After Grenfell – 3

FOR THE time being, Grenfell seems to have disappeared from the front pages. The Hard Left Activists (hereinafter referred to as HLAs) are busy being revolting in Hamburg where the leaders of the G20 are meeting. Grenfell will be here for a while and anyway Hamburg has been in the diary/filofax/2017 equivalent for months.

Having criticised The Times and the numpties its comment columns seem to attract it is only fair to say that the report today (Jul 7) gives a somewhat calmer view of  a meeting between Moore-Bick and the Lancaster West Residents Association yesterday evening. This was at least a meeting involving a properly constituted residents’ organisation. Perhaps some progress can be made before the HLAs return from their weekend away in sunny Hamburg.

Frustration was clearly in evidence and as usual seems to be directed at the wrong target. Not that any blame for that attaches to the frustrated — at least not directly.

It is worth quoting some of the remarks in full because they have a bearing beyond the immediate.

Describing the “anger and confusion” at the meeting, Mr Akins said: “People firmly believe that arrests should be made as a result of the outcome of all of this. If arrests are not made, people are going to feel justice may not be being done.”

Thanks for this piece of nonsense go to the HLAs whose ‘Justice 4 Grenfell’ starts from the assumption that if somebody was in some way damaged or disadvantaged then somewhere or other there must be someone (else) to blame. In this instance they are probably right but as a commenter under the article says:

If any person or organisation is found to have a criminal case to answer so be it. But you cannot undertake an enquiry on the supposition that someone is guilty of something. And the wider the enquiry is the longer it will take and the muddier the waters.

True. But you can if you’re a Trot!

The Times reports that “Many are frustrated at his perceived reluctance to address how the wider state of social housing may have contributed to the fire.” Where has that come from? It isn’t clear whether we are talking about social housing in the borough or England as a whole and whether that should go so far as to include the practice of illegal sub-letting sometimes even to illegal immigrants. The answer to whether any Inquiry should look at that aspect would be a good indication of who was asking for the wider remit!

The local people appear to be unaware that the wider it ranges the longer the Inquiry will take and the more diffuse it will become. And a bit like a net the wider it spreads the bigger the holes for the fish to escape through. Is that what they want? I doubt it!

Joe Delaney, of the Grenfell Action Group, appears to have been concerned that Moore-Bick “couldn’t even control the crowd and hold them. I have heard public speakers who can shut up a stadium full of thousands of people. This man couldn’t hold a room with 200 or so people.”

Sorry, Joe, but the guy is not a public speaker. He’s an Appeal Court judge and before that a barrister. He doesn’t need to “hold” people, except maybe a jury. He was appointed to use his forensic skills to get to the root of a problem not to orate like a cross between Martin Luther King and Demosthenes! He will ask searching questions and woe betide anyone who tries to give less than full and frank answers. Isn’t that what you want? I presumed it was.

Joe’s other complaint is interesting”

He said other officials visiting the scene of the disaster in north Kensington would “act in a high-handed fashion, pretend to listen to us and then leave”. This also appeared to be Sir Martin’s “modus operandi,” Mr Delaney told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

Joe, how do you know they only “pretended” to listen? How do you know Moore-Bick only “pretended” to listen? What brings you to that conclusion? Has no-one explained to you a couple of very important facts of life?

1. Any incautious remark by an employee of Kensington & Chelsea will instantly be leapt on and twisted to suit the purpose of the listener. Ditto for any comment by a government minister or civil servant. Your HLA pals would be first in line to use any comment by anyone to further their aims which, by and large, are not the same as yours.

2.  Virtually any statement by anyone in authority in the present circumstances can be interpreted by a skilful lawyer as prejudicing the Inquiry or any subsequent civil action or any criminal case that may result. So it is in your interests that they listen to you but say nothing.

I’ll end this with two comments from under the article — not unsympathetic but trying to be as fair as possible to all concerned:

This judge does have some relevant technical knowledge, is independent, is available and is listening to comments. I fail to see how anyone else would be better suited. Some of those complaining need to be advised how the due process of law works in the UK.

And that includes not a few born and brought up in the UK,

Since when have ordinary people, victims or not, had the right to decide who chairs an inquiry?

Since the British replaced their sense of honesty and belief in the law with a sense of entitlement, Penny!

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Post-Grenfell – 2

THE FALL-OUT from this disaster is taking many forms, opening up several cans of worms and bringing to the surface prejudices and attitudes not normally associated with the relatively easy-going but traditionally organised and accepted behaviour associated with people of Great Britain, perhaps more specifically the English, though  the Scots and the Welsh, with their presbyterian background, have often been just as organised and if anything slightly less easy-going.

As ever, the media — notably the on-line versions where commenting by the anonymous ignorati is tolerated if not actively encouraged — must take a share of the blame. Recent commenters have included one who, two weeks after the event, was incensed that “we” still did not know the identities of various officials connected with regulations concerning the fire safety of the building. Given the tone of the comment and the insistence that “they” needed to go public because “we” (ie “he”) wanted them to, it would probably be as well if this name, and doubtless others, were not made public until the true causes become clear. The whole comment reeked of, at the very least, the fantasy of taking to the streets with rope and a portable scaffold.

The “true causes” are irrelevant, of course. The empty vessels who fill the comment columns with their empty-headed noise have already decided on “the facts” which are what they deem them to be. Like the extreme Brexiteers they have decided how they want things to be and have determined therefore how things are. The global warming activists are cut from the same cloth. Their beliefs brook no deviation from their version of the truth. In all these cases nuance is dead.

As, even more regrettably, is any freedom of thought. The  tongue-in-cheek jest that a liberal is someone who allows you to believe anything you like as long as he agrees with it has more than a grain of truth.

Hard on the heels of this outright demand for the general public to be kept fully informed came the statement — why didn’t we see this one curving in from left field? — that the appointee to head this Inquiry is the wrong person, not because he at some time in his past has found against a council tenant in a court case but because — yes, we ought to have known! — he is middle-class, male, and white!

The Social Justice Warriors strike again!

Sir Martin now has two choices and it will be interesting to see which he opts for. He can either follow the SJW rule book, apologise profusely for allowing his name to go forward, express deep regret that he might have offended anyone in doing so, and stand down.

Or he can tell the SJWs to **** off and leave him to get on with the job he has been chosen to do. If he is feeling really brave he could add that he is probably better qualified for the job than them or anyone they would choose as an alternative, most of whom would be more likely, in the case of a court appearance, to be standing in the dock facing him than on the Bench beside him.

Fighting their fire with a flamethrower of your own is the only way to deal with these people, m’lud. Please do not kowtow; follow the cardinal rule — never apologise, never resign!

This is a convoluted problem with — as is becoming clear — ramifications far beyond the boundaries of Kensington & Chelsea. This would seem to be a time for clear heads and some objectivity, not arrogant commenters, social justice warriors, political point-scorers and other assorted hangers-on with an agenda.

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Post-Grenfell – 1

I MORE OR LESS abandoned this blog a year ago when I came to the conclusion that the climate battle was won (intellectually speaking that is — convincing the hard-of-thinking and those whose livelihoods depend on perpetuating the scam may take a while) and the Battle of Brexit was causing me more pain than I saw any reason to undergo.

However, having acquired a couple of new followers I thought maybe the least they deserved for such bravery was a post or two. So here I am again.

I shall avoid as far as possible the current political situation (“In which country?” you ask. To which I reply, “there’s a difference?”) though I may get dragged into it yet. Instead I’ll start off this round with a look at some of the implications — and there are many — of Grenfell House.

To be clear, I am not a housing expert nor do I have any qualifications in building or building maintenance or fire safety. What I do have is several years experience as a local reporter which probably makes me better qualified than the many moder journalists to understand the workings, the machinations, and indeed the dedication to be found in local government.

I am most profoundly of the view that there should be no rush to judgement for all sorts of reasons not least because the end result is either that the real reasons, usually mind-numblingly ordinary, get crowded out by the much more interesting but usually wrong ones or that people who should know better end up with egg on their faces when their pet theories are debunked. Or both.

We can all agree, I would hope, that what happened  on June 14 was a tragedy, for the 80(+? we hope not) people who lost their lives, and for the others who lost homes and possessions and have no idea at this moment when or where they are going to find some place that they can once again call ‘home”. It is not surprising that a first reaction from them is to lash out, in the manner of a cornered animal, at anyone they see as potentially responsible for their plight.

This  plight is not helped by voracious media or the unwelcome interference of the far-left rent-a-mob always on hand to stir up trouble and recently given a new lease of life by a Labour party newly taken over by a clutch of cretinous political dinosaurs whose determination to return to the golden age (joke!) of the 1970s serves as an awful reminder that, in Wendell Phillips’ famous words, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”.

Rent-a-mob can’t help itself and it seems that in the 21st century neither can the media. No sooner has the Prime Minister announced a Public Inquiry into the affair and appointed a highly-respected judge (on the recommendation of the Lord Chief Justice) than The Times — that once great and formerly highly-respected newspaper — is engaging in a little unnecessary shit-stirring by dredging up anything it can find to denigrate the man and imply that he is not “suitable” for this job because he is “controversial”.

Inevitably ‘Justice 4 Grenfell’ — and how boringly predictably meaningless that is — has leapt on to this toboggan and claims it has no confidence in Sir Martin Moore-Bick and doesn’t trust him. Well, who asked you? And “trust him” to do what? Come up with your pre-selected answer, probably. It is hard to see how any objective truth on any matter of public importance can ever by established against the background of a chorus of “victims” seeking “justice” for themselves especially when they are seeking it through a medium which is not designed for such a purpose (in this case an Inquiry whose function is to establish causes, how those causes came to be, and how those causes can be eliminated in the future). The residents of all the other high-rise developments in the UK have every bit as much of an interest in the outcome of this Inquiry as the residents of Grenfell Tower and it is not up to them to have confidence (or not) or trust (or not) the man appointed to head that Inquiry.

And one would have hoped, forlornly as it turned out, that the media would have avoided making matters worse by egging on the irresponsible. It could be that objectivity is in danger of being compromised and certainly I can envisage barristers arguing further down the line that a fair trial on whatever charges the CPS might see fit to bring is impossible given that same “rush to judgement”.

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A way forward for the Lords

THE CURRENT ROW over Cameron’s resignation honours list (much of it media hype from,.of all places, The Times) points up yet again the extent to which the whole honours system has become a tool for Prime Ministers to reward their cronies at little expense for doing not very much.

However if Cameron wishes to reward his wife’s hairdresser with an MBE the result is less to devalue the honours system, which has always been used to reward people for their commitment to otherwise unrewarding tasks, than to devalue his own reputation.

Abusing the House of Lords is a different matter.

Having evolved over the centuries to be a highly efficient, if in modern terms unorthodox, revising Chamber, it now finds itself under attack both from within its own ranks and from those outside who are heedless of its function and the effect that their own actions have on that function (stand up, Messrs Blair and Cameron) and those who are obsessed with the idea that anything that does not directly reflect the will of the people (for which read “those who believe that they can manipulate the people to their will”) has no legitimacy in a parliamentary democracy.

It is generally agreed that, however constructed, a second, revising Chamber is to be preferred to a uni-cameral arrangement in the interests of good governance. Recent experience with the Scottish government where it has been left to the courts to adjudicate on the legality of certain aspects of legislation would bear this out. The question that needs to be answered is how the Second Chamber, and more specifically the House of Lords, should look, given its long history, the uniqueness of Britain’s (unwritten) constitution, and the demands of the 21st century in the light of Brexit.

The following is not the finished product but is the result of careful thought by a small number of people interested in the welfare of the British parliament and with no particular axe to grind.

The House of Lords, composed of hereditary peers and leavened with a few life peers such as the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (judges of the House of Lords sitting as the final Court of Appeal for the UK and certain other Commonwealth countries) was expanded in the late 1950s by the Life Peerages Act in a burst of modernity by the Conservative government, a move which saw the virtual end of the creation of hereditary peers. One effect of this novelty was the inevitable “mission creep” as Prime Ministers used the opportunity to boost their party’s representation in the House or to use the system to acknowledge some genuine outstanding achievement in the recipient’s field.

(It also had the more beneficial effect of introducing women to the Lords since the vast majority of titles are inherited through the male line exclusively.)

At present there are around 800 hereditary peers all of whom, until the 1999 House of Lords Act, had the right to sit though many of them chose not to. It is not easy to give a precise figure for the current number of life peers but the closest figure appears to around the 700 mark. At the last count a total of 1,374 life peers have been created since the passing of the 1957 Act, more than half of them by the last four Prime Ministers. In addition there have been a number of life peerages granted to hereditary peers who were not among the 92 chosen to sit in the House, a situation which arguably only makes Blair’s dilettante efforts at reform even more of a dog’s breakfast than it already is.

That then is where we are. Where can we go from here?

The most contentious aspect of this proposal is the re-establishment of the hereditary peers as the “core” of the HoL and for that reason it is necessary to ague the point first and in some detail.

The principle argument in favour of a core of hereditaries as that they are beholden to nobody and nothing other than their own consciences. A secondary argument is that they are probably (ironic as it may seem) more broadly representative of the British public than the modern politician.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph when peers were called on to elect a replacement for Lord Reay three years ago, Peter Oborne commented:

In last week’s courteous but keenly contested by-election, Lord Borwick was up against 22 rivals, almost all of whom had impressive experience that would have been invaluable to Parliament. Lord Albemarle has worked in design in Europe and the US; Lord Hemphill in investment management and education; Lord Harrowby is a chartered surveyor with extensive experience of managing his family estates; Lord Massereene and Ferrard (Ukip) is a Yorkshire farmer; Lord Morris ran a small internet firm; Lord Stockton is a former Telegraph journalist.

The days when peers of the realm owned large tracts of Britain and spent the afternoons dozing in their gentlemen’s clubs are a thing of the past, if not largely a thing of myth. There is a pool of talent which, as Oborne points out, “would have been invaluable to Parliament” were it not for a dyed-in-the-wool idea that “elected, good; inherited, bad”.

Inevitably we need to ensure that this core will be sturdy enough to provide the stability which is needed. While no peer would be excluded (though there could be case for imposing an age limit, perhaps) there would need to be an undertaking to play an active rôle in the business of the House. There are many ways that can be interpreted and many ways it can be subsquently enforced; these are for whoever brings this, or any similar proposals, into force.  At a guess the number of acive peers is unlikely to exceed around 200 though if there was a danger of the numbers (see below) becoming unwieldy some form of election might be necessary.

There are certain “offices of state” retirement from which has traditionally been accompanied by at least the offer of a peerage, Prime Minister and Speaker of the House of Commons being the obvious ones though holders of the other three major offices (Home, Foreign and Chancellor) have often been included as have retiring Chiefs of the Defence Staff and Archbishops of Canterbury. Continuing this practice should strengthen the core further.

Since the passage of the Parliament Act 1911 which limited the power of the Lords to delay legislation there has developed an understanding that the Lords do not seriously amend or unduly delay Bills which seek to enact manifesto commitments of the governing party in the Commons. It seems, judging by recent events, that this understanding is in danger of being substantially weakened and in a reversal of the situation in which Asquith found himself in 1910 it is an alliance of Labour and Liberal-Democrat peers (and a few others of what might be called the Opportunist Party!) seeking to disrupt Conservative legislation.

All is fair in love and war and parliamentary skullduggery but the mess left behind by the unfinished reform of the House has the potential to leave much of the government’s timetable at the mercy of appointees, either political or “social” who, unlike the hereditaries, are at least to an extent beholden to their patron. (Conversely, of course, one can assume that were the government of the day to be more leftward inclined, its Bills might well enjoy an easier passage and less robust scrutiny with results reminiscent of the Dangerous Dogs Act and other examples of the Law of Unintended Consequences.)

The solution is to replace the run-of-the-mill life peers with Peers of Parliament who will sit in the Lords only for the duration of the parliament. There is no reason not to have these appointed by the political parties by whatever method they choose to adopt (including patronage!) since one essential condition should be that the number to be appointed should be independently determined and must reflect the proportion of the popular vote each party received at the General Election.The Electoral Commission would seem to be the obvious candidate for this task.

These arrangements would provide a House of Lords which builds on its own valued traditions, makes use of the expertise of former holders of senior positions within the British establishment, provides the government of the day with a reasonable chance of getting its legislative programme through and at the same time goes some way to redress what some people see as the “democratic deficit” inherent in the FPTP electoral system.

And I commend it to the House!

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Exit Britain

WITH THE LABOUR party in disarray and the Conservatives increasingly looking as if they may elect as their leader someone whose ministerial experience stretches no further than a moderately lacklustre few months rabbiting the renewable energy and climate change drivel penned for her by the green blob in DECC it would seem that one of the most successful countries ever to exist could finally be off to join the Third World.

A cautionary tale if ever there was one about what happens when you let fanatics loose anywhere near the reins of power.

There is still hope. The Conservatives might just come to their senses and understand that what they are electing is a Prime Minister who, in addition to presiding over what one hopes will be an orderly departure from the EU, also has a government to run until at least 2020.

If so they will realise that the safe pair of hands will be a better bet for the future of country and party than a one-trick pony who will almost certainly sink without trace once she has fulfilled the purpose for which the Brexit fanatics have chosen her, namely to get out of Europe as quickly as possible before too many people realise the pup they have been sold and take to the streets with lengths of rope and makeshift scaffolds!

Make no mistake; the only people keen to see the UK out of the EU as soon as possible are  Jean-Claude Juncker (who hates the British and always has), François Hollande (who thinks, wrongly, that kicking the Brits out will win him some votes next year and attract some of the UK financial sector to Paris — in your dreams, Frankie), and the handful of Brexit extremists who want an end to free trade, free movement, immigration by anyone from anywhere and basically anything to do with foreigners of any sort.

When Baroness Warsi said that these were people she wouldn’t dare get on a night bus with, she hit the nail squarely on the head.

Only an idiot believes that it is possible to negotiate between now and next Spring any sort of deal that will navigate an acceptable way through what the EU are prepared to allow and what the British people actually want which is why Article 50 starts a two-year process. The Brexit fanatics are not idiots of course. They don’t in reality want a deal; they want out on their terms.

Not only do they not represent the 16 million who voted to stay, they don’t even represent the majority of the 17 million who voted to leave. They represent no-one but themselves and if they get their way they will condemn Britain to a generation of isolation and sooner or later internal strife.

Because it will not take the British people long to realise just how comprehensively they have been shafted — half of them already do, of course — and will demand retribution.

Meanwhile on the streets of England the nastiness that never lurks far below the surface amongst the hard-of-thinking members of English society, knuckle-draggers par excellence every one of them, has started to show itself. Allowed to have their way the ropes and scaffolds would already be in use with Polish plumbers first in line and anyone with a slightly different coloured skin next to go. Watch where you sunbathe this summer!

The mob that couldn’t tell the difference between a paedophile and a paediatrician were intellectuals compared with this crew. And do you think those screaming for “BREXIT NOW!” care? Nah! Not our problem, mate! Collateral damage. You get in every war!

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Still waiting ……

THERE IS a case to be made for Brexit …. surely. It must be just that I haven’t heard it yet … surely!

Yesterday gave us two more reasons to demand that the Leavers — who are after all those attempting to overturn  the status quo and therefore those on whom the burden of proof must lie — come up with something better than scare stories or blandishments.

The first, and the most obvious, was the confirmation by Barack Obama that the Leavers’ pie-in-the-sky claim (do they really believe them? really?) that the UK could happily drift into a trade agreement with the USA on the morning after Brexit was not going to happen. Most of us never seriously thought it was.

And the rapid rebuttal from Dominic Raab that this was Obama “doing an old friend a political favour” doesn’t hold water either. And his suggestion that the British people are being “blackmailed by … a lame-duck US president on his way out” is as desperate as it is childish as it is offensive. If Mr Raab continues his parliamentary career we can only hope that he learns a little diplomacy along the way.

The comment from ‘’ (interesting that Leavers are happy enough to use the EU’s internet suffix when it makes a snappy title!) shows a breath-taking ignorance of US politics. This president will certainly be gone before negotiations on any deal begin but, unlike the UK where undoing everything your opponents do in government has become the defining characteristic of Britain’s yah-boo politics, the US tends more towards a certain stability and it is a fair bet that if this president believes that a quick deal is unlikely things will not change much come next January.

Dragging the Leave campaign even further into the gutter, Boris Johnson — who is rapidly approaching his use-by date if, indeed, he hasn’t already passed it — attempted to make political capital or simply divert attention by a sort of typically confused hash of the old Churchill’s Bust story with racist overtones added by the reference to Obama’s ancestry.

This is a dangerous ploy as Boris is evidently too thick to realise. Polls suggest that my generation is more likely to vote leave but this will hardly be the case if they think that Churchill is being disinterred and used to prop up the Leavers’ threadbare campaign. And that same generation still has a soft spot for America and her people and her president and while some may have reservations about the current incumbent they will note the infinitely more statesmanlike manner in which he conducted himself yesterday.

The Americans do have an interest in the future of Europe, and while this may be selfish in part (what diplomatic position can ever be completely free of national self-interest or indeed should be?) the argument that the EU is stronger with the UK on board and the UK is stronger as part of that bloc is certainly true from Washington’s perspective and also from Moscow’s. And anyone who thinks that doesn’t matter hasn’t been paying attention.

Writing in The Times (£) yesterday, Ed Conway, Economics Editor for Sky News, understood Obama’s problem:

The worry is not just Britain, but the fate of the wider EU. With the euro in perma-crisis, extremist parties on the rise and Schengen all kaput, the project may not survive another decade, even with the UK still on board. If Britain leaves, a slow-motion implosion looks much more probable.

And that brings me to the second reason to challenge the Leavers which is the thrust of that same article.

Entitled By staying in the EU we can help to dismantle it  Conway continues:

In the long run, the EU is probably doomed, just as the British Empire looked doomed in 1945, which raises a further thought. No other country in the world has more historical experience of dismantling a crumbling political institution from within, relatively painlessly, than the UK. Might that not be the most powerful internationalist argument for Britain to remain?

Whether you agree with that argument is not something I propose to go into here but it has been said before, including by me, that if the EU is on the skids or likely to be in the foreseeable future the UK (and arguably other countries as well) is going to come better out of the whole sorry mess if it is on the inside helping to oversee an organised break-up rather than on the outside where its influence will be minimal and the blame for the demise of the EU will almost certainly be laid at the door of the country that is perceived to have been instrumental in bringing about that situation — whether rightly or not. Logic and common sense will not be to the fore when the bureaucrats are seeking scapegoats for the failure of their project.

Of more immediate concern are what Conway calls the fantasies of the Leavers the problem with which, he says, “is not merely their incoherence but that they are mostly bunk”.

In spite of what they maintain is the situation:

  • Net migration since 1990 from outside the EU has been three times greater than the flows from the EU.
  • UK product markets are less regulated than almost any other country in the developed world.
  • Britain’s labour market is less controlled than any other European nation.

The unpalatable truth is that Britain is knee-deep in regulations because that’s the way we like it. Why else did we introduce some workplace regulations (on maternity leave, on unfair dismissal, on holidays) that go beyond EU requirements? Why else did we go further than the European habitats directive with our laws on dredging in harbours? Why else did we legislate to reduce emissions by far more than the rest of the continent?

The important thing to remember in all this is that one of the supposedly strongest arguments that the Leavers have put forward is that we will be able to make our own rules. Well, there is the evidence that we already do and we persist in making them more onerous than the EU requires us to. With the result that, as Operation Comfort Blanket tries to convince us, we won’t really notice much difference. We’ll still be up to our eyeballs in the same red tape, the only difference being that we can’t blame Brussels for it!

So where is the logical argument for leaving? I’m still waiting …


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Never closer union

ONE OF the scare stories perpetrated by the Leavers in their version of Project Fear is the long out-dated idea (and now myth) that one of the aims of the EU is the establishment of a United States of Europe.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is worth spending some time reading the various treaties which established the EU, starting with the 1957 Treaty of Rome, in order to find out exactly what it is what was envisaged and planned for at various stages of its development.

The Preamble to the Treaty of Rome begins:

DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe,

which is a fairly clear statement of the intentions of those who set up the Common Market in the first place. But note the wording — “an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” — and the clauses that follow. which refer to “common action to eliminate the barriers which divide Europe” which “calls for concerted action in order to guarantee steady expansion, balanced trade and fair competition”,”the constant improvement of …living and working conditions …”, “reducing the differences existing between the various regions and the backwardness of the less favoured regions”, and so on and so forth.

On the other hand while ever closer union may be an aspiration, the EU itself makes clear that different countries with different requirements will proceed aiming different paths and at different speeds. Or, in other words, “ever closer union” can mean pretty much what individual countries want it to mean.

The European Council said in June 2014 that:

the concept of ever closer union allows for different paths of integration for different countries, allowing those that want to deepen integration to move ahead, while respecting the wish of those who do not want to deepen any further.

The best place to look for an honest appraisal of what this, and much else in this debate, really means is the web site ‘Full Fact’ and in relation to “ever closer union” herehere, and here.

Once again we see that the Leavers are being less than totally frank and that their version of Project Fear is still alive and well.

On another tack the ability of the Remain campaign to shoot itself in the foot shows no sign of diminishing with an inept interview this morning by Amber Rudd who appears as incapable as any of her predecessors at DECC at escaping from the grips of the eco-idiots that pass for civil servants in her department.

It is hard to know what has been dangled in front  of the eyes of the ministers in this government (or added to their morning coffee, perhaps) to make them think that the nuclear power station proposed for Hinkley Point makes any kind of economic sense but to hear the responsible minister attempt to convince the public that the price of electricity from this white elephant will compare favourably with wind-generated electricity does call her fitness for office into question.

Likewise the idea that Brexit would mean massive increases in bills is simply not the case.

It really is long past time for that whole department to be shut down and the responsibility for UK energy policy transferred to Trade & Industry where it can be run by engineers instead of social science graduates with ideas about the environment that most of us got over in our teens.



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