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Friday, 23 November 2012

Strasbourg Commentary Plenary session 19th - 22nd Nov 2012

Strasbourg Commentary                Plenary session           19th - 22nd  Nov 2012

You will know that the ceiling of the Brussels debating chamber has started to fall in. This is a dome-like structure and, for reference, St Paul's Cathedral was completed in 1710, with no JCB insight, nor tower cranes.  Nor reinforced concrete, only Wren's primitive starter for 10, or rather for 302 years. And still there in spite of Hitler. It seems that it will be out of action until well into next year, so business due for Brussels is transferred to Strasbourg.

Tuesday.  Voting included the ridiculous intrusions into motor bikes. They want to prohibit owners from making modifications and adding parts; all will have to go to registered bike repair shop. In vain do I tell them that these bikers are responsible people and it's their necks at risk. No use, regs are regs. As a non-biker I have done my best to support them, attending rallies and their evening meeting in Buxton. The report on this issue was carried by 636 -16. The Tories, Labour & Lib-Dems all voted in favour, the 16 against were ourselves and some of the EFD group.

Then parliament voted for the right of EU citizens to vote and stand in Euro elections in other than their own country. How do you like that? Well, the Tories did, and the Lib-dems, and Labour, 618 altogether for, 23 against, including UKIP, of course.

Then, by 482 to 160 they voted against democracy on economic & Monetary affairs. National sovereignty, democratic legitimacy, were all voted down but they supported collective action, disclosure of commercially sensitive information and a Federal Europe.

Wednesday  More money voted away but at least they supported the exploration for shale gas, with reservations, which is transforming the US economy.

Thursday  We agreed on the need to stop the obscene business of cutting off shark fins before throwing the shark back into the sea to die in agony. You would have thought this was illegal everywhere but the Commission has, in its wisdom, previously ruled that governments who wished to allow their fishermen to do this would be allowed to continue. Hopefully 506 votes to 47 will put a stop to that but the UK government banned this years ago and we have replied accordingly to the dozens of emails in protest we have all received. It just goes to show the kind of people we are sharing the EU with.

You may have seen the extraordinary outburst of Guy Verhofstadt, the Lib-Dems leader; it’s on You Tube and the UKIP MEP's website.  He ranted at Nigel for not having appeared in the Fishing Committee, where he is a member, at all this year. If you have seen the video you will know that we are up against a madman. I can give you an up-date. Verhofstadt is a member of the Constitutional Committee which has met 12 times this year so far. Verhofstadt  appeared in the January & February meetings, but never since on any occasion. Moreover, unlike a lot of MEPs he is not a full member of any other committee. I leave you to ponder.

Never mind Strasbourg for now, I come to the main point. In Corby last Thursday Margot Parker recorded the biggest vote ever for UKIP in any by-election. That's a staggering achievement on its own but to have forced the Lib-dem candidate into 4th place, and a lost deposit, is wonderful. Remember, the Lib-dems are past masters at by-elections, flooding in bus loads of canvassers from all over. This time no, not many to be seen. They are temporarily out of it, demoralised by their abject performance at Westminster.     

Margot's performance in Corby was a lesson in endurance: she just did not stop. Helpers from many places played their part. Do you remember David Lott? Once of Hexham he was the Party's national Organiser for the 1997 (I think) elections but retired to live in France a while back. With his wife, Cathy, he was there in Corby the week prior to election!! London came up with 5 or 6 helpers.

No less impressive was our performance in the two PCC Elections we contested.  In Derbyshire, David Gale worked hard to get 16.2%, which is the fourth best UKIP result of 24 contests.  He was not helped by Derby University whose Student body ran a Hustings but banned him from appearing.  The Students Union have a ‘no floor’ policy and they reckon that ‘David/UKIP’ are extremists, not to say worse.  At least the Derby Telegraph printed an account of that, including David’s protest.

Meanwhile in Northamptonshire, Jim Macarthur worked equally hard with his campaign partly doubling up with the Corby By-election.  He was so effective that his 18.75% was the best result of all UKIP Candidates (the percentages quoted here are of the first preference votes cast, counting the second preference votes became very messy and to my mind undemocratic). 

To both of those, Congratulations for their efforts, they are part of our national result which saw us beat the Lib Dems in many other PCC elections.

Last Saturday I lent a hand with Lee Water's stall in Gedling. By the time I got there at 11.00 they had got rid of 100 videos and most of the literature. I stood out in the road with our plastic bags, not much in them due to the earlier rush, but still had people taking them from the hand without being approached.

All of which means that we are really on the up, but you knew that from the increased press/ TV coverage.  Now, the Lib-dems, and the Scots Nats, came to prominence partly via local elections,- and we have local elections next May.

Please make sure we have the Party name and logo on all the ballot papers. People will vote for us in elections where it really matters, Westminster and Euro, when we have become familiar on earlier ballot papers, so get your name down.  Don will send you the candidate guide but all you really have to do is to get 12 people to sign your nomination form and get it in by close of nominations. There is no cost to you.

If you do a leaflet that does need money but you do not have to do that, paper candidates will do. I know that a lot of members do not like that idea but it gets the name and logo on the ballot paper. Which message would you like to hear? -

 "I wanted to vote UKIP but could not find your candidate on the ballot paper".
"Didn't know much about him/ her, but at least I saw UKIP on the ballot paper".


Derek Clark    MEP                                   Strasbourg   22nd Nov   2012

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