Monday, 27 February 2012

The not so special relationship

Last week this blog had a posting regarding the then imminent unfair extradition of Christopher Tappin to the USA, based on what looks some very unsound evidence, as you can see in the posting below. At the time of this posting Christopher Tappin has been hauled off to the USA, forced to dress in a bright orange prison jump suit and manacled. He now awaits an uncertain future.


Although this fiasco was put in place by Tony Blair during his disastrous time as our hard Labour Prime Minister, Christopher Tappin now firmly and squarely blames his plight on the Conservative Party and its useless, two faced, lying Prime Minister, David (don't trust my promises) Cameron. Nigel Farage of UKIP has spoken out in defence of Christopher Tappin.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

TIME TO PROTECT ONE OF OUR OWN

Spot the difference, two people are threatened with extradition for alleged criminal offences. One, who has a conviction for using a fake passport and is suspected of links to terrorist organisations is threatened with extradition to Jordan on terrorism charges and has been living off the state on benefits, the other is a tax paying member of society who ran an export business, is also a golf club president and a respected member of society who is now awaiting extradition to the USA on charges of supplying arms to Iran.

The difference is, according to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, is one has human rights whilst the other does not. The one who the BBC states on its web-site: “Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Othman, is one of the most influential Islamist clerics in Europe, supporting jihadist causes. British judges have described him as truly dangerous". The ECHR thinks he should be protected from extradition as it would violate his human rights. The other, 67 year old Christopher Tappin, whose most dangerous activity so far has been a dodgy golf swing, according to the ECHR can be deported as his human rights, it seems, do not apply. One is protected from the Jordanian courts whilst the other is not protected from one of the most brutal prisons in the USA in Texas.

This highlights not only the complete abandonment of the British people by all past Governments since Heath, especially the shameful Government led by Tony Blair who was quite happy to place every single British subject at the mercy of both the European Arrest Warrant and also a one-sided extradition treaty with the USA. It is this treaty that now entitles the USA to demand the arrest of any British subject, such as Christopher Tappin, leaving them at the total mercy of foreign courts without any protection from the very the British Government whose duty it should be to protect them.

The British people have been shamefully abandoned, and David Cameron should also be shammed by this as it it has yet again highlighted one more of his growing list of broken promises. Before he was elected into office he promised to repeal this treaty with the USA but has not done so, leaving Mr Tappin to the mercy of the US judicial system and the threat of facing the rest of his life in prison if he refuses to plea bargain.

As most readers will know, Christopher Tappin, who retired in 2008, has been accused by the USA of illegally supplying Iran with five industrial batteries which, according to the US prosecutors, were key components of the Hawk Air Defence Missile which was being sold without government permission. Mr Tappin states that they were sold for use in the car industry and had no reason to suspect they had a military use.

In the days when British Governments saw it as their duty to protect British subjects, any country demanding the extradition of any British person were expected to have substantial proof of criminal activity, without such evidence that person would not be extradited. Now the USA and the EU can come along and snatch anyone they like from their homes and families in the UK, haul them off to whatever injustice awaits, and our Government can do little other than wring its hands, make excuses and bleating noises as to why they can’t intervene, while at the same time they have obey the ECHR because it is enshrined in the unelected EU's Lisbon Treaty which instructs our leaders to protect none British people who are in the country illegally who have no loyalty to the UK and may even wish British subjects harm.

If Christopher Tappin declares his innocence, he can be held in a Texas prison for up to two years before going to court. Two years in one of these tough Texas institutions can be as good as a death sentence as they are violent places. If he is found guilty he will get a life sentence which means he will never be free again. If, as he states, is innocent of all charges made against him but declares his guilt to the court in Texas and goes for plea bargaining, he will have a criminal record for life but may only get two years in prison. Such a system is stacked against the truly innocent in the USA and for the sake of his human rights the British Government should revoke this grossly unfair treaty with the USA and do what it is supposed to do and protect Christopher Tappin who is one of our own.

Monday, 20 February 2012

TOTAL SURVEILLANCE

The campaigning orgnanisation, No2ID, which has been opposing the possible introduction of ID cards and the data-base state, has reported that the Government is on the verge of announcing a plan to force internet service providers to keep records of all browsing, email, gaming and chat use, and to make those records available to the authorities. This is a revival of an old plan, last publicly considered during the previous Labour administration. Both Coalition parties claimed to be doubtful in opposition. In January 2010 the Conservatives promised a review that would "develop a clear statement of purpose for each [Government database] in line with the principles of proportionality and necessity".

This scheme amounts in part to a huge extension of something already in place, the Data Retention Directive, which NO2ID and many other groups continue to oppose, and which was forced by the Home Office through EU institutions, evading parliamentary control. The other part accounts for the common estimates of a £2 Billion cost to the public purse: installing equipment to get at the data at the touch of a button.


As well as opposing this plan, NO2ID is calling for a revision of the legislation surrounding surveillance, to require a judicial warrant and reasonable suspicion of actual crimes. Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 dozens of organisations (including quangos and government departments) have the power to access the limited communications data already collected, and need only their own authority to do so. The existing powers are used more than half a million times a year.

Guy Herbert, General Secretary of NO2ID said: “It looks like the Home Office is setting out to leapfrog China and gain the UK an unenviable position as the most monitored society in history. The automatic recording and tracing of everything done online by anyone - of almost all our communications and much of our personal lives, shopping and reading - just in case it might come in useful to the authorities later, is beyond the dreams of any past totalitarian regime, and beyond the current capabilities of even the most oppressive states.

“The vague assertion that all this is needed to deal with the usual bogeyman, terrorism, is worthless. It is hard to imagine any threat that is serious enough to justify it. But something that aims to make surveillance easy will create a demand for surveillance. Unless it is subject to proper controls from the beginning, then the pretexts for access will multiply. That would mean the end of privacy.”

Sunday, 19 February 2012

IN THE TELEGRAPH

On a regular basis I write letters to the Daily Telegraph, and on very rare occasions one actually gets printed, and Saturday 18th February was one of those rare times.

I don't usually buy the Telegraph on a Saturday as I object to paying extra for a load of inserts and magazines that just get thrown away when all I want is the newspaper itself, so it was not until Sunday did I realise my letter, which is below, was used. It was short but to the point, so read on:

Undemocratic Greece
SIR – Richard Laming (Letters, February 17) considers that Greece does not have to ask permission to leave the EU, as it can do so of its own volition. Has he asked Lucas Papademos, the unelected Greek prime minister, if he would be prepared to take this logical step?

A former vice-president of the European Central Bank, Mr Papademos appears to be the EU’s placeman in Greece. So whom will he obey, the people of Greece who never had the opportunity to vote for him, or his old masters in the EU?

Derek Bennett
Walsall, Staffordshire.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

HS2, NOT IMPRESSED

Joe Rukin of Stop HS2 speaking at the UKIP 2011 party conference.

Here’s a question: how can you be wright and wrong at the same time? Answer, when your name is Jeremy Wright and you are the Member of Parliament for Kenilworth & Southam, which, thanks to his two-tone Con-Lib Government, will find in a few years from now will have high speed trains thundering through this historic landscape.

The reason for mentioning this Government Whip is due to the fact he was one of the speakers at a ‘Stop HS2' public meeting in Kenilworth last night (13th February 2012), which I attended. The venue for the meeting, the Kenilworth Sports and Social Club, was rammed packed with concerned residents from all around the area. A number of them let it be known that they are going to not only be seriously affected by this EU motivated (TEN-T) trainline, but blighted by it too as the value of their properties will plummet due to the proximity of their homes to the track.

One of the main speakers of the night was ‘Stop HS2’ campaigner Joe Rukin who made an impressive speech at the UKIP 2011 conference in Eastbourne. He was once again on top form and presented a very sound case against HS2. He pointed out that the footprint of the track will be much larger than that shown on any maps due the added disruption in a wide area created over the many years it will take to construct the track. He pointed out that despite several changes to the route, some quite substantial, the projected cost never varies, how can that be?

HS2 is a lunatic idea which will benefit no one but cost us all a lot. Not only will it cost us an extremely large sum of money, which in these economically lean times we cannot afford, as pointed out it will also cost many their homes as well as many historic sites and buildings. One such building which could be in danger and there is a great deal of concern about is Island House in Birmingham, which may have to be bulldozed, all because a walkway will have to be built from Birmingham New Street station to Curzon Street where the high speed trains will terminate – they don’t even connect to the main train lines.

Jeremy Wright pointed out that when the vote on HS2 took place in Parliament, out of the 650 Members only fifty of them voted against, leaving 600 either in favour or ambiguous to HS2. I managed to make the point from the floor that if people vote UKIP every elected UKIP MP will be against HS2. I also let them know that our West Midland UKIP MEP, Mike Nattrass, has been campaigning against HS2 from the word go, which was also pointed out by Joe Rukin who commented that UKIP had been against it before them.

One chap from the back of the room showed his anger and challenged Jeremy Wright by asking him that if he was so opposed to HS2, then why did he not resign his position as a Government Whip? Flim-flam followed and the angry young man was not impressed, nor can I say I was too. The campaign goes on and legal challenge is to be made, Stop2HS will need donations to help them with this, maybe you can help.

TROIKA IN GREECE

Once again Nigel Farage MEP, the leader of UKIP, speaks in the lions den of the European Parliament and give the EU the truth of its folly right between the eyes.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

STARVING FOR THE EURO

There are times on this blog when there is a substantial gap in postings, this can be for varying reasons. Sometimes it is because I am too bone idle to get off my fat arse and make the effort, other times because too many other things have been taking my limited time and blogging becomes a luxury I do not have a spare moment for, and others because my brain goes dead and I sit in front of a blank page and wonder what to write about that has not already been covered in the press, and by other, more capable, bloggers than myself.

These then are my excuses for being AWOL on this blog for the last week, mostly due to not being able to find the time, with a bit of ‘it’s been covered by others anyway’, thrown in.

A lot has been happening in the disintegrating world of the EU while I have been absent, Greece is going to hell in an EU handcart and its people rioting as more severe austerity measure are being approved, there has been a bit of sabre rattling between the UK and Argentina over the Falkland Islands due to Dave sending one of our few remaining Royal Navy ship there. Sadly, if the Argies really went for it the Falkland Islanders would be really stuffed as both Labour and Tory Governments have been systematically destroying our military capability since the last conflict there.

There was also a snippet regarding a cock-up made by the last Labour Government, it seems that they have given our British rights to the Antarctic to Scotland, which is saying they will not hand them back if Scotland becomes fully independent (you have to weep). Also, some leading SUN journalists have been arrested in raids upon their homes due to the ongoing ‘hacking’ scandal, leaving many to wonder about a threat to the freedom of the press. The news goes on, especially in Greece.

When you do look at the news and all that is going on, you never have to dig very far to see how the EU often affects things. If there had been no folly of creating a nation called ‘Europe’ and the euro had not existed, then the Greeks would not have been a rich nation but by having their own currency and being in charge of their own economy they would not be in the dire mess that has now overtaken them. Sadly, Greece is once again falling under the rule of Germany which is doing everything it can to save the failing euro, and if the Greeks have to suffer, so be it –as far as Angela Merkel and the EU is concerned, the euro comes above all else, including the well being of the people of the struggling countries. We are all sure they will be quite happy to lose their homes, savings and starve just to ensure the euro survives!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

WE CAN LEAVE THE EU

If you have a spare fiteen minutes or so, this video, put together by UKIP MEP Trevor Colman and his team is very informative.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE VETO?

Nigel Farage, the active leader of UKIP and Member of the sham European Parliament, lets rip again. Well worth watching.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

IN MY DREAMS

Derek Bennett, dreaming of an end to road tolls.

Since October 2011, when the office I work in moved from Birmingham to Hampton in Arden, I changed from pounding up, or rather crawling up, the M6 every day to using the train.

The office move meant an extra 30 miles travelling a day, if I had driven my journey from home in Walsall to Hampton would have risen from a twenty mile round trip to fifty miles there and back. Now I get in the car, tootle three miles to the station where there is free parking, and when buying my single train ticket I flash my Senior Rail card, which all old farts over 60 such as myself can purchase, and travel to Hampton for the grand total of £2.45. I travel home for free with my senior bus pass which can be used on all local transport after 9.30 am.

I boast about this so much to those less fortunate who have to pay the full, over-priced, charge, that I have even had a dream about being on a train and telling all about the wonders of my Senior Rail card and bus pass – how sad is that!

What is even sadder is the cost of driving, which of course I still do as man cannot travel by public transport alone. For those who think the cost of petrol is a rip-off, then you should look at the price of diesel which many of us who drive diesel cars have to pay – it is eye wateringly expensive. The one good thing about driving in Britain was the fact we could use our roads for free as long as we had up to date car insurance, MOT and road fund licence – that was until a British Government decided to comply with the EU’s Ten-T project and make our much needed M6 Northern Relief road, which was planned to take a great deal of pressure of the heavily congested M6 around Walsall and Birmingham, especially between junction 9 to the M54, into a toll road.

Naturally, this means that drivers are being asked to pay again, now quite substantially, to use a road their taxes have already paid for. Also naturally, drivers decided they paid more than enough in fuel duty, which has the insult of VAT on top of it making it a tax upon a tax, so they refused to use it and the road operators failed to generate the revenue they need so they put their prices up, which meant that those that did use it decided enough was enough and a number moved over to the congested M6.

Because the M6 toll has been such a flop the Government then had to spend £millions upgrading the M6 around Walsall, and soon to spend £millions more on the congested stretch from the M42 to junction nine. If the M6 toll had been a proper relief road and not tolled, then our taxpayer’s money would not have been needed for these M6 improvements.

Now our West Midlands UK Independence Party MEP, Mike Nattrass, has called for the M6 Toll to be nationalised following an announcement that charges to use the road are to rise again from the 1st March.

Mike, who is a member of the EU’s Transport & Tourism Committee, has called on the Government to buy back the M6 Toll and put it back into public ownership following news that charges to use the under-utilised 27-mile long route are to be hiked despite new figures showing the number of vehicles using the road had fallen by more than 10 per cent.

Midland Expressway Ltd (MEL), the company that runs the Toll, has announced that car drivers will be charged £5.50 (up 20p) and lorry drivers be have to fork out £11 (a rise of 40p) to use the route from March 1.

These rises will be implemented despite new figures revealing that more and more motorists are avoiding the route and the escalating toll charges. Data produced by MEL reported average daily traffic was 34,286 between October and December 2011 compared with 38,405 during the same period in 2010.

Commenting on these traffic figures and the forthcoming toll increases, Mike Nattrass said it was time for the Government to take action and nationalise the road.

He said: “The M6 Toll, which was designed to be a relief road, has been an abject failure. Figures show fewer and fewer vehicles are using this road but despite this trend MEL, which posted £49 million losses last summer, will be hitting motorists with increased toll charges from March.

“More and more money is being put into expensive upgrades to the M6 as a consequence of M6 Toll’s failure.

“Despite this failure, the EU wants to repeat the mistake elsewhere in this country by extending the toll network under its European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) Directive.

“It is time for the Government to step in, buy back the road and put it back into public ownership. This costly white elephant should be put out of its misery for the good of motorists and the West Midlands region as a whole.

“Our roads should be free to use and remain in public ownership. It is time for the Government to act. What is the value of a road that makes a loss?”

Every evening when I step off the train, I look over to the congestion on the motorway nearby where the M5 and M6 join and think, I’m glad I’m not sitting in that lot – I wonder if I will dream about that to? I certainly dream about the M6 toll being free to use and our Walsall congestion reduced.