The Danger of the Bill of Rights

Mike Robinson in the UK Column discusses human rights and suggests that Cameron is trying to throw out our Bill of Rights 1689 which is based on Common Law and recognises our inalienable rights and a presumption of liberty and replace it with EU based rights which start from the premise that humans have no rights other than those granted by our leaders. He repeats: the basis of (EU) human rights law is that humans have no rights except those the political elite decide to grace us with.

Some like to argue that in the end there is no practical difference between the two concepts, however they could not be more wrong because that which a political elite can grant it can also remove.

In fact if we look at the EU Charta of Fundamental Rights we see in Article 52 that the EU even makes provision for doing just that.

Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms. Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.

How can if be a basic human right of it can be removed at the whim of a political leader for the benefit of the political establishment.

Independence does not mean more power for the people

Fraser Nelson argues in the Spectator that the Scottish people will not benefit from further powers being transferred to the Scottish Parliament. An interesting observation that just transferring powers to other politicians is not actually empowering people or bringing decision making closer to the people. Because the politicians keep the power for themselves Nelson argues that independence will not change that.

Thoughts on Scotland

Referring to the SNP stance of asking the people of Scotland to vote to give them a mandate to negotiate based on a set of proposals that do not consider the thoughts and positions of others. The White paper was nothing more than a one sided wish, list because it ignores others, it is not a blueprint for what will happen after a yes vote. Scotland could well find itself with no currency out of the EU and other international organisations.

The referendum is not about giving more powers to the Scottish parliament, the promise of such it nothing more than short-sighted weakness on the part of our political leaders, the question is independence not devo max. Had Devo -max been included on the ballot paper that would have undermined the independence question and the SNP want independence not devo-max, more power is just a stepping stone towards independence.

Giving more powers to one part of the UK that will create more problems to be addressed and will not resolve the question of Scottish independence, it will just kick the ball down the road, but also have the effect of making it much more likely that Scotland will leave. For instance the powers already devolved along with the Scottish parliament have not stopped the push for self-government they have in fact given it a focus and a vehicle.

More powers to Scotland will not keep the UK together it actually means either the eventual break up of the UK or a total reorganisation of this countries political settlement into a more federal structure.

The problem with the ideas of a federal system is those promoting such an outcome also seem to want to divide England into bite sized pieces – as if the size of Scotland should be the determining factor for rest of us, the arguments being England is to big and would unbalance a federation.

My thoughts on Cameron have not changed since he was first elected leader of the Tories, I wrote then that he was an empty vessel who had no idea of why he wanted power and would thus be blown along with the breeze. But I do not see this government is responsible for the present state of affairs regarding the referendum, it was in fact the Scottish led Labour government which set up the parliament and gave it powers. What was Cameron supposed to do deny a referendum when the SNP were elected on a mandate for independence, had he done so they would now be calling him and anti-democratic demi-god.


The Tories did not win the last election

I keep hearing the Conservatives did not win the last election, as an excuse for breaking their manifesto promises. Now whilst it is true they did not attract enough voters, they did decide to do a dirty back room deal with the party least favoured in order to gain power.

They stood for election on their manifesto, not on the agreement presented to us after the election. If they knew they had no chance of meeting their promises to the voters they had no moral right taking power to pursue a totally different agenda.

Douglas Carswell

So finally Douglas Carswell at least has got the message, whether there will be anymore defectors we will find out eventually, but for my money probably not until after they have allowed him to test the water.

The Conservatives are of course out in force today with the time-honoured vote UKIP and get Milliband and the Tories are the only chance we have to get a referendum, as if we care!

That is something they seem not to want to understand whilst we are in the EU it matters little which party controls the local government in Westminster. And does anyone really believe Cameron will allow a fair referendum, for starters he simply cannot meet his own deadline for renegotiation and referendum, as made clear by the excellent Dr North.
Then Cameron is already on record saying he thinks we would be mad to leave the EU.

So the Tories are threatening  that unless we vote for them, we will get a party in government which will be restrained by exactly the same EU rules as they are and if we do vote for them, they will call a totally rigged referendum and put the Eusceptic cause back at least 50 years. Mmm …. Now let me think!

We Never Learn

“The Budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled,
public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be
tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be
curtailed, lest Rome will become bankrupt. People must again learn to work
instead of living on public assistance.” – Cicero, 55 BC

Torys not really running after Eastleigh

After Eastleigh if they are not running scared they are giving a very good impression, the glorious leader says they are not for lurching, but then we have John Redwood the Tories Eusceptic lightning rod suggesting a mandate referendum for a referendum, now Europhile Jesse Norman Hereford and South Herefordshire has visited Eutopia and did not like it.

Mr Norman “came out” in a speech this week for Localis the opinions behind the speech became an article in the Telegraph The EU’s insidious war on the nation state must be halted Mr Norman seems to have just discovered all these problems with the EU and has yet to comprehend that they do not just happen by chance but are in the DNA of the EU.

He says :the EU and its institutions face a crisis of legitimacy, it is the nation state which is the fundamental guarantor of legitimate power. The EU is an elite project, with a minimum of democratic involvement, the EU Parliament is “the EU’s representative to the voters, not the other way round”, the court is bound by a political commitment to “ever closer union” and is “part of the executive, contrary to a proper separation of powers”

What Mr Norman finds “especially troubling are the EU’s attempts to use public money in ways that appear designed to de-legitimise the nation state and confer legitimacy on itself.” These included the regional government agenda, and the opening up of structural funds to direct application by regions, which sidesteps national parliaments and nationally agreed political priorities.

The EU has also sought to swing academic and expert opinion behind itself through the Jean Monnet programme, which “stimulates teaching, research and reflection on European integration in higher education institutions. He says p eople start to ask: why pay your taxes, why vote, why obey the rules, if you have no power to change things? Resources are allocated for purely political purposes, rather than in response to public need.

Perhaps Mr Norman has been a clandestine Eusceptic all along, or perhaps and much more likely after Eastleigh is has suddenly dawned on him that he is only sitting on a 5% majority and he thought it time to nail his credentials to the UKIP mast.

Because we have been saying the same things for years with a lot more detail and a lot more legitimacy, because we have not continually voted in a ways that harms our freedom, prosperity and sovereignty as has Mr Norman.

The Bruges Group has ranked Members of Parliament according to their voting in the House of Commons since the 2010 General Election. If an MP votes in a way that harms our freedom, prosperity and sovereignty the MP receives a vote of minus 2.
Jesse Norman has a score of -19 -72%

He voted NO to the following.
EU referendum vote
Vote on cutting EU spending: European Framework Financing,
The right to a referendum on EU membership if the majority of those voting on a treaty oppose its ratification,
Preventing the expansion of EU law over Justice and Home Affairs
Stopping the Government adding to the Eurozone bailouts
Affirming the Sovereignty of the UK Parliament

He voted YES for
International Monetary Fund (Increase in Subscription)
Ireland bailout payment
Vote on EU Economic Governance
EU External Action Service

and chose to abstain
Motion to stop an increase in Britain’s EU budget contribution

So welcome to the camp Mr Norman now what are you going to do rectify the problems you depict and please don’t, like your leader, ask us to vote for you next time before you do anything, you have a great deal of ground to make up before then.

Euroscepticism and Freedom

The defence of freedoms when all else has failed is an instinctive reaction tied up with pride. Much of politics hangs on these die-hard freedoms and to what extent they should be reined in by laws and regulations. Nick Jacobs But much of it doesn’t – and yet cliques have realised that they can achieve their own minority interests by convincing people that their freedoms are at stake when they are not. The result is a highly destructive force in politics.

Jacobs sets out his stall and then fills it a load of imagined rubbish, even his own argument is rubbish he says: minority interests convince people that their freedoms are at stake when they are not.

He says: Bob Crows objection to the EU is based on a general lament about inter-EU and non-EU immigration undercutting British salaries and working conditions. He says: Bob Crow is being hoodwinked by a clique of company CEOs whose ability to exploit their workers and capture the lion’s share of profits could be threatened by current and future social legislation which can be stifled more easily at national than EU level; and the city of London, whose freedom to speculate, pay out exorbitant bonuses and operate without a financial transaction tax hinges on multiple legislative debates in Brussels. He says: the defence of freedoms is tied up in pride! If we exclude a small fringe of outright nationalists and patriots, we are left with a fairly limited bunch. But a much wider coalition has been built to demand an exit, not least thanks to the efforts of a vicious partisan press – ideologically and often financially tied to the self-interested clique which works to convince people that their freedoms are genuinely at stake. To do so, the freedom of the few to make exorbitant amounts of money has been conflated with the freedom of ordinary citizens not to have rules dictated to them by Brussels. What a load of old twaddle !

As an Eusceptic I take offence when some idiot try`s to tell me why I object to the EU and links me to his own particular bogeymen, inventing anything that helps his lamentable nightmare hold together.

Where is this clique of company CEOs who have hoodwinked an experienced union boss into working against his members interests, who are they what are their names, what proof can Jacobs bring to the table. Are they the same CEO who are happy to spend million lobbying the EU who want this country to stay in the EU who are happy with the green agenda that is costing this country billions.! Where is this vicious partisan press ideologically and often financially tied to the clique of company CEO’s.

Big Brother ECHR Ruling

The data sharing bill, which is going through Parliament in the next few weeks, will see government agencies passing intimate details of individuals and families between departments: Libertarians worry that these details will also end up in the hands of government contractors in private companies.

In any case, “The new law would remove the right to protection against misuse of information by thousands of unaccountable civil servants.”

The government argue that the power will be exercised only in circumstances where the sharing of the information is in the public interest and proportionate to the impact on any person adversely affected by it.” But who in their right mind is going to believe such reassurances when we have seen the anti-terrorism laws misused to the extent that they have been.

From the BBC :
Judges in the European Court of Human Rights have just ruled on a case concerning two men who had been arrested and had their DNA taken and held by South Yorkshire Police, although neither was convicted of any offence.
The judges said keeping the information “could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society”.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she was “disappointed” by the European Court of Human Rights’ decision, arguing that the DNA database is required to “fight serious crime.”

With the recent arrest of Tory MP Damien Green civil right are at the top of the agenda if only for our own Members of Parliament, but many of us have been arguing for a long time that this government with the supine acceptance of the other parties have been introducing some very serious incursions on our civil rights.

For example DNA profiles of everyone arrested for a recordable offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are kept on the database, regardless of whether they are charged or convicted.

This power is now under threat as the ECJ Judges said they were :
“struck by the blanket and indiscriminate nature of the power of retention in England and Wales”.

The judges ruled the retention of the men’s DNA “failed to strike a fair balance between the competing public and private interests,” and that the UK government “had overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard”.
The court also ruled “the retention in question constituted a disproportionate interference with the applicants’ right to respect for private life and could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society”.

Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti said: “This is one of the most strongly worded judgements that Liberty has ever seen from the Court of Human Rights.
“That court has used human rights principles and common sense to deliver the privacy protection of innocent people that the British government has shamefully failed to deliver.”

Scotland already destroys DNA samples taken during criminal investigations from people who are not charged or who are later acquitted of alleged offences.

As reported in the Independent
Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, said he believed Britain had gone too far in helping to bring about a “surveillance society”. In a report drawing on personal data infringements across Europe but “inspired” by Britain’s plan for a new internet, email and telephone database, he added: “General surveillance raises serious democratic problems which are not answered by the repeated assertion that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear. This puts the onus in the wrong place: it should be for states to justify the interferences they seek to make on privacy rights.”
He said he was “very worried about the downgrading of the protections of personal information”, adding: “Of course there has to be a balance to be struck. At the moment we have not got it right.”

We will make progress millimeter by millimeter

Saw this on Netvibes but I can`t find it on EU Ref so have posted it here instead

Last week’s European Council has been deconstructed by Le Monde, which is offering an article headed: “Angela Merkel: ‘Sooner or later, the money will explode without the necessary cohesion'”.
Although the piece is a couple of days old, it has enough depth to excite the interest of the Wall Street Journal which has its own analysis in today’s [print] edition, with the online version posted overnight. This English-language report takes as read the Le Monde feed, headlining, “Merkel Hits Wall With Europe Fix”, with the strap: “Angela Merkel’s Signature Project Is Floundering a Week Into the German Chancellor’s Third Term”.
That, then, is the theme, worth recording before it is lost in the black hole of Christmas – a vital “mood music” piece that maybe will set the tone for the next few months, or even longer. At issue was a proposal by Germany under which eurozone members enter binding contracts with the Commission over economic policy. Very much Merkel’s strategy, she wants to make it more difficult for countries to backtrack on labour-market overhauls and other unpopular steps, a changes she believes would help protect the euro from future crises. Now enter Le Monde. From conversations reconstituted by the paper, it is reporting that most of the heads of State and Government of the European Union have “conspired against” the contract idea. That much isn’t new, as it was anticipated before the Council.
As to the details, proceedings were opened Herman van Rompuy, Council President, who told the assembly that more pressure was needed on structural reforms, but he knew it was difficult. From the outset, though, even Germany’s traditional allies distanced themselves from Angela Merkel’s proposal. Austria’s Werner Faymann told the German chancellor that, “Any binding rule must be approved by national Parliaments”, saying that there was to be no surrender of sovereignty. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was “convinced” that the contracts would not help, suggesting that making the contracts legally binding would violate members’ sovereignty. Jyrki Katainen of Finland slammed “bailouts”, which he said, “fueled populism”, which had become a “cancer”. Spain’s Mariano Rajoy led the charge from the south. “Many of us have made reforms”, he said, but insisted that contracts must be “voluntary”. The only support – apart from Barroso – rather predictably came from Mario Draghi, ECB president, who took the contrary view, saying “If you do not reform, you lose national sovereignty”. And there it was, apparently, that Merkel lost her cool, coming up with the headline quote, “Sooner or later, the money will explode without the necessary cohesion”. When the Maltese leader then expressed strong reservations, Merkel retorted that, if the text was not acceptable for Spain, “let’s drop it and come back in ten years”. On the other hand, she said, “If everyone behaves like we could do under communism, then we are lost”.
Francois Hollande, the other half of the Franco-German motor, remained “rather discreet”. He avoided talking about “financial capacity”, code for having Germany pay more into the pot, which France wants in exchange for contracts. “There are those who do not want more discipline and fear that it is binding . And others who do not want to pay”, Hollande said. Both Hollande and the Belgian prime minister wanted to agree on the principles and decide the details after the euro-elections of May 2014. Europe should not be presented as “a big stick”. In the end, Merkel gave way and proposed that the issue should be held over for a year, with the “colleagues” coming back to it in December 2014. “I do not want someone to tell me that he lost the elections” because contracts, she said. For Barroso, December 2014 didn’t matter. “I will not be there”, he said. For Herman Van Rompuy, it did matter. Even if he decided, “I will not die for contracts”, he wanted to finish his work before leaving his post in November 2014. He agreed to postpone decisions from June to October 2014. This is a result which Le Monde described as “une très mauvaise soirée” for the German chancellor – a very bad night. “We will make progress millimeter by millimeter”, a rebuffed Mrs Merkel told reporters after the Council dinner, her face “drawn”.
The thing is, that’s how they always do it – millimetre by millimetre. Give them an inch and they’ll millimetre, one might say. But then they come back for more. October will do very nicely for the “colleagues”. That should rather conveniently coincide with the announcement of a treaty convention.

“We will make progress millimeter by millimeter”

via EU Politics (3603).



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