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Saturday, 29 October 2011

FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN 2012: THE CANDIDATES



The two rounds of the next Presidential election will be held in April and May 2012.   Certain candidates are already in their starting blocks, but some have not yet definitely announced that they will stand for election.  The main candidates are the following:

1)  NICOLAS SARKOZY (Currently  President)

He has not yet indicated whether he will stand for a second term of five years.  As a result no meaningful Opinion Polls are at present available. If he does not stand the race for the Presidency would be thrown wide open.

2)  FRANCOIS HOLLANDE (Socialist Party)

He has been elected as the Officially Sponsored Socialist Party Candidate after his second round victory when he comfortably beat Martine Aubry.  Six candidates stood for the primary election and they all agreed beforehand that if they lost they would not stand against the winner as an independent candidate in the election next April.

It should be noted that Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), initially the hot favourite to become the next President of France, has declined to stand due to accusations of Rape that have been levelled against him.

3)  MARINE LE PEN (National Front Party)

She has now replaced her father, Jean-Marie LE PEN, as President of the National Front Party and she will stand as the official candidate.

4)  EVA JOLLY (The Green Party).

Her supporter, Daniel Cohn Bendit will not stand against her. She has, however, surprised a lot of people by declaring that she wishes to abolish the traditional celebrations on July 14 !!!  In fact it would be a real surprise if she totals more than 5% of the total votes.

5)  JEAN-LUC MELENCHON (Communist Party)

He has announced his intention to stand .  He could poll 5 to 10% of the votes. The votes he gets in the first round will not go to the Socialist candidate !!!

6)  OTHER CANDIDATES.

There are several other possible candidates, but mainly from the Right of the polical spectrum.  In fact everything really depends on whether the outgoing President, NICOLAS SARKOZY, will announce his intention to stand (or not).  This will not be, he has already explained on television this week, before next February or March.

If he does not stand other candidates will jump to replace him !!!  In particular there are;

    -  FRANCOIS FILLON (The current Prime Minister)

    -  DOMINIQUE de VILLEPIN (Former Prime Minister)

    -  JEAN-FRANCOIS COPE (Secretary of the governing UMP party)

    -  ALAIN JUPPE (Former Prime Minister)


One could say that if any two, of the last four possible candidates, replace PRESIDENT SARKOZY, this would split the vote and could result in MARINE LE PEN facing FRANCOIS HOLLANDE in the final run-off next May !!!

Other candidates such as FRANCOIS BAYROU (Modem) and HERVE MORIN (New Center Party) are expected to announce their intentions in the coming weeks.

Friday, 28 October 2011

EUROPEAN UNION - DOES IT STILL EXIST ?


The answer to this question is quite simply "NO", not in its present Treaty form !!!

This was made quite clear when the EUROZONE countries had a meeting in Brussels, on Wednesday 26 October 2011, which excluded all the countries which did not have the EURO as their national currency.  The reason for this separate meeting is well founded; the EUROZONE needs to organise itself to ensure its future survival. 

This highlights the biggest and the most fundamental problem the EU has at present.  The EU or LISBON treaty is already out of date and must be completely re-written to properly reflect the rights and duties of all the current members of the EU.

In fact what is needed is one treaty for the EUROZONE and another for other members of the EU, together with a covering act which could ultimately be the UNITED STATES OF EUROPE treaty.

Something of this nature must be done.  The first steps could be announced at the "G 20" meeting in Cannes next week by President Sarkozy. This is the future !!!

What is quite clear is that the EUROZONE countries will in future meet when and where they wish to the exclusion of other EU members.  This would not prevent non-EUROZONE countries from having their own meetings !!!  They too must meet to ensure that a re-written or rehashed EU treaty includes all changes and guarantees they want it to enshrine.

Would this not be the "heaven sent" occasion to review and limit, the application of the Human Rights act, Immigration into the EU, the role of the European Court of Justice ?  There are a host of other matters which could be revised. 

Now is the time !!!  Perhaps David Cameron could play a leading role in this area for non EUROZONE countries ?     

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

EURO PROBLEMS - THE SUMMARY TO-DAY !!!


When Greece initially wanted to join the Euro, it presented its accounts which were not properly audited by the EU.

That was the first big and fundamental mistake.

Greece later found itself in a position of a bankrupt. It could no longer find medium and long term finance at acceptable interest rates on the international financial markets.  The leaders of the EU (President Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany) quickly came to the rescue whereby the EU lent 110 Billion Euros to Greece to avoid a demise of a EURO partner.  Nobody verified the reasons why Greece needed money. 

This was the second fundamental problem.

The aim was to prevent an attack on the EURO !!!  Bravo  !!!  This avoided immediate bankruptcy but Greece was back for more help a year later, when it transpired that all the promised reductions of costs by the Greek Government had not been attained !!!  There were many hesitations and there still are. This has worried world financial markets and the EURO became a suspect currency !!!  

To protect the EURO became the third fundamental problem.

The urgency of the EURO problems has more than doubled with the critical financial condition of Italy and Spain.  These two countries are closely following the solutions expected for Greece and the EURO this week and at the G 20 meeting in Cannes next week.  It is like a game of chess, when it has reached a stalemate situation. 

This is the fourth fundamental problem !!!

There are many questions which still require answering.  For example, why has nobody ever verified the accounts of member countries in the EU or more precisely, in the EUROZONE ?   Mr Barroso was nominated to be the President of the European Commission; should he not have inspected EU member accounts to ensure that worthwhile information was available ?  He has a large team of people around him.

Likewise, Jean-Claude Trichet, the outgoing President of the European Central Bank, was well placed to follow the financial condition of European banks and also the National banks of EU member states.  Was the current run on the EURO a complete surprise for him ?

The Lisbon Treaty was waived through all the Parliaments of the EU (except the Irish Parliament) but did anyone read it ?  Did nobody discover that there were no procedures of what had to be done, if a EU member country, in the EUROZONE or not, became bankrupt ?

The solution to all the foregoing problems and many others as well,  require a fundamental approach.  Should the EU TREATY not be completely revised ?  The current treaty creates more problems than it solves.

Let Greece declare it is bankrupt, leave the EURO and then devalue the Drachma.  The cost of lost loans and others items should fall where they are now.  Protect the EURO with GUARANTEES of a Trillion euros, a good idea which has already been floated. 

One should avoid a repetition of the Greek problem and stop tinkering with bad treaties.
                 . 

Monday, 17 October 2011

A GB REFERENDUM ON THE EU ? OR EUROZONE ?


William Hague is quite right, that Great Britain as a whole has good reasons to want the referendum promised by David Cameron on "Europe" !!!  To be more precise, is the real question not whether GB would accept to be in the EU but without being saddled by the cost of  EUROZONE problems and solutions !!! ?


David Cameron as Prime Minister seems to be well aware that Britain and its leaders, in industry or in Parliament, are not yet at all keyed-up or informed of the complexities resulting from a vote to quit the EU.  

What Britain needs, therefore, and quickly,  is a working group (not a Quango !) of MPs from all three political parties to identify all the key issues.  The financial impact must also be calculated but at a later stage.  The effect of abandoning the Human Rights Act and Maastricht should all be clearly explained.

Ripple effects on immigration and freedom from the European Courts of Justice must all be reviewed.  This is no small task and unless it is undertaken no one can really say what the impact of a decision by voters, one way or the other, will be.

However, there is one problem which this blog has mentioned several times.  Britain must be ready to control future unwanted immigrants.  British Passports should only be issued to immigrants with stern conditions.  Identity Cards must be introduced to enable the necessary controls, particularly for short-stay "visitors".  This is urgent and a priority.

If  David Cameron, with the help of William Hague, does not create this working group now, Britain will continue to pay through the nose.

The working Group could perhaps make a quick estimation of the cost of doing nothing over the next ten years !!!        

HOLLANDE WINS FRENCH SOCIALIST PRIMARIES


François Hollande has won the French primary elections and thus becomes the officially sponsored  Socialist candidate in the Presidential Elections in April and May 2012. He beat Martine Aubry comfortably by about 12 % of the votes in the run-off. (56 - 44)


President Sarkozy who has not yet indicated whether he will stand, but who is expected to do so, would be the main opponent Hollande would have to face next year.  The only other candidate at present is Marine Le Pen, the National Front leader of the extreme far right.  Daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, who sensationally beat and pushed socialist candidate and former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin into third place in 2002, could pinch votes from both Hollande and Sarkozy and sway the election of both.


DSK had an agreement with Martine Aubry to run for the Presidency until he was accused of attempted rape in the Sofitel hotel in New York.  It seems she decided to stand when she realized that DSK had compromised all his chances. She launched her campaign much later than she might have wished and finally the support of the DSK clan was perhaps more of a hindrance than a help.


In fact, was Martine Aubry finally a collateral victim of the Sofitel affair ?

         

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

IF GREECE DECIDES TO DROP THE EURO, WHAT THEN ...?


For more than a year Sarkozy and Merkel have been chewing over the Greek problem, i.e. should Greece leave the Eurozone or not !!!  In fact the real reason for lending money to Greece is not really to help Greece but to avoid a possible run on the EU euro !!!  Whatever the real truth is, Greece now has an additional 100 Billion Euros of debt none of which it can realistically repay.


In spite of the countless times Sarkozy and Merkel have met (and telephoned !!!) few details of their discussions have been leaked to the Press.  It would seem that Sarkozy wants to make the big announcement at the G20 meeting starting in Cannes early November 2011. That is where all the Eurozone leaders can debate the problem of the EURO.


Is it not the idea to propose the creation of a garantee of a Trillion Euros which would be subscribed by Eurozone countries ?  This would create the stability which the EURO needs, that is sure. 


This does not justify preventing Greece from declaring itself bankrupt.  If Greece at last can withdraw from the Eurozone its people can heave a sigh of relief and look forward to a more normal life.  The country could then purge itself of past problems by declaring a devaluation and then become competitive again internationally.

After the meeting in Cannes the next step will be to update the EU Treaty.  This will also take time.


Monday, 10 October 2011

SOCIALIST PRIMARIES: 2 BIG SURPRISES !!!


François Hollande won and Martine Aubry was runner-up, just as was forecast in the recent opinion polls. 


The first big surprise however, was Arnaud Montebourg who obtained an unexpected 17.3% of the votes and who thus pushed Ségolène Royale into fourth place with a miserable 6.8% of the votes polled.  She was in tears !!!


This is quite understandable as she was the losing Socialist candidate against Nicolas Sarkozy in the Presidential run-off five years ago. The official final poll results of about 2.5 million voters expected later to-day, will look like this; 


         François Hollande                 38.8 %
         Martine Aubry                         30.7
         Arnaud Montebourg              17.3
         Segolène Royale                      6.8 
         Manuel Valls                             5.8
         Jean-Michel Baylet                  0.6


There is another poignante story which merits being retold now.  Five years ago François Hollande was the secretary of the Socialist Party but also the Companion of Ségolène with whom he had four children. (Ségolène and François separated shortly afterwards).  The Official spokesman of Ségolène was Arnaud Montebourg !!!  Four months before Ségolène lost the Presidential run-off against Nicolas Sarkozy he was asked what was the major handicap Ségolène had  ?  His immediate reply was "François Hollande" !!!  He at once added,  "It's just a joke !!!  It's just a joke !!!".  A joke no one has forgotten !!!  Ségolène immediately suspended him as her Spokesman for a month !!!


The next round is the Socialist run-off between Hollande and Martine Aubry next Sunday, the 16th of October.  The winner becomes the official sponsored candidate of the Socialist Party in the Presidential Election in April 2012. 

Will this be against outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy ?  Nothing official has yet been said.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

BANKS SHOULD BE OBLIGED TO REVALUE HIDDEN ASSETS !!!


In recent years banks have always squealed for help from Governments and Shareholders when a downturn, either on the stock exchange or on the financial markets, impairs their financial condition or even means they have to book losses.

Is this normal ?  When big or small private businesses make losses, they are left all alone to take the measures necessary to ensure that their company survives and again becomes profitable.

Governments give banks billions to avoid a fatal demise.  Would it not be normal to oblige all banks to revalue their fixed assets and other similar assets at least, once every few years ?

Hiding behind "the bankers' veil of secrecy" is no longer acceptable when they seek and require government help and money.  Even if accounting regulations in any country where they have operations forbid the revaluations of assets, such information should nonetheless become obligatory and be supplied in the notes to the accounts of the mother company.



      

Saturday, 8 October 2011

KENNETH CLARK REALLY WANTS JUSTICE ?


It seems to me that the Minister for Justice, Kenneth Clark, has reached his "sell by date" !!!  He seems to hesitate in case anything he orders could infringe the EU principles.  He has replaced Jack Straw but does even less to oppose growing EU meddlers.


When the riots started this summer it was David Cameron who came back from his annual holidays to take control of the situation.  At last we had firm leadership which certainly did not expect judges to "cow tow"  to EU human rights principles.


A small minority of  young criminals in Britain ruin life for the vast majority, in particular the elderly, whether they are Socialist, Liberal or Conservative voters. Is the duty of the Justice Minister not to ensure Justice ?  Should he not be explaining what needs to be done by judges ? Should he not be banging the drum about what he expects  and leading the changes which are required ?


This is not how I have perceived the impression that Kenneth Clark has made.    

Thursday, 6 October 2011

LIBERATE GREECE FROM EURO SHACKLES NOW


Merkel, Sarkosy, Barroso and numerous other EURO idealists have, for more than a year added more than 100 billion euros to the Greek national debt.  Greece is in no better shape now than before, to repay creditors.

Like all other countries in the past, Germany and France included, when a country can no longer balance its expenses with its income, it must devalue.  In this case it means that Greece must first leave the euro, but not the EU.  

What the 100 billion euro loans to Greece have not done is to address and cure the reason for the imbalance between expenditure and income.  The only overnight solution is a devaluation !!!

Why are the EURO fanatics hesitating about more loans to Greece ?  Because they now realize that Greece will never be able to repay.  They also see that Greece is on the point of a revolution.  The Greeks are hurting from all the restrictions imposed by the EUROZONE.  They want this nightmare to end !!!

The EURO fanatics also know that the Euro Zone state, the ultimate UNITED STATES OF EUROPE (USE) cannot see the day before at least five years, if not ten !!!  The whole structure of the EU and its TREATY must be redefined beforehand. The first step is to settle the Greek problem, now, quickly and forever !!!

The Greek problem will be one big chapter in the history of the ultimate USE !!!    

Sunday, 2 October 2011

UNCONTROLLED IMMIGRATION INTO BRITAIN !!!


The TREATY OF MAASTRICHT which was concluded by EU members in 1992 has created many unforseen problems.  In particular the enlargement of the EU since 1992 and the influx of immigrants who have migrated from non EU countries, has been a costly experience, especially for Great Britain.

Partly this is entirely the fault of the UK.  On the one hand Britain has no system of Identity Cards like most other major countries. Once an illegal immigrant has been smuggled into the UK there is no fast and sure way to trace or track him. 

On the other hand, applications for British Citizenship, i.e. passports, are granted without any real conditions.  Real conditions implies good behaviour, tax declarations, registering his home address with the local police force and a probationry period of at least five years before unreserved British Citizenship is granted.  How often does one read in the press that an immigrant, legal or illegal, has committed crimes ?  How many undesirable immigrants have been deported ?

An updating of the Maastricht Treaty is possible and foreseen in the treaty itself.  Britain alone cannot do anything if non-EU citizens are not stopped at their point of entry into the EU.  Calais is not the only problem the UK has to cover.  There are other ports around the EU, including Lampedusa !!!  The Human Rights Act also presents a problem; it works in favour of the immigrants, not the EU born residents !!!

If the Conservative Conference this coming week wants to discuss seriously Britain's relations with the EU,  it should perhaps decide to provoke a revision of  the Maastricht Treaty, which in turn would also require some modifications of the EU treaty.   

       

BRITISH JUSTICE FOR BRITAIN ?


At the Conservative Party Conference this week, electors will try to understand the aims of the Government with respect to the prosecution of criminals and the maintenance of law and order.

After the recent riots the big efforts made to punish and imprison the main criminals responsible, the morale of ordinary and law abiding citizens was raised.  However, this is not nearly enough. 

In fact it is time for the Minister for Justice, Kenneth Clark, to explain when some of the less acceptable aspects of the Charter of Human Rights will be abandoned by Britain.  Will a British Bill of Human Rights be introduced ?  When ?

Will Britain introduce the Death Penalty for Mass murderers and Terrorists ?  Will serial killers and murderers still remain alive at taxpayers expense ?

Will the punishment of serial crooks be increased every time they appear in court, so that their punishment becomes a deterrent to re-offending ?  Will violent serial crooks of serious crimes be sent to Special Prisons so that they do not mix with and influence other smaller offenders ?

Judges frequently, out of sheer frustration, criticise Ministers and others in authority, because they cannot or are not allowed to, punish those guilty in an appropriate manner.  Such a judge is Mr Justice Ian Trigger.  Would it not be a good idea if he could address the Party Conference to explain the problems that the Judiciary faces in Britain ? 

What electors really want is British Justice in Britain.