Posted in Local Government, News, Politics

The threat to our way of life from Puritan Brown

I recall, in 1997, having a real fear of what the incoming Labour government would do.  

Eighteen years of the Conservatives meant that so much of the damage the previous Labour administration had done had been put right.  Margaret Thatcher had stopped the nationalisation of industry and services, the dead hand of the all-powerful closed shop trades unions, the destruction of the economy, and the building up of the welfare dependent, shabby council estate syndrome, where a huge proportion of the people were in thrall to left-wing, dogma-driven local authorities.   And John Major had continued this work from 1990 to 1992.

In the event, not a lot happened, and we were all lulled into a sense of warm security.   Underneath, of course, Labour was changing things.   One only had to read the job advertisements in the “heavies” to see that the number of public and publicly-funded appointments, whether in government, local government, quangos, or whatever, were multiplying.   Now, it seems, most jobs are in that sector.   And all these people are dependent on government for their livelihood, and are unlikely to do or say anything to disturb the status quo.   Despite Prudence, public and private borrowing was spiralling, destroying the stable economy left by the Conservatives.  Stealth taxes were increasing the amount of each individual’s/family’s compulsory contribution to the Treasury, and reducing the amount of money left to them to be spent as they wished.

How strange it seemed that this summer there was a 1997 feeling about Brown taking over.   Blair, although heartily disliked and despised for what had happened on his watch, (Iraq, spin, cash for peerages, et al), seemed on the surface a reasonable middle class metrosexual, with no reds under the beds fear necessary.

But Brown, well that’s another matter.   The son of the manse is a puritan, and seemed much more of an old type Labour leader.   I confess that the fear came back.

Now the spin from the Brown government, (oh sorry, I forgot he doesn’t do spin, does he?), tries to convince us that he is wooing middle England, Worcester woman, and all the other buttons he must press if he is to retain the vote of those who had previously voted Conservative.

But look beneath that extremely thin veneer, and note the hints that have been coming out of Downing Street:-  a return of a certain amount of power to trades unions; more council houses to be built for rent; more and more surveillance of the individual justified by “the war on terrorism”; a return to local government power over schools; identity cards; central databases of everyone’s medical records; central database of the details of every child; home inspectors interfering in the sale of houses and thereby building up information for future property tax changes; and more, and more.

Burning our Money puts it very well:-

Ten years of control freakery and huge splurges of our cash have left our public services entangled in a dense bureaucratic mangrove swamp. Police who can’t police, schools that can’t teach, and health services that we can’t access.

Yet all he could offer yesterday was more of the same: on his direct orders hospital wards are to be steam-cleaned, police hit squads are to target problem areas he has selected, teachers are to teach one-to-one as he’s decided, ten new “eco-towns” will go up where he wants, twenty fresh divisions are to be sent to the Eastern front, etc, etc.

Read the whole post at:

I think we do have more to worry about under Brown.   I see my way of life threatened, and yours too.

Posted in News

The milk police are at it again

I see the mother’s milk police are at it again.

There is a letter in The Times today from eight so-called experts, of both genders, from all sorts of nasty sounding pressure groups, including one called Baby Feeding Law Group.   How’s that for scary!

They are pointing out that the consultation on the law on formula milk advertising ends this Friday  –  ie they want to ban advertising.

I come from a generation where, not only were the vast majority of babies born in their own homes, but most mothers used formula milk as a matter of course.   Breast feeding was hardly heard of.   None of us seems too bad as a result.

The letter actually says:-

“All parents have the right to choose how to feed their babies, free from commercial pressures.   Parents who use formula also need clear and accurate information on its use.”

But they can’t see that by banning advertising the knowledge of a source of infant food is denied to mothers.   Because you can bet any “information” on the subject provided by these people will be heavily biased in favour of breast feeding, and will make out that feeding a child formula milk is as bad as giving it cocaine!

Just go away experts, and leave people to make their own decisions.  

Posted in Politics

Car owners – it’s time we stood up for ourselves

What a wonderful letter in The Times correspondence columns today.   It is from Mr Arthur Burgess of Twickenham:-   “I note from your report on ‘the identity of Britain’ (Sept 8th) that 46 million adults have cars.   Indeed 30 million have two.   Only 2 million have no car.   Why, then, do we, the overwhelming majority, accept the imposition of ever more taxes, parking restrictions and penalties, and a whole industry of quasi-prosecutors?

“Why do we, who individually contribute directly to the Exchequer at least £1,000 per car per year in regular duties and taxes, that is some £50 billion collectively, to say nothing of taxes on car purchase, repair etc, supinely accept constant denigration by politicians of all hues?

Why, indeed, does the motoring public not rise en masse and throw these blighters out?”

I’m very happy to join Mr Burgess in his revolt.   Motorists are just seen as an easy target for everything  –  taxation, police arrest targets, and so on.

Livingstone is a perfect example of a non-driver, non car owner who absolutely hates private cars and motorists.

No public transport will ever be able to compete with the comfort, convenience and flexibility of my car.   It takes me from door to door.   I don’t have to get cold or wet.    It is there waiting at the precise moment that I want to leave, and if I stop to take a ‘phone call it is still waiting when I have finished.   I do not have to sit in a mess of litter or endure bad smells of packed bodies in hot conditions.   If the car is dirty, it is my dirt.   I can keep umbrella, coat, water, and whatever else in the car in case I need these things.   I can use it as an extension to my office.    It will carry the week’s shopping for me and large, bulky purchases.

Anyone who hates all of that is a dinosaur still living in a world that believes private property must not be allowed  –  a control freak who wants to marshal us all to his way of thinking.    It’s time we car owners and drivers stood up for ourselves.

Posted in Politics

A bus for the bath

I’ve been giving some more thought overnight, (couldn’t sleep), to the suggestion from the Tory Quality of Life policy commission that supermarkets, DIY stores, etc, be forced to charge for parking.   I’m delighted that David Cameron has distanced himself from the suggestion, of course.

What I wonder, though, is whether any of the commission’s members have ever been to a large B & Q or Homebase? 

If they had, they would have seen people paying at the checkout for a full-size door, for example.   What fun it would be to get that on a bus.   Or it might be a bathroom suite.   B & Q often have those standing quite near the checkout, on the pay and go principle, (no pun intended).   How many seats on the bus would that take?   Then there are rolls of carpet, large wood garden table and chair sets, and many, many similar things.

I can just see how pleased all the other passengers on the bus would be:  delays while the bathroom suite is manhandled on board;  blocking the way for other passengers;  does the bath have to have its own bus ticket?  “please stand back while the loo disembarks”.

Posted in Local Government, Politics

Code of conduct stops councillor from speaking up for his ward

A local councillor has been suspended for two weeks for breaking the council’s code of conduct.   This follows a complaint from a Labour Councillor to the Standards Board over comments he made at a public meeting last year.

In the Council’s code of conduct, councillors are banned from commenting about issues that affect them.   This one made comments regarding alterations to the primary school serving his ward.   He was advised not to speak at the meeting because he lives near the school.

Rightly in my opinion, he says now:  “It is a sad day for democracy when a local councillor is hauled over the coals for speaking up on behalf of the residents who elected him.   This decision has very grave implications for any councillor who lives in the ward that he represents, in that he or she may now have to decline to represent the interests of their residents.   I am very disappointed with this result and I am now considering an appeal to the Standards Board for England”.

Although some may deplore the fact that councillors and MPs have become an arm of social services, the fact is that residents regard the most important work of a councillor to be representing their needs and wishes.   Equally these days a councillor is criticized if he/she does not live in the patch.

Councillors need to be able to speak up for their own ward; for the people they have been elected to represent.   But the code of conduct provisions, which started out as a well-meaning attempt to remove fraud and corruption from local government, now stop elected members from properly representing the people of their ward.

Councillors are required to sign up to the code of conduct as part of their declarations of acceptance of office.   That and the draconian demands of the register of members’ interests are why many long-standing and unpaid Parish Council members have thrown in the towel.   It is certainly why I would never again stand for election, even if I had not been alternately thoroughly bored and incandescently angered by my previous ten years as a Councillor.

Posted in Uncategorized

Two views on age

Two wonderful quotes in Saturday’s Body & Soul section of The Times:-

     “Many of us old boys have survived wars and much else besides.   We will survive the occasional extra glass of wine, too, if you don’t mind.”     –     Leslie Thomas, author, on claims by a psychiatrist at Sunnyside Royal Hospital, Montrose, that old people are drinking too much.

      “My philosophy about ageing is that there is nothing you can do about it.   And it’s better than the alternative, which is death”     –     Actress, Joan Collins, and what a superb advertisement for getting older she is.

Posted in News, Politics

An excellent new way to find a private parking space

Lovely story today about commuters renting parking space on private house drives.   And surely Luke Kelly, founder of Park Let, has to be the ultimate modern entrepreneur who spotted an opportunity and capitalized on it.

So houseowners with big or wide drives get a little bit of rent without inconvenience, and commuters get somewhere to park, which they know is not going to be bagged by someone else before they arrive.   Elderly houseowners apparently particularly like the idea of a car coming and going as it makes them feel safer.

But the greatest advantage of course is that the commuters avoid parking meters or expensive town centre car parks, and, as many of the spaces are just outside the congestion charging zone, they avoid that iniquitous charge as well.

Hurrah for all of them I say.   But I can’t help that sinking feeling that the puritanical government and the killjoy car-hating Livingstone will be working overtime to stop the parkers, the renters and Mr Kelly getting any benefit.   They’ll ban the scheme or tax it at an exorbitant rate.