Bedford Burrow & Other Curious Stuff

Strange little town, strange little site.

#Brexit are quite clear on one thing, #workersrights are just #redtape, they said so.

“If we could just halve the burdens of the EU social and employment legislation we could deliver a £4.3 billion boost to our economy and 60,000 new jobs.”

That’s what Government minister, and Brexit campaigner, Priti Patel told business leaders at the Institute of Directors. She was quite explicit. If Britain leaves the EU, the government can scrap half the rules that protect people at work.

There is no ambiguity, it is the intention to scrap workers rights if we leave the EU.

Boris Johnson is very disappointed, he said so. It was “very disappointing” that Britain had not made “changes to employment law”, he complained, adding that we “need to weigh in on all that stuff, all that social chapter stuff”.

That’s clear enough.

And let’s not leave David Cameron out of this. His former adviser, Steve Hilton, complained that “membership of the EU brings with it constraints on everything from employment law to family policy”.

And that nice  Mr Grayling was equally candid when asked what European “red tape” he disliked. He referred to health and safety laws.

So there you have it, vote Brexit and you can look forward to third world working conditions and a very dangerous existence in the workplace.

What can you do?

Vote to stay in the EU and at the first opportunity vote to get rid of the Tories.

And one last thing, join a bloody trade union.

The leave campaign would scrap workers’ rights. It must tell us which ones | Hilary Benn | Opinion | The Guardian

According to the TUC, some of the workers’ rights that are under threat from Brexit are:

  • A minimum of four weeks paid holiday, plus public holidays
  • The right to equal pay for women is underpinned by EU law
  • Protections against sex discrimination at work where EU law also underpins UK law
  • Rights to maternity and paternity leave
  • Equal treatment for part-time workers
  • No discrimination against fixed term workers
  • Equal treatment for agency workers after six months
  • An individual right to limit the working week to a maximum of 48 hours
  • Protection for workers facing outsourcing, privatisation, and changes of employer
  • Comprehensive protection on health and safety in the workplace

If you are OK living without them, then you have nothing to be afraid of, after all, we all trust the Tories, don’t we?


15 Jun 2016 Posted by | EU, Tory, Westminster | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The only way to defeat TTIP is from within the EU.

Leaked documents have exposed the EU – US TTIP trade deal is no more than a US attempt to gain access to European markets on their own terms.

The documents, leaked to Greenpeace, show that TTIP is nothing more than a US Corporate grab to take control of European markets and obliterate EU regulations covering GM food, chemical safety, and environmental protection.

molly scot catoMolly Scott Cato, a longstanding critic of TTIP and a Green Party MEP for South West England, has seen the leaked documents. She said, “The leaked documents released this morning prove what the Green Group in the European Parliament has been arguing for several years: TTIP is not a trade treaty but a corporate power grab. What the US is seeking is nothing short of access to European markets on their terms; a completely unprecedented attempt by US corporations to overwhelm the will of European citizens”.

With the UK referendum in full swing, the leak would seem to favour the Out campaigners, but who thinks if the Out campaign win the referendum they would do anything other than agree a similar trade deal with the US, or anyone else for that matter. The UK would be no better off out of the EU.

Molly Scott Catto argued the case by pointing out that, “It is important not to use these shocking revelations about TTIP as an argument in favour of the UK leaving the European Union. As President Obama made clear during his visit to Europe, he is keen to push this treaty through but he cannot do this without the agreement of the European Parliament and all 28 members of the EU. Also, if a majority of MEPs vote against it, we can stop it in its tracks. There isstop TTIP huge momentum against TTIP across Europe and 3.5 million EU citizens have signed a petition calling for the deal to be abandoned. Brexit would weaken the Stop TTIP campaign as it would lose the vital contribution of UK campaigners. Those using TTIP as an argument to leave the EU must be clear that the UK government would be seeking a trade treaty at least as bad as TTIP.”

She said the Green Party is the only party that the UK electorate can rely on to defend the UK, and Europe, against the US grab for power through the TTIP deal.

She said the leak has serious implications for democracy on both sides of the Atlantic. “For those who are as shocked as I am about this morning’s revelations, our conclusion is that we must stand and fight together as Global TTIPEuropeans against the authoritarian power of US corporations. The most sinister aspect of the leak is the way the US is demanding that its corporations can know in advance proposals being made by European law makers and will be given particular status in our legislative process. This is a totally unacceptable threat to European democracy.”

It is time to for those opposed to TTIP to redouble their efforts to fight the deal inside the EU. Anything else, including a vote for Brexit, will see the TTIP agreement concluded and standards eroded by US corporate power.




2 May 2016 Posted by | EU, National Greens | , | 1 Comment

Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, British through and through, or are they?

Your country, your future, your vote.

Your country, your future, your vote. The EFD logo is in the bottom left.

On Sat 12th March I was given an #EU Referendum leaflet published by the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group. 

The leaflet provides information for voters in the forthcoming UK Referendum on EU Membership.

The leaflet is aimed at UK voters, and the Union Jack clearly signifies where its loyalties lie. It is unashamedly in the “No” camp. British through and through. You can see earlier comments on my blog.

So who are the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy?

First and foremost they are not a UK organisation. They are a grouping of EU MEPs, as it says on the leaflet. They have a website, People’s Voice, which gives more information about who is in the group and what their aims are.

The address of publication is not even in the UK, it’s an address in Brussels, rue Wiertz 60, 1047 Brussels, Belgium. You have to wonder whether the leaflet was even printed in the UK. So much for its Britishness.

FarRage and Democracy

Nigel Farage (and Democracy) is a joint President

As far as I can work out from the website, the EFDD is made up 22 UK MEPs, from UKIP; 17 MEPs from Italy; 2 MEPs from Sweden; 1 MEP from each of, the Czech Republic, France, Lithuania and Poland. That’s over 50% non-UK members.

The group I saw today had a stall covered in “Grassroots” leaflets, I assume to give the impression they were nothing to do with Mr Farage or the EU Parliament, and everything to do with being a patriotic British group.

You have to be so careful these days.



12 Mar 2016 Posted by | EU, Politics | , , | Leave a comment

The EFD in #Bedford this morning. Who the fuck are the #EFD I hear you ask?

Your country, your future, your vote

Your country, your future, your vote

Walking in Bedford Town Centre this morning, I’m approached by a young woman wanting to talk to me about voting to leave the #EU. She gives me a leaflet and tells me the #EURef is about #Democracy.

We have a discussion. I challenge everything she says. She tells me the EU Commission is undemocratic. I ask her who the European Commission are.

She tells me again the EU Commission is not democratic. I ask her how EU Commissioners get their jobs. Her response is, “I don’t want to have an argument with you”.

My response to that is, “But you haven’t answered my questions”.  I tell her who the EU Commission are. She repeats her “no argument” line.

A nice big boat taking lots of containers around the world. But the containers are full of non-British goods since every UK Govt for the last thirty years has killed UK industry. Oops, not the EU then.

A nice big boat taking lots of containers around the world. But the containers are full of non-British goods since every UK Govt for the last thirty years has killed UK industry. Oops, not the EU then.

I ask her about Worker’s Rights. She says she doesn’t want an argument. I walk away laughing.

She is from a group called Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, a political grouping in the European Parliament. They evolved from an earlier EU grouping, Europe of Freedom and Democracy Their website is the People’s Voice. She gave me their leaflet. Now I am writing about it.

If the #EURef is about democracy can I suggest we deal with a few existing issues in our country first; we have an un-elected Head of State; we have an appointed, un-elected second chamber; we have a voting system that blatantly favours the two main establishment parties; we have a government who, if I’m to believe what is written, are in the process of making changes which will mean it will be extremely difficult for any other party to gain a majority in parliament.

FarRage and Democracy

FarRage and Democracy

If we want to fix democracy we would be better starting with a few things in “our country”.

On page 3 is a photograph of two elderly gentlemen with glasses. “Do you even know who they are?”, we are asked.

They are the top dogs in the EU and they make “our laws”. What, just those two? I didn’t vote for them. I can’t get rid of them. But they make 50% of the laws which govern my life. Really?

So how did they get this job of governing my life?

Apparently, “A new team of 28 Commissioners (one from each EU Member State) is appointed every five years.”

“The candidate for President of the Commission is proposed to the European Parliament by the European Council that decides, by qualified majority, and taking into account the elections to the European Parliament.”

Two elderly gentlemen with glasses who "make 50% of the laws that Govern my life". Bullshit.

Two elderly gentlemen with glasses who “make 50% of the laws that Govern my life”. Bullshit.

“The Commission President is then elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members (which corresponds to at least 376 out of 751 votes).”

So the commissioners are appointed by my elected representatives, which is better than my Head of State, and on a par with the members of the House of Lords. I think that makes the EU a tiny bit, just a tiny bit, more democratic than the UK.

We are not in the Euro, the yes men chose not to join.

We are not in the Euro, the yes men chose not to join.

Now the European Parliament ” is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU). Together with the Council of the European Union (the Council) and the European Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU”.

“Although the European Parliament has legislative power that the Council and Commission do not possess, it does not formally possess legislative initiative“. So it’s the elected European Parliament that has the legislative power and passes the laws, but it’s the Council and the Commission that come up with the ideas for the laws.

I think that means that those two elderly gentlemen in the photo do not “make 50% of the laws that govern my life”.  It’s the leaders of the EU Countries and the Commissioners who come up with the ideas. Then the EU Parliament makes the decision.

That means we need some bloody good, active MEPs battling for us, not some part-time joy-riders. Are you listening Mr Farage and all you Euro-septic MEPs. (Yes it’s deliberate).

The EFD leaflet then goes on about money.


The EU cost us a lot of money which we could save and then spend on you. Or give the rich a nice tax cut.

“There are 2 million unemployed in the UK”, it says. The next bit I really like. “Up and down the UK people are going hungry; queuing at foodbanks; and not getting proper healthcare. We are sending £17 billion to the EU every year.”

So what is the EDF point? I think they are implying that outside of the EU we would not have any of those problems.

Could I suggest that the reason we have those problems is because our Sovereign Parliament has implemented policies which have created the very problems listed.


Because of the EU children go hungry and old people die.

The EDF then suggest we invest in Britain instead. We could: “give 5 million children free school dinners; build 750 new schools; build 10 new hospitals to look after the sick and elderly”. Yes we could, but will we do that?

We choose not to do that because our elected MPs in the UK Parliament support an Austerity Driven Economic Policy, namely George Osborne’s Long Term Economic Plan, which the UK electorate voted for. Heaven knows why.

That is not the fault of the EU.

After that I lost interest in reading anymore.

The EDF seem to be a bunch of Right Wingers who see isolation as a means having complete control and making lots of dosh for themselves and their cronies.

We have blamed everyone:

  • migrants and immigrants
  • asylum seekers
  • teachers
  • doctors
  • the unemployed
  • the working poor
  • the disabled
  • benefit cheats
  • benefit scroungers
  • the benefit system
  • the minimum wage
  • the Labour Party
  • the Trade Unions
  • the young
  • the old
  • unmarried mothers
  • single parents
  • homosexuals, gays and lesbians
  • lefties and militants
  • me
Don't forget the nasty immigrants

Don’t forget the nasty immigrants

The only people who have not taken any blame are:

  • our politicians
  • the bankers
  • the financial sector

Now it’s the EU’s turn to take the blame.

And in case it may have slipped your mind we, the UK Electorate, voted in a Government which is systematically dismantling everything we value, giving the proceeds to the rich, and destroying the planet at the same time. If you want more of that, you know how to vote in the #EURef.

Gove, Johnson, Duncan-Smith, Fox, Farage, et al, (and a lot of below the radar, right-wing zealots). Very dangerous people.





12 Mar 2016 Posted by | Bedford, EU, Politics, Westminster, What the fuck? | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

George Osborne claims his own experts are wrong about benefit tourism – despite ‘no proof’ it exists – Mirror Online

The Chancellor insisted people “abuse free movement just to come to our country and claim our benefits” in the face of doubts by the Office of Budget Responsibility he set up.

Despite repeated attempts to get the Tory ideologues to produce some evidence for their claims they have been unable to do so.

Even when good old Neil Kinnock asked in the Lords for all the DWP factual evidence, they couldn’t produce any.

Downing Street gave the game away when it admitted that the ban is based on one of four areas of “greatest concern” to the British public. But not on evidence. Another ideologically driven policy.

Source: George Osborne claims his own experts are wrong about benefit tourism – despite ‘no proof’ it exists – Mirror Online

17 Jan 2016 Posted by | Austerity, EU, Tory | , , , , | Leave a comment

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