Archive for January 2008

Shell made £11.3bn profits

Shell has made a profit of £11.3bn for the last 12 months – a record for any UK company.

The left-wing millitant communists at the unions have called their record profits obscene.

Good for Shell.  Their sole reason for existing is to make money for their shareholders.  The ridiculous price of petrol and diesel is entirely thanks to the British government and their abuse of fuel duty to plug the gaping holes in their tax and spend budgets.  There’s no justification for the amount of tax put on fuel – it increases the cost of virtually everything in the shops and is seriously holding back our economy.

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Ah crap

It’s my birthday today and I’m no longer a 20-something.  Thirty years ago today I shuffled onto the mortal coil.

It’s a year for special birthdays in my family – my 30th, #1 son’s 10th, brother-in-law’s 25th and grandad-in-law’s 80th.

I guess I’m now officially a grumpy old git.  As opposed to a grumpy young one, that is.

If you’re on Facebook, you could send me a free gift.

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Alistair Darling hasn’t done his homework

Alistair Darling has announced that he is going to give the Bank of England the power to keep temporary emergency loans to banks secret.

The run on Northern Rock could have been avoided if the emergency credit line the Bank of England gave it had been kept secret.  It was only because of the panic caused by mis-reporting the circumstances – it wasn’t a loan to begin with, it was the promise of a loan if it was needed – that Northern Rock ended up needing billions of pounds of public money to cover the gaping hole in their finances cause by people withdrawing their savings and the share price dropping through the floor as a result.

However, Darling hasn’t done his homework because this is against EU rules.  It was an EU directive that forced the Bank of England to make the credit facility public.  An EU directive that the previous Bank of England governer said he would have resigned over if it was enforced whilst he was governer.

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More sleaze at Westminster

A couple of weeks ago I hypothesised that Liebour were intentionally bringing disrepute to Westminster over party funding to make state-funding appear to be the only option left to stop the corruption.

Derek Conway, a Conswervative MP, has just been given a bollocking for paying over £45k to his son from his parliamentary expenses over four years whilst employing him as a part time research assistant.  This was whilst he was studying full time at university.  It now transpires that he has paid similar amounts to his wife and other son.

He has been ordered to repay part of the money, suspended from Parliament for 10 sitting days and been expelled from the Conswervative Party.  Contrast this with the Liebour MPs and MSP that have admitted taking illegal donations and failing to declare loans and donations.  Only Peter Hain has resigned and as far as I know, only he and Wendy Alexander MSP are being investigated by the police.  Both are still in the Liebour Party.

Up until now, only Liebour have been found to have taken illegal donations so it would have been difficult to gloss over the fact that they are the single cause of the problem to justify such a major change to the political system as state funding of political parties.  However, now a Tory MP is being investigated by the police over improper use of public money, this gives them the “evidence” they needed to bring in measures that encompass the whole political system and not just their own rotten party.

The timing couldn’t be better, I predict an announcement on state funding of political parties within the next fortnight.

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Biased Broadcasting Corporation

Why does the BBC continue with the pretence that it is a non-partisan, unbiased public service broadcaster?

It has a general bias toward the British government of the day (inevitable when it relies on them for its funding) and a natural bias toward left wing politics on account of the amount of bearded hippies and university drop-outs it employs.  When you have a nominally left-wing Liebour government in power at Westminster, a nominally left-wing Plaid/Liebour coalition in Cardiff and a far left SNP government in power in Edinburgh, the BBC collectively creams itself over the number of left-leaning bandwagons it can hop onto.

The BBC has long been a proponent of a socialist federal European superstate – a natural position for an organisation that’s institutionally socialist (a far worse accusation than institutional ageism, sexism or racism for most right thinking people).  But is there more to it?

A story in the Sunday Times yesterday reveals that the BBC has received £141m in loans from an EU sockpuppet, the European Investment Bank (EIB).  The EIB is an EU-backed bank that gives below-commercial rate loans to qualifying borrowers.  What do you have to do to qualify for one of these cheap loans?  The EIB has this to say of itself:

[…] an autonomous body set up to finance capital investment furthering European integration by promoting EU policies

The loans have been made to BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm, over a period of 6 years.  BBC Worldwide isn’t responsible for public service broadcasting but is still part of the corporation.

The public service broadcasting part of the BBC – the “customer-facing” bit that’s paid for by the taxpayer – had received £1.4m in grants from the EU propaganda fund over the last 3 years.

Bizarrely, one £25m loan was taken out to buy wordwide distribution rights from itself.

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CEP: England victimised yet again by United Kingdom government

CEP: England victimised yet again by United Kingdom government

The Council tax in England will be going up in April by just under 5%, more than twice the limit on pay increases being imposed by the Union Government. The average Council Tax bill in England will go up by £115 per month. Meanwhile in Scotland the proposal of the Scottish Parliament under its Scottish National Party leadership is to freeze council tax, and for that the overwhelming majority of Scottish councils are fully in support.

The injustice to England since devolution just goes on and on. In addition to having itself acknowledged under the Union Government as a distinct nation enjoying Home Rule Scotland now enjoys free eye care, free dental check-ups, free access to cancer drugs, and free personal care free travel countryside for the elderly. With a Scottish Prime Minister and a Scottish Chancellor of the Exechequer Scotland is getting benefits denied to England,while it is the English taxpayer who is paying for them.

The injustice does not stop there. Despite the council tax increase local services are being cut back. The Union Government under Brown and Darling, while making more and more demands up local councils even as the cost of existing services and the council’s wage bill increase, is not increasing central government subsidy in line with increased costs.

‘Little wonder a recent Yougov poll found that the Council tax is the most unpopular tax of all. ‘67% of people in England resent it more than any other’.’, says Veronica Newman, secretary of the Campaign for an English Parliament. ‘The way England is being victimised just has to stop. The people of England cannot just be expected to pay for the benefits of devolution which Scotland is getting while getting none of them themselves and no parliament of their own either. The people of England should be able to decide for themselves how their money is to be spent. It’s time England had a patriotic government with patriotic MPs just as Scotland has.’

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EU Cost-Benefit Analysis petition is doing well

My petition at 10 Downing Street calling on No Mandate Brown to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on memebrship of the EU is doing well – 354 signatures in the last few days and hopefully a lot more soon as it’s just been linked from the Better Off Out website.

If you haven’t already signed the petition, please do so now and put a link on your own blog or website.

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Te audire no possum …

… musa sapientum fixe est in aure.

The British government decided to make learning a second language voluntary in English schools some time ago now and I don’t think we’re going to see the full effect of that decision for some time.

When I went to secondary school it was mandatory to learn a second language.  At my school everyone had to learn French and halfway through school we had the choice of taking another language.  We had a German teacher and an Italian teacher – when my time came German was on offer.  I’m not fluent in either but I know enough to be able to get by and with a bit of exposure to the language I’d soon pick it up again.

Where languages are offered, there is a recent trend towards teaching Asian languages such as Chinese, Arabic, Punjabi, etc.  While there is an obvious use for these languages now, they’re not going to be much use when the global economy collapses and most of our business is done with only our close neighbours.  Learning Asian languages at the expense of European languages is short sighted.

Being able to speak a foreign language is a useful skill.  Learning a language should be mandatory but just teaching secondary school children a language for a couple of hours a week for 5 years isn’t enough.  Children start to lose their natural ability to learn languages around about the time they start secondary school – it’s too little too soon.  Children should start learning a second language such as French or German from primary school and as they get older they should be taught Latin or Anglo-Saxon because learning languages is far easier if you understand how the language works rather than simply remembering words and phrases.  A basic understanding of Anglo-Saxon will help you understand the root, not only of German, Dutch, Flemish and the Scandinavian languages, but of English as well.  A basic understanding of Latin will help you understand the root of French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and the other regional languages spoken in southern Europe as well as English because English borrows heavily from Latin.

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Kovovo Independence

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, intends to declare independence in a matter of days.

Federal Europe wants them to wait until Serbian presidential elections have finished and Russia opposes independence.  The Russian ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, has told Serbia to resist western recognition of Kosovan independence because it would open a “Pandora’s box”.

Rogozin is right of course – with a bit of luck, Kosovan independence will lead to a rise in nationalism across Europe and indepdence for those nations that desire it.  Hopefully England will be one of the first.

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CEP Press Release: Nick Clegg lets down England

CEP Press Release: Thursday, 24 Jan 2008

Nick Clegg, the new Lib Dem leader, has hardly been in office when he has already done a U-turn on his promise to make free personal care for all the elderly in England part of the Party’s policy programme. He came into the party leadership saying he supported Scottish-style free care for all elderly citizens regardless of income. Now he’s dropped it. Outlining plans for what he is calling ‘a people’s health service’ in preparation for the Lib Dem Spring Conference in March in Liverpool, he is now proposing that the elderly match government input pound for pound, unlike in Scotland where the Scottish Parliament pays the lot.

‘The injustice inflicted upon the people of England by devolution for Scotland and Wales,’ says Michael Knowles member of the National Council of the Campaign for an English Parliament, ‘has reached incredible proportions. Elderly people in Scotland get free personal health care, not one single elderly person in England. Everyone in Wales gets free prescriptions. People in England have to pay £6:85 per prescription item. Scotland and Wales have home rule. England not only does not have home rule but it is the people of England who are paying for all the benefits Scotland and Wales are getting out of having their own Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. Each English taxpayer pays an extra £281 each year in income tax to subsidise the extra benefits Scotland is getting within the Union.’

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Party Politics should be banned

James Purnell, the new Work & Pension Secretary, has said that Liebour’s reputation hasn’t been tainted by all the recent sleaze and corruption amongst senior members of the party and says that they’re doing “hat is right” in reforming their funding arrangements.

Reform, reform, reform.  We all know what reform means – take something that works and balls it up so that it breaks.  Yes, the party funding system is being abused but that’s not because the system needs reforming, it’s because Liebour are a bunch of fucking crooks.  The rules have already been tightened up by Liebour ministers after Liebour ministers were caught selling peerages.  Now some more Liebour ministers have been found to be abusing the party funding system in taking illegal loans and donations and/or not declaring loans and donations and Liebour ministers are going to change the rules again.  Does anyone else notice a pattern here?

Liebour have made no secret of the fact that they support state funding of political parties but why should we, the taxpayer, fund a political party known to be corrupt and which has employed a convicted fraudster not once, but three times, to a senior cabinet position only for him to resign after being caught committing fraud?  Why, in fact, should the taxpayer fund any political party?  If they can’t get the support they need through their membership and through lawful donations then they don’t deserve any money.  Most people vote for a party, not because they believe in what the party stands for – most of them probably couldn’t name 3 policies from their manifesto – but because they’ve always voted for that party, because their parents always voted for that party or because they just don’t want the opposition.  If they’re not prepared to put their hands in their pockets once a year and pay for membership of that party then why should their vote imply support for the party and earn them taxpayer funding?  If parties were made to rely solely on donations and subscriptions from their members then they will get as much money as they deserve.  If they do a good job they will attract more members, if they do a bad job they will lose them.

There is no justification for a political party to be tens of millions of pounds in debt or to spend 2 or 3 million on an election campaign.  There is no need for consultants and focus groups and hugely expensive trips round the country kissing babies and smiling for cameras.  There is no need for a cabinet minister to travel the length of the country to shake hands with a carefully selected group of party members in front of a TV crew to pretend their sitting MP isn’t shitting himself at the news that his majority has dropped to 3 people and a goldfish.

Party politics has turned into a circus, it’s rotten to the core.  It’s not about dedicating your life to public service any more, it’s about a three figure salary and expenses and securing a handful of company directorships to tide you over when you get caught with your fingers in the till and have to resign to spend more time with your family until your gold-plated, index-linked, final salary, taxpayer-funded pension starts paying out.

I would happily see party politics banned, the whip banned and MPs go back to forming loose alliances on individual issues.  A century ago the Commons was full of independent MPs, now they’re as rare as rocking horse shit and they never get a chance to do anything because government has been bent round the party system.  Why must the Speaker belong to a party with the resulting accusations (usually well-founded in the case of Brit-Scot Liebour Speaker, Michael Martin) of partiality?  Why must the Prime Minister belong to a party?  At the very least, the Speaker should be an independent MP and seperate elections held for the office of Prime Minister.

Party politics has largely turned the electorate off politics altogether.  Only a third of the population bother to vote and it’s hardly surprising.  Liebour is constantly mired in sleaze and corruption, the Conswervatives are too busy trying to reinvent themselves as the new left and the Lib Dums … not even they know what they’re supposed to stand for.  None of the three main parties are worth voting for because there’s very little to seperate them and most MPs will vote however they’re told to vote by their party.  The reading of the EU (Amendment) Bill the other night was a perfect example – only about 20 MPs bothered to turn up for the debate on the bill despite only having four hours to read, digest and form an opinion on a bill that was hundreds – if not thousands – of pages long.  They didn’t vote according to their conscience or the wishes of their constituents, they voted how they were told by their party.

Imagine for a moment that the Prime Minister was an independent and there was no party whip.  How would the EU (Amendment) Bill debate have gone?  There would have been more MPs at the debate for a start and the vote wouldn’t have taken place a mere six hours after MPs had been given the consolidated text of the bill.  The Liebour MPs who rebelled against their party on the night would have formed an alliance with the Conswervative and Lib Dum MPs who were opposing the bill weeks before and more MPs would have joined them.  A referendum would have been secured, I have no doubt of that.  But it wasn’t because the whips told them how to vote and all but a few did as they were told and voted against the wishes of their constituents.

There is a very simple principle which has been set aside of late – MPs are elected to represent the interests of their constituents, not their party.  Until party politics is banned in Westminster, government will be run by the party for the benefit of the party.

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And today’s winning numbers are …

As if getting a decent education in England wasn’t enough of a lottery already, the Brit-Scot government in Westminster has decided that schools in England should be required to take a percentage of their intake from outside of their catchment area with those places allocated by a lottery system.

This means that in over-subscribed schools, a child living opposite the school gates could be forced to go to a school miles away because the quota for local children has been met and someone from outside the catchment area has got a place instead.  Genius!

So much for reducing our collective carbon footprint – more car and bus journeys to get to school.  What about road safety?  How many more accidents are there going to be involving kids getting hit by cars on their way to school?  And this will only apply to England of course because education is a devolved issue.

In the words of Pink Floyd, leave them kids alone.

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Petition: Commission an independent cost-benefit analysis of membership of the EU

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to commission an independent cost-benefit analysis of membership of the EU

Membership of the EU costs the taxpayer billions yet the British government continues to insist that we are “better off in”.

They have never commissioned a cost-benefit analysis of membership of the EU and should do so as soon as is reasonably practicable and care should be taken that the organisation chosen to produce the analysis is completely independent and has no reliance or vested interest in the British government or European Union as usually happens in EU studies in the House of Lords where peers in receipt of EU pensions which can be revoked if they don’t promote the EU are asked to provide critical analysis of the EU!

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Hain Resigns

Peter Hain, the lying, corrupt, two-faced, fork-tongued crook, has resigned.

He resigned within minutes of the Electoral Commissio announcing that it was referring his case to the police.  Hain still maintains that it was “poor administration” that lead to him commit multiple criminal offences in accepting donations from third parties without their knowledge or consent and in failing to declare £103,000 in donations and loans to his deputy leadership campaign.  The £103,000 he forgot to declare made up 54% of his total campaign funds.

Hain has resigned as Work & Pensions Secretary and Wales Secretary so he can “clear [his] name”.  Are these the actions of an innocent man?

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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EU Parliament cracks down on dissent

From the UKIP website … 

The President of the European Parliament has moved to crush all opposition to the Lisbon Treaty by Eurosceptic MEPs.

Hans-Gert Pottering wants to throw away the rule book to allow him absolute power in refusing to allow points of order, procedural motions and votes by roll call if he thinks they could either disrupt the Parliament or infringe the rights of other members.

Last week a group of more than 60 MEPS from all over Europe tried to demonstrate against refusals to hold referendums on the treaty.
The group, including MEPS from the UK Independence Party and the Tories, had protest banners forcibly removed from the chamber and their calls for points of order ignored.
Now Mr Pottering has asked the Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee to give him the power to stifle all protest moves.
The leader of the Independence and Democracy group, UKIP’s Nigel Farage, said this was “a frightening and scandalous attempt to steamroller any dissent in the Parliament.
“Parliament is effectively muzzled. Mr Pottering almost becomes a dictator. If this goes through, then the only power the Parliament really has – which is to censure the Commission itself – would be ruled out of order.
“This is another telling insight into the way this new state of Europe regards democratic protest by elected members representing millions of people across Europe.”

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Federal Europe cuts AWM funding

Federal Europe has cut the funding it gives to member states through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The unelected regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands (AWM), has received £440m from the ERDF over the last 6 years but will only get £270m for the next 6 years.  At an average net cost of £873 per year per person for membership of the EU, the £440m was a very poor return on the £4.6bn that membership cost the 5.27 million people who live in the West Midlands euroregion; £270m is an insult.

AWM says that it will “do more with less” and claims that the £270m will help create 10,000 new jobs, kick start 2,500 new businesses and attract £19m of private sector money.  This might be the case if AWM were hitting targets but as we pointed out last month they’re missing 4 out of 6 targets they’ve been set by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and one of them they are on target to miss by 95%.

John Edwards, the outgoing Chief Executive of AWM, said “We have consulted widely to ensure that every part of the West Midlands region has its say in how this money will be spent”.  What he actually means is that they have asked “business leaders” what they want AWM to spend our money on for their benefit.

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Petition: Specify the territorial extent of all press releases and speeches

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to specify the territorial extent of all press releases and speeches

The Prime Minister has an unfortunate habit of talking about things that only apply to England as if they apply to the whole country to mask the fact that most of what he does only affects England and not his own constituents.

He should clearly state the territorial extent of everything he talks about in press releases and speeches so that English voters know what only applies to them and his own constituents know when their Prime Minister is talking about something that affects the people who voted for him.

He should refrain from saying “this country” or “our country” as it doesn’t explain which country he is talking about.

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Tory defects to UKIP

The leader of the Conswervative group on Stevenage Borough Council, Councillor Marion Mason, has defected to UKIP.

Councillor Mason says that the best thing for the country is to leave the EU and the Conswervatives won’t offer that choice so the only thing she could do was join UKIP.

A steady trickle of Conswervatives are leaving the Conswervatives for UKIP – including Peter Roberts, the organiser of the 1.8m signature anti-road pricing petition and UKIP PPC for Telford – because the Conswervative Party just isn’t eurosceptic any more even though the membership is.  David Camoron is a liability for the Conswervatives.

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EU Constitution debate – Live(ish) Blogging – the result

MPs have now voted on whether the EU (Amendments) Bill should get a second reading.

Most MPs couldn’t be bothered to attend the debate but still somehow considered themselves well-informed enough to vote in favour of a second reading.  It wasn’t the victory that Liebour wanted though – 362 in favour and 224 against.  There is considerable opposition in the Commons on both sides but will there be enough opposition when the final vote comes round?

The bill will now go to the House of Lords where there will be an opportunity to propose amendments and send it back to the House of Commons.  Unfortunately, this Liebour government is addicted to the Parliament Act which allows them to bypass the House of Lords and pass the bill into law against the wishes of the Upper House if it is rejected by the Lords 3 times so even if 95% of the Lords rejected it, it can’t be stopped.  We are entirely reliant on the MPs that just voted in favour of the EU Constitution to protect our sovereignty.

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EU Constitution debate – Live(ish) Blogging #4

Daniel Kawczynski, Conswervative MP for Shrewsbury & Atcham, points out that the TUC have passed resolutions calling for a referendum on the EU Constitution.

Ed the Millibeast looks like a work experience boy sitting with the grown ups and keeps pulling stupid faces á-la Kevin and Perry whenever someone mentions his name.

A few more MPs have trickled in to the Chamber now the 10 o’clock vote is imminent having diligently avoided listening to the mostly pro-referendum, anti-constitution MPs who have bothered to sit through the debate.

Mark Francois, Conservative Shadow Europe Minister, makes the important point that power belongs to the people and that they are exercising it on their behalf and that it is not their to give away.  Quite right.

Jim Murphy, Liebour Europe Minister, says that EU rules have changed whenever the membership has increased and that the rules are no longer working for 27 members.  There is something we can do to alleviate this problem – we can leave and make it 26.

John Redwood asked if Murphy could give assurances that as references to the EU flag and anthem have been removed from the EU Constitution then we will no longer see the flag or hear the anthem.  Murphy replied by saying that Redwood voted against a referendum on the Maastricht Treaty which was kind of … pointless.

Murphy says that 9 countries promised a referendum on the EU Constitution but only one is now holding a referendum – the Republic of Ireland.  Gisela Stuart, Liebour MP for Edgbaston, suggests that this is because those states are terrified of getting the wrong answer in a referendum after what happened in France and the Netherlands.

Murphy confirms that despite Traitor Blair saying that the UK would have an opt-out from the EU Fundamental Charter of Human Rights, the UK will have no opt-out on the Charter.

The vote is now taking place …

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