Monday, November 13, 2006

EUsceptic Roundup #5

Welcome, once again, to our thrilling roundup that seeks merely to extoll the beneficient results of Edward Heath's treachery: our membership of the EU.

First up (a tip of the hat and a flick of the tail to Annabelle), and most worrying to any fans of 18DoughtyStreet (which I am), is the EU Draft Directive on Broadcasting, which seeks to regulate internet TV. As reported on 18DS by Iain, Chris Beazley, one of the old breed of snout-in-the-trough Tory arseholes and who sits on the relevant Committee, appears to be all in favour.
It is certainly the case that internet based TV, offering services that are like traditional television where the consumer will expect the same level of regulation and protection, will fall under the scope of the Directive. Conservative MEPs on the relevant Committees have been working consistently to ensure, that the Directive emerges in a state which is both workable and does not stifle innovation.
Please see the link […] for Mrs Hieronymi’s Report for your information [PDF]

The report is 48 pages long, and spends about 30 of those pages defining the current laws and frameworks. Just take my word for it that the document is not a lot of fun and nor is it anything less than an absolute cunt. Iain Dale was happy with one party's response.
Well done to UKIP—and it's not often I say that. On Monday there will be a vote in Brussels on the EU Draft Directive on Audio Visual Media Services Directive, which if passed could threaten the future of internet TV in this country. Click HERE to read what UKIP have to say. I still haven't managed to ascertain how the Conservatives will vote. Perhaps someone reading this in Brussels could enlighten me...

You see, Iain seems like a good chap and braodly libertarian: what he's doing hanging about with a bunch of nanny-staters like the Tories, I haven't worked out yet. DumbJon lacks sympathy for Mr Dale.
Yep, [Iain Dale]’s worried that a Tory politician is proving to be worthless in defending liberty and standing up to the EU. Hello? Hey, this is a guy who really has all but turned his blog into UKIPsucks.com, but here he is with a perfect exemplar of what they were on about. This is exactly why people don’t trust the Tories, yet A-lister Dale was onboard with all this, right up until it was his ox being gored. It’d be great if the penny’s dropped, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Anyway, I digress: I'll let UKIP outline the proposal for you.
Battle lines are being drawn for a war which could end in all TV and radio stations throughout Europe being state controlled.

A huge European coalition which includes British Labour and Lib Dem MEPs wants to cripple TV stations that rely on money from advertising, sponsorship and product placement, to make their programmes.

If the Culture and Education Committee wins the day, then TV stations in Britain would be financially stretched to make some of their most popular programmes.

If the coalition is successful, then adverts on commercial TV would be reduced to one slot every 45 minutes but with a total ban on adverts in children's programmes, news, current affairs, documentary, opera, films and theatre.

When the report is put before the European Parliament, they can expect to have it approved as the alliance, which includes Labour, Lib Dem and Green MEPs could defeat others including the UK Independence Party and the Conservatives.

The Committee is likely to agree to ban all product placement and sponsorship of programmes. This would have a devastating effect on many programmes including sports.

Also heading for a ban are what the committee has described as 'surreptitious advertising', which they have described as advertisements likely to mislead.

Tom Wise, UKIP's MEP who is on the committee, said: "If this goes ahead, then only the Ronseal advert would be safe. And as for James Bond and his Aston Martin, forget it: It's on yer bike, Mr Bond'."

"It's not just TV they're after, it's newspaper pictures and radio. If they have their way, all of Europe could be reduced to depending only on state funded broadcasting. George Orwell is alive and kicking on this committee."

I love it! The idea of all of our TV being dominated by the likes of the BBC fills me with something approaching elation repulsion. Wonko is similarly unimpressed.

Over on his other blog, West Midlands NO!, there is a small illustration for you all.
Blists Hill museum, part of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, has been given a £10m grant by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund to secure its future as a viable attraction.
...

However, it is important to put this grant into perspective and to remember that the organisations controlling such vast sums of money are unelected and unaccountable to the public. There are upwards of 5.3m people living in the West Midlands euroregion and the cost of EU membership is estimated at £873 for every man woman and child in the UK every year. This means that the West Midlands alone has contributed in the region of £4.6bn to the EU which makes the £6.5m that the EU contributed via the West Midlands Government Office look positively puny in comparison (0.1% of our contribution to be exact). The other £3.5m was donated by Advantage West Midlands.

Many Europhiles point to all of the wonderful EU grants that go to regenerate museums, theatres and the like as being a benefit of membership; however, it is important to remember that this is not new money—we give it to the EU and then unelected bureaucrats decide what they are going to spend our money on: sometimes, they even deign to give some of it back to us.

Plus, of course, we are a net donor to the EU by roughly £4.5 billion (this year). In other words, were we to withdraw, we could not only renovate all of these museums and theatres ourselves but also fund the improvement of such facilities by an extra £4.5 billion. Or, of course, get some of our taxes back (I know which I'd prefer).

On a lighter note, the French have complained about the 50 year logo.
France has sent an official complaint to the European Commission over the EU's 50th birthday logo to be used next year, suggesting that it fails to symbolize European unity as it looks different in every language.

The move comes after a jury representing EU institutions and member states last month chose an image created by a Polish art student stating colourful letters "Together since 1957", from around 1700 submissions to the contest.

The logo is meant to be translated to all EU languages, so it can be used across the union next year for various activities marking the anniversary of the 1957 Rome Treaty which set the ground for the current 25-member union.

But French Europe minister Catherine Colonna has criticised the plan in a letter to the commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

"The logo creates a problem. The message of European unity is not there because each logo is different," she wrote, according to a weblog of French daily Liberation.

I think that the logo is wonderful, personally; it entirely sums up what the EU is about: confused, expensive, badly thought-out, incompetent and means something totally different to every country involved. Generally speaking, Jeremy Jacobs appears to agree although, naturally, TEBAF MargotTimmy) does not.
In Brussels, Margot Wallström, the Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication, defended the choice in her blog this week: “I very much like the winning design, I think it is a good example of a ‘slogo’ — it combines a slogan with a logo. I find it fresh, light, modern and unbureaucratic.

A "slogo"? For fuck's sake, Margot, why don't you fuck off and hang youself? As my poor, Greek friend (he really needs to invent some more olive groves) says,
When the European Commission is forced to commission 25 different versions of a "Unity" logo to placate national sensibilities, satire can only stand in the wings and applaud.

In the meantime, an ex-Commissioner seems to be having doubts (which he obviously didn't have when he was snuffling for truffles in the EU trough).
Former Dutch member of the European Commission Frits Bolkestein has strongly criticised Brussels for meddling too much in national affairs, calling upon commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso to temper some of his "federal-minded" commissioners.

Mr Bolkestein, who served as the internal market commissioner from 1999 to 2004, on Tuesday (7 November) slammed his former work place for allegedly over-regulating in several policy areas ranging from obesity to energy efficiency, Dutch press agency ANP reports.


Referring to commission plans to fight obesity, he said at a liberal meeting in Brussels "I also believe that people should watch their weight. But is this a European task?"

On commission legislation on energy-saving buildings, the Dutchman asked "Are these buildings cross-border? They stand where they stand. That is none of Europe's business."

Mr Bolkestein, a free-market liberal, claimed that "such foolish plans" reflect a desire by some commissioners – who he characterised as "eager beavers" - to turn the EU into a federal state.

Much as I applaud Mr Bolkestein's views, one cannot help but think that he is several years, possibly even decades, behind the times here: we've known about the plans for a federal state, my little Dutch poppet, ever since Monet started this project over 50 years ago.

Still, that doesn't mean that the EU isn't capable of fucking up almost everything it touches; we already know about the evils of the CAP but it really cannot be stressed too much.
At the Congress of European Farmers in Strasbourg, Mariann Fischer Boel, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, stated that most European citizens are still prepared to pay public money to farmers. In her speech, which is full of inconsistencies, she makes a flimsy distinction between private goods and public goods. According to Boel, while private goods such as farm products are for the market, responsible stewardship of the land and compassionate treatment of farm animals are public goods.

This statement raises some questions. If farm products should be left to the market as private goods, why have farmers been subsidized to produce foodstuff ever since the inception of the CAP? Surely Boel's statement undermines the role that the CAP has been playing in the last fifty years. Moreover, what does she mean by the public benefit of farm aid? Who exactly benefits in what way from these supposedly public goods?
...

The CAP takes up a large share of the EU budget — it used to be 70% of the budget but for the next financial cycle of 2007–2013, it is aimed at 34.9% — and the commissioners have no intention of abolishing it despite the fact that the initial objective of overcoming food shortages has long been redundant. On the contrary, they justify its existence based on unconvincing ideas of public benefits and interests and the actual expansion of the EU means the CAP is unlikely to diminish. As always, it will continuously be reformed. Meanwhile, the taxpayers have no choice but to contribute toward these eternal reforms.

It's a long article, but a good one and quotes a number of interesting links. Go read.

In a bit of (relatively) good news, Britain seems to have fought off another assault on its (limited) opt-out from the Working Time Directive.
Britain fought off a renewed European Union attempt to cut the workweek, saying longer working times are crucial to the U.K.'s economic competitiveness.

Backed by four other countries, the U.K. blocked a proposal to hold more British workers to the EU's 48-hour workweek, championed by countries such as France and Italy. One-third of U.K. workers currently waive the right to working-time limits.

As EU Serf correctly points out, what fucking business is it of France or Italy's as to how many hours I work?
Please explain to me why France and Italy should care about how long British Workers work? This is a subject which, forget EU level, should not be discussed at national level either. An individual's labour is his own, to do with as he chooses.

I can understand Europhiles when they talk about common action on the Environment for example, they might have a point. But to take away individual choice and give it to Brussels, is just tyranny.

Piss off with your "social progress", you utter bastards. Luckily, those awful people also seem to have been thwarted in their attempts to impose yet more tax on our booze.
Beer drinkers may celebrate Tuesday if European Union finance ministers fail to increase duties on alcohol, as looks likely, according to EU diplomats.

The European Union's executive arm has proposed a 31 percent increase in the minimum EU duty on beer and spirits to reflect inflation since the tax was last set 14 years ago.

The increase, which needs the unanimous approval of the EU's 25 member states, would add 1 cent to the price of a half liter, or 17 fluid ounces, of beer.

"I don't think there will be a deal as the Germans won't move," an EU official said.

Good for the Germans. Oh, and remind me again, what fucking business is it of the EU's how much I pay for my booze? Ah well, enjoy it while it lasts, chaps, because it is only a matter of time before some halfwit proposes that booze tax is moved to majority voting and then it's more expensive beer for all of us…

What a bountiful and generous organisation the EU is! How glad I am that my country is part of this organisation (I use the word "organisation" is its very loosest possible way). Still, it's nice to know that our American cousins are envious of our progress!
Ah, the joys of socialized medicine!

Junior surgeons are walking out halfway through operations because of rules over the hours they work.

They are routinely downing scalpels before procedures are complete, to comply with the European Union's controversial Working Time Directive.

Although their senior colleagues stay to complete the procedure, in some cases operating room nurses are forced to fill in for the departing doctor.

Still, not to worry, eh? Who needs doctors when, as EU Referendum explains, cash-strapped local councils are forced to prioritise waste disposal over the lives of the elderly?
And one important reason why the "additional funding" is needed is that spending on collecting and disposing of waste will more than double between 2003/04 and 2012/13 to £4.2bn to meet the EU landfill directive targets. "Waste volumes," says the press release, "are rising by three percent each year, landfill tax is rising by 15 percent each year and soon local government will face penalties of over £200m if we exceed our landfill allowances. There will need to be increased spending on rubbish collection and disposal by 10 percent each year to meet the EU landfill directive."

It is highly unlikely that councils will get their additional funding so, in effect, they are going to have to stop looking after grannies in order to pay for the EU waste disposal rules. Hence, when it comes to grannies or garbage – it is not for us to decide. The EU has made the decision already.

Hooray for the EU and all its works! Because Galileo is going to be an unmitigated fuck-up too…
Where we stand with the military implications, though, is as yet uncertain and whether this affects the Indian attitude remains to be seen. But what is increasingly certain is that the UK, is casting its lot in with Galileo, has put its money into another financial black hole.

Using KevSoft's implementation of TheyWorkForYou's APIs, we can find that there have, in fact, been questions asked about the cost of the Galileo project to Britain.
he European Union (EU) and member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) jointly fund the development of Galileo. To date the UK's subscription to the ESA element of the programme has been €142 million. The EU's contribution to the design and development phase of Galileo is made from the EC budget and is estimated by the Commission to be €790 million. The UK makes its contributions to the EC budget as a whole and not to individual programmes within it. The UK's gross contribution to the EC budget is currently around 17 per cent, before abatement.

Yes, and the total cost of the project?
The provisional budget in the draft Galileo financial regulation is €900 million. There are no reliable estimates of these total costs.

Oh, goody, goody gumdrops! Back to EU Referendum…
Between the Airbus A380 and Galileo, we are looking at potential losses of well over £1 billion. And still the MSM sleeps.

Actually, Richard's not kidding. I have for some time eschewed the MSM, preferring to derive the majority of my news and comment from the 80 or so blogs that I regularly read, but recently I have been forced to take up a paper or two. Even supposedly intelligent rags, like The Spectator (which has really fucking slumped since Boris left) or The New Scientist (both of which, you may be surprised to hear, unquestioningly accepted the Stern Report), seem to be immensely adverse to mentioning the EU. In fact, it is the same across all media and such is the extent of this blinkered reporting that I cannot think that the media are sleeping as such: no, it is a deliberate conspiracy of silence.

Let us hope that, if the EU Draft Directive on Broadcasting (which also targets print media) goes through, the media decide to abandon whatever cosy agreement they have come to with our government and start to mention the pernicious effects that the EU is having upon our lives.

Still it's not all bad, as Timmy points out.
Now this is very interesting indeed:
British shoppers will soon be able to buy cut-price alcohol and cigarettes from the Continent without leaving home, as a result of an extraordinary legal test case that threatens to blow a multi-billion pound hole in the Treasury's coffers.

The European Court of Justice is expected to rule next week that goods can be bought in other EU states and delivered to the door while only the duty levied in the country of origin is paid. This is often a fraction of that charged in Britain.

If, as appears likely, the court rubber-stamps a previous adjudication by its advocate general, shoppers will be free to use the internet or mail order companies to find the best bargains around Europe and have them shipped home for their own consumption.

I have been arguing since around 1994 that this is in fact what the law says. I've been through the Commission and had them agree, on the telephone, that it was indeed what the law said. They refused, however, to put it into a letter, written proof that that was what they thought the law said.

Although, naturally there is a snag.
However, do not get your hopes up too much. You will not be able to purchase booze and fags from one integrated company who will then deliver them to your door. For the retailer, duty must still be charged in the country of delivery. The key is that such goods are described as 'personal imports'. There's absolutely no damn reason why such things should have to actually be carried personally: but the transport must be organised personally.

So, the loophole, if you wish, is that you purchase the goods and have them delivered somewhere in the low tax country. Then, separately, you have them transported to you.

Finally, the House of Lords has apparently decided that the auditors are too hard on the EU.
A House of Lords committee has called for changes to EU auditing procedures which it says paint a misleading picture of fraud and mismanagement.

The EU budget suffers no more fraud than the UK's, despite black marks from auditors for 12 years running, it says.

Well, I don't think that the fact that the EU is no worse is an argument for letting them get away with more: we should hold the UK government's spending up to far more scrutiny, not be more lenient on the EU.
The peers back calls for states to give an annual statement confirming that they have spent EU cash efficiently.

And they say those countries which exercise poor control of European money should be publicly named and shamed.

Next up, the Lords think that Hitler "didn't really mean to do it", that Machiavelli "was just day-dreaming" and that Stalin "didn't know that millions were dying". Are they always this naive?

Making a late entry, The Englishman points to the solution to the crumbling Euros!
THOUSANDS of Germans have been stuffing euro notes up their noses — and destroying not only their health but also the currency, police believe.

They say that the mystery of why euro notes have been falling apart since the summer — many look moth-eaten after only a day in the pocket — is down to an increasing use of crystal methamphetamine. In Germany this drug is fast replacing cocaine as the illegal party substance of choice.

For fuck's sake, if you can't use a currency note in order to stuff illegal drugs up your nose then what can you use it for, eh (apart from, in this case, buying stuff in Toytown)?

And on that expensive bombshell, that's another EUsceptic Roundup finished. Except, don't forget that UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, is on 18DS's Vox Politix this Monday evening, starting at 9pm. Even if you are not a fan of UKIP, I really recommend tuning in, if only so that you might learn more about the extent of the EU hegemony.

Until next week, remember, you can join the EUsceptic Bloggers Yahoo group, which gave rise to this roundup, and which is moderated by our very own Serf. In the meantime, please send your EU stories, throughout the week, to dk[AT]devilskitchendesign[DOT]com with "Eurosceptic Roundup" as the subject line.

Unio Europaea delenda est!

P.S. I just want to thank Miguel of O Insurgente, who always sends in really good entries for the Roundup (in English); I never link to his blog because he normally writes in Portuguese and I haven't got a fucking clue what he's on about…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You failed to say when reporting on the WTD impasse that although France got together four other halfwit nations to block the 48hrs opt-out, no decision was reached, hence the EU Court of Justice proposes prosecuting 23 of 25 for not non-implementation of the Directive in full.