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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Speaker Michael Martin Must Go - Join the Facebook Group

Those readers who are members of Facebook may want to join this group I set up this afternoon. There is a growing feeling amongst politicians of all parties that the Speaker should resign, or be forced out in a confidence motion.

The Mail on Sunday reports today of a group of MPs who are thinking of disrupting the Queen's Speech next week, demanding an apology from the Speaker and/or calling for his resignation.  

This story is going to run and run.

UPDATE: Sign this online petition and urge as many people as possible to join you.

Speaker Martin has to go

"May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here."

These are the famous words of Speaker Lenthall to King Charles I. He wouldn't allow the King's men access to parliament to search offices and arrest MPs. This great tradition has continued down the years. The Speaker has remained the defender of MPs' rights and privileges and has ensured H.M. Loyal Opposition can hold H.M. Government to account without fear of intimidation. This ended last Thursday. Speaker Martin should resign forthwith and hang his head in shame. 

Norwich City Council threatens hairdressers who offer some festive cheer

It seems the festive spirit is not alive and well in Norwich. Norwich City Council have reminded hairdressers they face a £20,000 fine and six-months imprisonment if they offer festive drinks in their salons. No mulled wine for Mrs Jones this year then. And to prove they are serious, undercover inspectors will be trawling around the city looking for any offenders.

This reminds me of a holiday in Austria a few years ago. Whilst listening to the town band, pretty young ladies walked around the audience offering a tot of schnapps for a euro. I commented at the time this would never happen in England. There is to much paperwork involved to get a licence. Isn't this story yet another example of the petty bureaucracy running this country? Not to mention the waste of taxpayers' money trying to stop businesses saying thank you to customers and offering some festive cheer. 

David Davis on Damian Green

And our best defence? Ironically, justice can probably only now be properly served if Damian is formally charged under this obscure criminal law that dates back to the 1700s. 

He could then elect for that ancient British bulwark against despotism, the right to trial by jury, place his trust in 12 members of the British public and subpoena the whole damn lot of them – from Blair through to Brown.

These are the words of David Davis in the Mail on Sunday. To read his first class article in full, click HERE

Damian Green and Christopher Galley deserve our full support

During David Davis's by-election campaign, I remember hearing the words, 'if you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear' being used to rubbish his campaign. This argument played in to the hands of Labour, and still does. To take it to its logical conclusion, you can strip away every freedom we have, but it you haven't done anything wrong, the police won't come knocking on your door and even if they do, you will still have nothing to fear.

When the anti-terror legislation was going through parliament, we were assured it would not be used for anything other than the security of the UK. Now we read Christopher Galley, an assistant private secretary in the Home Office, was held at Paddington Green Police Station, which is the highest security police station in the country. Why? For allegedly leaking information to the Conservatives. Information that the government wanted to keep from the rest of us. Information that was in the public interest to reveal. Damian Green was arrested by nine anti-terror police officers, had his home and offices searched and his computers, mobile phone, blackberry and paperwork seized.

Perhaps those people who think you have nothing to fear from the constant erosion of our civil liberties will now think again. Anyone of us could be in the same position as these two men and it could be over something very trivial. David Cameron described this as Stalinesque last week. He is right. Damian Green and Christopher Galley were performing a public service by unveiling government cover-ups that affected the security of this country. Both of them deserve our full support.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lord Mandelson's little list

Just like Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner from Gilbert and Sullivan's 'The Mikado', Lord Mandelson is drawing up a little list. He is going to decide which businesses should be saved by government intervention and the rest, I suppose, never will be missed. 

Labour just doesn't get it. The reason Woolworths and MFI have gone in to administration is because we haven't been shopping there. This hasn't just happened in last couple of months. It has been going on much longer and those two companies have simply not been performing very well. Economic downturns root out inefficiencies in the economy and governments cannot keep on bailing companies out. Governments do not have any money of their own. They can only use our money or borrow as if there is no tomorrow. It is borrowing that has helped us get in to this mess. Racking up more debt on the UK PLC credit card is not going to help us get out of this recession; indeed it will prolong it as the government ultimately will have to take more of our money in the future, money that should be used by us to help businesses do business again. 

We all want this recession - or what I think will be a depression - over as quickly as possible. For that to happen the market will have to be left alone, painful though this will be for many of us. Constant government intervention will only prolong the agony; not shorten it. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Damian Green arrested by counter terrorism police

As I write, this story is far from over and the details are still sketchy. There are a few points I wish to raise though.

Why did the police choose to act now? They could have acted yesterday when the Commons was still sitting. Why was there - as the Daily Telegraph reports - nine counter terrorist officers involved in the arrest? Is this yet another abuse of counter terrorism powers? The information Damian Green has revealed was in the public interest. Why haven't any journalists been arrested for doing their job?

Downing Street has said Gordon Brown did not know of this arrest. Nonsense. The timing of this stinks of Downing Street. We are living in a socialist, police state, and if the latest polls are to be believed, the electorate are sleepwalking their way in to re-electing this despicable government. What has happened today is just the beginning. The ancient freedoms we are accustomed to in Britain are going faster than I ever thought they would.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Simon Heffer in the Telegraph

In the Daily Telegraph today, Simon Heffer, in his usual direct and erudite way, sums up what the Conservatives need to do to win the next general election. He is right and if we had him advising the Chancellor of the Exchequer, we would not be in the mess we are in at the moment. Here is what he has to say.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In which direction is Britain heading?

A few thoughts for the evening:

Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announces a budget in his pre-budget report, but parliament will not have the chance to debate it.

Today, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, says the nationalisation of Britain's banks may be necessary.

An opinion poll in The Daily Telegraph suggests Labour has narrowed its gap on the Conservatives to four points. 

Are we heading towards a socialist dictatorship with the support of the electorate? If we are, all those of us who believe in freedom and free enterprise need to unite and fight. We need to show the voters there is an alternative. Worrying times. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

George Osborne on fire

I have been a long standing critic of George Osborne and this afternoon, on my previous post, I allowed my feelings to get in the way of my judgment. He gave a great reply to Darling's speech. He was on fire and you could see him shaking at times. This was a make or break speech and he passed with flying colours. He still needs to articulate the Conservative message and show the electorate what the alternative to Labour will be like, but for the foreseeable future, he saved his bacon. 

Alistair Darling in Wonderland

Tinker here and there; fiddle here and there; lower some taxes now and raise them in 2010 and make sure the tax increases announced today are permanent. 

This rather sums up today's Pre-Budget Report. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic is another way to describe a speech that was peppered with the words global, worldwide and America. It's not our fault, folks, this is all America's fault. We are just the victim of the crime, but we are in a strong position to recover, which indeed we will in about 12 months. This was Darling in Wonderland! How does he expect us to believe his forecasts for the coming years, when he couldn't get his forecasts right for the last seven months?

George Osborne gave a much better reply than I thought he would, however, the Conservatives are going to have to be truthful with the electorate. There must be a substantial reduction in the public sector. A Samurai sword needs to be wielded throughout Whitehall and we can start with disposing with all the thousands of non-jobs and QUANGOs duplicating the work of other QUANGOs. We have to reduce the size of the client state. We have to reassess the role government plays in our lives. I suppose these questions are for another day, but if Brown opts for a snap election next spring, time is running out. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Brown's reduction of VAT to 15% will not work

If you are going to give tax breaks, there are easy ways and difficult ways to do it. Gordon Brown has shown today he is going to opt for the latter. If the proposed reduction in VAT does come into force before Christmas, do you think there will be a 2.5% cut in prices across the board? Of course there won't. If a retailer sells something for 85p and then adds on 17.5% VAT, the cost to the customer is £1 (as they cannot sell something for 99.875p, before anyone accuses me of not doing the math correctly). The reduction of VAT to 15%, will reduce the cost of the said item to 97.5p. In other words, it is not in the retailer's interest to go to the bother of changing all the prices in his shop. And even if you sell something for £50, it still isn't worth the hassle. 

Now we will turn to the other costs businesses will have to face. Iain Dale received an e-mail from a reader who mentioned anyone with leaflets printed, advertising special offers, may have mentioned the VAT rate of 17.5%. Of course, if this is reduced to 15%, all those leaflets will have to be pulped and new leaflets printed. All the software on computers will have to be changed and all the signs in shop windows mentioning the current VAT rate will have to be changed too. All for 2.5%! 

Gordon Brown once again shows once again his lack of business acumen. If you want to cut personal taxation, one of the easiest ways is to increase the personal allowance and increase state benefits accordingly. I wouldn't recommend it, as the country can't afford it, but it would be much simpler than what Brown is proposing now.

President- Elect Obama announces a two-year stimulus package

This will all end in tears. We are saddling our children with debt that will take over a decade, at least, to pay off. Not to mention how much longer the economy will stay in recession as a result of constant government interference. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

BNP Membership List

The publication of the membership list of the BNP was in contravention of the Data Protection Act, although I am not embarrassed to tell anyone I am a member of the Conservative Party. One wonders why BNP members are so shy? Is it because they know they may lose their jobs if their employers know of their membership? Or is it simply because they know they are member of a racist party and are not willing to 'come out' at the moment? I have already blogged about the police officer who has been suspended and readers know what my views are on this subject, but BNP members should be prepared for their friends, neighbours, and employers finding out. 

Tonight, after a google search, I found the list on the Internet after a couple of minutes. I have looked at it and I don't know anyone who is a member. I will not publish the URL, as I think it is inappropriate, however, anyone can read it very easily and it is legal as it is in the public domain. 

Hazel Blears has, at last, uttered some sense. She is correct in her analysis that the rise of the BNP is due to the ineffectiveness of the main parties to address the issues of race. She is, of course, a senior member of one of those parties, so she is as culpable as anyone, but  the only way to address the rise of the BNP, is to address the questions the people who have turned to them have. All parties have brushed this subject under the carpet. Now is the time to address it. We do not want another Jean Marie Le Penn in Britain.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Full Bank Nationalisation may still happen

The board of Barclays Banks has taken some stick of late. Shareholders are not happy with the terms of its recapitalisation deal. Perhaps those shareholders should hold fire for the moment. Life could be much worse. The government has refused to rule-out complete nationalisation of Lloyds/TSB, HBOS and RBS if they do not do what the government tells them to do. This comes after government assurances a few weeks ago that complete nationalisation would not happen. We were also told the government would not try and run those banks. It looks like Labour's 1983 manifesto wish may come true, albeit 25 years too late for Michael Foot et al.

Non-Job of the Week thanks to 'The Taxpayers' Alliance'

The government says it is actively looking at ways to reduce public sector waste. I was sceptical and after reading it has recruited 50,000 more public officials this year, no doubt performing essential work, duplicating others' essential work, my healthy scepticism was well founded.

The Taxpayers' Alliance - in their regular 'Non-Job of the Week' feature, have highlighted Cumbria County Council as a local authority who likes to spend public money without any regard to the taxpayers footing the bill. They are recruiting an 'Equality Officer.' No doubt absolutely essential, although if anyone can tell me why it is essential, please leave a message.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Police Officer suspended for being a member of the BNP

Readers of this blog know my views on the BNP, so I am not about to go on a tirade against them, however, all citizens are entitled to their opinions, know matter how odious I think those opinions are. 

I am watching SkyNews at the moment, and the breaking news is that PC Steve Bettley has been suspended for being a member of the BNP. This police officer knew he was banned from being a member, so in many ways he had it coming to him, but, should he be banned in the first place? My answer is no. If he treats members of our society who are non-white in a racist manner, then he should be disciplined and if necessary, fired from his job. It is not the job of government to act as the thought police.  Anyone genuinely interested in liberty should campaign on his behalf. As far as I am aware, his only crime is being a member of the BNP; otherwise he has done nothing wrong. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Deflation is on the way to add to our economic woes

Whilst at the supermarket a few days' ago, I bought a bottle of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. The cost was £2.09. Around three months ago it was 30p cheaper. We all know the cost of eggs, butter, bread and milk has increased dramatically over the last year. According to a report I read today, the cost of food has risen by over 10%. Although inflation went down by 0.7% in the last month, it was largely due to the reduction in the price of oil, meaning cheaper petrol and diesel.

Today, I was waiting for my car to be repaired at the local Vauxhall Dealer's workshop. I know most of the sales staff, the service manager, the workshop foreman and the mechanics, so I can get an accurate picture of what is happening in the motor trade. Unsurprisingly, they are not selling cars and the feeling of despondency is very evident. The lack of available credit is certainly the main reason, along with a general feeling of not knowing what is around the corner, but there is another reason. Those who are in a position to purchase a new car are not because they know the price is likely to fall as the months go by. Why shell out £10000 now, when the cost of the car you are about to buy may be £9000 in three months' time?

Deflation is the biggest worry we have at the moment and some economists think we will be suffering from deflation next year. If we do, it will be for the first time since 1947. We all want prices to fall. We all want more money in our pockets to ease our financial burdens and I fear the majority of people don't have the foggiest how destructive deflation is. It means we all put off purchases we can make today, in the hope they will be cheaper tomorrow. This in turn forces retailers to reduce the cost of their goods, making us wonder whether they will reduce them further. It is a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to more unemployment as manufacturers and retailers cut their profit margins to the bone. Getting out of this cycle is extremely difficult and deflation was the main reason for the depression in the 1930s. 

Prices may remain high on certain essential items, however, on the non-essentials, prices may tumble. The evidence is certainly there in the motor trade and this is an industry about to be decimated. Also on the list are major high street retailers. In a year's time, some of the familiar names in the high street will have disappeared. What we are experiencing is not the start of a recession. It is going to be much worse than that. We are about to experience a depression that will be talked about in many years to come and there is nothing any government around the world can do about it. The more governments throw money at the problem, the longer the problem will be. Conservatives need to wake up and understand these facts and come up with policies that will ease the plight of citizens, but will not throw the country more in to debt. They have to cut waste in the public sector and explain to voters if they do not, the country's problems will last longer than is necessary. They have to be like Churchill and present the hard, cold facts and they need to expose Labour's lies. This is the only way the Conservative Party will be returned to power. If the Conservatives do this, don't be surprised if Gordon Brown calls an early election. Things are not going to get better, they are going to get worse, and he knows this. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An angry Cameron must seize the initiative from Brown

David Cameron is getting angry. He held out the olive branch of a bi-partisan approach to the financial crisis and it has been used as a stick by Brown to beat him. Cameron was foolish and naive to think Brown would treat him in any other way. We have a very tribal and partisan prime minister, who has no intention of giving up his power. If he could somehow postpone the next general election on the grounds of national importance, I am sure he would.

There now has to be a complete rethink of the Conservative strategy. As a party, Conservatives have to put clear, blue water between themselves and Labour. Anyone who read my post from yesterday will see how angry I am with Brown. The only time I have seen him happy is when he is striding around the stage trying to solve problems he helped create; and of course there isn't a word of apology from his lips. Sorry is not in the prime minister's lexicon.

There will be more fireworks at PMQs tomorrow and the already bad relationship between Brown and Cameron is set to get worse. The next general election is going to be one of the most bitter anyone will ever remember. Brown wants to destroy the Conservative Party, and the Tories must reply with the same passion and zeal. The mess they will inherit is going to be much worse than Margaret Thatcher inherited in 1979. There is the possibility of the pound being worthless and there is no doubt the public finances are going to be in the worst shape than they have ever been. Do not rule out the possibility of Brown having to go cap in hand to the IMF in the next 18 months. This would not surprise me at all.

The Tories have to be honest with the voters. Public spending has to reduced in order to reduce our debts and help lower taxes. Cameron and Osborne know this. There are times when you have to be cruel to be kind

The true extent of Brown's recklessness will unravel itself as the months pass by. We will see how bad things are. The only crumb of comfort I can see is that when the Conservative Party is elected to government in 2010, they will also make sure that Labour is sent packing for a very long time; hopefully forever.

Joe Lieberman keeps Senate Chairmanship

The Senate Democratic Caucus has met today and allowed Sen. Joe Lieberman to keep his job as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Read the story here.

They obviously want to keep him on their side. He is too powerful a figure in the Senate to keep outside in the cold and it says much about the power he still has among Democrats, even though he openly attacked Barack Obama and campaigned tirelessly for his old friend, John McCain.

He is someone who is not soft on issues of security and I for one am pleased he is still chairman of a very important committee. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gordon Brown - the most deluded man in Britain

Perhaps I am lucky or perhaps it says something about my personality, but I do not hate anyone. I dislike some people and I dislike others intensely, however, when the chips are down, I would always offer a helping hand. Gordon Brown is the exception.

I am coming very close to hating the man. Recently he has found a smile on his face. Recently he has a spring in his step. The only reason I do not hate him is because you cannot hate someone who has a mental illness, and I believe he has a mental illness. He is deluded. He cannot say sorry and he is does believe he has anything to say sorry for. He really believes the problems the UK faces are global problems and nothing to do with his ten years as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He really believes borrowing more to fund what he calls tax cuts, will lead us to economic Utopia. He really believes he is the only man to steer the UK through the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. 

This man should be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He is not fit to run this country. How much more damage he can inflict is anyone's guess, however, I fear the worst.   

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Democrats in California are compiling their wish lists

Democrats across California are rubbing their hands in glee - positively salivating some may say - at the thought of the Obama administration in nine weeks' time. 

Every elected Democrat seems to be compiling their wish list. They are - of course - not worrying about where the money is coming from. They are thinking about their re-election chances next time around and making sure they get something for their constituents. Read the story from the Los Angeles Times, here

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gordon Brown is a happy man after the G20 summit

The G20 have met and they have come up with their conclusions. Gordon Brown looks a happy man and why wouldn't he be? He has wrecked the UK economy and has put us in a much worse position than we would have been to weather the storm. Now he has a chance of imposing socialism around the world. He must think all his Christmases have come at once.

It could still be Secretary of State McCain

It looks like it may not be Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama seems to be keeping his options open and he is still meeting with John McCain on Monday. Perhaps my prediction was right. Wait and see. I can't think of a better man for the job.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Will Obama hire McCain?

Devotees of 'The West Wing' - and I am one - will know a relatively unknown congressman - Matthew Santos - was elected president, after President Bartlett served his two terms in office. He defeated Senator Arnold Vinick - a respected and much older senator from California. 

When it came to the job of Secretary of State, Santos realised there was only one man for the job, the man he had been fighting for months, and Vinick - after much thought - accepted the offer.

Coming back to the real world, President-Elect Obama has had a meeting with Senator Clinton. There is speculation he may offer her the job of Secretary of State. Whenever I see or hear the senator, a chill always runs down my spine and it is not a pleasant feeling. Diplomacy has never been her strong suit, so I can't see how she could be successful in that role. Senator John McCain is respected by both Republicans and Democrats and is an expert in foreign affairs. Am I mixing fact and fiction? Perhaps; although Obama is meeting McCain on Monday. In many ways McCain would be the perfect choice. He would get through the congressional hearings without any controversy, and he is far and away the best qualified candidate. Stranger things have happened.

UPDATE 22:48: Just a few minutes after I published this post, it was broadcast on Sky News that Clinton has been offered the job of Secretary of State. It looks like we are going to see and hear more of Hilary. God help us!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Republicans must return to the Reagan fold and broaden their appeal

The Grand Old Party is not looking so grand at the moment. It is still reeling from the events of November 4, although it could have been worse; the Democrats didn't get sixty seats in the Senate. The wind of change has swept over the United States and they call the wind Obama. 

It is very easy to get despondent and become a harbinger of doom and gloom; but not me. I know the GOP can become strong again. I know it can appeal to Americans who will realise Obama has promised them the earth, knowing he could never deliver on these promises.

What concerns me the most is not the current standing of the GOP with the voters, it is that some conservatives regard Sarah Palin as having the same messianic qualities as the president-elect; although as we shall all find out, he is not God in man made manifest. If Sarah Palin is the answer, what is the question? Can she win in 2012? Will she have broad appeal? Do most people take her seriously? The answer in bold, capital letters is: NO. If Republicans regard her as the saviour of their party, they will make the same mistakes that has cost them this election in 2008. The GOP has to reach beyond its base to the Reagan Democrats and Independents. Palin's 'God and Guns' credentials may be impeccable, but this is not going to garner votes amongst those two categories.

John McCain has said Palin is not to blame for his defeat and I agree. As I stated in a previous post, there were many reasons and Palin was just a part of the problem. Republicans must return to the Reagan fold. After the disastrous years of the Bush Administration, they must once again be seen as the party of individual freedom, small government and lower taxes. They must once again become the party of fiscal responsibility. But that is not enough. African Americans and Hispanics vote Democrat. It is hardly surprising they do. They are financially poorer and have more social problems. The Democratic Party - with its interventionist policies - help those two groups. Of course they only succeed in helping them remain in poverty, despite the fine rhetoric of Obama, but it is not enough to remind them of this fact and then not come up with any new ideas to help them help themselves. If the GOP uses this time in the wilderness to renew itself and not insist it is the voters who are misguided by rejecting them, they will return in a few years' time as the natural party of government. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Busy Week

It's been a very busy week so far and it doesn't look like it going to get any quieter. I'm working on a couple of posts on US politics and should have both of them published by Saturday. 

I hope to get back to normal blogging tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

President-Elect Obama asks President Bush to bail-out motor manufacturers

If anyone wants to know what the Obama administration is going to be like, the title of this post says it all. My initial reaction was, where is the money coming from? My next thought was despair. If there is one way of making a recession last longer than it needs to, it is by constantly intervening in the markets. Recessions root out inefficiencies and if General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are so inefficient they need a government bail-out, I would suggest they start reorganising their businesses pretty quickly, which they will do if they know they have to. If the government intervenes, they don't have the incentive to do what they need to do.

One wonders if the majority of the US car market is now going to be nationalised. Where will it all end? 

Conservative Tax Policy Announcement - a masterstroke

If anyone says to you politicians are all the same, refer them to David Cameron's announcement this morning. Gordon Brown wants to spend his way out of the current economic crisis, without having a clue how we are going to pay for it. Every day that passes by shows how redundant of ideas our prime minister is.

 The announcement by David Cameron this morning shows how imaginative Conservative policies are. By offering a National Insurance credit to employers who hire those who have been unemployed for more than three months, this policy makes it easier for businesses to take on new employees by reducing their costs. Unemployed people will no longer have to claim benefits and there will be fewer members of the client state. And to put the icing on the cake, it will be self financing.

Gordon Brown's reply was to say the figures didn't add up. That did make me laugh. If not getting the figures to add up was an Olympic event, Brown would have won three gold medals by now and would have probably been knighted by the Queen. 

Well done David Cameron. Imaginative policies like this one will secure a Conservative victory in 2010 and Gordon Brown knows it

Monday, November 10, 2008

The reasons why Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States of America

Barack Obama is the first politician to harness the power of the Internet. He - and his team - realised the power of YouTube, when other politicians still regarded it as a medium for people to upload drunken videos of themselves. Many others had never heard of it. 

Obama understands the power of the small donation.  It is far better to get a hundred donations of $10, than to get one donation of $1000. This way, you have one hundred people who feel as if they are shareholders in your campaign. They will work for you and work hard to make sure their money has not gone to waste. In addition, those who donate small sums tend to value money more than those who donate larger sums. The rich can afford to speculate more; the less affluent are not in this enviable position.

These two points help explain why so many queued around the blocks of American towns and cities to vote. The Obama campaign succeeded in its mass voter registration campaign, however, they succeeded in the difficult task of getting out the vote. Anyone involved in political campaigning knows how just how difficult this is.

It is not an overstatement so say Obama has rewritten the book of political campaigning. Like most clever things, the basics are, well, very basic and the rest of us wonder why we didn't think of them first. 

Obama also had the advantage of running against one person; John McCain. McCain had to fight against Obama, Pres. George W Bush and to a lesser extent, Gov. Sarah Palin; although he only has himself to blame for the latter. 

Obama stayed calm when the economic storm hit Washington in September, whereas McCain flapped, stated the American economy was basically sound and then stated economics was not his strongest suit. Since then, Obama gained momentum; McCain kept spluttering. 

Sarah Palin helped to energise the conservative base, but alienated everyone else. Her knowledge on economics, US politics and foreign affairs, made her a God send for every comedian. All gaffe prone Joe Biden had to do was not make too many gaffes. Even he managed that. 

Obama looks younger than his years in the same way David Cameron does. This can be a blessing or a curse. In this election it was a blessing. John McCain looks his age, so the contrast between the new and the old could not be starker

Barack Obama is also the man of the moment. He represents a historic watershed in American history. This could easily have been the clinching argument and helped him take the swing states that catapulted him to The White House. 


Sunday, November 09, 2008

We've returned from Stratford, brushed up our Shakespeare and I'm still quoting him now.

We've had a great time in Stratford-upon-Avon. Tudor history had always been a favourite of mine, and combining this with the Bard, made for a very enjoyable time.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust does a wonderful job. Visitors receive a warm welcome and the guides are very efficient and first-class. Above all else, you can see they are enthusiastic and love their work. We purchased two £9 tickets which allowed access in to the Shakespeares' family home, Nash's House & New Place, and Hall's Croft. We allowed our admission ticket to become a gift aided donation and we are allowed to make unlimited visits during the next year. 

We stayed in the Mecure Shakespeare Hotel and dined in Cafe Pasta and Cafe Rouge. We heartily recommend all three of these establishments. As someone who has a reputation for complaining, I can honestly say I have nothing to complain about. 

If you are in the UK and are thinking about going for a short break, Stratford should be at the top of your list.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Brush up your Shakespeare

We are off to Stratford upon Avon this evening for a couple of days, so I won't be back until Sunday evening. 

Next week, I will be writing a series of posts on President-elect Obama, why the McCain/Palin ticket was unsuccessful and what the future holds for the Republican Party. I have them written in my mind, but have not had the time to get them written down on paper.

Until Sunday...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

George Osborne responds to the Bank of England Interest Rate Cut

At the beginning of October, Vince Cable said interest rates should be cut by 2%. I agreed, but unfortunately George Osborne did not. Read what I said at the time HERE.

Today the Bank of England cut interest rates by 1.5%, on top of the 0.5% cut in October. A total of 2%. Today, Osborne welcomed this decision and stated this is what the Conservative Party had been pressing for. 

Far be it for me to attack the Shadow Chancellor, and perhaps his memory is not very good after the month he has had, but I would like him to lead the debate, instead of changing his mind and then presenting it as party policy. Will Cameron ever ditch him? I know the answer to that question.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama - some thoughts

It would be churlish of me not to congratulate President-Elect Obama. It's a long road to victory and so it should be. If only we in Britain could get to know someone who wishes to become prime minister so well. Those of us who have followed this election, every twist and turn, feel as if we know John McCain and Barack Obama very well. Americans have the chance to make an informed choice. 

Looking at Jesse Jackson, with tears in his eyes, I can only begin to appreciate how he must feel. For America to elect a black president shows this is a country where anyone can get the top job. What annoys me is the implication that if Americans had instead elected John McCain, somehow it would have proved America had not moved forward in such a way. Martin Luther King wanted an America where people were not judged by the colour of their skin, but by their character. The fact that President-Elect Obama had beaten off the opposition in the Democratic Party and became its nominee, shows you can be judged by your character. The Americans who voted for McCain are not racists; just as I am not a racist for wanting a McCain administration. For me it is simply about policies and Barack Obama will be a big government, big spending, high taxation president. I can never support anyone who stands for this, whatever their skin colour, sexual orientation or religious views may be. 

Barack Obama will have to hit the ground running. He has been elected president at the start of a recession, America fighting two wars, with fresh international challenges for him to solve. Listening to him speak last night and then listening to President Bush today, did give me one crumb of comfort. At least the United States will soon have a president who can string a few words together in grammatical English. This, at least, is one blessing.

President Elect Barack Obama

America has decided and now the GOP has to regroup. I have stated here before, Pres. Bush has set the Republican Party back a decade. They now need to look at what David Cameron has achieved with the Conservative Party in the UK. It will take a long time, however, in the long term, it will be worth it. 

Sen. McCain would have been a great president, but it was not to be. I can only hope President Elect Obama will not make as big a hash of the job as I fear.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

***Breaking News*** - The latest exit polls for the US Presidential Election

Fox News Exit Poll: Canvassing newly registered voters:

Indiana: 73% Obama v 27% McCain
Ohio: 69% Obama v 31% McCain
Virginia: 63% Obama v 36% McCain

These voters make up around 10% of all voters

White Men are as follows:

Indiana: 44% Obama v 54% McCain
Ohio: 47% Obama v 51% McCain
Virginia: 39% Obama v 58% McCain

So far 36% of the voters have been white men.

Late Deciders:

Indiana: 52% Obama v 45% McCain
Ohio: 54% Obama v 39% McCain
Virginia: 44% Obama v 55% McCain

With so many people voting before today, the usual Democrat weighting in exit polls may not apply, as it is thought many have already voted for Obama.

A mention in dispatches from the BBC on the US Elections

Yesterday, I wrote an article for Media Lizzy and Friends, a US political blog. Considering all the stick I have given the BBC of late, and also considering the left-wing bias of the corporation, it is interesting they have quoted me on the 'Today' website. Perhaps they are not such bad chaps after all!

Scroll down to 'Reaction from around the web - US Elections.'

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