Here are some pictures and video’s from today’s St George’s Day celebration in Telford Town Centre and Telford Town Park …
Archive for England
It’s the 23rd of April again and I’ve racist’d the house up with Cross of St George bunting and flags.
We’re going to Telford Town Park today for the St George’s Day event the council are putting on. Last year was great, we spent the whole day there so hopefully this year will be just as good.
The English Defence League (EDL) held a “static protest” in Bradford yesterday which was typically marred by violence.
The original plan was for the EDL to hold a march through Bradford but the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, Sir Norman Bettison, successfully got the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to ban any protest marches in Bradford this weekend so they held a “static protest” instead.
But wherever the EDL go, of course, the extreme left wing fascist group, Unite Against Fascism (UAF) follow to wreak havoc. The order to ban the EDL from marching no doubt came from her boss, David “Cast Iron” Cameron who is a supporter of the UAF fascists (the list of MPs supporting the UAF was removed after it was splashed all over the papers but nothing ever disappears forever on the internet).
Yesterday’s EDL protest was met with opposition from both the UAF fascists and The Muslim Community. The two factions – the EDL and the UAF/Muslim Community – were supposed to have been kept at a safe distance from each other but the UAF/Muslim Community protesters mysteriously made it to within a few yards of the EDL protesters. The UAF/Muslim Community gathering place was half a mile away from where the EDL were allowed to protest.
There is a lot about yesterday’s protest that doesn’t add up. Why were the UAF thugs and Muslim Community allowed to get so close to the fenced in EDL protesters? If the EDL were the trouble makers, why did the UAF and the Muslim Community have to be stopped from getting at the EDL protest by a physical blockade of police vans and a line of mounted police? Why have the police told the media that EDL protesters threw a smoke bomb at the UAF/Muslim Community protesters when this video clearly shows the trail of smoke from the smoke bomb being thrown from the UAF/Muslim Community protesters at the EDL protesters?
The media’s coverage of the protests is equally suspect. Sky News provided live coverage which apparently showed the smoke bomb being thrown at the EDL protesters but they continued to report it as being thrown by the EDL. And despite there being two separate protests yards away from each other – the EDL and the UAF/Muslim Community – the rotating banner said “English Defence League Demonstration in Bradford”, implying that the EDL were the only ones kicking off when clearly they weren’t. Another strapline was “Smoke bombs, bottles & stones thrown during English Defence League demonstration” – but who threw what? It was both sides but the strapline revolving underneath says “English Defence League Demonstration in Bradford”. Another said “One EDL supporter taken to hospital after injuring his leg” – how did he injure it? Was it an accident or was he hit by a brick or a bottle? There’s no interest from Sky, it’s all part of the “English Defence League Demonstration in Bradford”. What about the EDL supporter with cuts on the back of his head from what looks like a bottle injury? How was he injured? Again, no interest, it’s part of the “English Defence League Demonstration in Bradford”.
One of the arguments used by the UAF thugs and The Muslim Community as an excuse to ban the EDL march and whip up anti-EDL hatred in Bradford was that the EDL protest might see a return to the Bradford of 2001 when The Muslim Community and non-muslims rioted after David Blunkett, as Home Secretary, banned a National Front march but allowed a march by the extremist left wing Anti-Nazi League (now merged in the extremist left wing UAF) to go ahead. Sound familiar? The Muslim Community dictates the agenda in Bradford because the authorities can no longer control them.
The EDL have a right to protest, yes, but we must not allow them to provoke us into violence.
- Ratna Lachman, Bradford Women’s Peace Project
I’m surely not the only person who sees something wrong with this comment? If The Muslim Community turns to violence – which they did yesterday and have done at every EDL protest – then it’s because they’ve been provoked into violence. How has this been allowed to happen? Why have the Brits allowed extremism in The Muslim Community in Bradford to reach such epidemic proportions that a protest march by people opposing Islamic extremism could “provoke” them into violence?
We thank people for their patience and support so far and we hope to have protesters removed from the city as soon as possible.
- West Yorkshire Police “spokesman”
Again, I’m sure I’m not the only person to see something wrong with this comment either. It is the job of the police to keep the peace and enforce compliance with the law, not to run people out of town like a wild west sheriff. The EDL have a right to free assembly and peaceful protest. They also have a right not to be harassed or attacked and the police have an obligation to protect those rights. But instead, the objective of West Yorkshire Police was evidently to deny them their rights and to remove them from Bradford as soon as they could in case the EDL’s presence in the city provoked The Muslim Community into violence.
So what now for the EDL? Almost a year ago I wrote about the EDL following their march in Manchester and again in April this year following a protest in Dudley. At both protests the EDL were portrayed as the trouble makers with little mention of the UAF thugs despite the ratio of arrests to protesters being 1 in 250 for UAF and only 1 in 1,333 for the EDL – 3 arrests from 4,000 EDL protesters and 6 arrests from 1,500 UAF thugs.
I said that I had no interest in ethnic nationalism and I still don’t but I wonder if perhaps I’ve misunderstood the EDL? Their website says they’re only interested in opposing Islamic extremism and the creeping influence of Sharia and not race so maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt? Some of their members are clearly more interested in white supremecism than opposing Islamic extremism but then that’s the same of any organisation that is even vaguely involved in any type of nationalism. Even the Campaign for an English Parliament – a group that is extremely defensive of its non-partisan civic nationalism – has had problems with members or supporters who have developed an unhealthy obsession with race politics (we’ve rooted them all out to the best of my knowledge) and the English Democrats have some very unsavoury characters in their ranks despite being a primarily civic nationalist party. The EDL have no control over who chooses to support them and the beliefs those people hold and it’s unreasonable to expect them to filter out the undesirables from the thousands of people that turn up to their protests.
The problem the EDL have is that they are a porous organisation. They have to be to attract the kind of support they get at their protests. The downside of this is that they are open to infiltration from all sides. They have obviously been infiltrated by the likes of the National Front, the BNP and other ethnic nationalists and it is inconceivable that the police and security services haven’t already got people in the EDL chain of command. The trouble that both lots of infiltrators cause at protests is bringing the day the EDL is proscribed closer. One of their protests has been banned now, that sets a precedent for suppressing them. Banning one of their marches establishes them as “wrong”, the next step will be to ban them from having any sort of protest and then to ban the group altogether. The violence at protests will be cited as justification for banning them and the cost to the taxpayer of policing their protests will be used to convince the general public that banning the EDL is a good thing. The UAF fascists and The Muslim Community will be exempt from the bans despite them being the cause of most of the trouble at EDL protests because they’re not “wrong”.
The media has already been mobilised against the EDL – a collective blind eye is turned to the UAF fascists and The Muslim Community whilst the violence and thuggery perpetrated by the extreme left is blamed on the EDL. Despite being apolitical, the EDL are described as “far right” by politicians and the media, following the “right is wrong” mantra that the left have managed to implant into the collective psyche. The left have managed to convince most of the population that the left wing nationalist socialist BNP are “far right” whilst the forces of anti-fascism are exclusively left wing which of course makes right wing bad and left wing good. The truth is that the BNP are a left wing party, fascism is a centrist ideology incorporating both left and right wing ideologies and there are as many – if not more – anti-fascists on the right as there are on the left. Opposing radical Islam and unfettered immigration does not make you a fascist, no matter what the vicious thugs in UAF and failed communists in the Labour Party say.
Not only are the EDL not “far right” but they are not English nationalists either. English nationalists know the difference between England and Britain. Glaswegian muslims are not English nationalists and they don’t ask “Why are they against the United Kingdom?” England is not Britain and the English Defence League is not English.
So, back to my question a few paragraphs up: should we give the EDL the benefit of the doubt? I am inclined to believe that the core few people that started the EDL and probably the majority of their supporters are not ethnic nationalists. I agree that radical Islam has to be dealt with and I agree that Sharia is a cancer that needs to be excised and most people will agree with the EDL’s stated objectives and raison d’être. What the English people need is a leader – someone in tune with English public feeling and clever enough to take on both the media and the British establishment. The EDL and its leader, Tommy Robinson, have done a lot in a short amount of time but they aren’t going to lead an English revolution because the EDL is a tainted brand and the danger is that the EDL will end up tainting English nationalism as a whole through guilt by association, just as we are starting to win the war against Englishness.
I certainly won’t be supporting the EDL for the simple fact that they are British nationalists and I am an English nationalist and because I have no desire to get my head caved in by some psycho communist or a member of The Muslim Community for being on the “wrong” side of the police line. That said, I would still be interested in observing an EDL protest first hand and if anyone from the EDL wants to arrange that, feel free to get in touch.
The English Defence League’s … robust … report on yesterday’s protest is here.
Well, that went will didn’t it? For the first time ever I got up and walked out before an England game finished. While England were making a half hearted attempt at trying to claw back a 3 goal deficit I was in the garden getting the BBQ started.
I notice that a couple of the part time patriots in my street have already taken down their flags, including the house behind us that put their flag up just before the game started and had already taken it down before the game finished. By this time tomorrow the country will be purged of the flags the part time patriots have painstakingly bedecked their houses and cars with.
So, with England out, the question is who to support next and on the basis that I have a Dutch god daughter and they are the only country in Europe not to hate us with a passion, I will be supporting the Netherlands. But unlike the part time patriots, my England flag will stay up.
… the linesman and referee to be able to bloody see!
England have gone back to the dressing rooms for half time 2-1 to Germany when the actual score is 2-2.
The linesman was a few yards from the corner, he should have been able to see the goal. The referee was in the right position to see the goal, why didn’t he? Capello, Beckham and Pearce could see it from the halfway line. The fans could see it from the stands and were unimpressed judging by the chants of “the referee is a wanker”.
FIFA recently refused to have any kind of technology to adjudicate on goals – that position is surely untenable after the ridiculous decision to disallow England’s second goal. Tennis has hawk eye which can see if a 2.7″ wide tennis ball travelling at 130mph is over the line, it would have no problems with a 28″ football at 30mph. Rugby has a video judge and the game stops when there is a dispute so why not in the world cup?
I always knew Sepp Blatter was an arsehole, now he has the opportunity to show that he has some integrity.
I would love England to win the World Cup but if – as seems likely – we don’t make it to the finals, the disappointment will be tempered somewhat as long as we give the Germans a damn good thrashing this afternoon.
Without wanting to sound like an armchair manager, what the fuck are you playing at Capello?
Seriously, the team is playing unbelievably badly and I’m afraid I have to lay the blame with Capello. I normally defend managers when people criticise them because the 11 players on the pitch are supposed to be professionals and if tactics aren’t working they should use their initiative but in this case there are clearly no tactics to change.
The players are milling round the pitch, completely clueless. They’re getting the ball and haven’t got a clue what to do with it. The team is obviously suffering from having no time to practice together as a team because they don’t know who they’re going to be playing with until 2 hours before the game starts.
And why is Wayne Rooney still playing? I really never thought I would say this but he’s a liability right now. He’s worried about picking up an injury, he’s backing off from tackles and tonight he was limping at one point. Rest him if that’s what he needs but he shouldn’t be playing if he’s not up to the job.
The Campaign for an English Parliament welcomes the findings of the ICM poll commissioned by Power 2010 which confirms that 7 out of 10 people support for an English Parliament.
This result backs up last year’s poll for the Jury Team and the last two independent polls commissioned by the Campaign for an English Parliament, all of which came out with the same figure. The people of England want an English Parliament, it’s a mystery why the British parties go to such great lengths to deny us the same right to self-determination they gave the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish.
Hundreds of thousands of people – perhaps even millions – will celebrate St Georges Day today and over the weekend with local councils, companies, societies and individuals organising fun days and parties. What better way to finish off the St Georges Day celebrations than an announcement from the leaders of the big three parties that they are listening to voters in England and will hold a referendum on creating an English Parliament like they did in Scotland and Wales? They’re all promising change, this is change we want.
To reinforce their message, Power 2010 beamed an English flag with the slogan “Home Rule” onto the side of Westminster Palace tomorrow. The Brits won’t be amused!
Facebook have decided that after more than a year and a half of being in existence, the England page I started on Facebook breaches their terms and conditions and has been locked.
As of tonight 13,920 people have declared themselves fans of England through the Facebook page. The only England fan page on Facebook with more fans was the one the English Democrats took over so they could pretend they had thousands of supporters (not an isolated incident).
The England page I started is the biggest England fan page on Facebook that isn’t linked to any political party or organisation, it’s just for fans of England worldwide.
But all is not lost. As we’ve seen, Facebook has proven to be very useful in getting companies to change their minds – Cadbury have certainly bowed to Facebook pressure in the last year or two, reintroducing chocolate bars off the back of Facebook petitions. So let’s see if we can force Facebook to reinstate the England fan page with this group: Facebook, let us have our England fan page back!
Three years ago one of my kids was punished for “racism” at school after he called one of his black friends a monkey when we was pulling monkey faces and making monkey noises.
The Manifesto Club has finally noticed that something is seriously amiss when primary and nursery school kids are being accused of racism and called for changes to the law that requires English schools to fill out racist incident forms every time a child says something that could be construed as racist.
Most of the children accused of racism on these forms are between 9 and 11 years of age.
The English Defence League (EDL) protested in Manchester yesterday and once again the thugs from Unite Against Fascism (UAF) turned out to cause trouble.
As I’ve said previously, I have no interest in ethnic nationalism of the sort the EDL promote, but I get pretty pissed off when the fascist UAF get away with thuggery and are portrayed as “the good guys”. They’re nothing of the sort, they’re vicious, fascist thugs that would be a proscribed organisation if it wasn’t for the number of senior police offices and politicians that were amongst their ranks.
This protest saw 700 EDL supporters turn out – many more than previous protests and thanks in no small part to the UAF thugs who turn out to cause trouble every time the EDL have a protest. UAF had about 1,400 people – 2 UAF thugs for every EDL knuckle dragger.
But the fact that every time the UAF turn out to “counter protest” they always get violent hasn’t escaped the BBC who, for once, have been marginally critical of them. Could it be that the fascist UAF are falling out of favour with the lefty-loving BBC?
According to the BBC, the atmosphere was “quite nasty” and the UAF thugs were the ones that tried to break the police line to get at the EDL protesters.
It’s time the police cracked down on violent left wing extremist organisations like UAF. They use violence and intimidation to try and supress peoples’ constitutional right to protest. They attempt to bring every protest they disagree with to a premature end by getting violent, putting the public and police in danger. They violently attack anyone who disagrees with them and if that means attacking the police if they get in the way then they’re fair game to these violent fascists.
Off-message articles don’t last long on the BBC News website so here it is for prosperity:
More than 40 people have been arrested during two political demonstrations in Manchester city centre.
At least 2,000 people attended the protests, by the English Defence League (EDL) and members of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) on Saturday afternoon.
Witnesses said “ugly scenes” broke out between rival protestors and police.
Forty-eight people have been arrested, four among them were held on suspicion of affray. Most of the other arrests were for public order offences.
Other people were detained on suspicion of racially-aggravated offences or over possession of weapons or drugs.
A senior police officer said the day had “proved a challenge” for the force
Protesters were herded towards railways stations by police officers as the protests came to an end. Many of them were moved away from the city centre on buses.
One man suffered a head injury during the protests, but did not need hospital treatment, a police spokeswoman confirmed.
About 700 members from the EDL and 1,400 members from UAF were separated by a line of riot police, dogs and mounted police in Piccadilly Gardens.
Mat Trewern, from BBC Radio Manchester, said the atmosphere had turned “quite nasty” as the day progressed.
He said: “There had been some ugly scenes as protesters clashed with police, but it has started to calm down and the crowds are dispersing.
“At one point, earlier on, when it became extremely tense, members of the UAF tried to break the police line between the two groups, which in turn angered the EDL members.
More than 2,000 protesters were thought to have been in the city centre
“Trouble had started when 100 members of the EDL arrived at Piccadilly Gardens and they were immediately met with shouts of ‘racists’ and ‘off our streets’ by members of the UAF, who had already congregated at Piccadilly.”
He said the number of protesters from the UAF outnumbered those from the EDL by about two to one.
“The disruption in the city centre has been on a large scale, shoppers and businesses have been affected by the protests.”
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said the presence of so many protesters in the city had “proved a challenge” but that life in the city had gone on as normal.
He said the police reaction had been necessary in order to tackle “the few hell-bent on violent confrontation” and described some of those arrested as “agitators and trouble-makers”.
He said: “I would like to thank all those people who came to Manchester today and protested peacefully for their patience and understanding.
“I’d also like to commend the vast majority for demonstrating in a peaceful manner.
Most of the arrests were for public order offences
“However, the history of protest has been marred, by those who came intent on violent confrontation.”
Greater Manchester Police confirmed a man, believed to be heading to the protest, had earlier been arrested in Birmingham on suspicion of distributing racially aggravated material.
Muslim leaders had renewed appeals for people to avoid the demonstrations.
Nanu Miah, a community leader from Oldham, said before the protests in Manchester: “We are not encouraging people to go, we don’t know who EDL is and what could happen.”
An EDL event in Birmingham in September led to counter-demonstrations and bricks being hurled at riot police. Up to 90 people were arrested.
A Twitter friend re-tweeted a request for information about local pharmacies open on a Sunday evening. Easy I thought, I’ll pop on t’interweb and get the out of hours pharmacy rota off one of the 5 million websites the NHS runs.
Erm no. NHS Direct has nothing but a list of pharmacies with normal opening hours and the two local NHS websites that had an out-of-hours pharmacy rota only had rotas up to Easter this year. With all these admin staff the English NHS employs, you’d think one of them would be able to keep an out-of-hours pharmacy list up-to-date.
But while I was going through the list of pharmacies on the Shropshire NHS website the real reason why there are no pharmacies open on a Sunday evening dawned on me and for once it’s not about NHS funding. It’s Alistair Darling’s fault. “How is the Chancellor of the Exchequer to blame for pharmacies not opening on a Sunday evening?” I hear you cry. Well, it’s quite simple …
A couple of years back Alistair Darling was the Minister for Trade & Industry (an English department of course, he is an MP for a Scottish constituency after all) and was approached by the major supermarkets asking for a repeal of Sunday trading laws in England. He declined despite there being no Sunday trading laws in Scotland where he was elected. So what has that got to do with pharmacies? Take a look at a list of pharmacies in your local area and see how many different names there are on the list. I doubt there will be more than 9 or 10 in a medium sized town. Boots, Lloyds, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda … all big chains and all banned from opening for more than 6 hours on a Sunday. Because they have the buying power they are pricing independent pharmacies out of business and because they are cash rich they can buy up the independent pharmacies they are putting out of business.
If NHS services are going to be farmed off to the private sector then Sunday trading laws need to be repealed because people need access to medical services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The British government is putting an extra £200m into the English education budget to fund extra places as shortages have reported.
The extra £200m will, of course, trigger a corresponding bonus for the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish budgets whether they need it or not thanks to the Barnett Bribe. The population of Scotland, Wales and NI is increasing at a fraction of the rate it is in England so they aren’t suffering the same shortage of spaces as we are south of the border.
The British government says that the shortage of primary school places is down to rising birth rates and the recession meaning people can’t afford to send their kids to private schools. Nothing to do with annual net immigration of about a quarter of million people.
Sir Sandy Macara, former Chairman of the British Medical Association, has called for MMR vaccinations to be made compulsary by making an immunisation certificate a pre-requisite to being accepted for a school place.
He says that doctors have tried to convince parents but it’s not working so it has to be made compulsary, which begs the question: if the entire medical establishment can’t convince parents that the MMR jab is safe then someone, somewhere is doing something wrong.
We decided to have our children immunised even though there were doubts being cast in the media about the safety of the combined-MMR vaccination. We took a calculated risk, as we all do with any medication no matter how long it’s been around or how safe it’s been considered to be in the past. I used to have painkillers on repeat prescription when I was a teenager that were taken off the shelves a few years ago because they do nasty things to your insides. We also took a calculated risk in allowing one of our children to have his tonsils taken out even though there was a suggestion at the time there might be a risk of contracting CJD from metal surgical implements. And long time readers of this blog may recall that we took a calculated risk in allowing another one of our children to have open heart surgery even though he would be the youngest child in the UK to have had the Ross Procedure performed on him. This is what parents do – they weigh up the risks and benefits of many things every day where their children are concerned and come up with the answer they are most comfortable with. That’s what being a parent is about – caring for your children, deciding what is right and wrong for them and making the decisions for them that they can’t make.
Vaccinations are something a parent should decide on, not the state. One parent’s decision affects one child, the state’s decision will affect millions and if they get it wrong the ramifications are far greater. And, of course, the British government could only make vaccinations compulsary in England and I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that Sir Sandy Macara is Scottish.
The British Prime Minister has announced plans to force all English children to carry out at least 50 hours of community service before the age of 19.
Luckily, the plans are in his manifesto pledge for the next British elections and are therefore extremely unlikely to ever come to fruition for the two very good reasons that Labour is unlikely to win a general election again for a long time and they have already told us that their manifesto promises aren’t actually promises, but more sort of vague ideas of things they’d do if they didn’t hold us all in such contempt.
However, as unlikely as it is that his proposals will ever come to anything, it just goes to show the lengths this illegitimate Prime Minister will go to to grab a headline. He is putting a promise in his British general election manifesto, on which he will ask the voters of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath in Scotland to elect him, to compel English children to carry out unpaid “voluntary” work by making it a compulsory element of the English school curriculum.
Of course, you won’t read any of this on the BBC News website. They have helpfully (for Gordon Brown) quoted the British Prime Minister word for word without correction:
It is my ambition to create a Britain in which there is a clear expectation that all young people will undertake some service to their community, and where community service will become a normal part of growing up in Britain.
And, by doing so, the contributions of each of us will build a better society for all of us.
That would mean young people being expected to contribute at least 50 hours of community service by the time they have reached the age of 19.
This will build on the platform provided by citizenship classes as they develop in our schools. But because the greater part of what I envisage as community service takes place outside the school day, it will require the close involvement of local community organisations and charities.
He also said the community work would be linked to a “clear system of accreditation” meaning that children who refuse to take part in the slave labour would fail or marked down in their Citizenship exams.
The following complaint has been made to the BBC:
You quote Gordon Brown saying:
“It is my ambition to create a Britain in which there is a clear expectation that all young people will undertake some service to their community, and where community service will become a normal part of growing up in Britain.”
The article explains that he would do this by way of changing the school curriculum which, as anyone with even a passing knowledge of UK politics (let alone a professional journalist) knows, would only apply to England. Despite this clearly being an English-only proposal, there was no explanation of this on the BBC website, nor was Gordon Brown’s use of the word “Britain” when he meant “England” challenged or corrected.
There was also no mention of the fact that the British Prime Minister, representing a Scottish constituency, is making this policy that only applies to England a cornerstone of his general election manifesto when he seeks re-election in his Scottish constituency next year.
The following story graced the front page of Wednesday night’s Shropshire Star:
MP’s bid for equal rights at factories
Workers at a Japanese car part factory in Shropshire are not receiving the same state aid in the current economic climate as their Welsh counterparts, an MP has claimed.
Shimizu UK has operations in Hortonwood, Telford, and Welshpool.
However, while its Welsh staff receive taxpayer-funded subsidies for their earnings and efforts to boost their skills – those at the English site do not.
Mark Pritchard, The Wrekin MP, whose constituency includes Hortonwood, today demanded a fair deal and similar assistance for his constituents as well.
The Tory MP raised the issue with Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy in the Commons.
He said: “The Secretary of State will know that Shimizu – a fone Japanese company – has a factory in Welshpool and also in Hortonwood in my constituency.
“But the difference is, on the Welsh side of the border they receive taxpayer subsidies for wages and training.
“That is good news obviously for people in jobs in Wales, but what about the people of Shropshire and my constituentsm who would like to see a similar subsidy from the regional develpment agency?”
Mr Murphy said there were “plenty” of schemes to turn to for assistance, including Train 2 Gain.
He said: “There are plenty of schemes – it is important that you make your constituents aware of them.”
The irony is, the Conservatives today announced that they will abolish all the regional quangos if they win the next election, including the regional development agencies.
Today I wrote the following to the four Conservative MP’s in Shropshire (there’s no point writing to the Labour MP, David Wright, any more as he rarely replies and when he does it’s usually spin or he answers a question you haven’t asked) as follows:
Yesterday, Mark Pritchard had the following exchange with the British Secretary for State for Wales:
Mark Pritchard: What discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues and the Welsh Assembly Government on schemes to assist businesses in Wales during the economic downturn. 
The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Paul Murphy): I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer that I gave the hon. Member for Ceredigion (Mark Williams).
Mark Pritchard: I am delighted to have given the Secretary of State more time to think about his answer. He knows that Shimizu, a fine Japanese company, has factories in Welshpool and in Hortonwood in my constituency. The difference is that, on the Welsh side of the border, it receives taxpayer subsidies for wages and training. That is good news; we want people in jobs in Wales, but what about the people of Shropshire and my constituents, who would like a similar subsidy from the regional development agency?
Mr. Murphy: As the hon. Gentleman knows, one great benefit of devolution is that we can have several schemes to help businesses in Wales that might not be available in England. However, there are also effective schemes across the border in England, such as Train to Gain, the help that the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform gives small and medium-sized enterprises, and the Department for Work and Pensions schemes. There are plenty of schemes—it is important that the hon. Gentleman makes his constituents aware of them.
This raises an important point and one that is going to get more focus, especially as the economic situation worsens.
Last week Daniel was quoted quite justifiably complaining about the £2m per year cost of treating Welsh patients at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. Co-incidentally, I received a letter from the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital that same week confirming that the new kidney cancer wonder drug that the Welsh government have approved for NHS use could be given to a Welsh patient in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital whilst an English patient would be refused it. Is this another benefit of devolution? It is for the Welsh.
As the economy gets worse, the Scottish and Welsh governments are spending more of their subsidy on propping up their businesses. There is no equivalent focus on English businesses from the British government, the focus is on UK-wide measures.
The Bank of England has magicked a few billion pounds out of thin air and used it to buy assets off British banks so that they will have enough capital to start lending again. The Royal Bank of Scotland has pledged £1.7bn to start offering mortgages – but only in Scotland. RBS is a Scottish bank first and foremost, they’re only British when they need rescuing from bankruptcy. The same applies to HBOS – both RBS and HBOS pledged to sacrifice jobs in England to save them in Scotland.
I’m afraid the regional development agencies (which David Cameron says he will abolish) just won’t cut it when it comes to addressing the democratic deficit in England or providing support to the English economy. An unelected regional quango with a few million pounds of funding pales in comparison to the national governments of Scotland and Wales with multi-billion pound budgets, the ability to pass its own legislation and directly elected politicians elected to represent the interests of the people that elected them.
What England needs and what England wants is an English government with English politicians elected by English people to represent English interests. We don’t need a Prime Minister and Chancellor elected in Scotland, unaccountable to English voters and having signed the Scottish Claim of Right, pledging to put the interests of Scotland first and foremost in all their acts and deliberations. We don’t need MPs elected in Scotland, unaccountable to English voters, casting the deciding votes on devolved subjects such as university top-up fees, foundation hospitals and the new runway at Heathrow.
Before you give the usual speech about how we’re stronger together than apart and our shared values, ask yourself what the union is doing for your constituents right now. Billions of pounds is being spent on Scotland and Wales at the expense of England. Legislation that only affects England is being passed by Scottish MPs that have no right to vote on the same matters in their own constituencies. Scottish and Welsh businesses are not only benefitting from the British government’s UK-wide efforts to combat the recession but they are also benefitting from their own government’s efforts. You are already seeing – and questioning – the benefits to Scottish and Welsh people from having their own devolved governments. Why would you want to deny those same benefits to your own constituents?
The case for an English Parliament is growing stronger as every day goes by and support for it is increasing year on year. It is no longer a subject for academics and political anoraks, it is a mainstream subject talked about in pubs, workplaces and schools. Are you going to stand on the Welsh border like a modern-day Canute and demand that the tide of change turns back or are you going to accept that things are going to change whether you want them to or not? England is being failed and you can do something about it – support the Campaign for an English Parliament while there is still an England to support.
I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you personally and discuss this further.
When I got home tonight and picked up the paper, Daniel Kawczynski was on the front page again, this time in a similar vein to Mark Pritchard last night. How am I supposed to keep up!
Pleading for the future
Fifteen firms appeal to MP for help to survive
Up to 15 Shrewsbury businesses have approached their MP in a desperate bit to avoid folding because of problems with their banks, it has been claimed.
Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski said he had faced the “extraordinary” situation of being asked by companies to pleasd with bank bosses to allow mre time for payments to be made and stave off unreasonable demands.
He said that Wrekin was not the only company to have faced sever pressure from the banks and has called for the government to do more to help firms in trouble.
“I am currently involved in negotiation with banks with regard to 15 Shrewsbury firms who are having difficultues with their banks,” he added.
“These companies have asked me personally to get involved and I am writing to banks and arranging for Shrwsbury businesses to meet with their bank managers.
“It is quite an extraordinary situation when local firms are asking for the suppor of their MP to stop them going to the wall.”
The Tory MP said that since the recession took hol, he has been approached by an increasing number of businesses who are suffering because of a decline in demand whilst struggling to access credit.
A Meet the Buyer event is being held for businesses in the construction industry, which will take place on March 27 at the Shirehall.
The Chamber of Commerce will offer a presentation and short interview slots explaining how contracting and procurement services are arranged by Shropshire Council.
The reference to “Wrekin” is Wrekin Construction, a local construction company that has just gone bust with the loss of around 1,100 direct and indirect jobs. Despite having £40m of orders on its books for this year and enough money coming to them to pay their £2.8m overdraft off by the end of the week, the Royal Bank of Scotland refused to give them a few days extra to pay it. The Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform – an English department of the British government – will now have to pay £5m in redundancy payments because the company is in administration. Yet in the same week, RBS pledges to spend £1.7bn on loaning new mortgages in Scotland – as is usually the case: Scottish first, British second.
HM Court Service introduced the Libra computer system in December last year 7 years late and £260m over budget but it went live without the ability to issue a summons in Welsh, which has been a legal requirement since 1967.
The service says it intends to add the functionality in by September this year at a cost of around £4m and in the meantime it is having summonses translated by the Ministry of Justice. So far the MoJ have spent £425 on translating summonses meaning it will take 1,569 years to recoup the £4m cost of automating the translations.
Talk about pissing money up the wall.
Well, what a bumper day this has been for letters.
First of all there’s this one in the Shropshire Star, in response to the council announcing that they’re going to put in average speed cameras on one of the safest roads, relatively speaking, in the borough:
Average speed trap not fair for motorists
Councillor Bentley wants average speed cameras for the A442 in Telford because they’re “fairer for motorists”? Fairer than what? There’s aren’t any speed cameras on the A442 in Telford and these new ones aren’t designed to be fair, they’re designed to catch more motorists than traditional speed cameras.
Will these speed cameras catch drivers that crawl down the outside lane at 40mph causing tailbacks and preventing other drivers from safely moving between lanes? Will it catch the drivers who undertake on cross-hatches?
Will it catch drivers who veer across from the outside lane at the last minute to exit the road? Will it catch drink drivers, erratic drivers, people weaving between lanes and cutting people up?
Like most drivers I sometimes break the speed limit and like most drivers I manage to do it without mowing down pedestrians or driving into other cars. The fact is, Telford & Wrekin Council changed the layout and speed limit of the A442 and made it more dangerous.
The number of accidents is down but the number of casualties is up which means that since they “improved” the road, the average accident is more serious and involves more people. Yet despite the best efforts of Telford & Wrekin Council, the A442 is still one of the safest roads of its type in the country.
Rather than install speed cameras at great expense to Telford taxpayers, the council should accept the fact that they made the A442 more dangerous by changing the lanes and reducing the speed limit and put it back to how it was a couple of years ago, complete with the 70mph speed limit.
Then there was this deliberately provocative letter in the Scotsman, in response to all the whinging letters about “Scottish banks being given to the English”:
If RBS and HBOS are Scottish banks and your average man on the street in Edinburgh is furious at losing “oor banks” to the English, can I respectfully suggest Scotland bails its own banks out?
It seems that when Scottish banks fail, the English end up paying to bail them out. It started with Darien and now the lion’s share of the £37 billion has gone to two Scottish banks.
We pay for your free prescriptions, your cancer treatments, and your free school meals and we pay to care for your elderly when they can’t look after themselves – all the things we supposedly can’t afford for ourselves. And what do we get in return? Anti-English bile and insulting, spurious claims that the Scottish oil industry, which English taxes paid for, even comes close to plugging the funding gap north of the Border.
If you want Scottish banks to remain Scottish then bail them out yourselves. If you don’t like the idea of relying on English money all the time, don’t take it. It’s not rocket science.
Finally, there’s this cheeky one in the First Post in response to some muppet who thinks the deputy editor of Prospect Magazine will be responsible for the Scots leaving the union because he upset them with an article about RBS:
Either Dave Bowen (above) has been on a really long holiday without access to news for the last decade or so or there is another country called Scotland that I was hitherto unaware of.
He says that if Scotland leaves the union then it will be because of “opinionated bigots” like Jonathan Ford. I wasn’t aware that Mr Ford had had such a long and illustrious career writing magazine articles dating back to 1934 when the seperatist Scottish National Party was launched.
I think that perhaps a generic dislike of the English and never buying into the whole “British” thing might have more to do with the Scots’ desire to leave the union. That and the belief that a few thousand barrels of oil will make Scotland the richest country this side of Saudi Arabia despite the gaping budget deficit the English plug every year.
And I did have a litle chuckle to myself when Mr Bowen said he wasn’t aware that being Scottish meant that you were automatically unsuitable for running anything more important than a chippy. If Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and the chief execs of HBOS and RBS are anything to go by then a chippy is probably asking a bit too much of them!
They should get a few people worked up.
The second half of tonight’s game against Kazakhstan couldn’t have been more different from the first.
It took 7 minutes of the second half to score the first goal and they came thick and apart from a lucky goal by Kazakhstan, England dominated the second half.
But England still looked like they were going through the motions until Beckham came on and the team was transformed. Smiles on faces, a new-found confidence and they worked like a machine.
Beckham should have been on from the start, England would have made Kazakhstan look like Accrington Stanley.
Rooney was named man of the match and he deserved it, if only for shaving off his ginger hair!