Posts Tagged 'EU'

Scottish campaign interventions show us more of what an EU Referendum will look like

The Scottish independence campaign has, in the last two weeks in particular, shown us the extent to which prestige will be amalgamated with fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the effort to influence and persude voters to back the political class’ preferred outcome.

Despite the President of the United States having previously pledged to stay out of the Scottish independence debate, he could not resist chipping in with his comment that the US has a deep interest in making sure one of the closest allies the country has remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner. To what extent the US will work to ‘make sure’ the Kingdom stays united remains to be seen.

Now His Holiness Pope Francis has passed opinion, reported in the Telegraph, with regard to the independence movements in Catalonia and Scotland, suggesting the case for independence in Scotland is not clear and may not be just:

Obviously, there are nations with cultures so different that couldn’t even be stuck together with glue. The Yugoslavian case is very clear, but I ask myself if it is so clear in other cases. Scotland, Padania, Catalunya.

There will be cases that will be just and cases that will not be just, but the secession of a nation without an antecedent of mandatory unity, one has to take it with a lot of grains of salt and analyse it case by case.

If His Holiness has a desire for unity, he should stick to matters ecumenical.  The Scots people were never asked to vote on union.  Their voice on union or independence has never been heard.  Yet outsiders are trying to push them in a particular direction – and not because it would be in the interest of Scots themselves.

The independence debate in Scotland is a matter for Scots, not for American Presidents, their Secretaries of State, the Vicar of Rome or the Swedish Foreign Minister. It is about a country’s people deciding, to an extent, the nature of their governance and how their country will be organised. It is a matter of democracy, such as it exists.

If the ‘yes’ campaign wins the referendum, what the Scots do with their restored national self determination is up to them.  If they choose to retain that self determination and represent themselves in the world, using their own voice and promoting their own interests, that is for them to establish.  If they regain ultimate decision making authority over their country, yet then choose to give it away again to the European Union, that too is a matter for them.  It is wrong for politicians and religious leaders from elsewhere in the world to seek to exert influence over the Scots’ decision.

This interference gives us a flavour of what we should expect if the Conservatives win the general election next year and a referendum on our membership of the EU is held in 2017.

Leaders of EU countries and the US in particular will be joined by religious figures and politically motivated industrialists from a variety of corporations and nations to spread FUD about what they believe about the implications for our economy if British independence is restored.  They will be joined by media cronies doing the bidding of their owners, who are in bed with the political class.

There will be no fair or impartial hearing for the ‘out’ side.  Only the most extreme, divisive or deluded figures will be invited to speak, so they push voters to the ‘in’ side due to their conspiratorial or frankly idiotic views, or lightweight claims that fall apart under the most cursory scrutiny and examination.

To win a referendum campaign the ‘out’ side must not rely on the normal channels, such as the media.  The message that a referendum is exclusively about who should run Britain, needs to be spread face to face directly to voters in cities, towns and villages throughout the country.  It is only then that the positive vision for a successful and independent Britain – as set out in FLEXCIT – can be heard and explained to counter the FUD which will flood the airwaves and print media to paint a false picture of economic armageddon should we free ourselves from the EU.

The ‘out’ side can win the referendum in the face of overwhelming dishonesty and misrepresentation, but it will need to unite around common strategy so the electorate receives a consistent and clear message.  Witterings from Witney has already started putting out feelers, with limited success.  The problem though is that some entities – which despite being nominally against EU membership have done nothing to develop or promote a strategy for getting out – will use the referendum campaign as a career move, with one eye firmly on individual prospects to become MPs or prominent figures in political circles.

There is still time to address this. But whether the individuals involved will set aside their own personal agendas, in order to help secure the exit from the EU they claim to want, remains to be seen.

Media hyperbole: Where is this ‘anti-EU’ vote they speak of?

This time it seems it is the turn of Janet Daley, writing in the Barclay Beano, to offer her penetrating analysis into the European Election result and what it means.

But where is this anti-EU vote she is speaking of?  It’s all well and good for Daley to criticise (rather succinctly) the ‘codswallop’ responses of the main parties to their showings in the elections, and ridicule their claims that they have heard the people, or that messages have been received and understood, but the very foundation of her piece – that there was an anti-EU vote last week – is frankly rubbish.  Consider this extract:

I am not one of those delusional commentators who believe (or claim to believe) that nothing much of any significance has happened and that all this excitement is just overblown media froth. On the contrary, my reason for insisting that none of the things that are assumed to be self-evidently true about the post-elections world will actually prove correct, is that the results were too important – so devastating, so cataclysmically mind-altering that they cannot be assimilated. There is no way that the European Union – which is to say, those who run it, think entirely within its conceptual parameters, have their political and personal futures invested in it and can conceive of no reality outside of it – can come to terms with the consequences of these elections.

So the election results were too important? They were devastating? They were so cataclysmically mind-altering they cannot be assimilated?

Across the whole of the UK last week (using the vote tally on this BBC page – all these figures are provisional and subject to final confirmation by the Electoral Commission in the Autumn) there were 16,454,950 votes cast in the European Election, a reported turnout of 34.19% which means the current UK electorate stands at around 48,127,962 (** see end of post).  Therefore some 31,673,000 people who were entitled to vote stayed at home  The total number of votes for parties whose manifesto includes withdrawal from the EU was 4,999,885 – and 12.46% of that vote wasn’t even for UKIP:

But then, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that many UKIP supporters backed the party not because of its anti-EU position, but purely because of its saturation message opposing immigration. That is no surprise when UKIP issued a follow up A5 sized leaflet in many areas that contained no other message than an anti-immigration one.

This actually points to the anti-EU vote itself being ‘soft’ and much of grounded in other issues.  So back the data that has evidently been completely ignored by La Daley. Of those who voted in the European Election, 30.38% voted for anti-EU parties, just 9 in every 30 who turned out.  Of all eligible voters therefore, those who cast a ballot for anti-EU parties was just 10.38%.  While I have not found this kind of breakdown in the media, you can be certain the parties and the EU mandarins will have crunched these numbers in far greater depth than me.  They will be asking the same question as me, where is this anti-EU earthquake, this mass rejection of the political union?

So when Daley, in her hyperbolic fit, declares…

The facts do not compute. They are incomprehensible. Therefore they must be dismissed as some irrational, contemptible spasm to which the masses are occasionally susceptible and which the enlightened institutions of the EU were specifically designed to over-rule.

she may wish to reconsider exactly which facts do not compute or are incomprehensible. The only irrational, contemptible spasm on show is her witless article.  It is laugh-out-loud rubbish written without any attempt to look at what really happened on that Thursday just over a week ago.

Putting things into further context, consider the most recent in the series of polls by YouGov that shows how voters currently divide if asked in a referendum whether the UK should remain in the EU or leave.

With all this in mind, how does Janet Daley’s conclusion bear any relation to reality?

It has become received wisdom that the reason for that massive electoral rebellion against the EU was that the people were throwing a harmless tantrum: they were just letting off steam because they knew that their votes in this election did not matter. And what do people do next when they realise that their votes don’t matter?

I don’t know what world Daley and her ilk inhabit, but it’s certainly not the one the rest of us live in.

There are messages in the data.  The anti-EU side is not getting its message across.  The anti-EU side has not countered the blatant lie regarding 3 million jobs being dependent on EU membership, the crass distortion that 50% of our trade is with the EU (wilfully ignoring that a significant percentage of this goes to final destinations outside the EU), or that our place in the world is enhanced by EU membership – when it actually excludes us from influencing global negotiations and decision making regarding the laws and regulations we must observe in the globalised world.  People have heard these messages time and again and the likes of UKIP have done nothing to challenge and correct them with the truth.

In 12 months time we will know if there is to be an in-out EU Referendum.  But we should not wait until then.  All anti-EU groups, regardless of the career aspirations of their directors and staff, need to agree common lines to take and push them at every opportunity, in the same way the pro-EU groups already do. Otherwise a possible 2017 referendum will just be a re-run of 1975 and we will be stuck in this damaging union for generations to come.

———–

** The 48,127,962 electorate figure is not official – it has been calculated by taking the total number of votes cast in the BBC table and accepting they make up 34.19% of the eligible electorate (for European elections) which we are told voted.  If this figure is accurate it is astonishing. Please note therefore the use of this figure comes with a significant health warning.

In the 2009 European Election the electorate was 45,315,669.  That means the electorate could well have grown by 2.81 million in just five years, or to put it another way, an extra 562,458 voters would have joined the electoral roll each year on average since 2009.

To put that in context, between the 2004 election and 2009 election the official electorate as reported in the BBC elections coverage grew by 1,197,216, or 239,443 per year on average. So if the assumed 2014 electorate figure is correct, the average annual increase of new voters to the roll from 2009-2014 is more than 134% greater than the average annual increase between 2004-2009.

Added to this we keep being told that the number of people absenting themselves from the electoral roll for a variety of reasons, which hints at population growth well in excess of official estimates.  This is very interesting indeed.

So what has the European election changed?

Despite a disparate, disconnected and contradictory smorgasbord of ‘sceptic’ parties having made gains in the European Parliament this week, the answer to that question is ‘nothing’.  As Nigel Farage explained yesterday after his return to Brussels:

There is a big dissident voice now in this parliament. And yet, I just sat in a meeting where you wouldn’t think that anything happened at all.

If anything underlines how meaningless the European Elections are, this is it.

For all the huff and puff, the acres of media coverage and the stream of analysis of ‘political earthquakes’ by the well paid talking heads, the 73 MEPs from the UK have arrived on the continent to find it is business as usual.  The same discussions, the same agendas, the same intrigues… for all the talk of ‘reform’ the EU continues on its journey to political union and the voices of the people still fall on deaf ears.

 

EU Reform: The fantasies and distractions continue

It was never going to take long.  As soon as polls showed recently that UKIP was on course to get the most votes in the European Elections, the lamestream media editorial writers and the party communications teams at Labour, Tory and Lib Dem HQs were preparing pieces like this:

The same old pledges and platitudes are being rolled out, from Sadiq Khan’s apology in an open letter to UKIP supporters, which then outlines policies designed to entice former Labour voters back to Labour; to David Cameron’s ‘understood and received the message’ soundbite before he went on to proclaim what voters want – with neither party actually asking anyone outside the Westminster bubble why 4.3 million voters put their ‘X’ next to UKIP on the ballot paper

A common thread among the legacy parties is that the EU has to ‘change’.  Having pushed this line for many months, they now use it as a crutch to declare that this is what voters want, and they all declare that if only we vote for them they will bring about the reforms we apparently want.

It is, of course, one huge steaming pile of freshly laid bullshit.

Snake oil isn’t close to the product these people are trying to sell.  Rather they are pushing a product that makes the fictional element ‘Unobtanium’ in the film Avatar, or the dragons storyline in the TV series Game of Thrones look real in comparison.

Whatever ‘reform’ the EU might be persuaded to adopt, it will be trivial and will not result in the return of any powers to the UK that reduce Brussels’ control over the free movement of people, control over the free flow of money to different tax jurisdictions within the bloc, control over the movement of goods and services and the tariffs applied to them.

But despite these facts and despite the legion of Eurocrats, Commissioners and MEPs who have stepped forward to point out these facts and explain that the principles of the EU that underpin it are non-negotiable, our politicians and media continue to talk about EU reform as if it is just a negotiation away – and groups claiming to be Eurosceptic continue to make public demands that renegotation is undertaken.

So it is that a significant proportion of those people who say they want the UK to remain inside the EU do so because they have been fooled into believing reform is possible.

They are being taken in by fantasies and distracted from reality – therefore allowing the politicians to avoid the reality that only invoking Article 50 of the EU Treaty (Lisbon) will result in a renegotiation of the substantive issues and only by leaving the EU will the UK be able to take control of the areas where people want to see change.

We can be in, or we can be out. But we can’t be a bit in between.

UKIP’s new secret electoral weapon – their own fantasy third way

Suddenly it all starts to become clear.

When The Boiling Frog wrote earlier this week about how UKIP threatens to lose any in-out referendum for the anti-EU side, he reminded readers that UKIP still does not have any plan for leaving the EU.

On the Sunday Politics, UKIP Councillor Suzanne Evans, even said to Andrew Neil in response to his question about whether the party had a roadmap to leave the EU in the event of an ‘out’ vote, ‘wouldn’t that be great?’.

But an article today in the Financial News (£) might just explain why there is no exit plan for leaving the EU… UKIP is apparently developing a carefully crafted secret weapon that would see the UK stay inside the Customs Union!  Not inside the internal market, but inside the Customs Union and negotiating its own trade agreements:

So what has changed? Why are the money-men and women being lured to the “bloke in the pub” with his Brexit rants and no policies? They are heavyweights too: Crispin Odey, who has in the past hedged his bets by giving money to Ukip and the Tories; Andrew Perloff of Panther Securities and Christopher Mills’ Harwood Capital are also donors; while Andy Brough of Schroders has signed up.

This is why – they are being persuaded that “the man in the pub” is developing a carefully crafted secret weapon to the crude In or Out stance. It is for the UK to stay within the EU’s Customs Union by negotiating its own trade agreements. Under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, any country wanting to exit has two years in which to negotiate new arrangements with the Customs Union. To date, Farage has only hinted at joining a customs union. But Anglo-Sino’s [Stephen] Hill, who privately funds Tim Aker, Ukip policymaker and an MEP candidate, reckons Farage could win this election outright – and many seats at the next election – if he were to reveal that more elegant solutions are under review other than the emotive In-Out one.

If ever there was a moment that confirmed the people around Farage in the upper echelons of UKIP have absolutely no bloody idea what they are talking about, this is it. In spades. Writ large. Ignorance and incompetence on a galactic scale.

For what has been explained above by Margreta Pagano is even more of a fantasy than David Cameron’s renegotiation of powers from Brussels.  It is political and economic Neverland, demonstrating UKIP’s ‘thought leaders’ don’t even understand what a Customs Union is.  This is underlined by the rationale that is given:

Such a move, says Hill, would counter much of the nonsensical scaremongering from LibDems and Labour that pulling out would lead to the loss of millions of jobs. He has a point: if the UK were to exit but negotiate to stay in the Customs Union, UK plc would be allowed to vote on all trade matters but on an intra-governmental basis, not supranational one.

The beauty of this approach is that by staying in the Customs Union – rather than joining Efta for example – manufacturers can trade duty-free within the Customs Union area: Turkey and Monaco have Customs Union agreements. And the UK has a strong hand to play: the EU exports twice as much in finished goods to the UK as we do to the EU – mainly Germany’s car giants, BMW and Mercedes.

This is utter dreamland.  This is a fantasy third way, supposedly not in, supposedly out, but still completely under EU control as today.  If the UK exits the EU, it leaves the Customs Union.  If it negotiates to stay in the Customs Union then it is by default in the EU. Anything votes on trade matters on an ‘intra-governmental’ basis means internal… to the EU.  This Tim Aker plan is cream cheese moon stuff.  It is the world of barking cats.

A Customs Union is by definition a supranational entity because decion making is centralised and the ability of member states to strike independent trade deals is removed.  One only needs to look at Turkey – out of the EU but in the Customs Union, where the decisions on trade agreements and tariffs are made in Brussels and handed down to Ankara to implement.  That is not independence.  In the Customs Union the trade deals and common tariffs are negotiated and struck by the EU on behalf of all member states and all member states have to apply them.  That is where we already are today.

Vote UKIP for a brighter new yesterday is a phrase that becomes more accurate by the day.

There is no way a member state can go off and sign its own deals because all other member states in the Customs Union have to agree with it and adopt it.  Anything else would mean there is no Customs Union at all – in effect the EU would be bringing itself to an end.  Like that’s going to happen.  Any legal matters in the Customs Union get resolved at the European level in Luxembourg, and under this staggeringly idiotic plan that would have to remain the same, which means the UK courts would not become supreme.

Following this plan, UKIP would be contradicting its own long stated aim for the UK to be outward looking and able to strike its own trade deals with other countries around the world on our own terms. It would be tearing up the notion of UK courts being the sole arbeiter of UK related matters.  Its promises on immigration, to stop the free movement of people, could never be delivered.  It would consign the UK to maintaining the status quo of trade agreements and tariffs being set for us rather than by us.

In short, if UKIP were to adopt this as policy then forget Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, UKIP would be the party of in.  Their fantasy third way is delusional rubbish.  And to think, UKIPpers look up to these idiots, laud them and declare I should be supporting and assisting them.

Nigel Farage told John Humphrys on Radio 4’s Today programme that he would do a deal with the devil to get an EU referendum. Why bother when UKIP is considering a plan that keeps the UK in the EU while only pretending to be independent?  This isn’t a case of good ol’ Nige not doing some detail, this is a case of failing to understand the basics.

A policy of ‘out’ that really means ‘in’ should defy belief.  But this is UKIP and no amount of crass stupidity should surprise anyone any longer.  If you plan to vote UKIP because you want to leave the EU, you may want to think again.

Fraser Nelson on Ukraine: So right, then so very wrong

Like a dog returning to its vomit, I cannot help but return occasionally to the comment section of the Barclay Brother Beano.  The reason being I have challenged myself to uncover at least one vaguely sensible or remotely valuable contribution amidst the sea of drivel that passes for articles and comments.

It is there we find today a piece by media’s favourite nominal conservative and Cameroon cheerleader, Fraser Nelson, who, presumably having read Bravo Two Zero, now seems to fancy himself as a defence expert.  His article is one of those that boasts a welcome, if surprising, nod to reality, but then falls into ruin due to morale sapping ignorance that completely devalues his contribution.

Where Nelson gets it right is in calling William Hague for his ludicrous reassurance that he would stop any “strategic shrinkage” – as Nelson explains, to make sure that Britain’s standing on the world stage would not be diminished because there were cuts going on at home.

Hague’s failure there is only eclipsed by the other failures Nelson reminds readers about.  Firstly, that UK forces in Iraq occupied Basra after the invasion only to be forced out by Iranian-backed militias, after which an inquiry was commissioned to ask why we fought, rather than why we lost.  Not many media types recognise this reality, instead preferring to retail the laughable MoD line that our forces completed their mission successfully and withdrew.

Secondly, the current debacle that sees UK forces – after the disgraceful loss of over 400 lives, and wasted expenditure of billions of pounds – about to abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban, effectively ensuring that all that blood and treasure has been sacrificed for nothing.  Again, that’s not the MoD line but it accurately reflects reality.  Due praise to Nelson for that.

However, it is when Nelson turns his attention to the Ukraine crisis – in order to underline his argument that our defence capability has been eroded too far – that he falls in with the official line and misrepresents what brought this crisis about.

Nelson explains that because of the defeats outlined above, and our tepid and badly judged misadventure into Libyan affairs, to the outside world Britain looks like it is shrinking fairly quickly – along with other indebted, war-weary Western powers. Our commitment looks shaky, our judgment even worse.  That’s fair enough. But what follows is where he goes native…

And this, of course, is what has fuelled the Ukraine crisis. Vladimir Putin saw how things were changing, and decided to give the Caucasus a prod; then to see what would happen if he annexed Crimea. The answer, as he suspected, was not very much. Now, his unbadged militants are at work in the east of Ukraine with dozens dead. Still no reaction. This sent out a clear message to Moscow and beyond: the West has grown tired of policing the world. And now, as a century ago, things are up for grabs.

That is utter rubbish.

What fuelled the Ukraine crisis was the European Union’s expansionist ambitions. A complete disregard for the promises made by NATO to the Russians that the west would not encroach one more inch eastwards, saw the Association Agreement tabled to Kiev, with the plan being the eventual assimilation into the EU.  Despite this there is not a single mention of the European Union/EU anywhere in his piece.

For reasons historical, strategic and those relating to a nation’s pride, Ukraine was a line in the sand.  Home to the Russian Navy’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea, the EU’s efforts were provocative and smacked of arrogance.

The United States also has skin in the game.  It encouraged the EU’s move as it would greatly appreciate the Russians being contained in that part of the world so Washington can retask its resources to its efforts to front up to China from the Pacific.

Putin’s actions were a response to the EU’s efforts to begin the process of taking over Ukraine, not the cause of what is happening in Ukraine today.  In no way was what we are seeing today driven by a Kremlin assessment of our degraded military capability.

It would probably be fair to say that a calculation of NATO’s effectiveness and willingness to adopt a military posture has dictated the nature of the Russian response.  The assessment of how far NATO would go, to support that part of Ukraine’s population that rejected a brokered deal for elections, where the EU Association Agreement could form part of the proposition put before the electorate, has been purely reactive.

The British public is being fed yet another spoonful of lies from the government, as it was during Iraq and Afghanistan.  While Fraser Nelson was happy to tell it the way it was over those two campaigns, he is clearly loathe to admit the truth about the EU origins of the Ukraine crisis. One wonders if this is because the EU is a construct he approves of and has repeatedly argued the UK should remain a part of?

Nick Clegg, the antithesis of honesty; and the EU, the David Brent of the global governance structure

When politicians whine about the sharply declining trust in them and politics generally they have only themselves to blame. Another case in point underlining this has emerged today.

Those who watched or read reports of the EU membership debates, between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage, will be well versed with Clegg’s claim in the first debate that only 7% of UK laws originated from the EU.

Before the second debate, the factcheckers were rushing forth to explain that Clegg had misrepresented the detail taken from a House of Commons publication by only using the figure for Primary legislation.  It was not so much a sleight of hand as an outright attempt to deceive the audience.  He had ignored all secondary legislation and various regulations and other instruments arriving here from Brussels for implementation, that all add to the laws we are bound by.

In the second debate Clegg again used the 7% figure, this time in context explaining it related to ‘Primary’ legislation.  However he played down the secondary legislation and other instruments to give the impression the amount of it was so trivial as to be negligible.  He wanted to convey a false impression that the EU barely impacts laws enacted in the UK, because it suited his purpose in the debate.

If trust in Clegg was shaken among those simple souls who had any in him in the first place, it must surely be laid to utter waste today if they see what has been dug up by EU Referendum.

There we see an article written by Clegg for the Guardian in 2003 when he was an MEP, riding the EU gravy train and indulging his rampant pro-EU obsessions.  In it he tells the readers this (emphasis mine):

MEPs are parliamentary giants. Don’t snigger. There are many legitimate criticisms to be made of the European parliament, but irrelevance or lack of importance, the stock accusations, are laughably wide of the mark.  Probably half of all new legislation now enacted in the UK begins in Brussels. The European parliament has extensive powers to amend or strike down laws in almost every conceivable area of public life.

How curious that in 2003, when Clegg wanted to talk up his importance as an MEP, he was saying that over 50% of legislation enacted in the UK is handed to us from Brussels.  Yet in the debate with Farage in 2014, he wanted voters to think it is a mere 7%.  Well actually it isn’t curious at all.

It is just another example of the contempt with which voters are treated by dishonest politicians who lie to serve their own interests at the expense of ours.

Global Governance – the new elephant in the room?

As Richard points out in the EU Referendum piece, on both occasions Clegg’s claims still misrepresent the truth.

In reality the EU is not the origin of all the >50% of legislation enacted here.  The reality is a substantial amount of law that is enacted in the UK originates above the EU in the global governance pecking order.  Little Europe is just an extra in the cast of the Game of Governance.

The fact is the EU is a sub-regional entity. Perhaps it should be accurately described as the EUSRE.

It is locked in an outdated mindset, based on a structure of centralised control that is only made almost bearable for some because of its internal market.  Setting aside the unnecessary, anti democratic and stifling political control, even the membership benefits of that market may be overstated.

The EU is not a global power, it is a mere middle manager, the David Brent of the global governance business.  Full of its own self importance it passes on orders, churns out demands and instructions, tries to make itself liked by buying cheap coffee for the kitchen and secures the favour of suck ups desperate to have a similar sense of importance.

Although it convinces itself of its essential necessity, if it wasn’t there it wouldn’t be missed. There would just be one less substantial salary and significantly less bureaucracy.  Increasingly the decision making happens above the EU’s head.  More and more with each passing year, the EU’s role is cemented as that of errand boy.

The EU’s member states are thus deprived of a seat at the real ‘top table’ where negotiations take place and decisions are made, at the global level.  Only through independence will EU member states ever be able to speak with their own voice and stand up for their national interests in the globalised world.  This is what the UK should aspire to.  Being in the EU is not, as the likes of Cameron, Miliband and Clegg have it, in Britain’s interest. It is a hindrance. It holds our country back.

Instead of the UK talking with the directors and playing a role in formulating the rules, membership of the EU condemns us to a low-brow life as a minion in David Brent’s reporting line.  It’s time our politicians recognised and admitted that, our media grasped and explained it and voters took a stand to resolve it.

If UKIP was really serious about the EU…

This is another of those compare and contrast moments that so annoy UKIP supporters who read this blog, but which are covered here because UKIP ignoring such major issues annoys me so much.

The Times (£) is reporting that a proposed levy on financial transactions by the EU, which could wipe more than £3.6bn from the value of UK shares and bonds and is being challenged by the UK, looks set to be approved by the courts. This has huge implications for already low yielding pensions and investments for ordinary people.

You would think UKIP would be all over this, hammering away in the media, getting faces in front of cameras, churning out press releases, using their colourful website to demonstrate how the UK’s mythical ‘influence’ in the EU is just that, a myth, and lambasting this raid on finances that will disproportionately damage UK financial markets.

But in the media, nothing. On UKIP’s website, not a word.  Another golden opportunity to make a powerful case for turning our backs on the EU has been missed.

Just weeks from its biggest election test ever in the European Elections, the UKIP website’s very latest news is two days old and concerns UKIP’s party election broadcast – and UKIP being the only party to campaign for St George’s Day to be a public holiday.  There’s a priority for you.  Has everyone from the London ‘freak show‘ nicked off early and gone to the pub again?

Four days ago the party declared that the European parliamentary elections battle was now getting underway in earnest.  Yet presented with a huge EU related story, they are silent and the media instead hoovers up unchallenged comment from the pro-EU muppets and fiction retailers at Open Europe.

So what is UKIP doing?

Instead of fighting to get this country out of the EU, UKIP is down in the gutter fighting yet another wholly avoidable reputational battle because one of its candidates, a Zimbabwean no less, who starred in their election broadcast, was (yet again) not vetted properly and has been shown to hold some rather unpleasant views.

While it’s all very well for Farage to be angry and say this man ‘slipped through the net‘ there is something about the party he has moulded that sees it continually attracting oddballs and those with racist or intolerant views – and it is putting decent people off the party and the anti-EU cause.

The party is also fighting against mockery of its takeoff of British jobs for British workers in that poster campaign, as it transpires the actor posing as an unemployed British builder is actually an immigrant from Ireland.

These cock ups follow Lizzy the ordinary voter from Devon who will support UKIP, actually being Lizzy from London who is the party’s events manager and is now trying to stop explicit photos of herself engaged in sex acts being put into the public domain.

The only conclusion we can draw is that UKIP isn’t serious about getting us out of the EU.  It is only bothered about winning a different game, but even that is something it doesn’t prepare for and ends up losing.

Of course, the moans and aggressive retorts will flood the inbox and the odd comment will be left here in an attempt to criticise me for ‘undermining’ the ‘only game in town’.  But these are people who are ignoring the reality of how badly led and run the party is and how much damage it is doing to the anti-EU side.  UKIP speaks for barely one third of voters who say they want to leave the EU.  But it is seen as the anti-EU vehicle and these avoidable injuries are completely self inflicted.

UKIP’s long suffering decent supporters – there are many of them in the party trying to make it a viable, anti-EU entity – and those who want to see the UK freed from the EU, deserve better.

The UKIP MEP, family land, a windfarm application, a party denial and EU money

UPDATED BELOW:  An interesting story has been submitted by a reader, concerning a controversial planned wind farm development in Yorkshire that could call into question the position one of UKIP’s highest profile MEPs who is also a candidate in next year’s General Election.

slaithwaite

The name of UKIP’s William Dartmouth MEP appears as an owner or tenant of land on a planning application that was submitted to Kirklees Council last year, to build three 100m wind turbines on unspoilt countryside next to Cupwith Reservior (location shown above) near Huddersfield, where the scheme applicant, Valley Wind Co-operative, is receiving funding for the project from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund.

What makes this matter curious is that William Dartmouth’s office has denied that he is directly or indirectly linked to the application site.

All of the the information about the proposed windfarm development was sent to Nigel Farage, and a member of Farage’s staff eventually responded stating that Dartmouth’s office had replied claiming he wasn’t linked directly or indirectly.  This is curious given this screenshot of the land ownership section of the planning application:

dartmouth_owner
What also appears to put a question mark against Dartmouth’s denial, while giving the accuracy of the information above further weight, is a story from 2012 that demonstrates land ownership and three-way linkage between Dartmouth, Carter Jonas and Rosscroft Ltd (whose name appears at the top of the screenshot). The story concerned a planning application to drain Cupwith Reservior.  The applicant was Rosscroft Ltd, the agent was Carter Jonas LLP, and the owner of the reservoir is the Dartmouth Estate of one Earl of Dartmouth (aka William Dartmouth) – an assertion reported  by the Huddersfield Daily Examiner when reporting that Dartmouth’s appeal against the rejection of the application had also been lost.  There is no evidence the media have been asked to correct their assertion.

As if further evidence is required that where there is Rosscroft / Carter Jonas there seems to be Dartmouth, there is an entirely unrelated planning matter, where William Dartmouth was the named applicant for planning permission, with his chosen agent was Carter Jonas LLP.  The links are clear.

dartmouth_jonas

Given all this information, it seems that UKIP has accepted Dartmouth’s denial without checking the facts for themselves, calling into question yet again the party’s internal processes for dealing with complaints or reports of conflict of interest among its elected officials.

UPDATE:  We have been sent a copy of a letter that was sent to Nigel Farage personally, just after one of the recent debates with Nick Clegg, from an opponent of the wind farm.  It includes the following paragraph which suggests that William Legge (Legge being the family name of the Earl of Dartmouth) stands to gain in the region of £60,000 per annum if three wind turbines are erected on his land…

So I was delighted on your stance against wind turbines but have to point out the total hypocrisy of your MEP William Legge who is touting his land out for a wind farm as one of the above applications. This land is protected moorland and 300 meters away from a National Trust Bird sanctuary. It is estimated he will receive £20k ground rent per 100m turbine (there are 3 currently planned) – i.e. £60k per year. This is in total opposition to UKIP’s manifesto.  I cannot see how he can be a UKIP MEP and at the same time pursue this course of action in his private life.

It is worth noting that David Cameron’s father-in-law, Sir Reginald Sheffield is often referred to as an example of a land owning rent seeker, trousering an reported £350,000 a year for turbines on his land.  Is the only difference between the Sheffields and the Dartmouths a mere matter of scale?

In addition to wanting the UK to leave the EU, UKIP has a policy against onshore wind turbines.  So, having one of its senior MEPs set to benefit financially from money given in grants by the EU, for the installation on his land of three giant turbines – that the party’s policy formally opposes – would be a serious conflict of interest and a likely resigning matter.  Further, that UKIP does not seem to have diligently investigated the reports sent to them by concerned residents in the area of the planned windfarm that one of their senior MEPs had this conflict of interest, seems to be another failure of internal process. UKIP has questions to answer about that.

But for now, William Dartmouth has questions to answer.

Why is it that he appears to have been untruthful about his interest in the land where the turbines are planned?

As a clearly stated  owner or tenant of the land, as shown on the official planning applications, what does he stand to gain if the application is approved and Valley Wind Co-operative build the turbines?

I think we should be told.

UKIP have been contacted and asked if they wish to respond to this story.

The truth that Mats Persson and Open Europe don’t want you to know

The claim that Norway has to put up with EU regulation without representation, and has no influence over what it must implement to be part of the single market (so called ‘fax democracy’) is a lie.  There is no other way to put it.

The fact is Norway has more influence over EU regulation than every EU member state.  Norway also has a veto over EU law so it does not have to follow the EU line.  Norway also pays substantially less to the EU for single market access than it would pay to the EU for being a member state.  Facts such as these are not just drawn from documentary evidence, they have also been established by speaking to ministerial level politicians in Norway who are best placed to understand exactly how access to the single market, without being an EU member state, impacts Norway.

These facts have been repeatedly shared indirectly and directly to Mats Persson of Open Europe – a ‘think tank’ that claims to be Eurosceptic, but which doggedly works to keep the UK firmly stuck in the EU – in order that he may correct his inaccurate claims.  Despite this, Persson continues to repeat the lie time and again, using his platforms on the Open Europe site and the Telegraph’s Blogs section.  The only conclusion that can be drawn is that Mats Persson is determined to deceive people in order to further his agenda of keeping the UK in the EU.

But knowingly repeating a falsifiable lie in the media in such a manner, to deliberately deceive readers, surely cannot be acceptable.  Therefore, my friend The Boiling Frog has submitted a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, outlining the truths that Mats Persson deliberately seeks to conceal from people as part of his deceitful campaign.  The text of the complaint is shown below – and all readers are invited to share it and its contents widely in the media and on other blogs.  Please also feel free to reproduce the information below to submit your own complaint about Persson’s falsehoods, so that the PCC takes notice.

———————

Dear Sirs

I’m writing to you wishing to draw your attention to an article on the Daily Telegraph website by Mats Persson Director of the think tank Open Europe. He writes about the important issue of the UK’s membership of the European Union – more specifically in this case the possible method of leaving. The website URL in question is below:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/matspersson/100026967/leaving-the-eu-how-article-50-could-make-the-divorce-very-tricky-for-britain/

My reason for contacting the Press Complaints Commission is that I have deep concerns that much of the article is incorrect and factually wrong. In particular I wish to highlight this paragraph regarding the debate about the UK’s role in the EU:

“If only it was that simple. There’s no good off-the-peg model that the UK can simply adopt should it leave the EU. The Norwegian (“regulation without representation)…”

Persson’s dismissal of the Norway option (“regulation without representation”) has been repeated before despite being corrected personally to Persson himself and in the comments (url below)

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/matspersson/100022087/brixit-why-the-norwegian-model-simply-wouldnt-work-for-the-uk/

Mats Persson’s argument relies heavily on the false doctrine that Norway has “no influence” in making EU law. However this is simply factually untrue, Norway has more influence than the UK regarding Single Market rules as illustrated below:

A) Many of Single Market laws are made at an international level for example the WTO – Norway gets to represent itself while the UK has only 8% influence with the EU which represents us on our behalf.

B) Norway is also on over 200 EEA (Single Market) committees which influence EU law from the outset –Anne Tvinnereim, former State Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development in Norway for example said this: “we do get to influence the position”.

C) Norway can then contest that laws don’t apply to their EEA agreement – currently they have over 1,200 in dispute.

D) Ultimately Norway can veto any EU legislation, as they did with the 3rd EU Postal Directive while the UK had no choice but to implement it by the 2011 Postal Services Act.

Another inaccurate assertion by Mats Persson in the same article is:

“Under Article 50 [of the Lisbon Treaty] and in continuity deals, France, the European Parliament and others could consistently block market access for the UK’s exporters of IT, insurance, banking and other services.”

The Lisbon Treaty and Article 50 is covered by international law, notably by Article 54 of the Vienna Convention on the Law on Treaties, for the EU – an international organisation – to block market access would be in fundamental breach of international law. The EU would be obliged to adhere by its international Treaty agreements.

The UK’s membership of the EU is clearly a very important topic of debate and regardless of various views of our membership rigorous but accurate debate in our media is essential. The Press Complaints Commission confirms on its website it considers that accuracy of the press is of utmost importance:

1 Accuracy

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published. In cases involving the Commission, prominence should be agreed with the PCC in advance.

iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

iv) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.

The issue of the UK’s membership of the EU has clearly taken a more prominent role in UK politics, signified by David Cameron’s promise of a referendum in 2017 (if he were to win the 2015 election) and the current debates between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg. Thus it’s imperative that the public are accurately informed. In this spirit we note the Press Complaint Commission’s conclusion with an untrue story about EU rules on eggs in 2010:

http://www.pcc.org.uk/case/resolved.html?article=NjU5OQ==

With this in mind I wish to formally complain that Mats Persson’s article breaches the code of conduct of accuracy – it is misleading and is an attempt to severely distract readers of a very popular newspaper from forming a proper and considered opinion.

Yours faithfully

It’s time to take on and defeat the pro-EU side

Under the section on ‘Progressing the Agenda’ on page 26 of the Harrogate Agenda pamphlet, it says:

One of those objectives, not explicitly stated, is the withdrawal of the UK from membership of the European Union. As it stands, the direct democracy embodied in THA is not compatible with membership of the EU.

The inception of the Harrogate Agenda was to campaign for a transformation in British democracy – namely bringing it about.  It just so happens that democracy, real people power, is utterly incompatible with membership of the EU and its model of governance beyond accountability, which is why THA says it is necessary for the UK to leave the EU.

However, given the significantly changing pace and indeed face of the EU referendum debate, the Harrogate Agenda committee and advisory panel will meet in May to discuss formalising and increasing the link between THA and the EU Referendum issue, in order to give more prominence to campaigning for withdrawing from the EU.

In other words, although THA was not brought into being to fight for withdrawal from the EU, it is looking to re-focus its activity to achieve that end.

This does not mean THA will abandon its aim of demoratic reform in the UK.  Far from it.  Rather it is a recognition that before that can happen the UK needs to be free of the EU and we have a part to play in that.

To achieve that goal of leaving the EU there is a clear need for the anti-EU side to get all the help it can.  Blogging supporters of THA have variously highlighted and lamented the shortcomings of the anti-EU side over months and years.  Therefore the proposal being put before THA supporters – who are currently engaged in building the foundation of the movement before presenting it to the public – is that we now actively get involved in the game, that we devote our attention and focus on EU withdrawal, while formally bringing to it whatever philosophical and technical tools we can.

There are too many things that the public is not being told.  There are too many Europhile lies going unchallenged.  The media is awash with FUD, spin, deliberately sown confusion and ignorant commentary.  Not enough is being done to provide voters with reassurance that leaving the EU can have positive benefits in addition to the UK governing itself and speaking with its own voice on the world stage.

It’s time to tackle and overcome those problems.

THA has something to contribute – not least Richard North’s outstanding, condensed FLexCit plan that provides a definitive roadmap for leaving the EU and dealing with expected stumbling blocks along the way. It’s time to get out of the stands, onto the field and energise the pro-independence side.

Media continues to spin the lie that Association Agreements are ‘free trade agreements’

Fears that Russia could seize a second chunk of territory in eastern Europe grew on Sunday after Nato’s top commander warned that Moscow’s troops were poised to move into a pro-Moscow enclave of Moldova, according to the Telegraph‘s Colin Freeman.

The great sage goes on to tell us that US Air Force General Philip Breedlove said that Russian troops massing on the eastern border of Ukraine were well-positioned to head to Transdniester, a Russian-speaking enclave that has declared independence from the rest of Moldova.  General Breedlove said it would give President Vladimir Putin the perfect pretext to send troops in there as a “protection” force for ethnic Russians, just as he has done with his military annexation of Crimea.

There is absolutely sufficient (Russian) force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Transdniester if the decision was made to do that and that is very worrisome.

Never mind that NATO has been desperate to get Ukraine into its gang and also wants Moldova on board.  Breedlove’s comments are an example of NATO  being precious because Russia wants to keep a buffer between itself and its expansionist western rival. If the west wants to drag countries into its sphere of influence, via the EU, that is OK.  If Russia tries to do the same or, God forbid, tries to woo those countries with counter offers, that is an outrage.

But what makes Freeman’s piece stand out is the ignorance or deceit about the EU Assocation Agreements put on the table to Ukraine and Moldova. He writes:

Moldova, whose five million people mostly speak the Latin dialects of neighbouring Romania, is Europe’s poorest country, and has ambitions to eventually become part of the European Union.

It is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union, the same one that Ukraine’s ousted President, Viktor Yanukovych, abandoned last November amid massive Kremlin pressure.

Signing the free trade agreement would take Moldova firmly into the European fold, but Transdniester’s unresolved status would make full membership of the EU or Nato more complicated. As such, some believe the Kremlin has a direct vested interest in fomenting further pro-Russian sentiment in Transdniester.

As we have demonstrated previously, Association Agreements are not free trade instruments.  Perhaps he should tell us why the EU-Ukraine ‘free trade agreement’ necessitates that political dialogue in all areas of mutual interest…

shall be further developed and strengthened between the Parties. This will promote gradual convergence on foreign and security matters with the aim of Ukraine’s ever-deeper involvement in the European security area.

Or that:

The Parties shall explore the potential of military-technological cooperation. Ukraine and the European Defence Agency (EDA) shall establish close contacts to discuss military capability improvement, including technological issues.

The agreement with Moldova is little different, including this element in Article 5:

The Parties shall intensify their dialogue and cooperation and promote gradual convergence in the area of foreign and security policy, including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and shall address in particular issues of conflict prevention and crisis management, regional stability, disarmament, non-proliferation, arms control and export control.

Clearly that is essential to the process of selling sunflower seeds and walnuts.  Colin Freeman is either a lazy hack who talks about things he doesn’t understand and hasn’t even researched, or he is a liar shilling for the EU and deliberately misleading readers about what our supreme government is doing.  Either way, this sums up the British press perfectly.

Ukraine signs its Faustian pact with the EU

So there we have it.  The EU has signed its Association Agreement with the self appointed administration in Kiev – which came to power through a coup, rather than waiting for elections promised by Ukraine’s elected President, who is now in exile.

It may be that Ukraine’s electorate might have voted for a party or coalition that remained in favour of beginning the long process of surrendering sovereignty to the bureaucracy in Brussels, but as things stand a political settlement has been rammed through by the political class, without a clear mandate from what remains a disenfranchised population.

Small wonder that Ukraine’s unelected Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, claimed that Ukraine and the EU share the same values.  That democracy is not one of those values has been reinforced once again today.

The hypocrisy of the EU has broken new ground as it commenced the process of taking control of yet another territory without the approval of the people it will eventually govern. Whatever hopes the people in Ukraine had for a democratic, sovereign future have been swept away with a few flourishes of politicians’ pens.

The country has now been carved up between two rival entities.  The EU is set to take the spoils in the west and north, Russia has snapped up the peninsula in the south.  Another triumph for the political class.

The BBC reports that the EU Association Agreement is designed to give Ukraine’s interim leadership under PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk economic and political support.  What it actually does is give the EU ever greater control over Ukraine.

EU membership: We have to change the terms of the debate

Laura Sandys MP, we are told, is the Conservative Member of Parliament for South Thanet and the Convenor of European Mainstream. In Parliament, Laura was first appointed to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and, until recently, was the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Greg Barker MP, Minister for Climate Change. She is currently focused on consumer policy, energy security, the green economy and our relationship with the European Union.

Unsurprising to find therefore that she has written a puddle of unmitigated dribble for the Telegraph, in an article that the editors have chosen not to allow comments on.  A puddle that includes gems like:

[...] ‘Better off Out-ers’ appear fearful of negotiating abroad, unable to succeed in getting their way, and instead choose to loudly ‘beat their retreat’.

[...] However, ‘Out of Europe’ as a stated policy would be the first time in modern history that the UK’s aim would be to diminish its influence in Europe – an extraordinary retreat from our national interest.

[...] For my part I am greedy for the UK, not cautious – I want EU PLUS. I want the 500 million customers that the EU offers PLUS new trading partners and new export opportunities from across the globe.

There is a world of difference between ‘negotiating abroad’ and being subject to political control from abroad.  It is the better-off-outers who want to broaden the UK’s horizons and look beyond the borders of the EU for cooperation and trade in our own name and using our own voice.

It is worth noting that we are increasingly seeing politicians attempting to justify political settlements and the erosion of democracy with some perceived economic benefit.  Almost every political matter is now being projected through an economic prism.  Sandys is doing exactly the same thing here.

This shows the extent to which the political process has been captured and is now dominated by vested corporate interests.

The Europhile side barely ever talks about any other reason for remaining under EU control than trade and wealth.  Important as these things are, people power, accountability, sovereignty and self determination are essential elements for a society.

Having these removed by stealth, without our permission, then having a meagre promise of an economic carrot tossed in our general direction as some kind of compensation when the culprits are rumbled, is not acceptable.

We have to pull the debate back on to the political pitch and demand that the politicans talk to our interests, rather than move the issue on to the economic pitch preferred by their corporate paymasters.

Ukraine: Media not just ignoring reality but deceiving with naked propaganda

Following on from the previous post about the media ignoring what the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement actually does (clue, no, it’s not a mere trade agreement), we are increasingly seeing the media pushing a narrative that can only be described as outright propaganda that seeks to conceal the EU’s actions, behaviour and responsibility for the crisis.

Yesterday, without any journalistic integrity or commitment to sharing news rather than views, the Telegraph and its ‘experts’ grandly waded further into the Ukraine story with a podcast that can only be described as a rank perversion of the facts and a corruption of the historical record of events surrounding the Ukraine crisis.

The podcast was introduced on the page in the following way:

Power corrupts and it has corrupted Vladimir Putin absolutely. As the drama in Ukraine continues, we examine the mind and motivations of the man responsible.

Ian H Robertson, Professor in Psychology at Trinity College Dublin and author of The Winner Effect: How Power Affects Your Brain, explains how over time the need for power messes with the synapses and induces megalomania. The Professor tells us that the only way the West can get under Vladimir Putin’s skin is through practical sanctions.

Benedict Brogan and Con Coughlin discuss what those sanctions might look like, and if Britain even has the interest or clout to help resolve this dangerous crisis.

This is just staggering.  Describing Putin as the man responsible for the Ukraine crisis is ludicrous. We can but guess why the real culprit in this caper is being treated as if it doesn’t exist and has no bearing on events over recent months.

It was not Putin who was pursuing a policy designed to promote a gradual convergence on legal, social, foreign and security matters with the aim of ever-deeper involvement with Ukraine, it was the European Union.  The EU has a sole foreign policy (which means it is UK foreign policy) of enlarging itself so it can take control of more and more countries across the continent.

You're ignoring me again!

You’re ignoring me again!

The EU has already taken control of the Baltic countries, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia and they have also become part of NATO.  The EU had already started trying to do the same thing with Georgia and has been doing the same thing with Ukraine.  This has happened despite the west (NATO) promising Mikhail Gorbachev that they would not expand up to the Russian border.  But that is exactly what is happening.

It is laughable of Brogan and Coughlin to talk about power corrupting, and completely ignore that this defines what we are seeing with the EU.  It is equally laughable that they engage a professor of psychology to talk about how the need for power messes with the synapses and induces megalomania while ignoring the EU’s aggressive efforts to enlarge itself and take control of new countries.

As for practical sanctions supposedly being the only way to get under Putin’s skin, the evidence shows that bad faith, lies and broken promises are the way to achieve that – which is why the Russians have acted to secure territory that had long been sovereign Russian territory and is home to a Russian naval fleet.  Finally, asking if Britain has the interest or clout to help resolve this crisis, when we have been party to its creation thanks to this country’s support of the Association Agreement with Ukraine and readiness to ratify this power grab by our supreme government, is pure sophistry.

This is yet another compelling reason for the UK to leave the EU. We have no business furthering such an agenda.

How far the Telegraph has travelled from the days where it reported news and facts.  Now it is a tool of deception that treats its remaining (declining) readership with utter contempt.

Elements of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement the media wilfully ignores

The crisis in Ukraine has provided yet more evidence that the British media is variously ignorant, lazy and cannot be trusted to present news that is not infected with propaganda.

The reporting of the all-important background to the crisis in Ukraine has been nothing other than an exercise in deception. One wonders if any of the hacks have even visited and read the content on the page shown in the image.

Ask the average Briton what they understand about the Association Agreement that Ukraine was being asked to sign with the European Union, and thanks to the media they would either answer ‘a trade agreement’ or look blankly and say they have no idea.  But it is not a trade agreement, it is something much more far reaching than that.  It seeks to being about political dialogue in all areas of mutual interest that:

…shall be further developed and strengthened between the Parties. This will promote gradual convergence on foreign and security matters with the aim of Ukraine’s ever-deeper involvement in the European security area.

That has nothing to do with buying and selling goods and services.  Indeed, a far more significant and crucial element of the agreement is the military dimension outlined in the agreement’s Title II: Political Dialogue And Reform, Political Association, Cooperation And Convergence In The Field Of Foreign And Security Policy.

While that sounds harmless enough, in Article 10 of the document above we find a focus on ‘Conflict prevention, crisis management and military-technological cooperation’, where we find this – section 3 – that would certainly have Moscow seething, particularly when one thinks about how the present Ukraine military has been developed, trained and equipped:

The Parties shall explore the potential of military-technological cooperation. Ukraine and the European Defence Agency (EDA) shall establish close contacts to discuss military capability improvement, including technological issues.

This is one of the areas the EU plans for ‘gradual convergence’ and ‘ever-deeper involvement’, with a country aligned historically, culturally, politically and militarily with Russia and the former Soviet Union.  There is only one destination when the plan is ‘gradual convergence’ and ‘ever-deeper involvement’, and that is union.  The EU’s plans for enlargment includes assimilating the remaining Russian satellites such as Ukraine, but Euro MPs are trying to kid us that only now has this idea come to the fore.

It would always be dangerous ground in the back yard of a country that is insecure, seeking to re-establish itself as a global power and spending big money on building its military capability.  Therefore the Association Agreement was a clearly geopolitical plan with two aims:

  1. To increase the EU’s political and military control over neighbouring countries and continue gradual enlargement
  2. To weaken Russia’s political and military control over its neighbours and hem it in on its western and southern borders

What on earth could Moscow not like about all that, especially with the Russian Navy Black Sea fleet based in Crimea?

While the Russians would be content to see the EU agree a trade deal with Ukraine, of the kind the media would have us think was on the table, the political and military dimensions to the agreement, diplomatically referenced by the Russian ambassador to the EU, was a deliberate provocation in the shape of a power grab by the EU.  Responsibility for all that has followed rests squarely with the EU and its expansionist, power crazed officials in Brussels.  But does our media tell that story?

The lack of impartial news coverage resulting in the disgraceful lack public knowledge about this, despite the EU being our government, the agreement being presented in our name and it being ratified by the British government in Westminster, is the fault of our media – which is pushing the EU’s ridiculous propaganda without question or challenge.

Ukraine, UK, foreign policy, defence and the EU

The media is at it again, with ‘journalists’ and commentators demonstrating that for all the lavish salaries and resources showered upon them they know very little and understand even less.

Con Coughlin is a case in point. Bunkered at the Telegraph, lest he get chased out of a pub by fellow hacks, the great sage has a piece that his sub editor has chosen to title ‘Britain reduced to shaking a weedy fist at Vladimir Putin’ with a subheading thus, ‘Protests against Russia’s annexation of Crimea can’t disguise the fact that Britain is now a mere bystander on the world stage because of defence cuts’.

While that is partially true, it only tells us a fraction of the story and does nothing to explain why we have this state of affairs.  Instead Coughlin deigns to inform us that:

It was always going to happen – the eruption of an international crisis so grave that it laid bare the full limitations of Britain’s ability to act on the world stage. And so it has come to pass, with the humiliating revelation that our policy for confronting Vladimir Putin’s Crimean land grab is to do… precisely nothing.

[...] So far as Britain is concerned, the best we can hope for now is that Ukraine’s new interim government does not react to the blatant acts of provocation perpetrated by Russian troops. For, as we now know, courtesy of a Downing Street photographer’s telephoto lens, Britain’s ability to respond to Russia’s wanton acts of aggression is nonexistent.

There are very good reasons for this.  The defence capabilities of this nation are largely supposed – among other things – to be geared to do two things:

  1. to defend our national territory, and
  2. to protect our national interests and support our foreign policy objectives around the world

I’m over here…

The key point here is point 2.  It is essential to note that we don’t have our own interests any more, the EU has them for us.  And we no longer have any defined foreign policy objectives, as again our foreign policy is dictated by the EU.

For these reasons our defence requirements are ill defined, and our capabilities are being eroded to the point our armed forces cannot act independently – to help bring about the EU plan of an interoperable, member state force taking orders from Brussels.

But Coughlin makes no mention of this. The media has, by and large, embraced EU membership and makes no effort to learn what the EU is designed to do, why it is doing it and how it goes about achieving it. So it is that Coughlin and his friends continue to rail against many effects of EU membership, such as the dearth of a foreign policy supported by defence capabilities to underpin it, but keep telling us how EU membership is essential to this country’s interests.

This mentality extends far beyond the media and deep into the political class, where a few days ago we saw Sir Christopher Meyer, former British Ambassador to Germany and to the US, write in the Times (£) that:

Foreign policy is not an edition of Radio 4’s Moral Maze. It should be based on a cold calculation of national interest. It is time to get back to basics: the clarity of openly defined sovereign interests and publicly acknowledged spheres of interest.

Yet despite these implorings we see no mention of the EU let alone criticism of the fact membership has brought us to this. In fact the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of which Meyer was part is possibly the most enthusiastic cheerleader and advocate of EU membership in the UK.

The fact is, as part of the EU, our armed forces, for all the billions spent on them, will not be strong enough to field sufficient divisions, wings and naval groups to respond independently to geopolitical crises – as it runs contrary to the notion of interoperability. In any case the would not be prepared to do so because our country’s foreign policy will be written in Brussels and our interests will be what the EU defines them to be.

You just won’t hear any journalist, politician or FCO pension recipient telling the public the truth of it.

Open goals, media handling, EU and the RSPB / WWF axis

The news cycle has moved on. The media roadshow has all but left town.  But for many people of the Somerset levels, the distress and upset caused by the flooding continues.  While the impact of the stagnant floodwater lapping around their communities and homes is all too real, for most people outside the area it is now almost a distant memory.

It’s with that in mind that Nigel Farage dropped into Burrowbridge on Thursday – for a pint naturally – and even made a reference to EU directives.  But the event, shoe-horned in to fit around various appointments and travel plans ahead of the UKIP spring conference, passed by virtually unnoticed and unremarked, and with it went Farage’s promise on Twitter of a press conference addressing the EU dimension to the flooding.

On the comment threads of this blog, my urgent calls for UKIP to get into this issue immediately and underline the EU role in it all, was dismissed by some for whom any criticism of the party or the leader is an outrage that requires immediate condemnation.  There was apparently a party ‘strategy’ in place to deal with this that we knew nothing about and which, surprise surprise, is yet to reveal itself weeks later.  Also despite Lisa Duffy’s train wreck comments on BBC Any Questions recently, there has been no correction from UKIP of her factual error about EU responsibility for the extent of the floods. Forget not being in the game, they haven’t even turned up at the venue!

Then on the failure to make the most of the media and PR opportunities available, I was told I knew nothing about these things, despite working in the profession for the last 14 years and having worked on political campaigns.  Now I don’t know everything but I do know that so far the use of the media, to make the point that EU membership and governance has played a major part in the ruination of the lives of people on the levels, has been non existant.  ‘Nige knows best’ was the subtext, but the outcome has been lamentable.  UKIP’s approach on matters of susbtance is always reactive, if it comes at all, and all too frequently the message misses the point.  The ‘Trust in Nige’ narrative used by the more tunnel visioned party members consistently puts us into a holding patten awaiting pronouncements from the great sage that then fail to materialise, then then adopt the ‘nothing to see here’ approach and move on to something else completely leaving the issue unresolved.

It is not just one open goal missed (again) but several.

The open goal of evident and explicit EU directives central to the actions of the Environment Agency regarding the flooding, some of which we referenced here, has been missed.  But also the open goal concerning the EU’s co-funding of projects with the RSPB and WWF to demonstrate techniques to evaluate and plan floodplain ‘restoration’ (aka, how to flood areas such as the levels).

Then in the last day another open goal has been presented that we can see clearly will be similarly ignored, that of the squandering of tens of millions of Euros of taxpayers’ money by the EU, to fund the activities of the very environmental groups who want to flood more areas in similar fashion, here and overseas. Everywhere we delve into reports and documents on this matter we see not just the all-too-active dead hand of the EU, but unelected and unaccountable long beak of the RSPB alongside the grubby panda’s pawprints of the WWF, which are liberally plastered over everything.

These supposed charities are in fact lavishly funded extensions of government in the EU.  They play a hugely significant and anti-democratic role in the formulation and delivery of policy and implementation of laws.  This EU governance structure should concern and anger people forced to live with the consequences of RSPB and WWF environmental desires being put into effect.

Many people who want something to justify leaving the EU would draw the line at being part of a union that not only permits this but actively encourages it and uses our money to ensure it happens.  But from UKIP we hear not one word about this.  What is it going to take to make them up their game and get these messages across?  Clearly the blogs will have to continue researching where the dots connect and publishing the details in the hope at least some peopleget the message.

If these facts, combined with a financial hit in the shape of grants totalling over €77 million given by the EU to just the WWF alone – one of the groups who pushed for the flooding of the levels – isn’t a subject for an EUsceptic party to bring to wider public attention, then what is?  This is not a blogger hoping UKIP will fail, this is a blogger frustrated that the party is failing and letting down everyone who wants to be free of this EU-driven eco lunacy.

Two lessons business today taught those who want independence

(this post may be updated with links and additional information later…)

Lesson 1

Standard Life has broken cover to tell the market that if Scotland chooses to leave the United Kingdom without an agreement covering currency, interest rates, taxation and regulation, it would look at relocating itself to England.

This is little different from the concerns business in the rest of the UK would have if a political party decided to repeal the European Communities Act and simply declare independence from the EU.

Such a political party would be deluding itself to believe that all the complex issues and problems this would cause relating to trade, tariffs, regulations and agreements that have been made with other countries on the UK’s behalf, would come out in the wash and that World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules would force the EU to maintain trade with the UK as if we were still part of the customs union.  Exiting in an orderly manner with a negotiated agreement is the only responsible course of action.  Anything else and the actions of Standard Life in Scotland would be replicated many times over in the rest of the UK and on a much bigger scale.

Lesson 2

While speaking to the Today programme on Radio 4 about WPP’s latest results, chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell was asked about what the business community – which has been going along with the deludophile nonsense about EU reform – would do if reform could not be achieved.

After explaining that the business community feels there are a lot of positives being in the EU – in other words the single market, as the EU is political and the single market is economic – he said the business community would want to stay ‘in’ if no reform was achieved.

Therefore, those who are most vocal in calling for impossible EU reform will stick with the status quo if the changes they want are not forthcoming.  The fact reform will be impossible was made clear by a German guest speaking separately on the same programme this morning about the visit of Angela Merkel.  He pointed out that Cameron’s reform agenda was going to go nowhere, not least because no one knows what his supposed demands are.

It was pointed out by this guest (name to follow) that the Treaties that would need to be changed were the product of years of negotation and compromise, and so the outcome would be the same compromise, with little or no change.  The Lisbon Treaty would be strictly off limits and none of its elements would therefore be negotiated let alone reformed.

Added together we can see that a grand performance is being played out for the media and public, to give the impression that there will be changes.  But it is just that, a performance, an act, and nothing of substance will be altered.

Cameron famously said about the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by Gordon Brown that he ‘would not let matters rest there’. But he did.  Cameron is now on the stage once again, prancing around and delivering a monologue to the audience, gazing imploringly into the stalls and peddling more fallacies, in the shape of a rengotiation our EU overlords have told us won’t happen, and in the shape of a referendum that cannot possibly be delivered in 2017 even if the Conservatives form the next government.

And now we can see that behind him are those people who have given their backing to this drive towards an illusory outcome, but who are now saying that they would stick with things as they are if no reform came about.  EUsceptics need to bear these important lessons in mind.

Giving UKIP a little bit of credit

Catching the eye yesterday was a Guardian piece telling readers that UKIP accepts that an EU exit could take several years.

Ukip will have to negotiate a withdrawal from the European Union over many years and the party still has to work out the details of how it would secure such an exit, a leading Ukip MEP candidate in May’s European elections has conceded.

Janice Atkinson, who is number two on the party’s candidate list in the South East England constituency, admitted it would be impossible just to walk away from the EU.

Naturally the Guardian takes advantage of the absence of hard policy to give UKIP something of a whack, but also underlines its EUphile stupidity by referring to ‘Article 51′ when reporting Atkinson’s explanation that our way out of the union is by invoking Article 50 of the EU treaty. It does not seem to be an error on Atkinson’s part as there is no (sic) included in the text to indicate the error was on the part of the person whose words were being reported.

It is something of a relief to see a high profile UKIP figure making such a comment.  Of course it doesn’t tell the whole story, because this does not fully borrow from some painstaking research to explain how Brexit could be achieved within the two year period following Article 50 being invoked and what needs to happen in the years that follow.

Nevertheless the direction of travel here is welcome to see.  It is certainly a substantial departure from the dangerous approach pushed by a hard core minority in the party that the UK can simply up and leave on a whim, after which everything will somehow right itself as the fallout settles, because the Germans will still want to sell us cars. That kind of politicial illiteracy destroys any credibility the EUsceptic side builds up.

While welcoming this small step, it is worth noting UKIP is still a long way behind the curve in bringing these issues to the fore on the platform it has.  The party has never replaced the depth of knowledge or expertise in understanding the processes of Brexit and the risks of exiting in the wrong way, that it had with Richard North on the team.

Lifting and using external work might seem like a simple way to address the party’s deficiency in dedicated and exclusive research and understanding it used to have, but there is far more to it all than that being copied off the web.   The often complex reasoning behind the approaches advanced is lost without party spokesmen being educated to speak with authority on the subject – thus being able to rebut accurately and defeat the FUD thrown by the EUphile side.

So while this is a step forward, it is only a very small one.


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