Saturday, April 30, 2011

UK Identity and Passport Service and Confidentiality

I've had to renew my passport, otherwise I won't get to France this summer which would mean missing a few days watching le Tour de France. My first shock was the cost, £77-50. I'm sure it was nowhere near that much 10 years ago.

The second thing that shocked me was the following warning on the front page of my application:
"We may pass information held on your passport and on related passport records to public and private sector organisations in the UK and abroad when you use your passport, obtain a service or when it is in the public interest to do so".
Nice to know that while ever more draconian measures are taken to hassle and restrict us to minimise identity theft and terrorism supposedly, this particular government department is touting around our personal information to all and sundry 'when it is in the public interest to do so'.

One Rule For You-After The Fire

In 1979 I was spending a particularly idle year as a student in Northampton. I really took to student life, well the social side af it anyway, but couldn't face three years of left-wing indoctrination masquerading as teacher training.

One thing that I always remember about that year was meeting some great people and getting to lots of United away games, Northampton being perfectly positioned for travel throughout England. Another thing was drinking some fine real ale, in fact drinking far too much fine real ale. But most importantly was seeing some fantastic bands at the college. UK Subs, The Pretenders, Fischer Z and many more. Bauhaus were a local band and we used to watch them rehearsing at the college as well as doing regular concerts there.

But one band I particularly remember were After The Fire, and I remember as if yesterday the first time I heard One Rule For You. So, as I can't think of anything profound to rattle on about, here are After The Fire:

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I must admit, seeing the pomp and ceremony of the Royal Wedding I can't help wondering what life would be like if we were a republic. We would have a head of state who was still powerless, but we would have to pay to keep him in a reasonable amount of luxury as befits a head of state.

Links with the past would have been broken. The colour and pageantry that sets us apart from most other countries, mostly republics, would have gone. The monarchy is largely what binds together the Commonwealth and is what appeals about our country most to citizens in countries around the world, mostly republics. Would people have travelled to the United Kingdom from all over the world for today if it was some grey, Blair style president joining his boyfriend in a civil ceremony?

Yes there are pure constitutional arguments to support abolition of the monarchy but that's what seperates us from the animal world, we are not purely functional creatures. We like a bit of luxury, a bit of colour and a bit of ceremony even if it isn't quite rational. What a grey drab world if we only had or did what was essential to support human life. A bit like the worst forms of socialism in a way.

And finally what a wonderful way to have a go at foreign governments that we want to chastise, we can withdraw their ambassdor's invitation to the Royal Wedding. Much better than bombing them!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Political Correctness, 'Isms' and 'Phobias'

I've been really busy lately so have been playing catch up on the news, blogging and other stuff. So yesterday I heard about David Cameron being in the doodies about some evil remark he had made at PM's questions in the House of Commons. First chance I got I tried to find out what evil he had directed at a Labour politician.

He must have told her, yes it was a 'sexist' remark, that she was too ugly and should sit down and keep quiet. Maybe he told her to leave the politics to the men and go and put the kettle on. Maybe he was terribly personal about her figure. But no! He nicked a hackneyed old phrase from Michael Winner and said: "Calm down dear". Well, that's it, after the Royal Wedding hold back the crowds for an hour while we set up the gallows then publicly hang the Prime Minister.

Of course in true socialist style the Labour Party have gone into overdrive. It's good to see their sense of perspective is intact. They bankrupted the country, started bombing the crap out of Afghanistan and Iraq, allowed millions into the country with their policy of unlimited immigration, allowed Islamist nutters to peddle their evil in British Mosques but no, they get all excited about "calm down dear". What a bunch of brain dead pillocks!

Personally I immediately switch off when I hear somebody accused of an 'ism' or a 'phobia'. It's probably some PC loony trying to crush free speech. Don't approve of Elton John buying a baby? Homophobe! Don't approve of wimmin refereeing football games? Sexist! Want immigration control? Racist! Don't like Labour? Pratophobe!

I think I must be an 'ismophobe'!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Alternative Vote Campaign Is A Joke!

We've just had our leaflet delivered by the Royal Mail on behalf of the Yes to AV campaign, and pretty shabby it is too.

On one side it asks if we are worried about our jobs, then declares that our MP isn't. Well he bloody well should be. And here's why:

1997 General Election-sitting Tory MP lost his seat.
2010 General Election-sitting Labour MP lost her seat.

I think that shows that First Past The Post doesn't automatically give an MP a job for life. By the way, I got thrashed in this constituency when I stood in 2001.

The only other constituency I know well, having grown up there and stood there in 2005 getting thrashed again, is the Manchester Gorton constituency where MP Gerald Kaufman has a job for life. As he got over 50% at the last general election he would have still had a job for life under AV.

The shabby leaflet also claims that AV would have prevented the expenses scandal. No it wouldn't, and it is so obviously a wrong statement it could be construed as misleading.

Perhaps Chris Huhne should sue his own campaign for misleading the electorate.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Alternative Vote or Alternative Joke?

Let's face it, if we adopt AV or we don't we will basically be stuck with the same gang of shysters that we have in politics today. AV is a sham which is why the political obsessives, geeks and anoraks are the only ones getting excited about it.

Those paragons of virtue wanting to bring AV to the UK now include a high profile public figure who has won a super injunction to stop anybody talking about his private life. How very open! Then there are Lib Dems threatening legal action against the No campaign for misleading the electorate. That's a bit rich for a party that campaigned in the general election on a platform of opposing everything the Tories stood for, then jumped into bed with them as soon as the election was over. Isn't that called 'conning the elctorate'?

The Lib Dems accusing anybody of misleading the electorate is hilarious to anybody who has ever read a Lib Dem Focus. Probably the dirtiest campaigners in the UK, which is probably why they can sniff out the slightest questionable claim in the campaigns of others, they are the masters when it comes to misleading.

Then you have Miliband claiming AV would be a 'triumph of hope over fear'. How misleading is that? 'Triumph of hope over fear'? It's bloody AV not the defeat of evil! Call the lawyers Messrs Clegg, Huhne and Cable. Oh no, that ludicrous claim is from your own side. That's OK then isn't it?

The whole campaign for AV is a bad joke, and I'm pleased that every single person I have spoken to in the last week has either used their postal vote to say No, or is planning to do so at the polling booth.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

God our Father,
by raising Christ your Son
you conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life.
Let our celebration today raise us up
and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Royal Wedding

Ok, it's a commercial for a mobile phone company, but I had to:

Shock-Vince Cable Tells The Truth About AV!

The most unprincipled politician, in the most unprincipled party, in the most unprincipled government for years has shocked us all, he's told the truth about why he wants the Alternative Vote system. He wants it to keep the Tories out.

I'm no lover of the Conservative Party, I'm far too conservative, but I really can't understand why Cameron keeps the slack jawed, juvenile, attention seeking misfit that is Cable in the government. I suppose it shows how desperate the Coalition is to cling onto power a little longer.

Last May I gave the Coalition two years. After the Lib Dems get thrashed in the local elections in May, and the AV referendum is lost, I wonder if it can last as long as two years.

Cable on AV.

Happy St George's Day

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother look down in mercy upon England, thy dowry, and upon us who greatly hope and trust in thee.

By thee it was that Jesus, our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more.

Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the cross, O Sorrowful Mother, Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold, they may be united to the Chief Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son.

Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith, fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee in our heavenly home.


Composed by Cardinal Wiseman, supplied by The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Guild of Catholic Bloggers

The following post is taken from the blog A Reluctant Sinner. I'm looking forward to being there on May 7th and I'm sure there will be a good attendance to launch an exciting project.

From all the responses and emails I've now received in connection with Monday's post (A Guild of Catholic Bloggers - what do you think?), it seems that the launching of a Guild of Catholic Bloggers might actually be a realistic possibility! There appears to be a need for some sort of mutual aid society for those Catholics (including Anglo-Catholics) who use the new media to converse with the world.

Catholic bloggers are now leading the way when it comes to on-line evangelisation, promotion of the faith and apologetics - so it is probably important for us to be able to meet other bloggers in person, discuss ideas over meals or at workshops, and worship together every now and again. It would also be good for us to be inspired by spiritual conferences, invite priests or bishops to address us, and encourage one another face-to-face (blogging, after all, can be a lonely affair!)

Seeing that many of you have offered to help set up a Guild of Catholic Bloggers, I have now booked a place in central London for the purpose of holding an informal meeting with the view of electing temporary officers and drawing up a constitution. So, if any of you are free on Saturday 7 May from 2:00pm - 4:00pm, you would be most welcome to join me at the Hinsley Room next to Westminster Cathedral. As some of you know, the Hinsley Room is a stand-alone building behind St Paul's Bookshop and St Vincent's School - on Morpeth Terrace. I will be there from 1:00pm, and you will be able to bring sandwiches / packed-lunches with you - the tea and coffee will be on me!

It would be great if as many Catholic bloggers, twitterers, Facebookers, and friends / blog followers were able to attend this meeting, so that plans for any potential Guild of Catholic Bloggers may be drawn up. From my previous post, you will have noticed that some very useful suggestions have already been proposed. On Saturday 7 May, it might be possible to gather these ideas into a comprehensive constitution - no more than a page! It is hoped that we might also be able to elect a temporary chairman, secretary and treasurer - to deal with the day-to-day practicalities of launching such a lay association. (I am hopeless at such things - so am looking for volunteers!).

Some of the things that will need discussing include: -
1. Membership (cost, conditions, etc)
2. Officers (terms, functions, etc)
3. Purpose and aims (to strengthen the faith and aid the spirituality of Catholic bloggers)
4. Events (Work-shops, retreats, pilgrimages, etc)
5. AGM and Annual Mass, etc
I am sure that there will be more items on the day's agenda, once other bloggers have thought of things to add!

So, if you happen to be in central London, or are able to come to Westminster Cathedral, on Saturday 7 May, then please let me know - either in the Comments section or by email (below)! Also, please do pass this on to other bloggers and twitterers (twitterati?). The more, the merrier!

PS - Those able to get to the Cathedral early might wish to attend the 10:30am or 12:30pm Masses before the meeting.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some More Reggae-Glen Brown

After a disastrous days football at weekend I had the long drive back from Staffordshire. On hitting the BBC Radio Lancashire area, knackered, hungry and thirsty, they were playing non-stop Glen Brown. I loved it so much I thought of just driving around in my van all night listening. So here's a bit of the legendary chap:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ed Miliband, Vince Cable and the Alternative Vote

The best thing the Labour Party can do is lock Ed Miliband away from the public. He's like some kind of latter day Frankenstein's monster who has escaped from the laboratory and somehow been elected leader of a political party, it says a lot about the Labour Party.

Then Vince Cable joins him on the platform to ask us to vote for the Alternative Vote in May. The two people least likely to convince sane people to vote one way or another are Miliband and Cable. Cable the unprincipled back stabber taking to the platform that Miliband who, like a first year PPE student, refuses to share a platform with Clegg, leader of Cable's Lib Dems. Backstabber Cable does it again. I'd have more respect for the Lib Dems if they told Miliband to grow up rather than cosy up to him, but I suppose Cable wants to grandstand and boost his ego every chance he gets.

And the big one. Miliband waffles that a vote for AV would be a truiumph for "hope over fear". For God's sake man, it's tinkering with the electoral system, not fighting Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany. With a sense of perspective like that we can only pray that Miliband never ends up in Downing Street.

Ironically it was the childish nature of the Yes campaign that persuaded me to vote No, after strongly supporting AV initially. Miliband has just underlined the juvenile nature of the Yes campaign which is why support for the Yes campaign is crashing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Small Parties and the Alternative Vote

It's interesting to see the politicos lining up for the Alternative Vote (AV) referendum next month. Some weeks ago I was convinced that I would vote for AV, but have since decided against. It strikes me as a complete botch job that corrupts the result. If no one candidate gets at least 50% you just reshuffle the pack until one does. That doesn't mean that a candidate has the support of 50% of the electorate, otherwise he would have got 50% first time, it means that a certain percentage disliked him a bit less than they did other candidates.

Those who support AV claim that candidates would work harder as they need to get 50% of the vote. Why? Why would they work harder than they would to come first in First Past The Post (FPTP) elections?

Those who support AV claim it would end tactical voting. How? Surely it will increase tactical voting as you now have the chance to study the candidates and work out the best way to use your numerous votes not only to support your chosen candidate, but to vote in the best way to keep others you dislike out.

The 'Yes' arguments just don't stack up. We have a system whereby MPs are elected to represent a specific constituency, as long as we have that sytem FPTP is the logical sytem for electing MPs.  The alternative, logically, is some form of Proportional Representation, not a botch job like AV.

It is interesting that smaller parties are lining up to support AV, that always makes me suspicious. Are they merely supporting AV because they see it as a leg up to Westminster because they can't garner the support needed under FPTP? UKIP and the BNP both have representatives in the European Parliament, elected under a form of PR, but fail dismally in Westminster and local elections when FPTP is the system.

One of the arguments in support of our current sytem is that it is difficult for extremists to get a foothold in Westminster, whereas under PR there is a high likelihood that extremist parties could garner enough votes to gain representation in Westminster as the BNP have in the European Parliament. The party that bucked that trend is the Green Party who have MEPs and had Caroline Lucas elected in the general election. In my view that is no reason to support one system rather than another. It is not democratic to use a system to keep out parties of which you disapprove, instead defeat them with argument and debate.

I know PR often leads to weak government, very often coalition government but don't necessarily think that is a bad thing. A Dutch friend of mine dislikes PR because he feels that by the time parties have negotiated, compromised, bartered and horse traded to cobble a government together, even fewer people get what they actually voted for than they do under FPTP. Maybe so.

What I do know, from experience, is that under any system, smaller parties need to get real if they want to make a serious impact. In my view the public are desperately looking for alternatives to the big three, probably the big two when the Lib Dems are wiped out in the local elections and the next general election, but few of the smaller parties offer a credible alternative, they are either seen as single issue parties are obsessively idealogical.

I would put UKIP in the category of single issue, the European Union. No matter how hard they try they are perceived as irrelevant when people vote in elections other than EU elections, when they gain a good number of protest votes under PR. Likewise the BNP, who only seem to appeal on the issue of immigration at best, at worst they appeal to people with very dangerous views.

The Green Party are seen as nut munching, sandal wearing obsessives convinced that breaking wind will kill the planet. Seen as largely single issue they are also seen as too idealogical for most people. I would put the Libertarian Party in that category too. Maybe both would be better working to influence others rather than tying to get votes from a public that is not ready, and probably never will be, for what they regard as idealogical extremists. And I say that as a supporter, although no longe a member, of the Libertarian Party.

In my experience too many smaller parties attract swivel eyed loons. People who are convinced that anybody wo disagrees them is working for shady organisations working to take control of the world, or are agents working for the evil state. I've even been accused of being part of a conspiracy myself when I've questioned the conspiracy of the New World Order. In recent years I've been accused of being part of Common Purpose and even a Freemason, even though I'm a practising Roman Catholic. I have been told by numerous people, in very earnest tones, that the EU is a Catholic conspiracy. When pressed they can only cite the EU flag as evidence, it vaguely resembles the halo of stars around the head of Our Lady apparently. Well then, it must be a Papist plot!!

So, if smaller parties think tinkering with the electoral system is going to boost their represenation, I think they are mistaken. They need to put their own houses in order first.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Persecution of Christians UK Style

I have a little Sunday routine. Up early for Mass but I go for the papers first, dropping one in en route to St Mary's for Mrs B to read when she gets up. I then park near church and read my newspaper for twenty minutes before going in for Mass.

This morning I had to check it wasn't April 1st. I read that an electrician in Wakefield is facing a charge of gross misconduct from his employer, his crime? Having a small palm cross on the dashboard of his work's van. You see his employer, Wakefield and District Housing, a publicy funded social housing provider, doesn't want to give the impression that it supports christianity. However:

 It has provided stalls at gay pride events, held ‘diversity days’ for travellers, and hosted a gender reassignment event entitled A World That Includes Transpeople.
If you would like to make your views known to this 'social housing provider' then here is a link to the contact page of their website.

Full story here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Steel Pulse

I've always enjoyed reggae since I first heard Bob Marley in the seventies. On a grey, damp day like today reggae always seems to brighten up the mood if not the weather. Here's Steel Pulse:

What Happened to the Letter 'T'?

I don't think I'm an old fuddy duddy, not yet anyway. I'm not obsessive about the English language, or anal whatever that means. Language is a living, evolving thing and we should cherish that. But certain things grate with me, others really do make me pissed off.

One thing that gets me is that really annoying upward inflection at the end of sentences. It makes every statement sound like a question and I'm not sure whether it's people just watching too much Aussie or American TV or a politically correct fear of sounding too assertive. That is linked to people who do that silly quote sign around words with their fingers. Why don't they do full stops, commas, exclamation marks and others too?

Then there's abuse of the word 'like'. "He was like, err, and I was like, errr?" I read a cracking letter some time ago in the Telegraph about that. A woman was on the train to Salisbury and a girl, as the train pulled in asked: "Is this like Salisbury?" to which the woman replied: "No dear, it's not like Salisbury, it is Salisbury".

But what has been really bugging me lately is the dropping of the letter 't'. Butter becomes 'bu'er'. Twitter becomes 'Twi'er'. I hope that makes it clear, you must be aware of it if you are not a hermit. The other day I heard a singer being interviewed who did it all the time, even saying 'a all' instead of 'at all' which sounded like it took real effort to mispronounce, much more effort than just pronouncing it properly.

But the worst for it is Ed Milibandroid. He pisses me off anyway without speaking. But when he opens his gob and I hear that 't-less' drone it makes me determined to work as hard as I can to ensure he never steps foot in 10 Downing Street. I think you should too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vince Cable and Coalition Doomsday-Part II

The real opposition to the current government seems to be led by Vince Cable. This is odd as he is a Secretary of State, part of the government. But it shows what an unprincipled, grandstanding and morally bankrupt man he is. He's happy to take the salary of a minister but none of the responsibility. You don't join a government then constantly snipe from the sidelines. Resign then attack, that's the way of a man of principle. Cable is in the same mould as that disgusting blob of withering human flesh Edward 'Red Ted' Heath was, he was the supreme Judas of twentieth century British politics, Cable seems to be the man for the twenty first century.

But even more worrying is why Cameron and Clegg allow this misfit to carry on in government with his constant juvenile griping. Do they have a single leadership skill between them? Today he is attacking Cameron for wanting a sensible level of immigration. Very wise in my view as any country only has the infrastructure and resources to support a certain number of people, it needs controlling.

Cable thinks this is "unwise", that it will "risk inflaming extremism" and that Cameron is electioneering ahead of May 5th. For your information Cable it is your ostrich impersonation on the immigration issue that fuels extremism you clown. Do you think nutters like the BNP will take to the streets because of limited immigration? Because there aren't enough immigrants to moan about? No, real people, decent people have genuine concerns about the impact of mass immigration and it is not racist to have those concerns. A tiny minority support the BNP and I suggest that this is because they see the mainstream politicians, such as Cable, ignoring the bleedin' obvious and branding them racist for daring to question the wisdom of mass, uncontrolled immigration as we had under Labour for seventeen years.

The Lib Dems are heading for meltdown on May 5th, which will sound the death knell for the Coalition. Cable is the one who is electioneering. He is positioning himself to lead the rump of what's left of the Lib Dems when they are wiped out in the upcoming general election. He's the perfect leader for a party that lacks conviction or principle and would sell its granny for a few votes. I suspect the public want neither the Lib Dems nor Vince Cable.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Royal College of Nurse's in Shock Attack on Government

Well who'd have thought it, the RCN has voted against the government at their conference today?

The 'college' that represents nurses? That's the one, but really it's a trade union that masquerades as the peoples' defender of the glorious NHS. In reality it's one of the most self-obsessed, self-interested bodies in the country, interested not in patients or the NHS but in preserving the position, pay and image of it's members.

Lots of nurses do a great job but like in any walk of life there are bad ones. In the last few years every experience I or anybody I know has had with the NHS has been bad, usually because of poor nursing rather than poor doctors. My mother-in-law is housebound because of neglect by nurses in hospital to cite but one personal experience.

The RCN hides behind people's unthinking obsession that the NHS is perfect and all who work in it  are angels, perfect and selfless compared to us mere mortals. What the RCN really voted for today was an attack on the government not because of the rights and wrongs of NHS reform, but to protect their positions and salaries.

The sooner the RCN is seen as the trade union dinosaur it is by the general public, the sooner the serious debate about solutions to the shortcomings of the NHS can begin. I look forward to the day the RCN is history, just as the NUM is today.

Fat Fighters on the NHS

I know how easy it is to put on weight. You reach a certain age and you stop playing football. Then you stop playing cricket. You used to go out for a 60 mile bike ride, you now do a couple of miles to the shop or to church twice a week. You used to walk 20 miles in the Lake District on a Sunday morning, you now stroll down the canal towpath to the pub for lunch. You used top walk/bus/cycle to work,now you drive.

I don't care who you are as you get a little older, and the pace of your life slows slightly, you put on the pounds. Then you get worried about your health so you give up smoking. Bang! On go more pounds. You can't win.

But then we realise that excess weight puts pressure on various parts of your body and to be honest, you know you don't feel particularly healthy any more. Your knees ache in the mornings, you may have dodgy ankles and so it goes on. Well at least that's how it went for me.

Then you realise you have to act. It's time to accept that this isn't an inevitable consequence of ageing, you have to make some choices, some tough decisions. Your waist hasn't ballooned because of age, gravity or anything else. It ballooned because you are putting too many calories in and burning too few off. You need to think about what to do to help yourself. A couple of G&Ts in the evening to relax after work? Stop it. Takeaways two or three nights a week so you can relax without shopping, cooking and washing piles of pots, especially after a hard day at work? Cut them out. Park a little further away from the office and walk a little more. Like a fried breakfast on a Sunday? Then grill rather than fry.

I'm sounding like my mum now but I'm sure you get my drift. Deep down we know when we need to lose weight, how to lose weight and, most importantly, why we need to lose weight. We need to take control and responsibility for our lives. But no, nanny state should be doing it for us. Or should it?

There are people campaigning for weight loss surgery to be splashed out for on the NHS to save money on diabetes treatment, diabetes often being a consequence of being porky. But why do people allow themselves to get to 20, 25 stone or more? I'm tired of seeing seriously obese people on TV wailing about how tough a hand they've been dealt while detailing how they had 5 fried eggs 10 rashers of bacon, 5 sausages, 3 fried slices and a litre of coke for breakfast, a Big Mac with fries and a coke for elevenses, a 12" pizza with a litre of coke for lunch and so on. I think it might be gluttony rather than life dealing you a bum hand that got you to that weight actually.

The state paying for something means you and me. It's our taxes, the government actually has no money. It robs us or it borrows, hence the mess we are in now. Neither do I agree with NHS money being wasted on 'treatment' for people to give up smoking. Both are lifestyle choices and the NHS wasn't formed for that.

If people want gastric bands, if they want to go on some ridiculously expensive stop smoking course then pay for it. Why should the people on low wages, who look after themselves and pay taxes, pay for the irresponsible to overcome their weakness? And I speak as one who gave up smoking four years ago and am desperately trying to lose a least two stone. Yet again it's the irresponsible and feckless expecting the responsible to bail them out.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cameron's Disgraceful Attack on Oxford University

Every day David Cameron seems to go out of his way to alienate people. The man is such a liability that when the Coalition crumbles and we face another general election, I can see Milibandroid, Geek of the Year, ending up scraping into Downing Street. Because after the May elections, when the Lib Dems will be wiped out, I can see the Lib Dem rats in parliament jumping ship to try and save their jobs, thus precipitating the next general election.

Cameron's latest outburst is an attack on Oxford University for not having enough black students. I wonder when he'll attack the British Olympic squad as "disgraceful" for having a massively disproportionate number of black athletes? Did he campaign to have more students admitted from ethnic minorities, northern mill towns and broken homes when he studied there I wonder?

A few years ago, when Manchester City Council were positively discriminating in favour of ethnic minority job applicants I knew a girl who worked there, she had an Indian father and Irish mother. She was offered promotion but instead applied for and got a job in another authority. She didn't want a job she felt she had only got because of  her ethnic background. In reality she was excellent and was offered promotion on merit, but that's how she felt thanks to their social engneering. Cameron's views offend just about everybody.

It seems that Cameron has spent so much time cosying up to Clegg that he has caught social democracy, although I suspect he's had it for many years, it just lay dormant until May 2010. Politicians are politicians, when they or anyody else get involved in social engineering you have disaster. Just look at Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Communist China, the ultimate social engineering experiments.

Of course we are nowhere near totalitarianism, but comments such as this from people like Cameron are extremely dangerous, alienate natural conservatives from the Conservative Party and do more to push people towards extremists than any amount of BNP or other extremist parties' literature.

If Tories wonder why they couldn't win a general election against a walking, talking disaster like Gordon Brown then they need look no further than their leader, David Cameron.

Full story from the Telegraph.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Local Elections-May 5th

I'm really enjoying not being a candidate this year in the local elections, it's the first time in years I haven't stood and it's quite liberating.

Today I had a look at the list of candidates in my area, Lancaster City Council. It makes for very strange reading. There is one ward where the Tory will be unopposed and a few other wards where one or other of the main parties hasn't been able to muster a candidate. In my ward we have no Lib Dem candidates and their numbers appear to have plummeted across the authority, hardly surprising I suppose.

We have no UKIP candidates this time, no BNP candidates and no English Democrats. The biggest smaller party is the Green Party, who already have several seats on Lancaster City Council, largely due to the disproportionately large student population, and they have a healthy number of candidates this time.

There is also a good number of independent candidates, be they Morecambe Bay Independents, Free Independents, Really Free Independents, Really Really Free Independents, plain old Independents or whatever. Perhaps we're a contrary bunch in North Lancashire but some independents even refuse to be allied with other independents in a group on the council, a bit like the old Monty Python Judean blah blah blah sketch.

The beauty of Lancaster is the unpredictability. In 1999, when I was elected, we (independents) were the biggest group on a hung council, Labour losing control. I think there have been minority councils ever since with some strange political alliances ensuring some semblance of local authority ticks along. It's certainly healthier than Manchester for example, where they would still vote for a pig if it wore a Labour rosette.

So if you want a giggle on May 6th, just have a look at the results in Lancaster, they're bound to be slightly bizarre. But I'm thankful for that, it makes it more difficult for the big three take us for granted, and that's without AV.

Cameron the Wimp

There are squaddies in various unsavoury parts of the world putting their lives on the line for God only knows what. But this weekend all we've seen are pictures of the grinning clown currently masquerading as Prime Minister walking around in shorts, holding his wife's hand, grinning like some kind of half wit on a mini break in Spain. He's even ensured we all know he flew with Ryanair. Well what a prat, I wouldn't fly Ryanair if I was on the PM's salary.

It's now less than a month to the local elections. I've stood in countless local elections and the last thing you ever do is swan off for a break in April when the elections are at the beginning of May, it's far too busy. Obviously Cameron doesn't care about his local candidates, all volunteers by the way, otherwise he'd have been here campaigning on their behalf.

In Cameron's case he has sent forces to bomb Libya, is supposedly trying to sort out the financial mess, is humming and aaghing about NHS reform and is supposedly campaigning against AV. So what the hell kind of a leader clears off to Spain for a break with all this going on?

The man's a wimp and every time he pulls a stunt such as this, to make him appear like he's just one of us, the more I despise him.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Sick Man Is Europe

So you've had to cut your household budget because of the recession. That meal out once a week is now a takeaway. That holiday in Cancun is a week in the Lake District.

Then you get told that your hours are being cut at work because of the recession. You have to sell the second car. The takeaway is cut as paying your overdraft becomes harder.

Then one of you gets made redundant. You struggle to pay the mortgage and losing the house is a possibility unless you manage to cut the household budget even more drastically.

Then you hear your next door neighbours are in even more of a mess, largely because they spent even more heavily on life's luxuries than you did. What do you do?

If you don't really care what happens to your own family then you pay off your neighbour's debts for them, despite telling your kids they can't have a holiday this year, or a McDonald's at weekend. Of course you would wouldn't you?

For your family substitute the UK. For your neighbour substitute Ireland, Greece, Portugal etc.

Now tell me, when we're having services cut and people are being made redundant, that membership of the Europan Union is good for the UK.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Michael Jackson at Fulham FC-A Fitting Monument to the Premier League

How fitting that the Phoney Pharoah, the most vulgar man in British business, should erect the most vulgar statue of the most vulgar pop star the world has seen, outside the ground of a club in the most vulgar sporting league in the world. If Woolworth's had sold pieces of 7' tat like the statue to the left left they would have gone belly up many decades before they actually did.

But the most obscene thing was to hear a so-called Fulham 'supporter' claiming that the Phoney Pharoah had put £160m into the club so he could do what he wanted, the 'supporter' didn't care. And other 'supporters' said similar. Fayed insisted that any fans criticising his piece of tasteless vulgarity were idiots who should go and watch Chelsea.

So they should troop a couple of miles to watch a club that's the plaything of a dodgy Russian oligarch instead? Do me a favour. At least go and watch Liverpool, the club that's bought and sold by American millionaires like a cheap tart on the streets of Toxteth. If you don't fancy that then go and watch United and help pay off the £500m debt dumped on the club by the Glazers who wanted to buy the club, but didn't have the readies. Or why not go and watch Man City. You know, the club that claims to be Manchester's real club? Except they've sold their soul to a bunch of Arabs for what? Lifelong City fans? I doubt it, a pot of cash eventually more like it.

Just about sums up English football.  

Alternative Vote for an Alternative Pudding (The one you don't want).

Melissa Kite in the Telegraph has written a wonderful piece about AV and using AV to choose puddings at a dinner party. It sums it up really:

As tall orders go, this was a biggie. A friend asked me to come to a dinner party at her house and explain the Alternative Vote to her friends. "Are you sure this is a good idea?" I asked, not wanting to send everyone to sleep over their lasagne.

She assured me that it was, that people desperately wanted to understand AV and the issues at stake in the forthcoming referendum on voting reform, so she was organising an AV dinner party and I was the star turn.

That it should come to this is a pretty pass. David Cameron landed us with this referendum. I know he had to offer it to Nick Clegg as the price of entering into a coalition. But to leave the country flailing around in a miasma of confusion and apathy about it is a bit much. And it's a total cheek that I now have to work overtime to explain it.

In the interests of being a good citizen, however, I turned up at my friend's Belgravia town house with a pile of notes and sat down to dinner with a table full of people hungry for enlightenment.

As the main course got under way, I began my talk. I explained that AV was currently used only in Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea. "What?" one of the guests virtually screamed. "How come we haven't been told that before?"

I explained that AV was used in the Labour leadership election, which resulted in Ed Miliband being elected after his brother David led the voting for the first three rounds. "What?" another of the guests shouted, all but spitting pasta out of the side of her mouth in outrage. "Why weren't we told that?"

I explained that AV meant ranking all the candidates in order of preference, if you wanted to, or just choosing one if you preferred. "What?" someone shrieked, "but that's stupid. How on earth does it work?"

Time for my pièce de résistance. I handed out Post-it notes and invited the eight diners to say what they wanted for pudding by ranking five options in order of preference: ice cream, cake, cheese, fruit and chocolates.

Everyone went quiet and dutifully filled out their ballot card.

I confess I then spent the next hour trying to work out the result. It nearly fried my brains but I got there in the end. After eliminating fruit in the first round and redistributing its votes, then the same with ice cream, then cake, then chocolates, the winner emerged as cheese, which had been the first choice of just three people.

Interestingly, those who put cheese second were the most aggrieved. "That's not fair," said one, "I didn't really want cheese." I guess that's AV for you.
  You can read the rest of Melissa Kite's column here.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Yes2AV Launch

It seems that the Yes2AV launch is happening today ahead of the referendum in May. Of course it involves Eddie Izzard, fast becoming the latest luvvy darling mascot of the Labour Party. It seems that the Gallagher brothers are bored now and are playing something else, or maybe they threw their toys out when their pal Blair moved out of Downing Street.

What I find amusing is that the luvvies are lining up to launch their latest fad claiming it to be a politician free campaign. Really? Well what was the campaign launched earlier this week by the Milibandroid, Caroline Lucas, Shirley Williams and Charles "Pass the Bottle" Kennedy? It was the Yes2AV campaign. No doubt they will claim to be two seperate campaigns but I doubt it. It is just the kind of childish posturing that made me question the Yes campaign, then the AV system itself. I've been getting info from Yes2AV for some time and it has actually led me to decide not to vote for AV in May.

The majority of AV supporters seem to me to be jvenile activists upset that they don't seem to be getting what they want under the current system. So the answer to them is to change the system. I came to regard AV as the same as the football abuse at the height of political correctness. The system whereby if one kids' football team went two goals up they had to lose a player to give the other side a chance. Much better to just accept you're crap at football and get on with it or try something else. A bit like Eddie Izzard, a crap comedian so he's now decided to become a crap politico.

Friday, April 01, 2011

When Will Ed Miliband Grow Up?

I was shocked this week when I heard that Ed Miliband had refused to share a platform with Clegg at the launch of the Yes To AV referendum campaign. Why?  Apparently this was his reasoning:
"Let me tell you why - I want to win the AV referendum because I think it is important to reform our politics and I think it will make for a more accountable democracy and one where more votes count. The problem is Nick Clegg is the last thing we need to win this referendum."

Instead he shared the platform with such giants of political life as Caroline Lucas, loony Green MP for Brighton, the often 'tired and emotional' ex-Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy and ex-Labour, ex-SDP currently Lib Dem Baroness Shirl 'The Girl' Williams. I can only assume that Kennedy and Williams also regard Clegg as a liability as they still took to the platform with the NUS leader, oops sorry Labour leader, despite his refusing to share a platform with their leader.

It got me wondering what Miliband would do if, as Prime Minister, yes I know that's a bit too far fetched to believe but indulge me, he was expected to attend the UN on our behalf. Would he refuse to share a platform with the with people whose PR may not help a situation? "Is that (enter name of any number of despots throughout the world who are part of the UN)? I'm off, I'm not sharing a platform with him." For crying out loud Miliband it's not the campus of Nelson and Colne Polytechnic in 1978.

If Miliband thinks his presence will make a yes vote more likely on May 5th then he's on a planet even further away from Earth than I thought he was, quite apt then that he should be happy to share a platform with Lucas, who should concentrate on saving her own planet and leave ours alone. If you're not sure then next time you see Miliband interviewed ask yourself this question: "When in 50 years time they want to put up a statue of a great statesman next to Churchill in Parliament Square, can you imagine them choosing a statue of Miliband?".