13th June 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following speech, under the Catch the Eye procedure, to a debate on The Situation in Turkey.
"Paragraph 12 of the Motion for Resolution states that freedom of expression, even if it offends, is at the heart of democracy. I agree absolutely.
"Physical attacks on peaceful demonstrators should certainly bring Turkey's application to join the EU to a complete halt.
"They (the proposers of the Motion) could also have mentioned the attempted prosecution of Orhan Pamuk for a heretical view of Turkish history*. However, France attempted to enact an exact mirror image, or converse of the law, under which Mr Pamuk was prosecuted**.
"Many other EU countries prosecute and imprison people for heretical historical or political opinion.
"The Belgian Government of Guy Verhofstad**** banned Vlaams Blok, a Flemish political party. Germany tried to ban a party with fabricated evidence***.
"Turkey deserves censure but EU member states must put their own houses in order."
* The Turkishness Law allows people who insult the memory of Turkey to be prosecuted. Mr. Pamuk was prosecuted because he described the killing of Armenians by Turkey in 1915 as genocide.
** The French Government tried to enact a law that would have made it a criminal offence to deny that the killing of Armenians by Turkey in 1915 was genocide. France's highest court ruled in 2012 that the law was contrary to the French Constitution
*** This was an attempt to ban the German National Democratic Party (NPD) 2001- 2003, before the Constitutional Count in Karlsruhe on the basis of incriminating statements made by NPD members. However, the case failed because it was found that all of the incriminating statements had been made by NPD members who were agents of the German security services!
**** He is now the leader of ALDE, the Liberals, in the European Parliament.
13th June 2013: On Tuesday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate on Asylum.
He told his fellow MEPs:
"Asylum has far less to do with shielding people from persecution and is much more a pretext for facilitating immigration. The Political Class knows there is opposition to mass immigration so they present asylum as a system over which they have no control.
"If applicants are not detained and are allowed to seek work, they will also need housing. Jobs and houses are in short supply so they will be employed or housed at the expense of the home populations. Perhaps complicit MEPs should open their homes to these applicants and fund them from their salaries, rather than letting the poor and dispossessed bear the burden.
"Of course, if asylum is refused, the applicant will be given a piece of paper asking him to leave but without any coercion.
"They can also use the legal system to frustrate removal. An Iranian asylum seeker Mr. Rostami came to Britain in 2001 and was refused asylum in 2002. He is still in Britain after several appeals, a prison sentence and a deportation order."
13th June 2013: On Tuesday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons delivered the following speech on Organised Crime.
"The solution to these problems, we are told, is more EU legislation and greater competences for the EU.
"Unlike the literary character, Topsy, organised crime did not just grow. It has been facilitated by the European Union.
"Schengen removed borders for organised crime, just as it did for legitimate business. Drugs, arms and trafficked people can, more easily be moved.
"A single currency makes it possible to launder the profits of crime, more easily, anywhere in the Zone.
"Lax immigration controls and connivance with bogus asylum claims allow criminals and sometimes their wares to pass from one country and one continent to another.
"Of course, not all organised crime involves crossing frontiers. The predominance of the same distinct population groups in both ostensibly legitimate cash business, such as taxi firms and take-away food shops, as well as in drug dealing and prostitution, allows the profits from the latter to be laundered through the former."
23rd May 2013: Before the voting today Andrew Brons asked the Vice President who would preside over the votes to call for a one minute's silence for the soldier who was so brutally murdered in Woolwich yesterday in broad daylight by two African Islamists. Apparently one other MEP (a British Conservative) had made a similar request.
The Vice President said that it would be difficult to call for a minute's silence (he did not explain why) but he said that he would "see what (he) could do".
Whilst he did not call for a minute's silence, he did express condolences on behalf of the whole House and said that he would ask the President of the Parliament (Mr. Schulz) to send a letter of condolence to the family of the murdered soldier.
Andrew Brons said:
"Whilst I did not achieve what I wanted to achieve, I did at least bring the matter to the attention of the whole House and succeeded in getting the President to send the letter of condolence."
23rd May 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg Andrew Brons, under the 'Catch the Eye' procedure, spoke during a debate on the 2012 progress report on the candidature of Bosnia Herzegovina (for accession to the EU).
He told his fellow MEPs:
"I congratulate Bosnia Herzegovina for making little progress towards meeting the political criteria! In my opinion, the more resistance a country shows to the EU's demands, the better.
"In particular, it has resisted a move towards a neo-liberal market economy, as distinct from simply a private enterprise economy. Apparently, little progress has been made towards freedom of movement, for which I might have been inclined to congratulate them. However, it appears that they were referring to freedom of movement within Bosnia Herzegovina. If you are a Croat or a Bosnian Muslim, you might think twice before travelling through parts of Republika Serpska!
"There is a coded reference to there being "no shared vision". What this means is that population is split three ways and political co-operation is minimal. Would it really be desirable to bring such a divided country into the EU?
"There is, of course, a lesson for us. A vertically-divided state is ungovernable - as Swedes in Stockholm must be concluding at this very moment."
23rd May 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg Andrew Brons, under the Catch the Eye procedure, spoke during a debate on Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.
"The appalling problem of the millions of external and internal refugees cannot be considered in isolation. Their difficulties will be overcome only when the conflict comes to an end. However, neither side seems likely to win decisively in the foreseeable future.
"The conflict is often depicted as one between incontrovertible good (the Opposition) and incontrovertible evil (the Government) .
"In fact, both sides have committed hideous atrocities.
"The Government is politically repressive but it is socially secular. Some of the Opposition are (or claim to be) both politically and socially liberal. Others, the Islamists are neither and they are certainly not secular. Their régime would be more repressive than Assad's Syria.
"The answer is not to arm either side and it is not to transfer the population to neighbouring countries or to Europe.
"The answer is for the whole international community to urge talks between Government and Opposition, without pre-conditions - except, of course, for a cease-fire."
22nd May 2013: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the 'Catch the Eye' procedure, to a debate on Mutual Recognition of Protection Measures (orders against domestic violence).
"The substance of this proposal has every merit. People who have been subjected to domestic or other violence or harassment need protection wherever they happen to be - their home country another EU state or anywhere else.
"I would be happier with a world-wide treaty, to which all well-meaning countries would freely subscribe, recognising protection orders from other countries.
"To have EU legislation suggests that people move countries only within the EU. I do not favour EU legislation on principle. However, it is better for vulnerable people to be partially protected, in a form that I do not favour, than not to be protected at all.
"I do not want to facilitate movement of people in the EU but I do want them to be protected when they do move.
"I cannot help thinking that those behind such apparently well-meaning measures, are sometimes more interested in the extension of EU legislative competence than they are in the substantive issue."
21st May 2013: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following speech during a debate, on the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the European Council meeting which is to be held tomorrow.
"It is, of course, member states that have the responsibility to collect taxes and fight tax fraud. Yet here is the EU trying to extend its legislative competence.
"It is, of course, true that fraud is often committed across international borders - often by multi-national and globalist companies, so beloved by the EU's neo-liberal policies. However, the borders are all borders and not just the borders of member states. Action needs to be taken by extensive international agreement and not confined to the EU.
"On another topic on the agenda, to talk about growth, jobs and competitiveness in the context of the EU's energy policy is wildly optimistic.
"Renewable energy might well be a desirable ideal but it is inefficient and expensive. High energy costs will not create growth, jobs and competitiveness. They will destroy them.
"Suppliers of energy wishing to use fossil fuels are penalised financially and those plants will eventually be closed down. To make matters worse, emergent economies seem to be immune from strictures against the use of fossil fuels.
"In the United Kingdom we have vast quantities of coal, locked in the ground as the result of Mrs. Thatcher's policies in the 1980s. We must discard our prejudices against the use of fossil fuels and against nuclear energy. That will be the key to growth and jobs.
"The difficulties facing the Euro-zone will doubtless come up. Perhaps they might heed the words of Oskar Lafontaine* and begin an orderly dismantling of the Euro-zone. Only escape from the Euro-zone will rescue the troubled economies of the South from permanent stagnation."
* Oskar Lafontaine was German Finance Minister when the Euro was adopted but has now suggested that the zone should be dismantled.
21st May 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg Andrew Brons delivered a One Minute Speech (under Rule 150) on Europeanism.
He told his fellow MEPs in the Chamber:
"The terms Pro-European and Anti-European are often used as shorthand for Pro-EU and Anti-EU. I, for one, find the term Anti-European to describe those of us who are opposed to membership, or even the existence, of the EU, as highly offensive.
"Europe is much older and much more than the EU. It is a cultural entity, a religious entity and an entity with overlapping and related ancestries.
"The EU goes out of its way to welcome Third World immigration and embraces the political and economic doctrine of Globalism. It is the EU that is Anti-European because its policies will destroy the distinctiveness of Europe.
"If Third World immigrants come to Europe, they do not become New Europeans to replace unborn European babies. They turn parts of Europe irreversibly into the Third World.
"It is Global Capitalism and its related ideologies that fuel immigration because it regards human beings, as though they were merely factors of production."
18th April 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the 'Catch the Eye' procedure, to a debate on on Turkey's progress report on its candidature for membership of the EU.
"Turkey is certainly abusing human rights when it prosecutes academics for describing the 1915 killing of Armenians as genocide. Of course, Turkey is not alone: France proposes an exact mirror image of that law. People will be prosecuted for saying that it was not genocide. France and many other member states, prosecute and gaol people for heretical opinions: on academic as well as political matters. Perhaps it might fit in after all!
"I am not an enthusiast for the European Union but, for as long as it exists, I would prefer it to be more European rather than less European. Turkey is not European, by its geography, ancestry, religion or culture.
"Whilst not being an EU enthusiast, I find it extraordinary that a country that is still occupying nearly 40% of Cyprus, a member state, should even be considered for membership."