STRAIGHT TALKING November 2007
Roger Helmer's electronic newsletter from Brussels
Quote of the Month
"(If we came to power after the EU Treaty was ratified) we would be in a situation where we had a new treaty in force that lacked democratic legitimacy ..... this would not be acceptable to a Conservative government, and we would not let matters rest there". William Hague MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary, quoted in the Indy of Nov 13th. Well said William. I'll drink to that.
Pro Referendum Rally
Saturday Oct 27th saw public and politicians converge on Westminster to demand a referendum on the Renamed Constitution (pictures on the web-site). Addressing the crowd from an open-topped double-decker bus were Bob Spink MP (Con); Dan Hannan MEP (Con); myself; Nigel Farage MEP (UKIP); and Jens-Peter Bonde, a Danish sceptic MEP.
Parliamentarians representing around 30 million people placed voting papers in a symbolic Ballot Box. The message was clear: we demand a referendum. Is Gordon listening? It seems that only he and a few of his ministers still pretend that there's any material difference between the new Treaty and the failed Constitution.
I have recently made a submission to the House of Lords on this issue on behalf of The Freedom Association. See the text here.
Meantime we've been using the 1972 Local Government Act to force village polls demanding a national referendum. I helped at Loughton (Milton Keynes, just over the regional border) where Conservative Councillor Don Hoyle had set up a poll (95% voted in favour). Meantime in Broughton Astley, England's largest village, in Leicestershire, Ron Clements set up a poll on Nov 1st.
CO2 emissions from cars
The EU Commission has been proposing legislation to require average emissions from each car manufacturer to be reduced to 120 gms/km by 2012. I recorded a piece on the national BBC1 Politics Show on Oct 28th.
This proposal would do huge damage to the industry. But it's also rotten value for money. The European Climate Change Panel has established a series of cost effective measure that could more than achieve our Kyoto targets for less than €20 per ton of CO2. But the cost of the Commission's auto proposal is calculated to be between €132 and €233 a ton. It is amazingly wasteful, damaging and inefficient.
There will be those who say that this issue is so important, we should ignore the cost. But put it like this: if you have €200 to spend on the environment, would you rather stop one ton of CO2 with auto legislation, or 10 tons through more efficient projects? Energy conservation is a less glamorous but much more cost effective approach.
There are even initiatives which would save CO2 and money. For example, if we consolidated the European parliament on one site in Brussels, we would save €200 million a year, and 90,000 tons of CO2! If we built more nuclear power stations, we would save CO2 and save money -- because nuclear electricity is now significantly cheaper than power from fossil fuels.
Chris scores a big hit
Before a recent vote in plenary on pesticide legislation, Chris Heaton-Harris got up on a point of order and remarked that we MEPs had all received a flood of lobbying material from an outfit called Pesticide Watch -- an umbrella group for a bunch of environmental NGOs including Friends of the Earth (acronym "FoE", and rightly so!), most of which receive substantial EU funding.
So here we have the Commission spending tax-payers' money to lobby the European parliament to support the Commission's own legislation! How weird and wasteful and incestuous is that? Chris got some good press coverage on the back of it.
Environment spokesman Stavros Dimas responded that in order to remedy the admitted "democratic deficit" in the EU, it was necessary to support NGOs who could represent the public. Trouble is, they don't represent the public. They are mostly run by single-issue zealots whose first objective is to ensure their own future by exaggerating problems. If we're out to cure the democratic deficit, these NGOs are part of the problem, not part of the solution. There is more to democracy that having the Commission talk to pressure groups that it funds itself.
THE SKY'S NOT FALLING: Why it's OK to Chill about Global Warming.
By Holly Fretwell. ISBN 9780 9767 26944. Published by "Kids Ahead Books"
This is a great book for kids, if you want to counter the insidious climate hysteria propaganda in our schools. Described as "fact-filled, fun, apolitical, and optimistic about the future of our magnificent planet", it's aimed at the bright 8 to 12 year old -- but it looks like a good read for grown-ups too. See www.worldahead.com
Two other books...
Stuart Clark, a respected science journalist, has written "The Sun Kings". It raises the intriguing story of astronomer William Herschel, who noticed that the cycle of sunspots correlated with the price of wheat -- but was ridiculed because no one could see a connection. We now know that sunspots drive the Sun's magnetic field, which in turn affects the cosmic ray flux in Earth's upper atmosphere, cloud formation, cloud cover, climate, grain crop yields -- and hence the price of wheat. See link.
Meantime Christopher Booker and Richard North have written "Scared to Death", which deals with the psychology of the repeated media scares that emerge. Remember the Millennium Bug? Of course their big target is global warming, but they have fascinating chapters on other subjects -- including the reason why the rise of the speed camera seems to correlate with a rise in traffic accidents and road deaths. See link.