Wednesday, December 27, 2006
He was briefly VP after the resignation of Spiro Agnew in 1973, who resigned after charges of tax evasion. He was eventually given three years' probation.
After Nixon resigned, it only took Ford a month to grant the former president a pardon. He announced his decision on a Sunday morning, vainly hoping it would not cause too much of a stirr. That undoubtedly made sure he would never be elected president himself, although after two scandals in a year, it was unlikely anyway the republicans were going to stay in the White House.
The current president has paid tribute to Ford, praising his integrity and common sense. I can't see where he gets that from. Those days from 1973 - 1980 are days the republican party would rather forget. Good things do come out adversity, however, and if the '76 election had not gone the way of the Democrats, Ronald Reagan may never have become president.
Having said all of that, I do send his widow, Betty, and his family my condolences.
I will be back to blogging in a week's time and a Happy New Year to everyone.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
1. I started my blog. (I hope you all agree it was a good thing)
2. I got actively involved in political campaigning again.
3. I became a school governor
4. I renewed and strengthened friendships.
5. I visited a friend in the US, twice.
6. I helped my parents move from a large house in to a smaller, warden controlled, flat. This is more for them, as it was the best move they could ever have made. They love it.
7. I can't think of anything else. Quite frankly, 2006 is a year I would rather forget, for personal reasons. 2007 is going to be much better and I can't wait!
I know I am duty bound to pass this tag to others, however, I will not compel anyone to do it. If you want to, then post it on your blog and send me a message, and I will read with interest.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I briefly return home on Boxing Day and the next day - unless there is fog - I will be flying out to France for a week to stay with some friends.
The Conservative Party is ending the year with a decent lead over Labour, although as we all know, it will have to increase much more. However, a decent lead is a positive and I would rather be David Cameron right now than Tony Blair or Gordon Brown.
May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Lord Elis-Thomas said: "In England I detect there is a strong feeling that the consequences of devolution for England must now be addressed. I think it is important for those of us who campaigned for devolution in Scotland and Wales to support that. There should be a proper English Parliament, and that could be arranged very easily if the Commons sat on a Tuesday or Wednesday as an English parliament."
Frank Field said: "I think the danger is that the English voters will see that we are against the English, and as they make up the vast majority of voters and return the vast majority of MPs, it's not a position to get into if you're only worried about the politics of it." He said English voters had to see Labour represented their views adding: "There's going to be another big sweeping issue that the electorate in England has got a clear view on, and the Labour Party is opposed to it."
The support is growing every day.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The government has a non-intervention policy when it comes to coastal erosion and therefore the council is not allowed to intervene. So, if you are someone whose home is about to fall in to the sea and of course lose your money in that property, what will the government do for you? Make you pay for its demolition! Yes that's right, the government who will not allow councils to intervene and try to halt the erosion will make you pay to demolish your own home. And on top of that will not give you a penny in compensation. In East Yorkshire only a few properties are at risk during the next five years, so it hardly going to cost the Treasury a fortune.
This government's answer to all problems is throw money at it. And if that doesn't work, throw even more money at it, yet it cannot help people who are about to lose their homes in this way. Call me cynical, but if this was happening in Labour constituencies, do you think there may be a different response?
The special relationship initially referred to the friendship between Churchill and FDR and has at times been weak and strong. It was particulary strong between Thatcher and Reagan, where there was a meeting of minds and the two of them regarded themselves as equals. That did not mean the UK supported the US blindly, and vice-versa.
Blair is regarded as Bush's poodle and for very good reasons. The 'Yo Blair' incident earlier this year only reaffirmed what we thought. Having said that, shortly there will be a new president and a new prime minister. How strong the special relationship will be then, will utimately depend on the new incumbents.
Monday, December 18, 2006
hat-tip: UK Daily Pundit
I was reading the Hull Daily Mail today and on the front page was the excellent news that the police have seized two dairies containing the names and contact details of dozens of suspected drug dealers and users in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Read it here.
Drug users need help; it is the drug dealers we have to drive off the streets. So good to see inroads in my part of the world.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
So a spokesman for Blair says the leaked memo has not come from No. 10. Well they would, wouldn't they? Read it here.Whether it has or it hasn't, makes no difference to me. They are a shambles; they know they are a shambles and they know the electorate have the same opinion.
Bring on Gordon. The dour Scot, who will try to distance himself from Blair, even though he was Chancellor for 10 years, will be no match for a revitalised Conservative Party under Cameron.
Shambolic, tired, sleaze ridden. What ever you call it, this government is on the way out.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Why is it then, that other European countries who have a high rate of smoking in their population, don't have the same levels of smoking related diseases as we do? Is it because of diet? Why are there people who have smoked all their lives and still live to a grand old age? How many people can you name who have died from passive smoking? Roy Castle? Is that it? It probably is. If you walk down a busy high street with stationary cars around you belching out fumes, you can't tell me that is less of a health risk than smoking?
Smoking is not good for you, but neither is eating a large amount of fatty foods, lack of exercise, etc. It is not the biggest evil in the world. If you don't like the smell of cigarette smoke, then that is an honest answer and I have sympathy with you. But if you think you are going to die if you smell cigarette smoke and it is the greatest evil known to man, then you are deluded and believe the health fascists. The same health fascists change their minds on such a regular basis; so why should we believe anything they say? The government should spend our money wisely, instead of trying to create fear.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Although at heart I have always been a Tory, David Cameron brought me back as a member of the party. I back him and I fully expect him to be the next prime minister. Although Gordon Brown will try and set himself apart from Blair, he cannot get away from the fact he was the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Blair years. Cameron offers something different. He offers a fresh approach and when middle England comes to make a decision, they will back him.
There are many constituencies - like Brigg and Goole which has a small Labour majority - that can easily become Tory and do not underestimate the British electorate. People in those constituencies will know how important they are and will vote the Conservatives back in again. This is not going to happen without any work - far from it. It will mean all activists will have to get out and deliver leaflets, knock on doors and canvess on the streets. We have to show the electorate that the Conservative Party is back in business. If we do, we will be back in government.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
What the article doesn't say is the type of questions you may be asked at an interview in the passport office. That is the bit that concerns me. The record of this government on civil liberties is shocking, so I am not filled with any hope here. I can imagine the questioning being very intrusive. I cannot think of anything else they need to know about me. In previous employment I have signed the Official Secrets' Act twice. As a driving instructor I am on an official register. As we speak, a CRB check is being done on me so I can become a school governor. Perhaps they are going to get me to sign a declaration to say I have never been involved with espionage and have never tried to overthrow the government by non-legitimate means. As if I would admit to it if I had done. No, I can see yet more liberties that we have taken for granted going down the swanny river, all in the cause of Blair's costly, beaurocratic folly.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Sir Mike is correct to criticise the MoD for the poor pay of our armed forces and the lack of basic equipment. This is - as he says - causing a bad recruitment problem, even though the MoD - quite naturally - will not admit to the scale of the problem. I was told by some soldiers recently that when Tony Blair went on a visit to Afghanistan a few weeks ago, he was 'booed' by the soldiers there and the army found it very difficult to get anyone to pose in a picture with the PM. That is what the troops on the ground think of Blair and I'm pleased Sir Mike has spoken out.
So why is he awarded £50K? Because he should have been released on bail, even though he would have absconded and there wouldn't have been a cat in hell's chance of finding him again. Have our judges gone mad? Here is a man who should no longer be in this country, who would have most likely have offended again and we are giving him fifty grand for his trouble.
On a very serious note, does this ruling open the floodgates for others in the same position. Everyone has human rights, yes; but if you should longer be here, are dangerous, have been convicted of a crime and are awaiting deportation, you should not be realeased.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
This is simply an excuse to raise more revenue for the Treasury under the guise of being green. I have been looking up some figures to see just how much of an impact all forms of transport in the UK have on the enviroment. If you include domestic car use, haulage, sea travel, air travel (not including international air travel) and trains you may be surprised by the figure. The total amount of CO2 created is around 13%. Air travel is responsible for just 2% of CO2 emissions, although scientists tell us it is nitrous oxide that is more dangerous to the ozone layer than the CO2. Even so, 87% of CO2 is created by means other than us going about our daily business.
A 1.25p increase in fuel duty is not going to stop me driving and charging me an extra fiver to fly out of the country is not going to stop me flying. And I don't feel guilty at all, not while China and India start polluting our atmosphere more each day. These tax rises are what they are; tax rises and I am sure as we speak the Treasury will be thinking up all sorts of new ways to tax us under the guise of being 'green.'
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
I don't about you, but I think there are more than just traces of nuts in the council there. One of the local residents said the rules had made the small party as difficult to arrange as the Great Yorkshire Show! I'm with him on that one. I do have one thing to add, and pardon me for any ignorance shown. If you had an allergy to nuts, would you eat a sweet mince pie? I thought you wouldn't!
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Well, what a surprise there! Under Putin's presidency, many critics of him have died under mysterious circumstances, including twenty-one journalists. Once a KGB man; always a KGB man.
Yesterday I had an excellent day in Goole. As part of the NHYes campaign, I accompanied Andy Percy, our candidate for Brigg and Goole, Martine Martin and Neil Cropper from Hull University CF and other activists and helped collect signatures for a petition against NHS cuts. I also met Timothy Kirkhope MEP, leader of the Conervatives' in the European Parliament. Timothy joined us for the morning.
The response was great and many people we approached had no idea just how many cuts were happening to THEIR services. Goole is a Labour town, which made the response we got even more fantastic. When you talk to people, everyone has a tale about the NHS. Unfortunately today, many of the stories are not positive and that is largely due to the cuts Gordon Brown is making. I look forward to many more vists helping Andy win this seat for the Conservatives.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
This is yet another example of how Labour want to centralise everything and take away local services from local people. When anyone asks me why I am a Conservative, my reply is always the same. 'I believe in the individual, family and community, making decisions for themselves and about themselves without having the interfering hand of government meddling in their affairs.' Centralising hospital services many miles away from some communities is another example of taking away choice and convenience and effects some of the most vulnerable citizens; such as the elderly. Thank goodness the East Riding has Conservative MPs who will fight these changes. Graham Stuart, the Beverley and Holderness MP said, 'I will use every weapon at my disposal to maintain our hospitals.' And I know he will.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
I have read some commentators whose opinion is get out now; we are not doing any good, in fact we making the situation worse. This is fundamentally wrong. Although British and American troops are loosing their lives, that is nothing compared to the Iraqi death toll. Iraqis are killing Iraqis in ever increasing numbers and if we do pull out now the situation will get worse; not better.
Other commentators prefer the deadline approach. This too is fundamentally wrong. If we say we are going to withdraw on such a date, it leaves our troops badly exposed. Insurgents will take every opportunity to target our forces before the withdrawl date. It is also impractical on another level. We cannot predict accurately what the political situation will be like in say, a year, or next spring, as the British Foreign Secretary hopes for.
The only thing we can do is stay there for as long as it takes and forget targets and deadlines; at least for the time being. This will take years and the British and American electorate will not like it; but that is what happens when you invade another country. It is your responsibility to see it out to the end. When I last visited the US in March of this year, I noticed many signs outside businesses saying, 'Bring our boys back home.' I can empathise with the family of a serviceman and if it was a son of mine out there I would want him back to, but this is not the right response. It is an unfortunate part of life that some countries will fragment unless there is a brutal dictator in charge. It is an unpalatable thought to those of us in the west; however it is true. The terrorists didn't get a look in when Saddam ruled. Getting rid of a dictator my sound good and look good on paper, but before we get ourselves involved with anything like this again, we have to look at the consequences of our actions and determine whether it will be in the long term good for the world. There are many people and many countries throughout the world where democracy is alien. They do not see it our way. There are tribal and caste systems in place and they seem to be happy. We must resist the temptation of forcing democracy down other peoples throats and telling them they should be grateful. I hope and pray we learn our lessons from Iraq and not jump in too quickly in to another country, without thinking about the ramifications.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
I want to tell you a story about a friend on mine. My friend is a twin and throughout his schooling in the 60s, he was told he would never come to anything; unlike his brother. His brother recently retired as a police Chief Inspector; so he did okay; but what about my friend? He became a highly qualified motor engineer. Good so far? The story doesn't end there. He went back to college; sat 'O' Levels and 'A' Levels; went to King's College, London, got a Bachelor of Divinity degree and became an Associate of King's College; got ordained a priest in the Church of England, and is still in the job and is an honorary canon of Durham Cathedral. So things turned out alright there then. He was constantly put down by his teachers and so gave up in school, but that didn't mean he was stupid; that is evident.
Now let me tell you a story about me. At the tender age of five, I didn't pick up reading as quickly as my fellow classmates. So, I was put at the back of the class and forgotten about. I went, a couple of years later, to a remedial reading class that was run by a family friend. She told my mother after a few sessions there was nothing wrong with my reading, it was the teacher's fault.
Teachers can inspire or they can destroy. If it wasn't for my music teacher at school I would never have learned the piano, organ and got involved with musical theatre. I would not have the musical appreciation I have now. If it wasn't for my French teacher, I would not have the love of France and the French language I have now. Those two teachers were passionate about their subjects and the enthusiasm they showed rubbed off on me.
A lot is spoken about education and I applaud good teachers everywhere for their tireless work; but for those bad teachers everywhere, I have this one sentence to say. Get another job; you are potentially ruining the lives of many young people.
1. Vote tactically. I did at the last election, to my shame. We all should vote for what and whom we believe in. In my defence, I was trying to get rid of Labour. It didn't work. I'll never do it again.
2. Trust a word Tony Blair says. I haven't believed him much anyway, but if he told me my house was on fire, I would rest at ease, knowing everything was alright.
3. Travel on a fast ferry. I am hopeless at sea and thought a ride across the channel on a fast ferry would be better than a slower one. Fast ferries are smaller, and I felt as sick as a dog.
4. Fly British Airways. This is not just to do with the cross saga. I dislike their dirty tricks. Ask Freddie Laker and Richard Branson.
5. Judge people on face value. I was in a gas station in the southern suburbs of Chicago earlier this year. It was a poor neighbourhood and I felt ill at ease as my friend - an American - and I were the only white people there. I accidentally bumped in to a very big, tall guy, and cringed. He apologised! People are people and they never stop amazing me.
6. Stop fighting for our rights. Americans are lucky. They have the right to freedom of expression and speech enshrined in law. This government takes advantage of the fact we do not.
7. Stop laughing. Laughter is the best medicine.
8. Buy the Daily Mail again. Just because we disagree with non-conservatives politically, doesn't mean people of other parties have nothing to offer. The Daily Mail spits out vitriol for the sake of it.
9. Take my parents' for granted. When one of them nearly dies, you learn to value them even more.
10. Quit, give in or give up. Churchill told us never to and if he had, where would we be today?
Yes Robert, that was more difficult than it first seems; although it is a good exercise. Now I will send this tag to these people. Praguetory, Martinemartin, AndyPercy, and send one accross the Atlantic to MediaLizzy
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Mr Blair also now admits to what everyone else in the world thinks, that the violence in Iraq since the 2003 invasion has been a disaster. Another reason not to go to war in the first place. Anyone who understands the history of Iraq, knew the country would descend in to bloodshed.
Unfortunately for the prime minister his legacy will be Iraq and probably cash for peerages. His government promised so much, yet failed to deliver. It accused the tories of sleaze, but is sleaze ridden to the core. Tony Blair looks jaded and knows he is on the way out and the sooner he goes, the better.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
This is political correctness gone completely bonkers. Of course a Christian Union is going to be exclusive in the fact only Christians are going to be members. Of course they are only going to have Christians on their governing bodies. Why else would you want to run a Christian organisation, if you weren't a Christian? Before we know it, the Church of England will be forced to have non-Christians on its synods; after all the church would not want to exclude, wouldn't it?
As political correctness is something I have never really got my head around and never will; I will say this. If an Islamic society was treated in exactly the same way, it would make headline news and the story would run for days. It would indeed be wrong to treat Muslims in this way, just as it is wrong to treat Christians in this way too. In this country we have to get back to real equality and freedom of expression and speech; and that means for everyone.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I haven't heard a convincing reason for detaining someone for 90 days without charge. We all have to accept that in the age we live in - with a clear terrorist threat facing this country - some of our civil rights will have to be compromised for the security of our country, however taking three months out of someone's life without charging them with some sort of crime, is too long and I fear it is only the 'thin end of the wedge.' Are the police going to turn around and say in the future 90 days is not enough? Will it be 120 days? 150 days? Are we going to go down the Guantanamo Bay route?
I think the best route to take, is the case-by-case route. Give judges the power to decide on each case on its own merit, if there is a compelling case. I know this information is sensitive and I'm not talking about going down to the local magistrates' court. For that to work, the case would have to be heard in private, in front of a senior judge, who will be suitably qualifed in law to make such decisions. Giving the police a blanket 90 days goes too far and the prime minister should accept he has lost this one and not keep going back to parliament again and again until he gets his own way.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
We also know the government will push through the ID cards bill. They know it would not have stopped the 7/7 bombings in London. They know it is going to be costly and they know it is going to be hugely difficult to implement. Our only hope is that Gordon Brown is not as convinced on ID cards as he makes out, and he will kill it dead in the water when he becomes PM. I don't really think it will happen, but I like to live in hope.
If anyone heard Ming Campbell this afternoon, you will have heard him say there have been 365 new Acts of Parliament since Labour came to power. That is amazing! Even I was surprised it was that many. Three new bills a month, on average. I think I would have trouble naming fifty Acts of Parliament; and this lot have enacted 365. Our rights and freedoms are being steadily eroded in this country by a prime minister who has little or no regard for our ancient ways and customs. Again - living in hope - I can only hope that his replacement will have more respect for our unwritten constitution and will not try and take more of our rights away from us. Control freaks? This lot have rewritten the text books.
Monday, November 13, 2006
So what he is really saying is if he votes for Brown, he said he would; if he votes for John Reid or anyone else who enters the race, he said that he definately didn't say that he would vote for Brown; and if he votes for someone other than Brown and Brown wins, he said that he would make an excellent prime minister. You may think you are being clever Mr Johnson, but the rest of us have seen through you in a second.
Can you just imagine what a coup it would be for the insurgents if they killed the third in line to the British throne; the son of the Prince of Wales; the Queen's grandson? By going he will be making himself an obvious target and more importantly, the men who he will be leading will be at an increased risk too. I know Prince Andrew saw active service in the Falklands, but that was different. That was a straight forward war - if such a thing exists. What is going on in Iraq is not standard warfare; it is trying to uphold law and order in a bitterly divided country where a number of factions are trying to vie for power. He should not go, if for no other reason than the increased risk his men will face if he leads them.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I am sure you will agree with me that Her Majesty is a wonderful, inspirational queen. However, she cannot be present at every cenotaph in the country. Her representative in every county is the Lord Leiutenant; and they in turn cannot be present at every cenotaph in their county; so a representative is sent along. Our representative arrives this morning and announced herself by saying, "I am the Queen's representative and I will not be parading." The parade marshall told her that she should, and she then replied, "The Queen doesn't parade." Not exactly the sort of person you warm to, is she? Even though she was the representative of the representative, she thought she could still liken herself to the Queen. It reminds me of an old story. A Queen's chaplain once famously said. "As Her Majesty was saying to me the other day; she dislikes people who name drop!" We all know someone like that; don't we?
Friday, November 10, 2006
Now I hear that Gordon Brown says race hate laws should be tightened as a result of this verdict. Thankfully the Lib-Dem's have said parliament must resist the temptation for more restrictions on expression. And I agree with them. I think our right to freedom of speech is being eroded and the last thing we need is politicians trying to pass 'knee jerk' legislation through Parliament. Our job is to argue against the BNP and try to convince people who vote for them that they are voting for a nasty rascist organisation.
His business is located in a small, private housing estate. So, no passing trade. To drum up some business, he puts out two boards; one on the edge of the estate and the other a little way down next to a busy roundabout. Unfortunately, the local council objected to the board near the roundabout. So when he took it away his lunchtime business suffered badly. Now that he has decided to put it back again against the council's wishes, his lunchtime trade has doubled.
What is the council thinking of? Do they want to put the man out of business? This is yet another example of people sat behind desks with nothing to do other than to interfere. They do not have any knowledge of what it is like to run a business and probably never will. Come on, give this man a break. He is only trying to make a living. The fish and chips were beautiful too!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
That has got me to thinking about parliament and way parliament works. I heard recently that since 1997 there are now over one thousand things we can no longer legally do. Over one thousand new offences. It seems as if parliament has to justify itself; if they are not constantly legislating, the electorate will think they are not working. What nonsense! A Member of Parliament has many jobs to do. They help their constituents with various problems, writing to ministers, tyring to get answers. They can table questions in the House of Commons and hold the executive to account. They debate the major issues of the day. All of these things are vitally important to our democracy. Parliament does not have to legislate for legislations sake. I want less government, not more government.
At the beginning of this years I visited a friend in the US. She lives in Indiana and we went on a guided tour of the State House in Indianapolis. Apart from sitting in the Chief Justice's seat in the Supreme Court; which was a highlight; I learned the State House of Representatives and Senate sat for around four months of the year, and yet despite this, democracy and state laws are not threatened. Perhaps a lesson should be learned here. Let's go for smaller government; fewer laws; and more to holding the executive in to account, than to legislating for the sake of legislating.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Therefore, why do will still allow untrained people to set off fireworks? It is rather like giving a rifle to a soldier and not give him any training. If he doesn't check that the safety catch is on, he could blow his brains out, and if you do not use fireworks safely, the same could happen. How, in this health and safety age, can this happen?
I believe you should have to undergo a course in how to set off fireworks safely, before you can buy them. Radical? I don't think so. It simply makes sense. A set of instructions in the box is not enough.