Tag Archive: European Union

Journalistic inexactitude

The Financial Times has an article about the introduction of new and more accurate fuel efficiency and CO2 test procedures for new cars (WLTP), headlining its article: Carmakers clash with EU over tougher fuel efficiency test.

It is indeed a bemusing headline which is totally misleading – why would the car industry be holding the EU responsible when the article makes plain that this legislation was not instigated by the EU, but by an organisation far higher up the chain of command.

The article even links to the European Automobile Manufactuers Association website in which reference is made to the organisation higher up the chain of command.

So (a) why the headline; and (b) why are the motor manufacturers not directing their ire at those who produced the news procedures in the first place? There is an old saying that one should not shoot the messenger – and in this case the EU is but the messenger.

This article is yet a further example of what can only be called sensationalising, sloppy journalism – which is all we can expect at the present time.

 

 


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A guantlet thrown down (2)

The first post in this series has resulted in WfW being subjected to a number of DOS attacks directed at that article, so it may be time to ‘up the ante’ as it were by repeating the charge levied against Nick Clegg and this time directing it at David Cameron.

The Conservative Party has just issued a video for the forthcoming European elections:

Cameron did not veto any treaty as there was no treaty on the table to veto; Britain still contributes to euro bailouts through its membership of the IMF; and Cameron did not cut the EU budget as Britain ended up contributing more.

The video states that Cameron will bring back powers from the EU by: taking back control of justice and home affairs; yet he is in the process of agreeing to cede some of them; by taking control of our borders intimating that Britain will control who enters our country, yet knows he cannot stem immigration from  any of the other 27 member states of the EU; securing more trade intimating the setting up of trade deals, yet the negotiation of trade deals is an EU competence; giving the people a yes/no referendum by 2017 following a renegotiation of Britain’s membership terms, yet the only way he can do this would be by invoking Article 50 of the TEU – something he has not mentioned.

Based on the claims he makes in this video  not forgetting his infamous claim that Norway is governed by fax, it is necessary to state that David Cameron is a liar and a charlatan – and pointing out that he has the same opportunity as that offered to Clegg.


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After the Lord Mayors Show

After the debacle of the IEA Brexit competition, one which The Boiling Frog informs us Lord Pearson was responsible for having raised the funding, it would seem we are about to be treated to what might be termed another Whitehall Farce (low comedy tradition of British farce).

From Open Europe’s press summary we read that: In or Out? How an EU referendum could affect your business: On 29 May in London, leading experts, politicians and business people will debate what ‘in’ or ‘out’ of the EU could actually look like? Should the UK stay or go? What should the Government renegotiate ahead of the proposed referendum, and in the event of an exit, what structures should the Government put into place to manage the transition? This event is held in partnership with Open Europe and speakers include Mats Persson, Open Europe Director, John Mills, Chairman and Founder of JML, Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management, Lord Simon of Highbury, Deputy Chairman of Unilever, and Sir Stephen Wall, the Foreign Policy Adviser to Prime Minister John Major.

It is with some justification that the term Whitehall Farce is used to describe another offering staged by Open Europe, especially when considering who the speakers are and that at the forefront is Mats Persson who has been shown not to have a clue about that which he is supposed to be knowledgeable.

It would appear that there is a concerted effort afoot by supposed eurosceptics, but who are in fact closet europhiles, to skew the debate on any referendum so that the result would be that which our political class want – and to hell with facts and what the people may want.


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Democracy? Pah!

Yesterday the House of Commons debated the UK’s block opt-out of pre-Lisbon criminal law and policing measures – Hansard report here. Having watched the debate, that such attracted the attendance of fewer than 50 Members of Parliament can only be seen as a reflection on the interest Members of Parliament have in the future of those they are supposed to represent.

As ever there was much mention of the word ‘democracy’ by Members of Parliament and when such luminaries as William Cash and John Redwood significantly fail to understand that democracy per se does not exist, what can one do but ask what hope is there for democracy.

Witness Cash earlier stating (Col: 42): Given the importance of those issues to UK citizens, those who represent their individual constituencies in this House should now have the opportunity to vote on them. That is a matter of principle and it is also a matter of democracy; and Redwood (Col: 40): Will my hon. Friend confirm that this is a desperately serious matter because if we opt in to any of these things, those subjects are no longer under the control of the House and the British people?

Where is there any element of democracy if any vote at the end of a debate is decided by parties whipping their Members of Parliament in order to comply with that party’s ideology du jour? Where is there any democracy when policy is not under the control of the House of Commons – or the British people, come to that – but under the control of an unrestrained Executive?

Of course hoping that any of the media would pick up on these two points is wishful thinking.


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2014
04/07

Category:
David's Musings

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Ask and ye shall receive (not) (5)

Continuing this series of posts which attempts to find out from the Council of the European Union whether or not the President of that body does or does not swear an oath of office, a response has been received to the email contained in No: 4 of this series:

We acknowledge receipt of your new message of 01/04/2014 to the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.

The General Secretariat refers to its previous reply and reiterates that the Treaties do not require the President of the European Council to swear an oath. The General Secretariat has no information as to why this is not the case.

If you require any further information, you are welcome to contact us.

Readers will immediately notice that the questions raised in my last email remain unanswered – they have no idea why the Lisbon Treaties (TEU & TFEU) are worded as they are; they are unable to explain why two men who have the same level of responsibility and  obligations are appointed to positions of which only one requires an oath of allegiance; they are unable to explain to whom or what the President of the European Council owes an allegiance; they most definitely do not wish to disclose any aspect of his contract of employment and will not even go so far as to confirm or deny that one exists.

Information for the public would appear to be yet another area in which the European Union fails dismally.

 


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Is not what is sauce for the goose, sauce for for the gander?

If, as Hamish Macdonell maintains, there has been enough complacency, enough bitching and the No camp needs to fight to save the Union, then cannot the same be said about the campaign to extricate the UK Union from the clutches of the European Union?

To paraphrase Macdonell, have not the ‘Outers’ in the EU membership debate been complacent? Many in the ‘Outers’ seem to have forgotten what this question means to the ‘Inners’. The ‘Outers’ seem to have forgotten that continued membership of the European Union is all that the ‘Inners’ care about – ‘Inners’ have been working for their dream all their lives and as such they are believers and not evangelists.

Where membership of the European Union is concerned, the various organisations in the ‘No’ campaign are at odds with each other – their message may be the same but it is uncoordinated; consequently their message is disparate. ‘Outers’ need to become evangelists!

If the ‘No’ campaign is to succeed does not someone, somewhere, need to do a ‘Bridgen‘?

Just a thought…………………..


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Ask and ye shall receive (not) (4)

Continuing the on-going saga over the matter of whether or not the President of the Council swears an oath, in response to my last email  the following has been received (the previous posts, in chronological order, can be read here, here and here):

We acknowledge receipt of your new message of 17/03/2014 to the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.

It is indeed foreseen in Article 245, second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) that the Members of the Commission shall give a solemn undertaking to respect, both during and after their term of office, the obligations arising from their duties and in particular the duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after they have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits. Those are obligations deriving directly from the Treaties, cf. Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Article 245 TFEU. Any breach of those obligations may lead to compulsory retirement or deprival of pension rights or other benefits in accordance with the procedures foreseen in the Treaty (i.e. decision by the Court of Justice on application by the Council or the Commission). In that respect it is noted that the solemn declaration is traditionally made before the European Court of Justice.

As regards the President of the European Council, his role and responsibilities are defined in Article 15 TEU. Reference is also made to Articles 235 and 236 TFEU which relate to the European Council as an institution. The Treaties do not foresee that the President of the European Council shall give a solemn undertaking. It goes without saying that this has no impact on his legal obligation to carry out his duties in full respect of the obligations arising therefrom. The Treaty provides that the European Council may end the term of office of the President of the European Council in the event of an impediment or serious misconduct.

As matters have not progressed to the point that a satisfactory response has been received, the following has been sent:

I refer to your latest email, in what is becoming a long-running saga, on the question of whether or not the President of the Council swears an oath on taking office.

First, I am a tad bemused by the fact that in your email of 11th March you referred me to the European Commission in respect of the President of that body, yet in this latest email you provide the information originally requested. This begs the question of why the referral was made in the first place, when you could have answered the question – but I digress.

I have referred to Articles 15 and 17 TEU and Articles 235, 236 and 245 TFEU. It would appear that both the President of the Commission and the President of the Council are under similar obligations – yet the former is required to swear an oath while the latter is not.

It is also noted that you revert to the word ‘foresee’ in your latest response. I was under the impression that the use of this word had been ‘put to bed’ as nothing more than obfuscation on your part. So why do you raise it again?

To repeat my earlier question, why is it required of one President to swear an oath and not the other? Do they not both hold the title of President and are they therefore not of equal standing and with equal responsibilities and obligations? You state: ‘It goes without saying that this has no impact on his legal obligation to carry out his duties in full respect of the obligations arising therefrom’ [sic]. If he, the President of the Council, has not sworn an oath, then how can he have a legal obligation? Unless of course his contract of employment specifies such an obligation, in which case perhaps that portion of his contract of employment can be made public? He, along with every other EU employee, does have a contract of employment?

The basic question is one of simplicity; namely what is the legal difference in their respective positions that requires one to swear an oath but not the other? Coupled to that basic question allow, me to add another; namely why are the treaties so worded as to require one to swear an oath but not the other?

In conclusion, a plea. To use a quaint English expression, will you please stop ‘faffing around’ and just answer the questions?

Kind regards,

It really is a simple question, yet to get an answer is akin to extracting blood from a stone. On a lighter note – and to paraphrase Groucho Marx – if they don’t like those questions, I have others.


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CleggvsFarage: the aftermath and fallout (2)

Much has been written and appeared in the media following the CleggvsFarage debate, some of it valid but in the main including a great deal of partisan rubbish – and both views have missed the most important aspect of the question about whether or not the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union. Not only has that most important aspect been ignored, but so have the individual components of that question. Clegg based his case for continued membership of the European Union purely on economic terms, completely ignoring the aspects of democracy, national independence and how we are to be governed. Farage touched on all three of those points, yet failed to bring them all together into one coherent and easily understandable argument – and in so doing totally missed the fundamental point; of which more in a moment. 

 It then follows just why do television and radio continue to present programmes wherein, within the time frame allowed, it is impossible for those panelists taking part to provide a lucid response to questions posed of them – or is this part of a plot to ensure that complex questions, such as membership of the EU never will be fully discussed. What is the point of what are in effect public information services if they just permit lies to be broadcast – do not those public information services have a duty to their listeners/viewers to correct misinformation? It is necessary to then question the form of language that our political class use, their phrasing and content. Again, what is the point of making what are, in effect, grand sweeping statements encapsulating words that to the average listener/viewer are incomprehensible?

Neither does it help when those who are able to have nearly an entire page in a broadsheet newspaper to offer a dispassionate view about the UK’s membership of the European Union then fills his allotted space with with rubbish content. Enter Charles Moore, previously Editor of the Telegraph. It is noticed that in the comments section, peter63 finds it astonishing that an intelligent person like Charles Moore can be in two minds about Brexit. On the face of that written today to couple the words ‘intelligent person’ with the words ‘Charles Moore’ could be held to be an oxymoron – and Moore admirably demonstrates that where the word ‘moron’ is concerned, ‘oxy’ is but one prefix that can be used, there being, it would seem, moore available.

FHS, how can one claim to be a eurosceptic of 30 years standing; be opposed to rule from abroad; still believe that the EU table is the top table; acknowledge that Norway, as a non-member, can prosper both globally and in the single market – yet be in two minds about whether membership of the EU is a good or bad thing? Moore is but another classic example of someone who doesn’t think about things he doesn’t think about. It seems to have escaped Moore’s attention that the reason why millions of people do not quite know what they think is because no-one has ever explained, in words of one syllable, both sides of the argument – nor does Moore appreciate that he is one of those guilty of wasting the god-given opportunity presented him so to do. One can only presume the lure of Black and Barclay monthly cheques interfered with his thought processes.

In his article Moore mentions that there are two forms of membership available – unfortunately this poor hack does not even realize that the two forms of membership about which he writes bear no resemblance to the two forms which will, I believe, shortly appear on the horizon. He ends his article questioning whether our Leaders are telling us the truth – which begs the question whether Moore is both blind and deaf as well as dumb. Since when has any politician told the people the truth?

As I pointed out in my preceding post, democracy and sovereignty are two words which are not getting a mention in this debate about our membership of the EU. For the benefit of those in doubt on that question (in which Moore obviously must be included), ultimately, where the CleggvsFarage debate is concerned, at the end of the day the entire question of the UK’s membership of the EU boils down to three basic options:

  • Do we wish to remain a member of a supranational body in which we, the people, have no daily control over those who implement laws by which we are governed and which affect our lives and who we cannot throw out of office,or;
  • Do we wish to cease that arrangement and return to a situation wherein we still have no daily control of those who implement laws by which we are governed and which affect our lives – albeit that we can, every five years, throw out of office those with whom we disagree and elect another group of people who will enjoy the same ‘privilege’ as the previous lot, or;
  • Do we change the system of democracy under which we are governed and move from what is a state of serfdom to a position where we actually control the one aspect of human life that is individually finite – our life in all its facets: locally, nationally and internationally.

Until someone decides to raise those three options further discussion twixt Clegg and Farage – or between any other two politicians – remains what it ndoubtedly is: vacuous verbiage.

 


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The missing element in the European election campaign?

It is not known exactly when the discussion which occurs in the following video took place and in view of the fact it was only uploaded to youtube today, we will presume the discussion is but days old.

Not one of the four speakers tackled the subject of where the bulk of law originates; not one of the speakers pointed out the futility of any referendum in 2017; in fact the discussion just degenerated into four people all guilty of attempting to talk over each other and in so doing spouting what at best can be termed ‘fiction’.

If and when any referendum is held and this discussion is indicative of that which will take place on the political level generally, then heaven help us all.

There is one small element in the run-up to the May 22nd European election that would appear to have been overlooked by I would suggest, everyone; and it is the date of 8th April. For it is on that date that the winner of the IEA Brexit competition will be announced (there  is another important event taking place on that day – but I digress).

It will be interesting to see on what basis the winning submission is chosen – and more importantly  how much publicity the media decide to afford it. If, as not only I suspect, said winning submission will be one based on the economic argument when in fact the argument about this country’s membership of the European Union is not one of economics but one of sovereignty, then we can also presume any submission based on sovereignty has already been filed in the waste bin.What will also be intriguing to observe is, if my suspicion is proved correct, what use of it Ukip will make (if any) and the reaction to it of David Cameron, the Conservative Party and the Fresh Start Group.


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Ask and ye shall receive (not) (3)

Readers may recall that I have been in communication with the European Union in respect of oaths sworn – or not sworn, as the case maybe – by anyone holding the office of President of the European Council and President of the European Commission.

Following the disclosure that Van Rompuy does not swear/take an oath of office, but that Barroso does I felt it only right to pursue the matter. Consequently the following email has been sent to the Office of the President of the European Council.

Having regard to your email to me, dated 11th March, in which you confirmed that the President of the European Council does not take/swear an oath;

Having regard to the fact that an oath of office is an oath or affirmation a person takes before undertaking the duties of an office, usually a position in government, such oaths are often required before the person may actually exercise the powers of the office;

Having regard to the fact that oaths of office are a statement of loyalty to a constitution or other legal text or to a person or other office-holder (e.g., an oath to support the constitution, or to a Parliament, or to a demos);

Having regard to the fact that the European Union is founded on principles, of which one is that of democracy (Article 2 TEU;

Having regard to the fact that, confirmed by Jeff Lamb (Representation of the European Commission in the UK) the President of the European Commission swears the same oath as Commissioners;

Why does the President of the European Council not swear an oath?;

What is the legal difference in their respective positions that require one to so do – but not the other?;

To whom or what does the President of the European Council owe his loyalty?;

I look forward to your further elucidation of what is becoming a puzzling conundrum.

Kind regards,

As previously, any response will be published.


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