It seems there’s a groundswell of support for UKIP, especially in the south-east, and in Clacton this effect is reinforced by a very strong personal following for Douglas. He deserves that support, because in standing down and triggering a by-election, he has been both courageous and honourable. Those Tories who have accused him of vain posturing and conceit are beneath contempt. Many MPs in the circumstances would have said “The general election is pretty soon, so we’ll let it ride”. Douglas did the decent thing and sought a new mandate as a UKIP MP.
The Tory reaction has been predictable, if heavily orchestrated after the Tory Whips’ phone-round. They’re saying that only the Conservatives can deliver an EU Referendum, and that therefore Douglas by switching parties has damaged the chances of what he wants most. This is, of course, self-serving nonsense.
Donald Tusk is a rabid EU centralist, happy to milk the British taxpayer for child benefit and an ardent enemy of press freedom in Poland – Cameron should be opposing, not supporting him
"It is a scandal that David Cameron would back Poland’s Donald Tusk for the powerful position of President of the European Council. It shows that Cameron is so weakened by his failed attempt to stop Jean-Claude Juncker for the Commission job, that he is now happy to back anybody, even a dogmatic EU federalist such as Tusk.” - UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge (West Midlands)
“When David Cameron raised the scandal of the UK taxpayers being forced to fork out £55 million per year in child benefit to kids who live in eastern Europe, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in January, his comments were ‘unwarranted and unacceptable’.
“Poland’s foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski - who was, like Cameron, a member of the infamous Bullingdon Club while a student at Oxford, said Cameron suffers from ‘a kind of incompetence in European affairs’.
"As a new member of the European Parliament, the whole process seems undemocratic to me. We’re often voting on things that haven’t even been debated, and when something is ‘debated’ there’s no time for anything more than soundbites," writes UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott (North East).
• At the speed of a charging train, the votes follow one another thick and fast. “Amendment 5/1 - votes in favour, votes against, abstentions, carried. Amendment 5/2 - votes in favour, votes against, abstentions, rejected.”
Each vote takes around six seconds. I’ve not yet seen a voting session with more than a hundred votes, but seasoned colleagues tell me that they once had to vote 900 times in three days. The average is somewhere around 500.
This is how new laws are made in the European Parliament. No-one could understand the detail of all these votes, so instead they rely on voting lists prepared by teams of staff with a brief explanation of why they’re supposed to vote in a particular way.
Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP
•I first spoke to Douglas Carswell about the possibility of his joining Ukip more than 18 months ago. Around that time there was considerable publicity about the number of MPs that our Treasurer Stuart Wheeler was having lunch with – the figure of nine was mentioned.
Mr Cameron’s January 2013 pledge for a referendum on the EU succeeded in stopping defections from happening. The Prime Minister did just enough to keep his people onside. But then I started speaking seriously to Douglas a few months ago. He was now looking at Ukip as being the only realistic option for bringing genuine change to this country. Yes of course we both agree that the majority of our laws should not be made in Brussels. And that uncontrolled and now rapidly increasing net migration into Britain was the current major issue.
But our political agreement ran far deeper than that. Both Douglas and Ukip agree that the current front benches are run by careerists with virtually no experience of the real world at all. They are in it for themselves and the country and the wellbeing of our people comes as a much lesser priority.
...and worry about the damage that “green” policies are doing to our economy
By Roger Helmer MEP
• That old canard that “97% of scientists support Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)” is cropping up again in social media, parroted cheerfully without critical analysis, so I’ve been drawing attention to my rebuttal on the subject. This was based on Lord Monckton’s painstaking analysis of the original study on which the 97% claim is based. It seems that those who produced the 97% figure cheerfully assumed that any paper that failed to deny AGW outright was supporting it. Far from 97% backing the theory, Monckton showed that less than 3% of the papers cited specifically endorsed it.
Yet the 97% claim keeps coming up, just like the “3½ million jobs at risk if we leave the EU” claim, which is equally fraudulent.
Those on the minimum wage shouldn't pay anything back to the state
"Power lies with the individual, not the state, and we should free people from burdensome regulation and controls and allow them to achieve their full potential." - UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP.
• Party conference season is now fast approaching and the August of continued grave news will give way to major policy announcements by the political parties. This year it’s the last time the parties will be getting together in this guise before the general election campaign starts in earnest. The spring conferences will be about campaigning – very much an internal event bar a few main speeches.
But autumn, the start of the new school term, is the time for a spectacle. It’s the culmination of months of hard work by marketing and events teams, with the policy departments and press officers scurrying around trying to organise briefings and exclusives and set-piece announcements.
• The UK tax code is notoriously complex. As long ago as 2009 we had the longest tax code in the world – read the Telegraph story here - and it’s only got worse since then. Everyone agrees that we need tax simplification, but no one can deliver it. And politicians are always coming up with ideas for clever new ad hoc complications. This time it’s BoJo.
Just a few years ago we were being urged to switch from petrol cars to diesel, because diesel produces less CO2 emissions per mile than petrol. So we could save the planet (if you believe in that kind of stuff). Now bien pensant opinion has decided that the negative health effects of particulates in diesel exhaust (in terms of respiratory diseases) is even more serious than global warming, so the advice is turned on its head. Please switch back from diesel to petrol. The average punter will be saying “Make yer mind up!”.
But Boris has taken this to heart. He wants to have heavier congestion/pollution charges in London for diesel vehicles. And he promises to lobby George Osborne for a national increase in diesel duty, to make petrol more attractive.
• UKIP's campaign against taxpayer-funded EU propaganda was bizarrely opposed by a Labour MEP - who defended the use of public money for an 'artists' cooperative' in the mountains of Northern Germany.
The stunning justification for the EU's vast 'cultural budget' - long a tool to fund pro-EU propaganda from the public purse - came after newly-elected UKIP MEP for the North West Louise Bours ridiculed how these funds are spent.
Addressing the EU's Committee on Culture and Education, whose €1.4 billion budget is responsible for outrageous past projects such as the 'House of EU History', Bours said:
•New UKIP economic spokesman Patrick O'Flynn MEP today branded the coalition government a total failure, after the latest official borrowing figures showed that the public sector deficit is rising sharply once again.
Borrowing in June totalled £11.4bn, some £700million more than had been forecast by economists, and a massive £3.8bn up on the same month last year.
Allowing for the impact of a one-off cash transfer from the Bank of England last year, borrowing in the first quarter of the 2014-15 financial year has come in at £36.1bn, some 7.3% higher than the same period in the previous year.
Mr O'Flynn said: "This coalition government was formed to get rid of the deficit and yet it barely got a third of the way towards that target and now it is going backwards fast.