Express your dissatisfaction with yesterdays political stunt!

Referendum on the European Union

Responsible department: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

“We, the people of the United Kingdom, are dissatisfied with the result of the EU Referendum Debate on 24 October 2011 and would like the House of Commons to reconsider its decision in light of this petition and grant us an opportunity through a referendum to express our desire on the relationship with the EU.”

To view or sign the Government E-petition click here.

It’s about time that the people tell the politicians who is really the boss, us! This is just one such opportunity now open to the networked citizen.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Oft misquoted phrase by George Santayana (1863-1952), the Spanish born philosopher, essayist poet and novelist.

David Cameron badly misjudged yesterdays historic vote in the House of Commons. The split in his party over Europe evident for all to see. When 81 normally pretty loyal MPs defy your Three line Whip you are in deep trouble. This goes some way to explain Cameron’s attempt today, to put a brave face on it, he’s all over the media like a rash as I write.

Yesterdays unedifying spectacle was occasioned by a petition signed by over 100,000 people calling for a proper referendum on the issue of Europe, the backbench business committee had decided that the issue should be debated on Thursday, but had it brought forward to last night, Monday 24th October. This was done for narrow party advantage. The fact that it backfired, big style, just shows the extent of Cameron’s miscalculation and the real trouble he is now in.

Remember this was a ‘peoples petition debate’. Most of us might assume that this would mean that any vote taken was not to be whipped and turned into a party political issue but of course you would be wrong! Three line whips all round! All the three main parties, yesterday, conspired against the people in the most disgraceful of manners! Don’t our opinions count for anything? Shame on the Liberal, Tory and Labour front benches and hearty congratulations to all the rebels who defied their party machines and voted against their party leaderships disgraceful and fundamentally undemocratic position!

Back to where this post began, has Cameron not learnt anything about his own parties past? Not, apparently, on this occasion, over the European question. A test of wills from the start, he has misjudged the mood both of his own backbenchers and the Tory Party members in the country and has also failed to understand the mood of the people. We have had our belly full of distant greedy politicians who do not listen to us, or fight our corner for a change.

The economy is in the doldrums to say the least. Unemployment is growing disproportionately in the North. We are close to an international banking crisis. The whole of Europe is in crisis economically. Business failures are again becoming commonplace. Inflation way above comfortable levels and not set to slacken for quite some time according to Mervyn King the Bank of England Head. The outlook looks bleak for most ordinary people. Oh, and we are told, ‘there is no alternative’!

The picture painted above should be awfully familiar to anyone who studies the Thatcher years from an objective perspective! Why is Cameron so determined to repeat the same mistakes of the past? One thing is for sure, Cameron is no Maggie!

One not to miss – Observer, War breaks out in Downing Street

From today’s Observer, By Toby Helm Political Editor:

War breaks out in Downing Street

A year ago Nick Clegg told the Observer he didn’t want to boast of victories over the Tories. But now, as the conference season opens, he has changed tack and gone on the offensive.. Read on……

Hubris, Arrogance and Vanity, Cameron Appoints Personal Photographer!

David Cameron, it has been announced, has appointed Andy Parsons as his personal photographer, at a cost of at least £35,000 per year. This is in addition to the appointment of Nicky Woodhouse, famous for ‘Webcameron’, again at a cost to us of at least £35,000!

Tony Blair even at the height of his hubris never thought to put a personal photographer and videographer on the public payroll at a total cost to us the tax payers of at least £100,000 once ‘on costs’ are added.

Parsons and Woodhouse are just two of at least a dozen former employees of the Tory Party to have been put on the Government Payroll since the election. Others include, Chloe Dalton, an adviser to William Hague in opposition, who is now a civil servant in the Foreign Office, Ameetpal Gill and Clare Foges, have civil service jobs in Downing Street, they were previously speechwriters to Cameron, Sam Freedman, has been made an adviser in the DfE and Rishi Saha, formerly, head of digital strategy for the Tories is now deputy director of digital communications at the Cabinet Office.

Forced to defend this at yesterdays PMQ’s his defence to R’Ed Milliband’s question “Is it really a wise judgment when he is telling everyone to tighten their belts to put his own personal photographer on the civil service payroll?” was pretty pathetic given that he must have prepared to be asked this question, he merely stated, pretty limply, that his government was slashing Labour’s spending on communications and publicity.

This kind of behaviour from a coalition Government, committed they claim, to the National interest does not look at all as though they understand why the public have so little confidence in politicians or the broken political system.

We deserve better than this! The government must stop this profligacy, Now!

The Sitwell By-Election What it Reveals!

A by-election was held on August 5th 2010 in the Sitwell Ward of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, the results reveal much about the rapidly changing fortunes of the main political parties and the overall political climate nationally when recent by-elections held in July in Walsall (15th) and Wolverhampton (29th) are factored in.

Here are the Sitwell Ward Results:

Rotherham MBC Sitwell Ward August 5th 2010
2008 Result 2008 % Vote 2010 May Result 2010 May % Vote 2010 By-Election Result 2010 By-Election % Vote % Change since 2008 % Change since May
Tory 2300 58.5 2684 41.5 1213 45.5 -13 4.5
Lab 768 19.5 2238 34.6 864 32.4 12.9 -2.2
R Ind 751 11.6 252 9.5 -2.1
UKIP 793 12.3 241 8.9 -3.4
Lib 867 22 98 3.7 -18.3
Totals 3935 100 6466 100 2668 100

The picture painted by these results is very mixed, with Labour failing to increase vote share from May. Actually losing 2.2% of their share of the vote in 4 months, they must be beginning to feel they are still losing ground in Rotherham and local opinion polling continues to bear this out with the most disaffected being their own core supporters. Trust, it would appear, is at breaking point amongst Labour’s formerly loyal supporters and as more revelations of their cynicism pre election are made clear this is set to get steadily worse as the Labour Council is also obliged to cut essential services against increasing local opposition and their continued personal greed in these times of austerity sickens all but the most tribal of voters.

Liberals must be in despair, not only in Rotherham have the voters deserted them but as can be seen from the results below of recent by-elections in Walsall and Wolverhampton there too. This catastrophic loss of votes for the junior Coalition Government partner must be shaking Liberals across the whole country to their foundations. This pattern of voting in areas formerly having significant Liberal votes is not going to change any time soon.

UKIP also suffered a reverse losing vote share for the first time in Rotherham in an election battle with an extraordinarily poor candidate, John Wilkinson the local Party Secretary, who seems to be intent on proving his own ignorance in the letter columns of the Rotherham Advertiser almost every week, it seems, for many months! His views on global warming would be amusing if they were not so seriously wrong in terms of  the scientific ‘facts’ he insists on repeating mantra like as if something becomes true simply by endless repetition.

Dave Ridgway standing for the Rotherham Independents improved their position coming in third place as opposed to last in May, a creditable result in the circumstances.

Two other by-elections for local council seats have taken place since the General Election on May 6th, here are the results:

Walsall Bloxwich West Ward 15th July 2010
2008 2008 Vote % 2010 May 2010 May Vote % 2010 By-election 2010 By-election Vote % % Change since 2008 % Change since May
Tory 1436 53.1 2329 40.7 800 37.5 -15.6 -3.2
Lab 465 17.2 2008 35.1 1142 53.6 36.4 1.3
Dem Lab 365 13.5
UKIP 286 10.6 91 4.3 -6.3
Lib 102 3.7 563 9.8 71 3.3 -0.4 -10.2
Green 97 1.7 28 1.3 -0.04
BNP 722 12.6
Totals 2704 5719 2132 100

There will be another by-election later in Walsall after the death of a second councillor was announced this week.

Wolverhampton Bilston North Ward 29th July 2010
2008 2008 Vote % 2010 May 2010 May Vote % 2010 By-election 2010 By-election Vote % % Change since 2008 % Change since May
Tory 1272 44.6 1481 29.6 460 23.1 -21.5 -6.5
Lab 1180 41.4 2262 45.3 1292 64.9 23.5 19.6
UKIP 55 2.7
BNP 589 11.8 131 4.4 -7.4
Lib 209 7.3 663 13.3 52 2.6 -4.7 -10.7
Green 189 6.6
Totals 2850 4995 1990


Forgemasters Dispute Breaks Out In Parliament!

Clive Betts Labour Member for Sheffield South East secured an Adjournment  Debate on Wednesday evening on the subject of the cancellation of the £80 Million proposed loan to Sheffield Forgemasters and the exposure of lobbying by Andrew Cook, chairman of engineering firm William Cook Holdings who wrote to Conservative Business Minister Mark Prisk calling for the funding to be withdrawn.

Rotherham’s own MP Denis MacShane was also there to lend a hand as was John Healey the Member for Wentworth and the Dearne still sitting on the front bench.** The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Member for Sheffield Hallam was strangely absent from this debate.

Previously Nick Clegg had made the following statement: that he regretted the government “cannot afford to support its expansion” but added that “the truth is that this loan was promised by the outgoing Labour government as a calculated ploy to win support in Sheffield just ahead of the election”.

Labour’s cynicism is fully on show here, their promise was essentially deceptive, If the money had existed they would have completed arrangements before the General Election thereby ensuring that no cancellation was possible. They did not because they knew that, if they had won or gone into coalition with the Liberals, they would have had to cancel it themselves. Plain Hypocrisy at work! Nothing new about that then!



** In opposition, Labour MPs get to chose their front bench team by ballot, I wonder where Healey will stand once these elections take place? We shall see!

Ex-Ministerial Payouts the final insult?

Labour’s rejected ministerial team have pocketed a cool £1,051,202 in severance payments due to them after being roundly rejected by the people in the General Election held in May.

These payouts are an outrage! They are rewards for failure and should not be made!

Presumably, Rotherham’s only serving former Minister, John Healey, has had a slice of this action? He might like to enlighten us as to how much he got from this bloated pot of money as a reward for being thrown out of office and to explain why it was proper that he should receive it?

How many of his constituents will be losing their jobs as the result of  Labours profligacy, deceit and cynicism?

They will have noted this outrageous example of greed and it will contribute to further local dissatisfaction with  the ‘peoples party’ and no doubt electoral reverses to come.

The ’empty’ promises, made by the Labour Government with RMBC acting as cheerleaders, have been exposed as pure  election gimmickry. They were unfunded, essentially fraudulent, promises of future funding that would, in all probability have been cancelled by Labour if the country had been foolish enough to have re-elected them!

Labour ‘heartland’ areas such as Rotherham, have been abused, ignored and taken for granted by a Labour Government over the last thirteen years. They will need more than a new Leader to change this around, the Party itself has imploded and no longer knows who they represent or where their loyalties should lie.

In short, we have been betrayed by the very Party that was supposed to speak up for us! Eternal shame on Labour for this ‘sell out’.


Emergency Budget – Far From Fair or Balanced!

I mentioned in my previous posting on the Budget, that further probing would reveal the ‘devil in the detail’. They would reveal themselves if there were any uncomfortable facts hidden deep inside the ‘Red Book’. There are such details and now they are public.

The details unearthed so far, not by Labour this time, but by, of all people, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) an economic lobby group, not noted for major criticism of Conservative Governments in the past, as it is about as right wing as they come. Robert Chote, of the IFS, has gone on record, with the evidence that tells the lie, to any claim that this budget was fair!

The IFS has now done a detailed analysis of the Budget, including the inconvenient facts, buried deep within the ‘Red Book’, it confirms the overall regressive nature of the Budget, that had been trumpeted, by some Government Ministers, as the ‘Fairest Budget in History!’ The use of such ridiculous hyperbole, now shows clearly the essential hubris running through the Government currently.

Some of the evidence for a ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ moment, was visible on Question Time on the BBC last night. Vince Cable batted for the Coalition Government, he visibly wilted in front of the audience as it appeared to have dawned on him, during proceedings, that the LibDems may just have been had on the Budget and he made a very poor job, at least for him, in defending his increasingly indefensible looking position. Audience reaction, to his attempts at justification, also appeared to strike home hard.

Looks likely that they have made a serious miscalculation on this one and there are already signs of LibDem backbench restlessness, as they are getting a wall of flak from their constituencies and in particular their own Party Members. To their horror, they have realised one important fact overlooked until now, they did not fight as hard as they did, in the General and Local Elections, for LibDem MPs just to become lobby fodder, to drive through such a draconian Budget as this one, now the full facts are appreciated.

This issue is in the process of testing the loyalty, of everyone signed up to the Coalition, to breaking point perhaps? We shall see?

Labours’ poor performance at the polls has resulted in one amusing happen stance, that may yet end up with the best Candidate for Labour Party Leader, not on the ballot paper. I speak of course, of Labour’s Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, who may yet find her feet at the dispatch box, only to be superseded by someone else, with lesser ability.


Emergency Budget, was it worth waiting for?

Tuesdays Emergency Budget, delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, on behalf of the Coalition Government, was probably the most political, in every sense of the word, that I have ever heard or, even perhaps any of us, will ever hear again.

The Chancellor set himself the goals of cuts with care and fairness at the heart of the budget. Did he succeed?

I am afraid we might have to wait a little while for the details become apparent, under Labour, the ‘devil was always in the detail’ and close inspection frequently uncovered vast expenditure or borrowing, kept below the radar in the Budget Speech itself. Not much chance of this here, but embarrassing detail may yet be revealed.

Before the election, many had considered George Osborne, too young and light weight, to boot. He has emerged from the experience of his first Budget with his reputation enhanced, as a serious heavyweight political player. At least we now know, he is no ones fool and indeed if the future is kind to him, may even be a good Chancellor as far as these things are judged.

Political considerations run through the Budget like lettering through rock. He has a fine line to walk if his claims that his Budget has fairness built in, is to survive close inspection. It will have to deliver, the squeeze on the public sector and on benefits must appear fair, once implementation is under way.

We have discovered recently, that Labour’s concealment of the true position before the election was over, was basically a con trick, even the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters would have been withdrawn if Labour had been returned to office. Labour’s breathtaking cynicism has been exposed and this area disproportionately adversely affected. Perhaps this explains the fact that Labour in Rotherham, is held in frank contempt,  especially vitriolic are those who voted Labour recently it seems.

We will all welcome the increase in basic rate tax allowances and the linking of pensions to incomes once again but the increases in value added tax, VAT, from 17.5% to 20% a rise of over 14% in this most regressive of taxes will impact most heavily on those already at the bottom of the pile.

The freeze on Council Tax next year is to be welcomed, because it sends a message to all local councils that they will not be able to fleece the Council Tax payers to cushion the ending of local council profligacy. No small wonder then, that the ‘Consultants’ are already ensconced in council offices, desperately looking for cuts as I write and Councillors are reported to be unusually glum!

The 25% reductions required of parts of the public sector and the 2 year moratorium on pay rises for the over £21,000 earners, will seriously impact on spending power amongst such a large body of workers that further decline in Rotherham’s local economy is, I am afraid, inevitable in the short and medium term as spare cash dries up in our pockets and reduces still further local spending power.

One of the functions of this Budget, though not explicitly stated, is to bear down on the problem of personal debt, which is so high, that it must be brought down, though not without much pain for those affected. The costs of servicing all of this personal debt is so large that this alone could stifle any spending driven retail business recovery.

It is already clear that the overall balance of this Budget is not neutral in it’s effects, the bottom segment of society will be required to pay a disproportionately high price because of the changes announced yesterday and therefore I believe it to have failed, in it’s fairness criteria, because overall this Budget is a regressive one.


Oh Dear! Sex and Money again in the Liberal Party!

David Laws has thoroughly disgraced himself and although clinging on currently, will be gone soon.

If he doesn’t stand down, Cameron will inevitably be forced to sack him by Monday.

Not the best start to the ‘New Politics’ when the old greed, sleaze and corruption is still working it’s way out of the woodwork.

Nice to see the traditional approach of concealment of sexuality, taken by Liberals of the past, still afflicts it to this day, Jeremy Thorpe anyone? or more recently Simon Hughes and Mark Oaten.

News just in, Laws resigns! More about this later.