Opposition Grows to EU Holiday Tax

leaving the hotel for the flight
The EU Doesn’t Approve – image by Holidayextras via Flickr

The US has called a meeting of countries opposed to the EU’s carbon tax on airlines.

The countries opposed to the tax also include China, India and Russia. All the countries that matter in the world, in other words.

There are international treaties against taxing flights. Obviously, though, treaties don’t matter to the EU, given that it has been quite willing to depose its own governments when they weren’t “austere” enough.

So the EU unilaterally imposed their carbon tax. Airlines will get bills starting in April next year.

The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) creates permits for carbon emissions. Airlines that exceed their allowances will have to buy extra permits, as an incentive to airlines to pollute less.

The number of permits is reduced over time, so that the total CO2 output from airlines in European airspace falls.

The EU says that the new scheme will add between £3 and £19 to the cost of a long haul airline ticket.

That’s just the start, of course. In the long run, they intend to add a lot more; their aim is to stop the plebs flying. They intend to do it by pricing them out of flight tickets.

Yes, it’s just the plebs of course. The Eurocrats will go on majestically flying at taxpayers’ expense.

The EU may not succeed with this scheme. China has already passed a law making it illegal for their airlines to buy EU emissions permits. The other countries opposed to it – India, the US, Russia – are powerful.

Even they, though are not objecting to a new flight tax per se. They are objecting to the EU’s imposing it unilaterally.

The next target for the EU-championed climate change scam is your holiday.

Cheer up though. There is a chance that the coming implosion of the Euro may yet destroy the Evil Empire of Europe.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Now the EU Wants to Know Where You’re Driving

big brother
Image by Vince_Lamb via Flickr

The European Parliament has approved a plan to make it compulsory to fit tracking devices in all new cars.

The plan has been proposed by the European Commission. They say it is to improve response times to emergencies and therefore save lives:

The eCall system is triggered by sensors in the vehicle like those which cause protective airbags to explode in a crash.

Once triggered, the device automatically contacts the nearest emergency service centre, via the 112 service.

It transmits the exact location of the vehicle and other data, such as the make of the car, and establishes a voice connection with the emergency services operator.

The Commission say it could save “up to” 2,500 lives a year, by cutting emergency response times by “up to” 50%.

The Commission’s case is demonstrably nonsense on two fronts.

First, response times would only be cut by 50% if 50% of the response time consisted of waiting for someone to call the emergency services. Naturally, for accidents in remote places, sometimes it is a while before the ambulance is called. But in most cases, most of the time before the ambulance arrives consists of waiting for it to arrive after it has been called.

Second, and more importantly, it will eliminate any possibility at all for the emergency services to decide how urgent a particular call is.

At the moment, when a real person calls the emergency services, the operators can ask them questions to decide how serious an incident is, and prioritise it accordingly. They can send the ambulances to the most serious accidents first.

With the new EU system, every time a car is in an accident, a call would go to the emergency services. They would not have any idea how serious any injuries might be, or indeed whether there were any injuries at all. For this reason, people may actually die due to this new system.

As usual with the EU, you have to ask what is their real motive introducing this. And the BBC provides the answer:

Although the eCall service will be provided free of charge, the Commission expects the technology to be used for commercial purposes in future, such as tracking stolen vehicles or charging road tolls electronically.

Yes, it is all about introducing pan-European road pricing. It goes without saying that there are even more sinister potential uses for the technology in the future.

The British government is against the idea. Says Transport Minister Mike Penning:

After considering the results of independent research we are concerned that the benefits of making eCall mandatory in all new cars will not justify the cost of implementing it in the UK. We have decided, therefore, that it would not be appropriate for the UK to support mandatory installation of eCall at this stage.

Mr Penning, though, is a mere elected representative. He has no power to stop it.

The European Commission said after the debate that a regulation is being drafted, and that full implementation is expected to take place by 2015.

While David Cameron waffles on about renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the EU, in the real world the EU noose is being tied ever tighter.

More on the EU Referendum

Secretary of State for Defence Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP Visits Afghanistan
Liam Fox – Showing David Cameron the Way – image by Defence Images via Flickr

I mentioned in my last post that Liam Fox was providing vision and leadership on the EU – just as David Cameron dithers.

It is well worth reading Dr Fox’s article. He has managed to summarise very neatly in a single very readable page the reasons why we need to leave.

The contrast with David Cameron’s confusion, hypocrisy and lack of vision could not be starker.

Is This Numptie for Real?

Prime Minister, David Cameron
Image by DECCgovuk via Flickr

David Cameron has been trying to keep everybody happy on the EU, as usual. He has hinted that he might have a referendum. Some time. On something or other. Maybe, if it’s appropriate. When the time is right. Or at least have a manifesto commitment to a referendum. Or maybe a commitment to consider one, or a commitment to promise a commitment.

Or maybe not, if he changes his mind again.

He has written an article for the Daily Telegraph.

This world class fudger has the nerve to start his article by saying

We need to be absolutely clear about what we really want, what we now have and the best way of getting what is best for Britain.

Some of us are indeed absolutely clear. We want out, not least because the purpose of the EU is to create a single federal European state. And that’s before you even start on the immense cost, the damage caused to our economy by EU red tape and the anti-democratic tendencies of Brussels.

Others, of course, are clear the other way. Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, for example, believe that Britain should be part of a federal Union of Europe. Fair enough. Wrong in my opinion, but fair enough.

Mr Cameron, though, is very far from clear. He wants to stay in the EU, whose purpose is to create a federal Union. But he wants to remove all the bits he doesn’t like – including all the bits that make it a federal Union.

We actually have two choices – in or out. Mr Cameron thinks we have three. We can stay in; we can leave; or we can wave a magic wand and make the world a different place.

As a trading nation Britain needs unfettered access to European markets and a say in how the rules of that market are written.

The single market is at the heart of the case for staying in the EU.

Numptie. The single market has nothing to do with free trade. The “single market” means a single set of regulations and standards to cover the whole EU. You can trade freely with the EU without having anything to do with the single market.

To give a simple example, a single market means you have a single standard for the design of electric plugs in Britain and Germany. Free trade, on the other hand, means that German manufacturers can sell British-standard plugs to Britain, and British manufacturers can sell German-standard plugs to Germany. (You may have noticed, incidentally, if you have been to Germany, that plugs are very different there. We don’t even have a single market.)

But let’s get back to ducker and diver Cameron.

What is wrong with what we’ve got?

he asks, and then answers:

Too much cost; too much bureaucracy; too much meddling in issues that belong to nation states…

Not a word, then, about the actual purpose of the EU. It’s a bit like the Confederates in the American Civil War saying that the reason they wanted to leave the Union was that taxes were too high and Abraham Lincoln had too many paper-pushers.

“Issues” don’t belong to nation states, in any case. Or rather, all issues “belong” to nation states. Nation states are sovereign. They govern themselves. Sure, they may make treaties and agreements to act together, but ultimately they retain the right to make decisions for themselves. States in the EU do not have that right even now, and they are being bound ever tighter to Brussels.

There is more to come where we can take forward our interests, safeguard the single market and stay out of a federal Europe.

No, there isn’t, Mr Cameron. We are already in a federal Europe. We already have EU law taking precedence over British law, a supreme EU court, an EU foreign ministry complete with EU diplomats, the core of an EU army, common fishing and agricultural policy … the list is endless. Increasingly we hear British Ministers telling us their hands are tied, because of EU “rules” – for which read “laws”. And we have only just begun.

How do we take the British people with us on this difficult and complicated journey?

asks our Prime Minister. For Mr Cameron, it really is difficult and complicated. It is difficult and complicated because what he wants is self-contradictory, meaningless and confused.

As we get closer to the end point, we will need to consider how best to get the full-hearted support of the British people whether it is in a general election or in a referendum.

“We will need to consider how best to get the full-hearted support of the British people”. Really, just think on that for a minute. For this man, the only purpose of general elections and referenda is to get the full-hearted support of the people. For him, votes are not choices. Votes are means to manipulate the public.

But Mr Cameron finally reveals the true extent of his banality, and the true emptiness of his position right at the end.

As I have said, for me the two words “Europe” and “referendum” can go together, particularly if we really are proposing a change in how our country is governed, but let us get the people a real choice first.

We already know that for Mr Cameron the two words “referendum” and “Europe” can go together. As in, “No, you can’t have a referendum on Europe”.

And what does he mean by “get the people a real choice”? Presumably it means he wants to make sure they choose what he wants them to.

Says the Telegraph:

David Cameron will face a record rebellion over Europe unless he clears up his confused plans for a referendum, Conservative MPs warned.

Looks like he didn’t convince them either, then.

Mrs Merkel’s Defeat at the Eurosummit Sounds Familiar If You’re British

Angela Merkel - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2007
Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

Angela Merkel has given in at the Eurozone summit. She agreed to the European Central Bank giving direct support to struggling banks in Southern countries. And she agreed to the European Stability Mechanism buying government bonds issued by Southern countries, to reduce their borrowing costs.

In short, she agreed to German taxpayers giving a yet bigger bailout to Spain, Italy and the others – or rather to their banks.

The agreement – as with most EU agreements – also included a further step in the direction of increasing the power of Brussels. A joint banking regulator will be set up, to oversee banks in all the member states.

Mrs Merkel will portray that as a victory. She thinks that such a regulator will be controlled by the European Central Bank, and that the ECB will continue to be effectively controlled by the German government.

She is not right. That banking supervisor will have power over German banks as well as Southern ones. One day, German banks will be following orders from Brussels.

Mrs Merkel seems to think that because the ECB is in Frankfurt, it will dance to her tune (or the tune of her successors in Berlin). It will not – any more than the Stock Exchange in New York follows the orders of the New York State government.

The European Union has a life of its own. It will come to dominate Germany as much as the other member states.

Germans should take note of how it feels to be mobbed and defeated at a Eurosummit. It has happened often enough to Britain.

More Fudge from Those Tory Eurosceptics

The BBC reports that over 100 MPs have signed a letter asking David Cameron to

place on the Statute Book before the next General Election a commitment to hold a referendum during the next parliament on the nature of our relationship with the European Union.

The BBC is portraying this as pressure from the Tory Eurosceptics to hold a referendum on leaving the EU.

It really is not all it seems.

First, as even the BBC notes, the motion merely has those weasel words about a referendum “on the nature of our relationship”. Such a referendum would not be along the lines of whether we want to leave or not. There would be a third option – actually a false option that is not on offer – of “renegotiating” our relationship.

Looking at the nature of the EU, it is abundantly clear that the intention is to create a single federal State. With such a thing, you are either in or out. You can’t “negotiate your relationship” with a single State of which you are part.

The French and the Germans are arguing ferociously about the right way to resolve the European sovereign debt crisis. But neither wants to resolve it by moving even one iota away from that “ever closer union”. Their only difference is that the Germans want the EU central government to have direct authority over member states’ budgets, whereas the French “just” want the EU to issue its own Eurobonds.

They are arguing over what that single State should be like, not about whether there should be a single State. If we try to negotiate, their response will be, “If you don’t want to be part of a federal Union, then leave.”

Second, this fashion for putting in statutory commitments for future governments is an attack on our democracy. Tony Blair’s lot started it, with a statutory commitment to certain levels of overseas aid and a statutory commitment to reducing relative poverty (i.e. increasing equality).

There is a constitutional principle that no government can bind its successors. This principle is vital to protect the right of the voters to elect the government they want, with a mandate to do the things they want it to do.

This commitment to hold a referendum after the election might not infringe the letter of that principle, because a future government could repeal the law. But it sails pretty close to the wind. Governments should not be deliberately placed in a position where the default position is the policy of the old government, and they have to actively change the law to go a different way.

If you don’t see that, imagine the government passed a legal commitment to setting income tax at 19% from 2017. Would that be reasonable, or shouldn’t that be a matter for the government that is in office at that time?

But wait just a minute! Why do the signatories to that letter want a referendum only after the election? If a referendum is right, then why do they not want one now? Even the letter itself says “the sooner it is implemented the better” – while only asking for it to happen the other side of the election.

In short, the letter is incredibly muddled and trying to fudge the issue – typical in other words of the Eurosceptics in the implacably-Europhile Tory Party. They want to be able to tell their constituents that they support British independence, while actually doing nothing about it.

If they want Britain out, they should defect to UKIP. If they don’t want British independence, or if they don’t have the guts to defect, then they should keep their mouths shut.