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I have serious reservations about Hague's position here (see my blog at http://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com). It is the business of the nation-state to protect and promote the interests of its citizens. And it is clearly the case that EU employment rights are going to tend to offer greater benefits to workers from poorer member-states, and competitive disadvantages to workers in more wealthy member-states. The Conservative Party favours EU membership for Turkey. Turkish membership plus EU free movement laws virtually guarantee massive immigration flows from Turkey, disadvantaging British workers and very likely leading to serious unrest. We have a responsibility to our fellow countrymen which we ignore at our peril.

"We have a responsibility to our fellow countrymen which we ignore at our peril."

Too late, they have already ignored us. Dangerously the British political establishment have given themselves two masters, the EU and the electorate, and through deceit have pretended to the electorate that Parliament is still sovereign. This crisis though has found them out, and they find themselves in the perilous position of being held responsible yet unable to respond, for they no longer have the power to respond. Such powerlessness are what revolutions are made of!

Angry people across Europe are discovering the fine print in all the treaties signed by their leaders.
Says Janet Daley of The Telegraph
Last Updated: 4:39PM GMT 01 Feb 2009


The peoples of Europe have finally discovered what they signed up to. I do mean "peoples" (plural) because however much political elites may deceive themselves, the populations of the member states of the EU are culturally, historically and economically separate and distinct. And a significant proportion of them are getting very, very angry.

What the strikers at the Lindsey oil refinery (and their brother supporters in Nottinghamshire and Kent) have discovered is the real meaning of the fine print in those treaties, and the significance of those European court judgments whose interpretation they left to EU obsessives: it is now illegal – illegal – for the government of an EU country to put the needs and concerns of its own population first. It would, for example, be against European law to do what Frank Field has sensibly suggested and reintroduce a system of "work permits" for EU nationals who wished to apply for jobs here.

Meanwhile, demonstrators in Paris and the recalcitrant electorate in Germany are waking up to the consequences of what two generations of European ideologues have thrust upon them: the burden not just of their own economic problems but also the obligation to accept the consequences of their neighbours' debts and failures. Each country is true to its own history in the way it expresses its rage: in France, they take to the streets and throw things at the police, in Germany they threaten the stability of the coalition government, and here, we revive the tradition of wildcat strikes.

But the response from the EU political class is the same to all of these varied manifestations of resistance. Those who protest are being smeared with accusations of foolhardy protectionism or racist nationalism when they are not (not yet, anyway) guilty of either. It is not purblind nationalism, let alone racism, to resent the importation of cheap labour en masse when its conditions of employment (transport and accommodation provided, as seems to be the case at Lindsey) allow it to compete unfairly with indigenous workers. The drafting in of low-wage work gangs has always been seen as unjust: exploitative of the foreign workers, and destructive of the social cohesion of existing communities which, incidentally, is something about which the Tories say they are much exercised. So can the protesters expect their support?

The US had a rule during its great period of immigration in the early years of the last century, that no one could enter the country with a pre-arranged job. This was designed precisely to prevent the unfairness and disruptive effect of the wholesale import of cheap labour. An individual travelling to seek work, prepared to take his chances in fair competition with local workers is one thing: the organised recruitment of people from the poorest regions of the poorest countries in Europe in order to reduce employers' wage costs in the more prosperous ones, is something else altogether.

Nor is it "protectionism" to argue that competition for employment should take place within a context of social responsibility and respect for the fabric of communities. Genuine protectionism is setting up barriers to free trade: this is what Barack Obama is doing when he forbids the importation of foreign materials such as British steel, and urges his countrymen to restrict their purchases of goods not manufactured in the US ("Buy America!") I eagerly await the condemnation of his proposal for US economic isolationism from all those European leaders who were so anxious to see him elected.

Free trade in goods, as opposed to unlimited open borders for transient labour, is absolutely essential to the recovery of the global economy (and for that matter, to the relief of poverty in the developing world). I agree with those who fear that the US under President Obama may be about to do what it did under Franklin Roosevelt, whose protectionism and hard-nosed refusal to make concessions to international needs condemned the world to a depression (followed by a war). But what the British strikers are demanding is not the same at all, and if their complaints are caricatured or defamed, the price in social disorder could be hideous. It is not an exaggeration to say that this could be the moment of justifiable anger that neo-fascist agitators have been waiting to exploit.

The protesters are simply demanding what they thought – what all free people have been taught to think since the 18th-century enlightenment – was their birthright. That is to say, for the basic principle of modern democracy: the understanding between the state and its people that the proper function of a government is to represent the interests of those who elected it. And to be fair to both presidents, Obama and Roosevelt, this assumption is so deeply grounded in the American psyche that it is almost inconceivable for any US administration not to abide by it quite literally.

In the grand abstract terms of the enlightenment, the legitimacy of government derives from the consent of the governed, and therefore no government should have the right to hand over its authority to some external body which is not democratically accountable to its own people. So when the framers of the EU arranged for the nations of Europe to do exactly that, they were repudiating the two centuries old political struggle for the rights and liberties of ordinary citizens, of government "of the people, by the people and for the people". It has always been my view that this was a quite conscious decision by the EU founders who, in the wake of two world wars, came to believe that the infamous national crimes of the 20th century could be traced directly to the democratic revolutions of the 18th century, and that the only long-term solution to this was to replace democracy with oligarchy.

But there it is. And here we are, with a generation of European political leaders who almost all accept the terms in which their predecessors gave away the most important principle of that great democratic pact between a free people and its government. While times were good and there was enough prosperity to keep everybody distracted and happy, the loss went almost unnoticed except by a few persistent and despairing critics. Well, not any more. The American government may be committing itself to a policy that is economically unsound and even irresponsible, but its insistence on maintaining the compact with its own voters – on putting their concerns first – will at least ensure that democracy will survive there. I am not at all sure that will be true in Europe.

Northerner at 17:20
Thank you so much for posting that link, I will certainly pass it on.
The British are finding their fighting sprit once again, it's nice to know so many others are thinking the same about their countries.
Goodness! I haven’t felt this passionate, angry & patriotic about Britain for years, what a great feeling :o)

Presumably William supports the right of all the overseas workers to stay on and get the dole here once they've finished, as that's an EU commitment?

Whatever happened to the 'Opportunity Society'? And our policy:
"Every claimant potentially able to work will be engaged in welfare to work activities aimed at helping them back into work as quickly as possible".

Too bad for our fellow countrymen and young people who need work experience.

And presumably he would uphold the EU Citizenship Directive? It prevents us from refusing entry to, and deporting, habitual criminals like Rumanian cashpoint fraud gangs?

Better Off Out? Count me in...

"I'd agree with Hague on this. My brother has worked at Lindsey Oil Refinery, but now works in Australia. ... If we go back to everyone only working in their home town, we'll never build a strong economy.
Cleethorpes Rock | February 01, 2009 at 10:13 "

How unbelieveably naive, a measure of the sheer banal innocence of so many.

Australia is a free trade area within a tightly protected economic fortress.Jobs, contracts,money flows and anything within the power of the Australian government are all predicated on the assumption of
"does this prtect and advance the interests of Australia"- if not, forget it.

That goes for the Cleethorpes brothers' job permit also.
(unless he is working illegally?)

"How can there be when party policy is to support one of the fundamentals of the EU?"

It would be very wrong of us to encourage any sort of civil disobedience. As far as the law currently stands William is 100% right. Do we want to law changed? That's a matter for the party to work out. In the meantime let labour keep their unpopular laws intact. Just watch as the Pressure Cooker of Labour unity, fails and they tear themselves apart. Of course we don't want strikes and disruption, but they only really have Labour to blame for the mess.

Well, Charlie Tannock, freedom of people as individuals or tied labour? Do you understand or accept the difference?

Individuals seeking the opportunity to do better outside the constraints of their area, fine. They will integrate to some extent.

Allowing firms to capture cheap labour and dump it into areas is another. But the key thing here is nobody know what specialist skills they have to justify this or at what rate they pay goes.

So Charlie boyo, are you a Haughey, "It suits me, it must suit the nation", We have words for that, which in all fairness I don't think apply to you as they did to him, but look before you leap might be good advice to you.]

How is Silvio these days? Doing well with immigration? I think not.

How many beautiful soldiers does he have? How many coherent ideas do you have?
Do skorovo

"Better Off Out? Count me in...

Posted by: Julian Melford | February 01, 2009 at 18:37"

Join and donate to UKIP too!!

I think there will be a lot of angry displaced workers and unemployed
a lot of the time.

tick tock

"Better Off Out? Count me in...

Posted by: Julian Melford | February 01, 2009 at 18:37"

Join and donate to UKIP too!!

Is that allowed? Do we need a militant tendency expulsion moment.

Let us see what information comes out tomorrow about who really said what and who really is doing what. I may recant, but I doubt it.

Whatever the outcome, the time taken to achieve it and the obfuscation of information is indicative that free flows of ideas are not part the EU freedoms. This is a lesson that is sinking in deeper and deeper.

Oh I think I've flipped flopped from my nee jerk reaction. However William knows full well that we are a Euro-skeptic party at the grass roots.As for MEP's intervening that's all well and good, but this is National politics and they are hardly objective commentators are they? That said and as far as it goes William is right and the legal position is quite clear. Who know's if he drops his outside interests he might even find a supporter, in this old Bishop yet.

The growing gulf between the political class and the electorate is worrying. The sheer complacency of Brown, Mandelson and now Hague is breathtaking.

William Hague has done the party no favours. It might have been possible to have taken a subtle approach, e.g. by saying that this particular aspect (imported closed shop labour) needed reform. Taking this line would not have been a betrayal of the Treaty of Rome but a restoration of what we had previously thought the position to be. Instead he will have alienated large sections of the electorate, and won over few others to compensate for this loss.

I’ve been out all day, but I am heartened to read all the contributions from people of a “one nation” conviction. In contrast the “hard-line dries” seem to take great comfort in their economic purity, even at the expense of their fellow Britons. I suspect some of them would sell their own grandmothers, if it made economic sense.

This particular crisis is just the beginning of a grim 18 months that will see recession turn into deflation. If this is the best we can do, poll ratings may sag – the only compensation being that Brown will do even worse.

Am I right in thinking that Gordon Brown's brother works for the French company EDF who have UK nuclear power contracts?

And EDF work in collaboration with the French company Total, under the auspices of the French government?

"Electricité de France (EDF) and Total today increased their respective stakes in Total Energie, a company specialising in photovoltaic solar energy, to 50% each with the acquisition of the 20% interest held by the founders and management of the company.

Total Energie will now be known as TENESOL. This transaction demonstrates EDF and Total’s commitment to jointly developing TENESOL, a world leader in photovoltaics. The current management team has been tasked with the continued development of the company.

EDF, Total and joint subsidiary TENESOL are also implementing decentralized rural electrification programmes in Morocco, Mali and South Africa..."

There's an interesting piece about EDF and Gordon Brown's brother on the Nuclear Spin blog - sorry about the long link:

The EDF piece quoted above is on this link:

It is not clear that free trade, open markets, equals free movement of labour.

Governments should look after their workforce or are we now acknowledging that our governemnt is based in Brussles and that Westminster is irrelevant?

Workers at Sellafield have started to walk out. ( BBC )
I’d like to wish them the best of luck and to say stuff legislation which is discriminating against British oil workers. Civil protest is the only way to change this and that right must be protected too.

Incidentally, where does the government come in to this with public sector workers or does it just apply to private industry where people are actually employed to do a job of WORK?

What if the Inland Revenue had to tender out across the world and have 8,000 immigrants doing their jobs? - Oh, sorry, I missed that they do, don’t they. Same as the NHS when nurse training places are cut in this country, schools, etc.

The country has gone to the dogs under Labour !!!

Why is our party not sticking up for it and demanding unilateral action to change this practice?

"EU LAW IS SUPERIOR TO BRITISH LAW" - official Conservative policy. Well, Mr. Hague didn`t use those exact words, but he has made it clear that`s what he and his party believe. It is also the policy of Labour and the Libdems. They all love to go on about our "European Partners" and the House voted almost overwhelmingly in favour of the EU inspired Climate Change bill.

I confess I was one of those duped into voting yes in 1975 and thought Enoch Powell was mad to urge us to vote Labour so we could stay out. We thought we were getting a simple trade agreement.

Sooner or later we are going to have to decide: either 100% in and stop grumbling, or leave.
I know what I want, but if the majority voted in I would accept it.

Meanwhile I wish Messrs Hague and co. would stop pretending we can have our cake and eat it.

It is unfortunate that Mr Hague's comments seem to clash with Mr Cameron's.

By appearing to support the maximisation of profit without regard to social consequences, Mr Hague has undermined Mr Cameron's calls for moral capitalism.

How can we fix our broken society and achieve a compassionate conservatism if the workforce is undercut by cheap foreign labour?

I think that we should have a green card system that gives preference to UK-based labour. If it means firms paying a little over the sweatshop rate then they should be allowed to regard the excess - calculated objectively - as a type of charitable donation.

If this is incompatible with EU rules, then tough luck. The EU doesn't force tendering beyond one's borders when a country appoints its European Commissioner.

It is worrying that Dr Charles Tannock confuses free trade with free movement of people.
The best refutation of this was the US Report on Immigration by the Congress in 1997 which pointed out that trade left 'no footprint' while free movement of labour had enormous consequences.
Incidentally, Tannock should know that there is no free trade in the EU,it is regulated trade and regulated by the EU. Has he not heard of the CAP,CFP,tariffs quotas and regulations .

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.

John Redwood writes on his blog; “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 he is right. 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.

Mr Hague is quite right to support the market over nationalist issues. Everyone here with even a basic knowledge of economics should know that protectionism only harms economies, especially service based ones like the UK's. You didn't see Thatcher protecting British coal workers against more competitive foreign trade, and this situation is exactly the same. If British workers are uncompetitive then it is only right that they lose their jobs to more skilled/cheaper foreign workers. I fully support the European single market, and I think everyone should be quite clear that this is something very different from supporting the EU or supporting having political decisions made by them. The conservative party have always been the party of free trade and I'm very glad to see they have not changed this policy to gain support from semi-racist nationalists.

There’s a report just been released ( BBC again ), from a number of University Don’s who say that families are breaking up and children are not receiving parenting as their parents did as a result of a consumer driven society which compels mothers to work. How does this fit in with sending their dads to Italy, and Conservative Policy to mend family breakdown and “Broken Britain”?

“Someone” needs to do some straight talking !!!

"We believe in an open, flexible Europe in which countries work together to achieve shared goals, not the ever greater centralisation of power in Brussels."Tory Policy

nudge ,nudge

Just caught a quick glimpse of Business Questions whilst taking a break for afternoon noodles (Kimchi).

Still none of the basic facts are on the table. Whole Govt response is "if",. They seem to have subbed out the truth process to ACAS, probably on the very good grounds that nobody believes a Govt spokesman.
But why so slowly? Total apparently issued a statement last night but all Political Parties appear to have caveats about it,the Lib Dems asking if as well as ACAS the Total statement could be audited by other independent bodies.
This is an absolutely farcical example of how not to govern.

I have criticised UKIP for not making enough capital from events.....on reflection that was wrong: perhaps the leadership realised that Mandleson and the Conservative Party would do our work for us.

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