Archive for the ‘Welcome’ Category

Disability & Inclusion – Conservative Policy Forum Submission (BCiP)

dimanche, janvier 6th, 2019
Name of Constituency: Conservatives Abroad
Name of CPF Group: British Conservatives in Paris (BCiP)
Name of CPF Coordinator: Paul Thomson
Email address: Paul.thomson@saint-gobain.com
Number of attendees: Aged <25 25-39 40-65 >65
Members: 1 3 (+ 1 who sent in comments)
Non-members: 1 (+ 1 who sent in comments)
Date of meeting: 18th December 2018
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1.    Housing: How might we better build homes and buildings that everyone can access and use, so as to build a society in which all can participate fully?  –  (i) For both social and private housing projects a minimum percentage for disabilities-friendly units should be imposed by law.   (ii) Already used measures for assisting the disabled should be expanded as much as reasonably possible eg (a) automatic/push buttons doors, (b) installation of escalators or lifts, (c) providing sufficiently wide corridors, WC’s etc so that those in wheelchairs or otherwise encumbered (eg with crutches) can nevertheless move about.   (iii) Explore the use of robots to facilitate life for the disabled mainly at home but also in the workplace & in public spaces.   (iv) The potential for public private partnerships should be explored and (with suitable safeguards) realised.  (a) There have been successful examples in the UK eg Civitas.  (b) In France the housing sector for elderly people not able to look after themselves has been usefully expanded by recourse to privately funded entities working within the framework of public standards (including enforcement mechanisms).  (c) The trend toward increasing focus by (large) private companies on “corporate social responsibility” could no doubt be tapped by encouraging companies to contribute to more disabled-friendly buildings (special financial incentives?  Bestowing of a flattering public label expressing recognition of “good works”?).  (d) Resort to specialised services companies may also allow innovative solutions to particular needs to be achieved.  In France this is a sector – in particular in relation to services provided in a hospital setting – which is undergoing a spectacular degree of development, notably through services accessible online but allowing tailoring of what is actually carried out to meet users’ specific needs/wishes.   (v) For those already housed but having developed a disability post-moving in the provision of financial support for making necessary adjustments to the home environment – may result in the person being able to continue to carry on a relatively normal existence in society where, without such support, he/she would not be able to do so (or not without being a greater burden on public services in other ways).

 

2.    Transport: How might we better adapt our transport systems so as to offer people with disabilities the same access to transport as everyone else?  –  (i) Expand use of special markers to guide the disabled.   (ii) Avoid steps in trains & buses.   (iii) Encourage the provision of services in trains (insofar as not already available) to alleviate the difficulties of those with mobility problems.   (iv) So far as reasonably possible provide lifts & escalators in train & bus stations – & indicate on corresponding maps which stations provide ease of access for those with mobility limitations.   (v) More broadly:  include in the government’s “Transport Strategy” regulations for disabled passengers to facilitate access to & egress from taxis, buses, trams, trains & air transport systems.   (vi) Take measures to avoid blockages on pavements (eg rubbish bins) which can create major problems for those moving about by wheel chair (eg if the pavement is not wide enough to avoid the obstacles without going onto the roadway).  Perhaps introduce fines to discourage a-social behaviour in this area?   (vii) Ensure ongoing recognition of disability badges issued by other EU member states – even after Brexit & even if no specific agreement on reciprocity on the subject is achieved between the UK & EU27 or other member states individually.

 

3.    Health: How might we more effectively reduce the health gap experienced by people with a learning disability, mental health conditions or autism, so as to help everyone to live full, healthy and independent lives?  –  (i) Supply training programmes to favour the employability of the disabled.   (ii) Provide/facilitate regular medical and/or psychological surveillance of those in need in order to avoid a gradual (or abrupt) disengagement from society.   (iii) Foster a culture of respect for those with disabilities – underlining the shared humanity of us all; and the importance to all of us of our vital needs being given due consideration by society.   (iv) Expand the Health Charter to include health care providers to those with learning disabilities, mental health conditions or autism.

 

4.    Employment: How might we work more effectively with employers and people with health conditions so as to help as many as possible to get into and stay in employment?  –  (i) Require employers with above a given threshold of employees to employ a minimum percentage of disabled persons or to contribute to one of a designated set of programmes favouring the inclusion in the work force of the disabled.   (ii) Grant financial support to employers (where appropriate) to assist in the recruiting & training & retention of disabled persons.   (iii) Develop sophisticated but pedagogically effective on-line & obligatory training models for (a) HR personnel, (b) non-disabled (future) fellow employees & (c) the disabled – to provide a guide to the integration of the disabled in the work place:  akin to what is presently done in the field of compliance in large organisations.   (iv) Determine with employers the special needs of specific groups eg (a) ex-servicemen (cf PTSD), (b) ex-prisoners etc.

 

5.    Participation in Society: How might we better support candidates with disabilities to stand for public office, so that those elected better reflect the diversity of society?  –  (i) Supply public assistance eg for transport for candidates with disabilities (ie so it would not have to come out of the campaign budget).   (ii) Create a very low minimum required number of representatives of disabled persons – to habituate the general public to the idea that being handicapped is not necessarily incompatible with assuming public responsibilities.   (iii) Avoid too “macho” a political culture – though this is not intended to suggest that robust debate & rhetoric should be discouraged.  Gestures suggesting physical contact should be proscribed (if this is not already the case).   (iv) Opinion “elevation” campaigns could be carried out to promote the idea that the public realm is one in which, to be sure there is a healthy competition for voter support – but which also should by definition be open to all:  we should all look at our fellow members of the body politic & of society with a heightened sensitivity for our common humanity & our shared interest in making work the society & institutions of the UK.   (v) Those interested in politics & possibly standing for office should be encouraged to join the Conservative Parties (or even other parties if they must!) & should be given canvassing support initially at the local council level & then at the national level – in appropriate cases, but these should be sought out – to achieve a demonstration that persons with handicaps can contribute to society also in politics (cf eg Robert Halpen MP; or indeed, to look abroad, Wolfgang Schäuble – longtime Finance Minister for Germany & today President of Germany’s lower chamber of parliament (Bundestag) & one of the most senior & most highly respected politicians in the land – notwithstanding being confined to wheelchair since the 1990s.

 

6.    Culture Change: How might we all deliver further positive change for people with disabilities, so that society does not miss out on the contribution of any person?  –  (i) Role models in public media (news/weather presenter) can be helpful:  there have been positive examples in the British media including the BBC.   (ii) See § 5(iv) above.   (iii) Honouring the disabled in a convincing/effective way ie designed to attract public attention & sympathy is worthwhile:  eg the Invictus Games.   (iv) As a complement to § (iii):  avoid going “over the top” ie making exaggerated or non-credible affirmations/claims.   (v) The Transforming Care programme at local community level & aimed at improving health outcomes and quality of life for those with a learning disability and/or autism could be promoted by:  (a) giving it more exposure in the media, (b) being expanded, (c) organising the sharing of experiences among/across local communities & (d) supporting the police in their dealings with those presenting “challenging behaviour”.

 

7. Is there any other question you think should have been asked or observation you would like to make?  –  (i) The Government (& the Conservative Party) should communicate much more about all that has been done in this area – which is absolutely considerable (cf Brief).  It is wrong that we should be perceived as unfeeling etc when on the contrary so much has been undertaken – in a serious, hands-on, long-term based fashion.  This represents a failure of communication, but also – and let us be positive – an opportunity to better inform the people of the UK & give them a fairer, and more uplifting, view of what the Conservative Party is.   (ii) As a corollary to the foregoing:  PR disasters such as the one deriving from the so-called “dementia tax” are best avoided.   (iii) The goal in the latest manifesto of getting one million more people with disabilities into employment (an increase of almost 30%) should not be kept under a barrel – and its greater social significance, namely of allowing all those people to be much more fully a part of society, should be clearly spelled out for the general public.   (iv) Special educational needs are a related topic.  Excellent results have been achieved in the education of children with Asperser’s syndrome over recent decades – allowing those concerned to limit considerable suffering & also to contribute in a material way to society (through the exceptional skills of the persons suffering from the same).  However, the provision of specialist help is considered by one of our participants as patchy – with greater concentration on this area being called for.

 

 

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Theresa May – Betrayal and Capitulation.

mardi, novembre 27th, 2018

BCiP member Evelyne Joslain in comparing the examples of  political giants such as Churchill or Thatcher, is not convinced by Prime Minister Theresa May’s « Brexit In Name Only » (BRINO) Withdrawal Agreement with the EU and proposes instead a « No-Deal » Brexit as the best solution going forward, despite the uncertainties of « several difficult months » to follow.

You can read her associated political analysis (in French) below.

MAY- TRAHISON ET CAPITULATION 25.XI.2018__ (6)

MADAME MACRON COMES OF AGE. A NEW MODEL FOR FRENCH WOMEN. FACT OR FICTION ?

mercredi, novembre 21st, 2018

Here’s a critical review (in English and French) by BCiP member Monique Riccardi-Cubitt of an article on Brigitte Macron published in the Economist 1843 magazine:

In the name of French women has  Brigitte Macron truly come of age ? Do French women really identify with the story and life example of the spoilt petite-bourgeoise provincial teacher without ethics, who should have been judged condemned for having seduced aged 39 an under-age  teenager in her care, and enslaved him emotionally making him totally dependent prey to her wiles, will and ambition ?  The sycophantic tone of the article does not do justice to the subject of a French President’s wife who has no sense of the duties her position entails, and at a critical time in the nation’s history, shows no interest whatsoever in French people and their plight.  She has the profile of a IT and Essex girl : an inveterate shopper addicted to luxury goods, to being photographed with showbiz personalities, dripping in diamonds to receive the French football team at the Élysée, going to a football match in Haute Couture gold lamé, gaily spending public funds at a time of dire austerity. French women have better judgement and ethics. They still have taste and understand true elegance where less is more, like the pared down austerity of Chanel’s little black dress adorned with fake pearls. Mademoiselle Chanel, one of the celebrated high priestesses of French taste and elegance, had at her death only three suits in her wardrobe, Chanel of course, made of the wonderfully sensuous Scottish tweed her lover the Duke of Westminster had made her discover. This is class, French taste at its best, that has influenced the rest of the world for decades. This is true elegance that comes from the heart and innate taste, and shows true consideration and courtesy in adopting the appropriate clothing and manners to the occasion, not showing-off in the vulgar bling-bling manner of the nouveaux riches. French women deserve better as a life model than this superficial, frivolous, ambitious  former 60’s kitten who has ‘come of age’ as a French President’s wife, fuelled on by her unquenchable desire for spending,  power and luxury.

 

L’article BRIGITTE MACRON, AGENT PROVOCATRICE de Sophie Pedder dans le Magazine 1843,  The Economist, October/November 2018,  est particulièrement superficiel et se contente de répéter les propos mensongers officiels de l’agence de communication des Macrons et d’une presse populaire servile achetée par l’Élysée. La journaliste de l’Economist semble appartenir à ce groupe. Elle a sans doute été courtisée par Emmanuel Macron, qui pour redorer son blason particulièrement terni et écorné ces derniers mois, met systématiquement en avant la popularité grandement exagérée de sa femme derrière laquelle il se protège, révélant en lui l’adolescent attardé. C’est le rôle auquel ils sont tous deux demeurés psychologiquement depuis le moment traumatique de la transgression dans la séduction encore enfant à 15 ans, et qu’ils perpétuent tous deux en une dépendance émotionnelle mutuelle dans laquelle Brigitte Macron domine, comme elle le faisait alors dans son rôle de professeur. Un homme mûr et équilibré de 40 ans n’insiste pas pour avoir son épouse à ses côtés en toutes circonstances officielles. Il n’a pas besoin de la présence maternelle réconfortante d’une nounou qui lui tient la main pour le calmer et le rassurer, il assume seul en homme, les exigences de la fonction à laquelle il a été élu. Les revendications et propos soit disant féministes de Brigitte Macron ne consistent qu’à justifier sa présence et son influence intrusives sur cet homme pathologiquement immature sur lequel elle a tout misé, et a propulsé à cette position. Il voulait écrire, il se serait alors trouvé.  Elle lui a dit, confia t-il durant la campagne présidentielle, Si tu deviens écrivain tu seras un gigolo…Une déclaration révélatrice d’un professeur de Français passionnée par les Belles Lettres mais encore plus par l’argent ! La seule ressemblance avec Simone de Beauvoir est que toutes deux étant professeurs ont séduit des élèves mineurs sous leur charge. Ce pourquoi Simone de Beauvoir fut licenciée par l’Éducation Nationale, mais pas Brigitte Macron qui grâce aux réseaux d’influence de son père fut exonérée. Bien que le fait qu’elle attendit sa mort pour divorcer et épouser Emmanuel Macron semble indiquer qu’elle aurait sans doute été déshéritée si elle l’avait fait avant. Cette comparaison douteuse mise en avant par Marlène Schiappa, Secrétaire d’État de l’Égalité Homme/ Femme, répétée par Sophie Pedder ne révèle que l’obséquiosité de la première, la manque de jugement et d’éthique professionnelle de la seconde, et l’ignorance des deux. Les Français ne se reconnaissent en rien dans ce couple malsain. L’article pourrait avoir été dicté par les services de communication présidentiels. Il présente la version officielle flatteuse et édulcorée de la saga Macron, sous le couvert superficiel d’un certain intellectualisme parisien totalement déconnecté de l’âme et de l’esprit du pays, sans souci réel ni d’investigation ni d’analyse de la véritable situation. Or loin d’être la figure populaire décrite par l’article, Brigitte Macron, son attitude, son rôle, sa personnalité dominatrice, ses goûts pour le luxe, ses dépenses dispendieuses ont fait l’objet de commentaires, de réactions indignées, de pétitions qui s’accumulent après chaque nouvel excès. Le dernier en date est la rénovation de la Salle des Fêtes du Palais de l’Élysée estimée à 500 000 euros.

PETITIONS DE THIERRY PAUL VALETTE, Fondateur du mouvement Égalité Nationale : https://www.egalitenationale.com

Contre le statut officiel de première Dame « Brigitte Macron »

Le 28 juillet 2017, 319 410 signatures

https://www.change.org/p/contre-le-statut-de-premi%C3%A8re-dame-%C3%A0-brigitte-macron

Victoire

6 sept. 2017 — Notre pétition est rentrée dans l’histoire , notre victoire également. Notre mobilisation a fait le tour du monde. La plupart des grands médias étrangers ayant relayé notre combat pour la démocratie. Du New York Times aux chaînes de télévision coréennes. Notre pétition à fait reculer le Président Emmanuel Macron. C’est un symbole fort adressé . Près de 320 000 signataires en peu de temps se sont mobilisés pour réaliser cet exploit. Ce fut le feuilleton politique et médiatique de l’été. Jamais une Pétition n’avait eu une telle ampleur médiatique et jamais un Président n’avait reculé aussi rapidement. Nous pouvons en être très fiers chers amis. Il n’y aura donc – aucun statut officiel de première pour Brigitte Macron -aucun budget dédié -aucune modification de la loi ou de la constitution En revanche une Charte de transparence est en place. Il s’agit comme je vous l’ai expliqué d’un autre combat, sur le fond, qui lui sera assez long. Nous le mènerons lui aussi le gagnerons. Chers signataires restons groupés.

Thierry Paul Valette

Contre la Charte de transparence de Brigitte Macron à 440 000 euros

Le 19 septembre 2017,   29 271 signatures

https://www.change.org/p/contre-la-charte-de-transparence-de-brigitte-macron-%C3%A0-440-000-euros-moins-d%C3%A9mocratique-que-la-rue

Nous avons élu à la tête de l’état un homme et non un couple. La fin de la monarchie et l’avènement de la république ont posé les limites de ces pratiques royales ancestrales.  À l’heure où nous devons faire des économies, payer des impôts de plus en plus élevés, être taxés de toute part, faire des sacrifices, en terminer avec les privilèges, il est inconcevable de maintenir en place une Charte de Transparence pour l’épouse du Président. Une  charte pour la modique somme de 440 000 euros, soit un des budgets les plus élevés pour une épouse de Président de la République.

En France, comme l’exige la Constitution on élit une personne et non un couple. Nous ne sommes plus sous l’Ancien Régime ou l’épouse d’un roi avait une fonction de fait publique voire politique. Avec l’avènement de la République l’idée de donner un statut politique à une épouse est devenue inenvisageable. Cela nous renverrait donc au passé monarchique de la France.

Le terme de « Première Dame » reste archaïque et ne rend nullement service à la cause féminine. En effet un rôle de par un statut parce que « femme de… » est un bond en arrière pour les combats gagnés jusqu’ici et de la condition de la femme en règle générale.

Non au rôle politique de Brigitte Macron.

Le 6 février 2018, 25 603 signatures

https://www.change.org/p/non-au-r%C3%B4le-politique-de-brigitte-macron

NON À UN QUELCONQUE RÔLE POLITIQUE DE BRIGITTE MACRON AU SEIN DU GOUVERNEMENT.

Madame Macron à MENTI aux Français. La création de la charte de transparence n’est qu’un prétexte, un moyen anti-démocratique pour l’épouse du chef de l’État afin d’obtenir un rôle politique sous le manteau. Cette Charte de transparence n’est donc par conséquent rien d’autre qu’un MENSONGE D’ÉTAT DE LA PART DE BRIGITTE MACRON .

Pour ce faire Emmanuel et Brigitte Macron ont refusé la concertation citoyenne proposée au moment de la première pétition . Ayant reçu une fin de non-recevoir nous continuons donc le combat…

L’annulation et le remboursement des 500 000 euros d’assiettes par les époux MACRON

Le 13 juin 2018, 38 565 signatures

https://www.change.org/p/l-annulation-et-le-remboursement-des-500-000-euros-d-assiettes-par-les-%C3%A9poux-macron

Depuis l’arrivée à l’Élysée du couple présidentiel, les factures deviennent salées !Des frais de maquillage en quelques semaines facturés plus de 25 000 euros, une Charte de Transparence de 400 000 euros pour Brigitte Macron pour remplir des fonctions illégitimes, et maintenant des assiettes à plus de 500 000  euros la facture !

Cette indécence se passe à l’heure où le Président Emmanuel Macron fustige les aides sociales : «qui coûtent un pognon de dingue»

Dans un contexte de moralisation de la vie politique et publique, dans un contexte de transparence, cette commande démesurée est tout simplement inacceptable !

Les Français sont sans cesse sollicités : augmentation des impôts, baisse des retraites, augmentation de la CSG etc…Nombre d’entre eux ne peuvent plus partir en vacances, doivent boucler des fins de mois compliquées et n’ont pas les moyens de changer leur vaisselle EUX…. On leur demande de participer à l’effort national, d’être patients, d’avoir confiance.

C’est dans ce contexte social que  le couple présidentiel s’offre le luxe et le privilège de changer la vaisselle. Les époux Macron devraient d’avantage se préoccuper des conditions INQUIÉTANTES des millions de français qui vivent en dessous du seuil de pauvreté plutôt que des assiettes dans lesquelles ils vont manger pendant 4 ans !

Dans une démocratie, le respect des règles de transparence est indispensable au bon fonctionnement des institutions. Nous sommes dans un contexte de moralisation de la vie politique et publique et à ce titre nous ne pouvons nous permettre la pratique d’ « étranges factures »

L’octroi par les établissements publics de subventions et de fonds public doit respecter des règles éthiques, morales et de droit.

Rappel : La France compte entre 5 et 8,9 millions de pauvres et le nombre de personnes concernées a augmenté de 600 000 en 10 ans. Dont 3 millions d’enfants sous le seuil de pauvreté…

L’Égalité Nationale a donc saisi la Cour des Compte à ce sujet pour demander des éclaircissements sur cette affaire révélée par le Canard Enchaîné… Plus que jamais il est nécessaire que la République française retrouve pleinement la haute dignité de fonctions…

. Le différentiel entre le montant annoncé et le montant révélé par le Canard Enchaîné est démesuré et soulève de facto de nombreuses questions…Il est temps d’en finir avec ces pratiques d’un « autre monde » : fournir gratuitement des biens et recevoir des fonds publics du même prestataire n’est pas neutre.D’autant que l’Élysée à bien pris soin de facturer via le Ministère de la Culture.

Cette affaire des assiettes est hautement symbolique puisqu’elle renforce l’existence d’une politique injuste de la part du gouvernement, une politique en faveur de plus favorisés, une politique qui ne tient pas compte de la difficulté morale et financière d’une grande partie de la population. Cette pétition fait donc échos à ce que représente la manière de faire du Président de la République…

BRIGITTE MACRON DOIT ÊTRE AUDITIONNÉE : PLAINTE DE THIERRY PAUL VALETTE, Fondateur de Égalité Nationale

Le 21 août 2018, 4 913 signatures

https://www.change.org/p/brigitte-macron-doit-%C3%AAtre-auditionn%C3%A9e-plainte-de-thierry-paul-valette

Emmanuel Macron qui a été « élu par effraction » dans un contexte de moralisation de la vie politique française aurait dû trancher en vertu du droit et non en vertu des intérêts personnels de son épouse. Les affaires de la vaisselle, de Benalla, de la piscine, du vélo à plus de 4000 euros etc… ne doivent pas occulter les pratiques illégitimes d’un cabinet illégitime au sein de l’Élysée au bénéfice de Brigitte Macron.

La place d’une ou d’une conjointe de président (e) doit être définitivement tranchée, et je n’accepte toujours pas cette hypocrisie inconstitutionnelle qui octroie des privilèges injustes et non démocratiques au nom d’une vielle pratique républicaine. Cette « charte » qui officialise le rôle de l’épouse d’Emmanuel Macron place de facto Brigitte Macron au coeur d’un trafic d’influence et de conflits d’intérêts.

Thierry Paul Valette

Brigitte Macron devait selon son mari avoir un rôle de Première Dame, qui lui permettrait de s’impliquer dans le domaine de l’éducation, de l’handicap, des droits des femmes, et de créer une fondation, ce qui justifiait selon lui son budget annuel de plus de 400.000 euros au frais de l’État. Son cabinet, clamant haut et fort son immense popularité et les milliers de lettres qui lui sont adressées, deux faits qui ne sont en rien prouvés mais participent de la désinformation de la communication présidentielle, avait annoncé son rôle officiel déclarant : ‘elle ne peut s’occuper seulement des nappes et des bouquets à l’Élysée’. Après un an de règne, il semble que toute l’activité notoire de Madame Macron, autre que d’apparaître aux côtés de son mari dans des fonctions officielles dans des toilettes Haute Couture, se résume à la vaisselle et à la décoration intérieure, un rôle bien modeste, même si les deniers de l’État lui confère un statut de mécénat!

Le professeur d’université en droit, Paul Cassia, dresse sur Mediapart un bilan critique et objectif de la première année Macron.

https://blogs.mediapart.fr/paul-cassia/blog/280618/la-premiere-annee-du-quinquennat-macron-livre-ouvert

Il offre aux lecteurs un livre électronique sur le sujet, La République du Futur. Penser l’Après Start-up Nation, dont il fournit le lien à télécharger gratuitement.

Dans un dernier article, « La charte de transparence du conjoint du président de la République, un an après »

https://blogs.mediapart.fr/paul-cassia/blog/180818/la-charte-de-transparence-du-conjoint-du-president-de-la-republique-un-apres

Paul Cassia démontre de façon irréfutable l’absence totale de toute activité notoire d’intérêt publique, humanitaire ou caritatif de la part de Brigitte Macron depuis un an justifiant le budget exorbitant qui lui est alloué. Il termine ainsi son article: ‘L’acte dit « charte » se termine par ces mots : au titre de sa communication, en plus de la publication (d’une partie) de son agenda sur le site de l’Elysée, Mme Brigitte Macron « effectuera régulièrement un bilan de ses actions ». Pour l’instant, la seule « information » que l’on a bien voulu diffuser est celle, d’un intérêt et d’une précision pour le moins relatifs, contenue dans le communiqué précité du 21 août 2017 : « Madame Macron consacre une grande partie de son temps à répondre aux courriers et sollicitations des Français ». Le premier de ces bilans « réguliers » se fait donc encore attendre. A moins qu’il n’y ait aucun bilan à effectuer puisque, à l’instar des conjoints de tout décideur public, il ne saurait y avoir d’action publique de la part du conjoint du président de la République.’

The Economist jouit d’une haute réputation d’intégrité intellectuelle depuis sa création en 1843, afin de ‘s’investir dans un combat sans merci entre l’intelligence qui progresse sans relâche et une ignorance timide et indigne qui entrave notre avancée’ On est donc en droit d’attendre de la part d’une journaliste, chef de bureau à Paris d’un journal britannique aussi prestigieux, une plus grande objectivité d’esprit et un sens critique plus aiguisé que de relayer in-extenso les fake news de la communication élyséenne et de la presse populaire française.

Monique RICCARDI-CUBITT

Paris, le 29 septembre 2018

Antisemitism of the Extreme-Left in the UK.

mardi, septembre 4th, 2018

Here’s the latest article from BCiP Chairman Jeremy Stubbs published in the Causeur magazine (www.causeur.fr) and addressing the antisemitism of the extreme-left in the UK.

JS Causeur antisémitisme RU

Russia and Salisbury – Why did Putin really do it?

mardi, avril 10th, 2018

Former BCiP member Robin Baker poses the question of the real motivation behind the attempted assassination in Salisbury: 

The attempted assassination in Salisbury of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, presumably on the orders of President Putin, is hardly surprising. Both Russian and Soviet autocrats have regarded the right to have their opponents killed off as one of the perquisites of their office since Tsarist times. Stalin had Trotsky, then living in Mexico, murdered in 1940. Few will have forgotten the assassination of Georgi Markov by a poison tipped umbrella in London in 1978 or the killing of Alexander Litvinenko by poisoning with radioactive polonium-210 in 2006. The number of deaths in the UK in recent years that can be attributed to Russian agents is thought to be as many as 14.

However the attempt on the lives of the Skrypals has a unique and disturbing feature: it was carried out in a way that posed grave risks to other members of the local community, in fact by smearing the deadly nerve agent over the front door handle of Sergei Skripal’s house. Theresa May had come under much criticism over her reaction as Home Secretary for having tried to block investigations into the facts of the Litvinenko case on the grounds that they could endanger Anglo-Russian relations. It would seem that the method used on this occasion could have been designed to provoke a harsh reaction from the May government.

If it were so designed it was brilliantly successful, as was the reaction itself. May’s achievement not only through the steps taken by the British Government’s but in generating similar actions from friendly states, has been outstanding. Even Boris Johnson has been widely praised for his success as Foreign Secretary, something unprecedented in the life of this government. So Theresa May’s position as Prime Minister has been significantly strengthened. How does that impact on Putin?

Putin does not like the European Union. Russia does not wish to join nor would it be permitted to do so, the Russians see the post Warsaw pact adhesion of former allies to both NATO and to the EU as surrounding them and that they regard as a threat. So Putin perceives it as in his interest for the EU to be damaged.

The United Kingdom leaving the EU will certainly damage both the UK and the EU itself. This is now generally expected to happen. However it remains dependent on Theresa May winning the necessary parliamentary votes. That the Government is not confident of winning votes on Brexit in the House of Commons is shown by the fact that they have been avoiding them after their defeat by Dominic Grieve’s amendment to the Brexit Bill. That amendment means that MP’s will now have the right to vote on approving or rejecting the final terms of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Should they vote to reject them the Government still cannot leave the EU without parliamentary approval, so MPs would vote to approve leaving without a deal. It is far from certain that the Commons would support such an outcome.

Theresa May’s weak position has previously encouraged Conservative MPs to vote against her. The strengthening of her position following the Salisbury attack may well make that less probable.

The question in my mind is whether that is what Putin wanted all along?

Robin Baker

Brexit and Transition – a view from France.

mercredi, avril 4th, 2018

BREXIT ET TRANSITION – a view from France by BCiP member Evelyne Joslain, le 31 mars 2018:

Le 29 mars, le Ministre du Brexit, David Davis, a publié un article dans Brexit Central pour rappeler à ses compatriotes les progrès accomplis dans les négociations et pour faire le point: « Dans un an d’aujourd’hui, après des décennies d’adhésion, des années de
consternation et des mois d’âpres négociations, nous quitterons enfin l’EU et ce jour-là restera dans l’histoire ».

S’il est indéniable que les négociations ont pris beaucoup de retard du fait des blocages multiples dus à l’esprit de revanche mesquin des Eurocrates, les Brexiteurs ont tout de même bien avancé depuis le déclenchement de l’Article 50 et Theresa May, malgré ses
faiblesses et ses contradictions, a fait preuve d’un certain courage dans la tempête et d’une ténacité surprenante, comme si elle était dopée par les attaques de tous bords.

Le Projet de Retrait de l’UE est passé au Parlement malgré les Euro-nostalgiques fielleux et frileux. Début 2018, la « note de départ » à payer a en fin été fixée: 37.1 milliards de Livres Sterling payables sur…45 ans. Car si cette union douanière (aux droits de douanes très élevés du reste !) affiche entrée libre, la sortie, elle, ne l’est pas.

La priorité était de régler le coté humain afin de rassurer les citoyens directement concernés dans leur vie personnelle et pour désamorcer les tensions : le sort des expatriés anglais dans l’EU est désormais résolu tout comme celui des membres de l’Union vivant au Royaume Uni, dont 3 millions de Français exiles fiscalement à Londres et qui ne reviendront jamais. Les statuts de résidence sont inchangés et c’est une immense victoire d’avoir obtenu cela.

Enfin, le fameux accord marchand entre l’Angleterre libérée et l’UE, si épineux en raison des services financiers à inclure, est en bonne voie. Rappelons que le slogan des Brexiteurs ces derniers mois était: « pas d’accord, pas d’argent ». Au cas où l’impasse n’aurait pu être brisée, les Britanniques étaient déterminés à claquer la porte et à rejoindre l’OMC. Ce qu’ils pourraient encore faire en cas de coup bas imprévu car « rien n’est acquis tant que rien n’est définitivement établi ».

Reste en souffrance la question de la frontière irlandaise: les prétentions de l’UE à vouloir garder l’Irlande du Nord dans le Marché Unique et dans l’Union Douanière ne prévaudront jamais car c’est là une chose qui ferait éclater le royaume jusque-là uni, ce  « qu’aucun  Premier Ministre britannique ne pourrait accepter », a sèchement rétorqué May. Aussi l’obstacle est-il reculé à la toute fin du processus de sortie, ce qui est plus logique puisque l’on ne connaitra les détails de l’accord marchand UK_UE qu’en fin de parcours.

Enfin, a été conclu un accord pour une période de transition (Transition Deal) et là aussi les Brexiteurs marquent des points même si les plus pressés y voient un retard inutile vers le but ultime qui est de retrouver leur souveraineté pleine et entière à se gouverner
soi-même, leur système juridique ancestral, la liberté d’avoir sa propre politique étrangère et de commercer avec qui l’on veut. Ce qui n’empêche nullement le royaume d’être toujours une nation de la vieille Europe et de continuer une collaboration consentie dans certains domaines.

Pendant la transition, point capital car il répond aux revendications libertariennes du mouvement, les Brexiteurs ont obtenu le droit de pouvoir négocier les futurs traités marchands avec le reste du monde. En revanche, ils ont échoué à supprimer la Politique Pêchière Commune, l’équivalent sur mer de la PAC honnie, et l’industrie de la pêche, qui a beaucoup contribué à la victoire du 23 juin 2016, se sent à juste titre trahie. Toutefois, la transition est strictement limitée à 21 mois après le 29 mars 2019, ce qui place le jour de la libération totale des Anglais, et de leurs pêcheurs, au 29 décembre 2020.

De plus, l’attaque de Salisbury a ranimé un sentiment de sympathie appréciable envers nos amis anglais. De savoir qu’ils sont à mi-parcours et qu’ils tiennent le bon bout devrait faire passer la pilule de la transition. Qu’est-ce que 21 mois de plus dans le temps long d’une nation?

De plus, pour les aider à ronger leur frein, ils peuvent comparer leur sort au nôtre. Eux descendent de la galère tandis que nous, nous ramons enchainés, à cadence infernale, vers des écueils évidents mais que les élites aux commandes ne voient pas, ivres de leur vanité et aveuglées par une utopie qui est à contre-courant de l’histoire.

Or, l’Histoire n’est jamais charitable envers ceux qui cherchent à lui barrer la route…

The Conservative Party and Young People in 2018

vendredi, mars 23rd, 2018

The Problem of Commitment to the Conservative Party

A personal view by BCiP Member Peter Huggins:

The CPF paper and covering note* set out the scale of the problem and the background to it in a clear and coherent manner. However, the nature of the problem needs further clarification.

The CPF paper speaks of two thirds of young people ‘supporting Labour’ at the last general election. This reflects the proportion of young people voting Labour. To speak of ‘support’ in this context is misleading. Authoritative and broadly based  survey results demonstrate unequivocally that young people voted Labour for two main reasons unrelated to left-wing ideology:

  1. They found the degree of Europhobia of the Labour party less alien than the more radical Tory version, or at least that of vocal groups in the party;
  2. The Labour party promised them relief from the financial burdens of higher education, especially university education

On point 1), survey results have showed that young people were particularly influenced by the expected worsening of job and career prospects through Brexit. They were also influenced by wider social and cultural considerations. To a young Londoner, Vilnius or Budapest or Coimbra are less remote than Dundee or Scunthorpe were to an older generation. Young Britons do not have a strong feeling of identity distinct from that of the Rest of Europe. To them, most of the rhetoric of the Brexiteers is simply anachronistic. When I was young and my parents spoke of the Boar War, it sounded almost like something from the Old Testament. Many young people appear to locate Brexit arguments similarly far away from their own interests and concerns.

*Reference is to the documentation for the Conservative Policy Forum of 22nd February 2018 and the BCiP response to which is the subject of the previous article on this blog.

Young people in a slightly older age group had other reasons not to vote Conservative. For example, they linked Conservative policies to the lack of affordable housing and to commuting costs which many were aware to be by far the highest in Europe.

Point 2) is very straightforward. If promised free university tuition by one party and tuition financed by massive personal debt by the other, rational self-interest implies choice of the former.

To those  in yet older groups and with wider political and economic interests, the choice was something like that suggested by Heseltine: – five years in the salt mines with Jeremy Corbyn or a life sentence with Boris Johnson in cloud cuckoo land.

There follows an obvious  answer to the central CPF question: ‘What should the Conservatives be doing in policy terms to help restore the confidence of young voters?’ The answer is obvious but its proposal at a Conservative conference would be distasteful heresy. The overwhelming majority of young people are staunch remainers who are not optimistic about the party changing its Brexit course.. Some might be won over by concessions on university fees but the majority will vote for other parties unless the Conservative party changes heart on Europe. For the moment, it seems more attracted to the Brideshead Revisited world of Jacob Rees-Mogg. The party can take consolation from the fact that 95% of the  95+ age group of Conservative voters doubtless share the views of Rees-Mogg. (Jacob, of course, not his very sensible father who ran The Times so successfully.) In doing so, it risks ignoring the fact that only one in five or so young people voted Conservative at the last general election. If the party really wants to win back the young, it must honestly and competently produce arguments and policies to convince them that Conservatism corresponds better to their aspirations than the Labour and LibDem alternatives. The job will be particularly difficult in coming months because of the May local elections. These will be dominated by pro-remain London  with its enlightened, moderate and popular mayor. Skill will be needed to present a convincing Conservative message against the pragmatic and plausible Labour message for London already in place. This message is quite distinct from the ‘loony left’ message of the national Labour leadership.Extraordinarily, the sympathy of the CBI and the City may favour Labour rather than the Conservatives in the May elections

Education, Training and Employment

Finding an under 30 Conservative voter is rather like sighting a Dartford warbler, a rare event worthy of excited reports negating with relief the assumption of extinction. A major factor in the alarming decline of the young Tory  species is that of concern about education, training and employment. At this time of the year, the annual cycle of company recruitment to graduate traineeships starts to get under way. When times are good, this is a season for optimism and celebration as graduates begin to reap the benefits of their studies and move confidently into a new and exciting phase in their lives. First reports on 2018 suggest that UK companies will be recruiting 10/20% fewer graduate trainees this year because of Brexit uncertainties. This is a depressing situation for those in their last year at university but also an alarming indicator about the way UK-based companies see the future. Many have already announced plans to be less UK-based in the future or even to move their HQ from Britain. There is ample evidence for this in reports from the CBI and other employers’ organisations. The City is especially pessimistic. Somewhat more anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a similar trend in apprenticeships, an area anyway long-neglected in the UK compared to Germany, Austria the NL, Scandinavia, Switzerland and other top-end OECD countries.

The CPF note on training and education is thorough and comprehensive. In the main,  it provides a good starting point for government policies to help the economy and young people at the same time as restoring confidence in the Conservative party. If  British  industry, commerce and the financial system are to thrive or even survive in the post-Brexit environment, effective training and education are  essential. Furthermore, the UK government also needs  to think in terms of replacing in the British economy the Polish plumbers, Slovak nurses, Italian hotel staff and French IT start-up aces and all the other bright young people  who may be  repelled by Brexit.

While the CPF note is generally competently written, it does seem to deviate from the traditional Conservative free market doctrine in making the prediction of technological trends rather too much a government function and too little a function for the private sector. Perhaps this is related to a certain breakdown of confidence between the party and employers’ associations whose views on economic prospects do not concur with the Brave New World Brexit ideology of many party members.      There is also some influence from the hard Brexit invent your own facts school.

Too much weight in the note is given to trendy mantras about digitalisation and robotisation linked with neo-Luddite warnings about how these developments will destroy jobs without creating new ones.      Beware also techno-bandwagons.  For example, those now pontificating about the need to prepare for all electric car fleets can learn a lesson from the past. The majority of taxis in New York in 1900 were electric and the electric car, not petrol or Diesel, was then expected to dominate in future. In fact, within half a dozen years,  the market for electric cars collapsed for just the reasons that now, without generous government subsidies, it might not survive. Then as now batteries are too heavy, take valuable space, provide only a limited range and require expensive infrastructure with big questions about who pays.

This is not to say that governments should not be thinking about future techno-trends. They should but not without listening to the players in the market and their organisations. And government should let private investors punt their money on expected trends, not risk tax-payers’ cash.

Fortunately there are valuable mines of information on education and apprenticeships  to be exploited by the government and the Conservative party. Inter alia, I would recommend the regular reports that the OECD makes on education and apprenticeships and the very good Oct. 2017 report by the Dep. Of Ed on further education and skills in England.

Possible Conclusions

Rather than prejudging the results of reflections by the party at this stage, I would recommend scrupulous honesty  in approaching the young voter crisis. Boris Johnson campaign bus slogans  alienate rather than convince the young. The struggle to bring young voters back to the Tory fold requires intelligence and dedication. Bombastic and unfounded propaganda is counter-productive

Peter Huggins, BCiP Member

 

 

Overseas Elector Bill – Erika Angelidi, Athens

jeudi, mars 8th, 2018

From Erika Angelidi, the Conservatives Abroad Representative in Greece:

Ιn view of the 23rd February 2018 when the Overseas Elector Bill successfully passed its second reading in the UK Parliament, I wish to express some personal thoughts regarding the issue of the right to vote for Expatriates.

I personally believe that each British citizen who resides outside of the UK, even for a longer period of time, does not cease to be interested in the present or future of the UK. He is of British citizenship and this is something that he carries throughout his life. To refuse the right to vote to a UK citizen based on the date where he left the country to live elsewhere is equal to being cast off. This argument does not reflect emotions alone, it goes deep into the connection of the mother country and its people, the very bond of citizenship.

Besides this, a question of properly exercising civil and political rights is raised. It must be noted that each Party that is voted to power decides on, promotes and applies different policies regarding its citizens who live abroad. In view of this fact, it is obvious that a citizen living abroad must be able to vote in favour of the party that best represents his interests as a British citizen and as an Expatriate.

Let us hope that this Bill will eventually be brought into Law and provide that all British citizens living abroad will have the right to vote regardless of the time they stopped having residence in the UK. British Expatriates are a part of British society and contribute to its dynamic and welfare. Expatriates deserve to vote for life!

Erika Angelidi,
Conservatives Abroad Representative,
Athens.

New Year Greetings for 2018 from Erika Angelidi.

vendredi, janvier 5th, 2018

From Erika Angelidi, the Conservatives Abroad Representative in Greece:

« My warmest wishes for health and happiness in the New Year. The New Year will undoubtedly be critical for the [Brexit] negotiations between the U.K. and the E.U.; we all wish that they shall be fruitful. May the New Year come with success!?

Best wishes

Erika Angelidi
Conservatives Abroad Representative,
Athens

Identity Politics & Brexit

vendredi, décembre 15th, 2017

Professor Matthew Goodwin, Visiting Senior Fellow, Europe Programme, at Chatham House writes « In 2018, Europe’s Populist Challenges Will Continue« , and that despite the ?Macron moment?, traditional politics remains under pressure across the continent:

A question of identity

« Central to each of these [elections across Europe], and to Europe?s agenda overall, is identity politics. As we showed in another 2017 Chatham House briefing on the ‘tribes’ of Europe, many voters remain instinctively sceptical about how the EU is managing not only immigration and the refugee crisis but also European integration more generally. Indeed, while there is cautious optimism about economic growth and the eurozone, in the latest Eurobarometer survey that tracks public opinion across the continent most voters say that immigration and terrorism are key priorities. »

« If the EU is to really erode the appeal of populist parties then it will need to resolve this underlying angst over refugees, borders and security. »

The Brexit dimension

« Such issues also run through the ongoing Brexit negotiations. Nearly 18 months after the referendum, there is little evidence that Brits are changing their minds. Though they have become more pessimistic about the economic effects of Brexit, and they are more dissatisfied with the Conservative government?s handling of the negotiations, they remain deeply polarized. »

« In the latest poll, 44 per cent of voters feel that the decision was right, 45 per cent feel it was wrong and 11 per cent are unsure. Despite minor fluctuations, few of which extend beyond the 3-point margin of error, these numbers have remained remarkably static since the vote (just 15 per cent want to overturn Brexit entirely). »

« While major shifts in public opinion are unlikely, the recent government defeat on an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill has given MPs a legal guarantee of a vote on the final Brexit deal struck with the EU. Though rebels are divided about what they want, this will inject even more volatility into an already unstable process, perhaps uniting the anti-Brexiteers and paving the way for a showdown of greater significance. »