The UK Independence Party MEP discusses the case for Britain leaving the EU at an 'After the Euro' conference, attends a friend's book launch and laments the European Parliament's expenses system
Today I was invited to make a speech at the annual conference of the Bruges Group in King's College London. The subject this year was 'After the Euro'. Speakers from the worlds of economics and academia tackled the subject of what will happen when the single currency comes apart, which it will inevitably do, either completely or partially. My slot in the programme was the last in the afternoon and I shared the platform with Christopher Booker, the renowned journalist and author.
My speech was on the subject of the mechanics of leaving the European Union. I set out to address the practical issues of how Britain could disentangle itself from the whole undemocratic mess and restore independent self-government. This is a subject that will grow in importance as the case for EU exit grows. After our speeches Christopher and I enjoyed a vigorous question and answer session with the audience. I then had to sadly decline the offer of the conference organisers to go to the pub in order to go home and enjoy with my wife and friends the excellent firework display organised near my home.
A quiet day spent with my family.
Spent the morning in my London office dealing with correspondence, and then off to visit to my mother in her nursing home to celebrate her ninety-second birthday. She is fortunate to live in a very pleasant local nursing home where she and other ladies and gentlemen of a similar age are well cared for. Meetings in the afternoon, then at 6pm I made off, now late, in order to attend a lecture by my friend Professor Tim Congdon organised by the think-tank Politeia at the Carlton Club in central London. The talk was to launch his latest book Money in a Free Society, published by Encounter Books. This was followed by a private dinner afterwards attended by an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, prominent journalists, businessmen and economists – including one from the Treasury. Finally home at about 11pm.
I spent the morning in my office dealing with constituents' correspondence. That afternoon I travelled by train to Bournemouth on the South Coast to fulfil a long standing obligation to speak at a public meeting. The meeting was extremely well attended. I spoke on the costs of EU membership on the British economy, and on the mechanics of how we can leave the EU. Again, there followed an extremely vigorous and enjoyable question and answer session with the audience. Those who wanted to then came with me to the bar to engage in some more political, and non-political, chat.
I travelled back to London by train that morning. The stinking cold that has afflicted me all week finally laid me low and I spent the afternoon resting.
A day spent in the office with my assistant Lynnda, dealing with routine issues correspondence. Also discussions with my researcher about formulating a response to the government's recently published review of the European Arrest Warrant. This review was a complete whitewash and a travesty of justice. It will ensure that the number of injustices will continue to grow, and indeed not just because of the EAW but also because of the unbelievable one-sided extradition arrangements with the USA. The reader will note that I have not travelled to Brussels this week. I go to Brussels when I need to, but not every week. What the reader should know is that one of the reasons for the never ending torrent of idiotic legislation that pours form the EU is that MEPs are paid €298 for every day they attend the European Parliament – or at least sign the register – in addition to their salaries. Many MEPs, Labour, Tory and Lib-Dem, practically live in Brussels, and not surprisingly when they can pick up over £1,000 per week extra just for being there. Perhaps this explains many MEPs' enthusiasm for the whole EU project, and why some so-called eurosceptics just want to reform it rather than leave.
At 11am I attended the local gathering for the Armistice ceremony outside Iford's old town hall. Then I worked in my London office, preparing for the following weeks plenary session in Strasbourg. I spent the late afternoon drafting an article for the Daily Express on a crime related issue. They invited me to write it but I won't know if they decide to publish it until it actually happens – or not, as the case may be. Finally left office at 8pm. Will come back for a few hours on Saturday to catch up on the things I had no time to.
Gerard Batten is a UK Independence Party MEP for London