Monthly Archives: February 2015

Rifkind clutching at Straws?

With the Rifkind/Straw ‘debacle‘ surfacing, the ‘great-and-the-good-know-it-all’ have lost no time in airing their views on the matter. Witness: Paul Goodman on ConservativeHome; Douglas Murray in The Speccie; and John Lehal on PublicAffairs.

Goodman writes that: We want MPs who don’t earn outside the Commons and aren’t paid more by the taxpayer and are people of real ability. But it’s impossible to have all three at once – but does not realise that it is not impossible. Douglas Murray believes that MPs have too little to do and aren’t paid enough – and on what I presume he considers a ‘pittance’ they have to run two homes. John Lehal seems either not ‘taken aback’ or ‘surprised’ at quite a lot that most people would be about how MPs ‘load’ their basic salary – even though he does admit that the fact MPs have little to do is due to the fact their predecessors off-loaded most of their duties to Brussels.

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The air that I breathe

Sometimes all I need is the air that I breathe – The Hollies

A poignant line, especially when reading this news article in the Telegraph – and doubly so when previously the subject had been raised by Christopher Booker in 2007 and latterly in 2012. Yet we learn from Wikipedia the aerotoxic syndrome was raised before Booker, way back in 2000 by Chris Winder and Jean-Christophe Balouet. Even before that, in 1986 to be precise, a US inquiry into cabin air quality recommended a ban on smoking as a means to improve cabin air quality.

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Meeting my Member of Parliament (4)

On Friday I had the pleasure of meeting my new Member of Parliament, Grahame Morris, Labour: Easington, the objective of which was to introduce myself as a new constituent. Due to the fact that this surgery was, so I am informed, an ‘open’ surgery (no appointment was necessary,one just ‘turned up’ and joined the queue), time was somewhat limited.

The conversation ranged (briefly) over matters European Union, democracy and sovereignty. Grahame Morris informed me that he was a proud socialist and that, as a result, he had disagreements with his leadership over various aspects of policy; but as an ‘internationalist’ (his term) he was in favour of this country’s membership of the European Union. I also raised with him the question of two emails to his leader which have apparently been ignored and he informed me he would broach this the next time they shared ‘a cup of tea’ at Westminster.

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Some people are born mediocre, some people achieve mediocrity, and some people have mediocrity thrust upon them.
Joseph Heller

George Parker, writing in the Financial Times, reports that David Cameron is being urged to appoint a full-time lead negotiator in order to secure his proposed new deal for Britain in the EU. The person behind this suggestion is David Frost; who was, until recently, the UK’s most senior trade diplomat, as Director for Europe, Trade and International Affairs at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Frost’s ‘paper’, one entitled: Gearing up for delivery, How to manage the renegotiation (produced by Open Europe), can be read here.

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Meeting my Member of Parliament (3)

Having become a constituent in the constituency of Easington (registered this morning!), I have arranged an appointment this coming Friday afternoon with my new Member of Parliament – with a view to ‘introducing myself’.

Needless to say, besides letting Grahame Morris know where I stand on matters of democracy, Parliamentary sovereignty and the European Union, one of the first things I shall be asking him to do is ascertain from the leader of his political party where and when he mislaid his courtesy – I refer to my email to Ed Miliband at the end of November last year and to which I have not even had an acknowledgement; nor an acknowledgement of the ‘reminder’ I sent in early January this year.

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The Norway Option

I note, courtesy of The Economic Voice, that which is referred to as ‘The Norway Option’ has reared its head again with the publication of a Civitas paper authored by Jonathon Lindsell.

‘The Norway Option’, for the benefit of new readers, deals with how that country trades with the European Union while maintaining the relationship at  what might be termed ‘arms length’.

This report by Jonathan Lindsell shows how Norway does have influence where the introduction of ‘EU Law’ is concerned, not only by her mandated participation in that process, but also by her membership of standards-setting bodies such as Codex and UNECE, to name but two.

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The EU Website

An extensive email exchange has been taking place with both the London office of the European Union (and Brussels) in respect of the non-transparency where notification of information about the various projects that are announced – especially with regard to those from TEN-T.

A case in point is the scheme to enhance the ports of Dover and Calais, where the EU is contributing €14,261,536 out of a total project cost of €72,027,960. This begged the question of exactly how much was coming, respectively, from the United Kingdom and France  to which I was informed the EU did not hold that information – something which is totally illogical and also farcical – and that I should contact the relative port authorities (I have emailed the Dover contact provided by the EU but to date no response has been received).

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Safe Arrival

I am pleased to say the journey to Seaham was uneventful, bearing in mind I chose Friday 13th. I still have to return to transport my furniture on Thursday 19th though, so Witney has not seen the last of me yet.

It is with pleasure that I welcome readers both new and old to my new home. The blog still has a few tweaks which need to be done – the banner, for example, is only temporary until such time as I retrieve my camera on Thursday and can take a better picture and the flag and associated wordage has to be moved – however, allowing for the rather hectic previous four days, having said SfS would be on line by today, here it is.

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