Tag Archives: europe


On June 23rd, there will be the most important democratic decision taken in the UK, ever. The British People and those of Northern Ireland will be asked if they wish to remain in or leave the European Union. I am firmly of the view that both collectively and individually we will be better off, have more freedoms and a richer political, and non-political culture if we remain in. Like others, I have a list of issues that I believe need to be considered, mine are, Jobs & Prosperity, Citizenship Rights, Sovereignty and Peace & Hope.

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The EU D.P. Regulations falls at the hurdle

Glynn Moody, of course,  at TechDirt, syndicates the EDRi scoop about the final stages of the new EU Data Protection Regulation exposing the National Governments’ role in weakening the current legislation which have completed their 1st & 2nd stages. The EDRI have published a document called “Broken Badly” which contains their critique of the Council’s behaviour and positions because they weaken the rules around consent (both authorisation and purpose), corporate sanctions, duty to notify breaches, and the problematic one stop shop for jurisdiction. Correspondence to Chris Grayling I suppose.

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An act of misdirection

And so now the “Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill” is now law. The fallout from Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle pretty much drowned it out, but we need to ask how much of the rush towards the law is actually caused by the Euroscepticism of the Tory Party. The European law dimension will return to Parliament before the general election and the firing of the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve who may have been one of the chief obstacles inside the cabinet may have been a necessary step to securing the laws passage. They would have looked foolish having got the LinDems and Labour on board and failing to get the Attorney General.  What was the cause and what was the effect?

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Contributing to a fairer European Copyright law

I have today submitted evidence to the EU’s Copyright Consultation. I used  http://copywrongs.eu/ to help me, they filter the questions for you, and I wrote about exceptions (we, especially in the UK, need more) , clarity and derived works (again arguing for more), the balance of rights between copyright holders and citizens (more rights for citizens) and the appropriateness of old laws and concepts to the digital age (they aren’t).

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Nokia exits the mobile market

So Nokia have given up and sold their mobile handset and presumably the mobile infrastructure to Microsoft. Last year, Nokia, the World’s No. 1 mobile phone manufacturer but were struggling to meet the onslaught of Apple’s iphone and the rapidly alternative  growing of Android decided to shit-can their two Linux projects and exclusively throw in their lot with one of the then weakest phone operating-  and eco-systems, Microsoft! Coincidently they had just hired Steven Elop as CEO, whom they had poached from Microsoft.

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Private Members

So the European Referendum amendment to the Queen’s speech fell, the Tories will now be pursuing a Private Members bill. The Tory Party draft bill is published here….. It’s not very long, and it says that voters will be the same as for parliamentary elections plus peers, who can’t normally vote in parliamentary elections. (It’s a left over monarchy thing). This means that EU citizens living here can’t vote, except the Irish (it’s a left over Empire thing). Also many British citizens living abroad won’t be able to vote.

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The Tories Dilemma

So, Queen’s Speech or Private Member’s bill? To express regret by voting against the Queen’s Speech because there is no referendum bill, or to enshrine Cameron’s (last) promise to Britain, to renegotiate and then vote into Law. The Tory’s are now trying to outflank UKIP by legislating for their promised 2017 referendum. No doubt they feel they deserve the UKIP votes because after all, they agree with them, it seems the electorate’s less sure.

It’ll be dramatic stuff, and it’s not a month since Cameron recalled Parliament to pay tribute to Thatcher, allowing the Tory Party to demonstrate its tribalism and cohesion at its most powerful.

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I dropped into Ivana Bartoletti’s campaign launch rally. She is a candidate in London Labour’s selection process to be a candidate for the European Parliament. I was pointed to her by a Deptford comrade, Joe Dromey, visited her web site and like her story. There were three speeches, thankfully short, and she wrapped up. The other speeches were by Seema Malhotra MP and Jeanette Arnold OBE AM, and her supporters page includes statements of support from Dianne Abbot MP and Mike Gapes MP; oddly,

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Linking is legal again

Seventeen senior academic lawyers have published a powerful opinion that internet hyperlinks, to copyright infringing content is legal. The EU Court has been asked for an opinion/ruling by the Swedish Government, the case is summarised on the marvellous 1709 blog in an article entitled “CJEU to consider copyright implications of linking and framing”. The lawyers have published this opinion under the auspices of the European Copyright Society. This is not exactly news but it’s an important statement of common sense.

Let’s hope the Judges agree!

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On parliament and the EU budget

In parliament, Labour voted with Tory europhobes last week to express the view that the next seven year budget for the EU should be less than the previous seven years budget. I think this is playing with fire. In voting with the Tory backwoodsmen, Labour gives credibility to their xenophobia and also to their austerity agenda. It is also committing to cuts for seven years. However it is a fact that the EU budget is about 1% of EU GDP and can thus not have much impact on the growth of the European economy, although the pump priming aspect of the expenditure programmes is one of the reasons that the majority of the EU member states want to see an increase in expenditure.

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#lab12 conference diary

#lab12 Despite being a member of the Labour Party for 38 years, I have never been to conference before; I have just returned from Manchester, where I attended for 2½ days. It was rather fun, jolly useful and thanks to some of the people I met, inspiring.

I got there late-ish on Sunday and met up with my comrades from Lewisham Deptford CLP, including @vickyfoxcroft, @joe_dromey, @joeperryuk, @mjrharris and @Len_Duvall in a bar near the conference centre. I had been disappointed that the conference and fringe running order had not been sent to me until after I bought my train ticket. This meant I missed part one of the shenanigans and the debate on “Refounding Labour” which I had wanted to attend. After the Lewisham meetup, I moved on to the New Statesman party. I think as a subscriber, I should have had an invite, I didn’t, but anyway, I got in OK. I met up with one of their staff, and expressed my views that I didn’t want to pay to read Dan Hodges and could they stop publishing his stuff. I was advised to write to the Editor, Jason Cowley, with that view, but I can’t find his email or twitter handle! Poor show!

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Some thoughts about Assange and Asylum

Last week, the Ecuadorian Government granted Julian Assange, currently holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, diplomatic asylum. Mark Weisbrot wrote in the Guardian as to why someone had to stand up for human rights, and HMG, in the person of William Hague, states in a remarkably balanced statement why the UK government feels bound to complete the extradition to Sweden.

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The Coalition’s EU time-bomb

Thinking about de Grucht’s prospects of retaining his position on the Commission, led me to think what’ll happen to Cathy Ashton’s position. The Commissioners are appointed by each of the National Governments, and their term expires in 2014. I can’t see the coalition agreeing without splitting the Tory Party in Parliament. It might make this week’s House of Lords spat between the Tories and Lib-Dems look like hand bags at dawn.

Can this be brought to Parliament?

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