Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland's "no" vote will break the union without fundamental constitutional change


So Scotland has voted no to independence. The no campaigners are celebrating their "victory" but it's a hollow one - 45% of Scots don't want to be part of the UK any more, even with all the promises of more power and money for voting to stay. It was absolutely right that the Scots had their say on how their country is run but it has left a nation divided.

The Scots have had their say and it's now time for the English to have theirs. A large number of promises have been made to the Scots by Cameron, Clegg and Miliband - promises that they can't keep without securing a vote in the Commons. They have promised more power, more money, the continuation of the Barnett Formula in perpetuity and the right to interfere in how England is governed forever. Needless to say, with a general election next year some MPs representing English constituencies have taken issue with all these promises and one promised a "bloodbath" when they get to the voting stage.

All this has prompted David Cameron to announce that only MPs representing English constituencies should be allowed to vote on laws that only affect England, so-called English votes on English laws. This isn't the answer though because it's a fundamentally flawed plan. When the Conservatives first announced English votes on English laws as their policy years ago it took less than a day for an MP elected in Scotland to point out that he would be able to claim an interest in any English law that cost money because it would affect the amount of money Scotland gets. MPs representing Scottish constituencies would be banned from voting on almost nothing at all.

In Scotland they vote for Scottish politicians to sit in a Scottish parliament who are elected to represent Scottish interests. The supposed answer to this for England is to vote for British politicians to sit in the British parliament who are elected to represent British interests who will form a Grand Committee to vote on British laws that only affect England as long as they don't cost money. If English votes on English matters is the answer then they're asking the wrong question.

The only way to make the union fair and equal and stop it being torn apart by jealousy and resentment is to create a devolved English Parliament with the same powers as the Scottish Parliament. Trying to pass off a half-baked fudge that is inherently flawed as being equivalent to the Scottish Parliament is insulting. Which is why it's disappointing to see UKIP promoting the same flawed policy despite having a policy paper written three years ago explaining how an English Parliament would work whilst cutting the number of politicians, saving money and strengthening the union in the process.

Scotland's future has been decided by the Scottish people, now it's time for the people of England to decide their future and I hope that UKIP sees sense and plays a part in making that happen.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Conservative ex-chairman convicted of sex offences

The former chairman of Folkestone & Hythe Conservatives, Angus Burgoyne, has been convicted of sex offences at Canterbury Crown Court.

Police found 1,500 indecent images of children on Burgoyne's computer and charged him with 8 counts of downloading and distribution indecent images but denied 3 offences of sexually assaulting children. A jury found him guilty on all counts.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Mayor of Hartlepool sacked from day job at Newcastle City Council

The mayor of Hartlepool has been sacked from his day job as team leader in the Community Mental Health Service department at Newcastle City Council.

Cllr Stephen Akers-Belcher was suspended for a couple of months earlier this year before being sacked for gross misconduct in July. Cllr Akers-Belcher protests his innocence and says he is appealing his dismissal.


Conservative councillor's offensive tweets prompt call for powers to hold councillors to account

A Labour councillor in Dover has called for training in the Nolan Principals of Standards in Public Life for all councillors after repeated offensive comments made by a Conservative councillor on Twitter.

Cllr Gordon Cowan wants Dover District Council to lobby the British government for more powers to hold councillors to account and to put on training for councillors after taking umbrage with Conservative Cllr Bob Frost's tweets. Cllr Frost has referred to French people as "frogs", asians as "sons of camel drivers" and "rag heads" and black people "jungle bunnies". He recently said that Labour voters live on "a diet of lard and fags".


Nikki Sinclaire charged with money laundering and misconduct in public office

Former MEP, Nikki Sinclaire, was bailed to appear at Birmingham Crown Court on 7th January where she will face charges of money laundering and misconduct in public office.

Sinclaire is a former Conservative who joined UKIP, got elected as an MEP, lost a challenge against Nigel Farge's leadership, went into open revolt against the party, got booted out, formed the We Demand a Referendum Now Party and lost her seat. She has been under investigation by the EU's anti-fraud organisation, OLAF and West Midlands Police for some time.


Farage re-elected unopposed as party leader

Nigel Farage has been re-elected unopposed as party leader after no other members put themselves forward for the job.

It doesn't really come as a surprise that Nigel was unopposed given the seemingly endless success the party has received under his leadership. We won the EU elections this year, we took a record number of council seats in the last two rounds of local elections and we've replaced the Lib Dems as the third largest party in the UK.

Nigel Farage has led UKIP to unprecedented success and will continue to do so for the next few years at least.


Whatever Scotland decides, it's time for an English Parliament

The Scots will vote in their first ever independence referendum tomorrow and it's statistically neck and neck. Most polls have a 3% margin of error and there's less than a 3% gap in two of the five polls conducted in the last 30 days and a whopping 7% in favour of independence in one.

YesNoDon't Know
Survation42%48%10%
TNS-BRMB38%39%23%
YouGov45%50%6%
ICM49%42%9%
Panelbase46%47%7%

The referendum really could go either way but whatever the result the next piece of business that needs taking care of is how England is governed. This is something that should have been taken care of in 1997 when the Scots and Welsh voted for their devolved governments but that didn't suit the regionalisation agenda so the union has been left seriously unbalanced for more than a decade.

Gordon Brown on Monday demanded guarantees that Scotland would have a say in how England (or "the regions" as he calls England) is run if they vote no tomorrow, that England's wealth would continue to be redistributed to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and that the Barnett Formula which subsidises Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will remain in place forever. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg all agreed to those demands yesterday.

David Cameron is facing a revolt by his own MPs after agreeing to Gordon Brown's demands and promising more powers for Scotland with nothing for England. Some Tory MPs have promised a "bloodbath" if he tries to get the extra powers through the British parliament and several Tory MPs have said they want to ban MPs elected in Scotland from voting on things only affecting England. This means an English Parliament would have to be created because anything that costs money affects the amount of money available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get, thus giving their MPs a vote on it.

Social media and the comments sections on newspaper websites and blogs are awash with outrage at the promises being made to Scotland and demands for an English Parliament. UKIP has long had a policy of redressing the balance with an English Parliament of sorts, first with the daft English votes on English laws idea that could never work and lately for a devolved English Parliament. Nigel Farage has said many times that UKIP would create a devolved English Parliament and Paul Nuttall wrote a policy paper on how it would work. It has always been sidelined at the last minute by whichever Big Britisher has been in charge of policy but now is the time to dust off Paul Nuttall's policy on an English Parliament and show the people of England that we really are the peoples' party, listening to what they want and promising to act on it.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Shaun Wright resigns

South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, has resigned today after finally taking the hint that his position was untenable because of the part he played in the cover-up of child sex abuse in Rotherham.

Shaun Wright was the cabinet member for Childrens' Services at Rotherham Borough Council for five years before standing down to stand form PCC. The council was well aware of the scale of abuse in Rotherham but allowed it to be covered up because officers were more worried about being accused of being racist than they were of the welfare of 1,400 vulnerable children who were preyed on by gangs of mainly Pakistani and Kashmiri men.

UKIP MEP Jane Collins has called for a criminal investigation into Shaun Wright's failure to protect children who were known to be victims of abuse during his time in charge of social services at Rotherham and for all the councillors and council officers involved in the cover up - especially chief child snatcher Joyce Thacker - to resign.


Conservative ex-Mayor of Weston-super-mare jailed for child porn

The Conservative former Mayor of Weston-super-mare has been given a 14 month prison sentence for possession of child pornography.

Philip Judd was still Mayor of Weston-super-mare and a school governor when he was arrested for possession of indecent photos of children last year.


Calls for Conservative Leader of Guildford Borough Council to stand down over support for fake barrister councillor


The Conservative leader of Guildford Borough Council has refused to step down over his continued support for a councillor charged with forgery, fraud by false representation, obtaining monetary advantage by deception and wilfully pretending to be a barrister.

Effingham Residents' Association say that the leader of the council, Cllr Stephen Mansbridge, should have sacked Cllr Monika Juneja when she was charged rather than trying to protect her but in response, Mansbridge has repeated Juneja's claim that she is the victim of a campaign to discredit their local plan. He didn't, however, repeat Cllr Juneja's claim that the people trying to bring her to justice are racists.

Cllr Juneja has been charged with forging letters and qualifications to falsely claim to be a barrister to get legal jobs in several councils over a 14 year period. Wilfully pretending to be a barrister is a criminal offence but a relatively minor one compared to 14 years of sustained fraud, obtaining taxpayers' money by deception. She isn't the victim of a campaign against a local plan, she's being brought to justice and Cllr Mansbridge has shown appalling judgement in not only supporting her but continuing to mislead residents as to the true nature of the charges against Cllr Juneja.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Scottish independence will save the union

UKIP Daily has an article giving a few reasons why UKIP should welcome Scottish independence and I can't disagree with any of them but there is one reason for your average UKIPper that they've missed: Scottish independence will preserve the British union.

You'd think the union consisted of just England and Scotland the way the unionist campaigners keep trotting out doom-laden prophecies about the end of the union but there are four countries in the UK, not two. If Scotland votes for independence this week then the UK will continue to exist without Scotland but if they vote no the union is doomed.


The British unionist parties had already promised the Scots extensive new powers if they voted no to independence and then they promised even more when the first opinion poll showed a slim majority for the yes camp. It is this commitment to keeping Scotland in the union at all costs (as long as England is paying of course) that will destroy the union if they vote no to independence.

A 2007 opinion poll by ICM found that support for English independence went from statistically zero to 15% in the decade following the creation of the Scottish Parliament and that's a symptom of the discriminatory way that devolution was introduced in the UK to exclude England. Since 1997, the English have become increasingly resentful of the preferential treatment Scotland (and to a lesser extent, Wales and Northern Ireland) gets. If Scotland votes no to independence then the more they get whilst England is ignored - or worse, threatened with being broken up into artificial regions - the more strained the union is going to be.

If the Scots vote to stay in the union then this resentment will bring the union crashing to an end. If, on the other hand, the Scots vote to leave the union the main cause of resentment will be gone and the future of what remains of the union will be more secure. Even though Wales and Northern Ireland both have their own devolved governments like Scotland does and they both get a big subsidy like Scotland does (Northern Ireland gets far more per capita than either Scotland or Wales) it only seem to be the Scots having their cake and eating it that bothers the English. Maintaining the status quo without Scotland is unlikely to be a problem for the increasingly restless English electorate.

Unionists have nothing to far from Scottish independence because it will save the union.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Police install panic button in UKIP MEP's home

South Yorkshire Police have fitted a panic button in the home of UKIP MEP Jane Collins and plan to install a panic room after she started receiving threatening emails and phone calls trying to stop her uncovering more details of the Rotherham child abuse case.

UKIP has played a big part in uncovering inconvenient details of child abuse in Rotherham and clearly it's getting a little too close to some important people. As South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, is implicated in the cover up I'm not sure a police panic button would give me that much comfort.

Jane Collins MEP said:
I think every Labour member in Rotherham should tear up their membership card.

Do they not care about the victims? People are saying they didn't know the scale of it but surely one child is enough.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Labour lose control of Invercylde Council after resignation of councillor

The Labour Party have lost control of their second council this week after Inverclyde councillor, Vaughan Jones, resigned from the Labour group on the council.

Earlier this week, Cllr Helen Douglas defected from Labour to the Conservatives, losing Labour control of City of York Council. Cllr Jones' resignation from the Labour group in Inverclyde means that they only have 9 of 20 councillors and will have to form a coalition to retain control or attempt to continue with minority rule.

Cllr Jones resigned from the Labour Party after coming under pressure to stop supporting Scottish independence.


Petition launched to force disgraced Wigan councillor to resign

Angry residents have launched a petition calling on disgraced Wigan councillor, Robert Bleakley, to resign.


Bleakley resigned from the Lib Dems in the new year after he was caught with porn on his laptop but has repeatedly refused to resign as a councillor as he's gone from one scandal to the next.


SNP councillor charged with breach of the peace for abusing unionist campaigners

An SNP councillor has been charged with breach of the peace after abusing anti-independence campaigners in Kinross.

Cllr David MacDiarmid accepted a £30 fine from police officers who paid him a visit following complaints from the unionists.


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