Archive for July, 2012

Our vital influence at the EU top table, shaping the Community towards our way of thinking

Britain’s contribution to the EU will have to increase by next year by another £350 million.

Britain, sat at the EU’s top table and as always supposedly shaping the community to our way of thinking, opposed this payment.

The result?  Britain was outvoted.  Not enough EU member states voted to block the increase.  The interests of the British people were trampled underfoot by foreign nationals, whose own interests were served at our expense by extracting more money from hard pressed British taxpayers.  As usual, the EU’s fans in the British press gave the impression of dissent whilst retaining their fetish for rule from abroad by unelected and unaccountable mandarins who pander to the corporatist interests of the media barons.

This is nothing less than the state sanctioned theft of funds which are generated in these islands and are needed for the benefit of the citizens of these islands.

Would it not be better to be free of this straitjacket?  David Cameron’s view is very clear:

I think it would be bad for Britain. When I look at what is in our national interest, we are not some country that looks in on ourself or retreats from the world. Britain’s interest – trading a vast share of our GDP – is to be in those markets. Not just buying, selling, investing, receiving investment but also helping to write the rules. If we were outside, we wouldn’t be able to do that.

If we were outside we would not be relieved of our money to benefit people elsewhere in Europe to the detriment of our own.

And in any case, if this country were a real democracy, those of us who are expected to foot the bill would determine how our money is spent.

Britannia waives her duty in Gibraltar

From the Gibraltarian news website, Panorama:

The Gibraltar government has told the UK that ‘the time has now come for action, not simply written protests from London to Madrid’ in defence of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, following the latest incident where a Gibraltar vessel was boarded by the Guardia Civil in Gibraltar waters ‘and forcibly conveyed’ together with its occupants to Algeciras ‘at high speed and without navigational lights.’

HM Government of Gibraltar has issued a statement calling on the United Kingdom government to turn its words into actions and defend the territorial integrity of Gibraltar by all means at its disposal in a reasonable, measured but effective way.  As the Gibraltarians make clear,  the time has now come for action, not simply written protests from London to Madrid.

The statement reminds people that these illegal incursions by the Spaniards started in 2009 and have continued at regular intervals ever since. Incredibly at one point Spanish Civil Guards even entered the Port of Gibraltar and landed on Gibraltarian soil.  The Spaniards’ behaviour is far more aggressive than anything that Argentinians have done around the Falkland Islands in the same time period, yet it attracts scant attention in the British media and barely causes a ripple at the Foreign Office, which seems more preoccupied today with retweeting pictures of the Olympic torch on the London Eye.

With Spain deliberately provoking Gibraltar by encouraging its fishing fleets to plunder Gibraltar’s territorial waters under escort from Guardia Civil vessels, the Royal Gibraltar Police are scared to take action for fear of sparking an armed confrontation.  The Royal Navy, where it should be defending the territorial integrity of the waters has instead been impotent and instead issued radio messages from the shore in the hope the Spaniards comply.  In Gibraltar it seems Britannia only rules the airwaves.

Ironically this most recent incursion by the Spaniards has taken place just as eight Gibraltar Defence Police Officers are about to be deployed to the UK to helm a fast rigid-hulled inflatable boat as part of the Olympic Games policing and security operation for the sailing events at Weymouth.  Given the level of inaction to date it doesn’t seem as if they will be missed.

Frack off, Cameron

Back in May this year, Ed Davey revealed to Parliament there had been a discussion at Number 10 with ‘experts in the shale gas industry’ concerning shale gas in the UK.

What was interesting about this, as Andrew Montford at the Bishop Hill blog pointed out, was that these experts apparently told David Cameron and other assembled stuffed shirts that it would take some time to exploit shale gas – and that ‘strong regulation’ would be required.  It was certainly a strange sentiment coming from people in the industry, who presumably would want to push ahead quickly to exploit shale, and do so with minimal constraints.

As Montford speculated at the end of his post, ‘I wonder who Number Ten’s experts were?’  I wondered the same thing, which is why I submitted the Freedom of Information request shown below:

Now bearing in mind in April this year, none other than the Cabinet Office (the department that would field my request) Minister Francis Maude wrote in the Guardian (where else?) the claims below, one would expect that openness and transparency to be readily on display:

Since coming to office, the coalition has made great strides towards David Cameron’s commitment that the United Kingdom would be the most open and transparent government in the world. We have already brought a new openness to all areas of government, radically challenging the damaging idea that public data is owned by the state, not the citizen.

– Francis Maude, The Guardian, 19 April 2012

But of course, when it comes to politics we are in the Post-Truth Age.  Anything goes in this ideologically bankrupt administration, so long as it and its friends benefit.  Which is why more than two months after submitting my request – without explanation for the failure to comply with the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, or apology for the delay and failure to respond to my follow up queries – I received the following:

The suspicion is that the government is – as it so often does – only listening to opinions that reinforce its viewpoint and agenda.  It stretches the bounds of credulity that even if the likely reserves of shale are not as extensive as some might suggest, representatives of the shale gas industry would seek to hinder their effort to exploit shale and actually demand significant government action to restrict the extraction of shale.

The rhetorical question is, in whose interest is this government working?  It’s certainly not ours.

Old Swan

It has really upset me that I have been unable to attend the meeting at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate today.

Having fallen ill and thrown myself upon the tender mercies of the NHS, I am currently unable to drive any distance and have had to withdraw from something that I have looked forward to participating in for so long.

The discussions that take place today have the potential to form the foundation of a new settlement for democracy and representative government.  Like the Chartists, it may be today’s specific demands for reform are not realised by this group.  But they may instead become a catalyst for people who follow to secure those reforms later for the benefit of the people of this county.

As in the time of the Chartists this action has become necessary because of the nature of politics.  We have a political class that is unresponsive to the wishes of the people it is supposed to serve.  What passed for democracy has been further eroded by the outsourcing of control to an unelected, unaccountable and alien bureaucracy, whose mandarins are allowed to suckle at the teat of the taxpayer – claiming expenses for items they have not even purchased, and affording themselves the perk of not having to pay tax on their earnings.  Power is sought for its own sake.

As they enjoy the trappings of power, the politicians defer to the ‘guidance’ of faceless civil servants who take their lead from the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats overseas.  What results are spectacles such as that where the Prime Minister rejects the clamour of people to be allowed to decide how this country is governed, citing his personal belief that it is not in our interest.  Democracy denied.  A yawning chasm of a deficit.

It must end.  The dictatorship must be dismantled.  The people must be the constituency that determines how monies collected by the state are used.  The inverted master – servant relationship must be corrected.

Sentiments such as these will certainly treated with contempt by the establishment.  There is every likelihood that they will be considered threatening and hostile and therefore necessitate action by the state.  But that is only because democracy is the antidote to their grip on power.  Our interests are not the same as their interests, so we need to be as determined and ruthless as them in seeking to put our interests first.

The meeting at the Old Swan Hotel is but a small step on a long journey that has to be taken.  The thirty or so people who are currently engaged in the sharing and challenging of ideas are just the first of those who are prepared to stand up and be counted.  There is no doubt that as more eyes are opened more people will make a stand.  The sooner the better.

Happy 4th

To our American friends everywhere, Happy 4th!

Media lead story: No change on referendum about EU membership

Yawn.  Once again we are subjected to spectacle of the media getting moist about what it perceives as a major political story.  The Sunday Failygraph gives space to the Vacuous Unprincipled Cameron (Vuc) to waffle inanely with meaningless verbiage, leading to the BBC and others diving in to paint this as Vuc the Europlastic paving the way for a referendum on EU membership.

But as always you have to ignore the sub editor’s hype and instead read the words on the page.  When one does so, one will find nothing has changed.

Cameron clings to his narrative about ‘getting what is best for Britain’.  Read Vuc’s quotes dating back several years on this subject and he has made clear time and again that he believes EU membership is what is best for Britain.  No change.  Vuc will fight tooth and nail to keep Britain firmly inside the EU.  Cameron goes on to say:

I am not against referendums in our parliamentary democracy. Parliament is elected to make decisions and be accountable, but when powers are transferred it is right to ask the people.

It is enough to make one lose the will to live.  From the moment Vuc the Europlastic slithered into Downing Street the government he leads has transferred a raft of powers to the EU – even quicker than the Europhile Labour administration – and the people have not been asked once if they approve.  We have a Prime Minister who resides in a realm of fantasy where he waxes lyrical about power transfer and referendum locks, in spite of the evidence.

Having openly declared his firm Europhile position, our ‘practical Eurosceptic’ / ‘instinctive Eurosceptic’ / arch Europlastic continues his voyage of delusion with talk of our supposed ‘relationship’ with the EU.  We do not have a relationship with the EU.  It would be nice if we did for that would signal that we are not part of it.  It is not possible to have a relationship with something of which you are constituent part.  But his ludicrous assertion continues to be treated by the media as an uncontestable truth and Vuc is allowed to get away with this blatant deception.

After yet more Vuc babble that just isn’t worth your while reading, we get to the Vuc quote that has prompted orgasms at Failygraph Towers:

Nevertheless I will continue to work for a different, more flexible and less onerous position for Britain within the EU.

How do we take the British people with us on this difficult and complicated journey? How do we avoid the wrong paths of either accepting the status quo meekly or giving up altogether and preparing to leave? It will undoubtedly be hard, but taking the right path in politics often is.

As we get closer to the end point, we will need to consider how best to get the full-hearted support of the British people whether it is in a general election or in a referendum.

As I have said, for me the two words “Europe” and “referendum” can go together, particularly if we really are proposing a change in how our country is governed, but let us get the people a real choice first.

Richard North over at EU Referendum has on more than one occasion patiently dissected and deconstructed the notion of Britain being able to engineer for itself a different position within the EU to other member states in the way Vuc puts forward.  That Vuc continues to spout such idiotic nonsense confirms that he is either a determined liar, or an incompetent with no understanding of how the EU and its mechanisms work.  Either way, he is deceiving the British people.

But while he may be deceitful he is surrounded by advisers and influencers who are capable and cunning.  Hence the deliberately vague language about how people might be given an opportunity to signal their wishes in respect of the EU.  But note, he has already made clear an in/out referendum is not to be put to the people.

So a binding democratic decision by the electorate about EU membership is a non starter and in the unlikely event there is any form of referendum, it will be based on a fallacy and will ask the people if they want to have a different relationship with the EU – which is virtual impossibility.  Nevertheless, we will hear for days fevered speculation from the talking heads in the Westminster bubble about the shape and timing of a referendum that still has not been commited to and even if it did come to pass is even less likely to ask the question people want to answer.

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