21st May 2013: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following speech during a debate, on the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the European Council meeting which is to be held tomorrow.
"It is, of course, member states that have the responsibility to collect taxes and fight tax fraud. Yet here is the EU trying to extend its legislative competence.
"It is, of course, true that fraud is often committed across international borders - often by multi-national and globalist companies, so beloved by the EU's neo-liberal policies. However, the borders are all borders and not just the borders of member states. Action needs to be taken by extensive international agreement and not confined to the EU.
"On another topic on the agenda, to talk about growth, jobs and competitiveness in the context of the EU's energy policy is wildly optimistic.
"Renewable energy might well be a desirable ideal but it is inefficient and expensive. High energy costs will not create growth, jobs and competitiveness. They will destroy them.
"Suppliers of energy wishing to use fossil fuels are penalised financially and those plants will eventually be closed down. To make matters worse, emergent economies seem to be immune from strictures against the use of fossil fuels.
"In the United Kingdom we have vast quantities of coal, locked in the ground as the result of Mrs. Thatcher's policies in the 1980s. We must discard our prejudices against the use of fossil fuels and against nuclear energy. That will be the key to growth and jobs.
"The difficulties facing the Euro-zone will doubtless come up. Perhaps they might heed the words of Oskar Lafontaine* and begin an orderly dismantling of the Euro-zone. Only escape from the Euro-zone will rescue the troubled economies of the South from permanent stagnation."
* Oskar Lafontaine was German Finance Minister when the Euro was adopted but has now suggested that the zone should be dismantled.
21st May 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg Andrew Brons delivered a One Minute Speech (under Rule 150) on Europeanism.
He told his fellow MEPs in the Chamber:
"The terms Pro-European and Anti-European are often used as shorthand for Pro-EU and Anti-EU. I, for one, find the term Anti-European to describe those of us who are opposed to membership, or even the existence, of the EU, as highly offensive.
"Europe is much older and much more than the EU. It is a cultural entity, a religious entity and an entity with overlapping and related ancestries.
"The EU goes out of its way to welcome Third World immigration and embraces the political and economic doctrine of Globalism. It is the EU that is Anti-European because its policies will destroy the distinctiveness of Europe.
"If Third World immigrants come to Europe, they do not become New Europeans to replace unborn European babies. They turn parts of Europe irreversibly into the Third World.
"It is Global Capitalism and its related ideologies that fuel immigration because it regards human beings, as though they were merely factors of production."
18th April 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the 'Catch the Eye' procedure, to a debate on on Turkey's progress report on its candidature for membership of the EU.
"Turkey is certainly abusing human rights when it prosecutes academics for describing the 1915 killing of Armenians as genocide. Of course, Turkey is not alone: France proposes an exact mirror image of that law. People will be prosecuted for saying that it was not genocide. France and many other member states, prosecute and gaol people for heretical opinions: on academic as well as political matters. Perhaps it might fit in after all!
"I am not an enthusiast for the European Union but, for as long as it exists, I would prefer it to be more European rather than less European. Turkey is not European, by its geography, ancestry, religion or culture.
"Whilst not being an EU enthusiast, I find it extraordinary that a country that is still occupying nearly 40% of Cyprus, a member state, should even be considered for membership."
18th April 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the Catch the Eye procedure, to a debate on the monitoring report on Croatia's accession to the EU (1st July 2013).
"Twenty-two years ago Croatia fought for, and eventually won, its independence, for which it paid with the lives of many of its nationals. That independence has now been surrendered to the European Union.
"To add insult to injury Croatia had to pay to be allowed to surrender. Part of the price was to hand over two of its generals, Markac and Gotovina to the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal so that they could be stigmatised - quite unjustly as it turns out - as war criminals.
"Croatia is praised in the report for 'democratic consolidation'. Let's hope that democracy is contagious and spreads to the EU and its worst member states.
"Croatia has been told that it must respect the rights of minorities. If Croats have a current problem with minorities then, in the words of Al Jolson: "You ain't seen nothing yet". Wait until the poor of Africa and Asia, admitted by the EU's common immigration and asylum policy, turn up in your towns and cities and outnumber your tiny population.
17th April 2013: At the European Parliament in Strasbourg this morning, Andrew Brons was unsuccessful in his 'Catch the Eye' attempt to address the Plenary Session on the Current Situation in Cyprus.
Had Andrew been called to speak, he would have said:
"If I were to be stopped in the street by a man wearing a striped jersey and a mask, who allowed me to keep my bus fare home but forced me to hand over the bulk of my money in exchange for out-of-date grocery coupons, we should have no hesitation in calling it robbery. If it turned out that the robber had been encouraged to carry out his crime by a shifty money lender in a smart suit, in exchange for a substantial loan, we should not hesitate to hold the money lender to be primarily culpable.
"So much for a European Union that respects European values such as the Rule of Law!
"The rest of us should be wary about assuming that it could not happen to us. If it happened to depositors of money in Cyprus, it could just as easily happen to depositors in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.
"Depositors should demand a cast iron assurance that this action will be reversed and that it will not be repeated elsewhere. If they do not receive that assurance, they should take their money and run to safer climes."
We have all heard of the state forcing property owners to sell. The Government of Cyprus has invented the practice of forcing bank customers to buy! What are holders of over 100,000 Euros forced to purchase? Well, with 37.5% of their money over 100,000 Euros, they will be forced to purchase bank shares. Could the banks not have sold these shares on the open market? It's difficult to sell something that has no value! But at least they can keep the other 62.5%? Er..no. 22.5% will be placed into an account paying no interest and it might be used to make them purchase even more of these useless shares. The remaining 40% remains their property but is frozen in an account that might pay interest but you're are not allowed to have it.
So Cyprus has become a rogue state stealing on its own initiative the savings of its depositors? Not quite. Cyprus was coerced into stealing the depositors' money by the European Central Bank; otherwise the 10 billion Euros bail-out would be refused.
17th April 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons spoke using the 'Catch the Eye' procedure during a debate on the 2011 Report of the European Central Bank.
"The Euro-zone and the European Central Bank are not a solution to the difficulties of the European Union; they are part of the problem.
"During the early years of the Euro-zone, Northern Europe needed low interest rates to improve its growth. However, those low interest rates caused a property boom in Spain. When that boom came to an end, the banks found that they had insufficient security for their loans. 2011 saw the ECB conducting two distinct and contradictory interest rate policies.
"A common interest rate, like a common currency value, cannot be appropriate for seventeen different economies.
"The Report suggests that there should be wage increases in the North of the EU, in order to stimulate aggregate demand and growth in the South. How ever would you encourage employers to increase wages above the market rate?
"They will certainly not be encouraged to do so when there is a plentiful supply of labour resulting from an open-door policy on immigration. Nor will they do so when they have the freedom to export jobs to the Far East by re-locating industry."
16th April 2013: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons was unsuccessful in his attempt for a 'Catch the Eye' speech during a debate on a proposed directive on supervision of credit institutions (the banking system).
(Only five Catch the Eye speeches were allowed and Andrew's was not among them).
Had he been called to speak, he would have told MEPs:
"My opposition to EU legislation and competences will not (I hope) prevent me from considering these measures on their merits.
"My intuitive response was to support (member state) legislative restrictions on huge bonuses, despite the danger of increases in basic salaries, paid regardless of performance (to compensate them for the loss of their bonuses). My reaction to that danger was to suggest curbs on basic pay but would that lead inexorably, to states or the EU, micro-managing incomes throughout their economies?
"There is, of course, a case for saying that banks are a special case, because bonuses are often paid as a reward for taking risks with the money of other people: the shareholders; depositors; and ultimately the taxpayers. Furthermore the failures of banks have much wider repercussions than the failures of other businesses.
"Perhaps the answer would be for a change in (member states') employment law, so that employees who receive large bonuses should lose the security of a similar proportion of their contractual income."
18th March 2013: Last week at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following speech during a debate on Syria.
"Syria is anything but a democracy but nor are many countries in the Middle East such as its fierce critic, Saudi Arabia. Nor for that matter are all of Mr. Assad's opponents in Syria, democrats.
"The Syrian Government's handling of the protests was, from the beginning, grossly disproportionate but its brutality has frequently been matched by the opposition.
"We can also judge a regime by its substantive policies. Before the conflict, women in Syria were relatively liberated. Religious minorities - particularly Christians, were free to worship without interference, although some Christians have been attacked by Islamist members of the Opposition.
"It is all very well to bemoan the huge humanitarian toll of the conflict but that is what happens when neither side is capable of winning decisively. It is also what happens when the protagonists are armed, albeit covertly, by outsiders.
"How long will it be before the armed forces of member states are dragged into the conflict and the body bags start to be flown home to Europe?
"How ethical was it, and is it, for the West to encourage other people to risk their lives to advance the West's political agenda: depriving Iran of an ally and Israel of an adversary. Was régime change really worth 70,000 lives?
"(Might the Ba'ath régime be replaced by a democracy? It might be replaced by an Islamist dictatorship. Democracies do not thrive when there are vertical divisions in the populace.)*
"The priority must now be to bring the bloodshed to an end. That can happen only if there are talks without pre-conditions on neutral territory."
*This paragraph was omitted because of shortage of time.
14th March 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the 'Catch the Eye' procedure, to a debate on the European Council meeting to be held on the 14th and 15th March 2013.
"It has been admitted that unemployment is not falling and is not likely to do so in 2013.
"The value of the Euro will not allow the countries of the South to emerge from recession.
"Austerity programmes will not cure unemployment. You do not make countries richer by making them poorer.
"Globalisation might make the emergent economies richer but it will make European countries poorer.
"The Single Market might help low income member states but only at the expense of higher income member states.
"Uncontrolled immigration will make unemployment worse everywhere. We heard earlier from a Mr Farage about immigration to Britain. Is this the same Mr. Farage who said on 4th May 2010 that the UK ought to issue a quarter of a million work permits each year?
"Incidentally, the Romanian citizens to whom Mr Farage referred were not ordinary Romanians . . . they were the Roma."
Mr Sefkovic, the EU Commissioner for Inter-institutional Relations, said that he rejected statements about Romanians and Bulgarians, on behalf of the Commission. He said that this was stigmatising a population.
There are some who remember that when he was being interviewed by AFCO before his appointment in 2009, he was asked a question about a speech he had made five years previously about the Roma. He said that he could not remember what he had said five years before. We are confident that Mr Sefkovic dwelt only on their virtues.
13th March 2013: The following Press Statement has been sent out by the Office of Andrew Brons MEP to Britain's national newspapers and to the newspapers and media outlets covering his Yorkshire and the Humber Constituency.
"Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg Andrew Brons was unsuccessful in his attempt to make a 'Catch the Eye' contribution to a debate on Strengthening the Fight Against Racism, Xenophobia and Hate Crimes.
Had he been called to speak, he would have said:
"George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four was a caricature of reality but unfortunately reality has caught up with the caricature. Orwell created the concept of thought crime - the criminalisation of a state of mind, Xenophobia - literally fear of strangers - must apparently be criminalised - a thought crime in Orwell's sense.
"I asked the Council and the Commission for definitions of racism and xenophobia but they could provide neither. It is absurd to criminalise what cannot be defined.
"Incitements to violence against others, on whatever ground, including the ground of political opinion, must be condemned and prosecuted. However, this is not about preventing violence or hatred. It is about suppressing opposition to out-of-control immigration."