Category Archive: David’s Musings

Oh, the irony

At the moment our revered leader, David Cameron, is attending a meeting of the European Council at which he is discussing, among other matters, the thorny question of the EU budget, the EU with perfect timing announces a ‘rebalancing’ of past contributions.

This is covered in the Financial Times, the Telegraph and the Mail, with varying degrees of hyperbole. In the Telegraph a Treasury official is quoted as saying that it is not acceptable to change the fees at a moments notice; and John Redwood in the Mail being quoted as saying that David Cameron should reject the idea and that we {the UK] hold all the cards as we raise the tax revenue in the UK and are responsible for spending it, continuing that this latest demand is unacceptable and illegal as far as the United Kingdom is concerned.

Perhaps the Treasury official concerned – and John Redwood – need to read  Article 10, (4) to (7) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1150/2000 of 22 May 2000 implementing Decision 2007/436/EC, on the system of the Union’s own resources?

Ineffectual bluster springs to mind as this ‘rebalancing’ requirement has been known about for sometime and coupled with the fact Cameron has been trumpeting how much better off the United Kingdom is in relation to other Member States, it does not take more than one brain cell to realise the UK was going to suffer a hit.

I sometimes wonder whether our political class undergo a total lobotomy on entering politics.

 

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

The Freedom Association (2)

Once again I find it necessary to cross swords with The Freedom Association, this time over the content of an article that appears under their banner and authored by their Campaign Manager, Andrew Allison.

Commenting on the fact that there was a debate in the House of Commons today calling for the repeal of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the article continues by maintaining that the benchmark required to call an early general election is nigh on impossible to achieve, thus taking power away from our elected representatives and putting it firmly in the hands of the Executive.

Readers will be aware that I have written on this subject previously, having had first-hand experience of being politically disenfranchised. The purpose of electing an MP is to represent you and hold the government of the day to account; plus,where necessary, take forward your grievances about policies adopted by said government.

The position in which I find myself is similar to anyone whose MP is a member of the government, be that Secretary of State, Minister of State, etc right down to those serving as Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS). It is a condition of holding those positions that the holder will always back the decisions of the government regardless of the source of any comment/complaint/argument. To be added to this group must be those from the back benches who hope to be promoted to ministerial office and will therefore support their party come what may; those willing to vote as their whips tell them; plus those who support their party by rote and thus can be classified as nodding donkeys.

Where the foregoing is concerned, my Member of Parliament (the Legislature) is David Cameron – but he is also the Prime Minister (the Executive). This begs the question of how can one man hold himself to account on behalf of third party as there must be an immediate conflict of interest. As I was informed, during one such meeting with my MP, where national policy conflicts with local policy, then national policy reigns supreme. 

Fixed Term Parliaments or not, when one political party – or a Coalition – holds a majority of seats in the House of Commons power always has resided with the Executive due to the lack of separation of powers twixt the Legislature and the Executive and one would have thought that a think tank would have been aware of this basic point.

(For an expanded explanation with regard to the need for a separation of powers, go read this.)

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

Flexcit at Dawlish

A few weeks ago readers will remember that I posted notice of an event to be held at Dawlish and which was organised by the Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB), The film below, which runs for 32 minutes, features the highlight of that meeting; a talk by /Richard North about the basics of Flexcit.

For those (hopefully) wishing to know more, the entire document can be read here.


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

More political and journalistic crap

UKIP’s appeal to former Labour voters is not about policy. It’s emotional. How else can we explain people voting for NHS privatisation, tax cuts for the wealthy and attacks on working people.

Source

How do we explain then that Labour’s appeal about the cost of living crisis; taxing the rich for the benefit of the poor; promoting equality and diversity coupled with more state spending to benefit the needy is not ‘emotional’? 

Even the dire novelty record Ukip Calypso unsettles serious politicians. “Leaders committed a cardinal sin, open the borders let them all come in,” run the lyrics. If you haven’t heard it, imagine Tomorrow Belongs to Me from Cabaret rewritten by a group of Seventies nightclub comics who say “no offence” after they have said something deeply offensive, which is often. Who cares? Most of Westminster, that’s who.

Source

If the average person in this country is not offended – and I have yet to see any evidence that they are – just who is this ‘Westminster’ who are? 650 politicians (plus a few more journalistic hangers-on)  out of approximately 65million – and that percentage is? There is also the point that if our politicians are now so powerless that the only thing they can pontificate on is some obscure satirical record, then just why do we need them and their exorbitant costs? Are they not creating a smokescreen to cover up their impotence as rulers of this country?

Some questions to prove that you shouldn’t believe – or put too much weight on – all that you read.

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

Have we lost our sense of humour?

From the CoffeeHouse ‘lunchtime expresso’ we learn that former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read has apologised for his Ukip calypso song amid claims that it is racist. The song, which the musician performs with a mock Carribean accent, drew complaints from people including Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who branded it ‘distasteful’. The DJ has now requested that his record company remove the single from sale, saying: ‘I am so sorry that the song unintentionally caused offence. It was never meant to, and I apologise unreservedly.’

So one Labour politician chuka his rattle outta de pram over what is a satirical record, consequently the singer apologises and asks his record company to withdraw it from sale? Is not part of British humour poking fun at others? If a song is written in calypso format then where is the harm in performing it in the style of those that originated it?

I do not recall any outcry at the time Lance Percival performed topical calypsos (with a mock Caribbean accent) on That Was The Week That Was. Neither do I recall any outcry at the antics of Charlie Williams (The Comedians) whose humour was  often at his own expense and particularly his colour – and who would respond to heckling by saying: If you don’t shut up, I’ll come and move in next door to you.

Umunna considers himself a Brit – to which one can only say: Chuka, me ol flower, first, what the hell has it to do with you; and second, if you don’t like our humour then find a country whose humour you do like.

 

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

2014
10/22

Category:
David's Musings

TAG:

COMMENTS:
1 Comment »

Hello, there must be an election in the offing

Following the castigation of Cameron by the Portuguese Popinjay, the British media appears to be working itself into another frenzy by mixing various ingredients and thus producing a potage of mush.

We have the usual journalistic ‘experts’ all adding their two pennyworth: George Parker (FinancialTimes); Polly Toynbee (Guardian); Daniel Hannan (Mail); Philip Johnston (Telegraph); Rafael Behr (Guardian); and James Kirkup & Bruno Waterfield (Telegraph) – the latter being an ‘interview’ with the Portuguese Popinjay.

The one subject which is occupying all their literary output is that of immigration in relation to the British people, but not I would suggest for the reasons they state. George Parker writes that Britain used to be an ardent advocate of the principle [free movement of people], recognising that a single market in goods, services and capital required a fluid labour market. That recognition may well have been held – and no doubt remains so – among the business fraternity and our political class but it has not, to my knowldge, been uppermost in the minds of the British public.

What has stirred the British resentment about immigration, aided to a certain extent by Ukip, is the change to our country’s society coupled with what is perceived to be an element of unfairness in sentencing where breaches of the law is concerned. Add into the mix the feeling, prevalent among the elderly, that ‘their country’ is no longer ‘theirs’; that they feel alienated, especially when the area in which they live has been overrun by immigrants; and it is obvious that a underlying resentment lies waiting to be ignited.

Polly Toynbee plays the ‘in Europe to trade with Europe’ card for all it is worth with dire threats that business would vacate the United Kingdom in droves were we to cease our membership of the European Union. In this she is not alone as she is backed by Europhile politicians and, at the forefront, organistions like Open Europe, Business for Britain and the Centre for European Reform. The fact that ceasing the UK’s membership of the European Union does not mean that trade barriers would immediately need to be erected is neither here nor there to them in that they ignore and do not therefore wish to acknowledge any opposing suggestion.

Rafael Behr writes an anti-Ukip article and maintains that Ukip sells cries of protest to people with deep-rooted problems who feel voiceless – er, is that not what all political parties do, especially Labour with its One Nation meme aimed at bashing the rich? Yet is that not what David Cameon is doing by rediscovering something he made much of in May 2010 when he seized the keys to Numbr 10; namely that his boss is the British electorate to whom he is answerable? If only, I hear the cry – and yes, it is indeed ironic that our political class suddenly remember the basis on which true democracy is founded; but only when votes are required to prolong their careers.

Grant Shapps (he of whom Barroso appears not to have heard) writes in City AM and repeats the falsehoods that Cameron vetoed a treaty, cut the EU Budget and removed the UK from any liability of further Eurozone bailouts – and Shapps has the cheek to castigate Barroso about spreading propaganda? Far better had Shapps castigated Barroso for his statement that  leaders should lead, not go along behind public opinion – but then, understandably, for those who believe in representative democracy the people are just a pain in the proverbial rear.

In their desire to cling to power our political class are masters of the art of sophistry and consequently exhibit disdain for the views of the electorate. Writing about Cameron’s suggestion that he is considering a cap on immigration encapsulating a points based system, Jeremy Warner (Telegraph) hits the nail on the head when he writes: ……..  Mr Cameron has in fact made no such commitment. In fact, he’s merely suggested the idea that some kind of points system might be up for negotiation, even though he knows it will never be agreed. It’s just a way of getting him through to the other side of the election.

This rather neatly leads on to the subject of a referendum on this country’s membership of the European Union and an article by Michael Fabricant (Guardian). True to form we have another illustration of a politician writing about a subject that the blogosphere has long since discussed and about which some bloggers are attempting to do something.

Owen Paterson is held to be a politician willing to speak the unspeakable and has so done recently about energy and the supply thereof. Well, perhaps he might do the country a service were he to speak about falsehoods uttered by his political colleagues, such as Cameron did not veto a treaty, that he did not cut the EU budget, that he did not rid us totally from eurozone bailouts. Perhaps he might wish to show, as Jeremy Warner writes, that big  business and finance have always been a good deal keener on political and economic union than the populations they answer to, if for no other reason than it is supposed to be good for business – and that there is a way by which they can have their cake and eat it.

Now it may be held that I am being unfair to single out one politician among many, but if this country is to be given a fair and thus unbiased education about matters EU, democracy, governance and politics in general then a politician is going to be forced to forget about his/her career – he/she is going to have to level with the British public; and that goes for our media too.

 

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

Myths to the left, myths to the right

If we consider Cameron is of the right (I know, I know) and Barroso is of the left, then we are indeed assailed on all sides by myths – and for myths read crap.

We have Cameron stating that he intends imposing a cap on immigration from the EU incorporating a points based system and Barroso (on Marr – starts @45:35) stating that that would infringe the free movement of people, but then maintaining that the UK needs to be ‘in’ the EU in order to have any influence in the EU.

We then have Farage being quoted as ‘thanking Barroso for making it crystal clear that free movement of people is a non negotiable part of membership of the EU – well thanks a bundle, Nigel, but those of us who had any understanding of this subject hardly needed Barroso to confirm that – and neither should Farage if he had the slightest knowledge of the subject.

When you then have ‘idiot’ Members of Parliament telling us that control of our borders should be a ‘red-line’ issue in any renegotiation of our membership of the UK, then one can only hold one’s head in one’s hands in despair. Total despair then comes to the fore when it is realised that Members of Parliament are those who are supposed to be so knowledgeable that they thus are in a position whereby they hold the future of our nation in their hands.

Cameron is ‘all mouth and no trousers’ at the moment as he will do and say whatever is necessary to win Rochester, even if it means resorting to what he knows best, namely lying to the electorate – and Barroso; well Barroso will shortly be ‘yesterday’s man’, when Juncker assumes office, so why should he, too, change the habit of of a lifetime? In the Guardian Carswell summarises Cameron’s plan as follows:

It’s a smoke-and-mirrors referendum. His advisers told me the plan; it’s to work out from focus groups and pollsters what it would take to get the soft ‘outers’ and the undecideds to stay in, to offer them that, and once that hurdle is cleared to stick with the status quo.

Then of course we suffer the ignominy of being forced to watch, on our television screens, the Prime Minister of this country being informed, quite blatantly, by some Portuguese Popinjay what he can and cannot do. The myth that the United Kingdom would not have any influence and could not negotiate with other countries has been laid to rest elsewhere – and you can bet your last penny on the fact that this will be echoed loudly by those wishing to remain in the European Union.

Carswell may well believe that Cameron’s plan is smoke and mirrors – personally I believe it more like the pea-souper fogs we used to get back in the 50s where you could not see a hand held 12 inches in front of your face.

Update: For those readers interested the text of Barroso’s Chatham House Speech can be found here.


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

That’s another fine mess you’ve got me into*

Open Europe has an article relating to the intended judicial review that it is reported Jacob Rees-Mogg and Stuart Wheeler intend to pursue. In this article they refer to a legal opinion and quote part thereof in relation to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and the European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO)

In March this year I emailed Europa House, London (Representation of the European Commission in the UK), on a separate matter, namely that of fraud and the EPPO:

Dear Mr. Lamb,

It is the stated intention of the UK Government to opt out of the EPPO.
As part of the EPPO ‘set-up’ it is incumbent on Member States opting in to provide a designated European Prosecutor who would carry out fraud investigations and prosecutions in each Member States aided by a team of national staff, with each Member State presumably being liable to fund those personnel, their offices and their activities. It is also noted that national law will apply where punishment is concerned.
Bearing in mind any UK firm using EU money (for example an engineering company which secures a contract on an EU-funded infrastructure project, an agricultural  business in receipt of EU subsidy, or any consultancy or university engaged in research projects) is liable to undergo such an investigation.
When the UK has opted out, what legal basis and/or obligation is there for the UK to accept a fraud investigation carried out by a body of which it is not a member, conducting a process to which, by nature of its opt out,it is not a signatory?
When the UK has opted out, who provides and funds a designated European Prosecutor, their offices,his/her staff and their activities for the UK?
Thanking you in anticipation of your response,

David Phipps

The following response was received:

Dear Mr Phipps,

I put your questions to the colleagues who are familiar with the Commission’s proposal  on the EPPO, and they provided the following responses:

 Answer to Q1:  A firm located in UK and misusing EU-funds would not be subject to an EPPO-investigation, as the UK will not participate in the EPPO. For the UK, with the establishment of the EPPO, the current arrangements would continue to apply – i.e. the firm located in the UK would be subject to investigations by the UK national authorities and – as the case may be – OLAF. A domestic UK criminal investigation may arise as result of OLAF’s recommendations or the EPPO’s request for cooperation.

 Answer to Q2:  As the UK has opted out there would be no EPPO structures in UK and no UK-related activities of the EPPO which would need to be funded.

 Best regards 

Jeff Lamb

Research Assistant 
Political Section 
Representation of the European Commission in the UK

Perhaps it is time for a little game of ‘if’. If the Coalition is defeated in Parliament and thus decides not to proceed with its intention to opt back into 35 areas of EU Crime and Policing laws; and that we maintain our ‘opt out’ from the EPPO,  just what ‘jurisdiction’ will the EPPO have in relation to the UK? If we do not participate. or thus accept the authority of the European Court of Justice then  the EPPO,  where any decisions, statements, requests etc that may come from that source, can have no effect on – or ‘force’ within – the UK. In other words, that well-known response of the British – Foxtrot Oscar – can be given.

Unfortunately were the government of the day to ignore the will of Parliament and exercise their prerogative - and thus override the will of Parliament – and decide to opt back-in to these 35 measures then the opinion of M’Learned Friends is quite correct – ie we would be legally bound to acknowledge said requests from an EPPO of a member state where an EAW is concerned; even though that would require the acknowledgement of the existence of an Office out of which we had opted.

(And don’t let us digress into the question about a legislature being overruled by an executive because that then leads into the question of a debate about democracy,  separation of powers and what I have termed ‘democratised dictatorship’).

From the above it becomes obvious that, were the second scenario to happen, any UK involvement by the forces of law and order would incur costs. But we were assured, were we not, that as the UK has opted out of the EPPO there would be no UK-related activities of the EPPO which would need to be funded.

And the political class have not landed us – or possibly our elected dictatorship – may well land us in another fine mess?

But it is not just our real government that is telling us one thing, but delivering another – witness Theresa May. The following email has been received – and no doubt received by many others:

People who work hard and do the right thing deserve to feel safe in their homes and in their communities.

Under Labour, that wasn’t the case. Police officers were wrapped in red tape, unable to do their job – and people didn’t feel safe on the streets.

So since the last election, we’ve been working through our action plan to tackle crime:freeing the police to do their job, giving them the powers they need, and protecting communities with tougher sentences for criminals.

And our plan is working, with crime down by more than a fifth since the election:

Graphic - safer, more secure communities

But we need to keep going – and we need everyone to get behind our plan. So please add your name today to show you’re backing our plan.

With your support, we can keep making our streets and our communities safer. So please sign your name today:

Button - I'll back the plan to tackle crime

Thanks,

Theresa May
Home Secretary

What we are being asked to sign up to is, by inference, opting back into the 35 measures on EU Crime and Policing because what is missing from this email is her statement to the House of Commons in which she said that the  question is whether we believe we need these measures in order to be able to keep the public safe and ensure people are brought to justice or not. We may (no pun intended) believe in tougher policing and sentencing, yet also believe that we should not cede aspects of policing and justice to the EU.

Transparency? Pah!

* A reference to a catchphrase in the Laurel & Hardy films.

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

One question begats another

It will not have escaped the notice of those avid followers of Prime Minister’s Questions that among those posed today was one by Douglas Carswell on the question of the recall of MPs by those they are supposed to represent - @27:30.

I am somewhat surprised that as a believer in democracy – so he would have us believe – Carswell did not tack on to his question that if we are to have a recall of MPs, should we not also have the right to a recall of PMs by any member of the electorate?

PMs are after all, thanks to the vagaries of our current system of democracy, not only supposed to be a representative of their constituents but also a representative of all the electorate.

Just a thought……………………………..

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

2014
10/15

Category:
David's Musings

TAG:

COMMENTS:
2 Comments »

Sorry MPs, there is an easy answer

Simon Jenkins begins his article on the matter of Scottish devolution in the Guardian by quoting the words of Walter Scott: Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive. Calling for a constitutional convention to resolve the problem, he pleads that politicians be kept out of it – if only that were possible.

Having read the Hansard record of the debate yesterday on the same question, one can only come to the conclusion that with all their practise, our politicians have most definitely succeeded in tangling the web they have created even further.

Leaving to one side the initial impression that our politicians appear to love the sound of their own voices, what becomes obvious is that recognising the various problems they face as a result of the Scottish referendum, they remain constrained by the self-imposed manacles by which they choose to be bound for the simple reason that it retains their hold on power.

Sadiq Khan, making the initial response to the opening statement by William Hague, acknowledges that there is an anti-politics mood among the electorate, resulting in a growing unhappiness with the ‘Westminster Elite’ and with the way the country is run. Maintaining that there now exists an opportunity for radical change as the British people wish to reshape how their country is run and that they will not accept a top-down, imposed solution, Khan continues that because England comprises 80% of the United Kingdom there is no easy federal solution to the question of English votes for English laws (EVEL).

Robert Syms (Cons; Poole – col 244-246) is against devolution as it would be a stepping stone to independence (not only for the countries that comprise the United Kingdom, but also the people – Ed.) In his ‘input to the debate, Syms cites his belief that  local government is much better at controlling money and decisions – really, Mr. Syms? Allow me to digress for a moment. Oxfordshire County Council had a plan to build a link-road in Witney to relieve congestion accessing Witney town centre, but were over ruled by a Panning Inspector who favoured an alternative solution, namely one known as ‘Shores Green’. Faced with accusations of delay over implementing this, we now learn that Oxfordshire County Council used some of this ‘ring-fenced’ money for other purposes and now plead they no longer have the necessary financial resources to proceed.

Syms intervention in this debate was not helped by the question to him by Angus Macneil (SNP) who queried whether full fiscal autonomy for Scotland was the next logical step – while seeming to ignore that if full fiscal autonomy was logical for Scotland, was it thus not logical for England.

Cathy Jamieson (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (Lab/Co-op) – col: 247 – then made the point that criticism had been made that the Scottish Parliament has ‘soaked up’ various powers to the centre – quelle surprise; is not that not what representative democracy is about – the continuance of a democratised dictatorship?

John Denham (Southampton, Itchen) (Lab) – col: 250-251 – makes an intervention maintaining that the fundamental problem is that the Commons cannot play both roles; that it  it cannot be both an English legislature and a Commons for the United Kingdom; that at the moment, its priority is to be a Commons for the United Kingdom, to the disadvantage of democracy in England. A more fundamental point that Denham elects to forget, where the question of democracy is concerned, is that a parliament cannot comprise, simultaneously, members of the Legislature and the Executive.

When one reads the Hansard report of this debate – and while lengthy and thus time consuming, it does need to be read – one can be forgiven for asking just who are these people to decide our future, exhibiting as they do a total lack of knowledge for the subject matter in question?

If there is to be a constitutional convention, just who takes part in said convention? Wikipedia states that a constitutional convention is one in which a meeting of delegates takes place to adopt a new constitution or revise an existing constitution. Just who comprises these ‘delegates’? Politicians and members of ‘civil society’? Where comes the voice of the people, because just as a country belongs to its people, so does its constitution. Yes, we need those with the ability and knowledge to draw up a new constitution, those whose intellect is far better than ours, but at the end of the day should it not be the people’s decision whether to accept or reject their suggestion?

Digressing again, as I do, our politicians are keen to impress on us the need for equality. Where is there equality, at the supposed seat of democracy, when those partaking find that their input is steadily reduced from 6 minutes to three minutes? Is it not a simple arithmetic excercise to divide the number of speakers into the time available, thus ensuring each participant receives equal opportunity? If politicians cannot solve that simple problem, before they start, how the hell do they hope to solve the more intricate question of constitutional – and democratic – equality; and why should we put our trust in them to so do?

In conclusion, reverting to Sadiq Khan’s original assertion that there is no easy answer to what is a federal question in respect of EVEL – a question studiously ignored by every speaker who followed him – oh, yes there is!

They just need to ‘get on board’ with The Harrogate Agenda!

 


Share
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Follow
twitterrsstwitterrss

Hosted By PDPS Internet Hosting

© Witterings from Witney 2012