Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The EU or The Killers?

Stunning revelation of the day – the EU’s health and safety rules almost cost me my brand new MP3 player. I lost one and bought a tiny ScanDisk replacement but it was so quiet it couldn’t be heard on a train or in the car. So, greatly disappointed, I decided to junk it and see about buying something more expensive (this one cost about £35 and I decided it was my own fault for trying to get one on the cheap). In passing I read some reviews of it on Amazon and one of them announced that because of EU health and safety regulations, it was set to play so quietly as to be almost inaudible. The advice was to re-set it to North America rather than Europe. I did that and, voila, it works pretty well. Pleased though I am to have found a simple solution to the problem, I am still gobsmacked that EU rules mean the thing was set in such a way that it couldn’t actually perform the task it was designed for. There are plenty of better reasons for despising Brussels and all its works, no doubt, but as I write this listening to The Killers at a reasonable volume, I can’t think of one.

Friday, May 23, 2014

UKIP - sticking to fingers up to Big Brother

The problem for the political establishment is that whenever it rubbishes UKIP or one of its candidates, Nigel Farage’s party remains more or less unaffected. It may even benefit from the attack.
While the BBC and its chums queue up to accuse UKIP of racism, sexism, homophobia or whatever, the voters actually react not against the party but against its critics.
The ‘thoughcrime’ accusations are calculated to encourage people to say ‘to hell with it, these UKIP people are only saying what plenty of us think privately but are forced to suppress’.
A vote for UKIT has therefore been turned into a vote against politically-correct thoughcrime. Voters are fed up of being told what they may and may not think and say. So a vote for UKIP becomes a vote for freedom of speech.
Of course, that freedom will be portrayed by the serried ranks of the political establishment as the freedom to be racist, homophobic or sexist and therefore described as unacceptable.
But most people don’t like being told what to do. We still, mistakenly in many ways, think of this as a free country. We may modify our views over a period of time but we don’t take kindly to being ordered to think and speak in certain ways.
So we rather like the idea that a political party can champion a politically-incorrect outlook – even when we don’t agree with what an individual may have said.
Discussion and debate are fine; people shouldn’t be shouted down and silenced simply for expressing an opinion which may be regarded these days as outlandish but which was received wisdom only a generation ago.
None of this has much to do with the European Union or with UKIP’s policies. It’s a revolt against the dictatorship of the establishment. It’s sticking up two fingers up at Big Brother. And it serves him right.




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

You kip if you want to; UKIP's not for turning

I’ve just had an email from David Cameron, along with trillions of others who haven’t managed to ditch his spam, insisting the Tories are the only party we can trust to deliver a referendum on the EU.
He has, not unreasonably, taken advantage of Ed Miliband’s announcement that a referendum would be unlikely under a Labour Government.
Miliband's decision is disappointing and somewhat perverse.
But now, with the Lib Dems led by a fully paid-up Citizen of Europe, you might think Dave’s pledge might be of some importance.

But after reneging on his ‘cast iron’ promise to hold a referendum following the signing away of more sovereignty in the Lisbon Treaty, surely any pledge has to be worthless.
He has seen the Referendum Bill thrown out in the Lords and shows no sign of trying to give it another chance. And anyway he decided to leave it to a backbench MP to push through rather than giving it the impetus of Government.
He has no idea of what ‘renegotiation’ he might achieve before putting it to a referendum (incidentally if there ever were a plebiscite we know with absolute certainty that he and his party would combine with Labour and the Lib-Dems to skew the question and campaign to keep Britain in Europe).
Cameron has also rejected the chance to hold a referendum before 2017 . There is no good reason why it couldn’t be held this year but the few brave souls in the Tory party who suggested it were comprehensively rubbished by their own colleagues.
The odds are slowly and deliberately being stacked against anyone who might campaign for withdrawal from the EU. But the chances of ever getting one are minimal.
There is only one party which could demolish this cosy consensus and force a referendum on the Europhile triumvirate taking it in turns to run this country under orders from Brussels and that’s UKIP.
Nigel Farage’s party may have its drawbacks – more than a few loose cannons, little money and even less organisation – but only UKIP would deliver a referendum.
The Conservatives have been a massive disappointment. Even William Hague seems to have gone native since his elevation to the Foreign Office.
You can argue about electoral tactics. A vote for UKIP may, in some places, be a vote for Labour. But that doesn’t matter any more because a Miliband Government will be scarcely any different from a Cameron-Clegg one anyway; certainly not in relation to the EU and that means in relation to everything from purchase taxes (VAT) to prisoners' rights.
Cameron is Blair by other means (only Gordon Brown, let’s not forget, stood between us and the Euro). But an overwhelming vote against the tripartite status quo would force at least two of the losers – Labour and Conservatives – into a reappraisal of their Europhile policies.
I still think UKIP should not fight every Westminster seat. It should enter into a constituency-by-constituency non-aggression pact with those MPs, whatever their colour, who pledge to support a referendum at the earliest possible date.
Complete withdrawal from the EU may be the aim but the first step is to secure a referendum. The bigger the UKIP vote – at Euro elections and at the General Election – the greater the pressure there will be on mainstream politicians to offer us a chance to escape the evil empire.
You kip if you want to; UKIP's not for turning.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

EU rattles its sabres

The evil empire of the European Union is creating a confrontation with Russia over the Ukraine.
Step back and look at it from an historical perspective and you will see this is just another stage in the endless conflict between Germany and France on the one hand and Russia on the other.
Napoleon and Hitler tried to conquer Russia with force. Now their natural successor, the EU, is trying to do the same with economic power and crowd-pleasing diplomacy.
The Ukraine has never really been an independent, self-governing state and it does represent Russia’s bulwark against aggression from Western Europe.
No wonder it is suspicious of the EU’s intentions.
The protestors in the Ukraine are being used as pawns in an historic power-struggle. The EU is adopting its traditional approach to the struggle with the Russian bear, rattling its sanctions sabre and marshalling the big battalions of self-righteous “democracy”.
As if the EU knew anything about democracy and the will of the people - just look at Italy which has just installed its third unelected Prime Minister since Brussels decided trampling on the rights of the citizens was justifiable if it meant saving the Euro.
The EU should avoid any further involvement in Ukraine’s internal difficulties and give its people no cause to believe they would be happier or better off run from Brussels instead of Moscow.
It’s hard to imagine that 100 years on we could be heading for the kind of confrontation we thought had gone out of fashion after the demise of Kaiser Bill and the Tsar.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tap turns on the water see the money flow

Just got this egregious little note from our Glorious Leader David Cameron and there are a few questions I’d ask if I had the chance. They include
·         As the people of Sunthorpe pointed out on Question Time, how come nobody noticed the floods until they affected the Home Counties?
·         Why is it only now that £5,000 repair grants have been made available? What’s so special about the Home Counties? Why not offer grants to everyone who has been flooded in the past 100 years?
·         Why are sandbags considered a solution? They are more or less useless under all circumstances.
·         Why are there more cuts on the way for the Environment Agency and why is Chris Smith still in charge of it?
·         And when things dry out a bit will all these promises about spending “whatever it takes” be forgotten – just as they were when we were flooded in 2007?

This is Dave’s missive, for what it’s worth:

This has been a tough week for Britain.

The wettest winter in two and a half centuries, some of the worst flooding in decades, and more severe weather on the way this weekend.

We're doing everything we can to help:

  • Delivering extra pumps and sandbags
  • Deploying the military wherever needed
  • Providing additional support for local emergency services

We will do what is necessary to help families and communities get through this very difficult time - more information is available on the Environment Agency website if you are affected.

We will also help people rebuild their lives and get back on their feet after the flooding, with repair grants of up to £5,000 for homeowners and businesses affected by the floods, and further support for businesses and farms that have suffered.

Amidst all of this, as is so often the case, in the toughest of times we are seeing the best of Britain.

Visiting the affected areas this week, I saw the incredible hard work and dedication of our emergency services, the Environment Agency, local authority workers, councils and armed forces.

I also saw the most inspiring community spirit amongst the many volunteers who are rolling up their sleeves and helping out those in need.

Everyone involved in the relief effort deserves our heartfelt thanks. Please join me by leaving a message of support on Facebook.

It will take time, but together we will deal with these floods, get our country back on its feet and build a more resilient country for the future.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Nere is the newts: Sink or swim, you're on your own

In 2007 the Environment Agency pledged swift action to reduce the risk of further flood damage in the area of Broadway, Worcestershire, after that summer’s inundation.
They even held a road show and made glorious promises of all the money and effort they would be putting into their scheme.
Seven years later, they have done next to nothing. Their website promises a scheme in March this year. That, we can reasonably assume, will bring further consultations and risk assessments about the potential damage to local flora and fauna.
The EA couldn’t even drain bathwater safely. So I am not surprised people in Somerset and elsewhere are beside themselves with fury at the agency’s ineptitude.

PS Since writing this I have looked at various EA reports on flood alleviation in this area.

The good news is that several 'tailored ecology surveys' have been carried out into the habitat for otters, water voles and white-clawed crayfish.
And even better is the news that 'an amphibian survey is also being carried out to identify the presence of great crested newts'.
The bad news is that the money earmarked actually to carry out a flood alleviation scheme in the area has now disappeared, dried up, gone down the plug-hole and otherwise evaporated. Unlike the water.