2014
07/18

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David's Musings

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How many more times?

Like many bloggers who rail about our democracy and ‘matters EU, no doubt like them I tend to suffer from a headache as a result of banging my head against a brickwall – and I’m about to give myself another.

We learn from the Mirror newspaper that Ed Miliband is to create a new rail authority to keep down ticket prices and cut taxpayer costs.

I have posted on this subject of rail fares here (with links to two previous articles).

It should be remembered that the EU has created a framework to encourage Member States to use taxation and transport infrastructure charging in the most effective and fair manner in order to promote the ‘user pays’ principle, important to maintain and develop the trans-European infrastructure network, and the ‘polluter pays’ principle, as enshrined in the treaties. This framework contributes to the internalisation of the external costs related to all transport costs, such as those generated by the use of the infrastructure or its environmental and social impacts. This Framework applies to all forms of transport;  and not only to transport, but also to waste disposal.

So much for this latest initiative by Ed Miliband! Once again we see a politician promoting a policy – or idea – that he has no hope of delivering (see preceding post?)

Parliament is ‘sovereign’? Is it hell!

Yet again, just saying………………………….

 

 

 

 

 


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Will no one rid us of faux eurosceptics?

Still politicians continue this faux idea that any EU Commissioner has a loyalty to his/her own country – the latest politician so doing being John Redwood who maintains that Lord Hill will lead a ‘split life’.

As a comment from Brian Tomkinson points out, by quoting the oath that EU commissioners swear, it means they declare fealty to the European Union and its aims. Just what is it that Redwood and others do not understand, that they continue to try and kid us otherwise?

Redwood writes, in regard to Hill’s appearance before the European Parliament:

They will want him to be loyal to the Treaties Conservatives have opposed, loyal to a federally inclined Commission which we oppose, and keen on the project of ever closer union which the UK cannot accept.

which begs the questions: (a) why then have Redwood’s party gone along with being a member of the EU; and (b), why the hell are we sending anyone in the first place?

Of course Redwood wants the UK to leave the EU, but the linked post above is but another example of a politician complying with the ‘party line’  and a strategy of renegotiation that can never be achieved.

In his wish to leave the European Union, Redwood is wanting decisions made by those over whom we, the people, have no day-today control replaced by another group over whom we also would have no day-to-day control.

Where Redwood and other supposed eurosceptics are concerned one cannot help but be reminded of a famous saying of Groucho Marx:

Those are my principles and if you don’t like them – well, I have others.

 

NB: I have posted this in the comments section in support of Brian Tomkinson’s comment.

Update (21:44) It is noticed that my comment has yet to appear even though later ones do – which leads me to believe that either (a) I have offended someone’ sensibilities; or (b), the truth is not liked when it appears.

 


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The EU keeps the peace?

Readers will no doubt have surmised that the lack of posting yesterday evening was due to events ‘flight MH17′ and watching/reading all the speculation that ensued.

Of all the speculation that was offered, that on Russia Today (RT) was the most facile with two ‘talking heads speculating that when a report came in that Putin’s plane had been in the area at the time, possibly a mistake had been made in the identification as that of the latter was also was also red, white and blue – like at 30,000 feet it would be possible to see this from the ground? In any event only minutes later a denial that Putin’s plane had been airborne was issued by Moscow.

As speculation is ‘all the rage’ let us add to it. It is possible that had the EU not got ‘expansion happy’ and not attempted to bring Ukraine into its sphere of influence Russia would not have felt it necessary to safeguard its Black Sea ports (especially as there is a signed agreement in place twixt Ukraine and Russia regarding the use of said facilities – albeit there are disagreements still rumbling about the ‘working details’); Russian separatists would not have felt it necessary to cause trouble and Russia would not have then felt it necessary to arm them; meaning that the downing of MH17 would not have happened.

One thing for sure is, ‘pound to a penny’, both the US and Russia with their surveillance abilities more than likely know damn well what happened, with both now working out how to minimise the fallout while making it acceptable for public consumption.

Once again we find that politicians, over whom we have no direct control, have got themselves and us into a potential conflict situation and all will now be backpedaling like mad to ‘save face’.

Just speculating……………………………………


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More of the same – plus ça change, etc, etc.

With 422 votes in favour, the European Parliament elected Jean-Claude Juncker in a secret ballot as President of the new European Commission to take office on 1 November 2014 for a five year term.

Prior to this ‘election’ Jean Claude ‘addressed’ the European Parliament, said address which can be read here, with the main points (according to the European Commission website) which can be read here. For some reason this momentous event appears to have escaped the attention of the British media – but once again, I digress.

My own personal opinion of the content of Juncker’s intentions can be summed up in two words: ‘More Europe’, it being ‘federalist’ in content.

Witness ‘energy: For long we have been led to believe by our political class that ‘fracking’ would provide a limitless energy source for the UK, that through exports it would ‘turn round’ the economy of our country – yet now we find it is to be a ‘pooled resource’.

We have been informed by Cameron that we need to ‘reclaim our borders’, yet now we see that we need more solidarity in our immigration policy.

Likewise we have been informed by Cameron that ‘ever closer union’ is as dead as the proverbial duck, yet now we find that we must move forward as a Union, but not necessarily all at the same speed – to which one can assume that ever closer union is not the dead duck we have been informed it is. Talk of Associate Membership will then be but a means to an end – did not Monnet state that slow, incremental steps (hidden in plain sight) would be necessary to achieve a United States of Europe?

Then we come to the mantra about the composition of the commission and gender equality. Has not Martin Schulz said that an increase in the gender equality of the new commission is a must, otherwise it stands little chance of acceptance? So what does Cameron do? Nominates a man as his offering to Juncker.

How many times have we heard, come each European election, that ‘this time its different’? It never is different as at the heart of this project is ever closer union.

Jean Claude may well talk about being committed to ‘democracy and reform’ – in respect of the former, where is it; and in respect of the latter, just how do you reform a project that cannot be reformed if it is to maintain its ultimate aim?

Good luck, Mr Cameron , with your reform and renegotiation agenda!


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News is how it is interpreted

In today’s Open Europe Press Summary there is mention of a comment on the nomination of Lord Hill by Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament.

He is quoted in both Reuters Deutschland and Handelsblatt, with the Google translation telling us:

EU Parliament President Martin Schulz has expressed skepticism about the British EU commission candidate Lord Jonathan Hill. “I can not imagine that Hill with his radical anti-European views if he should have, in the European Parliament, a majority agrees with me,” Parliament President Martin Schulz told the Germany radio on Wednesday. A rejection was “not possible”.

In contrast Open Europe informs us:

Meanwhile, speaking to Deutschlandfunk radio this morning, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament said of Hill, “I cannot imagine that with his radical anti-European views, as far as he should hold them, that Hill can get a majority in the European Parliament… It will become clear if Mr Hill approaches us without prejudice, and that will certainly influence whether or not he gets a majority [in the EP].” He added that a rejection of Hill “cannot be ruled out.”

Martin Schulz has no comedic tendencies (unlike his namesake Charles M. Schulz, originator of the Peanuts strip cartoon) being a very serious, committed believer in the European Union. As such, he knows that the European Parliament can only accept the nominees as a whole – they cannot veto the appointment of an individual nominee. If Lord Hill is ‘blackballed’, a word in Juncker’s ear will be delivered and he then has the choice of reshuffling his commission portfolios and if the word in his ear is ‘no way, not under any circumstances’ then Juncker would have to ask Cameron for a replacement commission nominee.

While accepting that Google translate is not the best, there is a great deal of difference between ‘not possible’ and ‘cannot be ruled out’. Perhaps Open Europe should have clarified this section of their press summary, because what their press summary alludes to is the idea that Hill, as an individual, can be rejected.

If we now look at the transcript of the interview with Deutschlandfunk we find that what Schulz said is that a Commission which included Hill, or any other eurosceptic, may not be accepted. Pressed further it is then that Schulz says:

Yes, of course! This is not ruled out.

Not only that but we learn that Schulz spoke to David Lidington about Lord Hill – something which it appears is not mentioned by the British media. Note also the ‘slur’ by Schulz when he refers to Lord Hill as Mister Hill – but I digress.

Open Europe is not renowned for authenticity where matters EU are concerned and their views are quite often picked up by the media, either being quoted verbatim or ‘interpreted’ – the latter then presenting an entirely different story for public consumption.

This example is but another that shows being economical with the actualité only leads to the public being misinformed. While this practice continues just how is the public supposed to form an opinion on which to base their views, or vote come any referendum?

 


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Over the hill?

Slipped out during all the re-shuffle announcements was one that informed us Lord Hill was to be Cameron’s nominee for a European Union Commission post. One can well imagine Nigel Farage’s statement to Van Rompuy echoing round the country – just who the hell are you? I’ve never heard of you.

Mark Wallace, on ConservativeHome, has an article on this appointment – but one has to ask whether it was Grommit that actually penned it. I inquire because anyone who can write:

The British Commissioner, along with the Foreign Secretary, has a crucial job to do if the Prime Minister is to stand even a miniscule chance of being able to wave a renegotiation in the air and proclaim it a success.

and:

Ultimately, the success or failure of Lord Hill will rest on the performance of Philip Hammond at the FCO and Downing Street. They choose how to play the renegotiation, and what public signals to send to other EU leaders.

really should go back to school and learn their ‘times tables’ as what is written just does not add up.

We all know – or should know by now – that an EU Commissioner has but one responsibility; and that is to the EU. In any event someone who admits that he is not very good at thinking long term ahead ain’t going to be much use to Jean Claude. Bearing in mind that (a) Juncker is reported to have said that if Cameron wishes to secure an important Commission post he stands a better chance if he nominates a woman; and (b), the state of relationship that currently exists twixt Juncker and Cameron, then one can only presume Lord Hill will end up with the portfolio for counting paper clips.

Having been given the opportunity of a job that is well paid and provides one hell of a good pension, I for one am not surprised that he still has a smile on his face – mind you, that smile may well disappear rather quickly if he does not get past his ‘interview’ with the EU Parliament.

Just saying…………………………………………………….

 

 


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The event that never happened

With all the pre-shuffle hype undertaken by Number 10 and the media, it could be said that the result of Cameron’s attempt at reshuffling his pack of cards – and ‘cards’ are just what some of them are – is an insult to both sexes. If we also include Nick Boles, whose new brief as Minister of State at the Department for Skills, Enterprise and Equalities will also be to oversee the implementation of equal marriage, then we could say that the reshuffle is an insult to all three sexes. It can also be said that with the over-hype by Number 10, they stand guilty of over-selling this ‘wimmin’ thingy as the only way they could have met that hype was to clear the front bench and make it an all women show.

The logic, or lack of, exhibited by Cameron is also worth considering, especially where Liz Truss is concerned. This is a woman who is a committed education reformer and is thus totally miscast as Environment Secretary; especially when this also encompasses agriculture, the latter in which she only has knowledge of one ‘Field’ – as pointed out by Richard North. Nicky Morgan is ‘sold’ to us as Education Secretary on the basis that she is a ‘working mother’. Nick Boles being moved from planning to schools where the PM tells us he will be ‘implementing equal marriage’ is also tokenistic and also lends argument to the fact he is being typecast. This entire ‘wimmin’ thingy matters not, according to Cathy Newman’s snapshot research in Theale, near Reading. (‘Labour’s fighting hard to win it’. Labour’s? But I digress).

What we have witnessed today is but a cynical ploy to capture the votes of one section of society; women – and on such one man decides to do what he believes will ensure his and his party’s re-election to govern this country. Not by any stretch of the imagination is that democracy. Neither is the suggestion (aired for the umpteenth time) by Douglas Carswell that any MP appointed to a government position should undergo the agreement of his/her constituents – that is not democracy either. At least one comment on Carswell’s article (BillyRawmone) has grasped the need for  separation of power twixt the Executive and the Legislature.

For too long all political parties have become embroiled in presentation and image at the expense of experience, knowledge and ability – without losing sight of the other deficit, namely the self-preservation of power. That ain’t democracy either.

 

 

 

 


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The twitterati – aka the idioterati

One does wonder at the intellectual capability of some of those on twitter who blindly retweet newspaper articles that are months old. The latest example of this was yesterday when this appeared, along with this.

Had the idioterati done a little checking they would have discovered this and going even further back, this. The EU Regulation referred to would have been found here and the proposal for simplifying the transfer of motor vehicles here. Needless to say the main perpetrators seizing on this outdated ‘news’ were those bearing the letters ‘UKIP’ as part of their twitter name.

I use the word ‘perpetrator’ deliberately as those retweeting the two stories mentioned have committed the same crime as those we charge with spreading misinformation, or being economical with the actualité – namely our politicians.

Such idiocy as that demonstrated above so undermines the efforts of those who do show the deficits involved in this country’s membership of the European Union – and it only serves to give grist to the mill of those who maintain that we ‘Outers’ are indeed ‘nutters’, ‘fruitcakes’ and ‘loons’.

Exactly the same thing has occurred with the scare stories that have appeared in relation to November 1, 2014 - once again admirably ‘shot to blazes’ by Richard North.

A party that presents itself as an alternative form of government to the electorate really should either, (a) educated their supporters, or (b), control them – assuming of course that they have previously educated themselves.

So, using modern political parlance, one can only say: Come on, Nigel, get a grip, do.

 


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Appearance rather than ability

It would seem that a ministerial reshuffle is due to be made during the coming week by David Cameron – which has the political hacks in a frenzy – with Liz Truss, Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry, Esther McVey and Priti Patel among the names being touted for more senior posts. This move by David Cameron is, so we are led to believe, intended to provide more ‘eye candy’ on the Government Front Bench, while presumably also satisfying the ‘gender equality brigade’ (to which we hear squeals of delight from Harriet Harman?).

Of course Cameron’s biggest problem in promoting a member of the ‘fair sex’ to a senior position is just where does he find one that attended Eton – but I digress.

That a country can be governed on the principle of gender equality in order that what I believe is referred to as ‘Totty’ can appear on television and in our media leaves much to be desired.

Then again, is it unfair to criticize Cameron for wishing to end the tenure of his government by following his predecessors – in that do not all governments end their days ‘tits up’ – ie, inoperative; broken; flat on their back?

Afterthought: in posting on this topic and in accordance with my ‘notice’ that posting would be non-existent during the preceding three and a bit days, I’m just showing that an attempt is being made, during said ‘absence’, to keep abreast of developments. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Spot the difference?

I never liked the fact that other people decided how the country in which I live should be run,

We don’t have a system of government that alternates.

When you are young you still have your whole future in front of you and you commit passionately for your country. You don’t do it to try to get a particular political mandate or to make money.

(Source)

Farage’s heavy hint to Tories: Give us 20 seats and the rest are yours.

(Source)

And:

Swiss voters block purchase of Gripen aircraft.

(Source)

Thanks to EU we now have HMS White Elephant.

(Source)

Just two examples where the choice of direct democracy instead of representative democracy is concerned; the former prevents politicians ‘getting above their station’ while ensuring that where public money is being spent those that provide it get to decide how and on what it is spent.

Ergo, the choice becomes a bit of a no-brainer – does it not?

 


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