Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Fines are the new taxes

Getting beyond maximum permissable taxation

The Laffer Curve is well known to economists, this suggest that after taxing around 60%, any further rise in taxation will actually lead to a fall in revenues. Generally, people would rather do zero work at a 70% tax rate, so a 20% rate of tax actually raises more revenue than a 70% rate.

So the question for a lot of desperate governments and councils is: How do you go further once the pips are already squeaking but you haven't yet funded all your pet projects?

My local council, Barnet provided one example. They employed a consultancy to look at every single parking space in the Borough and go around making as many spaces as possible payment only, or they just ran double yellow lines through safe spaces to make life as difficult as possible, and boost revenues from fines and forcing people to use paid-for parking spaces.

Now Spain is also in on the game, having already introduced an 'air conditioning tax', they are now getting really desperate and fining kids for riding bikes in the playground, and dishing out fines to drivers who will be completely unaware - the potential for abuse is huge.

Here is a summary of Spain's latest attempt to generate more revenues by using fines or excessive regulations:

Cars with foreign number plates - if the car has been in Spain for more than one month it must be registered on Spanish number plates. Previously foreigners could keep their car in Spain for 6 months and often left them on foreign plates for much longer, however the police will now check how long the vehicle has been in Spain and issue fines for those not obeying the new law.

Children in cars - children under 1m35 in height are no longer allowed to travel in the front seats of cars, unless the rear seats are full of minors already or in the case that there are no rear seats (vans etc). A 200€ fine will be issued to the parents or guardian if a child under 1m35 is found traveling in the front seat.

Children cycling - children under 16 are now obliged to wear safety helmets when cycling. A fine of 200€ will issued to the parent or guardian if a child is found cycling without a helmet.

Changes to speed limits - in some areas, such as around school, the speed limit will be reduced to 20 kph

Issuing of fines - the police will now be able to issue fines without the offending vehicle being stopped or formal identification of the driver if the officers see an offence being committed but are unable to give chase.

Both locally and internationally, taxation is so high that fines are being used a revenue source. There is nothing more aggravating to the average person than receiving a whopping fine for something that was once considered normal behaviour.

@apostolouc    ... please follow

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Baps: UKIP attend a loony left-wing hustings...

Today I attended my first hustings

Barnet Alliance for Public Services (Baps) meeting 22nd January 2014 Spot our developing purple policy ideas…

UKIP was not invited to this hustings so I sat in the audience, the BAPS meeting was a shock to me. This meeting was not officially a hustings, although the first speaker opened with "Hustings are very important to democracy....". Eventually I had to leave when all the political parties present had a giant love-in with some squatters/occupy protesters who unfurled an expensive looking banner (if only UKIP Barnet had such funding!). Credit to the Conservatives for not responding or showing up – but this was my first ever political hustings and I was keen to watch. It was a very cosy hustings with everyone on first name terms througout, bit like a hustings in Cuba! Two quotes remain in my mind: “We all agree we should stand up to the Tories”… “Sometimes you have to pursue direct action”...

On some issues Baps is correct and I agree with a lot of the fundamental issues – private sector firms locking in 10 year contracts undermine the democratic process. Firms taking over 70% of the council’s business dramatically reduces the access for Freedom of Information requests. But does it save enough money for services cut? Are services cut or improved? It’s too early to tell, and too costly to do anything, thanks Tories.
The right wing wants to outsource your tax, the left wants to spend your tax themselves, UKIP is going to ask if the tax was necessary in the first place?

A lot of info was not presented clearly (and being a former financial analyst), I failed to be convinced as to whether the numbers really had significance, £85m might sound like a lot, but there was no context to the argument other than making it sound like a private sector firm with a lot of money was automatically evil. I’m yet to see, but certainly there are many risks and it appears a win/win for Capita.

Some of the panel offered sensible ideas – for example, offering an open 30min Q&A ahead of public meetings. Anything to improve transparency is a good idea, but as a general rule socialists have led the world in silencing debate so I’m curious to see if there is follow-through. (We will support this policy whoever puts it across)

Some ideas I felt really quite terrible and unfortunately I don’t know who exactly to attribute this to.

Terrible ideas which came out of the Baps meeting:
1)      Compulsory purchase of people’s homes if they don’t use them
2)      Limit the number of estate agents/ betting agents allowed to open on a high street
3)      Compulsory purchase of shops which lie dormant and giving them to local traders

…Lenin would be proud!

I note that if every single one of the 3,500 empty homes in Barnet was taken over it would fall far short of the 45,000 thought required in the next five years. Confiscation of property is never a good idea, it is theft, compulsory purchase for these would never offer a fair price, there is either a forced buyer or forced seller. Not a single mention of the EU here, no-one really offered a sensible solution to the housing crunch, other than to mention that for the first time ever, housing is now reported the 3rd most pressing issue in Barnet. This is sure to get worse, and with Labour, LibDems and Greens resisting further home building this will benefit UKIP. It’s quite easy to understand how immigration is an  acute issue for those looking at low cost housing 'options'.

There is a far better way to fix abandoned shop fronts: Offer a Business Rates tax-holiday of one year to any new business which is not part of a chain when the shop has been dormant for over six months. So a new Starbucks won’t get a tax holiday, but an independent business would, this could bring a lot of diversity to our high streets, which really are stuffed with betting shops. Shops of course are easily helped by better access, and there is fiddling at the margins by both Tory & Labour. I feel that many streets far from stations are needlessly regulated and make very little difference to safety: Aim to scrap 20% of double yellow lines and replace them with: Nothing. On top of the 30mins free outside local shops. I also want to see the introduction of 2-day visitor passes and the scrapping of free passes for councillors

Interesting ideas:
1)      Forcing home builders to have at least 20% social housing.
2)      Potentially a referendum on whether taxes should be increased (Green Party this one for sure, kudos because referendum is my favourite word).

Point 1) 20% social housing has a strong ‘depends’ element attached to it. In my new build flat neighbours regularly complain about ‘council estate’ people (they weren't British born so not fully indoctrinated into Political Correctness and self-censorship!). I grew up on a few council estates, many had a great sense of community -  but I know what they’re getting at, fear of unruly teenagers is the general issue. If 20% is bought by a housing association and not forced on the builders (otherwise making them bankrupt) and the design is such so that people don’t fear unruly teenagers causing them trouble (I was once that teenager myself…) Then the idea has merit and is worth considering. Consider how to boost social housing without costing tax-payers, and how to prioritise local people

Point 2) I think it would be great to pass a law asking that a referendum is held EVERY time a council wishes to raise council tax. After all, council tax is highly regressive – billionaires and minimum wage earners are often paying the same amount. Council tax is basically the poll tax. So it seems strange to me that a left-wing group like Baps effectively wants to raise council tax. More local referenda is a national UKIP Policy, why not extend to tax decisions

At Baps there were a whole host of special interest groups asking for more money, so many people asked about the great money tree in the sky I lost count, "Public Money" is tax-payers money. I tend to think charities are probably better use here than taxing people, they are more motivated and better organised than a council dept. can be. Barnet’s council tax is double the tax of some other London Boroughs such as Wandsworth, the low paid get the worst of this -  working tax payers have had enough. DOUBLE the tax of Wandsworth. Question why tax bands in Barnet are so high – is it the myriad of hand-outs?... double!?!

Perhaps more interesting to me was the slur on Christianity. When someone explained the group “Christians against poverty” as a group who "go round evangelising" when they should be helping the poor. My reaction is the complete opposite – it is Libertarian: how great that private groups are organising to help the poor. It led me to recall that when we had hard times our local church was our food bank, and my mum favoured the church that had access to M&S meals! Favour charities not taxpayers money. I'm still very impressed the local community in Golders Green have their own ambulances. The lower taxes are, the more other groups will find better solutions to our problems instead of relying on tax and spend.

Nowhere to play football. There was also dismay at how the council had let playing fields go into decline so that kids had nowhere to play football. My thought is: Surely we can offer management over local grounds to those who want to use them, surely the Watling Football ground was ruined because it was taken away from them and ‘managed’ by the council- let the local interested groups take charge of playing grounds, not the council. Again a libertarian approach would be better here I believe. If you hope that England will one day win the world cup again, you must support today’s kids having a local place to have a kick-about, and as a teenager my 5 hours per day football habit definitely kept me out of trouble.

Kissing Gates
A gentleman raised the issue of his local park having ’kissing’ gates which are so restrictive disabled people cannot get into the park if on motability scooters and pushchairs etc. A councillor used the rationale that the Equalities Act 2010 would rule his right to the park is more important than stopping people on ‘getaway bikes’… Let me tell you, Common Sense says you don’t need to go gating parks or falling back on the equalities act, if it’s a public space stop trying to control it.

It’s all developers fault…
It seems that everyone on the panel and in the audience was near unanimous that the developers are the root of all evil. For example they “Leave buildings empty for years to eventually change the planning permissions” . Much better to accelerate the process, why make developers wait years before they get permission for a change of use? Accelerate the planning process and re-zoning, this will make property cheaper

… I left circa 9pm bored with the occupy movement / Lab/Green love-in. (Credit to the squatters they were humorous and polite while espousing views I totally disagree with).

UKIP Barnet was only constituted in Nov 2013, and our policies will be openly discussed at our next - subject to members being in favour we will begin to put together our manifesto with plenty of time ahead of the elections. We may well hold the balance of power after May 22nd and we will be looking forward to only allowing the best policies through whether from the loony left or right.

And my UKIP Barnet Chairman's Pledge: If I win a seat as councillor I will give all of my council allowance to charity*

I back the scrapping of paid councillors

It will be interesting to see if some of the so-called Socialists offer to match that...

Chris Apostolou,
UKIP Barnet Chair


UKIP Hendon and Barnet meets the first Monday of every month, please drop me an email.

 * subject to any tax and very basic expenses such as renting a room for office hours if necessary!

Monday, 21 October 2013

How to save the UK £55.2bn every year - instantly

Three huge items sap our spending

Just to quote the large, mainly undisputed costs:

Cost of EU Directives: £27.4bn on 100 excessive regulations - again this is only one simple list given that 3,600 regulations have been passed since 2010, so hugely under-counts the true extent of the problems.

Foreign Aid, £17.5bn
Officially, foreign aid is only £12bn, but this does not include two separate accounting categories of 'mulit-lateral foreign aid' and 'bi-lateral foreign aid'. Althought admittedly, UKIP is not proposing a complete cut, but a 'huge reduction', targeting many countries where aid is a political football rather than an attempt to help the poor.

Direct Costs of EU: £10.3bn, this is largely contributions of £18bn minus the money received back. This is not to even dig into issues such as huge mis-allocation of resources from these distortions of money flows.

TOTAL COST OF THESE 3 ISSUES: £55.2bn per annum

This is half of the £114bn annual deficit, which is a dangerous 7.4% of GDP.

We can cut the budget deficit in half overnight - what is this government doing!!??

These cost estimates do not even include the fact that food imports from outside the EU pay an average tariff of 18%, given the UK imports 50% of it's food, it is a huge issue for us.... there are many other costly areas that the above data do not even touch on.

How much does this cost you personally?

It's an economist 'rule of thumb' that £5.5bn is about 1p off income tax. eg  it is equivalent to a cut in income tax of 10p for every single worker - it is huge.

It is huge and so easily fixable, but you have to vote UKIP to get these changes.


data sources:
100 Costly Diktats :

Foreign Aid Spending (original source is The Guardian, but read my blog it's better!):

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Nick Clegg's Speech of Lies, analysed line-by-line

It is incredible to me how much Nick Clegg's speech uses outright lies.
I comment line-by-line in blue

Nick Clegg delivered the speech 'In Europe for the National Interest' on 8 October 2013.

Richer, stronger, safer, greener

I am a pro-European - that is no great revelation, I know. But sometimes you need to say it, clearly and unambiguously.
The isolationist forces in Britain are on the rise
  • I'm a member of UKIP, I'm a globalist, I now do more business with Hong Kong than the EU
And every time Europe is back in the spotlight, their hostility towards it – this negative reaction to all things continental – drowns out the other voices in this debate.
  • I love Europe, my family (Greek and Romanian) still live there, struggling to get by after having money seized from their bank accounts
Pro-Europeans have to take some responsibility for that. The moderate and rational voices have been too quiet up until now. But we cannot afford that silence anymore. We are no longer asking if Britain will have a referendum on continued membership, we are asking when Britain will have a referendum on continued membership.
But the threats certainly haven’t been forgotten in Europe’s capitals. The hardliners have been stoked up. And next May the Euro-elections are bound to become a proxy for the bigger question of ‘in versus out’ – a debate that will play out in the 2015 general election too.
And all this at the worst possible time. Our economy is finally turning a corner, but the recovery is fragile. We should be focusing on finishing the job and laying the foundations for long-term growth, not entertaining the idea of an EU exit that would throw our recovery away.
  • Have an EU referendum in 2014, take away the uncertainty on businesses out till 2017
Let me be absolutely clear: leaving the EU would be economic suicide.
  • Lie.
You cannot overstate the damage it would do to British livelihoods and prosperity.
  • Lie
3 million British jobs are linked to the Single Market – 3 million.
  • Correct. "Linked" being the operative word
 As a member we are part of the world’s biggest borderless market place, made up of 500 million people. It’s now the largest economy in the world – ahead of the United States – and it’s where we do around half of all our trade.
  • The biggest trade barriers are around the EU, blocking everything outside.
  1. example: New Zealand Lamb, €311 per 100kg, plus 12.8% on the price
  2. example: EU Blocks African Agricultural Exports, http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/africa/actsa.htm ... yes EU perpetuates African poverty
Major non-European companies build their factories here precisely because we are a springboard to the EU.
  • 'Springboard' to the European Free Trade Area - leave EU, keep EFTA
It gives us access to trade agreements with over 50 countries around the world – and we’ve launched negotiations with Japan and the US. The latter alone could bring an extra £10 billion to the UK every year.
  • We could have made a trade agreement with the USA 30 years ago! The EU has lost us £10bn per year for 30 years already.
But on our own we’d have to renegotiate all of them – from scratch, and from a position of weakness; government would spend a decade doing nothing else. The fact is you cannot be for a stronger economy if you are for leaving the EU.
  • Again, we can stay in EFTA and WTO rules ensure free-trade is maintained
And it’s not just jobs and prosperity. What will happen to our influence in the world if we choose to go it alone?
  • Frankly, influence is from being a nuclear power. Since the EU government has taken over we have lost influence on major international organisations such as G7.
Of course Britain must build up relationships with emerging powers and likeminded nations in other continents.
  • But we're not allowed to negotiate trade independently, so how to build these relationships?
But this idea that we can pull up the anchor, drift away from our neighbourhood - our historical and geographical allies – only to float around in some new network of relationships is a nonsense.
I worked in Europe;
  • Specifically, for the EU. Where you will no doubt return for a bigger salary later
I used to negotiate trade deals with the Russians and the Chinese. We simply will not be taken seriously by the Americans, the Chinese, the Indians, all the big superpowers if we’re isolated and irrelevant in our own backyard.
  • Singapore, Mexico etc do this just fine on their own, even Iceland beat the EU to a China deal
We stand tall in Washington, Beijing, Delhi when we stand tall in Brussels, Paris and Berlin.
2 weeks ago I was in Washington. Did they want to discuss US/UK trade? No – they understandably wanted to talk about the big money, the US/EU deal.
  • Obviously, we are missed off because we are not allowed to negotiate independently
The Americans value their old friend Britain as a bridge to Europe as much as anything else.
  • Nothing changes, we can move quicker without French cultural legal restrictions on Hollywood movies, US music etc. 
  • language and anglo-saxon business ideals mean we will always be the bridge, but as we lose our free-market ethos the bridge is less obvious
What will happen to our citizens’ safety if we leave? The British police depend on co-operation with their counterparts abroad - sharing information, pooling resources, helping each other bring criminals to justice. Take that away and you are forcing the police to do their job with one hand tied behind their back.
Just last week we heard Rob Wainwright, the British Head of Europol, declared that it would be an ‘unmitigated disaster’ in the fight against organised crime if Britain withdrew from the organisation.
Criminals cross borders – so must we.
  • We have no control of who can cross our borders, any criminal in the EU can fly/bus over now, we can't stop them.
  • We share a huge amount of info with the USA, Switzerland etc too
What about our environment? Climate change doesn’t stop at Dover. There is no point reducing our carbon footprint unless our neighbours do the same.
  • We just closed 6 coal-powered stations while China & India alone build 1,000
But together we can set collective targets and work in concert to achieve them – and we have far greater clout in encouraging other countries and regions to do the same.
  • The Kyoto Agreement expired in 2012, nothing has happened since.... 
Every way you look at it – jobs, influence, safety, the environment – the UK is infinitely better off in the EU.
  • I just want to know WHY you are outright lying?

Time to speak up

So I’m not worried about how we make the case for membership to the British people – the argument is ours to win. But I am worried that we’re not out there making it. My great fear, in all of this, is that pro-Europeans are being too slow to wake up to the danger ahead.
The day I dread – the day I hope never comes – is a time when it is all too late: Britain has stumbled out of the EU, and we look back to these days and say we should have done more. It will not be enough to speak up on the eve of a referendum. We need to start challenging some of the ludicrous mythmaking by the isolationists now.

Brussels isn’t perfect by any means.
  • A sweeping admission...
But it’s just not true that it’s some kind of sinister super-bureaucracy - the Commission is smaller than Birmingham City Council.
  • Factual lie:
  • EC: 34,000 civil servants.   [6,000 earn over €100k (£85k)]
  • Birmingham Council: 18,000.    [24 earn over £100k]

It’s just not true that the Treasury is robbed blind for the privilege of membership – last year our contribution to the EU Budget was around the same as we spend on the NHS every two or three weeks.
  • £12bn is a *huge* amount of money to give away, and it's spent so badly
It’s just not true that we’re at the mercy of a foreign elite.
  • Well, the French class system is far more entrenched than the UK (Germany I don't know...)
Britain shapes everything that happens in the EU. 
Nothing passes into UK law without the input of our MEPs and government ministers.
  • Correct on 'input', but our 1 in 28 vote on the commission or 8% of MEPs is powerless to stop things like the damaging, and anti-UK Financial Transactions Tax
 Even though there are 28 states in all, we have 1 in 10 of the seats in the Parliament.
  • I think you have rounded-up from 8% to "1 in 10"...  why not quote the percentage?
  • 8% is powerless to stop any legislation
And in the Council the countries with the most votes and greatest power are France, Germany, Italy and the UK.
  • So just one quarter of the bigger countries
So we need to counter the myths. And we need to explain the real reasons Britain belongs in the EU and what is really at stake in this debate.
  • What is really at stake? Waffle.
I have made my commitment very clear. But today I am calling on businesses and organisations and individuals to show their support for continued British membership in a reformed EU.
I am not asking you to get involved in the party politics. But I am asking you to be part of a coalition for the national interest – standing up for Britain remaining in Europe; for a Britain that is richer, safer, greener and stronger in the world.
  • I want a richer, safer, greener country - The EU economy is shot, criminals can cross borders with impunity and wind turbines chop up rare eagles
I’m calling on every internationalist politician – from any party; every company that buys or sells across the Channel; every umbrella group representing British business interests; the big banks and City firms that depend on the Single Market as well as the small family firms who want to expand;
  • I can't expand my city/family business because the EU economy is in the toilet
the investors who’ll have to reconsider their operations here if we withdraw from the EU;
  • You said that about the single currency - but FDI in the UK continues to outpace the EU. Your argument is far weaker now.
the research institutes that benefit from pooled EU funding;
  • Grants, awards etc are one of the classic lies, the EU takes our tax money and gives a smaller % of it back to researchers etc, who think the money came from the EU. There would be more money available if some of it wasn't siphoned-off in the first place
the British Erasmus students studying abroad;
  • I love erasmus. But we used to do global exchanges, this is EU only. EU inward-looking. Surely we should use the money for a global student exchange system, learning Mandarin is far more important than Greek
the hundreds of thousands of Brits who’ve relocated to France, Spain, and Greece;
  • Basically relatively rich pensioners, welcome everywhere
the police;
  • Habeas Corpus doesn't really exist in the EU. Scary when confessions are admissible without a solicitor being present
the charities who pick up the pieces when men, women and children are trafficked across our borders;
  • Proper border controls would make a huge difference
 the human rights organisations that want to make sure British citizens stay signed up to the protections in EU law;
  • we want the power to deport terrorists and murderers immediately, not after 10 year court fights
the green groups who want a UK that can lead the way on climate change;
  • Climate change leaders, economic losers
the farmers and fisherman who need a level playing field in Europe;
  • 70% of Europe fish stocks are in the UK, why share the fishing, just export it as British catch and add £2.5bn to our GDP, reclaim the 100,000 lost fishing jobs
the millions of British consumers who get better, cheaper products because we’re a member of the EU;
  • An absolute complete LIE, here are examples of things that cost more, and the tariffs they attach:
  1. New Zealand Lamb, €3 per 1kg, plus 12.8% on the price 
  2. Garlic, 9.6% on the price
  3. Sugar 604% (isoglucose)
  5. 149 products have tariffs of over 75% .... 75% MORE EXPENSIVE YOU BIG LIAR CLEGG
and anyone and everyone who can see that there is strength in numbers in today’s world.
Express your support for staying in the EU however you like: tweet using #whyIamIN, put it on Facebook, write to the government, write to the newspapers, make your position clear in the conversations you have and the work you do.
Whatever you do, just don’t let the isolationists speak for you or dominate this debate.
And if you are for IN, don’t wait for others to say it; make yourselves heard.

Don’t surrender reform

And, if you believe we should stay in Europe, don’t let anybody tell you that you are somehow against change, or anti-reform. Don’t believe this idea that if you see the benefits of membership, you are blind to the EU’s faults.
I was campaigning to make Brussels more open and transparent a decade and a half ago, when I was an MEP for the East Midlands.
  • Yet we have 18 YEARS without the accounts signed off. £80billion is now missing. EIGHTY
Last month I signed up to a 40-page document filled with ideas to make the EU more streamlined, more accountable, more focused on growth; less meddlesome in areas of national life that are none of its business, and more effective in the areas where nation states cannot act alone.
  • 40 pages on top of the other  3 billion words of regulations, it won't work! If you fail, you'll still have to claim success, but for the LibDems that's the politics that people can see through
And the fact is: Europe is changing, whether we like it or not. The single currency area is healing, but the Eurozone crisis revealed deep economic tensions and they must be resolved. The Eurozone core will need to tighten further: rules governing greater fiscal discipline will be demanded by the strongest Eurozone members and the weaker economies will expect sustained Eurozone support in return.
  • Spain may adjust, it may only take another 15 years, so 20 years of unemployment for many is not unrealistic
Britain, by definition, will lie outside of these emerging arrangements. But there will be big implications for the single market as a whole – and we need to make sure that the EU that emerges at the other end continues to serve all of its members.
  • The EU doesn't serve it's people, that's the problem
The Banking Union is a prime example. It’s in everyone’s interests for it to work – including states like the UK who are not part of it.
  • Agree on the solution, but: Full Banking Union will only happen with full Political Union. Merkel says so, and she still hasn't formed a coalition
But it is in no one’s interests if the banking union operates in a way that damages the City – Europe’s biggest financial centre. The coalition government will now make sure that doesn’t happen.
  • LIE. George Osborne was outvoted by 28-1 on the FTT and salary regulations, you have no power to stop the EU's war on our biggest tax-paying business sector.
  • The City pays one quarter of all corporation tax in the UK, we must protect it from the EU
And next time there is Treaty Change I will certainly advocate new legal safeguards guaranteeing that –
  • You said that in 2008 and the Lisbon Treaty (initially called the EU Constitution) came in force 2009... So a complete lie:
  • Nick Clegg leaflet
 whenever a reform might impact on the Single Market – Euro-ins and Euro-outs have an equal say.
So the real question is not who wants to reform Europe and Britain’s relationship with it, it’s who can do that?
[political content removed]

The coalition’s unsung success

And, most perplexing of all: the unilateral approach is completely at odds with what the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have been doing together in this government. Our partners don’t tend to shout about this, but one of the least noticed coalition successes is our record of delivering for the British people by engaging constructively with our European partners – much of which David Cameron deserves credit for.
  • You can engage with any country without pursuing political union, stop crediting any successes to the fact we are in the EU
This is the real way to be ambitious for Britain. Yes, there are times you need to put your foot down: that’s why I supported the Prime Minister when last year it looked like Britain might need to exercise our veto to stop a rise in the EU budget.
  • The EU budget was paused, but the UK contribution is RISING, another mis-truth
But by working with our allies – the Germans, the Dutch, the Swedes and others – we not only secured a good deal for British taxpayers, we protected the rebate and capped the budget for the next spending period.
For years people said the Common Fisheries Policy was beyond reform. In Britain we have seen our fish stocks depleted and profits diminished, while our fisherman have been tied up in bureaucratic knots.
Yet in January we led the way on a historic agreement that will transform fishing practices across Europe, and end micro-management from Brussels, massively benefiting our fishing industry and our marine environment too.
The Coalition has brought together 13 like-minded countries to take on the Commission over excessive red tape. For example, hundreds of thousands of firms will now be exempt from costly EU accounting rules.

We’ve also cracked the previously illusive EU-wide patent – worth up to £20,000 per patent in translation costs alone.
  • This is a genuine EU victory. But it could have been achieved a 1000x over with the resources we have wasted in other areas.
And our experiences only prove what we have seen with every government for the last 60 years: if you want Europe to deliver for Britain, you have to lead. Margaret Thatcher led when she helped pioneer the single market. Tony Blair led when he and Jaqcues Chirac launched EU defence and security cooperation.
  • I do not want an EU army. Totally scary prospect on so many levels. Plus the fact that our army is exceptionally high-achieving and makes all other government departments look terribly low perforrming, but European armies cannot claim similar high standards in their military.
It was British Lawyers who drafted the European Convention on Human Rights - not to be confused with the EU, as it so often is, but a huge success for European co-operation nonetheless;
  • There is a court unaswerable to any executive, hence all the problems we have had.
  • You cannot withdraw from the ECHR without leaving the EU
British police who have driven ground-breaking cooperation on cross-border crime. And – in keeping with this very British tradition – I will always believe that the best way to represent our nation’s interests is to stay and win the argument, showing leadership abroad for your citizens at home.
If you want to know my position, it’s very simple: yes to staying in Europe; yes to reforming the EU and improving our relationship with it; yes to a referendum when the time is right.
  • ie Clegg wants a referendum when the opinion polls favour his future career progression as a Eurocrat - which probably means never
And that is the approach I will continue to take.

More meaningful, less meddling

And throughout this process we need to get Europe back to what it’s good at: adding value where the global nature of our problems means states have to work together for any real chance of success.
  • There is regularly great cooperation across Latam, Asia, Africa etc without political union
Completing the single market in services and the digital economy;
  • We are world leaders in digital media, we do not want regulation coming from the EU
  •  I had to pay £150 to satisfy the EU cookie regulation on websites, you can't regulate the internet. 
innovating so that our continent keeps up with China, India, Brazil; opening up trade with the rest of the world;
  • But EU regulation and trade barriers are doing the exact opposite
dealing with the fragile states on Europe’s borders;
  • Scrapping import tariffs would help enormously
promoting human rights and democracy;
  • Giving away money to Egypt etc hasn't made a bloody difference
working together for a greener future;
  • protecting the environment is a local issue. It's EU regulation stopping research into Ash dieback disease
  • EU fishing rules have destroyed our seas 
protecting our citizens from the threats that cross our borders.
  • So allow us to control our borders
  • Stop deporting British people on the whim of dodgy Greek (etc) police
Where the EU has lost its way, we need to refocus it, so that its contribution to national life is less meddling and more meaningful. Where the EU has become intrusive, it needs to be pushed back.
hollow words
I welcome the announcement by President Barroso last week that the Commission will simplify EU rules to make them lighter and less burdensome. I want to see a much more active role for national parliaments in scrutinising EU decisions and policing the principle of subsidiarity. We’re still not fully exploiting the provisions made for this under the Lisbon Treaty.We are outvoted on everything, that's why

And it’s right that the UK stays opted out of rules that we believe are damaging - like the 48 hour cap on the working week in the Working Time Directive. It’s important to point out that we’re not ideological about this. Many of the workers’ protections that we now take for granted actually originated in the EU. Guaranteeing paid holiday and regular breaks - they’re also in the Working Time Directive. So there are good bits too; but we need to get the right balance.
Where arrangements are unfair, they need to be corrected. High up on my list is the Common Agricultural Policy, where we need to end the historical subsidies that distort trade.
  • I will remind of this constant failure, we are outvoted by countries  who take the bulk of subsidies
And where the institutions are just plain wasteful, of course that needs to end. It’s ludicrous that the European Parliament has an official seat in Strasbourg.
The round trip for MEPs travelling from Brussels and back costs £150 million a year. It’s high time the Strasbourg seat was scrapped.
  • Taking this £150m away from the French will involve a concession somewhere else...
And I say all of this as a pro-European – because we are the real reformers now. I say this as someone who wants to change and improve the EU and Britain’s relationship with it precisely because I am ambitious of what can be achieved, because I believe we are at our best when we are open and outward-facing – richer, stronger, safer and greener.
If you believe that, it’s time to say it. Stand up for a proud Britain leading in a better EU. Stand up for staying in Europe, for the sake of the national interest.
I will and I hope you will too.


.... @apostolouc


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

What is a LibDem/Labour voter thinking on UKIP?

A friend's feedback on UKIP

I have a friend who I'm sure is typically a LibDem or Labour voter, he's an experienced, accomplished, and highly intelligent professional. I told him I'm a UKIPper, this was his response, I think this very useful and reflects what a lot of voters think, reproduced below unedited:

I have a lot of sympathy with a lot of what UKIP says. So, for example:

1)      I think the costs of the UK “going it alone” (whatever that means) are grossly exaggerated. Only an idiot would argue that we should withdraw from all trade agreements etc. Withdrawing from a project that is heading either for collapse or for a political and economic union is not the same thing. Obviously.
2)      I think that most political structures tend to become corrupt over time, since they tend to insulate themselves as much as possible from the inconvenient influence of the electorate. The bigger and more distant they are from the people, the easier it is for them to do that. The Eurocracy is profoundly undemocratic, and needs root and branch reform if we are to even consider going along with the move towards greater union. Chances of that happening: slim to none.
3)      The option of being a semi-detached member, always whinging from the sidelines about how it should just be a free trade area, is looking less and less feasible and attractive. The UK was the thorn in the side of the EU that tried to keep it honest. It has failed, basically.
4)      The argument that the EU has prevented war within the EU is true. But I don’t think we should make unconditional promises never to go to war. We have gone to war in the past, with continental European countries, when they have embraced totalitarianism and fascism. And we will do so again if necessary. There are worse things than war, and loss of democracy is one of them.
5)      If there were an in/out vote tomorrow, I’d vote to leave – accepting that there would be significant economic costs in doing so, and a risk of losing the convenience of cross-border travel without visas and all that. I’m not bothered about the loss of power or influence or whatever – I don’t think we have any of that to lose.


1)      I can’t stand little-Englanderism. It’s always been the blight of the Tories and even more so UKIP
2)      I’m not interested in “preserving the English way of life” and all that crap. Political principles, yes. Xenophobic paranoia, no. But that is a large part of UKIP’s ticket. I don’t want the UK to become a museum; a British empire theme-park.
3)      There’s a tang of racism in UKIP and, as Cameron says, of proto-fascism too. You can smell it. Not from Farage, but a little bit under the surface. For me to even consider UKIP you need to completely erase even the memory of that.

That said, I admire the fact that you’re prepared to stand up and say what you think. That’s the basis of democracy. Good on you.

[name removed]

PS all the climate stuff- far too early to tell, yet. What put me off was really the phrase “climate change denier” – as though expressing scepticism about a possible future event (climate change) is equivalent to casting doubt on an actual historical event (the holocaust). Again, there’s an unmistakable whiff of something unpleasant in asserting that equivalence. Something fascistic. Something 1984 like. You must agree about this theory or else you will be ostracised, or worse. You must learn to love Big Brother. That’s not science, it’s religion. It’s saying the important thing is the state of mind of individuals like me, not the facts. Cultural revolution.

Stick to the facts. Express scepticism without fear. Democracy.

My response
I think what frustrates me about the negatives, is they are the results of the slur campaign; make false accusations enough and six months later when apologies are posted in the newspaper it's too late. While everyone is out to smear UKIP, the party is slowly overcoming this smearing and once people take the chance to listen, look at our policies the smears stop working. This is why the major parties now begin now to try and pretend to copy our policies.

@apostolouc ..... please follow for more Ukippery