Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bollocks from the FCO

Yesterday I highlighted an article on the EU Constitution or what is now disingenuously called a "Treaty".

During my search on the web I turned up the "Official" Supporters club for the Treaty at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, this was not difficult to find as it is currently an advertised (paid for by us) link on Google.

Now today we find out via the Coffee House blog in the Spectator that the Independent has peddled out some of the Labour spin on the site as original work. The article examines some supposed myths about the "Treaty". Unfortunately most of these myths have now been discovered to be truths.

This is not the worst of the FCO site taking the following on the front page.

Why is the Reform Treaty in the news now?

The mandate for the EU Reform Treaty was agreed by the prime ministers or presidents of all EU countries in the European Council in June.

The final text of the Treaty - which is currently being written - will have to be approved by all EU countries, following their own constitutional procedures, before it can come into effect.

In the UK, all Treaties, including EU Treaties, are submitted to Parliament, which has the right to examine and debate them in detail.

There is currently a lot of speculation in the media about what the Reform Treaty will mean for the UK. Some people believe that the UK should not agree to the Reform Treaty until it has been put to a public vote in this country (a referendum).

Many people who are opposed to the Reform Treaty are also opposed in principle to the UK's membership of the EU; others want a referendum because they believe that the Reform Treaty would transfer too much power from the UK to the EU.

These are serious issues that demand public attention. However, the fact is that many things that have been said and written about the Reform Treaty are simply not factually accurate.

It then links to the EU Treaty myths, the subject of the Independent Front page.

Lets look at the implications here

1) That it is only Eurosceptics who don't want the treaty, it lumps the many People who are opposed in the group of people who don't want Britain in the EU at all. This is simply incorrect. Whilst it will be true that virtually all people who oppose the EU will oppose the treaty, there are many more who support the EU but oppose the Treaty (myself included).

2) That some people believe that the UK should not agree to the Reform. No mention that only 29% would vote for the treaty against 47% who would vote against it.

3) That some people think there should be a referendum, no it's not "some" people it is 66% of people who want Labour to keep their promise of a referendum.

4) Of course it doesn't mention any of the major reasons that it might just be in the news, such as the frailty of the red lines, the manifesto promises that are being broken, the Parliamentary committee who reported that the Treaty was the constitution in all but name, etc, etc.

This is just one example of the crap that the FCO is trying to peddle to the country as the truth on this website. It is a disgrace to the Government and to this country.

EU Reform Treaty Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

EU Treaty - A Cynical Stitch-up

Have a quick read of this article on the EU Constitution or rather "Treaty".

Feartie and his sidekick the Millipede are still banging on about red lines and how big and courageous they have been standing up to all those johnny foreigners in the EU and how nothing will change.

This is a complete and utter mockery, all that has happened is that the Constitution has been obfusticated and rewritten as a "Treaty" to sound better. It will now be passed on the nod by Gordon tomorrow night and there will be little we can do about it now or in the near future. The Treaty is the old Constitution in all but name.

Our protection will of course will be the infamous "Red Lines" that have either already been effectively bypassed or can be got round like the infamous Maginot Line.

Even the The cross-party European Scrutiny Committee in its report finds that the new Reform Treaty is “substantially equivalent to the Constitutional Treaty”.

It also notes that the Government’s “red lines” are substantially the same as before, and questions whether the various safeguards for the UK will work.

It notes that the Treaty would

“change the legal relationship between the EU and national Governments”
particularly by giving the European Court of Justice new powers over criminal law and policing.

The key points from the report are
1) The new treaty is the same as the rejected EU Constitution

From Para 45:

* “Taken as a whole, the Reform Treaty produces a general framework which is substantially equivalent to the Constitutional Treaty.”

* “Even with the ‘opt-in’ provisions on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and the Protocol on the Charter, we are not convinced that the same conclusion does not apply to the position of the UK under the Reform Treaty. We look to the Government to make it clear where the changes they have sought and gained at the IGC alter this conclusion in relation to the UK.”

The Government has repeatedly insisted that “the constitutional concept has been abandoned – most recently in the Prime Minister’s press conference today. But the Committee’s Report notes that this is “misleading”.

* Para 50: “we do not consider that references to abandoning a ‘constitutional concept’ or ‘constitutional characteristics’ are helpful and consider that they are even likely to be misleading in so far as they might suggest the Reform Treaty is of lesser significance than the Constitutional Treaty. We believe that the Government must offer evidence if it is to assert that the processes are significantly different.”

2) The red lines won’t work

The report also publishes correspondence with ministers. Initially the Government claimed that it had secured an “opt out” from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In his statement on 25 June Tony Blair said, “It is absolutely clear that we have an opt-out from both the charter and judicial and home affairs.” However, in a letter dated 31 July Europe Minister Jim Murphy admitted:

* “The UK specific protocol which the UK secured is not an ‘opt-out’ from the Charter. Rather, the protocol clarifies the effect that the Charter will have in the UK.”

The Committee warns that the European Court of Justice will simply sidestep attempts to limit the impact of the Charter. The report gives a number of examples:

* Para 58: “To take a possible example, the Working Time Directive contains provisions limiting the weekly hours of work of a worker to 48 hours per week, but with the possibility of agreements to waive those limits. As Article II-91 of the Charter provides that “every worker has the right to limitation of maximum working hours” we have some concern that following a reference to the ECJ from some member state, the Court might find that, in the light of the Charter, the [UK] derogation from the Directive allowing such waivers has to be interpreted more restrictively than before (i.e. before the Charter had legal effect).”

* Para 59: “We would be concerned that, following a reference to the ECJ from some other member states the Court might find that a measure adopted at EU level (such as Council Directive 200/43/EC) had to be given an extended interpretation in light of the wide grounds for prohibiting discrimination under the Charter.”

On criminal justice and policing the report notes that:

* Para 21: “We are concerned that removing the “distinction” between the EU and the EC in relation to matters currently dealt with under the third pillar (with the subsequent increase in the powers of the Commission to bring infraction proceedings and those of the ECJ to interpret and apply Union measures) will change the legal relationship between the EU and national Governments in a way that will increase their powers in relation to UK law. We call on the Government to set out the safeguards which they will expect to gain at the IGC to prevent this happening.”

On future treaty change the report notes that the new “simplified revision procedure”, - which would allow the treaties to be incrementally changed in future with no need for any further treaties - would lead to even less transparency and accountability in the way the EU is run:

* Para 42: “We are concerned that these provisions could allow substantial changes to be made without convening an IGC and so lead to even less transparency in the way the EU is governed, and less accountability of governments to their national parliaments. We ask the Government to outline what safeguards they would put in place to prevent this further erosion of transparency and accountability.”
Contrast this with the Official Foreign and Commonwealth Website and its pages on the EU Reform Treaty. This is supposed to be an unbiased website, but just try and find anything in it that does not toe the Labour Party Line, The only mention of cross-party European Scrutiny Committee's damning report is as follows
Minister for Europe, Jim Murphy, has responded to the report on the EU Intergovernmental Conference by the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee:
"I welcome the publication of this report, just as I have welcomed opportunities to provide evidence to this Committee, to its House of Lords equivalent, and to the Foreign Affairs Committee. I am pleased to note the Committee's recognition that by defending its 'red lines' the UK has secured a specific deal different to that on offer to the other 26 EU member states."
Which must be one of the most cynical of replies to a report that rubbishes everything the government has said.

So there we have it Gordon Brown will go back on his party's word that we would have a referendum on the EU Constitution, as it is now a Treaty, and as such we don't need to be consulted. Perhaps he should listen to some of his EU buddies

The author of the Constitution, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, says: “All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way.”

The Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero admits: “We have not let a single substantial point of the Constitutional Treaty go… It is, without a doubt, much more than a treaty. This is a project of foundational character, a treaty for a new Europe.”

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel says simply: “The substance of the Constitution is preserved. That is a fact.”

This is one of the biggest lies that Labour has hoisted on us in recent years and will, I predict, become as infamous as Tony's whoppers about Iraq.

The only obvious solution to this may be to declare Independence in Scotland as soon as possible and hope we are not allowed into/thrown out of the EU, as even getting out of the EU is a tricky business nowadays.

If you want some more forthright and perhaps rather more forcefully reading try Polly the Euro-crazies: A cautionary tale Not for the nervous or easily shocked reader!

We must stand up to this cynical stitch-up | Camilla Cavendish - Times Online

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

God's own County

Lochnagar from Queens View

Apparently if you want the best quality of life in Scotland you need to go to Aberdeenshire.

Scotland is of course God's own Country.

As a dweller of a deeper part of Aberdeenshire I can only agree. It is truly God's own County.

According to the Herald

"Its residents enjoy high employment, high earnings, good health and long life expectancy rates, while crime and traffic levels are low, "
P.S. I believe everything I read in the Herald.

Want Best Quality Of Life Go To Aberdeenshire If You Can Afford It (from The Herald )

Ming retires to Mongo

Apparently Ming the Merciless has retired back to his home town of Mingo City suffering from severe irritation and some deep scars to his back and leaves Feartie Gordon to battle the "Dave" alone.

At least one in 8 Britain's might possibly have noticed this as they are in the 12% who might vote LibDem at the next election, however most appear to have been alienated Labour or Tory voters who are returning in droves to their home planets.

In reality it will only be the odd Bearded Sandal wearer who has actually noticed that the LibDems have retired yet another leader with some sharp items to the back.

Apparently the likely next leader will be another alien masquerading as a horse fly.

Computer Spooks

Want to use your Data Warehousing/Business Intelligence Skills then why not join Military Intelligence. Use those hard acquired skills to mine for really interesting information.

Apparently you will be responsible for safeguarding the nation's security, enjoy liaising with diverse businesses (Imagination may be required here) and must be calm under pressure.

You must however be British and it may take up to 6 months to process your application in which time you may not mention your application to anyone but your immediate family.

Pay is from £28,000-50,000 (plus benefits) which does not seem to high for someone who can cube us into the good, the bad , the ugly and the nappy wearing rocking horse users.

Job Description

Data Warehousing / Business Intelligence Specialists, Central London, £28,000 - £50,000 + benefits

Responsible for safeguarding the nation's security, the Security Service is significantly expanding due to the continuing terrorist threat in the UK. In alignment with this expansion and continuous improvement, we are committed to developing and maintaining our technical edge using the latest technology.

We are currently recruiting IT professionals with a broad skill-set and specific expertise in Business Intelligence, ETL and Analytics (such as SAS, Business Objects and PL/SQL). Ideally you will have experience in some or all of the following disciplines:

  • Large scale production Databases/Data warehouses(Oracle / SQL Server)
  • Business Intelligence
  • Information Management
  • ETL/Data Modelling
  • Data Mining
  • Statistical Analytical Techniques (EDA, PCA, MDS)
  • Kimball/Inmon Techniques
  • Using technology in partnership with customers to solve business problems
  • Exposure to full project lifecycle

The challenges come thick and fast so resilience, pragmatism and the ability to remain calm under pressure are essential. Utilising your strong technical skills, you will also be client facing and enjoy liaising with a diverse business. Demonstrating knowledge of leadership, project management, and business analysis would be a distinct advantage.

This is a fantastic opportunity to develop and learn new technologies - with excellent career prospects - while knowing that you are part of a team dedicated to safeguarding national security.

To apply you must be a British Citizen. Due to the recruitment and vetting process, your application could take up to 6 months. You must limit those you tell about your application to your partner and/or immediate family. The Security Service is committed to reflecting both equal opportunities and the society we protect. Closing 18/10/07.

For more information on working for MI5 visit

Data Warehousing / Business Intelligence Specialists Central London, England - Computing Careers MI5

UHT equals Green Milk?

Anybody drunk UHT milk recently, thought not, it is possibly the foulest tasting liquid available purporting to be drinkable.

It ruins Tea and makes Coffee taste awful and yet the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA, which governs policy south of the border, has made the proposal that 90% of milk on sale should not require refrigeration by 2020.

The plan, part of the so-called Milk Road Map, was described in a government paper sent out to the dairy industry last month to help it reduce its carbon footprint. Officials suggest that by reducing chiller capacity in supermarkets and corner shops, carbon emissions could be significantly reduced - though farmers fear this would lead people simply to buy less milk. (The move is not intended to reduce the use of domestic fridges; once UHT milk is open, it has to be stored as fresh milk.)

So after having had the Dairy industry destroyed in many parts of the country we will now have to suffer UHT milk because it is "greener" what a load of cows manure.

UHT is milk that has been heated to at least 135˚C to kill off harmful bacteria. It can then be stored in cupboards for up to five months. It was developed in the 1960s and became popular in Europe, where higher temperatures made storing fresh milk more problematic. In Belgium, UHT accounts for 96.7% of the milk market; in Portugal it is 92.9% and in France 95.5%. It never really took off in Britain, where consumers prefer the taste of proper milk.

So what betting that the EU has got it's sticky little fingers all over this idea to allow EU countries to penetrate the British market for milk.

According to the Herald

This latest proposal for the dairy industry comes in the wake of the recent threat of foot-and-mouth disease and bluetongue - and the ongoing battle to secure a fair price for milk. Over the past six years, one in three Scottish dairy farmers has gone out of business. It is expected that by the end of this year there will be fewer than 1000 dairy farms in Scotland. Twenty years ago there were more than 5000.

A more welcome development might be the greater take up of milk deliveries, driven by recycling-aware shoppers and those intent on supporting their local dairy industry. The website www.findmeamilk has had more than 300,000 hits in eight months as people seek milk in bottles that can be washed out and refilled. The number of milkmen in the UK has fallen from more than 20,000 in the 1980s to the current 9500 because of competition from supermarkets, but it seems the tide may be turning.

The NFU Scotland spokeswoman said: "We think Scotland has a dairy industry to be proud of, and it's only just getting back on its feet in the last few months after years of dreadful prices. Offsetting carbon is great, but there are other ways it can be done.

"The industry is key to Scotland, so better to ensure its livelihood rather than try to bring it down. Farmers are under ever more pressure to maintain the highest environmental standards compared to 40 years ago when it was all about optimum production."

I suspect this will be one green issue that will be rightly poured down the sink where it belongs.

Can Drinking Uht Milk Really Save The Planet (from The Herald )