Sunday, 31 December 2006

Predictions for 2007

Everyone else is looking backward; so for me the thing to do is to look ahead to the New Year and think about some of the events that will occur and how things may turn out. What do you think may be the key 'known unknown' events?

1. Gordon Brown will be Prime Minister

2. Tony Blair will resign from parliament and get a US based job.

3. There will not be a general election.

4. The FTSE will end lower than it has done this year (below 6200)

5. Menzies Campbell will be ousted as Lib Dem leader

6. Taxes will rise again in the UK

7. Hilary Clinton will lose support and no longer be the front runner for the Democrats in the US Presidential race

8. British troops will leave Iraq (most if not all)

9. Hamas will lose power in Palestine.

10. Two key UK political bloggers will start writing predominately for the MSM.

I look forward to saving this post and reviewing in December 2007.

Happy New Year All - Wishing you luck and happiness for 2007.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Blair-Blears blithering on...

Truly Christmas cheer has affected our elected government, Mr. Blair now currently residing at yet another celebrity home for his holiday has had another idea. His last idea, of being able to single-handedly unite the Middle East against Iran, has not been a success:
"Blair's official spokesman said the trip, which had the
backing of the
White House, had been a success.
"This was not a trip to
with concrete ticks in boxes," he said, on the government's
condition of anonymity. "This was a trip to listen."(here)

Lots of listening here then? Lecturing the world on the evil of Iran as Iraq descends into civil war.

Anyway, I digress. For this failure has clearly hit our PM hard. He has now decided to outsource government policy, led by that most hated of political ministers, Hazel Blears. See below from The Guardian:

Ms Blears is one of the ministers involved in an initiative announced yesterday to consult members of the public through an extended focus group. "Deliberative forums" will invite 100 people - selected by market research firms - to put themselves in ministers' shoes in considering three broad areas of policy.

This is frankly unbelievable. We are to be ruled by selection via Market Research agency. No doubt Blair thinks this is some kind of aping of ancient Athenian direct democracy; but really it shows the total lack of confidence within his government.

It is out of touch with the people because its policies are so ill-judged and poorly written into law. Asking random punters to 'sort it' is not the answer. If he feels that his government is unable to represent the people who elected it then he should resign and call and election.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Meme - Best of the year

I have been 'Tagged' by Notsaussure with this meme.

'What are the seven [7] best things you did this past year?’

So my list is as follows:

1- Kept my family and myself fed, clothed and housed for the year.

2- Married my gorgeous wife in April

3- Spent as much as I could on travelling the world where possible

4- Kept a secret like I was meant to for once. Hopefully I can build on this breakthrough next year.

5- Pulled a baby which had fallen off a train platform to safety.

6- Read 3 history books, making time for reading is so hard.

7- Started Blogging.

As it is Christmas my present is to NOT tage anyone for once! Get shopping, wrapping and cooking instead.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

New Labour's War on Christmas Cheer

It started, the opening shots so to speak, with John Reid warning of the likelihood of a large terrorist attack over the Christmas period.
Then Caroline Flint chipped in with her call to make stop children eating at Christmas (here).

However, this seems to have made other ministers jealous, Douglas Alexander from the Dept of Transport overtaking from the inside with Annual Road Safety programme.

Not to be outdone, Fire Minister Angela Smith also chips in with a campaign of the danger of fire over Christmas.

Watching from afar Nick Clegg of the Lib Dems feels the need for a broadside along with the Daily Mail; accusing the government of shocking complacency over UK drinking.

There are more articles on Winterval and pc behaviour that I could point out but the list is hard to choose from although here is a good summary from The Independent.

Finally, the last a present from the Government to us is to be a huge increase in state funding of political parties, see my post below.

I can see a trend here, the government don't want us to be happy. They want us to be scared, frightened and poor. I wonder why this is?

Monday, 18 December 2006

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Whitehall whitewashes our wallets

A short extract from The Times today, re their view of the final party funding review leaked to them yesterday.

£12.5 million limit per party from July 2008 on general election spending (down from £19 million)

Well this is a good start, less pointless messaging and less need for fundraising. Likely to cause a rise in soft money approaches to politics instead. But a reasonable start nonetheless.

Political donations capped at £500,000 from January 2009, falling to £50,000 in 2012

Eh? £50,000. This changes the entire basis of our political fundraising as it has existed throughout the last 300 years. Surely this must be accompanied by making these smaller gifts into charitable donations, some small way of perhaps increasing participation. This measure only reduces the participation of the few rich people who are bothering at the moment....

Union affilation fees and donations subject to same cap; new union members choose whether or not to give to political fund

Wow, a sop to the Tories here. Something very unexpected a likely to get a few feathers ruffled in Queen Street and Downing Street. Alternatively, NuLabour will be pleased at State interference in breaking their bond with the Unions once and for all; nicely ironic?

Year-round regulation of campaign spending in 100 most keenly fought seats

At what cost is this? And year round...we only have elections every 4-5 years? A slippery slope too. Soon there will be monitoring of all activity. This all ends in a US style politicisation of the voting process which led to the 2000 Florida voting debacle.

Big rise in state funding of parties, linked to votes at elections or membership, rising as donation cap falls

AGHHHHH! No. A big rise, please save me from these rapacious scum. How dare they lose our respect and then demand our money. Time to consider an appeal to the courts methinks in a desperate attempt to avert this. Maybe Human Rights legislation can for once of be help here. Anyone know?

Electoral Commission to focus on policing donations, losing its role in voter education; politicians to sit on its board

More money to be wasted? Why do they need to police such insignificant donations. Also to admit politicians in some sort of twisted idea that they have the right morals to avoid all putting their hands in other people's pockets. Truly Sir Hayden shows no mercy to the population of our country.

More public funds for office of leader of Liberal Democrats and smaller parties, based on number of MP's and votes.

More funding at our expense. This list is a long one now, nearing 9 figures now easily and maybe more. Also this institutionalises the status quo even further. Only those in power to be rewarded with our money. This actually will reduce the funding for UKIP et al.

Overall, this is a near disaster for the country if much of this gets followed. Politicians, whose main failing in my eyes is having a lack of real world experience, will be off further into the ether. Never having to speak to real people to raise money, never having to have real world jobs. It stinks, it really does.

P.S. Note that The Times cannot spell affiliation correctly either!!

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Winterval/Christmas/Holiday Festivities et al

At this time of year it is traditional to whine about the decline of the Christian meaning of Christmas etc. However, not being Christian myself, I am happy with the fabulous shopping and eating binge.

What does get me though, operating in the corporate world, is the utter politically correct lameness of an excuse for keeping in touch with clients/customers etc; that is e-chrismas cards and their ilk.

I offer here an example of the worst 'Christmas Card' that I have recieved this year. It's truly awful.

Other examples in the comments please...

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Classic Lib-Dem backslash

A small but ironic story from a friend in the darkness of the West Country.

There has been a mild storm in the neighbourhood of North Wiltshire this week at the news that 3 of the Council Leisure centres are to close. Sadly they are under-used and dilapidated (no doubt a vicious circle here). The local politico's, led by a lib dem group have been hand-wringing about the mis-managment of the centres.

As usual much ignorance hes been displayed about basic economics and the need for local services where there is clearly no requirement.

However, the fine piece of chutzpah comes from the Lib Dem leader of the council Carol O'Gorman. As leader of the council she finalised the decision the closing of the centres due to their dire financial state and drain on the budget. However, now she is cheer-leading one of the groups that is trying to 'save' one of the Leisure centres. She criticises the management team...

er...that would be herself then as leader of the council and in full oversight of the council management team?

Lib Dems - I always love their Orwellian approach to life. Why anyone votes for them is beyond me though. This small disaster should at least lose them a council in a Tory marginal, rare good news for James Gray the disgraced local Tory MP.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

Back to Blighty and Work

At last, back to Merry England for Christmas. Time to update this blog format I think now that it is more established and also to increase my blogging; this has proved very difficult whilst away.

Very disappointed to have come back to an even higher taxed country than before. I will investigate this later in the week.

For you other bloggers - what are your principles for bloggin whilst abroad or on holiday?

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Trafalgar day

Having travelled alot this week in the Leeward Islands it is full of Nelsonian heritage. On Nevis is the plantation where he met his frist wife, Franny. In Anigua is St Johns harbour where he stayed for 2 years; Fighting French and Pirates to hone his skills he was to use to save Great Birtain later.

I think we ned a new bank holiday to break up the long spell between august and Christmas. 21st October, the anniversay of Trafalgar, or the monday nearest would be perfect as it coicides with the clocks going back and school half-terms.

Which politician will bring in the private members bill to bring this idea forward?

Monday, 4 December 2006

odd situation

Having been out of the UK for more or less a month on various trips, I have only been seeing the news occasioally.

One of the things this has made me do is think about the current siutation re our premiership,(no, not football, my beloved Leeds are in teh championship anyway). How strange the situation is that we have with Blair-Brown. How odd this seems from afar too.

It seems so unhealthy to be hanging around for a take-over by Brown and then not to have an election or some input from the British people.

The situation is a farce and should not be allowed to continue. The more I think about it the more our system needs serious refrom despite its glorious history,

Saturday, 2 December 2006

UK Transport - Eddington Report

Slicker met Eddington quite a few times a number of years ago when he was the boss of British Airways. He is a very able and bright man. Just the sort of person who I like to see the Government ask for advice. Private setor experience is so often missing from government policy in the main.

However, from an overview, I see his report is a pedestrain attempt at slow evolution. He agrees with road pricing; bad for drivers. Little investment in railways; bad for commuters and an extension of airport capacity; good for BA and the airlines.

What the UK needs is a radcial transport plan paid for by private and public sectors with a view to completely modernising our victorian infrastructure.

Shame this had to be such a typical response that one could have predicted/written a year ago when he started!