Saturday, November 20, 2010

Google gets off with a slap on the wrist

After the furore over Google and in particular Google Street View and it's lack of concern for invading individual's privacy and undermining freedom, you would have thought Google was in for some serious punishment. It's not like there wasn't people advocating some very sensible reforms to force Google and other Internet firms to comply with respect for civil liberties. At the Backbench Business Committee Debate on Google and Privacy initiated by Robert Halfon there were some excellent suggestions made.

Once again the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham seems to have ignored the concerns of many people who care for liberty. He seems to have ignored his International counterparts from countries like South Korea, USA and Germany who seem to take Google's lack of concern for individual freedom much more seriously. If his refusal to come down hard on Google in the first place when there abuse of Google Street View was worrying, his next steps have been no less so. Compared to other Information Commissioners across the world our Information Commissioner has been asleep at the wheel. If he was in the private sector rather than in the safe world of a quangocrat I dare say he would have been fired.

Apparently we are all now safe from the prying eyes of Google who have signed a document committing them to better handling of individual's data. Note this document doesn't put any stop to how much Data Google has be and will in the future collect. However Google has signed similar documentations in the past. It is not worth the paper is written on. If we really want to get serious with Google, criminal proceedings need to be looked into.

Apparently the Information Commissioner is going to be taking an audit of all Google's work when it comes to handling. If its anything like the previous investigations by the Information Commissioner into Google, I'm sure they are quaking in their boots.

Apparently Google is in the Information Commissioner’s good books because they graciously deleted the WI-Fi data on individuals that they collected. That it took them so long to delete the data does not seem to perturb him.

If ever there was proof that the surveillance state in both its public and private sector forms in Britain is still very much alive the softly-softly approach to Google is.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Scale Of The Financial Mess in Context

Over the past week, firstly in a meeting of Progressive Conservatives where Jeremy Browne a right wing Liberal Democrat and Foreign Office Minister in the coalition government spoke and later at a Conservative Way Forward (CWF) seminar where the director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Mark Littlewood spoke, the sheer scale of the deficit to me was bought home. The deficit is different to the national debt, as the national debt is what is the total amount owed by the government to various sources such as the gilts market, whereas the deficit is the difference between what the government receives and spends during the year. It is important to note this as over the years such paragons of economic wisdom like Gordon Brown confused the two.

It has been calculated that the deficit is at the monumental level of between £150 to 160 Billion. This massive figure can sometimes be hard to comprehend and thus Jeremy Browne and latterly Mark Littlewood puts it in to context. They calculated that if we abolished the entire arm forces, meaning we would have no navy, no air force, no soldiers and no weapons, on top of that abolish every single police force across the country all those who worked for the police and all their operations and additionally abolished every single school across the country including everyone who worked in the state school system, we would still have a modest deficit. That shows the scale of the task facing the coalition government and why the so-called "cuts" being introduced by the coalition government, which only reduce government spending to 2006 levels do not deal fully with the financial mess the UK is in.

Furthermore for those who are interested in history, the scale of the financial mess we are in is of historical precedence. This deficit is far greater than during the recessions of the 80s and early 90s and even higher than when Britain went cap in hand to the IMF in 1976. The deficit is at a level, which has never before been reached in peacetime in the UK. This was a dramatic transformation for the national finances from 1997 when the national economy was in strong shape with both the budget deficit and the national debt being at manageable levels. It shows the economic destruction Labour inflicted on the UK, not withstanding the financial crisis.

The scale of the deficit also shows that those in the media and in the general public who believe we can keep on adding to our deficit our living in a fantasy world.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Mad Prison Question Shows Up the Government's Mad Prisons Policy

Bob Russell, the Liberal Democrat MP who is making a name for himself as the socialist conscience of the Liberal Democrats asked an absurd question on the breakdown of a tumble dryer in Chelmsford Prison this Tuesday. Firstly how this question got to be asked in the first place is an absolute joke. Once Bob Rusell tabled the question, it should have been thrown out. Considering that there are not enough prison places and our sentencing is far to lenient, I hardly think a lack of tumble dryers for prisoners who are there for a reason is a worthwhile question.

That the prison's minister Crispin Blunt, yes he of the silly quote of the year when he said that unshaped apples in prisons could start a riot, and thus it was a priority for the couple to have shapely apples for prisons " bothered to answer the question saying that the broken down tumble drying machine would be replaced as soon as possible beggars belief. I'm sure prisoners by the sounds of this will get their tumble dryers fixed quicker than most homeowners.

I thought prison was meant to be a punishment and therefore meant to be uncomfortable. It's not meant to be a hotel, where all prisoners whims are met. The government in the latest prisons reform policy seems to have forgotten this.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Norwich South MP ignores the elephant in the room about pubs

Simon Wright, the Liberal Democrat MP for Norwich South has recently made a big play on his blog about how he is standing up for the city pubs in his areas and listening to their concerns.

However he ignored one issue, which has played a massive role in the closing down of pubs and a reduction in pub sale. That being the smoking ban. Pub landlords and customers apparently didn’t raise the issue. However from comments I have heard from pub landowners I personally find this hard to believe. With this in mind, I commented on his article below and have sent an email to him on the matter, which I will wait for a response on. I have copied the letter I wrote into this blog.

Mr Wright a serious issue affecting pubs is the smoking ban in public places. Since this has been in place in the UK, it has had a destructive effect on pub trade and pub numbers. I find it surprising therefore that you did not raise this issue. Considering that 25% of the country smoke, shutting out this percentage of the population from the pub was always going to have an effect on pub trade.

Additionally David Nuttall on Wednesday set up a ten-minute rule bill to amend the smoking ban in public places that would allow separate smoking rooms with air ventilation. By doing this health concerns would be allayed, pub trade would go up and smokers would head back to the pubs. You did not vote on this. Considering this bill was all about saving British pubs, which you are apparently committed to, I find this strange. This is not an isolated incident as you did not sign Brian Binley's EDM that called for a similar amendment to the smoking ban in public places.

If you truly want to stand up for local pubs, will you take this issue up and bring the issue up in parliament in the future?

Yours Sincerely,

Stephen Hoffman

PS: Watch this space for the response.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vote For Grant Tucker, He's Sound

I wouldn't normally get involved in Welsh regional politics, especially since I've come from England and haven't felt the need to comment on it before. However it's come to election time in Conservative Future (CF) across the country and there's one race to watch and it's for Welsh Regional Chairman. It is between Zahid Raja and Grant Tucker. It is a case of voting between what is great about the Conservative party and what is wrong about the Conservative party.

It would be an absolute travesty if Zahid Raja won, his comments would make that other great sell out who called himself a Conservative Ted Heath proud. He is a member of the Tory Reform group, whose job it seems over the years was to criticise one of the Conservatives greatest prime minister's in Margaret Thatcher. Not only that Zahid Raja seems to think in his role in CF he has the right to criticise groups who think taxes should be cut and spending cuts. It is worse than this the reason Zahid Raja has campaigned against spending cuts was not for the good of the country but rather out of pure self interest. This is because he advocated his own profession of doctors getting paid more than they are already doing. Not for him the mantra of we're all in it together. He has also called his own university d**ks for advocating spending cuts. Considering that Universities are awash with overspending, it is a serious worry that someone running for such a senior position doesn't recognise that we need to cut public spending both to boost private enterprise and to deal with the massive deficit. It's also worrying that he doesn't realise that he might have to go through some pain to help the country. He has also criticised the excellent right wing pressure group the Taxpayer's Alliance for calling him out on these socialist views. His reaction to them shows someone who is thin skinned and cannot take criticism. Not exactly the qualities you want in a leader. With views like this he would better fit the socialist Labour party. We need selfless people running CF branches, not selfish people.

If Zahid’s views were not enough to put you off voting for him, he is also up against an extremely sound guy in Grant Tucker. I first met Grant Tucker at a Freedom Association event in Cheltenham. Grant is an extremely friendly guy as well as charismatic. With these people skills, with Grant at the head of Wales CF, there will be some fun events for Wales CF members to enjoy. He is not short of a view or two, and won't simply toe the party line when he feels it is wrong. Grant is also an experienced campaigner who will put in the hard work in this area when he needs to as well as passing on his much needed experience in this area. Grant is a proud thatcherite, and will stand up for these sound values when it is needed. Grant is also a proud member of the Freedom Association showing himself as a friend of freedom. He has worked successfully with the Freedom Association in Wales. He also has links to other right wing pressure groups. With this in mind I really feel Grant will be able to work with these groups successfully to create some excellent events for Wales Regional CF. Grant also has the interests of Wales Regional CF. This is why with Grants connections with other CF's across Wales he will work to have a CF presence in every constituency, so that Conservatives presence can spread across Wales. He is not running for his own ego, as many feel Zahid Raja is doing.

So I urge the good people of Wales CF to vote for Grant Tucker if you want a true Conservative, who has the interests of the people of Wales CF at heart rather than himself.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Racing 4 Peace by Simon Stiel

Today we have a guest piece from Simon Stiel on an excellent organisation which is involved in a scheme celebrating co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians. In a relationship which is often marked by darkness on both sides, it is heartwarming to see that there is some light in the relationship. Perhaps politicians on both sides should take note. Whatever your viewpoint on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, It is clear that both sides want peace and they just have different ways of achieving it. I therefore urge everyone to support this excellent project which Simon will talk about below in any way possible.


Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are happening again. They have happened before and arouse hope across the world. Yet they have constantly petered out with no satisfactory conclusion for both sides. Over the last decade, Israelis and Palestinians have collaborated together in several fields as non-governmental organisations: film, the environment, music, academia and sport. Racing 4 Peace represents another endeavour, this time for motorsport.

The Israeli and Palestinian founders of this team met each other at the go-kart track in Latrun, Jerusalem in 2006. Rasheed Nashashibi is the Official Karting champion in Palestine and he met Israeli engineer Aric Lapter. Rasheed described the meeting: “I was racing and wearing my racing suit. I had a Palestinian flag on it and I noticed he was wearing a similar T-shirt. I got a call from the track saying he wanted my number; that’s how he got my number and he called me. He came over to my place and said. ‘I have an idea about racing, do you want to meet up and talk about it?’ That’s all it all started.”

Rasheed was astonished even more when Aric told him he’d the first single seater built in Israel. “I was like, show me the pictures!” The car is a Formula Vee. Based on the Volkswagen Beetle, it is designed for the Formula Vee series, a cheap form of motor racing.

Aric and Rasheed have tested the car at the Arad air strip in the Negev desert in Israel. The tests have demonstrated how well designed the machine has been as Rasheed explains: ““It has at the end, a circle where we do a big turn at the end and we do some cones. We do left hand and right hand turns. It’s all slower than a proper track, but it’s all we’ve got you know.”

A GPS device was fitted onto the car and during the test, the lateral G force was measured at 1.6; which is considered impressive. Six tests have taken place. “It was really good considering the car has old tyres. The last time we drove it we pushed it really hard. The handling is very neutral. It’s a lot of fun, you should try it!” Rasheed laughs.

The two aim to compete in Britain as team-mates. At the moment, they’re looking for $100,000 to cover the cost of transporting the car and racing. So far, due to the economic depression, they’ve only got $2000. Fortunately, publicity has been helped by a documentary being made by renowned Israeli director, Omer Reiss. The BBC has sponsored the film and may pay for two weekends of racing.

The two men aim to be role models for their peoples. Rasheed has helped Palestinian children embrace karting as another popular sport and Aric hopes one day motor racing will be legalised in Israel and open motorsport up to Israeli talent. With the necessary funds, they could make a real difference and they need all the help they can get.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A response to Melanchton's suggested letter to Conservative MP'S

Over on Conservative Home Melanchthon has encouraged us to write to our local Conservative MP's to ask them where the government has repatriated powers to Britain from the EU and that they will push the government on this issue. This comes about from the news that the government is in favour of a new European Union treaty, as long as they can use the treaty to repatriate powers to Britain. Here is my response to Melanchthon's suggestion below which I wrote on Conservative Home. The response comes from the article here:

We can ask our Conservative MP'S to tell us where we have repatriated powers from the EU. However if they are being honest they will admit that we haven't repatriated any powers from the EU to Britain but have in fact done precisely the opposite.

This has been done by signing up to the European Investigation Order, which increases criminal justice harmonisation across the EU, whilst making the work of British police force and judiciary null and void. They will be forced to follow European Union orders in the name of further EU integration, rather than doing their jobs.

Then there was the creation of the European External Action Service, which in all but in name created a European Diplomatic Corps. This means nowadays that European diplomats will be speaking on our behalf. In all of this the British Foreign Office might as well cease to exist. It will not have much power to do anything after all. Clearly this is a serious loss of national sovereignty.

With the best intentions in the world trying to repatriate some powers from Brussels as a member of the European Union is impossible. No European bureaucrat is going to let a member state on the proviso of national sovereignty get some powers back from the EU. It goes against everything, which the EU institutions and the people in charge of these institutions believe. The only way to get power back for the UK so we can become a sovereign independent nation state again is to leave the EU.

So Melanchthon's suggested letter to Conservative MP's may be good in one sense.It will show up the old lie that we can be in Europe but not run by Europe.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Referendum Lock Wont Work.

In recent days Douglas Carswell MP and Bill Cash MP amongst others have criticised the government's referendum lock legislation. The referendum lock aims to trigger a referendum lock on any issue where further powers pass to the EU. The government decides when powers may potentially be passed to the EU. Apparently this is to stop further powers going to the EU. There are a series of major flaws with the legislation though.

The referendum lock is completely pointless especially since the Lisbon Treaty, which we are signed up to is a self-amending treaty. Considering the government's recent decision to sign up to the European Investigation Order the government does not seem to be particularly interested in stopping further powers going to the EU. With this in mind even if the referendum lock had any powers, which it does not, the government would simply bypass it.

The only way to get out of this nightmare project which daily takes sovereignty away from the UK is to leave the EU. If we did this we wouldn't need a referendum lock, because the EU wouldn't be allowed to grab any powers off the UK anymore. To conclude we would be Better Off Out.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Freedom Of Expression Has No Bounds

News across the world has been going crazy recently about an evangelical pastor based in Florida attempts to burn the Koran in a ceremony to commemorate 9/11. Pastor Terry Jones in his previous comments has shown himself to be extremely Islamaphobic and these views are not acceptable. I hate Pastor Terry Jones and his bigoted views. However for the same reason I do not support those calling for the building of the Islamic cultural centre near ground zero to be stopped, for the same reason I will defend anti-globalisation organisations right to protest and a holocaust deniers right to debate, I do not support those calling for Pastor Terry Jones Koran burning event to be banned.

This is because freedom of speech and expression has to be protected even if it ends up protecting nasty people. Unlike in other countries the USA until now has always understood this. This is because of the American Constitution first amendment that protects freedom of speech. Therefore abhorrent people can burn the American flag because this is their right as free citizens of the United States to do so. This meant that the Texan Gregory Lee Jones in an Anti-Reagan protest, right to burn the American flag was defended in the Supreme Court. I and many others at the same time have the freedom to call people like Pastor Terry Jones as abhorrent racists and run counter-demonstrations as long as we do not engage in physical violence. However I do not have the right to gag his protest and neither does the state. This is because freedom of expression means abhorrent people have the freedom to offend. If we shut them down we would be living in a dictatorship and I'm sure no one wants that. I would prefer to live in a society where everyone can express an opinion and go on a march without fear of arbitrary arrest or state intervention to ban it. This is despite the fact that offensive people will take advantage of these rights. The alternative choice is to live in a society comparable to the Soviet Union where your every move is watched and the state traps every individual inside a prison. This all means that hardly anyone will speak out or protest due to fear.

There are those who say the ban is endangering security, however Pastor Terry Jones is not calling for the killing of American soldier. Those who are carrying out these attacks have deep hatred for the west and will look to any excuse to attack soldiers from the west. They are not attacking American and British soldiers in Afghanistan because of Pastor Terry Jones. They are attacking American and British soldiers as they hate that the free values of the West. We should not give into them, just because they would like to see us live in a less free society where freedom of expression no longer exists.

It is testament to the USA that they can let extremist organisations be they Muslim, Christian or Jew to express their opinion in any way they see fit unless they take part in physical violence. These rights would not be allowed in countries such as Saudi Arabia, where religious freedom is not allowed and when those expressing religious beliefs, which the state does not recognise are dealt with severely. The excuse given here a lot of the time is that a reduction in religious freedom was needed on the grounds of security. This is a feeble excuse. No one after all is secure in an authoritarian society. If the USA government banned Pastor Terry Jones’ protest, they will throw away a long tradition of promoting religious freedom, including the religious freedom of those with deeply warped views.

To conclude I do not support the calls calling for the burning of the Koran ceremony to be banned. Whilst it would be easy to call for a ban, it would be a betrayal of freedom of expression and freedom of speech. We betray these values at our peril, as they are the foundation blocks of a democratic and free society. Without them the very essence of democracy in the USA and the West in general starts to crumble.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bill Etheridge Is A Nasty Conservative and Proud Of It

Today this blog post will be written by Bill Etheridge. Bill Etheridge is a Conservative activist in Dudley. He has also created a branch of the Campaign Against Political Correctness for the West Midlands. He is also a proud member of The Freedom Association where he has been great help. Bill is proud of being a conservative and stands by right wing values which he feels proud of. Today Bill will be writing a post on what it means to be what the media call "nasty conservatives". He will also show why it is precisely the values of so called nasty conservatives which need to flourish in our country to make us great again.


I recently formed a new group; we call ourselves “The Nasty Conservatives”. Within 24Hours we had over sixty members!

The aim of the group is to counter the ridiculous propaganda that has been propagated for many years by the Left, that anyone who stands for Right of Centre, “Conservative” values, is “Nasty”.

The word “Nasty” is particularly effective as a label or descriptive term. The dictionary definition for the word has several meanings including; dirty, repellent, malicious, spiteful, dangerous and unpleasant. All in all “Nasty” is a powerful and exceptionally negative word.

With brilliant determination and consistency the Left of British politics have managed to label first the Conservative party then anybody who follows a Right of centre agenda as Nasty. The term is a brilliant way of avoiding any debate of the tough issues or of strong measures to solve them. It has such power that David Cameron and his inner circle felt a policy of “detoxification” was required to improve the image of the Nasty Party.

So to paraphrase the mantra that the British public has been subjected to over recent years, anything other than a soft, Social Democratic approach to politics has been labelled as beyond the pale and unpalatable. While the New Labour machine worked hard at spinning the line that reasonable people like their Government to be “touchy feely” with a caring feather light touch and anything other than that is somehow barbaric, the liberal elite controlling the BBC and much of our education system where busily rewriting history. The rewrite characterised the 1980s as a bleak period, where the ruined wastelands of Britain were ruled over by the wicked Margaret Thatcher and her evil Tory henchmen.

The distressing thing is that this twin pronged approach was so effective it has created several “Truths” that are becoming established in the collective consciousness of the British people. Amongst these “Truths” are; the valiant miners were working class heroes supported by the country but crushed by a police state. The only good Budget is a progressive, redistributing one. We can’t leave The European Union it would cost too many jobs. We benefit from a Multicultural society and it is to be encouraged and celebrated. Reading these statements we all know what the programmed response should be to anybody who questions them, these people are uncaring, a bit crazy or worse still racist.

I reject these “truths”. I don’t believe that the Government needs to be focusing on redistributing wealth, I would rather it helped create an environment where wealth creation is easier. I certainly don’t believe the Miners strike was a noble effort by them on behalf of the working class. I believe it was a politically motivated attempt by a Marxist led mob to unseat the democratically elected Government. I don’t believe we need to stay in the European Union for economic or any other reason. I certainly don’t believe in “Celebrating Multiculturalism” as the cliché goes, rather I believe that immigration has run out of control and it needs to be brought right down. Those immigrants who have settled here need to be encouraged to integrate into British society and its values.

The last paragraph is a classic set of beliefs that would have me immediately labelled as a “Nasty Conservative” or as one of the latest derogatory terms goes “A head banger”. In the past, I have been guilty of wondering whether the prevailing consensus was right and I better just keep my head down. My doubts, however, have been totally assuaged by the disastrous fall, spread over several years, of the Labour government. It is quite clear that the forces of New Labour have literally brought this country to ruin.

The only way to save our country from the brink of permanent decline is to embrace radical, hard line Conservative values. The time for half measures and towing the line has passed. Blair and Brown were in power too long for the damage they did to be easily reversed, maybe it can’t be reversed at all and it’s too late. If this were the case, in the spirit of Churchill who declared that he and the cabinet would lie “Choking in their own Blood” before giving up on our Country. We must fight on until the bitter end, when the once majestic Britannia finally slumps to the status of a Third world state with faint echoes of its former greatness symbolised by impressive architecture and archaic ceremonies, laid on for the tourists.
I am a “Nasty Conservative”. I am a member of the Conservative Party, The Freedom Association, The Bruges Group and The Campaign Against Political Correctness. I will do everything I can to reverse the disastrous path our country has been set on by decades of social engineering, political correctness and weak leadership.

If you are proud of our country and its wonderful history, while still believing we could have a great future, then it is your duty to fight back. This fight back can take many forms from joining a political party or pressure group to simply refusing to accept the lies any more. Strong measures and determined leadership are what is needed to repair the damage done by Thirteen years of New Labour; we need to be “Nasty” to save our Country!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

David Willets Supports Social Engineering

In a move which will strike fear in the hearts of meritocrats like myself David Willets the minister in charge of universities seems to want to take us back to the social engineering of the Labour years when it comes to university places. He wants it to be made easier for poorer people to go to university. This would be done through providing quotas for poor people to universities, which the universities would have to go by. What is even worse about this is that it is Whitehall who would be in charge of quotas centralising further education further. This is despite the government's belief in the big society. The big society can only be achieved through decentralisation.

That will mean that they could achieve lower grades then middle class people, but if they are seen to have great potential then they will receive the place above them. This is a case of positive discrimination, where excellence goes out of the window in the name of socio-economic background and diversity. It is an example of governments once more trying to enforce equality when this is not a desirable outcome. I abhor this as I think that Universities should be unashamedly elitist choosing on the basis of excellence alone. I feel it is my duty to point out to the aptly nicknamed "two brains" David Willets that potential is not the same as actual achievement. This means that you can only actually judge on actual achievement.

The government would not need to push for poorer people to go to university or in general people going to university if they abandoned the ludicrous vision of trying to send as many people as possible to university. Universities are not meant to be for everyone and indeed a lot of people are not suited to university life and the government needs to remember this. There would be no need for a quota then as there simply would not be the number if we remembered what Universities are there for. That way people would not be forced to go to university from whatever background and those who came from a poor background but were academically strong could go to university as their would be the space to take them on. Universities could go back to being unashamedly elitist rather than social engineering labs and in the space of less people going to universities apprenticeships could come back in vogue. This would increase the manual skill base which in the grand rush to push everyone to go to university we are lacking. Additionally with the clear evidence that A-levels have been devalued and the quality of students going to university has decreased is it really wise to introduce a reform that could make this situation even more widespread?

In conclusion it is not the job of universities to address the inequalities we have in society or the advantages certain children have either through education or socio-economic background. Perhaps as Douglas Carswell suggests on his blog it is just another example of ministers not resisting the urge to tinker in business which has nothing to do with them and should be left out of the hands of government. David Willets needs to remember this before considering this ill thought out reform.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gaza Decision Correct- Five Years Later by Yisrael Neeman and Elliot Chodoff

Today I have a guest piece from Yisrael Ne'eman and Elliot Chodoff of Mid East on target. This is an organisation which writes informative pieces on Israel and the Middle East in general. They are experts in the field. They have written an extremely interesting piece on the Gaza disengagement decision five years on. Like them despite its unpopularity in Israel it is a decision that I still support. The reasons in support of the Gaza Disengagement are listed by Yisrael Neeman and Elliot Chodoff below in their article.

Gaza Decision Correct – Five Years Later

The decision to disengage from Gaza five years ago was the correct decision, then and now. Today this is an unpopular position as many people are drawn into the populist attacks against the withdrawal in light of the rise of Hamas. According to public opinion polls the average Jew in Israel believes the Gaza withdrawal was mistaken, but then that same average Jew believes the Israeli government should bring home Gilad Shalit at all costs – freeing 1000 Palestinian prisoners, many of them involved in mass murder of civilians. Public opinion is fickle, in May 2000 the Four Mothers protest group and public pressure forced Israel to withdraw from the security zone in south Lebanon. The same public opinion voted the Likud's Ariel Sharon into the prime minister's office in February 2001 (at the time he was seen as a super hawk) with a margin of 62.4% to Labor's Ehud Barak (who was PM at the time of the withdrawal) with 37.6% of the ballots cast.

In the summer of 2005 there were 8,000 Jews living in Gaza surrounded by 1.3 million Arabs, mostly Hamas supporters. Dozens of tunnels (and possibly over a hundred) already existed connecting Egyptian Rafiah with Gazan Rafiah under the Israeli patrolled "Philadelphi" border road. Hamas was on the rise and despite Israeli efforts to the contrary more tunnels were constructed all the time. Arms and ammunition flowed into Gaza from Sinai. Some 85% of the Gaza Strip, and virtually all of the Arab population was controlled by the Palestinian Authority with the remainder held by the Israeli army and Katif/Erez Bloc settlements. The IDF was not present in Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Dir el-Balah, Rafiah or the smaller towns and refugee camps. The PA ruled in these areas. And lest we forget, thousands of Hamas Kassam rockets rained down of Sderot and in the northwest Negev since April 2001, more than four years before the Disengagement.

The Jewish communities in Gaza, with a few exceptions, were militarily indefensible. Placed geographically in pockets, mostly along the Gaza coastline, they suffered from long, exposed access roads and frighteningly close proximity to hostile urban centers. The distance from Khan Yunis to Neve Dekalim, for example, was a few hundred meters, well within effective sniper range.

Overall there were some 3000 IDF troops in the region, most of them tied down in defending fixed positions and responsible for the well being of the civilian population of 8000. Everyone was a "sitting duck" surrounded by Fatah "police" as well as Hamas terrorists. Hundreds of attacks took place (remember the Hatu'el family massacre?) along the unprotectable Kissufim-Gush Katif road, along with constant shelling of civilian targets, but the outside world including the staunchly pro-Israel Bush Administration barely took notice, as long as the victims were “settlers.”

There existed no military method to ensure security for the Jewish population of the Gaza Strip. To recapture and hold all of Gaza would take an investment of tens of thousands of troops in perpetuity, hopelessly pinning them down and rendering much of the IDF ground force useless as a modern military. There are those on the Right, who forgot the bad old days of patrolling the Gaza refugee camps, who at the time advocated such a policy of troop commitment and continue today with the "I told you so" attitude without considering the ramifications in terms of Israeli casualties among troops and civilians. Palestinian losses, in particular civilians caught in the cross fire, would also be a daily occurrence, making this policy less sustainable over the long term.

In sum, the IDF did not have the resources, personnel, or geographical position to successfully protect the Jewish residents of Gaza. The force committed was unable to accomplish its mission, and could not be used in offensive counterterrorist operations. The result was the paralysis of some 30% of the IDF’s infantry capability, with guerrilla and terrorist forces threatening the country from the West Bank and Lebanon, while Syria and Iran waited in the wings. Stretched this thin, the IDF was reducing its missions on other fronts, and had virtually abandoned combat training for the ground forces. These factors contributed significantly to the IDF’s performance failures during the war with Hizbullah in 2006.

Politically, Hamas won the elections for the Palestinian Legislature in January 2006 taking 72 (plus another 4 independent Islamists) of 132 seats in a crushing defeat of the secular Fatah incumbents. Gaza was the stronghold of Hamas power as it had been for close to 30 years. Had there not been an Israeli withdrawal half year previous Palestinian voters would have been even more encouraged to support Hamas in its demands to force Israel from Gaza and to punish Fatah, which they considered collaborationists with Israel for signing the Oslo Accords. Internally the hated Fatah regime was exposed in all its corruption, in particular its theft of development and aid funding coming from abroad. This brought about the short lived hybrid government led by Pres. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) of Fatah whose cabinet was dominated by Hamas PM Ismail Haniyah and his Islamist cabinet.

In June 2007 a Hamas military force of 6,000 overthrew the regional Gaza PA regime, handily defeating the Fatah led Palestinian Police force of 22,000. Could an Israeli presence in Gaza and direct intervention have prevented such an internal Palestinian upheaval? And who would have Israel placed in power? Fatah? And let's not be ridiculous in believing an Israeli military administration could have exercised control, having already failed in the late 1980s during the Palestinian uprising of 1987-91. Once replacing the PA and taking full control Israel would need to spend billions of shekels every year for the well being of 1.3 million Gazans (with an estimated birth rate of 5.5% - among the highest in the world) and counting. Costly Israeli military intervention may have postponed a Hamas putsch but not prevented it. How safe would it have been for Israelis living in Gaza after Hamas solidified power? Imagine the Cast Lead Operation with the Katif Bloc still in place. In the end Israel would have left Gaza with more casualties, more condemnations than the UN and Goldstone could ever dream up and much less deterrence. One should also not be so naïve as to think the IHH and Turkish PM Erdogen would not send a flotilla and encourage more.

Israel never intended to annex Gaza and give all its 1.3 million Palestinian residents citizenship. Holding on to Gaza only weakened Israeli security and made the situation much worse than it is today with 8000 civilians and 2000 soldiers held hostage to Hamas fire at any given moment.

Finally in one aspect all governments failed miserably. The Gaza evacuees were not cared for as promised. Some communities rebuilt themselves, certain individuals took initiative and found new horizons, but many were treated with virtual "criminal neglect". Permanent housing could have been built in the Askelon/Ashdod region for those who could not make a decision for themselves concerning their future. Partial compensation could have been given up front, pending a final agreement.

The government is definitely at fault, however this does not whitewash the settlement leadership and national religious rabbis, many of whom declared that an evacuation "could never happen" or were overconfident they would halt the Disengagement. Many refused to prepare themselves for the inevitable, believing rabbinical declarations to the end. Packing up one's house at the last moment is not planning for the future. Treatment of the 8000 evacuees once they left Gaza was a disaster then and is still not fully remedied today – and this is fully condemnable. Compensation must be made as soon as possible.

Overall, leaving Gaza was correct five years ago as it is today. Had there been no Disengagement the situation would be much worse today.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Time to Stand Up To The Surveillance Society.

Rob Halfon MP for Harlow writes an excellent article on his blog reminding us about the threat of increased surveillance into our lives. Unfortunately the threat is not just coming from the government, it is now coming from large private corporations also. Chief among them is Google. Rob Halfon has already raised an excellent EDM on this which I urge you to encourage your local MP to sign.

The issue which Rob Halfon raises in his blog is vital. This is an issue which must be debated in parliament and I look forward therefore for Rob Halfon and like minded MPs raising the issue in parliament further. Also if this government truly believes in giving the British people there freedoms back then the government will also look into the issue also and start getting tough with google also. In the UK we are spied on too much by both the government and private corporations. This invasion of our freedoms needs to be stopped. As innocent civilians we should be allowed the right to a private life. The government and google needs to be reminded of this. In general the surveillance society needs to be stopped because it has got to a stage at the moment when the sinister Big Brother mentioned in George Orwell's book 1984 is alive and well. I am positive though that with MPs like Rob Halfon speaking out on the matter Big Brother can be slayed.

Here's the link to the blog article here:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Most Influential Ministers Outside the Cabinet for the Right and Wrong Reasons

Conservative Home has asked those signed up to their sight to say who are the most influential ministers outside the cabinet and the reasons why. For me this is an important exercise as many of these ministers will be the political stars of the future and therefore it is important to keep them on the radar. Additionally whilst the secretaries of state are the public face for the policy most of the detail of the policy comes from the junior ministers and without there support the policies can quickly lose their momentum and be consigned to the dustbin. I have therefore put who I see as the most influential Cabinet Ministers. Some are these are for positive reasons and the others are for wholly negative reasons. Incidentally these are only concentrating on Conservative Ministers and not the Liberal Democrat Ministers.

Those who are influential for positive reasons are:

Chris Grayling working with Iain Duncan smith for finally taking on the mantle of welfare reform and running with it. Oh and showing it is not just the left who care about the poor, and actually it is the right through their beliefs in wealth creation who have the best solutions for helping people out of poverty, whereas the left would just leave people in the poverty trap. Iain Duncan smith's plans are innovative and his simplification of the benefit system will lead to a situation where no longer will it pay to be out of work. Without someone as committed as Chris Grayling behind him, the welfare reform team would not have the drive it needs. Chris Grayling showed when he was the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions that he was committed to welfare reform.Now in government he is working closely with Iain Duncan Smith to put this into action.

Anne Milton, the Health minister, I completely disagree with her on smoking, where she is one of the most fiercest tobacco control advocates. However I like her plain speaking saying simply that the doctors should call fat people fat. It was a nice change from the politically correct language of New Labour and long may straight talking continue.

Mike Penning for applying the death nail to the dreaded speed cameras. No longer are we stuck with a government which seems to have a pathological hatred of motorists. His actions also proved that often Speed Cameras were just there as revenue raisers to take money off the hard pressed taxpayer and had no effect on safety whatsoever.

Grant Shapps through suggesting that council houses shouldn't be for life. He grasps the nettle that council houses for life damage aspiration and encourage fecklessness and idleness. In general I have been impressed by Grant Shapps who is pushing the localist agenda strongly. I believe he will be a rising star.

Nick Herbert for making policeman accountable to the public through the creation of elected police commissioners. This was a brave step in the face of concerted opposition from chief police officers. Hopefully it will rebuild the trust which has been lost between the police and the public.

Then there are those who have been influential for all the wrong reasons:

David Liddington the Europe Minister has shown himself to be a committed europhile. This is shown in the government's drift towards further European integration when David Liddington became a cheerleader for the European External Action Service, which in my view is a European Diplomatic corps that will undermine British Diplomacy and lead to the end of a independent British foreign policy. David Liddington along with William Hague seems to have no problem with this and has been actively pushing it.

Crispin Blunt for his terrible work as part of the justice team. Whilst I do in general support Ken Clarke's ideas on prison reform I draw the line at Crispin Blunt's cheer leading for prison parties. Not only was this a terrible PR gaffe showing a profound lack of judgement, it also run roughshod over the sensible view that prisoners should not be rewarded.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Most Influential Right Wing Journalists

Conservative Home also asked in Centre right for our opinion on the most influential right wing journalists. In journalists we are reminded that the written pen and now they typed article can be extremely influential. It is also where you can see the right wing is heading in the UK is heading and the fault lines within it. I have included no one in the sun here namely because for me the Sun is not exactly the home of excellent journalists. I now this sounds snobbish but it is just my view.

Here are my 4 most influential journalists; I’ve not done it on name recognition alone:

1. James Dellingpole- in his editorials in the spectator and elsewhere, he has been busy debunking climate change alarmism, whilst showing the brittle evidence Anthropogenic climate change is based on. This has become particularly relevant after the climate gate incident at East Anglia University.

2. Simon Heffer- Whether you oppose or support Heffer's criticism of Cameron, no one can say you cannot see his influence of a new editorial tone from the telegraph, which is increasingly critical from the right of David Cameron.

3. Bruce Anderson- One of the few writers in the independent who hasn't been infected by the leftist bias. Whilst he remains, the Independent hasn't completely abandoned living up to its name the Independent " that’s to say being a paper which has no political stance and has journalists of all political perspectives". He has also written some very good articles in defence of David Cameron.

4. Alistair Heath- The editor of CITY AM who also contributes to the spectator, has been one of the few defenders of capitalism, free markets, low regulation, low taxes and the city of London, when others have given up. Whilst he now may be a single person, he will provide I believe the intellectual depth to defenders of capitalism in the upcoming years

Influential tory backbenchers.

Conservative Home through its centre right blog asked an interesting question after making a few suggestions of their own about who have been the most influential Conservative backbenchers.

Conservative backbenchers have become increasingly important in general since the advent of the coalition government. This is because as David Cameron has been increasingly sidling up to the Liberal Democrats, many on the backbenchers have felt that they have being ignored.

They point to the issues of the EU where the conservatives in their general election manifesto said they would be doughty defenders of British interests, yet the reality has been when in government they have put into law the European External Action Service which should now been known by the moniker the EU diplomatic corps, which many believe due to its sheer size and scope will undermine an independent UK foreign policy. Then their was the opting into the European Investigation order, which has undermined the UK's judicial independence, and handed over our judicial and police powers to the EU. This seems more pro EU rather than eurosceptic, and therefore there is no wonder that conservative backbenchers have been unhappy about this.

There has also been the ill judged attempted emasculation of the 1922 committee, when Cameron tried to put conservative government ministers on to it and was forced to back down, as well as an ignorance of any policies coming from conservative backbenchers.

This is why in my view Conservative Home's question is more important than ever. It is also important in my viewpoint as the conservative backbenchers now represent the grassroots of the party like myself who at times feel disenchanted by the coalition government who at times seems very unconservative.

My choices were as follows:
I think Tim Montgomerie who runs Conservative Home forgot one big name who has been tirelessly fighting for the Tory right and has stood up for his eurosceptic principals whilst being a doughty defender of his constituency. He also highlighted channel 4's positive discrimination policy. This man is Phillip Davies.

Another person is Graham Brady who has been doing a brilliant job in his 1922 committee of defending the rights of conservative backbenchers who otherwise would have had a much harder time having their voice expressed.

Then there is Christopher Chope who successfully defended the rights of the 1922 committee not to be emasculated by the conservative elites. He is also running an effective yet under the radar campaign against the AV referendum. He has also along with Phillip Davies and others been involved in getting second readings on some of his private members bills such as the UK sovereignty bill, which the government if they had the choice wouldn't like to debate.

Jacob Rees Mogg has been a breath of fresh air with some excellent speeches, he's clearly very independent minded also. His budget speech was great, reminding us who had caused the mess, Labour and why capitalism is still the answer.

However for his defence of Britain against the EU and good work in the culture, media and sport select committee. For my view it has to go to Phillip Davies. He might not get much attention, but he is one of the most respected and influential backbenchers in my humble opinion.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The European Investigation Mad, Bad and Dangerous - Therefore the Coalition signed up to it.

The European Investigation Order literally makes my blood boil. It is one of the most illiberal and undemocratic orders issued by the EU, which will squeeze our liberties even further, and surrender more of our sovereignty. We could have opted out of this terrible scheme, we could have stood up for Britain's interests. So what did this coalition government do which promised us that our liberties would be protected, and no further sovereignty would be surrendered to the EU well quite clearly from the message here, they did exactly the opposite, they have opted in to one of the most authoritarian pieces of legislation going and smashed up a key promise of theirs to protect liberty and protect sovereignty.

That we’ve opted can be seen by Baroness Neville Jones in the House of Lords speaking on behalf of the government and Theresa's May statement in the House Of Commons. There wasan option to opt out, but following the British government policy of capitulating to the EU demands it decided to opt in. Apparently if we do not like the policy we can opt out later, but the pessimist in me believe I'll see that happening when pigs fly. When after was the last time a government got powers back from the EU? from my recollection not since the heady days of Thatcher re-negotiating our budget contributions in the mid 1980s.

We have lost even more control of our judicial and police activities to EU member states and in particular other EU member state's police forces where for example in countries such as Bulgaria police brutality is common. So in one full swoop our police activities will become ever more brutal, as they now will be forced to bring in Bulgarian Style Justice, to meet with the requirements of the European Investigation Order. After all when the Bulgarian police order the British Police to investigate a crime, under the European Investigation they will have to. No wonder Fair Trials international is so opposed to the European Investigation Order. Considering the other countries in the EU who have signed up to the European Investigation Order, its hardly going to lead to a less brutal police force and a fairer justice system.

The European investigation order will work hand in hand with the European arrest arrant which came into law after September 11th to supposedly to protect us from terrorists but has actually not protected us from terrorists, but instead undermined many innocent people's rights to a fair trial and protection from extradition. UK citizens can be extradited to other countries to be arrested for minor cases-as happened with Andreas Symou when he was arrested by the Greek authorities for a crime he didn't even commit. Thus showing that this alone had led to massive abuses of the freedoms of British citizens.

The European investigation order takes this even further at a time when we ourselves as the Ian Tomlinson incident showed and the powers given by RIPa to police - worry us that we have given to much power to our own national police, which has led to abuse and a lack of protection of UK citizens from what is becoming increasingly a police state, this makes the situation much worse.

This is because now police authorities from other countries now have these powers, they have the power to spy through our bank statements, to look through other data, and they can do all this by making simple requests of British police which the British police must I repeat must obey, in other words it is an order not a request. There data safeguards are even worse than ours- so there is on a greater scale more chance of our data going missing and our privacy exposed, and further more us the average British citizen not just being spied on by British police but by European police. Truly the next story about Bins and surveillance will be Foreign Police rummaging through our Bins.

In doing all of this we hand over our police and judicial powers to the EU, which has a very bad history of undermining member state's liberties, due to its consistent undermining of sovereignty. The European Investigation Order is an example of this where the EU's attempted harmonisation of police and judicial policy across the EU has put liberty in danger and put values such as innocent until proven guilty into jeopardy.

Apparently this doesn't break the coalition government's non-existent referendum lock, which said if there was any attempt of significant extension of EU powers would trigger it. Theresa May and Baroness Neville Jones had the bare cheek to say to Lords and MPS who opposed the European Investigation Order and thought it was a significant transfer of sovereignty of getting it all wrong and not understanding what the European Investigation Order was about. Im sorry ladies but the problem they know all to well about what the European Investigation is about. Given all this, and that it is a significant transfer of powers to the EU, we should according to the coalition government have a referendum on the subject. I'm still waiting for the referendum, I fear it could be a long wait.

The duplicity goes even further than this I’m afraid though. The government through a House of Lords statement in the 15th of July said they wanted more scrutiny of EU laws etc and EU work, and that it had been lacking in the last parliament. Yet the European Investigation Order has been railroaded through parliament, from orders upon high from our political masters the EU. No proper debate was allowed and there was no vote on such a substantial piece of legislation, even though more time to debate was called for by amongst people like Dominic Raab MP in the house of commons and Lord Stoddart in the house of lords. The coalition government just like New Labour is in danger of saying one thing and doing exactly the opposite.

Oh and all the bureaucracy which will be created will mean that we the taxpayer gets to pay for the privilege of losing our liberties, as the EU will probably say to meet the demands of the European Investigation Order there will have to be an increase in the EU budget and thus our contributions will skyrocket even further.

Supposedly this coalition's government was to stop further powers going to the EU and in fact repatriate powers from the EU to the UK in particular the UK parliament. Additionally the coalition government was supposedly committed to protected UK's citizen’s individual freedoms. In opting into this law, the Coalition has shown that for all their words, when push came to shove, they preferred to let our liberties wither away at the altar of the EU, rather than stand up for the national interest and protect our hard won liberties which has been earned over centuries.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Is Oliver Letwin a Conservative

The man who looks like he has come out of outer space, and is to clever by half, and is reportedly behind such great cameron ideas as vote blue go green and hug a hoody as well as being on the very wet left of the conservative party, has dropped another clanger. No wonder the Conservative Party try to keep Oliver Letwin out of the limelight as much as possible, he seems to have a habit of rubbing up the Conservative Party members and MPs in particular the grassroots even though he's a member of the conservative party.

On wednesday this week he was at it again, saying that the conservatives ruling as part of a liberal democrat-conservative coalition is much better than having a sole conservative government. What is it really better that thanks to being in coalition with the lib dems, we are reconsidering the death tax to pay for social care, or that thanks to being in a coalition we have to raise capital gains tax. Worst of all thanks to being part of a coalition government due to a lamentable election campaign partly run by oliver letwin, we don't even have a conservative government. As a member of the conservative party, the job of oliver letwin is to work towards a conservative victory, clearly a coalition government isn't that. Due to mr letwin's love of a coalition government -perhaps he should be crowned as the first member of the condem government, he obviously find it to hard to be a true blue anyway, just think of all the tough but necessary decisions a proper conservative government would make after all.

Mr letwin's remarks show a worry in general though, that a clique around cameron has contempt for the conservative party and its traditions and the coalition government has given a new lease of life to it. No wonder the grassroots with idiots like Letwin, wonder if Mr Cameron is a conservative at all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A radical way to simplify the UK tax system

The UK has one of the most fiendishly complex tax systems in the world; with over a thousand of pages of waffle to wade through and many different tax systems all at varying rates. You need to be a genius to work it all out and most citizens including myself are not. If we don’t know a lot about our tax system, we do not know a lot about where are taxes are going, and if we don’t know where are taxes are going inevitably we cannot trust the system and therefore this leads to a lot of unpaid taxes. Not only this but the government can take advantage of the complicated system to sneakily put up taxes through stealth taxes and also can get away with vast amounts of waste, as complicated systems are nearly always not transparent system. This by the way is the tax system we were left with after 13 years of Labour Government.

The Coalition government says it wants to simplify the tax system, there were also many in the past including at time members of the conservative shadow team like George Osborne who also wanted a more simplified tax system. The way this is apparently going to be achieved is through the office of tax simplification, an organisation created by the government but apparently at arms length. Far be it from me but why doesn't the government actually initiate making the tax system simpler and therefore fairer and lower in the long term, rather than palming it off on another self made quango which will cost the taxpayer a lot of money where the government is just trying to avoid responsibility for making difficult decisions. Also given the fact that we have a massive debt cloud hanging over us, and we need to make serious cuts to public expenditure, we don’t exactly have money to waste on pointless quangos, however well intentioned they may be.

There is though a way to simplify taxes and cut taxes for everyone poor, middle class and rich and be completely fair, and be a system where people know where its going and can budget for it. It is called a flat tax. The flat tax has worked in Eastern Europe to turn countries that had broken economies thanks to being part of the Soviet Union, to places where people want to invest. Indeed those eastern European countries who have introduced a flat tax system have seen on average since 1994 around a 5.5% growth rate, where those who didn't introduced this type of tax system only received a growth rate of 2.6%. The proof therefore is in the pudding.

The only taxes, which would exist in a flat tax system, are a flat and low rate income tax and a flat and low rate profit tax. No other taxes would be needed, rather than a tax system, which runs into thousands of pages, we could have a tax system, which are only at the most a few pages long. If a flat tax were introduced into the UK it would lower marginal tax rates significantly and therefore make the UK one of the most attractive places for businesses to come to. This is needed as to get out of the economic slowdown, this country needs investment and lots of it, what better way to do it then through introducing a flat tax system which will make everyone's lives easier and deal with the deficit at the same time.

Also tax fraud and avoidance would decrease. This is because with fewer taxes and exemptions, there is simply less chance to defraud the system, either by individuals or by the government themselves. You wont therefore see the ludicrous situation year on year where people are either told that they have underpaid in taxes or overpaid in taxes. Not only this broadens the tax base, which means the grey economy which makes up around 10-12% of the British Economy will be encouraged to join the open economy. Putting it simply there will be no point to avoid taxes anymore, because they are lower enough to not people off.

It is also a fair system. It will mean that everyone pays a similar amount of the income lets for example put it at 15% of income. This would be lower than the present system, but at the same time, it would mean that the rich proportionately would pay more because for example 15% of a £million is much more than 15% of £10,000. This is fairer than the present system where thanks to taxes like VAT the poor pay more than the rich. Also due to the lower tax levels for the poor, a life on benefits will suddenly look a lot less appealing as they get the chance to keep more of the money for themselves. So another possible benefit is a tax system that would encourage individual responsibility and freedom, rather than the system at the moment that supports a dependency culture.

There is one problem with the flat tax system; I must admit it works best in system where government expenditure is low. Unfortunately the UK Government expenditure as part of our whole economy is notoriously high; it is at between 40-45% at the moment and rising. For someone like myself who believes strongly in small government, this is deeply distressing. However I truly believe if we had a flat tax system, then the government would be forced to reduce their size and income, leading private businesses and individuals to flourish, and for less government interference in our lives.

Ultimately then if you want a simplified tax system, which will make us a country with lower taxes, a freer country, a fairer country and a more entrepreneurial country then the flat tax is the way to go, and by the way its a lot cheaper than setting up another quango (the office of tax simplification). I hope although doubt that the coalition government will listen to my advice.

Google Ignores its principles

Google rightly in the past through its search engines and videos and images etc has been praised as an ocean of freedom of speech and expression, promoting the Internet as a freedom zone. For example it was through google search engines and images you could see the Muhammad Cartoons. It was through google video you could see clips of Jerry Springer the Opera. It appeared google stood firmly against censorship.

All this was true until recently. Google in its dealings with China seemed to have forgotten their principles, and left them at the door to its negotiations with the Chinese government. There were worries when google first went into China considering China's high record of censorship which seems to be taken straight out of George Orwell's 1984 manual, which China's authoritarian government seems very fond of. It was reported today that Google rather than letting Chinese Citizens see the freedom of the web with no censors, so for example they could look up stuff relating to Tibet and the 1989 Tiannamen square massacre through going through Google's Hong Kong search engine. It was a loophole where google let Chinese citizens see the world in the way they could see it, not controlled by their government.

Today though google closed the shutters on this window of truth for Chinese Citizens. This is because Google did a deal with the Chinese Government where they can now stop Chinese citizens from reaching this loophole and even further they have made sure that google's China search engine is now censored by the Chinese government, that's to say the Chinese government now basically controls it. Google then inadvertently through doing this is strengthening an authoritarian regime, by giving them a pass to control the Internet, one that before was not open to them.

Google as a private company first point of call is to their customers, they have ignored the millions of Chinese customers who would like to see the real world through a free Internet and not a world as the Chinese Government wants them to see it. Not only that they are now offering a half baked service to their chinese customers. It is up to other search engines to take advantage here and stand up for the principles of freedom of speech and expression through the internet and use the loopholes of the internet to get past Chinese Government censors. Maybe then Google might learn the lesson that listening to customers and standing up for your principles is more important than having a cosy relationship with a dictatorial government.

Friday, July 9, 2010

PC world is alive and well

on 30th June a Conservative health minister Simon Burns called the speaker of the House of Commons a stupid and sanctimonious primordial dwarf. Speaker Bercow or as the Daily Mail's parliamentary Sketchwriter Quentin Letts calls him accurately Squeaker Bercow, remember only got in on the back of becoming in all but name a labour cheerleader despite being a conservative MP in the last parliament, voting with the Labour government wherever possible, and they greatly repaid him by backing his campaign to become speaker. Not surprisingly many conservative MPs are disgusted by Mr Bercow and love getting the time to express this, and I for one speak up for their right, and if they want to do this in colourful language -so what, after all freedom of speech means freedom to offend.

Well apparently the primordial dwarf community is upset and Mr Simon Burns was forced to apologise to the primordial dwarfs and has been chastised by the Walking With Giants Foundation-surely the Walking with Giants foundation has got better things to do in their time then get needlessly offended. If ever you needed an example of Political Correctness going to far this is certainly one. It is an example where every community now due to political correctness will jump on a comment, so they can be offended. What next, will we be forced to apologise to the follicly challenged community for calling people bald, on the recent logic being applied by the politically correct brigade, I would say so.

The practice of forcing people to apologise for possibly causing offence to anyone needs to stop, if we maintain the values of freedom of speech in this country.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some Good news

Clearly someone in the colaition has been reading my blog. No sooner had i rallied against speed cameras, where now a weak later, no new money will be provided for local councils for the money collecting machine otherwise known as speed cameras. Three cheers to Mike Penning the Roads Minister who in a statement said the government will provide no more money for speed cameras fixed speed cameras. This is a victory for common sense. In a time when we are massively in debt, we can't fritter money away on speed cameras, which haven't actually had any effect on speeding motorists and road accidents and deaths. Perhaps the next stage is to cut the funding for speed cameras for local authorities as a symbol that the government is on the motorists side and not trying to crush them.

The message Mike Penning also gave out was positive, saying if local councils wanted to use fixed speed cameras, then they could finance it themselves, showing that autonomy from the centre was being allowed. What was more positive was the messsage afterwards from Mike Penning saying that we strongly encourage them to use other methods and effective safety measures. I hope this is an acknowledgement that fixed speed cameras have failed and it is time to move on.

In noticing that the public think the growth of speed cameras have got out of control, at least in some areas, the coalition has got its fingers on the pulses of what people are feeling.

The Shocking amount of fraud undetected in Local Councils

Today, it has shockingly been found that over 97% of council fraud is not detected, to put this in a monetary context that is £3.4 billion. This is deeply worrying considering the money being fraudently used is our money, paid for in council taxes which is going up year on year. apparently these higher council taxes would lead to more efficiency, well as the high level of fraud shows they haven't. Once more this shows that higher taxes are not the answer.

It is time also for the murky world of local government financing to be thrown open, at the moment we don't know where a lot of our money is going. It is time for all finances of the council to be published online, so we the public can see and comment on how are money is spent.

its time for us to know where are money is going and stop the waste, otherwise once again the people will be losing out, whilst local government officials will be laughing all the way to the bank. I dont know about you but if the government is truthful about wanting to give power, how about they make a start in working with local councils to decrease the disgraceful level of fraud.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Facts About CCTV Cameras

Today is the first guest written blog post for this blog. It is written by Alex Deane. I have had the privilege to have heard Alex Deane twice in political debates and can therefore see why he was an Cambridge University debating champion. He is now the head of an excellent organisation called Big Brother Watch. Big Brother Watch is an excellent organisation, which has been documenting relentlessly the ever growing intrusion into our lives either by the state or by private organisations. They have grown from strength to strength which has been highlighted by the increasing coverage given to big brother watch in the national media. If you would like to learn more about this organisation please go to Today Alex Deane will be writing about CCTV Cameras.

We are being watched by the state ever more closely. Research which suggested that we have 4.2 million CCTV cameras in this country is now 10 years old; nobody has done an updated study since.

Having surveyed all councils in the country, Big Brother Watch published new data in 2009 which showed that the number of cameras run by local authorities alone (a fraction of the total, of course) has trebled in the past decade. As our American friends say, "do the maths".

I’m not a Luddite. Technology has a role to play in law enforcement. But there are serious concerns about privacy and the nature of the state’s role in society – and of course, the public purse offers finite resources, and money spent in this way is money that cannot be spent on other forms of policing, such as officers on the street. It’s a question of balance.

We’re the only country that’s gone so far down this path. The Shetland Islands has more CCTV cameras than San Francisco Police Department. CCTV is now the single most heavily-funded crime prevention measure operating outside the criminal justice system, accounting for more than three quarters of spending on crime prevention by the Home Office.

The growing network of surveillance can in no way be justified as a crime-fighting tool. As the number of cameras has gone up, the number of crimes detected using them has gone down. Between 2003/4 and 2008/9 there has been a 71 per cent fall in the number of crimes "in which CCTV was involved" for detection purposes in the Metropolitan Police area. The proportion of all crimes actually solved using CCTV in London also fell from half in 2003/4 to one in seven in 2008/9; the Met’s own figures now state that for every 1,000 cameras in their jurisdiction, one crime is solved each year - a staggeringly inefficient figure which strongly suggests that even disregarding privacy concerns the cameras aren't worth the money in terms of simple return.

Perhaps that’s because cameras are often turned off or not working - which is much worse than them simply not being there, as law enforcement becomes dependent on an unreliable resource. When they’re working and turned on, sometimes they’re not pointing in the right direction. Footage is often scrubbed before law enforcement officials collect it. When it’s working, turned on, pointing in the right direction and not scrubbed, the quality of footage is often such that courts cannot use it. This is not an argument for more and better CCTV, given the privacy concerns surrounding it and given that we already spend too much money on it as things stand. Using material put into the public domain by councils renewing their CCTV networks, Big Brother Watch has established a figure of £3,000 maintenance per year per camera - if one contemplates the number of cameras around, that kind of expenditure would buy you a bobby or two.

Polling suggests that CCTV remains relatively popular in this country. I accept that there are some people who simply don’t mind that images are recorded. But, absent them being offered a choice between CCTV and something else, I think that that’s a reflection of whether or not people want crimes to be investigated and solved. Even some hitherto supportive voices have questioned the wisdom of flying CCTV drones, once the stuff of dystopian science fiction but now being trialled in the UK. Furthermore, the recording and (in principle, permanent) retention of the images of innocent people does cause significant privacy concerns, as those cameras become ubiquitous. One of the first reaction of any person coming to the UK from abroad is surprise at the extent of our surveillance culture. One hopes that we learn from that surprise and scale back our watching state, rather than that surprise fading as the British disease spreads to their countries in turn.

Alex Deane is the Director of Big Brother Watch

Saturday, June 12, 2010

make some cuts, and put us back in control of our lives

in the past 30 years, there has been the war on the motorists, the war on drinkers, and the war on smokers, and thanks to jamie oliver there's been the war on obese people. They all seem like good aims, i mean after all no one thinks speeding to excess levels is good and everyone knows too much drinking and smoking is bad for you, and that being morbidly obese doesn't help you in later life. However here's the thing generally when the government tell's you what do, it is human nature to want to do the opposite. Also in general the nanny state overstate's the case and the risks. So yes for example we all know drinking too much is bad for us, but isn't it up to us if we want to enjoy a few drinks, and is it really fair to keep putting the price of alcohol up and up, stopping people from enjoying the odd drink which they should be entitled to but have been priced out disgustingly by the state.

Then there is speeding, unfortunately as numerous newspaper reports show, speed cameras in general have nothing to do with stopping speeding and everything to do with being a money spinning exercise for local councils and as such is a stealth tax in all but name. Also from personal experience in my family, they penalise people for example going 34mph in a 30mph, when common sense would tell you this is a complete overeaction to put 3 points on a person's license for this. There is also with the war on motors, the constant rise in petrol, where thanks to our tax on petrol we have some of the highest petrol prices in the world, putting many hardworking motorists into debt.

then their is the anti smoking lobby. All the smoking ban has done so far, is kill the pub industry which whether you like or not relied on smokers. The old rules where you had smoker's areas in pubs worked, the smoking ban was just another attempt by the fun police to try and tell people how to live their lives without thinking of the effect they would have on great british pubs.

Then their is obesity, there have been ludicrous attempts to control what goes into our school dinners and control the amount of trans -fats etc. How about we reintroduce this concept of personal responsibility rather than the state telling people what to do, thats to say, you eat in moderation, you don't need to state to come in with their size 10 shoes and all the costs involved, telling you we are going to ban these foods, it is counterproductive and people rightly will want two stick two fingers up at the oppressors telling you what do.

So my proposal to save some money getting rid of all these Government quangos trying to tell us how to live our lives and in the midst increasing state dependency, destroying peronsal responsibility, and increasing state intervention in our lives. So get rid of Alcohol Concern, Action on Smoking and Health, Consensus Action on Salt and Health. That would save millions of pounds. On top of this they could cut the ludicrous amount of tax on petrol- which is harming our road haulier industry which we need to stimulate and get rid of the ludicrous supertax on cider as well as not even contemplating minimum alchohol pricing. On top of this, cut the number of speed cameras in half. There i've saved millions of pounds in waste we do not need, whilst giving people more of a say in life, and if this coalition government truly believes in less state interference, more freedom and cutting the deficit then the good place to start is here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

stand up for Britain's Interests Mr Cameron

mr cameron it is time for you to stick up for britain and stop sucking up to barack obama, his anti english jibes in relation to BP are disgenous, damaging our pensioners. Obama is using a major crisis for electoral tactics because he fears the way he has dealt poorly with the crisis will damage him in the midterms and conveniently forgets the role of haliburton who was involved in the cementing work on the seabed, transocean the american company owning and running the rig, and Cameron International US -manufactueres for the failed blow out preventer which was meant to contain any oil spill. In other words BP has disproportionately taken a kicking from the President. Find your voice Mr cameron if your truly ruling in the interests of Britain. I found it worrying that so far all we have heard is mr hague saying he has heard no sense of anti-british sentiment from the american government on the BP oil disaster, sorry Mr Hague, you must be hearing different things to the rest of us.

If Obama keeps criticising Britain, i remind him of the words Bhopal and Agent Orange, and would remind MR obama that BP have done more than the american government and companies ever did for example in Bhopal. Truly this is a case of double standards. Also a point of clarity for the american administration its Beyond Petroleum it hasn't been called british petroleum for years, so stop this xenophobia. Boris was right to say there is a worrying level of anti british sentiment from the American Government, Cameron needs to follow suit.

this american government from the response to the Argentinian government's belligerent stance on the Falklands, to BP etc seems to be doing the best to destroy the special relationship which I truly believe in. If Cameron doesn't stand up robustly to Obama now, the damage done will be irreparable, as the american government will realise that there is no point in the relationship when they can get away with ignoring its rules. No relationship however strong, can survive when one side is acting like they want a divorce.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The EU - Undemocratic, wasteful and anti National Self-Determination- Time to get out

Its funny i didn't used to be a fully blown eurosceptic, i truly believed with some reforms and through tinkering round the edges and getting some powers back we could get the EU to work in the interests of Britain. However the EU's actions on the lisbon treaty, which by the way according to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs select committee is 95% the same as the constitutional reform treaty which was voted down in referendums by dutch and french voters. Clearly then democracy means nothing to the EU, this is worsened by the fact that when Ireland had the temerity to vote no, they were forced to hold another referendum, and in the UK we were stopped from having a referendum because we would give the wrong answer. We give billions a year to the EU, yet it is one of the most wasteful institutions ever, it hardly ever signs off its audit books as its former auditor and now member of Ukip Marteas Andreassen Highlights, and if you think are expenses scandal are bad, you should just look at the EU parliament. So on a cost/benefit analysis of the EU, it is not value for money.

Also as a person who strongly supports national self determination everywhere, the EU undermines national sovereignty and in particular within this parliamentary sovereignty. The Lisbon treaty process crystalised this for me, the EU couldn't care about nations, or democracy and couldn't care about how much money they wasted as long as they moved forward in its vision of a EU superstate. Therefore the conservative/libdem coalition government's approach of getting a few powers back here or there, simply will not do, the only way we can get out of this nightmare is through pulling out.

we need an in/out referendum on the EU it is scandalous we waste money on this undemocratic institution who doesn't trust britain to govern itself. Just look at how it is trying to oversight our own budget, because they do not trust our own national government who we elected, to run their own budget, they the EU commission who no one elected thinks they can do it better.

Additionally EU law which we have hardly any say in and often originates from the secretive commission overrides parliamentary law, this damages parliamentary sovereignty and the only way we can stop this is pulling out of the EU. This is something the conservative right needs to unite behind - recent polls said if there was an in/out referendum over 50% would vote to pull out - we on the right believe in giving the people more power from government and therefore politicians need to realise they are out of step with the British public in supporting continued membership of the EU. It is what the british people want, and in the constitutional reform bill we should push for an in/out referendum. This is because in my mind all the constitutional reform in the bill, doesn't matter whilst we remain a member of the EU which ignores democracy and national self determination.

in summary the EU costs us loads, overides our own laws which our parliamentarians voted on and damages the UK. The conservative right needs to speak with a clear voice on this and I look forward to excellent new independent minded MPs like Mark Reckless uniting the conservative right behind this cause being a nuisance to the government who has not taken a strongly eurosceptic line, and calling Cameron out on trying to ignore the elephant in the room that being the EU.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

the coaltion and even Vince Cable advocate public sector pay restraint

Its not stretching the truth, to say I am not Vince Cable biggest fan, from his soaking the rich strategy, to flip-flopping on all the major issues, to being the architect behind the capital gains tax rise, Vince cable has been in my view on the wrong side of the political debate.

So today it is good for him to realise and talk about public sector pay cuts saying it is necessary from top to bottom, as well as more transparency in whitehall so we the public can see what we are paying for and whether they are worth it. In these areas it is a good start from the coalition from cameron's attack on the ludicrous pay packets for the civil servants, to pickles tackling of the quangos and local government executive pay- unlike Labour the coalition seems to realise that public sector pay has been over the top and needs to be constrained.

to read a good post on Cable's common sense approach -which hopefully he will follow through on, on public sector pay and comparing it to Labour's disastrous public sector pay policy please go to it comes from the freedom association

Why the international media and governments got it wrong on the Gaza Flotilla

There is an excellent post by Alistaire De Kare Silver from the centre for social cohesion, on why rather than blaming Israel, everyone needs to look at who is really to blame for all of this and the suffering of the palestinian people - namely Hamas.
heres the excellent post I urge you to read it.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Why There Is A Blockade on the Gaza Strip

it needs to remembered why their is a partial blockade on Gaza. In a perfect world both Israel and Egypt wished they wouldn't have to enact a blockade on Gaza but unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world. It must be remember since Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005 with hopes of peace, in return it received more than 10,000 rockets and terrorist attacks.

Constantly when Israel has opened the borders in Gaza, rather than food and fuel going in, which may be needed, Hamas instead, showing that in reality it couldn't give two figs about the palestinian people, smuggles weapons in, all sorts of ammmunition, and has even been known to hide in sugar packets ammonium nitrae,and also uses building materials such as pipes to use in mortar bombs and rockets. Therefore the whole point of the blockade, jointly carried out by Israel and Egypt I must add, although strangely enough you do not hear much condemnation of Egypt, is there to stop attacks on Israeli Civilians, it is there to weaken a terorist movement in Hamas. If Hamas stopped trying to smuggle in weapons to attack Israeli civilians there would be no need for the blockade and Israel would stop it.

Additionally it is important to remember that it is only a partial blockade, Israel still provides at least by conservative estimates about 15,000 tons of supplies and humanitarian aid every week to the people of Gaza. Not only this but there are often even in times of war, treatment of gaza civilians in Israeli Hospitals, hardly the actions of a callous government. Indeed to prove this Israel has said that it will deliver any humanitarian aid to Gaza, as it does daily. This has all meant that since the ceasefire in January 2009 well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel. That is almost a ton of aid for each man, woman and child in the Strip. Indeed Israel even offered to help the Gaza Flotilla with its goods through offering to accommodate them in any way possible, and deliver the donated goods through Ashdod, using normal search procedures. The activists rejected the offer. Clearly petty political games, are more important than aid to Gaza.

Due to the obvious tight security checks about anything coming into Gaza any illegal entry of a vessel into waters, would be checked and this was indeed what Israel intended to do, again as all part of the security measures they have had to initiate thanks to Hamas. If the flotilla was peaceful they would have been fine, but as highlighted in my previous post they were not.

Its also important to note as highlighted by Tom Gross that everything you hear about the blockade and the continued lack of goods in Gaza may be stretching to this-to learn about this go to

the truth about the gaza flotilla and why it got attacked.

Unfortunately yesterday morning in the early morning at least 10 israeli soldiers were wounded, and 10 violent protestors on the free gaza boat were killed.

If you listened to the media, or indeed politicians from across the world, this is all Israel's fault and only Israel is in the wrong. If you wanted to highlighted how bias the media is against Israel, there reporting of this incident, without a semblance of even trying to look at both sides of the arguments highlights this.

It needs to be remembered that this boat, far from containing a load of peaceful but nutty leftwing protestors, is not the case. If this was the case they would not have initiated the figting against Israel, or indeed attacked members of the Israeli Army. Like any nation Israel through its army has the right to defend itself and this needs to be remembered. When an army is attacked it has to respond and this is what the Israeli Army, did, there needed to be no bloodshed and no casualties if the Israeli army hadn't been attacked with knifes and guns on the boat. Israel did not want this after all the transport minister from the Labour Pary Binyamnin Ben-Eliezer said on behalf of Israeli government said we certainly regret the loss of life. Looking at it from this angle, the protestors don't seem to be the peaceful angels they are being portrayed as. In all of this Mark Regev the Israeli Spokesman was right to say that Unfortunately this group were dead-set on confrontation," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told the BBC. "Live fire was used against our forces. They initiated the violence, that's 100% clear," he said.

Secondly my suspcicions were raised when it said one of the protestors seriously wounded, was a senior member of the Islamic Movement Raed Saleh, the Islamic Movement by any counts is an islamic extremist organisation with links to terrorism, they get much of its support from the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is one of its offshoots, this group is constantly trying to enflame tensions between jews and muslims in Jerusalem as well as constantly producing anti-semitic bile. The so-called idea of peaceful protestors for me goes out of the window, when you have members of a terrorist group onboard. Additionally the turkish government's involvement need to be looked at as a writer for MidEast on target, Yisrael Neeman was right to say that "Erdogan is outwardly supporting Hamas over Fatah. Had he supported the PA and Fatah he would have shipped all the humanitarian equipment to them and had Fatah take the credit for its distribution. Instead he decided on a clash with Israel using his own Turkish Muslim Brotherhood supporters from the IHH (the so-called relief agency with reported ties to Islamic terror organizations) in an effort to undermine those in a state of peace with Israel and the Fatah led PA who presently are attempting to arrive at a two state solution with the Jewish State. It is just another example of the turkish government's involvement in the last couple of years with islamic extremists.

The protestors were not peaceful, they contained members with strong links with Islamic Extremist groups, by their actions they did nothing to help the people of Gaza, and they caused the attack on the boat.

the telegraph claims its first scalp in the honourable David Laws

The hounding of david laws by the telegraph is disgraceful

no.1 - the implications on his sexuality have nothing to do with them. he should be allowed to have a private life,I could not care if he is gay, straight or bi-sexual -white, black, muslim, asian or jew or whatever religion or nationality or indeed no religion, as long as he has the qualities and expertise to be good at his job that he clearly did. Yet the telegraph seemed to make this the crux of his story - clearly David Laws wanted to keep his relationship private he didn't even tell his family, he should have been allowed to do. Also he did not have a conventional relationship like some partners they were not joined by the hip and they had separate bank accounts and there own lives- why again the telegraph made a big deal out of this is beyond me unless of course they want to wreck the coalition and couldn't care about reporting well informed news.

no. 2- he has acknowledged his mistakes, referred himself to the parliamentary commissioner and is already repaying the full amount, showing his humility a degree of class and what a genuine bloke he is. This quality for me shines through, when you compare him to many in the expenses scandal, much worse than him such as for example the odious Elliot Morley or Julie Kirkbride who were not willing to own up to their mistakes or resign until pushed. I'm not saying what David Laws did was right, but he has acknowledged it and his claims were not terrible. Not only this, maybe it will make us realise that Politicians are human beings with all their frailties too, something the expenses scandal -which in my opinion is now being mightily overblown by the telegraph, to try and paint every politician as a crook seem to forget. Yes there were some bad eggs and the telegraph was right to expose them, but the telegraph has gone and hounded to far, acting more like a salacious tabloid, then a quality broadsheet.

no.3- David Laws has started excellently at his job, being honest with the people about the scale of cuts. In the 17 days of the job, he showed up Liam byrne for the fool he was, with his disgusting note to him, and did more than his labour counterpart did in three years. When he spoke to the house of commons, his delivery was masterful and was better i must admit then a lot on the frontbench. you only have to hear his great response to a Labour question, saying that we have a different view to labour and dont believe that the state is always right and should always be involved and we want to devolve power to communities and the localities - to understand that for him this is what held true -just as the coalition thought. He also was ready to take a scalpel to public spending, cutting the neccessary waste, and the plans he set out were credible to do this. As someone who has always been on the right of the liberal democrats as his involvement with the right wing orange book club within the Libdems shown, he was never one of the slippers and sandals brigades on the Liberal Democrats, in fact two years ago we tried to get him to join the Conservatives but he honourably said no. As the Shadow liberal democrat education spokesman, he helped formulate the excellent pupil's premium ideas, as well as supporting the idea of free schools - on the basis of Sweden. Laws was a reformer who thought radically and I truly think the coalition will be worse for losing him. I look forward to his intelligent interventions on the backbenches in support of the coalition,and hope to see him back on the frontbenches soon - the coalition certainly could do a lot worse.

The telegraph on the other hand, once a fine newspaper, is not simply reporting the news anymore it is trying to make it. Not only have they apart from the odd article from Boris Johnson, written nothing but negative dribble about the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, rather than having a nuanced perspective looking at both sides of the argument, they have also in the past offered nothing but negativity about David Cameron. I have no problem with this but for a quality newspaper they have to at least have a semblance of showing both sides of the arguments,as well as not blowing the expenses scandal out of all proportion like they did. From now on in I will not consider buying the telegraph or reading it online until this is sorted out.

so my two messages are good luck to laws, and sort yourself out telegraph.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

farage the hypocrit.

I agree with Nigel farage that Herman van rompuy is a non entity and im eurosceptic although not to the extent of UKIP, however farage is a hypocrit, he hates the EU apparently so much so, that he takes a 64,000 salary and 2 million in expenses- hypocritcal nigel?