Posts Tagged 'Democratic Deficit'

MPs vote on Commons motion about EU referendum

483 voted against representative democracy.  111 voted for it.

Business as usual in the elected dictatorship.  Our public servants masters have spoken.  Nothing to see here.  Move along now.

The Tory High Europlastics have spoken

The highest ranking Conservative Europlastic, the man touted by many Tories as the person who above all others would most clearly show his eurosceptic credentials once in office, William Hague, has evidenced the reality that lurks beneath the facade:

‘Of course we will look at any motion, but we won’t be in favour of holding now an in/out referendum on Europe.’

Never mind what the British people want.  All that matters to this venal cabal of self serving hypocrites and liars, is what they want. Eurowillie has long spoken a good game, but when the crunch comes he, like his boss David Cameron, are forced to reveal their real viewpoint.

It takes a special kind of arrogance to claim to know what around 45 million people who are eligible to vote in the UK, actually want.  But that is what the other Arch Europlastic, Cameron, is doing in an effort to maintain the EU as the supreme government of the UK:

‘What most people want in this country is not actually to leave the EU, but to reform the EU and make sure that the balance of powers between a country like Britain and Europe is better.’

The only way to be sure is to give the people their democratic say.

More people have signed a petition to demand a referendum on EU membership than voted to send David Cameron to Parliament.  But no matter what happens in the House of Commons when the matter is discussed, we can be sure that Cameron will cling like a limpet to the fact any subsequent call by backbench MPs for a referendum – if they dare to issue such a call after expelling copious amounts of hot air – is not binding on the government.

Therefore the only valuable thing to come from the whole exercise of petitions forcing debates, is that this supposed strengthening of democracy and people power will be exposed for the sham it is.  More people will become angry, more eyes will finally be opened, and the pressure gauge will continue its rise towards a level where it can no longer be contained.

It will take time, but a reckoning will come.  It is being designed by the politicians who will become the architects of their own downfall.

Bolton Council fails in attempt to withhold information from the public

Following on from the recent series of posts on EU Referendum about bailiffs being used by Councils to enforce tax demands and fines, we have a timely story that reveals a successful effort to shine a little more light into the dealings of Council Officers behind the scenes.

Regular readers may remember this important story on Autonomous Mind posted in June this year about Councils trying to hide information that the public should have access to.

Fresh from that victory in forcing Bolton Council to make public the outside business dealings of its senior town hall staff, campaigner John Greenwood has struck yet another blow against Bolton Council’s desire to help its staff avoid transparency and avoid being held to account by the people they are supposed to serve.

A FOI request to Bolton Council asking for copies of all emails or any other correspondence between any officers of Bolton Council which discuss parking Appeals, Regulations, Signs, TRO or Consolidation Order issues saw Mr Greenwood ask for the names of those appearing on correspondence relating to parking enforcement issues.  These particular officers are mostly concerned with parking matters and the application of parking policy together with the issuing of PCN’s (Penalty Charge Notices) in the town of Bolton.  The Council refused to give the names and the matter went to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

As John Greenwood explains on the We Are Watching You blog:

Some of the council officers involved made it clear to the Information Commissioner they do not want members of the public to know who they are and they have specifically requested the Commissioner not to reveal their names.

The Commissioner says he considers that those in a public-facing role should have a greater expectation that some details about them, for instance their name and the fact that they work for the authority, might be disclosed as part of carrying out their day to day duties.

The officers whose names have now been ordered by the Information Commissioner to be disclosed hold positions such as managerial or media officer positions within the council and therefore they must have an expectation that in dealing with members of the public their names would be disclosed in the course of their day to day duties.

The information Commissioner has decided that, by ordering the disclosure of the names of the council officers involved, it would provide to members of the public details of the actions they took part in as part of their role in the council and would create greater transparency or accountability.

The details of the ICO’s important findings can be seen on Greenwood’s blog.  This could be yet another gamechanger as Councils up and down the country can now expect to be held to the same standard and key Officers prevented from hiding behind an unjustified cloak of anonymity.

While it is disgraceful that public servants continue to think of themselves as the public’s rulers and act accordingly, their grip on the power that should reside with us is slowly being loosened.  The yawning democratic deficit is narrowed bit by bit through determined actions such as these.  More people need to stand up in this way and challenge those public servants who presume to be our masters.  We need to take the power back from them.

Incredibly there is another parallel between this case and the EU Referendum saga – the handling of the matters by the media.  For as the Sunday Telegraph was censoring key pieces of information from Christopher Booker’s column on Richard North’s story, Greenwood reveals the Bolton News has failed to report his story.  It is important because if the Council fails to comply with the steps required by the ICO it may result in a written certification of that fact going to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act, which could see the matter dealt with as a contempt of court.  Instead the Bolton News prefers to run with meaningless stories about Council Member navel gazing.

Is it any wonder more people are rejecting the establishment’s self serving channels and instead are turning to the blogosphere to find out what is really going on?

Revolution time

If you take a couple of minutes to read this op-ed in the Irish Independent by Eamon Keane, one can quickly identify a number of parallels with our own Westminster Parliament and self serving politicians.

Some of the sentiments that stand out include: ‘Power no longer rests with our impotent national parliament’… ‘Truth be told, it’s been finished for a long time, made redundant by the actions of our politicians’…  and ”Our Dail is also doomed because it is based on a political system where getting re-elected takes precedence over the national interest’.  Keane may be writing about Ireland, but it all has a very familiar ring to it.

But the greatest resonance can be found in the most thought provoking part of the piece:

We are in the worst crisis in our history and our parliament is impotent.

Is there any hope for democracy? Yes. While the Dail may be dead a new parliament is emerging. It is to be found in ordinary people, community and support groups who come together to discuss a way forward. A second wave is already there though social networks.


Corruption of democracy in Britain

The issue of Whitehall’s establishment of State parties is the battleground over which we must fight to regain democracy in Britain. If the Mandarins win this one, we’re irrevocably lost.

This is the conclusion in the latest excellent piece of must-read blogging by Raedwald.

And so the Tory deception continues…

Writing in the Telegraph, political editor Patrick Hennessy tells readers that up to 70 Conservative MPs are to join a new group dedicated to “reversing the process” of closer European Union integration in a move he says is likely to place fresh strain on the coalition.

Three Conservative MPs are setting up this new group, one of whom is Daventry MP, Chris Heaton-Harris. They were the authors of a letter circulated among Conservative MPs that explained:

“The political objective of the group would be to reverse the process of ever-closer union.”

Of course the bullshit-o-meter should already be blaring. Surely, someone who is opposed to ever-closer union would be shouting from the rooftops about something as far reaching as, say, the EU’s Draft Regulation establishing a programme to support the further development of an integrated maritime policy. There is evidence to the contrary.

This blog wrote about the draft regulation in July, to highlight how Parliament’s European Scrutiny Select Committee – chaired by ‘Eurosceptic’ Bill Cash – nodded through the regulation in 2010 without so much as a murmur.  It should come as no surprise to readers therefore that Heaton-Harris sits on that Select Committee. Despite his supposed opposition to further integration it seems Cameron the cat has got his tongue.

After the blog post AM submitted a Freedom of Information request to Parliament by email for the full minutes of the committee’s deliberations about the draft regulation, to see what Cash and Heaton-Harris had to say about it.  The response received last month showed that the only information in the public domain is what we had already linked to in the blog post.

We keep being told the UK is very a democratic country, boasting a Parliament that is committed to openness and transparency in such weighty matters; so it obviously follows that in response to such a request it tells the citizens it is supposed to serve:

Any other information which may or may not be held by the House of Commons on any discussion in the European Scrutiny Committee on this item is exempt information under section 34 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Under this section, information is exempt if it its exemption is required to avoid infringing the privileges of the House of Commons, which include the right to decide whether, when and how to publish information about proceedings in Parliament, such as meetings of select committees held in private.

You can see the full response below:

The long and short of this is that even when the so called Eurosceptic Tories have an opportunity to take a stand against further integration and ever closer union, they don’t. Their promises are meaningless, and they do not honour their duty to the people they are elected to serve.  For all the acres of newsprint devoted to diversion pieces like the one Hennessy has published, all we have to show for Tory Euroscepticism is an acceleration in the transfer of power to Brussels and a long list of broken promises.

Following the Europeans into dismantling democracy

It really has come to something when Europe’s supposedly enlightened approach to democratic protest is cited as justification by another country’s Attorney General to restrict the right of their people to demonstrate against their government.

Yet that is exactly what happened this week in Tanzania.  As Tanzanian paper ‘The Citizen’ reports:

The government is pondering whether or not to ban public demonstrations, the Attorney General, Justice Fredrick Werema, hinted in Parliament yesterday. Justice Werema said his office was contemplating the possibility of tabling in parliament a Bill seeking to restrict public rallies and demonstrations during working hours.

He said although it was universally a constitutional right for people to demonstrate, some countries, like Germany, have in place laws restricting demonstrations during working hours, and Tanzania government was considering whether to emulate the example.

If implemented, such a law would be seen as a way of stifling the rising culture of demonstrations in the country, as members of the public continue to press the government to take action over burning issues.

The EU is constantly voicing its desperation to make its mark in the world.  It is becoming clear that mark is as a collective of anti democratic member states ensnared by dictatorial governance, characterised by the slow burn erosion of civil liberties and personal freedoms.

People throughout the EU should feel a sense of utter shame that this is what ‘Europe’ has become and how it is viewed in the world.  It is a supreme embarrassment that tin pot little African countries see European countries as examplars of how to stifle legitimate protest and keep people in check.  People must be allowed to protest when they wish, not when it is convenient to the authorities.

We have no place inside such an insipid and repressive entity.  It is only the political class that keeps us shackled by the bonds of Brussels.  If the politicians actually represented us as they are supposed to, they would have already sought our opinion and allowed us to decide if we wish to remain members and acted on our wishes.  But the political class acts in its own interest, not ours.  They are the modern fifth column.

One wonders how much longer we will be permitted to make observations and criticisms such as these. No doubt the bureaucracy will do all it can to decree that such comments are too ‘radical’ or an unacceptable form of ‘xenophobia’.

A minor edit shows life is now imitating art in the EU

Good evening, London.

Allow me first to apologise for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine – the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power.  Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?

Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.

How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the supranational European Union. They promised you order, they promised you peace, and all they demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.

Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives.

So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.

What the Norway massacre is telling us

The car bombing in Oslo and depraved mass murder on Utoya carried out by Anders Behring Breivik represents the most shocking act of political violence seen for many years.  It was an act of terrorism and it was an outrage.  Particularly the murder of children which was especially heinous.

The media, in its own inimitable style, has dug up any number of angles to explain these joint incidents.  But the hacks have alighted on the ‘far right’ angle of an attack by a ‘Christian fundamentalist’ pursuing an agenda of ‘anti immigration bigotry’.

That the musings of Breivik – being taken down from Twitter, Facebook and websites as quickly as the authorities can – display his intolerance for Muslims, ‘cultural Marxists’ and the left wing Labour government in Norway amongst others is indisputable.  Breivik’s apparent claims of advising groups such as the English Defence League remain as yet unproven.  But what is notable is that the hatred and intolerance visited upon the people of Oslo was not directed against immigrants or people of the Islamic faith, as one would expect given the picture of Breivik that has been painted.

The murderous violence was directed against the government and its activist supporters.

Many commentators are describing this as the act of a madman.  That may or may not be the case.  But to commit the atrocity Breivik did certainly required him to be at the very least a person devoid of sympathy and any sense of compassion for his victims, and consumed by hatred, rage and frustration. Many of those same commentators argue that in a democracy, where people enjoy freedom of speech and the right to protest peacefully, there is no need to engage in violence.

But what about when those rights are perceived to be hollow?  What can one do when the established political parties with their secure positions and consensus views on major issues of concern actually deny a true democratic choice to the electorate?  What can one do when the apparent freedom of speech is shut down by shrill accusations of racism, xenophobia or narrow mindedness, which causes people to shy away from setting up a new political opposition, as we have seen across Europe for years?  What can one do when all forms of peaceful protest are ignored by the political class because there is no swift consequence for ignoring the people they are supposed to represent? Indeed, what can one do when the accepted media outlets choose to omit stories or ignore valid arguments in order to hold the line for the establishment?

What the mass murder in Norway is telling us is that some people have a breaking point beyond which, in the absence of any other form of recourse against the people who rule over them, they resort to extremism and violence.  This argument has been used to justify political (and religious inspired) violence in places as diverse as Gaza, Kashmir, Thailand, Libya and Syria, among others.

Calls for reform in those places swiftly follow – usually led by the political left in Europe which sees any such action as revolutionary and therefore justified – and are sometimes supported by the libertarians who see such uprisings as cries for self determination and freedom.  But when such revolutionary type violence breaks out in enlightened western Europe, where the left holds political sway, the acts are immediately labelled as right wing extremism or the actions of madmen, because the left cannot believe that anyone could disagree with their worldview – and if they do they must be inherently selfish and evil.  The contradiction is clear. The ignorance is startling.

Where security experts are stating this week that there is a rise of the ‘far right’ in Europe, perhaps they do not realise we might be looking at nothing more than the an increasingly extreme form of rejection of socialist political control and the creeping internationalism that sees the political class seeking to transform European nations while doing everything possible to avoid asking the electorates for their permission to do so.

The antidote to political violence in Europe is simple… the restoration of genuine democracy where the people, not the political class, have the power.  In many ways what happened in Norway is made all the more curious because Norway still enjoys self determination outside the EU.  But a more forensic examination of domestic politics there might throw up faultlines that could explain what Breivik felt could only be be tackled by killing the current leaders of the Norwegian Labour Party and its next generation of leaders. In other words resorting to the extreme.

There are many issues where the political class across Europe defy the wishes of the people who elect them.  Anger and frustration is growing as people realise nothing they can do within the law can sway the politicians from their chosen direction.  Protest marches, letter writing, distribution of campaign material… all can be and are routinely ignored by the politicians.  There is a sense of detachment from the people that gives the political class a false sense of security from consequences for their actions.

What happened in Norway may now shake the politicians out of their complacency.  Sadly it doesn’t appear to be in the way we would hope.

As William Hague’s comments to Andrew Marr today demonstrate the politicians remain wilfully blind to the causes of such extremism and instead they will only focus on looking at ‘the lessons to be learned’ from a security perspective – in other words they will continue as they have done and just seek to learn better techniques in self preservation.

As such they have learned nothing of value.  Without a change in approach by the politicians and a willingness to finally do what they are paid to do and listen to the people, at some point another angry person or persons will snap and go on the rampage.  These people will direct their ire against the political class, but only hurt others because of the ring of steel, bullet proof glass and bomb resistant vehicles that insulate the politicians from the people they are supposed to serve.

Breivik is not the first, and as we can see from the political class’ response, tragically he won’t be the last.  It is all so avoidable.

The last unauthorised protester, Brian Haw, dies

The death yesterday of Parliament Square protester, Brian Haw, signals the end of last unauthorised protest within one mile of Parliament.

While I did not agree with all that Brian Haw believed in and stood for, he was an excellent example of how ordinary members of the public can thumb their nose at the political class which seeks to marginalise and silence people when they choose to dissent and campaign about something they strongly believe in.

The people of this country should be entitled to protest against the decisions of the political class directly outside the Palace of Westminster as they see fit.  But since 2005 the parasites have sought to insultate themselves from protest and opposition by the people who pay their wages and make their legislative agenda possible via taxation.  This underlines the fact that Britain in 2011 is not a democracy and ordinary voters are an inferior class to those who form the establishment.

If enough people choose to do so, they have the power to reject this segregation and make a mockery of the insulation law passed by Parliament by carrying their protest right to the heart of this nation’s supposed seat of democracy without having to seek permission from the police. It is those who have seats in Parliament who should be answerable to us, not the other way around.

Brian Haw tried in his own way to make that point and whether you agree with his cause or not, he deserves recgonition for standing against the establishment in the way he did.

Who are they serving, exactly?

The Daily Mail is going to town over the decision by Crispin Blunt to approve a prison inmate’s application for artificial insemination because of his human rights. They sense blood in the water and are hunting for a scalp.

But irrespective of the rights, wrongs, accuracies or otherwise of the story and the reporting, one line in the Mail’s piece should stand out as yet another example of how the ruling elite serve their own interests rather than ours. Attempts by the media to find out who exactly made the decision to let the prisoner attempt to father a child while still in prison, resulted in this outcome:

The Ministry of Justice yesterday refused to say who took the decision.

These are public servants who are supposed to be accountable to the people of this country. We are entitled to know which Minister or faceless bureaucrat took the decision. The Ministry of Justice has no legitimate reason whatsoever to deny us this information. This is deniability and lack of accountability writ large and it is unacceptable.

It is a measure of the contempt in which we are held. The political class wants us to do two things, pay up and shut up. It is another example that underlines how Referism is an idea whose time has come.

How Cameron confirmed our democratic deficit

Those readers who have also been following Dr Richard North’s developing theme of Referism over at EU Referendum may remember his original post on the subject early in May.

In his piece, Richard made reference to a piece by David Cameron in the Barclay Brother Beano in April 2010 titled ‘My credo for my Country‘. Cameron’s piece is insightful as he underlines in his own words the fact that this country suffers a democratic deficit. Cameron actually validates the need for people to take back power from the insular, self regarding and self serving political elite. Consider these words from Cameron’s op-ed:

Thankfully, the gods were smiling on me that night in June 2001 and I was elected MP for Witney. Barely a week later, my party leader resigned and I found myself being canvassed by this paper on how to revive the fortunes of the Conservative Party following its second defeat at the hands of Tony Blair.

The party has to change its language, change its approach, start with a blank sheet of paper and try to work out why our base is not broader,” I told the reporter, with what was, looking back, alarming confidence for someone just starting out in Parliament. “We need a clear, positive, engaging agenda on public services.”

Did you notice what was missing? In describing what he felt the Conservative Party needed to do to revive its fortunes (i.e. win a General Election) nowhere did Cameron say anything about asking the people what they want.

This is not an example of representative democratic politics. Cameron knew then as he knows now that once safely in office there is no need to pretend to consult the people and seek to follow their wishes, hence his autocratic and arrogant pronouncements on issues such as the EU. As Prime Minister he presides over a Cabinet Government (junior to our EU government) that can basically do what it likes (within EU law and bureaucratic control) domestically until the next election. There is no need to refer to the electorate. That is why Referism matters.

Cameron went on to add:

Believe me, I’ve had some run-ins, but I never wanted to annoy party stalwarts or pick unnecessary fights. I just knew that unless we got in touch with the modern world, we would not get the chance to bring our beliefs and values to bear on the challenges of the hour.

Therein lies the problem. It’s all about internal party spats, control and personal agendas. In a referist system there would be no need to talk of getting ‘in touch with the modern world’ because politicians would have to listen actively and continuously to the wishes of the people before embarking on activities that require the spending of our tax pounds.

The political class would know our views, our concerns and our priorities and it would have to react to them and present plans to address them. Cameron rounded off his pre-election pitch thus:

So, I have the team, I have the ideas, I have the values and I have the energy to show you, to show Britain that a better future for our country is not only possible but is just weeks away.

Sadly what he did not and still does not have is a pair of ears, or a desire to listen to our wishes and take heed of them. Power must be wrested away from the political class and they returned to their proper role – that of servants, not supposed masters.  Until we have the power and politicians are required to refer to us to seek our approval for their legislative and governance agenda this country will not be democratic.

Meanwhile away from the Osamafest

As the international media became moist with excitement about the Osama Bin Laden story yesterday, the world continued to turn and events closer to home possessing a far greater impact on millions of people continued to develop.

For while Osama Bin Laden went down fighting, AK-47 blazing away in his hand as he hid behind his wife, Ireland’s Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, was busy confirming that country’s timid capitulation to the EU and running up a fresh, crisp white flag as she announced a special Europe Day would be held in the Dail.

Incredibly this is despite the Irish economy being slowly torn to shreds from the inside by the EU and IMF’s repayment terms and austerity conditions for the Irish bailout.  Writing in the Daily Mail’s Irish edition (reproduced in the UK) Mary Ellen Synon observed how the Europhiles in Dublin’s new government plan to hold a day that:

will begin a journey towards greater co-operation between the Government, the Oireachtas and the European institutions and will mark Ireland’s arrival back in the centre of European political and cultural life.

I wasn’t aware Ireland had ever departed given its slavish adherence to all things EU.  Synon goes on to add:

How bizarre is that? As the EU institutions dismember the independence of this State, Fine Gael’s Junior Cheerleader for Europe is planning an appreciation day for the occupying forces. I’m not sure to whom she thinks she is sucking up, but from what I can see in Brussels, nobody has noticed yet that Miss Creighton is making ‘a statement of intent’ to ‘re-launch Ireland’s involvement and active participation in Europe.’

Nail, hit, head.  Synon’s piece is a must read.  While the Irish people voted for change in their recent general election they got what we get here in Britain, more of the same.  The faces and voices are different, but the hymn sheet is unchanged and the obeisance to Brussels remains.

The political class may be made up of various political parties but their direction of travel is uniform.  If you are part of a political group that seeks to restore independence then you’ve no chance.  The wagons are duly circled and all the Europhiles direct their most bitter attacks and smears at you.

In Ireland as in Britain, the political class is made up of interchangeable clones who put their career interests and the wishes of Brussels before the interests and wishes of the people who elect them to be representatives.

Perhaps now those many Irish people who voted for Fine Gael because of the empty promise to renegotiate the vast loans that the European Central Bank has forced Ireland to accept, will come to understand that no matter who they vote for while they remain part of the EU, they are stuck with their true rulers in Brussels.  Only be extracting themselves from the EU will the Irish people enjoy self determination and genuine democracy.  That is something far bigger and far more important for people than the execution of an Islamist homocidal maniac in Pakistan.

Arc Manche, electioneering and Tory lies

Anyone who has been even remotely interested in how the EU’s institutions are eviscerating this country will be familiar with the Arc Manche.  This is the artificial EU administrative area made up of a number of southern English counties (including Conservative ones as it happens) and French regions that border the English Channel.

The Arc Manche transnational regional network has existed since 1996 – note that date well as it was the last year of the last Conservative government under John Major.  Then in 2003 the Arc Manche became a defined political project ‘resting on an informal and voluntary network of local authorities who can use the network to share best practices, coordinate initiatives and pull together project ideas to draw in EU funding‘.

Two years later, in October 2005, the Arc Manche Assembly was created to improve the visibility of the network.  A French Socialist politician, Alain Le Vern, was elected the inaugural President of the Arc Manche Assembly, though as usual with such EU initiatives none of us actually voted for its creation or for this French placeman.

Why am I providing this potted history?  Because of this piece in yesterday’s Daily Mail, by super scoop Glen Owen, where we are told:

Eric Pickles last night accused the European Union of trying to ‘wipe England off the map’ by developing a new cross-Channel region, complete with its own ‘flag’.

New? Oh piss off.  Our media never fails to plumb new depths of utter incompetence.  It continues:

The Cabinet Minister condemned the EU for ploughing millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into the ‘Arc Manche’, the name given by Brussels to an ambitious attempt to merge Northern France and Southern England.

Mr Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, says he is incensed to have discovered that Eurocrats are planning to roll out a new Arc Manche ‘transnational emblem’ across England.

So what is happening here?  Is it possible that a man who has been an MP since 1992 and is now a Cabinet Minister could have failed to notice what was happening just south of his Essex constituency, something of major national importance?  Or is Eric Pickles only incensed because this largely anonymous but lavishly funded (with our tax pounds) entity is about to become much more visible to people thanks to its new emblem?

Perhaps the answer here is provided by Glen Owen.  Having breathlessly delivered his scoop that Arc Manche is ‘new’ he seems to have engaged in some afterthought research to round off his non-story with background information that demonstrates it is anything but.  It just isn’t feasible that Pickles knew nothing of Arc Manche or that his ire has been summoned up because of a frankly dismal and meaningless logo.  So that leaves just one thing – naked electioneering ahead of Thursday’s local elections.

In this what we see is that Pickles is like the rest of his egregious ilk in the political class.  Having merrily plodded along within the EU’s status quo, he now seeks to suggest the Conservative party has been led up the Arc Manche path by Labour and will ‘fight these plans’ to ‘wipe England off the map’.  Sorry Pickles old ‘chum’, some of us can see past your bullshit, for the records show it was the Conservatives who helped give birth to Arc Manche and similar regional carve ups and since coming into office again they have done the sum total of diddly squat to reverse the position.

As for stopping England being wiped off the map, perhaps Pickles has memory deficiency. After all, wasn’t it Pickles’ Cabinet colleague Ken Clarke who managed to kill off even the pathetically inadequate Tory concept of an English Grand Committee?  The reason for Clarke’s position, that we should allow Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs to continue dictating laws that will never apply to their own constituencies, is that because giving the English any form of national democratic structure would undermine the very concept of EU regionalisation that brought Arc Manche into being in the first place.

What this shows us is that if you believe anything the Conservatives say about EU governance, structures, financing through taxation, repatriation of powers etc, you are a gullible fool.  The Conservatives are a pro-EU party and they will not ever honour any promise made to we voters to loosen Brussels’ control.

An absence of perspective

The Press Association reports that Foreign Secretary William Hague has ruled out fresh concessions to the Liberal Democrats if they fail to secure victory in next month’s referendum on voting reform for Westminster elections.  So what?

Wee Willie, our principle-free Prime Minister, and his doppelganger Calamity Clegg are as usual trying to focus attention on triviality rather than substance by ramping up the hype about the Alternative Vote referendum.  Meanwhile the inconvenient fact that this referendum is utterly meaningless seems lost on the myopic media which with a total absence of perspective is slavishly assisting in the distraction from the real issues by devoting thousands of column inches to the subject.

What is the point of us saying how MPs should be elected when we are denied a say in who actually governs us?

The Census

While I respect those individuals who are determined not to complete the Census, I have no faith that the law would uphold their just objections to this excessive intrusion by the State.  As such I have bowed to the demands of the parasite class and completed my form online.

To those who refuse to complete the very questionnaire – opposed by the Conservatives in opposition, but distributed when they were in government – I wish you every success in avoiding prosecution and criminal records.  I don’t believe anyone should suffer such a sanction for refusing to answer so many searching questions that are utterly irrelevant to central government.

The only satisfaction the Census gave me amid the seething resentment I felt while completing it was being able to tell the government to ‘Mind your own’ on the religion question and identifying myself as English, even though the parasites do not recognise English as a nationality.  No doubt for this triviality I will be recorded on a database somewhere as a non conforming trouble maker or extremist. That would fit in with this story from last year about the EU instruction to build lists of people involved in:

“extreme right/left, Islamist, nationalist, anti-globalisation” groups

This should give us cause to fear the burgeoning surveillance state because we know such lists will include people who simply disagree with that which our supposed servants have forced upon us. As always it is their interests that take primacy, our interests are an irrelevance.  But hopefully, come the day people in this country finally decide to throw off the EU and remove their self serving poodles in Westminster and the civil service, these lists will not matter.

It is not a crime or offence to believe in and desire a strong, independent nation state that serves the interests of its people.  It is not a crime or offence to believe in and desire genuine representative democracy and accountability.  It is not a crime or offence to be committed to bringing about such an outcome.

If such beliefs and desires mark a person out as a radical or extremist then it shows up the political class for what it is – our enemy.

The Irish vs Their Brussels Rulers

The media loves a good yarn.  The media’s attention deficit has seen them flit between coverage of nuclear armageddon in Japan and mortal combat in Libya without getting to the heart of the matter in either case.

Take away their diagrams of nuclear reactor cooling ponds and images of fast jets and various armament options and there is precious little of value in the reporting.  Usually so fond of providing ‘analysis’ there is a notable absence of thought about the long term effects of the destruction in Japan and what this might mean for the country and its government, or consideration about the potential for a change in the regional power dynamic in north Africa should Gadaffi be brought down by the Libyan rebels.

While the media in Ireland rightly turns its attention to local issues, it also exhibits an idential failure to get to the heart of the matter.  We see today the Irish Independent the headline: ‘Our fight to survive: EU in Noonan’s line of fire‘. As an example of hype this is right up there with the most laughable. A more honest description would be Noonan like a rabbit in the EU’s headlights.  The piece opens:

The ‘mother and father’ of political and diplomatic battles is looming for Ireland as Finance Minister Michael Noonan goes into tomorrow’s eurozone ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

He will seek to form a grand alliance of smaller European countries in our colossal battle with France and Germany to stop the “torturing” of Ireland and save its low corporation tax rate.

The channelling of Saddam and embellishment of his words notwithstanding, this piece may as well have been written by the former Iraqi Information Minister, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf. It isn’t going to be much of a battle when Noonan has no weapons at his disposal, as the third paragraph makes clear:

And although taxation rates will not be on the agenda, Mr Noonan intends to use the occasion to build up a relationship with politicians from other countries in the 17 member eurozone.

And that is the problem.  The Irish people voted for Fine Gael because they are desperate for a renegotiation of the EU/IMF bailout.  Why? because the demands it makes for spending cuts and tax increases are causing the Irish a significant amount of pain.  It is ridiculous of the Irish Independent to describe the EU as being in Noonan’s line of fire when the EU is calling the shots.  As this humble blog explained back in February, Fine Gael’s win changes nothing:

Bar some tinkering around the edges nothing will change.  Ireland’s voters will still be paying higher taxes and experiencing huge cuts in spending on public services.  They voted for change but will not see any, because when all is said and done the government of Ireland is cannot be found in the Dail, it resides in Brussels.  No one was able to vote for or against it.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, but generally the menu of an establishment you are familiar with gives an idea of what is going to be put on the table.  And it was just four days ago that the menu was published.  With classic EU doublespeak the headline gave the illusion of flexibility – EU/IMF delegation gives Ireland green light for bailout changes – while the body of text confirmed the usual rigidity as it explained:

But according to the Minister for Public Sector Reform Brendan Howlin, they accept the programme for government as long as the new administration agrees to raise the same amount of money from cuts and tax hikes.

The Irish voted Fine Gael because of the promise to renegotiate the bailout.  The bottom line?  Nothing will change.

The deckchairs can be re-arranged in the grand buildings where power once resided, but now that power has been handed over to the EU by the quisling politicians who put their own interest and prospects before the people they were supposed to serve, nothing that is said elsewhere means anything any longer.

When reality finally dawns in the Free State one wonders if the people will remember the spin pumped out by the timid, establishment hangers on in the media who tried to keep the deception running.  They are every bit as much to blame as the politicians they helped to bring this situation to pass.

Fine words Mr Hague, when will they apply here?

William Hague has been speaking to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today about Libya and the Middle East.  But among his fine words was yet another example of double standards, as he said:

We have a responsibility to encourage governments to meet the legitimate demands of their people…

OK. So while Hague and Co are rushing around delivering fine speeches encouraging foreign governments to meet the legitimate demands of their people, who is going to encourage our government to meet our legitimate demands?

Where is our referendum on EU membership?  Where are the powers the Conservatives promised to repatriate from the EU?  Where is the repeal of the damaging Human Rights Act?  Where is the reduction in swingeing fuel duty?

Before grandstanding on the world stage perhaps it would be appropriate for the politicians to practice what they preach at home.


The march of the EU continues under the Tories

In recent months we have published a drip feed of posts that prove Conservative promises to stop the transfer of any more UK powers to the EU is a cynical lie.

In November last year we shared this and this in our series of ‘In Europe, not run by Europe’ posts.

Then in December we found information in Hansard about the number of EU laws and directives that are now pending to become UK law, following questions tabled by Priti Patel.

Another of those questions tabled by Patel was answered a few days ago by the Treasury, revealing the number of EU Directives that must become law in this country at a cost of least £50m in administration to achieve this – paid for out of our tax pounds.  Slowly but surely the City of London is being taken over by EU laws and regulation.

But don’t worry. Call Me Dave will assume a serious frown for the cameras or get his media team to plant a story like this one with James Forsyth at the Daily Mail expressing his frustration and growing impatience with ‘EU interference’.  Then he will travel to visit his Eurochums at a meeting of our real government, unelected and unaccountable as it is, and it will be handshakes, smiles and agreements for more of the same.

Apparently it’s called Euroscepticism.

The politics of ‘I’

For once we find ourselves in agreement with Daniel Hannan, who comments upon David Cameron’s Al Jazeera interview in which he restates his refusal to give Britain an In/Out referendum on EU membership.

Do you remember all those pledges Cameron keeps making to de-centralise and give power back to the people?  The Al Jazeera interview underlines what a complete load of bollocks that is.  Hannan, in an uncharacteristically short post on his Telegraph blog, hits the nail on the head as he observes:

There is something faintly surreal about holding a referendum which no one asked for on a voting system which neither of the two Coalition parties supported, while refusing to hold one which the country does demand, and which both Coalition parties were recently pledging. What is the point of consulting people on how to elect their MPs, but not on whether those MPs should run the country?

The point, Daniel, is giving the people the illusion they have power while in reality denying them any.  Power rests with Brussels, until the British people decide to take it back, and Cameron will not risk the wrath of his bureaucrats who have power over the next stage of his career once he has been ejected from Downing Street.

On this issue of a referendum we are not hearing anything new, although coverage in the media in the next day or so might give some people that impression.  Cameron, good Europhile that he is, has been consistent on this ever since his coup of the Conservative party.

Hannan invites his readers to ‘stand back and ask yourself whether it is right in principle to consult the country’.  Of course it is, that is what would happen in a representative democracy.  But we do not live in a democracy and Cameron is an unprincipled slimeball.  Hoping for Cameron to act in a principled manner is like hoping the crazed rabid dog snarling at your young child won’t attack.  You’re just asking to be disappointed.  What matters to David Cameron is what David Cameron wants.  No one else’s wishes matter:

‘I don’t believe an In/Out referendum is right, because I don’t believe that leaving the European Union would be in Britain’s interests’

He could easily add to that some other sentiments, but they will all begin with the word ‘I’.  In Cameron’s world only his views matter.  Perhaps this is another reason to call him iDave.  The indisputable fact is that the man who dresses like a tailor’s dummy is only interested in window dressing.  The big issues of state are firmly off the agenda.

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