“Identity bilingualism”

My response to a letter I received from Russell Blair 

Mr Blair invited me to publicise his ideas, which I am happy to do – http://www.identitybilingualism.com

Dear Russell,

Thank you for your letter of February 28th, with attachments, which has just come to my attention.  I have to be frank and tell you that I simply haven’t the time to read all 34 pages in detail, but I have flicked through and at least glanced at every page.  And the extraordinary thing is that having done so, I can’t find any coherent explanation of what your phrase “Identity Bilingualism” actually means.

Clearly if I don’t know what your policy proposal is, it is difficult for me to give you a coherent reply.  But I can offer some general observations.

First, it may be true that EU Citizens need something concrete and uplifting at this time – something that the EU project has signally failed to deliver.  But given that the UK is now set to leave the sinking ship, I think that this is a matter for the residual EU citizens, and for Brussels, not for me.  We in Britain have Brexit, which I find enormously concrete and uplifting.  You add that your objective is “Making Europeans”.  But in the aftermath of Brexit, it seems to me that the task is un-making Europeans.

Secondly, I think you will find that language and identity are deeply ingrained, and attempts at a political level to impose or promote language policies tend to be at best unsuccessful, and at worst oppressive.  Some people have an aptitude for languages and are keen to learn.  Good luck to them.  Others have less interest and resent being bulldozed.

Thirdly, there is a de facto common European language.  It’s called English, and I have every confidence that this will remain so after Brexit.  During my first five-year term in the parliament (1999/2004) all the display screens in the parliament were in French.  We had séances and réunions.  It took me a while to notice, but soon after the 2004 elections I realised that it had all changed.  We has sittings and meetings.  English was taking over.  Rather than regretting our poor showing at foreign languages, we Brits should celebrate and exploit the fact that we have the world’s language.

A final observation: I have always treasured John Stuart Mill’s aperçu that “Where people lack fellow feeling, and especially where they speak and read different languages, the common public opinion necessary for representative government, cannot exist”.  This is possibly the best argument for Brexit.

Best regards.

ROGER HELMER MEP

www.rogerhelmermep.co.uk

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Energy: What we should be doing post-Brexit

The EU has long been committed to “the fight against global warming”.  In this context it has created a series of measures, most of which increase energy costs for industry and for households.  The result has been to force millions of UK households into fuel poverty, and to drive energy-intensive industries off-shore.  Industries which have borne the brunt of these policies have included steel, aluminium, chemicals and fertilisers, petroleum refining, cement, glass and ceramics.

Plant closures are only part of the problem: we should also bear in mind potential new investment, which is driven offshore by these measures.  We are in fact exporting industries and jobs, while worsening our balance of payments as we import materials previously made in Europe.  And the real irony is that the production often goes to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards, so the result is an increase in global emissions.

Measures have included aggressive targets for renewable energy, and for emissions.  These are overlapping and conflicting provisions.  In particular, nuclear energy contributes to emissions targets but not to renewable targets, so policy, which ideally should be technology-neutral, is biased in favour of wind and solar and against nuclear.  All these technologies have attracted subsidies.  They have also created the need for additional levels of subsidy, since intermittent renewables require back-up.  The back-up, typically gas, has to be run intermittently to complement intermittent renewables.  But there is no economic or investment case to build gas-fired plants to run intermittently, so they require “capacity payments”: a whole new level of subsidy.

Then we have the Large Combustion Plant Directive, which has resulted in the closure of perfectly good coal plants across the UK, threatening both price and availability of electricity.  But perhaps the greatest folly is the Emissions Trading Scheme.  It has been sold as a “market mechanism” designed to allocate emissions permits where they will be most efficient and to incentivise investment in low-carbon and energy-saving technologies.  It has largely failed over ten years and more.  The price of a ton of CO2 emitted has generally been below €10, which the level generally accepted as necessary to send signals to the market would be €30 plus.  The Commission and parliament come back to the issue every few years with a sticking-plaster solution – which never delivers.  Moreover a “market mechanism” which requires constant regulatory intervention is not really a market mechanism at all: it is a very complicated tax.

The additional problem is “carbon leakage” – an EU euphemism for driving energy-intensive businesses offshore.  The plan is to establish a level of “free allocation” of carbon permits to industries at risk – but to reduce the total allocation each year in order to drive down emissions.  But the level is not sufficient to start with.  And some industries are based on chemical processes that emit CO2 as part of their fundamental chemistry which no amount of efficiency savings can eliminate.  The policy amounts to a slow suffocation of heavy industry.  Indeed former Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani has said “EU Energy Policy is creating an industrial massacre in Europe”.  UKIP agrees.

Regulatory uncertainty:  We have created such a complex cat’s-cradle (or dog’s breakfast) of regulation, taxation and subsidy, subject to constant change at the whim of politicians and bureaucrats, that it has become almost impossible for the market to make rational investment decisions on multi-billion pound projects with time scales in decades.  This is why incentives designed to promote gas-fired power stations have had the perverse effect of promoting diesel generators instead, and why the government had to accept an eye-watering guaranteed price to EDF for Hinckley C.

Not just an EU problem

It would be nice to promise that this energy policy chaos could be unwound immediately after Brexit.  But if the problem with Brussels is bad enough, Westminster has made it worse.  The Climate Change Act (2008), one of the most expensive pieces of peace-time legislation, was passed almost unanimously in Westminster, by MPs who had little or no idea of the consequences of their actions.  It even includes statutory emissions targets for 2050 – something no other country in the world has.  So after the Brexit battle, we have another battle here at home to deliver a rational UK energy policy.

What the UK should do post-Brexit

  1. On repeal of the European Communities Act (1972) HM Government should repeal the Climate Change Act as a priority number one for Energy Policy.  It should also announce our withdrawal from the Paris Climate Treaty.
  2. Repeal the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from UK law.
  3. Repeal the Large Combustion Plant Directive (though given that most coal plants are closed, or are running down ahead of closure, most will be beyond rescue).
  4. Withdraw all subsidies from new wind, solar and anaerobic digestion projects. Make operators of wind and solar responsible for the additional costs of intermittency.  UKIP recognises that future increases in efficiency, plus the development of viable and efficient large-scale energy storage, may make wind and solar viable sometime in the next decade or two.  Subject to planning and environmental considerations, we would not oppose new investment in renewables, but we would not subsidise it.
  5. Dismantle constraints on the industry:  remove emissions and renewables targets (while maintaining controls on genuine pollutants, like SOx NOx & particulates).  Scrap George Osborne’s Carbon Floor Price.
  6. Ensure security of supply: given that we are close to a crisis situation in electricity supply, HM Government should discuss with the industry how we could incentivise major energy infrastructure investment.  We would renegotiate the use of Interconnectors with continental countries, on an arm’s-length, independent nation basis.

UKIP energy policy will be expanded in detail in our next Manifesto, and this will include our positions on Shale Gas, and Nuclear Power.

 

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Sunday Politics Show

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See my appearance on The Sunday Politics Show East Midlands – click here – 45 minutes in.

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MEPs call for Trump to dump the Paris climate deal

 

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As UKIP’s Energy Spokesman, I have drafted an open letter, (see below), to President Donald Trump, and signed by twenty MEPs, from six countries and three political groups, calling for early implementation of his campaign pledge to pull the USA out of the Paris Climate Treaty.

In the letter, we say that a US withdrawal from the Paris accord “would effectively neuter it, to the benefit of us all.”

We applaud the new and more positive approach which President Trump is taking to climate and energy issues and we are pressing for similar policies on this (European) side of the Atlantic.

The letter also raises concerns about the EPA’s “endangerment” finding with regard to CO2, and urges the President to revisit the issue.  We argue that the finding has no sound basis in science, but provides a pretext for damaging and extreme environmental policies.

It is clear that the EU’s extreme green policies are doing huge damage to EU industry and EU competitiveness, and are driving energy-intensive industries out of the EU entirely, taking their jobs and their investments with them.

At the same time these policies have a trivial effect on the climate.  Billions spent on “green” investments amount to little more than gesture politics and virtue-signalling from politicians spending other people’s money.

The letter was signed by 20 MEPs from six EU member-states:

UK

Roger Helmer MEP

Stuart Agnew MEP

Tim Aker MEP

David Coburn MEP

Bill Etheridge MEP

Nathan Gill MEP

Mike Hookem MEP

Margot Parker MEP

Diane James MEP

Ray Finch MEP

Julia Reid MEP

Steven Woolfe MEP

Janice Atkinson MEP

Germany

Beatrix von Storch MEP

Marcus Pretzell MEP

Sweden

Peter Lundgren MEP

Kristina Winberg MEP

Czech Republic

Petr Mach MEP

Netherlands

Marcel de Graff MEP

Poland

Michał Marusik MEP

 

The Letter

The Honourable Mr. Donald J. Trump,

President of the United States of America,

The White House,

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW,

Washington, DC 20500, USA

Dear Mr. President,

We the undersigned, Members of the European parliament, would like to offer you our sincere congratulations on your election as President of the United States of America.  We are glad to affirm the high value we place on the Transatlantic Alliance, which has been such a force for peace, for prosperity and for the values we share.

We particularly applaud the new realism which you personally have brought to the climate issue and to energy policy.  We recognise the very positive impact which your decisions will have in ensuring the availability of secure and affordable energy in the USA, underpinning American competitiveness.  We on our part are pressing for similar policies on this side of the Atlantic.

We recall your campaign pledge to withdraw the USA from the Paris Climate Treaty, and we would urge you to put this into effect with as little delay as possible.  We believe that the Paris agreement is potentially damaging, especially to developed western economies.  We also believe that an early decision by your Administration to pull out of the Paris agreement will effectively neuter it, to the benefit of us all.  At the same time, we would urge you to take action to withdraw the carbon dioxide endangerment finding, which has no sound basis in science, but which provides a pretext for damaging and extreme environmental policies.

Policy developments under your leadership, Mr. President, are already very encouraging and exciting.  We look forward to following the progress of your Administration, and we offer you our support and encouragement in pursuing rational and effective energy and climate policies.

 

 

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JVS Show on migrant workers

 

JVS

Listen to my interview on BBC Three Counties JVS Show click here  about 49 minutes in.

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An EU FTA depends on free movement? Nonsense!

The following courtesy of my good colleague William Dartmouth, UKIP’s trade Spokesman:

Adrian Webster writes (Sunday Telegraph April 2nd) : “… No new trade deal (with the EU) comes without immigration quotas….”

Not so.

The EU has over 100 Trade Agreements. Of these, it is only the four EFTA countries – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway whose specific and particular trade agreements require “freedom of movement”. Of these four, Liechtenstein has a derogation and Switzerland voted against “freedom of movement” in a referendum in 2014. So that leaves just two countries – Norway and Iceland – who have granted “freedom of movement” in return for a Trade Agreement with the EU.

 

None of the EU’s other trade agreements has freedom of movement — let alone immigration quotas.

Mr. Webster is in good company when he peddles this blatant falsehood. It has been restated on Bloomberg and – endlessly — on the BBC.

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Climate fiction, facts, and BBC faith

By guest Blogger Alex Henney:

On 12 January last year David Attenborough introduced a programme about the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Its purpose was to scare viewers into believing “A new threat has begun to be recognised, climate change, we are seeing an increase in the temperature and acidity of the Reef of our seas. Both are killing the inhabitants of the Reef”. With help from four reef scientists in Queensland I complained about the programme, showing that none of these three claims were credible.

According to data from US satellites the average monthly temperature of the Reef increased at a rate of 0.084C/decade from 1982 to 2015 but for the period 2000 to 2015 decreased at a rate of 0.048C/decade.  The temperatures off Papua-New Guinea where the same corals thrive are notably higher than the Reef.

The claim that oceans are “acidifying” due to an increase of CO2 is misleading. According to leading Australian geologist Ian Plimer, the oceans have been alkaline with pH varying between 7.9 to 8.2 for more than a billion years (acidity has a pH of less than 7.0), including the period 440-550 million years ago when atmospheric CO2 concentration is estimated to have ranged from 10 to 17 times current levels.  Ocean pH fluctuates on all time scales down to hours and is kept within a narrow range by the carbonate equilibrium, silicates and borates, all of which tend to resist change.  Some researchers report a slight reduction in reef pH over the last few decades but critically there is no evidence of any reduction of the rate of calcification of corals, which is what Attenborough’s febrile song and dance was about.

The BBC’s complaints procedure is byzantine bureaucracy. First came a Complaints Officer, who knew little. Next the Head of Complaints, who drew on Australian scientists who had a vested interest in Reef scares to get grant funding. Then the complaint went to the BBC Trust to an Advisor who had been a producer of Desert Island Discs and thus among the BBC literati eminently qualified to rule on matters scientific. Finally it went to a Panel of the Editorial Guidance Committee who ruled in January, a year after the programme.

Not surprisingly, as I was not only complaining about one of the BBC’s leading stars but also against the BBC party line on climate scares, the complaint was rejected at each stage.  The BBC did not produce any data that supported Attenborough’s contentions, while my temperature and alkalinity data were dismissed out of hand with no good reason. The BBC breached its own rule which was applied to me that evidence available after a programme has been shown is not permissible. The Panel cited a paper published late 2016, and in a manifestation of the ignorance of the Advisor and  the Panel they cited the high sea temperatures for February, March, and April 2016 which were driven by the El Nino as evidence of the climate warming. The El Nino, which raises the temperature of the Pacific, is a regularly occurring natural event that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated is nothing to do with climate change. Subsequently, as it always does after an El Nino, the temperature has dropped back. The Advisor and Panel also claimed that there had been an increase in extreme weather, a view which is not supported by the IPCC’s Special Report on Extreme Weather (2012) and its Fifth Assessment Report (2013).

The BBC is enjoined to “educate and inform”- which implies being accurate – and to be impartial. Not only does it seem to be incapable of achieving these lofty aims in climate programmes which are always spun to scare, the complaints process lacks intellectual integrity-it  is a dishonest disgrace, showing no concern for facts and everything for BBC faith in the fiction of dangerous anthropogenic warming.

A colleague and I have put in a complaint about “Yellowstone: Wildest Winter to Blazing Summer” presented by Kate Humble on 5 January this year. The programme was full of hyperbole about the allegedly record temperatures, unusually extensive wildfires and suffering wildlife. If the BBC had the wish and competence to research facts instead of preferring to scare us with slop and spin and news, it would have found that the hottest year in Yellowstone was 1934, and there is no trend in wildfire acreage published by the National Interagency Fire Centre. And it could still have made a good programme out of the truth, rather than truthiness.

 

 

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