La Treizième Étoile: 28/11/10 - 05/12/10 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
My tweets (@SWUKinEU)
Nick Griffin MEP reveals intention to swap Brussels for Oldham East

Friday, 3 December 2010
Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party and MEP for the North West, has said via Twitter that he is to stand as a candidate in the forthcoming by-election in the north-west constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Labour candidate Phil Woolas won the seat back in May’s General Election but has since seen his victory declared void after high court judges ruled that he “knowingly made false statements about the Liberal Democrat candidate Elwyn Watkins in his campaign literature”, therefore breaching Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Mr Woolas vowed to appeal the decision, and today saw his appeal dismissed prompting Mr Griffin to declare his candidacy. "It is the end of the road - I am out", the former Labour immigration minister later admitted.

Predictably immigration is likely to figure highly in the forthcoming campaigns, and Mr Griffin, whose party has a well-known racist history, standing as a candidate certainly does not spell good news.

The Oldham area of Greater Manchester has had its share of racial tension with violence infamously erupting in May 2001 after a gang of white men threw a brick through the window of an Asian household in the Glodwick area of the constituency, home to a particularly large Pakistani community. Just a few days later, the home the Asian Deputy Mayor of Oldham, was fire bombed.

The 102-page Ritchie Report (pdf), produced in light of the disturbances, claimed Oldham authorities had failed to address racial divisions in the town, which were then exploited by extremists, placing notable blame on Mr Griffin’s party.

The BNP has exacerbated problems and undoubtedly by distribution of crude leaflets and other activity done much to stir up tensions," it reads (3.17).

The date of the by-election has yet to be announced, but considering Mr Griffin’s record you can expect to be hearing a lot more about it in the news…

Update (14/12/10): Mr Griffin has today confirmed he is to stand in the Oldham East and Saddleworth. Fellow MEP for the North West, Paul Nuttall, is also standing as the token UKIP candidate.

The Euro Will Survive (even the Chinese say so)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010
As Ireland becomes the second Eurozone country to receive financial assistance in this current debt crisis [an €85 billion package of loans], speculation has been rife that the contagion will spread to Portugal and possibly even Spain and signal the beginning of the end for the Euro single currency. But these fears are wrong according to a commentary written by Chinese news agency Xinhau this week.

Published under a Brussels dateline, the opinion piece entitled 'Euro will not fail' said that while the Euro was facing its toughest challenge since its launch in 1999, the European Union had the financial means to deal with the drama.

"As a major achievement of European integration, the Euro is a landmark in the world's monetary history," it says. "It has become the second-largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the US dollar."

"Despite its shortcomings, which have been exposed by the debt crisis, the Euro has brought economic benefits and currency stability to its members. A break-up of the Eurozone would be politically unacceptable."

The commentary continued to remark that the EU’s (belatedly-installed) financial rescue mechanism, European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), had enough money to bail out Portugal if necessary and "if the crisis engulfs Spain, it would spell big trouble, but not the end of the Euro either".

China, an increasingly-indisputable economic power, is believed to hold an undisclosed proportion of its $2.65 trillion in official reserves in Euros and has repeatedly expressed its support for the single currency. Last week it emerged China and Russia have decided to renouncing the US dollar and instead use their own currencies for bilateral trade.

UKIP MEP Bloom vows to appeal despite no disciplinary measures imposed yet following his outburst

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek has seemingly deferred his decision on how to punish UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom following his "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer" outburst in Strasbourg last week. today reports that after the 10-minute hearing on Wednesday no decision had been taken and that Mr Bloom, left, said he planned to appeal against his expulsion on the grounds that parliament had allegedly failed to follow its own rules.

Mr Bloom is reported to have said he offered to apologise but only on condition that Martin Schulz (leader of the Socialists and Democrats) and fellows MEPs, Daniel Cohn-Bendit (co-leader of the Greens) and South West MEP Graham Watson (former leader of the Liberals), also apologised for the "fascist" comments they had made in the chamber on other occasions.

"I offered what I consider to be a very good British compromise and left it at that. They sent me away without making a decision. To be honest, I do not think they know what to do," he is quoted as saying.

In all too similar circumstances, UKIP colleague and party leader Nigel Farage was fined 10 days' MEP allowances, almost €3000, for another verbal rant earlier this year in which he said Herman van Rompuy had “as much charisma as a wet rag”, the appearance of a “second-rate bank clerk” and came from Belgium, “a non-country”.

As for possible punishments for Mr Bloom, this is what Rule 153 of the European Parliament's Rule of Procedures has to say...


UKIP offering Christmas gift that definitely won’t be on Van Rompuy’s wish list...

Monday, 29 November 2010
You cannot deny that UKIP have a sense of humour (if nothing else); just in time for Christmas, the British party has produced a gift idea that would not go down so well in the Van Rompuy household this festive season – a ‘Genuine Belgian Damp Rag’ tea towel.

Produced to “commemorate” Nigel Farage’s “hilarious demolition of EU President Herman Van Rompuyin February earlier this year, it carries a large mugshot of the Belgian above a snippit of Mr Farage’s speech.

Priced at only £5.00, the party clearly expect it to be a best-seller urging customers to pre-order because stock is limited. I wonder if Mr Farage will buy one for his European colleague...

But if that’s not to your taste the UKIP store has many other products including a 2011 calendar featuring only British landscape scenes, a logo mug and pendants, but alas no more 'Keep the Pound' dressing gowns

Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.