La Treizième Étoile: 01/01/12 - 08/01/12 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
My tweets (@SWUKinEU)
JD Wetherspoon’s ‘Veto Ale’ to celebrate Cameron's ‘patriotic act’ is a clever stunt of tremendously poor taste

Saturday, 7 January 2012
I have to admit I was not sure whether to laugh or cry when I first learned of the news that JD Wetherspoon – the UK’s largest, cheapest and most well-known pub chain – has introduced a 'Veto Ale' to celebrate Cameron's “patriotic act” at the last European Council meeting in December.

The beer, brewed only with British ingredients (of course), registers 4.3% ABV and while is quite a good little stunt, is in my opinion of tremendous bad taste since it chooses to celebrate the decision of David Cameron to remove the UK from the EU negotiating table.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin, a longstanding Eurosceptic, was expectedly delighted with the stunt: "Veto Ale is a traditional English bitter and a perfect example of a great beer style that you can drink and feel proud to be British,” he said.

"I believe that David Cameron has taken the right decision on the Euro and that customers in our pubs will salute this with a pint of this excellent beer."

While I should note that I haven’t yet had the chance to sample the tipple myself, I wonder that - like the veto - it will initially taste rather nice and satisfying, but then as realisation begins to kick in (perhaps after two or three pints) you start to realise it’s not so fabulous and you will seek something else – perhaps something more European??

Frankly, I’m surprised more hasn’t been made of this stunt by UKIP – who are big supporters of the British pub industry. (Then again, Wetherspoons are arguably the reason why so many traditional pubs are closing as they cannot compete...)

Tory MEP Ashley Fox ‘bows to pressure and joins the 21st Century’

Thursday, 5 January 2012
South West Conservative MEP Ashley Fox has today announced he has “bowed to pressure and joined the 21st Century” and has signed up for an account on the social networking site Facebook.

On his website, he writes: “As probably its 850millionth(ish) user I feel quite special."

"I hope to use this as a means to keep those interested regularly updated with what I have been doing on your behalf. I promise I will not be using it to inform you every time I have a cup of tea, unlike some users, but will reserve updates for relevant EU or South West news.

His account can be found at and immediately you can see one advantage of the new Facebook “timeline” layout for MEPs – the Map feature that allows the user to tag himself and his various activities around the region. Very useful.

Mr Fox becomes the third of our region’s representatives to join Facebook after his Tory colleague Julie Girling and the long-serving Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson.


MEP Girling praises EU Citizens' Initiative as 8Hour campaign hits 1 million milestone

Wednesday, 4 January 2012
Julie Girling MEP with a horse (Photo: Julie Girling MEP website)Conservative MEP Julie Girling has welcomed the news that the one millionth signature from an EU citizen has been registered on the website - a campaign initiated by Danish MEP Dan Jørgensen calling for an end to long-distance journeys for horses and other animals sent for slaughter in the European Union.

Writing today on Public Service Europe, Mrs Girling, who likes to spend her spare time riding horses, writes that this is a “massive moment for the welfare of horses and other animals” and praised the EU Citizens' Initiative as contained in the Lisbon Treaty as “a valuable tool for the general public”.

Current EU legislation makes it possible for horses and other animals to be transported for several days, even though it is acknowledged by the European Commission that animal suffering increases with the duration of the journey.

A million supporters is a milestone for any campaign and the citizens' initiative is a valuable tool for the general public […] The Commission must listen to its people and act to stop the lengthy transport times of horses and other animals to slaughter. The rules need to be changed and now the commission must pull its finger out and get on with sorting out the problem.”

While I am supportive of the 8hours campaign, it is essential to maintain this tool as voice for the grassroots - rather than a tool of industry funded lobbyists or interest groups,” she said. “Citizens need their voices to be heard in the European Parliament, MEPs can only shout so loudly.


Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.