A happy New Year, and many thanks to all who have followed and read this blog over the last year. I’d like to wish everyone all the best, and good health, for 2012.
I was initially going to ignore this report in the Telegraph because it is going over very old ground regarding minimum pricing on alcohol. We’ve been here many times before, not least nearly a year ago when the coalition ‘pretended‘ they had in fact introduced such a ban:
It’s like the 2010 election never happened and Labour are still in power.
But what caught my eye was that the Telegraph, who never mention the EU at all when it comes to this issue, almost fall over themselves pointing out that very elephant in the room:
The Business Department has warned that forcing firms to charge a minimum price could be illegal under European law. Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, favours a voluntary approach, but he has been overruled by Mr Cameron, although the compulsory scheme might fall foul of government lawyers.
A Whitehall source said: “The Prime Minister has decided that when it comes to alcohol, something pretty radical now has to be done and he is keen on the minimum price. It is complicated how this can be delivered, particularly under European law…
European law is complicated and minimum prices are only likely to be allowed if the authorities can demonstrate that they are tackling a major health problem without undermining competition.
Historically, governments have been reluctant to look at minimum pricing because of concerns about the legality of the move…
What’s going on? I can only assume that the regular Telegraph staff have gone on holiday for Christmas and the temporary cover are making a better fist of it. No doubt in January when the regular staff return, normal service of ignoring the elephant will be resumed.
UKIP have put together the following compilation of the disdain shown by other countries towards the UK regarding Cameron’s (phantom) veto:
Leaving aside that Cameron didn’t actually veto anything, what’s revealing is that ‘Brit bashing’ is apparently fair game. Should eurosceptics in this country have indulged in such language about other EU countries then the usual retorts of ‘little Englander’ would’ve be chucked about with abandon.
Naturally all of this will be used as an argument of the UK being isolated in Europe. The isolation argument has always been a red herring. It matters not if you’re on your own, what matters is if you’re right. It’s far better to be isolated yet correct, than be wrong only in order to take comfort in being a sheep. The latter is perfect territory for extreme political outcomes that ironically the EU was supposedly designed to prevent.
Ronald Reagan once said:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
I’m partly here on this planet because my maternal grandparents met, as workers, at the Supermarine Spitfire plant in Swindon during WWII. They, in their own way, helped fight for my freedom and so as a consequence handed it down for me to do the same – I intend to carry that fight on. If that makes us isolated then so be it – I don’t care.
Due to some significant upheaval on the domestic front (nothing serious) posting will be sparse for the next few weeks.
However in the words of some obscure Austrian bodybuilder, “I’ll be back”.
…I really do. I can’t cope with today because of ‘bollocks overload‘. Apparently Cameron has gained a spine (when did that operation occur?) and stood up for Britain against the EU. Cameron has seemingly suddenly turned into Churchill and defended our shores against the might of Europe. Yeah right!
Cameron has always shown himself to be a europhile ever since he became leader so why has he only now performed a u-turn so large that it’s visible from space? The short answer is, he hasn’t.
Despite the wisdom of the all seeing eyes that are journalists (who think this is a summit not a council meeting) there has been no veto, in fact no treaty changes can be made without an IGC. This is evident in the weasel words that are being used (my emphasis):
PM declares: ‘I had to pursue Britain’s interests… I effectively wielded the veto.
Effectively does not mean he has. And…
Cameron faces virtual isolation
Virtual eh? Not the same thing.
The golden rule with Cameron is to accept that he is a europhile, so if he appears to make statements to the contrary then there will inevitably be a massive catch So why are most falling for his guff?
Cameron is playing to a pliable British press to convince his party that he really is eurosceptic, when strong evidence shows conclusively the opposite. This is obvious in this piece by the Mail:
This is the moment that Nicolas Sarkozy demonstrates exactly what he really thinks of David Cameron’s veto of the EU Treaty change.
After the gruelling all-night sitting in Brussels, Mr Cameron approaches the French president with his hand outstretched, ready to shake and show there are no hard feelings.
But not only does Mr Sarkozy refuse to acknowledge the PM, he actually does a swift swerve aside, waving pointedly to someone – anyone – on his right.
I bet now Cameron and Sarkozy are laughing in private, saying to each other “brilliant we got the timing just right” but Sarkozy saying; “shit, I still look short in the photos”
Boris Johnson has concluded that Cameron has played a blinder – in a sense he’s right: Cameron is stupid but he’s cute enough to play to the gallery of Tory voters who are more stupid and gullible than him.
I feel I should write a piece on my thoughts on the latest Euro crisis. But I can’t. I simply can’t. Nothing significant appears to have changed, Cameron will still try to wriggle out of promises he made, the fundamental flaws will still exist and the markets will be temporarily jolly then retreat. AEP from the Telegraph puts it succinctly:
A blizzard of silly proposals has hit the wires this week as a legion of ministers, diplomats, commissars, high secretaries, and fellow travellers all lobby and conspire to create “momentum” behind pet themes. In the meantime, nothing workable is actually on the table before the “summit-to-save-the-euro” on Friday.
Be careful. Do not be distracted by Byzantine absurdities. And don’t listen to anybody who uses the term fiscal union. There is no such proposal. All we have so far is a Stability Pact with extra lipstick (Fiskalunion).
Nothing further to add.
It leaves me wondering whether I should write a generic post along the lines of; “nothing to see here, move along the bus please” and keep reposting it after every EU meeting a la Blue Peter’s ‘here’s one I made earlier’. So I can only agree with this piece by Governmentitus who labels the Euro as being in “do not resuscitate” territory (ironically in his first posting for a long time).
Meanwhile, the BBC – in its wisdom – has spent the best part of the day regurgitation a ‘bears heading towards woods clutching newspapers‘ story:
Nearly half of cancers diagnosed in the UK each year – over 130,000 in total – are caused by avoidable life choices including smoking, drinking and eating the wrong things, a review reveals.
This nannying by the BBC is relentless and I’m fed up of it. Can we have proper news not some uncritical publishing of a report by an organisation with an agenda?
So this is an ideal opportunity therefore to link to, what is in my view one of the finest football chants in the English game – the Greasy Chip Butty song by Sheffield United fans, the lyrics being sung to the tune of John Denver’s Annie’s song:
I’m not sure what I like about this chant the most; the sound of 30,000 drunken Yorkshire men battering Denver’s song into submission, the fluffy lyrics of the original sung by wool jumper wearing Denver being replaced by uncompromising Northern imagery, or the fact that when I’ve heard it sung at Bramall Lane copious children stand up singing (arms outstretched) “you fill up my senses…like a packet of Woodbines”.
Anyway it’s a wonderful riposte to the neverending BBC propaganda every week and no doubt would give some of those in the BBC, should they hear it, a heart attack….ironically.