Archive for June 2012

Labour’s legacy of bankrupt hospitals and PFI loan sharks

Back in 2003, six years after the people of Scotland voted to have their own devolved parliament, the Health & Social Care Bill came before the British Parliament.  This bill would introduce, amongst other things, foundation hospital trusts in England.

Insolvency Service LogoThe bill was passed into law as the Health & Social Care (Community Health & Standards) Act 2003 despite a majority of British MPs elected in England voting against it thanks to the votes of British MPs elected in Scotland where health and social care is devolved.  The Health & Social Care Bill is one of two laws passed by the British Parliament since 1997 affecting England only where the matter is devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that would have failed had only MPs elected in England voted on it.  The other one is, of course, tuition fees which were introduced in England with the Higher Education Act 2004.

So, fast forward 9 years since having had foundation hospitals foisted upon us by MPs who we can’t hold to account and the first one has gone bankrupt whilst six others are apparently on the brink.  South London Healthcare NHS Trust is to be put into administration after racking up £69m of PFI debts and with a projected operating loss of between £30m-£75m per year for the next five years.  Six other foundation hospital trusts are also in dire straits financially according to the Telegraph.

So that’s seven foundation hospital trusts that we didn’t want but were forced to have by Labour’s Scottish MPs on the verge of insolvency thanks to massive debts run up under PFI schemes that we didn’t want but were forced to have by Labour’s Scottish Chancellor.  Can anyone explain how Labour has been leading the opinion polls for most of the year?  Oh yeah, the Tories and Lib Dems are equally useless when it comes to public finances, the NHS and the democratic process.

Social Services confiscate EDL supporter’s children for thoughcrime

A court has ruled that social services can remove three children from their mother and her unborn child when it is born because they find her views unacceptable.

1984 thinkpol posterThe woman is a former supporter of the English Defence League and is now believed to be a member of a splinter group called North West Infidels.  She has convictions for violence and is banned from owning dogs after setting a pitbull on a former partner.  Interestingly, though, it isn’t this past history of violence (none of which have involved children) that led social services to take her children off her but her views on Islam and immigration.

According to the Express, social services are concerned that her children will become “radicalised with EDL views” and a judge has agreed, on that basis, to permanently remove her three children from her care and to have her unborn child taken away and put up for adoption as soon as it is born.

The social worker report says:

Toni clearly needs to break away from the inappropriate friendships she has through either the EDL or break-off group in order that she can model and display appropriate positive relationships to the baby as he/she grows and develops.

Toni has been a prominent member of the EDL. They claim they are a peaceful group, however, they have strong associations with violence and racism.

This makes me particularly angry.  While there are undoubtedly racists in the EDL, the organisation itself is not racist.  This woman may be racist but that is not a good enough reason to take her children off her.  The association of violence with the EDL is the product of a compliant media and vested political interests (many senior politicians on the left and the right are members of UAF which is a front for the SWP) that refuse to truthfully report the cause of most violence at EDL marches: the left wing extremists of Unite Against Fascism and the Socialist Workers Party.  It’s bad enough that this dishonesty results in the far left getting away with some quite vicious attacks on EDL protesters but it’s something else when it means a woman loses her children.

Who this woman chooses to associate with (as long as they’re not people who would put children in danger) and whatever her views on immigration and Islam are is not a good enough reason to take her children off her.  Freedom of association and freedom of expression are human rights.  Taking this woman’s children off her for associating with the “wrong” people and having the “wrong” views is a breach of her human rights.

The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed—would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper—the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
– 1984, George Orwell

Oxford University offering £22k bribe to Scottish students

Oxford UniversityThe English have been victims of institutional discrimination at the hands of the British establishment for years – elderly people have to go half blind before they can be treated for ARMD, cancer victims are refused life saving medication because there’s not enough of our money left to pay for it after it’s been “redistributed”, the price of prescriptions goes up in England every year but nobody in Scotland, Wales or NI pay for theirs  – but just once in a while something so blatantly wrong comes along to remind us that discriminating against the English is an integral part of the British psyche.

The British government first imposed university tuition fees on the English in 2003 thanks to the votes of British MPs elected in Scotland despite the tuition fees bill not applying to Scotland.  The British voted again last year to increase tuition fees in England to a maximum of £9k a year.  A university education is free in Scotland, costs a maximum of £6k in Northern Ireland and £3k in Wales.  Students from EU countries have to get the same treatment as residents of the country they’re studying in unless that EU country is England when they’ll have to pay up to £9k a year, just like they would if they studied in England.

This is all old news of course: this particular piece of racial discrimination has been going on for almost a decade now.  What is new is that Oxford University wants to recruit more Scottish students and is offering bungs of up to £22k to encourage Scottish people to come down and study there.  There is no financial incentive for English people to study there, just £9k a year in tuition fees.

How did we end up with a society where discriminating against English people isn’t just tolerated but actively encouraged?

Global Warming in Wales

It’s been global warming it down for a couple of days now, especially in Wales where they’ve had 6″ of rain in 24 hours when they’d normally expect only 3″.

The worst of the rain has been centred in and around Aberystwyth where people have had to be evacuated from their homes and a holiday park is completely underwater. My sister, brother-in-law and nephew are currently in Llanrhystud which is a few miles out side of Aberystwyth and luckily escaped the flooding (although the River Wyre does flow through a culvert under the town so they’re not quite out of the water yet so to speak).

Earlier this evening Aberystwyth was effectively cut off from the south and parts of the centre of town are flooded as you can see from this picture of the Morissons supermarket which is strategically located at the foot of a very steep hill.


Morissons Aberystwyth Flooded

Rain in Wales in June … it’s so unusual, it just has to be climate change.

Ed Miliband says the “E” word

Ed Miliband has broken with decades of tradition and spoken positively about English identity and even mentioning an English Parliament.  Ok, he dismissed it out of hand because he says there isn’t support for one but he’s the first LibLabCon leader to follow UKIP’s lead and take the subject seriously.

Labour has been struggling in England in recent years, despite a revival thanks to the ineptitude of the ConDems and has been navel gazing for some time trying to figure why the country they milked for over a decade to buy votes in Scotland and Wales might not be so keen on voting for them.  It has recently occurred to them that describing English people as “a race not worth saving” and suggesting that people describing themselves as English is worrying and is about race, not culture unlike Britishness might be a contributing factor to their unpopularity.

While Ed Miliband is now apparently comfortable with us describing ourselves as English (as long as we say we’re British as well) he isn’t happy with the idea of an English Parliament.  He says that an English Parliament means more politicians and that there isn’t support for an English Parliament so instead we should make do with more powers for local authorities.

Where to start?  The “more politicians” myth is as good a place as any.  There are 650 British MPs, 117 of which are elected in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where they have less than half the workload of an MP elected in England because their devolved representatives have more responsibility in their constituencies than they do.  If an English Parliament takes away most of the British Parliament’s work, why on earth would we keep all 650 British MPs?  The number of British MPs could easily be halved and it’s a pretty damning indictment of the British political class that the thought of reducing their number doesn’t even cross their minds.

As for there being no support for an English Parliament – what he means is there is no support for an English Parliament in his own party.  An Ipsos Mori/British Futures poll in January found that 52% want an English Parliament.  An ICM/Power 2010 poll last year found that 68% want an English Parliament.  A YouGov/Jury Team poll in 2009 found that 58% want an English Parliament.  A Populus/The Times poll in 2009 found that 41% want an English Parliament.  An ICM/Telegraph poll in 2007 found that 45% want an English Parliament or to ban MPs not elected in England from voting on English matters.  An ICM/CEP poll in 2007 found that 67% want an English Parliament.  A YouGov/Sunday Times poll in 2007 found that 72% want an English Parliament.  There are more but that’s enough to make the point – all of them show a majority in favour of an English Parliament.

His suggestion that giving local authorities in England more power would be equivalent to the Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly is frankly insulting.  A town council could never compete with a national government and it certainly couldn’t represent the local population and businesses on the internationals stage.  It’s a ridiculous suggestion and a half baked idea motivated by political greed, not a desire to do what’s right by the English.

Slavery hypocrisy

I saw a Facebook comment this morning from a local Labour councillor criticising the use of unemployed people bussed in to the centre of London to marshal the Jubilee concert.  This is “slavery” and of course, all down to the evil Tories.

I actually have some time for this councillor who, despite his politics mostly being fundamentally wrong to me, is doing a reasonable job in trying circumstances but this was a bit hypocritical really because I remember writing something a couple of years ago – April 2009 to be precise – about Gordon Brown proposing to force English children to do 50 hours of community service, threatening exam failure for those that refused.

There is nothing wrong with unemployed people doing community service and I’ve previously written various pieces on why unemployed people should be made to work in exchange for their benefits.  As it happens, the people the aforementioned councillor was referring to weren’t treated particularly well but that doesn’t make the principal wrong because it isn’t.  But what is interesting, though, is that forcing adults claiming unemployment benefits to do some community work for the benefit of those paying the benefits is considered to be wrong whilst an MP elected in Scotland proposing to force English children to do community service and threatening them with exam failure for not complying is apparently ok.

Isn’t it interesting how the moral compass is so often guided by the colour of someone’s rosette?

An awful time for an English monarchist

The last few weeks has been pretty awful for me as an English monarchist.  I’d love to get involved in celebrating the Queen’s diamond jubilee but the politicians have made it all about Britain and Britishness and big business has happily gone along with it seeing pound signs in front of their eyes.  As a result, instead of seeing pictures of the Queen everywhere, we’ve got British flags.  I just can’t stand seeing the British flag everywhere, it irritates me immensely and it’s effectively precluded me from joining in the festivities.

Queen of EnglandWhilst the Queen is, of course, the Queen of the UK she is also the Queen of 16 other countries worldwide without counting the member states of the UK.  This weekend’s celebrations are supposed to be for the Queen’s 60 years on the throne, not a celebration of the British state or even her reign as the Queen of the UK.  Her diamond jubilee has been celebrated in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other countries she’s Queen of although of course none of them put in quite so much effort as England.

The BBC have naturally been banging the drum for Britishness.  At one point during their coverage of the jubilee I did wonder if presenters had been set a target for the number of things they should declare to be “British” or if perhaps they’d adopted a new version of the game Bullshit Bingo using only the word “British”.  The weather was “British”, the people were “British”, queuing up all night was “British”, the pageantry was “British”, the whole event was apparently quintessentially “British” according to the BBC who were at their most Britishly British on this most Britishly British of Britishly British occasions.

Over the last few years the British flag has declined into virtual obscurity, only really making an appearance on government buildings and hotels whilst the English flag – the Cross of St George – is commonly found hanging from bedroom windows, fluttering on cars and flying from flag poles everywhere else.  This pleases me immensely because it means that English people are finally recognising the difference between England and Britain, between the British imperial government and the English colony.  Up until now that is because it seems that all it takes is for the shops to start selling red, white and blue tat and for politicians and the media to tell us how great it is to be British and English people start flying the butchers apron instead.

Maybe I’m being a little unfair on my fellow countrymen and women and they’ve simply been taken in by the British Flag = Queen rubbish.  Maybe they’ll take down the British flag and get the English flag up in its place in time for the football and I won’t have to see quite so many of them again.  I already know England is the last colony of the British Empire, I don’t need (or want) constant reminders from people who don’t seem to know any better.

Of course, most of this overt Britishness is far from spontaneous.  I know British flags have been handed out at lots of places to ensure it outnumbers any of our national flags (this is par for the course at the Proms, for instance).  Children (my own included) have been made to make their own little flags to wave for the Olympics and the jubilee and the Sun newspaper have been giving away free union flags for this weekend.  The fact that so many companies have had to start mass producing British tat, school kids have had to make their own British flags and a newspaper has had to give them away free speaks volumes.  You can buy a Cross of St George easily any time of the year and nobody needs to give them away for you to see them everywhere. Perhaps there’s hope yet for this nation of sheep?

Jubilee Flag Guide for confused English people

Intending to fly a flag for the Diamond Jubilee?  The first two of these flags represent the Queen, the third one is the British imperial flag in England.

Queen Elizabeth II's Personal Flag

Queen Elizabeth II's Personal Flag

Royal Standard

Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Standard

British Flag

Flag of the British State

Special offer for this week only: a free face-palm for every English person flying the flag of the British imperial government to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen of England.