Saturday, January 31, 2009

More Strikes Coming?

The Times is reporting that nuclear power plant employees will vote Monday morning on whether to join engineering, construction and maintenance staff in strikes over the apparent exclusion of contracts to UK nationals in favour of cheaper alternatives from within the EU.

The unions despite being supporters of the Labour Party and in general of the EU are not altogether happy with the UK position within the EU. Trade Unionists Against The EU Constitution joined up with The Democracy Movement and I Want A Referendum to organise a lobby of Parliament last February.

The TUAEUC have carried on their campaign and are campaigning for a NO vote in the second Ireland referendum this year.

Gordon Brown only has himself to blame for uttering the line "British Jobs For British Workers". The fact is Gordon Brown can not deliver British Jobs for British Workers because this would be against EU law. However, by stating that he would do this (and he must have known at the time that this is impossible, which adds to the stupidity of the statement) he was using a line designed to attack his enemies, in the hope that his supporters would not kick up a fuss when it is not delivered upon. The BBC (in the linked report) were not shy to say opponents branded it dog-whistling and racist.

I really do not understand what Gordon Brown and his communications team were trying to achieve when he borrowed a campaign line from the BNP, but whatever that aim was, it has backfired. There will be no sympathy on the Left if he tries to quash these strikes, especially as they are striking for something he has promised.

I hope that these strike lead to a wider dialogue about the EU and exactly how much control the EU has over our laws and our lives. The strikers are marching because the Unions members are not getting employed. But, [it would seem] the employers are not breaking EU law, The UK Government cannot change the law or make any accommodations - so how can the strikes be resolved? Either these companies break EU law which leaves them open to prosecution, or the UK Government does which leaves itself open to EU Fines or the strikers accept the case as is and back down... that third option does not seem likely.

It also raises other questions of accountability. It used to be in this country that if you had a complaint you could write to your MP or to a councillor. In industrial disputes you could strike, you could if you got enough people to agree with you force for changes to be made.

That is no longer the case. What can any person or group do if we do not like or agree with a directive from the European Commission? The answer is absolutely nothing. Seriously, there is absolutely nothing any citizen, or group of citizens anywhere in the EU can do if you disagree with the European Commission. You could petition your MEP to raise it in the EU parliament, but an MEP has very little sway, if they get the opportunity to speak they are limited to one minute. The EU Parliament is also very unlikely to challenge the European Commission. It is unlikely that they would even raise this issue because it is a important part of the common market and of establishing a Common European Nationality.

So I am not sure how these strikes will play out, but, there is the potential these strikes could lead to unrest and things could get more hostile, as it is impossible to deliver upon the strikers demands. Hopefully it will open the eyes of many voters about where the laws of this country are actually made, and how powerless the UK Parliament really is in areas of "EU Competencies".

Friday, January 30, 2009

Gordon Brown Should Have Paid Attention To Tony Blair During PMQ's

He might have learnt a few things. Instead he was doing this....

Strikes At Morning Star Newspaper?

The Guardian is reporting here that a dispute over wages may be brewing up at the Morning Star after management imposed a 3% pay rise on staff, escalating an existing dispute regarding pay.

Some of the 16 Journalists that work for the Star only earn about £18,000 p.a. all of them are members of the National Union of Journalists.

Political Editor John Haylett earlier this month backed the papers management decision by saying the pay offer was "Generous in a climate where newspapers were closing and staff being retrenched." He Continued by saying "We think the National Union of Journalists is completely out of step with realities."

Journalists are fed up with the low pay and being told each year that they are special cases. The whole episode is soured further by the knowledge that an anonymous consortium recently pledged £500,000, spread over 3 years, to help with the papers running costs. There was however a caveat that the cash could not be used to bolster journalists wage packets.

The imposition of the pay deal has been criticised by Jeremy Dear of the NUJ who is accusing the Morning Star of undermining the collective bargaining process with the "Unilateral Imposition" of the pay deal.

The 16 Journalists are already balloting on strike action, with the result due on 5th February. Perhaps the workers should rise up and throw of the shackles of injustice?

The Morning Star was founded in 1930 as the Daily Worker, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Great Britain. The name changed in 1966 to the Morning Star.

The paper also has an online edition which can be viewed here.

Recommended Reading

Dr David Abbott, over at Brits at their Best has been writing to the Queen and Jack Straw. It would seem the Justice Ministry has a different interpretation on the Queens Sovereignty, than that which is set out in the British Constitution.

Daniel Hannan points out that EU Commissioners plan to extend their term of office in defiance of the rules.

After stories that the IMF have accused Gordon Brown of lying on the economy to the point that his pants are actually catching fire, Guido implies gently (final para) that Brown may have found a way to douse those flames, even when holding a press conference.

Leg Iron had something interesting to say about there being no more heroes at Old Holborns blog.

The New Statesman is considering the possibility of another Lib-Lab Coalition.

Frasier Nelson has some graphs from Oxford Economics, showing how the current Brown Stimulus Plan will destroy jobs.

And of course, less reading, more pictures at the brilliant Tractor Stats.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Other Kids Were Being Mean And Made Him Cry....

To whom am I referring? Answer is Iain Dale's Diary: Blubbing Brown Begs Rebels Over Heathrow#links

IMF Calls Time On Brown Economic Fantasy

4-Sep-08: Gordon Brown: "We are dealing, I think people will look back and say, with the first financial crisis of the new global age," he told the gathering of North West of England business leaders.

But, he added, "at root our economy is better placed to weather the global storm than it was in the seventies, the eighties and the nineties".

24-Oct-08: Gordon Brown: "It's a financial global recession everybody knows and started out of America, we are having to deal with the fall out. We are better placed in Britain than we have been in the past and are better placed that many other countries"

28-Jan-09: The IMF reveals that the following:
  • Developed Economies will grow much less in 2009 that Developing Economies.
  • World Economic Growth will be 0.5% (weakest since the second world war)
  • Around 50 Million Jobs will disappear world wide in the next 2 years

Despite dire predictions for the US and the Eurozone, contracting 1.6% and 2% respectively the IMF points out that the UK Economy will contract by 2.8% in 2009. This means the IMF are predicting that the UK economy will be the worst performing of all developed economies.

The IMF have essentially set out figures which say that Mr Brown is either incompetent, a liar, or probably both.

IMF Report is here.

Perhaps Mr Brown can clarify for everybody how it is that if the UK is best placed of all economies to tackle this recession, why the IMF is predicting that the UK economy will contract faster and further than any other economy?

Perhaps Mr Brown can reveal what information he was referring to when he made misleading statements to the public regarding the state of our economy, particularly that it is "best placed". Was this Treasury information? I hope the opposition parties do not let this particular issue drop. Either somebody has given the PM very bad info, in which case this needs to be investigated; or the PM has told blatent lies and should be held to account for that.

Perhaps Mr Brown will now stop running around churning out ineffective initiatives for the purpose of attacking the Conservative Party and start looking at initiatives that will reduce the Governments debt and borrowing plans and put in place an actual economic rescue plan that will stimulate growth of the UK economy and reduce the public debt.

Childrens Register Accessible To 390,000 People

Another hat-tip to Brits at their Best blog for writing about and linking to this story.

The government has announced that a database that is being set up by the government that will track details of every single individual in the UK aged 18 or under is to be accessible by 390,000 staff that work with children. No child for any reason can be excluded from the list and each will have an individual identification number.

Beverley Hughes said the database would allow people working with children to "put their particular piece of the jigsaw into the whole picture." 17 Local Authorities will soon begin training staff on how to use and update the database, which will hold name, address, contact details, date of birth, school, doctor and of course their unique identifying number. It will be accessible to all local authorities, police, NHS staff and childrens charities.

I cannot think of a single worthwhile reason why such a database should exist. I find it harder still to think of anybody I would trust less with such a project than HM Government. Such a system is open to massive abuse and is an expensive failure waiting to happen. The potential for abuse is staggering. To me, it is the State taking ultimate responsibility for the upbringing of children in the UK; they obviously think the State should have overall responsibility in protecting children.

Will we really accept the criminalisation of parents who refuse to allow their childrens details be updated to the register?

I hope the Conservatives are prepared to scrap this scheme if they come to power, they have already said they will scrap the ID card scheme.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

++ Breaking News From The Conservatives++

David Cameron and Lord Strathclyde have tonight announced a taskforce is to be established to analyse standards in the House of Lords.

The press announcement is here.

It highlights the key functions of the Taskforce as being:

- Review the current arrangements for securing standards of integrity and accountability, and recommend improvements

- Consider the impact of lobbying and advise on the most effective means of policing and preventing undue influence and ending paid advocacy

- Consider further the most appropriate sanctions for breaches of the Code of Conduct in the House of Lords, and how best to enforce them

The statement continues by quoting David Cameron as saying "Today, it's not possible to suspend a member of the House of Lords no matter how badly he or she behaves, it's not possible to expel them from that legislature and yet they're making the laws that all of us have to obey."

And he added, "This is completely wrong, it needs to change and we will change it. We will make sure that members of the House of Lords, if they behave wrongly, can be suspended or expelled."

This, in my opinion is a positive announcement. I think it will show that David Cameron is serious about cleaning up politics and his party. He has already had to take action in the declaration of expenses on MP's and MEP's and ordered his Whip to bulldoze a deal that was thrashed out with the Labour Leadership over exempting the publication of MPs expenses from the FOI act.

This is also a strategically important announcement, as it means that the Conservative will be viewed as acting on a matter of public concern, where the Government is largely expected to issue nothing more than a slap on the wrist to those four peers who have been exposed. It also gives the impression that the Conservative Peers have nothing to hide from such an investigation.

Where Is The Public Outrage & Protest?

If a centre-right UK government was in power right now and presided over an approximate £22,000 drop in property value in every house in the UK, the media, led by the BBC would be calling for the PM’s head. Our TV screens would be full of Left leaning MPs calling for the uncaring and inactive government to be overhauled. “Economic Experts” would be in the news telling viewers and readers that people are struggling because of the Governments actions and/or inactions.

If a centre-right UK Government passed a law that allowed NATO to make and impose legislation governing UK border policy, defence policy or any law really, there would be protests in the streets. Petitions would be organised and passed around. The reaction would be stronger if, that government was elected with a specific promise of allowing the electorate to make that decision, via referendum.

If a centre-right government had been in charge of a monetary policy that had saw Sterling plummet to a 23 year low against the dollar, and all time low against the Euro, and we were witnessing loses of thousands of Manufacturing Jobs; the trade unions would be protesting in the streets about the tough market conditions and the increased jobless numbers.

If a centre-right government was proven in the media to have Parliamentarians selling, openly, their time and professional influence in making and changing laws; we would be calling it a “Constitutional Crisis”, and every law passed during that parliament would come under immense scrutiny. Lawyers would be having a field day. An immediate General Election would be called for by the left-wing leader of the opposition.

If a centre-right PM appointed his most influential minister to the House of Lords, free from the scrutiny of public election and being shadowed by an elected member of the shadow cabinet, then everybody would be calling it exactly what it is; an attempt to undermine Parliamentary accountability.

If a combination of the above situations had occurred we would likely have a combination, or all of the above consequences and responses. Eastenders would have story lines families going broke and being evicted, there would be students organising protests and recruiting members to radical organisations, and the Labour and Union conferences would be getting in depth media coverage. We would be told that there is an unprecedented social crisis taking place in the country.

So why is it, with a left-wing government in power, with The EU Lisbon Constitutional Treaty being forced on the UK without the promised referendum, with house prices nose-diving, with Sterling crashing, stock prices crashing, with a seemingly irreversible trend of the rich-poor divide growing further, with unpopular and oppressive laws being passed, with Peers being caught on tape selling their influence within the upper chamber of our national legislature; why is there no coherent, organised, public outcry of any significance? Why haven’t the people taken to the streets?

It is my assertion that if we currently had a Conservative Government, and were facing the scale of problems that we currently are, things would be very different. The opposition would be in a much stronger position. In fact, I suspect the calls from the public for a general election would be deafening.

There are no mass protests against the government in the streets, there is no radical student band amassing at St Stephens Gate.

The blogosphere has become an established force, and though there is balance and a real spectrum of views and approaches, it is noticeable that the centre-right opinions are prevalent. Have people taken to their computer keyboards rather than marching in the streets. Has the blog become the voice of the right, where the strikers placard is the voice of the left?

I am not sure that it has, or is. But I do not think the blogosphere realised its full reach and influence. Where there seems to be a balance in favour of influence to the political right on the blogosphere, there seems to be the reverse in the organising and effect of public protesting. With the Left targeting the blogosphere more and more, is now the correct time for the centre-right parties to be looking at getting people involved in rallies and protests, for which there is much to target? If they did, we may, just possibly, see that general election in 2009 that nobody is expecting.

Monday, January 26, 2009

British Constitution Group

Just seen this at Brits at their Best. It is a short summary of the meeting which took place on Saturday of the British Constitution Group.

EU List Of Criminal Offences

Just discovered Raedwalds Blog tonight, I will be adding to the links on this page. I am also going to highlight a piece from this blog which can be read in full at this link: Raedwald: Integrated EU blacklist of 'criminals' is here

Essentially, the following offences will be centrally recorded by the EU as a result of this E.C. ruling.

- Offences related to waste - Unintentional environmental offences
- Insult of the State, Nation or State symbols - Insult or resistance to a representative of public authority
- Public order offences, breach of the public peace - Revealing a secret or breaching an obligation of secrecy
- Unintentional damage or destruction of property
- Offences against migration law - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- Offences against military obligations
- an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- Unauthorised entry or residence
- Other offences an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- Other unintentional offences
- Prohibition from frequenting some places
- Prohibition from entry to a mass event
- Placement under electronic surveillance ("fixed or mobile" - eg: home, car, mobile phone etc)
- Withdrawal of a hunting / fishing license
- Prohibition to play certain games/sports
- Prohibition from national territory
- Personal obligation - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- "Fine" - all fines. inc minor non-criminal offences

LPUK also has this, along with a video clip of the EU flag being BBQ’d, here.

This is another example people of the EU setting out its Federal boundaries and the extent of control over the citizens of the EU, boundaries that it now sets for itself under the impending Lisbon Constitutional Treaty.

The EU views itself as your Government, even if you do not share that view. It has decided it wants to know when you commit one of the above offences. None of this has been openly discussed within the UK and you will not see anyone from the Lib/Lab/Con parties discussing this in Parliament or on the TV. You could write to your MP, but they are powerless to act in any way to change this, they are likely unaware that this is even happening.

Remember, there is no opposition voice or vote on the E.C. its function is solely to “Harmonise” the laws and protocols of E.U. member states. They have decided this, and will impose it upon national parliaments; this will become law without you, as a voter, having had any say what-so-ever. The trappings of a Totalitarian State are being established under our noses, the tools of Democracy that were designed to protect us are again being used against us.

I repeat once again Thomas Jefferson’s wise words. "When the people fear the Government there is Tyranny; when the Government fears the people there is Liberty."

Some Good News From Barclays

Barclays have today announced in an open letter to customers, employees and shareholders that they are in a good position financially and are expecting to report a better than expected profit of £5.3bn for 2008. Furthermore that they are to bring forward the publication of their performance in the interests of transparency. The news saw a rally in Barclays share price of 36% to 69.7p. The FTSE also rallied on the news up 156.54 at 4,209.01.

This all sounds like good news to me as a Barclays customer. Even the news that Barclays is to write-down £8bn does not sound like bad news to me, (relatively speaking of course). It sounds to my ears that Barclays have been through their entire portfolio, identified the toxic debt and taken the decision to write it off so as to draw a line under all of the situation. They have "come clean" over the extent of their liabilities, and cleared some of the fog of uncertainty. The fact that Barclays ends the year in "profit", with the help of some heavy corporate refinancing and restructuring sounds good to me because it has done so out the hands of public ownership.

If you have read this Blog before you will know I have absolutely no background in finance... but I have, I think, as good an understanding as any layperson. To me, Barclays looks like the only UK bank positioned to trade in the post credit-crunch world. Though, that £8bn will need to be paid off, it has addressed and will price this into its offerings. Its customers and shareholders can understand the extent of it's liabilities.

The challenge for the Government is to now insist through its own bank ownership that the banks they own get themselves into a similar position so that these banks can trade their way back into a position of consumer confidence.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

ComRes Poll

ComRes poll for tomorrows Independant.

Conservatives 43% (+2)
Labour 28% (-4)
Lib Dems 16% (-1)

The 15% lead translates to a likely majority to the Conservatives of around 84 Seats

Whatcha Gonna Do?

So Peers can sell their influence on an open market to lobbyists, the Government can't see that it is their very existance and size that is bankrupting the nation, The Irish will be asked to vote for something they have already voted against, the Greeks are rioting, the people of Iceland are rioting, Sterling is crashing, and tax payers are covering bankers wild international splurges.

The BNP seems close to getting elected in Bexley, Lib/Lab/Con all love the EU even though two-thirds of the people they represent dislike the EU, and MPs were prepared to vote to reduce their accountability to tax payers by covering up their expense details.

Our history has placed us with a position of global responsibilities that a great number of people take great pride in, others see this as a great sin, and a stain on our nation. Our armed forces are asked to serve to defend the very principles that this country has been abandoning for a generation. They are sent into battle with insufficient supplies and armour. An experienced squaddie knows that he must even ensure that a sufficient supply of toilet roll is packed as we are often unable to provide such basic provisions.

Our schools maintain a continued decline in standards, with Maths and English coming second to social studies and humanities. They are taught to pass exams, not provided the tools and skills to succeed in life. And what is the point anyway, their parents will have told them that if they can not get a job they can sign on and earn a living by fulfilling some small requirements that ensure that government targets are met. Don't rock the boat and the benefits will keep on coming.

After ten years of proclaiming that schools and hospitals are over stretched, this government has overseen that poor immigrants have entered the UK, en masse for over a decade. Stretching the those services further and further. A whole underclass of poverty stricken immigrants in place to ensure Labour Support for another 25 years is secured. The Labour Party, creating Poverty in the UK to further its own interests.

The Liberals have abandoned any pretence of true Liberal thinking and share no resemblance with the party was founded to oppose the Corn Laws, and now gloriously urinate on the principles of Gladstone, Asquith and Lloyd George. The Liberal Democrats in their present form would not recognise a principle if they tripped over one.

The Conservatives are the only mainstream party whose views countenance to the problems of the nation, but only in terms that slow the progressive visions of the insane and righteous; not to reverse it and set forward a new independent mantra of individual and collective responsibilities, freedom of individuals, especially freedom from state interference, and trust in the free market... which by the way, has lifted more people out of poverty and released more people from the yolk of tyranny than any charity, institution or international law ever conceived.

I really feel that 2009 could be the most radical for a very long time for setting out a shift in the direction of political parties ever... As politicians listen less, the louder we must shout. You may not answer our questions directly and offer soundbites when we need solutions, but we will not go away, and we will not be ignored forever.

When the EU meets to discuss civil unrest in nation states it demonstrates exactly how important the EU considers itself in the governing of Europe. Did anybody actually vote for this? Do we have Democracy and true Civil representation today? I could only answer yes if I could afford to buy a Peer, (and I can't).

There is something fundamentally rotten in our Constitution that the opinions and wishes of so many people can be ignored, and where the tactical application of smear and innuendo has replaced the presentation of facts in our media. We need to change the way politician's are able to govern from above. More accountability, less cost, less intrusion, and these and other rights enshrined and guaranteed. Thomas Jefferson said, "When the people fear the Government there is Tyranny; when the Government fears the people there is Liberty." Which do you think we have in the UK today? Are we moving towards or away from Tyranny?

Do we wish to form a more perfect country for the betterment of ourselves and mankind? or shall we hand ourselves, and our minds over, as requested, to the people who dictate that the way you live is killing the planet, the way you think is the cause of oppression, that you should be subject to laws that they should not? I have my voice now, here in blogosphere. Is your voice, and are your wishes being heard?

Friday, January 23, 2009


We Are In Recession

For me, today's confirmation that we are in recession serves three purposes.

Firstly it formalises what people on the street already know, there is an economic downturn we have been feeling the pinch for some time now. The Government can not spin this fact any longer, the statistics have caught up. The UK is in recession.

Secondly, Gordon Browns pronouncements that he "Ended Boom and Bust" and "He Saved The World" serve as evidence that he is completely ignorance to real economics and would rather look good coming out with sound-bites on TV rather than making the tough decisions that the people of the UK need. Gordon Brown, His Government and their decisions are a large part of why we are in the trouble we are in.

Thirdly, Gordon Brown is not going to change his approach or outlook. He declares that the UK is using every tool necessary to fight the recession. This is a lie. He has not explored the necessary cuts required in our bloated public sector to bring Government spending under control. The greatest problem that the UK faces in this particular downturn is the size and expense of the Government. As prices and taxes rise this year and next people will have less and less money to spend in their local pub, paper shop and everyday things. Forget upgrading the car or buying a new fridge. Unless Brown shrinks the size of the Government, or we have an election that brings about a government that will we will not come out of this downturn.

Don't forget to register your vote, on the top left of this Blogs front page.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

That Awkward Conversation That Every Dad Dreads

When your boy questions the existance of Monkey God.

Crime Is Up, Crime Is Down..... Thanks BBC

The BBC reported today that reported crime numbers are up. The figures are as follows:

Knife/Sharp Instrument Robbery - Up 18%
Fraud/Forgery - Up 16%
Drugs - Up 9%
Home Burglary - Up 4%
Other Burglary - Up 3%

However, at the same time, a separate BBC report states that crime numbers are down. The key points being:

Gun Crime - Down 26%
Knife Crime - Down 12%
Robbery - Down 17%
Rapes and Domestic violence - Both Up

The difference between them being that the figures that show the increase are for the UK, where as the figures showing a reduction are for London only.

The two BBC reports, despite being online do not make reference to each other.

So let me ask the question. How is it that crime nationally continues to rise, but crime in London is falling? Could the answer be that in London the Met Police Authority is Chaired by the Mayor, currently Boris Johnson? This is not a Tory/Labour Comparison, as the figures show in London year-on-year trends meaning this is a continuation of a trend started under former Mayor Ken Livingstone. It is the only authority in England that is not completely controlled from Centralised targets sent down from the Home Office, and where the Met Authority has a say on policing, rather than the Chief Constable rolling out initiatives based on centrally set Home Office targets.

Could this be the real evidence that can be used to further the case for locally elected sheriffs and/or elected Police Commissioners? With the Mayor being an elected official in London chairing the Met Authorities meetings we can see a tangible link between an elected official conveying the concerns of the public that they are elected to represent.

A convincing case for local Sheriff's has been made by Daniel Hannan and Doug Carswell in their book The Plan: Twelve months to renew Britain. I must confess that I was sceptical about local Sheriffs until I read their proposal, but they won me over on this particular point.

Which Way Did Homer Simpson Vote?

Icelandic Riots

Looks like Icelanders have taken to the streets, seems the UK branding them terrorists and crippling their ailing economy has had something of a negative effect. Doubt Brown cares though, probably views it as a precursor to Icelandic entry to the EU.

See the videos on Old Holborns blog, Here.

"2-Oaths" Obama

And thus a nickname is born.

Apparently Chief Justice John Roberts has been dubbed "Oaf of Office" in the US Media for his role in Obama's Oath of Office.

Chester A Arthur and Calvin Coolidge also had to repeat the oath.

Chester A Arthur swore the oath at home with a New York Supreme Court Judge John R. Brady, but then repeated it when he arrived in Washington D.C.(as he was ascending from the Vice-Presidency to the Presidency after the death of President Garfield)

Coolidge also ascended from the Vice Presidency after his Father administered the initial Oath of Office upon receipt of the news via messenger that President Harding had died. He re-took the Oath of Office upon his return to Washington D.C. the following day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Brown U-Turn On MP Expenses

The other day I picked up on what was written in the blogosphere online about the MPs expenses scandal. Thanks to Mick Fealty I found out about the MySociety campaign through to try and force MPs to vote against the proposals (and against decent standards of Democratic process). I also read on Douglas Carswell MP blog that he was going to publish details of his expenses, inspired by a pledge from Ben Wallace MP.

Last night I was having a flick through the blogs and I saw on Doug Carswells Blog that he had top slot at PMQ's today, and that he was looking for suggestions for questions... seemed simple really - ask about the expenses, and see if he can get Gordon Brown to make a similar pledge. So, this was what I suggested, (twice actually, as my post last night was not visible on his blog this morning, so I posted it again today).

I have not seen the footage yet, I will be looking for it when I get home.

Anyway, The Times is already reporting that Gordon Brown is to perform a U-Turn after having been asked the question by Doug Carswell MP. You can read the Time Report here.

Here is a snippet: Mr Brown made the announcement in response to a question from Douglas Carswell, the Tory MP, who asked why he was whipping he MPs to pass the matter.

The change is a victory for the opposition parties and for the huge grassroots campaign by groups such as mySociety and Unlock Democracy. The Tories announced yesterday they were opposing the measure, while Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat, has led the case for the opposition.

I am pretty sure that Mr Carswell would have had this thought on his own, he is after all one of the smarter of the MPs we have in Westminster, but I am grateful that he did ask on this particular matter. I am more grateful really that such a counter-productive law will not be passed.

Unfortunately, despite the apparent u-turn we can be sure that this will be slipped back in as soon as the Government thinks no one is looking, or when outrage is so high against them, this will pale in comparison to whatever cock up we are lambasting them for.

My final thought is this, Doug Carswell knew in advance that he was to get the lead question, I understand that the Speaker sets out who is to get that particular privilege each week. I am sure it will not have escaped the Speakers attention that Doug Carswell had pledged to publish his expenses on the Internet. I wonder if the Speaker wanted Doug Carswell to ask that particular Question? Perhaps Mr Speaker wishes avoid himself being cast in yet another embarassing expenses story?

A Little Direct Democracy Of My Own

I have put up a poll on the Blog (My first, but I think I will do so regularly) .

Q. Should Brown Go? Yes or No.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thoughts On Obama

I didn't have a great day at work, the "A" key on my keyboard seems somewhat defunct and this blog is competing with a televised Man Utd game which is on the telly now, so I will keep it brief (for a change).

I wish Barrack Obama, and the people of the US well, I hope he can deliver the upon the promises he has made. I would not have personally voted for Obama, and I fear this is all a very big build up to a very big and very public fall from grace where he will go from super hero to super villain, which will again (as with Bush) distract the course of debate from important subject to the politics of personality. Very simply I agree with the parallels of Obama 2008 and Blair 1997... I suspect UK 2008 is what may happen to US by 2014, if Obama follows a Blair-esque political agenda of "change".

Anyway, there was an election and it was a fair one, I have no problem with the outcome because it is the will of the people. I have never brought into the anti-American sentiment that has malaised Europe in the last few years, and I personally hope that comes to an end now, and that the view of America can return to one of high standing in the world. I certainly think it deserves it.

The high point of the Obama campaign for me came when it was all over. Thankfully, the good people of South Park very succinctly summed up how a non-Obama (like me) supporter has viewed Obama supporters (in this case Randy Marsh), enjoy...

Monday, January 19, 2009

MP's Expenses

Mick Fealty blogged today that MySociety, through is planning an offensive back against MPs who vote in favour of concealing their expenses this week. This involves a letter and email campaign to MPs and the subsequent naming and shaming of MPs who vote for the subversion of open democracy, not forgetting those who abstain. A worthy campaign that I will support on this blog.

Already I see that Douglas Carswell MP has declared on his blog that he will publish online details of all of his expenses. He says he is following the example of Ben Wallace MP. Hopefully all MPs will not only pledge to do the same, but vote down this ridiculous proposal, that can only further alienate politicians from the people they are supposed to serve.

In the aftermath of this issue, should any MP discovered to be wasting tax payer money will surely be slaughtered in the court of public opinion.

Effing Bankers

The Government has today announced that it is to roll out an insurance scheme for the banks to encourage them to start lending more to people. This is being offered by the Government (in case you missed it) after banks lent too much to people who can not afford to repay it. As people now have no money left, and a significant chunk of the population now owes as much as they could possibly hope to pay off; Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling have decided that the Government should "do something".

On the same day that the insurance scheme is announced, RBS announced that they are in a little bit more trouble that was initially realised, certainly more than Gordon Brown knew about when he handed over £20bn in capital a few weeks ago.

RBS purchased another bank a few years ago called ABN Amro. This bank had also lent a lot of money that people can not afford to repay. They helpfully lent what now extends to £2.5bn of credit to a Russian Chap with a big impressive chemicals business. Unfortunately that chap can no longer afford to keep the company going so it will probably go to the wall and default on the loan. But don't worry, the British Tax Payer can pick up the bill. No, not because the treasury coffers are over flowing; but because the Chancellor knows some Asian fellas that are prepared to lend us a few quid to bail out these defaulting loans. I am not sure what the rate of interest is, but what the hell, we will not be paying them back anyway - the IMF will have take care of that for us, we can worry about paying the IMF back later.

Perhaps I have unrealistic expectations of elected officials and Government in general. Maybe, I have watch just a few too many episodes of the West Wing, or not enough of Yes Minister. Something inside me says, this is all completely wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Mr Brown, this credit crunch has not come about because of a lack of regulation, it is because we had bad regulation. You have not ended boom and bust, you have exaggerated it.

I wish someone could explain to me where this Government is authorised to borrow and spend, and spend and borrow in such a reckless fashion. Was this in the Labour Party Manifesto? Has Parliament debated the two separate bail outs? Has the chancellor been on ITV, BBC, SKY News taking calls from members of the public and addressing their concerns? I don't recall the national debate about the UK taxpayer covering UK banks defaulting foreign loans. We have a Democratic Deficit.

Some bankers have made off with £millions in bonuses. Were they acting illegally? I can only assume not. Otherwise the government would have launched an investigation and would be bringing these thieves and crooks to justice. Not just in the courts, but in the newspapers and TV news. Why has this not happened? Because they were not acting outside of the law.

So what is the government going to do when pumping £billions more into the system fails to lure indebted Brits further into debt (and thus kick starting a boom cycle, that Brown insists that no longer exists?) Borrow more money?

The government needs to be more pragmatic in it's approach to this crisis. By covering the debts of negligence that far transcends economic sense, the Government is covering for those poor investment decisions. They have nationalised the failures of the banking system. How many Banking heads have rolled? None. How many tellers, and branch assistance have lost their jobs? Loads. Is this right? No, it is not. The decision makers made the mistakes, they are keeping their jobs and the tax payer is funding it.

I think Interest rates need to come back up a little. UK banks need to attract deposits from abroad. Savers in the UK should not be unduly punished. We also need to avoid another surge of poorly secured credit on the first sign of economic recovery.

The Bank of England should be granted emergency powers to investigate all deals over £100m (or at a value deemed appropriate, and practical by the BoE) that is now on the Governments portfolio to see if those loans were based on sound financial decision making. If not then legal action should be considered by the government against the banks, and from the banks against the employees that made them. The Government can not keep maintaining that bankers were greedy and made errors if no one can be found to have fallen outside of the regulations.

Those toxic debts should be targeted, and identified. I am not sure if a Government Toxic Bank should be set up, but if these bad investments are identified, then it might not require a Government solution. Solvent banks and financial institutions might help struggling banks, with compensation of insurance. Certainly the Government should be looking for the banks to write down a share of the debts, at their loss, rather than propping up the whole rotten system.

The FSA should be culled and regulatory powers handed back to the BoE and the Treasury. The BoE must then openly report on the banking sector in the UK, and be charged with improving confidence in the UK financial sector.

Some of the money being offered into bailout schemes should instead be offered in entrepreneurial grants to companies that have a chance of getting a foothold in the emerging Asian markets, such as China and India... I am talking about small and midsized companies with UK based staff and management who are trading in sound products and emerging technologies. Our economy needs cach from the East, and we need companies creating new jobs.

The Government should also reduce the size of the State, to reduce the burden upon the tax payer. Can we go onpaying for big Government AND big Government debts? I don't think so.

I am not economist and I am not a banker. You may not agree with any, or all of the above, nor may the Government. I am, however, a tax payer, and I have not been consulted in how my tax money is being spent, or on my concerns for the future tax burden on me and my family. And that is what has annoyed me most of all.

Conservative Reshuffle

Full details published on ConHome, link is here.

Looks like no role for David Davis or John Redwood (so far).

EU Propaganda In Slovenia

I was over at ConHome to have a look at reactions to Ken Clarke's appointment when I saw this piece about the EU machine buying the hearts and minds of the people of Slovenia. It is a very interesting piece.

Ken Clarke Appointed To Shadow Cabinet

As of Monday 19th January 2008 Ken Clarke will be back in the Conservative Shadow Cabinet. Iain Dale has the scoop here.

The next 10 days will be very interesting. There is going to be something of a backlash amongst Conservative voters, and David Cameron will come under fire for this decision. Ken Clarke has seven, maybe ten days to land a big body blow on Peter Mandelson and/or the Labour Party. If he does this, David Cameron's decision will be vindicated.* If not, then the recent poll results which have been showing an overall Conservative Majority will likely slip back, as the anti-Ken voices from within the Conservative Party get louder. Mandelson and Brown will be prepared for his return, suspect they have some counter punches lined up already.

This is not, in my opinion a clause 4 moment for David Cameron. This is not the Conservative setting a new direction, or casting of the burden of unpopular ideology. This is the moment however that the Conservative Party was honest with itself and who they are and what they stand for. Most have suspected since David Cameron accession that he is Pro-EU at heart and wants to lead Britain from inside the EU. I would rather he were more open about this so that it can be debated, rather than a closed issue which will, in the long run, cause greater frustrations and factions within the Conservative Party.

If I was still a likely Conservative voter, and held my previous concerns, this announcement would definitely send me over the edge…. However, paradoxically, now looking in without a sense of voting allegiance it could be a good move for the Conservatives. The only thing, politically speaking, that I want more than to withdraw from the EU is the complete defeat of the current Labour Government. If Ken Clarke's return ensures that The Conservatives move from narrow election majority, to comfortable majority then it may help put more Conservative MPs in Parliament and may subsequently ensure that I get what I want, an open, national debate on continued EU membership.

Of course, there is the chance also that Labour will on Tuesday announce that they are taking the UK into the Euro, then the Conservative party might possible implode into full scale civil war... and my head would explode from the excess rage surging through my brain.

*Provided that Ken Clarke does not then go off and rattle the Tories by a) Standing on a platform with Gordon Brown & Peter Mandelson to promote the Euro or the Lisbon Treaty. B) declares publicly that ‘smoking does not cause cancer’ or C) launches another ill-fated leadership bid. (If I have missed any, please add to the comments…)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Is Your Number Plate Illegal?

Back in September 2001 the ‘Display of Registration Marks’ act was passed by Parliament to standardise the format of number plates. The legislation looked at the font and size of the plates to make them readable to humans and to machines, such as speed cameras. All of the specifications followed on from, and are within the specifications set out in EC Council Regulation 2411/98. Within the legislation it was decreed that the only national emblem permitted on UK number plates is the 12 star ring of the EU, with two letters to denote the country of registration, i.e. GB.

At the time this met with public outrage, and a number of news outlets and newspapers carried this story. A lot of people had purchased cars and personalised plates in the years prior to 2001 that had the Union Flag, or St George Cross, Scottish Saltire, or Welsh Dragon. Under the law, display of any symbol other that the EU Flag carries up to an £1,000 fine. Furthermore, it is an MOT failure for the car. The legislation allows as an alternative that no symbol be carried, meaning that the choices are no symbol or the EU symbol.

In December 2001, John Spellar the Minister for Transport announced that after overwhelming public opinion and because of calls from the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament that the law would be reviewed. In the meantime police were not to prosecute people for having emblems other than the EU flag. The legislation was to be changed to ensure that motorists would not be prosecuted, and the laws were to be devolved to the Scottish and Welsh legislatures. In fact the statement says "The Government has decided to legislate to allow the voluntary display of national flags and symbols on vehicle number plates. It is what the people of England, Scotland and Wales have asked for and strengthens their feeling of national identity.

Fast-forward to January 2009 and the revised law has not been made through Parliament, and these powers have not been devolved. The law still stands ultimately at European level. EC Council Regulation 2411/98 says – Member States are required to recognise number plates that confirm with this regulation. However, this format is recognised as optional in Finland, Sweden and the UK. If it is optional, why has the law not been changed in the UK?

The DVLA V796 form makes no mention of the UK’s various symbols being allowed. However, some websites that advertise personalised number plates state that they are allowed to use the Scottish Saltire or the Welsh Dragon see Here and Here. However, this site states that only the EU flag may be used where a national emblem is requested.

This whole situation is another example of the UK being overzealous in the interpretation of EU laws, how frustrating and unnecessary these decisions can be. It is the UK Government, not the EU, that has chosen legislate so as to make illegal number plates carrying our national emblems. The UK Government has made the requirement that the EU flag be shown where an emblem is placed, or no emblem be allowed at all. It has done so not at the insistence of European Commission regulation, but chose to do so, on its own initiative. The subsequent announcement to revise the law can be held up as another example of the Labour Government making announcements to quell popular distain that they never had any intention of honouring.

I hope that no one has been prosecuted, fined or met with a MOT failure because of this debacle. If you have, I think you should definitely take this up with your MP, and that you have a strong case for financial and legal recompense.

I personally, will never identify myself with this EU creation of nationhood. I consider myself English and British, as do most people in England. Continued attempts by the EU and the UK government to impose a Euro-nationalism are offensive and dangerous. It is shocking that we can ask people to go represent our nation by fighting in wars for us, by representing us on the field of play in sports and at the Olympics, by representing the UK abroad in trade, in commerce, as an ambassador; only to have that representation upon our vehicles deemed so outrageous that it warrants a fine, and road unworthiness.

I attribute the existence of this and of other perplections of EU association directly to the absence of regular and involved national debate in the UK about our continued membership and its implications.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Thanks to Guido Fawkes

As you may have seen in the comments of a previous post, Guido Fawkes has posted a link (repeated here) to get into view Wikileaks available files.

Thank you Guido.

Has Wikileaks Been Removed From The Internet Entirely Now?

Daniel Ellsberg Video

Wikileaks is still unavailable. The page that everybody is being referred to offers some videos to watch that Wikileaks recommends. I started one, and was only going to watch the first few minutes, but it was very interesting. The video is of Daniel Elllsberg giving a talk to staff at Google. Daniel is famous for two things, firstly for the Ellsberg Paradox, secondly for being the person who leaked the Pentagon Papers to various newspapers in the US.

Because I found it so interesting I am streaming it here as well. It is long at 1:03:54 but covers some very interesting subjects about Government (mostly the one in the US) and Executive Powers. For example, having watched this I have just learned that the US Government does not actually have an Official Secrets Act.

Hopefully Wikileaks will be available again soon and that something more sinister is not taking place. They have, after all been taken offline before by a court in California.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wikileaks Overload

After having blogged that UN Reports Leaked To Wikileaks late last night I thought I would take some time to have a look through some myself tonight. But, I can't access the site, as it seems it is overloaded with people trying to get at these reports.

Still nothing in the MSM about this. This could potentially be the political story of 2009 and no one seems to be reporting or writing about it.

MPs Expenses

It was announced (in hushed tones) that MPs will not be forced to publish the receipts for their expenses after all. This is of course disgraceful, and is a thumb in the eye of campaigners for greater openness from our MPs. It will make it a lot easier for MPs to siphon of Tax Payer Cash, increasing the likelihood of misappropriation. More worryingly it would seem the Freedom of Information Act can be, (or at least will be,) circumvented without debate in Parliament.
MPs seem to think they above everybody else.

Trying to slip important news like this out smacks of contempt of the voters; Jo Moore’s previous statements seem to have been taken by MPs as guidance rather than as cautionary. It is amazing that a Party that repeatedly demonstrates that it does not understand the fundamentals of Open Democracy, is charged with defending it.

One of the biggest costs to the tax payers from MPs is that of Second Housing. MP’s that are from Constituencies that are beyond a reasonable commute to and from Parliament can claim their mortgage payments on a second house back from Tax Payers. I would like to propose an altogether fairer and cheaper alternative.

Those MP’s that require weekday accommodation should no longer be able to claim mortgage repayments, but they should be free to reclaim the cost of renting a council house from within The London Boundary.

Council Housing is cheaper per month, than I would imagine the mortgage payment on an Islington Town House. There are other benefits. As it would be reclaimed, the MP would need to assure that they can afford the initial payment in the first place. Also, living among ordinary families and people who are struggling to make their bills, MPs will have a greater appreciation for the day-to-day trials facing the population. Standards of Council Housing would likely soar in the coming years.

It will also be harder for claims of £1,600 for window cleaning and £1,920 for a Pergola (whatever the hell that is?) to be slipped through. If the Kitchen is not up to scratch, don’t charge the Tax Payer thousands of pounds, call the council and they will get someone out.
Actually, I would expect such a recommendation would be more likely supported by a Labour Government, rather than a Conservative Government. I wonder if they will take me up on the idea?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

UN Reports Leaked To WikiLeaks

Internal UN reports have been leaked on the Internet to Wikileaks, some of which reveal cases of international horrors involving UN staff. A translated explanatory page states that there are hundreds of reports and that they are listed as "strictly confidential."

The documents are already said to contain details of rape, forced pregnancy, arms trafficking, exploitation of raw materials, theft of relief supplies, fraud, corruption, and allegations of unlawful activities against a UN representative.

The leak has been made possible because of the availability of Wikileaks on the Internet, which allows whistle blowers from all around the world to safely and securely leak information that is of relevance and interest to the public.

Wikileaks are publishing the documents from their site. Which can be found here.

Given the volume of the documents and the massive amounts of information contained within, it is likely to take journalists and interested parties some time to read and review all of the published documents. I wonder if this will make the Main Stream News, or if this will get brushed under the carpet.

What Is The Hurry?

There have been a few opinions in the blogosphere in the last week or so urging David Cameron to have his re-shuffle and be done with it. Where as I understand points being made and that it seems that Cameron is dithering a bit.

I say, why hurry?

There has been some good opinions and debate heard because of this speculation. The MSM does not deem much going on in Westminster to be sexy enough to write about, so we are getting re-shuffle stories.

When the talk moves to Osborne and the Shadow Chancellors job the points made are that Osborne is a good operative, but perhaps not best suited to this particular position. We See instead that the real big beast here is John Redwood, who is doing such a good job in a proxy-shadow chancellor role, especially through his Blog and newspaper work that David Cameron will probably feel safe enough to keep Osborne by his side as Shadow Chancellor.... until elected at least. The Tories are the party with a selection of people who can speak well on the economy. Point being, David Cameron could be viewed as making The Economy his top priority, so much so that he has placed his most trusted and valued advisor in the role to help shape that vision.

Discussion over William Hague has reminded Conservatives that they do have candidates who can play well in the North of England, and that there are people in David Cameron's circle that are not of the Bullingdon Club. Hague is is allowed to speak on EU Sceptic issues (If perhaps not as often as some would like to hear.)

Talk of Alan Duncan's position has reminded Conservatives of a few matters. Firstly he serves as an example of inclusion within the party. Secondly that inclusion is not trumpeted, and points are not attempted to be made off of Mr Duncan's personal business. His position was secured of professional merit, not to pad out the party manifesto or meet a quota. Thirdly, Mandleson's return, in the Lords requires someone to shadow him exclusively. And fourthly, how quick public opinion, especially at the grass roots of the Conservative Party will turn if personal attacks are conducted via the media.

Ken Clarke's heralded return reminds the Conservatives where they were in the 1990's and that if they do attain power they strive to rebut the arrogance that comes from holding office. I shudder at the notion that Ken Clarke could one day be making key decisions on the EU and The Euro - however, he is a conservative and they will get attacked on Europe forever more until the Conservative Party can find a way to talk about it without imploding. Having Ken at the table can remind the top team of the what they can and can not do because of the EU, and how they can avoid stoking the EU debate in the wrong direction. [Though i acknowledge, this is pretty much on Kens terms and for as long as he decides he wants to do that].

I do not share the opinion that Ken Clarke is "The Big Beast", I do not find him a convincing communicator, and I feel he serves as a reminder of a bitter past. Better then that he can talk to those issue directly. He also can bring in support that no other Tory can, something that might tip the balance between a hung parliament and a Conservative Government. As long as Ken Clarke is on board, and David Cameron is honest about the extent Ken Clarke can reach in terms of Ministerial position it may work.

The point to all this is that some of these issues in the recent past would have been very negative talking points in the MSM and the debate would possibly have made the Conservatives look bad to floating voters (EU, Economy, Party Inclusion, Ministers in the Lords etc...). That has not happened. David Cameron has stalled on the proposed re-shuffle, but he isn't having his hand forced on decisions, there is no real question of indecisiveness, only the fear of being perceived as such. Imagine how this would all be playing out in the media if it was Gordon Brown stalling over a re-shuffle.

It also shows that Conservatives do not know how to spin. The official line should be that David Cameron is wading through an extensive list of impressive CV's to determine, in his estimation the very best shadow cabinet available and one in which the people of the UK deserve. This is going to take a little time. The current shadow cabinet is functioning so well that the leader feels no need to make decisions in haste. There, simple really.

I am myself still an undecided voter, but the I just feel it was worth mentioning that the Conservatives are appearing more and more as an electable, desirable party.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Has Belgium Actually Ratified The Lisbon Treaty?

The Internet is a wonderful tool. I have just discovered a new blog called Free Europe. The very first article is - Belgian EU-treaty Ratifications still pending?

It seems that Notre mot à dire/Onze Zeg who are a cross-spectrum alliance of Dutch, French and German speaking democrats from Belgium are disputing whether this has actually happened. Certainly, as far as the general populous of Belgium, The EU and even Wikipedia are concerned, Belgian ratification is a done deal. The group are insistent that ratification has not taken place, and refer to this. (Unfortunately for me, the linked site is not in English, so I am going to struggle to tell you too much. If you are able to verify or discredit this post then feel free to do so in the comments.)

Belgian ratification is dependant upon an agreement between the Federal Parliament and all Regional Parliaments. This has apparently not been completed, and the intra-government agreement is incomplete, thus Royal Assent can not be (and has not yet been) officially granted.

Belgium does not have a functioning government at the moment. One was put together with the intention of ratifying Lisbon, but it quickly fell apart once that was [thought to be] done. Perhaps they were too hasty to disband?

On 9th December 2008 the validity of the Flemish ratification was challenged in the Federal Court, and on the 11th December 2008 the question whether the ratification process without referendum is fair to the people of Belgium.

I have done a few Internet searches, and I can not find anything on an English language site that challenges the assertion that Belgium has finished ratification and deposited the documents in Rome. Certainly it would be hugely embarrassing if the home of the EU could not complete ratification, and may fuel even more splits in the Belgian establishment.

So is this a political scandal, or a naive blogger putting his hopes before the facts? If the court challenge is successful ratification may be pending a referendum, it would be interesting to know if any time constraints are thus applied; especially if that makes the prospect of a promised referendum from David Cameron's Conservatives a real prospect after a UK General Election.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Farewell George, You Will Be Missed

With one week left until George Bush finally departs the White House, here is a brief look back at some of his memorable moments.

A New Approach To Euroscepticism

There was me preparing to start beating the drum in recent days about the EU, and the need for a new dialogue. Then I saw this over at Coffee House earlier today.

The Tax Payers Alliance and Global Vision will be launching a new campaign on the EU. Have a read.

It is exactly the type of initiative that I will be eager to read up on.... So expect updates and links from this blog in the future.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Guantánamo Closure?

Reports are leaking tonight (UK time) that President-Elect Obama is ready to give the order to end the detention of terrorist suspects at Guantánamo Bay in his first week of office. This is of course a campaign pledge, and will be well received world wide.

I would personally like to see these captives put to a fair trial in the US. This is of course dependant on available evidence, and an acceptable process being in place. Where no evidence is available then these detainees must be released. We will likely see a scenario whereby a group of individuals currently classed as dangerous by the US government will be released back to their home countries within weeks.

The tragedy of this whole situation is that The US has detained people without due process, which has been an awful example to set. There are rogue nations in this world it is right that the world community looks at these nations and signals its concerns. Those messages have been blunted by a lack of vision and convictions on behalf of the outgoing administration in the US.

If Western Society wants to hold up our society and ways to the developing and oppressed to act as a beacon of hope, we must ensure that those ideals are untainted; for the message is seen not as one of hope, but one of hypocrisy.

My EU Scepticism

I blogged earlier here, mostly to link to Rupert Matthews piece on ConHome.

Part of the reason I wanted to start my own blog, was because I wanted to understand and influence peoples opinions on the the EU through debate; and to be able to reach a wider audience than I could just by posting on various MSM sites. However, I am under no illusions of this particular blogs reach.

So let me tell you this. My EU Scepticism began whilst I was studying at University. In an economics assignment we had to look at the proposed single currency. At the time, Britain had not all together ruled out of participation. I had in my teens been enthused by the idea of European Co-operation, and putting in place economic structures across the EU to rival the USA. It became clear through actually looking further than the news headlines that the UK would need to give up monetary and economic independence to be a participant. The price of participation was and is too high.

It is my belief that the more you read into the subject of the EU, the harder it is to like and appreciate it. It did not take long for me to recognise that the European Project was a one-way implementation whereby member nations gave up more and more to a central legislative, executive and judiciary. I find myself outraged some times at the extent of sovereign control that has been assumed by the EU over the UK without the UK populace having been consulted electorally. Power, is supposed to emanate from the people, not be accumulated centrally for control of the people.

The secretive and subversive manner in with the EU has gained control over the lives of the people of Europe should not go unquestioned. But it mostly has. Successive Conservative and Labour Governments have practiced subservience to the EU. Hardly inspirational is it? Make no mistake, it is not just the EU, it is Westminster.

Eventually, most ordinary people grow to dislike the EU. It is by realising this that we can account for the UK position (at home). Broadly, those who oppose it are largely people who have looked into it, who have been stung by it.

Those who actively support the EU are largely career politicians, and/or people who see professional & personal economic benefits. There are also those who see the potential for enforcement of a socialist state. The don't knows, in UK polls typically out-number the people in favour of the EU, especially when a hard question is asked such as for or against continued membership. These undecideds are the people that need to be awakened to the points in this particular debate, people have a remarkable capacity to form opinions when those opinions are deemed to matter.

My EU Scepticism started with and has grown since that project. I would very much like to hear why it is you are for or against the EU. I am also interested in what you think the UK should do on The EU, on Lisbon and on the EURO.

Can Britain Leave the EU (2) ?

The second part of MEP Rupert Matthews analysis is here.

It is another interesting piece. I certainly did not get the impression from the Lisbon debates that The Constitutional Treaty allowed for the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs to also head up The European Defence Agency, and thus have right of initiative to propose EU-led military operations. More worryingly the power for the EU to deploy EU troops in ANY EU country without the approval of the national government.

Please read the whole article, as it is yet another eye opener.

There is not a whole lot remaining that the Nation States of the EU can decide upon, independently. The above provisions, have been ushered through as a part of Lisbon under the guise of being a revising treaty of previous EU treaties. One day the people of the EU are going to wake up and rise up against the EU. The EU no longer needs to worry. From this year it will control our armed forces, our nuclear arsenals, our seat on the UN, they have the capacity NOW to control any aspect of their lives that they chose, soon they will have the muscle to enforce their laws.

2009 is THE LAST CHANCE for people of the UK to make a peaceful yet forceful statement to the politicians of the UK. The time for real consultation of the electorate has been and gone. We need to start demanding that more is said and written about the EU. If you find the contents of the Lisbon Treaty unacceptable, then you (like I will, again) need to write to your MP and MEP to register your disapproval. By the combined voracity of our arguments, we CAN force the UKs absorption into the superstate to the top of the political agenda; where the issue belongs.

There will be a General Election in 2009 or 2010. This is the Election where meaningful changes to our relationship can be made, before that relationship finally and irrevocably tips into that of absorbed region.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

10 Downing Street Petitions

If you are a resident of the UK you can petition the Government on anything that you like. I am not sure that the Government takes these petitions too seriously.

Here are a few current petitions that you might be interested in signing (?)

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resist all calls for GCHQ to monitor all email and internet activity in the UK. Here. Deadline, 13 October 2009, currently 798 signatures.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Prosecute women who use false accusations to restrict fathers access to children. Here. Deadline 18th February 2009, currently 224 signatures.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to call a general election immediately. Here. Deadline 27 June 2009, currenlty 520 signatures.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Stop plans for the Privatisation of Security within HMRC. Here. Deadline 23 April 2009, currently 361 signatures.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to scrap the t.v licence and force the bbc to fund itself!. Here. Deadline 02 March 2009, currently 234 signatures.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to order an INDEPENDANT and public audit of MP expenses and second home allowances. Here. Deadline 11 January 2009, currently 119 signatures.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Hold a referendum on Great Britain's further involvement with the European Union. Here. Deadline 06 February 2009, currently 97 signatures.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to repeal the law which stops protesting within one mile of Parliament. Here. Deadline 27 December 2009, currently 42 Signatures.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Demand full publication of the report by European Union Auditors into alleged misuse of expenses by MEP's. Here. Deadline 29 April 2009, currently 38 signatures.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to reintroduce the ten pence tax band urgently, in order to prevent low paid workers facing a painful increase in the tax they pay on their income. Here. Deadline 04 April 2009, currently 4,939 signatures.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resign due to gross financial incompetence in running the British economy. Here. Deadline 15 January 2009, currently 889 signatures.

There are plenty more here.

Can Britain Leave the EU?

I would like to think so. I would like to think that public opinion will harden further in the next two or three years so that we could have a public debate on this very issue.

Rupert Matthews, Conservative MEP asks the question on Conservative Home. In his words, one does not needs to think Britain should leave the EU to find the debate interesting.

In case you are wondering if the British Public would support leaving the EU, I shall refer you to the results of the Referendum held in Luton, organised by ITV's Tonight Programme which aired on 20th October 2008.

63% of people in Luton VOTED to reject the Lisbon Treaty, and 54% VOTED to leave the EU altogether.

EU to take control of North Sea Gas And Oil?

The Daily Express reported here that the EU is planning to take control of Britain's North Sea Gas and Oil reserves, as well as Dutch resources.

The EU Logic is that because there is a danger of energy supplies being severed from Russia they must act to ensure European Energy Security.

Despite this story making the front page of yesterdays Daily Express, I have not seen reference made on the TV news, and I did not spot this yesterday on The Times, The Independent or Telegraph Websites. (Bloggers for UKIP have their take here). So Bravo to the Daily Express for not only writing about this, but for giving it some prominence.

This is the latest in a really ridiculously long line of infringements upon the British, and of teh EU over Europes Nation States. It is telling that the EU obviously feels that there will be no significant opposition from The UK and The Netherlands. The mindset of our EU Masters is that anything that falls within the EU borders is theirs to control, should they feel they want to.

Is this what your MP's and MEP's are telling you? The Lisbon Constitutional Treaty according to the Labour Party was not to grant additional powers or facilitate further seizing of assets or sovereignty. It was a "tidying up exercise" But then again they lied about giving people a referendum on it, so why not lie again at the extent of the Treaty's powers.

What are the people of the United Kingdom going to do about this? My guess is absolutely nothing. The people of this country have largely become sheep. The game is that Politicians and Media decide what people should care about, if they don't TELL YOU to be worried, you are not. I am not trying to be sanctimonious, but I CHOOSE what I care about. This country would be less of a walk over if more people did the same.

We are still paying these people through our taxes, I think we need to be a whole lot more demanding about what we are getting for our money.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Economic Stimuli

The BoE has cut interest rates again by 0.5% to a base rate of 1.5%. Now I may be showing some economic ignorance here, but isn't this below where the ideal rate should be? It was a good move to start cutting the interest rates last year, in fact to my mind the cuts started a little late.

However, what benefit does the person on the street get from rates much below 3%? Not much unless you are on variable mortgages or rare products that track below 3%. Just the other day, the Tories announced a tax break for basic-rate savers this was well received, so why are we punishing savers with rates that are too low? The banks are now passing the rate cuts onto borrowers, not even the ones owned by the Government!

Sudden excesses in the printing money are like Guido says, Mugabinomics, and as such is the litmus test for any Governments level of desperation.

What do I think?

All of the world money is spinning around in Asia, we need to get some of it back over here. To do this we need to offer to the good people in Asia products and services that they want to purchase at competitive prices. Plans to stimulate the British Economy should focus on how we can grow our trade and presence in the emerging markets in the world. We should be looking to help British Companies that have the potential to do well in Asia help with grants and tax breaks. Why haven't we done this already? Probably because the UK no longer has any real ability to make trade decisions in the wider world, as this is a function of the European Commission. Could it possibly be that in times of economic depression the National Governments of the EU no longer have the executive means and independance in which to implement necessary changes to domestic economic policies?

So, why not just address this issue instead of sending the printing presses into overdrive and punishing those people that showed the wisdom to save instead of borrowing excessively? Probably so Mr Brown can tell the world that this way is better than being a “Do-Nothing Tory”.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I'm Twittering Too

I am not really one for jumping on the bandwagon when a new trend emerges. None the less, if it still counts as new, I am now on Twitter. I couldn't get daniel1979 as this was gone, so for Twittering purposes you can follow me there as danny1979.

You may have already noticed, but there is an automatic feed to the top of this blog.

An Understanding Of Israel

If you are following what is going on, please also read this by Danny Finkelstein of The Times.

Is Tintin Gay?

Saw this on the Times and had a bit of a chuckle. Annoyingly not sure who to credit as Matthew Parris is listed in the header, and Hugo Rifkind at the end. None the less, the author has turned their Gaydar on in Tintins direction...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Tory Tax Cutters

I am very happy to hear today that David Cameron has unveiled a multi-billion pound tax cut today. These measures will have very little direct impact on someone like myself, I am on basic-rate but have little savings, and I am nowhere near being a pensioner.

But it is the message and direction that I am happy with. I have stated before on here that I am an undecided voter, todays announcement alone is not enough for me – but it is a very welcome first step.

Why do I think so?

Firstly, there is clear blue water now between Conservative and Labour Economic policies. It was only a few months ago that the Conservatives were still pledging to match Labour Spending plans in the event of the Conservatives taking office, they were slow to drop this pledge, and some of their other messages about the Government’s economic policies did not register. It also gives the Conservatives something to hit Labour back with when they chant their mantra about “Do-Nothing Tories”

Secondly, it is a good tax cut. Unlike a cut in VAT which we know is to be reversed, and which pales in comparison to some of the price slashing on the high-street. And unlike a suspension of stamp duty, these cuts are intended to benefit the people they target, and will likely be passed on to stimulate the wider economy. Families on basic rate incomes will not have much savings, but what is nested in the year will be for Holidays, Cars, Furniture, White Goods, School Uniforms, or for security, when things in life go wrong. Families need help, and will still be looking spend on, but only if they can afford to these types of things. It is likely to be struggling parents that have been loyal to Labour in the past decade that will decide the next election.

It should not be forgotten also that there is a large ex-pat community some of whom are living on savings interest that will also find this announcement appealing, many of whom are ex-pats because of a wider disapproval of the current government, but will be voting when the election comes.

I also welcome the increased threshold for pensioners. When a person reaches the end of their career they should not have to be worried about their incomes, this should be the time in which they enjoy life. MPs Pensions have sky-rocketed in the last decade, disproportionate to those people that they work for. It is right that Pensioners benefit early on for initial tax benefits.
The thing I like the most though is this line.

“We need to make a really big change: from an economy built on debt to an economy built on saving. From a country and government that has lived beyond its means to one that lives within its means.

“But Labour’s recession policy actually increases debt and undermines savings.”

This is the sensible Conservative statement Tory supporters have been waiting all of Mr Cameron’s reign for. I believe it will be well received across the MSM and the blogosphere. It is a hard statement for Labour to argue against, and as such Conservatives will be making sure this statement is repeated again and again.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

NHS Organ Donations

Just a month or so back there was some national press and some day time TV chit chat about changing the current laws on Organ Donations in the UK. The argument was on whether, when you die your organs should automatically become available should a patient need them. The idea being to reverse the Donor Card Scheme, so that instead of carrying a card to declare that your organs can be used, an individual should instead opt out of having their organs donated.
I seem to recall there were some impassioned pleas from those people who had lost family members due to a lack of available organs, and then they explained that if it was your loved one dying, and you knew that there was an available organ you would be just as insistent that those organs should be available.

It is a debate that has two contrasting and emotive viewpoints. I hear and understand the argument for a rule change here, but I respectfully disagree. To change the rules to the opt-out system is to grant the State control and ultimately ownership of our bodies and our organs. Initial opt-out schemes would inevitably become regulated as more people opted out and the debate that would follow would surely lead to opt-out based on prescribed criteria, not on an individual’s wishes.

I would also be personally distressed to find myself in an intensive care unit, after some hyperthetical unforeseen accident and tragedy; could I as a patient know conclusively that the medical practitioners charged with my care are doing everything possible to save my life? Is it possible that some Doctors would make decisions differently in the care of very ill patients based on the viability of organ donation?

Please see this article from today’s Times, by Health Editor Sarah-Kate Templeton. It seems that the organs from 50 NHS donors have been sold to foreign patients who have paid up to £75,000 for each private transplant all in the past two years. Some of these liver transplants took place in NHS hospitals, despite 8,000 Brits being on the organ transplant list, and 260 waiting for Livers.

The article makes known that 40 Patients from Greece & Cyprus received their liver transplants in the UK, paid for by their national governments. But donated Livers, deemed unsuitable for use on UK patients were also given to people from Libya, The United Arab Emirates, China and Israel. As the work is carried out privately, in NHS hospitals though, the surgeons who carry out the operations receive a fee.

Why is this allowed to happen? It is of course British Interpretation of European Law. EU Citizens are largely treated in the UK by the NHS the same as UK citizens.
It is probably evident that my understanding of the law is not up to that of NHS lawyers, and perhaps somebody could enlighten me here. Why are we selling organs when we have so many people here seeking replacement organs?

Where is the NHS (and by extension the Government) authorised to profit from the donations scheme. When I, agreed to donate my organs I was under the impression that they would be made available if required, to a British recipient, and that they were free to that person that needed them. I was not aware that having given my consent that they could be sold for a profit. I may be wrong, but I don’t imagine that the donor’s families received any of that money? Am I crazy, or was that not the expectation of others?? I would guess it is, as there is nothing here to suggest otherwise.

Don’t bother writing to your MP. I doubt this can be reversed in Westminster.