Archive for the ‘Chairman »s blog’ Category

International Socialism – the Pest of our Times.

mercredi, octobre 16th, 2019

BCiP member Evelyne Joslain takes issue with international socialism as the pest of our times:

La peste de notre temps_EJoslain_5.X.2019

La Peste de notre temps__2e partie_17.X.2019

The election of Boris Johnson is a bridge too far – Peter Huggins

jeudi, juillet 25th, 2019
Peter Huggins, a long standing member of the Conservative party, writes to BCiP Chairman Jeremy Stubbs on why he is now resigning.
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Dear Jeremy,
Although my attachment to the Conservative party was already well established, I began active service in 1951. The Atlee government had been hanging by the thread of a tiny and unreliable majority and decided on a snap election in October. At the time, posters in the windows of individual houses were important to get candidates known. I helped to deliver such posters to the party faithful on Shooters Hill, part of the very marginal constituency of West Woolwich. We won the constituency from Labour contributing to a Conservative majority in Parliament and the return of Churchill as PM. It was a happy new dawn for freedom and enterprise.
Ever since, I have supported the party consistently, if not uncritically. Recent years have been difficult as the party has increasingly fallen into the hands of intolerant Jingoists, many of them with links to UKIP or the Farage party. Today’s election of the new party leader is a bridge too far on this involuntary journey. The party has now chosen a dishonest and irresponsible charlatan loyal neither to country, nor party, nor family. His contempt for Parliament and the British Constitution is unbounded. As of today, the choice is between party membership and self respect. I have chosen the latter.
I wish all the best to you and the BCiP. I thank you for the rewarding times we have spent together. It is sad that the mindless drift of the party towards Faragism has done such lasting damage to British Conservatism. Perhaps in a happier and better informed future, it will come to its senses and the disillusioned faithful will return to the fold.
With my very best wishes,
Peter

Nigel Farage & the Brexit Party.

lundi, mai 13th, 2019

BCiP member Evelyne Joslain in her article below on the UK’s Brexit Party, is sorry that there is currently no equivalent « French Farage ».

Farage et le Brexit Party

BREXIT – How did we get here?

lundi, mai 6th, 2019

How did the UK get to where it stands today with Brexit asks BCiP member Andrew Crawford, as he traces the tortuous path Britain has taken in his position paper below.

Brexit- How did we get here?

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

Conservative Policy Forum: Health & Social Care – BCiP Response 3/2018

samedi, août 4th, 2018

Group name: British Conservatives in Paris

1.  How has your experience of access and care in the NHS changed in recent years?  
One of our members with recent direct experience of hospital services was full of praise for response time & general professionalism encountered.
Another suggested discharge of patients from hospital could take place too quickly.

2. Given the profoundly different landscape of 21st-century healthcare compared to when the NHS was founded 70 years ago, what should the role of the state be?
“The state role should be to ensure a better synergy between the public and private sector, encouraging the development of a deeper and, therefore, cheaper complementary insurance market for private healthcare to enable more companies and individuals to choose this option.”
A major overhaul in the way the NHS is funded is necessary.

3. What more could be done to support individuals and families to take more control of their own health and wellbeing? How might we shift from a system based on treatment to prevention of disease?
Health issues should be included in the curriculum of all pupils.
Parents should be encouraged to bring up their offspring with a healthy lifestyle (cf diet, sports).
One member: families should be required to “invest more in the care of the elderly”.
Public awareness of health issues should be heightened through recourse to various media as well as through actions in hospitals, schools, employers (eg distribution of leaflets).

4. How might we help people to use the NHS responsibly, e.g. not attending A&E for issues that a GP or pharmacy can clearly resolve? How might we reduce the costs associated with the 1-in-15 patients who miss their appointments?
“Larger and combined GP and pharmacy practices could allow 7 days a week working, and more opportunity for people to secure appointments rather than being forced to go to A & E.”
“Operating an on-line appointments service would allow maintenance of a blacklist for serial cases of missing appointments and introduction of a refundable financial penalty when booking future appointments.”
Raise awareness of the sort of problems that can be resolved through a GP or pharmacy.
One member: make the first “port of call” an online advisory system.

5. How could we further raise awareness and tackle the stigma associated with mental ill health?
Inform the public including re recent developments in practice & understanding (eg re depression) – including through television, social media, educational institutions, even employers.
… also re the (significant) numbers of people involved; and cases of successful treatment/overcoming of problems.

6. What kinds of NHS services do you think could be put online/digital rather than traditional face-to-face?
Initial sorting exercises?
Appointments, repeat subscriptions?
One member expressed reservations about recourse to the digital – out of a concern that failures of communication on important items might occur.

7. What more could the NHS do to encourage people to want to work for it? What sorts of practices do you associate with really good employers in other sectors, which the NHS should adopt?
Try to provide for flexible & reasonable working hours at least for those for whom these considerations are important.
Work to develop a professional ethos including through encouragement of suggestions, & through better remuneration (not to mention ensuring professional conduct & due mutual respect eg between doctors & nurses).
Address practical concerns such as the cost of transport/parking/accommodation as related to the location of the hospital etc in question.

8. How might we continue to fund sustainably a growing NHS?
A separate & clearly NHS-labelled tax
More recourse to private insurance complementary coverage: reference to the French model would be instructive & helpful in this regard.

9. As the NHS budget grows, what health services or treatment areas should be prioritised?
More time should be devoted to initial point of entry visits to the NHS to ensure issues are identified up front.
To provide relief to the system, tasks which can properly be assigned to nurses/social care workers should be so allocated.
Preventive medicine should be developed & accentuated.

10. What could be done to raise awareness among working age adults about the risks of future care costs? How should we fund the need for increased social care?
An explicit separate (“ring-fenced”) tax would help.
Similarly a local “ring-fenced” tax for social care would draw attention to these issues.

11. What should be the guiding principles for Conservatives in making these decisions?
Be lucid & rigorous: eg benchmark against other comparable countries/systems.
Respect for the inherent dignity & worth of each human bein.g
Accessibility.
Openness to innovation.
Openness to a role for non-state actors.

12. Is there any other question you think should have been asked or observation you would like to make?
More in the way of comparisons to other countries would have been both interesting & illuminating.
The importance of cross-party thinking/consensus-building on such fundamental issues would have deserved some attention.
Pharmaceutical product pricing issues could have usefully been addressed.
The needs of certain specific groups (eg the homeless) might also have been addressed.

FEEDBACK ON PAPER

What did you find useful?
The international overall ranking chart
Indications on the evolution of the health situation (eg improvements wrt youth smoking, drinking, unwanted pregnancies).

What did you not find helpful?
Overly broad and optimistic policy declamations not particularly helpful in coming to grips with the issues.

Do you have any suggestions for how we might improve future briefings?
This brief was of good quality.
More and more in-depth comparisons with other countries –elsewhere in Europe, elsewhere in the “Anglosphere” or anywhere else– would be both stimulating and relevant from a policy assessment perspective – & this would apply for many different subjects.

CPF 18-3 Response – BCiP

French Politics – A Year Later…….The Reign of President Macron Appraised

mardi, juillet 3rd, 2018

BCiP member Monique Riccardi-Cubitt shares her thoughts:

Ever since the beginning of the 2017 presidential campaign I have not ceased, as have also done many others, to alert the opinion as to the potential dangers of Macron’s election and his stooge Brigitte. Their life record based on duplicity, venalty, vulgar seduction and moral corruption rendered them ill-fitted to govern France, and could only bring misfortune to the nation and to its citizens. In several articles published in French and in English on Mediapart and the British Conservatives in Paris’s website, I predicted the social, economic, human and cultural disaster of his future presidency. I quoted Professor Christopher Bickerton, University Lecturer in politics at POLIS and Official Fellow at Queens’ College, Cambridge, who has taught at Oxford, the University of Amsterdam and Sciences Po in Paris. On September 7th 2017 he published an article in The New York Times : Emmanuel Macron Will be Yet Another Failed French President.

 

Macron has been badly elected by default in surfing on the inner divisions and ancestral fears of the French nation. In capitalizing on the Right Wing’s debacle caused by the corruption and mafia actions of the Sarkozy clan Macron, the self proclaimed Jupiter,  succeeded in seizing the supreme power he and his accomplice wife had so ardently striven for. From the very beginning  he distinguished himself by his erratic misbehaviour, his abusive language, his infringements of the Law and of the Constitution  in pushing through liberticidal anti democratic, anti humanist laws. To such an extent that my prophecy on this state of affairs resulting in a country under a constant State of Emergency that allows the Goverment all possible abuses in repressive and restrive legislation, has become true. Not only have citizens’ civic rights, freedom and privacy shrunk considerably, but the country is in real danger of a civil war. Dark politico-religious, financial and économic forces are at work in an underhand manner. It is their implicit interest that such a catastrophic issue occurs, and the threat looms larger everyday. Such is Macron’s arrogant autocratic rule and his political imposture, that daily the destructive manipulations of the despotic author of the premonitory book Revolution and of his henchmen are becoming more explicit, even if apparently denied. As can be seen in the latest episode when the French Ambassador in Budapest brought support to the government of Viktor Orbàn whose migratory policies are all but similar to those of France. He denounced in a telegram to the Quai d’Orsay,  the true modern antisemitism, that of the Moslems of France and Germany … After its publication on the website of  Médiapart, the online newspaper, on June  29th 2018,  the Ambassador was dismissed and publically disowned by Macron. Yet in a first time he latter had declared not wishing to relieve  him of his post… It is characteristic of Macron’s erratic ambivalent credo : En même temps At the same time, allowing his words to deny the intent and the action, to say one thing and its contrary, to adapt to the changing blowing wind of the current opinion, to build a smokescreen where there should be transparency.

 

The result can only be disastrous for France and for Europe. Far from being the self-appointed saviour of Europe, the perversely ambiguous narcissic nature of Macron, his venalty, his Sarkozy-like hyperactive and incoherent manner of governing, his neoliberal policies giving priority to the wealthy few, the milliardaire upper-class, to the detriment of the middle and working classes who are nothing according to him, are steadily eroding and destroying the social, cultural and economic fabric of the country with ensuing disastrous results for the European Community at large. The middle and working classes, the very foundation stone of society, are feeling betrayed by Macron and his government. One can easily predict that, as did happen in the United Kingdom with the BREXIT’s fatall issue, this antidemocratic exclusion of the vast majority of citizens by a government sold to the rule of the financial markets and globalisation will breed in time rampant racism. A scapegoat will have to be found to justify the increasing proverty of the country and of its citizens. It will be easy then to accuse the migrants, the Moslems, those of a different religion or skin colour. At the end of this fateful presidency, France will no longer be a harmonious whole, a country united by a shared culture, its badge of honour and glory for centuries. It will be a worn-out country, deprived of its vital creative forces, bled to death by ‘This poverty born of money’ in the words of Joyce Mansour, the British Egyptian poetess who wrote in French. The country will be torn apart with internecine fights, thus denying the best of its cultural heritage based on Greco Roman and Christian values which recognize and welcome diversity in its universality. France will then deny and destroy the European dream and ideal and accomplish a FREXIT.

 

2018 has been declared the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The Italian Institute in Brussels under the direction of  Paolo Grossi, and with the support of the European Commission, has published a special edition in two volumes of its yearly review Cartaditalia  in four European languages : French, Italian, English and German. It aims to define, acknowledge, and seek the appropriate management to ensure the continuity in time of Europe’s tangible and intangible heritage.  During the presentation at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, on March 14th 2018, Pier Luigi Sacco, the scientific editor of the publication has declared ‘ Heritage is what defines our ability to cope with everyday life, to cope with the world’. It is altogether‘ A flexibility to learn from others, and an accumulation of what we have learnt…It is a complex vision of human nature , a source of superpower…’ whereas ‘identity is static, heritage is dynamic’.

 

The insight and wisdom of those words should inspire and encourage the European Heads of State to ponder on the new impetus to give to the European Union and create a dynamic other than the purely economic and fiancial aspect proposed byMacron.  If they would think in an enlightened humanist perspective taking into account the common past of all Continental countries, as well as of the United Kingdom, the relations with the Balkans, Russia and Turkey would be clarified and simplified. They would become an asset instead of being an obstacle. As in the past under the  Pax Romana  a common vision would unite Western Europe and Eastern Europe, allowing our European culture so rich and so complex to bring forward the values and the ideals that are our very own and have fashioned us through centuries. These values and ideals have been at the source of the New World beyond the Atlantic, yet in time they have diversified. In a rapidily changing world where new centres of power are emerging in Asia, Africa, the duty, the future of Europe, are independent of those of America whose culture owes much to ours. We Europeans have to remember our own values, to project them, to promote them so that the immense common cultural wealth that is ours in diversity, the very essence of the European spirit, might bring forward and carry through a message of peace and humanity.

 

Paul Cassia, University Professor of Law, has published on Mediapart a critical and objective assessment of Macron’s first year :

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

He offers to the readers an E-book on the subject, to download free via a link in the article : La République du Futur. Penser l’Après Start-up Nation

MONIQUE RICCARDI-CUBITT

Paris, July 1st 2018

The Decline of France – by Monique Riccardi-Cubitt

mardi, juin 12th, 2018

France 3 TV Channel is about to release on June 13th a film BRIGITTE MACRON, UN ROMAN FRANÇAIS. It is yet another version of the nauseatingly slushy presidential saga, a tale of the seduction of an under-age pupil by a teacher his mother’s age, a woman without qualms nor ethics, who subjected her own husband to a crushing humiliation, and admits having brought suffering to her children in order to follow with impunity the ambitious plans she projected on a youngster enslaved to her will.

This latest version of a countlessly retold story during the past year and a half,  is aiming to whitewash her reputation and  exonerate her of all guilt since she supposedly acted ‘par amour’ notwithstanding the offence committed in the eyes of the law.  In so doing  it is meant to appeal to the heart of French citizens now that the presidential rate of popularity is plunging  in the opinion polls. Even Macron’s early supporters are denouncing the evil of effects of his social and economic policies, and of the accelerated rhythm of senselessly destructive reforms, dangerously disrupting the country.  It is the worse possible example of the French system of double standards, and a particularly potent symbol of its decadence and corruption.

LA FRANCE UN DÉCLIN J’ACCUSE

Monique Riccardi-Cubitt (Countess)
BCiP Member

 

 

A By-Election of Importance in Lewisham East – by Peter Huggins

mardi, juin 5th, 2018

The 2nd. of March was cold and there had been fresh snowfall. A train with a dozen carriages crawled painfully along the icy tracks in the early evening, each carriage packed with commuters hoping to get home to their dormitories after a day’s toil ending with a difficult trek to the station in a blizzard. Between two stations, the train shuddered and stopped. It did not move for four hours. The passengers were jammed together in intense discomfort. There was no thought of sustenance or a hot drink. Staying upright and surviving was all that could be hoped for. There were no toilets on the train. Movement was anyway virtually impossible for the patient passengers in the packed carriages. At last a mutiny began and passengers disobeyed the instructions of the railway staff to stay put. They opened the emergency doors, streamed out of the train and began to plod through the snow to the nearest station. Trains here are powered from a third rail at ground level. The railway staff were forced to turn this off for fear that a passenger might be electrocuted. The passengers plodded on, their town shoes sodden with the freezing snow. They painfully made their way home, on foot or by bus, where busses were running. The mutiny was uncomfortable but successful.
Public opinion was strongly in favour of the mutineers, not those running the antiquated railway. Where was this train? Was it perhaps the infamous slow train from Minsk to Smolensk? In fact it was the even more infamous North Kent line from London Bridge to Chatham, one of the world’s oldest and least reliable tracks. The train was stranded between Lewisham and Blackheath in South East London in the heart of a constituency about to lose its popular MP, the Labour remainer Heidi Alexander, who had been offered a deputy mayor (transport) job with the Labour ‘remain’ Mayor of London. Commuters to Blackheath and beyond were about to be given a channel for their protests about the railway, Brexit, knife crime and much else in a by-election provoked by Heidi Alexander’s departure.

Voters in the Lewisham East constituency do not have much sense of identity about their arbitrarily drawn up collection of wards. They do have a strong sense of identity with South East London.

On the North, the constituency is bounded by wonderful Greenwich Park with the Royal Observatory, the Naval Museum (Henry VIII’s palace), the ex-RN college, the Seamens’ Hospital and views across the Thames to Canary Wharf, St. Paul’s and beyond. On the East, the A2 leads over Shooters Hill to Kent. This is the Roman road to the coast and Chaucer’s pilgrims’ road to Canterbury£. It makes a straight line through Dickens country with Woolwich, the Royal Artillery and Military Academy on the North along the Thames. Here, in hulks on the river, convicts were assembled for transportation to Australia, sometimes working in Woolwich Arsenal during their wait. On the South of the constituency are the prosperous stockbroker Tudor suburbs of Bromley and Chislehurst. This is the country of Orpington Man, not a cousin of Neanderthal but a phenomenon of the 1960s when the Liberal party had one of its perennial recoveries from extinction. On the West are Camberwell and Deptford, old dockland country now gentrified on the river side. On this fringe of the constituency is the home of Millwall football club. (Song:’ Nobody likes us, we don’t care’.) Its somewhat bellicose supporters easily become agitated, particularly during matches with local rivals Charlton, Crystal Palace and West Ham. Further inland is genteel Dulwich. Like Blackheath, this is a chunk of Hampstead in South London.

The constituency is mixed socially and economically but mostly without extreme wealth or poverty. Lewisham East has rather more people in good jobs than the national average and higher levels of education. The Blackheath ward is prosperous and popular with city workers, civil servants, journalists and academics. A couple of generations ago it was ‘Separate Tables’ territory where retired colonels treated themselves to rock cakes behind the lace curtains of joyless teashops. Now it bustles with boutiques, exotic restaurants, prosperous estate agents and a renowned concert hall. In Blackheath and elsewhere in the constituency, voters worry about the Brexit effect on their jobs. Whether merchant bank high-fliers or Bob Cratchit pen-pushers, as they stand patiently during their interminable train journey from the City, they read in the Evening Standard of yet another Brexit-fearing finance house moving jobs to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris or Dublin. These are people with much spleen to vent and much concern to express in the by-election.

Lewisham East and contiguous constituencies have a venerable political past with local MPs who included Gladstone, Morrison, Callaghan and Rosie Barnes, the Labour schismatic who won Greenwich from Labour and held it for the Social Democrats/LibDems for a dozen years. This is an area of moderate radicalism, unlike Woolwich to the East where there were traditionally many more Daily Worker readers and fellow travellers.

In view of the by-election, the most important characteristic of Lewisham East is the position of its voters on Brexit. This is ‘remain’ country, even more than the rest of London. About two thirds of the constituents voted ‘remain’. A friend in the constituency was recently witness to a heated political discussion in a local pub. A contributor referred to Jeremy Corbyn as a Marxist freak and Boris Johnson as a château bottled charlatan to general approval and amusement. This is not easy territory for the Conservative or Labour party leaderships.

The Labour majority of Heidi Alexander in the General Election was strong at over two thirds of the vote. The candidacy for her vacancy was fought hard and sometimes acrimoniously by two Corbynite Momentum and Unite candidates and a strong ‘remainer’, Janet Daby, committed to the Single Market and Customs Union. She won the candidacy by a large margin and got the ex post endorsement of Corbyn. All three candidates were ladies from ‘minority ethnic groups’, as required by the Corbynite pc doctrine. The LibDem candidate, Lucy Salek, was installed with little competition and backed with a visit from Vince Cable including photoshots at Millwall football ground. The Conservative candidate, Ross Archer, got 23% of the vote at the General Election and is well known in the constituency. He is a respected local party worker who has so far taken a consensual line on Brexit issues.

Especially with her ‘remain’ credentials, it would be surprising if the Labour candidate were to do badly in the contest. Ross Archer, on the other hand, is likely to be strongly contested for second place by the LibDem Lucy Salek. The UKIP candidate got less than 2% of the vote at the General election and is likely to fare even worse this time. There is a plethora of minor party candidates including the inevitable Monster Raving Loony Party which will give voters plenty of choice and some entertainment. The results of the election are likely to draw a flood of analysis and comment because this is a constituency strongly representative of the whole of London and the Home Counties. The election campaign takes place during the brief lull before the Lords amendments to the Brexit Bill come back to the Commons.

An election is worth many opinion polls and June 14th will be a milestone on the long march which began with the Brexit Referendum. The ‘People Have Spoken’ phase is receding and Parliament is back in control and centre stage. Ross Archer has a daunting job. He has to navigate a minefield of difficult issues. To succeed in obtaining the respectable vote which the Conservatives badly need, he has to explain, justify, reassure and cajole on many complex issues. A minimum list would include falling house prices, fragile commuter train services, knife crime, the inadequate police budget, the NHS staffing crisis, the continuing squeeze on real incomes and the Byzantine problems surrounding Lewisham town council attempts to take over and redevelop the Millwall football ground with a shadowy offshore financier.

I join with the Conservatives of South East London in wishing Ross Archer courage, good luck and success in a key contest.

Peter Huggins

The Author, BCiP member Peter Huggins, has deep roots in South East London. He was born in Greenwich, went to Primary school in Woolwich and grammar school in Blackheath. Before moving to work in Paris, Peter and his wife Christa lived in Blackheath on the fringe of Greenwich Park.

Brexit: Speaker Dinner with Neil Carmichael – 31st May, 2018

mardi, juin 5th, 2018

With feelings on Brexit mixed within the British Conservatives in Paris, we followed on from Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman’s presentation last year of the case for « leave », with another speaker at our dinner on the 31st May, 2018 in Neil Carmichael, former MP for Stroud (2010 – 2017).

Neil spoke trenchantly in defence of the case for the UK to « remain » within the EU, which he admitted required reform but was not to be blamed for all the problems facing the UK. The country now faced the prospect of becoming poorer and less influential outside this major trading bloc, having prospered during the +40 years or so of EU membership. It was time now for Parliament, which had always maintained its sovereignty on behalf of the British people during this period of membership, to reassert its authority on the final outcome.

On the sensitive question of uncontrolled immigration which had been of concern for many leave voters, immigration from outside the EU had always exceeded that from within the EU over the +40 years or so of EU membership, despite the British government always retaining control of its own immigration policy.

Taking an example from international trade, the Chinese ambassador had been perplexed when told that the UK would now be able to trade more with China after leaving the EU, when to his knowledge Germany an existing EU member was already selling 3 – 4 times as much

On geo-political relations, all US presidents (apart from the current one) had been comfortable having the UK within the EU as a useful and influential channel for communication.