Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Labour Party

This week saw Conservative MEPs vote against a Europe-wide initiative to provide aid for those struggling with food poverty. The £3 billion EU fund, known as ‘European aid to the most deprived’, would have sent £3 million in the direction of Britain. The choice to try and block the fund was made on the grounds that “It is not for the EU to dictate…how to help the needy. Individual countries must be allowed to decide for themselves.” It left the Tories among a tiny rump of MEPs voting against, making the Coalition the only European Government to oppose the fund.

With the Tories under pressure to address the explosion in the number of food bank users since they’ve been in office, their approach to Tuesday’s vote baffled many. It comes at a time when pressure is building on the Coalition to address the food poverty crisis, with religious and third sector organisations condemning the effect welfare cuts are having on UK rates of poverty. This week Richard Howitt, my Labour colleague in the European Parliament, called the Tories’ decision to vote against the fund “heartless and callous”.

Blocking European Aid is just the latest in a string of instances which have seen Conservatives adopting indefensible positions in the name of Euroscepticism. Before Christmas they blocked the Estrela report – a strategy to, among other things, end FGM – and they have also obstructed the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, a market-based solution to environmental challenges. They’ve done so on the grounds that endorsing such plans would represent a concession to the EU. This is despite the government’s Balance of Competences review so far finding that the weighting between EU powers and domestic autonomy is roughly right.

David Cameron’s increasingly hostile noises about the EU appear to have been taken by Tory MEPs as a license to indulge their most reactionary instincts. They do this irrespective of morality or the UK’s national interests. As a result we are approaching a state of Tea Party-style fanaticism among some on the British right in Brussels; a new and virulent brand of Euroscepticism. It’s vital that those of us who support the EU do not allow this self-defeating ideology to triumph.

Also this week, UKIP’s Spring Conference was overshadowed by the embarrassing revelation that Nigel Farage’s campaign slogan – “Love Britain: Vote UKIP” – was a rehash of a strapline used by the BNP. Nick Griffin’s far right party campaigned under the same banner in 2010, using the wording “Love Britain: Vote BNP”. The comparisons did not appear to end there, with Farage using his “Love Britain: Vote UKIP”-branded plinth to launch an excoriating attack on immigration, which he claims has made Britain “unrecognisable”. When the BNP link was pointed out Farage argued, bizarrely, that he’d been trying to ‘reclaim’ the slogan.

So far Ukip have resisted calls from the European far right to join ranks. Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen have both attempted, unsuccessfully thus far, to reach out to Farage, pointing out the common ground their respective parties share with his. But with UKIP MEP Gerard Batten’s ties with the far right attracting increasing controversy – not to mention Farage’s recent admission that he supported the “basic principle” of Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of blood’ speech – the overlap between UKIP and the extreme right is becoming hard to disguise.

To avoid a return to the ugly politics and racial tensions of the 1970s Labour must contest UKIP’s narrative every step of the way.

From the Archive: UKIP’s proposal to cut back public spending – kill prisoners

Labour Party

The theme of these archive blogs seems to be that UKIP are far more right-wing than Nigel Farage would have us believe.  This blog was originally 19th March 2010 and details some of the more extreme views held by fellow London MEP Gerard Batten.  My only hope is that, with the increased exposure from the recent successes in local elections and their climb in the polls, we will see UKIP challenged more for their extreme elements.

UKIP’s proposal to cut back public spending – kill prisoners

I do not  like my fellow London MEP Gerard Batten very much. Let me explain why. He claims as a UKIP member to be a patriot but does not pay his taxes.  Perhaps he would feel more at home in Belize with Michael Ashcroft? In 2008 I exposed that he was covering up his financial records . (He does seem to have a bit in common with Lord Ashcroft – perhaps he is a non-dom too?) He voted against extending education in Europe with a minority of hard right oppositionists (the vote was 623 for, 56 against). He does such a poor job of representing London that his UKIP colleague Godfrey Bloom MEP from Yorkshire has to come in and help him. On immigration his view is “Enough is enough.

Gerard is not keen on people of different races mixing writing:

“THE MYTH of multiculturalism depends on the belief that completely different cultures, and indeed contradictory world views, can peacefully co-exist within the same geographic and political space.”

I wonder what new UKIP MEP Marta Andresan who is an Argentine by birth makes of this weltanschauung?

Gerard has a high regard for Dutch extreme right politician Geert Wilders who you can see him pictured with.

Now Gerard has turned his mind to economic policy. Last week speaking in Strasbourg during a debate on the death penalty in South Korea he said:

” This (the death penalty) would also save millions of pounds every year currently wasted on keeping such criminals in prison for life that could be better spent on the old and the sick. So well done South Korea: go on executing your worst criminals.”

Forget justice the key issue is saving money. Look on the bright side, if there are any miscarriages of justice in Gerard’s world at least thousands of pounds has been saved with this eugenic economic policy. Of course the wonderful thing is that any country which is a member of the European Union must renounce the death penalty. To me it demonstrates what a civilized institution it is. How frustrating for Gerard.

Even by Gerard’s previous policies his new Vote UKIP – Kill Prisoners – Save Millions campaign must be a new odious low.

From the Archive: Gerard Batten is Best, Forget the Rest

Labour Party

To continue with more of my previous blogs on UKIP.  This one is from November 6th 2009, a time when the UKIP leadership elections were taking place and Gerard Batten was hoping to succeed Nigel Farage.

Gerard Batten is Best, Forget the Rest

 

Fellow London MEP Gerard Batten is apparently campaigning to succeed Nigel Farage as leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). The site set up to support him is interesting to say the least.Yesterday there was a post arguing that Gerard Batten’s attempts to cover up fraudulent spending of European Union monies did not matter, and there was no need for an investigation. An unusual position for a party which claims to be against the misuse of EU monies.However, like Ashley Mote and now Tom Wise, Gerard does not consider that laws apply to him. Gerard is a man who does not believe it is in the British character to play by the rules, and pay your taxes. He is refusing to pay his television licence.

Let’s return to his campaign website which reads a bit like the diary of Adrain Mole aged 55 and 3/4. Schoolboy politics might provide a slogan like  “Forget the rest and vote for the best.”   In the unlikely event of a Batten victory how will Gerard create a leadership team of all the talents other UKIP MEPs?

Gerard’s leadership blog certainly likes a bit of Viz style humour, commenting on the recent Exeter UKIP leadership hustings, the verdict is juvenile:  Pants to the rest, Gerard is the best!

Let’s hope this blog is written by an over enthusiastic supporter of Gerard’s.

Looking at his official website there is no mention of his campaign for Leader. Google “Gerard Batten” and Leader in news, and you find that the BNP have been writing to Gerard as the kind of person they think would like to donate to them. Why would this be?

Look at Gerard’s website, it is a place where a BNP supporter would feel at home.  Let’s start with his article “The Myth of Multiculturalism” which starts

“THE MYTH of multiculturalism depends on the belief that completely different cultures, and indeed contradictory world views, can peacefully co-exist within the same geographic and political space.”

Gerard represents London, he doesn’t seem to have noticed there are people with lots of differents beliefs in London. We all manage to rub along together. Londoners are pretty tolerant people, we even manage to put up with UKIP MEPs.

How about Gerard’s views on immigration? He’s written a 4 page pamphlet on the subject with the title “Enough is Enough“?

Then there’s his article in Freedom Today The Islamist threat to freedom where he talks about his regard for far right Dutch politician Geert Wilders (who Gerard is pictured with above).

You can begin to see why the BNP might consider Gerard Batten would want to support them. Let’s turn back to the intellectual masterpiece that is the “myth of multicultalism” article. This says in language strikingly like something Nick Griffin might say: “The British political and intellectual elite have not only thought that multiculturalism is highly desirable but they have spent the last fifty years actively bringing it about.”

Who could Gerard mean? How about current UKIP leader Nigel Farage? He’s married to a German. Yorkshire UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom? He’s married to a Pole. Even the Queen married a Greek. That’s right Gerard lots of British people are marrying foreign people, and I think love is wonderful, but you want to stop it?

Often when I write about UKIP members misbehaviour I receive notes from UKIP members complaining that they are decent people, and are unlucky to have so many people of bad character in UKIP. The other possibility is UKIP attracts people of bad character, discuss.

Looking at Gerard Batten’s record shouldn’t UKIP be investigating him rather than considering having him as a party leader?

Now that Tom Wise has admitted his guilt to expenses fraud, shouldn’t questions be asked as to why Gerard Batten defended him and tried to excuse Tom Wise’s fraudulent misdemeanours?

Surely any mainstream political party expects their representatives/leaders to pay taxes like the television licence fee?

Dutch PM Rutte refuses to explain racist website run by ultra-right coalition partner

Labour Party

The ultra-right hardline PVV Party, led by the notorious Geert Wilders, currently maintains an appalling racist website. The defining characteristic of the said website is a portal encouraging readers to complain about anti-social and perceived bad behaviour by immigrants to Holland from Eastern Europe.

Utterly dreadful as this is, the story gets even worse. The PVV is, in fact, a partner in the Dutch governing coalition government headed up by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, leader in turn of the right-wing conservative-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

European Parliament President Martin Schulz, the former leader of the Socialist and Democrat Group, recently roundly condemned Rutte for refusing to take action against the PVV website. As reported in the “Irish Times” having met Mr Rutte on the fringes of the EU summit earlier this month, Mr Schulz was scathing saying: “In the Netherlands Mr Rutte cannot survive without Geert Wilder’s Freedom Party. But in Europe he says he has nothing to do with Wilders. He cannot maintain that position – it is simply unacceptable.”   

It really is a terrible tale of racism and discrimination, the like of which I have not come across in the continent of Europe for a very long time.

The vast majority of my colleagues in the European Parliament feel the same way, and yesterday we debated the issue in some depth. MEPs would have very much liked Mark Rutte to attend to at the very lest explain his position. However, he declined our request and refused to turn up.

Sources claim that that Mr Rutte did not regard the debate as urgent, saying he had already explained his position to the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz.

Political commentators in Holland have been equally critical. According to the Irish Times, one said Mr Rutte was regarded in Europe as “lacking in nerve and tact”, while another maintained he would be missing a valuable opportunity today to rebuild bridges with the 10 central and eastern European countries, particularly Poland and Romania, which want the site taken down.

Nevertheless, the European Parliament did debate the PVV racist website yesterday. The only MEP defending it was PVV member Auke Zijlstra who in one of the MEPs sitting with the non-attached members. He was, as you might expect, extremely racist accusing immigrants from Eastern Europe of violence and criminal activity, amongst other things.

The other MEPs in the debate condemned the website as did EU Commissioner Viviane Reding and Danish Presidency spokesperson Nicolai Wammen. As Mrs Reding pointed out, the website contravenes three EU Directives, not to mention the way it undermines basic human rights.

Indeed, the very existence of this website brings the government at the Hague into disrepute. By refusing to condemn Geert Wilders and the racist PVV website, Mark Rutte is showing where his true principles lie. The point is, of course, that they are not principles at all, merely an overpowering desire to stay in power at any price.

Honeyball’s Weekly Round Up

Labour Party

Today I have given quiet reflection to all those brave people who lost their lives and their families who survived them in New York 10 years ago.

It’s not a time to ask questions or pass judgement, this can wait until tomorrow. Today is for remembering them and showing our respect.

I was disappointed to learn this week that UKIP continues to mock the EU with its xenophobic attitude. I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised by their attitude but when you are part of building and fostering something in which you believe in so strongly it never fails to make you angry.

On this occasion it was due to the UKIP inviting two prominent figures from European anti-immigration parties to address its annual conference.

The key note speaker was Timo Soini, the leader of the True Finns, a previously fringe nationalist party which scored a surprise success by coming third in the Finnish general election.

The Independent reported how the party (True Finns) have also described immigrants as “parasites on taxpayers’ money” and suggested ethnically Finnish women should study less and spend
more time having babies.

The other speaker at UKIP’s annual conference was the MEP Barry Madlener, of the Dutch Freedom Party. Its leader, I’m sure you’ll know if Geert Wilders. You can read more on this here.

It was quite a messy week for the Tories back in the UK and their social and health care bill. Much attention was rightly given to the debate of the abortion amendment, of which I have discussed my views widely on this blog.

Cameron had initially given his full support for the bill, before withdrawing it on the eve of the vote. When Nadine Dorries addressed this in the chamber during PMQs she was humiliated by her own leader who told his raucous audience ‘the member is clearly frustrated.’

He then proceeded to sit down without answering her question which asked if he’d stop giving greater support to his deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, rather than to what he truly believed in.

Humiliation, confusion, uncertainty- it’s abundantly clear that the Conservative led coalition doesn’t know which way to turn. You can read more on the very public humiliation of Dorries (in her own words) here.

The Independent struck a chord again this week. This time it was in reference to a report on the UKs housing crisis. Conditions, it said, are among the worst in Western Europe.

Slum housing, according to an alliance of housing experts, is a result of a lack of affordable, decent homes, cuts to local authority housing budgets and the Coalition Government’s benefit reforms which has created a “real hardship, misery and ill-health” for some of the country’s most vulnerable people.

As a result it is costing the nation an estimated £7bn a year the report found.  It’s shameful that we have failed are most vulnerable members of society. Led by the coalition government we have failed to help these people to help themselves- the current situation of cuts doesn’t just leave these people in hardship, but it makes them even more vulnerable at a time when they need our help the most.

You can read the full story here.

Gerard Batten is Best, Forget the Rest

Labour Party

 

Fellow London MEP Gerard Batten is apparently campaigning to succeed Nigel Farage as leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). The site set up to support him is interesting to say the least.Yesterday there was a post arguing that Gerard Batten’s attempts to cover up fraudulent spending of European Union monies did not matter, and there was no need for an investigation. An unusual position for a party which claims to be against the misuse of EU monies.However, like Ashley Mote and now Tom Wise, Gerard does not consider that laws apply to him. Gerard is a man who does not believe it is in the British character to play by the rules, and pay your taxes. He is refusing to pay his television licence.

Let’s return to his campaign website which reads a bit like the diary of Adrain Mole aged 55 and 3/4. Schoolboy politics might provide a slogan like  “Forget the rest and vote for the best.”   In the unlikely event of a Batten victory how will Gerard create a leadership team of all the talents other UKIP MEPs?

Gerard’s leadership blog certainly likes a bit of Viz style humour, commenting on the recent Exeter UKIP leadership hustings, the verdict is juvenile:  Pants to the rest, Gerard is the best! 

Let’s hope this blog is written by an over enthusiastic supporter of Gerard’s.  

Looking at his official website there is no mention of his campaign for Leader. Google “Gerard Batten” and Leader in news, and you find that the BNP have been writing to Gerard as the kind of person they think would like to donate to them. Why would this be?

Look at Gerard’s website, it is a place where a BNP supporter would feel at home.  Let’s start with his article “The Myth of Multiculturalism” which starts 

“THE MYTH of multiculturalism depends on the belief that completely different cultures, and indeed contradictory world views, can peacefully co-exist within the same geographic and political space.”

Gerard represents London, he doesn’t seem to have noticed there are people with lots of differents beliefs in London. We all manage to rub along together. Londoners are pretty tolerant people, we even manage to put up with UKIP MEPs.

How about Gerard’s views on immigration? He’s written a 4 page pamphlet on the subject with the title “Enough is Enough“?

Then there’s his article in Freedom Today The Islamist threat to freedom where he talks about his regard for far right Dutch politician Geert Wilders (who Gerard is pictured with above).

You can begin to see why the BNP might consider Gerard Batten would want to support them. Let’s turn back to the intellectual masterpiece that is the “myth of multicultalism” article. This says in language strikingly like something Nick Griffin might say: “The British political and intellectual elite have not only thought that multiculturalism is highly desirable but they have spent the last fifty years actively bringing it about.” 

Who could Gerard mean? How about current UKIP leader Nigel Farage? He’s married to a German. Yorkshire UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom? He’s married to a Pole. Even the Queen married a Greek. That’s right Gerard lots of British people are marrying foreign people, and I think love is wonderful, but you want to stop it?  

Often when I write about UKIP members misbehaviour I receive notes from UKIP members complaining that they are decent people, and are unlucky to have so many people of bad character in UKIP. The other possibility is UKIP attracts people of bad character, discuss. 

Looking at Gerard Batten’s record shouldn’t UKIP be investigating him rather than considering having him as a party leader?

Now that Tom Wise has admitted his guilt to expenses fraud, shouldn’t questions be asked as to why Gerard Batten defended him and tried to excuse Tom Wise’s fraudulent misdemeanours?

Surely any mainstream political party expects their representatives/leaders to pay taxes like the television licence fee?

Fruitcakes, Loonies and Closet Racists

Labour Party

6a00d8341c60bf53ef01157054007a970b-500wi[1]In February I postedabout the abhorrent far right Dutch MP Geert Wilders who had been invited to the United Kingdom to speak by the pictured Lord Pearson who is a member of UKIP.  I argued then that Jacqui Smith was wrong to prevent him expressing his views.  I am satisfied (pleased would mean I want people like Geert Wilders in London) that the appeal against the ban has been upheld.

There’s a couple of thoughts that come to mind.  How can we prevent people like Geert Wilders expressing their views in Britain, when the more extreme Nick Griffin from the BNP will appear on Question Time next week?  We have to accept that these views can be expounded no matter how much the vast majority of people disagree with them.  Also, as you will see from my post yesterday in relation to the Trafigura case , I am a passionate believer in the right of free speech.  It would be both illogical and unacceptable to stand up for free speech against a commercial corporation which has done wrong and then not allow political views, however abhorrent, to be aired. 

Looking back at my original post on Geert Wilders,  I note that I didn’t make an issue of the pictured UKIP peer, Lord Pearson, inviting such an extremist. David Cameron in 2006 described UKIP as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists“.  Having spent five years in the European Parliament with these closet racists, I am no longer surprised to see UKIP’s dealings with far-right politicians.

Interestingly, though, it is now David Cameron himself who consorts with racists in his new ECR group, many of whom are far from “closet”.

GEERT WILDERS BANNED

Freedom of Speech

I think Britain is wrong to ban Geert Wilders. I disagree fundamentally
with his views but being against a particular religion’s views is not the
same as racism.

Britain has had many politicians visit who believe women have a secondary
place in society, I would never call for their banning. This is a fine
distinction but I think free speech is more important.

Look at the letter. The key phrase is:

“The Secretary of State is satisfied that your statements about Muslims
and their beliefs, as expressed in your film Fitna and elsewhere, would
threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK.”

This says we fear violence. There is a problem if we view threats of
demonstration as meaning there may be violence. I would have joined any
peaceful demonstration against Mr.Wilders views. The government line seems
to be that they cannot trust some aspects of British society to be
peaceful in their protests. By implications this means Muslims. I find
this kind of indirect distinguishing between groups far harder to fight
than the open bigotry of Mr. Wilders.

I have also found that Muslim constituents I have worked with are
universally peaceful. This kind of view allows the very small minority who
might have “threatened community harmony” (Whitehall translation –
violence) to dictate the media view of Muslims.

So the 99% plus of Muslims who are law abiding and tolerant are tarnished
by the tiny minority who threaten violence. It is like saying we should
judge British politicians by the utterance of the grotesque Nick Griffin
of the BNP.

Absurd and wrong. Perhaps Mr. Wilders will look at the provisions for the
freedom of movement of workers provisions Britain has signed up to?