My interview on Radio 5: Listen again

Labour Party

I was invited to debate Britain’s future in Europe yesterday (Sunday 8 November) on Radio 5 Live. I outlined why it would be a disaster if the UK voted to leave and the benefits of staying.

I also stated that no single institution is perfect and so some reform is needed. One such reform I would like to see is to stop the European Parliament meeting in two places.  We meet in both Brussels and Strasbourg which is very expensive and very wasteful.

You can listen to the broadcast again here:  .

 

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: Farage Taken to Task for Lack of Work

Labour Party

This is a blog from November 22nd of last year.  Following a typically pompous and offensive speech by Nigel Farage in the plenary chamber in Strasbourg former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofsadt gave us a few home truths.  It’s a great bit of footage and well worth seeing again to remind ourselves of some of the very serious questions about Farage’s UKIP and how much work they actually do in the interest of the United Kingdom.

Farage Taken to Task for Lack of Work

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgium Prime Minister and current leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), took Nigel Farage to task today for his lack of work in the parliament.  Mr Verhofstadt pointed out to Mr Farage that it his salary was the greatest waste of tax payers money as he has failed to attend a singe sitting of his committee (the fisheries committee) in two years.

Farage Taken to Task for Lack of Work

Labour Party

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgium Prime Minister and current leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), took Nigel Farage to task today for his lack of work in the parliament.  Mr Verhofstadt pointed out to Mr Farage that it his salary was the greatest waste of tax payers money as he has failed to attend a singe sitting of his committee (the fisheries committee) in two years.

Not even a small Change to the Strasbourg Circus

Labour Party

Earlier today we voted on an amendment to the 2011 European Parliament calendar which sought to combine the two Strasbourg sessions proposed for September 2011 into one week.  This would mean that  MEPs and staff would only come to Strasbourg once in September next year and therefore for only eleven weeks in 2011 rather than the usual twelve.

Good idea, you may well think.  Indeed the EPLP thought it was such a good idea that most of us were co-signatories to the amendment even though it was originally put forward by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group, ie the Tories. 

Not only would our proposal save money in that one Strasbourg journey and stay would be cut.  It would also save on carbon emissions and thereby help us all.

Alas, our eminently sensible amendment was rejected.  This only goes to show the strength of the Strasbourg lobby and what an uphill task we have in even getting through the smallest changes.

STRASBOURG PLENARY SESSION 21 – 24 APRIL

Strasbourg

I don’t usually post this link, but I thought this time you may be interested to see a summary of the issues, debates and votes coming up during this plenary session.

I hope this will provide a flavour of what goes on in the European Parliament.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/public/story_page/008-53951-110-04-17-901-20090420STO53926-2009-20-04-2009/default_en.htm

HOW TO KEEP CLEAR OF A FASCIST

Far Right, Labour Party

I posted a status on Facebook recently about leaving a queue because I found myself next to Jean Marie Le Pen MEP, the French National Front Party leader, and had a number of supportive comments. How to deal with a fascist in Parliament?

I am always disappointed to see how warmly some of the staff greet and attend to Mr. Le Pen. Not the black staff of course. Sadly, the National Front poll relatively strongly in the Strasbourg area. Some local people are happy to take the economic benefits of a number of European institutions, with the Council of Europe also meeting here. Yet perversely a xenophobic view of the world provides support for the far-right.

Once I had an important guest and I took them to one of the Parliament’s restaurants. I did not have a booking and it was heaving. The only place we could sit was at a large table of 8. The waitress apologised but offered us to share. The reason these were the only free seats, was that on the other side of the table sat Mr. Le Pen. My guest was as keen as me to decline the offer, and we found a bar with a far better atmosphere, if a far more limited selection of food. Others before me and afterwards declined this unpleasant invitation. Gentle courteous shunning.

On other occasions I have seen the restaurant full, but for the few seats free on Le pen’s table.

Another small way to make one’s point is to never share a lift with Mr. Le Pen. So often he is alone, or with just his assistant in a lift that could easily take 10, you would think he had a problem with wind all the time. Who knows, perhaps he does? I never get that close to find out!