Welcome to the mad world of the EU!

..working towards the divorce of the UK and the EU...

Monday, 3 December 2012

Election success

Northampton Commentary                                   2nd  Dec 2012
Following Margot’s terrific performance in Corby two weeks ago we now add  three more,-
Croyden North,- Winston McKenzie, 6%, third place.
Middlesborough, - Richard Elvin, 11.8%, second place.
Rotherham, - Jane Collins, 22%, second place.
All three beat the Lib-Dems, two of whom lost their deposit; with Corby that’s three Lib-Dem lost deposits recently. No surprise that Labour won all these by-elections in their traditional areas. But remember, we also beat the Lib-Dems in 7 of the PCC elections.
Actually, this should have been a Brussels commentary but when I heard about the foster children scandal I decided to abandon the two day Employment Committee and spend some time in Rotherham instead, on election eve. That we were helped by this outrage is irrelevant; the Labour Council did not have to take the children away just before the election. That’s arrogance. This action was condemned on all sides, not least by those who called at the UKIP stand in the market place, where I spent the day. People who stopped to talk all said the Council action was disgraceful and most said they were Labour voters, but never again.
For me, it is more than that. That Council acted as a totalitarian regime,- suppression of  dissidents is what they do best. They could not stop this couple from voting as they wished so they took the children away. How nasty can you get? It reminded me of Stalin sending thousands of dissidents to the Gulags, of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany and of the East German Stasi.
I see a lot of this undemocratic attitude in Brussels and Strasbourg but  in Rotherham I met a lady UKIP member from Sheffield where she was a magistrate. Or, rather, a former Magistrate. She was finding that, increasingly, she was not conducting her Court, passing judgements, or dispensing justice according to our own legal system, forged over generations, but forced to follow EU systems instead. The EU has thus penetrated right down to local magistrate level, so she quit. Good for her, and we now have a fine member.
I try to present a flavour of EU control madness in these commentaries and I offer another here. You will have seen the videos of Nigel and of responses from people like the demented Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian leader of the Lib-Dems. He remarked that the EU budget was only140 billion Euros, a lot less than most national budgets. His conclusion,- “Don’t waste money on national Budgets, increase the EU budget”! He was not alone in leading MEPs in calling for increased EU spending.
Another MEP, Ms Zimmer (Socialist) said that Nigel was wrong to speak like that, “Why do you always have to speak against us?” Clearly, she has not understood the meaning of democracy. For her, and lots of them, democracy is no more than putting an “X” on a ballot paper every now and then. She, they, do not understand that in a Parliamentary Democracy principled opposition is of the essence.
That’s the way the EU is going, and its coming here, make no mistake. So we start by a mass attack in the Council elections next May. Please back up the outstanding results of Margot and the others recently by getting the Party name and logo on every ballot paper next spring. Make it the launch pad for the Euro elections a year later and the Westminster elections a year after that, 2015.
A final comment. The by-election results are the best we have recorded and they were in labour areas. We did well not just by taking Tory and Lib-Dem votes, but Labour also. I am a member of CAEF, the Campaign Against Euro Federalism which is rooted in the Trade Union movement. Every single one of their sixth monthly magazines carries articles condemning our EU membership. One of their leading lights is Bob Crow and if you have heard him speak on the subject he absolutely shreds the EU. Former Labour Minister Lord Peter Shore, now sadly deceased, was a founder member of CAEF and I had the privilege of hearing him speak in Cardiff years ago. In a restrained, controlled way, he too left us in no doubt that the EU was an evil, secretive organisation to be avoided at all costs.
Old Labour is on our side, but they need persuading that we are the right vehicle and we won’t do that by just popping up at General Elections.   

Derek Clark   MEP                                          Northampton 2nd Dec 2012.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Strasbourg Commentary Plenary session 19th - 22nd Nov 2012

Strasbourg Commentary                Plenary session           19th - 22nd  Nov 2012

You will know that the ceiling of the Brussels debating chamber has started to fall in. This is a dome-like structure and, for reference, St Paul's Cathedral was completed in 1710, with no JCB insight, nor tower cranes.  Nor reinforced concrete, only Wren's primitive starter for 10, or rather for 302 years. And still there in spite of Hitler. It seems that it will be out of action until well into next year, so business due for Brussels is transferred to Strasbourg.

Tuesday.  Voting included the ridiculous intrusions into motor bikes. They want to prohibit owners from making modifications and adding parts; all will have to go to registered bike repair shop. In vain do I tell them that these bikers are responsible people and it's their necks at risk. No use, regs are regs. As a non-biker I have done my best to support them, attending rallies and their evening meeting in Buxton. The report on this issue was carried by 636 -16. The Tories, Labour & Lib-Dems all voted in favour, the 16 against were ourselves and some of the EFD group.

Then parliament voted for the right of EU citizens to vote and stand in Euro elections in other than their own country. How do you like that? Well, the Tories did, and the Lib-dems, and Labour, 618 altogether for, 23 against, including UKIP, of course.

Then, by 482 to 160 they voted against democracy on economic & Monetary affairs. National sovereignty, democratic legitimacy, were all voted down but they supported collective action, disclosure of commercially sensitive information and a Federal Europe.

Wednesday  More money voted away but at least they supported the exploration for shale gas, with reservations, which is transforming the US economy.

Thursday  We agreed on the need to stop the obscene business of cutting off shark fins before throwing the shark back into the sea to die in agony. You would have thought this was illegal everywhere but the Commission has, in its wisdom, previously ruled that governments who wished to allow their fishermen to do this would be allowed to continue. Hopefully 506 votes to 47 will put a stop to that but the UK government banned this years ago and we have replied accordingly to the dozens of emails in protest we have all received. It just goes to show the kind of people we are sharing the EU with.

You may have seen the extraordinary outburst of Guy Verhofstadt, the Lib-Dems leader; it’s on You Tube and the UKIP MEP's website.  He ranted at Nigel for not having appeared in the Fishing Committee, where he is a member, at all this year. If you have seen the video you will know that we are up against a madman. I can give you an up-date. Verhofstadt is a member of the Constitutional Committee which has met 12 times this year so far. Verhofstadt  appeared in the January & February meetings, but never since on any occasion. Moreover, unlike a lot of MEPs he is not a full member of any other committee. I leave you to ponder.

Never mind Strasbourg for now, I come to the main point. In Corby last Thursday Margot Parker recorded the biggest vote ever for UKIP in any by-election. That's a staggering achievement on its own but to have forced the Lib-dem candidate into 4th place, and a lost deposit, is wonderful. Remember, the Lib-dems are past masters at by-elections, flooding in bus loads of canvassers from all over. This time no, not many to be seen. They are temporarily out of it, demoralised by their abject performance at Westminster.     

Margot's performance in Corby was a lesson in endurance: she just did not stop. Helpers from many places played their part. Do you remember David Lott? Once of Hexham he was the Party's national Organiser for the 1997 (I think) elections but retired to live in France a while back. With his wife, Cathy, he was there in Corby the week prior to election!! London came up with 5 or 6 helpers.

No less impressive was our performance in the two PCC Elections we contested.  In Derbyshire, David Gale worked hard to get 16.2%, which is the fourth best UKIP result of 24 contests.  He was not helped by Derby University whose Student body ran a Hustings but banned him from appearing.  The Students Union have a ‘no floor’ policy and they reckon that ‘David/UKIP’ are extremists, not to say worse.  At least the Derby Telegraph printed an account of that, including David’s protest.

Meanwhile in Northamptonshire, Jim Macarthur worked equally hard with his campaign partly doubling up with the Corby By-election.  He was so effective that his 18.75% was the best result of all UKIP Candidates (the percentages quoted here are of the first preference votes cast, counting the second preference votes became very messy and to my mind undemocratic). 

To both of those, Congratulations for their efforts, they are part of our national result which saw us beat the Lib Dems in many other PCC elections.

Last Saturday I lent a hand with Lee Water's stall in Gedling. By the time I got there at 11.00 they had got rid of 100 videos and most of the literature. I stood out in the road with our plastic bags, not much in them due to the earlier rush, but still had people taking them from the hand without being approached.

All of which means that we are really on the up, but you knew that from the increased press/ TV coverage.  Now, the Lib-dems, and the Scots Nats, came to prominence partly via local elections,- and we have local elections next May.

Please make sure we have the Party name and logo on all the ballot papers. People will vote for us in elections where it really matters, Westminster and Euro, when we have become familiar on earlier ballot papers, so get your name down.  Don will send you the candidate guide but all you really have to do is to get 12 people to sign your nomination form and get it in by close of nominations. There is no cost to you.

If you do a leaflet that does need money but you do not have to do that, paper candidates will do. I know that a lot of members do not like that idea but it gets the name and logo on the ballot paper. Which message would you like to hear? -

 "I wanted to vote UKIP but could not find your candidate on the ballot paper".
"Didn't know much about him/ her, but at least I saw UKIP on the ballot paper".


Derek Clark    MEP                                   Strasbourg   22nd Nov   2012

Friday, 26 October 2012

Plenary Session Strasbourg 22nd - 23rd & 25th -26th Oct 2012

Plenary Session            Strasbourg                22nd - 23rd & 25th -26th Oct 2012 
If this seems a rather strange heading well, it was a strange week. You see, Strasbourg is normally a matter of 12 weeks (Mon - Thurs) once a month. This is by order of the treaty and now enshrined in law. Parliament being in recess for August poses a problem in accommodating the 12 monthly sessions, solved by having two sessions in Sept. But some MEPs dislike travelling twice in the month to Strasbourg, esp we Brits, there being no airline to carry us in one hop from anywhere in then UK. So a gallant Tory, Ashley Fox came up with the solution. Let’s have two in one week, Monday & Tuesday then Thursday & Friday, each to be officially two sessions, thus satisfying the law.
So it came to pass, and here I am on Friday afternoon, at 3.30pm, writing this, when I usually do it on Thursday. Do I like the arrangement? As a result I get home at 11.30 pm tonight, if I'm lucky, because I stayed for all the votes this lunchtime, which is more than many MEPs did. Actually, I think I'd rather get home on Thursday, leaving Friday clear; the extra week is not really material.
In any case, would you believe, this week has gone ahead but the Court is still considering the issue. So the whole thing could be thrown out, after letting it happen once, and revert to normal. That could not possibly be the reason for the lop-sided voting lists of this week of two sessions could it? Perish the thought, but see next para.
There are 760 MEPs and today's voting record shows that there were up to 540 voting today. Earlier in the week the figures are 650 plus. Draw your own conclusions.
All this is compounded by the collapse of the ceiling of the Brussels debating chamber; you have probably read about this in the press. The same thing happened in Strasbourg two years ago. Wonderful! I mean, there we have St Paul's Cathedral, completed in 1710 and still in one piece, with numerous other examples of the same era to be seen across Europe, none of them built of reinforced concrete, steel skeletons & stainless steel, and not a JCB in sight.
 Because of this modernistic jerry building, closing the debating chamber in Brussels, the Conference of Presidents (!) decided to transfer as much business as possible to Strasbourg. So we had extra voting this week. Why not, after all that's what we are paid for. So why did they not spread it out during the week?  Sorry, I mean over the two official sessions of this week. What they actually did was to have two long voting sessions on Tuesday, one in the morning (ie coming up to lunch-time), the other in the evening, ie at 6.00 pm. (There is never a vote on Monday because it is so difficult getting to Strasbourg that hardly anyone is there before 5.00/ 6.00pm.) We then had more votes on Thursday, when the attendance was similar to Tuesday, and on Friday, with the figures shown above.
The Friday attendance was not just because of the day but also reflects interest in the topics. Let me bore you with Friday's list; "Human rights in the United Arab Emirates, Discrimination against girls in Pakistan, situation in Cambodia, Energy efficient labelling programs for office equipment, Markets in financial instruments, (2 versions), 2012 priorities, EU- Russia trade, elections in Belarus, elections in Georgia.
Of the rest of voting two items stand out. On Thursday we voted on the Bauer report. This was adopted by 596 - 56 and so paves the way for the compulsory giving of aid in other countries to those who require it. That's always been the case, but by the British consulate aiding a British passport holder, ditto French consulate helping French people as son on. This report makes it compulsory for the UK embassy or consulate to help EU citizens, whether UK or not. The same will apply across the EU range of member states. Think about it.
The other report of note was to vote on the budget. There were 113 budget lines to vote on, although some were taken out as superfluous, when the previous one was adopted. Among these there were16 lines showing a decrease, 6 were adopted and 5 were overtaken by the previous vote, noted above, the rest were outvoted.
Cue David Cameron. Remember, he is in favour of our continued membership of the EU, he keeps on saying so. That means, as a democrat, that he holds the EU to be democratic. Well, we all have our own views on that but there is one certain aspect of this. The European Parliament is composed exclusively of elected members, including your humble servant. But D. Cameron is to try to reduce the budget, with increases, which has just been voted in by the European Parliament, the only democratic element of the EU!

Derek Clark    MEP                                     Strasbourg  26thOct 2012.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Strasbourg Commentary Employment Committee 8th/9th October 2012

Monday In order to cope with growing anti- EU feeling, I suppose, the
president of the committee suggested that the EU should use a "Green
Card". In this National governments would be invited to ask the Commission
to propose Regulations and Directives of their choice, to turn it all on
its head. What would D. Cameron make of that?

At least we might get something original. I have remarked before that the
same old plans keep on getting trotted out, especially on coping with the
financial crisis. Well, this week we had a debate on "Erasmus for All".
This is a long standing program and it is now suggested that several other
similar programs be rolled into it, at a cost of 19.1 billion Euros!
Comments for its content included,-

adult learning, apprenticeships, like-long learning, adult learners, youth
employment schemes, adult citizenship, youth forums, youth work, training
at all levels, sport, vocational education, visits.  Anything new there?

In a debate on the financial situation it emerged that members were very
worried, -there is s serious social situation developing! Nothing is being
done, could have told them that, but better that they say it for
themselves. Likewise the remark by a senior member that 80% of people say
we are wrong, we must do something about it!

At the end of the day the debate was on, "...exposure of workers to risks
from physics agents". By which they mean electromagnetic fields, why they
can not say so is beyond me. This includes MRI scanning but at first
attempt, in 2005, they set exposure limits so low that MRI scanning would
stop. Fortunately, they invited experts from two London Hospitals, St
Thomas and Barts, to address the committee. These two managed to convince
the committee to revise their ideas. It was debated again a few months ago
when all seemed well, but I still contacted the London experts. As a
result Dr Keevil of Kings College, a St Thomas consultant, kindly made
time to see me, when in Brussels with other experts. He gave a guarded OK
to the revised document.  I'm glad of that because more amendments have
now appeared which foul it up again. Hence my contribution of today, on my
web site soonest. If that appears rushed it is because this was the last
item of the day, we were well over time, the translators were beyond their
hours of duty, so we all had to be very brief.

Tuesday A long voting session, scheduled for 2 hours, completed with half
an hour to spare. Included no less than 8 awards of money under the
Globalisation Adjustment Fund, all nodded through without comment. The GAF
is used to help displaced workers to re-train and find new work when a
company closes. Never anything for a UK situation, but then, its up to the
government of the country concerned to claim.

The Erasmus project was voted in, of course, 40 votes to 1.

The vote on the "Economic and Monetary Union" report, commented on above,
came out at 27 - 16, a very unconvincing "yes", given the usual majorities

If anyone queries the length of time to vote on these reports please
realise that after the GAF awards there were 6 more reports each
containing multiple amendments, up to 170 or more, all of which require a

Finally, you will see my letters to the papers on my web site. One of my
recent letters was quoted in part by the Derby Telegraph, extract below.
It all helps.

Derek Clark   MEP                               Brussels 9th Oct 2012

MEPs locally  6th Oct 2012

RAILWAYS - Euro MP calls for review of rail contract decision (Derby
Evening Telegraph, 6/10/2012, p.6): "A EURO MP has become the latest to
demand the Government looks again at its decision not to award Derby
train-maker Bombardier a lucrative contract following the recent furore
over its handling of the bidding process for the West Coast Main Line rail
franchise. (...) Derek Clark, UK Independence Party MEP, said: "This is a
public procurement situation echoing the mismanagement of Thameslink.
"That contract should have gone to Bombardier of Derby not Siemens of
Germany. (...) "Once again, straightforward British bidding has lost out
to EU smoke and mirrors so our operators or manufacturers don't get a look

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session 10 - 13 Sept 2012

Strasbourg Commentary               Plenary Session          10 - 13 Sept 2012

Barroso you will have seen comments in the press about his speech of Weds morning. They  are not exaggerated, he is on a mission, they all are. Nothing will stop them making this a Single European State in one form or another. They will go on towards this aim. Dismiss any thoughts of, "changing the EU from within". This never was an option, now that should be clear to all and we must convince people of this. I, for one, have heard enough of the apologists saying that we must be in it to change it. We must tell the truth, again, that this is an unstoppable steamroller and that the only way is out.

From my notes of Barroso's 42 minute speech of Weds morning.

*(justifying the last 50 years) "It took the UK 150 years to double its GDP"
*The Commission takes the lead in sustainability/equality/ fairness/ growth
*Greece is a turning point
* the ECB will not finance Governments
* the Commission rules, with European Parliament oversight
* the FTT will cover banks and financial institutions need to be brought together
* there must be a Banking Union.
*There will be  Federation of nation States, guide for years to come, NOT a superstate!
* Sovereignty must be shared
*It must be a Union WITH the member states, not OF the member States.
*It needs a new treaty!
* needs a new EMU
* All nationalists and populists are bad!

*Especially, the Commission has today adopted EPP, European Political Parties, (which our party voted against last conference against the advice of those who actually take part in this European Parliament. It looks like we were right, if it means we will not be able to take part in the next European Parliament Elections unless we are in an EPP. Rather than join one we should start one, to preserve our main claim to electoral success)

This was followed by a round from all group leaders. Unusually, after Barosso Had summed up there was another round from group leaders and another Barosso summing up, 3 hours altogether. We wonder if this was a one off, or the shape of things to come.  

For the S & D Swaboda remarked that the EU was to be an emerging state, not a submerging one!

Verhofstadt, (leader of the Lib-Dems and former Belgian Premier) said it is not yet a federation and it must be a political entity, not an economic one.

**At this point the President interrupted proceedings to inform us of the decision of the German Constitutional Court, that the complaint had been rejected and so the ECB will go on. Some UK newspapers recorded that this was greeted by a standing ovation; no it was not.. The leftie side of the house gave it very good (seated) applause, our side of the house remained quiet.

Voting.  Thursday, the vote, "Proposal for a European Banking Union" passed with a large majority. Once implemented it will be the end of the Bank of England.

Wednesday. Votes on 4 Fishing reports to which I spoke on Tuesday evening, text and video on website, my speech being a catch-all because the 4 reports were lumped together as a Joint Debate (not uncommon). Of interest was that I was "blue carded" ie a blue card was waved to ask me a question. This was from Chris Davies (.Lib-Dem, North West) a leader, of sorts in the fishing debacle. He was trying to drive a wedge between UKIP MEPs  by asking about which UKIP MEPs supported him (ie wanted to preserve UK fishing) and who did not. I gave him no satisfaction in my reply so he crossed the floor of the house to sit beside me and bend my ear for 5 mins or so! All of which is because I, and the rest of us, want the CFP abolished, he wants to reform it.

Lastly a bit of humour. Today Lamberts, rapporteur of the "European Venture Capital Funds" report asked for a postponement of the final vote, adoption, of his report. That was, he said, because he had failed to get agreement with the Council on his report. He was going to ask, he said, if Council would agree today, in the chamber, but there was no one of the Council there! I counted up. There were just 12 Council Assistants present, no one in the front 3 rows where the actual Council members sit. So after Barosso's strident comments about a Federal Europe not one minister of any EU country could be bothered to attend Parliament, which is supposed to work in harmony with the Council.

Ís that a sign of Federal things to come?

Just to round of, a cutting from the press summary we get every day.-

Immigration - Law change could mean exodus of Russians to UK (Derby Evening Telegraph, p.14): "THE news that we could see a large exodus of Russian citizens coming into the UK is worrying. A law change in Latvia would see the right to citizenship handed to the children and grandchildren of all Latvians sent by Stalin and his Soviet successors into exile in Siberia. Many could end up in this country, as Latvians are entitled to live and work in the UK. (...). This law change could see the Latvian population in our towns and cities swell even more - we must regain control of our borders and getting out of the EU is the only way to do that. (Derek Clark UKIP MEP for the East Midlands)

Derek Clark MEP                                                       Strasbourg 13th Sept 2012

Joint Debate,- Fisheries

Speech to Parliament                             Tuesday 11th Sept 2012

Joint Debate,-  Fisheries

With fish stocks in serious decline in Europe's rich fishing grounds the CFP is a failure. And yet these reports are laced with the same old Euro-speak,- regulation, restrictions, prohibit.

Before the CFP most European fishermen, unhampered by bureaucratic interference, had been fishing responsibly, looking after their own waters and therefore handing on viable fisheries down the generations.

But the EU destroyed this culture of care and so now we have rules about Total Permissible Catch and the wretched discard policy which has decimated stocks.

If you don't like lessons from the past then try the present. Norway and Iceland still record good catches and find many species spawning well. But then, they ban discards and other destructive EU measures which, as noted in these reports, have reduced EU fishing fleets.

The UK fishing fleet is barely half its former size and so much of the fish sold in the UK now comes from Iceland. What an indictment of the CFP

Derek Clark   MEP                                                     Strasbourg 11th Sept 2012

Monday, 23 July 2012

Listen to me on the BBC Politics Show

Northampton Commentary                                                  19th July 2012

My commentary from the Employment Committee Meeting of 10th and 11th July
2012, last before the summer break, did not appear; it was a complete
mess.  This was scheduled for Tuesday 10th July 2012 starting in the
morning, going on all day and then for the morning of Wednesday 11th July
2012.  Voting in our committee usually takes place on the morning of the
second day, in this case, Wednesday11th July, but they brought that
forward to the Tuesday morning.

I had already arranged to travel on the Tuesday morning to get there at
midday and so to Committee in the afternoon.  I was not prepared to alter
travel arrangements to get there on the Monday, which I had set aside to
produce my latest column for the Lincolnshire Echo, due in that day.

So I missed the Voting and attended the afternoon.  Cyprus having just
taken over the Presidency their Minister for Labour addressed the
Committee.  For an hour, including questions from the floor, she went on
with all the usual platitudes.  “We must introduce programmes to boost
Employment, to help the Economy, we need growth....”, but without any
specific plan to resolve any of it.

I needed to take a break after that, I had other business to attend to and
went back in good time for the last Debate on the list, “Public
Procurement”.  I envisaged making another comment or two about Bombardier.
 Imagine my feelings when I got to the Committee Room with an hour to
spare before close of business to find that they had finished, all desks
were being cleared.  I then discovered that the Wednesday morning session
was cancelled.

I was rather annoyed about that.  After all, if you have read my previous
Commentary from Strasbourg you will know that this Committee had a Voting
Session of two hours during Plenary Session (on Thursday morning) taking
us out of attending the Plenary.  That was only four days before Committee
and they could have done all those votes on the Wednesday morning instead
of cancelling that session.

As a result of that shambles I have otherwise nothing to tell you about
the last Committee before the Summer recess.   I therefore offer you some
light Summer viewing.  Please see below two links, the first of which is
from the Politics Show of last Sunday with me and Bill Newton Dunn.  I’m
not particularly happy with my effort but you can make your own mind up.
The second link is from the EFD Group with a very great number of videos
and other material.  Enjoy!

(View this at 31.30 along on the scroll bar on the video)

Link to videos/commentaries/news etc for UKIP MEPS


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Strasbourg Commentary Plenary session 2nd - 5th July 2012

Strasbourg Commentary      Plenary session           2nd - 5th July 2012

Tuesday   The day started with a review of yet another summit. All the usual comments, but I did not hear Verhofstadt rant on about the "Community Method"; I might have lost concentration. He did complain that Parliament was not included in the summit meetings, only the Council. The proposal for action was widely supported but rejected on procedural grounds, but a new treaty is on the way.

Barroso said that the Financial Transaction Tax is to go ahead. Further remarks of his are included in my video recorded Wednesday morning, on my web site soonest. He had a real go at the Tories so these comments about voting might interest you.

There was the "Single European Railway area", extending the original directive of 1991. In Amendment 104 premises not used for 3 years will be forcibly sold off or converted to other rail use. That is not the same as "Compulsory Purchase" which, in the UK has to go through due process, this will just happen, by order of. A communist style approach to property, where UKIP voted to delete the amendment while the Tories voted the other way.

In any case this report has caused friction between France and Spain over whether there is a "level playing field" when it comes to bidding for contracts. Tell that to Bombardier! We, UKIP, also tabled an amendment to reject the whole report which we lost (Tories abstaining) but without it the report would have gone through with no vote at all!

In two other votes the Tories were split. On" Strategies in the Mediterranean" 10 voted against, 13 abstained, while on the "Attractiveness of investing in Europe" 11 voted against, 6 abstained.

Another report introduces, "a new 112 service for citizens", 112 being the European version of 999 calls. This is the eCall.
In event of road accident, an eCall-equipped vehicle will automatically trigger an emergency call. Even if passengers cannot speak, eCall creates a voice link to Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP)
It sends an emergency message, known as the minimum set of data (MSD), including key information about the accident, such as,-
time, accurate location, driving direction (resulting from accurate satellite-based data) and vehicle description and eCall can also be activated manually.
Mobile operators will have to upgrade systems
Vehicle manufacturers will have include eCall modules
Member States will have to upgrade PSAPs to handle voice and data
Effectively the overall system would have total tracking capabilities of all eCall vehicles, regardless of emergency activation
Thus, satellite tracking of cars for emergency. Fine, except that the tracking will be continuous, with drivers not able to turn the transponder off. So, 'big brother" will be able to determine where any car is at any time and its speed. "Spy in the Sky" is coming, probably on new cars at first and then retro-fitted to older cars.  Who will have this information? Good question, but I can't help thinking of the casual way the DVLA will sell information on car ownership to almost anyone, as those who have been fined by a cowboy parking company will know. 

Wednesday  No less than 8 reports on farming and the CFP voted on today, with 2 on animal welfare. Biggest vote was on ACTA, the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement with many other countries across the world which has brought the most enormous lobby. Like all MEPs I must have received 1000+ emails all asking for a "No" vote. Counter productive of course. Impossible to read them all so delete. My computer had at least 750 in one continuous list, did I lose other messages as I whizzed through them?
In the event this was defeated by 39 votes to 478 and already some thank-you emails have come in. However, all is not clear. There was first a move to have this postponed by members who reckoned on getting a ruling from the European Court of Justice. This proposal was rejected, 255 for & 420 against. We voted to take it now, the Tories voted to postpone. In the vote on the actual report we voted against, the Tories abstained, as did Labour and lib-Dems. In summing up the Commission said that they would now take this to the ECJ for a ruling, as they would not have done so if the vote had gone the other way. So ACTA is dead, unless the ECJ perform a revival.

Member of the Civil Liberties committee, UKIP MEP Gerard Batten said today,

"UKIP are in favour of internet freedom and against the criminalisation of offences in ACTA under article 23.
Genuine copyright and intellectual property rights must be protected, but the EU is building up its own police state.
Criminalisation opens up all types of sinister possibilities to prevent free speech, dissent and alternative points of view.

The three Establishment parties in the UK are guilty of rank hypocrisy over ACTA because they allowed this treaty to pass through Westminster committees in 2011.

They said it had no political or legal importance, which was false. It was only when the media spotlight turned on ACTA that they changed their tune. Their actions on ACTA are not credible, the LibLabCon are hypocrites and cannot be trusted on this matter. "

There was also a report on the preliminaries for the 2013 budget where the Budget Committee want a 6.8% increase! Our EFD amendment to reduce the budget was defeated by 112 to 552 votes, while the ECR amendment to freeze the budget lost by 102 to 554 votes. At least the Tories supported us on these votes but the whole report was adopted by 540 to 93. So our contribution will go up again.     

I need to close my commentary today, Wednesday, because tomorrow will be impossible. The morning has but two reports, The Rio+20 Summit and Responsibilities under the CITES convention (Endangered species) with a reduced voting list. I shall miss all debate because, unusually, the Employment Committee is meeting at 9.30 am for a 2 hour voting list. Committees are not supposed to meet in plenary sessions but this was allowed. This will take me up to our own vote meeting for plenary followed by the plenary vote itself. That ends the morning and I have to be away to catch my flight straight after.   

Derek Clark   MEP                                           4th June 2012


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Defra and the sausage saga

Northampton Commentary                                      June 29th 2012
There was no Commentary for the Strasbourg week of 11th - 14th June due to my return home early on the Wednesday; reason, sausages! I have been trying to help the Lincolnshire Sausage Association to obtain Geographical Protection status for their product but their application has been turned down. So on Thursday 14th I was in London at Defra arguing the case. The Lincolnshire people have appealed and it is now under review; wait and see.
Following day, a visit to a farm near Uppingham. All in the name of engaging with that important sector of UK life and very informative for me. Quite a busy week.
The following Tuesday was Leicester, talking to the Ambulance people about the new regional system. I have been concerned that response times in Northants have been below national average. The officers I spoke to were confident that the two year old East Midlands Service would improve things. We shall see.
A great deal of time recently has been with the fishermen of Boston. I highlighted their problems in the first of my monthly Lincolnshire Echo columns three months ago. Due to the wretched EU Fisheries Policy, the CFP, up to June 3rd they have had only 3 days work since August. Not having quotas for white fish, except for some sprat quota borrowed from Germany, they are reduced to shell fish. To their great frustration there are 30,000 tons of covckles in the Wash, ready to harvest all that time. Their lack of work is a total loss to them, insurances and finance for their boats still need paying, as well as house keeping.
In addition, across from their moorings is a factory which takes all their cockles for canning, selling to a ready market in Portugal and Spain. So these workers are also out of work while the country loses foreign exchange. We are supposed to be in debt!
After several visits talking to the EIFCA (Eastern Inshore fisheries and Conservation Agency) we had success, noted in a letter in the Boston Standard very generously giving me thanks. Then disaster. Perhaps you caught the TV news in the East, early last week, of a vandal releasing 5000 litres of Pesticide in Peterborough on Sunday evening, 17th June. This found its way into the River Nene and went down stream. The Dept for Food Standards promptly closed fishing in the Wash. If you think that’s appropriate action then know this.
First, when I called the Environment Agency, which advised the Food Standards people, the officer I spoke to knew nothing of it! That was on Wednesday morning as I waited for my flight to Brussels at Birmingham airport. Second call, Wednesday evening with an informed officer, the pesticide had got as far as Wisbech. That’s 25 miles in three days, with another 10 miles to the Wash. As I have previously discovered, the Env Agency are very well versed in river flows, speeds and times of arrival at specific points.
So, the fishermen could have been fishing for at least three days, why stop them early? After all, if the cockles were to be contaminated best to get as much in as possible before that happened. Now that seems to be common sense, but we are dealing here with an agent of the EU which operates the “Precautionary principle”. If it looks dangerous ban it. Then examine it and perhaps allow continuance under a regime of rules, regs and red tape.
And that is why the Boston Fishermen have such a problem, like all the fishermen around our coasts. Just survey the agencies they have to deal with; EIFCA, Natural England, MMO (Maritime Maintenance Organisation), Environment Agency and Food Standards Agency.
And so to last Friday and another trip to Kings Lynn for a bigger meeting of fishermen EIFCA and all. This time it was an allegation of marking the sea bed, fishing have been resumed on Monday of that week. What does it matter if a boat marks the sand or fishing gear cuts a hole, the next tide or two smoothes it over again. But at least they were able to go on fishing this time. My contribution was, I hope, common sense. “If that has happened”, I said, “it is due to a careless fisherman and you can’t punish all for the sake of one or two. Answer, send inspectors out unannounced, without warning, and check out boats at random. Any guilty parties found can then be dealt with”.  I didn’t bother to say that, as a teacher, that happened to me. I had my share of School Inspectors dropping in without notice, usually in the middle of a lesson. No complaint, that’s as it should be and, no, I got no adverse reports. 
By the way, EIFCA takes a serious view of marking the sea bed. A short while ago one fisherman let his boat rest on the sand an left a mark about a yard wide, 10 yards long, I’ve see n the photo. For that he was fined, - £50,000 !! He got away with it because he refused, went to court and found a magistrate with sense who quashed the fine.
 Finally, you may find this speech by Senator Ron Paul of interest,-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rCvfwoRGMg - Ron Paul, Floor Speech, Jun. 19 2012

Derek Clark   MEP                                            Northampton  1st July 2012

Lincolnshire members may well have seen my column in the Lincolnshire Echo. I have a once a month spot, Roger Helmer likewise, in alternate fortnights. My first column three months ago was to highlight the problems of the Boston Fishermen. At the end of a non-Brussels / Strasbourg I think it right to provide some further detail to illustrate the great difficulties they have.
The fishermen of Boston are only allowed to fish by the Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Agency (EIFCA). In turn this unelected body is advised by Natural England, with the marine management Organisation (MMO) also putting their oar in. Following EU rules and regs, under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), Boston is but a shadow of its former thriving fishery. I have made several journeys to Boston and Kings Lynn trying to help and you may also have seen the letter of thanks to me in the Boston Standard from the Chairman of the Boston Fishermen’s Association
Boston Fishermen have been reduced to shell fish as the quotas for white fish are virtually non-existent for them. True, they got small quota recently for Sprat, but that was by borrowing from Germany. Although there are over 30,000 tons of cockles in the Wash ready to harvest most of the fishermen have only had 3 or 4 days fishing since last August. After much effort the cockle fishery was opened to them from June 7th, on a scheduled basis, day by day. They have an allowance of 2 tonnes per boat per day, which is enough for decent living.
Then a near catastrophe struck on Monday 18th June, cockle fishery closed again. This was due to the vandal who caused 5000 litres of pesticide to run into the River Nene at Peterborough. You may have caught this on Eastern TV for it killed many fish in the river. The Food standards Agency, acting on information



Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Brussels commentary June 20/21

Brussels Commentary     Employment Committee            June 20th- 21st 2012

Events were enlivened on Wednesday afternoon by the Committee President, Madam Pervenche Beres, a French Socialist. You should know that the Commission send these issues out to Committees who then appoint a Rapporteur to write a report on it. Committee members are then invited to submit amendments. At the end of any debate the Commission are invited to make comments. In this case the Commission representative made comments on the desirability of certain amendments. That, said Ms Beres, is out of order. "Your job is to not comment onour amendments, that is not your business, stick to what you are supposed to do". That, of course, is her way of establishing the primacy of Parliament. That sounds OK, Parliament being the only democratically elected element in the EU. Problem, the majority of MEPs are there to serve the EU and regard the Commission as the fount of all wisdom.

We actually got down to discussing how to reduce the regulatory burden, at last. We'll see how this comes out at the vote later on. Here, you may have seen, on my web site, the video of May 23rd when I was asking for exactly this kind of action. This produced a "Blue card" question, also on the same video. My questioner asked what I meant by "Red Tape", and this became more extraordinary when I realised, afterwards, that she is a member of the Employment Committee! My video of May 31st in committee actually sees me agreeing with the President who has initiated the report on reducing Red Tape, as noted above. Unfortunately, my blue card questioner, Jutta Steinruck, left the committee just before I spoke! But please do not think that Jutta Steinruck is lazy for she is rapporteur for, "EU Program for Social Change and Innovation". Therefore she had to put together the amendments submitted, all 392 of them, plus a lot more from other committees as "opinions".
We voted on this today, 61 pages of amendments. It took nearly an hour and only that quick because many of the amendments had been compressed together into "compromises".

We also debated a "Statute for a European Mutual Society". Would you have believed that the EU has to promote Mutual Societies, known in the UK as Friendly Societies. Many countries do have them, why can the rest not learn from others like us and go out and do it, their style? And if they don't want to, well, let them go on without.

But then, I think we all know that the EU is not about enabling people to do things their way. Nor is it interested in encouraging people to adopt good ideas seen elsewhere. No chance, but then Europe was terribly backward before the EU took it in hand. I always think of farming and how farmers use the plough. Who invented it, where and when? No idea, except it was well over a thousand years ago. How did it spread, not by governments, that's for sure, there were no governments then, only Tribal Chiefs, War Lords, Village Elders. How did it spread? Simple, people knew a good idea when they saw one.

Right at he end of Committee today a report displaced from Wednesday was taken, to my surprise. It was, "European Maritime and Fisheries Fund", including spending more money on the CFP. So I took the opportunity to speak, it will be on my videos in a day or two.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session 21st – 24th May 2012

Strasbourg Commentary            Plenary Session               21st – 24th May 2012
I try to complete my commentaries before I leave Strasbourg on Thursday, fresh in the mind. But flight times are such that I sometimes need to leave immediately after voting on Thursday, preventing write-up in the afternoon. Too late by the time I get back and Friday is catching up with the emails that have come in, hence the delay on this one.

In fact it was a rather odd week with not much serious business. Debates on, for example, Civil Liberties, Euro coins, Gender equality, Bluefin Tuna, EU and China Trade, The Ukraine, Youth Opportunities, Homophobia, and, calling for quotas on permits for EU people going to reside in Switzerland. What business of the EU is that? It makes one wonder if the EU machine is grinding to a halt, or working up to a deluge of intrusive measures.

Among all that were Debates/ votes on some real issues,-

Another raid on the fisheries of emerging nations, this time granting licences to plunder the waters of Mozambique, was carried by 566 – 89 votes.

A report to beef up EU powers to investigate UK affairs, like summoning witnesses, was defeated. It will come again.

However, be alarmed at the Podimata report, establishing the Financial Transaction Tax which will destroy the City of London. We supported a Tory amendment to reject, lost by 112 – 557 votes. The report was then passed by 487 – 152. You may have picked up adverse comments about Godfrey Bloom and Marta Andreason about this. Vicky Ford, Tory MEP Eastern, speaking in the House, slated them both for being absent from committee when this was adopted, prior to plenary. She was completely out of order. First she said that the final vote in committee was 22 all, in which case the report fails and it would not have come to plenary. But Marta had sent in a substitute (commonly done) to vote for her and, in any case, the final committee vote was 32 – 10, so our two MEPs made no difference anyway. The 22-all vote referred to an amendment debated in an earlier meeting. Was this an error on Ms Ford’s part, or did she think we were not listening ?      

Finally, a letter of mine which has appeared in several regional papers and quoted in the London Press Summaries which appears in the EU emails every day, this one 20th May

Remploy workplaces- 'Closure of Remploy will drive people out of work' (Letter from Derek Clark MEP to Derby Evening Telegraph, p. 14): "I hope that many people are as appalled as I am at the recent comments by Iain Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary. He proposes to close a number of Remploy workplaces and thus drive disabled people out of employment. His scathing comments about the work ethic of these people is beneath contempt. Disabled people at Remploy have the dignity of going to work, rather than calling on the benefits system - an example to us all. If that was not bad enough the Foreign Secretary William Hague now tells us we all have to work harder (...). In any case, many British people cannot work any harder. Does the Foreign Secretary of all people not know that we are in the EU? We are subject to the 'Working Time Directive' which limits employees to 48 hours per week. How then, can they work harder?"

I enclose this one following our very good day in Chesterfield, Sat 26th, to promote the UKIP candidate in a council by-election, July 5th . Our candidate is ex-Lib-Dem Councillor, Keith Lomas, one of four Lib-Dems in that branch to have joined us. A fine candidate, he deserves to do well and I was very pleased to see the support of local branch members, including the recent recruits. Just down the pavement from our stall was the Socialist Workers Party, fixing placards to lamp posts denouncing the Remploy closures! I tried to engage the placard-fixer-in-chief in conversation saying how much I agreed with him over that, if on nothing else. No reply! They packed up an hour before we did!

Derek Clark MEP                               Northampton, in lieu of Strasbourg, June 3rd 2012