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19 April 2013 Thought for the Week:

'This England': This England, this old, this paradoxical, this particularist, this insular, this English England, this Great Britain of yours, in brief, is not the whole of England. Everywhere in the world where you see a Parliament, you see a bit of England, for England is the mother of Parliaments. Everywhere that you meet with political democracy you have found a bit of English intellectual territory, for England was the first in this world of ours to evolve the ideals of democracy.

And everywhere on this planet where the ideals of the liberty and dignity of man, of tolerance, of respect for individuality and the inviolability of human rights are held in honour, the cultural heritage of England is there, and you are NOT looking at a foreign land, but upon that Greater England which is the home of the majority of civilised mankind.

Every struggle for the preservation of democracy is simultaneously a struggle for that Greater England, for that spiritual realm which extends far beyond the frontiers of Great Britain herself.

That struggle - or to express it more pacifically - that evolution of the world, will decide the fate of certain principles, values and ideals in which the soul of England finds expression. Today their preservation or their destruction is actually at stake. I would say that the shores of England begin wherever the value of liberty finds application. There are many Dovers in this world, but you must seek them on the moral map of the world."

- - Carol Kapek, a Belgian professor, over the B.B.C., The New Times 7 February 1941.  


The Death of Lady Thatcher: “As the world now knows the Rt Hon. Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG OM FRS has been called home by Almighty God. May her soul Rest in Peace, along with that of her beloved husband Major Sir Denis Thatcher MBE TD Bt. I was privileged to have known them both,” writes Michael Shrimpton.

“Margaret was a much-loved President of the Bruges Group when I was Co-Chairman. The group was of course founded in memory of her great speech at Bruges in the Kingdom of Belgium, which effectively announced that after 15 years of being enfeebled in the red tape of Brussels Great Britain was breaking for the open sea.

It has taken many years, far too many in my as ever-humble opinion, but we are nearly there, thank God. In reality, after Bruges, we were always semi-detached members of the EU. She really hand-bagged them over in Brussels. British departure from the EU would be a fitting memorial for her.

Sir Denis was a great character, of whom I was very fond. We last spoke in the queue for a bar, not inappropriately. He was a rather shrewder character than his critics were willing to admit however. Like me, he tended to hide his lights under a bushel. My last exchange of letters with Lady Thatcher was upon his passing. He was a great source of strength to her and she was deeply affected by his death…”  


It was in his October, 1988 issue of "Behind the News" that South African journalist, Ivor Benson, analysed in depth the potential far-reaching implications of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's opposition to the creation of a Western European Federation.

He wrote: “It is hardly surprising that Mrs. Thatcher's speech at Bruges on September 20 produced enormous reaction, signifying bluntly that while she is Prime Minister Britain will tolerate no further erosion of national identity and self-determination. That means, if she really means what she says, that Britain will be a major obstacle in the way of a planned European super-state modelled after the United States of America.

And it is not going to be possible to obstruct plans for a European super- state without stopping — even setting in reverse — a revolutionary process of political change which began at the turn of the 20th century and has proceeded at an accelerating pace since the end of World War II…” Full article found here…


The United Kingdom’s first female prime minister Baroness Thatcher has died at the grand age of 87. Of course the media is full of the news, along with comments on, and criticisms of, the lady’s role in the political life of the kingdom. Under the heading “Death of First Lady but legacy will live on”, Ben Macintyre of The Times April 9 2013 wrote:
“The death of Baroness Thatcher yesterday prompted an outpouring of admiration, some criticism, and a fresh debate over her legacy. Britain began to assess the foremost peacetime politician of the 20th century, a woman who transformed life in this country, profoundly, permanently and through sheer force of personality…”

Can Thatcher Turn the Tide? What of Her Financial/Economic Orthodoxy?
The following is history in the making as recorded in The New Times, January 1989. At the time the LoR’s Eric D. Butler wrote:
“In our December issue we published an important and perceptive article by the distinguished South African journalist, Mr. Ivor Benson, concerning what could be a major historical development if British Prime Minister Thatcher is preparing the ground for a British retreat from the Common Market. While we would like to believe that this is Margaret Thatcher's intention, there are certain realities, which must be faced, a major one being the British Prime Minister's financial and economic orthodoxy.

As C.H. Douglas stressed, while the axioms of financial orthodoxy, with the inevitable debt, taxation, inflation and social friction, are accepted as being unalterable, the drive towards increasing centralisation of all power appears to be inevitable. Douglas warned that in the absence of constructive alternatives and initiatives, the conservative elements in society were doomed to a succession of rear-guard actions, which ultimately must end in disaster. Margaret Thatcher has obviously seen one major aspect of the disaster threatening Britain if the final steps are taken to establish a Federal Union of Western Europe and genuinely wants to draw back.

But will she be permitted to draw back? No less a person than one of the traitors of British conservatism, former Prime Minister Edward Heath, a dedicated marketeer, provides encouraging confirmation that at least Margaret Thatcher lacks great enthusiasm for the EEC. In the November issue of Marxism Today, published by the British Communist Party, Heath is quoted at length in an exclusive interview. It is not without significance that Heath should grant such an interview to a Marxist journal.

The Heath Vision:
Heath reveals that after October, 1972, when as British Prime Minister he had signed the Treaty concerning British entry into the EEC, at the first summit meeting of heads of government in Paris, a communiqué had been drafted concerning the purpose of the EEC. Heath states, "Now the relevance of this is that we agreed in 1972 to the creation of a full community by 1980. This is far more than has been agreed for 1992."

A Common Currency and a Common Central Bank:
Asked what was visualised by a full Community by 1980, Heath replied, "The full Community meant that we would develop not only the open market and remove all obstacles to the market, but we would also develop the social and economic fund, we would have a common currency, and a common central bank. We would develop a European Parliament with the full powers of a Parliament, and a political unity which would embrace foreign and defence policy, and that all would be done by 1980."

This grandiose programme to establish a United States of Europe, an objective once advocated by Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky, was never spelled out to the British people. In the early stages of the campaign to take Britain into the EEC, many of its propagandists strongly denied that there was any intention to create a United States of Europe. Edward Heath concedes that certain realities have hampered the development of the full Community as he and others envisaged. Because of inflation, unemployment and associated problems, from the mid-70s onwards "the Community lost its momentum". According to Heath, the members made the mistake of "looking inwards" in an attempt to solve their problems.

Speaking like a true centralist, Heath says that instead of each nation trying to put its own affairs in order, there should have been a Community approach. What has been attempted is "the opposite of the philosophy of the Community."

Margaret Thatcher was blamed:
Heath blames the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher for having contributed to the failure to advance the planned programme more rapidly. While it is true that Heath dislikes Margaret Thatcher intensely on personal grounds, it is one encouraging sign that Heath regards Margaret Thatcher as an opponent of his ideas. She has never made the mistake of having Heath in her Cabinet.
But Heath does indicate that if she is preparing to withdraw from Europe, she has many opponents in her own ranks:
"There are a lot of members of the government who strongly desire European unity to come about as quickly as possible and will work as hard as they can for it. This particularly applies to the financial questions of the Community."

Margaret Thatcher's long period in office can be attributed in major part to the disintegration of the Labour Party as a coherent political force. Although Socialism as an idea has been discredited and exhausted, Labor has been bedevilled by die-hard radicals. There are also a weird collection of secular humanists and others. The Thatcher government's brand of free enterprise is resulting in a type of corporate State, with public monopolies being replaced by private monopolies. But above all is the dictatorship of Debt Finance. It can be predicted with complete certainty that unless Margaret Thatcher can in some way modify financial policy, Britain will be dragged increasingly into being part of an international economy. Political sovereignty could become irrelevant.

Consider the relatively new attitudes of anti-Communist South Korea, and Taiwan: both are bending to the pressure of what appear to be inevitable developments which force them to seek contact with Communist nations they have spent decades denouncing.

Margaret Thatcher has clearly grasped the essence of one aspect of the threat to British sovereignty, as pointed out in her address at Brighton, England, on October 14 (1988): —
"There is no doubt what the Community's founders intended. The Treaty of Rome is a charter for economic liberty, which they knew was the essential condition for personal and political liberty. Today that founding concept is under attack from those who see European unity as a vehicle for spreading socialism. We haven't worked all these years to free Britain from the paralysis of socialism only to see it creep in through the back door of central control and bureaucracy from Brussels."

Some of the founders of the EEC may have seen the Treaty of Rome as Margaret Thatcher presents it, but there were those like Edward Heath who had a very different view.

Contrary to Natural Law:
But in spite of the drive towards centralisation everywhere, even the Soviet Union is faced with the threat of revolt from the many separate nationalities within the Soviet Empire. As C.H. Douglas has said, the concept of central planning on a global scale is doomed to failure because it runs contrary to natural law with the persistent attempt by human beings to diversify in favour of control of their own affairs. It is a tribute to the resilience of people that they have managed to survive as well as they have in the face of centralised control.

If Margaret Thatcher is successful in holding Britain back from the final step of surrender to a United States of Europe, she will at least have made a valuable contribution towards slowing down the programme to establish a United States of Europe as part of a global programme aiming at an ultimate World Government. Perhaps this is the best that can be expected from Margaret Thatcher.”

Further reading… “The United States of Europe”, The New Times, January 17, 1958.


Margaret Thatcher will be seen as one political leader who did at least slow down the drive towards an ultimate World Government, but, the Thatcher government's brand of free enterprise, as with that of ‘conservative’ governments world-wide, has resulted in the furthering of the corporate State, with public monopolies being replaced by private monopolies. Above all, is still the dictatorship of Debt Finance.

Listen to C.H. Douglas on The Causes of War

‘BAIL-INS’? The Question was asked:
Could the same thing that happened in Cyprus happen in America? American Judge Napolitano says yes. “The people who have more than $100,000 in the bank are targets for any government that’s looking for money to shore up its own inability to manage its finances.” Watch here…

Meanwhile back in Britain: Dishonours system for entitled bankers:
A cull of pension entitlements, directorates and honours is now catching up with some of the individuals who led Britain's banks into financial catastrophe. Fred Goodwin was singled out for vilification over his role at Royal Bank of Scotland, and the head of HBOS business lending, Peter Cummings, was alone in being fined. James Crosby no longer wishes to be known as "Sir James"

But there's been little use of the regulator's power to withhold "fit and proper person" approval for those in senior financial positions, nor the business department's power to ban people as company directors. We have yet to see prosecutions for manipulation of the Libor inter-bank lending rates. And there has been nervousness about unpicking pension deals, due to contractual obligations. (Be careful what you wish for - if that contract law is compromised, the implications could be unwelcome for other pensioners and pension savers.)

'Deluded' - "Sir" James Crosby - to use the title he wants to give up - wants to be proactive rather than waiting for his punishment. He's ceased to be an adviser to a private equity firm, and given up a directorship at Compass catering group, while also giving up his cancer charity role. And although he's giving up 30% of his HBOS pension, that still looks lileaving him on £400,000 per year. So he's hardly likely to find himself worrying about the squeeze on welfare benefits.


by Ian Wilson LL.B.
Thus said Tacitus (?55-120 AD), Roman historian and orator in his Annals. It is a maxim which needs to be read alongside Lord Acton’s (John Dalberg-Acton, 1934-1902) better known maxim that ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. Lord Acton observed that because of the corrupting influence of power, none is to be trusted with it: “The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.” (“Letter to Mary Gladstone,” 24 April, 1881)

Government by laws devoid of civic virtue and morality leads to the world of today with a tyranny of laws governing our lives and restricting our freedoms. A smaller scale, more homogenous society got on fine with less law and regulation. Thus, people can remember a time, pre-World War II, before the Great Immigration Colonisation, when a person could go on a train with his .22 rifle to shoot a few bunnies for the cooking pot. Now, in our over-populated, multicultural stew, there are no more bunnies and no more .22’s.

The framers of the American Constitution, more philosophical and less eager to get on with business than our own farmers, recognised the need for civic virtue. James Madison famously said: “To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea.”

John Adams also said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” With moral decay has come the end of politics and the rule of the lawyer and behind him/her, the gunman.  


by James Reed
“Federation is Failing! Faith in Political Leaders Collapses!” (The Australian 17-18 November 2012, p.1). A Newspoll survey, late last year, of constitutional values found that about two thirds of Australians believe that State and Federal governments are not working well together and confidence in the working of the federal government is at an all-time low of 29 per cent.
This collapse in faith of the Federal government precisely corresponds to Labor’s term in office. Consider for example Julia Gillard’s sudden desire to have a royal commission into child abuse. Already law firms have been advertising for victims seeking compensation. (The Australian 19 November 2012, p.1)

Already, there is a “flood of new sexual-abuse claims against Australian religious institutions” which threaten to become “unwieldy”. This is especially so because Gillard’s royal commission was not given terms of reference or any operational details. Would the commission look into the abuse of Aboriginal children in remote communities? As well, the States were not consulted about this, and it seems that for any such commission to adequately work, State co-operation is essential.

Perhaps it is time to go back to 1901 and declare that the Commonwealth of Australia experiment has been a failure, and that secession is the answer. Nations have become too large, too corrupt and too rotten. Perhaps it is time for the “nation” to die and the tribe to rise again.  


CBC News: Royal Bank of Canada replaces staff with foreign workers from India! Dozens of employees at Canada’s largest bank are losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers, who are in Canada to take over the work of their department.

Canadians blast RBC following 'outrageous' staff dismissal:
“They are being brought in from India, and I am wondering how they got work visas,” said Dave Moreau, one of the employees affected by the move. “The new people are in our offices and we are training them to do our jobs. That adds insult to injury.”

Minister responds: As a result of Go Public’s inquiries, the office of the minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada — the federal office that approved iGATE’s plans to bring in foreign workers — issued a statement late Saturday.

"We have recently learned of allegations that RBC could be replacing Canadian workers by contracting with iGate, which is filling some of the roles with temporary foreign workers. If true, this situation is unacceptable. The purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is to fill acute labour needs when Canadians are not available for the work required.
It was never intended as a means to bring in temporary foreign workers in order to replace already-employed Canadian workers. I have instructed my department to work with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to determine the next steps."…

Another RBC staffer, who didn’t want to be named, said it’s devastating. “It’s horrible to be in this situation,” the employee said. “The bank is doing this while making billions of dollars in record profits and they don’t think about the impact on us. We are like fleas on an elephant.”
Read further….

Canadian Wallace Klinck observed:
From what we are hearing, this issue has generated a firestorm of criticism and I expect that many people are doing more or less just that. Even Federal Cabinet Ministers Finlay and Kenny have entered the fray to criticize. But knowing Kenny's background I would be more than surprised if he initiated any effective action to oppose the Rothschild Bank! We will see.

If the Government perceives this as an issue which threatens its tenure or re-election because of mass opposition on the part of prospective voters, something constructive might actually happen. What can we do to generate as much or more heat for the advancement of Social Credit? Perhaps the recent actual or threatened confiscation of deposits might be enough to set the wheels of change in motion. Surely, we must be careening toward a crisis which demands resolution before the passage of much more time.

I was fascinated by the recent speech by the Financial Overseer in Great Britain in which he actually broached the subject of distributing money directly to citizens while openly admitting the failure of so-called "quantitative easing."

In answer to an orthodox approach to the situation Wallace explained:
The fundamental and ultimate support for the unit of money is the ability of a society to provide goods and services for the nation. The soundness of the currency depends on this factor and certainly has nothing whatever to do with gold other than the limited degree that gold may actually be a factor in the physical production of the nation.

Money in the modern world is mere accountancy:
Money is issued for production of goods and services, to which are attached financial costs which determine and compromise the final prices of such goods and services. Consumption is the acquisition and use of said production, and money should cancel at the rate of physical consumption.
We simply need honest and accurate accountancy representing the relative rates of actual production and consumption. Without production of goods and services, money would be totally meaningless and therefore useless, irrelevant.  


by James Reed
So that’s where I got the idea of calling “Tony Abbott”, “Tony Rabbit”. During the 2010 election campaign Julia Gillard mangled Abbott’s name to make it sound like “Mr. Rabbit” (The Australian 25 March, 2013 p.1). Now Julia queen of the feminists has an acute “misogyny” detector (her nose) enabling her to smell a misogynist at a thumping distance.

Thus, on Misogynist Guilt Day, 9 October 2012, Julia condemned Mr. Rabbit for his sexism and misogyny: “Misogyny, sexism, everyday from this Leader of the Opposition. Every day in every way, across the time that this Leader of the Opposition has sat in that chair and I’ve sat in this chair, that is all we’ve heard from him.”
Everyday, everyway, all we have heard – surely a bit obsessive here! It’s enough to make any bunny look at his/her watch!

Then the other day, quite out of the blue, Julia answers a question in question time and says “misogynist Tony is back”. The media were quick to point out that Julia has spent some professional time with DJ Kyle Sandilands, who on 29 July, 2009 said to a 14-year-old female rape victim (raped when she was 12): “Right… is that the only (sexual) experience you’ve had?”

He also called a female journalist at news.com.au online a “fat slag” for branding his TV show a disaster, made disparaging remarks about her breast size, among other things. Julia was frolicking on the grounds of Kirribilli House for a charity event with Sandilands who was dressed up as a big fluffy easter bunny! Talk about rabbit time!

Misogyny, you see, is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently her own policies like tossing sole parents onto the dole is not viewed as misogynist by her, but just business as usual. Business, the Julia way.


by James Reed
According to Julie Hare (The Australian 27 March 2013) post-study work rights for international students means that the 230,000 international students that were enrolled at an Australian university last year, and this year’s 85,000 + will be able to apply for a visa to work two years full-time in any job they can get. And, I suppose almost all will be getting permanent residency.

Better yet, a 2011 report from the University of Melbourne claims that international students poured $2.2 billion into the coffers of the Australian universities in 2010. This, allegedly, gave a teaching subsidy of $500 million a year, or $1,200 for each domestic student, according to the Hare article.

Suppose that these 315,000 students become permanent residents. As, normally, each Asian produces a chain migration of family members, it is not unreasonable to go with this figure. The infrastructure cost per migrant is generally thought to be about $200,000 each migrant and this amount needs to be met by the States now, not years down the track – if these migrants get jobs.

So, doing the figures, we come up with a cost from the international students of $63 billion, which dwarfs the alleged money ‘made’ by the universities. This infrastructure cost of the immigration mania is bankrupting State governments. Far better to fund the universities (I prefer to close them down), and let the international students stay at home. Immigration is killing this country.


Writes Philip Benwell, National Chair Australian Monarchist League. The British government increases amount given to the Queen – all from her own money!
News has just been released that The Queen's 'Sovereign Grant' has been set at £36.1 million for the 2013/14 financial year, compared to £31 million allocated during the past year. An increase of £5 million. (AP April 03, 2013)

However, the grant, which pays for Her Majesty's official duties, staff salaries and the maintenance of the royal palaces etc. equates to just 15 per cent of the profits of the Crown Estates. The Crown Estates is essentially a property portfolio owned by the Crown and ranges from beef farms in the north of Scotland to Portland stone mining in Dorset.

The facts are:
• At the commencement of her reign, the Queen signed over her rights in her Crown Estates in return for a Civil list - now called The Sovereign Grant.
• The Crown Estates portfolio has a value of over £7.3 billion. It returned around £840 million comprehensive income in 2012 with a net income value of £240 million.
• The British government takes 85% and gives The Queen a mere 15% of her own money back.

The Queen has worked for more years than any politician and attracts huge indirect revenues to Britain through tourism and the like. Her Majesty undoubtedly provides greater value than the entirety of the politicians of the Realms put together - and she does it without any personal pay whatsoever.

£36.1 million pounds sterling is approximately A$52 million which is not such a large amount when compared to the budget of the Australian Prime Minister and Cabinet of something like A$180 million.  


by Mrs Vera West
A study published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters involved 2,842 heterosexual white women in 13 countries. (The Australian 28 March 2013, p.3) They were given pairs of photographs of men; one photograph of a man with high testosterone levels and the other of a more feminine-looking male.
It is known that testosterone tends to decrease immune function so healthy masculine men (that is with high testosterone levels) are likely to be more robust than usual. But they are more aggressive and less “trustworthy” (that is, they chase other women).

The results? Women in Third World countries with more disease favoured masculine men. But women in affluent countries preferred more feminine-looking men. If the affluent societies continue indefinitely, then sexual selection will cull out manly men, leaving only the girly men. However it is not going to happen: the inevitable breakdown of this surreal “reality” will soon return us to a natural order where the girly “man” will eventually face natural, not sexual, selection.


by Peter West
Not only do foreigners bring love, joy, peace, diversity and excitement to our shores, but they also bring debt – buckets of it. Tens of thousands of foreign students, tourists and workers are using Australia’s public hospital system. IN the last financial year such patients not eligible for Medicare clocked up a tab of around $40 million in unpaid hospital bills. (The Australian 27 March 2013, p.5)

And the numbers of such patients admitted into public hospitals has doubled from 2009 to 2013. Visa holders are required to have private health insurance to enter Australia, but the requirement does not seem to be enforced. The Australian article quotes a spokesman for the Department of Immigration who was unable to say whether any visas had been cancelled due to lack of health insurance. You can bet that none have.

The foreigners make use of maternity services but also emergency services for potentially life-threatening situations. Australian public hospitals have a legal duty to supply treatment to these foreigners. So if you are a poor Australian person with say a sick child, try sitting in the emergency section off a children’s hospital – if you can get a seat. Look, and you will find our services are fully occupied by the entire world. Aussies… just don’t get sick.  


by Peter Ewer
Welcome to the “sorry culture” and the world of the “institutional apology”. First there was Kevin Rudd’s big “sorry” to the stolen generation (actually a “saved generation”), and now Queen Julia has apologised to unmarried mothers of children taken from them.
There is merit in viewing many, if not the great majority of these forced adoptions, as an institutional mistake. In many cases mixed race Aboriginal children of the “stolen generation” were at risk and faced danger, but children of the “white stolen generation” were often taken away solely because a single woman was regarded as an unfit mother. Even so, many children did go to loving homes with supportive adoptive parents whose rights should also be respected.

Tony Abbott in his sorry speech spoke of the adoptees having two sets of parents and immediately was roasted by the liberal elites. As Angela Shanahan rightly observes, this mass apology showed the “sheer intimidating power of political correctness” as “the extremists of the anti-adoption lobby” wanted “to use a strict terminology to put adoption in the same moral realm as child kidnapping”. (The Australian 27 March 2013, p.10)

As Brendan Nelson said in reply to Kevin Rudd’s sorry speech, although the policy was a mistake, some children were still removed for their own good. And what real good does “sorry” do now?
Further to this, as Angela Shanahan notes, the rupture of the mother-child relationship, according to Julia Gillard, a “sacred and primeval bond”, will also apply to two homosexual men, or two lesbian women using a surrogate mother or sperm donor to have a child. This means that we have only heard the start of institutional sorries. Sorry to tell you that!  


Al Jazeera's Simon McGregor-Wood reports from London.
A UK parliamentary panel has told the government to stop using pesticides. The Commons Environmental Audit Committee says that the bee population in the UK is rapidly falling as a result of the dangerous chemicals.
Up to two-thirds of honey bees have suffered population declines. The dramatic fall in the bee population could have far-reaching consequences. Watch:

BBC Report: by Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, 5 April 2013: The government should suspend the use of a number of pesticides linked to the deaths of bees, a committee of MPs has said. Members of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee are calling for a moratorium on the use of sprays containing neonicotinoids.

The UK has refused to back an EU ban on these chemicals saying their impact on bees is unclear. But MPs say this is an "extraordinarily complacent" approach.
Wild species such as honey bees are said by researchers to be responsible for pollinating around one-third of the world's crop production.

Stinging criticism:
In their report, MPs say that two-thirds of these species have suffered population declines in the UK. They argue that a "growing body of peer-reviewed research" points the finger at a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids.
"We believe the weight of scientific evidence now warrants precautionary action," said the committee's chairwoman, Labour MP Joan Walley.
"So we are calling for a moratorium on pesticides linked to bee decline to be introduced by 1 January next year."

Following on from research published in January by the European Food Safety Authority that suggested these chemicals posed an "unacceptable" threat to bees, the European Commission proposed that neonicotinoid sprays be restricted to crops not attractive to pollinators. There are already some restrictions in place in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia. But the idea of a two-year ban did not attract enough support after the UK and Germany both abstained.
Joan Walley says the UK government's approach to the issue is "extraordinarily complacent". "If farmers had to pollinate fruit and vegetables without the help of insects it would costs hundreds of millions of pounds and we would all be stung by rising food prices," she added.

But the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says that a ban is not justified at present. Defra's chief scientist Dr Ian Boyd admitted the research was "very finely balanced". "Neonicotinoids will kill bees, let me be absolutely clear about that. It is what numbers do they kill and whether it affects populations - the question is whether banning them in any way would be proportional and at the moment the balance of evidence suggests it wouldn't be," he said.

There have been a number of studies showing that the chemicals, made by Bayer and Syngenta, do have negative impacts on both honey and bumblebees. One study suggested that neonicotinoids affected the abilities of hives to produce queen bees. More recent research indicated that the pesticides damaged their brains. But Defra argues that these studies were mainly conducted in the laboratory and do not accurately reflect field conditions.

It has published its own work showing that in the field, these chemicals had little effect on bee health, although Defra acknowledges the study lacks statistical power. They are also calling on the European Commission to agree to a major new field study that would settle the debate. "That will allow informed decision-making, rather than rushing into a knee-jerk ban based on inconclusive studies," said a Defra spokesman.

Open data: Dr Ian Boyd says that despite being used for 20 years, there has been no satisfactory answer to the key question: what effect are these chemicals having on pollinators in the field? Given the finely balanced state of the science he says that other factors such as the costs to farmers have to be considered in the decision to keep using these pesticides. "It is a very difficult analysis to do, we really don't have full data - but it does suggest that the cost benefit trade-off at the moment is weighted to retaining neonicotinoids because if you just cost this in financial terms then you move in the direction of having a significant financial cost to take them out of the system," he said.

But the Commons Environmental Audit Comission rejects this approach saying that "economic considerations should not form part of environmental risk management decision making". The committee also asks for more openness from the chemical manufacturers who should publish their own research on the safety of these products. This seems to be one thing on which Defra and the committee agree. "I personally believe that all those data should be open access, I think that everyone should be able to see them," said Dr Boyd. "There are issues around confidentiality but I don't think any of those are insurmountable," he added.

Pesticide manufacturer Bayer said it "strongly disagrees" with the idea of a two-year moratorium. With fellow producers, Syngenta, it has produced its own action plan on how to protect bee health. "There has been a long history of the safe use of neonicotinoid insecticides and it is clear that when they are used responsibly and properly, any impact on bees is negligible," said Utz Klages of Bayer. "This has already been confirmed by the competent EU and member state authorities in their market authorisation assessments, based on the extensive safety data that had previously been submitted and proven in many monitoring studies."

The committee of MPs says the government's lack of action is in marked contrast to the efforts of the UK's largest garden chains. B&Q, Wickes and Homebase have withdrawn non-professional plant protection products that contain neonicotinoid chemicals. The report has been welcomed by many campaigners including the charity Buglife, which praised the "robust stance".
The issue is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

The European Commission told the BBC that it will continue to press forward with plans for a moratorium. A spokesman said they are planning to appeal against the recently rejected ban. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency is being sued by beekeepers and environmental groups over its "failure" to protect pollinators from neonicotinoids.  

© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159