Monday, December 31, 2007
Before I wish you all a Happy New Year, Steve Green decided to tag me on Christmas Eve with a meme asking me for eight wishes for 2008. So here goes:
1. The Conservative Party to go from strength to strength.
2. The government to finally scrap the proposed ID cards. (Plenty of hard campaigning there for all of us).
3. The government to increase defence spending and give our troops the pay, conditions and equipment they deserve.
4. Durham County Cricket Club to win the County Championship.
5. The cost of fuel to go down.
6. To be settled back home and the memory of flooding to be well and truly behind us.
7. To become a councillor. (That's a dream my fairy godmother couldn't grant me!)
8. To be a happy, healthy family.
All that remains is for me to thank everyone for reading and contributing to my blog over the last year and I hope to see you all - and more readers - doing the same in 2008. Have a very Happy New Year!
Friday, December 28, 2007
Pakistan has a long history of bloodshed since its formation in 1947. Democracy has never flourished there. If the military take a dislike to the elected government of the day, a predictable coup d'etat takes place and then we are back to square one. Although it seems Benazir Bhutto was not killed by the Pakistani authorities, what is happening there at the moment is history repeating itself. The main difference now - as opposed to previous times - is that Pakistan is now a nuclear power and a linchpin state in George Bush's war on terror. Never before has Pakistan been so important to the West.
President Musharraf will now have to react in a way that is seen to be correct for all sides, which is impossible. There are elections due on January 8 which should take place, but with calls for those elections to be boycotted, he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Being stuck between a rock and a hard place doesn't begin to tell the story.
Just how much unrest and bloodshed there will be cannot be predicted, however Britain and the US are already overstretched and with possible action needed in Iran and Iraq still remaining volatile, military action in Pakistan is not an option.
Benazir Bhutto's assassination in a tragic event in the already troubled history of Pakistan. Another chance to take the democratic route has hit the buffers. Another chance to move from the past and move the Pakistani economy forward has gone. There will be other chances, but this one was the best chance there has been in years. We can only hope another one is around the corner.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I think this will be the last post I will do this year. There is too much wrapping to do; so many people to see and a house that needs to be ready to move back in to at the beginning of January. Becky and I are completely knackered, and there is still a hell of a long way to go.
It has been a very eventful year for me. I fought an election campaign; lost - but helped get a few councillors elected. Just after the election, Becky and I got together. Then came the floods! Since then we have hardly had any time to spare. We are both looking forward to a less stressful 2008.
I will take this opportunity to wish all readers and very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous and Peaceful New Year.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Bin Men in Hull are unhappy about their pay and conditions, and may possibly take industrial action.
Bin Men on strike and nationalisation; doesn't this remind you of Labour many years ago?
Anyone who is interested in politics will know what a divided party they are. Clegg's narrow margin of victory will publicise this to the electorate, although I don't think there are many who are interested who the LibDem leader is.
Compare his narrow victory to the convincing margin David Cameron achieved two years ago. He has only got this far because the Conservative Party were willing to get behind a leader. I don't see this happening to the LibDems.
They are a party who is always willing to deal in untruths and backstabbing in local politics, so it does not surprise me that they have let their facade down and have revealed their true colours on the national stage.
Unless Clegg can do something about his own personal image - hardly anyone knows who he is - the Conservatives and Labour will continue to squeeze his party further.
Friday, December 14, 2007
In properties all around the area there are signs in windows protesting against the closure. No one wants it. No one wants to trek in to Beverley town centre to join the long queues at the main post office. This is the human side of post office closures and before anyone thinks of petitioning the prime minister on the Downing Street website, 1500 local residents have already signed a petition against the closure and their calls have been greeted by deaf ears.
These closures will deeply affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the country. The elderly will no longer be able to access services without travelling. A hub of the local community will be taken away and the silence from the government is deafening.
One of the reasons the bill is so high is that the council has had to fork out around £10m to repair council homes affected by the flooding.
Meanwhile the government bails out Northern Rock with billions of pounds worth of taxpayers' money, but will not even come close to paying the bill facing the council tax payers of Hull: £36.51m is peanuts in comparison. I have had the misfortune of being flooded; my insurance bill will increase dramatically and now I will have to pay more council tax and possibly face a reduction in council services.
Thank you Mr Brown for all your help, but then you know already that the voters in this city will misguidedly elect three Labour MPs at the next election. We really have been pissed on from a great height.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
After the debate - if you want to call it a debate - between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, I am convinced that neither of them are fit to become President of the United States. With all the problems that beset America at the moment, they think it's worth spending time attacking each others' religious views. Huckabee is an ordained Baptist minister and Romney is a Mormon and the former suggested that Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers.
The level of debate in the UK is not very high at times, but at least it hasn't sunk that low.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Is there anything this government can handle properly? For the Police Federation to call for her resignation and call a likely ballot of members as to whether they want the right to strike, shows how low the morale is amongst police officers.
For the rest of us; we want the Home Secretary to resign because we don't have any confidence in her full-stop. And while we are still talking about people resigning, perhaps the whole cabinet should be thinking about their positions. Are any of them competent?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Could anyone tell me then what that has to do with asylum seekers entering Britain illegally and then being turned away from these shores. Nothing? I would agree; unfortunately the BBC do not.
Iain Dale has referred to an article from The Spectator which reports 'the BBC making a new version of the Nativity, with Jesus and Mary as asylum seekers turned away by Britain.'
Just like Iain, I will let you draw your own conclusions, however I would like to ask one question: Is this a dig at Christianity or do the BBC think everyone who tries to enter Britain should be allowed to stay indefinitely? I can't make my mind up.
I have just been reading one of my favourite blogs - The Norfolk Blogger - and discover that Ofcom have granted a temporary licence to an Islamic radio station who broadcast good luck messages to some of Britain's most dangerous terrorists.
Do I hear government ministers denouncing this? No. What we hear instead is the government attempting to raise detention without charge to 42 days and ministers pronouncing that the views of the BNP and David Irving do not have he right to be articulated in a public forum.
When will this government get serious about tackling terrorism? When will they stop playing lip service to the problem? Allow intercept evidence to be used in terror cases. Give the police and security services the adequate resources they need to do their job; and for crying out loud make sure radio stations and websites that advocate terrorism are shut down and the perpetrators are brought to trail.
I am sure all of you have heard this Christmas Carol; not that Bethlehem is very still at the moment. Amazingly - according to Sky News - more than 1 in 4 adults in Britain have no idea where Jesus was born. As someone who was brought up on the Christian Church and I was also an organist for 18 years, you would expect me to know he answer to that riddle, but surely this is just general knowledge, plain and simple. I am not going to go on a rant about the standards of education, but I think we are in a position at the moment where our teachers have to concern themselves with league tables so much, that some of our children are missing out on a more rounded education. It also seems apparent that the thirst for knowledge of the average citizen is not very high after they leave full-time education. A sorry state of affairs indeed.
Read the report HERE.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Meredydd Hughes, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, and the former chairman of roads policing at the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), has been banned from driving for 42 days for doing 90 mph in a 60 limit. This is the man who wanted more hidden speed cameras to catch out motorists. Poetic justice indeed.
We had a police officer here who thought drink drivers were worse than scum. He is currently banned from driving and I won't give you three guesses as to what his crime was. Glass houses spring to mind.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I remember publishing a post on Madeleine McCann, and within 5 minutes of publishing it, someone had picked it up, from Google, and was reading it in Washington State, USA.
So, when you want your story around the world quickly, Google will do it for you. If you make a mistake; there's nothing you can do.
Monday, December 03, 2007
What Baroness Warsi and Lord Ahmed have done has been done with all the best of intentions, however for the Sudanese president to grant her a pardon, there has to have been a crime in the first place. Ms Gibbons was not guilty of a crime. There was a time when a British Passport meant something. It doesn't seem to anymore. By negotiating with the regime in Sudan, we have legitimised their judicial process and that is a mistake. We should get back to those times when Britain never negotiated with terrorists or rogue states.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
For starters, the current regime in Sudan is bonkers. On top of that they are dangerous with it. Without wanting to sound in any way racist, the majority of Sudanese are also - compared with Western standards - uneducated. These nutters understand that and basically brainwash. No other word for it. Why is life so bad for you? Blame it in America. Who are the infidels? The decadent West.
It reminds me of Communist days when loudspeakers would adorn the lamp posts around the town square; the party officials could address the faithful and brainwash them in to thinking how much better their life is compared to those in the decadent West. Hitler did it. He brainwashed the majority of Germany in to thinking all their problems were to due the Jews. He turned innocent young men in to monsters after they joined the SS. Robert Mugabe does it today in Zimbabwe. All his country's problems are due to Britain.
What we see with Islamist extremists is not new. It has been going on for centuries and just as we have fought against fascism and communism, we have to fight against this other form of dictatorship. Once Ms Gibbons is deported back to the UK, we should drastically reduce aid to Sudan. We should teach them a lesson that they do not bite the hand that feeds.
Finally, we all need to take note that free speech is something we should be proud of and if necessary, fight for. Go to one of these Islamist states at your peril. Even the most innocuous remark could land you in front of the firing squad.
I received an e-mail from Liberty yesterday, which I am partly re-printing here. If anyone feels as strongly about this subject as I do, the please join Liberty and lobby your MP. Thank you.
In 2005, Liberty campaigned successfully to prevent Government proposals to raise the maximum period of pre-charge detention to 90 days. The active support of Liberty members was crucial in helping us to defeat the Government's proposals then. We need your help again.
The Government is proposing to extend pre-charge detention in terrorism cases once again, this time to a possible 56 days. Liberty believes that any further extension beyond 28 days is unjust, unnecessary and will not - as the Government has argued - make us any safer.
A new Counter-Terrorism Bill is yet to be published and you can still help us to influence the debate by taking action now.
What you can do
Did your MP vote against extending pre-charge detention back in 2005? If so, we will have written to you to let you know. Urge your MP to maintain their principled position by standing their ground on this issue. If you unsure how your MP voted, visit www.theyworkforyou.com to find out, or download our list to see if your MP’s name is on it.
Remember, the best way to get in touch with your MP is to write to them rather than telephone - this will only annoy them and is unlikely to get you very far. For more tips and advice, read Liberty’s guide to lobbying your MP.
One way you could help is to write a letter to your local paper, highlighting your concerns and listing the alternatives suggested by Liberty. Better still, encourage a group of friends to write letters too - there is strength in numbers! Remember, it is better to keep the letter short and to the point. Your local paper is more likely to print your letter without editing it, if it is succinct.
All the information you need
· Take a look at a list of the alternatives to extending pre-charge detention
· Read our detailed 'Questions and Answers' information sheet.
· Find out what the papers say about pre-charge detention. You can read excerpts from leader columns in almost all of the major national daily newspapers opposing the extension of pre-charge detention.
· There is lots of advice and information available on our website, just go to www.chargeorrelease.com
Get in touch!
If you need more information on the campaign or advice on any of the above points, please don't hesitate to get in touch by emailing us.
Finally, remember to sign up to the Charge or Release email list today by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will keep you updated with campaign news and ways you can help.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
On key questions of government competence, the vast majority of those polled thought the government was poor or very poor; and they also thought that the government team was 'lightweight.'
This poll must be the worst for any sitting government since opinion polling began; and that is not an exaggeration.
Hat Tip: Shane Greer
Thursday, November 29, 2007
An opinion poll in the Telegraph tomorrow puts the Conservatives 11 points ahead of Labour - 43 to 32. Two months ago, Labour enjoyed the same lead. The Met will be feeling the collars of Gordon Brown and his entourage. Harriet Harman has failed to register loans she received to help fund her campaign for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party. Peter Hain has admitted he has not declared £5000.
Iain Dale predicts Harman will be gone by Monday. I think he is right. If she has any honour, she will resign as Deputy Leader and resign as Leader of the House of Commons before she is pushed. She has so clearly broken the law. If a Tory had done that, I can just hear the condescending platitudes emanating from her. She will now have to swallow some harsh medicine. With worries that the economy it set for a downturn and Brown's crisis management non-existent, Labour must now realise that their time in power is coming to an end; and it can't come soon enough.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
David Cameron, during PMQs today, told him he was not cut out for the job he has wanted for over a decade. If this theme runs, he may just become the most embattled prime minister in recent history.
Acting LibDem leader, Vince Cable, said that in a few weeks Brown had gone from Stalin to Mr Bean. I think Brown will be reminded of that quote for quite some time.
His problems all stem from his dithering. If he had gone to the polls when he should have done, I believe he would have had a mandate for five years and he could have ridden any storm knowing there wasn't any pressure on him to call an election. If he continues to stumble from one crisis to another and the opposition parties can continue to exert pressure and exploit his many weaknesses, he may be forced to call an election earlier than expected. If he doesn't, he will condemn his party to as big a drubbing as John Major's Conservative Party in 1997.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
He wanted a new motto for Scotland and spent £100K on getting one. What is it you ask? "Welcome to Scotland." I think I need to get in to the motto writing business.
You get told before the show has started, that your favourite uncle died at dawn. More than that your Ma and Pa have parted, your broken hearted, but still go on.
Yes, there's no business like showbusiness, but unfortunately for Amy Winehouse, she simply cannot continue her tour without her hubby, who is remanded in custody at the moment.
Showbusiness ain't what it used to be!
I would not provide links for them on my blog, as blogging is not debating, but if you want people like these to be exposed for what they are, you have to debate with them. Apparently the debate was balanced and enlightening. I just wish I had been there.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sajjad Karim - a LibDem MEP - has defected to the Conservatives and has spoken of how impressed he is with David Cameron's views on immigration. He described them as sensible, rational and positive.
Of course, the LibDems not being very happy with him have stated that the reason he has defected is because he is only second on their candidates list for the North West Region at the next Euro election. Well, if they believe that, they believe in flying pigs. No-one switches party on that sort of a whim.
It proves that the Conservative Party is an all inclusive party for everyone in Britain. Welcome aboard Mr Karim
I'm still catching up on the news, but I notice once again Gordon Brown is showing he is nothing like 'Teflon Man' Tony Blair. The man seems to attract everything that is flying around him. If I was a Labour MP I would be getting very worried at the moment. This definitely seems like the start of the wheels coming off the Labour juggernaut. The public see Brown and his team as weak. Unfortunately, he is not a Chairman or CEO of a major organisation, who can be given the push early by the shareholders. The electorate must wait. Who knows how much more damage he will have inflicted on Britain by then.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
This morning I received a comment and I have decided to publish it here for those who do not read the comments section.
Dear Mr Allison,
May I, as the CE of the UKNDA, most appropriately be the first person to welcome you to the UKNDA and to congratulate you on highlighting the need for a UKNDA.
I hope that this blog will encourage many more people to join us in promoting the case for sufficient, appropriate and fully funded Armed Forces that our country needs to defend effectively our people, their security and vital interests at home and wherever they may be.
Cdr, RN CE UKNDA
May I take this opportunity to recommend the UKNDA to all my readers and encourage you all to join.
Unfortunately, I have to disagree with my party over this. Children should be encouraged to read from an early age; this is without doubt, but setting yet more targets and pushing reading down the throats of young children who are not yet ready for it will be counter productive. I believe we start formal education too early in Britain. Children prior to the age of seven - in my opinion - should be taught to read and learn basic arithmetic in an informal, fun setting, as well as in the home. If you want children to learn you have to make sure they enjoy it first and that they do not feel they are failures.
I hope this policy announcement will be open for discussion and then dismissed.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I have joined the UK National Defence Association that is campaigning for 'SUFFICIENT, APPROPRIATE and FULLY FUNDED ARMED FORCES that the Nation needs to defend effectively our Country, its people, their security and vital interests at home and worldwide.'
To go on to their website click here.
On to other things. I have received an e-mail from someone representing http://www.transaction-2007.com/. They are an organisation campaigning for lower taxation on fuel, which is an issue very close to my heart. As I have said before the rising cost of fuel will cripple the economy if it is allowed to continue and all the government is interested in is the short-term gain of extra revenue flowing into the Treasury. They are putting the long-term interests of the British economy in jeopardy; as they do with so many of their policies.
Check out this website, join the forum and find out how the campaign is going.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
He may have had the finest education money can buy and have come from a privileged background, but he has the common touch and this is a huge advantage for the Conservative Party. I couldn't imagine Gordon Brown being as comfortable on a show like that. After his disastrous appearance on Jonathan Ross's show some time ago, Cameron opened up to the warm interviewing style of 'Parky' and interacted well with the other guests. Being on that show has given Cameron a chance to communicate with sections of the British public who would never watch a political interview; and he succeeded. Good on him.
When Mr Aitken was asked if this meant a return to front line politics, he said, "No, and I don't ever expect to. I made a bad mistake - I paid a heavy price for it and I expect to go on paying a price for it. And that's life and I have to live with that."
They sound like the words of someone who should be heading a taskforce in to prison reform. He's done his time and knows the score. Good luck to him and hopefully we will be able to get some sensible policies on how to reform our prison system; although anything would be better than the mess we have at the moment.
Link: BBC News
Friday, November 09, 2007
The price of fuel in this country is - put simply - extortionate, and the government piles on the agony by increasing fuel duties, even though they know the price of oil is going through the roof. This group quite rightly states that the high cost of fuel has ramifications for the economy as a whole. Businesses have to put up their prices as the cost of transporting materials and the cost of delivering the final product rises as a result higher fuel costs. Our hauliers are at a disadvantage with their competitors on the continent. Some hauliers who are struggling at the moment may go out of business if they cannot pass at least some of the increase on to their customers. The Treasury of course doesn't think like this. All it hears is its cash registers ringing.
I will not be joining this Facebook group however. Whilst I have sympathy with what they are trying to achieve, this is not the way to go about it. If the mailbag of every Member of Parliament was bursting to the seams with complaints about this matter and the government was continually pestered, things would start to change; slowly at first, but there isn't a politician in the land who wants to to lose their job over an issue that can be easily resolved. Marches and a rallies should also be organised to take place in central London and in cities all over the country. Pressure needs to be put on the government and the squeeze has to be concerted. Trying to get the nation not to buy fuel for one day isn't going to make one iota of difference.
As a free marketeer, I say good luck to him. I just wish someone would pay me a thousand pounds for speaking to them, but you do wonder why on earth anyone would think he was worth that sort of money. Not that he is the only one. According to The Times, Bill Clinton has pocketed $40 dollars since he left the White House. Margaret Thatcher got a cool £60,000 for one after dinner speech and Ronald Reagan raked in $2 million in Japan after he left office.
After Gordon Brown leaves office, do you think anyone will pay him for his speeches? The International Insomnia Society, perhaps?
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Many of you will have heard about the floods that have besieged Hull and surrounding areas during the past couple of days. Unfortunately I have fallen victim to the floodwater. Yesterday afternoon at around 4.00pm the water came through the floorboards and soaked the downstairs carpets and flooded the kitchen floor. Becky and her son were held hostage with me, as getting out of Kingswood was an impossibility. We simply had to retreat to the upstairs and hibernate up there.
This morning there was the usual smell you associate from this sort of this thing. I also have drainage problems and can't have a bath or flush one of my toilets without the risk of it overflowing. Thankfully I will not have to live there until things are sorted out, as Becky's mum had kindly allowed me to stay with them.
So watch this space and I will keep you up-to-date with all the latest developments as they occur. I do feel lucky however. There are many people whose homes have been flooded with two to three feet of water and they will find it difficult to find another place to stay if their insurance companies will not oblige them with a hotel room. Out of adversity, everyone is pulling together and that 'wartime spirit' is very evident and visible.
Thankfully things are moving at a good pace, eventually, and today the three of us have been out choosing a carpet, tiles and paint. We hope to be back home by Christmas, but even if we don't, we know it will not be too long in to January. The trails and tribulations have been many and the loss adjusters until recently have been worse than useless. A few weeks ago a new loss adjuster started to get things moving and I have been very grateful to him. Without his professionalism, I don't think we would have been in a position to move back until spring at the earliest.
The story that is still running, however, is the abduction of little Maddie. I wrote this not long after her disappearance. I still think it is a fair analysis. It certainly got the comments coming in to the blog.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
And the election went better than anyone of us could have dreamed. An overwhelming majority on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
I have just seen this link on Conservative Home.Once again Ann Widdecombe lightens up a debate with her insight. The line I like the best is: So anybody imagining that it makes a jot of difference if Mrs Bloggs replaces her lightbulbs with low energy ones might just as well throw a sugar cube in Loch Ness and claim a serious contribution has been made to sweetening the water.What more can I say?
There isn't anything else to add!
So, Rudolph Giuliani has finally put his hat in the ring for the 2008 Republican nomination. I think this will be a two horse race; between McCain and Giuliani. I still want McCain, as I have said in a previous post, but the fight will be a tough one. They are two strong men. Hopefully, either one of them will beat the Democrats. The Democrats do not have a worthwhile candidate at the moment. If they choose Hilary, they will lose. She has too much baggage and she is not popular with the American people. The other candidates are either not known or are gaffe prone. Time will tell though.
Okay, I was wrong about the Republican nomination. It is not a two horse race, but I still think the Democrats will select Hilary, and that will be the biggest mistake they can make. She is much too divisive a figure in US politics. So here's hoping they select her, so we can get at least another four years of Conservatism in the White House.
Read here what Gordon Brown's vision is. If I have read him right, he believes in smaller government and the servant state.
This is the chancellor who wants - and indeed does - tax us more. The man who believes in the state interfering more in our lives, rather than less. I can feel a general election coming very shortly. This has to be a ploy to con the electorate in to thinking he is somehow different than the rest of the Labour Party, and different to his past too.
How many people does he think he can fool in to thinking he has had a 'Road to Damascus' experience? Listening to people? You have only done that at election time and then conveniently forgotten what you were told.How many more lies is he going to tell?
I don't think Brown has changed, do you?
As the fireworks and bonfires have once again started early and are set for the next three days, please spare a thought for the animals who are affected. Becky's Mum has a border collie who is terrified of loud noises, and there are many more animals like him.
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.
I posted the above on Friday 3 November 2006. I really didn't know what I was doing a year ago, but I thought the idea was good. What has happened since then has been amazing. I have so many blogging friends and thanks to Praguetory, I met up with Andrew Percy and got working for him in the local elections this year.
This weekend I will be republishing some of my older posts and looking back at the previous twelve months.
Friday, November 02, 2007
I imagine now yet another ethics debate will rage. More than sixty years after the bombing there will still be those who will moralise about something they never had to experience; world war. Bombing Japan in such a way undoubtedly saved hundreds of thousands of American lives and brought a swift end to the Second World War. Tough decisions had to be made, and this was the right one.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I know Steve won't mind me mentioning this, but he has become a Conservative Party member through blogging. He has become a Conservative after years voting for Labour. I too was born in to a Labour family and in my teenage years became a Conservative, as I could see that conservatism was the only way forward. I have referred to an article written by Martine Martin before, but I will let you read it again. It proves why the Conservative Party is the party of the future.
In that great old 1946 film A Matter of Life and Death, pilot David Niven describes himself as "Conservative by birth, Labour by experience" just prior to leaping from his plane with no parachute - an action I can sympathise with if that sentiment were true.
I, on the other hand, describe myself as the opposite; Labour by birth, Conservative by experience.
But what exactly does it take to turn someone from a fairly hard-up background (my dad was a Labour ex-coal miner and my mother ended up a single parent) into one of the "Tory Girls"? Here is a short step by step treatise on the making of a young Tory.
Step One - Education
The most important thing any government can do for any child is to give it the chance to succeed, whatever its social strata. The greatest mistake that New Labour has made with its culture of political correctness is to believe that by denying children the chance to compete (non-competitive sports days, anybody?) those with less aptitude in certain areas will be less discriminated against, and hence more will succeed in general. In practice the gifted ones lose out and the less academically talented are merely prevented from finding their real areas of skill and persuaded that they deserve everything they want without working for it. The result is entirely lose-lose.
Social conscience has always been a Conservative trait no matter what the Guardianistas would have us believe. I know this to be true because the Conservatives once gave me a precious gift which I will never forget; a way out. Their Assisted Places Scheme, which was created in 1982 to help underprivileged yet academically talented children go to a private school, helped me get out of the education which saw my siblings drop out without even gaining GCSEs and into a specialist music school.
Crucially, the money awarded wasn't handed to me on a silver platter in the way Labour's current money-grab deals are; I had to work, prove myself and get scholarships and bursaries off my own bat. Therein lies an important difference (it seems worthwhile to note that this occurred when I was almost 11. As John Prescott will no doubt tell you, that is the age at which long-abiding impressions of parties apparently form!).
Step Two - Education
In 1997 Labour scrapped the Assisted Places Scheme. They did not quite succeed in taking back my award but the possibility caused me great distress at the time. I learned in that year that Labour may purport to stand for the "common man" but if it conflicts with their rabid hatred of anything they perceive to be remotely upper class then the common man can go throw himself in front of a train. Perhaps they thought I had sold out by digging my way out of the poor trap rather than just trying to drag everyone else down into it in order to redistribute, I'm really not sure.
Labour has changed over time of course with the coming of New Labour. It is marginally less anti-elite nowadays, probably because those running it are from private schools themselves. The point is that it made me realise just how fortunate I had been and I still feel gratitude for the help I recieved today.
Step Three - Education
It was reported the other day that by the end of this decade Blair's top-up fees are almost certainly going to hit £5000 a year. Currently I am a student at Blackadder's third great university, Hull. However had I been an entrant for this year there is no way I would have even bothered going to University at all. Since the gap between rich and poor has not been altered under the New Labour government, there can be no doubt that the children of less well off parents will be the ones to suffer, just as Michael Howard predicted. Not since the Assisted Places Scheme was demolished have Labour made such a great push towards educational inequality.
There are thousands of places at various universities left untaken, and enormous levels of competition for relatively few others. Popular universities such as Leeds are not taking the top-up fee option. Others - coincidently the ones offering courses nobody in their right mind would take up - are already requesting further cash. The equation is not a difficult one. I only hope that when the renewed Conservative Party are ready to announce their policies, they will be able to do the maths and find the solution. Past experience tells me they will.
So there you have it. It's really quite simple. Education is everything. Had Blair really meant what he said when he talked about "education, education, education" in 1997, and had they actually improved the state education system to a level at which the poor do not require a helping hand to get a decent education, perhaps I would be more sympathetic to his party.
The fact is, whilst they are simply too tied down into unworkable socialist policies to ever close the wealth gap, a future Conservative government could comfortably have the best of worlds; a helping hand for the poor-but-talented to get into specialist schools that will nurture their gifts set alongside a long term project to improve state schools as a whole with a deeper emphasis on vocational learning. I sincerely believe that the wholesale emphasis on academia is very harmful and causes those with more practical skills to get turned off by education, to the detriment of society.
At the Built to Last Roadshow in Leeds (which I reported on here) David Cameron hinted at the beginnings of a policy to bring more career-based learning into education from the age of 14. This would equip children with a much wider range of learning - the example he used was fixing car engines, I believe - and give them the skills to get a well-paid steady job without needing a degree and the heavy burden of debt it now brings.
The last Conservative governments created a new demographic of Tory Boys and Tory Girls from less well-off backgrounds who are now of the age to start making a difference in Conservative Future. Our next task is to prepare for the assembly of the next generation model... Conservative Future's Future! Once back into power it is vital that our party makes fixing the education system at all levels a top priority and stand up to snide Labour suggestions that Conservatives only look after the wealthy. I and many others are living proof that this is simply not true.
Click on the image to enlarge
Yes, today could have been the date of the general election. The reason we are not voting is all down to the Conservative Party. If we had not had such a great conference, outlining sensible, popular policies, the British electorate could have had their say. On behalf of the Conservative Party, I wish to apologise for offering the British public an alternative to New Labour and therefore depriving them a chance of change.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
It is vital for the Lib Dems that they choose the right leader this time around and Gordon Brown and David Cameron will be watching closely as to what 'bounce' they get in the polls. Politics in the UK is very volatile at the moment and although a general election is an event far in the future, it is essential that all parties perform well in the polls now. This is how New Labour did it in the 1990s. They were consistently ahead in the polls for years.
From the Conservative perspective, Cameron knows he is in the driving seat at the moment. It is essential he stays there.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
One final thought for the evening. The debate on the English Grand Committee proposal rages forth and there are some opinions I simply cannot work out. One comment on my blog said that such a committee will result in the break-up of Britain. Why? If you believe that, then surely an English Parliament could have the same effect? Then I hear Britain is being regionalized, but elected Regional Assemblies have proved as popular as a lightening strike. If anyone can enlighten me, then please feel free to comment. Right now I am preparing to pick my darling up from work and then go to bed!
As many of the comments have been abusive and unfounded, I wish to disassociate myself from them. I will leave the comments section open on this post for the next 24 hours for anyone who wants to vent their spleen, however if anyone leaves a comment or contacts me personally with any comments that are of a threatening nature, I will contact the police. I sincerely hope it will never come to that.
Firstly, I think this is a stepping stone towards our ultimate goal of an English Parliament, however we all know this is not going to happen under a Labour government. I was fortunate enough to be sitting in Strangers' Gallery in the House of Commons when the Scottish Devolution Bill was going through Committee Stage back in 1998. I heard Tam Dalyell speak against it. Remember he was the author of the 'West Lothian Question.' You might have thought his collegues would listen to his arguments, but they didn't. I saw at first hand what many of the Scottish Labour MPs were like. Thugs. Not only did they not show any respect to Tam Dalyell, but they barracked former prime minister John Major too. They never listened to any of the arguments from respected parlimentarians, and Tony Blair pushed this ill conceived legislation through parliament knowing the 'West Lothian Question' would not go away.
Mike Ion accuses the Conservative Party of making mischief by calling for an English Grand Committee; playing on Brown's Scottishness. Rubbish! This government has pushed through unpopular measures - such as tuition fees - on the backs of Scottish Labour MPs. They inflicted on the English something which their constituents did not have to put up with. The Conservative Party has consistantly made its position clear, and it has argued against the rights of Scottish MPs to legislate on English matters.
I would like to see a situation where we have a First Minister for England, who appoints a cabinet and other ministers. What I do not want to see is more politicians elected. English MPs can sit in the House of Commons on set dates and the chamber will then be known as the English Parliament.
Those who want an English Parliament should not dismiss Rifkind's proposal outright. Think of it as a stepping stone. At least with a Grand Committee we will have English MPs legislating on English matters. This has to be better than what we have now.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Today Lewis Hamilton has said he going to move to Switzerland. His reasons are because he can't go anywhere in the UK without being recognised. Poor lad. Does he think he is the only famous person who has that problem? A very taxing problem indeed.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
If we do not have the skills already in this country then it is vital for the economy we import labour. I had a very long discussion with Wayne at Central News about this months ago. It will not surprise you to hear that the BNP and I never ended up agreeing.
I will be interesting though if he goes in to detail about his relationship with Brown. He probably won't and the whole thing will be a damp squib. I imagine he will do he same as Alistair Campbell and gloss over everything. Or maybe Campbell missed them out of his book to pave the way for Blair? We'll just have to wait.
The Leader of he Scottish National Party, Alex Salmond, has also spoke out in favour of an English Parliament. He told Andrew Marr on BBC1 that "I think the right solution is to have a Scottish Parliament and an English Parliament - I believe independent parliaments - and to do the job properly, as opposed to having some sort of spatchcock solution to appeal for votes in middle England."
"I would like to see people in England have the same rights and entitlements as those in Scotland."
He is - of course - absolutely right. He is consistent in his views and does not want something different for England. Brown of course is a different proposition altogether. Disingenuous doesn't begin to tell the story.
Quote from BBC News
Saturday, October 27, 2007
The law at the moment is in a muddle. Recently the legal age for buying tobacco was raised to 18 years. So although the law states you are not responsible enough to smoke, it does think you are responsible enough drive a car, have sex and get married - albeit with the latter, you must have your parents' permission.
If you are deemed responsible enough to vote at 16, then surely you are responsible enough to drink alcohol, smoke, have sex, drive a car and get married without your parents' permission? Until this changes - which it will not - the voting age has to stay the same.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Christine Lakinski had a challenging life. She had to endure many medical problems. When she collapsed in a street in Hartlepool you would have thought someone would have come to her aid. No. Instead she had the misfortune to have Anthony Anderson walking nearby. He threw a bucket of water over her, then urinated over her, and then covered her in shaving foam. He also told his two friends that this would make good YouTube material. Unfortunately, this wasn't the end of it.
Was there a good Samaritan, ready to come to her aid. No. A large group surrounded her - after witnessing Anderson's disgusting behaviour - who thought this was highly amusing and the incident was filmed on a mobile phone camera. Christine was declared dead at the scene.
Thankfully Anderson has been sentenced to three years in prison. A magistrate had the good sense to refer this case to crown court so a longer sentence could be imposed and I'm sure the judge would have given him longer of he could.
Words fail me. How can our society sink so low?
Thursday, October 25, 2007
What always amazes me when I read stories like this one, is how intelligent people can think they can get away with behaviour like this. All the good work he has done in the past has gone for nothing. He will be remembered as the man who said do as I say, not as I do.
Read the full story here.
I have all of this week off work - so at least I do not have to sit in a car all day. Hopefully I will be feeling better to start work next Monday.
The thing I find really difficult about politics sometimes is the somewhat one minded behaviour of some people on certain issues. Let’s take abortion for example. We had this week a somewhat frantic Nadine Dorries on her blog accusing the abortion industry of controlling the select committee, setting up again an us versus them mentality which there being no bridge in the middle, just two sides glaring at each other’s somewhat reminiscent of the trenches in world war 1... And look where that got us!
I’d like sometimes for people to step back and emotionally detach themselves from the debate when emotion simply gets in the way. Don’t get me wrong, emotion is awesome, it drives people, it gives people passion, but the reality is that you start gambling with lives when you let your emotions boil over when it comes to issues like abortion.
Why can’t we have a third opinion? Dare I say it, a third way? I constantly accused not supporting life, when in fact I am pro life, while at the same time being pro choice. Thinking ahead, I would find it very hard to abort a child, I don’t know if I could say “yes, it’s alright” unless the mother was in serious danger. But at the same time I don’t want to limit people in their freedom to choose just because I don’t personally agree with abortion. As I’ve said so many times before, it’s about personal choice; the state shouldn’t be deciding if it is moral to do something, the state should be giving you the tools to decide for yourself. In this case the tool is the 1967 abortion act and it is best, I think, that it stays as it is.Will B
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I got this from Grendel, via Daily Referendum. It's the first time I have ever been compared to JFK, but I guess it could be worse. Okay, okay; I know I'm trying to convince myself. I wish it had been Churchill
We may have been glad to see the end of Tony Blair, but we all know how he would have reacted to David Cameron during their exchanges in the past three weeks. At the very least, we could have confidence that Blair was a cool head when a cool head was needed. Since the wheels have started to come off the Brown premiership, we no longer have the confidence our new prime minister will react in the same way. Cameron is looking more prime ministerial and his front bench team are looking more like ministers. More of the same please.
I woke up on Saturday morning with a bad back and thought I must have slept in an awkward way, however I am still suffering and I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow morning. The pain tends to ease on an evening, but I wake up in the morning almost unable to bend or stretch my back at all. Hopefully the doctor will be able to sort something out for me tomorrow as ibuprofen isn't working at all.
Finally, my thanks also goes out to Shades and Welshcakes for their guest posts. It's good to be able to leave my blog alone for a few days and know it is good hands.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I found out today that a work colleague of mine is a fledgling political blogger. His Blog is called Womble on Tour and he describes himself as a right of centre ex-voter.
He has invented an interesting Meme called Fantasy Government. If you want to check it out and join in, follow the link here and scroll down.
Monday, October 22, 2007
The following is an edited version of a post to my blog of 1.7.06:
Sunday, October 21, 2007
As far as I remember, Andrew is a bit Euro-sceptic. (If you believe in small Government, it is hard to also believe in huge Hyper-Government as well!)
I don't know what he'll make of Captain Euro, but it seems a bit cheesy to me and there is a whiff of indoctrination about it.
You can can find out about Captain Euro (Europe's superhero) and the twelve stars Euro team HERE.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I'm now preparing to go off on holiday and looking forward to walking along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. I will now hand you over to my capable guest authors. I will be back again on Thursday or Friday after returning from Scotland.
Today we hear that safe drinking limits recommended twenty years ago were 'plucked out of thin air' and were 'no more than an educated guess.' The medical profession felt they had to say something and that's what they did without any real scientific research.
I'm not encouraging anyone to go out and drink to excess, but perhaps the medical profession should concentrate on doing their job properly and try and keep our hospitals clean, rather than trying to frighten people into thinking they are putting their health at risk if they drink a couple of glasses of wine.
Benedict White writes that ‘this is my blog to explain why I am a member of the UK’s Conservative Party and my political thoughts.’
Benedict and I think very much along the same lines and indeed looking through many of his posts, we seem to blog about the same things. I like his easy writing style and his analysis of the failings of New Labour is spot on. His blog is easy to navigate and you can easily read his catalogue of previous posts. Benedict lives in Mid Sussex, and his local MP is Winston Churchill’s grandson, Nicholas Soames. He also links to another blog he writes called ‘A Geeks Blog’, although at the time of writing he hasn’t made an entry there since March of this year. Please keep on writing this blog though Benedict. Blogpower is all the better for having you.
A Young Conservative
I first came across William Burstow a few months before he joined us in Blogpower. He describes himself as ‘18, male, proud Briton, Unionist, Conservative, student, football supporter, blogger, singer, music addict, general politico. Also enjoys philosophy.’
Will is a young man with a big future. He is not afraid to go for the jugular and can be equally critical of his own party as he is of Labour and the Liberal Democrats. He hasn’t had the time to blog as much as would like to this year, but when he does it is well worth the wait. He is also going to do the odd guest post for me when I go on holiday this week. If you haven’t done so already, go and check him out.
Adelaide Green Porridge Café
Colin Campbell describes his blog as ‘random musings from Adelaide, South Australia – a nice place to live.’
Colin is a Scot who lives in Adelaide with his Australian partner, his two children, and a vast array of pets. It must be like a zoo in his house! He writes about his family, Australia, and doesn’t forget his native Scotland and must be very happy about the up-turn in the fortunes of the Scottish football team. He has been a member of our co-operative for a long time now, and we all enjoy the glimpses he gives us of life in Australia and makes us jealous too; especially when you look at your car covered in ice, as I did this morning, and think of the warmth and sunshine in South Australia at this time of the year. A fine blog.
I am going to start writing some reviews today and hopefully I will have them all finished inside a month. Hopefully, I will have some ready to be published later today. So I can't be accused of favouritism, I will start my reviews in alphabetical order (sorry Zaftig) and any new blogs that are added during this period, I will review at the end.
Earlier this year, I said at the end a video blog that we cannot allow Tehran to have a nuclear capability.
Hear what what I said here.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Not enough legislation? This is novel for Labour, however it sounds like a great idea to me. But why should MPs have more time off? Surely select committees can still hold the executive to account, and surely MPs could have a look at some old, outdated legislation and remove it from the statute book. They could also have a few more set piece debates, holding the executive to account.
We all know that none of these things will happen as Brown & co don't want to be shown up anymore than they are already and the thought of less laws, rules and regulations would get them breaking out into a cold sweat and give them sleepless nights. Giving MPs more time off is a waste of taxpayers money, but the government aren't bothered about wasting that, are they?
If they EU Reform Treaty is as good as you say it is for Britain, then why are you so frightened of a referendum to let the electorate of the UK decide?
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Poland wants more power for medium-sized countries. The Czechs want us all to have more powers to reject European Commission proposals. Bulgaria wants the Cyrillic alphabet recognised. Austria doesn't want too many foreign students at its universities. Italy wants more MEPs and they are willing to throw their teddies out of the window if they don't get their way. France isn't really committed to the free market as their economy wouldn't be able to cope. The Dutch and Belgians have steam coming out of their ears because of UK opt-outs. The Germans want credit if it all goes well and the Portuguese want an agreement so they can call it the Treaty of Lisbon.
There is one thing they all agree on though. They know the treaty is worded in such a complex way, that transfers of sovereignty will take place without anyone realising until it is too late. That's what Gordon Brown is hoping anyway. He knows this treaty is designed as a stepping stone towards full European integration. He knows we are going to lose dozens of vetos we enjoy now. He knows the EU is going to legislate and intrude into more areas of our lives. He knows the army of Brussels' bureaucrats have nothing better to do than to come up with skip loads of red tape. He knows the majority of citizens from EU countries want less interference from Brussels, not more. But it's not just Gordon who knows this. Everyone of those leaders tucking away at the finest cuisine Portugal can come up with, knows it too.
The peoples of Europe need to stand up and rid Europe of this tyranny. We have to tell our leaders that they don't know better than we do. We don't want bureaucrats sniffing into more and more aspects of our lives. You've gone much too far already. We have to tell them firmly, enough is enough. A common market of independent, sovereign nations, promoting free trade is good for everyone in Europe; not the bureaucratic, intrusive monster it has become.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
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I had to laugh though when I read this in 'The Times.'
Some retailers were apprehensive about ordering tight-fitting shirts, because the physique of the average rugby fan is very different from that of the players. Even a moderate beer belly can cause the shirt to rise up, exposing an expanse of pasty flesh.
Brilliant! How carefully worded that was. You can tell I didn't get the quote from 'The Sun.'