Rising joblessness in Europe: thanks for nothing, Brussels.

This piece of mine appears in The Week/The First Post.

Neil Clark: Collapse of SeaFrance and the ban on Iranian oil prove EU bigwigs are dangerously out of touch

YOU MIGHT think that with 23m people out of work in Europe, the EU and its organisations would be doing everything they could to preserve European jobs and help Europe's beleaguered economies. Think again.

This week there have been three examples of how the EU is working against economic recovery.

You can read the whole of the article here.

Fixed 5 Year Term Is A Gimmick.

It is possible the next UK general election will be held in May 2015, but i would not be surprised if it was earlier.The Tories will want to wait until after the parliamentary new boundaries are passed in 2013, but after that I can't see how the Lib Dens can stop Cameron calling an election. Am i missing something? The Lib Dems are flatlining on around 10% in the polls and unlikely to get anywhere near the 23% they got in 2010. So they will want to hang on as long as possible and hope for the best. The Tories however, once they have their new boundaries and have kicked a few million more poor people off the electoral register, will know that even the 36% they got in 2010 will deliver them a majority. This is because it will be very hard for a smaller party like the Libs to re-establish themselves in the radically different and larger new constituencies. The Tories also know that their economic policies and welfare smashing will have done more damage the later they wait. The 10.7m votes they got in 2010 - about 20% of all electors will do fine thank you vy much. This is the problem with fixed terms. They sound great but how can you enforce them. Libs beware. You have sown the seeds of your own and sadly the British public's demise. I also do wonder why the Tories were so scared of a 2014 Scottish referendum?

Scots Will Stop Cameron's Hat Trick.

The economy is the least of the Tory's concerns. Their main aims are defeating voting reform (achieved), fiddling the boundaries to gain a majority (on the way) and stopping the Scots gaining real power (big headache).

Cameron and Osborne's clumsy intervention in trying to bully the SNP to bend to their will is disgraceful and if Alex Salmond has any sense will tell the Tories where to go.

The Tories claim they want a 'fair and legal' referendum. They want the Electoral Commission to run it. I bet they do. After the way the EC ran the AV referendum, I can imagine why. Was the AV referendum fair? The media campaigned almost exclusively for a no and the public could get no impartial information from public sources. Millions, if not a majority of the electorate never received the info mail-out that the EC promised and nowhere - not libraries or anywhere else had any literature to distribute. Add in the poor performance of the Yes campaign and this was the most misinformed and biased referendum in the history of the UK. If that is what the Tories have in store for Scotland, then the Scots should tell them to get stuffed.

The Tories have the cheek to say that Scots will be brainwashed if we don't have the referendum in the nest 18 months and that the SNP should not offer a question on a devolution-lite option that most Scots say they want. These Tory tactis remind me of the AV referendum, how we were denied a choice of voting systems and were brainwashed by the Tory media. But better than this, the Tories are saying they will refuse to accept any referendum that they lose because it is not run on their terms. If Scots vote for more powers or to leave the UK, the Tories plan to challenge the result in the courts. Democracy Tory style eh? Don't you just love it?