Wednesday, December 21

Blair gives Farage a bruising over EU budget taunts

Prime Minister Tony Blair clashed with UK Independence Party (UKIP) members of the European Parliament, yesterday in a debate rounding up the UK's six month presidency of the EU.
Blair lambasted UKIP Leader Nigel Farage who criticised Blair's efforts to revitalise the EU budget, telling him: "This is 2005, not 1945. We are not fighting each other any more!"
UKIP's Nigel Farage said Mr Blair was "outplayed and outclassed" by France's Jacques Chirac in budget negotiations.
In his two minute address to Blair, Farage was barely to be heard as he had to overcome heckles and jeers from fellow MEPs.
But Mr Blair said the deal between the EU's 25 member states had been the best possible "in the circumstances".
In the heated debate Farage and his UKIP colleagues, sat at their places in the European Parliament with union jack flags on thier desks, claiming they represent the majority of theBritish public. These were comments which incised the Prime Minister who said that although Mr Farage and colleagues "sit with our country's flag, you do not represent our country's interest".
Farage, also went on to say that budget negotiations had been "game, set and match to President Chirac", adding that Mr Blair had "been outclassed and outplayed at every turn".
"We are isolated and alone in the European Union. We are completely alone,"
Last weekend Mr Blair brokered an agreement between member states for the EU's next seven-year budget. It will see £1bn a year cut from the UK's rebate.
Mr Blair said there were "people who say it [the overall budget] should be lower, there are people who say it should be higher but I think, and we thought as the heads of government, that it represented a fair settlement for the present time".
He added that "without it, there wouldn't be the certainty for countries - particularly these new accession countries - to plan ahead for the future".
Members of the European Parliament will have to give their approval to the deal next year, and they have already demanded a much bigger budget.
The agreement, reached in Brussels early on Saturday, includes an EU commitment to review farm spending in 2008.

Source: BBC, European Parliament minutes

Why the Tories should leave the EPP by Nigel Farage

Letter to the Independent by UKIP Leader in the European Parliament Nigel Farage MEP.

"In 2004 the Conservative MEPs negotiated a membership deal where almost half of their information budget is given to the federalists. This money has been used to campaign for the introduction of the euro and the EU constitution; actions at odds with grassroots Tory opinion, and apparently the new leader of the party… If, as he claims, David Cameron really wants to be 'consistent' he should leave the EPP before the end of the year, to halt a further €700,000 being transferred to causes his party claims it opposes…Mr Cameron would be welcome to talk to our own Independence/Democracy Group, which takes less than a fifth of its members' money and campaigns against the EU constitution"

Source: The Independent 20 December 2005

Kilroy dissolusioned with the European Parliament

Hugh Muir diary column in the Guardian, p. 25:

The Diary seeks word on the progress of the broadcaster, Muslim-baiter and all-round visionary Robert Kilroy-Silk. Just as Mr Deeds went to Washington, you will recall that our hero was swept into the European parliament last year on a tide of enthusiasm from Eurosceptics and devotees of daytime television…Brussels has become a lonely place; so much so that our man is apparently wondering already whether he might not better serve the electors of East Midlands by returning to the telly. We are told the process of developing an exciting new broadcasting venture for him is already under way. "It is fair to say he is disillusioned with the European parliament," said one confidant."

Source: The Guardian, December 21st 2005

Wednesday, December 14

Will they or wont they....? The story of the Tories and UKIP.

The Conservative leadership battle has been fought and won in Westminster, but David Cameron's victory is still the cause of great uproar in the European Parliament.
In the recent Tory leadership battle Cameron pledged to take Tory MEPs out of the European People's Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament, where they sit with other centre right parties from all over the EU.
Dissatisfied with how business is being done in the European Parliament, Cameron has vowed to establish a new more hard lined right wing grouping of Tory MEPs and any other Eurosceptics.
This has been the cause of great dissatisfaction with the majority of Conservative MEPs as many hold positions of influence within the EPP group and the Parliament, which they would be set to lose under Cameron's plans.
All this is of course music to the ears of UKIP leader in the European Parliament Nigel Farage.It is rumoured Farage is flirting with seven rebel Tory MEPs in an attempt to lure them away from the EPP and bring them over to the UKIP benches.
These are most likely to be the seven Tory MEPs who voted against Conservative Leader in the European Parliament, Timothy Kirkhope who faced a leadership challenge from his Euro sceptic Tory colleague Chris Heaton Harris MEP last week.
However, most Conservative MEPs are ready to defy Cameron's orders to withdraw from the EPP group.
Earlier this week one of Cameron's former leadership rivals, Kenneth Clarke, accused him of taking a "head-banging" approach to Europe warning him off a possible new alliance with the likes of UKIP.
He told the BBC Politics Show that he feared Mr Cameron was too committed to the plan, and warned that "waltzing off" looking for new "ultra-nationalist" allies would be a disastrous way for the leader to announce himself on the world stage.
Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson also criticised Cameron's plan this week, saying that
Tory MEPS would have no alternative but to sit with "a ragbag of fascists and outcasts", again referring to the likes of UKIP.

Sunday, December 11

UKIP disregard the environment

A couple of weeks ago, Labour MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, Richard Corbett wrote a blog entry on his web site criticising the fact that UKIP don't have a single representative on the Environment Committee in the European Parliament a committee which presides over crucial pieces of legislation which have great effects on British interests.

A week or so later, Richard Corbett received an undated letter on blank notepaper with no address, but which appears to have come from UKIP MEP Tom Wise. It complains that his blog entry was inaccurate - in fact, "based entirely on incorrect information".

Richard takes up the rest of the story:

"I found this rather odd. As I wrote at the time, my claim was based on an official publication of the European Parliament Information Office in London on the work of the Environment committee. This publication gives a full list of UK members and I observed that there are no fewer than 13 members from the three main parties, plus the Greens, Plaid Cymru and even Sinn Fein - but not a single member from UKIP.

However, I now find that since this booklet was published (only three months ago), UKIP has taken measures to ensure that there is now one UKIP member on the relevant committee - still not a full member, but a substitute - namely Mr Wise. No doubt this is as a result of the embarrassment caused by Parliament’s publication - the timing is too significant to be regarded as a coincidence.

However, all is still not entirely well. I also note that, according to the minutes of the Environment Committee placed on Parliament’s web site Mr Wise has not attended a single meeting of the committee, despite having put himself forward as a substitute member! (Unless, again, he has done so very recently, since the most recently available minutes.)

Any joy I may have in seeing UKIP MEPs finally beginning to do some work in this Parliament by taking up a place on a committee is somewhat tempered by the fact that this membership appears not to be an active one!

I have written back to Mr Wise, clarifying this and suggesting that he withdraws his allegations about how "misleading" he finds my blog entry. In fact, I rather think it is his protestations that more accurately fall under the category of "misleading"!

Source: Richard Corbett MEP blog spot

Tuesday, December 6

Bloom feels vindicated for sexist comments

Godfrey Bloom, who last year made the infamous comment "No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age" claims that he has been vindicated by the BBC.
Bloom believes a recent report conducted by the BBC "The Money Programme," justifies his outrageous comments. The report claims that 30,000 women take time out from their jobs because of pregnancy, and up to 200,000 could face discrimination.
Bloom said: "Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy - they face five times the regulatory costs as big businesses. Is there any wonder that many feel that they have no option but to discriminate?”
Bloom's critics last July included Glenys Kinnock MEP, who said: "We know UKIP are Neanderthal in their attitudes, but it is absolutely terrifying that Mr Bloom can fly in the face of what we have worked and fought for, to establish equal opportunities and rights for women."
The leader of the Party of European Socialists, Poul Nyrup Rassmussen MEP, said at the time that Mr Bloom's remarks were "outrageous" and "absolutely unacceptable".
However Bloom recently hit back saying: "I was hounded for telling the truth about the realities of small business. UKIP have now been raising this issue consistently in the European Parliament for over a year."
"I am very glad that the BBC will air this programme and vindicated by what I felt was an honest view."

Source: UKIP

More jobs for the boys, as UKIP appoint new party Chairman

UKIP has appointed a new party Chairman to replace Jeffrey Titford MEP. Mr David Campbell Bannerman, 45, a long time acquaintance of UKIP leader Roger Knapman, and former Tory election candidate will take up his post immediately. Bannerman was recently a public relations executive who became Head of Communications for United News & Media plc in 2000. Formerly Bannerman was Special Advisor to Sir Patrick Mayhew from 1996-1997 before joining UKIP in 2002. His great uncle was Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman the Liberal Prime Minister between 1905 and 1908 UKIP Leader, Roger Knapman said that he "looked forward to working with David. David is a man with great political experience, with much energy and conviction, who believes in putting his country before Party." David Campbell-Bannerman was educated in Dorset, then at Edinburgh and Pennsylvania Universities. He started work as a trainee accountant with Bindon Hamlyn before becoming an account executive with Allen, Snapey & Marsh. After working for HDM he became Executive Director of Vantagepoint Communications. Between 1997and 1999 he was Communications Director/External Affairs Director of the Association of Train Operating Companies, before becoming Head of Communications, United News & Media plc in 2000. In 1997 he stood for the Conservatives in Glasgow Rutherglen and in 2001 in Warwick & Leamington in where he obtained nearly 38% of the vote. After joining UKIP, he stood in North Cornwall in 2005 polling 3063 votes trailing home a distant fourth with 5.5% of the vote.

Source: UKIP

Friday, December 2

UKIP try to scupper plans to save British ships

UKIP once again jumped on the Euro-myth bandwagon this week, with scare stories that the EU is trying to do away with 500 years of British Maritime History.
On the back ofrumours in some newspapers, UKIP issued a statement condemning the EU for trying to 'ban' the Royal Navy's traditional flag, the Red Ensign.
UKIP's Mike Nattrass who is a member of the Parliament's transport committee said "When will they learn, it is not for them to dictate to us about our traditions or way of life. The Red Ensign must be one of the most recognised symbols on the high seas in the history of the world"
If Nattrass had actually cared to attend the transport committee meetings he would perhaps better understand the EU's intentions.
The plans are part of a package to bolster the EU's ailing shipping industry, thereby saving British ships from a slow death.
In recent years many European ship owners have taken their vessels abroad to countries such as Morocco and Libya for registration. Such countries are traditionally cheaper to register vessels and have lower health and safety standards. This has been the cause of some of the worst environmental disasters in recent history.
To tackle the problem, the European Commission has proposed that ship owenrs should be attracted back to the EU. Part of this plan is to have a common EU system for registering vessels. This would mean vessels displaying the EU flag alongside traditional national maritime flags not replacing them.

Source : UKIP