Saturday, March 27, 2010

Update

I still am having problems getting on-line, and so I am having to borrow my wife's laptop in those few moments when a lull in her Facebook activities allows.  I am hoping to post tomorrow on this new EU treaty business.  In the meantime, here is a cute looking dog.


And that I am afraid is about all for today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another Cameron Gaffe?

I really did think the Conservatives were having a good day.  However, David Cameron was just on ITV News at Ten and said the Conservatives want to get rid of Regional Assemblies - at least I think that is just what he said, feel free to correct me.... (I am 99.99% certain).

This is a pledge that Eric Pickles announced in 2008 and was latterly confirmed by David Cameron.  (RDA's or Regional Development Agencies are the same as Regional Assemblies, just by another name.)

This is a welcomed move that I would support as these were foisted upon us from Brussels and are central to the EU's attempt to weaken England through regionalisation.

However, the Conservatives own website states that they aspire not to scrap or get rid of RDA's or Regional Assemblies but that they aim to reform them.

Policy Quote:

"Reforming the Regional Development Agencies to create a vibrant, business-focused force that is more responsive to local needs."

Source: The Conservative Party Website

So, which is it Mr Cameron, will you "scrap" them or is "reform" your party's agenda?

It's not like this particular contradiction has not already been pointed out, over a month ago.  I do wish the Tories would get their Policy Line in order!

Budget Reactions

Thanks to everyone who joined in today's Live Blogging session which was simultaneously carried by 10 blogs across the Blogosphere.  My reactions whilst listening live was much the same as those also taking part.

What did people think of today's budget?

What did the Tax Payers Alliance think to Darling's last Budget Speech?  Chief Executive Matthew Elliot is quoted on their web page as saying:

"The Chancellor has utterly failed to face up to the horrific scale of Government borrowing and debt. There was a handful of tax holidays and spending cuts, but nothing to deal with the debt addiction which threatens to make Britain the next Greece. The public are crying out for serious and sizeable spending cuts to rebalance the books, but the Government is living in La-La Land. Large spending cuts are essential for taxpayers and for the health of the economy but Gordon Brown only knows how to spend more, not less. We need a real Budget after the election that faces up to the serious realities of our situation."

BTW the TPA has released their manifesto ahead of the General Election which is riddled with common sense ideas which no doubt millions of people would vote for - expect the political parties to brand it as "popularist" as they do with most ideas which people might actually like.


What did Fraser Nelson think?

Personally, I forgive Darling all the partisan stuff in his speech - this is a pre-election Budget after all. There is no act of wanton vandalism, like the 50p tax. Stamp duty on properties over 1m is rising from 4 percent to 5 percent, but does anyone seriously think this would not have happened under the Tories? And there was quite a bit of sense. Entrepreneurs’ tax relief for capital gains tax was doubled to £2 million. There was no extra splurge. All told, Darling did what he could to salvage his own reputation before he passes into history as the Chancellor who picked up the most poisoned of all chalices from his predecessor. 

What did the BBC's Douglas Fraser think?


It's a bad day for scrumpy, cider and the Wurzels, and a good day for kids who make their living making and playing computer games.
Duty on cider is soaring by 10%, on top of an alcohol tax accelerator.
The cynic might look at a map of the cider-producing counties of England, and find few marginal constituencies in which Labour is a contender at the general election.

What did Sky New's Jon Craig think?


After the Budget, I asked the Treasury pointyheads who always give a thoroughly baffling briefing to economically illiterate political correspondents just how many people would be affected by the Belize crackdown.
"Errrr," came the reply. Embarrassed shuffling of feet and staring at their shiny shoes.
"How much will this raise for the Treasury?" someone else asked. No answer to that, either.
Never mind, a shameless piece of tribal, class war, stuff-the-Tories politics had cheered up Labour MPs as they prepare to go back to their constituencies and defend their seats in the weeks ahead.

What did the Adam Smith Institute think?  Dr Eamonn Butler replies:

the Chancellor did not mention that the trade deficit had risen by £7bn or that business investment has fallen 5%. Nor that a government which was borrowing £6bn a year when it came in is now borrowing 27 times that, at £167bn in 2009/10 and another £163bn forecast for next year.

What did The Fink, think?


Basically nothing happened in this Budget because he had already announced policy earlier.
The entire Budget was anchoring.

What did Michael White of the Guardian Think?

Alistair Darling struck a tone of high-minded responsibility but I was not convinced by the way he magicked away those mountainous deficit and national debt figures

What did Gentle Ben think?

This was his Budget, we are told by the Treasury, meaning that while Mr Brown may have been allowed to have his say (do you think he ever stops to say to his Chancellor ‘thanks for not treating me the way I treated Mr Tony’? no), Mr Darling was in charge. And while he has emerged with credit as one of the few straight-talkers in the gang who kept a cool head while others flapped, he is also a Labour politician who has an election to fight. So in addition to the narrative about tough choices (that Tories would not have made), there were specific digs: the rejection of a unilateral bank tax, the offsetting of a stamp duty cut for first time buyers with an increase for those buying million-pound properties, the boast that most additional tax was coming from the top 5pc of earners, the decision to pay for long term care by freezing IHT allowances, the extension of the ‘temporary’ rise in winter fuel payments for a year inviting a campaign question to the Tories – ‘will you extend it?’ and particularly the partisan attack on Lord Ashcroft via a convenient tax information exchange deal with Belize. It was a pointless Budget without a spending review, but it was above all an election Budget from a Labour politician. 

What did I think now I have had some time to mull things over?

In some regards this was a "pointless budget" but in having said that, the fact that our finances are in grave turmoil and the Chancellor had nothing to offer the people who work in this country but dry humour about tax arrangements with Belize highlights exactly how vacuous the people who make up our cabinet are.

We are screwed.  Royally screwed.  What do Labour propose to do?  Tax us more and borrow more.  Great, thanks, because that has been working really well for the last decade or so hasn't it!

Take the pulse of the people you meet tomorrow and ask them about the budget.  When they have finished bumbling along and regurgitating TV news sound-bites ask them how they will personally benefit?  Cue vacant stares.  

This is a budget that does not benefit individuals, and it does not benefit society, nor set a course to correct the ugly vandalism that has defaced our Exchequer.  It is a Budget by the Labour Party, of the Labour Party and for the Labour Party.  Alistair Darling could not offer anybody any reason to vote Labour even with the control that the Chancellor has; he has crystallised how impotent the Government has become.  The sooner the election is called, the better.


Finally, what did Paul Waugh think?  He wants to know how you can deliver a budget with a straight face when it has so many holes in it!

Budget Live Blog - Join In Today After Noon

The window will (should) be up nice and early on Governmentitus because of my recent technical glitches, thus if you are here early please note the fun will begin a little after noon just before the Budget starts.




This is a blogosphere collaboration between A Tangled Web, All Seeing Eye, Barking Spider, Biased-BBC, Corrugated Soundbite, Dick Puddlecote, Governmentitus, GrumpyOldTwat, Man Widdecombe, and Subrosa

You can comment here on Governmentitus or at any of these highly recommended blogs, and everybody will be on the same chat.  This is a break out of the highly popular and successful Question Time Live Blog sessions held on Biased-BBC.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

UKIP Are Ready To Fight The Election

I see UKIP have beaten the pack and got their manifesto released.  Good idea, not only are Labour and the Tories fumbling over theirs, leaving UKIP to look focused and agreed on their policies, it also gives them the opportunity to brag that other parties are copying them should they replicate any of UKIPs policies.  I think I am also right in saying that they are the only major party to release before the Chancellors Budget, showing proving that in UKIPs eyes, Darlings words are pretty meaningless tomorrow.

I have had a look, there is much I agree with and regular readers will find no surprise in me writing this.  But there is also quite a bit I disagree with.  I certainly would not look forward to a 31% flat tax though I certainly think the tax system could be simplified and reformed.  There is a whole lot of policy and proposal here, and certainly UKIP cannot be accused of fighting this election on a single issue.  I still have not decided how to vote, but UKIP will factor in my thinking.

I also reproduce the text of Lord Pearson's* speech to the UKIP Spring Conference, potential UKIP voters will like it, and a few wavering Tories will too.  You may have noticed by the way that Labour didn't have a spring conference, it's because that with Gordon Brown in charge of their finances they could not afford to hold one, I am told this is a source of great embarrassment to Labour MP's in case you should encounter any of them and fancy mentioning it.


The full text of Lord Pearson’s speech is below:

I have a quote for you.

“The Government believes that our membership of the European Union has brought real benefits to the United Kingdom through jobs, peace and security. Through our membership, we belong to the world’s largest trading bloc. Over half of the United Kingdom’s trade is with the EU, with an estimated 3.5 million British jobs linked to it. Our membership allows us to live, work and travel across Europe”.

Those words, Ladies and Gentlemen, are the best the Government can do to defend our membership of the European Union, and were spoken against me in the Lords six weeks ago. They are words which will have been honed by dozens of clever bureaucrats over a long period of time, and which were repeated often during the passage of the Lisbon Treaty the summer before last. They have an optional extra sentence, and it goes like this: “Our EU membership gives us a seat at the top table of world affairs. We increase our influence by giving up our sovereignty”. By that, they mean your sovereignty of course.

Now Ladies and Gentlemen, you and I can see through all this. We can see it for what it is; the self-serving dishonesty of the political class. In fact there isn’t a word of simple truth in any of it, and I don’t need to tell you why. But the trouble is that our political class do believe it; they really do. I suppose they have to, because our EU membership gives so many of them their comfortable way of life, at our expense. But they have a problem. The British people are not fools, and they are beginning to understand that over the last 40 years they have been steadily deceived and betrayed into what is now almost total subservience to Brussels. “The slow-motion coup d’état”, as Christopher Booker has so aptly described it.

The British people have other reasons to be angry. If you don’t mind I will quote what I said in the Lords over two years ago, when I was trying to warn of the growing gulf between the political class and real people: 
“Over the past 50 years, we have brought this country pretty low: 40% of our children leave primary school, and 15% leave school, unable to read and write properly; our whole health service is in crisis; our police are overwhelmed; our prisons are bursting with the mentally ill and the illiterate; our transport system is inadequate; our Armed Forces are underfunded, overstretched and undervalued, and even their morale is beginning to crack; our border controls have been deliberately abandoned, so that our inner cities are increasingly uncomfortable and explosive places; and, most worryingly of all, Islamist terrorists are on the march, many of whom are home grown”. 

That was before the credit crunch and the Parliamentary expense scandal, which have turned the people’s feelings from disdain to anger, and now, amongst many, to hatred. Indeed, the focus groups we have recently commissioned show that there is one deep common attitude, shared by nearly everyone we consulted, and that is anger and distrust of the political class. To these feelings we must add frustration; frustration because the British people feel that there is nothing they can do to make any difference; that whatever they do, they can’t change the system. And, of course, they are right about that too, which may be why some 40% of them no longer bother to vote in General Elections. Modern Governments are elected by 40% of the 60% who do bother to vote, or 24% of the electorate, and those Governments now make only some 20% of our national law. The rest is made is Brussels, where the Government has some 9% of the votes, in a secretive system which renders the House of Commons – for which the people are allowed to vote- wholly irrelevant.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I trust you will agree that that is a fair description of where we stand today, that I haven’t exaggerated anything, or made it sound more gloomy than it really is. If anything, the disastrous state of our public finances should make us even more fearful of the future.

I think we can take it that the two most important subjects in the forthcoming General Election will be the economy and immigration. We are told that the voters aren’t really interested in Europe, that UKIP is a single-issue party, and that a vote for UKIP is a wasted vote, and that a hung Parliament would be a disaster. What are the answers to these suggestions? Well, we’re no longer a single-issue party and the plain fact is that the easiest way, perhaps the only way, to solve the problems of our economy and immigration is to leave the EU. Yet all the three main parties are determined not even to talk about doing so, so the field is clear for us. 

What about the “wasted vote”? The answer to that is that if you want more of the same, more of the Lib.Lab.Con., if you want to make absolutely sure that nothing changes, then you must vote for one of them. If, on the other hand, you want to start the forces of change, then the only sensible thing to do is to vote UKIP. 

What about the voters not being interested in Europe? Well, they will be, if we can get them to see that getting out of it is really the only way to control our own borders and save our economy. 

What about the disaster of a hung Parliament? The answer is that it would be infinitely preferable to another five years of any of the rest of them. I can’t believe the people will return to a Labour Government, which would of course be very bad news, but hardly much worse than a Conservative Government with a big enough majority to last five years. I say this because David Cameron has ruled out any sort of referendum on our relationship with Brussels for five years; five more years of ever-deeper integration. After that it may be very difficult to escape; we will no longer be enmeshed on every side in the tentacles of the corrupt octopus, as we are today; we will be in its belly. So whatever the doubts about a hung Parliament, a Conservative victory would be an absolutely certain disaster, just as bad as Labour. It would be the final extinction of what millions of our forebears have died for over hundreds of years. We must not let it happen.

When the true extent of our national financial disaster is finally revealed after the election, a hung Parliament is unlikely to last very long, perhaps not even a year. Then there will be another election and UKIP must be able to show the main parties, perhaps particularly the Conservatives, that they cannot form a Government unless they promise a referendum on whether we want to stay in the EU or leave it. We have to do well enough in this election to make that clear and unavoidable. 

The pointlessness of voting for the main parties is easily exposed. They say they want to start doing something very timid about immigration, yet they all agree they want to let 70 million Turks into the EU, and so into this country.

They are talking about cutting £7 or £8 billion in public expenditure, but what is the figure we send in cash to Brussels every year? £16 billion. If we look beyond straight cash, the Tax Payers’ Alliance estimates that our EU membership may be costing around 120 billion a year, the equivalent of £2000 per person per annum.
When you look at it like this, our membership of the EU is really a no-brainer. 

So this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the political mould which we are now setting out to break. We must do so by trying to tell the truth about many controversial issues. Straight talking. For instance, we must question the whole theory of man-made climate change. We are about to spend £18 billion a year for the next 40 years on renewable energy, on 10,000 pointless windmills and so on. But what if the planet has started cooling, as a great many scientists believe? What if man’s activity doesn’t contribute to climate change either way? Wouldn’t it be better to wait and see before committing such ruinous figures to the atmosphere? Of course it would, and that is why we’re calling for a Royal Commission, chaired by a High Court judge, to test the alarmists’ theories in the cool light of day.

We must also be prepared to talk openly about the advance of Sharia Law in this country, and the huge problem of Islamism world-wide. Like it or not, when we talk of “terrorism” nowadays we are nearly always talking about a problem which comes from within Islam. We are not talking about a threat which comes from the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Sikhs, the Jews or Christians; not even Irish Catholics; we are talking about Islam. We must do what we can to encourage the vast majority of the Muslim community, who are our peace-loving friends, to end their silence and speak out against their violent co-religionists. We must ask them to join us in saying that their preachers and teachers of hate have no place in this country, and must be thrown out.

And we must be prepared to break the failed political consensus wherever we find it. Take for instance education. There is no point just going on throwing more money at it. Vouchers and grammar schools are obvious. Of course we must take power away from the failed education establishment and give it to parents. Even the Conservatives are saying that. But we must look deeper. We must look at the soil in which the roots of our education system feed, and that soil is not our primary schools; it is teacher training. I spent 10 years validating the former Polytechnics in the 80s and 90s, and there is still far too much emphasis on training future teachers how to –and I quote- “permeate the whole curriculum with issues of gender, race and class”. Does that ring a bell about the roots of political correctness?

University budget cuts are in the news nowadays. If I was cutting university spending, I would start by looking at the Humanities departments of the former Polytechnics. I say this because the Polytechnics were created by bolting new Humanities departments onto the excellent former Technical colleges, and it was in those Humanities departments that the “gender, race and class” agenda took hold. There is not much point in them if their students are unemployable. It’s unfair to students, not to mention the taxpayer.

There is one other big idea whose time has come. Direct democracy – something like the Swiss system of binding national and local referendums. Of course our political class hates it, but I see it as perhaps the only way now for power to be returned to the people. Even when we get out sovereignty back from the EU, we will still be faced with armies of Sir Humphrey’s calling their departmental tunes, to which our wretched ministers can do nothing but dance. So I think this is an idea we should strongly promote throughout the campaign. Many of the 40% of our people who have given up bothering to vote will actually do so if they can see that their vote matters, that it will make a difference. It’s time we started telling their politicians and bureaucrats what to do. They are, after all, supposed to be our servants.

Ladies and Gentlemen, to conclude on a perhaps more controversial note, I fear we have to face up to some of our own internal prejudices. We must remember the prime object of our exercise, which is to get this country out of the EU. The easiest way to do that is of course to win a binding referendum. But, in the absence of that, we must also do what we can to get people into the House of Commons who will really fight for our freedom. We must not stop them doing so by standing against them if we are unlikely to win the seat. To do so would be to defeat our own greater purpose; it would be to put our party and our local enthusiasms before our country. The Conservatives have done that, as you know, but we must not do it. I am not talking about candidates who just say they think we would be better off out of the EU. I am talking about candidates, and they are very few, perhaps 7 or 8, who I am convinced will force questions and debates in and outside the Commons, and who will if necessary defy their whips. And of course it has to be clear that if we stood against them, we really could prevent them from being elected.

I know this is not an easy concept for many of you. But it doesn’t help to say that they should simply cross the floor and join us. That would not take us any nearer to our goal. It would not advance our cause. Of course I will be talking to our candidates personally, and to their chairmen, and I hope I can persuade them to see that if they stand down and fight elsewhere, they really will be breaking the mould of British politics. They will in fact be making history, and so will we. I imagine it will be national news, and so I believe it will help to convince the electorate everywhere that we really are different, that we are not just another political party pursuing our own selfish interest. 

So there it is, Ladies and Gentlemen, straight talking again, I’m afraid. There will be much more of it in the weeks ahead. We are indeed very different from the other political parties. As I said when you did me the honour of making me your leader, UKIP is not for lemmings; it is not for sheep. UKIP is for independent thinkers who share a common passion for their country, and who do their best to mould themselves into a cohesive political force to achieve its salvation.

I end by reminding you of the words of my friend Alexander Solzhenitsyn spoke from the depths of his Soviet prison camp, “One word of truth outweighs the whole world”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let us now put those words to the test.

Thank you.

Feeling The Pain

It has not been much fun working where I do in the last few years.  During the Summer of 2008 there had been a number of redundancies that had been horrible to be around, but nobody expected what was to follow in October 2008.  Of the staff in my office, about 25 of them (approx 30% of everyone) were called by name one by one over the tannoy to attend reception and one by one they were escorted off to a meeting room and informed that they had been identified as candidates for redundancy, they were to go upstairs to collect their personal belongings, turn in their laptops and phones and exit the building and they would be contacted within a few days regarding the details of the mandatory group consultation which would soon begin.

By 4pm that day the office was completely empty as we toddled off to the pub to join our fallen comrades.  I lost 4 colleagues and my manager from a team of 8 to redundancy in an afternoon.  (One colleague was lucky enough to be retained after a month of consultation, but alas was latterly let go in a later round of redundancies; just one month before his wife gave birth to their first baby.)

In February 2009 we were informed that there would be a temporary, but mandatory 10% pay reduction extending a six week period but applied to all employees worldwide.  The reasoning being that the company was forecasting that it would miss it primary targets, and though that meant it would remain profitable, it also meant that the banks that own my company through various credit agreements would exercise penalty clauses which would in turn mean there was no way we would hit the Q2 number, which would have lead to another fine which in turn meant we would never hit the Q3 number... you get the picture.  The board foresaw that if we missed the Q1 2009 number we might have a terrible year and they were clear that the company my not recover, or may have to drastically downsize further.  We took our medicine, and it was a bitter pill to swallow.  In the UK because we are salaried and receive a monthly payment it actually meant the whole reduction was applied to one months payment, so was 15% lighter than the one before and there were no promises it would be the last.  Being a newly wed of a one income house, it was not easy to endure.

Between April and August further redundancies were made but at a slower rate.

As a result of the staff sacrifice and downsizing we made that Q1 number and every subsequent target in 2009 and finished the year in profit.  Despite a drastic reduction in staff worldwide with no reduction in customer requirements nor overall workload we managed to find new ways to pick up the excess work and new ways of working.  Many of us spent much of last year arriving early and leaving late to do what we could to help.  One of my 4 colleagues that lost their job in October 2008 only managed their first day of work in a new job three weeks ago in March 2010, having not even managing to find temp work in the meantime.  This is not just my story, it is a shared experience of my friends and colleagues, and former colleagues. It is an experience that will not sound too unfamiliar with millions like me who are or were in the private sector in the past two years.  It has been horrible to endure, but despite the brutality we are in no doubt that if the company I work for had not of restructured it would not be in business today and instead of a third of us being out of work, all of us would have been.  We would not be taking on new heads today and looking at introducing new technologies and exploring new markets.

That is an unfortunate reality, and the private sector has felt the pain and companies that were not in a healthy position had to shape up or shut down.  We would all take back a Woolworth's or a Thresher's having watched them disappear, but we would have bemoaned the kinds of redundancies my company went through if they had of been announced in an effort to save those brands.

I understand the pain of redundancy, and the fear that I may soon face it - a fear that is still with me.  But, as a tax payer, I really cannot endorse the Government's inaction in not shrinking the size of the state, in fact I am angry that in the meantime, whilst the productive sector of this country, the bit that creates wealth and jobs and pays a hefty chunk of tax to the Exchequer the size and burden has increased to satisfy the political fetishes of Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson.  The whole time the state is growing unsustainable, not only is the tax burden rising today to meet the wages and expenses of these workers, but also is the debt that must be repaid on the extra borrowing that is being extended.  Late in 2009 it looked like we would be spending more in debt payment in 2010 than we would be spending for all Armed Forces expenditure.  If we do not reverse this, now; I wouldn't mind betting that we will spend as much on debt as we will on the NHS which in a single year will far exceed £70bn.

Public Sector workers losing their jobs is inevitable, let us not stall and increase the overall cost at the expense of the economic recovery.  Where as my former colleagues could look to between 2 and 4 weeks salary to cushion the blow of losing their jobs, some junior and middle public sector roles are cushioned by 2 or 3 YEARS of redundancy payment.  My guess is that many of them are hoping for the call to come through.  It is a time-bomb waiting to explode, the people on these contracts cannot be supported on borrowed money forever, but we pay extra for not cutting now.

If there are two things I have gathered from my recent conversations with people from all ages and varied occupational backgrounds is that people want a BIG cut in the size of the state.  Secondly, people are angry at Gordon Brown and Labour for setting this whole situation up whereby we face the choice of a decade of heavy debt payments versus two decades of heavy debt repayments all mortgaged for no tangible benefits to the vast majority of people who live here, work here and pay tax here.  In more candid conversations the notion has been expressed to me more than once that we should affix to Gordon Brown a charge of criminality for his execution of the public purse.  A very popular notion that never fails to spontaneously invite participants to speculate upon suitable punishments for his crimes upon us.

Now imagine this is the lead story tomorrow morning:


Good morning. Here is the news. Because of the budget deficit, shrinking economy and untenable level of national debt, all public service salaries will be cut by an average of 13.5 per cent, with immediate effect. The charges will appear on your payslip as “government levy”, and will apply to frontline public workers in health, education, transport and local services and also to MPs, Ministers of State and the Attorney-General.
Judges will be, for the moment, exempt, but a mechanism is in place for voluntary payment of this levy. So far 72 judges have paid up. No undertaking can be given about when, or if, take-home pay will return to former levels. The severity of this measure reflects the good levels of public pay, security and pension rights compared with the private sector. Government regrets the pain this will cause, but regards it as essential. Thank you.

You don't have to imagine if you are from Ireland as this is what happened some months ago, as Libby Purves has set out tonight.  It is the remarkable but largely unreported story from across the way.  The Irish are showing us Brits the way forward.  Could you imagine if Gordon Brown sent around a communication announcing that everybody suckling from the public bosom must endure a 13.5% cut in pay - it seems pretty unimaginable, but the money has just about run out and it will not be long before the public sector stop getting paid on pay day.  Despite Ireland making the cuts, the hospitals and schools are still open, society did not collapse the sky did not fall.

It is exactly what we need here in the UK, and by not taking the lead on the matter Labour will not only leave office with the public finances in a state, they will have left the Unions well funded, highly connected and in prime position to disrupt any Conservative Government attempts to do what is needed.   Labour's first 8 years in power were funded because of the excellent state of the economy inherited from the Conservatives, but they not only drained the coffers, they drained the pension pot and indebted us for a generation.  This is their way of thanking you for electing them, and they would argue that it is what you wanted them to do.  The conservatives will be a spent force before the economy has recovered - this is not how things are supposed to be in a "free society" and it is not the background setting to a truly fair society.  

Labour, somehow, some way, must be made to pay a price for their criminal economic mismanagement.


 

Live Blogging The Budget

On Wednesday afternoon at 12:30pm here on Governmentitus we will be live blogging the last Budget before the General Election in cooperation with a number of other blogs. The Budget will be carried on all major television channels except for BBC1 which will be showing Bargain Hunt (no, really!).

Importantly for us, we will be looking carefully at the different ways that channels report and editorialise the announcements. We'll be able to compare, for the first time here, one event reported several ways in a live environment. Good for bias checkers as well as important for everyone who pays tax in the UK.

The Chancellor’s speech will certainly be a political affair rather than a fiscal exercise, so we can expect plenty of unaffordable goodies deferred until after the Election with a challenge issued to the Conservatives to oppose them.

This chat will be a collaboration between A Tangled Web, All Seeing Eye, Barking Spider, Biased-BBC, Corrugated Soundbite, Dick Puddlecote, Governmentitus, GrumpyOldTwat(thanks for the pic!), Man Widdecombe, and Subrosa - all excellent and highly recommended blogs. If you haven't been to some of them before then please take this chance to try them out.

From Biased-BBC, All Seeing Eye and David Mosque will be in the moderators chair so it'll feel just like our regular Question Time evenings. To catch the live blogging, come back here on Wednesday, March 24th just after noon.

Under Attack

I seem to have been caught in the cross-fire between Google and the Chinese - as such, some Chinese hacker has cocked up my browser and it keeps trying to refer me to Chinese Web Search tools.

My IT bods are miffed. Posting will therefore revolve around my ability to get online from others PC's until further notice.

Monday, March 22, 2010

If You loved Me You Would X

In the lead up to the election I have been getting a lot of new traffic, and I just wanted to gently prod those visiting on the ways you can get your regular Governmentitus updates.

1. Bookmark me.  Simples.

2. Blogger.  Add my url to the "blogs I am following" function on your blogger dashboard.

3.  Governmentitus Facebook group.  I have recently set this up.  If you follow this facebook group which I will drop my links in for back to the blog; but you can also drop your own bloglinks or if you prefer newslinks in.  The Group is there for members to share favourite posts and is there to highlight how sick we are of our Government.  The more that follow the better the group will be.  There is also the discussion and video functions.

4. Networked Blogs.  The preferred tool for bloggers on Facebook. 

5. Get a daily email.  Just pop your email address into the field in my right hand side bar and Feedburner will do the rest.

6.  RSS Feed.  I am not an RSS user, but if you are you too can follow Governmentitus by clicking on the icon and adding me to your feed list.

7.  Twitter.  Follow me as Danny1979 on Twitter.

Wiki World

Don't you just love the Internet.

Margaret Moran's Wiki Page:




Geoff "The Hoon" Hoon's Wiki Page:


The Blogosphere and Wikipedia are ahead of the newspaper releases, yet again.

Hoon, Hewitt & Byers Have Whip Suspended

Brown plotters Hoon and Hewitt as well as Tony's mate Byers have all tonight had the Labour Whip suspended following the Dispatches programme which revealled that the individuals focused upon where in fact soliciting cash for influence.

Basically all three, who are standing down at the next election are now suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party, but this does not mean they will lose salary or perks in the remaining two or so weeks before Parliament is dissolved.  This is a token slap on the wrist for the boys and girls on the way out just before their big pay-offs.  Moran has already had the Whip suspended over expenses... she didn't look to ill on camera touting for cash, did she!

The big questions are now these:

1. Why did Gordon Brown insist no investigation would be necessary?  He has suspended the trio within an hour of the Dispatches programme airing.  What information was shared with him, was he lied to earlier today?

2. Is Gordon Brown now admitting he was wrong to insist prematurely that no investigation was needed?

3.  Will the Police be invited to investigate?  The recorded interviews all took place away from Parliament.

4.  What are the Conservatives going to do in the new Parliament to make absolutely sure that the rules are clear and adhered to; how and when will wrong-doers be punished.

Now We Know

So, now we know!  For between £3,000 to £5,000 a day and your company can buy a MP or Peer and they will actively Lobby in your interests.  Some of them have even read the rule books and know exactly how to Lobby for you whilst, in their eyes at least not falling foul of the law.

It stinks.

Albion Alliance Newsletter

Copied & Pasted.



Here we go with the March edition of the Albion Alliance Newsletter, and I do apologise for the late distribution of this as I needed to take some time out to recharge the batteries.

A campaign such as the Albion Alliance is always going to be a bit like an iceberg - the visible part is small but there is a lot going on under the water. However, unlike an iceberg we are not just drifting, but carefully aiming our campaign where we think it will have the most impact, and impact it certainly has had. It is quite clear that those in power as well as the public are watching, listening and taking note, with the campaign being read and acted upon by many.

The main web page and candidate database is constantly being monitored by the big party organisations, with regular visits from amongst others the Labour Party, CCHQ, Cooperative Party, Parliament, European Commission, European Parliament, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, Sky News and The Guardian along with literally hundreds of visits from Universities across the UK as well as the public visiting to view the status of their candidates.

One of the biggest impacts that we have seen thus far is that we have been made aware, by candidates, that CCHQ have issued an instruction to all Conservative Candidates not to correspond with us, or if they do then there is a template giving the party line that must be used, and is used consistently. That instruction also indicates that candidates will be deselected if conservative candidates sign the Albion Alliance pledge. It would seem that this party at least is running scared of open debate on the EU, and have apparently also given instructions to TV companies not to include the subject in any forthcoming debates in the run up to the election.

We felt that this level of micro management of candidates over such an important election issue is something that is probably unacceptable to voters, so in order to counter that CCHQ instruction we have added a facility for candidates (of any party) to sign the pledge in secret, where the names of secret pledge candidates will not be released until after the nomination process with returning officers are closed. This is proving to be a popular move.

With the election drawing ever closer, we now feel that it is time to widen the debate. In order to facilitate that we have decided that one of our moves is to launch our own dedicated Albion Alliance blog (http://blog.albionalliance.org.uk/), so that issues relating to the EU, our membership of it and its impact on life in the UK can be brought up and discussed, openly.

Whilst the administration committee will be making regular posts on this new blog, we are also going to open it up to guest posters. This may be from those who already blog elsewhere or from members of the public who have never published their thoughts before and would like an outlet.

The Albion Alliance hope that the provision of this blogging facility will promote debate, awareness and the general exchange of ideas and political viewpoints surrounding UK membership of the EU. Posts for submission do not necessarily have to be purely on the European Union or the need for/against a referendum, but ideally they will link to both those two subjects. You may wish to write about your experiences in getting your candidate to sign up to the Albion Alliance pledge, or how EU laws, regulations or directives impact on your life or even how you envisage the UK working in a de-regulated world.

The only thing we ask is that posts remain polite, do not contain profanities or anything which could be construed as personally defamatory, libellous or racist (sometimes difficult we know), but subject to that criteria it will be published as written. Anything which we feel may cross the outline above we will contact the author with suggested changes, and all posts will be open to comments for which the same criteria will apply. Albion Alliance retain all editorial rights at all times.

If you would like to submit a post for publication, please send your draft to blogposts@albionalliance.org.uk

Now to things more mundane. The bulk of our activities are and always will be correspondence based and technical updates, with the major task at this moment keeping the candidate database up to date, and that\'s not easy. In this we again look for your help. If you look at your constituency in the database and know there are candidates who are either missing or shouldn\'t be there, or any of the details are incorrect, please let us know on media@albionalliance.org.uk and we will amend the relevant entries. Let me thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

Whilst the main thrust of the Albion Alliance campaign is to get the agreement of candidates to sign the pledge BEFORE they are elected, where do we see the Albion Alliance going after the election.

We think that it is going to become apparent to people after the election, when the EU really starts to grip combined with the traditionally lean fiscal quarters meeting the general post-recession politics then this campaign will become more the focus than pre-election. It will become more apparent of the need for us to have an immediate say in where we plan to go as a country, socially and politically.

This is where the Albion Alliance will really have its work cut out to keep up the pressure to give us a say in our future, and again a change in campaign strategy, but for now, please, we ask you to keep an eye on your constituencies, write to or phone your candidates, put as much pressure on them as possible to sign up to the pledge, and if you are a blogger keep up the articles, as this is after all, a basic question of democracy.

Thank you all for your support.

The Team at The Albion Alliance

Politicians For Hire

The sodding laptop is playing up so I have been unable to post what I wanted to on Byers et al, but as always the Blogosphere has covered all angles and captured the mood quite well.

Whilst the dispatches programme is on tonight, Ollie Cromwell is holding a LiveChat session which makes all political discussions more lively and as such I am happy to offer a plug.  I will be joining if technology allows.

Also, Guido has emailed out the Guy News list and he has stated a petition to have Stephen Byers kicked off the Privy Council.

As Guido Says:

Strip Byers of “Right Honourable”


Membership of the Privy Council is what entitles one to be addressed as “the Right Honourable”. When Stephen Byers was made a member of the Privy Council he swore “by Almighty God to be a true and faithful Servant unto The Queen’s Majesty as one of Her Majesty’s Privy Council … And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true Servant ought to do to Her Majesty.“ Surely whoring yourself out to change Her Majesty’s Government’s legislation “like a taxi cab for hire” falls outside the terms of this Oath?

Being a member of the Privy Council is a great honour, it is the oldest political institution in the land after the monarchy itself, tracing its history back to the Norman monarchs. Byers’ continuing presence on the Council sullies the institution, so given he is unlikely to resign himself he will have to be removed. It is still possible to petition the Queen to have him removed and Guido has set up an online petition to do just that:

“We, the undersigned, call on Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, to strip Stephen Byers MP of his membership of the Privy Council due to his involvement in offering to sell access to the British Government for personal profit.”
 





Politics is corrupt, and the troughing bastards have run down the clock soley to keep themselves in the good life.  The previous Lobbying and Expenses scandals outraged the public and rocked faith in our politicans to an all time low.  These scandals are not new, they are just fresh in the memory with a current cast of characters.  We need democratic renewal and some real democratic reforms.  Time to put power back in the hands of people.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Great Minds, etc...

If the Conservative Party were on solid ground I would wager that two of the big thinkers at the forefront of the Party would be Lord Tebbit and Daniel Hannan. They are not, and neither is the Conservtaive Party.  It was somewhat endearing to have had a quick look over on the Telegraphs today and see these two basically agreeing with me on some points I have recently tried to make, but they of course being much smarter and better writers put things across much better that I ever could.

Lord Tebbit first. He is saying today that basically people as individuals will generally not understand every facet of every issue in the run up to a General Election, but invariably the British public, irrespective of party political associations have usually returned the right decision in elections, including on four occasions since World War 2 a Parliament that is reliant on coalitions. In fact here is what Lord Tebbit says:

The thought of that brought back to my mind some of the studies by animal behavioural scientists of bees and ants. The brain power of a bee is pretty small and that of an ant even less, yet the hive or the nest seems to be capable of taking far more complex decisions than any of its members. The behaviourists call it “swarm intelligence” and I often wonder if electorates enjoy the same ability.

Not very many individual electors understand quantitative easing, the risks and benefits of early cuts in public expenditure or increases in taxation, or the merits of Blair’s wars. Some may say the same of Members of Parliament, of course – but, whatever the arguments, we ask the electorate to take a decision comprised of judgments on a mass of matters outside their individual competence, and time and time again that electorate delivers a reasonably sensible judgement. Looking back over the last 65 years and 17 general elections, it would be hard to say that any of those results were irrational however much one might have wished that they had gone the other way. On four occasions, 1950, 1964, February ‘74, and October ‘74, the elections led to an indecisive outcome, and it could be well argued that so too would the election of 1951, but for the quirkiness of our system.

Looking at those indecisive results, it seems to me that the swarm intelligence of the electorate was in fact telling the politicians that the choice they were being offered was not one they could be reasonably asked to make. A good example was Heath’s February 1974 question: “Who governs?”

I had said THIS about a week ago:

And it all leads up to what I have written in the past and have more polling on today that people are looking to engineer a hung Parliament because we ain't happy with what's on offer and do not wish to grant any party 5 years.

As implied, this is a recurring theme; People are not happy with what Labour has done and just as importantly the wisdom of crowds seems to me in my conversations to be pointing to the desire for a more traditional Conservative offering. On the economy people actually do want big cuts, they are fed up of paying for a bloated public sector, and want some tax relief. On the EU people are actually taking notice of what is going on, but my take is there is generally no agreed mechanism that everyone sees for which to issue a protest, other that the token offering of the EU elections which even if there were an all UKIP return to the E U Parliament would not really affect the course of how the EU controls us. And more recently I am not detecting any support for the Union and Cabin Crew actions at BA, and I work quite close to Heathrow.

The feeling is that the Private Sector (to which I earn my salary from) is that we took our medicine and made the cost savings needed over a year ago when the credit crunched. The highly Unionised Sectors have been slow and have not had to make the same cuts. The Public Sector has since grown on increased borrowing and low tax yields. So, as far as me and my chums in the productive sector are concerned, were paying for the public sector and want it reduced massively in size, because we are sick of paying for it and as far as the Cabin Crew of BA goes, it seems that you were on a very cushy deal especially looking at your industry, grow up and accept that you are damaging your company to protect an overly generous set up. If a business cannot operate in profit then there will no jobs because the company will fold. Cuts must be spread.

If Mr Tebbit were a little younger I think there would be calls for his inclusion in a Conservative or Coalition cabinet.
Then I moved along and Daniel Hannan has posted a response to his UKIP supporting readers about why he remains in the Conservative Party.

What I’d ideally like – and what I assume my UKIP readers also aspire to – is a situation where UKIP no longer needs to exist: where it can award itself a medal and retire with honour, job done. Obviously, we’re not at that point yet. But I worry that every activist who deserts the Tories for UKIP is retarding the prospects of a Euro-sceptic Conservative Party without taking his or her energies to an alternative party of government.

I realise that I won’t have convinced my UKIP critics with one short post. But I would urge you to ponder one thing. Eventually, the issue will have to be settled in a referendum. If we are to win that referendum, we shall need the support of people on the Left, people on the Right and people in the Centre. UKIP won’t win on its own. So when you come across people in other parties who believe in British independence, don’t snarl at them, or tell them that their support is worthless unless they join UKIP. Encourage them.

Which neatly brings me to… and don’t groan… the Albion Alliance.



Daniel Hannan is of course right that UKIP will not be winning this election, and that UKIP are generally a good bunch who have been driven to UKIP generally because of their understanding of the EU situation. I have been to a few marches and rallies where the turnout is predominantly UKIP, and this is a knowledgeable collection of people who hold a frankly stunning amount of EU Legalese in their heads ready to quote in any conversation. UKIP are a party borne out of an intellectual argument rather than reactionary urges. Thus UKIPers are generally quite polite and open to others opinions. I have never met a UKIPer how was not armed with wealth of information and ready to politely debate policy on any issue to help win over others to their position.

We need a referendum to exit the EU now, and with Lisbon we have passed the point where an “amicable divorce” would be available. By supporting people of others parties who are prepared to say before an election that they too will support that referendum effort we can urge people to vote for people who share the same aim on what many of us consider the greatest of electoral issues and by doing this we can get people into Parliament who are not afraid to make the EU the debate.

Hannan and Tebbit may not have said exactly what I am saying, but we would appear to be of a similar mind in terms of direction. So I only hope their views can resonate more clearly through the halls of the Tory headquarters.

Anyway. Back to the football.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

As Good As Certain...

Making bold predictions can be a very unrewarding game, especially if you are a journalist.  Us bloggers can get away with it a little more, but we are still wary.  Anatole just can't resist it, he seems to make one every week; or at least he used to many years back when I read the Times.  I came to realise very quickly that whatever Anatole would predict not only would not happen, but, very often the exact opposite would happen... I was not a Times reader for very long, they were way off the mark with too much and gave New Labour too much unwarranted credit.  It was like being led up the garden path.

Anyway, it's not too often I am over on their site but I was tonight and Anatole has predicted that Labour are going to "do a 1992" and win the General Election, because the Tories have to measure the budget response right, and he feels they will not do this.  He even says:

But next week’s Budget will be a pivotal political event, not because of anything Alistair Darling may or may not say, but because of the response he will elicit from the Tory frontbench.


This could be the best news yet for David Cameron and George Osborne, they may not realise it but it really is.  Maybe in the last few years Anatole has turned it around and got a few right, and if that is the case it is I who will indeed be left with egg on my face.

His theory that the Conservatives must make more of the Budget than Labour is simply not true.  Alistair Darling is about to stand up and say how he wants to buy Labour some extra votes on money borrowed off of the future toils of the tax payer.  He wants to nudge the Conservatives into immediately replying with specifics about what they would cut after a General Election, and quite frankly even Cameron is not stupid enough to do that.  Nobody believes what labour has to say on the economy the trust is gone.  Nobody argues with crazy people in the street, they accept they are crazy and walk on... They certainly don't shout crazy back.

The Conservatives do need to shape up their policy announcements, but that does not mean they have to make specific pledges on cuts, the best weapon the Conservatives have between here and May 7th is that nobody believes Labour when they talk economics, nobody believes the numbers.  Like the mob, they would appear to have two sets of books running, one for the public when they need election promises, and the other that tracks the real cost of their profligate failures.  Talk cuts by all means, say that they will be robust and deep - people will appreciate that and take it as honest; but specific cut pledges in a budget week is not a good idea.

When Alistair Darling stands up and says he is going to add £5 to the winter fuel allowance David Cameron should throw Ed Millibands Energy Taxes back in his face, when Darling says he is raising the State Pension by £4 Cameron should remind everyone who raided the public pension purse.  When Darling remarks about borrowing to spend on investment Cameron should repeat that we are spending more on debt repayment to banks than we do on our under equipped and under supported Armed Forces.  And so on, ad nauseum.

What Cameron should not do is get dragged into a fight about numbers and projections that are probably not even true.  Labour will be setting traps.  He should insist that if the PM can't even tell if he has spend more money year on year on defence and if Liam Byrne is confused as to whether there will or will not be any new taxes there is clearly some work to be done to straighten out the books and only when after a Conservative Government has audited the books, and the bank statement, will they truly have an idea what measures are needed.  It is Labour that has created this uncertainty but that the Conservatives are ready to roll up their sleeves and give people a straight picture.

Anatole tries for an observation:

The Tories made three closely related mistakes in devising their economic and electoral strategy at the nadir of the financial crisis in the winter of 2008-09

No not quite.  The real problem is that the Conservatives, especially early in this Parliament began to believe the propaganda that was coming out of 11 Downing Street about such things as "ending boom and bust" and having developed some grand new economic platform that virtually did away with inflation.  The removal of powers from the BoE and the setting up of the FSA allowed for the debt bubble to grow unfettered and was a big part of why there was a massive recession.  It was all lies, they should have rejected the premise of Gordon Browns claims.  Their language at the time regarding economics was to the line of "sharing the proceeds of growth" - they wrongly accepted the premise that there was unlimited growth to be had.  It wasn't that they built it at the wrong time, it was that it was built on a foundation of sand. When the credit cards were being cut up and we hit our limits, the Tories were just as lost as Labour.  When it went wrong, Brown claimed that "nobody saw it coming."  With a little more Tory caution, Browns best defence line would never have been accepted.

Buying into Labours falsehoods will prove to be the Tories biggest problem.  I have been saying for some time that the Conservatives need to disassociate from Labour.  By accepting Labours lies and building their policies on those same falsehoods they not only validate the Labour Line, they set themselves up for their own failures and u-turns.  The NHS, The EU, Public Schools, Devolution and Green Taxes are all areas where the Conservatives will have to unpick their position and set a new direction after the election, and all because they have built their policies, well defined or not on the New labour reality rather than the real world reality.

So how do I know the Conservatives will win and Anatole is wrong?

Assuming that the new Budget confirms these Labour plans for long-term fiscal consolidation, how should the Tories react? The answer is simple. Instead of quibbling about Alistair Darling’s figures and forecasts, the Tories should endorse his budgetary numbers and promise to carry out essentially the same macroeconomic programme.


All David Cameron has to do now is, not do what Anatole suggests and the election is his.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Union Cash And The Labour Party

Labour has made a big deal about the effect that Lord Ashcroft's cash has had on the Conservatives.  What they won't acknowledge in public is that they have numerous non-dom sources of cash themselves.  The Conservatives today published a paper about another source of cash funding their Labour campaign, that of cash from the Unite Union. The Conservatives are taking the fight to the Unions and to Charlie Whelan in particular.

The Paper does a good job in spelling out the financial and political influence the Union has over the Labour Party and even spells out where the two organisations have effective merged into one operation.  The underlying effect is that the Unite Union has a hand in running the country, and none of us voted for that!  They have taken advantage of the poor finances of the Labour Party and engineered themselves into positions of influence on public policy.  It is common knowledge that soon after Gordon Brown took over the Labour Party its finances (which he had managed) were in a dire state.  What is a little less known is that Unite saved the Labour Party from bankruptcy, and that Unite has spent £11m of its members money since Gordon Brown took over installing it's preferred candidates and buying influence with the Governing Party. 

If Gordon Brown is prepared to hand over (or hand back..) control of the Labour Party after he crippled them financially can we really trust his with our futures after he has crippled the country financially?


If you are interested, go read the report, it is a nice easy read yet is actually rather comprehensive given the depth of individual facts, quotes and donations listed. 


Total donations to Labour CLPs. Since Q3 2005, Unite has donated £460,561.81 to 148 Labour CLPs.
MP seats bankrolled by Unite (90 CLPs):

Mark Tami (Alyn and Deeside)
Sandra Osborne (Ayr Carrick and Cumnock)
Margaret Hodge MBE (Barking)
Eric Illsley (Barnsley Central)
John Mann (Bassetlaw)
Patrick Hall (Bedford)
Gisela Stuart (Birmingham Edgbaston)
Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield)
Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton)
David Crausby (Bolton North East)
Terry Rooney (Bradford East)
Gerry Sutcliffe (Bradford South)
Madeleine Moon (Bridgend)
Dawn Primarolo (Bristol South)
Nick Palmer (Broxtowe)
Ivan Lewis (Bury South)
Wayne David (Caerphilly)
Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley)
Phil Hope (Corby)
Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East)
Jim Cunningham (Coventry South)
Jon Cruddas (Dagenham and Rainham)
Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)
Margaret Beckett (Derby South)
Ed Miliband (Doncaster North)
Jim Knight (Dorset South)
Gwyn Prosser (Dover)
Ian Austin (Dudley North)
Andy Love (Edmonton)
Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port and Neston)
Clive Efford (Eltham)
Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood)
Vernon Coaker (Gedling)
Paul Clark (Gillingham and Rainham)
Ann McKechin (Glasgow North)
William Bain (Glasgow North East)
John Robertson (Glasgow North West)
Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West)
Parmjit Dhanda (Gloucester)
Anthony Wright (Great Yarmouth)
Linda Riordan (Halifax)
Bill Rammell (Harlow)
Tony McNulty (Harrow East)
Gareth Thomas (Harrow West)
Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton)
Alan Johnson (Hull West and Hessle)
David Cairns (Inverclyde)
Emily Thornberry (Islington South and Finsbury)
Dr Roger Berry (Kingswood)
Gordon Brown (Kirkaldy and Cowdenbeath)
George Howarth (Knowsley)
Jimmy Hood (Lanark and Hamilton East)
Hilary Benn (Leeds Central)
George Mudie (Leeds East)
Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East)
Michael Connarty (Linlithgow and Falkirk East)
Tony Lloyd (Manchester Central)
Dr Phyllis Starkey (Milton Keynes South)
Ed Balls (Morley and Outwood)
Dai Havard (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney)
Paul Farrelly (Newcastle under Lyme)
Yvette Cooper (Normanton Pontefract and Castleford)
Sally Keeble (Northampton North)
Charles Clarke (Norwich South)
John Heppell (Nottingham East)
Douglas Alexander (Paisley and Renfrewshire South)
Linda Gilroy (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport)
Chris Bryant (Rhondda)
Kevin Barron (Rother Valley)
Phil Wilson (Sedgefield)
Dan Norris (Somerset North East)
Angela Smith (South Basildon and East Thurrock)
John Denham (Southampton Itchen)
Alan Whitehead (Southampton Test)
Dave Watts (St Helens North)
Shaun Woodward (St Helens South and Whiston)
Anne McGuire (Stirling)
Robert Flello (Stoke on Trent South)
Siân C. James (Swansea East)
Anne Snelgrove (Swindon South)
David Wright (Telford)
Angela Eagle (Wallasey)
John Spellar (Warley)
John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne)
Tom Watson (West Bromwich East)
Rob Marris (Wolverhampton South West)
Tony Cunningham (Workington)
Ian Lucas (Wrexham)
Paul Goggins (Wythenshawe and Sale East)
Albert Owen (Ynys Mon)

PPC seats bankrolled by Unite (58 CLPs):

Ronald Hughes (Aberconwy)
New candidate tba (Ashfield)**
Alan Strickland (Berwick upon Tweed)
Ian Saunders (Beverley and Holderness)
Jack Dromey (Birmingham Erdington)
New candidate tba (Birmingham Selly Oak)**
New candidate tba (Blackpool North and Cleveleys)**
Nancy Platts (Brighton Pavillion)
Julie Cooper (Burnley)
Maryam Khan (Bury North)
Stephenie Booth (Calder Valley)
Jude Robinson (Camborne and Redruth)
Jenny Rathbone (Cardiff Central)
Ivan Henderson (Clacton)
Debbie Abrahams (Colne Valley)
Gregg McClymont (Cumbernauld Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch
West)
Chris Williamson (Derby North)
Michael Edwards (Derbyshire South)
New candidate tba (Dunbartonshire West)**
Pat Glass (Durham North West)
Grahame Morris (Easington)
Leo Barraghclough (Eastleigh)
Sheila Gilmore (Edinburgh East)
New candidate tba (Edinburgh South)**
Ian Boulton (Filton and Bradley Stoke)
Alison Moore (Finchley and Golders Green)
Ian Mearns (Gateshead)
Daniel Marten (Haltemprice and Howden)
Phillippa Roberts (Hereford and South Herefordshire)
Karen Jennings (Hornsey and Wood Green)
Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South)
Mike Robb (Inverness Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey)
Mark Chiverton (Isle of Wight)
Clive Grunshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood)
Rachel Reeves (Leeds West)
Liz Kendall (Leicester West)
Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield)
New candidate tba (Middlesbrough South and Cleveland
East)**
Andrew Pakes (Milton Keynes North)
Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
John Cook (Norwich North)
Jayne Innes (Nuneaton)
Anneliese Dodds (Reading East)
Naz Sarkar (Reading West)
Simon Danczuk (Rochdale)
New candidate tba (Rutherglen and Hamilton West)**
Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central)
Valerie Shawcross AM CBE (Southwark North and
Bermondsey)
New candidate tba (Stalybridge and Hyde)**
Chuka Umunna (Streatham)
Julie Elliott (Sunderland Central)
Geraint Davies (Swansea West)
Victor Agarwal (Swindon North)
Carl Morris (Thurrock)
Stella Creasy (Walthamstow)
New candidate tba (Weaver Vale)**
Lisa Nandy (Wigan)
Andrew Judge (Wimbledon)

**Denotes where a new candidate has not yet been
announced.

Note:
In this [the source] document, Labour MP CLPs are defined as those
where the current Labour MP is standing for re-election
this year.
PPC CLPs are referred to as those where the current
Labour MP is not standing for re-election or where there
is no Labour incumbent.

Lord Pearson In The Express

Bloody hell, a national newspaper gives over a column to UKIP - I can hardly believe it.  It is not bad either and worthy of repition, and as such that is exactly what I shall do.  Reproduced below is Lord Pearson's article for the Daily Express.



INDULGE me for a moment. Imagine an election ­campaign that actually talked about the things that really concern the British people rather than what the wives of the party leaders think about their ­husbands. What are the issues that should be tackled? What should the election be about?


I ask because this election will not be about the issues that really concern us: mass immigration, massive waste in the public services, crime, the European Union and our very democracy. These things will be avoided like the plague.


Why is this? Why is there no straight talking from those who fill our TV screens?


The simple reason is that the power over these and so many other issues no longer resides in Westminster, it has moved to Brussels. The promises of the establishment political ­parties melt away like the grin on the Cheshire cat once this stark reality shines upon them.


That’s why they won’t talk about immigration. The fact that 5,000 people a week are moving to this country to live, a city the size of Southampton every year. Last week all three establishment parties sang in harmony: Turkey must join the European Union, they said. You heard that right, not content with throwing our doors open to all European countries with the result that millions have moved here they want Turkey to join as well.


David Miliband, ­William Hague and the Lib Dems are all ­backing Turkish membership. Oh how pleased they are to be able to agree with each other. “Remarkable,” they said and of course they are right. It is remarkable that they all want to give 70million Turks the right to move to the UK. Madness might be another word, or more like arrogance in the face of the wishes of the British public.


We should be discussing our public finances. The political class has brought our country to its knees. We look in pity at the Greeks humming and ­hawing about whether to apply to the IMF to bail them out. In Greece they are freezing ­public- sector wages (including for the highest paid politicians and the like), cutting social security spending by 10 per cent, closing down bulging aspects of the state and yet still the markets look with a wary eye.


Britain’s deficit is similar but nobody is facing up to it. There is no mention of the £45million a day going to Brussels in cash, part of the £120billion a year cost of our EU membership, according to the Taxpayers’ Alliance. No talk of a public- sector wage freeze across the board. Cosmetic gestures ­targeting the top 10 per cent just will not do.


The public ­sector has been deliberately expanded at the expense of the productive ­private sector. ­Public-sector pensions now cost each of us £516 a year while most private- sector workers struggle by without proper retirement ­provision. This ­iniquity will grow as time moves on and trouble will out.


The rise of the undemocratic quango industry must also be stopped. If ministers believe that a service should be ­provided it should be provided by the ministry. It would then be accountable and easily cut when no longer required.


Jobs and wealth creation should be on the agenda. Every­body knows most jobs in the private sector are created by small firms yet nobody is setting entrepreneurs free from the oceans of red tape which drown them. Instead we get more and deeper problems with forms, bureaucracy and cost. Our post offices close, our waste is not collected. We get equality laws that drive firms SDHpaway from employing women and lifestyle laws that penalise legal behaviour and destroy our pub culture.


We should be ­talking about the rise of political Islam. The attempted takeover of Tower Hamlets in East London by a radical Muslim organisation should be a wake-up to us all.


In a few years this country will be suffering from serious power shortages. Yet there are no plans to address this as the Establishment refuses to see reality, blinded by impossible dreams of carbon neutrality and the relentless swishing of 10,000 pointless windmills.


We should be discussing the horrifying rise in violent crime and why our legal system puts the rights of the criminal ahead of the wishes of the decent majority. Above all we should be talking about a serious ­devolution of power to the ­people and away from the ­political class with binding national and local referendums to make politicians do what real people want. The Swiss have been doing this for years and it is surely an idea whose time has come.


We do not talk about these things and more for one very simple reason: our political class is unanimous in its ­subservience to “Europe”. Immigration? The EU controls our borders. Job creation? Business regulations are ­created in Brussels. The looming energy crisis? Environmental policy is dictated by Eurocrats. Why can’t we treat criminals as criminals and ­protect our ­people? Because of European Human Rights ­legislation.


So why on earth are we not talking honestly about the very simple, very central argument in all this: our relationship with Europe?


This election should be about who governs Britain. Should it be politicians elected by the people of Britain? Politicians whom we can fire if they do not perform or prove themselves corrupt and dishonest? Or should it be run by ranks of ­foreign bureaucrats, unelected, unaccountable and immovable? Why shouldn’t it be the people themselves who have the power to govern? To ask the question is to answer it. To answer it is to vote UKIP.



A duff of the cap to Witterings, who in turn winks at Richard.