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Brexiteers plot EU vote mischief

first_imgFrench president Emmanuel Macron (R) accompanies out british prime minister Theresa May after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on 9 April. Photo: AFPThey call it the Trojan Horse strategy: Brexit supporters furious at their government’s failure to leave the EU on time are aiming to undermine the European Parliament following elections next month.The Greek myth about the hollow wooden horse Odysseus used to sneak his men into Troy to capture it from within was invoked by Conservative MP Mark Francois ahead of Wednesday’s critical EU summit.”If we were to be held in the EU against our democratically expressed will because some in the EU hope against hope that we will change our mind, then they will live to regret it,” Francois told a Brexiteer conference in the heart of London.”We will become a Trojan Horse within the EU and utterly derail all their attempts to pursue a more federalist project,” he said from a lectern bearing a portrait of Margaret Thatcher — a premier whose views on Europe grew darker with time.Francois warned EU leaders meeting in Brussels later Wednesday to consider the UK government’s request for another Brexit delay that “they will need to bear all these inconvenient truths in mind”.As difficult as possibleThese inconvenient truths were first raised in a tweet last Friday by Jacob Rees-Mogg — the leader of a rightwing insurgency tearing at prime minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party.”If a long extension leaves us stuck in the EU we should be as difficult as possible,” Rees-Mogg wrote moments after May asked Brussels to push back Britain’s departure to keep it from crashing out.EU leaders’ expected approval will put Britain in the paradoxical situation of having to take part in European Parliament elections on 23 May — nearly three years after voting to chart its own course.Rees-Mogg said Britain should make best use of its predicament by vetoing “any increase in the (EU) budget, obstruct the putative EU army and block (French President Emmanuel) Macron’s integrationist schemes”.Francois pointed cheerfully to a response to Rees-Mogg’s tweet from the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt that also went viral.”For those in the EU who may be tempted to further extend the Brexit saga, I can only say, be careful what you wish for,” Verhofstadt wrote.”Who am I to put try and put it better than Guy Verhofstadt,” Francois chortled.FireworksRees-Mogg and Francois voted against the Brexit deal that May struck with the EU all three times it came up for a vote. They view it as too EU-friendly.Only 26 of the 314 Conservatives in parliament joined them the last time around — a shrinking group that May hopes will grow even smaller by the time she tries to get her pact through on the fourth attempt.Her ability to do this quickly could still keep Britain from having to actually fill its 73 seats when a new European Parliament opens its doors in July.Some of the current places have in any case been reassigned.Yet the level of Conservatives’ anger with May seems to be rising as the possibility grows of Brexit being pushed further out of reach.Ninety-seven Conservative MPs voted against a measure Tuesday aimed at averting a no-deal scenario. It prevailed by a 420-110 margin.Veteran EU foes such as Nigel Farage — a poster boy of the pro-Brexit campaign who once headed the nationalist UKIP group — hope the groundswell of discontent will carry his new Brexit Party to big gains in Europe.”If we have to fight those European election on 23 May, we’ll fight them because it’s time we taught them a lesson,” Farage says in a video campaign message.And even those not running themselves sound tempted by the idea of Britain making a nuisance of itself in European halls of power.Asked whether he might consider running in the European elections, veteran Conservative MP William Cash told parliament this week: “I must admit that if I were to, there would be quite a lot of fireworks in the European Parliament”.last_img read more

With no word yet from producers Tollywood imbroglio continues

first_imgKolkata: The stalemate in the shooting of television serials in Tollywood continues as the artistes and technicians are yet to arrive at a negotiation with the producers.The ceasework is the result of a demand by the Artistes’ Forum to regularise pay. The talks between it and the Welfare Association of Television Producers (WATP) are yet to yield results.In a Press release issued on Tuesday by the Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern India, signed by senior artistes like Soumitra Chatterjee, its president, Prosenjit Chatterjee, its working president and Arindam Ganguly, general secretary, the artistes have agreed to join work the moment WATP agrees to implement the MoU signed between the producers and the artistes. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe future of nearly 10,000 artistes and technicians has become uncertain because of the stalemate. The artistes have also agreed to sit with the producers.Actor Prosenjit Chatterjee told newsmen that the Artistes’ Forum did not wish to disrupt shooting schedules of TV serials, but the July 8 agreement between the Television Producers’ body should be respected and artistes should be paid regularly.While the agreement between producers and the forum had stipulated that the artistes should get their salaries within the 15th day of the next month, many producers did not honour it and did not arrange the payment overdue to the artistes, Chatterjee maintained. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedHe said in the given situation, it is not possible to resume work unless the producers pay the arrears. Chatterjee made it clear though that he was only referring to a section of producers and not all. The ceasework has been disrupting the overall shooting schedules.Forum general secretary and actor Arindam Ganguly said the July 8 agreement had also specified that any artiste working for more than 10 hours should be paid on an hourly basis after the expiry of the scheduled time. That too had not been honoured by a section of producers.He said the state government is aware of the situation. “Minister Aroop Biswas has been updated of the developments at the meeting and he is trying to arrive at a solution,” he added. Meanwhile, there was no shooting during the day in all the eight studios located across different areas of South Kolkata, due to the ceasework.last_img read more