Daily Debrief April 12th

Cameron backs wealth

In the Commons yesterday, the Prime Minister made an heroic effort to get back on the front foot by defending wealth – and the right of parents to pass their wealth on to their children.  Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party was not impressed.  It has perhaps forgotten Peter Mandelson’s aperçu that he was “intensely relaxed if people get filthy rich”.  Cameron’s defence of wealth and the right to property might have carried more weight if it had not followed close on the heels of the tax-and-offshore-funds scandal, and the personal attacks on Cameron himself.

The Express leads on the story. The Telegraph headlines “Cameron: Wealth is not a dirty word”.

Meantime the Mirror lambasts George Osborne because the tax changes he recently introduced will benefit him personally by £2,500 a year (not, I should think, a life-changing sum on the Osborne household). The “i”, on the other hand, leads with the story that Osborne is to publish his own tax details.  But as Google doesn’t seem to recognise the“i” (silly name) here’s the link to the same story from the Guardian.

Cameron’s EU “deal” under threat from the European parliament

Cameron’s much-vaunted “renegotiation” of the UK’s EU membership terms (in fact the changes he’s claiming are trivial) has come under attack from a leading German Liberal MEP Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, who is also a Vice President of the parliament.  Lambsdorff said that the Council had “gone too far” in purporting to have reached an agreement with the UK.  He insists that it is not a position of the EU as a whole, and that the deal such as it is must be subject to the consent of the parliament.  He goes so far as to say: “At the moment, the whole thing is nothing more than a deal that has been hammered out down the local bazaar”.

The Express has picked up the story and presents it in its usual robust style. So when we vote on June 23rd, we have to be clear that even Cameron’s minor concessions can be voted down in Strasbourg.  And very likely will be.

That leaflet

In a furious debate in the Commons yesterday, Europe Minister David Lidington had the unenviable task of trying to defend the indefensible – the government’s £9 million pro-EU leaflet. But in a withering speech John Redwood said that public anger over the plan will persuade more voters to vote for Brexit.  Meantime Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire in his own party for failing to show enough energy and commitment for the Remain campaign. But then energy and commitment are not his strong suit.

The leaflet will be going out in England very shortly (Wales, Scotland and N Ireland come after their own elections).  Be ready to post the offending material back to Downing Street!

“Brexit would save the NHS”

The ding-dong over the impact of Brexit on the NHS goes on, but the Remainians are not having it all their own way.  The Times reports that fifty medical professionals have called for Brexit in order to free up more funds for the NHS. A choice – would you rather send £10 billion to Brussels?  Or to the health service?

John Longworth on Brexit

John Longworth is the  former head of British Chambers of Commerce.  He resigned recently following enormous pressure on him after he expressed a personal view that the UK should leave the EU.  Writing in the Guardian recently, he said that he had resigned “in order to tell the truth about Brexit”.  In his article, he says “Anti-Brexit multinational corporations, which represent only around 5% of the businesses in Britain, are short-termist and narrowly focused ……. It is outrageous, in my view, that these corporations have signed up to the EU cause without reference to their shareholders, customers or employees – just as outrageous as the government using taxpayers’ money to fund the pro-EU case”.

Of course Mr. Longworth is absolutely right.  But there is one other point that should be made, and that is the huge extent of EU patronage.  These large corporations are greatly affected by EU decisions, and they therefore value access and favourable attention from the EU Commission.  They will not get that access, and that favourable response, unless they toe the Party Line.  Step out of line on Brexit (or on climate change), and they’ll face a hostile Commission.  The Commission’s patronage is dangerous and anti-democratic – but also real and powerful.  The only solution is Brexit.

And David Miliband (remember him?) on Brexit

Fresh from the sound-bite factory, David Miliband says “Now is not the time for unilateral political disarmament”. Good line, David, but you’re out of touch with reality.  Give the man a banana.

Collapse of waste treatment plants

The Mail reports the closure of two of the UK’s largest recycling plants, in Lancashire.  This will cause extensive redundancies, and industry experts warn that such closures could be repeated elsewhere – such are the economics of recycling.  The plants were opened nine years ago based on a £2 billion Private Finance Initiative.  The Australian company behind the plan, Global Renewables, said it would treat and recycle 300,000 tons of domestic rubbish each year.  But with falling commodity prices, the scheme ceased to be viable.  Two years ago the operation was taken over by Lancashire County Council, but it can no longer afford the losses.  So the plants will be mothballed and the waste diverted to landfill.

And why the over-ambitious targets for recycling? Why EU recycling targets and landfill taxes, of course!  So another green dream bites the dust.  But it’s not just recycling.  Across the Atlantic, there was Solyndra, an ambitious solar power project which President Obama described as “leading the way to a brighter and more prosperous future”.  In 2009 it received a $535 million loan from the US taxpayer.  In 2011 it went belly-up.  And today there’s SunEdison, another major solar company which is reportedly in serious trouble.  Reuter reports that SunEdison’s problems “imperil solar projects worldwide”.

“Hydrogen city”

Another story about grandiose and extravagant schemes to meet EU climate and emission objectives: there is a plan to convert Leeds into a “hydrogen city“, at a cost of £2 billion. This would involve a massive programme to convert all gas appliances in the city from natural gas to hydrogen – and while hydrogen emits no CO2 when burned, natural gas is already relatively low-emission compared to other fossil fuels.  One can imagine that the switch-over will be a bit like switching from left-hand-drive to right-hand-drive in a phased programme with some vehicles driving on the right and some on the left during the transition period.  A recipe for a car-crash.

What these ideological zealots forget is that hydrogen is not a primary fuel.  It doesn’t come out of the ground like natural gas.  You have to electrolyse water to get hydrogen, and that itself takes lots of energy.  It’s a bit like electric cars – no emissions at the point of use, but rather a lot if the original power comes from coal.

The main effect of the Leeds plan (apart from local chaos) will be to make the UK even less competitive, to make energy more expensive, and to drive away energy-intensive businesses.  Meantime China and India will keep building coal-fired power stations, will keep undercutting us in global markets, and will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Stop the travelling circus!

As I write in Strasbourg, I reflect that I spend three nights a week, twelve weeks a year in a Strasbourg hotel (admittedly a fairly modest one).  That means that for seventeen years I’ve spent roughly ten percent of all my nights in a Strasbourg hotel, at the taxpayers’ expense  – as have 750 other MEPs, give or take.  There’s only one way to stop this nonsense – the only way is Brexit.




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15 Responses to Daily Debrief April 12th

  1. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Sent mine back yesterday within 2 hours of it arriving. Suitably defaced in red with YOUR RUBBISH? Likely in an RM skip now?

    Friend of mine wanted that money for children’s mental health services up North (NHS)..Tough! Actually there is more mental head problems about on the street than I ever thought…stabbings, rapes, hangings, fights. And what might be termed general murder? Trump was right on that topic..the mental care one.

    • Here in Wales, we won’t get the leaflets until after the Welsh Assembly elections in May. Cameron wouldn’t want to skew the results, after all!

      When it does come, I shall be sending it back, in an envelope, filled with glitter. Glitter is terrible stuff! It gets everywhere and is very difficult to vacuum up effectively. For weeks afterwards, they’ll be finding glitter everywhere: On their papers, sticking to their clothes, to their fingers, in their coffee, in their cars, and probably in their houses after a few days!

      I may not be able to commandeer £9 million for junk mail at the same time as telling the disabled, the doctors and the steel industry that there’s no money to help them. But I can sure as hell make Cameron’s staff hate him!

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        Its online anyway, so why it has to be mailed to all I …..? words failed…pffftttt

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    I Dunno? Alert

    “Greens Want To Ban Referendums On European Questions, As Direct Democracy Threatens the EU”

    Rebecca Harms MEP (pictured above), a qualified tree surgeon and Co-President of The Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament, has said that some questions relating to the EU are not suitable for referendums.

    I just chop them down…qualified to or not. Truly a freak show over there.

  3. Rowena Julian says:

    Terrific read, especially the paragraph – John Longworth & Brexit. I wish someone who know how to put photographed paragraphs on Twitter would post it,- it’s so succinct, so convincing, would be good if the Twittersphere could get the benefit of it. Best, Rowena Julian rjrowenajulian@gmail.com


  4. Dear Roger Helmer,

    I do note the sympathy shown to David Cameron, I would just point out that the Cameron family were prominent plantation owners and received a substantial fortune for the loss of their slaves (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britains-colonial-shame-slave-owners-given-huge-payouts-after-abolition-8508358.html) which was plunged into the brokerage Pamure Gordon, which the Cameron Family directed for the last 3 generations, Ian Cameron, David’s ‘hard working’ father spent much of his time as a part of the very tax avoidance/evasion scam which has embroiled the Western World as attempt to smear Putin backfired – Ian Cameron was a director of Pamure trying to tax avoid for himself, family and clients, not a colliery worker from Siverbridge investing his redundancy and life savings.

    Tax avoidance is not illegal, but tax evasion is, the issue is tax evasion by changing the laws so you can create the very loopholes for tax avoidance for the rich with good brokers and as you posted yourself, David Cameron did this very thing in Europe- mentioned in your blog, it is very useful for the industry to have one of its own sitting in the chair of government. Under PAYE I certainly have to pay tax, then I am taxed again on VAT fuel duty etc, just to pay a national debt propping up the pounds value. The issue is the existence of tax avoidance umbrella companies and brokers who at my level are just there to make sure employers pay the minimal amount of tax, my contributions to PAYE and National Insurance are scammed and any tax returns never get back to the employee, keeping him poor (By the way Cameron himself had an unusually large paying PR job with Carlton netting £96,000 per year, which is amazing as we never get to know why a TV company needed a PR man)

    Perhaps we have a different world view, when you are wealthy such organisations keep you rich, when you are poor they are a state sponsored parasite.

    David Kendrick (UKIP) Cheshire West

  5. Shieldsman says:

    Cameron’s much-vaunted “renegotiation” of the UK’s EU membership terms (in fact the changes he’s claiming are trivial) has come under attack from a leading German Liberal MEP Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, who is also a Vice President of the parliament. Reported in EuroActiv.com

    Going back to February we had
    David Cameron’s package of EU reforms cannot be made legally binding before the British public vote on it, the president of the European Parliament has said.
    Martin Schulz said the European Parliament could amend any deal done at today’s summit and would not necessarily even rubber-stamp it at all.

    “No government can go to a parliament and ask for a guarantee about the result,” the German politician said. “This is a democracy. Once the frame is agreed, we will start the legislative process. This is not a veto.”

    The president’s statement means that Britain may not get the deal agreed by Mr Cameron if it ultimately votes to stay in the EU.
    The president also warned that the European Parliament would demand that there was no treaty change as a result of the deal.

    Who is leaping into the dark now? But of course the press moves on and it is all forgotten about.

  6. “which represent only around 5% of the businesses in Britain, are short-termist and narrowly focused”

    I’ve often thought why my local Chinese takeaway is required to comply with Portuguese, Finnish and Slovakian regulations, despite having not the slightest intention of delivering so much as a spring roll more than a few miles away.

  7. MIKE Maunder says:

    WHAT WE ALREADY KNEW, but worth a repeat ! Cameron’s negotiating in the E.U. is now blown to hell. Without Treaty change, it was little more than watching a P.M. going around the continent making a fool of himself, and as our representative, making a fool of us as well. He might be clinically stupid, but I don’t think he is. It is much more likely to have been a show for the stay-ins, knowing from the start that he stood no chance of getting change !
    The comment made in the E.U., that referendums need to be banned, only goes to highlight what we already knew about democracy in the E.U. – It is just an unwanted nuisance to the appointed leaders. – ( If we don’t ban them, we might find that we have to be elected ! ). There are still British numb-nuts that will vote to stay-in, and think that life in a Dictatorship could be fun !
    I trust that we have not bought the STAY IN MUGS ! £20 is several times their worth, so not good value, but having pictures of the Party leaders on these mugs, has brought a chuckle to me and a question of the P.R. sanity within their group. Stay-in ,,, mugs, indeed !

  8. Shieldsman says:

    Remember the Labour mug – Controls on Immigration, there must be a scrap heap somewhere full of them.

  9. David Ashton says:

    Roger your are correct in stating that hydrogen can be produced by the electrolysis of water. However, The most common commercial process (and presumably the most economic) for producing hydrogen is the steam reforming of methane. It cannot possibly more energy efficient to burn hydrogen produced from methane than simply burning the methane .

  10. oxter says:

    The current chief economist of the IMF Maurice Obstfeld who we now learn happened to be President Obamas top economics advisor has set the stage for the imminent visit of his last master Barrack Obama to the UK with a prophet of doom report about possible effects of a UK brexit from the EU.

    Its the latest episode in project fear. Between Wall Streets Goldman Sachs bankrolling BSE and the Wall Street based IMF plus the US EU TTIP negotiations nearing completion which will serve to render MEPs as mere window dressing while the real decisions about our lives asre made in US boardrooms.

    This ordering UK voters how we must vote in our referendum all falls into perspective. This is the global corporations bid to create EU inc and our elite classes with their Panamanian tax havens run by the son of Hitler’s SS deaths head general are facilitating it so they can get even richer at our expense.


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