May 20, 2013
The Voice of Appeasement Speaks
Those calling for the UK to leave the EU are "putting politics before economics", business leaders have said.
Leave aside any flakiness of their economic argument - some things like democracy, freedom and self-determinism are "politics" that outweigh the "economics" - at least to some of us..
November 19, 2012
Britain is "sleepwalking" into leaving the EU, which would undermine the UK's economy and leave it "voiceless and powerless," Ed Miliband will say.
Sleepwalking? Is that when a dream controls ones actions?
November 8, 2012
If You Leave Me Now
Mrs Merkel, before travelling to Downing Street. “I want a strong Britain in the EU. Britain was there when we were liberated from National Socialism.”
She added: “When you are somewhere alone in a seven billion-strong global population, I don’t think it is good for Britain. I believe you can be very happy on an island, but being alone in this world doesn’t make you any happier.”
"If you leave me you won't have any friends and you will be all alone"; the last desperate plea of many a Hausfrau as hubby remembers the days of his youth when he was a man of the world free to meet lots of charming young people form all over the globe rather than be tied her apron strings to their rather grubby home and her sponging relatives. He can barely remember wht he saw in her in the first place.
(Having infected myself with the earworm with that headline I had to find the song..
July 30, 2012
Ve Vant Out
More than half of Germans believe that their country would be better off leaving the euro.
The poll in Bild Am Sonntag, which showed that 51 per cent thought it was time to revert to the mark, was published as Angela Merkel and Mario Monti affirmed their willingness to “do everything” to save the single currency.
The newspaper’s poll also showed that 71 per cent of Germans wanted Greece to leave the euro should it not live up to its austerity promises.
Senior German politicians echoed this sentiment. Philipp Rösler, the Economy Minister, said that there were “considerable doubts whether Greece is living up to its reform promises”.
Athens is struggling to find a further €11.5 billion in savings to fill a budget black hole while international inspectors continue to examine progress towards reforms needed to justify bailout payments. Their audit report will determine whether Greece will receive the next instalment, worth €31.5 billion, in September. “The implementation [of the reforms] is faltering,” Mr Rösler said. “There is still no functioning tax office. Also, almost nothing has happened in terms of the promised privatisation of public assets.
“If Greece does not fulfil its obligations, there can be no more money. Then Greece would be insolvent.”
July 12, 2012
Eu Just Don't Understand.
Britain would be reduced to the status of Norway or Switzerland if it left the European Union, the President of the European Commission has warned.
In a provocative intervention over Britain’s increasingly difficult relationship with Europe, José Manuel Barroso said he found it “curious” and “a bit ironic” that Eurosceptics in Westminster were effectively campaigning for Britain to have a diminished international role.
“Sometimes when I look at the debate in the UK, I ask myself, ‘How is it that this country is so open to the world, and apparently so closed to Europe?’ It seems a contradiction.”
July 2, 2012
Proud Independent Islanders Get Leader They Want
Icelandic President Olafur Grimsson has won a record fifth term in office, riding a wave of support for his defiance of Britain and the Netherlands over massive debts from a bank crash and asserting the tiny nation’s stubbornly independent streak.
Mr Grimsson, who, unlike the government, opposes joining the European Union, won 52.8 per cent of the vote in Saturday’s election to beat his closest rival, television journalist Thora Arnorsdottir, 37, who won 33.2 per cent, the final tally showed yesterday.
I get the memo.
June 8, 2012
Euro Juncker Bonds
Breaking with the decorum by which he is normally bound, Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, used the word crisis six times as he surveyed the emergency now facing the eurozone. However he added that the eurozone would emerge “stronger than ever”, and predicted that the UK would join the currency.
Mr Juncker, 57, has been president of the Eurogroup, an informal caucus of the euro finance ministers, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, since 2005. He said: “With my European duties, I must not take part in the current alarmism. I profoundly think that we are capable of overcoming the structural difficulties of the moment.”
Then, switching from French to make his point slowly in English, he added: “I have to say that I am seriously concerned.”
Mr Juncker lamented “the impression that that we have hesitated at each stage” of the crisis. “We must impress the world with a record-breaking long-jump,” he said.
A leap towards fiscal and financial union will be outlined to leaders of the eurozone at a Brussels summit on June 28 and the plan must be complete by the early autumn,.....He said that he and the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission — Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso — expected to present proposals for greater integration by October.
The broker of countless pre-dawn compromises, including Britain’s opt-out from monetary union, acknowledged that while there was a consensus on pooling more governance, wide differences remained over the shorter-term means of relief.
Germany is resisting the majority wish to share debt through things such as joint “eurobonds”...
It was now clear that it had been an error for Germany and its allies to block pooled economic governance for the currency early on. “Even those who did not want deeper economic integration are now realising that this was an error,” Mr Juncker admitted.
The euro was born on hope. “We thought that the single currency would give birth to other European advances. I stick to my conviction.
“I foresee that at the end of this crisis, the European Union and the eurozone will emerge stronger than ever.”
He was equally sure of the UK’s destiny: “The moment will come when the United Kingdom, after looking at reality, will say to itself that it is better to be in the essential machine of Europe than to sit in the stand watching the action . . . I have always believed that, in spite of occasional bitterness, the European Union without Britain is no longer the European Union.”
He added: “For strictly national reasons and not out of any continental romanticism, the United Kingdom will become a member of the eurozone.”
Part Of The Union
What did the British ever do for the English? | The Times (£)
The argument for the Union, ...., is thus exactly parallel to the usual defence of Britain’s presence in the European Union. There is no European identity and even if there were, it would never attract the cussed dissidents across the Channel. But it does makes sense to be part of a trading alliance. It may even make sense to co-operate on security, crime, immigration and climate change. As long as the European Union is a service provider, the British will stomach it. But this rational case will never have any emotional resonance because there is no European identity. So, as soon as the British are asked for allegiance to an entity that looks and sounds like a government, their consent will be withdrawn.
For the same reason, I am not sure that Mr Miliband’s rational case for the Union can be made. There is, in truth, no great loss to the self-image of the English if Scotland departs the Union. Mr Miliband’s argument may even be self-defeating. It is possible that, the more he celebrates England, the more he undermines the case for the Union. The English may well conclude, flattered by his definition of them as stoical and quietly determined, that they are perfectly capable of remaining for ever England even if the Act of Union is repealed.
May 4, 2012
Mandy Calls For EU Referendum
Britain should be ready to join the euro within a decade, Lord Mandelson will say today when he calls for a referendum to reshape the UK’s relationship with Europe for the next generation.
“A nation of ‘reluctant’ Europeans will have to confront a choice between taking part in greater integration, including joining the euro, or an uncertain future.”
Staying outside such a bloc or quitting the European Union altogether would amount to the same thing, Lord Mandelson will say. Either way, Britain would have to meet EU standards to trade with Europe but would have little or no voice in defining them.
The peer is also expected to say that the public needs to engage with what is at stake. He is the most senior Labour figure to back a referendum on Britain’s future relationship with Europe, arguing that the mandate secured by Edward Heath in the 1970s has run out. “It belongs to another time and another generation.”
April 24, 2012
EU Teaching Kids About Climate Change Resources
Eu - Teachers' Corner - 0 to 9 years
What scorching weather!
This book explains the causes and effects of climate change through the story of a boy who helps firemen extinguish a forest fire and save his friend Lila the fox.
And so on...pass the sick bag. - but they also say "You are welcome to tell us what you think about the teaching resources on Teachers’ Corner. Click on “Your review” and then rate or comment on a resource."
April 5, 2012
Eu Ban On Cheap Meat Helps Consumers
The price of burgers, sausages and chicken nuggets will rise after a technique for removing cheap meat from the bone was banned, the industry warned yesterday.
Tim Smith, chief executive of the FSA, said there were no food safety grounds for reclassifying desinewed meat. “There is no greater risk from eating this sort of produce than any other piece of meat or meat product. The EU Commission has informed us today they do not consider this to be an identified public health concern,” he said.
He insisted that desinewed meat was indistinguishable under a microscope from meat cut by hand. “It’s meat,” he said. “Mechanically separated meat is completely different.”
However, he said that Britain had to comply with the ruling to prevent a “devastating” export ban on all British meat.
Bernard Van Goethem of the European Commission said that the decision had been made on legal grounds because the definition of desinewed meat varied around the EU. The consequent changes in labelling rules would help the consumer. “He wants to know if [his sausage] is made from mechanically separated meat or a real piece of meat that was cut into small pieces.”.
It is why the queue at the late night kebab shop is so long as the customers debate the provenance, breed and the farming system of the meat they are considering buying just like M.Van Goethem does at that very nice Brussels restaurant where he grazes on choice morsels.
March 31, 2012
The Old Ones Are The Best Ones
The EU should appoint a specially designated commissioner for Greece to oversee the country's reconstruction from its deep economic crisis, the head of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers said in an interview published on Wednesday....
Angela Merkel arrives at Passport Control in Athens.
"Nationality?" asks the immigration officer.
"German" she replies.
"No, just here for a few days".....
March 8, 2012
Freedom of what?
Salacious whistles and sexist comments may fall foul of new laws against sexual harassment to which Britain is signing up, the prime minister will announce on Thursday.
The pledge to criminalise "verbal, non-verbal or physical" sexual harassment is one of the commitments in the Council of Europe's convention on violence against women, which David Cameron will commit to signing at a special event to mark International Women's Day.
Among the pledges in the convention, which has already been signed by 18 countries including Germany, France and Ukraine, is one to pass legislation or other measures to criminalise or impose other sanctions for "unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment".
So if anyone criticises my choice of suit as being cut for a younger man I will be able to sue. In fact if you so much as raise an eyebrow at my purple crushed velvet loon pants you are for it. Oh happy days!
January 1, 2012
I love the smell of Napalm in the morning...
The best thing about 2012 - the collapse of the euro.
The worst thing about 2012 - the collapse of the euro.
It's not going to be nice. Fasten your seatbelts and be prepared.
December 29, 2011
Hans In The Brothel
Hans, a middle-aged German tourist on his first visit to Orlando, Florida,
finds the red light district and enters a large brothel. The madam asks him
to be seated and sends over a young lady to entertain him.
They sit and talk, frolic a little, giggle a bit, drink a bit, and she sits
on his lap. He whispers in her ear and she gasps and runs away! Seeing this,
the madam sends over a more experienced lady to entertain the gentleman.
They sit and talk, frolic a little, giggle a bit, drink a bit, and she sits
on his lap. He whispers in her ear, and she too screams, "No!" and
walks quickly away.
The madam is surprised that this ordinary looking man has asked for
something so outrageous that her two girls will have nothing to do with him.
She decides that only her most experienced lady, Lola, will do. Lola has
never said no, and it's not likely anything would surprise her. So the madam
sends her over to Hans. The sit and talk, frolic a little, giggle a bit,
drink a bit, and she sits on his lap. He whispers in her ear and she screams,
"NO WAY, BUDDY!" and smacks him as hard as she can and leaves.
Madam is by now absolutely intrigued, having seen nothing like this in all
her years of operating a brothel. She hasn't done the bedroom work herself
for a long time, but she's sure she has said yes to everything a man could
possibly ask for. She just has to find out what this man wants that has made
her girls so angry. Besides she sees a chance to teach her employees a
So she goes over to Hans and says that she's the best in the house and is
available. She sits and talks with him. They frolic, giggle, drink and then
she sits in his lap.
Hans leans forwards and whispers in her ear, "Can I pay in
Aaronovitch Surrenders Europe
.... I might wish it were otherwise, but the truth is that we British pro-Europeans are beginning to sound more and more like Betamax enthusiasts arguing the superior merits of their systems against the unstoppable VHS tide.
Without even losing the argument we have contrived to lose not just the battle, but the entire war. The British people, for all our efforts, have proved de Gaulle right, when he exercised his veto against our membership in 1963 and doubted whether our evolution “and the evolution of the universe might bring the English little by little to the Continent”.
The Universe has not so evolved. Judging by its newspapers and its politicians, the people of Britain don’t get Europe, don’t like Europe and don’t want Europe. I have done my best, but nothing will persuade older Britons that the EU is not just some updated, endless episode of ’Allo ’Allo! or younger Britons to take any interest in it. It’s over. Time to come out of the jungle with my hands up, lay down my rusty rifle and think of something else.
The Death Of The euro
The reports tell of Foreign Office preparations to evacuate thousands of British expatriates and holidaymakers from countries that may be stricken by a break-up of the eurozone. The Ministry of Defence is also said to have been consulted about evacuation plans should UK citizens find themselves trapped in countries which have closed their borders and where bank withdrawals have been suspended.
In the frontline of this preparation is the Treasury, where reports have been circulating for weeks of contingency planning in the event of a disintegration of the single currency. Key arrangements include plans for the imposition of capital controls. Immigration and border controls would also be tightened.
Cross-border emergency evacuations; curtailment of the movement of money; detailed checks on crossing borders: these are the very opposite of the free movement of capital, goods, services and labour that the European single market was supposed to enshrine. The assumption behind these plans is that there would be a panic-fuelled capital flight as a banking failure took hold. The end result could be a freeze of electronic transfers and a halt to disbursements from hole-in-the-wall machines. And if people have no access to their money, those stricken countries in the eurozone do not just have a banking problem, or a sovereign debt problem. They have a law-and-order problem.
The salvation of Europe would, on the contrary, appear to lie in the overwhelming popular preference for people to be governed locally and by their own people, rather than by supra-national constructs. This is the counter-force that the events of 2012 will unleash as the debt and deficit crisis enters a new and explosive stage. That is why next week we will be in no ordinary year, and in no ordinary new era.
December 28, 2011
A Prosperous New Year?
The rising strength of China and Brazil, of India and the Civets, is based on hard work and free enterprise. Economies which have been kept poor by too much state control and by bad government in past decades, are being progressively liberated. As this occurs, so more businesses are set up, more jobs created, more people are better educated. A virtuous circle has been created.
The declining relative strength of the west, especially of Europe, is based on the opposite process. There is growing government interference in every aspect of economic life. The top down Euro scheme, little wanted by the German and French people, let alone the British, is doing untold damage to economic prospects. It is proving to be the ultimate ill judged intervention by the political classes, the final expression of governing power that is damaging families, businesses and job prospects.
With bleary eyes I didn't recognise the CIVETS to mean "Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa" but once that matter was rectified I think John Redwood encapsulates the takehome message for 2012.
December 19, 2011
Name One Real Job
“I read and hear a lot of people breezily predicting, almost with a sense of glee, that the eurozone is going to fall apart and this country is going to drop out of the euro,” Mr Clegg said.
“It would be a triumph of optimism over fact to somehow wish away the fact that millions of people’s livelihoods are dependent on our engagement in Europe,” he said.
Genuinely confused - which jobs would be lost if we just freely traded with a bunch of countries over La Manche? They need our trade more than we need theirs so we wouldn't be blockaded.
Sorry that should have read "which jobs apart from those of party hacks and EU officials would be lost....."
December 17, 2011
Cleggy Chooses Wrong Bot Mot
Nick Clegg has accused Eurosceptics of stoking xenophobia and chauvinism by indulging in "the politics of grievance", on the day that a diplomatic war of words between Britain and France intensified.
Chauvinism is an eponym of a possibly fictional French soldier Nicolas Chauvin who was credited with many superhuman feats in the Napoleonic wars. By extension it has come to include an extreme and unreasoning partisanship on behalf of any group to which one belongs, especially when the partisanship includes malice and hatred towards rival groups. Jingoism is the British parallel form of this French word,...
December 9, 2011
Very Well Alone
This is David Low's famous cartoon from 1940 - it appeared after Sarko capitulated to Hitler (have I got that right?)
Europe Fractures - Good News Morning
The European Union fractured today at a rancorous summit when 23 countries signed up to a new euro-plus group with Britain on the outside after David Cameron wielded his veto.
Britain was left in a rump group including Hungary, Sweden and the Czech Republic as France and Germany led the rest into a more powerful inner core.
It means that the 17 eurozone countries, together with six who are outside the single currency, will agree the new rules in a separate inter-governmental agreement to be thrashed out by March.
Mr Cameron said Britain should be relaxed about the outcome because different parts of Europe already ran at different speeds. Perhaps it is a better outcome, he said, because Britain would never join the euro while many of the other countries outside the eurozone did.
A start of brighter times maybe?
Stupidest Bit of Journalism 2011 Award
Tory Eurosceptics have one prejudice that unites them - xenophobic Little Englandism
Tory Eurosceptics make a lot of noise, and they have one widely shared prejudice that unites them – xenophobic little Englandism, masquerading as the high principle of national sovereignty. But their demands for Cameron to wield his veto on proposed EU treaty amendments contain one fatal flaw. The alternative to treaty amendments, as Cameron, Osborne and pretty much anyone else in government appreciates, is the two-speed Europe that would threaten London's primacy as a financial centre even more. So who is acting against the national interest now?
This could be Cameron's opening. Given the trouble he is going to be in anyway – with his sceptics, if he agrees to the proposed treaty amendments without agreeing to a referendum, and with business, if he effectively accepts Britain's relegation to a lower financial league – he should summarily end the ambiguity of the past year and embrace the only logical solution: Britain's belated entry into the euro.
With Liberal Democrats and Europhile Labour MPs on his side, he could win a majority in Parliament and campaign country-wide for a referendum "Yes" as the only true representative of the national interest.
With his PR skills and his one-nation Tory credentials, Cameron is one of the few British politicians who could convince mainstream voters to accept the euro.
A poster girl for idiotic journalism at its most inane - Commentators - Opinion - The Independent
It was a close run thing this year, but finally we have a winner: nominations for Stupidest Bit of Journalism 2011 are now closed.
It seems a shame that the contest ended last Wednesday as I think I have spotted a late entrant that would have been a strong contender.
December 7, 2011
Britain will sign up for fiscal discipline in the eurozone, but not at the expense of our industries or our independence
Tomorrow's budgie cage liner.
December 5, 2011
An Orderly Collapse Is The Best We Can Hope For
Expect a reasonably orderly collapse of the euro as we know it, and the start of another currency, but only for some countries
The euro is dead. Long live the new euro. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have spoken rather cryptically but their meaning is clear. If the euro was a movie its title would be The Dawn of the Walking Dead. It is the zombie of currencies waiting for its head to be lopped off so it cannot stagger around from one crisis in Greece to another in Italy and terrorising France and Germany. The truth is it never had a chance, it never had the right genes nor did it have the resistance to fight the contagion to which it has succumbed.
Don’t take my word for it; see what is happening: the softening up of the European public for what is about to befall the euro in their pockets, namely the currency’s orderly collapse and the creation of a new euro, for want of a better working title....
The game will be given away once the British Cabinet is briefed and Business Secretary Vince Cable puts his foot in it (again) by offering up an indiscretion about the pretence of it all – or it is leaked that he is in disagreement with his colleagues and might yet resign (again)....
The new intake of Tory MPs is much more sceptical towards EU institutions and it is no longer predominantly about the cost of membership. In a world of more globalised trade, fewer Tory MPs view an ailing Europe as the panacea to economic success; with Merkel’s planned tax blitz on the City of London emotions are rising and with Tony Blair having signed away Major’s Maastricht employment law concessions and much of Thatcher’s Fontainebleau rebate the EU looks more like a hindrance than a help when it comes to the UK escaping from the eurozone whirlpool.
If Europe is to become two-speed – one under the strait jacket of a German-dominated new euro currency and the other the mostly southern European and former communist states with their own currencies, MPs are beginning to think the unthinkable and ask would we be better off out of it altogether.
Nato? Yes. European Economic Area? Yes. Two-speed Europe? Hmm. When Jacques Delors helped design the euro it was meant to bring Europeans closer together – now its inevitable collapse looks like pushing them apart. The Anglo Saxons were right, and he should have listened.
November 21, 2011
Ashdown Mocks England And Praises euro
Lord Ashdown suggests that it could be in Britain’s interest to join “sooner than we think”. Writing in The Times, he says that had Britain joined it may have added weight to arguments for “stricter rules, stronger sanctions, more muscular central institutions”.
The former Liberal Democrat leader says that those who supported the idea of the Britain joining need not “hang our heads in shame”.
Instead, there is “euro to the north of us, euro to the south, euro to the east of us and euro to the west. Splendid little England, splendidly isolated, splendidly alone and of course, as ever, splendidly right!”
Hang their heads in shame? The thought had never occurred to me...
November 19, 2011
Longing For The Good Old Days Mein Herr?
Britain will have to abandon the pound and join the single currency “faster than people think”, Germany’s finance minister has said.
We have been here before....
Water May Not Be Wet
Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.
Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.
“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.
“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”
A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.
Now the EFSA verdict has been turned into an EU directive which was issued on Wednesday.
November 18, 2011
In Which We Remember Nicholas Ridley
Germany has drawn up secret plans to prevent a British referendum on the overhaul of the European Union amid concerns it could derail the eurozone rescue package, leaked documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph disclose.
Mrs Merkel yesterday said she expected Mr Cameron to “examine a stronger involvement with other countries” once the eurozone crisis had been resolved.
German memo shows secret slide towards a super-state - Telegraph
An intrusive European body with the power to take over the economies of struggling nations should be set up to tackle the eurozone crisis, according to a leaked German government document.
The six-page German foreign ministry paper sets out plans for the creation of a European Monetary Fund with a transfer of sovereignty away from member states.
The fund will have the power to take ailing countries into receivership and run their economies. Even more controversially, the document, entitled The future of the EU: required integration policy improvements for the creation of a Stability Union, declares that the treaty changes are a first stage “in which the EU will develop into a political union”. “The debate on the way towards a political union must begin as soon as the course toward stability union is charted,” it concludes.
The negotiating document also explicitly examines ways to limit treaty changes to speed up the reforms. It indicates that Mrs Merkel will tell Mr Cameron to rule out a popular EU vote in Britain.
“Limiting the effect of the treaty changes to the eurozone states would make ratification easier, which would nevertheless be required by all EU member states (thereby less referenda could be necessary, which could also affect the UK),” read the paper.
On 14 July 1990 he was forced to resign as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry after an interview published in The Spectator. He had described the proposed Economic and Monetary Union as "a German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe" and said that giving up sovereignty to Europe was as bad as giving it up to Adolf Hitler. The interview was illustrated with a cartoon depicting Ridley adding a Hitler moustache to a poster of the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
October 25, 2011
Pantsdown Euro Lament - Full Steam Ahead Is The Answer
To be stronger, Europe must give away power | The Times (£)
Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon
There is now a real possibility that the European Union will break apart.
There are many in Parliament who would cheer this and, I suspect, even more in the country beyond who would join in with enthusiasm. Nor would they be alone. It is not only in Britain that the public mood against the EU runs so strongly. The Dutch seem to agree and even the people of Germany, given the chance, might vote the same way.
The single greatest political idea of our time, European integration, now looks in serious trouble.
The reasons for European integration are not weaker today than they were when this all started; they are stronger.
If we Europeans don’t understand that the right reaction to our new circumstances is not to loosen, but to deepen, the integration of our defence, our foreign policy and our economics, then we are bloody fools. If we really believe that this is a moment to consign ourselves to a collection of perfectly sovereign corks bobbing along in the wake of other people’s ocean liners, then the next decades will be much more difficult, turbulent and dangerous for us.
In stormy waters corks rise and fall and survive very well, it is the badly built supertankers that break apart, losing all hands and polluting the environment. I'll take the cork anytime, thanks.
September 30, 2011
Hand in hand they jumped off a cliff
July 18, 2011 I spent mainly been hedging - if the euro is worth more than 86.6p on 30th Sept 2011 I have made a bad call.
Looks like a wash - which means that despite all the doommongering about the euro in the last three months the money believes the pound is still an equal to it. Which is worrying.
The European Central Bank has released the Euro exchange rate that will be used for calculating SPS 2011 payments. It will be 0.86665.
September 15, 2011
A TWO-DIVISION Europe in which debt-burdened southern nations are handed back their own national currencies is the most "likely outcome" of the current debt crisis, former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown declares today.
One of Britain's strongest advocates of closer European ties, and of British membership of the single currency, Lord Ashdown says he now sees no future for the euro in its current form.
Instead, he says that a new "core" euro area, made up of Germany, France and other northern European nations could be retained, with the more indebted southern nations allowed to devalue their own currencies in the bid to return to health.
For Paddy top be rolled out to say this means it must be serious. Run to the shelter when Fatty Pang is brought on and if a Kinnoch appears then it really is all over.
August 31, 2011
This time the EU has gone too far
The current Defender was first introduced in 1948 and has gone on to enjoy sales of more than two million around the world.
Its basic design has changed little over the past six decades.
Aaargh my eyes! A flabby jelly mould ready to be blinged up to replace the Landy! And it is the EU's fault?
August 21, 2011
The Great Escape
As events go this turbulent August, the disappearance of a cow from a small farm in Bavaria doesn't quite have the resonance of Colonel Gadaffi's last stand, the arrest one-by-one of Rupert Murdoch's staff, or the implosion of the world economy. But the story of Yvonne, a six-year-old bovine who broke through an electrified fence on 24 May and has been on the run ever since, is moving ominously up the news agenda and, in the coming days, may well eclipse all other concerns. ...her ability to evade capture has brought her fame beyond even the wildest of bovine dreams. So far she has outwitted Bavarians armed with telescopic sights, a helicopter equipped with thermal-imaging gear, an animal tracker whose skills were honed on the African savannah, and the searching eyes of police, ramblers and fortune-seekers after the €10,000 (£8,700) price on her head.
There has been the odd sighting, but, by the time the men with the tranquillising darts have shown up, Yvonne has melted back into the depths of the pine forest. Yet if humans have been unable to make contact with her, she, apparently, has got in touch with them. An Austrian animal psychic claims to have telepathically reached Yvonne, who has reassured her public that she is OK, but still too afraid to give herself up.
I predict she will steal a motorbike and try to jump the fence into Switzerland...
Auld Alliance Breaks Over euro
THE SNP is backing away from taking an independent Scotland into the Eurozone and towards maintaining Sterling as the currency of a newly-created state.
The Nationalist-led Scottish Government has said it is opposed to proposals put forward last week by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to harmonise taxes such as corporation tax. Such powers should be the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament, the government says. MEPs said last night that such a stance would "blow a hole" through any idea that Scotland could join the Eurozone, with analysts predicting that tight fiscal integration will be required of all countries in the zone as part of current efforts to lift it out of economic strife.
When even the Scots Nats won't swallow it you know it must be bad.
July 23, 2011
Markets welcome bail-out for Greece as euro recovers - Scotsman.com News
22 July 2011 10:34 PM
Euro drops as markets digest details on bail-out for Greece - Scotsman.com News
22 July 2011 8:11 PM
July 22, 2011
All Hail The New German-Hungarian Empire
In a move hailed by President Sarkozy of France as a key step towards the creation of an EU treasury in the form of a “European monetary fund”.
He said: “By the end of the summer, Angela Merkel [the German Chancellor] and I will be making joint proposals on economic government in the eurozone. Our ambition is to seize the Greek crisis to make a quantum leap in eurozone government. We have done something historic.
July 18, 2011
Today I have mainly been hedging - if the euro is worth more than 86.6p on 30th Sept 2011 I have made a bad call.
I don't think I'm too worried.
June 22, 2011
Never trust the advice of a man in difficulties.
Europe braced for MEPs' expenses storm - Europe, World - The Independent
Publication of suppressed report could undermine efforts to deal with eurozone debt crisis
By Oliver Wright, Whitehall Editor
The European Parliament will today back down and order the release of a secret report detailing the widespread abuse of expenses by MEPs, The Independent has learnt.
A meeting of senior MEPs is expected to accept a European Court of Justice ruling that there is an "overriding public interest in disclosure".
Given the difficulties the EU faces in persuading countries such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal to accept tough austerity measures, the re-emergence of allegations of misuse of taxpayer funds by MEPs is unlikely to be welcome on the streets of Athens or across the Union.
Those who argued against the publication will be anxious it should not inflame the situation in Greece. Anger there is so far directed at the Commission and other nation member states, but that could spread.
Its hard to take advice to eat your donkey from gold plated swill guzzling pigs, as I think an old Aesop fable says.
Spit and Polish
The move comes as EU environmental policy was undermined by one of the most important figures in the European commission, causing alarm in Brussels. Janusz Lewandowski, the commissioner in charge of fraught negotiations on the future of the EU's €130bn budget, cast doubt on the science of climate change and the future of emissions policy.
Ruth Davis, chief policy adviser at Greenpeace UK, said: "It's terrifying that the man in charge of Europe's budget is someone you might expect to see in Sarah Palin's Republican party.
"He has a huge influence over all of our economic futures and yet not only does he deny the overwhelming evidence of climate change, but he's also opposing measures that leading businesses say would drive green growth and create millions of new jobs in Europe's clean industries."
A glimmer of hope of sanity then.
June 18, 2011
Ken Clarke's Copybook
Jean-Claude Juncker says the UK's former chancellor was the key reason the fledgling single currency survived.
Opens little book, adds an extra large black cross against name. Strokes the hempen, one day, my lovely, one day.
June 17, 2011
THE UK government is on course for a clash with its European Union partners over calls for Britain to put up to £16 billion into a new bail-out fund for the eurozone.
Mr Sarkozy urged other European countries to set aside their squabbling and self-interest to safeguard Europe's economies. "We need to move on from these national quarrels and get back to the sense of our common destiny," he said, hours after a meeting of European Commissioners broke up in gloom and foreboding at the failure to agree a second bail-out for Greece.
"I call on everyone to show the spirit of responsibility and sense of compromise on which Europe has been built. It's every-one's duty to do everything needed to safeguard the stability of the euro," Mr Sarkozy said.
I don't need no Hungarian dwarf to lecture me on "duty".
June 2, 2011
Does Tiffany Do Jewel Encrusted Lengths Of Hempen Rope?
Commissioners travelled in limousines, stayed in five star hotels and splashed out on lavish gifts including Tiffany jewellery as their member states faced savage budget cuts and rising EU taxes.
The Commission also ran up a bill of more than €300,000 (£263,511) for lavish cocktail parties, including an event in Amsterdam costing €75,000, which was described as “a night filled with wonder like no other”.
Baroness Ashton, the British EU foreign minister, came under fire when it was reported that she had demanded her own private jet less than 100 days into her new role in March last year.
Baroness Ashton infuriated British government ministers last month when she demanded an extra £23.5 million to run her diplomatic service, which would take her total budget to £427 million.
The EU foreign minister is the world’s highest paid female politician, earning £230,000 a year.
"Earning" or "being paid"? - there is a difference. Bring on the happy day.
May 11, 2011
Eu Nations Sold Into Indenture
A Eurostate or bust – the big Brussels gamble | The Times (£)
The bailouts don’t work but they do allow the EU to build up centralised power at the expense of nation states
Another year, another train crash between politics and economics in Europe. One year ago, at 1am on Monday, May 10, 2010, the leaders of the EU took what seemed their boldest step yet towards the creation of a full-scale European political federation, bolder even than the launch of the single currency in 1999. This was the creation of a €750 billion fund, guaranteed collectively by all European taxpayers, to protect EU nations from the choice facing Greece that night: to abandon the euro or to declare itself bankrupt by defaulting on its government debts.
A year later, it is clear that the Greek bailout failed. Europe has, therefore, decided to repeat it.
There are, however, four important new elements to this rerun of the European financial crisis. The first is that instead of Greece alone, three, perhaps four, countries now face bankruptcy or expulsion from the eurozone: Greece, Ireland, Portugal and possibly Spain. ..
Second, the total cost to taxpayers in Germany and other creditor countries of supporting Greece, Ireland and Portugal will be much higher than seemed likely last year..
Third, the political resistance to another round of bailouts will be even more intense than it was last year,...
Finally the good news, although not necessarily for Europe’s leaders and central bankers: the global economy is much stronger than it was a year ago and could probably withstand a write-down in government debts...
So why do Europe’s politicians and central bankers refuse even to think about debt restructuring ...
Europe’s central bankers have a vested interest in spreading terror about the very idea of restructuring. The ECB itself is now by far the biggest holder of Greek, Irish and Portuguese bonds and would suffer enormous losses if their value were reduced. ...
The political motivation for tightening the debt yoke on Greece, Ireland and Portugal is even clearer. By turning these countries into permanent debtors to the ECB and the various EU bailout funds, Brussels and Frankfurt are enormously increasing the power of centralised European institutions at the expense of nation states. While the unprecedented control of national tax, spending and social policies now exercised by the ECB and the Commission is presently confined to Greece and Ireland, the bailout exercise has set precedents and created institutional capabilities that can gradually be extended to the entire EU.
The inevitable progression from monetary union to fiscal federalism and ultimately to full-scale political union was predicted by both Eurosceptics and Eurofederalists in 1989 when the single currency was first suggested by Jacques Delors and again in 1999 when the euro was created. The journey from the single currency to full-scale political federalism is taking a somewhat different route from the one expected — but it is proceeding exactly on schedule.
May 9, 2011
Greece Bust - What Next?
Secret talks reveal Greece is unable to meet obligations under last year's €110bn eurozone rescue package. Greek finance minister, George Papaconstantinou, said: "We will either go out to markets or use the recent decision by the EU that allows the European fund to buy Greek bonds. The markets continue to disbelieve in our country."
The gangrene in the bleeding limbs of the eurozone has not been cured by injections, amputation is the only answer. And the sooner the better but there is a lack of courage to perform the inevitable.
March 21, 2011
Le Petit Caporal
It would surely be poor taste to accuse Nicolas Sarkozy of leading France into combat for purely selfish political reasons – but that won't stop some in the president's inner circle wondering if Operation Odyssey Dawn might just save the skin of a man who, a matter of days ago, seemed destined for electoral humiliation. Ever so discreetly, they will be hoping Libya can do for Sarkozy what the Falklands did for Margaret Thatcher – anoint a successful war leader deserving of re-election.
"The French do like to have their president play world statesman," mused one diplomat in Paris last week, before France's Mirage and Rafale fighter planes had taken to the skies. "A good crisis," he added, might be just what Sarkozy needs.
He certainly needs something. A week ago he was staring at polls so ominous some analysts wondered if he'd even make it into second place in next year's presidential contest. One survey put Sarkozy behind both his most likely Socialist opponent and Marine Le Pen, the new leader of the far-right National Front
We don't normally see the French rush into combat, though dropping bombs from a safe hight onto tents is hardly combat, so an explanation is needed.
March 20, 2011
Cash For Amendments MEP Scandal
European MPs have been caught agreeing to accept secret payments to alter laws that will damage the interests of millions of consumers across Britain and Europe.
Three senior MEPS — including a former deputy prime minister — put forward amendments in the European parliament on the understanding that they would be paid by lobbyists.
Two of the amendments now appear in the parliament’s official documents just as the lobbyists had written them. They are a few steps away from becoming law.
The lobbyists were in fact undercover Sunday Times reporters investigating persistent rumours that MEPs are prepared to sell their services....
Adrian Severin, the 56-year-old former Romanian deputy prime minister, emailed the reporters saying: “Just to let you know that the amendment desired by you has been tabled in due time.then sent an invoice for €12,000 for “consulting services concerning the codification of the Directive 94/19/EC, Directive 2009/14/EC and the amendments thereto”.
Zoran Thaler, the former Slovenian foreign minister, put down an amendment as his first work for the fake company. He asked for the cash to be routed through a London company to keep it secret. “There is no way that I disclose this,” he said.
Ernst Strasser, a former interior minister in Austria, told the reporters, “I’m a lobbyist”, and boasted about serving at least five commercial clients who each paid him €100,000 a year.
The rest is behind a paywall but details will emerge.
March 16, 2011
Sign The Pledge
The People’s Pledge is a campaign that brings you together with others in your constituency to demand your MP supports an EU referendum.
Some sayit is amateur night out , I think everyone realises it won't lead to its desired outcome of a referendum. Will the campaign be counter productive? I don't think so. Will it make a few MPs a bit nervous, maybe?
Consider it a chance to run up to their letterbox and shout rude words through it at them. Unlikely to do much good but satisfying fun.
March 14, 2011
No Trust In Politicians
Only 6% of people across Europe say they have a great deal of trust in their government, 46% say they have not very much and 32% none at all. Only 9% of Europeans think their politicians – in opposition or in power – act with honesty and integrity.
The lack of trust in government is greatest in Poland and France, where distrust outweighs trust by a net 82 percentage points. In France, the net negative score is 78 points and in Germany 80 points. Only Britain breaks the consensus somewhat, with a net negative score of 66 points.
Even fewer Europeans think their politicians are honest. In Poland, only 3% of those questioned agree; in Spain 8%; in Germany 10%; in France 11%; in Britain 12%. Overall, the percentage of those who think politicians are not at all, or not very, honest outweighs those who disagree by a massive 89 percentage points.
I'm not sue if it makes us lucky or not but our politicians tend to be stupid rather than personally corrupt. Maybe it would be better to have clever crooks instead.
March 9, 2011
Connie the Cut
Spot the difference: One wants to destroy British Industry and the other is a Luftwaffe plane.
March 5, 2011
You Can't Polish A Turd
Baroness Ashton to spend £8.5m on PR - Telegraph
Baroness Ashton is to spend £8.5 million polishing the image of her new EU diplomatic service despite having four spin doctors of her own and the free use of the European Commission's 1,000-strong communications staff.
March 4, 2011
UKIP Beat Tories and Lib-Dems in Barnsley
The coalition has been dealt a major by-election blow as the Liberal Democrats finished a woeful sixth place and the Tories were overtaken by the UK Independence Party (Ukip).
In a humiliating result for Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in Barnsley Central, his party finished behind not only Labour and the Conservatives but also Ukip, the British National Party and a local independent.
There was also embarrassment for Prime Minister David Cameron as the Tories saw their vote share slump dramatically and the anti-Brussels Ukip beat them into third.
March 2, 2011
Galliano Career Advice
February 18, 2011
Celebrations in Belgium
What would be a humiliation for many turned into a party for Belgium yesterday as the country's citizens marked 249 days without a government, a figure that they are treating as a world record in political prevarication.
On every other day, the crisis pits the leaders of six million Dutch-speakers against those of four and a half million French speakers, but people from across the country put aside their differences to celebrate the occasion.
In Dutch-speaking Ghent, some people stripped down to their underwear in protest at the situation. In Leuven, a long line of students snaked through the central square for a free portion of frites, Belgium's beloved national dish.
Acting prime minister Yves Leterme cautioned not to make too much of the day. "Don't overestimate the impact on politicians and decision-makers."
Free chips, naked protestors and grumpy politicians concerned that politicians are being inconvenienced in making up policy - what's not to like?
February 14, 2011
French Fear German Guns
Majority of Swiss vote to keep a place in home for firearms - Scotsman.com News
Swiss voters came out strongly in favour of their right to bear arms yesterday, with a clear majority rejecting a plan by churches and women's groups to tighten the nation's liberal gun laws.
Opposition against the proposal was strongest in rural and German-speaking parts of the country, which tend to be more conservative and where shooting clubs are popular.
French-speaking cantons in western Switzerland backed the plan.
No news on how the voting on the proposal to keep white flags in the home fared in different parts of the country....
February 9, 2011
Dave The Eurosceptic?
All smiles as a federal Europe creeps closer | The Times
As far as is known, David Cameron showed no discomfort at last Friday’s EU summit when he was presented with the Franco-German plan to create a federal Europe.
Considering Mr Cameron’s Eurosceptic background, the absence of any opposition might have come as a surprise. Why is the British Government apparently so relaxed about this enormous step in the EU’s journey towards full federal statehood, a proposal that would have caused paroxysms for Margaret Thatcher or even John Major?
Answer on a postcard to those Eurosceptics who voted for Dave please.
January 24, 2011
Taxes Are For The Little People
Baroness Ashton reaps benefits from EU tax loophole - Telegraph
EU officials, including Lady Ashton can choose to pay national tax rates, giving the difference to the exchequer in their home country, a political party or a charity, but most, including her, do not.
Next time she demands more taxes remember that.
January 17, 2011
The euro Bill
Here is a number that should be memorised by all those who sneered last week at the French Prime Minister, François Fillon, and his request to Britain to support future rescue and repair measures for the euro: $233.5 billion (£147 billion). It is the total exposure of British banks to sovereign borrowers in Ireland, Greece and Portugal. Like it or not, if those countries decide they cannot afford their debt burdens and choose instead to default and renegotiate, Latin America-style, Britain is going to be involved.
That figure comes from the Bank for International Settlements, by the way, the respected Switzerland-based body known as "the central bankersâ central bank". Add in Spain and it rises to $370 billion.....
We are on the hook, and need to help ensure a soft landing, but preferably without using our cash.
January 13, 2011
Britain must help us save the euro, warns French PM | The Times
France will urge Britain today to back deeper European integration in order to save the euro, or face catastrophe for its own economy if the currency fails.
François Fillon, the Prime Minister, told The Times that he is taking his message to David Cameron at talks in London that come after a day of respite for the embattled currency.
Portugal, the latest euro state under pressure after Greece and Ireland, successfully raised €1.25 billion (£1 billion) from the markets, slightly easing its debt emergency.
“Europe finds itself at an historic turning point. The real question right now is whether we keep building on this adventure or whether we leave it at that,” Mr Fillon said.
“In order to consolidate the euro we will need gradually to harmonise our economic, fiscal and social policies, hence we are going to go towards greater integration.
“We are going to need to put in place an economic system of governance for the eurozone. Great Britain is not part of the eurozone; at the same time the decision we will take will have great importance to Britain.”
Mr Fillon warned that the British must be careful not to find themselves left behind. “I am sure the UK has its own dynamics and history, I am sure it has its own culture, its own economic assets,” he said.
“The question is: is the UK ready to accept or encourage greater integration of the eurozone or is the UK distrustful of that and will it create obstacles and make it more difficult to happen?”
Do you want the short answer or the long one which involves a detailed description of how you can depart in jerky movements?
January 11, 2011
The Coming Storm
EMU debt crisis edges ever closer to the core - Telegraph
The eurozone's debt crisis is once again in danger of spiralling out of control after yields on Portuguese debt spiked to a post-EMU high and contagion hit Spain and Belgium.
This is the big story that is buried in all the fluff in the MSM, It is getting worse for the euro, and when it goes our little rows on bonuses and fuel prices will as sand castles on the shore when a tsunami rolls in.
December 13, 2010
Euro Frankenstein Moment
Snooty Europhiles should be forced to crawl in penitence - Telegraph
By Boris Johnson
I think we deserve an apology. By “we” I mean all the Euro-sceptics, Euro-pragmatists, Euro-realists and Euro-hysterics who were alarmed by some of the optimism that surrounded the birth of the single currency. Do you remember the disdain with which we were treated? We were told that we were boss-eyed Little Englanders. They used to say we were a bunch of xenophobic, garlic-hating defenders of the pint and the yard and the good old bread-filled British banger.
Whenever we protested about any detail of the plan for monetary union, we were told that we were in danger of stopping the great European train, boat, bus, bicycle or whatever it was. We were a blimpish embarrassment to our country, a bunch of idiot children who had to be shooshed while the grown-ups got on with their magnificent plans.
So it gives me a tingling pleasure to report that everywhere you look on the map of Europe we have been proved resoundingly and crushingly right....
Any break-up of the euro would also be viewed as a tragedy for the European “project”, and though that assumption bears closer examination, it is a fair bet that the EU’s political classes will stop at virtually nothing to keep the single currency alive and intact. Most sensible people seem to think that they will succeed, and that the contagion will not overwhelm Spain as well — but then huge numbers of apparently sensible people managed to shut their eyes to the glaring flaws in the euro.
Politics made the euro, and politics can destroy it, especially if electorates start to feel it is a machine for German domination and the destruction of benefits and wages; or if the German electorate feels that it is a machine for fleecing Germany.
Euro Death Throes
There will be no Eurobond, no increases in the EUâs â¬440bn (£368bn) rescue fund, and no mass purchases of Spanish and Italian bonds by the ECB. Nothing. The system is politically and constitutionally paralysed. Spain and Portugal will be left nakedly exposed before their funding crunch in January.
It is entirely predictable that Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy would move so quickly to shoot down last weekâs Eurobond proposal, issuing pre-emptive warning before this weekâs EU summit that they will not accept "a bundling together of all Europe's debts".
How can Germany or France agree lightly to plans that amount to an EU debt union, with a common treasury, tax system, and budget policy, the stuff of civil wars and revolutions over the ages? To do so is to dismantle the ancient nation states of Europe in all but name....
“There is something surreal about the unfolding financial crisis,” said Stefano Micossi from the College of Europe, the sanctum sanctorum of the European Project.
“Leaders grudgingly do what is needed to prevent disaster at the last minute before it is too late, and the next minute they go back to the behaviour that brought them against the wall in the first place. The eurozone is in bad need of a psychiatrist,” he wrote at VoxEU
“If the eurozone follows this path, either all of the sovereign debts become German public debt, or the euro will collapse,” he said.This is admirably candid in one sense, but is today’s crisis really just a failure of leadership? Was EMU not dysfunctional from the first day? Did it not inflict negative real interest rates on Club Med and Ireland in the boom years, driving them into distastrously pro-cyclical policies?
Did it not lock in chronic imbalances between North and South? Has it not left victim states trapped in debt deflation or slumps which have gone too far to respond an austerity cure, and from which there seems to be no escape on terms acceptable to Germany?
Should we blame the current hapless leaders, or the guilty men of Maastricht who created this doomsday machine? If the project itself is rotten, surely what the eurozone needs most is an undertaker.
December 5, 2010
Nice Work If EU Can Get It
EU envoys soak up sun and lavish perks | The Sunday Times (£)
Diplomats earning up to £188,000 a year are entitled to at least 12 weeks off from their duties in a new European Union foreign service that was unofficially launched last week.
The diplomats can boost their salaries by 50% with allowances and perks ranging from "expatriation", meaning living abroad, to baby bonuses and school fees.
They can also take 60 days off a year, including 18 bank holidays â nearly twice as much leave as Foreign Office diplomats. EU officials in remote and difficult locations can qualify for up to 15 days extra, bringing their total leave entitlement to 15 weeks a year.
Details of the generous arrangements emerged as Baroness Ashton, Europeâs foreign policy chief, flew her 136 ambassadors from around the world to Brussels to celebrate the birth of her European External Action Service (EEAS)
The EEAS was established by the Lisbon treaty and merges various EU institutions into one under the leadership of Ashton, a former Labour minister who is now the world’s most highly paid female politician, on a package of £328,000.
Ashton, who had no foreign policy experience or language skills when she was appointed last year, is in charge of 7,000 staff in 136 EU delegations across the globe and funds of almost £7 billion, including aid.
When The Sunday Times telephoned the Fiji embassy shortly after noon on Friday, it was told that all the staff had “left for the day”.
The delegation employs 35 people on the Commonwealth island of 800,000 inhabitants, while the British high commission has managed with a handful.
Wiepke Van Der Goot, a Dutchman who heads the EU’s delegation in Fiji, lives in a poolside residence next door to the home of Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, who seized power following a military coup in 2006. The house, one of the most beautiful on the island, is surrounded by palm trees and close to the sea.
His staff play golf or sail in their spare time. They have recently enjoyed a bonding retreat at the five-star Intercontinental Natadola Resort.
“After all the years the EU has been in Fiji, it still has not understood the country or its people,” a Fijian government official said.
“It’s often hard for them to bring themselves down to our level or to even try and understand us.”
rise up and slaughter them leave yet?
November 26, 2010
euro Tractor Stats
The Iberian countries of Spain and Portugal had been most analysts' favourites to be next to seek financial aid, however Belgium's crisis-hit political system and threats of separation by the Flemish part of the country have made it even more vulnerable.
The divisions have been made worse by the two groups' views on how to deal with the economy.
The majority of Flems want austerity measures similar to the UK, but the more socialist-inclined Walloons have managed to block major government cuts.
In the past, comparisons have been drawn with a push for separatism for Scotland, but unlike the UK the split in Belgium has destabilised the country's government.
Yesterday the caretaker Belgian government denied that it was in trouble, arguing that, unlike Greece, Ireland and Portugal, most of its debt is owned by Belgians. The Belgian government also said it was in a better position than the UK.
Germans are thought to be getting nervous about the way they are being asked to pay up loans for weak European economies because they are all part of the same currency.
"I'm more confident than this spring that the European Union will emerge strengthened from the current challenges," Ms Merkel told business leaders in Berlin.
Was she speaking from a bunker about the glorious victory which is just round the corner, and insisting the noise outside is just thunder...
November 25, 2010
They made their beds
The euro plunged further into crisis yesterday as investors sold off Spanish, Portuguese and Belgian government bonds in record numbers on renewed fears that those nations would follow Greece and Ireland into the financial emergency ward, undermining confidence in the single currency.
The spreading contagion suggests that the markets now view the break-up of the euro as a realistic possibility, and that "shock and awe" efforts to shore up individual economies with huge bailouts have not succeeded in insulating their neighbours from infection. Spain, in particular, is regarded as being "too big to save". Should Spain eventually need assistance it would also imply a much larger UK bilateral loan than the £8bn offered to Ireland â perhaps £20bn or £30bn.
Am I being xenophobic to suggest we just tell them all to just fuck off. The crash will hurt us enough already without having to bail out the stupid and greedy as well.
November 24, 2010
More Thoughts From An Irish Farmer
A week may be a long time in politics, but it seems to be even longer in euro-economics. At least the long-standing debate here about how we should celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 rising is now resolved. All we need do is raise the EU flag over the GPO. This has been a bit of a standing joke since we were sent back to the polls to get our views 'correct' on Nice and Lisbon, but yesterday it became reality when Ollie Rehn told us we could not hold an election before passing the budget. In other words, we cannot elect leaders untill the EU has set the program which those leaders will adopt. Brian Cowen was willing to comply because it gives him a chance of postponing the inevitable election till march by which time some of the blind rage against him and his party may have abated- not to the point of saving his position, but possibly sufficient to save Fianna Fail from literal extinction. The Donegal by-election tomorrow will show exactly why Fianna Fail prefer surrender to the EU over surrender to their electorate.
So what next? Debate here in Ireland seems to revolve around two issues. Firstly, is the bail-out big enough? Opinion among those who have been proven right so far says no- it needs to be nearer double the 85bn being suggested. Opinion among those who have been consistently wrong so far (such as the government) says yes, it is big enough. Secondly, can we afford it? If the figures being bandied around at the moment are in the ball-park, our ongoing interest obligations are going to be around 10bn a year. Our current tax take is about 30bn. I think that clears up that one.
Portugal may be under fire at the moment, but I don't think the ECB will allow 2 economies to fall in quite such quick succession. They will buy every single portuguese bond
in the market if they have to. So what next is that Ireland will publish it's 4 year plan and it's budget, and will elect new puppet leaders in the new year. The ECB will see off the speculators at any cost. But some time next year, when the fact that the Irish can't live within the terms of their bail-out resurfaces, and the fact that Portugal is still in trouble resurfaces, the speculators will be back. I guess George Soros will be among them this time, and those of us who were around in 1993 know what that means. The Germans will keep their strong currency policy and the weaker economies will default by devaluation and inflation. It is worth observing that all the current expertise in the euro hierarchy has no experience of managing a currency union through a second decade, because no currency union (in the absence of political union) has ever lasted that long. Between them they have no experience at all of managing the break-up of a currency union, so that will be a pretty rudderless ship when it finally slips it's anchor.
My conclusion is that we will only survive these turbulent times if we remember to keep eating. Enjoy your lunch, and don't forget to plant next year's spuds in the the spring, because you can't be sure anyone else will plant them for you.
What's on the boards today.... - Mindful Money
Everyone is talking about Ireland:
And no one knows what will happen, but it looks ugly. And it is never going to be business as usual for the euro ever again.
November 22, 2010
British Eurosceptics have rushed to ascribe Ireland’s crisis to the euro, and to see in it impending disaster for the single European currency. In truth, this is just wishful thinking, blended with schadenfreude.
The euro had nothing to do with Ireland’s property boom and bust, which is what has brought its banks and economy so low: membership in 1999 did lower Irish borrowing costs, but it also did so for plenty of others who didn’t have housing bubbles and who, unlike the Irish Government, took the trouble to regulate their banks properly. Iceland’s similar banking crisis in 2008-09 shows that Ireland would have been in just as much difficulty outside the euro, except that a currency crash would have made it bankrupt even sooner, and the IMF would still then have been called in.
Nor is it at all obvious why Ireland’s current troubles should put the euro in danger of collapse. As long as governments in the eurozone have the political will to stage financial rescues when other member states get into difficulty, the currency will survive. They showed in May, when they assembled a huge financial rescue facility, in that case for Greece, that the will is there.
Another danger point would come if countries appeared to be tempted to leave the euro and reintroduce drachmas or punts, for then speculation would begin as to who would be next. But there has been no sign of that, given that the costs of withdrawal would be very high.
It wasn't the drink that made him drunk, Officer, he just ate a dodgy kebab. A touch more of the whiskey will settle his stomach, purely medicinal.
November 16, 2010
An Irish Farmer Writes
Hello Mr Englishman
I trust your eurosceptic disposition is feeling well and truly tickled at the moment. I'm finding it hard not to break into a chorus of 'Here we go,here we go, here we go'...
But the funniest thing of all is that after being told for years that the Irish crisis has been caused by irresponsible bankers pushing unaffordable loans onto financially illiterate and incontinent borrowers, we now witness the bizarre spectacle of the EU trying to force the mother and father of all loans onto Ireland! Mmmmm.......
Meanwhile, we have a government with a majority of 2. This arithmetic depends on the green party, who don't have a lot to contribute in the way of sound financial management (!) and 2 independents. One of these independents has told the Government that he will only support the budget (December 7th) if it includes MORE money for Kerry, while overall it must cut total public spending by more than 10%. There's a by-election next thursday, which the government will lose. They know this, which is why they delayed holding it for 17 months and were eventually forced to by a legal action brought to the courts by that well known champion of democracy, Sinn Fein. There are 3 more by-elections which are also long overdue for the same reason, and despite the judgement about the first one, the government is using the delays inherent in the court process to delay holding these three till after the budget. The boss, Brian Cowen, has an opinion poll rating of just 11% and a track record as finance minister 2002-2007.
Which reminds me that I once compared the Irish situation to a banana republic where the banana crop had just failed. I read yesterday that the banana crop has actually not failed, but Ireland is in fact the world's largest exporter of bananas (the real fruit ones, that is- not just the proverbial fruitcake sort). How can this be? Is it climate change providing new opportunties to our farmers? Not a bit of it. Under Euro rules, a banana is correctly described as Irish if we do something to it when it gets here. It turns out a lot of bananas get ripened in Ireland and re-exported. Quite a few foreign nationals have been ripened here these last few years as well, and most of these are now being re-exported. Sadly I think we would be better off exporting genuinely Irish articles in both cases. We have a good cheese industry too, and exporting the biggest of these would certainly help.
What an Irony that the Brits used all their money 70 years ago to change the face of Europe. It seems now that the Irish, just 1% of the eurozone economy, are going to bring down Europe by hijacking the money from the Germans et al. I think the Shinners may have learnt a thing or two from Al Quaeda and passed on the wisdom.
Well that was a great rant, wasn't it. Perhaps the Englishman's fan club would be amused, if not greatly enlightened, by some of it. Now that's off my chest I can go and clean some sheeps arses, in the knowledge that I'm in good company.
An Irish Farmer
November 12, 2010
William Hague "I have in my hand, a piece of paper, signed by Humpy van Rumpy"
Referendum Bill aims to reassure Tory Eurosceptics | The Times (£)
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, has promised that in future all attempts to transfer sovereignty to Europe will involve a vote by the public. But the Government risks accusations that it has watered down its promises after allowing a loophole to evade a referendum in certain circumstances where it does not consider the EU legislation “significant”.
These would include cases where EU bodies were given the power to impose new requirements, obligations or sanctions on Britain.
The Bill also includes a “sovereignty clause”, confirming the principle that Parliament has the final say on which laws take effect in Britain, although the Foreign Office acknowledged that this was symbolic.
The full text of the agreement William Hague has reached with our European colleagues can be found here
October 19, 2010
Can We Leave Yet?
European Commission plans to end Britain’s £3 billion rebate
Janusz Lewandowski, the Polish EU budget commissioner, who will present the proposals today, has said that the rebate is “no longer justified”. His paper is understood to play down the threat to the rebate so as not to enrage anti-European sentiment in the UK, where support for the EU has reached new lows, and 47 per cent told a YouGov poll in the summer that they would vote to leave.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland, Britain’s EU Commissioner, has pledged to attend meeting, which will agree wording of the budget proposals, after missing two preparatory meetings because she was travelling.
Mr Lewandowski is expected to suggest new taxes to fund the EU, including on carbon emissions, air transport, financial transactions or banks. His report will include ideas, already discussed without success, including directly transferring national taxes to the EU, such as VAT or oil taxes.
Only a minor story in an inaccessible paper, but it reminds me to check that the Manilla Hemp, which has been steamed and pre-stretched, is well oiled and safely stored in the back of the barn.
September 27, 2010
Rachida Dati - Honi soit qui mal y pense
Interrogée sur les raisons d'un plan de licenciement chez Lejaby dans l'Ain, l'ancienne Garde des Sceaux a la langue qui fourche. Facheux.
Rachida Dati: "Je déplore le sort qui est fait à ces femmes et ces hommes qui ont consacré leur vie à cette entreprise. Ces fonds d'investissement étrangers n'ont pour seul objectif que la rentabilité financière à des taux excessifs. Moi quand je vois certains qui demandent des rentabilités à 20, 25% avec une fellation quasi nul, et en particulier en période de crise..."
Easy mistake to make, I do it all the time, which explains a lot....
August 24, 2010
6lb 1oz who cares what that is in Euro speak?
6lb 1oz - no metric equivalent mentioned anywhere, hurrah!
August 10, 2010
So step, one, two, three, knee, one, two, three, and ball change
The EU hopes that the plan, to be unveiled next month, which could see new taxes on air travel and financial transactions, will give it more independence and fund controversial expansion proposals.
Osbocleggeron will huff and puff and promise vetos, lines in the sand, EU will back off, victory declared and then one day there will be an environmental levy deducted from our wage packets which happens to go direct to the EU because global warming can only be tackled by it and not nations.
August 2, 2010
Why BP should revert to Europaische Union as its name.
BP urged to resort to its former name - Scotsman.com News
EMBATTLED oil giant BP is reportedly facing pressure to rename its US petrol stations under their old Amoco brand
I was hoping they were suggesting going back to Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC), even though I doubted that it would be a massive PR success. The British Petroleum brand was originally created by a German firm, Europaische Union, as a way of marketing its products in Britain. During the war, the British government seized the company’s assets, and the Public Trustee sold them to Anglo-Persian in 1917.
So let BP go back to its original name Europaische Union, it could even use the initials and see how the Americans, and British, like it then!.
July 2, 2010
In the EU pledge
William Hague wants Britain at heart of EU - Scotsman.com News
The pledge by Mr Hague came as a surprise to many and appeared to reverse the Conservative Party's antipathy towards closer integration.
The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was ...
July 1, 2010
Nice Work If You Can Get It
THEY are incompetent and lazy, whiling away their days by the coffee machine when they are not falsifying sick notes.
Nepotism is rife and taxpayers' money is wasted - that, at least, is how France's sprawling civil service is depicted by an insider who wrote a book about her experience of working five hours a week for a salary of 36,000 euros ($52,700) a year.
As a result, the 32-year-old woman faces a disciplinary committee with the power to recommend her dismissal for lifting the lid on the wastefulness of France's public sector, which employs 5.3 million people at an annual average cost of 40,000 euros each.
Zoe Shepard - her nom de plume - was suspended two months ago after her superiors in Aquitaine Regional Council in southwest France identified her as the author of Absolument debordee (Absolutely Snowed Under).
How lucky we are that it isn't like that over here! Though it would probably be better if they did do nothing as their activity is a drain on the rest of us.
June 21, 2010
UK is too disparate for tax union
The chancellor will seek to temper his austerity package by announcing that any company set up outside London, the south-east or the eastern region will not have to pay employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) for its first year in business.
Osborne's move is aimed at deflecting fears that his budget will turn regions that are dependent on the public sector for employment into wastelands. Treasury sources says the move is being deliberately targeted at regions with a high concentration of public sector workers and would help 400,000 firms, according to estimates from HM Revenue and Customs.
Wot larks, regionalisation of the tax policy, might as well regionalise the currency as well, devalue the Geordie Guinea to boost employment there. It is the same thing. How does this go down with his masters in Brussels?
June 19, 2010
Cameron to save Iceland?
UK may try to stop Iceland joining EU over bank collapse refund
Iceland was put on a fast track to join the European Union today, but the Cameron government served notice that it could block the country's membership unless it settled the £2.3bn Britain says it is owed as a result of the country's financial collapse two years ago.
Iceland is otherwise likely to have a relatively smooth passage through the negotiations because it is in effect already part of the European single market.
The biggest problem for Iceland joining may ultimately lie in popular opposition to pooling its sovereignty. Opinion polls recently have shown growing reluctance to join the EU.
Problem? The best chance for Iceland would be a better way of putting it. As part of the European Economic Area, Iceland is already a member of the EU's single market. It is also a member of the Schengen Area which removes border controls between member states. It has all the benefits, such as there are, with fewer of the costs. They would be mad to join just to adopt the euro.
May 26, 2010
Habitual Suicide Makes New Attempt
Europe will introduce a surprise new plan today to combat global warming, committing Britain and the rest of the EU to the most ambitious targets in the world. The plan proposes a massive increase in the target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in this decade.
The European Commission is determined to press ahead with the cuts despite the financial turmoil gripping the bloc, even though it would require Britain and other EU member states to impose far tougher financial penalties on their industries than are being considered by other large economies
Rasputin was poisoned with cyanide, shot in the back, then clubbed, then shot twice more, and then dumped in the freezing river Neva, where he died of hypothermia.
Someone somewhere is determined to destroy us, I'm just not sure how many more attempts they will make before we get wrapped in the blanket and chucked in the water.
May 24, 2010
Decline and Fall
We can take no pleasure from the euro's fall - Telegraph
Euro-sceptics should not gloat over the eurozone crisis – we'll feel the pinch too, says Boris Johnson.
I know very little about international currency trading but from a British point of view I keep asking "what fall?".
Yes the euro has dropped against many currencies but the pound seems to be keeping up with it pretty well.
If the euro is dropping because it is a basket case, and the pound is falling beside it, what does that say about us?
May 21, 2010
Coalition Europhilia Disgust
‘Don’t worry, wait until after the election. Dave will show what he’s made of and get our powers back’ was the paraphrased sentiment uttered by some of the regulars on ConservativeHome. ‘He’s just playing the EU down until after the election’ claimed a number of commentators. ‘He is very Eurosceptic really’ opined others. All clutched at straws and prayed for a Cameron victory so the UK could assert its primacy again and take back – with EU consent, natch – some of the key powers that a sovereign nation should possess for itself.
espite multiple promises, each less robust than the previous one, David Cameron has completed his journey from supposed Eurosceptic to paid-up Europhile, thus cementing his position as just another lying politician. The promise to negotiate the repatriation of powers from the EU has been replaced with this meaningless pledge :
‘We will examine the balance of the EU’s existing competences.’
A substantial number of people – opposed to the provisions of Lisbon but prepared to suspend their disbelief and give Cameron the benefit of the doubt because of the pledge to negotiate the repatriation of powers from the EU – voted Conservative in good faith. They are just about to discover they have been conned, tricked, lied to, by a self serving and sleazy control freak who will abandon any principle or promise as long as it results in power or personal gain.
May 20, 2010
Ms Merkel believes that the EU should have stronger powers to organise the “orderly insolvency” of countries such as Greece that set giveaway budgets with no means of paying for them. After announcing a ban on speculative share trading in Germany’s top financial institutions and the bonds of eurozone countries until next March, she warned: “This challenge is existential and we have to rise to it. The euro is in danger. If we don’t deal with this danger, then the consequences for us in Europe are incalculable . . . If the euro fails, then Europe fails.”
Her apocalyptic warning came as David Cameron prepared for his first visit as Prime Minister to Paris and Berlin, where he is likely to come under pressure to commit more British funds to EU bailout programmes.
An “orderly insolvency” of the euro would be kinder to all of us than the crash that is approaching. It is going to get ugly, and expensive.
May 16, 2010
The German Plan for European Unification
German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday in a televised speech about the future of the European Union:
“If the euro fails, not only the currency fails. Europe fails too and the idea of European unification. We have a common currency but no common political and economic union. And this is exactly what we must change — therein lies the opportunity of this crisis.”
Whoa! Parse that and it becomes arguable that the leader of the most powerful country in Europe has admitted that the idea of unification, the creation of an equivalent to the United States of America, is a long-term project upon which the EU is embarked. It may be expressed rarely in such bald terms for fear it would spook the citizens of individual states too greatly but it constitutes the objective.
Can the goal be made any clearer?
May 14, 2010
Remind me who is charge...
“The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to fulfil our ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy, including retention of energy performance certificates while scrapping HIPs.”
However, it is an interesting sign of the times that even the British Government, stretching its muscles and enjoying its new powers to the full, cannot get rid of this trivial irritant completely.
The coalition say they are keeping energy performance certificates “to fulfil our ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy” but experts point out this part of HIPs is compulsory under European Union law. So much for voting for change.
May 13, 2010
PIIGS May Fly
SPAIN will cut civil servants' salaries this year as part of a deficit-reduction plan to ease worries the country will slide into a debt crisis like that of Greece, the prime minister announced yesterday.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told parliament the average 5 per cent reduction starting in June is part of a cost-cutting plan that also includes a suspension in automatic inflation-adjustments for retirement pensions, a drop in overseas aid, a 6 billion (£5.1bn) reduction in government investment in 2010-11 and elimination next year of a 2,500 (£2,130) tax break for couples...With these measures, Spain joins other debt-ridden European countries, like Portugal and Ireland, in implementing painful belt-tightening to chip away at deficits that ballooned with the onset of the recession.
Mr Zapatero fleshed out the details of the plan announced on Sunday for deeper spending cuts to reduce Spain's deficit from 11.2 per cent of GDP last year to 9.3 per cent in 2010, and eventually to 3 percent in 2013. For this year and next, the plan calls for spending cuts totalling 15 billion. The deeper cuts are designed to take an additional 1.5 points off the deficit by the end of 2011.
Mr Zapatero said his own salary and those of other senior members of the government would be cut by 15 per cent.
We shouldn't be talking about the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) as the countries in trouble and in need of such measures but of the BIG PIGS - where a GB is added..
George - take the memo from Spain, your new bestest mate El Clegg can translate for you.
May 10, 2010
Euronating it up the wall
Alistair Darling rules out British support for euro | Politics | guardian.co.uk
Alistair Darling has made it clear that he would not support any European efforts to prop up the ailing euro that might expose Britain to liabilities, ahead of this afternoon's emergency talks in Brussels.
Darling’s last act: leaving a £15bn bill for British taxpayers
David Cameron is facing an immediate clash with Europe after Alistair Darling prepared last night to sign up to a massive new fund to back the euro that could cost British taxpayers £15 billion.
Darling agrees to give £10bn to Europe bail-out
Alistair Darling has caved into a demand that British taxpayers underwrite at least £10bn of debt held by other European governments, amid fears that the Greek debt crisis could spread.
Confused? I am. But I think it would be fair to compare this with the £6 Billion that Gordon claimed the Tories were going to "take out of the economy"..
The only silver lining is that it makes Señor Clegg's rampant europhilia harder to negotiate in.
May 9, 2010
Will Clegg make Europe an Issue?
Tory-Lib Dem coalition threatened by secret hardline memo on Europe | Politics | The Observer
David Cameron's hopes of forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats were dramatically undermined last night by the leaking of a top-secret letter outlining the hardline Eurosceptic stance he and William Hague planned to adopt in government.
"Hard-line Eurosceptic" obviously has a different meaning to The Guardian than to some other people.
If the anti-British Lib-Dems take fright at it then fine, let's make Europe THE issue for the next election which would be very soon.
May 2, 2010
A 74-year-old retired teacher, identified only as Axel G., was accused of terrorising a local pool, where cannonballs, or Arschbomben, are forbidden
Arschbomben - sheer poetry - did he hum a little tune as he did the run up, DA DADA DA DA DAH DADA DA DA DADA DAH DAH DADA DA DAHHHHH.....
April 18, 2010
Iceland Isolates Europe - æpa heróp
EUROPE'S air travel chaos deepened yesterday as scientists warned that the volcanic ash cloud spewing from an Icelandic volcano is expected to hover over the continent for the next five days.
Icelandic authorities announced that the volcano was still belching out ash.
"The ash will continue to be directed towards Britain and Scandinavia," Teitur Arason, of the Icelandic Meteorological Office, said yesterday. before he excused himself and collapsed in a fit of giggles yet again.
"When will you get the message we really really don't want to join you, give up our fish and pay out the blackmail demand?"
Flights to and from America from Iceland are unaffected and on schedule.
When we say no, we mean no, and if you refuse to listen we play dirty!
April 9, 2010
Fashion and Food for a night out clubbing
As Canadian anger over the recent EU seal product ban grows, potentially putting an EU-Canada trade pact in danger, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian hunters who legally cull seal but have to bury or burn the cadavers consider the ban to be a waste of a good resource.
Between the years 2000 and 2007, coastal regions in the three Nordic states received money from Brussels to come up with new techniques to make use of the seal carcasses which are culled every year in order to protect the local fishing industry.
The project, named "Seal: A common resource," received over €300,000 from the EU Interreg Programme (for inter-regional co-operation), and included, among other things, workshops on how to treat seal skin after culling and DVDs on hunting techniques.
Manuals on seal skin use for clothing, bags and furniture were printed and colleges in Finland and Sweden introduced seal skin design into their student curricula.
Students from the Finnish region of Ostrobothnia even created the collection "SEALS - Sensational Exclusive Accessories Luxurious Seductive," featuring garments made of seal fur mixed with silk and crystals. The clothes were paraded at a leather fair in Paris.
The jewel of the EU project was the cookbook "Säl Hylje Sel," named after the three words for "seal" in Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian, respectively, including recipies from 12 renowned chefs to create a "modern, trendy seal cuisine."
Recipies in the book include "seal Wellington," a version of the famous "beef Wellington" dish: a tender seal fillet coated with pate and mushroom duxelles, wrapped in puff pastry and baked.
For the more globalised palette, the chefs suggest a simple seal wok with jasmine rice and sweet and sour sauce.
Seal Wellington - yum. I can't find a copy of the book on Amazon, so if anyone has a spare copy...
April 8, 2010
The Referendum We Need
As my old history tutor at Oriel used to say, the differences between Tory and Whig are nowadays so minor that they can be deferred to beyond the grave.
Tories and Whigs agree, for example, about the EU. The Tory sees in Brussels a Jacobin assault on old and trusted institutions, a levelling scheme that turns the Queen into an EU citizen, a destroyer of local particularisms. The Whig sees a plot against personal freedom, a menace to parliamentary supremacy, a shift in power from elected representatives to appointed placemen. Both feel in their bones that they are dealing with something un-British.
By all means have a referendum on the Lords. Have a referendum on the voting system. Have referendums on devolution, on tax levels, on antidisestablishmentarianism. Plebiscites are always and everywhere a good thing, serving to remind politicians that they work for everyone else. But let’s start with the most important issue: whether we want to live in an independent nation.
April 7, 2010
Rolling back the State - Not.
Mr Darling has let the cat out of the bag. He believes the economy is the state and that the state knows best how to spend our money. The private sector, which will actually power the recovery, does not seem to figure in their thinking. This is unreconstructed Big Government, red in tooth and claw. It is as if the Blair revolution had never happened.
This is a fundamental ideological divide that plays direct to the Tories’ strengths. David Cameron’s landmark speech last week on the Big Society envisages a revolutionary change in the relationship between citizen and state. The Conservative leader wants people to become more self-reliant, more responsible for their own actions, more active in their communities, more involved in the running of their public services. And he wants government to get off their backs. It is an exciting vision that can only be realised if the state divests itself of many of the powers – not least over the spending of our money – that it has accrued in recent decades.
Spot on about Darling, but do you believe the Tories will really roll back the State? Especially when all they will become is a branch manager for the EU superstate? A state with powers they seem not to want to roll back.
March 28, 2010
Time for us to go European say Tories and Labour
Labour and the Tories have been influenced by environmental, road safety and tourism campaigners, who have argued for a switch to GMT 1 in winter and GMT 2 in the summer.
Or change us to Central European Time as it is known. Stop the daft clock changing completely would be a more sensible idea, and if they don't want kiddies in Scotland walking to or from school in the dark, I always forget what the argument actually is, change the bloody time the school day starts, or finishes. Simples.
March 26, 2010
Rumpy Pumpy - Our Next Chancellor of the Exchequer
The plan will put Herman Van Rompuy, the new permanent European Council President from Belgium, in charge of “the economic governance of Europe”.
The next government in London may also face a tough fight in Europe because the German Chancellor suggested yesterday that a new treaty would be needed to give the EU extra economic powers — despite the pledge from EU leaders last year that the Lisbon treaty would be good for a decade.
President Sarkozy last night added: “The economic government of Europe is the European Council, which has been taken up by the 16 . It is still a subject for debate among the 27 members because our English friends are not on the same line. But we are making progress.”
Mr Van Rompuy, who has made no secret of his desire for more central control in Brussels over Europe’s economic planning, has been asked to lead a task force of member states, and the European Central Bank to look at “all options” for EU economic governance.
Interpretations of economic governance means vary widely and the devil will be in the detail. It could be interpreted as handing to the European Council of EU leaders the ability to tell any country how to manage its national debt or to invest more in EU priority areas such as education or poverty reduction.
It won't matter if it Darling or the other one who is No 11, the real power will be elsewhere.
March 20, 2010
Ploughmen of England
For what avail the plough or sail,
Or land or life, if freedom fail?
March 11, 2010
The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig...
Irrelevant Chatter on Minimum Pricing
Ordinary drinkers 'have nothing to fear' from minimum alcohol pricing - Scotsman.com News
As both the Scottish and Westminster parliaments debated the issue, the chair of the House of Commons health select committee, Kevin Barron, called for the measure to stem increasing rates of addiction and the multi-billion pound cost to society in terms of treatment and crime...
And not a mention about the EU court upholding opposition to minimum pricing.
They can blather on as much as they like in their expensive talking shops but the EU rules on this, not them. I don't expect the politicians to acknowledge this inconvenient truth, but you would think a journalist might.
February 23, 2010
Welsh Jobs for Which Workers?
Janette Leonard, 54, one of the protest organisers, said: “I’m just a grandmother who is concerned for British workers and the people of Wales.
“I’m not involved with the unions or political parties. We want to make the point that this is not racist or xenophobic, we just want equal opportunities for local workers. British people should be given the jobs first.”
Equal but first, I'm not sure if it was the BNP or Mr Brown who stirred this one first. Nor do I care. As the energy company points out they can't discriminate against EU workers. Which as Wales suckles hard on the EU teat is probably only fair. But if your argument is against the free movement of labour and capital (something I'm not against) at least point out who is to blame.
January 18, 2010
Not Cooking Tonight in The Castle
It’s a story of traditional British pluck in the face of an assault from across the Channel: the nation’s Aga owners are uniting in the face of a Brussels directive that they believe is playing havoc with their pilot lights. Thanks to European Union insistence on lower sulphur levels in domestic kerosine, oil-fired Agas are said to be caking up with soot, and in some cases conking out.
My Aga clogged up over the weekend again because of the bloody oil and now is as cold as a womans heart. My thoughts about the EU are slightly less charitable than they normally are.
January 16, 2010
The UK Independence Party is to call for a ban on the burka and the niqab — the Islamic cloak that covers women from head to toe and the mask that conceals most of the face — claiming they affront British values.
UKIP can fuck right off, British values include the right to wear what the hell I want to, the idea that some snivelling little greasy haired official can dictate what I wear is an affront to any sense of freedom.
If they want the BNP vote why not be honest about it and campaign for "the pakis to be sent home". If they want the vote of decent eurosceptics then they had better distance themselves from this nonsense.
Visitors: 6.2 million
Beer: appr. 6,940,600 liters (126,900 liters non-alcoholic)
Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
Pork knuckles: 58,446 units
Oxen: 104 units...
Six million visitors, drinking on average two pints? Wusses.
January 6, 2010
Vote No in Iceland
Iceland faces a choice: pay €3.5bn, or about €12,000 per citizen, to a pair of far richer and more powerful countries; or cut itself off from outside financial help and the safe haven of prospective EU membership. The country will either spend years as an icy pariah state or saddle itself with massive repayments, or possibly both.
Polls suggest that most people will vote no to a controversial law agreeing to pay Britain and the Netherlands for bailing out domestic holders of failed Icesave savings accounts, an outcome which would be a glorious but self-defeating piece of Viking stubbornness.
Self defeating? Keep the money in their pockets rather than give it to Gordon, stay out of the EU, keep control of their fish etc. Sounds like a win-win to me.
December 18, 2009
Serious doubts over the viability of the scheme to track people in and out of the country emerged today after the Government gave way to pressure from the European Commission over the collection of travellers' personal information.
Of course a province of the Empire won't be allowed to control its own border, what does it think it is, an independent country?
November 26, 2009
A Question for Baroness Ashton
Baroness Ashton was Treasurer for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), 1980-1982.
CND was notoriously secretive about its sources of funding and did not submit its accounts to independent audit; however, after public pressure they were audited for the first time in 1982-1983 (Godfrey Lord & Co). It was found that 38% of their annual income (£176,197) could not be traced back to the original donors.
The person responsible for this part of CND fund-raising, from anonymous donors, was Will Howard, a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
The Russian dissident and internationally respected figure Vladimir Bukovsky, has shown from his research that the nuclear disarmament campaigns across Europe were largely funded by the Soviet bloc. Mr Bukovsky has proven with hundreds of top secret documents from Soviet archives that the worldwide disarmament campaign in the 1980s was covertly orchestrated from Moscow. The money was channelled through communist parties or other pro-Soviet organisations and individuals.
If therefore seems very likely that the unidentified income came from the Soviet bloc.
If Baroness Ashton did not know where the unidentified income came from she was incompetent. If she did not ask where it came from she was negligent. If she did know that it came from the Soviet block then she knowingly accepted money from a hostile foreign power in order to undermine Britain's and NATO's defence policies.
Anyone who was compromised by the Soviet Union in the 1980s remains compromised by the Russian Federation.
In the light of these facts, my questions are:
1) Do you still believe that she is a fit and proper person to be in charge of the EU's (and Britain's) Foreign and Security Policy?
2) Do you intend to investigate these claims further? If not, why not?
3) The answer to the second question is 'Yes' would you like me to supply you with the contact details of Mr Bukovsky, and others, who can give you more detailed information about this matter?
Gerard Batten MEP
UK Independence Party
h/t EU Ref of course
November 17, 2009
The man tipped to be Europe’s first president is already considering new EU taxes to fund the rising cost of Brussels and the welfare state.
Herman Van Rompuy's, the Belgian Prime Minister, contentious remarks were aired privately amid the grand surroundings of the Castle of the Valley of the Duchess near Brussels.
Lucky he isn't standing for an election then.....
November 4, 2009
Cameron's Approach to Europe
Get it straight: Cameron is a real Eurosceptic | Daniel Finkelstein - Times Online
The Tory leader has a plan to stop the ‘European ratchet’, but he won’t let a spat over Lisbon derail his first year in office.
That's Dave on the left, George in the middle and Danny following, hidden behind the white flag. A robust approach to Europe as you can see....