Monthly Archives: April 2015

Ever Closer Union

From the European Union news website we learn that the European Commission has launched a state aid sector inquiry into national measures to ensure that adequate capacity to produce electricity is available at all times to avoid black-outs (so-called “capacity mechanisms”).

The inquiry will gather information on capacity mechanisms to examine, in particular, whether they ensure sufficient electricity supply without distorting competition or trade in the EU Single Market. It complements the Commission’s Energy Union Strategy to create a connected, integrated and secure energy market in Europe.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Governments have a legitimate interest to ensure that there is sufficient electricity supply – households and industry should not face black-outs. My role is to safeguard that public measures to underpin investment in electricity supplies do not unduly favour particular producers or technologies, or create obstacles to trade across national borders. For example, in some cases it might be more efficient to invest in improving electricity grid connections between EU countries than to build new power stations.” She also said: “This sector inquiry sends a clear signal to Member States to respect EU state aid rules when implementing capacity mechanisms, and contributes to the Commission’s goal to build a true Energy Union in Europe.”

We are further informed that a press release is available in EN, FR, DE and all other EU languages. A fact sheet is also available in EN, FR, and DE.

This is ‘ever closer union’ by, what may be termed, the back door  – and David Cameron believes he can opt out of this aim of the EU? Readers will not need to be reminded that a power once ceded to the EU can’t be reclaimed – and energy is now, among so many other subjects, a competence of the EU. Ever closer union takes many forms – and they all encroach on sovereignty and the ability of a nation to decide that which happens within its borders.

As an aside, one can call it a ‘capacity mechanism’ if one wishes – we tend in this country to call it a ‘power cut’ — but in this age of political correctness, just how the hell did the term ‘blackout’ pass the censors?

Just asking………………………….

 

Hannan and (his vision of) democracy

Daniel Hannan, writing on ConservativeHome, is now pleading for the introduction of proportional representation.

In his article he writes that his preferred voting system is the Single Transferable Vote (STV) because: It encourages candidates to campaign as individuals, as local champions, rather than as representatives of their parties. It thus has the incidental effect of strengthening backbenchers against Whips, and the legislature against the executive.

Hannan then continues that in Ireland, STV is popular with almost everyone except (in private) politicians; and then relates a conversation he had with a Fine Gael friend of his who informed him that: Instead of acting in the national interest, I have to do what my constituents want; to which Hannan replied: That’s the whole bloody idea, it’s called democracy.

Where to begin with this load of rubbish? While the system of representative democracy continues wherein the Executive is drawn from the Legislature, encapsulating the ‘careerism’ contained therein; while Members of Parliament are subjected to Whip’s pressure to follow their party line, there can be no hint of democracy per se.

Hannan has obviously joined the club in which there is a belief that ‘tweaking the system’ will solve all the ills that exist within our present electoral system. He only need look at the devolution policies that are currently being proposed and followed to surely realise that he too is digging a pit for himself.

One can only suggest to Daniel Hannan that he follows the advice of Norman Tebbit – and takes up cycyling.

When and How?

Janet Daley and Tim Stanley both have articles on the Telegraph blog site about democracy – and both seem not to understand the meaning of the word, nor seem to have any idea how to rectify that about which they complain where the defects in our democracy are concerned.

Daley considers the intention of Nicola Sturgeon to ‘lock David Cameron out of Downing Street’ an outrage that would be committed against the most fundamental principle of modern democracy: that the legitimacy of government derives from the consent of the people. If the legitimacy of government derives from the consent of the people; since when,under representive democracy, has any government had the consent of the people, when not one government in recent years has received the support of the majority of the electorate? Also it is worth pointing out to Ms. Daley that neither has the most fundamental principle of democracy – that of people power (from the word ‘democracy’: demos-people; kratos-power) been practiced in this country. Stanley, meanwhile, complains that with the Conservatives launching an ‘English Manifesto’ it leads inexorably to greater devolution – and devolution, so we have discovered since Blair, leads inexorably to fragmentation. Yet it does not have to, but to expect young Stanley to realise this would be akin to wishing for the moon – it aint going to happen as he is but yet another journalist/commentator who either does not want ‘to rock the boat’ – or more likely just another one who is ‘brain-dead’.

Daley and Stanley both fail to acknowledge that devolution, within the confines of representative democracy, can only lead to fragmentation of the United Kingdom – which, after all, forms part of the process to  ‘Balkanise’ the United Kingdom, something which the European Union seeks as they wish to undermine nation states and create a ‘union of regions’ under the ‘governmental magnificence’ of Brussels. Daley and Stanley are but two of many ‘political commentators, a class of our society wilth which, unfortunately, we are blessed; and if these articles are illustrative of such in our society, then the heart can only weep and the mind boggle at the limited knowledge and understanding of the problems about which they write.

It is worth considering that political commentators are not the only ones in our society ‘selling us a pup’ – consider those who profess to be ‘eurosceptics’, in particular various Members of Parliament, ‘pressure groups’ and ‘think tanks’. With the exception of Owen Paterson (who I have yet to meet) I am at a loss to think of one Member of Parliament who has exhibited any understanding of what it means to be a ‘eurosceptic’; not one who has written/spoken against the UK’s membership of the EU appears to have the slightest knowledge of that which they oppose.

Not to be overshadowed, existing ‘pressure groups/think tanks’ fall into the same criticism, one of not seeking to have any understanding of that which they oppose, or why – nor  appear to realise the futility of reclaiming the nation’s independence and soverignty from one set of dictators, only to hand said powers to yet another set of dictators, because that is what the present form of government in this country is.

When mentioning ‘eurosceptic’ ‘pressure groups/think tanks’, Better off Out, The Freedom Association and Business for Britain spring to mind, to name but three. In this regard it becomes extremely difficult to differentiate the Broomfield from the Richards or the Elliott – in other words, to see the wood from the trees. What is easy to see is the egotism that surfaces – and it is only necessary to read the responses to my initiative of a few months ago to see said egotism immediately surface.

Not one of the ‘eurosceptic’ ‘pressure groups/think tanks’ has produced one plausible paper on how to leave the European Union, nor produced a reasoned paper on what should be done once we have – save for Flexcit. Even when Broomfield, of Better Of Out, did submit such  to the ‘competition’ run by the Institute of Economic Affairs, it was of such poor reason and content, it failed to win – not that the winning entry was any better.

Two ‘Eurosceptic’ groups – Open Europe and Business for Britain – seem intent on promoting the views of David Cameron, based on rengeotiation of that which cannot be renegotioned, with such fervour that it is difficult to understand why the heads of those two organisations (Mats Persson and Matthew Elliott) are not already sitting in the House of Lords; because is such elevation not what repetition, over time, of any meme from a political party leader (aka brown-nosing) brings?

Reverting to Dalay and her assertion about an affront to democracy, has she considered the affront to democracy by political leaders promising this, that and the other to minority groups with a view to buying their vote? What has happened to political parties, at election time, ‘going to the country’, rather than just bits of it? Has she considered that whilst promising this, that and the other, it has to be paid for and that those who will be doing the paying have not been asked if they agree to pay? That in in itself is an affront to democracy. Whichever way it is looked at, this general election is a travesty of democracy, with party leaders in effect standing behind a market stall, offering their wares for sale knowing any shortfall in their balance sheet won’t have to be subsidised by them.

To any thinking person it is obvious that there is ‘much wrong with the state of Denmark’ (to coin a phrase), yet those same people seem unable to ‘engage brain’ and think about what the problems actually are and how they might be resolved. Which bring me back to the title of this article – namely when will the people come to their senses and how long will it take them.

Where this election is concerned, the political class would not listen to anything I have to say, so why should I listen to one word they say? As a result, come 7th May I shall adopt the only protest I currently have available – and mark my ballot paper: ‘None of the above’.

 

Sunday Joke (& subsequent thought)

 

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband are on a plane. Cameron turned to Clegg and said: “You know, I could throw a £1,000 pound note out of the window right now and make somebody happy”. Clegg shrugged his shoulders and replied: “I could throw ten £100 notes out of the window and make ten people happy”. Miliband sniffed and said: “Don’t be mean, lets throw a hundred £100 notes out of the window and make a hundred people happy – after all, it isn’t our money anyway”. The pilot turned to his co-pilot: “Such big-shots, I could throw all three of them out of the window and make 60 million people ecstatic!

I was thinking it would make 60 million people more than ecstatic; but then such an idea would only feed their egos.

 

Political opportunism

It is noted that Ed Miliband has today ventured into the area of world politics, an action that is almost as rare as hen’s teeth; the full text of his foreign policy speech, given at Chatham House, can be read here.

As Isabel Hardman reports, other than the months surrounding the intervention, the party has barely talked about it. After Ed Miliband talked about long-term support for the Libyan government on 5 September 2011, his own party can’t seem to find any mention of post-conflict planning by its own leadership in 2012, 2013, or 2014. Not until 2015 did the Labour leader raise the issue again.

What we see here. yet again, is a politician pontificating on a subject about which he either knows nowt of the cause nor about how it could be resolved. Not that blame should be attributed to Miliband – after all, he is but a politician attempting to become prime minister of this nation.

Not to be outdone, we also had David Cameron announcing yet another tinkering with the bodged devolution imposed on the UK with his speech about England and the unfairness when compared to  ‘home rule’ for Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland. The more the political class ‘tinker’, the more problems they store up for themselves in the future.

Closer to home, we have more ‘tinkering’ with a vital public service which caused a ‘kerfuffle’ involving alleged wrong doing where Police and Crime Commissioner’s budgets are concerned. Cleveland and Durham agreed their budgets for the provision of  funds in order to continue the support of victims of crime (Victim Support) – but Northumbria prevaricated, leaving doubt from whence any funding would come. See local newspaper reports here and here.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria is Vera Baird (remember her?) who has set up a new charity (Victims First) naming herself and Sue Sim (Chief Constable of Northumbria Police) as Directors utilising, it is alleged, £500,000 of public money.

We all know that it is Labour Party policy to axe Police and Crime Commissioners, so it would appear that Vera Baird has ensured her continued employment – who said politicians do not feather their own nest?

We have, with all three stories, politicians spending taxpayers money without said taxpayers having any method of questioning, expressing their disagreement, or being able to annul such decisions (remember the call for ‘Referism‘?).

Once again we have further evidence that politics stinks, politicians stink and also that representative democracy stinks.

How much longer will the electorate accept the aroma which assails their nostrils?

 

Try looking in a mirror, Iain

Iain Martin, writing on CapX, bemoans the inability of the press to question politicians during  the current general election; especially at stage-managed public appearances, whilst complaining bitterly that morning press conferences are now a thing of the past with only Ukip continuing to provide such events.

Martin’s article poses the question: why is the British media so supine in the face of control from the big parties – but has not the British media been so for ages? When journalists are allowed to question political figures, such questions that are asked are poor to say the least. 

When questioning Cameron, for example, they could ask him how he has ensured that politicians are the servants of the people, not their masters, when on not one measure he and his government has introduced have the people been able to agree or reject such decisions. In that regard, they could then ask whether, bearing that point in mind, representative democracy really serves the people to their best interest. They could ask him about his claims to have vetoed an EU treaty, especially when there was no EU treaty to veto. They could ask him about his claim to have cut the EU budget, when it is obvious he did not. They could ask him about his wish to repatriate powers from the EU when such powers cannot be so repatriated. They could ask him why he complains about excessive EU regulation when the EU is only transposing standards which have been agreed at UN bodies at which this country does not have its own seat and thus cannot speak for itself.

It is tad rich for Iain Martin to complain about the media being ‘supine’, when commentators such as he are just as guilty of dereliction of their duty; which is to hold politicians to account on a day-to-day basis – particularly as the people, under representative democracy, cannot.

Is it any wonder this general election campaign is ‘lifeless’when there exists a political class, that in common with the media, seem so bereft of the knowledge required on matters about which they both speak and write?

 

 

 

 

Oh, to have ‘knowledge’ – and to have such believed

I note that he who knows nothing, but whose words are faithfully repeated by those of like-minded capability, has been pontificating on Jean Claude Junker’s views about treaty change.

As has been noted elsewhere, any decision about treaty change, if required and when, is not in the remit of the Head of the European Commission or the Commission as a whole, but is within the remit of the President of the European Council; and only then if so requested by the Heads of State that comprise said Council.

On that point it is reported, here and here, that a senior Brussels official (probably the filing clerk on duty) has stated that: “more and more” EU leaders are opposed to Treaty Change in the next two years, whilst EU President Martin Schulz has said it is a “relief” that other member state heads, such as President Hollande, were turning against Treaty change due to fear of referendums to ratify such changes in their home countries.

 Why Schulz should be worried about referendums when the EU has a ‘procedure’ should a referendum not deliver the right response, can but amaze one. Coupling that with the fact that a referendum can be avoided because a particular Head of State can decide against one purely because he/she fears they might lose such can but illustrate that representative democracy is indeed a form of democratised dictatorship.

It is all very well to rely on the will of the people to deliver the desired result, providing of course that that those voting understand that for which they are voting. Talking, for the first time today, to a ‘bright and educated’ young lady who has a Masters Degree, the conversation turned to politics; at which point she informed me that she had never taken any interest in the subject, or thought about it – to which my immediate, unspoken, question was: and you have a vote?

It is on such people that he who knows nothing; our political class; and the media; address their ‘knowledge’, nuanced as it is, with a view to manipulating public opinion. Where public education is concerned Goebbels can be considered to have been in the kindergarten class in view of the degree to which public education has progressed.

 

 

 

 

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings……….

Today’s edition of the CoffeeHouse Election 2015 Expresso round-up of such ‘news’ that there is of events leading up to 7th May reports that Ed Miliband castigates David Cameron for not turning up for the BBC debate this evening.

It quotes Miliband as saying: I think if you are applying for the job of prime minister, the very least the British people expect is for you to turn up to the job interview, as a result of Cameron’s refusal to take part.

When someone who is the Leader of the Opposition, is putting himself forward for the position of Prime Minister, receives an email from a member of the electorate as a result of a newspaper article he wrote and then totally ignores it, it having been sent twice – coupled with the fact that the matter was raised with his local Labour MP, who promised to seek a response from his party leader – then I believe Miliband should think twice about his choice of words when criticising an opponent for the job.

When the ‘job interview’ is an on-going process of 4/5 years; when the applicant writes newspaper articles addressed to the entire electorate;  and when one of the interviewing panel asks questions – then the least the applicant can do is answer them.

This article has been tweeted to both Ed Miliband (@E_Miliband) and Grahame Morris (@grahamemorris) with the question: Well, what say you?

 

A few comments on recent news items

Little noticed – and unreported it appears – is a recent announcement by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe about an event, to be held during 14th/16th April, dealing with sustainable development. Now, sustainable development covers an entire raft of subjects – virtually just about everything. To pick just one subject: food; and lo and behold we find the European Commission has launched an online consultation on how science and innovation can help the EU ensuring safe, nutritious, sufficient and sustainable food globally. Just watch how ‘sustainable’ becomes the new ‘buzz word’ among the political class.

There would appear to be much aggravation in the UK about the arbitrary imposition of television licences, in effect a means to fund yet another ‘sacred cow’ of British life; the British Broadcasting Corporation. Do we, the electorate, get a voice in this? No – but the people of Switzerland do. Democracy in action?

No matter that a country holds a referendum on any particular subject, if the result is not that which the EU likes, invariably there is a demand that the vote should be held again. It comes as no surprise that this demand applies to Switzerland, under the guise that Switzerland must ‘change logic’.

I note that that what is known as the LibLabCon have launched their elections manifestos – aka  the story of Alice in Wonderland. Miliband says – and it matters not whether Cameron or Clegg is substituted for Miliband – Because I tell you plainly today we have to change the way this country is run and who it is run for. If this country is being run for the people, then how about the people actually having a say in how it is run?

On assuming usurping office David Cameron made a promise that politicians would remember the people are the masters,never the servants – something Miliband has yet to sign up to. But then why should he when the entire political class consider themselves the masters? We are informed by some that we must vote for Cameron as only he promises a referendum on EU membership – and the damage he and his party could do in the meantime? Until such time as such advocates can promise me that they can guarantee a ‘free and fair’ referendum, as far as I am concerned they are ‘whistling in the wind’. My vote will be cast for ‘none of the above’.

On that point it worth recalling that governments of late have been formed on 33/35% of the electorate. Now if those voting for none of the above were to increase, I would like to see a political party attempt to assume office on say 15/20% of the electorate – that might just bring about a ‘nice’ constitutional crisis.

Where the subject of events on May 7th are concerned, bearing in mind democracy per se, that it will be a faux event probably has something to do with the fact that the word ‘general’ is included.

 

 

 

Truth

I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.
H. L. Mencken

Tony Blair has been speaking in Sedgefield, his old parliamentary constituency, on the subject of this country’s membership of the European Union.

In regard to the opening paragraph, since when have we, the people, actually been asked what are our ambitions as a nation, who we think we are or want to be, or even where we want to go – to which the answer is never as we have always been told all three by some wannabe dictator under the guise of democracy.

He states: Norway and Switzerland both are obliged, as the price of their access to Europe’s market, to accede to a series of European rules even though they cannot influence their drafting. Either he really is ignorant or he is indeed a liar because he must know the facts. EU rules are not ‘EU rules’ as the vast majority do not originate from the EU, but from United Nations bodies such as UNECE, etc; the EU is mandated to discuss the drafting of ‘rules’ with Norway who sits on over 200 EU committees, plus of course Norway has already had input into the ‘rules’ handed down to the EU for implementation as they are members of said UN bodies.

Blair’s intervention on the subject of the UK’s membership of the European Union is but the latest; others,  just as recent, can be found here in the Independent and here in the Herald Scotland. What they all have in common is total ignorance of ‘matters EU’ encapsulating conflation of membership of the EEA and membership of the EU.

Richard North writes about a weak opposition to weak arguments for EU membership – unfortunately the reason for weak opposition is that within the supposed anti-EU brigade are organisations like Open Europe, Business for Britain (to name but two) who write and talk utter tosh, but whose voice appears to carry much weight (Judas Goats?). Where true opposition which deals in facts is concerned, among the political class only Owen Paterson stands out; and among the media, only Christopher Booker. As we have seen, their opinions are ignored by both the political class and the media.

It seems to me that the sooner a group of anti-EU believers can be formed from those that believe in Flexcit and the Norway Option/Model and a press conference held; the sooner the facts can be brought before the electorate thus allowing the lies of Blair et all to be laid to rest once and for all, the better (and if a certain infrequent commenter who is fond of quoting Confucius and that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step, repeats such, I may just be forced to cut off his air supply!)

In this forthcoming battle for the future of our country (and its system of democracy) time is of the essence, so a plea: can those forming the aforementioned group of believers in Flexcit and the Norway Option/Model extract the proverbial digit?

Just asking……………………..