Monday, December 26, 2005

"Out of Office"

Snafu will be "out of the office" until January 3rd 2006.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2005


Are the Conservatives now intent on joining the Liberal Democrats to the left of Labour? How can the Conservative Party embrace a policy that has done so much to destroy the social fabric of the UK over the past sixty years?

Wealth redistribution will never be the solution to wealth inequality.

Hailing suspension

A hospital driver has been suspended for making a Nazi salute whilst dressed as an RAF officer at a staff fancy dress party. He should not have been suspended, it was a fancy dress party not a political party.

These gestures offended other members of staff. [ ] We take accusations of a racist nature very seriously and believe we have provided an even-handed approach. - Hospital statement.

The real villains are the people who have suspended him for daring to be an individual not subject to state control. Do they consider the Nazi salute racist because it offends Germans? It can only be racist if they agree with Hitler, Germans are indeed a "different race"! The salute was 'nationalist', not 'racist'.

"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke.

Will Liberty be concerned that his right to freedom of expression has been curtailed?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The long tail of the law

Why should England be expected to bring it's law into harmony with Scottish legislation so that Scots cannot make a "mockery" of their own legislation to ban tail docking?

"We can't tell anyone which vet to use so people will undoubtedly just go south of the border. We will effectively have a double standard which makes a mockery of the law." - Stuart Shearlaw, Central Scotland Police's senior animal health and welfare officer.

Civil Partnership and divorce

How will the assets involved in the new civil partnerships be split if some of them inevitably founder?

Will the assets be shared as though the couple were married or on an equitable basis!?!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Remember the Union!

Is it "perfectly acceptable" for Conservatives in England to develop policies only applicable in England or does this only apply to Conservatives in Wales and Scotland!?!

How can David Cameron support devolution in Scotland yet not support Government proposals to give similar powers to the Welsh!?!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Pro-English Tories?

Which pro-English policies by the Conservative Party is Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, referring to when he says "We are used to anti-Scottish policies from the anti-Scottish Tories and no amount of soft focus can hide that truth."?

Which mainstream politician berates "anti-English policies from the anti-English Labour [party] and no amount of soft focus can hide that truth."!?!

Shamefully, David Cameron supports the pro-English policy of income tax cuts solely in Scotland.

Wealth does not mean health

"Wealth means health" says a report trumpeted by the BBC. I disagree.

Are the factors that lead certain people to accumulate wealth such as planning for the future and a good education the same factors that determine an individual's health?

Increasing the incomes of the poor will not improve their health as this report implies, it will worsen it. More money will mean more can be spent living unhealthy lifestyles!

Bashing Britain Corporation

How does the BBC illustrate that "Empire history [is] 'key to UK life'"? With an illustration of the slave trade.

Is the man with the whip working for the white colonial oppressors or the local tribal leaders who supplied the slaves!?!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Welsh EU budget victory

Wales appears to be the only nation within the Union to have benefited from Tony Blair's capitulation on the UK's rebate. Would it have been simpler if England simply gave Wales another £1bn each year and cut out the EU middle-man?

Charles Kennedy's Christmas Wish list

1 Glenlivet ’64
2 Glenmorangie
3 The Balvenie PortWood
4 Loyal Deputy
5 Pair of socks

Second class Deputy Prime Minister?

Should we be worried that the Deputy Prime Minister, ostensibly the second most important man in the country, admits to receiving a second class education following the failure of his 11+ exam?

Does John Prescott's later success prove the 11+ exam does not hold back ambition or raw talent nor inhibit anyone from rising to the top?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Selfish smokers

Why should a smoking ban be scrapped just because smokers are too selfish even to care about the health of their own children?

"Bans in bars may induce smokers to spend more time at home, and therefore expose other members of the household, especially children [to more tobacco smoke]." - Dr Jerome Adda, University College London.

Cameron on Asylum

Why should there be no cap on the number of asylum seekers coming to the UK?

Mr Cameron told the Observer he welcomed people fleeing persecution and was committed to granting them asylum, "taking them to our hearts, and feeding and clothing and schooling them".

Hosting asylum seekers does nothing to resolve the underlying domestic problems of the home country they are fleeing.

Does Charles Kennedy know of any leadership vacancies in the Liberal Democrats if David Cameron should change parties if "he meant what he was saying"?

Central Trains

Why are Central Trains unable to schedule any train drivers to work Sundays when it runs a daily service? Passengers should not have to rely on voluntary overtime to provide the service.

Will Central Trains refund some of the subsidy they recieve from the taxpayer fro the inconvenience caused? It was only £155.6m in 2004/5.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Compromise Off!

Why should the UK relinquish more of it's rebate to the EU in return for the hollow promise of a future CAP review? How would the UK's rebate be restored if the review found 'no need' for CAP reform?

The UK's presidency of the European Union should only be considered a failure if the UK rebate is negotiated away.

Pensions on fire

Does the Fire Brigade Union really think it will have widespread public support for strike action in protest at Government plans to raise the pensionable age for new entrants to 60? The pensionable age for most private sector workers is set to increase beyond 65 over coming decades.

How would opposition to pension reform not "push up council tax"?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another Fife mess

How will staff without poor sickness records be rewarded for working hard and enduring the 'stress' of the Fife Council Finance department?

Anyone feeling stressed all of a sudden!?!

Is Scotland 'abroad'?

Wonko recently highlighted the case of a cancer sufferer in England who was being denied treatment that is readily available in Scotland.

Is this the sort of treatment that the Department of Health should fund for treatment 'abroad' if it is not available in England!?!

To date, patients have only been treated abroad on the NHS if the treatment is not available in England or if they would have to face an extraordinar[il]y long wait.

Controversial BBC Research

What has prompted a BBC investigation to find that "a growing number of women from overseas are travelling to Britain to give birth in NHS hospitals"?

Are they worried about the current funding crisis in the NHS? Would ID cards limit the abuse!?!

Local democracy not working

What incentive is there for the 46% of councils that provide "poor value for money" to improve?

If the local electorate is prepared to tolerate such waste, they should not complain when council tax rises each year! Why are there no votes to be won by opposition parties focusing on such endemic waste?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Trouble at the top

Do Liberal Democrats really think that a change of leader would improve their electoral chances? Liberal Democrats need to broaden their appeal beyond students, pensioners and the South West of England if they are ever to threaten the Conservative Party nationally as the "real opposition".

Whilst it would be an electoral nightmare if the Liberal Democrats ever won power, they frequently give the impression of being better organised locally and more earnest in holding the Government to account than the Conservative Party.

Death threats

Why are death threats treated with such contempt by the Police? If all threats were treated more seriously, would the overall number reduce significantly?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Palestinian Economy - learn by our mistakes

Why does Gordon Brown or the European Union think they know enough about running a successful economy to pass on their knowledge to the Palestinians!?! Gordon Brown believes higher taxes do not slow economic growth whilst the European Union wallows in over-regulation, high unemployment and large budget deficits.

Does Gordon Brown look enviously at the Palestinian economy where 32% of the workers are in the public sector!?! (It's only a derisory 20% in the UK!)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Right Links

My colleague at Oncemore, EU Serf, has created a new blog, Right Links, "that links Conservatives [and] is designed to help you find like minded people and share ideas, news and events." as a rival to Bloggers for Labour.

The new site should rapidly become a valuable Conservative resource and I wish EU Serf every success in the new venture. The new site should also promote new traffic to your own website as EU serf is offering a generous banner excahnge!

Good for EU Cameron

Let's hope Ken Clarke's worst fears are realised and David Cameron does become "the [Conservative] party's most eurosceptic leader ever".

Ken Clarke must be the test by which European policy is determined, if he opposes it, it's the right policy!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

An Englishman's home is his tax liability

Why should anyone who refuses to let a Valuation Office inspector into their home be fined £500 and given a criminal record when anyone else needing to enter a property requires a warrant? The data collected by the inspectors will also be used by the Inland Revenue "for calculating capital gains and inheritance tax".

Which significant aspect of a property such as the "number of bedrooms, large gardens and nice views" are not already captured when a property is sold and already recorded by the Land Registry?

Free dental check-ups

Will England have "free dental checks for all by 2007 and for the over 60s by the end of this year" or is this another benefit of living in Scotland?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

British justice?

Two cleaners "supplement" their low incomes by claiming benefits that they are not entitled to and are rightly imprisoned for their offences.

Perry Carter, 42, was jailed for six months after he admitted using the name of his wife's late husband to claim £11,000 in benefits. Mrs Carter, 41, admitted claiming £18,600 in benefits and was jailed for 12 months.

A woman does not share the "secret of her success" with anyone else, lived in a £1.6m mansion, owned stables and six horses, hired a gardener and enjoyed luxury holidays, claimed £127,612.20 in benefits, admits her guilt and escapes with a two year suspended sentence after writing a cheque for over £200,000 because she still has "young children".

Will the Inland Revenue be investigating her income tax returns?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Praise for an Islamic school

Why is the BBC surprised that "the daughters of labourers, mill-workers and taxi drivers" "envisage [ ] going on to do A-levels at a local college or sixth form and then a degree" even though they are not "middle class children"?

Could there be a link between parents valuing their daughters' education and a recognition that the right educational environment is also required? "The girls adhere to a rigorous uniform code, discipline is strict and teachers are expected to instil Islamic virtues, like self-discipline, in their charges"

How many other British schools share these values?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Secretary of State for England

Why should any English MP give up their ability to interfere in Welsh politics by supporting the 'Government of Wales Bill' when Welsh MPs will not enter a reciprocal arrangement?

If Welsh (and Northern Ireland) Secretary Peter Hain says the bill will deliver "made in Wales decisions for the benefit of Wales", when will a similar Bill be introduced to deliver "made in England decisions for the benefit of England"?

PS Why is there no Secretary of State for England?

BBC News updated sometimes

Who will tell the BBC that David Cameron is the new Conservative leader?

8th December 12:35pm, Michael Howard is still leader according to the BBC profile of the shadow cabinet! Wishful thinking by the BBC?

"Like a good white man"

If a UK resident of Asian, African or Caribbean descent gave an excellent speech without notes and was praised for being "like a good white man", would this be "racist?

Compensation Culture

Why is compensation to victims so unfair in the UK?

"Mrs Witchalls, 26, was left partially paralysed after being stabbed in the neck in Little Bookham, Surrey". She has recieved an interim payment of £250,000 but can expect no more than £500,000 in total under current rules.

"A MOTHER who took an overdose while suffering from post-natal depression has won £2.8 million from the ambulance service which, she claims, arrived too late to save her from permanent brain damage".

Why wasn't this payment capped at £500,000?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mental health inequality

The Healthcare Commission has found that "black people are three times more likely to be admitted to mental health hospitals than the rest of the population" and urgently need to find why.

Does the widespread use of cannabis in areas such as Brixton contribute to the problem in which case it's a lifestyle issue?

"You only have to walk down Brixton High Street and you face a barrage of offers for you to buy Hashish or whatever from aggressive drug dealers." - Councillor Paul McGlone, Ferndale ward, Brixton.

Recent research found that "Almost half of patients treated for a cannabis related mental disorder go on to develop a schizophrenic illness."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Increasing the cycle of poverty

How will scrapping selective education reduce the "cycle of poverty" in Northern Ireland? Social mobility in Britain has declined since Grammar schools were scrapped, why should Northern Ireland be any different?

"The facts on social mobility are depressing. As the middle classes expanded after the war, there was considerable movement. But since the early 60s academic surveys tell us that mobility has declined. Studies show that for people in their 30s, the social class of their parents matters more than it did in the past." - Ruth Kelly, Education Secretary.

English school reform

Will Scottish and Welsh Labour MPs be abstaining from the UK government's plans to make English state schools more independent?

As the proposals will not financially impact either Scotland or Wales, why should they be allowed to vote on the proposals?

Mr. Boom and Busted

Where are the tax cuts in the pre-budget report to encourage the economy to grow at "2-2.5% next year and 2.75-3.25% in 2007"?

Gordon "No return to boom and bust" Brown can make as many predictions as he likes, but high taxes always stifle growth and lead to lower economic activity than otherwise.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven

- Rupert Brooke

"Born in England, Live in England, Die in England" - logo on flag banned by Oldham Athletic football club following complaints by Brentford FC.

Admittedly, the sentiment is coarser but will Liberty be investigating this curtailment of freedom of speech or will the flag be banned on health and safety grounds?

Courtesy of Wonko.

Labour doesn't pay

Why should the British be expected to contribute an additional billion Euros to the EU budget each year when many other European countries do not even accept the "Anglo-saxon model" that creates such wealth?

"This is not an Anglo-Saxon model but neither is it a model that is a synonym for inaction. It's a model founded on the initiative and dynamism of individuals, on community spirit and on social dialogue." - President Jacques Chirac of France

Little Rascal

Today's joke:

An eleven year old boy chauffeurs his three elder sisters and another boy around in a Ford Escort before being spotted by the Police. Trying to flee the filth(!), the car reaches 70mph before mounting a kerb, careering across a green and finally stopping. Not wanting a community service order, he naturally tries to escape but is apprehended by the Police.

He is charged with "dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, failing to stop for police, driving without a licence and driving without insurance". It is assumed the car was taxed and MOTd as it's also illegal to drive without these and I'm sure the Police would have charged him with these offences if the paperwork was not in order.

His punishment? A supervision order, tag and night-time curfew. Yep, he won't do that again!

How long before the little rascal becomes a big rascal?

Actor supports English Independence

A washed up former Bond star has come out in favour of English independence - by removing Scotland from the Union.

Whilst Sean regrets the lack of "a [Scottish] voice in Europe", has he noticed the lack of an English voice in the Union?


Will Breckland Council apologise to local residents for making them sort rubbish now that 'Real Story' has shown them the benefits of recycling rubbish?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Shock survey results

Why does the BBC think a survey of 200 cab drivers that finds they 'would cut fuel tax' newsworthy?

Would similar surveys that find farmers "would raise farm subsidies", lawyers "would raise legal aid budget" and fishermen "would raise fish quotas" also be reported?

Maybe the BBC were incredulous at finding anyone with a good word for Gordon. "More than half of those who took part in the survey said Mr Brown was a good chancellor."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Racist Arts Council (4)

Update: The Commission for Racial Equality consider that the Arts Council England writing competition awards are "likely to be unlawful under the [Race Relations] Act [1976]" and are currently collating complainant details with a view to a future investigation.

It appears that Wonko and I are not alone in complaining.

Dear Mr xxxxxxxx

Thank you for your quick reply. Because the Commission has received many complaints on this matter we will allow all the complainants at least a week to send in their contact details before opening files for each one and initiating the investigation process against the Arts Council. We will inform the Council about the many complainants received to show what an outcry the advertisement has generated.

We will write to you when this information has been collated to set the investigation process in motion.

Many thanks


Initial response from the CRE.

Dear Mr xxxxxxxx

Thank you for your e-mail with regard to the above advertisement. The Awards are likely to be unlawful under the Act.

Could you please furnish us with the your contact details (including your phone a number) to enable us investigate your complaint? I have accessed the website and printed a copy of the advertisement and the postal address of the Acts Council. This information will enable us write them about your complaint. Your address will also make it possible for us to keep you updated about our investigations into your complaint.

Thank you in advance for bringing the matter to our attention.

Kind regards


PS I still await Tania's reply from the Arts Council England...

MPs do not deserve pay rise

If MPs are demanding a pay rise of 22% as their pay has fallen relative to their public or private sector counterparts, why did they stand for election this May?

Whilst not sure who would employ Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, for more than £59,000, he is right for once! "This will be embarrassing for MPs. I could have earned a great deal more outside Parliament, but that is not what you go into politics for."

Friday, December 02, 2005

One way health tourism

Welsh Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan has asked his health Minister Brian Gibbons to investigate claims that the English Royal Shrewsbury Hospital may downgrade it's A&E department serving about 50,000 Welsh people.

Why does England tolerate this Welsh health tourism when Rhodri Morgan tries to prevent English health tourism into Wales?

Visiting a GP's surgery in Barry, south Wales on Friday, Rhodri Morgan promised to stop patients travelling from England especially to obtain prescribed drugs.

Number crunching

£5bn Gordon Brown's annual raid on pension funds

£4bn EU rebate that Tony Blair might "negotiate away"

3 extra years before your retire.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tremendous opportunity

Who could possibly have predicted that the "tremendous opportunity" of EU enlargement would be a "tremendous opportunity" for Britain to surrender it's EU rebate?

"To the people of Europe who are joining us today, I extend the hand of friendship ... a hundred, thousand welcomes [and £4bn of British taxpayers money]" - Irish Prime Minister Bertie Aherne.

Will there be another "tremendous opportunity" for Britain when Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania join the EU?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Robin EU

EU President Jose Manuel Barroso has told the UK not to reverse the Robin Hood myth of "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor". It's ironic as Robin provided a tax rebate for English serfs who, even in the 13th Century, paid extortionate taxes to their Norman (French) masters.

Robin's name echoes down through the centuries for rallying Anglo-Saxons against this Norman oppression and fighting as free Englishmen. Did Robin keep a percentage of all liberated wealth for "administrative purposes" like the EU does?

If Robin Hood were not a myth, unlike signed off EU accounts, would he be turning in his grave knowing that the English were still being cajoled, threatened and robbed by European 'barons'!?!

National Pension Savings Scheme

Who will keep the contributions to the National Pensions Savings Scheme if an individual dies before or shortly after they retire? The Government or the 'pension' provider?

Why should anyone contribute 4% of their post tax earnings when about 40% of their gross earnings is already spent by Government?

When road pricing is introduced, hitting commuters particularly hard, a point will soon be reached when people are better off by not working!

Rational pension planning

Will the Turner report mean more money in your pocket? Only if you spend your life supported by state benefits your entire life. For everyone else, it is likely that you will be expected to pay more tax for longer to fund current pensioners whilst saving more to fund your own retirement.

Why is this sensible when savings are taxed, state pensions are means tested, residential care in England is paid for by the individual and the Chancellor takes 40% of your estate following your death?

For the majority of people, it is far more sensible to be a burden on the state in old age!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

English congestion charge

If the Edinburgh Central constituents of Transport Secretary Alistair Darling rejected a proposed congestion charge by about 3 to 1, why seek to impose a similar congestion charge on English cities?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Campaign for capitalism

Does David Cameron welcome the entrepreneurial spirit shown by drug dealers as young as 14 who do not consider 'profit' to be a dirty word and are customer focused, offering a broad range of drugs to people who enjoy "a private life" 24/7?

Conservative Pension Crisis

When will the Conservative Party start representing the average person in the street on the pensions crisis rather than make cheap political capital out of whether Gordon Brown is trying to "sabotage" the Turner report or not.

If the Conservative Party ever reflected the views of people such as these ( highly recommended on the BBC Have your say website), they would be a serious threat to Labour. The views are currently the most highly recommended on the website.

I've given up caring now. Too much money is wasted on those who can't be bothered to help themselves - unless it's someone elses money. Stop giving money to those who cannot be bothered to work (or can't stop breeding) then there will be more to go around. I am fed up with people getting more in benefits than I am earning. I have a pension plan, I just can't afford to put enough into it.

JoJo Kavanagh, eSSEX ,Recommended by 100 people, Added: Thursday, 17 November, 2005, 18:50 GMT 18:50 UK

The Government is charging me
1 - more in income tax
2 - more in National Insurance
3 - more in Council Tax
4 - more for my passport
5 - I am paying £6000 a year to support my children through university
6 - I am being told I am not saving enuogh for my retirement (is there any wonder)
Now I have to work an extra 2 years to fund an increase in pension that I will not be entitled to because of my company pension - all so that the people who have spent a life on benifits do not have take a drop in their annual income.
This labour governement seems intent on making the working to middle classes pay for everything and get nothing back in return

Ted Matron, Selby, United Kingdom, Recommended by 92 people, Added: Thursday, 17 November, 2005, 13:14 GMT 13:14 UK

Stop giving all our hard-earned money to scroungers and help us people that want to save for our and our children's futures but cannot because we are so heavily taxed.

I read nearly everyday about yet another stealth tax dreamt up to milk us even more for our money. Gordon Brown - PLEASE leave our money alone!

[Lukeandmum], Recommended by 87 people, Added: Thursday, 17 November, 2005, 12:18 GMT 12:18 UK

While government workers retire at 60 on index-linked final salary pensions the rest of the population are expected to work to death to pay for them. It's good to see that people are finally waking up to this injustice. DO NOT LET LABOUR MAKE YOU PAY FOR THEIR CRONIES. Enough is enough.

Lance Grundy, Liverpool, United Kingdom, Recommended by 62 people, Added: Thursday, 17 November, 2005, 13:17 GMT 13:17 UK

Tommi - The milk of human kindness is difficult to maintain when you have to get up at 6am daily to sit in rush hour for 80 minutes, work full time, come home and run a home every day. All with the promise that your hard earned cash will be given to those who can't be bothered to work and at the end of it all you'll be too skint to have the heating on in winter.

Vikki Webb, Manchester, United Kingdom, Recommended by 61 people

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Racist Arts Council (3)

Following my poor response from the Arts Council England, a letter has now been sent to the Commission for Racial Equality.

The Arts Council England is running a competition only open "to residents of the UK from an African, Asian or Caribbean background"

Does this breach the Race Relations Act? Would a similar competiton only open to UK residents of a European background be treated any differently?

Why is the Arts Council England allowed to exclude UK residents from a South American background?

BBC Prisoner abuse

Never missing an opportunity to discredit coalition forces in Iraq, the BBC begins a report on a prisoner abuse scandal in Malaysia by comparing it to "abuses perpetrated by coalition forces in Iraq".

To their credit, Malaysia's leaders did not even draw breath before condemning the video, which came to light on Friday

By implication, coalition leaders do "draw breath" before condemining "prisoner abuses" in Iraq.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Unfair charges?

The BBC recently highlighted that how unfair it is to be charged for withdrawing your own money from certain cash-machines. Is that any worse than being charged to watch your own TV!?!

For those wishing to avoid the TV licence fee, TVlicensingbiz is very informative. The public service BBC omits it from their "related links" for some reason!

Pub research needed

If research has found that term time work "lowers grades", how much research is needed to identify a link between longer pub opening hours and lower grades?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Racist Arts Council England (2)

I have received a reply from the Arts Council England following my complaint about a writing competition that is only open to entrants "from an African, Asian or Caribbean background".

Dear xxxx xxxxxxxx,

Thank you for your enquiry.

The reason for the original decibel definition of African, Asian and Caribbean was that there was clear evidence that these groups which are what you could term 'majority-minority groupings' within England i.e. they are the biggest minority groups had not benefited from our funding programmes to the level you would expect from the demographics. This link will provide you with information about other short story competitions. If you are interested in prizes for other writing formats please let me know and I can look into this for you.

Arts Council England does not consider this competition to be unlawful under the Race Relations Act.

Best wishes,


The Arts Council England may not consider this competition to be unlawful under the Race Relations Act but I still do!

Update My response:


Thank you for your prompt response. What is the "clear evidence" that you refer to? Are you implying that Art Council England funding is inherently racist as it unfortunately excludes minority groupings using current spending formulae?

Looking through the short story competitions that you helpfully provided, not one single competition is exclusive to English residents, obviously ignoring the smaller regional competitions. Why is this? Is this an oversight? Ironically, the 'Rhys Davies Short Story Competition' is only open to writers "born or currently living in Wales" whilst the 'Scotsman Orange Short Story Award' is only open to Scottish writers!

Unfortunately, you have not explained why the Art Council England is running a competition open to UK residents. Surely the competition should only be open to UK residents from the 'minority groupings'? Wouldn't it be ironic if a Welsh or Scot won an Art Council England competition!?!



PS Do you consider London teachers to be another 'minority' grouping who have not benefited from your funding programmes to the level you would expect from the demographics? "The Creative Writing Competition for London Teachers 2006" - Booktrust, in association with Arts Council England, London Metropolitan University and the Arvon Foundation are running a writing competition for London teachers.

Dishonourable Members of Parliament

Labour MPs should be ashamed that supported a Bill that amounts to a retrospective amnesty for fugitives wanted in connection with some of the most heinous terror crimes in Northern Ireland. It dishonours the House of Commons and all those families affected by the "troubles" in Northern Ireland. Why should any fugitive escape justice because it's "not fair" that they should be imprisoned when others were released following the Good Friday agreement?

What is the fear that drives Labour MPs to support such a Bill if the peace process is "lacking momentum"? More bombings? "If you don't let fugitives return from a self-imposed exile, we will not be very happy and could start bombing and murdering again..."

Guaranteed pay rises

If only the private sector could look forward to guaranteed pay increases regardless of performance each year.

Four candles

The British Government has said that the lights will not go out this winter "under any scenario whatsoever" according to the Trade and Industry Secretary, Alan Johnson. Candles and batteries are therefore essential purchases for any household.

If Government is unable to accurately estimate the number of priority cases for the flu vaccine, how can it possibly predict future demand for gas and fuel supplies across the UK this winter?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fat chance of rebate

Will there be a fat tax rebate for people denied NHS treatment as they are too fat?

If fat people are disqualified as their condition is invariably "self-inflicted", will A&E treatment for drunks also be rationed?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Inner city blight

What does Lord Rogers thinks needs to change to encourage the middle classes to move into inner city areas? Beyond a certain income, quality of life is far more important than money. Middle class families cannot be subsidised to move to the inner cities.

There can be few places worse than central London for raising a middle class family. Most people strive to escape London's pollution, poor education, high crime rates and broad social mix before starting a family.

Whilst social integration is an admirable goal, many find reasons why it is not desirable for their immediate families. Does Lord Rogers live in Brixton or is he a "victim" of poor social planning in the past!?!

Motiveless murder?

Why is the motive for the murder of Christopher Yates "unclear" when one of the murderers shouted "We have killed the white man. That will teach an Englishman to interfere in Paki business."?

The motive seems quite clear, Christopher was murdered simply because of the colour of his skin, just like Anthony Walker.

Cameron on Devolution (2)

If David Cameron proposed income tax cuts of 3p but only applicable in England, there would be widespread outrage amongst Welsh and Scottish nationalists.

So why does news of Scottish Conservative proposal of a 3p income tax in Scotland cause no outrage in England? Maybe politicians are right to treat England with such contempt as nobody complains!

Citizens Pension

If the Liberal Democrat proposal of a "Citizens Pension" is based upon UK citzenship rather than previous national insurance contributions, what is the 'benefit' of paying national insurance contributions?

A "citizens pension" is another Liberal Democrat example of rewarding the workshy at the expense of those in work.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Cameron on devolution

If David Cameron, the Conservative leadership contender, believes in Scottish devolution "heart and soul", will he also allow England to have a devolved Government?

How dare he support a reduction in Scottish income tax with no similar reduction in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Why should the English in particular receive less for their tax money whilst paying income tax at a higher rate!?!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Racist Arts Council England

Following Wonko's letter of complaint to the Arts Council England about a competition only open to entrants "from an African, Asian or Caribbean background", I have now sent my own letter of complaint.

*Urgent* Why is the Arts Council England supporting the Decibel Penguin Prize when it is open to Welsh and Scottish residents from an African, Asian or Caribbean background? Only English residents from an African, Asian or Caribbean background should qualify.

More disturbingly, you are racially discriminating against 'latinos' and myself as we are excluded from the competiton simply because of our cultural heritage.

As the Arts Council England ostensibly promotes English culture, when will you be running a similar competition only open to English entrants of a European background or Latinos of a South American background?

Without supporting such a competition, I have no option but contact the Commission for Racial Equality and ask them to support legal proceedings against your organisation on behalf of the racially excluded Latinos and myself.

Where is the liberal outrage?

If the United States asked media organisations to reduce their coverage of insurgency attacks across Iraq, there would be widespread outrage at US attempts to censor the media. So why are the French media so ready to acquiesce to French Government demands to limit reporting of the riots across France?

Courtesy of House of Dumb.

Brown Force One

How convenient that Gordon Brown is unable to fund a Prime Ministerial long-haul jumbo jet modelled on 'Air Force One' until 2008 when it is assumed he will be Prime Minister!

Does Gordon Brown already expect to ignore domestic affairs to the same extent as Tony Blair? Does the Labour leadership fear meeting too many real people on normal aircraft?

Value for money?

How does spending £38,500 of taxpayers money for each of the 6,000 Rover employees made redundant in April represent good value for money?

Other employees face redundancy each day but are not lucky to enough to be made redundant in marginal Labour constituencies just weeks before a General election.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The perfect tax

Why would Gordon Brown possibly wish to consider raising the inheritance tax threshold? The tax primarily affects middle class voters in south east England who are unlikely to vote Labour. Perfect!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Con of the century

How will public sector workers be affected by a raising the retirment age to 67 when existing public sector workers will still be allowed to retire at 60?

Why should private sector employees be expected to pay income tax for an additional two years for pension increases of just £29 per week? How do they threaten strikes due to changes in the 'terms and conditions' of paying taxes and the benefits received!?!

Higer Standards Needed

Why did a spelling error in last month's education white paper mean it had to be reprinted the day before publication at a cost of "just under £23,000"?

What do they expect when GCSEs do not require perfect spelling, it's the message that is impotent!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A fool and his money

What sort of idiot pays good money to attend a conference with "successful businessman" and "social activist" Bob Geldof to hear him warn that e-mails "give a feeling of action, which is a mistake" and "an ill-considered e-mail can destroy a deal."?

Is there anything this man doesn't know!?!

Don't mention the crime

If 18-24 year olds are responsible for £20 billion pounds of crime annually and 75% of them re-offend, do prison sentences need to be increased? The Barrow Cadbury Commission disagrees.

Using prison sentences is counterproductive and magistrates should avoid imposing custodial sentences until the age of 23.

Young offenders under the age of 23 should not be required to disclose their criminal convictions to potentional employers.

How would either of these measures act as a deterrent?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Police Brutality?

Even if PC Paul Summerville was cleared of manslaughter, how can he not be guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm after stopping Robin Goodenough for driving whilst disqualified?

He was punched in the face and pulled out of the vehicle so violently he landed on his chin. Mr Goodenough's teeth were dislodged, the bone to which they were attached broken, his lips cut, with blood going into his throat affecting his breathing.

He died from a heart attack shortly afterwards.


That Liberal Democrats appeal to 16 year olds says everything you need to know about why Liberal Democrats will never be fit to run the country!

Are these the same youngsters who are yobbish and cannot be trusted to have a credit card?

EU fraud

EU auditors have refused to sign off the EU accounts for the eleventh year in a row due to a lack of basic financial controls within the EU. Why should the UK, a net contributor to the EU, tolerate fraud and mismanagement on an industrial scale?

The UK should curtail its funding of the EU until it has the some basic financial controls in place. After eleven years, how else can the UK government assure the UK public that their money is being spent (wasted!) more effectively?

Giving lessons

How will giving £500 to every school for children to give to charity "encourage a culture of giving among children"? Giving involves the sacrifice of personal consumption, how will these children "lose"? Who will audit the charities and funds?

Such lessons should really be an introduction to the benefits of the welfare state and central government. It interferes in every aspect of life and has a penchant for extreme waste without responsibility.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Capital Crime

If the British recession of the early 1980s "boosted murder rates" how has America achieved the lowest murder rate in 40 years? Greater prosperity? No drug abuse? No changes to society in general?

Contrary to liberal wisdom and for the benefit of the poorer members of society who are "39% more likely to end up as murder victims", America has retained capital punishment.

"There are less murders, less murder victims and less death sentences because, in our view, we have been giving this problem the right medicine," Michael Rushford, president of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.


I have a new post up at Oncemore.

"With William Hague and Liam Fox coming out in support of David Cameron, it seems increasingly likely that David Cameron will now be crowned King at the end of the leadership contest. What is most disturbing is the sense that people support Cameron in the expectation that he will appeal to other people rather than to themselves! Is this a widespread view!?! What a wonderful example of double think and what an admission of failure for the Conservative MPs who chose the candidates."

Commission for Racial Equality (2)

Is the CRE still needed? A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests that employers employ the best candiates, regardless of race.

Research into 140,000 children over 30 years found immigrant families breaking through class barriers.

Half of children from Indian working class families went into professional or managerial posts, compared with 43% of white children.

Who could have guessed that a good education was the only way to escape poverty?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Celebrity auction vileness

It was heartwarming to watch overpaid TV "celebrities" bid tens of thousands of pounds on the "Great Big Bid" tonight when the average UK salary is just £24,000 per annum.

The "celebrities" were all selfish. If they were truly generous, they would give to charity without seeking goods, services or publicity in return.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Commission for Racial Equality

Good news for the Commission for Racial Equality. Race hate crimes have risen by 29%. So much more work to do and so little time and resources.

Why isn't "better recording" of crime used as the principle reason for such a large increase?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What a stunner!

How can a woman accused of grievous bodily harm (GBH) be particularly concerned about looking "feminine"?

If she has breached her bail conditions and is not prepared to wear a 'tag', she should be on remand. The judgment is clearly sexist as no man could use such an excuse to avoid being 'tagged' unless they have a penchant for wearing shorts!


War veterans have been banned from selling Remembrance Poppies in a Derby shopping centre as their stall represents "a fire risk".

Out of touch

Tony Blair has warned that some MPs may be "out of touch" with the electorate.

Are any MPs "in touch" with the electorate? If Government policy was determined by 'popular' support, the UK have left the EU years ago, capital punishment would be re-introduced and immigration controls would be a lot tighter. Would UK troops be serving in Iraq?

How can Labour even claim widespread support when just 22% of the entire electorate voted for them?

Deporting foreign rioters

Would any British Home secretary ever "deport foreign rioters" as Nikolas Sarkozy, the French Interior Minister has threatened?

Not rueing the day

Tony Blair hopes MPs "do not rue the day" they rejected his call to allow police to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without charging them.

The fault lies with the Police. They should have made a stronger case for requiring such a massive increase from 14 days. Which terror suspects have previously been held for fourteen days only to be released before all the evidence was available? Why was 60 days not an option?

The real scandal is that 90 days is the equivalent of a six month sentence! When will a six month sentence mean 180 days again?

Michael Howard does himself no favours by calling for Tony Blair to resign. It just cheapens the political drama of last night.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Royal Mail Winterval stamps

As the Royal Mail has just withdrawn the 68p Christmas stamp for being 'disrespectful' to Hindus. When will all other Christmas stamps be withdrawn for fear of offending non-Christians?

Killer Bus Driver

How does a five year prison sentence for a bus driver who killed five people in a freak accident serve justice?

Had the driver been lucky and 'merely' injured them, would his sentence have been reduced?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

For one day only - Operation Relentless

Avon and Somerset Police are trying to round up criminals who "deliberately try [] to escape justice". No shit, Sherlock! How many criminals ever seek justice?

If "the operation [is] in addition to and not instead of normal daily policing", what do the "hundreds of officers" not do on other days?

"Wristband" Generation

"I want to win the wristband generation for the Conservative Party" -David Davis. "This is the generation who wears the 'Make Poverty History' wristbands. They display their intolerance of racism with their white and black bands".

Had David Cameron uttered these words, he could have been excused for being Blue Labour, but David Davis!?!

How long until the next leadership contest?

Free childcare for all

Why should everyone be expected to subsidise the childcare costs of every parent in England?

"The Childcare Bill will force councils to fund private provision where there is a gap in the market".

The only gap in a competitive market will be where parents do not value childcare facilities enough to pay for the costs of providing them.

Monday, November 07, 2005

French Riots (2)

American Imperialist wonders why French authorities are not keen to deploy the 'Grande Armee' to prevent further riots. Would they really drop their rifles again?

How far has poor public transport and unemployment contributed to the riots? Strange Stuff suggests education has a signifcant role to play.

Do Muslim schools in the UK threaten similar problems in the future?

"Asians Can't Play Football"

Has the national conference on Asian under-representation in football considered that Asian footballers may not have sufficient talent to play top flight football? In the highly competitive Premiership, teams cannot discriminate except on the basis of talent and ability.

Fat people are also under-represented in Premiership football, should there be a conference to address this too?

Why is an "Asians-only sporting academy at West Ham" tolerated?

Slave labour?

Young, black and prepared to work for nothing? Become a magistrate! The Government needs to remove the hideously "white, middle aged and middle class" image of magistrates by recruiting "more [unpaid] magistrates who [are] younger and from the ethnic minorities".

Is there any evidence that existing magistrates apply the law unfairly? If magistrates are so important to law and order in this country, they should be paid for their services.

French Civil War

Who do the French surrender to this time?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Pork Barrel Politics

Will middle class voters rue voting Labour now that taxes on overwhelmingly middle class homes are likely to increase as Labour searches for new ways to finance a bloated public sector?

The Telegraph reports that houses "with more bedrooms than average, conservatories, large patios or gardens, roof terraces or balconies. Homes in "gated communities" [] also face higher [council tax] bills". If such variables are already captured in the sale price of a home, why does Government need to spend £105m on collecting additional data?

Does the Government consider that houses within the catchment area of a good school should also pay more?

Conservative political correctness

Conservative councillors in Waveney, Lowestoft, deserve to voted out of office if plans to scrap the £10,000 grant for Christmas lights are correct as they do not fit with their "core values of equality and diversity".

Liberal Democrat and Labour political correctness need to be resisted by Conservatives, not embraced.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Hung out to dry

A paratrooper feels "betrayed" and that he has been "hung out to dry" by his regiment after being cleared of killing Nadhem Abdullah at a court martial on Thursday. House of Dumb has a lot more on the case here.

How does the Ministry of Defence respond? "He is entitled to his views". Shameful. They should have supported and defended Corporal Scott Evans and his co-defendants all the way.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Graves desecrated

How would the BBC have reported the desecration of Muslim graves in Birmingham by far-right extremists rather than a group calling itself "Black Nation"?

Paris Riots (2)

Why should French Police be condemned for causing the deaths of two immigrants who were supposedly fleeing them?

The deaths are simply an excuse for widespread rioting. Hopefully, the rioters will not be rewarded with improved housing conditions as it penalises other law-abiding estates whose residents have not rioted!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

David v Goliath

David Davis and David Cameron will be appear on a special edition of Question Time this evening. Whilst it may be interesting for some Conservative stalwarts, will the rest of the country make an effort to watch it!?!

Should the BBC even be broadcasting this Conservative 'love in' for the benefit of 300,000 Conservative Party members on BBC1!?!

Educational diversity

If compensation payments to teachers for accidents and pupil attacks are at record levels because of dilapidated buildings and poor pupil behaviour, why do GCSE results continue to improve?

Is plagiarism even more widespread than reported? How do you spot plagiarism in maths coursework?

Dying for a good NHS

If 2,000 people were killed on the railways each year yet rail safety was not improved, it would be a national disgrace.

Why should the NHS be immune? Should we be grateful that only 2,000 people died despite nearly 1m near misses?

Update: Whilst the BBC mentions "numbers of deaths [] could be even higher", it is left to the Times to say that it could be as high as 34,000!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Paris Riots

How unfortunate for the BBC. Explaining that high unemployment is a factor that has led to six days of rioting in a Parisian suburb, why choose to profile a Tunisian immigrant whose four sons are all in work!?!

"Boubaker is Tunisian and has lived in France for 30 years. His eldest son is 29 but still lives at home because he cannot find affordable housing. All four children are in work but their friends - again especially those who are black - have to make "hundreds" of job applications before getting an interview."

Is it high unemployment, affordable housing, poor public transport or the French social model causing the riots!?!

Update In true blogging style, Pub Philosopher points to similar riots in Aarhus, Denmark reported by Viking Observer that are yet to receive any international attention.

David Blunkett Resigns

There should only be one name on Tony Blair's list of possible replacements for David Blunkett now that he has left Government in disgrace again, Frank Field MP.

Frank has already been asked to "think the unthinkable" once and now that Tony Blair openly rues about reforms not going far enough, Frank is the natural choice.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

BBC Having your say

How long can the new BBC 'Have your say' site remain? It used to be moderated to represent 'all' views yet readers can now recommend the best comments. It therefore leaves the BBC dangerously exposed to the views of those outside the media bubble...

The comments below are some of the most highly recommended from the BBC topic "How British do you feel".

This is too little too late, the britain-hating left have systematically eroded any sense of national identity over the last few decades and left us with a country of distinct and unintegrated cultures we have today- Rod

I'm not 'British', I'm English. I was born in England as were my parents, my grandparents and great-grandparents.
Being British is second to that. I'm sure that people from Scotland would class themselves Scottish before British, as would the Irish and Welsh. - Pauline, Suffolk

How can I feel British when European laws, measures and restrictions are forced upon me by unelected Euro MPs? James Murphy - Dorset

i feel that british culture has been lost to the pc brigade and this is too little too late. we are too worried of offending other nationalities in this country that we end up insulting ourselves. i am english first and only british when going through customs. and even then i'm told i am racist for flying MY flag during the world cup!!!! - Becky, London

I am not an 'EU citizen', I am English first, British second. I am tired of being kicked around by the EU, apparently something the present government not only tolerates, but actively encourages. It is time we removed ourselves from the smothering influence of the EU and became a proud country once again - Andy, Manchester

Are any political parties reflecting these views or are they all misguided little Englanders?

European writers only award?

Why is David Lammy, the Culture Secretary, prepared to support an inherently racist award available only to African, Asian and Caribbean writers living in Britain?

Birmingham Riots (4)

Why are the BBC unable to give much more detail on the men charged with the murder of Isiah Young-Sam murdered during "disturbances in Birmingham"?

Whilst Police investigate the Pirate Radio stations for "incitement to Racial hatred", will they lead to prosecutions?

Operation Trifle?

What is the codename for the Metropolitan Police's special operation covering black on non black gun crime?

Operation Trident covers black-on-black gun crime.
Operation Trafalgar covers non black-on-black gun crime.

David Blunkett resignation?

Hopefully, David Blunkett will not resign as Work and Pensions minister as he should not be rewarded with another £18,725 tax free payment for resigning in disgrace.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Blunkett's NIMBYISM*

Hopefully, Wansdworth Council will have ignored David Blunkett's protest letter as he is not a Wandsworth resident. As David is not the local constituency MP, he should not be supporting a campaign by "local residents" anyway.

David is not always guilty of nimbyism!

*Not In My Back Yard

Citizenship questions

Those new citizenship questions in full:

  • Who is the greatest Prime Minister ever?

  • How long was Britain involved in the slave trade?

  • How evil was the British Empire?

  • Will you always vote Labour?

  • How did Britain oppress your country of origin?

  • Do you know the way to the benefits office?

  • Welcome to Britain!
  • Too tough and not too tough?

    Life is becoming 'tougher' for unemployed single parents. They will now have to attend a compulsory job interview every quarter or they risk losing 20% of their income support.

    Why don't they risk losing it all?

    Meanwhile, no such interviews are apparently required for claiming tax credits making them an easy target for organised crime.

    "The department have evidence that tax credits have been targeted by organised criminals, particularly where they can make claims over the internet without providing identity" - National Audit Office.

    Why is the Inland Revenue's current policy to pay out tax credits and ask questions later? "More than 80% of investigations into possible fraud or error were carried out after an award had been made because "information on some risks was not available at (the pre-award) stage"".

    All necessary information should be available before any award is made.

    Sunday, October 30, 2005

    Fast cop, slow cop

    Would Meredydd Hughes, expected to become Britain's most senior traffic policeman this week, only have two speeding convictions if his policy of using hidden, mobile speed cameras been in force for longer?

    It's more likely he would be banned!

    Ban drunken yobs

    If British Transport Police are already unable to prevent "drunken yobs" terrorising train passengers, how can they be expected to enforce a ban on alcohol consumption?

    Friday, October 28, 2005

    Taking A Stand Award

    Would Tony Martin have been eligible for a £1,000 reward "for ordinary people [who] have made real improvements in areas across the country by taking a stand against anti-social and nuisance behaviour"?

    Why does a Government department need to reward "ordinary people" for it's policy failures in reducing "anti-social and nuisance behaviour"?

    Spam txt

    If Government is prepared the to text the UK population to get it's "message across directly to the public", how do you opt out of it?

    'Helpful' messages from New Labour will never be welcome.

    Thursday, October 27, 2005

    Birmingham Riots (3)

    BlackBritain suggests that the Birmingham riots have an economic element that peace marches will not resolve.

    "[Councillor Aziz] said the situation is possibly stemming from the fierce competition between African-Caribbean and Asian hair and cosmetic shops in the area. [] Asian owners [are] tempting more buyers with their cheaper prices, there is an impression amongst the community that Black shop owners deliberately conjured up the rape claim to put the public off buying from the Asian-run shops."

    Dubious Liberal Democrat Donation

    The Times reports that the businessman who gave the Liberal Democrats £2.4m has been a wanted man in the US for the last seven years?

    When will the BBC cover this story?

    What a lot o' water

    Why weren't 'travellers' expected to pay for their own water supply in Somerset?

    Maybe the tap wasn't faulty, the 'travellers' just didn't turn it off when they had finished.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005


    Grampian Police are helping to fund a £75,000 portable football pitch to "keep [youngsters] engaged and encourage socially acceptable behaviour".

    A full-time "Streetfootball" development officer (I couldn't make this up!) is also being funded by Robert Gordon University!

    Why are Grampian Police unable to police properly without resorting to stupid taxpayer funded gimmicks? Are Grampian children so poor that they are unable to buy a football to play amongst themselves?

    Shame and sorrow?

    Is there the same sense of "shame and sorrow" in the Lozells area of Birmingham following the racist murder of Isiah Young-Sam as there was in Huyton, Liverpool, following the racist murder of Anthony Walker?

    Unfortunately, Isiah's murder seems to be an opportunity for urban regeneration rather than a moment for reflection.

    A march and meeting are being organised to discuss the underlying causes of the tensions in the Birmingham area and find "ways in which we can move together against the neglect and deprivation that all sections of the community face"

    Scotland can see clearly now

    Will English taxpayers be subsidising free eye tests for everyone in Scotland from 2007 yet still be expected to pay for their own eye tests?

    If Scotland can afford free eye tests, is the Barnett formula a 'little' too generous!?!

    Piggy Bank Ban

    Halifax and NatWest banks are to ban piggy banks in promotional material as they may offend some muslims. Does the ban offend anyone?

    Is the BBC unable to confirm the ban or are they ashamed to report it?

    Courtesy of Rottweiler Puppy

    Smoking Question

    Will Scottish MPs abstain from voting on the Health Improvement and Protection Bill that will only be effective in England?

    Should Welsh MPs vote on a bill that gives the Welsh assembly the power to totally ban smoking in enclosed public spaces in Wales from April 2007?

    As long as the Welsh Assembly is given these powers, they will be unconcerned whether England has a full or partial smoking ban!

    Drunk on Art

    Good work if you can get it! A woman spent three hours on a beam in Cardiff getting drunk using 48 bottles of lager.

    Who grants the Chapter Arts Centre £750,000 for this kind of drivel?

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Foreign National Prisoners

    The numbers of foreign nationals in British prisons has increased by 75% over the past five years according to Charles Clarke, Home Secretary and by 150% over the past ten years according to the Prison Reform Trust.

    "They come from 168 countries, but over half are from just six countries (Jamaica, Irish Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey and India). A quarter are Jamaicans, by far, the largest single group."

    If the Home Secretary is considering releasing prisoners early due to prison overcrowding, why will foreign national prisoners need to be tagged when they should be deported even earlier?

    F*****g Police

    Why are the Police not pursuing Tony Blair for saying "f*****g Welsh"? A Scotland football fan was fined £250 for hurling racial abuse at a Welsh footballer.

    Apologising to a Welsh couple for his outburst last month, for which he has no recollection, Tony Blair says "He is particularly proud that it was this government which gives Wales the opportunity of its own National Assembly and devolved administration"

    Is Tony ashamed that "it was this government which [has not given England] the opportunity of its own National Assembly and devolved administration"?

    Derisible reporting

    Why would Labour, a party famed for it's spin, ever introduce a new Police recording system that shows an increase in crime!?!

    Naturally, the BBC headline supports the Justice Minister's "more complicated presentational challenge".

    Birmingham Riots (2)

    When West Midlands Police find the Pirate radio station responsible for broadcasting the rape claim that led to the Birmingham riots, will they be charged with "incitment to racial hatred"?

    Unless the radio station has a sign outside saying "Pirate Radio station here", could the Police find it? The Cuddles Massage Parlour had a shopfront display to help Police find it!

    Birmingham Riots

    Will the murder of Isiah Young-Sam be given the same prominence as the murder of Anthony Walker by the BBC?

    There was a "racial element to the crime that makes it different", "In addition, there was a planning and premeditation in the murder".

    "Three cars pulled up with between 10 and 11 men inside." and "The men got out of the cars armed with knives and attacked Isiah and his friends." The attackers also tried to disguise themselves.

    Why is the BBC unable to say that Isiah Young-Sam was killed in a racist attack?

    Friday, October 21, 2005

    Out of Office

    As Snafu will be away for the next couple of days, new postings will be minimal!

    The Great Escape

    Would the Office for National Statistics deliberately time the release of a report showing the highest levels of immigration since 1991 and the highest levels of British emigration ever to coincide with the Tory leadership election?

    The Pub Philosopher thinks they would!

    Saving taxpayers' money

    Staff at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its agencies are staging a one-day strike over "unfair" pay gaps averaging £2,010. The pay gaps should be reduced; by equalising pay downwards.

    If Cefas (whoever they are!) are able to recruit administrative officers with a starting salary of £11,474, why should the RPA (whoever they are!) need to offer £15,221 to recruit at the same level?

    PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka should be praised for highlighting this anomaly as it will reduce the future public sector pension liability!

    Spam comments

    The amount of spam comments that this blog is receiving continues to escalate. Regretfully, I have no option but to reactivate the word verification feature on blogger comments.

    I hope you don't find it too onerous!

    Praise Ruth

    Every so often Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, makes a change for the better for which she deserves praise.

    From 2007, school league tables will be based on the top five GCSE passes for candidates but two of the five must be actual GCSE qualifications at grade C or above in English and maths.

    Their inclusion will force schools to focus additional time and resources on these core skills.

    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    Forget 'Old biddies'?

    It's good to know that keyworkers such as Corporate Equalities Manager Julie Thomson and acting Head of Equalities Alan McKenzie can look forward to retiring at 60 with good pensions.

    They are responsible for trying to ban words such as 'girls', 'elderly', pet', 'love', 'ladies', 'duck', 'flower', 'dear' or 'sweetheart' in Hull.

    What do they do for the rest of the year?

    English nationalist movement

    Would the BBC ever report such a glowing account of English nationalism?

    Gradually the Welsh people realised that when it came to a conflict with their bigger English neighbour, they had no control over their destiny

    "It was born out of frustration," Alyn Ffred Jones added. "The frustration that they simply had been unable to do anything about what was happening to them."

    What would Vince Cable think!?!

    Will Wales be apologising to England for sending prisoners to English jails as Welsh jails are too overcrowded?

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    Welsh apologists

    Liverpool Council has apologised to Welsh nationalists for flooding a north Wales valley in 1965 to supply it's water. Why? Should Liverpudlians have been denied a reliable water supply?

    Owen Roberts, a historian at Aberystwyth University, even wants Liverpool Council to apologise for flooding Llanwddyn in north Powys in the 1880s!

    Maybe Manchester should apologise to someone for flooding Wythborn in the Lake District to secure it's water supply in 1879.

    Government 'negotiations'

    What concessions did the Government obtain from the trade unions when it accepted that existing public sector workers can continue to retire at 60?

    The Government should be ashamed that they caved in to union demands for nothing. Increasing the retirment age for new staff is not a significant concession. How can the Government now demand that the retirement age for private sector employees possibly be raised to 67?

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    'Big Beast' poached

    Excellent news for the Conservative Party. "Big Beast" Ken Clarke has been knocked out of the Conservative leadership contest.

    With the Conservative 'right' candidates, David Davis and Liam Fox, beating the Conservative 'left' candidates by ten votes in total, does the future promise clear blue water between Labour and the Conservatives?

    It would be a travesty if the Conservative 'left' won!

    Anything but Grammar schools

    Ruth Kelly is keen to develop the abilities of the most gifted children.

    "Gifted and talented" pupils would be identified based upon "the results of [] tests taken [] at the age of 11". These tests could be called the '11+' and would be academic selection. In future, could they attend "tailored" classes at special schools called "Anything but Grammar schools" where children are not "embarrassed" by their ability?

    The Unions and the hard-left will hate this!

    Why does Ruth Kelly expect University students to pay tuition fees only for their lecturers to teach gifted children at school rather than them!?!

    DoT ty

    Why did Alistair Darling, the (Scottish) Transport secretary, want to devolve responsibility for the rail network north of the border to the Scottish Executive? Was the Department of Transport (DoT) failing to do it's job properly?

    If Scottish Transport Minister Nicol Stephen considers the £325m funding "a good deal for Scotland", was it a bad deal for England?

    Not spending a lotto

    Hopefully, National Lottery fund distributors will ignore MPs' calls to speed up the process for spending £2.4bn of lottery grants on good causes

    Rushing to spend so much money can only lead to poor value for money and an increased risk of fraud.

    Monday, October 17, 2005

    Poor teaching acceptable - Minister

    If mainstream teaching and discipline were acceptable, would the Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, really need to spend £120m on providing catch-up lessons in English and Maths?

    Identifying and fixing the problems that lead to children falling behind in the first place would be a far better use of resources. How often are teachers sacked for being unable to teach?

    Speeding fines

    Brake, the Road Safety group, wants speeding fines to be doubled as insurance companies no longer penalise drivers caught speeding with increased insurance premiums according to The Times.

    If market led insurance premiums do not increase with three, six or even nine points, it suggests that insurance companies take the view drivers have been "unlucky" getting caught and do not represent an increased danger to themselves or others.

    Sunday, October 16, 2005

    Shooting from the hip

    How does anyone "mislay" an automatic pistol in their local Sainsburys?

    Why did he have his weapon out in the Men's toilet?

    Beanz meanz strikez

    The 800 Heinz beans workers striking for an inflation busting pay deal over the next two years should remember that they are not public sector workers, despite their TGWU representation.

    Heinz operates in a competitive market. Halting production can only encourage Heinz to consider moving production facilites and jobs elsewhere. By encouraging staff to strike, the TGWU is betraying the staff they claim to represent.

    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    Asylum chaos

    A Zimbabwean "asylum seeker" whose claim was "fraudulent" and whose dealings with the UK authorities "deliberately dishonest" has been allowed to remain in the UK. The Times highlights all the lies the asylum seeker made to remain in the UK.

    Why does Shadow Home Secretary David Davis think the court decision was right? He is merely being opportunistic.

    As the UK does the border Zimbabwe, his claim should have been rejected on the grounds that he should have claimed asylum in a country that neighbours Zimbabwe. What's wrong with the "people's republic" of South Africa?

    Scots "ignorant"

    In a shocking survey, Scots have been found to be ignorant about the battle of Trafalgar.

  • 83% of Scots do not know where the Battle of Trafalgar took place.

  • 45% of Scots did not know Nelson's ship was called HMS Victory.

  • 15% did not know Nelson's fleet was made of wood.

  • 3% thought it was fought between Scotland and England. Who do they think won!?!

  • I fear that the survey, if carried out in England, would have similar results. What is being taught in history classes at schools across the UK?

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    Scottish Travel Expenses

    Why hasn't BBC Scotland political correspondent Glenn Campbell given the expense claims of Liberal Democrat MSP Keith Raffan the same amount of scrutiny as the expense claims of Conservative MSP David McLetchie?

    Keith Raffan has had £6,000 deducted from his pension until irregularities in his expenses are explained. His mileage claim was also double that of any other MSP!

    Dutch to ban the Burka? (2)

    Things are going from bad to worse for Dutch Burka wearers!

    Utrecht city council is to reduce the unemployment benefit paid to two Muslim women as they refuse to attend "job interviews because no one would employ them because of their burkas". To qualify for the benefit, they must do everything they can to find work.

    Don't Panic

    Following the discovery of the deadly form of Avian Flu in Turkey, the Government has asked the public not to panic. This would be more plausible if senior Labour politicians and John Prescott were not already priority cases for the vaccination.

    Why has the Government only bought enough vaccinations for 25% of the population? What about the other 75%?

    Welsh Luxury

    First Minister Rhodri Morgan is concerned about the "disgrace and humiliation" if the spending priorities of the £13.8bn Welsh Assembly budget cannot be agreed by early December.

    "What are they going to say in the House of Commons when we are asking for more legislative powers if we've had to sub-contract the process of setting the budget because the politicians can't make a fist of it?"

    It is a luxury denied to the English.

    Lose the fat

    The Times reports that a woman hit by a Mancunian driver was reprimanded by Greater Manchester Police for using the word "fat" to describe the driver's body shape. Would "obese" have been better?

    Thankfully, such stupidity has not yet reached The Times. Mick Hume writes about "the minor problem of fat men misbehaving at football matches"!

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    English unemployment

    It is not possible to be an unemployed Englishman.

    Nationality options for claiming unemployment benefit are Scottish, Welsh or British!

    Dutch to ban the Burka?

    The Times reports that the Netherlands are expecting to ban the Burka in public places such as "in shops, public buildings, cinemas, train and bus stations and airports, as well as on trains and buses" as they are claimed to be a "threat to security".

    Iroincally, Home Office Minister Paul Goggins was recently asked to give an example of an offence under the proposed Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill. Publishing posters suggesting that Burkas could be used to conceal weapons was his response!

    Economic shock

    Gordon Brown says "we have got lower deficits and lower debt ratios than Japan, America, France and Germany". Things must be bad!

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    First state funded Hindu school

    The Government has announced a £9.8m grant to Harrow Council to fund the UK's first state-funded Hindu school as Hindu "parents are becoming increasingly concerned about their children losing touch with their culture and religion". If MPs are concerned about promoting integration, the school should not be state-funded.

    How will the school promote a multi-cultural agenda when it's core values are Vedic culture and philosophy?

    Compensation claim

    Should Germany claim compensation for 'damage' caused to their Prisoner of War camp, Stalag Luft III, by aircrew when they tunnelled their way to freedom as immortalised in the film "The Great Escape"?

    News that the UK Government is willing to pay compensation for the casualties and damage caused in Iraq when two British undercover soldiers were freed suggests Germany has a strong case!

    Benefits of electoral fraud

    When is electoral fraud acceptable? When it increases the size of the electoral roll!

    The Government does not want to introduce individual voter registration as it would "lead to a fall in the number of registered voters". When would reducing fraud ever increase voter registrations?

    Requiring a National Insurance number to register, as used in Northern Ireland, is an excellent method for reducing fraud. However, it will not reduce it entirely. There are still 72m National Insurance numbers in existence whilst the UK population is just 60m!

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Number Crunching (3)

    Total Income Tax receipts 2003/4 £114bn

    Total Benefits and Welfare Payments 2003/4 £109bn.

    Wasting Police time

    Why are the Police bothering to arrest 10 Turkish Kurds for people smuggling when they will have the legal right of abode when Turkey joins the EU in a couple of years!?!

    Will the Police trace the 200,000 Turkish Kurds who have been smuggled into the UK by the gang? When the Governement declared that up to 500,000 illegal immigrants were living in the UK, did they expect 40% of them to be Turkish Kurds?

    Fraud and error

    Why has it taken eight years for Labour to realise that the array of disability benefits are "crackers" and the housing benefits system is a "nightmare"? Haven't they noticed the further complexity Gordon Brown adds on budget day each year!?!

    Responding to the £3bn annual cost of benefit fraud and error, costing the taxpayer a penny on income tax, James Plaskitt, Anti-Fraud Minister says that "Estimated error accounts for around 2% of all benefits paid". How does he know? The DWP was unable to find supporting documents for 106 out of 800 incapacity benefit cases checked by the National Audit Office suggesting an error rate of 13%

    The BBC claims that overall benefit spending is just £109bn. However, this excludes Gordon's latest method of wealth redistribution, tax credits, administered independently by the Inland Revenue.

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Battered wives' syndrome

    A woman whose verbally abusive husband 'impaled' himself on an 8 1/2" knife she was holding has been given a three-year community rehabilitation order for his manslaughter. If the roles had been reversed, would feminists have accepted the sentence?

    "Battered wives' syndrome" suggests that to some extent the husband deserved his fate. Is this the message courts want to give? Why was a court so willing to accept the defendant's testimony when the husband was clearly unable to defend himself?.

    Blunkett condemns daytime television

    In an outspoken attack, Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett has suggested that going to work cures stress and depression much more effectively than daytime TV.

    How could BBC daytime favourites such as 'Bargain hunt', 'Cash in the Attic' and 'Mirror, Signal, Manouevre' depress anyone?

    Kashmiri Earthquake

    Following the Asian Tsunami, Muslim cleric Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi suggested that it was "punishment from Allah". "People must ask themselves why this earthquake occurred in this area and not in others. Whoever examines these areas discovers that they are tourism areas . . . where the forbidden acts are widespread, as well as alcohol consumption, drug use and acts of abominations."

    Hopefully, he doesn't consider the Kashmiri earthquake to be "punishment from Allah" but another catastrophic natural disaster leaving many thousands of people dead or homeless.

    Sunday, October 09, 2005

    Britblog Roundup # 34

    The latest Britblog roundup is over at Tim Worstall's excellent site here.

    Thank you for including the Oncemore post, Labour Forever, Tim!

    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    White Pupil's Achievement Programme

    A scheme designed to reduce the persistent under-achievement of white pupils is achieving good results, the government says. Thirty schools with a high proportion of white pupils were involved in a pilot scheme which began in November 2003.

    "We have [] recruited white teachers who are good role models to pupils," says one headteacher. The school has given initiatives a very high priority - reaching out to white parents has reaped rewards. "We have a strong Saturday school - and white children are now a large part of it".

    Schools Minister Andrew Adonis agrees, "White pupils are closing the attainment gap and our strategies are delivering year-on-year improvement".

    Racist? Not at all!!

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Sick Bay

    A Government scheme, Pathways to work, is to be expanded to help people on incapacity benefit back to work. No doubt many additional advisors will need to be recruited to assist them.

    It would be far simpler and cheaper for the taxpayer if incapacity benefit was reduced, immediately increasing the relative benefits of working. Why should those on incapacity benefit receive more than unemployment benefit? What incentive is there to find work when incapacity benefit increases the longer someone claims it?

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Jailhouse vote (2)

    In April, I highlighted the case of John Hirst, a prisoner serving a "discretionary life sentence" for manslaughter who felt his human rights had been breached by being denied the vote. Unfortunately, the European Court of Human Rights has agreed with him and Liberal Democrats, his rights have been infringed and he should be allowed the vote!

    Watch out out for prisoner driving courses, young offender activity weekends and luxurious prisons in future manifesto commitments. Are any prisons in marginal constituencies?

    Labour Forever

    I have a new post up at Oncemore.

    "I have not had a Damascian conversion, I have simply read an excellent article on "Make my vote count" by Paul Davies. Effectively, it's conclusion is that without embracing electoral reform, the Conservative Party runs the risk of never forming a Government with a good working majority again.

    At the Labour Party Conference, Tony Blair was able to boast about Labour's third electoral victory whilst John Prescott described Labour's 66 seat majority as a luxury. He is right, it is a luxury. If the electoral system was fairer, Labour would have formed a minority Government." The article continues here.

    Educational subsidies

    Why should parents who send their children to private schools expect a tax rebate for opting out of the state sector? People without children do not receive rebates for saving Government money!

    However, the Assisted Places Scheme (APS) should be reintroduced as it gave bright children from poorer backgrounds (Core Labour supporters?) an "escape route", an opportunity for a first class education often denied in the state sector. Why is Labour so keen to reduce social mobility? Labour should have widened access to the APS, not scrapped it.

    Only people on higher incomes can now ensure a good education for their children, Labour MPs perhaps!?!

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    Thank EU

    The European Union has created a website detailing the differences in mobile phone roaming costs across Europe. Whilst "The Commission aims to give the consumer the knowledge to make an informed choice, to enhance competition in the industry and to encourage fairer and clearer pricing", only people using their mobile phones frequently whilst abroad could gain. The inconvenience of changing providers is too great for light users.

    Why does the EU think that frequent users are unable to find the best option for themselves?

    If the EU really wants to reduce costs abroad, they should re-introduce duty free on internal European flights. That would save far more than just a few pennies on some calls from abroad.