Wednesday, 24 August 2011

MORE IMPORTANT THAN SAFETY

The press this morning are picking up on the news that rather than reducing accidents and saving lives, the plethora of revenue raising speed cameras we see littered all along our roads are in fact having a reverse effect. Research has shown that accidents increase rather than decrease after these things are erected, as reported in the press.

Coincidently this news follows a posting I put on this blog on the 17th August in which I was somewhat critical of my own Walsall Council for reducing the speed limits around the town on roads that had been 40 mph for as long as I had been driving, which was since 1965. I criticised the fact that in their misguided efforts to make our roads safer they had tackled the problem in the wrong way and had blindly followed the mantra that speed kills.

Ironically, within days of the speed limit coming down from its long standing 40 mph to its now slow 30 mph, an accident occurred because the Council had tackled the wrong problem.

Along this stretch of road there are two busy junctions where people have to pull out across the flow of traffic, what was needed in these two locations were traffic lights, not a speed reduction which has probably made the problem worse. We all know what it is like when you are on a side road wanting to turn right onto a busy main road, no one ever gives way and the moment you see a gap you have to put your foot to the floor and take your chance – traffic lights would have solved this very problem on this road but the speed reduction has probably made things worse.

By reducing the speed limit on the Sutton Road, which is the road in question, the traffic now is less well spaced due to people driving slower which makes them bunch up more. I predict Walsall Council will see an increase in accidents along that road due to the lower speed limit.

This then is the same as what is happening nationally with speed cameras. Drivers these days have no end of distractions which affects their concentration, the last thing anyone wants is another distraction, especially if they are driving in an area they do not know, trying to find their way to their destination, looking at the multitude of road signs, trying to make sure they are in the right lane at busy junctions – so the last thing they should be doing is watching their speedo. However, that is the first thing all drivers do the minute they see the marker lines on the road and the yellow peril on the side of the road, as well as instinctively touching their brakes even though they may be driving within the speed limit. All it then needs is for the driver behind to look down at their speedo too as the first driver brakes and – crunch!

Any driver could have told the people responsible for these things this was always going to be the outcome from the moment speed cameras began to blight our roads – but of course, there was revenue to be earned which was far more important than safety.

WHAT THE ARAB SPRING MIGHT BE ABOUT BY ANNE PALMER

Anne Palmer, considers what the Arab Spring may be about.

Although a long posting sent by Anne Palmer, it is well worth finding the time to study this well considered article, and looking at the links.

As part of a European Union of 27 nation States, I would have thought there might have been great excitement about the creation of a Union for the Mediterranean Countries, but no, not a whisper in spite of the fact that various titles have been given to the project, matters have not been easy to find out anything about, and then, Wow! Suddenly, we are treated to Arab Spring-what on earth is THAT? Nothing from our Government though. Quite a number of titles for a start. Apparently, and I have gone to Wikipedia for this, the “Union is a multilateral partnership that encompasses 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 27 member states of the European Union and 16 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. It was created in July 2008 as a relaunched Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (the Barcelona Process) in 2008, when a plan to create an autonomous Mediterranean Union was dropped”.

However, recently there has been the title, “The Arab Spring” in various Newspapers, just a wee mention here and there, so I will go along with that one for now, unless, as Mr Micawber might have said-“until some-thing else turns up.” So, the first programme on this matter as you can see is known as the Arab Spring, “SPRING”, (“Support for Partnership, Reform, and Inclusive Growth.”) Although there are further titles to this project-it seems to depend on which article you happen to catch hold of.

I think I should set the scene as stated in a speech by made in Cairo 14th July 2011, in which he made clear, and just so you know, that the “European Union has no wish to interfere in Egypt’s internal decisions.”

“We recognise there are many risks still to be faced. We recognise that the revolution is not finished. The expectations are high and the potential for frustration is considerable. Deep change takes time. The road to democracy is not a peaceful stream of water but rather an unpredictable river very much like the Nile used to be before the Aswan Dam. But we fundamentally affirm the spirit that has ignited the revolution thus far. And throughout we remain acutely aware that democracy must come from within. While external assistance may help the flowers of democracy bloom, it is only you who have planted the seeds that can ensure democracy takes root.”
“Our financial commitments will rise to €7 billion in the coming three years for our neighbourhood, with another €6 billion in loans available. Much of this will come from the European Investment Bank, whose President Philippe Maystadt is joining me on this trip. The bank is the biggest development lender in North Africa. Already there are nine Egyptian projects in the pipeline for the coming 12 month, worth well over €1 billion”.


“This sits within the overall package of €20bn agreed at the G8 in May. Egypt is in a good position to access these amounts, as it is a leading country in the path to democracy”. A little intervention here because when the EU pays out money to some-one some-where some of that money comes from YOUR pocket too. Money that could have been spent on the Defence of our Country, or provided jobs for some-one, and our Government-yet as I write this- not one MP has breathed one word about this project to any of us here in the UK.


I will end this section with President Barroso, “As the turmoil continues, the European Union flag flies proudly in Freedom Square, Benghazi. This flag and the office beneath it is a tangible and symbolic sign that the European Union is ready to support the people of this region.” Aw! Ain’t that nice!


It is noted that the Barcelona Process (a.k.a.. the Euro-Med Process) was launched during the 1995 Spanish Presidency between the EU and its Mediterranean Partners-Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey (Libya has observer status since 1999)- with the aim of building “a space of dialogue, peace, security and shared prosperity”. It was President Sarkozy’s idea of a “Union of the Mediterranean” and what became “The UMed Process was eventually launched in November 2008. Now, a couple of years later the second Umed Summit which was due to take place 21 November 2010 was postponed because of the lack of progress on a resumption of Direct talks in the Middle East Peace process, no new date set.


The European Neighbourhood Policy was first proposed by the Commission in 2003-2004 as a framework policy through which an enlarged EU could strengthen and deepen relations with its 16 closest neighbours. (Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine) with a view to counteracting risks of marginalisation for the neighbouring countries which had not participated in the historic 2004 enlargement and therefore ensuring the strengthening of a shared area of prosperity, stability and security. (From Commission Communication: A new response to a changing Neighbourhood . Foreign and Commonwealth Office 20, June 2011 European Council).

But what has our Government got to say about this New Treaty/Agreement we are all being involved in and upon which we have not had a referendum? Haven’t our MP’s had any knowledge of this great extension which includes all these Countries? Well let us see. “The European Union concluded seven Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements between 1998 and 2005 with the Arab Republic of Egypt, the State of Israel, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Lebanon, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Tunisia and the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria. These agreements provide a suitable framework for North-South political dialogue. They also serve as a basis for the gradual liberalisation of trade in the Mediterranean area, and set out the conditions for economic, social and cultural cooperation between the EU and each partner country”.

“The Euro-Mediterranean partnership between the European Union and the countries of the Southern Mediterranean began in 1995 (The Barcelona Process) The partnership, which implies reciprocity, solidarity and codevelopment, is intended to establish political, economic and social cooperation.”


Quoting from a Debate in our Parliament that “on 14 March 2001, the European council held an extraordinary session to discuss developments in Libya and the Southern neighbourhood region and set the political direction and priorities for future EU policy and action. The council noted that progress and democracy go hand in hand, and all countries in the region needed to undertake or accelerate political and economic reforms, and said the EU would support all steps towards democratic transformation, political systems that allow peaceful change, growth and prosperity, and a more proportionate distribution of the benefits of economic performance”. Etc
At point 9.25, In particular, the Council was asked:
• To agree urgently pending proposals on pan-Euro-Mediterranean rules of origin (and the Commission was invited to present proposals on further means to enhance trade and foreign direct investment in the region in the short, medium and long term);
• To consider rapidly the Commission’s proposals on European Investment bank reflows and look at further possibilities to increase the EIB’s overall financial support capacity; and
• To review the missions of the Union for the Mediterranean, with the objective of promoting democracy and fostering stability in the region and giving “a new push” to concrete measures and projects so as to strengthen democratic institutions, freedom of expression, including unhindered access to internet, reinforce civil societies, support the economy, reduce poverty and address social injustice.


On 8th June 2011 The UK Parliament debated EU Document, number 2 Partnership with the EU's Neighbourhood, which read, “On 4 February 2011, the European Council met to discuss developments in Tunisia and Egypt. In its subsequent declaration, the EU said that it was determined to lend its full support to the transition processes towards democratic governance, pluralism, improved opportunities for economic prosperity and social inclusion, and strengthened regional stability; and committed to a new partnership involving more effective support in the future to those countries pursuing political and economic reforms including through the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean. The Commission set out three elements on which the Partnership would be based.
— democratic transformation and institution-building, with a particular focus on fundamental freedoms, constitutional reforms, reform of the judiciary and the fight against corruption;
— a strong partnership with the people, with specific emphasis on support to civil society and on enhanced opportunities for exchanges and people-to-people contacts with a particular focus on the young; and
— sustainable and inclusive growth and economic development, especially support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), vocational and educational training, improving health and education systems and development of the poorer regions.


On 6th July 2011 it was noted in Document 4 that at 4.3 The Commission notes that the conflict in Libya has so far displaced around 800,000 individuals, mainly to neighbouring countries. Since January, some 35,000 migrants have sought shelter on the Italian island of Lampedusa and in Malta. The Commission says that the EU's response has been swift, comprehensive and effective and includes:
• the allocation of €40 million (€102 million if Member State contributions are included) for emergency humanitarian assistance;
• the launch of a FRONTEX operation (Joint Operation Hermes Extension 2011) to help Italy control sea vessels carrying migrants and refugees;
• the deployment of Europol experts to Italy to help identify possible criminals;
• the allocation of an additional €25 million from the External Borders and European Refugee Funds to assist Member States most exposed to the influx of migrants and refugees; and
• concrete proposals to develop a dialogue on migration, mobility and security with southern Mediterranean countries.


The Governments response-although I do suggest you read it is one paragraph at 4.17 The Minister says that the UK is willing to assist the European Asylum Support Office through the deployment of asylum experts and case workers (and has already done so in Greece) but adds:
"[W]e are opposed to the transfer of migrants to the EU from North Africa and to the relocation to other Member States of those migrants who reach the EU. We believe that building capacity in the region, and in adversely affected EU countries, to deal more effectively with migrants will create a more sustainable solution to this problem. We support the establishment of a Regional Protection Programme to create sustainable solutions for those in genuine need, as close to their region of origin as possible. In the long term, resettlement may form part of the strategic element of such a programme, but should not be used as a reflex reaction to an unfolding situation”.


On 12, December 2010 at 16.3 “During that particular debate, there was some, perforce limited, discussion of President Sarkozy's idea of a "Union of the Mediterranean", which would apparently have been restricted to Mediterranean EU Member States and the Mediterranean partners. However, Chancellor Merkel opposed the notion that EU funds should be used in this way for the benefit of only some Member States — hence the compromise embodied in the European Council Conclusions, which includes all 27 Member States and all 700 million people on both sides of the Mediterranean (now including Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Monaco)”.


Under the title “Funding,” "You raised several points on funding, asking "how more money is likely to be the answer, when €6 billion has been spent or committed thus far on the existing Process; where it would come from; and what would ensure that it is spent effectively". UMed is made up of several different elements: the Secretariat which will oversee a variety of projects (yet to be implemented) and sectoral processes continuing from the Barcelona Process, e.g. on migration and water, including at Ministerial level. This means that funding for the whole process comes from a variety of sources.

"So far, UMed's costs have been limited as there is no Secretariat and few activities: only the circulation of documents and support to some countries to attend meetings. Once a permanent Secretariat is established, most of its core activities, such as local staff and administration, will be funded from the European Neighbourhood & Partnership Instrument's (ENPI) regional funding streams administered by the European Commission (EC). EC funding should be kept within existing resources, respecting the Financial Framework, consistent with what the UK secured in the Paris and Marseille declarations. The actual building will be provided free of charge by the Spanish authorities. The core budget and local staffing costs will be supplemented by those Member States who wish to provide additional voluntary contributions. At this stage we do not envisage additional UK funding.

"The Barcelona Process (EuroMed) has been funded by the Commission since it was founded in 1995. This funding, which has gone on largely successful programmes such as migration, should not be confused with UMed funding. The ENPI budget for the Southern Partners is about 1 billion Euros per year and is kept under constant review. Only a very small percentage of this goes to UMed. EC funding will be monitored and agreed in the same way as all ENPI funding and the normal rules will apply. The draft Statutes of the Secretariat require the Secretary General to submit annual accounts and work plans to the Senior Officials to ensure oversight of spending and impact.” I can give a good guess that funds will go up!

I do point you in the direction of COM (2011) 200 final below which makes fairly clear where this Mediterranean project is heading, although in March when this was printed matters were obviously not as far ahead as they are at present (23.8.2011) although the beginning makes clear that it is all, “A PARTNERSHIP FOR DEMOCRACY AND SHARED PROSPERITY WITH THE SOUTHERN MEDITERRANEAN”. When reading Numbers 5 and 9 Chapters, it should also be remembered that any money written about here WE have also contributed to, and then ask, when did anyone here vote for this Mediterranean extension?


On May 25th 2011 the EU outlined a new Policy in response to Arab Spring, This is what it said. “The European Union launched today a new policy proposal for its relations with neighboring countries in Eastern Europe and the countries of the southern Mediterranean. The new policy, known as the European Neighborhood Policy, is a concrete response to the Arab Spring and the aspirations of the countries to the east of the European Union.


It increases funding by 1.24 billion euros over the next two years, on top of the 5.7 billion euros already allocated for the period.


The proposal, presented today by Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy hand European Commission Vice-President, and Stefan Fule, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, sets out the main priorities and directions of a revitalized ENP strategy which seeks to strengthen individual and regional relationships between the EU and countries in its neighborhood through a 'more funds for more reform' approach -- making more additional funds available, but with more mutual accountability.

Below is a paper title, Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean” Readjusting the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership which puts the French-German paper and Council together again. Also noted, if German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy get their way, the 17 nations that use the euro will more closely coordinate their economic policies, and in particular their budgets. Why incidentally were the rest of the euro-zone members not at that recent meeting?


I have placed quite a number of e-mail addresses below and that quite long list below is not all I have gone through to try and make sense of exactly WHY the EU has gone down this road-with our money- and without asking and perhaps more to the point why did we not have a referendum on this extension especially as it is our money our Government is paying the EU with. Perhaps now we know or realize why the EU wants to increase our EU contributions. But WHY didn’t our own Government or any one of the three major political Parties that all wish to remain in the EU, just tell the people about this extension to the EU? When it comes to the next election remember only vote for any one of the three major political Parties IF YOU WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EU.


Not content with this first extension of the EU our own country is to be split up into EU Regions. The Country and Nation of ENGLAND is being divided (destroyed) by our very own Government because it has to put EU orders before their own Country, this they are doing THROUGH THE EU’s Localism Bill-and we are PAYING THEM TO DO THIS! Just how much longer do you think the people will continue to pay their own Government to destroy their own Country? There has not been one Government since 1975 that has had the guts to give the people a say, the question is though, would we be able to trust any British Government to hold a true and fair referendum on THIS particular subject of an in or out referendum? Yes, and it grieves me to question that. There will be any kind of referendum anyone cares to name under the Localism Bill, perhaps the first one for elected MAYORS for the EU’s REGIONS FOR ENGLAND. What kind of Government have we elected-and pay- that could do this to their own Country?


We went through two World Wars without these two extra layers of Governance-neither of which are compatible with our own Constitution. Firstly the most expensive extra layer of Governance is the European Union itself. The second completely extra layer of false Governance are the EU Regions. As far as the EU is concerned, Scotland is already an EU Region, as is London with its elected Mayor and as is Wales and Northern Ireland but ENGLAND has to be divided up into EU Regions, eventually with elected Mayors yet our own Prime Minister has not so far had the guts to tell the people, the Localism Bill started its Journey in the European Union.

Governments make the people that elected them poorer quite deliberately, even when there is absolutely no benefit for them at all. Has a war been created in Libya because Gaddafi would not go along with the EU? For the EU’s kind of “Democracy”? If we want our Freedom to Govern ourselves by coming out of the European Union, will a “No fly Zone” be put over the UK? Endorsed by the peace keeping United Nations?


What will be the next step? All the way towards World Government?

As I come to the end of this, the new beginning for the people of Libya seems to be on the way. Their troubles may just be about to begin, but if the people are wise, they will govern themselves. Anne Palmer.

Union for the Mediterranean. Worth reading. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_for_the_Mediterranean
José Manuel Durão Barroso Speech 14/07/2011
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/11/523

1 Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean 8th May 2009
http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmeuleg/19-xv/19xv03.htm

2 Partnership with the EU's Neighbourhood 8th June 2011
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmeuleg/428-xxix/42804.htm

4 Migration from the Southern Mediterranean 6th July 2011.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmeuleg/428-xxx/42806.htm
9 Partnership with the Southern Mediterranean 5 April 2011 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmeuleg/428-xxiii/42811.htm

16 Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean 2.12 2010.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmeuleg/428-x/42818.htm

UN Resolution 1973
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10200.doc.htm#Resolution

COM/2000/0497 final
"REINVIGORATING THE BARCELONA PROCESS"
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=en&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2000&nu_doc=497

Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton on developments in Libya 22.8.2011.
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/124420.pdf

Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/afet/dv/201/201002/20100223emparecommendationadopted_en.pdf
ANNEX 11: MEDITERRANEAN BARCELONA DECLARATION ADOPTED AT THE EURO-MEDITERRANEAN CONFERENCE (27 and 28 November 1995) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/summits/mad4_en.htm
And
EU Commission launches ambitious Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/268
Brussels, 8.3.2011 COM(2011) 200 final A PARTNERSHIP FOR DEMOCRACY AND SHARED PROSPERITY WITH THE SOUTHERN MEDITERRANEAN http://eeas.europa.eu/euromed/docs/com2011_200_en.pdf An informative article well worth reading.
EU Outlines New Policy in Response to Arab Spring http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/eu-outlines-new-policy-in-response-to-arab-spring-122600658.html
“Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean” Readjusting the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/bruessel/05364.pdf

Further reading: Secret History of the “Arab Spring” “Chapter 7 Bilderberg Group dated April 7, 2011.
Europe’s Flawed Arab Spring FIIA Comment
Egypt, Europe, and the seeds of a crisis, by Daniel Korski and Mark Leonard.
2 Preparation of the 2012 EU Budget for those that did not see this.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmeuleg/428-xxx/42804.htm

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

HE SPEAKS WITH FORKED TONGUE

Anyone who thinks that David Cameron, the Tory leader, is remotely EU-sceptic needs to take a look at this LINK to a posting by Marc Glendening of the Democracy Movement on the People’s Pledge. As the Red Indians used to say: ‘He speaks with forked tongue’. Cameron’s tongue is so forked you could pitch hay with it!

Monday, 22 August 2011

A PLACE LESS SAFE

All cars to have fewer MOT's

If you are not inclined to go out and purchase an overpriced, impractical and range limited glorified golf buggy preferring to stick with vehicles that use overpriced and over taxed petrol and diesel, the way to the cheapest form of motoring is to never buy a brand new car but opt for used.

Cars drop a great deal of value in their first few years and you can pick up some really well equipped cars at a fraction of their original cost too. The secret of buying such a vehicle and getting a good deal is to ensure your second hand motor has been well maintained – then keep it that way for as long as you own it – it pays dividends.

I always buy used cars and usually run them for as long as possible with regular oil changes and servicing by good old Norman who has been looking after an assortment of cars for me for the last forty years. One of the best I had was a ten month old Montego estate car which I ran from 7,500 miles to 188,000 miles with no major problems – all because I had it serviced every 6000 miles. When it did come to the end of its time it was still on its original clutch.

Such motoring is the greenest and cheapest motoring you can do. Make a car last and there is less need for new vehicles – what can be greener than that? Certainly not messing around with some battery driven thing that needs hours of recharging every eighty to ninety miles using electricity from gas, coal and oil fired power stations.

Not all motorists are too bothered about looking after their cars other than keeping them polished, which is where problems of safety begin – hence the need for a twelve monthly check up. The idea of the MOT is to ensure a car can brake safely, tyres are in good condition and legal, there are no dangerous bits of bodywork sticking out and that the lights work to ensure the driver can see and be seen by others. All very simple, logical and basic.

Doing this once a year is not only for the safety of the vehicle owner, but also for the rest of us who use the roads too – we may ensure our cars are safe but what about others who may not be so fussed?

However, news has been released that the Government is to ease the time span of MOT testing from once every year to every two years. So, when safety is such a major issue why are they taking this retrograde step?

The thing to remember is in the use of the term ‘Government’. We have a thing in the Houses of Parliament and Ten Downing Street that calls itself a Government, however, the real Government resides in Brussels and the EU Commission offices who relay instructions to the administrative centres such as that which resides in Westminster and meekly and obediently complies with all it is told by our unelected masters in the EU. Hence the reduction in road safety to bring Britain in line with the rest of the EU such as the Commission directive below.

COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2010/48/EU
of 5 July 2010
adapting to technical progress Directive 2009/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers.

Article 2
1. Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 31 December 2011 at the latest, with the exception of the provisions of paragraph 3 of Annex II, which shall apply as of 31 December 2013. They shall forthwith inform the Commission thereof.

In other words do as you are told – even if it makes your roads a place less safe.

Friday, 19 August 2011

THE CIB FILM FESTIVAL

Any budding anti-EU film directors out there? The Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB) are looking for people, not just here in the UK, but anywhere to contribute videos to the FILM FESTIVAL it is organising.

So if you are a Steven Spielberg and want to make a film about EU encounters of the strange kind, or if you are a Alfred Hitchcock and fancy doing a suspense mystery thriller with a mad EU knife wielder, then here’s your chance.

You can find out more about the event HERE, along with examples of what you can do – the Jamie Oliveoil one is worth watching and great fun.

Good luck, see you on the red carpet outside the Odeon Leicester Square!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

MORE EU

If there was no EU there would be far fewer crisis’ in Europe nothing like the number of problems, the EU is a problem creating organisation – it likes it that way.

This may seem odd for the rest of us who spend our days doing our best to make life easier by avoiding problems before they happen, and the last thing you would expect from any politicians is the joyful creation of problems which naturally reflect on them possibly hitting them hard in the ballot box. However, we have to remember two important things about the EU.

First the EU is not democratic, its leaders and those that guide it are not accountable to anyone with a vote as none are elected. When it comes to the inconvenience of democracy as far as these people are concerned the voters should be told how and what to vote for and make sure they do as the EU instructs. Democracy to the EU’s leaders is not really something they need concern themselves with, the elected politicians can take all the shit from the electorate just as long as they follow EU instructions.

The other thing to note about the EU and its unelected hierarchy is that problems are a Godsend – hence the reason they do their best to make things worse. As far as these people go the answer to the problems they so happily create and the havoc they wreak on the people, who due to the EU usually callous actions may lose their jobs, homes and businesses, as we so devastatingly experienced during the EMU disaster, is the answer to the problems is more EU not less.

How many times when things in the EU go badly wrong you hear them say: “It is because we haven’t gone far enough, we need more power/control”, and so it goes on with the EU using every problems as a means to remove sovereign power away from the democracies of Europe and hand to itself.

The latest inevitable problem, which was always a ticking fiscal bomb waiting to go off, is the current disaster in the eurozone as nations such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland go deeper into debt and need bailouts to avoid default and bankruptcy. This is one the EU lives for and of course, after the real power brokers of the EU, Germany and France, get together to sort out the problem they so happily created, the answer is not to scrap the euro and loosen the ties that now so closely entwine the eurozone nations, but to bind them inextricably closer together which is yet another goosestep closer to a single nation called Europe.

The plan thrashed out by Angela Merkel of Germany and Nicholas Sarkozy of France is to create a real European Union economic government thus reducing the freedom of the eurozone nations to control their own economies. These plans include common tax policies for Germany and France, to ensure all European countries balance their books (God knows how!), and introduce a financial transaction tax. At this stage they are ruling out the issuing of Eurobonds.

This though has still not helped to lift the gloom that has overshadowed the hard hit economies of Europe as the markets have little confidence regarding these plans. That may create the next crisis which the EU will undoubtedly use to give us more EU rather than less.

Read what Simon Heffer has to say about the creation of the "Fourth Reich" in the Daily Mail.

THE WRONG SOULTION

Derek Bennett, lower speed limits the wrong solution.


Anyone who has been driving since before the introduction of the plethora of ‘Big Brother’ speed cameras and other roadside entrapment equipment used these days, will remember happily bowling along many roads at the maximum allowed speed of 60 mph, or many other wide suburban roads at 40 mph where we now crawl along at much reduced speeds dodging the aforementioned speed cameras.

The question I ask, is why in these modern times, when our vehicles are much safer due to better braking systems, suspension, tyres and much else, are we forced to crawl everywhere at a snail’s pace in our safer cars than we did many years ago in vehicles that do not have today’s handling and safety features?

Everywhere we go speed limits have been reduced, wide fast roads that were once unlimited are now set at 40 mph – or even lower in some cases, 20 mph limits which are virtually impossible to drive at have replaced many 30 mph limits – and so it goes on.

Has this made our roads safer and less accident prone? Sadly no. The reason which has inspired this posting today is due to two incidents. Under normal circumstances when leaving home in the mornings I stop at my corner shop to buy the Torygraph, have a quick glance at the headlines then turn left onto the Sutton Road in Walsall near my home and head into Birmingham. This morning, however, I had to get some groceries for my father-in-law and take to him before driving in, so I turned right onto the main road which up until a week or so everyone had, for as long as I can remember, been driving quite safely at 40 mph, but now we all dawdle along at the new, reduced speed of 30 mph.

The reduced speed limit which has also come complete with state of the art flashing signs was introduced, so Walsall Council informed us, to make the road safer as ‘speed kills’ – or so the roadside signs say. Within a short distance of joining the Sutton Road and its new crawler speed limit, along with other drivers we ground to a halt due to, guess what – an accident.

The Sutton Road, you see, has two accident blacks-spots which have nothing to do with speed, more to do with driver frustration being stuck, waiting to pull out onto the Sutton Road, into a continuous but free moving line of traffic with no one willing to allow waiting drivers to pull out. The waiting drivers seeing the back up of traffic behind them then take chances and this morning the chance between a van and a car at the junction with Longwood Lane resulted in a bump – and no one was speeding.

Like many roads that councils all around the country have decided are too fast, and have had their speed limits cut, coincidently with the erection of speed cameras, they have not tackled the real problem of why there are accidents; they just thoughtlessly decide ‘speed kills’ and implement the wrong solution. This is the case regarding the Sutton Road by my home, which will still see accidents occurring because the real accident prone areas have been ignored and the wrong solution by a thick council implemented.

Like most roads this road did not need a speed reduction with the frustration and time delay it creates, it needed traffic lights in two places along the road to help drivers pull out onto this busy main road, the traffic lights themselves also ensure that speed remains under control.

The other incident which set me off was after I had been to my father-in-law and dropped of his groceries and had a little chat. I took my usual route from his into Birmingham and turned onto a road which has speed bumps spaced out along its length. At this point a young chap in a black BWM (why do all idiots drive BMW’s?) was doing his best to inspect the inside of my exhaust pipe. On a road that was littered with parked vehicles, speed humps and chicanes, it was obvious he wanted to get get past me, which he did in the most dangerous place forcing an oncoming vehicle to brake, and what happened, he then had to start all over again trying to get past the cars in front again until eventually he pulled out in front of some oncoming vehicles at a roundabout. In his case speed was not a danger – just a lack of brains – maybe he works for Walsall Council!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

HELPING ACORNS

Collecting for Acorns hospice.

When you are involved in the campaign to save Britain from total EU domination and an active member of UKIP, there seems to be little time for other things in your life – which is all rather sad. However, apart from finding time for the occasional beer in the Lyndon House Hotel, I do still have one hobby which I inherited from my dear old dad – photography – I’m a bit of a snapper.

My hobby is put to good use from time to time, I usually take a lot of photos of UKIP conferences and other anti-EU events, also family events and I have even photographed a couple of weddings, which tends to be more stressful than standing in elections.

To display my photos I post them on to the Geograph web-site, there are a lot I have posted on that site of my home town of Walsall, including some I took last Sunday of Walsall’s town wharf. The reason I was there was to welcome back Dave Atkins, who is the husband of my Niece, Georgina (they were my first wedding photography), along with his pal Richard, otherwise known as ‘Trigger’.

For their holidays rather than going off to the Costas or some other suntrap, they embarked on an epic 200 mile plus voyage, in a two man canoe, around the canals and rivers of the Midlands which took them down past Worcester and back again in a circular route.

Doing such paddling deeds as this don’t usually run in our family, but in this case it was all for a good cause, which was for a local Walsall charity, Acorns a children’s hospice.

Dave and Trigger had been planning for this marathon paddle for most of the year, organising other events such as a quiz to raise funds for Acorns – all they have to do now is chase up the promised donations and in a week or two they should be handing over a nice donation to this worthy cause, hopefully a few of my photos of their return last Sunday will be put to good use too for any publicity and help Acorns.


A welcome home kiss for Dave from daughter Lauren and wife Georgina.

Monday, 15 August 2011

ERROL FLYNN NEED NOT APPLY

‘Ooo-ar, Jim lad, oy got just the EU job for you. ‘Ow’s ye takin’ a fancy to being the EU’s ‘pirate cultural adviser’, there be a pot-o-gold in it fer ye, there alus is with anything to do with the EU. So, put on yer eye patch, perch ye parrot, swash yer buckle and get yer application in!’

Yes, belief it or not the EU is looking for a ‘pirate cultural adviser’ whose roll it will be to help naval commanders understand the ways of those who attack and hijack shipping along the coast of Africa and the Indian Ocean.

The person selected for the job will be expected to report on such things as the religious practises of pirates, also their habit of chewing an amphetamine plant substance known as ghat.

Sadly, Errol Flynn need not apply; this job is strictly for a person with a military background and a knowledge of how pirates operate. The task that will be set for the successful applicant will be an important one as piracy in certain parts of the world is a major problem costing ship owners and related businesses a lot of money. Applications will have to be sent to the EU's fledgling navy, 'EU Navfor'.

The problem of piracy is a global problem which affects shipping from all parts of the world. It also gives the EU the perfect excuse to create its own naval force which includes British warships (the few remaining) and British naval officers and lower ranks who all sail under the EU’s noose of gold starts. In reality a problem like this needs to be discussed and dealt with by all nations affected equally with advisers and specialist on piracy from those nation to come together to advise, all using their own knowledge and experience collectively, unlike the EU solution to go for the narrow EU identity promotional solution.

BRITAIN ON THE BRINK

This may not be the newest video on the block, but well worth a look, especially as it includes Christopher Booker who has inspired so many in the anti-EU campaign.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

BACK IN THE EUSSR

Mary Ellen Synon, in her Daily Mail blog on the 8th August, commented on David Cameron’s recent statement in which he refuses to give the British people a say on our continued membership of the disastrous EU. As far as he is concerned our one and only vote in 1975 is it – we don’t need another say on the matter and that vote was for all time.

There were various comments following her article, one person, a B. W. Moore seemed well and truly confused about the original Common Market and the Treaty of Rome, which inspired my reply which I now copy below for you.

B.W. Moore seems to be confused about the Treaty of Rome and the Common Market. In 1972 Prime Minister Heath, who many consider to be a traitor, signed the ascension to the Treaty of Rome which was the founding document of the Common Market. We officially became a member at the start of 1973.

Two years later the Wilson Government gave us a referendum on continued membership of the Common Market in which he, Heath and most major politicians campaigned for a 'Yes' vote. This was most probably Britain's most corrupt and unfair vote of all time.

People such as Heath knew what was planned for future years, as did Wilson. When Heath stated there would be "No essential loss of sovereignty" he lied and admitted so on TV many years later. Wilson also lied when he stated during that one and only referendum: "The threat of a single currency has been eradicated" - he knew full well a single currency was planned for later years.

Added to the blatant lies from the 'Yes' side in that 1975 referendum campaign, the way the referendum was run was unfair and biased. The 'Yes' side had no limit to its funding, which came from the Common Market and the USA as well as powerful institutions in this country. The 'No' side had very little funding or opportunities to promote their arguments. The bias in favour of a 'Yes' vote in that 1975 referendum is a permanent smear on British democracy and the begining of its demise thanks to our involvement with this corrupt anti-democratic organisation.

In later years the Common Market changed through the signing of various treaties to the EU we have today. Margaret Thatcher signed the 'Single European Act', which was the opening of a European Pandora's box. John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty that began the process of a single European currency, it also made us all European citizens which no one wanted, voted for or requested. That treaty also gave us our now flimsy European passports and driving licences.

Tony Blair Signed the Amsterdam Treaty and the Treaty of Nice which gave the EU the power to monitor and arrest any European citizens, over 1000 British subjects (now European citizens) have been arrested and taken out of Britain under the European Arrest Warrant. In more recent times Gordon Brown signed the Lisbon Treaty which has granted vast powers to the EU. The Nice Treaty also set in place Europol and the EU now has an armed military European gendarmerie, which, if the current riots continue, could be seen on our streets.

All this has come about since Heath signed the Treaty of Rome, which is still the founding document of the EU and contains the fatal words: "Ever closer union" within it. The only vote the British people over the age of 54 have ever been granted on what we have now was a corrupt and biased vote yet David Cameron states, because of that one vote, no more can ever be given. We are in the EUSSR!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

WHAT WILL BE LEFT?

A known gun toting member of the criminal scummunity is shot dead by the police during an incident on the outskirts of London. As the old saying goes, live by the sword and die by the sword, or in this case live by the gun and die by the gun.

Following this incident, which these days with our more readily armed police is not an uncommon occurrence, there then follows a protest outside the police station which eventually erupts into mass violence and looting.

Sadly, in our modern Britain we have all witnessed riots over the years in various cities, not least in the Handsworth and Lozells area of the Midlands, which is in this bloggers part of the world. Those events were sparked off due to claims of police harassment, also the rape of a girl set rioting off. This too was close to Perry Barr where two girls were machine gunned outside a New Years Eve party in a case of gang warfare a few years ago. Those of the older generation view the Britain we live in today as nothing like that of the Britain of the pre and post war years.

I was born into what was called the slums of Birmingham a couple of years after the war. The slums then were a place where people were poor and owned very little. In those days there were some rough families many who the police knew well. There was drunkenness, including my old granddad on more than one occasion, but on the whole people respected the law.

The odd thing is, when you compare what was termed living as in poverty in those days, to what is called poverty today, those from the slums of old would consider poverty of today as living like royalty.

In days gone by poverty was not having a job and means testing, living hand to mouth and often relying on the charity of others. Poverty of today is classed by the number of material things not owned. Those classed as living in poverty have fridges in their homes, TV’s, videos, computers and access to the internet. They have cars and mobile phones and they also expect the state to keep them as a right. When I say the state I mean the working population at large whose taxes keep them.

In those poverty ridden days of old, people did not own all the trinkets and technology of the modern poor, but they had morals and shame. Those communities gossiped, if a girl got herself in trouble out of wedlock it was a disgrace, these days it is almost obligatory for young girls to have one or more offspring in tow by different feckless fathers. People conformed because of the shame they incurred if they did things that shocked their community – no matter how poor it was. No one felt the state owed them anything either, they had to work and save to get what they wanted.

People wanted out of the slums and if they were going to achieve this it was up to them, this inspired people to achieve for their families, which were usually close knit and the norm. These days families are dysfunctional, husband and wives are no longer the norm – most have partners who move on leaving an assortment of kids behind them.

It was in those times, like many others who wanted better for their families and themselves, people worked to rise up the ranks in their places of employment, or set up small businesses, as did my dad (in the photo with me as a child).

In those days the tax authorities had less power and more common sense. Small business owners were mostly left to their own devices. We had less regulations and Government interference – we were not in the EU either which is the big obstacle for most entrepreneurs these days. The country could flourish, businesses prosper and jobs created.

These days we all have more regarding trappings, the sort of things that few could dream of in those post war days, but as a society we have less.

For the law abiding we have a fear of venturing into certain areas, we have a fear of the increased power of the state and the undermining of our democracy, but for many there is no fear. They have no fear of prison or the law, punishment is nothing to them. They feel they are owed by the state either when they are on the streets or in prison. Crime is not something to be punished, these days the criminal is classed as the misunderstood, whose rights should be held up in prison. They even feel, with the EU’s blessing, they should have a right to vote from behind bars even though they may have created mayhem in the community whose politicians they will be voting for.

The riots have nothing to do with cuts in local services as many left wing politicians claim, in fact it is due to the constant drip feeding and pollution of left leaning and liberal political views that we find a whole generation of youth can use a poor excuse of the death of a known and violent criminal for their actions. They care not for society, for decency, families or moral values – why should they when they were always taught that these values are wrong.

Because our values of the past have been abandoned we now have a feral generation destroying everything of those who still care, who still work and still have morals. What will be left when the decent people give up, pack up and leave? There is getting less and less to stay for in our lawless, morals-less, crime ridden and increasingly pointless nation.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

NO FREE PARKING HERE

Parking in Walsall in a tight spot.

What a sad and desperate state of affairs we have in my home town of Walsall when a fellow UKIP activist from Stourbridge has the need to send me an e-mail and asks: “Morning Derek, I’m in need of your help, or should I say my son is. He has started a job in the Saddlers Centre this week and is suicidal about having to pay £6.50 a day for parking, can you offer any alternatives (free parking).”

Free parking! Silly Billy, this, sadly, is Walsall and its Council hates people who drive, it has a vendetta against anyone who owns anything with four wheels and an engine. Any private company that dares offer free parking or a reasonable parking fee becomes a target. Like a heat seeking missile Walsall Council homes in on them and does its best to close them down or raise their parking fees to ensure those who want to visit the town, or work here, are well and truly screwed financially for having the audacity of wanting to litter the town with their cars.

When a new Tesco store opened in the town a little time ago it offered free parking for all for up to three hours, which was a real boost for other shops and stores as people could park there for free and spend money in these other shops – it put Tesco’s in a good light too with the local people. Walsall Council couldn’t have that, oh no, anything that helps businesses in Walsall to survive and thrive has to be dealt with as quickly as possible – so Tesco’s were got at and although they still have the sensible policy of free parking, now it is down to two hours only.

One enterprising company, seeing an opportunity and a chance to give those working and visiting Walsall a fair parking deal, opened a car park in Lower Rushall Street offering all day parking for £3 only. No rip-offs, no underhand dealing, just good value. That too has not gone down well with Walsall Council who were soon on to the case and is doing its best to ensure those who need a place to park all day in Walsall are screwed – we can’t have Walsall’s diminishing army of workers hanging on to more of their wages than the bare minimum, can we? Currently the Council has taken action against GP parking, the site operators, who have been forced to lodge an appeal against the actions of the Council. This is due to be heard in October.

Then there are the speed limits around the town. This blogger passed his driving test in November 1965 and for years drove legally around many of Walsall’s roads at 40 MPH, most of those reasonable speed limits have gone and now we have to crawl along wide fast roads at 30 MPH – God knows why. The last few surviving 40 MPH roads are in the process of being turned into crawler lanes too, including the Sutton Road close to my home. Why?

Most traffic accidents on these roads were not down to speed, but driver error. There is one junction on the Sutton Road where a few accidents have taken place by people pulling out of a side road and not taking care to look for oncoming traffic, that could be dealt with by a set of traffic lights, not by reducing the speed limit which no one wanted and many actually objected to. Accidents will still take place at this same junction because Walsall Council, in its ongoing vendetta against drivers, has failed to take notice of the cause of the accidents and decided to implement the wrong solution.

I care for my town, and if anyone with a sack-full of loose change to feed the avaricious mouths of the ever hungry parking machines wishes to venture to Walsall, they will find a decent working Black Country town with some good, long suffering folk, who have a dry sense of humour which is essential if you live and work here. See you in the Lyndon for a pint – if you have any money left from feeding the ‘pay and dismay’ machines outside – no free parking here!

DAY OF RECKONING FOR THE EURO BY GEORGE WEST

George West predicts the day of reckoning for the euro is coming.

The euro was intended to be a currency to bring stability to European countries. Today we see only too plainly that the opposite is the effect as riots, austerity measures and job losses become every day occurrences with worse to come. Will eurozone bail-outs work? Twenty one years after reunification, intra-German transfers don’t seem to be working in Germany Quoting from a German Test-Bed source,the Solidaritatzuschlag tax was instituted in 1990 to finance transfers from West Germany to former East Germany. So far it has raised £180 billion. Have these transfers worked? According to a professor of finance in Dresden “By 2019 former East Germany won’t even reach the standard of living of one of the least prosperous landers (regions) of West Germany. Nowhere in the world can transfer subsidies from prosperous to less prosperous regions make structurally weak regions successful”. Germany has a single language, a single work ethic, a single nation wide currency, a single history, highly regarded education systems etc but intra-German subsidies appear not to be working. Neither have regional subsidies worked in Italy.

The chances of East Germany trading its way out of relative poverty, two decades after abandoning its own currency are slim. So are those of Greece and others for so long as they remain trapped in the euro

What is the lesson for the UK where we are having to help bail out other countries despite the UK having stayed out of the euro? Our financial problems are compounded by being a member of the EU which costs us dearly year after year, where less than half the money we send to Brussels comes back for regional funding of projects and where down the bottom of the financial “money for the boys” ladder, the Leicester Mercury announces the closure of local quango Prospect, entirely funded by us taxpayers at more than a million pounds each year to run, a Chief Executive said to be on a salary of £120,000 and chairman earning £40,000 part time. What is the subsidy therefore per job created by Prospect in its lifetime I wonder?

The day of reckoning is approaching for the euro and for its offspring regional funding extravagances in this country. Print as much money as you like, a fundamental problem remains in that from its outset a single euro currency has led us predictably into a mess of social unrest, strikes, job losses and worse. It was from the outset a political tool for EU “Ever closer union” whether we wanted it or not. It is good money chasing bad all over Europe and time for the merry –go -round to stop to return to the valid reasons why each country originally exerted its own border control through having its own currency.

George West is an active member and President of the Campaign for an Independent Britain.

Monday, 1 August 2011

BRITISH PASSPORT HOLDERS ONLY

The main reason there has been no blogging on this site for the last week is due to yours truly taking a week’s break. Although Mrs B and I did not travel any further than sunny Walsall, including the bar of the Lyndon House Hotel, it has been a busy week due to dog sitting for family members who did manage to get away to foreign climes.

Thinking of the travels of my brother and his family, while we looked after their pooches, much to the disgust of Danny, one of our two cats, where are Britain’s borders? What a silly question, most may reply; they are around our coastlines of course. Many would say there are borders at our airport, also our ports where ferries from the Continent offload passengers – and not to forget the Eurostar train terminal.

The next time you return to dear old Blighty after a trip abroad, take a look at the signs which will give you a hint. There are signs for EU passport holders directing them to pass one way, while other signs direct non-EU passport holders to go to a different passport check in. In other words thanks to John Major signing the Maastricht Treaty, he made us all EU citizens and our real borders are the outer perimeters of the EU.

This means our borders in the far corners of the EU are controlled by some of the old Eastern Block nations such as Bulgaria and Romania, who may not be so choosy who they let through. One in the EU people have pretty much free passage to roam and settle anywhere – a lot head for the UK for the benefits of our easy going benefits system and free NHS, neither of which they have contributed to.

This then brings us to the possibility of Turkey joining the EU, if it does join our borders will mean we will have borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran – not the most friendliest of places.

The risks posed should Turkey join the EU are immense, our safety as a nation will be seriously impaired and our right to control who we allow to come and stay in the UK, which is already seriously undermined due to EU membership, reduced even further.

Once in the EU there will, without doubt, be a massive influx into both the UK and Germany of Turkish people as well, not just those who will walk out of other nations with lax border controls. You only have to take a look at the map (click on to enlarge) to see the problem. Turkish membership of the EU puts several hotspots, as well as access from Asia and North Africa, within easy reach of those prepared to travel overland to enter Europe via Turkey.

If the UK wants to retain its borders we should leave the EU and have proper border controls and not rely on others far away to protect us. The signs at our airports and ferry terminals should read: ‘UK passport holders only’ and ‘EU and other none EU passport holders’, that should sort it. We can leave the EU to sort out Turkey and the mess of its own creation.