Archive for July 2013

Let’s take no more nonsense from Spain over Gibraltar

The Spanish government have caused mayhem by stopping every vehicle crossing the Spanish/Gibraltarian border.  About 10,000 vehicles were stopped, causing 6 hour traffic jams in the town.

Royal Navy ship in GibraltarIn recent weeks Spanish police have entered Gibraltarian waters and shot at a jetskier, Spanish fishermen have entered Gibraltar waters to try and disrupt work on an artificial reef which will stop them illegally fishing the Bay of Gibraltar and Spanish fighter planes have “buzzed” the Rock.

The British government have complained and told the Spanish not to do it again which means bugger all because the same thing happens every time they do it and they take no notice.  The Royal Navy need to take a nonsense approach to incursions into Gibraltarian waters and fire on any ship that illegally enters the Bay, be it police, military or civilian.  And if the Spanish government wants to cause trouble at the border then let’s block it from the Gibraltar side too but selectively so it only inconveniences the Spanish.  Gibraltar buys more from Spain than Spain buys from Gibraltar and Spain is broke whereas Gibraltar isn’t.

Have the British Department for English Education got any answers yet?

The British Department for English Education still doesn’t seem to have a clue how compulsory post-16 education in England is going to work with Scottish and Welsh kids moving here or with English kids moving to Scotland and Wales so I’m having another go at getting some answers …


I’m wondering if you’ve made any decisions or solved any of the problems created by introducing mandatory post-16 education in England only that I have asked you about several times but you haven’t had answers for?

The last reference number for my enquiry was 2013/0011665.

I first asked you how this was going to work in 2007:

“Kids currently spend a minimum of 11 years at school, most spend 12. In 6 years time we’re going to see kids spending 14 years of their lives in compulsary education. Will boarding schools be required to provide married quarters for childhood sweathearts who decide to get married at 16 or will the minimum age for getting married be increased to make sure you don’t end up with married couples spending double Science arguing about who’s cooking the dinner when they get home from school and why they have to have the mother-in-law round for Sunday dinner that weekend? What about couples who decide to start a family at 16? It’s perfectly legal – will schools start providing crêche facilities? Who will pay for them? Will 16 year old girls be entitled to maternity leave from school? What about the benefits that will be paid out to these people who have a family at 16 but can’t work because they have to go to school until they’re 18? Ok, so most 16 year old parents would rather laze around on benefits rather than get a job but not all of them do. Upping the age you can get married to 18 won’t work either. You need your parents consent to get married at 16 or 17 in England now but there’s nothing to stop you going to Scotland and getting married at 16 without your parents permission because the law is different there.”

I followed this up in February 2013, naively expecting that you might have figured out how you were going to make it all work in the intervening 6 years:

“Some time ago I wrote to you asking how the change to school leaving ages in England was going work.

In particular I’m interested to know what a Welsh or Scottish person who leaves school at 16 and moves to England is going to do about the fact that they’ve finished their secondary education but would be required to complete a further year or two of secondary education in England because they’re only 16. A Welsh or Scottish person of 16 or 17 years of age will effectively be barred from taking a job in England when the change comes into force.

There is also the reverse situation where a 16 year old moves from England to Wales or Scotland and there is nowhere to complete their secondary education.

The response I got from you didn’t offer any explanation as to how these situations would be handled but merely expressed a hope that Wales and Scotland would follow the British government’s lead and raise the age for mandatory secondary education to match that in England. Clearly this isn’t going to happen otherwise it would have been announced by now so please can you explain how these scenarios will be handled in future?”

Your most recent response (March) basically said you didn’t know how it was going to work and you were clinging to the hope that Scotland and Wales would follow suit and fix your problem for you. They haven’t and they probably aren’t going to so how is the British Department for English Education going to solve the problems caused by enforcing mandatory post-16 education in England?


IPPR: UKIP is the party of the English

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Left wing think tank, IPPR, has produced a follow-up to the one released in January 2012 which documented the rise in English identity and warned that ignoring the disadvantages that England faces as a result of asymmetric devolution would threaten the union.

British by Birth, English by the Grace of GodThis time, though, they have included questions on the EU and the correlation between euroscepticism and the English identity and made a surprising (for them) discovery: the party that most people believe will stand up for England’s interests is UKIP.

The latest report finds that the rise in English identity at the expense of British has held up against the onslaught of state-sponsored British nationalism during the Olympics and the royal wedding. English remains the dominant national identity in England.

The correlation between euroscepticism and national identity is very interesting – over half of people who identify as English more than British are in favour of leaving the EU but only a third of those who identify as more British than English are similarly minded.

There is also a direct link between euroscepticism and dissatisfaction with England’s treatment in the British union post-devolution. A massive 91% of people who think we should leave the EU think that MPs elected in Scotland shouldn’t be allowed to vote on English matters and 71% think that the British government can’t be trusted to look after England’s interests. 21% of English people think that UKIP is the party that can be most trusted to stand up for England’s interests – the first time none of the above hasn’t topped the poll.

Only 1 in 5 English people support the current form of government and 78% of English people (eurosceptic or not) think that Scotland should pay for services out of their own taxes.

More UKIP supporters identify themselves as English more than British than any other party – 55% of those polled. They are also the most dissatisfied with the status quo with 49% supporting English independence. Surprisingly, only 90% of UKIP supporters want to leave the EU.

Given the choice of local government, Westminster and the EU, 31% of English people think the EU has the most influence over the way England is run. This is by far the highest percentage anywhere in the EU – Brittany, Upper Austria and Galicia are joint second with only 9%. England , as opposed to the UK, is without doubt the most eurosceptic country in the EU.

It’s time for UKIP to accept that the majority – in fact, almost all – of the party’s support is in England. Almost every elected representative the party has was elected in England. The Scots aren’t eurosceptic -only a third of all Scots are in favour of leaving the EU and some of those are pro-independence so would never vote UKIP. We are the party most trusted by the English to represent English interests.

You don’t have to be a genius to realise that UKIP’s future is in England and leading the call for fairness and equality for the English. The first step should be to finally draw a line under the ridiculous anti-devolution policy that has been losing us votes for years and start promoting an English Parliament.