Category Archive: David’s Musings

Wasting news

It has been said elsewhere that nothing is ‘news’ until our media decide to inform us of it – unfortunately why the Telegraph decided to regurgitate news that is 4 months old heaven knows, especially as the Mail ‘covered’ the story at the time together with the FT even earlier.

On 2nd July the EU issued a Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directives 2008/98/EC on waste, 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste, 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste, 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Setting to one side the question of fines and Eric Pickles assertion that he would fight the new proposals and what he termed the re-imposition of bureaucracy via the back door of Europe, if one actually reads the Proposal one cannot but be struck by the Stalinesque idea of targets and plans. As an example, consiider the following (Article 3:9)

Member States shall take measures to prevent food waste generation along the whole food supply chain. The measures shall endeavour to ensure that food waste in the manufacturing, retail/distribution, food service/hospitality and household sectors is reduced by at least 30% between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2025.

The idea that it is possible to legislate with a view to limiting food waste in the hospitality sector, let alone in the household, beggars belief.

Of course this Proposal will be presented by the EU as part of their ‘REFIT’ programme, simplifying and cutting red tape; unfortunately, had the media (and Eric Pickles) bothered to do their homework they would have seen that the EU was but complying with UNECE ‘requirements’.

 

 

 

 

 


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Just level with us – please?

In the Sunday Times today we see an article (£), authored by Tim Shipman and Marie Woolf, headlined: PM: I’ll ban benefits for EU immigrants.

This article also contains news that Owen Paterson, in a speech tomorrow at Business for Britain, is to: challenge the prime minister to formally set out ahead of the general election how he would quit the EU; according to, the article reports, a source familiar with his thinking (one wonders just who that might be – but I digress). The article also contains a quote from John Redwood, which repeats an oft-made demand, that: I want Britain to take back control of its own borders and welfare system and the best way would be by agreement with our European partners and by clarificatory legislation in the UK, to amend the 1972 European Communities Act.

Comment ahead of Paterson’s speech would be pointless as it would rely on conjecture, consequently one must wait for the text; however I would suggest that unless Paterson hints at how he would extricate this country from the EU – and his plan for so doing – then his speech will be no better than that of any other supposed eurosceptic politician. It is all very well stating that invoking Article 50 would concentrate minds in Brussels, but invoking that Article is a ‘one-way-street’; and there seems little point in so doing unless he has a plan. It is reasonable to assume that if Paterson is requesting Cameron to set out how he would leave the EU, then so should Paterson.

As for Redwood, one can only sigh at what appears to be his naivety. Leaving to one side that it is now well known that EU law has primacy not only over national but also constitutional law, just what is it that this man does not understand about any amendment to the four freedoms and that any such amendment of them would require treaty change. In any event the repetition by politicians that Parliament is sovereign will not be solved by ‘cherry-picking’ the return of some aspects of the powers ceded. Until Parliament has regained total control of its ability to decide all laws within its territory, it never can consider itself sovereign.

While one can sigh at Redwood, it is also possible to sigh at the electorate to a certain extent. In today”s Sunday Times there is also a report of a poll carried out by YouGov between November 20-21 which posed the question: Which are the most important issues in deciding your vote at the next general election. Questioning 1,970 adults they found that 44% said the economy; 41% immigration; 38% health; and 22% Europe. But then when one considers our political class have gone out of their way to keep the electorate in the dark about our membership of the EU (and democracy per se) it is little wonder that the most important issue garners such little attention.

 

 


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Purely as an ‘aside’………

We all know that politicians love to jump on a bandwagon, while extremely quick to negate adverse publicity – but:

Ed Miliband’s attempt to escape from the adverse publicity about the faux-pas committed by Emily Thornberry – and it was a faux-pas’ – is pure spin:

In view of which one can only suggest that he ‘spins’ on something that he is very prone to raise

Raised-finger

 

 


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Transparency

Earlier today Frans Timmermans , who up-to-date readers will know is Juncker’s ‘Right-Hand-Man’, tweeted the following:

Gov’ts (sic) used to say to public “trust me”; public now says “show me”. We at @EU_Commission want to show: we’ll be transparent about meetings.

to which I responded:

Transparency: does that mean full minutes published of all EU Council mtngs & EU Commission mtngs?

in response to which, as one might expect, only silence has resulted.

I raise this (bear with me) as an interesting article has appeared on EUobserver about European Commission long-term plans to create an entirely new EU boarder (sic) guard service with an independent command and control centre.

The article to which I link states that: while details are scant, a EU source said setting up such a supra-national border agency that goes beyond the remit of the current EU border agency Frontex would be twenty years in the making. It continues that: a commission financed feasibility study completed over the summer has put forward a three-phase approach in creating the so-called European System of Border Guards

Each successive phase (a summary of said phases is contained in the EUobserver article) is a step forward in centralising control and surveillance of the EU’s borders to an agency manned by EU personnel, which is independent from the respective national authorities.

The EUobserver article also states that Member States, in a June council meeting, had backed the idea of having an EU-wide border guard system to enhance border controls and surveillance. Presuming I have located the pertinent EU Council Conclusions (those of 27/28 June) they actually state: in the context of the long-term development of Frontex, the possibility of setting up a European system of border guards to enhance the control and surveillance capabilities at our external borders should be studied (page 4).

As a matter of record, where the EUobserver article quotes the remarks of EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos speaking about the creation of a European System of Border Guards in the speech delivered at the European Security Forum 2014, the text of what was said can be seen here.

Currently the UK has an opt-out of the Schengen Area, yet attention is drawn to the words of the EU Council Conclusions quoted above: at our external borders should be studied. With both the Conservative and Labour Parties intent on opting back into aspects of the European Arrest Warrant, the question has to be asked: just when would they decide to opt back in to some aspects of a EU-wide border guard service?

To return to the aspect of ‘transparency’ with which I began this article, Frans Timmermans is obviously all for it – as is David Cameron. Did he not, in the Foreward to the Coalition Programme for Government, write:

And we are both committed to turning old thinking on its head and developing new approaches to government. For years, politicians could argue that because they held all the information, they needed more power. But today, technological innovation has – with astonishing speed – developed the opportunity to spread information and decentralise power in a way
we have never seen before. So we will extend transparency to every area of public life. (emphasis mine)

After every European Council meeting, a Prime Minister has to give a report to the House of Commons on that meeting, informing the House of what was discussed. While the UK is not part of Schengen, should his report to the House on the 30th June not have contained the fact that the possibility of setting up a European system of border guards was to be studied?

So much for extending transparency to every area of public life.

 


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David Cameron vs Captain Euro

One is forgiven for thinking that this storyline is stretching things a tad ; lets face it, it would not take one minute of intensive coaching – Cameron has been trying to sell us the idea for years now.

Not only does Captain Euro indulge in the myth that David Cameron is an anti-federalist but also maintains that the Norway Option is not an Option, repeating the lie that that country has no voice over the formulation of EU law.

Then of course we have Juncker and the British Question (misquoting Winston Churchill).

and so this crap continues; which leads one to question the level of intelligence of those at whom it is aimed.

 

 

 

 


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Ed Miliband’s ‘Klass’ warfare

Ed Miliband started his party’s PR meme with his dogma about equality viz-a-viz the rich and the poor – and it seems we now have another case of the ‘biter bit’. In what may well become a soundbite of the 2015 General Election he was confronted by what may be termed a ‘Klass Act’:

Ed Miliband: The NHS is crying out for resources, we’ve got to make it more efficient, but let’s be frank about this, we’ve got to face the fact that the NHS is going backwards under this government, and it can’t survive with just the resources that it has.

Myleene Klass: But why? Aren’t there other options to save the NHS? Is that your only option? You might as well just tax me on this glass of water. You can’t just point at things and tax them. You need to have a better strategy and say ‘why is the NHS in this mess in the first place?

Here is a clip of the exchange:

But is that not what all governments do: point a finger at something – and tax it?

Governments of all hues are continually on a search for more money to fund their grandiose programmes as they have no money of their own. Ronald Reagan famously summed up all governments views on raking in money:

If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

For example, because governments do not ‘understand’ immigration per se and that you can’t throw open a country’s borders and not suffer adverse effects where public services are concerned (health, education and welfare costs), the only recourse remaining to government is more taxation to pay for the increased uptake.

Unfortunately governments have now enmeshed themselves in so many treaties and agreements that their hands are tied – to the extent that even if they wished to escape those constraints, to so do would be a complex exercise. Couple that with the fact that, as I wrote yesterday, to solve a problem one has first to identify the root causes of that problem – and governments appear to have no wish, nor ability, to even begin that process – what we now have is an ever increasing cost spiral.

One day the penny will drop with the general public that not only are our problems due to placing idiots, whose only claim to fame is the possession of a PPE, into positions from which they run the country, but also to the ramifications of Parkinson’s Law – so admirably explained here (and which is a ‘must read’).

Governments continually inform us that their wish is to cut taxation, yet governments love spending money – in which case logic dictates that the second negates the first and therefore the first is an unachievable objective. There is only one way in which taxation can be cut (and brought under control) and that is when the penny does drop with the general public and they embrace the idea of ‘Referism’.

 


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A politician jumping on another bandwagon?

Today being the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, EU Commissioner for Transpor Violeta Bulc has pledged to make road safety a priority in EU transport policy. Not too sure how she is going to do this as, for example, speed limits currently are a competence of Member States – but hey, who knows what is in the minds of a politician; bearing in mind of course that any aspect of transport is an EU competence?

True to form we have Shadow Roads Minister, Richard Burden, posting this article on road safety and how any Labour government would re-impose ‘controls’ on the basis, he maintains, that what gets measured gets done. Really? Were not ‘controls’ in place at Stafford Hospital or in Rotherham; and in the latter example children did ‘get done’ – but I digress.

Just under a year ago Mary Creagh, then with Burden’s brief, had ideas of her own – ideas which only told half the story. Since then wp.29, working under the auspices of UNECE, have introduced measures of their own to increase HGV safety – yet Creagh, who should have been aware of those developments, makes no mention of them, thus leading us to believe that some of them would have been an initiative of her party.

The EU has already legislated about various aspects of road safety. as can be seen here; and as stated above it would seem that they may well intend adding to their powers.

 

 

 

 


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2014
11/17

Category:
David's Musings

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More ‘head in the sand’ from our political class

A few days ago the Independent gave us the news of a report issued by the Political & Constitution Reform Select Committee (P&CRSC), the actual report being accessible here. Readers will find mention made in the Select Committee report of a ‘new’ Magna Carta, something about which I wrote on the 5th of this month.

In their attempts to solve the problem of low public participation in politics and thus in voting, the Select Committee have committed what may be called a cardinal error: they have failed to realise that when a problem exists, in order to solve it, first it is necessary to discern what the root cause of the problem actually is; coupled with their failure to define the subject matter of their deliberations.

There is much wordage about the usual reasons that are put forward for the problem of low electorate participation in politics, together with the usual solutions; compulsory voting; extending the franchise to 16 & 17 year-olds, increasing the participation by the BME and other sections of society. Above all there is much mention of the word ‘democracy; – and it is here that they fail dismally as they make no attempt to define the word.

The Select Committee even had a clue to the problem when they acknowledged that the electorate feel disconnected from Westminster and felt their vote made no difference – and still they were unable to recognise said clue. The report even contains a statement by the Minister to the Constitution stating: There is no one quick fix. If there was we would have implemented it already. (page 80)

The political class are wedded to the idea of representative democracy and fail to acknowledge the defects that it contains. Not only that, but they have obviously shut their minds to the  logical fact that when a system is obviously not working it is normal practice to see if an alternative exists which would solve the problem(s) currently being experienced.

This is illustrated by John Major who reportedly said, talking about Ukip, on the Marr Show:

They are anti-everything. They are anti-politics; they are anti-foreigner; they are anti-immigrant; they are anti-aid. I don’t know what they’re for. We know what they are against, and that’s the negativity of the four-ale bar. That’s not the way to get into Parliament and not the way to run a country. So they may be elected because people are frustrated.

If we accept that which Major says then this begs the question of just why are those who vote Ukip anti politics; why are they ‘anti-foreigner’; why are they anti-aid – and more to the point, why does he think the problem exists and what is his solution. It is very easy to criticise, to complain but there is no point in doing either unless an alternative can be offered.

But Ukip are not alone, if we are to believe reports in our media – a growing number of the electorate are reported to feel just the same. The problem with Ukip is that they are led by those who also wish to perpetuate representative democracy purely because they too wish to achieve ‘power’. That is undoubtedly the reason that those who support Ukip feel as they do – they have been led by those who do not understand even the basics that cause the problems they espouse – and the same can be said of every other political party in existence.

When our politicians are confronted with irrefutable fact they totally ignore it and continue with their memes – witness my recent confrontation with David Cameron. It has to be said that neither is that the way to get elected to Parliament; nor once elected, how to behave.

Richard North writes about Philip Hammond indulging in ‘fantasy politics’ – but then this is nothing new as we have been engaged in ‘fantasy politics’ for decades now, both where the EU is concerned and, most definitely, at ‘home’. Regular readers will know only too well what I am ‘banging-on’ about – and new readers only need to go here and read the ‘explanatory articles’ in the left-hand side bar.

When articles such as this can appear without any rebuttal from our political class; when an MP and MEP can co-author papers on ‘direct democracy’ which still allow Parliament to remain sovereign; and when constituents can raise perfectly logical questions of their MP and be ignored – then we the people will remain in the same condition as a turkey at Christmas.

 


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2014
11/13

Category:
David's Musings

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An age-old question

I was struck by two items on an article that appeared on swissinfo about the ageing population, from which:

It’s not just in case of sickness that Chinese children have a duty to care for their parents. In July 2013, the Chinese government instituted a law requiring adult children to maintain regular contact with their parents through visits and phone calls. Parents can even sue children who don’t take care of them; and:

The Federal Statistics Office estimates that by 2060, 28% of the Swiss population will be 65 or older; up from 17% in 2010. And in a country with one of the highest life expectancies in the world, increasing numbers of retirees will be overseeing the care of parents who are in their 90s.

For some time now politicians have been talking about the ageing population and the increased costs this problem will impose on public services – without seeming to have the slightest idea how to solve it. Yet the question must be asked about who has caused this social problem and associated costs to the public purse. Has not ‘government’, in its headlong rush to be the ‘provider of all’ not precipitated the problem by suggesting to children that they have no duty of care towards their parents? In their desperation to provide an answer to the ever increasing cost to the public purse, how much longer will it be before our politicians follow the example of the Chinese government – and regulate yet another aspect of our lives? Our political class continually talk about ‘values’ and ‘family’ – so just when will they put the two together?

Back in the 50s I well recall my maternal grandmother waking up one morning having been ‘struck blind’ overnight, the cause of which – had it been able to have been diagnosed in those days – I know not. Immediately a ‘family conference’ took place, at which it was decided that my mother’s elder sister and her husband sold their existing property – as did my grandparents – and a larger property was purchased, one which in today’s parlance might be termed as providing a ‘granny-annex, into which my grandparents moved along with their eldest child and her husband – and both sisters, along with their husbands, contributed to the cost of care. There my grandmother remained until the day she died, as did my grandfather afterwards until his demise.

The mark of a great nation is, I suggest, the ability of its families to come together in time of crisis; to care for their own, which brings into the debate our hell-bent wish to look after others first – but I digress. It seems to me that our aging problem is the direct result of the unintended consequences caused by unthinking policies put into operation by a political class who have lost sight of basic family values – aided and abetted no doubt by ‘pressure groups’, who have made a healthy living as a result of their efforts.

Just a thought………………………

 

 

 

 

 


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2014
11/13

Category:
David's Musings

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Re-launching a failing idea

Today we were treated to what was heralded as a relaunch of Ed Miliband’s career with a speech he gave at the University of London;s Senate House.

Apparently this is the same venue that he chose to relaunch his career last January and the same venue that Iain Duncan Smith chose to relaunch his career in 2003. To cap it all it also appears he chose to make his entrance through this door:

B2U0newIgAAFYpW

 

 

From a public relations point of view one can only describe this as a disaster. Conversely, no doubt his party faithful will be ecstatic with the content of his speech, Having said that; refusing a head-to-head debate then saying you intend to take Ukip apart, sounds pretty much like another public relations disaster. Before Ukip chortle at this we should remember that only yesterday Farage was willing to prop-up Labour, yet today he wants a showdown – funny world politics, isn’t it?

The content of this speech is one that could have been given by any of our political leaders who endlessly cajole us to believe that only they can make us happy – yet they fail to recognise that what would make us happy would be if they just butted out of our lives a tad.

Miliband complains about the inequality that he says he sees around him and that as a result the country is suffering. He needs to remember that some born into this world achieve greatness (or notoriety) and thus earn their place in our history books. For the remainder, the majority, they live their lives in anonymity – and actually are probably quite content with their lot. They may well do overtime or take on an additional job in order to have a new car, a plasma tv, or their annual holiday (or two) abroad; but that is their choice.

Miliband believes that the inequality about which he speaks is due to mistaken beliefs about how a country should be run, beliefs that he feels have ‘had their time’. He castigates the idea that the success of the country depends on ‘a few at the top’ – er, is that not why he – and other politicians – ask us to elect them? All this from the man who has saddled this country with an energy policy based on fantasy; and who has caused extremes of social unrest by being part of a government that threw open the doors of this country for electoral gain.

Miliband – and the other political leaders – has the gall to inform us how our country should be run? Just whose country is it – ours or theirs? You will note not one of them asks us how it should be run – they instruct us how they will run it and then ask us to choose. That is democracy in action?

Just how much longer must we endure the tail of the dog dictating how the body behaves? Or, to put it a tad more crudely: just to whom do the proverbial ‘bollocks’ belong?

 


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