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Thursday, November 30, 2006

BNP

Have a look at Martine Martin's blog, and you will see she has been campaigning for the Conservatives' in Scarborough. Then look at the reply from the BNP secretary in Scarborough and you will see what a bunch of ignorant, bigoted, nasty, violent, abusive, disgusting, racist thugs they are. I have tried to find his e-mail address, but it seems everything to do with the BNP is centralised, so I cannot get hold of him. Everyone who has received a message similar to this on their blog should contact their local newspaper. Eventually the nationals will get hold of it and hopefully the electorate will really see how repulsive these people are. Martine reacted with typical good humour. These people should crawl back under the stone they managed to escape from.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blog Regulation

Many blogs have covered the story, so I don't want to labour - pardon the pun - on about this one. I only have one thing to say. The majority of political blogs are Conservative. I believe this is an important way to energise Conservatives to get out there on the streets and support their local candidates. The Lib-Dems have many bloggers too and I am sure it is important for them to do the same. Unfortunately, for Labour, blogging doesn't seem to have 'taken off' for them. So what do they want to do? Regulate! Why am I not surprised Labour want to regulate? Because they are frightened.

More NHS cuts

Do remember when Labour used to say the NHS was only safe in their hands? They said things like, we created the NHS and it is only us who can be trusted with it. So why am I not surprised to find more people trust the Conservatives' with the NHS than Labour? Look HERE.

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

Diana

Iain Dale has an interesting piece on Princess Diana. If she had died now, would we feel the same? I remember the day she died. I turned up at church to play the organ and I didn't have a clue she had died. Suddenly everything was different. I had to change the music and the air was very sombre. We had a service for her on the Friday - the day before her funeral - and on the day I watched her funeral with my Dad; both of us sobbing. She was a remarkable woman and her causes still go on today. Who can forget her touching AIDS patients? It made us all realise we couldn't catch AIDS by being next to them. She broke down barriers of ignorance and made us all aware. She will always be in the public conscience and how we would react now does not matter. She was one of a kind.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Iraq

The latest bombings in Iraq today show us all that civil war is not imminent; it is here. If this is not civil war, then I don't know what is. I don't think the suicide bombers even know what they are fighting for now. There have been over 3000 deaths in Iraq in October and this month could be even more bloody. Everyone knows my views on the war. I was against it, as I predicted, correctly, Iraq would descend in to bloody chaos. I wish I had been wrong; but I was not. What we now have to decide it what the coalition response is going to be.

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.

Freedom of information

Martine Martin has a good peice on Freedom of Information and how the government might just get around it on cost grounds. It seems as if the government giveth in one hand and taketh away with the other, when it is in their interests, of course.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stand on his head and juggle ice-cream.

Yes, believe it or not, if you go on to the 10 Downing Street website, you can petition the prime minister to do just that. At the time of writing, 1087 people have petitioned Tony and the good news is you have up until August 16 2007 to sign up. What on earth in the point of this petition section? Currently over 3000 people want the fox hunting act repealed. All of us know that is not going to happen. You can also e-mail Tony on the website, as if you are going to get a personal reply! A lot of the website is good; other parts are just a propaganda machine, telling us how much money Labour has spent making our lives better. New Labour; new ways to waste taxpayers money.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Teachers

For some reason this has been spinning in my mind for a couple of days and I have to put pen to paper.

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.

I have been tagged

I was looking at Robert Rams' blog and thought, I hope I don't get tagged on this one and before I knew it Robert had tagged me. Well here goes. Ten things I will never do.

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

Should our troops be paid more?

I saw in the newspaper yesterday, Tony Blair addressing our troops in Afghanistan. He told them how proud he was. Then a Lance Corporal in the Royal Marines asked the prime minister about more pay for troops on active service. He has a point. Tony said he couldn't make any promises. Come on Tony! It is hard work on a six month tour and they should be rewarded and they shouldn't have to pay tax on their earnings when they are on tour. And then I hear Cherie Blair is likely to pocket £100K on the US lecture circuit, trading on the fact she is the prime minister's wife. So, it's okay to swell the Blair coffers, but not to reward our troops.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Calling all Conservatives in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire...

Andy Percy, the newly elected candidate for Brigg and Goole will welcome your help. Labour has just under a 3000 majority and that is looking more than vulnerable. This is a must win seat at the next election. If you can give him your help; please do and help get a Conservative government.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Iain Duncan Smith

I have just been reading an interview with Iain Duncan Smith in The Sunday Times. Some people in his position could have retreated into political obscurity; griping on the backbenches and causing trouble. No; instead he has been fighting for the poorest in our society and he will soon present a report on how to tackle some of the problems on our most run-down estates. I say our run-down estates, as this is happening here in Britain; not somewhere obscure a few thousand miles away. It is so refreshing to see a Conservative tackling these problems head-on. It is our area. We want to bring everyone up, whereas the left would rather drag everyone down and with IDS we have a passionate voice. Good on you!

A trip to the coast

This afternoon, I have been communing with nature. No, it was nothing illegal, so I didn't get arrested. I visited a friend in Lincolnshire and we headed off for Donna Nook on the Lincolnshire coast. RAF Donna Nook is a RAF firing range and for some unknown reason, starting around ten years ago, seals go there to give birth to their pups. Last year almost a thousand pups were born there and although this year the numbers are down, getting up close and personal with baby seals and their mothers is wonderful. Some of the pups were just a few hours old, with large, doleful eyes. One mother was patting her pup on the head before the pup started feeding off her. They will be there until the end of the year and if you go at the beginning of December you will probably see the greatest number of seals. Take the kids and just watch their faces.

Tony Blair in Pakistan

I have just been watching a press conference with Tony Blair and President Musharraf. What Blair is doing as he grandstands his way around the world, is to try and secure a positive legacy. Bill Clinton tried in vain to secure middle east peace at the end of his presidency, and it seems Mr Blair is doing exactly the same. As noble an aim as it is, the Iraq war will come back to haunt him. One of the main reasons I was against the war, was because it would destabilise the region. And that is what it has done and has set back the chances of peace.

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

Are Christians being persecuted again?

According to The Times today, Christian Unions in various universities around the country are preparing to take legal action, because they are being refused free use of university facilities; taken off the list student organisations and are generally being targeted. Why? Because they are too exclusive. They do not allow non-christians on their governing bodies. They are seen to be too narrow.

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

ID Cards

For anyone interested in the ID cards debate, check this out on looking for a voice blog, ,for Friday November 17. http://lookingforavoice.blogspot.com/ You will see how ID cards work; albeit in an extreme way.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tony Blair & Consensus

I heard today, Tony Blair intends push again for 90 days without charge for terrorist suspects, however, he wants to acheive this through consensus. I was wondering if that was the same consensus he was talking about before the Iraq war. I remember him on television in Gateshead, appearing before a studio audience, ensuring us all he would not go to war without UN approval. We all know the outcome of that one, and although I would agree the UN doesn't have any teeth, what Mr Blair says and what he does, are quite often two very different things.

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

Queen's Speech

Today we heard a Queen's Speech I was expecting. Very general; low in detail. I really don't feel anymore informed today than I was yesterday. It seem as if everyone in Whitehall is waiting for Tony Blair to go, and for the new chap to take over; the heavyweight champion of the world, with the knockout punch. We do know the government will do everything in its power to bring Israel and the Palestinians together around the peace table. Middle Eastern peace is a priority. I would think this was noble if it were not for the fact the Middle East is a more volatile place now - thanks to the Iraq policy - than it was a few years ago; but we knew this policy already. This has more to do with the prime minister trying to secure a legacy - in the same way Bill Clinton tried at the end of his presidency. We also know Her Majesty's government will do everything in its power to help the government of Iraq work effectively. How? Who knows. The devil is in the detail, as the saying goes; but we don't have the detail, do we?

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

Alan Johnson

According to polls and surveys that are carried out, what people hate about politicians is that they will not give a straight answer and instead try to cover there backs by hiding in cleverly worded English. I don't know if Alan Johnson thinks he is being clever but I saw through him straight away. He said that he "fully expects to vote for Gordon Brown to be become the next Labour Party leader." So, fully expects? Hm... He said the chancellor "would be an excellent prime minister. " More support there then; but just wait for the next quote. He said, "It would be fine for Home Secretary John Reid to run for leader."

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.

Should Prince Harry serve in Iraq?

I would like to hear your views on this subject. Until recently, I didn't have an opinion either way. He is very keen to pay a full part as an officer in the British Army, and good on him for that. Looking at him in his uniform at the cenotaph in Whitehall yesterday, you could see in his face the pride he has wearing that uniform and being an officer; however I don't think he should go.

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

Rememberance Day

This morning I played the organ for the Rememberance Day service in Ferryhill, Co Durham. It was great to see so many children there and proves that the various youth movements we have in this country are still going strong. There was one small 'fly in the ointment' however.

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

BNP

I heard on the news today that the leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin and another party activist, have been cleared at Leeds Crown Court of inciting racial hatred. I thought this would be the outcome from the beginning as what he said was odious, offensive, and untrue, however, as much as I loathe him and what he stands for, we do live in a free society. As much as we loathe these people, they do have a right to express their views and as long as he doesn't call for his supportors to commit acts of violence against people of different faiths and ethnicity, I'm afraid we just have to put up with it.

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.

Two minutes' silence

May I remind anyone who is reading my blog that tomorrow is November 11. At 11.00am please observe the two minutes' silence. We are not just remembering the fallen of two world wars, but people who have died in other conflicts Britain has been involved in; right up to today in Afganistan and Iraq. They have paid the ultimate price for our safety and freedom; the least we can do is tomorrow is remember them.
Today I decided I was going to have a healthy lunch, so I went to the fish & chip shop! Okay, maybe not as healthy as it could be, but none of these health gurus can convince me that fish and chips once a week is going to kill me. While I waiting for my fish to be cooked I commented to the owner that business was good today; and he told me a little story.

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

I don't think that the loss of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate has a lot to do with Iraq; but President Bush obviously thinks it has, and that is interesting. I also don't think the loss - if that is what you want to call it - of Donald Rumsfeld will make any difference to President Bush's approval ratings. His loss has been domestic. Americans have seen failure after failure on domestic policy. Of course he lied to the American people, just as Tony Blair lied to the British people, but the fact the fires Donald Rumsfeld - although I know he offically resigned - shows what a weak position he is in. Roll on the next presidential election. Whether the next president is Democrat or Republican is not what matters. I only care if there is another conservative there and that can come from either party, although I would rather go for Guiliani than Clinton.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Smaller government

Many years ago, I was serving on a standing committee in the Church of England. We were trying to decide what should be the main topic for discussion at a meeting. Should we have a main speaker? None of us present could think of anything and the rest of the agenda was looking like a complete waste of time. I said, 'Why don't we just not have a meeting. What is the point, if we have nothing of merit to discuss.' My thoughts were too radical. 'We must have a meeting', the reply came back, and indeed we did; the net result, a complete waste of time.

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

Fireworks

The UK has gone health and safety mad. There was a case a couple of weeks ago where a school crossing patrol officer was absent on long term sick. Therefore you would think one of the teachers could help out and make sure the children could cross the road safely? That would of course be sensible, but not in the health and safety age. The council would rather risk the safety of the children, than put an untrained person in charge. With respect to 'lollipop men and women' everywhere who keep our kids safe, a school teacher should be able to grasp the job pretty quickly. Unfortunately this is how things are.

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.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Liberty

For those of you who saw 'Vox Politix' on 18 Doughty Street last night, I hope you agree that Shami Chakrabati was brilliant. I saw her in a new light. I think Iain was right; on Question Time or the Today programme you only get a few minutes to get your point accross, but to listen to her for over an hour, I discovered what an intelligent, persuasive person she is. All Conservatives should be interested in our liberty. Tony Blair's government is determined to tell us how to live our lives and erode our liberties in the process. I am going to check out the 'Liberty' website and join-up. She has convinced me and I am sure the majority who watched the programme last night.

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