JOINING THE EURO WILL DEMAND A TAX RISE
Gordon Brown's recent Mansion House speech was widely construed as distancing the Government from joining the Euro in the foreseeable future. But still the preparations to join the faltering Euro continue - and at the expense of public services.
Andrew Smithers, Chairman of fund manager advisers Smithers & Co was scathing on policy. He described the Chancellor's five economic tests as "bogus", stating that they had been drawn up for political reasons; that they were designed to fudge the issue and avoid real debate over the Euro.
Smithers predicted trouble would result from the Government's current economic strategy. With public spending due to rise faster than output, this would require tax rises to shift output to industry and public services. An interest rate adjustment would not be an option, bcause Sterling would remain at too high an exchange rate to join the Euro. (Evening Standard, 18.6.01)
Financier George Soros remarked that he did not bet on the Euro because it was "very unpredictable", noting that the European Central Bank (ECB) only targeted "price stability". Nick Parsons of Commerzbank in London compared the Bank of England (BoE) with the ECB. Whereas the BoE's monetary policy committee had been open and effective, he said of the ECB: "The danger is that by setting their own targets and justifying them in retrospect no-one really knows how and why they are reaching decisions and on what basis" (Guardian, 18.6.01)
Veteran US economist Milton Friedman believes Europe was wrong to introduce the single currency in the first place, and told the German media that "the member states will face a great many problems in future with their different economic policies". (Telegraph, 21.6.01).Times Financial Editor Graham Serjeant drew attention to Germany's economic stagnation, in spite of the weak Euro [which would encourage exports - NA]. German ministers have been begging the ECB to cut interest rates, which have been set for Euroland as a whole.(Times, 22.6.01)
THE IRISH REJECT GIVING MORE POWER TO THE EU
7th June 2001 saw a referendum in which the Republic of Ireland rejected the Nice Treaty by 54-46%. As unanimous approval is needed for a Treaty to go through, anti-democratic politicians do not want to accept the people's verdict. EU Commissioner Gunther Verheugen said that one country's rejection cannot be allowed to block "the biggest and most important project for European integration"
The rejection has been reported as a vote against EU enlargement by BBC programmes such as Today, the World at One and Ceefax. This is highly misleading, as some non-EU countries can still join on the current split of decision-making between national and EU-level. (What annoyed the Europhiles was that the Treaty strove to concentrate more power into EU hands).
The Irish were very unhappy at the prospects of increasing EU militarisation, given their historical neutrality. Also at the EU's recent threats to interfere with their investment-friendly tax regime. They voted against the calls of their leading politicians and churchmen. As with Denmark after Maastricht, it will be interesting to see how the EU intends to bribe, frighten or deceive them into voting for it. Democracy cannot be allowed to prevail.
FOOT AND MOUTH 'EPIDEMIC' TO RESUME
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph of 10th June 2001, Christopher Booker spoke of the increasing preparations for slaughter. Hang on, weren't we told that the disease was under control; which was necessary for Mr Blair to be able to call an election???
Britain now faces a wipe-out of much of its livestock to the benefit of continental exporters; and it looks like the EU and not the British Government is in control!
The Government is trying to introduce regional government for England to the EU blueprint. An EU brochure already claims that London (now run by Britain in Europe's Ken Livingstone) is a "region of the EU"
One of the leading backers is Peter Mandelson MP who claimed in a recent speech that economic regeneration cannot occur without it. However the front men pushing for this extra layer of regional government are the Campaign for English Regions (CFER). For some reason the latter are shy about revealing the hand of the European Union, which has had a profoundly negative effect on many of our industries.
CFER's leading financial backers include the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, who reported:
"The UK has a weak base of regional structures and strategies... European programmes have put pressure on the UK to improve this situation".
They made it clear that European requirements dominated local ones on the EU programmes. Programmes that supposedly benefit us, but which just recycle part of the billions we pay the EU each year. For returning a fraction of our contribution, the EU demands large signs be placed, singing its praises.
Far from improving local democracy, the regional agenda will simply set up another agency of Brussels, and at our expense.
UK ELECTORATE VOTES WITH ITS FEET
Over 40% of voters stayed away from the 7th June election, mostly disillusioned with politics, and around 7% voted for newish parties and independent candidates. Only one in four voters backed Tony Blair, who looked stressed throughout much of the campaign.
In Wyre Forest, the Government saw a minister trounced by Independent Dr Richard Taylor, who polled 58% from scratch. Described in the press as anti-EU, we applaud their decision to elect him and reject spin. Many other voters might have boycotted New Labour if they knew that £200 million was being spent over 3 years on Euro preparation at the expense of treatment.
Voters largely rejected William Hague's chaotic posturing on Europe. For a highly educated and articulate man, who seemed in control of his faculties, it was strange to see his contradictory promises - e.g. being "In Europe but not run by it".
Given his emphasis on keeping the Pound, he amazed by his reluctance to make a permanent commitment there (joining the Euro would also be permanent, so why not rule it out?). His manifesto managed to commit to permanent university endowments. His later attempt to pretend that the election was a referendum on the Euro astonished even his own party.
This all coincided with reports on BBC Online, 21st May, that "Europe" was the number one issue (and number two on Newsnight, 29th May).. As shown above, the EU affects most areas of national life and can prevent a government governing in the national interest. Labour & LibDem candidates hardly dared mention 'Europe' - as noticed by Melanie Phillips in the Sunday Times (6.5.01).
Were Hague's antics just sheer ineptitude or did he have a motive for wanting to embarrass the "Keep the Pound" cause? He had already decided to step down as party leader in 1999, so could not be seen to be really wanting to win the election? Read the next story and decide for yourself....
TORIES FACE BOTH WAYS ON EUROPE
On 4 March 2001, William Hague and Francis Maude gave tub-thumping speeches to a rally for party activists, vowing to give them back their country. Hague has also commented that Britain is becoming "a foreign land" due to the effects of the EU.
The party faithful would be shocked if Hague had given them a full report on negotiations behind the scenes between their Party's group in Europe, the EDU, and committed federalists. However these developments might explain why Hague refuses to rule out not joining the single currency. Or the threats by party deputy chairman Tim Collins to candidates who might want to rule it out.
A full article shows how a common programme of action, and even an eventual merger with the federalists has been agreed.
NEW THREAT TO FREE SPEECH
On 16 February 2001, the "Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act, 2000" came into force. To be able to put up candidates, political parties must register, and face considerable bureaucracy and cost.
The Act looks bad news also for trade, community and interest groups and even private individuals. Although the "rights" of the mighty newspaper corporations and the BBC to influence public opinion and voting patterns are unchanged, others potentially face severe curbs in self-expression.
They are affected if they promote (and maybe just compare) policies - even if they don't refer to a party or candidate - or even an election. The warped logic is that this 'might affect the standing' of some candidates - even at some election well into the future!!!. Intent need not be proved.
Expressing views in a newspaper letter or article, or a BBC broadcast is exempt; but other media such as newspaper ads, public meetings, leaflets, mail-outs, web-sites even would seem to be covered. The Act also tilts the possible referendum playing field firmly in the government's favour.
"...in many respects it is profoundly undemocratic and militates against the independent and independent minded" (Independent MP Martin Bell, Hansard: 29 Nov 2000) .
TORY MAUDE TO WORK WITH FEDERALISTS
Remember that Tory Central Office claimed (1999) that the party had "no relationship" with the federalist European Peoples' Party (EPP)? The EPP is gradually taking over the Tories' group in Europe (European Democrat Union or EDU), and on 11.1.01, five Joint Working Groups were set up.
No 2 (European Defence Identity & Foreign Policy) is co-chaired by Francis Maude MP, Britain's Shadow Foreign Secretary & Herr Botsch (CSU party). In Germany, the CSU partner the CDU, whose Wolfgang Schauble co-chairs No 1 JWG with EPP Leader Wilfried Martens. This looks at co-ordinating development of the EU & all the parties' roles!.
In 1994, Schauble & Karl Lamers wrote a joint CSU-CDU policy paper calling national sovereignty "an empty shell" and threatening German military action "in the traditional manner".