English Posts

18.02.2019

BREXIT AND THE HARD BORDER

The hard border scenario has been mentioned around the media and politicians alike for a very long time.
Now what does a hard border mean?  It is a border between countries, that is strongly controlled and protected by officials, police, or soldiers, rather than one where people are allowed to pass through easily with few controls:
It is very strange, that even the EU speak about this and that they want to protect Ireland wanting to prevent it, but still say that a border is required separating the EU from a third country, to protect itself. Why is it strange you may ask yourselves? Well for one, no politician, not even in the EU have told the Catalans, that should they separate themselves from Spain, they are no longer in the EU, ergo that a border will have to be made between Spain and Catalunya and with France as well. The same would apply to the Basques. What about Spain and Gibraltar.
There was a country within the EU that defended the EU borders during the migration crisis and that was Hungary. Mr. Orban decided to put up fences and sent patrols. This was highly criticized by the EU.
One country in the EU said to the immigrants in 2015, come over, our borders are open, no checks were made.
Suddenly, it does seem that the English have become personae non gratae. The politicians in the EU are warning other countries of the raise of nationalism and that we should be aware of the nationalist. How come that no leader has something against the SNP – Scottish National Party? What about the Catalunya, there they are called separatists? Its all in the wording folks.
If the EU do not want to punish Britain, then what would it be like if they wanted to?

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12.02.2019


Mr.Tusk, here is that special place in Hell......



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08.01.2019







Climate Change. - We should not solve it by doing less, we should solve it by doing more.




I am all for protecting our planet and still confused with the activists and the government and warning from the experts around our globe about the dangers of climate change.


Where does one start? How far does one go? Is it just the average Joe Blog that has to make an effort or just suffers under it?


I believe that we can reach necessary reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing new technology and introducing new ways of thinking. We should not solve it by doing less, we should solve it by doing more.

Global trade? What is the Carbon dioxide footprint resulting from this?

Who has a dog?

Who has a car or even two cars?

Your well earned two weeks holidays, flying to some nice spot?

I think that each country and companies, especially global players can do much more. Why has the government not put their foot down on companies in trying to find another source of energy? Some car manufacturers found it necessary to deliberately fool its clients and State and manipulated the results of emissions. In some countries like Germany, it is still being disputed whether the car owners have to pay for the amendment needed for the car once bought as being advertised and sold using the emission test results. We must pay for their obvious intended manipulation scam. The German government handed out an immense fine to the car manufacturers, they will become their money, so no further action is needed on their side. We the consumers are alone. Instead of demanding from the car manufacturers to repair the cars in such a way that they meet the standards as to which they were once sold. No, instead Cities have issued a driving ban for all diesel cars with emissions lower than below a Euro Norm 5. In Stuttgart alone, around 72000 cars, will be affected. A driving plan is also in the pipeline for cars having a Euronorm 5, depending on the clean air package. Problem solved?

Baden-Württemberg's state capital has been fighting for years against excessive pollution of the air with pollutants. The given EU limits are being exceeded again and again. While particulate matter pollution has recently decreased, nitrogen dioxide levels are still well above the limit. The source of nitrogen dioxide is above all the car.

The state of Baden-Württemberg has tried in vain to avert the driving bans in court. Many other cities and towns are following its example.

Of course, if you drive these designated areas you will be promptly fined. Pleased that another way to increase capital intake by milking motorist has been found. Problem solved?

They wish to decrease the nitrogen dioxide levels, as they are well above the limit. Has anybody told these intelligent people, that although the readings might go down, in the city, because the so called dirty cars are being diverted down the same routes, surely the levels in the now frequently more driven roads here will be significantly higher. The main prerogative is that where the measurement equipment is, the readings will be better, therefore Germany and the EU are happy, the clean air package works, Germany will not be reprimanded or fined from the EU. It is almost a farce that the government fine the car manufacturers for false readings, when they in turn are manipulating results.

What is the ever increasing and wanted global trade? Yes, it is nice to trade, but whilst the climate change activist eats his/hers Avocado, or decides to make a smoothie, with Mangos, Papaya, lychees and other exotic fruits, do they stop to think, what a journey the fruit has behind it. What about the greenhouse gas emissions there? Where the demand is, it will be supplied.

You may have got a dog for Christmas. A lovely and loyal companion, it does not judge you but loves you just the way you are. What about the carbon dioxide here? You may be a cat lover, keep chickens. What about cows? Dogs and cats are responsible for a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture, which adds up to a whopping 64 million tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent emitted in the production of their food. Still, I do not want to give up my dog, cat and so on.

Two weeks holiday in Mallorca, just flying from Heathrow contributes 0,23 tons of carbon dioxide. Well, I want my holiday!

Again, how far does one go in keeping the planet green? I believe that we can reach necessary reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing new technology and introducing new ways of thinking. We should not solve it by doing less, we should solve it by doing more,

I think that although I am a small pawn in this saving the planet cause, governments and businesses can achieve much more than us. Do not start complaining about a Nanny State, they are already involved with issues such as obesity, Alcohol, Mental Health, Smoking...

Countries should encourage its citizens to eat and buy mostly local produce fruit and veg. Awareness programs, starting from children. Get the children involved, so that when they get older, they are used to living and thinking about the environment. If the technology costs so much, that the price of avocados, mangos etc. increase, then that is fine. Demand is less, therefore fewer transports. What about the poorer farmers in those countries though. Okay we could decrease the import tariffs, we have on their goods, or just be deaf to the cries of the farmers in South America and hope that the grow another produce or find another market. Of course, protective states like the EU, exercise tariffs on these products, in order to protect their own.

If the cucumber is not up to EU standards, because of its shape, sell at a cheaper price. I personally would not mind buying carrots or apples cheaper, just because it was not perfect in size and shape. Think about the poorer families, they would reconsider buying this sort of produce, instead of cheap, ready-made meals or frozen fries.

The government should compel all motorized manufacturers to make a more “cleaner” vehicles car, they have to be made aware of their responsibility to this planet. Those leading the race, reward them with Tax Incentives, those showing no interest Tax them heavily. Reward Haulers and consumers buying environmentally vehicles or switching to train. Build the infrastructure for it all.

Airlines could sell tickets, where the price of a train ticket to the airport is included.

Fighting air pollution in the Cities and towns. Introducing Park + ride free or cheap Shuttle services to the town centre. Healthier City planning. Taxing 4x4 heavily if needed. Incentives for homeowners to use Solar Panels, not just for using lights, but also for Heating.

Despite all of this, I cannot help thinking, whenever, I travel with the car, (I am a sinner, I drive Diesel) on the motorways, through Germany, France, Spain, Italy and England, I cannot stop thinking, how green the trees are and how nice the countryside is.

We always seem to be the losers and have to pay for everything, that the government and experts get wrong or even manipulated.

Maybe if the government and companies had done more and that much earlier, I would not have to think about the CO2 footprint of my dog and wonder about my next two weeks holiday in Greece, although in all honesty I do not.

Fact is, that many European governments and the EU have slept for years and are far behind in consequently reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, one could argue about the advantages of nuclear energy. The generation of electricity through nuclear energy reduces the amount of energy generated from fossil fuels (carbon and petroleum). Less use of fossil fuels means lowering greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 and others). However it must be said that Much of the consumption of fossil fuels is due to road transport, used in engines (cars, trucks, etc.).

Despite the high level of sophistication of the safety systems of nuclear power plants the human aspect has always an impact. Facing an unexpected event or managing a nuclear accident like Chernobyl (indecently, the worst nuclear accident in history) or Fukushima, where wrong decisions were made during the management and highly questionable operations carried out were so catastrophic, that led to countries thinking twice about nuclear energy and some have or plan to close nuclear plants.

One of the main disadvantages is the difficulty in the management of nuclear waste. It takes many years to eliminate its radioactivity and risks

As stated before, I believe that we can reach necessary reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing new technology and introducing new ways of thinking. We should not solve it by doing less, we should solve it by doing more. A European country has shown how it should have been tackled whilst constantly innovating. That country is Sweden.

Sweden’s reputation as an environmen­tal pioneer began with a number of pro­active moves as far back to the 1960s and 1970s. Recognising a loss of limited natural resources, Sweden was the first country to establish an environmental protection agency, and that in 1967!

In 1972 Sweden hosted the first UN con­ference on the environment, which led to the creation of the United Nations Envi­ronment Programme (UNEP), the leading global environmental authority to this day.

The Stockholm Convention (2001), a global treaty aimed at phasing out the production and use of persistent organic pollutants, was largely a Swedish initiative. Waste management, acid rain pre­vention, sustainable city planning, and recycling are other environmental areas in which Sweden have made progressive headway and challenged the status quo.

Sweden continues to create momen­tum and is looking to intensify negotia­tions at international settings such as the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference. Sweden’s stance is that a sustainable and secure energy supply is best achieved by focusing on long-term energy efficiency and a greater supply of renewable energy.

Public awareness


Perhaps what sets Sweden apart is a combination of citizen engagement, high ambition levels and international solidarity. Even when ranked as one of the most sustainable countries in a num­ber of international indices, the focus is not on what has been accomplished but rather on what remains to be done.

Largely this comes from a public that is keenly aware of and concerned with environmental issues and used to stand up for its own clean water and air. Air pollution (PM10) in urban areas of Sweden is at 10.2 micrograms per cubic metre compared with the OECD average of 20.1. In the 2015 Standard Eurobarometer survey, 26 per cent of Swedes note environment and climate change as a main concern, compared with 6 per cent at EU level.

Aiming high


Climate change caused by the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is one of the foremost global environment problems today. Since Sweden accounts for less than 0.2 per cent of total global emissions, the coun­try could easily have gone unnoticed in the climate debate. Instead, Sweden has chosen to do more than many other countries on issues regarding energy and the climate.

Recognising that scientific research has become more uniform in its mes­sage about climate change resulting from human activity, the government is continuing to set clear domestic goals for the future regarding pollution, clean air, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy efficiency.

Roadmap 2050


Sweden’s goal to reduce GHG emissions compared with 1990 by 40 per cent by the year 2020, and to have a vehicle fleet completely rid of fossil fuels by 2030 are stepping stones to the overarching goal of a society with no net GHG emissions by the year 2050.

That is Sweden’s commitment under Roadmap 2050, an EU initiative whose objective is to reduce GHG emissions by at least 80 per cent below 1990 levels for all of EU.

To accomplish the 40 per cent reduc­tion in GHG emissions by 2020, emis­sions would need to decline by an ad­ditional 20 million tonnes. According to current projections, emissions will have decreased by about 16 million tonnes in 2020, so in order to speed up the reduc­tion the government has to come up with more drastic measures.

Looking further ahead, however, a recent study by the Swedish National In­stitute of Economic Research found that Sweden has strong chances of reaching the 2050 goal, thanks both to develop­ments in the economy and to political incentives.

Energy efficiency


Besides moving to less carbon-intensive means of producing energy, efficiency has been a major focus in Sweden. By 2020 the government goal is to make en­ergy use 20 per cent more effective com­pared with 2008.

One move first introduced in 2005 has been to offer tax reliefs to power-intensive industries in exchange for their drawing up energy plans and taking steps to reduce energy use.

For households, government informa­tion on how to save energy is widely available. Each municipality – there are 290 in Sweden – has an energy adviser to whom people can turn for help and guidance. Advice is available on topics such as replacing windows, using low-energy lights and switching to different heating systems.

Sustainable solutions


Another way in which Sweden is trying to lead the way to a more sustainable planet is through innovative sustainable solutions. Expenditure on R&D (research and development) represented 3.3 per cent of GDP in 2013, the fourth highest percentage in the OECD.

According to the OECD Environ­mental Performance Review 2014, Sweden is one of the most innovative countries when it comes to environment-related technology. Investments in environmen­tal R&D have made Sweden an innova­tion leader for several clean energy technologies, including biofuels, smart grids and carbon capture and storage.

As a result of these investments, Sweden has developed a competitive advantage in technologies related to sustainability. In 2014, Sweden ranked fourth in the Global Cleantech Innovation Index.

 

Stockholm


In the mid-1990s, Stockholm decided to turn former industrial area Hammarby into a fore­runner of sustainable city planning. Sustain­ability was incorporated into all aspects of the new neighbourhood Hammarby Sjöstad, from smart electric grids to pub­lic transport, bike friendliness and waste management.

Malmö


The regeneration of a similar depreciating area in Malmö called Västra hamnen (Western Harbour) began in 2001.

Today, it is a carbon-neutral neighbour­hood. Taking city planning to new green heights, the district uses an aquifer thermal energy storage system to store water col­lected during the summer and pump it up with wind energy to heat the homes during the winter. The chilled water is then reused to cool buildings in the summer.

 

Volvo Group

Volvo Group joined the WWF Climate Savers programme in 2010. Their Chief Sustainability Officer Niklas Gustafsson, who has spent almost 30 years at the company, spoke at the Climate Savers Business Event about their engagement on the road to Paris and their role and ambition within climate leadership.

As former CEO of Volvo Gyllenhammar said back in 1972: ‘We are part of the problem but we want to be part of the solution.’ That was a very bold statement from an automobile company at the time.

Volvo cuts emissions by reducing fuel consumption and investing in renewable fuels and electrical vehicles. On a social level, Volvo collaborates with various actors ranging from national governments to citizens and universities. On an economic level, Volvo creates growth, jobs and (through their products) contributes to an enhanced quality of life.

Volvo has just completed their first five years as a member of the Climate Savers programme, exceeding the targets they set back in 2010.

Gustafsson shared the company’s new Climate Savers commitments, which are to:

1. Reduce emissions from their production and logistics functions;
2. Reduce emissions from Volvo products;
3. Take part in initiatives to push climate saving developments in their sector.

Gustafsson shared an example of one of Volvo’s newest innovations: electric buses, which will be inaugurated shortly in Gothenburg, Sweden. A couple of years ago, Volvo Group’s CEO Leif Johansson said that fully electric buses would be reality soon – but others weren’t convinced.

• Developing truck prototypes with substantially lower fuel consumption compared with a corresponding truck today.

• Volvo CE will develop and demonstrate technologies with considerable efficiency improvements.

• Encourage and help ten selected suppliers to improve energy efficiency.

• Starting up a so-called City Mobility concept in at least five cities. City Mobility is the collective term for an offering in which Volvo Buses collaborates with cities and regions to find the best and most energy-efficient public transport solution. One example is to plan for the infrastructure required for electric city buses.

• Hosting the Construction Climate Challenge (CCC) that aims to create a dialogue with construction industry representatives, academia and politicians, as well as providing funding for new research and share existing knowledge and resources to help the industry make a difference for generations to come.

 

Products 2015-2020


A cumulative reduction of emissions from products and production by at least 40 Million tons of CO2 by 2020 compared with 2013.

 

Production 2015-2020


Improving energy efficiency in production by implementing energy saving measures giving 150 GWh/year in savings. This corresponds to 8% of the energy use in Volvo Group’s production sites

Transport 2015-2020


Reducing CO2 emissions per produced unit from the Volvo Group freight transport by 20% by 2020.

 

Electric Cars. Lithium-ion is that a solution?

Li-ion batteries’ biggest problem may be their tendency to combust—remember the recall of 500,000 hoverboards and then the infamous early version of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7? The ions inside Li-ion batteries can react if the wall between them is compromised, generating enough heat to potentially catch fire. Manufacturers have mitigated such issues in most applications, but the problem can still rear its ugly head when improperly discarded Li-ion batteries are exposed to pressure and heat in a landfill or recycling facility that can stimulate combustion. Therefore, it’s so important to properly dispose of Li-ion batteries (or products containing them) at hazardous waste or battery recycling locations.

Where do the companies get the Lithium for their Lithium-ion batteries?

Worldwide, companies are racing to get Lithium, even Investors are being told to invest in Lithium. China now effectively controls half the world’s lithium production. Even in India, over a dozen companies ranging from auto component manufacturers to power and energy solutions providers. Companies like Greenfuel Energy Solutions, although what is green about it, I really do not know.
Lithium extraction does indeed take an environmental toll, from the process of pumping briny groundwater containing lithium carbonate out of the ground and leaving it in pools so the excess water can evaporate. But the main environmental consequence of this is large amounts of water used to bind to the lithium to facilitate extraction.

That means we are wasting our groundwater.

While it’s true that chemicals are used to refine lithium after it is collected, potential dangers compared to those from fracking, which involves pumping harsh chemicals underground to break up shale layers to free natural gas, which can lead to groundwater pollution and even cause minor earthquakes.

Tahua, Bolivia. Salt miners load a truck with lithium-rich salt. The ground beneath Bolivia’s salt flats are thought to contain the world’s largest reserves of the metal. (The Bolivian Andes may contain 70 per cent of the planet’s lithium.) Many analysts argue that extracting lithium from brine is more environmentally friendly than from rock. However, as demand increases, companies might resort to removing lithium from the brine by heating it up, which is more energy intensive.

In South America, the biggest problem is water. The continent’s Lithium Triangle, which covers parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, holds more than half the world’s supply of the metal beneath its otherworldly salt flats. It’s also one of the driest places on earth. That’s a real issue, because to extract lithium, miners start by drilling a hole in the salt flats and pumping salty, mineral-rich brine to the surface.

But there’s a problem. As the world scrambles to replace fossil fuels with clean energy, the environmental impact of finding all the lithium required to enable that transformation, I am convinced that this will become a very serious issue in its own right. “One of the biggest environmental problems caused by our endless hunger for the latest and smartest devices is a growing mineral crisis, particularly those needed to make our batteries,” says Christina Valimaki an analyst at Elsevier.
Then they leave it to evaporate for months at a time, first creating a mixture of manganese, potassium, borax and lithium salts which is then filtered and placed into another evaporation pool, and so on. After between 12 and 18 months, the mixture has been filtered enough that lithium carbonate – white gold – can be extracted.

It’s a relatively cheap and effective process, but it uses an immense amount of water – approximately 500,000 gallons (1.892.705,89 litres) per ton of lithium. In Chile’s Salar de Atacama, mining activities consumed 65 per cent of the region’s water. That is having a big impact on local farmers – who grow quinoa and herd llamas – in an area where some communities already must get water driven in from elsewhere!

There’s also the potential – as occurred in Tibet – for toxic chemicals to leak from the evaporation pools into the water supply. These include chemicals, including hydrochloric acid, which are used in the processing of lithium into a form that can be sold, as well as those waste products that are filtered out of the brine at each stage. In Australia and North America, lithium is mined from rock using more traditional methods, but still requires the use of chemicals in order to extract it in a useful form. Research in Nevada found impacts on fish as far as 150 miles downstream from a lithium processing operation.

Of course, alternatives to Li-ion batteries do exist with huge potential, but none are economical enough to produce yet to be anywhere near ready for mass production. Some of the most promising include batteries made from sodium-nickel chloride, silver zinc or aluminum graphite. But the expense of the raw materials and the immaturity of the production processes will keep these emerging battery technologies on the drawing board for years to come while lithium ion continues to dominate the market.
What do you think the electric cars will run on?




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24.12.2018


A wonderful winter morning in today's world.

07:00 - Just finished building a snowman in the front garden.
07:10 - The first women's libber is on her way and complains to me why it is not a
             snowwoman?
07:15 - Have just finished building a snow woman beside the snowman.
07:17 - The kindergarten teacher complains, about the breasts of the snow woman.
07:20 - The gay man from one street further insulted me, because there could be  
             two snowmen.
07:25 - My vegan neighbour is moaning from across the street that the carrot nose is
             waste of food.
07:30 - I am called a racist because the snow is white.
07:37-  Fatma from the corner house calls for a headscarf for the snowwoman.
07:40-  The police arrive and observe the scenario.
07:45 - The SCO19 (Specialist Firearms Command) arrives because the broomstick        
            could be used as a weapon.
07:48 - The IS confesses to the snowman.
07:55 - My phone is seized and evaluated while I am blindfolded and put into a
            helicopter that takes me to the Attorney General.
08:00 - I am asked about possible people that helped me.

I hope that the world changes and soon.


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21.11.2018

The Draft Withdrawal Agreement, nearly 600 pages long. Have you read it? You may want to read a shorter version, which may be of importance to you.

With courtesy from the ERG.

Your Right to Know:

The Case against Chequers and the Draft Withdrawal Agreement in plain English.


Summary: The case against the proposed Withdrawal Agreement on 1 page

1. We would hand over £39 billion of taxpayer’s money with nothing guaranteed in return. Under the proposal the UK would agree a financial settlement with the EU of c.£39 billion, made up of various elements, including continued EU budget contributions during the transition period (up to December 2020), contributions to unfunded EU commitments and EU pensions. Despite offering this vast sum of British taxpayer’s money the United Kingdom is not guaranteed any future trading arrangements, which are still to be negotiated.

2. The UK will remain a ‘rule taker’ over large areas of EU law. The UK will continue to be bound by EU laws in vital areas such as social policy, environmental policy and employment policy, i.e will obey EU laws, but have no further influence over how they are drafted. We will thus become a ‘rule taker’ and will have surrendered our sovereignty in these critical areas.

3. No exit from a ‘backstop’ Customs Union. The agreement establishes a ‘joint committee’ which will oversee the UK’s ability to proceed to a future trade relationship. If this relationship cannot be agreed by both parties the UK will enter a so called ‘backstop’ Customs Union with the EU, despite many public assurances to the contrary and directly at variance with the Conservative Party’s 2017 General Election manifesto. We could only subsequently leave the Customs Union with the agreement of the EU. While we remain in a Customs Union we would be unable to strike international trade deals without the EU’s permission.

4. The Agreement creates internal borders within the UK. Northern Ireland would become a ‘rule taker’ in further areas such as goods, agricultural products and VAT compared to the rest of the UK. This threatens the internal integrity of the United Kingdom and is completely unacceptable to the Democratic Unionist Party on whom the Conservative Party now rely for a majority in the House of Commons.

5. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will remain in control of the agreement and large areas of EU law directly effective in the UK. The ECJ will remain as the final arbiter of the agreement and of the EU laws the UK will be subject to.


Summary: The case against the proposed Withdrawal Agreement on 1 page
1. We would hand over £39 billion of taxpayer’s money with nothing guaranteed in return. Under the proposal the UK would agree a financial settlement with the EU of c.£39 billion, made up of various elements, including continued EU budget contributions during the transition period (up to December 2020), contributions to unfunded EU commitments and EU pensions. Despite offering this vast sum of British taxpayer’s money the United Kingdom is not guaranteed any future trading arrangements, which are still to be negotiated.

2. The UK will remain a ‘rule taker’ over large areas of EU law. The UK will continue to be bound by EU laws in vital areas such as social policy, environmental policy and employment policy, i.e will obey EU laws, but have no further influence over how they are drafted. We will thus become a ‘rule taker’ and will have surrendered our sovereignty in these critical areas.

3. No exit from a ‘backstop’ Customs Union. The agreement establishes a ‘joint committee’ which will oversee the UK’s ability to proceed to a future trade relationship. If this relationship cannot be agreed by both parties the UK will enter a so called ‘backstop’ Customs Union with the EU, despite many public assurances to the contrary and directly at variance with the Conservative Party’s 2017 General Election manifesto. We could only subsequently leave the Customs Union with the agreement of the EU. While we remain in a Customs Union we would be unable to strike international trade deals without the EU’s permission.

4. The Agreement creates internal borders within the UK. Northern Ireland would become a ‘rule taker’ in further areas such as goods, agricultural products and VAT compared to the rest of the UK. This threatens the internal integrity of the United Kingdom and is completely unacceptable to the Democratic Unionist Party on whom the Conservative Party now rely for a majority in the House of Commons.

5. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will remain in control of the agreement and large areas of EU law directly effective in the UK. The ECJ will remain as the final arbiter of the agreement and of the EU laws the UK will be subject to.

In summary, the combination of these measures means the United Kingdom will have not left the European Union but will instead be ‘half in and half out’. This will mean that we will become a ‘vassal state’ many of whose laws will have been created abroad and over which we have no influence. This is completely against the spirit of the 2016 referendum in which 17.4 million UK citizens voted to leave the European Union.

Background


The UK Government / EU draft withdrawal agreement, under Article 50, was published on the 14 November 2018. The withdrawal agreement runs to 585 pages. This is almost twice as long as the 300 pages of the 2008 Lisbon Treaty. The draft withdrawal agreement was published alongside a draft political declaration on a permanent ‘future framework’ UK/EU relationship.


Final EU agreement on the withdrawal agreement will be subject to the approval of an "enhanced qualified majority" of EU Member States and the European Parliament.


In the UK, the House of Commons will be given a ‘Meaningful Vote’ on whether or not to approve the draft agreement and future framework. If this is approved by the House of


Commons (which currently seems highly unlikely) Parliament will then need to pass a

Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill, in order to ratify what would become a legally binding international Treaty.


Key issue 1 NOT taking back control of our money

Under the proposed agreement the UK would agree to pay to the EU a sum of approximately
£39 billion. This would comprise a number of parts, including continued EU budget contributions during the transition period up to December 2020; unfunded EU commitments (known as Reste à Liquider or RAL where the EU has committed to future projects it has not yet funded), and EU pensions, including for EU Commissioners and civil servants.

Having been through a period of considerable austerity in Britain, it seems difficult to justify paying such a huge amount of money, while the United Kingdom is not guaranteed any future trading relationship in return, as this is still to be subsequently agreed. This hardly constitutes taking back control of our money rather it is handing over vast amounts of our money, for nothing in return and which could be better spent at home.


Key issue 2 NOT taking back control of our laws

Under the proposals the UK would continue to be bound by EU laws in a number of critical areas, such as social policy, environmental policy, employment policy and customs. We will thus become a ‘rule taker’, which means we would have to continue to obey EU laws in these areas but having surrendered any influence over how they are drafted.


Furthermore, under the agreement the European Court of Justice will be the final arbiter of EU laws in power in the UK, putting our Courts, even our Supreme Court, in a junior position.


Key issue 3 Being locked in a Customs Union without the ability to leave


Under the proposed agreement a ‘Joint Committee’ of both the EU and UK would be established to oversee the UK’s path to a future trade relationship – which has yet to be negotiated. However, if this relationship cannot be satisfactorily agreed by both parties the UK would be forced to enter a so called ‘backstop’ Customs Union with the EU. While we remain in a Customs Union (as we are at present) the UK would be unable to strike international trade deals with other countries such as the USA or China or indeed, any other country.

Moreover, and critically, once we enter the backstop we cannot leave without the consent of the European Union. This would be a major surrender of our sovereignty, despite repeated public assurances in Parliament to the contrary. It would also be directly at odds with the Conservative Party’s 2017 General Election manifesto that stated unequivocally that following the referendum "we will no longer be members of the single market or customs union".


Key issue 4 Undermining the integrity of the United Kingdom

The agreement creates internal borders within the United Kingdom, as Northern Ireland, if we enter the backstop, would be treated separately to the rest of the UK. Specifically, Northern Ireland would become a rule taker in further areas such as goods, agricultural products and VAT. This would create ‘a border down the Irish Sea’, despite repeated assurances to Parliament that no British Government would ever contemplate this.

The draft agreement contains a separate Protocol including clauses specific to Northern Ireland not affecting the rest of the UK. Treating Northern Ireland separately from the UK would only encourage separatism in Scotland, to the detriment of our United Kingdom.

The separate treatment of Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom is unacceptable to the Democratic Unionist Party (the DUP) on whom the Conservative Party now rely for a working majority in the House of Commons. If the DUP were to withdraw their support from the Conservative Party, because of these proposals, the Government would collapse.




Key issue 5 The Agreement would be overseen by the European Court of Justice, not the UK Supreme Court.

Under the proposals the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will remain in control of the agreement and those areas of EU law that remain effective in the UK. The ECJ will remain as the final arbiter of the agreement and of the EU laws the UK will be subject to. Again, this is wholly against the spirit of the referendum.


A better alternative - a "Super Canada" Free Trade Deal


The European Research Group (ERG) has argued for some time for a far better alternative which is an advanced Free Trade Deal, known as ‘Super Canada’ (or Canada+++). The Group has spent months trying to persuade the Prime Minister and senior pro EU officials in 10 Downing Street that this would present a superior alternative for the United Kingdom to Chequers and what is now the draft withdrawal agreement. However, these efforts have proved unsuccessful to date and the Prime Minister appears completely wedded to the current proposals.

The ERG published a paper explaining the case for its alternative at the 2018 Conservative Party Conference. (‘Why an advanced Free Trade Deal – Super Canada is superior to the Chequers proposal’). In addition, the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) has also published a highly detailed 134 page report this autumn, explaining in precise economic terms, how such an arrangement (which they call PlanA+) would work in practice.

In essence, Super Canada would involve taking an existing EU Canada trade agreement, which was signed in 2016 and updating this framework by adding on some additional elements, such as a security protocol and a protocol on data. The EU Canada agreement took several years to negotiate but this means that most of the ‘heavy lifting’ has already been done and many of the key issues have previously been thrashed out in a manner the EU has already agreed to.


A Super Canada trade agreement would not involve being in the Single Market or Customs Union and would not leave the UK subject to the authority of the European Court of Justice.

It would therefore honour the spirit of the 2016 referendum and the clear instruction to politicians from 17.4 million people that we should leave the European Union. It would also, incidentally, comply with the Conservative Party’s 2017 General Election Manifesto commitment, on which almost every sitting Conservative MP was elected to Parliament by their constituents. (A handful of Conservative MPs qualified their election addresses on this issue).



Conclusion


For the reasons explained in this paper, Chequers and the associated withdrawal agreement mean that the UK would not, in reality, leave the European Union. Instead we would be left, effectively "half in, half out" (which the Prime Minister specifically warned against in her Lancaster House speech in January 2017).


The aim of this paper has been to explain to the people of the United Kingdom in plain and simple English, what these complex legal proposals really mean for the future of this country. They would mean, in short, that we had surrendered our destiny and breeched the spirit of the 2016 referendum. This is why the ERG is so strongly opposed to them.


APPENDIX


The Agreement in more detail


Internal NI/GB border: The backstop provides for an all UK Customs Union and regulatory and other alignment in Northern Ireland. This would mean that goods from Northern Ireland entering the EU market via Ireland would be EU compliant. Goods from Great Britain would not be. This would entail checks on GB goods going into Northern Ireland to ensure they do not enter the EU’s single market.


For this reason, Article 7 of the Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol guarantees "unfettered market access for goods moving from Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom", but not the other way around.


No backstop exit: The ‘backstop’ in the Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol, is on the face of it supposed to be temporary. However, the decision on when it might end is not one the UK can take alone.


Article 1 (3) of the protocol gives the following condition for when the backstop can end: "This

Protocol sets out arrangements necessary to address the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, maintain the necessary conditions for continued North-South cooperation, avoid a hard border and protect the 1998 Agreement in all its dimensions."

Article 20 of the Protocol sets out when these conditions can be met: "If at any time after the end of the transition period the Union or the United Kingdom considers that the Protocol is, in whole or in part, no longer necessary to achieve the objectives set out in Article 1 (3) and should cease to apply"... "the Joint Committee shall meet at ministerial level to consider the notification."


How the European Court of Justice will remain in control: The European Court of Justice (ECJ), will be given jurisdiction to rule over the withdrawal agreement including the transitional period, the potentially-permanent ‘backstop’ and the financial settlement.

The ‘backstop’ would tie the UK into a Customs Union with the EU where its customs rules, external trade policy, regulations in Northern Ireland and - via the ‘non-regression’ clauses - social, environmental, employment and state aid policy, would all be decided in the EU.

The financial settlement would cost the UK c.£39bn with the final sum adjudicated by the ECJ. This sum would not be conditional on gaining a final permanent trade agreement. It would be payable even if the UK remained trapped in the ‘backstop’.


Also under the ‘backstop’, Northern Ireland would be subject to EU regulations, (remaining in the Single Market for goods) while the UK would not. This would create internal UK borders down the Irish Sea (as well as regulatory borders at Calais and other UK/EU borders).


The European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction in the Agreement.



The jurisdiction of the ECJ stems from the following articles:

Over the Transition Period: Article 4(1) "The provisions of this Agreement and the provisions of Union law made applicable by this Agreement shall produce in respect of and in the



United Kingdom the same legal effects as those which they produce within the Union and its Member States."
On cases arising under the Transition period for 4 years afterwards: Article 87"the European Commission may within 4 years after the end of the transition period, bring the matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union.."


Over EU Citizens rights: Article 150:"References to the Court of Justice of the European Union".. "which commenced in the first instance within 8 years from the end of the transition period.."


Over the financial settlement: Article 160:"Articles 258, 260, and 267 TFEU shall apply on respect of the interpretation and application of applicable Union law referred to in Article 136 and Article 138 (1) or (2).." Articles 136&138 relate to the financial settlement.


Ultimately over the arbitration panel set up under Article 171: Article 174:"The Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction to give such a ruling which shall be binding on the arbitration panel.."


Over the ‘backstop’: Article 14 (1) of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol "the authorities of the United Kingdom shall be responsible for implementing and applying the provisions of Union law made applicable by this Protocol.."


Over the ‘backstop’: Article 14 (4) of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol "In particular, the Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction as provided for in the Treaties.."


It binds the UK into EU social, environmental, employment and state aid policies: Annex 4 of the Ireland / Northern Ireland protocol sets out a number of ‘non-regression’ clauses that will bind the UK into following EU polices including ‘common standards’ on environment, social and labour Law, taxation and state aid directly under the ECJ.

=================================================



26.10.2018

Kiera Knightley - She banned her daughter from watching Cinderella.


What is this world coming to?
Do you remember sitting down with the family to watch Walt Disney Films? After the film you may have thought, that was a good film, well made and something for all ages.
On the other hand, after watching “Maleficent” how many of you shared such thoughts as listed below, after watching this fantasy film?

 Oh my God the prince kissed her, without her consent and whilst she was in a coma.”
“Those three Fairies, did not really look after the baby well, surprised that the social services were not alarmed.”
“There were far more men in that film than women.”
“Yes, and more white horses than black or brown ones.”
“Maleficent was a nice person until a man came and messed things up for her.”
No, I am sure the majority of you did not and that is good so!
Have you seen Keira Knightley in “Love Actually”?  Well following her logic, critical sentences in an after-movie debate, could have fallen like:
“What a weird character she played, I mean, the best friend of her husband fancies her. She finds out, when she is at his place to get his recording of her wedding and realises that he has only filmed her. That is spooky, the makings of a Stalker. Alarm bells should be ringing”
“He then goes to her house, plays some music to her and shows her some boards to read. This is definitely the makings of a stalker.”
“Amazing that she does not shut the door in his face and threaten to call the police or tell her husband about his so called best friend.”
“Instead of showing no interest, she runs after him and kisses him on the lips, without asking.”
“That is definitely sending out wrong message.”
“Weird girl, definitely asking for trouble there.”


Ego requiem meam doleat

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03.10.2018

Political Correctness



Should we demand that "The White House" has to be re-named?



Happy Holidays has replaced happy Christmas. Donald Trump said in December 2017, "I've made it okay to say Happy Christmas again."

  

Political correctness is the idea that everyone must be careful to use or behave in a neutral language or way in order not to marginalize or avoid insulting a particular group of people.




Is the use of Political Correctness far over the top? Do we know what we can still think or even say without, being accused of being a Racist or annoying someone?



To be politically correct, means you have to apologize constantly.

Our constitution guarantees every citizen to express his/her opinion freely either in words, writing or pictures. A censorship does not take place, but why do people swallow all this mental paternalism?
Of course, we have to be careful with what we say in order not to offend people. Because to be politically correct also means not calling people of East Asien appearance, “Chinks”, because the word is indiscriminately used and the use of it is considered offensive.


My thoughts are, that we have gone overboard with Political Correctness, but if we dare to question it, our ideas and thoughts and character are from some people categorized as populist or even right-wing. They are the same people that do not even know when to draw the line and by satisfying the few, the majority however, are ignored. It is people like those, who endanger our society.

DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND, THAT NOT EVERYONE WHO EAT MEAT, THINKS THAT ANIMAL WELFARE DOES NOT MATTER?

Political correctness has long surpassed common sense. It tries to make everything right, even if it is not possible or indeed necessary. Everything that has to do with common sense is simply thrown overboard.

Is not Christmas part of our culture? It is quite correct to say Merry Christmas.

I do not believe that the Muslims, Jews and other non-Christian communities in predominantly Christian countries have anything against it. Just ask the people in your area if they are upset when they hear "Merry Christmas" or read the words. Personally, I do not know of a single one, and you?

Here are some examples from the US and the UK of enthusiasts who are careful not to use language that may offend a particular group of people. Who are these people? Well, they are politicians, teachers, social workers, feminists, publicists and academics who seem to deal with such modern disciplines such as identity, gender and Third World Studies, further groups who are involved in such activities are trade unionists and theologians.


USA:

Let us start with the "Founding Fathers". Unbelievably, this word has been considered as being sexist and has been replaced by "Founders". That there were no female leaders in the US at that time is irrelevant.

Of course, classical literature was not sure of politically correctness for sure. In many American schools, Mark Twain's novel "Huckleberry Finn" is no longer studied. A literary scholar from Alabama came to the rescue and created a “clean version” of the novel, in which all "negros" and "niggers" were deleted.

When Huckleberry Finn says, "Slave" instead of "negro," the story is being separated from the time that it is actually been played in.  As long as I can think back, the word "nigger" has been a dirty word and pejorative. I belong to one of the generations that "Negro" was not a dirty word but was a neutral description of race. Later we said “Coloured” and that was followed with “Black”.

Does that mean that I and millions of English speaking people were racist? No, of course not, as with Huckleberry Finn, that is what the world looked like then. Should not literature always be considered in the context of the time in which it originated? Can it be that students should not learn more about what the world looked like when they did not yet follow the rules of political correctness?

Should we just rewrite literature like "Tom Sawyer? Was it racist? On the other hand, were they simply the times back then? Do we have to replace all books with the term "red skin" with "Indians"? While we are at it, should we remove all swastikas from history books?
The strongest girl in the world Pippi Longstocking, ("Negro King") has been censored since 2009. To all those, who missed the pleasure of reading about or watching TV Series about Pippi Longstocking. Pippi is the daughter of a South Seas seafarer Ephraim Longstocking, who is the captain of the sailing ship Hoptoad, from whom Pippi inherited her common sense and incredible strength. Captain Longstocking is the only person known to match Pippi in physical ability. He originally bought Villa Villekulla to give his daughter a more stable home life than that on board the ship, although Pippi loves the seafaring life and is a better sailor and helmsman than most of her father's crew.
Pippi retired to the Villa Villekulla after it was believed that her father was lost at sea. Pippi however believed her father was still alive, and that he had rescued himself to an island, where he had been made a king of the natives, and was strolling around all day with a crown on his head. She believed her father would one day come to look for her at Villa Villekulla.
As it turned out, Captain Longstocking had been washed ashore upon a South Sea island known as “Kurrekurredutt Isle”, where its native people made him the „fat white chief“. “Now “fat white chief” was not considered as being discriminating, The Captain returned to Sweden to bring Pippi to his new home in the South Seas,  where she was confirmed as the "fat white chief's" daughter, "negerprinsessa" and her father as "negerkung", meaning "negro princess" and "negro king" respectively.



UK:

Many schools have dropped the terms "BC" (Before Christ) and "AD" (Anno Domini - After Christ) in religious education to avoid insulting non-Christians. In some educational institutions, BC and AD had been replaced by the terms BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era).

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, called the ruling of the religious education committees "a great shame." He said that he "never met a Muslim or Jewish leader who is offended by the Gregorian calendar".

The Deputy Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain Imam Ibrahim Mogra said: "I do not think it offends Muslims". A spokesman (sorry! spokesperson) for the board of British Jews said, "I do not think anyone would mind if they use BC and AD in schools."

Some Catholic schools in England and Wales are said to have remove the terms "mother" and "father" from their inclusion, because they feared that the words could discriminate against families with gays or stepparents However, following a complaint from a parent, the school was referred to the schools governing body because the terms "stepparents, and gay parents" were discriminating against. Separated parents.

It seems that the Twitter proletariat is encouraged to make any perceived inhibitions of racism, Islamism, chauvinism, sexism, genderism, classicism, anti-Semitism, and whatever the other -ism, happens to be the taste of the week.

In 2014, political correctness was no longer just unconventional and tedious. It got bigger, insisting that "gingerbread men" are to be called "gingerbread people" instead.

Another gem. The phrase "Ladies and Gentleman" is to be deleted from announcements on the London Tube in order to keep it gender-neutral. Instead, London Underground Staff should use greetings such as "Good morning everyone" to make sure that all passengers feel "welcome".

John Lewis is a chain of stores throughout the United Kingdom. John Lewis was the first British retailer to remove gender labels from his children's clothing. The department store chain has not only removed "girls" and "boys" labels from their clothes, but also eliminated the individual areas in the stores. John Lewis own brand kids clothing will now simply say "Girls & Boys" or "Boys & Girls." School uniform is the only type of clothing, that has not yet been changed, but it will. The dress style has not changed - you will still find flower dresses and skirts, but the dealer simply proves that both girls and boys can wear them. They also unveiled a new unisex children's clothing line, with dinosaur print dresses and spaceship tops. In the past, many other retailers have had the political incorrect “finger” pointed at them for their sexist clothes.




What political correctness has achieved is to have scared writers, comedians, artists and politicians to address specific issues. Unique viewpoints and voices have been made silent. It has led teachers to be on their toes for fear of losing their jobs; silenced students/pupils who want to create new knowledge or want to create something new with their knowledge - they are too busy thinking about, whether their actions are offending people, and therefore stop talking, whilst the ignorant and hateful get louder. It limits intellectual discussions and thoughts.


What I am referring to, is the paralysis that we feel now because we are afraid to offend. We can no longer talk about current events, politics, race, religion, or sexuality without the fear of being misinterpreted or declared ignorant or insensitive.



Overall we can say that being politically correct does not mean being correct!


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25.09.2018

I am fed up with the News  on television not mentioning the complete facts and only showing parts to their own advantages or to their probable masters.

Take the speech of Theresa May's post-Salzburg speech; here in Germany, much was not shown, only parts of it, to which more at less portrays that the EU are doing everything correctly throughout the Brexit negotiation talks and respecting the british people.

I do not know whether you have the same thoughts in your Country, that htings are being left out on purpose.

So I have decided to post the transcript, so that you can see for yourselves what was said, in particuraly to the EU citizens leaving in the UK, which incidentally was not mentioned here in the news on television.


“Yesterday, I was in Salzburg for talks with European leaders. I have always said that these negotiations would be tough — and they were always bound to be toughest in the final straight. While both sides want a deal, we have to face up to the fact that — despite the progress we have made — there are two big issues where we remain a long way apart.

The first is our economic relationship after we have left. Here, the EU is still only offering us two options. The first option would involve the UK staying in the European Economic Area and a customs union with the EU. In plain English, this would mean we’d still have to abide by all the EU rules, uncontrolled immigration from the EU would continue and we couldn’t do the trade deals we want with other countries. That would make a mockery of the referendum we had two years ago.

The second option would be a basic free trade agreement for Great Britain that would introduce checks at the Great Britain/EU border. But even worse, Northern Ireland would effectively remain in the Customs Union and parts of the Single Market, permanently separated economically from the rest of the UK by a border down the Irish Sea. Parliament has already — unanimously — rejected this idea.

Creating any form of customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would not respect that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom, in line with the principle of consent, as set out clearly in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. It is something I will never agree to — indeed, in my judgment it is something no British Prime Minister would ever agree to. If the EU believe I will, they are making a fundamental mistake. Anything which fails to respect the referendum or which effectively divides our country in two would be a bad deal and I have always said no deal is better than a bad deal.

But I have also been clear that the best outcome is for the UK to leave with a deal. That is why, following months of intensive work and detailed discussions, we proposed a third option for our future economic relationship, based on the frictionless trade in goods. That is the best way to protect jobs here and in the EU and to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, while respecting the referendum result and the integrity of the United Kingdom.

Yesterday Donald Tusk said our proposals would undermine the single market. He didn’t explain how in any detail or make any counter-proposal. So we are at an impasse.

The second issue is connected to the first. We both agree that the Withdrawal Agreement needs to include a backstop to ensure that if there’s a delay in implementing our new relationship, there still won’t be a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. But the EU is proposing to achieve this by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the Customs Union. As I have already said, that is unacceptable. We will never agree to it. It would mean breaking up our country. We will set out our alternative that preserves the integrity of the UK. And it will be in line with the commitments we made back in December — including the commitment that no new regulatory barriers should be created between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK unless the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agree.

As I told EU leaders, neither side should demand the unacceptable of the other. We cannot accept anything that threatens the integrity of our union, just as they cannot accept anything that threatens the integrity of theirs. We cannot accept anything that does not respect the result of the referendum, just as they cannot accept anything that is not in the interest of their citizens. Throughout this process, I have treated the EU with nothing but respect. The UK expects the same. A good relationship at the end of this process depends on it.

At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side’s proposals without a detailed explanation and counter proposals. So we now need to hear from the EU what the real issues are and what their alternative is so that we can discuss them. Until we do, we cannot make progress. In the meantime, we must and will continue the work of preparing ourselves for no deal. In particular, I want to clarify our approach to two issues.

First, there are over 3 million EU citizens living in the UK who will be understandably worried about what the outcome of yesterday’s summit means for their future. I want to be clear with you that even in the event of no deal your rights will be protected. You are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues. We want you to stay.

Second, I want to reassure the people of Northern Ireland that in the event of no deal we will do everything in our power to prevent a return to a hard border.

Let me also say this. The referendum was the largest democratic exercise this country has ever undergone. To deny its legitimacy or frustrate its result threatens public trust in our democracy. That is why for over two years I have worked day and night to deliver a deal that sees the UK leave the EU. I have worked to bring people with me even when that has not always seemed possible. No one wants a good deal more than me. But the EU should be clear: I will not overturn the result of the referendum. Nor will I break up my country. We need serious engagement on resolving the two big problems in the negotiations. We stand ready.”

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Newsnight. Do older men have preference over their same aged  female counterparts?

24 July 2018

Back in 1955, a woman called Barbara Mandell made history by becoming the first woman to read the news on British TV, at ITN. 

What was most curious, was that she sat there in a make believe kitchen in the background, reading the news! 

Furthermore, back then, women were only permitted to read some news, Wars or tragedies were strictly themes that were only allowed to be presented by men.


There were complaints about the way the news was presented, with a make believe kitchen. Rightly so, how sexist, you may say. The only thing was however, were that the complaints were just confined to the sink, being shown containing dirty dishes!  After all this critic, it was changed to a more pleasant view of that a drawing room. How pleasant and considerate.


Sixty years on, much has changed, there are now in fact more female newscasters on British TV than male ones, some also have high profiles too, like Kay Burley and Mary Nightingale. 


There is still a problem however, Cathy Newman once said:


“Male broadcasting titans like my wonderful co-presenter Jon Snow, John Humphrys and David Dimbleby are well into their 60`s and 70’s. The women do not even get close.”


Does ageism exist then - or better defined, sexist ageism?  


Men indeed do seem to maintain their place on screen for longer. Fact is, there are no female equivalents of David Dimbleby or Jon Snow. Anna Ford was still reading the news into her 60s, but so far she has been a one off. Mary Nightingale, who presents the ITV news at 6.30 pm, is 52 and is currently one of the oldest female newsreader on national TV.


It certainly does seem that women are more changed on their looks than their counterparts. The older men who are not in the best shape are being lauded for their journalism and great personalities, while equally talented women, who are not a perfect size 10 are batting away comments made about their figures and that from other journalists. 


Sophie Raworth admitted that women’s appearances is by far more scrutinised than her male colleagues. She was once advised from doctors to have a mole removed from her nose. Although her friends who have known her, since she was a small child, had not even noticed, a newspaper did and printed half a page article about it.


Sohie Raworth also added however, although she is still working at the good old (for some) age of 47 proves how far things are changing and admits to having a higher profile since she had turned 40, there are quite a few females in their 40’s and early 50’s.


Do women stand a chance of pursuing their careers over 50 or even sixty? 



Is sexist ageism a thing of the past? Well things have definitely improved for sure, but we are not out of the woods yet. 


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Travelling through France this summer?



10 July 2018



Three times a year, we drive through France to Cantabria in Spain. When I was younger, I use to do the journey in one day. After turning fifty, I soon found out that my body, could no longer cope with it. The solution was quite simple, do a stopover for a night in France!



So what sort of Hotel do you book?  Years before, when driving back through France, we use to do a stopover near Bordeaux (Cestas) at Capanille. We were very happy with the accomodation. However, what happens, if you are on a smaller Budget?



There are quite a few Budget Hotels, like "Ibis" " F1" etc.. I think that if you are young and you do not mind sleeping on narrow thin and low down beds, cramped in a room, with a cramp bathroom, with the WC being right up close to the shower and wall, then you will not be disappointed. If you have small children with you, it would be advisable not to arrive too early, otherwise your children and yourselves will soon become restless and worse maybe agitated, all together in one small room and bathroom. 



I stayed quite a few times in different Budget Hotels, we thought, well all we need, is just somewhere to sleep and that is it. Apart from the breakfast, hotel staff and cleanliness, we were not really contended with the comfort and consequently did not sleep well. I take it for granted that here, is the price more important than the comfort and I understand perfectly, if people, would rather save money here. However if one of you, happens to be on the corpulent side, I am not too sure, that you will sleep well, or enjoy showering yourselves in the bathroom.



We have gone back to staying at Campanille, because we have the knowledge of knowing, that we will have a good sleep and shower in a spacious bathroom, and enjoy a complementary Tea or Coffee in the Mornings, if you wish to leave without having breakfast.



The price of the rooms and breakfast are more expensive than the Budget Hotels, but  hey it gives us a good start for the second part of the journey. Many times the Budget Hotels are in the same area as Campanille.



We tend to stay in differnt areas of France, arriving early and then going to town for a look around.



Whatever you decide, have a safe trip and enjoy your holidays!!

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“It’s more difficult to avoid sugar than you think,” 


28 June 2018

Through the Media, we are almost confronted every day, that we are consuming too much sugar. In many cases, sugar is found in products you wouldn’t suspect and under names you wouldn’t recognize. What can we do about this? Are we left alone in this fate? What about the food industry? How can we educate ourselves? Does the government inform us?

The enormous power of the sugar lobby – Food Industry


For decades, the sugar industry managed to deceive consumers and to cheer their products.
The harmful effect of excessive sugar consumption was deliberately concealed or even denied. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease were the bitter consequences for many consumers. On average, Germans (and they are not alone here) consume almost 1 kg of sugar per week. That's 333 pieces of sugar cubes.

They want to sell, their products. The truth of the matter is, we are consuming too much sugar, and it has become a growing problem; whether being in Food, processed food, drinks or sweet things, it is harming us. Most of the time, we do not know that what we are really consuming, as I mentioned above. In many cases, sugar is found in products you wouldn’t suspect and under names you wouldn’t recognize.  Well, there is hope, my little sweet tooth friends. We CAN educate ourselves, there is a lot of information out there and of course this blog could be passed on to your friends J.

In October 2015, the EU lifted the Sugar quotas which also meant no quota system within the EU for isoglucose.  Isoglucose is an industrial sugar produced from corn, cereals or potatoes and is significantly cheaper than normal table sugar and is dangerous healthwise. As trade restrictions applied, this significantly limited the import. Thanks to sugar quotas, the total import volume of isoglucose was regulated and it was not allowed to exceed 5% of the total sugar market. The market share of isoglucose in the sweetener market has increased significantly and was also forecast as such from the EU Commission.
For the economy, the reasons for isoglucose are obvious. The industrial sugar produced from corn is significantly cheaper than normal table sugar.
Prior to the lifting of the sugar quotas, in the US, industrial sugar isoglucose was believed to be a major cause of widespread of obesity and diabetes. With elaborate and, above all, expensive education campaigns, it was however possible to reduce the consumption of isoglucose to a certain extent. Since the EU has lifted the quotas, this now allows a significant increased level of isoglucose.   The health of its inhabitants should be the priority of every government.
Now, let’s eat a natural yoghurt and carry on reading my little sweeties. STOP! Sugar alert! Added sugar found in two-thirds of packaged foods! “Come on I’m enjoying my healthy yoghurt here.” Healthy? Would you have suspected sugar in a natural yoghurt? Some manufacturers use not only milk but milk solids during preparation. It contains more sugar than fresh milk - the yoghurt tastes sweeter. Advantage for the manufacturers: You do not have to list milk solids - unlike added sugar - in the list of ingredients. They got us again.
No matter what you buy from the store, almost everything contains less or more sugar. Not just the sweet foods and beverages but also the salty ones. The reason is simple. It is easy to get addicted to sugar, and that means more sales for the food industry.
Did you know, so that YOU as a consumer, do not notice if you are consuming products containing harmful isoglucose or granulated sugar. the Cargill Group had or still has a tasting room at its most important European R & D location in Vilvoorder, just outside Brüssels, where the soft drink manufacturers can test their own products. They had two versions: one sweetened with sugar and a reformatted version sweetened with isoglucose. While table sugar is made of glucose and fructose linked in a 50/50 ratio, isoglucose contains varying amounts of the two molecules, usually around 40 percent of fructose and 60 percent of glucose. This ratio was found to better mimic the taste of table sugar than a 50/50 ratio.
Now, sit down before you fall down. Did you know there are over 200 types of sugar used by manufacturers? Unbelievable, isn’t it? There is no question that sugar is guilty for many conditions, therefore it is important for us to decrease the amount of daily sugar intake. Many people are getting more and more health conscious. They often pay attention to what they eat and drink and furthermore due to thr put in place food labelling. they are starting to check the food labels as well. What does the food producers do? Searching for foods that are healthier and contain less sugar or salt is something that the food producers do not like, so wanting our best, they give different names for sugar to mislead the consumers whilst maintaining their sales.

I came across an infographic by appforhealth.com , which shows us the most common names they use for sugar. Before you purchase processed foods and beverages, have a quick look at the label and see if you can see any of these as portrayed by the app, “sneaky names”:


However, it must be said, that there are many families out there, that have low incomes or are on welfare, or indeed both. Put yourself in the situation of a provider if I may use this word (please note it is gender free), and you wish to cook dinner tonight for yourself, your partner and the children. You have two children (the average number of children for a British family is currently 1.7.) You decide to go to a discounter like Lidl whilst they are at school, because “Tina” is eight and has to go to the Brownies and later do her homework. Mark who is twelve has football training straight after school, and if he also has homework. Your partner (gender free) arrives home at around 5.30 pm, so you plan to eat altogether at 6.00 pm. Your partner goes to work by car, so you need to get the bus into town. The fare is £2.40, there and back. On the way there, you are thinking about what are you going to cook. The children love pizza, so that is also convenience, on the other hand, beans, sausages and chips would also be ok. I could do the chips myself, but they do take longer in the chip pan. Spaghetti Bolognese would not be bad either, and is nice and cheap. All you are concerned with, is just getting your children fed. They normally come home hungry and I need something in them that will last. Now if a kilo of French Fries costs 75p, 12 British Pork Sausages for £1.19 and two tins of baked beans for 64p. and some wholemeal Medium Bread (800g) for 55p. That is a meal, that will fill them up. Its costs as little as £3.13. It is quick an inexpensive, “Lovely Jubbly” as Del Boy would say. Not much importance is given to healthy food. You want your children full, you do not have much time to cook, you have to supervise the homework, clean up, make sure Tina brushes her teeth etc… You need to keep your budget as low as possible. Tomorrow is Saturday and therefore you can go with your partner shopping for the whole week.



Now the most of us know that fries, and other fried foods when consumed frequently, is associated with a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. They also contribute to high blood pressure and no “good” HDL cholesterol. Sausages are processed meat and are considered as being bad for you and has been linked with diseases like cancer and heart disease in numerous studies. There is no doubt that processed meat contains many harmful chemicals that are not naturally present in fresh meat. Now, baked beans, “No, not my baked beans” I hear you say, Well, what would you like first, the good news or the bad? Ok, the bad is, the average serve (150g) of baked beans has 15g of added sugar, which is 3 teaspoons of sugar and is a moderately high amount. Now according to the World Health Organisation, we should ideally stay under 25g of sugar per day to stay healthy, so put that Mars bar down!  The same average serve of baked beans (150g) can also contain an average of 1100mg of sodium (2.8g of salt). Nearly 50% of our daily allowance. 

Thank God for no added salt or low in Sugar baked beans. Of course, they are more expensive that your ordinary baked beans. Now for the good news, if you are buying the no added salt and reduced sugar versions (more expensive), baked beans actually contain a lot of fiber (5.2g per 100g) and plant based protein which research has shown that it makes us fell fuller for longer. Never thought I could write some much about baked beans! But just to emphasize on the Nutritional value and good news, for all you baked bean lovers, read this and be happy.

So now we know that Baked beans offer a variety of nutritional benefits, one of these benefits comes from fiber, a soluble fiber. This source of fiber is what causes flatulence (fart response 😔). The reason behind this is due to our gut flora (bacteria) breaking down the fiber in the beans.

If you can deal with the extra gas, then baked beans can promote a healthy gut. One type of fiber we get in baked beans is called inulin which works as a prebiotic to feed good bacteria and benefit our health. This good bacterium breaks down the soluble fiber (mainly oligosaccharides) and as a by-product produces hydrogen, nitrogen and Carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes flatulence (farting 😊).

This causes no health issues unless you have issues with your gut bacteria L.

Maybe here the GOV UK should think about putting this on their Food and Labelling program! What would you put on the label?

Now that is a situation, that I imagine many people are in, however there is hope. I chose Lidl, because as a discounter, many people from all works of life, go there shopping and Lidl, apart from shopping have quite a lot to offer too. Most households do have internet and it is there were you can educate yourself about food and beverages. When you are on the Lidl website, not only can you look through the leaflet for special offers, they also have a blog called “Feed the family on a budget” Here consumers can post recipes and tips, showing ways to make food and money go further, which is useful if you happen to have a family. Growing your own herbs, or simply making meals from leftovers (which many people do). Even tips on clever cooking methods are given from other customers. Many of these posts are, helpful, healthy and nutritious. They also have post on money-saving tips. Waitrose has an online section for healthy recipes, shopping and even a diet plan, not that you need one!

While table sugar is made of glucose and fructose linked in a 50/50 ratio, isoglucose contains varying amounts of the two molecules, usually around 40 percent of fructose and 60 percent of glucose. This ratio was found to better mimic the taste of table sugar than a 50/50 ratio.

A fruit juice is often thought to be healthy. That's understandable ... Fruit juices seem to be natural and contain the word "fruit". What many people forget or do not understand is that fruit juice also contains a lot of sugar. In fact, fruit juice contains just as much sugar and calories as a sugary drink, like coke or limonade and sometimes even more; and when you see further down, how much sugar there is in a can of coke, it will blow your socks off.

The tiny amount of vitamins and antioxidants in fruit juices is nothing compared to the huge amount of sugar it contains.

Fruit juices are often not what they look like. Even the higher-quality juices have largely lost their natural taste through their production and must be enriched with flavors to mimic the original taste. So even if you buy the highest quality fruit juice in the supermarket, it is still far from a real, freshly squeezed fruit juice.

A fruit juice contains some nutrients, but much less than fresh fruit or plant foods. It has no fiber, contains a lot of sugar and a lot of calories. Often even more than sugary drinks like Coca Cola.
Fruit juices contain a large amount of sugar. Compared to fresh fruit all fiber is missing and you do not have to chew the juices, which means that we absorb more sugar and calories than we would like. Studies have also proven that it can lead to serious metabolic diseases.

Consumers have misconceptions about sugar and its production, that is where the government come in, but can we trust them? After all, it wasn't so long ago that we were spoon-fed the unimpeachable "fact" that we should eat no more than two eggs a week because they contained heart-stopping cholesterol, but that gem of nutritional wisdom had to be quietly erased from history when research showing that cholesterol in eggs had almost no effect on blood cholesterol became too glaringly obvious to ignore. No government authority has bothered to tell us that lamb, beef and game from free-range, grass-fed animals is a top source of conjugated linoleic acid, the micronutrient that reduces our risk of cancer, obesity and diabetes, but they do their best, or do they? 

Many people raise their eyebrows here and think of a Nanny State and it is not so welcome in many households, but at least, they do try to educate and in many cases actually get involved and change the practice of the food industry. There is a lot of information on GOV.UK, which informs us also about food. Food Labelling has become an option, and is very important for the consumer. The food industry were /are describing the ingredients, so that many of us do not understand. The GOV UK, has laid down rules for food and drink warnings, to bring more transparency into the products. Here is an excerpt of the topic which can be found on the GOV UK’s website:

Food and drink warnings:

You must show an appropriate warning on the label if your food contains certain ingredients.


Ingredient

Wording you must use

Allura red (E129)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’

Aspartame

‘Contains a source of phenylalanine’

Caffeine over 150 mg/l

‘Not suitable for children, pregnant women and persons sensitive to caffeine’

Carmoisine (E122)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’

Liquorice

‘Contains liquorice’ (you may need extra wording for confectionery or alcohol containing liquorice).

Polyols

‘Excessive consumption may cause a laxative effect’

Ponceau 4R (E124)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’

Quinoline yellow (E104)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’

Raw milk

‘This milk has not been heat-treated and may therefore contain organisms harmful to health’

Skimmed milk with non-milk fat

There’s no fixed wording, but you must show a warning that the product is unfit or not to be used for babies.

Sulphur dioxide over 10mg/l

‘Contains sulphur dioxide (or sulphites/sulfites)’

Sunset yellow (E110)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’

Sweeteners

‘With sweetener(s)’

Sweeteners and sugar

‘With sugar and sweetener(s)’

Tartrazine (E102)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children


The government also has rules for food labelling and packaging, you cann look this up on their website, however I will label out the overview as seen on the website.

To sell food and drink products, the label must be:
clear and easy to read
permanent
easy to understand
easily visible
not misleading

You must show certain basic information and list the ingredients. You might also have to show certain warnings.

There are special regulations for labelling wine.

Products sold loose or in catering businesses

If you run a catering business, you sell food loose or package it for sale in your shop, you only need to show:
the name of the food
if any of the ingredients have been irradiated, or have come from genetically modified sources
certain warnings
any food additive you have added
You must show more information if you sell meat products loose.

Packaging

If you package food yourself, you must use packaging that’s suitable for food use. Suitable packaging is marked ‘for food contact’ or has a symbol on it that looks like a wine glass and a fork.

There are special rules for using plastics, ceramics or cellophane for packaging. You must have written evidence that you’ve kept to them.

This is known as a ‘declaration of compliance’ and you can get it from your packaging supplier. You also have to get one if you buy food that’s already packaged for sale in any of those materials.

Read the national legislation on food contact materials for EnglandNorthern IrelandWales or Scotland.


Oh My God !!!


On this site as indeed on many other sites, there is a lot of information out there. I wrote down on Google, "Is sugar bad for you?" Around 749.000,000 different Post came up, even one called I"Is sugar bad for you? Here's how it destroys your body."

On the GOV UK site, there is also a Press release, which was published on 22nd May 2018.

Press Release

First measure of industry progress to cut sugar unveiled
The first assessment of industry progress on the government’s sugar reduction programme has been published.
Published 22 May 2018
Public Health England (PHE) has today (Tuesday 22 May 2018) published the first assessment of progress on the government’s sugar reduction programme, measuring how far the food industry has gone towards reducing the sugar children consume through everyday foods.
As part of the government’s plan to reduce childhood obesity, the food industry, including retailers, manufacturers, restaurants, cafés and pub chains, has been challenged to cut 20% of sugar from a range of products by 2020, with a 5% reduction in the first year.
Progress towards meeting the 5% ambition is the focus of this report and is assessed against a 2015 baseline. The assessment shows an encouraging initial start from retailers and manufacturers, achieving a 2% reduction in both average sugar content and calories in products likely to be consumed in one go.
Whilst this doesn’t meet the 5% ambition, PHE recognises there are more sugar reduction plans from the food industry in the pipeline – and some changes to products that are not yet captured in the data as they took effect after the first-year cut-off point.
For the 8 food categories where progress has been measured, the assessment also shows:
there have been reductions in sugar levels across 5 categories
yoghurts and fromage frais, breakfast cereals, and sweet spreads and sauces have all met or exceeded the initial 5% sugar reduction ambition
sugar levels are generally the same across all sectors, however for the eating out of home sector, portion sizes in products likely to be consumed in one go are substantially larger – on average more than double – those of retailers and manufacturers
Retailers and manufacturers have also reduced calories in products likely to be consumed in one go in 4 categories, for example by reducing the size of the product. Of these, ice cream, lollies and sorbets, and yoghurts and fromage frais have reduced average calories by more than 5%.

Due to limitations with the data, PHE is not yet able to report on the progress made in the cakes and morning goods categories for retailer and manufacturer’s products. It is also not possible to report on progress for the eating out of home sector alone as part of this assessment. Progress in these areas will be reported on next year.

As part of the programme, businesses are encouraged to focus efforts on their top selling products within 10 categories that contribute the most sugar to the diets of children up to 18 years of age. They have 3 options to help them do this – reduce sugar levels (reformulation), provide smaller portions, or encourage consumers to purchase lower or no sugar products.

Progress is also reported on the drinks covered by the government’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL). Sugar has been reduced by 11% and average calories per portion by 6% by retailers and manufacturers in response to the SDIL. Data also shows people are buying more drinks that have sugar levels below the SDIL cut-off of 5g per 100g.
With a third of children leaving primary school overweight or obese, PHE continues to call for increased action from all sectors of the food industry to achieve the 20% reduction ambition by 2020.

Steve Brine, Public Health Minister, said:

"We lead the world in having the most stringent sugar reformulation targets and it is encouraging to see that some progress has been made in the first year.
However, we do not underestimate the scale of the challenge we face. We are monitoring progress closely and have not ruled out taking further action."

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive at PHE, said:

"We have seen some of the food industry make good progress, and they should be commended for this.
We also know that further progress is in the pipeline.

However, tackling the obesity crisis needs the whole food industry to step up, in particular, those businesses that have as yet taken little or no action."

Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at PHE, said:

"This is about tackling the nation’s obesity crisis. Too many children and adults suffer the effects of obesity, as does society, with our NHS under needless pressure. Obesity widens economic inequalities, affecting the poor the hardest."

PHE has also today published new guidelines for the drinks industry to reduce the amount of sugar children consume through juice and milk based drinks.

The drinks categories join the other 10 categories in PHE’s sugar reduction programme. Juice and milk based drinks are currently excluded from the government’s SDIL, but the exemption of milk based drinks will be reviewed by Treasury in 2020.

By mid-2021, the drinks industry is encouraged to:
reduce sugar in juice based drinks (excluding single juice) by 5%
cap all juice based drinks (including blended juices, smoothies and single juices) likely to be consumed in one go to 150 calories
reduce sugar in milk (and milk substitutes) based drinks by 20% and cap products likely to be consumed in one go to 300 calories
Fruit juice alone accounts for around 10% of the sugar consumed each day by 4 to 18-year old’s. Current advice is that only one 150ml portion counts as 1 of our 5 a day.
The next progress report on the sugar reduction programme is due in spring 2019.
I do honestly think, that in all, there is a lot of information out there, you just have to look for it, even watch the right programs on television. Look out for the adverts warning us of sugar etc. By cutting back on your sugar, you are giving your body a re-start, which you will notice.



Don’t forget to tell your friends what you’ve learned. Share this Post!


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World Cup 2018 - Russia

14 June 2018 

Just in case you have been alseep for the past few days, the World Cup starts today. What are we expecting of it? Let’s hope that Politics will stay out of this great tournament. We want a peaceful tournament, with no hooligans from different countries fighting each other. We want the game to show its beautiful side and make us forget our sorrows for a while. Hey it’s magic.


Dear Football,


From the moment I saw you, I kicked you. As like millions of people you accompanied me my whole life. As a boy, I often played in my garden, imagining playing in a team, and being that hero that scored the winning goal and earning all the cheers and applause in the stadium. It was very clear then, that I had a passion for you. I would spend hours in my fantasy world, giving you all my strength. No matter the weather you summoned me and I came, playing with my friends, for my school team, my brother and sister. I had a few injuries, scrapes and bruises. I even gave you my blood.


As a grown man, you still call me, you give me joy and sorrow that just not only lasts for 90 minutes. Some people even sang “Thirty Years of Hurt.” My wife does not understand, when I am watching a game, how I can get so involved, “Your blood pressure dear, you will get a heart attack.” That would be the ultimate price to pay for you, I love you, but not that much. Dear Football God, watch over me, we both know, I am still that little boy playing in his garden,


“It’s the dying stages of the game, its 1 – 1. Will it go into extra time? This is unbelievable. That a good tackle from Barns, he gives the ball to Jones, this is good momentum going forward, he passes it wide to Paul G. Oh that was beautifully taken from him, he dribbles pass Martinez, as if was not there. This is looking promising, Martínez is running after him, but Paul G is too fast and that with the ball. He is on the edge of the box, Sanchez comes forward, a little one two with Owen, he shoots, GOAL!"

1 Kommentar:

  1. Amazing work,read for all, I would suggest everybody to read at least once.You are right for a healthy life one must replace everyday sugar with natural sweet substitutes.

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