Posts Tagged 'EU'

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

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

slaithwaite

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

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

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

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

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

dartmouth_jonas

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

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

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

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

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

But for now, William Dartmouth has questions to answer.

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

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

I think we should be told.

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

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

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

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

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

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

———————

Dear Sirs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Accuracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours faithfully

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time to tackle and overcome those problems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or that:

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

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

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

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

Ukraine signs its Faustian pact with the EU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You're ignoring me again!

You’re ignoring me again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ukraine, UK, foreign policy, defence and the EU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m over here…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two lessons business today taught those who want independence

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

Lesson 1

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

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

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

Lesson 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giving UKIP a little bit of credit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Farage’s call for a flooding public inquiry is senseless

Why won’t anyone look at me?

In the previous post we again questioned what could be achieved through a public inquiry into the extent of flooding.  We contend that such an inquiry would be a whitewash waiting to happen.  It just needs an on-message Chairman appointed to move the roller.

We know this because we don’t have to look back far to see the results of the last flooding inquiry, that concering the floods in the summer of 2007, by Sir Michael Pitt.  In the nearly 500 pages his report covers, EU directives are mentioned a mere 13 times, and not even in respect of causation.

The Water Framework Directive is not mentioned at all and the Habitats Directive gets one mention, in a ‘box out’ that explains dredging – in almost entirely negative terms!

The EU is mentioned a number of times, but almost exclusively in terms of funding and claiming money from the Solidarity Fund – which would have the effect of reducing the amount of rebate the UK would have for its EU contributions in the financial year.

Given that concerns about the impact of EU laws on flood protection were already at the fore in 2007, why on earth does anyone believe another inquiry or review into flooding now would produce a different outcome to Pitt?

What is Farage’s game?  He can’t influence the terms of reference, witnesses or the Chairman of an inquiry, so what does he think will be achieved?  The EU elephant will be in the room but everyone standing around it will continue to avert their eyes and pretend it isn’t there.  The eventual outcome will just be held up as vindication of the existing approach and couched in purely domestic terms.

A Clegg vs Farage debate on EU membership?

Courtesy of Pogle’s Woodsman in the comments we find the Spectator reporting Nick Clegg is to throw down the debate gauntlet to Nigel Farage ahead of May’s European Elections.

What we don’t know is whether such a debate is of sufficient interest to the TV networks for it to be televised on a terrestrial channel.  Such a debate would need to be televised live on national TV for it to have any chance of adding any value, which in itself is not a mortal lock.

In any case, potential viewers may consider the debate to be a Third Division affair as the leaders of the main two parties are not involved.  While EU enthusiasts and members of the Farage cult will be clearing their diaries, getting in the popcorn and wearing their colours for the ‘big match’, for most people this would probably be an event of very little interest or consequence.

It’s easy for many of those on the comment thread of the Spectator’s article to get carried away, as they are, predicting that Farage will bash Clegg.  But the ‘debate’ could – and more than likely will – descend into a turgid ‘my fact vs your fact’ exchange that bogs the whole thing down and doesn’t do anything to inform people or increase their understanding and knowledge about how this country is governed, by whom and what little control they have to shape that governance.

There is also near certainty that Clegg will adopt the economics narrative and frame the debate in such a way that Farage, who famously doesn’t do detail, gets taken down alleyways, trips up on facts and is exposed as not being in command of his brief… and that’s before any possible failure to focus on the essential core political issue of addressing who should run Britain – if he actually even planned to do that in the first place.

This proposed debate has the capacity to undermine the EUsceptic cause if Farage gets it wrong.  Being articulate is no substitute for a lack of strategic vision going into such a debate and will not make up for any deficiency in knowledge.

Floods: Not one party has been this honest, not even UKIP

It’s heartening to see that even though the politicians and the media are tip-toeing around this issue and dodging mention of the EU as if their lives depended on it, the reality is being shared around outside the establishment.  This below sent in by a valued reader from today’s East Anglian Daily Times.

There’s no need for public inquiries which can be corrupted at inception, we just honesty and recognition of the facts.  Until the media comes clean with the facts that are circulating all around them and the politicians recognise and acknowledge the issue at hand, we are condemned to see repeats of flooding on this scale as the EU laws we are bound by continue to obstruct the work required to manage our land and waterways in a way that preserves life and property in many communities around this country.

Cameron at his disingenuous worst with floods pledge

David Cameron today once again successfully failed to bang on about Europe, as he said Britain has ‘to do better as a country’ to protect itself from future floods, the Telegraph tells us.

No doubt those people of the Somerset Levels who had time to listen in on the radio while trying to cope with flooding, evacuation and the turning upside down of their lives, will have been incredulous when Cameron said that officials are working on a plan to protect the Somerset Levels, although, as he put it, it is still not clear what the best solution for the area would be.

Here’s a radical thought, as a starting point, how about a return to the flood prevention activity that was wound down over the years by the Environment Agency to fit a political agenda created through the EU?  If those who managed to listen in to the pontificating buffoon were not already grinding their teeth in anger, then this may well have done the trick:

Dredging has a part to play.

At the end of the 1990s when the Environment Agency was established, there became rather an anti-dredging culture and some of the expert bodies said it shouldn’t be part of the picture. It has to be part of the picture.

Why won't anyone acknowledge me?

Why won’t anyone acknowledge me?

Unsurprisingly, there was not a single word about why it was suddenly decided that dedging shouldn’t be part of the picture, or the concerted effort by the EU to inflate the price of dredging through waste management laws and restrictions on moving river deposits once on land. Far less any mention by the Telegraph’s Peter Dominiczak, who, like UKIP, passed up the opportunity to add value by providing context and sharing established facts.

There was no mention of Making Space for Water.
There was no mention of the Water Framework Directive.
There was no mention of the Floods Directive.
There wasn’t even any mention of the Natura 2000 strategy.

EU law has been changing the British landscape – literally – aided by environmentalist activists like Baroness Young, who Labour parachuted into positions of power to wreak havoc on the approach to flood prevention, because they shared the EU view of wanting to see reclaimed land, such as the levels, refilled with water to become habitat museums – this despite the fact that flooding the long since established farmland in this way kills the animals living there and results in a putrid, stinking swamp that cannot sustain fowl in any case.

Around the areas that have been flooded there will be some very lonely animals.  But there will be none so lonely, or so deliberately ignored, as the great big EU elephant in the room that the useless UK media and politicans from the four main parties are doing their best to pretend they cannot see and does not exist when it comes to the flooding issue, how it has been allowed to happen and acknowledging who was responsible.

It’s breathtaking incompetence right enough

Nor it seems, have the media.

Here we have Sandbrook, writing in the EU supporting Daily Mail, pontificating about ‘the people who run Britain’, yet not mentioning the EU or how its laws have exacerbated this flooding mess.  Not one word.

The EU is the embarrassing ginger-haired stepchild, never referenced, kept in the background, denied eye contact and shut away from everyone so as to pretend it doesn’t really exist.  Would the media approach be any different if Farage had used two huge platforms to share the reality with people, raising public awareness?  That would be speculation, but at least hundreds of thousands if not millions more people would be aware of the EU’s role as the biggest actor in this tragic play.

If Sandbrook wants to witter on about breathtaking incompetence he should pick up his pen and start by describing what he sees in the mirror.  At least for once he would be accurate.

Even the editor of Country Life gets it, Nigel

It really has come to something when the editor at large of Country Life, despite only a limited summary, is more clued in to the EU dimension of the excessive flooding in the Somerset Levels and more vocal about it than the leader of the UK’s EUsceptic political party.

It is a shame that Mr Aslet, upon identifying the key role played by Baroness Young in preparing the way for this debacle, didn’t go further in ramming this home to Telegraph readers.  But he’s certainly gone further than Nigel Farage, much to the detriment of the EUsceptic movement.

The Carswell conversion gathers pace

At this rate Douglas Carswell, Europlastic extraordinare, will soon be fighting for the UK to remain in the EU, such is the pace of his efforts to toady up to Cameron and the Tory leadership.

A piece in the Telegraph reports on a study by Capital Economics (commissioned by Geert Wilders) into the likely impacts of the Netherlands leaving the EU.  It concluded that the Netherlands would be better off out of the EU, explaining:

Over that 21 year period, the benefits of Nexit to Dutch national income would have accumulated to between €1,100 (£913bn) billion and €1,500 billion (£1.3 trillion) in today’s prices.

This is equivalent to between €7,100 (5,893) and €9,800 (£8,134) per household each year. But even if the Netherlands is unable to negotiate a status akin to Switzerland’s, the economy would be better off out of the union than in.

Naturally the Telegraph scampered off to the prestigious Carswell for comment, and he didn’t disappoint Conservative HQ with his contribution (emphasis mine):

This report is significant because it has been produced by a credible City research group. It cannot be easily dismissed.

It shows we are no longer alone. It is not just us Brits who have come to realise that European integration is fundamentally flawed. We’re very like the Dutch, a small country that has prospered by trading globally. Think what countries like ours could be in a different type of Europe.

‘In’ a different type of Europe?  That’s not the same as leaving the EU, it sounds more like Cameron’s Deludophile ‘reform’ agenda at work.

It seems that when it comes to the EU, the Carswell residence is playing host to a huge exhibition of the hokey cokey.  One minute he wants out, then he wants in.  It’s amazing how the prospect of being outside Cameron’s wigwam of trust can focus the mind on career and electoral prospects.

But then, Carswell is a politician and the political class across Europe wants a piece of the EU action to service their own interests, regardless of what the voters think.

While 55% of Dutch voters surveyed say they would vote to leave the EU if the stated benefits could be achieved, the Dutch finance minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, immediately dismissed the idea as ‘very unwise’.  It seems he will soon be able to count Douglas Carswell as a kindred, pro-EU spirit.

How the EU, last Labour government and Environment Agency agreed a plan to let the Somerset Levels flood

Allowing the flooding of the Levels was a matter of EU policy, introduced by a 2007 Directive and consciously adopted by the Environment Agency in 2008, which then sought to increase the frequency of flooding in the area.  Read on…

Brought to us courtesy of the EU, Greens, last Labour Gov't and the Environment Agency

Brought to us courtesy of the EU, Greens, last Labour Gov’t and the Environment Agency

As Richard North reveals on EU Referendum:

Unacknowledged by either government, the media or even Chris Smith in his current diatribe, this policy was given legislative force, not by the Westminster parliament but by an EU directive 2007/60/EC of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks.

There, in recital 14, we saw spelled out the requirement that flood risk management plans should focus on prevention, protection and preparedness. But, “with a view to giving rivers more space, they should consider where possible the maintenance and/or restoration of floodplains, as well as measures to prevent and reduce damage to human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity”.

There, writ large, was Defra’s “making space for water” policy and all that was needed for an already Green-dominated Environment Agency to abandon the Somerset Levels.

There’s more besides in the post, including how all this came into being, and the warnings of what was to come.  It really is a must read, particularly for journalists and those who like to comment on threads on the lamestream media’s websites.


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