EU

Davos, all is well?

Davos and the Klondike theory

Davos 2011Davos 2011
Let's put on a brave face. This seems to be the mood of the moment and we have been here before. Prior to the financial collapse of Greece there was only a little local difficulty to deal with; and then there was Ireland. Our Lords and Masters, fresh from their exertions in Davos, tell us all is well. On behalf of France, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said -

Let's not short Europe and let's not short the eurozone, - she said to applause from the business and political leaders attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in this Swiss ski resort.

Is the tide turning?

A little disenchantment with the EU but no real criticism

Sustainable fishing?Sustainable fishing?
Old habits die hard and a lifetime habit of some sections of the MSM is to talk up the EU. In an ideal world the average person would get the facts from a news' source and make up their own mind. However, it's not like that. Honest reporting and unbiased reporting don't always come together. The EU has been a cause to support by both the BBC and the Guardian as well as a number of other subjects now broadly referred to as 'environmental', where hitherto these were simply common sense. The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is now getting a second look due to its mad, bad and stupid discard policy. This is related to quotas for species, so fish from another species, although netted and on the deck of the trawler often have to be thrown back.

The bulk of journalists now working for the BBC and Guardian would be too young to remember the upset caused by Edward Heath giving up the UK's fishing grounds. So to them the EU has been nothing but good; I know of several graduates who while at university have been told that the EU has 'prevented wars'. I know of one who tried to suggest that NATO played a role here and was given a very hard time by the lecturer; but such distortion no longer seems shocking following the University of East Anglia's climate research malpractice.

Is Nick Clegg going home?

Failure rewarded, again

A welcome awaits? A welcome awaits?
What is the point of the EU? A simple question you may think, but it all depends who you are speaking to as to the answer you get. Politicians such as Neil Kinnock and Peter Mandelson could give you an answer and it would explain how it saved them from the scrapheap for, as an employer of the rejects of democracy, the EU has an impressive track record. This is one of the reasons why the political class love the EU so much. In the UK you start with being interested in politics at university, hoping to 'get noticed'. You will certainly stand a good chance of being indoctrinated into the 'benefits' of the EU by the teaching staff and syllabus content. Then there are student exchange programmes, what fun, study abroad etc. Then if it all works out well you could work for an MP.

What is the role of government?

Other than to make an arse of itself!

Sacha Baron Cohen,  seems a nice sort of chap. But is he a Staines  resident?Sacha Baron Cohen, seems a nice sort of chap. But is he a Staines resident?
Just now the role of our government seems in doubt. The UK will now have to give the right to vote to prisoners in UK jails. Opinion polls, (for what they are worth!) suggest this is not popular. Thus, had this been in a manifesto it would have been a vote loser. It has come to pass due, initially, to the campaign of a single person being given a wider and more sympathetic hearing. The UK government has neither debated or voted on this matter. So government has been ignored. But then our government often ignores the public.

The Anglo French agreement to share aircraft carriers is not popular either. Likewise the 'victory' that David Cameron has credited himself with regarding the EU budget is seen by the public as nothing of the sort. All three of these things have roots in either the EU or European/EU related areas and will sap the coalition's approval rating in time. But then there are some things that government should ignore and local government, in the form of the Surrey borough of Spelthorne, should ignore Sacha Baron Cohen.

Very loud!

But who is listening and taking notice?

Big noise, big problem, simple solution?Big noise, big problem, simple solution?
The noise is deafening, there's so much upset about the politics of the moment. David Cameron's attempts to reform Housing Benefit have, along with the hope of doing the right thing at the EU budget talks, formed a manic duet; and that's this week. Last week the big noise was the proposed Immigration Cap. Alas for the coalition all of these topics are rooted in EU related problems. This is so annoying as the EU was supposed to be a 'done and dusted subject'. It was supposed to go away and leave them to get on on with receiving the adulation of a grateful public happy with the outcomes of their constant efforts on the nation's behalf. These three things: Housing Benefit (HB), the EU budget (EUb) and the Immigration Cap (IC) are related and not just by their decibels and date.

The relationship is based on immigration, economics and welfare and 'fairness'. It will take a while for the heat generated by the HB proposals to turn into light. But even at this early stage common sense tells us that the present way of dealing with HB is unsustainable. Change had to come because we could not economically afford to continue with the current system. While common feeling suggests that when the spotlight falls on the high level levels of immigration into our cities, especially London, this too is not sustainable.

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