Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Freedom of Speech - More Than Words?

Enshrined within the Charter of Fundamental Rights, a core criterion that must be met by each member state, is the necessity for freedom of speech. It's in Chapter two, under the ingeniously titled section "Freedoms".

I'm sure you are all too familiar with Eurosceptics complaining that the machinations of the European Parliament, Commission and Council mean such freedoms are rarely filtered down into the actual operation of democracy. But with regards to free speech, the EU have really played a trump card now.

They have decided that all references to gender be banned. Alongside the use of Miss, Madam, Signor, Frau et al ,gender related words are now blacklisted. Sportsmen must become athletes, statesmen must be referred to as political leaders and even the term man-made is to be replaced by synthetic.

At least finally the EU are denying that Climate Change is a man-made problem!

The problem however is what bloody use does this sort of legislation serve other than to get on people's nerves? How can you ban words?!!!They are the fundamental building blocks of thought, speech, expression, debate, communication, freedom and power. If one is entitled to free speech, surely he can pick the words he uses? It doesn't matter where you begin, this is already an infringement of free expression and we can only go downhill from here.

This will, supposedly, especially affect Bingo, where the calls are now seen to be, gosh I don't know, sexist? I've never heard a female pensioner in a bingo hall protest at the number 88 being called two fat ladies. A whole programme featuring two rather rotund female cooks ran under that exact same name without complaint.

I suppose as well under the latest guidance that all food must be labeled in origin perhaps we will next have to return words to their rightful owners. The french can have "duvet" back - we'll manage with "bedding" and "quilt". I suppose we'd have to give India back "Bungalow" and Eskimos "anorak" and "kayak." Whilst we may have custody of "internet" "babysitting" and "cheeseburger" there would likely be a tussle with America.

Repressing the use of certain words will not only affect a large number of organisations and institutions that currently trade under now "outlawed words", it may have an effect on language itself. But whilst it is by no means a laughing matter, there is certainly fun to be found. So I have been thinking of which expressions now face EU censorship...

One would imagine Batman, Superman, Spiderman and even Bananaman have had to rush of down to De-Poll to rectify the problem of their names. Man Utd may have to rethink their acronym. Earl Grey Tea will be cast into doubt. And what on earth will Geordies punctuate their sentences with? Wahaye person?

Well all I can say is the lot of them are the offspring of canines for coming up with such madness.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Too Cool For School

It's the silly season in the run up to Christmas and somewhat the silly season in the EU as well. First we had the brouhaha of the Lisbon Treaty, followed by the selection of Barroso Commission 2 and of course a ship load of delegates blowing more hot air into the Earth's atmosphere have been ferried over to Copenhagen. Just as crowds are beginning to gather on High Streets and in Malls to spend obscene amounts money on nonsense, it seems to me Europe are planning on doing much the same. France and Germany have already scrawled their letters to Santa, and if Sarkozy is to be believed, have already peeked at the biggest parcel under the tree. As per usual, Britain's name was on the naughty list and should expect to find no more than a shrivelled Satsuma and a lump of once-mined-in-Britain coal at the bottom of the stocking.

The legislative machine has not shown any sign of slowing down for Christmas yet. A barrage of new Commissioners, Presidents, Foreign Secretaries and crazed Lobbyists all want to throw in their two bit before the dawn of 2010.

To kick off the silliness we had yet another pop star, who by virtue of the fact he wrote pretty good music, now thinks he's privileged and informed enough to tell Europeans what they must eat and when. It was bad enough when Geldof was shaking his tin and muttering profanities on air, then Bozo, I mean Bono, preached to us from behind ever present sunglasses, now Quorn McCartney is demanding we give up meat on Mondays because cows fart. At the end of the day, you simply cannot tell people to become vegetarians, even for just one day a week. The average British man wouldn't have a clue what to eat instead and the EU would soon run out of perfectly orange and tapered carrots, or end up staging a debate on the vegetable's sentience. "All You Need is Love" may sell pop songs but fails to be the most workable of political slogans. I strongly support giving people the right to disseminating an opinion, but there are plenty of rational, intelligent and worthy consituents who deserve to have their voices heard as much as a man who could well afford to buy everyone in Europe an organic seasonal vegetable box and still come out the other side in better condition than a British bank. I was delighted then that UKIP hosted a real meat lover's barbecue in Brussels to remind everyone that there's no harm or shame in being an omnivore and farmers right now desperately need support, not hostility.

At the same time we are now being bullied by the EU itself to give prisoners the vote. A ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in 2004 found that Britain’s blanket ban on inmates getting the vote breached democratic provisions laid down in the convention. The British Government has now spent four years pondering what changes to make, annoying Europe by dithering. In order to satisfy the European Court, voting rights could be granted in accordance with sentence length , meaning some prisoners may well be voting in the next general election. I was surprised to learn that only six other EU countries, mainly eastern European ones, block prisoners from voting. The rest either allow prisoners full voting rights or levy certain restrictions on certain prisoners. America, of course, go their own way on such matters, and unsurprisingly ban inmates from voting in most states and even ban former inmates in a few. Should prisoners be allowed a vote? The point is surely that this is an issue one would hope Britain should decide on herself and not something Brussels should dictate. Like much of the Human Rights Act, it sounds like something positive but brings with it a flurry of exemptions, loopholes and windows of opportunity that are exploited by crooks at the expense of hardworking, law abiding citizens. How significant would a decision on prisoner's votes be to politics? Well in actual terms it wouldn't dramatically improve voter turn out or amass enough votes to favour one party or another. In truth, the number of votes accounted for in such legislation would be but a drop in the electoral ocean. So if it doesn't actually affect anything, it is a matter of belief, something Brussels should not be messing with. It is of my opinion when you commit a crime you are making a choice to live outside society when you choose not to abide by the laws that govern and protect its citizens. It's a knotty issue philosophically and ethically. It is a "marmite" policy, and for this reason, should not be dictated from above.

So who are these people saying what we should do and how? We have had the pleasure of learning the Who's Who of Barroso's new Commission in recent days and will, over the coming weeks, hear each of them defend and justify their unelected positions of importance. The various portfolios for the coming season have been divvied up among the Member States, resulting, amongst other things, with Romania getting the farming portfolio, which has raised a few eyebrows, and France getting Finance, which has raised hell in London. Little Napoleon Sarko bragged with glee about how the British are the big losers on the job front and showed little restraint in his proclamation that now Europe could wipe out the "Anglo-Saxon" style of banking. Franco-British relations have been somewhat strained ever since. We should have seen it coming a long time ago, but we were distracted by his radiant wife Carla for a while. He has been doing everything in his power to raise his profile and spend EU money like it grows on Carbon Neutral Trees.

In Europe, France, Germany and Britain are arguably the biggest players. And like the most popular kids in the school playground, the picking of sides, teaming up, tugging of hair and bloodying of noses tends to involve them. Britain, who has always been a bit too cool for school when it comes to Europe, preferring to hang out with the bigger kids like America, is starting to see the other bullies club together for playground domination and is falling out of favour with the USA. First we saw a Franco-German deal over the EU Presidency. The two countries stood steadfastly together with Merkel and Sarkozy making deals and private promises. The two countries brokered an agreement they thought would best suit them, which de facto had to come at Britain's expense. Sarkozy's initial zeal for Blair was tied up in Britain's special relationship with the USA. So delighted he must be that the new President is far more open to pan-European relations and a federal Europe than he is for maintaining the cross Atlantic relationship with Westminster. The French President's obsession with the American Leader is all to apparent in french coverage of an alleged "snub" at the G20 meeting.

The other big European players are now taking the opportunity during the UK/USA cooling off period, to extend a warm welcome to the new President feeling they no longer have to pal up with the UK to do so. It is interesting then that this very dynamic is something that Niles Gardiner, in The Telegraph, has observed.

But now the situation gets stickier. Not only do we have The Most Powerful Man in the World backing the Lisbon Treaty and the concept of a Federal European Superstate, in the most recent round of job appointments, the French have got their hands, or so they think, all over The City. Michel Barnier, a longstanding politician in France who exceled in Sarkozy's Government, has been handed the portfolio of Commissioner for the Internal Market. The portfolio combines the protection of the Eurozone and Single Market with duties of financial regulation. The appointment has left Sarkozy licking his lips, suggesting the French want to curb "Anglo-Saxon attitudes" that have governed The City to date. Whilst we have every reason to be livid at the bankers who caused the credit crunch through excessive risk taking and greed, they are the devil you do not want to live without. However many of the big players are now flocking in droves to Switzerland, not a member state of the EU, where life is less taxed and the game has fewer rules. But the problem is, when the bankers leave they take with them all their money, and the power that comes with it. Where once we stood side by side with Wall Street, European intervention could see Britain stripped of a real trophy of power, and thus be stripped of that widely coveted presence on the global stage. Make no mistake that any power shed by the UK will fall directly into the outstretched arms of our continental counterparts. Poor Michel Barnier during his first few days on the job has been running around trying to tell everyone to stop getting their knickers in a twist. Commissioners are supposed to be pan-European ideologists anyway, and are not supposed to reflect National preferences. But it seems Paris indeed has an agenda and London is supsicious. The regulation of hedge funds is high up on the list as well as regulation of the banks themselves. A meeting arranged between Sarko, Barnier and Brown was reportedly cancelled after Sarkozy's comments were made known, although this being the reason for the cancellation has been widely denied. Add to that the lack of invitation for Britain to an EU agricultural meeting arranged by Sarkozy to look into the future of CAP- Common Agricultural Policy - and you can see a pattern emerging. 21 member states met up with the French President to discuss Common Agricultural Policy and how the £50 billion of EU money set aside for farmers should be distributed. France, who have a 20% stake in CAP payments totalling £10bn a year, did not want countries who favour scaling down CAP spending, attending the meeting. Agricultural net contributors Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Malta and Britain were all refused an invitation, galling when you consider that we handed back our £7bn rebate in order to coerce the EU into delivering a more even handed agricultural policy.

The EU are far from being Pan European. Instead pockets of alliances, mistrust and secret deals are becoming increasingly present on the European stage. And sadly for Britain, the picture is more akin to the voting trends of the Eurovision song contest than post war appreciation of Churchill's valiant country. It seems to me when it comes to dolling out portfolios and responsibilities, most member states would like to see Britain to get "nil point". I am not suggesting there is an anti-British trend, but that simply by participating in this Orwellian Animal Farm set up, we are denying ourselves from ever being cock of the walk again.

When you look at those historic photographs from Yalta, it is America, Britain and Russia who are left to contemplate the post war future of Europe. The lifetime of a generation has seen a proud and strong Britain slip down the global ranking and emerge as a Satellite of Brussels. It has also seen inter continental relations reshape into forms which during the post war period would have been unimaginable. The 11th November is of course Armistice Day across Europe. Well perhaps not for too much longer. France and Germany are now talking of making this most important date in European History a "France Germany Friendship day". The fact that it was Britain who bailed out France and convinced America to lend a hand to her European Allies has somehow been forgotten, just as Barnier and Sarkozy will forget how it was the British people who bailed out the banks they now want to control.

The point is, we don't care what the other kids in the playground are doing. Who they're friends with. Who they are fighting with. Britain would rather not be in that playground at all. When i comes to the European Union, we need to be too cool for school.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A Day The History Books Will Recall

Today is a day history won’t forget.

December 1st is the date the newly ratified Lisbon Treaty comes into force. Yet despite the hugely historical significance of the occasion, there has been limited acknowledgment.

If it were a good thing, you would imagine the European Union would encourage its citizens to celebrate. But by playing down the occasion, they are able to protect the real significance of the Treaty.

The workings of the European Union are by and large kept hidden from the public. I believe were it widely known what the Treaty represented and the powers that could now be mobilised, there would without doubt be great concern across the country and across the continent.

Around 75% of new laws come from Brussels, yet the majority of what is being discussed and decided goes unreported in the UK. The influence of the European Union over our daily lives should not be underestimated. From what our supermarkets stock, to the EU Postal Reform which has contributed to the closure of Post Offices up and down the country, many matters are no longer in the hands of the British people. But the EU has control over much more and will only continue to give themselves further powers. Our banks, our human rights and our border controls all fall within the scope of EU legislation.

Today will go down in history as the day Britain gained a President and took the first steps towards becoming a Federal European State. Yet staggeringly the majority of people will not even realise this. We have had no referendum and now we are faced with a European Union that has equipped itself with the power to grow beyond our control, in whatever direction it wishes.

Sadly it has become commonplace in the media to marginalise people who criticise the European Union. We are dubbed “Eurosceptics” and portrayed as out-of-touch extremists, when in fact it is simply taking the opposite viewpoint, adopting an attitude of caution and fighting to retain independent governance of our country. It’s a viewpoint people up and down the country no doubt passionately support, but the two sides of the argument are never equally represented.

Now we need to convince the public that leaving the EU would be an exciting, positive and most of all sensible decision, and not anything to be feared. What should be feared is the possibility that only in hindsight will people realise the sad significance of today.

There is irony to be found in an article published in the noted Communist Newspaper, Pravda. In a recent article the paper compared the rapid expansion of the EU and its machinations as The New Soviet Union. The article says " the EU will be even closer yet to becoming a unified monster state, with more than half a billion inhabitants. Inhabitants is the correct term, since “citizens” would indicate a set of political rights. The people living in the EU should rather be called “subjects,” since they have no influence whatsoever on the constitution of the centralized European government, the “European Commission.”"

It goes on to list eerie comparisons between the two, something which I have keenly tried to point out in the past. In the West we still live under the shadow of the Cold War, have only in recent weeks celebrated 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and are quick to point an accusatory finger at Beijing in Moscow for violations of human rights, secrecy and repression, all regarded as hallmarks of a communist government.

Why then, if this word communism is so taboo, does it seem to be prevailing across Europe but two decades after its banishment?

As is often the tactic of Communism, propaganda and spin are being used to the maximum to hide any pejorative labeling of European Policies. Even Nigel's speech, where he simply raised the matter of Baroness Ashton having previously accepted donations to the CND, probably from Moscow, was silenced in the hemicycle where he was told to "tone down" his arguments by Jerzy Buzek, who then was unable to explicate what it was Nigel has said that was so venomous. I can tell you, it was reference to the "C" word.

The article challenges so-called freedom of expression, highlighting the case of Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who will be put on trial in January for making allegedly disparaging remarks about Islam. Supporters argue he simply assembled a movie using available footage, to demonstrate the violent nature of some Islamic teachings. But whatever your views, where do you draw the line? Can you draw a line? And whose job is it to draw a line? The article tries to answer this:

"Free speech, or freedom of expression is really a very simple issue, a clear-cut case. Either you have free speech, in which case you may say ANYTHING at all, or you have no free speech.

Thus in the EU today, there is NO free speech."

Pravda compares the Lisbon Treaty with the old Soviet and East German (GDR) constitutions suggesting the latter are simply communist predecessors for the former, citing former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky's warnings back in 2006 that noted the deeply disturbing similarities between the old Soviet Union and the blueprints for the EU super state. Here I shall paraphrase the article:

"The European Commission, he noted, was the exact equivalent of the old Soviet Politbureau, in the secretive way power was exercised, the recruitment and personalities of its members and the scope and reach of its decisions. The “European Parliament” today is a mere rubber stamp institution, just like the “Supreme Soviet” of the old USSR.

There are so many similarities between the old Soviet Union and the EU that mere coincidence is unlikely.

Most Europeans have not yet understood this. Most are still indifferent, but their indifference will soon vanish when the full weight of repressive EU policies and EU taxation doing its destructive work will be felt."

To read the full article please click here.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

It's good to talk...

We wait with baited breath to hear whether Wales should have a Referendum and when that might be. Well,I say baited breath but we all know the findings of Sir Emyr's report will surely say "yes". And this is something I wholly applaud. It's most important that democracy is exhibited by actively asking the voterate what's important to them, and consulting them on key decisions. But how a referendum is orchestrated and how the campaigns are funded are also important factors. If campaigns are weighted or biased and twist and distort the facts,or the "No" campaign receives more prominence than the "Yes" campaign - the public are not actually free in the decision making process. Similarly the way that the question is worded carries significant weight. I will be following zealously every step in the campaign to see whether Wales can tread where Europe dare not venture : The Referendum.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Coming to a screen near you...

It's been a long time since I have been able to frequent the cinema but a new silverscreen advert kicking about at the moment might make the journey all the more worthwhile.

If you are popping down to the flicks in the near future it may be worthwhile making sure you're in on time to catch all the trailers. Why? Because this little piece of cinematic history may well be broadcast .

It's amazing that lobbyists such as the TPA are having to go to such extraordinary lengths to get the truth disseminated when we are supposed to have such a broadreaching media gifted with free speech. I hope that the advert awakens people to the financial implications of our membership and opens up to them the facts that are oft so keenly hidden from public scrutiny.

Also helping our case this week may be Herman Van Rompuy. He's now the frontrunner in the EU Presidential candidacy race, and is supposedly a hot pick with Sarko and Merkel. Why then would he help out us Eurosceptics?
Well according to The Telegraph
, Van Rompuy would like to see symbols of EU identity and membership plastered around the member states, including the Euro flag replacing current national symbols on licence plates and identity cards (oh yes, them!) and more EU paraphernalia such as flags and a National Anthem disseminated across the continent. Why would this please us? Well my feeling is this would be such an abhorrent development to the average Brit it would expose the EU and the Lisbon Treaty for what it is and send reverberations of discontent throughout the country. Discontent that I am still sure would be magnified were the plain and simple facts about EU membership given to the British public.

And if that wasn't enough, Herman is also keen on direct EU taxes! Bring on the Flem and we'll give you the bile!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Dow Corning

I was invited to visit the Dow Corning site in Barry on 13th November, the leading global supplier of silicone, to meet Peter Cartwright, the Executive Director of Environment, Health and Safety for the group internationally, and Dave Ott, the Barry site manager.

It’s the company’s largest and most technologically advanced site in Europe, employing around 600 people locally.

You may wonder what business I would have with a silicone supplier? Firstly the importance of silicone production should not be underestimated. They are used to manufacture basic everyday products in numerous fields from household goods, sealants, glues, medical products and sustainable technologies such as solar technology.

The site has grown rapidly over the last quarter of a century and has become a well known feature on the Bristol channel.

Like other heavy industries the cost of energy in the UK is creating challenges for the company. The process relies on steam power, which in itself is best forged by burning fuels rather than via the generation of electricity, then converted to heat. Thus energy sources which may appear more environmentally sustainable are not necessarily liable for use or the most efficient ways to support high productivity. The site uses natural gas, which they generate using their own on site power station. The natural gas burned must be imported and thus brings with it the tax of carbon credits. Energy and production costs far outweigh labour costs, but the impact of high energy prices in the UK drives many companies to move to industrial nations with more lenient restrictions and lower costs. We have already sent the effect the inability to broker affordable energy deals can have on industry in the UK through the closure of Anglesey Aluminium to the tune of some 540 jobs. The supply of energy and relative cost is the biggest obstacle for long term durability.

I asked them what they thought would be the best possible solution to the energy problem. They seem to be heavily embroiled in significant R&D investigating just this, alongside finding ways to channel efficiency, reduce by-products and commit as much waste as possible to recycling. It seemed to me that they were in support of Nuclear Power, something, I too, applaud.

Chemical engineering sites are large consumers of energy. However, for every tonne of carbon emissions, an equivalent two to four tonnes is saved by the function of the various products they manufacture. Ironically one of the highest consumers of energy through production is the manufacture of solar panels.

We discussed various alternatives for reducing costs, saving energy and maintaining a solid and loyal workforce and good community links in the area. We talked about the concept of anaerobic digestion as a manner of making biogas to burn, an idea WAG occasionally mull over. The UK is fast running out of natural gas. A lot of gas used here is shipped from overseas. The problem is these tankers can easily be diverted to the highest bidder and as supplies continue to tumble, the cost of guaranteeing an energy source is climbing steeply. It is not unknown for a tanker destined for your site to be diverted to a late bidder elsewhere in the world.

Couple this with extensive measures regarding climate change, environmental protection, competition laws, working rights, costs, liability and you begin to see the thorny regulatory landscape in which heavy industry resides. Harmonisation was a word used by the site manager, an American Dave Ott, to suggest what was needed to make the legislative minefield a far kinder habitat. As a global company, Dow Corning is at the mercy of various legislative giants. The Barry site alone must function within the remit of WAG, Westminster and of course Europe. REACH compliance, (Regulation, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) is also costly and the economic environment remains difficult for these big spenders. REACH will cost Dow Corning something in the region of $100 million over ten years To help lighten the burden the industry would welcome legislative changes, such as phased payment of fees to the European Chemicals Agency and low interest loans or tax credits to cover compliance costs. However the company also admits that internationally there perhaps has not been enough regulation until now. The key for the future is synthesising regulations to make the most cost effective and workable system for companies such as Dow Corning. In fact, the company are setting up a plant in China based on the site in Barry. The Chinese Government have welcomed the development and the high standard of regulations to which Dow Corning are adherent and are looking into adopting similar provisions for their domestic sites.

The European Silicon industry has established a regulatory consortium, CES, The Centre European des Silicones, which is also a sector group of the European Chemical Industry. The group have been lobbying to protect big industries in the wake of necessary legislation on climate change and development in the face of ever increasing productivity. Whilst environmental provisions are of course costly to implement, the company predicts the net outcome will eventually tip in their favour. By employing stringent energy saving measures, costs are eventually cut and efficiency increased, offering long term financial benefits.

So I am sure you can see a bit better why Politicians work alongside these big employers and producers. Not only do they employ large swathes of the local workforce and must be protected for this reason, they are the future of technological development and key features in our communities.

I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, being driven around the site and seeing in action the ingenious interlinked resourceful technologies employed to drive energy efficiency. Dow Corning revealed to me they would be meeting with other global manufacturers over the coming months from diverse sectors to discuss finding a likely recipient of their by-product, a dusty compound of waste silicon metal, perhaps in car manufacturing, cement mixing or even making household products. Already they exchange products and by products with the site next door, establishing an honourable recycling chain with a separate producer. This sort of symbiosis is a key feature of future success, with cooperation being the cornerstone of long term sustainability across the whole network of industry. What they want now is the legislative side to do the same.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

BEWARE! The Reform Agenda for Global Europe

I did my bit in Brussels yesterday on the latest controversy sweeping through the committees. A leaked document from the European Commission on the future of the EU budget spells out sinister intentions to siphon off cash for ambitious policy making on migration, climate change and foreign policy etc. Affording themselves extra flexibility, as they put it, or less accountability, as it will come to mean, our grotesquely huge contributions will go towards building a superstate while the pitiful rebate we do receive will eventually be phased out.

The agenda quite clearly makes things much worse for the UK. The Commission hopes to curtail agricultural payments and funding to regions with a low GDP. Now they're planning to go even more Robin Hood and take more money from "the rich" to give to "the poor". No wonder so many states are queuing to get in!Roll up! Roll up! The EU want to buy more friends and more power.

At the moment Wales gets around 2.7 million euros from 2007-2013 b, 11.8% of what the UK receives in convergence funding. The entitlement to cash comes because the west Wales valleys have a GDP below 75% of the EU average. Cornwall and North Yorks also cash thrown their way, for example. Well this will no doubt stop after the regional allocation of monies is stopped. Wales will be lumped in with the rest of the UK and Britain, who, as one of the largest contributors, will have to pay even more to get even less back.

And the increased money being poured into Brussels will only go to fund the development of this grotesque political beast.

The development of some 200 regions in 16 of the member states will be sacrificed like lambs to the slaughter at the altar of a United States of Europe. It's not that we think they should necessarily get the funding, we want out completely in order to handle our own money thank you very much!But in many of these communities, in which one third of the EU's population live, programmes and projects that have sprung up as a result of funding will now see the plug pulled financially. What will happen to the people involved? How would they like to hear that the fact that they have huge unemployment, poverty, failing industries and poor economies is of little concern to Brussels who are simply intent on taking money to pump in to political domination.

The point is nobody, not even the committees involved who are set to lose a huge chunk of their disposable income, have been consulted or even informed on the tyrannical decision to let the big boys play with the cash.

I'm just wondering whether the French will kick off if they lose their agricultural subsidies?

When I addressed Plenary on the 11th November in Brussels on the matter, I was in fact down to talk about unlimited EU migration (you have to submit what you will say before hand in completely undemocratic fashion). Gossip before the session was that the leaked doc would be brought up by a few MEPs, but by the looks of things, the issue was buried as those who did want to talk on the matter strangely didn't get called to speak. So I flipped my question at the last minute, took to the floor and brought up the matter of this toxic paper. As far as I'm concerned everyone in the EU, be they citizens or politicians, have a right to know about plans to spend their money being cooked up behind closed doors along the corridors of power.

The leaked document entitled "A reform Agenda for a Global Europe - Reforming the Budget, Changing Europe" proposes “a major refocusing of EU spending priorities, with more emphasis on ... a Global Europe…with less emphasis on agriculture and transfers towards well-off regions”.

The proposals, which suggest reducing funding to the richest states and removing focus from agricultural development, are at odds with the original aims of a European Union, which represented a trading alliance between Europe's biggest economies. The moves are likely to upset a number of member states across the EU.

And of course, the UK, one of Europe's biggest net contributors, will most likely have to give up more of the rebate and sacrifice remunerations currently received. It's for this reason, we, more than anybody else, should get out quick and stop the Eurocrats from sticking their hands further into our coffers.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

All the small things...

...Quickly add up! The Telegraph and The Express both report on the EU's flagrant wastes of taxpayers' money. The annual report on the EU’s accounts from the independent European Court of Auditors has sparked outrage and deservedly so. The watchdog passed the accounts for only the second time in the last 15 years stating that “Errors are a consequence of too complex rules and regulations. Simplification, therefore, remains a priority.”

The £12o billion pound annual budget was found to be riddled with frauds, mistakes and huge wastes.

The budget afforded projects such as a donkey that tours schools “creating a reflection of all European identities”.

Eurosceptic think-tank Open Europe have also produced a report on 50 of the worst examples of EU waste.

British taxpayers contributed about £6.1billion this year.

The Express lists some of the most ludicrous examples of EU Waste. Here are some of my favourites:

£6million on a ‘year of intercultural dialogue’, including driving a donkey through Holland for children to pet. Nick-named Donkeypedia, a donkey was taken around the Netherlands to 'meet' primary schoolchildren, even 'blogging' on its way."
  • £340,000 on encouraging children to draw portraits of each other ‘in the name of European citizenship’.
  • £168,725 on an EU puppet theatre network in the Baltic states.
  • £145,422 on Irish Bar and Beach Club in Gibraltar.
  • £68,000 for Malmo in Sweden to create a virtual computer version of itself.
  • £2,215 for Porsche chairman Wolfgang Porsche’s hunting retreat in Bavaria, Germany.
  • £170 for a Swedish farmer to grow cannabis plants.
EU Puppet Theatre aptly describes our sad situation. The more you learn the more apparent the need to leave this wasteful, gratuitous organisation.

To see Open Europes 50 Ways To Lose Your Money, visit their website www.openeurope.org.uk
Happy reading!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A Race for Pole Position

The Formula One Season came to an end a couple of weeks ago. Now the teams have returned to their garages and are working hard behind closed doors to try to gain an advantage over their opponents, defend their secrets and develop their strategies for the future. Which bums are in which seats is a highly contentious topic, as is what the various budgets should be and whether new teams should be allowed to join next year. It's much the same as what's going on in Europe. Temporary close of play came after the Treaty was ratified, but unlike the Formula One this was a far cry from a British success story.

The Formula One season is due to kick off again in March, and coincidentally, this could be the dawn of a new season in British and European Politics. If we get an early General Election, of which there has been much talk, who gets in and to what extent is of great interest to the teams themselves and to the overall Governing Body, in this case, Brussels. A poll in The Times suggests the number expecting a Tory overall majority has slipped from 57 to 50 per cent in the past month, the lowest level since the question was first asked in April. By contrast, the number expecting a hung Parliament with no overall majority has risen from 17 to 26 per cent. 65 per cent still expect the Tories to be the largest party, against 27 per cent for Labour. The Tories have suffered slightly from last week’s shift by Mr Cameron on Europe after the final ratification of the Lisbon treaty. Support for other parties has risen by two points to 14 per cent, with the UK Independence Party up from 2.3 to 4.3 per cent. Apart from the two months around June’s Euro elections, this is the highest level since 2005.

What the Times doesn't go on to say is how a hung parliament might be formed, who with and what this would mean for Europe.

Miliband jetted off to Berlin last night. He is clearly trying to get a foot in the door, no matter his protestations to the contrary. The irony is not so much that this slippery character looks set to jump ship before the Labour Party Boat sinks, but the fact that all the great and good of the EU used the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to discuss who should be their leader. On the same day that the world looks back at the final remnants of the Soviet Bloc being torn down and utters Cameron's shallow promise of "Never Again" the EU Communists are planning the next wave of passive global conquest.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Avoiding talking about the obvious...

It's been ratified, signed sealed and delivered and now the debate has turned into what could be done about it and what should be done about it. Should we just let bygones be bygones and brush it under the carpet? Should we try to unpick it bit by bit? Should we just have a Referendum on leaving altogether? The sad thing is while all this hot air continues to muffle the real debate, nothing will actually be done. Just to silence everyone wouldn't it be easier to just ask, once and for all, what the British people think? Just do it? It's the only way anyone of any opinion could even start to settle the debate. It's become a case of he says she says they think they disgagree but all of the debate is utterly futile if all we get are various meaningless polls, commissioned by people who know exactly what result they want when the questions are drawn up.
Sometimes the most obvious,most democratic of choices are distorted and twisted and misrepresented and overcomplicated and concealed by a small minority who believe they have the right to decide on behalf of everyone or have decided the general public are not educated enough or capable of making the right decision.
I accepted an invitation to appear on Dragon's Eye on BBC Wales last night. The hot topic was of course the Lisbon Treaty.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Child's Pay

News that we pay £24m to foreign children in benefits has not been widely reported, despite the shocking truth of the story.

Due to EU law, the children of migrant workers are entitled to the same minimum benefits as UK kids, or top-ups if their country's benefits system falls short of ours.
This mean kids in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania etc are receiving benefits from our country simply because one of their parents works here. They can receive the same amount as those in the UK, £20 a week, if their own country does not have a child benefits system, or top ups where there is one.

Figures from the Treasury show some 38,000 children in Poland receive benefits, or some 20%. That's one in five Polish kids. We are also paying for the support of 1,200 families in France, which if you ask me is sheer madness in a country that should well afford their own welfare state.

Perhaps Mr Johnson would like to apologise for this too?
(I don't often link to The Guardian but I thought it was quite novel to do so on this matter...)

As far as I can see we may as well just write a checque to Poland, although that wouldn't go down too well. Strange that the annual checque to the EU is somehow supported then, when this is the sort of lunacy that we pay for.

One might hope that they would apply a similar system in Abu Dhabi or Dubai and pay our expats to send money home here. I'd imagine they could afford it.
We can't.

If you think watching thousands and thousands of interest roll over as our national debt continues to increase is entertaining then knock yourself out at
Add that to the fact that:

The European Union costs us £65 billion gross every year, or about £1,000 each every year for every man, woman and child in the UK. And it increases every year.

Hustles in Cardiff

It was great being back in Wales before training across Europe to Brussels again this morning. It is essential for MEPs to keep their finger on the pulse of their constituency and here in Wales the Assembly Government similarly see the need to try to keep their fingers on the pulse of the EU.
So yesterday a day of meetings with the other 3 Wales MEPs culminated in a sit-down with Rhodri and Ieuan.
You may hope that behind closed doors we all get down and dirty with arguments and accusations but actually we simply get on. Certainly the finger pointing, strong words and harsh criticisms are what makes news, and the majority of mudslinging is done in, and for, the public eye.
But behind closed doors there's a bit of an unprecedented detente between the four Wales MEPs; largely focused around the one issue we all agree on, Structural Funds.

As I've said before Wales could be set to lose all European Funding post 2013, especially if new member states come in, and at the cost too of the Climate Change Budget (which the smaller member countries are already sking to be torn up and rewritten to a much larger tune). What we are hoping to secure is a continuation of EU funding, whether that be dressed up in carbon reduction or another EU formatted scheme, or whether it is transitional funding designed to gently curve the reduction of EU income plateauing out to retain some sort of EU income. Unfortunately what Westminster are pushing for is to scrap regionalization of funding and make it National. European Commission seem to agree. This would without doubt mean Wales would be bumped off the EU's list, despite suffering concentrated economic and social problems which currently make us a viable recipient of financial support. On this, we all agree.

As we sit on different committees and have fingers in different pies we are able to unify on this matter and tackle the problem from different angles. In many respects our varying interests and different political background make this Allied front all the more strong.

Funny then that this is something The Tories time and again don't get. As the Euroschism deepens in the party and Cameron backpeddles on his referendum promise, the green light has been given for UKIP's General Election Campaign. If you want that referendum, we are the only party to turn to.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Left v Right in EU roles debate

It seems to me the newspapers are missing something quite key to this whole EU President and High Representative for Foreign Policy debate, and it's this:

Many papers are reporting a Left v Right tussle and they're not wrong.

The European People's Party, the biggest grouping in the European Parliament, are centre right. It's been suggested by the Party of European Socialists that they get the Presidency role, which might seem very gracious and diplomatic as they have the most bods. But in fact it's largely because the Socialists are eyeing up the Foreign Porfolio. They have also, unsurprisingly, reiterated the need for the President to come from a smaller member country and to not be a show-stopper, and have increasingly cooled on Blair, who could actually be one of their big hitters.


Well if Blair was made President, the coveted Foreign Post would go to the centre right. A post that will actually end up wiedling more power than the Presidency and could be used to house a Socialist "evangelist" to continue the global bureaucratic conquest.

Obama, who let's not forget ended the American Republican rule, is said to want a strong Europe which can stand alongside China (Communist) Russia (Communist) and the USA (Democratic, i.e. left-wing) in a strong G4. Now is the time for Europe to be an international socialist player and push towards the global vision that underpins left wing politics and has seen Governments throughout the ages attempt political and ideological conquests abroad.

The idea of an ultra-united Europe is undeniably a left-wing vision. The whole concept of a consituted united Europe with increasing powers, and an increasing Global voice delivered by the new role of a Foreign Secretary, is akin to the development of the USSR, but without the tanks and Stalin. Adding more and more countries into a mix where money is collected centrally and then redistributed amongst everyone is Marxism, in the ideological sense. In order to push forward this vision what they need is the Foreign Post, which will look after the diplomatic service, European Foreign and Security Policy and also cover the vice presidency. Simply getting the Presidential role would leave all these goodies to the central right, who are by nature somewhat more warey of the European Dream.

But of course, if the EPP do get to play President, the Socialists don't want him to have much power or international significance, so a relative unknown is surely the best bet.

But why not Blair and why all of a sudden are they ogling Miliband with such interest?

David is I'd imagine fundamentally a die-hard Marxist. Son of the late Marxist theorist Ralph Miliband, he even penned a book back in 1994 entitled Reinventing the Left. If anyone can be religiously committed to promoting a Socialist Ideology in Europe and abroad, it is him

Similarly, the Current President of the EC, Barroso, was one of the leaders of the underground Maoist MRPP (Reorganising Movement of the Proletariat Party) later PCTP Communist Party of the Portuguese Workers/Revolutionary Movement of the Portuguese Proletariat.

Angela Merkel was as a student member of the official, Socialist-led youth movement Free German Youth and it's believed she grew up in Communist East Germany with a father who had strong ties to the Communist rule.
No suprise then that right-wing Sarkozy initially pushed Blair, as did centre right Berlusconi. Blair's shift to the right when his party came into power in order to appease conservative Britian and his later alliance with Republican George Bush disenchanted anyone who saw him as a strong socialist.

So it goes like this.
In the last European Elections the shift moved clearly to the right. The centre right party has the most members. The voting public of various European countries democratically elected them. In Britain it seems inevitable once again that poltics are shifting to the right. But despite public mood being more centre right, it is the Socialists, the marxists and the left wingers who at the end of the day will seize power and wield it by whatever means possible. Mind you, stripping people of their voice and collecting countries like trump cards have always been the main flavours of left wing politics throughout history. Why should The United European Socialist Republic should be any different?

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Power Shower

While people in the UK are still reeling about MP's expenses it might be worth contextualising our grumbles about the frivolous and greedy use of taxpayer's money with what's been going on over the Channel.

Yes, I'm of course going to refer to Sarkozy's Power Shower.

The French President's impulse spending would make flipping a caravan with a castle look somewhat modest. Reports that Sarkozy spent a quarter of a million pounds of taxpayer's money on a shower he didn't even use have been spreading across the continent. Quite frankly I didn't imagine you could even buy a shower worth that much. Reports have described it as having in-built massagers and surround

During France's 6 month term as EU leaders, Sarkozy spent a whopping £160m in expenses. Now every Government likes to put on a bit of a show when the circus comes to town. And every time a new member state takes on the role of being leader for 6 months, the EU kindly tops up National funds to help afford all the summits, and the dinners, and the conferences, and the tours. So how come in 1995, France managed on only £12m, which works out as less than 10% of Sarko's Presidential Ents Bill.

It's even been reported that the French Premier gets out of bed for nobody. On one occasion Sarko cancelled an entire EU event he was set to host in Evian because he wanted to sleep in his own bed in Paris. Hundreds of disgruntled journalists, delegates and EU officials had to be sent home, grumbling and braying for even more cash to come out of the Presidential Bill by way of compensation.

For a Mediterranean Union Summit at The Grand Palace in Paris, Sarko summoned more than five hundred workers a day to spruce up the venue, with another 300 more doing the night shift. Perhaps the Grand Palace was somewhat of a misnomer to Sarko, who's shopping list also included 194,900 euros for potted plants, 653,703 euros for air con and 301,208 euros for a conference podium (with built in booster pedestal, one would imagine). The end of summit dinner itslef cost a staggering 1,010,256 euros -- more than 5,000 euros per head. 90 grand was even forked out for a red carpet.

Monday, 26 October 2009


It could have been the title of a horror movie, or at least a Sun headline, were it released at the same time as Blair's media driven fall from favour. But now the storm has calmed it seems somehow, despite everything, he could be back in charge, via the backdoor! Where have we seen this before? Oh that's right, Gordon Brown.

If someone had said after Blair's departure that Britain would effectively become a part of a "United States of Europe" with Tony Blair as President, you could imagine the backlash. But, in the words of former French President Valery Giscard D'Estaing (2007) "Public opinion will be led - without knowing it - to adopt the policies we would never dare present to them directly. All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden or disguised in some way."

In the UK I think the average person doesn't really have a concrete idea as to what extent the EU already controls us. They certainly don't have a concrete idea of what The Lisbon Treaty would mean, as quite deliberately, nobody has ever told them. If they were told, however, that over time the Treaty would allow the bureaucratic creation of a superstate, they may start to protest. That in effect it would eventually render the law making autonomy of each country akin to that of an individual state in America. That "Europe's nations should be guided towards a super state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation."

It seems in recent times, the voice of Euroscepticism in the media has become suspiciously quiet. All the front page potential of the Lisbon Treaty saga has instead been squandered in comment columns. No doubt it is in the current Government's interests to play down any sort of Euroscepticism. As for the EU it's pretty much essential to get this wrapped up before our General Election, after which a Conservative Government could bring back that very British trend of Euroscepticism. Winston Churchill, who coined the term "The United States of Europe" in a famous speech in 1946 at The University of Zurich said of it "We see nothing but good and hope in a richer, freer, more contented European commonality. But we have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked but not compromised. We are interested and associated but not absorbed."

I think to this day Brits maintain that island mentality.
So what could be done to encourage us to get on board? Well as suggested above, stripping us of our voice, keeping the public in ignorance and allowing the slow, invisible take-over of the EU are already ploys being employed in Brussels. But they think they have another trick up their sleeves.

There's been a lot of discussion this weekend as to why Blair should be in charge. Well one clear incentive is the hope that as a recognisable figure, parachuting Blair into top dog position would put an end to the British tendency to ask "What's in it for us?" But why would anyone in Britain feel like that when back on 20th April 2004 Blair himself promised us a Referendum, and five year's later he's the one in line to run the show?!

How do we give the British people a chance to choose, when what we are trying to battle is a 21st Century Iron Curtain?

Friday, 23 October 2009

The TrEUth about Immigration

Yet again it's at the forefront of topical discussion. Well it's always been at the forefront of our discussion, yet like every other relevent political discourse, it has often been marginalised and the parties that comment on the issue are marginalised themselves. There has developed this tendency in recent years to confuse criticising immigration with a xenophobic attack. Even though at the moment everyone is blaming uncontrolled immigration in recent years for the rise in popularity of the BNP. Well instead of banging on about it, shouldn't we instead finally be acting on it?

(Even if we try to avoid the EU's common immigration policy the Lisbon Treaty will see that we relinquish any say on the matter.)

The EU decided that the allocation of asylum seekers is to be based on the population of each member state. Great. This means Britain will have to take on proportionately more immigrants than other countries because we already have a very large population. Well Britain’s already oversized population is to a large part due to immigration to date.

This is a country that already has the same population as France, despite geographically being four times smaller. In effect - we are four times more crowded.

Rather than allowing us to state the bleedin' obvious – that we are speeding headlong towards extreme over-capacity – this fact will now used as the main reason for us to have to take in more! It's like distributing food based on what your BMI is. Undernourished people would get a grain of rice, whereas those who are morbidly obese would get platefuls. The word is "nonsensical".

Britain is known all over the world. Our pop music, the English language, films, TV programmes and The Premier League. This makes us a highly desirable country to live in. You probably don't hear many people with aspirations of fleeing their countries saying "I know, I'll try to get to Lithuania" or "I hear Bulgaria would be a great place to live". Now I'm not saying these countries are unpopular or people wouldn't want to live there. It's more basic than that. They are not very well known.

Open border policy in Europe disregards the 1951 Convention of Refugees that states someone must claim asylum in the first safe country they arrive in. Funny then that lots seem to end up in the UK as if there is an Armada of ships queing outside our ports.

We have also received European migrants in their thousands and no doubt are set to receive even more as the EU considers more membership applications.

Sadly the immigration debate has now become related to matters of acceptance and to state the simple fact that the country is full to bursting is often translated into xenophobia.

Britain had good reasons to be one of only two EU members not to sign the 1990 Schengen Convention. (Some interesting arguments are laid out by Civitas)

We are an island, and by sheer logic, we have a limited capacity.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

A Long Day's Journey Into Night and Bunny Boiling

This morning I got into Parliament at 8:00am (GMT+1) which is pretty normal. The days are long and it's quite an intense week. After four days in Strasbourg I'll be glad to get home. MEPs from France and Belgium probably don't appreciate how fortunate they are to face a much smaller commute. It'll be more like Friday morning before I actually arrive back via the wonders of the TGV and Eurostar. At least travelling by train I can get on with a bit of work in relatively comfortable surroundings, make phone calls if need be, kick back and try to relax as the landscape rushes past. Not only would regular air travel do nothing for my carbon footprint, I am sure it would do nothing for the soul either.

Train travel should be the obvious choice for getting from A to B. The first railways were laid in India in 1853. Now the trains transport 18 million people across the subcontinent a day. At the turn of the last century the Trans-Siberian railway was constructed. This amazing feat of engineering, almost six thousand miles long, cost Russia as much as Soviet involvement in WWI, and opened up travel for the first time for many people, from East to West and vice versa, without having to forego everyday comforts. A century on and the rail network in the UK is still lagging so incredibly far behind. Especially when you consider the MagLev in Shanghai, the Bullet in Japan...

"Come on guys it's home time"

I must admit I do think it's a ridiculous situation that everyone ups and leaves for Strasbourg one week a month. It's absolutely nuts when the hottest topic for discussion is climate change, and the key players are trying to thrash out sensible, achievable targets and objectives, when every three weeks, a huge chunk of EU staff all migrate South to Strasbourg by road, rail and air. It's a case of "do as I say" rather than "do as I do" when it comes to the EU. When I close my office door later today it will remain closed for a month - and the whole Parliament building will be evacuated, waiting for the next mass migration. You just could not make this up. It's a given that the MEPs travel from across the continent anyway, why make things even more complicated than they already are?

And on the subject of Carbon Footprints, I came across an EU funded initiative that may make our nation of animal lovers recoil. Stockholm is annually faced with a huge explosion in the population of rabbits. Many are the offspring of the domestic bunny which have over time escaped into the city and bred, well, like rabbits. Now they are said to be destroying the city's parks. Last year six thousand were culled. But what happened to the bodies? Not given to Felix or Whiskas, I assure you. This year the bodies are being frozen and transported one hundred and fifty miles to a Biofuel plant in Karlskoga, where they are boiled down and turned into central heating for the city's residents. That certainly puts a new take on the term bunny boiler!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Baa Baa Barroso!

We are used to the witty exchange of banter flying across the Chamber in Westminster. Whether the heckling is highbrow, or the humour deliciously lowbrow, the energy in the House of Commons is the envy of many political institutions globally.

Not surprising then that the EC thought they could liven up Plenary in Strasbourg by adopting President's Question Time, modeled on PM's Questions in The Commons. Afterall, the European Parliament is a huge, overly bureaucratic, political quagmire of an organisation.

So during Jose's first QT, I saw the opportunity to throw at him a question that matters greatly to my Welsh constituents.

The Subject: EID (Electronic Sheep Tagging)

Basically the EC want to introduce a system whereby farmers microchip every single sheep in a flock to trace their every movement. The proposal was cooked up after the last foot and mouth crisis, but has met with fierce opposition.
It's now due to be pushed through in January 2010, despite the fact that the equipment doesn't work
(only a 75% success rate, with malfunctioning especially common in cold and wet conditions - hardly ideal for Welsh Mountain Sheep Farmers )
It's going to cost our farmers lots of time and money when the industry is already battling recession, and will expose Welsh farmers to penalties if they do not comply with the system (or when the system fails them.)

So I ask Barroso about why the EC is so adamant about pushing through the legislation in the New Year.
I drew comparison with the issue of immigration in the UK.
( Take a look at today's revelation by the ONS that our population could soar to 71.6m by 2033, with more than two thirds of that rise due to immigration. )

It would be bizarre if the UK knew the exact whereabouts of every single sheep in the land when we hardly know who is coming to live in here and where they're planning to go.

Sadly Barroso missed the point, and didn't like my supposed comparison of humans and sheep.

Monday, 19 October 2009

We don't want to live on hand-outs, but neither do we want to cough up for yours!

With more and more countries queuing up to enjoy handouts from the EU, what will happen to Wales?

It's hardly worth my while mentioning I am a Eurosceptic. You may have guessed that already as a UKIP MEP.

But being a Member of the European Parliament isn't about jumping on the gravy train to prove a point. I represent a choice made by the voters who elected me into this role - and I want to protect their interests and the interests of Wales.

We are a member state of this overpriced private members club, whether we like it or not.

The UK remains one of the largest net contributors to the EU - meaning we pay more in than we get out.

Well at least at the moment Wales benefits from EU funding. (It ticks the right boxes).

Under the current programme, drawn up in 07 and in place until 2013, Wales is entitled to a total 1.9 billion pounds. The money is intended to be spent on developing sustainable economic growth and creating jobs.

West Wales and the Valleys actually receive the highest level of support under the current structural funds, which sounds great, for sure. But the region suffers protracted economic problems, and one function of the EU is to support such places with grants and funds, in return for that huge membership fee!

Many people regard the UK as a wealthy place to live. Many of our European counterparts would be shocked to see the struggle faced by some of our communities riddled with poverty and unemployment.

Merthyr Tydfil, a former coal and steel producing hotspot, was once the fastest growing town in the world. Last year it was named the UK’s worst long-term benefits blackspot. It is estimated some 30 per cent of the town’s working-age population rely on handouts to survive. In March this year, the town’s Hoover Factory closed, seeing another 337 lose their jobs for good, with no viable local alternative.

The Valleys have been all but destroyed by the closure of big industries which at one point were the backbone solid, hardworking communities. Today, the mines are closed. The factories that grew up in their place are outsourcing work overseas. The communities that thrived on this employment have not just lost their jobs and their income, but also all sense of purpose and belonging.

These are also sparsely populated areas, far away from major cities. For many children born here, their fate is predetermined.

With more and more countries queuing up to join the EU, this much needed support (which still doesn't even approach an amount that would balance the books) will no doubt go to newer member countries with well documented histories of economic struggle. Countries like Slovenia and Romania added to the list of net beneficiaries - those who get more out than they pay in. With applications being considered for Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania this list will only get longer, tipping the scales even further - and leaving us to pick up the bill.

Europe’s richest countries like Iceland and Norway have given the Union a wide berth, knowing they would merely be paying in to fund their poorer neighbours.

Wales cannot afford to pay if nothing is being paid back out.