issue by the DOH) and their operation (including all frontline staff and equipment) could be run by non-profit making organisations set up by the individual NHS Trusts. If there is the political will to cut out the cancer that is Patientline quickly from the wards of 160 UK hospitals there will be a lot less stressed patients on the wards of NHS hospitals.

I feel a letter to my MP coming on.

Peter Troy, Sedgefield.
-------------
.
Update. The Comments on The News of the World site, linked below, justify this Blogs condemnation of Patientline in recent weeks.

Saturday, June 16

The End of Week Quote

'' I am determined that we should maximize our people's potential through a greater understanding of the Manoeuvrist Approach and Mission Command, recognizing also the importance of a Comprehensive Approach within the framework of coherent campaign plans.
'' I would hope that there is nobody in the room who is not completely familiar with the tenets of the Comprehensive Approach, and yet we still struggle to implement a truly unified purpose and methodology to tackle operations. We are operating in an era in which campaigns are likely to require non-kinetic effects more often than kinetic. ''

Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff (Head of the UK Army) revealed all in a speech to the RUSI Future Land Warfare Conference on Tuesday 5 June 2007.

Clearly corporate management speak has infected the British armed forces. Parachute the General into the plains of Helmand Province to deliver that, and I am sure the Taliban would run a mile. On second thoughts, though, it would probably be banned by the Geneva Convention.

Friday, June 15

New EU Treaty - Comming Soon


There is today much in the news about matters of ''Europe.'' Should British Subjects be concerned? Well:
.
An Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) of the heads of Government of the EU member is to be convened, with a view to negotiating a treaty text, the target being a signing of a new EU Treaty by the end of this year.

The Daily Telegraph is, today, having to backtrack madly today in its leader, making out that the IGC is a new development, covering the tracks for Daniel Hannan, who confidently predicted that Blair was going to sign the treaty on 22 June. No treaty or draft treaty will be signed at the current meeting.
.
The danger of further erosion of sovereign powers in the direction of the EU and away from the UK (and indeed other member states) is forever present though nothing will be agreed or signed (even in draft form) until the IGC at the end of the year.

Most interesting (and important) is comment retailed to us via The Times, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, former French President and author of the failed EU constitution, has written in Le Monde that by making "cosmetic" changes to the constitution "public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly". (Crafty lot - what! Ed)
.
He argues that "if governments agree on a simplified treaty preserving the essential institutional advances, they should not be afraid to say so and write so". Efforts were underway to try to "conserve part of the innovations of the Constitutional Treaty and to camouflage them by breaking them up into several texts".
.
He said: "The most innovative elements will be the object of simple amendments to the Maastricht and Nice treaties. The technical improvements would be regrouped into a bland and painless treaty. The sum of these texts will be presented to parliaments, which will vote on them separately. Thus public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them 'directly'."
.
That is, of course, exactly the technique adopted with the draft Treaty of the European Union, back in 1984 which, on the advice of French President Mitterrand, was broken into two bite-sized chunks to become the Single European Act (SEA) and the Maastricht Treaty. The details of this were kept well away from the people and in the case of the SEA amazingly 'bought' by Baroness Thatcher.
.
The trouble is that is the way the EU architects work. They work a constant process of grabbing what they can get away with, denying that they want more and then, in the fullness of time, coming back for more – in a never-ending process. The only thing new, therefore, is that, for once, M.Giscard seems happy to admit that this is the plan.

The referendum that we in the UK really want is a full, free and fair vote on whether we stay in a political union or regain our independence pride and self determination. The EU question has been off the political agenda for some time and our Government is not of a mind to allow the British people decide on their future destiny.
.

Thursday, June 14

About the Editor


Peter Troy is a politically aware individual with a background firmly rooted in the UK's small businesses community. He has been self employed since 1985 and is well aware of the rough and tumble of business life. Peter established this Blog site in 2004 following a six month role as the lead candidate for UKIP in Scotland in the European Parliamentary Election of June 2004.
.
For a number of years Peter has conducted business as a publicist specialising in raising a positive profile of individually privately owned businesses in the UK Media. He has acted for a number of non-profit organisations. Peter is a supplier of political comment, prediction, analysis to overseas media agencies and research organisations.
.
For ten years he was an activist and recruiter with the Federation of Small Businesses in the North East, the UK’s largest member based business organisation. For a period of 18 months Peter was contracted to Patientline UK Ltd a public company that supplies bed-side entertainment to 150 UK Hospitals. but resigned on 30 April 2007 in a direct protest at Patientline’s pricing structure and operational procedures. The Patientline issue was recently featured on BBC TV News which Peter Troy instigated.

Peter's areas of expertise are small business issues, the working of UK National and local government, the British constitution, British and European Political History, Britain’s membership of the European Union and British media issues. Peter has organised a number of high profile business and political events in recent years.

Peter regularly contributes to the North of England Press and other political journals articles of a business/political nature. He is a frequent supplier of media assistance to charities an can often be heard on BBC Radio Tees, Radio Teessdale as well as commercial radio stations. Peter has worked as a volunteer with the Prince's Trust since 2003 and is an inthuastic member of the Business referal organisation BNI.

Peter has extensive contacts in the business and political world and would be happy to be consulted on genuine research issues, on media based projects or indeed as in his specialist area as a Publicist. Contact - peter.troy@thetoblicist.co.uk or call Peter directly on his business mobile, 0798 8714295.
.
The Publicist:

The Huge Payments

The above chart shows our current estimated "contributions" to the European Union (less rebates), up until 2013 - courtesy of Lord Stoddart of Swindon, who asked the question in the Lords.
.
At just over £10 billion, this year's payment is nearly a third of the defence budget. It is also enough to bulid and staff ten new hospitals each year and with the money left over run them for ever.
.
Comments in the section below as to why the UK remains a member of the EU?

From the Editor's Files

I came across this swashbuckling attack on greenery and thought of my readers. This man can write. Very much recomended.

Wednesday, June 13

Freedom of Movement Extends to Criminals


Known as gearing, this is the mechanism by which the EU racks up its laws, of which there are vast numbers.
.
First of all, it prevents member states implementing their own controls in a vital policy area (such as immigration), and then starts to regulate in these areas itself. The regulation is invariably incomplete and functions poorly, requiring more legislation. It is then not long before there are demands for additional laws, whence the EU commission happily obliges with proposals – grandly declaring that the member states are calling for "more Europe".
.
Without fully realising it, that is what The Daily Mail is complaining about today, with a long lament about how police across the European Union are to be given free access to the DNA of four million Britons, millions of fingerprints, and to vehicle and driver registrations. This is the so-called "Prum Convention " on cross-border police co-operation, which has now come into force throughout the EU, allowing for the mutual sharing of personal data held by police forces within the Community.
.
The Tories are also calling the convention a "sell-out", not least because this deal would have been part of the EU constitution, but has now been agreed separately as an intergovernmental agreement. London MEP Syed Kamall, for instance, says: "We are sleepwalking into a Big Brother Europe while our government stands idly by."
.
The problem is, though, that within the framework of our membership of the EU, the arrangement is both consistent and necessary.
.
The Treaties oblige us to allow free movement of the citizens of EU member states across our borders; we are required to allow them to take up residence and they are allowed to bring their vehicles and drive on the licenses issued by their home countries.
.
Furthermore, we are not allowed to carry out any border checks and we cannot impose any conditions on entry – such as requiring evidence that individuals do not have criminal records.The problem is, of course, that freedom of movement extends to criminals and as well as honest citizens, leaving the police in an impossible position of having to check out potential criminals – to say nothing of drivers and vehicle of EU citizens resident here - when their records are in another country.
.
Thus, with EU law having created the situation in the first place, and prevented member states from implementing their own controls, we are more or less forced to accept further EU-wide agreements to deal with the consequences – in this case the Prum Convention. That is engrenage in practice.
.
It is all very well for the Mail and indeed the Tories to moan. However the answer to dealing with incoming criminals – without resorting to EU-wide agreements – is re-instate border controls and develop enhanced co-operation through Interpol. Neither of those options are available, however, as long as we are members of the European Union.
.
Thus there is only one answer – but, needless to say – it is one that not many are prepared to countenance. To regain control of the problem the only answer is to leave the EU. Instead, we get empty rhetoric from the media and our political leaders, while engrenage continues to drive the process of European integration. Such is how we are governed.
.