Thank you to Nickie for inviting me to be a part of this new development in the US/UK 'special relationship' and for the welcome. I'm afraid this first one is rather longer than usual but I hope you'll soon become used to my English tone and English humour. I also swear occasionally but given we're talking politics that's hardly surprising. Here goes.
Let's begin with the unelected friend to everyone and no-one, Cathy Ashton. It's been argued that Cameron should put forward a stronger replacement because she's such a pathetic waste of space but I doubt that would help - it would only prompt accusations of the UK strengthening ties. At least she's so ineffective she's not actively doing any harm.. Ashton avoids the word 'Christian' in EU communique condemning treatment of Christians in Egypt & Iraq
I'm including the next link because just a few days ago I spotted a headline in the British press in which Miliband & the Labour Party accused the coalition of exactly the same thing without a reference to Europe or the European Union. Anders: EU faces jobless recovery
I didn't realise that the EU was the driving force that brought down the Berlin Wall and put an end to communism in Eastern Europe. I bet you didn't, either! I despise the way these unelected, unaccountable megolomaniacs re-write history with a word here, a phrase there. Van Rompuy: The EU is the Fatherland of Peace
Another europrat with delusions of grandeur is EP President Jerzy Buzek. He's been arguing for increasing the EU's budget and against cutting back some departments. They're all working very hard behind the scenes to come up with a workable plan for direct EU taxation. He says there is a lack of communication between the EU and the people but blames that on the media although I'm sure he's thrilled by the efforts of the BBC. "...we need a good messenger to deliver it and that rests in your hands. The cost of non-Europe is far greater than the cost of Europe."
One eurocrat to another: "I know, let's not call it direct taxation, let's call it 'innovative financing'." The cross-border financial transaction tax is one step closer. The report suggests revenue potential of a low-rate FTT with its large tax base, of nearly €200 billion a year at EU level and $650 billion at global level.
Liberals - the most mis-named political party anywhere, ever - hold the balance of power in the European Parliament (EP). Not too different from Westminster then and we can all see what's happening there. "Indeed, in roll-call votes it would be political suicide for MEPs who harbour hopes of building a career in the Parliament and holding key positions in committees to rebel against the group whip, explained Trzaskowski, who is vice-chair of the EU assembly's constitutional affairs committee."
When a ceiling collapsed at Strasbourg in 2008 all the poor pen-pushers had to stay in Brussels rather than do the usual commute (mentioned above by Buzek). Having only one seat for Parliament saved the EU taxpayer £2m in travel and accommodation costs.
Same old, same old. With the EU everything it touches turns to function creep and now there are legal problems with the European Securities and Markets Authority. Role of EU Supervisor exceeds EU powers.
Trading in pollution permits was halted after hackers targeted Greece's national registry for carbon trading rights. Cap and trade: that's another fine mess eu've gotten us into.
On the same subject, fraud in the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme has cost taxpayers an estimated €5bn. "There have been warnings after warnings that regulation of the system is lackadaisical and inept…You expect it to be properly regulated but Europe seems to run it more like a church raffle than a professional commodities market."
EU tells Albania to sort out its own riots. Albania is a prospective member state of the EU - can't wait for all those visas and work permits to be issued though judging by the sounds on my High Street a good proportion of them are already here.
I don't have a problem with this one - foreign criminals should all be deported. The only problems arise when it's British nationals who are arrested for minor offences, eg traffic violations, and then extradited to, eg, Greek hell-holes.The European Arrest Warrant was meant to target terrorists
International air travellers are facing US type data collection - plans are being debated this Wednesday (9th). Britain is at the forefront of the proposals. "Under the proposal, all passengers flying for instance from Brussels to Istanbul will have their "Passenger Name Record" (PNR) data – including home address, mobile phone number, credit card information and email address – checked by a special unit of the Belgian police. Any suspected links with terrorism or serious crime – such as drug trafficking or people smuggling – will be shared with other member states and the suspects may be prevented from flying or even arrested."
Q. When is freedom of information not transparent?
A. When the EU sets the rules.
And I think that's just about enough for one session. I'm going for a cup of tea to steady my nerve for the next bout. I hardly seem to have made a dent in the bookmarks so it could run to three* - but I need to keep a record of what they're up to so it must be done. I have to write it, but you don't have to read it :-)
* I won't clutter up Nickie's blog with them but you can catch them at Calling England if you're interested.