Monday, 27 June 2016

Beating About the Bush

Now that the famed, miraculous anti-oxidant properties of blueberries have been debunked and shown to be a myth, there is no need to tear up and throw away your blueberry bush or any other fruit bushes that you have. They are still pretty, still ornamental and the berries will provide lots of food for birds if you can't be bothered to harvest them. If you can pick them  - or buy them  - just go on eating them with your muesli and don't worry that they are not going to make you immortal.
What puts some people off blueberries is the dismal article sold in many cafés and convenience shops as a "blueberry muffin". It is utterly disgusting, mushy in texture and sickly in taste, giving the impression that it is made of dust from inside your hoover, flavoured with saccharine and shower gel. Shun it at all costs. Grow your own, fresh blueberries and eat them fresh or if you have enough to cook, put them in Polish-style dumplings.
   Domestic fruit bushes such as blueberry and currant seem to go on growing regardless of the awful rainy weather and may console you for a disappointing strawberry harvest. Blueberries need an acidic soil so will be grateful for used coffee grounds strewn around their roots. It doesn't make them taste of coffee.
Personally I think that redcurrants are worth growing just because they are so pretty. The berries are light red, and translucent, like carnelian or glass beads.  They can be used in summer puddings or made into redcurrant jelly, the essential ingredient of Cumberland sauce.
And what about rhubarb, the Cinderella of the allotment?

I used to think that no garden, however large, was big enough to waste space on rhubarb.  Then gradually its merits as an ornamental plant, a rival to gunnera, grew on me. Finally I have found ways to eat it that are a little different from the boring school rhubarb of early childhood.
Don't decide you are a rhubarb-hater until you have tried rhubarb ice-cream. No kidding,

Take four large sticks of rhubarb, early in the summer when it is at its best. Chop them small, into coin-shaped slices rather than chunks. Place them in a deep dish or bowl and add four heaped tablespoons of unbleached light brown sugar, Mix it all together, cover and leave it in the fridge for a couple of days.  When the juice has run, simmer it gently or cook it in the microwave for about five minutes, in short bursts, until it is soft.
Allow to cool, then mix in one large carton of double cream and a good teaspoon of vanilla essence. Put it all in the blender and mix till smooth. Transfer to freezer container(s) and freeze for about two or three hours, until firm but not hard. Then take it all out again and return it to the blender for another 2 minutes or so.  It is this second blending that makes the result smooth and creamy. It will still taste good if you don't bother , but the texture will be less like ice-cream.
 Put it back in the freezer container(s) and freeze until needed. When you are going to eat it, take it out of the freezer about an hour in advance and put it in the fridge. Serve it with mint leaves, and if you like, a tiny trickle more of single cream to garnish. It is absolutely delicious.

The Tragedy of David Cameron

David Cameron seemed born to be Prime Minister. With his wealthy background, Eton and Oxford education, first-class degree in politics, and good looks to boot, he was chosen and groomed from an early age by the Conservative party as its destined leader. They bestowed on him the safe seat of Witney, where he lives in a gracious mansion with wisteria adorning the roof. His only expenses offence was to claim the costs of having this pruned as a "bill run up in the course of his parliamentary duties". 

Although he held power for five years only in coalition he was re-elected last year with a clear majority and seemed to be on top of the world. The fact that so many people loathed him and regarded him as a liar, a two-faced career politician and a cad did not seem to matter - they were just ukipper-types, doomed always to be losers. Now he has resigned, despised, hated and pitied by no-one.

    What went wrong with Cameron's career?  He was always a hollow man, with no real principles. He did what he was told to do by his party big-wigs and party backers. He could be bought by anybody who offered enough to Tory party funds. A few days before the 2010 General Election he said "I have no intention of changing the institution of marriage". He was hardly through the door of number 10 than he reneged on his promise, and forced through the same-sex marriage law, which had not been in his or any party manifesto. It was just a backroom deal with those who could pay a few million into his party coffers. Now, pathetically, he says he will be remembered "for gay marriage". That's like saying he will be remembered for bugger-all.
      He did not have the guts to scrap Labour's awful Equality Act that came into force shortly after he became Prime Minister. This may have been because of the coalition with the LibDems, but nevertheless Cameron signed a piece of messy, confused, illogical legislation that is full-scale attack on free speech and civil liberties unparalled in our time.
          He presided over a government making painful spending cuts and despite the banking crisis solemnly told us that being in the EU had made us prosperous and protected us from "economic uncertainty". He let Ian Duncan-Smith take the rap for unpopular measures. Ordinary people were pushed out of their council homes while MEPs flounce around at Brussels spending colossal sums on more and more palatial buildings.
     He let himself be tempted to dabble in the internal affairs of Libya and was too quick to take sides in the so-called "Arab Spring". The result was he got us involved in supporting and arming ISIS. Maladroit even by the standards of Tony Blair.
     He panicked at the time of the Scottish Referendum, and rushed up to Scotland to offer the Scots almost anything to stay in the union. That was in spite of the fact that they don't vote for him and had to be bribed with promises of never-ending subsidy.
     When the Chinese premier visited England, Cameron never mentioned human rights or Tibet, (and the Prince of Wales seems to have been locked in a cupboard). It was no time for principles. Nor was his visit to Saudi Arabia, where he showed no qualms about going on selling them weapons. He brazenly defended the Saudis' right to sit on the UN human rights committee.
  He went on telling people they wanted HS2 when they didn't. He sat back and did nothing to help the workers at TATA steel  - but then he couldn't, because of EU regulations. 
When the Panama papers revealed his family's long term strategies of tax avoidance, he passed it off with suave assurance, saying that after all nobody had done anything illegal. 

     Cameron often insulted UKIP, once memorably describing its members as "fruitcakes and closet racists". That sort of casual, obnoxious insult has now come home to haunt him. The people he sneered at, whose arguments he did not think worth listening to, have now voted him out of office. Not so smug now, are you Dave?
      He frequently offered Britain a Referendum on EU membership, thinking that he would never have to hold it. Being in coalition was one good excuse. When he suddenly found himself freed from the coalition, he was put on the spot. He didn't want to hold a referendum, but thought he could win it, with enough funding from the EU and enough blatant media bias. To his own astonishment, that has not turned out to be the case. All those "little people" as Sigmar Gabriel called them, turned up at the polling booths and voted against him. This was a vote of the poor against the rich, no doubt about that. Looking at the demographics it was the working-class and the pensioners who were most in favour of Leave. It was the plebs versus the celebs.  It is a myth that young people in general favoured the EU. Only 36% of the 18-25s actually bothered to vote at all. And those who voted In, about one in four, would have soon changed their minds when conscripted into the new EU army. 
     Cameron could have played it differently. He could have gone to Brussels and negotiated harder, waving the big stick of Brexit to make sure he was not ignored. He could have come back and said, "Well they offered us nothing, so let's have a referendum, and whatever the people decide, I will stand by their decision, and lead the country to its destiny." Instead, he kow-towed to Brussels, expected us to vote Remain, and relied on PR skills to get him through. Faced with a LEAVE vote he had no option but to resign.
    Now cast-iron Dave is a cast-off. I don't feel a bit sorry for him  -  do you?

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Hidden Costs of EU Membership - over and above that £350 Million per Week

It costs Britain far more to be a member of the EU than just the official annual contribution to its budget.

Here some of the hidden costs of EU membership over and above that much-debated £350 million per week.
1. £2.4 BILLION in VAT paid direct to Brussels. Yes, thanks to the EU we pay higher rates of VAT and we pay it on a wider range of things. Energy bills for example.
2. £1.7 BILLION "punishment for success" because we had higher growth than expected last year. When the EU commission realised that last year the UK had achieved a higher rate of growth than previously expected, it slapped a huge extra contribution on us. David Cameron at first swore he would not pay, then, vowing he would ne'er consent ...consented. Staggering!
3. £642 MILLION fine for "poor accounting" on farm subsidies. Yes, the EU, whose own finances are riddled with black holes, fines us for poor accounting. The UK government pays this while cutting pensions and help to disabled people here.

4. £1 BILLION towards the latest bail-out of Greece. And it won't be the last, because Greece cannot pay. It will never be able to pay. It is trapped as a debt-slave forever because of the single currency which means it cannot compete in exports or in tourism.
5. £150 MILLION fine for not flying the EU flag on projects partly funded by the EU (with money we paid them in tax in the first place). Yes, and they have the power to impose unlimited fines.
6. £250 MILLION to Turkey and Albania to help them join the EU.
7. £300 MILLION fine a year until we meet pollution targets set out by the EU.
8. £900 MILLION a Year to treat EU visitors on NHS
9. £22 BILLION to boost the ailing French economy. After all, we wouldn't want it going the same way as the Greek, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Irish economies, into deep slump, would we?
10. £300 MILLION costs to businesses for EU Red Tape
11. £40 MILLION in lost revenue in EU student loans which are unpaid and the students have disappeared back to the EU.
Higher prices for goods imported from outside the EU. Do you buy clothes or laptops made in China? Was your TV made in Indonesia?  You paid a tariff on it.
13. Millions spent on keeping foreign criminals and terrorists in our gaols, people we cannot deport because of EU law. They often cost us a fortune in legal aid too.
14. £250 MILLION towards helping with costs of migrant crisis in Europe.  Just a final little deduction from our purses which ultimately comes out of yours.

So that's around £26 BILLION on top of the £350 million per week we pay to the EU. A conclusive argument for voting LEAVE.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Labour Loudmouth Maria Eagle Spreads False Rumour

To Remain opportunists, a death is not just a killing, it has to be made out to be a political assassination, and that assassination has to be laid at the door of whoever your political opponents are. They must be demonized and vilified ruthlessly without hesitation and without evidence.

So it is with the sad death of Jo Cox, the Labour MP shot outside a library on Wednesday. Whatever the truth turns out to be, one thing is certain - nobody shouted "Britain First!" 
Maria Eagle, Labour MP, is the irresponsible liar who started the rumour about the suspect shouting "Britain First!" She just invented the story and it was then industriously circulated by social media, the BBC and all the TV and broadcasting channels, finally appearing in the headlines of most of Friday's newspapers. It was a brazen and scurrilous lie.
The man who came on the scene shortly after the stabbing is now so fed up of being misrepresented in the media and press, that he has actually placed this hand-written sign in the window of his shop, saying "I did not tackle the gunman and no one shouted Britain First at any time."


Here is an image of Maria Eagle's mendacious tweet, copied into someone else's:
Maria Eagle

Eagle has now admitted it was a lie and deleted the tweet. She should be prosecuted for libel. Copies of her Tweet are still in existence.
And what about the claims that the suspect arrested by police has links to an extreme neo-Nazi group in America? That is not police evidence. The claim has been traced back to the USA, to the notoriously unreliable outfit that calls itself the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Lavishly endowed by American billionaire George Soros (the man who pushed the US into intervening in Ukraine, thus precipating the crisis there), it exists to invent fake "hate-crimes" and promulgate a myth about evil neo-Nazi militants lurking in every quiet leafy town. That is of course a myth that many people devoutly believe. They derive a sense of moral superiority from it, and this acts on them like amphetamines. To indulge their delusion of moral superiority they are prepared to lie, slander, libel and vilify any person in any situation.
Thanks to Ms Eagle and her unscrupulous lies, the idea that "Brexit is stained with blood" has now been broadcast around the globe.
Nauseating remarks were issued by Polly Toynbee, from her Tuscany Towers retreat in Italy, where she lies in the sun sipping fizz as pink as her politics. She cannot imagine what it is like to have to worry about the shortage of housing, or school places, or hospital appointments in England. All that just proves to her that the working class is "racist".
   So far there is no evidence that the suspect in the Jo Cox case had any political opinions whatsoever. He may not have intended to kill Ms Cox and he may not even be the killer. He is only an obscure suspect, who had been unemployed all his life because his extraordinary talents for planning and carrying out lethal missions with SAS precision had somehow never come to light.
       Similar prejudices were displayed by young Master Owen Jones who certainly deserved a Prat of the Week prize for storming out of a Sky TV discussion of the shooting at Orlando, Florida. 

As soon as the news about the incident was announced, young Master Jones wanted the world to attach a label of "homophobia" to it, and he was determined to use another bit of jargon by saying he was going to "call it out". When the older and more experienced journalists counselled him to be more cautious, Master Jones got up and flounced out of the studio.
     Within a few more hours, multiple reports came in saying that the killer, Omar Mateen, was a homosexual himself. His wife knew it, his colleagues knew it, and he had been going to the Pulse nightclub for three years, picking up partners. This massacre was not "fomohobia" but yet another example of the Joe Orton syndrome, the curious tendency of homosexuals worldwide to kill each other. Like Maria Eagle, Master Jones was in haste to indulge his preconceptions, and revel in a sense of superiority over the imaginary oppressor.  Jones is a self-proclaimed "anti-capitalist" but unfortunately he has never explained what anti-capital is or how we can get people to invest it in our businesses.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Referendum Myth-Busting

The commonest myth we hear about leaving the EU is that we will be losing our access to their market and that we will be "isolated" in the world.
Here are some reassuring facts summarized very cogently by a friend of mine.
If you vote to leave the European Union, you are not voting to leave the European Economic Area or World Trade Organisation. All of the UK's trade and benefit agreements will remain unchanged should we leave, until such a time that the UK decides to renegotiate them for any reason.

You are not voting to leave NATO, meaning our security agreements remain unchanged. Should we receive an act of hostility from a non-NATO member, then NATO countries are obliged to come to our assistance. This does not change.

You are not voting to leave the UN, G8 or G20, meaning Britain will have the same voice on the world stage as it does today.

You are not voting to leave Europe!! The UK will still, geographically, be part of Europe. Non political organisations aligned to Europe will still extend membership to the UK (I.e. sports governing bodies, and so on).

You are not voting to stop recognizing Interpol, Europol and neither are you voting for SIS / MI6 to stop dealing with other intelligence services in the fight against terrorism and global, organised crime.

You are not voting against being able to travel to Europe ! That myth is downright ridiculous. The UK has always maintained stricter border and passport controls than many EU members. This will not change. You will still use a passport to go on holiday and you will still be allowed entry to countries in Europe. You may even get chance to skip queues by using the non--EU queues at the airport.

The UK economy will benefit in the opinion of most of the leading businessmen and bankers of this country. Wages for the less well off will rise.
Medical and science research will not simply stop. The UK pays into the EU to then get money back in the form of funding. The UK will now be in control of this money and can choose to fund whatever UK based medical, science, art or other research it chooses.

Farming will not lose money because of EU funding being cut. The UK negotiated a rebate of some monies that the UK pays to the EU, in order to subsidise UK farmers. Instead of asking for our money back, we can give it straight to farmers. No change there.

You are not voting against human rights. The EU Convention on, and European Court of Human Rights are not part of the EU. Until parliament passes a new bill of rights for the UK, these will still apply, as will precedents already passed down to UK courts from Brussels.

You are not voting to kick anyone out of the UK or block access to anyone. Neither are you voting to stop recruiting valuable European workers into things like the NHS. The UK is already outside of the Schengen zone and so migrant workers must enter the UK with a valid passport before and after June 23rd. That will not change. Britain will maintain border control but will be able to ask more questions including whether an EU citizen has a criminal record. Should someone have the skills to apply to work in the NHS, then they will still be permitted travel and given an opportunity to apply for a job. The UK is likely to negotiate freedom of labour movement though, in exchange for freedom of goods movement.

You are not voting to move jobs nor production out of the UK - far from it. The EU actually helped fund the move of Ford Transit production from the UK to Turkey... Yes, the EU helped give UK jobs to people in Turkey by giving Ford a loan of £80m with very generous terms!

What you are voting for is UK sovereignty. You are voting to stay in or leave a political union of leaders and representatives that you British people did not elect. You are voting against a commission of unelected, elite men that nobody at all voted for and yet they make decisions on our behalf. You are simply voting to bring sovereignty back to Westminster, and that is all. If you worry about that because you don't like the Conservative government, look at the reality. Their majority in parliament is very slim. They have been blocked on big decisions already. You are therefore not giving sovereignty to David Cameron, but to the UK House of elected representatives. Do not be fooled by the fear campaigns that are simply run by the wealthy, who need EU money to thrive! Think about the future, and your family's future. So people this is our one and only chance of getting our country back,please for your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren,this is our only chance. Vote out.

Brexit Could Stop HS2 says Cameron - Jubilation

David Cameron's warning that voting to leave the EU could put the high-speed rail schemes HS2 and HS3 at risk has given people up and down the country another strong temptation to vote to leave. 

We never liked it, we never wanted it and we still deplore the extravagance, the environmental damage and the pointlessness of this project. To spend billions on steel from India for the tracks when our own UK steel workers in Wales are being put out of a job is an insult. The rolling stock is being commissioned from Germany, ignoring our own UK producers. The contract for the stations has gone to a company that will use imported foreign workers not British  - exactly as was done with the Olympic village.  There are rumoured to be a lot of politicians who have invested in this horrendous White Elephant  and they will stand to make a lot of money, but for the vast majority of us there will be no gain, and a lot of pain.
Brexit a threat to HS2 and HS3 in Yorkshire, says Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron at the Yorkshire Post Offices, Whitehall Road, Leeds..9th June 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme


18:02Thursday 09 June 2016

FLAGSHIP high speed rail projects designed to connect the North of England may not be completed if Britain leaves the EU, David Cameron has warned.

Delivering the multi-billion pound HS2 and HS3 schemes are at the forefront of the Conservative party’s vision to create a Northern Powerhouse.

Prime Minister David Cameron at the Yorkshire Post Offices, Whitehall Road, Leeds..9th June 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

However a vote to abandon the EU on June 23 could signal the end of proposed levels of investment in rail, Mr Cameron suggested, as grappling with a £40m blackhole in their finances and public spending commitments would have to be managed within a smaller economy.

Speaking exclusively to readers of the Yorkshire Post in central Leeds yesterday, the Prime Minister said: “If we stay in [the EU] all our plans are fully intact and that includes HS2, and what we have said about HS3, and the overall rail investment programme.

“If we come out of course I’m sure we will want to try and maintain these important investments but when you hear nine out of ten economists, the Bank of England, the Treasury, the IMF and now the National Institute [of Economic and Social Research], all saying our economy will be smaller and will generate less tax revenue, obviously that does threaten potentially some public spending programmes.”

“If we stay in [the EU] all our plans are fully intact and that includes HS2, and what we have said about HS3, and the overall rail investment programme.David Cameron

As recently as March, Chancellor George Osborne announced a £60m fund to kick-start a speedier route between Manchester and Leeds that would slash journey times by 30 minutes, while HS2’s budget is currently £55.7bn.

Earlier in the day Mr Cameron paid a visit to a farm in Thirsk as part of his campaign to convince farmers to vote to remain in the EU.

After stopping at Brigshaw High School in Kippax near Castleford school to meet pupils, he then took questions from readers at the Yorkshire Post’s for almost an hour.

A smaller economy would naturally put the brakes on public spending, he told Andrew Latchmore, a partner in Leeds based corporate law firm Shulmans, who had asked him to prioritize investment in HS2 and HS3 if Britain leaves the EU.

Read more:

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Sadiq Khan Has Already Broken Election Pledge to Freeze Fares

Sadiq Khan, elected only weeks ago as Mayor of London, has already broken his election pledge to freeze travel fares in London.
He claimed on page 1 of his manifesto that he would
"Freeze London transport fares for four years " - oh yes?

Within days of his election triumph, Tube and bus fares are going up and the luckless traveller will just have to lump it. This is the sort of unethical behaviour that makes so many people cynical about elections and reluctant to vote at all.
We need the right of "recall" i.e. the right to sack politicians who get elected then immediately violate their election pledges. If that had been in operation, Nick Clegg would not have lasted more than a few days in the post of deputy Prime Minister. 
This is an essential reform that would make our system into a more genuine and meaningful democracy. Khan is a liar, and an election cheat.
His election manifesto, still online, said
"Londoners won’t pay a penny more for their travel in 2020 than they do today.’"
And his voice is recorded as saying "My promise is to freeze TFL fares over the next four years."

[At the London Assembly, ]Tory group leader Gareth Bacon added: “Just four weeks after the election the Mayor’s flagship policy has been thrown out of the window.
"By raising Travelcard prices by inflation and breaking his biggest promise he is turning his back on those who showed faith in him.
"Hundreds of thousands of commuting Londoners use Travelcards, and thus will never see this freeze."
London government professor expert Tony Travers said: “Londoners will without doubt have formed the impression that the fares commitment meant a freeze for all fares for four years. A freeze only affecting pay as you go fares is a very different thing.”

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Pig Ignorant Europhile James Cahill Needs to Educate Himself

Jamie Cahill usually writes about pop music. He think that gives him the right to tell people how to vote in the EU Referendum despite knowing zero-point-zilch about the whole subject.

In an article printed in the entertainment guide "The Ocelot" he trots out all the worst clichés and tritest insults about the LEAVE campaign. He asserts that those who wish to leave the EU have got no arguments apart from "screaming hysteria and shouting".
Oh, really? I am going to challenge Jamie Cahill to read some of the following well-researched books by qualified experts in their subject. I suspect that he will refuse, and chicken out.
Abuse is his level. Well-informed debate is way beyond him. 
Has he even seen the film "Brexit: the Movie"? Nah, of course he hasn't, he is too busy scribbling twaddle.
He sneers at Leave campaigners as people who think foreigners "talk funny".  I challenge Jamie Cahill  - how many foreign languages are you actually fluent in? Can you speak fluent French, German, Italian or Spanish like most of the Brexiteers I know?
Here is a list of some of the most outstanding books now available:

'The EU: A Corporatist Racket: How the European Union was created by global corporatism for global corporatism'. by David Barnby.( John Leftwich (ISBN: 9780956981585)) This book is the result of in-depth historical research by a disillusioned Tory who does not mind revealing how Ted Heath and other successive leaders lied to us. And they still do.

The Trouble With Europe: Why the EU isn't Working, How it Can be Reformed, What Could Take its Place, by Roger Bootle 

[according to The Guardian, this book is "right on every count"]

Why Vote Leave, by Daniel Hannan , (MEP for more than ten years). A mind-boggling exposure of the waste, corruption and bureaucratic dictatorship of the EU. Described by a reviewer as "
'Powerful, intelligent, hard-hitting, well-written ... absolutely required reading for every Briton who is considering voting on 23 June' Andrew Roberts."

The Demise of the Free State: Why British Democracy and the EU don't Mix, by David G. Green. According to a reviewer it is "a damning indictment of the EU, charging it with a wholesale attack on the principles of liberal democracy and self-determination, in the name of a progressive authoritarianism at odds with British moral and political values."

With Friends Like These...: Why Britain Should Leave the EU - and How, by David Conway. Far from isolationist, he argues in favour of a lesser degree of union limited to trade not political merger i.e. EEA lite
"Conway favours this and argues that EEA Lite's terms can be achieved by making its acceptance a condition of Britain's agreement to a new treaty that he predicts the EU will soon be forced to seek in order to resolve the eurocrisis."

Here is James Cahill's silly ignorant little article, complete with lame propaganda about the EU giving us "access to the single market" - which David Cameron has admitted is a fallacy. Cameron has publicly admitted that if we left the EU we would "Still do business with all those countries".  His own words. The speech is on You Tube.

Jamie tells us that the UK needs foreign doctors, unaware of the fact that Commonwealth doctors here face obstruction to work because they are not EU citizens. So do Philippino nurses. And Australians even if their grandparents still live here.
As for the claim that being inside the EU makes every household in this country £3,000 p.a. better off, that is of course sheer fiction. It comes from the random-number generating machine in George Osborne's office.
Mr Cahill thinks his arguments are "facts". He probably also believes in the tooth fairy and that eating toast makes your hair curl. I don't suppose he has heard that the German economics minister Sigmar Gabriel last week admitted that the EU makes lower-paid workers, pensioners and what he called "the little people" worse off. I don't suppose James Cahill has ever heard of Sigmar Gabriel  - or he thinks it's a pop group.  
He won't read any of these books  -  I am prepared to bet on it!
Tell him what you think of him on Twitter at