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European Union

Polly on the Reform Treaty

Hmm, looks like she\’s making that old mistake again:

The dysfunctional dominance of four newspaper groups, with four fanatical Europe-hating owners, will try to force a referendum.

Do media outlets create the opinions of their consumers or do they chase them? Is the Mail\’s immigrant lsbians building mosques will damage house prices something that Paul Dacre forces down everyone\’s throat or is he a masterly reader of the prejudices of Middle England (sad though it may be to think that that actually is hat motivates Middle England)?

As has been pointed out here many times before, the academic research seems to indicate the latter. Just as it is with almost all businesses: you find out what people want and then go and make it for them rather than make what you want and then force it people.

Only Margaret Thatcher, by demanding an exemption, allowed him to launch Sky on almost entirely US programming – against EU rules.

So if we had adhered to the EU rules there would be no Sky? Do we think that Sky is a positive or negative upon life? And thus whether those EY rules are a positive of a negative? Football would be wildly different if Sky did not exist, vastly poorer, for example. Consumer choice if wildly up as well: these are normally thought of as positives, aren\’t they?

We would join Switzerland and Norway on the outside, subject to EU laws on the single market but unable to influence them. That, of course, is what the Euro-crazies want.

Yup, exactly. That is indeed the minimum of what we want. Now the question becomes, why would that be a bad situation to be in? Can anyone provide rational arguments to bolster the view that this would be worse than the current situation? We\’d be free of CAP, of the CFP, of all of the federalising motions, we would have freedom of movement of capital, goods and labour across the marketplace: exactly what we\’ve always wanted anyway.

If desiring that makes me a Euro-crazy then please, sign me up.

Blog Action Day!

Yes, brought to you by the European Union, it\’s Blog Action Day. When we all blog on the one subject, the environment and how the EU can affect it. Most exciting, don\’t you think? TEBAF is with it, the Environment Commissioner will be having an internet chat this afternoon. So, what can we say about the environment and the EU?

Well, let\’s look at what they actually do. There\’s the insistence upon recycling rather than landfill. This leads to greater emissions of greenhouse gases, not fewer. For example, using a wormery to recycle garden waste creates NO2, while landfill creates methane. The overall effect of the two gases, in CO2 e terms, is the same. But we collect the methane and convert it to CO2, creating energy in the process. The NO2 just goes into the atmosphere. Thus a truly environmental program would landfill such waste, creating one 23 rd of the greenhouse gases than wormeries. And, yes, the EU does insist that we don\’t landfill such waste.

Then there\’s the biofuels program. One report says that such crops use more fossil fuels than they replace. Another that simply letting trees grow and burning fossil fuels would reduce emissions from the biofuels plan by 50% to 90%. Err, the EU insists upon 10% biofuels.

And what about EUTS? This is a cap and trade system, one in which the transerable rights are given away, not auctioned. The nett effect of this is that it works just like a carbon tax, but with a huge amount of corporate welfare thrown in.

And then there\’s the puerile idiocy of the Common Fisheries Policy and….well, make your own list.

So, with this track record, what can we say about the European Union and the environment? It\’s clear and obvious that the UK would be better off out of the system (that much is clear to suckling babes) but what is the best thing the European Union could do about the environment? Clearly, stop existing.

So there we have it, the simple and clear message to the European Union on this auspicious day of blogging for the environment.

Bugger off and die would you?


I\’ve just had an email asking me for money to support some federasts. Yes, I know, laugh. It was some French intellectual as well. Who says this:

Franck Biancheri expressed his deep belief that the European construction has now reached a crucial stage of its history and that the main challenge of this decade consists of being able to reconcile democracy and European unity; for otherwise the course of history will lead to a united but undemocratic Europe embodied by the emerging populist trends.

Look, Frankie, I hate to have to break this to you, but democracy is in fact populism. That\’s err, the point. What the mob wants, the mob gets. That\’s actually what democracy, the rule of the Demos, the mob, actually means.

A more reasonable campaign would be to protect democracy from European Unity: but that\’s something that Franck seems unable to understand. A more subtle approach might be to try and protect freedom and liberty from all three of the EU, democracy and the mob…..but then that\’s a very lonely furrow ploughed only by the most committed liberals,



Well, Quite….


Here\’s a flavour: "It\’s not a constitution – there is no anthem, no ancient Greek mottos. And although the EU\’s pooling of some powers to give Europe greater weight in the world will always be objected to by British diehards, we need to remember that for the little bit of influence over our own actions that we grant others, we get an equivalent measure of influence over theirs."

Speaking as someone who has zero interest in gaining a measure of influence over anything the Greeks, or Portuguese or Poles want to do with their justice systems, or much else beyond ensuring they guarantee free trade, I cannot see what there is for us in this ever-closer union,


Can They Do This?

I would be surprised if they could:

Romania is to limit the right of young doctors to work abroad after government figures showed that almost half were leaving in search of better paid jobs, causing serious staff shortages, Eugen Nicolaescu, the Health Minister, said.

I get the point of what they\’re trying to do: after you\’ve paid to train someone you\’d like them to stick around. But freedom of movement within the EU means just that, doesn\’t it? Not just entry into another country, but the right to leave one?


That Mandelson Peerage

So Tony Blair is not going to have a resignation honours list. Fine, whatever. However:

Some former Blair ministers, such as Peter Mandelson, would have expected peerages. Mr Blair is hoping that Mr Brown will give him a suitable award for his role in the creation of New Labour. Mr Brown would have to bury his differences with Mr Mandelson, who criticised his party conference speech last week.

Hmm. Not sure about that at all. Can you be a Commissioner if you\’re also a member of the legislature of a member state? Kinnock would have got a peerage for having been Leader of the Oppo: but he didn\’t get it untl afterhe had been a Commissioner. Chris Patten would have got one anyway for his Ministerial career: ditto, after leaving the Commission. In fact, I think it\’s pretty much settled that a retiring Commissioner gets a peerage anyway isn\’t it?

Only a minor point, of course, but I don\’t think that Mandy would have got one even if there had been a resignation honours list.

Guess Who Won\’t Be Getting This Cash?


Civil society is encouraged to create its own forums for debate. The Commission will help NGOs to establish a network of websites where European issues can be discussed. A named contact point will be set up in each Commission department to allow a more equal access to the Commission by NGOs.

Me, nor anyone else who is critical of the institutions, or indeed of the institution itself. Funny that, isn\’t it? Duscussion never seems to include criticism.

Why not an NGO headed by Martin Tillack? We could make him our point man to "discuss" with OLAF.

Thank God We Have the European Union!

No really, I do mean it. Thank the Lord for the existence of the European Union.

For, as you will remember, they passed some laws a few months back that made roaming across international borders with your cell phone cheaper. Isn\’t that lovely?

Well, yes, indeed it is:

One especially lucrative business, however, has somehow escaped the Internet’s notice so far: international cellphone calls.

That’s about to change. Early next month, a small company called Cubic Telecom will release what it’s calling the first global mobile phone.

Now, most carriers offer special international plans: you pay more a month, you get slightly lower roaming rates. But even they can’t touch the appeal of Cubic’s cellphone. It makes calls to or from any of 214 countries — for 50 to 90 percent off what the big carriers would charge.

For example, consider this: at the site from Cubic, you can request local phone numbers in up to 50 cities at no charge. Now you can have a Paris number, a London number and a Mexico City number that your friends overseas can use to call your cellphone.

No longer must you hand out a series of international phone numbers for each trip you make, or expect your colleagues in the United States to pay $50 a pop to reach you.

Even that’s not the end of this phone’s possibilities. For a flat $42 a month, you can turn on its unlimited Wi-Fi calling option. It lets you receive unlimited unmetered calls to any numbers in the world from Internet hot spots, or make them for a penny a minute. Either way, you have little fear of racking up your bill.

But here’s the other dizzying news: Cubic’s cheap global dialing has nothing to do with the phone. The real magic is in the SIM card, the memory card that determines your account information.

So get this: For $40, you can buy this card without the phone. Cubic says that you can slip it into any GSM phone — even your regular T-Mobile or AT&T phone, as long as it’s an “unlocked” phone (one that works with other companies’ SIM cards). Then your own cellphone behaves exactly like the Cubic phone described up to this point, minus the Wi-Fi calling, of course.

So what\’s all this got to do with making roaming on the traditional networks cheaper? Well, by insisting that roaming is cheaper, they\’re compressing the pricing against which Cubic is competing: making it, therefore, more difficult for it to enter the market and prosper.

So the nett effect of the European Union regulations is to further entrench the incumbent Telcos at the expense of the upstart market entrant. That upstart being the one offering us 90% of roaming charges.

Thank God we have the European Union, eh?

Can we leave yet?



Margot Blogging

Ooooh, dear.

The citizens of Brussels “reclaimed the streets” last Sunday when it was “Car Free Day”. Thousands and thousands of people enjoyed a warm and sunny day on their feet, bikes, skateboards or horses (!). We also enjoyed the silence and the improved air quality.

We\’re ruled by someone who thinks that horse transport improves urban air quality.

Can we leave yet?



The European Union Military

Ooooh, Yes!

Defence is a vital driver of European integration today. The EU must become a true defence community: only then can it become a fully developed international actor.

What an excellent idea!

The EU faces new threats: not only transnational terrorism, but the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and failed states.

Failed states….

Yes, like Transdnestria perhaps? Invade the place and sort it out. Great idea, don\’t you think? Why we could divide the world up into spheres of influence as well. You know, Russia deals with this bit, China that, the US we\’ll tell to stay home as they are the global hegemon and the EU deals with our bit.

It\’s not like we\’ve ever tried anything so gorgeously progressive before now is it? Russia taking care of Slavic interests in the Balkans, talks about who gets to influence Morrocco, what to do with the failing state of the Ottoman Empire, should the ethnic groupings of the Finns, the Letts, be semi-independent or directly ruled…

Actually, we have tried this before and it brought us World War One. What an excellent path for us to go down!