April 2011

Mike Nattrass and I were delighted to be reunited with an old colleague this week in the form of Trevor Colman, UKIP MEP for the South West.

Like Mike and I, Trevor has rejected membership of a controversial political group in the parliament, and now sits alongside Mike and I as 'non-attached' members. This means that we can concentrate on doing the job we were elected to do, and campaign for Britain's withdrawal from the EU. Membership of any such group means compromising on our principles, and we are not prepared to do that. Trevor is a good and hard working campaigner, and I and my staff are looking forward to working alongside him.


A Clash With West Midlands Conservative MEP Malcolm Harbour

In a heated debate on the single market I asked fellow Midlands MEP, Mr Harbour how far his influence as Chairman of the ´ínfluential´ internal market committee has got him with his recent failed written declaration to help Small businesses. He singularly failed to answer the question citing that the EU was good for the West Midlands and in particular the motor industry. He evidently forgot about Peugeot Ryton which was closed down with the loss of many jobs with aid from the EU which subsidised the move to Slovakia!


Corrupt practices set to continue.... MEPs vote this week to protect their pay rises & perks.

I have campaigned against corrupt practices in the parliament, and have caused quite a stir at home and abroad. I was pleased to see some of my own suggestions to resolve the situation appear as possible amendments to the 2012 budget. One, restricting the right of MEPs to claim expenses in Brussels and Strasborg to days when they actually do some work was rejected. Shameful, but predictable.

There was also an amendment calling for MEPs to receive no pay increase in 2012. This was also rejected. Just for the recorded, British Labour and Lib Dem MEPs voted to protect their expenses, and to give themselves a pay increase. That might be worth remembering when Tweedle Dum or Tweedle Dee appear on TV telling us how bad the economic situation is, and how their party is sharing our pain and doing everything it can to get us out of this crisis!

 

Meeting Bill Gates

It has been a fraught and tiring week in Strasbourg, but life in politics is often illuminated by a little ray of sunshine, and so this week I was delighted to meet and shake hands with Bill Gates, the founder of microsoft.

He joined us to discuss the changing priorities of development aid, and the need to find different approaches to our problems.

Whilst I might not agree with everything he said, and nor do I have much faith in the EU's approach to aid, it was an informative meeting, and it was refreshing to see his simple, no-nonsense straight talking approach to the task. This was a welcome contrast to the dour and two-faced world of EU politics.


The Middle-East

I have a particular interest in the middle-east, and so I was most pleased to have the opportunity this week, along with Mike Nattrass, to be briefed by aan advisor from the Israeli embassy in London.

The tragedy of the middle east seems to be an endless saga, and we were shocked to learn how greatly the problem is being exacerbated by the incompetence of the EU. Ireland, Sweden, and Italy were highlighted as contributing to the problem, with the EU as a whole seeming unable to assert itself on the international stage in any meaningful way. Baroness Ashton was picked out as being particularly inept.

The Israelis are fearful of an escalation of the present conflict with Hamas, and of the startling progress of the Iranian nuclear programme, which the EU turns a blind eye to. The dangers of handing over control of our foreign policy to the EU are being increasingly apparent the further down the path we proceed.


Pan-European Party

The pan-European political party is an inevitible step in the march towards a single EU state. I was elected to stop that happening, and so with the subject being on the agenda in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on April 5th, I knew I was likely to have to face some conflict. Rather worryingly, there is a move to take UKIP into such a party, a move that would mean surrendering our traditional values in favour of supporting the values and aims of the EU, and accepting the rule of EU law. The main purpose of this seems to be the pursuit of additional funds.I will never accept EU primacy, and I will remain vehemently opposed to this sorry state of affairs.

In the plenary session I clashed with the gentleman, a fellow MEP, who is leading this initiative on behalf. There was a certain amount of pathos in the sight of my interlocuter raising his fist in the air and shouting "We are here for what we can get!". It is very sad to see how easily politicians can be corrupted in this way.

I was, however, pleased to note that the party leadership voted against the report on regulations governing pan-EU parties, and specifically opposed the participation of pan-EU partuies in national referenda. I hope this position retains some consistency.

The important thing is to keep the message clear - we do not want EU law, we do not want to be a part of an EU party. We want to get out of the EU - its as clear as daylight!

 

EU votes for more money to Poland and Czech Republic-
What about the West Midlands?

In nearly every session MEPs are voting to given our taxpayers money away this time to subsidise manufacturing in Poland and Unilever in the Czech Republic. Every day in the UK we give the EU £48 million. £48 million that would be better spent on our education, healthcare and infrastructure! Today I got to tell the EU what I thought about it!

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