Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Lord Ashcroft withdraws funding from Tories

Lord Ashcroft has withdrawn his funding for the Tories over Cameron's obsession with "fringe issues" such as gay marriage.  He says that he has given enough money to the Tories and that they're not going to win the next election.

Another Tory donor says that Ashcroft thinks Cameron is too much of a liberal and out of touch.  The Tories say that it isn't really a problem because he hasn't donated to them since before the last election.  He donated £4m to them in the 3 years up to the last election and is their biggest donor, giving them around £10m in total.

Ashcroft will continue commissioning opinion polls and supporting individual Tory MPs and candidates he likes.

Surrey Councillor defects to UKIP

Another disillusioned Tory councillor has defected to UKIP, keeping up the trend of a defection a week for 2013.

Cllr Ian Lake represents Weybridge on Surrey County Council and was cabinet member for Transport & Environment until recently when he was suspended following accusations of bringing the council into disrepute - an accusation that the council's standards board dismissed.

Cllr Lake will be standing for re-election as a UKIP Councillor in May.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Losing AAA rating will cost us dearly

Credit reference agency, Moody, has downgraded the UK's AAA credit rating citing poor growth and a negative outlook on the UK's economy.

We can still afford to pay for
India's space programme can't we?
George Osborne says it doesn't really matter and Ed Balls says that the Tories should start spending even more money.  They're both wrong.

Balls is wrong because we're still spending too much.  "The cuts" aren't cuts in spending, they're decreases in the increases in spending.  The British government is still spending more money than we're paying in taxes and it's just not sustainable.

Osborne is wrong for the same reason.  We're borrowing money at an alarming rate and the cost of borrowing that money will go up as our credit rating goes down.  We're not in Greece or Spain's league where they're having to turn to the equivalent of payday loan companies but even the 0.16% increase in borrowing costs that we saw yesterday are cause for worry when our national debt is anticipated to grow by £120bn (to 98% of GDP) this year alone.  That 0.16% increase would cost us an extra £192m for this year assuming it doesn't go up in the meantime (and I would expect it to after the bad news budget in April).

Both Labour and the Conservatives are utterly useless when it comes to the economy because they're completely wedded to debt.  They know that simply borrowing more money to give it all away isn't going to fix a broken economy but they don't have the vision or the balls to do what is needed - slash taxes, slash public spending and get people working again.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Marta finally jumps ship to the Tories

It comes as no surprise to learn that Marta Andreasen has defected from UKIP to the Tories.

Marta was bumped up the MEP list as she was a high profile candidate at the time, promising to fix UKIP's finances and expose the fraud and corruption in the EU.  The membership put her at the top of the regional list for the south east of England, second only to Nigel Farage.  As a bean counter she did a great job but as an MEP she was a disappointment.

The main problem with Marta is that she's not a eurosceptic.  She is wholeheartedly opposed to the fraud and corruption that is endemic in the EU but she favours reform, not withdrawal.  She will fit right in with the Tories in that respect but I'm not sure how her new-found love of the financially illiterate, europhile Tories can be reconciled with this quote from just a few weeks ago:
I joined UKIP because the Tories wanted to reform the EU and in my experience I thought that the EU could not be reformed. In the course of my years as an MEP, I have only grown more convinced of this.
Marta has, to be blunt, been a pain in the arse for quite some time now.  She has been increasingly off message, ignorant and disruptive.  She has aired her dirty laundry in public on many an occasion and lost the respect and support of the membership in doing so.  It's frankly astounding that Marta didn't resign sooner but the timing was obviously chosen to try and get UKIP negative publicity just before voters go to the polls in Eastleigh.  After all, it's UKIP that are going to prevent the Tories from winning there, not the Lib Dems and certainly not Labour.  This defection has clearly been planned for some time.

Like David Campbell Bannerman, Marta was a nobody before UKIP propelled her into the limelight and like David Campbell Bannerman, Marta will once again disappear into obscurity after the next election.  She's been behaving like an opposition MEP for some time, at least she's finally had the decency to make it official and stop wasting our time.  If she thought she was going to be sorely missed, she's going to be a little disappointed:
"Conservative Party deserve what's coming to them. The woman is impossible."
- Nigel Farage
And if she thinks she's going to be welcomed with open arms by the Tory faithful she's going to be even more disappointed:
To say Andreasen’s behaviour is flaky would be an understatement. My experience of her is that she is also not to be trusted, and the Tories should be very wary of her.
- Iain Dale
I think I speak for most UKIP members when I say goodbye and good riddance.

UKIP odds shorten in Eastleigh, Lib Dems defecting

Things are looking positive for UKIP in Eastleigh.  The opinion polls are generally swinging between a Lib Dem hold and a Tory gain but UKIP's support is steadily increasing.

According to Ladbrokes in Eastleigh, bets on a Tory win have dropped right off and only one person bet on a Tory win last week.  In the meantime, they say, bets on a UKIP win have increased by 300%.  UKIP is now at 16/1 to win and have overtaken Labour as far as the bookies are concerned.

A poll of Winchester students is less positive and even less commonsensical. The students of Winchester University put Labour a fair way in front, followed by the Tories and then the Lib Dems. They must have short memories because it was Labour who introduced the racist tuition fees regime that only targets English students in the first place, the Tories who increased them from £3k to £9k a year and the Lib Dems who promised to abolish them and then supported the Tory increase. The LibLabCon parties are responsible for landing English students with tens of thousands of pounds of debt but they still vote for them like a woman going back to an abusive partner time and time again because he promises he'll change.  It worries me to think that such irrational thinkers are the leaders of tomorrow.

The Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems are running a negative campaign trying to make their candidate out to be the least hypocritical of the three rather than tell voters what it is they intend to do for them.  Here is UKIP candidate, Diane James, on some key issues:

UKIP's positive message for Eastleigh was enough to convince former Lib Dem mayor, Glynn Davies-Dear, to defect to defect to UKIP.  After years of campaigning for the Lib Dems and serving as a Lib Dem borough and county councillor for 20 years he has finally had enough of Lib Dems dishonesty, describing Chris Huhne as an "inveterate liar".  Another former Lib Dem councillor, Andy Moore, joined Mr Davies-Dear in switching to UKIP at the same time.  Mr Moore said that he couldn't support the Lib Dem candidate who has both promised to protect green spaces in Eastleigh and to build on them at the same time.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Barroso dismisses Cameron's repatriation of powers

Emperor Barroso has dismissed the prospect of negotiating Cameron's mythical "repatriation" of EU powers, according to Public Service Europe.

Did British Prime Minister David Cameron expect Brussels to lend a sympathetic ear to his call for power to be returned to national capitals? The notion that the power-grabbing European Commission would voluntarily debate giving up its hard-earned rights would probably have been too much to hope for. Either way, it looks as if commission president José Manuel Barroso is not particularly excited about the idea.
Barroso's newly published reply comes as close to saying "no" as diplomatic language will allow. "The Treaty of Lisbon defines already clearly the areas of competence of the European Union," he wrote. "In accordance with the principle of conferral any area not falling within the EU competence remains in the domain of the member states. EU competences are exercised in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality as set out in the treaties."
In other words, they've got the power and it's written down so tough.

The people conducting this review are going to be coming out with ideas regularly over the next year or two," said a source at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. "You are going to see two or maybe four ideas a year, I think. Cameron has to be seen to be responding to the Eurosceptic mood of the people," the source told this website
As ever with Cameron, it's about what he's seen to be doing rather than what he actually does.  As long as he's seen to be acting like a eurosceptic it doesn't matter that he's an EU-loving traitor who's greatest "eurosceptic" achievement is reducing the membership payments of every EU member state whilst ours increase.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Labour's Eastleigh candidate wishes IRA had killed Thatcher

Terrorist Sympathiser
The Labour candidate for Eastleigh, John O'Farrell, wrote a book in 1998 on his misguided support for the Labour Party and explains in it how disappointed he was that the IRA failed in their attempt to assassinate Margaret Thatcher in 1984.

Lord Tebbit has described O'Farrell as an "incontinently voiced moral reprobate who tries to excuse murder as a weapon against those who won democratic elections time after time against the rag-bag remnants of a once great  Labour Party".  Lord Tebbit was injured in that assassination attempt and his wife was crippled for life by it.

In the book O'Farrell also explains how we wishes that we had lost the Falklands war and left the Falkland Islanders at the mercy of the Argentinian invaders.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

New UKIP policy on devolution: an unintended confederation

During the UKIP conference in Birmingham I was slipped a piece of paper with details of UKIP's new devolution policy and some notes confirming that the NEC had approved it and it had the blessing of UKIP Wales who have been a pain in the ass over devolution for some time, considering it the work of Satan (or worse, the French).

When I first joined UKIP there was no policy on devolution other than a "Britishness" policy that said that much like the Tories in the late 90s, UKIP opposes devolution and wants a return to a unitary state but would tolerate Grand Committees of British MPs.  Over the years I, along with others, have managed to talk some sense into the leadership (and membership) which culminated in a policy proposal written by Deputy Leader, Paul Nuttall, for an English Parliament and converting the House of Lords into a federal British Parliament.

Paul's policy was well received in England but less so in Wales where a tiny group of Big Britishers vocally argue against devolution based on an irrational and inaccurate belief that devolution is a plot by the EU to destroy the UK.  It was Paul's policy that resulted in so many members of the English Democrats (the good ones, not the nutters and racists) abandoning that sinking ship and joining UKIP.

A new policy proposal was written and was given the seal of approval by UKIP Wales who think it's a rehash of the half-backed Grand Committee idea where British MPs elected in England, Scotland, Wales and NI would come together for a few days a month and make British laws for their own countries under a gentleman's agreement that they won't interfere in each others' affairs.  The policy is somewhat further reaching than that and I suspect that nobody who's seen it so far truly understands the (positive) unintended consequences.

The new policy turns the Grand Committee idea on its head and instead of creating English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Grand Committees to make British laws for their respective countries, the national governments of the member states of the UK would be directly elected and the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs would appoint representatives to the British government.  The British government would be "indirectly elected" (ie. appointed) like the hated regional assemblies were.  Clearly this creates something of a democratic deficit which is where the unintended consequences come into play.

It's difficult to see how you could give an indirectly elected British government parliamentary sovereignty rather than a directly elected national government.  The only option is to make the national governments sovereign which would create a confederation.  A confederation is a union of sovereign states and by virtue of that sovereignty, they would have the legal and constitutional power to secede from the union in their own right rather than relying on the Montevideo Convention (effectively restated by the EEC's Badinter Arbitration Committee so it doesn't matter that the UK didn't sign up to it) which is the usual way a state gets its independence.

The alternative is that you have an appointed and therefore less accountable body with the ability to over-rule or even abolish the national governments that appointed them.  If you wouldn't give, for example, the Parliamentary Standards Committee the lawful right to unilaterally sack MPs, appoint its own government and prevent elections then you shouldn't entertain the idea of giving an appointed federal government parliamentary sovereignty.

Now, I'm more than happy with the idea of a confederation and it's something I've advocated for some time as the form of government that will prolong the union the longest as it is a consensual union rather than a prescriptive one which should be palatable to both unionists and separatists alike.  On paper it makes the union weaker although in practical terms it makes it stronger because it puts it on a footing that should be acceptable to separatists.

I was asked for an opinion on how to deal with the gap in accountability that would arise from abolishing the House of Lords when Paul Nuttall was writing his policy proposal.  The answer I came up with was a constitutional court along the lines of the German Bundesverfassungsgericht which would have the authority to choose what legislation it wants to rule on and its ruling would be binding.  The same gap in accountability would also be present under a confederation and I maintain that a constitutional court is still the answer.

This policy is a bold move - literally reinventing the union in a way that no political party has ever proposed.  Even the English Democrats who claim to be the English version of the SNP (they're not but everyone needs an aspiration, no matter how fanciful) haven't gone as far as this.  A confederation is the best of both worlds for both unionists and separatists.  The member states of a British Confederation would be sovereign nations able to leave the confederation at any time but they would still be in a British union, albeit voluntarily rather than because the law says they have to be.  I, for one, am looking forward to UKIP announcing this policy formally and campaigning for this radical new form of government that finally brings equality and fairness to all the member states of the UK.

Labour Chair's daughter joins UKIP

The daughter of the Chair of Labour's governing NEC, Angharad Yeo, has joined UKIP.

Angharad's mother, Cllr Harriet Yeo, is Chair of Labour's NEC, President of the TSSA union and leader of the Labour group on Ashford Borough Council.  Her decision to join UKIP will be a major embarrassment for Labour who rely on fear, self interest and nepotism to keep their numbers up.
The main parties are simply not listening when it comes to matters such as immigration. It may be somewhat a taboo subject but it is vital that we talk about it. It is especially valid in Ashford which has suffered from a huge influx of migrants as one of the first ports of call in the UK.

My daughter attends school in Ashford and I have benefited from maternity and healthcare in South Ashford. I have seen for myself the strain put on local services by the swelling population. It is not a question of race or creed, but of numbers. I am of Saudi origin, and it infuriates me when people paint those of us who believe immigration must be better controlled as in some way xenophobic.

I decided to join UKIP as I strongly believe that the two party system we have in the UK is not working. I was brought up in a Labour voting family and my mother still works for the party as Chair of the NEC. But I came to decide neither Labour nor the Conservatives really represent the people anymore. They have become unaccountable to their core voters, and important issues that really matter to hardworking taxpayers are ignored or brushed under the carpet.

I hope I prove that UKIP defectors are not all unhappy Tories. In fact the sort of policies UKIP promotes, from bringing back Grammar schools, to the added cost to energy bills of green policies, and of course, the pressure immigration is putting on jobs and services, are particularly pertinent to traditional Labour voters.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Yesterday's by-election results

UKIP stood for the first time in Gainsborough East and the results were as follows:

Lib Dem28.6%-15.7%

Donald Mackay stood for UKIP in a by-election for the Rutherglen South constituency of the Scottish Parliament.  The results of that election were:

Lib Dem29.5%+4.8%

Finally, UKIP stood for the first time in Dawley where a councillor recently defected to the party from the local residents' group turned political party, TAWPA.  The results there were:



Thursday, 14 February 2013

Cllr Benjamin Dennehy joins UKIP

A former Tory councillor in Ealing expelled from the party for "dishonouring the community" by talking about illegal immigrants and crime has joined UKIP.

Cllr Benjamin Dennehy, who represents Hanger Hill on Ealing Council, was expelled from the Tories for potentially damaging the Tory election campaign for Boris Johnson by offending some members of the communities that make up the community (there was lots of use of the word "community" in every statement by the LibLabCon at the time, it's like reading a sketch from Citizen Khan).

Welcome to UKIP, Cllr Dennehy.

MP shouts "Vote UKIP" at PMQs

Monday, 11 February 2013

Young Independence and LGBTQ* link arms for the greater good

                 I and my friend Max were staring upon the rushed notes I made in utter confusion - as we stood before Embankment Station. After waddling up Villiers Street for a little while I recognised a path (Craven Passage) which was far less condensed; we were heading for the same bar I, and the YI lot, pranced over to after the YI Christmas Party on the HMS Belfast. I was delighted. However, this time my sleepiness would only kick in much later into the night, hence we were just about to embrace one lively debate - and with its fruitful compromises.

                 As we were heading up to YI-LBGT's booked part of the bar I noticed the organiser's name was displayed as 'Ron Conley'; I wondered who that could possibly be. Immediately, on the second floor Ukip London Chair, David Coburn, dashed for a shake of the hands; we've already worked together in many exhilarated post-2010 campaigns - and of course I introduced Max. The numbers were low as I entered on the clock, but numbers would eventually redouble. There was trouble for many, and YI Chair Rob Comley, in returning from an action day in Eastleigh without being engulfed by delay. Nonetheless, later after he arrived we had a jubilant time reflecting over my previous Blog - his interview as Caretaker Chair.

              After a lengthy catch up with one another , Coburn suddenly launched himself to the other side of the bar. He called for our sincere attention before addressing us. I was reassured when Coburn gave a clear and concise defense as to why Olly Neville was revoked of Chairmanship; it was, quite frankly, about consistency in our external representation by party spokespeople - which Neville’s words contradicted totally. He also rebooted the sense of Libertarianism with a hint of Britannia’s Common Sense; you're not going to get anywhere blabbering about necrophilia. After a debate was proclaimed, it escalated rapidly; though of course maintaining its friendly heart. This ranged from the candidate selection processes efficiency, to the grassroots' confidence in the leadership's PR tactics, to Gay Marriage.

              Each of the LGBT crew possessed different views on the concept of marriage in modern society, but nonetheless, they still embraced one another. We also discussed the progress of Ukip and YI London. The LGBT crew were great to have on board for all of this and I hope they become occasional figures in Ukip London; the event was an obvious morale boost in light of the Ollyshamles. I believe in the Membership. Not too much the leadership in its current state - they should merge more with the membership; reflecting on the parties' yellow, purple and striped roots.

           That can be Ukip's tangible destiny; a People's Party; a Common Sense Party. [[http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/National-News/Support-for-Ukip-hits-high-of-15-2-3664652.xnf]] This poll is interesting because the three parliamentary parties' ratings are actually unchanged during our increase; it's obvious we have united the Other vote. As Nigel once put it, there isn't a single street Ukip is socially barricaded from, (in my own words).

           Three things I've learnt from that night: take some photos for this blog, prevent 'lightweight' drowsiness and learn how to tie a bow tie - forget clip ons apparently... Additionally, the pianist/ singer was spectacular and the queue was tremendous on our way out; any relation?

Cllr Diane James chosen as UKIP candidate for Eastleigh

Waverley Borough Councillor, Diane James, has been selected as the UKIP candidate for the Eastleigh by-election.

The by-election has been triggered by the "resignation" of the Lib Dem MP and convicted criminal, Chris Huhne.  UKIP is predicted to come third in most opinion polls apart from an MSN News poll which puts the party in first place but that's a national poll, not Eastleigh-only.

Cllr Jones is an expert in healthcare, a member of the local plans board, campaigns for the introduction of high speed internet in her local community and is a member of Waverley Cycle Forum.  She was elected to Waverley Borough Council as an independent before joining UKIP but continues to sit with the Waverley Independent Network group on the borough councillor.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Can Shale Gas Revive Our Great Northern Cities?

Yesterday, the British Geological Survey issued the astonishing announcement  that the UK could host up to 1,700 cubic feet of shale gas - enough to heat up British homes for up to 1,500 years at current demand (£).

It's well known that in America the shale gas revolution is well under way, has vastly lowered gas prices and is expected to lead a re-industrialisation of the American economy, as firms "re-shore" energy-intensive production.

But this being Britain, our cautious technocrats are filled with negativity. "No game changer" says Sam Laidlaw of Centrica. Moreover, even if shale gas was exploited, we can't even expect lower gas prices.

Various reasons are cited for the lack of shale gas potential, such as land ownership in the US (there you, not the government, own the mineral rights,  incentivising exploration), no supply chain, too urbanised an environment, fear of earthquakes, etc.

All these (apart from the earthquake nonsense) may be legitimate arguments, but yet again what is striking is the total lack of political will to do anything about them.  It's hard not to think that the country is slowly but surely slipping back into the timidity, smallness and meanness of spirit which so characterised the 1970s, "led" as we are  by a cowardly, corporatist establishment. To add to our woes, the environmentalist lobby  has an instinctive hatred of anything that is not renewable, and our MetroLib political class has signed up pretty much wholesale to the fashionable green energy agenda.

The second very revealing - and equally depressing - fact is the whole Metropolitan tone of coverage of the issue. It is instructive that The Times article (£) cited above on the subject talked very much about the likely impact on heating bills rather than on the potential for re-industrialisation. Industry, you see, is something fashionable MetroLib types just don't do. It brings back images of rough, probably Northern (yuck) men is flat caps doing dirty and dangerous jobs.  It's hard to see a man as effete as Nick Clegg getting excited about reopening steel works or chemical plants.

Even if somehow despite official lack of enthusiasm shale gas did take off, we may never reap the benefits. Theodore Dalrymple argues depressingly but convincingly in Standpoint magazine that we would suffer a Resource Curse similar to many developing countries who have totally squandered mineral wealth. Namely our rent-seeking political class would just use the proceeds to feather the nests of their own client groups. The Labour Party, which in theory may be expected to welcome the prospect of a revitalised industrial North, would of course in fact much prefer that they remain sovietised and moribund, dependent on government largess.

UKIP's Opportunity

Which brings use to yet another opportunity for UKIP, and more importantly a moral mission. Currently, the party is engaged in a battle to win over Labour voters, who have largely been abandoned by what has become the party of the white collar public sector with a thoroughly Metropolitan leadership. In the short term we are focusing, correctly, on the likely impact Romanian and Bulgarian immigration will have on working class communities when entry restrictions are lifted in January 2014. However there is only so far a party can go on the politics of fear and negativity. Eventually people will, rightly, expect from us a positive vision of the future.

In the post-industrial landscape of the North, where of course most of the Labour heartlands reside, people have been bereft of a constructive vision of the future for a very long time. Various ideas have been tried, of course, but few if any have really resonated with proud working-class communities built on the toil of heavy industry. But what would resonate very deeply with them would be the return of skilled manual, masculine jobs in areas that desperately need them, in traditional industries that fit with Northern culture.

For this reason, UKIP should repeatedly and aggressively state our intention to explore every opportunity to see if cheap energy from shale gas could be used to re-industrialise our great Northern cities. For instance, if mineral rights are a problem for shale gas exploration, why not allow their privatisation by allowing landowners to buy them if they so wish? If infrastructure is a problem, wouldn't the money currently been squandered on the ruinous HS2 project be better spent here?

We shouldn't over-egg the pudding and build up false hopes of course, but at least by championing the issue of potential re-industralisation we would show that we alone genuinely care for the people and their passions and - most importantly of all - their future dignity in areas that our Metropolitan LibLabCon parties do not even wish to reminded of let alone understand. It may seem strange to Southern ears, but to at least partially rebuild the great industrial heartlands: the savage beauty of the steelworks of Sheffield, Newcastle and Hartlepool, the chemical plants of the Wirral and the ship-makers of the Tyne, is a deeply romantic one to those Northern cities who in the past thirty years feel they have lost their soul. And, in the end, a successful political vision does require a degree of romance.

Survation predict third place for UKIP in Eastleigh

Survation is predicting a third place for UKIP in the Eastleigh by-election with a Lib Dem hold.

According to Survation, the Lib Dems will just scrape a victory with 36% of the vote followed by the Tories on 33% and UKIP with 16%.  Labour are predicted to come fourth on just 13% with 2% shared between the Monster Raving Loony Party, National Health Action Party and Trade Union & Socialist Party.

Is the Mail Turning Against the Tories?

Yesterday, I came across the following editorial headline:

"The Tories hang the police out to dry while letting the real crooks - their banker chums - off scot free."

Sounds like a Daily Mirror editorial, or perhaps a quote from one of their columnists Kevin Maguire or Tony Parsons. But that headline came from the Daily Mail.

I was so shocked I thought I'd gone to the wrong web site by mistake. Certainly, I can't recall ever seen such a bitterly anti-Tory headline in the Mail before.

So what is going on? It could be the Mail getting it's revenge in now the Gay Marriage vote has gone through, or just as likely, for the failure of David Cameron to push forward marriage tax breaks. It's editor Paul Dacre is a well know family values man and the Mail has campaigned on these themes for a very long time. If that's the case, then probably the newspaper will get its anger and frustration out of it's system reasonably quickly before resuming it's traditional pro-Tory line.

Or it may represent a deeper, more significant trend. In the multi-media digital age, hemorrhaging money and readers, newspapers can no longer afford to act merely as the mouthpiece of a rich and powerful proprietor, but must be extremely sensitive to the prejudices and tastes of it's readership if it wishes to keep them on board.

If that really is the reason behind that headline, then long term things look very ominous indeed for the shrinking Tory Party. Perhaps the paper reckons that the new, slick, Metropolitan Tories are on the verge of losing middle England permanently. The Daily Express, once like the Mail a slavishly Tory paper,  is at very least sympathetic to UKIP these days. Could the Mail, which is circulation wise a much bigger fish - one day follow suite?

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Paul Nuttall MEP gets into a spot of bother in Bulgaria

UKIP MEP for the north east of England, Paul Nuttall, has been in a spot of bother in Romania and Bulgaria after warning about the impending flood of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.

Paul visited a Roma gypsy slum in Sofia and commented that such slums shouldn't exist these days and that minorities should be integrated into society.  Some Bulgarians took exception to the idea that the Roma, who are considered second class citizens by large sections of society, should be considered equal to non-Roma and protested outside the British embassy.  Similar protests took place in Romania.  In both countries far right groups were the instigators.

From the 1st of January next year, 30 million of the poorest people in Europe will be entitled to live and work in the UK and thanks to economically and socially damaging EU rules, all a Romanian or Bulgarian immigrant needs to do to claim benefits from the day they arrive in the UK is register as self employed.  With an average wage of just €393 per month in Bulgaria and €479 in Romania, there's plenty of motivation for the average self employed plumber or builder to come here where they can claim that sort of money in benefits for a week.

Friday, 8 February 2013

EU budget reduction proposal set to be blocked by MEPs

Ministers have agreed a reduced EU budget for the next 7 years from around €992bn to €960bn but it could still fail to pass through the EU Parliament and the EU's off-budget spending is still out of control.

Oi, Cameron ... outside
The Guardian is calling this EU "austerity" but shaving €32bn off a budget of almost a trillion euro to be spent by an organisation that hasn't signed off its own accounts for 17 years because of fraud and waste isn't what most people would call austerity.  The Tory press are calling it a "victory".

As part of this "austerity", the French have secured an extra €1bn for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies, making a mockery of numerous promises by Cameron and his cronies to demand CAP reforms.  Off-budget expenditure such as building roads and bridges in poorer countries is protected.

Godfrey Bloom's best mate Martin Schulz MEP is leading the plot to block the reduced budget and has managed to secure a secret ballot on the budget allowing MEPs to vote against it without voters finding out how they voted.

Whilst any reduction in the amount of money the wasteful, corrupt EU gets to spends is a good thing, the UK's payments will actually increase thanks to the new rules agreed by Blair and continued by Cameron that continually reduce the rebate.

Let's bring back the health care vouchers policy

How uncomfortable must Danny Boyle be feeling right now as the nation reads about the goings on in Stafford Hospital? Those of us who are all too aware of the NHS's failings watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony in despair, reminded once again that the organisation is "the closest thing the English have to a religion". As smiling children bounced around on beds of light, kindly nurses looking fondly on, it seemed as though the British would never support the idea of any alteration to our most beloved of state institutions. Yet six months later, revelations from Stafford have shown the Service for what it really is: a failed ideological mission too often resulting in unconscionable barbarity.

No-one listening to the relatives of those who suffered in Stafford Hospital can fail to ask: how can we be sure that this will never happen again? After all, it's only the very richest in this country who can avoid using the NHS at all, meaning that any one of us may fall victim to NHS mismanagement. As things stand, it's all too likely that similar stories of suffering will be reported time and again.

Dismantling the Service is not an option. The British people are wedded to the idea of a health service that's free at the point of use and any attempts to introduce an insurance element as on the continent are likely to be vociferously opposed. Any party that took the NHS apart may well be doing the country a favour, but it would make them unelectable for decades to come.

But that doesn't mean we should abandon all radical plans to introduce competition and change the NHS, and simply stick with what we've got. Which is why I was surprised to see that UKIP have abandoned their old policy to offer a voucher scheme allowing people to opt out of the NHS, if they so wished, by taking the money that would have been spent on an NHS service for them and giving it to a private hospital or doctor of their choosing instead.

Most Conservatives agree that Michael Gove is doing the best work in the cabinet at the moment, taking on another beloved free-at-the-point-of-use service and overhauling it for the better without compromising the fact that, as it's free, anyone can use it. The voucher system was one such idea that was mooted for schools - allowing parents to take the £7,000 per year that the government spends on their child's education and put it towards private schooling if they wanted to. Certainly we can (and should) also take other education policies such as allowing schools to be independent of the local authority and apply them to health care too.

So UKIP's Health Voucher policy was that rare thing nowadays: an innovative idea that would make a real change for the better. It was this sort of thinking that attracted me to UKIP in the first place: novel solutions that address our country's problems, not solutions that merely get one over the other parties. So why did we abandon it? Presumably because, after the Olympic opening ceremony, any criticism of the NHS was thought to be a vote loser.  If Stafford Hospital teaches us anything as a party it's that sooner or later the truth will out. We shouldn't abandon doing what's right just because it's not fashionable at the time. You never know when doing what's right will turn out to be a vote-winner after all.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Libertarians and Conservatives, Conservatives and Libertarians

Now that L'Affair Neville has died down and gay marriage is plainly going to pass into law, it's time to work seriously to heal the wounds felt by both of UKIP's libertarian and conservative wings. We 'Kippers are opinionated and passionate lot, and sometimes it can feel that we are actually two parties in one, with an older deeply Conservative wing and a younger profoundly Libertarian one, both staring at each other in mutual incomprehension.

So do young firebrand libertarian's have a home in what would seem such a socially conservative party? Or, to put it another way, will social conservatives, apparently all long in the tooth and on the "wrong side of history" still have a home in UKIP in the future?

The answer is, in my opinion, is that the Libertarian and Conservative philosophies can, at their best, be politically symbiotic rather than antagonistic. You plainly can't meld the two as they start from completely different stand points, but both philosophies have great strengths and also great weaknesses, and  whether you cancel the strengths or cancel the weaknesses depends on how they are applied in practical politics.

Take Libertarianism. Amongst it's many strengths as a philosophy are it's belief in the nobility of the individual and individual endeavour, intellectual courage and a definite, if at times rather blinkered, vision. It's central weakness - and one common to most ideologies - is it's lack of empiricism, leading it to ignore the realities of the human condition. To hear many of the more fanatical libertarians go on, you would think that society consisted entirely of people with Oxbridge level intellects in perfect physical health, with boundless opportunities at their disposal. It's no accident that almost all libertarian's are well to the right of the IQ bell curve and highly educated, though often somewhat egotistical and lacking in emotional empathy towards those less fortunate. Crucially, what libertarians often tend to forget is that those with talent and ability tend to control change, whereas those less able tend to have change imposed upon them.

Now take Conservatism. It great strength is a love of existing institutions and traditions and a more empirical understanding of the human condition. The best of conservatives are not automatically against reform when necessary, but will always wish reform to be organic and if possible within the framework of existing institutions. In Edmund Burke's great phrase, they see society as "a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born".

But amongst the  great weakness of the Conservative approach is it's inherent myopia: time and time again, conservatives fail to see opportunity or threat until too late, leading to a squandering of chances or the prolonging of unnecessary misery.  It's no accident, to take one example, that the exploitation of shale gas, which has already lead to such a bonanza  in the more Libertarian United States, is only just getting off the ground in Conservative Britain. At it's very worst, of course, the Conservative tradition is a proxy for sheer cowardice in the face of change or for the cynical guarding of vested interests. 

The best approach forward to UKIP is to recognise that we very much need both traditions, and in fact would be lost without either of them: a party that was wholly Libertarian would have nothing at all to say to those less fortunate in society, and therefore without any hope of acquiring political power. However, a wholly Conservative party would find itself constantly outflanked and outmanoeuvred by those with more vision and intellectual courage. 

What I believe we should work towards is a party that takes the libertarian's love of liberty and new ideas, but accepts the need for that constant conservative voice whispering in their ear "ah yes, very good, but have you considered...", no matter how irritating that voice may sometimes be. 

What I would serious propose is that we construct a debating forum where the Libertarian and Conservative wings of the party get together, make peace and thrash out ideas on how we progress. 

Perhaps we could set up a fringe meeting at the next conference where we choose a panel of speakers, say two each from each wing of the party, or perhaps guest speakers from elsewhere, and debate one or more contentious issues of the day. (Thankfully, though, gay marriage will no longer be an issue, so the chances of both wings of the party murdering each other are much reduced.) Or we could adopt a question time format where UKIP members get to throw questions at our panel on any subject they wish.

Who knows, in the process we may even get to like each other!

Anyone who would like to help set something like this up please get in touch with me  on twitter (@andrew_cadman). All ideas welcome.

*PS - anyone who wants to talk this idea forward in their own way is very welcome to do so.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Conservative Party is Doomed, and Good Riddance

Well, not entirely doomed, but that got you reading this far.

But almost certainly doomed in the sense of ever forming a majority government again.  The party has now been utterly - and completely needlessly - seriously split over Agent Cameron's personal vanity project, Gay Marriage, as last night's vote showed. Even before the result was known, the conservative religious blogger Cranmer opined that the split in the party was the worst since the Corn Laws.

The fact that more Tory MP's voted against the proposal than for it means that the party is highly unlikely to reap any benefit in the minds of the public for being 'modern', but such benefits were always chimerical anyway.  More significantly, it shows the level of dissatisfaction in Tory ranks with David Cameron premiership and the bitterness he has sown. Activists will continue to bleed away at an alarming rate, and MPs grow more fractious.

But "Agent Cameron" is not reaping what he has sown on the issue of gay marriage alone, but on his entire style of management of the Tory party, and to understand that we have to look deep into Tory Party culture.

The Conservative party is home to some fine political traditions - the Peelite Conservative idea of "reforming the ill and preserving the good" for one, and the classical Liberal tradition inherited from the  old Liberal party for another. Unfortunately, it is also heir to an ancient and entirely cynical tradition of being a vehicle for the rich and powerful to preserve their grip on power. This  "Vicar of Bray" tradition has arguably been the dominant one throughout the party's history, certainly amongst it's leadership, who have treated the ordinary members of the party and their views with the ill-disguised aristocratic contempt. "I would sooner listen to the opinions of my valet than those of the Conservative Party Conference" said the leader Arthur Balfour. In more recent times, the great Tory diarist and historian Alan Clark - like Cameron an Old Etonian - called the party an "Old Whore".

"Agent Cameron" is certainly a leader in that thoroughly ignoble tradition. Seemingly believing in very little himself, he treats his party members and their passions with ill-disguised snobbish disdain and seems to go out of his way to insult them. He could, for example, have promised to finally introduce marriage tax allowances in the next budget to help heal the wounds and pain caused by Gay Marriage, but instead for the fourth time delayed their introduction. At the Gay Marriage debate, he once again led from the back, not even bothering to turn up for much of it.

And it is for this reason the Tory party is now doomed. For all his talk of "modernisation", David Cameron and his fellow Cameroons have completely failed to understand that this management style goes down like a lead balloon in the 21st Century. Deference and the Primrose League, when large numbers of Tory activists and voters from modest backgrounds were quite happy to "know their place" have long gone. Tory activists feel not just betrayed but thoroughly humiliated, and are leaving in droves. The Conservative Party is being hollowed out from within, and if current trends continue will soon have a membership in five figures.

Even more significantly, Cameron has managed the signal achievement of lowering the "hard ceiling" of those who will never under any circumstances vote Conservative. With UKIP gathering steam,  the party is caught between what the creator of ConservativeHome and blogger, Tim Montgomerie, called "pincers" to the left and the right, with less and less room for manoeuvre. Consequently, it unlikely to be able to ever form a majority government ever again.

And to that we can say a large "HURRAH!", because the eternal canker in the Tory body politic, the cynical desire to occupy power with no principle and to just "go with the flow", has arguable held back radical right-wing ideas for over a century.  Moreover, it has alienated many working class people who would in normal circumstances would be socially conservative from ever voting for the Conservative Party, instead coralling them into voting for socialism.  Thus, over the decades this malign Tory tradition of "power at any price" has greatly reduced the liberty and prosperity of the British people.

UKIP now have a truly colossal opportunity. Bereft as we are from class baggage, we can take the best of the Conservative parties traditions and leave the worst. Indeed, we can do the same from that other dying giant, the Labour Party. As tribal politics crumbles and resentment of the new Metropolitan Political Class festers,  our politics and ideas can both unite and drive the country forwards in the process, making our people happier, more prosperous and more free. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Malvern Councillor joins UKIP

UKIP is, by my reckoning, welcoming a defection every week so far this year and this week's is Cllr Mike Soley.

Cllr Soley resigned from the Tories last month after the Tory group on Malvern District Councillor tried to whip their councillors to vote for a local development plan and introduction of wheelie bins that they had previously voted to oppose and then threatened to discipline him and other councillors for their disloyalty.

Cllr Soley has now made the move to UKIP.

Monday, 4 February 2013

An insight into the future of YI

It's now February. A month earlier the notorious Ollyshambles occurred and the Young Independence Council nominated, then Events Officer, Rob Comley to the position of YI Chairmen. Comley later asked me for an interview - it was believed to be the right thing to do leading to the YI Elections in March. So here it is; Bloggers4UKIP interviews YI Caretaker Chair Rob Comley:

Q1. How do you feel taking on such an overwhelming role in Ukip, especially after such chaos?
            It is an absolute honor to look after Young Independence, even if it is for the short time until the annual elections in March. As I have said many times over the past few weeks, it is incredibly important that we all work together until this time, for the best of YI, regardless of whether you see yourself as more libertarian or conservative. This is something I have tried to stress since day one of being asked to take over and it is the message I will be trying to convey until the elections in March.

 Q2. What are your views on Ollyshambles?
            I have spoken to Olly personally over the past few weeks about his plans for the YI council and the direction we were going in during his brief spell as chairman. Myself and him get on rather well and agree on many internal YI council issues and these are the policies I have tried to follow up and complete. It is important that we try to move on from the situation and move forward for the best of the party. I would, however, like to take this just to say on record that I disagree with Olly’s controversial views.

Q3. Do you support the voluntary resignations which have taken place within YI? Have they managed to discuss their concerns with you?
            It was sad to see Gareth Shanks and Allrick Birch resign as Elections Officer and Treasurer, respectively. Myself and Gareth are good friends and I can understand why he was upset. We spoke about his concerns on a number of occasions after I took over and although I tried my best to persuade him to continue, he thought it was best to step down. He has since decided to focus on running for YI Yorkshire chair and I wish him the best of luck. I met with Allrick personally to discuss his resignation, and again, I asked him to continue until March but did stress that he should do what he feels best.

Q4. Why have you appointed Harry Aldridge - the 2011-2012 Chair of the Youth Wing - to the position of Vice-Chair?
            After I was asked to take over as YI Caretaker Chair Harry rang me to offer a helping hand. I deemed it important to have stability within YI and Harry, having the experience as YI Chair himself, seemed like the perfect person to offer this. I asked if he would be willing to come back onto the council until March as my vice and he was very happy to do so. He has been a great help!

Q5. What does the future look like for Young Independence?
             We have just finished putting together a ‘reformation of YI’ document and presented this to Steve Crowther and Will Gilpin during a four hour long meeting – there wasn’t a topic that we didn’t cover regarding YI internally and externally!

Externally, you will see a lot of changes slowly happening to YI over the next 12 months, especially between now and March. In the next elections we are planning on removing the social media officer position, instead combining it with the communication’s officer’s duties, as well as adding a universities officer.

Regional YI branches have been approved and we now have 8 Interim regional chairs – Robin Hunter-Clarke (East Midlands), Daniel Thistlewaite (Easter Counties), Jack Duffin (London), Matt Mackinnon (North West), Oluf Marshall (Scotland), Chris Wood (South East), Reece Warren (South West) and Thomas Hoof (West Midlands), as well as Sam Launder taking care of the Yorkshire region. This means that new members can talk to someone and get involved at a local level, as well as nationally.

We have also listened to what was wanted from our members and we have decided that it is time for a new YI website – this is something we believe to be vital in keeping up with other political youth wings. Getting our message across to university students and young workers equally is also vital and we will be planning an event to get some of these people involved between now and March.

 Internally, we will be putting new rules into place to ensure YI runs smoothly and efficiently as the youth wing of UKIP. We will also be planning the March election to ensure that this goes ahead without any glitches.

Q6. What is your perspective of YIs interjection into universities?
            I believe that working with Universities is an important part of YI. Students currently feel let-down by the current government, especially the Lib-dems. We are now the only major political party with a ‘no-tuition fee’ policy and it is vital that we get this message out there to attract more student voters. We now have four official student societies set up around the country and over twenty more trying to set up. It is important that we continue to work with these groups and I shall be trying to push this up until March, hopefully arranging a University activist’s day with guest speakers. Since I was elected onto the council I have been in the process of writing a ‘how to set up a society’ booklet and I shall be completing this very shortly.

Q7. How about sixth forms, and even the bigger youth picture; e.g. Youth clubs and public events?
             Away from YI I have been setting up a schools and colleges project in my local area, with the intention of making it national. The aim of the ‘MyLife-MyChoice’ project is to get young people between the ages of 15-18 interested in politics and out voting by the time they are 18. I also get the students to make a choice on whether they approve of the European Union. This has been approved by the Bexley chairman, David Coburn NEC and will hopefully start in the next couple of weeks.

Q8. You were elected to the position of Events Officer back in the good old days of November. Do you wish to continue administering events for YI post-March?
            My main focus at this current time is steering YI into the right direction and I have been too busy trying to do this that I have yet to consider my future on the council from March. I don’t actually think I’ve gone to bed earlier than 2 o’clock in the morning since I have taken over! I’ve been told on many occasions by my partner that I need to know when to stop but I am so determined to make YI successful that it has outweighed most things in life recently!

 In the meantime, my first event is on Saturday 9th February where ourselves and UKIP’s LGBTQ* will be having a joint get together at the Charring Cross Players Bar, London from 7.30PM. Everyone is invited and we are lucky enough to have David Coburn addressing members!

Q9. What are your hobbies and why did you join Ukip, in brief?

              I have always had a great interest in politics and history and although I have qualifications in animal welfare, as this was the original political direction I was going towards in life, I decided that party politics was the place I wanted to be.  Away from politics I have an obsession with vintage and ‘Indie’ clothing and you will often find me walking the streets of Brick Lane, as well as a strong passion for music and going to the theatre – so much so that I think I have seen The Woman in Black at the West-end close to ten times now!

I have always voted UKIP at every opportunity and decided it was time to become an official member in the spring of 2012. I remember looking at the 2010 manifesto and agreeing with everything that I read – I automatically fell in love with the policies and haven’t seen anything to change my mind since. I lived in Chelmsford, Essex for a brief spell last year and tried to get involved there as much as I could as a supporter, but on moving back to my family home in Bexley I have been an enthusiast, becoming the Secretary of my branch as well as trying to set up a society at the University of Greenwich where I am now studying a BA in Politics.

Thanks for your time Rob.

Agent Cameron Strikes Again

Why does he do it?

The consensus was that after his crafted and long-awaited speech on Europe, David Cameron had "done enough", to quote Nigel Farage, to stop Tory defections to UKIP.

Now, having seriously split his party asunder by championing the idea of same-sex marriage, the Prime Minister rubs salt into the wounds of social traditionalists by refusing to countenance introducing marriage tax breaks in the next budget.

The reason, apparently, is that he did not want to be seen to kowtow to those likely to rebel on the same-sex marriage bill being voted on in the Commons this week. However, such an explanation really does not wash when you consider that Cameron, for all his myriad faults, has always championed the need for marriage tax breaks. There was therefore no need for him to worry about appearing weak on an issue with which he is supposedly in agreement with the bulk of his party.

There are only two possible explanations for his behaviour. Firstly, that he is in essence a very weak and impressionable man, easily talked out of positions by his fashionable Metropolitan friends such as Osbourne and Clegg whose approval he desperately craves. No more in reality than a posh version of John Major, his essential vapidity is hidden by his Eton polish and arrogance.

The second is that his social snobbery is so pathological that it actually cripples his ability to govern effectively: he simply can not bear to be associated with any issue that animates those he considers his social inferiors, and instead emphasises his aloofness by humiliating his party at every opportunity.

These explanations, are, of course, mutually reinforcing rather than mutually contradictory.

The third explanation is that Cameron really is a sleeper placed in the Conservative party by others wanting it's destruction - "Agent Cameron",  as the journalist Patrick O'Flynn sarcastically dubbed him.

Whatever the reason, by telegraphing that he much prefers the approval of the likes of Nick Clegg to respecting Conservative sensitivities, Cameron has once again managed to completely unnecessarily enrage and alienate his own party activists and MP's.  As a consequence, a further dwindling of the Tory activist base is probably now inevitable. Moreover, many Conservative MP's, who will have noticed nervously from the opinion polls that the UKIP fox remains stubbornly unshot, will once again be considering the merits of outright revolt or even defection.

For us 'Kippers, Agent Cameron is the gift that keeps on giving.