Sunday, March 30

The Sunday Quote

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world!

Joel Arthur Barker

Wednesday, March 26

Suing the FSB

By Peter Troy
I have always been very frank about my view of the UK's largest business organisation, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) of which I am a member. For many years I was both a recruitment manager and activist for the organisation. I was and remain firmly committed to the founding principles of the now 220,000 member strong organisation.

Two weeks ago I felt that had no alternative other than to issue a claim in my local County Court for £4714.50 against the FSB, an action I took after careful consideration not least because I believe that my suing could be seriously and perhaps deliberately misunderstood.

The FSB has now confirmed that it intends to defend my action. The long and sorry tale that has led to this state of affairs started back in May 2006 when the FSB North East Regional Committee passed a motion proposed by the Regional Secretary Pamela Wright and seconded by her husband (now the National Chairman) John Wright to send me to Coventry, to use a trade union term. (John Wright was for many years a NALGO branch secretary and also an NEC member) . My 'offence' was to ask too many questions concerning the policy stance of the FSB in the North East over a period of some 14 months.

My questions were centered of the issue of how dangerously close I felt the FSB had become to close to the regional government agencies in the North East of England and that I was firmly of the belief that that the North Eastern organisation of the FSB needed to be far more rigorous in its lobbying activities in key issues with elected politicians. The Policy Unit of the FSB in the NE of England despite promises failed, in my considered opinion in 2006 to undertake any meaningful lobbying of NE local and national politicians on key issues. This dispute was a long time coming since for some time I had argued that the North East of England's policy team of the FSB was dominated by Labour Party supporters to the detriment of the Federation's A-political stance.

At a committee meeting The North East Regional Committee voted to ignore any further questions or queries from me and even when told later by the National Secretary of the FSB that they could not take that action they refused to apologize. My subsequent complaint against certain (most) members of the regional committee was the subject of an internal hearing before the FSB's Disputes and Disciplinary Committee (D&DC) on 26 June last year. My complaint was upheld in a detailed judgment dated 14 August 2007 which required the respondents to my complaint to apologize to me or face suspension from office for a period of time. Curiously the D&DC also imposed a sanction which was to expel me from the FSB; despite the fact that no complaint or indeed counter complaint was ever made against me. All the respondents to my complaint, bar one, apologized to me in writing as instructed.

I wrote to the Hon. National Secretary of the FSB, David Dexter on 30 August and again later in September to protest at the absurdity of the situation. Clearly it is very wrong that when a member complains about the wrongful actions of others and when that complaint is upheld he is thrown out of the organisation without the due process of a proper complaint and in blatant disregard for the principles of natural justice. The response of the FSB to my protests was to instruct solicitors who demanded that I summit an appeal based upon a point or points of law. Well I had no problem doing that and neither did my legal team but what should have been seen by the Directors of the Federation as an obvious breach of natural justice and their own rules became an expensive legal tangle requiring me to obtain detailed legal advice and action from specialist Lawyers.

Following a learned legal submission from my Barrister the Appeal Committee of the FSB confirmed, unanimously, that the D&DC of the FSB had acted in error and was in clear breach of its own rules in attempting to impose the sanction to expel me from an organisation that for many years I had been a very active and supportive member of.

As I state in my claim to the court: '' Had I not sought appropriate professional legal advice I would have been unfairly expelled from the organisation by order of the D&DC {of the FSB} who had fundamentally ignored the rules and procedures of the organisation and also of natural justice.

Given that the Federation had clearly breached its own rules and the terms of the arrangements of the organization's complaints procedures my Solicitor was firmly of the view that it was quite unreasonable of the Federation of Small Businesses to reject my claim for costs because as the Federation's Solicitors wrote: '' it is not in the rules to pay costs in the event of a successful claim''. Well my point is that it is not right for the Federation to rely upon the very same rules that it sought to ride rough shod over. This sorry tale is not a situation where I sought to appeal the decision to expel me simply because I disagreed with the decision itself. Neither is it a situation where I felt the decision had been reached by adhering to the principles of the FSB and natural justice. It was only when confronted with the work undertaken by my legal team that Appeals Committee accepted that I had been wronged, but reused to pay my legal costs to wright that wrong.

So there we have it I was first sent to Coventry by the FSB in the North East for asking too many questions that they did not like, then threatened with expulsion after complaining about the actions of certain activists and finally left out of pocked to the tune of over £4,700 defending my right to be a member in which I was at one time a high profile activist (enter Peter Troy FSB into Google Search). The important point of principle is that as the Federation of Small Businesses is so seriously out of order in their attempt to expel me (now by their own admission) they should of course, pay my legal costs.

After all of the above am I still a supporter of the FSB? Indeed I am, provided the well resourced organisation fights (I mean truly fights and not placates) the most anti small businesses government that has ever ruled this country. By that I do not mean our government in Westminster (though its track record in helping small businesses is mostly hype) I am of course referring to our true supreme government based quite firmly in all its huge glory (and vast cost) in Brussels. Further more the package of FSB member benefits represents excellent value to the small business operator particularly in the current claimant of huge over regulation that acts without doubt as a significant barrier (erected mostly by the EU) to business growth.

However further evidence, if it is needed, that the FSB do not like to be told that they are placating our political masters in Brussels against the wishes of the majority of their members is best provided in the sorry tale of injustice above. The case continues.

Monday, March 24

More Great Deception

Our dear Government will later this week announce that legislation will be introduced to Parliament shortly to remove the restrictions on flag flying that have been in force since 1924. The new laws will allow public buildings to erect flagpoles and fly national flags including the cross of St George, the Saltire of Scotland and the Red Dragon of Wales every day. At present flags from Public Buildings is restricted to 18 days a year which of course includes the Queens official birthday.

The rule - which has actually been widely flouted for some time - only allows the Union Flag to be flown at half mast on the order of Her Majesty is soon to be relaxed to allow the Union and National Flags to be flown at half mask to mark the death of a significant person in the community without royal permission.

Regrettably the government is also expected to scrap rules which state that the Union Flag must take precedence over all national flags. At the present time the flag of St George must not be flown in a superior position to a the Union Flag and may only at present be flown on government buildings with two flagpoles. This change will be yet an other blow it an already fragile Union of the 'United Kingdom'.

As for the regulations concerning the flying of the ring of yellow stars on a blue background which is the flag of our true government, the European Union (EU) there remains some confusion. Since the EU, the supreme law maker of our land (Section 2:2 of the European Communities Act 1972) then clearly the 'ring of barbed wire' as it is often referred to on this blog should be given precedence since that is the by whom we are governed, Her Majesties Subjects in the UK are ruled by the EU.

Whilst it may well appear good as the Sunday Telegraph front page headline put it yesterday to think that '' Britain's free at last to fly the flag'' the reality is that particularly following the ratification into UK law of the Lisbon Reform Treaty with the EU - in effect a new constitution for the EU and importantly also for the UK the people of the UK will be further unfree free, in that they are governed by an unaccountable government based in Brussels (yes indeed there is a EU Parliament, hence the term unaccountable).

The latest encouragement by the UK government to fly the flag is in reality a part of the 35 year great deception of the British people, it is a facade. Unlike our cousins across the pond who can fly the Stars and Stripes in meaningful statement of their self determination we in the UK fly the Union Flag as a member state (one of 27) of the EU with increasingly less autonomy in key areas than any one of the 50 States in the US.

The Gurkers and EU Law

By Dr Richard North
"There are times when the routine irritation we all feel with the idiocies that take place daily in government is supplanted by splenetic anger caused by something truly outlandish."So writes Philip Johnston in The Daily Telegraph, one of many to add his voice to the growing campaign for equal treatment for Gurkhas.
The particular grievance is that, while Gurkhas who retired from the Army after 1997 may be granted indefinite leave to enter the UK and can then apply to become UK citizens, those who retired before the cut-off date have no such rights.

The technical difference is that, prior to 1997, the Brigade of Gurkhas was based in Hong Kong while, after that – with the return of the colony to the Chinese – the Brigade has been based in the UK.This may seem only a technical difference, but technicalities are everything – when it comes to EU law. And there, the huge but ever-present elephant slumbers on in the corner of the room, ignored by all and sundry.
However, the admission of third-country nationals to the UK and the rules for citizenship are set out not in UK law but by the EU, specifically Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003, "concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents".Within the framework of reference of this EU law, Ghurkas who were based on Britain – i.e., post 1997 – conform with the entry requirements set out. Those who were engaged prior to that do not. It really is as simple as that.
It is all very well for Philip Johnston thus to write, "It is time to honour our debt to the Gurkhas," but – in the eyes of our government - we have a greater "loyalty" to the European Union, and an absolute obligation to obey EU law.How interesting it is therefore that the front runner in the campaign to afford "equal rights" to the Gurkhas is former commission official and MEP Nick Clegg, temporarily leader of the Lib-Dims. Yet he, like the others – had they been bothered to find out – should know that our provincial government, in framing the rules, is bound by the provisions of the EU law, and has no room for manoeuvre.
Nor should the fact that the EU increasingly governs our immigration law come as any surprise. Since Maastricht – under the Justice and Home Affairs chapter – immigration policy has become a competence of the EU and, progressively, the EU is working towards a Common Immigration Policy, defining the rules under which third country nationals may enter.The details of the elements for a common EU immigration policy were EU set out at the October 1999 European Council in Tampere (Finland) and confirmed in 2004. We – or, in this instance, the Gurkhas – are now paying the price.
Furthermore, as long as we are members of the European Union, this is how it must be. Third country nationals who become British citizens also acquire rights as "EU citizens", set out in the infamous Directive 2004/38/EC. These include the rights to bring in their spouses, parents, parents-in-law and children, all of whom then acquire citizenship rights.
So it is that the EU must set the rules, which define not only entry to the UK but to the whole of "fortress Europe", and the UK has no choice but to obey.
What we have here, therefore, is another example of the infantile refusal of the "chattering classes" to acknowledge and accept that, in many respects, we are no longer an independent nation and that our rules are set by our supreme government in Brussels.
How much easier it is to wax splenetic at the injustice of it all and to pontificate endlessly about what the government should or should not do, rather that grow up and accept the reality of what we have become - an offshore province of the European Union.

Sunday, March 23

The Easter Sunday Quote

''The Bible tells us to love our neighbours and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people. ''

G K Chesterton

Saturday, March 22


A convited paedophile who has lived in Australia for 56 years is deported to the UK, despite having emigrated from the UK at the age of five. He never applied for Australian citizenship, but he has no immediate social or family support network in the UK. On the other hand, the Court of Appeal in the UK has decided that a 38-year-old Italian, repeat offender who lives in Newport, Gwent, cannot be deported back to Italy. See all the absurd details on the excellent EU Referendum blogsite.

Monday, March 17

Lack of Debate

On 5 March MPs rejected a referendum on the re-named EU Constitution the Lisbon (or Reform Treaty). A Conservative Party amendment for a referendum was defeated by a majority of 63 votes - 311 votes to 248.
A second referendum amendment, put down by rebel Labour MPs, was defeated by a majority of 64 votes.
The way that this treaty has been forced through Parliament lacks all legitimacy. Government promises of a public vote, of 'line-by-line scrutiny' and then of plentiful time to debate the treaty have all been broken. Large swathes of vital powers the treaty gifts to remote EU institutions - such as in defence, borders, future treaty revision and voting weights - have been blocked from Parliamentary debate.

The verdict of the cross-party House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee that the Treaty is "substantially equivalent" to the EU Constitution has also been completely ignored by the Government and large numbers of MPs.

Most serious of all, various polls show that the Government has utterly failed to convince the public that the Lisbon Treaty is not the EU Constitution re-named, yet have still refused to honour their clear manifesto promise of a public vote.

How individual MPs voted can now be seen on the ReferendumList website. Essentially, the bulk of the Conservatives were supported by 29 Labour MPs, 15 Liberal Democrats, the Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties and some independents. But this was not enough to overcome the Government's majority.

Sunday, March 16

Not Safe for Saftey Partnership

Evidence, if it is still required, that Speed Cameras (roadside robotic tax collectors) are really all about fund raising and not road safety can be found on the front page of The Sunday Telegraph today.
A short piece by Richard Gray reports that so called road safety cameras on the M275 near Portsmouth are pointed only towards the three three slower lanes and not, importantly, towards the fast lane of the motorway. Apparently the Hampshire Road Safety Partnership, which installed the cameras in the interests of road safety of course, have confirmed that in the interests of safety it is not possible to place the cameras in a position where they are likely to be most effective at recording excessively speeding motorists. Yet an other piece of very British crass stupidity in the name of safety!

Tibet - One Reason To Boycott the Olympic Games

There are many reasons why this blog will, along with others be totaly boycotting the forthcoming Olympic Games in China. One such reason is the abuse of the peoples of Tibet over the past 55 years, little of the historical detail of the horrendous detail of China's dreadful occupation of Tibet is being discussed in the mainline media.
The Leaders of the EU member states have recently been going through the motions on the Chinese action in Tibet, asking for "restraint" on the part of the Chinese authorities and for "for human rights to be respected". However, the EU's Slovenian presidency has not yet agreed on a joint declaration with members – but it very little matters if they do. Fine words butter no parsnips, as they say, and if you want a real indicator of what the people of Tibet mean to EU members, look to the Booker column today in The Sunday Telegraph.
On the country's northern edge, Christopher Booker writes, six months of snow and record low temperatures have created a catastrophe in the Chinese province of Chingai. According to China's official news agency, 500,000 animals have died and three million people face starvation. When a similar if much smaller crisis 10 years ago hit Ladakh, in northern Kashmir, thousands of lives were saved by the expert intervention of a British charity, ApTibet, working with the Dalai Lama's Tibetan Relief Committee.
No charity would be better placed to save lives in Chingai than ApTibet, of which the Dalai Lama is the patron. It has carried out more than 150 aid projects in India and Tibet, funded by many well-known trusts and individual donors, more than 50 of them co-financed by the European Commission (EC).But this is no longer possible.
Two years ago, after China and Europe became "strategic partners" under an agreement signed by Tony Blair, the EU's acting president, in December 2005, the Commission suspended ApTibet's operations because of its link to the Dalai Lama. Since then, it has done all it can to close the charity down, such as demanding repayment of €451,000 (£340,000) it had given ApTibet for a project in Chingai which it had approved, inspected and signed off as satisfactory.
The European Coommision has become so ruthless in its desire to appease its "strategic partner" that it is now threatening to recoup a further £1.5 million from the charity. It is also demanding legal costs of £75,000 for a court case brought by ApTibet's trustees in fighting for the charity's survival.Doubtless in Beijing, the EU's "strategic partners" are happy. Meanwhile, its troops are again shooting at Tibetans in the streets of Lhasa, while to the north, three million people are starving, without any hope of assistance from the outside world.
If Mr Blair hopes to become President of Europe (unlikely though that might be), we should be aware what sort of government he aspires to preside over, concludes Booker. One thing for sure, Blair knows already.

The Sunday Quote

''Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.''

Lord Acton (1834-1902)

Who is in Charge?

As the credit crisis engulfed the 85-year-old Bear Stearns investment bank and the US Federal Reserve with JP Morgan Chase combined to provide emergency finance, there are very real fears of an economic meltdown engulfing the global financial system. Unfounded or not, we would still like to think that there is someone in charge on this side of the pond a matter which is examined on EU Referendum

Saturday, March 15

Car Wars

The anti-car war continues unabated. We are greatful to The Tax Payers Alliance have produced this handy database which allows you to check how Alistair Darling's new Budget changes the tax you will have to pay on your car. It lists every model of car currently on sale in the UK and thousands that have been on sale in recent years, and has already attracted thousands of users.

As well as the application for individuals, though, "What's My Car Tax?" reveals some shocking facts about the Budget as a whole. Whilst Alistair Darling dressed the changes up as a green measure to hit extravagant cars, it will actually increase the tax on 88% of available car models in the UK - including large numbers of modest family cars.

What's more, the increase in tax on various vehicles is, to say the very least, surprising. The notoriously un-green US produced Hummer incurs a rise of 14%, whereas the humble Nissan Micra will rise up to 24%. That's hardly a downsizing message.

The media have given a lot of prominence to the study, including the main front page story in the Telegraph, whose Leader attributed the report to the "ever-vigilant TaxPayers' Alliance". Particularly recomended is: A new Chancellor, and a new stealth tax.

Friday, March 14

An Other Boring Budget

The budget hasn't been a politically engaging event for some time now. We know we're going to get screwed. All that matters is how and how much. But even that isn't a concern at this stage. Her Majestie's lackluster Government have just about sussed that they've pushed their luck and shouldn't push it any further if they wish to keep the public disengaged from politics.
Many commontators half expecting a raft of more green taxes but they aren't that stupid. They know it's not washing with us. We even knew that expensive 4x4's would get a hit, but who among us buys them new anyway? Everybody was expecting fags 'n' booze to go up and no-one is the least bit concerned. We will adapt as we always have.
In this respect successive UK governments can be compaired to first world war generals persisting in sending troops over the top in the certain knowledge they will be slaughtered in the first ten seconds. Just because it didn't work the first hundred times, doesn't deter them from doing it again and again.
There is of course no sign of action on the emerging economic crisis because announcing solutions means admitting there's a problem. Meanwhile the rest of the western world is preparing for a long and frightening battle with the bailiffs. It seems that our politicians have have learned much from their masters in Brussels. Keep it just boring enough to ensure no-one in their right mind pays any attention.
In fact the only thing remarkable about the theatre production of the Chancellor's budget statement was the sheer contempt Labour backbenchers showed for the proceedings. Nothing new there.

Sunday, March 9

The Sunday Quote

''Laws and institutions are constantly tending to gravitate. Like old clocks, they must be occasionally cleansed and wound up and set to true time.''

Henry Ward Beecher 1813 - 87. Life Thoughts (1858)

Saturday, March 8

A Question of Costs

Click the image to enlarge
On Monday on this blog I will detail - now that the matter is in the public domain - why I have this week issued a County Court Claim for a speciefied amount on the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), an action that I have undertaken reluctantly. I am a supporter of the business organisation that fights for the needs of the UK's smaller business community. As an activist with the FSB for ten years I was keen that the organisation acted effectively for its members. In recent years I asked senior officials some penetrating questions since I was concerened about the direction that the FSB was taking on key policy issues both in the North East and Nationally.
The responce of the FSB was first to ''send me to Coventry'' and later in clear breach of the FSB's own rules it was ordered that I should be expelled.
I fought back and I remain a member of the FSB following a long legal battle which involved an appeal to a sub-committee of the Federation's Board; yet despite confirmation of a fundemental contempt for their own rules and indeed, natural justice, the FSB refuse to pay my considerable legal costs of some £4,600, so it's off to court !

That Treaty Again

This discussion of what the future of the Constitutional Reform Lisbon Treaty is likely to be in the House of Lords is by Lord Willoughby de Broke, who is now a member of UKIP. It is an updated version of an article in the current edition of eurofacts. See the piece posted on EU Referendum.

Sunday, March 2

The Sunday Quote

''Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.''
John Kenneth Galbraith OC (1908-2006) was an influential Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism and progressivism. His books on economic topics were bestsellers in the 1950s and 1960s.