Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Work Hard at School, Then Bail Out the EU

I brought my children up to work hard at school and make something of their life. They did, I'm a very proud Dad. I passed on the same mantra my Edwardian Grandmother passed on to me "If you don't do well at school you'll amount to nothing". Except as time marched on this mantra has become diluted. These days to say such a thing is just a pack of lies. If you did well at school you could go on to get gainful employment and get on in life. If you clowned around, bullied others, were downright disruptive and left school with no qualifications there are a plethora of tax payer funded agencies, benefits and organisations to give you the chance in life you threw away while you were at school. In other words the tax payer pays twice. Being able to get way more than the average wage in benefits makes a tax payer funded life on welfare a lifestyle choice. The tax payer keeps on paying. In this scenario "The tax payer" could be the one who tried hard at school and went straight on to further education and get gainful employment. Slowly this is changing, it ought to be austere on benefits. There needs to be a revived truth in what our forebears drummed into us. As Will Smith once said you need "to be scared of being broke". With the benefits cap, housing benefit reforms and universal credit making work pay this neglected truth is making a comeback, i.e. those who make the decision to buckle down and work hard at school will be far better off than those who choose not to bother and expect bail outs as adults. There are extraordinary parallels with the furore over the EU surcharge. During the economic meltdown, made all the worse in the UK by Labour's Great Recession, the UK buckled down, made the decision to work hard to get ourselves out of the slump. Workers took reduced shifts, shorter hours and exercised pay restraint so the jobs were still there when the recession ended. The Government took tough decisions on public spending, made unpopular choices, even had to go into coalition with the Lib Dems, things were that bad. You can go further back and recall how we opted out of the Euro and opposed fiscal and monetary union opting instead to run our own financial affairs. The result; we are Europe's fastest growing economy, we're not in recession, employment at record levels, unemployment, even youth unemployment, is way down. Our European counterparts failed to take these tough decisions, shunned austerity, shackled together by the Euro. The reward for their fiscal cowardice is to be given a rebate on their EU contributions. The UK has made great sacrifices to get the economy back on track and our reward is to be slapped with a bill for the thick end of 2billion quid. The figure needs to be revised, and revised down to a bill of £0.00. After all, the EU already benefits from the buoyant UK economy. Being in growth we import EU many more goods, the EU can trade with record numbers of new businesses in the UK. Pan-European companies based in the EU rely on their UK branches to prop up their balance sheets, global companies operating in Europe rely on the buoyant UK economy to remain in Europe at all. The short sighted EU commissioners look no further than a cash handout and fail to understand that the UK's mere presence is worth more than the £1.7bn they are convinced they deserve. Will we pay this £1.7bn, as the great lady once said NO, NO, NO.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

After 2 years, Douglas Gives Me The Answer

On 8th October 2012 I asked Douglas Carswell with his almost defamatory views, when will you be joining UKIP? Seems the answer is 28th August 2014. I could be smug but anyone into politics would have seen this coming from a mile away.

I'm very pleased to say that I have always opposed and challenged his brand of disloyalty and offbeat form of back bench barracking. When he was being particularly pointed and asked him why he was being so cruel his answer was "I'm holding the Government to account" (it's somewhere on twitter if you want to search for it). He's lost the plot, that's obvious and when I'm down in Clacton with RoadTrip2015 I expect to see him washing his dirty linen in the town centre. The very sad thing about all this is the disloyalty. I had the great honour of being asked to speak Margaret Thatchers Birthday Commemoration in Grantham, a year after her passing. The speech was to a room full of Conservatives but also a number of UKIPers, many of which were former Tories, just like Douglas. None of them had the right to claim Margaret Thatcher as their own. She was loyal to the end,the very end. UKIP was formed in 1993, Mrs Thatcher died in 2013. She had 20 years to join UKIP and never did, even after being brought down by her own she was a true Conservative. She knew the meaning of loyalty, the party being bigger than any member and nailing your colours to the mast. To Douglas and his ilk, loyalty means nothing and he'll just wither in Margaret's long shadow.

Monday, 11 August 2014

UKIP - One Up on the Sex Pistols

There are few figures in living memory that evoke such hatred, such loathing and such emotional response as Adolf Hitler. He can be scorned, mocked and pilloried but never, NEVER, be held in any esteem for any reason at any time. This fact seems to be lost on UKIP after Bill Etheridge lauded the speaking skills and oratory of Hitler to the their youth wing. Nigel Farage himself has been uncharacteristically silent on the matter but the general consensus of the rank and file of UKIP is that Bill Etheridge is right, Hitler should be admired for his oratory. Despite uproar from all quarters UKIP are defiantly supportive of their MEP with one supporter tweeting  "I don't get this...it is an absolute well known fact that Hitler was a brilliant orator!!! Probably the best ever...". Personally I place Winston Churchill as the best orator ever and UKIP need to be made to get that. Placing Hitler in any positive light is leaped upon by the most unsavoury of our society and UKIP need to get that. Even now the sheer terror of the Nazi regime has not dimmed in the national consciousness. The Channel 4 antiques show, 4 rooms, featured a bust of Hitler (Rather lose £39,000 than see Hitler Celebrated). Dealer, Andrew Lamberty, bought the piece when all others refused with the sole intention of keeping it away from Hitler idolaters. He could've made a mint but gave it to Yad Vashem. A few years earlier, The Sex Pistols first appearance on TV almost never happened. A swastika armband was being worn by their assistant, Jordan. Sydney Berstein, the head of Granada Television issued an ultimatum, cover up the swastika or the show gets pulled. Despite pleas of 'context' and 'just a fashion statement' Sex Pistols relented and the show went on. They got it, UKIP needs to get it too but to solve a problem you first have to admit there's a problem.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Jaw Jaw, not War War

The Year is 1914, exactly 100 years ago.
A tragedy struck a part of Europe where separatist fighters had been conducting a military campaign for independence. The separatist fighters were backed by a powerful Eastern European country. When they murdered in a high profile and very public incident Western Powers looked to that Eastern European Country for a smoking gun. They found it and a chain of events started which ended in World War.

The Year is 2014, exactly 100 years on.
A tragedy struck a part of Europe where separatist fighters had been conducting a military campaign for independence. The separatist fighters were backed by a powerful Eastern European country. When they murdered in a high profile and very public incident Western Powers looked to that Eastern European Country for a smoking gun. They found it and a chain of events started which ended in ...

For the sake of peace remember Winston Churchill. Jaw-jaw is always better than war-war

Friday, 11 July 2014

Right to Strike - Yes (but we want our say)

It must be every workers fundamental right to withdraw their labour in protest without fear of sanction. An employer who flouts this right must be brought to task. This is a right we have earned as a civilised society but with every right there is a great responsibility. Just as a employers should not be allowed to interfere with the right to strike so the employees should not be allowed to hold the country to ransom merely over the threat of strike action. This is nothing new and, indeed, nothing Tory. As long ago as 1969 Barbara Castle published the White Paper "In Place of Strife" which proposed major Government intervention on Union activity and strikes. In 1979, the Labour Prime Minister considered declaring a state of Emergency to bring the Union Barons to heel. Spineless as ever the Labour Government stopped short of rattling their paymaster's cage allowing the country to go bankrupt ushering in the IMF humiliation. Even after much needed reforms the recent public sector strike was able to go ahead on the basis of a voter turnout of 1 in 4. The Union Barons compare this to General Elections, Mayoral elections, etc. where we would all love a greater turnout. Fine, if the Union bosses want parity then so be it. General, Local, PCC and Mayoral Election candidates are voted on by those who are affected by the result of the election. If the public sector want to strike then let the ballot not just be for Union members, not even just for all employees regardless of union membership but extended to all those affected by the strike. The parents of the children who won't be taught, the households whose bins won't be collected and the bereaved whose loved ones won't be buried should all have a right to have a say. With great power comes great responsibility so either have a strike called by a majority of members or let's have a universal franchise. If, as the Unions insist, the strikes enjoy public support then they should fully support this.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Public Sector - Striking the right balance

Four years ago I predicted that the Public Sector would screw up the recovery (see No Joke, We're Broke). In this prediction I looked back on the great recession during Labour's last sorry days of Government and how public sector employees were almost completely unaffected. During the recession businesses felt the squeeze and many didn't survive. Many that survived did so with the support of their workforce taking shorter hours, 4 day weeks, temporary lay offs. They did what they could to make sure there was still a job after the recession. As I predicted the sorry state of Labour's recession has caught up with the public sector. Imagine for a second if the likes of Unison, Unite, GMB, etc. were to encourage their members to take the private sector approach and accept that, like a prudent business, the Government has to take unpalatable measure to stay afloat. As if suffering from acute amnesia they forget that the lowest paid workers have been taken completely out of taxation, they forget that Labour scrapped the 10% tax rate and this Government not only restored it but restored it at 0%. They forget that public sector pay has risen by 17.7% since 2007 compared to 13.4% in the private sector. They forget that Public Sector workers still enjoy better job security, final salary pension schemes, very generous sick pay arrangements, pay scale increments regardless of performance. During the public sector strike in 2012 I vented to my colleagues the benefits of public sector employment, even after reforms. Quite rightly they asked me "So why did you leave?"... Not easy to answer

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Open Letter calling on Andy Burnham - Apologise to Your Constituents

Dear Mr. Burnham,

‘What sort of message are we sending out when we say social care is the lowest form of work – lower even than McDonald’s.’

I write following your speech to Unite the Union in Liverpool where you stated the above quote. Notwithstanding the high regard held for care workers and others in social care employment and in what can only be described as a contemptuous lack of judgement on your part you have singled out an employer of 91,500 people at all levels in the UK as a metaphor for an employer of low esteem and scant regard. Not only have you insulted the employees of McDonalds in the UK but also directly insulted those currently employed in the Tyldesley, Lowton and Leigh branches, some of whom are my friends, all of whom your constituents. You have swallowed hook, line and sinker the clich├ęd stereotype of employees of fast food restaurants and used it for your own political expedience. You must apologise for this incredulous lack of judgement to the employees of McDonalds but specifically to your constituents who have found gainful employment with a responsible employer.

I look forward to your full and frank apology

Richard Short

Leigh Conservatives

Chairman, Wigan Conservative Federation

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Labour say VAT has been risen to 31.5% ... and they want to run the Economy!

Today we heard the news that unemployment is down, yet again, that employment has increased, yet again, and that claimant count is down, yet again. The more we hear the economy is well on the way to a sustainable recovery the more out of touch the well worn sound bite "cost of living crisis" sounds irrelevant and out moded. Labour are failing astonishingly where Margaret Thatcher succeeded so spectacularly. They are trying to say it costs more to do your groceries due to Government economic policy. With inflation well under control and wages now rising faster then inflation this is simply wrong. Labour's Douglas Alexander on BBC's Sunday Politics showed just how shambolic their attack on the Government's economic record really is. They claim, in the now infamous peas in a pod poster, that the VAT rise has put £450 on your shopping bill. Ignoring for a moment that most of the food in the poster is VAT exempt, the £450 seemed an awfully high figure. when challenged Danny Alexander explained that this was over the 4 years since the rate rise ... but he was mistaken and corrected by the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, himself. He confirmed during the broadcast the £450 is an annual cost. For this to be true the annual shopping bill would need to be £24,500 a year and that ALL this shopping is subject to VAT. If, for example, we spend a 1/3 of our pay on shopping then this would equate to a take home pay of almost £75,000. No wonder Labour keep banging on about a cost of living crisis. We can look at this another way. If the annual shopping bill came to a more realistic £5000, the only way you could arrive at £450 would be to remove all exemptions and raise VAT to 31.5% ... now that would be a crisis.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

UKIP protest vote? You're Not Even Close

The Wythenshaw and Sale East by election has come and gone with the predictable result of an emphatic Labour win. All eyes were on UKIP and how well they would do. The answer is that they did dreadfully. With the Lib Dems in Government they are only convenient protest party for voters to turn to and should have done a whole lot better. The by election was held with a little more than 400 days until the next General Election. A close parallel would be the 1991 Ribble Valley by election where Nigel Evans was selected to defend David Waddington's thumping majority of almost 20,000. The result was predicted to be a shoe in for Nigel Evans but, as is now well known, the Liberal Democrats chalked up one of the biggest electoral upsets in modern times, making Michael Carr the, albeit short lived, MP for Ribble Valley with a majority of over 4,500. These days a majority like that would barely make it to the Conservative's 40:40 list. This was extreme but not a one off, Newburgh, Christchurch, Eastleigh, Eastbourne; all were the spoils of the Lib Dem protest vote machine and some have even remained Lib Dem since. Fast forward 23 years from Ribble Valley and we find ourselves, again, 400 or so days from the next General Election. It was clear from the result in Wythenshaw that with the Lib Dems in Goverment they are no longer the protest vote but the Conservative vote held well as the party of Government in a reasonably strong Labour area. The real news is that the usual mid term protest vote didn't materialise to any great extent with UKIP falling massively short of anything remotely noteworthy. When it comes to protest votes UKIP aren't a patch on the Lib Dems who were able to overturn massive majorities time and time again.  With their position of protest vote usurped by UKIP it would not be a huge leap of faith to believe that they could come close to taking a seat, or even take one. The fact is UKIP's pretences of being a political force are not being realised enough to win seats, far from it. The real threat of UKIP is as it ever was, they will never win any seats in 2015 but will make sure that Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister. The mystery is why are UKIP working so hard to ensure a Labour majority?

See also ...
Nigel Farage, Prime Minister ,  
UKIP Government, The First 100 Days  
UKIP Government, The Cracks Begin to Show , 
UKIP, Back to Obscurity