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The other night in the House of Commons, Gordon Brown rammed through a vote to hold a public vote on changing the voting system. He claimed that it would clean up politics – a strange claim as it’s the expenses system that needs cleaning up, not the way we elect MPs. With his Lib Dem buddies the vote was won and the Bill progresses through the house. There are two points to be made here, firstly any referrendum will be held after the next election and secondly the Bill will not have passed all its stages before the next election. This leads me to think that this is a gimmick of the worse kind.
A gimmick that’ll please the Lib Dems into thinking that once again Labour are their friends and a gimmick that’ll make sure that in any hung Parliament that any deal to be struck will be between Labour and the Lib Dems. I just think that this is a little cynical as it is obvious why Brown is doing this: – to give him a better chance to stay PM after an election. This is no wish to clean up politics, or to pretend to make things fair, it is solely about him staying in power by getting the Lib Dems to vote with Labour to form a Government.
This graphic from the BBC (click here) is interesting. It shows that the AV system would not have changed any outcome of the last few General Elections. What it would have done is given the Lib Dems more seats in Parliament. Now if you support the Lib Dems then that’s fine. However, if what you want is strong clear Government it’s not fine as the over representation of the Lib Dems does not make the electoral system fairer.
So to buy the Lib Dems support, they get another few dozen MPs – great deal Gordon…. However, it also makes it even clearer now. To kick Brown in the pants and send him packing from Government, there is only once choice for your vote and that’s Conservative. All other parties will see Labour cling on or in bed with the Liberal Democrats.
Last year I erected some bird boxes in Kirkham wood and on the trees to the front of the Fleetwood Road playing field. The other day I had reports that a family of blue tits have moved in one and are making it their home. I’m really pleased this and shows what long-term benefits can be obtained by a little gesture.
For many years we’ve Had UKIP peddling the line that only they can save us from Europe, well now we have the official line from David Cameron. But first UKIP. I was at a question time at a Blackpool school not long before Christmas where a UKIP panel member spent his whole answer on immigration telling the audience why he was not racist. Now that was an odd answer for someone who is not racist and I am by no means saying that UKIP are racist, it just seemed odd. There is also a big difference between having a patriotic stance and a xenophobic stance and reading some of the latest UKIP policies you could argue they are jingoistic little Englanders. But the biggest irony about supporting UKIP and voting for them is we are more likely to see a pro European win and let Labour and the Lib Dems of the hook.
Now in an interview in the Daily Express David Cameron says, Never to the Euro… “I was in the Treasury when we were in the Exchange Rate mechanism, and I said to myself: “Never again should we give up control of our domestic interest rates.” If I am Prime Minister and for as long as I would be Prime Minister, I would never take Britain into the euro, full stop, end of story. We should never have got ourselves into the financial mess that we are in but at least we have the flexibility of our own currency and our own interest rates.”
So it is clear, if you don’t want the United Kingdom to join the Euro and all that entails, vote Conservative and here in Fylde that’ll mean voting for Mark Menzies, the chap selected by the local Party to stand in Michael Jacks stead. Mark is a sound bloke who has strong principles and will take of where Michael leaves.
I noticed this week that the Transport Minister, Lord Adonis (anything but one), has announced that full body scanners will become compulsory at UK airports and if you refuse, you won’t fly. Full body scanners are like x-ray vision and show you up on a screen as though you’re naked. There are safe guards to privacy, but even so, appearing nude on a screen is a step too far? Now, I’m all for security and I take the threat of terrorism seriously and one we should fight. But I also take the threat to our civil liberties seriously too. A balance has to be struck between living our daily lives and taking the unnecessary precautions.
The success of terrorism is not always measured in gained territory, or a body count, but in the effect on a population. If a terrorist group can make changes to our daily lives, it considers that a success. If they can make us undergo embarrassing and evasive body scans, it’ll be another notch on the bed post. The question will be, what next, ID cards and then they’ll be laughing all the way home. As the only people ID cards will hinder are law abiding subjects.
Government is not easy, especially in the face of a terrorist threat. And it can’t be easy, they do have a battle to fight and if they get it wrong, it’s us who die. However, what will win the war against terrorism, is not phone tap evidence, house arrests, trials without juries, but actually funding and trusting our intelligence services. It’s quiet clear that what is stopping attacks, is not greater airport queues, but pre emptive strikes against cells, home and abroad.
However, with this Government you do have to ask yourself questions. Do they really mean it? Or are they just after the headlines? Does being tough on terrorism travel beyond the news cycles and that in reality they’re just trusting to luck like the rest of us, while throwing out a blanket of security with expensive gadgets and reassuring words. Surely a better use of the money will be to spend it on human intelligence assets (what used to be known as spies). But then, you can’t really issue a press release on that.
The Brighton Bomber once said, “we only have to be lucky once, you always have to be lucky.” I’m not too sure that what the Government is doing is buying us this luck. I think in typical fashion, it’s all words and no action. It’s a fancy smoke and mirrors exercise hoping that it may catch the casual bomber and may, just may, if we keep our fingers crossed make it more difficult for determined terrorist to blow up planes. But I suspect all it’ll do is notch up another bed post as our way of life is changed again, that another small freedom is gone by way of a ratchet and that ultimately we will win this fight for the terrorists by stop being the country they loath with traditional freedom, respect and liberty and become the kind of country they thrive in, of fear, shadows and terror.
Lifted wholesale from Conservative Home website – hope no one minds.
By yesterday, even those paid to take an interest in proceedings had given up. C4 news uttered not one word about the Liberal Democrat conference last night. This morning, Today in its first hour devoted maybe 15 seconds (in one of those dreary scripted two-way ‘conversations’) to say that not much good had happened. I suppose the Lib Dems should count themselves lucky that the mischievous Evan Davis didn’t jump in to mention the beached whale as a fitting metaphor for the week’s activities.
Even that would have been too kind. A whale, beached or otherwise, is a magnificent fact of creation: graceful and terrible and mighty; hardly a fitting metaphor for the Liberal Democrats who, in a week they must wish is quickly forgotten, offered at least a trinity of disasters:
(1) Nick ‘Savage Cuts’ Clegg put on his ill-fitting guise of the Angry Young Man of British Politics, in a determined effort to sound stentorian. I imagine him lying in bed, in the early hours, gazing at the ceiling, and dreaming, in that between-sleep-and-wakefulness moment, of the conversations to be overheard at the Dog and Duck: That Nick Clegg! ‘E tells it ‘ow it is! I’m gonna vote for ‘im! Perhaps he sees himself as Elizabeth I? Manning-up in order to deliver the message that his party – let alone the electorate – doesn’t want to hear? We will savagely scrap our free tuition policy! he – well, not announced, more sort of tangentially ‘let it be known’ – only to retract the (non)commitment when the massed ranks of something called the Federal Policy Committee responded with that most lethal of Lib Dem weapons, a letter to the Guardian.
(2) Is he human? Or just a dancer? That’s the question not on anyone’s lips after Vince Cable announced a local taxation policy which no-one could explain. I thought we were supposed to genuflect at the altar of this man’s intellect? Given the house prices in the constituency he represents, perhaps this was just Dr Cable’s coded message that he’d like to retire at the next election to spend more time with his dance partners. Whatever the rights or wrongs of punitive class-based anti-southern market-distorting local taxation (I’m hinting at my feelings about the policy, there), to announce something you cannot then explain makes the action of that poor whale seem rational by comparison.
(3) And then we had Chris Huhne. It would be cheap if I wrote Chris Hu-he, wouldn’t it? Ah well – I’m a cheap date. This leader-never-to-be decided that what the Lib Dems really need at a national level is a wannabe Tebbitesque attack-dog figure. Psychologically incapable of hiding how much David Cameron’s lovebombing rankles him, he went for that Lib Dem campaign classic, the Smear. William Hague – he’s bald you know! And he drinks beer! He must be an anti-semite then! So must all Tories in fact! Can’t you see, British people?! They’re all disgusting homophobic anti-semites, those Tories! DO YOU HEAR ME?! That dragging sound, Chris, is the scraping of chairs as your audience edges backwards, towards the door, fearful of meeting your eye in the process. Dr Kiosk is ready to see you now.
Two thoughts in conclusion:
Neither the Lib Dem leadership nor the British mainstream media have a clue what is meant by love-bombing. By highlighting our civil liberty instincts (on ID cards, detention without charge, the surveillance state and so on), we (liberal Conservatives) aren’t in the slightest bit interested in winning the affection of the Lib Dem MPs or activists. It’s your voters we’re after, Nick, and every time you respond to a generous statement of common purpose from David Cameron, with an ill-tempered shriek or smear, you drive more of them back to their historical electoral home. No-one likes a shrieker, Nick, ferocious or otherwise.
Realignment isn’t coming in British politics, at least not yet, and not in the replace-Labour dream of most Lib Dems. Danny Finkelstein points out this morning that the biggest third party winners of the anti-Labour shift at the moment are the ‘Others’. That means that the Lib Dems aren’t even seen as a protest party anymore. They’re just a residual lump of ill-determined thought, fighting Tories in the South and Labour in the North, with nothing, absolutely nothing, of any intellectual substance to bind them together. I’m the original anti-fan of unbridled ideology in politics, but some sort of raison d’etre, other than ‘we’re not the other ones in this immediate geographical area, though sometimes indeed we are the other ones, in other geographical areas’, is a sine qua non for political existence.
What, in the end, is the point of the Liberal Democrats? Maybe the poor whale was trying to tell them something, after all.
Posted by Graeme Archer
One of the best quotes heard today. And how true it is. They’ve set their new mansion tax policy, which is a surcharge on property value while opposing the council tax as it’s based on property value. They were going to call William Hague a ‘Skin head who trawls the beer cellars of Europe looking for Nazis.’ There leader gets blasted by his own front bench over policy. And then the biggest shot in the foot. They say they’d do a deal with Gordon Brown to keep him in Downing Street if there was a hung Parliament.
Well the message is quite clear – the Lib Dems are Labour poodles and the only way to kick Brown out is the vote Conservative.
Councillor Simon Renwick
Member for Medlar-with-Wesham
Fylde Borough Council
07515 128 075
It was with sadness that I attended another gathering on Thursday. This was at St Cuthbert’s church in Lytham to attend the funeral of Councillor Bill Thompson. Bill had been a councillor at Fylde for 39 years and he also served on Lancashire county Council. For many years Bill had been chairman on Planning and deputy leader of the Conservative Group.
When I was first elected in 1999. Bill was very supportive and showed me many of the ropes. Bill was a force for common sense and old style values. He will be missed on the council. My thoughts are with Joan his wife and the rest of his family.
Bill, a physicist by profession, studied under the great Alan Turing at Manchester University. Alan Turing broke the Enigma Code and developed the worlds first computer. With a teacher like that, no wonder Bill became such a highly regarded gentleman.
Last Thursday I substituted for another Conservative member on the Community Outlook committee. Two reports were before the committee. The first was on car parking charges across the borough. I supported a freeze in the charges this year due to the difficult financial climate. I also supported some further work into looking at Christmas reductions in 2010 onwards. I think to be competitive our borough has to look at the pricing structure of the shopping car parks.
The second item was a report by Liberal Democrat councillor Tony Ford. Cllr. Ford had brought a well written and thought out report on dog fouling. The report made some interesting recommendations that I was happy to support. Dog fouling is a scourge and we need to tackle it. The new dog control orders will make it easier to fine and control offending owners.
Next meeting in Monday 28th when it is full council, I’ll report back.
Can you spread the word about the Northern Soul night taking place at Lowther Pavilion in Lytham (FY8) on Saturday the 26th September 2009 from 8pm – 1 am. Diane Shaw will be making an appearance supported by guest DJ’s. There is a licensed subsidised bar and free parking if needed. Tickets are just 7.00 pounds and can be purchased on the night or through www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk
Wooden Dance floor and fantastic sound system so it should be a great night. If this is a success (and there are some up here that say Northern Soul is dead) it could be become a regular event. If you can spread the word and get as many as possible to turn out, it would be appreciated.