Saturday, February 28, 2009

Unite's Leader Staying In Waldorf Despite Grace And Favour House

The Mail has the story that Derek Simpson, leader of the union Unite has been staying in a £399 per night suite at the Waldorf despite having a £800,000 grace and favour house just 35 minutes away.

The full story is here.

I wonder what Unites members will make of their money being spent in such a way?

Simpson, along with other union leaders has been very vocal about bankers large salaries and bonuses. But the Sunday Mail lists a number what they call Fat Cat Perks that Simpson enjoys from the union, including a chauffeur-driven-car.

South Park Me

Well, this is about as close as I could get to me, the hairline is not quite that bad yet, but is only a matter of time now.

Hat tip: John M Ward

Make your own here.

Are You An Alcoholic? This Guy Is Not, Take The Test Too

Hat tip: my wife.

Recommended Reading

Daniel1979 Recommends:

I do not necessarily agree with all of these, however, I felt they are all interesting enough to recommend.

His Grace asks if Parliament is institutionally racist, here.

Brits at their Best talk about the difference between the England and Europe here. They also publish some frank correspondence between the Queen and the Head of Constitutional policy, here.

American Rachel Lucas is adjusting to life in England, and talks about Amnesty Internationals Clipboard brigade, here.

LFAT writes to Alan Campbell of the Home Office about the need for state intervention in removing Child Porn sites from the Internet, here.

The Independent asked how peoples opinions have changed of Mrs Thatcher since she was PM, here.

Iain Dale asked where you were when you heard Mrs Thatcher had resigned, here.

Iain was told off by DK, here. But acknowledged DK's post here.

Cato reveals he watches University Challenge, here.

Roger Helmer tells us why Vaclav Klaus is magnificent, here.

ChelseaSW3 Girl ridicules Jack Straw after his email was hacked, here.

Behind Blue Eyes says that Alistair Darling should be fired, here.

Ted Foan asks if we are seeing the end of The White Van Man, here.

Chris Doidge asks if Jack Bauer is now a shadow of his former self, here.

And for something a with less reading, Daily Referendum has a video which visualised the credit crisis, here.

New Format Selected

It really was as simple as was suggested... I hope you all like the new format, but please let me know if there are any issues.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Irish Inflation

Must be bad, Ryanair are going to charge £1, for cargo, (sorry, passengers) to "spend a penny".

As seen here.

Is The Euro In Crisis?

There is some good debate going on over at the DT from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who asks if the Germans are ready to give up on the EURO here; and from Daniel Hannan who asks if the EURO will survive here.

The crux of the argument is that the Germans will have to make a financial commitment to prop up the EURO if it is to survive... this is of course not solely an economic argument with the politics and Maastrict laws being big factors.

Go read, all good stuff.

Ultimately, I feel the EU will put politics before the economics or existing treaties and laws. We know this, because this is exactly what it has always done in the past. So in my mind it is more a question of how long the Irish, Portuguese, the Greeks and the Spanish can hold on. To my knowledge none of these national governments is looking seriously at alternatives to the EURO. Italy seems to be making up the new acronym of PIIGS.

I really doubt that Spain, Portugal or Italy will be allowed to default on any debts or succeed from the financial union. I don't know enough about Greece to comment, but there has been public uprisings there so it will not be a straight forward fix. Greece, I feel will be better suited to recovery by taking national decisions, rather than trying to fit in to the EU's decisions. Ireland has friends in the UK and the US, so if they go first the EU might pass the buck to the IMF. I must however confess as I have done so before, don't bet the farm on my economic outlook.

I want to see an end to the EU integrationalism and the EURO crashing has long been the best hope for this; though I really do not want to see allied countries in financial dire straits. I got married in Ireland last year and I am sad to think of how this might affect the fantastic people there.

The UK economy is in trouble, but those of us who fought hard to retain economic independence are being proven right. It was the right decision because the economics were put before politics... let's hope the EU does the same.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blog Changes

I have decided to change the layout of the blog, so I thought I would open it up to my readers.

I no longer like the format I have, and having scouted around my contemporaries sites, I am a little jealous.

So, I will be looking into the technicalities on Saturday, though it would appear to be as easy as clicking on the new format and save. So, these are the formats that I have short listed. Which do you like or dislike? Has anyone come across anything that makes any of them good or not so good? Any advice?

Feel free to let me know.

Option 1: Tekka

Option 2: ThisAway Blue

Option 3: Sand Dollar
Option 4: Rounders4
Option 5: Minima

Sir Fred Goodwins Pension

I have not got a lot to say really, except that it is no good chasing Sir Fred down now asking for our money back.

The fault for all RBS expenditure now lies at the feet of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. They rushed headfirst into the deal with RBS and never stopped to consider the full extent of what they were committing the tax payer to take on.

They should have taken a good look at the books, and put legislation in place to cap bonuses, and if possible they could surely have capped extravagant pension contributions. This should have all been in place before the commitment of tax payer funds was made, before the cash went in and before anything was signed.

This was not done, and you and I will no have to pay for it. Remember that next time you go to vote.

Bank Bonuses Poll

The poll closed yesterday, and it is another clear divide.

The question was: Did the government make a mistake by failing to legislate that public money should not be used to pay bank bonuses BEFORE the re-capitalisation using taxpayer funds started?

Yes: 86% (13)
No: 14% (2)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jack Says No

The [so called] Justice Minister has today decreed that the minutes of two meetings held in March 2003 when the legality of invading Iraq was discussed. He has signed a certificate under section 53 of the Freedom Of Information Act to prevent the contents being revealed. This is the first time since the FOI act was passed that this has been done.

I am quite frankly shocked and appalled.

In normal circumstances I would agree that Cabinet Meeting Minutes should be released in the normal way and in the appropriate time. This would also include meetings where decisions are taken that maybe deeply unpopular.

Where the decision in 2003 to invade Iraq is concerned though, the premise upon which we were publicly told that the invasion was taking place has been proven erroneous already, proven when the weapons of mass destruction that we were supposedly there to seize failed to materialise. Our government put the lives of our brave Armed Services and that of Iraq's civilian population into jeopardy for reasons that later turned out to be untrue.

This is not about if you think the invasion was right or wrong, moral or immoral. What were were told was untrue, and these minutes give the details of what was discussed and recorded in the room whilst this decision was being made. That decision was wrong. The people who made such a massive decision were wrong. They now need to be held to account.

It is outrageous that Jack Straw who was in the room as Foreign Secretary in those 2003 meeting can be allowed to block the publication today as Justice Secretary. It stinks.

Mr Straws has said that allowing the publication to go ahead would cause "serious damage to Cabinet Government, an essential principle of British democracy." I think you got your words wrong there Jack; in my opinion your decision causes damage to the members of the cabinet and seems designed to conceal your personal contribution and embarrassment in the decision to go to war.

Democracy relies upon accountability. Mistakes can be made in democracies, and in healthy democracies mistakes are published, analysed and learned from. When individuals put themselves above such concerns, the people suffer. Publishing these minutes would not put anybodies life in jeopardy; but how many people have died as a result of the decision that was reached?

They were brave enough to take the decision to commit human lives for a cause they deemed noble and necessary. We should be able today to look back and assess the sum of lives lost against the virtue of the decision, and the benefits achieved. Mr Straw prevents this. I ask myself why? Please ask yourself the same.

Unsurprisingly the Conservative Shadow Justice Spokesperson Dominic Grieve has backed Jack Straws decision. Perhaps Mr Warner was right today, maybe it is time we swept the Labour and Conservative parties aside, for both have lost all sense of philosophy and purpose.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Poll - What Is The Best Political T.V. Programme

Thought it was maybe time for a less serious poll on the blog, so let me know which you rate as the Best Political (fictional) T.V. Programme.

If you want to elaborate on your choice, or tell me why I should have included a different programme feel free to do so in the comments field.

Morning Star Strike - Update

For those who have been following the story here, today's proposed strikes were postponed as an act of good faith whilst wage negotiations continue, so say the Press Gazette, here.

NUJ Deputy General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet is reported as saying:

"I'm pleased to report that we've had constructive negotiations with management.
"As a sign of good faith, the chapel has called off the industrial action planned for Monday.

"Our members don't want to go on strike - they just want management to address their concerns about low pay."

Tellingly Political editor John Haylett of the Morning Star is then quoted as saying:

"Wages are low at our paper for the same reason that they are so at every other socialist paper,"

"We have low circulation and no access to the big business advertising that keeps every capitalist daily paper in being.

"All socialist papers are sustained on the basis of sacrifice by staff and supporters.

"The Morning Star, as the world's only English-language daily broad-left socialist newspaper, is no different.

"To present this committee as akin to boards of fat-cat directors who trouser dividends and bonuses is a travesty.

"Every Morning Star staff member is told bluntly at interview: The wages are crap. We work at the paper because we are politically committed to its aims.

"Socialists of any stripe should not be applauding the actions of a group of workers who are putting their own interests before those of our class as a whole."

Make of that as you will, but clearly Mr Haylett is not in the Marketing department (should the Star have such a department) and all would seem not to be well still at the newspaper.

The management offer of a 4% rise and 4% lump sum still stands, but journalists are hoping for more.

I will try to keep up to date and bring you any updates, as and when I hear of them.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why I Think The BNP Is Winning Votes And Why I think You Should Not Vote For Them

The BNP has won a council seat in Sevenoaks, Kent and with that victory it has brought about more free media coverage then it could possibly have afforded.

I am not a BNP supporter, but I have to say that my position on Freedom of Speech means that I have to accept that in return for that freedom, opinions that I disagree with must also be heard.

It is my opinion that just covering our ears and shouting "la la la" at the top of voice is not going to make them go away; The BNP, and their views have to be defeated by hearing their arguments and proving them wrong. It is not through the BNP educating people that they are winning votes; it is through a lack of education and lack of interaction from the political classes. The BNP is winning votes by listening to people that mainstream parties only pretend to listen to when they need their votes.

Mainstream politicians are failing, and in a free, democratic society their failures allow for other people to stand up and have their say. Not so long ago UKIP came along, and snatched a lot of disgruntled Tory votes away. They have held many of those votes.

The BNP has been around longer than UKIP but is doing the same with the Labour Party. Labour has never before had 12 years in power to become so universally disliked, now that they have there is plenty of areas of disenfranchise for new voices to be heard on. I am told that on people’s doorsteps the BNP line is that "We are the Labour Party your parents voted for." You can't tell me that they can get away with that in Labour districts without a total lack of engagement from the Labour Party and a total lack of hope and respect in the Labour leadership.

I drew the analogy with UKIP. I am likely to give UKIP my vote at the upcoming European elections. The presence of UKIP has over a period of time kept me from joining the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party is wrong in its support for the EU. I largely support the Conservative Party's ideals but support for the EU is completely incompatible with conservative values of democracy and individual freedom.

If UKIP did not exist we would have to invent it because the Conservative viewpoint is wrong. Every time someone votes for UKIP they are also voting against The Conservative Party. David Cameron could win back thousands of UKIP supporters by promising a referendum on Lisbon regardless of what stage it is along the route to ratification, and by doing as he promised to pull the Conservatives out of the EPP-ED. It is disenfranchisement on this point that has people moving to, or at least lending their votes to UKIP. It is easier to understand this than it is when the BNP wins votes from Labour.

The BNP is hoovering up votes from Labour supporters. Labour grass roots are looking at their communities and the see political failures. They have heard the sound bites from their Labour Party on TV and in the Newspapers and they do not see the delivery on the ground. They hear the promises over and over again, and each time is a fresh failure. Labour has failed. They will not vote Conservative, because they do not think that will help, and because Labour has drilled the message of Conservatives being an enemy, rather than an alternative. So when the BNP turns up and talks about their concerns being the same an accord is struck. They are speaking to Labours forgotten electorate, and they are doing it with a native tongue. Their parents voted Labour because Labour was putting workers first; the BNP has tweaked the message. Consider this, who would seem more at home in a working man’s club, David Milliband? Peter Mandleson? Jack Straw? or Nick Griffin? Labour is seen by many as no longer putting the Working Class first.

The Lib Dems should have gratefully hoovered up Labour protest votes, but their message is too confused. Largely Lib Dems do not know how to speak to the working class, and by being the third party for so long all big left minded thinkers have long since joined the bigger, Labour Party.

Consider this, if Lib/Lab/Con wants to raise £100,000 they hold a glitzy dinner, or speak to one donor, or one union. If you or me or the BNP or UKIP or anyone else wants to raise £100,000 for political purposes it is likely we would have to garner the support of approx 10,000 people all paying approx £10 each. Lib/Lab/Con speak to a few people, everyone else would have to speak to masses of people. In doing so, we would have to talk to a lot of people about what we would like to do with their money, and we would have to listen to what they would like done as well. If they don’t like it, they won’t hand over their hard earned cash. Such practices only encourage minority, but well funded people and organisations to be truly influential.

The trend to move away from the big parties will continue, unless they make changes in the way that the parties operate. The way to beat the BNP is to defeat them and their arguments and to listen and act on people’s concerns. It needs to be done on the doorstep. Lib/Lab/Con need to actually start listening and delivering to the people that vote, not to lobbyists, and definitely not to the EU. People know what they want, so politicians should stop dismissing them.

The BNP wants to "Stem the tide on non-white immigration." I say that policies that apply to people based on the colour of people’s skins are stupid. I believe the inference is that White People are better than non-whites, and thus there should be fewer non-whites in Britain. I disagree.

I think that people are individuals and should be judged by their achievements, not their appearance. India produces more Doctors than any other country, and the training and education is of a high standard. If the UK is short of Doctors and The UK needs Doctors to come from abroad to address a shortage, (which is also a failure at home to educate enough students to the required levels and/or a failure to make being a doctor attractive enough to get sufficient levels of people to want to be doctors...) I would prefer we got the best Doctors available and look at their training and abilities to heal people, rather than striking of exceptional professionals on the grounds of their skin colour. To me, the BNP position does not make sense, unless you value the colour of skin above the content of a person’s mind.

I do think that our current immigration policy is failing, but this is because of combined Labour and EU policies that allow people in without jobs in place first, and a steadfast refusal to kick people out who are here illegally. We cannot help people by allowing them in to the UK to live in poverty. The issue is one of maths, not skin colour.

If you condone policies based on people’s skin colours why stop there? Why not hair colour, or eye colour. Why people with turbans and burka's, but not Burberry jackets or the wrong brand of trainer shoe? If appearance is it, then why not a beautiful people’s party and kick all the ugly people out.

What if people refused to go, what extent are you prepared to let your policies be enforced? Should law abiding people then be rounded up and put in prison because you and your government don’t like the way they look or the way they talk? Please, don't jump on board this particular band wagon, as when the people in power suddenly turn their attentions on you, there may be no one left to fight for you. Elected officials and governments always use the powers that are granted to them, they very often abuse them. People should not be afraid of their Governments, for there in lies tyranny. Governments should be afraid of its people for there in lies Democracy.

If you don’t like what the mainstream parties are doing, then shout and scream until they start acting better, or change parties (you are allowed to.) If that doesn’t work, start your own party or stand as an independent. But do it on principles and values that can work, not by using race or the politics of hatred. For a start, it’s not nice, secondly because if you purport such methods, then be prepared for them to also be used against you, and thirdly because we can all do better, and we can all expect more from our government, but we have to be prepared to hold our politicians to account. Because if we don’t and they think they can get away with something, they will always disappoint. Let us all ask for more substance and fewer soundbites.

All of which is just my view and my opinions. I do not want people to vote BNP, but people need theor voices and concerns to be heard. I am sure you will let me know where you feel I have gone wrong.

10 Downing Street Petitions - 22nd February 2009

If you want to have a look at the petitions on the 10 Downing Street Website, you can do so, here.

I am just having a look through and thought I would again highlight some that might be of interest. I do not necessarily endorse all of these, but I did think that all were of interest. Click on the link if you want to sign, or find out more about the petitions aims.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Re-introduce the zero-rate corporation tax band for the first £10,000 of company profit. Here. Deadline 14th April 2009, signatures 397.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to scrap ID cards. Here. Deadline 15th December 2009, signatures 135.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resign. Here. Deadline 31st March 2009, signatures 130.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to allow the people of England a referendum on English independence. Here. Deadline 9th June 2009, signatures 115.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Give British people the view to decide if the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland should withdraw out of the European Union. Here. Deadline 31st October 2009, signatures 31.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Give the United Kingdom public a vote on the Lisbon Treaty. Here. Deadline 2nd September 2009, signatures 62.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to repeal the law which stops protesting within one mile of Parliament. Here. Deadline 29th December 2009, signatures 49.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to not allow the "Made in the United Kingdom" mark to be replaced by "Made in the EU". Here. Deadline 17th March 2009, signatures 131.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Save Woolworths from Closure and Create a People's Woolies. Here. (Started by George Galloway) Deadline 15th March 2009, signatures 524.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Scrap Sunday trading laws allowing all shops to open normal hours on Sundays. Here. Deadline 20th May 2009, signatures 58.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ban the practice of restaurant-owners applying service charges to bills. Here. Deadline 23rd April 2009, signatures 34.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to push the EU to break the connection between gas price and oil price. Here. Deadline 17th April 2009, signatures 31.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Ban the import of pork products that do not meet the same welfare standards expected of British farmers. Here. Deadline 3rd August 2009, signatures 26.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Ban door to door salespeople. Here. Deadline 4th June 2009, signatures 23.

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 4th April 2009, signatures 5,077.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Open and reveal court papers for UK Savers & Tax payers to view. Here. Deadline 16th April 2009, signatures 1,121.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Give serving and ex armed forces personnel tax relief. Here. Deadline 18th June 2009, signatures 481.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to enforce Northern Rock to pass on the interest rate cut to its customers SVR. Here. Deadline 16th April 2009, signatures 277.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop the taxation on income from pensions under £25000 per annum. Here. Deadline 24th November 2009, signatures 106.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abolish inheritance tax. Here. Deadline 2nd June 2009, signatures 87.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Reduce MPs' salaries to 4000 GBP per annum per MP. Here. Deadline 12th March 2009, signatures 32.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Reduce single occupany council tax to 50%.
Here. Deadline 8th September 2009, signatures 31.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to reverse the demonstrable decline in school science examination standards that is destroying our competitiveness. Here. Deadline 24th April 2009, signatures 5,752.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resist the proposed changes from the EU in relation to Recreational Sea Angling (RSA). Here. Deadline 16th December 2009, signatures 3,124.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Return Bin Collections To A Weekly Pick Up and the Placement of a proper Recycling Initiative. Here. Deadline 1st March 2009, signatures 107.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to call a general election immediately. Here. Deadline 27th June 2009, signatures 1,253.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Save Bletchley Park. Here. Deadline 28th May 2009, signed 18,991.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Raise the National Speed Limit from 70mph to 80mph. Here. Deadline 3rd June 2009, signatures 214.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Protect the RNLI from paying licence fees for using Maritime radio frequencies. Here. Deadline 8th October 2009, signatures 26,977.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to make it a criminal offence for a pregnant woman to smoke. Here. Deadline 25th March 2009, signatures 26.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Sack Jacqui Smith for gross incompetence. Here. Deadline 29th May 2009, signatures 351.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to scrap the t.v licence and force the bbc to fund itself!. Here. Deadline 2nd March 2009, signatures 413.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Stop 0845 & 0870 Numbers in Government Departments. Here. Deadline 2nd April 2009, signatures 970.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to scrap the current legislation that forces every lockable room in a student house to have its own TV licence. Here. Deadline 25th April 2009, signatures 96.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

President Klaus Speech (Translated To English)

Recommended Reading

Daniel1979 Recommends:

The Mail has another expenses story, this time it is none other than Gordon Brown who is facing a ticking off, here.

Raedwald talks about disparages in our electoral representation, here.

Dizzy has a pie chart, here.

Prodicus makes a compelling argument that the English Language is being hijacked, here.

Steve over at Daily Referendum has put up some videos about how banks make money, here.

John M Ward talks about how national debt is 300% of GDP, here.

Bruno Waterfield asks if the writing is on the wall for the EU? Here.

Frank Field says that Labours New Deal isn't working, here.

Tim Carpenter at LPUK blog offer an explanation of quantitative easing, here.

Brits at their Best look at The EU and the Gibbon's Roman Empire, here.

David Vance talks about the Spanish Annoyance over Princess Anne's visit to The Rock, here.

And for something a little lighter, Lord Elvis posted something especially interesting to SciFi Fans, here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

If The System Is Broke, Why Don't We Fix It?

Parliamentary Standards Commissioner has finally decided that there will now be an investigation into Jacqui Smith's expenses. This has only come about because neighbours at the questionable South London residence have spoken up and claimed that the 'Second Home Secretary' was spending two to three nights a week there, and not every week of the year.

I won't hold my breath, but at least due process is finally in effect.

It is worth remembering that there is a so called grace and favour house that is in place and would have been free for Jacqui Smith to use in her position as Home Secretary. But in doing what she has done, she has claimed £116k from the Tax Payer to put towards her "other" home in Redditch.

My question is this. Clearly the system is broken, so why is there not a clear and deafening call to clean up the rules and wipe the slate from after the next General Election? Any wrong doing should still of course still need to be investigated, and punished. But surely we should draw a line in the sand AND get the reform that is desperately needed. Such abuses, in the public mind at least warrant a prison term. Not a slap on the wrist.

Second Question, who amongst the Conservative ranks do we trust to draw up the new rules? My vote, Mr Carswell.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Klaus Video, The Jeers, The Walk Out

Here is the video from the EU Parliament today. It is in Czech language, but hopefully there will be an English Language version available soon.

The key bits:
4:40 - Some boo's
5:18 - MEP's jeer President Klaus
5:50 - Lots of Jeering
6:57 - Some claps, some jeers
7:37 - more Jeers, camera reveals empty seats
7:51 - MEPs visually walking out en masse

This second video shows something else that was revealed today. Independent think tanks have been advising on how much of our laws are actually passed down from the EU. These numbers are usually in the region of 60-90% depending on the study. This, of course is always hotly denied, The Major government made denials, both Blair & Brown have rubbished reports too. Labour MEPs claim it is around 10%.

This video, in an uncharacteristic slip from Hans-Gert Potterings reveals that the EU Parliament puts the number at 75%.

So, today we have again seen that the EU not only has contempt for you and me, they have contempt for anybody daring to voice an opinion in favour of democratic principles such as the need for government to have an opposition. President Klaus and many in the Czech Republic lived many years under the yolk of communist rule. People who have lived in oppression value their freedoms, they bear the scars of totalitarianism in their hearts. It seems they are more willing to speak out as well.

Such a speech should serve as a reminder to those who have power of the costs and responsibilities that that power yields, especially when misused.

The EU though is set up, as Peter Mandleson would describe in the post-democratic form. Power and decision making is not truly linked to the will of the people. Power emanates from the centre. There is no effective checks & balances. There is no opposition voice, dissenting opinions are not allowed.

This is not Democracy!

If 75% of our laws, and all of our courts rulings are subject to their decisions, Britain can no longer describe itself as a democratic nation.

Don't bother writing to your MP, there isn't a damn thing they can do about it.

Update: 22:14. Full English Text of President Klaus's speech, here. Hat Tip, Bloggers for UKIP

Klaus Video

I just checked You Tube to see if Presidents Klaus speech was on there, hoping to be able to stream it to here. The speech is on there, but it is in Czech and cuts out before the walk out. I will check back as hopefully this will get posted at some point as this needs to be widely broadcast.

I did however find this video from Nigel Farage on what happened today.

Dando Cover Up?

I have just seen this on The Tap Blog spot, he is appealing for some coverage. The crux of the article is that one of the Taps readers has emailed regarding some rather suspicious events, the emailer has himself been arrested.

Please take a moment to have a read.

Debate In Europe

I have just seen this over on the DT from Bruno Waterfield.

Today President Vaclav Klaus has given a speech to the EU Parliament. In his speech he has asked for debate on the idea of European Integration. Seeing as he is the President of the Czech Republic, whose nation holds the rotating EU Presidency this sounds like a normal, right thinking kind of speech.

Nope, the EU Parliament decided, in the collective and infinite wisdom to Boo the Czech President. That's right, jeered him.

Bruno quotes Avril Doyle MEP as stating that debate "is a recipe for chaos".

This is not exactly the first time President Klaus has received a less than warm welcome from the EU Parliament.

We have seemingly passed the point now where MEPs are even worried about masking how undemocratic the whole EU project is. How can such actions be defended?

We have elections coming up for MEP's this year and there are a lot of people who will still vote for MEPs that want more of the EU. Excluding Daniel Hannan and Roger Helmer I am struggling to think of any British MEPs that are against more integration into the EU. If the Conservatives are not out the the EPP-ED by the time of the Euro Elections they will not get any of my STV votes, UKIP will.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Poll - Bank Bonuses

New Question.

Did the government make a mistake by failing to legislate that public money should not be used to pay bonuses BEFORE the re-capitalisation using tax payer funds started?

You can register your vote on the poll, and if you care to elaborate you can do so in the comments field of this post.

97.5% Of People Polled Think Jacqui Smith Has Abused The Expenses System

Another one of my polls has closed. This time I had asked "In your personal opinion, has Jacqui Smith abused the MPs expenses system?

You replied:

Yes - 97.5% (40)
No - 2.5% (1)
Not sure - 0% (0)

Interesting, and frankly unsurprising data. All but one person who took part thinks that Jacqui Smith has abused the system, and despite assurances that the rules have not been broken nobody felt they we're unsure when they voted.

Recent testimony from neighbours might force an investigation to take place.

I wrote previously that the Home Secretary has shown utter contempt for tax payers through her behaviour, it looks like that contempt has been mirrored back on her.

I will leave the poll up for another day or so.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama Stimulus Package

The Obama stimulus package has now been signed into law.

This is the last of the Western Worlds credit being thrown at the US public sector on infrastructure works, and on tax rebates to America's poorest.

Obama's gamble, like Gordon Browns, is kind of like pumping hundreds of pounds into a fruit machine, losing, and then borrowing hundreds more from a friend to win some back. When that eventually has gone you borrow some more from the local thugs that you never really got along with; knowing full well in your heart and in your gut that the chances are very unlikely of paying the thugs back, let alone your friend. You just hope that your friend recognises that you are trying, and that they will see that as more important than actually getting their money back.

Unfortunately this stimulus package is unlikely to stimulate anything more than Mrs Obama's temperature tonight; so we might as well all start packing canned goods away as the clock is now ticking on a real financial meltdown. In ten to twelve weeks, when the "credit crunch" has not gone away and the tax payers of the US and the UK owe hundred of billions more than we did a year ago for the benefit of politicians headlines the real measures required to rescue the global economy will have to begin. This will start with, a massive rolling back of the frontiers of the state, most especially in the UK.

Hopefully, not to long afterwards we can have a General Election and boot our useless bunch out. The Americans have only just got their socialist into office, so they will be stuck with a few more years over soundbites and dodgy smiles.

We will all, of course, be much poorer for the benefit of yet again trying, and failing to impose a grand socialist government upon the UK.

Only the British would be stupid enough to bring them back into power in another 10 or 15 years.

Quiz Question

For 1pt. Who Said "There is nothing you could say to me now that I will ever believe" ?

For 1pt. Who did he say it to?

For 1pt. Spot the Irony?

A Hypothetical Histroy

If, 15 years ago, the effective number 2 to John Major had of been a member of the unaccountable House of Lords, and had of come out and spoken, in a foreign land, about the UK economy being in a little more trouble than the Prime Minister was willing to admit, this would be a BIG story.

If, 15 years ago, a balloted deputy Prime Minister, to an un-balloted Prime Minister was suggesting a different role could be found for the besieged PM, this would be a BIG story.

If, 15 years ago, the Suns political editor had of questioned why the Prime Minister had not resigned already, this would be a BIG story.

If, 15 years ago the Home Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer were proven to have been claiming second house allowances on their ONLY houses, this would have been a BIG story.

So, a message from me to the supposed "respected" press outlets.

Perhaps you can spare us your alleged indignation when the people of this country do finally eject Mr Brown and his idiot associates from office. We will all be holding this countries "impartial media" [sic] in equal contempt for going easy on the worst government this country has ever seen.

Remember that the next time you are reporting on the blogosphere.

The reason there are so many people blogging these days is not solely down to stupid politicians being idiots; it is as much to do with formerly respected media outlets selling out.

Twitter Feed

I have decided to take down the Twitter feed.

I am staying on twitter, but, having given it a go am finding that most of my updates are about the blog you are already reading. Thus, it's doesn't make too much sense (to me) to have updates about my blog appear in a Twitter feed at the top of my blog.

Sorry Twitternuts, I was never one for continuing a fad past my own short interests.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, feel free. Look me up as Danny1979.

Free At Last! (Well, Almost)

Finally, the day I have been waiting for, for nearly two years.

I am, very nearly, free.

Just spoke to SKY. They will be switching my line rental services to them. In a matter of days I will have completely have ended all association with BT.

Ah, BT. Soon to be just a distant, but bitter memory.

Has anyone else had the misfortune to have felt the cold, rude and uncaring touch of BT? I bet it isn’t just me that feels this way.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blair Wins $1m

Guido says, Blair has won $1m.

Daniel1979 wants to know if Blair will be paying income tax on that in the UK?

Strikes To Take Place At Morning Star Newspaper

I blogged here in late January that there was a possibility that journalists at the Morning Star newspaper might go on strike in a pay dispute. On Friday, 14 Journalists took part in a ballot with a 11-3 result is favour of strike action.

The Guardian is now reporting a one day strike is planned for Monday 23rd February, and a further one week strike will follow at a later date.

Management at the Morning Star gave staff a 3% pay rise and a one off 3% payment last month. The NUJ had criticise the Morning Star for putting this in place before the workers had agreed saying that management had undermined the collective bargaining process. Management have since offered to increase this to a 4% rise and 4% payment in a hope to avoid strike action.

A recent large donation from an anonymous donor was given with the caveat that it was not used on staff wages. However some of the journalists are thought to earn as little as £18,000 p.a.

Jeremy Dear of the NUJ has said "Our members feel forced into this action by a management that is refusing to pay its staff a fair rate for their work. They don't want to go out on strike but if that's what it takes to win fair pay then they are clear that is what they'll do"

The papers management will continue with negotiations in the hope that strike action can be avoided.

Section 76 Protest

Pictures and commentary from Old Holborn here and here.

Opinion from Derek Bennett, here.

If you have pictures or attended and would like a link email me, or post in the comments.

St George's Day Snub

I think this story comes up every year, but a Labour council (Sandwell Council) has withdrawn funding for a St George's Day parade over concerns if might attract far right elements. (Presumably, by "Far Right" they actually mean the "Far Left" BNP)

I read this story on Con Home, here. They also illustrate that Conservative Councils are taking the opposite approach and are encouraging St George's Day activities.

My feeling is that the approach, typically, but not exclusively by the Labour Party in ignoring all things English, and the Union flag is wrong. Firstly, the approach is a double-standard when compared to the (welcome) encouragement towards Welsh and Scottish identities and emblems.

Secondly, if extremist elements have "hijacked" our symbols, (and i am not convinced this is the case) then the solution is not to ignore that this has happened, but to claim them back. We should be educating our school children about the Union flag, and in fact the flags of all the component nations of the UK. We should be using our emblems and flags to represent our fair and decent values.

The UK should not be presented as a prison to the Scots and the Welsh, but as a group of nations who have stood together, and been stronger for it for over 400 years as Great Britain, and 200 years as the UK. We have a rich and diverse history that should be embraced, not filtered and objectified.

I saw a very revealing cartoon strip recently on Blue Eyes Blog recently that comes to mind now, you can view it here.

Trevor Kavanagh Asks Why Is Gordon Brown Still Prime Minister?

Things just got worse for Gordon Brown. The Sun has seemingly now ended its long love affair with New Labour and its chief political voice asks in todays edition "Why is Gordon Brown still the Prime Minister?"

Mr Kavanagh points out that Brown should have resigned by now, and in the absence of his resignation he should have been told to step down. 92% of this blogs readers have already agreed with that sentiment.

Hat Tip: Chris Whiteside

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Section 76 Of The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008

From tomorrow section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 comes into force.

Under the law anybody taking a photograph of a current or former member of the police, armed service or security services can be prosecuted and/or fined. The act allows for police officers to remove the cameras of people taking photographs of them.

When I was at school, not too many years ago we were taught that cameras were forbidden in the Soviet Union and in East Germany. This, our liberal teacher told us was because cameras can be used to document offences of the state against civilians; as such, they were considered a tool that can bring about civil unrest and encourage protest against the Communist Governments. This particular teacher, sneered at this particular law and the system in which it helped preserve.

We take a big step further into Labour's totalitarian state tomorrow, as professional photographers can be arrested and detained for doing their jobs. Tourists taking pictures of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace are liable for prosecution. Taking photos in the street, at sporting events, at weddings and during state proceedings could all lead to the possibility of prosecution.

Shamefully our two houses in Parliament have failed this country and its population miserably by allowing such a massive assault on our civil liberties to be enacted.

The National Union of Journalists and the British Press Photographers' Association have been warning about the potential impacts this law will have. The fact is Under section 76, eliciting, publishing or communicating information on members of the armed forces, intelligence services and police officers which is "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" will be an offence carrying a maximum jail term of 10 years.

The NUJ is arranging for photographers to gather outside New Scotland Yard tomorrow with photography of N.S.Y. and any nearby police officers starting at 11am, they are encouraging any one who is attending to bring their cameras. (Daniel1979 has work commitments tomorrow, but I will be happy to publish the account of anyone who does attend.)

Is this what you voted for? Do you feel safer?

In case you missed it before, here is a video clip I posted previously (from YouTube) of a PCSO trying to stop a person in the street taking photographs. From tomorrow, a PCSO will be allowed to have succeeded in this aim, and the man with the camera could have been prosecuted. There are plenty more videos on You Tube of the police trying to cease cameras or stop people taking pictures of them.

More Snouts In The Trough

The Mail on Sunday has a piece that Alistair Darling has also in the past claimed a second house allowance whilst lodging with a friend. The friend in this case, is Lord Moonie who was last month implicated by the Sunday Times for offering influence in the legislative process in exchange for cash.

This is another example that the people whom form our government showing their contempt for the tax payers that pays their wages.

We can conclude from the efforts of this Labour government to cover up expense claims, and by the continued revelations of their profiteering that they will not be tightening the rules whilst they can still draw upon so much of our money.

I look forward to hearing Conservative proposals to clean up the rules and the system.

Post #100

This is my 100th post, and to be honest I did not think I would reach 100 so quickly.

I did struggle in the first few weeks to get posts on the blog regularly and often would find myself stuck with writers block. The more I have blogged in January the easier I have found it. I feel like I have found the voice for this blog now.

I shall not stop on every 100 posts, but on this occassion I want to stop briefly and look back.

In case you missed them, here are 10 of my favourite posts from the previous 99.

In 2008

I ask if we should try something a little different? here.

I talked about National Anthems within the UK, here.

I wanted to share the email I sent to President Klaus, and the reply I had received, here.

In 2009

I blogged about EU plans to take over North Sea Gas & Oil reserves, here.

I asked if Belgium has actually ratified the Lisbon Treaty? here. (I am still not sure).

I pointed out that your number plate might not be legal, here.

I asked where is the public outrage and protest? here.

I blogged about potential strikes at the Morning Stat newspaper, here.

I shared my the results of where I sit on the political compass, here.

I talked about freedom of speech, here.

I would like to thank those of you who have linked to this blog and who have contributed with comments. I am always interested in feedback, and I want to hear what you like and don't like, and also when you do and do not agree with me.

The King Is Back

Lord Elvis is Blogging again. Some posts up on his site, here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Seeing as everybody else has done this, I thought I would too.

1. I have sung live at both the Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Arena.

2. I have supported Man Utd since the second game of football I ever saw on TV, (3-3 vs Tottenham, I think 1985), but, perhaps unsurprisingly I have only seen one game at Old Trafford.

3. I have however been lucky enough to see England at Wembley five times, but I have not been to the New Wembley yet.

4. When I was growing up I wanted to be a professional footballer, my mum put me off and kept telling me that I was crazy as there was no money in football, and all of the top footballers are miserable as they also have to work as plumbers and in shops during the week.

5. My school once set up a student council, I attended two meetings and demanded school lockers and a payphone, we got both so I stopped attending… the school council stopped meetings less than two months after starting up.

6. In 2003 I was convinced Saddam Hussein had weapons of Mass Destruction that they could be deployed within 45 minutes. I shall never, ever, blindly trust any government’s statement anywhere in the world after this lie.

7. After John Kerry was selected to run for the Democrats in the 2004 US election, I am the only person I know that thought he would lose. I said so out loud in a pub in Uxbridge and spent the next two hours arguing with the entire pub and staff. (I was right though).

8. I did however predict that Rudy Giuliani would win the Republican nomination and Presidency in 2008.

9. I did see the credit crunch coming, and my wife and I told anyone who would listen. We sold her house in 2007 and are now renting. We look forward to getting back on the property ladder in early 2010. No one believed us, but my in laws think I am some kind of genius now. (we didn’t see the £ crashing so bad against the €, and paid for it getting married in Ireland last year)

10. I only got into blogs about 14 months or so back. I discovered blogging when regularly visiting the Daily Telegraph online and contributing to online debates on the UK and the EU… Eventually I found my way to the blog pages, particularly Daniel Hannan's page and have ever since had a bit of an obsession with blogs and blogging.

11. Before he disappeared, my favourite blog was Tractor Stats.

12. Even though I am of a centre right political persuasion, I cannot bring myself to join the Conservative Party because of their views on Europe. I did once contribute money, (I think it was £20) under Iain Duncan Smiths Leadership.

13. I think the BBC should be sold off in piecemeal.

14. Overall, I think the US makes better TV than the UK.

15. Overall, I think the UK makes better music than the US.

16. I think the “greatest film ever made” is Forrest Gump.

17. As a child I teased my dad mercilessly about his bald head, he had been losing his hair since aged 29. I started losing my hair at 19, and was ‘balding’ at 22.

18. I met my wife through work, meeting her is the best thing that ever happened to me. I never considered myself as “happy” before I met her, and now she is my whole world.

19. Whilst studying, I would work up to 90 hours a week as a chef because I needed to pay my own way and couldn’t face working in a shop. I got a strong work ethic and learned a lot of life lessons from one of my head chef’s.

20. Whilst working as a chef, I cooked for Christopher Dean, a Super Grass concert, (when they were topping the charts), Bill Oddie and am told that I was Radiohead’s favourite pizza cook (During a stint at a Pizza Express restaurant.) I never got to meet any of them in person. One of the Italian restaurants I worked for had 3 sites, I found out last year that my wife had, back then worked in one of them, whilst I was also working for the company; we never met until ten years later.

21. I play the same numbers on the lottery every week since it started. I have never won more than £10; I don’t think I have won more than £50 in all these years. I am convinced, absolutely convinced that my numbers will be drawn one day, whether I have purchased a ticket or not.

22. I once shared a flat with somebody who was in exile from Zimbabwe and had organised rallies against the Government there. One day I came home and the clock in my bedroom, which had been wrong by an hour, had reset itself to correct time, and every time we used the phone from then on it would click; like in the movies when it has been bugged. (I always assumed it was him that was being monitored). When I moved out I left my phone and video cassette player in the flat for the people that took my room on.

23. The same flatmate has become an artist in the UK and paints. Each painting is worth in excess of £10k. At one point, we had over £100k worth of art stored behind some chairs.

24. I am absolutely convinced that my late Grandparents house is haunted. As a child we would spend school holidays there, every child in the village would pack into their front room with us and we would do Ouija boards. I could probably host a whole blog on the ghostly goings on of that house (and their neighbour’s house). One of those people got in touch on Facebook recently, in her first message she revealed she still tells people about my grandparent’s haunted house.

25. I was in favour of the Monarchy until the Queen signed the Lisbon Constitutional Treaty. I still like Queen Elizabeth, but now think we should do away with the monarchy, in a law making sense anyway. I also think we should have a wholly elected second chamber in parliament. (I have some things in mind for later blog posts, but still have a lot of home work on this first.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Recommended Reading

The Spectator has launched a wiki-investigation into the Economic downturn. They are looking for insiders and whistle blowers who might be willing to help them understand some of the things that happened. You can read, and contribute here.

Daniel Hannan tells us which country the CIA considers the greatest threat to US national security, here. (You can probably guess which.)

John M Ward has a look at the Devil in the Detail in the changes we are being asked to accept, here.

The Libertarian Party were talking Balls earlier in the week. Ed Balls, of course, and looking at his little economic revelation, here.

John Redwood takes a look at another £8.5bn that has been lost as a result of the bank bailouts, here.

A very British dude asks some questions of David Cameron’s approach to Jacqui Smiths expenses scandal, here.

Guido published the second letter from the Centre for Open Politics to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, regarding Jacqui Smiths expenses arrangements, here.

The Huntsman looks at the Geert Wilders incident, and identifies the villain of the piece, here.

Dizzy needs your help with an important scientific analysis, here.

Cato has an amusing story from his previous life as a copper, here.

Letters for a Tory writes to Alan Johnson about giving children Argos vouchers for giving up smoking, here.

The Daily Referendum has a survey result on the Euro’s popularity within the Labour Party, here.

Britain not Brussels sets out 25 reasons why Britain should leave the EU, here.

I no longer have Tractor Stats to refer to for a pictorial giggle, so instead this week check out what Rapblog thinks of LabourList, here.

A History Of Valentines Day

There is no agreed story or history of how Valentines Day came about, but I came across this version a few years ago.

Valentine's Day started in ancient Rome. February 14th was a holiday to honour Juno the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. This was a longstanding cutom which involved a feast in honour of the heathen god.

Under the Roman Empire the lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted the entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavoured to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feast.

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular wars. 'Claudius the Cruel' was finding it very hard to get soldiers to join his military. He became convinced that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their wives and families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome.

Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome at this time. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and married couples in secret. When the authorities discovered this he was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off!

In prison, the jailers daughter was often present and tended to some of the prisoners. She and Valentine became close, and Valentine fell in love.

He was executed on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. He left a note in his cell for his new love and signed it "From your Valentine."

The custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose from the drawing ceremony. Eventually instead of drawing names, men selected a maiden and sent a message to them to indicate attraction. The line "from your Valentine" or "be my Valentine" started getting used as per Valentines original note.

Gordon Browns Message For 2009

Stolen from Tractor Stats, Quote [poorly] added.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Freedom Of Speech

The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights states:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers"

So, if we look at the world, and in particular the UK this week, have we taken a step closer or a step back from this Universal Declaration?

Let me offer something close to some quotations, for censorship in the UK is not an original tyranny...

For [blogs] are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.

As good almost kill a man as kill a good [blog]: who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good [blog], kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye.

And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the [Internet], we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?

I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.

A man may be a heretic in the truth, and if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy.

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

All Quotes, somewhat updated from John Milton published in a a pamphlet in 1644 promoting the liberty of unlicenced printing called Areopagitica; (not something that could be said out loud at the height of the civil war.)

Freedom of speech should not be curtailed to suit peoples tastes, and preferences. It is in fact an inheritance that has been fought for many times over, and is often squandered. The yolk of totalitarianism is upon us, and we are no longer free to utter words of discontent. Libel laws, do, or at least did not, stifle freedom of expression, but allowed for correction when misinformation occurred. The reason the title and author is listed on the outside of books is so that they could be easily rounded up and destroyed in the event of a successful libel act, in the 1600's.

So I find myself asking, was it necessary to ban an elected official from the EU from coming to this country to talk? I think not. Mr Wilders should have been welcomed to the UK, if only so that those who disagree with him should have been allowed to freely tell him as much, and why they disagree.

Why have three blogs, all critical of the government disappeared in full from the internet? Not blogposts, but entire websites and user profiles. [Lord Elvis, Tractor Stats and Electro Kevin].

And yet again, the lesson is not to be learnt, it has been learned and is written in our history.

First they came for the communists,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

We don't observe history to give school kids something to do. We observe history because it is our chemistry set. It is what we have tried before, it is what worked and what did not work. It is the true measure of people. The avoidance of wars today is rooted in learning the lessons of yesterday.

By what or who's authority are we censored today?

Did you cast a vote for a government promising to quash the voice of opposition? Then why have such actions been carried out using the tools of government, and under the cloak of civil protection?

Do you feel safer now?

We don't always get the government we vote for. And thanks to our current democratic defecits, with the EU, local pfifdoms, and electoral boundary discrepencies we have nothing close to "representative democracy." The apathy of the masses is the fuel of the tyrant. If you can help engage people, and help their views be heard you are helping free speech and democracy. Popular uprising and discontent is the only tool of resistance that can work.

Never doubt that a small, but determined group of citizens can change the world for the better, for it is the only thing that ever has.

Internet Censorship

Is the blogosphere being Censored?

In recent days a number of blogs have been "taken down". So far, I can see that Tractor Stats and Electro Kevin have disappeared. Thanks to the comment thread on the post by Obnoxio I have learned a few things about what has been potentially going on.

This article shed some light on who may be behind this.

If we are not free as bloggers to express our opinions and art on the Internet then there is (yet, another) severe problem with our "democracy" in the UK.

In these two examples it isn't blog posts that went missing, it was the entire blog. There are other blogs and other platforms, just because expression is not free, it does not mean it will not be seen and heard.

Freedom of Speech is protected in the Magna Carta and by the UN under article 19 of the international covenant on civil and political rights. I can not know what the stated reason is for these blogs having been taken down, but the reason had better be good or TS and Kevin will have grounds for a counter action. They may also, if they haven't already wish to read this.

For Tractor Stats fans, his work is also showcased here.

Tractor Stats & Electro Kevin will hopefully be back on new platforms. Guys, email me when you are and you will have a link from this blog.

Poll Closed

Last week I asked, "How Has Your Personal Opinion Of Carol Thatcher Changed This Week, If At All?"

I like Her More - 14 (40%)
No Change, I Always Liked her - 16 (45%)
No Change, I never Liked Her - 3 (8%)
I Like Her Less - 2 (5%)

So only 2 people from a total 35 say that they like Carol Thatcher less than they did before, and only 5 People (13%) registered a negative vote.

A little surprising perhaps given the depth of opinions, but none the less an open poll.

I will leave the results up for another day or so. Don't forget to vote on the new poll on Jacqui Smith. Currently 100% of people feel she has abused the expenses system, thus far.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


There is not much that you can be absolutely certain on, especially in politics.

But I would almost be tempted to bet the house that Geert Wilders will arrive in the UK and be allowed to leave the airport unmolested.

Just about the only thing that we can be certain of, is that when the EU makes a law, The UK Government will never, ever, act in contradiction to it. Free movement of citizens within the EU is one of their crowning diktats. There is no way, at all the UK Government will be standing in Geert Wilders way tomorrow.

UK laws, they have no problem ignoring. EU ones are a different matter.

Update: 12-Feb-09: I stand corrected. Today is a very bad day for free speech in the UK

New Poll - In Your Personal Opinion, has Jacqui Smith Abused The MP's Expenses System?

Please register your vote in the poll on the top left of this blog. You can elaborate within the comments section of this post, if you so choose.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One For The Future

Remember the name Karen Lumley. According to UK Polling Report here, Karen is running as the Conservative candidate against Jacqui Smith in Redditch.

Karen's Website is here, and if you want to email your support, you can at

I now look forward to the General Election for a new reason. It will be Jacqui Smith who will give us a "Portillo moment" [to be re-dubbed a "Smith Moment."] Watching Jacqui Smith getting booted unceremoniously out of office will probably bring the biggest cheer of the night. The fact is, for all the money she has taken, and despite her contempt for the electorate and the tax payer, there is absolutely no getting out of having to stand before the returning officer and facing the person that has beat you.

I can't wait.

Smiths downfall will be the symbolic moment of the election that will haunt the Labour Party for many years to follow.

The moment that sticks in my mind from the 2005 election, and i think will stay with me forever was when George Galloway delivered his "Tony Blair.................This...Is for Iraq" Speech. I hope Karen's team have something suitable apt lined up.

OMG - Where Has Tractor Stats Gone??!!

Update: 19:20: I see Advanced Media Watch and Obo have also asked the question... Come back Tractor Stats!!

Raplogs Take On LabourList

From Raplog, here.

Hat tip, Iain Dale.

Who Is Backing Gordon Brown?

Gordon Brown Quotes:

"at root our economy is better placed to weather the global storm than it was in
the seventies, the eighties and the nineties". – To North West of England
Business Leaders (see here.)

"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" – BBC
Interview (See here)

So, do people share your views Gordon?.....

What about Ed Balls? Well, let’s look at who he is first. He worked for the Financial Times as an economic leader writer (1990 – 1994), before going on to work for Gordon Brown in 1994 in the then Shadow Cabinet. After Labour won the 1997 election he worked for the then Chancellor (again, one Gordon Brown) in a position called “Chief Economic Advisor” where he allegedly earned the title “The most powerful unelected man in Britain”.

It would be fair to say then, that Ed Balls is intimate with Gordon Brown, familiar with the internal workings of the treasury department, the Government and of the national economic position.

Last night, Ed Ball told a Labour conference that these were "seismic events that are going to change the political landscape". He also said the current economic situation is "more extreme and more serious than that of the 1930s" (See here.)

Oh dear. That doesn’t sound very supportive of Mr Brown or this Labour Governments official position.

Ok, well let’s look at someone else then… how about Nikolas Sarkozy. Well again let’s look at who he is. He is the democratically elected President of France (means he won an election of the whole country, Gordon may not be familiar with this concept).

Any way, what did Mr Sarkozy have to say on Gordon Browns Economic competence? Surely as a European leader, he will look at what Gordon brown was quick to do, and follow his leadership.

"The British chose a recovery plan by boosting consumer spending, notably by
cutting VAT by two per cent. It is plain to see that it has brought absolutely
no progress. "

Doesn’t sound very supportive, maybe we should look at what else he said…

"The reason is simple: because it's in people's heads. If the consumer no
longer consumes, he won't change just because we add or subtract one VAT point,
it's because he's scared for his future, he's scared for his job and says to
himself: 'I must save, because bad times are coming'.

"In France, we chose investment because when we put France into debt by
taking money to invest, in return we have assets, infrastructure. When you put
your country into debt to pay for operating costs, you have nothing in return
for your debt and you ruin the country.

"If the English did that it's because they don't have any industry
left. Gordon Brown cannot do what I am doing with carmakers [giving them up to 6
billion euros]... in construction and other industries, because they haven't got
any left."

Oh dear. Well let’s look at the IMF then. They have effective control on the world’s supply of money, they must recognise that “Gordon Brown has not only saved the world….” Ooops, he didn’t mean to say that did he.

Anyway, the IMF know what they are talking about, they must agree that the UK is well positioned economically. They have a report here. Oh, I forgot, they placed the UK at the very bottom in their outlook of developed nations, and are predicting that the UK economy will shrink by 2.8% in 2009.

Ok, maybe these are too specific. How about House owners?

No, wait, house prices have fallen an average of £22,000 per house hold in the last year or so.
What about the Unions? They love Labour Prime Ministers.

Hmm, forgot, they though when Gordon Brown said “British Jobs for British Workers” he was going to do that. He didn’t thell them that the EU won’t let him.

Labour voters?

Well, admittedly they might be hard to find now, as only 28% of the electorate is considering voting for Labour.

Polly? Getting mixed signals from Pol. Best not disturb her today; she is getting a bit of a kicking today from her readers.

My Blogs readers… No, wait, this is getting embarrassing… I almost forgot, but 92% of them want Brown to resign.

What about Gordon Browns Cabinet, they must support him and his claims on the economy…

Let’s see, The Foreign Secretary? No, that’s David Miliband, he was going to run a campaign against Gordon Brown Last year. Nobody, not even Gordon Brown thinks David Miliband trusts Grodon Brown.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary? Well she is supportive, but then again she is making massive amounts of money from the position Gordon put her in, she would have to back him, he is probably keeping a public enquiry from her door.

Jack Straw? haven’t heard from him in a while… hmmm, wonder where the Justice Secretary is?

Ed Balls? No, done that one already.

Labour MP’s. They will of course support their leader. They have to, it’s their job to, and they wouldn’t want to make dear Gordon cry again. Come to think of it, a lot of them will be out of a job soon, they are probably less happy..

I t seems I may am struggling to find a credible example of somebody who will back Gordon Brown’s economic policies, and actually for him to remain as Prime Minister. Is there anybody left that does?

Oh wait of course there is. I forgot, there is the BBC and the EU.

Monday, February 09, 2009

R.I.P. Elisabeth Beckett

See Brits at their Best, Here.

Expenses Row

I am not surprised at all that we have failed to see from our Home Secretary either an apology or a promise to refund the cash she has siphoned off the tax payer. Let's remember, the money she is taking is supposed to fund her second home. The purpose of contributing towards the cost of a second home is to help "ordinary people" who chose to run for Parliament, and are successful. It is intended to redress an imbalance and ensure that the Commons can be filled with, well, commoners. How many MP's do you know of today are there, that fit that bill?

The tax payer also pays for the upkeep of government houses. These houses are funded specifically so that senior members of the government who need to be stationed in London as much as possible can live there. These arenot flats, these are houses so that families can also be present and so staff be they security or domestic can also be accomodated. The cost is covered by the tax payer so that the Cabinet member again does not need to consider the costs that may otherwise be unaffordable to an "ordinary person".

These houses and expense benefits are supposed to be in place so that we can have a government and Parliament that best represents and best serves it's people.

If Jacqui Smith has not broken any rules, and from where I am looking, she has broken the rules; we need to have a very big look at all parliamentary expenses. It is surely not acceptable that the Home Secretary forgoes the already expensive, already paid for ministerial house so she can lodge with a family member and then draw further expenses from us tax payers to pay for her constituency home. If Jacqui Smith is only spending 3 nights a week at her sisters home, then she is spending 4 nights at her Redditch home and as such this can not be a second home as defined by the rules.

It used to be that MPs were accountable to The House for their actions, I wonder who it is we are waiting for to act before this can be investigated? I suspect there is a committee or another bloody QUANGO out there somewhere that will eventually be called in to obediently offer their interpretation of the obviously poorly worded rules.

What also of the cost of paying a £40,000 salary to Richard Timney? Mr Timney, despite the name is Jacqui Smiths husband. His job seems to be to write letters to media outlets defending Jacqui Smith; in doing so he neglects to mention his relationship with the Home Secretary. Not really money being spent benefiting the tax payer is it.

Mr Timneys job description is that of "Parliamentary Assistant". Really? how many days does he make it to Parliament then? Perhaps, if he were a "Constituency Assistant" I would be less suspicious. Again, I am sure this will not be investigated, there is probably just enough letter writing and dictation to defy censure.

People are absolutely sick to death of Political double-standards. The expenses system is failing to deliver cost benefits to tax payers, and is too easily defied. What is going on in Westminster that as soon as politicians roll up there they seem determined to claim as much money from us as possible.

If the additional cost of £200,000 for security is added to the alleged £116,000 and £40,000 in salary for a Parliamentary Assistant, who may or may not have been to parliament; the tax payer has afforded The Smith Family £356,000. When the police want a pay rise, or members of the security service, or immigration control or public servants of any of the Home Secretary's remit what is she going to tell them? How, is she going to justify not paying their wage demands, when in her own position she is free to profit so exuberantly? How far would that £356,000 gone in improvements in our schools, our fire stations, our security, our policing? What essential services have been cut so that our Home Secretary can milk the system?

You will not get an unforced apology from the Home Secretary because, I suspect, she personally believes she is entitled to get as much of yours and my money as is possible. The fact that she has voted consistently for legislation to make Parliament less transparent on the one hand, and pocketed stacks of cash in the other is not a contradiction to her. Jacqui Smith's contempt for the tax payer is total, and unapologetic. You will not get an apology and you will not get your money back. Remember that when you go to vote.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

My Stats (2)

Further to my post about my stats, here, just seen on Wikio that this blog is coming in at 305 on the politics blogs, which I think is quite a fair position for a blog that has been running about 2 months. (isn't it?)

Wikio, as I understand it measures success by links rather than hits. So thanks to everybody who has visited, and also thanks to anyone who has linked me in their directories and in their own posts.

I have put the Wikio widget up on the blog, so each month you can share in how well/poorly this blog is doing.