VOTE BREXIT. VOTE HELMER.

Roger Helmer MEP

Last year, voters in South Leicestershire backed Brexit by 60/40 on a strong turnout of 76%.  Yet most of the candidates for the General Election are against Brexit.  Just twelve months ago, the Tory was campaigning for Remain. The Lib Dems are trying to reverse the Brexit decision, while Labour can’t make their minds up.

I am the only committed Brexiteer on the ballot paper.  I have spent the last twenty years campaigning single-mindedly for the independence and self-determination of our country.  For the last eighteen years I have been privileged to serve you, the people of South Leicestershire and the wider East Midlands, as your number-one MEP.

The Prime Minister asks you to vote for her – but she’s not on the ballot paper.  If elected, I will support Theresa May on Brexit so long as she works honestly to deliver a swift and clean break.  But I will fight any signs of backsliding.  She is already going soft on the European Convention of Human Rights, which allows foreign terrorists and murderers to remain on our country.  She is talking about a long transition period, which looks like a fudge.  She is placing Remain-supporting Tory candidates in winnable seats.  She is repeating the old pledge on immigration which she failed to deliver as Home Secretary.

I will guarantee to hold Mrs. May’s kitten-heels to the fire, and to work tirelessly to deliver the Brexit that you, the people of South Leicestershire, voted for.  I will oppose mass immigration – which Mrs May promised but failed to curb.  I will call for a reduction in our grossly inflated Foreign Aid budget, with the money diverted to domestic priorities like the NHS.

The polls suggest we shall have a Tory government on June 9th.  Many – perhaps a majority – of Tory MPs will be Remainers at heart, like local MP Alberto Costa.  Indeed Theresa May herself is a recent Brexit convert who backed Remain only last year.  It is vital to have clear, strong voices in Westminster who will speak up for the Brexit that Britain voted for in the referendum.

Before my life in politics, I spent over thirty years as a manager in international businesses, much of it representing British businesses in the Far East.  I understand international trade, and I am keen to see our country seize the opportunities that Brexit offers.  Britain must be a great global trading nation, taking its proper place in the world economy – not an offshore province in a country called Europe.  We must be governed by people we have elected, and whom we can dismiss – not by remote and unaccountable bureaucrats in foreign capital cities.

If elected, I will be your strong voice in Westminster for a confident and independent Britain.

JUNE 8th: Vote for the Blaby Brexiteer.  VOTE BREXIT.  VOTE HELMER.

 

 

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Those local election results – Sunday Politics Show

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You can see my interview with Tim Iredale, (above), on The Sunday Politics Show (Yorkshire and Lincolnshire by clicking this link, (about 44 minutes in).

 

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Brussels doesn’t understand “Independence”

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The guiding principles agreed by the EU 27 with regard to the Brexit negotiations include the extraordinary proposition that the rights of EU citizens in the post-Brexit UK should be adjudicated by the ECJ, whose writ would then, at least in that respect, cover EU citizens in Britain.  They seem oblivious to the fact that a key factor in the UK’s Brexit debate was independence — the right to make our own laws for our own country.

Think about it for a moment.  Imagine a US citizen who was disputing his right to work or reside in an EU member-state.  If the member-state courts ruled against him, could he then appeal to the US Supreme Court to decide on his behalf?  And would Brussels and the ECJ accept the US Supreme Court ruling?  Of course not.

Similarly the case of an EU citizen in the USA.  If his residence status or Green Card were in dispute in the USA, could he appeal over the heads of American courts and ask the ECJ to rule on his behalf?  And if it did, would the US of A accept the ECJ ruling?  Again, of course not.  Clearly the EU Commission recognises that the USA is a sovereign, independent country, but does not accept that a post-Brexit UK will be independent and sovereign.

Accordingly I Tweeted: Question for Brussels: Are US citizens in the EU subject to US law, or EU law? Why should EU citizens in post-Brexit UK be under the ECJ?

Now of course you can’t get all the nuances into 140 Twitter characters, so internet critics (that term “trolls” is so over-used, don’t you think?) can have a field day with (often deliberate) misunderstandings.  We immediately had Professor Michael Merrifield (who should, and probably does, know better) come up with: “Yes, quite a large section of US law applies extraterritorially. Funny when your ignorance makes the opposite point”.

In fact I have spent quite a lot of time in the USA since 1972, and I daresay I know as much about it as Professor Merrifield.

But not to be outdone, a certain Nathan Dennis comes up with a similar complaint: “US law has no territorial boundaries and US citizens are bound by it globally. Your ignorance is frightening, is this a parody account?”

It is true that some US law applies extraterritorially, but it then applies to US citizens in addition to the laws of the country in which they happen to be at the time.  An American cannot exclude himself from (say) French law by appealing over the heads of French and European courts to the US Supreme Court.  Yet that is exactly parallel to what the Commission and the EU 27 want to be the case for EU citizens in dispute with post-Brexit Britain.

Of course the good Professor knows all this perfectly well, and probably Mr. Dennis does too.  But they couldn’t resist the temptation for childish name-calling and playground insults.

 

 

 

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“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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