Journalistic inexactitude

The Financial Times has an article about the introduction of new and more accurate fuel efficiency and CO2 test procedures for new cars (WLTP), headlining its article: Carmakers clash with EU over tougher fuel efficiency test.

It is indeed a bemusing headline which is totally misleading – why would the car industry be holding the EU responsible when the article makes plain that this legislation was not instigated by the EU, but by an organisation far higher up the chain of command.

The article even links to the European Automobile Manufactuers Association website in which reference is made to the organisation higher up the chain of command.

So (a) why the headline; and (b) why are the motor manufacturers not directing their ire at those who produced the news procedures in the first place? There is an old saying that one should not shoot the messenger – and in this case the EU is but the messenger.

This article is yet a further example of what can only be called sensationalising, sloppy journalism – which is all we can expect at the present time.




A guantlet thrown down (2)

The first post in this series has resulted in WfW being subjected to a number of DOS attacks directed at that article, so it may be time to ‘up the ante’ as it were by repeating the charge levied against Nick Clegg and this time directing it at David Cameron.

The Conservative Party has just issued a video for the forthcoming European elections:

Cameron did not veto any treaty as there was no treaty on the table to veto; Britain still contributes to euro bailouts through its membership of the IMF; and Cameron did not cut the EU budget as Britain ended up contributing more.

The video states that Cameron will bring back powers from the EU by: taking back control of justice and home affairs; yet he is in the process of agreeing to cede some of them; by taking control of our borders intimating that Britain will control who enters our country, yet knows he cannot stem immigration from  any of the other 27 member states of the EU; securing more trade intimating the setting up of trade deals, yet the negotiation of trade deals is an EU competence; giving the people a yes/no referendum by 2017 following a renegotiation of Britain’s membership terms, yet the only way he can do this would be by invoking Article 50 of the TEU – something he has not mentioned.

Based on the claims he makes in this video  not forgetting his infamous claim that Norway is governed by fax, it is necessary to state that David Cameron is a liar and a charlatan – and pointing out that he has the same opportunity as that offered to Clegg.


Brexit vs Brentry

The Economist has an article in which they refer to new research  presented at the annual conference of the Royal Economic Society in Manchester. This new research by  Nauro Campos of Brunel University, Fabrizio Coricelli of the Paris School of Economics and Luigi Moretti of the University of Padua reckons that previous estimates of the economic benefits resulting from membership of the European Union have been underestimated.

In this new paper the authors – and I quote from the Economist article –  concoct what they call a “synthetic counterfactual”, meaning a projection of how EU members’ economies would have performed had they not joined the EU. (concoct being an unfortunate choice of word, one would have thought, on the part of the Economist?) as they write that this article is but  a projection of how EU members’ economies would have performed had they not joined the EU. In other words they have created yet another ‘model’ on which to base their research.

(As an aside, the nearest I have come at the time of writing to finding a copy of the paper quoted by the Economist is a draft in which it is requested that it is not cited, quoted or distributed – however it will suffice for the moment although the caveat has to be made that I have yet to read it in detail.)

The Economist writes that the size of the market within the EU increases by enlargement – something that happens roughly every decade. Where the ability to increase the market for trade is concerned that is hardly an acceptable rate of progress, surely? Bearing in mind also that trade deals with other countries are an EU competence and that Switzerland has concluded such a trade deal with China while the EU is still trying to get such a deal years later, the outlook for growth in trade can also be considered somewhat slow. If economic growth is ‘all important’, then presently has not the UK shackled itself to a slow moving bandwagon?

As stated I have yet to read the draft of the paper but purely on the Economist article it would appear that it is but another attempt, on behalf of the political class, at maintaining the status quo where the UK’s membership of the EU is concerned – and it fails to tackle the basic question of why full membership of the EU is necessary for any country to trade with the EU.

A final thought: as with climate change or global warming – or whatever name it now has – where we are spending serious amounts of wonga based on a ‘model; should we continue spending similar amounts of wonga based on yet another ‘model’?



A gauntlet thrown down

In view of this article, authored by Nick Clegg in the Guardian’s Comment is Free,  on Twitter and using his Twitter ‘address: @nick_clegg, referencing the article to which I link, I have called him a liar and a charlatan; suggesting that he may wish to ‘see me in court’.

So let us sit back and see what happens next, shall we? This could get quite interesting.



David's Musings


All things to all men

Mark Wallace has an interesting article appearing on Conservative Home, one that raises a most interesting, although unstated, question.  His article is entitled: Does the ‘Right’ of the Conservative Party really exist, purely on the basis that the media appear to enjoy anti-Cameron rebellion stories, in so doing citing the ‘Right’ as the culprit. It is worth repeating one section of his article:

……there are at least five different schools of thought that could be thought of as some kind of right within the Conservative Party – and they are variously overlapping or contradictory:

  • The eurosceptics – particularly the Better Off Out group of MPs, including Philip Davies, Philip Hollobone and Peter Bone.
  • The Whigs – the philosophical radicals, such as Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan, who want fundamental reform in the structure and function of the state to increase freedom and reduce taxes
  • The campaigners – people such as Rob Halfon, Jesse Norman and John Baron, who have turned their backbench fastness into a raiding base, using the press and social media to devastating effect in order to, respectively, cut fuel duty, save billions on PFI and cause endless worries about defence cuts
  • The paternalists – MPs like Claire Perry and Sarah Wollaston are often assumed to be on the left of the party, but on social issues such as online pornography, smoking or unhealthy food they are top-down paternalists in a distinctly crusty tradition
  • The rest – from those whose religion led them to oppose same sex marriage to those who, like Steve Baker, champion radical economics, there are a myriad of other facets which could be validly referred to as part of “the Right”

It will be apparent that as the Conservative Party supposedly has a ‘Right’ wing, so it can be said that the Labour Party supposedly has a ‘Left’ Wing; and the Liberal Democrats, being Liberal Democrats, supposedly has both a ‘Right’ wing and a ‘Left’ wing. If a political party is unable to corral all its MPs to support every single subject which may arise, what chance is there of any political party corralling a country of 60+ million people who, too, will have differing views on every single subject.

Yet is that not which every political party attempts, when it presents it’s manifesto come every general election? Leaving to one side the tribal voter who will continue to put his cross on a ballot paper for a particular party whatever policies it may propose, we are then left with what political parties like to call the ‘centre ground’ – or, as some would prefer, the ‘swing voter’.

When faced with the manifestos of political parties, invariably it stands to reason that the electorate is faced with a choice of selecting whichever manifesto he/she finds the most distasteful – in other words the electorate is forced to dine table d’hôte when he/she would, no doubt, prefer to to dine a la carte. There is of course the other point, namely that manifestos may well contain policies which are not implemented or, when finally enacted, are nothing like that which had originally been proposed – and that is leaving to one side policies which are enacted and which never appeared in any manifesto.

As political parties coerce their MPs to accept policies with which they may disagree; but support for various motives including furtherance of their political career, so the electorate is forced to accept policies with which it too disagrees – the only difference being that the electorate do not have the carrot of ‘side benefits’.

Is this the way in which a country’s future is to be decided? Is this democracy in action? If we are to be governed, should we not have a choice as to the manner in which we wish to be governed? Is it not time that a serious debate was held in this country in relation to our system of democracy?

On the day when observance of Christ’s resurrection is observed, one can but hope we will, one day, observe the day on which the minds of the people were resurrected from their current dead condition.


Mistaken Identity

John Redwood asks us: Who am I? – to which the obvious response must be: well, if you don’t know John, how can we?

However, seeing as the question has been asked – and as one does not wish to be discourteous and ignore a question – perhaps the suggestion that he is an enigma might be helpful to the debate. When endowing someone with the description of being an enigma we are inferring that that person is someone who is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous.

Puzzling? Most definitely. Ambiguous? Again, most definitely.

We have here a man who maintains he is a eurosceptic, yet shelters under the umbrella of a political party that most definitely is not eurosceptic. We have here a man who complains about dictatorial rule from Brussels yet wishes to impose the continuance of a similar form of dictatorial governance on his own people. We have here a man who castigates the loss of democracy involved in our membership of the European Union yet who then wishes to continue said loss among his fellow people.

The Boiling Frog posts about Boris Johnson – and his father, Stanley – both of whom could also be classified as enigmas in that their views appear to be ambiguous.

Personally, I feel that the use of the word enigma is a tad misleading where Redwood, coupled with both Boris and Stanley Johnson, is concerned – how about the word hypocrite?

Just asking…………………..



Brandon Lewis is reported in the Telegraph maintaining councils that raise revenue through parking fines are engaging in a form of taxation without consent that runs contrary to Magna Carta. This immediately begs the question when has any government had the explicit consent of the electorate for any form of taxation? If we are to be afforded the right to consent to taxation. as Brandon Lewis maintains we should be, then we also should have the right to decide on what the taxation to which we have agreed is spent.

This of course is an illustration of the concept of ‘Referism’, a central plank of Demand #5 of the 6 Demands, namely: no taxes or spending without consent: no tax, charge or levy shall be imposed, nor any public spending authorised, nor any sum borrowed by any national or local government except with the express permission of the majority of the people, renewed annually on presentation of a properly authenticated budget.

There is an argument being made that a general election is the means by which the people give their consent to taxation, an argument that an be countered by asking since when did any sane person agree to pay a sum of money for services where neither the sum of money nor the services have been specified. It would, of course, be expecting too much of a journalist to raise this in an article about taxation; and in the case of the journalist who authored this particular article, there most obviously is a hole in the house of logic and reason.

Norman Tebbit, in his latest article on Telegraph Blogs, bemoans the state of his party, deciding it is time for it to break out of the trenches, while also having a swipe at the leaders of the four main political parties. He maintains that possession of the ‘middle ground’ is a waste of effort and time; that we, the British people, should decide who has the right to come to live here; that our Supreme Court, not a foreign one, should have the last say on the law; and that many would like to see better discipline in schools and to have a bigger say in what sort of school would be best for their children.

Needless to say it does not take much thought to realise that while the acceptance of representative democracy is continued the people will always be subject to the will of their elected representatives, the majority of  whom do anything but remain deaf to the wishes of their constituents. We are informed that the British people, when questioned, place the matter of EU membership way down their list of concerns, yet the subject which it would appear they are most concerned with (immigration) cannot be solved while we retain said membership of the EU – neither can the matter of whether our Supreme Court is in fact supreme.

That the people are so ignorant about just how pervasive is the EU in their lives is purely due to the members of our political class and their wish to ‘hide’ how impotent they actually are. Not only are our elected representatives impotent but they are also guilty of being disingenuous in their message. Both Lewis and Tebbit intimate that people should be given choices over their lives, yet fail to acknowledge that that choice will never be given because to so do would mean the introduction of a form of direct democracy of which the 6 Demands is a template. They both hold out the carrot of choice yet do not explain that to do what they intimate would mean mixing two forms of democracy that are akin to chalk and cheese – they can never mix and survive each in their own right.

A charlatan is defined as someone who practices quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception; and is that not what our political class have become? Witness Brandon Lewis invoking part of our constitutional law to make a political point, while condoning a practice of breaking that law where taxation generally is concerned.

It is all very well for Charles Moore, in his Saturday Telegraph op-ed, to complain about the state of schools in Birmingham and the state of our society in general; but, unfortunately, Moore is no different to any other member of the electorate, he recognises a problem and expects ‘government’ to fix it. Yet does not history show us that most of the problems our country has had are the result of decisions by ‘governments’ who then incur more expense, through taxation, in attempting to rectify their own errors. It is also worth noting that most of those errors have been caused by decisions over which said electorate had no direct voice.

The point has to be made that if those of our political class – and those who profess to be journalists – had principles they would not practice, or in the case of journalists condone the continuance of, quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception. Again unfortunately, it would appear that where our political class and journalists are concerned, principles seem to be in short supply.

I am reminded of a short poem about knowledge, authorship unknown.

He who knows not, but knows that he knows not, is a fool – shun him

He who knows not, but knows that he knows not, is simple – teach him

He who knows not, but knows not that he knows, is asleep – wake him

He who knows, and knows that he knows, is a wise man – follow him

Each of those lines can be directed not only at our politicians, journalists, but above all at ourselves. If we are to remember the words of Ronald Reagan who asked if we are not considered able to govern ourselves, then who among us can believe they have the ability to govern us, it then follows that the people need to be woken up from their stupor. It  also means that if we are to govern ourselves, while we do need wise men we do not need to follow them, but for them to guide us.

There are those who believe that in order to rectify the deficits that exist in our current form of democracy, a revolution is necessary and that that can only be accomplished by means of a civil war. Perhaps, just perhaps, if those of us who recognise that change is sorely needed and put into practice those four lines above, it is just possible that the blight which hangs over our country could be banished – but then to accomplish that we would need to get off our butts.



European Election Schedule

I thought it may be of interest for readers to be aware of events taking place around the actual electoral process, the latter occurring in this country on 22nd May.

An important event will be, on 15 May, a full presidential debate with the five leading candidates for the presidency of the European Commission due to be held in Parliament’s Brussels Chamber, organized by the European Broadcasting Union (Eurovision). The debate, scheduled to last from 9 pm to 10.30 pm, will feature Jean-Claude Juncker for the European People’s Party, Martin Schulz for the Party of European Socialists, Guy Verhofstadt for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Ska Keller for the Green Party and Alexis Tsipras for the Party of the European Left.

It is from this one event that we will begin to get some idea of the future direction in which the EU may travel. For what it is worth methinks the contest for President of the Commission is a three-horse race twixt Juncker, Schulz and Verhofstadt, with Juncker presently being the favourite. Those of us who want cessation of our country’s membership of the European Union must hope that Verhofstadt (who must be the ‘dark horse in the race) ‘comes through on the rails’ because federalism (ever closer union) will then be ‘let loose’.

That Verhofstadt scenario will also promote a most interesting situation wherein much Cameron ‘wriggling’ will no doubt be observed – not forgetting of course the ‘wriggling’ that will be seen within Open Europe. What will be obsrved from Ukip and Farage – bearing in mind that due do the ‘Times’ in which we live, the latter has not been forced out of the picture – is but another intriguing factor.

The debate is to be covered on line by Eurovision, for those sufficiently interested and who would like to watch it.

The next event of note occurs on27 May,when the Conference of Presidents – the EP president and leaders of the political groups – will convene at 11.30am in order to give a first assessment of the election results. EP President Martin Schulz will then inform European Council President Herman Van Rompuy of the Conference of Presidents’ findings; with the European Council – heads of state or government – meeting later that day.

On 25 May, Parliament will hold its election night during which projections and results at European level will be presented to the media. 

The last event in the schedule is for the newly elected MEPs to meet over the month of June to form their political groups. All notifications of groups constituted must be handed in to the President of the European Parliament by 24 June.

The ‘month of Theresa’ will, therefore, be one to watch!





Witney: Another example of ‘dictatorial democracy’?

This story was the lead page of Wednesday’s edition of the Witney Gazette, one that filled the front page – and raises a number of what may be considered worrying questions.

We find Duncan Enright stating that as councillors they are elected to represent and that the proposed draft policy is outrageous.

We find the Witney Gazette stating in their Editorial that the proposed draft policy is an affront to democracy.

We find David Cameron being quoted as stating: Witney Town Council, as is the case with all public bodies, needs to ensure that its business is conducted in an open and transparent way as possible.

 What is outrageous is:

1. Duncan Enright, along with every other councillor quoted, makes not one mention of those he and they are elected to represent – and therefore not raising the point about ascertaining what they may think or want.

2. The Witney Gazette pontificating about democracy when it so obviously has not one iota of understanding about the total lack of that about which it writes. There is also the point that had they bothered to read the press statement issued by Witney Town Council they should have immediately, themselves, queried Sharon Goth’s statement attributed to her and not just relied on one from NALC’s spokesperson Kate Groves.

3. The head of the largest public body in the land calling for business to be conducted in an open and transparent way as possible when he does anything but – exemplified by his (a): avoiding the real reason for HS2 and (b): obfuscation over this country’s membership of the European Union.

To each of the above the accusation of Pot/Kettle can be levied.

One group to whom the aforementioned accusation cannot be levied is the Witney public, who like the British public, have allowed themselves to become conditioned to accepting a form of democracy that equals democratised dictatorship – resulting in their serfdom.








Fog (or Mist) of Deception

Bruno Waterfield (Daily Telegraph) reports on the remarks of Chris Grayling, ones to the effect that he will go to court to halt the spread of a EU charter that would override British laws. These remarks can be viewed either as (a) they are not a fog, but a mist in that they can easily be seen through or, (b) they are indeed a fog (and those of us old enough to remember the fogs of the late ’50s and early ’60s will understand the words that follow) as he obviously cannot see that which is just beyond the end of his nose.

Grayling misses no opportunity to punt the official ‘Cameron meme’, stating: All this is why we need a major re-think of our future relationship with the EU, and to renegotiate our membership and let the British people decide in a referendum - which immediately begs the question just where the hell has this man been for the last 52 years? More importantly, where has he been for the last few months?

Did not Viviane Reading, in her speech to Cambridge University, make the point that there will be no repatriation of powers; that the four freedoms are not negotiable? Did she not make plain that there would be no ‘cherry-picking’? For those interested the speech by Reding on Fundamental Rights can be read here; and a video of her press conference on the same subject viewed here. There is only one way by which means Cameron can renegotiate the terms of the UK’s membership of the European Union and that is by invoking Article 50 of the TEU.

There is of course another point – one made on this blog on more than one occasion – and repeated by Reding; namely that where primacy of law is concerned, the EU is in ‘the box seat’. Did not the European Commission, in a letter dated 10th November 2010 to Stefano Manservisi, Director General, DG Home, write: ……it must be recalled that Union Law prevails over national law, including national constitutional law. So much for the mantra of ‘repeal ECA1972 and we are free’!

It naturally follows that if we are to discuss a fog (or mist) of deception, then it is impossible to overlook the results of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) recent competition about Brexit. As Richard North has written, one can understand one coincidence – but six?! It is not my intention to comment on all six finalists, suffice it to say the standard(?) of these can best be illustrated by a statement in that of Rory Broomfield and Iain Murray’s submission (page 8) about the UK having a seat at the top table. Just how many times must it be said that the top table is not at the EU; that the EU table is but a coffee table set far from the real top table at which global standards are formulated?

Not one of the six finalists of the IEA Brexit competition suggest membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) all calling for a Free Trade Ageement (FTA) and all believing this can be achieved in two years. The six finalists need to remember just how long it takes the European Union to negotiate FTAs – some have been in discussion for more than a decade and still they remain incomplete. Just how long has it taken Switerland to get those FTAs it has? Not only do the six finalists seem to be in a world of their own – so did the Judging Panel if this was their final selection from which to select a winner. Where the Brexit competition is concerned, is it any wonder that those judging the competition and obviously understanding not the subject matter in question, selected six pieces of which the content of each can only be described as utter crap?

When the content of political verbosity and that of the IEA and other supposed eurosceptic think tanks is concerned, the British public is being presented with an impenetrable fog of deceit and deception. Just how many Judas Goats do sheep need – and bear in mind we do elect some of those Judas Goats – but I digress.


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