Friday, 24 April 2015

How Oxford's Labour Council Wastes Your Money

According to its own website, Oxford City Council spent £47,452 last year on "town-twinning events and activities". 
Oxford is, as we know, twinned with the cold and remote French town of Grenoble, where everything is shut on Mondays, the worthy German city of Bonn, and the town of Leon in Nicaragua. So from time to time our City councillors get trips to these destinations, all-expenses-paid. But curiously enough last year there were no visits or events and they still managed to spend £47,452.

 Bonny Bonn

This is the same city council that is so strapped for cash that they say they cannot afford to keep the swimming pool open in Temple Cowley. They make us pay for garden waste disposal on top of what we already pay for household rubbish collection and recycling.

I wrote to Oxford City Council asking what they had spent this money on. They wrote back to me explaining that there is a part-time council employee who works 18 hours per week and handles all matters connected with town twinning. But why does it take someone even 18 hours per week to organize no events and no visits? Where has that money gone? Most people would regard £47,452 as a very generous salary for full-time work, let alone 18 hours per week doing nothing. (The employee also gets National Insurance payments, so they will get a nice pension for organising nil events too). What exactly did they do - perhaps contribute a few thousand to hacking down all the trees in Bonn or Leon to match their wanton destruction here in Oxford?

The City Council also managed to spend £30,496 on "social inclusion" and £429,262 on a scheme called "Positive Futures". The latter defines itself as a "Youth Ambition Programme for Oxford City". The City Council tells me that this includes £138k for a Holiday Activities Programme and £244k for a Youth Ambition Programme in supposedly "deprived areas of the city". This Youth Ambition programme consists of nothing more than running youth-clubs and sporting activities. In other words, leisure activities and sweeteners for the council estates where they want to ensure Labour votes. That's on top of the millions spent on a swanky new swimming pool in Blackbird Leys.

Somebody I know who worked as a volunteer in one of these youth clubs enquired why they did not inform the police of illegal drug use although they knew it was going on, and why they gave underage girls advice on getting abortions without informing their parents. He was told that his "attitudes" i.e. ethics, were inappropriate and was dropped as a volunteer.

>>>In response to my Freedom of Information request, the City council now informs me that this twinning post is vacant. So they managed to spend £47,000 without employing anyone to do anything,

Do you think that is good value?
Dear Ms Gasper

Further to the acknowledgement below, I can now respond to your email of 24th April 2015.

With regard to the town twinning officer, the post is currently vacant, although a recruitment process is currently underway.  The officer’s role is to co-ordinate events and visits that are linked to Oxford’s twin towns.  The budget is not just for the officer’s salary and employment on costs, but also includes supplies and services costs related to the co-ordination work.   

Information in respect of the social research and consultation functions can be found on the Council’s web site via the following respective links:

Yours sincerely

Michael Newman
Corporate Secretariat Manager

Michael Newman
Corporate Secretariat Manager
Chief Executive’s Office
St Aldate’s Chambers
St Aldate’s

Monday, 20 April 2015

Blair's Devolution Disaster

The Labour government of Tony Blair foisted so many disasters on the British Isles that even full-length books about it give inadequate space to the glaring injustice of its devolution policy.
Devolution was one of the ways that Labour bought votes so that it could get into power in 1997. The Party made promises to all sorts of minorities and pressure groups to get their votes, regardless of the impact this would have on the UK as a whole.
Devolution had long been a Liberal policy but New Labour was eager to adopt it if it would update their image for voters in Scotland and Wales, where most of the coal-mines had been closed down and Labour had no intention of re-opening them. Devolution was the sweetie they handed out.

So Scotland and Wales were each given a referendum, resulting in a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly, that cost the UK taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds per year. The absurdity of this is that under Labour the UK continued to relinquish its powers of self-government to the EU. More and more parliaments were set up, with less and less power. Each one costs a fortune to run, and so we pay more to get less. 
          The whole basis of devolution was unjust. When Scotland and Wales got their own parliaments, they should have lost their right to sit in the English Parliament. That is fair. Why should Scottish and Welsh MPs, who are predominantly Labour, have power at Westminster, and impose their policies on English people who have not voted for them? Devolution did nothing to address this injustice, but made it worse. Scottish and Welsh people now have two votes and two sets of MPs. They can impose laws on England and then go home and rule themselves as well. We have to pay for their double elections and double parliament with two lots of representatives drawing handsome salaries. And they have more MPs in Westminster per voter than the English do. The population of Scotland is actually no more than the population of Yorkshire, yet there are 59 Scottish MPs at Westminster and only thirty from Yorkshire. 
Wales and Scotland also get a disproportionate amount of the EU funding that we all pay for via our membership fees of £62 million per day. Most of this is paid by the English tax-payer who thus subsidizes Wales and Scotland both indirectly and directly.
          The Barnett Formula is a basic injustice that has existed since 1978 when Labour's Lord Barnett decided to allocate more funding to Scotland and Wales than to England. Out of the total tax revenue of the UK, Scotland and Wales get more per head of population than England does, and that is statutory.  English people get only £8,500 per year, while Welsh get £9,709 and Scots get £10,152.  That is how they can afford free prescriptions, free ambulances, free care for the elderly, and free university places.  

Just stop and think  - over a 70-year lifetime, the English voter gets £105,000 less in public spending than a Scottish person. Think of the impact that has on quality of life. Devolution made this existing injustice worse. 
In the clamour for devolution, England was never given the option of a parliament free from Scottish and Welsh MPs - Labour didn't even consider it. And no wonder, since there are far more Labour supporters in Scotland and Wales than in England. They are the traditional Labour heartlands. Without Scottish and Welsh Labour MPs, Scotsman Tony Blair would never have got into power. The history of the Labour Party is a history of Scotland and Wales ruling England. From Kier Hardy to Callaghan, Kinnock and Blair, Labour has been a Scottish and Welsh-led party, imposing its policies and taxes on England. Without Scottish and Welsh MPs, England would never have had to endure the calamity of the Blair-Brown government, with its PC nonsense and endless wars.
        Shamefully, when David Cameron was campaigning in Scotland against independence, he guaranteed continuing the Barnett Formula  - it was nothing but a bribe at the expense of English voters. Cameron, another Scotsman...
       The fair solution would be to abolish the Barnett Formula and scrap the Scottish and Welsh seats in the Westminster Parliament. Let Scotland rule itself if it wants to and take its share of UK's national debt with it when it goes. Why should we have to bail out the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Barclays too? Their voters will soon wake up to a cold reality, that Scotland is a poor country that has been living beyond its means. 
      Abolishing the Barnett Formula is an English Democrat policy that UKIP has now started to flirt with, but they are only offering to reduce the subsidy paid by England, not to scrap it altogether. We in English Democrats want to end it altogether. Devolution has been a farce. Independence should be genuine or not at all.
   Vote to abolish the Barnett Formula here:

Monday, 13 April 2015

Well Done Pope Francis for Calling the Armenian Genocide What It Was

Pope Francis has done something brave and important by speaking out about the Armenian genocide, one of Europe's best-kept secrets. It was not just a slaughter, it was not just a massacre, it was an extermination of Christians on a genocidal scale. And our biassed media are reluctant either to refer to it or to call the victims Christian martyrs as they undoubtedly were.
Let the present government in Turkey rage and storm  - it shows them in their true colours. Their denial of this ugly fact of their past adds to the shame. The Muslim Turks exterminated Christians on a massive scale during the First World War. In 1914 there were two million Armenian Christians in the Ottoman Empire. By 1918 there  were only about 400,000 left, mostly living in or near Istanbul. All the rest had been rounded up, driven from their homes, shot, bayoneted or herded northwards into the Syrian desert where they were deliberately left to starve. 

Image result for how many armenians were killed in the genocide

Even at the time there were reporters and photographers who recorded what was going on, and sent the facts to the newspapers, and many of these photographs have been preserved and placed on websites to provide valuable testimony. The Turks still deny what happened and claim that the only violence was mutual, between warring communities. However, the pictures and the testimonials of survivors and their children establish that this is not true.
The extermination of Christians under Muslim rule had been going on for centuries and this was just the last chapter in a long tale of ruthless oppression, Greek and Middle Eastern Christians were gradually but systematically exterminated, so that Palestine and other Christian majority areas under the Byzantine Empire eventually became predominantly Muslim. There were massacres of Armenians by Turks in 1894, 1895, 1896, 1909, and again between 1920 and 1923.
            In the Great War Turkey was allied to Germany and its genocide of Armenians provided Hitler with the model for his own policies. "Who remembers the Armenians?" he asked. 
            Well, today Pope Francis did. Even more promising is the fact that he held an Armenian-rite mass attended by leaders of the Armenian Christian church. This centenary matters because  we are living in a time of rising persecution of Christians by fanatical and ruthless Muslims.
In Paris there is a public memorial to the Armenians, victims of the first and the least acknowledged genocide of the twentieth century. It would be a good idea to have one in London, and what a pity our own limp, spineless Anglican clergy are not taking a lead in this. It would be a lot better than enacting the pointless farce of a state funeral for Richard III.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Stumped for an Answer

Until a few weeks ago this lane in Headington Quarry was a pleasure to walk through. I went along it almost every day walking to the shops, bus stop or post box. It was a beautiful, rural footpath, lined by tall sycamores that created a natural avenue.

They were beautiful, noble and verdant, always full of birds and birdsong. Then suddenly, the City Council moved in with their chain-saws and overnight the whole lot were gone. The fact that this is the nesting season for birds, when tree-felling is supposedly illegal, did not deter them. As you walk along the lane now, instead of the voice of the blackbird, chaffinch and thrush there is just silence. 
According to the Conservation Area Appraisal for this part of Oxford, The Stables is "an intimate wooded pathway ..., eventually opening out into a vehicular trackway." Well it's a lot less intimate and wooded now it has been robbed of all its trees. The Conservation Area Appraisal also says "trees play an important role in  the green character of the village".  It lists among the dangers to this area, "Loss of greenery and important green spaces". What is the point of  the Council paying to have documents like this drawn up if  it's  just going to ignore them?
I still cannot quite believe the scale of the destruction. There are fewer and fewer broad-leaved native trees in Quarry. Over the past ten years they have been systematically cut down, and those that remain are drastically over-pruned to the point of having all their lower branches removed. Soon the only trees left will be rather ugly imported spruces and conifers, that don't fit in with the environment.

What amazes me is the absolute phobia many people seem to have about trees. Any tree is always too big, too close to something, too high, too low, too wide, too narrow, too far away, too old, too young, or just guilty of some crime such as dropping its leaves on the ground, of all places. Why do people hate trees and perceive them as somehow a threat? I find this inexplicable.
Destroying trees is one of the commonest forms of vandalism carried out by people who rent houses. I know many cases of people who let their homes and returned to find beautiful blossoming, fruit trees cut down or uprooted. 
I once lived in a house with an ornamental cherry tree in the front garden. Actually it was one of the attractions of the house that drew me to it. When not flowering it had the most wonderful, deep maroon foliage. But a neighbour never stopped complaining that it cut out the light from the front of the house. 
In the last month, Oxford City Council has felled at least a dozen fine, flourishing native trees from the city centre, leaving the area around the Westgate Centre denuded and stark. They have been sending out the chainsaw gangs at night to avoid attracting attention or protest.
Then they claim they have got a "green" agenda. Like hell.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

LibDem Cyril Smith's Links to Labour Pervert Paul Flowers

Now who would have thought that these two charming rogues would have had any close links? 
Yet it does seem that notorious pederast MP Cyril Smith was hand in glove with the "Rev" Paul Flowers, who crashed the Co-op Bank in 2013. Flowers, who spent most of his time taking drugs and going to orgies with juvenile rent-boys, was at one time a member of the same Rochdale Council as Cyril Smith, the fat, jolly, LibDem MP who abused boys for forty years. And while they were on the same council, they helped to obstruct enquiries into Smith's activities and other sex-abuse allegations.

The Rev Paul Flowers had close political links to Sir Cyril Smith, the late Liberal Democrat MP accused of several child abuse offences

Rochdale is one of the areas where a grooming gangs have been very busy preying on hundreds of vulnerable schoolgirls who have been raped and prostituted with the full knowledge of local social services and police. Clever old Cyril set up a care-home for boys where he could always drop in and have a little fun. The grooming gangs took advantage of girls who were supposedly "in care". So Rochdale is keeping up the good old traditions established by these Labour and LibDem councillors!
Flowers who was the darling of the Labour Party and an icon of their new politically-correct "ethics" left the Co-op Bank in tatters, having lost billions of its assets while busy snorting coke, and crystal meth (whatever that is). The Co-op Bank thought it was creditable to have a "gay" director. He has now gone on to another lucrative job  -  making porn films.
And LibDem councillor Roz Smith in Oxford fits into the picture neatly as she says she thinks "people should be allowed to live as they wish".

The Rev Paul Flowers had close political links to Sir Cyril Smith, the late Liberal Democrat MP accused of several child abuse offences, it was disclosed on Thursday.
The disgraced Methodist minister, who was chairman of the Co-op bank for three years, was a member of Rochdale council at the same time as Smith, who died in 2010 aged 82.
Mr Flowers also helped oversee Rochdale social services at the time of an alleged Satanic abuse scandal, the council confirmed.
It was alleged that Smith raped boys at Knowl View special school and abused boys at Cambridge House Children’s Home, a privately-run care home in the Lancashire town which closed in 1965.
Smith was never prosecuted for any crime, although the Crown Prosecution Service last year admitted that he should have been prosecuted for abusing boys in the 1960s.
Smith was originally a Labour councillor in Rochdale and later a Liberal then Liberal Democrat MP for the town from 1972 to 1992. His brother, Norman Smith, who was mayor of Rochdale in 1986-87, said that Mr Flowers sat on council committees with Sir Cyril.
“Cyril was more involved with [Paul Flowers] than me. Cyril was a councillor and MP at the time,” he said.
“They knew each other by being on the council, and of course he was a prominent minister. They were on committees together.”
Mr Smith said Mr Flowers was the minister of Champness Hall in Drake Street, in the centre of Rochdale. He added: “He was respected in some quarters, but not in other quarters. I always remember people saying, 'he will go a long way, that lad’. They were impressed by him.
“He was obviously going to make a name for himself, and he has done. He was a prominent man — when you were in a room and he came in, you knew he was there.”
There is no suggestion that Mr Flowers is linked to any of the allegations around Sir Cyril Smith.
A spokesman for Rochdale Borough Council confirmed that Mr Flowers was a councillor from 1988 to 1992. The minister served as vice-chairman of the social services committee in 1990/91, and sat on the committee in the previous and following years.
During that time, 16 children in the town were taken into care because it was alleged that they had been abused and forced into Satanic rituals — but a lengthy investigation found no evidence of abuse or devil worship. West Yorkshire Police raided Mr Flowers’s home earlier this week after he was filmed apparently buying class-A drugs including crack cocaine and crystal meth. Mr Flowers may face arrest as part of the police inquiry, it is understood.
It can also be disclosed that Mr Flowers received a conviction for drink-driving while serving as a councillor in Rochdale.
He was caught drink-driving in Manchester in 1990 after celebrating his 40th birthday. It is thought he was later handed a driving ban by magistrates.
A spokesman for the Methodist Church said: “We are aware of the matter. Our usual processes were followed and Rev Flowers was very sorry. This matter did not preclude him from his activities in the church and he was allowed to continue in his ministry.”
Mr Flowers was also convicted of carrying out a sex act in a Hampshire public toilet more than 30 years ago. [Typical homosexual behaviour]
He also resigned as a Labour councillor in Bradford in 2011 after “inappropriate but not illegal adult content” was found on a computer he used.
It has been alleged that Mr Flowers communicated with rent boys using his work email account while he was in charge of the Co-op bank.
David Cameron has ordered an inquiry into how someone like Mr Flowers could come to run a major British financial institution.
The Prime Minister has said that the Co-op bank had been “driven into the wall” by Mr Flowers.