Fainting in Coyles
An occasional letter from the Heart of Euroville

Friday, August 29, 2003  

Liddle gives it both barrels

Rod Liddle talks gently to Tony Blair in this weeks Speccy.

"But we ought to remember that the government did not ‘run into’ Hutton, as if Hutton were an iceberg encountered through the wildest stroke of misfortune on a transatlantic voyage. I don’t think that the government could claim for Hutton on its insurance forms; Hutton was not an act of God. The government brought Lord Hutton’s inquiry into being directly, through its own actions".

or how about this,

"And the things which have brought about this situation — culminating the Hutton inquiry — were not rare examples of a lapse in judgment, which we might be inclined to forgive, if not forget, but are instead emblematic of the long-term traits of this regime: lying, dissembling, and the orchestrated smearing and vilifying of people who have objected to the lying and dissembling".

As a final crescendo

"Mr Blair memorably announced, on the eve of the Good Friday Agreement, that he could feel the hand of history upon his shoulder. Yeah, well, the hand’s come back again, Tone. And this time it’s pointing out of the door".

posted by Eliab | 11:54 am

Fat Chance
The Guardian is report a speech by de Villepin which suggests that America nad the EU should agree a sort of private club "Perhaps the moment has come to base a new European-American partnership on a transatlantic charter." Oh right Dominique, you really believe that that will hellp?

Somehow I cannot see the US allowing itself to be tied down into some new fangled talking shop organised by the French. Yes things are getting pretty desperate for French exporters these days, but what is in it for America?

posted by Eliab | 10:39 am

What happens when you lie to Parliament?

The enquiries into the latest fraud case, stifle that yawn at the back, in the EU have as ever been dragging on interminably. But yesterdays news from the Stern brings a serious question mind.
If a politician knowingly lies to Parliament should they resign?

Before the summer Neil Kinnock told the Budgetary Control Committee that he knew nothing about the growing scandal in Eurostat. He was first informed by the whistle-blower Dorte Schmidt-Brown in September 2002. The Stern says it has in its possession a letter from Kinnock discussing the scandal dated January 1st 2002. If The Stern is correct then this is a direct lie to Parliament. Now I know this is old fashioned of me but does this not require that Kinnock resigns?
What is more Commissioner Solbes Mira, the Spaniard in charge of Budgets told Parliament that he could not be guilty of something of which he knew nothing. But I was brought up to believe that ignorance is no excuse – especially as evidence is mounting that the Commissioners were only too aware of the problem before the FT wrote about it this May. Next week The Sprout will reveal the existence of a letter about the subject from Romano Prodi himself, dated in the 2000, a full two years before the whistle-blower went public. In June his Chief of Staff denied that any Commissioner knew anything, because he David O’Sullivan had decided that they should not have to trouble themselves with corruption in their departments.

So what happens to accountability in Europe? Nothing. Where are the politicians prepared to demand recompense, never, will the press call for their corrupt and futile heads? Of course not.

I could go on, but it gets tiring.

posted by Eliab | 10:34 am

Thursday, August 28, 2003  

Commission apes Canute

This is priceless.

"Michel Barnier the European Commissioner for regional policy said today (27 August) that he would like to see the creation of a joint European force to fight natural disasters".

Right this is going to pure madness. Wait for announcements that the EU's combined military has launched a premptive strike on Mt Vesuvius.
Major General Nenri Le Clerqu-Basooni announced that elite troops had been training long and hard in Finland's saunas.
"Forget fighting terrorists! We fight the real enemy, God and his works".

However the realy absurb aspect of this is picked up in the article. This is none ofthe EU's business, at all, whatsoever..

However the idea is not a formal proposal, as the European Commission does not have control in the field of civil protection.

posted by Eliab | 5:40 pm

Straw comprehensively fisked at teetering Tories
Straw goes on at length, so does the fisking , but pretty good all the same.

posted by Eliab | 3:00 pm

Thought for the day

The fetters imposed on liberty at home have ever been forged out of the
weapons provided for defence against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers
from abroad. -James Madison, 4th US president (1751-1836)

posted by Eliab | 9:11 am

Saturday, August 23, 2003  

Public Services and soap dodgers
A little tale of the wonderful French health service

My father lives in France and is ill. Thus has to go hospital for a week or so. A month back he did this before. He had the op and was left attached to a bank of monitors alonmgside 51 other patients. The nurses spend there time in a control room watching the screens for flatlines. After couple of days recuperation he asked if he could use the shower, no problem came the response from the cardiologist.. Consternation in the control room. There are 2 baths and one shower for 51 people. However no patient had ever asked to wash before, so the three rooms were store cupboards. After half an hours’ work the shower was freed for use. Great thought father, human again.

When he asked the next day his request was greeted with a polite but stone faced refusal, the storeroom was back in operation.

So this morning I went to the shop in a little town called Frevent to get him supplies for the next weeks sojourn under the knife. And was startled to find Veet. Veet is a deodorant that proudly states –VEET DEODORANT - LASTS THREE DAYS.

Never have my prejudices about the French received such a fillip.

posted by Eliab | 3:25 pm

Wednesday, August 20, 2003  

Issues Close to the Heart

This little item on the Pumpkin Publog set me thinking.

The lock-in is in danger.
The licencing White Paper, with its attendent all night drinking will relegate the after hours boozer to the dumper of regulation and bouncers. I say this because of late I have become acquainted with a few lock-in pubs and have to sadly report that yes, half the fun is getting away with it.

You see I am all in favour of opening up licencing hours to all and sundry. Personally I favour twelve hour licences , but any twelve hours at the discretion of the landlord, with certain caveats depending on local clientel. But Peter Baran has a point. If life is about enjoyment, and to a certain degree, then there is a baby of enjoyment to be lost as the bathwater of regulation gets flushed.

I remember in a fine little pub in Kingston St Micheal in Wiltshire called the Jolly Huntsman. Standing there with my father and stepmother and a couple opf friends over from Iowa at ten to one in the morning.
"So what do the local police say about opening this late"came the innocent question from our American friend.
"I'll have a pint came the growled answer from behind her shoulder.

posted by Eliab | 9:42 am

Saturday, August 16, 2003  

Go Joan

Thanks to Peter (Pigs) Briffa for pointing out this piece of tartery from Joan Collins no less

"So Blair is pulling a Mugabe and rigging the referendum on the euro. His plans to allow 700,000 non-citizens living in the UK (culled, no doubt, from the NHS bed waiting-list) to vote on whether or not we must have this pesky little currency are cynical to say the least....So watch out, Britain, for if this currency, which looks and feels like stage money, and with which I find it impossible to differentiate between a f1 coin, a 50 or 20 cent coin, comes storming our Bastille, things are going to get much more depressing than they already are."

Err, quite.

posted by Eliab | 7:11 pm

Sunday, August 10, 2003  

Interesting News from Estonia,
a friend David Wilkinson who is working for a no vote in the Estonia EU vote reports.

Yesterday, Centre Party (Estonia's largest party) voted that party policy should be NO to the EU. UKVE (Research Centre Free Europe) has been working closely with Centre Party.

Just thought you would want to know as this was real life voters. You may have seen results of a government show-poll that indicated a reverse in our fortunes.

A very disappointed British emabssy bod and the Irish ambassador and the Hungarian were sat just behind me in the guests section when the result was announced. All these are funding yes propaganda events. Next day (today, Sunday) such an event was reduced to chaos by our people (Martin Helme, Arne Otter, Viivika Leppik and that crew). They turned the microphones off because the questions were having such an effect. Arne had about his person a megaphone in the way that Arne sometimes does. Our people continued to ask the minister the question. The response was to turn up the PA system playing music very loud indeed and pack up and go.

Tomorrow the Swedish emabassy is funding the eurobus. The Swedes are our favourite victims so P?rnu shuld be fun tomorrow.

David Wilkinson

Please note a couple ofthings, First the dodgy use of Govt statistics by the govt in favour of Estonian joining Europe.

And the refusal of the highly funded yes campaign to engage with teh population other than in pre-packaged bite sized pieces.

posted by Eliab | 6:47 pm

Wednesday, August 06, 2003  

Constitutional Points

Now this may be a bit out of date, but I don’t think anybody else really picked it up so I will continue. Just before the Parliamentary recess over here Elmar Brock put out this Press Release on the Constitution of Europe.

Now I want everybody to remember that this chap was the leader of the EPP group on the Convention. That is right the group with which the Conservatives are allied in the European Parliament.

Now please correct me if I am wrong but I suspect the views expressed here on behalf of the EPP are not in fact the views of more than a tiny minority in Britain, lord even most federastic of Lib Dems would recoil at some of this.

"Some of our dreams went unfulfilled”
Not many

”It was positive that the European Foreign Service would now be set up via an inter-institutional agreement between the Council and the Commission, without infringing the rights of the European Parliament”.

Positive that there will be an European Foreign Service – read positive that some unruly nations, Yes that means you Britain, would be progressively hamstrung init’s independent dealings on the worlds stage.

””As far as future changes to the Constitution were concerned, the EP would have to agree in cases where the Council wished to make such changes without using the Convention method”. That was a priority for us in the European People's Party, " said Brok. "It means we've established the basic principle that the parliamentary, democratic Convention will be the rule in any future changes to the Constitution.”

Other than the fact that this is meaningless, if we look between the lines, heads of State, and democratically elected national leaders will be held accountable, and unable to move without the say-so of the one of the least democratically legitimate Parliaments in the free world (remember that huge 26% turnout) institution in Euroville, the European Parliament.

”At the end of the Convention proceedings the Union symbols (flag, anthem, currency, slogan, special holiday) had all - at the insistence of the vast majority of Convention members - been accepted. That made the Union and its constitutional more comprehensible to the European citizen”.

And more recognisably what it is a Super nation, in much the same way that the Travelling Wilburys were a super group, less than the sum of their constituent parts.

”In a real community it's not just a matter of balance - Europe will only hold together if it is united by emotions as well," Brok said”.

Emotions, Ok, how about revulsion, concern, grief?

”Brok said he remained concerned by the fact that there had been no movement at all towards majority voting in foreign policy. Indeed at the last minute France had successfully put pressure on the Convention to re-introduce unanimity for one part of external trade policy (audio-visual and culture), though only where trade agreements in this area might reduce the cultural and linguistic variety of the Union.

At last one of his unfulfilled dreams. He really does want Europe to control everything. Can anybody imagine what it would have been like if France had won that one, everybody in Britain would have had to listen to Jonny Halliday on Radio 1.

”Moreover, foreign trade policy remained an exclusive competency of the Union, and trade agreements would require the agreement of the EP. This would strengthen the Union's hand in foreign trade”.

And ensure that the EU will never repeal the CAP and behave with honour to the Third World, as long as Germany and France stitch up the trading decisions the week before any official decisions are made. Sadly no suggestions that moving to a low restrictions, low regulations, low tax economy – no of course that would lead to a strengthening of Europe’s trading position.

”The new Constitution would guarantee the inter-institutional balance between the EP, the Council, and the Commission. "And it will also bring Europe closer to the citizen," Brok said. "Europe is no longer the Europe of states, but of its people."

Er, has everybody got that – The Nation state no longer exists.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights was now legally binding, and EU citizens could participate via European elections in the choice of who became Commission President, the EU's top job.

He might be getting a bit ahead of himself here, I understood that there was a ratification process to get on with, referenda in some countries, Parliamentariey debates in others. Oh silly me we do not allow the people to interfere once we have decided what is good for them. The arrogance of this man –a nice guy in conversation, one-eyed, smokes a corn-cob pipe and chases after pickpockets – I’ve seen him do it. But with the blithe assurance that he can get away with anything he and his sort wish.

Brok concluded by arguing that the upcoming Intergovernmental Conference should be short and sharp, and not reopen the issues decided by the Convention. "Something which has emerged from the broad consensus of parliamentarians should not be changed by diplomats," he said.

Diplomats.... diplomats.... the political heads of state, diplomats. Coming from an MEP, politics answer to Mr Pooter that is the final insult.

posted by Eliab | 4:10 pm

Tuesday, August 05, 2003  

What the Blazes!

I had to take a couple of deep breaths before I started to write this. Very deep breaths. The Ministry of Constitutional Affairs in Her Majesties Government, that is currently headed up by the Cronies Crony, Charlie Lord Falconer has decided in its wisdom that it should be possible for a future UK referendum on whether or not Britain should join the Euro to include the votes of the 750,000 EU nationals that currently reside in Britain. Falconer we must remember was responsible for the crass and revealing statement at the opening of the Millennium Dome of New Labours Disrealian two nations, “VIP’s and normal people”.
This Charlie has now taken the biscuit with this suggestion.

Now I have a sympathy with the notion that those who pay taxes should get the vote, thus if EU citizens live and pay taxes to the Exchequer in the UK then they should be able to have the vote in all elections. But referenda are different. They are different in that they are to all intents and purposes irreversible. Whereas the glory of representative government is that Governments are properly disposable.

This act on the part of the unelected, fatuous and vaguely comical Charlie is so fantastical that it seems like fiction. I found myself checking the date of the paper to persuade myself that it was august and not April. The Philosophical Cowboy has already pointed out the similarity of this to Andrew Roberts’s Aachen memorandum,

But I feel that he has missed a very important point. That is if as he suggests the difference between yes and no is under the amount of non-UK citizens and it is a binding referendum, then the people of Britain would, I believe, react quite badly towards a government that foisted an unwanted change onto the people of Britain in this way. The government would have set it’s face against Britain in such a way that it could never recover. There is no way that moving to the Euro on the sayso of what are undoubted foreigners would be regarded as legitimate, even amongst those who themselves voted yes. It would be fatal, and therefore it would, to a sane government be impossible.

But sadly I also believe that this government misunderstands the country which they so high-handedly govern. This misunderstanding of the nation was most obvious over the fiasco o the lying in state of HM the Queen Mother. There is no sign that they have learnt from that experience, so The ‘Lord Chancellor’ will no doubt carry on with this proposal, strewing discord and antipathy wherever he goes.

What will be fun is when various ministers start their much vaunted Constitutional progress around the country. I believe McShane (see earlier postings) will have a warm reception at each and everyone of his 100 stop UK tour.

That is if “Normal” people are allowed in.

posted by Eliab | 12:45 pm

Monday, August 04, 2003  

We don’t need no State education..

Leading public schools dump exam system. - Hat tip Samizdata

Great news though this is I can see danger in it. My fear is that Charles Clarke and his no-nuffink cohorts in Whitehall have read the first half of latest Harry Potter, but didn’t bother to read all the way top the denouement.
The danger of course being that HMG has been itching to have a go at private schools. The normal method is to threaten them with withdrawal of charitable status. See here, here, and here, and so on. So I can see Charles Clarke not be alarmed as suggested in the Telegraph piece but rubbing his hands with glee. This Government is despised by many of it’s own members, including it’s MPs. They are still driven by the politics of hate and envy. Anything that smacks of elitism, success or tradition is grist to their mill. The Lords, the Constitution, hunting to name but a few. In order to placate these diehard relics HMG periodically throws them a bone. This action by the independent schools may well be the opportunity the government has been waiting for. I can see an IPPR pamphlet calling for the abolition of Charitable status because the schools no longer wish to be part of the broader society. The society of equable failure. With the government needing to keep its fractious backbenchers onside they are a perfect target. And even better the ringleader is Eton, Floreat, Floreat and burn in the PC wars.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support what the schools are doing but, but I hope they have their defensive strategy worked out.

posted by Eliab | 12:40 pm

Sunday, August 03, 2003  

What next? - Fridge cameras to check out calorie intake?
As I looked at the observer this morning a cold chill went over me. No I really couldn’t care if some chap whom Blair likes is or isn’t going to be head of MI6, important though this no doubt is. No it was the second lead titled

Black box in car to trap speed drivers

Check this for an opening line.

”Drivers face automatic speeding fines without being caught by the police or roadside cameras under a proposal being studied by the Government to fit all cars with satellite tracking devices for road tolls”.

Now I don’t even drive, but this just put the willies up me
“But transport experts believe the equipment will pave the way for 24-hour monitoring of drivers to see if they break the speed limit. It could also be used to determine whether drivers were speeding before an accident”.
The Government is backing trials of an advanced system which would tell the black box when it entered a speed limit and prevent the vehicle going faster. The equipment could also find drivers who have not paid vehicle duty or insurance".

Of course those freedom despising IPPR types are sanguine in their response
'It [the equipment] probably will be used for speeding,' said Tony Grayling, associate director of the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research think-tank. 'It's an offence to break the limit and it's appropriate that evidence is generated to demonstrate the law has been broken.'
What is astonishing is the supine response from motoring organisation. Ok so some chap called Edmund King asks the question, “do we in this society want all our movements to be monitored 24 hours a day?” But then suggested that the best thing would be fro the government ‘should promote benefits of the black boxes to win support’ and suggested that “In some areas, being able to track vehicles could have very positive consequences”.

Please point out the positive consequences!

What is worse about these pestilent things is that they can of course be set up to stop any body from breaching the speed limit, restricting overtaking etc and thus lead to greater congestion, but they could be used like tachographs top implicate drivers, thus one’s own property could then become the witness for the prosecution. So now it seems the state will to all intents and purposes own our cars. After judges decided that the state owned our children, (even against the child’s own wishes) last week over injections.

I weep for my country.

A final comment from Germany - which makes the little boxes
Leading German motoring journalist Wolfgang König believes the lorry toll is a Trojan horse for all vehicles - for tolling and speeding. 'Speeders could be easily identified and electronically charged. Any place, any time,' König said last week.

posted by Eliab | 6:00 pm
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