Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Back to business

Lord Pearson has a Starred Question down for June 8 [scroll down]:
to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Article 122.2 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union has been or could be used to require the United Kingdom to underwrite £9.6 billion of other European Union member states’ debts.
It will be interesting to see whether this government's answers will be as vague as the last one's.

There are also several Written Questions [again, you need to scroll down}:
Lord Pearson of Rannoch to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Article 125 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union can be used to require member states to provide financial support to other member states in financial difficulty; and, if so, whether it can be applied to the United Kingdom. HL28

Lord Pearson of Rannoch to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the status of the European Union’s proposed common immigration policy; and what is their stance on it. HL29

Lord Pearson of Rannoch to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the status of the proposed European Public Prosecutor; and whether United Kingdom citizens may be extradited to stand trial in other European Union member states under its powers, or under those of the European Arrest Warrant.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the status of the European Gendarmerie Force; what is its purpose; and whether they plan for it to be deployed in Britain. HL31

Lord Pearson of Rannoch to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will commission an independent cost-benefit analysis of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union.
We await HMG's response, especially to the last one. Will this government tell us as previous ones did that benefits are too numerous to enumerate?

Monday, 24 May 2010

The veil will probably be banned in France

Nabila Ramdani writes in the Guardian about the "veil debate" in France and assumes that the law will go through. For come reason she assumes that the debate in France to do with that very French concept laïcité is somehow far more intellectual and sophisticated than in Britain though she does signal her dislike of President Sarkozy by saying that he "was widely criticised for targeting full-veil wearers as part of his Ukip-style national identity debate". It is, however, hard to get away from the notion that the wearing of the veil, whether the women in question choose to do so or not (mostly nobody asks them) is at odds with Western ideas of equality between the sexes in legal terms and opposition to gender apartheid.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

What can one say?

It is, perhaps, too early to pass comment on the new coalition government led by David Cameron with Nick Clegg as his Deputy. After all, one does not exactly know how long it will last. The two parties disagree on most policies and political matters though, despite past Conservative claims, the difference in their attitudes to Britain's membership of the European Union and futher integration is not very great. In fact, it hardly exists. After all, both parties had promised a referendum on the Constitution for Europe and then reneged when the Constitution was renamed the Lisbon Treaty.

It is worth recalling that David Cameron even while he was Leader of Opposition ruled out the idea of any referendums on the European Union and Britain's membership of it for the next five years. The Liberal-Democrats announce from time to time that they would like an in or out referendum but not one on the Lisbon Treaty, which indicates a certain lack of seriousness in their attitude.

The Conservatives promised in their manifesto (though there has not been much of talk of it recently) that there would be legislation to ensure a referendum before there is any major handing over of power to Brussels. This means, in effect, no referendum since most power seeps over under already existing treaties and agreements, which the Prime Minister has no intention of renegotiating.

In other words, a Conservative majority would have been a disaster for the country as all ideas of a referendum would have been abandoned for the foreseeable future. UKIP was right to fight for a hung Parliament.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

We told you so

Yesterday's news that the British taxpayer will be participating in the bailing out of Greece, the other PIIG countries and the stabilization of the euro in general does not exactly come as a surprise to many of us.

Early in April, this blog linked to a letter by Lord Pearson in the Daily Telegraph, in which he pointed out that Britain was committed exactly to the course of action that has just taken place.

About three weeks before that we linked to a debate in the House of Lords in which HMG was asked specifically about the possibilities of Britain participating in the bail-out under Article 122.2 of the Treaty of Lisbon with Lord Myners avoiding the question.

As one of this blog's readers wrote, what would have been the vote if the electorate had fully realized this bill was due on top of all the other bills. Still, there is likely to be another election reasonably soon.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Post-election news and letter in the Daily Telegraph

Readers of the blog would have seen pictures of Nigel Farage, out of hospital and looking his usual self though sounding still a little shaken as anyone would be in the circumstances. He does not exaggerate when he describes himself to be the luckiest man alive. From the little we know it would appear that the pilot, Justin Adams, is also doing well.

Back to those election results. It is worth remembering that UKIP is the only party that has actually achieved its stated election aim - a hung parliament. Without UKIP's intervention the number of Conservative MPs might have been higher (though David Cameron's decision not to honour his "cast-iron guarantee" to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty might well have kept the voters in question away from the polling booths anyhow) and the party would have had a majority.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch has a letter [second one down] in today's Daily Telegraph in which he explains why this is a good achievement and how it came about:
SIR – Your report "How Ukip cost Tories a clear majority" (May 8) lets David Cameron off lightly.

Last June, and twice since, he refused Ukip's offer to stand aside and help the Conservatives win the general election, in return for a binding referendum on our EU membership. This guarantee would have been in the open for months, would have been in the Conservative manifesto, and on its own would have given the Conservatives a comfortable majority.

In the event, we did not stand against a few Eurosceptic Conservative candidates in very marginal seats, whom we wanted also to help. Mr Cameron ordered four of them not to be seen in public with me but we helped them anyway in varying degrees, with leaflets and support in their local press. They averaged an increase of 10,000 votes each, with 50 per cent of the turnout and an eight per cent swing in their favour.

Mr Cameron threw the election away because he would not honour his promise to hold a referendum on Lisbon "whatever the outcome of the negotiations". Dare we hope that Mr Cameron has learned his lesson for next time round?
Next time round is unlikely to be too far away in the future.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Latest news

It would appear that both Nigel Farage and the pilot of the plane that crashed, Justin Adams, are doing better than was feared at first. They are both being kept in hospital, different hospitals, as Mr Adams seems to have suffered leg and back injuries and has been taken to a specialist unit in Coventry.

Nigel is now in the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and will be kept under observation for a couple of days. He is, as anyone who knows him would expect, talking whenever he is conscious and has, according to Lord Pearson of Rannoch, "told Ukip's Banbury candidate Dr Sebastian Fairweather, who gained access to him in hospital, to 'stop worrying about me, get back out there and get out the vote'."

Meanwhile, UKIP has put up some photos from the campaign trail, that feature, Lord Pearson, Nigel Farage and Christopher Gill, among others.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Last day

This is the last day of the campaign and, according to all the polls and reports, the result is still too close to call. Nobody is venturing on a detailed prediction but it seems likely that the UKIP vote will play an important part in individual constituencies and, therefore, in the overall outcome.

It seems reasonable to recall what it is that UKIP stands for first and foremost and why: the issue that the three main parties carefully avoid, and that is in the most literal sense, who governs Britain.

The fact that not one of the three main parties' campaigns managed to catch fire in this campaign would indicate that a large part of the electorate has managed to understand that, strictly speaking, it makes no difference who is to be in Number 10 after tomorrow's vote.

This seems an appropriate moment to look at Lord Pearson's last speech in the last Parliament on the triple subject of "code of conduct, the scrutiny reserve on EU legislation and the scrutiny of opt-in decisions on EU legislation".

There have been certain assertions that the Lisbon Treaty gives national parliaments greater powers with regards to EU legislation, which, as it happens, still cannot be rejected by those parliaments.
I can deal even more briefly with the new rules on our scrutiny of European legislation and of opt-in decisions under Title V. Put briefly, none of these manoeuvres will make any difference to the powers already acquired by Brussels under the Lisbon treaty, nor to the steady advance of the project of European integration at the expense of our national parliamentary sovereignty. They are pure window dressing, designed to fool the people into thinking that the project has somehow become more benign and democratic.

On the scrutiny reserve, I remind your Lordships that the Government admit to overriding it no fewer than 435 times in the past five years. As most EU legislation is now agreed by majority voting, the Government, who have some 9 per cent of those votes, are powerless to respect this new code even if they wanted to. The best that can be achieved under the scrutiny reserve is that, after either House merely debates the legislation in question, the reserve is automatically lifted. We do not vote
on it because we have no power over it - some safeguard, that.

Nor do I take any comfort from the eight-week delay in agreeing new measures because Ministers can simply override it, and they will. The whole concept of national Parliaments being able to stop EU legislation under the Lisbon treaty is, in any case, fraudulent, because in the end Brussels can go ahead with whatever it wants to do. I give one brief, current example. The Government say that they will not opt in to the proposed new European public prosecutor, but of course the octopus has a tentacle ready to deal with such futile posturing. It will extract British citizens for trial in another European jurisdiction by using the infamous European arrest warrant. There will always be a way around any national interest.
Whatever the UKIP vote will be tomorrow, the battle will go on for this election campaign has made it quite clear that the battle lines have been drawn up and whatever the outcome of the election will be they will not be altered.
The battle lines are now clearly drawn between the political class and the people-between those who are determined to appease the project of European integration, to its inevitable and frightening conclusion, and those of us who have decided to join the resistance. I very much regret that the Government and your Lordships' House have decided to throw in their lot with the former.
The fight is about that vitally important issue.