Monday, 27 December 2010

A Clean Bill of Health?

Why health Spending and Good Health Care are Not Necessarily the Same Thing.

We are constantly told that the NHS is under-funded and that the more we spend on it the better our health will be. I used to believe it, of course, but nowadays after a lot of experience and reflection I regard the whole issue as being far more complicated.
The best health care does not necessarily take place in the most expensive modern hospitals. Gleaming new buildings, using vast amounts of lighting and heating 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, are expensive for the tax-payer. But I don’t believe that they can make up for long, difficult journeys to hospital from areas where the older, smaller hospitals were shut down. NHS managers earn vast salaries but I don’t believe they can make up for doctors who are depressed and demoralized by the amount of managerial bureaucracy they have to deal with in the course of their work.
State-of-the-art equipment can save lives, but can it make up for the loss of that vocational, dedicated attitude to their work which doctors and nurses used to have? Nowadays hospitals are usually staffed with agency nurses, or hastily-recruited foreign nurses and doctors with dubious qualifications and inadequate understanding of English. All of that has a negative impact on the quality of care. Fourteen highly paid and well-equipped professionals saw baby Peter Conolly before he died yet they failed to save him.
The cost of funding the NHS has mounted astronomically since it was founded. The model for the NHS was the simple system run by the old railway companies, whereby employees paid a few pennies per week for medical insurance. That medical insurance did not include heart-transplants, family planning, fertility treatment, hip replacement operations or gastric bands. Those are modern inventions. Nor did it include vaccination against measles and flu, or treatment for drug-abusers, or HIV sufferers. In 1945 it was widely believed that a dose of antibiotics would cure any disease. So the notion of a simple, national health insurance scheme was not problematical.
Since then, the funding has risen from millions to billions, and the health service is caught up in a seemingly endless spiral of mounting cost. The pharmaceutical companies have invented thousands of new and ever more expensive drugs, and as soon as they are invented, the NHS is expected to buy them. Most of the drugs we buy now did not exist in 1945 and cost from ten to a hundred times as much as their predecessors. This creates moral and evaluative dilemmas. Who is to say whether a particular drug produces results that justify its cost – or justify the loss of spending in other directions to benefit other patients?
The problems are aggravated by the fact that under EU rules we are compelled to sell any drug we produce to the highest bidder anywhere in the EU. So even the prices of previously affordable drugs are being pushed relentlessly upwards.
A friend of mine was suffering from a bunion on her foot, so she went to her local NHS GP. He put her on a waiting-list for specialist advice, but suggested that in the mean time she saw a private chiropodist. The chiropodist spent hours asking her about her entire medical history, cut her toenails for her, looked at the shoes she was wearing and charged her a hundred pounds. She was assured that only the initial visit would be so expensive, and future ones would be only fifty pounds, but she never went back.
When she went to see the NHS specialist, she first of all had to go to have her feet X-rayed. This took an hour, in the waiting-room and afterwards. The specialist saw her in a nice modern office with a computer system, telephone, coffee-machine, pot plants, pictures on the walls and an examination coach surrounded by curtains. He looked at her feet, looked at the X-rays, and read what her GP had written, then talked into a voice-recording-machine instead of making written notes. He thought there was no need for an operation so he did not recommend any treatment at all. His secretary typed up a letter which was sent back to the GP.
Eventually the woman with the bunions looked in a catalogue or internet site and found somebody selling a plastic gadget she could wear at night on her foot to straighten out the bunion. It cost about five pounds. It was made (of course) in China, where people have no NHS and most of them certainly cannot afford to go to chiropodists at a hundred pounds a time. Apparently it is having quite a positive effect. The cheapest treatment has been, in her case, the best and the only effective one.
I don’t know what the future of the NHS will be. If it is taken over – like all our institutions – by the EU, we can safely count on them to mess it up. But we should be very suspicious of any simplistic equation between money-in and results-out.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Leak it or Not?

Somebody challenged me to say why I think that some "leaks" of information to the press are justifiable and others, like Wikileaks, are much less so.
It's a good question, and like most such issues we are not always talking about a black and white distinction, it is often a matter of differing shades of grey.
What can justify somebody leaking classified information? What can justify putting into the public domain what was never intended for it? Can anything justify a violation of privacy and confidentiality?

There are many types of "leak". Before we form an opinion, we need to consider two things. Firstly, how did the leaker come by their information and secondly, did they really act in the public interest?
In the case of Mordechai Vannunu, the Israeli nuclear weapons whistle-blower, he came by his information through perfectly legitimate means. He was employed at the Israelis' secret weapons base in a minor capacity and made to sign their official secrets act before he knew what was involved. He believed that the base was merely used for generating nuclear electricity. When he discovered that there were several concealed levels where the weapons research and production took place, he found that he was in the position of being made complicit in a form of illegal conspiracy. He had been tricked into colluding into a secrecy that was in itself illegal and thus conniving in criminal activity.
So he decided to "leak" what he knew. He took photographs and published them in a British Sunday newspaper, thus revealing beyond any doubt that Israel had a secret nuclear arms programme. I regard that as being in the public interest, as I support the world agreements on nuclear non-proliferation and along with that goes an agreement for all governments to make it plain what they are doing. The Israelis deceived international inspectorates, and they acted illegally again when they kidnapped Vannunu and took him back to gaol in Israel. There are good reasons for regarding him as a martyr rather than as a criminal.
Consider also the British cases of "leaks" during the Falklands war. Clive Ponting and Sarah Tisdall got their information by legitimate means. They were employed within the civil service and felt that the government was misleading the public for propaganda reasons. They thought that this justified breaking their professional contracts of secrecy. Not everyone will agree with them, but they felt they were colluding in dishonest behaviour if they did not reveal what they knew. A jury decided that Ponting had acted justifiably because it was in the public interest.
That is of course just the sort of outcome that the EU wants to prevent by destroying our traditional jury system.
A fourth example would be the Climategate E-mails, which were (it is said) hacked from the server computer of East Anglia University and published on the internet in October 2009. Actually, we still do not know who did this, so we do not know how the people who published it came by their information. I think that it is very likely that they were tipped off by somebody inside the university who had legal access. The view that the leak was in the public interest hardly needs stating. The E-mails revealed extensive fraud and falsification of their research by climate scientists whose motives for wanting to prove the existence of AGW were overwhelmingly mercenary. Their jobs and their lucrative grants depended on it.
A fifth example is the leakage of information that lay behind the MPs' expenses scandal of 2009-2010. Somebody within the House of Commons' administrative sector know what was going on and there was no hacking involved. They decided to leak for reasons of conscience. They saw that hundreds of MPs were making outrageous claims for illcit expenses, bending and breaking the rules, lying and cheating right, left and centre. To keep the facts secret was a professional obligation. But it was also collusion in dishonest, immoral behaviour. So the nameless leaker passed on the files to the Daily Telegraph. Did any money ever change hands? That I do not know. It certainly affects my opinion of the leaker. I hope he or she was not paid. But it would be hard to regret the transfer of the information to the public domain even if there were payment involved.
There really is a genuine distinction between insiders who decide to blow the whistle, and mere keyhole journalists who get information by sneaky means and sell it purely for profit.
So, what about the present Wikileaks case? Unlike the
cases above, this is not a matter of information that was legitimately come by. It was all obtained by illegal means by outsiders, people who had no position inside the departments concerned, and could not justify their access to it. Almost none of the information that has been so gleefully and maliciously spilt out onto the internet has involved anybody behaving in an unjust, dishonest or criminal fashion. It has been a matter of diplomats keeping their opinions and a lot of what they know or what they suspect, private for reasons of tact, discretion and security. There is a strong public interest case for keeping it quiet.

There is no question that anybody in the Wikileaks case acted out of motives of conscience. They were not in a position where they found themselves colluding in immoral behaviour by keeping silent. Far from it.
Julian Assange in particular seems to be a nasty piece of work. My impression is that he is an attention-seeker, a mere anti-social anarchist who hates all government and wants to create disruption. He enjoys publicity and for an anti-establishment protestor, he certainly has an awful lot of rich friends. Enough to put up half a million pounds in bail and enough to invite him to stay at vast country estates for the weekend. No YMCA for him.
I was amazed to hear his lawyer saying on TV that the two Swedish women both accusing him of rape in August (long before there was any other motive for arresting him) could both be dismissed as unimportant. Their combined testimony was, according to his highly-paid and prestigious defence team, worthless againt his denials. Well, it's proverbial that rape charges always depend on the word of the woman against the man. But when there are two women making similar or identical charges against the same man, and corroborating each other in circumstantial evidence about the time, place and details, to dismiss their combined charges as "weak" sounds to me like an insult to women in general.
If two men accused one woman of being a prostitute, would any judge or lawyer dismiss their combined statements? I think not.
I want to know whether these two women can afford a lawyer in the same top league as Mr Assange. If not, why not?
Whatever the outcome of that trial, I have scant sympathy for Mr. Assange and I do not think he is to be put in the same category as the real information-martyrs.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

An Invitation to Join Wiki-Sneaks

Would you like to go snooping into your neighbour's computer? Maybe hack into their bank account or something like that. If they've got an overdraft or any interesting gossip like that, send us the news at Wiki-sneaks and we will put it onto the world-wide-web for you.
Have you accidentally found or even stolen someone's mobile phone lately? Maybe you would like to read through the messages and see if there is something private or even embarrassing that might make people giggle if it got around. Love messages? Nick-names? Secret meetings? Remarks about people they know at work? Health issues? Outbursts of temper? Swear-words?
We could put it all on the web. Just think how funny that would be.
Even a list of the private phone numbers of all their friends would go down well in some circles.
Don't be shy! Go out and pry!

Wikisneaks shock - there is no Father Christmas!

Millions of children around the world were reduced to tears today as the Wikisneaks website revealed classified documents that prove beyond a doubt that there is no such person as Father Christmas a.k.a. Santa Claus, Sinta Klaus etc etc.
Even his team of reindeer has been exposed as a diplomatic fiction, according to Wikileaks. Four people have been named as posing as Father Christmas in London alone, but all deny the charges.

A spokesman for Father Christmas's grotto at the North Pole commented "These documents are a fraud. You cannot accept them as genuine. The people circulating them are sensationalists and attention-seekers. They are anarchists with very dubious motives."

Coming soon:
Wikisneaks hints that it is going to expose the Tooth Fairy as an international conspiracy.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Want Your Money Back?

The riots in London when the House of Commons was voting on raising tuition fees were a stark contrast from the super-duper celeb receptions universities were laying on for Nick Clegg last April.
My, my, how times change.
Here is a template letter that can be used by anyone who is dissatisfied and wants to claim their money back under consumer legislation:-

Dear Liberal Democrat Party,
I wish to make a complaint under the Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982 (As amended).
On 6th May 2010 I purchased the following goods from you:

Deputy Prime Minister

This was bought for the sum of One Vote Sterling.

I chose the item because it was tall, handsome and well-dressed and came with a glamorous, foreign wife and the assurance that it spoke five languages. The description included the promise that the DPM would oppose government spending cuts and vote against any proposed increase in university tuition fees. However, this item has never functioned as described. Within a few days after the date of purchase it started to malfunction and has never fulfilled the purposes for which it was offered for sale.
I do not think this item was of merchantable quality. It is defective or was wrongly advertised. Therefore I would like to ask for my vote back.
If there is no response to this complaint within fourteen days, I will have to take further legal action,
Yours sincerely,

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Don't believe me, believe the telly

A few months ago I met an old school friend in a café in London. Her political views are very left-wing. She told me that, disillusioned with the Labour party she now votes Green. She confronted me with the discovery that I had joined UKIP and had even been a candidate in the May election. She was thunderous in her disapproval.
We spent the entire evening having a furious political argument. Among other things I told her that it does not make sense for British people to be paying to destroy their own jobs. How do we do that? By paying subsidies to the EU, which provide the so-called "Structural fund" out of which private companies get funding to move to areas with lower corporation tax and cheaper labour. This means that jobs here in Britain are being scrapped. So as well as paying the tax which created the problem, we then have to support them on the dole. It is a lose-lose situation.
I tried to tell her all this but she denied it. She would not listen to me. In fact she shouted and shouted until she had shouted me down. She resorted to bringing accusations that UKIP is a racist party, accusations which are of course completely unfounded.
TV rarely dares to criticize the EU - particularly bearing in mind that there are laws against doing so - but last Monday night the Dispatches programme reported on EU corruption and money-wasting and included a detailed account of how the Twinings tea company of North Shields in Tyneside just got £10 million of EU “structural funds” to move their factory to Poland where they will take advantage of cheap labour. They supported it with documents and personal interviews with some of the 286 workers who face redundancy.
The same cause underlies the closure of the Corus steel works and countless other examples. So we ARE paying to destroy our own jobs.
http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/evening-chronicle-news/2009/11/03/tea-maker-twinings-moving-jobs-to-poland-72703-25079452/
Meanwhile in Eastern Europe, companies set up with EU funding proceed to hire cheap Chinese workers, creating protest and scandal among the local population there:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/chinese-workers-in-romania-protest-against-withheld-pay-1631859.html

http://www.euromonitor.com/Romanian_migration_raises_concerns_over_labour_shortage

Of course this issue is nothing new. For a decade we paid huge subsidies to Ireland where firms which could have operated in Britain set up and enjoyed a short-term delusory boom with our money, undercutting our products. The so-called Celtic Tiger was bred at our expense. Now we are expected to bail it out.
In the present economic climate, the Twinings and Corus workers are unlikely to get another job. Do they want to move to Poland or Romania? The so-called free movement of labour is not freedom for them at all. It may become coercion very soon.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Why I think that Gay Rights have Gone Too Far.

Anybody who even dares, nowadays, to suggest in public that gay rights have been, or could be, taken too far, is automatically dismissed with the absurd term “homophobic”.
Let me say at the outset that the word “homophobia” is nonsense. The first half “homo” means “the same” - just as it does in “homophone”, “homologue” and “homogenous”. The second half, “phobia” means an irrational fear. So if the term “homophobia" meant anything at all, it would mean “fear of yourself” or “fear of the same thing”.
It is a pretentious, confused pseudo-word. Such terms are coined by ignorant people who are trying to stifle discussion and impose a form of bigotry that is no less bigoted for being relatively new and fashionable. Frequently people make a casual comparison between being black and being gay. It is a way of trying to short-cut the political argument, and hastily appropriate all the anti-racist laws on behalf of homosexuals. That, too, is nonsense. Nobody – except islamic extremists – wants to re-criminalize homosexuality. That is not what I am advocating. I am saying that recent moves to increase what are called gay rights have gone too far and are in themselves unjust.
The fashionable view is that "sexuality" is a right and that no country should be allowed to legislate regarding it. If so, then why do we have laws against polygamy, paedophilia or rape? They are all forms of sexual behaviour. What about stalking, flashing, or sending people obscene E-mails? That's sexual behaviour too.
Homosexuality (as Jean-Paul Sartre said) is simply a form of behaviour, not like being black at all. Black people could and did for thousands of years live independently on another continent, but homosexuals can only exist as a by-product of a heterosexual society. Homosexuals are completely dependent on heterosexuals to create them. Curiously they never express any gratitude for this, while complaining constantly of persecution. If I want to shock people I have only to point out that dear Oscar Wilde, the gay’s favourite martyr, witty though he was, went to gaol entirely through his own fault. He brought a false libel charge, which is a criminal offence, and he could have got five years for perjury, instead of merely two for making use of rent-boys. I wouldn’t like my son to be used as a rent-boy and I think Oscar got off lightly. The biography by Richard Ellman admits that Oscar and his friends gang-raped an under-age boy. People should learn to accept responsibility for their own actions.
Deciding how far to take one right invariably means considering how it might impinge on another. What is happening now is that “gay rights” have been so over-inflated that they are cutting into the rights of the majority. We have recently seen cases where hotel keepers have been forced by law to rent a double bed to a same-sex couple and adoption agencies compelled to place children with them regardless of the agency's religious affiliations. I think both decisions are wrong. To call that "gay rights" is infringing the right of the hotel keeper or the adoption agency to follow their own ethical and religious beliefs, a right which is actually enshrined in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
When it comes to adoption, it makes no sense to argue for the “equal rights” of a homosexual couple because nobody has a right to adopt. Adoption takes place in the interests of the child, not the adults. Prospective parents have always been vetted and ruthlessly excluded on grounds of income, age, mental and physical health or family history. Nobody ever treated them as equal. The adoption societies have always acted in what they feel is the best interest of the child concerned. And what about the child’s rights? Surely it has a right to a parent of each gender? That, after all, is what Nature gives every child, and the point of adoption is to re-create as far as possible a natural family for that child. To talk about gays having a right to adopt is to treat the child like a form of merchandise. It is wholly unacceptable.
If fairness is the issue, it seems fair to me to give a child to couples who have experienced biological sterility or repeated miscarriage, because they really can’t have a child of their own. Their need is greater than that of those who simply choose a same-sex partner. The same cannot be said in the case of adoption by for example, a black couple with a history of infertility. Black and gay are not the same issue.
Undoubtedly in my view, it is wrong to force any adoption society to go against its ethics. What about the connection between homosexuality and paedophilia? Why hush it up? [* See note below.]
Amnesty International, the once-prestigious organization that campaigns for Human Rights all over the world, is now preoccupied with gay rights to what appears to me to be a disproportionate extent. I call it disproportionate because it gives so little attention, by comparison, to the appalling persecution of heterosexuals in countless countries of the world. There are dozens of places where heterosexuals cannot choose their own partner without facing violence, social exclusion, murder, torture or imprisonment by their families. A recent TV programme, Unreported World: Love on the Run, highlighted this problem in India where it is estimated that as many as 900 young couples have been murdered in the last few years, simply for wishing to marry without their families’ consent. There has been a wave of violence across the country’s northwest states.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/episode-guide/series-2010/episode-18

How much do we hear about this issue in the news? Why have we not granted any of these people asylum? Why does Amnesty International consider it a lesser issue than gays being verbally insulted by policemen in downtown Chicago?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indian-couple-electrocuted-aafor-daring-to-marry-outside-caste-2001570.html

To get a sense of proportion, let us compare this to the issue of Christians being persecuted all over the world. Yes, thousands of people are subjected to a range of discriminatory behaviour world-wide merely because they want to practise Christianity. Some of them are imprisoned, sacked from their jobs, deprived of their property, driven out of their homes or killed. We curry favour with China and other non-democratic regimes, ignoring their record on religious freedom.
http://www.releaseinternational.org/pages/downloads/world-update-webcast.php

Campaigners here in England tell we must give legal aid to gay Nigerians who want to live here because they face persecution in their native country. What gives them priority over Christians who are persecuted in Nigeria – of which there is very good evidence? Why is there so much fuss made on Wikipedia and the like about gay rights and so little about heterosexual rights, or Christian rights?

Gay rights have got out of all proportion. Rather than claiming equality, homosexuals are in many respects now claiming privilege and special treatment. That is not fair. In fact, it is deeply unjust. It is time that we got our priorities back in order.

UPDATE
Since I wrote this, an employee of an adoption agency has been sacked for refusing to co-operate with gay adoption. A bishop protested that this is religious discrimination and he is right.
Our government bends over backwards to be fair to minorities - what is so fair about sacking Christians?


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Well Done Oklahoma!

I applaud the people of the state of Oklahoma, U.S.A., who have voted with an overwhelming majority to ban any future introduction of Sharia law or concessions to it in their state.
By so doing, they are defending democracy, humanity and women's rights.
Critics say the ban was unnecessary because there are only about 1% of Muslims living in Oklahoma. That is an illogical criticism. Would they prefer it to be passed somewhere where there are 40% or 50% Muslims? Or 60%? The best possible time to pass a law - and the only democratic time to do it - is when you have a large and comfortable majority.
Percentages are not the only factor in making an issue matter. There are already impudent criminals in the U.S.A. who demand to be tried for their mass murders and conspiracies under Sharia law, not that of the U.S.A. They hold U.S. passports yet they despise its laws and openly admit that they do not regard them as valid.
We have the same problem here in Britain. Muslim terrorists and assassins announce publicly that they do not recognize the jurisdiction of British courts. They don't mind living here, sending their children to state schools and universities, using the N.H.S. and the community centres built for them by local authorities, but they think they can follow a higher set of laws that overrides our own. That is intolerable and I am glad that the state of Oklahoma has got the guts to tell such people to keep well away.
One of the many signs that our own Archbiship of Canterbury is batty and out of touch, is his foolish flirtation with the prospect of allowing Muslim communities to operate any form of Sharia law here. I don't want to see amputation in Andover, stoning in Staffordshire, polygamy in Portsmouth, gays guillotined in Gloucester, or girls hanged from cranes in Croydon for not wearing their headscarves or burkas. Britain has suffered too much from confused liberal compromise with an ideology that does not represent tolerance or freedom. If we did let people to follow Sharia law here, we could expect to see Salman Rushdie's throat publicly slit, and a similar fate for any "apostate" Muslim, i.e. one who decides that they no longer believe their ancestral religion.
Oklahoma has not banned the practice of the Islamic faith, so it has upheld the U.S. constitution which guarantees freedom of religion. What it has done is make it clear that religious difference does not entitle you to different status under the law.
Oklahoma has acted with foresight. Do you wait until the flood comes up to your waist before building a dam? Do you wait until you have got terminal cancer before insuring your life? Of course not. To act well in advance is prudent. In future nobody who goes to live in Oklahoma can say that they were not warned that they would have to respect the law and the culture that they find there.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

We Told EU so!

First Greece, then Ireland, who next in the euro-slump?
Obstinate folk who still try to defend our EU membership are fond of saying that by being inside it, we get "influence".
What does that influence consist of?
Can we make their laws? No.
Can they make ours? Well, yes, for example by forcing us to give the vote to criminals in gaol.
Doesn't sound like what I'd really call influence.
What we do get is a series of mammoth bills for the ailing economies within the Euro-zone that have already had billions in EU subsidies to build up their economies. Greece got massive EU investment. So did Ireland. Then when the hand-outs ceased, they just fell apart.
The same thing is happening in Spain and Portugal. For decades we paid tax for them to get EU grants, investment and subsidy to create a short-term boom. But all the growth was artificial and it soon petered out. There was nothing solid there. In fact, genuine businesses were driven out by subsidized ones. Now they are bankrupt and - surprise, surprise ! - we are having to dig into our own pockets for another round of billion-pound subsidies to keep them from collapse.
We and our children and our grandchildren yet unborn are going to have to pay the bill for our prodigal governments and EU folly.
The clever profiteers who thrive on subsidies and know how to exploit them have mainly done a flit now, moving over to Eastern Europe where they can get the next lot of "re-structuring" grants. They can set up new companies in Romania, employing illegal Chinese workers, and do it all with the tax you pay.
Why else do you think VAT is going up to 20%?

It is time that the idealists who still defend the EU took off their blinkers.
Will we have to wait until the whole crazy EU edifice falls apart to be free of it?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

You Lucky Bastards!

It seems perfectly obvious to some people what your "human rights" are are. Rights are, in the words of the American Declaration of Independence, a self-evident truth. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, isn't that plain? And the right to life included the right to carry a weapon to defend that life didn't it? - at least according to the Americans who have always interpreted it that way.
What is self-evident to one person is dubious and unacceptable to another.
Yesterday the Cleggeron government was forced to buckle under and agree to a dictate of the European Court of Human Rights, which told us we must give the vote to criminals inside prisons. A General Election may now be decided by murderers, and laws made by those who refuse to keep laws.
Their right to vote may appear a self-evident truth to some people but to others - including me - it is no such thing. It is an unjust claim, made in violation of our right to run our own country and impose penalties on law-breakers. How much right to vote do the victims of murder have? Can they sway a General Election?
If our government had any backbone, it would immediately withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights in protest, and say that we never signed up for this dictatorship when we agreed to that convention long ago. But of course our government hasn't got that much backbone. If it dare not protest about a 2.9% increase in budget for the EU (which of course has no connection with the Court of Human Rights) it certainly won't have the guts to stand up to bullying from The Hague.
The Cleggeron government is made of jelly.
Human rights have suffered inflation like so many things. Twenty years ago Amnesty International used to campaign for people like Mordechai Vanunu, the weapons whistle-blower, imprisoned for eighteen years in Israel, and Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian environmental protester and leader of the Oboni minority, who was hanged in 1995 by the military government of Nigeria for being rather a nuisance.
Nowadays Amnesty sends out cards requesting that members protest about gays being harrassed by policemen in downtown Los Angeles. The Close Campsfield protestors are trying to make a martyr out of every Nigerian migrant who is or can claim to be "gay" on the grounds that he is in danger in his own country.
They have lost all sense of perspective. To me, a human rights issue would be that of the girls aged 11 or 12 who are trafficked here from Nigeria - by Nigerians of course - to work as slaves and prostitutes for years on end. They are kept locked up, beaten, threatened with death if they try to escape, and some of them are actually killed.
It is a delightful feature of multi-culturalism.

Comparing such cases to the problems of anti-gay harrassment, one is tempted to say to the gays, "You lucky bastards!"

Monday, 1 November 2010

Fear of Flying

We've had exploding shoes, and exploding underwear. Now it's exploding ink-cartridges concealed inside a computer printer in the cargo compartment of a plane - the latest way for Al-Quaeda to tell us that they don't like us. And yet, amazingly, the word "Islamophobia" is still one of the most fashionable in the vocabulary of the trendy and media-conscious. What on earth can it mean?
In psychiatric terms, "phobia" means an irrational, ungrounded fear, a fear that is without cause, based on delusions. However, for people living in Europe or America, a fear of Islamic militancy and extremism is not irrational or delusory. It is well-founded, a fear surely based on abundant evidence.

PETN is the newest toy of those who regard it as a religious duty to blast passenger planes out of the sky and ignite the largest and most populous buildings they can find. Instead of trying to improve the conditions of life in Yemen or Somalia, they dream of an afterlife where they will be rewarded for detonating devices in mid-air. They also don't mind kidnapping idealistic aid workers, who go to Afghanistan to try to help the civilians struggling to survive.
Niceness and tolerance are the answers of the politically-correct classes. But niceness and tolerance do not always work on militants. Offered a home and a vote in this country, some of them prefer to stab their MPs with a dagger.
What worries me most about the case of Roshanaura Chaudry, the fanatic who tried to assassinate Steven Timms, Labour MP for East Ham, was not just that she resorted to the tactics of Charlotte Corday, but that when arrested and charged with attempted murder, she had the cheek to deny the jurisdiction of the British court. What country does she think she is living in? What right has she got to live here if she does not acknowledge the validity of British laws? If she wants to live under Sharia law, why doesn't she go to Iran or Saudi Arabia or wherever the prevailing regime shares her views?
There she can enjoy the sight of women who refuse to wear their burkas being flogged, imprisoned or even hanged in the middle of the street. She'd be locked up if she even attempted to comment publicly on political matters.
I doubt very much if this militancy would really stop if we withdrew our troops from Afghanistan. I feel that nothing more can be gained from that war (even supposing anything at all has been) and I am not going to wear a poppy this year, as it may be taken as a sign that I support it. But I suspect that even if the state of Israel were wiped out tomorrow, that would not placate Islamic militancy. There are fanatics who really want to impose their system on the entire globe and don't care how they do it.
It is the people who say we have no cause to be fearful who are being irrational.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Cleggerons scared out of Oxford

Only six months ago, in May 2010, just before the General Election, Brookes University in Headington, Oxford, laid on a triumphalist reception for Nick Clegg, the handsome, well-dressed leader of the GlibDem party. He was invited to speak because he was promising students an end to university tuition fees. Vote for me, he proclaimed, and I will set you free. No more loans, no more debt, no more stress and worry.
Actually, that invitation was of dubious legality because there are laws about pre-election hustings meetings. Any publicly funded institution such as Brookes is supposed to be non-partisan and invite representatives of all competing parties, or none at all. Brookes took no notice of objections like that but went ahead with its big event. The local press sent photographers and reported that tall, smarted-suited Nick was received like a celebrity. He and he alone could save them from the terrible Tory threat, or Labour threat, and lead them to the promised land.
Virgin voters, who had never seen the inside of a ballot-box before, crowded in thousands to offer their support to the Glibdems.
It was not the first time Clegg had come to Oxford to make the same promise and woo student votes with the tuition fees issue. He had done the same thing in November 2009
/http://oxfordeastlibdems.org.uk/news/000277/nick_clegg_visits_oxford_east_and_pledges_to_abolish_labours_tuition_fees.html
Six months later, my word, how things have changed. The Cleggerons are now in power and the Browne Review has suggested raising student fees to hitherto unheard-of levels. On Wednesday this week, Vince Cable, Cleggeron Business Secretary, was billed to appear in Oxford talking at the Exam Schools in the High Street. At least this was legal as there is no General Election in the offing now for four and a half years. Once again, a mass of students congregated, but this time they were there in protest. They had heard in advance of his visit and 1200 of them agreed on Facebook to turn up and make things a bit hot for Vince. They wanted to tell him exactly what they thought about the coalition, the Browne Review and the upping of those tuition fees he promised to abolish.
They had lost their political virginity all right.
The police and the university authorities started to get worried. They thought it might turn into an outright riot.
So what did Vince do? Hearing about the protest, he called off his visit. He decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and stayed away.
Is it maybe time to declare Oxford a Cleggeron-free zone?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Bin City

The new refuse collection system has turned Oxford from a city of dreaming spires to a city of bins. Huge plastic bins, green or blue, with stacks of plastic crates and their scattered lids now dominate the urban and suburban landscape. Everywhere you look, there are bins, bins and more bins. They seem to have taken over like alien invaders.

One house I saw in North Way has a row of six wheelie bins in the front garden, next to a pile of six plastic crates. It looked like a barricade or a road-block, not a garden. Our townscape is now hopelessly, horribly, Bin-Laden. It is an environmental disaster.

These PVC monstrosities block paths, obstruct gateways, overcrowd and dominate small gardens, clutter up pavements, deface verges and give everyone the feeling they are coming home to a dump rather than a house. Where can you hide them? Where can you hide from them? Nowhere, is the likely answer, unless you have an enormous garden with a handy grove of evergreen bushes. There is something sinister about a line of wheelie bins lurking behind a wooden trellis. And most of them seem to be permanently surrounded by litter.

Is it just the fault of the Labour council? Or the GlibCon government? No. like most barmy ideas it all relates back to the EU. The EU's policies include punishing people for throwing too much away. If we don't reduce what we send to landfill, we have to pay fines - and the fines are in millions. The EU has the power to impose unlimited fines on this country - how many people realize that? So we have only a fortnightly rubbish collection and our recycling receptacles are getting bigger and bigger until they crowd us out of our homes and cities. But the fact is that there is little market for most of the materials that are collected for recycling. Much of it is stockpiled or even sent abroad to where it can be tipped legally without any fines.

I am a conscientious objector to wheelie bins. I have managed to evade having them, on the grounds that my steps are too steep. Naturally, after I had explained this to the Council, they went on and sent me a green wheelie bin, and then in due course a blue wheelie bin, both of which I managed to get sent back after many lengthy discussions. I don't throw away enough to even half fill either of these monster receptacles. I get my milk in returnable bottles and rarely buy tinned food. If supermarkets put their chickens in absurd plastic bubbles like crash-helmets, I don't buy them.

As if two crates were not enough, we were all issued with a preposterous food waste box. Why? I don't throw food away. I buy only what I need and I eat it. As they won't take it back, I use the box for making nettle fertilizer in. It happens that nettle fertilizer is illegal under EU regulations, so I have the satisfaction of defying Brussels and the Council at the same time.

If they want to reduce landfill, why don't they issue us with free compost bins? We have to pay for those ourselves.

One of the results of the nutty refuse policies is that random dumping of items has surged upwards. Only today a lady in Malford Road told me that somebody had thrown - yes, thrown - an old red hoover over her garden fence, because she lives near to a footpath which is a favourite dumping venue. It could have injured her. Other things she has had chucked into her garden include rolls of old carpet, car parts and used syringes. I went into the lane and saw stuff like planks and boards dumped there. I asked her whether she realized that the Lib-Labour Council has just imposed charges for private householders taking things to the municipal dump. Could there be a connection between that and dumping? She agreed although she admitted that she had voted Labour without realizing what they had done. Their latest dastardly trick had escaped her.

Don't make the same mistake on Thursday!


NB Since writing this article the same dear lady has contacted me to tell me that the hoover, which she had put back in the alley, was thrown back over her garden fence a second time. Awful, but I had to tell her there was not much I could do about this. She voted Labour!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Oh What A Lovely War

So another aid worker has been seized and doubtless murdered in Afghanistan. If she has not been shot by now it's only because she's being held to ransom, with a gun pointed at her head and a hood over it. If alive, she is probably in a dark cellar somewhere, with one meal a day and a plastic bag for a toilet.
How many more of these idealists will venture into that wild, barbaric land to try to help the people and build bridges of common humanity etc etc? In return for their noble intentions they are regarded as spies or - worse - Christian missionaries - and treated as criminals.
So why are we still there? Because no government is honest enough to admit that the whole idea of subduing Afghanistan is barmy. Nobody ever succeeded in the past. The Russians failed. The British Empire had the wisdom to give up and keep out. The terrain is a gift to guerillas and the defenders are breeding faster than we can pass laws on human rights. Yet we go on and on sending plucky young heroes and heroines in camouflage kits to be either blown up or reduced to a breakdown or just in the long run brutalized by what is going on there.
The recent election in Afghanistan got very little press attention here. Of course not, because it was a dismal failure, fraught with accusations of corruption and violence and producing an outcome that half the country just refused to recognize. The moral is that you can't set up a democracy somewhere in another country. It has to evolve. Our governments seem to think that democracy is like a washing-machine, something that can be taken to a given address and installed. You plumb it in, you switch it on and you expect it to work.
But it doesn't work. And I am not convinced that there is any example of a country where democracy and Islamic beliefs manage to co-exist. Co-incidence?

Friday, 17 September 2010

What I would say to the Pope.

So the Pope is visiting Britain, and being treated like a superstar, except for some rather vocal protestors. They tend to be people like Peter Tatchell who is in his own way as extreme as the Catholic Church.
I know that many Catholics such as Mother Theresa achieve splendid things. But I have my reservations about the institution and if I were invited to meet the Pope, I would be asking him some probing questions.
The persistent scandals about child sex abuse by priests are not something that is incidental, or marginal or exceptional. They present a pattern, and a very ugly pattern too. It happens all over the world and it has been going on probably for as long as the Catholic Church itself. The cover-ups are almost as bad as the scandal itself.
Apologizing - which he has only done rather tepidly - is not enough.
Saying they should have been more vigilant is not enough.
Writhing with guilt and doing penance in public would still not be enough because all of that only addresses the symptoms, not the real problem.
The Catholic church has practised hypocrisy too long. Setting up slush funds for the illegitimate children of priests is a two-faced and underhand approach.
The Pope should be asking WHY these recurrent patterns of child sex abuse happen. What is the cause? Let's go to the roots of the problem and admit that it is caused by the unreasonable rule about priestly celibacy. The Catholic Church does not allow its priests to marry. That may suit some people, and one outcome is that it attracts a lot of homosexuals. Another is that priests become warped, repressed and perverted. Denied a natural outlet for their sex drive, they resort to activities that most people would regard with revulsion.
The Protestant churches discarded the celibacy rule centuries ago, realizing that it just did a lot of harm. And in the Greek orthodox church there are plenty of married priests. So why has the Catholic church never caught up with reality?
It is scared to admit that it can ever be wrong. Or another way of putting it, is too proud and obstinate to admit that it has ever been wrong. There is nothing in the Bible that demands all followers of Jesus to be celibate. Jewish rabbis marry and have children. So do the holy men of many other religions. And let's face it, in the two thousand years that have passed since the time of Jesus, we have learned a lot more about the physiology of sex than people knew then. A sex-drive is hormonally built in to us. If you try to deny it completely, or bottle it up for life, the results can be far from pretty.
So I would say to the Pope: "Have the courage to think again about priestly celibacy. Set up some new orders for priests of both genders who will be allowed to marry, with your full public approval. It is not enough to apologize, while you continue the policies that have caused so much misery and suffering."

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

How the EU is wasting your money

Are you worried about earthquakes hitting Britain? Do you stay awake at night anxious about how you would cope? Have you noticed any fault lines running through Gloucestershire? Have you got a lot of money to spare right now from your household budget?
No, neither have I. Yet the EU is spending £900,000 on a safety exercise in Portsmouth to train emergency services to deal with an earthquake should such an event ever arise. Fire services, police and rescue teams from all over Europe are gathered together for a week-long training exercise called Operation Orion in which dummies will be dug out from under buildings that have been specially demolished for the purpose, and actors splodged with red paint play the roles of accident victims.
Meanwhile, last night at Oxford Town Hall, at a public meeting, our County police chief was talking about the immense long and short-term harm which he fears will be caused by the swingeing cuts that his service is being forced to make, because of government economies. He's not the only one of course. All aspects of our public spending are being cut to the bone. Yet the EU thinks it should be spending our taxes on combatting an imaginary earthquake.
You couldn't make it up!
Wait a moment, isn't there a real crisis in Pakistan? What about all those homeless flood victims, now threatened with starvation or malaria? What about the latest famine hitting drought regions in Africa? Couldn't the money be spent on helping REAL disaster victims over there instead of imaginary ones?
Such a way of thinking is far too logical and far too lucid for the raving loonies who run the European freak-circus. If they are worried about imaginary earthquakes, that is what they will spend the funds on. What will they combat next? Hurricanes in rural Germany? The danger of a massive asteroid hitting Spain? Lord knows. When you're dealing with nutters you never really know what to expect.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Why Graduate Tax is Unfair

Why is a graduate tax unfair?
Simple.
Because it will be paid by the wrong people or not paid at all.

Consider this. For a start, not every graduate of a British university is going to stay in this country after they get their degree. A very high percentage of them will be driven abroad by our recession and by the fact that there is pressure of competition here for jobs. There is no way at all that you can make the ones who leave this country pay a graduate tax! What about the students who drop out without completing the course? They will not be graduates so will not have to pay any graduate tax. Yet they cost the country just the same amount of money. Students who come here from an EU country, as more and more nowadays do, get subsidized by the British taxpayer at a rate of £4,000 per year. When their degree course is over, they can go back to their own country, leaving the graduate tax to be paid by the British residents. There is absolutely no way we can force them to pay once they leave. Imagine the legal costs of trying to sue thousands of former students. Many of them are already defaulting on the loans we were foolish enough to give them in past decades.
Meanwhile, many British graduates will see the advantages of going to live and work in countries which do NOT have a graduate tax. So we will lose the skills we so much need.
Altogether, the idea of a graduate tax is grossly unfair and unworkable. If graduates get good, well-paid jobs they already pay a lot of tax. It is unjust to penalize people for acquiring skills.

When I went to university, we did not have to pay fees. In fact, I got a grant. Since then, the right to higher education in this country has steadily been eroded, as a result of bad government and financial mismanagement. EU membership is a foolish waste of money and has many invisible harmful costs. We are told we must bankrupt ourselves to bail out Greece, and shell out for MEPs to enjoy a champagne lifestyle in Brussels, yet we cannot afford higher education, in which we once led the world. That is proof of the failure of Labour and Tory policies.

It is true that we now send a higher percentage of school-leavers to university, probably more than we should. But the reason universities have had to expand and let them in, is that successive governments, Labour or Tory, have gone on cutting their financial support for the universities so that they have had to rely on more fee-paying students, just to survive.
The result is that standards have fallen in universities, while students have been loaded with debt. We should be ashamed of this situation. Why is it that a student who has worked hard, got good A-levels and wants to do a worthwhile job such as being a doctor or teacher, is told to borrow money to pay for it, while another teenager the same age, who wastes their time at school and gets pregnant or takes drugs, is entitled to claim money on benefits? This does not look fair to me.
Earlier this year, the government tried to reduce the number of foreign students from outside the EU coming to this country. Yet these students pay far more than UK applicants and the universities rely on them for income. The policy is nonsense, and it also verges on racism. Why should a student from France have priority over a student from China?
As usual, UKIP is the only party whose policies are completely non-racist.
It is nonsense to say that the country cannot afford universities. True the Labour goverment left the economy in tatters, but look at the average standard of living. Did people have two cars, foreign holidays, central heating, or home computers in 1944 when the original Education Act was passed? Did they expect to eat avocadoes and smoked salmon, which we see on the supermarket shelves all the yar round nowadays? Of course not. Yet we could afford free university access for all who achieved a high enough standard. If this country were not so badly run we could afford it again, at least for the top ten per cent of school leavers.
Take a look at LibDem hypocrisy. Before the election they were saying that they were totally opposed to students paying university fees. Then they got a chance to share power with the Conservatives and walk in the corridors of Whitehall. They got an opportunity to get their feet underneath the cabinet table and their bums on the limousine seats. (Not to mention the ministerial salaries). So they neatly side-stepped. They now say that they will support, condone and justify this unfair policy of a graduate tax instead of student fees. Call it by a different name and they'll support it. They have sold out on any principles they ever pretended to have. Just what you would expect from slippery characters like Lawes and Huhne.

Do any of them volunteer to pay graduate tax themselves? Of course not!!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Burka Ban reaches France

First Belgium banned the burka. Now France has followed suit.
This is just commonsense. The burka is a security risk, a grave problem for law enforcement as well as an insult to women. Terrorists in London used it to escape from the police after the July bombings, and armed robbers all over the world have taken full advantage of its potential for concealing weapons, stolen goods and their own identity.
In France earlier this year, an armed robbery took place near Paris on a bank whose employees were held at gunpoint with weapons smuggled through the CCTV system underneath a burka.
The burka is an obnoxious symbol of the oppression of women. Women who have to wear them find them sweaty, heavy, and cumbersome. The black shroud proclaims that she is not a human being, but the property of her husband, and he can keep her from the eyes of anybody else. It is a danger to others when a woman shrouded in this absurd way attempts to drive a car or even cross a road, as her vision is severely impeded by it.
The burka is part of a culture that allows men to beat or execute their wives with legal impunity, and have them stoned for adultery. A culture that flogs or hangs young women for unchastity or not wearing a headscarf. It is mediaeval.
There is only one problem with the burka ban. The EU officialdom has decreed that no country within its boundaries is entitled to pass any laws about it. You can ban the pound, the pint, the inch or the Christian cross, it seems, but you cannot possibly ban the burka. Funny that we have hundreds of thousands of petty laws inflicted on us, taking away our own freedoms and our own traditional way of life, yet the EU makes a sacred cow out of
something that has absolutely nothing in its favour and does nothing but harm.
It remains to be seen whether the courage of France and Belgium will stand up to the bullying of the EU bureaucracy.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Could we Really Survive Outside the Space Capsule?

It's funny the sort of questions people ask. Instead of asking, "Should we really stay inside a system that is collapsing on all sides like a house on fire?" they quite often ask, "Could we survive outside the EU?"
Survive outside? Why should there be a problem with surviving outside? What do you think is outside there? Are we in a space capsule plummeting through the icy, dark vacuum of hyper-space? Well, no, not when I last looked!
Take a look at history. History - you know, all that stuff about the remote past, before mobile phones, i-pads and laptops. I can vividly remember a time when an i-pad was something you kept in a first-aid box and only got out in emergencies. Which shows I'm, like, really old.
History shows us that when this funny-shaped little island was part of the Roman Empire, it was poor, enslaved and downtrodden. It used a single currency, yes, and that single currency was used to buy and sell British children in the markets of Rome. The serfs of this empire could be strung up without appeal or much in the way of defence. Another imperial power that once governed Britain in a rather different but still effective manner was the Roman Catholic church, whose Popes thought their authority was above that of kings. They took huge amounts of money from the devout believers, in the form of tithes and payments for blessings and indulgences. A lot of it went to the Vatican which grew into an amazingly lavish and wealthy capital, where an elite class displayed their splendour and luxury. Sounds familiar?
Naughty people like Chaucer and the Lollards used to whisper that there was corruption, too, in the ranks of the elite. Sounds familiar?
Now look what happened when Britain threw off those foreign rulers and decided to be independent. From Tudor times to the Second World War we kept foreign powers from meddling in our country. Result: we were freer, richer, more powerful and more dynamic than at any other time. We weren't isolated, and we weren't insular.
We were just free.
If that's petty nationalism, it looks pretty good to me.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New government attacks immigrants

You all heard the Queen's speech. It's official. The two-headed Cleggerons have announced a new policy of capping (jargon for restricting) immigration from all countries outside the EU. They want to convince the public that they are taking action about something which 55% of us regard as a "problem".
Is immigration a problem? It's not a problem if we take people we want, people who may have skills or abilities and who are willing to fit in with the way of life in this country. Sometimes we need them. Sometimes they pay a lot of money for our services.
The important thing is for us to be able to choose who is coming here. It's a problem if we let in people without skills, people who may be claimants or health-tourists and people who like putting bombs on tube trains. If we made our own laws, all these problems could be easily solved.
But unfortunately despite the paraphenalia of the Queen's speech ( and how hot she looked in all that fur in this heat-wave) we no longer make our own laws. Since the major blunder of accepting EU rule, we now have little or no control over who comes here. So the Cleggerons are resorting to a feeble and absurd ploy of picking on the non-EU immigrants - who are a small minority - and arbitrarily restricting the number of visas that will be issued to them. Wait a minute - their policy ignores such issues as competence and need!
This means that when we want to recruit a doctor or nurse we HAVE to take them from the EU, even if others from the Commonwealth, or the Philippines, are far more competent and speak better English.
If we want to recruit a professor from the USA or Russia, we will be told we have to give priority to a less qualified Latvian.
Genuine students from America, Russia or China who pay a lot of money to study here will be kept out. So our struggling economy will lose foreign exchange. Meanwhile, EU students will be able to pour in here and take £4000 from the taxpayer each year they study at a British university.
Barmy?
Well, yes.
Counter-productive?
Certainly.
A pathetic gesture to manipulate statistics?
You could call it that.
But the Cleggerons have got a fundamental handicap: they are incapable of understanding that it is EU membership that is tying our hands behind our backs and preventing us from addressing the REAL problems.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Dr Who and The Cleggerons Part 2

The story so far.
Dr Who has landed on Earth just in time to confront the first wave of the Cleggerons, the scary three-legged aliens who are taking over and seeking to supercede the human race.
Betrayed by his careless, naive companion and captured by a Cleggeron ambush-squad, he is taken to their HQ where he overhears the latest of their dastardly plans.
The Cleggerons have decided to weaken any opposition in the House of Conmens by using a simple trick. They will change the rules so that instead of needing 50% to win a vote of No Confidence, the opposition will need 55% in future. If there is still any danger of the Cleggeron regime being voted out, they can always raise the bar to 60% or 75%. "Fiendish," murmurs the Doctor.
Meanwhile the Stock Market goes up markedly in response to the prospect of stable, firm and strong government. Dr. Who scans the Financial Times and makes a few quick investments on his mobile phone, before diving into a nearby recycling bin full of forged postal votes and concealing himself before the Cleggeron guards can find him. What has happened to his naive companion? What are they going to do with her?
[To be continued.]

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Dr Who and the Cleggerons

Coming soon...Dr Who and the Cleggerons.

In the next series of Dr Who, the doctor (played by David Threlfall we sincerely hope) faces his most scary and horrifying enemy of all time - the ghastly Cleggerons. These three-legged, two-headed quasi-humanoids from the planet Compromise, a planet which never goes all the way round in its orbit, but stops when half-way there and turns back in the other direction, are now poised to take over the Earth. Their plans include cutting public services in order to bail out Greece, and, most terrible of all, a Graduate Tax.
The doctor, who graduated from Cambridge University in 1385 and did his Ph.D. at Imperial College, London in 1901, realizes at once that the Earth is in deadly danger. The Graduate Tax is the best and fastest way of driving out all the graduates from planet Earth to seek employment in other solar systems. Luckily for him, the Tardis is registered for tax purposes in a far-off galaxy, on a tiny mountainous planet which remains stubbornly independent. But this will not deter him from fighting to the death for his principles!

I Told You So - Clegg's the Dregs

It's just as I predicted in my last blog.
The Libdems have sold out every principle they've got (admittedly not many) for a few places in the cabinet. What would you expect from a party funded by tax-exiles, arms dealers and serial fraudsters?
They are not going to introduce proportional representation, merely have a referendum on AV which is rubbish and only benefits the larger and more central parties. The people who voted for them in the belief that they were committed to constitutional reform should now be very diasappointed and disillusioned.
Some people are saying that we should have two referenda - the first to ask whether the public wants any change in the voting system, then the second giving a choice of various alternative systems.
That would be too expensive, and too complicated for many voters to uderstand. Better to give two straightforward choices -
i) no change,
ii) real proportional representation for all parties with even 1% of the vote. When you think about it, 31,000 Labour or Conservative votes gain one MP. So why should 310,000 votes - which is 1% of the poll - result in no representation? Are we talking about a fairer system or merely an adjustment in favour of the Libdems, which is what AV amounts to?
What is the betting that the Cleggeron government will blame Labour and each other for the massive cuts they are now going to be forced to make in order to go on funding our extortionate contributions to the EU budget and Greek bail-out?
Clegg, Cameron and Huhne are all millionaires so they don't care whether the state pension is adequate or whether our elderly people get care in their declining years.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Electoral Reform? Don't bank on it.

Before the election, Nick Clegg was a nonentity. Then the media made a celeb out of him, and got all feverish in expectation that his TV appearances would boost the Libdem vote beyond any previous election results.
Did it happen?
No way.
Despite all his abundant TV time and the £3.5 million in illegal donations to his party, the Libdem vote remained very little changed. It is fair to say that if he had not had those grossly unfair advantages, the Libdem vote would have declined.
Here in Oxford East we were so swamped with Libdem leaflets we could hardly push our way out of the front door. They still didn't win.
Now the leader who has lost five seats for his party is being regarded as having the right to choose our next prime minister. What is fair or legal about that?
The Libdems have wavered and dithered about every policy for the past twenty years, remaining steadfast only in their blind allegiance to the EU and in the matter of electoral reform. The two propositions are, of course, contradictory. Why does it matter who sits in our Westminster parliament, if the Libdems are quite happy to give away all the powers of that parliament to Brussels? Why campaign to reform a puppet parliament?
But mere considerations of sense and logic will not deter the Libdems. They have long said they are in favour of electoral reform.
Will they use this opportunity to get it? To force it through at long last? I wouldn't bet on it. This afternoon there was a demonstration in London for proportional representation. Clegg responded with a woolly speech talking about "change" but committing himself to nothing. Typical.
To a Libdem, PR stands for Public Relations more often than Proportional Representation.
I would not be in the least surprised to see Nick and Dave get into bed with eachother. They are basically very similar, and could work together far more cosily than either of them would with Gordon Brown.

Party Seats Gain Loss Net Votes % +/-%

Conservative 305 100 3 +97 10,681,417 36.1 +3.8
Labour 258 3 94 -91 8,601,441 29.1 -6.2
Liberal Dem 57 8 13 -5 6,805,665 23.0 +1.0
UK IP 0 0 0 0 914,811 3.1 +0.9
Green 1 1 0 +1 284,566 1.0 -0.1


The Conservatives got 10 million votes and 300 seats. Labour got 8 million votes and 258 seats. UKIP got nearly a million votes and no seats. With proportional representation UKIP would now have about thirty MPs. What's the betting that the corrupt old parties will gang up together to prevent that from happening?

33,000 Conservative or Labour votes = 1 seat.
280,000 Green votes = 1 seat.
915,000 UKIP votes = no seats

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Listen to the younger generation

I sent this message to a young woman student at university:-

One major reason to vote UKIP at this election is to save university education in this country. We are the education party. UKIP is the only party pledged to abolishing tuition fees immediately and wholly (not bit by bit in the dim and distant future and funding it through a graduate tax like the Libdems.) We are also pledged to restoring the student grant. Not a loan. A grant. We oppose the graduate tax which is about to be introduced by Labour, Libdem or Conservative. We also oppose the Bologna Process, which the UK government has foolishly signed, extending all degree courses to five years merely for the sake of uniformity across Europe. UKIP says to hell with that! A five-year unfunded degree course would be available only to the rich. Loans and graduate taxes put off poorer students and women. To save university education in this country, WAKE UP Britain and vote UKIP.
EU membership costs us at least £50 billion per year in direct and indirect costs.

She sent me this reply:-

Our national debt is somewhere around the £850 billion mark though.

£850 billion. It's nearly 60% of our GDP.

Even if you discount the "investment" the government made in the banks, which I do hope can eventually be recouped, it's still well over £700 billion and more than 50% of our GDP.

And, this figure does not even include the particularly crippling PFI "investments" that the government has made, spending hundreds of billions more building hospitals which will soon cease to exist! If you think it's a waste of money paying to support the Greek economy, or paying to build bridges in Eastern Europe, or just paying to physically move pointless documents between Brussels and Strasbourg, think about the complete disaster of spending more money than you usually would on a hospital, and ending up with no hospital at all. It's madness, and it has to stop.

The current situation is totally unsustainable, even though it apparently hasn't actually crippled us yet. Even assuming that leaving the EU would leave us in a stronger position financially, even when the economy gets back on its feet, we absolutely do need spending cuts. I think we need to tone down the government spending culture generally, because there's an attitude that problems are solved by throwing money at them and there's a culture that we can just continuously spend money which we do not have currently. We cannot go on like this indefinitely. We simply can't afford to.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Excuse me, did you say anti-sleaze?

We all need a good laugh from time to time.
John Stevens is running for election as an anti-sleaze candidate for the parliamentary seat of Buckingham, and he is careful not to tell the voters that while he was an MEP he helped himself to £210,000 of superfluous expenses.
It is being reported on very reliable evidence that "Mr Stevens had an office in Sunninghill in the former Thames Valley Euro constituency when he was first elected in 1989, and maintained it until February 1991. After that, his addresses, as listed in the official directory of MEPs, were given as a residential address on Smith Square, Westminster, and the offices of his employers, Rothschild Asset Management, on St James's Place, SW1.
During this period, office expenses allowances were £2,100 per month, meaning that in the 8 ½ odd years Mr Stevens apparently failed to maintain a constituency office, he benefitted from £210,000 of taxpayers money meant to pay for one."
What does Mr Stevens mean, then, by anti-sleaze?
Whatever is he doing, posing as holier-than-thou?
Why does he call himself a Conservative when is not a genuine candidate of that party and he has previously belonged to the Libdems or made up his own label of pro-Euro Conservative (which means a little barmier than most other Conservatives) ?

It's true there are many other guilty politicians. Julie McBride has not been goaled - why? Elliot Morley has not been goaled - though at least he is on trial. Nick Clegg has not been goaled or even charged for accepting £3.5 million in illegal donations to his party from non-taxpayers and criminals.
But none of them are standing on a platform of Clean up Politics.
Stevens is just gambling on nobody in Buckingham or Aylesbury calling his bluff in time before the polling day.
You would be a fool to vote for him and Martin Bell is a nitwit to endorse him.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Read Marta's Newsletter

Marta Andreassen is a UKIP MEP who used to be the chief accountant in charge of the entire EU budget.
She was sacked for refusing to conceal fraud and corruption.
She joined UKIP and was elected to the European parliament in 2009.
They were fuming of course! The EU commission thought they could just silence her.
Now she campaigns against our EU membership, and she knows what she is talking about. If she says that 30% of the EU budget is embezzled, she is certainly the expert.
Read Marta's newsletter full of inside information into the EU kleptocracy and its goings-on. Ask her to put you on her mailing-list.
marta.andreasen-office@europarl.europa.eu

Sunday, 2 May 2010

How far can you drive a chicken?

When you ask people why they joined UKIP they tell you some funny stories. One person told me that he has always kept chickens. (His Dad used to keep them during the war and his family never stopped.) A little while ago his chickens were all devoured by a fox, probably thanks to the fox-hunting ban.
He happened to be down near Tewkesbury that weekend visiting a friend and went to a market, where they were selling poultry. He saw a breed of hen he likes. But there was an official there who told him he had to fill in a form with his name and address, and then he couldn't buy the chickens as the distance was too great to drive them from the market. Who says? The EU says of course. Who else issues us with thousands of new, petty regulations every year?
Of course what he did (after swearing a bit) was to get his friend to buy the birds, and put down his address. Then he took them home from his friend's house to Oxford.
What exactly did this officialdom achieve? A few more bureaucrats kept in a job? A few more tons of paper used in forms and instructions? Will chickens soon need passports and ID cards? The EU has suggested that all livestock should be individually identified. No kidding.
The result of this little fracas was that it made him join UKIP. Maybe you can only drive a chicken so far, but you can only drive a British citizen so far as well!
.
.
.
.
.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Clegg Brazens it Out

Well done, Jon Snow, for giving the nauseating Nick Clegg a good grilling today on Channel 4 .
The Libdem leader accepted £3.5 million pounds in illegal donations to his campaign from non-doms, people who don't live in Britain for tax purposes (only when it suits them). Clegg did not even blush as he made excuses and pathetically tried to pretend there was a moral difference between him and the Tories.
Clegg is a liar and a hypocrite, a real brazen crook.
He is all style and no substance. He learned his part, imitating David Cameron, and impressed a TV audience who watch dummies like him on soap opera every evening.
What would you expect of the LibLabCon trio? They are all the same. It makes no difference at all whether the Libdems' dirty donors are lords or hold positions in their party - the point is that by giving money in an election campaign they are influencing the outcome of that election, meddling in government when they avoid paying taxes. It is disgraceful that the Electoral Commission does not demand they pay the money back. Look how unjust the system is. When a UKIP donor was found to have been missed off the local electoral register, his donation was confiscated and UKIP has been told to pay a huge amount £750,000 in legal fees for the hearing. Yet the donor Alan Bown was a British resident, does pay tax and got the money legally.
Justice? Ha ha. What a sham this "democracy" is.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Did you Hate the Great Debate?

The Gr8 Deb8 was the most boring television show ever. Three white males in identical grey suits standing at lecterns delivering their almost identical opinions on how to disguise the cuts and deny the desperate mess we're in.
There were only one or two entertaining moments and they were both provided by Nick Clegg. One was when he came up with a ridiculous idea about letting immigrants in, but keeping them in one part of the country. Cameron immediately challenged it as unworkable. You cannot be serious! An immigration control at every county boundary?. It gave a glimpse of how truly naive and wet-behind-the-ears the Libdem leader is. The second was when Mr Clegg described how he had walked into a hospital ward in England and was told that though expensively-equipped, it could not be used because they aren't permitted to employ non-EU staff.
What a clanger!
Surely his team had warned him not to mention things like that? The Libdems are supposed to have a blind enthusiasm for EU membership, coupled with a blank denial that Brussels is really ruling this country at all.
The EU is the Elephant Unmentioned and both of the other Gr8 Deb8ers kept to the rule that they were not supposed to refer to shhhh...you know what.
To me, these moments were the only light relief in an evening of utter blandness, but it seems that there are a lot of viewers out there who see it in a very different light. They are swept away with enthusiam for Clegg's "performance", and now he is the hero of the Twittering Facebook pollsters.
To people who think a politician and a telly soap star are the same thing, Clegg clearly has an appeal. They don't care that he has been an MP for only five years, and he has no ministerial experience. Tall, good-looking in a dull way, and younger than either of his rivals, he undoubtedly has the confidence of his wealthy, public-school and Cambridge background. He has a glamorous wife with a highly-paid job.
But wait a minute? Haven't we been here before? Didn't we choose someone just like this in 1997... and for many of the same reasons?

In 1997, we elected a brand new, shiny prime minister, all smiles and optimism, and we trusted him to bring in a new era. Blair was young, handsome and confident. He talked centre-left but he had the social ease and assurance of his affluent, public-school background. He was well-advised, well-packaged, and well-surrounded by public relations advisors. And he had an elegant wife with a successful, highly-paid legal career in her own right.

What happened? We got a decade of nasty, unpopular wars and recurrent scandals in public life. A man was found dead in a woodland - suicide? A decade in which business moguls were left to run the economy, titles were sold to raise election funds for the PM's party and little by little, our freedoms were steadily eroded. An era in which more and more government was done by unelected ministers, and faith in democracy plunged. The golden boy Blair turned out to be a lightweight, incapable of standing up to America or resisting the encroachment of EU tyranny.

What have we learned from that experience? Little or nothing, it seems. A lot of the British public seems ready again to fall for a soap-star leader, an inexperienced lightweight whose main attractions are his style and youthful good looks.
Clegg has no principles and no consistent policies. He has vacillated on everything from Trident to tuition fees. When chosen as Libdem leader, he said he wanted to keep a nuclear deterrent; now he says scrap it (he can't even agree with Vince Cable). A few years ago he was offering to abolish university fees; now he has changed his tune. Not long ago, when the Lisbon Treaty was in the news, he offered a firm, unconditional promise that the Libdems would give Britain a referendum on EU membership. Now he has backed down on that too.
Clearly he is skilled in the art of double-talk and political deception, even though he has no experience in taking responsibility at ministerial level. He blames Labour for getting us into a mess - but he never saw it coming.
I imagine it is mainly the first-time voters who are so easily infatuated with a face, a manner and a well-cut suit. Let's hope that they are all too busy twittering or clubbing or chattering on their mobile phones on May 6th to actually go out and vote.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Expenses Pledge

Today I sent this letter to my local newspaper, the Oxford Times:-

Sir,
It is quite right that the public is outraged and disillusioned by the many scandals there have been in public life recently. The parliamentary expenses scandal is a major factor in discouraging people from voting.

To try to address this, I PLEDGE that, if elected, I will not claim any expenses. Not only will I live within my salary, but I pledge to give the first ten thousand pounds of my salary to a charity approved by you, the electors. I suggest the Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture, or Sight-Savers, the international charity for saving people from blindness. Electors will be able to vote on this, by post or e-mail, providing their voting number.

Yours sincerely,
(Dr) Julia Gasper, UKIP PPC for Oxford East.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Is there no end to their effrontery?

So the three disgraced Labour MPs, Chaytor, Morley and Devine, who are going on trial for fraudulent expenses claims, have got the gall to claim legal aid.
Not content with having cheated the tax-payer out of tens of thousands of pounds, they are now out to cost us hundreds of thousands more. The final bill may be in millions. It is clear that they have no shame and no sense of honour.
These men are part of a failed government which has ruined our economy and landed us in a situation of nightmare debt, so much debt that it is doubtful whether even our children's generation will be able to pay it off. Yet they are rapacious as ever when it comes to rifling the public purse.
We have had so many scandals now that we have become blasé. The expenses scandal, the cash-for-honours scandal, the party funding scandals, the cash-for-influence scandal (I'm a cab for hire! said Myners) ... but surely this is still an all-time low.
If Morley, Chaytor and Devine care nothing for the public, they could at least have considered their party, in the middle of a general Election. But they have as much scruple as you would expect of the followers of Lord Voldemort.
Do remember that if you vote Labour you are not just voting for your own MP (however nice and hard-working they may be). You are also voting for Margaret Moran, and all that rotten self-serving bunch.

Monday, 5 April 2010

April 5th 2010

It is very interesting that there is now a movement for an English Parliament.
People have begun to sense at last that democracy has been eroded.
The real government of this country has been moved to the EU and what we have here are now puppet parliaments.
It is not enough just to ask for an English Parliament, when the EU has already abolished England as an entity. It is no longer a nation state. We in Oxfordshire are just part of the Channel region. In the eyes of the EU, England no longer exists.
I believe we should leave the EU and the parliament at Westminster should rule the country without outside interference.
At the moment, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have two lots of MPs and get double representation. They also get more money per capita because of the Barnett system and other anomalies.
UKIP has an excellent alternative system which is part of our manifesto. The same MPs who represent Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would sit in their own regional assemblies for one week or more per month, and in London for the rest of the time. When they were absent, the result would be an English parliament which would deal with all business that is confined to England.
We would have fewer salaries to pay and the voters would be much clearer about who really represents them.


We don't need more government, we need less. Already we have three layers of government - EU, Westminster and local. All of them cost a fortune and only the EU now has real power. The others have to do what the commissioners dictate. They are pressing ahead with ID cards and a surveillance state that will stretch from Dublin to Odessa. How many people in Oxford even know that we have got an ID office here?

The only answer is to vote for a political party that honestly believes in leaving the EU. We would be richer, freer and more independent if we did.
http://oxfordshire.ukip.org/articles/745-julia-gasper-ukip-ppc-oxford-east