Saturday, 30 April 2011

Plain speaking obviously wins over an audience

Nigel Farage was on the panel of Any Questions (Radio 4) this week and the programme is well worth listening to and can be heard here.

What is most noticeable is the audience applause (prolonged in places) that greeted what he had to say, in contrast to the other members of the panel - who were Chris Huhne, Gisela Stuart and Michael Hancock.


For today's politicians the people are the enemy

"People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them."
Eric Hoffer

A quotation that admirably sums up the relationship between the electorate and our political class, in that those who complain about a government and throw them out of office do, within a short space of time, return to the fold and support those very same politicians. One only has to look at recent opinion polls to see the last government, vilified in May 2010, now supposedly leading the race to form the next government.

As is well known, politicians are generally held in contempt by the electorate and that is something of a paradox when one realises that those same politicians are forced to regularly reapply for their jobs through open elections. The contempt felt by the electorate may well be due to the fact that an MP should demonstrate their good faith to the constituents that, on their behalf, they have been elected to hold the government of the day to account; that they are not members of a separate caste, but an ordinary citizen elected to represent his/her fellows and realise that the moment he/she no longer appears as such, any moral mandate has been lost. The problem the present political class have is that through their agreement to hand sovereignty and the right to govern to Brussels, the discharge of their primary function is no longer available to them; no meaningful change to a constituent's daily life can be offered. By ceasing to be a means of an expression of popular will, MPs have become no more than parasites in our society.

In 1874 Switzerland totally revised its constitution and it is suggested that the same process needs to be undertaken in the United Kingdom if it is intended to negate the distrust in which politicians are held by the electorate. For too long politicians have been telling us what they are going to do, instead of asking the electorate what it is they, the electorate, want. This only serves to illustrate that politicians have forgotten the basic fact that they are but servants of the people. This last assertion is exemplified by opinion poll after opinion poll showing that the majority of the electorate want a referendum on membership of the European Union, yet the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, having previously promised such a referendum, continually deny that to the electorate; all three parties promise devolution of power to the people, but retain the final decision on matters for which they wish to devolve that power – subsequently appearing as rulers, rather than servants.

On this subject of devolution, consider: there is not one area of policy that has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament that could not be devolved to local authorities. Consider also the Department of Communities and Local Government; likewise there are very few functions for which that government department is responsible that could not also be devolved to local authorities. This leads to the obvious conclusion, is the current system of government – a full time Parliament and full time MPs – the most appropriate? This last question is also prompted by the present cost of Parliament - salaries; second homes; office staffing etc. It is thus worth considering whether the Swiss model might be preferable, one in which a small legislature meet only a few days per year; where politicians are recompensed for their time only and are expected to continue with the trade or profession held prior to their election.

By devolving power on domestic matters to local authorities it would also make local councillors more accountable to their electorates and require them to take a greater interest in local policy and spending – instead of acting as ‘rubber stamps’ for central government. By extending a recall system for MPs to local politicians it would also help to concentrate the minds of those elected representatives. What in effect is being discussed here is a form of citizen legislature, a system whereby local people decide how they wish the society in which they live, to be ordered. It was Keith Joseph who said: “Give people responsibility and you will make them responsible.” That one statement negates the need for such ideas as The Big Society as by instilling in people the need for an interest in politics, politics would then become the part-time profession of everyone who would thus protect the rights and privileges of people and thereby preserve all that is good in our national heritage.

Much is made of the use of referendums in order to effect change; change that the political class would not necessarily prefer. Yet there is another type of referendum, one about which not much is heard, namely what is known as a ‘blocking’ referendum and such referenda are the ultimate check on the ambitions of the political class and guarantee that no party could make major changes without popular consent. Critics of referenda cite the cost involved and this is acknowledged, but it is also contended that politicians, knowing the ultimate sanction of the electorate may be employed, might be less inclined to attempt their normal solution to any problem – that of yet more laws.

The fact that our democracy is in need of total review can be borne out by paraphrasing Charles A. Beard; it is a sobering thought that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen is to go about repeating the very phrases that the founding fathers of what became the United States used in their struggle for independence and thus their freedom.

Caveat: Of course, readers will be only too aware that to instigate any form of  libertarian society it would be a precondition that we would need become a self-governing nation once again – a situation which would of necessity not allow us to continue our membership of the European Union.

Friday, 29 April 2011

What the "Political Class" do not want you to hear

From Thomas Sowell and his work "Dismantling America" comes this:

A few quotes from the video:
"If you took all the deception and fraud out of politics, there might not be a lot left."
 "That insidious and crafty animal, vulgarly called a statesman or politician."
Adam Smith
"One of the trends that can become part of a "  perfect storm"  for disaster of [American] society is the decades-long 'dumbing down' of education producing a citizenry poorly equipped to see through political rhetoric...."
"It was once the proudest boast of educators that they were there to teach children how to think, not what to think, but today all educators see the classroom as a golden opportunity for them to indoctrinate a captive audience ."
 |"Such an education sets them [children] to become victims of the next skilled 'demogogue' who can get them to respond as automatically as Pavlov's Dog."
"Too often, voting is seen as seen as some sort of expressive outlet for the voters, rather than a solemn obligation to pick the best people to lead the country."
Pointing out that few people take an interest in politics and those entrusted with their future, Sowell continues:
"Such people cannot preserve freedom, or perhaps survival, against politicians looking out solely for their advantages of the moment. Not all political leaders are like that, of course."
Our present problem is that we do not have political leaders that are unlike the present incumbents - well, with one or two exceptions - and unfortunately they are not, presently, "in power".

As is pointed out, we are presently "blessed" with career politicians, something which is at the root of all our problems, and that our society can be destroyed by those incumbents before the voices of more enlightened people can be heard.

Do, please, go listen to the entire video!

How does this equate with the principles of freedom and democracy?

An extremely disturbing article appears in the Daily Telegraph, one which reports that Broadband providers have voiced alarm over an EU proposal to create a “Great Firewall of Europe” by blocking “illicit” web material at the borders of the bloc.

If enacted this proposal would be censorship, no more no less. What exactly is "illicit" web material and who makes the decision? Taken to the logical conclusion illicit material could comprise a newspaper article or a private blog expressing dissent on any action by the European Commission or the European Union itself.

It is a draconian proposal and one inherent within any totalitarian state whereby the individual freedoms allowed are those dictated by the state.  If the people of any nation or state have not agreed, by the normal democratic means of voting, for a proposed course of action it is hypocritical for that state or nation to proclaim its main principles are based on freedom and democracy.

For hundreds of years the United Kingdom has fought for those same principles, ie freedom and democracy. Courtesy of our venal, traitorous, unprincipled politicians it is now obvious that those hundreds of years count for nothing.

On a personal level I have but one hope and that is that I live long enough to spit on those politicans and their  political graves!

There are "regulations" and there are "regulations"

An item of news that appeared to 'slip under the radar' was that the Department for Business has included in its list of possible regulations to be scrapped the practise of 'hallmarking' precious metals. This was covered by the Daily Telegraph but did not seem to have much impact, judging by the lack of comment I have seen on Twitter and the blogosphere.

for information. The 'consultation' will last from this month until April 2013, and every few weeks regulations will be published relating to a specific sector for consideration. People are invited to go to the site and comment, officials will examine the points made and have three months to decide whether to keep or consign to the bonfire. There are over 21,000 statutory rules and regulations

Mike Nattrass, UKIP, is one politician that has spoken out against this possible abolition and issued the following press statement:
"As one of the six MEPs for the West Midlands with offices very close to the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, as a member of the Federation of Small Businesses, as someone with a personal interest in antiques and British silver and as one who stands up for my country, I am firmly opposed to the Government's plan to scrap our hallmarking system.

The quality of our silver is the envy of Europe, which is why every 5 years the EU attempt to scrap the British hallmarking system. Much of European silver is self regulated, is of a lower quality than our own and does not have the world’s confidence, nor is it collected in the way British silver is sought after and treasured.

Since 1371 we in this country have had a quality control system for precious metals which is universally understood, fit for purpose and with an intrinsic value. The scrapping of the hallmarking system would destroy the Halls themselves and the expertise they have built up over centuries. It would have a massive impact on businesses large and small in the jewellery, metalworking, bullion and antique trades which are struggling to keep their heads above water in these lean economic times. This is an economic ‘own goal’ and benefits our overseas competitors.

It would undermine the world wide collectors' market for precious metals in which the UK is a central player. At a stoke the Government would destroy not only a key aspect of our cultural heritage, but also a valuable income source for UK plc which it can ill afford to lose.

This system is not 'outmoded' just because it has existed for centuries. The reverse is true; because this system has existed for so long, it adds value to the articles to which it is applied and it supports a vibrant and economically valuable trade. It is economic nonsense as well as cultural thuggery to scrap the British hallmarking system.

It is time we stood up to pressure from the EU to degrade our industries and culture and here is a classic case, because our Hallmarking system beats the world."
If Nattrass is correct - and one has no reason to doubt he is not - then this is but another example where so much that is fine and steeped in history about this country is scrutinised and plotted against by the EU in its seeming determination to reduce us all to that 'equalised' level the Eurocrats deem acceptable and controllable. Knowing the past form of governments during the last few decades, the question also has to be asked whether this particular item of inclusion is an attempt to pre-empt something in the pipeline from Brussels? Being a tad 'picky' with Nattrass I know, but surely if hallmarking has been in existence since 1371, thus preceding the Act of Union 1707, should not the system be referred to as English rather than British - but I digress.....

Of course, from the Telegraph article it is also possible to be even more 'picky', as the Department for Business spokesman would seem to have put 'foot in mouth'. A Department for Business spokesman said that they were not picking on hallmarking, it was just one of the 21,895 statuary instruments and the Government was determined to trim some, adding:
"The Red tape challenge campaign is a powerful new tool for the public to have their say about the red tape that they deal with every day. We want the public to tell us what they think about the more than 21,000 regulations that are on the statute book. Some of these regulations will be vital to protect consumers or employees, but others will be badly enforced or just plain obsolete; putting an unnecessary burden on the businesses that should be focusing on growing their businesses."
What is being discussed here are Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments, however if the public are to have their say about the red tape they deal with every day, then how about a say on membership of the European Union, a membership that puts untold red tape in the way of daily life, both commerically and individually.

A lesson could be learnt by the politicians of the Lib/Lab/Con from adapting one paragraph of Nattrass' statement where the question of our constitution is concerned. Prior to 1972 when this country was sold out under Edward Heath - and further emasculated under Blair and Brown - our constitution was not 'outmoded' just because it has existed for centuries. The reverse is true; because it had existed for so long proved that it worked. It was nothing more than cultural thuggery to cede the most precious of all of any nation's ability, that of self-governance, likewise all the other 'reforms' that have been introduced.

Hopefully speaking for many, I can but hope to see the day when these bastard politicians - whose only interest is personal advancement and ultimately, power - will one day be held to account by those they are supposed to serve. May that day of judgement be both final - and bloody!

Anyone in the EU reading this?

GoodnightVienna writes on Orphans of Liberty about the fact that any insult to the European Union is an offence and that:
".....under the Lisbon Treaty it’s an offence to ‘insult’ the flag, ‘insult’ one of its employees, ‘insult’ the anthem, ‘insult’ the institution itself....."
As an aside, in that same post GoodnightVienna states:
"I’m just waiting for the first case of a Briton burning the EU flag in front of the Downing St gates and being charged but don’t all rush at once!"
GV, I am tempted and I might just shorten your wait!

Anyway, to return to the main thrust of GV's article on the subject of "insults", let me make an attempt with the 'top three':

Manuel Jose Barroso: The man who Wikileaks stated that the Russians believed him to be no more than a glorified international civil servant. 

Van Rompuy: What can one say about a nonentity?  I thought Nigel Farage most eloquently summed up my views on Van Rompuy and, for the record, anyone offended may also consider Farage's words as said by me.

Cathy Ashton: This woman must be the first appointed to high office who hopes that her lack of experience will be compensated by her stunningly good looks.

The EU website here provides background to the design of the EU flag and states that amongst the reasons for the fact there are twelve stars on the flag is that in various traditions, twelve is a symbolic number representing perfection. Well, the EU most certainly is the grossest misrepresentation of perfection ever invented by man and ranks even lower on a scale of usefulness than that of the type of Izal toilet paper which was available in the 50s.

In respect of the EU and its anthem, I do not - and never will - acknowledge allegiance to either and consequently have no respect for its existence, nor any of its officials/employees.

With regard to insulting the EU's employees I suppose I should also mention Cameron, Clegg and MillibandE who, whilst posing as national party leaders, are just as much employees of the EU - and I have no respect for them either.

I can but equate the EU - and all who work for and within it - to a steaming pile of horse odure as both stink to high heaven and offend my senses.

In conclusion, the EU, Barroso, Van Rompuy and Ashton may all consider themselves insulted and I therefor await the 'knock on my door'.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Cyprus Unification - an insolvable problem?

David Lidington, Europe Minister Slimeball, has delivered the 4th Keith Kyle Memorial lecture on the subject of British - Cypriot relations - a lecture which had a hidden agenda. As is well known the European Union is desperate to have Turkey admitted as a member of their 'club' - an idea backed by David Cameron - and as is also well known the EU has what was originally known as "The Barcelona Agreement", now rebranded as "Union for the Mediterranean". This policy includes all the countries bordering the Mediterranean, one of those countries being Turkey.

I have posted previously here and here on the subject of the reunification of Cyprus and the main problem that Turkey has with admission to the EU. It is worth while for readers to refer to the two aforementioned links to gain some insight to the main stumbling block to Cyprus reunification which is Turkey's last stated position that they will never relinquish control of Northern Cyprus.

When Lidington talks about the number of Britons visiting Cyprus he is being his usual disingenuous self. The number of Britons visiting "Cyprus" has nothing to do with links between the two countries - it has everything to do the climate, the way of life and with prices generally in Northern Cyprus being so much cheaper than in the Greek (Southern) sector. As an example, when I was there 20 Malboro Red were 1 Turkish Dollar at the exchange rate of £2.50 Turkish Dollars to the £. One evening the person I was visiting both went out to a seaside restaurant and enjoyed: Starters, Sea Bass, Sweet, two bottles of wine, two large  goblets of brandy (one on the house) and the cost was £29.00! (and we could smoke at the table!). When I was in Northern Cyprus there was the usual water shortage on the island - due to lack of rainfall - a problem solved by Turkey who arranged for tankers to ferry water to the North. An offer was made to the Greek Cypriots to supply them from the North which was refused - that shows how deep is the divide between Greeks and Turkish.

Lidington talks about the Turkish Cypriots being "isolated" - the point is they wish to remain isolated and if readers can obtain a copy of Gibbons' book they will understand why.

But then we all know Lidington is but a politician - supposedly a Conservative but one whose principles, true to form,  have been bought by the lure of ministerial office!

Thursday 28th April 2011

Posting today delayed until approximately 17:00 (GMT) - apologies.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ken Clarke "warns" European judges

So reports Rosa Prince writing in the Daily Telegraph. A Europhile Conservative MP, who thinks the EU is the greatest thing since sliced bread, warns the European judges?

Rosa Prince quotes Clarke having said:
"A country in which the government never loses a court case is not one in which most of us would wish to live."
It is a great pity that Clarke does not also accept that a country in which the government of the day is impotent; a country in which the elected politicians act as though they were indeed Lord God Almighty; a country in which its peoples are subjected to more and more control of their every thought, word and deed; a country in which its society has been changed out of all recognition by social-engineering, carried out by its elected representatives; a country in which the Leaders of the three major political parties act as dictators; a country whose 'rigged' electoral system produces idiots of which Clarke is a prime example, is also a country in which none of us wish to live!

Just saying.......................

Control 'creep' to include 'watering' down usage?

It is generally acknowledged that there are few areas in which the European Union cannot force national governments to enact new laws. In this context it is worth revisiting Articles 3,4 & 6 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union:
Article 3
1. The Union shall have exclusive competence in the following areas:
(a) customs union;
(b) the establishing of the competition rules necessary for the functioning of the internal market;
(c) monetary policy for the Member States whose currency is the euro;
(d) the conservation of marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy;
(e) common commercial policy.
2. The Union shall also have exclusive competence for the conclusion of an international
agreement when its conclusion is provided for in a legislative act of the Union or is necessary to enable
the Union to exercise its internal competence, or in so far as its conclusion may affect common rules or
alter their scope.
Article 4
1. The Union shall share competence with the Member States where the Treaties confer on it a
competence which does not relate to the areas referred to in Articles 3 and 6.
2. Shared competence between the Union and the Member States applies in the following
principal areas:
(a) internal market;
(b) social policy, for the aspects defined in this Treaty;
(c) economic, social and territorial cohesion;
(d) agriculture and fisheries, excluding the conservation of marine biological resources;
(e) environment;
(f) consumer protection;
(g) transport;
(h) trans-European networks;
(i) energy;
Article 6
The Union shall have competence to carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States. The areas of such action shall, at European level, be:
(a) protection and improvement of human health;
(b) industry;
(c) culture;
(d) tourism; education, vocational training, youth and sport;
(f) civil protection;
(g) administrative cooperation.
It is well known that the EU rules our energy policy in this country and within this area falls, of course, electricity and the means of production. It may also be recalled that during 2009, under the last Labour government, Ed Miliband who was the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was praising the proposed introduction of smart meters, evidenced by this report in the Guardian and this report from the BBC. Of course, true to form by our politicians and media, what we were not informed was that this was part of the EU2020 agenda and a further communication on the introduction of smart meters was issued by the EU Commission on 12th April 2011. In the communication mentioned in the last sentence it will be seen that: "Smart Grids could be described as an upgraded electricity network to which two-way digital  communication between supplier and consumer, intelligent metering and monitoring systems have been added". Whilst smart grids may allow the consumer to monitor usage, the "two-way digital communication" will also allow the supplier to interrupt supply - ie to introduce power-cuts. Integration of eletricity supply has been on the agenda for some time as witnessed by this document in which it is stated that: "Bringing together latest progress in Information and Communication technologies and network development will allow electricity current to flow exactly where and when it is needed at the cheapest cost"; in other words it is intended that electricity can be supplied across member state borders.

Now supposing I was to tell you that the EU had their beady eyes on water? Ah, you may say, but water is not mentioned in any of the articles quoted above. This is true, but reading them again it is quite logical to see that water could be considered to fall into any number of the points mentioned in Article 4 & 6 - for example: environment, consumer protection and the protection of human health. Courtesy of Die Welt (and google translate) we find that, having imposed energy-saving lightbulbs on us, the present  Slovenian EU-Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik now wishes to impose water-saving taps, showerheads, toilets etc, etc. It will be seen from the report that Commission Potocnik also talks about saving water in the northern part of the EU to assist drought-ridden southern areas. EurActiv also reports on these water-saving measures. How exactly saving water in the North helps out the South is not spelt out, but again by utilising logic it can only mean the transfer of water across member states.

One thing is for sure folks and that is - as with the present energy policy - this is going to cost us individually twice over; once in fitting these water-saving devices and twice in increased UK contributions to the EU budget.

And Cameron et all maintain that we benefit from being a member of the EU?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Journalistic logic - fail!

Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph, has her usual op-ed piece in today's edition and contains probably the finest example of brain-disengagement yet. On the subject of Clegg and his views/position on AV, she writes:
"The current electoral system was just about fit for the Fifties, when Conservatives and Labour commanded 96 per cent of the vote and 99 per cent of the seats. In a three-party system, with the big two attracting 65 per cent of the vote, it is a crude anachronism. And yet, the imperfect alternative of AV has hardly set the nation’s pulse racing."
The thought processes of MR are obviously 'riddelled' with the inability to see the stupidity of the statements she makes. If the majority of the voting public are divided between those who believe in self-betterment as against those who believe in a life of idleness provided by the state; and along comes a party, who itself is something of an anachronism , sitting in the middle and promising the best of both worlds, it is hardly surprising if the take-up of their views is minimal. Neither is it surprising if a voting system, described by MR herself as 'imperfect', is viewed by the public with disinterest.

On the bright side at least Mary Riddell has yet to fully 'marr' her journalistic reputation - at least, as far as we know!,

Voting fraud shock/horror

So Rochdale has become yet an another example of attempted vote-rigging - well what a surprise, not. Neither is it surprising that the BBC makes no mention of the ethnicity of those who are alleged to have committed these crimes - which wouldn't have anything to do with this general problem, would it?

I had to smile at the remark by Colin Lambert, Labour head of Rochdale Council:
"If they [the allegations] are proved to be true then they are serious enough to disrupt the whole process of democracy."
The poor sap obviously does not recognise that the whole process of democracy in this country is already well and truly disrupted. As for being brave, why should I, or anyone else, be brave just to maintain the existence of low-life politicians?

Just saying...........

And now for something completely different

A friend of mine (a pilot who was employee by BA) has reminded me of this video on youtube:

Whether true or false, it reminded me of my youth. My parents took me out to what was the Gold Coast, now Ghana, at the tender age of 3 in 1945, where I stayed (other than a few trips home when my parents were 'on leave') until returning permanently to England at the age of 11 - having been sent to boarding school. The trip by plane from England (Argonaut) resulted in stops at Tripoli, Kano, Lagos and then Accra via BOAC. To get to Takoradi, where my parents were, involved a transfer to a Heron.

In those days (late 50s) the pilots on the internal flights were all English and comprised one or two comedians. For instance I recall one who used to enter the plane by the rear passenger door wearing dark glasses, carrying a book entitled, in big lettering,  "How to Fly" and would carry a white stick whilst tapping his way to the cockpit. Another pilot's favourite witticism would be to come on the PA, near the time for landing, asking whether there was a fully-qualified pilot on board as he had only been taught how to take off and had yet to learn how to land.

It may seem far-fetched, but the above is true. Oh for the days of non-PC when life was fun!

Cameron's 'conning' us again.........

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive."

When will David Cameron stop trying to hoodwink the public? Either that or fess up to the fact he doesn't have a clue about how the EU functions?

In the Mail, on Friday last, he is 'quoted' yet again that he will veto the 4.9% proposed budget increase - yet he cannot as the decision on the EU annual budget is taken by qualified majority voting, which means that the UK cannot veto any increase alone, but must find other governments to support it. 

Admittedly Cameron is not quoted, in the strict sense of the word 'quoted', using the word "veto" (it is only mentioned in the Mail's 'lurid' headline) and he is only quoted saying that "its not going to happen". However, the implied impression that his statement gives is that he will veto the increase if necessary.

It is this example of politicians implying that they will do something when they know damn well they can't that I - and I am sure many others - find so frustrating and disingenious. If Cameron had stated something along the lines that he would oppose this all he can, but at the end of the day the decision will be one of a majority vote, I would have some respect for him. Of course, he can't say anything like that as it would demonstrate to the entire country, as some of us are aware, what little power he holds where the governance of this country is concerned.

Just one day though, please, will a politician (and the media, come to that) be honest with me - and the rest of the country?

Afterthought: On the question of the media misrepresenting the facts - and what politicians say - it is noticeable that Cameron did not issue a statement rebutting the Mail's headline. Due I suppose, for the same reason, ie, he would have had to explain the true position and thus undermine his position.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Oh dear! More 'political foot 'n mouth'!

Robert Colvile, Daily Telegraph blogs, posts on yet more reasons to vote No2AV, although his arguments are neither here nor there as far as I am concerned due to my belief that it is up to the electorate to decide firstly if the voting system should be changed and to then select any alternative method, rather than having one thrust upon us.

What caught my eye, in respect of the heading to this post, is Colvile's reported summation of an article behind the Times paywall wherein Tim Farron, the LibDem's president, believes that failure to adopt AV would mean the House of Commons becoming a 'secondary chamber'.

Err, has Farron looked lately at the relationship between the House of Commons and Brussels?

Just asking.......................

Politics is not corrupt?

Back in February this year I posted on the Electoral Reform Society and Electoral Reform Services Limited, querying the conflict of interest of the latter. Today on Coffee House (The Spectator Blog) ED Howker posts once again on this matter of conflict of interest. Dealing specifically with Chris Huhne's outburst in which he virtually threatened court action against Cameron and Osborne for spreading 'wicked falsehoods', Howker provides a copy of a document in his possession:

Howker raises an extremely serious question in his post, namely: "...if the Alternative Vote system will not cost more to administer than FPTP, why do the people who make money from managing our elections claim it represents an “increased business opportunity” from which they may profit?". If that is not a conflict of interest, then exactly what is it?

A further article has just been published by Howker that shows Huhne's partner, Carina Trimingham, is a director of Yes! and the Electoral Reform Society and that the same printing presses used for the production of ballot papers must also have been used for the production of 'YES' literature - yet more examples of the conflict of interest that is involved in this matter of the AV referendum.

It is also logical to question whether any electoral impropriety has been practised by politicians such as Huhne and Clegg in their reliance on Electoral Reform Services Limited for the latter's help - both in the provision of financial assistance and production of leaflets - in their campaign to secure a 'YES' vote. It also begs the question: if politicians have to account for every penny spent by and on their behalf during a local or national election; should they not also have to make public and account for every penny spent on their behalf during a local or national referendum?

It is becoming clearer by the day that not only are our politicians corrupt in that they do not tell us the truth, but also that they are corrupt when it affects - or possibly may affect - their hold on power. To say that they and their methods are beginning to smell would, I believe, be the understatement of the year!

Margaret Thatcher and 'the' Bruges Speech

Peter Oborne blogs about the above and the background (Foreign Office papers) leading up to that speech. It makes fascinating material and is well worth the time spent reading all 42 documents. What is equally interesting is the views of her Europhile ministers and officials.

Amongst the papers is the transcript of an interview Margaret Thatcher gave Jimmy Young on Radio 2 - her answers and the views contained therein are sorely missed today.

Absolutely a must read! Enjoy!

Proof we will do as Brussels tells us

Politics Home indulges in a little 'misinformation' on the matter of lifting the ban on liquids being taken on board aircraft?
"The EU has said European countries should all lift the ban on liqiuds on board planes at the same time to avoid an inconsistent security regime. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has said the UK will be keeping the ban in place."
It is only be viewing the Guardian (of all newspapers) that one learns from a Department of Transport spokesperson:
"The safety of the travelling public remains paramount. It remains our intention that the restrictions on liquids will be lifted by 2013."
The ban must be lifted by 2013? Anything you say Siim Kallas, anything you say. We are, of course, yours to command!

Motivation and Happiness

"Happily wasting your money
The next time that Tory Cabinet ministers attack Labour councils for wasting money they should perhaps look closer to home. For example, Cotswold District Council, a Tory stronghold, has spent £19,000 on a magician to give motivational talks to staff who face losing their jobs as part of £1.4 million worth of spending cuts. The authority’s chief executive, David Neudegg, also runs neighbouring West Oxfordshire district council, which spent £30,000 on a happiness course.
Is the reason there hasn’t been a squeak of complaint from the local Tory MP that he is none other than David Cameron, who has pioneered his own and even more risible National Happiness Index?"

In attempting to check the West Oxfordshire District Council website - and it is possible that I did miss the item when 'trawling' the website -  using their search facility, needless to say this was the result. The same result was achieved at Cotswold District Council and utilising their search facility.

Isn't transparency a wonderful policy?

What are beliefs without principles?

A few items in the media and blogosphere have caught my eye - even this early on a sunny Easter Monday morning. Unrelated in topic, they do however all illustrate the problems we have in our politics today - namely that many people write and speak of their beliefs yet appear to temper the principles on which those beliefs are held to suit various situations. Examples:

Daily Telegraph Editorial: Nick Clegg is castigated for stating that, on the AV debate, people should be treated like adults; that  the "nasty" No to AV campaign was built on "lies, misinformation and deceit"; and that John Reid was being "reactionary and backward-looking". The editorial also mentions that Simon Hughes has accused the 'No' campaign of "telling untruths" and "inventing facts".

Why pray, does the Telegraph not also mention that this behaviour is common in politics, that Clegg has been just as guilty on matters of policy - as has Cameron and the majority of their clique. Clegg has misled the public on the recall system by not making clear that it is Parliament that has the final say on this matter and has maintained that AV will make MPs work harder - something also 'untrue' - yet I do not recall the Telegraph taking Clegg to task on this. Cameron has been disingenious in maintaining that the Localism Bill transfers power to local people yet does not make public in his speeches that any referendum held under this bill can be ignored by the local authority in question if that local authority so wishes. If the Telegraph believes Clegg is being disingenuous on AV and that there is a principle involved here, then they appear to have tempered their own principles.

John Redwood posts on plans that the European Union has for further economic governance - something which is not news to those of us that follow matters EU. Whilst Redwood does rebel against the Coalition in votes on this subject, I have to return to the question of belief and principle. If he is adamant that membership of the EU is so wrong, if he believes that the economic policies of the Coalition - and hence his own party - are so wrong; that self-governance is vital for the good of our country; just what the hell is he still doing in the Conservative Party. Needless to say the same criticism can be levied against Carswell, Hannan and other MPs.

The Anger of a Quiet Man posts on a story of what appears to be financial impropriety within the Audit Commission. If, as the article in the Telegraph states, the problem was highlighted last year in a report by Sir Philip Green then why is the practise still continuing? What has been done to investigate how many more instances of possible financial impropriety exist within government departments? If financial impropriety is improper amongst politicians, then surely it is improper amongst their civilian officials? Once again, beliefs/principles?

Tim Montgomerie posts on Conservative Home suggesting that Cameron should plan for an early general election, due to the possible imploding of the Liberal Democrats. It is quite likely that the Coalition will fall apart before 2015 as David Cameron tempered his beliefs and principles in accepting a coalition with the Liberal Democrats purely, I believe, to gain entry to Number 10 - as did MPs of both the Conservative and Liberal Democrats to become part of the government - and thus achieve power. Beliefs/principles?

If the people are unable to trust, implicity, that which their politicians write and speak and, likewise, are unable to believe what they hear and read in the MSM; then what is the point of politicians, political parties and the MSM?

Just thinking.......................

Update: The Grumpologist has another example of belief and principle being at variance.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

And just whose fault is it?

"The most important part of education is proper training in the nursery." Plato
"I had a terrible education. I attended a school for emotionally disturbed teachers."
Woody Allen

"The maxim about children being seen and not heard has vanished forever......"; so writes Michael Simkins in today's Sunday Telegraph, lamenting on the precociousness of children today. At whose door can be laid the blame for this? Well, lets see - and in no particular order:

The leftie-do-good brigade; the politically-correct brigade; the social-engineering brigade amongst our politcal elite; the human rights brigade; the dumbing-down of our education system brigade; the everyone-must-have-prizes brigade; the health 'n safety brigade; the lowering of teaching standards and teachers brigade; the removal of corporal punishment brigade; the parents who are, themselves, still children brigade; the thou-shalt-not-smack-the-little-brat brigade; the removal of - and thereby the fear of - the village bobby brigade; and lastly, the its-not-my-fault-I'm-just-a-parent brigade.

Just thinking..................

Orphans of Liberty

A new website has been born: Orphans of Liberty.

It is indeed an honour and privilege that I have been invited to post on this website and join exalted company, comprising: Longrider  James Higham  The Spine  Mark Wadsworth  Sackerson Harry Hook The Quiet Man Luikkerland Chuckles Trooper Thompson Swbk2345 Autonomous Mind Leg-iron Pavlovs Cat JuliaM Prodicus.

All contributors have agreed to post their thoughts on liberty, politics generally and other topics of interest.

Whilst the website is already 'viewable', the official 'opening date' is Monday, Noon, 25th April and we all hope our readers will add Orphans of Liberty to their blogrolls, reading all posts and commenting frequently.

Councils up the 'elderly-anti'

The Daily Telegraph reports that councils are planning a sharp rise in care home fees to counter Government cuts and a rapidly aging population.

Emily Thornberry, Labour MP and Shadow Health and Social Care Minister, needs to decide her priorities, especially as she voted in favour of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 (admittedly having reservations), which allows the Coalition to lob missiles at Libya costing approximately £500,000 a pop - money that could have been given to councils to avoid the problems caused by cuts, or used to offset the cost of increased state benefits that the majority of those in council-run care homes and housing association dwellings will receive as a result of the increased charges. Neither does Graeme Paton and Holly Watt, the Telegraph 'journalists', nor Emily Thornberry, mention the 'wasted' money that could be saved by a cull of 'non-jobs' within councils.

Back to the drawing board Graeme, Holly and Emily, methinks?

This is most definitely not a Good Sunday

Having been relatively silent on this blog for the past two days, mainly because there seemed nothing of interest about which to write, with political commentators such as Tim Montgomerie it follows quiet days will be few and far between. Likewise one can always rely on our MPs to open their mouths and similarly insert foot.

To say that both political commentators and MPs live in the 'Westminster Bubble' is, I know, stating the obvious and articles in today's Sunday Telegraph by Melissa Kite and Tim Montgomerie are prime examples; although it has to be pointed out that on this occasion Melissa Kite is not the subject of my ire.

Kite reports that negotiations are proceeding between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats about the thorny question of the House of Lords reform, with the Conservatives considering admitting Imams. The religious aspect of this matter is possibly more suited to a post by Cranmer, but it is a statement by a 'senior Tory source' in Melissa Kite's article that really incensed me:
"One senior Tory insider said: "It is inconceivable that we continue with a faith element to the Lords without Catholic bishops being represented. It is also high time black Pentecostal leaders were better represented. As such we are going to have to consider whether other faiths are represented as well. "The idea of imams in the House of Lords may upset some people but that is better than not having anything spiritual at all. "We must have a spiritual element to the Lords. Britain is Christian but not solely Christian, so this would seem a natural solution."
And the reason Britain is no longer solely Christian is? And those that caused this problem are? When, oh when, will politicians pause and think of the possible ramifications that may evolve, when tinkering and fiddling with our constitution; if past form is any guide then the response must be never. On the related matter of having Lords Spiritual, if Rowan Williams is an example of this then perhaps his latest suggestion (within a coruscating article by Misanthrope Girl, her views which I entirely endorse) shows his complete lack of understanding about life today. We have had quite enough of 'gesture' politics, along with 'gesture' journalism, thank you very much Archbishop Bean - oh, wrong Rowan? So sorry! As for dragging bankers into this argument......... Ye Gods!

Tim Montgomerie prattles on about reform of the House of Lords in his article - as if whatever changes that are made to either Houses of Parliament will make a blind bit of difference. With both the Commons and Lords becoming increasingly irrelevant through our membership of the European Union and with the introduction of totally unprincipled people into both houses; I believe we may as well dispense with both and all their inhabitants. Until such time as personal freedom is restored at all levels we will continue to be governed by wicked laws which, like cancer, destroys all it touches.

On the question of spiritual lords and the relevance of Parliament, what has either got to do with politics bearing in mind the fact that whatever they may say, it matters not whilst edicts from Brussels cannot be changed, amended, nor ignored.

For St. George's Day - G.K. Chesterton

The men that worked for England
They have their graves at home:
And birds and bees of England
About the cross can roam.
But they that fought for England,
Following a falling star,
Alas, alas for England
They have their graves afar.
And they that rule in England,
In stately conclave met,
Alas, alas for England
They have no graves as yet.

In respect of our current political class, the last verse is unfortunately true - but there are those of us willing to give them a helping hand........................

H/T: Edward Spalton

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Its St. George's Day - possibly

It appears there is confusion over whether or not it is St. George's Day, with some maintaining it is and others stating that it has been moved to 2nd May in view of the Easter weekend. My own personal view is that I consider every day is St. George's Day, purely on the basis I was sufficiently lucky in the lottery of life to be born an Englishman.

13th Spitfire has a thoughtful post on St. George's Day asking: who are we; whilst The Anger of a Quiet Man has an alternative take on the subject and GoodnightVienna another. Reverting to 13th's post, I suppose, on reflection, I fall into the camp of being nationalistic rather than patriotic - not on the basis we are so much better than any other nation, although of course we are - but on the basis that this country is mine with odd, nay quirky, traditions, humour, routines, whatever; and if any immigrant should find even one portion of that abhorrent to him/herself then I would be grateful if they would cease whingeing and just bugger off - saving them and us so much hassle!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Politics in a nutshell - quote of the day

"In the end, though, isn't politics simply plastic surgery by another name? A few nips and tucks here and there to make things look better, when underneath you know it's just the same ugly old model."
Bryony Gordon

Its not what you know - its where you come from and what colour you are

Jessica Shepperd, Education Correspondent for the Guardian, has an article bewailing - it seems - the fact that there are very few black headteachers in England.  It should be recalled that under the Equality Act discrimination because of sex, or disability, or ethnicity, or pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic unlawful. The underlying theme behind this article is that there is discrimination, although this is not actually stated.

Theresa May, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality has pressed ahead with implementing Harriet Harman's Act and is quoted in the Mail:
"In these challenging economic times it’s more important than ever for employers to make the most of all the talent available. When a company reflects the society it serves, it’s better for the employer, the employees and the customers."
The Act specifically states that public sector employers must promote equal opportunities and the last sentence of Theresa May's remark, quoted above, must also apply to the public sector. If that is so, then we can expect similar cries of outrage from Poles, Asians and every other ethnicity that is now present in our country. 

Has it crossed anyone's mind that those who complain about their lack of representation at senior level in any organisation might just not be good enough for the positions to which they aspire? But hey, when did that stop the politicos and their social engineering programmes?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Thursday 21st April 2011

As I am busy most of today and hope to attend the Bloggers-Bash at the ASI this evening, posting today will be extremely light, even possibly non-existent.

Back to normal tomorrow..........