October 2007

Independence, fact or fancy?

Independence for all, or just some?

Holyrood, government, or regional office?Holyrood, government, or regional office?

The report on the elections held in May this year for the Scottish Parliament and local councils has just been published. On the one hand 49% of those eligible to vote in these elections did so, which may be regarded as a good turnout. On the other hand, about 140,000 ballot papers were 'lost', for a variety of reasons, and this number is high enough to reduce the value of the results for all parties. Also, the report's author, Bryan Gould, suggested that all the Scottish political parties have to shoulder the blame for the outcome, he says that they treated the voters as, "an afterthought", and were too "partisan". As a Labour MP under the former Labour Leader John Smith, who, as a Scot, was very sympathetic towards more power for Scotland, we may conclude that Gould would know about these things. The report makes many suggestion for the future, so what of the future?

Britain could help

Archived Stop Press article

Is this the real tyrant?Is this the real tyrant? We hear our politicians and press criticise other regimes such as Saudi or Burma and then the news item disappears and something more exciting turns up. Burma and Saudi disappear from our screens and newspapers, the rhetoric lingers a while but nothing is done. Do you remember the glee experienced by the mainstream media when Mark Thatcher was entangled in the Equatorial Guinea débâcle?

A bit late

Archived Stop Press article

The eyes have itThe eyes have itActing leader of the Liberal Democrats,Vince Cable has refused to meet King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, citing suppression of women, corruption and religious intolerance amongst his reasons. In Saudi Arabia Christianity is forbidden yet we allow Saudi money to come to Britain to fund : mosques, schools, madrassas and other Islamic organisations. The largest religious building in Britain, the proposed East London mosque would be funded by Saudi. It's a bit late Vince. In some areas veiled women abound and toddlers can be seen piling into madrassas of an evening. Are you sure they are all enjoying themselves Mr.Cable? Would one of these ladies dare answer if you asked? They are not all young and politicised. Many are elderly and look worn out.


Archived Stop Press article

our heroine MEPour heroine MEPThe European Union has produced some very expensive, elaborately produced comic books. For example Troubled Waters 1997 tells the story of a young, beautiful, female MEP who is working on a water directive. There is a dastardly plot by a swarthy, ugly male businessman who pours toxic waste into a river. It is utter drivel yet it is so bad it's mesmerising. In The Raspberry Ice Cream War 1997 children travel back in time to find that Europe used to consist of people having wars about ice-cream and they give these people a lesson in democracy and a peaceful Europe without frontiers. Very silly but quite chilling.
The latest effort has yet another beautiful, busty MEP fighting the foreign devil on our behalf and producing yet another right-on comic called Operation Red Dragon , 10 years of propaganda and plus ça change...
The CIB have produced some booklets for schools to counteract EU propaganda See here.

Mind the gap

But they're only bothered about schoolsandhospitals.....

a small leap forward?a small leap forward?

One third of the UK's current generating capacity will be out of use by 2015, a third of our power stations will be worn out or against EU pollution laws as North Sea Oil dries up. Our government states that world consumption of energy will increase 50% by 2030 , so there will be a lot of competition for resources. Whatever your views on nuclear energy, the government is dithering and these plants need to be being built pretty soon if they are to fill the energy gap and they need to sort out who is to pay for the disposal of the waste. The government states in its energy white paper that we'll need to increase our 'gas import capacity' by 15-30%. This is not a particularly secure way to fill the gap. Norway may look upon us kindly but many other potential gas suppliers may not.

The EU has thought up a figure of achieving 10% of energy from renewable sources by 2010 . To reach this target the UK will have to produce 6% more in the next couple of years! Government is already thinking up spin as to why this will not happen. Mr Blair also said we would reduce our carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 and 60% by 2050!!! And the EU proposes a 20% cut in TOTAL energy consumption by 2020. Golly.

Get it together!

Archived Stop Press article

Poll tax riotsPoll tax riotsThe poll tax protests worked because the issue was clear as was the method of protest , namely non or delayed payment and violent or rowdy demonstrations. Other protests have been ineffective. The road pricing petition was just ignored ( the government has now found it too difficult to enforce because of logistical problems.) It only claims that it is listening to people. To the government's relief most people now consider the Downing Street petitions to be a joke. Demonstrations do not help, as shown by the peaceful Stop the War marches (though the involvement of the Socialist Workers' Party and Respect could not have helped). Political parties do not help. There are hundreds of tiny parties fighting their patch so it is divide and rule. Legal protests do not work. The government and the EU have such byzantine bureaucratic systems in place that it is virtually impossible to find out anything. It is said that about two thirds of the population are against the EU treaty/constitution, yet the Eurosceptic organisations cannot even form a decent coalition.

No more faith schools please.

The rights of the child. Really?

Peace wall, separating peace schools.
West BelfastPeace wall, separating peace schools. West Belfast There should be no more faith schools, there should be a separation between church and school. Just under 30% of our schools are faith schools, at present these are mostly Christian and Catholic. In Northern Ireland, Angela Smith, the NI Office education minister turned down Rowellane Integrated College for funding. She allegedly did so in order to placate politicians opposed to integration. The school is being built using private funding and is, at present, using mobile classrooms. Rowellane is massively oversubscribed as are Northern Ireland's other 58 integrated schools. The IEF Integrated Education Fund was established in 1992 and aims to fund more integrated schools.

Who governs Britain?

The media does dummy.

Don't our children just love him?Don't our children just love him?Remember that poll asking who governed Britain? I voted for José Manuel Barroso but I have now changed my mind. The mainstream media (MSM) runs Britain. A couple of weeks ago Gordon Brown was leading the polls by a mile. He was acclaimed as: a marvellous intellectual, a safe pair of hands, the best Chancellor we had ever had. No mention of : his support for Blair's wars, the selling off of our gold reserves really cheaply, the pensions' fiasco, the huge numbers of government officials which made our unemployment statistics low, the looming British sub-prime crisis, PFI and enormous debt. No mention of the fact that he was left with a good economy during world growth and created a huge black economy fuelled by cheap imported labour. He steadied the nation during foot and mouth, the floods and the Glasgow terrorist attack. What was he meant to do? Laugh it all off?

Help or trade?

A brother 's advice

Moeletsi MbekiMoeletsi Mbeki On Independence, African and Asian colonies faced two challenges, namely creating domestic political stability and transforming their economies from the production of raw materials to industrial production. Most of Asia achieved this but Africa did not. In sub- Saharan Africa average per capita income is now lower than it was at the end of the 1960s. Competition for economic resources exacerbated ethnic and religious tensions, which had been partly created by the arbitrary drawing of boundaries by the European colonial powers. As a result, most African wars in the past 50 years have been internal ones. Economic growth depends on a strong private sector but African entrepreneurs are prevented from creating wealth by the political élites that control the state. These élites use state controlled marketing boards and taxation to divert agricultural savings, as well as the vast amounts borrowed and given by developed countries, into their own bank accounts and to strengthen their repressive states.

The mother test

Britain awake

mother asleepmother asleep It is often said, and here we go again that, 'a week is a long time in politics'. True, and we now wish we had placed a bet on the timing of a general election. For as those who set themselves up as being 'in the know' propelled each other forward from speculation to certainty, we had our doubts. We had no proof from polling, no reports from think tanks, but it did seem to us to be reckless and out of character for our new PM Gordon Brown to risk so soon the position he has waited for all these years. Also it is a long time, in real time as well as political, since the season of party conferences. Test yourself,can you remember the venue for this year's Liberal Democrat conference?