Strasbourg Commentary Plenary Session April 15 - 18 2013
Much more voting in Strasbourg these days since they have to cancel the mini plenaries in Brussels due to the debating chamber there collapsing. Voting sessions extended.
Tuesday We at least helped to send a Greenhouse Gas emissions report back to committee. Does not get rid, but puts it off. But two reports on Credit Institutions, which will affect the City of London very badly, were adopted with huge majorities.
Wednesday. Massive number of individual votes on "discharges", for example, the European Police College, European Medicines Agency & European environment agency. All of these votes authorise using funds with the money already spent!!
Thursday Outline approval of a new census. This is to establish the EU demographics. But the info will be collected like an ordinary "head-count" census in each member state and then used by the EU to tabulate where every body has come from. That means using personal data without permission and looks like it will contravene the data Protection Act, not that this will bother the EU. It is no coincidence that today there were several votes on reports designed to ease the way for EU membership to places like Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey.
Otherwise leading MEPs are getting hot under the collar about Hungary with many allegations of denial of Human Rights and so on resulting from a re-write of the Hungarian constitution with a new amendment. It is claimed that this will undermine their Constitutional Court leading, for example, to the homeless being criminalized and that homosexuals will be persecuted. This is countered by documents from Hungarian MEPs saying that the new amendment does nothing of the sort.
Difficult to know where the truth lies, except that a few sessions ago The Hungarian President, Viktor Orban, spoke in the Parliament and was viciously attacked by the usual suspects demanding that he answer their claims in a special meeting which he would be forced to attend. He maintained a dignified silence and simply said that he would not attend such a meeting, better described as an inquisition. The Parliament is now instituting "Infringement proceedings " against Hungary.
General business. Olly Rhen, Swaboda, (socialist leader);Verhofstadt and others all said we need a EU a Banking Union. Well, at least that would hasten the end. Swaboda even said the Commission were democratically elected!!
COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTIONS, MAY 2nd.
Well done everybody!!
As a result of the terrific response here and across the country we have two Party Election broadcasts, which I suppose you have seen already. You may also have seen the report by Patrick O'Flynn in the "Express" recently of Nigel's progress through the East Midlands. This was a two week nation-wide tour where he took a largely coastal route starting in Cornwell, up to Hadrian's wall and down through the East, calling at places with a 100% UKIP candidate list. So it was Gainsborough, Lincoln, Boston/South Holland & the Deepings, (Tuesday) then Corby, (Margo's great result) Geddington, and Kettering (Wednesday) and then off to Huntingdon. Tuesday was disrupted by his going to Grantham to sign the Thatcher Book of Condolence.
In Patrick O'Flynn's article you may have noted a comment of an interjection by a, "Local Tory Councillor". This was none other than Jim Harker, Tory leader of the Northamptonshire County Council!. I happened to park next to where Jim was standing with a group of despondent Tory members. Having dispensed with polite formalities he asked me why UKIP were fielding candidates in these elections when County Councils were nothing to do with "Europe". I responded with, "Our County Councillors will do their best to stop Northants CC from spending £200,000 per year for 8 years on an office in Brussels. His reply was to say that it was only £140,000 for 3 years and that would bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds in European Money to help Northants businesses!
So, no connection between a County Council and the EU there then! He looked so miserable that I let him off my next comment, "There is no such thing as "European Money" and that this would only be some of our own money coming back to us, after the EU had extracted a hefty surcharge".
You will have seen that we are now rated at 16% in the Polls so beware of the dirty tricks brigade. That's already started with the Tories in the South West, and it will spread. Julie Girling, Tory MEP S.West, has produced an A5 leaflet attacking us and which her office is mailing out to Tory canvassers. It starts with detailing the hundreds of thousands of pounds we, UKIP MEPs, claim for travelling, hotels, offices etc etc, all of which is tax payers money. True, but then the Tories are the same, or more so as they have more MEPs than we!
It goes on to say how we have lost MEPs to other parties, without mentioning our acquisitions, where, I think we have the best of the bargain! It then says how lazy we are! Well, Nigel does not spare himself and I know what the others do. Me, ? look at my website and realise that this is only a bare bones outline. When not mentioned I am at the office dealing with emails that come in every day, I know I've got a pile to come home to. Yes, I answer every one except the impossibles.
This rag goes on to specifics. It claims we have caused a rise in sugar prices but this was the result of voting to preserve small British farms and jobs against French interventionism.
It claims we voted against Discards in the fishing policy. Not True. In fact,-
*UKIP voted for Am 119 which strengthened the obligation to land all catches (discards ban)
*UKIP voted against and helped to defeat amendment 297 which would have weakened the discard ban
*UKIP voted for more protection for small scale and coastal fishing
*UKIP voted to keep EU meddling away from inland waters
*UKIP voted against the EU taking control of the sea bed
This pamphlet also claims that we voted against legislation giving rights to victims of crime , and against protecting children from exploitation and pornography, both in the "Victims Rights Package". Yes , we did vote against this because the UK already has its own legislation offering a higher level of protection than that proposed by the EU legislation. Evidently, the Tories want to lower the protection.
The pamphlet also says we voted against Human Trafficking, of course we did.!!
Derek Clark MEP Strasbourg 18th April 2013
(at 4.20 pm and its even better to be on my way home this afternoon!)