Tag Archives: #OccupyLSX

Memo to Dissembling Dan and his rich chums

Today in the Torygraph, Dan Hannan has written some pure drivel about #OccupyLSX. Apparently he went down to St Pauls Cathedral to have a “chat” with the camp and to try and convince them that he is right and they were wrong (he’d tell you otherwise). Today he’s produced what he’s called his “Memo to the Occupy protesters: here are ten things we evil capitalists really think”.  Here’s what he says.

1. Free-marketeers resent the bank bailouts. This might seem obvious: we are, after all, opposed to state subsidies and nationalisations. Yet it often surprises commentators, who mistake our support for open competition and free trade for a belief in plutocracy. There is a world of difference between being pro-market and being pro-business. Sometimes, the two positions happen to coincide; often they don’t.

Well, that may be the case but it’s your version of capitalism that’s destroying us. By the way, there is no such thing as free trade.

2. What has happened since 2008 is not capitalism. In a capitalist system, bad banks would have been allowed to fail, their profitable operations bought by more efficient competitors. Shareholders, bondholders and some depositors would have lost money, but taxpayers would not have contributed a penny (see here).

Wrong, Dan, it is capitalism. You certainly can’t describe it as ‘socialism’.

 3. If you want the rich to pay more, create a flatter and simpler tax system. This is partly a question of closing loopholes (mansions put in company names to avoid stamp duty, capital gains tax exemption for non-doms etc). Mainly, though, it is a question of bringing the tax rate down to a level where evasion becomes pointless. As Art Laffer keeps telling anyone who’ll listen, it works every time. Between 1980 and 2007, the US cut taxes at all income levels. Result? The top one per cent went from paying 19.5 per cent of all taxes to 40 per cent. In Britain, since the top rate of income tax was lowered to 40 per cent in 1988, the share of income tax collected from the wealthiest percentile has risen from 14 to 27 per cent.

Simpler tax system? Yes. Progressive tax system? Yes. Flat tax? No, they only benefit the rich. The Poll Tax was a flat tax. Those on lower incomes had to pay the same amount of tax as those people drawing down 6 figure salaries. This is dishonesty but then, this is what I have come to expect from Dissembling Dan. Another thing that Dan doesn’t mention about Art Laffer and Reaganomics is that millions of Americans lost their jobs and many more suffered as a result of the new tax system. Far from reducing overall debt, Reagan actually managed to create more debt. As for “closing loopholes”, the Tories will make the right noises but will fail to act. They don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them.

4. Those of us who believe in small government are not motivated by the desire to make the rich richer. We’re really not. We are, in most cases, nowhere near having to pay top rate tax ourselves; our most eloquent champions over the years have been modestly-paid academics. We believe that economic freedom will enrich the country as a whole. Yes, the wealthy might become wealthier still, but we don’t see that as an argument against raising living standards for the majority.

The motivation behind the movement to create a “smaller” government is to protect the interests of capital, thereby making the rich richer. Night watchman governments will exist only to rubber stamp the diktats of corporate interests and to use force against those who act against those interests. Just have a look at Chile, then magnify that by 2.  By the way, Dan’s rich.

5. We are not against equality. We generally recognise the benefits in Scandinavian-style homogeneity: crime tends to be lower, people are less stressed etc. Our objection is not that egalitarianism is undesirable in itself, but that the policies required to enforce in involve a disproportionate loss of liberty and prosperity.

This is contradictory. Here, Dan says that he is not “against equality” but then ends by saying that egalitarianism will result in a ” disproportionate loss of liberty and prosperity”. What he doesn’t say is that he’s worried that his class – the ruling class – is scared of losing its privileges; the privileges that it assumed for itself as a result of exploiting others who are less privileged.

6. Nor, by the way, does state intervention seem to be an effective way to promote equality. On the most elemental indicators – height, calorie intake, infant mortality, literacy, longevity – Britain has been becoming a steadily more equal society since the calamity of 1066. It’s true that, around half a century ago, this approximation halted and, on some measures, went into reverse. There are competing theories as to why, but one thing is undeniable: the recent widening of the wealth gap has taken place at a time when the state controls a far greater share of national wealth than ever before.

Here, Dissembling Dan seems a bit confused. He’s mistaken his hat stand for a hat. Comparing the present day to 1066 is like comparing apples with oranges. When he says, “Britain has been becoming a steadily more equal society since the calamity of 1066″, I wouldn’t expect to be struggling under the same brutal feudal system that the Normans imposed on the country but, at the same time, the last vestiges of feudalism remain – particularly with regards to property and common ownership of the land. He could have easily said that “Britain has been becoming a steadily more equal society since 43” or since the so-called “Glorious Revolution”. Utter nonsense.

7. Let’s tackle the idea that being on the Left means being on the side of ordinary people, while being on the Right means defending privileged elites. It’s hard to think of a single tax, or a single regulation, that doesn’t end up privileging some vested interest at the expense of the general population. The reason governments keep growing is because of what economists call ‘dispersed costs and concentrated gains’: people are generally more aware the benefits we receive than of the taxes they pay

In this paragraph, he tries to deflect attention away from the way the right (the Tories) protect their interests through the use of legislative mechanisms. Not content with hammering the low and medium waged by demanding that they work more hours for less money, the Right also attacks their culture. There are many examples of this: The Six Acts, The Licensing Act (1737), The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. Since the Tories came to power in 2010, they have moved swiftly to carve up the rest of the welfare state (in spite of having no mandate to do so). Top of their list is the NHS, an institution that is despised by our Dissembler-in-Chief and which they want to privatize. Remember this?

8. Capitalism, with all its imperfections, is the fairest scheme yet tried. In a system based on property rights and free contract, people succeed by providing an honest service to others. Bill Gates became rich by enriching hundreds of millions of us: I am typing these words using one of his programmes. He gained from the exchange (adding fractionally to his net worth), and so did I (adding to my convenience). In a state-run system, by contrast, third parties get to hand out the goodies.

This has come straight from Ayn Rand’s dead mouth. She said that capitalism was the “only moral system”. When Dan says that capitalism (or rather his variety of capitalism) is “the fairest scheme yet tried”, he does not mention other “schemes”. Doubtless, he has in mind the economic system of the USSR, which was not socialism at all but a bureaucratic form of capitalism. Furthermore, Bill Gates has not “enriched” me or anyone else. That’s bullshit. He enriched himself and then turned into a present-day Victorian philanthropist. Was it a sense of guilt on Gates’s part? Maybe. If it was guilt then some of this nation’s rich could do with a dose of that guilt and start paying higher taxes.

9. Talking of fairness, let’s remember that the word doesn’t belong to any faction. How about parity between public and private sector pay? How about being fair to our children, whom we have freighted with a debt unprecedented in peacetime? How about being fair to the boy who leaves school at 16 and starts paying taxes to subsidise the one who goes to university? How about being fair to the unemployed, whom firms cannot afford to hire because of the social protection enjoyed by existing employees?

What on earth is he talking about? Fairness “doesn’t belong to any faction”… what does that mean? Nothing. Here it would appear that he was running out of ideas to fill up his list of ten. These examples of ‘unfairness’ are nothing more than diversions. Riding in the slipstream of these thoughts are education vouchers and a two-tier health service.

10. Let’s not forget ethics, either. There is virtue in deciding to do the right thing, but there is no virtue in being compelled. Choosing to give your money to charity is meritorious; paying tax is morally neutral (seehere). Evidence suggests that, as taxes rise, and the state squeezes out civic society, people give less to good causes.

More Randian drivel. The subtext here is that charities won’t be able to do good works if we have a more egalitarian economic system.

Well, there you go, comrades. I don’t expect the tents outside St Paul’s to fold overnight. But perhaps we might at least engage honestly on some of these issues rather than talking past each other. ¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

I’m not your comrade and you have signally failed to engage honestly.

Hannan would claim that the occupiers don’t have any ideas or that they don’t have an argument. What Hannan isn’t going to do is listen and take on board ideas, especially if those ideas don’t intersect with his barmy brand of  neoliberalism. For him, a Randian world of unfettered capitalism and shrunken states is the path to ‘freedom’.  Yet, history shows us that when capitalism is unregulated it leads authoritarianism because the state acts only to protect the interests of the capitalists, many of whom enjoy exceptional privileges under the iron rule of the caudillo.

Dissembling Dan’s preferred version of capitalism has already been imposed on the people of  Chile and now his government want to complete the neoliberal project that was started under Thatcher.

Far from having no ideas, the Occupy movement has shown that it has more ideas than our current government (and Dan Hannan), who want more of the same.

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it

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#OccupyLSX, right wing smears and the tax-dodging Barclay Brothers

I’ve never credited Britain’s right-wing commentators with much intelligence. They have the best education that money can buy and yet they’re still as thick as two short planks. If they aren’t thinking straight, then they’re making wilfully ignorant comments. Since OccupyLSX began outside St Paul’s Cathedral, the right has been desperately trying to second guess the movement. All attempts to do so have foundered.  As a result, the organs of the right have retreated to their default position: smear the protesters.

In the last few days, the Daily Telegraph (a paper run by a pair of tax-dodging brothers who also own the small island of Brecqhou near Sark in the Channel Islands) has done its utmost to ensure the public (or at the least, the right wing fraction of the public) is made fully aware of what these people are getting up to… or so it thinks.

Tuesday, this blog appeared from David Hughes. In it, he regurgitates a smear story printed the same day in the Telegraph.

They’ve been rumbled. It turns out that the Occupy London Stock Exchange (OccupyLSX) protesters who have settled in St Paul’s Churchyard are not only not occupying the Stock Exchange – they are not even occupying their own tents. Our enterprising news reporters were there in the small hours with a thermal imaging camera and discovered that most of the tents were empty. The report and video are here. You can hardly blame the demonstrators for preferring a snug bed at home to a chilly night on paving slabs. But their empty tent policy raises an important question. Decades of terrorist threats  have made most people in this country – and particularly in the capital – hyper-sensitive to the sight of a bag or suitcase left unattended. It’s normally only a matter of minutes before such items are whisked away by the police. So how come so many tents have been allowed to sit in the heart of London for so long without being removed, particularly now that we know that most are unoccupied?

So, it’s fine to invade people’s privacy for the sake of a smear story? This joker seems to think so. Let’s have a look at the ‘story’.

The camp forced St Paul’s to close for the first time since the Blitz and is costing local businesses thousands of pounds a day.

But footage shot by The Daily Telegraph on a thermal imaging camera appeared to show most of the dozens of tents in the cathedral churchyard were empty. And when the remaining protesters realised what The Telegraph was attempting to verify this, the mood turned ugly.

The site was quiet at around 12.30am with the faint smell of marijuana smoke in the air. A handful of police officers stood back on the fringes of the encampment.

First the authors of this piece repeat the same spiel about St Paul’s having to close for the first time since the Blitz. Notice how the word “Blitz” is used to evoke an image in the popular mind. But this image is connected to a particular memory of WWII. It was one that was evoked by Thatcher – much to her cost. One abiding image of the cathedral is often used to evoke this memory of the “Spirit of the Blitz” with this defiant building standing up to the Luftwaffe’s bombs when others could not.

Interestingly enough, although the cathedral’s dean told reporters that it had closed, it still went ahead with a planned wedding. Most historic buildings, if they have to charge anything at all for admission, will ask visitors to pay a small, often voluntary, charge. But, as we can see from St Pauls’ website, the charges are rather steep and it would interesting to find out exactly how many tourists visit the cathedral each week. When the charges were introduced, there was a public outcry. Yet, for some odd reason, this has been conveniently overlooked by the right wing press in order to make sure their smears stick. What this also shows us is how the Anglican Church is consumed with the same corporate greed as its neighbours. On this site, an American tourist complains that,

 …this church has the audacity to charge £13.50 for a student ticket is simply ridiculous, especially considering how well-endowed the Anglican Church is. Cologne, Florence, Ravenna; nearly any cathedral on the continent can surpass what St. Paul’s offers, and without sucking your wallet dry at that.

This tourist is not alone either. Theo Hobson,  in The Guardian’s Comment is Free wrote last year,

My reluctance to pay is not really a matter of meanness, but of principle. By excluding people, especially young people who are often time-rich but money-poor, and spiritually curious, the C of E is edging them away from a sense that England’s religious heritage is theirs – that it is not just for tourists, and not just for worshippers at actual services; it is also theirs to browse. And there’s another point: paying an entrance fee changes the nature of the visit. To pay is to make a tacit statement: that this is primarily a tourist-attraction, that its sacred function is secondary to this. Perhaps a little meanness is also involved, I admit.

William Oddie in the Catholic Herald wrote,

I have had this problem before, getting into Anglican cathedrals built by the Catholic Church and purloined at the Reformation. They have no right to stop you (or anyone else) entering: simply refuse politely and go in. I know that buildings like this need maintaining. But I would almost certainly pay more than the entrance fee as a voluntary contribution, and I usually do. A notice suggesting a voluntary contribution, even specifying a recommended sum and with a desk there to collect the money (they could hand out a free guide or something to encourage people to give) would avoid this appalling and deeply secular tourist entrance fee.

Back to the article, the authors claim that there was a ” faint smell of marijuana smoke in the air”. This is a way of painting the occupiers as “unwashed hippies” and has a resonance with the right’s response to the protests of the 1960’s and 1970’s. It panders to the deeply-held prejudices of the ruling classes and their unwitting allies, who tell us that they “never protest”. The reason for that it is obvious: they hold the whip but tell them that and they’ll reply with gobbledigook.  They also tell us that when the Torygraph snoopers started filming that the the “mood turned ugly”. The reason they say this is to insert a particular image in the public mind of an “enemy within” that needs to be vanquished by the police.

The Guardian (equated by Torygraph readers with Pravda) was more sympathetic to the occupiers,

“OccupyLSX was surprised to hear the Telegraph and others reporting this morning that 90% of our tents are empty overnight,” the group said in a statement.

“This is simply not the case. While it is quite possible that not every tent is occupied every night, we try to keep vacancy to a minimum and operate a sign-in/sign-out system to help ensure this happens. The camp attracts thousands of people every day. We do not expect all the people who are expressed through this movement to be able to stay overnight.”

The Guardian also adds that,

Reports quoting the 10% occupancy rate appeared in the Times,TelegraphSun, and Daily Mail on Tuesday, apparently based on evidence gathered by a police helicopter equipped with thermal imaging cameras.

However, City of London police told the Guardian that they could not confirm nor deny the reports, saying only that neither details of the thermal imaging cameras nor the occupancy estimates had come from them.

The right wing press’s position is beginning to look threadbare. So far, all they have is a handful of smears and a cupful of baseless allegations.

This blogger alleges that St Paul’s Cathedral is effectively run by former Ye Olde Cittie of London bankers and a former City of London Mayor. Even if it isn’t the case, some readers will know that the City of London Corporation is run like a private fiefdom. I am tempted to say that this is the last vestige of feudalism in Britain but that would be inaccurate. It is, in effect, the last of the Rotten Boroughs as this blogger points out.

LM cultist and smear artist, Brendan O’Neill chimes in with this poorly-considered blog.  He refers to the occupation as a “warped class war”. This, coming from a man whose own ‘libertarian’ ideas are questionable.

Occupy London does not speak for the 99 per cent or for the working man – on the contrary, it is more an expression of slacker disdain and organic-fuelled fury for the ethos of the ambitious working man

And praytell, how is that, Brendan? He doesn’t explain. Why? Because he’s only interested in twisting reality to conform to his warped ideas of the protests. He panders to his authoritarian readership. Scratch a right libertarian and you will always find a rabid authoritarian and neoliberal shill underneath.

Today Damian Thompson and Hon Tobes both wade in with a smear of the occupiers and Dr Giles Fraser, the canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, who resigned from his post in protest at his bishop’s pandering to pressure to the Cittie parasites who practically run the cathedral. Hon Tobes’ piece is the more dishonest of the two. He claims that Fraser has cost the cathedral “hundreds of thousands of pound in lost revenue”, wilfully ignoring the fact that the admission price alone has been responsible for the decline in numbers visiting the place. The helmet-headed one opines,

Those traditional Anglicans who oppose gay marriage are “narrow-minded puritans seeking to impose their joyless and claustrophobic world-view on the rest of the church“. On it goes – no opportunity for Giles Fraser to air his Left-wing views in the media is ever neglected.

Of course, anyone who disagrees or does not share Hon Tobes’ world view is an “loony lefty”. It’s so pathetically easy, it hurts.

The proprietors of the Telegraph Group are the mysterious Barclay Brothers, who have recently bought Claridges and run their island of Brecqhou like feudal lords. But the tax free status of the Channel Islands isn’t enough for them and they have also claimed residency in tax-free Monaco. Er, come again?

The Barclay brothers own a big chunk of the media, including The Spectator magazine and The Telegraph Group.

Although they are considered philanthropists, having donated over £40 million to medical research, they are also tax exiles. The savings from not paying tax in the UK but Monaco, should more than cover that, and leave enough small change over to pay for a Channel island.

The Brothers own two very influential right wing organs, both of which are pledged to defend and apologise for excesses of casino capitalism.  Therefore it’s fitting that they live in Monaco, the home of high-rollers and tax-dodging self-exiles.

The entrepreneurial siblings may hide themselves away in the Quinlan Terry designed, battlement surrounded, three feet deep walls of the Brecqhou mansion, but they give their address as 7 Avenue de Grande Bretagne, 98000 Monaco.

Avenue de Grande Bretagne, how cute… I’ll bet that makes them feel at home.

UPDATE @ 18.30

Just caught the end of a  BBC News item on Giles Fraser and #OccupyLSX, which the reporter described as a “siege”.

This is a siege.

This is not.

The Guardian have an interview with Dr Fraser here. Apparently St Paul’s is reopening its doors thereby leaving it open to the charge of flip-flopping.

UPDATE: 29/10/11 @ 1807

You know that story in The Telegraph that claimed to use thermal imaging cameras to determine if people were sleeping in the tents at the #OccupyLSX camp at St Paul’s Cathedral? It turns out that you can’t tell if someone is in a tent or not by using thermal imaging. I don’t think the Torygraph will apologise for this blatant lie though. That’s a bit like expecting the Tories to be compassionate.

Here’s the video.

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Life on Hannan World (Part 3) or the EU obsession and wilful ignorance

“In Europe but not run by Europe”. Those were the words of William Hague when he was the unsuccessful leader of the Tory Party. But what does it mean? Nothing.  The Europhobes would dearly like it to mean “We are being controlled by an outside force”. What they don’t say is how Eurosceptic (I hate using that word) MEPs try to sabotage the European Parliament while continuing to take a salary (over £86,000 + expenses) from the very institution they are pledged to abolish. The worst of these offenders is Daniel Hannan, whose obsession with all things EU makes him something of a self-parody.

On Tuesday he said,

It’s hard to imagine a larger question in British politics than whether we should be in the EU. Depending on how you measure it, between 50 and 84 per cent of our laws come from Brussels. The curtailment of our democracy was at first seen as the price for being part of a prosperous and growing market; but it now seems clear that the EU is sinking, dragging us with it like so many chained galley-slaves.

Hyperbole and nonsense. The key sentence is ” Depending on how you measure it, between 50 and 84 per cent of our laws come from Brussels”, Naturally, he doesn’t tell us which ones. I guess he must be referring to the one about the shape of bananas or other similar tales spouted by the Tory-controlled press.

He whines,

How will the palaeo-reporters of the MSM cover the story? I have a sinking feeling that it will be framed in the paltriest and most irrelevant way as ‘EU causes headache for Conservatives’.

But it’s true and the Tory Party, who were riven with splits over the EU during John Major’s premiership are likely to be split again. Hannan would like us to believe that his beloved party is united over Europe and that the ‘evil’ BBC is trying to split them up. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On Thursday, he was beside himself with joy. The Commons will vote on Monday to offer a referendum to the British electorate as to whether the country stays in the European Union. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, we’ve already had the referendum. It took place in 1975 and the British people voted in favour. Of course, the Europhobes will tell us that we didn’t vote for a European Parliament but a trade agreement. But this is what the  EEC morphed into and Britain was happy to go along with the project.

He urges people to sign the so-called “People’s Pledge”. I had a look at the link he provided and was led to this site.

Their ‘case’ is as follows:

There are 5 key reasons why we must have a referendum on Britain and the EU:

  • No one under the age of 54 has had the chance to vote on our relationship with Brussels
  • The EU now makes a majority of the laws we must obey
  • The UK has less than 10% of the votes in the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament
  • The EU is costing Britain more and more money
  • The EU wants to give itself new powers of ‘economic governance’

With regards to the first point, I’ve never had a say on a variety of things that have been enacted by reactionary Tory governments: the carving up of the NHS; the sale of council homes and the cuts in public spending. Yet, these obsessives think that a referendum on the EU is more important than any of those things.

On the second point, I’d like to know which laws they are referring to. But they seem reluctant to tell us. I can only guess. As for the third point, that’s down to Britain’s constant undermining of the EU by the Tories.  The fourth point, is moot and the last point presumably relates to the Euro. It’s in Britain’s interests to participate fully in the EU and its institutions instead of behaving like a reluctant bridegroom at a shotgun wedding. The EU is only as good as it member states and moaning about this aspect or that aspect of the EU is pointless and unproductive. If you don’t like something, then work to change it.

There is a small Britisher mentality to all of this. Some Europhobes clearly lament the demise of the British Empire and long for its return but there no chance of that happening.  As I’ve indicated elsewhere, many of those Tory Europhobes want to scrap human rights and workplace legislation because they believe that it has a deleterious impact on the economy. What they don’t say is that they want license to exploit others for financial gain.

Looking at the faces of those who support the People’s Pledge I can see that the former Labour shadow cabinet minster, Bryan Gould is a signatory. But what the people behind this ‘pledge’ haven’t told us is that Gould lives in New Zealand and has lived there since 1994. The SNP’s Jim Sillars is also included and is listed as “Deputy Leader of the SNP”, a role that he left in 1992 after he’d fallen out with Alex Salmond. There are other “former” Labour MPs and a former “finance director” of the party, which makes me think there’s something rather suspicious about the People’s Pledge. The choice of name is also rather interesting and suggests that there is a consensus but this a presumed consensus, possibly even a manufactured consensus.

It’s not clear exactly how many people are encamped next to St Paul’s Cathedral. Most estimates put the number at between 200 and 400, depending on precisely what time of day you do the headcount.

He doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about and I doubt that he’s bothered to visit the occupation.  His is a position of wilful ignorance.

Here, he plays fast and loose with the facts,
What is clear is that there are presently many more people in Westminster demanding a referendum on EU membership than in the City complaining about capitalism.
A couple of things: first he says the protesters are “complaining about capitalism”, this is the sort of ignorant statement that got Louise Mensch in hot water on Have I Got New For You.

Second, he claims that “many more people  in Westminster are demanding a referendum” but he doesn’t tell us how many and, at any rate, the point that he tries to make is irrelevant. There are many more people around the country, who are not taking part in the occupations who agree that the system needs to change. Furthermore the protests aren’t confined to Britain; they are taking place all over the world. Yet, Hannan dishonestly claims that there is a greater consensus for a referendum on the EU.

It will be interesting to compare the amount of coverage generated by the two protests. Will the People’s Pledge get ten times as much attention as the anti-capitalist sit-in, on the basis of the number of people at Westminster? Or perhaps 500 times more, on the basis of the number who signed the petition? Or will the MSM continue to cover the referendum wholly as a ‘Tory splits’ story? I think we all know the answer.

This is both a smear on the #Occupy movement and an attack on the BBC. He’s obsessed with the EU (have a look at all his blog posts for the Torygraph and you’ll see that at least 90% of them are about the EU). But there is something else: like his fellow right wingers, he paints the protesters as some kind of ‘enemy within’ and claims that they don’t have an argument.  This is wilful ignorance. He is a committed neoliberal and like his fellow travellers, he wants more of the same. This is why people are occupying public spaces in financial districts around the world. Then he tries to paint the BBC as the villain by suggesting that only the Beeb is responsible for opening up deep rifts in the Tory party. Hannan is suffering from selective memory syndrome and, as anyone will tell you, the splits over the EU have been around for over 20 years and almost brought the Major government to its knees.

I find Europhobes to be small-minded and obsessive. I would even go so far as to suggest that their obsession with the EU is pathological. Whatever happens, the vote in the Commons tomorrow is likely to deepen the splits in the Tory party with some of their MPs threatening to defy a three-line whip on the vote. Cameron’s position looks precarious. However, if Cameron is weakened, will we see a leadership challenge from Hannan? Well, he needs to find a safe seat first before he can do that. He can’t become leader while he’s in Strasbourg and this must piss him off.

Good. Long may he be pissed off.

If there is a referendum, I will vote to stay in the EU but I want to see the EU reformed so that it works for the benefit of all its people not just the few, like the bankers and other parasites.

This country will be a much worse place to live than it is now if we left Europe while the Tories are power. That isn’t hyperbole. It’s the truth.

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