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Thursday, July 31, 2003

No to the Euro campaign gets a clinching argument for persuading the British public

CNN reports that Briton's bank on Beckham to appear on their banknotes. There we have it then, most of these will surely understand that this would just not be possible once we were inside the Eurozone!

posted by Martin at 7/31/2003 02:46:00 PM

The EU Constitution

In an article in this morning's Daily Telegraph with the title Britain to demand EU constitution changes Britain is described as risking a wholesale re-negotiation of the Convention's document to defend its own red lines which are mainly defence and tax.

It contains in relation to the defence matter this extraordinarily naive statement:-

It is not yet clear how far Britain will resist the proposals to create a common defence policy.

The author, Anton La Guardia, described as the papers Diplomatic Editor should perhaps be excused for this less than truthful statement. Readers should not be confused, we have over thirty years of painful history of Britain's negotiations with Europe which tell us exactly how far we will go, namely:-

We will go as far as we can, for as long as we can, so that our politicians can put on a bravura performance for the audience at home, and then sneakily, behind close doors when some major domestic event is distracting the public's attention, completely capitulate

That is why less than a quarter of Britons now support the EU and want nothing to do with it, because we get nothing out of it and it is not only clearly totally corrupt in itself, but increasingly can be seen to be corrupting our own political processes.

The Red Lines should be No Constitution, No Euro or quite simply and singularly No more continuation of Britains membership.

Bernard Jenkin the Conservative Defence spokesman is quoted as making the point as follows "Even if they win on their red lines, they have already given much more away, not least the principle of having a constitution in the first place." well said but next time fortissimo please.

posted by Martin at 7/31/2003 08:25:00 AM

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Who owns your body?

Well after the euphoria displayed in our previous post regarding a slight recovery in the ozone layer and the encouragement this must give to our friends in the Antipodes, back to earth with a bump after a brief visit to samizdata.net where a posting from Perry de Havilland concludes as follows-

Can it really surprise us that the state does not respect individual property rights or the right of self-defense if it does not even respect the right of individuals to judge what chemicals should or should not be put in your own body? This is not a minor issue because it goes to the very heart of whether your perception of freedom is an illusion or not.

Read the whole, rather upsetting nightmare post

A person very close to me seriously believes that the present craze for body piercing, visible tattoos and other self-mutilating practises (whatever they might happen to be) are being encouraged by western governments so that the next generation will more readily accept the insertion of identifying microchips in their babies' upon birth.....

posted by Martin at 7/30/2003 08:45:00 PM

Good and Cheerful News

Having spent most of the day on items for my sister blog UKIP Uncovered agonising over the depressing and distressing state of the UK Independence Party, I thought I would try to find a cheerfull topic to raise the spirits here on Ironies. That necessarily rules out anything to do with the also sickeningly depressing and even more distressing European Union.

So here it is....the Good News, and for any who might be guessing, NO, I am not going to trumpet the last production of the Hitler co-designed peopleswagon....Quite WRONG.

No, the good news posted just two hours ago for the AMERICAN Geophysical Union by Science Daily News Release is that the Destruction of the Ozone layer is decreasing read about it from the link.

For those who came here for biting criticism and barbed attacks or perhaps just simple sardonic comment and find such good news less than exciting, follow the first link on this post and see how a political party (with a cause of such strength, which one presumes, political parties across the world would long to replicate) is destroying itself through what can only be ascribed to the sheerest stupidity or straightforward selfish ambition.

We, however, rejoice in the good news! Maybe we should search for those old New Zealand Immigration Forms we once had almost fully completed, after all with Britain ever more remorselessly getting locked into the EU and the non-democratic state of that Europea.....whoops there I go again! Cocktail hour calls (after all spirits can always be literally raised) and the toast is to the planet's ozone....Welcome Back!!!!

posted by Martin at 7/30/2003 06:56:00 PM

Referenda and Democracy

An interesting Leading Article on the above topic from 29th July Daily Telegraph Sovereignty of the people

This blog dedicated itself to working towards achieving democracy for the EU, which seemingly unattainable has tended to become a crusade for Britain's withdrawal from that body and restoration of Westminster Sovereignty.

The emasculation of the delicate balances of the British Constitution, which for so long protected our freedoms, is now being taken to such extremes by the Blair administration, that this approach requires considerable refinement and we will be returning to this topic with discussion of the Telegraph Leader when time permits.

We will also try to extend our ideas for EU Democratic structures beyond the "protection against tyranny" definition taken from Karl Popper, now that we have the benefit of the Convention's own ideas fully set out.

posted by Martin at 7/30/2003 07:59:00 AM

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Germans too, seek greater democracy and a say!

The following quote is the conclusion of an article from a Deutsche Welle piece on the need to prevent diplomats having a final say on the new EU constitution:-

But in order to engage citizens, the two politicians stressed, German political parties have to get involved themselves. They need to send good people to Strasbourg and Brussels, not politicians that are being "put out to pasture," according to Wulf-Mathies.

"It's only going to work if we send the best to represent the EU," she said.

The full item can be read in English from this link

posted by Martin at 7/29/2003 07:51:00 PM

Britain to lose its Euro opt-out??

The following is a letter published in today's Daily Telegraph from Britain's Shadow Attorney General Bill Cash. The ultimate betrayal, it seems, draws closer!

Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003


Re: Opt-out drafted out
Date: 29 July 2003

Sir - Your readers will be interested to hear that Britain's much-vaunted opt-out from the euro has been excluded from the draft European Constitution.

Article III-91 of the draft adds to the existing treaties by instituting a progress report at least every two years, in which the European Council will decide whether each member state outside the eurozone has fulfilled the necessary conditions for adopting the euro. The conditions laid down in the Constitutional Treaty are much narrower than the Chancellor's "five economic tests".

The decision is made by qualified majority voting; measures "shall" then be taken to facilitate the implementation of the final stage "with the unanimity of the members of the council representing member states without a derogation and the member state concerned" - in other words, these states are to fall into line with the council's decision.

I tabled a question on this issue to the Prime Minister for answer on July 15. He passed the buck to the Chancellor, who passed it on to the Chief Secretary. I raised it with the Leader of the House (who was the government representative at the European Convention) at Business Questions last week, but without success.I at last received a written answer from the Chief Secretary on July 21, blithely stating that "the UK's EMU protocol will be re-adopted on the conclusion of the IGC". How does he know? The Chief Secretary's claim that we would preserve our power in monetary matters is not the same as the protocol. The Praesidium has stated that "the convention may wish to draw the IGC's attention to the fact that it needs to consider what is to happen to the protocols".

It should be recalled that the Prime Minister regards the euro as so important a loss of sovereignty that he has conceded a referendum on it, but not on the constitution itself. If the Government is determined to preserve our euro opt-out, as part of that constitution, why did it not say so during the convention?

Is yet another betrayal on the way; ie, no referendum at all? Or will the Prime Minister try to claim the re-adoption of the protocol on the euro as a victory?

From: Bill Cash, Shadow Attorney-General, London SW1

posted by Martin at 7/29/2003 07:07:00 PM

The Rubbish Gestapo

Had to blog this link to Andy Duncan's Samizdata piece on both rubbish and the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme, (all complete garbage) which I unhappily turned off too soon this morning.

posted by Martin at 7/29/2003 05:59:00 PM

UK Identity Cards with Iris Scans

Two interesting links in connection with EU involvement in the above issue, both courtesy of 'Peter J' on the "FT Forum Is the stronger Euro...." EU on Biometrics followed by the excuse under which all this will no doubt be implemented EU Countering Illegal Immigration Those seeking the connection between the documents are referred to this quotation from the second of the two EU Papers

In this context, a coherent approach is needed on biometric identifiers and biometric data in the EU; this would result in harmonised solutions for documents for nationals of non-EU countries, EU citizens' passports and information systems (VIS and SIS II).

posted by Martin at 7/29/2003 02:13:00 PM

Tony Blair Agaiiin!

What could be more ironic to start our day than to find this gem Blair accused by Greeks of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court, another policy he went along with to please the EU, which he must always have known was crazy if he truly acted over Iraq from commitment.

posted by Martin at 7/29/2003 08:28:00 AM

Monday, July 28, 2003

Erika 1

The following statement prefaces new persecution of EU member states:-

ERIKA I maritime safety legislation enters into force: Commission takes action against 10 Member States

The Erika I legislation finally entered into force on July 22 more than 3 years after these stricter maritime safety rules were proposed by the Commission. «We could have avoided the PRESTIGE oil spill, had these key measures been into force earlier as the Commission initially proposed » declared Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President in charge of transport and energy.

Full details of this prime example of unilateral action in a multilateral environment (and nothing is more international or better internationally agreed and guarded through IMO a UN agency than world shipping), which the EU spends so much of its time normally decrying when extending its own powers, could possibly be found than this link to a prime example of EU cant:-

EU Unilateralism par excellenceErika 1 justifying the indefensible

This is a farce and a disgrace and here, (for once at least) I speak as one with much experience and detailed first-hand knowledge. The shapers of these rules know nothing of the topic on which they have chosen to arbitrarily and internationally legislate, nor the economic consequences of the course on which they are set.

They might perhaps have asked an ex-US Shipowner or one time US Mariner of the effects of the Jones Act; or considered for a while the present situation in Monrovia; strangely enough the two are related, and the one-time nation-States of the EU now seem destined towards a Liberian future!

Maritime power breeds democracy, as illustrated by the city state of Athens quoted in the first sentence of the proposed constitution. Continental land-locked states seem to lack a similar drive towards individualism and personal freedoms as frequently discussed herein. Continental powers are therefore particularly ill-equipped to legislate on maritme matters.

This Erika 1 legislation is yet one more such attempt in a long and fruitless history of such repressive measures. It will fail, but it is to the eternal shame of this British Government that they have, apparently, acceded to these EU proposals.

posted by Martin at 7/28/2003 09:40:00 PM

Repeating our initial post

....is something that we feel, it is occasionally necessary to do:-

""Most people prefer to believe that their leaders are just and fair, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt Government risks harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker, but only to give the moral cowards an excuse to think nothing at all."

Michael Rivero

...if only for ourselves.

posted by Martin at 7/28/2003 08:57:00 PM

Corruption, corruption all is corruption

This from an EuObserver article earlier today regarding the upcoming referendum on the Euro within Sweden

In radio interview on Thursday, Mr Pagrotsky referred to information published by the organisation Social Democrats Against EMU that the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise is going to spend 200-300 million Swedish kronor (€21-32m euro) on a campaign for a yes to Swedish EMU membership, according to several Swedish media.

Mr Pagrotsky did not question the Confederation's right to campaign for a yes, but appealed for transparency on the issue.

He referred to the fact that a number of state owned enterprises are members of the Confederation and that these should adhere to the policy of transparency in public administration.

The full report can be read from this link Swedish Government in open euro war

posted by Martin at 7/28/2003 08:44:00 PM

Tony Blair

Is this ironic or WHAT!

Blair as EurActiv's choice for President?

Note especially the final paragraph, quoted below on the assumption few can possess the stomach to wade through all the earlier BS:-

Although Tony Blair has stated several times that he has the ambition to be British Prime Minister until 2010, there are some speculations that he could be the first European Council President.

posted by Martin at 7/28/2003 08:17:00 PM

EU Barometer Flash Poll on the Convention

This poll conducted by Gallup has now been released and can be reviewed from this link in pdf format.

The UK as is becoming the norm for such surveys comes last in the now very long list of member countries for knowledge of things euopean, with only 25 per cent claiming any knowledge of the Convention, across the entire 25 countries this figure only climbed to 45 per cent.

Not only that, it appears that more than half surveyed have no interest in reading anything about the topic Countries where we find the highest rates of respondents who do not wish to read about the draft at all are Finland (53%), Germany (52%), the United Kingdom (51%), the Netherlands (51%) and Denmark (50%). In these five countries, half of the population is not interested in reading about the draft Constitution.

44 per cent of Britons believe it would be Essential to hold a referendum while another 39 per cent believe a referendum would be useful but not essential. This compares with figures of 40 and 43 per cent for the 25 countries in total.

Given the extent of British knowledge of the proposed constitution and the small sample of 1000, it is probably not worthwhile giving too much consideration to other answers as one is left to wonder, for example, how so many Britons can express an opinion on whether or not it should be adopted as it is 8 percent, partially modified 26 per cent, radically modified 11 percent, rejected in order to keep the existing Treaties (note the tricky words) 34 per cent or don't know 22 per cent.

posted by Martin at 7/28/2003 05:35:00 PM

EU Constitution

Returning from a short break obliges a return to the most crucial issue facing all people with the misfortune to hold citizenship of one of the nations within, or about to be within, the European Union namely the potentially oppressive and repressive constitution presented by Valery Giscard d'Estaing.

This quote from an excellent piece on this subject in today's DailyTelegraph highlights the essential factor which appears to so far have been missed by Europe's servile and ill-informed masses:-

The fundamental change here is the very fact that the powers of the European Union, which were previously based on treaties, will now be based on a "constitution". With this change, the EU crosses the Rubicon, from something that could not legally be considered as a state to something that most definitely can.

Any organisation based on treaties - Nato, for example - draws its authority from two things: the will of the sovereign states that signed the treaty, and the principles of international law under which treaties operate. This constitution, too, will be brought into being by a treaty - but that will be a final, self-denying treaty, one that will repeal the treaties of Rome, Maastricht and so on and that will ensure that the authority of the EU will, from that moment onwards, no longer be treaty-based.

The full article can be read from this link A federal constitution with the heart of a manifesto by Noel Malcolm

posted by Martin at 7/28/2003 09:11:00 AM

Friday, July 18, 2003

The Prime Minister's Speech to the US Congress

Last night the British Prime Minister (and that is the first time I have been able to write those words without nearly choking, since the ruthless ousting of Maggie Thatcher) made an outstanding and exceptional speech in the US Congress. Those unlucky enough to have missed this on Live TV can read what was said from this link to the full speech provided by The Daily Telegraph" to the 10 Downing Street web page.

posted by Martin at 7/18/2003 06:12:00 AM

Thursday, July 17, 2003

September 11 in retrospect

Tomorrow I depart for a holiday break in France and Italy. I visit those countries frequently so was unsurprised to read this column below which is taken from the Opinion pages of The Times

It is repeated in full as links to the page can be made by subscrition only. No doubt anti-Americanism will be a renewed theme of this blog upon my return. Happy holidays to any also taking a break at this time.

TIMES Opinion

July 17, 2003
I side with the Yanks: my beautiful relationship with Europe has been

Magnus Linklater

I think of myself as a fully paid-up European. Studied in France and Germany; modern languages at university; favourite film hero, Alain Delon; favourite actress Romy Schneider; favourite holiday destination, Andalusia; favourite food, vitello tonnato; just about capable of holding my own on subsidiarity; a veritable bore on the merits of German motorways and the French TGV. I had assumed that, whatever the political impediments, my own journey to the heart of Europe would be simple, straightforward and, above all, enjoyable.

But my beautiful relationship has been damaged. A splinter of glass was blown into it last week in a fine hotel, high on a Swiss mountain, looking out over Lake Geneva, with views towards France on the other side, and Italy hovering in the distance. It was as close to the beating heart of Europe as I needed to be. The sun shone, the water sparkled, and from below us, inMontreux, the sounds of the annual jazz festival floated gently upwards. Around me swilled an international, but largely European, group of
well-intentioned souls debating the future of the media. Among us also, were several distinguished Americans.

It was, I suppose, to be expected that the war in Iraq should loom large in our discussions. What I had not anticipated was that this single event should now so clearly define European attitudes, that opposition to the war was more or less assumed and hostility to Washington was held to be synonymous with informed opinion. The Americans were defensive, the British divided. The issue was debated many times, but it took shape, for me, in the course of a lengthy and brilliant discourse on the future of the market economy, from a French speaker. While outlining thoughts on financial regulation that would have sat perfectly well on this page, he devoted one section of his speech to the symbolism of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre. It was of course, he said, an evil act, but the twin towers, as symbols of Western capitalism, had become an almost inevitable
target for terrorists; their collapse had something of the Old Testament about it the razing of a monument to untrammelled power. If we were to counter future threats, we should create different symbols a form of capitalism that would be less divisive than the American version.

It slipped in so neatly, so rationally, that no one, not even the Americans, listening intently through their earphones, thought to challenge it. Indeed, it was only as I considered it afterwards that I realised what had been said. The implication, not openly stated, was that US economic power was, in itself, a justification for terrorism, that if it was not modified, then it might expect more of the same, and that Europe, if it was wise, should adopt a different model if it was to avoid similar attacks. No mention of 3,000 lives lost; no condemnation of the worst terrorist act of our age; instead, the unmistakable whiff of compromise hovering in the air.

I felt a twinge of Anglo-Saxon resentment. I realised these views were widely held on the radical Left in Britain, but if they were now part of mainstream opinion in Europe, things had gone further than I had imagined.

As it happened, I had been in Italy on the day of the attacks, and had been overwhelmed by the spontaneous demonstrations of sympathy for America and outrage against the act. Those expressions of solidarity seemed now to be distant memories. In the aftermath of the war in Iraq, they had been succeeded by a rejection, not just of military action itself, but of US values as well. I asked an American journalist what he thought. He was more puzzled than angry. What have these guys against us? he asked.

If this was a criticism of America, then Britain, presumably, was included as well. As a good European, I remembered my French: "Cet animal est mchant. Quand on lattaque, il se defend." This animal is very bad. When it is attacked it defends itself. I decided, on this occasion at least, to line up with the Yanks. I yield to no one in my muddled confusion over the war I was in favour of military action, pleased at the fall of Saddam Hussein, angry at being conned over WMD, appalled at what has happened in Iraq since then. But I cannot leap nimbly on to a European bandwagon if it so lightly brushes aside a terrorist outrage.

Many Americans confess to being traumatised by what happened just as much as we Europeans might be if the planes had flown into the Vatican, or the Elys Palace, the Reichstag or the Palace of Westminster. If we are incapable of understanding that, then we have lost the essential ingredient of humanity that I once understood to be inseparable from the European
ideal. And if we cannot regain it, then I, for one, will count myself out.

posted by Martin at 7/17/2003 02:44:00 PM

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

The Euro

I spotted this post on a Financial Times Discussion Forum Ironically titled "Is the stronger Euro hurting eurozone recovery"


The "Stability Pact" is uneforceable.

by il sardo #5000121 of 127
16 Jul 2003 03:51 PM

Like Debtors Prison it does no good to punish a debtor.

A fine would only make the deficit larger.

Thus, this G&S joke is a joke.

What I am expecting to happen is that one of the members of the currency union opts out of the union.

It is quite feasible and the longer members break the so called rules the greater the probability.

Then, who will buy bonds denominated in a currency that eventually may vanish?

Some of these bonds are for thirty years.

Many people are calling their brokers.


If I had a Eurobond I would sell it, who wouldn't? Isn't that a sign of a potential problem.....see the quote from Standard and Poors below............hallooooo anybody there????? At least I think that is the message from Il Sardo, he could of course be just adding a Sardonic touch to Ironies

Question for after the holidays....Would the EU survive a collapse of the Euro? If so for how long? Beaches beckon however!

posted by Martin at 7/16/2003 06:33:00 PM

EU Spam Ban

The latest EU incursion into the normal workings of once free market economies in once free nations is a proposed ban on internet spam.Brussels places ban on unsolicited junk e-mails

Just an excuse to boost the number of bureaucrats and increase surveillance on the internet which they eventually, no doubt, plan to completely curb. There can be absolutely no justification for legislation or regulation of this kind. The latest firewall software I have installed does an excellent job of curbing spam as do the junk mail filters on my e-mail server.

It is the urge to curb freedom of expression and the open interchange of ideas alone that drives these measures.

posted by Martin at 7/16/2003 08:50:00 AM

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Iraqis under British adminstration in Basra to get a referendum on new constitution

According to a report filed a few moments ago, by the FT Bremer plans referendum on constitution we British are soon to become the democratically deprived liberators of the once downtrodden Iraqi people.


posted by Martin at 7/15/2003 08:14:00 PM

A Finnish view of the VGdE Convention's last stages

Thanks to Christina Speight of EU Facts, Figures and Phantasies for bringing the Press Release quoted below to our attention:-

YLE24, Finnish News Agency, Helsingin Sanomat

In Brussels on Thursday, half of the Finnish delegation to the Convention on the Future of Europe refused to sign a letter accompanying the draft EU constitution. They charged the big countries with slipping significant changes into the draft EU constitution overnight.

The Convention on the Future of Europe held its final session on Thursday, approving a draft constitution to be submitted to EU leaders. Last-minute additions to the future EU constitution included controversial references to the EU flag, anthem and motto -- along with other, more politically significant changes.

Half of the Finnish representatives to the Convention on the Future of Europe refused to sign a letter attached to the draft EU constitution on Thursday. Four Finnish delegates did not sign, saying the body had overstepped its mandate.

"Ugly to Watch"

Teija Tiilikainen, who represented the Finnish government at the convention, described the body's procedures as "extremely ugly to watch". She accused France and Germany of bilaterally deciding some matters of major political significance overnight before the final session. She said some wording was slipped into the text without general discussion.

Tiilikainen charged the convention's speakers with violating the mandate given them by the last EU summit. She is Research Director at the University of Helsinki's Centre for European Studies. However Tiilikainen did eventually sign the letter on Thursday. The four delegates who rejected it included MP and former Minister for Foreign Trade Jari Vilen of the conservative National Coalition Party; Euro-Parliamentarian Esko Sepp?nen and former MP Esko Helle, both of the Left Alliance. The only member of a government party was Centre Party MP and Deputy Chair Hannu Takkula. Professor Esko Antola does not believe that
major changes to the convention can be made in the inter-governmental conference in autumn. In interviews with the newspapers Aamulehti and Turun Sanomat, Antola said that Finland must quickly reconsider its EU policy because the EU's structure is changing.

posted by Martin at 7/15/2003 06:35:00 PM

The No Growth and Stupidity Pact revisited

According to this report in the Daily Telegraph Jaques Chirac in his Bastille Day interview is seeking more ways to wriggle out of the terms of the pact that is supposed to provide some degree of Gravitas to the increasingly sorry European Single Currency Chirac wants stability pact eased. This quote from the article in italics below, indicates what Standard and Poor, the agency consulted by potential lenders, make of such moves.

Which old European currency is the Euro now most beginning to resemble the Deutschmark or the Lira? I know what I believe:-

Standard & Poor's warned last week that it would downgrade the credit rating of eurozone governments if fiscal discipline slipped any further. The agency said that states were behaving as if they were still sovereign borrowers, failing to recognise that default risk is much greater now they have given up power to issue currency.

posted by Martin at 7/15/2003 01:18:00 PM

The worst Home Secretary we have ever had

An interesting read from this morning's Guardian is Hugo Young's column from which the following is an exerpt:-

The condition reaches to the top. Both Blair and Straw, who might once have wanted to be seen as at any rate lightly varnished with libertarian respectability, are now proud not to call themselves liberals. Straw is openly scornful, citing the message he gets from his Blackburn market square. His record as home secretary, except for his collaboration in the Human Rights Act, revealed a man true to his word. As for Blair, his sabotage of freedom of information and his fervent defence of every penal measure the Home Office can dream up remind us that he is at heart - perhaps all prime ministers get that way - an unmitigated state-power man, guaranteed to come down on the wrong side whenever basic liberal principles vie with easy populist applause.

Predictably enough the trigger for the article is the upcoming military trial of British subjects by the US in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. The entire article can be read from this link In defence of libertarian values At last!

posted by Martin at 7/15/2003 07:25:00 AM

Monday, July 14, 2003

William Rees-Mogg on IDS and Blair

An interesting article from this Time's columnist today on the subject of the IDS Prague speech. The quotation from the great Czech leader, Vaclav Klaus: “The current European unification process is not about opening up. It is about centralism, about regulation and control, about redistribution and social transfers, about the ever-increasing role of an unelected and uncontrolled bureaucracy, about the retreat from classical parliamentarianism.” is indeed most apposite but can it really be said to sum up the Conservative Leader's speech? I think not.

Mr Rees-Mogg continues further with the proposition Mr Duncan Smith may be recovering from being underrated; certainly the Conservatives have made a strong recovery. The opposite process is happening on the Left; Tony Blair is losing the trust of the people, but most of all he is losing the trust of his own party. which may well be true, though remains to be seen as far as IDS is concerned. The fact that Mogg's son is, we understand, a prosepctive parliamentary candidate for the Tories might be adding an element of optimism to his view.

The situation for Blair is indeed looking grim. Having watched snippets of BBC World over the weekend, whatever time of day or night they ceaselessly and remorseless pounded on about the famed '45' minutes of WMD use by Iraq, and this morning's Today programme seemed little less than obsessive on the topic of Blair as now stirred by Blix.

The London press seem without exception to have left this Blair Baiting to the BBC but nearer his own constituency The Northern Echo seems perhaps to have sensed that the end is possibly in sight for their local hero with this startling headline Demands grow for Blair to quit no 10 which opened "PRIME Minister Tony Blair was last night facing demands for his resignation amid mounting pressure from all sides."

What effect will Brown in number 10 have on the European debate, the constitution of VGdE and the Conservative's electoral prospects? Taxes will surely rise!

posted by Martin at 7/14/2003 11:56:00 AM

Joyeuse quatorze juillet

We wish our French neighbours much enjoyment on their main national holiday. In seeking something topical and cheerful from the Francophone world upon which to comment, we were surprised to find the headline covered Lance Armstrongs taking the lead and yellow jersey for the first time in this year's Tour de France. I feel sure they will not let this will not mar the celebrations.

posted by Martin at 7/14/2003 08:31:00 AM

Britain has come to the crossroads

The above is the title of an article by George Trefgarne in this morning's Daily Telegraph

A sample is quoted below, but we do recommend reading it all, not least for the clever way the writer draws guidance for today's decisions to a history book that only takes us up to the year 1788.

Now we face similar choices to those financiers, manufacturers, adventurers and explorers who founded the Bank of England in 1694, or who agitated for the vote with the Great Reform Act in 1832 .

If Mr Blair signs the European constitution - which he seems determined to do - it will, as far as I can see, be the end of Britain as a serious independent power. It will also lead to the gradual redesigning of our institutional framework.

The euro beckons. Taxation and regulation would increase as we tilted towards the European social democratic model. Judging by the woes of Germany and France, economic growth would be lower and unemployment higher.

posted by Martin at 7/14/2003 08:18:00 AM

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Missing Archive

A long post on the subject European Parliament Emasculates Politics made on 22nd June, 2003 has gone missing from the archives. We repeat it herewith:-

Quote European Parliament Emasculates Politics

We have been examining the decision taken last week in the European Parliament for political parties, as represented in that mockery of a democratic institution, to award themselves Eight point Four million Euros of taxpayers money every year from now unto eternity for their own sole benefit. The justification for this latest dipping of their hands into our pockets comes only towards the end of the document and is stated as follows:-


Need for Community intervention

Article 191 mandates the legislator to regulate the statute and financing of European political parties. The aim of this Regulation is create a stable, transparent and legitimate framework for the financing of European political parties. There is a clear need to provide partial financing of parties from the Community budget to enable them to meet the objectives assigned by the Treaty and to do so in a way which will meet the criticism levelled at the existing financing through the budgets of the political groups by the
Court of Auditors.

In other words, and in plain English, they have been so criticised by the Court of Auditors for the manner in which they have been helping themselves to our money in the past, that the only way to continue is to self-legitimise the theft.

There is no justification whatsoever for European political parties and certainly no reason for them to be taxpayer financed. The only reason for such finance being that individual donors would be unlikely to step forward. (Being the weak and corrupt individuals most of them seem they might probably claim that without taxpayers funding they could fall prey to corruption by
powerful lobby interests. Lacking the moral fibre to stiffen their backbones and resist such pessures is clearly not an option for these weak-willed people or such an argument would not be deployed. Scrapping the parliament altogther would be a much better course of action saving many millions extra and ending the pretence that there is the slightest hint of any democracy within the EU).

To continue with the new regulation, however, in the explanatory memorandum we are told the following:-

The Commission considers that it would be inappropriate to establish intrusive or over prescriptive political requirements for the registration of European political parties, but considers it essential to lay down minimum standards of democratic conduct for such parties.
Accordingly, Article 2 (dealing with the definition of a party) and Article 3 (dealing with registration) lay down that to be registered by the European Parliament a party must:
- have participated or declared their intention to participate in elections to the European Parliament;
- have clearly defined bodies responsible for financial management;
- ensure that the statute and activities of the European political party respect the basic purposes of the Union with regard to freedom, democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

Could it not be argued that the "basic purpose of the Union" as set out
in the present draft constitution:-

Article 1.1 : Establishment of the Union

Section 1. "Reflecting the will of the citizens and States of Europe to build a common future, this Constitution establishes the European Union, on which the member states confer the competence to obtain objectives they have in common."

With that in mind, might it not be a real possibility that parties NOT supporting European integration will be excluded from Registration, starved of EU finance and thus unable to compete against the opposing fat subsidised Federalist Political Conglomerations called Registered European Political Parties; among whom will of course be the European Socialists, the European Peoples Party taking in Britain's supposed eurosceptic Tories and the Greens, all of whom rushed to make press announcements extolling the virtues of this prime example of daylight robbery. Given that is all clearly the case it must be
obvious that this is more than just your usual Brussels caper of ripping off the general public; it is actually an anti-democratic ploy to ensure the MEP gravy train can continue to run indefinitely for those dedicated to the destruction of all the decent values the peoples of Europe once held dear.

I quote below some further pieces from the new regulation. I believe Parliament reduced the minimum 5 per cent figure down to 3 per cent, but can't be sure the link to the regulation repeatedly draws an error warning (surprise, surprise).

Random quotes for those still interested:-

"The award of Community financing must be reserved for parties that are reasonably representative, either in the European Parliament or in a number of Member States. In this context, the reference in Article 5 of the Regulation to regional parliaments should be interpreted in each Member State in the light of its internal constitutional principles. The following criteria are proposed: elected members in the European Parliament or national or regional Parliaments in at least of third of the Member States, or to have obtained at least five percent of the votes at the most recent European elections in at least one third of the Member States of the Community. The parties must also commit themselves not to accept certain kinds of donations defined in Article 5(d).
Parties would then be eligible for financing from the Union budget in compliance with Article 191 and at the same time with the subsidiary principle. This financing is not intended to replace the autonomous financing of the European parties which must represent at least 25% of the budget of each party.
The distribution between parties eligible for financing is based on objective factors. Each party would receive a flat-rate basic grant plus a second component based on the number of elected representatives in the European Parliament. The two components would account for 15% and 85% of the appropriations respectively."


"(4) Financing should be given solely to parties that are sufficiently representative at European level so as to avoid financing purely national parties, or parties to which financing has been refused at national level on the grounds that they do not respect democratic principles. This financing should not replace autonomous financing of the parties".


"Article 3
2. The statute shall contain a programme setting out the objectives of the political party or of the alliance of political parties, and shall define in particular the bodies responsible for political and financial management as well as the bodies or natural persons holding, in each of the Member States concerned, the power of legal representation, in particular for the purposes of the acquisition or disposal of movable or immovable property and of being a party to legal proceedings.
The statute and activities of the political party or of the alliance of political parties must respect the principles of freedom and democracy, human rights and
fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law."

1. At the request of one quarter of its members, representing at least three political groups in the European Parliament, the European Parliament shall verify, by a majority of its members, that the condition laid down in Article 3 (2), second sentence, continues to be satisfied by a European political party. Before carrying out such verification the European Parliament shall hear the representatives of the European political party concerned and ask a committee of independent eminent persons to give an opinion on the subject within a reasonable time.
If the European Parliament finds, by a majority of its members, that the condition is no longer satisfied, the statute of the European political party in question shall be removed from the register".


"...declare its sources of finance by providing a list specifying the donors and the donations given by each donor, with the exception of donations not exceeding
EUR 100;
It shall not accept
- (a) anonymous donations,
- (b) donations from the budgets of political groups in the European
- (c) donations from legal bodies in which the State holding exceeds 50%
of their capital,
- (d) donations exceeding EUR 5 000 per year and per donor from any natural or legal person other than the legal bodies referred to in point (c)
the previous indent and without prejudice to the third subparagraph.
Donations from a political party forming part of the European political party shall be admissible."


Absolutely amazing is it not? What about the little gimmick slipped in tpo let 49 per cent state owned companies make donations, and then in the very next line exclude them from the EUR 5000 per years limit that applies to every other entity. I am no lawyer but isn't that exclusion onle ther to serve that very purpose?

Read it all for yourselves ....On the original post there was a link to the EU document. Please e-mail this blog if you would like a text version Commission file e-mailed to you.

This post has been backed up and will be re-posted whenever the archive or link suffer further technical problems!

posted by Martin at 7/13/2003 04:41:00 PM

Further thoughts on the IDS Prague Speech

An earlier Conservative Party Leader, Neville Chamberlain, made some catastrophic misjudgements over Poland and Czechoslovakia. A close re-read of the speech made by Iain Duncan Smith in Prague last week indicates that IDS has a similarly flawed view of Britain's place in Europe, and our country's ability to influence Continental events, as that made by the renowned appeaser Chamberlain.

By adopting the phraseology minted by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and criticising the mind-set and attitudes of 'Old Europe' he is accepting the concept of a Europe divided and appearing to adopt a position that commits a future Conservative administration on one side of that divide. He is thus committing himself and the Tories to Europe as surely as if he had wholeheartedly embraced the proposed European constitution. Euro-sceptics within his party might wish to dismiss his clear statement that "Britain is a committed member" of the enlarged European Union, as a sop thrown to the federalist members of the party, but to me it reads the other way around.

The proposals he makes to change Europe, as he well knows are just not attainable, therefore it is these that are the sop and the duped will be the Euro-sceptics.

The New Europe of which he speaks, 'A Europe of free nations. Sovereign and freedom loving. A Europe of democracies. Strong national parliaments and vigorous local politics', can only come about with the dismantling of the existing institutions the only trigger for which, at least that I can envisage, would be a believable threat of British withdrawal. A total rejection across the board of the constitution drafted by VGdE might just be a less likely detonator. The third possibility, a collapse of the Euro would probably make things worse

A Conservative Party dedicated to an independent, self-governing United Kingdom would have no need to involve itself in conceptual disputations between a New and an Old Europe. Here, for once, I must agree with Ken Clarke, this was a major mistake.

We have had troops stationed on mainland Europe since the D-Day landings. This has apparently fostered a belief amongst British politicians that we have some ability to influence European matters. We do not; history proves the point again and again. Our troops should be brought home; it is completely ridiculous that so long after the fall of the Berlin wall they are still there. Why wait for the Americans to lead the way, France and Belgium (where it is headquartered) are busy undermining Nato already (supported from the wings by the present German Chancellor), yet that seems the only recent realstic reason for their continued deployment that I have heard.

National politicians should return their attention to domestic affairs which are so clearly desperately in need of drastic action.

The events of 1939, highlighted below, should serve as a reminder to those who believe Britain has a role to play in the politics of Eastern Europe, of the dangers that taking unsustainable geopolitical positions can pose.

February 25, Saturday Distribution of Anderson shelters begins.
March Air raid precautions service set up.
March 24, Friday Britain and France guarantee Poland's frontier.
April Conscription begins.
August 11, Friday Trial run for the blackout.
August 24, Thursday Britain calls up military reservists.
ARP workers put on alert.
August 25, Friday Britain and Poland sign a Mutual Assistance Treaty.
August 30, Wednesday Warships of Royal Navy proceed to war stations.
September 1, Friday German troops march into Poland.

posted by Martin at 7/13/2003 09:23:00 AM


An article in this week's The Spectator reminds us that it is not just the referenda on Regional Assemblies in the North of the country that we should be battling, it is the whole concept of regionalisation. The column is Regions of the damned by Leo McKinstry, it deserves mass circulation.

There are so many examples of mind-blowing bureaucratic waste and mismanagement quoted in the article it is hard to know which to pick to highlight the excesses, but here almost at random is one paragraph:-

The East of England Development Agency is hardly unique in managerial absurdities. The East Midlands Agency, for instance, is advertising for a ‘Sub-Regional Strategic Partnerships Manager’ on a salary of up to £34,000, whose job includes ‘establishment of a monitoring and evaluating framework’, ‘managing changes in operational guidance’ and ‘reviewing and revising key processes such as funding methodologies’. Devoted to costly hierarchies, the North-West Agency, which spent £270 million in 2002, has no fewer than six directorates under its chief executive. So the Director of Strategy (on £84,000) is in charge of a ‘Head of Skills’, ‘Head of Strategy’ and ‘Head of Regional Intelligence’, while the Director of Marketing (on £62,700) oversees a Head of Public Relations and Head of Marketing Services. Delusions of global grandeur have gripped the West Midlands Agency, which has used public money to open up offices in Stockholm, Chicago, Paris, Brussels, Tokyo and San José.

Read the whole article and we suggest, use the "e-mail to a friend" capability at the foot of the page. Not enough people seem aware of just how severe this problem has become.

posted by Martin at 7/13/2003 08:00:00 AM

Controlling the internet

The Observer carries an article today by John Naughton The Networker in which he warns of the threat to freedoms posed by restrictions on the production of software. The concluding paragraphs of the piece quoted below, contain some excellent common sense.

The other initiative comes from the MIT Media Lab. It's called 'Government Information Awareness' and is based on a simple proposition: if governments now feel entitled to keep us under cyber-surveillance, why not use software tools to keep them under surveillance too? The MIT folks are building a system which will collate all publicly available information about all public officials in the US.

We could do the same for the UK. Imagine a site that would automatically collate information about MPs' financial interests, voting behaviour, Commons attendance, speeches, publications, campaign literature, friends, attentiveness to constituents etc and make it available on the web? Later we could extend it to cover corporate bosses and the quangocracy.

Our rulers might then begin to realise that accountability is a two-way street.

posted by Martin at 7/13/2003 07:43:00 AM

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Germany and the Euro

Away from Brussels and the stink of deep-seated corruption, another corner of the EU where the deepening crisis in the disastrous experiment of monetary union can now be all too cleary be seen is in Germany, once considered the most dynamic of Euroland's economies. Year after year the Deutschmark went from strength to strength against the world's other major currencies. It seemed impossible that German exports could continue to grow, let alone maintain their previous levels, and yet, year after year this apparently impossiblity was achieved.

Can anybody picture previous Chancellors Adenaur, Schmidt or Kohl pressurising the Bundesbank in public to soften the Deutchmarks advance, let alone call for a weakening. Yet yesterday according to the FT this is exactly what Gerhard Schroeder did with the ECB Schroeder urges ECB action over strong Euro

Mr Schroeder told the Financial Times: "I assume the intelligent people in the leadership of the ECB discuss the question every day of whether they have done enough in the context of the dollar/euro exchange rate to maintain the competitiveness of exports from Europe."

The EU as now formed and administered, not only seems to taint and corrupt all it contacts, it seems to weaken the wills of those who run its constituent parts so they act as if they are incapable of individual action to rectify the ever growing and increasingly dangerous problems that confront them. Yet the people of Europe, have only the chance to vote in or out their individual national leaders, who then profess themselves powerless to take control of the problems arising from their own abrogation of responsibilty to govern. This cannot continue indefinitely!

posted by Martin at 7/12/2003 12:58:00 PM

Friday, July 11, 2003


Quoted below is an extract from an item in today's The Times (therefore no link available) on the topic of EU Fraud, Corruption and Continuing Cover-ups, written by Rosemary Righter under the title "You can't hear the whistle if you are a Eurocrat'

On June 17, the European Parliament asked Mr Kinnock, the Budget
Commissioner Michaele Schreyer, and Pedro Solbes, the Commissioner for
Budgetary Affairs, what they knew and when they knew it. All three pleaded
ignorance. If they did not know, they should resign on the ground of
incompetence. If, as M Franchet asserts, they did know, they should resign.
As for Romano Prodi, he had the gall this week to blame the anti-fraud unit
for not telling him that it had referred the dossiers to national
prosecutors. In other words, for not warning him that the dirty secret was
bound to become public. Just like the Santer Commission, what "shocks" this
lot is being caught out. That, and nothing else. And that is the
foulest-smelling scandal of all.

How do ordinary British Eurofederalists and so many of our Continental cousins manage to maintain their enthusiasm for this sick, sick project?

The above question is not directed at those in politics, where the ansqwer remains so glaringly obvious!

posted by Martin at 7/11/2003 02:03:00 PM

The Prague Speech by IDS

I have read this once; there is much that is admirable, not least the absolute rejection of the VGdE convention, which matches the position we took after having only seriously tackled the Preamble to the proposed constitutional monstrosity.

Michael Ancram in his appearance on the BBC Today programme on the morning of the speech, seemed to be mainly concerned with painting those who described Conservative Policy on Europe as being one of withdrawal, as liars. I assumed he had New Labour and the Lib Dems in his sights, but it appears this really signals a return to inner party wranglings from this article in today's Daily Telegraph titled Clarke cautions leader's views.

This fear of being thought in favour of withdrawal is embedded deep within the IDS speech "An enlarged European Union of which Britain is a committed member" and later an even more explicit description of the dilemma:-

Let me be clear: The Conservative Party does not want Britain to leave the European Union. We want to make it work. Anyone who says differently is telling a lie. The truth is that we are as committed to building a new Europe of sovereign democracies as we are opposed to a United States of Europe. That's the real choice. That's the real debate. A vote against the Constitution is not a vote to leave the European Union.

Herein lies the dilemma, and it is not a knew one, but the solution for IDS appears to be the same as that mistakenly believed in by William Hague with his disastrous electoral slogan of "In Europe but not run by Europe"

The Europe described by IDS is not one that is on offer. It is not true that if we do not accept the constitution we do not have to leave. If every other country is in, eventually, protest as we may, we will be out!

The Tories are suspended by the seat of their pants from one horn of a dilemma yelling "No withdrawal whatever the cost!" while UKIP similarly trouser- speared and dangling are yelling from the second of the pair of horns, similarly bellowing the exact reverse "Withdrawal Come what may!"

Neither position is politically realistic. To get the changes the Conservative Leader describes as essential we will need to negotiate from a position that at the end of the day is prepared to contemplate withdrawal, otherwise nothing will be achieved. While for UKIP after withdrawal they will still need to trade with their neighbouring giant socialist non-democratic conglomerstate and their silence on alternative trading arrangements or ties will become an increasingly telling factor against them, as I have previously pointed out.

This is a large subject and one which all Euro-realists need to carefully weigh and consider with a view to bringing together all the privately held opinions into one agreed public policy on withdrawal. We have not yet been able to get hold of the Prague Declaration signed yesterday, but will return to this subject when we have a copy. Meantime the IDS speech can be read from this IDS Prague Speech 10th July 2003

posted by Martin at 7/11/2003 10:38:00 AM

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Parties in the European Parliament

The UK Independence Party got a rare mention in the National Press on 9th July in a column in The Guardian by Nick Clegg MEP,

Among the points made, surprisingly enough this sensible observation...Most laughably of all, the fanatically anti European UK Tory MEPs still belong to an avowedly federalist, pro-European Christian Democratic party group. While some of the more principled if swivel-eyed members of the British Tory delegation have argued for some time that this is unsustainable, their membership of the federalist bloc has been maintained largely because of a grubby desire to secure greater financial and staff resources.

Such political cross-dressing makes it impossible for an outside observer to understand who stands for what, who opposes whom, who wins against whom in the European parliament. The ideological polygamy of the European parliamentary political groups makes a laughing stock of the philosophical roots to which they claim to belong.

The article continues to make this point While complete coherence or ideological purity within the party groups is an unrealistic ambition, it would make the European parliament eminently more watchable, make the debates more entertaining, if MEPs were free to join party groups out of conscience rather than some party fix. If the UK Tories, for instance, could join with the UK Independence party and a clutch of other Europhobic headbangers they would constitute a formidably colourful band of anti-European ideologues ready and able to pose the fundamental questions about European integration at every turn.

Even euor-federalists can sometimes spot the flaws! Got that all you europhobic headbangers!!!

posted by Martin at 7/10/2003 08:11:00 PM

Giscard's Convention winds down

At last it is ended! Or will be within an hour.

For a detailed summary of what this convention has involved EU Observer provides a good report.

The lead in is more revealing than the main article to my mind, however, consider this :-

The Convention on Europe's Future ends today after a final concession to France to keep its so-called "cultural exception" and the symbols of Europe, the flag and the anthem, to be included in the text.

France gets to maintain its cultural exception while the rest of us are condemned to the Euro Flag and anthem. What could better typify both Giscard's Chairmanship and the EU project as a whole!

posted by Martin at 7/10/2003 10:43:00 AM

'B' is for Berlusconi

A growing danger for the European Union and its emerging comglomerstate is blindingly highlighted by the uproar following Mr Berlusconi's remarks in the European Parliament and Gerhard's cancelled holiday plans as reported in today's Daily Telegraph and which seems to have been overlooked by the mainstream media in the reports that have come to my attention.

The convention that visiting politicians from foreign countries would be accorded all the respect due them as representatives of their nations and certainly never attacked (other than by unofficial street demonstrators) for their domestic political positions is one of the multitude of valuable and civilising customs that have been lost with the growing federalisation of Europe.

MEP's sitting in their Parliament have become befuddled with the dream world in which they and their officials exist, to the extent they have begun to believe the fantasies, half-truths and downright lies that they have been peddling to the peoples of Europe over so many years. Thus the attack by the German MEP (and the nature and basis on which it was made) was no doubt considered justified within his federalist view of the new Europe.

Mr Berlusconi's respone with his Kapo jibe (for CNN's benefit this is not a concentration camp Kommandant but an inmate turned trustee with the reputation for brutality greater, even, than that of the guards), was possibly justified within the terms of daily Italian political rough and tumble and might well have been acceptable if such retorts were to have been contained within a national environment.

The peoples of Europe do not consider themselves European but as citizens (or subjects in my case) of different countries. Thus their reaction to such exchanges is to assume the attack on their representatives was an attack against their nation and nationality and then fall back on (in this case following the example of their leadership) slinging insults based on what the federalists had imagined were outdated xenophobic stereotypes.

The problem is the present construction of the existing EU and the inability of those in its charge to set the rate of advance at a pace decided by the people. This will be the cause of its eventual failure, the Berlusconi/ Schroeder spat is a very small matter compared to other glaring indicators that this is now the inevitable result.

The countries of Europe will have to survive the collapse of the EU probably each in its different way, but each will need to find means of working together to mitigate the consequences of the ending of this fifty year disaster. It is in preparing for these events that eurosceptics should now be concentrating their major efforts.

We must, as a matter of urgency start the planning of alternative ways forward when our longstanding predictions are inevitably proved correct. Those who cannot see this coming may be excused for being ill-prepared. Eurorealists will have no such excuse!

posted by Martin at 7/10/2003 07:45:00 AM

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

'C' is for Corruption

Believe it or not the link to this article describing even larger fraud than they had thought (previously admitted?) in today's EU Observer actually had the naivety to commence the piece that provided the link to the article "The European Commission has come clean..." .... now that really will be the day!

posted by Martin at 7/09/2003 05:17:00 PM

'F' is for Fraud

That is the title of a Leader in today's Daily Telegraph which is a must read

posted by Martin at 7/09/2003 08:23:00 AM

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Classical Liberals or Popperians

Had to link to this latest from Andy Duncan, otherwise I might not easily find it when I need it, which I surely will. Profound stuff for clots everywhere.

posted by Martin at 7/08/2003 05:17:00 PM

Lunch break TV

The TV station CNBC broke from its US Squawk Box business program to cover a major speech on the French economy and taxation by that ex-nation's Finance Minister Mer. Interestingly neither of the two main French Channels TF1 or 2 interrupted their scheduled programmes to cover this event, which from the rather haphazard, slow and gap-filled translation I decided could only be of interest to French citizens or their main partners in the conglomerstate. Things did not sound good in any area was the main impression gained among the difficulties, strikes, no/low EU growth, strong Euro at one time he even blamed Iraq!

Returning to the US programming the contrast could not have been greater as the presenters were discussing the gloom of the past few months having finally been lifted with a report that the Sars bogey had, at least for the moment, been laid to rest, Iran reasonably stabilised, the dollar recovering and retail sales expected to perk up. What should we be worrying about Mark Haines the anchor queried....and the cosensus answer....Baseball.

What a contrast!

posted by Martin at 7/08/2003 05:11:00 PM

Monday, July 07, 2003

Exchange Rates

Checking what the euro was up to against the dollar I came across this statement by Ian Stannard a currency analyst with BNP Parisbas in London.

``With growth coming into focus, then some of the data coming out of Europe could start to hurt the euro,'' said Ian Stannard, a currency analyst at BNP Paribas SA in London. ``We could see some general support for the dollar.'' He predicts the euro will weaken to $1.13 by the end of the year.

Clicking over to the FT to see what was actually happening I found this By midsession in New York, the euro had fallen to a two-month low at $1.132 against the dollar, down from $1.146 late on Friday.

Glad I didn't pay a lot for Mr Stannard's advice, guess he can take the rest of the year off now!

posted by Martin at 7/07/2003 06:18:00 PM

EU Workers Councils

Further to our earlier post of today regarding EU steps to impoverish its citizens by over-regulation, we now have more nonsense in the form of compulsory works councils as highlighted by Andy Duncan

Remember it was Blair who signed us up to these provisions as the price of trade union support during his first term of office. He explained at the time that very little action had been taken in the realm of work practises, any fool could have warned him (and some ineffectively did) that the Continentals were merely waiting to ensure Britain too would be doomed to share their resulting economic deprivations.

Apropos of which the EU today cut its forecast of growth from 1.0 per cent to 0.7 per cent.

The reality of course is that on current trends (and the rate of forecast downgrades) they will be very lucky to get any growth at all. Not that this cruel fact will distract the legislators and bureaucrats from yet more destructive regulation.

posted by Martin at 7/07/2003 05:52:00 PM

The EU not involved in matters of Taxation???? Says Who?

The link will take you to a draft EU document dated last April which will be considered by a European Parliamentary Committee today, it clearly recommends co-ordination of car taxes, and the same tax levels for both low sulphur unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel. on the grounds that the present variations are an impediment to the free movement of EU citizens.

Do not believe any politician who claims the EU is not in the future going to be involved in setting our tax rates. This document proves thay are at it already!

EU co-ordination of car and fuel taxes

posted by Martin at 7/07/2003 03:06:00 PM

What Legitimacy for the EU Constitution?

William Rees Mogg in his opinion column in today's The Times makes some interesting points on the longer term viability of Giscar'd constitution if it is rammed through parliament as Blair clearly now intends.

Headlong into Europe: and no questions asked

posted by Martin at 7/07/2003 02:38:00 PM

Economics for Simpletons

Is anybody, working within or connected with the EU Conglomerstate, able to draw a link between the report that appeared in the EU Observer on 2nd July American NGO's push US to follow EU lead linked to this EU White Paper?.......

Able to draw a connection to this other EU Observer report from today's edition Only 10 EU companies make worlds top 100

The noteworthy point being that the situation reported in the second paragraph has occurred even before the next load of bureaucratic red tape contained in the first paragraph enters into force.

posted by Martin at 7/07/2003 11:27:00 AM

English self-deprecation

I had never heard of James Delingpole until I came across this article in The Spectator today I'm boring, I'm ugly and I can't write I look forward to reading his book when I come across a copy, not to mention any reviews!

posted by Martin at 7/07/2003 10:56:00 AM

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Brown's Bust coming soon to a family like yours

Gordon Brown's lunatic levels of taxation on alcohol and tobacco now lead, not solely to reduced government tax take, but also to the incredible infringements of personal liberties described in Christopher Booker's column Car seizure floughts EU law with British authorities clearly acting illegally, let alone against what any normal person might consider as proportionate justice.

While Andy Duncan on Samizdata reports an almost similar nightmare regarding the family tax credit.

posted by Martin at 7/06/2003 02:19:00 PM

Friday, July 04, 2003

Franco/American Relations on US Independence Day

The prevailing atmosphere continues to be one of mutual incomprehension as far as I can see. The IHT in an article today, describes the fall off in student exchange numbers.

Reports on the BBC of angry exchanges between Dominique de Villepin and Paul Wolfowitz in the secretive Bilderberg Versailles meeting held in May, seem to be continuing among those countries' general population.

More interesting, to those of us convinced that Britain is undemocratically being coerced to further integration with a non-democratic superstate with whom the vast majority of its people clearly want no truck, is the role played by the reported British Bilderberg joint-steering committeee member, still aspirant Conservative leader, and apparent man of the people Ken Clarke.

Listen to the BBC Broadcast by clicking the link below:-

BBC Bilderberg Broadcast

posted by Martin at 7/04/2003 08:44:00 PM

Happy Independence Day to all Americans Everywhere!

There have been some interesting posts on the meaning of today on Samizdata, a particularly thought provoking contribution was this from Russ Goble

posted by Martin at 7/04/2003 09:21:00 AM

Thursday, July 03, 2003

President Berlusconi

Many yards of newsprint appear today regarding the EU Presidential speech yesterday in the European Parliament. The only attempt to describe what actually took place, seems to have appeared in the French paper Liberation. Translation below is by courtesy of The Guardian:-

"Berlusconi, flanked by the vice-president of the National Alliance, Gianfranco Fini, had been listening patiently to the litany of MEPs' interventions - taking notes, shrugging off the sometimes violent attacks by Greens and Communists, even smiling to himself at certain comments ... Then, turning to Martin Schulz, he slipped up. The MEP had had the bad judgment to claim that Nicole Fontaine, a former EU president and currently the French industry minister, had conspired to help him to evade prison in 2000 ... Meaning: without his help, you wouldn't have won the election ... [After Berlusconi's outburst] Pat Cox, the parliamentary president, asked him to apologise. MEPs applauded.

"Fini became livid. He stood up abruptly and crossed the chamber to speak to Romano Prodi, the president of the European commission and Berlusconi's principal adversary. They had a brief exchange. Fini came back to sit down behind Berlusconi and obviously asked him to apologise.

"Aggravated, Berlusconi released his arm from Fini's grip and got up. 'Mr Schulz has injured me personally. I won't take back what I said - ironically - unless Mr Schulz takes back what he said maliciously,' he said. ...

"Outside, in the corridors, Romano Prodi didn't try to hide his delight. Pinching the cheeks of a Belgian journalist, he told him: 'You didn't believe me, did you? His first day will be his last.'"

posted by Martin at 7/03/2003 02:51:00 PM

European Budget Air Travel

An excellent piece from today's Samizdata by Andy Duncan on a threat to cheap flights within Europe.

This item links neatly to a report in today's Daily Telegraph reporting the final resignation in disgust of Paul van Buitenen one of the early and more successful of the EU's whistleblowers. It seems nothing is done to reform the rotten systems and procedures, merely steps perfected to neutralise those who spot and report on the corruption.

posted by Martin at 7/03/2003 02:21:00 PM

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

BBC to Raise Eight Hundred Million Pounds

Such was the headline today in the Business Section of The Times. I wonder if this will be considered Government Borrowing in today's post-Enron world?

Meantime in her best form for a while Janet Daley attacks the reality of just where and how this borrowed taxpayer guaranteed dosh will be spent. All the news that fits the programmes is the headline for her column in today's Daily Telegraph.

A few of the choicer quotes follow:-

"the BBC has itself become a political force in the land, with its own internal, incestuous, self-reinforcing culture, and a deeply entrenched set of received opinions".

"....they are always Left-of-centre and, for the most part, to the Left of New Labour, although they are not identical with Old Labour except in a vague sentimental sense".

Some examples you may recognise: tax-and-spend economics is the only morally acceptable approach to domestic policy (government spokesmen are always asked why they are not giving "more resources" to any problem, and spending cuts are always inherently wicked); anyone who uses the word "asylum" or "immigration" in conjunction with the word "problem" is a bigot; and all Euro-sceptics are lunatics".

"....There isn't their opinion and your opinion: there is their opinion and you're insane. Making out a moral case for low taxation is not regarded as a contentious contribution to political argument, but as ludicrous raving - a flat-earther's fit of extremist nonsense."

Read the article from the link, then ponder why these people should be allowed to borrow eight hundred million pounds that the licence payers and taxpayers but increasingly non-listeners nor watchers will be forced to foot the bill.

posted by Martin at 7/02/2003 03:32:00 PM
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