Ah, the art of understatement

A nice little article on Samizdata for your perusal today. It’s basicially a cut’n’paste of a nice report which, amidst much waffle, suggests that there should be a supra-national EU police force, supra-national EU laws and much more regulation.

The Samizdata comment on this report? Nice, simple and understated:

I am not sure that I agree with this report.

I, for one, agree with that sentiment, but would have added more adverbs to the sentence.

And I’d like to think that this sort of thing would be very low on the list of priorities for the EU, since it is patently impossible to bring in. Hell, would you go for UK style enforcement or French style? Civil police or military ones? Armed or unarmed? And why stop at Europe; if there are no borders for international crime, why not have a World Police? Or, for that matter, an EarthGov?

Of course, just because something is impossible to introduce doesn’t mean that the EU wouldn’t try. People shouldn’t go about putting ideas into their head.

So: I am not sure that I agree with this report.

‘Common Market’ my arse

Seems I jumped the gun a little, expecting the EU to do anything as silly as allpy common sense to laws.

Instead, they cemented high taxation and blocked any attempt by commercial entities to try and benefit consumers by letting them shop around.

Yes, that’s who’ll be screwed by this: the consumer. The ones that the EEC Common Market was supposed to help. So it’s failing at it’s main purpose, more economic cooperation between the various EU states.

An it means that Gordon “the money grabbing bastard” Brown will be able to continue milking anyone who fancies a drink or a smoke. Because he’s a money grabbing bastard. Just in case you hadn’t noticed…

‘course, the EU isn’t any good at anything else, so we should ahrdly be surprised, should we?

Well, that’s good news

Low tax on drink for all!

The European Court of Justice is expected to rule next week that goods can be bought in other EU states and delivered to the door while only the duty levied in the country of origin is paid. This is often a fraction of that charged in Britain.

Which is nice. I forsee many small-to-middling mail order businesses becomming much, much larger in the near future. If the ECJ actually does something useful, that is. For a change.

Another silly suggestion

It has long been a staple of political commentary that the names for government schemes quite often mean something very different to what the scheme actually does. Examples from the States could include the USA PATRIOT Act or the Clean Water Act; from a little closer to home you’d be wise to check the small print on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (a little regulation, but much more power), or any one of the dozens of Criminal Justice Acts (more criminals, yes, but the things generally mean less justice).

The EU is not exempt from this phenomenon, as shown by the Television Without Frontiers directive. What would an analysis of that name suggest? Well, a trusting sort would be forgiven for thinking that it was about reducing the barriers between EU countries in the matter of the television industry. BUt, of course, that wouldn’t be 100% accurate.

The European Commission proposal would require websites and mobile phone services that feature video images to conform to standards laid down in Brussels.

Ministers fear that the directive would hit not only successful sites such as YouTube but also amateur “video bloggers” who post material on their own sites. Personal websites would have to be licensed as a “television-like service”.

Viviane Reding, the Media Commissioner, argues that the purpose is simply to set minimum standards on areas such as advertising, hate speech and the protection of children.

So, it’s actually suggesting more barriers (a barrier being something that you’d find at a frontier) on broadcasts outside of television.

Obviously, this is filed in that big cabinet labelled “Stupid EU Ideas”. MySpace, in particular, would be shafted. YouTube would have some troubles. And the barriers of entry to things like 18 Doughty Street would be massive.

In what way would this be a good thing, apart from protecting the incumbent media companies? Not that I have anything in particular against the media companies, but a little bit of competition is always good. And the EU seems to be acting very anti-competition.

You missed a bit

Apparently it was trading off a little national sovereignty that ensured peace and prosperity in Eurpoe for the last few years.

So, nothing to do with the many thousands of combat ready troops that ensured that WW2 wasn’t followed up. Or the fear caused by the big red wolf at the door. Or the huge amounts of money the the US poured in. No, just handing over a little power to some useless bastards in Brussels. That’s all it took.

I’m glad that the BBC sorted that out for everyone.

Not as f***ing dumb as he f***ing sounds, the b*****d

Sure, Twenty M may be a little foul mouthed. Sure, he may favour gratuitous violence towards many, many people. Sure, he has probably pickled his brain several times over with all those nasty alcoholic beverages that he consumes for each post he makes.

It doesn’t mean that he’s daft, though. Far from it. The man can make a serious, coherent point when he feels the need.

Isn’t it funny that at a time when all of Europe, if not the world, is looking at the Muslims rioting over a cartoon and declaring that free speech is a fundamental right a man is sent to jail for three years for remarks he made 16 years ago about the holacaust not taking place?

Is he not entitled to an opinion no matter how unpalatable it might be? At the same time these radical Muslim preachers in the UK can call for ‘jihad’ and incite murder and suicide bombings and the only thing they get is a fatter benefit cheque.

It’s all well and good Europe looking down their noses and tut-tutting at the madmen, and I do think they are mad, setting things on fire and putting bounties on cartoonists’ heads over a couple of lousy sketches but at the same time sending a man to prison for 16 year old opinions is just as mad if you ask me. It’s oppressive. If you don’t like what someone has to say ban him from your airwaves, your newspapers and magazines. Bar him from the country. Don’t allow his works to be sold there but don’t put him in prison because you don’t like what he says.

Amen, you smelly, drunken bastid.

No good can come from talking about history illegal. Sure, the world knows the Holocaust happened, and we know that people who go about saying it didn’t and making excuses for the Nazis are pretty low on the evolutionary chain. But the correct way to deal with them is to disprove what they say, or to ignore them. It is not to go out and prosecute them, for that will only go and make them the victims. Which is totally contrary to the point.

Oh, and it also means that, while a lot of people are causing outrage by exercising free speech, you’re also curtailing it. For the sake of what? The Nazis are no longer a threat, anti-Semitism is clearly recognised as wrong, andthe world knows that the Holocaust happened. Who exactly are you trying to convince, who are you trying to protect from these lies?

Bloody idiots

I thought knew the UK presidency of the EU was bad, but it’s opnly going to get worse with the Austrians in charge. Or so it looks to me, anyway.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel has called for a form of European Union tax to help end regular disagreements over the Union’s budget.

He said it was no longer possible for member states to provide all EU funds.

You know, there are two ways to ensure that sufficient money is available. Either, as Herr Schuessel suggests, increase the income. Or, as I would suggest, decrease the outgoings. As it is, only the regular fight over national contributions stands in the way of unlimited expansion of the EU budget. Give the EU an income completely under it’s own control and the organisation will move beyond anyone’s control.

For the benefit of the class, I should probably point out that that is a bad thing. National governments can be voted out if they fuck about; so they still have a nominal measure of control over them (even if it is time delayed). The EU does not have an elected government to get rid of, it has an appointed executive which is pretty much only answerable to itself.

Herr Schuessel also suggests thinks that the good people of France and the Netherlands were daft. Normally, I’d say he was right (in the first case, anyway), but this time he’s all wrong.

Mr Schuessel also repeated that the Austrian presidency wanted to re-open the debate on the European constitution, which was rejected by French and Dutch voters last year.

This wasn’t just a text, he said, but a question of European identity.

I have a question of European identity for you:

Q: Is there a ‘European identity’?
A: No. There are a multitude of differing identities, drawing upon everything from locality, country, religion, political beliefs, language, sporting preference, sexual preference, hair colour and the result of the 2.15 at Ascot.

The peoples of Europe are too diverse in everything from alphabet to gastric tendencies to be united with some form of common identity. If, at some point, a single uniting identity appears, it can only come from the bottom up, it cannot be enforced from the top down.

The French rejected this ‘European identity’, for their own reasons.
The Dutch rejected this ‘European identity’, for their own reasons.
The British would have rejected this ‘European identity’, for their own reasons.

Three different ‘peoples’. Three differing sets of reasons. The peoples of Europe are so dissimilar that they can’t even agree on the reasons that they are dissimilar. Take that and shove it up your European identity.

I heart EU

Ah, the glorious European Project. Is there nothing that escapes it’s benevolent gaze?

EU slaps import duty on large LCD screens

The EU plans to impose a 14 per cent import duty on imports of larger LCD screens, leading pundits to forecast a huge hike in sticker prices.

The tariff would be applied to all monitors that are not produced within the EU, which is the majority of monitors imported. LG manufactures some units in Wales, while Philips manufactures most of its units in the Far East.

Ah, import tariffs on specific products. “A wonderful tool of modern diplomacy.” Or so they said in 1912. Quite what they’re being used for in this day and age, I don’t know. But since it’s an EU diktat directive, it’s obviously a good idea.


I was gonna say something…

… but Samizdata beat me to it.

The Italian government, desperate for any additional source of revenue as it beggars the surrounding economy with its imposts, has slapped a fresh tax on the country’s porn industry. It will be intruiging to know just how much this tax raises or whether, as may probably happen in Italy, the tax drives the industry under the bed, so to speak.

Personally, I have more regard for people who earn an honest living making racy videos than tax collectors.

I was going to say something similiar to that last bit, but it would have been more long winded and less sensible. And would have included more swearing.

Oh, and check out the comments. Including this gem:

So, maybe pornograhers and tax collectors are not so different after all. Both can be saved from their sinful ways — which include taking our hard-earned scratch, one by temptation, the other by coercion, and both a form of complusion.

Which one would you have more respect for? The one who is honest about their motives and intentions, or the tax collector?

The sums don’t work

Yesterday afternoon, our good Chancellor, Gordon Brown, said that the economy wasn’t performing as well as it should. To fix this, he froze fuel duty (a good thing), raised taxes on fuel company profity (a bad thing), threw a bit more money at Iraq (a good thing), started borrowing more money (a bad thing), proposed stealing more (a bad thing), and changed the rules to cover his fat ass.

Mr Brown said the government would meet its fiscal rules over the current economic cycle with ?16bn to spare, although economists say that is only because the economic cycle’s start and end points have been changed.

So far, so politics.

Now, I would translate that as “We don’t have enough money, so we’re trying a tiny stimulus (fuel duty) mixed with much more money grabbing, and we’ll still need to borrow to meet our obligations.” Anyone have a problem with that translation?

Then, yesterday evening, the government decided to throw more money (that it doesn’t have, remember) at the Grand Failed European Project.

Where did this extra ?680 million come from? Could nobody think of a better way to spend it than send it to some French farmers?

And I’m starting to feel uneasy about this whole EU budget mess… Not only because of the sheer stupidity of the whole process, not just because of the sheer amount of money being talked about, and not just because of the wastage. But because, very soon, loud, sensible voices are going to seriously propose a direct tax to stop the current madness. And people could listen. Which would be a very, very bad thing.

Ah, Mr Blair

He talks tough, but it looks like it’s all just talk.

Samizdata is about as annoyed as I am.

Unbelievable. Blair is actually going to fold on the EU rebate for the UK? Why? What possible advantage could it bring him politically to give away even more of our money to the parasites in Brussels?

What ever happened to:

If we cannot get a large deal, which alters fundamentally the way the budget is spent, then we will have to have a smaller EU budget
– Tony Blair

More money going to the EU, for it just to go to a load of farmers. Brilliant thinking, Tony. Well done. Give yourself a gold star.


The Verdict

According to the answers you gave to the Euro test you fall into the following category:

Mr. and Ms. Costa Del Sol

This group are the Euro sceptics. They feel we’ve gone too far already. They want Europe for trading purposes and holidays but nothing more.

Damn straight. The original member states (up to Austria) voted to join the European Economic Comminuty. None of this Union nonsense.

Do the Where do you stand on Europe test yerself. You can get one of these outcomes.

There seems to be a show on it tonight at 9 on BBC2. If you’re into that sort of thing.


It looks like I’m spreading the paranoia message far and wide. Well, as far as Cully, anyway, and that’s pretty damn far.

But, am I paranoid enough, or am I just calling things as they are?

Via Samizdata, I found out about this little bundle of sweetness and light.

European commissioners yesterday hailed a landmark legal judgment that could give them the power to use criminal sanctions to enforce EU law.

Jos? Manuel Barroso, the commission president, claimed that the European Court of Justice had made a “watershed decision” that would lead to “more democratic and more efficient lawmaking at EU level”.

Eurosceptics said the decision showed that national governments were losing power to determine their own laws.

But Foreign Office sources said that, although the judgment raised the possibility of Britain having to create new criminal offences against the wishes of the Government, in practice EU member states would never agree to such a loss of sovereignty.

Ah, so we’re counting on the good behaviour of member states in the future to ensure that the rights of individual countries are not over-ridden by Brussels.

In other words, we are all monumentally fucked.

And what wonderful decision was taken by the elected representatives of the people of Europe was taken to allow this? Err, none.

So then, what decision was made by the duly appointed representatives of the soverign nations that make up the EU? Err, none.

So, who decided that criminal law in a country could be altered against the wishes of said country, by other nations? Err, the unelected judges.

That sound you hear in the background is democratic freedom packing up. Looks like it’s getting ready to leave town.

It’s not either/or, dammit!

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

So, the safety elephant says that we should all be prepared to give up a few measly rights in order to be secure. Could someone tell me, please, what is this obsession of his?

Speaking at the European Parliament, he said that the European Convention on Human Rights might need to be changed if judges in European courts did not recognise that the right to life was more important that concerns about privacy.

“If the judges don’t understand that message and don’t take decisions which reflect where the people of the continent want to be, then the conclusion will be that politicians…will be saying we have got to have a change in this regime,” Clarke told reporters.
[emphasis mine]

Excuse me? Where, exactly, is the ‘right to life’ curtailed by the right to privacy? Murder is still murder, regardless if the government is reading our emails or not. So perhaps Mr Clarke should shut the hell up and stop talking shite.

Oh, and

Critics argue that the proposed laws would not solve any existing problems. They point out that not having the powers proposed in the data retention bill did not seem to hamper the investigation into the Madrid bombings, nor did it stop the police in the UK from tracking down and arresting in short order the four suspects in the 21 July attacks.

Sssh! You’re spoiling the spin! Don’t let facts and reality get in the way of a good political manoeuver….

Welcome to Bad Idea Central

So, the EU wants immigrants to pledge ‘faithfulness’ to the Glorious European Project. What a fantastic idea. Perhaps we can all salute the Glorious European Flag, while we worship the Glorious European Edicts and lick the boots of our Glorious European Leaders.

Or, and I’m just floating ideas here, we could stand up and say “The Glorious European Project can kiss our Glorious [enter nationality here] Asses”.

Just suggesting alternatives, people. After all, it’s our choices that make us what we are.


I said in the footnote that you should take the Sun’s story with a pinch of salt.

And I was right. The EU isn’t making it illegal for barmaids to wear low cut tops, they’re just wagging their finger and saying “naughty”.

Yay for the low cut tops. But still, Boo! to the EU.

Oh no you don’t

Shit. The EU is planning on stopping barmaids from wearing low cut tops:”Editors note: story is from the Sun, and must therefore be taken with a rather large amount of salt.”:http://www.thesun.co.uk/. On the basis that they may get skin cancer when they collect glasses from outside areas.

HELLO!?!?!?! It’s bad enough that uk.gov went and fubared up the licensing system, but now the EU is trying to stick it’s grubby little hands into the mix.

And it’s not just here, it’s EU wide. Fantastic.

Here’s next week’s news: hats are to become compulsory for all, to prevent bald people getting skin cancer. Facial hair will also become compulsory (for both sexes). T-shirts will be banned.

All in the interests of health, you understand.

Sometimes it works…

Sure, the EU may be very undemocratic. It may be overly bureaucratic. It may be an abomination unto the eyes of men, and yea! unto the eyes of God also. But sometimes, just occasionally, it does something that isn’t totally wrong.

Before anyone starts thinking that Im not well or anything, I do need to stress: I’m not saying that it is doing something right. No, I’m saying that people are using it’s fucked up structure to stop it doing something wrong.

Remember I politely discussed the EU attempt to reduce the number of hours that people were able to work? Oh you do? Good. Well, using the inadequacies of the EU against it, the UK has stopped those plans. For the time being, anyway.

The UK has won the first stage of the fight to maintain its “opt-out” from the European Working Time Directive.
EU employment ministers were to make a decision on removing the clause, after the European Parliament in May voted to scrap the opt-out by 2012.

But, it is understood, enough ministers opposed the plan to prevent the vote taking place.

Aw, diddums. Did the nasty unelected part of the EU structure stop the French proposal to cripple the UK economy? Cry me a river.

People, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We should all walk away from this bastard child of a union. Before serious damage is done to all the societies in europe.

And the beat goes on…

First France, now those crazy Dutch do the same.

The Constitution is, for all intents and purposes, dead. No matter what the bureaucrats try, the Con will not get ratified by all the states in the EU. Which means that all the countries that didn’t bother to ask their people have to go and de-ratify it. Which serves them right. Ditto for Spain for being sheeple.

I still want Blair to have a referrendum. He firmly believes in further EU integration and the Constitution. I want him to have the courage of his convictions and ask the people what they think. He’s not going to, of course, because he knows that he’s in the wrong the people are not behind him.

And if there’s one thing that Blair can’t stand, it’s being wrong unpopular.