There was an error in this gadget

Friday, November 30, 2007

Harriet's guilty as hell

According to Iain Dale, Harriet Harman is about to admit that she did extend the mortgage to help finance her campaign. Well, well, well. There was a time when government minister would have resigned over a matter like this, but I can't see Harman doing so. If Brown has any guts at all he should fire her from her cabinet post and the Labour hierarchy should lean on her to resign as Deputy Leader too. It is people like her who bring politicians of all parties in to disrepute.

Brown's approval down to 23%

Looking over the YouGov poll in the Telegraph today, a few things jumped out at me. Gordon Brown's approval rating is 23%. I didn't think it could get much lower when it was 10 points higher a month ago. Even George Bush can manage 33%.

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

Gordon 'Bean' Brown


I got this picture from Andrew Percy, the prospective Conservative candidate for Brigg and Goole. You have to laugh!



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Labour woes, part...? I've lost count.

And so it goes on. I said yesterday that Brown come become the most embattled prime minister in recent history. With events moving so fast, I think he has become just that.

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

More trouble for Brown

Life doesn't get any better for Gordon Brown, does it? As he and his government lurch from one crisis to another, his political future and credibility rests in his hands. You can't blame everything that goes wrong on him, but as I noted a few days ago, he is not coated in Teflon like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.

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

A new motto for Scotland

There is a popular misconception that Scots are tight with their money; although after listening to an interview with Sean Connery, you can understand how these misconceptions arise. Alex Salmond, however, proves that when it comes to spending taxpayers' money, he is prepared to splash out.

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.

Amy Winehouse




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!

Oxford Union Debate.

Last night was a victory for free speech. Nick Griffin and David Irving hold views that I abhor and I would love to debate with them. It is the way we do things. Resigning from the Oxford Union - as one Tory MP did - shows political correctness gone mad and more than a hint of 'I know what's best for you.'

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

LibDem Defection

In recent months, other parties have tried to portray the Conservative Party as the nasty, bigoted, racist party. I know there are those who will be all three, but that goes for any party or organisation.

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

The wheels are coming off Mr Brown.

We all had a good time in London at the weekend. We went to the Tower of London, a brief look inside Parliament and a visit to the Queen's gallery at Buckingham Palace.

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

Holiday

I won't be blogging for the next few days. We are all off tomorrow to London for the weekend. The hotel does have wireless, however the look on Becky's face told me it would not be wise to bring my laptop along with me!

See you all next week.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

UKNDA comment

Yesterday on this blog I highlighted the work of the UK National Defence Association.

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.

Sincerely -

John Muxworthy

Cdr, RN CE UKNDA

May I take this opportunity to recommend the UKNDA to all my readers and encourage you all to join.

Conservatives and Education

The Conservative Party has announced that it intends to scrap Key Stage 1 and instead introduce a simple reading test. They also want to ensure that all pupils can read at the end of Year 1.

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

UKNDA

Another issue close to my heart is defence. In the USA, members of the military are regarded as heroes. Here in the UK they seem to be regarded by a large sector of society as no better then a street beggar. This government talks the talk very nicely on how it values our armed forces, but in reality it cuts defence spending so much that our armed forces do not have the vital equipment they need to do their jobs. With our armed forces stretched around the world you would think the government would be significantly increasing spending on defence, instead of making the token gestures they do at the moment.

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.

Transaction 2007

Sorry for the lack of blogging this past week. It has been 'one of those weeks.' I won't go into detail, but I am sure you will understand what I mean when I say I feel like a 'blue-arsed fly!'

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

Cameron on 'Parky'

I watched David Cameron being interviewed by Michael Parkinson on the television last night. He told a very funny story which you can read here.

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.

Jonathan AItken

If you believe that prison is there for rehabilitation as well as punishment, then there cannot be any objections to Jonathan Aitken's appointment to Iain Duncan Smith's Centre for Social Justice.

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

No Fuel Day

There is a 'Facebook' group entitled, 'NO FUEL DAY - MONDAY 19th NOVEMBER 2007.' It currently has 75,074 members.

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.

Speaking in Japan

We have all seen the internet adds and had spam e-mail telling us how we could be worth a small fortune in just a few months if we click here and hand over some of our hard earned cash for this report or another. Well, Tony Blair does not need to try this. All he had to do is turn up and speak to some property developers in China and pocket an estimated £237,000.

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?

Flooding

It appears that the widespread flooding that was possible along the East Coast of England is not going to happen. As someone who has been flooded this year, all I can say is thank goodness. Anyone who has been flooded knows what a depressing experience it is from beginning to end; especially when you see your possessions going into a skip. People keep on reminding me that the insurance company is paying for new items, but that is the only silver lining around a very dark cloud.

Sorry...

...for the lack of posts this week. To be honest I really haven't had the inclination or inspiration to write anything. I am still off work with a bad back and I have been fruitlessly surfing the internet and playing games, etc. I will, hopefully, be returning to work next week as I am not feeling too bad at the moment, although when I go out and drive my car the back pain returns, so how I am going to manage eight hours a day is anyones guess. I will just have to take it as it comes.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Frustration and Joy

July and August were very quiet blogging months. They can be summed up thus: more problems with the insurance company and the loss adjusters; and Becky and I got engaged in Paris. And the icing on the cake was the first piece of silverware for Durham County Cricket Club in their first Lords' final. Brilliant stuff.

In June it rained and rained

For me, June was a month I would rather forget. On Monday June 25, Hull was thrown in to chaos as the biggest flood the city has seen, flooded thousands of properties and as readers of this blog will know, my house flooded. This is what I wrote the day after:

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 busy month of May

May was a busy month. At the beginning we had the local elections and on the day of those elections, Madeleine McCann was abducted in Portugal. Tony Blair announced his resignation as Prime Minister at Trimdon Labour Club in his - then - constituency and the Queen was a big hit in the USA. On a more personal note, Becky and I got together.

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

Video Blogging

In April I attempted some video blogging. In all honesty I found it a big hassle and it took quite some time to just speak for a couple of minutes in to a camera. Below is my first attempt.


ovie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/WGtbVHTicSA&rel=1">

And the election went better than anyone of us could have dreamed. An overwhelming majority on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Ann Widdecombe

In March I wrote this:

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!

US Presidential Race

In February I wrote this:

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.

Gordon Brown

At the beginning of January I wrote this:

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?

Fireworks again

The second post I wrote on my blog on November 5 was , unsurprisingly, about fireworks. Click here to read it. I still stand by every word.

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.

Happy Birthday Dear Blog

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.

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

Paul Tibbets R.I.P.

Paul Tibbets - the pilot of the bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima - has died, aged 92. The Los Angeles Times has an article about his life and the lead-up to the bombing. Click here to read it.

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

The party of the future

My good blogger friend, Steve Green, who writes the Daily Referendum blog, referred to an article published on Labour Home entitled 'Show us your vision, Gordon.' Steve says it is a real eye-opener, and it is.

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.

Today has been cancelled


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.


Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    How much does the EU cost you?