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Straight Talking - March 2010

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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Papandreou touts the begging bowl

Greek Prime Minister Papandreou has been in Washington, insisting he "doesn't want money", but seeks moral support. He is also scheduled to meet the IMF. Meantime Merkel discusses plans for an EU version of the IMF, to be called the EMF, without explaining why the world needs two IMFs, or what's wrong with the old one. The truth is, of course, that Brussels can't tolerate the loss of face if the Euro's problems have to be bailed out by an international organisation backed by the USA.

Papandreou blames "speculators" for Greece's problems. But when is a speculator merely a rational economic actor making sensible investment decisions? The problems of Greece arise from government profligacy, from a casual attitude to wages, and inflation, and productivity and competitiveness -- and also, to a large extent, from euro membership, which has locked them into a currency union with less reckless and more disciplined economies, like Germany. Greece should recognise its own responsibility for its problems, and not try to blame others.

Meantime an Open Europe study shows that the proposed EU bail-out for Greece could cost Ireland between €200 and €400 million. This is injustice on an extraordinary scale. The problems of Ireland and of Greece were in many ways comparable. An asset price bubble, a crash, government over-spending and deficits. Ireland addressed its problems and took its medicine. And very painful it was, including salary cuts for civil servants and aggressive spending cuts all round.

Greece has so far failed to take such measures, and Greek workers are demonstrating in the streets against austerity plans. The idea that Ireland should now stump up hundreds of millions to bail out Greece is grotesquely unjust. The parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins springs to mind.

But the big lesson of the euro's travails is surely very simple. It vindicates those of us who campaigned passionately against British membership of the euro. We may face our own economic difficulties, but they are nothing like as bad as they might have been with the euro.

Quote of the Month:

"The Greek crisis is about the very basis on which European unity has been built for the last 60 years. It threatens not just the euro but the entire edifice of the European Union."

Gideon Rachman, writing for the FT.

Jeff Randall hits the spot...

I suppose I should apologise for quoting Jeff Randal rather too often. But there are few columnists who are so reliable, or have quite such a way with words. In an analysis of the BullyGate saga, he writes: "From now until the election, and almost certainly beyond, Mr. Brown's cabal of slime merchants will be branded as the doers of the Devil's work: Forces of Hell, the Inferno's Enforcers, Satan's Storm-Troopers. The son of a preacher man has, it seems, been employing the wrong crowd".

...as does Christopher Booker

February 28th saw a masterful summary of the climate debate from Booker, which is particularly relevant as Al Gore and other Warmist apologists speak of "one or two minor errors set against a huge and established body of scientific research". But it's not just one or two errors. It's a whole series of alarmist claims and predictions made by the IPCC, and widely publicised by the media, which are now demonstrated to be false. It's a huge quantity of climate and temperature data which we were asked to accept as Gospel, which is now shown to come from highly suspect temperature stations located beside air-conditioning units, and heating boilers, and in the exhaust stream of jets at airports, and on baking tarmac. Or as Booker puts it:

"Those glaciers are not vanishing; the damage to the rain-forest is not from climate change but from logging and agriculture; African crop yields are more likely to increase than diminish; the modest rise in sea level is slowing not accelerating; hurricane activity is lower than it was 60 years ago; droughts were more frequent in the past; there has been no increase in floods or heatwaves".

No celebration in Iceland over EU membership

The EU may not have noticed that there was no celebrating in the streets of Reykjavík, or elsewhere in Iceland, on Wednesday when the EU Commission recommended starting membership negotiations. But this is just another pointer to the fact that Icelanders simply aren't interested. For those registered with the FT, a full article on the issue can be seen here.

Meanwhile, a new poll, reported on EU News, has shown that Icelandic support for membership of the EU has now dropped to 33.2%

There was, however, rejoicing in Reykjavík last weekend, with fireworks, when the results of the referendum on reimbursing the UK and Dutch governments were announced. 90%+ voted NO.

A date for your diary: The Fernie Team Chase, Mar 28th

Sunday March 28th: the annual Fernie Hunt Team Chase event takes place at Tur Langton, and as in previous years I shall be co-sponsoring it. One of the fences will be Helmer's High Jump! So for a great day out, and to show your support for country sports, come along to Tur Langton on the 28th.

Barging In

"An Englishman's Home is his Castle"? An investigation by Big Brother Watch (founded by the same good people who run the TaxPayers' Alliance) has found that there could be as many as 20,000 council workers throughout Britain with the power to enter your home without requiring a warrant or police escort. In total there are now 1,043 laws permitting state inspectors to enter peoples' homes and premises. Local councils have been quick to take advantage of these, with an average 47 officers per council entitled to use these laws to gain entry to private property. The full report can be read at www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/BargingIn.pdf

Sir John Houghton's quote:

I recently had a bit of a run-in with The Independent, who were challenging me over my use of a well-known quote attributed to Sir John Houghton: "Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen". This phrase has popped up on the net and in various articles for well over a decade, and Sir John had never thought to deny it before, but I wasn't able to source the words and so must concede the possibility they cannot be attributed to him.

However, I did find the following from Sir John, sourced from the Sunday Telegraph of Sept 10th 1995: "If we want a good environmental policy in the future, we'll have to have a disaster". And for good measure, he added (going off at a slightly bizarre tangent), "God may induce man to mend his ways with a disaster. God tries to coax and woo, but he also uses disasters. Human sin may be involved. The effect will be the same".

So there you have it. Sir John believes that disasters are necessary to get the public's attention for climate change, and he also seems to believe that global warming is a punishment for sin. His views seem even more weird and eccentric than I had supposed.

Biofuels are bad for the environment

The Times says that a new Government report has revealed that Government biofuel targets for vehicle fuel could actually be less environmentally friendly than using fossil fuels, as they require millions of acres of forest to be cleared for plantations. The report also notes that some of the most commonly-used biofuel crops fail to meet the minimum sustainability standard set by the European Commission. The article can be seen here.

The snake consumes its tail

During the run up to the UN's Climate Summit in Copenhagen, the European Commission's funding for NGOs reached record heights. A report by Caroline Boin of the International Policy Network says that the EC's environmental unit has handed out more than €66 million to so-called "Green NGOs". These groups are using that funding windfall to subsidise public opinion studies and policy objectives focused on advancing the green agenda. So what would happen if the results obtained in these "independent" studies were in opposition to their stated goals? Bearing in mind that many of these green groups obtain as much as a third of their budget from the Commission, I'd assume that their funding prospects might be in jeopardy, and they simply cannot have that.

The report (a copy can be found here) outlines the anti-democratic, incestuous relationship between the environmental lobby -- who push for green directives to be imposed on the member states, and the European Commission -- who in turn introduce legislation to be forced through the European Parliament under the appearance of public support.

A Colossal Waste of Money!

The Taxpayers' Alliance has recently released an excellent new video on the amount of money wasted by our government on green propaganda. The video can be viewed on youtube.

Nottingham University Debate

I recently enjoyed a trip to Nottingham University, having been invited as a guest speaker to deliver a joint lecture on climate change, alongside Professor Matthew Humphreys from the University's politics department. Refreshingly, Professor Humphreys chose not to parrot the consensus view, but gave a talk on why citizens are happy to go along with the idea of climate change, but are unwilling to pay for mitigation. The event was well supported by Nottingham University's Conservative Future, who have written up the event on their blog.

Written Question to the Commission on ClimateGate

by Roger Helmer (ECR)
to the Commission

Subject: Climategate

In an event that has been referred to by the British media as ‘Climategate’, emails and documents released by hackers who broke into the computer system at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) show scientists colluding with each other to amend data, giving false outcomes to studies in line with man-made climate change theories. They also show evidence of attempts to keep scientists who hold a sceptical viewpoint on the theory of anthropogenic climate change out of mainstream science.

In the light of this discovery, George Monbiot, writing for The Guardian, stated, ‘I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.’

Does the Commission agree with this view?

Answer given by Mr Dimas
on behalf of the Commission

Suggestions that the leaked emails show that the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia set out to deceive the world regarding global warming are not credible. The CRU analysis has been peer reviewed in many publications over at least two decades, assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is corroborated by two independent analyses by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States. The analysis is also supported by other observed changes such as melting of Arctic sea ice, glacier retreat and rising sea levels.

Mr Jones has stood aside as Director of the CRU, and the University of East Anglia has announced an independent review. This is a welcome initiative that will allow all aspects of this controversy to be addressed. However, this incident does not affect in any way the very clear and robust conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report regarding man-made climate change.

Dear Gordon Brown, we are not 'deniers'!

A petition has been lodged on the Number10.gov.uk website reading "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop describing members of the public who question the veracity of Anthropogenic Global Warming as climate change deniers."

I've signed it. You can too by visiting http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Deniers/.

Leftist website calls for execution of 'deniers'

An appeal has appeared on the influential US website Talking Points Memo calling for the execution of climate change sceptics. The rather shocking piece was soon withdrawn, but not before outraged parties had copied the text, ensuring it couldn't be simply covered up. Over at Climate Depot they have a full page on this scandal, including details of other similar calls over the past few years. Be warned, it makes for rather disturbing reading.

Scientists: "World may not be warming"

The Times has reported that scientists, including some Brits, are beginning to publish evidence that the world may not be warming quite as much as the IPCC had originally hoped. They have been looking again at the data collected by weather stations worldwide, and are beginning to have their doubts about the readings shown. Our friend Anthony Watts, over at Watts up with that, will be pleased -- it's what he's been saying for many years now.

Quote of the Month # 2

"The 2000 Lisbon agenda (was aiming) to make the EU 'the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010 capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion and respect for the environment.' It failed".

The Economist's 'Charlemagne' column, Feb 4th

Fair winds blow profit for insurance

Two of the biggest Lloyd's insurance companies, Amlin and Hiscox, have both reported record profits recently, in part due to an unusually calm hurricane season, reports the Telegraph. Both companies credited "Mother Nature" for the windfall.

Scottish Students visit Brussels

In February I spoke to a Scottish Conservative Future group in Brux. Afterwards they blogged on their visit, and I blush to show you what they said:

"Undoubtedly the highlight of the day was an address from arch-Eurosceptic Roger Helmer MEP who was scathing about the democratic deficit that existed within the EU in addition to the lack of value of money it provided."

You can find the rest of the post here.

Recent Tweets

Follow me on Twitter: RogerHelmerMEP

*   Tory Donor Michael Farmer: "Labour's idea of a family is three people who share a fridge"

* New report from IPN (Caroline Boin): EU gives £3 million to green lobby groups, who spend it on lobbying -- the EU! Incestuous or what?

* Mandelson attacks Ashcroft: As we used to say, "The pot calling the kettle black"

* Gordon Brown on Iraq: "Disingenuous"? "Misleading"? "Not True"? Does this mean "telling porkies"?

* Never mind Ashcroft. What about the millions the government gives to the Unions, and they recycle back to Labour as donations?

Blog Round-Up...

Professor Phil Jones gets another thing wrong The CRU scandal

Putting out the flags Welcoming the Mercian Regiment

The incestuous subversion of the peer review process How the CRU and IPCC ensure that only their friends get to review their research

The thin end of a very nasty wedge Why we don't want EU taxes

The only fair trade is free trade "Fair Trade" is a cruel delusion. We'd do better to reform the CAP.

First UK Tea Party event

Spirits duty - another mindless tax proposal from Labour


That's it from Straz this month. We'll be back nest month. In the meantime, don't forget to visit this website, follow me on twitter @RogerHelmerMEP and post a comment on my blog at