Thursday, 31 December 2009

A HAPPY NEW YEAR

This blogger is still in a holiday mood and has been doing far too many other things to spend much time on blogging, but in the little time available, on the eve of 2010, I would like to wish one and all a very happy new year.

As we go into a new decade with the press, media and world governments working themselves into a frenzy over global warming, cast your minds back to this time in 2009 as the world was about to come to an end thanks to the 'Millennium Bug'.  Nothing happened then with that man-made scare, and nothing will happen now with the latest the man made global warming frightener which is little more than a scam designed to give governments more power and control.

Enjoy tonight, eat drink and make merry, for in 2010 there will be a lot to do to save Britain from EU occupation and the 'Big Brother' state that is coming our way.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

BACK TO BLOGGING

The village of Dolwyddelan in North Wales.
As Christmas 2009 is fading away and 2010 rapidly approaches, it is time to drag my bone idle body off the sofa and get back to doing a bit of blogging.

This Christmas was, as are most, a nice break and a time to relax with family.  It was spent as usual in North Wales at the home of my old mother, along with Mrs B and her father Fred. 
 
Apart from spending time in the village pub drinking some quite nice Welsh beer, and eating Turkey, mince pies and plum pudding, I have had quite a bit of time to spend reading the newspapers which seem to be full of ever increasing amounts of celebrity gossip and less and less serious news, especially news about the EU takeover of our country.
Sadly, because the press and media place so little importance on the impact of the EU few people realise just how much power and influence the EU has over us.  A stark example of that was given to me on Christmas day over a lunchime pint in the Gwydr pub in Dolwydellan.  The owner of the village shop, a chap who I have known for around thirty years who originally hails from Tipton in the Black Country, was featured recently in a Tory Party political broadcast and was shown shaking hands with David Cameron when he came to visit the area.  I mentioned that I had seen him on the telly and my old acquaintance, now known as "Arkwright" to all who know him, said he was considering standing in the local elections next May.

I began to give him a bit of my knowledge of campaigning in more local elections than I care to remember and made the point that until we leave the EU makes little difference who is elected in the general elected as the Lib Lab Con, by refusing to take us out of the EU and restoring democracy, will have to continue doing as the EU instructs - he would have none of that and thought we would be alone in the world as, in his opinion, the Commonwealth would not have us back.  Despite pointing out the fact the bulk of our exports were to none EU countries and the other EU countries would not cut off their best customer - his mind was closed.  This, sadly, is the battle we in the EU realist movement have to fight - the war on ignorance generated by pro-EU spin and deceit.

One of my Christmas gifts was a shiny new Sat-Nav, which should be a great help to me as I get around to various events and meetings in obscure places.  One thing that confused me as I had a fiddle with this device was that it recognised where I in North Wales, but would not recognise my home address or even my home town of Walsall.  When returned home it then recognised where I was but not my mothers address in Wales - I found out that you have to set the name of the country you want to visit, which to my mind has always been the United Kingdom of England, Scotland and Wales.  It now seems the break up is official according to my new Sat Nav, which I thank is sad as I was always proud of our British joint achievements over the centuries.

As for news of the EU, Quentin Letts writing in the Daily Mail on Boxing Day raised the issue of a plan to allow MEPs to sit in their national parliaments.  Although this proposal is in its early stages but should it get the go ahead MEPs could be involved in and have influence regarding the scrutiny of EU legislation being passed through Westminster - pro-EU MEPs would naturally do everything in their power to ease the passage of even more EU bureaucracy.

Other EU news came in the Daily Telegraph (29th December 2009) which reported that little Lithuania, which only a few short years ago escaped Russian Soviet domination, but for some mad reason then opted for EU domination - no doubt thinking it would benefit fiscally from membership.  However, if that was the plan it has gone badly wrong as many Lithuanians have lost their jobs due to spending cuts.  To make things worse the EU has demanded that the country should begin decommissioning its main energy source from the 1st January 2010, forcing the country to rely on Russian energy which will cost considerably more than their own current supply.

In 2004 the EU made the closure of Lithuania's Ignalia nuclear power station as a condition of membership.  This power station, which the EU describes as a Chernobyl-sized threat, provides 70 per cent of the countries power, its loss will have some quite substantial financial implications as the subsequent rising fuel bills would cut its gross domestic product by one percentage point and would increase inflation by almost one percentage point.  The pressure this will bring to the jobless in that country will be intolerable.

Some very sad news came in the latest edition of the 'Yardstick', which is the newsletter of the British Weights and Measures Association (BWMA) which reported the deaths of long time campaigners Fabian Olins and Eddie Worster.  I already knew about the loss of Fabian, but the loss of Eddie came as an unpleasant surprise.  
Eddie had been a long time member of UKIP and a supporter of my newsletter, the Euro Realist.  Both men who did so much for the liberty and freedom of our country will be much missed.

As I get back to blogging I will try to do a little more over the next few days, the lure of holiday laziness beckons but it's time to get moving again, especially as we go into 2010, then campaigning will really begin to heat up.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

FESTIVE THOUGHTS

Derek Bennett, last blog posting before Christmas.

Those handful of people who regularly visit this blog will have noticed a slight reduction of postings as I begin to wind down for the Christmas period. This will be my last posting now until the festivities are over, when the Turkey has been eaten and all hangovers are little more than a distant headache. So before signing off from blogging and signing on for festivities, here are a few thoughts from yours truly.

As Christmas comes around each year we all say the same thing, where the bloody hell has the year gone? It has flown by. 2009 has been an extremely active year which got off to a bad and extremely depressing start. If you remember at the very end of 2008 Gordon Brown slunk off to Lisbon where he hoped the British people would not notice him signing the dreadful Lisbon Treaty where he handed over massive chunks of British sovereignty to the EU. After this terrible betrayal we began the year looking to the Irish to save us from Lisbon, but as we know the Irish were bullied into voting for it with the threat of the removal of EU funding and subsequent job losses. If a nation ever felt the full force of physiological intimidation it was Southern Ireland in 2009.

As a UKIP activist there was a build up to the European elections and a great deal of activity in the months leading up to June. Being at the Birmingham count on the evening of Sunday 7th June was just incredible as we watched the votes for UKIP come piling in, and what an outcome – UKIP second place beating the Governing Labour Party vote. Of course this massive plebiscite will count for nothing when the leaders of the Lib, Lab, Con do their pre-election performance on the telly with the much hyped forthcoming leaders debate – UKIP will not be invited and the wishes of those who voted UKIP last summer will count for nothing.

This televised event will be little more than a stunt full of meaningless rhetoric. Each leader will prattle on about how they and their party are the only ones who can save the nation and restore it to full economic health – whilst none of them will discuss the power and influence of the EU and the fact each and everyone of them, once installed in office, will be nothing more than a servant of the EU implementing its unwanted directives and regulations. The whole bloody sham will be a frustrating exorcise in sheer futility.

Of course, next year, 2010, will be the year of the general election which most expect will take place in May, but some are now predicting March. This is going to be another big year for UKIP and the question being asked by many, including members of the press is, will UKIP candidate Nigel Farage topple the unpopular squeaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, off his guilded perch? We do hope so.

The euro has been having some problems, much to the delight and warnings of those of us in the Euro realist movement. Greece and Southern Ireland are in danger of defaulting on their debts and the EU rules do not allow for bailouts for any nation that has landed itself in the mire.

Because of the strength of the EU’s euro it is creating a split between north and south. A strong euro is not good for the struggling countries of Spain, Italy, Greece and Ireland, whilst France and Germany will be able to cope with this. It is as we warned, “one size interest rate does not fit all”. All this is creating a build up of stresses in the eurozone and will be a major headache for the European Central Bank in 2010. We did warn them but as usual the EU had to have its spoilt little way and its very own currency.

Well, Santa awaits, so don’t forget to leave him his mince pie and glass of sherry, he has a lot to contend with this year with EU rules on health and safety which are not happy with him going up and down chimneys without any kind of risk assessment. There is also the matter of him flying a herd of reindeer and an overloaded sleigh through European Union airspace – it won’t be long before he will have to start complying with EU directives on Christmas festivities and the delivery of presents – or are we now obliged to call it ‘Winterval’?!

Have a happy Christmas anyway and I’ll be back blogging soon.

Monday, 21 December 2009

EXODUS OF WEALTH

Once the European Union begins to meddle in a particular area or profession, we all know what is to follow – failure and misery. And so it begins for the financial sector in the United Kingdom.

On Sunday 20th December 2009 the business pages of the Sunday Telegraph were full of gloom and doom for Britain’s financial sector. As the EU’s regulators begin to move in many of the UK’s wealth making finance based businesses are making plans to move out – just as many of us opposed to our foolish membership of the EU have been warning.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that one of the UK’s oldest insurance companies, Legal & General, is seriously considering moving its corporate headquarters out of the sphere of European Union influence altogether due to the prospect of a new set of EU regulatory measures.

The 173 year old company is considering its move abroad to avoid the impact of Solvency II, which is a framework which will govern insurers from 2012. A spokesman for L&G said the EU framework would represent a “betrayal of savers” if it was presented in its present form. The value of UK pension savings could be cut by up to 20 per cent as companies past on the cost to pensioners, who are already hard hit due to Gordon Brown’s previous raids on their pensions.

Added to these EU created woes, many senior directors of international banks based in the City of London have received requests from their US, French, Spanish and German staff for transfers back to their countries of origin, or elsewhere overseas to escape Alister Darling’s new banking bonus tax.

As the best financial brains and British based firms begin an exodus of wealth, those of us left face a bleak future as the EU bleeds us of what assets we have left and our last wealth making companies in the financial sector escape from the double whammy of EU regulations and home grown swinging taxation.

Friday, 18 December 2009

EU STILL HANGING AROUND

The use of mobile phones has been banned whilst driving for safety reasons as they are an obvious distraction. After listening to the Radio Four Today programme, whilst driving, I have come to the conclusion that listening to certain items on that programme whilst driving should be banned too as the sheer frustration and anger generated by the stupidity and ignorance of some of those involved can also create a dangerous distraction.

The topic in question was an entirely pointless discussion between the ex Home Secretary, Charles Clark, and Conservative MP, Philip Davies, on the reintroduction of the death penalty. Today presenter James Naughtie directed the debate.

The reason I say this was pointless was not that the issue is unimportant, but because, as with most things that affect our daily lives these days, the EU is the deciding factor and, if like the matter of the death penalty, the EU has made a decision, our elected politicians, ministers and anyone else can discuss the issue until they are blue in the face but will never be allowed by the EU to do anything about it.

My own stance on the death penalty is that I would not like to see its return. Not only is it barbaric and cruel, far too many innocent people have gone to the scaffold for the crimes of others, poor simple minded Timothy Evans was one case in hand. He was strung up for the murder of his wife which was committed by the mass murderer Christie. After Evans's innocence had been proved no one could release him, say sorry to him for the injustice done or give him compensation as victims of injustice receive today. It was too late – he was hung for the crime of another.

As the Today debate rolled on I found myself shouting at the radio: ‘This is pointless, mention the EU, you can’t do anything about it’. But of course, the EU was not mentioned, it was as if it didn’t exist or have any bearing on the matter. There was talk about hanging innocents, Philip Davies dismissed this and put a great deal of store in the accuracy of modern techniques such as DNA, but even that is not infallible as DNA samples can still be planted. Those who watched the excellent crime series, ‘Criminal Justice’, which was written by a lawyer who based it on how the system works, will have seen how injustice can so easily happen and the innocent still be convicted.

If we want to stop murderers from re-offending then life should mean life and they are locked up until they die. Sadly many murderers are released early then murder again.

Finally, as the debate wound up, Philip Davies just happened to mention, almost as an afterthought, oh by the way, we can’t reintroduce the death penalty because the EU won’t allow it – at long bloody last!

Whatever the rights and wrongs are with the death penalty, if we do want to debate such things and decide for ourselves, then with the EU still hanging around we can never do so. Yet another reason why it is so vitally important we leave it as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

FISCAL FIASCO

The EU is still suffering the effects of the financial crisis with many of its eurozone countries struggling, especially Greece and Southern Ireland.

Although I have never been a whizz kid when it comes to economics, my limits of high finance are usually worrying about paying the gas bill on time, you still don’t have to be an expert to understand the problems created for those nations when they sacrificed their fiscal freedoms and scrapped their own well established currencies to join the untested euro of the European Union.

From even before the first euro notes and coins were inflicted upon the poor souls in the eurozone countries, many predicted that Ireland would be the first to crash out, others considered Greece a likely candidate for euro failure. Ironically both of those nations are having great financial problems now, especially Greece.

Greece is in a great deal of debt and is having to promise some pretty drastic spending cuts to avoid financial collapse. However, the countries socialist premier, George Papandeou, is not really impressing anyone with his plans to bash bankers bonuses with a tax of 90% as he is being extremely vague regarding his other plans to cut spending or encourage privatisation.

Southern Ireland too is having a problem with debt, which is growing at an alarming rate. It looks as if the public sector there are about to feel the pain as Southern Ireland’s public sector workers are to face cuts in their incomes and warn of possible strike action, which will just add to the countries problems. Even during an interview on the Europhile BBC Today programme one of the programmes interviewers asked if the fact Ireland no longer had control over its currency made it impossible for Ireland to tackle the problem.

Added to the woes of these two countries France is planning a borrowing spree of over £31bn to plough into universities and green energy, placing even more pressure on France’s public finances.

The euro, like the EU itself, is political house of cards and at some stage in the future it will collapse, the question is, will the fiscal fiasco it is now in herald its demise – I do hope so. There are going to be hard times ahead in the EU.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

RIOTING FOR RESTRICTIONS.

Here’s a thought for you, the leaders of the world all get together for a big important meeting to discuss curbing the freedoms, liberties and free movement of the people in each of their nations. While this is going on people are out on the streets around the meeting rioting and protesting that the world leaders are not going far enough and they should be inflicting more damage on their liberties than being debated.

This sounds like complete madness, after all, people riot and protest against losing their freedoms, not urging their leaders to take them away. However, when you consider it, this is exactly what is going on in Copenhagen now.

As the worlds leaders and their minions have their big pow-wow on so-called global warming, which is based on some very suspect scientific data, the loonies outside are protesting and creating uproar because they want these leaders to tax us more, restrict our movements and remove some of our core freedoms to stop, as they say, the world from overheating.

Are these people completely bonkers or what? They actually want their freedom to travel restricted, they want to be taxed out of existence. Never before in the field of human madness have so many gone so barmy to give such vast powers to so few.

Those leaders look for any excuse to restrict and limit us, they look constantly for devious ways to add to the tax burden and for ever increasing means of control and global warming is wonderful news to them. Not only does it give them the perfect excuse to tax us more, it gives them a way of controlling and restricting us. The power this scare gives them is enormous.

Political leaders have always feared the freedom and liberties of the people, electorates do things they don’t like and often disagree with them, so when an method of total control is handed to them on a platter, such as the global warming scare, it must be like winning the dictators lottery – big time.

I fear not global warming, but the politicians who intend to use the power it gives them and the fools who are rioting for restrictions and are happy to see them take it.

Monday, 14 December 2009

THE LAST BOAT

Once Great Yarmouth had a mighty fishing fleet, now destroyed by the EU.

One of the things I often repeat on this blog is mention of the benefits of membership of the European Union, the invisible benefits that is as no one ever sees them or benefits from them unless they are an EU Commissioner, a Euro-fanatical MEP or other EU hanger-on. In fact when it comes down to it – there are no benefits to be had from EU membership just utter destruction.

Over the far too many years we in the UK have been members of this extremely expensive federalist club of European nations we have seen the steady and relentless destruction of everything that was good about Britain and all it stood for thanks to EU membership. Our democracy and liberties are under threat because of it, our wealth is being stripped by it, our industries have been lost to us thanks to EU rules, many of our jobs have gone due to it and our fishing industry has been wiped off the face of the earth because of it. Despite all these our pro-EU treasonous politicians still plug the lie that we have to remain in the EU for the “benefits”!

Thanks to the EU the very last fishing boat of what was once a mighty fleet in Great Yarmouth is on the verge of quitting and its skipper, Jason Clarke, will take on a new job as skipper of a boat that services offshore windfarms (another pointless EU project). Mr Clark, who is the last of four generations of Great Yarmouth fishermen, is naturally bitter about the EU inspired destruction of his trade. Sadly, there is no way he can possibly make a living in the trade his family has done for many years as the EU’s ludicrously low fishing quotas do not provide him with enough money to run his boat and make a living. He is the last of his kind in Great Yarmouth.

The idiotic thing about the EU quota system is that it makes no sense. Fishermen are told by the EU what they can catch and what quantity, so if they trawl the wrong bread of fish, which by the time they have been landed they are dead, they have to throw those fish back to rot on the sea bed. Jason has limited quotas even though the fish stocks are at an all time high.

Once, before the madness of EU membership struck, Britain had a mighty fishing fleet and some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. Now, we don’t even own the right to fish those waters and as the last fishing boat from Great Yarmouth sails into history we truly do see there are no benefits of EU membership.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

GOLDEN GOODBYE'S FOR OUTGOING COMMISSIONERS

The campaigning group, Open Europe, has recently sent out its regular bulletin in which one of the items they covered was the enourmous hand-outs given to the outgoing EU Commissioners. It reported:-


At the end of November European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced the line-up for the next five-year Commission mandate, including the controversial appointment of French MEP Michel Barnier as EU Commissioner for Internal Market, with the key responsibility for financial services.
 
Open Europe has calculated that the 13 EU Commissioners leaving their jobs as a result of the new appointments have cost taxpayers €2.7 million each during their time in office. Through earnings and pay-offs, they will walk away with a total of more than €35.6 million.
 
This includes an average €1.3 million in 'golden goodbyes' for each Commissioner. The total bill in 'golden goodbyes', including pensions, for those leaving is more than €16.6 million, with their pension costs expected to be worth a combined total of more than €11.6 million over their lifetimes.

Each Commissioner stepping down is entitled to a 'resettlement allowance' of a month's salary (€19,910 or €22,122 for Vice Presidents), irrespective of how long they have served; a 'transition allowance' paid for 3 years worth between 40 and 65 percent of their final salary (this is a minimum of €286,703 but can rise to as much as €438,017 for a long-serving Vice-President); as well as a generous pension worth at least €51,069 a year from the age of 65, for those serving for five years. 

This is in addition to the €238,919 a Commissioner earns per year in basic salary, or €1,194,595 over a full five-year term. Vice-Presidents earn €265,465 or €1,327,325 over five years. This does not include other perks such as housing allowances and entertainment allowances, worth between €43,122 and €50,757 every year.
 
One of the biggest winners is Polish Commissioner Pawel Samecki, who has only been in the job six months, but will walk away with a 'golden goodbye' of €391,898. This is in addition to the €141,020 he has made in earnings alone.

The highest earners in the outgoing Commission were Margot Wallstrom and Gunter Verhuegen who each pocketed €2,991,313 for their ten years in Brussels. They will each receive annual pensions of €113,486 for the rest of their lives. The newly-appointed EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton, who took over as EU Trade Commissioner from Lord Mandelson last year, took home €282,040 in earnings for just over a year in office, as reported in the Sunday Times, 29 November.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

LORD MONCKTON JOINS UKIP

Lord Monckton, to be UKIP’s climate change spokesman.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the new leader of UKIP, was delighted to announce the news that Lord (Christopher) Monckton has agreed to join UKIP as its leading spokesman on Climate Change.

He was Margaret Thatcher's Special Advisor in Downing Street (1982-86) on a number of areas, including science. He is now perhaps the world's leading general expert on the case against Man-made Global Warming, and as such is already very well known in the United States. (He was in Downing St. in the run up to the Single European Act, and is therefore also a serious authority on the EU and all its works.)

He has made considerable waves in Copenhagen, where he gave a Press Conference on Thursday 10th November about his joining UKIP.

Lord Pearson pointed out that there may be some who believe the Al Gore line on climate change but was sure that Lord Monckton would dispel their fears.

You can watch Lord Monckton explaining some of his views recently HERE and HERE.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

INHERITING A PROBLEM

There was a time when an “Englishman’s home was his castle”, sadly this principle has been steadily eroded over the years leaving most Englishman’s homes to be seen as a property opportunity by some slick whizz-kid, or a mortgage millstone due to negative equity. In the not too distant and frightening EU dominated future, all Englishman’s homes could be, thanks to yet another EU power grab, become part of a mad bit of European law that is an invite for others to snatch away from us.

Under current British law, which has always been seen as fair, just and sensible law, no one can take your home from you as long as you do not fall into debt and that you have paid for your home and signed the deeds of ownership. Sadly, this safeguard is under threat from what will be a nasty little surprise our masters in the EU have planed for us.

The European Union, which cannot leave even the tiniest thing unregulated, has set its heart on shaking up inheritance law across the whole of the EU. Its aims will destroy all British inheritance law and leave anyone who owns property vulnerable to having it snatched from them.

The plan is, and usually what the EU wants the EU gets, that any property that was once owned by anyone with relatives living elsewhere in the EU, those relatives can lay claim to your home under what is known as ‘clawback’ procedures. Under our law this is not allowed, but the EU aims to fix that.

It seems that most other European countries force citizens to leave a proportion their estate to certain relatives, known as ‘forced heirs’. These forced heirs will be able to, under this EU proposal, undo property sales going as far back as thirty years previously. Anyone with a home they have owned for less than thirty years will be at risk from this nasty bit of EU law. If a person who previously owned a property had not made adequate provision in their will, then that persons heirs can, within that three decade period, stake a claim to the current owners home even though the house has been purchased legally and there are no debts outstanding.

Someone could literally complete their mortgage payments one day after twenty five years of monthly payments, only to find they have to borrow money all over again on their home the next to pay off people they have never known or had any dealing with simply because a previous owner had not included them in their will.

This then is yet to be another wonderful “benefit” of EU membership. Sadly, the day in 1972 when Prime Minister Heath put his signature on the Treaty of Rome we all inherited a major problem.

Monday, 7 December 2009

BERKOW BACKLASH

Due to a lack of free time of late, postings on this blog have been pretty light but I had to find time to cover this.

When Nigel Farage MEP stood down as the leader of UKIP to enable him to fight a full campaign against John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, a lot people wondered if he was doing the right thing considering sort of Tory Mr Bercow the ‘squeaker’ has an 18,000 plus majority in a safe Conservative constituency. Now, however, it certainly looks as if Nigel Farage has pulled off another one of his politically astute moves, especially considering this item from the Daily Telegraph. It certainly looks as if there is a Bercow backlash.

Friday, 4 December 2009

THOSE DREAD WORDS – IN LINE WITH THE REST OF EUROPE

No matter which of the so-called three mainstream political parties when asked about the thorny issue of our membership of the European Union, their MPs, MEPs and front-bench members all come out with the same dreary mantra, which often sounds like a pre-programmed message: ‘We can’t leave the EU because of its benefits’.

What benefits are those? Is the now potential demise of the City of London and our wealth an advantage now the French, who are no lovers of our global trading centre, have been handed control of it on a golden platter by the EU a benefit? No, of course not. What about handing over £40 million a day, soon to rise to £45 million a day to the EU a benefit? Tell that to our cash starved pensioners, our equipment short troops and our hard pressed taxpayers – the reply will be no. Is the Lisbon Treaty and the massive loss of sovereignty a benefit? Again no. In fact when British membership of the EU is dissected there is not one single benefit to be found to the people of the United Kingdom – the only benefit is to the EU and its acolytes.

With this in mind, when we hear those dread words: “To bring us in line with Europe” we all know in our hearts that despite the pro-EU warblings of our political leaders, more harm and devastation is about to be wreaked upon our way of life, our traditions and freedom. And so it is again with the proposals to harmonise our drink-drive limit to that of the rest of the European Union.

Before all the anti-drink-drive zealots start jumping up and down accusing this blogger of supporting the idea of someone getting plastered and then driving home, there is no way I would advocate that, especially as I nearly took my last breath on this planet in 1973 on my honymoon night when a drunken driver missed me by inches and finished up bouncing off a solid stone wall yards away from the hotel we were staying in. All I am saying is that there is no problem with the current limit, despite the penalties being rather drastic for someone who has strayed over the limit by a small amount. A driving ban for such people seems unduly harsh, but not for those irresponsible sods who think they can drink several pints and still drive safely.

Sadly, the effects of a EU inspired reduction in the drink-drive limit will drive another nail in a traditional way of British life, namely those pubs that have so far survived the EU backed smoking ban, excessive taxes on beer and spirits and the effects of the recession. Traditional breweries will be hit hard too and we may see the demise of some of our finest ales. How can this be good for anyone?

With a change in the law the police will see this as being given a free hand to stop and breathalyse every motorist on the road. Many drivers will be simply too frightened to go out for a quiet drink, even if they are not driving until the following day and there are traces of alcohol in their system. How will they know that the pleasant three to four pints they had the night before will not take them over the limit when they set off for work the following morning, whereas they felt safe they would be below the level currently? These people who like a drink with friends, and drink moderately, will either avoid going to the pub altogether or they will just stick to soft drinks, which of course is bad news for the breweries.

Despite our higher drink drive limit, Britain has some of the safest roads in Europe, we have no need to change the law to use those dread words – to come in line with the rest of Europe, maybe its time the rest of Europe came into line us and feel the benefits that would bring.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

LOOSING LIBERTY

If you take a look at the top of this blog you will see a photograph of my ugly mush peering back at you, and in my hand is one of my dear old dad’s old cameras. Like me he was a keen amateur photographer and it was because of him I took up the hobby too.

One of the pleasures of modern day photography is the speed of digital photography. Once upon a time you had to select the type of film you wanted as different makes had their own quirks, plus speed of film and what size. After that you had to take them to be processed and wait for your prints to come in before you knew if you had wasted your time or had some shots to be proud of. These days you shoot, then look at the back of your camera to see if the shot is any good and continue until you are happy, then in a flash download everything on to your computer and with the internet your pickies can be viewed globally in no time at all.

One of my favourite pastimes on a nice day when the sun is shining is to get out with my camera and take photos for the Geograph web-site, these are usually photos of locations around my home town or sometimes further afield, but all involve standing in a public place aiming my camera at buildings, roads or interesting places. I suppose it’s a bit like train-spotting, a bit nerdy but harmless fun for some.

This then leads me to the main point of this posting, I have just read an item in the Daily Telegraph about a keen amateur photographer who, just like me likes taking photographs in public places, who was accosted by a couple of toy town bobbies, otherwise known as police community support officers, who carry out policing on the cheap but with less powers and less effectiveness.

These couple of jobsworths, one of which a year or two back refused to help a drowning man because of health and safety rules, decided that photographer Andrew White who was taking some photos of Christmas decorations in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, was a potential terrorist and began following him. They then stopped him and asked if he was a professional photographer and informed him that under counter terrorism legislation provided by the Police Reform Act (2002) they were entitled to demand his full name and address, which they did. Mr White is now concerned as to where his data is going to be stored and for what purpose – all he was doing was taking some pretty festive pictures. What happened to him can happen to anyone taking photos in public places, including the mass of tourists taking photos of the Palace of Westminster or anywhere else such as the one I took recently of the London Eye.

Doing such innocent things as taking a few photographs used to be a right belonging to any free person, as was much else in Britain as our whole system of law was based on the fact you were free to do as you like unless there was a law to prevent it. This varied from the continent where your freedoms were granted by the state, you are only allowed to do as the state allows whereas here it is not the states business unless it thinks harm can come of doing certain things – and taking a few photos was always seen as a harmless right.

This one little incident, which in reality is a storm in a teacup, is still important because it highlights the bigger issue of the constant attack on our freedoms which began in earnest the moment a grinning Tony Blair breezed into Downing Street that day in 1997. From then on our liberties and freedoms have been under constant attack. Just this last week we have seen the introduction of I.D. cards with an experimental scheme in Manchester. Poor Manchester are now getting all the crap thrown after them after they voted against the liberty draining prospect of road pricing. Sadly, around 2000 of the cities village idiots have applied for these I.D. cards which will give the state power over them – the poor saps will realise too late their freedom was too important to sacrifice for a bit of Government spin.

Some of the legislation introduced over these lousy Labour years, such as the Civil Contingencies Act and many other laws are quite frightening, they litterally remove massive chunks of freedom from the people and place it in the hands of the state. We are told that they will use these powers responsibly, which gives echoes of Hitlers words and deeds in pre-war Germany. The state is now in a position to control us and expect us to serve it rather than us controlling the state which should, under British Common law, serve us the people.

The next time you get your old box Brownie out and take a snap, be very much aware this can now get you arrested in these days of loosing liberty.

WHAT'S HE DONE TO THE TELEGRAPH?

Lord Pearson, under attack from the Daily Telegraph.
On Friday he was elected as the new leader of the UK Independence Party and on Monday he came under a full frontal no holds barred attack from the Daily Telegraph, quickly followed by another barrage on Tuesday.  This makes you wonder what Lord Pearson, a scourge of the European Union and it s nonsense, has done to upset the Torygraph hacks.

On Monday the headlines screamed how much he had taken in expenses, but failed to explain this was over a period of several years which in real terms equates to Lord Pearson working hard in the Lords exposing the EU for less than £20,000 a year.  If anyone else was asked to do a job on those wages and still provide their own postage and secretarial costs they would complain about the unfairness of it - but small matters like that do not seem to bother the Telegraph who have taken the attitude that Pearson is the UKIP leader so must be attacked as he is a threat to their precious pro-EU Cameron and his Tory Party, of which a number of the Conservative membership has quit and joined UKIP.

On Tuesday Pearson came under attack for putting down his London home as his main home to avoid around a quarter of a million pounds of Capital Gains Tax, just as most MPs have done.  They do get paid staff and secretarial allowances as well as postage and a substantial wage, unlike Pearson.  So what will Wednesday bring from the Torygraph?  We wait and see.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

THE EURO REALIST, LATEST EDITION

The latest edition of the Euro Realist newsletter is out now, click on the link or go to the December edition in the sidebar.