Black Propaganda

It appears that the European parliament services (or some individual in them) has decided to leak details of an investigation into the staff expenditure of a number of UKIP MEPs.  This follows the same pattern as the investigation into the ADDE, where the media learned the details of a parliamentary investigation before the people concerned.

I have written to the parliamentary services in the following terms:

Dear Mr. Klethi,

I attach below an e-mail from a Guardian journalist, received yesterday, relating to the investigation mentioned in your letter to me of November 22nd (a letter, which I may say, was never delivered to my address, and which I saw for the first time yesterday).

It is clear that the Guardian knows a great deal more about this matter than I do, so I am forced to the conclusion that the details in possession of the Guardian were leaked to them by your services.  It is disgraceful that an MEP should learn the details of a parliamentary investigation from a journalist.  But it follows the pattern established by your investigation of the ADDE, when those concerned received information on the allegations first from the press, and only later from your services.

I have some questions to put to you.  Do you recognise the preposterous figure of £95,000?  On what basis was it calculated?  What steps will you take to identify the leaker in your department?  What disciplinary measures will be taken against him/her?  Do you agree with me that this leak is a deliberate and malicious attempt to undermine UKIP during a critical by-election campaign?  Do you recognise the reputational damage to me personally, and to other colleagues, that this leak has already caused (the story is in today’s press)?  What proposals will you make to compensate us for this reputational damage?

The only substantial issue raised in your letter of Nov 22nd is the failure of your services to recognise that my staffer Mr. Paul Oakden switched from full-time employment with me prior to the last euro-elections in June 2014 to half-time employment thereafter, until he left my employment entirely on Dec 31st 2016 on his appointment to the full-time rôle of UKIP Party Chairman.  The fact that his salary was cut by 50% in June 2014 might have given you a clue.  This is a minor administrative glitch that could have been, and should have been, resolved quickly and easily and without recourse to deliberate black propaganda.

All the salary payments made on my staff allowance to Mr. Oakden (and my other staffers) have been entirely proper, and based on work actually performed for me as a MEP, not for any other work.

I will be publishing this message on my blog, since I have no option but to defend myself against these slurs on my reputation for financial probity.

I look forward to your response, and to your early action to resolve this misunderstanding.




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Final coupe de grace

Mr. President: The main element of the Commission’s current proposals is the revision of the ETS system. You recognise the problem that you call “carbon leakage”, and I call “driving energy-intensive industries offshore”. And you have decided to give these industries free allowances to redress the balance.

But you have created your own Catch 22. If you give them enough allowances to stay competitive, you have no hope of achieving your emissions targets. But to achieve your emissions targets, you can’t give them enough allowances.

You face a stark choice between competitiveness and emissions targets: you cannot have both.

You have also created a structure which involves perpetual market intervention and distortion, and creates a field day for lobbyists and lawyers, as industries fight each other for an ever-decreasing pot of free allowances.

The proposal to offer a tiered structure for different industry sectors only exacerbates the problem. And the use of the top 10% as a standard implies that 90% of EU industries will be at a competitive disadvantage anyway.

At the same time you shift the bulk of the burden onto smaller businesses — the very SMEs which we constantly promise to help.

We face competition from China with massive cheap coal-fired generation, and from the USA where Donald Trump promises to make low-cost energy the driver of the economy.

A few years ago our new President Mr. Tajani said that our energy policies are creating “an industrial massacre in Europe”. Today’s proposals are the final coupe de grace.

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Trump’s immigrant ban: getting it into perspective


President Trump’s decision to implement a temporary block on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries has generated a certain amount of excitement, with hysterical protests around the world.  But it would be good to get it into some perspective.  It has been characterised as an “anti Muslim” or even “Islamophobic” policy.  It is worth remembering that a “phobia” is defined as an irrational fear.  Given the extent of terrorist activity undertaken by ISIL and associated groups, fear of Islamic terrorism is hardly irrational.

Of course Trump is simply implementing the policy promises from his election campaign – policies for which he has a clear mandate.  Some would give him credit for keeping his word.

Trump’s ban is about security, not about religion.  It just happens, sadly, that Islamic terrorism is the major threat of the moment.  We might also reflect that Trump’s list of seven countries is not Trump’s list at all – it was drawn up previously by the Obama administration. It is pointed out that the worst terrorist atrocity in the USA – the Twin Towers – largely involved terrorists from Saudi Arabia, which is not on the list.  Yes.  But the list identifies countries with a major Islamist presence, and (in most cases) where civil order and the rule of law are in question.  They therefore arguably present the greatest risk.

Some point out that rather few terrorist events in the USA have been caused by Muslim immigrants, and this is true.  But Americans can see what is happening in Europe, and can hardly be blamed for taking preventive measures before the same problems reach their shores.

Taking steps against potential hostile threats is by no means new.  Indeed it is a typical response of democratic countries in time of war.  And while the USA is not at war directly, it (and we) face very serious threats of asymmetric hostilities from Islamic terrorists, which have many of the characteristics of war.

During the Second World War, America interned 100,000+ Japanese in their country.   Britain interned Germans during the First World War and again in the Second World War. Probably most of those interned were decent, peace-loving people who posed no threat (just as most would-be visitors to the US probably pose no threat) , but because some were believed to be a threat, it was deemed necessary to intern them all.

It doesn’t necessarily take a right-wing Republican President to take this kind of action.  Jimmy Carter during the Iranian Hostage crisis imposed a ban on visitors from Iran. That paragon of left-wing values Saint Obama himself imposed a ban on visitors from Iraq for six months in 2011.

Of course the anti-Trump brigade (including the Daily Mirror) have rushed out with opinion pieces explaining why Trump’s action is not quite the same.  But in fact on six occasions the US has chosen to ban immigrants for a period.

There are other examples around the world of countries excluding visitors or immigrants from other particular states.  There are reportedly sixteen countries that ban visitors from Israel – and this is specifically because they are from Israel, not for any perceived terrorist threat.  This is blatant discrimination on the grounds of nationality.  In a recent radio interview, I put this to Professor of Politics Anthony Glees.  He came back with “Two wrongs don’t make a right”.  Well done the Professor.  But that’s not the point, Anthony.  The question is: why are you up in arms against President Trump’s ban (which had some justification in security terms) yet have nothing to say about the 16-country ban on Israel (which had none)?

Professor Glees at least conceded that asylum seekers should be vetted, and if their claims were in doubt, excluded and returned.  But with thousands or tens of thousands arriving, mainly from chaotic war zones, how on earth can reliable and comprehensive information be obtained on each case?  It can’t.  ISIL infiltrators don’t arrive saying “I’m from ISIL, and I have an AK47 in my suitcase”.  No.  They have training.  They have detailed (though fabricated) back-stories to support their applications.  Arguably they may even be more successful on that basis than genuine asylum seekers.  The truth is that there is significant doubt in virtually every case, so on Professor Glees’ advice, we should refuse entry to all – which is exactly what President Trump is doing.

Of course President Trump’s temporary ban is open to criticism on the details of its implementation.  But the widespread attacks on the President, the wave of synthetic outrage, is entirely lacking in justification.  It is, quite simply, downright naked prejudice and anti-American bile.

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On the Yasmeen Khan Show debating Trump


On Three Counties Radio on the Yasmeen Khan Show debating Trump wiht Professor Anthony Glees

Click here for more –

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Jerusalem Leaders Summit 2016 – Brexit and the Way Forward

Jerusalem Leaders Summit 2016 – Brexit and the Way Forward

Delivering  a keynote address on Brexit and the Way Forward at the second annual Jerusalem Leaders Summit, December 19, 2016 at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. Leaders from Europe, India, Israel and the United States affirmed the rule of law civilization based on shared values and principles, advancing economic freedom and peace through strength:

The Summit builds upon high-level meetings in Europe, India and the United States. International Leaders Summit meetings have brought together US Senators, members of the US House of Representatives, Europe’s elected representatives, and members of Israel’s Knesset joined by think tank and media leaders to address key issues facing citizens and stakeholders on the economic and security fronts.


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See my interview on Dutch website talking about Brexit


See my interview on Dutch website talking about Brexit

Click here and scroll down for my piece 

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“We are screwing ourselves”


On Wednesday (Jan 18th) I attended a dinner-debate in the parliament, sponsored by Eurofer, the European Steel Federation, and entitled “EU ETS Revision: Unlocking low-carbon investments in the steel industry”.  It was a very well-attended event, with many MEPs as well as many from the industry, and we heard seven mini-presentations of various schemes designed to reduce CO2 emissions in steel production.  The industry is acutely concerned about current revisions to the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which provides a limited number of “free allowances” (of emissions permits) in an attempt to protect energy-intensive industries in the EU from international competition, and from the cost impact of EU energy policies.

Several MEPs contributed from the floor after the set presentations.  My remarks (as near as I can remember – it was not recorded) went like this:

Thank you Chairman, and thanks to our hosts.  Thank you also for these very interesting presentations.  But one element was missing from all of them: costs.  So many of the green projects we hear about sound fine to start with, until you look at the costs, and then they turn out to be hopelessly uncompetitive.  That doesn’t save the planet – it just drives emissions abroad.

Several of the schemes claimed the benefit of creating work-in-progress that could be stored, so that the plant could maximise use of renewable energy by producing when the wind blows, and power is available.  This is offered as an indirect method of energy storage, making the most of intermittent renewables.  But we should recall that to use an intermittent energy supply you need to build more capacity than would be needed for continuous operation.  And intermittent operation is bound to be less efficient.  So you have really saved nothing – you have merely transferred the penalties of intermittent generation from the wind turbine to the steel plant.

 But we have spent the evening looking at the small details of our ETS plans.  We should stand back and look at the big picture.  We have created the ETS explicitly in order to increase the cost of energy.  Then we have realised that we are destroying energy-intensive businesses like the steel industry.  So we have given them allowances – which have the incidental effect of transferring more of the burden to smaller enterprises less exposed to international competition.

But the allowances are never enough to maintain the global competitiveness of these industries  We already see steel and fertilisers getting the lions’ share, with other industries like cement crying foul.  You are trying to square the circle, and it just won’t square.  Worse yet, you are planning to reduce the allowances rapidly over time.  We are systematically strangling European industry.

 And you are forgetting the global competition.  We hear a lot about green initiatives in China, but they are still building coal-fired power plants at a rapid pace  Meantime in the USA we have a President-elect determined to make energy, including coal and shale gas, the motor of the US economy.  Both China and the USA will have highly competitive energy prices.  Our current ETS plans mean that European steel producers, and other energy-intensive businesses, will never be able to compete.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are screwing ourselves.  And it is time we stopped.

This speech was greeted with warm applause around the room, at least from the industry side, and I was congratulated by senior industry people afterwards.  But will it achieve a change of policy?  I doubt it.  Another reason why we’ll be Better Off Out.






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