Tag Archive: European Union


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Another Matthew Elliot ‘oops’

It has just come to my attention that Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of Business for Britain, produces a daily email: EU Briefing who’s up and who’s down. From today’s edition we read:

UP: Road tolls, as EU Commissioner floats EU-wide road pricing 
The woman in charge of transport at the EU Commission, Violeta Bulc, has called for the introduction of a standardised European-wide road pricing system. The idea is in part a reaction to German proposals for a road toll that would be in effect be paid only by foreign drivers using Germany’s Autobahn motorways from 2016. But the idea of EU-wide road tolls levied by the Commission will spark a significant reaction in the UK where proposals for road tolls, given the high levels of taxes on drivers, have always been controversial. It suggests there is either significant political naivety in the Commission or a simple unwillingness to interfere less in the affairs of member states. 

In respect of the last sentence of the above, there is no such suggestion. Having linked to the EurActiv report, had he read it properly, which he obviously had not, he would have seen that what Violeta Bulc also said was:

There are many options – a fee could be obligatory but it’s also possible to make it optional i.e. that countries decide themselves whether and on which roads they want to levy a road use charge based on kilometres driven. (Emphasis mine)

Had Elliott bothered to follow the last link in the EurActiv report he would also have seen that this proposal is not new and that the last Commission ceased pursuing the idea due to the complexity of the problems that surfaced, including the question of subsidiarity – coupled with the fact that the original proposals were intended to also be non-binding on member states.

The ‘EU-outers’ continually complain when those of the ‘EU-inners’ try to spin that which is not – and it does not help ‘EU-outers’ when one of them (supposedly) erroneously tries to out-spin the spinners.

If one is to précis a news item, it helps if said précis is factually correct?


Lies, Damned Lies – and Statistics

Much is made, by Europhiles, of the fact that there are as many ‘Brits’ living in the EU as there are EU citizens living in the UK – of which this graphic is one used to illustrate that fact:


The total land area of the EU is 1,707,642 square miles, which means that, if we accept the figures of the graphic above,there are 2.2million Brits living in a land area of 1,614,004 square miles – and 2.2million EU citizens living in  a land area of 93,638 square miles. (source)

Handy, statistics, aren’t they? But then statistics have never told the full story, have they?

Road Investment

With the announcement of a £15bn road improvement programme, political point scoring has lost no time in being carried out with Labour being reported stating this announcement is but a re-announcement and Shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher saying in a statement that not a shovel has been used in anger on our nation’s highways over the last four and a half years. Labour are correct on the re-announcement point (although this accusation is a tad rich coming from a party that made re-announcements into an art form – but I digress) and one would suggest that at least a metaphorical shovel has been used. One could also be forgiven for pointing out to Michael Durgher that had his party been in government progress would have been no quicker.

Readers will be aware that transport, in all its forms, is an EU competence and as such means that no national government can act without first having ‘cleared’ its intentions with the Commission and that what is intended conforms with any ‘guidelines’, ‘frameworks’ and/or regulation/directive.

When considering today’s announcement it is also necessary to realise that what we are told on any subject is not necessarily the entire truth. When governments of any hue announce something, invariably the ‘elephant in the room’ fails to be mentioned  and this latest announcement is no exception. This £15bn programme was first announced in 2013 the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Investing in Britain’s Future) an announcement which stated that the government would be: investing £15.1 billion in our strategic roads by 2021 to counter the
effects of past under-investment (page 5, here). Having said that, the government is to all intents and purposes presenting this investment as a new announcement; something along with which the media (with one or two exceptions) appears to be going.

As with HS2, the devil is in the detail and, as with HS2, it is necessary to consider TEN-T , the EU arm for transport whose raison d’etrê is to oversee a transport network connecting the European Union, North to South and East to West.

At this juncture it is worth considering the background of TEN-T and the parliament website has a handy reference document on the subject (google TEN-T Standard Note 478 and click first listing – opens as a pdf). It will be seen that originally TEN-T operated on ‘guidelines’ and that draft legislation would have made them compulsory. It is worth repeating a section from page 10 of Standard Note 478:

In October 2011 the Commission published a draft Regulation on TEN-T, which would
involve the repeal of the Guidelines (see section 2, above).23 The material effect of this
change would be to move from guidelines which promote the development of the network to
a Regulation which would define a long-term strategy up to 2050 and mandate action by
Member States. In particular, it would require Member States to complete a ‘Core Network’
by the end of 2030 and a ‘Comprehensive Network’ by 2050. The Commission hopes that
this draft Regulation will be in place by 2013.

This marks a significant change in the TEN-T programme by introducing an element of
compulsion. In other words, Member States would be compelled to build and upgrade
transport infrastructure on the core and comprehensive networks by the date indicated.
There would also be duties to upgrade infrastructure to certain standards.

As noted in this Standard, Note the then Transport Minister and the House of Commons were against the arbitrary setting of dates for both core and comprehensive networks – to no avail.

All member states must contribute to the development of Trans European Networks. National networks should be developed into one European network and for transport this has been laid down in Regulation 1315/2013.  This divides the trans-European transport network into two parts, a comprehensive network and a core network with the requirements that comprehensive networks must be met by 2050 and core networks by 2030. The Regulation concerning the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) , which is referred to in the Standard  Note, can be found here, for those interested. How building the Core Networks and implementing the CEF will be carried out is explained in this handy Communication from the Commission.

What, I hear new readers ask, are core and comprehensive networks? The EU has 9 Core Networks of which the one that affects the United Kingdom is the North Sea – Mediterranean. Comprehensive networks can best be described as main feeder roads into a core  network from ‘regions’, such as the A303 or the A47. (or as Siim Kallas, Transport Commissioner at the time, explained in May 2013: The new core TEN-T network will be supported by a comprehensive network of routes, feeding into the core network at regional and national level. This will largely be financed by Member States, with some EU transport and regional funding possibilities). If you look at the map in section 2.4 here, all will be explained where comprehensive road networks are concerned. While on the subject of roads, SABRE has a list of ‘TEN-T roads’ (and yes, they are no longer British roads but TEN-T roads).

The Daily Telegraph has an article dealing with this latest government announcement but can’t help itself indulging in trivial aspects to the loss of the ‘news behind the news’. To save readers the trivia, I reproduce a graphic from said article:


(click to enlarge)

When we ‘overlay’ the information contained on the DfT website onto the map from the ’section 2.4 map’ mentioned above, hey presto: the invisible elephant in the room magically appears.

With the passing of the two Regulations mentioned above, it is no wonder first mention of this road bonanza was made in 2013; and bearing in mind the extent of all the work involved, it becomes easy to understand the timing of today’s announcement – this will take decades to put into place.

To summarise, this latest roads announcement is not as a result of our governments ‘long term economic plan’ (regardless what George Osborne or anyone else would have us believe) but rather another instance of our pretend government fulfilling the requirements of our true government to which it is beholden.

Update: I see the PoliticsHome link has been changed to cater for a statement from the Prime Minister, who says the expenditure is only possible as the Coalition have managed to get the nation’s finances under control. Having picked myself up from the floor, to which I fell in uncontrollable laughter, I have to say that where control over road building is concerned, it lies not with the UK and her finances, but with Brussels who have ‘mandated’ said expenditure.

Update #2: Courtesy of an email contact I see that the A47  is covered by the Eastern Daily Press and I am informed that the print edition had it spread across the front page and pages 2&3. The prize photo of those that were forwarded to me must be this one:


Do note that our provincial press appear to be as clueless as do the MSM – I mean: Will the other parties follow suit? FHS!

Ed. note: The original article with this title was removed as some errors were spotted, luckily before they were picked-up elsewhere.



Readers will know that I have written to my Member of Parliament about this country’s membership of the European Union and in so doing questioning statements he has made. Likewise, following public statements made by Laura Sandys and Nick Clegg they too have been contacted, questioning their statements that have recently appeared in the media.

Needless to say, I hold out little hope that a response will be received from Sandys or Clegg; and if one is received it will no doubt be a repetition of parliamentary convention that I am not a constituent of theirs, or they will copy the response of David Cameron and provide two pages of A4 explaining how, if I want ‘change’, I should be voting for their respective parties.

We, who are interested in politics, can complain among ourselves and comment on blog articles as often as we like – but that, actually, accomplishes little I would suggest.

However, never one to give up easily, I have also written to Ed Miliband along similar lines to David Cameron – so let us see what response that provides. As will be seen in the email – reproduced below – I have made the point that politicians are continually bleating about the need to engage with the electorate – which never seems to happen – so I, as a member of the electorate, am attempting to engage with them; and that consequently I hope that I will receive a response.


Dear Mr. Miliband,

Much is made of the disconnect between the electorate and politicians and this is no doubt due to the lack of honesty and the lack of truth in what politicians tell the electorate; something that must also reflect on why the electorate question the integrity of our politicians.

I write not as a constituent of yours, but as a member of the electorate to whom you appeal in your efforts to become our country’s next prime minister. I am also well aware of the parliamentary convention whereby Members of Parliament maintain they can only respond to constituents on matters raised by them; however, from time to time politicians make statements through the media – and via the internet – which are, in effect, directed to the electorate at large and thus are liable to question by any member of the electorate.

In this regard I wish to concentrate on the question of the UK’s membership of the European Union.

In January 2013 David Cameron gave a speech in which he said:

“How can we sensibly answer the question of ‘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.”

When considering the mountain of words that have been uttered or written by anyone, be they of the pro-EU or anti-EU factions, never has anything so true been uttered than those words above.

How can the British electorate make an informed decision in respect of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union – in any referendum that is granted or when politicians discuss this subject – when the true facts have been hidden from them; and I contend, deliberately so it would seem.

You have criticised David Cameron for his lack of honesty and truth on the question of this country’s membership of the European Union; and, regrettably, I have to suggest the same criticism can be leveled at you.

You made a number of points in your speech at the London Business School in March this year and I wish to use this opportunity to take you to task on some of them.

You stated that almost almost half of all overseas investment in the UK comes from within the EU, directly providing 3.5 million jobs. In respect of the number of jobs, on what is this statement based? Are you ‘parroting’ the remarks of Nick Clegg on the BBC’s Today programme of 30th October 2011; or the remarks of Stephen Byers and Tony Blair in the year 2000; or in the same year the report issued by the South Bank University; or the figure of 3.5 million mentioned during a BIS debate in the HoC about overseas investment, based on an analysis apparently conducted in 2006; or the BIS report from February 2011 on the UK Response to the European Commission Consultation on the Single Market Act; or the report in 2000 by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in which it stated that: “detailed estimates from input-output tables suggest that up to 3.2 million jobs are now associated directly with exports of goods and services to other EU countries  and which went on to say that: “there is no reason to suppose that many of these[jobs], if any, would be lost permanently if Britain were to leave the EU; or, finally, as recent as June this year when Danny Alexander spoke in Washington and stated that 3.3 million jobs are connected to this country’s continued membership of the European Union?

There has always been a mantra put forward by politicians in favour of EU membership that the United Kingdom has to be ”in the EU to trade with the EU’ – a mantra that is palpably false, but one that like David Cameron you perpetuate. Yes, without doubt there are British jobs linked to trade and services with the other 27 members of the EU, but these jobs are not linked to our membership of the EU as they arise from our membership of the Single Market. You know as well as I – or you should do – that it is possible to be fully functional  participants in the Singe Market without being members of the EU, something which can be done by applying to re-join EFTA and remaining in the EEA.

David Cameron has ‘rubbished’ what is now called the ‘Norway Option’; something with which you appear to agree with your insistence that we have to remain in the EU in order to ‘have influence’. Condemning Norway to ‘government by fax’, having ‘no say’ in decision making and thus not being at the ‘top table’ is pure hogwash.

I am forced to ask where is the honesty, truth – coupled with your integrity – in denying that where the World Trade Organisation is concerned we all know that, within the EU, trade policy is an exclusive competence of the commission; subsequently we also know that in dealing with the WTO the framework for negotiations is decided at EU level by consensus and we are then represented at the WTO ‘top table’ by the European Commission.

The WTO situation is not unique, take for example  the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, known as WP.29 and held under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Council Europe where our interests are once again represented by the European Commission. Or take the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (on which Norway again has her own seat) which jointly manages the fisheries in the region,where the UK interest is represented by the European Commission and where we are not even parties to the enabling treaty, the EU having taken over our seat.

On both bodies Norway has a voice in the formulation of standards and decisions which are then handed down, in the form of dual international quasi-legislation for implementation by governments and trade blocs.

Where the setting of global standards is concerned, Codex is the ‘top table’ for food standards’ and there are many more: the FAO based in Rome; The OECD based in Paris; the ICAO based in Montreal; the BIS based in Basel; and the UNFCCC based in Bonn.

The point has to be made that it is from these dual international quasi-legisation that the majority of the bulk of Single Market regulation originates, making the EU no more than an intermediary player processing standards agreed elsewhere over which it has no control. At this point it becomes obvious that a seat at Brussels is not one at the top table.

Norway, as a member of the EEA, sits on over 200 EU Committees and from the EFTA website we learn that decision shaping is the phase of preparatory work undertaken by the European Commission to draw up new legislative proposals; that the Commission has an exclusive right of making proposals for new legislation but is obliged to call on advice from external sources when doing so; that the EEA Agreement contains provisions for input from the EEA EFTA side at various stages before new legislation is adopted; that input can take the form of participation by EEA EFTA experts in EC committees or the submission of EEA EFTA comments, as well as the adoption of resolutions in response to Commission initiatives; that as the initiator of EU legislation, the Commission is responsible for the preparatory work leading to draft proposals and that for this purpose, advice is often sought from experts of the Member States; that EEA EFTA States’ influence on the shaping of legislation is significant at this pre-pipeline stage, as the EEA Agreement provides for extensive participation by EEA EFTA experts in the preparatory work of the Commission; that in accordance with the EEA Agreement, the Commission shall informally seek advice from experts of the EEA EFTA States in the same way that it seeks advice from experts of the EU Member States.

In view of the above and that the UK would have far more influence on the global stage than we do as members of the European Union, I have to question your assertion that we are better off ‘in’ than ‘out’.

During this speech you said that Progressive politics must also be capable of responding to the concerns people have [around the benefits system]. Setting to one side the benefits system, the one thing you – and politicians in general – do not do is respond to the concerns of the people. If you had any such wish to respond to the concerns of the people you would immediately instigate a procedure whereby the electorate could question – and if necessary overturn – any decision that government, be that national or local, intended to implement.

You wrote, in your City AM article recently, that you are clear leaving the European Union would be a historic moment of economic self-harm: a betrayal of millions of people and businesses whose future depends on our EU membership. I would suggest to you that the greater betrayal of millions of people and businesses is the failure of politicians (with the exception of Owen Paterson) to be honest – and thus truthful – on the subject of this country’s membership of the European Union.

We hear repeatedly from politicians that there is a need for them to engage with the electorate – something that never seems to happen. As a result I am attempting to engage with politicians and therefore I  trust I may look forward to a response from you in due course,

David Phipps


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Financial Sovereignty

The measure of any country’s sovereignty is its ability to have total control over that which happens within the territory that its government controls – including its financial policies. It is well known that a Rothschild once said that control of a nations money by him means it matters not who forms the government.

The above is mentioned as today Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Thyssen have presented the Autumn 2014 Economic Governance package to kick off the new European Semester. The Annual Growth Survey sets out general economic and social priorities for the EU for the coming year.

Mentioned within this ‘address’ is the Alert Mechanism Report (AMR) which provides a screening of all 28 EU economies for potential economic risks, providing an early warning on imbalances such as housing booms or banking crises. It indicates which countries warrant an in-depth review of their economies. For an explanation of what the AMR actually is, click here; in which you will find mention of the United Kingdom.

Still our politicians prattle on about sovereignty and how our parliament is sovereign?

I trust I am not the only one raising my eyes to heaven and praying: God, give me strength?




Just level with us – please? (2)

In one respect this post contains a ‘mea culpa’ on my part as earlier I wondered what Owen Paterson’s speech would contain; intimating that I hoped it would not be similar to other Eurosceptic speeches containing nothing but ‘waffle’.

At last we now have a front-line politician acknowledging that the EU is but a law-factory churning out decisions made by global bodies, coupled with the fact that membership of the EU is not necessary to trade with the EU but that membership of the EEA is; and that, contrary too what Cameron would have us believe, Brussels is not the ‘top table’.

It is also refreshing that also, at last, a politician has acknowledged that by attempting a move to EFTA/EEA membership, allowing time for a fresh ‘arrangement’ to be formulated (as proposed by FlexCit) is the way to proceed; and at no detriment to British business.

What our media will make of Paterson’s speech – and how much publicity they will give it – at the time of writing is difficult to prophesy; however if the Daily Politics programme today is any guide, it will be a tad dismissive. Jo Coburn obviously had not read Paterson’s speech exhibited by her general demeanour towards him.

Paterson’s suggestion to David Cameron that he invoke Article 50 is, I would suggest, a forlorn hope with Cameron’s already stated belief that we should retain our membership of the European Union – and with that statement Cameron has already ‘boxed himself into a corner’.

He has also done that with his response to my dossier when in his reply he wrote: I am afraid that I cannot agree with a number of the points that you make in your report; and as readers will know, in my response to his reply I asked him with which did he agree. (As an aside, not one comment picked-up on this point – neither did any other eurosceptic blog – which makes one wonder if anything is read and digested – but I digress).

As a final thought on the subject of how much coverage Paterson’s speech will receive in our media I do not hold out much hope as the relationship twixt our political class and the media – and vice-versa – is a tad insidious, to say the least.







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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’.






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.



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.





The ‘forming’ of young minds (3)

The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.

Abraham Lincoln

Back in August 2012 I wrote this short article (and do please follow the links therein). Astute readers will recall that even prior to this, schoolchildren had been treated to the adventures of Captain Euro vs the evil D Vider (story self-explanatory); The Raspberry Ice Cream War which told of a group of intrepid youngsters who travel back in time to an age where there are still sovereign states, and teach the inhabitants to scrap their borders; or for older children, Troubled Waters, a Tintin-style cartoon strip, whose heroine is a ‘foxy’ MEP. The article linked to above was followed, almost immediately, by this (and again do please follow the links).

To get a flavour of the first mentioned (Captain Euro/D Vider), the following was used to describe the character, D Vider:

Ruthless speculator, curator and collector of ancient curiosities, DAVID VIDERIUS is a former financier. He is a multi-millionaire, used to making money no matter if it might involve the suffering of others. Banned and ostracised from the financial world for unprofessional conduct he managed to escape arrest despite his involvement in financial scandal. Having disappeared for many years, he reappeared as DR D VIDER. He manages a holding company, DIVIDEX, controlling hundreds of different businesses across Europe and beyond. (get the message – or should one say, messages?)

Yet again, readers will recall that I do not have much time for Daniel Hannan, however I have to admit that now and again he does provide what may be termed ‘pearls of knowledge’. In an article, published on his Telegraph blog and dated June 3rd 2011, he wrote that he had stumbled across an internal Commission report which stated, in its conclusions, that: 

Children can perform a messenger function in conveying the message to the home environment. Young people will often in practice act as go-betweens with the older generations.

Is not the use of children to ‘educate’ their parents and elders one of the characteristics of an authoritarian state?

Still the practice of indoctrination of young minds appears to continue as, courtesy of Edward Spalton, I have become aware of this website (and do note the date in the url). We know that the European Union never ‘gives up’, consequently it is logical to presume they are working on the basis that the European Union clearly intends, through early indoctrination , to ensure that tomorrow belongs to them.

It is only necessary to visit the website for Tom & Lila and then read the ‘teaching notes’ to see what I consider a subliminal and invasive attempt at what can only be described as propaganda.

Bearing in mind that there exists a statutory requirement for impartiality in all political matters I believe an email or two questioning the Department of Education and my local authority are necessary.

When one discusses public education, initially one considers schooling, but the process of public education does not end there. Consider how, as adults, we are ‘educated’ to accept what may well be alien views on equality & diversity and climate change; to name but two. In this regard, having begun with a quote it is only natural to end with one, this time by H.L. Mencken – especially as it goes a long way to explain the apathy exhibited by the majority of the population of this country:

 The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.





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