Archive for January 2008

Portugal bans over two thirds of political parties

The Portuguese government is bringing a new law into force in March that will ban 10 of the 14 current registered Portuguese political parties.

The new law will require all political parties to have a minimum of 5,000 registered members and to provide their names and addresses to the state.

Membership of a political party isn’t something the state needs to know anyway but why must a party have 5,000 registered members?  I spot a problem with this law – how does a new political party come into being?  Do they have to form with 5,000 registered members on the first day?  Do they get a grace period in which they can try and attract support?

Banning political parties for no reason other than the fact that they are a small, probably niche, party is quite disturbing and sets a dangerous precedent.  If a similar law came into effect in the UK we would see, I think, every party other than Liebour, the Conswervatives and the Illiberal Dipshits being banned.  Regardless of which party you choose to support, banning the opposition for not having enough members if plain wrong.

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EU launches further proxy attack on US

Federal Europe is launching yet another investigation into Micro$oft 3 months after concluding their last investigation which resulted in a €500m fine.

The first investigation was into allegations that Micro$oft was shutting out rivals in order to dominate the web market.  They were found guilty in October 2004 and launched an unsuccesful appeal which ended in October 2007.  This latest investigation is into interoperability with rival applications and has been requested by Opera, which is based in Norway, and a European software developers group.

I don’t like the way Micro$oft does business.  I don’t like the way they price their products out of reach of most people then impose restrictive measures on their software to try and stop people from pirating their software.  However, this is a step too far.  No other company is subjected to this kind of treatment.  No other company would be forced to hand over its trade secrets to its rivals.

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Just for a laugh …

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Spot the difference

I’ve criticised the BBC News website in the past many times for not having an English Politics page when they have Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish pages and for the way they keep talking about Britain and British when they mean England and English.

Take a look at these two screenshots:

bbcnews_scot.png  bbcnews_eng.png

Notice the “Rescued Briton abandons yacht” headline?  And the first paragraph from the story?  “A British yachtsman is forced to abandon his new yacht after suffering a fall during a solo Atlantic crossing.”  Nothing of the sort on the Scotland page though – it’s Scotland, Scotland, Scotland.  And the irony of the Also in the News story surely won’t go unnoticed – “US library has change of heart over calling Scots authors English”.

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Presumed Consent for Organ Donations

No Mandate Brown has made some noises about presumed consent for organ donations and suddenly he’s the saviour of people on organ waiting lists everywhere.

Let’s just get this straight.  He hasn’t even proposed that the system of organ donations should be changed, he’s just said that he thinks it’s a good idea and that we should have a “national debate” about it which means getting MPs to turn up for photo opportunities at meetings of hand-picked Liebour supporters to pretend that the electorate is involved in the decision making process.  It’s a controversial subject, he won’t go out on a limb and propose it as policy himself.

Personally, I think presumed consent is a good idea.  I’ve been an organ donor since I got my provisional driving licence at the age of 17 and my family all know that I’m a donor.  I don’t care whether I’m buried or burnt in one piece or with bits missing – I’ll be dead, I don’t care.  I like the idea that when I’m dead I might save someone’s life with some part of my body.

One of my kids had major heart surgery a few years ago and he got a donor heart valve.  That donor valve means that he won’t have to go back to have more surgery until his mid to late teens whereas with an artificial valve he would have been going back in the next couple of years for surgery that he needn’t have had.  As bad as it sounds, we were lucky someone died on that day and their heart valve was used in my son.  If that person hadn’t been an organ donor then my son would be getting ill again now and we’d be planning for the next trip to hospital.

There aren’t enough organ donors and it’s because people either can’t be arsed to register or they don’t know how to.  The people who run the organ donor card scheme reckon that most people are in favour of donating their organs when asked but that only translates into a relatively small amount of people who actually go as far as putting their details on the register.  Family consent is only given in 6 out of 10 cases and 2,400 transplants were carried out last year.  If only 60% of those 4 in 10 organs that are wasted because the family won’t consent were made available then every one of the 1,000 people per year who die on the waiting list would be given a chance of life.

As long as there is a way to opt out of being a donor then I don’t see a problem with presumed consent.  The millions of people who can’t be bothered to put themselves on the register would be equally lazy when it comes to taking themselves off the list.

Forgot to point out that this is a devolved issue so, again, the One Eyed Wonder of Wankistan is interfering in things that don’t affect his own constituents.

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Anti-Regional Quango petition

Please can I ask that anyone who hasn’t yet signed the anti-regional quango petition on the Prime Minister’s website does so as soon as possible?

It has 203 signatures so far and the deadline is the 19th of January.

Please sign the petition and email the link to anyone you know that might be interested in trying to stop the cancer of regional government.

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MPs may lose voting rights on their own pay rises

Harriet Harman has indicated that this year may be the last that MPs get to decide their own pay rises.

The Senior Salaries Pay Board decided MPs should get a 2.8% pay rise this year whilst the British government is forcing English civil servants (but not in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland where they have their own democratic governments) to accept pay rises under 2%.

No Mandate Brown has urged his fellow MPs to show restraint and only award themselves 1.9% pay rises.

It’s very strange that MPs get to decide their own pay rises but in a way it’s a good idea.  The vote and debate will be a matter of public record so that all can see what their MP thinks they’re worth and make a judgement on whether they agree.  The Liebour propaganda unit will tell us that it’s all about being “more accountable” and “transparent” but is it really?

The job of deciding how much MPs get as a pay rise will probably stay with the Senior Salaries Pay Board but they’ll get “independence” so they can “transparently” make their decision in an “accountable” way working to a “common purpose” of what’s good for “Britain” (sorry, I’ve been reading too much government propaganda today).  If MPs don’t make the decisions any more and the Senior Salaries Pay Board decides to give them inflation-busting pay rises whilst the British government is telling hundreds of thousands of English civil servants they have to accept below-inflation, below-Scottish, below-Welsh, below-Northern Irish pay rises well, there’s not much they can do about that really is there?  This is the price we have to pay for “independence” and “accountability” in the “wider framework” of something or other and similar bullshit phrases that the One Eyed Wonder of Wankistan trots out when he knows he’s being a shit.

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I think I mentioned a couple of months back that I was dieting after my doctor told me I had the choice of losing about 4-5st or my knees would be buggered in about 10 years time (not good in someone under 30).

Starting a diet just before Christmas isn’t the cleverest idea and I did eat like a horse for a couple of weeks but I’m back on track with my first net weight loss since Christmas.  I’ve now lost 11lb of my target of 56lb which isn’t bad considering the only exercise I get is the kind you can’t do in the gym, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, if I haven’t mentioned this before (which I’m sure I have) there is a progress bar charting my progress in the sidebar under the title “defattifying”.

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Advantage West Midlands & Common Purpose

Request for information re. Common Purpose Training, training practices, etc.

I can confirm that Advantage West Midlands has now completed its search for the information which you requested on 27/11/2007 via email and which we have handled as a Freedom of Information request for information.

Your questions are answered as follows:

1. How much has been spent on common purpose training?
£1230 since March, 2005.

2. How much spent on implementing Common Purpose practices?

3. How Many Employees have received this training?

4. What inducement/encouragement has been received to take the training and promote Common Purpose to others?

5. What inducement or encouragement has been received to adopt Common Purpose practices?

6. What inducement or encouragement has been received to promote Common Purpose to others?

Advantage West Midlands is the unelected regional development agency for the West Midlands euroregion.

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Government Office for the West Midlands & Common Purpose

Dear Stuart

I am writing in response to your request for information of 27 November 2007 about Common Purpose.  Your request has been considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  I can confirm that this Office does hold some of the information that you have requested and that I am able to provide you with the following information. 

How much has been spent on Common Purpose training?

£4, 523.75

How much has been spent on implementing Common Purpose practices?

No information held on this.

How many employees have received Common Purpose training?


What inducement or encouragement has been received to take Common Purpose training?

No information held on this.
What inducement or encouragement has been received to adopt Common Purpose practices?

No information held on this.

What inducement or encouragement has been received to promote Common Purpose practices?

No information held on this.

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Ministry of Justice & Common Purpose

Subject: Freedom of Information Request

Thank you for your e-mail dated 27 November 2007, in which you requested information relating to the Department’s expenditure with Common Purpose United Kingdom.

I can confirm that the Department does hold some information relating to your request. I must advise that this response covers those parts of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) which were part of the Department for Constitutional Affairs prior to the creation of the MoJ on 9 May 2007, and have been extracted from the Corporate Finance records.

I must also advise that while these expenditure figures have been recorded with the Corporate Finance team, it is possible that other areas of the Department may have incurred expenditure in this area from local budgets, but any such expenditure has not been reported to Corporate Finance.

For ease of reference, I will copy and address each of your questions in turn.

How much has been spent on Common Purpose training?

I can confirm that during the current financial year to date, a total of £8,400 has been spent on training provided by Common Purpose United Kingdom.

How much has been spent on implementing Common Purpose training?

I can confirm that there has been no expenditure in implementing the training provided by Common Purpose United Kingdom.

How many employees have received Common Purpose training?

I can confirm that during the current financial year to date, two members of staff have received training provided by Common Purpose United Kingdom.

What inducement or encouragement has been received to take Common Purpose training?

What inducement or encouragement has been received to adopt Common Purpose training?

What inducement or encouragement has been received to promote Common Purpose training?

I can confirm that there has been no inducement or encouragement to take, adopt or promote training provided by Common Purpose United Kingdom.

The problem with Common Purpose is that the attendees are not allowed to talk about what happens on their courses and no minutes are taken at Common Purpose training courses or meetings.  Attendees may have been encouraged or induced to promote Common Purpose but there will be no records to confirm this and the attendees have agreed to keep what happens a secret.  This certainly doesn’t encourage open government, transparency or accountability.  How does the Ministry of Justice know that what the attendees have been taught and agreed to do in their secret meetings is in the best interests of the department or the electorate, especially when the course teaches attendees to lead beyond their authority?  Who’s to say that one day that authority won’t be the democratically elected government?

I’ve put this question to the Ministry of Justice, I’ll post the response if I ever get one.

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Twat of the Year 2007: Voting

I know we’re already nearly a fortnight into 2008 but I’ve been pretty busy (and perhaps a little distracted by Civillisation 4) so you’ll have to excuse the lateness of this poll.

The nominations are as follows:

  • Michael Martin
    Scottish MP and Leader of the House of Commons. Refused to allow the Justice for England march – a campaign for equal rights for English people – to pass by the House of Commons. Martin signed the Scottish Claim of Right and supported the establishment of a Scottish Parliament but wants to stop us from having the same in England. Also nominated for protecting the part time Scottish Defence Minister, Des Brown, in a recent debate on who pays his salary as Scotland Minister (his full time job)
  • Gordon Brown
    No explanation necessary
  • Tony Bliar
  • Alistair Darling
    Surely those eyebrows have got to be reason enough?
  • Al Gore
    Failed American presidential candidate turned global warming scammer. Partly responsible for the ridiculous “green” taxes and restrictions being imposed on us
  • David Milliband
    “Reichsfuhrer Gordo’s pimp”
  • Jacqui Smith
    Hardly had time to get the name changed on the door to the Home Secretary’s office befor she’d started introducing new illiberal and unconstitutional laws. Responsible for not honouring the English police pay deal agreed in arbitration and banning English prison officers from striking.
  • Dave Camoron
    Q: How do you know David Camoron is slagging off the English? A: He opens his mouth
  • Paul Hughes
    I know the rules are that only public figures can be nominated for an award but my work colleague sent an email saying “I want to nominate myself. I am a git to many people and I would love an award to prove that”. Well, seeing as he asked no nicely, it would be cruel to say no and besides I make the rules so I can break them. 😉

Please cast your vote usnig the poll on the right …

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Changes to illegal English parking fines

The British government is changing the rules on parking fines in England.

The Northern Irish Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly, and her 3 Ministers for Transport (two of which are Scottish of course) are introducing changes to the rules in England so that variable rates of parking fines can be implemented and to remove the requirement for traffic wardens to physically attach a ticket to a vehicle meaning that tickets can be written out and issued after the offence has occurred or from CCTV images.

The problem with this is that it could take a couple of weeks for a parking ticket to eventually arrive and can you remember where you were at, say, 9.38 in the morning a week last Saturday?  I have trouble remembering what I did yesterday, let alone a fortnight ago, so how do you defend yourself?

And this still doesn’t address the core problem with the parking fines system which is that summary justice is illegal in England.  The Bill of Rights says that “and promise of fine or forfeiture before conviction is illegal and void”.

Traffic wardens and “parking attendents” are not judges, the street is not a court of law and neither is a CCTV control centre.  Parking fines are only legal if the accused has been convicted in a court of law.  We need the legal system to protect our constitutional rights, not to make it easier for companies and local authorities to issue illegal and unconstitutional on-the-spot fines.

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Hain’s Fucked

Peter Hain is being investigated by the Electoral Commission and the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner over his failure to disclose £103,000 in donations to his deputy leadership campaign.

This is 54% of the total donations to his deputy leadership campaign but it was an “innocent mistake” according to Hain.

£35,000 of the £103,000 came from the Progressive Policy Forum (PPF), a sockpuppet New Liebour think tank.  The money was donated to the PPF by two Liebour supporters who, it turns out, weren’t aware that their money was going to be diverted to Hain’s campaign.  The background notes with Hain’s statement claiming it was all an “innocent mistake” said “When unpaid bills came to light PPF was approached and with the permission of the individual donors concerned the monies were donated to Hain4Labour”.  These would be the individual donors who say they didn’t know the money was being diverted to Hain’s campaign.

Just how much sleaze, fraud and rampant corruption can Liebour expect us to accept?  Have they been taking lessons from the Italians?  This party really has to be closed down – they’re riddled with fraud and corruption from the top down.  Hain’s resignation should have been on No Mandate Brown’s desk as soon as it became public that he had broken the law and lied to the electorate about the donations made through the PPF without permission of the donors.

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What’s behind the promotion of Britishness?

The Torygraph, the BBC, Walkers, Stagecoach – just four companies (yes, the BBC is a company even if it does appear to be more like a government department or a branch of the Liebour Party) that are spending their own money actively promoting “Britain” and Britishness.

Why?  What would prompt Walkers – a multinational corporation – to spend £27m on a Britishness campaign?  Why would Stagecoach spend god knows how many millions on an advertising campaign saying how wonderful “Britain” is?  The Torygraph may be the mouthpiece of the Conswervatives but why devote so much time and money to promoting Britishness, especially when the Torgraph has a Scottish edition?  And the BBC – yes, it’s the British Broadcasting Corporation but they’re short of cash, cutting back on staff and programming yet they still feel it neccessary to spend money on promoting Britishness.

There is something behind this and I don’t know who it is.  It’s got to be either Liebour, the Conswervatives or Common Purpose – I can’t think who else would have the money and influence to get a multi-national corporation to spend £27m on promoting a political agenda that will probably damage their sales.

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Nuclear Family

No Mandate Brown will announce today that the British government intends to build nuclear power stations in England.

He won’t be making the same announcement about Scotland, of course, because it’s a devolved matter and the Scottish Parliament has decided that Gordon Brown’s constituents and their fellow countrymen won’t be getting nuclear power stations.

Now, I agree with building nuclear power plants.  They produce very little pollution during their operation if you discount the radioactive waste that is left over once they’re decommissioned.  Nuclear plants have an excellent safety record, they don’t rely on fossil fuels and the electricity they produce is reliable and relatively cheap.  And I’m not a NIMBY either, there has been talk of replacing the Ironbridge B coal-fired power station with a nuclear plant and that’s close enough to my house for me to be able to see the plume of smoke it produces round the clock.

However, like I said the other day when the Goblin King announced that health screening was to be increased in England, I don’t care whether what he is announcing is a good thing, he has no mandate to do it.

Socialist Unity points out that this isn’t a devolved issue in Wales so it would be possible for the British government to build nuclear plants there.  But they won’t build them in Wales because the Welsh government doesn’t want it and the last thing Liebour wants is to lose more support in Wales where they have already been forced to form a coalition government with the nationalist Plaid Cymru.  Going against the wishes of the Welsh government on such an important issue will seriously damage Liebour and put them in the nightmare position of losing control of both Wales and Scotland, the source of their Westminster majority.

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Civil Service Pay Review

The Senior Salaries Review Board has recommended that MPs get a 2.8% pay rise.

They have also recommended that the judiciary get an average of 2.4% staged to make it 1.5%.

No Mandate Brown has been bleating about how pay rises in the public sector in England have to be kept to below 2% because it’s good for the Peoples Republic of New Britain.  But not, it seems, when it comes to MPs pay.

One rule for us and one rule for them.

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Which is worse?

The West Midlands Conservative MEP group – headed by eurofederalist MEP, Philip Bradbourn – has a picture of Birmingham, ALABAMA on its website rather than Birmingham, England.

Tom Watson, the Liebour MP for West Bromwich makes political capital out of it on his blog and ends up in all the papers today being credited with the discovery.

Unfortunately for Tom, the blog where he nicked the story from belongs to one of his constituents.

So which is worse?  The MEPs putting a picture of the wrong city on their website or an MP reading a story on a constituents blog, writing about it on their own blog and taking the credit for the story?

New Liebour, New Technology, New Sleaze.

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Government to ban prison officers from striking …

but only in England and Wales.

The Scottish Executive have ruled out a ban on Scottish prison officers going on strike saying that they have an agreement for binding arbitration in the event of a dispute with prison officers.

Jack Straw intends to ban prison officers in England and Wales from striking if a voluntary arbitration agreement can’t be reached.  The Commons debate on removing prison officers’ rights totalled only 58 minutes.

The amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill has been criticised by a Liebour MP who says that it could be used to ban strikes by other public sector workers.

The Tories introduced the ban on prison officers in 1994, opposed by Liebour who said that they would repeal the ban when they got elected.  They eventually did it in 2005 – six years after getting into power – and less than 3 years later are reintroducing it.

Why did both sides agree to binding arbitration in Scotland both only voluntary in England?  Simple – the British government can’t be trusted by the English.  Binding arbitration was ignored to cut English nurses pay rises in early 2007 and again in late 2007 with English police.  The Scottish government, meanwhile, has honoured its obligations on both nurses and police pay and awarded them the pay deal that the arbitration panel ruled.  If the British government ignores binding arbitration then what hope is there for police officers with only a voluntary agreement?

Yet another example of anti-English discrimination by the Brit-Scot Liebour government.

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Shropshire Star: The root of the problem should be addressed

This was in tonight’s Shropshire Star … 

The root of the problem should be addressed

Daniel Kawczynski is right to be concerned about the funding of schools in Shropshire but fails to address the root cause of the problem.

On the 11th December in Parliament he said “Coleham primary school in Shrewsbury receives, on average, £711 less per pupil than the national average”.  Is this £711 less than the English national average or the UK national average?

English schools are already at a disadvantage because the British government doesn’t spend as much on education in England as the Scottish Parliament does north of the border.  The Scottish Parliament can afford to spend more because of the £11.3bn annual subsidy it gets from the English taxpayer under the Barnett Formula.

What the Scottish Parliament has done for Scotland in the last few years has shown the indisputable benefit of having a devolved national government – something a succession of Scottish ministers (including Gordon Brown) have continued to deny to the English.

Gordon Brown promised to make health and education his priority when he was appointed as Prime Minister.  Not only is he doing a terrible job of it but he has nothing to do with health and education in Scotland where he was elected because it’s the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament.

If Mr Kawczynski wants to solve the problem of poor education funding he should first address the cause of this and many other problems in England – the lack of an English Parliament.

Stuart Parr
Campaign for an English Parliament

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