Archive for January, 2013



We’re all in this together – on scandalous wind power deals

As David Cameron announced the austerity measures that would be taken in the UK by the coagulation government, he was very fond of repeatedly telling voters ‘we’re all in this together‘.

It may not have been true when it came to the financial hardship many have experienced due to this so called austerity.  But it certainly was true – and remains true – when it comes to describing the political class working against the interest of the poor bloody energy consumer by agreeing insane deals for wind power.  It has resulted in a glaring example of the damage that is caused when lazy consensus politics is coupled with idiots, who have no experience of the real world, seeking to demonstrate their virtue:

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Yes, that’s right.

… a scheme agreed by Labour leader Ed Miliband during the last Labour government, but implemented by Coalition ministers,

No questioning, no challenge, no scrutiny.  Just a huge commitment made with other people’s money so the politicians can indulge their deluded wet dreams of being seen as ‘green’ and taking action to ‘fight climate change’.  This is a party political scandal.  Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – oh yes, they’re all in it together, ripping off the taxpayer and exhibiting a degree of incompetence that is enough to make this blogger reconsider his position on euthanisia.

Following the MPs damning report into the wind farm contracts, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now said it will “re-examine some of the terms” of the lucrative deals.

Too little, too late.

Under the terms of the contracts the companies are guaranteed an RPI inflation linked income for 20 years regardless of how much the infrastructure is used.

The estimated returns of 10-11 per cent on the initial licences “look extremely generous given the limited risks”, the MPs said.

And where were the MPs when all this was being set up?  Asleep at the wheel, or drifting around Westminster with their thumbs up their bums and their brains in neutral, doing what the whips told them?

Millions of votes swing between these parties at general elections as voters seek to punish unpopular governments.  Perhaps the message will soon get through to voters that voting for any of this consensus of careerist power-seekers results in an identical outcome and real change will only come about if voting for none of them removes their legitimacy.  Otherwise the faces might change and the colour of the rosettes may differ, but everything else stays the same to the detriment of this country and its long suffering people.

We don’t need change, we need a grassroots revolt to end this elected dictatorship.  The power of dictatorships comes from the willing obedience of the people they govern – and if the people develop techniques of withholding their consent, a regime will crumble.  It’s in our hands to take back power.

Met Office ‘nowcasting’ and the power of wind

While the Met Office hits back at critics and points to its five-day forecast record as ‘evidence’ of its accuracy, over the last 24 hours it has been quietly revising its forecasts so they look very different on the BBC Weather page to what they did two days ago.

It’s very easy to claim wonderful accuracy when you simply point to the last forecast only hours before the weather condition arrived.  This time yesterday the forecast overview page for London did not display a single snow flake.  But now…

london_weather

Hypothetically, anyone hoping for no snow who was making plans and relying on the Met Office forecast of two days ago are likely to be disappointed tonight.  Yet this ludicrous organisation still enjoins the public to trust is accuracy in forecasting weather trends years ahead, even though it has been forced to change those in recent weeks.  This isn’t forecasting, it’s nowcasting and we can all do that for ourselves by looking outside.  Yet we pay a fortune for this slanted crap.

Moving on from the Exeter-based scam artists, now is a good moment to take a quick look at another scam – wind power.  It’s a bitterly cold night, increasing the need for energy to warm homes.  So how much power is wind energy pumping into the grid at inflated prices?

When it’s needed most, it’s not there.  Yet billions of pounds of our money are being poured into this unreliable and inefficient form of generation, with thousands more turbines planned.  The insanity continues.

5 Star Blogging

An occasional piece offering you a selection of five great recent posts by independent bloggers that are heartily recommended for being thought provoking, insightful, covering interesting subjects or comprising quality writing. We hope you enjoy…

1. EU Referendum: The sum of all our fears

2. Witterings from Witney: And we have ‘sovereignty’?

3. Raedwald: Germany: The King with no clothes

4. The Boiling Frog: 2018 – The new 2014?

5. Your Freedom and Ours: We have a problem with Cyprus

David Cameron’s Impotent Number 10

Over at the paywalled Sunday Times there is a story that anyone who has worked within representative politics will recognise, as subscribers are told that David Cameron often learns of his policies from reading the papers and listening to the radio:

‘David Cameron’s former policy chief has revealed his “horror” at the powerlessness of Downing Street to control government decisions, admitting the prime minister often finds out about policies from the radio or newspapers — and in many cases opposes them.

‘Steve Hilton, who remains one of Cameron’s close confidants, said: “Very often you’ll wake up in the morning and hear on the radio or the news or see something in the newspapers about something the government is doing. And you think, well, hang on a second — it’s not just that we didn’t know it was happening, but we don’t even agree with it!  The government can be doing things … and we don’t agree with it? How can that be?”

‘He described how No 10 is frequently left out of the loop as important policy changes are pushed through by ‘paper-shuffling’ mandarins.”‘

This is what happens when civil servants in government departments and the various tiers of local authorities take their orders and direction not from elected politicians in Westminster or City and Town Halls, but from the various organs of our supreme government in Brussels, the EU.

This is the state of ‘democracy’ in 21st Century Britain.  The likes of Cameron cannot have complaint about this state of affairs, it is what they support and want to maintain.  So any bleating from them should be treated with the contempt it deserves.  But the British people do have cause for complaint.

What is being done by the civil service, following the instructions of a foreign entity that is answerable to one one, has not been elected and cannot be removed by this country’s voters, operating outside of democratic accountability can justly be described as a coup d’etat – albeit one the idiot politicians have facilitated by signing over huge swathes of power without understanding what that entails and without asking the permission of the people they are supposed to serve.  The Irish get it.

This is why the UK needs to become independent again by leaving the EU.

Useful idiots Big business mandarins like Richard Branson couldn’t care less about democratic legitimacy and accountability matters such as these, and certainly don’t want ordinary people to understand the consequences of EU membership for this country.  They prefer to retail scare stories about a departure from the EU threatening our economy and jobs, while deliberately ignoring the fact being part of the single market does not require this country to outsource political control by being a member of the EU.

It is not xenophobic or acting like a Little Englander to want the UK to leave the EU, rather it is an expression of the desire for democracy – people power – that the political class cannot stand and is trying to erode.  We are Better Off Out of the EU.

The UK has no business being part of the vile United Nations

In the Telegraph, Christopher Booker’s column leads with a story about the Met Office (h/t EU Referendum) – which quietly revised its prediction of global temperatures for the next five years and uploaded the much changed graph on Christmas Eve, a great day to bury inconvenient news – and why its forecasts are undermined by dogmatic climate change assumptions.

It’s an excellent reminder of the Met Office’s dereliction of duty in pursuit of an agenda, just as the country is being hit by another of those temperature drops and downfalls of snow that were supposed to be replaced by ‘warmer winters’, following the soaking summer which was supposed to have been replaced with ‘hotter, drier’ conditions.  But it is the second part of Booker’s column that focuses on a story of far greater importance – UN complicity in the mistreatment and killing of refugees in Iraq’s Camp Ashraf.

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Camp Ashraf is yet another United Nations scandal where backroom agendas, intrigues and double dealing has resulted in a number of lives being lost violently with many other people’s lives put in peril.

But what else would one expect when the UN treats people with such unmitigated contempt, for example when Gadaffi’s Libya was appointed Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee?  The same UN which in November last year went on to elect genocidal Sudan to the Economic and Social Council, a top U.N. body that regulates human rights groups, oversees U.N. committees on women’s rights, and crafts resolutions from Internet freedom to female genital mutilation. And it really surpassed itself when Mauritania, the world’s worst offender for slavery, was elected to the position of Vice President of the UN Human Rights Council – on Human Rights Day of all days.  This while Syria remained on the UNESCO human rights committee!

Lets not forget the UN’s sex for food scandal and UN officials being complicit as police and troops working on behalf of the UN in Bosnia were exposed as being involved in sex trafficking of young women – behaviour that was brought to the big screen with the film The Whistleblower.  It even extolled the virtues of China’s human rights record and its supposed respect for oppressed Uyghurs, Tibetans and other minority groups.

To describe this small handful of examples as Orwellian would be ludicrous understatement.  Yet despite all of these scandals in recent years and many, many others besides, the UN continues to be paid for by us, the hard pressed taxpayers around the world, our money taken from us by the political class to fund this insanity.

The UN, a global organisation made up of unaccountable bureaucrats and representatives from countries including brutal and oppressive regimes over which we have no control, wields a huge amount of power around the world through its commissions and agencies.  It is responsible for the pushing the sustainability cover story for the plan to increase its control over world governance via the insipid Agenda 21, while directly influencing what economic actions the EU follows through its Economic Commission for Europe, UNECE.

So, not for the first time, this blog asks the question, what is the point of continuing to bang our heads against a wall and fund an organisation that serves the interests of the international community so poorly? Going further this blog believes the time has long since passed for the UK to withdraw its membership.  The UN is not a force for good.  All too often it is the vehicle that facilitates the worst crimes human can commit.

Leaving the UN won’t happen all the while the political class directs operations in its own interest, but it should happen.  This country has no place cooperating with the most brutal, vicious and corrupt regimes on this planet, much less legitimising their vile behaviour with our money co-membership on UN bodies.

No, not bullshit…

But another product generated by bulls that furthers the continuation of the species…  Yes, even bull semen is regulated, as you can see in the list below.

It’s always interesting to see a snapshot of just one small element of the EU’s control over this country – in this case regulations imposed on DEFRA as a direct result of EU legislation. There is no reason why the UK could not draft essential regulations itself rather than wait for Brussels to hand down the diktats for implementation, but our EU membership means we have to adopt whatever our supreme government overseas decides is best for all 27 member states, regardless of their differing needs and situations.

Tory MP, Priti Patel, likes asking questions like these to elicit a written answer in the House of Commons.  While she doesn’t seem to do much with the information, eurosceptics can benefit from it.  The range and scope of EU legislation and regulation that will need to be reviewed and unpicked will take many years to deal with to suit this country’s needs.  There will need to be a period of transition from EU member state to independent country so we can take control of our own affairs once again.  A unilateral withdrawal without attention to the consequences would be a disaster – something Nigel Farage needs to learn pretty bloody fast.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which regulations his Department introduced as a result of EU legislation in (a) 2011 and (b) 2012 to date; which regulations his Department expects to implement as a result of EU legislation in (i) 2013 and (ii) the next two years; and what estimate he has made of the cost of each such regulation to the (A) public purse and (B) private sector.

Richard Benyon: DEFRA introduced the following regulations in 2011 as a result of EU legislation:

Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2011

Energy Information Regulations 2011

The Seed Marketing (Amendment) Regulations 2011

The Marketing of Fresh Horticultural Produce (Amendment) Regulations 2011(1)

The Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011(1)

The Environmental Protection (Controls on Ozone-Depleting Substances) Regulations 2011

The Reporting of Prices of Milk Products (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011(1)

The Wine Regulations 2011(1)

The Pollution Prevention and Control (Designation of Directives) (England and Wales) Order 2011(1)

The Animal By-Products (Enforcement) and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011(1)

The Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products (Amendment) Regulations 2011(1)

The Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2011

The Seeds (National Lists of Varieties) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

The Fruit Juices and Fruit Nectars (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

The Incidental Flooding and Coastal Erosion (England) Order 2011

The Agricultural Holdings (Units of Production) (England) Order 2011(1)

The Bovine Semen (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011(1)

The Poultrymeat (England) Regulations 2011

The Alien and Locally Absent Species in Aquaculture (England and Wales) Regulations 2011

The Non-Commercial Movements of Pet Animals Order 2011

The Rural Development Programme (Transfer and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2011(1)

The Plant Protection Products Regulations 2011

The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2011

The Aquatic Animal Health (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011(1)

The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011

The Plant Protection Products (Fees and Charges) Regulations 2011

The Poultry Health Scheme (Fees) Regulations 2011(1)

The Charges for Residues Surveillance (Amendment) Regulations 2011

The Eels (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011(1)

The Landfill (Maximum Landfill Amount) Regulations 2011(1)

The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011(1)

The Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) Regulations 2011

The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

The Marine Licensing (Exempted Activities) Order 2011

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Commencement No.5, Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Order 2011(1)

The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2011

The Waste and Emissions Trading Act 2003 (Amendment) Regulations 2011

DEFRA introduced the following regulations in 2012 as a result of EU legislation:

The Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information (Amendment) Regulations 2012(1)

The Agriculture, Animals, Environment and Food etc. (Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2012(1)

The INSPIRE (Amendment) Regulations 2012(1)

The Veterinary Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2012(1)

The Common Agricultural Policy Single Payment and Support Schemes (Amendment) Regulations 2012(1)

The Uplands Transitional Payment Regulations 2012(1)

The Zootechnical Standards (England) Regulations 2012

The Bluetongue (Amendment) Regulations 2012(1)

The Plant Health (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2012(1)

The Seed Marketing (Amendment) Regulations 2012(1)

The Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2012

The Smoke Control Areas (Authorised Fuels) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2012(1)

The Plant Health (Fees) (England) Regulations 2012

The Quality Standards for Green Bananas (England and Wales) Regulations 2012(1)

The Agricultural Holdings (Units of Production) (England) Regulations 2012(1)

The Plant Health (Import Inspection Fees) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012(1)

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Transitional Provisions) 2012(1)

The Fishing Boats (Satellite-Tracking Devices and Electronic Reporting) (England) Scheme 2012(1)

The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

The Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Regulations 2012

The Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012

The Scallop Fishing (England) Order 2012

The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012

The Plant Health (Forestry) (Amendment) Order 2012(1)

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2012

The Contaminated Land (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

The Plant Health (England) (Amendment) Order 2012(1)

The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

The Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) Regulations 2012

DEFRA does not capture estimated costs to the public purse of new regulations but does capture estimated costs to business. These are set out in individual impact assessments which can be found on the Better Regulation Executive’s Impact Assessment Library:

http://www.ialibrary.bis.gov.uk/links/

Details of forthcoming Government regulations on business are published every six months in Statements of New Regulation. The most recent statement was published on 17 December and details new regulations expected over the period 1 January to 30 June 2013, including those to be introduced as a result of EU legislation. This Fifth Statement can be found on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bis-fifth-statement-of-new-regulation-regulations-covering-january-to-june-2013

(1) There are no associated impact assessments for this legislation because the legislation was not expected to have an impact on business or civil society.

And there’s plenty more where this lot came from…

Louise Mensch criticised by Corby Tories as a Central Office clone

Conservative Party membership is nose-diving and with very good reason – the party’s grassroots members have been neutered by the Conservative Central Office machine.

Cameron may think he mashed the Turnip Taliban with a patronising campaign of ridicule, but grassroots grumbling has not gone away and has now returned in the form of the Midlands Militia that makes up the Corby Conservative Association.  Following the recent abdication from the Corby throne of wannabe Cameron Queen, Louise Mensch, and subsequent by-election humiliation in November that saw Labour regain the seat with a substantial majority, the local activists that remain are finding their voice again.  Speaking to the Northamptonshire Telegraph, Cllr David Sims, leader of the Conservative group on the borough council, said:

It could be very frustrating for us at times when Louise Mensch was in office.

The local Conservatives are not clones from Central Office or career politicians sent in by the party, but hard-working Corby people who care deeply about the town and who are involved in local politics to further Corby’s interests and to help bring this great place the bright future it deserves. Of course we wanted to win the recent by-election, but we are now in a position where the new Team Corby Conservatives will have the freedom to do things the Corby way.

Trapped in a party political model the Corby Tories will find their apparent freedom after the Mensch’s emigration affords them only limited room for manoeuvre.  They are constrained by undemocratic party rules and direction by an autocratic leader who can only be removed if a sufficient number of Conservative MPs trigger a leadership contest.

While some are defecting to UKIP far more are simply walking away from party politics altogether, despite being passionate about a number of burning issues, such as UK membership of the EU.  This is fertile ground for non-party grassroots movements to plough.  As more former party members realise there are campaigns in which they can contribute a great deal, party political tribalism will contract until it contains only the career politicians, policy wonks and ‘special advisors’ and the next self selecting generation coming out of college to climb the greasy pole into those roles.

Party politics is moving into old age and the countdown to its inevitable demise continues.  The future will be rather different and more democratic.

Desperate Deutsche delusion

Reading the German publication Spiegel is often instructive.  Today’s offering is no less illuminating for what it reveals about the perception on the continent of the EU debate here in the UK.

Spiegel makes us aware of the latest foreign political figure to deign to the UK what is best for us, German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle.  Never short of a comment for the media, Westerwelle sticks to the internationally rehearsed script:

With a view to the current debate over Great Britain’s role in the EU, I would say: Germany desires a Great Britain that will remain a constructive and active partner in the EU.

As has been the case so far, the European house will also have different levels of integration, but we would like a deeper and better EU of 27, with Great Britain.

But what really stands out about the Spiegel piece is what the paper doesn’t refer to.  While it says of David Cameron that the euroskeptic (sic) wing of his Conservative Party would prefer to bolt the European Union (clearly they haven’t looked at their voting record or repeated statements about staying in the EU) at no point does Spiegel inform readers that a majority of British voters polled on the subject of an in-out referendum say they would vote for the UK to leave.  Spiegel deliberately lays the uncertainty about the UK’s future down to a section of one political party, with the subtext that if they can be seen off all will be well and the project can continue.

To view the debate through the prism of party politics in the way Spiegel is doing is a deliberate effort to portray the issue as the grumbling of a few politicians being strongly countered by a small number of vocal business leaders.  It is contemptuous in the extreme of the wishes of British voters, treating them and their views as a complete irrelevance.

Spiegel is deluding itself and the German people if it thinks marginalising the views of the British people in this way will cancel them out.  As this arrogance continues so will British attitudes harden.  After all these years our continental cousins still do not understand the culture of the British people.

But the Spiegel piece is useful as a classic example of the EU modus operandii.  The EU is a creature of and for the political elite.  The people and their wishes do not matter.  The establishment thinks it knows best and it acts in its own interest.  The media on both sides of the channel knows its interest lays in cosying up to the establishment for precious ‘access’ and a share of ‘exclusives’ as a reward for the sycophancy.

What all this tells us is that grassroots pressure outside of party politics, and setting aside the untrustworthy / incompetent / unreliable parties and their empty pledges, is the way to force this issue.  The one weakness political parties have is the need to attract support.  Without support their mandate evaporates and their legitimacy is called into question.  It’s the only real leverage the electorate has.  If the parties lack support they are forced to change to try to attract it.  This is why the EU strives to reduce accountability to voters and have all parties offering the same outlook.  Cutting the parties out of the loop will ultimately neuter the EU approach.

Open letter to Philip Gordon, US Assistant Secretary for European Affairs

Dear Mr Gordon,

I read with interest the following comment you made on behalf of the Government of the United States of America, in your capacity as US Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, regarding the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union:

We have a growing relationship with the EU as an institution, which has an increasing voice in the world, and we want to see a strong British voice in that EU. That is in America’s interests. We welcome an outward-looking EU with Britain in it.

This comes as no surprise as it reflects the thinking of other senior members of the Obama administration, who have previously opined that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the EU.

The President of the United States is considered by many to be the leader of the free world, and the United States itself considered to be a beacon of democracy.  So it is profoundly disappointing to see the United States administration endorsing and encouraging something that is fundamentally undemocratic.  I would like to ask you the following questions.

  • Would it be acceptable to you and your fellow United States citizens that over 70% of the laws and regulations they were forced to comply with across all 50 states were created by a supranational government comprising layers of complex political and judicial structures, mostly unelected and unaccountable, and made up of delegates from not only the US, but Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru?
  • Would it be acceptable to you, your fellow United States citizens and members of the Senate and House of Representatives that they were routinely handed diktats from the various bodies that make up the supranational government and were bound by law to implement the directives or be fined or dragged into a supranational court operating an alien form of judicial code and process?  Further, that Congress was denied the ability to draft, and the President sign into law, other legislation of national interest whenever the supranational decided it was not appropriate?
  • Would it be acceptable to you, your fellow United States citizens and the Justices of the Supreme Court that decisions made by the bench, the highest court in your land, could be appealed to a supranational court overseas with the hearing presided over by foreign judges and if overruled the Supreme Court would have to accept that as a binding ruling?

If these scenarios do not sound very democratic or judicious to you and your fellow Americans it is because they are not.  Intentionally and by design.  But this is the reality of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union and its associated bodies and institutions.  UK membership of the EU has entailed a substantial loss of power from our democratically elected Parliament as it has been quietly and steadily transferred to unelected and unaccountable bodies abroad – all done without the people of the UK being asked to give their consent for it to happen.

While it may be in the geopolitical interest of the Government of the United States for the United Kingdom to remain a member of the European Union, opinion polls show this anti-democratic situation is opposed by a majority of British citizens.  Membership of the EU dilutes the voice of the United Kingdom.  Seats on various world bodies held by the UK have been given up so the EU can supposedly represent the competing and disparate interests of 27 countries in a wholly unsatisfactory fudge that frequently fails to serve British interests.

I am sure you will recognise the obvious contradiction in the position of the United States, on one hand calling for Syria’s regime to heed the wishes of the Syrian people, while on the other calling for the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to maintain membership of the EU, despite the wishes of the British people.  I am sure you will also recognise the obvious contradiction of the United States urging countries around the world to embrace democracy, while urging the United Kingdom to maintain its place in political and judicial structures that replace representative democracy with control by unelected and unaccountable aliens who are drawn from a pool of self-selecting career politicians and civil servants.

Would such a situation be an acceptable settlement in the United States?  I think we both know the answer to that is categorically ‘no’.

No one who believes in democracy – people power – would endorse and encourage a continuation of this anti-democratic situation for the United Kingdom.  That is what this issue is about.  So, Mr Gordon, please do not presume to meddle in our affairs and wish on us that which you would aggressively oppose for yourself.

Yours sincerely,

Autonomous Mind

Little Norway

The EU pays a visit to Oslo in an effort to hand down some legislation…

Courtesy of Gill

The Norway influence saga – what does it all mean?

Judging by the amount of people visiting this blog, EU Referendum, Witterings from Witney and The Boiling Frog; and those reading the articles and comments left on the Open Europe blog and at the Telegraph, there is a lot of interest in alternatives to EU membership.

David Cameron’s repeated claim – echoed by Tories, Lib Dems, Open Europe and a raft of media commentators – that he doesn’t think it’s right to aim for a status like Norway or Switzerland because you have to obey all the rules of the single market but you don’t have a say over what they are, has been exposed as a lie.

Over the course of several days, a small band of bloggers working independently, along with a larger number of casual commenters, have presented a raft of evidence that utterly refutes the claim and proves Cameron completely wrong. So what does it all mean? Let’s summarise it.

The reality is Norway, as a member of EFTA and part of the EEA has a veto, and has influence in shaping decision relating to the single market that even the UK doesn’t. Whether it chooses to use the veto and how it decides to shape legislative decisions is of course a matter for itself. But the influence demonstrably exists in no small measure.

The evidence is inescapable that Cameron has deliberately attempted to deceive the public, aided by the disgraceful media, as part of an establishment effort to hide workable alternatives to EU membership and pretend that outside the EU we would just have to accept whatever Brussels churns out.

For all their talk of renegotiation and repatriation of powers, the establishment wants to stay firmly inside the EU and therefore leave Brussels in overall control of the UK. They are committed to political union.

That is the issue here. The politicians are being dishonest and they have been caught out, but the media is turning a blind eye, treating the British people with cyncial contempt. The UK can not only survive outside the EU, it can thrive. The politicians, with their vested interests and with their media puppets in tow, just don’t want people to know.

Norway to EU: “Ingen”

David Cameron and his little EUrohelpers at Open Europe were probably, like us, too busy looking forward to Christmas to have spotted this important piece of information published by EFTA regarding EU plans for harmonisation of environmental policy relating to oil and gas energy:

The European Commission has recently proposed legislation aiming at harmonising the environmental procedures and risk management related to offshore oil and gas activities. A proposal for a regulation on the safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities was presented by the Commission on 27 October 2011. Under the rules of the proposed new legislation, offshore oil and gas firms would have to submit major hazard reports and emergency response plans before getting a licence to drill in European Union territory. It is currently being discussed in the EU institutions whether the proposal for a regulation should be changed into a directive.

The Norwegian government has taken the view that the proposed regulation by the European Commission falls outside the geographic and substantive scope of the EEA agreement.

Oh dear, David Cameron and Open Europe caught out lying again. You would think the media would be all over this, unless of course they have vested interests or are getting pressure from their owner barons to exercise bias by omission and ignore this important story…

OK, ‘En svale gjør ingen sommer,’ as they say in Norway. But we are not talking about one swallow, this is yet another example – and there are many more – of Norway having a big say in what legislation is adopted. Conversely, when the EU declares this is the way things will be, the UK will have to accept it lock, stock and anti-democratic barrel.

So can we expect to see Cameron and Open Europe correct their false assertions? Or will their rampant Europhilia and fetish for pleasing their masters in Brussels see them continue peddling blatant lies about Norway and Switzerland supposedly having no say in EU matters yet having to accept everything handed down from the EU bureaucrats?

Open Europe displays its europhile Closed Mind

Returning home this evening I intended to draw attention to a piece in the Barclay Brother Beano.  However Richard has done it justice already, so rather than spend time recreating the story with slightly less panache, here is how Richard sets the scene on EU Referendum…

Unable to fight his corner even on his own blog, after the assertions he made on Norway were challenged, Mats Persson of Open Europe has scuttled off to his Telegraph clog, repeating his propaganda in the hope of reaching a more gullible audience.

However, while desperate to support the Cameron line that Norway, within the EFTA/EEA matrix has “no say” over the framing of EU rules, Persson has been forced to concede that Norway does indeed have some input on the framing of laws. All he will grudgingly allow, though, is that “Oslo has exceptionally limited ability to influence them”.

There’s more where that came from, once again exposing Persson’s shallow and ill-informed assertions for the misleading rubbish they are.

The comments section under the post in the Beano are a joy to behold as they almost universally rip little Mats’ argument to shreds.  Christmas may have come and gone but one Persson is still working as Cameron’s EuroElf.  However the goodies coming out of the sack are shoddy imitations and already broken before they have been opened.

Autonomous Mind blog is 3 yrs old today!

Autonomous Mind first hit the ‘publish’ button at 12:46pm on 7 January 2010.

This post at exactly the same time marks the 3rd anniversary of the AM blog.  When I started out I never thought I would generate much traffic, but even with my blogging hiatus and reduced output over the last year this little blog is only just short of a fairly respectable 1,000,000 visits.

3

It is with huge gratitude that I thank every reader and commentator who has visited this site over the last three years and shared their views, thoughts and suggestions.  And a special thank you goes to those great people who have generously linked to posts here, supported my efforts, provided advice and collaborated with me to create content, uncover information and assist me do a little something to hold officialdom to account.

Looking back to the first ever post on this blog – ‘Why bother, BBC Trust?‘ – is quite instructive.  It concerned the BBC, climate change and bias by omission as the BBC announced it was going to carry out a review to assess the accuracy and impartiality of the BBC’s coverage of science.  In that post we referenced a BBC Trust report called “From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel: Safeguarding Impartiality in the 21st Century” which famously declared:

The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus.

It took a long time from that report being published, but it was only recently that BBC claim was utterly destroyed when Maurizio Morabito discovered documentary proof that none of the attendees was a climate scientist and all but three were not scientists of any description, let alone the ‘best scientific experts’.  That development underlined the importance of blogs digging for information and publishing the truth when the media ignores it – and not taking at face value the claims of the various organs of the establishment. It’s part of the reason I continue to blog, even though I have much less time available for doing so these days.

Thanks again everyone.  I hope you will continue to read, link and comment!

Roger Helmer writes open letter to Damian Reece

Regular readers will know this blog has had some strong disagreements with Roger Helmer in months gone by.  Credit where it’s due, Helmer finally abandoned his indefensible membership of the europhile Conservatives and defected to UKIP – a party that reflects his eurosceptic viewpoint.

As this blog did on Saturday, Helmer has taken issue with the weekend editorial piece by the Telegraph’s Head of Business, Damian Reece, and has responded with an open letter on the Better Off Out site, a campaign group whose objectives this blog wholeheartedly supports.

While the sentiment of Helmer’s response is spot on, parts of the response leave eurosceptics open to accusations of woolly thinking, such as in this following paragraph (emphasis is mine):

Those of us who believe that we should be “Better Off Out” would argue for full independence, plus a free trade agreement. Such an agreement can certainly be achieved, because it is overwhelmingly in the interests of both parties, and of Brussels more than the UK (since we are a net importer from the EU). It is also required in the Treaties for the EU to negotiate such an agreement with a departing member-state. Even in the unthinkable case that we left the EU with no such agreement, the duties we should pay on our exports to the EU would be a mere fraction of our current net EU budget contributions.

This is ludicrously simplistic and fails to recognise major issues Helmer should be well aware of. For example, if we left the EU without agreements covering a wide range of matters the UK could find itself in breach of international conventions such as the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which Richard recently outlined on his blog to illustrate the attention to detail needed when exiting the EU.

Unilateral withdrawal from the EU without an agreement is indeed unthinkable – which is why it is unbelievable that Helmer has needlessly opened up a line of attack against eurosceptics with his detour on to discussion of duties and budget contributions. There are literally thousands of different conventions, agreements, protocols and other arrangements like CCAMLR which could be affected by our withdrawal from the EU and damage the UK economy by making it more difficult for this country to export. Comparing export duties with budget contributions is utterly irrelevant, particularly if this country finds itself unable to export to the EU because of the absence of an agreement.

Sadly this is another frustrating heads-in-hands moment caused by a lack of determined focus and a need to ramble.  The withdrawalist argument and pledge to the nation needs be clear and unambiguous and leave the europhiles with no opportunity to scaremonger that withdrawal will damage the UK’s interests.  The manner of withhdrawal needs to be certain and sure-footed, the arguments for it completely positive, and commitment to securing agreement to safeguard the UK’s economic and commercial interests absolute.

There is more than a hint of the Farage UKIP party line in Helmer’s letter, which is only to be expected given Helmer is a party political animal.  But Helmer should know better.  This is another positive argument for a strong and leaderless, organic, grassroots movement that is free of the baggage of a political party and direction set by an autocratic leader.

More evidence that Cameron lied about Norway and Switzerland

The europhile narrative when it comes to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members of the European Economic Area (EEA) –  is that they are obliged to adopt all EU legislation related to the single market.  The stated exceptions are in matters of agriculture and fisheries.

Indeed, as we have seen recently seen David Cameron say of Norway and Switzerland’s position (blindly accepted and repeated by organisations that take their lead from Conservative Central Office):

[…] basically you have to obey all the rules of the single market but you don’t have a say over what they are.

So, poking around various websites, it was very interesting to come across this information published in mid-December on europolitics.info concerning the assessesment of relations between the EU and the EFTA states by the European Council:

The EEA agreement “has proven to be effective and in the interest of all,” state the draft conclusions by the 27, which nevertheless regret that Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland have not yet incorporated into their national laws a “large number” of legal acts adopted in the EU. The homogeneity of the internal market and its “credibility” depend on their doing so, notes the text.

You can read the full report that spawned the article here.  The full text of the article is at the bottom of this post.

It seems the ‘obligation’ to adopt all EU legislation relating to the single market is nothing of the sort and the EFTA countries continue to enjoy autonomy, much to the chagrin of the EU.  It is worth noting that Switzerland comes in for a hammering in the assessment from the Council, for having the temerity to act in its own interests and not adopt evolving EU law and the various mechanisms (surveillance, judicial control and dispute settlement) that the EU says guarantee “homogeneous interpretation and application” of the internal market rules in the EU.

That being the case and the fact the UK was party to the drafting of the Council assessment, it demonstrates ever more clearly the deceitful nature of Cameron’s false assertions.  Perhaps Cameron’s quote would be accurate if he had said; ‘basically the EU wants EFTA countries to obey all the rules of the single market they have had a hand in shaping, but they can and do sometimes refuse to adopt them leaving the 27 reduced to threatening, cajoling and bullying in the hope they finally cave in’.

Full Text of article

Good marks for EEA, bad marks for Berne
By Tanguy Verhoosel | Tuesday 18 December 2012

Liechtenstein: good. Norway and Iceland: average. Switzerland: unsatisfactory.

These are the very contrasting marks the 27 will be giving to the four European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) countries, on 20 December (1). Every two years, the Council assesses relations between the EU and the EFTA states. The three – Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland – that are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) earn the highest marks.

The EEA agreement “has proven to be effective and in the interest of all,” state the draft conclusions by the 27, which nevertheless regret that Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland have not yet incorporated into their national laws a “large number” of legal acts adopted in the EU. The homogeneity of the internal market and its “credibility” depend on their doing so, notes the text.

Individually, the Union praises Liechtenstein, whose “political determination” and “significant administrative efforts” are seen as exemplary. The principality can be considered a “reference” for other countries of small territorial size – Andorra, San Marino and Monaco – with which the Union wishes to intensify its relations.

CRITICISMS OF ICELAND
The 27 particularly applaud the steps taken by Vaduz to step up the fight against tax fraud and evasion. The spirit of “solidarity” shown by the people of Liechtenstein through their financial support for new EU member states to 2014 is also appreciated.

The compliment is also valid for Norway and Iceland, which nonetheless receive lower marks than Liechtenstein.
Norway and the EU have developed successful cooperation in recent years in a number of sectors – Norway’s contribution of more than €7 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the context of the economic crisis, police and judicial cooperation, foreign and security policy, fisheries and energy – note the EU conclusions.

On trade, however, the Council “regrets” that Norway has decided to make use of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement proceedings against EU measures on trade in seal products and that it has raised customs duties on certain agricultural products.

Certain criticisms are also addressed to Iceland, held at least partially responsible for the failed negotiations with the EU on joint management of mackerel stocks.

The Council applauds Reykjavik’s measures to stabilise its economy following the bank sector crash in 2008. However, it notes “remaining weaknesses” in the financial services sector and adds that certain economic issues, including capital controls, still need to be addressed.

SWITZERLAND: STALEMATE
The biggest problem for the EU is Switzerland (see Europolitics 4534 and 4548).
The 27 reiterate their determination to develop their relations with Switzerland. However, the negotiations launched by the two partners on further Swiss participation in the internal market “have been marked by a stalemate” for years and are not likely to advance until the institutional issues highlighted by the Union since 2008 have been “solved”. These concern adaptation of agreements with Switzerland to evolving EU law and the introduction of various mechanisms (surveillance, judicial control and dispute settlement) to guarantee “homogeneous interpretation and application” of the internal market rules in the EU.

Switzerland presented proposals in this respect in June, but Berne needs to take “further steps” to achieve this objective, from which the EU will not turn away. Switzerland is not engaging solely in a bilateral relationship with the Union; it has become a “participant in a multilateral project”.

For the 27, this justifies the creation of a “legally binding mechanism” on incorporation of the acquisand “international mechanisms” for surveillance and judicial control, similar to what exists in the EEA.

“Exploratory discussions” in this context will continue – Swiss State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yves Rossier is expected in Brussels on 29 January 2013 – before the possible opening of formal negotiations.

The 27 also denounce certain Swiss measures “that are not compatible with the provisions and the spirit” of the agreement on the free movement of persons. They urge Switzerland, among other things, to reconsider its decision to limit access to its labour market for nationals of Central and Eastern European EU member states.

On business taxation, the Union remains “deeply concerned” about certain canton-level tax regimes (favourable to holding companies, domiciliary companies and joint enterprises) that create “an unacceptable distortion of competition” in Europe. The Council calls for their “abolition”.

Although “progress” has been made in the ongoing “dialogue” between the Commission and Berne, the conclusions state that Switzerland remains reluctant to take all the EU’s concerns, which also relate to certain federal tax regimes, into account.

Foreign policy represents another point of friction.

The 27 welcome Switzerland’s participation in several EU missions, but regret that it has not “fully aligned itself” with EU sanctions against Iran. Reading between the lines, the Council suggest that its refusal to impose an embargo on Iranian oil products dictated first and foremost by its determination to protect the many trading companies based in Geneva.

The 27 also highlight the need for an additional Swiss financial contribution to the reduction of economic and social disparities in the Union. This is only fair since Switzerland has been granted access to this “enlarged internal market”.
To date, Berne has contributed around €1 billion to the ten Cental and Eastern countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. The Council “reaffirms” its expectation that “this expression of solidarity, which underpins the relations between the EU and Switzerland, will be extended” to Croatia, as a start. The Commission has been given negotiating directives in this framework.

The Union remains “deeply concerned” about certain canton-level tax regimes in Switzerland

(1) The draft conclusions are available at http://www.europolitics.info > Search = 327164

What is the Daily Mail complaining about?

This is one of the lead stories in the online version of the Wail today…

The Wail can’t have any complaints.  It doesn’t often publicise its love of the European Union as it tries to hold up its circulation by printing much of what its readers want to hear.  But when the Wail declares itself and pursues the non-existent ‘renegotiation’ line, it’s unequivocal…

EuroMail

You’re either an ‘inner’ or you’re an ‘outer’.  If you want to be in, like the Daily Mail, you can’t complain when the consequences of faux democracy and scandalous waste of public money bite.  That’s the way the unelected and unaccountable EU works.

Proof that Norway has influence in the regulatory process from outside the EU

By now readers will be familiar with the scare tactics being employed by various political and institutional figures.  The current line of attack is the false claim that unless the UK remains in the EU it will have no influence over trade and commerce issues in the single market and would be subject to ‘fax democracy’.  Some of the recent quotes include:

I don’t think it’s right to aim for a status like Norway or Switzerland where basically you have to obey all the rules of the single market but you don’t have a say over what they are.
–  David Cameron, Prime Minister

———-

The EU Federalists have already written the script for the UK’s new relationship as an “associate member”.  We will be subject to all the regulations and costs of EU membership without any influence or voting rights.  That is roughly the deal Norway currently has.
–  Tim Ambler, Adam Smith Institute

———-

Either way the idea is for the UK to effectively be given access to the single market but with little say – like Norway but with some twists and without the EEA-wrapping.
–  Open Europe Blog, Tory front organisation

Setting aside the fact Norway and Switzerland’s situation has only been held up as an example of what the UK could achieve outside the EU and that no one has argued it is the only option, the fact is the assertions of Cameron, Ambler, et al are false.  Norway does have influence in the regulatory process.

More than that, at times it actually shapes regulatory frameworks that the EU later finds itself adopting.  Evidence of this has already been provided on EU Referendum.  But to further reinforce the point Richard has provided details of yet another example that explodes the lies and deceptions contained in the quotes above that the media is all too quick to publicise in an effort to scare eurosceptic voters away from supporting the idea of withdrawing from the EU.

The lies of Cameron and co are designed to one end, to keep the EU in control of the UK.  We are bound into a developing political union which is not required to achieve free trade or access the single market.  But the vested interests of the political class demand that the EU becomes the government of the member states against the wishes of voters, so the lies are told and repeated without challenge by the craven media which is desperate to keep ‘access’ to the politicians.  That’s how the game works.

Telegraph’s hack pack continues ramping up the pro-EU narrative

If anyone was in any doubt that the Barclay Brothers’ Telegraph is planting its flag firmly on europhile ‘in’ campaign ground, then their Head of Business, Damian Reece, has provided clear evidence of it in that comic, declaring in a piece titled ‘We may soon need Europe more than Europe needs us’ that:

For as long as I have been in work I’ve been writing about Europe’s single currency in one way or another, from the Exchange Rate Mechanism to a eurozone break-up.

We could try to negotiate our own bilateral trade agreements but given our market of 60m people we’re unlikely to win such attractive terms as a market such as the EU’s 500m.

All that time I’ve maintained a stubborn opposition to Britain’s membership. But now an equally difficult choice is looming, which centres on what sort of Europeans do we want to be or, perhaps more realistically, what sort of Europeans can we be?

Having spent years currying favour with its readers with various criticisms of the EU, now that push is coming to shove the Telegraph’s hack pack is declaring itself for the UK to stay firmly inside the EU pumping out evidence-free strawman articles and commentary, while downplaying or completely ignoring every negative aspect of membership.  For example, in light of a raft of opinion polls how could Reece have possibly concluded that:

There is a consensus here that the UK must retain its membership of the single market but that we should remain outside the single currency.

Where there is evidence that Reece’s assertions simply don’t stand up to scrutiny, he simply dismisses it, as he does in this little section:

But as the brakes come off world trade, the biggest beneficiaries will be members of the biggest trading blocs. Those outside these groups risk missing out on the biggest benefits of multilateralism and trying to join after the event risks less favourable terms. We could try to negotiate our own bilateral agreements but given our market of 60m people we’re unlikely to win such attractive terms as a market such as the EU’s 500m. It’s true the likes of Switzerland do it but I don’t believe we should be aspiring to be Switzerland — no offence to the Swiss.

So his argument is undermined by evidence that the Swiss, a much smaller entity than the UK, successfully negotiate bi-lateral agreements. So to deal with that inconvenient fact he puts up another strawman that we shouldn’t be aspiring to be like the Swiss.  Eh?  That’s the only way he can make his argument stand up?  Such deep thinking.

The even more inconvenient fact Reece dodges is that Switzerland – with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – make up the EFTA group of countries. and they do have real influence along with all-important independence.  The EFTA countries are highly competitive, open economies representing a sizeable market with strong per capita purchasing power.  There is always an option for Britain to join that bloc, if only as a temporary step, and that bloc could easily cooperate to secure attractive world trade terms.  Indeed, EFTA could easily transform itself into something different and even more beneficial.  But of course when europhilia is coursing through one’s veins, one is blinded to any alternative to remaining in the EU’s unnecessary and anti-democratic political union.

It seems the only europhile argument is that we should sacrifice this country’s ability to govern itself in return for the illusion of ‘influence’ and access to a market that is in any case open to other countries outside the EU.  And Reece is buying in to it along with the mythical renegotiation meme pushed by the Tories and their little helpers that still leaves the EU in control of the UK.

As faith in the political class is at an all time low and still falling, thankfully so is faith in the fourth estate as the disdain and mistrust extends out to encompass the whole establishment – a point Lord Justice Leveson would do well to grasp.  That much is clear from reading the almost 900 comments the overwhelmingly majority of which ridicule, challenge and deconstruct Reece’s supposed new-found europhilia.

But the important fact to take from all this is the establishment is setting itself against the wishes of the people, therefore serving interests other than ours.

It will necessitate an organic, grassroots campaign of a type not adopted here before, reaching out directly to the electorate to explain why leaving the EU will be beneficial for this country.  It’s the only way a positive message can be presented that by-passes the lies and distortions of the political class and their poodles in the mainstream media.  Battle needs to be joined for the future of the United Kingdom.

The supposed listening Prime Minister

David Cameron and his Cameroon Tories are very fond of telling voters that the Conservatives are ‘listening’ to them.

One wonders if Cameron will be listening to one of his Witney constituents who has published a robust and uncompromising open letter to Cameron, accusing him of lying to the general public when he stated of the UK’s future:

I don’t think it’s right to aim for a status like Norway or Switzerland where basically you have to obey all the rules of the single market but you don’t have a say over what they are.

Witterings from Witney’s accusation is well founded even if the language is somewhat unparliamentary. But who couldn’t excuse his frustration?

The only way to challenge false assertions is through attention to detail and citing evidence that proves the assertions are untrue. Witterings does this with finesse as he tells Cameron:

Where the rules of the single market are concerned you are fully aware that your statement belies the way most single market legislation is made. It is well known that most proposals, by the time they reach the Council for a vote, are already cast in stone and thus unable to be changed; consequently the voting issue is the last and least important part of the process. Not least, a huge amount of technical legislation is formulated at a global or regional level, in bodies such as UNECE (on which Norway is represented) and then handed down to the EU institutions as “diqules” which cannot, in substance, be changed. Thus Norway, for example, has a considerable say in the nature of regulation, long before it gets anywhere near the EU.

Witterings adds more solid evidence for good measure that you can see by visiting his blog. It would be a delight to sit down with some popcorn and watch Cameron twist and turn, bandy weasel words and obfuscate furiously in an effort to qualify his assertion in a forlorn effort to make it fit with this powerful contradictory evidence. However it is more likely Cameron will not ‘listen’ as he claims and instead remain in the ‘transmit’ mode that seems to infect politicians who play their idiotic games inside the Westminster bubble.

As such this blog (and I hope, you, dear reader) will do its bit to spread the word about these false claims and point to the truth until even the media cannot ignore it any longer and are forced to put Cameron and his ilk on the spot about these falsehoods in front of a large audience.


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