Wednesday 29 May 2013

Emily Davison - Our Nation's Great Betrayal

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."
 - Ronald Reagan

Those of a horse racing inclination will know this Saturday is the Epsom Derby. It will also mark 100 years since the death of Suffragette Emily Davison in 1913 shown in the clip above.

Whether Davison intended to die under the King's horse has always been one of historical controversy. Whatever her intentions however the outcome meant she was to go down in the history books as an iconic figure of the women's suffrage movement, despite her actions often overshadowing other arguably more effective women, such as Millicent Fawcett who lived long enough to see the campaign of women's suffrage through to the end. It's a lesson also in how political movements often split over method.

No doubt the papers this weekend will be full of articles praising the bravery of Emily Davison and what she fought for - already illustrated by the Guardian earlier this week. Ironically what will be hailed as an example of "progressive politics" was at the time ridiculed, dismissed and patronised:
Intuition is far more largely developed in women than in men, but instinct and intuition, although good guides, are not the best masters so far as Parliament is concerned. This is the quality, either of feeling or emotion, which would impress and make itself more distinctly heard in this House if this Bill became law. Parliament is the ultimate seat of authority, where grave questions have to be decided, where men have to use their reasoning faculties which they have gained either in college, business, or commercial life; those reasoning faculties which they have purchased through centuries by hard and bitter experience. Parliament exists for the very purpose of opposing feelings, fancies, and inclinations by reason. The cold light of reason has been and should continue in the future to be the one guide so far as Parliament is concerned... I can only state a plain, undisputed matter of fact. It is for that reason that I oppose the granting of Women Suffrage.
One is reminded of the dismissive tone used to describe current movements and parties that are against the prevailing political consensus.

Not that such lack of self-awareness will prevent comforting self-congratulatory adulation of Davison and women's suffrage in general; an inevitability to be conducted this weekend by newspapers such as the Guardian, Daily Mail and the Telegraph, who fully support our membership of an international organisation that is designed, by its own admission, to remove the very thing she fought for - democracy.

How ironic as we celebrate the actions of Davision, that she would be no more enfranchised today than 100 years ago. Women (as do men) have the symbolic right to enter a polling station and mark a ballot paper with a cross but such actions do not automatically confer democracy. It's not the mark of a cross that counts but what that mark can achieve in practice.

An obvious example of a disconnect between the act of voting and democracy is the EU itself - specifically EU parliamentary elections. Yes, we can vote for MEPs but by doing so we are still unable to change the executive, a government nor are MEPs' able execute their voters' mandate. Similarly in the old USSR, the Supreme Soviet was elected but no-one could seriously suggest as a consequence that the country was democratic.

On a personal note I have two recent relatively simple examples of the current futility of Davison's actions.

My mother-in-law sadly suffers from an eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. This means that although she can still see her sight is progressively failing. Understandably she is more comfortable in her house lit with high wattage incandescent bulbs that can be adjusted to her satisfaction via dimmer switches. She now bitterly complains at uselessness of the pathetic illumination of low energy bulbs and their incompatibility with dimmer switches. Such a ban on incandescent bulbs has been introduced by the European Union, thus, 100 years after Davison, it has rendered my mother in law effectively disenfranchised despite having the right to mark a piece of paper. She is unable to change this law without our exit.

Another example is my next door neighbour who has recently completed her qualifications for being a mid-wife. When signing my nomination form to stand as a local council candidate, she articulated to me her acute frustration at not being able to obtain insurance as an independent mid-wife, instead she could only be insured if she worked as an NHS one. Needless to say:
On October 25th 2013, it will become illegal for independent midwives to practise as they do now. EU Directive 2011/24 on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare, once implemented in the UK, will require all healthcare professionals to have professional indemnity insurance or an equivalent guarantee or other scheme to be in place. The legislative proposals for implementation of this Directive have not yet been published for consultation but it is assumed that insurance cover will be made a condition of registration as a midwife with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. In 2002 the last commercial insurer offering insurance to independent midwives withdrew from the market as it was not commercially viable given the small numbers of independent midwives in the UK. As a result professional indemnity insurance is no longer commercially available for self-employed independent midwives.
Another lady...deprived of her voice via the ballot box. No doubt among all the exaltations, all political parties will attempt to claim Davison as their own. But the brutal truth is, among the fine words, their actions have let her down. 

As a nation we betrayed her; a 100 years on and nothing has fundamentally changed. We owe her, and her legacy, big time - we have a duty to try to right a massive wrong in her memory at the very least.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

A Waste Of Space

Despite coming as no real surprise, I had another lesson today on the uselessness of PCSO's. Above is pictured a car parked outside my property this afternoon. As is abundantly clear by the picture it leaves no room for a pushchair to pass by let alone Mrs TBF's wheelchair.

So I visit neighbouring properties in an attempt to ascertain the owner, to no avail. I decide then to report it to the Police. Parking on a pavement is not actually an offence in itself, but under the Town and Police Clauses Act (1847) causing an obstruction is. In addition, PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) gives the Police the power to arrest any person in order to prevent an obstruction to the highway. Failure to do so could also be argued that they are not complying with their duty to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. I should make clear at this point I had no intention of wanting any kind of ticket on the vehicle in question - I just wanted the car moved...pronto.

Anyway when I called the non-emergency Police number, the nice chap at the end of the phone gave me a Unique Reference Number (URN) which is usually, in my experience, a Police term to mean sod off. And so two (rather young) PCSOs turn up at my doorstep 20 minutes later, only then to tell me they didn't have the power to do anything other than to place a warning sticker on the windscreen that, and I quote; "looks like an official fine but isn't". But helpfully - I use the term loosely - they informed me if it happened again then " a [real] Policeman would get involved". One wonders if it isn't illegal the first time why is it the second?

The PCSOs in question were clearly aware of the driver's address, telling me unwittingly - or perhaps otherwise - that "the driver had recently moved into the local street", but "unfortunately they were unable to do anything". On that information and with a quick Google search by myself I established where the driver lived. Subsequently I visited his property and after establishing he was owner of said car, I informed him firmly, but politely that his car had to move, which he duly did. Given that the PCSOs were aware of the registered address, why were they unable to do this?

So, in conclusion, what are the point of Police Community Support Officers again?

Friday 10 May 2013


How odd, in 2011 Cameron imposed a three line whip on a parliamentary vote regarding an EU referendum, brought about by a petition:
A leading Tory backbencher says his party's high command is in "complete panic" over next week's Commons vote on an EU referendum.
Clearly 3-line whips are used when the Government is concerned that Parliament may vote against their proposals and wishes. So it's revealing to learn, 2 years later, that Tory 'rebels' have a free vote on the same issue:
Tory MPs could be allowed to vote against the Queen's Speech next week as a row over an EU referendum deepens.
Oh how jolly that because Cameron is sure of winning the vote anyway?

And what a joke this is:
The prime minister's official spokesman did not rule out the possibility that Mr Cameron might consider backing the amendment himself, effectively voting against his government's Queen's Speech.
But Mr Cameron is likely to be out of the country when the vote takes place.
I'm coming to the conclusion that I hope Labour win the next election because the last thing we need is a fake referendum on the EU organised by this bunch of charlatans (if bunch is the right collective noun).

Thursday 9 May 2013

Boris Repeats The Words Of Dave

Naturally the headlines suggests Boris Johnson (with one eye on Cameron's job) is trying to portray himself as deeply Eurosceptic but the detail of the Telegraph's article most certainly demonstrates that he's not at all, instead revealing on closer look a policy which is exactly the same as Cameron's...
Mr Johnson warned that the country must be ready to "walk away" from Europe if David Cameron failed to negotiate better terms of membership.
Boris' line will probably convince maybe a few Tories to remain put, but it won't work for everyone else. Our EU membership has been based on lie and so has the Tory party's position on it. It was entirely inevitable that the more the EU would reveal itself the less convincing the Tory party would be.

Faced with a perceived UKIP threat, we starting to see the consequences very clearly of the long established schizophrenic Tory EU policy towards our membership of the European Union, to the extent that some are breaking ranks. First up was Lawson now we have in today's Times Michael Portillo, (click to enlarge the scanned in copy*)

A phrase containing the words "chickens, home and roost" spring to mind -  only the chickens in this case are headless ones. As cosmic notes in the comments on Autonomous Mind:
It’s ridiculous to believe that the Conservatives can solve their current problems with a face lift and putting on a set of clothes that don’t fit. I’d say there’s more to it than getting rid of Cameron, but as for having him pose with a pint and a fag……..
For years they’ve dealt with the problem of the EU with a glorious and totally dishonest fudge and kept the party together by painting a picture of a completely unattainable halfway position.
Now they’re coming to the point where they can’t fudge the issue any more and they have to say whether they are in favour of in or out. Declaring one way or the other will see the party split, continuing to fudge will see support drift away.
When you try to deceive others you only end up deceiving yourself.

*I expect News International won't take too kindly to me publishing without permission a Times' article, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

The Use Of Language

What becomes very apparent when fighting against the UK's membership of the EU is that pro-EU arguments are based less on facts and more on insults disguised as implied phrases and the warped interpretation of words.

An example of this, is the use of the word "progressive" particularly by the Labour party:
Over the last decade Policy Network has performed a momentous role in the development of progressive thinking, bringing us together as a global progressive family.
For example this:
Members of the Labour Party can become PES activists and get involved in PES activities and campaigns that promote progressive politics on European level
However...the word "progressive" has one meaning but two outcomes. Clearly Labour believe, and use the term, on the basis that it has positive outcomes. The problem is the other outcome describes something that is getting worse leading to an unsatisfactory situation. Mrs TBF for example has 'progressive multiple sclerosis' (I write this to make a point rather than to illicit sympathy), thus the word progressive can also have completely negative connotations.

In light of this, one is also reminded of the term "Little Englander". I've never yet met a pro-EU advocate who can fully explain to me what this term means, especially given that its use in terms of EU membership is contradictory to its origins. Instead it has turned into a term of abuse, based on no facts, which seems largely accepted but on little basis why. It's a term of abuse that can be easily negated by the argument that many EU and European countries have, in various forms, rejected aspects of further EU integration; Denmark, Ireland and Norway who cannot be accused of this. No-one is seriously going to accuse the French who rejected the original EU constitution, of being "Little Englanders".

Thus we come to the thorny issue of immigration.The British public have been concerned about the unprecedented influx in the last decade* and the subsequent fake concern shown by the Tories, Labour and even the Lib Dems very clearly indicates that. However until recently using the term immigration was deliberately used to imply being a racist as a way of shutting down the argument by the use of redefining words.

The deep irony is though our country's current immigration policy is by most definitions racist, a position that is supported by all 3 main parties by virtue of our membership of the EU. A cursory glance at the above picture confirms that. Anyone entering our country is defined by their passport and which country they come from. From EU member Lithuania? Fine enter the easy lane. From non-EU member India? Sorry queue in the 'harder to enter' lane.

This is discrimination personified by the EU - the rules are not applied evenly across all nationalities trying to enter our country. It is a discriminatory policy based on country origins and therefore racist - a situation supported by our establishment. But then changing the meaning of words means getting away with it....

*hattip for the link Witterings from Witney

"Limited Package Of Laws?"

I truly can't be bothered to devote much of my time to providing a critical analysis of this pathetic article by the Telegraph;
A limited package of new laws reflects the approaching general election, and points the way to Conservatives and Lib Dems living separate lives, says James Kirkup
Only to a word; Brussels.

It comes to something when a football manager's resignation genuinely has more significance than the Queen's speech.

Sunday 5 May 2013

Quote Of The Day

From Tim Worstall, a comment from the Guardian:
The Greek protest vote goes to neo-nazis, the Italian protest vote to an anarchist comedian, the British protest vote goes to an ex-stockbroker called Nigel.
What an extraordinarily sensible country we really are.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Anger And Apathy

Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget, 
For we are the people of England, that never has spoken yet. G.K. Chesterton
I attended the local election count yesterday as a UKIP candidate. Standing as a paper candidate I never expected to win and I didn't... coming 4th with 167 votes. However in my ward the Independent won against the long standing Tory incumbent with a victory of fewer than 100 votes. If the view is that UKIP take away Tory votes then it could be argued I cost him the seat, and overall Tory control of the Council, which they one seat. It's amazing what a paper candidate can do.

This was certainly his view; his taking defeat badly meant I was left in no doubt of his opinion. He apparently subsequently acted in a manner to fellow UKIP members that was described by one as "graceless and ill mannered", his actions clearly an embarrassment to his fellow Tory colleagues.

His behaviour gave me reason to be highly amused. He deserved it. In a safe ward, he took it for granted - I never once in 10 years seen him nor been canvassed by him prior to this election, unlike the independent candidate. Yet they were worried, deeply worried and had good reason to be, so in the last few weeks I've been canvassed twice, had copious leaflets pushed through my door, and even had the local Tory MP canvassing. In other nearby areas the Tories were literally busing party members in from other parts of the country to help. Illustrating beautifully what the threat of losing power does to concentrate the minds.

Thus UKIP has good reason to be cheerful this weekend, despite being labeled as "fruitcakes", "clowns" and "goodness knows what else" they are now being taken seriously as a political force. With that though will undoubtedly be more scrutiny particularly by an establishment, which UKIP is a challenge to, that consists of a largely hostile media.

Embarrassing behaviour (true or otherwise) of some elected UKIP councillors will be published in the coming weeks and months. It is inevitable in large part because UKIP has arrived at this position mainly by circumstance rather than competence. Its voter capacity is outstripping its ability to administer it effectively. I mean that as no slur on the many capable hard working members, but as a reflection of Nigel Farage's admission that UKIP has no structures in place - no due process - to vet candidates. For a party that wishes to run town and county councils, particularly budgets, that's not good enough.

Yet in many ways to scrutinise UKIP in this way is to miss the point - a common trait amongst the establishment. What is clear is, as Autonomous Mind argues, the public anger is deep. After all who are going to take lessons from an establishment who cover up for pedophiles, hack dead teenage mobile phone messages, steal taxpayer's money to build property portfolios and much more besides.

Instead the message is clear that voting mostly for a bunch of amateurs (and I include myself in that), led by a leader likes to be photographed getting inebriated is a better option than the current lot. It is also a warning of behalf of the biggest party in Britain - none of the above. As Richard North notes, the real message is the voters, via very low turnouts, are continuing to retreat from the political process altogether. UKIP therefore acts as a warning beacon albeit a flawed one.

The English have historically been slow to anger in terms of major public disobedience but when they do, look out.

Cameron et al are on notice...

Thursday 2 May 2013

Corporate Corruption Of Our Police Force?

A little later today, after I pick up Mrs TBF from work, I will be visiting my local polling station to vote for...myself.

A situation far different from November last year when I deliberately, and on principle, boycotted the elections for a Police and Crime Commissioner. As I noted at the time how long would it be before a scandal erupts, where a PCC of a certain party persuasion is advised by a government of the same party to lean on 'his' police force whose constables are investigating a corrupt MP of the same party?

Now today we learn that the Police are set to be "sponsored", a proposal naturally couched in terms of "huge potential benefits".
A police tsar has held talks with a possible sponsor for his force in a bid to survive "austere times with a shrinking budget and workforce".

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Dorset, Martyn Underhill is considering private sponsorship, on an arrangement involving all five PCCs in the south west region.

The former detective chief inspector for Sussex Police wrote on his blog that he could see a "huge potential benefit to forming appropriate sponsorship relationships with reputable organisations".
The implications of this are enormous. The Police will now go from upholders of the law to a force that has to bear in mind where its funding originates from, thus turning it from a service supposedly accountable to the public to one that can, and will be, de facto, if not de jure, influenced directly by outside interests This begs all sorts of questions; would potential sponsors now have preferential treatment from plod? Would potential sponsors influence other aspects of upholding the law? Who decides who are "reputable organisations" - certainty not the people, given the horrendously low turnout, and the above average spoiled ballot papers in the election.

When Cameron stops faffing about with promises he has no intention of keeping he might like to reflect on that tonight when the bad news filters in (I doubt he will). What this illustrates is the discontent goes much deeper than a simple vote on the EU, to the extent that even The Sun newspaper has given up:
THE Sun is not going to tell you how to vote today.

From our very first paper, 44 years ago, we have always remained politically independent.

We have never served any set party — and we never will.

Sometimes we endorsed Labour or the Tories at election times.

But today, as 18 million people have the chance to elect new local councils, none of the big four deserves our support.

Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and yes, even UKIP, have all proved beyond your trust.

David Cameron’s Conservatives should be the best at getting value for your pound.

But many of their councils have defied the PM’s demand to freeze council tax for struggling workers. That is unacceptable.

Labour is still in complete denial about the economic mess they created while in power.

And to judge Ed Miliband’s competence, look no further than his shambolic last few weeks.

Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems remain as two-faced as they ever were, cutting in Westminster then moaning to the heavens about it on doorsteps.

And UKIP? Nigel Farage has shaken up Westminster’s cosy elite with admirable plain talking. But little of it really stands up as proper thought-through policy.

And how can you trust a chaotic mob that mistakenly puts forward so many fruitcakes and extremists?

Who you choose today must be a local decision, not a national one.

Read the leaflets. Listen to what all the actual candidates are telling you, and judge them individually.

Did they deliver on their 2009 promises? Have they the right priorities for the next four years?

Let them all win back our faith the hard way. One by one, from the bottom up.
We need another way, urgently.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Voting For Clowns

In the lead up to the local elections tomorrow we now have the alleged "right-wing" and "eurosceptic" Daily Mail belatedly joining the anti-UKIP campaign; prominently displaying on its website disparaging - now old - stories of the party. It illustrates yet again that if a referendum was called on our membership of the EU the Daily Mail would not be on our side.

Interestingly faced with the Ukip threat, the Tories particularly but by no means the only party, seem to believe that insulting the electorate is an effective way of garnishing votes. A tactic adopted by Gordon Brown to such dramatically successful conclusions.

Voting Ukip apparently is voting for clowns:
Senior Tories have issued increasingly fierce attacks on Ukip in recent days, including the Cabinet minister Ken Clarke, who branded the party a bunch of “clowns”. 
Cameron of course is trying to distance himself from such remarks while undoubtedly approving of them privately. But it begs the question though if the electorate is willing to vote for a bunch of clowns, as the Tories suggest, isn't it a rather damning indictment of the current lot?