European membership, part 48: Immigration


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Euro flagsChanging attitudes in the immigration debate is a monumental uphill battle when you consider how far perception is from reality. As part of a survey the RSS commissioned from Ipsos MORI last year, people were asked what percentage of the British population they thought were immigrants? The collective answer was 31%. The actual figure is 13%.

Even more confusing, another poll from Comres asked if all citizens of other EU countries should have the right to live and work in the UK? Only 36% agreed, against 46% who disagreed.

The pollsters then asked a different question, should British people be free to live and work anywhere in the EU? This time 52% agreed with only 26% disagreeing. It seems the British want to have their gâteau and eat it.

Lets look at it from another point of view.

55,000 out of the 1.2 million staff in the English NHS are citizens of other EU countries, according to the English Health Service’s Electronic Staff Record. This includes doctors; nurses; other professionals like paramedics and pharmacists; support workers providing care; and administrative staff.

10% of doctors and 4% of nurses are from the EU.

So with recent headlines saying that the latest immigration figures are the ‘second worse ever’….. Would you be thinking that immigration is worse or better if you were lying on the operating table and the only doctor available was from the EU?

Another area where there are large numbers of migrant workers is agriculture.

192,000 workers are employed in agriculture and forestry in the United Kingdom. 60,000 are full-time employees, and 120,000 persons are seasonal workers. Most of these are from the EU because British workers will not do these jobs, partly because they are seasonal, partly because there is no career structure and partly because they are bloody hard work.

The ‘second worse ever’ migration figures means that our strawberries will be picked, our asparagus will be cut, our lettuce will be on the supermarket shelves and the prices will be reasonable.

The reporters who describe these as ‘second worse ever’ are not reporting the facts, they are giving you their opinion……. You might agree with these opinions/prejudices, which of course is dependent on your situation, or possibly on whether you are a racist git or not and what newspaper indoctrinates you.

To see other posts about our EU membership ( there are obviously 47 others, this being number 48) click EU membership summary And if you think any of them particularly relevant then please feel free to reblog or share them.

What’s on in Poitou-Charentes; June 2016




 June 2016

Notes en Vert at Perigny 10th to 12th June (More)

Batailles&Destinées_Affiche%204x3Spectacles nocturnes Coeurs en Bataille; Nouaille-Maupetuis: 3rd and 4th June (more) Don’t forget your glasses.





500 Ferraris contre le cancer: Val de Vienne, Le Vigeant:  2nd 3rd 4th and 5th June (more)

Half Marathon; Niort: 12th June (more)

Highland Games; Bressuire: Probably 11th and 12th June (more)

Polychromies de Notre Dame le Grand; Poitiers: starts 21st June then every night till 21st Sept. (more)

Festival de Melle; Melle 16th May to 6th June 2016 (more)

L’escargouille (snail farm)The common Garden Snail

open day; Blanzay: (around the 15th June ) (more) Rather like the occupants, the owners are rather slow in updating their web site!




Maraisthon; Coulon: 19th June (more)

Fete de la Music; A one day event across Poitou-Charente, indeed all France check web site for what is on near you; 21st June (more)

La Journee Medieval ‘La Rancon du Roi: Nouaille-Mauperuis: Last Sunday in June(more)

Vintage Cars Grand Prix ; Bressuire: 25th and 26th June (more)

Free Music festival; Montendre: 24th and 25th June (more)

Marche sur L’Eau; Le Vanneau-Irleau: It just says ‘the end of June’ (more)

European membership, part 47: Osborne’s claim



George Osborne has said that if we leave the EU then we will all be £4,300 worse off by 2030.  In fact this is what he said._89296646_osborne_worseoff

‘The analysis shows that a vote to leave would mean Britain would be permanently poorer, to the tune of £4,300 a year for every household. Under any alternative, we’d trade less, do less business and receive less investment. And the price would be paid by British families. Wages would be lower and prices would be higher.’

He was commenting on a treasury report that had considered 3 possible directions for the UK if it voted to leave the EU.

Is this true?

Well in my never ending quest to bring you the facts, here is the answer. Yes it is true but it is economical with the truth.  First of all no one knows, not even George, he has got his information from computer models which are programmed with lots of information and then asked to predict what might happen. They are probably the best way of predicting what might happen, but they have got it wrong in the past and their present predictions may also turn out to be wrong.

However in the absence of anything better then this is what they have come up with. If we stay in the EU then by 2030 each household will be receiving on average £90,000 a year as compared to £60,000 a year at present. If we leave the EU then by 2030 we will all be receiving £85,700.  In fact this is the middle option, they came up with three possible results depending on what sort of deal we manage to strike in the exit negotiations.

So  by leaving the EU we wont be worse off than we are now, but we will be worse off than had we stayed in. So strictly speaking he is right but as I said not 100% up front with all the facts.

No matter, if I asked you would you rather be £30,000 better off or £25,700 better off then I think most of you would opt for x better off.   However the difference is not that great and if average earnings are as much as £90,000 then £4,300 is just under 5%

Simple really.

To see other posts about our EU membership ( there are obviously 46 others, this being number 47) click EU membership summary And if you think any of them particularly relevant then please feel free to reblog or share them.






European membership, part 46; ‘ And then a step to the right’


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The future for British politics if we vote to leave the EU will probably be a big step to the right. Not only rocky, but a  real horror


At some time before the next election there will be a change in the leadership of the conservative party. Now if the Brexit camp were to win the referendum then the new leader would almost certainly come from that camp. Boris Johnson is the bookies favourite and of all of them he would possibly  be the least right wing, although one has to question his judgement sometimes. Whether it is him or Michael Gove who succeeded as party leader and Prime Minister , we can be pretty confident that the majority of the cabinet posts would be filled with the MP’s who had campaigned successfully for taking us out of Europe and for some reason these MPs also tend to be on the right wing of the party..

Consider now to  will happen to UKIP.. After all if the vote is out then their ‘raison d’etre’ will cease to exist. Given that a lot of politicians are not in it simply  to serve the public but also to serve their own ego, I can’t see Farrage packing his bags and going home to wife and garden and a quiet pint down at the local. He might well argue that he has a role as UKIP leader whilst the exit negotiations are taking place, to make sure we don’t  ‘sell out’ to Europe and enter into any deals that would allow migrants into fortress Britain. These negotiations will take at least 2 years and quite possibly  5 or even more so he could hang on for some years. However sooner or later we would leave the EU with whatever deals we manage to cobble together, then surely UKIP’s role will cease to exist. At that point, or possibly earlier, their politicians and supporters would need to seek a new home. Would they join the  Conservatives who will at this stage in my view have moved to the right or could there be a resurgence of a British National Party?

In the unlikely event that we did land up with an agreement which led to our borders being closed and the flow of EU migrants ceased who would those who have attributed all the country’s problems to that influx blame if life in Britain was still less than perfect? Would the finger then be pointed at any non white Anglo Saxon Protestant?? And what to do about them  – persuade them to return to their ‘ country of origin’ or restrict their entitlements as suggested by Enoch Powell and others many years ago?.

This situation could result somewhere down the line in a country governed by right wing Tories and ex UKIP members, a country which is in decline and looking for excuses and scapegoats.. The slope could be slippery and steep and it is not a risk worth taking. This situation has in the past lead to some very unsavoury and extreme solutions.

To see other posts about our EU membership ( there are obviously 45 others, this being number 46) click EU membership summary And if you think any of them particularly relevant then please feel free to reblog or share them.



European membership, part 45; Hinkley Point


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Hinkley C….. Will it happen or wont it? Living as I do in Gloucestershire and our local news is Points West, I can tell you that this story is ever-present and it seems like a long catalogue of delays and an equally long catalogue of statements saying that it will definitely go ahead…. just not saying when.HinkleyPointCoast

EDF, which is 85% owned by the French state, is struggling against a mountain of debt and has told ministers it will not build Hinkley, unless if receives help from the French government.

The French government has promised a financial bailout for cash-strapped energy group EDF so that it can proceed with the £18bn plan to build the first nuclear reactors in Britain for 20 years.

France’s economics minister, Emmanuel Macron, said it would be a mistake for the 85% state-owned company not to build a new Hinkley Point C power plant in Somerset and he would ensure it happened.

‘Hinkley point will be capable of generating 3.2 giga watts of energy.

Hinkley Point C will be the first nuclear powerstation to be built in the UK for more than 20 years.It will have the capacity to generate safe, reliable,low-carbon electricity, enough to power more than5 million homes for its anticipated lifespan of 60 years.’

This is from the EDF website.

If built, the plant will produce about 7% of the UK’s  energy needs. The solar industry claim they could match that in just two years.

However the delays go on,  Lord Mervyn Davies who chairs several private equity companies said “[Brexit fears are] having a huge impact on general confidence. What is scary for foreign direct investors, and investors generally, is the fear of the unknown.”

Whatever you think about the risks, the cost, the alternatives, I think that one of the reasons for the present delay is to wait and see what 23rd of June will bring. Then if the vote is to eave the EU it may go ahead or it may not. If you are anti nuclear you might think this is an argument for voting out.  Personally I would prefer not to have to rely on a Chinese designed nuclear power station  but equally I do not want to rely on Russia supplying us with gas, or not. I’m just sitting on the fence with this one.

To see other posts about our EU membership ( there are obviously 44 others, this being number 45) click EU membership summary And if you think any of them particularly relevant then please feel free to reblog or share them

European membership, part 44; National Debt.



Repaying the interest on our National debt could cost us at least twice as much as what we would save by leaving the EU.

This is something that has not been mentioned much….well not at the time of writing this which is 21/05/2016 publication will be in a few days time

As of Q1 2015 UK government debt amounted to £1.56 trillion, or 81.58% of totalGDP, at which time the annual cost of servicing (paying the interest) the public debt amounted to around £43bn (which is roughly 3% of GDP or 8% of UK government tax income). Approximately a third of this debt is owned by the British government due to the Bank of England’s quantitative easing programme, so approximately 1/3 of the cost of servicing the debt is paid by the government to itself, reducing the annual servicing cost to approx 30bn (approx 2% of GDP, approx 5% of UK government tax income).

The cost of servicing this debt is significant. In 2012 the debt amounted to a little over £15,000 for each individual Briton, or around £33,000 per person in employment. Each household in Britain payed an average of around £2,000 per year in taxes to finance the interest.

If we leave the EU and if as a result the value of the pound drops and interest rates increase, then this will affect our repayments.

Mark Carney said that in the event the UK left the EU, or looked as though it would leave, the interest rates we pay here in the UK – what he called in City jargon “the risk premium attached to UK assets – could rise.

OK lets get technical, info from a House of Commons briefing paper number 05745 issued on 21st April 2016 check it out.

It says that for 2015/16 we had a national debt of £1,594 billion and the interest  repayments amounted to £45.1 billion. This represents an interest rate of 2.83%

Now if interest rates go up as Mark Carney suggests then a 1% increase to 3.83% would result in repayments of £61.1 billion or an additional burden of £16.0 billion per year.

To put this in context in 2015 the UK government paid £13 billion to the EU budget, and EU spending on the UK was £4.5 billion. So the UK’s ‘net contribution’ was estimated at about £8.5 billion

Or by coming out of the EU we might end up paying twice as much as we would save in order to repay our National debt. Now that would either end up with us paying more tax or receiving increased cuts to services or a combination of both.

To see other posts about our EU membership ( there are obviously 51 others, this being number 52) click EU membership summary And if you think any of them particularly relevant then please feel free to reblog or share them.



European membership, part 42; Taxation



The second most quoted reason to vote leave is probably about ‘regaining our sovereignty’ The reason most often given is something to do with ‘foreigners’.

I have been dealing with both these issues. The EU has no influence over many important areas of our country.

Non-EU policy areas

In certain areas such as tax, defence, health, industry, culture, tourism, education, youth, sport and vocational training, civil protection (disaster prevention), administrative cooperation and many others – the EU has the right to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of member states like the UK, but not to impose any laws. Continue reading

European membership, part 41; Taxes on ‘fags and booze’

We pay a lot of tax when we purchase cigarettes or alcoholic drinks. Personally I do not care how much tax is paid on tobacco, the more it is, the more will be available for the NHs to look after the smokers. Also it might reduce the number of smokers in the first place.

On a typical pack of 20 premium cigarettes the total tax burden of £6.91 accounts for 74% of the recommended retail price (RRP) of £9.40. On some of the least expensive brands the total tax burden accounts for up to 88% of the RRP. Continue reading

European membership, part 40: Overview/Summary



This is my 40th blog about our membership of the European Union and I have 18 more to go before we reach 23rd June. I thought it might be a good idea to list them all so you can look back at any you may have missed or want to check up on. Also I know that some other sites are starting to use some of the information I have gathered and that is fine. This list may help you in your researches.

Listing them like this also makes the point that this vote is very important, much more so than a General election and it is more than a decision based on a single issue. Although I fear that for many, one issue will be the deciding factor  in how you vote.

Here is this list, the first one was way back in February. I have included the number of hits each item has had so far…. for what its worth.

Number 1 European Membership 26/02/2016 173

Number2 Over 30 million dead 28/02/2016 313

Number 3 The end of the Booze cruise 252

Number 4 Calais border controls 175

Number 5 Brits living in France 530

Number 6 Science funding 171

Number 7 Full English breakfast? 126

Number 8 Import and export of endangered species 71

Number 9 The bottom line, ‘foreigners’ 522

Number 10 Migration figures, the facts 315

Number 11 Your continental holiday 349

Number 12 NHS 305

Number13 Calais/migrants 440

Number 14 Football 194

Number15 Defence 148

Number16 Workers rights 500

Number17 Maternity rights 157

Number18 Decimalised time  142 1/04/2016

Number19 Benefit claims from EU migrants 144

Number20 GB benefit claimants in the EU 284

Number21 European wars 143

Number22 Pensions paid to UK citizens living in the EU 184

Number23 Statutory paid holidays 146

number24 The expat. vote 67

Number25 The cost 360

Number26 Education policy 150

Number27 Scotland 135

Number28 Roaming charges 159

Number29 Tobacco 128

Number30 Obama or Le Pen? 73

Number31 Health care (insurance) 744

Number32 Second home owners in Europe 398

Number33 The future for Europe 145

Number34 The pounds decline 264

Number35 Car industry 175

Number36 Ivory trade 115

Number37 Overseas aid budget 151

Number38 Brexit time scale 409

Number39 The environment 59  11/05/2016

Number40 This overview.13/05/2016

Number41 NO POST….. HARD DRIVE FAILURE….SORRY 15/05/2016

Number42 Taxes on ‘fags and booze’ 120  17/05/2016

Number43 General Taxation 84   19/05/2016

Number44 A second referendum 76    21/05/2016

Number45 National Debt   125   23/05/2016

Number46 Hinkley Point 123    25/05/2016

Number47 A step to the right. 27/05/2016

Number48 Osborne’s claim 29/06/2016

Number49 Biodiversity 31/06/2016

Number50 Welfare and Pensions 2/06/2016

Number51 New members 4/06/2016

Number52 The cost of a single foot passenger ticket Calais to Dover 6/06/2016

Number53 Sovereignty, the last word. 8/06/2016

Number54 Europol 10/06/2016

Number55 Oradour sur Glane 12/06/2016

Number56 Spain, Portugal, Italy… 14/06/2016

Number57 Old timers   16/06/2016

Number58 Nobel Prize 18/06/2016

Number 59 20/06/2016

Number 60 22/06/2016

Why have I done all this ??

Well…. I start this sentence with ‘well’ because I do not like the modern trend to start all sentences with ‘so’, even ermm is better. OK move on

Well… I have to declare an interest and maybe an apology.

First of all the interest… all politicians should declare interests, some do … but here is mine

I am a liberal Democrat. I have voted Lib Dem in every election except one… my first when I voted Conservative for Norman St John Stevas He was MP for Chelmsford. He was very pro the Monarchy and so am I. He also campaigned to save a Magnolia tree in the centre of Chelmsford and won. I like trees and this was a magnificent tree. So I make no apologies for voting for him. I also went along to the local shopping centre  one cold evening to see him stand on a box and address the crowd of about 20 people. That’s how it was back then.

I also went to see Iain Macleod MP  in Chelmsford when I was in the 6th form… I don’t know where I got it all from, my parents were not political at all.

Some years later I stood as the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for NW Norfolk, an experience… here are the results.   No comment.

General Election 1992: North West Norfolk[20][21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Henry Bellingham 32,554 52.1 +1.6
Labour George Turner 20,990 33.6 +16.1
Liberal Democrat AM Waterman 8,599 13.8 −18.2
Natural Law SRA Pink 330 0.5 N/A
Majority 11,564 18.5 −0.1
Turnout 62,473 80.7 +1.8
Conservative hold Swing

I am obviously committed to Europe, and I am committed to Proportional representation. That makes me Lib Dem along with other principals, so a referendum in which every vote counts is obviously in tune with my thinking. Also voting on Europe is going to fire me up.

This brings me on to my apology.. I know a lot of people follow my blog about Poitou-Charentes and you have been subjected to my posts on about Europe for the last 3 months. Only one person has rejected me and moved on, so I thank all of you others who have tolerated my posts and had the good grace to bear with me.

Some of you may have found them informative, I hope so, some may have been persuaded to vote to stay in Europe. I have found that doing the research has taught me a lot… and taken up a lot of my time.

I promise not to do any more politics after the 23rd June.. back to bugs, birds and restaurants



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