Posts Tagged ‘UKIP’

Brexit and My “Pelican Boat” Woodcut Print - Raf. Pittman

Mardi, avril 25th, 2017

As presented by BCiP member and artist Raf. Pittman at our AGM on the 19th April, here is the unabridged story of “Pelican Boat”, his personal account of the creation of the original woodcut print from Lima via Havana to the press in Paddington:

This time last year (April 2016) was a very different political scenario when campaigning had not yet started and when Brexit was largely associated with UKIP, a political deviation in terms of party and following from the “Voters’ Parties and Leaders (1967 )” by Jean Blondel , a text for politics students like myself.

By June 23rd and the referendum we were “out” - the cryptic text I received from a friend in London as I sat on a bench with my iPhone on La Rampa, the main highway in Havana where you can receive wifi with an official prepaid internet coupon.

Shock. My whole career since reading European Studies at Bristol University was about the new world order, a united Europe where I learned the skills of foreign trade, was trained in London, Hamburg and Paris for British multinationals , in a world of peace and harmony for which my father had served in the Armed Forces 1939 to 1945; an England that had welcomed my mother as a Basque teenage evacuee from Nazi Germany aggression.

I was truly saddened that those British voters who voted for the leave campaign had not sufficient understanding of the issues (there was no meaningful and coherent plan policy and analysis), that were to change the course of our history by taking us out of the European Union, and annoyed with David Cameron for wanting to consolidate his position (also maybe giving into the perceived UKIP threat) by offering the electorate a referendum. Worse was to follow with squabbling Tories vying for the leadership when the PM resigned, although sense appeared with the election of Theresa May to replace him, seen as a safe pair of hands at the helm.

This last week in June was my last week in Cuba where I had been working on a print that I had developed in January 2016 from my crayon drawing of pelicans on a boat anchored off the coast of Ica a desert region in south Peru. The flimsy piece of plywood I brought with me to Cuba (wood is in short supply) took shape from a monoprint I made earlier in Cienfuegos , central Cuba, at a society for artists. Then via bus train and ferry I reached the experimental artists workshop in Havana where I had booked myself in for a second fortnight the first being in 2014.

This was the first time I had seriously attempted a woodcut print and news of Brexit added to my ennui, with the project ending up in a mixed media print/ monoprint, the sort of art for which I am known at the Taller Grafica Experimental . The wood cut print per se was clearly still unfinished although we had taken some 20 prints from the ancient press to be used for future mixed media work. Within a few days I had packed half my plywood and donated the other half to my very able colleagues and was back at Heathrow but still with a wedge of dodgy prints.

Again within days I was at an art facility near Paddington and bingo!! Pelican Boat was born as a fully fledged woodcut print. It seemed both myself and Brexit had come out triumphant after a battering maritime journey full of metaphors: uncharted waters, ill-prepared , beleaguered. And yet like Sir Francis Drake’s original vanguard “The Pelican” , renamed “The Golden Hind”, there was suddenly promise in this bold confident venture with global vision reminiscent of Drake’s voyage to the New World, and also in my print that had a purpose and meaning now in carrying the spirit of Britain and Brexit.

Raf. Pittman

Britain & the Future of Europe - Paul Thomson

Samedi, mai 16th, 2015

The BCiP Key Issues Programme

As a result of the May 7th election outcome the referendum on Europe now stands front and centre in both British and European Union political life. BCiP therefore has launched a programmatical series to identify and help clarify the big issues attaching to the question of Britain’s place in Europe: “Britain and the Future of Europe: BCiP Key Issues Programme”.

The first event will set the stage for those following, by recalling the institutional framework of the main European bodies, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, attendant (desirable or less so) institutional dynamics and unresolved difficulties. The picture thus emerging will be set against the expressed positions of the Conservative Party – both as to end results sought and process to get there. And then we shall ask: (a) what are the big institutional issues? and (b) starting from here and now, how can they be tackled?

Subsequent events will focus on different policy fields or choices of existential importance to both Europe & Britain: the sources of identity – Britain and Europe compared; the geopolitics of Europe & Britain’s understanding of its own defence and international relations game plan; comparative economics: staying on board versus jumping board; and in conclusion, to step back and sum up: strategic and cultural choices – what is at stake? what does Britain really want?

Internal and external speakers will figure.

We hope to draw participants and/or observers to the Programme from beyond as well as within BCiP.“

Paul Thomson
BCiP Vice Chairman

France24 Debate: UK Elections - Main Parties’ Support Eroding

Mardi, avril 7th, 2015

View this France24.com debate on a “Divided Britain” - UK Elections: Support for the Main Parties Eroding - and involving Jeremy Stubbs, Chairman of British Conservatives in Paris, Evan O’Connell, Vice-Chair Labour Party in France, Melissa Bell a France 24 journalist and John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University.

http://m.france24.com/en/20150406-the-debate-UK-elex-partone/

Why Europe matters by Laura Sandys

Jeudi, mars 12th, 2015

Laura Sandys who has written the article linked to below is Member of Parliament for South Thanet and Chair of European Movement, UK.

“In the lead up to one of the most important elections of recent decades and, potentially, one of the most important debates about the UK’s political arrangements we have ever seen, it is crucial that we are constantly talking and thinking about the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, two great entities that can do so much for each other when they work in tandem, cooperatively and positively.”

Why Europe matters

Ken Clark & Prime Minister’s EU Reform Plans

Jeudi, novembre 27th, 2014

The intervention below from Ken Clark, complements very nicely the previous article by BCiP member Robin Baker on “Freedom of movement within the EU”.

Speaking at The Guardian on 19th November, 2014 and concerning British Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU reform plans, Ken Clark the former Conservative Chancellor said:

” fellow EU leaders would not agree to change the free movement of people on the grounds that it is a fundamental tenet of the EU and had been championed by Thatcher in the creation of the single market.”

He added:

“The idea that you are going to make Brussels give up freedom of movement of labour – Margaret Thatcher was an advocate of this. It was a British Conservative government that gave momentum to the single market.

“The Conservative party and the Labour party have been advocates of freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and labour. It is one of the underpinning things of greater prosperity that we are all trying to get back to.”

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/19/ken-clarke-lets-rip-at-david-camerons-eu-reform-plans

Conservative Party should beware UKIP Bigotry

Lundi, octobre 27th, 2014

Read this thought-provoking article for the Conservative Party by Adam Bienkov writing in politics.co.uk:

“History has shown that the Tories can only win a majority by appealing to a broad range of voters across the country. This is how they have won majorities in the past and they abandon that aim at their peril.”

http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2014/10/27/the-bigotry-of-ukip-is-swamping-the-conservative-party

Value of EU not just its price.

Samedi, octobre 18th, 2014

Read this interesting article below published on www.europeanpublicaffairs.eu :

“The outcome of misinformation on the one hand and total resignation of pro-EU advocates on the other has resulted in one thing – Europeans have learnt the cost but forgot the value of the EU membership.”

Why Holding an EU Referendum May Be a Good Idea After All: Learning the value of the EU not just its price
15 October 2014 | by Frank Markovic

Thank you Mr Carswell - by Robin Baker

Vendredi, septembre 19th, 2014

Thank you Mr Carswell (the former Conservative MP for Clacton and now UKIP candidate) for leaving the Conservative Party. We are better off without you. To see why, let us look firstly at the blog you have published as a new member of UKIP:

We need change in our relationship with Europe.
When we joined what was to become the European Union all those years ago, we imagined we would be joining a prosperous trading block. In the early 1970s, it accounted for almost 40 percent of world economic output.
Today it accounts for a mere 25 percent. In a decade, it’s expected to be down to 15 percent.”

Yes, and a very good thing this fall in the EU’s share of world economic output is too. The EU has 7.3% of the world’s population, does Mr Carswell really think that our share of the world’s wealth should be more than three and a half times our share of the population? This change results from the strength of economic growth in the emerging economies and that is to everybody’s benefit: firstly because economic disparity between the poor and the rich is dangerous for world stability, secondly because we should be glad to see the world’s poor becoming less so, and thirdly for the selfish reason that the richer they are, the more they will be able to trade with us and so increase our prosperity as well.

Mr Carswell should be aware of one simple illustration of how the world has changed. When we joined the then EEC in 1973, the price of oil was some $2 - 3 per barrel. Today it hovers around the $100/barrel mark. Does he think that this should not have changed the balance of economic wealth?

He then followed this blog with an article in the International New York Times, which repeated that inanity from the blog and added:

Instead of using primaries to select candidates for parliamentary seats, party hierarchies parachute in those whom they favour.”

The only reason I can think of for Mr Carswell to use a foreign newspaper to write such rubbish about his own country, is because most of its readers will not recognise that his remarks are simply untrue. The decision on the selection of Conservative parliamentary candidates was previously always made by a general meeting open to all members of the local party. True, Party headquarters has, on occasions, tried to parachute in a preferred candidate from outside, but these attempts have generally failed, indeed for a candidate to be known to have HQ support has been the kiss of death. But the Party is now more and more moving away from the “local Party members” system to taking these decisions by “open primaries”, i.e. a primary in which any elector in that constituency may vote whether or not they are Party members. Two Conservative MPs elected in 2010 had been selected in that way and a number of candidates have already been chosen by that system for the election in 2015.

The Conservative candidate for the Clacton by-election caused by Mr Carswell has been chosen by such an open primary, this was done on 11th September, a week before Mr Carswell’s article was published. There was, however, one candidate who was parachuted in by his party hierarchy for this by-election. The UKIP candidate for Clacton had already been selected, by local UKIP members. When Carswell defected from the Conservative Party, that candidate was unceremoniously booted out and Nigel Farage parachuted in Douglas Carswell to fight the seat.

One other lie in the New York Times article, which says: “Most Laws made in Britain this year emanated from the European Union.” Mr Carswell may no longer be an MP, but he can still read reports by the House of Commons Library, a highly respected and independent source of information. They have studied this question and found:
“It is possible to estimate the proportion of national laws based on EU laws. In the UK, over the twelve-year period from 1997 to 2009 6.8% of primary legislation (Statutes) and 14.1% of secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments) had a role in implementing EU obligations.
It is possible to justify any measure between 15% and 50% or thereabouts. This includes olive and tobacco growing regulations which are unlikely to have much impact in Britain.”

We do not need Mr Carswell’s shallow thinking in the Conservative Party, nor do we want his lies. He is highly suitable for UKIP, where such thinking is a requirement for membership. That is why, Mr Carswell, the Conservative Party is better off without you. Thank you for leaving the Conservative Party.

Robin Baker

A Return to Pragmatism in UK - EU Relations?

Jeudi, juillet 17th, 2014

Here’s an article by Thomas Fillis and published on-line in European Public Affairs:
A Return to Pragmatism? Lord Hill announced as UK Commissioner Designate

“British Prime Minister David Cameron has just announced Jonathan Hopkin Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford (ergo Lord Hill) as the British Commissioner designate. This nomination may prove to be the most important in UK-EU relations, and indeed in the history of the College of Commissioners, given the ever-more precarious position of the UK within the European Union. The choice will speak volumes about Cameron’s strategic calculations, as regards his proposed “renegotiation” (a concept as abstract as the constantly mooted, but never defined, “reform” of the EU) and the negotiating tactics he will use.”

Blair & Merkel leave Cameron in a perilous position?

Lundi, juin 2nd, 2014

Benedict Brogan writing today (click on the link below) in his political blog (The Telegraph on-line, 2nd June, 2014) thinks interventions by Tony Blair and Angela Merkel leave PM David Cameron in a perilous position on Europe.

According to Mr Brogan

“Downing Street has denied German claims that David Cameron said Britain would leave the EU if Jean-Claude Juncker is chosen as president, but that hasn’t stopped them being widely reported.”
“Accompanying the headlines is a sense that Mr Cameron has gone public too early on Britain’s opposition to the Luxembourg federalist.”

[particularly as it is also reported today that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is already working to gather support for the candidacy of Mr Junker.]

In addition, Tony Blair has entered the debate with a speech to the CBI this morning in which he will try to put himself as the head of the “Save Europe” movement. According to Mr Blair:

“It has to be a debate elevated to a Europe-wide level, with Britain playing a leading role, not just a negotiation of Britain’s terms of membership. It has to be about what is good for Europe as well as what is good for Britain.”

Benedict Brogan thinks that all this makes the Prime Minister

“vulnerable to the charge that his position on Europe is not a big strategic argument based on principles, but a series of carefully judged tactical gambits designed to keep one step ahead of Nigel Farage [of UKIP] and numbers of his backbenchers.”

Mr Cameron has chosen to make his stand against Mr Junker, and perhaps has been misquoted in suggesting this as a break point for future UK membership of the EU, but will need the support of Germany to succeed. Without the support of Mrs Merkel he seems to have put himself into a perilous position.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100274299/blair-and-merkel-leave-cameron-in-a-perilous-position/