The EU Coastguard story and the failure of Parliament and the media

That wonder of the British media, known as the Mail on Sunday, runs a story today telling its readers ‘Brussels launches plan to scupper UK Coastguard‘ – a story run on EU Referendum on 6 July 2007!  The ‘news’ piece explains that:

Britain’s coastguards would be replaced by a new pan- European fleet under ‘harmonisation’ plans which would see their life-saving work being taken over by an EU coastguard corps emblazoned with the Brussels logo.

The news comes just days after Transport Secretary Philip Hammond performed a partial U-turn on cutting the number of currently operating Coastguard centres from 19 to eight, with just three remaining open 24 hours a day.

before going on to tell us how these proposals were uncovered by MEP for South West of England, Trevor Colman (UKIP).  As always, readers are given the impression this is some new breaking proposal that is about to be presented to the UK from our supreme government in the EU.

As always the reality is that this is something that has been knocking around for years.  As the Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL concerning the establishment of a Programme to support the Integrated Maritime Policy, issued in September 2010, explains:

On 10 October 2007, the Commission adopted the Communication on an Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union –COM(2007) 575 (”Blue Paper”). This Communication advocated the need for the development and implementation of an integrated, coherent and overarching approach to the governance of the oceans, seas and coasts.

In fact this proposal – which is designed to ‘integrate maritime governance on all levels’ and has been submitted as a draft report in March this year – has already been quietly examined by the quislings in Westminster sitting on the European Scrutiny Committee.  As usual the media was asleep at the wheel as the Committee, led by supposed arch Eurosceptic Tory, Bill Cash, performed the legislative equivalent of the three wise monkeys and let the proposal quietly continue on its way.  Perhaps this is how politicians plan to get people re-engaged in politics?

Going back to Trevor Colman, he wrote about his discovery of this proposal on his blog ThE Unit on 30th June after he attended a meeting of the ‘Seas & Coastal Areas European Parliament Intergroup’ in a Committee room at the European Parliament a week earlier.  Colman’s blog post includes the following observation (made before last week’s announcement of the government’s plans for scaling down the UK Coastguard):

Did the Minister for Shipping, Mike Penning, know of the EU plans and do they have any bearing on the proposed closures? Is it just co-incidental that the two developments are taking place at the same time? In light of the EU intentions would it not be much wiser now to leave any closures of Coastguard Stations to a later date, if at all? If there are to be changes, either nationally or internationally, would it not be better if experienced staff were still available to advise and assist in whatever is planned?

Perhaps Colman could have taken a look to find out for himself.  It took AM all of five minutes to follow the trail of documentation from the European Commission to discover what information had been laid before the European Scrutiny Committee, containing from section 4.6 onwards ‘The Government’s View’ which includes the comments of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport – one Mike Penning.

So what we have once again is a supposedly breaking news story of a proposed legislative change – that dates back over four years – that has already been quietly examined by a Parliamentary Select Committee, commented upon in detail by a Conservative Minister and missed completely by the British media, but has only just become apparent to a British MEP and as such gets reported as a forthcoming power grab.

By any measure this is a matter of far greater importance than the interception of phone voicemail messages by tabloid journalists, but one that gets a tiny fraction of the Parliamentary and media coverage it should have received.

Where is sainted The Guardian and its drip feed of front page headlines about this story?  Oh yes, I keep forgetting, there is no vested interest for that hypocritical rag in reporting this story, so the public is left in ignorance while the focus remains on what is important to the media in its little bubble. Bias by omission, bias by news selection.

This is how the British public is served by the establishment.

4 Responses to “The EU Coastguard story and the failure of Parliament and the media”

  1. 1 Brian H 17/07/2011 at 2:55 pm

    Yes, and there will be a much enhanced need for a Coast Guard as boaters and tanker shipping and smugglers and fisherman come a cropper up against the nearly impenetrable forest of offshore wind turbines which will have to ring the coastline to a depth of about 5 miles to meet Herr Huhne’s “Relying on Renewables” mandates.

  2. 2 BJ 17/07/2011 at 3:16 pm

    It tends to get worrying when your report is placed alongside the running down of our armed forces and police.

    “Pooling resources” is the phrase I think.

  3. 3 Tom 17/07/2011 at 4:47 pm

    Alright that’s it, the joke is over – leave now.

    “Scaling down the UK Coastguard” ?

    ah, OK
    What about

    – the army of sub PCSO ninja clad bullying idjits the UKBA has running around in £150,000 RIBs pestering people about the colour of their diesel?

    -The water wardens employed by local councils trying to ban boaters from smoking….

    This mountain of bollocks must surely collapse under it’s own weight ?

  4. 4 Steve 23/10/2011 at 6:26 pm

    Well, one force that doesn’t seem to be suffering from “scaling down” is this one:-

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