18th March 2013: Last week at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following speech during a debate on Syria.
"Syria is anything but a democracy but nor are many countries in the Middle East such as its fierce critic, Saudi Arabia. Nor for that matter are all of Mr. Assad's opponents in Syria, democrats.
"The Syrian Government's handling of the protests was, from the beginning, grossly disproportionate but its brutality has frequently been matched by the opposition.
"We can also judge a regime by its substantive policies. Before the conflict, women in Syria were relatively liberated. Religious minorities - particularly Christians, were free to worship without interference, although some Christians have been attacked by Islamist members of the Opposition.
"It is all very well to bemoan the huge humanitarian toll of the conflict but that is what happens when neither side is capable of winning decisively. It is also what happens when the protagonists are armed, albeit covertly, by outsiders.
"How long will it be before the armed forces of member states are dragged into the conflict and the body bags start to be flown home to Europe?
"How ethical was it, and is it, for the West to encourage other people to risk their lives to advance the West's political agenda: depriving Iran of an ally and Israel of an adversary. Was régime change really worth 70,000 lives?
"(Might the Ba'ath régime be replaced by a democracy? It might be replaced by an Islamist dictatorship. Democracies do not thrive when there are vertical divisions in the populace.)*
"The priority must now be to bring the bloodshed to an end. That can happen only if there are talks without pre-conditions on neutral territory."
*This paragraph was omitted because of shortage of time.
14th March 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the 'Catch the Eye' procedure, to a debate on the European Council meeting to be held on the 14th and 15th March 2013.
"It has been admitted that unemployment is not falling and is not likely to do so in 2013.
"The value of the Euro will not allow the countries of the South to emerge from recession.
"Austerity programmes will not cure unemployment. You do not make countries richer by making them poorer.
"Globalisation might make the emergent economies richer but it will make European countries poorer.
"The Single Market might help low income member states but only at the expense of higher income member states.
"Uncontrolled immigration will make unemployment worse everywhere. We heard earlier from a Mr Farage about immigration to Britain. Is this the same Mr. Farage who said on 4th May 2010 that the UK ought to issue a quarter of a million work permits each year?
"Incidentally, the Romanian citizens to whom Mr Farage referred were not ordinary Romanians . . . they were the Roma."
Mr Sefkovic, the EU Commissioner for Inter-institutional Relations, said that he rejected statements about Romanians and Bulgarians, on behalf of the Commission. He said that this was stigmatising a population.
There are some who remember that when he was being interviewed by AFCO before his appointment in 2009, he was asked a question about a speech he had made five years previously about the Roma. He said that he could not remember what he had said five years before. We are confident that Mr Sefkovic dwelt only on their virtues.
13th March 2013: The following Press Statement has been sent out by the Office of Andrew Brons MEP to Britain's national newspapers and to the newspapers and media outlets covering his Yorkshire and the Humber Constituency.
"Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg Andrew Brons was unsuccessful in his attempt to make a 'Catch the Eye' contribution to a debate on Strengthening the Fight Against Racism, Xenophobia and Hate Crimes.
Had he been called to speak, he would have said:
"George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four was a caricature of reality but unfortunately reality has caught up with the caricature. Orwell created the concept of thought crime - the criminalisation of a state of mind, Xenophobia - literally fear of strangers - must apparently be criminalised - a thought crime in Orwell's sense.
"I asked the Council and the Commission for definitions of racism and xenophobia but they could provide neither. It is absurd to criminalise what cannot be defined.
"Incitements to violence against others, on whatever ground, including the ground of political opinion, must be condemned and prosecuted. However, this is not about preventing violence or hatred. It is about suppressing opposition to out-of-control immigration."
12th March 2013: This was not 'just another debate'. For Nationalists, this was the most important debate of the year - perhaps of the Parliament. It was a debate about how to make it easier to send Nationalists to prison for talking or writing about the presence of immigrants.
Whilst we could not change the outcome of the vote - that has yet to come - we could rehearse the arguments and put our opponents on the back foot.
This was an occasion on which all Nationalists should have been present. They could have asked for Catch the Eye speeches and asked Blue Card questions. However, Andrew Brons was the only Nationalist present from Britain. The other British 'Nationalist' was too busy to attend.
Andrew Brons asked one Blue Card question and tried to ask four more but these were not allowed. He asked to make a Catch the Eye speech. However, when it came to the Catch the Eye section, it was announced that those who had asked Blue Card questions would not be selected to give Catch the Eye speeches - a previously unknown rule invented for the occasion!
12th March 2013: At the European Parliament in Strasbourg this morning, Andrew Brons asked a Blue Card Question, addressed to an MEP from ALDE (the Liberal Group), during the debate on Strengthening the Fight Against Racism, Xenophobia and Hate Crime.
"Violence and incitement to violence must be recognised as despicable criminal acts. However, it would appear that racism and xenophobia go beyond violence.
"Can you define these terms? I asked the Council and the Commission for definitions and they could provide definitions for neither word.
"Is it not absurd to criminalise that which cannot be defined?
Response from the MEP:
She provided many instances of acts that she thought merited prosecution. However, definitions of the two terms eluded her.
12th March 2013: At the European Parliament in Strasbourg this morning, Andrew Brons spoke during the debate on Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms(principally but not exclusively for cross border on-line transactions).
"Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms are self-evidently beneficial. Most disputes between retailers of goods and services and their customers would not be worth taking to court. This means that customers' complaints are not considered and unscrupulous traders can take advantage of this. It must be said that some trade associations have already established their own arbitration schemes.
"Of the different forms of ADR, arbitration is undoubtedly the best, because, unlike mediation, it is guaranteed to bring the dispute to a conclusion.
"I have a greater problem with the underlying motive for these measures. It is not primarily to improve consumer rights but to facilitate on-line cross border trade in manufactured goods, which will undoubtedly affect adversely the manufacturing sectors of higher wage economies and the retail sectors of the West.
"Nevertheless, they will benefit customers buying home produced goods from home retailers."
12th March 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons was unsuccessful in his 'Catch the Eye' attempt to speak during the debate on Gender Stereotypes.
Had he been called to address his fellow MEPs, he would have said:
"If anybody had suggested that male and female were uniform discrete categories, he (or of course she) would be unacquainted with the evidence. There are wide ranges of physical and mental qualities and abilities within each gender and there are significant overlaps.
"However, that does not mean that correlations cannot be found or that observed correlations are the product of social conditioning.
"It is not that generalisation cannot be made but that they should not apply to random individuals.
"Any employer who made assumptions about their present or future employees, simply on the basis of their gender would be foolish and wasteful.
"However, there is a danger that a right to equality of treatment might become a duty for equality of career choice. To say that women should not be prevented from working in particular occupations or from working full-time, should not lead to them having a duty to work full-time. Nor should we become unduly concerned if there are comparatively few female motor mechanics or building workers.
"Proposing the rejection of an argument that has not been advanced is not a very honest debating device."
6th February 2013: This morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate on the next meeting of the European Council (the heads of state or government of each country).
He told his fellow MEPs:
"So, Mali will be on the agenda.
"All actions have consequences - unintended as well as planned.
"Those who are disposed to learn from past mistakes will recall that Britain's war against the appalling régime in Afghanistan and our ill-founded war against Iraq resulted in the London bombings, by third generation Islamists from a large Fifth Column in Britain.
"The political leaders of France, Britain and the rest will not be thanked by the families of service personnel killed in the conflict or by the families of victims of retaliatory atrocities in Europe, which will be a direct result of this perceived incursion into Muslim territory.
"Of course, the atrocities in Europe are facilitated by a large Muslim and significant Islamist, population in the cities of Western Europe.
"Even those, like the opportunist* from whom we heard yesterday, who find it expedient to oppose this latest adventure, refuse to see the presence of fifth columns in Europe as the threat that they undoubtedly are."
* Nigel Farage - a permanent guest on Question Time and close friend of the BBC.
6th February 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the 'Catch the Eye' procedure, to a debate on the European Semester*.
"The year begins with unjustified optimism about growth prospects, which recedes, as the year's realities begin to emerge.
"If you persuade countries to share a currency that is overvalued for some of them and if you import manufactured goods from countries with low wage rates and inhuman condition and tolerate the transfer of production and investment to the emergent economies - you will not get growth but recession!
"If you import cheap labour from poorer countries, you will not increase employment; you will increase unemployment.
"We have unsatisfied needs and unemployed people who could satisfy them. What is physically possible must be politically and financially possible or the political and financial systems are not fit for purpose."
* The European Semester is a system for the greater co-ordination of growth (or recession!) policies. At the beginning of each year there is an annual growth survey of each country by the Commission. These predictions of growth rates might be modified by the European Council at its March meeting and subsequent meetings.
It is a responsible for ensuring budgetary discipline (preventing excessive budget deficits - spending more than the government's income). It is also responsible for the Commission inspecting the reform programmes of each government ( on pensions and labour and capital markets).
5th February 2013: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate on the Common Fisheries Policy.
"Of course, only British withdrawal from the EU and recovery of exclusive use of our fisheries would allow British fishing to recover. However, in the meanwhile any attempt to improve the Common Fisheries Policy must be welcome"An end to the practice of discarding dead and dying fish back into the sea is self-evidently right. The practice must be ended whether it involves under-sized fish that have been caught accidently or less valuable fish are discarded to make way for more valuable fish - so-called high grading. However, enforcement against the latter practice might be difficult.
"Enabling member states to enact their own conservation measures within a twelve nautical mile zone is clearly desirable. However, the member state must be able to enforce the measures against the trawlers of other member states.
"The Rapporteur's proposal that fishing concessions should cease to be freely transferable is particularly sound.. It would stop concessions from being bought and sold and the concessions would remain the property of the member state.
"Successful policy making is dependent on accurate supporting information. It has been estimated that stocks of 70% of species caught in the EU have not been assessed accurately.
"The Report does not fully address the problem of the incompatibility between conservation of fish stocks and the survival of fishing industries throughout the EU. The only solution is for countries that have provided the bulk of the fish stock (particularly the United Kingdom) to be given priority for allocation of quotas and days at sea in their own waters."