Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Yet this time it's about a rather controversial topic - smacking.
You may recall I wrote about the EU ordering the UK to give prisoners the vote the other month. Well, the issue of smacking is not too distant from the controversies of corporal punishment in that it all boils down to so-called human rights an the UK's relationship with them.
Few naive Brits I would imagine perceive their country to be backdated, illiberal, even cruel or abusive to rights. I think a lot of people, foreigners included, would see Britain as one of the most tolerant, modern and liberal countries in the World. Yet a great deal of what is entrenched within the norms of British culture are now being overturned and dragged out into the open by Europe and condemned. Are we really an abusive country?
When it comes to corporal punishment, or "smacking" which seems to me a more apt label, people are split down the middle. Children's charities would say adults are better protected by law than children and that it should be a legal matter to outline that you must not hit a child. Some parents on the other hand would shudder at the possibility that they could be criminally charged for the way they discipline their child. And a great deal more would say, well, what is the point in even raising this as it is totally unpoliceable.
In fact, in Wales, the Assembly have already tried to pass legislation on smacking only to find it blocked by Westminster on the basis of devolved policy areas.
The UK are one of the only nations in the EU that does not ban smacking outright. The policy we have here is that it is outlawed in public spaces and schools but not in the family home.
Interestingly you will see that France, with it's big red landmass, does not outlaw corporal punishment at all.
For me, the question again boils down to, not whether or not we should be having the debate, but that it should not be up to another country or political body to tell the UK how to legislate in this area. The reason I say this is because so much of how we behave, what we consider decent, and how we apply legislation that turns particular actions into an offense is based upon culturally relative maxims. By this I mean what is good and right in one country is not perceived as good and right in another, and talk of blanket human rights are both infringing, dangerous and are best left to religion. Of course there are standards of behaviour and a standard of living we believe everyone is entitled to, but when particular "rights" start being turned into legislation, here is where we have a problem.
It is blanket rights that give most prisoners a more comfortable standard of living than the working man. It is rights that see rapists fight deportation, sex offenders ask to be removed from the register and migrants claim your garden shed as their home.
So what could be the downside of legislation on corporal punishment?
First of all let's not assume that children are all naive. There are many children and young offenders who would use such a ban against victims of crime, turning them into perpetrators of violence. False accusations would fly, costly cases and relationships between parent and child would be open to policing. Many parents struggling to deal with unruly children or immensely difficult situations could suddenly find themselves reported for child abuse.
Mild smacking is permitted under a "reasonable chastisement" defense against common assault in Britain. But contact that causes a physical manifestation, such as bruising, swelling, cutting, carries with a jail sentence of up to 5 years. But in the views of the Council of Europe deputy secretary, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, this constitutes reasonable violence against children.
Whether you are a smacker or not, whether you were smacked or not, whether you agree with smacking or not, it's a very difficult and sensitive issue where the rights of the child and protection of the parent's powers must be balanced. And Europe dictating our legislation from afar is the one clear way to make sure that such equilibrium is never met.
Thursday, 22 April 2010
It's been chaos and confusion with the ash cloud grounding flights and Parliament ballsing up this month's voting.
I've grilled Baroness Ashton over her views on the Falklands ahead of an EU summit with Latin America.
I've attacked the Commission over Common Asylum Policy.
And have opposed the transfer of millions of peoples personal and banking details from the EU to America.
And that's as well as radio, tv, election launch, magazines, papers and general political heave-ho.
So please excuse my absence, and rather than allow me to write an epic blog post of everything I have said or done, let the power of multi-platform media give you verbatim all of the week's action! Feel free to comment on what you see and hear
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Yesterday we launched the UKIP Manifesto in Wales at Cardiff Yacht Club. Lord Pearson came across to speak, and I also had a little podium time.
Below is pretty much what I said:
How can they afford it all?
That’s the question being asked to all the parties.
Their promises are all empty.
Totally and utterly meaningless.
To pretend that the UK Government is the master of our country’s destiny is a deception.
Schools, post offices, hospitals, the law, the economy, business, trade, agriculture.
Everything in some way is connected to
That’s why the central issue in this election must be membership of
UKIP are the only party to represent the majority view on this.
Repeatedly the British public show in polls and debates they do not want to be controlled by
The Tories pledge to cut £6bn pounds of Government spending next year.
They will take this from your pay packet, close your local hospital, strip down the police, and lean on then taxpayer to not only pay off the debt, but happily accept this imposed frugality just after they’ve all been caught in
None of the parties are suggesting we would save £10 billion a year alone in EU membership currently affording schools, post offices, hospitals, new businesses, better roads, trade and agriculture in the other 26 member states.
You pay for all that.
Why are they giving your money to them, when we so desperately need it here?
Why should you, the British taxpayer, have to level off wealth across
That’s why the
Without doubt a key issue in this year’s election.
Under the labour Government, millions of people came to live in the
The immigration policies of the other parties are like saying “we’ll monitor who comes in through the back door, but leave the front door wide open for anyone in
They mean nothing at all while free movement of people in the European Union continues to see thousands file into the
Yes, we believe the
That’s why we want a five year freeze on anyone wanting to settle here.
There’s not enough space.
There are not enough jobs.
There are not enough hospital beds, school places, social housing and money to go around.
We spend millions on translation costs, welfare support to children who don’t even live in the
Who are we?
What will we become?
We are told if we leave the European Union we’ll be nothing.
We have the 6th largest economy in the world.
We are a member of the G8 and one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
This is clear even by glancing at the
I’m going to be totally straight with you.
It simply has to stop.
Some 120,000 directives from
You won’t see any of these appearing in the manifestos of the other parties because there is absolutely nothing at all a UK Government can do if we don’t leave
The hours you work
The price you pay to heat your house.
The food you buy and eat.
Even the very laws that govern how you are expected to live are now made outside the
It takes one judge in
The Headmaster lives in
The true cost of the EU, per year, is around one hundred and twenty billion pounds a year.
That’s twenty times more than the Tories say they want to cut by dipping into your pockets.
If we left Europe, not only would we be able to control our future once more, every man, woman and child would directly benefit from all the money we could put back into the lives of each and every individual who contributes to life in the UK.
But we’re not a party that simply wants to leave
It is necessary to do this first and foremostly, but there are plenty more areas in which we represent the unrepresented.
We speak everyone who feels that nobody speaks for them.
We believe in selective education, nuclear power, an end to so-called devolution and unnecessary over governance.
We are committed to policies that would directly affect
Policies that will strengthen communities, enrich lives, protect individual interests and inspire the young.
Policies that actually mean something.
Take nuclear power. We have always been proponents of this highly efficient, advanced, renewable energy as opposed to inefficient, costly, unreliable and ugly wind turbines that blight the horizon.
It may have been fashionable to stick turbines everywhere but it was premature and silly.
Look at the announcement of a new power station at Wylfa? This will bring hundreds of much needed jobs to the area and provide renewable electricity for thousands and thousands of homes.
Now let’s look at devolution.
We are the only party in
No to more jobs for the boys.
No to costly over governance and make believe democracy.
No to serving the political elite.
If almost half of people in
Because it means more money for them, even if it comes straight out of your pockets.
We would retain the National Assemblies but replace the representatives with local MPs from the same nation.
Most people in
This is wasteful and unnecessary governance, watering down politics and creating apathy when the general public don’t understand who represents them and how.
Our manifesto is straight talking, honest, clear and simple and we believe it speaks on behalf of the majority of people who say the policies of the three main parties bear little resemblance to the issues that matter to them.
We want to protect the lowest earners from jobs tax and encourage more people to leave the welfare state and find employment.
We want to get rid of the unnecessary quangos and the related non-jobs that define our economy and are under threat from
One in four people are paid directly out of taxpayers money.
It is a false economy.
We want instead to get these people into jobs in skilled manufacturing and business, created by scrapping EU red tape and attracting industries back to the
We no longer make anything here, and that is a dangerous, post recession in a global economy.
We also believe we should shift focus away from
We would establish free trade with the 53 other commonwealth countries.
The Commonwealth has been shamefully betrayed and neglected by previous Governments, yet we share a common language, legal and democratic systems, account for a third of the world’s population and a quarter of all it’s trade, including countries like India, soon to be the world’s second largest economy.
We will be tough on crime.
Under the existing Human Rights Act the privileges of the criminal are often put above the needs of the victim.
This has got to stop.
By leaving the EU we can once again enforce strict and realistic measures for tackling crime and supporting communities.
We want to rebalance the law to protect people defending their homes, ensure life means life, double prison places, introduce boot camps for young offenders and allow national referenda on controversdial public law.
We are proud of the NHS and believe high quality healthcare should be available to all.
We wouldn’t cut frontline services but substantially reduce NHS waste and bureaucracy and the stranglehold of targets that jeopardise patient care.
We want to restore free dental checks and eye tests for every citizen in the
We believe in a strong and varied education system, giving choice back to parents and students.
We would retain existing Grammar schools and build new ones, insist on higher qualifications for teachers, scrap the nonsensical target of getting half of all young people into universities when apprenticeships and professional training is better suited to a greater majority.
We would return to the grants system as opposed to loans that leave so many unemployed graduates in debt.
Our benefits system is out of control.
We want to simplify it and get people off long term welfare and back into work.
We also want to make sure welfare support goes to people who need it and people who can prove they are living in Britian.
We could have open trade, exploring innovative ways to attract industries to the country that would become the backbones of proud and prosperous communities.
People in Britian have lost faith, not just in politics, but in their own country.
While so mnay people are clamouring to get in, more and more of us are becoming disenfranchised by remote governance from
We pledge to put country before party.
We pledge to put the
We pledge to put you first.
Think you. Think
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
It was reported over the weekend that the EU had plans to rename The English Channel under a regionalization scheme supposedly designed to phase out national borders and create replacement European ones. I say supposedly because with all things reported unfavourably about the EU, the tendency to exaggerate is far too strong for many journalists to resist. I'd imagine it's a by-product of such a slow moving, knotted, complex and outwardly rather dull institution that the top line of a story is never really that clear, and on occasion, needs a bit of editorial license to sex it up for the readership. Well, as per usual it's that potent mix of smoke, and fire, with this story.
Of course, the assertion that the EU wants to rename the channel makes an otherwise fiddly story interesting, but the real bones to a story on the INTERREGI programme is it's actual existence.To quote the Express, they stated that "Under a Government-backed scheme, bankrolled by British taxpayers, officials have been working on breaking down national barriers by creating new regions for Europe. Under the plan, a vast swathe of southern England was joined to western Belgium and northern France in 2003 to become the Arc Manche region of Europe.With the first map of the region being drawn up, the divide between the countries is being played down by giving the Channel a new name. "
Ok, so the channel being renamed is actually more of a third line element, and is actually part of some map being sent out to schools in the proposed region. Now this is the worrying element.
I have to believe that the EU do in fact want to regionalise the various member states, creating or rather forging more broadreaching unity through necessary legislative absorption. I don't think they would deny they want to see deeper integration and cooperation between countries, but in order to do so, artificial borders are now being stenciled across the continent, and projects based around the new regions are being afforded by the none-the-wiser taxpayer.
The problem is this: Where is this re-regionalisation taking us? Do they intend to carve up the EU and establish new states, much like they way in which Colonial Europe carved up Africa and assimiliated unlikely tribal neighbours within new national borders, still resulting in civil conflict in many parts of the continent. Is this just another stepping stone towards the United States of Europe? Undeniably so. But it is you, the taxpayer and European citizen, funding this project and all the while you are not being told about it, or asked whether or not you even remotely approve. The UK Government have approved on your behalf, in exactly the same way that Mr Brown claimed to represent us all when he signed the Lisbon Treaty. But perhaps more worryingly is the fact that the EU are taking their intentions straight to school level. While the adult world are being kept in the dark about many of the intentions and goings-on in Brussels, denied referendums, but are expected to foot the bill, our children are being told in school that this is how Europe is, this is how Europe will be and this is the right way to think. Propaganda (for want of a less obvious term) is being circulated among the next generation of voters already, the ones who are expected to take the baton of integration and globalisation into the 22nd century. And that's worrying. Surely at school level the future generations should be taught a balanced view. But in an education system where most 16 or 18 year olds leave school with almost nil political knowledge, and go on to take their cues from The Sun, or become apathetic non-voters, the zeal with which the EU is seizing the opportunity to flog a federal Europe to children is much like the Colonial's anaesthetising the natives with whiskey and religion.
I went online to find out more about the way the programme claims it operates at www.interreg3c.net Unsurprisingly all I got was a load of jargon under the useful title: What is the INTERREG IIIC programme?Apparently it's "one of the three strands of the European Community Initiative INTERREG III designed to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by promoting cross-border (strand A), trans-national (strand B) and interregional (strand C) co-operation...The co-operations under INTERREG IIIC gave access to experience of other actors involved in regional development policy and created synergies between "best practice" projects and the Structural Fund's mainstream programmes."
You'll be pleased to know that this whole operation requires that each programme zone (North, East, South and West) set up its own but similar management structure consisting of a Steering Committee , Monitoring Committee, Joint Technical Secretariat, a Managing Authority and a Paying Authority. That's a lot of jobs for an operation that the average Brit funding Interreg UK is not going to remotely understand. A scheme that is not even remotely necessary. And costs a huge amount of money.
But fear not, if you are seeking further information on what Interreg does in the UK, the not-so-useful www.interreg3c.net website rather comically directs you to www.interregiii.org.uk which at least goes some way to addressing our country's financial issues!