Monday, 28 February 2011

FAREWELL TO THE YAM YAM

If you visit Walsall today and notice flags flying at half mast, it won't be because the Queen has died or the local brewery has closed, but because one of the best local web-sites in the town is shutting up shop and calling it a day

For quite some time now the Yam Yam web-site has been giving local news, linking to local blogs of all political persuasions, including this blog, and it has been a must for anyone wanting to know what is going on in Walsall - that news source is going and will leave a massive hole in its place.

It is a credit to Mark Blackstock, who ran the Yam Yam single handidly, that everyone of all political views who got to know the Yam Yam is mourning its passing. There are not many people who can claim to something like that. Fairwell the Yam Yam, as they say in Walsall, 'Yow will be missed - am yam coming back?'

SAY NO TO THE EU TAX

In their latest e-mail bulletin the Taxpayers Alliance sent out this message urging as many as possible to sign the petition against a Euro tax.

"Here in the UK we are already over-taxed. We've been strong critics of the rises in VAT and fuel duty, which have both pushed up the cost of living. One area we have, and will continue to, highlight that adds an unnecessary burden of tax on the UK is the EU. You may have seen Dr Lee Rotherham speaking about the cost of the EU. Now the EU would like to add to that burden, and plans to introduce direct taxes on financial transactions, electronic communications and CO2 emissions. Not only that, Brussels wants us to increase the VAT contributions that we already give over to the wasteful and unaccountable bureaucracy at the EU Commission. We think these plans are a disgrace and they would mark a huge turning point that would be difficult to reverse.
We want our supporters to join us in saying NO to the EU tax, you can sign a petition here. It's crucial to get as many voices behind this as possible to stop Eurocrats raiding the pockets of hard pressed UK taxpayers."

Please register your oppsition and sign the petition.

Friday, 25 February 2011

A SILENT AND STEALTHY WIND OF CHANGE

There is major electoral shake up on its way to us and so few people seem to be aware of it. As they blithely go about their daily lives, doing the shopping, worrying about the price of everything as go shopping , paying their household bills or have concerns how their football team will do on Saturday afternoon, few realise that in a few short weeks from now on the 5th May they will, if they bother to vote, be presented with a decision that could affect how our Governments are elected in future and how these Government are made up – yet few seem to be aware of this major shake up.

On the 5th May, as well as picking up our ballot papers to vote in the local council elections, we will be given a referendum ballot too asking us if we want to adopt the Alternative Vote proportional representation system or stay with our current first past the post system. I have put things on this bog in recent weeks (here, here and here) about this because it is a major issue which the electorate are ignoring. The AV system may put the Liberal Democrats in coalition governments for ever more, there again they may give smaller parties such as UKIP which I belong to a slim chance of success – who knows? That really is the problem, who knows because so few are even bothering to look at what is coming.

In addition to this, in an article in the Spectator, Ed Howker has pointed out a discrepancy regarding the campaign in favour of AV which, as he writes, is a “conflict of interest of such comical proportions even Berlusconi would blush”.

This conflict comes in the fact, as Ed Howker reports, the Electoral Reform Society, which is the organisation that will be in charge of organising the referendum, has admitted to making a substantial donation of £1.05 million to ‘Yes to Fairer Votes, the campaign group pushing for the AV system. It seems there is also evidence that the Electoral Reform Society has given even more than the amount it has admitted to giving. This is akin to walking into your local polling stations with the knowledge that all the polling officer and everyone running the election has given money to one candidate and is campaigning for them, how secure would you feel about placing your ballot paper with a vote for another candidate in the ballot box? Not very I suspect yet this is happening here, not some third world tin-pot republic. Again this is a major and massive issue completely hidden from the public despite the massive historical effects this vote will possibly have for all time to come. The Electoral Reform Society are the body that produce the ballot papers, postal voting packs and just about everything connected to elections in the UK.

Another big change regarding how we vote in future European elections is also stealthily creeping this way. Raving Euro-fanatic Andrew Duff who is a fully paid up member of the EU-Taliban, is proposing that with the coming of pan European political parties (PEPP) is proposing a pan-European constituency in which 25 MEPs, standing for these pan European parties, would be elected. This means as well as going to the polls and voting for our traditional home-spun parties such as UKIP or the three traditional treasonous parties, we may suddenly find we are also presented with new parties with names such as ‘Christian Democrats’ , ‘EPP’, ‘S&D’ and ‘ALD’. This would help the Green Party which was one of the first to sign up to PEPP status as they are known by that name in all countries. These PEPP’s would have to consist of a mixture candidates from several EU countries.

All this is on the way, in fact the matter of the pan-European constituency will be going to a vote in the European Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee on the 15th March 2011.

As they say, a wind of change is on its way and we may find our apathy on all this here in the UK may blow down all our traditions, our democracy and the way we elect our leaders. It may be a silent and stealthy wind of change we regret when it’s too late.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

HS2 EU

Anne Palmer, exposes EU element of HS2.
Anne Palmer writes for this blog about the proposed plans for High-speed Rail, which is part of the EU's "Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Policy" and the EU's designs for this Country.

Although the UK is (allegedly) to hold a "Consultation Paper" for this EU project, I have already answered the EU's Consultation Paper which ended September 2010.

Why is our Government afraid to tell the people that this is an EU project? What are they afraid of? Perhaps it is because it is the EU that is deciding what is best for this Country, which includes giving sovereignty over our skies for the EU's Single European Sky and our seas for the EU's Motorway in the Sea-which includes all that is in it and underneath the sea bed, and all in the sky above- and of course sovereignty over our PORTS (I do not think the Dockers will go a bundle on that) but how can EU Ships come and go as they please and without asking permission if the 12 mile limit is still in place? So, will World Maps have to be changed etc? Please do tell us.

Will it bring in Jobs for UK workers? I doubt it for under EU Rules where we are all EU Citizens, Ah yes! On the continent? For we still cling-and always will to being Citizens of the United Kingdom. Can we afford the many Billions for this? Is this why WE are paying more for everything we buy, our gas, our Electric, water, food? Is this what many people are losing their jobs for? Losing their lovely homes for? To save money to pay for this? To save half an hour off the journey from London to Birmingham which will probably start off late anyway? The big question niggling me though, is why are we wasting money paying for British MP's when they are only obeying EU orders like the rest of us?

This Country is already massively in debt through using PPP/PFI and our Great, Great Grand-children will still be paying off what we have already committed THEM to, as well as ourselves for many, many years to come. Our debt’s, on the “Never, Never”, for that is what PPP/PFI is, and we simply cannot afford any of what is proposed at this moment in time and this probably applies to other Countries in the EU at present.

The High Speed Rail; is of course only one part of the TEN-T Program for we are talking of the EU having sovereignty over our Sky for the EU’s Single European Sky, and, as a sea faring Nation, perhaps the one that will anger the people the most perhaps, is giving sovereignty away for the EU’s Motorway in the Sea. Would there be a “Motorway in the Sea” from the Continent of Europe to the Falklands Islands? When Mr Brady MP asked this question (18.89.2006) “What is on the applicability of EU policy and legislation to the territorial waters of the overseas territories on member states” Mr McCartney MP answered, “ The EC Treaty, other than Part IV on the Association of overseas Countries and territories, does not apply to the Overseas territories of the United Kingdom, except to Gibraltar to which it applies by virtue of Article 299 (4) EC Treaty. As the legal base for any legislation arising out of the Maritime Green Paper would be likely to be under Article 175 (1), an environmental legal base, it would not apply to the majority of the United Kingdom’s overseas Territories. However, the Government and the Governments of the other Overseas Territories would want to consider whether it would be appropriate and feasible to apply similar measures based on EC Legislation through the Territories domestic legislation”. So! Is that a yes?

In any case, from page 44 of the Consultation Paper, which took account of Geographical Realities. “A European Maritime policy needs a general framework, as set out in this document, but its implementation will need to take account of the realities of Europe’s geographical situation. For example, EU Member States’ overseas territories give a worldwide dimension to European Maritime Policy. My generation fought and died in the last war to prevent foreigners from having anything to do with the Governing of this Country, yet look what today’s Politicians are doing? If it is all about preventing another war, look to what is happening in the world TODAY. If the Government of this Country does not recognize the enormity of what they have done and are continuing doing, this Country will never have a voice on the world stage, it will become just EU Regions only able to do what the EU tells them to do with no British Government or Monarchy at all. SOME LEGACY EH?.

Our Roads do not escape either because I rather suspect you have read the proposals re Road Pricing! So the EU has sovereignty? In February 2007 some 1.8 million people signed a Downing Street e-petition opposing a national Road Pricing scheme. This seems to have been the catalyst for a change of direction. (For now).

The EU allegedly cares DEEPLY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT at least that is what we are told and we sure have to pay for it, especially if we “over-step the mark”. Yet, typically, policies that aim to improve infrastructure will cause an increase in GHG emissions, as transport demand increases. In the longer term, these improvements may result in changes to spatial planning that rely on the increased accessibility, resulting in further transport demand increases: people will accept longer commuting distances (as travel times are reduced), they may choose to go shopping at a shopping centres further away, causing shops in their neighbourhood to close down, etc.

Lower speed limits have significant potential for GHG reduction, in almost every transport mode (with the possible exception of aviation) – with added benefits regarding air quality, noise and energy security, and, in case of road transport, safety.

From UK Research Paper 10/028.
Article 3(f) of the Treaty Establishing the European Communities (TEC) on the activities of the Community states that they shall include “a common policy in the sphere of transport”. Detailed provisions are set out in Title V TEC, Articles 70-80, and Title XV on Trans-European Networks, Articles 154-6.15 Since 1973, when the UK joined the then EEC, the wording has changed only in so far as the earlier Treaty stated (in Article 3(e)) that its activities included “the adoption of a common policy in the sphere of transport.

Soon, if this Country remains in the EU, there will be nothing left for our MP’s to do. Why, even EU Fines for the UK will be paid by the Locals according to the Localism Bill going through our Parliament at present. Our MP’s and Government seem to be making themselves redundant.


Some further links:
http://www.transport-research.info/Upload/Documents/201006/20100602_172959_30571_TRKC_Freight_Logistics.pdf
Also:
http://www.transbaltic.eu/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Task-3.1_Transport-Development-Inventory_2010-edition.pdf

INOVATION BY ORDER OF THE INVISIBLE COMMISSION

Just like the old Russian Soviet, the EU Commission thinks it can create inovation by order and diktat, only it doesn't want to be there when asked about it. Watch Lord Dartmouth, one of UKIP's South West MEPs in action.

Monday, 21 February 2011

NICE WORK IF YOU CAN SPEAK IT

There are some things, no matter how obscure, remain with you as a memory for all your days. One such memory is of Madame Corbett, our French teacher at Pitman’s College in Birmingham during the early sixties, handing back my French language book with it dangling precariously between two fingers as an object of such germ ridden and foul distaste, that to get a proper grip on it would inflict her with a disease so dire it would have possibly been the cause of her demise. I must admit this work book was somewhat scruffy, as were most of my school books which were full if ink blots, dawdles and assorted grime, but to handle it this way showed about as much contempt for my work as I did in equal proportion to the drudge of learning French.

As a fourteen year old teenager, there was no point in learning this foreign language, I mean to say – when was I ever going to visit France?! Added to this, 'what a stupid bloody language' was my reaction. What idiot and their mad language decides that inanimate objects should have a gender, how can a table, a door, a wall or a floor have a be male or female? They are just things, they don’t breed so what was the point of giving them a sex? No, this mad language was not for me and French lessons were just another part of torture by school.

I can only assume that my early run in with a foreign language has been a similar experience for many others over the years. That’s the problem; everyone speaks English, why do we need to learn other lingo’s when the rest of the planet knows ours? Visit some backwater in the middle of beyond and the native’s will speak English, the only place you will most probably get a shrug and a look of incomprehension is in the bars and cafe's of the main cities in France – but only because they like being bloody awkward. This though is seldom a problem because the word ‘beer’ sounds much the same wherever you go.

After my early encounter with a foreign language, when in my early forties I visited and fell in love with Italy, I decided to make an effort to learn their lingo and purchased the books and tapes which resulted in me learning a few basics, which was enough just to get by as long as they didn't speak too fast and use too many words I didn't know. Although the Italian language still has this daft thing with masculine and feminine, at least there is a certain logic that can be applied. This means you know what is what. Generally speaking, most things ending in ‘O’ are masculine and most things ending in ‘A’ are feminine – I can work with a logic like that.

The reason for this history in the limited language skills of Bennett, is down to the news item today that not enough English people are applying for jobs within the institutions of the European Union, and Jose Manuel Barroso is getting a bit worked up about it as there are not enough English people with the language skills to fill their share of the posts. To counter this, for once, the English are in the unusual position being of being awarded a privilege by the EU – which doesn’t happen very often, usually once in a blue moon with gold stars on it.

The privilege being a very special, one off, English language only entrance examination so as to attract more English applicants. It seems this is not going to be well received by the French who regard the language of the EU as French.

The Foreign Office, which is noted for representing foreigners here rather than its real task of representing Britain to foreigners, is to stage an ‘EU careers month’ and will also set up a fast-tracking system to get more English working within the bowels of the “EU Empire”, as Mr Barroso likes to call it. Only 1.5 per cent of British people applied for EU jobs last year.

For those who do get work within the EU, they will soon discover its perks, including a ridiculously low tax bracket. While our pips are being squeaked for every tax penny in the UK, the pips of those working for the EU are fattening up nicely. Nice work if you can speak it.

Friday, 18 February 2011

SAVE OUR YAM YAM

As the Tories flagship Localism Bill ploughs its way through Parliament, many of us who are politically aware, keep an eye on both national and local news. In fact local news and gossip can often be far more interesting and gives you a chance to be involved. It makes me wonder if we really do need a Localism Bill when we have many active people in our own neighbourhoods and towns doing things for their area, standing up for local people and passing on local news and information.

One such person in my small part of the world here in Walsall is a local journalist named Mark Blackstock, for some time now he has run a brilliant Walsall web-site called the ‘Yam Yam’ (if you ever visit Walsall and speak to the locals who pass the time of day by saying: “Worro mate, am yam awlright”, you will soon know where ‘Yam Yam’ comes from!).

Like most good things I stumbled across the Yam Yam a year or two back by accident when checking my blog stats and referrals, one referral was from a link on the Yam Yam after Mark had picked up an item from this blog and put it on the his site, from then on I was hooked and no day would go by without taking a look on his site to get the local news and what other bloggers, including my political opposition were up to. In fact that was one good thing about the Yam Yam, unlike the BBC and the Tory and Labour aligned press, it was not biased politically.

Sadly, the Yam Yam is to be no more, in a short time from now Mark is calling it a day and a great source of local information, news and political gossip will be gone. It will be a great loss to our little town of Walsall and surrounding areas. It will not only be a loss locally, but far and wide too as I pick up links to the Yam Yam not only from other parts of the country, but also from as far as Australia and other parts of the globe.

If you have any local web-sites, or small community radio stations which give updates on news and events in your area, then look after them and cherish them and make sure they don’t go the same way as the Yam Yam. My last plea to Mark Blackstock is – please don’t do it – save our Yam Yam.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

THE WRONG REFERENDUM BY DR LEE ROTHERHAM

Dr Lee Rotherham, why the alternative voting system will not be good for UKIP.

Following on from the last posting on AV on this blog, Dr Lee Rotherham has kindly consented to his opinions and report on the alternative voting system being published here.

A pending publication which yet sits in the laps of the gods of publishing should whet the appetite of Eurosceptics. It‟s called Controversies, and amongst its treasures lie an armourer‟s stall of tools of intrigue. There‟s a lost Churchill speech; a foray into the astonishing archives of the CIA men who funded European integration; Ted Heath gets a makeover; and there‟s quite possibly the first ever attempt to establish a scientific formula to assess whether any member state would indeed be better off out of the EU.

The index alone is probably Pavlov‟s bell to anyone interested in Brussels. But there‟s another piece in there that may also surprise. It reviews an obscure yet important early debate on the United Kingdom‟s possible adoption of the Alternative Vote (AV).

Some might wonder how that topic finds its way into the collection. In fact, the more one studies AV, the more one is forced to the conclusion that it forms a significant shift in our system of democracy; only a pocket revolution perhaps when compared with the changes forced by the EU, but nevertheless a harbinger of harm.

At the time of writing, the AV Referendum is set to take place in under four months. That is not a lot of time to grapple with a proposal that would have major implications not only for the electoral map of the country, but also the political fortunes of the UK‟s prominently Eurosceptic party.

The Cost to UKIP
AV is quite simply bad for UKIP. The changes hit it electorally and threaten to twist it structurally. Let‟s start with the impact at the ballot box, and here we have an example with extensive track record. Australia provides us with eighty years of case history, and while it is true that there are complications in drawing comparisons since compulsory voting is bolted on as well, we do have data on the impact of the system on third parties.

They do not fare well.

We should not be surprised by this. AV was introduced into antipodean politics precisely in order to strengthen the hand of the governing party, at a moment in time when it was on the brink of breaking up. Electoral change was sought as a tool to maintain a voting alliance to keep the divorced parties united through second preferences. The reform was successful, and kept the Opposition from sweeping to enduring power. Two-party federal politics has remained ever since.

The classic proof of this of course is the fate of the One Nation party under Pauline Hanson, which for a moment looked like it was on the brink of achieving a genuine breakthrough.

Hanson‟s seat had initially been won with her standing as an independent, and on the back of massive national interest as the „outsider‟ candidate. The media princes rallied behind her as a focal point for their own campaigns to shift the political debate, particularly over the twinned issues of national identity and immigration, and on free trade.

This joint campaign carried across into a new party, and it did have some initial success. One Nation was beginning to achieve significant representation in state elections under AV, with 11 seats in Queensland. But it did so locally at the very time it was achieving inroads that would have carried it across electoral thresholds under First Past the Post. Herein lies the AV paradox; nationally, as the Party‟s threat to the other main parties became clear, politicians closed ranks. Despite the Party drawing on support from voters from across the political spectrum, collusion between the established parties worked to shut down preferentials, keeping One Nation completely out of one chamber and limited to one representative in the other. One Nation as a result is actually used by supporters of AV in Britain today as an example of how the system can be managed by the main parties to close down opportunities for smaller parties that pose an electoral threat. By this they mean the BNP, but the principle is broader.

The route can be a surprisingly formal one. Parties simply supply their supporters with a recommended list of how they should cast their preferential votes. This is not a new practice and its success is long acknowledged. For example, in their oral evidence to the 1965 Speaker‟s Convention on electoral reform, the Electoral Reform Society (today the powerhouse of the Yes campaign) admitted that “The Australian parties do, unfortunately, try to impose on their voters a particular order of voting and, in general, they are only too successful.”

It is hard to see in similar circumstances here how UKIP would feature as a beneficiary. Conservatives from the leadership right down to association chairmen will assume that UKIP votes are automatically theirs as their second preference (they may prove to be wrong on this to varying degrees, but it is an assumption that would be hard to shake). As these votes would be deemed to fall to the Conservative candidate by default, there is little if any incentive for their candidate to make more than a notional effort to appeal to the UKIP second vote beyond restating the established, "John Major‟ baseline.

A Power Lost
So the AV system provides no extra leverage for UKIP. First Past the Post (FPTP) on the other hand provides the negative but very real power of the denial vote. A vote cast for UKIP and not for the Conservative candidate is a vote subtracted permanently from the Tory tally, and a motivation for the Conservative candidate to pledge a tougher line than his party‟s stated policy. The “Better Off Out trigger” is a power lost under AV. Support predicated on a tough EU policy is under the new system merely withheld by the voter for one round of the ballot and the space of a few minutes.

It gets worse. The example of the Buckingham election demonstrates that AV will not deliver any Westminster seat to UKIP. Instead of having to reach a percentile perhaps as low as the thirties per cent, the new summit to be reached is of fifty per cent plus one. The party will simply be incapable of reaching the killer level of vote voltage.

This is achievable under FPTP – it is very difficult, but it is attainable. Local elections see UKIP candidates elected on 30 to 40 per cent, providing a foot in the door for better results thereafter. Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire, and Newcastle-under-Lyme provide examples of where FPTP can deliver for UKIP. But in General Elections, secondary voting will do few favours.

This is not a comment on the party, but a fact of arithmetic. Under the present system, more people choose to put the establishment and Liberal Democrat candidates as their choice than the UKIP candidate, so the final choice in any multiple vote will always be between two of the „big three‟, decided by the votes coming from the third. In other words, if even today more people choose to put the Conservative as their choice than the UKIP candidate in a high profile and controversial seat such as Buckingham, there is nothing to expect that a UKIP candidate would receive more high value rankings than his Conservative counterpart under AV to knock him out and assume his votes. To win, the UKIP candidate needs to overtake the Tory. That is the simple precondition of an UKIP AV candidate winning.

There is, of course, the possibility of an accidental victory, with a large number of Tory voters registering a protest „UKIP first‟ vote in the expectation that a majority of other Conservative voters would not. This is mathematically possible, though it would require an astonishing subconscious conspiracy to happen in the required numbers. But even then, ultimate election becomes a forlorn hope when one then considers that a final UKIP victory in this scenario relies upon near-universal UKIP second preferences amongst the remainder of the Conservative ballots, coupled with seeing a massive reluctance of Lib Dem and Labour voters to nominate the other party at least once somewhere in their rankings.

This is a long shot wrapped up in an unlikelihood and not something to base a major reform on. Even if by some miracle it was ever successful in one seat, the campaigning lesson would be learned by its competitors and it would never work again.

The Mathematics for a UKIP MP under AV
The underlying problem is that UKIP under AV can only win by overtaking either the Conservatives or Labour in a seat where the latter are not the lead party, and then capturing enough of its next preference votes to put it in the top two. In practise, this means second preferentials are won from the Conservatives or solid „Tebbit Labour‟.

But as ultimate success requires a massive preference shift from one of the two main parties to work, UKIP can‟t win under AV in a seat where Labour and the Conservatives are both the lead contenders. Realistically, since it will never take on preference votes from a majority of Lib Dem voters and not have enough in play to take over the remaining main party‟s stack, UKIP will not win in seats where the Lib Dems are the second party either.

Put into plainer English, realistically UKIP can only win a seat under AV if the Lib Dems are the lead party, in a heavily working class seat, where UKIP wins the large majority of the second preference votes in every preceding round. This is statistically an extremely tall order – especially considering (as the Queensland example shows) that main party voters are more reticent about casting second preferences to begin with.

Given likely transfers of votes, this leaves a very limited strategic game plan. Under AV, UKIP has to hope that it gains enough minor party and independent transferred support to overtake the Conservatives in third place, and then Labour in second place, to assume an outright majority of votes. The problem is that it is extremely unlikely to receive enough transferred votes from earlier knocked out candidates to carry out that overtaking.

AV just doesn‟t work out for UKIP. Instead of a third of the vote, it now needs half.
So much for the prospect of UKIP MPs under AV. But there is a detrimental impact upon the broader party. In the first instance, as already alluded to, the system of AV encourages secondary vote chasing. The successful candidate needs to build a consensus vote comprising a majority, which is not the same as forming a „right-minded‟ coalition. Candidates from both the Conservatives and the Labour party will come under the entirely natural inclination (and quite likely, pressure from their electoral agent) to appeal to the swing block. That means appealing not to UKIP, and certainly not for the 67 votes of the Buss Pass Elvis Party, but to the Liberal Democrats.

AV means reducing the importance of the European issue by increasing the relative importance of the Lib Dems. For a party whose soul lies in the fight against Brussels, this is an absolute disaster for UKIP, as indeed it is for the country at large. The problem is exacerbated under the „Cameroon‟ leadership, predicated upon consensus politics and avoiding any major showdown on or in the EU.

A Heavy Policy Price
It might take an election for this to sink in – though the existence of the coalition government may in fact accelerate the timeframe – but the cultural and ideological obligations that result will impact upon the candidates themselves. Parties will deliberately push candidates who are more appealing to third party haze, while local associations will be under increased pressure to pick people who would appeal to the second and third vote.

In practice, MPs who do get selected and elected will be increasingly those who are more acceptable to the Lib Dem voter, likely to mean far less outspoken on Europe, as on many other non-Notting Hill concerns.

What AV ends up doing therefore is worse than generating a broad church. It fosters a consensus church of the establishment, one that runs across and between all the main parties. It Europeanises British politics and makes it a tasteless centre porridge. Try as UKIP might to deny votes to an increasingly Eurobland Tory Party, the AV system itself will guarantee that the EU is just one of many considerations that decide where the electorate‟s ballot number goes. Having registered a protest with the Hospital or Bypass candidate or a dissenting vote on the EU to UKIP, other policy matters then come to the voter‟s mind. Europhile candidates with popular local policies may even find themselves more easily able to hoover up once natural UKIP votes since there are so many votes going spare.

Big Picture Problems
AV carries with it a strategic cost to the Party that also needs to be considered. The debate over second preferences forces the Party to identify more formally with either the Left or the Right, something that it has somehow so far managed to nuance, and which carries electoral damage. AV brings with it inevitable debate on what‟s second best, a debate likely to be internally fractious, electorally harmful, and impossible to keep a lid on even if devolved.

Furthermore, UKIP strategy will be seen by the press to be just about second preferences rather than creating policy answers for the country. Genuinely exciting ideas will get ignored. A party with a policy for government becomes a group of negotiators forlornly trying to pass on one or two policy ideas in return for their secondary endorsement. It removes the lustre of a party seeking power.

It is not even as if it gets the benefits that the BNP would obtain. Tactically, neither UKIP nor the BNP will get a revolutionary breakthrough in seats from a change to AV. Strategically, however, what the BNP does get is what UKIP already possesses and which it desperately craves: national credibility. The BNP has a pariah status that hinders its campaigning. It cannot overcome this by changing its structure and nature without a colossal overhaul of its personnel and structures and the passage of some considerable time (consider how the Alleanza Nationale in Italy is still even today tainted by its past associations with Mussolini-era history). Since significant reform is impossible, that only leaves the BNP with the option of applying force majeure – in other words presenting the growth of its own intrinsic voting base as proof of its reasonableness and mainstream acceptability.

AV hands this to the BNP on a plate. It means that voters who would not previously have been counted as BNP supporters would have their tallies added both to the local vote and national sum, giving overnight a bigger figure that suggests increased popular support. In particular, there is a serious threat that 10-20 seats fulfilling certain criteria would regionally become high profile BNP strongholds in a way that would put their past council successes in the shade. Seats with a highly visible and less integrated ethnic minority, with issues of cultural controversy (such as a disputed mosque building programme), and a C2/D/E workforce that has been abandoned by Labour and is never doorstepped by the other political parties, set the scene to generate enough of a protest voting block to give the BNP a plastercast electoral credibility. The threshold for a news story on the Nick Griffin threat will meanwhile be set at a fraction of that perceived for a Nigel Farage opportunity. Fear will power media interest in a BNP association that will still leave UKIP counterparts stalled.

It gets worse from UKIP‟s viewpoint. The statistics of AV and UKIP‟s baseline vote also directly lays UKIP open to the charge of being the party of default extremism, as it is the most likely party to receive a disproportionate number of next-preference BNP voters. This is absolutely not a comment on the probity of UKIP, or indeed a damning of some of its electorate; it is simply that both parties in very different ways have critical positions on some issues that hugely vex people in the country, and both are parties that challenge the establishment.

As a bare fact, protest votes rarely travel back to support the subject of the complaint, in this case the three main parties. However, this is not necessarily how the BBC will portray it.

But then there is also the cost to the Party. The jury is still out on the way the deposits system will operate under AV, which obviously could have an impact. What seems a more dangerous corollary is the risk that follows for local associations. UKIP‟s branches flourish when they mark themselves out from the local parties and absorb local branch activists. This is encouraged by the winner-takes-all system, where campaigners and voters are forced to commit themselves alike. But AV encourages passivity and even dissimulation. Rather than people leaving one of the old parties to support and campaign for change, an old party activist can continue with their membership and register a quick, anonymous, uncommitted and painless ten second protest at the ballot box. That provides no incentive for the local party to change, nor its UKIP contender the strength to grow. AV is a grassroots opiate.

The National Interest
The broader reasons for campaigning for a No will probably be more comprehensively familiar. It is bad for the country. It complicates the British electoral system by giving voters another system they have to get their heads around, a particular nuisance for those already dealing with devolved government. Voting becomes more complicated, leading to a higher spoil rate and increased frustration, together with a much higher number of ballot challenges. At the same time, recounts become vastly more difficult to administer, and form just one element of why the new form of election will slow to a crawl (which we know from 2010 can have damaging effects upon both the Markets, and the political neutrality of the civil service). Paradoxically, the shift to AV will encourage MPs operating under the new system to claim an increased mandate, resulting of all things in an increased divide between politicians and their voters. Then there is the physical cost. The Scottish Parliament demonstrated how changes will cost tens of millions of pounds, as automated ballot reading machines are needed in place of human tellers, carrying with them new maintenance and training costs, as well as storage bills since they have to be maintained in a secure environment. On top of that, there will be educational costs as the voter will inevitably be subjected to a media campaign explaining to him and to her how the new voting system works. It‟s tens of millions of Pounds of waste during a period of national cut backs, and it will be a consultant‟s nirvana.

It‟s seventh heaven for one of the political parties in particular. AV strengthens the electoral position of the Liberal Democrats, who as the centre party are the only ones placed to form the permanent member of any coalition. It therefore gifts them a permanent role in national policy-making. In turn, this makes the twenty first century the Liberal Century, since although it will always be a coalition party – and even quite possibly always the junior partner - it will be the one to have long term influence pushing a Liberal political agenda that it can incessantly guide through alliances alternatively with the Left and the Right.

But for members of a political party such as UKIP that has a more sentimental attachment to the country‟s traditions, it is more an act of constitutional vandalism. Such change endangers other existing institutions, and we are shaking up a system that has been around for centuries. The use of First Past the Post dates back to mediaeval times, when representatives were chosen by rowdy and sometimes violent acclamation. In essence, the principle reaches back into the localism of the Saxon South that Offa suppressed. By Pitt‟s time while if we enjoyed a rare democracy on the planet‟s surface it of course had its flaws. The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries correspondingly comprised the decades of reform, an era of extending the franchise, cutting corruption, and creating a national democracy. But First Past the Post remained.

Since 1997 by contrast the reformists have been a more white-coated bunch. Far from seeing the self-sacrifice of the suffragettes, we are today witnessing an obsessive experiment with nineteenth century blueprints. We are living in a period of electoral Esperanto. It‟s a long way from fighting for the rights of those deported to Australia, as we debate a muddled political retro-import from it; the obsession of a Liberal Democrat party that is careless with democracy and indifferent about sovereignty.

The Wrong Referendum
In truth we are facing completely the wrong referendum. A referendum on Lisbon was pledged and not provided; a referendum on AV is being provided when nobody wanted one. We have a broken pledge being replaced by an irrelevant promise. In providing us with this multi-million pound ethereal debate, Nick Clegg is distracting us from the very real issue of the EU. Increasingly, the British public is expressing its support for a genuine referendum on In or Out. It‟s a referendum that the Lib Dems, the archetype of the AV vote, themselves actually called for in their manifesto.

Time here is of the essence. Consider what will be taking place in the four months remaining before the referendum. In the course of that third of a year, £2.75 billion will be transferred net to the Bank of Brussels, lost for good. It will go in the form of no fewer than eight cheques, each signed off to the tune of £800 million gross every fortnight. £3 billion of new red tape will be agreed at Brussels, set out on 5,000 new documents thrown online at EUR-LEX. 300 farmers will go out of business. Some 17,000 tonnes of prime fish will be dumped dead back into the sea by English fishing vessels alone.

Time is of the essence, and debating electoral reform distracts us all from the time-pained issue of sovereignty reform.

It is not even if it is a good reform. The supporters of AV today almost universally have track record attacking it in the past – and that‟s just the people running the campaign. Nick Clegg, the Godfather of AV, famously called it a “miserable little compromise.” This is understandable when one recalls it is no more than a political fix, a compromise no one wanted (Peter Mandelson excepted: he has been consistent on the subject). As no-one‟s first choice, AV is itself the second choice vote of political reform. But it comes with a huge price tag for those who believe that the current political system does need fixing. Whether you are a supporter of AV+ or the Single Transferrable Vote, if the Yes campaign wins in the referendum there will be no further reform for a generation. The new system will need time to „bed in‟ and be tested, and there will be no appetite to make additional costly changes. If you believe that a genuine debate is needed on reforming the British electoral system, voting Yes kills that prospect; but rejecting it keeps PR on the table.

If you believe in such reform, AV is the wrong model. From the viewpoint of pure UKIP self-interest, it‟s not even Version 5.0. STV and not AV is the mechanism that would deliver UKIP seats through PR (though at a cost in terms of direct representation). AV is clearly not AV+ either, as endorsed by David Campbell-Bannerman. A form of Proportional Representation has worked for UKIP in the past, providing list member representation in London‟s elections for the GLA. But AV in London would not have delivered a single candidate: as AV‟s campaigners themselves readily admit, AV is simply not Proportional. If the failing of the current electoral system is that it doesn‟t return representatives to represent hundreds of thousands of voters, then AV doesn‟t repair it either.

Answers
When we acknowledge that British politics is broken, and that much work still needs to be done to engage the electorate and restore trust after the Expenses Scandal, we find we need a different solution. A true reform package would look at different aspects of the current systemic failure. It would review a mechanism for recall; it would suggest a format for primaries; it would allow propositions to flow from the pounded pavement; it would simplify and open up the machinery underlying MPs‟ expenses; it would, in sum, inject a serum of direct democracy into the ailing body politic.

We can still hunt for the same spirit that de Tocqueville observed in the vibrant democracy of nineteenth century America, and which flourished in the hearts of councillors and aldermen across this land until smothered by the lumpen hand of central government. But we cannot do it burdened with AV.

So what should UKIP do?

YI activist Jake Ellett has explained why he prefers the current system; the candidate that wins the most votes in their constituency wins the seat. It makes sense and overall produces strong, stable governments which of course one would think we would need in such troublesome economic times.1

Tony Hammond up in Liverpool points to the realities for UKIP under AV;
Indeed – AV is [the] system that removes the direct electoral effect of smaller parties affecting bigger ones, and their 2nd choice voter‟s preferences then move towards the bigger compromise mainstream candidate who is highly likely to be 'broad church' (liberal). In this recent election Cameron won have won under AV, as UKIP would have been eliminated, and their 2nd preferences would have went to the Tory candidates in the marginals.

Tim Aker wisely had this to say;
But on the referendum question next May, I would hazard a guess that the majority of members want to keep the First Past the Post (FPTP) system because of its simplicity, its clarity and maybe perhaps it‟s the simplest to understand. Better the devil you know, eh? Sadly, FPTP makes it very difficult for UKIP to break through which is why we should be for PR – which AV is certainly not.

There is sense in all of this. Logically, strategically, morally, and even out of enlightened self-interest, AV is completely the wrong choice for UKIP, and for Eurosceptic campaigners generally.

Many of its members will support First Past the Post on basic principle, and would be torn if the Party chose a different route. Others support major electoral change, but in a different form, in which case there is an opportunity for them to trail blaze as part of the campaign saying No to AV, Yes for Reform.

But AV itself is the wrong debate, at the wrong time, with the wrong interlocutors. We should be talking about how to sort out the national debt, about quitting the EU, and whether we should localise government and introduce PR.

Joining the No campaign gives UKIP a chance to increase its moral authority, to rough up one of its opponents in Government, and – auspiciously – to unite in a morale-boosting engagement.
Is it such a difficult decision to make?

Friday, 11 February 2011

IF PETER HITCHENS WAS PM - IF ONLY

A couple or so minutes of your time will be wll spent watching this Peter Hitchens video. If he was our Prime Minister he would take us out of the EU. You have to vote UKIP to get that ideal scenario.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A GLORIOUS MOMENT OR DAMP POLITICAL SQUIB

The Houses of Parliament, sovereign or not.

Without realising it, most people going about their daily lives may not be aware that today, the 10th February 2011, could be a significant day in the history of our Parliament and our relationship with the European Union. However, using caution, the word ‘could’ is of importance as it all depends on how much our elected politicians actually care about our democracy and the authority of the Houses of Parliament to make the sovereign laws of Britain for the very people they were elected to represent.

Today, as I write this posting for this blog, our Members of Parliament are debating the issue of giving prisoners the vote. So, you may ask, why is such a matter of significance? Like many major issues in history, they often have humble and fairly insignificant beginnings, but develop into making a historically important point. The point of this issue then is the power, sovereignty and authority of Parliament to govern this nation and be the ultimate law making body for the British people, or is it merely a subservient body obeying instructions handed down to it from an unelected authority based in foreign lands.

Back in 1959, when the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) came into being, Britain was one of the many nations which had signed up to abide by the courts decisions in Strasbourg. Like our joining of the Common Market (now the EU) in 1973, the people themselves were not consulted; it was decided by our politicians who subsequently ratified these treaties. In fact, in 1951 not even Parliament itself had a say in this matter as the Cabinet at that time made this decision and rammed it through.

Now, all these years later, our Parliament has to decide whether or not to abide by a decision made by the ECHR to give prisoner in the UK the right to vote in elections, or not. If they choose to stand by the principal that Parliament is the ultimate authority making laws in this land and refuse to abide by the ECHR’s decision, then that not only brings us into conflict with the court, which is not part of the EU or one of its institutions, but also with the EU as part of the Lisbon Treaty which Gordon Brown sneakily signed us up to. Thanks to the Lisbon Treaty we are obliged to obey the ECHR and the EU as well.

If, by a remote chance our Members of Parliament show some backbone and vote against giving prisoners the vote, then this could open up a real EU hornets’ nest as we are supposed to do as the EU instructs, not make our own sovereign decisions – and its decision on this matter is we obey the ECHR.

So, if the MPs in Parliament vote against giving prisoners the vote then we will find ourselves in conflict with both the ECHR and the EU, both of which will then feel they have the right and the power to inflict heavy fines upon the British Government, which in reality is the fining of the people as it is their ill afforded taxes which will pay the fines. However, if Parliament has made this decision it will also have the right to demand by what authority does the ECHR and the EU have to fine our Government as they are the sovereign power of the land and should not be inflicted with fines from unelected and outside bodies for not complying with their rules.

In answer to this the ECHR will come back with the fact a past British Government has signed up to abide by the decisions of the ECHR which gives it the right to fine us, then the EU will pile in with the fact that another British (Quisling) Government signed the accession to the Treaty of Rome in 1972 and all subsequent treaties which has seen a shift from a Common Market to a quasi European state with the Lisbon Treaty being the last a previous Government signed. What a pickle.

This then comes to the crux of the whole issue, will our Government have the balls to abide by the decisions made in our sovereign Parliament and inform the ECHR and the EU they can shove their fines where the sun does not shine, or will they meekly cave in, pay the massive fines inflicted for our brief temerity to behave like a democratic and free nation and then allow prisoners the vote?

What also happens if the Government stands firm on this issue, will it, as Nigel Farage the UKIP leader suggests, have to hold a referendum or will it bring our long, sad and unhappy involvement with the ant-democratic EU to an end, much to the joy and celebrations of the British people. Are we heading for a glorious moment in history or a damp political squib? We wait and see.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

TO AV OR NOT TO AV, THAT IS THE QUESTION

Will we, won’t we on May 5th this year? The question being will we or won’t we be voting to change our voting system in the referendum on this issue which the Government is desperately trying to organise for the same day as that of the local elections. However, it all depends on the House of Lords and a perilously close electoral deadline.

Why is there a need to change our voting system which has served us well and given this country stability for a very long period? That is the sort of question which could have been asked about votes for women, or before that when only property owners were allowed to vote. So there is always need for change and evolution, but these things should be weighed up carefully and change is not made just for the sake of change itself – especially if what we already have works well.

Currently our Parliamentary and Council elections are all conducted under our traditional first past the post voting system (FPP). Elections to the European and Scottish Parliaments, also to the Welsh Assembly, are made by the proportional representation voting system (PR).

FPP is good in the fact it usually gives a clear victory for the winning candidates and political parties. It is thanks to this system we can hold a General Election on a Thursday and see a new Government in office by Friday afternoon. The last General Election which did not give a clear mandate to either the Labour or Conservative parties was an anomaly, resulting in Britain’s first coalition Government since the end of World War Two in 1945.

The big problems with FPP are not everyone’s vote counts; also Governments can be elected into office on a minority vote. If you are Conservative voter living in a strong Labour constituency or ward, you can vote Tory until you are blue in the face and probably never see a Conservative candidate elected. There are occasional exceptions, I lived in Walsall North at the time John Stonehouse did a Reggie Perrin and saw a Tory elected on the most slender of margins in the subsequent by-election. There was also Martin Bell knocking Neil Hamilton off what should have been a very safe Tory perch. So FPP is not always as safe as some candidates would like, but without a 1997 type landslide these instances are rare – the real shake up comes with boundary changes which can turn a red seat blue or vice versa.


The other snag with FPP is the fact the candidate with the highest number of votes wins. If for instance four candidates are standing for election and they collectively get 1000 votes, if candidate A gets 350 votes, candidate B 225, candidate C 215 and candidate D 210, candidate A wins with 350 votes although 650 voters have voted for another candidate. This is how Tony Blair was allowed to continue his Prime Ministerial wrecking spree with only 25% of the national vote for the Labour Party.

One of the advantages of FPP and a disadvantage for PR is, as mentioned, the usual clear victory given to one of the competing political parties which avoids coalition governments. The problem with coalition’s minor parties can have an impact way beyond the size of their vote. Most of the countries in Europe vote by PR and you often see long drawn out negotiations after elections before a government is formed, in some cases weeks go by. Added to that, you often see some otherwise minor political party bring a government down by withdrawing their support for a very tenuous coalition. FPP definitely gives the sort of stability which Britain has enjoyed for a very long period.

Then too are the options on PR. The option we will be presented with on the 5th May, as long as their Lordships don’t bugger it up, will be the alternative vote system (AV), although many, especially in UKIP, have a preference for AV plus. Under AV the voters will be asked to vote for their first, second and third preference candidates. For those like me who can only vote UKIP as none of the other parties are worth my vote, I will only be able to vote once. Others may give an odd array of first, second and third votes. There will then follow a complex system where the second and third choice votes are transferred from one candidate to another until the victors are announced. The outcome from all this will be the possibility of election counts taking a day or two before a result is given, the three party system will still exist as this system will not favour the smaller parties, and the Liberal Democrats will most likely be ‘Kingmakers’ for all time to come as they form coalitions with whoever offers them the best bribes. One time they may be in a Parliamentary bed with the Tories, another with Labour.


UKIP’s attitude to the AV system is, we don’t particularly like it but it may give us an opportunity. This voter is still very much undecided, but for the sake of stability and clear Government, even though I will most probably loathe everything that Government does following its orders from the EU, I am currently leaning towards remaining with FPP.

As mentioned in this posting, it all depends on the Lords. On Monday the 7th February 2011 the Peers voted by 219 to 218 to require a 40 per cent turnout for the result of a referendum to be binding, a low turnout will make the result null and void. However, the Commons can overturn this vote and if it is on the statute books by the 16th February then it will go ahead for the 5th May. If the Lords, or the Commons slow it down and they miss that deadline, then the combined referendum and local election vote is off – it will be just the locals taking place – by first past the post of course.

The decision we will all have to make, possibly sooner than later, is to AV or not to AV, now that is a question.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A POLITICAL COMMODITY

Three weeks ago I changed my car, as you may remember from my rant about the price of temporary motor insurance. In that time I have managed to clock up 2000 miles in my new motor chasing here there and everywhere, including two trips to North Wales sorting out the sale of my late mother’s house, and subsequently a burst pipe which has done considerable damage in the house.

Because of all the time I have spent on the road, sadly, time for blogging has been a bit limited, especially yesterday as I spent a couple of very interesting hours with the staff and students in Walsall College at their annual Students Conference.

This was the third Students Conference I have been invited to. At the first one they did a Dimbleby style ‘Question Time’ with a line up of Walsall political activists, including the then Walsall South MP Bruce George. Last year the local politicians were lined up again to perform in front of the students who fired a range of questions to us, but yesterday was different – I was it politically speaking.

The only person to be invited from any of the active political groups in Walsall was me, no MP, no Councillors and no other activists, just Bennett of UKIP. It was a strange event as a group of twelve people from all different organisations had been lined up to talk to the students on a range of topics and issues, which was done on speed dating lines.

There were twelve circular tables with a group of ten to twelve students on each table, all were numbered and those of us invited along were allocated a starting table where we spoke to the students for five minutes then we moved on to the next table until we had spoken to all the students on every table. At the end of it all we were then expected to speak on three main topics which came out of our meeting with the students.

Not fully knowing what to expect before I turned up, I plonked myself down at my first table to a group of blank faces all looking expectantly at me. “Hello”, I said, “I’m your politician for the day” – more blank looks. “Any questions for me?” I asked, getting a bit desperate by now. “What political party are you with?” one student asked. We were off and I explained about UKIP and its aims and why I had been attracted to it after years of voting unquestioningly and loyally for another political party.

The three issues came through pretty quickly as I moved around the room doing my five minutes at each table. One, they were mightily pissed off with the Liberal Democrats who had done a volte face on tuition fees. An add on to that was the message loud and clear: politicians lie. They learn fast in Walsall. Two, why bother voting when it makes no difference, and three, we don’t know what the political parties stand for.

Trying to impress them that UKIP, which also had a policy on scrapping tuition fees, unlike the Lib Dems, would honour that promise was not easy – I got some sceptical looks on that one. In fact, the actions and U-turn on this issue could mean the Liberal Democrats have done a great deal of damage to democracy regarding our future voters. A number of them had used their votes for the very first time in 2010 and voted Lib Dem on the basis of that promise. Now the promise is broken they were extremely upset and voiced their opinion that they have voted once, it got them nowhere so what’s the point of voting again in the future – the Lib Dems have a great deal to answer regarding that one.

Being the one and only political activist on the day was a strange experience, although I am biased politically as I am 100 per cent UKIP, I had to try and take a neutral stance on many things. When summing up at the end I told the students that if they felt let down by the broken promised of one party, then don’t give up on voting, but try another party next time, especially the smaller parties such as UKIP if they really want to shake the three main political parties up. I said they wouldn’t go out and buy a mobile phone without knowing what they were buying, but sadly many people go and vote in elections without realising what they are voting for. I urged them to look at the web-sites and policies of the various parties and choose the best one for their needs, which may change next time. It is time the people of Britain stopped voting tribally, as I once did, and begin to look at political parties and what they offer as they would any other commodity they are investing in. Sadly, so many people just vote for one party continuously more as an act of faith than for what they really want, or need. I am now a political commodity and without doubt, as a UKIP candidate, I am offering you the best deal you are going to get – your county and democracy back.

Friday, 4 February 2011

EU CENSUS

No2ID, which is the extremely effective campaigning group set up to challenge the introduction of identity cards,which also camaigns against the Big Brother state and the data-base state, has included in its latest bulletin to its campaigners and members the item on the census which is due to take place this year, as shown below.

What's in store for the census?
The 2011 census is set to be the most intrusive yet, so when in July the government announced plans to scrap the UK census it sounded like an announcement of less state intrusion. In reality it is anything but.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) website points out that the UK is "an active participant" in an EU Census Legislation Task Force. In 2008 the European Parliament approved a Council Census Regulation, the ONS website states: "The Framework Regulation is intended to be a permanent piece of legislation concerned with establishing common rules for the decennial provision of comprehensive population and housing data to be collected from traditional census taking or from alternative sources such as surveys and registers, or from combinations of such sources". The information gathered in the 2011 census will be shared across all 27 Member States of the EU.

RAISING SECURITY LEVELS

Its Friday and time for a bit of humour. This is from an e-mail that has been doing the rounds, you may have already seen it, but if not I hope you enjoy it.

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bast---s.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far, no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

WHEN THE MOANERS AND GROANERS WILL FIND IT IS TOO LATE

Little by little, bit by bit, quietly and stealthily, we are being led like lambs to the slaughter into a highly regulated and controlled European police state. As the months and years pass we find that the state is encroaching into our lives ever more, the freedoms and liberties we take so much for granted and expect as our right by being born British are slipping away, in fact our right to consider ourselves to be British is being eroded too as we are all now classed as “European citizens”.

For most nothing seems to change much, our daily lives go on as normal, there are little niggles as our dustbins, of which we used to have one bin everything went into, have now grown into an odd assortment of green, brown, grey and other colours, all of which we have to feed with different types of waste, and woe betide the poor bugger who puts the wrong rubbish in the wrong bin. When they go to the pub for a beer to console themselves for falling foul of the local council rubbish laws they can’t light up indoors because of rules on smoking in public places, and when they get their wages they shudder at the amount of tax they are paying, that is if they haven’t been made redundant because their company has up-sticks, taken an EU grant and has gone to set up in one of the Eastern European countries. All these niggles, and more, are all thanks to our long, sad and pointless membership of the EU – but most just don’t realise it and the silly buggers still vote for the three political parties that have created the problem by being EU compliant and are happy to give away their right to govern to the unelected in the EU.

Now, those long suffering souls who may moan and groan about these intrusions into their lives, but do nothing about them, will soon find that every time they travel all their personal details will be collected and recorded and made accessible to all EU police forces and the unaccountable Europol. These foreign law enforcement agencies will have the full details of their credit cards, bank accounts, telephone numbers, home address and just about every other bit of personal information that most would not want known by anyone other than those they trust. Because of new EU rules coming in hundreds, if not thousands, of foreign nationals across Europe will have access to all this information – the opportunity for fraudsters and criminals will be like opening the doors of the Bank of England and saying: “Help yourselves” (that has already been done!)

Along with the indignity of the European Arrest warrant, the creation of Europol, the erosion of British law to be replaced stealthily by EU law, we are losing everything and one day the moaners and groaners who voted for those who consistently betrayed them, instead of UKIP, will find they have no freedom and their country is no more – then it will be too late.

If you have some time on your hands and would like to see, in four parts, a debate that Torquil Dick Erickson took part in, click on the links below. Torquil was the man who first exposed the threat of EU law replacing Habeas Corpus.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-HzMDO58MQ Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX0znWdpPjg Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxloF2yxiVo Part 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0_i6iaA6LE Part 4

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

IF YOU LIVE IN WOLVERHAMPTON, THEN WRITE

George West, the very active Chairman of the Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB), has a request to all those who live within the Parliamentary constituency of Wolverhampton North East. During the fifth day of the Committee stage of the European Union Bill, Emma Reynolds who is the Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton North East, stated:

“Since I was elected in May, not one of my constituents has raised this issue with me. I believe that the next general election will be won on the basis of the economy, jobs and the NHS, and I believe that this Government are putting those things at risk. They are what will be at stake in the next election, not the European Union.”

Does this lady not realise that all the issues she raises such as the NHS, our economy and jobs are all affected and placed at risk by the European Union? Is she so dim to the threat that EU membership brings its new rules on the financial markets could utterly destroy the City of London as a major financial market? If that goes thanks to the EU wrecking it she will soon realise what unemployment means – and the dire implications for our economy.

It seems that it is way past time this Europhile Member of Parliament had more than a few letters to point these obvious things out to her, the more the better. Even better still the more she gets from her own constituents the more effect it will have. She is not obliged to reply to none constituents, but she will be concerned if they live in her Parliamentary patch. If you live in Wolverhampton North East then get writing, better still, tell her you are going to vote UKIP as you don’t like her pro-EU stance. Click on this link for her contact details.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

DOH!

The M6 Toll, a white elephant. Photo by Adrian Bailey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Filling a car from empty to full is a fiscally painful experience these days. You may remember a week or two back I wrote about changing my very tidy Rover for another car and the expense of getting temporary insurance for the Rover. Fortunately, it was not needed as I sold it the day after I picked up my new car, which is a diesel, a fuel which costs even more than petrol these days. Filling my new car, which has a bigger tank, is far from cheap, so the last thing anyone wants is even more motoring expence.

Yesterday (31st January 2011) proved to be a long day as it was the only day my brother and I could get together to travel to North Wales to see the solicitor dealing with the sale of our late mothers house and probate, then on the evening it was off to Leamington Spa to set up a new UKIP branch in the town – this meant a lot of miles in one day.

We set off before 6.30 am and in Betys-Y-Coed for 8.30 am for a welcome coffee, then off to Dolwyddelan to check the house and see those we know in the shop who were good friends to our mother, then by 10 am in the Solicitors office to sort out the paperwork and a few other matters, stop off on the way back in Telford to drop off some UKIP stuff to a UKIP activist, return home then out again to Leamington and finally home around 11 pm last night. Now imagine doing that and the additional cost if our roads were tolled – I shudder at the thought.

After the news of the M6 Toll, which is a white elephant if ever there was one, West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass, has commented that more cash-strapped car owners and hard-pressed hauliers will be forced to steer clear of this under-utilised M6 Toll as the cost of using the road is set to rise again next month.

The UKIP MEP, who is a member of the EU’s Transport and Tourism Committee, says the decision to hike toll charges could prove a costly mistake as motorists are already feeling the pinch thanks to the spiralling cost of fuel at the pumps.

Midland Expressway Ltd has announced that new increased toll prices will apply on the 27-mile route from 6am on March 1.

But, Mr Nattrass says the move is a major slap in the face for motorists, businesses and hauliers who will be priced off the M6 Toll and onto alternative free routes.

From March 1, car drivers will pay £5.30 (up from £5) to use the road and HGV drivers will see the cost rise from £10 to a whopping £10.60.

Commenting on hikes, UKIP Transport spokesman Mike Nattrass said "The AA was right to say the toll increase could ‘backfire’. This road was designed to relieve the M6 through Birmingham by diverting traffic and in the most part this will not happen if these charges exist.

"Taxes on the motorist are high enough without charging for use of public roads. This is a step back to the Middle Ages when the Barons would charge those who had the nerve to travel though their land.

“Last year, a damning report by the Campaign for Better Transport, said the privately financed toll road had proved to be bad news for drivers, for the West Midlands and indeed bad news for the investors in the Toll itself,” said Mr Nattrass.

“These toll charge increases will add to the woes for motorists and hauliers who will just avoid the road completely. Let’s not forget the Toll was initially designed to be a relief road.

“Midlands Expressway Ltd says the Toll offers an 'excellent driver experience'. That’s because there is hardly any traffic as few vehicles use this expensive road and instead use roads such as the congested A5.

“But, despite this the EU wants to extend the toll motorways network under its European Electronic Toll Service Directive (EETS). The whole idea is to learn from mistakes and not repeat them.

“British motorways should remain in public ownership and using rail more for the transport of goods would go some way towards tackling pollution and congestion on our roads,”

Someone should tell our Government and the interfering EU that the very reason the A5 is so congested is because the drivers that would find it quicker and easier to use the motorway can’t afford to do so, hence a deserted and underused motorway and a clogged A5. As Homer Simpson would say: “Doh!”