Monday, June 01, 2009

The Questions Euro MP candidates don't want you to ask



video: robertb85.

This piece of mine appears in The First Post.

British voters go to the polls on June 4 to choose who will represent them in the European Parliament. Canvassers will be on your doorstep soliciting your vote. How to respond? Here are some questions which show up the contradictions - and sometimes the absurdities - in the parties' policies.


Questions for Labour

1. Why did your party break its promise, made it in its 2005 manifesto, to hold a referendum on the new EU Constitution?
2. Why does your party support the UK's opt-out from the EU's Working Time directive, even though a majority of Labour MEPs oppose this opt-out?
3. Why, after the unhappy experience of railway privatisation in Britain, has the British Government pushed for other European countries to 'liberalise' their excellent domestic rail services ?

Questions for Conservatives

1. Why, when your leader is calling for a work-life balance, does your party campaign for Britain's continued opt-out of the EU's Working Time directive, which would restrict the working week to a maximum of 48 hours?
2. Why does your party support a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but not one on Britain's continued membership of the EU?
3. Does your party agree with views expressed by leading Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan on Fox TV in America, that the NHS was a 60-year "mistake" which has made British people "iller"?

Questions for Liberal Democrats

1. If your party is so committed to 'Europe acting together', why is it against the formation of a European Army to replace the US-led Nato?
2. Can you explain how your party would reduce unemployment when it is committed to a 'liberal and open system' of global free trade and supports the elimination of subsidies?
3. Why, if your party says it doesn't want to compromise 'Britain's traditional legal system and civil liberties', does it support the European Arrest Warrant, under which a British citizen can be deported for something which is not considered a crime in this country?

Questions for UKIP

1. Why does your party say 'No to the EU', but 'Yes' to the EU's generous MEP salaries and expenses?
2. You claim that your opposition to the EU is due to a desire to protect Britain's national sovereignty. But why do you support British membership of other bodies such as the World Trade Organisation and Nato which also impinge sovereignty?
3. Why does your party refuse to publish details of its MEPs' expenses?

Questions for the Green Party

1. Where would the money for your proposed £45bn 'Green New Deal' come from?
2. How do the introduction of Eco Taxes, which hit the poor disproportionately harder than the rich, square with your commitment to greater equality and social justice?
3. Why does your party not address in its manifesto what Sir David Attenborough has described as "the frightening explosion in human numbers" and the effect that population growth has on the environment?

Questions for the BNP

1. How can you claim not to be a racist party, when membership of your party is restricted to 'indigenous British ethnic groups deriving from the class of "Indigenous Caucasian"'?
2. Your party's website states that "anyone not born here who commits a crime here should be deported". Would that apply to the likes of Sir Cliff Richard (born in India), Joanna Lumley (India), and Peter Hitchens (Malta)?
3. Why does your party's website put the word British in inverted commas when describing the black UKIP candidate Rustie Lee, a British citizen who has lived in the country since childhood?

9 comments:

Chris H said...

Nicely done I have to say. Mind you, getting an honest or straightforward response rather than the usual bluster from the candidates would be another thing.

hallblithe said...

Hi!

Here's the first paragraph of the election address of a Party you failed to include:

Every few years groups of professional politicians compete for your vote to win themselves a comfortable position, this time in the European Parliament. All of the other parties and candidates offer only minor changes to the present system. That is why whichever candidate or party wins there is no significant change to the way things are. Promises are made and broken, targets are set and not reached, statistics are selected and spun.

Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/l5dudq

Questions are most welome!

Yours for a world of free access,

RS

David Lindsay said...

Vote No2EU.

Roland Hulme said...

EXCELLENT post, Neil - I'd love to see some answers to these questions (especially the Lib Dems and BNP.)

As for me - I've always voted conservative, as they've been the lesser of two evils ever since I was old enough to vote. My answers to these questions is:


1. Why, when your leader is calling for a work-life balance, does your party campaign for Britain's continued opt-out of the EU's Working Time directive, which would restrict the working week to a maximum of 48 hours?

Salaried workers work more than 48 per week anyway.

When I was single, I LOVED being able to work 90 hour weeks as I'd come home with a significant pay packet - practically double the 'legal' weekly pay if we abided by the EU law.

I don't want anybody to be forced to work more than 48 hours per week - but dammit, if I have the time, the opportunity and the desire, I certainly don't want some leftie bureaucrat telling me I can't! And when I worked in Europe, that's EXACTLY what happens. You hit your 48 hours and home you go - whether or not the job's done.

It's a blanket rule that simply doesn't have the best interests of workers or business in mind. Just another example of politicians thinking that they know how to 'make things better' without a clue how the real world works for low income earners.

2. Why does your party support a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but not one on Britain's continued membership of the EU?

The fact that we're in this deep with Europe is a disgrace - Tories and Labor have carried on regardless without caring about what the British people actually want. But right now, having worked for four years in Europe, I can see the financial and social benefits of being part of the EU and I'm not convinced that removing ourselves is desirable, practical or even possible.

However, a 'european constitution' being ratified without a referendum by the people of the UK is a disgusting abuse of power. I applaud the Irish as the ONLY so-called Democracy in Europe to approach this issue democratically.

3. Does your party agree with views expressed by leading Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan on Fox TV in America, that the NHS was a 60-year "mistake" which has made British people "iller"?

Clever chap, Hannan. Good speaker, too. No, I disagree with that idea. The concept of the NHS is an admirable one - it's just been monumentally mismanaged by the same idiots who came up with the 48 hour work week.

Personally, I think the NHS could remain public, but be streamlined significantly by shedding the flabby management and instituting PRACTICAL procedures from private medical industry. Like, in America, the PRIVATE health care is pushing for affordable clinics everywhere, including Wal Mart. What are they doing in the UK? Closing the local surgeries to create 'supersurgeries.' Ridiculous.

I agree that American health care is broken - but not nearly to the same degree as the NHS.

Jim Jay said...

Here's my own personal answers to your questions for the Greens, if you think I've avoided the questions please feel free to tick me off:

1. Where would the money for your proposed £45bn 'Green New Deal' come from?

Page 16 of our euro manifesto spells this out hereIt's quite long so I won't quote it here - but you did ask about where a large sum of money was coming from! (The short answer is savings like scrapping trident plus progressive taxation btw.)

2. How do the introduction of Eco Taxes, which hit the poor disproportionately harder than the rich, square with your commitment to greater equality and social justice?

You may well be confusing us with other parties who talk about eco-taxes, our approach is much more varied than this.

Obviously we are for addressing social inequality - whether that's via proper social provision and publicly owned public services and what we call the citizen's income ensuring that no-one in the country has to live in poverty - so we'd never advocate an eco-tax without other proposals alongside them.

However, to take one example, scrapping the *exemption* from tax on aviation fuel will increase the cost of flights - there's no getting round it.

But if we don't address runaway CO2 consumption it's the very poorest of the world who'll be hit the hardest by climate change. So yes, the more affluent may have to fly less in order to save those on less than $2 a day. Sorry.

3. Why does your party not address in its manifesto what Sir David Attenborough has described as "the frightening explosion in human numbers" and the effect that population growth has on the environment?

The Green Party has a very reasonable population policy which you can read here.

PJD said...

"1. Why did your party break its promise, made it in its 2005 manifesto, to hold a referendum on the new EU Constitution?"

The answer to this question to Labour would most probably be that other countries had already rejected the EU Constitution in referendums before the UK had a chance to hold one. The UK holding a referendum on an abandoned EU Constitution would have been pointless.

KNaylor said...

"The Green Party has a very reasonable population policy which you can read here".

The Green Party does not have a sensible position on overpopulation but a series of politically correct theses which reflect the progressive theology of Green humanistic thinking.

The problem with it is that it assumes that overpopulation can only cease to be a problem if 'they' in developing countries become more like 'us', whilst at the same time blaming the greed of the developed world for consuming more than they should.

The fact is that most global heating is being caused by developing nations because rapid growth is considered the only way to raise living standards to Western levels of comfort.

The manifesto is full of wish thinking and illusions.The most obvious one is that overpopulation itself, the sheer amount of humans on earth is not so much a problem as inequality and poverty.

PP102 'Carrying capacity' is the term used to describe the population that can be sustainably supported in any given region. It is not a fixed number but depends on consumption patterns.

The evidence is that the globe has already overshot its carrying capacity. Some project for a global Utopia where the West learns to give up consumerism will conflict with the fact poorer nations show every sign of wanting it.

The assumption is that it is the West that is overpopulated and has only been able to avoid a crisis through exploiting other nations, a cosy assumption that if 'we' change our way of living, reduce numbers then 'we' can act to change things.

But this contradicts the obession with the myth of free will and 'choice' which the Green Party then absurdly outline when they reveal the liberation theology at the heart of their vision

On pg 106 the Party states that the number of children people should have is a matter of choice which means that overpopulation will continue to happen and contradicts the part calling for access to contraception, education etc.

The world is already overpopulated and only a policy of paying people not to have children or to take pills that reduce fertility will help prevent that and needless suffering.

That is unlikely to happen in Africa or the Middle East because of religious taboos, the political need for fighters against rival tribes, hatred of Western meddling and also Western guilt, that to advocate zero population growth in Africa might be 'imperialist'.

Given that perfect conditions for Green Utopianism will not exist, then the policy of open migration to the West is wholly idiotic and suicidal.

'PP111 The Green Party has a liberal migration policy and wants greater global justice and equality, so people who migrate can do so on the basis of choice, not economic hardship'.

Well, the Green Party might 'want' that but the idea of 'choice' in migration is one that dovetails neatly with globalisation and consumer choice.

If the West is aleady overpopulated, then it should aim to reduce its population and not think of taking masses of migrants from poorer countries.

That's the advice from environmentalists like Lovelock who actually do not think Green politics is about creating new Utopias to replace the old Communist ones and that have their origins in the ideologies spawned in 1968.

Unless, the idea is that by reducing the 'indigenous' Western population and importing already living migrants to replace the Western unborn we can create a rainbow Utopia and go back to living like the first people on the planet before the Fall.

The hatred and phobia of nuclear power and absurd belief in renewables is going to get Greens nowhere as well. Greens are incabable of realising that choices often can mean the lesser of evils given the circumstances.

KNaylor said...

Part 2 ( Continued )

To meet the energy needs of the West nuclear is the cleanest and renewables depend on the climate remaining the same ( global heating is now a fact ) and people all just changing their consumption habits and learning to live with less.

They should and its good that Greens point out the futility of much of modern consumerism and 'turbocapitalism'. Yet it's only in the West people can have the luxury of feeling jaded by consumerism as opposed to having some measure of consumption.

With impending economic collapse, resource scarcity and, unfortunately, perhaps war people will have to live with less anyway as well as depopulation, something that would be intensified by a totally open migration policy as ethnic atavisms and fear will lead to panic.

Global paneaceas will acheive nothing. Each nation has to concentrate on ensuring its own survival whilst co-operating where absolutely necessary to avoid the possiblity of conflict and war over resources.

Western nations cannot solve the world's problems many of which existed before European intervention in the developing world which was not some Arcadian paradise, the myth of the noble savage that comes from Rousseau and that is at the heart of Green Party thinking.

The state of Nature is not one of purity before money, covetousness and private property destroyed the prospect for a world of freely autonomous beings co-operating with their work and their bodies to mutual satisfaction, what the idiotic Tatchell calls 'sexual body rights'.

It is one of fear, mistrust, insecurity and more dominant individuals lording it over the weak, a state that can be tempered and restrained by civilisation but never quite abolished.

The irony is that the 68s and Green radical types have contributed to the victory of consumer capitalism by their obsession with unfettered autonomy,human rights and the cult of choice, as if humans were somehow liberated and free from the demands of Nature and free to return to living like Gods in paradise.

Anonymous said...

KNaylor,

You make some reasonable points but you also tend to point tenuous accusations of hypocrisy through contrasting what are known stances of the Green Party with your own assumptions of their ideological motives (e.g. you imply that they are primitivists viewing the state of nature is one of 'purity before money').