One man’s fight to abolish the common agricultural policy

The common agricultural policy is a product of the european union. It was first introduced in 1962, and since then has grown considerably. It consumes a massive 42% of the EU’s budget when only 5.4% of the EU population work on farms.

One man has been fighting against the absurd policies of the CAP for many years in the european parliament: Stewart Agnew. He is a UKIP MEP and also a farmer in the UK. Here is a selection of videos of his fight against the CAP:

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Government bureaucrat cancels christmas!

Government intervention and regulation in any industry can cause massive problems for companies. In fact, if an industry is over regulated, the companies simply leave the country. Even christmas movies can help explain this phenomenon! Just watch the clip below from Fred Claus the movie about a bureaucrat cancelling christmas.

KEVIN SPACEY CANCELS CHRISTMAS

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How can you ‘like’ politics?!

If you go back 100years ago, everybody was actively engaged in, and interested in politics. In present times, it is the complete opposite. I know that when I go home to spend christmas with my family they will take pity that I engage myself in current affairs. I’m sure other people who involve themselves will also experience the same thing. Nobody is interested anymore.

But to not be interested in politics itself is a dangerous thing. This is because democracy relies on all of the people and their individual views.

Anyone who says they are not interested in politics is like a drowning man who insists he is not interested in water

Yet people are understandably bored by politicians, who in modern times act like robots, trained to spew the same rhetoric over and over. But how do these politicians get away with doing this? The answer is simple, its because of the lack of interest in politics by the majority. If everyone was actively involved and engaged, politicians would be made to answer questions with real answers or face real public revolt.

In the current situation, not only does a lack of interest bode well for those in power, but it also fuels bigger government. This is not good from a libertarian perspective!

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Smile for Gibraltar!

Smile for Gibraltar!

Mariano Rajoy, spanish Prime Minister and Herman Van Romuy, the president of the european council.

The community…by the people, for the people

What is the difference between a government run service and a community run service? One is run by bureaucrats, the other run by the people for the people. A community run service would be more value for money compared to government intervention and the people who run the service will be directly accountable for their actions. Furthermore, the community can decide what the service should entail to provide the best service for their community, whereas the government service may be part of a national service, thus, the concerns of the local people are bound to be ignored.

People always confuse me when they oppose government cuts during times of austerity. Would they not rather run some things themselves? The amount of waste and corruption that happens when the government is involved is obvious.

I know setting up a community service is not strait forward but it can be achieved if everyone works together. 

Similarly, some people may not want the service altogether. By having a community service in place, this means that they are not forced to pay for that service by the government. If the money supplied to run the service directly depends upon its actions, then it will seek to achieve the best service for the people. Alternatively, a government service always knows that it will receive funding, therefore targets are, most of the time, lower than what they should be. 

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The EU…based on democracy, human rights, accountability and transparency

The council of the European Union had a debate today on the external action service. As I was reading the report, one section caught my eye: “EU support for democratic governance” of nation states around the world. These were some of the points outlined:

  • The EU’s support should be based on a rights based approach,
    encompassing all human rights, and the principles of participation, non-discrimination,
    accountability and transparency.

  • The Council underlines that better use should be made of the wealth of experience the EU
    has accumulated in the area of democratic transition

Wow, this is alarming considering that the core structure of the EU does not encompass all human rights (particularly some UK rights that are overruled by the ECHR), is not fully democratic, and is certainly not transparent! Where are those accounts that should have been signed off for the past 19 years?

Here is some more text from the report:

  • Notwithstanding the partner country’s needs and the commitment of the EU to provide
    predictable funding, the Council notes that elements of an incentive based approach can stimulate progress and results in democratic governance.

  • The Council also notes that while financial incentives are not sufficient to trigger democratic reforms, an incentive-based approach works best when a critical mass of funding is available in order to generate significant impact and results, and where allocations form part of a broader strategy of EU engagement.

So basically the EU are going to do more of what they are already doing which is wasting millions on trying to persuade nations around the world to become more democratic, even though they acknowledge that financial incentives don’t actually work!

The report can be found here.

ps. The president of the council is non other than Catherine Ashton, who incidently has never been democratically voted for in her entire life.

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When will it become illegal for politicians to print money

If politicians are allowed to print money to cheat the system, why are we not? Over the past 50 years, it seems as though people have forgotten how economies function. Some economies do well and prosper, some economies do badly and fail. If it fails, the politicians must answer to their citizens why they got it wrong and they should be accountable for their actions.

If this natural process is interrupted by printing money from thin air to postpone an upcoming crisis then no one learns the lesson. Here are some examples of how money in circulation has increased dramatically over the past 30 odd years:

The US:

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The UK:

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The eurozone:

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Japan:

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China:

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India:

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and some fun cartoons:

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Increasing government burden does not promote growth or prosperity

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VAT itself is actually the only fair tax that is used in the UK at the moment. This is because the rate is the same for everybody. However, I question whether it is even necessary when it has been proven that the most effective way of promoting growth, is by lowering taxes. Particularly when that tax forms part of a double/triple/quadruple taxation system. For example my monthly wage gets taxed, then with the money left over I pay my energy bills, which are also taxed, I go to the shop and by some food, again this is taxed, then I also have to pay council tax, next I put petrol in my car, tax, then I buy a ticket for the train to get to work, tax, and I could carry on all day. Would it not be more simple to phase out VAT and to implement a universal flat income tax to relieve the hardworking families of the UK? A tax system is most effective when ordinary citizens can work out their tax returns with a piece of paper, a pen and a calculator.

What is the best country in Europe?

I have always thought that Iceland, Switzerland and Norway were the countries with the most common sense in Europe. However, I found out today that Estonia is probably the best and here is why:

  • It is a pluralist democracy
  • A market based economy
  • It has liberalised trade
  • It has no budget deficit and total debt is 5% GDP
  • Unemployment is 1.8%
  • 90% of the economy is privitised
  • You can register a business in under 18minutes (14months in Italy)
  • It has a flat tax
  • It is the law for the government to have a balanced budget
  • The Estonian Central Bank is barred from lending money to the government
  • It has the worlds largest number of start-up companies per capita
  • All their policies were inspired by Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman as admitted by former Prime Minister Mart Laar

What an incredible country. This is an example of what can be achieved with the right policies after breaking away from the soviet union (Ukraine should take note!).

Furthermore, Estonia was hit very hard during the recession, unemployment reached 18%! Since then, Estonia now has the lowest ratio of government debt to GDP and the lowest budget deficit in the EU.

Estonia ranks high in the Human Development Index, press freedom (third in the world in 2012), economic freedom, civil liberties and education. It is often described as one of the most wired countries in Europe (Internet), and is recognised as a leader in e-government.

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EU legislation watch: european defence technological and industrial base (Vote 21/11/2013)

This is my first post regarding european union legislation. I hope to post about more EU laws being passed that are not covered by the main press in the UK on this blog.

The first I have chosen is the european defence technological and industrial base. Here are the important points about the proposed legislation:

  • A strong European defence technological and industrial base (EDTIB), constituting a key element for Europe’s capacity to ensure the security of its citizens, protect its values and promote its interests.
  • Calls on the European Council to launch the development of a European capabilities and armaments policy (ECAP)
  • It regrets the fact that, while a certain level of concentration has been achieved in the European aerospace industries, the land and naval equipment sectors are still overwhelmingly fragmented along national lines
  • Make the coordination of national defence planning processes at EU level a reality
  • Harmonised equipment acquisition among Member States
  • To create employment in defence industry accross the EU

This is how MEPs voted:

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What can we take from this? The new european army is on its way folks. The text in red signifies the fact that the EU will use this army to protect its own values and to promote them too, one wonders how this will all end up!

Is Ukraine an example of the tyranny of the status quo?

There have been many protests recently in Ukraine because the public want to live in a democratic country, free from Russia’s grip. Yet what they are calling for, is closer ties with the undemocratic EU. Am I missing something here?

Why can’t the people call for an independent Ukraine, who can be competitive and trade with the rest of the world, instead of transferring their powers from Russia to the EU? Surely after everything the country has been through, this is their best option. 

As Milton Friedman once coined: The tyranny of the status quo. Ukraine has become unsettled with russia, but don’t want to suffer too much change, so instead they want to go with something they’re used to, being governed by a foreign body, the EU.

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At least no one has to vote for me

One wonders, how a politician who has never been voted for in her entire career, landed the role of the head of the European External Action Service. Catherine Ashton.

She is in the news again today because her service costs £420m annually. The EEAS was set up because of the new powers the Lisbon Treaty granted the EU. The purpose of this organisation is to bribe foreign countries and leaders to do as the EU says and to merge all of the european state armies into one massive army.

The EEAS has 3,417 staff and 500 of those earn more than the British Prime Minister David Cameron. Additionally, the majority of the employees only pay 15% tax on their salaries.

To add to the waste, it has emerged that the EEAS has spent £130k on teaching children cricket, and £1m on wind turbines and biofuel plants which have not been built.

Catherine Ashton has done remarkable well for herself ever since she passed the Lisbon Treaty through the UK house of lords without a referendum. Hmmmmmm………

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A nationalist view of the EU

The word nationalist is often thrown about when a europhile argues against those who oppose political union in europe. In fact, when the french, dutch and irish had referendums and all rejected the lisbon treaty, some MEP’s called the results nationalist, as to mean being nationalist is something bad!

A nationalist is someone who believes in democracy, who believes in one-man-one-vote and believes that government should be carried out by and for the people. However, he also raises the question: what people?

Representative government works best within a population whose members feel enough in common with one another to accept government from each other’s hands. After all, a policy functions best when there is a shared identity.

The unelected president of the European Commission, Jose Barroso, has argued that nation states are dangerous precisely because they are excessively democratic:

Governments are not always right. If governments were always right we would not have the situation that we have today. Decisions taken by the most democratic institutions in the world are very often wrong.

The EU now treats public opinion as an obsticle to be overcome rather than a reason to change direction.

Marxists used to contend that, if only the workers were in full possession of the facts, and free rationally to advance their own interests, they would vote for socialist parties, but in practice they were led astray by bourgeois interests. It was therefore necessary for good communists to act in the real interests of the majority.

This is the same argument the eurocrats support. Because they think people are unable to make an unclouded decision, eurocrats are entitled to disregard their desires in pursuit of their own preferences.

Even Tony Blair thought this: 

The British people are sensible enough to know that, even if they have a certain prejudice about Europe, they don’t expect their government necessarily to share or act upon it.

And finally, the EU has so much power, that to save the dwindling euro currency in 2011, it effectively halted democracy in italy and greece ‘for their own good’ through brussels appointed apparatchiks.

A nationalist, is someone who wants what is best for his country, through democracy. Not someone who thinks they know what is right for everyone.

The fact is, if the EU were a country applying to join itself, it would be rejected on the grounds of being insufficiently democratic by its own rules. 

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ps. please read Dan Hannan’s book:

A Doomed Marriage: Britain and Europe

The faux-conservatives and the squishy tory-liberal coalition

Now I know I like to cite Dan Mitchell from the CATO institute a bit too much. But he has correctly pointed out that the UK is a good model for showing how the laffer curve works.

A funny thing often happens on the way to soaking the rich: They don’t stick around for the bath. Take Britain, where Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs service reports that the number of taxpayers declaring £1 million a year in income fell by more than 60% in fiscal 2010-2011 from the year before. That was the year that millionaires became liable for the 50% income-tax rate that Gordon Brown’s government introduced in its final days in 2010, up from the previous 40% rate. So, the total number of millionaire tax filers plunged to 6,000 in 2010-2011, from 16,000 in 2009-2010. The new tax was meant to raise about £2.5 billion more revenue. So much for that. In 2009-2010 British millionaires contributed about £13.4 billion to the public coffers, or just under 9% of the total tax liability of all taxpayers that year. At the 50% rate, the shrunken pool yielded £6.5 billion, or about 4.4%.

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He also points out the three main points which explain why the laffer curve works:

  • When tax rates increase, sometimes people engage in tax avoidance, lowering their tax liabilities legally.
  • When tax rates change, sometimes people choose to alter their levels of work, saving, and investment.
  • And when tax rates go up, sometimes people resort to illegal steps to protect themselves from the tax authority.

Finally, I love how he refers to the current government as the squishy Tory-Liberal coalition. I now like to call the tory party the faux-conservatives. They could go much further with their tax cuts and reducing the burden of government but they seem to have lost their backbone.

Some Lisbon treaty goodness

The Lisbon Treaty is probably the most powerful bit of legislation that resides in europe. In an earlier post on this blog, I explained that the single worst thing about the european union is the fact it can bend or ignore its own rules at any time. The Lisbon treaty is another example of the bending of rules and ignoring of democracy by the EU.

The treaty was rejected by the netherlands, france, and ireland. But somehow the EU got away with rigging the irish vote so they eventually said yes and then passed the treaty without any other referendums in nation states.

Anyway, here are some cartoons for you to enjoy:

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And to finish off, Nigel Farage speaking about it in europarl:

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