The BBC is asking “Why don’t the English want more power” in response to the Scottish independence referendum in defiance of the evidence that actually they do.
In an article promoting the balkanisation of England into artificial regions, they make the ridiculous claim that 19% of English people support regional government and only 15% support an English Parliament. Toque has been keeping tabs on English Parliament opinion polls since 2002 and not once has support for an English Parliament dipped that low – in fact, in a 2007 ICM opinion poll for the Telegraph 15% supported English independence. Are we to believe that just because people have stopped asking the question in the last year and a half, the support for an English Parliament that has consistently been between more than 50% and almost 70% depending on the question asked has suddenly nosedived to just 15%? That’s rubbish and the BBC know it which is why they’ve left it unsourced.
You can gauge the support for an English Parliament quite easily by just asking any random sample of people – your family, friends or work colleagues – whether they think England should have its own government like Scotland does and unless your circle of friends are ill-informed hardcore British nationalists, most of them will say yes.
The case for an English Parliament does need to be made again because there hasn’t been an effective campaign highlighting the issues and the solution since the Campaign for an English Parliament collapsed into a mere parody of itself a few years ago but support for an English Parliament is still high. Support for regionalisation is still low but increasing in Yorkshire and Cornwall where Labour and Mebyon Kernow respectively are peddling their divisive, anti-English politics.
The message for Yorkshire and Cornwall – and elsewhere in England for that matter – is that an English Parliament and regional devolution aren’t mutually exclusive. There is no reason why Cornwall or Yorkshire shouldn’t have an assembly of its own if that’s what the majority of people there want but that power has to be devolved democratically from an English government, not given away by the British government to frustrate the wishes of the English people. A Cornish Assembly or Yorkshire Assembly could never compete with the Scottish Parliament or Welsh or Northern Irish Assemblies let alone a G20 country but England in its own right would be a G8 country, one of the largest economies in the world. The British government won’t devolve meaningful power to a region and that’s one of the reasons why the regional assemblies were rejected by the electorate but a devolved English Parliament with greater autonomy for county or regional government under that English government could deliver local decision making where it’s more efficient or a national approach isn’t appropriate without breaking up England.
The message for the BBC is that we do want our country back and you can quote all the dodgy, unsourced statistics you want and give as many column inches to the regionalists as you like but you won’t change the facts. The majority of people in England want an English Parliament.
The British Minister for English Education, Michael Gove, has called for British values to actively promoted in English schools.
Gove says that promoting British values in English schools will stop the illegal indoctrination of children in schools run by Islamists and David Cameron thinks it’s a jolly good idea.
The British values that the British Minister for English Education says English children must be indoctrinated with are:
- How citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
- An appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens
- An understanding that bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account by the people, through the democratic organs of government
- An understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law, and an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
- An understanding of the problems of identifying and combating discrimination
Now, let’s just examine these British values a little more closely from the perspective of an Englishman.
How citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
It wasn’t all that long ago that we had a British Prime Minister who was elected in Scotland with a cabinet stuffed full of MPs elected in Scotland spending roughly three quarters of their time making laws for England. Nobody in England could influence their decisions making because the British govern England directly from London. It’s also not all that long ago that we had Tony Blair’s former flatmate, the unelected Lord Chancellor England, Lord Charlie Falconer (a Scot, naturally) telling us that we would never be allowed to have an English Parliament. I also recall the murmurs of discontent when the big supermarkets in England went to Alistair Darling (who of course is only accountable to voters in Edinburgh) to ask for Sunday Trading laws to be abolished in England like they are in Scotland but he said no. I don’t think many people who take an interest in politics or the English question will ever forget that we only have university tuition fees and foundation hospitals in England because MPs elected in Scotland overturned the slim majority of MPs elected in England who voted against them. Nobody in England has any influence over those MPs elected in other countries or the unelected lords and bureaucrats that make laws for England. And don’t even get me started on the EU which makes 75% of our laws. Seriously, don’t.
An appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens
This is an interesting one this. “If you don’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to fear” is the rallying call of fascists and big state activists alike. The fact is, it’s virtually impossible not to break the law nowadays because there are just so many of the damn things and of course problematic people need only commit a minor offence to get them into the system and ruin their lives. The book “Taking Liberties” is getting a bit old now having been written (and turned into a film) during the despotic reign of Prince Tony but most of the oppressive laws and the abuses of our hard won rights and freedoms mentioned in the book are still in force and taking place now but they’ve become so commonplace now, nobody bats an eyelid. Remember the woman who was arrested under anti-terrorism laws for reading out the names of dead soldiers outside Downing Street? How about the man charged with terrorism offences for knowing somebody who was friends with someone suspected of terrorist offences, found innocent by a jury and then put under indefinite house arrest by the Home Secretary because the jury got the “wrong” answer? This is the law that supposedly protects us by essentially stripping us of the automatic right to liberty that we’ve had for centuries.
An understanding that bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account by the people, through the democratic organs of government
Another interesting one. How do we hold the police and army to account? The police force is now heavily politicised with the introduction of elected Police & Crime Commissioners which has put nominal control of most police forces in England into the hands of political parties. Since the Police & Crime Commissioners have been in charge have we seen an increase in accountability? No. Have we been asked what we think the police are doing wrong and what we want them to do better? No. Are people unhappy with them? Yes. There is a campaign to oust the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner, Ann Barnes, to resign after bringing the police force into disrepute in an appearance on a TV documentary, the first youth crime commissioner she appointed resigned for making racist and homophobic comments on Twitter and the second youth crime commissioner she appointed was suspended just 3 months into the job for having an affair with a married police officer. She is refusing the stand down. As for what’s left of the army – how do we exercise any control over them? And more importantly, why should we be able to?
An understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law, and an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
This is a good one because I bet the person who went to court arguing that it was religious discrimination for British Airways to allow Sikhs to wear a bangle but forcing her to remove her cross and lost doesn’t think that her religious beliefs are protected. When Muslim street patrols are out in force in Tower Hamlets abusing and threatening women who aren’t covered from head to toe and men who are drinking while the police turn a blind eye, how is that helping to prevent prejudice and discrimination? When the British government pressed ahead with legalising gay marriage in the full and certain knowledge that the EU courts would rule that it was discrimination for the established church to refuse to marry a gay couple despite it being contrary to their beliefs and teachings, how is that helping to protect the freedom of Christians to practice their religion?
An understanding of the problems of identifying and combating discrimination
This is great. Finally, our children are going to be told about the institutional discrimination against England that prevails throughout the British establishment. They’re going to be told about the British government refusing to allow the English a say on how their country is governed whilst allowing the Scots and Welsh devolved government. They’re going to be told how the British are breaking up England – starting with London and its regional assembly, then Cornwall and now a revival of the regional local government reorganisation that they planned with regional assemblies but are now targeting at cities. They’re going to be told that it’s morally wrong and unconstitutional for MPs elected in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to vote on laws that only affect England which are devolved in their own countries. They’re going to be shown the list of attendees of the British-Irish Council so they can see how England has less democratic representation on supranational bodies than the Channel Island, the Isle of Man and Cornwall. They’re going to be told about the laws that only affect England that MPs elected in England voted against but which became law anyway because MPs elected in Scotland voted for them. They’re going to be told about the Barnett Formula and the eye-watering sums of money that are given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to pay for superior public services. They’re going to be told about the life saving cancer treatments and cures for blindness that are freely available in Scotland thanks to the extra funding the Scottish NHS gets from the English taxpayer that we can’t have in England because there’s no money left to pay for them.
Except they won’t be told any of the above because of the British values they didn’t include in the list:
- The English are an inferior people
- There is no cost too great to keep the Scots and Welsh happy as long as the English are paying
- Englishness must be suppressed at all costs
- An English life is worth less than a Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish life
- War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, England is Britain
For years the BBC pursued a policy of denigrating England and suppressing any sense of English national pride or identity. They were eventually forced into changing their attitude towards England by a series of public embarrassments and criticisms that I’m proud to say I played a part in.
It seems that ITV have decided to fill the anti-English void left by the BBC directing marginally less hate towards England though. They have started conflating English and British like the BBC used to and promoting Britishness whilst portraying Englishness as something dirty an dangerous. Their coverage of England’s football matches this week shows the lengths they’ll go to to promote Britishness.
There were hundreds of English flags in the crowd in the game against Ecuador on Wednesday but ITV managed to find an English flag with a union flag in the corner that they zoomed in on while the British national anthem was played for the English team before panning round the England fans and finally finishing on the flag again but zoomed out so you could see the whole thing.
If it was an isolated incident you could dismiss it as crap camera work but it happened again tonight before the Honduras game – they managed to find what must have been the only union flag amongst the thousands of English flags in the crowd to zoom in on while they played the British national anthem again.
If I was a suspicious person I might wonder if we were being prepared for a rebranding of the English team bearing in mind FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s well known opposition to an English team, the British government’s desire for a British football team and the FA’s willingness to run the Team GB football team for the Olympics despite the very sensible opposition from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish FAs. I don’t trust the FA, I don’t trust the British government and I don’t trust FIFA. There is more to this than meets the eye.
The EU elections are a little over a day away and they promise to be the biggest defeat of the establishment parties in a national election ever experienced in the UK.
Labour’s vote has held up remarkably well all things considered but it’s not going to be enough to win the election. The Conservative vote has nosedived and the Lib Dem vote has collapsed to the extent that they’re level pegging with the loony Greens and probably going to lose all their MEPs.
Despite the media campaign against UKIP and the trade union funded hate groups attacking (physically in some cases) the party and its candidates, UKIP is on course to win the EU election and become the largest UK party in the EU Parliament. There has been a conspiracy of silence in the media where the wrongdoings of LibLabCon councillors and candidates have been ignored whilst turning over front pages to stories like a UKIP MEP candidate giving the finger to fascist anti-democracy thugs screaming abuse at her. I won’t list the stories of thieving, cheating, lying, bail jumping criminal LibLabCon councillors and candidates in the last month that the national media have ignored but if you want to see what the media don’t want you to see then browse through the last few weeks’ worth of posts on Bloggers4UKIP for all the sordid details.
When it comes to voting it wouldn’t matter if UKIP won every seat in the UK and sent 73 MEPs to the EU Parliament because our national interest will always be overruled by the europhiles that make up the majority but it is still important to return the maximum number of UKIP MEPs for two very good reasons: every UKIP MEP elected means one less europhile MEP and the more UKIP MEPs we have, the more eurosceptic MEPs we will have on committees which is where most of the damage limitation happens.
Beware of cheap imitations on Thursday, look for the £ sign!
The Labour Party are asking people to share a poster on Facebook attacking the Lib Dems over their broken promise on tuition fees.
The Lib Dem manifesto for the last election promised to vote against any increase in Labour’s university tax and Nick Clegg even posed with a giant pledge card saying he would vote against it and pressure the British government for a fairer alternative. Once elected he voted to increase Labour’s university tax from £3k a year to £9k a year.
That Nick Clegg is a weak, dishonest politician goes without saying but people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and Labour really have scored an own goal with this one. Labour contested the 2001 election saying they wouldn’t introduce the university tax and had legislated to prevent it. Like the legislation Conservative supporters are currently clinging to for dear life that David Cameron has told them “guarantees” an EU referendum in 2017, the legislation preventing the introduction of the university tax was utterly worthless and shortly after they repealed it and introduced tuition fees of up to £3k in England.
The English university tax was imposed on England against the wishes of our democratically elected representatives. Since the introduction of devolved government in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the British government only had control of education in England so in any real democracy, only MPs elected in England should have voted on the introduction of the university tax but Labour whipped their Scottish MPs to vote it through and overturned a small majority of MPs elected in England who voted against it.
We wouldn’t have the university tax in England at all if it wasn’t for Labour’s broken promise not to introduce it and Labour’s undemocratic use of their Scottish MPs to impose legislation on England that a majority of MPs elected in England voted against. Using the Lib Dems’ broken promises on the the university tax that Labour broke a promise and broke one of the most fundamental democratic principals to introduce is frankly hypocritical and I hope that it blows up in their faces.
Today we celebrate St George’s Day, the patron saint of (amongst others) England …
… or do we?
While people around the world and even in the rest of the UK mark their national days with public holidays, festivals and binge drinking in silly hats, St George’s Day is largely ignored despite opinion polls suggesting that as many as three quarters of us think it should be a public holiday.
Over the years we have been told that Englishness is sinister and offensive and that our national flag is linked inextricably with racists. We have been told that we can never have our own government or national institutions even though there is overwhelming support for it and that we must be British for the sake of the union. British politicians will go to great lengths to avoid saying the word England or even acknowledging the existence of an English identity despite most people in England defining themselves as English, not British.
In 1997 the British government gave Scotland and Wales referenda on creating their own devolved governments and in both cases the people of those nations voted for home rule. In 2004 the British government scheduled referenda in the 9 euroregions of England to create regional governments and cancelled them all after 78% of people in the north east of England rejected it in the first referendum. Since then, Wales has had a second referendum to give the Welsh government more powers and the Scots have their independence referendum later this year. The English have never been given a say on how they want their country to be run and the campaign to break England up into regions has been revived with backing from the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems. There is a determination to abolish the English nation and it is gathering pace.
It is not racist to be proud to be English or to fly the English flag and it is not unreasonable to expect our country to be treated fairly and equally within the union. That’s why I would urge all my readers to pledge to support a new campaign for a fair deal for England …
It’s April Fool’s Day today and you all know what that means … that’s right, the British are taking us for fools yet again with the prescription charge in England going up 20p to £8.05 per item.
Whilst the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments have all abolished prescriptions charges in their own countries, the British continue to tax the sick in England to help pay for the subsidies that allow the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish to get their prescriptions for free.
Just one of the reasons why we need an English Parliament.
The British Minister for English Health has announced that prescription charges will go up again on April Fool’s Day this year from £7.85 to £8.05 per item and NHS dental costs will go up by up to £5.
But only in England.
Prescriptions are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland thanks to the lavish subsidies the British government gives then out of English taxes. These same subsidies have allowed the rest of the UK to variously abolish hospital parking charges, abolish means testing for social care, freeze council tax, reduce or abolish university tuition fees and much more whilst we in England continue to pay more and more every year.
Just one of the reasons why we need an English Parliament.
French company ATOS has announced that it is seeking an early exit from its contract with the British government to carry out fitness for work assessments on disabled people.
ATOS have been given a slating over their handling of the contract for making decisions to send people back to work when they are clearly not fit for work but they don’t deserve all the blame. In fact, most of the blame should fall at the previous Labour-controlled government who contracted ATOS in the first place and the current ConDem government who allowed the injustice to continue unabated.
The problem with what ATOS have been doing is that they were contracted to get x number of disabled people working and they’ve done what they were paid to do. Nobody knew how many disabled people were fit for work because if they knew who was and wasn’t fit for work they wouldn’t have needed to pay ATOS to find out so telling them in advance how many people they had to rule were fit for work is just nonsense. ATOS have been driven by targets on the number of people they declare fit for work even if that means making bad decisions because that’s what they’re being paid to do.
If ATOS were targeted on the quality of their decisions and not the number of people they declare fit for work then there wouldn’t have been such injustice in the decision-making process. ATOS took on a contract that was flawed and immoral but if they hadn’t taken on the contract, someone else would have done and with the same result. The contract is flawed and the only way to fix it is to base the targets solely on quality of decision making and not on the volume of people ruled fit to work.
A 12 year old boy has been pulled out of class and interviewed by the police for organising a protest about the closure of his youth club outside David Cameron’s constituency office.
The police told the boy that anti-terrorism police were investigating him and that he would be held responsible and arrested if there was any trouble at the protest. They also told him that anti-terrorism police would be watching his posts on Facebook and tried to talk him out of holding the protest.
The protest went ahead on Friday with 13 people and six police officers.
A woman in Merseyside has been told she is losing some of her housing benefit because the sensory room for her severely disabled daughter is classed as a spare bedroom.
I absolutely agree with the removal of housing benefit for spare bedrooms – if someone else is paying your rent then the house you live in should be absolutely what you need, nothing more – and I won’t call it the bedroom tax because it’s not a tax, that’s just a phrase the Labour Party propaganda machine invented. The problem is that the changes have been poorly implemented as usual and that’s led to so much injustice that the majority of the population thinks that it’s a bad idea and would gladly see a return to the system where the taxpayer is subsidising a middle aged couple whose kids have left home to live in a 4 or 5 bedroom house that they don’t need and can’t afford. Of course, if you frame it in those terms most people would say it shouldn’t happen but this is why benefit reform needs to be done right first time, because if you get it wrong the heart overrules the head and people will agree to virtually anything to end the injustice caused by it being done wrong.
In the case of this woman in Merseyside, her 28 year old daughter is registered blind, mentally handicapped and uses a wheelchair. The spare bedroom in their bungalow has been converted into a sensory room with a ball pool, a TV and lights and is also used to store her wheelchairs. Because it’s still classed as a bedroom though, she loses part of her benefits which leaves her in a situation that there is no real way out of. She can’t move to a smaller place because she needs the extra space to store the wheelchairs and sensory equipment and if she finds a part time job to pay the rent shortfall she’ll need a carer for her daughter which the local authority will have to pay for.
Local authorities have been given £150m by the Department of Work & Pensions so they can clear up the mess the benefit reforms have left behind which is a tacit admission that the British government knows it got it wrong and knew in advance that the legislation was poorly written but this isn’t a secure funding source and it’s unlikely that £150m actually covers the costs. This woman in Merseyside has been given a discretionary award to cover the shortfall in her housing benefit for the start of the year but it still leaves her in limbo, knowing that at some point in the near future she’s going to have to go cap in hand to the local authority again and hope that there’s some money available to help her.
People who are using a spare bedroom as sensory rooms or as storage for medical equipment or for some other type of necessary facility for a disabled person shouldn’t have their housing benefit cut for that room. Nor should couples who have to sleep in separate rooms because of a disability or medical condition (such as one of them being too restless, kicking out, etc. in the night). Part time parents (such as weekend dads and mums) who have overnight contact with their children shouldn’t have their housing benefit reduced for a spare room for their children either because in a great many cases that means that the agreed contact with their children can’t happen. Nor should housing benefit be reduced for parents who are keeping a bedroom for their child who normally lives at home who is currently serving overseas in the armed forces and will return home after their tour.
These exclusions could easily have been written in to the legislation to prevent the injustice we’re seeing now and the abolition of the spare bedroom subsidy would have been better received and would be better perceived by the majority. Instead, it is seen as an attack on the sick and disabled and it will be years before the public are willing to support benefit reform again.
The British government is closing Portsmouth’s shipyard to protect jobs at the Clyde shipyards in Glasgow in a transparently political move to placate the Scots ahead of their independence referendum.
Just look at these comments from some of the English workers the Brits are sacrificing to protect Scottish jobs:
It’s definitely a political decision. All to do with Scotland and Scottish independence; it’s disgusting. They don’t care about us.
This is simply pandering to the Scottish government before the independence referendum next year.
Even the MP for Portsmouth is unhappy:
It’s a massive and grave error on the part of the government to put more shipbuilding in Scotland. It’s political. It always has been.
And then there’s the comments section in the Express …
Disgusted that our weak government is letting this happen – to shut Portsmouth and give new contracts to a Scottish port is despicable.
What a disgrace, blatant politically inspired bribery for the jocks…well what if they say YES to independence anyway…I do hope they do vote to leave and let the politicos explain why we are buying ships off a foreign country?
i hear that its portsmouth yard that will close rather than the scottish ones..i wonder why that is. is there a referendum coming up
Even some Guardian readers are having a pop …
Scottish jobs saved at the expense of English workers.
Portsmouth is being sacrificed for saving Scotland ahead of a referendum
A thousand workers in Portsmouth thrown on the scrapheap just so project fear can keep making a spurious point about the “benefits of the union”. Playing politics with peoples lives yet again.
Helps the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK I suppose…
Then there’s the Telegraph …
Why give it to the Scots? Are their unemployed more deserving. Sadly, they are never going to vote for independence so shafting the ENglish YET AGAIN is horrific.
This is little short of treason by Cameron to the English in a futile political sop to the Scottish. If he had any balls at all he would preserve the English yards, scrap the Scottish yards and state that the decision would be reviewed after the Scottish referendum on independence.
Why are they trying to buy Scottish votes, the Glasgow yards are hotbeds of socialism and militants, they should take the hits and not the English yard, kill two birds with one stone.
Short term daftness to rely on warship building in a country that is not committed to the UK. This has Cameron McFudge written all over it. The lads in Portsmouth should have been supported, not the would-be defectors in Govan. Salmond will be laughing yet again.
A disgusting sop to the Scots nationalists. What ought to have been brought home to them is that even the threat of independence costs Scots jobs. As if a separate UK government would ever build ships in a foreign Scotland . . . Should it ever happen Portsmouth will need rebuilding from scratch. I’m a Conservative Party member but if there was an election tomorrow I wouldn’t vote for them. They’ve just sold England down the river for short-term and disguided political reasons!
If this isn’t a political decision, I don’t know what is. But in the unlikely event of Scotland voting for independence next year, I trust that this decision will be reversed in double quick time.
The sacked workers in Portsmouth know they’re being sacrificed by the Brits to keep the Scots happy, politicians know the workers in Portsmouth are being sacrificed by the Brits to keep the Scots happy and the general public know the workers in Portsmouth are being sacrificed by the Brits to keep the Scots happy. There is no price the British won’t pay to keep the Scots in the union as long as it’s the English that are paying.
I used to think there was a place for England in a reformed British union but it’s pretty clear that England will never be important to the Brits. It’s time for English independence.
The British government is planning to give the Welsh government the same powers to vary income tax as the Scottish government and control over landfill tax and stamp duty.
David Cameron said:
Today we are announcing more power for the Welsh people and the Welsh government. Power that’s about building this country up, power that’s about making sure we have real accountable government here in Wales.
The English people still have no government and no power. There is no accountable government here in England, just an unaccountable British government full of politicians that can’t be held to account at the ballot box by a single person in England making decisions affecting the lives of English people.
He then went on to announce that the 2014 NATO summit will be held in Wales:
Scotland has got the Commonwealth Games, London had the Olympics, Northern Ireland the G8, now it’s Wales’ turn.
The Olympics were the British Olympics, nothing to do with England. The whole thing was about the British so when is it England’s turn?
The Welsh First Minister doesn’t want devolution of income tax until the Barnett Bribe is reformed to provide “fairer” funding for Wales (by which he means more English money being given to Wales):
Today is an important day for Wales. We are now being treated like equals in the UK.
We are not in favour of devolution of income tax until the Barnett formula is reformed to provide fairer funding for Wales.
Treated like equals in the UK? Being treated the same as the English is hardly something to aspire to: the only nation in Europe with no government of its own, northing more than a source of income for the British government to fund its spending addiction.
The British government is giving the police the power to apply for an order restricting the freedom of anyone they suspect of being a potential sex offender.
The new powers will allow magistrates to grant the police a sexual risk order to prevent someone from contacting children or vulnerable people, travelling abroad, using the internet, etc. based on nothing but a suspicion of their potential to be a sex offender. The subject of a sexual risk order doesn’t need to be convicted to have the order made against them and the criteria for granting the order are lower than existing sexual harm orders.
Sex offenders obviously need to be tracked down and dealt with but if there isn’t enough evidence to convict someone of sex offences then they shouldn’t have one of these orders made against them. Restricting someone’s freedoms because the police have a suspicion that they have the potential to commit sex offences is something that could have been lifted from Orwell’s 1984.
Cross-posted from English Commonwealth
It’s a well known fact that the British government distributes our taxes unfairly, subsidising Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at England’s expense but that sort of thing wouldn’t happen with charity would it? The answer, of course, is yes.
Figures released by the Big Lottery Fund show that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland receive significantly more funding than England – as much as three times more if you live in Northern Ireland.
The average lottery funding per head in England is just £9.46 compared to £13.49 in Wales, £25.27 in Scotland and £31.33 per head in Northern Ireland. There is a Big Lottery budget for the UK as a whole as well but no figures have been released for this fund so it’s not currently possible to tell whether this disparity is replicated in the UK-wide budget.
A spokesperson for the Big Lottery Fund has tried to justify spending so much more on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by saying that grants are given based on population and deprivation. England’s population is 5 times that of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined and parts of England are the most deprived in the whole UK but England received just a third of the funding Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland got. They also cite a one-off award for £49m to the Life Changes Trust as a reason for the disparity in funding this year but previous years’ figures show that England has always received less funding per head that the rest of the UK.
Some will no doubt point to the money the British government took from the lottery to pay for the London Olympics and claim that it was lottery money given to England but the Olympics weren’t English and the lottery money has to be paid back (eventually) by a corporation owned by the Mayor of London. It was an expropriation of Lottery funds by the British government, not a grant by the Big Lottery Fund.
The Big Lottery isn’t the only charity to unfairly allocate extra funding to the other member states of the UK. The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal diverts funding to Scotland whilst allowing Poppyscotland, who it merged with, to keep all the money it raises for itself, for example. There are many other charities that have Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and British arms but that’s a topic for future discussion.
Facebook have informed me this evening that I’m temporarily banned from posting for 12 hours because someone reported one of my comments as abusive.
The offending comment was in response to a question posed on the Politics UK page asking whether people on benefits who drink and smoke excessively should have their benefits cut. It said:
Give them non-transferable food vouchers. I don’t go to work to pay for other peoples’ fags and booze.
Someone has taken exception to this comment and reported it. At first I was just annoyed at the fact my account could be suspended automatically just because some whining lefty clicked the report button. Then I discovered that actually, all these abuse reports are vetted by a real person so it was actually a conscious decision by a whining lefty at Facebook instead and that’s pissed me off.
My comment was in context, it wasn’t rude, it wasn’t abusive, it wasn’t threatening and it wasn’t “hate speech”. Facebook seemingly does absolutely nothing about the spammers and fraudsters that infest the site despite the fact they can be spotted a mile off when you see them in group membership requests. I report every single one of the spammers that I find yet I often see requests from the fake friends of the fake profiles to the same group days later.
I’ve been on Facebook since the early days when it was first opened up to non academics but it’s lost most of its appeal these days. This has prompted me to do what I’ve been planning to do for a while – lock down my account and cull my friends list, I’m going to stick to Twitter and Google+ from now on.