February 2008

Better government?

Archived Stop Press article

Three Gorges DamThree Gorges Dam

One cannot but be in awe of the Chinese government's breathtaking ability to effect major change in economy, infrastructure or anything you name. The nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the de facto highest decision making body in China, are all university trained engineers and scientists.
On the other hand one cannot but be in awe of the British government's breathtaking inability to make anything go right. The 23 members of the British cabinet, the highest decision accepting body in the UK, consists of mainly Oxbridge and private, or at least grammar school, educated graduates : 8 legal people, 8 politics (PPE), 2 English, 1 History, 1 Russian/E.European Studies, 1 economics, 1 chemistry. A handful have done proper jobs but mostly these have been to do with: unions, political lecturing, journalism and TV, teaching and charities. Many have just been political groupies: researchers, advisors, 'think tank' members and so on.
OK, you may criticise the Chinese government for lots of reasons but would you like to live near a Three Gorges Dam organised by our lot?

Not in my name

Archived Stop Press article

Dafur refugee campDafur refugee camp
The world is suffering from food shortages and high food prices. People in the developing world are in danger of starving. What can we do to help? Absolutely nothing. We have unelected officials running the Common Agricultural Policy and that means they control British agriculture. What are these officials doing? Absolutely nothing. When they had embarrassing food mountains they dumped them on poor countries which destabilised their agriculture. Now they have cut down and decided to follow the latest whim to produce bio- fuels and further push up the price of wheat.
Stocks have been depleted and no-one is really in charge. So, when people do start to starve it'll be partly the fault of our three major parties who don't even admit that they're not in charge of our agriculture and of our press and government Broadcasting Company which rarely mention the elephant in the room that is the EU.

Government responsibilities

Open letter to HMG

Government neglectGovernment neglect

HMG Responsibilities Our government likes to talk about the rights and responsibilities of its citizens. This citizen would like to table some of the responsibilities of government. We already know all about its rights.

MEP fraud - so what's new?

Barlaymont, BrusselsBarlaymont, Brussels

MEPs fiddle their expenses. We've all known about it for a long time. The EU and all its MEPs and officials have known about it for a long time. It's called 'the gravy train'. The Commissioners have immense importance and power and tend to be failed national politicians. The MEPs are people who are virtually unknown and and what they do is unclear. There is a lot of money to claim, an MEP can also 'sign in' first thing in the morning and go straight home again in order to, quite legally, claim his expenses.

Anti EU-groups, and how to spot them

Follow Boadacea Follow Boadacea Modern politics is many things - distasteful even. In the 1950s, more people, by proportion of our population, were members of a political party than today. Now less than one percent of the population have any party involvement; naturally politicians would blame us, it would be apathy, our fault. Yet, it is clear that we are dissatisfied, not only with the current Leaders in particular, but with the style and nature of modern politics in general. Well over a million and a half people protested about the Iraq war and the introduction of road pricing schemes. The government fears to allow a referendum on the EU treaty/constitution because it knows it would not win. The voters are not stupid, they know that ' things can only get better' is the mantra of a fool; and so they try to slow down a worsening situation by getting out of the whole process, they stop voting. It is a legitimate form of protest, but risky.

Sick system?

Please take note

European communities
finance billEuropean communities finance bill
Alan Johnson, the NuLabour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle and Health Secretary, is to 'tackle' the problem of the sick note culture, reported today, 20th February 2008, by both the Times and The Independent. The latter opts to put the apostrophes around sick note culture, see HERE

EU Brutalism?

Dakota a thing of beautyDakota a thing of beauty
I shall miss it, it would, with a grace and elegance from a very different era, pass overhead many times during the summer months. I refer to the Douglas Dakota owned by Air Atlantique and based at nearby Coventry Airport. For, due to the introduction of EU regulations, this aeroplane can no longer work as normal by flying to entertain.

Derek Conway MP

Under what?Under what?
We are always hearing how hard MPs work, and of late, how much they get paid, and in turn, how much they pay others, including their own families. But you would have also thought that a website was part of the toolkit to do the job. Derek Conway has had a site 'under construction' since 18th October 2006, see here. Still at least he was part way there. Some MPs simply do not bother with this form of communication, in which case why do we bother with them?

Our MPs are elected to represent us in Parliament and are meant to spend some of their time dealing with ' Constituency work'. In order to do this you might have thought that a few details as to what they do in Parliament or what issues they are concerned about in their area should be made available. Excluding salary and 'living costs' they get an average of £115,000 for expenses. £10,000 is an 'allowance to communicate with constituents' and £3,000 for IT. So, what is this money spent on if an MP has neither website nor e-mail?

pigeon post?pigeon post?
94 out of our 646 MPs have no website. Labour is the worst with 15% (54) , next come the Conservatives with 12% (24). The Lib Dems are very good, only one of their MPs has no site.
Are the Lords any better? I'm afraid not. Less than 1% (6 ) out of 620 peers have a site.

And you thought it couldn't happen here.

Archived Stop Press article

NO2IDNO2ID

Pupils at Partick Academy near Glasgow have staged a protest against the database state. They all sported large stars which they super-glued onto their jumpers. They were going to produce long-lasting transfers but found this too difficult to arrange; these were to represent tattoos of their SCN (Scottish Candidate Number) and, tellingly, it was to be worn on the inside of the forearm. Protestant children have black stars, Catholic - brown, black children- red, Muslim- orange, Hindu- yellow, Sikh- blue and the single Vietnamese child- green and, as it began to get complicated, atheists of any background sported purple stars. Scottish children have had their numbers for two years and it has just been announced that it is being introduced in England. Fourteen year old schoolchildren are to be given a 'unique learner number' and placed on the MIAP (Managing Information Across Partners) national database. The headteacher Mrs. McPherson says that the ringleaders will 'be dealt with' and suitable punishment given to the rest of the pupils. Peuters

Hallelujah?

Belfast peacelineBelfast peaceline

The Bishop of Rochester, Dr.Nazir-Ali has expressed his concerns about Muslim no-go areas. Trevor Phillips has also noted that Britain is 'sleepwalking into separatism' and Mariam Namazie strongly expresses her views regarding the status of Muslim women. Most Britons, and Europeans, who do not follow the Muslim religion will agree that there are problems with Islam. A white politician or celebrity, by contrast, rarely speaks on the subject as this may result in dismissal or accusations of racism.