Archive for January, 2013

EU: That famous British influence in action

The EUphiles never tire of claiming that if the UK left the EU we would lose our ‘influence’ over the laws that are made and how things are done.  When asked to detail examples of this influence they go quiet.  It is an illusion.

That much is emphasised again in the Telegraph, which reports on the reaction of DEFRA minister, Owen Paterson, to a series of votes in the European Parliament concerning the Common Agricultural Policy. The minister is said to have condemned the votes, which will see farmers paid twice for doing the same work at a cost of up to an extra £2.6bn per year.  A substantial proportion of that money is extracted from UK taxpayers and the benefit to UK farmers is trivial compared to the subsidy whores on the continent.

The parliament’s agriculture committee, which is dominated by farming interests, backed so-called “double payments” to farmers in order to keep spending on the CAP – currently approaching £50 billion a year – as close as possible to its present high levels.

Crucially, farmers will be able to be paid twice for the same work. Farmers who qualify for money from “Pillar 2”, the part of the budget which rewards “green” practices, such as preserving hedgerows, will now get an automatic right to collect money from the larger subsidy scheme, known as “Pillar 1” regardless of how little work they do for the Pillar 2 cash, meaning in effect being paid twice for doing the same thing.

The committee also voted for more of the controversial practice, reduced under earlier CAP reforms, of subsidising farmers based purely on the amounts they produce – something which contributed to the infamous 1970s “butter mountains” and “wine lakes.”

It is waste, plain and simple. It is an appalling abuse of our money. But as if the fact the vote was carried at the meeting of the agriculture committee at all isn’t bad enough, the manner in which it passed and what was passed along with it is even worse, as a separate piece in the Telegraph makes clear:

[...] the agriculture committee voted, in several ways, to go backwards in time. They passed “recoupling”. This re-establishes, on a smaller scale, the discredited practice of subsidising particular crops for the sake of it. It blocked transparency provisions which would have published the names of all the beneficiaries and the amounts they received.

Now why on earth would transparency provisions be blocked?  The question is rhetorical, for we can already be sure of the answer.  This is the nature of the EU.  Vested interests are being served at our ever growing expense. As the piece continues:

If last week’s vote shows the unreformed nature of much Euro-thinking, it also shows up the EU’s flawed democratic processes.

These hugely important changes have emerged almost entirely without public involvement, knowledge or debate. The amendments, and the compromises between them which were passed, were produced in private, and even published only a few days before last week’s hearing.

With as many as 8,000 amendments to consider on Wednesday and Thursday — though the number was reduced by compromises — there was no time for debate, or indeed for anything but the votes.

There is much more besides and reading the whole depressing thing is essential.  But this is what David Cameron wants more of, the UK staying trapped inside a corrupt cesspool with Brussels still pulling the strings, with a few meaningless ‘powers’ returned like crumbs being swept from a table.  All because Cameron and his EUphile stooges says it’s vital this country is at the heart of ‘Europe’ using our ‘influence’.

Just where was this famous influence on Wednesday, as British taxpayers were ripped off for even more money amidst chaotic scenes, as our ‘partners’ not only picked our pockets but at the same time voted to prevent us finding out who exactly was going to benefit from this pork barrel pantomime?  Nothing that Cameron hopes to reform is going to change this.  The only way to stop being abused like this is for the UK to leave the EU.  Stories like this make it that bit easier.

A frank assessment and reality check

Some people might consider the op-ed in Germany’s Spiegel less frank and more brutal.

Either the commentary from a rabidly pro-EU newspaper on the continent offers a reality check for the UK’s doggedly pro-EU Prime Minister, and the deluded Conservative rump which continues to kid itself and others that they can secure the return of a handful of largely meaningless powers to the UK and launch complete restructuring of the European Union into the bargain:

His party still hasn’t forgiven him for failing to clinch an absolute majority in the last election. They see the coalition with the Liberal Democrats as a humiliation. The EU is their way of exacting revenge on Cameron for that. It’s part of the reason why Cameron sees Europe mainly as a party political problem.

By trying to satisfy his radical backbenchers with the referendum pledge, he’s launched into a game he can’t win. The EU’s other 26 governments won’t let him opt out of parts of the existing accords because that would prompt others to demand concessions of their own. The Europe-haters in Cameron’s party won’t be satisfied because the leeway they want from Brussels isn’t politically achievable.

Exclusively among the constituents of the EU only Cameron, his europlastic lobby fodder amd the majority of the British media believe in his fantasy renegotiation narrative.  The tragedy is they have come together and taken advantage of the wishful thinking of a largely uninformed public to con them into believing it is real and achievable and the only option that results in ‘less Europe’ and maintains access to the single market.  As Spiegel points out somewhat unhelpfully for the dreamers:

The important questions still haven’t been answered. What exactly does Britain expect of Europe? What laws and regulations does Cameron want to change? What parts of the treaty does he want to opt out of? And above all: How in heaven’s name does Cameron propose to persuade the German chancellor, the French president and all the other European leaders that he should get to pick the raisins from the cake while everyone else gets the crumbs?

The truth is Cameron has no idea.  His speech was a gambit to stop the leak of Conservative members to UKIP and arrest the groundswell of anti-EU sentiment among a frustrated public.

Nothing that Cameron can achieve will negate the issues that have been turning an increasing number of people against EU membership.  Power will remain in Brussels, laws and regulations will still be handed down for the British to implement, billions of pounds will be sent elsewhere within the EU at the expense of the vulnerable in this country, unfettered migration of low skilled, low earning EU nationals will continue, British economic interests and trade deals will continue to be compromised and diluted to suit the ‘common’ interests of other EU states.  In short, the UK will not belong to the British.

They just don’t get it

The anti-democrats

The reaction within the establishment to David Cameron’s speech pledging an in-out referendum on the EU, if he manages to remain Prime Minister after the next general election, shows how detached and contemptuous its members are.

First up we had Ed Miliband, puffing his chest out like a gooney bird in the House of Commons, declaring ‘his’ party would not allow the people to choose the way this country is governed.

It seems the socialist dogma of common ownership is limited to taking money from those who have it, to lavish in return for votes on those who want it, but don’t go out and earn it.  For Comrade Ed and his fellow travellers when it comes to common ownership of this country, only the self selecting elitists who have served their time in party youth organisations, think tanks and policy units, get to decide.

Then we had Nick Clegg chipping in with the same utterly discredited arguments he used in favour of the lunacy of the UK ditching sterling and adopting the Euro, namely that this issue will cause uncertainty for business and the economy and jobs and investment will be at risk.

Then with every man and his dog across the continent chipping in their tuppence worth, the august pages of the Barclay Brother Beano provided a platform for Fraser Nelson to opine that while David Cameron puts his faith in the people, Ed Miliband clings rigidly to belief in the state.  Fraser Nelson’s take on this issue reveals his paternalist Tory streak:

All of a sudden, “this Cameron” finds himself armed with a very powerful question to ask his opponents at election time: “We trust the people. Why don’t you?”

Trust the people? Trust them to do what? Why, to do what Cameron wants them to do of course!  It speaks volumes of the establishment that this issue is presented in terms of ‘trust’.

Democratically-minded people would not be talking about trusting the people any more than they would be declaring they would not be holding a referendum.  True democrats would be talking about letting the people decide and seeking the people’s consent. They would be talking about representing the wishes of the people.  But that doesn’t occur to the likes of Cameron, Clegg, Miliband or hacks like Nelson. These are people who belive they have a divine right to impose their wishes and dictate what will be to everyone else, and those who are their cheerleaders.  When it comes to democracy they just don’t get it.

That is why we need to be sceptical and suspicious of the motives of all members of this insular, self serving crowd.  They are not trying to serve interests, only their own.

The David Cameron speech – reality, delusion and ignorance

It was the kind of speech one should expect from a privileged individual, who has been brought up with a sense of entitlement to rule.

Cameron has a misplaced belief that in spite of all evidence he alone can change a decades-old destination; while leaving intact the structures built to enable its eventual arrival, ignoring reality and insisting that political union is desireable can be made to be democratic and be achieved while leaving nations states in charge of their own affairs.

This was less David William Donald Cameron, more Hans Christian Andersen. But no one who has paid any attention to this man’s approach and behaviour will have been surprised.

We cannot do justice to the response needed to David Cameron’s speech and tackle points that need to be rebutted with an immediate blog post. So a considered and detailed response will be forthcoming in the coming days – drawing upon evidence Cameron simply refuses to acknowledge.

The die has been cast and it is what we expected. Everything is being put together in a way that maintains the status quo. We now have the time to counter Cameron’s assertions and whimscal ideas with hard fact, and time to share it with people acriss the UK who perhaps feel there is more to all this than meets the eye. They are right. The clarity they are seeking will be published soon.

Why did YouGov change its EU opinion poll question format?

In the previous post this blog referenced a big change in voter views captured by YouGov if there was an in-out referendum on EU membership.

The Better Off Out campaign has an invaluable post on its blog that highlights the findings of a poll watcher, Leo Barasi, who spotted that YouGov had changed the question structure of its polls and then claimed an “opinion change“. You can read Leo’s post and follow up on the Noise of the Crowd blog.

When writing my previous post, Peter Kellner’s political leanings were a consideration, but these were pushed aside as it felt unlikely that a seemingly reputable pollster like YouGov would be so unprincipled as to lead respondents in a particular direction. Now I’m not so sure. YouGov needs to explain why it changed the format and explain the poll sample is therefore not like for like.

What this underlines is the EUphile side is active and vocal vocal and trying to defeat the EUsceptics before they effectively counter the scare stories about withdrawal. We have seen this in the media in recent weeks with a flood of op-eds all pushing the ‘in’ line, and now we have interesting changes to the poll format by the company run by the husband of the EU’s unelected Foreign Affairs representative, Catherine Ashton.

The EUsceptics need to get in the game right now and challenge the spin and distortion that is worrying some voters who previously wanted the UK to withdraw. Then even if YouGov walks poll respondents down a path they can still say no because they are informed about how the UK can leave and protect its economic interests.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of a straightforward victory

Unless voters can be reassured that withdrawal from the EU will not cause economic harm, they could very well opt to remain in the European Union.

That simple yet powerful sentence, written by Richard, is almost certainly the reason why YouGov’s latest opinion poll – reported in the Wail – is showing that voters who were in favour of securing this country’s independence are starting to to get nervous and thinking instead that staying in the EU is the only way of preserving our economic interests through access to the single market.

Most people don’t know the ins and outs, but the pro-EU campaign’s claims that exit from the EU would harm this country’s economy sounds plausible enough to warrant a change of heart.  And the fact of the matter is these plausible claims – which deliberately spin only a slanted and easily rebutted version of the story – are not being countered by the supposed ‘leaders’ of the loose collection of EUsceptic organisations.

You could be forgiven for expecting the counter arguments and details of a strategy to protect this country’s economic interests after exit from the EU would be front and centre on the UKIP website, but they seem to prefer to focus on other things and asking people to sign petitions, while the voters drift away:

This is the direct consequence of the absolute refusal of certain EUsceptics to consider any means of exit from the EU other than the ‘magic wand’ option – repealing the European Communities Act, thereby precipitating an abrogation of the EU Treaties with no alternatives in place. Farage and Co continue to play their fiddle while Rome burns our cash and helps decide the laws British people have to abide by.

This is why, despite the UKIP brickbats that inevitably come in my direction when I make this argument, I say that faith in Nigel Farage is completely misplaced. He will destroy our efforts.  Unless people understand and recognise this, we are heading for defeat.

The absence of strategy and detail, that reassures voters and businessmen alike that leaving the EU doesn’t mean giving up involvement in the single market, is giving the EUphiles the opportunity to swing the argument in their favour.  With the exception of a small band of bloggers trying to make a noise from the cheap seats, they have the stage to themselves.  It defies belief.

So it is that despite people citing a multitude of essential reasons for the UK getting out of the EU, for many of them the thought of losing the ability to sell our goods and services and the subsequent impact of that on jobs and the economy, outweighs the absence of democracy, self determination and the huge sums of money we are compelled to send to Brussels.  Against this backdrop we have the celebrated and high profile EUsceptics absolutely nowhere in the debate and on the verge of consigning the UK to membership of this rancid union for generations to come.

It would be easy to say I feel despair about all this but it’s not despair, it’s frustration and anger.

Pesky questions the media don’t want to answer

h/t The Boiling Frog

But when such a straightforward question does get asked, it is posed out of context and the answer given by the political elite is accepted unmolested by any form of challenge.  Someone’s interests are being served here, and it isn’t that of the general public.  When Cameron declared ‘we are all in this together’ he must have meant the political class and the media.

Prestige failure – another badly informed business expert looks stupid

The ‘Next’ up on the conveyor belt of ‘business experts’ to offer their prestigious insight in the pages of the media claque is Baron Wolfson of Aspley Guise.

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The former Simon Wolfson, this man is Chief Executive of Next, a Conservative Life Peer since 2010 and was a financial backer to David Cameron’s leadership campaign in 2005 – exactly the sort of man the Telegraph would run to for comment.

But despite an expensive education and even more expensive remuneration package, Wolfson demonstrates a frightening lack of knowledge about a subject that has enormous impact on the business he runs. He joins a long line of establishment and business figures who unwittingly or deliberately conflate EU membership with being part of the single market, despite them being separate as shown by .  But his comment goes unchallenged as the media refuses to do anything that will remind viewers and readers of the reality of the European project, because the media supports the project.

Anyone who has taken even a rudimentary look at the history of the European movement will know Britain joined the EEC, and remained an enthusiastic member its all its subsequent guises, knowing the destination was political union.  While voters were lied to and spun a tale of only joining a common market, reams of evidence in the years that have followed have been presented to show the political class and civil service knew, approved of and actively pursued full British integration into political union.  Britain exactly signed up to the inexorable march to a federal Europe.

For Wolfson to state otherwise proves one of two things:

  1. He is a badly informed and poorly read individual whose lack of knowledge should require him to stay quiet, or
  2. He knows the reality and is just another Tory Wet stooge knowingly repeating a lie for partisan political ends

Either way, his intervention in the debate adds no value and leaves him looking stupid.

But there is a wider issue here.  The media is being flooded with these inaccurate and misleading editorials and op-eds, part of an effort to rewrite history and make ordinary people accept the distorted record as fact.  While comment threads online are loaded with rebuttal and corrections, that is not a feature of the dead-tree press bought from news stands.  An evidence-based campaign will be needed soon to correct the record in local and national media so people can see how the establishment has lied to them, again.

Sausages and laws, the media doesn’t understand how either are made

Witterings from Witney picks up on an article in the press about proposals for more 20mph speed limits and enforcement cameras, one in which the well-paid hack has failed to ‘dig beneath the surface’ of the story where the origin of legislation is concerned.  It indirectly provides more evidence of the fallacy of the ‘fax democracy’ the EU supposedly dictates to non-EU members of the European Economic Area (EEA).

It is a valuable piece that all readers would benefit from taking on board, as it shows that much of the legislation being introduced by national governments – and the European Union – is not ‘home grown’ and does not even originate in the European Commission, but rather is formulated by sovereign nations and handed down by UN bodies to which they have acceded.

The EU’s ‘common position’ as representative of its 28 member states therefore mean each member state has less of a voice in shaping these decisions than independent nations such as Switzerland and Norway – who engage directly with the UN bodies to shape legislation with their own voice.

As WfW wryly observes:

As mentioned on twitter by @WhiteWednesday, no doubt – and hopefully – the Swiss “faxed” Brussels to give them advanced warning of legislation they would shortly have to introduce – but I digress again.

Quite.

Cameron’s EU speech – the die is cast, renegotiation confirmed as a sham

An article in David Cameron’s favourite loss-making newspaper has the Tory spin machine pronouncing his long awaited speech on the EU will contain a ‘red meat announcement’ on this country’s future in the EU.

As the paper explains, a senior government source said that the prime minister intends to make the speech this week – possibly on Monday:

He wants to go ahead as soon as possible. There will be something in it which will pacify all but the hard core.  But he could deliver the same kind of speech that Margaret Thatcher gave in Bruges in 1988 and around 25 MPs would not be happy. It is not possible to please everyone.

This language points to a forthcoming flim flam of largely meaningless demands that, even if achieved, will do nothing to remove the EU’s control over this country, or reduce the colossal sums the UK is forced to contribute to the EU’s coffers.  Cameron, in his state of delusion, is determined that the EU will continue to rule the United Kingdom, outside the control or accountability of democratic stuctures.  Anything he would ever be able to bring back from ‘Europe’ and put to the people will be as meaningless as the piece of paper Chamberlain brought home from Munich.  This background information says it all:

But insiders say he will spell out in greater detail his approach – including one significant announcement – while refusing to give a “shopping list” of powers he wants to repatriate. The shopping list idea was rejected after warnings from other EU leaders, Number 10 officials and the Foreign Office that he would have no guarantee of bringing home the goods.

This more than anything reveals the sham of the supposed renegotiation plan and it confirms the cowardice at the core of Cameron’s being.  He won’t articulate a shopping list because EU leaders and the rampantly EUphile Foreign Office told him not to.  Cameron isn’t in charge, the unelected bureaucrats are pulling the strings.  So we can be certain now this isn’t about getting back key powers, it’s about window dressing while leaving the inventory of the shop exactly as it was before.  This is a con trick of enormous magnitude.

Despite this the vast majority of Tory MPs will swallow it hook, line and sinker because it’s what they want to hear. They are devoted to continued EU membership and will continue to talk about renegotiation of a few token powers like nothing has changed and witter on that we have to stay a member of the EU for economic and trade reasons, because they are too ignorant to understand or deceitful to admit political union of the EU is not necessary for keeping access to the single market.

The piece also acknowledges that which Richard has been saying for many, many months.  Namely that there is hardly any prospect of re-opening the treaties due to the sway held by other member states – so much for our lauded ‘influence’ – and as for an intergovernmental conference over which Cameron has no control, the ‘strategy’ is a hotch potch of ifs, buts and maybes.

If EUphile delusion is a disease, this man could be the unwitting cure

If there is one thing we can all respect about fanatical EU federalists, it’s that they invariably tell the truth about the EU project even if to further its aims they slip in the odfd misdirection to keep the less informed on side.  Contrast that with the UK political class, which spends all its time attempting – clearly with some success – to deceive the British public into believing the EU is only about the single market, rather than the decades-old objective of political union.

Reading the piss-poor Huffington Post ranks lower on my list of enjoyable activities than having teeth pulled without anaesthetic or undergoing a vasectomy with garden shears. But every so often that paean of quasi-Marxist groin-centric spherical objects, does manage to extract a valuable contribution from one its fellow travellers that underline the scale of the task facing we democratically-minded, classically-liberal freedom lovers.  On Friday that digital equivalent of used toilet roll delivered one such soul-destroying jumble of bovine colonic detritus.

The former prime minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, replete with those thick framed spectacles that are the essential fashion eyewear of socialist authoritarians the world over, for the benefit of the UK audience briefly used the tired but seemingly effective trick of conflating the EU and it destination of political union with the single market. Cue yawns, or in Nile Gardiner’s worthy case a short rebuttal in the Telegraph. But thereafter the true EUphile colours streamed through. Following the typical EU federalist falsehood came some welcome honesty:

Cameron will not succeed if he attempts to hold his European partners to ransom, exchanging acquiescence to EU treaty change over the eurozone for a unilateral repatriation of powers. Moreover, the rest of the EU knows that stability and economic recovery in the eurozone is vital to the UK’s own economic interests. Some have said Cameron is not going to get his way by pointing a gun at everyone else’s head. I believe a more apt metaphor would be that of a madman, threatening to blow himself up unless he gets his own way.

One issue on which Cameron has been deliberately vague is what powers he seeks to repatriate. Social and employment law which sets minimum standards for annual leave, maternity, working hours or health and safety practices? Police and judicial cooperation which leading law enforcement figures have said are vital to the UK’s national security? The Common Fisheries Policy, which is already currently undergoing major reform? Do the fish even know wherei (sic) international borders are anyway? The only thing Cameron will achieve by seeking to renegotiate terms of membership is that Britain will be left ostracised, resented and alone. And the failure to meet expectations back home for a repatriation of powers would risk sending the UK hurtling towards the exit.

We can but hope.  But this honesty, even though it has been spilled out in a curious effort to make Britons want more of this rather than less, once again exposes Cameron’s empty rhetoric and the bleating of supposed business geniuses for what it is.  What it also does is provide ‘outers’ with yet more valuable ‘horse’s mouth’ material to show the renegotiation meme so beloved of Cameron, the leaden Tories and their partisan cheerleaders, is a fantasy option.

People are being lured in to supporting a non-existant ‘renegotiation’ option or reluctantly accepting continued EU membership because of establishment scare tactics and the concealment of the benefits of independence; which is why Mr Catherine Ashton’s recent YouGov poll (for the EUphile Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the socialist authoritarian Fabian Society) saw a fall in the number of people aged 18-34 wanting to leave the EU with more in that group wanting to stay put. Across the whole electorate the split for leaving the EU/staying in the EU is 55% / 43%.

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People desiring a major renegotiation of the terms of EU subordination is perfectly fine in itself; but its prospects are even less likely than me fulfilling my desire of engaging in an extended passionate, Monte Carlo based extra-marital liaison with Bar Refaeli, Kate Beckinsale, Doutzen Kroes and Blake Lively.  However many people polled say they support the idea, it’s just not going to happen.

While Verhofstadt then deviates back into the realms of lies and gross distortion by repeating the agreed line on EFTA and the ‘fax law’ fallacy, misleading people by describing the more than 50% of UK exports that travel through the EU as being exports to the EU, (the UK Treasury Pink Book, the OECD and the European Commission all put the figure at below 50 per cent, with the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics showing the Eurozone accounts for just 47.1 per cent of our exports of goods) and desperately trying to convince people that having your voice and interests diluted and weakened by combining it with 26 other competing and conflicting voices and interests is more effective than using your own voice to articulate your own position, he has nonetheless offered some service.  If little Guy reads the HuffPo comments in response to his rant he may also be rather disheartened to see how many people reject his premise and see the need and value to be an independent country again.

But before heading back to his seat on the gravy train and some back-slapping from the ‘colleagues’ who are desperate to keep the whole stinking ediface intact, Verhofstadt leaves us with a fisking opportunity:

In fields as diverse as the single market, foreign policy, trade and enlargement, the UK has shown that it can play a leading role. Crucially, Britain’s liberal instincts have helped ensure that the EU remains competitive, outward looking, and a force for peace and trade liberalisation throughout the world. It has achieved this not through blackmail, but by building alliances and pushing for EU-wide reform.

If put accurately and truthfully that would read: In fields as diverse as the single market, foreign policy, trade and enlargement, the UK has tried to play a leading role but has been ignored. Crucially, Britain’s liberal instints have been abused to keep it firmly inside an EU that is anti-competitive, insular, and a force for empty rhetoric and corporatism throughout the world. It has achieved this not through blackmail, but by being lied to and blackmailed by EU federalists who determine the UK’s alliances for her and reject every call for EU-wide reform.

Thanks for your help, Guy!

Cameron: Alternatives must not be permitted

Cam Jong-Eu, Great Guiding Star of the Post-Democratic Century, has been at it again.

The Dear Autocrat has given another flatulent interview to The House magazine, where he was asked whether Nigel Farage should be included in the general election party leaders’ debate.  The answer was classic Cameron:

‘Obviously we have to decide on this nearer the time, but the TV debates should be about, you know, the parties that are going to form the Government, in my view.’

When it comes to politics only members of the groovy gang are allowed to play. This is an example of the anti-democratic political consensus pulling up the drawbridge, lest any alternative to their cosy round-robin government club might be able to make use of such a high profile platform to expose the vacuous, self serving and ignorance quislings for the treacherous and duplicitous con artists they are.

The door is closed to those outside the bubble by the Oxbridge PPE grads who have stolen control of this country’s political system.  Today it is Farage being kept on the margins.  Tomorrow it could be someone who is genuine leadership material with a sound vision of a positive future for this country.

This isn’t about the personalities, it’s about the principle of enabling those people who still vote to be able to make an informed choice about how they cast their ballot within this substandard system.  Cameron’s comments demonstrate how party politics is being stitched up to remain the preserve of the three serial failure parties, where no matter which of them forms the government the agenda and outcomes remain the same for the poor bloody citizen.

Miliband illustrates why politics is broken

Readers may be shocked that Ed Miliband of all people is getting any credit from this blog, but he performed a valuable public service yesterday at Prime Minister’s Questions – albeit unwittingly.

In his desperate desire to give the impression of being a strong leader – stop sniggering at the back – and take advantage of supposed Tory in-fighting over renegotiation of powers from the EU, Miliband accused David Cameron of ‘losing control of his party’. That little soundbite said it all.

There, in his own words, Miliband demonstrated he knows nothing about leadership. Among a number of important qualities, good leaders share one in particular, the ability to listen to and take on board the views of people who disagree with them in order to clarify or modify their thinking. Miliband’s perspective on leadership however reflects his dogmatic socialist worldview that leadership is about dictating to people, keeping them under control and only listening to oneself.

But what else can one expect from a man whose life has been one long training programme to become an MP; to the extent that he has never done a proper job in his life yet is worth several million pounds and claims to speak for the less well off in society? In what possible way can he relate to the everyday struggles of we ordinary people outside the establishment?

Setting that aside, Miliband unwittingly showed complete contempt for Labour Party members by trying to portray himself, in contrast to Cameron, as in control of his party and its MPs. The party is owned by its members, not Ed Miliband. Such arrogance is nauseating, yet uniform among the establishment claque of which Miliband is a youth product turned full member.

What all this underlines is that the party political process, which is riven with personality politics, does not and cannot serve the interests of ordinary people. It is said if politics could change anything they would ban it – that is only true of party politics where mindsets such as Miliband’s and Cameron’s are all pervasive.

Politics is far broader than the narrow interests of political parties, stuffed with control freaks who devote their lives to lining their pockets and accumulating positions of power as far removed from accountability as possible, while telling other people what’s best for them. Grassroots politics and campaigning, without stifling structures and dictatorial leaders, has and still can get things changed. That is why the politicians and establishment fear that approach.

We are in a much changed world and living in challenging times. Now, more than ever, grassroots campaigns rather than party politics are the route to achieving ends. Thanks to Miliband more people may wake up to this and see that loose groups with substantial autonomy, that offer a vision for people to support if they wish and gives them space to campaign in their own way, is far more powerful than trying to herd people within a party and forcing them to swallow whole that which an autocrat decrees to be the way things must be.

People want proper listening and receptive leaders. They don’t want to be controlled Miliband fashion.

Untouchable Met Office accused of sloppy, slipshod science

As we keep saying about the Met Office’s reliance on computer modelling, ‘rubbish in’ derives ‘rubbish out’.

As this piece shows, it’s not just a matter of whether the Met Office models for the stratosphere are right or wrong; it is the absence of peer review and appalling management of their data, coupled with an inability to explain or reproduce the methodology that was used to arrive at their results.

How can any government or organisation have trust or confidence in the findings and forecasts of an entity that has such a slapdash approach to scientific method?

Never mind. The UK government has the Met Office’s back. Most of the media will turn a blind eye to play down public awareness. MPs will stay quiet on the subject in the House of Commons. Public money will continue being poured into Met Office wheezes and climate alarmism campaigns; and the tidy bonuses will continue to flow to its executives.

The science is not important. The money train must be kept running.

A day in the life of the Met Office’s London forecast

How the Met Office’s general forecast for London has changed over a 24-hour period.

24 hours ago

12 hours ago

Latest

If this is the amount of change the Met Office makes to a forecast in one day how can we possibly rely on longer range forecasts?  Perhaps they would do better to spend our money trying to get the basics right, you know, just a day or two ahead so we know what weather to expect before it arrives.

Germans united in regret (and self interest) over Britain’s EU stance

Different day, same inane rubbish in the media where they repeat the same establishment arguments already made ad-infinitum.  This time it’s the turn of the BBC’s Mark Urban to offer a variation on the ‘Germans are displeased with us‘ theme.

There is no real dissent across the German political spectrum on the issues of integrating the European Union (EU) more closely, apart from on the extreme right.

gushes Urban.  Well Mr Urban, with the exception of UKIP, there’s no real dissent across the British political spectrum on the issue either – Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, Plaid and the SNP all crave more ‘Europe’.

From Ralph Brinkhaus, a local member of the German parliament, the Bundestag, to Christine Lemster, a chemistry student at Hamburg University, we heard a similar refrain – the UK and Germany ought to be natural allies, and it is too bad that they cannot unite around EU issues.

Stop, Mr Urban, you’re breaking my heart.  Of course we can be natural allies and we can unite around issues with Germany.  But where is the explanation about why we need to hand over control of our country in order to do so?

We are natural allies with the United States and unite with them around issues, but no one is suggesting we need to have political union with them to achieve it.  So why do we need political union in Europe?  As ever the europhile and EU grant-grabbing BBC demonstrate the closed thinking that colours their reporting of the issue.

The second issue on which there appears to be wide agreement is that Germany opposes the type of renegotiation of membership terms or competencies that UK Prime Minister David Cameron has talked about.

Well, heaven forbid this country should have the temerity to do something that doesn’t suit the agenda of the political class in Germany, or France, or Spain, or Italy.  How damned unreasonable of us.  We should be bloody well ashamed of ourselves for such harbouring such disgracefully selfish thoughts.

The last topic where the Germans offer Tory Eurosceptics cold comfort is on their idea that Britain, even if it actually left the EU, could negotiate the same type of free trade arrangement with it that Norway or Switzerland have.

We went to the Sennheiser audio plant near Hanover; where something like 10% of their worldwide sales are made in the UK, to canvass their view on this:

“I know how complicated it is to negotiate”, said board member Volker Bertels, referring to Switzerland’s long discussions over the terms of access to the European market, adding that in the case of the UK, “we all need to be careful about putting up additional obstacles”.

Once again the media paints this issue as being about one section of one political party.  They are actually doing contortions now to avoid any recognition that it is voters who have pushed this debate to the forefront through opinion polls and their possible voting intentions.  So it’s hard to get an agreement in a short time.  Switzerland got plenty of bi-lateral agreements because they have what others want and are interested in buying what others have to sell.  Provided the trade rules were in place to allow the free flow of goods and services then the market will do the rest.

So many words written by Mark Urban.  Yet none of them are devoted to any examination of the UK’s interests.  Instead he uses his platform to effectively shill for the Germans.  Such is the mindset of the establishment’s state broadcaster.  Is there anyone in the British establishment who gives a damn about this country’s interests rather than agonise about how inconvenient our potential actions might be for other countries?  There’s a word for these people.  Quislings.

If the EU membership debate interests you, do read this

David Cameron’s interviews on radio and television about the ‘UK in the EU’ debate have been leading the news today.  There have been many myths, distortions and misrepresentations deployed by Cameron, various leading Tories and front organisations such as Open Europe in recent weeks.

To start unpicking fact from europhile fiction, Richard has started addressing the technicalities and correcting some of the points that Cameron has made, publishing the facts in an informative post over on the EU Referendum blog.

If you have even just a passing interest in this EU membership debate, I cannot recommend his post highly enough.

All hail Cam Jong-Eu, Ever-Victorious, Cast Iron-Willed Commander

Cam Jong-Eu, Highest Incarnation of the Revolutionary Supranational Love, has spoken. His unique abilities have given him the power to look into the hearts and minds of men and know what they will think and feel in the future, before they themselves are even aware of it.

The evidence…

First, despite there being no treaty amendment on the immediate horizon for him to take advantage of, or any likelihood of an intergovernmental conference being called by Herman Van Rompuy, he is confident of getting the undefined changes he wants in the UK’s ‘relationship’ with Europe (the EU).

Second, despite many polls showing a majority of Britons saying they would vote to leave the EU if there was an straight in/out referendum, and he has refused to ask the people to decide themselves, he asserts the ‘beating heart of Britain’ knows we need to remain in the European Union.

We are truly blessed to have the all-knowing, all-wise Cam as our provincial governor.

As always it’s all about what they want

For all the talk of membership of the EU being in the UK’s ‘national interest’ and the UK having ‘influence’ to shape the EU’s direction, the reality is rather different.

The media, which goes to such great lengths to make these assertions, seems completely unaware of its own contradictions on the matter.  Another example of that is presented by the Financial Times today.

Click to enlarge

Despite the UK’s much reported influence, we read that few EU leaders see scope for an extensive renegotiation.  So where is this great influence?  And as we have asked before, if the UK has so much influence in the EU to begin with how come we have such a poor settlement today that necessitates the repatriation of powers?

Then there is the national interest argument.  The rationale given for EU leaders opposing the UK’s meek request to repatriate some powers from supreme government in Brussels is that it could undermine EU integration that is apparently required to enhance ‘Europe’s’ weight in the world.  Further that if the British people rejected any crumb-like revised terms Cameron managed to get tossed down from the table it could result in a EU split affecting Europe’s political and economic architecture.

So where in those arguments is there anything about the UK national interest?  All that is being whined about is what it could mean for the EU and its interests.  All the bleating, cajoling and veiled threats coming out of Washington, Brussels, Berlin and Paris is about the UK doing something that might hinder their interests.  The interests of the UK are irrelevant to them – exactly as they are whenever EU law is written, regulations are formulated and trade deals are struck that result in poor terms and outcomes for the UK.

As always, it’s all about what they want.  The wishes and needs of the British people don’t matter.

Met Office continues ‘nowcasting’ – gets weather spot on

Truly the Met Office is a world class meteorology department.  Their ability to get the weather forecast just right is uncanny – provided you only want an accurate forecast a few hours ahead of the weather conditions.

Last night this was the weather forecast for London (note the snow flakes)…

This morning this is the forecast for London…

The delightful part of all this is that when challenged about the accuracy of the forecast the Met Office will say they got it right and point to the latest forecast – even though just 12 hours earlier the forecast was somewhat different.  What value for money.  They really are earning those bonuses down in Exeter.


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