Monthly Archives: July 2012

UK’s Net Contribution to the EU tops £10 billion

The Office of National Statistics  published the annual Pink Book on July 31st, showing inter alia the UK’s contributions to EU institutions in 2011.  Gross contributions are now over £19 billion, while net contributions broke the £10 billion barrier for … Continue reading

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Energy Policy? Or Suicide Note?

The Department of Business Innovation and Skills is part of the government machine.  Unlike DECC  (the amusingly-named Department of Energy and Climate Change), it does not have an immediate responsibility for UK energy policy, but it is nonetheless concerned about the … Continue reading

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“UKIP’s Flagship Policy” rises to the challenge

Ronald Stewart-Brown (let’s call him RSB for short) appeared on the eurosceptic scene many moons ago.  He presented himself as an enthusiastic sceptic, looking for ways to distance the UK from the EU, but also as an international trade expert … Continue reading

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Good News! The €uro is saved!

Or maybe not. There is surely no sadder, more pathetic moment in the whole of Shakespeare (and thus in the whole of literature) than when King Lear, in the throes of despair and betrayal, makes one last, desperate threat.  “I … Continue reading

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An evening at the LSE

Last Tuesday evening, I had been invited by the BBC to take part in a debate on the EU, at the London School of Economics.  It had a rather curious “asymmetric” structure.  Sir Stephen Wall proposed the pro-EU motion, but … Continue reading

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Now for the bad news

I don’t generally publish other people’s material on this blog.  But I just received an economic commentary from my good friend Ewen Stewart, who is Strategist at a major UK Investment Bank.  I have the whole paper, but it’s too … Continue reading

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A Day in the Life

Great.  The start of the summer holidays (and the sun has come out).  No doubt the press will greet the change in the weather as more evidence of global warming. I was on the road on Saturday at 6:00 a.m., … Continue reading

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Fresh Start? Or old promises re-heated?

Travelling home from Brussels on the train this week, I had the opportunity to read two interesting but contrasting documents, each with considerable involvement from Conservative MPs. One was from the Fresh Start Group, of 100+ Conservative MPs, led by … Continue reading

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Let us now praise famous men

“A lesser son of greater sires am I”, declares, Théoden King of the Rohirrim, in The Lord of the Rings (though he went on to perform feats of valour on the battlefields of Gondor, deeds “not unbecoming men that strove … Continue reading

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3½ Million Jobs: Nailing the Lie

It has well been said that a lie is halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on.  The “3½ Million Jobs” lie has been reverberating around the body politic for more than ten years, and no … Continue reading

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Time to Repeal the Human Rights Act

John Cooper is a QC, a broadcaster and human rights lawyer, and a part-time politician.  He stood for Labour in Amber Valley, in my East Midlands Region, in 1992.  He has been the Chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports, … Continue reading

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Let’s challenge the Little Europeans

Now that there’s talk of an EU referendum in the wind, we’ve seen the usual crop of €uro-apologists telling us that outside the EU, Britain would be “like Norway or Switzerland”.  Indeed I was once engaged in a public debate … Continue reading

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A tale of two media

Surely anyone with a scrap of compassion will be moved and shocked by the dreadful story of Kane Gorny, the 22-year-old who died of dehydration in Saint George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London.  Bad enough that anyone should die in … Continue reading

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Clean Tech — Dirty Mining

This morning I attended a “Raw Materials” breakfast in Brussels, expecting bauxite and crude oil — although we got the usual croissants and coffee.  The briefing dealt with “Rare Earths“, a seemingly arcane subject, but one that lies at the … Continue reading

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Lords Reform: How not to do it

There is a story about a French énarque — a graduate of the French École Nationale d’Administration.  The énarques form the Prætorian Guard of the French government service.  A junior official put a proposal to the énarque who replied: “We … Continue reading

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