Monthly Archives: May 2009

Interesting piece this week  from Charlemagne in the Economist. Just shows how difficult it is to get a reasoned discussion on these issues, when basic facts (like, the British people have a direct stake in EU institutions) are ignored.

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Relight my fire

If you hear/read somewhere that the EU is contemplating a ban on barbecues, please don’t believe it. The Commission is not planning a ban on barbecues, we’re not going to propose bringing them within carbon emissions trading, and we’re not suggesting Member States instigate a barbecue tax. If an individual member state wanted to, that would be a national issue, but the EU doesn’t have that power.

The Commission is also not banning using the term watts for lightbulbs. Lightbulbs are already supposed to carry the lighting performance of the bulb, which is measures in lumens. This makes it easier to compare different types of bulbs, as of course the wattage only refers to the power needed to make the light shine, and doesn’t help comparison across the range of bulbs that now exist. From 2010 the lumens value will be displayed more prominently than the wattage value, but the watts will continue to be compulsory. This is to allow people to compare bulbs on the basis of performance, and is a measure that was approved by all the governments, and consumer organisations.

Interesting article by Will Hutton in the Observer at the weekend. The expenses issue has kicked all other political issues into the long grass, but I wonder how much of a campaign we’d have seen even if that issue hadn’t been around.

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Filed under Euromyths, European elections 2009

Could it be Magic

This is a bit after the event but whatever…

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I attended the Rugby League Magic Weekend. Marvellous time had by all etc etc and the longest I’ve spent in Edinburgh for years, thereby remind myself that it is a great city. In the programme for the 7 games of Rugby League we watched, they had a section about each team, and one of the catageories was “If they were a famous Scot, they would be…”. I thought some of them were funny enough to share. Knowledge of Rugby League teams not necessarily required.

Quins: Mary Queen of Scots – Posh relatives, but choosing to live by a different code.

Bradford Bulls: Former RBS boss Fred Goodwin – A rich and powerful major player recently fallen on hard times.

Wigan Warriors: Wet Wet Wet – By the mid-1990s, people tired of them being number one all the time.

St Helens: Gordon Brown – Top dog now, but for how much longer?

Huddersfield Giants: Colin Montgomerie – Often in the running, but just can’t seem to win a major trophy.

Castleford Tigers: Shrek – Not the most picturesque or glamorous of creatures, but much loved.

Catalan Dragons (my team and possibly my favourite one): JK Rowling – Not originally from round these parts, but now considered one of us.

Warrington Wolves: Rod Stewart – Big in the 1970s and still in the news, but it’s been ages since their last hit.

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Just got round to reading the Mostra Opinion Corner on media coverage of the European parliament elections. It rings my bell on several levels.

Firstly, it’s about the European elections, something which obviously matters a lot to me. At a quite “macro” level, I believe that these are important elections and would hope that as many people as possible understand that and take part. At a “micro” level: the make-up of this Parliament will influence the choice of the next Commission President, which obviously has a very direct effect on me on a daily basis.

Secondly, it looks at what role the media can play, which clearly is of interest to me. I’ve found since I’ve come to London that I’ve got increasingly interested in discussion about the role of the media – the blogs I find most useful on a day-to-day basis are Charlie Beckett and Roy Greenslade, rather than the more obvious EU ones like Mark Mardell and Charlemagne.

But most interesting for me is the format – doesn’t it brilliantly showcase what the web can do? Reduced text, use of audio and video and the reassuring familiarity of “turning a page” rather than scrolling down.

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Filed under European elections 2009, Media

Bird song

RSPB Northern Ireland today published a piece urging people to vote in the EP elections. They’ve asked all local candidates their views on a number of environmental issues. An interesting piece of advocacy, I think, and one likely to resonate in the current climate – focussing on the “why” not the “who”.


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Flying without wings

Or at least without misleading information on the website where you book…

Commissioner Kuneva did a press conference today, where she announced the names of the airline companies whose websites comply with all the points of the European legislation that is designed to stop unfair commercial practices in prices, insurance selling and so on. Virgin Atlantic, bmi and bmi baby are all on the list of good performers, whereas easyjet, ryanair and BA are co-operating to bring their sites up to scratch, but aren’t there yet. Details on the consumer sweep website. Or you can listen to me talking about it on You and Yours.


Filed under European news