Rogues Gallery

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission has unveiled his new Commission and announced which portfolios each person will hold.

Of course the entire Commission have to, individually, pass their inquisition by the European Parliament and it is worth recalling that the European Parliament cannot object to just one Commissioner or one job allocation – they must reject the Commission in its entirety.

It will be noted that Lord Hill, whose sole academic qualification is an MA in History (Cambridge), has been allocated the new portfolio of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. He also has two ‘masters’ (or ‘minders’ depending on how one reads the Vice Presidents’ brief) twixt him and Jean-Claude Juncker.

Readers may be well advised to familiarise themselves with the new Commission – and their photographs – as we are bound to hear much of them.

My favourite think-tank (not) Open Europe is of the opinion that Lord Hill being given the portfolio he has means that it is a win for Britain. This august (not) body state that Hill’s portflio will include the creation of the banking union, which they maintain is a crucial policy for the eurozone but also one which threatens to split the EU into euro-ins and outs and that in his new role, Lord Hill can ensure this does not happen. They add that this is a very tricky role to manage (with numerous competing interests), especially for a non-eurozone country. (also perhaps for someone who appears to have no experience of financial and economic matters)

OE also state that Hill’s portfolio will include responsibility for a ‘Capital Markets Union’; that while this remains vague it could be a good initiative for the UK since London is already the centre of European capital markets and that Hill can base the union around the single market rather than the eurozone.

Open Europe seem to forget that Hill will do as he is told by his ‘minders’ and Juncker, while at the same time honouring his commitment to further the aims of the European Union. To even be thought to be favouring the ‘country that he knows best’ would result in his being marched up himself and promptly shot (ie p45′d!)

Bearing in mind the forthcoming ‘inquisition’, this is one story which is not yet able to be filed away – there may well be some further discomfort awaiting someone………



When will the penny drop?

Fraser Nelson has an article on CoffeeHouse bemoaning the fact that 15 years after the start of devolution for Scotland all it has meant – and all it will mean – is not power to the people but power to the political elite.

I belatedly grasped the great lie about devolution: it doesn’t, actually, mean more power to a country. The power tends to be hoarded by its political elite, and not passed down to the people. So powers were not granted ‘to Scotland’ at all, but to a new bunch of MSP ministers who loved their new power as much as their new limos.

Later in his article he writes:

The question on next week’s referendum is not about more power to the people, but the transfer of power from one political elite to another.

Under representative democracy, when general elections take place, do we not see a transfer of power from one political elite to another? Do we not hear endless talk by our political elite about the need for the devolution of power – and when anything is done, the devil most definitely is in the detail.

For example, readers will recall that Ed Miliband gave a speech in Leeds on 1st July on his plans for major devolution to English regions with the creation of Combined Authorities – a classical ploy by our present day political elite as it will not devolve power but merely create another level of government and assist those in central power to retain that power.Did not David Cameron promise us the ability to recall an MP – only for us to find out the final decision is not to be ours?Has not Nigel Farage embraced direct democracy by promising referendums instigated by the people – and he has yet to refute a previous commitment by his party that they will decide on what matters referendums may be called? To quote the latter: you really cannot get a cigarette paper between them.

As with Scotland, so with the remainder of the (current) United Kingdom – is that not what politics is all about; power and having got it, to hang onto it at all costs?

Fraser Nelson ends his article, thus:

But it will not make anyone in Scotland more independent. Only a devolution of power from the state to the people can do that.

If Fraser Nelson wishes to see devolution of power to the people then the sooner he takes on board this idea and promotes it, the sooner his wish will come true.



Not another politician running away (2)

Just three days ago I posted the first article in this series, it being a little ‘dig’ at David Campbell Bannerman for his apparent failure to forward me, as promised, a pdf copy of his submission to the IEA Brexit competition.

Lo and behold, as a result of the power of the internet, today I received the following email:

Dear Mr Phipps,

I was tasked with sending the Brexit submission to you several weeks ago and I must apologise for the delay in it reaching you. I have attached the version of David’s Brexit submission which does not include his details (home address/mobile) but all sections and chapters are exactly the same.

Once again I am sorry for this delay. A delay which was mine and not David’s. 

Hayley Rogers
PA to David Campbell Bannerman MEP

I have yet to read this piece of work which I am assured is causing such a stir in Brussels circles but readers may rest assured I will post something in the next 48 hours.


More ‘harmonisation’

Following my preceding post on the ‘harmonisation’ of the mortgage market, I note that it appears we are to also have a ‘Common Sales Law‘ to boost growth and job creation – fine in practice as anything to boost trade.

There is another ‘element’ here though – and it involves that old – and very important – subject of democracy.

Once again, back we go to the United Nations Economic Committee for Europe (UNECE). Anyone can see the sense in countries agreeing to common international legal instruments, standards and harmonizing technical regulations; and that trade can be facilitated when sellers and buyers base contracts on common classifications, standard documentation and trade procedures (source); but one has to ask:

If we are to have national legislatures (which must be subservient to the people they serve) then should not said national legislatures be a party (in their own right) to any agreement on legal instruments, standards, technical regulations and standardized documentation – rather than have them imposed on the individual legislatures by a supranational body such as the EU – otherwise why have national legislatures?

If we do not accept the need for national legislatures and democracy (demos – people, kratos – power; ergo ‘people power’) then are we not entering the world of  Global Government/New World Order/Agenda 21?

Just asking, as usual…………

Comments/observations/opinions, dear readers, will of course be more than welcome.






Mortgage Regulations

Readers may not have seen an article in the Telegraph, as it was ‘hidden’ within the ‘Personal Finance’ section, dealing with the provision of mortgages as a result of a ‘new’ EU Directive which becomes ‘operable’ in March 2016.

This Directive, commonly referred to as the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) is dated 14th February 2014 but the ‘groundwork’ has been going on since March 2003. Leaving aside the period from February 2014 to the present, it could be said that the Telegraph are a tad late with the news – but again I commit the usual sin of digressing.

Some background: the EU has produced a ‘statement‘; plus two ‘MEMO’s’ here and here. HM Treasury has produced a ‘Consultation‘ on the implementation of the MCD – which to a certain extent negates somewhat the ‘scare’ element in the Telegraph article. Reading the HMT Consultation it will immediately be seen that the Government is not that impressed with the MCD, noting that it will add additional costs to UK industry and would appear to be doing what they can to mitigate its effect on the UK (those with the experience in the financial aspect of the housing market may well disagree, in which case I bow to their superior knowledge).

Where the introduction of EU law is concerned it is always advisable to dig further – and in this regard there is no better source than our old friend the United Nations Economic Council – Europe (UNECE). Here three papers immediately surface, one from 2005, one from 2008 and one as late as 2010 (see Principle 6, page 12).

No doubt we shall see yet more claims of an ‘EU Power Grab’ from the likes of John Redwood, Ukip and, based on their recent article, the Telegraph (not forgetting another old friend, the Mail). To those individuals, political parties and sections of the media one can only suggest they ask themselves just what do the words ‘Single Market’ mean?



Not another politician ‘running away’?

In the preceding post I complained about the fact that the minute a politician is confronted on ‘matters EU’ (be that membership, referendum of, or Brexit) they appear to ‘run away’ rather than debate issues.

What seems like some months ago (2/3?), I contacted David Campbell Bannerman (MEP) requesting a pdf copy of his entry (EEA Lite) to the IEA Brexit competition as I wished to critique it – but did not wish to so do based purely on his video.

Some time later, noticing a tweet from him that his ‘EEA Lite’ was causing a stir in Brussels (somewhat odd for an entry that was not even shortlisted?) I reminded him that I had still not received his promised pdf copy – and,  needless to say, I am still waiting.

I am forced to repeat an oft posed question;, namely, just what is it about our political class that when you try to engage or to criticise them; that all goes quiet, ie, you are ignored?

We all know that MPs fall back on the position that unless you are a constituent of theirs they are under no obligation to communicate with you – and presumably MEPs follow the same diktat. 

However if a politician makes a public statement (through whatever medium), are they not duty bound to respond to any member of the electorate, constituent or not? Perhaps this is but another means whereby they can ‘run away’?

Just asking DCB, just asking……………………………..




Within the blogosphere and on twitter, on occasions, that which is written causes criticism from readers and invariably most bloggers and tweeters will respond to said criticism – except, unfortunately, from our politicians and those so obviously within the ‘Westminster Bubble’. Yesterday I took to task John Redwood, MP; and today, Catherine Bearder MEP.

To elucidate, allow me, first, to relay events ‘a la Bearder’. Spotting a tweet in which she referred to a new Civitas paper she stated that it showed it reveals what most of us fear: EU exit could be ‘devastating’ to some sectors. I responded by pointing out that that was not so  if we slip into EFTA/EEA then negotiate a new agreement as nothing would change for any sector! Bearder then responded that we then wouldn’t be able to influence legislation imposed on us – e.g Norway, 75% EU legislation, to which I replied that her reply was absolute  tripe and she knew it, pointing out that Norway sits on over 200 EU Committees plus they sit on UN bodies formulating standards and asking if she agreed. What I then received in return was two links, one a statement quoting Espen Eide and the other quoting Erna Solberg; both of whom maintain that Norway has no influence with the EU. I countered both by stating that selective quotes were no answer to fact and queried whether she agreed with my previous point about Norway vis-a-viz EU Committees and UN bodies that set standards. Needless to say two hours later the ‘conversation’ remains at a standstill as nothing further has been received from Bearder.

With regard to John Redwood, in answer to an article he wrote, I responded thus, condemning his content as utter tosh in the comment section of his blog; posting a total of three comments on his blog, two to two commenters and the one quoted to Redwood. At the time of writing, all three have yet to appear; and one can only wonder why. Redwood employs moderation, unlike myself – other than to filter out spam. With hindsight I may have been my usual blunt self with Redwood but one has to ask why would anyone moderate comments other than to avoid specific criticism?

Just what is it about our political class that when confronted with dissent or criticism they shun debate, ie ‘run away’? Is it any wonder the public feel disconnected from politics when politicians will not engage? One can only assume that when a politician’s knowledge is shown to be at fault they are unable to admit their ignorance, possibly due to feeling it involves a loss of face on their part.

This desire not to engage is not just confined to our politicians but also to those within the Westminster Bubble. I had just finished reading the Civitas report to which Bearder referred on twitter and was about to post a response when I noticed that Richard North had beaten me to it. Noticeably this report follows a well-trodden pattern – it is written for the consumption of those within the Westminster Bubble, it takes views from those whose opinions are worthless as they know not that about which they engage; and more importantly they quote those of ‘unacceptable’ views to them, yet do not provide the authors of those unacceptable views any opportunity to respond.

The dossier which I handed to David Cameron on the 15th August (and to which a response is still awaited) commenced with a quotation of his on the subject of this country’s membership of the EU and any possible referendum: How can we sensibly answer the question ‘in or out’ without being able to answer the most basic question: what is it that we are choosing to be ‘in or out’ of.

While we have politicians such as Bearder and Redwood (and Hannan who has also ‘run away’ from debate) along with people such as Jonathan Lindsell, misleading us and failing to engage in debate, then what we have is a situation where we are, in effect, being lied to and thus forced to accept what we are erroneously told as truth. That situation not only makes a mockery of Cameron’s question, but more importantly makes a mockery of democracy per se.

Richard North may well believe that such behaviour will dry up and disappear as it has no substance, but I would go further and say that such behaviour is despicable, has no place in a real democracy, is a form of censorship; and is a gross effrontery to the people of this country.

I have to disagree slightly with my fellow blogger because while the outpourings of those like Bearder, Redwood, Lyndsell and their ilk does not have any substance, it will, unfortunately, continue as, (a) they control any debate and (b), are aided and abetted by a supine mainstream media who will not publicise any view that is outside the Westminster Bubble (Booker excepted).

Update: As at 19:20 ‘conversation’ with Catherine Bearder resumed – unfortunately I’ve a headache coming on due ‘head and brickwall’…………






David's Musings


Comments Closed


Yet another unsolicited email received this evening at 17:37:
YouGov logo *

Dear DavidWe are glad you were able to join us at the YouGov / DTG event today.We would welcome the opportunity to continue the conversation with you, so we can hear your thoughts on the future of content on demand.Over the coming months, we will be continuing our research to monitor how the topics explored within the presentation – namely, technology trends and how content is being consumed on devices, future of content-on-demand, the impact on linear TV viewing and how consumers are paying for content – continue to evolve. We look forward to partnering with DTG again to provide further updates on these issues.In the meantime, if you have any questions on the research we presented, or indeed on the report and future research, please do not hesitate to contact us on the details below.

Best Wishes,

Russell Feldman, Director, Tech and Tel Consulting
Shaun Austin, Director, Media Consulting
Anne-Marie Doherty, Client Development ManagerYouGov

T: +44 (0)20 7012 6000
 People image

The World may think I was there but I was not! I was busy mowing lawns, cutting hedges and weeding flower beds. 

Where YouGov is concerned that organisation, its verbiage, polls, etc, can best be summed up thus:

He who knows not but knows not he knows not is a fool – Shun him!


Update: following my tweeting this article to YouGov, the following was received:
;YouGov logo


Whoops didn’t mean to send that last email!Apologies,

People imageT: +44 (0)20 7012 6000    E:    W:


Any port in a storm

John Redwood is indignant about the EU’s plans to, in his words:  take control over all the main ports in the EU, establishing by direct EU regulation their right to determine how they are run and how they charge; and especially, again in his words: the EU’s wish to regulate the 47 largest ports in the UK.

In his article Redwood links to a Committee hearing held yesterday and it is worth looking at the list of attendees which include those who would have us believe that when they speak, they speak with the authority of knowledge – which sadly is obviously not the case; exemplified by the title of Redwood’s article.

Let us go back to basics for the uninitiated (in respect of those that attended the aforementioned committee meeting, it includes them) and look at competences. Transport in all its forms is listed as a shared competence in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). A shared competence means that both the EU and Member States may adopt legally binding acts in the area concerned, but  Member State can only do so where the EU has not exercised its competence. In effect what this means is that once the EU has legislated on a particular subject, that subject becomes what is known as an ‘occupied field’ and Member States are barred from further legislation of their own – unless that is they have cleared it with Brussels.

Transport covers all such forms, be they air, land, sea, inland waterways, or road – and the EU exercised its competence on matters transport back in 1996. As I wrote on 29th April, this year:

TEN-T guidelines were initially adopted on 23 July 1996, with Decision No 1692/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). In April 2004, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Decision No 884/2004/EC (added to the list by Decision No 884/2004/EC), amending Decision No 1692/96/EC on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network. The April 2004 revision was a more fundamental change to TEN-T policies, intended to accommodate EU enlargement and consequent changes in traffic flows.

 For the avoidance of doubt that means the UK accepted the proposals and thus becomes bound to implement them.

If we look at Decision 1692/96/EC setting up the Trans European Network – Transport (TEN-T) we find that the objective is to integrate land, sea and air transport infrastructure networks throughout the Community (Article 2.1); so one has to ask how is this latest move by the EU a further power grab? The right to legislate on any form of transport was assumed by the EU on 23rd July 1996.

On the 29th April this year the EU issued a brochure: Ports 2030 Gateways for the Trans European Transport Network and from the Introduction by Siim Kallas we learn of the need to: establish a clear European legislative environment to guarantee equal conditions for competition and legal certainty.

Even back in 2007 The European Commission produced a Communication on Freight Transport Logistics which from the Introduction informs us that: Freight Transport Logistics focuses on the planning, organisation, management,
control and execution of freight transport operations in the supply chain.

Only this year, in March, the United Nations Economic Council – Europe (UNECE) issued a document about the Working Party on Intermodal Transport and Logistics (Wp.24) for a UNECE Workshop held in Brussels on 12 and 113th June this year.

Admittedly the foregoing provides only a very brief background to that of which Redwood complains; but if I can unearth this little in a few minutes, one can only ask what he and the remainder of the good, great and powerful have been doing? I might also suggest that instead of wasting time arguing about Points of Order, they could well have admitted that there is sod all they do can do about the matter; packed up and all had an early day.

Update: The following comment has been left on JOhn Redwood’s article:

Mr. Redwood,

Your article is utter tosh! It is NOT a power grab – they already have the competence to do all they want.

In 1996 you were in the HoC so what did you do to attempt to negate Decision 1692/96/EC, agreed by your Leader at the time?

Where were you in 2007 when the Communication on Freight Transport Logistics was published from which the Introduction informs us that: Freight Transport Logistics focuses on the planning, organisation, management, control and execution of freight transport operations in the supply chain.

Under Representative Democracy you want the right to take decisions on our behalf but also reserve the right to act as your conscience dictates.

Just why should we rely on those who so obviously know nothing about that on which they pontificate?




David's Musings



The price of a vote – what vote?

At 16:53 the following unsolicited email was received:

Whatever you did over the summer, I’m guessing you didn’t go on a £21 billion spending spree. But, unbelievably, that’s exactly what Labour did.They made a host of promises – including more spending on benefits – which analysis shows would cost hardworking taxpayers £20.955 billion. In return, they only set out £105 million worth of spending cuts to pay for them.

£20.955 billion of spending minus £105 million of savings = £20.850 billion of unfunded spending commitments, which hardworking families would pay for with higher taxes and more debt.

We’ve got to stop Labour getting into power and wrecking our economy again. Donate £20 today and let’s make sure Ed Miliband never gets into No. 10.

Labour STILL haven’t learnt their lesson.

After taking Britain’s economy to the brink and opposing every spending reduction we’ve made, Labour have spent the summer promising billions of pounds of inefficient and ineffective spending.

With just eight months to go until the General Election, it’s clear that all Ed Miliband offers is more spending, higher taxes and more debt than our children could ever hope to repay.

We can’t let him get his way.

Donate £20 today, and let’s carry on working through the long-term economic plan that is building a stronger, healthier economy and securing a better future for Britain


Sajid Javid MP

At 17:35  the following email, once again unsolicited, was received:

 Liberal Democrats


A new YouGov poll shows that the referendum vote is closer than ever, with 53% of Scots planning to vote No.

If that doesn’t scare you, it should. We are 15 days away from an historic vote that will decide Scotland’s future. If Scotland decides to go it alone the United Kingdom will be a very different place.

Can you contribute £15 today and make sure we have the resources to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom?

With so little time we have to do everything we can to help persuade voters in Scotland that we want them to stay with us in the United Kingdom. My friends and colleagues Alistair Carmichael, Ming Campbell and Willie Rennie have laid out a plan for Home Rule for Scotland. With a No vote on 18 September, we are one step closing to delivering it.

Up and down Scotland our volunteers are knocking on doors and making phone calls to undecided voters. Our printers are running non-stop, refuting the mis-truths that Alex Salmond has used to get this far.

With your help we can keep the lead and make sure Scotland votes to stay on 18 September.

Please donate what you can today and support our efforts to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom.

Thanks for everything,


Tim Farron MP
Liberal Democrats


Either the Liberal Democrats think less of me than the Conservative Party or the former must have a sale on; and it could be said that it is a bit of a cheek touting for money from those who don’t even have a vote in this damned referendum. Having opened the Panora’s Box of Devolution, our political elite now expect me to bail them out of their own predicament?

Likewise, it is a bit of a cheek asking me for money to fund an economic programme upon which, once again, I have never had the chance to vote; one whichhas involved me and every other member of this country now being saddled with a debt of £1.3trilllion, equivalent to 77.3% of GDP

To both i have to ask just what do I get for my money? Also to both I can but say:

Dream on, Baby!



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