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Friday, October 31, 2008

John McCain comes out fighting in Ohio

I have said here before, where is John McCain? Why isn't he fighting more? Why isn't he taking on Obama in a very combative way? Why isn't he showing leadership?

Today, may be a turning point in this election, which has had so many twists and turns so far, we are all feeling dizzy. I have just watched John McCain give a great speech in Ohio. He is fighting as if his life depends on it, which he has to, as a Republican has never won the race to the White House, without winning the electoral college votes from Ohio. It was a speech full of energy. His body language was positive. He stated his vision. He gave the reasons why Obama's policies would not work and why his policies would work. This was the John McCain I have long admired.

I have predicted a possible Obama landslide victory, unless McCain pulls something out of the hat. This election may still be a surprise. If McCain continues to make more speeches like this one, showing his grit, determination and his will to win, perhaps the voters will see at last they do have an alternative to Barack Obama.

Barack Obama or John McCain. America will decide shortly

Last night I watched the half hour long advertisement by Barack Obama, broadcast on CBS, NBC and Fox News on Wednesday. This apparently cost the campaign $1 million a network. Was it worth the money? Yes.

I admire Obama. In so many ways he has rewritten the text books on political campaigning. This advertisement was a powerful, emotional production. It will tug at the heartstrings of many voters. It will make them want change only Barack Obama can give them. His list of promises is breathtaking. If you earn under $200,000 a year, you will be better off. He will scrap tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas. He will make health care affordable for everyone. He will pay teachers more and demand higher standards. You can easily get wafted along, but I didn't. 

If you tax the rich more to pay the poor, the rich will go somewhere else where they pay less tax, because (surprise, surprise) they don't like paying tax anymore than you do. If they take their money elsewhere, they take wealth creation and jobs with them. So, his tax plans for 'ordinary' Americans will mean job losses. Still, I suppose he is going to save money by not giving tax breaks to companies to ship jobs overseas. The problem is, there are going to be more companies going down that route as a result of his tax policy.

Paying teachers more for higher standards isn't going to work either. You may get more productivity from them, but that will be for nought, as the root cause of the problem is not addressed. Liberals still think throwing more money at a problem will make it go away. They have never learned anything, but if Obama is elected this Tuesday, this is exactly what he will do. Obama's list of promises will cost billions of dollars to implement, will probably fail to achieve their stated intentions and will result in higher taxes for everyone.

Every reader of this blog knows what I think of Sarah Palin. Just like Obama, I think she is unfit for office, but for different reasons. Obama has oratorical gifts I can only dream of. He portrays a positive image of his country. He is intellectually bright enough to be able to lead his country and to understand the detail. What makes him unfit for office is his inability to understand history and his faith in failed policies. Also having a president who can do the maths would be useful, although this has never been a strength for politicians the world over.

Sarah Palin is unfit for office because although  she is great at campaigning, when it comes down to the detail, she is woefully lacking. I have said here before, a member of a high school debating society could arm themselves with facts and figures better than she can. She doesn't have a clue about economics and to her, foreign policy is an insurance you take out before you embark on a tour of Europe. I also find it very difficult to take someone seriously who is blessed in a church so she doesn't get possessed by a witch. There are 300 million Americans. Surely the McCain team could have found someone relatively normal to stand as the senator's running mate? Joe Biden may be gaffe prone, but he does have some gravitas and if Obama did become president, there wouldn't be the same fear of Biden stepping up, as there is with Palin.

So, who should be elected? My advice to my Americans readers is to vote for McCain. To me, the GOP ticket is the lesser of two evils and I genuinely believe an Obama presidency will result in higher taxes and more federal control. As a conservative and a libertarian, I can never support that.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

***Breaking News*** - Jonathan Ross is suspended for 12 weeks

Russell Brand fell on his sword yesterday. The Controller of Radio 2, Lesley Douglas, has also done the same. Jonathan Ross, quite naturally, has decided not to do the same and I imagine the BBC doesn't want to go through a lengthy legal battle with Ross's lawyers. Although Ross is being suspended without pay, I wanted to see him go. The BBC will not allow comments on their website to be abusive or of a sexual nature, but apparently if you have a radio show you can do what you like. I also understand Ross's contract has a clause in it that he should not bring the BBC into disrepute, so they had the perfect reason for firing him.

Clearly the BBC really doesn't have the guts to do the right thing. No surprises there.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand

I have not commented on this episode as I had hoped the BBC would do the right thing and suspend the pair. It has taken the corporation a while, however they have done so and since then Brand has resigned. Ross has not, but I suppose he is not going to give up £6 million a year very easily. 

The Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, has apologised to Andrew Sachs and his family and also to licence fee payers. I'm pleased he has apologised to us, as although we have the option not to listen to or watch BBC broadcasts, we do not have the option of not paying for them. Why the BBC in their wisdom - or lack of it - regard Jonathan Ross worthy of spending £6 million of our money, is beyond me, however, we as the shareholders in the corporation should have our say. Personally, I cannot see Ross surviving. Brand has realised he has crossed the line and to his credit has fallen on his sword. He has done the right thing. Ross will have to be fired, as will the producers who allowed this disgraceful incident to be broadcast. 

As for the future of the BBC and the licence fee, that is for another day, although I do feel its days are well and truly numbered.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McCain and Palin in Pennsylvania

If I hear the phrase 'drill baby drill' one more time I will scream. Coupled with 'you betcha', chants of 'U-S-A' and even today 'mine baby mine', I am beginning to wonder if John McCain and Sarah Palin has a group of morons ready and available in every state. No one present at these rallies seems to think of how all of this looks to wavering voters and the world at large. Every time I watch Gov. Palin deliver a speech I brace myself. I know I am about to cringe and want to hide behind the sofa in embarrasment. On this, she never fails me.

If anyone can persuade me she is presidential, I will show my arse in Woolworth's window.

Monday, October 27, 2008

***Breaking News*** - Plot foiled to assassinate Obama

There is breaking news that the US government has disrupted a plot to assassinate Barack Obama and over a hundred other blacks in Tennessee. Authorities have arrested two neo-Nazi skinheads. Nothing else has been revealed, as yet.

It is looking more likely that Barack Obama will become the next POTUS. The Secret Service will have one hell of a job protecting him. There are too many white supremacist nutters in many western  countries and the US is no exception. Whatever we think of Obama's politics, democracy must win.


Things have got rather quiet at ToryTalk at the moment. It's the usual scenario. When it's new, people check out what has been written every day, but after a while the novelty wears off and it goes quiet.

Come on everyone. With the current economic crisis and the US elections, there is plenty to discuss. Please remember, Conservatives cannot sleep-walk their way into a general election victory in 2010. It will take hard work. Let's discuss ideas and get to know one another. Networking is vital for any political party and its vital for the Conservative Party now. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sarah Palin continues to be a liability as she positions herself at the expense of John McCain

I have wondered why those in charge of the GOP campaign have not brought Sarah Palin to heel. She is a loose cannon, who is clearly out of her depth, although there are many Conservatives in the UK who still think she is the best thing since sliced bread. Buoyed on by supporters in the Republican Party, she now appears to be positioning herself for the 2012 nomination and distancing herself from John McCain, although if it wasn't for his poor judgment, no one would have heard of her.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a member of the campaign staff said, "She's now positioning herself for her own future. Of course, this is bad for John. It looks like no one is in charge." 

There are many people in politics like Sarah Palin. They are great at campaigning and getting media attention, however, they are wholly unsuitable for high public office. My only hope is that those who are supporting her now will realise this. McCain's chances are dissipating with every day that goes by. The GOP will be heading in completely the wrong direction if it thinks Sarah Palin is the answer to their prayers.

To read the article I have quoted from, click HERE

Who is Barack Obama?

This is a question on many of our lips. There is an excellent article in The New York Times trying to answer this question. Like all articles in serious American newspapers, it is long, but I highly recommend you take the time to read it in full.

The detailed analysis and quality of writing in newspapers like the NY Times puts our quality newspapers to shame. This is not me knocking the writers; by and large, it not their fault. Editors should allow their writers the space to expand their thoughts. This is the reason why many of us who read newspapers like The Times and The Daily Telegraph buy them in the first place.

Diana Vickers on The X Factor

I don't know how many readers watch The X Factor on ITV on a Saturday evening. There is one contestant who has mesmerised me; Diana Vickers. I know I am not the only one either, as Dizzy has also commented on her performances. There are many great singers competing this year, however, she is the one who sounds different. She is the only contestant that I would recognise in an instant if I heard her voice on the radio. 

Click on this link from last night's show and tell me what you think.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Labour fortunes in Hull

During the course of the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, various people asked me to illuminate them on the political fortunes of Labour in Hull.

Hull East - the seat John Prescott is vacating at the next general election - is, as you would expect, rock-solid Labour. Hull West and Hessle, currently occupied by Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, is also completely safe. Hull North though, is not.

Hull North was represented by Kevin McNamara since the 1960s - with various name and boundary changes that came along. Since 2005, Diana Johnson has been the MP. The seat is made up of nine city council wards. In local elections, the LibDems top the poll in six of those wards. The statistics below are not meant as a scientific analysis of the seat. You have to take into account the electorate voting differently in local elections and the popularity of certain councillors. It will though give you an idea that the seat is not beyond the reach of the LibDems.

At the 2005 General Election, the votes for the three main parties are as follows:

Diana Johnson, Labour - 15364 - 51.9%
Denis Healy, LibDem    - 8013   - 27.1%
Lydia Rivlin, Con           - 3822   - 12.9%

During the 2008 local election, six of the nine wards were contested. The polling figures for the other three, I have taken from 2007. The total number of votes cast are as follows:

LibDem  - 6770 - 41.64%
Labour   - 4646 - 28.56%
Con         - 2766 - 17.00%

I must add that a third of the seats are up for election every year, with a fallow year - which happens to be next year. 

As you can see, although it has always been difficult for the LibDems to translate votes from a local election to the general election, with an unpopular government, it is not impossible to at least give Ms Johnson a run for her money. If I was a LibDem activist, I would be advising them to muster all the resources at their disposal. If they adopt a strategy of massive action, Labour will not have the resources to match them, as they will be spreading themselves out to other constituencies that are vulnerable - such as Brigg and Goole. For the LibDems, this is an opportunity too good to miss.

The French want England to apologise for War Crimes

With all the doom and gloom on the markets, I thought the front page of The Daily Telegraph this morning would make for depressing reading. Far from it, today we learn the French are accusing English soldiers of war crimes. When, you may ask? In the Battle of Agincourt, 593 years ago, during the reign of Henry V. Read the article HERE.

I do have a message for our Gallic chums. Would you consider apologising for being so yellow-bellied during the Second World War? Your actions - or rather lack of action - resulted in thousands of allied servicemen being killed in the successful liberation of your country. Until then, I will remain silent on Agincourt.  

Friday, October 24, 2008

What did Mandelson and Deripaska talk about?

This month has seen the return of the Prince of Darkness and this week he has taken first blood in his spat with George Osborne. How Osborne must now wish he had kept his mouth shut. Although if I was invited to a little 'do' where I knew Mandelson was going to be in attendance, I think I would decline.

Events have moved on.  All of this may yet backfire on his lordship. As a man who enjoys the company of the seriously rich and who doesn't mind anyone knowing about it, it will not take too much digging to find out if he has been guilty of any impropriety. He is, after all, not a man who hides his tracks very well.

Tonight he is facing increasing calls to give details of the many meetings he has had with Mr Deripaska. Brown feels Osborne's behaviour needs investigating. Does he feel the same about the Business Secretary?

More local government waste

Nothumberland County Council is not in the best of shape at the moment. It currently has a debt of £300 million and quite naturally you would think it is 'tightening its belt' as we speak. Wrong! Instead it continues to advertise more non-jobs.

They are currently looking for a 14-19 Partnership Consultant. Here is the job description:

From January 2009 (or as soon as possible thereafter).

Available as a permanent contract or secondment.

The Local Authority’s 14-19 Team is looking for a dynamic and innovative consultant to support the development and implementation of diplomas and to take a major role in the secondary reform agenda. The role involves supporting schools, colleges and work-based learning providers across the authority. The role will involve working across the county with the majority of time spent working with 14+ partnerships and diploma leads. The consultant will also work on generic quality standards and the development of the workforce needed to deliver the diplomas. A good grasp of the principles of assessment for learning, thinking skills and e-learning would be beneficial. As the post involves working across the Local Authority travel expenses are payable.

We see this role as an innovative and exciting one, helping to broaden learning opportunities and experiences for Northumberland learners, raise standards and deliver the local entitlement. The role will be central to a new relationship between the Local Authority and Northumberland’s learning providers. You will play a key role in this development and will need the personal skills and attributes to maximise the potential of this post.

You will work as an integrated member of the 14-19 team which has strong links to the Secondary Strategy team and includes lead roles for Employer Engagement, Functional Skills, Key Stage 4 Engagement, Education Business Links and the Foundation Learning Tier. You will have regular access to training and professional development to equip you for the role.

If you fancy having a go at this 'innovative and exiting' job, you will be paid between £41,097 - £44,472. Nice work if you can get it or a gross waste of taypayers' money. Take your pick.

Hat Tip: The Taxpayers' Alliance

No more Boom and Bust

The only surprise today was the size of negative growth in the economy; 0.5% was more than expected. Brown's bold statement of no more boom and bust should be choking him by now, but of course our leader has no shame. He is so deluded he doesn't even think he caused so many of the problems our country is facing now.
It would be appropriate for at least someone in government to apologise to the voters. Alas, we will have to wait a long time for that, possibly after the result of the next general election is known and they will then realise they cannot treat the voters of this country with the contempt they have done for years. You should never underestimate the intelligence of the voters. Politicians should remember they are the very people who sign the P45.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

US Election Trivia

Do you know the last time the GOP won an election without a Richard Nixon or George Bush on the party's ticket? Click HERE to find out. You may be surprised.

Sarah Palin for President? - in 2012

It is reported on the Telegraph website that many Republicans are already wanting Sarah Palin as their candidate for 2012. Here is a quote from the article.

"Sarah's the one," said one leading conservative who is convinced Mr McCain will lose this election. "The party is broken and only she can fix it. We need someone who comes from outside Washington and relates to the aspirations of ordinary Americans."

If Sarah Palin is the answer, who knows what the question is. Although if Obama is elected president, anyone who stands against him in four years' time is likely to be on a hiding to nothing. Perhaps it will be the time for Sarah Palin to stand. Then the party will be able to move on and finally sort out what has gone wrong. I can let them into the secret though. If Republicans go back to their small government, low taxation and fiscally conservative roots, instead of the spend, spend, spend and big government of George W Bush, they may stand a chance of having their candidate elected to The White House.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

George Osborne

It's been a hard, long day and soon I will be sleeping like a log, so I don't have any time for blogging today. I will comment on one person though; George Osborne.

If he wasn't best chums with David Cameron, he wouldn't survive. He shouldn't really. I know this is a storm in a teacup and he hasn't done anything wrong, but perception is everything. He has been politically naive and he should have known better. His judgment is flawed. Perhaps in the future he will think twice before he steps on to a millionaire's yacht.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Brown and Darling will send us back 30 years, as they sacrifice the economy on the altar of Keynesianism

In September, the government borrowed £8.1bn. The total amount of borrowing this year is now £37.6bn. This is just the tip of the iceberg; it is set to get much higher as tax receipts fall and the costs of providing benefits increases.

If this was not bad enough, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are about to sacrifice the economy on the altar of Keynesian economics. They are going to spend and borrow billions of pounds more in an attempt to buy our way out of a recession. Make no mistake, we are returning to the 1970s, where most of us thought Keynesianism had been given a decent funeral.

The facts are very simple. This approach will give us more debt, which in turn will mean higher taxes for us all. It will fuel inflation, which will lead to more job losses and bankruptcies, which will also lead to more government borrowing, which will lead to higher taxes. It will also take us longer to pull out of the recession, which will also lead to more government borrowing and higher taxes. There are many who say the position we find ourselves in at the moment is no way near as bad as it was in the 1970s. This Labour government has over 18 months of life left in it. That is a long time and it can easily send us back thirty years. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live - my thoughts

Some may say she has a sense of humour. Some may say she was brave. Others - myself included - will say she doesn't get it. Tina Fey has ridiculed Gov. Palin for her lack of coherence, knowledge and intelligence. For the Governor to go on the show and give a brief cameo appearance, shows her lack of political savvy. She should have kept far away from the studio door.

I have written before about the McCain team advisers. I haven't a clue what they are doing at the moment and why they still have jobs. The McCain/Palin ticket is heading for a humiliating defeat; a possible landslide defeat and yet they allow their VP nominee to go on Saturday Night Live and still persist with constant character assassinations of Barack Obama.

What is McCain specifically going to do as president? We've had all the language that describes the dream. It all sounds very nice, just like Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign, when he said 'Together we'll build a bridge into the 21st Century.' It's a load of nonsense and in this case worked for a sitting president, but John McCain is not a sitting president. Americans need to have something substantial from him. He's already said he's not good at economics and that the US economy is basically sound, so it is impossible for him to backtrack on those words, however, he can give a positive message on what he would do. Where is it? I know he is a honourable man who has served his country with distinction, but there are many like that. In the next two weeks he has to come up with a plan - a detailed plan - of how he is going to make America better and stronger. If he doesn't (and I fear he will not), we will have to look forward (or not) to the inauguration of Pres. Barack Obama in January.

Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live

Thanks to Iain Dale, here is the video of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. Don't get too excited. It really wasn't worth me searching for the past half an hour.

Tips on how to avoid Guardian readers

If you wish to avoid Guardian readers (let's face it, the old blood pressure would go down), The Croydonian has found a way of doing it.

Brown's popularity won't last according to two opinion polls

The Tories have a single-digit lead over Labour according to a poll in the Independent on Sunday; not that the rest of the data makes particularly good reading for Gordon Brown. The News of the World has better news for the Tories. 

The more we hammer home the fact Gordon Brown is the cause of our current, extreme financial difficulties, the more pleasant the polls will be. We cannot let Brown of the hook.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Small Victory of Pounds and Ounces

The government is going to prevent local authorities prosecuting traders who sell their goods under the imperial system. John Denham, the Innovation Secretary (a silly title if ever there was one), has described these offenses as minor.

I say this is a small victory, as it is still illegal. What we need now is a move to make it legal again. I have stated here in the past, when I go to buy a joint if meat in kilogrammes I can't be bothered to work out what it is in pounds and ounces. Many in our country can't even work it out.

The imperial system of weights and measures has served this country well. If we wish to continue using it, we should be allowed to. It is a basic freedom that needs to be returned to us. 

The deluded Gordon Brown

To say Gordon Brown has a nerve to say what he says, is underestimating the man. Today, writing in the Daily Telegraph he says the current global financial crisis has "laid bare the weaknesses of unbridled free markets." 

Recently Labour has said the Conservatives - who wanted light-touch regulation - wouldn't have handled the situation any differently. Yes, we want light-touch regulation; what Brown gave us was regulation so light, no-one in the markets felt it. The FSA have been useless. He has exacerbated our problems by increasing reckless government spending and borrowing. Now he has the nerve to pontificate on the crisis as if he was an outside, neutral observer. 

The man is deluded to the point of needing expert medical help. He doesn't live in the real world. He lives in his own Utopia, where his vision of a left-wing superstate continues unabated. David Cameron launched an attack on him yesterday. As I said, "about bloody time." We have so much ammunition on him and we should not be frightened to use it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cameron launches an attack on Brown

David Cameron has gone on the offensive today. He has started to put clear water between him and Gordon Brown. About bloody time, although why he supported Brown as Labour nationalised banks, I don't know. Perhaps he is regretting it now, but either way the Conservative Party has to expose at every available opportunity the complete ineptitude of the prime minister.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Capitalists of the world unite. If we don't, God help us. Gordon Brown will try and take over the world

Where are the capitalists? Are we in such short supply that we have become an endangered species? Has it become so fashionable to be an anti-capitalist, that you have deny your allegiance in the same way St Peter denied knowing Jesus?

David Cameron has offered the government his support in all its endeavours to intervene in the markets. Boris Johnson seems to love John Maynard Keynes and is calling for a spending spree so we will be in a better position to pull through the looming recession. There are times I sit in despair at what is being said in the name of conservatism. 

Let's get things straight. We are not living in October 1929. We are not looking at the imminent collapse of the banking industry; far from it. Not every banker has lost the plot and recklessly loaned money to anyone who happened to walk through the door or clicked on to their website. Banks who are experiencing problems do not need to go cap in hand to the government. They have millions of savers who can be offered shares to help recapitalise. If there isn't much joy there, private overseas investors can step in. Barclays have - to its credit - refused to allow the government into its boardroom, and are going to recapitalise using the markets.

We are though living in uncomfortable times, where the expression 'tightening your belt' takes on a new meaning. We are all going to have to learn to live within our means. We are going to have to save more and not continue impulse buying and loading up the credit card to its limit. This is not a bad thing, indeed to it is a good thing. The government needs to become fiscally conservative, as do the rest of us, so when the bad times come - which they will no matter how well an economy is run - we are all in a better position to cope. 

Unfortunately, as the government interfere more and take over the running of banks, the recovery will take longer. Already Gordon 'Caped Crusader' Brown, our self-styled hero and saviour of the world, has stated he wants borrowing back to 2007 levels; the levels that helped us get into this mess. The union UNITE want an assurance that nationalised banks will not repossess any properties. With people like these calling the shots we are all in trouble.

Does any of this keep me awake at night? No, but it does fill my mind continuously during the day. I know we are going the wrong way - or more pertinently - the left way, rather than the right way. Gordon Brown has helped wreck our economy, and he is not the man to put things right. His way of fixing our problems is to adopt measures that will make things worse. The state can't run anything; government is not the answer, government is the problem, as Ronald Reagan famously said. What concerns me more is the Conservative Party is blindly agreeing with the consensus. George Osborne is so far out of his depth, he should have drowned by now. If he wasn't the best of friends with David Cameron, he would have done. Watching him in Birmingham cemented my view of him. What concerns me also is that normally sound voices in the City are running around like headless chickens applauding our great prime minister. One can only hope their sanity will return sooner, rather than later. 

I am proud to be a capitalist. Capitalism has brought us lifestyles that previous generations could only dream of. If we get greedy and try to live beyond our means - and the government of the day encourages this recklessness - we end up in the mess we are in today. But the alternative does not bear thinking about. The state ruling nearly every aspect of our lives, waiting months to get a telephone line installed, high taxes with an economy stifled through endless regulation is not something I wish to return to. Do you?

Simon Heffer in the Telegraph

Simon Heffer has a message for the Conservative Party this morning. Click HERE to read what he has to say.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

News from Alaska

Whilst we in the UK worry about 24/7 binge drinking, Alaskans do not have that concern. This is from the Alaska Star:

Walmart hopes to sell alcohol at its newly remodeled Eagle River Superstore. The Eagle River Community Council doesn’t want that to happen, saying a liquor vendor in the neighborhood would fuel crime.

Community council members voted Wednesday not to support Walmart’s application to the Anchorage Assembly for a conditional use permit, which is necessary for the operation of the liquor store at the location.

Of the 30 council members who attended a meeting, 17 voted to oppose the liquor store.

“I love Walmart, and am in there almost everyday,” said Tom Freeman, a member of the community council who voted against the liquor store. “But we’re talking about opening a liquor store in a residential area, not a commercial area like where all the other liquor stores are located. It’s just not a good fit for the community.”

A Liquor Store in a residential area. Whatever next?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mandelson hits the Brussels Jackpot

On the day Baron Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham (a condescending title that befits the man) took up his seat in the House of Lords, it has been revealed how much of a pay-off he will be getting from his stint as our man in Europe.

He was a EU Commissioner for only 4 years, so you may be surprised to hear Mandy will receive a salary of £78,000 a year from the European Commission for the next three years. Not that he would have been destitute, as he now picks up £104,000 a year as a Cabinet Minister. But that's not all. The icing on the top of the cake will be an index-linked pension of £31,000 a year, all for just four years' work.

Is there anyone who doesn't think Brussels is one huge gravy train?

Obama has a plan. So does McCain, but we don't know what it is yet

Barack Obama has revealed his plans to ease the financial crisis. Not surprisingly he wants more government intervention; temporary tax credits for job creation, a moratorium on some house foreclosures and penalty free withdrawal from retirement accounts.

Although more government intervention is the last thing the US needs now, he will be seen as doing something when people are becoming more desperate and feel something must be done. Obama is merely feeding their fear. So, what has John McCain's response been? He says he has a plan, but didn't give any details.

Some pundits think Obama has a double-digit lead over McCain and I imagine this is going to grow larger. Come on John, America wants leadership and fiscal conservative leadership. Don't dither; lead.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sarah Palin is a liability

What on earth is happening with the McCain campaign? Who is advising him and why isn't he and anyone else involved ordering Sarah Palin to shut up? I cannot believe I could get it so wrong about her.

John McCain is going to lose this election. Barack Obama is not everyone's cup of tea, but many voters who have considered voting for the GOP ticket, are been driven in to the Obama camp. I do wonder if all  Obama has to do now is not say anything controversial and just let his opposition garner votes for him.

John McCain chose Sarah Palin, so he has no-one to blame but himself, but as I have said before, why didn't they vet her thoroughly? Why didn't they find out that she knew absolutely nothing about foreign policy and economics? Why didn't they probe her and find out that she was intellectually inferior for the job of Vice-President? Someone from a High School Debating Society could arm themselves with facts and figures better than she can. Those of us who support the Republican Party deserve better than this. We naturally thought the McCain team had done their homework and after her performance at the RNC, we thought she was an asset. My goodness how the wheels have come off since then.

My prediction for November 4 is an Obama victory by a landslide. Hopefully then Sarah Palin can go back Alaska and with a little bit of luck, never leave there again.  

How high is the quality of world leaders?

Gordon Brown has seen his record as a prudent Chancellor torn  to shreds. We all know what he has done, so I am not going to labour the point. Why then is Brown the leader that the rest of Europe turn to in a crisis? Is the rest of Europe so short of leadership, they have to turn to the man who has wrecked the British economy for advice? Why Brown has such a reputation baffles me, but it is not just in Europe. He seems to have this reputation with other world leaders, like when he spoke to the United Nations a few weeks ago.

I think the electorate in each country around the world needs to think long and hard the next time they vote in a general election. The quality of politicians they have at the moment must be pathetically low.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Daily Mail wants a return to Keynesian Economics

As many readers will be aware, the Daily Mail is not a newspaper of choice for me and today I can see this will not change. Conservative Home reports that the Daily Mail is harking back to Keynesian times, when we borrow to fund tax cuts and large social projects to give the economy a kick start.

This would be disastrous. We have to be fiscally prudent. We do need tax cuts and the only way of funding them is to cut out waste in the public sector. If you want to know how much waste there is, read the many reports and publications from The Taxpayers' Alliance.

When times are hard, there is always a temptation to look back on the 'good old days' with rose tinted spectacles. The Great Depression of the 1930s lasted longer than it needed to. Roosevelt acted with the best of intentions, but it has been proved major state intervention only exacerbates the problem in the long term. One would think the Daily Mail of all newspapers would know that.

A new era dawns for Wyke College, Hull

Yesterday, I attended the official opening of the Ash Building at Wyke College, Hull. The college is adjacent to Kelvin Hall School, where I am a governor and the Principal of the College, Dick Smith, is Vice-Chair of the Governors.

The students at this highly successful college have first-class - no world-class - facilities in which to learn. There are many in the media who find it amusing to knock the City of Kingston upon Hull. Kelvin Hall and Wyke College are prime examples of success and long may it continue.

Remember to change your light bulbs

The European Union has shown this week what a hopelessly inept organisation it is. Those who have a dream of a full political union have - thankfully - had their dreams shattered this past week. The smaller, emerging economies may have to pull out of the Euro altogether and even Germany may be contemplating doing the same. They are now realising when the chips are down, being a member of the Euro means you are trying to sort your economy out with one hand tied behind your back. Hopefully this economic crisis will be the final nail in the coffin for the Euro.

With this background you would think Eurocrats will have their hands full, but of course they cannot stop interfering and yesterday was no exception. At a meeting of EU energy ministers - attended by our own 'Mr Electric', Ed Miliband - it was decided to press ahead with the ban on traditional light bulbs from 2010. Environmentalists are delighted, but they are probably delighted the world economy is in such bad shape too. The World Wildlife Fund says legislation is needed as otherwise we will continue using energy inefficient light bulbs. God help us.

I do use energy efficient light bulbs at home, but not everywhere, and this should still remain my choice. Naturally, Mr Electric hasn't got the guts to stand up to fellow energy ministers and say we have other things to worry about, but that's life. What else can we expect from these 'roll over and die' Labour ministers.

So remember folks, whilst you are thinking about every penny you are about to spend, you must go out and spend a fortune replacing your light bulbs. This is just one of the many benefits membership of the EU gives us. Aren't you happy we are members of the club?

Livingstone defends Johnson - to a point

Ken Livingstone does not think Sir Ian Blair should have been removed by Boris Johnson, however, he has defended the right of the mayor  fire the commissioner. Read more HERE.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Has Obama won you over?

Iain Dale - if you haven't already heard by now - has come out for Barack Obama. I have enormous sympathy with his position. 

I have stated many times my admiration for John McCain. I believe he is the man who has the gravitas to become President of the United Sates. He is certainly a man who has experience and will be a safe pair of hands, but I have been disappointed with him.

His choice of Sarah Palin was, I thought, inspirational. Now it appears to be one of the biggest blunders he could have made. His campaign team should have vetted her thoroughly. That's what I thought they would have done, however, it appears they did not do their homework. She is completely out of her league. Her debate with Sen. Biden last week confirmed my worst fears. 'Say it isn't so, Joe.' Hardly the words of someone who is a heartbeat away from the presidency. Just folksy language, masking her inability to grasp the detail.

Sen. McCain has not been inspirational either, which has surprised me. His speech to the RNC was not brilliant - which I said at the time - but it was John McCain being himself, however he should have raised his game by now. He has all the qualifications, but he has not given me the nuts and bolts of policy. He has failed to enthuse the American people. This, however, this does not mean I am now going to come out of the closet and support Obama. There is too much about him that I do not trust. He is a liberal who believes in big government. I could never support someone like that. Although he seems to fit the 'cometh the hour, cometh the man' title, and appears to be the optimistic president who will carry America and the world with him, I fear he is America's answer to Tony Blair. Full of promises and full of hot air.

I think from now until November 4, I will become a neutral observer. I'm just pleased I do not have a vote, as I know my heart would say McCain, but my head would say, none of the above. 

I will though be glad to see the back of George Bush. Speaking as a fiscal conservative, he has been a complete disaster and I am sure when the history books are written he will be remembered as the president who took his eye of the ball in Afghanistan to fight a needless war in Iraq and who had the fiscal imprudence of Gordon Brown. 

UPDATE: Looking back at some of the things I have written about Sarah Palin make me look somewhat of a fool. In my defence I can only repeat that I thought the McCain team would have quizzed her thoroughly. If they had done their job properly, they would have seen these problems coming and not picked her as McCain's running mate.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Book for the Evening

I'm not feeling very well today, so I won't be posting anymore tonight. What I will be doing though is trying to read more of The Plan: Twelve months to renew Britain* by Daniel Hannan, MEP and Douglas Carswell, MP. Douglas spoke to us about the book at the Young Britons' Foundation Workshop I attended in Birmingham just before the conference started. As I only seem to manage to read a few pages of the book when I am knackered and just about to fall asleep, tonight I am going to read when I am not feeling quite so tired. More tomorrow...

*You can use this link to download the book for £5 or buy a paperback book for £10.

Current Inflation Rate

The Zimbabwean inflation rate currently stands at 231,000,000%. Yes, that is 231 million. Incomprehensible, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Brown and Darling's Bank Rescue Package

I would like to ask some questions this evening. Where is the government getting the money from? I know they will issue bonds - which to my understanding is basically the government borrowing from the markets, but where is the money on the financial markets? Hasn't it mostly dried up?

Why wasn't there a debate in parliament? Isn't is the job of our elected representatives to hold the executive to account? Do we now just give the executive carte blanche to do anything it pleases or is the matter of £400 billion such small beer these days, parliament doesn't matter anymore?

Interest rates in the UK are now at 4.5%, which is still higher than the US and the Eurozone. Does any economist think that a 0.5% cut will make any real difference?

Today I have been screwed with my trousers on. I was first screwed by Alan Greenspan and the Clinton administration who felt that money supply was of no importance. I have been screwed by bankers who loaned money with no realistic expectation of it being paid back. I have been screwed by Gordon Brown who aided and abetted the bankers. No more boom and bust! Those words sound very hollow, don't they? But today I was screwed along with every other taxpayer to the tune of £500 billion and I also know what this is going to mean for the next few years; much higher taxes. And finally, as the government has stipulated money has to be available for small businesses and mortgages, what's the chance of me getting a loan for another purpose? Bugger all!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Read Boris

If the government want to do something positive to help the economy during these turbulent times, they should read Boris Johnson is today's Telegraph.

Darling to announce Bank Rescue Package

I read somewhere today that bankers are upset the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not done more to help them. As someone who passionately believes in the free market, I have this to say:

If those bankers who are now complaining cast their minds back to the 1980s, they will remember they didn't have any sympathy for industries who could not pay their way. For that matter, neither did I. You can't keep pouring taxpayers' money in to a bottomless pit, however, I don't have any sympathy for bankers who have been reckless and grossly negligent and now expect me to bail them out. You live by the market and you die by the market. 

Fortunately for bankers, Mr Darling will announce a rescue package tomorrow. I'm sure he won't do the same for me if my business is struggling over the coming months.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Do you know when the next Euro Election takes place?

On matters European, the election to the European Parliament takes place next year. Although us politicos know this already, it seems 97% of our fellows citizens in the UK do not. We should not be too upset, as even in those on-message states across the water, only 25% realised it was next year. Apparently, this average has remained steady over the years.

I was good this year and filled out my voting slip for the Conservative MEP candidates for the Yorkshire and the Humber Region. Unfortunately, I forgot to post it off, but you have to give me 10/10 for effort!

George Osborne on Andrew Marr

Yesterday, on the Andrew Marr Show, Vince Cable argued interest rates should be cut by 2% in order to restore some confidence in the economy. A sound idea, and I read what he had to say in full in The Sunday Times earlier. When Marr turned to Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, I assumed he would agree. To my surprise and dismay, he disagreed. 

I was talking to a fellow activist over dinner last week who works in the City. Both of us agreed that we wanted to like Osborne, but we had doubts as to whether he was up to the job. His performance yesterday cemented this view in my mind. 

Instead of wasting billions of pounds of taxpayers' money bailing out mismanaged banks, the government could urge the MPC to lower interest rates. It can also cut business and personal taxes for the foreseeable future. They are ways to inject liquidity in to the market, without major state intervention. If more banks go bust, then so what? The majority of savers' money is safe. The toxic debt will have to be written off and the good debt will be broken up and sold off to banks who have not been reckless in their lending. 

A cool head is what's required. The Left see this as a perfect route for more state intervention and the Right seem to be dancing to their tune.

'Save the Taxpayer', says John Redwood

John Redwood has written an excellent post on why we should not nationalise anymore banks, let alone buy shares in them. Read it HERE.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Jack McConnell to stay put - on a part time basis

Jack McConnell - the former Labour First Minister of Scotland - was due to take up a post next year as High Commissioner to Malawi. Quite why anyone thought he would be suitable in that role is beyond me, but it now appears he will no longer be jetting off to fulfil this role.

Instead, the will retain his seat in the Scottish Parliament and will take up a part time diplomatic role working with nations recovering from conflict; a non-job if ever there was one. I suppose after leading Labour in Scotland, he knows a thing or two about conflict, but what this really shows is the lengths Brown will go to avoid a by-election and the SNP have seized on this fact.

At the next general election, one of the things I will be looking out for is how much of a kicking the SNP will give Labour. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Brown got booted out too? We can only hope.

Hat-tip: BBC News

The German Guarantee to Savers

Yesterday, the German government quite rightly criticised the Irish government for guaranteeing every penny of savers money in Irish banks. It now seems twenty four hours is a long time in politics, as the Germans have done exactly the same today.

Not only does this make the financial problems we are experiencing worse as panic sets in and savers rush to Irish and German banks, it also makes the guarantee worthless, as the respective governments will not be in a position to keep their promises. It also sends the wrong message out to Irish and German bankers who could easily take unnecessary risks, knowing the government have said they will bail them out.

This is what happens when governments interfere with markets. They make bad situations much worse than they need to be. I fear we are going to endure very hard times for the next year to eighteen months and much of the hardship we are about to endure will be as a direct result of meddling politicians.

Respones to the return of Mandelson

Click HERE to find out what columnists of The Times make of the return of Peter Mandelson. My favourite quote is from David Aaronovitch, 'I don't think I understand anything anymore.'

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Wasting our money

The wonderful Taxpayers' Alliance run a feature on their website called, Non-job of the week. If I was a council taxpayer in Leicester, I would be asking some questions.

Holocaust denier faces extradition

Anyone who denies the Holocaust took place, is at best a fool. I regard such people as vile and despicable, who hold views rightly worthy of contempt.

This story from the Telegraph though, worries me enormously. Frederick Toben is an Australian citizen who has been arrested in the UK - where, thankfully, we do not have Holocaust denial laws - and now faces extradition in to another EU country. If this extradition takes place, it will prove we are living in a socialist, big brother world. The place to discuss Mr Toben's views are not in a court of law, but in a debating chamber and expose him for the nasty, bigoted anti-semite that he is.

Moving on, please note it is a Liberal Democrat - Chris Huhne - who is speaking out on this issue. I would have liked to have seen a Conservative speak out first, although after what David Cameron said in his speech last Wednesday, perhaps Shadow Cabinet members are frightened to be seen as libertarians? David Cameron should note that modern Libertarianism and Classical Liberalism are almost the same, and both are at the heart of the Conservative Party. I am not a Libertine and I can only hope Cameron is a little muddled in his understanding and simply requires some education.

UPDATE: Following on from a comment, please click in the links for the definitions of Libertarianism, Classical Liberalism and for someone who regards themself as a Libertine.

How Many Died in the Bombing of Dresden?

For those interested in things German, this report from Der Spiegel may be of interest.

I have visited Dresden on a couple of occasions and it certainly is a place where you don't mention the war, unless you want to criticise Bomber Harris. I know someone who narrowly escaped death during the bombing in 1945 when she was a young child. It's a sore point if it is ever brought up in conversation. Interesting though, that after all these years the death count is much smaller than previous estimates.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The US House of Representatives votes for $700 billion bail-out

Throughout the day I have heard politicians from both sides of the Atlantic informing me we are living in unprecedented times. Clearly, the majority of the US House of Representatives think the same. I disagree.

There is evidence that FDR - although acting with the best of intentions - exacerbated the depression in the 1930s. Some state intervention can help; major state intervention does not, it only delays the inevitable.

The economic situation we find ourselves in at the moment is nowhere near as bad as the Great Depression. The stock market has not crashed. We have social security and the majority of savers money in banks is safe, thanks to government guarantees.

We need to let the market sort itself out; painful though it will be. Then, we will be able to move on and hopefully remember the lesson that you cannot get something for nothing. Somehow, somewhere, someone has got to pay for it, and ultimately it is going to be us.

Press Conference at No 10

I'm watching Gordon Brown's news conference. Quite naturally all the opening questions are about Peter Mandelson. Brown keeps trotting out the line that Mandelson is the best man for the job, he has a wealth of experience from his role as a European Commissioner, these are unprecedented times, etc.

As is usual in politics, it is interesting what the prime minister doesn't respond to. When asked why Peter Mandelson, as the two of them have barely spoken to each other for a decade and a half, Brown's response is: he's the best man for the job, etc, etc.

He's not even trying to lie and say the two of them get on. He must enjoy frosty relations around the cabinet table. I can't help think though that Mandelson has an ulterior motive. Time will tell.

New Blog Design

I have decided to change my template to a much simpler, standard version. I have received comments from readers who have felt my old template was too dark, cluttered and difficult to read. Although I liked the pictures of the Humber Bridge and the Houses' of Parliament, I have decided to remove them - which was just as well as I have managed to loose the old template too. I was also aware that the blog was taking a long time to load too, which is never a good idea.

Your comments will be greatly appreciated.

Sarah Palin - my observations

Like many who initially warmed to Sarah Palin, my support has become lukewarm of late. I still want McCain as president, but a post I wrote here for Media Lizzy and Friends, will give you some insight into my misgivings.

The Return of the Prince of Darkness

I'm sat here reclining on my sofa as I am not feeling very well today. I don't say this to garner sympathy, I just want to inform you I should remember to e-mail the Prime Minister for cheering me up earlier this morning.

One of the biggest criticisms of Gordon Brown is his lack of courage. I'm sure there are many Labour commentators who will regard the return of Peter 'The Prince of Darkness' Mandelson as courageous, but I couldn't stop laughing, which unfortunately made me cough too much.

If this was political fiction, it wouldn't be believed as possible in real life. One of the most divisive figures in Labour Party politics is about to become Lord Mandelson and return to the cabinet. Labour MPs around the country must be spitting bile and venom as I write; not to mention party activists. I wonder how many of them are about to write letters of resignation from the Labour Party? Carry on Gordon; Kenneth Williams would have been proud of you. 

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Question Time

Just watching Question Time. Michael Heseltine has already wiped the floor with Jacqui Smith and by referring to her as Home Secretary every time he makes a point on law and order, he is showing her up as the incompetent minister she is.

Crunch time for Palin

When Joe Biden and Sarah Palin debate this evening this will be a make or break debate. Palin has to prove herself. We have had the jokes. We know she is feisty, but does she have what it takes?

I did at first and although I still want to believe she has, for many Americans the jury is still out. There are many Americans who feel McCain has let the conservative cause down, or even worse, he has betrayed it by voting in favour of the $700 billion rescue plan. 

I am disappointed McCain voted in favour. What is going to happen is going to happen. If this package is passed in the House of Representatives, all that will happen is a period when we delay the inevitable and the American taxpayer will have a huge bill to pay when it can least afford it.

The McCain/Palin campaign is in danger of crashing on the rocks. I hope it doesn't, but they will only have themselves to blame if it does.

The Pint Test

During the conference we were discussing the 'pint test.' Would you have a pint with him or her? It's a useful test when judging the ability of a politician to communicate with the electorate.

For example, David Cameron passes the test and Gordon Brown doesn't. Although you might expect me to say that; think about it. When political freaks like me get together we do have a laugh. I could never imagine ever having a joke and a pint with Gordon Brown. I could imagine I would with Alan Johnson though. He is a man of the people; at least that is how he comes across.

Do you have anymore suggestions?

Senate passes rescue package

Not sure I would like to be an American taxpayer this morning. $700 billion on the 'never-never' will ultimately have to be paid back. As I have said before, I have grave doubts as to wisdom of this package. Governments can offer assistance in a small way without adversely affecting the market, but a major intervention like this one can easily do more harm than good.

We will now have to see if the House of Representatives has a re-think.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rail travel

I have just got back from Birmingham. The conference has been great and the people of Birmingham have been wonderful. The problem this evening has been the rail service.

I caught the 18:03 from Birmingham New Street. The train had run out of tea, coffee and sandwiches. I was on that train for over two hours before I was due to change at Doncaster. There were others who were travelling to Newcastle, a journey of over three and half hours. It's a long way to go without proper refreshment facilities. 

I was due to catch the 20:31 from Doncaster to Hull from platform 4. The train duly arrived at the appointed time and I jumped on. I only realised once the train had set off that I was on the wrong train. The train I had caught was one that was running late from London to Newcastle. I had to change at York and wait for over an hour before I could set off for Hull again. 

Although I know it was my mistake, I do wonder why there wasn't an announcement. This is a mistake anyone could have made. Once again I travel by train and once again I am disappointed. No food and drink on the first train and very little help at Doncaster. I will stick to driving in future. At least when I am behind the wheel of my car my fate is in my own hands.

More about the conference tomorrow. I have made some notes from a meeting about Europe earlier today that I am sure many of you will want to hear about. 

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