MY copy of David Cameron’s “dodgy dossier” on the EU referendum arrived this week, a propaganda exercise which failed to justify one penny of the £9m cost to the public purse.
It says the UK will not join the euro if Britain votes to remain in the European Union. Forgive me, but I had not realised that such a scenario was back on the agenda. Tony Blair and his fellow Iraq war conspirators would have been proud of such fabrication.
And the contents could not have been more disingenuous when one of Mr Cameron’s pen-pushers wrote this line: “The UK is a strong independent nation. Our EU membership magnifies the UK’s ability to get its way on the issues we care about.” Really?
Try telling that to the steelworkers who have lost their jobs – or whose livelihoods are at risk because of EU state aid rules.
Or those flooding victims whose plight was exacerbated by EU rules on dredging, and such like, which put the protection of birds before the maintenance of rivers.
Or those UK food producers whose efforts are being undermined by convoluted “country of origin” labelling that allows meat from Europe to be imported here and sold as British if it is processed on these shores.
Even the title “Why the Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK” is misleading. It should say “Why a majority of Ministers...”
I foresee this stunt backfiring because the patronising contents will alienate all those who are undecided and struggling to find positive reasons to support the status quo.
If Britain enjoys such special status, why is the EU hindering policy-making on manufacturing, flooding and agriculture to give just three examples?
I was tempted to bin it before deciding to place it an envelope marked “return to sender” and post it back – minus a stamp – to 10 Downing Street. There was one catch – taxpayers would have had to foot the bill for this protest.
Instead I have posted the leaflet to Mr Cameron via his West Oxfordshire Conservative Association constituency office – the address is Waterloo House, 58-60 High Street, Witney, OX28 6HJ.
It means the Tory party, rather than Government, will have to pick up the postage bill. It also might learn why it is being so badly served at present by a leader whose one area of expertise before entering Parliament was, in fact, public relations. I hope he gets the message.
IF MPs want to know why there is such a clamour for politicians to release their income tax returns in this new age of political transparency, I offer three reasons: Eric Illsley, Elliot Morley and Denis MacShane.
This terrible triumvirate, who all represented this region in Parliament, abused their Commons expenses and allowances to such an extent that they were sent to jail for their abuse of the public purse.
If they, and their colleagues, had not been so arrogant, today’s politicians might not be regarded with such scepticism by those who believe MPs are still putting self-interest first.
WHAT an embarrassment. Rebuked by the Speaker, John Bercow, for showing a lack of courtesy when summonsed to the Commons to confirm plans to shut the Department for Business regional office in Sheffield, Business Industry Anna Soubry was again named and shamed when she quibbled the amount of aid being made available to Redcar following the closure of its steel plant.
“Order. Shush, junior Minister. We do not need you to burble from a sedentary position. Be quiet! Your burbling is not required. Learn it. I have told you so many times; try to get the message,” said Mr Bercow.
No wonder the steel industry is in crisis if this is how Ms Soubry negotiates.
TRANSPORT Minister Andrew Jones told Parliament that work on road improvements between Sheffield and Manchester will begin by “March 2020”. He could not have been more specific.
Let’s hope this forecast is more accurate than the timetable for the planned electrification of the railway line from Leeds to Harrogate, where Mr Jones just happens to be the local MP, and York which was put on “pause” last June.
On January 22 this year, Claire Perry – the Railway Minister and a colleague of Mr Jones at the Department for Transport – said the scheme depended on an electrification strategy which would be published “in early 2016”.
However, in an update to Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, the aforementioned Mr Jones says a draft update would be published “this year”.
Why the hold-up?
I thought that the appointment of two Yorkshire ministers to the Department for Transport – Mr Jones and Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill – would be beneficial to this region after decades of under-investment. I’m beginning to have my doubts.
EDUCATED at Ampleforth, racehorse trainer Mouse Morris had every reason to be overcome with emotion when his “crock” of a racehorse, Rule The World, overcame two fractures to his pelvis to win the Crabbie’s Grand National under teenager jockey David Mullins. He’s still mourning the loss of his much-loved son “Tiffer” who died from carbon monoxide poisoning during a holiday to Argentina.
A man of few words, how insensitive of broadcaster Clare Balding to press Morris live on television to speak more frankly about his feelings after this most bittersweet of triumphs. Anyone watching on television, and everyone in racing, knew what this result meant to this chain-smoking 65-year-old who has never been at ease in the limelight.
It’s just a shame Clare Balding was too full of her own self-importance to simply let the pictures do the talking. Still I supposed we better get used to it ahead of the Olympics.
LIKE many, my nerves became somewhat frayed on Sunday night as Sheffield’s Danny Willett produced one of the great rounds of golf to win the US Masters and the right to wear the coveted green jacket. My only regret was the fawning sycophancy of the BBC which, let it be remembered, has surrendered the right to show live ball by ball coverage of The Open, still the world’s premier tournament, from Troon this July. This was an object lesson in how to score a hole in one – for hypocrisy.