Jobs and EU laws

The government is making a mess of the strikes. Some in the government sympathise with the strikers, and want to try to find a way through the problem. Others side with the management, and think they should be required to let a contract to the best value contractor under EU rules, with the contractor bringing in labour from elsewhere in the EU if that is their wish. The uncertain note and tone of the government encourages the strikers, who want to find out how many government Ministers are on their side, and how many support the EU law.

It was always just a matter of time before the question of who governs, London or Brussels, became an important political issue at the heart of a real dispute. Many users of alternative remedies and herbals medicines felt they had raised this issue when EU rules threatened to remove products they liked from shop shelves, and threatened to close shops and small producers down for not meeting new and dearer regulatory requirements. The government sided with the EU, and the protests died down. Fishermen have long raised this issue over the progressive collapse of their industry under the Common Fishing Policy. Now we have an issue with an even wider implication, testing this question of where is accountable government?

Some now in the UK government wish to suggest this is the BNP at work. Looking at the crowds peacefully protesting, they are much more likely to be the usual mix of Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem voters, with a fair share of non voters. They are not in the main politically motivated people. They are people out of work and wanting a job, or scared that their jobs too could vanish in this crisis and under these rules.

Today I wish to discuss the EU implications of this dispute. For years the UK government has told us that it influences EU legislation, and had got on well with our partners. The truth has usually been very different. The UK government has found out what the EU plans to do next, and then has told us it finds that acceptable or a good idea. Where it realises that an EU measure is going to be unpopular it either plays it down, or tells us it is going to press for changes. If it manages a minor change it then heralds this as a success and gives in on the bigger principles at stake. As a result of its retreats we have lost a big chunk of our financial rebate successfully negotiated by Margaret Thatcher, we have imported huge quantities of regulation whilst the government has told us it is deregulatory in spirit, and we have adopted the canons of EU labour and migration law.

When people fear a law or think it is stopping them working they want their elected politicians to take that seriously and to be able to amend it. When the law comes from Brussels, the government is no position to do that. The government has honestly to tell the strikers that there is no point in them striking, because even if the government wanted to change the law in the way they would like, it cannot do so without the agreement of most other EU countries, which looks extremely unlikely on this issue.

Mr Mandelson has correctly concluded that he has to argue it through against the strikers, because there is no other way out of this government impasse. Some of his colleagues clearly think the strikers are right, and from their position facing re-election, wish to show understanding and sympathy for the strikers. This division in the government’s approach will make the strike more damaging to the UK, and will make the ultimate disappointment of the workers involved all the greater.

Labour has given far too much power away to the EU. The official Opposition opposed the transfer of powers in Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon for this very reason. We think we need more accountable politics at home, and more ability of Westminster to either amend or defend the laws when challenged by British voters. Labour’s EU policy has been based on the false spin that they wanted all this EU law and had influence over it. Just like their economic policy, it is now falling apart.

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79 Comments

  1. number 6
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    John,

    I come back to my central point – the Conservatives still want Britain to remain in the EU. The day they say they will pull us out is the day I will vote for them again. I am not holding my breath for that particular annoucement. Instead, I imagine more fudging along the lines of the infamous “In Europe, but not run by Europe,” a statment that any Conservative would have known was impossible then as it is now.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      I agree. John, you may talk the right talk but your party walks in a different direction. We will soon see DC agree and support the EU Opt out removal and say that a 35 hour week will do us all good and remove our freedom to choose for ourselves.

    • JJWS
      Posted February 3, 2009 at 1:24 am | Permalink

      I agree John. Looking back my votes for the conservatives have led to the diminishing of our nation. I cannot any longer support a party that pledges to do anything other than reverse that.

    • James Morrison
      Posted February 3, 2009 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      I have to agree with these comments, I cannot vote for any party who won’t catagorically say they will take us out of the EU.

      Personally, I see very little difference between Labour and the Tories (or the LibDems for that reason). Obviously there are MPs in all parties who have differing opinions on the official party line, and just as obviously there are MPs who are only in the “game” for what they can get for themselves.

      Sadly, until we see the end of the current “democratic” system, (which, to me, is anything but), and an end to party politics as we currently know it, I cannot see any way things can improve in this country.

  2. Ian Jones
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The strikes are nothing more than the unions flexing their muscles since the companies involved have decided to break the unions by bringing in legal foreign workers. It is a dangerous game they are playing and no wonder the PM is nervous of his own stupid words as in an economy like this it can quickly escalate to something far more serious!

    For the anti-EU nuts I suggest you get out and see the real world. The UK’s great power status in the world disappeared in 1946 (thanks to America). Leaving the EU will simply leave Britain having to follow the laws as given rather than at least influencing them!

    • Alfred T Mahan
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Ian, wake up! It depends on your measure exactly where we come in the pecking order but on our own we’re certainly one of the ten largest economies in the world. Plenty of smaller countries get by without being part of an undemocratic megalith. How about Switzerland or Norway, for example? If you ask me, the nuts are the Euro-enthusiasts…

    • Stuart Turner
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Did you not read the article, we already have no influence over laws imposed upon us from Brussels.

      Indeed we cannot ourselves change anything in the EU if the other member countries wish to proceed with certain measures, it would be incredibly arrogant of us to think that we could change the ambitions of the other countries in the EU.

      If we left the EU we would not have to follow any laws passed by any bodies other than our government, this is nothing to do with foreign policy where we once had great power status, which the EU will never have, since it can never agree and make a decision, as we saw with the crisis in georgia last summer. The real issue is our own autonomy regarding issues within our own borders, which is something we would have outside the EU and what we don’t have within it.

      So the real nuts are those who wish to stay in the EU inspite of this fact!

      • Ian Jones
        Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Interesting points, I do not disagree that Britain would still be a significant economy but I do question your comments on laws you disagree with! Being outside the EU would not mean the end of socialism and the nanny state in the UK. Do you really think the current Labour party would not have enacted most of these laws regardless of whether we are in the EU or not! Labour may hide behind the curtain called “the EU did it” but in fact the social laws would be enacted anyway.

        Laws and spending on social policies are far easier to enact than to take away! Even if the UK was outside of the EU, it would struggle to repeal most of the laws simply through public resistance!

        The EU is far from perfect and there are many laws to disagree with but in the end most of our trade is with the EU and within it we have a much better negotiating position than as a lone country.

        In the current case of strikes, its a good thing that the British Govt cannot enact a law to make sure British jobs are given to British workers. It is called protectionism and it would destroy the UK as it relies so much on trade!

        • adam
          Posted February 3, 2009 at 12:33 am | Permalink

          One is a democracy, one is a totalitarian state. I know which suits me best.

  3. Posted February 2, 2009 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    The thing is, that the employment law in question is fundamental to the operation of the single market. If any national government could amend it, they whole edifice would come crashing down. If the EU isn’t about a single, competitive, thriving market then what is it about??

    • Waramess
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      The employment law in question fails to understand that there are language barriers to our workers seeking meaningful employment overseas and our governments policy on teaching languages at school or more particularly their lack of one does not assist

      The EEC is a bankrupt concept awaiting its fate, which will not be long in coming.

      Free movement of labour-Tosh
      convergence of economies-Tosh
      Single currency-Tosh – more like a recipe for unemployment

    • chris southern
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      The single market as it stands doesn’t work, this is due to the fact that living costs and wages in different countries are different.
      Also, when workers can come into a country and not pay taxes on what they eran due to the short time they are their it also saves the companies money, meaning it’s better to get work from outside of a country regardless of the skills that are already their.

    • Stephen Southworth
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      It is about the substitution of democracy with bureauocracy, the replacement of Common Law systems with Roman Law systems, the downgrading of nations to regions, and the replacement of freedoms with restrictions and regulations.

    • Riddi of England
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      What is it all about …

      Try Napoleon …failed… close run thing
      Try Hitler… failed… very close run thing
      Try Hindenberg…failed … actually a draw
      Try Salazar… failed … after 20 years
      Try Franco … failed … after 40 years
      Try Mussolini … failed … lamp post problem
      Try Enva Hoxha… failed…
      Try Ceaucesceu … failed…
      Try Tito…failed…
      Try Stalin…failed…
      Need one go on

      Now then let us reflect gently

      The Soviet EUnion…I wonder I just wonder.

  4. Hawkeye
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    My own preference is to lose the lead weight of EU legislation and their crackpot ideas, but my fallback position is to leave the “project” and become a “2nd speed” player with trade not politics/laws being the focus.

    Many of us have screamed for years about increasing bureaucratic influence. At one point something called EASA popped out of nowhere to regulate the CAA and other civil aviation bodies and the first anyone knew about it was when they nearly shutdown all UK sporting and general aviation (GA) through their own ineptitude. Even now, 4 or 5 years later, EASA still does not understand the sector it is meant to “govern” and GA has spent fortunes re-registering and revalidating perfectly airworthy aircraft. We waste so much money and time complying with “directives” that is greatly undermines our national competitiveness.

    On a side issue concerning John’s post yesterday about who is on the “extreme right”, most posters said “anyone who disagrees with the policies of the left”. A superb example of this happened on the Today programme when John Humprhries really tore into Peter mandelson over this EU jobs issue only to be warned by Mandy to “stop being so xenophobic”. So there you have it…

    • APL
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Hawkeye: “GA has spent fortunes re-registering and revalidating perfectly airworthy aircraft.”

      Isn’t the same thing happening with the RNLI? I believe they are being forced to re-licence the use of the radio spectrum due to European Union leglislation.

      Same radio spectrum, more expensive registration and revalidation.

      • Hawkeye
        Posted February 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        APL said: “Isn’t the same thing happening with the RNLI?”

        It would not surprise me if it was. General Aviation (GA) is fighting back through organising over the internet.

        The first lunacy was EASA declaring that anything that flew needed 3rd party insurance to cover a £60m claim in the event of an accident. Fine for 737s and Jumbo Jet, but could a hang glider, a hot air balloon or a Cessna inflict £63m worth of damage? Of course not. “Oh bu**er” said EASA “we didn’t mean to include those sorts of aircraft”.

        Along comes “Mode S”. Everything that flies must have a Mode S transponder – including gliders, hang gliders, hot air balloons, paragliders, microlights… A “Mode S” transponder consumes 2.5KW per hour of power so where does a hang glider put the generator? “Oh bu**er” said EASA “we didn’t mean to include those sorts of aircraft”.

        And so on…. The British Gliding Association have just had to re-register all gliders because under EASA all aircraft must be registered under a different coding system. The instructor ratings and renewals and such all seem to be affected. UK GA has a very good safety record – the best in Europe – yet we are having to change our system to a more European system that has a worse accident record. Evidence based statistics are just brushed aside in favour of political homogeny.

        If there is a use for Europe then I’ve not found it. If we are going to stay in then it needs a wholesale reform and cleaning out.

      • Hawkeye
        Posted February 2, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        After typing my reply I went to check the latest MODE S on the CAA webite. There is an 82 page document there summarising the responses

        http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=810&pagetype=90

        Amongst the responses sent in are these little beauties…

        “The proposal correctly points out difficulties for light aircraft and gliders but proposes nothing to ensure protection of their interests.”

        “There has only ever been one collision between an airliner and a glider in the history of aviation and that was non-fatal (in France).”

        “The proposals are a serious attack on the citizen’s right to use the air. Class G is there for the use of GA and the imposition of Mode S carriage rules to those operating in it would impinge severely on their freedom. Once again, a battle between the freedom of the individual and the so called “good of the community” is going to mean another severe loss of freedom.”

        “The lack of mid-air collisions between GA and commercial aircraft demonstrates that the CAA proposals for Mode S are not necessary. In terms of overall life lost in the UK, this is only a perceived risk and it is not as significant as many other collision risks and other causes of aviation accident.”

        The CAA is pressing ahead at the behest of its European masters. The fight goes on….

    • adam
      Posted February 3, 2009 at 12:39 am | Permalink

      Thats how the EU operates. Its like a giant mafia extortion racket. They raise funds through the regulation of everything. It is not designed to help anyone.

  5. molesworth 1
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    “Some now in the UK government wish to suggest this is the BNP at work. ”

    Well, the BNP leader Nick Griffin is standing as a prospective MEP for the North-West region in the Euro-elections so even if they aren’t directly involved in the industrial action, they are sure as hell likely to milk the situation for all it’s worth.

    Re Ian Jones comment “The strikes are nothing more than the unions flexing their muscles…”

    No, the union-leaderships are in a state of confusion – their members are taking grassroots collective action, unsanctioned by the unions, & they don’t know what to say about it. Take a look at the protestors’ organising website (www.bearfacts.co.uk) & a brief perusal of the forum comments shows that they are just as upset with their union leadership as with anything else; these people feel seriously unrepresented & abandoned by the soft-left. With Brown’s seriously misguided “BJ4BW” dog-whistle for a rallying cry the far-right are going to make hay while the sun shines (notwithstanding the current snow…).

    Expect the BNP to have a worryingly strong showing in the local & euro elctions in June in the NW (keep an eye on Sellafield & Heysham) outside the Liverpool & Manchester conurbations.
    In the last euro’s the BNP polled 6.4% of the vote & a poll this time round of just over 8% (I think) would see Griffin take up a seat in the European Parliament, with all the attendant credibility (& funding). If such a calumny were to come to pass I for one would lay the blame squarely at Brown’s door.

  6. Colin D.
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    This dispute will bring home to everyone just how much of what this government says and does is merely a smokescreen and Brussels exercises the real power in the land.
    The lesson for the Conservatives is that they must stop talking about refusing to yield more power to Brussels. Instead, they must talk about retrieving powers from Brussels and list precisely what they will do. Fishing would be a good start.
    We have always believed that any new British government would not be constrained by the actions of previous governments. The Conservatives need to put that in their manifesto and then deliver.

    • APL
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Colin D: “Fishing would be a good start.”

      Howard had a policy of retrieving authority over fishing, but the [according to Mr Redwood] Eurosceptic Mr Cameron squashed it dead, almost the first thing he did as new leader.

      Perhaps it was the second thing he did after breaking his promise to withdraw the Tories for the european grouping in Brussels.

  7. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    This is why we need to be independent. Trade yes,easy movement yes, but thats all.
    De Gaul would not admit Britain because ” we were not continental enough” he was right then and it is true now.

    I do not want to be ruled by France and Germany. They do not have our interests at heart. They never have and never will.

    That is the real world.

  8. Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The official opposition may well have voted against the transfer of sovereign power to the EU but it hasn’t said it will take it back.

    Accountable politics will never happen at home until we restore the veto’s given away by Blair, or decide to remove ourselves from much of the legislation taken on by Labour without the consent of the British electorate.

    In regards to the walkouts, it seems fundamentally wrong to exclude the unemployed of the host nation awarding a contract from the opportunity themselves to work. I don’t think it right to discriminate against British workers simply because the contractor happens to be foreign. The result of this is to leave British workers unemployed so legislation should be aimed to protect employment rights rather than corporate rights.

    “Labour’s EU policy has been based on the false spin that they wanted all this EU law and had influence over it. Just like their economic policy, it is now falling apart”……….Indeed. Yet it is unlikely to be changed when William Hague is supporting wholeheartedly the single market without challenge as he did on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday. For me personally, his response lacked any argument which reflects his previous stance on the Lisbon Treaty and is clearly divorced from any feeling to protect British workers at all.

    Incidentally, why do these rules only seem to apply to private industry. Why don’t we have an Australian government if we’re all in a global ‘get the best value for our money economy’, or how are 8,000 French Inland Reveue workers not sitting outside in caravans? Where is the sense in cutting training places for nurses then hiring them from the Philippines and others places, or permitting our doctors to form a queue for jobs whilst advertising for Indian doctors? – Also, how are Polish recruitment agencies allowed here which only employ Polish workers? – Why is a foreign airport worker not subject to criminal checks yet British applicants are?

    It’s a complete mess surely?
    We are not in a ‘global economy’, we don’t move hundreds of our workers overseas, they are individuals. Nor do we have mass influx of British labour into China, Russia, USA, Australia or Europe or other places, so WE are not in a global economy, but the global economy is in us, as a result of Labour Policies.

  9. Robert Eve
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    My hope is that the strikes escalate and Brown is forced into a General Election (some hope I know)!

    The Tories will win and then Dave will have to give us the Lisbon referendum.

    Here’s hoping!!

    • chris southern
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      a lisbon referendum is pointless, if we give the “wrong” answer we will just be told to vote again.
      As has been done with various countries that have allowed their people to vote (as they have said NO.)

      You cannot change the EUSSR from within, it’s desighned in that way.

      • Robert Eve
        Posted February 2, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Whilst I have a lot of sympathy with what you say, the current Tory leadership is not yet ready to withdraw from the EU.

        They believe negotiation is possible but I am sceptical.

        I’d like to see a UK vote clearly rejecting Lisbon and then see how things develop.

        • number 6
          Posted February 3, 2009 at 11:24 am | Permalink

          Agreed, to try and ‘reform’ the EU is akin to trying to reform the Mafia.

  10. no one
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    the problem isnt other European workers, free movement and equity between European nationals is fine (as long as brits get a fair and equitable chance at jobs)

    the real problem is the thousands of work visas handed out to 3rd world nationals from (non EU countries -ed) etc by the outsourcing companies such as (names supllied)

    these organisations are not on a level playing field, using both on and off shore ways of moving work abroad, not paying the same tax etc burden

    many companies will not hire grads in high tech industries now, rather they only use (overseas employees -ed), this means that in ten, twenty years time there will be not british senior staff cos the were never hired at the bottom and worked there way up

    and many of the (overseas employees-ed) working for these companies have kids while they are here, and once they have children in the UK going to schools here they NEVER get sent home – regardless of what the rules pretend to say

    so I am afraid the thousands of folk working for these companies and others in the UK really are taking jobs away from brits and europeans

    actually i like these folk, i just object to the rather uneven playing field, and the anti british folk bias being built into the system

  11. Susan
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Ian, I think you will find that the strikes are neither instigated nor supported by the Unions; any newspaper will give you the facts. When the Labour Party were in Opposition and opposing the EU, the Trades Unions were alone in their support (imagine the power of EU-wide Trades Unions!). To (almost) use your own phrase, “For the pro-EU nuts I suggest you get out and see the real world.”

    btw there are reports this morning of those perceived to be the organisers of the strikes being held by the police, of having their email a/cs suspended and their mobile phones confiscated. If true, it’s hardly good news.

    http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=103188&st=150&start=150

    • Ian Jones
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      I admit I have only access to the news as provided by the newspapers online. The comments from the unions arenvery careful in that they cannot be seen to be supporting it otherwise they are liable legally and financially.

      Threatening to bring down the energy sector of the country is not going to go down too well with the Govt or MI5!!!

      Dangerous days ahead.

      • Susan
        Posted February 2, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        You’re right, of course, since if the strike continues and spreads then that may be an untended consequence leading to the implementation of the Civil Contingencies Act.

        This trouble stems from successive govts not being open with the people about the effects of the EU – attempts to discuss it has been greeted with taunts of xenophobia, racism, Little Englander. For example, Peter Hain has just stood up in the House and used the phrase, “right-wing, anti-European protectionist” – how’s that for muddying the waters?

        It also doesn’t help that those who have worked for the EU are guaranteed a life-time pension providing they support it at every opportunity and never speak against it. How objective can Mandelson be and where do his true loyalties lie – to this country or to the EU?

        • APL
          Posted February 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          Susan: “Peter Hain has just stood up in the House and used the phrase, “right-wing, anti-European protectionist” – how’s that for muddying the waters?”

          consistent behaviour for his ilk.

          Throw enough mud, some of it will stick.

          Susan: “It also doesn’t help that those who have worked for the EU are guaranteed a life-time pension providing they support it …”

          Of course, talk about a fifth column.

          Kinnock, Mandelson are but the first of an army of nonentities appointed to the heart of our government but in the pay and sworn to serve a foreign power – the European Union.

  12. Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    John, you have hit the nail on the head when you say that this is a protest by ordinary people as opposed to BNP agitation. The Labour Party must now face the reality that Labour supporters, among others, want what Gordon Brown promised them but cannot deliver: British jobs for British workers. I wonder if some of them are the children of the trade-unionists who protested in favour of Enoch Powell’s prophetic but oft-misquoted speech on the perils of immigration. – FD

  13. david
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Speech on single european act 1988 by PM Thatcher.

    You might say: weren’t we supposed to have a common market already? Wasn’t that the reason we joined Europe in the first place?[fo 6] Weren’t we promised all this in 1973?

    It’s a fair question to ask. And the truthful answer is: Europe wasn’t open for business. Underneath the rhetoric, the old barriers remained. Not just against the outside world, but between the European countries.[fo 7]

    Not the classic barriers of tariffs, but the insiduous ones of differing national standards, various restrictions on the provision of services, exclusion of foreign firms from public contracts.

    Now that’s going to change. Britain has given the lead. [There was a tendency in Europe to talk in lofty tones of European Union.[fo 8]

    That may be good for the soul. But the body—Europe’s firms and organisations and the people who work in them—needs something more nourishing.]

    We recognised that if Europe was going to be more than a slogan then we must get the basics right. That meant action.[fo 9]

    Action to get rid of the barriers. Action to make it possible for insurance companies to do business throughout the Community. Action to let people practice their trades and professions freely throughout the Community. Action to remove the customs barriers and formalities so that goods can circulate[fo 10] freely and without time-consuming delays. Action to make sure that any company could sell its goods and services without let or hindrance. Action to secure free movement of capital throughout the Community.

    All this is what Europe is now committed to do. In 1985 the Community’s Heads of[fo 11] Government gave a pledge to complete the single market by 1992. To make sure that it was not just a pious hope, they made that pledge part of the Treaty, as the Single European Act.

    So it’s going to happen. Indeed the barriers are already coming down. Monsieur Delors, the President of the[fo 12] Commission, and our own Commissioner Arthur Cockfield, deserve a lot of credit for the way in which they are keeping up the momentum.

  14. Iain
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I agree, shame the opposition leadership couldn’t have made the same points.

    Westminster politicians must be feeling a tad uncomfortable , for they have allowed people to believe they are sovereign and should be held accountable on issues over which they no longer have any power , having signed away that power to Brussels, and are now reduced to telling the electorate to ‘go and eat cake’ in Italy, in Spain, in Germany, which wasn’t a very successful political strategy when first used.

  15. Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I’m keeping everything crossed for a Winter of Discontent Mark II.

  16. chris
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    “Some of his colleagues clearly think the strikers are right, and from their position facing re-election, …”

    When you are unelected, like Mandelson, I guess the above consideration doesn’t matter.

  17. Cliff.
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    If we accept the argument that all politicians and political parties seek power in order to govern the country it begs the following question;
    Why do so many politicians, apart from a few like Mr Redwood, appear so keen to give that power away to an unelected group of Europeans? What’s in it for them? Will they get the same sort of benefits that the political classes got in the old USSR? It just makes no sense.
    Over the last couple of decades, we have seen a systematic attempt to run down everything that Britain ever stood for. Our culture, our freedoms, our sense of fair play, our sense of morality and our national identity have all been eroded but, to what end? Even some Conservatives are becoming more sympathetic to the concept of the EUSSR. While we have seen the major authoritarian socialist/communist states fail and come around to a more free market western ideology, why are we going backwards towards this failed system?
    I suppose the views I have expressed above makes me right wing….So what?

    I have also noticed that many people, including politicians and the media, throw names at people to stifel debate, the problem, from their point of view, is that overuse of such terms such as homophobic, Islamaphobic,sexist and racist have diminished their effect, it is like the boy who cried wolf. Basically, if one expresses any thoughts other than those put forward by the PC brigade, one is rewarded with one of the “isms” or “phobic” labels. Of course the left hates people thinking for themselves and prefers to tell people what they are allowed to think. Step one to this end; control the media. Step two;Control education and so on.

    Whilst it is difficult to support law breakers, as law needs to be changed through the ballot box, I am pleased to see British people at long last laking a stand against the creeping state of the EUSSR. My only concern is this; Do we really have any prospect of reversing the situation with so many politicians of all parties supporting the concept of and continued membership of the EUSSR project….Again I ask, what is in it for them?

    • adam
      Posted February 3, 2009 at 12:52 am | Permalink

      They also seem to think they deserve a pay rise for doing so.
      Evidence that these are people who live in a fantasy land that cannot last.

  18. DennisA
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    We cannot choose bits of legislation for repatriation. To paraphrase the the lines of a song, “The only way is out”.

  19. Malc Simmonds
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Lord Denning was right: “The Treaty (of Rome) is like an incoming tide. It flows into the estuaries and up the rivers. It cannot be held back.”

    You mention herbal remedies and the EU Directive due for 2011.

    If my herbal company wants to lobby the legislature about having to license 100 of our products (sold safely since 1982) at a cost of £50,000 each – ie £5m – then we can’t go to London – where the legislature used to be; we have to go to Brussels.

    AND – it’s a complete waste of time as the rest of the UE are happy with the changes the Directive promises. Basically they were heavily restricted in the first place; so this extra regulation which is a massive change for the UK is a ‘relaxation of the rules’ for them.

    Correct me if I’m wrong – but didn’t Great Britain used to be independent?

    I’m sure life was more fun before we were part of the EU’s 27 (and growing) vanilla-flavoured components.

  20. Posted February 2, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    The only BNP link is Gordon’s disgraceful promise of British jobs for British workers which he ripped of from them (they probably actually meant it). (words left out-ed)
    I suspect the enthusiasm power station workers are showing for supporting this owes something to their realising (A) the contempt they have been treated with by government over the last 12 years as they have been left to produce our electricity while the money was poured into windmills & them getting blamed for the ensuing high costs & (B) the extremely powerful position our power shortages puts them in.

  21. A. Sedgwick
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    As previously written we need an in/out referendum on the EU to decide if we are going to be full members and that includes the Euro or as I believe that the whole European Community adventure has been a disaster for Great Britain. If Cameron does not have this in his manifesto I after over 45 years of voting Conservative will not be doing so again. The issue needs to be resolved and they don’t come much bigger. There is no reason why it should split the Party if an adult free vote attitude is taken. Apart from anything else it will be a stunning vote winner at the next election.

  22. APL
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    JR: “Mr Mandelson has correctly concluded that he has to argue it through against the strikers, because there is no other way out of this government impasse.”

    No. Mr Mandelson has broken his oath of allegance to the Crown, and offered it instead to Brussels, he is still being paid by Brussels and is [ I try to put this calmly ] decieving the population of the United Kingdom and the workers in this dispute as to his motives.

  23. Michael Taylor
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    The focus on the democratic erosion achieved by the EU is ok (it feels good, we’d all love to be shot of the US, but we also all know that we’ll never get a vote on it, and the next Conservative govt will do nothing substantial in retrieving our sovereign democratic rights. Sorry etc, but let’s face it).

    But at the moment, the concentration on the EU aspect allows us to not think about the substance of the issue. Do we really want to jettison the benefits of the free market at the first sign of popular trouble? Probably not. But surely, we can feel the outrage, and sheer iniquity of what these workers are having to put up with? So what’s the right response?

    I suspect that what no-one’s willing to say, because it’s so impolite, is that the Italians/Portuguese were drafted in not because they’re cheaper, but because . . . they’re better at the job. The ‘British skilled worker’ may not be competitive even in his own country, even at comparable wages. This, I suspect, is the real cause of the problem, and if it’s humiliating for me to write it, imagine how much more humiliating, shaming, it must be for those who have been passed over.

    One can have two reactions. First, ‘how have we come to this?’ And that would doubtless involve a seriously lengthy set of denunciations of Britain’s institutions and infrastructure. I’ll not do it here.

    Second reaction: ‘What can we do about it, and what should we do about it?’ And this, surely, is the crux. If the ‘skilled British worker’ has been progessively (sic) de-skilled over the decades, can free marketeers swallow some limited and repeatedly contested ‘infant industry’ protection measures to be put in place whilst we ‘re-skill’ our workforce. I think we could, and probably should.

    Perhaps we could look at the mechanisms for ‘repeatedly contested protection’ for industries whose workforce needs need dramatic and early re-skilling. Ie, you provide some measure of contingent protection, but only provided hard targets for reskilling are set, and met. Any takers?

    • JJWS
      Posted February 3, 2009 at 1:34 am | Permalink

      Hang on- Leaving the EU doesn’t mean abandoning the free market. The Britrish created globalisation – we have no reason to turn our back on it. If anything the EU is stalwart against free trade – look at the level of protection for agricultural produce and shoe making. The EU means free trade in Europe – not global free trade.

      And frankly I would rather suffer the humiliation of becoming the 51st state and to be sucked into an ever deeper socialist coalition of Europe.

      • Michael Taylor
        Posted February 3, 2009 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        JJWS – I do apologize: for reasons I don’t understand that first sentence shouldn’t have included the phrase ‘we all want to be shot of the US’ , I had intended to it to read ‘we all want to be shot of it [ie, the EU].’ It’s rather worrying that my fingers typed what they actually did – I shall avoid thinking about why it happened.

        I do, of course, appreciate that the EU is (at best) a Customs Union, and therefore, as you observe a ‘stalwart against free trade’. My point was simply that much as I would love Britain’s politicians to grant us some democratic voice on continued membership of this damaging Customs Union, it ain’t going to happen.

        Rather, I was trying to square my sympathy with our workers with my ideological commitment to free trade – since this is an argument which I think we’ve got to embrace, if we’re not to surrender the free-trade argument by default.

  24. Donitz
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    What I state now is against everything I believe in but we are in strange times. I no longer a believe in an open economy when we import everything and export nothing.

    Our exports:
    Oil – running out and no current demand.
    Banks – what banks???
    Weapons – wars are beginning to look very unfashionable, they are so last year.

    Our imports:
    Everything
    Cheap Labour

    Do we currently have more to gain than to loose by protection of our own markets???

    • Adam
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      In 2007 UK exports of goods totalled £220 billion. Of this oil was £22 billion, “medicinal products” (drugs) £14 billion, “road vehicles” (cars and trucks) £21 billion, mechanical machinery £29 billion and electrical machinery £24 billion.

      Exports of services were £149 billion of which financial services were only £13 billion.

      So it seems that our national self-image as a nation that can’t make things kept afloat by oil and financial services is somewhat wide of the mark. Protectionism is not the way forward.

      (All these figures from the Office for National Statistics.)

      • Donitz
        Posted February 3, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        If those stats are true thats great news.

  25. Tim
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    John

    Quick question (sorry unrelated) as I know you’re keen on transport issues.

    How come a widely predicted gust of snow has left our country paralysed?

    I have seven people in my team (including me). Six of us didn’t make it in through a combination of no trains, blocked roads and no faith in our authorities to put it right in order to get back tonight !

    Any thoughts ?

    Reply: I have been out and about and thought the Highways people had done a great job. I found it very easy as there were so few cars on the road.Trains of course are another thing – the techn ology is very bad at working in rain or snow or with leaves on line, which is why I have been proposing changes to give them some grip in such conditions.

  26. James Morrison
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ve often wondered, given that 80% (?) of new laws are coming from Brussels, why aren’t our MPs reducing their salaries to reflect their reduced influence/workload!?

  27. Posted February 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    All The Conservative Party needs to do is to state that they will honour that which The British People were told by Heath’s Government and dismiss the scandal so nastily hiddenof a European Federation.

  28. chris southern
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    The EU should be reduced to a trade federation where they handle disputes and help to get standards to the same level.
    They should not have powers to dictate.

    Withdrawal from the EU and negotiating trade deal from outside is the only way we can gain our liberties back.
    They can keep mugabi brownovich, we don’t want him.

  29. Kay Tie
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    The EU regulations in this matter are anti-protectionist, to the benefit of all of us (well, all except for the incompetent and lazy who used to hide under the protection of guilds and unions).

    If we opened these regulations even a crack then the French Government would put in place laws to exclude British companies from doing business in France.

    • APL
      Posted February 3, 2009 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Kay Tie: “The EU regulations in this matter are anti-protectionist,”

      Even if one took that to be true, then it rather seems to contradict the next statement ..

      “If we opened these regulations even a crack then the French Government would put in place laws to exclude British companies from doing business in France.”

      The French are either subject to the EU anti protectionist laws, or they are not.

      But this attitude rather highlights the problem in the UK, the case is made that we shouldn’t do a thing because another country might disapprove of it. What a spineless way to conduct our domestic and foreign affairs.

  30. Stephen Southworth
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    An EU v Independent state battle had to happen at some point, and that point has finally been reached.

    When the working classes of this country realise that their own elected Government is powerless to change the laws of this country on something as fundamental as keeping them in work, then (political protest-ed) must surely be just around the corner? The EU cannot become what it wants to become (a country in it’s own right) without winning this kind of argument, and putting down such protests. The EU cannot become what it wants to become without taking the people along by consent. In short, the EU can never become what it wants to become whilst the UK is a member.

    I do not support the strikes and I support the right of companies to bring in foreign labour if it is more economical to do so. I do not support EU regulations that, once made, cannot be unmade, especially given the fact that people of this country have never been given a vote on losing their soveriegn rights to self determination. The EEC had consent in this country, the EU has NEVER had consent.

    We need a vote along these lines :

    In the EU as it is and committed once and for all to further ‘integration’, withdrawal to an Economic trading partner status, or out altoghether?

    Most people, in my opinion, would favour the trading relationship. It must be put to a vote at some point in this country or there will be, in all liklihood, even darker times ahead.

  31. number 6
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    To paraphrase the old anti tory chant, so beloved of the SWP/Student Union know nothings when delivered to Mrs Thatcher, “EU EU EU out out out!”

  32. Charles Beresford
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    John. I have always been an admirer of your point of view, until the Conservative party offer an alternative to the Europe we a sleepwalking into I will not be voting full stop. Free trade area only! That’s what I voted for, not what we now have. I hope to live to see the day when the population of the UK wake up and put an end to the expensive nightmare the EU has caused. I long to see our 200 mile limit restored then we may have some fish in the shops, an end to the Common Agriculture Policy, we may then have control of our price of food, instead of Germany and France, those two will never renegotiate the CAP for their own selfish reasons, Blair tried in 2000 in Berlin and failed. We need full control of our Parliament and legal system again, why does the EU now make 50% of our rules, and you know the idiots that follow them out to the letter unlike France and others. Roll back to Free Trade Area or we Withdraw is the answer to all of the above questions. Ireland is heading for the rocks at full steam-a-head with the ruder jammed, with Italy, Spain, and Greece in hot pursuit into oblivion. Spain has 14% unemployment and expected to hit 20% shortly how long before they say enough of this madness. I cannot see Italy Spain Ireland or Greece still in the Euro in five years time, they need the flexibility of their own currency again to protect then from the Euro inflexibility which will surly be its down fall.

  33. Sue
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    You are definitely correct. The EU have far too much power. The EU could be a great organisational tool for cooperation between the Member States, but not in its current form.

    I doubt whether the citizens of the UK are the only ones not happy with the current situation. I hear resentment here amongst the Spanish too. The EU is winding everyone up!

    It is obvious that the “citizens” of the EU are not happy with the way things are.

  34. Blank Xavier
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    JR wrote:
    > Fishermen have long raised this issue over the progressive
    > collapse of their industry under the Common Fishing Policy.

    One minor point, quite distinct from the article proper; CFP was no more responsible for the collapse of European fisheries than any other form of Government regulation. Fisheries do not experience sustainable fishing under any form of central regulation; the lack of ownership rights makes the fish common property which inexorably leads to a tragedy of the commons.

    The only viable solution to this is to assign private property rights for the fisheries to the fishermen themselves. They then have an interest in maintaining and nuturing a sustainable fishery.

    Furthermore, they manage to do this without a 23,500,000 pounds annual budget.

  35. Posted February 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I think the point to take form this is not necessarily that the principles of the Single Market held in the EU laws are in question. As a believer in a free market – as any right wing libertarian ought to be – I also believe that there should be no bar to anyone working anywhere, providing they have the skills for the job.

    I’m fairly certain that the British nationals working abroad on projects in Spain, Italy, and the rest of Europe will not be striking in sympathy. As ever, the Daily Mash manages to satirise this issue while striking scarily close to the nub. Where the issue complicates is that while Mandelson might rightly tell the workers they can work in Europe, working away from home isn’t always going to be a prospect, particularly for those with dependants. Counter to that, of course, is that while it may not be convenient for them, it doesn’t mean they can’t.

    What is in question here is who gets to make the decisions. Westminster should not have to play second fiddle to the EU. We have taken far too weak a stance and given up far too much to the expensive bureaucracy on the continent. The single market is one of Thatcher’s greatest legacies, our involvement on balance brings far more economic winners than losers; the strikers ought to bear this in mind, lest they forget the Total plant benefits greatly from French investment.

    I’m all for involvement in a European free market. I just don’t think we need the EU to do it.

  36. brian kelly
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t there a very large trade imbalance viz a vis the EU? If true, why should we be afraid in making demands to change those laws, regulation and acts which mitigate against this country? What are the reasons why labour support the EU? What made them change their mind?

  37. brian kelly
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Today on the radio 4 ‘Today’ program John Humphries interviewed Peter Mandelson regarding the current strikes. At one point he said that the govt’s attitude to the strike can in no way be compared to Norman Tebbit’s ‘Get on your bike’ comments. In virtually the next breath he said there were several hundred thousand job vacancies and the workers should seek to fill those. If that isn’t ‘Get on your bike’ talk, what is? Perhaps in this case he meant they should ‘walk’.

  38. Bazman
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    For years companies have been in a race to the bottom. I have consistently said, what next work camps for Indian and Chinese workers? The British worker abroad filled the skill gaps in the indigenous workforce in often remote and low skill economies or in the case of Germany a middle class country short of manual skills. The wages where mainly higher than the local workforce reflecting this. For years the difference between contractors wages and a permanent employees wages in this country was quite large reflecting the transient nature of contracting and the costs incurred because of this. Often with higher levels of skill and output required. In short quality and quantity.
    The companies have for years eroded the difference in these rates of pay, reducing accommodation allowances and not paying for skills, to cut costs using any means necessary. The widening of the EU was a gift in this respect. (Some-ed) East Europeans living five to a room and travaling five to a car sharing food costs. How is any British worker supposed to compete with this. The problem is that (E. Europeans) being human turn into British citizens with British expectations.
    We are now into the next stage of these companies exploiting the wage differences in Europe again. All quite legally, by the use of accommodation ships. Thus proving they are not paying wages high enough for the workers to live in Britain and make a useful contribution to the economy. Another example of money going to capital and less to labour. The unions have been weak towards this for many years and these contractors have had enough. It will be interesting to see how free marketer/anti EU /anti union people, square this one off, and they will.
    I wish I had a job in the civil service, preferably in Europe. Nice.

    • Iain
      Posted February 3, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      “All quite legally, by the use of accommodation ships.”

      I thought I was being a bit provocative talking about Britain becoming a dormitory country for the itinerant cheap workforce the CBI wants to bring in , I never thought we would get to see the reality of what I was suggesting in quite such a brutal way.

      Its now very easy to see why the British establishment and CBI are so gung ho about Turkey joining the EU, they must be positively drooling about the 80 million cheap labour force they can ship here.

  39. Simon
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    You have a good and probably justified go at the EU. But you make no comment on whether the strikers are right or wrong. Presumably, as a free trader, you agree that TOTAL ought to be able to employ contractors, who in turn bring in foreign labour. In which case, on this matter anyway, you agree with the EU mandated single market. Isn’t it a bit cowardly not to give your opinion? It’s easy to just go with the flow of public opinion and bash the EU.

    Reply: I would like local workers to have an opportunity to apply for the new jobs of the contractor, other than key personnel crucial to the contractors management of the business. The same could apply the other way round when a UK contractor wins a contract in a far away place. There is an interesting question of how we suddenly find decent accommodation for all these new arrivals, and whether government is planning to help with that in anyway.

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 2, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Interesting comments made here.

      The fact of the matter is that some (not all) workers from foreign lands who have the full options to work here under EU legislation do not live like the average home worker who is usually attempting to raise their own family in accomodation designed for one family.

      The competition (foriegn workers) sometimes live as many individuals in one house of multiple occupation, sometimes two to a room. Some Brits also do this when working abroad.

      Given that many workers (all earning) contribute and live in one property, the overheads are lower for each individual and so they need less income to survive. In many cases they still earn enough to send money home to their families, who still live in their natural Country.

      The very fact that we have free movement of labour, of many millions of people, in many Countries means that chaos can happen in any local workplace if there is a concentration of such labour in one place.

      A worker who is supporting one family in one house, requires more money than many individual workers living in one house. its a fact of life, and its the free market at work, like it or not.

      The problem is, which worker is better for the whole community in the long run ?????

      I think some 50,000 new national insurance numbers have been issued by the government in the past year or two to foreign labour who are helping in the building our olympic games structures, so the effect is that little of this money earned in a totally legal way will circulate in this Country, and an unknown amount will find itself being sent abroad (to the workers family) helping some other Countries economy.

      I do not offer a clever solution, I have been a skilled manual worker having served a full engineering indetured apprenticeship, I have been a responsible Union shop steward, I have been self employed where I have had to earn my living on a day to day basis, I have run my own business and employed others.

      I have sympathy with both arguements, but the fact of the matter is many Countries in Europe choose which European laws and Regulations they enforce to suit themselves, and which they do not.

      In this Country we seem to bow to European law and regulation like no other. We encourage stupid enforcement to a point that is laughable if it was not so serious.

      The only really sensible option is for us act like some other Countries and start being selfish, and not to play by the rules which we do not like.

      Aware that this is not playing the game, and is very un British, but until the vast majority of the people wake up and smell the bacon that we are not now allowed to run our own Country in the way we wish, because of Europe, we will not get anywhere.

      Can someone somewhere please make this argument and make a stand before it all ends in tears and or bankruptcy.

  40. Alan Wheatley
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Ever since it became apparent that joining the common market was not in fact a vote for free trade but a mistaken step towards political union I have been of the opinion that the EU was bound to end in failure. How long this would take has been difficult to judge, but failure seemed a certainty.

    This is because the EU is fundamentally undemocratic, and eventually people would say enough is enough and take to the streets in protest, (words left out) though not initially in the UK. Perhaps the end game is now in sight.

  41. number 6
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    John,

    I hope Mr Cameron reads, or is passed information from your excellent site. I hope he can then see for himself the well thought out and rational, yet still heartfelt, distaste that Conservative voters have for the EU.

    These are no ‘swivel eyed nutters’ or whatever idiotic comment was once leveled at those who oppose the EU, rather geninuely concerned British citizens who see the very basic principle of their own country making and enforcing its own laws for its own citizens being eroded by the ever encroaching powers of the EU.

    I am sure that many Conservatives, myself included, now vote UKIP and it will take more than posturing on this vital issue to bring us back into the fold.

    • Charles Beresford
      Posted February 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      HERE, HERE number 6, many of us know this is the case, so Mr Cameron if you want an even larger majority, wise up to the mood of your supporters.

    • Susan
      Posted February 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I echo your words but cannot bring myself to vote UKIP. What I want is a positive statement from the Conservative Party on the EU. In it but not run by it cuts even less ice now.

      In life, everything is give and take. At the moment I see only years of British economic and political degradation at the hands of the EU and an agreement between the parties (DC – “we will achieve the same aim but by different means”).

      I have been a lifelong, natural Conservative voter for all of my life except when I first voted at eighteen, read all the electoral manifestos and voted Communist in a local election. It’s time everyone else grew up as well.

      • number 6
        Posted February 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Susan,

        I took me a long time to switch my vote and what is right for me is not going to be right for everyone. I came to the conclusion that I simply had to vote with my conscience and that was telling me that another vote for my old party was (sadly) another vote for continued ‘membership’ of the EU.

  42. Posted February 3, 2009 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Why I support the “British Wildcats”.

    As the economic crisis deepens, and thousands are thrown out of work across Britain and Europe, many people are showing outrage at what they see as a bailout for bankers by smug politicians who appear to assume neither blame, responsibility or concern, for growing numbers of ordinary people who are experiencing or are in threat of facing severe social and financial hardships as a result of the financial crisis.

    Their ideological pursuit continues with the unconscionable market freedoms for business and for the rampaging capitalism which caused the crisis by the mindless actions of an unelected political elite, who in this desperate time continue to show a crass lack of concern, despite they are responsible for the devastating economic results to our society, many of which are pending, and in many cases are already being experienced by millions of people in Britain and across Europe.

    Whilst bankers are bailed out by taxpayers, politicians sit in safety, and people suffer by paying the results of the failure of politicians and union leaders to consider the needs of society above their own blind ideological following of the single market without dissent or argument, no better is this divide exposed, than by the sight of the British Minister for Trade, Peter Mandelson, who dismissed the claims of discrimination as “indefensibly incorrect”.

    Ex-European Commissioner Mandelson still receives his Commissioner income of £78,000 a year from Brussels in addition to his £104,000 per year salary as a government minister. He said the strikers should return to work, there is “no discrimination occurring as the tender had been open to British companies”, and has asked ACAS, the government Arbitration Conciliation and Advisory Service, to make enquiries and to produce ( yet another government report ) “within weeks”.

    Non-elected government minister Lord Mandelson, speaking in the House of Lords yesterday, plainly spoke for the European Single Market and against the concerns of many British workers as well as many unemployed who are being represented by the “British Wildcat” protesters at energy plants up and down the country.

    Several hundred power workers walked out in a spontaneous action, when they saw they were excluded from any selection or consideration for the 400 new jobs under the Total contract and many have since joined them.

    The Total contract was given to the Italian engineering and construction firm “Irem”, which simply transferred 400 of its Italian and Portuguese workers in 3 accommodation barges to Lincolnshire in order to fulfill the Total oil refinery contract. Seeing this and that there was no intention to consider local skilled unemployed workers for any of the positions, the wildcat protestors said “we’ve had enough”.

    In freezing snowy weather, the protestors gathered and stood in large peaceful numbers. For once they were together in support for their aim to secure “parity and fairness”. The “British Wildcats” have since set up a website which they call a “Strike Support Collective”.

    Their website says their aims are ;

    “This is a time of huge and growing economic pain caused by the bursting of New Labour’s economically suicidal credit bubble. It is monstrously unfair to ordinary workers and their families that the political class are putting the advancement of their undemocratic European Union and globalisation projects before the right of British workers – regardless of race, creed or colour – to having a fair chance of getting a job in their own country.”

    Whilst Gordon Brown and other British politicians including George Osborne, William Hague and Kenneth Clarke, cry for globalisation and a single market, they obviously forget the political aim is to improve the lives of ordinary people FIRST.

    When they bailout banks which in turn meet the expense of personal bonuses with taxpayers money, they forget who their customers are and show a total lack of regard for the society in which they seek trade. As businesses go bust and people are thrown out of work, the banks make nothing of their social obligations as access to credit remains frozen despite the pleas from government and from opposition on all sides which continue to promote European Union Directives which leave people in Britain and Europe out in the cold and in protest.

    Given the demonstration occurring in France, Greece, Bulgaria and other Eastern European countries for governments which will “listen”, the potential for further escalation of spontaneous political actions and demonstrative protest is quite likely. If unions themselves become involved and if they decide their loyalty really lies with their members, then it could become an awful lot worse for our political classes many of which who currently rest safe in their ideological dream which excludes the very people who they are there to represent.

    It surely cannot be right or proper to not consider locals who are unemployed and instead to protect employers above people with European Laws enshrined within the Single Market, and to ignore the social and political implications and the effects of laws which seek to remove the simple rights of local people to be fairly included in the selection process when a business is seeking to employ new workers in the very area they live, and to say “You can get a job in Europe”, is totally unacceptable when politicians have said they’ll “share the proceeds of growth”, “British jobs for British workers”, and that “We must mend our broken society”.

    Without social conscience in our politics then it can only become worse, as fathers and mothers are by reason of necessity, forced to divide in order to find work in places miles apart from one another and the family home which will destroy societies across Britain and Europe. It is for this reason I give my wholehearted support to “The British Wildcats”.

    http://www.britishwildcats.com/

    Meanwhile, the only answer politicians give, is that the British people have the “freedom” to look for work in Europe, which in turn makes family life and British society meaningless.

    Parliament must take control and allow a conscience to be inserted into our politics with Europe and removing us to EFTA is one way they could achieve it.

  43. Posted February 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    A couple of people peripherally involved in the industries involved on a radio phone in tosay said pretty much the same – that it wasn’t really xenophobia but being fed up with the way manufacturing workers have to bear all the burdens while government employees are safe from any reducdancies/loss of pensions because when the economy bottoms all that happnes is that more tax money is transfered from manufacturers to civil servants.

    Can’t disagree with that.

  44. Adrian Peirson
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    This Great country and people did not need to be in this corrupt Expensive club 200 yrs ago and we did fine.

    The EU is simply another Gravy train for Beaurocrats, 80% of its budget is unnacounted for and accountants have failed to sign their books off for 13 years.
    It has been voted down on numerous occaisions, Switzerland, France, Holland, Ireland.
    Heath lied to us on the true intention behind this One World Project.
    We are a Net contributor to this elitist, bumbling, corrupt, wannabe empire.
    Membership of this has destroyed our Fishing Industry, and increasingly appears increasingly to wish to do the same to our Farming, In addition Westminster has sold off our Industries overseas.

    The EU is not meant to be efficient, it is designed to Control and farm the populace.

    We need to get out so the British people can get back to work unhindered by the Beurocratic Treacle that is the EU.

    If we do this, the EU will fail because other nations will simply have to follow our lead or Drown in the Wash of HMS Brittania.

    http://tinyurl.com/ahppda

  45. James D
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    There’s always a semi-nuclear option: rather than formally leave the EU, pass an enabling act to allow the government to temporarily suspend the sections of legislation that recognize EU employment law and EU courts (and to withhold funding from the EU should they try anything against our interests).

  46. Bazman
    Posted February 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    …..Mandelson, who dismissed the claims of discrimination as “indefensibly incorrect”. Lives in an ivory tower Most of these contractors are self employed or work through agencies who simply do not put any British workers forward for the jobs as the East European workers will do the job for less and often, because of cultural differences are less concerned about health and safety. Anyone who has any BNP sympathies who works in these industries can be sure that should this party get any say. Health and safety will cease to exist. Not a problem if your risks of work are not much more than stabbing your finger with a pencil. Many of these companies are reluctant to employ local labour per say, as it is advantageous to have a workforce who just want to get the job done and get home. They can be leaned on because of this. Many British projects in the past in my opinion discriminated against local labour without the foreign element. Is Scotland foreign? Shipyards especially. Mandelson should also note that a job that says welders required on national minimum wage discriminates against British workers as welders do not weld for national minimum wage. Do your job for NMW Mandelson, as its all you are worth.

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  • […] John Redwood makes the point: For years the UK government has told us that it influences EU legislation, and had got on well with our partners. The truth has usually been very different. The UK government has found out what the EU plans to do next, and then has told us it finds that acceptable or a good idea. Where it realises that an EU measure is going to be unpopular it either plays it down, or tells us it is going to press for changes. If it manages a minor change it then heralds this as a success and gives in on the bigger principles at stake. As a result of its retreats we have lost a big chunk of our financial rebate successfully negotiated by Margaret Thatcher, we have imported huge quantities of regulation whilst the government has told us it is deregulatory in spirit, and we have adopted the canons of EU labour and migration law. […]

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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