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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hull City Council leader opposes outdoor smoking ban

There have been some voices in the NHS in Hull who have been urging Hull City Council to ban outdoor smoking. The leader of the council, Carl Minns, has refused to countenance such a move, saying it would erode people’s civil liberties.

Click here to read the story as reported in the Hull Daily Mail and click here to read Cllr Minns’ blog post on this subject and the wider intolerance in public discourse.  

Monday, December 28, 2009

How many council snoopers can enter your home?

Big Brother Watch has sent out Freedom of Information requests to every council in the country, and the results are alarming. To find out more click HERE.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas!

I’ve been rather busy of late preparing for Christmas and have therefore rather neglected this blog. I could comment on various issues, but to be honest, who the hell is interested in my opinions on politics on Christmas Eve? Deafening silence. I thought so.

Therefore, I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Enjoy yourselves.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas No. 1s ain’t what they used to be

‘Rage Against the Machine’ has got the once coveted Christmas No.1 spot.  I was wondering if this is the first time in the history of the charts that an artist/group has got to No.1 not because of its popularity, but because the public were trying to stop someone else?

Call me sentimental, but I like a song with a festive feel to be Christmas No. 1. As I am not going to get my wish, listen to the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, singing a Christmas classic. In my humble opinion, better than most of the today’s singers put together. This is an upbeat version of the song made famous by Judy Garland in the film, ‘Meet me in St Louis.’ The words are also on the screen for you to sing along. Go on. You know you want to.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Near-record levels of snow in the US

It’s not just the UK suffering from icy conditions. The Eastern seaboard of the US is suffering from near record levels of snow. Look at this video from Washington DC this morning. I’m grateful we don’t have it as bad.

Friday, December 18, 2009

#KerryOut Campaign is childish politics

Most people will not have heard of Kerry McCarthy, the MP for Bristol East. She is Labour’s Twitter Tsar, charged with the difficult job of getting Labour’s message across on Twitter. I have had the odd discussion with her, as have many other conservative tweeters. Unsurprisingly, I don’t agree with her very much and she seems to have attracted a hate following from bloggers like Tory Bear.

None of that bothers me in the slightest. Adults using their right to freedom of speech is to be encouraged. What I cannot see the point of  is the latest campaign called #KerryOut. In a nutshell, this campaign is trying to raise funds for the Conservative candidate in Bristol East, in a bid to oust Kerry McCarthy at the next general election. I think this campaign is childish. I want a change of government. I want Britain to move away from failed Labour policies and the only other party that can form a government is the Conservative Party. Britain cannot afford another five years of Labour. It cannot afford another five years of economic mismanagement and the bully state. As a Labour MP, Kerry thinks differently, but whether she remains an MP at the next election is up to the voters of Bristol East. It is up to them to decide if they agree with what she stands for and if she has been a good constituency MP. On the latter, I haven’t a clue how hard she works on behalf of her constituents. A big negative campaign to oust her will backfire. The campaign organisers are trying to present this as an independent campaign. This is simply untrue and the electorate in Bristol East will see through it. The British people do not like this sort of politics and voters may well come out and give her a sympathy vote.

To those conservatives backing this campaign, my advice is go out and get your local Conservative candidates elected and leave Bristol to local Conservatives there. This is the way we do it in Britain. An organised, national campaign against individual MPs is something I do not want to be involved with. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

British Airways employees are turkeys voting for Christmas

Here we are at the fag end of another Labour government. Just like 1978-79 - when the unions took control – we are now seeing the unions flexing their muscles once again.

I don’t know enough of the details to comment on the current British Airways dispute, but I do know that one great way to put BA out of business is for its employees to go on strike for twelve days over the Christmas period. Twelve days is so appropriate, and I’m sure the irony has not been lost on BA management.

What has amazed me is the way BA staff are so jubilant. This is truly a case of turkeys voting for Christmas. All I can say is if they want to be in gainful employment next year, they should encourage their negotiators to get a settlement before any of this foolishness begins. I also hope a settlement can be reached for the sake of those who are planning ‘once in a lifetime’ holidays and want to visit family in far off places. Many of those affected will not be able to afford to travel by other carriers and also lose thousands of pounds in the process.

If this is what the union and its members want, then so be it.  All I can wish them is a very Happy Christmas and the least prosperous New Year they could wish for, as they are going to get it.

A disappointing day for Hull

A very disappointing day. The awful weather and darkness at this time of year never puts me into a good mood, but the news Hull has lost out in its bid to be a host city for the England 2018 football World Cup bid is unfortunate to say the least.

I know there is a long way to go and there is every chance England will not be the host nation, but it would have been great to have the highest level of football on our doorsteps. We have a fantastic stadium, which would have been expanded. West Park, next door to the KC Stadium, would have made a great area for fans who do not have a ticket to watch the action on big screens. It would have been great for the city’s economy too and Hull has proved it can host major events, such as the Freedom Festival and the launch of the Round the World Clipper Race three months ago.

Hull gets a very bad press, but people who I talk to who are visiting the city for the first time, are pleasantly surprised by what they find. I now hope Hull and the East Riding can win its bid to be the city of culture. National and international exposure is vital for the area’s economic success.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Len Goodman on the Andrew Marr Show

Len Goodman, the Strictly Come Dancing judge, admitted on the Andrew Marr Show he knows nothing about politics. He said he was uneducated and left school at 15.

He may well lack a formal education, but he will have struck a chord with many this morning.  Len mentioned Gordon Brown said Britain was best placed to weather the economic storm, yet it has been proved we are not. Len is right when he says we need more honesty in politics. He said we should say when we get back on our feet again, we will be able to give Africa money to help fight climate change, but not now as we can’t afford to dole out £1.5 billion.

It will not be the intelligentsia who will be electing a new government next year. It will be people like Len Goodman, who do not complicate politics, but look at politics in a practical common sense way. Politicians take heed.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Darling in Wonderland again (with an eye to the next election)

Alistair Darling did nothing today to reduce the budget deficit. He is overly optimistic about the recovery of the British economy. In many ways it is exactly the same opinion he had last year when I described him as ‘Darling in Wonderland.’ My opinion has not changed, therefore here’s what I wrote after his PBR in 2008:

 

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. 

Do you think Labour is going to get us out of this crisis? I leave up to you.

Monday, December 07, 2009

New footbridge opens in Workington

Once again the British Army has proved why it is the best in the world. At 8.00am today a new footbridge will open in Workington. It has been built over the last ten days and will link the people of the town once again. Drivers still face an 18 mile journey, but if you can make it on foot, our soldiers  have made your life easier. Well done to our boys.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

More Brussels Interference

I am not a scientist, but my understanding of a black hole is it acts like a vacuum cleaner, sucking in all types of matter. Perhaps this analogy best describes the EU. I don’t often publish a full post from another blogger/writer, but the following post from Mark Wallace of the Taxpayers’ Alliance highlights just how much Brussels controls our lives and how much money it sucks in to its bottomless pit.

The Evening Standard reports that Boris Johnson is faced with the possibility of having to ban cars entirely from London for several days or be slapped with a £300 million fine from the EU.

There is a wider debate to be had over why London is failing to hit its air quality targets, and how the capital ended up in this situation. However, in this pressing crisis, three things are clear:

1) Neither the people nor the elected representatives of London were ever asked about this target or these rules.

2) Taxpayers cannot afford to pay £300m more into the bottomless pit of Brussels. Nor would doing so improve the air quality of London in any way.

3) It would be devastating to the economy, not to mention the public transport system, if cars were banned even for a few days.

There is one straightforward and practical answer: we should refuse to pay the fine if we don't hit the target. It has no democratic legitimacy and as Tim Montgomerie points out on ConservativeHome there are certainly plenty of other European cities with far poorer air quality that do not penitently cough up a fortune to the EU for it.

As our polling found back in May, the public are up for a fight with Brussels - with 69% supporting a policy of disobeying EU rules, and 60% agreeing that we should refuse to pay EU fines.

The best way to cut back on hot air would be for Boris to tell the Eurocrats to get on their bikes.

Class Warfare is not what the voters want

During the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, Labour rolled out its ‘Tory Toffs’ campaign. It was nasty and Gordon Brown distanced himself from it, although I did not believe the prime minister was out of the loop on this. I was called a toff too, which made me laugh. Being the son of a former railwayman from Co Durham, I am the last person you could accuse of being a toff. Labour’s campaign failed spectacularly and Edward Timpson was elected the Conservative MP for the constituency.

I thought Labour would abandon this approach. If it had any sense it would have done, but lately Brown and his henchmen have gone on the offensive and brought  class warfare back on the political agenda. David Cameron had described this approach as ‘petty, spiteful and stupid.’ He is correct. Martin Luther King Jnr spoke of his hope of a society where ‘men are judged by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin.’ Gordon Brown should take heed of these words, and bring them up-to-date, because I don’t think for one moment the British people judge David Cameron on where he went to school or the size of his bank account. They judge him on his character and whether or not he has the right policies to move this country forward.

I am sure Gordon Brown wants a class war in the run-up to the next general election. It is in his interests to distract the voters from Labour’s record and its future plans to spend, spend, spend, without having the money available. If he pursues with this campaign tactic, it will backfire on him nationally in the same way it did in Crewe and Nantwich.

Link: Telegraph

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Cameron strikes the right chord in Afghanistan

David Cameron has struck the right chord during his visit to Afghanistan. He said on Today this morning that withdrawal is not an option, nor is the status quo. He is correct. President Obama’s announcement of more US troops is very welcome, although my only criticism of him on this matter is that he has taken too long to make the decision. There needs to be an increase in troop numbers so we can get the job done and get out. Those who think we should pull out now will give the Taliban a victory. I’m sure those advocating immediate withdrawal do not want terrorist training camps set-up again in Afghanistan, but this would be the result of a hasty exit.

Gordon Brown announced more British deployments this week, and now it is his job to explain to the British public why winning the war in Afghanistan is so important. This is something his government has singularly failed to do. He should also replace his hopeless Defence Secretary, Bob Ainsworth, with someone who is up to the job.

To listen to David Cameron’s interview, click here, and scroll down to 8.10.

Photo: AFP/GETTY

Friday, December 04, 2009

Edward McMillan Scott says ‘give up meat for a day’

Edward McMillan-Scott, the (former Conservative) MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, came out with a gem of a quote on Radio Humberside this morning. The subject was climate change. The enviro-fascists are now giving up on cars and planes. A few months ago transport was the biggest evil the planet knew. Now the line is ‘transport is only responsible for 13% of greenhouse gas emissions.’ The real culprit now is the farming industry, which is responsible for 18% of emissions. Paul McCartney has entered the fray saying for the sake of the environment, we should all eat less meat, and Mr McMillan-Scott thinks this is a campaign he should get behind.

He is a Catholic and as Catholics give up meat on a Friday and eat fish, he thinks this is a very good way of giving up meat for just one day. He also thought this would be very good for the fishing industry in the Humber region. He even had the temerity to say this would not upset farmers! What an out of touch prat this man is. What would be great for the fishing industry in the Humber region is the scrapping of the Common Fisheries Policy. This has ruined the fishing industry in this region. Of course, Edward wouldn’t want that, as this would upset his EU chums and he would lose his job and perks in the European Commission.

I have no desire to give up meat. I enjoy it, just like human beings have for countless centuries. I also enjoy fish and seafood. I enjoy vegetables too and eat what I want to without being made to feel guilty, no matter what the fascists say.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Diana Johnson looks finished as an MP

‘Don’t panic, Mr Mainwaring’, said the eccentric Lance Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army. Of course he always panicked himself and he wanted reassurance from those around him. Diana Johnson, the Member of Parliament for Hull North is just like Jones, although perhaps not as funny.

She is known for making the most extraordinary statements. She was the one who campaigned for post offices in her constituency to be kept open, and then after the campaign was lost, voted for post offices to be closed elsewhere. Her rationale? Well, the post offices closing elsewhere were not in Hull North. Hardly a woman of principal, me thinks, and hardly a woman who has any political nous either.

As a result of the lack of talent on the government backbenches, she has managed to get herself appointed as an Under Secretary of State under Ed Balls. Being under Ed Balls is something I wouldn’t relish, but if you are climbing up the greasy pole, I guess any port in a storm will do.

Last night on the BBC she tried to frighten voters of Hull North  into thinking a vote for the LibDems in the next general election will really be a vote for the Conservative Party. Her thinking is based on what experts say. These experts say the next general election may produce a hung parliament. If you want to predict the next general election at this stage you are a fool. No-one in their right mind would try to work out how the electorate will vote next spring, but the ineffectual Ms Johnson is clutching at straws, hoping the votes that are ebbing away from her will slow down at worst and come back to her at best. This is a vain hope. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will make the decisions he has to make as to which main party to support  if and when a hung parliament is a reality.Until then voting Liberal Democrat will mean electing an opposition MP, as I can safely say the LibDems will not be forming a government.

I think Ms Johnson or some of her team read this blog. Let me give her a piece of advice.

You have taken this constituency for granted. You thought you had a safe seat for life. You thought all your Christmases had come at once when you won the Labour Party nomination for the Hull North seat. Politics has changed over the past four years. You have never worked this seat and tried to work out what the voters really want. There are many voters in this constituency who would normally vote Conservative, but are frightened to vote for the party in case they let Labour in. Getting a Conservative government is exactly what they want. There are many of your constituents who vote Labour in general elections, but feel let down and will turn to the LibDems who they normally vote for in council elections. They want rid of you and the government in which you serve. Going on television looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights will not reassure them you are the best person to represent their interests. Far from it. They will see a desperate person loosing the last vestiges of their dignity in order to remain an MP.

Whatever happens at the next general election, their is one thing for certain. For the majority of your constituents, if you do lose the seat, you will not be missed. For me personally, the sooner you are back in chambers in London, the better.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Lisbon Treaty came into force today

The Lisbon Treaty came into force today. Daniel Hannan MEP sums up the reality of what this means for Britain:

We woke up in a different country today. Alright, it doesn’t look very different. The trees still seem black against the winter sun; the motorways continue to jam inexplicably; commuters carry on avoiding eye contact. But Britain is no longer a sovereign nation. At midnight last night, we ceased to be an independent state, bound by international treaties to other independent states, and became instead a subordinate unit within a European state.

Yes, a European state. Take a quick dekko at the definition set out in Article One of the1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States: “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

Until yesterday, the EU qualified on grounds (a), (b) and (c). Now it has ticked the final box. Under the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force today, it acquires “legal personality”, which gives it the right to sign accords and treat with other states. Nor is this right simply theoretical: the EU now has a foreign minister, a diplomatic corps (the European External Action Service) and 160 overseas embassies.

Until yesterday, the EU could not annex additional policy areas without a new treaty, which needed to be ratified by all its constituent nations. Now, it has the so-called “passerelle” clause, or self-amending mechanism. Parliament, in other words, no longer has the final say on extensions of EU jurisdiction. The EU derives its authority, not from its 27 members, but from its own foundational texts.

Until yesterday, Britain could simply walk out of the EU by abrogating the Treaty of Rome and repealing the 1972 European Communities Act. Henceforth, it will have to go through the secession procedure laid down in Lisbon. In other words – in the minds of Euro-lawyers, at any rate, if not of British constitutionalists – the EU gets to settle the terms on which its members are allowed to leave. Formal sovereignty has been shifted from the national capitals to Brussels.

It is appalling, demeaning, disgraceful that such a thing should have been done without popular consent, and in the absence of the referendum that all three parties had promised. “There’s no point in crying over spilt milk,” you might say. True. But there is every point in mopping it up.

If you want to be part of this European state, then all you have to do is nothing. Not a thing. Just lie back and enjoy life. If you are disgusted, then there’s plenty of hard work ahead of you. Firstly, become part of the Freedom Association’s ‘Better Off Out Campaign.’ Join the Taxpayers’ Alliance and help publicise Dr Lee Rotherham’s book ‘Ten Years On – Britain without the European Union.’ Join ‘The Albion Alliance.’ Write to the press and help keep this issue in the public eye. If you are a blogger, I don’t have to tell you what to do.

It is now up to us, the people. We have to put pressure on our politicians. I believe the fight to get Britain out of the EU is one we can win. Come and join us. 

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