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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Conference News

I'm sat in the Microsoft Internet Cafe. Tonight, at 6.00pm, I will be attending the Observer Interview with Eric Pickles - definitely the Conservative activists 'Man of the Year.'

Later I will be giving Praguetory some moral support when he has his three minutes of fame in the Freedom Zone. He 's talking about land tax in front of Iain Dale and others. What a brave man my host is!

Tory Bear has his party this evening, just down from us, so it would be very rude not to call in and say hello.

I've been here since Saturday morning and the time has flown by. This has been a great conference. We are just waiting to see our leader finish it all off tomorrow. I feel very energised at the moment, despite the fact I am having to suck on Hall's Soothers and blow my nose at various intervals.

More updates tomorrow...

Bailing out banks

After listening to the education debate this morning, I left the main hall and therefore missed David Cameron's unscheduled speech. I am worried, and its not just because banks are failing every day.

If a bank goes to the wall, eighty-odd percent of depositors will not have more than £35K, so they will get their money back. The bank's business will be broken up and sold off. This is what happens and then the market moves on. It will recover eventually as it always has done. Constant intervention will in the long term do more harm than good. We cannot bail out every failing bank, although it seems that's what's happenning at the moment.

We are living in dangerous times.

Conference News

This is my first visit to conference and the last time I visited the centre of Birmingham was many years ago as a child. The range of events one can attend is quite simply breathtaking; not only in the main conference area, but also where I am at the moment in 'The Freedom Zone', which is organised by 'The Freedom Association.' It is a place where libertarians can meet, eat and drink for free and it is just around the corner from the ICC.

I am currently at an event entitled, 'Straight Talking on Climate Change' with Roger Helmer MEP. Here we are debunking the myth of man made climate change; something which is close to my heart. We all know green taxes are an excuse to raise extra revenue for the treasury and the more we can expose the myth of man made climate change, the more we can expose green taxes for what they are.

Back to the main conference, I was in the hall for the education debate this morning. It was chaired by the very able Andrew Percy, who will be the next MP for Brigg and Goole. Michael Gove gave a very thoughtful speech. He must think I am stalking him, as I seem to be following him around on the fringe circuit. Michael's message was one of trusting professionals and empowering them to do their job. He will make an excellent Education Secretary; or whatever it is called these days.

Finally, my thanks go to the Croydonian, who has kindly let me use his laptop to write this post.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Conservative Party Conference

I'm off to Birmingham tomorrow morning on the 06:50 from Hull. I am not taking my laptop with me. I'm sure I will be able to get access to a computer somewhere and blog. If I don't I will have plenty of news when I return next Wednesday. Until then...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Be careful before you skip to the loo

It seems that answering the call of nature is not as easy for Muslims as one may think. 

I had not rimageealised they could not sit on the loo facing Mecca. Apparently, this is offensive. So, in the Olympic spirit, the London Games' organisers are making sure all the toilets are facing the correct way. What next, a ban on alcohol in the Olympic Village? Lest we offend.


Hat Tip: Blaney's Blarney

Sarah Brown and Ruth Kelly

The Labour machine have stated that Sarah Brown's decision to introduce her husband was entirely her own decision and was not planned until a few hours before the event. The Prime Minister said this morning they had discussed it during their summer holiday.

Today Ruth Kelly - a pretty hapless minister, despite her so called impressive resume - resigns from the government to spend more time with her family. Gordon has said she discussed this with him in May. If this is so, why did she choose today of all days to announce her decision? It hardly lets Brown bask in glory.

Both these examples are proof of Labour's inability to tell the truth. and not get away with it. Whatever you think about the Blair/Campbell machine, it certainly got everyone singing from the same hymn sheet.

UPDATE: Guido has a possible explanation as to the timing of Ruth Kelly's announcement. It's possible. I have to admit, why this was announced today has puzzled me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brown's Speech. It gives him breathing space - for now

I haven't heard Gordon Brown's speech to the Labour Party Conference in full yet, although after listening to the little snippets on Radio 4 earlier, I don't think I'll bother.

He said what he had to say. It didn't mean anything - although I noticed a bribe of free prescriptions to cancer sufferers - and yet the BBC managed to put it's own, distinctive spin on the speech.

The reporter on 'PM' informed listeners that Gordon Brown apologised in his speech, but of course he didn't. Instead our brave leader waxed lyrical on how upset he was about the 10p tax debacle; not because it was a cynical ploy to tax us more, but because he was accused of not being on the side of hard working families. All Gordon has ever wanted was to have as many families dependent on the state as possible. I suppose he must be proud he has gone a long way in achieving that goal.

He thinks the Tories are not fit for office. No surprise there, but I'm sure I, along with many friends and colleagues, will enjoy booting his arse out of Downing Street.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Good, old fashioned service

There is something about good, old fashioned service. You don't seem to find it very much anymore, but yesterday was an exception.

I drove to Newland Avenue in Hull and parked up. I bought a newspaper, then visited a bakery and bought some sausage rolls, fresh out of the oven. Then to the butcher to buy some beef and then across the road to the greengrocer to buy the veg.

In every shop I was a valued customer and they had the time of day for me. More importantly, the produce I bought was of a high quality. The beef was lean and tender and was a beautiful, burgundy colour before cooking,  indicating it had been hung properly. All the veg was fresh and tasted so much better than the supermarket.  It is pure laziness that makes me get most things at the supermarket. With a little more effort, life is more pleasurable and much more tasty!

£50 note

Iain Dale has in his possession a £50 note, which he cannot spend. Everywhere he goes he is greeted with signs saying, 'Sorry, £50 notes are not accepted here.'

Why is this? I have spent $100 bills regularly in the US. I have spent 100 and 200 Euro notes throughout Europe without any problems at all. It seems that we are the only country in the Western world that regularly refuses to accept a note issued by our central bank.

This leads me to another question which I do not know the answer. If I present a £50 note and it is refused, do I have the right to call the police and ask them to force the retailer to accept it? Does legal tender mean anything?

If anyone can give me answers to my questions, I will be very grateful.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sub-prime minister Brown

I haven't had much time for blogging this week and today is no exception, however if you have not read Jeff Randall in the Telegraph today, you must. Here are some quotes:

"Labour is now so far behind in the ratings, the Tories will soon be hiring telescopes to locate the enemy."

"There will, however, be no rescue for the sub-prime minister. John Prescott has expressed support, but that's even less useful than a guarantee on creditworthiness from the treasurer at Lehman Brothers."

"There's no contrition, no admission of fallibility, no recognition of blunders - and most certainly no apology. This isn't clever. It insults the electorate's intelligence and helps explain why, like AIG, he's doomed."

What a waste Jeff Randall was at the Biased Broadcasting Corporation. Thank goodness he can be true to himself working for the Telegraph and Sky. Good on you, Jeff.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The facts of life

'This time next year, we'll be millionaires!" The immortal words of Del Boy. He was right - eventually - although his riches came courtesy of the lottery, rather than a shrewd business deal.

One gets the impression that many greedy bankers were thinking of Del when conducting their business deals. 'We need to sell more mortgages and make more money. Let's borrow from other financial institutions. If that's successful we can always borrow more and more and make even more money. The good times are here to stay.'

Andy Hornby -  chief executive of HBOS - may not have uttered those words, but he damned well must have thought them. He's not the only one of course, and our prime minister, in his previous incarnation as Chancellor of the Exchequer, thought that spending and borrowing year on year wouldn't be a problem as he was the greatest chancellor in British history. He had the Midas touch. Happy days are here again.

Now we are witnessing the consequences of such reckless behaviour. Eric Daniels - chief executive of Lloyds TSB - has a more circumspect approach to banking, although he was regarded as yesterday's man. After the agreed merger of the two banks today, he who laughs last, laughs the longest. 

When outrageous greed muddles the brain, there are consequences. Ambition and drive are commendable attributes, however they have to be tempered with a cool head and an understanding of how economies work. Mr Hornby never has had a firm grasp of banking. He gifts are in marketing. Mr Daniels has been a banker all his working life. He can remember the last time we had a recession and knows economics works in cycles. The good times are never here to stay. There will always be blips, corrections, downturns and recessions. Unfortunately, there are too many in positions of responsibility who do not know the economic facts of life. Those employees of HBOS who will now lose their jobs do.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Labour is not fit for purpose as ministers start to resign

The Labour Party has now stated it no longer wishes to govern Britain, just in the same way the Conservative Party decided to ditch governing in the 1990s.

Having a few policy squabbles is one thing; having many members of the government resigning a week before your party conference,  is another. Gordon Brown's coronation did not have to take place. It would have been much healthier for Labour to have had a proper debate. To have had the debate, someone needed to stand up and seek election as leader.  Alas there was no-one brave enough to take on Brown. Now Labour is regretting it.

Brown is dead in the water. He has nowhere to go. He can try and reinvent himself; but that won't work. The public has already made up its mind. His 'trust me, I am the only man to lead our country through this economic crisis' rings hollow. If it wasn't for his profligate spending and borrowing, Britain would be in a better position to weather the economic storms that is surrounding her.

Labour too is dead in the water.  Keep Brown and commit electoral suicide. Ditch Brown and then morally (if they have any morals left) a general election must be called.

The actions of a handful of MPs and junior ministers has played into the hands of the opposition. With an eye to their jobs as MPs and without very much thought, the rats have starting deserting the sinking ship. Captain Brown will be gone by the end of the year and we will get a general election next year.

Thanks to Palin

For those readers who want to keep up-to-date on the US Presidential Election, there is a new website you should go and check out.

Thanks to Palin will give you views of all the latest news and yours truly is also a guest author.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The LibDem con trick

When the Liberal Democrats elected Nick Clegg they should have known what they were doing. Okay, it wasn't the rank and file of the party who forced Ming Campbell out, however it was them who elected a new leader. Unless you want to get the reputation of electing a new leader every year- which the Conservatives were once getting a reputation for - you know you are going to have to stick with the new man until after the next general election. Many LibDems though must be wondering just where their party is going.

For years they have been a high taxation party. They have wanted to increase income tax for high earners. They are the ones who would have happily introduced more 'green' taxes. The one thing you could never have accused them of is a party of low taxation. And despite what Clegg may say, I don't believe it now either.

They can huff and puff all they like about the Tories, but they are now embarking on a political con trick. They are trying to tell the electorate they have had a Damascene moment and have seen the light. I am sure there are many on the right of the party who believe in low taxation, but they are far outnumbered by the rest who do not.

Those of us who have fought the LibDems in elections know that far from being the nice, friendly party (the general image they like to convey), they are the 'say and do anything to get elected' party. After the decapitation of Ming Campbell and now their policies on tax, the cat is well and truly out of the bag. They are not nice and they will try and say anything to avoid an electoral disaster. It now looks like they are set to lose Westminster seats by the bucket load at the next general election. Clegg knows this, but how many wishy-washy, wooly Liberals are there who will stick to their principals and not support their leader? Probably more than you think.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The medical profession sucks

I do not wish to turn my blog into a single issue forum, however the abuse that junior doctors are receiving in the NHS means all of us must act to protect them from bullying and restrictions of their basic right to freedom of speech. This is a comment I received earlier today:

Thats nothing, I had one consultant jump down my throat the other day for daring to interrupt him.
And then he accused me of being divorced from reality
He insulted me twice in less than half an hour and he thinks hes the bees knees cos hes the clinical lead
I told him not to take that tone of voice with me
But abuse of power is nothing new
My medical director abused and psychologically bullied me for almost two years and she got away with it
The medical profession sucks,I was banned from DNUK because I dared to post up a 9 and half page account of the bullying I had received from her and my other colleagues
Those people threw me to the fucking wolves
I am now back working but they tried to completely crucify me
Scot Junior is nothing new, its just that now with the advent of the Internet that a lot more people know about abuses like this.

The medical profession sucks. What a damning statement and you can tell that this doctor is not alone. Please copy and paste the red ribbon on the top left and put it on your own blogs. If you don't have a blog, then please publicise it in any way you can. This is a campaign that needs to get national prominence.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Doctor suspended for speaking his mind - Update

I have received a comment from Dr Rant giving me more information about the case of the junior doctor who has been suspended for criticising a senior doctor. This is a campaign we should all get behind.

Very few people know exactly what he wrote because it was written on a doctor-only website (a handful of invited health journalists have access to the page he used on condition that they do not quote anything said without the author's permission).
None of us know what he wrote because the moderators removed it very quickly at the request of the junior doctor and only a handful of DNUK members had read it.
We suspect that Prof Paice read it via a 'keyword email me' feature on the site as it was up for such a short time.
The general gist is that he called Carol Black a 'fucking shit' in several different flavours of invective. The post is widely described as 'a bit ott' but not libelous.
The key point is that Carol Black is not a colleague, nor is she the boss, of the junior doctor in question. She is a high ranking political appointee who happens to be a doctor.
She is widely despised by doctors for being at the center of the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) disaster last year, and managed to get the BMA chairman Jim Johnson the elbow by publishing a joint letter with him supporting the MMC changes.
The GMC are quite clear (in writing) that clause 35 (treating colleagues with respect) of Good Medical Practice applies only to working colleagues and clinical issues.
The GMC are also quite clear (in writing) that media activity by doctors (which includes online posts) are not something they are interested in and should be dealt with through normal channels.
The doctor is reportedly still suspended because of an incident that has been dug up from 8 years ago when he was a medical student. This also breaches the GMC 'statute of limitations' of 5 years.
Also, suspension is reserved for cases in which patient safety is an issue, and it is very hard to think of a situation in which either writing a swear word online and an eight year old 'offense' could put patients at risk.
This has been a shocking abuse of power by a New Labour cabel to punish and silence an outspoken critic of a New Labour quangonista.

UPDATE: Please read the comments on this post and my previous post on this subject. You will find more information and some links.

Don't mention the Pope

Yesterday I wrote about a doctor from Inverness who has been suspended for criticising a senior colleague. Today Dizzy reports of a lack of tolerance in Italy. If you are about to go there on holiday, a word of advice; don't be too vocal in your criticisms of the Pope or you might be facing a few years in the clink. Okay, saying he will 'go to hell and be pursued by two big, gay and very active devils' isn't the kindest of things you can say about His Holiness, but 5 years in prison for saying it? I hope Gordon hasn't got any ideas.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Doctor suspended for speaking his mind

The attacks that took place in this day seven years ago were not only attacks on the American way of life, they were attacks on western society in general. Both Americans and the British cherish their freedom, which at various times throughout the history of both countries, has been hard fought.

Earlier this evening, I was looking at the blog 'Debacle' and discovered a junior doctor in Inverness has been suspended for criticising a senior colleague on an online doctors' forum. It now seems our ancient right of freedom of speech doesn't extend to the NHS. As far as I'm aware this doctor has not endangered the life of a patient. He hasn't been suspected of breaching patient confidentiality or a breach of ethics. He has though been guilty of hurting the pride of a very senior doctor, who it appears cannot take criticism.

There may be more than meets the eye in this case, so I am not going to wade in with both feet, but if this is true it is not only disgusting, but a complete waste of taxpayers' money.

I have looked up various links on the Internet, however I cannot find any specific information on what he has said. If anyone wishes to enlighten me, I will be grateful.

September 11 2001

When we think of the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001, our minds are naturally drawn to the twin towers of the World Tradeimage Centre collapsing before the eyes of the world. Today - the seventh anniversary of the attacks - let us not only remember those who perished in the twin towers, but also those who died on the four hijacked airplanes and in The Pentagon.

We will never forget.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

GM Crops

Ellee Seymour has a very thought provoking post on GM foods. I agree with Ellee; we need to base our opinions on science, not our gut reaction to something we don't know anything about.

Read it here.

Hammer attack

A man was attacked in Philadelphia whilst asleep on the subway. His attacker got a hammer out of his bag and launched into his unprovoked attack. The victim managed to get to safely after his attacker tried to throw him on the rails. 

If this had happened in Britain, how many Guardian readers would now be calling for a ban on carrying hammers in a public place? As ridiculous as this sounds, those same people would have said it was a symptom of the gun culture in America if this man has been attacked by someone carrying a gun.

The old saying is true; guns don't kill people, people kill people. The same also applies to hammers.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Stop eating meat and help the environment!

There have been  many jokes spreading around the blogosphere over the subject of farting cows. It seems cattle are a bigger threat to the environment than driving. Boris Johnson, in his typical fashion, has answered the UN experts who think we should stop eating meat and become veggies. In the words of Lady Thatcher: No, no, no!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Democracy is not alive and well in Britain

Janet Daley has written an excellent article in The Daily Telegraph today. It is a must read for everyone. It examines the difference between American and British politics and comes from the perspective of an American who has been domiciled in the UK for over 40 years. image

The ruling class in Britain is terrified of democracy. As Janet quite rightly says, the liberal elite dictate the political agenda and the public are largely ignored. This is not the case the US where Americans would not tolerate this behaviour.

Until we as a people refuse to be sidelined, nothing will change. Like many of you I am sick and tired of being described as a racist the moment I bring up the subject of immigration. Articulate some views about gay adoptions that do not go along with the liberal consensus, and you are described as a homophobe and are squeezed out of the debate. If you don't go along with the jolly view that everything is wonderful in EU land, and you are a bigoted, little Englander.

Politics has gone from the grassroots and is ruled centrally. I went to my first hustings with my Dad when I was 12. That was in 1983 and I cannot remember since then another meeting like it. Three candidates on a stage answering questions from local people, about local and national issues. Candidates used to relish the chance to debate the issues of the day with those who have the power to elect them as Members' of Parliament; now all they want to do is hide behind the party machine.

I suggest that when it comes to the next general election, we all write to the editors of our local newspapers and demand that the candidates hold public meetings. Meetings that are not stage managed. Meeting where the questions are not known in advance. Meeting where they cannot hide. The British people need to be vocal and they need to start demanding that their voices are heard. Until this happens we may as well live in a dictatorship.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

John McCain's speech in full

There are many who believe that John McCain's speech to the RNC was poor. I must beg to disagree.

The main reason I enjoyed his speech - and I did watch it from beginning to end - was that this was John McCain being himself. He has never been a great orator and he would be the first person to admit that. He is though honest and steadfast in his beliefs. What you see is what you get with the senator.

His life has been one of service and he was right to highlight this. His political life has also been about bringing different sides together to work on issues that unite, rather than divide. And whilst some Democrats now find it easy to sling personal insults his way, they know all of this, and this is what has got them worried.

Sarah Palin's entrance has been a breath of fresh air and Democrats are also worried about her too. She relates to small town America in a way they can't.

Below is a transcript of his full speech - via Media Lizzy & Friends.  Read it and then discuss.

Thank you all very much. Tonight, I have a privilege given few Americans — the privilege of accepting our party’s nomination for President of the United States. And I accept it with gratitude, humility and confidence.

In my life, no success has come without a good fight, and this nomination wasn’t any different. That’s a tribute to the candidates who opposed me and their supporters. They’re leaders of great ability, who love our country, and wished to lead it to better days. Their support is an honor I won’t forget.

I’m grateful to the President for leading us in those dark days following the worst attack on American soil in our history, and keeping us safe from another attack many thought was inevitable; and to the First Lady, Laura Bush, a model of grace and kindness in public and in private. And I’m grateful to the 41st President and his bride of 63 years, and for their outstanding example of honorable service to our country.

As always, I’m indebted to my wife, Cindy, and my seven children. The pleasures of family life can seem like a brief holiday from the crowded calendar of our nation’s business. But I have treasured them all the more, and can’t imagine a life without the happiness you give me. Cindy said a lot of nice things about me tonight. But, in truth, she’s more my inspiration than I am hers. Her concern for those less blessed than we are - victims of land mines, children born in poverty and with birth defects - shows the measure of her humanity. I know she will make a great First Lady.

When I was growing up, my father was often at sea, and the job of raising my brother, sister and me would fall to my mother alone. Roberta McCain gave us her love of life, her deep interest in the world, her strength, and her belief we are all meant to use our opportunities to make ourselves useful to our country. I wouldn’t be here tonight but for the strength of her character.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you, who helped me win this nomination, and stood by me when the odds were long. I won’t let you down. To Americans who have yet to decide who to vote for, thank you for your consideration and the opportunity to win your trust. I intend to earn it.

Finally, a word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We’ll go at it over the next two months. That’s the nature of these contests, and there are big differences between us. But you have my respect and admiration. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, an association that means more to me than any other. We’re dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. No country ever had a greater cause than that. And I wouldn’t be an American worthy of the name if I didn’t honor Senator Obama and his supporters for their achievement.

But let there be no doubt, my friends, we’re going to win this election. And after we’ve won, we’re going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again, and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.

These are tough times for many of you. You’re worried about keeping your job or finding a new one, and are struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home. All you ever asked of government is to stand on your side, not in your way. And that’s just what I intend to do: stand on your side and fight for your future.

And I’ve found just the right partner to help me shake up Washington, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. She has executive experience and a real record of accomplishment. She’s tackled tough problems like energy independence and corruption. She’s balanced a budget, cut taxes, and taken on the special interests. She’s reached across the aisle and asked Republicans, Democrats and Independents to serve in her administration. She’s the mother of five children. She’s helped run a small business, worked with her hands and knows what it’s like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries.

She knows where she comes from and she knows who she works for. She stands up for what’s right, and she doesn’t let anyone tell her to sit down. I’m very proud to have introduced our next Vice President to the country. But I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington. And let me offer an advance warning to the old, big spending, do nothing, me first, country second Washington crowd: change is coming.

I’m not in the habit of breaking promises to my country and neither is Governor Palin. And when we tell you we’re going to change Washington, and stop leaving our country’s problems for some unluckier generation to fix, you can count on it. We’ve got a record of doing just that, and the strength, experience, judgment and backbone to keep our word to you.

You know, I’ve been called a maverick; someone who marches to the beat of his own drum. Sometimes it’s meant as a compliment and sometimes it’s not. What it really means is I understand who I work for. I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you.

I’ve fought corruption, and it didn’t matter if the culprits were Democrats or Republicans. They violated their public trust, and had to be held accountable. I’ve fought big spenders in both parties, who waste your money on things you neither need nor want, while you struggle to buy groceries, fill your gas tank and make your mortgage payment. I’ve fought to get million dollar checks out of our elections. I’ve fought lobbyists who stole from Indian tribes. I fought crooked deals in the Pentagon. I fought tobacco companies and trial lawyers, drug companies and union bosses.

I fought for the right strategy and more troops in Iraq, when it wasn’t a popular thing to do. And when the pundits said my campaign was finished, I said I’d rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.

Thanks to the leadership of a brilliant general, David Petraeus, and the brave men and women he has the honor to command, that strategy succeeded and rescued us from a defeat that would have demoralized our military, risked a wider war and threatened the security of all Americans.

I don’t mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I’ve had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way. In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test.

I fight for Americans. I fight for you. I fight for Bill and Sue Nebe from Farmington Hills, Michigan, who lost their real estate investments in the bad housing market. Bill got a temporary job after he was out of work for seven months. Sue works three jobs to help pay the bills.

I fight for Jake and Toni Wimmer of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Jake works on a loading dock; coaches Little League, and raises money for the mentally and physically disabled. Toni is a schoolteacher, working toward her Master’s Degree. They have two sons, the youngest, Luke, has been diagnosed with autism. Their lives should matter to the people they elect to office. They matter to me.

I fight for the family of Matthew Stanley of Wolfboro, New Hampshire, who died serving our country in Iraq. I wear his bracelet and think of him every day. I intend to honor their sacrifice by making sure the country their son loved so well and never returned to, remains safe from its enemies.

I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both parties and Senator Obama passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies. We lost their trust, when we valued our power over our principles.

We’re going to change that. We’re going to recover the people’s trust by standing up again for the values Americans admire. The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics.

We believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential from the boy whose descendents arrived on the Mayflower to the Latina daughter of migrant workers. We’re all God’s children and we’re all Americans.

We believe in low taxes; spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor.

We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities.

We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans. Government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself.

I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them. I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them. I will cut government spending. He will increase it.

My tax cuts will create jobs. His tax increases will eliminate them. My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance. His plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor.

Keeping taxes low helps small businesses grow and create new jobs. Cutting the second highest business tax rate in the world will help American companies compete and keep jobs from moving overseas. Doubling the child tax exemption from $3500 to $7000 will improve the lives of millions of American families. Reducing government spending and getting rid of failed programs will let you keep more of your own money to save, spend and invest as you see fit. Opening new markets and preparing workers to compete in the world economy is essential to our future prosperity.

I know some of you have been left behind in the changing economy and it often seems your government hasn’t even noticed. Government assistance for unemployed workers was designed for the economy of the 1950s. That’s going to change on my watch. My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back, find a new one that won’t go away.

We will prepare them for the jobs of today. We will use our community colleges to help train people for new opportunities in their communities. For workers in industries that have been hard hit, we’ll help make up part of the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one while they receive retraining that will help them find secure new employment at a decent wage.

Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained. But what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice, remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.

When a public school fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children. And I intend to give it to them. Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one. Many will choose a charter school. But they will have that choice and their children will have that opportunity.

Senator Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucracies. I want schools to answer to parents and students. And when I’m President, they will.

My fellow Americans, when I’m President, we’re going to embark on the most ambitious national project in decades. We are going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. We will attack the problem on every front. We will produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells offshore, and we’ll drill them now. We will build more nuclear power plants. We will develop clean coal technology. We will increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. We will encourage the development and use of flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles.

Senator Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that. We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and to restore the health of our planet. It’s an ambitious plan, but Americans are ambitious by nature, and we have faced greater challenges. It’s time for us to show the world again how Americans lead.

This great national cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity; jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce.

Today, the prospect of a better world remains within our reach. But we must see the threats to peace and liberty in our time clearly and face them, as Americans before us did, with confidence, wisdom and resolve.

We have dealt a serious blow to al Qaeda in recent years. But they are not defeated, and they’ll strike us again if they can. Iran remains the chief state sponsor of terrorism and on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Russia’s leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power. They invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world’s oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of reassembling the Russian empire. And the brave people of Georgia need our solidarity and prayers. As President, I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War. But we can’t turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people.

We face many threats in this dangerous world, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it should not do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world, and how to stand up to those who don’t. I know how to secure the peace.

When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house. A Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. I rarely saw my father again for four years. My grandfather came home from that same war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day. In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home with me. I hate war. It is terrible beyond imagination.

I’m running for President to keep the country I love safe, and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal - diplomatic, economic, military and the power of our ideals - to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.

In America, we change things that need to be changed. Each generation makes its contribution to our greatness. The work that is ours to do is plainly before us. We don’t need to search for it.

We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children. All these functions of government were designed before the rise of the global economy, the information technology revolution and the end of the Cold War. We have to catch up to history, and we have to change the way we do business in Washington.

The constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving these problems isn’t a cause, it’s a symptom. It’s what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not you.

Again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as President. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again. I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not.

Instead of rejecting good ideas because we didn’t think of them first, let’s use the best ideas from both sides. Instead of fighting over who gets the credit, let’s try sharing it. This amazing country can do anything we put our minds to. I will ask Democrats and Independents to serve with me. And my administration will set a new standard for transparency and accountability.

We’re going to finally start getting things done for the people who are counting on us, and I won’t care who gets the credit.

I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I have been her servant first, last and always. And I’ve never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn’t thank God for the privilege.

Long ago, something unusual happened to me that taught me the most valuable lesson of my life. I was blessed by misfortune. I mean that sincerely. I was blessed because I served in the company of heroes, and I witnessed a thousand acts of courage, compassion and love.

On an October morning, in the Gulf of Tonkin, I prepared for my 23rd mission over North Vietnam. I hadn’t any worry I wouldn’t come back safe and sound. I thought I was tougher than anyone. I was pretty independent then, too. I liked to bend a few rules, and pick a few fights for the fun of it. But I did it for my own pleasure; my own pride. I didn’t think there was a cause more important than me.

Then I found myself falling toward the middle of a small lake in the city of Hanoi, with two broken arms, a broken leg, and an angry crowd waiting to greet me. I was dumped in a dark cell, and left to die. I didn’t feel so tough anymore. When they discovered my father was an admiral, they took me to a hospital. They couldn’t set my bones properly, so they just slapped a cast on me. When I didn’t get better, and was down to about a hundred pounds, they put me in a cell with two other Americans. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even feed myself. They did it for me. I was beginning to learn the limits of my selfish independence. Those men saved my life.

I was in solitary confinement when my captors offered to release me. I knew why. If I went home, they would use it as propaganda to demoralize my fellow prisoners. Our Code said we could only go home in the order of our capture, and there were men who had been shot down before me. I thought about it, though. I wasn’t in great shape, and I missed everything about America. But I turned it down.

A lot of prisoners had it worse than I did. I’d been mistreated before, but not as badly as others. I always liked to strut a little after I’d been roughed up to show the other guys I was tough enough to take it. But after I turned down their offer, they worked me over harder than they ever had before. For a long time. And they broke me.

When they brought me back to my cell, I was hurt and ashamed, and I didn’t know how I could face my fellow prisoners. The good man in the cell next door, my friend, Bob Craner, saved me. Through taps on a wall he told me I had fought as hard as I could. No man can always stand alone. And then he told me to get back up and fight again for our country and for the men I had the honor to serve with. Because every day they fought for me.

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.

I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.

If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your President. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank Him: that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on earth, and with hard work, strong faith and a little courage, great things are always within our reach. Fight with me. Fight with me.

Fight for what’s right for our country.

Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

Fight for our children’s future.

Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.

Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.

Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

Thank you, and God Bless you.

Top 100 Conservative Blogs

In response to Iain Lindley's request, Iain Dale has published the list of the top 100 Conservative blogs; as opposed to those who are right of centre and not aligned to the Conservative Party. This list is useful and I'm pleased that I have come in at number 39. The list is as follows:


TOP 100 Conservative Blogs
1 Iain Dale
2 Conservative Home
3 Dizzy Thinks
4 Burning our Money
5 John Redwood MP
6 Archbishop Cranmer
7 Mr Eugenides
8 Daniel Hannan MEP
9 Donal Blaney
10 Waendel Journal
11 Nadine Dorries
12 Letters from a Tory
13 Shane Greer
14 A Very British Dude
15 Daily Referendum
16 Paul Scully
17 Glyn Davies
18 Croydonian
19 James Cleverly
20 Raedwald
21 Tory Bear
22 Pint of Unionist Lite
23 Ellee Seymour
24 Scottish Tory Boy
25 Matt Wardman
26 Ewan Watt
27 Centre Right
28 Andrew McConnell
29 Hunter & Shooter
30 Alan Collins
31 Sinclair's Musings
32 Mike Rouse
33 Newmania
34 Neil Reddin
35 Zehra in Oxfordshire
36 Angels in Marble
37 Faulkner Journal
38 Web Cameron
39 Andrew Allison
40 Bristow Blog
41 Debateable Land
42 Fugitive Ink
43 Man in a Shed
44 Nourishing Obscurity
45 Iain Lindley
46 Not Proud of Britain
47 West Brom Blog
48 Jeremy Hunt MP
49 Laban Tall
50 Lone Voice
51 Prodicus
52 Tory Radio
53 Cassilis
54 David Jones MP
55 Matt Dean
56 Appalling Strangeness
57 Linguanaut
58 Right Student
59 Antony Little
60 Daily Pundit
61 Free Market Fairy Tales
62 John Moorcraft
63 Douglas Carswell
64 Mike Flower
65 Nicolas Webb
66 Play Political
67 Richard Spring MP
68 Tales from a Draughty Old Fen
69 House of Dumb
70 Depleted Uranium
71 Dylan Jones-Evans
72 Ed Vaizey MP
73 Fulham Reactionary
74 Havering On
75 James Barlow
76 John Ward
77 Laura Rose Saunders
78 Monkey with a Blue Rosette
79 Rachel Joyce
80 Tory Heaven
81 Bel is Thinking
82 Evan Price
83 Roger Evans MLA
84 The Tap
85 UCL Conservatives
86 Cameron Rose
87 Charlotte Leslie
88 Kevin Davis
89 Tracey Crouch
90 A Conservative's Blog
91 Alfred the Ordinary
92 Andrew Bridgen
93 Conservative History Group
94 Curly's Corner Shop
95 Dave Luckett
96 Maida Vae Conservatives
97 Phil Taylor
98 Prince Park Conservatives
99 Thunder Dragon
100 Tommy the Tory

Quote of the Day: Ed Balls

Ed Balls talking to Andrew Marr about Gordon Brown's handling of the current economic situation:

"The prime minister is doing well."

Was there ever a person so aptly named?

Is this the end of the road for UKIP?

Iain Dale posted yesterday about the problems UKIP face.

It is hardly surprising they have not made any progress in the last few yeimagears. Although I agree with many of their European policies, I want to get into government. I can do this by being a member of the Conservative Party. I agree with the vast majority of Conservative Party policies and accept that I will not agree with all of them.

UKIP are a single issue party who will always lose support when the Conservative Party's star is in the ascendency. As I have told UKIP supporters many times; come and join the Tories. It is your natural home. Here you can truly shape European policies for the future, however you have to accept that the Conservative Party is a coalition of ideas and we cannot let a single issue dominate in the way it did in the 1990s. If you can accept that and want to shape the future of our country; come on board.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

My acceptance speech

Ah, to be in the position of John McCain and to have just accepted the nomination to become my party's presidential candidate. If I was to be in that privileged position, I speech would go along these lines:

My friends, it is with profound humility and great pride that I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States. [Pause for applause.]

Growing up as a young boy in Bishop Auckland, where I spent my days studying history so that I could one day go to college, and my nights serving petrol so that I could put some food on the table for my 7 brothers and sisters, I never thought I'd be standing here today. I never thought I'd be standing here after facing canvassing in Ferryhill while serving my country as a proud member of the Conservative Party, or when standing up against bleeding heart liberals while a United States senator, either. But my fellow Americans, I am standing before you today, and for that, I am eternally grateful. [Pause for applause.]

I didn't get here alone, of course. Far from it. Where would I be without my beautiful wife, Becky, who is the smartest person I know? Or my 4 lovely daughters? You mean the world to me. I'm so proud of you.

But tonight isn't about what I've accomplished in the past. It's about what we're going to accomplish going forward. Together. You see, we stand here today at a crossroads. The issues we face — a difficult war abroad, a feeble economy at home, and an uphill battle against climate change aren't red or blue issues. They're America's issues. Dealing with them is going to take a united front.

It's also going to take hard work. Being willing to answer the phone at 3 a.m. Dedication to the task at hand. Which is why, my fellow Americans, I've enlisted the help of the wonderful, talented, Governor Steeleback to be my vice president—your vice president—to help get this country back on track. His years of executive experience, willingness to confront the complacent Washington elite head on, and an upstanding reputation for fairness are of vital importance to this ticket. I could not be happier.

America, we still have a lot of work to do, but I'm confident that we'll make it through these turbulent times and turn back the damned liberals. God bless! And God save America.

Thanks to Croydonian.

Credit crunch to last for another 18 months


The Daily Telegraph reports today that the chief executive of HBOS predicts the  credit crunch will last another 18 months.

That will lead us into general election territory in Britain. Brown has done very little thus far to alleviate the pain of the British people. A Stamp Duty holiday is not going to do anything to stimulate the housing market. The way property prices are plummeting, you can save 1% by waiting another month to buy a new house.

Brown will have to come up with something at the Labour Party Conference in two weeks' time. What will he do though? With nothing left in the bank and any major spending having to be put on the 'never, never', we know what Gordon will not do and that is cut public spending in any meaningful way.

With the writing on the wall and everyone expecting a Conservative government after the next general election, perhaps all Labour are going to do is borrow more and then in a few years' time blame the Tories? It wouldn't be the first time.

UPDATE: Harriet Harman states Labour needs a quick fix. Someone else who doesn't agree with her leader.

Friday, September 05, 2008

McCain/Palin for America

I have been looking through some of my previous posts on the US Presidential Election. I first blogged about the election on 1 February 2007. Yes, this race has been going on for that long and this is what I said:

McCain for America?

I was on the telephone last night to a friend in Ohio, and quite naturally we got to talking about the candidates for the next presidential election. Thankfully it isn't just me who hasn't heard of half of them.
For me, I would like to see John McCain become the republican candidate, and go on to win. If he does, I know some will say he is too old - as he will be 72 at the time, but I have always been a fan of the senator. He has gravitas. He doesn't have to shout when he is speaking, as everyone listens. He has a wealth of experience and can bring together a divided America.
My friend told me that although she felt Guiliani would make a good candidate, there is a feeling in America that he is the voice of New York, and not necessarily America as a whole. He certainly has a high profile - no denying that - and he is certainly well known on the world stage, however I can see where she is coming from. When you think Guiliani, you do think New York.
For those of you interested in who the candidates are, follow this link for the
Washington Post.

Last November, I also wrote:

In February I wrote this:

So, Rudolph Giuliani has finally put his hat in the ring for the 2008 Republican nomination. I think this will be a two horse race; between McCain and Giuliani. I still want McCain, as I have said in a previous post, but the fight will be a tough one. They are two strong men. Hopefully, either one of them will beat the Democrats. The Democrats do not have a worthwhile candidate at the moment. If they choose Hilary, they will lose. She has too much baggage and she is not popular with the American people. The other candidates are either not known or are gaffe prone. Time will tell though.

Okay, I was wrong about the Republican nomination. It is not a two horse race, but I still think the Democrats will select Hilary, and that will be the biggest mistake they can make. She is much too divisive a figure in US politics. So here's hoping they select her, so we can get at least another four years of Conservatism in the White House.

I was wrong about Clinton too, but I wasn't wrong in my support of John McCain. After watching his speech at the GOP Convention last night, I know - if elected - America will have one of its finest presidents. Roll on November 4.

Biased BBC

I have given up taking BBC News seriously. After the local election results last year when - if you can remember that far back - the Conservative Party added over 1000 new councillors to its ranks, the BBC played the result down, saying it wasn't all that great and Labour hadn't done as badly as you may think. I complained to them and this was the reply and my thoughts at the time.


Dear Mr Allison

Thank you for your e-mail.I understand you feel BBC News is biased, with particular reference to the recent local elections.

We are always delighted to receive feedback, both positive and negative, from our viewers. Your comments will be fully registered on a daily log, which is made available to our programme makers and senior management. Feedback of this nature helps us when making decisions about future BBC programmes and services and your comment will play a part in this process.

Thank you once again for contacting the BBC with your comments.


Gary Sullivan
BBC Information

Well that hardly answered my complaint, did it? The e-mail then goes on:
Dear Mr Allison

Thank you for your recent E-mail to the BBC. It is our aim to provide you with the highest standard of service. To help us do this, I am writing to ask you to complete an Internet-based survey which is being conducted by MORI (the independent market research company).

Your response is important. It will enable us to judge how well we handled your most recent E-mail, and to gain a better understanding of any areas of our service in which we may need to improve.

We may use your individual responses as part of staff training and performance management.

The questionnaire is very straightforward to complete and should take no longer than 5-10 minutes. You can log onto it in two ways, depending upon the email system you are using. You can either click onto the following website address, or paste it into your address bar (where you normally type in a website address). You will be guided through the questionnaire automatically once you have logged into it.

Website Address:

Thank you very much for taking the time to assist us.

Steve Pollock
Head of BBC Information

I did go on to fill in the questionnaire tell them I was completely dissatisfied with the response. I will also contact the BBC again and tell them what I think of their response. I am not one to use expletives on my blog, but I have to say if the BBC think this is answering customer complaints in a full and proper manner, they are talking out of their arse. I will keep you updated on further communications.


Donal Blaney is now having a rant about the BBC and is urging us all to complain. I agree with him; the more complaints the better, but I must prepare you for the response you are likely to get. Good luck!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Powerful Palin - the Iron Lady

I have just been watching some of the speeches from the Republican National Convention last night.

The speech of of the night and the speech everyone is talking about came from Gov. Sarah Palin. I could see something of the Iron Lady in her. Just as Margaret Thatcher wiped the floor with her critics and had to endure snide remarks like 'she's only a grocer's daughter from Grantham', Sarah Palin took on her critics and she wiped the floor with them too.

The Liberal elite, with their noses high in the air, forget that it is the American people who elect a president. It isn't focus groups. It isn't readers of the New York Times. It isn't millionaires who attend fund raising parties for Hillary Clinton. It is the American people and they are the very same people the liberals are attacking when they attack Sarah Palin.

Margaret Thatcher was told that she could not take on the unions and win. We all know what happened. She was told she could not administer the harsh medicine that was needed to return the British economy into one of the most successful in the world and retain the confidence of the British people. She did administer that medicine and she was returned to power.

Sarah Palin is being told she will fail in Washington. After all, she doesn't really fit in there.  She fought for the governorship of Alaska  on a mandate for change. She won.  She took on the vested interests head on and won. Come this January, there will be quite a few people in Washington with vested interests who will rue the day they ever crossed swords with her.

I think Ladies and Gentlemen - as Donal Blaney wrote earlier - we may be looking at the first female President of the United States. An Iron Lady? You bet!

Road Pricing - What's your postcode?

It as been revealed that the ludicrous road pricing that will soon be inflicted upon us, despite millions of people being opposed to it, has a nastier twist than first thought. If you happen to live in an affluent area you will be charged more to drive your car than those who live in less affluent areas.

If politicians passionately believe that something is right, but public opinion is against them, it is their job to make it popular. This government has singularly failed to do this. Of course, the reason they have failed is because they know as well as I do that the reason for road pricing has more to do with the cash registers ringing at the Treasury than it has with so called 'green' measures. Now we see it is also going to be a tax on those who lead successful lives.

It seems this government is determined to commit political suicide. After Charles Clarke's remarks today, it also seems that they are going to do it sooner, rather than later.


UPDATE: Bob Piper has his own views on Charles Clarke. I tend to agree with him.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Top 100 Right Wing Blog

As you may have noticed by looking in my right sidebar, I am a Top 100 Right Wing Blogger. I came in at number 72.

Many thanks to those readers who voted for me.

Republican National Convention

I have just been watching coverage from the Republican Convention. The  four main speeches I heard were from Laura Bush, Pres. G.W. Bush, Fmr. Sen. Fred Thompson and Sen. Joe Lieberman.

The theme of these speeches - given yesterday - was John McCain's service to his country; both in the military and in Congress.

Although I personally liked Fred Thompson's speech more than the others (it was a good, old fashioned, rip-roaring speech to the party faithful), Joe Lieberman's speech was the one that would reach out to 'soft' Republican and Democrat voters.

McCain and Lieberman are very similar politicians. They are not frightened to come out against their own party when they feel it is in the national interest. If he continues publicly speaking like that until the election, I think it will persuade many to get behind McCain on November 4.

At the bottom of the page are various links to read the speeches and some analysis on the election.


Media Lizzy and Friends - text 0f speeches by Thompson and Lieberman.

New York Times - Video of speech by Pres. Bush.

The Daily Telegraph

Monday, September 01, 2008

A very enjoyable weekend

We are all being urged by the green lobby to leave our cars at home and use public transport. I decided that catching the bus into Hull City Centre on Saturday evening would be cheaper than getting a taxi. Never mind the greens, this was a simple matter of economics.

To make sure we caught our bus on time, I phoned the bus company up to check on the timetable and then cross referenced the information on their website. We left home at the appointed time and made our way to the bus stop to discover a completely different timetable posted there. That timetable didn't seem to be the one the bus company was operating either and we waited there for about forty minutes, then decided the taxi was a more reliable alternative. We were due to meet James Higham at 5.00pm. We didn't get there until 5.30. I have never been on a bus in Hull, and it looks like this is going to be one duck I am not going to break.

We had a lovely evening with James, putting the world right over a few pints of real ale. Becky also enjoyed some Broadside and Bombardier, so it looks as if I may have a convert.

We also invited James to our home for dinner on Sunday evening, where yours truly took to the kitchen to prepare a culinary masterpiece. Well, my Cottage Pie did go down well, and with over two pounds of mince, there was plenty of it.

We enjoyed our time with James. He is a true gentleman, which to me is the highest praise a man can receive. He is going through the mire at the moment, but I can sense that life is about to turn around in his favour. We will be keeping in regular contact and look forward to meeting up again.

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