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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gone Fishing

Well, not really, but we are off to France. I am aiming to be
blog-less, Facebook-less, and twitter-less. At least they are the
instructions from she who must be obeyed!

Au revoir.

--
Sent from my mobile device


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cameron promises more NHS spending

Tony Benn categorises politicians as either signposts or weather cocks. It is an interesting analogy, and doesn't simply mean signposts never change their minds; they do; but only after serious thought and reasoned debate. Weather cocks change their mind after the results of a focus group, opinion poll or what the leader in The Sun has to say.

Bearing this in mind, does David Cameron's pledge to increase spending in real terms in the NHS sound like a reasoned policy decision or knee-jerk reaction to Daniel Hannan's comments about our system of healthcare. I fear it is the latter.

Whatever your views are on the NHS (and mine are free for everyone to read), surely the one thing that unites us is we need the NHS to provide not only excellent care, but deliver value for money too. This should be the case no matter what the prevailing economic circumstances are. Those who wax lyrical of the virtues of the NHS must surely accept that if less money was wasted, more operations, etc., could take place. Why then does David Cameron not pledge to cut out waste in the NHS and then sell the policy to the voters? Nearly every household in the land is trying to cut out waste in their household budgets. Surely it is a vote winner to see the government in waiting pledging to do the same in one of the most wasteful public institutions we have?

It is issues like this that will make or break Cameron. He must show courage and be a true fiscal conservative.

Lockerbie Bomber al-Megrahi to be released

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie Bomber, is due for release from prison this afternoon. The Scottish Justice Secretary has announced his decision to release him on compassionate grounds as he is dying from prostate cancer. He will now go home to Libya to die.

I am not surprised by this decision. As odious as this man is - lest we forget he murdered over 270 people - he is going to die and although part of me wants him to die in prison, another part of me thinks at least we no longer have to pay his medical bills.

I find it impossible to have any sympathy for him. One person I do have sympathy for is Kenny Macaskill, the Scottish Justice Secretary, who had an extremely difficult decision to make.

My biggest sympathies go out to the relatives of those al-Megrahi murdered. This appeal to be released has drudged up very painful memories. Hopefully, although many will have wanted him to stay in prison, they will be able to put this episode behind them and get on with their lives.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gordon "do as I say" Brown

Gordon Brown and I have one thing in common, but unfortunately I have found out he is way out of my league. We do both have private dentists. I pay a monthly amount into Denplan to cover the fees, but Gordon "I love the NHS" Brown, has gone one better. He has a £100 per hour private dentist at the exclusive London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry.

Is it do as I say, Gordon?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

More lies from the left on the NHS

Those on the left of British politics thought they could make inroads this week; perhaps thinking after Daniel Hannan's intervention on the NHS and Alan Duncan's 'living on rations' gaffe, the voters would again turn back to Labour. The latest opinion polls do not suggest this is the case. Now Conservatives are being accused of polarising the debate on the NHS. This comes from a party who openly says you are a right-wing ideologue if you think there are other choices available to provide universal healthcare for Britons. Labour regards the NHS as their baby and will always stifle debate on any alternative. It is their pride and joy and from its birth in 1948, Labour has made sure it has become a sacred cow in British politics.

British people are remarkably uninformed of other healthcare systems around the world. This is once again part of the left-wing plan. Socialist leaders want their fellow citizens to live in blissful ignorance, thinking life in other countries is far worse. The same goes for healthcare. David Cameron states the Conservative Party is 100% behind the NHS. I, on the other hand, am firmly behind a universal system of healthcare that offers real choice to its citizens and provides the best quality affordable healthcare in the world. Look how Singapore deals with the health of its citizens and then tell me how many are dying prematurely and are going bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills? I'll save you the trouble, as this is not an issue in Singapore. Nor is it an issue in Germany, another country providing universal healthcare, but who never implemented a system like the NHS.

Conservatives stifling debate? Yet another lie from the left.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What masquerades as intelligent debate in Britain is a joke

What masquerades in this country as intelligent debate is a joke.

I am not a fan of the NHS, but I am a fan of universal healthcare. I wouldn't wish the American system on Britain and likewise, I wouldn't wish the British system on America. I don't love the NHS, as I find it impossible to love a healthcare system. I love my family, not an institution. I am not a right-wing ideologue because I think Germany - which has free at the point of use healthcare - delivers better value and better choice for its citizens.

As to Paul Burgin - of the Mars Hill Blog - who has compiled a list of Tory 'eccentrics' who have attacked the NHS, I have only one thing to say: Grow Up! You may look back at the post-war Attlee government with a gooey nostalgia, but I regard it as the biggest smash and grab raid in British political history. There are many ways of delivering healthcare for everyone and the NHS is an example of how not to do it. As I have previously said, it is cumbersome, top-heavy with managers and doesn't deliver true patient choice. The sheer amount of money wasted on bureaucracy would - under a better system - deliver far better healthcare. But, never mind, this wonderful system of ours, whose model no other country has adopted, will continue to groan under the strain and more and more billions of pounds will be thrown at it in the vain hope it will perform better. Labour will continue to tell us all to be grateful we have the NHS; how better off we are than the French and the Germans. Life will continue and the left-wing ideologues will claim another victory in their defence of socialised medicine.

I have taken some stick and abuse over the last few days, not that it bothers me; it's all part of political life. I have been accused of many things that are untrue. I have been told I will cost the Conservatives a general election victory. I have been told I am wrong on every level. I have been told I am out of touch, all because I don't think the state should have a near monopoly on healthcare provision. Because I think we should have a public/private mix, delivering affordable healthcare for all our citizens, you would think I have been found guilty of child abuse. As I said in my opening sentence, what masquerades in this country as intelligent debate is a joke

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Do we love the NHS?

If you hadn't heard of Twitter before, you certainly have now. As soon as the beloved institution is criticised by Americans, of all people, out of the woodwork pops Uncle Tom Cobley and all. The same people who last week didn't have a good word to say about the NHS are suddenly its biggest defenders. And they say a week is a long time in politics! Try a couple of days.

I suppose the reaction is understandable. You can criticise your children, but as soon as some else decides to join in the act, you become protective and blast the other person for daring to criticise your kids. The difference here being your children are your flesh and blood, the NHS is not.

Some of the comments on Twitter have been amusing. For example, 'the NHS saved my life after a car accident.' The NHS only saved this person's life because it is only the NHS that has an Accident and Emergency department. If they had been involved in the same car accident in any other western country, the medics there would also have dealt with them the same way. I tweeted earlier today saying the NHS saved my father's life and also nearly killed him after he went into hospital for a routine operation, and left with MRSA. For many, this is the reality of the NHS.

The NHS also costs us a fortune. We have become so used to paying our high taxes, we forget other European countries manage to provide a higher level of healthcare at a lower cost. It is hugely cumbersome and top heavy with managers. It can barely cope with the demands placed on it today. You can hear in creaking under the pressure. How will it cope in the next 10 to 20 years?

This question will not be addressed because the NHS is a sacred cow in British politics. Propose any changes and you are evil for even thinking about privatising healthcare. All insurance companies are also evil. After all, it is wrong to even think about making a profit from making people better. Try to remind those people who argue this way that pharmaceutical companies make a profit, indeed a much larger profit because they charge the NHS more for drugs than they do in other countries and you will be hit by a tirade of abuse aimed at the very companies that provide life saving medicines. You simply can't win, and what is more, you will never get a prime minister who will even attempt to play, never mind win.

We are letting our children and our children's children down. By not grasping the nettle, we are giving them a healthcare time-bomb to go along with the pensions time-bomb and the tax time-bomb. Future generations are pretty much screwed, unless politicians are brave enough to forcibly advocate a different way. Don't hold you breath.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alan Duncan should stay in the Shadow Cabinet

Peter Mandelson - the man who dripped pure poison into George Osborne's ear last summer - complains Alan Duncan says one thing and private and another in public. Even by political standards, this statement is breathtaking in its hypocrisy. Enough of that.

Back to Alan Duncan. He shouldn't have said MPs live on rations. They are some of the best paid people in the UK. This is total nonsense, but at the same time he didn't know he was being recorded. I fear some very good MPs hearing about this are going to decide to hang up their boots at the next general election. Politicians are treated like shit, as Alan Duncan says, but after the expenses scandal, it is hardly surprising? But if they cannot vent some anger - which we all do from time to time - is the job really worth it?

He should still stay in the Shadow Cabinet. Firing him would serve no useful purpose. He'll just have to be more careful next time he decides to vent his spleen.

Michal Kaminski writes for Conservative Home

When Edward McMillan-Scott became a former Conservative MEP a month ago, I wrote in his defence. I have never liked his views on Europe - indeed we are at opposite ends of the Conservative Party, but I did think he was an honourable man. After reading Michal Kaminski's article for Conservative Home, I have realised I was too quick to defend McMillan-Scott and too quick to attack the members and parties of the new grouping in the European Parliament.

Read what Mr Kaminski has to say here, and make up your own mind. Edward McMillan-Scott was voted in by me and others in Yorkshire because he was number one on the Conservative ticket. As he regarded his own career more important than his party, will he now resign his seat? No, he won't, and what is more we will have to see him prancing around the European stage for another five years. Perhaps he will now write an article on Conservative Home and defend his actions? Don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

National Avocado Week

Here's a tweet 're-tweeted' by Mark Wallace

wallacemeRT @hwallop: Just received a press release for National Avocado Week. What next: Kumquat month? Save the Aubergine Fortnight?

Baby P's mother is named and will be given a new identity

Tracey Connelly has been officially named as the mother of Baby P, and what a thoroughly reprehensible woman she is. She was rightly jailed for her crimes and it was correct she was named and shamed. Now we hear, when she is released from custody she is likely to get a new identity and all the perks that go along with it. It will cost the taxpayer millions of pounds to keep her safe.

A little boy called Peter was murdered at the hands of some very nasty people. He should have lead a fun loving, carefree life. He should have been able to run towards his mother, knowing her arms were there to keep him safe. Peter did not have that life. His life was far from carefree and he didn't have a mother who tried to keep him safe. For this reason she should not be given a new identity. She has to live with the consequences of her crimes and the taxpayer should not have to pick up the bill for her new life which will be - according to Sky News - 'one long party.'

I could not and would not call for mob justice, however, if someone put this shameless piece of rubbish out of her misery, I would not be sad.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Passport

My new passport arrived today. I must commend the passport office for
their quick service, as it only took them two weeks to turnaround my
application. What I did find amusing was that my old passport was
returned via the Royal Mail. My new passport was delivered by a
private courier. What does this say about the state of our postal
system when a government agency does not trust the Royal Mail? I don't
blame them though. The amount of mail that goes missing or is late can
be breathtaking. We have a real problem in Hull, and it has recently
been highlighted in the Hull Daily Mail.

I wonder how many other government departments and agencies are
shunning our state owned postal system when they mail important
documents?

--
Sent from my mobile device

Hazel Blears' car attacked

Hazel Blears has had her car attacked. She came back from a spot of canvassing and found her Citroen Xsara Picasso was minus a windscreen and had all its tyres slashed. She blames it on bored kids. Many of her constituents think differently.

I can just imagine Hazel on the doorstep yesterday. Did it go something like this?

[Hazel] Hello, love. I'm Hazel Blears, your hard working, local Labour MP. Do you have any issues you would like to raise with me?

[Constituent] Well, my husband lost his job six months ago and we are really finding it hard to make ends meet. It's bloody difficult when you are suddenly trying to live with half the money you're used to.

[Hazel] I know exactly how you feel, love. When I was in the cabinet, I was earning £144,000. Now I'm just a backbencher and my pay packet has more than halved to only £65,000. We were fortunate though. We've been lucky with some property deals in the last few years, so at least we can fall back on some of that cash. Anyway, I must move on. Good to talk to you, love. Remember, vote Labour!

Margaret Moran - the absent MP

If there is one name that sticks out in my mind throughout the MPs' expenses debacle, it is Margaret Moran. She is the dishonourable member for Luton South. She is the woman who claimed £20K of our money for dry rot treatment in her holiday home in Southampton. Her justification was she needed her sanity after the rigours of a parliamentary week, and needed to be with her partner, even though her partner's business was registered in Luton and he was registered to vote there too.

Labour's 'Star Chamber' rightly decided she was an abomination and deserved to be deselected as the official Labour Party candidate at the next election. I - like many of her constituents - thought she should have gone there and then, but if she resigns before the next general election, she will lose out on £30K from the public purse. As her nose has been so firmly in the trough for many years, we know she is not going to resign early.

If all of this was not bad enough, for the last two months she has been 'on the sick.' The stress of it all for the poor lamb. In the meantime the voters of Luton South - struggling to make ends meet - are paying her salary while they do not have the representation of an MP.

Esther 'That's Life!' Rantzen will no doubt get something of a following at the next general election, but either way, Labour are in for drubbing in Luton South, just as they will throughout the country.


Hat Tip: Iain Dale

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Peter Davies, Mayor of Doncaster - my kind of mayor

Peter Davies - the father of Tory MP, Philip Davies - was elected the English Democrat Mayor of Doncaster in May. To find out what he has been up to, click HERE. It's well worth a read. He's my kind of mayor. Can we clone him?

The open primary in Totnes is just the beginning

Lord Bates has written on the Blue Blog about recent selections in Totnes and Hartlepool. Read what he has to say HERE.

The open primary in Totnes was ground breaking. It allowed everyone in the constituency to have a say who the Conservative candidate was going to be. It wasn't fully open though. The local party whittled down the number of candidates to ensure the process was completed as quickly as possible. The whole point of primaries is that a rigorous examination of candidates takes place. In my view, primaries can still be called open even if they are restricted to those who register with one of the parties. 'Open' to me, means all candidates are whittled down to one by the voters. This is how many primaries are fought in the US. Voters can register themselves as Republicans or Democrats and vote in those parties primaries.

As I said here earlier this week, the news from Totnes is a great day for democracy, however, it is only the start. Whether all the electorate in a constituency are allowed to vote, or whether it is restricted to those who register with the Conservative Party, what is important is that the selection process of potential MEPs, MPs and councillors are not decided by small groups of people, but by a larger constituency.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Fight for Yorkshire Marginal Constituncies

Conservative Home is reporting the fight for Yorkshire marginal constituencies. There is quite a fight going on at the moment and the Conservative Party should do very well in Yorkshire, but it always boils down to manpower. I have volunteered to do some telephone canvassing for Nigel Adams, who is fighting for the Selby and Ainsty seat. There is Andrew Percy in Brigg and Goole, who is also fighting hard to become the MP there. I haven't helped Andrew for quite some time, something I intend to put right after I come back from holiday. These two seats - like many others in Yorkshire - are very important seats. If the Conservatives cannot win these seats, they cannot win a general election.

If anyone who lives closer to these constituencies than I do in Hull would like to volunteer, the candidates would love to hear from you.

MPs' Pay

It may be August and the holiday season is in full swing, however, the Taxpayers' Alliance has produced another report, this time on MPs' pay. To read it, click HERE.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Alan Sugar - the playground bully

Alan Sugar is miffed, so he does what any playground bully would do, and says to Quentin Letts, 'My bank account is bigger than yours.' And indeed it is.

I have often wondered why Sugar is a Labour man. This week we have found out why. Just like the prime minster, he likes to dish out more than his fair share of abuse, but when it comes to taking it, he prefers to threaten even more. He enjoys his rights to freedom of speech, but wants to make damned sure others do not have the same right.

Let's face it. Alan Sugar is only Lord Sugar because of 'The Apprentice.' Politically, he doesn't have a clue. He doesn't know what taking the Labour whip means. Quentin Letts spoke the truth. If Quentin needs to organise a slush fund to pay for his legal costs, then I for one will chip in.

Under 300 days

According to my general election countdown clock, there are fewer than
300 days left until a general election must take place.

How much damage can be inflicted by Labour in the meantime?

--
Sent from my mobile device

Conservative Party Conference

I've just been informed I have passed the security checks (and the
party doesn't seem to think I am a unity risk), so I will be in
Manchester in October. If anyone would like to meet-up with me, please
drop me a line.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Democracy is not alive and well in Bath

Tim Aker, the intrepid grassroots coordinator of the Taxpayers' Alliance, was in Bath yesterday. He was not enjoying a day being pampered as the Romans did when they visited the city, instead he had work to do representing the interests of local people opposed to Bath Rapid Transit Scheme.

If any of you want to see an example of how local government does not work in this country, then click HERE. It is nothing short of disgraceful, and is an insult to every voter who elected this discredited bunch of gerrymandering bullies.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Over £38 million spent by government lobbying the government

Read the latest Taxpayers' Alliance report HERE. Another example of how our money is wasted.

Think before you get your camera out

The LibDem Leader of Hull City Council, Cllr Carl Minns, bought himself a new digital camera recently. Like any of us who buy ourselves a new gadget, he was keen to play with it. He decided to take a picture of the new St Stephen's Shopping Centre in Hull. What happened next, he was not bargaining for. Read what happened HERE.

There is something sinister happening in this country. When you can't stop outside a shopping centre and take a picture without the police talking to you regarding counter terrorism issues, somehow, somewhere, something has gone wrong.

On the upside for Cllr Minns, it goes to prove not everyone knows who he is, and he can walk the streets of Hull with some anonymity. I bet the security guard wished he knew what the leader of the council looked liked. Perhaps he will use some common sense when next tackling a member of the public.

A great day for direct democracy

Today is a great day for democracy, and I am pleased to say it is the Conservative Party paving the way for a new system of selecting candidates for parliamentary seats.

Around 25% of the electorate in Totnes have voted in an open primary and decided Sarah Wollaston is going to be the next Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate. This was advocated by those involved in the direct democracy movement and more recently by Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan in their book, The Plan.

Although I do not believe David Cameron has swallowed the full 'plan' pill, he does seem to realise if you engage the electorate in the selection of candidates, you are more likely to get them out on polling day.

This now needs to go further. Trying to get people to stand for council seats can be like getting a lawyer to waive their fee; not impossible, but very difficult. The Conservative Party's message across the country needs to be one of inclusion; that no matter who you are, there is a place for you in the party. We need attract the best, most able people and let those voters who choose to register with the party a chance to decide who their Conservative candidate(s) are going to be. The closed shop, quid pro quo needs to end. By being open, good candidates will come forward.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Dudley North Conservatives have their collar felt by CCHQ

Democracy does not seem to be alive and well in some parts of the Conservative Party. Conservative Home reports Dudley North Conservative Association has been forced to abandon its search for a PPC because it did not have a 50:50 male/female short list. Not that Dudley North Tories are trying to stick two-fingers up to the leadership. Not at all. They had to sift through 44 applications for the nomination. There were 36 male applicants and 8 female. Selecting 6 women was thought to be unfair on the 36 male applicants. I agree, so what they did was use their common sense, something which is seriously lacking in Britain today. They selected the 12 best candidates, so, 9 were men and 3 were women. Now the nomination is going to be re advertised.

If this is the way CCHQ are going to behave, it does not bode well for the future.

++BREAKING NEWS++ Todd and Sarah Palin to divorce

More information here.

UPDATE 20:07: Maybe not. These rumours are being denied. No doubt we will find out soon which story is true.

High Taxes impede entrepreneurial flare

The Taxpayers' Alliance Research Director, Matthew Sinclair and Dr Jonathan Scott, have co-authored a report showing how high taxes impede entrepreneurial flare. Read it here.

The 50% tax rate for high earners is the politics of envy and should not have a place in Britain today. Not only will it be useless - as those affected will use every means at their disposal to legally avoid paying the higher tax rate - it will also stifle aspiration. What is the point of taking risks and building up your own company from scratch, when all the government wants to do is tax you to death?

Especially in this time of recession, we need to keep taxes as low as possible. We need to be able to hit the ground running when the economy starts to recover. We want to be ahead of our competitors. High taxes and mountains of red tape will not assist our recovery; they will impede it.

Sir Bobby Robson R.I.P.

I am not a football supporter, however, I know a gentleman when I see one, and Sir Bobby Robson was a gentleman. He was also a successful footballer - representing England - and a highly successful manager. He had a long battle with cancer over the years. This time it got him. The world is poorer for his passing.

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