Back in February this year Jack Straw, writing in the Grauniad (where else?), stated:
"But on any objective basis, this government has done more to reinforce and strengthen liberty than any since the war." and "I hope that in the final reckoning even some of our harshest critics will concede that this Labour government has done more than any before it to extend liberties and to constrain government."
And, pray, what planet are you from Jack? I cannot even be bothered to start listing areas where our liberties have been eroded and where 'government' has not been 'constrained'!
Unfortunately, as I have said on previous occasions, it appears the country is about to replace one collection of self-opinionated, under-qualified idiots with another set who have exactly the same 'values'! It is doubly distressing that neither understands the true meaning of 'democracy'!
James Forsyth posts on the Coffee House that the Tories "must make the public understand just how much damage Brown has done to the nation's finances".
Seems to me that the Tories, in common with Labour and the Liberal Democrats, need to decide whether they are 'for' Britain or the EU; whether they exist for the benefit of the electorate or their own political 'benefit'; and, more importantly, whether they can come up with any sensible policies!
The infamous 'Sun Pledge' by David Cameron is, by now, well known and does not require repetition. What is possibly less well-known is a speech he gave just before the European elections held this year. On 26th May, in a speech entitled 'Fixing Broken Politics' David Cameron said: “A progressive reform agenda demands that we redistribute power from the EU to Britain and from judges to the people. We will therefore hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, pass a law requiring a referendum to approve any further transfers of power to the EU, negotiate the return of powers, and require far more detailed scrutiny in Parliament of EU legislation, regulation and spending.” That was a statement with no 'wriggle-room', to the extent that Mark Mardell, then BBC European Editor, remarked on his blog that “....Whether he meant it or not, it is now on the record: in government the Conservatives will hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, no 'ifs', no 'buts'.”
David Cameron has made what can only be described as a classic mistake for any negotiator, in that he has laid his cards on the table prior to any negotiations taking place. It hardly strengthens one's hand to inform those with whom you wish to negotiate that you will “not rush into some massive Euro bust-up" nor "frustrate or sabotage the operations of the European Union". It is a well-known fact also, that the agreement of the other 26 member states would be required for Cameron to succeed with his renegotiation. Ask yourself: after thirty odd years, fighting to arrive at the present stage, would the other members would agree to 'unpicking' all the treaties that have gone before? It is also undeniable that, were Cameron to succeed, other states would be queuing up to do likewise, which would result in the EU reverting to an earlier stage of its evolution; something which the Federalists in the EU will never allow to happen.
The illogicality of David Cameron's policy and statement is beyond belief. Let us look at his Sovereignty Bill which he asserts would: “make it clear that ultimate authority stays in this country, in our Parliament”, yet the Lisbon Treaty includes a Declaration confirming the primacy of EU law over national law! Considering that in any dispute arising between the EU and member states, it is the European Court of Justice, whose obligations include the promotion of European political integration, that matters, this makes Cameron's Sovereignty Bill even more meaningless. David Cameron stands further condemned by his claim 'ultimate authority stays in this country, in our Parliament'. In that case, how can he claim that membership of the European Union is good for the country? Another illogical aspect of David Cameron's statement is his insistence that there are more pressing matters requiring his attention, in particular the economic state of Britain. It seems to have escaped his attention that, since so much of our economic policy has to comply with EU regulations, he is severely constrained in what he can and cannot do. If he wishes to exceed those parameters he has no choice but to ask the EU's 'permission'. Rather an awkward position in which to find oneself – a Prime Minister denied free governance of his own sovereign nation.
Returning to the subject of the public's current cynical view of politicians and politics, it is worth mentioning the more fundamental questions both of Britain's membership of the EU and that of politicians arrogantly deciding whether or not to allow the electorate a referendum. This reveals a basic problem with the type of democracy which we in Britain have today. How can it be right that the elected dictate to the electors whether they are, or are not, entitled to remain citizens of a sovereign nation?
We, the people, have become fatalistic in that we no longer believe any of the three established political parties truly reflects our wishes. I also venture the suggestion that as the authority of our elected representatives has diminished, they are held in increasing contempt by the nation. In allowing the elected to gradually usurp power, and because the electors have not demurred, the elected have continued this process year after year. Also, for far too long, politicians have put party before country and the time has come for this pernicious process to be halted.
At the next General election all Prospective Parliamentary Candidates need to face one simple question which is whether they stand for fully-fledged absorption into and citizenship of what will be a United States of Europe, or citizenship of the sovereign United Kingdom. They can have one or the other, but not both. The choice is one of primary patriotism and loyalty and the electorate has the right to know, prior to casting their vote, where each Prospective Parliamentary Candidate's choice lies.
The foregoing only serves to underline the basis on which the Albion Alliance is campaigning and in so doing publishing a data base of all candidates so that the electorate can see where each candidate stands on the issue of European Union membership and, ultimately, who governs Britain.
Article 3 of The Treaty on European Union states: "It shall combat social exlusion and discrimination.....and shall promote.......protection of the rights of the child".
Which means, does it not, that the 'perks' being offered to the children of MEPs are contrary to the stated aims of the EU? So come on all you parents - claim the same 'right' for your child and don't forget the 'generous subsidisation' either!
And we won't go into the question of why the children belonging to a section of our 'society' - who have a more than generous pay packet and expenses - should enjoy a holiday at the taxpayer's expense!
The Daily Telegraph reports that Kinnock – regarded as an early favourite for the honorary position to become chairman of the National Theatre – ruled himself out of the race
Don't see why - he is the biggest comedian that this country has ever had the misfortune to produce - coupled with the fact he married a comedienne and headed the most comedic political party in history!
On the same theme of hilarity, the article notes that Sarah Brown engaged in "a bit of therapeutic vacuuming under the tree". For God's sake woman - its called housework!
For someone who professes he wishes to devolve power to the people - to let them decide their own future - David Cameron has an odd way of putting this wish into practice.
The Times reports that "The Tory leader has made clear to party members in Mr Bercow’s Buckingham constituency that he will eject anyone found helping Nigel Farage, standing for UKIP against the Speaker at the election".
On the basis that Bercow is not a Conservative (in more senses than one), that he is instead standing for re-election as the Speaker, by what right does Cameron intend to 'eject' anyone found helping Nigel Farage? Also it can be argued that voting for Farage is 'helping' him win the seat, so how will Cameron eject those people from his party? Or is this the end of 'free and fair' elections?
Neither is Cameron consistent in his views - firstly he decides that the people cannot have a promised vote on EU membership and then decides that people will vote for a specified reason and candidate!
And this man wishes to become Prime Minister? Ye Gods!
So people, in their own homes, have no idea what constitutes a unit of spirits when pouring a drink, according to this report in the Daily Telegraph. This brings forth comments from the 'Social Police' - aka the likes of Gillian Merron, Public Health Minister, and other well-known 'government mouthpieces' such as Prof Ian Gilmore, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance and Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern. And these 'outpourings' of advice are based on 'experiments'? FFS!
One has to enquire of those above - whose bloody money was it that bought the bloody alcohol in the first place? Having bought the alcohol, which then becomes their property, whose decision is it how much is used to make each drink? When the state decides to provide us with free alcohol, then will be the time that they can start issuing 'guidelines'!
Coupled to the quoted article, another in the print edition (no link) states that excessive drinking on New Year's Eve will cost the NHS £23 million in 24 hours and includes the cost of ambulance services as well as treating patients admitted to hospital after drinking too much. This piece of illuminating news is based on a study by Policy Exchange, a think tank (think??) which called for intoxicated patients admitted for less than 24 hours to pay the £532 their hospital care costs the NHS.
£23 million in 24 hours would appear 'par for the course' where government spending is considered - so what is the problem?
In my home, as in those of my friends, the reason we don't pour single or double measures is because they are banned!
Finally, in the 'spirit' of goodwill, may I wish Gillian Merron and her cohorts a 'sober' and most unhappy New Year!
Our Revered Leader has delivered his New Year Message. Question: Just because the Pope delivers a New Year Message, why do our political leaders feel the need to do likewise and, more importantly, who the hell is really interested in what they think - if indeed they do think, which is understandably open to doubt.
"In 2009 we said goodbye to Harry Patch, the last survivor of the generation of soldiers who risked their lives for Britain in the Great War. As we mourned him, we remembered too all those who have laid down their lives in the defence of this country we love.
Last year was particularly tough for our forces in Afghanistan, and we face some more difficult months ahead. In late December we were reminded at this decade’s end, just as we were at its beginning, that there is a terrorist threat which puts our safety and security at risk and which requires us to take on al Qaeda and the Taliban at the epicentre of global terrorism - which is the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
And while progress is difficult, I am working every day and will continue to step up our efforts with no let-up to disrupt the ability of terrorists to mount attacks on Britain, and to work with other countries to prevent terrorism on our streets. This will have my relentless focus in 2010, just as Afghanistan will have. We will steadily be giving more control of Afghanistan to Afghan troops and police.
As we enter a new decade, I will continue to do what is necessary to protect and improve this great country in the interests of all the people of Britain.
In my life, I have learnt that there are only really two kinds of people - those who think things can never change, and those who believe they have to. And I think the vast majority of people are in the second camp. We are a nation that looks to the future, combining responsibility with fairness, compassion with aspiration - always reaching higher, dreaming bigger, aiming for even greater things.
There are some who say we must plan for a decade of austerity. If that happened it would also be a decade of unfairness where, while the privileged few can protect themselves, the majority lose out. I believe we can create a new decade of prosperity with opportunities fairly shared amongst all those who work hard and play by the rules. That is why we are fighting so hard to secure and sustain Britain’s recovery.
The last 18 months have been difficult, and too many people were hit by a crisis that originated in the US housing market and then came rolling across the Atlantic towards us - a crisis that hit Britain hard because the financial sector is such an important part of our economy. But this is a nation of fighters and believers who meet each challenge with strength and sacrifice. We fought back against recession because we stood together and did not leave people isolated to face a difficult future on their own.
Britain has learnt the bitter lessons of previous recessions - and that’s why this Government was not prepared to see whole communities decimated by worklessness, with towns losing not just their incomes but their identities. We were not willing to lose a generation of young people to unemployment, with their hopes shattered even before their life’s journey had begun. And we were not going to tolerate decent people doing an honest days work losing their businesses and their family homes because it was impossible for them to make ends meet. And so we chose to intervene and not pass on by - and if the experience of the last recession had been repeated, people’s chances of having a job would have been four times worse after they became unemployed, repossessions twice as bad and company insolvencies two and a half times worse.
The decisions taken by Alistair Darling and all the ministers of this Government have meant that we have already seen off the worst of the recession. There is no denying it has been painful for some - and there are still tough times ahead.
But we can be incredibly proud that Britain’s dynamic entrepreneurs have defied the recession to start up nearly half a million new businesses. There are now three million British businesses - more than at any point since records of this began in the 1980s, and fewer businesses closed in 2009 than in 2008.
And I am confident that if we continue with the tough decisions we have made, unemployment will start to drop this year, and more small businesses will open and flourish.
That wasn’t inevitable; it was the change we chose. And so my message today is simple; don’t wreck the recovery. The recovery is still fragile, and it needs to be nurtured in the interests of those who were hit hardest by the recession - the people on middle and modest incomes who don’t want any special favours - they simply want a bit of help to own their own home, set up their own businesses and give their children the best start in life.
Because everyone who is willing to work hard and aim high deserves a fair shot at meeting their aspirations. My whole life in politics has been about trying to provide a ladder of opportunity, so that what matters is not where you come from but what you have to contribute. And that is the vision that will guide this Government in the tough decisions ahead.
So let me talk to you about my key priorities for the coming year - about how we will secure the recovery and make the new decisions of this new decade. My first priority is securing that recovery. The second is radical improvement and reform of our public services, protecting frontline spending on schools, hospitals and the police. The third is a new, cleaned up politics. And the fourth is maintaining Britain’s global strength and fulfilling our responsibilities against the terrorist threat in Afghanistan and across the wider world.
Even as we take the tough decisions to halve the deficit, we can still invest in Britain’s future. I say this because Britain is too great a country with so much potential - and people with such high aspirations - that in the coming decade we must not settle for anything less than big ambitions.
We are determined to reduce the deficit at a responsible pace, without choking off the recovery or damaging the frontline services the mainstream majority rely on. And so our strategy is to go for growth, because we want to build our country up, not talk Britain down. Later this week we will be publishing the first part of our prosperity plan for a successful, fairer and more responsible Britain: a plan detailing how we will invest in the industries and jobs of the future. From high speed rail to aerospace to the digital economy to clean energy to advanced manufacturing. 2010 is when we will get Britain moving forward again.
And we will continue our relentless reform of public services to ensure they always deliver the best for you and your family- not uniform services, but personal services, tailored to your need and your aspirations. So whether creating a national care service for the elderly, giving a guarantee of early cancer diagnosis or driving up standards in primary schools with more one-to-one tuition and compulsory modern languages, we will always ensure you get the individual, excellent services you need to make the most of life.
And I know that those who work hard each and every day for everything they get were rightly appalled at some of the abuse of MPs’ expenses. So I am determined that this year we will renew faith in our democracy with constitutional reform.
And we can all be proud that at the G20 Britain was able to negotiate a worldwide deal that secured British jobs. That was a direct result of the Government choosing internationalism over isolationism - and it is this strategy that means we are also able to cooperate with President Obama on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and with our European neighbours and others on defeating catastrophic climate change.
So those are my priorities. My belief is that this is going to be a great decade for a great nation. If we continue to make the right decisions to unleash all the talent that is to be found in these islands, we have much to look forward to - and you and your families have my warm best wishes for the year ahead".
Well Gordon, yes we do all love our country, a love you obviously do not feel because you gave it away to the EU - Prat!
This Son of the Manse idiot must truly believe the British public are short of a brain cell or two if he believes he can speak about 'decent people....losing their family homes' without their equating that with MPs whose homes - and contents - which are basically paid for by the British people! Likewise promising a radical reform of public services, which, if necessary, begs the question WTF has he and his party been doing for the last 13 years?
It also seems from what this idiot says that, not content with having f'up this country's constitution, he now wants to meddle with it further as in "we will renew faith in our democracy with constitutional reform". For the avoidance of doubt, you f'tard, one has to ask how you intend renewing faith in something we no longer have because you gave it away? Oh and just to show what a sound financial mind he has (not) we are to continue pouring money (which we don't have) down the proverbial drain by "defeating catastrophic climate change".
Finally, with his usual ability to put his foot in his mouth he says "If we continue to make the right decisions.......we have much to look forward to....." Too right there Gordon - No more Gordon Brown!
Unfortunately for Britain it would appear we are about to replace one idiot with another!
Charles Clarke: "Since 1997 Labour has built a stronger and fairer society and transformed the lives of millions of people for the better".
Well Charles, Old Chap - if by 'a stronger and fairer society' and 'transformed the lives of millions of people' you mean that people can no longer say what they feel for fear of causing distress (imagined or otherwise) to a minority group; if you mean that we are now exhorted how we should behave, act and speak by unelected and unaccountable 'placemen (or placewomen); if you mean that children are being asked to report on their parent's lifestyle; if you mean the country has been bankrupted by an incompetent politician; if you mean that virtually our every action is captured on a CCTV camera; if you mean that our political system has been undermined by politicians putting party before country; if you mean that we are now governed by the most self-opiniated, underqualified apologists for what is termed a government; if you mean that our independence as a soverign nation has been emasculated by one man's decision to hand that sovereignty to a cabal of equally self-opinionated, underqualified bureaucrats; if you mean that your party has introduced so many laws that has resulted in the word 'freedom' now becoming virtually redundant; if you mean that your party has introduced and implemented so many policies without fully understanding the ramifications and probable outcome; if you mean that your party, having been elected on various manifestos, then decides not to honour the pledges contained in those manifestos; if you mean that your party deliberately set out to change the demographic make-up of this country without first asking the permission of the people; if you mean that your party has almost eradicated the customs and traditions of this country - then you are probably correct.
My only problem is your use of the words 'for the better'!
Anthony Wells posts on a small poll, commissioned by the Green Party, showing that they are likely to win the seat of Brighton Pavillion at the next general election.
One comment by him I find intriguing and that is this: "Normally pollsters do not prompt by minor parties in voting intention questions, while this doesn’t seem very fair, it’s what years of experience suggest gives the most accurate answer."
If, when questioned, a choice of who one is likely to vote for is limited to three then is it surprising that minor parties do not feature that well? Also, if an opinion poll is to truly show the political 'lie of the land' where voting intentions are concerned then should not the question be put with every possible option provided?
Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, dismisses proposals to give greater protection to householders who tackle burglars. Douglas Carswell sums up my view on this in his typical forensic post.
Keir Starmer should remember that the EU is managing to decide the rules and laws under which we live quite nicely thank you without yet another unelected and unaccountable self-opinionated prat like him joining in!
Another reason for Starmer to 'zip- it' is that we also have other self-opinionated prats doing the same thing - the only unfortunate difference is we did elect them!
"Every so often I have wondered about doing something completely different. Leaving behind the world of politics and the media. No more blogging. No more Sky News paper reviews. No more EDP column. What would it be like to leave it all behind and go and discover a completely new life?". Well, don't waste the rest of your life wondering Iain, think of the benefits to your country if you did it!
Especially if you take David Cameron with you - after all, he will need someone to explain to him how he could have been Prime Minister if only he had decided to grant the electorate a referendum on Britain's continued membership of the EU.
Peter Hoskins, on the Coffee House, considers that one of the greatest issues of 2010 will be Iran.
No Sunshine, the greatest issue of 2010 that will affect Britain - remember Britain, the country you live in? - is the state of our democracy, or to be factual the lack of democracy.
Does Hoskins forget we are suffering from a political system in which the wishes of the people are ignored by the political elite, where the state assumes powers to enter our homes without the need for a warrant, where the state assumes the power to instruct us how we should think, speak and act, lest we offend a minority; where the state is feared by the people; where the people of the state cannot remove, or change, those who initiate three quarters of the laws by which the people live; where the state decides to provide the peoples money to further the aims of what can be described as the biggest swindle ever imposed on man; where justice now says one is guilty until proved innocent; and where our mainstream media do not report/inform/investigate/question what they are 'fed'.
And Hoskins has a potential 'laundry problem' considering Iran? FFS!
Either Hoskins is 'visually challenged' or he is taking the term 'Spectator Sport' to a new nadir!
By way of explanation for those younger readers 'telegram' was another word for 'cable', a now outmoded form of communication which - in the case of our Vince - means the comparison is quite apt!
Like David Cameron, in his 'new year message' Vince Cable plays the MP's expenses angle as one reason why people are fed up with politics. He then continues to bemoan: "Another frustration is that the two-party ‘Punch and Judy’ model which most of us grew up with no longer corresponds to reality." trying to make the point his party -surely a 'minor' party - is 'frozen out' by the big two. Attempting to boost his party's standing he maintains that of those not intending to vote Labour or Conservative "About two-thirds of these ‘non-Lab Cons’ now support my party...". Dream on Vince, dream on!
What Vince Cable, along with most politicians, does not seem to realise is that we, the public, are totally fed up with all three 'main' political parties. We are fed up with their lies, their disregard for those who fund your lifestyles and their disregard for our country - a disregard exmplified by their adherence to EU membership.
Perhaps the highest compliment one can pay Vince Cable is to paraphrase one of his witticisms.
Vince, we are fed up with 'Has-Bean' politicians of which you are one!
If this has been posted and commented on previously, then my apologies howvever it bears repetition!
Why does this need to happen? Would it not be easier if MEPs appeared for questioning before the relevant Select Committee?
Parliamentary Sovereignty has been undermined in both a technical and practical sense for some time now and the principle that only those who have been elected to a body should have the privilege to sit within it and exercise the rights they are awarded is fairly fundamental and it follows that if those who have not been elected to a body are allowed to sit within it then it makes that body redundant.
If our national Parliament cannot block or amend EU legislation, then what benefit is there in improved scrutiny, or in who sits on any scrutiny panel; and why have a bloody scrutiny panel anyway?
In any event the government over-ride scrutiny panels as and when they wish as can be seen from this question by UKIP Peer and Leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the answer to which reveals how many times the government has, in fact, over-ridden the Commons and Lords EU Scrutiny Committees’ “scrutiny reserve”. Something David Cameron and his 'cabal' will no doubt tell us is 'due democratic process'; 'bringing government closer to the people' and 'bringing transparency to government'!
Conservative Home have a thread running which asks: "Can you produce a better anti-Labour poster?" This is a competition in which all three main political parties should combine their efforts and produce a poster that all three could use and thus save costs.
Vote Labour - Get more EU and more Labour
Vote Conservative - Get more EU and more Labour
Vote Liberal Democrat - Get more EU and ...........Err, what exactly?
There is a fourth way - the only way to rescue the sovereignty of Britain:
Vote UK Independence Party - Get your country back!
Well it has and a great many of them seem to be coming from their leader David Cameron, whose New Year Message has just been posted on Conservative Home.
"......most people in the country will be contemplating the prospect of months of electioneering with emotions somewhere on a scale between indifference and dread......". Probably David, because there is bugger all to choose between the three of you, coupled with the fact all three of you patronise, lie and attempt to 'con' - most appropriate word in the case of your party - the public with manifestos that are so loosely worded it gives you carte blanche to do what the hell you like.
"First and foremost it's because the expenses scandal is not a chapter that comes to a close as we move into a new year. It is an ongoing reminder of a deeper breakdown in trust between politicians and the public. And this has many causes. Politicians who think they have the answer to everything and just can't bear to leave people alone to get on with their lives. Politicians who can't bring themselves to recognise any good in their opponents and refuse to work together to get things done. Politicians who never admit they're wrong and never acknowledge that they've made a mistake.". It may well be all the examples you mention David, however it is also worth bearing in mind that the electorate is frustrated by politicians who 'dictate' on what they are allowed a say - as in a vote on continued membership of the EU? Perhaps it is also a fact that the electorate are fed up with politicians who put party above country. Oh and David: if you are unable to recognise and acknowledge those last two points, you have no right to stand for Parliament, nor to be trusted as a Prime Minister!
"I'm sure I've been guilty of these offences on occasions, and no doubt will commit them again.". You said it! And having committed them, you ask us to agree to your possibly doing it again? FFS!
"We've opened up politics through open primaries to select potential MPs and held open Cameron Direct meetings all over the country where people from all parties and none can come and ask me questions". You may have 'opened up politics' through open primaries, but you forget to mention that you have also restricted the choice of candidates to those of whom CCHQ have 'approved'; you may have held 'open' Cameron Direct meetings but the two I tried to apply for were mysteriously fully booked immediately they were annnounced! Surely not because of your popularity?
"Let's bring real change to Westminster and the whole political system. A big part of that is about policy: policies to reform expenses and the way Parliament works; policies to redistribute power from the political elite to the man and woman in the street; policies to make government more transparent and accountable". Yes David, let us bring real change to Westminster and the whole political system. Let us start to govern ourselvesonce again, let us make Westminster what it used to be - worthwhile. Sod the smokescreen of expenses for a minute - let us reform the way Parliament works; let us have policies that really do distribute power from the political elite - aka you - to the man and woman in the street; let us make politicans more accountable. In fact, whilst you are 'at it', let us have a bloody referendum to find out whether we, as a country, do wish to govern ourselves!
"Let's at least recognise the good intentions of our opponents". Does that mean David, that you are going to stop 'dissing' parties like Ukip? I will believe that when I see it - and you might tell the rest of your shadow cabinet 'cabal' to desist too!
"Let's be positive about our own policies........Yes, there will be an election this year: that much is certain. And we can be certain too that the arguments will be fierce. But let's make it a good clean fight. And once the battle is over, we will need to rise above our differences and come together because that is the only way - strong, united leadership is the only way - we will sort out Britain's problems, halt our decline, and give this country the success that I know we can achieve". You wish to be positive about your own policies - how about being honest about your policies. For example, how about admitting that your 'energy/green' policy is driven by directives from Brussels? You talk about 'leadership'- surely you mean 'followship' in that you have to 'follow' and implement orders from Brussels?
And David Cameron wants us to believe he 'gets it'? Sheesh!!!
Courtesy of Subrosa comes this story in the Sun, which if true amounts to a political party paying members of the public to listen to their message in the hope it may influence and change their voting intentions.
Is it not illegal for a political party to use public money to further their aims? Whilst the government may argue that the original stated intention still stands, I still stand by the assertion that this is 'gerrymandering'!
Just how low will this bunch of incompetents crooks stoop in order to hang on to power?
Smokers give up to an NHS tune: unfortunately no link, but the small article relates how the 'NHS Smoking Quit Kit' contains free MP3 downloads of calming music. That should make all potential quitters 'quaver' with anticipation in being able to 'stave' off the need for a nicotine-break!
The Tories are set to clear the streets of 'plastic bobbies' according to this report on the basis they are 'useless'. No chance then the Tories might legislate to clear Parliament of 'plastic politicians' on the basis they too are bloody useless.
Could this be the last Boxing Day with a hunt ban: Apparently the Tories are set to appoint a new Regulator (thats right - another bloody quango) to oversee hunting, should the present law be overturned were the Tories to form the next government. Presumably to assuage the anti-hunt brigade amongst MPs - and also to 'fox' the present government?
James Lewis of Wembley, Middlesex has a letter of substance in today's paper. The 'headline' to his letter presents me with a problem in that in the midst of my sixth decade I wonder how many years I have left in which to find one that stands up to scrutiny.
To cap the foregoing - which it is hoped will be agreed was humour - we have some real humour tonight on BBC2 at 2100 hours with the M&W Christmas Show.
It is hoped that Tom Harris MP will forgive my using the title of his blog as a heading to this post, however it has just struck me - and ageing as I am means that the brain works slower, hence apologies if anyone has already raised this - how political correctness is not entirely logical.
In undertaking some reseach on the provision of housing for the elderly, I accessed the website of the Department of Communities and Local Government. Now the DCLG is not the only government website guilty of not being entirely logical, in fact just about every 'public body' site is too.
At the foot of one particlar page the DCLG states:
"If you require this publication in an alternative format (eg Braille or audio) please email firstname.lastname@example.org the title and product code/ISBN of the publication, and your address and telephone number."
If one needs any document, posted on the web, in Braille, then presumably one is either unfortunately blind or 'visually challenged' - and therefore cannot see the bloody website anyway!
There was I saying cheerio until Monday 29th December and along comes an extremely troubling piece of news which the Daily Telegraph reports in its usual sloppy way.
It appears that scientists are working on a substitute to alcohol and also a bonus of a 'switch-off' pill to immediately 'sober' one up.
The new alcohol is being developed by a team at Imperial College London, led by Professor David Nutt, Britain's top drugs expert who was recently sacked as a government adviser for his comments about cannabis and ecstasy.
" Ideally, like alcohol, it should be tasteless and colourless, leaving those characteristics to the drink it’s in. Eventually it would be used to replace the alcohol content in beer, wine and spirits and the recovered ethanol (the chemical name for alcohol) could be sold as fuel. Professor Nutt believes that the new drug, which would need licensing, could have a dramatic effect on society and improve the nation's health."
So if it is tasteless and colourless and could have a dramatic effect on society, how long before some 'government scientist' develops something that can be fed to society, without their knowledge, to 'condition' them to accept without question whatever they are told?
Far-fetched? Let us wait and see....................
Whilst I said that this blog was closed until after the Christmas holiday - bugger it, its the night of Christmas Day and I found this video on Fausty's blog - stunning pictures plus the Vienna Boys Choir! Enjoy!
In common with other blogs, this one will take a break and resume on Monday 28th December.
May I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and New Year and trust all that you wish, for 2010, comes to pass.
On the basis that we all have a 'Christmas Dream' it would seem appropriate to leave you with Perry Como, whose song of the title was the introductory music to the film 'The Odessa File', based on a book of the same name by Frederick Forsyth.
So, we have Hague 'condemning', citing 'openess and accountability', and Davey 'appalled', at the situation whereby Gordon Brown will not testify at the Iraq Inquiry until after the general election.
It is necessary that one questions the motives behind the publication of these views. Is it really a political 'complaint', or is it just an opportunity to get one's name in print? It is not 'rocket science' that Gordon Brown would try 'every trick in the book' to avoid and delay his appearance before the Iraq Inquiry, so why the 'outpourings of indignation' from the likes of Messrs Hague and Davey?
It is noticable that neither 'spokesman' will pass comment on the 'ceding of power' to the unelected and unaccountable EU! One has to ask where their 'priorities' lie when both their parties are vying to form the next 'government' - and the word 'government' is used in its loosest term - of the UK
Just another WfW thought for Christmas.................
William Hague has lambasted Gordon Brown and his Ministers for the decision to delay their appearance before the Iraq inquiry.
Hague states: "It is becoming clearer and clearer why Gordon Brown delayed setting up the Inquiry for so long after it should have begun its work".
Oh William, if it is becoming clearer and clearer why Gordon Brown delayed setting up the Inquiry, so it is becoming clearer and clearer why David Cameron delayed setting out his position on EU membership following the Lisbon ratification process. And please don't respond with the official 'crap' about waiting for the last member state to ratifiy; David Cameron could just as well said, months earlier, if (a) happens, we will do (b) - and so on.
Hague makes the point that government should be open and accountable, in which case does this not apply to opposition parties? It would seem that the Conservatives are just as devious as Labour or the Liberal Democrats in that they are far from 'open' and 'accountable'.
If William Hague, as an MP - and the fact that he is a Shadow Front Bench Spokesman is neither here nor there - can make a pronouncement on matters which affect people outside his constituency, then so can any other MP make a statement on whether they would promise to put country before party and whether, within the first year of the new parliament, they would promote, and/or actively support, a Bill calling for a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.
Unfortunately, where the Albion Alliance has attempted to obtain such a statement from MPs, the inquirer not being one of their constituents, all Conservative MPs have fallen back on what they call 'Parliamentary Protocol' which prevents them responding to any query from someone who is not a constituent. Yet how many - and how often - do MPs appear on programmes like Question Time and Any Questions and inform an audience, none of whom live in their constituency, what they think on a variety of subjects?
To finish the mini-series of 'Oddities', in the musical output world, did you know that Anthony Hopkins issued a single? Albeit at at time when his financial fortunes were at a low, hence probably why he did. Admittedly it is pure 'schmultz' - but worth listening to simply to hear his voice.
According to the Daily Telegraph families will throw away almost £60 million of food this Christmas after buying too much. A spokesman from the government quango Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) pleads with people to freeze what they can and thus save unecessary landfill.
Listen spokesman - you need to remember a few simple principles here:
1. Anything disposed of in the rubbish was bought with someone else's money - not yours.
2. Once purchased it becomes their property - not yours.
3. As their property, it is their decision what they do with it - not yours.
Oh, and 4. Go 'wrap' your presents, make a New Year Resolution not to assault our hearing with stupid pronouncements and leave the rest of us alone!
On the assumption you understand basic Anglo-Saxon English - F'Off!
Tom Harris, Labour - Glasgow South, runs what is at times an interesting blog and generally makes some extremely interesting points. His latest post is about what he calls 'The Angry Brigade' who at times resort to abuse when posting comments.
Mentioned in this post is the fact that the EU question does not raise its head in conversations he has with his constituency and questions whether everyone is as angry with Labour as some make out. Tom Harris features in a short video in which MPs explain their reasons for entering Parliament and unfortunately he demonstrates a belief which is akin to having his head stuck in the sand. In this video he says he entered politics to be part of the place where power rests in this country. Err, Tom, never heard of Brussels, because that is where the real power lies.
He also seems at a loss to understand why people are so fed up with Labour and, to a certain extent, politicians in general. Well maybe Tom it is because we are fed up with having almost every detail of our lives controlled by quangos over which we have no control, fed up with the political correctness being forced down our throats at every opportunity, fed up with the emasculation of our traditions and customs, said emasculation having been engineered by his party, fed up with politicians handing the control of this country - and thereby our lives - to an unelected and unaccountable cabal in another country, fed up with having been 'taken for a ride' by politicians creating for themselves a lifestyle that ordinary people can only dream about, fed up with politicians putting the interests of their party before those of our country, fed up with having a 'political scam', aka Climate Change, forced upon us with no opportunity to vote for it, fed up with having 'diversity' force-fed us, and in what is perceived to be a one-sided way, and generally fed up with too much government.
Party politics being put to one side Tom Harris seems a reasonable chap, however it is depressing that even he does not have the capacity to understand why people are so angry, which is probably due to the fact he, as with politicians in general, really do live in a different world
Some MPs give their reasons for entering politics in the accompanying video and it is telling that it provides an insight into individual MP's thoughts on why they are there.
So many MPs give the impression that they wish to regulate, run, legislate or control people. Only one MP says that he entered politics to ensure that there was less politics in people's lives. An example of what is wrong in our democracy is exemplified by Tom Harris who believes that he needed and wished to be in the place which has power. It could be argued the place with power is Brussels?
James Delingpole lets rip on the Alex Jones show on the Climate Change scam. He also makes the point that the MSM will kill itself by the biased blatherings that pass as journalism, incorporting the failure of the MSM to question what they report. This is a four-part autoplay video.
H/T: Fausty's Libertarian Blog - from which I nicked it!
We all remember Bruce Springstein's hit of Dancing In The Dark I am sure, however back in the Eighties another group, Big Daddy, produced a slower, ballad version. What made this even more remarkable is they introduced the refrain of another song by Pat Boone, called Moody River.
Iain Dale reports an 'Exclusive' which contains a copy of the letter Lord Pearson has written to the three broadcasters mentioned above.
A few points arise from Iain Dale's post:
He states that Ukip do not have an MP and that he believes that is a prime requisite to take part in the proposed 'debates'. Iain, at the time the debates take place which presumably will be during the short election period, no party will have an MP, Parliament having been disolved.
He also states that a prime requisite for inclusion in the 'debates' is having a candidate standing in every, or virtually every, constituency. One wonders what his definition of 'virtually' would be and if he has a minimum number of candidates in mind - 500? In which case Ukip would qualify, come the election period.
He also raises the question whether, if Ukip are allowed to take part, the Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the BNP should also be allowed 'air time'. Why not Iain? They are, when all is said and done, legally formed political parties standing for election.
He continues with the argument that any party taking part in the televised debates must have a chance of forming a government. Iain, did the Labour Party stand a chance of forming the next government the first time they put forward candidates?
The basic objection to Iain Dale's, dare one say 'sneering dismissal' of Lord Pearson's letter, is a belief which seems shared by the three main political parties. That belief is that only the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have the 'God-Given' right to take part in any televised debate. Those three parties, along with the self-appointed King Queen of the Blogosphere, seem to forget that at the last nation-wide election held those parties with a policy of withdrawal from the EU polled more votes than the party that polled the most individual votes, namely the Conservative Party. It also seems to have been forgotten that at the last election there were many 'one-off' candidates - in fact one who campaigned on one local issue, that of the closure of his local hospital and he got elected! Why should that candidate, for example, not have 'air time'? The three main parties, along with Iain Dale, are not the only ones to take this attitude that only the three main parties matter. The MSM is just as guilty in this respect!
Oh what a Pandora's Box has been opened by the three main TV broadcasters, who obviously did not think through this 'ground-breaking' election spectacle!
Well boys, you opened the bloody box - now you sort it out and sort it out fairly!
Update/Afterthought: One of comments on Iain Dale's post (Cassandra), which is worth repeating in full:
"The big three trying to hog the MSM for themselves trying to carve up the electorate between themselves and freezing out the small parties?
Hmmmm! Now why would that be in the interests of the big three I wonder? Lets suppose that despite the obviously rigged and faked polls doing the rounds the electorate is turning in increasing numbers to the smaller parties in desperation because the big three are deaf dumb and blind to the plight of the ordinary voter.
The differences between the big three are now so slight and marginal on the big issues, they feel able to promise the earth and then fail to deliver, they all feel that the national interest lie within the new EU superstate whether the public like it or not, all of them are wedded to the idea of man made global warming doom and the insane witch hunt against a harmless trace gas called CO2 which is costing us dear and they have become so used to the trilateral monopoly on Westminster that if they became aware that the voter might just break that monopoly the big three could be very tempted to stage this media circus to encourage the proles to vote for any of the big three.
What we have is a detached political parasite elite so used to the trappings of power that they feel able to ignore the wishes of the electorate, after all if any of the three gets in things will pretty much stay the same, the status quo remains and the big three carry on as before.
People are fed up with being treated like serfs to be used and ordered around like drones, the political classes are finding out an uncomfortable truth, taking the electorate for granted is a mistake. The biggest terror for the big three would be to lose their stranglehold on Westminster."
When considering one's likes in music, this can be dictated by lyrics, the singer's voice, the melody or a combination of both. Now and again one comes across an 'oddity', for example the Orson Welles 'hit' which was posted yesterday.
Another 'oddity' was Ivan Rebroff, a German singer, allegedly of Russian ancestry, with an extraordinary vocal range of four and a half octaves, ranging from soprano to impressive bass registers. An example which demonstrates the almost unbelievable range of his voice is the video below.
So our Transport Minister is starting to play the 'blame game', according to this report on Politics Home.
"........some local authorities “haven’t done what’s required” in the inclement weather conditions Britain has experienced" and "We have to ask ourselves whether it’s proportionate to spend all this money, whether as individuals or as a government."
Neither, Transport Minister, has the government done what's required in the inclement financial conditions Britain has experienced - created by the government of which he is a minister - and perhaps he 'khan' explain and justify whether it is proportionate to spend all the money the government has done on EU membership, support for Fake Charities, Quangos and the like.
For someone who writes for the Grauniad, Henry Porter is held quite high in my esteem. An example of his views can be found here.
Writing on the aspects of another 'Straw F'Up' decision in respect of our judicial system, Henry Porter says:
"Desmond Hudson, the chief executive of the Law Society, says that, little by little, such measures as virtual courts "pile up to create an imbalance between the power of the state and the rights of the individual, which is beginning to undermine the rule of law" and "It is so easy to be lulled by the Ministry of Justice's language about "secure video links" and "freeing up police time" and "making it easier for victims to see justice being done", but, as so often under the Labour government, the hard truth is that justice will be the victim."
When will F'tards like Straw stop fixing what ain't broke?Probably when pigs fly - Oops, sorry, forgot they do already when they go on fact-finding parliamentary trips!
Dan Hannan posts on his blog 10 reasons to leave the EU and states:
1. Since we joined the EEC in 1973, we have been in surplus with every continent in the world except Europe. Over those 27 years, we have run a trade deficit with the other member states that averages out at £30 million per day.
2. In 2010 our gross contribution to the EU budget will be £14 billion. To put this figure in context, all the reductions announced by George Osborne at the Conservative Party Conference would, collectively, save £7 billion a year across the whole of government spending.
3. On the European Commission’s own figures, the annual costs of EU regulation outweigh the advantages of the single market by €600 to €180 billion.
4. The Common Agricultural Policy costs every family £1200 a year in higher food bills.
5. Outside the Common Fisheries Policy, Britain could reassert control over its waters out to 200 miles or the median line, which would take in around 65 per cent of North Sea stocks.
6. Successive British governments have refused to say what proportion of domestic laws come from Brussels, but a thorough analysis by the German Federal Justice Ministry showed that 84 per cent of the legislation in that country came from the EU.
7. Outside the EU, Britain would be free to negotiate much more liberal trade agreements with third countries than is possible under the Common External Tariff.
8. The countries with the highest GDP per capita in Europe are Norway and Switzerland. Both export more, proportionately, to the EU, than Britain does.
9. Outside the EU, Britain could be a deregulated, competitive, offshore haven.
10. Oh, and we’d be a democracy again.
And still he won't sign the Albion Alliance Pledge! A commenter on his blog says: "Tell that idiot who leads your party. It’s our country, it is our money and it is our opinion it is time to leave. His approval is not required." Another comment is: "Absolutely correct, Mr. Hannan. If only there were a book outlining such a plan…............"
Why Hannan continues to remain a member of the Not-The-Conservative Party remains a mystery - perhaps he is waiting for his leader to shoot himself in the foot, which surely won't be long in coming to pass, if he has not already done that with his EU Policy announcement!
When not 'glued' to Classicfm, being an old romantic I tend to like songs about love, songs with a melody and songs with 'meaning' to their lyrics.
Tuning into one of my favourite programmes on the wireless last night I was shocked to be told that, as a local BBC radio station, they are banned from playing records containing the spoken word as the Royalties tend to cost 'oodles' which they don't have!
Anyway, back in the early eighties Orson Welles - a much under-rated actor - had a single issued, probably his only single, and whilst obviously never a hit, at least on Billboard’s top 200, but all the same it was issued as a CD single, which in my book, is enough to call it a hit for Welles. Hearing it for the first time, I was astonished that it seems to have captured the touch of Welles genius, transforming what might have been utterly banal lyrics into a meditation on old age.
Mock all you wish about my musical tastes, but this has melody and words to ponder.