This time the Greeks must beware of Paris bearing gifts by Tim Gordon

EU summits to save the Euro seem to happen on a more or less monthly basis. Summits happen come along so often they must be called a ridge.

The June 2012 summit was a little different: it has been reported as a rebellion led by Hollande and Monti against Angela Merkel. Some have seen it as a rebellion against Germany to relieve the misery of those countries suffering from a so-called bailout.

Moreover, it has been reported as a victory for the rebellious colonies and a defeat for the Empress. Those lands ravaged by Teutonic austerity may have a hero, a Nevsky, in the new French president. His gifts for PIIGS but cultured not real.

French European policy since the last war, the whole French purpose of the EU, can be summed up as the denial of Europe as a German empire. France and Germany are equal partners, they say, and besides, it is not an empire: all those other members of the EU are sort of equal too.

But it is not really possible to describe the Euro in any other way than a system with Germany at the centre that exists for the benefit of German exports. Germany really is the only country to benefit, economically, from the Euro. The Euro does seem to give some kind of psychological and emotional benefit to peoples without much self-confidence, but this is illusory. The Euro gives Germany power over the Eurozone – and Germany should accept the responsibilities like a good, beneficient imperial should.

French and Italian and other governments have more reasonable complaint about the conditions of empire. But that is how it is. So, Greeks should beware of Paris when he says he is bearing gifts, because the gifts are not his to give. Hollande can rebel but can never call the shots. That is the first lesson.

I am very fond nowadays of going around quoting Karl Marx: the people who pay for an empire are the working classes of the imperial power. Therefore an empire collapses when the benefits that derive to the elites and the working classes of the imperial are no longer sufficient to warrant the price paid by those working classes. And just because I think it was Marx who said it does not mean it is not how it is. You pay for your empire as long as is profitable. When it is no longer profitable, you dump it.

As long as Germay profits from the Euro, Germany will do what it takes to keep the Euro alive.

So far what has Germany paid? That word “bailout” is a lie in itself. The bailout is not a gift, support, it is an enforced loan for a purpose not supported by the victim country. Germany benefits from the Euro because it locks a continent into a favourable trade relationship: it keeps German factories busy. What Paris thinks is neither here nor there. What is said in Finland can be fun but when it comes to it, the Finnish contribution to Germany’s Euro is comparable to Britain’s contribution to USA’s invasion of Iraq. All Paris has is a complaint and a series of petulant demands and peurile fantasies that are all that passes for socialism nowadays.

Alright, there is the conventional view. What a disappointment that HM Government still sees it as being in Britain’s interest that the Euro and with its German hegemony (if I can be forgiven for using such a 1980s word) is maintained and flourishes. It is not that it is German but that it is a single continental order essentially hostile to Britain and her friends that is the problem.

The Eurosceptic must put forward a series of policies that really can offer a way forward to the people of Greece, Ireland, etc, etc. Never mind the Euro, it is the people we need to save.

What policies should be the focus now of eurosceptic thought. Imagine Greece was a struggling business you had just bought. It is desperate because it has been mismanaged but is basically good. Would you run it as Germany is running Greece? Of course not. But Greece is not some struggling business but a decent nation of people who command respect.

It is a source of shame to Britain that our Government does not have an alternative policy but advances the silliness that while membership of the Euro would be bad, the existence of the Euro is critically important. It is the essential purpose of the eurosceptic movement to provide a superior policy to that of the Euro. Although we offered a warning against what has happened, we must now offer a way ahead.

Decline of the eurozone

It is said by the three main political parties that the UK must remain in the EU because it is our major trading partner and hence vital to our prosperity.

Professor Tim Congdon CBE, with the help of figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) database (see below) explains: The numbers are immensely helpful because they extend over a 25-year period and so help in identifying trends. They start in 1991, when the Maastricht Treaty was being negotiated and the euro was conceived, and end with forecasts for 2016. (The analysis is slightly incomplete, because it ignores some of the smaller countries, but apart from Poland and Sweden none of these 10 countries is of much importance).

In 1981 the eurozone output represented 21.8% of the world output. Their problem was and remains, that the excessive taxation and heavy regulation inflicted on them by the EU has held them back. The figures show that the eurozone’s share of the world output has plunged by a third – from 21.8% in 1991 to 14.3% in 2011.

It is entirely plausible that out grandchildren will live in a world where the eurozone produces only 6 or 7 per cent of world output. In other words, in their world the nations that today have neither EU membership nor the euro as their currency will outweigh the eurozone by well over ten to one.

Eurozone as a percentage share of world output per year

1991 21.821 2000 18.349 2009 15.015
1992 20.172 2001 18.300 2010 14.556
1993 19.610 2002 17.968 2011 14.253
1994 19.485 2003 17.482 2012 13.861
1995 19.290 2004 16.989 2013 13.478
1996 18.887 2005 16.541 2014 13.100
1997 18.606 2006 16.235 2015 12.722
1998 18.659 2007 15.881 2016 12.350
1999 18.535 2008 15.534

First appeared in EuroFacts, 22nd June 2012

Government confirms that the British Army will ‘never’ be part of a European Army from the press office of The Lord Stoddart of Swindon

In a written reply to a question from independent Labour Peer Lord Stoddart of Swindon, the Government has confirmed that Britain will ‘never sign up to a standing European army.’

Responding to Lord Stoddart’s question about the reasons for the reduction of the army by 20,000 soldiers and whether this was due to the need to fit into a future European army, Lord Astor of Hever (Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence) said: ‘Many but not all of the operations we wish to be involved with in the future are likely to be conducted with our allies, particularly those from NATO. The UK Government will continue to decide when and where they deploy their national forces, and have made it clear that they would never sign up to a standing European army.’

Commenting on the Government’s response, Lord Stoddart said: “I am sure that many people, including the soldiers themselves, will breathe a huge sigh of relief at hearing this confirmation that our armed forces will never be deployed at the behest of the blundering, unelected European Commission. It should only be Her Majesty’s Government which has the responsibility and authority for sending young men and women from our armed forces into danger.”

The Snooper’s Charter by Anne Palmer

Headlines in the Daily Mail 15th June 2012 page 6. “Police demand the Right to snoop on everyone’s emails “ Even a special Daily Mail “Comment” on the matter on the same page, and then “Our” “Littlejohn” “Trust me, you can’t trust this lot with any more powers.” Again more information on the same subject. But why no mention where this legislation actually came from and why is it being implemented now by our Coalition Government?

EU Directive from the Official Journal of the EU 13.4.2006 L 105/54 perhaps has the best information. From Article 3, 4 and 5 it advises on exactly what each Nation State has to do and what information they should gather and keep, length of time also given. Article 13 describes the “Remedies, Liability and Penalties”.

I say to Mrs May, the money your alleged Government are removing from the elderly, the sick, the kids, making us pay more for everything we buy is so that you can spend a billion or so British pounds to allegedly catch criminals through this EU legislation? That they, if caught, will probably have a slap on the wrist, and sent on their way and all because you have to obey EU legislation?

In the last war-which I remember very well indeed-no one minded letters opened etc in those days, and we were glad such security was activated-we got used to our letters being opened to and from our serving Forces, and some-times words completely obliterated. That was in WAR TIME, a full scale war here in the UK from the bombing. Friends and relations here one day, gone the next. We didn’t mind the security THEN, BUT WE ARE NOT AT WAR NOW ARE WE? We can’t even close our Borders to prevent would be “terrorists” from coming into our Country. Why do you not tackle THAT problem first, that is far more important than this.

The EU is all about Peace, Security, Sharing, my, the EU even brought out Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. Then there is the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights enshrined in legislation and the European Convention on Human Rights, ah yes, so many RIGHTS for the people, and then there is our own Magna Carta, envied through-out the World and our Bill of Rights—

  • That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;
  • That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;
  • And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening and preserving of the laws, Parliaments ought to be held frequently.

And they do claim, demand and insist upon all and singular the premises as their undoubted rights and liberties, and that no declarations, judgments, doings or proceedings to the prejudice of the people in any of the said premises ought in any wise to be drawn hereafter into consequence or example; to which demand of their rights they are particularly encouraged by the declaration of his Highness etc as being the only means for obtaining a full redress and remedy therein. All Ignored but they are still there and they will not go away for to destroy the
Constitution of course, is an act of treason.

As for the suggestion, I have recently read in these papers, that the European Union could “fine” our own sovereign Government if they do not obey EU legislation, should give our Government the hint that it is time to withdraw from such an Organisation.

For our Government to betray the people that elect and pay them to actually Govern this Country according to its law, yet to actually choose to snoop on them, brings shame on ALL of those in that once proud Houses of Parliament where I remember a GREAT man stood and brought courage to the people of this Country to withstand the mass bombing of this Country in war-time. His famous words I remember even now “ACTION THIS DAY”. And sadly, the present lot choose freely to activate such a snooping law brought out by foreigners, on their own people. How could you!

Yet we have a Government we pay and some have sadly elected, and all this Government can come up with is this snooping on their own people, rather than saying NO. In my book, our Government have betrayed the very people that elected them. It really is time to beak the chains that bind us to such an Organisation that comes up with such as this. How on earth do any of you sleep at night? How will you look your children in their faces when they too realise what between you have done to their Country.

Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31995L0046:en:HTML

DIRECTIVE 2006/24/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 15 March
2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2006:105:0054:0063:EN:PDF

There are others of course.

I am sure you all know your own Bill of Rights. 1689

Incentives for Polish Migration

Summary

1. There is a significant financial benefit for Polish nationals to migrate to the United Kingdom in search of work. Even modest savings would allow Polish workers on the minimum wage in the UK to save what they would earn in an entire year at home. The much higher benefits for families in the UK compared to Poland will also act as a significant pull factor.  Poland is the major source of migrants to the UK but similar considerations apply to the other new Eastern European members of the EU, known as the A8.  Any significant increase in A8 migration would undermine the government’s efforts to reduce net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ by the end of this Parliament.

Polish Population in the UK

2. Following Polish accession to the European Union in 2004, a large number of people migrated from Poland to the UK in search of work. The new EU nationals were free to come to the UK to work as a result of the previous government’s decision not to impose transitional controls; only the UK, Ireland and Sweden opened their labour markets immediately. The Annual Population Survey estimated that in 2010 there were 550,000 Polish born residents in the UK1 In 2004 there were just 95,000.2

3. The vast majority of Polish nationals who migrated to the UK did so in search of work. The profile of A8 migrants shows that they are disproportionately young compared to the UK population, they are relatively highly educated, and have higher rates of participation in the labour market.

4. Unemployment in Poland at the time of accession was close to 20%. Following accession the unemployment rate fell quite rapidly to about 10% in 2006. Those who migrated to the UK in 2004 must have been influenced by high unemployment but that will have been a less important factor after 2006.  Although unemployment has risen somewhat in Poland since the onset of the recession, it remains at about 10%, just below the EU average.3

Incentives for Polish Migration

5. This reduction in unemployment suggests that a major driver of more recent Polish migration has been the considerably higher standard of living in the UK and the potential to make savings in the UK which translate into significant sums of money in Poland. Anecdotal evidence suggests that single workers often live in multiple occupancy housing as a means of keeping costs down; most migrants from the A8 plan to stay in the UK for less than four years and do not see their move as permanent.4

Financial Incentives of Migration to the UK for Single Workers

6. In the UK, a single person earning the minimum wage will take home £254 per week after tax but including benefits. (See Annex A) This is an annual income of just over £13,200. If Polish workers were to make a modest saving of 20%, they would be saving about £50 per week. Yet this weekly saving is the equivalent of around 250 Polish Zloty at the current exchange rate – roughly what a worker would earn in a week in Poland on the minimum wage. (See Annex B)

Financial Incentives of Migration to the UK for a Family of Four

7. An individual in the UK who has a dependant spouse and two children, earning the minimum wage would receive a weekly income, including benefits, of £543, or annually just over £28,200. (See Annex A) Again, if a Polish family made a 20% weekly saving, this would equate to around £110 which is worth 540 in Polish Zloty. In Poland, a person in the same circumstances would have a weekly income of 375 Zloty (after tax and including benefits). (Annex C) Thus, if they could save 20% of their earnings in the UK, they would be saving almost one and a half times what they would have earned in Poland.

Higher standard of living in the UK

8. Aside from the savings that can be made in the UK which translate into significant sums of money in their native Poland, a family is able to enjoy a far better standard of living in the UK than at home. In order to compare wages across countries, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) data has been used which allows for the different costs of living. (See Notes)

9. In Poland a family on the minimum wage would have a weekly income of 375 Zloty. Once the differing costs of living have been accounted for, this is the equivalent of around £145. In the UK, the same family on the minimum wage would have a weekly income of £543 which is almost four times what they would earn at home. Even a family which had been in the favourable position of being on the average wage in Poland would still be able to increase their standard of living significantly. At home they would have a weekly income of around 615 Zloty. Once the differing costs of living have been accounted for, this is the equivalent of around £235. In the UK however, their income on the minimum wage would be £543 or almost two and a half times as much as they would receive at home. (Annex D)

Annex A

Minimum Wage Household Incomes in the UK 

GBP Total household income at min. wage
SinglePerson CoupleTwo Child
Gross earnings Income Tax National Insurance

213

18

11

213

18

11

Net weekly income

184

184

Working Tax Credit Child Tax credit Child Benefit

17

0

0

53

99

34

Total direct benefits

17

186

Housing BenefitCouncil Tax Benefit

53

0

161

12

Total housing benefits

53

174

Total Income per week

254

543

Total Annual Income 13218

28241

Savings of 20%Zloty

51

251

109

540

Source: DWP Tax Benefit Model

DWP Tax Benefit Model is based on a selection of hypothetical families. The family lives in a local authority or privately rented property appropriate to its size and pays average amounts of rent and council tax for the 2010/2011 financial year.

Annex B

Household Income of a Single Person in Poland on the Minimum Wage in Polish Zloty and converted to £s 

Single Adult on Minimum Wage in Poland after Tax and including Benefits
Polish Zloty
Annual    Weekly
Gross IncomeMinus Income TaxMinus Social ContributionsHousehold Net Income

18061

801

3879

13381

 

 

257

Household Net Income in £s

£s

2699 52

Based on exchange rate

Annex C

Household Income of an individual with a dependant spouse and two children in Poland on the Minimum Wage in Polish Zloty and converted to £s

Individual with Dependant Spouse and Two Children on Minimum Wage after Tax and including Benefits
Polish Zloty
Annual Weekly
Gross IncomeMinus Income TaxMinus Social ContributionsPlus Family Benefit

Plus Housing Benefit

Household Net Income

18061

3879

1908

3390

19480

 

 

 

 

 

375

Household Net Income in £s
3930 76

Based on exchange rate

Annex D

Comparison of household incomes in Poland and the UK

Total Household Income of a two child sole worker family After Tax and Inc. Benefit

Working in Poland

Working in the UK
Net Polish Zloty

Converted to US$

using PPP

Converted to £s using PPP

£s

Average

Wage

Minimum

Wage

Average

Wage

Minimum

Wage

Average

Wage

Minimum

Wage

Minimum Wage
AnnualWeekly 32017616 19480375 17976346 10937211 12169234

7404

143

28241

543

Sources:

Based on Purchasing Power Parity for Actual Individual Consumption Data from OECD, 2010: Poland – 1.781125 UK – 0.676954

Exchange Rates (OANDA, as at 29/3/2012):£1 = 4.95731 Polish Zloty €1 = 4.15008 Polish Zloty

Eurostat data on minimum wage earnings

Average Wage Earnings, Polish Statistics Authority

Tax and Benefit Data extracted using OECD Tax-Benefit Calculator

Notes

Polish Household Incomes

The OECD Tax-Benefit Calculator has been used to calculate the approximate take home pay of an individual in two scenarios in Poland, a single worker with no dependants and a worker with a dependant spouse and two children. Calculation is based on a salary of 18,061 Zloty, due to restrictions with OECD Calculator. The minimum wage, derived from EUROSTAT data, is slightly lower at 16,756 Zloty.

Purchasing Power Parity

Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) data adjusts for the differing costs of living in two countries which simple exchange rate mechanisms cannot account for. PPP therefore compares household incomes in different countries after taking account of the different costs of living.

OECD Data

Data from the OECD Tax-Benefit Calculator is based on data from 2010 and is the latest available.

1 Office for National Statistics, Population by Country of Birth and Nationality, April 2010 to March 2011, Table 1.3, URL:  http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-235204

2 Office for National Statistics, Population by Country of Birth and Nationality, 2004, Table 1.3, URL:http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-219257

3 Eurostat News Release 176/2011, 30 November 2011, URL:http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/3-30112011-BP/EN/3-30112011-BP-EN.PDF

4 International Passenger Survey, Table 3.17 Intended Length of Stay by country of last or next residence.

Lord Stoddart gives ‘eurozealots,’ who still want Britain to join the euro, some home truths

During a debate in the House of Lords on ‘Recent Developments’ in the EU (16.2.12), the independent Labour peer and former Campaign for an Independent Brtian chairman, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has made a major speech in which he challenged “eurozealots,” including the Deputy Prime Minister, who continue to call for Britain to join the euro and told them some home truths about the current state of the EU. He also outlined the threat and the cost to Britain from the Solvency II capital rules and the proposal to make mortgages in default after 90 days in arrears.

Lord Stoddart said: “…. the Solvency II capital rules, which I believe are now being agreed, will cost the British financial industry £600 billion, according to JP Morgan. They will cause massive damage to the United Kingdom’s pensions industry and will virtually kill off the last vestiges of final salary schemes. That will hurt ordinary British people. We should take note of that.

“Then there is the proposal to make mortgages in default after 90 days in arrears, which conflicts with the Government’s own policy of helping people, quite rightly, to hang onto their homes when they are in financial difficulty. Then there is the demand for another £9 billion to meet the additional commitments in the present financial round, which will cost the United Kingdom £1 billion. That is extra to the £10.3 billion that we have already committed and money that we do not have.”

Lord Stoddart was also scathing about the EU’s treatment of Greece: “The treatment and humiliation of Greece by the EU is alarming, disgraceful and completely undemocratic. Furthermore, the Greeks have had the right to govern themselves taken away and the leaders of the Government are unelected Prime Ministers. The political parties now have to guarantee that they will put into place measures that will hurt ordinary Greeks in a manner that is totally unacceptable in anything other than a third world country.”

He expressed his surprise and amazement that “in spite of everything that has happened” “eurozealots”, such as the Deputy Prime Minister, still want to “get rid of the pound” and “join the euro.” Lord Stoddart said: “I find that quite incredible.”

The full text of Lord Stoddart’s speech is as follows:
My Lords, I am very pleased to be following the noble Lord, Lord Flight, and I am sure that the House enjoyed his very lively speech. I was also glad that he corrected the trade figures from 50 per cent to 40 per cent. Some people seem to believe that we did not trade with Europe before we joined the Common Market in 1973. But of course before 1973 we had very good trading relationships with Europe and made a profit on many of our exports; including cars, incidentally.

It is difficult to know where to start in a speech about the European Union because of the chaos that reigns in the Union, particularly in the eurozone. As usual, there have been some disparaging comments about those of us who are called Eurosceptics. I would remind those people that the Eurosceptics warned of the dangers of joining or having a single currency. We were told that if we did not join, we would be sidelined. We would miss the train and we would miss the boat. Indeed, people like me were called unpatriotic because we believed that it would be inimical to British interests to join the single currency.

We have been vindicated by events. We are not pleased about that, but we have been vindicated. We believe that the euro currency in the eurozone would not be good for this country even if it might be good for other countries. What surprises and amazes me-and we have heard it again this afternoon-is that the eurozealots who want to get rid of the pound still believe that the United Kingdom should join the euro. In spite of everything that has happened, they believe that we should still join. Even the Deputy Prime Minister believes that. I find that quite incredible.

The eurozone has proved that a single currency cannot work without fiscal and political union. A lot of people have pointed that out this afternoon.

This debate is about developments in the European Union. So far we have heard about great issues, but all sorts of things are going on all the time in the European Union, many of which affect ordinary people in this country. For example, the Solvency II capital rules, which I believe are now being agreed, will cost the British financial industry £600 billion, according to JP Morgan. They will cause massive damage to the United Kingdom’s pensions industry and will virtually kill off the last vestiges of final salary schemes. That will hurt ordinary British people. We should take note of that.

Then there is the proposal to make mortgages in default after 90 days in arrears, which conflicts with the Government’s own policy of helping people, quite rightly, to hang onto their homes when they are in financial difficulty. Then there is the demand for another £9 billion to meet the additional commitments in the present financial round, which will cost the United Kingdom £1 billion. That is extra to the £10.3 billion that we have already committed and money that we do not have. We will have to borrow £1 billion more. Only on Tuesday, the EU Commission announced that 12 member states, including the United Kingdom, are suffering from severe economic imbalances leading to economic shocks and that they will be placed under stringent observation so that they do not compromise the stability of the EU.

That dictatorial language and action is now commonplace in the EU. The treatment and humiliation of Greece by the EU is alarming, disgraceful and completely undemocratic. Furthermore, the Greeks have had the right to govern themselves taken away and the leaders of the Government are unelected Prime Ministers. The political parties now have to guarantee that they will put into place measures that will hurt ordinary Greeks in a manner that is totally unacceptable in anything other than a third world country. That is in advance of what will be done.

Some of us predicted that eventually there would be fighting in the streets in the European Union or Common Market. We now have it. We have fighting in the streets not only in Greece but in other countries as well-

As usual, a crisis situation is being used to transfer more power to the EU institutions. The fiscal agreement was made between countries other than the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic. It may be intergovernmental at this stage. However, all experience has shown that inter-governmentalism eventually collapses and becomes an EU competence. That happened following the Single European Act, the Maastricht treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty and the Lisbon treaty, all of which transferred more powers from nation states to the institutions of the European Union.

However, even this does not go far enough for the European top dogs. Frau Merkel, for example, was recently reported in the German newspaper Handelsblatt as saying that step by step, European politics is merging with domestic politics. She called for closer political integration, with members ceding further powers to the European Commission, which ought to be the real government of Europe, with the Council of Ministers operating as a second chamber and adding strength to a European Parliament. That is the vision of people such as the Germans, which is also supported by the current President of France. The noble Lord, Lord Howell, does not agree with that. He is calling for a completely different sort of Europe-but Germany and France in particular are determined to go very much further than the noble Lord outlined in his speech. Of course it is not only the leaders of individual states who are doing this. Mr Barroso was this week telling the Chinese that the EU will become a fully-fledged political union after the financial crisis. I hope that the Government will tell these people that that is not the vision that the United Kingdom has for the European Union; and, indeed, that the British people will not tolerate that. They want to continue to be governed by their own elected representatives and by institutions that have been built up and been successful over many hundreds of years.