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I'm currently having a few days off work so I have a to do list from my good lady, it's basically manly DIY stuff though also included cleaning the oven (I don't mind I get to play with dangerous chemicals)
It was when I was going out to my shed to get tools and fittings that a wasp flew out and did the old hover an inch from the eyeball trick. A quick investigation turned up the beginning of a nest.

Fortunately a quick attack with some raid saw off the queen and the nest was removed (pictures taken for proof) and I'll monitor the situation as the last thing I need in my shed are lodgers of the wasp variety.

If only politicians were as easy to deal with.
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A new possibility of a Labour victory emerges

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Kinnock says it's all over...though based on past experience, that means Brown will romp to victory.

Kinnock says Labour win unlikely
Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock has said it "doesn't look like" his party can win the general election, but insists it remains "within reach".

Speaking before Gordon Brown's "bigoted woman" gaffe, he said the prime minister has been "poisonously misrepresented by the press".

Lord Kinnock told the New Statesman magazine Labour was not helped by the fact it had been in power for 13 years.

He added that he was "not as fearful" of a hung parliament as other people.

The latest poll - Thursday's daily YouGov tracker poll for The Sun - shows the Conservatives up one point on 34%, the Liberal Democrats up three on 31%, and Labour down two on 27%.

Interviewed earlier this week, Lord Kinnock, who was leading Labour when they lost the 1992 general election, said he would not speculate on the possibility of a coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

"The likely outcome of this election is more difficult to predict than any other in our political life," he added.

Returning to the theme of why Labour was struggling in the polls, he said some in the party had been wrongly "articulating worries" about Mr Brown to the media.

He also said that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan "certainly don't help".
Now assuming there is a Labour meltdown (now a strong possibility) they will have a major problem on their hands as many of their senior ministers are not in safe seats Reid, Hutton, Milburn, Purnell, Hewitt, Hoon and Byers would all be at risk, coupled with an outside chance of Straw and Darling going too would leave only Alan Johnson to face the Unite/Whelan patronage machine along with a lot of nonentity backbenchers (Labour have more of these than other parties)
I suspect though that the Tory campaign against Ed Balls would actually be doing Labour a favour if they win.
Still the events of yesterday coupled with the Leaders debate tonight have made the possible results of the election in 7 days time far more interesting.
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Does this include the right to remove them?

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The ever intrusive state that Labour have built to control us took a new twist yesterday.

People will be given the right to petition for CCTV cameras, Labour has pledged, as the party unveils its plans for communities and law and order.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson was joined at a press conference by Katie Piper, who was the victim of an acid attack.
She said her attackers may not have been caught and brought to justice if it had not been for the use of CCTV.
Mr Johnson also said Britain was "not broken", and violent crime had fallen, contrary to Conservative claims.
Mr Johnson accused opposition parties of opposing greater use of CCTV cameras on the basis of it forming part of a "surveillance society".
Now Katie Piper was lucky, the CCTV cameras actually caught her attackers, however in the vast majority of cases they don't even work properly, or are looking in the wrong direction or even used for matters not to do with personal safety (putting rubbish in the wrong bins, parking offences etc) Indeed according to Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, who heads the Metropolitan Police's Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido), billions of pounds have been spent with almost no results to show. Only three percent of crimes have been solved using CCTV footage, and offenders aren't afraid of being caught on video. Det. Chief Inspector Neville, speaking to The Guardian, described the system as an "utter fiasco" and that "no thought" had gone into implementation.
So of course Labour want more, because people think they are safer (they aren't) and it's a vote winner, at least until the cameras are used to spy on the very people who want them. And I can almost bet that once they are in, there will be no right to remove them.
We're sleepwalking into a "1984" style regime and instead of fighting it every step of the way people are asking for it when they aren't just ignoring it. Wherever there's opposition the government moves to neutralise it or demonise it, there are times I get so tired of warning my friends and being looked at as if I'm mad, "Done nothing wrong, got nothing to fear" is usually the response I get, though slowly but surely it's becoming more obvious the levels of state intrusion and the things it supports.
Still it's a fight worth the effort and I still believe we can win, though I'm coming more and more to suspect it will be a Romanian style revolution rather than a political renaissance of the body politic.
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Jerusalem for our anthem

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H/T Waking Hereward.

There's a vote been set up at the website for England's Commonwealth Games by the Committee Board of Trustees and it suggests alternatives for the British Royal Dirge that is used as a national anthem for England (Though we currently use Land of Hope and Glory for the Commonwealth games)

Option 1: God Save the Queen. British anthem and hence really nothing to do with England..... Gordon Brown take note: England is not Britain. Apart from that, the tune is about as uninspiring as a tune can be.

Option 2: Land of Hope and Glory. British imperialistic Edwardian anthem which gloried in the ever-expanding British Empire (especially in Africa) during the country-collecting activities of the late Victorian and early Edwardian eras. Irrelevant to England as the 'Land of Hope and Glory' referred to is Britain. Erroneously used in the past as England's victory anthem at previous Commonwealth Games - in our view totally inappropriately. It really does need to change in favour of option 3.

Option 3: Jerusalem. This scores on all fronts. For a start, it actually mentions and is about England. Also, opinion polls have consistently shown it to be by far the nation's favourite choice for an English anthem. The words by William Blake are nothing to do with invading anyone, nor are they disparaging to any of our neighbours - they just embody what a vision of England could be.

Jerusalem really should be England's National Anthem. SO PLEASE DO VOTE FOR IT RIGHT NOW!!!!
If we can get Jerusalem to be accepted as England's Victory Anthem at Delhi in October then it is more likely to be taken up by organisations such as the FA, RFU and the ECB as England's pre-game anthem of choice...
This really needs pushing, moving away the public perception of England = Britain is already happening on a lot of fronts, but securing an English National Anthem for sporting events will push the difference right into the open.

Update: Apparently we can vote as many times as we like.
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When pets attack

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The BBC is institutionally left wing biased, it even recognises it itself., though it often mistakes this bias for centre ground.
However during a general election it has to behave by the rules of impartiality. Even if the subject matter is anathema to them in the form of the BNP. Though various pets of the establishment obviously feel that impartiality should only apply to their choices, not the whole political gamut.

Protesters are to gather outside BBC headquarters tomorrow as the British National Party's election broadcast is aired.
The BBC is accused by campaign group Unite Against Fascism (UAF) of giving "unwarranted and uncritical coverage" of the BNP during the run-up to the election.
The BNP's five-minute party election broadcast (PEB) is set to be aired on BBC1 at 6.55pm.
UAF's protest at Broadcasting House in central London will be supported by the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (Bectu), as well as the Muslim Council of Britain and Jewish Council for Racial Equality.
A BBC spokesman said the Corporation was "obliged to treat political parties contesting the election with due impartiality", as set out in its charter.
He added: "Over the course of the election, we will ensure appropriate scrutiny as we would with any party."
This is correct, they may not like it, but they have to play by the rules during a general election. So no Question Time histrionics this time.
But UAF joint secretary Sabby Dhalu said: "The BBC has given unwarranted and uncritical coverage of the BNP during this election campaign, particularly on TV news and Radio 4, which has failed to challenge its racist scapegoating of immigrants and Islamophobia.
What part of impartial are you struggling with here? You've challenged the BNP many times and their popularity still grows, perhaps a look at some of the people you stand alongside (MCB) might give you a clue as to why.
"The BBC's justification for giving the BNP more coverage is the election of two BNP MEPs last year. This is misguided.
The democratic decision by over a million voters to elect BNP MEP's might have been misguided, but it's a fact you and your anti-democratic loons are going to have to live with.
"Giving the BNP a platform and failing to expose and challenge it gives the BNP a veneer of legitimacy.
Forgive me if I'm wrong here, but the BNP are a legitimate political party, which is far more than the ultra violent, anti-English, anti-free speech UAF are.
"The BNP is a fascist organisation, not a normal political party, and the public does not pay its licence fee to see fascists broadcast their politics of hate."
The License fee payers probably don't like to see their license fees go to pay any political parties message, or is he suggesting that only political parties that he approves of should have a say on tv?

You know I do believe he is.
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Securing your position

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One of the biggest criticism levelled at Gordon Brown over his 3 years in charge of the country was that he had no mandate for his policies. That the policies he proposed had never been voted over by the electorate in a general election. It was a pretty fair and damaging comment on Labours disastrous fall from grace since Tony Blair fled the coop, or should that be coup?
So now we have "Call me Dave's" solution to the problem of changing jockeys mid race for those in government.

David Cameron has proposed that anyone who takes over as prime minister mid-way through a Parliament would have to hold an election within six months.
The Conservative leader has been a critic of the way Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair and spent three years as PM without an election.
John Major and Jim Callaghan also both took over as PM outside of elections.
Mr Cameron's key proposal was that anyone taking over as PM following the death, overthrow or resignation of the previous incumbent would have to call an election within six months.
A new PM would be free to request a dissolution at any time during the six-month period, which would allow time for him or her to appoint a ministerial team and set out a programme for government and for Parliament to deal with any outstanding business, under the plans.
"It means putting the people in charge, I believe you should be in Number 10 because people have voted for you," he said.
Now there are some out there who might think this a good idea and he does have a point for the reasons I stated. However the cynic in me suspects a far more personal reason and that is to prevent unhappy MP's and party members bringing down an unpopular Prime Minister mid term for fear of losing a general election before the new incumbent can put things right. It may be that the new incumbent gets a new broom boost, but these things rarely last long and the unpopular policies very often remain as there's no time to deal with them before an election would have to be called.

So Is "Call me Dave" showing his democratic and pro fairness credentials? Well he is a politician, so I think not, it's just another way to protect his back if he becomes PM and has to make some very, very unpopular decisions.
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No, the Cross of St George is not the flag of the BNP you idiot!

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Sometimes I despair of the idiot politicians in all parties.

Tory leader David Cameron joined London Mayor Boris for a walkabout in the City this morning to celebrate St Georges Day.

Speaking on the day the British National Party launches its manifesto, Cameron said he wanted to "reclaim" the English flag from the far-right party.

"Today we are celebrating St George's Day, and we are reclaiming St George's Day as an important day I think for good reasons," he said.

"We should be reclaiming the flag from the BNP and saying the flag belongs to the English people, all of them."
I realise that I'm preaching to the converted (mostly) here and I know the BNP had someone dressed as St George at their manifesto launch (and why not he is a national symbol and they are after a fashion a nationalist party) However their symbol is the Union Flag as they are at heart a unionist party, bit like the Lib/Lab/Con pact though more to the left than any of them.
 This means that although they use the flag of St George occasionally, mostly they use the Union flag as unionist parties do. So it isn't something anyone needs to reclaim as the English already have it back quite nicely and use it for football and other events without a second thought save amongst those who see us as racist fascists and our flag as a banner for all that is wrong with society and the world (socialists mostly)
So Cameron was basically parroting "Righteous" thinking when he said that "We should be reclaiming the flag from the BNP and saying the flag belongs to the English people, all of them." He's really showing his ignorance because it's already ours, it isn't the BNP's nor even the Tory Party's. It has been reclaimed since 1996 by the English people, for the English people and shouldn't be used by politicians to make a political point that's as relevant to the actual facts as bicycling fish.
Is it so much to ask that idiot politicians will stop using our flag as a symbol of their ignorance?
Is it so much to ask that idiot journalists will stop associating our flag with racists as the Independent does here?
If we do need to reclaim our flag, it's from the MSM and politicians, not the English at large!
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Cry God! For Harry, England and St George!

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(Image courtesy of Beardedgit)

Hold fast to England

For if England dies

A precious jewel is lost forever

This cannot be

A land ruled by others

Small minded men of power

Who tell us we cannot be

Remove our rights of old

Hold their nation first

And Europe second in their hearts

They seek to break us

Set us against each other

Yet we will not go quietly into the night

For English we are

And England will be

Freedom our right

Not to be taken

Never given up

We shall be free

A future bright

The traitors cast down

England restored

Hold fast to English dreams

And remember our nation fair

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.
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Looking after our own

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I'm a big fan of armed neutrality, I personally don't believe UK forces should be involved in any conflicts that really don't concern us. This means we shouldn't be in Iraq and we shouldn't be in Afghanistan, certainly not doing what we are doing now, if we do go to war (and it is a war) then we go in with overwhelming force, we do what we have to do, then we get out, we should also look at the cheaper options too. Not that I'm saying that we haven't brought some benefits to these countries, just that they aren't our countries and sooner or later what we do there will come back to haunt us. Primarily our armed forces should be available for home defence, defence commitments to our allied territories (Falklands etc) Possible availability for Commonwealth problems/peacekeeping and that's about it. We shouldn't be available for EU conflicts, nor available as U.N. peacekeeping.
Our troops should also have the best possible equipment available at a cost effective level, particularly with regard to modern battlefield weapons, this means we should also have our own burgeoning defence industry, producing said equipment (under license if necessary) If we want the best, then we either make it or buy it, which ever is easiest.
What we also do is look after the morale of those who choose to serve as defenders of our country.

The shocking conditions endured by certain Forces families in houses across Britain — including the discovery of afterbirth stains on the carpet, flooding and broken doors — is undermining the morale of soldiers on the front line, The Times has been told.
Military wives have revealed a litany of housing problems due to decades of underfunding. They say that the constant worry about repairs compounds the stress of separation when their husbands are serving in Afghanistan.
General Sir Mike Jackson, a former head of the Army, told The Times that accommodation was “the Cinderella of defence spending”. He said: “It reflects badly on the way that defence is financed that we still are unable to ensure that every serviceman and woman and their families are decently housed.”
A dilapidated estate for middle-ranking officers in London offers an example of homes that have yet to benefit from a multibillion-pound upgrade programme being implemented by the Ministry of Defence. Up to 20 per cent of the semi-detached houses are uninhabitable because of subsidence.
 This is simply unacceptable, I'm not saying that the dependants of our troops should be housed in luxury, but they should be housed in relative comfort and also if necessary relative safety. The MOD and the government should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen, first they deliberately deny our troops proper kit and follow it up by making their dependants live in squalor (whilst tarting up the MOD building complete with £1000 chairs for computer operators in case of back strain) and handing out medals to civil servants who go out to the front.
It's all a matter of priority and it has become ever more plain and obvious where the priorities of the government and the senior civil service lies and that's purely with themselves. This needs to change, though I doubt very much that it will until we have a government no in thrall to the existing system but who desire wholesale reform in the teeth of a hostile elite who see the purpose of government being to keep us in our place whilst they enrich themselves at our expense.
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Photographer Enjoy experience Style of Model

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Now comes the most important part to creating your portfolio and that is choosing the portfolio style, and which pictures to go inside of your model portfolio. You should first do research on the style of model portfolios that are accepted where you plan on sending them. When shooting with the photographer enjoy the experience and also pay attention to the directions the photographer gives you. After the shoot be sure to pay for everything upfront and give a personal, and written thank you for their time.

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Nuclear weapons are very dangerous and also very expensive though not as much as the delivery systems.
Currently the government are about to spend £80 billion on the Trident delivery system, it's not so much the cost but the fact that it is submarine based that makes it expensive, the advantages are however manifold.
  1. The warheads are safe from interdiction interception from those out there who would do us harm.
  2. Land based rockets can be got at far more easier than submarines.
  3. Aircraft can (and are) shot down far easier than a submarine.
  4. Our nuclear subs can strike back from anywhere at any time.
  5. Those who would do us harm will never know where or when our revenge would come from as they don't have the means to detect our subs.
So when I saw this article I knew straight away it was an attempt to smash and grab the Trident budget rather than any serious thought given as to what would happen if Iran got  nuclear weapons or Pakistan fell to Islamic fundamentalists.

Britain should be prepared to scrap its nuclear deterrent, a group of generals write in The Times today, pushing the future of Trident to the forefront of the election.
The generals say that the next government would threaten both frontline Forces and global disarmament talks unless it considers different ways of spending the £80 billion required to replace the fleet of submarines.
Their intervention, although nonpolitical, offers timely support for Nick Clegg, who goes into tomorrow night’s foreign affairs debate with Gordon Brown and David Cameron as the only party leader arguing against a like-for-like replacement. 
Since 2007, when the Government decided to replace Trident, the debate has shifted significantly, they write, and there is now a “growing consensus that rapid cuts in nuclear forces ... is the way to achieve international security”. Pressing ahead regardless with a costly replacement could upset President Obama’s international disarmament drive, they say. And money spent on nuclear weapons would be unavailable for frontline troops, counter-terrorism work, helicopters, armoured vehicles, frigates or manpower.
They argue that any genuinely comprehensive review needs to answer the question: “Is the UK’s security best served by going ahead with business as usual, reducing our nuclear arsenal, adjusting our nuclear posture or eliminating our nuclear weapons?”
Personally I don't trust president Obama's disarmament drive, that will only work for civilised countries, North Korea and Iran are not particularly trustworthy where it comes to rhetoric and belligerence, nor do I trust the Pakistani state to remain stable. All of those will pose future threats to civilisation and non will hand over their nuclear weapons I suspect they think Obama's a fool too.
The government have short changed the frontline troops of equipment from day 1, I rather doubt £80 billion will be given to the generals rather than the Navy to play with, far better spent on keeping the governments client state pets happy with bread and circuses.
Clegg's argument that other states shelter under Americas nuclear umbrella may have been true in the cold war but certainly isn't so today, America might retaliate if an ally is attacked, then again they may not, far better to have our own deterrence anyway, particularly one where they wont see it coming until too late.

Yes I know it's expensive, but it's a far better deterrent than any other option and whilst I'm all in favour of funding our armed forces properly, I don't think it should be done at the expense of Trident.
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Environmental robbery

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Was a good night for me last night, my beloved Newcastle United became champions of the Championship and hopefully will do well in the Premiership next season.

It's also been a good day for one environmental loon and his wacko belief system.


A worker has won almost £100,000 because his firm discriminated against his environmental views after a landmark legal ruling placed them on a par with religious beliefs. 

Tim Nicholson, 42, was made redundant in July 2008 from his £77,000-a-year post as head of sustainability with Grainger, the UK’s biggest residential landlord.
He was preparing to sue his former employer, alleging that his redundancy was a direct result of his green opinions about the dangers of climate change - which put him at odds with other senior executives within the firm.
At a preparatory hearing last year, a judge ruled that his belief in climate change was legally akin to a religious belief and should be protected from discrimination.
Mr Nicholson, who worked in the firm’s office in Putney, south west London, demanded £756,615 in compensation.
The claim against the firm included £587,925 for loss of earnings, £141,080 for loss of pension rights and £20,000 for injury to feelings.
He accused executives of failing to live up to their own green policies to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, saying they drove “the most polluting cars on the road”.
He said that when he tried to find out how much carbon dioxide Grainger emitted, executives blocked him.
Mr Nicholson was subsequently given permission to sue the firm despite its claims that his views were a lifestyle choice.
It's a shame really because it would have been nice to drag Mr Nicholson through the courts and get him to try and prove his belief that plant fertiliser in the atmosphere is heating up the planet. Certainly the attempt to use his religious belief in global warming climate change (for this is all it can be in the face of increasing evidence of fraud and chicanery in the twisted evidence presented in its proof) Still it proves once again what an ass the law is where someone can use the system to enrich themselves over their beliefs in some sort of environmental fairy story.
Still I'm sure Mr Nicholson is happy and I'm sure Grainger's will be very aware of not ever employing anyone of the Green religion ever again particularly for the post of Sustainability (whatever that is)


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Making a perfect society?

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Well, nothings perfect, but I do wonder at the philosophy of the various political parties and their attempts to shape policy around what people actually want as well as what they actually need. The big 2 1/2 are all pretty similar in the sense that they see top down control as the answer to keeping the criminal elements as well as the general population in line, the EU perhaps more so as their legal system is more based on the Code Napoleon rather than the Bill of rights/Magna Carta.

I would venture to say that an objectively perfect society is impossible with humans being the cliquish, egotistical creatures that we are. In order for a "perfect" society to exist, we need to ask ourselves, whose perfect society it is going to be. My idea of a perfect society and your idea of a perfect society are likely to be drastically different - same goes for everyone else.

We are country divided by creed, bias, faith, greed, and plain old self-interest. Our entire economic and social structure is based on the inherent inequality of humans, not just on the basis of material possessions, but also on the basis of intelligence, personality, accident of birth, and life experiences. Without waving a magic wand, there is going to be unequal distribution of resources, and, therefore, opportunities. Even if our "perfect" society were to have an abundance of resources (or great revenues that would allow it to acquire those resources from somewhere else), it would almost certainly come at the expense of some other society. That is, if we could manage at least a certain minimal living standard for our country's citizens, where would the funding and the resources for it come from?

When I hear the term "perfect society", I am automatically thinking of something very much utopian. Problem is, utopia's work only on small scale, and when they can be protected - and funded - by someone else. You could have a small commune out in, say, Kent living a blissful existence where everyone is provided for accordingly to their needs, and everyone provides accordingly to their ability, without strict formal government, but this commune could only exist because one of the members is a multi-millionaire that sees it fit to use his fortune to maintain it, and because it exists within a framework of a nation in which rule of law generally exists. Try to extend that experiment from a group of hand-picked idealists to an entire nation, and historically, the results have been anything from disastrous to nightmarish.

So, perhaps what we should be looking for is what kind of a country we would create, given the best technology available today, and given an ability to set up social structures, government, and economy? I presume that this society must be functioning for the benefit of real people, and therefore must be accommodating of all the various creeds that are bound to exist in any nation's citizens without allowing any said creed to dominate - that is, instead of hoping that you can also automatically change the people's attitudes (very difficult without brainwashing, and then we're in Huxley's territory), or change the human nature itself (which I would chalk up to utter impossibility).

Yet to do all this we first have to remove the existing political strictures as they are simply now in the way of reform and the rebuilding of England and/or the UK if we still hold together. Still, removing ourselves from the clutches of the EU would be a start, setting up an English Parliament would be a good next step, devolving power down to as local level as possible a good third step, leaving only a weak state with control only over certain national interests such as transport and defence. Allow citizens greater control over their lives and see where that leads us rather than leaving us at the whim of every state directive to come down dis-empowering us, leaving us disarmed and at the mercy of criminals who often seem to have more protection under law than we do.
I doubt we can build a perfect society, but certainly I believe we could do it better without today's politicians and their inflexible dogmas and self-righteous belief in thinking they know best.
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No, it's not a human right and no, we should not be paying for it!

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Seems the EU are trying as Labour does to gather up their own client state dependent upon them and their decrees in order to vote for them and keep them in charge.

AN overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a year’s hard work. Now Brussels has declared that tourism is a human right and pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidised by the taxpayer.
Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.
The idea for the subsidised tours is the brainchild of Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, who was appointed by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.
The scheme, which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds a year, is intended to promote a sense of pride in European culture, bridge the north-south divide in the continent and prop up resorts in their off-season.
Why should I pay for holidays for those who can't afford them, this is utter madness, I'm sick and tired of my taxes which are far too high anyway being redistributed to political vote winning supposed good causes. Why do we let them get away with this? Too many politicians when they aren't using the public purse to feather their own nests seem to believe they can use it to build up a clientèle of dependent wasters who will vote for them to get ever more freebies from the state via the hard-pressed taxpayer.
So, holidays as a human right? Yes if you work and yes if you want to save up and go on one. Holidays as a human right subsidised for you by the state if you're unemployed or can't pay for it? No, no, no, no, NO!
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Political malaise

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It comes to something when the we'll say anything for your vote Lib Dems think they might actually win a majority in Parliament. What they are missing in their view is that they are attracting votes because people are heartily sick of both Tories and Labour with their broken promises and similar outlooks. What people aren't doing is looking at the Lib Dem manifesto and seeing what they are really promising, which is somewhere to the left of Labour with an unhealthy dose of enviroloonyism thrown in to boot. Basically they are threatening to tax us till we squeak to pay for a high spending big authoritarian state to control us for our own good (Just like Labour and Conservatives) Liberal they aren't. They can't even keep their story straight when it comes to VAT rises with Clegg saying one thing and Cable saying another.
In essence all that's happening is that Clegg did well on "Britain's got politics" and got a publicity boost in the polls, compared to how Brown and Cameron performed I rather suspect that if Nick Griffin had been on instead of Clegg we'd see the same boost in the polls for a party that no-one in their right mind would want to see in power. The Lib Dems are simply getting more publicity and cashing in on an electorate sick to death of posturing corrupt "we know best" political parties, not because anyone thinks their policies are better (or could even name one), simply that Clegg came across as a better debater (for a given value of better)

It will be interesting to see how the Lib Dems manage now that they've stuck themselves in the sights of the other two parties, I suspect that the we're different approach wont work once the electorate really get to know what those quasi socialist enviroloons are really proposing.

Either way, Lib/Lab/Con wont be getting my vote, they're all as bad as each other.
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Just not cricket!

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The EU, bane of our existence, tarnisher of our souls, thief, meddler, corrupted to the core, bureaucratic nightmare (yes way OTT, but I'm irritated) has killed off our home-grown our cricket bat industry.


The English cricket bat industry is under threat following a new EU law that prevents willow being exported outside Europe, it has been claimed. 

A European Directive introduced last month has banned the use of the insecticide Methyl Bromide which is used to treat the wood before it is exported to be turned into cricket bats.
However, the wood cannot leave the country without a fumigation certificate and the industry's main markets in India, Pakistan and Australia do not currently accept any alternative treatment for the wood apart from Methyl Bromide.
Only four Essex-based companies export English willow to the rest of the world and suppliers say their businesses could close down in three months if a solution is not found.
J S Wright and Sons, of Great Leighs, is the world's largest and oldest supplier of bat willows - called clefts - having started trading in 1874.
Nick Wright, from the firm, said 40 staff would lose their jobs if the Forestry Commission cannot find a suitable chemical alternative.
Geoff Watling, of Anglian Willow Services the second largest willow supplier, said a chemical called Phosphane could be used but it hasn't been approved.
He said: "They say a form of heat treatment can be used but that actually splits willow, so we are basically left with nothing.
Typical EU meddling, they do something that appears to satisfy their environmentalism only for it to have an effect on England (not that they care) They trample over a tradition going back over a century and rob us of jobs and national pride.
So are our politicians wading in to tell them where to get off? Well no, not really, they're too busy electioneering, the bureaucracy though are intransigent.
A Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman confirmed: "Under the Montreal Protocol methyl bromide was banned from 2005 in the developed world, except for quarantines, pre-shipment and critical uses.
"Methyl Bromide is no longer allowed at all from March 19, 2010."
In other words our traditions count for nothing and one of our national games can no longer use bats made in our own country and English companies and craftsmen will be out of work because none of our politicians gave a damn or made cricket bats an exception to the rules.

Can we just leave, now, please?


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Well we have the first of the 3 leader debates tonight, lots of ground rules in place mostly along the lines of the audience will not be allowed to applaud during the programme, only at the beginning and end. Close-ups of audience members will only be allowed if one of the leaders is addressing an individual audience member directly. Cutaways are banned while the leaders are speaking. Group shots and wide shots of the audience are also banned and broadcasters will not be allowed to run breaking news lines from the debate on their news channels.In other words it has the potential to be deadly dull and put even more people off politics. ICM have chosen the audience of 200 from a cross selection of known voting intentions (80%) and the rest from undecided and minor parties, which sort of goes against the most people being undecided at the moment that the polls are saying.
Will I be watching? No, I'm at work tonight, though I doubt I'd be watching if I weren't. I trust the 3 main parties about as far as I could throw my car, the Labour party more or less admitted in court that any promises they make in their manifesto aren't necessarily going to happen, no doubt the Tories have taken notice of that little foolishness with pleasure. I doubt anyone will take any notice of what the Lib Dems say as they won't become the government anyway and their more idiotic suggestions will be tempered by the dominant party should there be a hung parliament and they are asked to help form a government. Frankly I'd trust the SNP far more than the Lib Dems in a hung parliament they at least have coherent policies that actually have to work for their people rather than making it up as they go along as Clegg and Cable do.

Still it will be interesting to see what the reports of the debate say, I might be wrong, it may be a sensation, I have my doubts though.
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Just not getting it

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Downfall videos on youtube, some hilarious (the Gordon Brown becoming Guido version) others vicious and to the point (The Draper downfall) some bland, but always interesting and somewhat of a tradition if such a thing could be said of a fairly recent phenomena, they may be cruel, but no-one has really complained as it wouldn't do any good, these things go viral if given publicity. However it seems that certain political candidates don't get it or rather get offended by the fact that they get lampooned by an electorate increasingly disenchanted with politicians. It's also counterproductive to complain and as for involving the police...

Conservative candidate calls police over Hitler video attack
A still from the doctored YouTube clip, featuring the German actor Bruno Ganz as Hitler
John Howell, a candidate for Henley-on-Thames, was one of a number of Oxfordshire Conservatives to be attacked in the doctored four-minute clip, which features an actor playing the German dictator in the film Downfall.
Mr Howell said he was outraged after seeing the clip. It also shows a subtitled scene depicting Hitler as Will Hamilton, a Tory candidate who lost a by-election in Henley, who rants about Tories in the area.
Bad move Mr Howell, you've just invoked Godwins Law and got national publicity for the clip.

Not a great day for the Tories at all really if you believe the MSM as there are still predictions of a hung Parliament.

Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg go into tomorrow’s historic televised debate facing a wall of public antipathy amid a tightening race.
A new Populus poll for The Times reveals deep disenchantment with the campaign so far and high levels of scepticism about manifesto pledges and the parties’ honesty.
More voters are now hoping for a hung Parliament than either a Tory or a Labour outright victory.
Conservative support has slipped by three points over the past week to 36 per cent, while Labour is a point up at 33 per cent. The Liberal Democrats are unchanged on 21 per cent. The Tories remain well short of the 40 per cent level where they might hope for an overall majority, although Tory strategists will hope for a boost from yesterday’s manifesto launch.

Tories will be hoping for a boost from their manifesto, but the public are fairly aware that "Manifesto promises are not subject to legitimate expectations" Gordon Brown saw to that. Also there is some disenchantment with Cast Iron Dave over broken promises in the past too. In other words the day of the honest politician is over for a while in the eyes of the public, we see them as liars, thieves, rogues, uninterested in what we want, more interested in feathering their own nests at our expense.
So a lot of people wont vote, a lot of people who will have decided to tie the system up for a year or two, in the hope we can make them listen to us for a change.
I doubt they will though, but it will give the smaller parties time to grow and give the economy time to destroy the main political parties as the methods they'll have to use will make them very unpopular indeed.
Hard times ahead, but hopefully we'll end up with an honest parliament at the end of it.
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Changing the word doesn't change the condition

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A plan to make the Daily Mail combust with fury has been exposed by the BBC.
Liverpool City Council is to consider banning the word obesity in its literature aimed at children.
The Liverpool Schools Parliament has asked for the description "unhealthy weight" to be used instead.
The 90 nine to 11-year-olds believe that obesity is offensive and may de-motivate overweight children.
A council spokesman said that the proposal would be considered after it invited ideas for its Children and Young People's Plan (CYPP).
It could be adopted as part of official strategies to improve children's lives in the city over the next two years.
"We can't change government terminology or clinicians' terminology, but we can look at changing how we communicate weight issues in council reports and in our communications with children," said the spokesman.
The proposal would be considered over the next two months, he said.
The Liverpool Schools Parliament represents the views of schoolchildren across the city and is consulted by the city council on youth issues.
 Obesity is an offensive word? It's actually a medical term describing the fact that someone is fat. As in fat fat fat fat fat little piggies.
And honestly, 9 times out of 10 if you are overweight you can do something about it. At the beginning of last year I was about 10 pounds heavier than I am now - not exactly fat, but could use some weight loss. Right now I'm at the "optimal" weight that I'm supposed to be for my height and age, and have never felt better. All it took? Actually watching what I eat, and working out regularly.

Moral of the story is that it is a condition that is more often than not the fault of an individual himself or herself. Yes, there are some people with medical conditions that require extreme measures to stay within healthy weight, but more often than not, obesity has less to do with those conditions and more to do with the lack of self-control and understanding of what causes it. Here's a hint - eating fast food = bad. Cooking at home with full understanding of what you are eating = good. No need for special diets either - just knowing what is a lot of calories and what isn't will take care of most such problems.

Of course, there is also a sociological angle (i.e. poorer people may have hard time affording food that does not come from Mac D's or the like), but that's another story... someone with a reasonable level of income should have no excuses for getting fat. 

Personally if they have to change it I suggest they change the word obesity to hippolike. That should clear up any misunderstandings.
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Adding insult to injury

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I was amazed when I read that the arch-troughers of Labour had applied for (and got) legal aid to fight their case.

Three former Labour MPs facing criminal charges over their expenses have won the right to have their legal fees paid for by the taxpayer.
An HM Courts Service spokesman confirmed David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine will receive legal aid.
Conservative peer Lord Hanningfield, who is also facing charges, has not made an application for legal aid, the court official added.
All four deny the allegations and say they will defend themselves "robustly".
Conservative leader David Cameron said granting legal aid to the MPs was a "complete outrage" and promised to review the system.
BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said that officials applied the "interests of justice" test to determine whether the MPs should receive legal aid.
The test says that if a defendant is at risk of losing his or her liberty - that is, they could go to prison if convicted - then they are entitled to legal representation paid for by the state.
The "interests of justice" test began to be phased out in January and replaced by a means test for all Crown Court cases in England and Wales - but Southwark Crown Court is not yet part of the new scheme, so it did not apply to the MPs.
So, not only are they accused of stealing from us, they are also continuing the troughing  by grabbing the publics money to defend themselves. I also see that they are not using "cheap" barristers either, they've engaged Edward Fitzgerald QC of Doughty Street Chambers will represent them in court and trust me, this guy does not come cheap, so we're getting stiffed that way too.
Yes there is a possibility of the judge making them pay back some of the costs, however I've a sneaking feeling that the political establishment will look after its own, just in case it ever happens to them. This plus a top barrister to get them off on a possible parliamentary privilege technicality, means we'll have been robbed blind twice, after all if they are found not guilty (though certainly not untainted) they don't get to pay back a penny, unlike motorists with their costs.

Perhaps amazed wasn't the right word, now that I've given it some thought it's changed to outraged fury.
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Despicable, but terribly New Labour

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People who have and are undergoing treatment for cancer really don't want to end up as political pawns in the most boring general election campaign..... well since the last one really. Yet Labour have used one of their consultancy firms to target cancer sufferers with the warning that their treatment will suffer under the Tories.

LABOUR has become embroiled in a row about the use of personal data after sending cancer patients alarmist mailshots saying their lives could be at risk under a Conservative government.
Cards addressed to sufferers by name warn that a Labour guarantee to see a cancer specialist within two weeks would be scrapped by the Tories. Labour claims the Conservatives would also do away with the right to be treated within 18 weeks.
Cancer patients who received the personalised cards, sent with a message from a breast cancer survivor praising her treatment under Labour, said they were “disgusted and shocked”, and feared that the party may have had access to confidential health data.
Labour sources deny that the party has used any confidential information. However, the sources admit that, in line with other political parties, it uses socio-demographic research that is commercially and publicly available. 
The postal campaign started last month before the general election was called. This is the first election in which parties have been able to use internet databases and digital printing to personalise their mailshots.
Labour has sent out 250,000 “cancer” postcards, each addressed to an individual, asking: “Are the Tories a change you can afford?”
Many of those receiving the cards have undergone cancer scans or treatment within the past five years. 
- A card was sent to a woman who has died of breast cancer. Her 33-year-old husband was so upset that he sent a message to the Facebook page of Diane Dwelly, the woman whose case is featured in the mailshot, accusing her of being a pawn for the Labour party.
This weekend Dwelly, 48, from Rugby, admitted she had “probably been used by Labour”. She believed her photograph had been taken for use in a magazine for the National Health Service, not as part of Labour’s election campaign.
The cards are being distributed by Ravensworth, part of Tangent Communications, which has won accounts sending out mail for the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK.
Tangent claims that it specialises in “highly targeted marketing”.
The cancer cards are part of a wider postal campaign targeting various groups. Others are aimed at parents whose children attend Sure Start centres, pensioners and the owners of small businesses.
Labour has so far sent out 600,000 cards. It plans to distribute 4.5m during the election campaign.
Janet Arslan, 40, a graphic designer who also lives in the Sherwood constituency, said: “When I received the breast cancer card at first I thought it was from the hospital.
“I did not think Labour would be that crass to deliberately target a terminal cancer patient like me.”
I really do think that the Labour leadership and election campaign team have had a morality and decency bypass, yes certainly they could scream this belief in the MSM, but to deliberately target cancer sufferers and play on their fears with political one-upmanship goes well beyond what any political party can or should do. Yet this campaign is only the first results of political parties using the database state where our details have been collected, correlated and sorted into target groups for specific election threats/warnings/promises. They might just as well have sent a leaflet to the cancer sufferers saying "If the other lot get in, you're all going to die!" That is at core, the level to which they have sunk in an attempt to win votes.

Quite frankly Labour should be ashamed of themselves over this issue. Yet the most damning thing of all is they believe they are justified.
A Labour party spokesman said: “These leaflets highlight the Conservative party’s actual policies on cancer treatment. Cancer is a terrible condition and sadly all too prevalent in our society, which is why some of the 250,000 people we sent this message to are likely to have suffered from it.”
Every time I think politicians have gone as low as they can get, some berk proves me wrong. I wasn't planning on voting Labour (or Tory) anyway, though I have nothing against my local MP as he's helped me out in the past. But this would have turned me from a die hard supporter to a neutral at least, disgusting, simply disgusting.
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A dark day

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I don't normally do foreign politics, other than the EU domination of England, but if there's another country and people in Europe I have a liking for it's Poland.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and scores of others have been killed in a plane crash in Russia.
Polish and Russian officials said no-one had survived after the plane apparently hit trees as it approached Smolensk's airport in thick fog.
Poland's army chief, central bank governor, MPs and leading historians were among more than 80 passengers.
They were flying in from Warsaw to mark 70 years since the Katyn massacre of thousands of Poles by Soviet forces. 
The BBC's Adam Easton, in Warsaw, says the crash is a catastrophe for the Polish people.
He says Prime Minister Donald Tusk was reportedly in tears when he was told.
Mr Tusk, who runs the day-to-day business of government, has called an emergency meeting of ministers.
A government spokesman said that according to the constitution there would be an early presidential election, and the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Bronislaw Komorowski, would become acting president.
I like the Poles, all my dealings with them have been positive, they are damned hard workers, bit moody when drunk, but not violent, generally very happy to have a job and be sending money home for their families. They were a stalwart ally during WW2 when their country was occupied and divided by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, something many people forget that when WW2 started the Soviets and the Axis were allies (of convenience) and Poland was dismembered by both and never got her full territories back at the end of WW2, mostly because they were under Soviet occupation and the Soviets were our allies by then. There was also the Soviet betrayal over the Warsaw uprising where they waited outside the city whilst the Poles attempted to liberate themselves, refused to allow the Polish government in exile back and stood by whilst the Nazi's massacred the Polish resistance, before moving in.

So far it looks like a genuine accident, though considering the relationship between the two countries  it could not have been a worse place to happen especially considering that it was there to commemorate the Katyn Forest massacre of the Polish officer class by the Soviets in WW2.

The Poles have no reason to like or trust the Russians.

I suspect the conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day over this.
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Broken promises

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A year ago, Labour made a promise to victims of rare cancers that they would get the neccesary (if expensive) drugs to extend their lives.
1 year later and the true story emerges.

Daily Mail. (so to be taken with a pinch of salt)
A dying mother last night became the human face of an election battle over the NHS.
Nikki Phelps, 37, who has a rare glandular cancer, has been refused the only drug that could prolong her life.
Despite pleas from her consultant, her local NHS trust says it will not meet the £100-a-day cost. 
Labour ministers promised more than a year ago to give sufferers of rare cancers easier access to life-extending drugs.
But the rationing body NICE has since refused to approve ten such drugs. Experts say the rulings cut short up to 20,000 lives. 
Former teacher Mrs Phelps and her husband are now selling their £200,000 Kent home to give her a chance of precious extra years with her two-year-old twin boys.
Her plight has been highlighted by the Tories, who have already promised that no one in her situation will be denied a drug their specialist says they should have.
A Tory government would set aside £200million to fund the pledge. 
West Kent primary care trust refused - because NICE has not specifically approved the drug for her type of cancer.
The Labour pledge came amid rising public anger over the denial of life-prolonging rare cancer drugs which are freely available in Europe and the U.S. Ministers put pressure on NICE, which said in late 2008 it would change its rules so more drugs could be licensed. 
But since then only five have been approved and ten rejected. 
First it's a shame that this lady has become a political football particularly when so ill and being forced to sell her home to pay for a treatment to extend her life even though it is temporary.
I can also sort of see the point of NICE, though their dogmatic approach leaves them open to massive criticism, their £30,000 a year cost limit on drugs seems fine but rarely takes individual circumstances into account.
Perhaps one year when someone finally deals with the waste in the NHS properly and trims away the excess bureaucracy the cost of these drugs will more easily be met. But as both Tory and Labour seem to have ringfenced health spending rather than admit there is a serious problem I doubt it's going to happen soon. I know Cameron intends to tinker around the fringes of the NHS, but this wont be the wholesale reform that's needed, then again just wading in with an axe wont help either. Careful thought is going to be needed on reform and an apolitical approach taken to produce a good service without the attendant administration costs we have now.
A good long look at how the private sector does things wouldn't hurt either.

In the meantime I wish Mrs Phelps all the luck in the world, having recovered from cancer myself I have an idea of the devastation in her personal life she'll be going through. Though never in a position where I needed to sell all I have to pay for treatment, I know had circumstances been different we could and would have done so even for a few months extra.
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Knock on effect

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In their desperate scramble to rob us blind by more taxation the government usually opt for various easy marks such as alcohol, tobacco and fuel. The rest is usually just a moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic exercise as what appears to be a lowering on tax is matched by raising it elsewhere.
One of the biggest problems is of course the knock on effect, particularly with fuel, it doesn't just hit us in the pocket at the petrol station as a lot of people think, it also pushes up food and goods prices as it costs more to transport them, add into this a pound weak against the dollar (oil is bought with dollars, this is a major future problem for the USA if OPEC change currencies) and all of a sudden the reason the price of fuel keeps going up is revealed. For all the price of a barrel of oil has gone down since the gulf wars, the exchange rate hasn't been particularly kind to the UK, nor has the economic idiocy of Labour who have blown the overspend on wasted public spending and have left us with a generation of debt to pay back, assuming we can.
Part of the problem as well is all the main political parties play this game too, so reform is unlikely and regaining control of the public purse is as unlikely under the Tories as it ever was with Labour. Yet reform of public finance is exactly what is needed to get us out of this mess. We cannot keep going on printing money to pay our way, we need to massively trim back on public spending, we need to encourage private initiatives and businesses to expand and create the wealth to pay off our debts.

What we wont do is any of that by keep raising taxation, we wont do it by raising NI, nor will we do it by keeping NI the same.
The Tories and Labour are just fighting over the scraps on the table, none of their plans will repair the economy because they are fixated with transferring our money to their pockets to pay the debts (or in the case of Labour keep their client state happy) What really needs to happen is that we leave the EU, use the money we pay them to waste on themselves to cut fuel duties and business taxes and start trading with the world. Invest in our few remaining world class businesses, encourage the city to make money (and pay taxes on it) Make it economic for employers to employ people (scrap the minimum wage) and get our country balanced again where the private (profit making) industries dominate rather than the public ones who simply leach our wealth away.

Perhaps I'm whistling in the wind, there may be good reasons why we can't. But the old system is broken and we and our children face crippling debts because of Labours financial mismanagement unless we can kick start the wealth producing areas of our economy and we can't do that under the EU or the current system
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The Great Ignored

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Well Cameron has started off his campaign with an appeal to the great ignored.
David Cameron is not wasting any time after Gordon Brown's general election announcement, beginning his campaign with an appeal to "the great ignored".
The Conservative leader visited the Midlands and then the north of England on the first day of the month-long campaign.
He said that "young, old, rich, poor, black, white" are the people the Tories will be targeting in the 30 days to come, as prime minister Gordon Brown met with the Queen in Buckingham Palace to ask for the dissolution of parliament.
"They're good, decent people - they're the people of Britain and they just want a reason to believe that anything is still possible in our country," Mr Cameron told a crowd across the River Thames from Westminster.
"This election is about giving them that reason, giving them that hope."
Earlier this morning the Tory leader began his day with a jog. He told reporters outside his home he was "getting fit" for the general election and that it was "about time" for the race to begin.
Well, the great ignored from my perspective are the people of England, they have to put up with a Parliament that allows MP's from other countries voting in legislation that affects them yet not their own constituents as they have their own parliaments with devolved powers that UK MP's can't affect. It's why the English have been saddled with university top up fees and trust hospitals where the majority of English MP's voted against them yet because of MP's from other nations voted on the party lines, we ended up with them anyway, something I'll find it hard to ever forgive Labour for.
The Great Ignored want an English Parliament, to stop the above happening.
The Great Ignored also wanted a referendum on Lisbon, we were ignored and Cast Iron Dave turned his back on us over that too.
The Great Ignored also want out of the EU, though we're being ignored by all major parties on that.
The Great Ignored are also sick of high taxation and didn't need to hear a promise from the Tories that they would match Labour spending.
The Great Ignored are sick and tired of the spying database state hitting them left right and centre with fines for not recycling properly, picking someone up in a car and having your license plate photographed and billed. They are uneasy about ID cards mostly because no government yet has kept our data safe.
The Great Ignored are sick and tired of government and non government agencies telling us how to live our lives, how much we should drink, how we shouldn't smoke, do this, don't do that, I suspect the Great Ignored would just like to be ignored when it comes to that sort of statist interference.
The Great Ignored are highly sceptical about global warming man made climate change, because they know you lie about it.
The Great Ignored want to see their kids educated, not indoctrinated, they want them to be taught reading, writing and maths as well as science and history. They don't see the point of gender equality lessons or citizenship classes, kids can do that in their own time if they want. They also want discipline in schools, where teachers teach and woe betide any kid who bad mouths a teacher.
The Great Ignored want the police to police, not meet targets, not tick boxes for political correctness.
The Great Ignored want their views on immigration taken into account, at the moment they see it as colonialism from those who want to change us into something we are not, rather than the immigrants adapt to us.
The Great Ignored want honest politicians, not those who break promises.
The Great Ignored don't like cheats and thieves who tell us "it was allowed  in the rules"

The Great Ignored want their country back from the likes of you Dave and Gordon and Lib Dem guy as well as well as all the other corrupt, mendacious, twisted righteous followers you and your political classes have gathered to yourself in the mistaken belief that you know what's best the for the Great Ignored.
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Advertising, love it or loathe it (usually loathe) is a ubiquitous part of todays life, with agencies and businesses trying to tell us how much we need/desire/want a product or service. Even the government is in on it, though in true Labour style they appear to be using it for propaganda as well as party political purposes.


The Government has become the biggest spender on advertising in the country for the first time, new figures have disclosed. 

The revelation has drawn Conservative claims that ministers are using taxpayers' money to "buy the general election".
The Central Office of Information spent £207.9 million on advertising last year, more than any other organisation, according to Marketing magazine. 
The next biggest spender was Procter and Gamble, the consumer products group, which spent £155 million in 2009.
Government spending on advertising and marketing rose while commercial companies were reducing their expenditure. Companies including Marks & Spencer and Renault cut their spending by half.
Total spending by the top 100 advertisers fell by 10 per cent from 2008, the figures showed.
By contrast, COI spending rose by 13 per cent from 2008.
Some £85 million of public money was spent on television advertising. Another £52.1 million went on radio spots. Press spending was £47.4 million.
The Tories say state spending on advertising is rising as the general election approaches.
Separate figures disclosed earlier this month showed that Government advertising spending reached £30 million in January.
Francis Maude, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: "This has all the hallmarks of a banana republic, trying to buy the election by abusing public funds."
I think the Tories have a case, though to my mind the biggest abuse was the drowning dog/global warming/climate change clip which was biased, unscientific and just plain wrong as well as feeding on the fears of children. Still I think government advertising ought to be limited to just plain facts as well as the translation services slashed to just native languages (those native to the Islands, not the immigrants)
However the problem appears to go a lot deeper.

The Office of Fair Trading should investigate the impact council-funded free newspapers are having on regional papers, a committee of MPs has said.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee said it was concerned about the growing number of council papers and the effect they were having on local democracy.
Some were "misleading in nature" and showed political bias, the report said.
Classic case of Pot, kettle, black there from the MP's considering what the government gets up too with its advertising.
Many local papers have closed in recent years with some editors blaming the effect of council-funded publications.
Research from the Newspaper Society last year found that nine in 10 councils now print their own newspaper.
Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam, led a debate on the issue in Westminster earlier this year in which he highlighted the impact that council newspapers, funded by local taxpayers, were having on the health of the independent local press.
He highlighted one example of a London council which produced a 72-page paper which includes news, reviews, TV listings and restaurant features. Meanwhile the local paper has seen its circulation drop by 62%.
In the report by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on the future for local and regional media, committee chairman John Whittingdale said the industry was facing "unprecedented challenges".
So the taxpayer is picking up the bill for free newspapers for all too, all your news, tv, local gossip and political propaganda in one dose delivered to your door and coming out of your taxes whether you voted for the sods or not.
He said: "This has led to the closure of a large number of newspapers, many commercial radio stations becoming loss-making and the possible end of regional news on commercial television.
"This has serious implications for local democracy."
While it was important for local authorities to communicate with their citizens, it was "unacceptable" that councils could set up publications in direct competition to local newspapers and "act as a vehicle for political propaganda", he said.
The MPs recommended making it mandatory for publications to clearly state on their front page that they are published by a local authority.
Communicate, yes, tell us how great the ruling political group is no. And putting a local authority logo on the front doesn't address the problem either it's just more advertising, paid by us, given out free to everyone including those who don't pay for it. No wonder the local papers are struggling, the councils run short on money they just put the rates up, the local paper puts its prices up they lose customers.
This waste of public money both national and local should be one of the first things to go, it isn't necessary, nor is it a vital front line service.
There is scope for a massive range of cuts in government spending, no front line services need be affected, all they have to do is trim the fat from stuff like advertising and translation services, prune back the bureaucracy, simplify not continually quantify.
Not that I'm going to hold my breath till it happens, the Tories if they get in might be better, but I have my doubts, Cameron still seems wedded to a big spending state ideal.


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The big news of the day

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Well as far as I'm concerned it was Newcastle United regaining promotion to the Premier league, though many other bloggers seem to have the idea that it's Gordon Brown going to see the Queen in order to dissolve Parliament and call an election.

Still takes all kinds I suppose.
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Apparently I'm not an out of the closet authoritarian

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Via the UKlibertarians

Couldn't have put it better myself.
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Because they think kids wont know better?

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It's always amusing that socialists think that people can't see through their thinking. Then again, perhaps it's just people who can be bothered. Take Demos, it's a left wing thinktank, though you could be excused for not knowing this if you ever went to the BBC site for news. They think the voting age should be reduced to 16, as ideas go I suppose it's not a bad one, though I suspect that many 16 year olds wont, pretty much as a large minority of the population don't.

The voting age should be dropped to 16, according to a major think-tank.
Demos claims that one million people aged 16 and 17 are disenfranchised by "outdated" attitudes, and that the case for change is "stronger than ever".
Demos director Richard Reeves said at 16 young people can work and pay tax, or even "take a bullet" for their country but cannot vote in an election.
"They are denied the political capital and social responsibility of voting," he said.
As the nation prepares to face decisions with "profound" consequences for young adults, those young adults should be given the right to vote, the report said.
Demos's research paper warned that an ageing population and the fact older people are more likely to vote meant older people would form the most powerful voting block in future elections.
Demos's research suggested that if 16 and 17-year-olds could vote, 41% would vote Labour, 30% would vote Tory and 21% would vote Liberal Democrat. 
One of the reasons they use is that you can join the army and take a bullet for your country at 17 yet not vote, another is that you can marry and/or legally have sex at 16. They didn't mention having a cigarette or a drink though as this is a righteous pronouncement and those over 18 activities are proscribed.
The real reason though is at the bottom, they think that the Labour party will get more of the vote if they do and that's the most important thing as far as politicians are concerned. They seem to believe that 13 years of Labour will have influenced the young into voting for a get something for nothing lifestyle, oddly enough a Frenchman summed it up quite well...
French Premier Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929): "Not to be a socialist at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head."
The young don't have a clue as to just how much socialism costs the average man on the street, they usually haven't seen a pay packet with the true cost in deductions written on it. They see the benefits and they don't see the cost. This and this alone is why Demos and Labour would give them the vote.
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Doing England down, BBC style

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Finally caught up with the new Dr Who, still not sure of what to make of him yet, bit manic, but he may settle in ok. However in classic BBC never allow England a fair hearing style there was one moment that made me sigh. The Dr had just met his new companion a young Scottish lady (12) and had identified her country of origin. Asking her why her parents hadn't heard the noise of his entry she said she was an orphan and had moved down from Scotland to be with her Aunt. Asked what's it like down here, she said (I'm paraphrasing) England? it's rubbish. (though I wonder what Scots made of the Dr's comment "you're Scottish, fry me something")
Yes I know it's acting, yes I know that some Scots have issues, but the BBC do have form for this especially in Dr Who and Torchwood where the pro British anti English sentiments of the production team often come to the fore.
In the last series in a parallel universe there was also a foreigner being taken away to an internment camp who said "you know how it is, England for the English" despite the fact that the BBC are consistent in their use of “Britain” and “British”, save only where a negative connotation is required and then it's always England, nowhere else, just England.

No doubt we'll be told it was a joke, no doubt we'll be told it's just acting, no doubt it will be inferred that we have no sense of humour. Yet oddly enough I can imagine the howls of rage if Scotland or Wales were constantly used in this manner.

It's just not funny any more, then again it never really was.
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About time

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NICE, a harmless seeming acronym for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, they're the people who weigh and measure our health in England and decide if the treatment cost justifies whether or not it's worth keeping you alive. A death panel in other words. They're mostly notorious for denying cancer drugs in England that are available in Scotland and Wales. For instance many cancer medicines which are widely available in Europe, such as the bowel cancer drug, Bevacizumab, and the kidney cancer drug, Sorafenib, are not available in the England. France gives out on average 1,600 mg of Bevacizumab per bowel cancer case, compared to virtually none in the England. Some of the more expensive drugs which have been approved by NICE are used less than in other countries, the figures show. Patients are 20 per cent more likely to be given the breast cancer drug Herceptin on average in Europe than in England, 50 per cent more likely if they live in France or Spain.


Cancer sufferers in England will get access to drugs refused approval by a NHS watchdog if the Conservatives win the general election, David Cameron has announced. 

Patients are currently subject to a national system of rationing, which means they are routinely refused treatments for breast, colon, kidney and lung cancer which are available free in other countries.
David Cameron pledged that any patient with the disease should be allowed any drug licensed in the last five years, if their doctor seeks it, even if the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has ruled against its use. 
The manifesto commitment means thousands of people could secure medications which are now rarely prescribed on the NHS, despite the fact they can extend lives by months and even years.
Mr Cameron said: "Other European countries are doing better than us at giving people longer, happier lives with cancer.
"We want to get more drugs to people more quickly and in the UK today there are some people – thousands of people – who want a certain cancer drug, whose doctors tell them they should have a certain cancer drug, who don't get it."
He said the costs of paying for the drugs would be met by the £200 million which the NHS stands to save from the Conservatives' decision not to go ahead with Labour's planned 1 per cent rise in National Insurance.
Finally a decision of Cameron that I fully agree with. Hopefully it will be put into practice if the Tories get elected. Still as we all know (at least according to Labour) Manifesto promises are not subject to legitimate expectation. However this isn't labour we're talking about and it does make a change from the "sour little Englanders" position Cameron has taken in the past. Perhaps he's realising where his real power will reside, will make a change for politicians in Westminster to finally put England on a level footing.


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The return of the sacrificial lamb

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Back in September a row broke out over school pupils deciding to send a lamb they had raised as part of a project on food to be sent for slaughter. Part of the fall out lead to the head teacher resigning over the "antics" of a few parents and agitators.

Parents at a Kent primary school are angry that a sheep hand-reared by pupils is to be slaughtered for meat.
Meat from neutered male Marcus, one of three sheep cared for at a farm set up in the spring at Lydd Primary School, is to be raffled to buy more animals.
Mother Jo Davis said it was a disgrace that the sheep fed by hand by her eight-year-old daughter Megan was to be slaughtered and sold.
Head teacher Andrea Charman said the school council voted for the slaughter.
The school's head teacher Ms Charman said the children will learn a lot from the farm. She says it will teach them about where food comes from and the economy.
Several people, including TV presenter Paul O'Grady, and some animal sanctuaries have offered to buy or look after Marcus to keep him alive, but the school is thought to have turned down the offers.
Mrs Charman went ahead with sending the animal to slaughter, which was part of a project to teach children about the food cycle.
At the time she said the decision had the support of the school council, staff, the governing body and most parents at the 250-pupil school.
Parents and pupils who took part in the protest said they were disappointed to see Mrs Charman leave.
Chair of governors Geoff Marsh said: "This is a sad day for us, but we wish her the very best for the future."
Kent councillor Sarah Hohler said: "I would want to assure everybody in the strongest possible terms that the governing body, school staff and Kent County Council have absolute faith and confidence in Mrs Charman.
"We are very sorry to see her leave."
Well common sense finally prevailed and Mrs Charman has returned to the school, hopefully now the original protesters will have learned a valuable lesson too and wont mess with the school in future when it tries to teach kids about the real world.

Kent councillor Sarah Hohler said: "I am very pleased that Andrea Charman is returning to Lydd Primary School.
"The community has spoken and made their feelings known loud and clear. There is overwhelming support for her.
"Under her guidance the school made tremendous progress and I know she will relish the opportunity to continue that work and do her best for the children and staff.
"Welcome back Mrs Charman."
Parents and pupils held a protest in February to try and stop Mrs Charman from resigning.
Comedian Paul O'Grady, who lives near Ashford, had offered to buy Marcus.
But Mrs Charman went ahead with sending the animal to slaughter, which was part of a project to teach children about the food cycle.
Doug Wanstall, a farmer in Aldington, told BBC Kent it was vital children knew where their food came from.
He said: "There are a number of things we rely on - oxygen, water and food.
"It's very important that we understand all of those... and how we get our food, to my mind, is a very important part of any education."
At the time she said the decision had the support of the school council, staff, the governing body and most parents at the 250-pupil school.
I realise there is a tendency in today's society to see food as originating in supermarkets, but it really is vital that kids see the whole process from  start to finish including the end result. That it nearly cost the headteacher her job and health is a far more telling verdict on those who protested about the lamb. Lessons learned? I doubt it, but it's good to see this lady back in her job.
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