Tag Archive: European Union

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

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

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

Dear Mr. Lamb,

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

David Phipps

The following response was received:

Dear Mr Phipps,

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

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

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

 Best regards 

Jeff Lamb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic - safer, more secure communities

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

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

Button - I'll back the plan to tackle crime


Theresa May
Home Secretary

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

Transparency? Pah!

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



Suggesting the impossible (2)

On the 1st of this month I wrote about an article authored by Daniel Hannan which appeared on his Telegraph blog. In this article he offered 9 points that he felt David Cameron should bring back from his renegotiation process. Following that article Hannan gave a talk for a cokmbined audience of the 1900 Club and the Centre for Policy studies, the video of which follows.

I post this video for the interest of readers although it is just, basically, a rehash of his blog article. He speaks for just over 30 minutes followed by a Q&A session of roughly the same length, with questions from, among others, Rory Broomfield and Archie Hamilton.

It remains a source of amusement to me that there appears to be three subjects virtually guaranteed to bring forth coruscation; namely criticism of Daniel Hannan, Ukip and/or Nigel Farage. These acolytes will not countenance any word of criticism about their heroes or party.

One such acolyte is Kathy Gyngell, an ‘experts’ of the Centre for Policy Studies and also co-editor of The Conservative Women. She has written a piece for Camaign for an Independent Britain in which she waxes lyrical about Daniel Hannan and his vision for life outside the European Union.

Besides repeating his mantra about the repeal of Sections 2 & 3 of ECA1972, Hannan maintains that all his 9 points could be achieved without treaty change. It cannot be said often enough that Hannan’s 9 points are unachievable without treaty change as they undermine the basic tenets of the EU’s entire raison d’etre.

The level of ignorance among the general public about ‘matters EU’ is understandable as not one has been explained to them by those who consider themselves qualified to do the explaining.  What is frightening is the apparent lack of ignorance among those providing the British people with information – albeit that one could argue they are well aware of the true facts but deliberately go out of their way to mislead.

If anyone is looking for evidence that those doing the explaining know squat-diddly then it is only necessary to look at the ‘final’ six submissions to the IEA Brexit Competition, plus that of David Campbell Bannerman, whose submission did not make the final cut – yet Campbell Bannerman would have us believe that his submission is ‘making waves’ within the EU elite who, he assures us, are very interested in his ideas.

An aspect of the debate about our membership of the European Union that is really worrying is the point that virtually all the ‘informers’ talk about leaving the European Union yet, to my knowledge, not one of them has actually produced a detailed exit plan. It is also a fact that not one of them is prepared to discuss, or debate, the one detailed exit plan that has been produced – namely Flexcit. It is impossible that those informing us about ‘matters EU’ are not aware of the existence of Flexcit – and the fact they will not even mention its existence speaks volumes.

Another matter that speaks volumes is that eight weeks have now elapsed since I presented David Cameron, my Member of Parliament, with what I considered a reasonably detailed dossier in which I accused him of being economical with the actualité on ‘matters EU’. Now I am fully aware that he has had other matters on his mind, such as Clacton, Heywood & Middleton, his birthday, besides a small fracas in the Iraq/Syria region; however I have now been forced to email him direct to suggest that he may wish to extract his digit (or words to that effect).

Why is it that one gets the feeling that on just about everything – especially on matters EU – that the great and the good are intent on doing a Maud on us?


Another can of worms

Following Grayling’s statement about the possible exit of the UK from the ECHR much has been written in the media and on blogs, much of it I would suggest being misinformed in my opinion – of which this - along with some of the comments – is a prime example.

Too often we see errors such as conflating the Council of Europe with the European Council and the European Union with the European Council of Human Rights (ECHR). Likewise there is still a prevailing mantra that all that is necessary to leave the European Union is the repeal of ECA1972 – the latter which is laughable when one takes into account international law.

At the outset I have to admit to no legal qualification consequently I think those of us in a similar position should be wary of offering a categorical statement refuting the opinion of others – especially two QC’s – and I would suggest that the non-legal-eagles among us would do better to pose the odd question or two. With this in mind, some initial, what I believe are pertinent, questions:

  • Is it not a fact that lex specialis is to be considered? – to which I would add possibly lex posterior (explanation in the same link)
  • Is it not a fact that if one looks at the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the UK has agreed to be bound by the Treaty of Lisbon (and its predecessors) – fact (Article 11).
  • Must not the UK observe that termination of a treaty, its denunciation or the withdrawal of a party, may take place only as a result of the application of the provisions of that treaty – fact (Article 42.2); ergo you exit a treaty by whatever means to which you agreed when you signed. 
  • Has not the European Union already made plain that EU law has supremacy not only over national law but also constitutional law?
  • Is it not a fact that if the UK wishes to exit the ECHR it must first exit the European Union because EU membership requires states to have signed the ECHR?

In view of the foregoing, is it not a fact that those proposing repeal of ECA1972, or ‘test cases’, are using the same orifice for their opinions and views as do MPs? (which, no doubt, is why the latter stand to speak  in the HoC as otherwise we would never hear them, their voices otherwise being muffled).





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?




David's Musings


Comments Closed


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’…………





EU ‘politics’

We learn today, via Open Europe’s Press Summary, that Jean-Claude Juncker is likely to find himself with fewer female commissioners than that of the outgoing Commission; and that he therefore runs the risk of the European Parliament vetoing the entire commission when they vote next month.

It is possible that the use of the word ‘risk’ is a tad of an understatement, especially if we recall the words of Martin Schulz when he informed the  heads of state and government at the start of a Council summit on Wednesday 16 July, that Parliament will not accept a gentlemen’s club. To my knowledge Schulz has yet to specify an acceptable, to him or to Parliament, ratio of women to men in Juncker’s Commission.

Digressing slightly, if Schulz believes that politics exists to make people’s lives better then one could be forgiven for vociferously disputing that belief.

EurActiv carries a short article on Juncker’;s interviews with candidate Commissioners; and it is worth highlighting the requirement of any Commissioner that he/she shall be chosen on the ground of their general competence and European commitment from persons whose independence is beyond doubt (emphasis mine); which kinda hits on the head all the twaddle we read in the media a few weeks ago about Cameron needing to appoint someone who would ‘fight Britain’s corner’.

Picking up on OE’s link to a report by Italian news agency ANSA that Juncker is expected to appoint seven Vice-Presidents with coordinating roles, it is worth noting a report in euobserver detailing how the French are leading a call for someone to act as such to ensure member states follow through more rapidly on their asylum and border control commitments. It will also be noted that the UK is one of the member states reportedly ‘on board’ with the general idea even though it will involve more costs for member states.

Where the next few weeks and months are concerned it would seem there are interesting time ahead.

With regard to the heading of this post it is worth also taking note of a further article by Mats Persson of Open Europe, on the Telegraph blogs; one mainly dealing with possible ramifications of Scotland’s forthcoming referendum on independence. One sentence immediately stands out: Breaking up a country is a hugely disruptive and messy event. Well yes Mats, there is no need to state the bleeding obvious – have we not witnessed this ever since January 1st, 1973?

 Persson may well be correct (although he rarely is) when he writes that the administrative tasks of handling the aftermath of a ‘Yes’ vote for Scottish independence coupled with negotiating and holding a ‘Brexit’ referendum is impossible. I would not put it past Cameron that when he finds that which he is attempting to do (renegotiation) cannot be achieved under the existing Treaties, he seizes the opportunity to quote the Scottish administrative problems following any Scottish ‘Yes’ vote and postpone his 2017 referendum. In the event of a ‘Yes’ vote it will be interesting to see what is in the Conservative Party General Election manifesto – but yet again I digress.

It is also interesting to pick out yet another phrase Persson uses, namely: the nightmarish Article 50 maintaining it only gives the UK two years to achieve a ‘take it or leave it’ deal. First, Article 50 states in point 3: …..unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period (I did state that Persson was rarely right). Coupled with that, second; it is virtually impossible to renegotiate everything that would need to be renegotiated within that two year period (although it has to be realised that Persson with his obviously limited knowledge, would not have the faintest idea of all that would need to be renegotiated).

Bearing in mind the time it takes the EU to negotiate any form of trade agreement – one only has to look at Switzerland, realising that it has taken that country 20 years to reach the position it now has with the EU – to also realise that the easiest move the UK could make (and do within the two year period) is for a sideways move to EFTA/EEA (which would not cause any problems for UK businesses) and then to open negotiations for a new ‘arrangement’ with the EU. 

It is well known that Open Europe is but the mouthpiece of the Conservative Cameron Party, so one can assume this article had his blessing. Where Mats Persson is concerned, one can only suggest that he should have added to his last paragraph the words: or any other matter, come to that.


‘Genuine’ Representative Democracy?

Tim Wigmore has an article in The Staggers, the political blog of the New Statesman, one with a heading:  Parliament must shed privately-educated and Westminster bubble MPs to win voters’ trust; and a sub-heading: As voters become more inclined to plump for an option outside the mainstream, or stay at home altogether, parties should recognise the electoral gains in becoming more genuinely representative of Britain today.

When one looks at this author’s ‘bio‘, it becomes necessary to firstly think that he needs to ‘grow-up’ a tad before pontificating on a subject on which he has obviously given little thought. That is not to decry the attempt of one so young to offer a suggestion to what is wrong with our current system of democracy; unfortunately, in his case, it just illustrates that he is part of the grouping about which he complains.

There have been, of late, many articles attempting to make our current system of representative democracy more representative, of which Wigmore’s is the latest – and all are akin to attempting to turn water into wine. We are all aware that, reputedly, only one person has performed that trick; although David Blain did turn coffee into money, albeit with a littletrickery.

Our political class indulge in ‘trickery’ – although their form of ‘trickery’, which in comparison is in the kindergarten class as it relies on a more basic form, namely that of lying. Witness that when Cameron and Clegg usurped power in 2010 they promised, among other things, to create a power of recall thus enabling an electorate to recall their Member of Parliament if they so desired (page 27:  A Programme for Government); only for it to be found that the final decision would be taken by a committee of MPs. It was also promised that 200 all-postal primaries would be held in seats that had not changed hands for many years and that local residents would be given the power to call for local referendums n any local issue – yet we still await the first; and on the second we then found that the results of such referendums could be ignored if the local authority so chose – but perhaps I digress?

Wigmore, like Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Cash, Carswell, Hannan and Boris Johnson, is but a talking head from within the Westminster Bubble running round in circles trying to achieve the impossible – namely attempting to make our current system of democracy more representative – genuinely or otherwise. It cannot be done, because:

  • How can such a system be representative when a political party, ‘achieving office’, can pass any piece of legislation it likes and those who are supposed to be represented have no means of halting said piece of legislation?
  • How can such a system be representative when there is no separation twixt Executive and Legislature, meaning that those elevated to the Executive cannot represent those they were elected to represent?
  • How can such a system be representative when prospective candidates are ‘parachuted in’, at the whim of their political party, without the agreement of the electorate they will be asked to represent?
  • How can such a system be representative when those elected are ‘whipped’ to support their ‘party line’ in any vote held in Parliament, purely to keep that party in power?
  • How can such a system be representative when those who are supposed to represent feed those that are supposed to be represented false information?
  • How can such a system be representative when taxation – and levels of taxation – can be imposed on a people when the people on whom said taxation is levied are unable to object or decide on what and how that taxation should be spent?

It is all very well for Wigmore to bemoan the fact that Parliament is unrepresentative because there is an imbalance twixt male and female members of parliament or that the ethnic mix is still out of kilter with that of the present electorate. Were either of those two factors to be addressed it would still not make parliament ‘representative’ while the defects noted above still exist.

Boris Johnson is consider by some to be a buffoon – and the latest to so agree is Simon Nixon writing in the Wall Street Journal. Yet Johnson, among the political class, is not alone with not one Member of Parliament seemingly able to produce a coherent and factual utterance on this country’s membership of the European Union. Wigmore may well consider members of parliament to be assiduous – that they most definitely are is beyond doubt when you read and listen to their views on ‘matters EU’, spouting as they do utter piffle. Unfortunately piffle is not confined to just our political class, it even appears from those considered to be ‘experts’ on the subject, experts which include think tanks such as Open Europe and even the economic adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group.

Civitas has entered the fray, joining Nixon and others in the condemnation of Boris Johnson’s recent report. We are, it seems, to be blessed with two further reports on (1) ways of leaving the European Union and (2) the views of business on that subject, the first of which is due to appear on Wednesday of next week. Needless to say, when these reports are published, where coherence and fact are concerned, I’m not holding my breath.

Young Wigmore needs to start again by returning to the kindergarten class because Parliament not only needs to shed its privately educated members, along with its Westminster Bubble, but it needs to return the sovereignty that it has usurped from those to whom it belongs.

What we have at the moment is not only not representative – hell, it doesn’t even have any vestige of democracy.









Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink

Those words,forming the heading to this article, are from The Rime of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge; and nowadays is used to describe a situation in which someone is in the midst of plenty but cannot partake of it. Substitute the word ‘water’ with ‘democracy’……… (but yet again I digress).

The European Commission has announced a ‘consultation‘ for the public and ‘stakeholders’ on the subject of water and its re-use; from which:

Water re-use is not widespread in Europe. Most wastewater from urban treatment plants is simply flushed out into rivers and lakes. But increasing re-use would help us respond to the increasing problems of water scarcity and drought, while reducing the risk of contamination from wastewater and lowering treatment costs. Re-use of water also has a lower environmental impact than getting it from other sources such as inter-regional water transfers or desalination.

In spite of these advantages and the considerable potential for further development, There are several reasons why the level of re-use is so low, including:

  • Lack of common EU environmental/health standards for water re-use

  • Potential obstacles to the free movement of agricultural products that were irrigated with re-used water

  • Inadequate water pricing and business models

  • Low stakeholder awareness about the benefits of water re-use

  • Lack of public acceptance

  • Technical barriers and scientific uncertainties

The European Commission is launching a public consultation on a range of possible EU measures that would encourage the re-use of treated wastewater. We want to know what citizens, stakeholders, businesses, NGOs and public authorities think about the potential of re-use and obstacles to it, and what kind of regulatory and non-regulatory EU measures could effectively address these concerns and increase the uptake of safe water re-use in the EU.

Before the ‘EU Fanatics’ pile in bemoaning yet more EU interference, it is necessary to follow the golden rule of tracing such intentions back to their source. That source, in this field, once again involves our old friend the United Nations Economic Council Europe (UNECE) and their ‘work’, with others, in this field – and in particular a paper with the title of: The Post 2015 Water Thematic Consultation, the background and beginnings of which can be found here.

In what can only be called a sop to democracy it will be noted that citizens are invited to put forward their views. It is indeed a sop as the only voices which will be heard will be those of stakeholders, NGOs, businesses and public authorities; and by giving weight to these bodies it just perpetuates the divide and rule method of EU governance whereby the voice of the people and their elected governments can be ignored. 

 When one considers that what is happening here, with the relationship between the European Union and global standard-setting bodies creating under our very noses a form of global governance, it really does become necessary to acknowledge a New World Order. With so much regulation having its origins in the United Nations one could be forgiven for asking not only why is the EU there, but why do we have national governments?



Far from the maddening truth

I note that Ed Miliband has come out with what one might term ‘weird and wonderful truths’ in respect of ways in which to ‘revitalise’ our rail system.

Yet again we find Miliband being completely blind to the ‘user pays’ principle, something about which I have written previously, the latest being this article. In common with the political class in general, Miliband thus chooses to ignore the constraints imposed by the European Union on the UK’s transport policy.

Another example of being economical with the actualité is the subject of Crossrail, which is being sold to us as a ‘UK Innovation’ when it is in fact part of the TEN-T ‘core-network’ project (more on this in the immediate days ahead). Crossrail is heralded as the saviour of cross-London travel, the line running from Shenfield, in Essex, to Heathrow.


(click to enlarge)

One has to ask what earthly use is this line to those in the North of England (Manchester or Newcastle) who will not travel by train to London(an hour or two), then take the Circle Line to Paddington, followed by a 26 minute journey to Heathrow – when they can board a plane direct to Heathrow with a flight time of about 20/30 minutes?

Which kind of leaves Miliband’s idea of devolving decisions over the running of regional and local services so that areas can bring together trains, buses, trams into a single network in what might be termed: tatters?

More on the EU’s plans for’ transport’, where the UK is concerned, in the next 2/3 days – stay tuned, please?


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (7)

Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite ‘em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.

And the great fleas, themselves, in turn
Have greater fleas to go on;
While these again have greater still,
And greater still, and so on.

A childhood rhyme which perfectly illustrates the complexity involved when attempting to discover the origins of law, viz-a-viz local government, national government, the EU and the various United Nations bodies; not forgetting the role played by NGOs, pressure groups, etc.

Readers may recall that on the 1st of this month I wrote about Ed Miliband’s plan to devolve power by means of Combined Authorities and linked it to Hazel Blears’ attempt to create Multi-Area Agreements (MAAs). Of course prior to that we had John Prescott’s failed attempt to create regional government in the North East; and subsequently, with the faux election of the present Coalition government in 2010, the replacement of Regional Assemblies with Local Area Partnerships (same animal, different name).

It will also be recalled by readers that the EU never gives up in its aim of creating a ‘European state’, leaving no stone unturned in the hope of achieving something it has so far failed to do – the creation of a European demos.

It will therefore come as no surprise to see that the idea of regionalisation has reappeared under the guise of creating an Urban Agenda; an idea in which the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic Social Committee (EESC) will also have a ‘finger in the pie’.

Today Johannes Hahn, EU Regional Policy Commissioner is asking EU citizens to share their views on an EU Urban Agenda – what form it should take and how it should be put into action. The Commissioner is calling for a wide engagement by stakeholders and city dwellers in a public consultation alongside a formal Communication just published by the European Commission – a document entitled: The Urban Dimension of EU Policies – Key Features of an EU Urban Agenda (Well worth reading – it is only 12 pages).The weight of any views from an individual will no doubt be zilch when those of the stakeholders are also included.

Returning to the subject of fleas – and their order of importance – where the setting of global standards is concerned, with food standards Codex is the top table – and there are many others, all under the aegis of the United Nations. There is also, for example: the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) based in Rome; the United Nations Economic Council (UNECE) based in Geneva; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) based in Paris; the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) based in Montreal; the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) based in Basel; and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) based in Bonn.

If readers have referred to the formal Communication they will see referenced (among others too numerous to mention at this juncture) the OECD and the UNFCCC. The OECD for example is responsible for The definition of a Functional Urban Area (FUA); and from page 2 we read that the OECD in collaboration with the EU (Eurostat and EC-DG Regio) has developed a harmonised definition of urban areas as “functional economic units”.

Like the Phoenix, a mythical bird that arises from its own ashes, so has the regionalisation meme been reborn, albeit under another name and policy. At this point it becomes necessary to question the origin of Labour’s policy for Combined Authoritities; and in this instance, just for once, I do not digress – you work it out, its not difficult.

It will also be noted that Miliband, like Cameron, is indeed a small flea.



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© Witterings from Witney 2012