Saturday, March 31

Of Knickers and Modern Gentlemen

Once upon a time - well in the 60s and 70's - one could still roll up in classic MG and hear knicker elastic twang from a distance of over 100 yards. A politically incorrect comment indeed but one that the modern gentleman (all be it secretly) still considers when drooling over the image of the latest edition of a very classic motor.
Well supported by music from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and against a video wall showing shots of Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace, Nanjing Auto in China this week launched the ''modern gentleman''; the re-launched branding name given to the British Motoring Icon, the MG.
The two new vehicles are the MG7 saloon and the MG-TF sports car which, General Manager Zhang Xin of Nanjing Auto told Reuters news agency, would be priced at between 180,000 and 400,000 yuan ($23,300 - $51,700; £11,800 - £26,300).
The state-owned Chinese Nanjing Automobile company bought the assets of collapsed UK firm MG Rover in 2005 following a series of botched recovery attempts in Britain.
The Chinese plan to produce 200,000 new cars every year and hopes to sell the vehicles around the world and will shortly to open a manufacturing plant in the USA.
In only six short months the Chinese have built a massive new factory and installed the robots and assembly lines they bought from the collapsed British company. The cars have apparently not changed much, right down to the Union flag, which is still displayed proudly on their bodywork.
So there we have it, the classic very British MG brand lives on, all be it in the form of the '' Modern Gentleman'' thanks to modern communist Chinese's entreprunarial skills.
The tragedy is that modern Britain, with all its politically correct thinking, was incapable of achieving what modern China with all its continuing abuse of human rights has demonstrated it can do with ease. One must, begrudgingly, be grateful that knickers elastic will continue to twang around the world at the sight of the traditional
Modern Gentleman; all be it Chinese style.
Left, flashback to the '70s. Right - Sophie -a Rover 75 in 2005.

Friday, March 30

Free the British 15

Assuming the Marines are still captive,
are organizing a protest for Saturday, March 31 at 3pm outside the Iranian Embassy. It will be in Kensington Rd (S side) 200 yards east of the junction with Prince's Gate - that's as near the Embassy as you are allowed to go to protest. Nearest tube is South Kensington - it's about 10 minutes walk from there. It is on several bus routes though.
It will be in Kensington Rd (S side) 200 yards east of the junction with Prince's Gate - that's as near the Embassy as you are allowed to go to protest. Nearest tube is South Kensington - it's about 10 minutes walk from there. It is on several bus routes though.
The organisers ask demonstrators to bring placards. We suggest you avoid inflammatory placards - suggestions that Tehran should be nuked might be misinterpreted. More dangerously, they might not be.

Thursday, March 29

The Abduction of our Sailors and Marines

We have now an account of the Iranian abduction of our sailors and marines. According to Vice Admiral Charles Style, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, briefing on the MoD website, the events were as follows:
Our boarding started at 0739 local time and was completed at 0910 with the merchant vessel having been cleared to continue with her business. Communications were lost with the boarding team as the boarding was finishing … at 0910. HMS CORNWALL's Lynx helicopter, which had been covering the initial stages of the boarding, immediately returned to the scene to locate the boarding team.The helicopter reported that the two seaboats were being escorted by Iranian Islamic Republican Guard Navy vessels towards the Shatt 'Al Arab Waterway and were now inside Iranian territorial waters. Debriefing of the helicopter crew and a conversation with the master of the merchant ship both indicate that the boarding team were ambushed while disembarking from the merchant vessel.
Now, with reference to the chart provided (above), using the measurements supplied by the MoD, the mother ship, HMS Cornwall is about 8.5 nautical miles from the boarding party - to the south east. Why wasn't she between the boarding party and the Iranian border?
Then, her top (flank) speed is 30 knots, but she takes a little time to work up to that so, on that basis, it will take her up to 20 minutes to get to the scene.But, it would appear, the Cornwall does not immediately set out. All we are told is that, when communications are lost, the helicopter is "immediately" despatched and reports the British boats under escort, already in Iranian waters.

Tuesday, March 27

Abolition of the Slave Trade

William Wilberforce
Sunday marked the 200th anniversary of the legislation that abolished slave trade in the British Empire and marked the beginning of the fight the Royal Navy waged for a long time against other slavers, particularly Arab ones.
There has been a great deal written about the subject, some sensible some completely nonsensical like the calls for Britain to apologize (to whom is not made clear) for being one of just about every country and civilization in owning and trading slaves, though, clearly there was something different about a country that firmly proclaimed that owning and trading slaves was actually wrong. That is what makes this anniversary so right and worthy of celebration.

Iran - some facts

The seizure of 15 British Sailors and Marines by Iran was not an isolated incident, but part of a long-running Iranian program to control the Shatt al-Arab. Some key facts:

  • The Narrows: A waterway beset by ethnic cleansing. Native Arab population of up to 500,000 “relocated.”

  • Resistance jailed, forced to confess, and executed.

  • Most politically sensitive area in the Middle East. Controls oil shipments and trade routes Iranian zone is the launch point for Iranian covert operations in Iraq.

  • Iran now controlling up to 40,000 agents in Iraq.

By Daniel Brett Chairman, British Ahwazi Friendship Society

Those in Peril

Why did our sailors and marines from HMS Cornwall not defend themselves?
They were not allowed to ... their rules of engagement did not permit it. This was raised in The House yesterday by Ann Winterton MP.
Read all about it here >
HMS Cornwall

Sunday, March 25

The EU, Theory -v- Practice

Rome - 1957
By Christopher Booker

In all the years I have been reporting on the bid to give Europe a supra-national government, there are few points I have made more often than that, to understand this breathtakingly ambitious political experiment, one must always contrast the theory behind it with how it actually works in practice.
Its supporters always base their grandiose claims on its supposedly idealistic intentions - to save Europe from war, global warming, etc. Whereas, whenever one looks at its operations in practice, these almost invariably turn out to beincompetent, corrupt and dishonest failures.
Typical of this self-deception was a wonderfully silly front page of The Independent last week, listing "50 reasons to love the EU". To anyone familiar with the EU this was hilarious. I divided its 50 points to find that 16 were "wildly misleading", 12 were "highly dubious", 10 were "plain wrong" and so forth. Not a single point cited by the Indie turned out to be a benefit that could not have been achieved without the EU.
A particular gem in this farrago was the claim that we owe it to the EU that "British restaurants are now much more cosmopolitan". I am sure the proprietors of our balti houses, sushi bars and Chinese takeaways would rush to agree.
It is also apparently due to the EU that the British "feel less insular". Such a refreshing change from those sad days when the British were so insular and closed in on themselves that they ruled over a quarter of world's land surface, establishing English as the most successful lingua franca in history (and saving Europe from the tyranny of various dictators)
Perhaps the most telling evidence of the gap between The Independent's ears was its claim that Brussels only employs 24,000 bureaucrats, "fewer than the BBC". Lovers of "the project" have been making similar claims since the 1970s (even Mrs Thatcher once boasted that the European Commission had a staff of"only 7,000, smaller than that of the Scottish Office").
In fact, this is perhaps the biggest giveway of all as to whether someone has grasped the veryclever principle which, perhaps more than anything else, has been responsible for the EU's success.
The commission does not need any more bureaucrats in Brussels precisely because it is merely the nexus joining together a vast network of millions of officials, stretching right across our continent. To do its bidding, it relies not just on the staff of its own ever-proliferating army of "agencies", but on the civil servants of all its 27 member states. Probably well over half the officials in Whitehall (including, for instance, virtually the entire staff of the Defra ) now spend their time working on legislation derived not from Westminster but from Brussels.
It is remarkable how few Europhiles (except at the top) have grasped this absolutely crucial point about how this vast and immensely complex system of government works.

The Sunday Quote

'' It is easy to deceive oneself without perceiving it as it is difficult to deceive others without their perceiving it.''

Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), Maxims 1665
This weeks quote from the clasic French writer François de La Rochefoucauld needs perhaps a few moments careful concideration.

Saturday, March 24

Fifty Years of Surrender

Christoper Booker is in full flow in The Daily Mail today, with a long piece commenting on the "very special party" to be held in Berlin tonight.
It is safe to predict, he writes, that, apart from those German teenagers enjoying their "rave", very few other folk across Europe this weekend will be doing much by way of celebrating. Predictably, though, the one exception will be the scores of politicians and thousands of officials who will also today be converging on Berlin, to pay tribute to this historic moment in their own, rather different way … the most ambitious political project the modern world has seen since Lenin set up the Soviet Union in the Twenties.

Read it here.

Friday, March 23

The End of Week Quote

''But we do not just lobby Westminster and the devolved and local bodies. Our Brussels office is picking out EU laws as they begin so that we can knock the more damaging aspects out before they gain any momentum. They have achieved many successes this year, not least the saving of the UK barometer industry.''

Carole Undy - outgoing FSB Chairman Federation of Small Businesses this morning at the Federation's National Conference.

If it were true, which it is not, the question is was it a fair swap for wrecking our Fishing, Agricultural and numerous other industries in which small businesses once prospered?
Future comments on 'Europe' by the new 'Chair' of the FSB will be monitored by this blog. It can only get worse.

Thursday, March 22

A Very Grave Deception

Peter Troy on the 'Chair'
Britain's largest member based business organisation The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has elected a former Trade Union Offical as its National Chairman.
John Wright, a former member of the National Executive of NALGO and long time public servant (employee at Cleveland County Council) and more recently a director of companies and organisations established by Regional Government agencies has amazingly been elected as National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses at their AGM in Belfast this afternoon.
Clearly the Federation's members were impressed by Mr Wright's written election address which the editor of this blog, Peter Troy has complained to the Federation was deceptive in three key details.
One of the guests at the FSB's Conference is long standing Ulster Politician, Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley MP, one can only wish that in his address to the assembled delegates he reads to them from St Luke Gospel, Chapter 23 verse 34. The members should consider the words very carefully.
Dr Richard North takes up the issue >
The out-going Chairman of the FSB presents the Chain of Office to John Wright perhaps with the comment: ''there is enough here to hang yourself with''.

The Gripping Question

Strong leader or ruthless despot? That was the question gripping Westminster yesterday as supporters of Gordon Brown tried to make a virtue out of a scathing attack from a former senior civil service chief who likened the Chancellor to Joseph Stalin, the former Soviet dictator.

The issue is addressed in an article in The Scotsman.

See link > Will 'Stalin' jibe actually help Brown?

Wednesday, March 21

To Give And To Take

''Whether by keeping mortgages low, providing the economic stability to deliver record employment and sustained investment in schools, this Government has worked hard to support hard working families. '' So says The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown MP, The Chancellor, in his address to the Labour Party faithful released a few moments after delivering his eleventh budget in the House today.

Once again there was very little for the hard working families of the UK's small business community to be pleased about. Mr Brown, ramed up corporation tax on small businesses while cutting it for larger firms !

Carole Undy the outgoing Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses issued a press coment this afternoon saying '' he gives with one hand and takes with the other.''

There will be much written about today's budget by both bloggers and journalists from the 'dead tree' industry (newspapers) on what was clearly a very political budget, rather than one of profound soco- economic relevance; like in the good old days.
British tax paying subjects must not be fooled into thinking this is a "give-away" Budget, all Mr Brown has done is to provide headline "cuts" in both income tax and corporation tax, but the cost of these cuts will be met by the other changes. In other words, very few people will be much better off as a result!

This Budget can best be described as a "tinkering" Budget. There were 81 Budget Notes containing the devils in the details of literally hundreds of tax changes.

Click here to view an excellent 2007 Budget Summary Report.

''What has ''Europe'' done for us ?

As the European Union celebrates its anniversary, The Independent newspaper looks at what it believes to be 50 benefits the Union has brought, and asks: "What has Europe done for us?", all under the general title: "50 reasons to love the European Union.

Read Dr Richard North's excellent piece > permalink

An Enviromental ''Arms Race''

As David Cameron planted a tree in north London two weekends ago, it was his funky trainers as much as his handy spadework that caught the attention of onlookers and the assembled media. Cameron was officially marking the Conservative Party's "Green Action Day", but there was also a message in his green-laced, camouflage-soled footwear.

Conservative Party Central Office was happy to let it be known that they were, in fact, recycled from old firemen's trousers (they did not say which one) and car seats, part of a limited edition of 400 pairs produced to mark last year's 15th anniversary of The Big Issue. Now that is really trendy.

As a symbol, it was true to form from a politician who, since taking over his party's leadership, has rarely missed an opportunity to advertise his green credentials, whether by cycling to work (with his driver following in his official car with his briefcase and shoes) or putting a windmill on the roof his (very posh) house (which did not work because there is a lack if wind in London).

It is clear that in the UK an environmental "arms race" has begun amongst our politicians. For the foreseeable future, our politics will no longer be simply blue, red, yellow or purple, but made up of different shades of green. Voters should be warned that our political elite are determined that Britain is going to save our planet, often with contradictory and prohibitive measures wrapped in green recyclable trendy and cool environmental policies.

What is not being asked is how can our country, that contributes just 2 per cent of the world's carbon emissions really make much of a difference to the planet? Similarly prohibitive measures are not being undertaken by China, India, America, and Russia who are the world's largest polluters.

Tuesday, March 20

Getting Worse, Not Better

The Finanical Times this week published the results of an FT-Harris poll, conducted in the EU’s five biggest countries - Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - and also the US.

The main finding was that only 25 percent of those questioned in EU member states felt life in their country had improved since it joined the EU, while 44 percent thought life had got worse.

That Extra NHS Money

Where has all the extra billions of pounds given to the NHS actually gone ?
Well amazingly according to the Public Accounts Committee, no one really knows. The accounting system is too, well unfit for purpose.
The King's Fund an independendent health think tank, has some estimates though:

Less than a third of the extra money spent on the NHS is actually going directly to improve health care and front-line services. Of the £19 billion spent by the Government on hospital and community health since 2003, £6.6 billion had gone on extra pay for clinical staff.
A further £2.2 billion went on the rising cost of drugs; £1.6 billion went on hiring more doctors to meet new EU employment laws on working hours; £1.1 billion went on new buildings and equipment; £1 billion went on equipment and £600 million on negligence law suits.
This left only £5.9 billion to spend on improving performance such as reducing waiting lists, the extension of day surgery and more nurses and consultants.
The sadness of all of this is that if the present Government had left GP fundholding in place (broadly similar to the system they are now 'introducing'), something which of course they couldn't as it had been brought in by the Tories (a sysyem that if one remembers we were told '' needed to get better''), we'd have got a much better results for our money.

Monday, March 19

Rethink - Illegal Immigration

Austen Ivereigh in the current edition of The Spectator says that illegal immigration is both a symptom and a cause — of British economic success. The dead hand of the state is getting it wrong, as usual: time for a total rethink ...

Let’s sort out the migration mess

What a Shower ?

From the Editor's notebook.
This Friday, 23 March, sees the opening of the UK's largest member based business organisation, the Federation of Small (FSB) Businesses Annual Conference, held this year in Belfast.
Federation Members, journalists, business or political analysts looking for news breaking scoops should look elsewhere.
Once the AGM, held the day before, has announced whether a Collaborator or an Appeaser has been voted in as National Chairman (see collaborator-v-appeaser_20.html.) there is not likley to be much in the way of ground breaking news or even interesting ideas discussed at Belfast.

Take the first motion up for debate by the FSB's Branch Delegates:

This conference deplores the insincere approach of Her Majesty’s Government by, on the one hand, emphasizing its commitment to the enterprise culture through the use of fiscal incentives and training packages, thereby encouraging people to be self-employed and yet on the other, actively pushing HARK to pursue an increasingly aggressive policy in re-classifying self-employed contractors as employees, with all the negative consequences for small firms.

If any reader can make sense of the wording please leave your offering in the comments section. We on this blog are at a complete loss to understand what it could possibly mean.
From the North East, as many would expect, is a motion which if adopted by our political masters would do more to introduce unwelcome regulation than just about any other crazy idea the EU commission could contrive and believe me that would be difficult. Colin Stratton's motion amazingly states:

This conference calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to have all businesses registered on a central database whether they are incorporated or non-incorporated and irrespective of size or type.

Unbelievable - stupid and crassly incompetent for a businesses organisation to support self destruction. As the Good Book says: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (St.Luke 23:34). Mr Stratton's motion has been Law in Italy since the days of Mussolini and adopted in a few other European states as well. Without going into all the merits of the freedom of the process of business, clearly the successful principles of the Anglo-Saxon economic model are lost on Mr Stratton and his supporters in the North East. If this motion succeeds I will bare my membership card in Harrods window the next day!

Two other motions on the conference Agenda are so irrelevant to the world of business as not to warrant comment. It is not until the final motion at the end of the conference that there is a sparkle, all be it a miniscule one, of relevance:

This conference calls upon the Treasury to demonstrate a clear commitment to business growth and the creation of wealth by granting businesses a 100 per cent tax allowance for reinvestment in the sector, thus assisting with research and development as well as expansion.

The proposers of this motion John Friel and Wilfred Mitchell both from Northern Ireland make a good point which could be developed. If one were able to propose amendments to motions - as at a proper conference - I would propose that all government business support is withdrawn in favour of a comparable reduction in tax on small businesses. One business grant is after all another business's tax bill. Since my somewhat draconian amendment would mean the abolition of Business Links and many other regional support agencies there would be very little support from FSB activists who these days liaise oh so closely with such quangos. In fact at least two senior FSB activists, to my knowledge are well paid by the many off shoots of the Government's Business support services; and that I say corrupts the FSB.

So, to end at the start one should not look to the motions at the FSB conference in Belfast next week for any major ground breaking policy innovation. All of which prompts the question, why does the FSB grow in number each year. After all, an organisation without an intellectual base cannot flourish. The answer is simple, the FSB has excellent benefits and a world class recruitment team which, for the moment at least, offsets the lack of ethos at the centre of the organisation.

The worry of course is that the FSB, unless it counters - not adds to - the threats that our political masters impose upon small businesses will, in time, go the way of the Dodo.
A flash back to the FSB confrence of 2004:

Sunday, March 18

The Sunday Quote

'' People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election. ''

Otto von Bismark (Prussian Prime Minister, Founder Chancellor of the German Empire 1815 - 1889)

Saturday, March 17

A Very British Protest

There is a certain satisfaction in learning about direct protest from an authoritive figure. Congratulations, from this Blog, are very much due to Ray Egan a 69-year old retired policeman from Birmingham who on Tuesday dressed in a John Bull costume breached security at HP Sauce's British Factory to protest against the decision to switch production of the very British condiment to Holland.

The protesting ex-copper made his point very clearly from his roof top vantage point on the top of the HP factory:

'' The point I am making is that we are losing a British icon - a bastion of Britishness and a worldwide product and brand. It has to stop. I am just sick of the industries we are losing and direct action is what's needed in this country. This would never happen in France.'' said Ray Egan.

HP manufacturer announced its decision to close the Aston Cross site last summer and move production to Elst in the Netherlands.

Whilst the protesting ex-plod was taking direct action a company press officer in award winning corporate speak (and missing the point entirely) issued a statement saying it was aware of the protest which he described as a ''health and safety issue''.

National disgrace we say --- there are some of us who are still trying to cope with the loss of Lea and Perrins Sauce to the French and the MG trademark to the Chinese. At least this week we learnt of the return of the Classic Aston Martin motor range to British ownership. Clearly the lesson to be learnt from ex-plod Ray Egan is that if it's British it is worth fighting for - after all, all we want (well ok want back) is our heritage.

In My View

The Aricle above is from The Northern Echo in January this year.
The piece below was published in The Journal on Wednesday 14 March.

Credit where credit is due – by Peter Troy

Rarely these days are the words, bank charges, bank profits, credit, and debt out of the headlines. What is very rarely in headlines is – what are the alternatives to high street and internet banks as well as high interest rate doorstep lenders.

Enter 'credit union' into Google and an amazing 44,800,000 entries are flagged up. So what are Credit Unions and why is the Government so keen to offer support? They are democratically - run co-operatives - which appeals to Labour’s traditional activists - they offer low-interest loans encourage their members to save regularly and also borrow at affordable rates. Importantly Credit Unions refresh the financial needs of people that the high street banks can't or won't refresh.

One key function of Credit Unions is to significantly reduce the influence of 'doorstep lenders' which were comprehensively criticized in a report last year; a £300 loan over 30 weeks would involve paying back around £450. A credit union loan would require paying back around only £320.

Credit Unions are well regulated and thus safe. Regulated by the Financial Services Authority they are co-operatively owned and run by the savers who are also members. Loans can be taken out for as little as £10 pounds or much larger amounts depending on how much has been saved. The system works because by members making regular savings they form a pool of money which is then available to be lent out to members who they have been saving for a qualifying amount of time (usually about 8-12 weeks).

Credit Union's are not new, their history dates back to 1864, when one Fredrich Raffiesen founded the first credit union in Heddesdorf in Germany. By the time of his death in 1888 credit unions had spread to Italy, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and North America and to a lesser extent Britain.
In recent years the concept has grown considerably to 560 across the UK - 16 of which have been established in recent years in the North East.

To establish a Credit Union there needs to be a common bond which determines who can join. For the Durham City and District Credit Union, which was launched in 2003 and has over 160 members, people have to live and work within the boundaries of the City of Durham but the common bond can be a place of work, church or community group. The essential ingredient in the establishing of a Union is the considerable efforts and dedication of groups of local volunteers.

In the North East, Credit Unions have received a welcome boost of publicity thanks to Durham MP Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods. The tenacious MP recently joined the City of Durham Credit Union and then immediately asked a question in the House as to what extra help Credit Unions can expect from the Government in the wake of the collapse of the huge savings club organized by Fairpark which was forced into liquidation at the end of last year causing much misery to thousands.

The prompt reply from Ed Balls, the enigmatic Economic Secretary to the Treasury stated that a Growth Fund of £36 million to boost coverage, capacity and sustainability of credit unions was being made available. The Government is also shortly to announce further funding to support the training requirements of staff and volunteers working for such organizations.

So there we have it the growth of co-operatives filling a role as much needed in the 21st Century as in the 19th. Clearly there is such a thing as society.
More information on Credit Unions can be obtained from the office of the Durham and City Credit Union 0191 375 7677.

Tuesday, March 13

The Lights Will Be Dim All Over Europe

Today's Daily Mail carries a long op-ed from Christopher Booker setting out the case against the ban on incandescent light bulbs which was requested by the leaders of the 27 member states at the European Council last week.
To put it in context, Booker writes of us now being deluged with news of the latest proposals from our politicians about how to save the planet from global warming, citing Gordon Brown and his "new world order" to combat climate change, coming on top of Mr David Cameron's proposals for strict "green" limits on air travel.

The Courage Of The Small Hours

A piece to be published on the blog in May will be pay homage to what the RAF Commander in Chief of Bomber Command, Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, perceptively called ''the courage of the small hours''.
The piece will be a modest tribute to the courage of the Airmen of RAF Bomber Command. Much has been very well written about the Batttles of the Bomber War but little by those that lived through those years. I am keen to meet and chat to anyone who is wishes to share their memories and thus help my piece be different to what has been written before.
Why bother - well, for if such as I (and subsequent generations) born after the events of the second world war know why, how and when so much courage in the air was show then ' their name (and courage) will live for evermore.'

The 2nd World War Bomber Command death toll was a huge 55,573. It is a national disgrace that they have no national monument - the reasons for which I shall explore in my posting in May. It is important that the one hundred thousand men from Britain, Australia, Canada, South Africa and other Commonwealth countries who fought those battles over Germany are given their proper place in history.

Monday, March 12

Link at the Bottom

Click below

Warming to Janet Daley

As a contribution to the ongoing debate on global warming – or "climate change" if one prefers - it would be hard to improve on the op-ed written by Janet Daley in today’s Daily Telegraph.

Too Late to Save the Crown

Save the crown! That's the message from some of Britain's biggest brewers who last week pleaded with Tony Blair to save the 300 year-old Crown symbol on beer glasses from extinction at the hands of Brussels-based bureaucrats. Not that our Prime Minister can do much about the matter; it is alas far too late.
The Crown symbol was first used in 1699 as a guarantee of the size of pints and half pints. But this year it is due to be removed and will be replaced by the an EU-wide CE mark guaranteeing the accuracy of measures.The UK has already signed up to the EU's measuring instruments directive, which came into force last October, triggering the phasing out of the Crown mark in favour of the Conformité Européenne logo.

In their letter to Tony Blair the nine brewing and pub companies wrote protesting at the EU's interference by the removal of the Crown is a “needless” intrusion'' into a system which has worked well for centuries. “We feel that it has been imposed on our industry without consultation and against the wishes of our consumers. This directive is yet another in a long line of examples of excessive interference from Brussels which only serve to undermine support for the EU among business leaders and the wider public.”
Well the beer bosses are quite right. But EU intrusion is nothing new and the phasing out of the Crown mark has been a very long time comming.
Where one must ask have the leaders of beer industry been over the last 35 years. Have they not been listening to the many debates in Pubs through out the land on the 'interference' from the EU? As the old saying goes ''if you do not take an interest in politics then politics will sooner or later take an interest in you''.

Sunday, March 11

The Sunday Quote

''Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong''
James Bryce quotes (1838 -1922) - British politician, diplomat, and historian)

Saturday, March 10

More Nonsense

Looks like the EU Parliament has discovered a new way of spending another £1.3 million a year of our money. Dan Hannan has the details.

CFP - ''Morally Wrong''

Flashback to January 2004. Peter Troy, then an activist in the North East Federation of Small Business wrote a detailed article on why what was one of the world's most productive fishing grounds, the North Sea, is under threat of closure to cod fishermen. Peter went on to comment in the North East and Scottish press that the British off shore fishing industry, made up entirly of Small Business could once again be thriving; a cause that the FSB were and remain less than enthusistic to even mention.
The photograph above shows one of the three remaining commercial fishing boats leaving the North Sea port of Hartlepool.
Last week Joe Borg, of Malta, the European Fisheries Commissioner and thus in charge of the British Fishing Industry described the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and in particular EU's quota system, as "morally wrong". He admitted that, under the CFP rules, 880,000 tons of fish are having to be dumped each year in the North Sea alone, and that in some waters around the British Isles, more than 90 per cent of all the fish caught are having to be discarded (compared with an average in Norwegian and Icelandic waters of only 4 per cent).
Amazingly, there are still some people who think that the EU is good for us !
Above, Peter Troy campaigning with Morag of the Cod Crusaders and a local politican on the North East coast of Scotland.

Friday, March 9

The Great Swindle

Channel 4 Television yesterdayshowed a documentary entitled "The Great Global Warming Swindle" which was a most effective popular debunking of the Global Warming Scam.
What came over with crystal clarity from the programme was the fragility of the science supporting the global warming thesis, and the strength of the science supporting the arguments that the primary driver of climate change was the sun.
It can thus come as no surprise that the EU, built on a foundation of deception and fraud, should buy into this scam, seeing in it a means of pursuing its interventionalist agenda at a time when its mantra on "keeping the peace in Europe" has little relevance to the upcoming generation.
In an attempt to keep the interest going, the EU has sought to harness the ill-founded concern over climate change, engaging in the "battle to save the planet".What is especially of interest is that, in choosing this battle, the EU has effectively opted out of the real battle, the global war against terrorism which, from all accounts, has reached new heights of ferocity in Afghanistan.
Not only are we seeing a major battle for control of the Kajaki dam region but, some 40 miles away at Sangin, there has been also fighting on a large scale – where four British soldiers have now been killed in the last week.
Quite how intensive it has been is illustrated by the airpower summary for 7 March, which shows the scale of air operations in support of ground forces. There we have the tale of two worlds – the one of the fantasy world of battling to save the planet from climate change, and the other, real world battle to counter the global threat from terrorism.
Not only has the EU bought into the former but so has our government and – stupidly – David Cameron had that unique opportunity to create clear blue water between the Conservatives and New Labour but, instead, has fallen for the myth.

Tuesday, March 6

A Sad Case

An interesting piece today in The Northern Echo by the Reverend Dr Peter Mullen who is Rector of St. Michael’s Cornhill, in the City of London and also Chaplian to the Stock Exchange.

The Rev. Gentleman takes as his theme a recent revelation that an estimated 70,000 people in Britain are suffering from dementia is probably in fact a gross under estimation.

Two points that the Reverend highlights, firstly the shocking truth that there are so many that are deadened by dementia that they never pick up a newspaper but sit around grinning hideously over the pictures in Heat and Hello magazine. The second sad example is a case when dementia reaches its terrible and irreversible stage. Dr Mullen sites
one of his parishioners, who was in the stages of advanced delusion; the city gent was under the impression that David Cameron was some sort of Tory; poor deluded man. Clearly no hope.

Sunday, March 4

£ 55,660,000,000

This blog has made many references to the cost of EU regulations in the past. It is right that we continue to highlight this issue because the media so often makes a mess of the key points.
As Christopher Booker reports this week in his regular column in The Sunday Telegraph a new study by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), shows that the total cost to business of new regulations imposed since 1998 is a huge £55.66 billion.
One of the reports in a national paper thunders "Labour's £55 bn roll of red tape", all this was blamed on the Labour Government. Yet it might have been rather more useful and interesting to quote from the BCC's website, which shows that £40 billion of this cost, or 72.5 per cent, is due not so much to "Labour" regulations as those emanating from the EU. This is one of the reasons that I proposed at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) conference a few years ago that the organisation should demand that the UK leaves the EU. The branch delegates agreed by a majority of over 2 to 1; yet curiously the FSB did not adopt the matter as a policy.

Perhaps some of the 215,000 or so members of the FSB in the UK might like to ask at this years confrence how much cost the EU actually has to impose on its members before the FSB listens to its members wishes. Just a thought !

Basra Success

British troops achieve much needed success in Basra. See link -- Labels: ,

The Sunday Quote

''Give up what appears to be doubtful for what is certain. Truth brings peace of mind and deception doubt.''

Muhammad Ali quotes (American Boxer and Activist, b.1942)

Similar Quotes.

The editor in posting this quote is mindful of John Wright's comment in his leadership election address to FSB members. Mr Wright commented '' ...we the (FSB) are punching well below our weight. '' Mr Wright also exaggerates his length of business experience by almost four times, he claims a background rooted in small business whilst his background in reality is that of a public service employee and trade union official for what was one of the most anti-business of unions - NALGO.

Thursday, March 1

From the Editor's Crutches

Hospital waiting rooms are very annoying places especially when they are divided up into sub-waiting areas I concluded yesterday whilst waiting for further medical attention to my shattered right Right Tibia and Fibula. Attempts at injecting humour into these situations is rarely successful and yesterday was no exception.

Clearly frustrated at my slow and hazardous progress towards the treatment room a health care assistant asked if I was given any training in the use of my crutches before being discharged from hospital. I confirmed that I had but the crutches were clearly for right-handed patients and that as a left-handed person I had been wrongly supplied. I am sure I heard the care assistant say to her colleague in the corridor ''what a shame'' - whether that was aimed at me or my right handed crutches I was and remain unclear.

Later it occurred to me whilst waiting for an X ray in the (annoyingly titled) sub-waiting room that it was, to the day, the 5 th anniversary of my Heart Attack. At the time of writing I am still unconvinced that spending the morning at my local fractures clinic is the most appropriate way to 'celebrate' the sobering events of five years ago or not. But alas that is where I found myself.

As I have commented on before, one of the characteristics of public sector waiting rooms is the large number of people who sit waiting their turn without any apparent thoughts in their heads. Only but a few can be seen reading a newspaper or indeed anything other than the largeprint notices written as if their readers were junior school pupils. One such notice read ''why we must wash our hands''; why 'we' ? Another written in bold was about abuse of NHS staff. A matter of great concern I agree, but why assumed that all those waiting for treatment were actively considering abusing the nearest nurse; the assumption of negativity is of course infectious. It was only lack of mobility and a decent marker pen that prevented me from adding some cryptic comments.

Whiling away the time I spotted a piece in my newspaper ''Prince Charles demands Macdonald's be closed down''. Now I have been saying that since the '80s when it was revealed that the fast food poisoner was donating vast sums of money to NorAid - a fundraiser for the terrorist organisation the IRA. HRH was quite emphatic - the junk food resturant giant is a public menace because of the unhealthy junk sold to young persons by young persons at vast profit. The muli-branch menace should be banished from the Realm !

In my enthusiasm for Prince Charle's bold stance I pointed out the article to my waiting room neighbour, are large tatood chap also with a leg in plaster. His retort of ''silly bugger'' was not quite the reply I was hoping for. Anyway satisfied that that morning I had organised one of my clients to make salient and 'SoundBite' comments on BBC Radio (at amazing short notice) I felt that I had done my bit to support the Heir to the Throne in his latest controversial stance.

All in all not the most productive morning but one in which I was able to observe my fellow British Subjects (in the North East) at close (and fractured) quarters. On my next visit in April I will obtain a large number of assorted newspapers and distribute them free - I wonder what the reaction will be - after all someone needs to take care of patient communications.

Our Borders with the EU

Following on from its launch adverts in October last, the Speakout campaign (funded in total by Yorkshire Businessman Paul Sykes) is back in the fray with a second wave of avertisments in the national and regional press. The ad copy tells us how:
Without a debate or vote in Parliament our elected MPs have handed control of our borders to the European Union, allowing unlimited immigration into Britain from EU countries. We are then told that "80 percent of you, the people", want a vote on getting your borders back. So far so good, but a corresponding entry on
the website talks of the "Free Movement of People directive" which:
…was subject to no debate in the House of Commons and no vote, but discussed in a secretive, and largely ineffective, group of mostly Labour MPs, called the European Scrutiny Committee. This Directive renders Britain – and all the other 27 once sovereign nation states that now comprise the EU - effectively borderless provinces in a new country called Europe.
The actual directive to which Speakout is referring is our old friend, with the snappy title of:
Directive 2004/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC.
But what is a little puzzling is that this is simply a directive which codifies and clarifies the "right of citizens of the Union…". It does not actually confer any rights. These actually came with the EC/EU treaties and are currently expressed in: Article 14 (7a) ECT: establishing the internal market, which includes the free movement of persons; Article 18 (8a) ECT: Union citizens have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States; and Article 61 (73i) et seq: new Title IV, "Visas, asylum, immigration and other policies related to free movement of persons".
All the treaties which currently apply to the UK were in one way or another subject to pretty extensive debate, both in the Houses of Parliament and outside. That is not to say that the debates were by any means satisfactory but the fact of them rather neutralises the point Speakout is trying to make.
This notwithstanding, the campaign got something of a kick when three newspapers, The Sun, The Daily Mail and the Daily Express, all refused to run the add because, they claimed, it was "potentially racist" and possibly "inflammatory". Coming from those three newspapers, says Speakout, "they've got to be having a laugh", in that, at least, the campaign has got it right.