Monthly Archives: December 2012

EU ‘Associate Membership’

So, all the talk today is centred on The Times article by David Charter, one headlined: “UK shunted towards ”second-class’ status”. From this article, at least what is visible beyond the paywall:

“A group of senior politicians in Brussels is to propose “second-class” EU status for Britain in a dramatic shift in thinking by the strongest supporters of a united Europe. They are to suggest that the UK should become an “associate member” under plans which would result in it staying in the EU’s single market but being stripped of its commissioner in Brussels, MEPs, and its right of veto in the European Council.”

The article proceeds to state the newspaper has discovered that the Union of European Federalists will publish, in the Spring, its own version of the next EU treaty. Richard North, EU Referendum, has passed his learned opinion on what I see as the Times presenting this latest ‘breaking news’. As with all journalistic ‘scoops’ this article is hardly ‘breaking news’, but then is not The Times usually behind the times?

In September this year Andrew Duff, President of the Union of European Federalists, published a pamphlet entitled “On Governing Europe” in which he discusses (page 63) what he terms as “The British problem again”; and “Associate Membership” (page 68). Only this month, on the 6th, he published an article on the website of the European Policy Centre an article headed “UK-EU relationship: Making the case for associate membership”. It is also noted that Duff states there is a need for Norway and Switzerland to upgrade their current unsatisfactory arrangements, a subject on which I commented earlier.

There has been much ‘traffic’ on Twitter in relation to this article in The Times, in effect all saying: “Yay, lets do it” and all without appearing to have any idea of how that could be achieved. We even have John Redwood lauding this “associate membership” meme and “renegotiating” our membership. We also have that well-informed journalist, Isabel Hardman writing in the Speccie:

“If this were not possible, the fear is that the ‘associate’ membership really would be second-class: a Norway-style arrangement where Britain is still subject to legislation from Brussels without having any say in its development.”

to which I commented:

“For heavens sake! When will you people, who classify yourselves as journalists, do your research and actually find out how EFTA/EEA works? When will you start to read the information on the EFTA website? Is not the function of a journalist to inform? How do you inform the public when you spread what are no more than lies purely because you know not that about which you write and are apparently too lazy to do your research? When will you stop ‘parroting’ what your political contacts tell you? When will you start thinking for yourselves? Sheesh!”

It is a continual source of frustration for me that people appear to accept, without question, what they are told and do not have the faintest desire to discover and/or confirm anything for themselves. It might be an idea if all who pontificate on Twitter and in the media were to visit the EFTA website and read about how EFTA and the EEA ‘works’; while also reading this in order to confirm that this ‘government by fax’ meme is but a lie; and that consequently those who rely on that which the ‘great and good’ in the world of politics and the media publish, only results in their being hoodwinked.

 


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What was all that about ‘government by fax’?

Recently Dr Martin Zbinden, Head of Free Trade Agreements/EFTA in the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO was interviewed by Current Concerns. By way of explanation, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO is the Swiss Confederation’s competence centre for all core issues relating to economic policy, while Current Concerns, based in Zurich, is an international journal for independent thought, ethical standards, moral responsibility, and for the promotion and respect of public international law, human rights and humanitarian law. The interview is another nail in the ‘government by fax’ coffin, while the first question about whether there should be more discussion about EFTA and information about its way of working is particularly relevant today.

Current Concerns: The bigger the difficulties in the euro zone become, the louder the reflection about possible alternatives is perceived in the whole of Europe. The “civilian coalition” in Germany decidedly pleads for the “Europe of nations” to be worked for. Thus sovereign countries could and would have to take up their own responsibilities again and regulate their concerns on a free basis. For this, the EFTA would be the appropriate context, and this is what was imagined for a co-operation in Europe after the Second World War.

Mr Zbinden, should there not be more talk about the EFTA and information about its way of working?

Martin Zbinden: The EFTA itself has three main areas of activity which firstly include the EFTA Convention, which provides the free trade relations between the EFTA States. Secondly EFTA membership implies observer status in the EEA, which is useful because it permanently provides us with so-to-speak first-hand information, especially on the further development of EU law and EEA law. For Switzerland, the most important aspect certainly is the EFTA as a platform for joint negotiations of free trade agreements, and in this respect the EFTA is, as you say, very successful. Cooperation between the EFTA states is generally very good. Of course there are some differences. It is clear that Norway and Switzerland do not have the same economic structure, for example, there is Norway’s huge oil and gas sector, since we have nothing comparable, and fish exports are very important for Norway and Iceland, too, which, so to speak, is less important for Switzerland. We have strengths in other areas, such as the chemical industry, pharmaceutical and engineering industries and in services, including financial services. So there are differences between the EFTA states, but when it comes to trade policy, we are very much alike in our focus on free trade, and therefore the cooperation on the whole is very good.

Another similarity is certainly agricultural policy. All four EFTA members are net importers in the field of agriculture, yet for all four EFTA states border protection in agriculture is very important. Therefore we also work together in terms of agricultural policies in the WTO, in the group of the G-10 countries.

So together with the other three EFTA states?

Exactly. The group of G-10 countries consists of nine members, including all four EFTA members.

If I am correctly informed, agricultural policies were one of the reasons why Federal Councillor Wahlen pushed the idea of EFTA very vigorously at that time, in order to stay independent in this area. For states with different interests, the EFTA seems to provide the opportunity to cooperate in those areas where they want to, instead of having to lump everything together.

Yes, one can certainly say that. When the EFTA was founded, it was actually a counter-project to the European Economic Community. It was not a customs union, and in this sense the sovereignty in trade policy was respected, while trade policy within the EEC was communalised as a customs union.

Switzerland regarded this as incompatible with neutrality. We are talking about the time of the late fifties, early sixties. At that time the EFTA really was a sort of a counter-project to the European Economic Community, with the idea that you only cooperated in selected areas and did not create supranational institutions, but simply cooperated in what areas you wanted on the basis of a free trade area, but retained sovereignty in all other economically or politically relevant areas.

Looking at the development of the EFTA, it must be said that it has been a success story in many ways. Do you agree with that?

Here we must distinguish. Regarding the number of members it was, of course, vastly reduced. Finland left the EFTA for the EU, just as Sweden, and also Austria left and has gone over to the EU. Thus you have to say it has become a very small organisation. It was successful with free trade relations. Since the early nineties, the EFTA has been able to build up a relatively large network of free trade agreements, and it has certainly done that very successfully. At first, always more in alignment with the EU – that is, so to speak, a step behind the EU with the countries with which the EU had concluded agreements. The first time that the EFTA started such negotiations without the EU in mind was in 1999 with Canada. Since then it has considerably extended this policy.

So in principle, the EFTA is an organisation that independently initiates and concludes negotiations wherever it appears interesting and worthwhile for its member states as sovereign countries?

Absolutely. In its specificity it was sometimes a step behind the EU, but conversely, the EFTA was far ahead in Korea for example. The EU has only just concluded a treaty, which came into effect on July 1st, while that of the EFTA states has been in force for five years. And we signed the agreement before the EU had even spoken about taking up negotiations. So, there are both: with Mexico and Chile, we were behind the EU, with Korea and Singapore we were ahead. We have now concluded a treaty with the Ukraine – the EU is still in negotiations. With the Gulf Cooperation Council, the EU started negotiations ahead of us, but we were finished much earlier. It varies – depending on the partner.

Where do you see the difference in the negotiating positions?

In most cases, the EU negotiates not only free trade agreements but also association agreements, which cover much wider policy areas including a policy dialogue, seeking some harmonisation in certain fields of the law. That’s not what the EFTA does. We limit ourselves to traditional comprehensive free trade agreements, i.e. liberalisation in the trade in goods, liberalisation and legal certainty in trade and services. Investment is partly covered, intellectual property is covered, public procurement and certain competition rules are contained in the agreement, with the latest agreement including certain regulations on trade and sustainable development. But a political dialogue or comprehensive cooperations, for example, in energy or transportation policy, which the EU often has in its agreements, are things that the EFTA does not have.

The possibility of free economic cooperation, while respecting sovereignty obviously corresponds to a need in many countries.

As I said, the EFTA as an organisation is very small. But the free trade agreements we conclude – they are very attractive for many states. It is not only the way how the EFTA negotiates free trade agreements. I think the free trade agreement instrument in itself is something that is currently very successful. That is, of course, partly also connected to the difficulties the WTO has.

Despite your emphasis on the smallness of the EFTA, it shows that for a free economic co-operation it is not necessary to establish a centralised superpower organisation that stifles the freedom and responsibility of the participating countries.

Yes. I think the instrument of free trade agreements is an economically and commercially attractive instrument. One must not, however, set this in opposition to the WTO. The WTO provides so to speak the basic rules governing the world trading system and free trade agreements build on it.

To another point: A very impressive aspect of of the EFTA is the lean administration – only 90 staff, which is nowadays proof of an excellent performance.

Yes, that’s certainly an advantage of the EFTA. Of course we are only a few member states, only four, we have only one working language, the official language is English. In comparison with the Commission, which has a lot more responsibilities and which works in I do not know how many languages and for 27 countries and has, to some extent, also regulatory functions. This is, of course, not comparable to the EFTA Secretariat. This is effectively a secretariat, which means that the main work is done by the member states …

… as part of their foreign policy …

Yes, the free trade agreements are trade policy. The negotiations for free trade agreements are always conducted by the member states. The EFTA Secretariat serves to assist member states by preparing texts, ensuring that texts are exchanged with the negotiating partners – these are the things that are organised by the EFTA Secretariat. But the real work, wording the texts in terms of contents, is done by the Member States. Therefore, the EFTA Secretariat is a genuine secretariat, which guides and supports the process, but the process itself remains in the hands of the member states.

Thank you for your time.

An interesting postscript to this interview is excerpts from an interview with Prof Dr Rolf Weder, University of Basel:

“If a country is not a member of the EU, it can act on its own in other organisations, such as the WTO or the EFTA, and directly introduce its concerns there. This is an opportunity that Switzerland should use even more in the future, I believe. […]

The EEA, however, contains aspects that include parts of the political integration. Actually it is a vehicle that will ultimately take over EU law and partly also future EU law. This is exactly the point where Switzerland I think is sceptical, with good reason. EFTA is an alternative form of integration, it is rather a vehicle for cooperation among countries in Europe. Thus, this organisation actually contains a form of integration that goes less far. […]

I think the EFTA is an interesting alternative to the EU. Because the EFTA cares about maintaining the economic integration, and it could even be more deepened. This means that at the moment the goods trade among EFTA members is free. Switzerland could once again breathe some more life into this organisation. I can imagine that it might admit new members from Europe. About half of the countries of Europe are not members of the EU, for example Russia, Turkey. Why not try to include these countries in the EFTA? That would be an example. Another one would be that you also slightly expand the EFTA. You could decide whether to extend the EFTA on the trade in services. Here, you have an organiation that one could increasingly use for further economic integration, I believe.”

The foregoing poses the question to Cameron, Gilligan, Mats Persson, Open Europe et all: what was all that about government by fax? Well?

 


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Vaz is the point of Keith?

Am I alone in finding an MP pontificating about the police and law & order – said MP whose nickname in the Commons is “Vazeline” because nothing sticks where accusations of misconduct are concerned – rather unacceptable, distasteful and objectionable?

Just asking……….

 


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The mind-control continues

Autonomous Mind posts on an article by Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph. Who is Andrew Gilligan, I hear you ask. Come, come, you know Gilligan; the one who believes he is an investigative journalist.

As AM points out in his article, this one by Gilligan is but another attempt to implant in the British mind that leaving the European Union would leave us isolated and rudderless. I pointed out in an earlier post that where ‘matters EU’ are concerned, the Lib/Lab/Con rarely talk about that and that when they do it is invariably pro-EU, misleading or incorrect. AM picks up on this when he writes that truth is not an ally of Europhiles, but something to be concealed from the populace; that instead of matters of substance on the subject of EU membership what we receive are narratives of superfluous nonsense – and it is not just the Lib/LabCon that indulge in these practices – Ukip are just as guilty.

At the end of his post AM poses two questions that he believes should be posed to every europhile in the country, a suggestion which, needless to say, I second:

  • Why does it require the surrender of control of our country, identity, money and self determination to an unelected and unaccountable power overseas to realise any supposed benefits?
  • Why can’t benefits be achieved through cooperation and agreements, without rule from Brussels?

In addition to those two questions for politicians, there is perhaps one that can be asked of the public:

  • Who, but a nation of idiots would continually fund a venal, unprincipled and dishonourable group to lie to them when the people of that nation are perfectly capable of doing that to/among themselves – and also save themselves £millions?

 

 


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2012
12/30

Category:
David's Musings

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COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

New Year Messages (2)

Following the first post on this subject, which featured Clegg, MilibandE and Farage, we now have that of David Cameron:

There is mention of “we” in this address and it is immediately necessary to ask of Cameron: what’s with this “we”? As with Clegg, Miliband and Farage, we are being informed what we must do in the future in order that yet another ideology can be ‘tried out’ on we guinea pigs – which if history is any guide will be yet another ideology ending in failure, the cost of which we will have to bear. Where was the voice of “we” when the details of what were vague promises in an election manifesto became reality, said reality bearing no relationship to what was promised?

Cameron says that he and his party are doing that which they are for those that like to work hard and get on in life – utter tosh, he is trying to create a situation wherein he and his party get re-elected once again in order that they can continue their hold on power. Is that not what all political parties attempt within the skewed form of democracy that they continue to insist is the only one available?

How much longer will the public continue to accept what is most definitely not a benign form of dictatorship?


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Further thoughts on Ukip/Farage/EU/Exit

With the appearance today of an “interview” with Nigel Farage which appeared in the Mail, there are those that have classed it as a “hatchet-job”, while the dyed-in-the-wool “party-faithful” have lauded it on Twitter for showing their leader as a “man-of-the-people”.

At the outset – and before the “party-faithful” pile in, accusing me of bias – allow me a personal summation of the man, someone I have met and spoken to whilst I was a member of Ukip. Yes, he has the ability to communicate with the “man-in-the-street”; yes he “talks” their language, saying a lot of things that they are themselves saying, consequently he has the ability to resonate with the public. On the downside let us consider: once you have heard one speech in public, you have probably heard them all; his “Jack-the-lad” persona undoubtedly has a public appeal, but when looking at potential party leaders, the public expects a certain amount of what may be termed “gravitas”, a factor sadly lacking with Farage; when answering questions, invariably every response is “EU-based”, a strategy which undoubtedly does “turn-off” sections of those to whom he should be appealing.

Another area wherein Nigel Farage and Ukip are missing what may be termed an open goal is educating the public on ‘matters-EU’. The Lib/Lab/Con have no wish to talk about ‘matters-EU’ and when, on the rare occasions they do, invariably what they say is either slanted pro-EU, misleading or totally incorrect. The public are ill-informed about the European Union; have no idea of its aims; understand nothing about ‘matters euro’; know nothing about what mechanisms are available whereby our membership of the EU could be terminated; have never once had it explained to them that some form of trading arrangements are necessary – and what the options might be – to continue imports and exports with the EU; have never had explained what “life after the EU” would comprise. Should not Farage and Ukip be talking about these matters? What better time than when the subject of the EU and our membership is almost a daily news item? What better opportunity than now to expose Andrea Leadsom and her Fresh Start Group – along with Cameron et all – as the false prophets that they are?

Let us now turn to Farage’s “New Year Message“. At 1:50 in the video, Farage states:

“I won’t believe Cameron is really serious in renegotiation unless he invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which is the only mechanism by which somebody who wanted to stay in the EU could actually begin a process to claw back some powers.”

Who on earth allowed him to utter such rubbish? Anybody who wanted to stay in the EU would not invoke Article 50, which is the means of giving notice to leave the EU.  As for “clawing back powers”, then there are two words that prevent that, namely’ “Acquis Communautaire”. This is the “acquired Community practice and powers”; the irreversible and irretrievable body of laws, policies and practices which have at any given time evolved in the EC/EU – note the two words “irreversible” and “irretrievable”.

Later, in this “New Year Message” “Soviet-style-misinformation-broadcast”, Farage lauds the percentage of votes his party obtained at the recent by-elections held at Corby and Rotherham. Where the latter is concerned, as this post shows, Labour, with an unpopular candidate and dysfunctional campaign, delivered a record low majority. It polled 9,866 votes – less than MacShane’s last majority – taking votes from only 15.6 percent of the electorate to win the seat. UKIP, which had an unusually high profile during the election after the “child snatching” case, only managed a distant second with 4,648 votes. BNP was third with 1,804. Respect took 1,778, followed by the Conservative party with 1,157, the Lib-Dems coming eighth.

Still on the subject of percentages, Farage mentions that in two polls his party achieved 14%, pushing the Liberal Democrats into fourth place. To put that into perspective, tonight an Opinium poll, on the Guardian website, puts Ukip at 15% – a result which prompted Mike Smithson, Political Betting, to promptly pour cold water on Ukip hopes by tweeting that the UKPR commons seat projections with those figures would produce a HoC of: LAB 381: CON 219: LD 24: UKIP 0. So the vagaries of FPTP provides a party polling 8% with 24 MPs and Ukip, on polling nearly twice that figure, with not one MP. Smithson also notes on twitter that since the Rotherham Westminster by-election the Tories have lost 5 council by-elections: 1 to LAB, 4 to the LDs and none to UKIP.

When considering the outpourings of Farage – and also, on twitter, those of ex-candidates and those supposedly ‘running’ the party – then Ukip is guilty of providing a mis-service to the public, their supporters and members; and cannot by any logic be described as an alternative , credible opposition party. It is undeniable that Ukip, bearing in mind the present state of this country, bearing in mind that the EU is almost a daily news item, should be polling percentage figures in the high 20s or even the lower 30′s. The fact that they are not can, reasonably, be explained by their lack of strategy, their lack of administration, coupled with a complete lack of political ‘nous’.

Some may consider the opinions that I have expressed as being ‘over-critical’ – they are not. They are simply a recitation of facts that are plain for anyone to see – if they care to open their eyes.

 


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Having made ones bed………

….one has to lie in it – as the old adage says.

Back in November 2010 the Swiss people, in a referendum, decided that they did not want foreign criminals held in their jails and at their expense, deciding that instead criminals should be deported. The Federal Government has been accused of ‘dragging their feet’ in implementing the result of the peoples decision, the implementation being something that the Federal Government has to do. The Local reports that the SVP has brought forward a new popular initiative, signed by 154,982 people, calling on the government to honour the result of a referendum held in November 2010, The new initiative is far more detailed than the original, and if passed would give the government less room for manoeuvre. The text specifies that expulsion of foreigners who committed murder, robbery or rape would be automatic, even on a first offence. Others facing expulsion would include “notorious and incorrigible” offenders whose actions “seriously affect order and public safety,”

The problem the Federal Government now has is the job of unpicking various treaties and agreements to which they signed Switzerland up, something which presents the Federal Government with what could be termed a severe headache. Oops.

What we are seeing here in action is “people power” – politicians doing something which the people are dead set against and the people saying”nope”, we’re not accepting that. Would that we in the UK had similar power – which of course we would were we to adopt the 6 Demands of the Harrogate Agenda.

 

 


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Liar, liar, pants on fire

“Liar Liar Pants On Fire” is a phrase that children like to scream at each other whenever they think the other is lying. They also like to scream it at adults who tell them fairy tales. The fact that adults do not copy their children is the reason that that yet more and more politicians and their sycophants are still able to ‘ply their trade’ – which is yet another reason this country is in the state it is where our democracy is concerned.

Richard North, EU Referendum, has posted on some articles that have appeared in the Guardian, all based on the “fear meme” that for the UK to leave the European Union would be to our country’s detriment. I would go further than Richard North and state that Mats Persson is not only a liar but a fool, one who knows not about that which he writes.

For example, Persson writes that in respect of Switzerland and that country’s bi-lateral arrangements and were we to follow, it would leave the UK at the mercy of the EU in that we would basically have no influence over EU laws but would be subject to all of them; and that that, by inference, would also be the case were we to follow the Norway option of becoming a member of EFTA. Neither is true, as will be shown later. It is of course more than possible that Persson is confusing that which happens once Article 50 is invoked and in particular the fact that under section 4 of that Article the Member State in question is excluded from having any input to proposed legislation during the 2-year-period. To achieve either option would involve invoking Article 50 of the TEU which, for the avoidance of doubt, states:

“1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.EN 30.3.2010 Official Journal of the European Union C 83.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.” (Emphasis mine)

For Persson to maintain the myth that were the UK to become a member of EFTA it would literally not be in the EU but run by it is utter tosh as has been admirably demonstrated by this post from Richard North. That one such as Persson is allowed to occupy the position he does without criticism in the MSM beggars belief – that Cameron allows Persson (and Leadsom) to continue their propoganda does not beggar belief!

What Persson also fails to mention is the point that Richard North makes in his latest article, namely that were the UK to leave the EU then other nations such as Denmark, Sweden and Finland may well follow in our wake which must increase the probability that the implosion of the EU is hastened.

The article in the Guardian by Mats Persson – a non-persson as far as I am concerned – to which Richard North links, is but part of the PR exercise being conducted by the left and those Europhiles (same animal?) that wish the EU membership status quo to prevail. Yet another article in this series is this one, again published in the Guardian and one that features such luminaries as Mandelson, Heseltine and Leon Brittan.

It is important to make the point and in this instance to repeat it, namely that were a referendum to be called, the ‘No’ campaign cannot – and must not – be left in the control of people like Mats Persson and Open Europe, nor Matthew Elliot. It becomes even more important that the Harrogate Agenda becomes involved and – in the best of all worlds – becomes the ‘lead’ of that campaign. It is also vitally important that a coalition of voices to combat the present PR ‘Pro-EU Campaign’ that the Guardian, along with Open Europe, appears to be spearheading, is promptly ‘nipped in the bud’. Unfortunately, in view of the New Year Message issued by Nigel Farage – and the ‘tosh’ contained therein, especially in Farage’s interpretation of Article 50 of the TEU – there is not much chance, nor point, in allowing Ukip to take the lead

Just saying……….

 

 

 


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Engaging with the public (not)

Brandon Lewis, Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth, put the following up on twitter:

“@BrandonLewis Labour always seem to forget, council tax is not their money, not govt money but is the money of hard working council tax payers.”

I responded to this by tweeting:

“@BrandonLewis And the Tories are different? Since all taxation is the money of hard working families shudn’t they decide on what it is spent?”

Following that question with another:

“@BrandonLewis Hows about adoption of the 6 Demands? >>> bit.ly/TuuIxJ No? Thought not! #HarrogateAgenda”

Almost two hours later, acknowledgement and/or response is most noticeable by their absence. Have not our political class cried ‘crocodile tears’ about the fact the public do not participate in politics? What is the point of so doing if politicians then ignore, what for them, may be difficult questions?

This is not the first occasion that a Member of Parliament or MEP has chosen to ignore a question from me posed on twitter (Hannan and Carswell are immediate examples that spring to mind and both accused me of being discourteous – me, discourteous?). At least David Cameron had a modicum of courtesy in writing to inform me that he flatly refused to answer any more correspondence on ‘matters outstanding’.

Brandon Lewis is obviously in good company when it comes to ignoring members of the public and in his case his selection for the constituency he represents was a stroke of genius by his party. In order to explain that assertion it becomes ‘Strictly’ incumbent on me to quote Darcey Bussell (for the final word) as where Brandon Lewis and the throwing out of statements and then ignoring comment on them: he has a great mouth, yar?


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New Year Messages

It is that time of year once again when Leaders of political parties give us their messages – and some may say their horror stories – of what lies ahead for us. Clegg and MilibandE have published theirs, although no doubt we will have to wait a few days for that of Cameron.

There we see Clegg espousing his ideology of a fairer society and what being British means and MilibandE espousing his of One Nation, each of them informing us how, were they to gain power, they will allow our lives to develop within rules that they will impose. Last year Cameron was promoting his ideology of the Big Society and all working together, a message little different in content of those this year from Clegg and MilibandE.

It is indeed a tad rich for three men to pontificate about what being British means, about the need to become One Nation, about the need to be part of a Big Society when all three have done their best to emasculate the word British and all that it means; and emasculate the nation thus also emasculating any sense of nationhood.

There is, however, an underlying lesson to be learnt and MilibandE, no doubt unwittingly, hit the proverbial nail on the head when, two years ago in his New Year message, he said:

“Many people feel powerless in the face of [these] decisions that will affect their lives, families and communities. The political forces in Whitehall which have made these choices appear forbidding and unheeding.”

Continuing:

“Labour’s challenge and duty in 2011 is to be people’s voice in tough times and show that these are changes born of political choice by those in power not necessity.”

People do feel powerless because they can see no way whereby they can stop their lives being orchestrated to the nth degree by the political class who, far from appearing forbidding and unheeding, actually are forbidding and unheeding. People do not need a political party to be their voice, they each have their own voice and, given the right circumstances, are perfectly capable of having it heard. People do not have to accept changes born of political choice by those in power, changes with which they vehemently disagree – especially changes to aspects of their lives that are no business of the political class.

During the course of 2013 these will be expanded upon whereby it will be shown there is another type of democracy, one that will allow the people to shed their present status of being but vassals of the political class.

Update: Now Farage has joined in!

This is the first time, to my knowledge, that Nigel Farage has acknowledged the importance of Article 50 (at 1;55 in) although I take issue with his assertion that Article 50 is the only mechanism whereby somebody who wanted to stay in the EU could actually begin the process to claw back some powers. Maybe he should have thought about that which he said?


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