Another month nearer the UK referendum on EU membership and another check on the latest Poll of Polls result from whatukthinks.org.
And it looks like Project Fear is having an effect – with a 1% shift to the Remain camp putting clear water between them and the Leave voters.
Hardly surprising with so many experts and twitterati circulating negative stories – some with very dubious claims – about what would happen if Britain dared to deviate from the route laid out by the Europa master plan.
One claim was that the English Premier League would loose all its European players if the UK voted out. Another was that the UK would not be allowed an entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. Yet another was leaving the EU would mean the end of the cross Channel booze cruises to Calais. All were untrue. But since when has that mattered when feeding propaganda to the masses?
The Leave supporters have been fighting back. But are vastly out numbered in the corridors of power – with even neutral civil servants at HM Treasury putting out pro-Remain economic projections. And with so many UK political leaders, except Farage of course, telling us that we have to stay in the club – or face a terrible future – the gradual swing to Remain continues.
But there is still that sickening feeling that we are being manipulated into buying the political equivalent of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). Something we don’t need and will regret ever agreeing to. However in the case of the European Union policy there are no national cancellations or refunds allowed.
Today is Saint George’s Day and this year it marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. It also falls just a few days after the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth; now England’s longest reigning monarch. And just to add a bit more significance it marks two months before the UK’s once in a generation vote to remain in or leave the European Union.
This one-off alignment of three separate aspects of Englishness – the monarchy, Shakespeare and Saint George – has generated a feeling that Britain is at a critical point in its history. A point where the destiny of the nation – and every one of its citizens – hangs in the balance.
No one knows the future but Shakespeare did at least provide the inspiration for future struggles …
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage; …
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’
King Henry V; Act 3 Scene 1
Grandad’s web page of the day
Today is Healthy Homes Day – according to EurActiv.com; who are reporting on a planned Energy Union that the EU are trying to move from an objective into practical reality.
Back in February 2015 the EU said that an interconnected Energy Union would make it possible for shortages in some nations to be made up by others and bolster energy security across the bloc. Since then regional and national governments have been asked to focus their climate change efforts on energy efficiency and especially in relation to the renovation of buildings. The EU is also aiming to make it easier for building renovation programmes to have access a multi-billion euro Juncker Investment Fund [is this the same as the EU fund that was announced in 2014 by JCJ?]
Existing EU directives already require that all new structures be nearly zero-energy buildings by 2021 but implementation by many countries has been poor or non-existent. And a year ago every EU country, except for Malta, was prosecuted for failing to fully translate the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive into national laws. The EU Commission has since said that enforcement of energy efficiency legislation will be tougher in the future and that there will be revisions to the related directives this Autumn.
So just as the UK closes its Zero Carbon Hub our masters in Brussels decide to get tough on countries that are failing to legislate for and enforce their zero energy objectives … Plus ça change …
Back in October 2015 the EU’s Motor Vehicles Technical Committee proposed giving car-makers the green light to exceed the current limits on nitrogen oxide emissions by 110% from September 2017 and then by 50% from January 2020 onwards. Now that proposal is set to be written into EU law – despite a petition from a group of 20 European cities signed by over 125,000 people.
So we will shortly have the crazy situation where the EU executive is prosecuting member states whose air quality is not up to standard while authorising car-makers to increase the level of pollution their vehicles can legally emit.
Currently the EU is prosecuting Germany, Portugal, Italy, Spain and the UK over their excessive nitrous oxide levels – while also targeting more than half of the 28 EU members for excessive concentrations of particles produced by diesel engines and industrial emissions. Conditions that were almost entirely created by major car and truck makers – many of whom are European.
Meaning that the EU is attacking the victims – the regional and national authorities not responsible for building these vehicles – while giving motor makers the go-ahead to legally sell vehicles with higher pollution levels.
This mad hatter approach has been made worse by the fact some (all?) car makers have been easily fooling the misguided EU emissions checks for years. A process that is still under-reporting emissions by using unrealistic test conditions that are much removed from real-world driving.
With just four weeks to go before the next Eurovision Song Contest all the songs from all the countries are competing for air time and media exposure. And this year’s UK entry, Joe and Jake, have been doing a bit better than many UK entrants in recent years.
In fact they even made the charts! It was an unofficial iTunes chart, in 69th place and for just two days – but it was a start. And tonight’s scheduled appearance on the Graham Norton Show could be a big enough boost to get You’re Not Alone back in the charts again.
However after so many failures over the decades the UK is still sitting around 30th in the betting as at this morning. Which is a bit harsh considering that there are only 25 songs in the final this year. And the mystic signs are good – BBC executives did not choose the entry this time, fewer copies of the promo CD are for sale on eBay and our forthcoming EU referendum might just encourage some Euro voters to be a bit more generous this time around.
Even so the chances of Joe and Jake equaling Katrina and the Waves (1st in 1997) or even Jessica Garlick (3rd in 2002) are still very slim …
Back in April 2015 – and before that in March 2013 – Grandad highlighted the lack of an obvious results or steps towards a Government commitment of all homes being zero carbon by 2016. A lack of progress and watering down of targets that none of the major UK parties sought to correct in their 2015 election manifestos.
Then during the recent Easter break came a low-key press release headed – Zero Carbon Hub has today announced it will cease operations on 31 March 2016. So finally putting this fading quango out of its misery.
Given that the news did not come out until 30 March and that parliament was on holiday, cynics might suggest that the closure was timed to slip by as quietly as possible. But the real issue is that a useful and practical objective – providing homes with little or no external energy demands – has been set-back by ineffective, or even misguided, government involvement. A lack of achievement that must also be put at the door of the major UK house builders.
So Grandad will just have to try to reduce heat losses from his present home instead … and another hippie ideal fades away.