What kind of economy would you like?
While the EU faces existential threats, and EU economies stagnate, there’s at least one growth area. The economic verbiage proliferates and spreads like Japanese knotweed. We had the green economy (or perhaps non-economy). We then had the blue economy (big pitch for marine activity – and algae). Since then we’ve had the Circular Economy (don’t ask!); the sharing economy; the collaborative economy.
The new rule in Brussels seems to be “When in doubt, create a new cliché”. It suggests you might know what you’re talking about – especially if your interlocutor hasn’t caught up with the new buzz-word yet. Personally I’d be happy to settle for a good old-fashioned plain-vanilla economy, if only it worked.
On Dec 1st, we had a hearing in the ITRE Committee, chaired by my old friend Jerzy Buzek, with the very comely Polish Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, who has responsibility for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
After her presentation we had a debate. A Romanian member was keen to point out that it was his country’s Independence Day. Not to be out-done, a Finnish member added that Finland’s Independence Day came shortly, on December 6th.
I was already on the Speakers’ List, and I’m afraid I couldn’t resist the temptation to start : “Thank you Mr. President. Unlike some colleagues, today is not my country’s Independence Day. However we hope to be able to celebrate our Independence Day after the forthcoming Brexit Referendum”. A desperate hush (plus the odd embarrassed titter) was heard around the committee room.
They’re burning lots of coal in Turkey
I have submitted a Written Question to the European Commission, as follows:
A well-respected think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, reports that Turkey plans a massive increase in its coal-fired power capacity, increasing it from 56 to 149 coal-fired power plants.
Is the Commission aware of these figures? Can it confirm them? As the Commission proposes to accelerate plans for Turkish Accession, can the Commission advise if and when it expects Turkey to be subject to EU emissions policies? Does it see Turkey’s proposed expansion of coal-fired generation as a barrier to Turkish accession?
Following the Paris atrocity, the European Commission has been drafting new gun-control legislation. I have already received a number of letters from concerned gun owners, even though the draft legislation has not yet reached the parliament. However two points are very clear.
First, the weapons used in the Paris shootings, and more generally the weapons used in most terrorist attacks, are illegally-held weapons. Changing the law on gun ownership is therefore unlikely to have any significant impact on the availability of weapons to terrorists.
Indeed the EU is clearly the problem, not the solution. There is extensive evidence that for example Croatia, which recently joined the EU, is a hotbed of smuggling – not only of arms, but also of drugs, money, people and even human organs. It has been said (and it is no exaggeration) that free movement of goods and people in the EU (and especially the Schengen area) has led to free movement of Kalashnikovs.
Secondly, so far as we understand it the UK already has some of the tightest firearms regulation in the world. We do not believe that further legislation at the EU level will make any additional contribution to public safety. In any case we in UKIP are opposed in principle to any extension of competences at the EU level.
For these reasons, I believe that we in UKIP will be opposing the new EU Firearms proposal. Sadly, however, I fear it will be approved anyway. There is nothing MEPs like more than a nice piece of gesture politics in response to public concern – whether or not their gesture has any practical effect.
A product complaint
I recently bought a reproduction painting from a firm that specialises in this area. I was not entirely satisfied with my purchase, and the following correspondence ensued. I thought it was hilarious – I hope you agree that it’s worth sharing:
Dear Fred: You will be aware that Modigliani’s “reclining nude” has recently sold in New York for a record sum. Looking at the illustration in the Daily Telegraph, I was shocked to realise that the copy I bought from your company has been cropped, in a prudish attempt to eliminate the naughty bits. I’m fairly astonished that you don’t think your customers are sufficiently grown-up to see the bits that the Telegraph publishes in a national newspaper. I’d be glad of your comments please!
REPLY: Roger: I know you have spent many years dealing with the tawdry depravity of the EU super-state on our behalf, so I simply wanted to save you from more smut…. or….. all our pictures are cropped to fit industry standard frame sizes — unless the picture just happens to be exactly the right ratio in size. We show the images cropped on our website and we do cover this in our FAQs!
What can I do? If we show the lady’s dark triangle we will have to chop off the top of her head! — but if you demand it then it will be my pleasure to comply.
Very Best Regards, Fred.
I have to admit that I frequently get rather annoyed with neologisms — most of which seem to embody some egregious piece of in-yer-face political correctness, such as “transexclusionary”, or “no-platforming”. But I was rather taken with one which popped up on my blog replies recently: “The Thermageddon Cult”.