Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bloggers will win the day

Just as was done in the North East referendum and as we were doing against the constitution.

Bloggers take on European elites
By Kevin Anderson

BBC News website

Etienne Chouard's manifesto drew record numbers of hits
The French newspaper dubbed Marseille law teacher Etienne Chouard "Don Quichotte du non".

Mr Chouard did not much care for the EU Constitution, but instead of simply voicing his upset to his neighbours, he wrote an essay and set up a blog to explain why he was voting 'Non'.

Just ahead of the vote, his blog was getting 25,000 hits a day and his anti-constitution broadside had been photocopied, faxed and blogged about across France.

Despite overwhelming support for the constitution by the governments of both France and the Netherlands and a huge media campaign by political leaders in both countries, voters have rejected the constitution.

And just as the media and political establishment in the US found during last year's presidential election, European elites have now felt the sting of these online upstarts, the bloggers.

An 'enormous force'

Mr Chouard, the teacher turned blogger, has become a folk hero for the 'Non' campaigners who rebelled against what they saw as an out of touch political elite.

Fans posting to his blog have asked where they can send contributions to erect a statue of him in Marseille,

He took issue with the 66,000 word constitution saying that it would be difficult to amend and that it did not lay out the separation of powers between agencies.

The "Yes" campaigners argued that the blogs were perpetuating myths and half-truths, French internet consultant Stanislas Magniant told the BBC.

But those opposed to the constitution found the internet in general and blogs in particular as one of the ways to get their message out, he said.

"Proponents of 'No' have said the mainstream media have been shamelessly in favour of the 'Yes'. They said the internet was the main area where the democratic debate can take place," he added.

But it was not just Mr Chouard, Nicolas Vanbremeersch of the blog Publius actually expected more online activism than took place in France after the role of blogs in the US presidential campaign last year.

But he told the BBC News Website that both "Yes" and "No" campaigners used the internet and weblogs extensively.

However, the "Yes" side's internet efforts were too late and too little.

"The 'No' side, the extreme left, was very organised on the internet. The 'Yes' side has been late in taking up blogs as interactive tools," he said.

The political left already had many internet sites ahead of the constitutional campaign and they quickly launched blogs for the campaign, he added.

Mr Magniant is not ready to say that blogs were a determining factor in the referendum, but he does believe that blogs dramatically lowered the barrier to entry to take part in political debate.

"In terms of grassroots power, (blogs) have been an enormous force," he said.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005



The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP,
Prime Minister,
10, Downing Street,
London SW1A 2AA

24th June 2005

Dear Prime Minister

The decision of the European Council to extend the ratification period for the European Constitutional Treaty to the year 2007 is puzzling to say the least since ratification requires all twenty five Member Countries to ratify in accordance with their own procedures. Since France and the Netherlands have clearly and decisively, by referendum, declined to ratify the Treaty it should have been declared dead.

The fact that, with your agreement, the Treaty is still alive and on the agenda is bound to give rise to suspicions that there will be attempts to circumvent the decisions of the people of France and The Netherlands and to deny the British people the opportunity to give their decision through a referendum. The authority being cited for deferring ratification appears to be a provision in the Constitutional Treaty that allowed Member States and the European Council to reconsider the matter in 2006 if all countries had not said Yes. Since the Treaty cannot now be ratified due to the French and Dutch No’s how can a provision in the Treaty be invoked to keep it alive, although it is effectively dead? Perhaps you will let me have answer to this conundrum.

There is also grave concern that new items in the Constitutional Treaty could be, indeed, are being introduced by the back door, items such as powers being exercised by the “EU Foreign Minister”, the setting up of EU Embassies in various parts of the world, the setting up a European Space Agency, the setting up of a European Defence Agency and the power of the EU to dictate to Member States on judicial procedures to be followed in their own countries.

The EU Institutions seem to grind on no matter what happens or whether they have the lawful authority to implement some of these measures. I would be grateful for your comments about these and other powers being pushed forward by the EU and explain why this does not rob the British people of their say in the future of Europe and negate your own and the Government’s promise that the Treaty would not be ratified.

Both you and the Foreign Secretary have called for a fundamental review of the EU which will be welcomed by those who have been long time opponents of deeper integration and wish to return to a position of a basic free trade area combined with voluntary co-operation between the nations of Europe on a bi-lateral or multilateral basis – a position which I believe is that of the majority of the electorate.

Eurosceptic organisations which are members of the Alliance and those who are not, would like to be consulted about the review and to make their contribution as to what the future should hold for Britain and Europe. After all, we are entitled to claim that we have been correct in our assessment of matters European in many areas, including the single currency. Perhaps you and the Government would now start listening to those voices rather than simply adopting the policies of people and organisations that believe in continuing integration leading to a single European state.

I look forward to your reply.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon
Chairman – Alliance Against the European Constitution
House of Lords
London SW1

Tel: 020-7219 5402
Press Office: 07734-457390 or 01277-231837 (Stuart Gulleford)

Check On ANY MEP - Has he gone Native or Gone to Sleep?

Check On ANY MEP - Has he gone Native or Gone to Sleep?

Thanks to Greg

If you want to check on ANY MEP and see if they are doing anything worth while to justify your support and your vote at the next election: Click Here


* by date
* by speaker
* By speaker
* By date
* By word
* By date

Read Me First
Indexes 1984-1999

Then you can select the MEP you are checking by alphabet order and see howmany speeches they have made and read the speeches in full.

It is always worth checking to see if your MEP is merely there for his ego and free lunches - look out for tell tale signs as many of them put on weight significantly due to excess time and lack of work and do bear in mind that almost without exception these people are earning more than they have ever earned in their lives in multiples!

Keep an eye on these utterly irrelevant fat cats and check they haven't gone native - discussing the colour of the fluff in the belly button of the beast when they should be showing ways to slay it!

Don't be shy - write to them and complain and do it regularly they cost around 1.3 MILLION Pounds of tax payers money EACH and have NO meaningful job beyond acting as salesmen for the corrupt and festering edifice.

All that matters regarding the EUropean Soviet, which is Increasingly forming itself as a Supra National Power is: WHAT is the Exit & Survival strategy for Britain?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Directly Elected English Regional Assemblies and Stillborn White Elephants

Directly Elected English Regional Assemblies and Stillborn White Elephants

Read the report by Chris Game here





In February 2003, a Trading Standards Officer entered Dennis Webb's fruitshop in Torbay and disabled his weighing machine with a hammer and punch.

British Weights and Measures Association has been helping Mr Webb to establish the Council's legal authority for rendering the scales inoperative. Despite repeated written requests no proper answer was forthcoming from the Council for six months during 2004. In November 2004 the BWMA lodged a formal complaint with the Council listing 10 formal protests. The Council rejected the most serious complaints but conceded that it had no legal authority to disable Mr Webb's imperial weighing machine. It offered a paltry sum in compensation to Mr Webb.

As a consequence, the BWMA, acting for Mr Webb has asked the Local Government Ombudsman to consider the following:

o That Torbay Council withheld information to which BWMA, as Mr Webb's representative, was entitled.

o That Torbay Council abused its power. By failing to provideinformation, it placed itself beyond scrutiny and therefore accountability.

o That Torbay Council obstructed our representation of Mr Webb. This is because its withholding of information prevented us from acting as his representative in any effective or meaningful way.

o That, had it not been for our intervention, Mr Webb would have been misled (whether intentionally or not) into having to apply under the Data Protection Act for the Council's legal authority to break his scales.

o We make a further complaint that the Torbay Council Customer Services Team did not apply the complaints procedure in the first instance.

If our complaints are upheld, we will be asking for:

* adequate compensation for Mr Webb;
* expenses to be paid;
* disciplinary action against the relevant employees.


The British Weights & Measures Association is a voluntary organisation that campaigns for choice in measures. It supports the Metric Martyrs Defence Fund (contact Tel: 0191 565 7143) for traders persecuted for selling goods in customary units. The Association assists traders who come into conflict with Trading Standards officers enforcing the EU metrication directives.

Press release issued by David Delaney, BWMA PRO, tel: 01544 267197 British Weights & Measures Association, 11 Greensleeves Avenue, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 8BJ, Tel: 020 8922 0089 (24 hr answering m/c)

Patrons: Lord Monson - Vice Admiral Sir Louis Le Bailly KBE CB - Hon. Mrs.Gwyneth Dunwoody MP - Sir Patrick Moore CBE

Monday, June 13, 2005

No Campaign off on International Tour of Duty

Monday 13th June 2005

No Campaign off on International Tour of Duty

The People's No Campaign's 'Message from the People,' is leaving for Brussels today from the North Shields Ferry Terminal.

The message is plain and simple:

"Don't you Dare...Mr. Blair!
The British voters must have their vote:
Oui ou Non?
A cancelled vote in Britain is not an option"

The message is being delivered via an AdVan and the poster can be seen here

The vehicle is to be present for three days in Brussels to coincide with the meeting of the 25 Heads of State at the European Council on 16th and 17th June where the ratification process for the European Constitution is to be discussed and decided.
We are not prepared to accept Blair's 'postponement' and we are demanding an opportunity to have a referendum.
Already the French campaign which delivered their historic 'Non' is showing solidarity and preparing to support the statement below:

"WE DEMAND that the British Government keeps its promise and holds a referendum on the European Constitution.

The voice of the people must be heard: the British must not be denied their say."

Photo and Media Opportunity:
1.30pm North Shields Ferry Terminal
Interviews with Colin Moran and Neil Herron of The People's No Campaign



1. The People's No Campaign is a non / cross-party coalition demanding a referendum on our relationship with the EU and actively campaigning for a No vote.

2. The team behind the campaign have biggest ever referendum success against the Government in the North East elected assembly referendum.

3. North East based Gorilla Media have the contract for the supply of the vehicle and the poster.


Neil Herron
0191 565 7143 (Direct Line)
07776202045 (Mobile)

The People's No Campaign
0845 147 2006

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'No' Campaign Goes to Brussels

The People's NO Campaign Goes to Brussels.
Click Here to view images.

White Elephant House

The Daily Telegraph
13th June 2005

'Ego led to £7.5m white elephant'
By Paul Stokes,

A labour-run local authority is moving staff into a new £7.5 million eco-friendly building which has been described as a white elephant.

Construction work on what some believe was intended to be the regional assembly building for the North East started a month before the public rejected plans for regional government in a referendum last November.

Durham county council has now agreed to lease part of the building for an estimated £350,000 a year.

Brian Clouston, the chairman of the Durham Taxpayers Alliance, said: "I don't think there has been any chicanery but regional pride has got the better of common sense.

"The county said right up to the day of the referendum that no site had been chosen for an HQ - it was up for grabs.

"Yet all the time they were drawing up plans to develop this site. When the No vote came they were left exposed."

He added: "It is a sophisticated building and a sensitive site. I am convinced the authorities had decided this was where the assembly building would be and it was given the green light at virtually every phase.

"This is an example of local authority ego. They wanted the regional assembly building in Durham City and pulled out all the stops to get it. Now they are left with a white elephant which they are embarrassed about and have to find a use for."

The 48,000 sq ft block includes a roof insulated with sedum plants and a boiler fuelled by recycled wood pellets.

A Durham county council spokesman said: "The building could have been offered to members of the new assembly as one of a number of options to consider as their temporary headquarters but it certainly would not have been suitable as the assembly's permanent home.

"We also considered it potentially suitable to address our own accommodation problems."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Three Euro MPs back referendum go-ahead

The Journal
Friday 10th June 2005

The North-based campaign against the European Constitution has claimed the support of the region’s three MEPs in calling for a UK referendum to go ahead.

The vote in this country on the treaty has been shelved after it was rejected in polls in France and the Netherlands.

But the people’s No Campaign – led by Sunderland activist Neil Herron – is calling for Britain still to be given a say on the document. Yesterday, Mr Herron seized on comments by the MEPs as evidence a debate should still take place.

And he challenged the three to a public debate in the region on the constitution.
It came after Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Fiona Hall said: “I would like us to go ahead with the referendum. It would enable us at long last to have an intelligent and informed debate about Europe.”

Labour MEP Stephen Hughes also said this week: “Unless a real campaign begins there is real danger that our referendum campaign will be about – just as it was in France – everything except the content of the constitution.”

And conservative MEP Martin Callanan said; “I have no problem with a referendum especially if it stops Blair introducing some of the provisions of the constitution by the back door.

“I would look forward to joining Fiona, Stephen and Neil on a platform in the North-East to put the issue before the public.”Mr Herron said: “It is great to see both Stephen and Fiona along with Martin joining in our call for a referendum to go ahead.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Political Chaff Confuses Media Radar

Well, they fell for it hook line and sinker...every single one of them.

An ill-thought out Government initiative announced on a Sunday by Alistair Darling?
Road charging took Straw's statement in the House on the Monday off lead story in all the papers and all the media.
Radio 4's Today programme took the lead as well.

Blair out of the country? Of course. These things do not happen by accident.

You have to look past the 'political chaff' and not fall for it. These guys in the Labour spin machine are only 'experts' because the press and media allow them to be. They know how the game is played.
Also, the press and media will continue to use 'establishment' campaigns mirroring the Conservative Party line. It's safe and easily handled. It's not contentious.

If you have ever watched an under-9's football match the same logic applies with everyone on the pitch (except the two goalies) within 10 yards of the ball.

We must all learn the skill of stepping back outside the game to see the big picture.

We must also expand the art of bypassing the mainstream media to get the message out at grassroots level.

Expose the transparent 'spin' agenda in the local press letters pages. It is only transparent however, when it is pointed out to everyone.

Forward any information to your contacts. Become active.
Keep up the fight.

How Europe Stands On The Constitution

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Don't You Dare...Mr. Blair!" Massive Coverage

The People's No Campaign...Mobile Advertising Hoarding in Parliament Square
Report From the Front Line
6th June
by Neil Herron

The 'Don't You Dare... Mr. Blair!" mobile hoarding proved popular with the press and media as well as the general public in and around the Westminster area.
Picture of the van and the press release click here

As Jack Straw made his statement to the House 'postponing' the second reading of the Constitution Referendum Bill we were being interviewed by German ARD TV.
It still appears as though we are getting more coverage in other countries than we are by the BBC. The German TV crew have spent so much time with us that I am expecting cult status equivalent to that of Baywatch's David Hasselhof...and you never know, I may be asked to sing when they knock down the Byker Wall.
The day had gone well with interviews with Channel 4 and NBC News and ITN and BBC gathering footage of the vehicle which has had exposure on The Six O' Clock News and Newsnight. Reuters and various picture agencies were also present.
During the day we managed to confront a number of europhiles as we 'loitered with intent' on College Green, Westminster.

Lord Kinnock was the first. I spotted him walking past our van which was parked up in Abingdon Street.
"Oi, Kinnock.Nice to see you. I hope you don't want to try and run away from the debate like Blair," I said.
"You're that guy from Sunderland, nice to see you again. It was Brussels last time, wasn't it?" he remarked.
He stated that the Treaty was dead but agreed that we should have a full debate and the public should be informed about our relationship with the EU and be allowed a referendum on the 'direction' we need to go.
He left saying, "If that means we have to leave, then so be it."

Next was Baroness Shirley Williams, who shuffled along with an overnight bag after being interviewed by one of the news crews.
"Baroness Williams," crooned Colin Moran of the No Campaign.
"It's a pleasure to meet you. Can I just ask you a question? Do you think it is acceptable for us to be governed by twenty five unelected Commissioners?"
Visibly uncomfortable at having to engage a member of the public she spluttered and stumbled. Not the usual confident politician.
"Surely it is time for the British public to have a full 'grown-up' debate regarding our relationship with the European Union?"
"Yes, yes I agree. It must be put to the people," and she scurried off in a great the wrong direction.
Embarrassed, she then turned round to go back to the Lords looking like a rather confused 'bag lady.'

We walked past the entrance of the Commons as the van went on another loop of Parliament Square and literally bumped into the pink-tied Sir Menzies Campbell as he attempted to hail a taxi.
Too late.
He had missed his chance.
He too was 'collared.'
"Sir Menzies," Moran opened, "How do you think Jack Straw's statement went?"
"Fine, fine," he said desperately attempting to avoid eye contact.
Moran came back. "Do you think it is acceptable that we are going to be denied the debate on our relationship with the European Union? After all, we are the people."
"You were all asked in 1975," Campbell came back.
"Ah but there was no Parliament then, and we weren't told it would have supremacy," said Moran.
"Yes there was," Sir Menzies mistakenly replied.
"The Parliament, Sir Menzies, was set up in 1979, four years after we agreed to a Common Market."
"Taxi, taxi."
A swift body swerve and dive into the back of the black cab brought relief for Sir Menzies Campbell.

Polite confrontation by the public exposes their weaknesses. It exposes the deceit. They cannot talk their way out as they can in the controlled environment and protocols of TV and radio studios. The interviewers and journalists rarely go in for the kill...their careers depend on repeat visits.
The key to the success of what we are going to do with the People's No Campaign is to get people challenging their elected representatives. They are uncomfortable with a well-informed member of the public a few feet away.
The game's up and they know it.
The strategy is to stop them from running away and hiding in the bunker.
Our campaign will be confrontational and we will do the things that the 'establishment' campaigns will not.
We will however, conduct ourselves with good manners and observe the necessary protocols but we will not accept flannel, lies and spin.

The last one of the day was the BBC's Andrew Marr. Our van was back at College Green as he did the Six O' Clock News broadcast with the Palace of Westminster as the backdrop. As he finished he began walking back to Millbank.
Moran went over to politely introduce himself, but at the same time another film crew, who appeared to be either Spanish or Portuguese, turned to film the van. Andrew Marr looked at Colin, looked at the van, saw the film crew and perhaps thought it was a set-up...his jaw dropped and he appeared visibly startled...and he ran. He ran past the van like a whippet back to Millbank.

So, The People's No Campaign 'arrived' and made its mark.

Next stop Brussels for the European Council meeting on the 16th June...perhaps with a van, perhaps with a balloon, perhaps with a boat but most certainly with a message from the people...stop running Tony.

This project goes nowhere until you put it to the people.

Vote on Europe shelved by UK

Vote on Europe shelved by UK
The Journal Jun 7 2005
By Zoe Hughes

The Government has postponed a referendum on the European Union constitution despite mounting pressure from North-East campaigners for the vote to go ahead.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw yesterday said there was "no point" in pursuing plans for a referendum on the treaty in the wake of its rejection by Holland and France.

However, Sunderland metric martyr Neil Herron has launched a campaign demanding a debate on the issue - warning Tony Blair was "running scared" of listening to the public. "How does the Prime Minister know what the people want if he doesn't go ahead with this referendum?" he challenged yesterday, just as Mr Straw made his announcement to the Commons.

"We must not leave the situation like this. It is important that every country is allowed to give its opinion on the constitution and it would be an outrage if the British people were denied this right." Mr Herron is using the national grassroots People's No Campaign to demand a debate on the issue, saying it was vital for people to know the "destination" of the European project.

However, Mr Straw told MPs the EU Council - not the UK - would decide the future of the treaty after the two No votes, admitting that parts of the constitution could still be implemented without a vote.

Announcing that the Government was suspending the British referendum, which had been expected next spring, Mr Straw said the EU faced a "period of difficulty" with a need for further discussions with "EU partners and further decisions from EU governments. We reserve completely the right to bring back the Bill providing for a UK referendum should circumstances change.

But we see no point in proceeding at this moment." Conservatives immediately called for the referendum to be scrapped completely, but the North-East's Liberal Democrat Euro MP Fiona Hall said it was right to implement parts of the constitution, including strengthening the role of national parliaments.
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