A theological look at Bachmann in overdrive
4 hours ago
Switzerland was slammed as the "black sheep" of Europe on Monday after voters endorsed a far-right push to automatically expel foreign residents convicted of certain crimes.Slammed by whom, precisely? Well there is the Austrian news website, which accused the Swiss of voting against foreigners. Well, no, not exactly. The Swiss have no intention of deporting foreigners who live and work in their country. They do not, however, seem to like foreigners who go to their country and commit serious crimes. Shocking of them, I know, and against international law, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Really? International law says you must tolerate anyone and everyone who happens to want to commit murder or large-scale robbery or rape in your country?
Human rights groups slammed the result, with Amnesty International saying the approval of this plan represents a ''dark day for human rights in Switzerland.''Of course, third or fourth generation immigrants are not exactly immigrants but that, presumably, will be clarified in the legislation that has to follow the referendum. In the meantime, let us for a moment consider what all these tranzis are saying. They are calling on the Swiss government to ignore the people's vote in the name of some nebulous concept of international human rights. They are also saying that it is one's inalienable human right to go to another country and commit serious crimes there. Really?
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR), a Brussels-based umbrella organisation, said the vote is the "result of a xenophobic and discriminatory campaign launched by the populist Swiss People's Party, making dangerous amalgams between immigration and criminality."
A "second-class" category of Swiss residents will emerge, ENAR warns, which would be a "clear breach of the fundamental human rights principle of equality before the law."
The group also noted it was not clear where the limit would be set - first, second or even third or fourth generation immigrants.
Amnesty’s reasoning is that deportations could cause convicts to be sent back to countries where they could face persecution. But this is a ridiculous argument: no one is forcing visitors to Switzerland to commit offences. If people don’t want to be sent back home, why don’t they just desist from rape, robbery, murder and fraud?Obviously because even to make such a suggestion is to infringe their human rights.
Meanwhile, a proposal to impose a minimum tax on Switzerland's wealthiest citizens, which was also put for vote on Sunday, was rejected with 58.5 percent.
"The bad mood hits foreigners but not the rich," ran the headline in Der Bund of Bern. The Yes to the People's Party initiative showed that "questions of Swiss identity and culture, triggered by rapidly growing social change and migration, bother Swiss people like virtually nothing else."
I recently spoke at length about Islamic gender and religious apartheid in the Arab and non-Arab Muslim world. This was, perhaps, the first time that anyone had ever focused on this subject at this distinguished Ivy League university.One can, of course, argue about those Settlements but it is perplexing that a reasonably intelligent (one assumes) and well-meaning young man should consider the issue to be more important that the absence of freedom and the absence of women's rights in the Middle East. Yet he is not alone either in not ever bothering to hear that side of the story or in dismissing it as soon as he has heard it. I can only suppose that deep in his heart this young man (and many others like him) do not think such matters are of any importance when it applies to Arabs or Iranians (who, as it happens, do not mind being called Persians). Because they are not like us, see?
I described both the level of poverty and illiteracy in the Arab and Muslim world and the absence of a free press, independent judiciary, human rights, and of the increasingly savage persecution of women, infidels, dissidents and homosexuals; about the prisons teeming with thousands of Muslim political prisoners who had been kidnapped and were now being tortured for “thought crimes.”
I described a culture in which women were arrested, whipped, gang-raped, and then either hung or stoned to death for alleging rape or for daring to leave dangerously abusive husbands; a culture that has spawned death-eating terrorists who have exposed Muslim and Arab civilians to permanent, bloody danger; and about how these cunning, brazen jihadists have now expanded their global reach and unleashed their bombs and suicide killers against the entire world.
I argued that, in effect, the demonization of Israel by the media, by governments, international bodies, human rights organizations, and university professors allowed the world to self-righteously bypass, minimize, avoid, utterly disappear Muslim-on-Muslim and Muslim-on-infidel tyranny and torture. Scapegoating Israel is what focuses attention away from the larger suffering in the Middle East and in the Muslim world in general.
And then a young, well-spoken, earnest, curly-headed college student asked this question: “You are talking about diverting attention away from the real issues, right? But, if we focus on the absence of freedom or the absence of women’s rights in the Middle East won’t that divert our attention away from the Settlement issue?”
The criminality of self-righteous WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange aside, the State Department or other government nincompoops who authored the leaked documents and emails calling Sarkozy a “naked emperor,” etc., deserve to be terminated for extreme doofuss-ness. These days, a school child knows that what you write digitally is forever indelible.Absolutely right. Not that it matters. There seems very little in those leaks that a number of people with expertise had not worked out already though they might not have known the exact vocabulary used. Read the whole piece.
If you have something nasty to say, do it over the water cooler or at a cocktail party, where you can deny you ever said it. Even write it down, if you must, on the back of a business card or scrap of note paper. They can be burned or flushed down the toilet. But for heaven’s sake don’t type it into a computer. There are no shredders for emails and Word docs. Are these people nitwits or do they have the impulse control of a two year old?
Revised plans for next year's euro-budget have been unveiled - sticking to a 2.9% increase demanded by EU ministers in the face of continuing efforts by MEPs to win a 6% rise.We shall see if the MEPs will demand a bigger concession.
But the European Commission insisted there were new concessions to MEPs in its latest proposals, in the form of a "contingency fund" of up to 3.5 billion euro (£3 billion) in the event of "unforeseen circumstances".
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the accumulated deficits or surpluses in the United Kingdom's trade with the other European Union countries between 2000 and 2009 in (a) manufactured goods, (b) services, and (c) goods and services.The answer came via the Minister from the Director of the Office of National Statistics.
The cumulative trade deficit for total goods with the European Union member states over the period 2000 to 2009 was £283.4 billion. Within this, the cumulative trade deficit for total manufactured goods with the European Union member states over the period 2000 to 2009 was £279.7 billion.One cannot help wondering whether some other arrangement for trade might not be more beneficial to the country.
The cumulative trade surplus for services with the European Union member states over the period 2000 to 2009 was £23.2 billion.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the speech by European Union Council President, Mr Van Rompuy, on 9 November concerning euro-scepticism and member states' ability to survive as independent entities.Since Van Rompuy had been talking the most appalling rubbish, suggesting that euroscepticism was responsible for all the world's evils since that unfortunate encounter between Eve, the serpent and whatever fruit there was on the tree (Adam came into the story later, mostly in order to blame Eve for all the problems, which just goes to show that he did not know what Van Rompuy knows) HMG might think of some response or reaction.
In his Berlin speech, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, gave his view of the challenges facing the EU over the next decade.The second sentence of David Lidington's comment is, as we all know, an outright lie. The first one is merely drivel.
My honourable friend, David Lidington, the Minister for Europe, expressed the Government's position in his speech on 12 July, stating that this Government believe that:
"Our common interests are served when the nations of the EU use their collective weight in the world to promote our shared interests and shared value. The Government have made clear in the coalition agreement that they will not consent to the transfer of further competences or powers from the United Kingdom to the EU".
As most of you already know, nearly a year ago I was made aware that “hate speech” charges might be filed against me — I had “denigrated religious teachings” by giving one of my public lectures on Islam.She also talks about the likely fate of free speech in the EU and its Member States under a combination of the Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law, a noxious document if ever there was one and the European Arrest Warrant.
The possibility of my prosecution was not communicated to me directly, but through articles in the press.
It was not until last month that a court date was set for my case. Once again, I had to discover this fact in the press — in NEWS, the same left-wing newspaper that brought the original complaint against me. I was not officially notified of my hearing date until several days later.
The evidence used against me this past week was a transcript of a tape of my lecture, provided to the court by the same socialist newspaper. It included words that were not spoken by me, and words that were not spoken in public, which therefore were not a violation of the law.
But my case is not really about the law. It is a political trial, and like the trials of Geert Wilders and Jussi Halla-aho, it is intended to silence someone who speaks out against the barbaric nature of sharia law.
This year, on October 21, 2010, Muslims persuaded UNESCO to declare that Rachel’s Tomb is really a mosque. Before then, it was widely assumed that Rachel’s Tomb was most definitely a Jewish holy site. This revisionist counter-claim originated only in 1996.Well, now, the first step is to shut down UNESCO.
Closing quangos or primary care trusts and transferring their work to departments and doctors’ practices respectively will achieve nothing unless the work itself is also eliminated. A dead giveaway is the phrase “working with”. The people being worked with may well be grateful not to be worked with. The Eastern Strategic Health Authority claims to “work with” 46 other NHS bodies.However, the somewhat laboured metaphor of the three brown envelopes and new management in some private firm or other is too long and not entirely accurate. In fact, one cannot help wondering how much experience Tim Ambler has had in the business part of the private sector.
Rolling back government should be about reducing what government does first and worrying about headcount and savings second.
The leaders of the Coalition are exceptionally bright and talented but, Ken Clark aside, have little relevant experience from commerce or government.Just what evidence is there that they are exceptionally bright and talented if they have no experience in anything of any importance?
Anja Shortland, who studies piracy at the German Institute for Economic Research said that for a Somali pirate to be tried in the West "might be the ultimate prize rather than a deterrent."I am not sure about this suggestion that this is the first pirate trial in Germany for 400 years. Back then there was no Germany though, obviously, there was an Ottoman Empire.
"Spending three, five, even seven years in a European or American jail followed by political asylum - you can't do much better as a Somali man," she said.
Claims of torture and abuse by members of the Palestinian security forces are not new. There has, however, been a sharp rise in reported cases, leading Human Rights Watch to remark last month that “reports of torture by Palestinian security forces keep rolling in”. The New York-based organisation also bemoaned the “rampant impunity” of officers allegedly involved in the abuses.Hmmm. It seems that Israel and the West are still at the bottom of this problem. By the way, can we have a report about how Hamas deals with its opponents in Gaza?
Many analysts and observers fear that life in the west Bank is taking on an increasingly authoritarian hue. “I feel real concern that we are reaching the level of a police state,” says Shawan Jabarin, the director of al-Haq, a Ramallah-based human rights group.
It is a concern shared by Randa Siniora, the director of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, the ombudsman responsible for processing complaints against Palestinian officials. Her commission received more complaints about torture in the west Bank in October than in any month since mid- 2009. “We are looking at a very gloomy situation,” she said. “I am afraid that this [problem of torture and abuse] will become systematic.”
Groups such as al-Haq, which once only documented human rights abuses by Israeli authorities, say they are spending an increasing amount of time on cases in which Palestinians abuse their fellow countrymen.
The deterioration is linked closely to a crackdown on Islamist activists and sympathisers after a deadly attack on Jewish West Bank settlers by Hamas gunmen in August. In an attempt to counter the renewed threat from Hamas, and keen to prove the PA capable of dealing forcefully with its rival, the authority’s General Intelligence and Preventive Security units rounded up more than 700 suspects.
Britain's Tory Party is popular with nearly all American conservatives at the moment. Modernizing Republicans like the ways in which David Cameron changed the UK Tories, dragging them away from 'old-fashioned' views on candidate selection, the environment and lifestyle diversity. More traditional Republicans are more impressed with David Cameron now that he's in 10 Downing Street. They like his government's welfare reform programme, his emphasis on school choice and, most of all, they admire his plan to eradicate Gordon Brown's deficit.You mean they like the way candidate selection has been centralized thus ensuring that no grass-roots movement in any locality could have an influence? They like the way Big Society ideas are imposed through bigger government? They like the way the deficit keeps growing and the figures are more horrifying with every month, with foreign aid increasing and more going to the European Union? Do they? Or do they simply not know or care what is going on in Britain? I wouldn't blame them if they did not.
North Sea fishermen are throwing away up to half of all the fish they catch every year in what campaigners say is a chronic waste of food.How long has this madness been going on? How many years have we been campaigning? I have lost count but this time of the year the media wakes up to the "problem". The Fisheries Council is coming and the Total Allowed Catch (TAC) for next year will be set. So, we get very excited and talk about the need to reform the Common Fisheries Policy, which requires a qualified majority vote for every change. Then everybody goes quiet for a year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider that, where projects in the United Kingdom are undertaken by the European Union and its logo is on display, a Union Jack together with the message "Matching funds supplied by Her Majesty's Government" should also be displayed when appropriate.This harks back to the thorny problem of who should show the EU insignia and in which circumstances as defined by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1828/2006. Needless to say, HMG has not shown itself to be particularly open-minded on the subject. Said Lord Sassoon:
The Government have no plans to mandate the display of such information on projects in the UK undertaken by the European Union.After all, why would anybody want to know the details of that famous EU "largesse"?
Respondents were asked how worried they were about certain perceived food risks such as pesticides, food poisoning, and hormones in meat. British respondents were less worried about all of these perceived risks than their European counterparts but were most concerned about the welfare of farmed animals and the quality and freshness of food.Of course that will not stop the media from running more scare stories but, at least, ever fewer people pay attention. By the way, the Food Standards Agency is not being abolished. I thought you might like to be reminded of that.
UK respondents were more worried about the economic crises negatively affecting their lives than concerned that the food they personally eat could possibly damage their health. Only 29% of UK respondents thought that food could possibly damage their health as opposed to 48% in the rest of the EU. UK consumers were also less likely to permanently change their eating habits after hearing that a type of food was unsafe following media stories (only 7% in the UK compared to 11% in Europe).
That this House takes note of European Union Documents (a) 9433/10, Commission Communication on reinforcing economic policy co-ordination, (b) 11807/10, Commission Communication on enhancing economic policy co-ordination for stability, growth and jobs - tools for stronger EU economic governance, (c) 14496/10, Proposal for a Council Regulation (EU) amending Regulation (EC) No. 1467/97 on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure, (d) 14497/10, Proposal for a Council Directive on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States, (e) 14498/10, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the effective enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area, (f) 14512/10, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on enforcement measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area, (g) 14515/10, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances, and (h) 14520/10, Proposal for a Regulation of the15 European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No. 1466/97 on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and co-ordination of economic policies; notes the Report from the Task Force on Economic Governance in the European Union; notes with approval that budgetary and fiscal information will continue to be presented to Parliament before being given to EU20 institutions; and approves the Government's position, as endorsed by the Task Force that any sanctions proposed should not apply to the United Kingdom in consideration of Protocol 15 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.Together these various documents will hand over huge amounts of power to the EU but, presumably, none of it will be "significant" enough to put to a referendum. In fact, these documents are what we have now learnt to call in a short-hand Economic Governance.
And in Vienna, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a housewife and mother is an Austrian diplomat’s daughter who has lived all over the Islamic world, including in Kuwait and Iran. She is facing a criminal trial later in November of this year for, like Geert Wilders, exercising her freedom of speech in order to tell the truth. But when the truth is true truth and it offends Muslims and their infidel supporters, lawsuits are launched.Memo to self, I thought, follow this up. As it happens, I didn't have to. For some reason several people alerted me during the day to the fact that Frau Sabaditsch-Wolff's trial will begin in Vienna on November 23.
A criminal complaint is being filed against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff for “hate speech” under Austrian law, essentially the same thing that Susanne Winter was convicted of early this year.I am not that impressed by the fact that she is the daughter of the diplomat but her ideas as expressed in the interview that follows this introduction are perfectly sensible. She prefers Europe to keep to democratic and liberal standards and dislikes the way women and certain minorities are treated under Sharia. She does not want to see Sharia established in European countries and she is not happy by the vicious personal, misogynistic attacks that the Left aimed at her.
Elisabeth gave a presentation about Islam at an FPÖ-organized seminar, and said some of the usual things that anti-jihad advocates say when they talk about Islam. A left-wing magazine, which had planted someone in the audience, caused charges to be brought against her at the same time as they publicized it in their magazine.
Elisabeth held the controversial Islam Seminar at the FPÖ-political academy. Charges of defamation of a religious group have been filed against the daughter of a diplomat.
You are being accused of Islamophobia. Does this bother you?Here is Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff's English language website.
A phobia is an irrational fear. My worries are not irrational, but justified. One of these days our politicians will have to recognize this fact. People like me are not right-wing xenophobes.
But what are you.
We are people defending the principles of freedom and equality in a secular society. I criticize political Islam and its political manifestations. No democratic country can take this right away from anyone.
Why do critics of Islam nearly always use polemics?
And what [if not polemics] did the article in NEWS use? There are comments about my body, there is ridicule about how I eat. Sexist attacks below the belt against women making unpopular statements are a manifestation of a male-dominated system. There are many critics of Islam. However, it's always women like Brigitte Bardot or Oriana Fallaci who are attacked below the belt.
Leading politicians have sharply criticized your seminars. Are they all members of a male-dominated system?
These politicians do not know the contents of my seminars. All they know are out-of-context quotes from an article in a glossy magazine.
Even so, my Lords, will the Government encourage the BBC to fulfil the single promise that it made in the wake of the Wilson report in 2005, which was to explain to the British people how the institutions of the European Union interact and their effect on British life?Baroness Rawlings's answer appeared to be to a different question:
The European Commission will have a role in this because it is wide-ranging. DG4 is examining whether the merger may result in a loss of effective competition in the market. It must decide by 8 December whether to clear the merger or to proceed to a full second stage of investigation.Exactly what is going on there?
The European Commission said cod stocks in the Kattegat, between Denmark and Sweden, in the Irish Sea, and west of Scotland "are no showing no signs of recovery."Whereas, if Norway were in the EU they would simply have to obey the rules as they will be passed at the Fisheries Ministers' meeting in December. But, of course, there is no difference between our position in the EU and Norway's outside it, as we are told ad nauseam by various europhiliacs.
"The Commission is therefore proposing 50 percent reductions in these total allowable catches," a statement said.
North Sea cod took a hit in 2008 when a greater proportion of the stock was caught than in any year since 1999, while closures and cod-avoidance schemes had failed to protect it and had had little effect on fishing patterns, it said.
As management of cod in the area is co-managed with Norway, the EU hopes to have talks with Oslo on redressing the situation.
68% of the British Public want Britain to demand an immediate reduction in our contribution to the EU Budget.Well, they are not going to get that. Au contraire. Contributions are going up, as we know. The only question is by how much. However, once again, the question of the other 32 per cent arises. Do they not want to reduce our contribution? How very odd.
It's now crystal clear that the majority of British people want the £48 million we send every day to Brussels to be spent here in Britain on vital services. How will Britain feel when an EXTRA £450 million is sent to Brussels next year? Surely David Cameron cannot ignore the will of the British people... it's time he gave us our say on the EU.So, our options are spending taxpayers' money on EU projects or letting the government spend taxpayers' money on wasteful and inefficient projects of the kind that have sapped this country's will to live and prosper. And then we wonder why the Tea Party Movement has no chance of taking off in Britain.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the decision to opt in to the European Investigation Order to which future amendments will be made by qualified majority voting rather than unanimity transfers any power from the United Kingdom to the European Union.What a silly question. As I said above: of course not.
The UK's decision to opt in to the draft directive for a European Investigation Order (EIO) and thereby participate in negotiations which will be subject to qualified majority voting (QMV) does not constitute a transfer of power from the United Kingdom to the European Union. The treaty on the functioning of the European Union provides an appropriate legal base under Title V for the Union to legislate in this area. This is subject to protocol 21 to the treaty providing for the UK to decide to opt in to the proposal. In taking the decision to opt in to this measure a number of factors, including the benefits of participating in the more effective arrangements which the measure proposes and the prospect of achieving the right outcomes for the UK through negotiations, were considered.I wonder if it is true. There seems to be a slight discrepancy between the last paragraph of Baroness Neville-Jones's reply and what she said last time.
Any new measure proposing amendments to the EIO after the current directive has been adopted would be subject to the UK's JHA opt-in and the UK could therefore choose whether or not it wished to participate in any future amended version. The UK will consider these decisions on a case by case basis.
I can further explain that, in line with Article three of Protocol 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union concerning the position of the United Kingdom (and Ireland) in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice, the UK is able to opt in to a draft directive within the three month opt-in period, but that the Government cannot then subsequently reverse this decision (to opt in). This means that the UK will be bound by any text that is agreed after qualified majority voting (QMV) in the Council of Ministers.I am not at all sure that the UK will have an option of not participating in any amended version in the future though, of course, an attempt to form a blocking minority in the QMV vote will always be a possibility. The reality of such a minority is far less of a possibility.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the decision by the European Parliament to increase the 2011 European Union budget by 5.9 per cent will require the specific agreement of Parliament.By Parliament Lord Stodart means the one in Westminster. And here is the answer that explains a couple of things
On 20 October the European Parliament adopted its position in relation to the draft European Union budget for 2011 proposed by the European Commission. It proposed a 5.9 per cent increase in the budget from 2010 levels.In other words, as this blog and EUReferendum keep saying, there is no agreement as yet on next year's annual budget. The conciliation committee is still discussing it. And, secondly, once the EU annual budget is agreed on it will be scrutinized but no "specific parliamentary agreement" will be required. We can scrutinize but we have to accept and pay up.
On 29 October, the Prime Minister and 12 other EU leaders signed a joint letter saying that the European Parliament's proposals "are especially unacceptable at a time when we are having to take difficult decisions at national level to control public expenditure. The Council has proposed an increase in EU budget spending of 2.91 per cent for 2011. We are clear that we cannot accept any more than this". The European Parliament and the Council are now meeting in a conciliation committee to try to reach agreement on a final budget for 2011.
The European Commission's draft budget and the Government's approach to annual budget negotiations are subject to parliamentary scrutiny. This is an important process, enhancing transparency, accountability and the Government's formulation of policy towards these negotiations. The final EU annual budget agreed at the end of the process does not require specific parliamentary agreement.
Are there any improvements compared to previous Annual Reports? Yes, as Mr Vítor Caldeira, President of the European Court of Auditors, says “the estimate for the most likely error in Cohesion spending was significantly lower than in previous years; and, for the budget as a whole, the Court's estimate of error has fallen over recent years”. This reduction outweighed, in its significance and effect on the overall level of regularity, an increase in the estimated error rate in Agriculture and Natural Resources.Here is the Report in full. On pages 11 and 12 you will find the following paragraphs:
IX. In the Court’s opinion, ‘Revenue’, commitments for all policy groups and payments underlying the accounts for the policy groups ‘Economic and financial affairs’ and ‘Administrative and other expenditure’ for the year ended 31 December 2009 in all material respects are legal and regular.By all means, let us give them some more money. And we shall.
X. In the Court’s opinion, payments underlying the accounts for the year ended 31 December 2009 for the policy groups ‘Agriculture and natural resources’, ‘Cohesion’, ‘Research, energy and transport’, ‘External Aid, development and enlargement’ and ‘Education and Citizenship’ are materially affected by error. The supervisory and control systems are partially effective in preventing or detecting and correcting the reimbursement of overstated or ineligible costs.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest estimate of the net cost to the United Kingdom of membership of the European Union.Lord Sassoon gave some figures, which are based on the assumption that the rise in next year's budget will stay at 2.9 per cent, which is bad enough.
My Lords, the UK's net payment to the European Union budget is projected to increase from £3.8 billion in 2009-10 to £8.6 billion in 2014-15. The main reasons are the increase in the size of the budget and the disapplication of the abatement to non-agricultural spending in the new member states. Both were signed up by the previous Government for 2007-13. We are very concerned about those growing contributions, and we are working hard to moderate them.What exactly he means by working hard to moderate them remains a mystery. The rest of the debate was interesting enough to read, particularly Earl Cathcart's contribution:
My Lords, as individuals, I do not believe that any of your Lordships would continue paying good money to the bank which looked after their money, their savings, and perhaps their mortgage, pensions, life policies and investments if the auditors refused to sign off the accounts because of fraud, theft, mismanagement and embezzlement, yet Britain continues to pay good money to Europe, although the auditors have refused to sign off on the accounts for 14 years for those same four reasons. Why do the Government not pay our great contributions to the EU into a bank account in London, draw down on that to make a payment to the British people as necessary and then pay only the net amount to Brussels if and when the auditors are happy to sign off the accounts? That might concentrate a few minds.Naturally, the answer to that is "well, that is quite a good idea but there is nothing we can do about it".
My Lords, is the Minister aware that we run a consistent trade deficit with the EU of about £40 billion a year? Could he say in relation to our net contribution, given the extra £450 million agreed by the Prime Minister at the recent quarterly meeting—or perhaps the £900 million which we will have to pay if the European Parliament has its way—how much we will then be paying?The answers were a little less pertinent:
My Lords, in answer to the first part of the noble Lord’s question, 40 per cent of the UK’s trade goes to Europe, so it is a critical trading partner. On the potential increase of our budget contribution for next year, I should say that it was only thanks to the work of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister that the budget was put on to the agenda of the Council of Ministers and, thanks to the work he did with a number of other member states, the ridiculous proposal of a 6 per cent increase has been thrown out of court. The Council instead discussed the 2.9 per cent increase which we believed to be the absolute upper limit of what should be acceptable for next year.If we keep running a deficit then perhaps that trading relationship is a little less critical than HMG pretends it is. As for the famous victory at the European Council, I hate to disagree with the Noble Minister, but it did not happen. The annual budget, as I keep saying, is still being discussed. Indeed, an interesting article on EUObserver tells us that even if the European Parliament backs down on its demands for an almost 6 per cent increase, there will be hidden payments, which are likely to raise the Budget contributions well above the famous 2.9 per cent (which was not, in any case, Cameron's original aim).
But Ms Jedrzejewska, who is responsible for drafting the Parliament's position on this matter, says that if the Parliament agreed to the 2.9 percent figure, more money would have to be added in "ammended budgets" throughout the course of next year.Can't wait to hear how that will be spun by the Cleggeron Coalition.
"It's not an honest proposal and people who wrote the letter know it will be more in the end. They are just postponing payments," she said.
This tactic – already seen this year with no less than 10 amending budgets – increases the lack of transparency of EU accounts, which only leads to more lack of understanding from EU citizens, she argued.
"On one hand member states are asking us to cut payments for 2011, but on the other they are demanding supplements for 2010," Ms Jedrzejewska said.
Listing the extra expenditures already agreed for next year, she mentioned: compensations for banana producers agreed by EU member states and the World Trade Organisation, which would be worth €80 million; the France-based nuclear fusion project (ITER) project, for which international funding to the tune of €1.5 billion still has to be found; and the new EU diplomatic service which will need at least €34 million extra funds in 2011.
Not included in the draft budget is the humanitarian aid to Pakistan, for which the European Commission has not tabled a figure yet, or extra aid for the Palestinian territories, amounting to some €100 million.
Well bully for Lynas and Brand. But why, pray, do they deserve any credit for reaching conclusions that those of us who aren’t blinkered eco-zealots reached years ago?And, of course, they are still bleating about AGW and getting nice well paid jobs at our expense.
What about the hundreds – perhaps thousands – of starving Zambians who died in the 2002 famine when, thanks to the misinformed campaigning of green activists like Lynas, the Zambian government refused to distribute US foreign aid packages of GM food?
What about all the honest, decent scientists and agricultural engineers and nuclear workers whose career path was stymied as a result of green hysteria?
What about the brown-outs and power shortages and energy insecurity this country is going to suffer as a direct result of the Greenie anti-nuclear hysteria which prevented us replacing our old nuclear power stations?
What ABOUT those millions and millions that Rachel Carson inadvertently massacred with her entirely unfounded claims about the effects of DDT on birdlife?
Green campaigners like Brand and Lynas have not only caused massive damage to the global economy – the biotech and nuclear industry, especially – but they have also almost certainly contributed to numerous deaths in the Third World. And we’re – what? – supposed to cosy up to them now and go: “Well done, lads! You’ve seen the light! Here’s a bung and a nice promo video from your mates at Channel 4?”
As a reminder of how freedoms have eroded in Europe in this age of Islamist terror, a political party that resists Islamization and supports Israel cannot come into existence in broad daylight. So, like the other 50-plus attendees, I learned of the event's time and location only shortly before it took place. For good measure, the organizers operated undercover; the hotel management only knew of a board election for an innocuously named company. Even now, for security reasons, I cannot mention the hotel's name.The party, Die Freiheit, has a number of policies:
Freiheit robustly supports Israel, calling it "the only democratic state in the Middle East. It therefore is the outpost of the Western world in the Arab theater. All democratic countries must show the highest interest in Israel's living in free self-determination and security. We explicitly commit ourselves to Israel's right to exist, which is not open for discussion."Of course, it is known by the MSM as the anti-Islamic party and the concentration of reporting (if there is any) will be on that. But it will be interesting to see whether a new party, dedicated at least partly to the concept of freedom, makes any headway in Germany.
However clear these passages, as well as the rejection of Turkish accession to the European Union, they comprise only about 2 percent of the Basic Program, which applies traditional Western values and policies generally to German political life. Its topics include German peoplehood, direct democracy, the family, education, the workplace, economics, energy, the environment, health, and so on. Offering a wide platform makes good sense, fitting the anti-Islamization program into a full menu of policies.
But ho, ho, ho.Of course, it's never the last laugh, not in democratic politics, no matter what the Left think when they win.
Who's got the last laugh now?
So before the Council started we began building an alliance to take a difference approach and insist on 2.9 per cent.With a great deal of self-satisfaction he says:
I made phone calls to my counterparts in, Sweden, France and Germany amongst others and then continued to press the case during the Council. Twelve other Heads of Government agreed with me. We issued a joint letter which makes clear that a 6% increase is – and I quote – “especially unacceptable at a time when we are having to take difficult decisions at national level to control public expenditure”.
Furthermore, the joint letter goes on to say that “we are clear that we cannot accept any more than” the 2.9% increase being proposed by the Council.
Mr Speaker, let me explain what this means. Either the Council and Parliament now have to agree to 2.9 per cent or there will be deadlock, in which case the EU will have to live on a repeat of last year’s budget settlement handed out in twelfths over the next twelve months an outcome we’d be perfectly content with.
Mr Speaker, if you look at the published Conclusions, language on the budget formed a very prominent part, even though it was never originally on the agenda.Even that would be a matter of opinion but, in any case, he is, once again, giving hostages to fortune. For the Budget does not occupy much or, indeed, any space in the published Conclusions. There is a great deal of discussion of the matter of Economic Governance, on which Mr Cameron is even vaguer than on the subject of the Budget. It is in connection with that little problem that the Conclusions state:
I do think this is an important step forward.
Heads of State or Government stressed that, at the same time as fiscal discipline is reinforced in the European Union, it is essential that the European Union budget and the forthcoming Multi-annual Financial Framework reflect the consolidation efforts being made by Member States to bring deficit and debt onto a more sustainable path. Respecting the role of the different institutions and the need to meet Europe's objectives, the European Council will discuss at its next meeting how to ensure that spending at the European level can make an appropriate contribution to this work.Section II is about the Seoul G20 Summit, Section III is on the Cancun Conference on Climate Change and, apparently, the British Government would like to see binind UN legislation, according to the PM's statement. A couple of sentences about Summits with Third Countries and .... that's it. Budget? What Budget? Well, I did point out that it was not on the Agenda and, in any case, was not for the European Council to discuss.