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Speeches & Articles - Archive

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

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We don't have to choose between lower taxes and better public services - December 16 2004
So often in politics, things that are obvious turn out to be wrong. Millions of people swallowed Karl Marx's idea that wise governments could run national economies better than the market, yet central planning turned out to be a disaster in practice, and everyone now agrees that free markets work better.

Speech to ALEC Conference - Washington - December 1 2004
As always, it's a huge pleasure for me, and my colleagues Chris Heaton-Harris and Martin Callanan, to be here with you at another ALEC Conference. I'd like especially to thank Duane Parde, and his fellow officers at ALEC, for the invitation, and I'd also like to thank ALEC staffer Sally McNamara for organising our programme.

Belgium strikes at the heart of democracy - Lincolnshire Echo - November 22 2004
The Belgian legal system is noted for its general ineffectiveness, and for its legendary reluctance to prosecute paedophiles. But suddenly it has roused itself from its torpor, and struck a dagger into the heart of the democratic process. In an extraordinary and unprecedented move, it has banned the country's most popular political party, the Flemish Vlaams Blok.

USA and the End of the United Europe - A US view - posted November 2004
The EU-U.S. summit comes at a time of great changes in Europe. On May 1, 2004, the EU underwent the greatest expansion in its history and negotiators are putting final touches on the European constitution. Territorial "widening" and constitutional "deepening," however, may not symbolize Europe's growing strength. Instead, they may represent the zenith of European integration.

Out of touch in the Brussels bubble - November 12 2004
Ex-Conservative MEP Tom Spencer is a columnist for EU Reporter, and he has a good line in invective. In the issue of October 11/22, he wrote about my "sheer strangeness", having seen my acceptance speech on Sky TV following the June euro-elections.

Our heritage - as important today as it was yesterday - Lincolnshire Echo - October 28 2004
On Sunday 24th October I was invited to attend a meeting of the 'Vulcan to the Sky' group, who are running a project to get this splendid Cold War V-bomber airborne again. The meeting surprised me for several reasons.

EU regulation - driving jobs off-shore - Lincolnshire Echo - October 26 2004
Last week I was in back-to-back meetings in Brussels with two wholly different industries -- egg production and aluminium smelting -- who nevertheless faced exactly the same problem. They both believed that excessive EU regulation would drive jobs and production off-shore, outside the EU altogether.

Peter Mandelson and the Six Young Men - Lincolnshire Echo - October 12 2004
Tony Blair likes to say that politics is about making tough choices. Here's one I had to make on Monday October 4th. In the European parliament, we're currently having hearings for the new EU Commissioners, who are expected to take up their new appointments in November.

US-EU: The constitutional divide - posted October 2004
All written constitutions are products of their time. They reflect a specific political culture, the strength of different political interests, and the particular historical concerns of the authors themselves. As President Bush, sworn to defend a constitution written over 200 years ago, meets in Washington with EU leaders finalizing a constitution of their own, the respective documents reflect the differences between American and European political cultures.

Everyone agrees with Kyoto, don't they? - Freedom Today - September 23 2004
For everyone in Brussels, and most people in the UK, the Kyoto protocol is like motherhood and apple pie. For those who don't follow these matters, the Kyoto protocol was an international agreement initialled in Japan in 1997, and ratified by many countries, although not, so far, by Russia and the USA. That makes the USA, in particular, a global bad guy.

A hunting ban - good for foxes? - September 7 2004
So Tony Blair has finally bitten the bullet. He's going to ban hunting -- or at least he's going to try. Never mind that the countryside will be up in arms, that the police have told him a ban would hugely expensive and difficult to enforce, that several of his ministers have serious doubts about the idea. But at least, it's good news for foxes, isn't it?

Time to get serious about energy - August 21 2004
Floods in Cornwall. Landslides in Scotland. Oil at $50 a barrel. Petrol soon to be £4 a gallon. We seem to have a problem. Many commentators blame extreme weather or global warming. Indeed the British media have uncritically swallowed the global warming story, and ridicule anyone who questions it. Yet I can remember the Lynmouth flood disaster in 1952. It was practically identical to the recent disaster in Boscastle.

Students may be smarter than you think - August 9 2004
A recent press report under the provocative title "Students opt for the easy life abroad" accuses British students, when they spend time abroad, of taking the "easy option" of going to an English-speaking country, like Australia or the USA, and says "they would rather go somewhere hot" - although more British students are also going to Canada and New Zealand, not noted for sun-drenched beaches.

"No trade benefit from Single Market" - it's official! - Lincolnshire Echo - August 3 2004
Regular readers of this column will know that I often make strong criticisms of the European Union. Occasionally, I am challenged by readers who say "OK, we know what you DON'T like about the EU. But what about the benefits? There must be something good about it?". And I used to have a ready answer. Of course free trade in the Single Market is a good thing. That's obvious, isn't it?

Speech to ALEC Conference - Seattle - July 31 2004
It is a huge honour, and a huge pleasure, to be here to speak to you today, and I say that not as a mere conventional courtesy, but as a heartfelt affirmation. To understand why I feel so strongly, you need to know a little about the European parliament where I spend my working life. The European project, and the European institutions, are run by a political élite who are increasingly out of touch with the opinions and aspirations of ordinary people.

Lies, damned lies and the EU Constitution - Lincolnshire Echo - July 27 2004
Tony Blair says that the debate on the EU Constitution should be between myth and reality. The reality is, we were taken into the Common Market (as we used to call it) in 1973 on a wholly false prospectus.

Speed cameras are not the answer - Lincolnshire Echo - June 29 2004
You open the post in the morning, and there it is. A speeding ticket. A £60 fine. Three points on your licence. You probably don't remember what speed you were doing. You may not remember that you were on that street at all. You have no hope of offering any kind of defence. You just have to grin and bear it, but you feel sick to your stomach.

Time for a new Conservative policy on the EU - European Journal - June 25 2004
The euro election results are out, and the political establishment has been rocked by the success of UKIP. In my East Midlands region, both we and UKIP achieved 26% of the vote - so a majority of votes were cast for euro-sceptic parties. UKIP's 12 seats massively exceed expectations for a fringe, single-issue party. They prove, conclusively, that public disillusionment with Brussels is hardening into hostility - and that the Conservative Party's stance on the issue is well behind the curve.

Our EU own goal - The Guardian - June 15 2004
Now the counting is over and, as so often in life, we have good news and bad news. We Conservatives are delighted with the collapse of the Labour vote, confirming a disaffection with the government that runs much wider than the Iraq war. We are delighted that a majority of East Midlands voters supported Eurosceptic parties. But we are disappointed by the gains that Ukip have made at our expense - Kilroy-Silk beat Labour into third place in my region and came within an ace of topping the poll.

Political developments in Europe - and their message for America - June 11 2004
Across the EU, voters have been selecting euro-MPs to sit in the Brussels parliament for the next five years. And the results have come as a great shock to the European establishment, and to European political parties - not least, to my own British Conservative Party. They have profound implications for Brussels, for Britain - and tangentially, for the transatlantic relationship and the USA.

A seismic change - The Guardian - June 7 2004
With only a couple of days to go to the election, it is clear that the United Kingdom Independence party will make gains that go far beyond anything we expected a couple of months ago. It also seems likely that in many regions, a majority of voters will cast their votes for Eurosceptic parties. This is an historic development, a seismic change. To quote Prescott's phrase, the tectonic plates are moving.

The lie that launched 1,000 Tory votes - The Guardian - June 3 2004
Last Wednesday, I spent a day campaigning with a video team from the German state TV service following me around. They're producing five-minute slots from several member states as part of their Euro-election reporting. As it happened, it turned out to be one of our best campaigning days so far. I was able to do some national television (ITV) and national radio (BBC Radio 4's PM).

Clueless in Brussels - The Guardian - May 26 2004
Fifteen days to go and the first postal ballots in the mail. UKIP's Jeffrey Titford talks a good Eurosceptic story. With perma-tanned ex-Labour MP Robert Kilroy-Silk in the lead, UKIP have a good line in patter and are getting disproportionate air-time.

The Lib Dems deserve the Booker Prize - The Guardian - May 21 2004
Yesterday I saw a copy of the Lib Dems' East Midlands election address. It deserves the Booker prize for fiction. It contains a series of statements which are just plain untrue, or (as my lawyer-son might say) injurious falsehoods. Some examples:

Constitutional canard - The Guardian - May 14 2004
The Lib Dems are priceless! Five years as the worst Eurozealots in Brussels, then they suddenly adopt a Eurocritical tone for the election! Sarah Ludford can't quite bring herself to be Eurosceptic, but she throws in a criticism of the Strasbourg parliament to hint at a Eurorealist attitude.

Anything but Europe - The Guardian - May 11 2004
The East Midlands Tory Euro-campaign got off to a brisk start yesterday in Lincoln, where regional journalists met our six European candidates, along with elected MPs and councillors supported by a team of young activists. The campaign T-shirts with a "JUST TICK TORY" logo were much in evidence, and appreciated by the photographers.

The Constitution: what if we vote NO? - Lincolnshire Echo - May 5 2004
During the 1983 general election, a young candidate called Tony Blair said in his election address "We will negotiate withdrawal from the EEC, which has drained our natural resources and destroyed our jobs". Well yes. But how times change. Blair is now a passionate, evangelical, swivel-eyed, lip-quivering advocate of everything European.

Open letter to Michael Lord Heseltine - April 26 2004
You may recall that we had dinner together nearly twenty years ago, before we appeared together on an edition of the BBC's "Any Questions". Little did I think at the time that in the new century we might be on opposite sides of the great EU debate, but I should like, if I may, to take up some questions on your article which appeared today (April 26th) in the Daily Telegraph, entitled "Yes, this treaty is good for us".

Under Labour, immigration is out of control - Lincolnshire Echo - April 10 2004
For many months now, I have been warning of the threat posed by uncontrolled immigration, especially (but not only) from the ten new EU "accession states" which will be joining the EU on May 1st.

"Two-speed Europe" - threat or opportunity? - Lincolnshire Echo - March 8 2004
After the failure of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in Brussels last December, there has been a lot of press comment on the views of Tony Blair and of other Labour ministers on the EU Constitution. The truth is that a lot of people in the Labour party are profoundly relieved that the draft Constitution has been kicked into the long grass.

What the Lib-Dems really think of public opinion - Lincolnshire Echo - February 23 2004
Lib-Dem MEP Nick Clegg writes a regular column in the Guardian On-Line, and he devoted most of a recent piece to me. Thanks, Nick. He revealed (shock, horror!) that I had been seen reading The Daily Telegraph! And in the EU parliament! Worst of all, while I should have been listening to a speech by Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN!

EU calls time on Lincolnshire jobs - Lincolnshire Echo - February 9 2004
Changes being made to the EU's Working Time Directive (WTD) will have a serious impact on employment and competitiveness in Lincolnshire. And although the measures are supposed to promote health and safety, they may well have exactly the opposite effect.

The European Constitution - Questions and Answers - January 14 2004
The proposed EU Constitution represents a massive change in the way Britain is governed. Our government has no right to sign it without the wholehearted consent of the British people. Here's why

A legal challenge to the EU's political funding plans - January 14 2004
Those light-fingered lads from Brussels are getting ready to dip their sticky fingers into your wallet again. Under Regulation (EC) No. 2004/2003 of November 4th 2003, they're going to have £3 million, provided by the tax-payer, for "European political parties".

The Constitution that won't go away - Lincolnshire Echo - January 8 2004
The draft EU Constitution suffered a set-back in December, when the EU heads-of-government failed to agree it. But it hasn't gone away. The Irish are taking up the current Presidency (Jan/June 2004) of the EU, and one of their priorities is to bring the Constitution back on the agenda.