December 2008

The same old problem

Franco-German motor

Franco German alliance in colour Franco German alliance in colour
The metaphor to describe the inner workings of the EU and where it gets most of its motive power, the Franco-German motor or, the Franco-German alliance, is common enough. So is the criticism of it. In the Economist is a list of complaints about the way the EU is run and written from the point of view of the old Eastern Europe.

Complaints of this sort are a ritual and we can either conclude that they will go on forever, as some hope the EU will, or that one day the EU will fall apart just like the old Soviet Empire; which, as we are talking about the old Eastern Europe, takes us full circle.

ContactPoint - protect your child.

Upholding libertyUpholding liberty
Possibly, and no doubt very quietly, next month a huge database containing many details on 11 million children will begin to function. ContactPoint was set up following the Lamming enquiry into the murder of Victoria Climbié. It is a sad legacy.

Even the Guardian is scathing about the costs, risks and bureaucracy. The estimated number of adults having access to the register ranges from 330,000 to one million. Parents are largely unaware of the database and are unable to remove their child from the register. However, they can apply to 'shield' their child. Kensington and Chelsea lead the way:

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is launching a publicity campaign to let families know how much information on them will be held by ContactPoint. In defiance of Government guidance, it will tell them they can have details kept from the estimated one million officials who would otherwise be allowed to access them. If parents around the country decide to have their records shielded, it risks undermining the effectiveness of ContactPoint as a way for authorities to share information on England's 11 million children.

Shielding may be necessary to ensure the safety of children of celebrities or well-known people. What is good for celebrities is good for your child. I should contact your Local Authority as soon as possible.

Happy Christmas

I Can't Go Back To Savoury Now

Something to ponder over the Christmas dinner. Our message to the nation.

EU continues to (illegally) appease Iran

Archived Stop Press article

Burkha Cops IranBurkha Cops Iran

In Sunday's Telegraph Christopher Booker highlighted the EU's continued outlawing of Iranian opposition group, the People's Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI), despite an EU court ruling that the ban is "unlawful". The UK, which first called for the group to be banned, has been forced to reverse its decision by a High Court ruling. However, the EU has continued to enforce its ban, defying an EU Court of First Instance ruling.

Booker argued, "If the politicians who run the European Union were found to be acting repeatedly in gross breach of their own law, to appease one of the nastiest regimes in the world...might this not be thought worthy of some attention?"

However, are we all so sure that the PMOI is such a decent peaceful organisation?
google PMOI no direct link

Labour one, Tories nil.

Archived Stop Press article

get some soonget some soon

The National Grid no less tells us something many of us have known for some time, namely that we shall have blackouts by 2015 unless more power stations are built. Strangely it is Ed Miliband, the Climate Change and Energy Secretary who is hinting at a sensible decision, namely that he has ruled out banning the construction of coal-fired power stations pending the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The Conservatives do not agree with this and have no sensible energy policy, no mention as to how they will introduce CCS within seven years and what they will do otherwise apart from covering the UK with 100,000 windmills.

The British Wind Energy Association, BWEA, had previously estimated that electricity from wind turbines 'displaces' 860 grams of carbon dioxide emissions for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated. Now it has revised that figure to 430 grams following discussions with the Advertising Standards Authority. Experts had calculated that 50,000 wind turbines would be needed to generate 15% of Britain's electricity, to help the Government to meet the EU target for a 20% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2020. This new CO2 estimate would double the number of turbines needed.

Match report

Who will be relegated?

In the post - An interesting match 12th December 2008, we wrote about the tension between the UK and Germany over the way out of the current fiscal crisis and started off with a reference to the 1966 World Cup. Those of you who know their football will be aware that the match went into extra time. So much has be written in the last few days about the Anglo German spat since the original post it seemed sensible to allow more time to play on. I hope you like the final result and to make it easier to read the post Extra time 16th December 2008 should be read after An interesting match, all clear? .Then play on and be grateful I did not mention seagulls and trawlers!

Royal Mail - bye bye

Soon to be yellow?Soon to be yellow?Labour is beginning the privatisation of the Royal Mail by selling a share of the network to a foreign private postal company. This has been announced by our unelected Business Secretary on behalf of our unelected Prime Minister. EU governments are phasing in competition for postal deliveries between 2011 and 2013, forcing Britain to drop the monopoly enjoyed by the Royal Mail. See Bloomberg. The £7 billion pension deficit can, however, be nationalised.

The Conservatives are in agreement with siphoning some of the most profitable deliveries from the 360-year-old Royal Mail, which has 200,000 employees and 8 billion pounds a year in revenue.

Brown’s options are constrained by his 2005 election pledge to keep the Royal Mail in government hands and by EU competition rules that forbid him from handing cash to the institution. (This despite the fact that our unelected European commission seems to have thrown competition rules out as a result of the credit crunch.)

EU Referendum tells us what the mainstream media fails to mention:

The real objective however - as always - is entirely political. The plan is to destroy national services, those with a unique national identity, replacing them with cross-border entities which owe nothing to any particular country. Then, in the fullness of time, when the "service" is partly or mainly "trans-national", the EU steps in with a proposal to regulate on a cross-border basis and creates an EU authority with full powers to dictate the rules.

Extra time

The fans were delirious

The boot goes in The boot goes in
The debate, if you can call it that, on what used to be known as global warming is confused. So we have the polar ice cap and various ice shelves shrinking at a rate never seen before while, at the same time, the coldest weather since records began is in full spate elsewhere. It's no good arguing or even reading up on this as you will almost certainly be reading the wrong sort of text. Far better to shift the goal posts and call it climate change then, whatever comes along can be both a vindication and condemnation of any view point you wish to hold. So it is with the economic crisis.

Spiteful Smith

Archived Stop Press article

Zimbabwean childrenZimbabwean children
How mean can she get? Not only is Jacqui Smith destroying our civil liberties by issuing ID cards and trying to put us all on the National Identity Register but she has been part of the government that has allowed totally unrestricted immigration, a government that hasn't a clue as to who comes into or leaves the country and leaves asylum seekers in limbo for years. A government that positively encourages a separate society for Muslims and issues special visas for non-English speaking Imams.
This is the woman that now, when hundreds of Zimbabweans are dying of cholera and thousands are infected with cholera and dying from malnutrition, issues spiteful press releases saying that Zimbabweans are getting false visas and coming to the UK illegally(only the ones who are well fed should be refused, as they no doubt belong to Zanu PF). But surely we should be welcoming these gentle people and not worrying about illegal immigration. It's never worried this government before when the result was very cheap labour. At least this government could table a motion about crimes against humanity in the UN as was done with Sudan.

Power deficit

candle powercandle power

Today President Sarkozy claimed a historic climate deal. As France has a lot of nuclear power the lights in France will probably stay on but, here in the UK, things are looking glum. Two Westminster committees give contradictory information and our Department of Energy and Climate Change meekly follows the EU. They can't all be right.

In July 2008 The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), chairman Tim Yeo, Conservative MP, told the government that it must set a deadline for coal-fired power stations to install technology massively to cut their emissions, or they must be shut down. "Urgent and ambitious" steps were needed to develop measures to capture and store underground the carbon produced by burning fossil fuels.

Yet, carbon capture is not commercially available and it is estimated would add about £1 billion to the cost of every new plant.