…the EU does precisely what it says on the tin

Lord Wolfson warns European Union has become ‘hungry for power’

I mean it’s utterly shocking isn’t it? It’s amazing how suddenly everyone (well more accurately those in the media) is waking up to the fact the EU has covered up this “power grab” secret for almost like 55 years. Or gosh, perhaps they haven’t

“And I confirm, as announced last year, the intention to present, before the European elections, further ideas on the future of our Union and how best to consolidate and deepen the community method and community approach in the longer term. That way, they can be subject to a real European debate. They will set out the principles and orientations that are necessary for a true political union.”

In terms of hiding stuff in plain sight this is ridiculous.


Merry Christmas

I would like to wish all my readers a happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Many thanks to everyone who has read and commented on my blog in the past year. It’s very much appreciated. Normal service will be resumed in the New Year.

Rather than a jolly (or not so jolly) Christmas song I thought this might be more appropriate for the year ahead, have a good one…

Junction 8/9

I fear with this post I may expose myself to accusations of geekisim. Yet despite that, being a regular commuter on the M4 motorway (which runs from London to South Wales), I’ve always been slightly puzzled by the unusually numbered junction 8/9 for Maidenhead. It’s the only junction on the entire UK motorway network that is dual numbered and there appeared to be no obvious reason why.

Minded to find out I discover that the reason lies in initial construction of the motorway in the 1960s.  At that time, the M4 construction started from London and was built out towards the west. The original plan was to construct it around the southern side of Maidenhead and then curve it to the west of Maidenhead with the intention of sweeping north of Reading. Maidenhead itself was to be junction 8 and the junction with the A4, west of Maidenhead was to be 9 (shown below).

However at this point they stopped building it because the planners discovered a problem; they correctly identified that sending the motorway to the north of Reading would send it north of the River Thames. This posed a significant problem because the vast majority of Reading lies south of the river. Thus this would very likely place an unsustainable strain on the two poxy river crossings in the centre of Reading itself. The two river crossings would be overwhelmed by all of the traffic from the south trying to access the motorway.

So they changed the plans, and in 1971 sent the motorway south of Reading instead. This though meant that the final stretch of the M4 that had been constructed in the 1960s to the west of Maidenhead was now redundant, so it was renumbered as the A404(M). Junction 9 then became superfluous due to the re-route – J10 was already allocated to Reading so to keep number consistency and as not to confuse drivers the original J8 was renumbered as J8/9.

As one can see from the map above the original route of the M4 motorway is now marked the A404(M) going northwards off junction 8/9; a motorway until it becomes a simple dual carriageway after junction 9(B) – the original junction 9.

All in all an idiosyncratic quirk – if that’s not a tautology.

Radio Silence

I’ve just noticed that I’ve been blogging now for just over four years. Blimey, it only seems like yesterday since I started.

However this is really a post to inform my readers that blogging is likely to be rather light until the new year for a number of reasons, the usual busy run up to Christmas and also that I’m helping Richard North with research regarding the Brexit submssion to the IEA, a submission which appears to be coming along nicely. Thus a period of radio silence is likely to ensure here in the interim and I thank readers for their patience.

On the Brexit I note Openingly Lying Europe had their “war games” yesterday noticeably though they have failed to be shortlisted for the IEA prize – if they entered at all. The Spectator reports:

John Bruton, the former Irish Taoiseach and EU ambassador to the US who was playing the part of the European Commission, was explicit that the British could not be allowed too good a deal for fear that this would encourage others member states to walk away.

While Mats Persson says:

The UK may have activated Article 50 of the EU treaties, triggering a two year period in which to negotiate a successor agreement which could take the form of a free trade deal. Remember, contrary to what some may believe, just like renegotiation, this too will require the approval of EU partners. For example, what terms could be secured for UK goods and services exporters into the EU?

Weasel words they all are, implying heavily that UK will be screwed over to prevent them from leaving. Yet Article 50 makes it very clear that:

“The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification.”

If the terms are onerous we refuse to agree…simple as. Treaties cease to apply after 2 years regardless. The EU will be desperate to make our exit as smooth as possible – they have a fragile Eurozone to prop up so there is absolutely no way they would provoke a fight with a very important trading partner, to do so would be to bring the Eurozone and the EU project crashing around its ears.

However radio silence there may be on this blog but the fight still continues, albeit quietly for the time being.

An Internal Dilemma?

For research purposes I’m currently having a read through Hansard regarding the passing of the Lisbon Treaty. As a result I came across this question by Labour MP Gisela Stuart during the debate:

The right hon. Gentleman is a genuinely committed European, and I believe that he would like to take the people with him in his vision of Europe. Does he not think that a referendum would provide a much better opportunity to extol the benefits of, and to make the case for, the European Union, rather than blackmailing people by simply asking, “In or out?”?

Malcolm Bruce Lib Dem MP responded: 

No. Perhaps I should not be surprised by the way in which the hon. Lady’s relationship with, and attitude to, Europe has changed because of her experience of the negotiating process. 

This refers to a pamphlet by Gisela Stuart titled; The Making Of Europe’s Constitution which was heavily critical of the process involved drafting the original EU Constitution – which then became the Lisbon Treaty.

It’s worth reading if only for the chapter on page 23 called, Consensus? What Consensus? The architect of the original draft Valéry Giscard d’Estaing told Alojs Peterle, ’the invitee’ from Slovenia, that “his vote did not count” when he had a casting vote that would affect the consensus.

Malcolm Bruce continues (my emphasis):

I would have thought, however, that she would understand that if the United Kingdom decided now, in the present circumstances, to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, and if we failed to ratify the treaty as a result, we would be faced with an internal dilemma, in that two thirds of Parliament would have voted one way, while the people would have voted the other way. That would be a domestic problem, as the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe has articulated.

In a properly functioning democracy of course it would not be ‘an internal dilemma’; the people have voted no and that is it. Not to Mr Bruce though, the people voting differently to MPs in Parliament – who are supposed to represent those very people – presents a problem. Not only that he continues:

Also, we would certainly have created a degree of resentment among our European colleagues for having held up a difficult process at a crucial moment. I think that the hon. Lady knows perfectly well that those would be the consequences of such a decision.

Oh dear what a shame we upset our European colleagues. We can’t have democracy getting in the way of that. In light of this ‘dilemma’ he of course knows best:

I am articulating my party’s view, which is that after 35 years, it is appropriate to say to people, “The European Union has been modified by treaties. This is actually a good reforming treaty, which will leave it in better shape than most of the previous ones—certainly Nice and Amsterdam—did,” and to ask them, “Will you vote for Britain to be in Europe, but as a package, on the understanding that that is with the Lisbon treaty?” The Lisbon treaty is not optional. We cannot be in Europe and not ratify the Lisbon treaty.

Not much illustrates our broken democracy more than this arrogant shower.

Nelson Mandela

Whatever one’s opinions on the man, it was inevitable when Mandela died the news would be saturated with wall-to-wall coverage, particularly by the BBC, to the exclusion of everything else.

And so it has proved and for that reason I have largely avoided reading the news today, although undoubtedly some bad news has been “buried”. I can’t bear to read of nauseating tributes by celebrities, by “devastated” people on Twitter who have never met him and by politicians jumping on a bandwagon as demonstrated by Gordon Brown who, without any self awareness, claimed Mandela taught him courage. At times like this I’m almost ashamed to admit I agree with Rod Liddle.

However the purpose of this post is to award the most shameless, self-publicity seeking, crass tribute of the day to…Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA.