Bruges Group Conference: How EU and Government Waste is Costing You
Well meaning, but misplaced, environmental policies, corruption
and waste by the European Union and the British government is costing
you money and threatening jobs.
The Bruges Group conference looked at those issues and discussed the
solutions to the problems that the European Union is forcing upon us.
Saturday, 22nd November 2008
The Great Hall,
King's College London
Special Conference DVD Offer
|Purchase your DVD of the Bruges Group’s
here for a form to purchase your DVD
Alternatively, you can find out more about how to purchase your DVD
by calling Robert Oulds on 020 7287 4414
|To read a transcribed text of each
speech click on the name of a speaker below|
|GERARD BATTEN MEP, UKIP MEP for
London, is an expert on the costs of the EU. He is a member of the European
Parliament’s Security & Defence Committee, and is UKIP's defence
Gerard Batten launched at the conference the 2008 edition of the
groundbreaking annual report exposing the costs of EU membership.
Click here to listen to
Gerard Batten MEP
|CHRISTOPHER BOOKER is a columnist for
The Sunday Telegraph. He authored the Bruges Group paper Britain
and Europe: The Culture of Deceit. And also co-wrote Scared To Death:
From BSE To Global Warming.|
Christopher discussed the wrongheaded policies which are forcing up our energy
Click here to listen to
AKER is the Grassroots Coordinator of the Taxpayers’ Alliance. He
also writes for conservativehome.com and regularly appeared on the internet
political TV station 18 Doughty Street.|
Tim talked on government and EU waste; arguing that Big Government is Bad
Click here to listen to Tim
|MARTA ANDREASEN was
the Chief Accountant to the European Commission. There she raised concerns
about fraud within the EU. The European Commission considered this an act of
disloyalty and sacked her. She is now the Treasurer of UKIP.|
Marta talked on fraud and corruption in the European Union.
Click here to listen to
MEP is a Conservative MEP for the East Midlands. Prior to
entering politics Roger was a businessman. Roger is the author of two books on
Europe, Straight Talking on Europe and A Declaration of
Roger talked on how the EU is using climate change as an excuse to expand its
Click here to listen to
Roger Helmer MEP
|DAMON LAMBERT is the UK
Corporate Tax Director of a major Bank. Previously, he worked for KPMG
providing advice on the impact of the EU on UK tax law. He regularly writes on
tax matters and was a member of the Conservative Party Tax Reform Commission.
Damon discussed how the EU is costing the taxpayer billions and holding up
Click here to listen to Damon
||IAIN MURRAY is a Director of
Projects and Analysis and Senior Fellow in Energy, Science and Technology at
the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an influential American think tank.
Iain will talk on the EU’s threat to the global economy and the damage caused
by misplaced 'environmental' policies.
Click here to listen to Iain
|GUY HERBERT is the General
Secretary of NO2ID; which campaigns against ID cards and the database
Guy talked about threats to civil liberties, the costs of the database state
and how the Home Office is laundering database state measures through EU
institutions in order to avoid the democratic process in Britain.
Click here to listen to Guy
|For further information contact:|
Robert Oulds, Director
The Bruges Group, 227 Linen Hall, 162-168 Regent Street
London W1B 5TB
Tel: 020 7287 4414, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am very pleased to have been invited by the Bruges Group to present my
findings on the costs of British membership of the European Union to their
How much does membership of the European Union costs Britain? That is not an
unreasonable question given that British politicians in favour of membership
have usually presented it as a purely economic project to promote trade and
If that is the case then it is perfectly reasonable to ask how
much does it cost, how much do we get back, and does it represent value for
money? Indeed since 1973 parliamentarians from all parties, from both Houses
of Parliament, have called for an independent cost-benefit analysis to
demonstrate the benefits if there are any. These calls have of course been
consistently denied by Conservative and Labour governments.
When I became a Member of the European Parliament in 2004 I thought it would
be a good idea for someone to try and quantify the total costs of British
membership and present it in a form that was easily understandable and which
could be updated and expanded on an annual basis.
This is the third year running I have produced this report, and it has been a
quest for knowledge, not easily obtainable. I have tried to be as fair as
possible. I have used official figures from the Office of National Statistics,
and where not possible to do that, with estimates from respected and reliable
sources economic sources. It sets out the costs as best I can identify them
with the information available.
I have only sought to indentify the costs of membership and I would be more
that happy to see the task taken on by an independent body commissioned by the
Government to carry out a genuinely independent cost-benefit analysis.
This month, for the fourteenth year running, the European Court of Auditors
was unable to fully sign-off the accounts for the European Union. They voiced
concerns about areas of spending that amount to 92% of the EU budget spent by
member states and EU agencies. Overall they cannot fully account for just over
5% of the budget, about €6 billion, or at current exchange rates about
This huge sum is more than the UK’s direct annual net contribution to the EU
budget of £4.3 billion. It is not unreasonable to say that a sum of
money exceeding the net contribution of British taxpayers to the EU budget is
quite possibly finding its way into the pockets of fraudsters.
As I said in a speech in the European Parliament on Thursday: a
complete and utter total waste of money!
That said, what then are the total costs of membership? I break these down
into direct costs to the EU Budget and indirect costs on the economy. There is
also the ‘opportunity cost’ of membership, i.e. what has it cost us to be
members compared to not being members. And I will say something about that at
Britain’s direct gross contribution to the EU budget for 2007 was over
£13 billion gross. After the UK Rebate and EU money spent in
the UK (i.e. our own money) we are left with a net contribution of
£4.3 billion. By the end of the current budget period in 2013
our contribution will have risen to £14.5 billion gross and
£6.8 billion net per annum.
In 2005 Tony Blair surrendered part of the UK Rebate, and it will decrease as
more countries join the EU. If we look at the total contributions for all EU
member states for the 2000-2006 and 2007-2013 budget periods we find that the
UK is the second biggest net contributor, with Germany coming top. Government
figures show that Britain’s net contributions for 2007 to 2013 will have
increased by almost 89% over the previous budget period.
If we look at the budget contributions since 1973 to 2008 we see that they
come to a total of £230.4 billion gross, and £68.2
billion net; the net figure is after the UK rebate and EU money spent
in the UK, is deducted from the gross amount.
By the end of the current budget period in 2013 that will have risen to
£315.4 billion gross and £101.4 billion net.
In addition to this there is what I have called 'Hidden Costs'. These were
first identified by John Mills of the Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign in 2006.
The Office of National Statistics Pink Book shows net contributions to the EU
budget but other payments to the EU and related European projects are shown
separately, although not individually indentified.
AS far as I can tell these amounts include additional payments to the Common
Agricultural Budget, Overseas Aid, the European Space Agency, the Galileo
satellite system and suchlike projects. From 1997 to 2004 these payments
totalled £9.1 billion or an average of £1.8
billion per annum.
Since 2005 these amounts have totalled £8.3 billion. The
figure for 2007 was just over £3 billion. These figures show
an upward trend and I have used the figure of £3 billion for
2008. One of my new tasks for next year's edition is to identify what these
payments are made up of in detail.
Then we have the indirect costs of membership. I have shown these as: the
Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, and EU
Over-Regulation on business.
The Common Agricultural Policy was of course a deal cooked up
between France and German. In return for gaining a market for its industrial
goods in France, Germany agreed to support high agricultural costs in France.
One of the reasons that the French opposed British entry to the European
Economic Community in the 1960s was to prevent us having any influence on the
CAP until the deal was done and so that we would have to bear much of the cost
when we were eventually admitted.
The CAP of course forces European consumers to buy food produced at inflated
prices by continental farmers rather than at lower prices on the world market.
There are various estimates for the costs and I have used the very
conservative estimate of 1.2% of Gross Domestic Product. This amounts to
£16.8 billion per annum.
The Common Fisheries Policy has almost destroyed the UK
fishing industry by opening up former British territorial waters to the
industrialised fishing fleets of Spain and Portugal.
Amazingly when I contacted the Marine and Fishing Authority in 2007 to enquire
about statistics regarding the catch in UK waters I was told that, "we
cannot identify UK waters: they are now identified as part of EC waters".
So the British Government has no knowledge of or interest in the cost of the
Common Fisheries Policy to the British economy and people. And if they do they
are certainly not telling.
On the information available about the total EU catch I have calculated that
the CFP costs Britain at the very least £3.275 billion per
annum in lost catch alone. This takes no account of the cumulative cost of
lost jobs and lost ancillary industries. This must amount to many billions of
Then we have the old favourite, EU Over-Regulation. No one
would suggest of course that business should go unregulated but there is a
never ending avalanche of unnecessary and incompetent new laws from the EU
that place an ever increasing burden on business.
In 2006 Commissioner Gunter Verhuegen, Vice President for Industry and
Enterprise said that the cost of EU regulation was 5.5% of GDP or
€600 billion, while the benefits of the Single Market
amounted to only €160 billion. Therefore the costs exceeded
the benefits by €440 billion.
In 2007 he revised his figures based on research by a Dutch think-tank to an
average of 3.5% of GDP for all EU member states. He gives the
figures for Germany, France and Holland as 3.7%, but
strangely he gives the figure for Britain as only 1.5% of
GDP. This seems unduly low.
The former Vice Prime Minister of Holland, Gerrit Zalm stated that the cost of
EU over-regulation on Holland was 2% of GDP. At least the
same figure must be true for the UK.
A former President of the Germany, Roman Hertzog estimated in 2007 in an
official study for the Germany Parliament that over 80% of new laws now came
from the European Union. He questioned whether Germany could actually be
described as a democracy on that basis any more. A similar figure for EU
legislation must also be true for the UK.
Although only about 10% of the UK economy is concerned with exporting to EU
countries; nevertheless 100% of businesses have to comply with EU regulations.
Reputable economists estimate that this over-regulation costs Britain about 2%
of GDP, which equates to at least £28 billion per annum.
When we add up all these amounts of money we get a gross estimated cost of EU
membership for 2008 as £65.6 billion gross or £55.7
billion net per annum.
Looked at another way the net amount alone equates to: £915
per annum for every man, woman and child in the UK, or £1,799
per annum for every UK taxpayer.
But surely we benefit economically from being in the European Union, don’t we?
Surely the benefits in jobs and trade justify the expense don't they? That is
what the Europhiles would like us to believe.
What about all those jobs and trade? Well Britain’s balance of payments from
1997 to 2007 show that we have a massive trading deficit with EU countries of
-£215 billion, they sell us far more than we sell them.
Compare the figures for the same period with trade with the USA we have a
hefty surplus of £117 billion for trade with the USA. It is
obvious that our trading and economic interests lie with the USA and the
English speaking world rather than the European Union.
Of course we want continued trade, co-operation and friendship with our
European neighbours, as indeed with the rest of the world. But we do not need
to be part of economic and political union with the countries of European to
The European Union is one of the slowest growing areas of the world economy,
held back by over-regulation, restrictive practices and the subsidising of
continental agriculture. Economists estimate that this has a negative impact
on the UK economy of at least 0.5% of GDP per annum. Put another way, if we
left the EU tomorrow we could boost the UK economy by more than £7
billion without doing anything in particular.
We are now facing what looks like the most serious economic crisis since 1929.
No one knows how bad it is going to get. The G20 has agreed "to use fiscal
measures to stimulate domestic demand to rapid effect."
Meanwhile the IMF is talking about a £30 billion fiscal
stimulus for the UK. The Government is rumoured to be considering a
£15 billion stimulus to the economy but has yet to decide how
it will be funded: by more borrowing and or reducing Government spending.
Well there is an obvious way of producing such a fiscal stimulus without it
costing the tax-payer any money at all. The solution is for Britain to leave
the European Union.
We would immediately save £13 billion to £14
billion in gross contributions. We could free ourselves from the
Common Agricultural Policy the Common Fisheries Policy and the over-regulation
on business and return to money to the economy accordingly. Overall by my
conservative estimate we could achieve savings of up to £65.7
billion per annum.
Outside the stagnating Euro-zone economy we could achieve at least a
0.5% boost to the economy worth at least £7
billion per annum, and probably very much more.
The European Union has always been an ideological project to create a
centralised European political state: a United States of
Europe. There is nothing of practical advantage that it claims to
deliver that could not be achieved by simple co-operation between independent
nation states working together under intergovernmental agreements.
It looks as though the economic situation is going to get a lot worse before
it gets better. The British people are going to ask why we are wasting these
colossal amounts of money as a consequence of EU membership.
A majority of the British people realise that membership of the European Union
is an irrelevant ideological luxury that they simply do not want and cannot
The question is: when is our Governing political class going to wake up and
realise that too? And do something about it.
That is why I am proud to be a member of the UK Independence Party. The
founding principle and core policy of which is Britain's unconditional
withdrawal from the European Union.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
(I) EUROPEAN FUNDS OUT OF CONTROL
As you know I was the Chief Accountant of the EU who was suspended and
dismissed for alerting the EU hierarchy as to the vulnerability of the EU
accounting system and for requesting support to implement urgent changes.
I am not coming today to tell you about the sad story of little
red riding Marta who went into the EU forest and was swallowed by Wolfe
I want to tell you today about the lack of improvement on the controls over
the billions of Euros of taxpayers’ money that go unaccounted year after year.
I want to tell you in layman words what the last EU Audit report published 2
weeks ago is expressing.
(II) CHIEF ACCOUNTING OFFICER- HIGHEST FIDUCIARY
Even if not recognized by my hierarchy the treaty puts on the chief accountant
highest responsibility on the EU assets, treasury and accounts. Some six
weeks after I joined the EC back in 2002 I was presented with the EU accounts
for 2001 and was asked to sign them. The first thing that I noted was that 150
million pounds had disappeared from the assets of the EU. I asked for
explanation and was told that these corresponded to loans that had been
written off but never got to know why or who had authorized them. But what I
concluded was that writing off loans – which means making them disappear from
the accounts as if the money had never existed and been lent -was one way in
which abuse on EU taxpayers money was taking place.
(III) MY CONCERNS AS CHIEF ACCOUNTANT
By that time I had already been asked to authorize payments or signatories on
behalf of the EU for which I could not succeed in confirming that I was
approving the right beneficiary, the right purpose and the right amount.
By that time I had also been asked to sign accounts which I could see clearly
could not reflect the true financial position of the EU budget. It was clear
that the information was at least not exhaustive and inaccurate as my example
on the 150 million assets missing illustrates.
(IV) A VULNERABLE SYSTEM = STRUCTURAL FRAUD
It was clear to me that the system could be abused and that this was of common
knowledge. Worse, I could see that unauthorized changes could be made to the
accounts and payment orders without leaving trace of who and when had made
(V) MY REQUESTS FOR CHANGE
As Chief Accountant I felt the EU funds were not under control and I requested
urgent changes: an integrated computer system and an independent Treasury
audit. And you all know what happened to me after that.
(VI) THEIR LAST ANNUAL REPORT: THE PARADOX
Since then nothing has effectively changed. During the last 14 years the
European Court of Auditors have refused to clear the accounts of the EU
In their report for 2007 the Auditors say that for the first time they give an
UNQUALIFIED OPINION for the accounts but and ADVERSE OPINION on the regularity
and legality of the “ underlying transactions”.
Basically what this means is that in their view the Accounts reflect fairly
the illegal and irregular payments made out of the Budget.
No other organisation in the world would present this absurd distinction
between the reliability of the Accounts and the legality and regularity of the
underlying transactions, because YOU DO NOT ACCOUNT FOR ILEGAL AND IRREGULAR
TRANSACTIONS BECAUSE YOU DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN THOSE. THE FIRST
RESPONSIBILITY OF A CHIEF ACCOUNTANT IS TO ENSURE THE LEGALITY AND REGULARITY
OF THE TRANSACTIONS THAT ARE BEING RECORDED.
(VII) “UNQUALIFIED” OPINION ON THE RELIABILITY OF THE
The Auditors begin by saying that the ‘Annual Accounts of the European
Communities’ present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position
of the Communities as of 31 December 2007, and the results of their operations
and cash flows for the year then ended. However in the following paragraph
they go on to say that “that weaknesses in the accounting systems… still put
at risk the quality of financial information of certain Directorates-General
of the Commission (in particular for pre-financing). These weaknesses led to a
number of corrections after the presentation of the provisional accounts”.
(VIII) AREAS OF EU EXPENDITURE
Click here to view Marta’s
power point presentation
(IX) 92% OF BUDGET AFFECTED BY MATERIAL LEVEL OF ERROR
(X) WHAT ARE THE ERRORS
- In ‘Agriculture and natural resources’= 51 BILL, the Court found that the
transactions underlying the expenditure declared for this policy group, taken
as a whole, are affected by a material level of error of legality and/or
- In ‘Cohesion’= 42 BILL , the Court found that the reimbursement of
expenditure to Cohesion policies projects is affected by a material level of
error of legality and/or regularity.
- In ‘Research, energy and transport’= 4.5 BILL, the Court found that
payments for the policy group are affected by a material level of error of
legality and/or regularity.
- In ‘External aid, development and enlargement= 6 BILL’, the Court found
that transactions underlying the expenditure in the policy group are affected
by a material level of error of legality and/or regularity,
- In ‘Education and citizenship’, the Court found that payments for the
policy group are affected by a material level of error of legality and/or
Most of the errors relate to:
These errors are reiterated over and over because beneficiaries are aware of
the lack of controls.
- Ineligible costs
- Overdeclaration of money spent
- Breach of procurement rules
- Entitlements wrongly calculated
(XI) IS THIS FRAUD OR ABUSE?
COHESION FUNDS = 11%. The Auditors establish that AT LEAST €4.6
billion should not have been paid.
AGRICULTURAL FUNDS = 3%. In average between FEOGA and Rural Development. The
Auditors are saying that €1.5 billion AT LEAST should not
have been paid.
So we have AT LEAST €6 billion THAT HAVE BEEN WASTED IN 2007.
But the auditors say that these errors do not mean there is FRAUD because for
fraud to occur there needs to exist CRIMINAL INTENT. Do the auditors
investigate if there is criminal intent? NO they do not. They send to OLAF
only those that they suspect of. So what is this then? ABUSE? In any case it
is a misappropriation of taxpayers’ money.
(XII) THE ARGUMENTS OVER THE YEARS
(XIII) STRUCTURAL FRAUD: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE
- It is the Member Countries fault.
WRONG – It is easy for the European institutions to put the blame on the
member countries because effectively the payments are made to beneficiaries in
those countries and it is those beneficiaries who fail to comply with the
requirements or incur in abuses. But the institution responsible for avoiding
these situations is the European Commission who fails to control that the
beneficiaries provide the documentation to ensure the payment is legal and
regular, in the same way that we look to the banks who gave the mortgages and
not its beneficiaries to answer on their responsibilities in the credit crunch
crisis. Because this control is lacking there is no way to prevent fraud and
even detect fraud. Moreover the fact that the beneficiaries are aware of this
lack of control, abuse is more likely to occur. The taxpayers put their money
in the EC the same as the investors put the money in the banks, with the sole
difference that investors can at least decide where they put their money
whereas taxpayers cannot.
- The Audit system is inadequate and gives and inaccurate and
I will tell you that with several years of auditing experience on my back I
can confirm there is only one auditing system all throughout the world and
this is based on internal control evaluation and sample tests. If the internal
control, that is the pre-established flow of approvals and checks, is found to
be effective and properly implemented, then the sample is smaller than if the
internal control is deficient.
- You will hear that UK government bodies have not had their
accounts cleared for many years and that this does not necessarily represent
fraud. Clearly the definition of fraud can be as elastic as anybody
wants to make it. The EU auditors define fraud as an irregularity where
criminal intention can be detected. This means that we should bring in
detectives and inspectors to determine if all these “ abuses” would constitute
fraud. So… rest assured… as long as we cannot prove criminal intent EU funds
can be used for whatever purpose! In respect of the British government not
having its accounts cleared…. well… we do not need yet another layer of
corruption on top!
So who is to blame for this ? No other than the Members of the European
Parliament who, as representatives of the European taxpayers have been giving
discharge to the European Commission on the administration of the European
Union Budget, for the last 14 years while the Auditors have refused to clear
the legality and regularity of most of the payments made out of this budget.
Most of them are comfortable enjoying the “gravy train” and this is precisely
their Achylles heel: when the Brussels bureaucracy wants to ensure their
“loyalty” they publish and audit report on their expenses!
Thank you Mr Chairman Barry for that very kindly introduction and to the
very kindly reception that it met with from the audience. Its good to see a
good many old friends here today and its always an honour to address the
Bruges Group in memory of possibly the best speech ever made about Europe by a
British politician 20 years ago this year, and all the implied predictions
that we heard or read in that speech have of course come wonderfully and
horribly true. So far with one or two minor wobbles before the end of that
great lady’s premiership we have been, as far as Britain and Europe are
concerned, on a steadily descending spiral path ever since.
However, it is not that in particular I want to talk about today,
although it’s not unrelated. As Barry has said and as you will be aware that
snow is falling in various parts of this country today, it is of course quite
natural that I would want to talk to you this afternoon about global warming.
There is, I will have to maintain, ever more evidence to suggest that global
warming is leading us towards a quite extraordinary catastrophe but not the
one which has been so widely and noisily predicted by the likes of Al Gore.
The real disaster that we are facing through global warming is not that
technicolor apocalypse of rising sea levels, melting ice sheets, floods,
hurricanes, droughts etc, the poor old Polar Bears and so forth, the real
disaster is, as we are just beginning to see now, the consequences of all
those measures which are being put forward by the world’s politicians in a
belief that they can somehow stave off that great imagined disaster. And
nowhere is this more relevant than here in Britain, here in the European Union
although I fear that over in the United States under President Elect Obama
they are doing their level best to catch up.
Nowhere more than in the European Union has so much political capital been
invested in recent years in such breathe takingly ambitious plans designed to
combat climate change as they call it by cutting carbon dioxide emissions
within 40 years by 60% or even 80%. How easy that is to say. Thousands of
miles of countryside and sea to be covered by giant wind turbines churning
away, millions of acres of farmland to be switched from growing food to
something far more important, to growing bio-fuels to drive our cars and
trucks; cap and trade or carbon trading/emissions trading schemes to make it a
tradable commodity, the right to emit carbon dioxide, which of course I’m
doing at this very moment as indeed all of you are, although I’m doing
slightly more of it than you are.
But what we’re looking at here, there’s been an estimate by a thing called the
International Energy Council for what that’s worth, but its quite an important
body, it represents not just the EU, it represents countries across the world
and they did an estimate some months ago as to the cost of all these various
schemes which are being proposed, not just in the EU but elsewhere, to cope
with this imagined disaster that is looming of global warming. The figure they
came up with, which is of course totally meaningless, but it is quite
interesting to know that they came up with the figure of $45
trillion over the next 40 years. Now even these days even Gordon
Brown would have to admit that’s quite a lot of money, but of course we can
So what we’re looking at here, and this is why it is actually an important
question politically, what we’re looking at, what they’re all talking about
adds up to by far the most expensive political project ever envisaged by the
human race. Can you think of anything that remotely competes with it? And
remember we’ve only just begun to see this; all we’re talking about now is
projections into the future like global warming itself. Yet the chances of all
these grandiose schemes actually changing the world’s climate are, as many
people would believe and if one looks into the details of what they imply, the
chances of them changing the climate, lowering temperatures are virtually
zero. And I only say virtually because scientists are very loathe to ever say
that something is zero, they say well it’s virtually zero.
Indeed in terms of current technology the only way we could hope to reduce our
carbon dioxide emissions by 80%, which is what the British Government has now
committed this country to by the Climate Change Bill, 80% reduction within 40
years, the only way we could do that is basically by closing down almost all
our economic activity and huddling over candles, just one or two candles, not
too many primarily to keep warm.
In fact just as potentially damaging in the short term is the way that this
visionary zeal for alternative energy sources has taken the eyes of western
politicians, both particularly in the UK and in America, off the increasingly
powerless state of those more conventional sources of energy on which we rely
for a very great deal of our current way of life. At this point I was going to
suggest that someone might switch the lights off so that we could get a little
taster of what we’re talking about, but I think you all know what a room with
the lights turned out looks like.
But we are talking about something incredibly serious here and very urgent. In
Britain, as some of you will have read in my column recently, while Gordon
Brown talks blithely of spending £100 billion on renewable
energy sources to provide only a fraction of the electricity we need to run
our economy and keep our lights on, 40% of our existing electricity generating
capacity in this country is due within a few years to disappear without any
realistic plans as yet for replacing that which we are losing. In America
where half of the electricity is provided by coal, every attempt to build new
conventional power stations these days, as I discovered when I was over there
in August, is already being fiercely opposed by environmentalists and by local
politicians on the grounds that whatever it is, coal, nuclear or whatever, it
will harm the planet.
So the likelihood is, and it seems very odd, you know the lights are still on,
London looks quite normal outside, we’ve got a financial crisis, the whole
western economy is in meltdown, but the one thing which we’re not really being
told a huge amount about, although slightly more than we used to be, is that
within a few years several western nations, very much including Britain, will
be facing a massive energy crisis and all this frenzy of doom talk and wishful
thinking that surrounds the subject that we’re talking about here has rested
on three core assumptions.
The first is that global temperatures are rising at a speed which computer
models predict will end in disaster. Second is that this is being caused by a
similar rise in man made emissions of CO2, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse
gases and thirdly that only be taking very drastic action of the kind that
we’ve been hinting at, that it might still be possible to reduce those
emissions and thus halt the rise in temperatures.
Now this is what our politicians have almost to a man, been led to believe and
a woman of course. Yet in the past year or two, the evidence to support each
of these assumptions has been called very seriously into question. Firstly,
global temperatures are no longer rising as they did during the last 20 years
of the 20th century, since the start of the 21st century, since 2001 the rise
in global temperatures has flattened out and since 2007 has dropped quite
sharply. Now that’s a short period, we cannot draw too much of a conclusion
from such a brief period, but the point is that that shape of global
temperatures was in no way predicted by those computer models, which are what
the whole of this global warming thing rests on.
And this in itself has called into question the fundamental proposition on
which the entire global warming thesis was based. The fact is CO2 levels have
continued to rise, models predicted that temperatures must follow suit and
they have not done so. So we are at a very interesting point in history in
terms of the importance of this subject.
Now this makes it even less plausible than ever that all those efforts we’re
talking about to cut back on carbon emissions could have any significant
effect on the climate of the earth over the next 100 years, yet it is on this
basis that our politicians are committing us to a package of measures which,
if they are carried through, will change our way of life totally out of
recognition. Fortunately there are quite a few of us in this room who, as I
look around, will not be here to see the worst consequences of these policies,
but there are a few who might well be and most of us have children,
grandchildren etc, and so we are talking about a huge shadow over the future
of western economy, global economy and the future of mankind.
Now what we’re looking at we have to ask is is this one of the greatest
political gambles ever taken in history. I first began seriously to look at
this question of global warming a year or two back, when with my colleague,
Richard North, I was writing a book on what we call the scare phenomenon. For
years we’d been following and reporting on the unfolding one scare after
another, BSE, eggs, Millennium Bug, Asian flu, lead in petrol, different kinds
of asbestos, the confusion between them. We had observed how all these scares
follow a certain regular pattern. Firstly they begin with a basic misreading
of the basic scientific evidence, this is usually because one thing has been
blamed, as it turns out eventually wrongly, on another. That is the key to the
This is then taken up by the media, my colleagues, my esteemed colleagues, who
whip the whole thing up without doing any homework, into some great
apocalyptic threat using the convenient scientists to deck out their pieces
with apparent authority. These are the terrible things that are going to
happen; these are the Polar Bears that are going to drown. The politicians
then step firmly into the picture by wildly overreacting and producing a
deluge of completely disproportionate and often totally mad laws in order to
cope with a threat which may be and in many cases is imaginary. Finally, after
a certain period of time the truth struggles out from under all this hysteria,
but by this time it’s too late, the damage has been done.
Now there were above all three things which convinced us that the history of
global warming fitted into this scare pattern and the first of these was the
truly bizarre methods which have been used to promote the cause of global
warming. For 20 years the central role in this story has been played by that
UN sponsored body known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the
IPCC. It was set up in 1988 just after a certain NASA scientist, Dr James
Hansen and his ally, Senator Al Gore, the young Senator for Tennessee as he
then was, how these two really more than anyone else, launched the scare over
global warming into the world’s headlines.
Now rarely can any organisation have been so mis-sold to the public as the
IPCC. How often we’re told that the IPCC consists of 1500 of the world’s top
climate scientists or even 2500 of the world’s top climate scientists and they
are all agreed this consensus. In fact the IPCC is nothing of the kind. The
vast majority of those who are involved in the IPCC process, who help write
the reports are not climate scientists at all, they are economists,
sociologists, environmental activists – far too many of them – Government
bureaucrats – far too many of them – even politicians who get a chance to put
their oar in. Only a comparatively tiny part of these massive reports produced
by the IPCC are concerned with climate science directly at all and they
involve not more than a few dozen academics, almost all of whom actually know
each other, are professionally interrelated, they review each other’s papers,
they are what Harold Wilson once famously described as a tightly knit group of
politically motivated men.
And the reason why they’ve been appointed to this very important and
influential role is that they have all, since time in memorial in their own
lives, accepted the orthodox view of manmade global warming, CO2 equals rise
in temperatures. So the IPCC actually, the more you look at it is not a
scientific body it’s a political body set up right from the start to promote
the orthodox belief that one thing led to the other.
Reputedly the IPCC and its supporters, such as James Hansen, as I was
observing yet again in my column last Sunday, had been caught out distorting,
fudging and manipulating the scientific data to promote their cause. The most
glaring example of all, which I’m sure will be familiar to some of you in this
room, is that notorious ‘hockey stick’. This was the graph that tried to
re-write the climate history of the past 1000 years by showing that
temperatures had gone like this and then suddenly in the last few years,
they’ve shot up like that in the last few decades to quite unprecedented
Now the ‘hockey stick’ emerged from nowhere, it was just what they needed and
they put it right all the way through from page 1 of the 2001 IPCC report. It
was then over the next few years subjected to detailed analysis by a bevy of
different experts in different disciplines and they all came in their
different ways and for different reasons, to the same conclusion, that this
thing was nothing more than a blatant fraud. But this did not prevent the
great Al Gore using a version of the hockey stick in his famous Oscar winning
film, the one that helped to win him the Nobel Peace Prize, bless as they say.
Just as the BBC was using it again the other day in that absolutely
disgraceful series of films about climate change they had on BBC2.
The hockey stick is arguably the most discredited artefact in the history of
science and the very fact that the IPCC should have used it in the way they
did without checking, without looking at all the background, without checking
out the computer programs, the very fact that it should have been given such
prominence quite on its own should lead us to ask very big questions in our
minds about the way in which this cause, this holy cause has been promoted.
The key, the Holy Grail at every point has been to create the impression that
global warming is totally accepted by that wonderful mystical consensus of
scientists, this belief has had to be defended fanatically at all costs and
anyone who dares contradict it, any scientist at least who dares contradict it
has to be scorned and marginalised as a pariah, a non-believer, a heretic, a
holocaust denier who is probably in the pay of big oil.
Now all this need not concern us hugely, it’s a sorry, sorry story, its one of
the sorriest stories, probably the sorriest story in the whole history of
science, but it need not concern us if it wasn’t for the wider considerations.
Firstly, the media have fallen for this IPCC narrative all along hook, line
and sinker. To give one example of the fathomless credulity of my colleagues
in the media, only a week or two back The Daily Telegraph and the BBC
in the same week described Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, who is an Indian, who is the
current Chairman of the IPCC, as the world’s top climate scientist.
Now had they spent 30 seconds on the internet, the journalists would have
found that Dr. Pachauri isn’t a climate scientist at all, he got his PhD at an
American university for his studies into railway engineering, that is his sole
qualification as it were scientifically for being the world’s top climate
scientist. He is in fact a rather dim little academic who was only given his
job as head of the IPCC because they wanted the Indians to be onside in terms
of persuading developing countries to join in with this great rush to cut
But rather more seriously than the follies of the media, which are absolutely
legion, has been the way that the politicians of all parties have fallen lock,
stock and barrel for this nonsense, particularly or nowhere more obviously
than here in the EU. It was of course the IPCC which was responsible for the
Kyoto Protocol back in 1997, which was the thing which set a lot of this
carbon emissions stuff in train and who was right there ready to implement it
before anyone else but the European Union. And this culminated in March 2007,
when the leaders of the European Union, the European Council met, including
Tony Blair of course just before he disappeared if he has disappeared – alas
he hasn’t – these 27 leaders agreed to adopt the most ambitious climate change
combating package ever agreed by any group of politicians so it was this which
committed us to generating 20% of our energy by 2020 from renewable sources,
replacing 10% of our transport fuel by bio-fuels by the same date, a new more
expensive version of the world’s first emissions trading scheme.
On the same occasion these guys sitting around the table, they all agreed on a
whole range of other matters including the phasing out of incandescent light
bulbs and actually already they had agreed, in fact they’d passed a directive
requiring the energy performance certificates which are of course the heart of
those wonderful, much admired home improvement packs, which have been such a
huge success and kept the housing market in such a stable state.
Now if we look at each of these measures in detail and in practical terms,
they are each one of them complete pie in the sky. However many thousands of
subsidised wind turbines the Government hopes to see built all over our
countryside and sea, they are, as I’m sure a lot of you know or are learning
fast, this way of generating electricity is so ludicrously inefficient that
the turbines are never going to generate more than a derisory fraction of the
electricity we need. I never tire of saying because I think it’s the most
important single fact one can remember about these bloody wind turbines, is
the fact that we’ve got 2,033 of them so far built in the UK. All the
electricity they produce in a year between them is less than that produced by
one medium sized conventional power station. That is how batty this whole
system is, at about 10-15 times the cost.
Now bio-fuels, they only produce 70% - well some of them do, I mean it varies
according to which bio-fuel you’re talking about – but if you’re talking about
ethanol, we’d get 70% back from putting 100% in. In other words a complete
waste of space and indeed huge waste of food growing, crop growing farmland.
The EU’s emissions trading scheme, and I’m not going to go into detail because
I think some of my colleagues are going to talk in more detail about these
things, but it is really one of the most colossal money-making scams ever
invented, it makes the South Sea Bubble, it makes Swift’s Academy of Lagado...
you can’t find a parallel for the insanity of the EU’s emissions trading
scheme, it is going to cost hundreds of billions of pounds before its finished
across the whole of the EU.
Then of course they’ve got that thing called carbon capture, which is how
they’re going to take all the carbon dioxide out when they’re generating
electricity and they’re going to stuff it into holes in the ground. They don’t
actually know how they’re going to do it yet but they’re already talking about
we will not allow anymore coal fired power stations unless they have carbon
capture. Sorry can you tell me where we get the carbon capture from? We’re
working on it. We need more money to find out how it can be done, buried in
holes under the North Sea. Two companies have already pulled out because they
realise the thing is completely absurd and it’s never going to happen.
How many of our politicians, who are responsible for endorsing and abetting
all this lunacy, actually have the slightest idea what it is they’re putting
their hand to. I will tell you there is one active politician and he’s sitting
on my right here and you’re going to hear him in a minute, and he is the only
one I’ve found anywhere in this country certainly and the same is true
elsewhere, who actually has done even the most basic homework about how
fantastically mad all this is.
Sir David King, who is not someone I hugely admire, the former Chief
Scientific Advisor to this country, surface chemist was his qualification, he
sounded off about climate change in a big way, he of course thinks its
absolutely terrible and we’ve got to do all these terrible things, we’ve got
to make these huge sacrifices to stop it. But to be fair to him, Sir David
King does occasionally talk sense and he did on one occasion, that meeting I
was talking about where 27 leaders sat around agreeing this fantastic great EU
climate package, he said I must admit that when I saw what they’d agreed to I
realised that none of them could have been properly briefed, none of them had
any idea what they were actually agreeing to. And that’s the man who was
Blair’s Chief Scientific Advisor at the very time when he was doing that. So I
don’t think they actually called in any advisors, I think the 27 politicians
sat round and said now we have the chance to keep the rise in global
temperatures to 2 degrees. Yes King Canute you’re quite right, that will be
very easy to do, all we have to do is to spend several trillion trillion
trillion euros and pounds and I’m sure you’re right that it will happen. I’m
not being unfair to King Canute by the way, as we know King Canute was the guy
that realised that there are certain things that governments can’t do.
So as I said, there were three reasons why we saw global warming as a classic
scare. One was the nature of the scientific confusion which lay at the heart
of it and then the way the green lobby groups and the media hyped it all up.
The second has been this massive overreaction by the politicians, spewing out
their feel good laws without any regard for the consequences.
And the third in the past couple of years has been the way in which falling
global temperatures have made a mockery of the theory on which the whole of
this rests because as with previous scares, the truth is beginning to emerge.
The temperature decline of the last few years at a time when CO2 levels have
continued to rise was not predicted as I say, by any of those computer models
on which the IPCC bases all its alarmist predictions of what’s going to happen
in the future and to which our politicians continue to pay blind homage as if
they are dancing around some ritual fetish in a jungle clearing.
But worse still, their collective infatuation with the quasi-religious
incantations of the so-called green lobby groups like WWF and the Friends of
the Earth, both subsidised incidentally by the EU every lavishly, has blinded
the politicians to the reality of this fast approaching energy crisis, which
I’ve been talking about, which within a few years all the evidence suggests is
going to put our lights out. But they’re not interested in that, all they’re
interested in is all this talk about climate change and passing the Climate
When a German company proposed to build a new coal fired power station in
Kings North, Kent recently, this provoked a huge howl of rage from the
greenies supported by Dr James Hansen, who flew over from America to appear in
court in support of the Greenpeace activists who were on trial for criminal
damage. David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, went out of his way to express
sympathy and to see James Hansen. His brother Ed is the new Minister,
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change – wonderful – and the Chief
Scientific Advisor in that ministry, i.e. a man who now probably plays a very
key role in deciding the future energy policy of Britain, is a fanatically
bearded character called Bob Watson. Now Bob Watson was Dr. Pachauri’s
predecessor as head of the IPCC and Al Gore hailed Bob Watson as the ‘hero of
the planet’. That is the man we’ve now got virtually in charge of the energy
policy of this country – cue for lights to go out.
So at least if your lights go out at home you will know who to thank and it
was all in the cause of saving the planet even if your local Tesco has to shut
down at the same time and you can no longer turn on your television set or
your computer to find out what’s going on.
If there was one recent image which summed all this up as neatly as any it was
that debate in the House of Commons last month when our MPs were discussing
the third reading of the Government’s Climate Change Bill, potentially the
most expensive piece of legislation ever put before the Parliament of this
country. Members of all parties eagerly queued up to speak in favour of the
Bill, which commits Britain by law to cutting her carbon emissions within 40
years by 80%, more than any other country in the world although the saintly
President Elect Obama has said America is going to do the same.
Not a single MP in the house could have had the slightest idea how these goals
could be achieved. All they knew was that it was vital to save the planet by
holding at bay this terrifying menace of global warming.
Just towards the end of the debate, one MP, Peter Lilley, asked the speaker to
note that outside the Palace of Westminster snow was falling. It was the first
October snow recorded in London since 1934, before even I was born. Quite
oblivious to this message from on high, which I’m sure was very carefully
planned; the MPs proceeded to approve the Bill by 463 votes to 3. As I have
more than once recently asked in my column, has there ever in history been
such a collective flight from reality and we all ought to be incredibly
worried about it.
As I say, there is only one politician I know in any of these Houses,
different bits of Government that now represent us, who actually has got a
clued up understanding of what the basic issues are. He is your next
Thank you for that very kind and generous introduction and thank your
Christopher for your kind words as well. It’s a great pleasure to be here, but
I must start with a confession. I take a view of the European Union which is
counter-consensual; at least it’s counter-consensual in Brussels, although I
suspect it may not be counter-consensual here. And to sum up my view of the
European Union I can do no better than to quote my good friend and colleague
Mr Daniel Hannan, whom I would point out is the second Conservative MEP who
has also left the EPP and now sits with me in the nonaligned.
Dan says, and I agree with him, that the European Union is making us poorer
and less democratic and less free and I can’t think of a better way of summing
it up than that so I have been quoting that just about every day since I heard
him say it.
If you have any doubts at all about the way it is making us less
democratic, I need only point you in the direction of the European
Constitution. You know about the European Constitution, it was rejected by a
significant majority in France in 2005 and by a slightly larger majority in
Holland, God bless the Dutch, also in June 2005. I have to tell you that when
I heard the French had voted no I think that was my happiest day in politics,
it was a fantastic result.
But did the European Union listen to the verdict of the people and go away and
change its mind? No it did not, it did what it always does, which is to say
how can we get round this obstacle. So having declared a period for reflection
and having had a very long period of anxiety, because that French decision
really did shake the foundations and really did embarrass them, it came back
with something called the Lisbon Treaty, which I have to tell you is for all
practical purposes the same as the Constitution. It did omit the symbols, the
flag and the anthem, but I don’t want you to worry about that because about
three months ago the European Parliament voted to put them back in again.
That is the way they treat democracy and they tried to avoid another vote.
President Sarkozy has admitted that if the Lisbon Treaty were put to the
Referendum in France as the Constitution was, the French would vote the same
way. They only had little Ireland and everybody knows how well Ireland has
done out of the EU don’t they, so there wouldn’t be a problem there would
there? And of course the Irish voted no, did they listen then? Of course not,
the Irish had got the wrong answer and in European referenda, if you get the
wrong answer you’re just told to go away and vote again until you get the
right answer. They’re contempt for democracy is an outrage and one of my
greatest pleasures in the European Parliament is to stand up and tell them so.
Now not only do we have a situation where the EU is undermining democracy, it
is also undermining prosperity because quite simply the costs of membership
exceed the benefits. There are some benefits in the European Union, there are
some trade benefits in the single market, although I have to say we could have
those benefits if we were to leave and have a simple free trade agreement, so
we’re not even being asked to lose the benefits. But the costs, which are
estimated to be 5.5% in terms of regulatory costs greatly exceed the trade
benefits, which are estimated to be about 1.8% of GDP and I have to tell you
those are not my estimates, those are the European Commission’s estimates. The
European Union is costing us a great deal of money, it was too much to pay in
the good times, now we are facing the bad times it is simply unaffordable. And
I stress we could have the benefits without the costs if we were to
renegotiate our relationship with the European Union.
But now I have to tell you about the ambition of the bureaucrats in Brussels
and the people who are driving the project forward. They are attached to a
very interesting concept, they realise there is no enthusiasm for European
integration, they realise that big steps are difficult to carry through –
indeed they’ve been reminded of that once or twice – so they are attached to
the idea of a beneficial crisis as they see it. They are waiting for some
disaster to happen so they can say look you need the European Union to help
you or look you need to give the European Union more powers so that we can
protect you against this disaster.
I hate to say this, but when the Twin Towers tragedy occurred in New York,
there were those in Brussels who were saying, well it was a dreadful thing but
it enables us to take forward our plans for European security, European
policing, Corpus Juris all those things, now you need the European Union to
help us to oppose terrorism.
What have we got at the moment but the credit crunch and of course this is a
terrible thing for Europe as a whole, for Britain, it is a very serious matter
and it will get worse. What are they saying in Brussels? They are saying ah,
now thank heavens we have the Euro to protect us in these circumstances, now
we need more economic integration, now we need fiscal integration, we need to
give Brussels responsibility for raising taxes and governing public
expenditure. We must have European taxes. This is a beneficial crisis that
they will try to use to take forward the European project.
But my word, if we’re talking about crises, never mind the Twin Towers, never
mind the credit crunch, as we’ve already heard from Christopher, the biggest
crisis in their minds is the issue of global warming. Now it’s fascinating to
hear them talk about the environment and about pollution. They will say
pollution is no respecter of national boundaries and my word they’re right
aren’t they? It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them that pollution doesn’t
stop at the boundaries of the EU either and the smoke which is emitted today
in Beijing can well be in Birmingham next week. Pollution is a global issue if
it is any issue at all and to use it as an excuse for European integration is
frankly just a little bit bizarre.
Clearly pollution doesn’t respect national boundaries but what the EU is
doing, and if we had time I could take half an hour giving you examples, is
passing laws that are actually forcing jobs and investment and business out of
the European Union into overseas jurisdictions with lower environmental
standards and the list of industries: the cement industry, the tobacco
industry, even the egg industry for heaven’s sake – they are making it so
expensive to make eggs in Europe that people are moving to India and Taiwan
and Ukraine and places like that. They are actually increasing pollution by
forcing many polluting processes to go out of the European Union altogether.
Now you’ve already heard from Christopher about his concerns about the issue
of climate change and you will hear more I’m sure from Ian in a little while.
So let me be rather brief on this. My belief is that there is a
well-established cyclical natural pattern of climate change, which can be
identified over at least the last 10,000 years and the small increase in
temperature, which we’ve seen, its been unsteady but there has been a small
increase in temperature since about 1850, that small increase in temperature
is entirely consistent with these long-term natural cycles.
If you go back many thousands of years we had the Holocene Maximum, coming to
more recent times we had the Roman Optimum, later on we had the Medieval Warm
Period, interspersed between these periods were cooler periods, most recently
the Little Ice Age where they used to roast oxon on the Thames, now we are
moving into a new natural cyclical 21st century maximum. And the idea that it
is caused by human activity or can be altered by some other kind of human
activity is frankly slightly absurd.
Christopher has talked at some length about the IPCC and I will give you my
little vignette on the IPCC if I may, because on their panel of 1,500 or is it
2,500 scientists are two gentlemen called Prof. Fred Singer and Mr Hans
Labohm. Now one of those gentlemen, Hans Labohm, is a Dutch economist, so he
certainly isn’t a climate scientist, but Prof. Fred Singer from the University
of Virginia is in fact a working atmospheric physicist or climatologist, he
knows what he’s talking about. I’ve done a lot of work with him, I’ve
organised a couple of seminars in Brussels and the European Parliament with
both of these guys and one thing that Fred Singer said at one of these
seminars has stuck in my mind and is worth quoting. He said ‘the IPCC accepts
my corrections when I correct their spelling, they just don’t accept my
corrections when I correct their science.’
And I have to tell you that both of these gentlemen are on that panel, they
actually have would you believe, the Nobel Prize badges because the IPCC was
awarded the Nobel Prize and they were given lapel pins all of them on the
panel. They profoundly disagree with the conclusions, and incidentally I
recommend Fred Singer’s excellent book, Unstoppable Global Warming every
Now one of the methods which of course the European Union is using to oppose
climate change and to resist CO2 emissions is the Emissions Trading Scheme,
which again Christopher has referred to, so I won’t go into it in any depth. I
will just mention that there are a couple of excellent studies by Open Europe
of the Emissions Trading Scheme. The main conclusions are that the Emissions
Trading Scheme has added hugely to the cost of doing business in this country,
it has resulted in very large transfers of funds from Britain to France and
Germany and other continental countries. That was to do with the initial
allocations because our Government played the game and I’m afraid some of the
continental Governments were a little more generous with their initial
Its also rather interestingly involved quite large fund transfers from
hospital Trusts in the NHS to big oil companies, which I’m sure wasn’t quite
the intention of the people who designed it. What it has not done is reduced
emissions, so typical of a European initiative, it has failed to achieve the
objectives it set out to achieve but it has very considerably added to the
costs of doing business in Britain.
Now we are dealing with something called the European Climate and Energy
Package, and can I say that the European Climate and Energy Package is rather
typical of EU regulation. The EU doesn’t regulate by setting broad objectives,
the EU regulates by going into detailed, intrusive, prescriptive rules it says
exactly how things must be done.
Now I would quote here from my good colleague, Syed Kamall, one of your London
MEPs and he said, ‘I have only two problems with harmonised regulation, one of
them is harmonisation and the other one is regulation’. And I agree with him.
The effect of this kind of regulation is very clear, it stifles competition,
it sets in stone current practice, it prevents innovation and it makes the
economies that are subjected to it much less efficient. There is only one way
of doing things, it’s the way they do it so there’s no point in trying to do
In this particular case, lets for a moment accept their objective. I don’t
accept the objective of reducing CO2, I don’t think it’s important but they
do, so let’s accept what they’re saying, it’s important to reduce CO2. The
best way they could do that would be to set targets for CO2 emissions and say
to Member States of the European Union, right find the best way of hitting
those targets, that is what you are tasked with doing. Do they do that? No
they don’t. They come in with all sorts of details about what sort of energy
sources you should use, about how much renewables you should use and so on.
The effect of this is to create huge distortions in the market. First of all
they favour wind power against other forms of renewables, secondly they favour
renewables which are supposed not to emit carbon – we could debate that as
well but let’s say renewables don’t emit carbon – against nuclear power which
also does not emit carbon. Now if you’re trying to reduce CO2 emissions you
should have nuclear power at the heart of that process. And actually to give
people incentives to do renewables when you’re not giving them incentives to
do nuclear is madness. I hear people saying, well we’re not really against
nuclear in principle but we will not have any Government subsidy for it. And I
say that’s fine, just so long as you agree not to have any Government
subsidies of renewables as well because of course we all know that wind power
would not exist without Government subsidies or Renewable Obligation
Certificates which amount to much the same thing.
The effect of the EU’s targets, their so called 20-20-20 plan, they want 20%
of our energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. Now that 20% target has
been allocated to different Member States, they don’t all get the same and
we’ve been lucky or maybe we’ve negotiated cleverly because we’re only being
hit with 15%. However, that 15% is not 15% of our electricity generation, its
15% of total energy and because realistically the great majority of it can
only be achieved through electricity generation we are looking at something
like 35-40% of electricity generation which is going to have to come from
renewables, which for all practical purposes means wind farms. And that is why
the Government has just passed this Climate Change Bill.
The fact is that we are now being committed by our Government at the behest of
Brussels, and let’s be very clear where it comes from, it doesn’t really come
from Westminster, it comes from Brussels, we are being committed to these
targets for wind power by 2020, which I am sorry to have to tell you are
Now please don’t misunderstand me, I am not worried about climate change but I
am very, very worried about energy security and I’m very, very worried about
our dependence on imported oil from very unstable political areas, I’m worried
about imported gas from Russia and President Putin with his blackmailing hand
on the gas tap there. These are things I am concerned about. So in principle I
have no problem with renewables, but we must remember renewables are the icing
they are not the cake and unless we have the cake on which to put the icing
then we are in terrible, terrible trouble. So renewables are not wrong in
However, I have to tell you that there are serious problems with wind power
specifically. I’m pretty relaxed about solar although its still expensive,
biomass, geothermal, tidal, hydroelectric, a lot of these things are very well
worth pursuing and we would be wise to pursue them. I do not believe that wind
power is a wise thing to pursue because I don’t think it can be justified; it
is not as they love to say, sustainable in terms either of economics or in
terms of the environment. The amount of embedded energy, in other words the
amount of CO2 emitted in order to fabricate, assemble, transport, erect these
wind turbines and then to provide the infrastructure, the roads for
maintenance, the lines to connect them to the National Grid, extensive changes
needed to the National Grid, all these things use energy and therefore emit
CO2 that is not accounted for when they tell you that wind turbines save CO2.
But it gets worse than that because wind, now this may come as a surprise to
you, but wind is variable and is not predictable and I’ll tell you what,
sometimes it doesn’t blow. Now you cannot run an economy based on the energy
might be there or it might not be there. And people will say well if it’s
windy in Scotland then maybe its not windy somewhere else and it’ll all
balance out, no it wont because the trickle of power you get cannot be
distributed over very long distances through the Grid. So there are serious
problems with wind, you must keep conventional backup.
And what’s more you can’t just have a coal fired power station sitting there
and then the wind drops and you think oh Lord the lights are going down a bit,
we’ll fire up the coal fired power station. Oh no, it has to be running and
therefore it has to be running at a sub-optimal capacity in order that you can
ramp it up the moment the wind drops. And that means that you are running that
power station less efficiently both in terms of the cost and in terms of the
environment than you would otherwise do and you are emitting more CO2 from
that backup power than you would otherwise do. Factor in all those things and
you are not saving very much CO2 at all. The whole thing is extraordinarily
There is one area in which it actually gets worse because many of these wind
turbines being erected in places like Wales and Scotland because funnily
enough most of the wind in the UK seems to come in from the Atlantic and
therefore those west coast sites are a great place for it. Unfortunately, they
are also mountainous and peaty. Now if you want to plant a wind farm on peat,
a big turbine, you have to make a hole almost the size of a pair of
semi-detached houses, dig out the peat and fill it with concrete. Now all that
peat you’ve dug out is effectively carbon, CO2 that has been sequestered in
the soil for tens of thousands of years, you dig it up and leave it there
beside your wind turbine and all that carbon that was in there will be emitted
in no time. Even if you can make a case that wind turbines on ordinary ground
may save some CO2, and personally I doubt it, it is absolutely clear – my
Scottish colleague Struan Stevenson has done a great deal of work on this –
that the amount of CO2 emitted by digging up peat to plant wind farms in most
of the sites in Scotland and Wales releases more CO2 than you’ll ever save in
the lifetime of the wind turbine.
Now Christopher has remarked on the cost of this process. There was a House of
Commons report recently that said that our domestic electric bills today are
about 14% higher than they need to be because of Renewable Obligations
Certificates on wind and the figure is higher for commercial electricity. We
are making ourselves less efficient, less competitive and less productive.
Now we’re looking however at these wind farms which I hope I’ve established
will not do very much for CO2 emissions and will do great damage in cost
terms, but it does indeed get worse than that. And the reason it gets worse
than that is because we’re dealing here with a National Grid that distributes
electricity. If you have a significant proportion of variable and
unpredictable power as we’ll certainly have if we have wind power, if you had
2% of your electricity supply coming from this source, not a problem. 5% okay,
10% sort of probably alright, 15% getting quite dodgy. If you have 35%, which
is what they’re talking about, you simply cannot operate the Grid and you
cannot guarantee security of supply. It is simply absurd.
It is also absurd to think you can install that many wind turbines between now
and then. We can’t build that many, the Government’s looking at 8,000 I think
it is, we can’t build that many, we can’t install that many, we can’t connect
that many to the Grid, many of them are offshore. Its very difficult to plant
wind farms offshore, there are only about 60 days a year on average when the
weather is benign enough to plant wind turbines offshore and the number of
specialised vessels available to go out and plant very large wind turbines in
offshore locations is extremely limited, they are in great demand. In other
words what the Government is saying its going to do it cannot do, if it does
do it then it cannot use that electricity in the Grid. That is the problem we
Two excellent reports recently, one of them by Prof. Ian Fells of Newcastle
University, he’s a professor energy economics, an excellent report, well worth
reading. Its one of those things that’s technical enough to be reassuring but
accessible enough actually to sit down and read. And he says essentially what
I’ve been telling you, that the Government’s plans for wind farms cannot
possibly be achieved and if we rely on those plans for wind farms then we will
find that the lights are indeed going out.
The second report from the House of Lords from a Committee chaired by Lord
Roger Freeman that was, used to be an MP in my East Midlands patch says
essentially the same things. It’s less technical but it makes the same point,
that the Government’s plan for wind simply cannot be achieved. The result may
well be in a matter of a few years time that we are in deep and serious
And there is one further killer directive from the European Union because we
have on the statute book something called the Large Combustion Plant
Directive. Now I’m sure you’re all familiar with this, it’s obviously the kind
of thing that you would chat about over breakfast when there’s nothing else
much to talk about, the Large Combustion Plant Directive. Basically they don’t
like coal and they don’t like coal because it emits all this nasty CO2 and
therefore they’ve put very strict limits on coal fired power stations that
were built more than about 20 years ago because obviously standards have
improved in the meantime. They’ve placed limits on the number of hours you can
operate these coal fired power stations up until 2015 and they want them all
closed by then. And that means that about half a dozen large generating
stations in Britain are supposed to be closed by 2015.
I have to tell you that our energy supply situation is parlous anyway. We
might just manage, touch and go, to get through if we keep all our current
capacity on-stream and if we build nuclear power plants as fast as we can, but
frankly, if we follow this European directive and we go away and shut down
existing large combustion plants, which may be 20 years old but have another
20 years of useful life in the normal course of events, then we have no hope.
And I just don’t think, I agree very much with Christopher here, politicians
are simply not taking onboard the enormous threat to our economy if this
I’m sure many of you can remember the famous three day week. Now remember how
bad that was, how awful it was and how it affected our economy, it affected
our daily lives, rolling blackouts, that is what we are facing and it wont
stop, it wont stop just when a strike is over and we go back to work, it will
take years and years of serious investment in serious generating capacity to
get us off the hook unless we take these things onboard now.
Now I’d hoped to have here with me today my recent DVD on the question of
climate change, but unfortunately a box of 100 DVDs got lost somewhere between
me and Robert so I don’t know what he’ll do with them when they finally
arrive, but I hope he’ll enjoy watching them. In the meantime what we do have
is the leaflet on climate change, which we have a number of copies at the back
and also you have my card which has my website on it and if you would like to
see that DVD online it is available there.
I hope that I’ve made the point that we are facing a very serious problem,
that that problem starts with Brussels, it carries on through Westminster and
it requires very, very serious policy changes, it requires the urgent
construction in my view, of coal fired power plants and nuclear power plants
if we are going to have a chance of saving this energy problem.
That was my contribution ladies and gentlemen and I look forward to hearing
from Ian along here, because he really understands the science and I always
enjoy what he has to tell us, so I will look forward to that next. Thank you
very much indeed.
Click here to view Iain's
power point presentation
Good afternoon. For those of you who were expecting an American accent, I’m
so sorry to disappoint you. I am in fact British as you can tell. I helped
privatise Railtrack and then fled the country in 1996.
As a Fellow at an American think tank, if there’s one thing we’ve
learnt from Al Gore, you must have a PowerPoint these days, so here’s my
Now I’ve T’d off on a statement by my esteemed MP – yes I’m from South Shields
– the wonderful David Miliband. Two years ago he said this, ‘an environmental
contract has to stretch beyond each nation; we have to embed a shared
willingness to tackle climate change across Europe and beyond. This is a
challenge that the European Union was designed for, addressing global problems
that require cooperation across borders. Europe has a strong environmental
record on which to build from air pollution and water quality to recycling,
but in future we should go further. Its raison d'être in the 21st century must
be to prevent the exploitation of the planet, the European Union must become
the environmental union’.
In saying this David Miliband was channelling my good friend Al Gore. Al Gore
in his seminal tract from 1992 entitled Earth in the Balance said
that environmentalism had to become the central organising principle of
mankind. Now if you ever have the misfortune to read Earth in the
Balance, it’s an amazing work. You can read it and then you can read the
Unibomber’s Manifesto, that environmental terrorist of the early 90s, and it
is so hard to tell the difference between them. Online there is a game, ‘who
said this, Al Gore or the Unibomber?’ I tried it and I got everything wrong.
But the simple fact is that even if the European Union wants to become the
environmental union, it has failed in all its supposed environmental
ambitions. What the European Union’s environmental policy has done is impose
vast costs upon the world, it has created – and I’ve got a great example of
this from Spain – what can only be described as sub-prime jobs. It has
actually restricted real environmental improvement by taking a command and
control approach to the environment that simply does not work.
Let’s start with looking at the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is very
much an EU construct. In 1997 the American Government with Al Gore as its
chief negotiator was already beginning to get embroiled in something that came
to be known as the Impeachment Scandal, so the EU pushed ahead with the Kyoto
Protocol at the negotiations over there in Japan. Jacques Chirac, our friend,
was so keen on the Kyoto Protocol he called it ‘the first authentic component
of genuine global governance’, and if you want to scare an American
Conservative say ‘global government’; they’re with us on that.
The ever fragrant Margot Wallström, now the Vice President of the European
Union, actually blurted out the truth when she said that the Kyoto Protocol
actually wasn’t about the environment, it was about levelling the playing
field with the US because of the costs that they knew it would impose on the
But let’s look at how greenhouse gas emissions have gone from 1997, when the
Kyoto Protocol was signed, to recent years where we have decent data. We’ll
see that America, the great global villain of the environmental movement has
increased its greenhouse gas emissions by 5%. The world has increased by just
over 16% in general and the Kyoto nations, the nations that actually signed up
to reduce their emissions, which until recently did not include Australia or
the US (but the new Australian Government has signed up to Kyoto) they’ve
increased them by 20%. Kyoto has failed, it just has not worked. That's
because emissions reduction is just not that easy.
We can look at all these countries: Spain, Luxembourg, Portugal, Ireland,
Australia, Turkey, Austria, New Zealand, Greece, Iceland, Canada, Italy, the
United States, Switzerland, the European Community as a whole, Norway, Japan,
France, Netherlands, even the United Kingdom, all have increased their
emissions of greenhouse gases since 1997.
It is only Germany, the only really major economy that has reduced its
emissions and the reason it has done that is because it has closed down so
many of the smoke-stack industries that it inherited from the old East
Germany. Sweden, Finland and Denmark have all gone into wind power in a big
way and have managed to reduce their emissions considerably. But even Denmark,
if you take the latest numbers, which I didn’t have time to put into this
chart, even Denmark has gone back up from that minus 20% because they’ve
realised that wind power just isn’t a good deal, when you actually have to
give away your electricity for free to Sweden because the wind power is
generating electricity late at night when you don’t actually need it. So even
Denmark has gone back up from there.
And note that date 1997, it’s a very important date because that’s when Kyoto
was signed. However, the Kyoto Protocol looks to reduce emissions from a
benchmark date of 1990. That is why the Germans and the British Governments
are able to say, oh we’ve reduced our emissions by a considerable amount. It’s
not the amount you’ll see here because Britain entered into the ‘dash for gas’
in the early 90s and again Germany was closing down even more of its
smoke-stack industries. They already had in the bank massive reductions in
greenhouse gas emissions.
The Eastern European countries, they have massive reductions in
greenhouse gas emissions from about 1990 to 1995, again because they were
closing down those old communist industries. In fact the only way that has
been proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a major economy is economic
collapse and that’s why, with the current financial crisis, we will probably
see a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions this year and next year, which
will of course be claimed as a great victory for environmentalists.
And let’s also look at the main European Union vehicle for reducing emissions,
the Cap and Trade Scheme, which Christopher and Roger have already talked
about. The European Emission Trading Scheme is supposed to be a Cap and Trade,
but there is no meaningful cap. Nobody that I’ve talked to can actually tell
me what emissions will be in the European Union next year, and that’s because
the cap is meaningless. And the trade part simply means higher costs for
households, schools and hospitals and windfall profits for utilities.
Now it looks like we are actually living in the age of Enron given what’s
happened recently. Enron and Lehman Brothers were actually the two biggest
pushers of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Schemes across the world. You just
have to look and see what happened to those two companies to realise that
there might actually be a significant problem with Cap and Trade Schemes. For
those of you who know your Kipling, ‘The Gods of the market tumbled’ and the
‘Gods of the copybook headings’ reasserted themselves’. The real rules on
which an economy rests for example, they will reassert themselves when the
Gods of the market, the artificial rules that are promoted by Enron and Lehman
Brothers and Goldman Sachs and the rest, when those rules disappear, the Gods
of the copybook headings come back. I do recommend you look out the particular
Kipling poem, it’s excellent.
And let’s also look at the real costs of global warming; its not global
warming that imposes costs upon us, its global warming policies. Let’s take it
as read that Jim Hansen and all these other frauds are actually right and that
global warming will impose costs on the world.
The American economist from Yale, William Nordhaus, calculates those costs,
taking it all as read, taking the increase in global warming over this year to
be around something like 3 degrees centigrade. That will cost the world
$22 trillion he thinks. Then he looks at what Stern and Al
Gore want us to do. He calculates that Stern would certainly reduce the costs
of global warming, reduce them to $9 trillion, but at a cost
of $26 trillion for a total cost to the world of $35
trillion, one and a half times as much as unabated global warming.
Al Gore is even worse, his hodgepodge of measures, which it looks as if
President-Elect Obama is going to impose on the United States with the help of
a Congress where the newly elected Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee, Henry Waxman, believes in neither energy nor commerce, so it looks
like that’s going to go through that package of measures will reduce the costs
of global warming to $10 trillion but at a cost of
$34 trillion, total cost $44 trillion, twice
the cost of unabated global warming. If global warming is going to be a
disaster for the world, what are Al Gore’s policies? This is the sort of thing
that the European Union and the new President’s Administration will impose on
We now have an example from my good friend, Gabriel Calzada who runs the
Instituto Juan de Mariana in Madrid. He has looked in detail at how European
Union subsidies and policies work when it comes to the supposed aim of
creating employment, the green jobs that we’re all told will save us. Well the
European Union wants 12% renewable energy from Spain in 2010 and 20% in 2020.
Spain has gone ahead and promoted renewable energy to the extent that it’s
become a world leader, but the only way you can promote renewable energy is by
giving massive subsidies. Wind subsidies have been 90% over the market price
for 15 years and then the policy will change to 80% over, so in ten years time
we recognise that there will be a slight increase in the efficiency of wind
power but you know it’s not that much really.
Solar subsidies: solar is so economically inefficient that the subsidy has to
be 575% over market price. Nobody sensible would install solar or try to power
their economy through it, but the European Union wants to do this and is
basically guaranteeing a 12-20% return on the investment so that people will
actually go ahead and do this. This has created a renewable bubble; Spanish
companies have indeed become world leaders in this, they have installed almost
26,000 megawatts in their special regime for renewable energy. Wind energy has
by far the largest share of that, about 15,000 megawatts, 10% of the Spanish
electricity requirements. Solar energy has 1,000 megawatts when the target was
only 371 megawatts, which shows you that that 575% subsidy on market price has
actually directed people to go ahead and install solar, which as I said is a
crazy thing to do.
This has produced jobs yes, 27,000 in the solar sector alone since 2004, while
renewable subsidies are a massive Є2.6 billion. So is
this a success story? Well not really, Miguel Sebastian who is the personal
economic adviser to Prime Minister Zapatero, the Industry Minister and also a
member of the Socialist Workers Party, which should tell you something, he
declared that renewable energies were green and clean, but very costly. Last
year premiums paid to a sum up to €2,000 millions – I love the Spanish way of
saying that – while this year it will be €3,000 millions. Because of this
massive cost, the Government had to reduce by 30% the subsidy to solar energy
and placed a cap of 300 new solar megawatts. As I said the target was only 371
but the subsidy was such that they’d already got 1,000.
The Spanish green industry as a result has started to fall, its going abroad
to find other Governments who are much more willing to give away their
taxpayers’ money to subsidise this utterly uneconomic activity. The result has
been green job losses. When they softened that renewable support in 2007,
10,000 jobs were lost. This years softening threatens to result in 40,000 new
So these are basically sub-prime jobs. The renewable energy industry in Spain
is probably going to have to fire over 40% of its workers. The sector
generates almost no stable jobs, most of the jobs are in installation and
construction; once the new power plant has been installed, there is no need
for these people to continue on and this is why when Barack Obama talks about
five million new green jobs in the US, he never tells you how long those jobs
will last. The only way to generate jobs in this field is by creating
artificially produced expectations. Again that should sound familiar given the
latest credit crunch.
So what are the European Union promises on climate? It will reduce warming:
no, as we’ve seen, warming isn’t actually occurring so that’s not the case. It
will reduce CO2 emissions: no, as we’ve seen, the European Union has increased
its CO2 emissions. It will be done at low cost: no, it’s a very, very high
cost. It will create jobs: no, you’re losing them.
Is there an alternative? Well yes there is, but it involves a free market, it
will be a benefit to the economy whatever happens, it will reduce bureaucracy,
it will help the developing world - and it therefore has no chance of ever
being adopted by the European Union.
And what I’m about to outline, even if you believe anthropogenic global
warming is a complete hoax, like my good friend Senator Jim Inhofe, who I
think alongside Roger is the leading politician in the world on these issues,
even if you believe global warming is a hoax, then you could actually get
behind this sort of policy.
The Greens talk about mitigation of global warming but they never talk about
adaptation. In other words, if something is going to happen which is negative,
then can we adapt to it rather than trying to prevent it? Is there another way
of dealing with global warming if it happens that doesn’t involve trying to
change the composition of the atmosphere in 80 years time?
So let’s look at what the risks of global warming are if it does happen. They
are hunger, disease, sea level rise, water stress and a reduction in
biodiversity. Halting global warming is probably the single most expensive
thing you can do to tackle these problems. My friend Indur Goklany wrote a
marvellous study in 2008, where he looked at the figures produced by DEFRA
here and found that yes, halting global warming by changing the composition of
the atmosphere would indeed reduce hunger, disease and sea level rise by 4-10%
in 2085, but it would actually increase water stress and biodiversity problems
at a cost of much more than $165 billion annually each year for many years.
We should instead look at each of these problems and tackle them directly -,
you know, lets eradicate malaria for instance by use of DDT and other proven
effective chemicals rather than worrying about what the atmosphere will do to
the spread of malaria in 80 years time. “Focussed adaptation” will reduce each
of these problems by 50-75% by 2015, not 2085, and at a cost of less than $34
billion annually. And it would also provide side benefits in terms of
decreased child mortality, increased literacy and so on.
Then there’s looking at resiliency of a society. Wealthier societies simply
manage disasters better. In 1955 Hurricane Janet, a category 5 hurricane, hit
the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It killed 600 people; it was a genuine
natural disaster. In 2007, Hurricane Dean, also a category 5, hit Mexico in
the exact same place with the exact same strength and intensity and no one was
killed. The reason why there is such a disparity is because Mexico had become
wealthier in the meantime. It had actually grown its economy by free trade and
done all the sorts of things that we know builds the wealth of a society and
therefore its resiliency. Similarly, the disastrous Hurricane Katrina that hit
the most vulnerable place in America, the City of New Orleans, which was
sitting there below a bowl of water that was just waiting to slosh over into
the city. Louisiana is also the most corrupt state in the American Union. My
friend and boss, Fred Smith who comes from Louisiana points out that, “in
Louisiana we don’t tolerate corruption, we insist on it.”
Hurricane Katrina hit the most vulnerable place in America and tragically
killed almost 2,000 people. But Cyclone Nargis hit Burma in 2008, earlier this
year, only category 4. Because Burma is so much poorer than Louisiana it
killed at least 84,000 and those are the figures that the Burmese regime
releases, goodness knows what the actual death toll was.
So therefore if we focus on building the resiliency of societies by increasing
global development, then we can make the risks of global warming so much the
lesser. But this isn’t the policy that anybody is following; it’s certainly
not the policy that even the Conservative Party here is following. You’d think
that they had never heard that there was such a thing as free market
environmentalism; somebody needs to tell them about it.
So let’s sum up what the EU climate policy is and this actually comes from
The Guardian, a writer called Catherine Bennett in 2004. ‘In
short if we can rise to the challenge, the permanent abolition of the wheel
would have the marvellously synergistic effect of creating thousands of new
jobs such as blacksmiths, farriers, grooms and so on, at the same time as it
conserved energy and saved the planet from otherwise inevitable
destruction’. That’s what the EU climate policy is: let’s get rid of
something that provides massive benefits, energy from fossil fuels, and
replace it with something that imposes massive costs.
And just a quick plug at the end here for some more sources of information on
this. As Barry mentioned, I have written a book, The Really Inconvenient
Truths, which you can get on Amazon.co.uk. My friend, Chris Horner has
written The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and
Environmentalism, which is basically a one-stop shop for everything you
want to know about this issue.
If you have access to the internet then globalwarming.org and cei.org are good
places to go. And if you want news on the subject, Planet Gore, from the
excellent Conservative magazine National Review, planetgore.nationalreview.com
is a good place.
And finally I should also mention a book by the third good politician on this
subject, President Václav Klaus of the Czech Republic, who has just written an
excellent, excellent book called Blue Planet in Green Shackles. It
hasn’t been published in England yet but you can get an American-English
version from cei.org if you go there.
Thank you for your attention this afternoon and I hope you’ve enjoyed this
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Two weeks ago at Prime Minister’s Questions, Gordon Brown was asked whether
his government will leave office like every other Labour government – with
rising unemployment, recession and for all intents and purposes a broken
economy. To add insult to injury, Brown’s spending spree will only make
matters worse. Jim Callaghan – of all people - was right in saying you can’t
spend your way out of a recession, and he should know.
It makes no sense to increase the size of government when big
government itself has caused the economic crisis. Half measures, tax credits
and handouts are not the solution to our problems. The symptom to our
economic crisis is a big, cumbersome government that has thrown your money at
problems, crossed its fingers and hoped they would go away.
It’s no wonder then that Britain has the largest tax code in the Western
world. Private sector job cuts have led some to warn that unemployment will
reach three million by 2010. Public spending has doubled under Labour with
little improvement on the front line. Alistair Darling therefore wasn’t wrong
when he speculated that we potentially have the worst economy for 60 years.
Remember that’s worse than devaluation, worse than the winter of discontent
and worse than the ERM fiasco.
Yet as we look at the politicians for answers, we see few solutions.
Government spending will continue to rise, plugging the bureaucracy with more
apparatchiks and non-jobbers. Greedy local councils will still fleece local
taxpayers with irresponsible and indefensible council tax demands. The
government will squander and waste your money on databases to monitor every
phone call, log every email and spy on every text message we send.
Is it no wonder that we hear tragic stories of our fellow countrymen
emigrating because they are simply just fed up with the government’s taxes,
regulations, rules and diktats?
Who could feel comfortable living under a government that doubled the income
tax rate on Britain’s lowest paid?
What does it say about a government when they spend £2.3
billion refurbishing the MoD offices in London and yet send our
troops to Iraq and Afghanistan without the proper kit?
Conference, the TaxPayers’ Alliance is here to defend the British taxpayer’s
interest. Our aim is to see our taxes cut and that we get value for money
from public services. We want to set this country free from high taxes and
big government, producing the ideas and solutions for the politicians so they
can reduce our taxes, streamline government and provide a bigger role for
civil society in service provision.
From all parties and none, taxpayers angry at the injustices meted out by this
government are joining our ranks. Our membership has grown so fast this year
that we have recently leapfrogged the Green Party. If you agree with our
aims, then please fill in the recruitment ‘wish you were here’ postcard on
your seats and join the campaign for free. This year we beat the Greens.
With your help, the Lib Dems are next.
As an independent, grassroots campaign, we’re here to hold all our politicians
to account over how they spend and waste our money because it’s our money and
not the government’s.
When any politician wastes our money, we name and shame them. I log the
contact details of any councillor who votes for higher taxes and wasteful
spending so you, the taxpayer, can hold them directly to account. As we grow,
I can’t wait to see the day when our over-spending councillors log into their
email accounts to see literally thousands of emails from TPA supporters
demanding to know why they’ve wasted public money.
It’s because government is taking so much of our money that there is room to
waste it. The government spends 45% of what we earn. It directs education,
health and welfare policy and yet our children leave school unable to read,
the NHS has the worst mortality amendable to healthcare in Western Europe and
individuals find it easier to claim benefit than seek work.
Simply put, our case is that the British people know how to spend their money
better than the government does!
But the point is we have two governments, one in Westminster and the authority
in Brussels. Over 80% of our laws come from that unaccountable, unelected,
undemocratic super state called the EU. To grasp the true scale of the EU and
how it wants to control, micro-manage and bureaucratise our lives, look at
It took only 125 words to write the Ten Commandments, yet the EU used 26,000
words to draft regulations on the export of duck eggs.
The EU regulation machine doesn’t rest. Since 1998 has imposed 9,500 new laws
on us, an average of 942 a year. Last year alone over 3,000 EU laws went onto
the statute book, many through statutory instruments without receiving proper
scrutiny in parliament, let alone a vote. There are currently 16,980 EU acts
in force on this country right now. With all this regulation and direction
from Brussels, let no one, not even the most jaded Europhile get away with the
argument that the EU is just a trading bloc.
What sort of trading bloc needs thousands of new laws every year? Certainly
not a free-trading blog. We’re supposed to be in a single market, but that
single market is strangling businesses and affecting jobs with red tape.
Just because Brussels oversees a single market doesn’t mean it’s a single free
Our government has added to the burden by blindly implementing every piece of
EU law, whether or not it harms our economy. For example no one, not even
estate agents, house builders and home buyers, welcomed Home Information
Packs. But the EU found them necessary and the government implemented the
The long term effects of the government not standing up for Britain have
changed the face of communities up and down the country. Go to any old
British fishing community and you’ll see the devastating effects of a
governing generation’s unquestioning adherence to EU fishing laws. It was and
never has been in the British interest to sign up to the Common Fisheries
Policy. If anything when you leave here, you’ve got to tell your politicians
to scrap the CFP, kill it and make the it as dead as the surplus fish our
fishermen are forced to chuck overboard.
In October we published a report that looked at the financial cost of EU
regulation. Taking an average of estimates, we found that direct EU
regulation imposes a financial burden of £30 billion a year.
Incidentally, the IMF recently called for £30 billion of tax
cuts to fight the recession. That comparison alone exemplifies the damage EU
regulations have had on the economy.
Add on our contributions to the EU and you’ll find we’re paying too much to an
authority so riddled with mismanagement, waste and corruption that it hasn’t
even had its accounts signed off for 14 consecutive years. That’s not because
the EU’s had a run of bad luck. No, it’s because the EU auditors have only
existed for 14 years. It’s not luck that’s run out for the EU – it’s their
argument to be a higher authority over this country that’s run out.
We pay for lavish EU pensions for the failed politicians who have lied to us
about the true nature of the EU. Peter Mandelson, that embodiment of
integrity, will receive an EU pension of up to £1 million.
What has little been said in the press, however, is that his pension has a
condition. To continue to receive it, he must maintain, and I quote: “a duty
of loyalty to the communities”. We have in effect a government minister, who
swears an oath to the crown, now bound to tow the EU line. So, you can bet
Mandleson and the crop of other EU bureaucrats will continue to defend the
indefensible, even when it’s your money paying their wages and it’s your money
Some of the ridiculous schemes from this year’s EU accounts you’ve involuntary
paid for include:
That the EU is riddled with so much waste and corruption makes it so open to
gross abuses of your money. Research has shown that 11% of the money we give
to the EU for regional and structural funds is wasted. That’s almost
£4 billion up in smoke due to the EU’s incompetence and
openness to fraud.
- The thousands of pounds flushed away in Hull on an award winning
- £80,000 for an Estonian Puppet Theatre. And that’s not
the EU parliament
- And finally a Spanish brothel cost taxpayers £40,000.
Talk about being screwed by the EU
While the EU thinks it can spend your money better than you can, we in the TPA
think you could spend that money better than the Eurocrats can.
The culture of waste filters down to the next tier of government. The EU’s
programme for the regionalisation of the UK is fraught with white elephants
that the facts prove they have contributed little to the UK. Our paper on
Regional Development Agencies has exposed the costly wastefulness of top-down
regional development, an agenda pushed by the European Union of the Regions.
Costing each British taxpayer £600 since their creation,
these bodies have done little to increase economic growth in the regions.
Employment statistics have shown that in the period before their
implementation, employment in the regions grew faster than under the eye of
From 1995 to 2000, job growth grew by 9.5%. From 2000 to 2005 job growth fell
to 3%. The facts prove their redundancy. That is why we’re for the complete
abolition of Regional Assemblies and Development Agencies.
And we want to replace them all with a 4% cut in small business corporation
In these tough economic times, it makes no sense to avoid tax cuts designed to
boost business activity. It’s the economics of the madhouse to have these
bodies, whose chief executives earn six figure salaries, to continue to soak
up scarce resources and taxpayers’ money. It’s morally wrong to sit by and
allow the waste to continue, one such instance being the
£53,000 transport expenses bill the Chief Executive of the
South East England Development Agency handed the taxpayer.
The gravy train doesn’t terminate at central government level, it rolls into
local government. Whole bureaucracies are set up in local councils to spy and
monitor our everyday activity. Who would have thought councils would have
used anti-terrorism legislation to snoop on taxpayers taking their children to
Bit by bit, through dictatorial charges and their own regulations, councils
are using every opportunity to curtail our freedom. In Hull, a mother was
fined when her daughter dropped a few sausage roll crumbs that were then eaten
by a seagull. Guildford council threatens burger vans with closure if they
don’t offer people yoghurts and salads. Peterborough council pays fine
wardens commission based on the number of fines they hand out.
Even though taxpayers are losing jobs in the private sector, the number of
town hall bureaucrats and meddlers is growing day by day. Every week I have
the privilege to go through the Guardian’s jobs pages – to see exactly what
non-jobs councils are advertising for.
Some of the jobs that range from the bizarre to the ridiculous and
The statist ratchet is turning all of itself in local government. Our council
tax has doubled in ten years and yet councils cut back on bin collections and
other frontline services. Where – you might ask – is your money going aside
from non-jobbers and bureaucrats? Here are just a few examples of the council
officers themselves arbitrarily squandering your money:
- A job as a ‘Family Intervention Project Keyworker’ at Southwark council
earning £27,000 a year to, and I quote, “intensively support
families at risk of losing their housing tenancies through anti-social
behaviour”. It’s my understanding that councils are meant to evict problem
families, not support them. It’s as if Southwark council’s left hand doesn’t
know what its far-left hand is doing!
- At Moray council you can apply to be a ‘Street Football Coordinator’,
earning £20,000 a year. Who ever needed a local government
officer to set up jumpers for goalposts?
- Braintree Council – a Conservative council – used your money to advertise
for a climate change officer by taking out a blank advert just to show how
green they are.
These officers are free to manipulate the system and squander our money and
councillors are either complicit or powerless to stop it. The structure of
big government itself, with its monolithic bureaucratic army, taking billions
more every year in tax, is bound to end up throwing your money on the bonfire.
- Thurrock Council resolved this year to trim down their health and safety
department. This angered the politically correct Chief Executive who
commissioned her own report which found the health and safety department
needed four more members of staff, costing taxpayers almost
£200,000 in total.
- This next example really is madness in local government. The Chief
Executive of Suffolk County Council recently took 400 council staff on a
course for psychological testing, costing taxpayers £400,000.
It would be funny but Suffolk’s taxpayers are paying their chief executive
almost a quarter of a million pounds for the privilege to have her waste their
But the political class doesn’t like criticism. In the EU, as Marta
Andreasen’s experience testifies, if you speak out on waste, if you oppose the
EU’s line of ever-closer union or stand up to the fraud, the full force of the
bureaucracy comes down on you like a ton of bricks. We’ve got them rattled.
They’ve hidden behind their desks for too long. They’ve been remote from the
people for too long. Now is time to turf them out and see that we keep more
of our taxes over here in taxpayers’ pockets rather than in the EU coffers.
And in Westminster, our very own parliament, just look back to a few months
ago and recall how difficult it was for MPs expenses to become open and
transparent to the public.
Remember the hundreds of thousands of pounds Michael Martin took straight from
the taxpayer’s pocket to prevent the public knowing where their MPs were
spending public funds.
Government has spiralled out of control. It tops off years of stealth taxes
by doubling the income tax rate on Britain’s lowest paid.
We say the lowest paid should be taken out of income tax altogether.
We want to raise the personal threshold. We want to simplify the system,
turning the complex, iniquitous tax system into a lower, flat tax bill you can
fill out on the back of an envelope. If the TPA get their way, it won’t be
taxpayers’ money thrown on the bonfire, it’ll be Gordon Brown’s 10,000 pages
of tax code.
Big government poses one of the greatest challenges to our liberty and
freedom. It feeds dependency. It wants monopoly. It craves control. There
have been times in our darkest hours when free-marketeers have been the few
fighting the elite consensus of big government.
But through it all we have fought for lower taxes because they guarantee
freedom. We have fought to take power away from the politicians and give
individuals, families and society more control over public services. We have
fought EU waste, their laws and their regulations and we will never give up
exposing it as an unnecessary burden on this country.
Whatever the difficulties and whatever talking heads may say otherwise, we
must fight and we will continue the fight if not for all the reasons I’ve
spelled out here today, then for this one noble truth spoken by Ronald Reagan:
“Freedom, ladies and gentlemen, is never more than one generation away
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. If you ever feel nervous before giving
a speech like this there are potentially two ways of making yourself more
nervous. One is coming after a cracking speech like Tim’s there and the second
is knowing that if any of your facts are wrong, Helen’s incredible memory of
the EU is going to point you out.
Before I start I’m just going to ask you to do a couple of
things, which I’m sure most of the audience are doing already. That is when we
consider the current economic situation we do need to just distance ourselves
from two factors: one the excuses made by the politicians and some of the
bankers as well for why we’re in this position and the second is, the
particular situation of the UK where we do have a particularly poor Government
at managing our finances.
Now what I’m going to cover is effectively where is the economic crisis, what
caused it, how the EU is responding and whether that’s correct and finally
perhaps what we really should be doing. And I will be covering obviously a few
tax points on the way.
We can’t escape the fact that the economic crisis is partly caused by bankers
simply lending too much money at too low interest rates to too many people and
borrowing short term to lend long term. That’s just bad financial management
in a bank and some of these banks have frankly only got their Chief Execs to
blame. But we do have to look at where this crisis was because there are a lot
of people putting a lot of focus on the US. But let’s cast our minds back a
few months ago, Angela Merkel, Gordon Brown would say, this is a US crisis
that’s causing a downturn, a few months on they’re now telling us it’s a
Well I think we should look at just where this crisis is based. Now up there
we have a chart of the Government bail outs which have been put down to save
the banks and yes the US is the biggest one, but the next few are all the EU
and I thought it would be a good idea to measure the US bail out against that
for the EU against that for the rest of the world. And as you can see, the
bail outs in the EU are far bigger than everywhere else. This is a crisis that
is particularly focused within the European Union; the European Union is not
in a good shape for this particular point.
So what has caused this? Well first off we have to look at the role of the
European Central Bank. The European Central Bank is an undemocratic bank, it’s
not particularly responsible to anyone, indeed this year when the European
Finance leaders met to discuss the Euro and finance policy that was the first
time in nine years they’ve actually met to discuss that, which is quite
incredible when you consider all the meetings they had on the Lisbon Treaty.
Now here we compare the US Federal Reserve Bank against the
European Central Bank to see how they reacted to financial crisis. The chart
starts on the left when the credit crunch began in September 07 and you can
see the darker line is the US Federal Reserve Bank cutting interest rates as
everyone suggested trying to keep the economy afloat. If you look at how the
European Central Bank has reacted, it actually put interest rates up as
recently as three or four months ago. It is a bizarre institution that has its
own particular targets and doesn’t react to the general economy.
We shouldn’t forget the role of the Euro as well in the current situation
we’re in. For a start, the high interest rate is having a damaging effect on a
lot of places, the Euro is overvalued and it means the export economies of the
EU are particularly struggling and secondly, as we all knew, it’s a one size
fits no one approach. How can you have one set of interest rates for the
high-growth economies in the Euro such as Ireland and Spain and for the slow
sluggish ones like Germany and Italy?
Let’s consider the country that is effectively my second home at present and
that’s Ireland. Ireland obviously is a member of the Euro but in recent years
it’s had very spectacular economic growth. It has low tax to GDP ratio, it has
a low corporate tax rate and its Government has saved money ten out of the
last 11 years. It has a well-educated workforce, a strong financial sector and
yet it’s heading into recession and we have to ask ourselves why that is. And
part of that is because at the moment it’s export-driven and its goods just
cost too much to export because of the value of the Euro and it’s got no
control over its interest rates. The ECB meant it had rates too low a few
years ago and now it’s got rates too high.
I could say that same about Estonia, Estonia is not in the Euro but it has
pegged its currency to the Euro and it’s gone from double digit growth to
actually being in a recession despite the fact it has a Government that has no
debt. Compare this though to Sweden, not as strong an economy probably as
Ireland, but because Sweden has a floating exchange rate, although it has an
economic downturn it looks like it will miss actually going into recession
like a lot of Europe.
Now we have to ask ourselves, you’re Ireland, how do you get out of this
crisis. Its very similar to the UK in the early 90s, we had a period of good
Government and then it gets screwed up by European Union exchange rate
mechanisms. The trouble is for Ireland, where is its ‘white Wednesday’, it
can’t just come out of the Euro, there is no practical way to just come out
tomorrow like we did in September 1992. Not only that, the Euro rules mean
that Ireland, which has fixed the roof whilst the sun was shining in terms of
its Government expenditure as George Osborne would say, now actually can’t use
some of that surplus because of the Euro rules and therefore not only is it
facing the problems of reducing public expenditure and higher unemployment but
its Government has to tax its people even more just at a time when they don’t
And we shouldn’t forget in all this, because people are already making the
case that we should be in the Euro, that the UK is still a high-export
economy. If we had the high exchange rates of the Euro then we would actually
be in an even worse position than we are at present.
Now I’ll come to the regulatory issues later because they’re very important in
this financial crisis and it’s an area where the EU is particularly
duplicitous. But we have to consider the issues other than sort of the
immediate banking ones in this economic crisis, we have to look at the fact
that the EU economies are not as strong as they should be and if they were
stronger they’d be able to withstand these sudden shocks a lot better.
Now this table here shows the average GDP growth of the major regions of the
world between 2000 and 2007 and you will see that the area with the smallest
growth on the far right hand side is the Euro area. And you remember when we
were all told sort of like ten years ago if we weren’t members of the Euro
we’d suffer economically, well it doesn’t look like it from this chart. But
there’s one other particular column I want to point out to you and it’s this
one, the other advanced economies. The reason why is we were told many times
that if we were not members of the European Union that it would be
economically disastrous for the UK. Where if we weren’t members of the
European Union like Australia, like Switzerland, like New Zealand we would be
in that column. As you can see they’re managing to produce economic growth
1.5% a year higher than the EU. This suggests to me that there must be some
cost for European membership.
Its not the only factor in the growth regions here, there is quite a strong
correlation between how much these countries tax people and how fast their
economies grow, e.g. the flat tax countries on the left hand side are doing
very well that is a pretty key factor.
Now one issue which Tim didn’t cover in a pretty comprehensive run through of
Government waste is something called ‘missing trader inter-community’ fraud.
Now what this is is a VAT scam where effectively people criminally defraud
Governments in the European Union. Now according to László Kovács, who is the
EU Commissioner for taxation, this is costing the European Union up to
£250 billion a year. That was his figure quoted in July this
year. Now if we think that £250 billion is probably what the
GDP of somewhere like Denmark and you can probably chuck in Malta and Cyprus
in there as well, that is an absolutely ridiculous amount of activity.
Now you would have thought if you are the Commissioner for taxation and it
comes from VAT, which is the EU tax that would be your prime objective to try
and close that down, that £250 billion. But no, his prime
objective is the common consolidated corporate tax base, even though it’s
impractical, even though it won’t ever be enacted, he’d rather focus on that
than create massive savings. I mean we are talking something like £15
billion sterling a year in the UK.
Germany even came up with some solutions to change its own VAT rules to try
and prevent missing trader fraud. A very sensible thing for Germany to do and
quite an unusual instance of sense in the current German Government in my
view, but the EU actually blocked it because they thought the measures would
affect the single market because basically the Germans were going against the
common harmonisation basis. A classic case, the Germans had a very good
pragmatic policy and something that needed addressing and the European Union
overruled it because of their own dogma.
One area we need to consider, particularly because all political parties seem
to favour it at the moment in the UK is the area of free trade. What is this?
Well for example if you have tariffs, tariffs are taxes. If exporters from
outside the EU try and export into the UK, basically they get charged a levy
and the consumer effectively picks that up in a higher bill. Not only that but
UK businesses exporting overseas pick up tariffs on the way in.
Now it’s hard to test how solid the UK politicians are in favour of free trade
because after all they’ve surrendered the rights to negotiate trade to the
European Union. But we can consider what we could have done had we not been
members of the European Union and we can look at the other English-speaking
nations who are pro-free trade and see what they’ve done in the last few
The best ones to look at are the USA and Australia and you can see they have
not stood still. Whilst the EU as per its own website, believes in ‘building
markets not opening markets’, the US and Australia have gone ahead and tried
to open as many markets as possible. Look at the spread of countries that are
up there, they’ve got places in Central America, South America, Africa, the
Far East, and Korea. Look at the Australians; this year with the Asian pact,
they agree a free trade area of 570 million people. That’s a whopping
opportunity the UK has to forgo because it’s a member of the European Union,
it can’t enter into these free trade agreements.
And I’ll give you one aside as well, those US free trade agreements, other
than with Canada, Mexico and Israel have all been agreed by the current George
W. Bush Administration. So when the chattering classes of the UK tell me that
Bush has destroyed America’s reputation around the world, lets remember that
he’s enabled countries, businesses from all over the world to enter into the
US without tariffs and build their economies based on US demand, he’s creating
long economic ties that ultimately are going to benefit the US and those
countries for many years to come.
Time I think to address the EU strategy for getting out of the financial
crisis. And its first strategy seems to be to have more of what it calls
global cooperation. This is bizarre I think because look at the examples of
global cooperation in recent years: One, the European Union, as I’ve already
shown, doesn’t have a great record. Two, the World Trade Organisation has not
achieved anything broadly in the last decade; in fact you can see Australia
and the US do a lot better by going alone.
The United Nations doesn’t really achieve anything as far as I can see. I know
it’s a very contentious point but I would say NATO means nothing to the UK if
it didn’t have America in it, it would just be a worthless treaty. But still
the EU leaders decide its got to be done in global talking shops and when it
comes to Government waste, can you imagine a bigger waste of money than last
week’s G20 summit. What did that achieve? It didn’t even achieve for the
leaders their key objective it seemed to me of getting a photo taken with a
smiley bloke from Chicago. Then I thought, yeah I can actually imagine a
bigger waste than last week’s G20 summit, it will be April’s G20 summit, which
the UK taxpayer will have to pick up the tab for.
I now wish to address the issue of regulation. The European Union in its
strategy makes it very clear that it believes the current financial crisis was
caused by a complete lack of regulation in the banking market caused also they
say by a lack of multinational bodies to look after regulation. The EU’s
attitude here is frankly very devious and it’s pretty much absolute downright
lying. Not least, who’s responsible for financial regulation across the
European Union? It’s the European Union; the European Union sets the rules
that regulate banks. People like the FSA simply implement those rules; it’s a
qualified majority voting matter.
Not only that – I don’t want you to look too hard at this chart because
obviously it’s a bit too much – this comes from the German regulator, the
German version of the FSA’s annual report and its them actually boasting about
the sheer amount of international cooperation there is on financial
regulation, you know there’s probably a good 20 bodies on that diagram, its
not a truth that there’s not enough multinational regulation, if anything that
looks like too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.
The EU will make out that the lack of regulation has caused the financial
crisis. I can think of at least two instances where regulation has effectively
enhanced, exacerbated the financial crisis. The European Union has rules for
marketing bonds in banks and what’s happened? Well the value of these bonds
has dropped in the market. However, most banks expect them to be fully repaid
over time, both interest and capital. However, what happens in a downturn
under these rules is that the banks have to sell these bonds. Now if you sell
an asset in a bear market and you sell it in high quantities, one, you don’t
get much for it, but two, you actually push the market further down so other
banks then get into the problem. Not only that, you have to go from a bond to
a safer asset and the only other asset is cash and that’s fixed. You actually
forgo the opportunity of picking all the upside up when the economy recovers
and those bonds retreat to their existing value.
The European Union has finally corrected that a year after the credit crunch,
but lets not forget this wasn’t the first time its seen this. The same thing
happened in insurance markets with equities in the UK in 2003. The EU is not a
good regulator at responding. The current strategy looks at changes to
regulation in 2012 because obviously they want them to be all across the EU,
they don’t want any local regulator adopting their own sensible rules in the
interim. Yet the market has already responded, already you get banks being
measured by their loan to deposit ratio far more than they were. Already we
know individuals, when they deposit money, look far, far closer than they did
a year ago at how safe that bank is.
It doesn’t just stop there. The EU says there aren’t enough regulators across
the European Union. I find that very strange because I went to the FSA’s
website and they have 2,600 employees in the UK, not only that, they are paid
£55,000 each on average, which is double the average salary
in the UK. They say there are not enough regulations, there’s an 8,000 page
handbook that the FSA uses to regulate. If 8,000 pages is not enough
regulation then what is?
Germany is similar, it has 1,700 people employed at BaFin and that’s before we
get to all the people industry now has to employ to meet these regulatory
rules and all the other regulators like the Bank of England, the pension
regulator, you know there’s numerous examples of them.
Another area where the EU’s response is wrong is it says it must regulate as
part of its core strategy private equity, but why? One, its private, two,
There’s no indication that private equity has actually caused this financial
crisis and three, financial equity put its money in where it gets the best
return, if you regulate it more its returns will frankly go down and hence it
will just take the money elsewhere.
The EU wants to reduce the amount of money that bankers can be paid. The
problem with this is with the best bankers, which is a pretty fluid market; if
you reduce how much they get paid or can get paid they will do one of three
things. They will either a) stop working because what’s the point, you’re not
going to get a bonus, b) they will move to another territory, Hong Kong,
Singapore, Shanghai these days, New York, Zurich there’s many examples or c)
they’ll just go independent and form their own advisors. The Government is
also forgetting that when a banker gets a bonus of say
£100,000 before he even spends a penny of it that
£54,000 gets paid in tax, that’s tax that saves the rest of
us potentially quite a lot of money.
The EU doesn’t want banks to fail, but effectively all its doing there is
subsidising people who take unwarranted risks and bad financial management and
you know penalising people who are prudent. It’s actually taking away the role
of individuals and markets and actually having to consider where they put
their money, where’s safe and effectively creating regulation that way.
And perhaps most curious of all in the EU’s attitude to all this, it wants to
ban banks paying dividends. Now given that banks don’t have enough share
capital according to the EU at the moment, how do they expect to get more
people to invest in shares when they can’t get a dividend on those shares is
beyond me, it just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
If you add all these things up, what does it tell you about the European
Union? I think it tells you that they think that they can simply dictate from
above economic growth, that they simply make rules and growth will happen.
They don’t seem to have considered that growth doesn’t come from Governments,
growth comes from individuals and businesses bringing new ideas to the field,
working hard and it doesn’t seen to consider that it has to create a situation
where that exists, it can’t do it by simply telling people what they can’t do.
And it doesn’t stop it spending our own money. Within their own strategy it
asks for £350 billion to be accelerated in payments on the
EU’s financial envelope 2007-13 cohesion policy. Now I’m quite unsure as to
what a financial envelope actually is, but one that costs £350
billion sounds pretty expensive and could be returned to the rest of
Similarly it mentions altering the effectiveness of Globalisation Adjustment
Fund. Maybe a better idea might be to scrap the Globalisation Adjustment Fund,
give the money back to taxpayers who could spend the money better themselves.
So all told, what should the response be to the financial crisis? Well first
the economies who are out of sync with the Euro but are in the Euro need to
get out, that’s pretty key. They need to have their ‘white Wednesday’ moment
and that moment can’t come too soon for places like Ireland and Spain.
Secondly, the European Union needs to get over its allergy to free trade and
actually start doing free trade agreements with the rest of the world. Now can
anyone see this happening, I don’t think so, but until it does and realises
it’s an increasingly smaller part of the world, as I’ve shown with its
reducing growth, it’s going to keep being very inward.
It needs to cut down its own expenditure, it doesn’t need to spend money on
big Government projects for which, as far as I’m aware, there’s no market
demand. It needs to cut taxes. In this chart here the bright blue column is
basically the corporate tax rate between 2000 and 2006 in the Member States
concerned and basically at the far end Germany has the highest and it goes
down towards the right. The darker column is the economic growth of those
countries over that period and we can quite clearly see that low corporate tax
rates result in very substantial growth.
The time has come for Europe to get over its high-tax GDP theories and start
cutting taxes and introducing flatter, lower taxes because as we can see, they
clearly work and work big time.
So what would I summarise this reaction to be? Well it seems to be there’s an
awful lot of things here where the European Union gets in the way of economic
growth and there’s not really a great deal the European Union gives us. Surely
for the UK to be able to manage its long-term prosperity there is simply only
one solution and that solution ladies and gentlemen is to withdraw from the
European Union, to get control of our free trade and to reduce the public
expenditure on the EU. Robert and I estimated it costs us so much tax we could
reduce the basic rate of income tax by about 6p a year if we were not members
of the EU. It is the time to engage in a serious policy of EU withdrawal.
Click here to view Guy's
power point presentation
Ladies and gentlemen, what I’m going to talk to you about today is
something that withdrawing from the EU will not make a difference to. It is
something that the EU is used for and I will explain about that towards the
end of my talk. The EU is used as an excuse but this is a home grown
20 years ago in 1988, a young firebrand wrote a book quite
deliberately echoing a report that had been written in 1968. You will have
heard of the first report, the report was called In Place of Strife.
The young firebrand was attacking Margaret Thatcher’s Government and so he
wrote a book called In Place of Greed. He didn’t like Mrs Thatcher
very much. And in a broad-based attack by this young academic there was a
chapter in particular, which I recommend to your attention, on the decline of
civil liberties under the Thatcher regime, as no doubt he would have put it.
The writer was astonished to note that during the miner’s strike there has
been up to 40,000 telephones tapped. He was appalled by the new suggestions,
which were never carried out, for a football supporters’ identity card. He was
outraged to note that there was no such thing as privacy in this country,
there was no right to privacy and that the proposals for the Poll Tax would
enable and require Councils to collect information from the DWP on people’s
whereabouts and who they were living with. This was outrageous intrusion into
the lives of the citizen.
The young writer’s name will be known to you, it was Gordon Brown.
Now Gordon Brown is presiding over an administration and was a principal part
of the earlier administration of Tony Blair, which has introduced the most
massive intrusions into the lives of the citizens that we have ever seen in
this country and the most massive intrusions into the lives of citizens that
we are ever likely to see in this country. It has been astonishingly rapid in
its growth. What NO2ID calls the database state has already been alluded to
today already by Tim. He spoke about what is called the Modernisation of
Currently in 2007 there are not 40,000 phones tapped but 500,000 requests for
interception of communications data made every year. And they are made not
just by the Police investigating serious crime but they are indeed made by
local authorities, they could be made by the Financial Services Authority,
they could be made by the Post Office.
This goes back to a piece of legislation called the Regulation of
Investigatory Powers Act, which looking back at it, was one of the very first
of the database state regulations. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
provides for the information about who’ve you’ve called, who you’ve written to
on the email and the duration of your calls to be collected and collated and
information about the networks that you live in built up. That’s still a
growing area and the identity card, which we hear so much about, is a core
element of what we call the database state.
It’s not a card, it may look like a card, but the centre of the National
Identity Scheme is in fact yet another database. In fact it’s a National
Register, now a National Register is not a new idea, the National Register is
an idea that’s been around since the very earliest days of the 20th century
and its been tried twice, once in 1915, which was a failure and once in 1940
as part of the war effort, which was from an administration point of view,
regarded as a success and it actually survived, many of you will recall, for
more years in peace time than it did in war time because it was terrifically
useful to bureaucrats. And that’s essentially the nature of what we call the
We’re talking about 19th or early 20th idea of managing the citizen, enabled
by the magic of computers. So we not only have the National Identity Register,
draft regulations for which were issued yesterday, you may not have heard
about that, 100 pages or so listing the sort of information that you will have
to provide on your application for your identity card and that information
that you will have to keep up to date in official records thereafter for the
rest of your life. Information not just showing your name, date of birth,
entitlement to remain in the country, but where you live, the number of all
your official documents, your national security number, your tax references,
your driving licence number and the details of every occasion on which the
card or at least the database is used to verify your identity so building up a
very large picture about you already. That’s just one database state idea, but
it is the most prominent and it is the one that is designed to tie the others
Now it may sound like a conspiracy theory, it’s really not, it’s not a
conspiracy because it’s not secret and it’s not a theory because there are
many, many public documents outlining all these various databases, many of
which are already in operation. You may have heard of the National Health
Service database, Connecting for Health. That's another vast scheme. Money
spent so for approximately £30 billion. That’s a plan which is not actually in
operation yet, there is £30 billion of setting up gone on so far to make
electronic all the medical records of everybody in the country. These will be
shared for clinical purposes but they will also be shared for bureaucratic
purposes. I think at last count there were 31 Department of Health
bureaucracies that wanted to have direct access to your medical records in
order to manage the Health Service more efficiently, nothing necessarily to do
with your medical care.
There are also plenty of databases in the Department of Education or as it now
is, Department for Children’s Schools and Families. The most grievous of which
you may have heard of is called Contact Point. Contact Point is a database
which will, unlike identity management system which follows you from 16 in
theory, the Contact Point database is designed to follow every child in the
country from birth and to maintain a record, which will be available to
anybody involved in any form of child protection function. The latest estimate
of the number of people who will have access to those details is one million
people up from 300,000 estimated a year ago. One million people in the
country, one million bureaucrats, Police Officers, officials in the DSCF and
officials in local authorities, teachers and members of four nominated private
charities, who also have powers over the database. It will contain information
about every child in the country, where they go to school, who cares for them
and any flags for vulnerabilities that they may have about them. This is
generally regarded by child protection experts as potentially dangerous but
nobody is listening to them because databases are a fashion in Government.
There are already several databases on which your children or perhaps your
grandchildren will be listed without Contact Point being in existence. There’s
something called Connexions. Connexions is a scheme that was set up by the
Learning and Skills Act 1998 I think, which is essentially an electronic
careers service, but it is maintained in partnership with private
organisations that use it for marketing purposes and your child or your
grandchild can be included on that database, which contains details of all
their interests, all their hobbies, all their school works and topics from the
age of 13, very often without your consent or knowledge. It’s building up all
over, there are schemes running nationwide.
Here’s a classic database state scheme and this is a very interesting database
state scheme, this one, the Scottish National Entitlement Card emerged as a
plan two weeks after the Scottish Parliament had decided that it would have
nothing to do with the National Identity Register for devolved services. The
then Scottish Executive, which now calls itself the Scottish Government,
decided that it would use a separate database and a separate set of smart
cards to run devolved services on a centralised Scottish database, which is
now functioning because, as John Welford, who if you happen to have internet
access you can look up. He’s produced a very interesting website about the
system. John Welford is the Edinburgh coordinator of NO2ID and a retired
University of Edinburgh academic.
John Welford has pointed out how this scheme has essentially been sneaked in.
It’s a bus pass, that's how it’s being provided to the unemployed and the
elderly of Scotland. As a replacement for your former free bus pass you now
have a Scottish National Entitlement Card, which does function as a bus pass
but it also does some other things.
This very clever thing is not my slide. This is from the official presentation
that was given to the Scottish Government in March 2007 by the people
constructing the Scottish National Entitlement Card. You see actually what the
card is is just like the National Identity Card that we’re being proffered by
Jackie Smith at the moment, it’s the key to a database containing lots and
lots of very, very useful information about people: personal data, address
data, cross-indexes for other systems and a basket of services: local
authority, council tax, roads, lighting, NHS, Government gateway, DVLA, HMRC.
The glorious idea of the database state you see is that everything will be
linked up. All the information will be neatly packaged together and your file
will be accessible at all times so that you life can be better run for you.
And of course it is a fantastic excuse for gigantic Government. In fact at the
moment it is the principal way in which big Government is getting bigger.
That’s because every department is essentially being encouraged to join in.
There is a programme being run by the Cabinet Office called Transformational
Government Enabled by Technology.
That’s also the name of a marvellous document containing a lot of jargon,
which sets out in quite a lot of detail, although in impenetrable language,
how joined up Government is to be joined up and the central spine of it all is
the jolly old ID Card. Because if you have one number that is linked to you,
that can be centrally used as a cross-reference, then in theory all the files
will match, in practice, anybody who has had anything to do with databases,
run a mail order system, run a small mailing list, knows that in practice the
files never match.
So that’s really it in a nutshell. The database state is designed to run your
life. Its designed to get ever more detail about how you live into the hands
of officials and therefore its designed to screw things up on a Titanic scale
and to cause more frustration, more distress, more scope for criminality, for
threats, for abuse of one sort of another than any previous system of
Transformational Government Enabled by Technology indeed, but we believe that
it will exacerbate all the faults of big Government and it shows itself very
much as a law and order driven system coming out of the Home Office, very much
connected with the idea of surveying the citizen, of making sure the citizen
is behaving himself and reversing essentially the relationship between the
citizen and the state. No longer under transformational Government under the
database state are you a discreet individual who interacts with different bits
of Government and different officialdoms as you need to, as you see fit, in
accordance with your sovereign right as an individual to do so or to not, you
have essentially become your file, you’re under examination all the time in
the database state, which brings us back to the Interception of Communications
I haven’t got time to tell you the story of that because I’ve gone on far too
long, but Jackie Smith has just launched a consultation document on the
Modernisation of Interception Programme, the Electronic Communications Data
Bill was due to be in the Queen’s speech and it now wont be. But look out for
that but don’t look out for it very hard because actually all the hard work
has already been done. It was done by persuading the European Commission to
come forward with a directive called the Retention of Communications Data
Directive, which has already this summer been enacted by statutory instrument.
That’s a long story, but it’s a very salutary example of how a lot of this
stuff is happening without us noticing. You need to keep your eyes open and to
that extent you should get in touch with NO2ID.
We have a fortnightly newsletter that’s available by email and to those who
are paying by post, because I’m afraid we can’t afford to send it free to
people who are not members. But that will keep you up to date with
developments in the database state and I very much hope that you will take
notice because this is the fight of the 21st century for civil liberties. If
we lose this one we are all under that microscope forever.