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Straight Talking - April 2009

Love Europe. Hate the European Union

Roger Helmer's electronic newsletter from Strasbourg

Please feel free to distribute this newsletter, or to quote from it. It is primarily written for Conservative Party members and activists in the East Midlands, but may also be of interest to others concerned about developments in the EU. If you receive the newsletter second-hand and want to go onto the
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June 4th: It’s Your Choice!

It’s Your Choice! A Vous de Choisir! Aan Jou de Keus! Deine Entschei Dung. These are the slogans appearing on massive banners outside the European parliament, advertising the euro-elections on June 4th. (For some reason they've omitted the exclamation mark after “dung”, which was probably wise).

But of course in a very real sense, it’s not your choice. When we vote in a British General Election, we have every prospect of making a real choice, and throwing out this failing Labour government. But however you vote in the euro-elections in June, you will end up with an overwhelming majority of euro-luvvies in Brussels. The EU institutions have their own unstoppable momentum towards political integration, and nothing you can do in June will change that.

There are signs around the parliament saying “2009: Year of Change in Europe”. But of course in the EU, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

But before I put you off voting altogether, there is one thing you can do. You can vote for a Party which will send people to Brussels who have the gumption to stand up against the majority, to challenge the whole rotten structure, and to say what the voters actually think. That's what Chris and I have done for ten years. That what I hope that Rupert and Emma and I will be doing after the election.

Leaders of Europe: ITV debate with Caroline Lucas

On April 4th I took part in a TV debate with Caroline Lucas MEP -- leader of the Green Party and MEP for the South East. Watch us debate the proposed 3rd runway at Heathrow, the financial crisis and Conservatives leaving the EPP.

Hague: "It's not too late to stop the Lisbon Treaty"

According to an interview in a recent Telegraph, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said that Britain "urgently needed to renegotiate its relationship with Europe, and that it would be a priority for the Conservatives if elected." He also called on voters to use the European elections in June as a "protest vote".

Mr Hague went on to say, "It's not too late to stop the Lisbon Treaty...I think it's time to ring the alarm bell, it's time to alert people to the fact that this denial of democracy is not far away unless we do something." He also raised the possibility that Gordon Brown could be forced into holding a belated referendum on the Treaty, saying "He [Mr Brown] doesn't want to have a referendum, he doesn't like having elections about anything. But I think it's a Government of such spectacular u-turns you can't rule anything out." Telegraph

EU to track your car

The Guardian reports that the Government is backing EU plans to install a black box in new cars to track the whereabouts of drivers anywhere in Europe. It will reveal their location, speed and direction of travel. It will no doubt be used to enforce draconian new speeding laws.

This is an appalling breach of privacy. Even George Orwell and Big Brother never thought of such an idea -- perhaps because Orwell could not have envisaged the technology. But there is a hint of a silver lining. The EUReferendum blog notes that the system will rely on the EU's Galileo satellite positioning system. So no chance of it actually working in our lifetimes, then.

Meantime www.eu.info.de reports that EU plans for road charging (also based, apparently, on Galileo) are going ahead, despite attempts by Germany to slow them down. Once the Nanny State was merely irritating. Now it's suffocating.

See the blog at http://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.co.uk...

...for stories on Speed Limits and road safety; Prince Charles and modern architecture; the coming great inflation; the EU's 100,000 pages of new regulation since Labour came to power; government spin and Damian McBride; MPs' second homes, and much more

Travellers -- beyond the law?

The press (April 14th) carry a story about an organic farmer in Wiltshire evicted from the caravan on her small-holding, while travellers down the road squat with impunity. We have similar problems closer to home, and especially in Hinckley, where David Tredinnick MP and I have supported a local protest group in Earl Shilton. See the story.

Renewables target comes with a hefty price tag

According to an independent study commissioned in support of the Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation, £10 billion of new investment of our electricity network is needed to meet the 2020 renewables target, a cost incurred by transmission companies such as the National Grid. The cost of connecting offshore wind farms makes up around 75% of this figure, based on a 35% renewable electricity scenario.

A further £2.3 billion a year will be required to cover the cost of ancillary services to meet system balancing requirements. Meanwhile Open Europe reckons that the on-going cost of renewables policy will be £9 billion.

National Grid and Scottish Transmission Companies are currently busy pondering how they are to meet such targets by 2020 whilst delivering necessary network capacity.

The figure is confirmed in a written answer from the Department of Energy to a parliamentary question (PQ: 2007/4553) from Andrew Tyrie MP, which admits that the plans will also require an estimated £10 billion of new investment in the grid, plus an on-going £2.3 billion a year.

And there are good reasons to believe that the government's "35% renewables scenario" will simply not work in technical terms, even after this massive investment. The costs of green policies are out of control, and unaffordable. £9 billion here, £10 billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

Rise of Sea Levels "Greatest Lie ever told"

For anyone living in London who has been considering buying a boat to cope with the imminent rise in sea levels that Al Gore has promised us: good news. London is not about to be swept away by biblical floods. Nor are the seas going to rise up and swallow all those tiny Pacific islands; we are not going to suffer the same fate as Atlantis.

The revelation comes in Christopher Booker's Telegraph column focussing on the work of Nils-Axel Mörner, a physicist who has, for the last 35 years, been studying sea levels world-wide. Dr Mörner's conclusions? That "all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story."

He asserts that the sea level has not risen for the last 50 years, and that if any rise does occur this century "it will not be more than 10cm." And how can he be so sure? Well, unlike most sea level studies which are based on computer modelling, Dr Mörner has actually headed out into the field to conduct his research.

One of his most shocking discoveries was the way the IPCC was able to show sea levels rising by 2.3mm a year: their experts had based the figure on a single tide-gauge in Hong Kong harbour showing a rise of 2.3mm. They then adjusted the entire global sea-level projection upwards by 2.3mm, creating an upward trend in the graphs. But we shouldn't really be surprised -- when Dr Mörner was asked to act as an expert reviewer on the IPCC's last two reports he discovered that not a single one of the 22 contributing authors was a sea level expert.

Want less corruption? Shrink government!

I've just been watching a video on the perils of big government sent to me by Dan Mitchell of the CATO institute in America (in fact, as I write I'm wearing the National Rifle Association tie which Dan very kindly gave me).

The video sets out a logical argument showing that big government inevitably leads to more sleaze and corruption. Whilst they're specifically focussing on Washington in this piece, the same applies over here. Less of this government - that's exactly what we need!

Japan's boffins: global warming isn't man-made


Professor Fells challenges the rush for wind power


“Earth Hour”

At 8:30 p.m. on March 28th we were invited to turn out our lights for an hour to symbolise our commitment to the environment. Better call it "Blackout Hour", to remind us that without urgent action, soon, on energy supply, we can expect the blackouts to start kicking-in around 2015.

Quote of the month (1):

"Shell will no longer invest in renewable technologies such as wind, solar and hydro power because they are not economic, the Anglo-Dutch oil company said today. Linda Cook, Shell's executive director of gas and power, said: "If there were renewables which made money we would put money into it."

--Tim Webb, The Guardian, 17 March 2009

RSPB's knee-jerk support for wind-farms

The RSPB has come out with a strong endorsement for wind energy, immediately (and predictably) welcomed by the British Wind Energy Association. But one of the RSPB's own officers takes a very different view. Ornithologist Roy Dennis, the charity’s North of Scotland officer, attacks the RSPB position for distorted priorities and writes: “The RSPB, have for years, been feathering their nest with a cosy deal with Scottish and Southern Energy in which they get paid for every customer they sign up to so-called ‘green energy’. This latest announcement is particularly cynical as they are more than aware that thousands of birds are killed every year around the globe by wind-farms.

The Wisdom of Lord Salisbury

"No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require to have their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense."

- Salisbury, letter to Lord Lytton, 15 June 1877

The Fernie Hunt Team Chase

Sunday March 29th was a brilliant sunny spring day, providing ideal weather for the Fernie Team Chase event at Tur Langton, Leics. The lie of the land at Tur Langton creates a natural amphitheatre so that the horses can be seen around most of the course. I was delighted to be able to part-sponsor the event, and my banners "Supporting Country Sports" were placed around the course. Two fences were named "Helmer's Heritage" and "Helmer's European Hurdle".

Quote of the month (2):

"Create belief in the theory, and the facts will create themselves".

Joseph Jastrow, 1935. Polish-born psychologist, scholar and author (1863 - 1944)

Tally Ho! Three Cheers for Edward Garnier!

In addition to being a practicing QC, Edward Garnier is of course the MP for Market Harborough, which is as close as it gets to the heart of fox-hunting country on earth. He is also the Chairman of the Countryside Alliance's Repeal Committee, and on April 7th he got a good airing on the BBC Today programme.

In his usual measured and reasonable tones, he pointed out that the Hunting Act is "unfair and unworkable", citing a recent High Court judgement -- which upheld an appeal from the first huntsman to be convicted of breaching the Act. "This is a bad law -- it is unclear, it is unfair and it is inept," he says. And he expects the next Conservative government to fulfil its pledge to hold a free vote on repeal, in government time.

Edward Garnier is right. Despite the fulminations of the man from the quaintly-named League Against Cruel Sports, who argued that repeal was "turning the clock back" and was "a return to cruelty", the fact remains that hunting with hounds is the most humane culling method available. It is the only culling method that is guaranteed never to leave an injured fox to a slow death. It is also the only culling method that preferentially takes out old, weak or diseased animals, thus promoting the general health and fitness of the fox population.

I once had a rabid animal rights lunatic demand to know how I thought fox-hounds were supposed to tell the difference between a young fit fox and an old sick fox. Short answer: Young fit foxes run faster.

Far from "turning the clock back", repeal will be an assertion and a celebration of English culture and tradition, which we lose sight of at our peril. There is little point in Gordon Brown agonising over the meaning of Britishness while we destroy the great cultural institutions at the heart of our identity. There are many positive things to say about the East Midlands region which it has been my privilege to represent for ten years. The fact that it is the heart and soul of English fox-hunting is one of its proudest boasts.

Green Taxes -- how much are you paying?

The TaxPayers' Alliance has released a rather nifty little website gadget which allows you to calculate, after answering a few questions on personal travel habits, household bills, and even the specific make of your car, the amount you are paying for green taxes and regulations.

Access the calculator, and read their blog piece explaining why Green Taxes are both unjust and ineffective.


That's it for this Strasbourg session. Please remember to check this website and post a comment on my blog at http://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com