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Cameron Rejects Doom and Gloom Environmentalists 10 January 2007

Posted by David in Conservatives.
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David Cameron has rejected the charge of “climate change doom mongers“, and embraced positive environmentalism. He said on Wednesday in a Sky News interview it was important to show people there were positive reasons for saving energy. He was “not trying to scare people into voting by talking about the environmental challenges facing the world.”

“I’ve been trying to recapture the environment and climate change from the sort of doom mongers. I mean if this is all about doom and gloom and taxes, we’re not going to persuade people to come with us,” he said in the interview. Now that’s something I think we can all agree with.

“If you switch to a hybrid car you can cut the cost of your transport. If you cycle to work every now and again you feel fit and healthy. There’s a good positive reason for doing these things which is not just about money — it’s about your own well-being,” he said.

The key was not to try to be a “hair shirt-wearing doomster”, he said. “We’ve got to try and make the environment and climate change uplifting and fun and interesting.”

Most importantly David Cameron said green taxes should be mainly aimed at changing behaviour rather than at raising revenue. “I think the right thing to do is to see the share of taxes taken by green taxes go up and then at the same time, take taxes on other things down,” he said.

This is a far cry from Labour, who’s £3 billion raft of green taxes in the pre-budget report were not coupled with any tax cuts, simply being a green screen for a stealthy tax raid.

Let’s hope Cameron continues down the path of combining green taxes with green tax cuts.

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Lords Leap, So Attack The EU Constitution 10 January 2007

Posted by David in Conservatives, Europe.
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Yesterday two Lords defected to Ukip, giving the party its first ever Westminster voice. It received a reasonably high level of coverage and I imagine is partially responsible for David Cameron’s speech today at the German CSU Conference, in which he heavily attacked the EU Constitution as “a dead document” and “the wrong direction”.

The speech will no doubt be of some reassurance to the increasingly worried anti-EU majority of the Conservative Party, but was not sufficiently so to halt further fears. David Cameron outlined three P’s for the EU’s direction: “people, planet and poverty”. The FT calls it “almost a policy”, I don’t, it could mean almost anything.

Taxes Up £9,000 Under Labour 9 January 2007

Posted by David in Conservatives, Labour.
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The average family pays £9,000 more tax per year since Labour came to power. For some strange reason David Cameron instead decided to focus on the fact that “mortgages leapt £1,937, heating and lighting £250 and council tax £80. But average earnings rose just £668 to £18,252” in the last year.

Would this not have been a good time to pledge to cut taxes?

The Sun also has a debate entitled “Do we need another Maggie?” It looks as if the general consensus is YES, apart from a few far-left former miners still claiming mining was sustainable, not-subsidised (how did they work out this?) and that there was a peace deal on the table for the Falklands (there was, it said we surrender to a fascist dictator and ignore the islanders).

As I read through the comments I was wondering “how long until that crazy ranting about the Belgrano and the exclusion zone off of that 1982 Question Time appears?” – the answer is page 4. When will it sink in that the 100 mile exclusion zone applied up until the deadline, after which all vessels deemed a threat were targets (I generally find enemy battleships a threat whether they are heading away (to behind a sandbank) or not). The Argentines agreed (until they sniffed possible compensation).

One point I can agree on, “Thatcher destroyed the working class.” Yes indeed, she made them the new property owning middle class. I don’t think this is how the lefties mean it though…

Carry On Hypocrites 9 January 2007

Posted by David in Labour.
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Yesterday it was Ruth Kelly sending her son to a private special needs school which she, through forcefully closing over 100 similar state special needs schools against the parents wishes, denies others through the warped ideology of New Labour socialism.

Today it’s Tony Blair, who intends to continue flying off on freebie Bee Gees holidays, whilst raising “eco-taxes” to price ordinary mere mortals out of the skies. Again it’s the total hypocrisy which is the problem.

First I should set my stall. I believe airlines should be taxed the same as all other businesses. Currently airline fuel has a tax excemption, this should be removed or given to all fuel (otherwise it is unfair competition).

Airlines do pollute, and airports are a blot on the landscape that destroy entire areas, so I want to halt the growth of air travel. I do not want to do this with taxation, or with crazy bureaucratic carbon trading schemes(which amount to mere rationing with trade-able ration coupons). The best way is to stop expanding airports – so when they reach full capacity, they have reached full capacity. Strangely planned airport expansion was reported alongside eco-taxes to stop aviation growth. And they say eco-taxes aren’t just a money grabbing plot.

The problem with Blair’s flying is not that he is flying, but that he is trying to tax others out of the sky. I also note that despite all the 4×4 “gas guzzler” tax plans, the government still uses them…

Labour Are Hypocrites 8 January 2007

Posted by David in Labour.
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Labour are hypocrites. Did I really need to say that? No, it was fairly obvious. Today comes the news that Ruth Kelly has bought her child’s way out of the failing state school system, and instead got a place at a £15,000 per year private school.

I liked the way how when the news first broke, the press didn’t name the “Labour former Education Minister” to protect the child’s anonymity, even though we all knew it was Ruth Kelly. At one point the BBC News website spoke of an “unnamed ex-minister” but used Kelly’s picture…

My initial reaction, good for her. Most state schools are appaling, especially for children with learning difficulties. She would be failing as a parent if she didn’t, given that she can easily afford it. This is majority view, it seems, along with the opinion that it’s the total hypocrisy that is the problem.

She should say what she obviously thinks, namely that the Labour policy of denying the parents of special needs children the choice of specialist schools or integration in mainstream schools is wrong. It is not just wrong, but terrible. The people who know best are not the council, or ‘specialists’, but the parents.

Forced integration of those with learning difficulties is wrong, it leaves them without adequate support, feeling isolated and at risk. Not all children are the same, we need different sorts of schools for different children.

Fancy Giving Money To The Government 8 January 2007

Posted by David in Funny.
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Well, fancy giving money to the Government!
Might as well have put it down the drain.
Fancy giving money to the Government!
Nobody will see the stuff again.
Well, they’ve no idea what money’s for –
Ten to one they’ll start another war
I’ve heard a lot of silly things, but, Lor’!
Fancy giving money to the Government!

Sir Alan Patrick Herbert, 1890-1971

Britain Lags Behind In High Tech World 7 January 2007

Posted by David in Uncategorized.
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MSN. Amazon. Ebay. Yahoo. Google. YouTube. WordPress. What is it that links all of these things, other than the internet? America.

In the realms of technology, as electronic hardware, software and entrepreneurial use of it, the United States outperforms the rest of the World. Yet any one of these internet giants could have been founded anywhere. Indeed, much technology originates from the UK, right back to the early Colossus machines at Bletchley Park. So why is it that Britain, sharing the English language benefit, has so failed to make a commercial impact?

I think the answer lies in a cultural difference. America is a far more optimistic place, by and large anyway. Britain, and even more so our European neighbours, are far less so. Pessimism reigns supreme.

That American optimism also correlates to an engagement in new technology, and as an optimistic country this new technology is embraced on an individual level, resulting in enterprise. The public embraced the idea of “the internet” and set about making it a commercial success. A generally more pro-business ethos helped it on its way.

Our pessimism is dismissive of new technology. Here the idea of having computers in the home, and doing shopping on them, or sending messages on them, seemed insane. It took far longer for the internet to gain ground here, as had previously been the case for home video camcorders and VCRs before.

Our governments tend to embrace whacko future visions, generally socialist inspired and revolving around architecture I add, which puts us off the future (with good reason as most of their Utopias are concrete hell). Take for example the report Robots to Get Human Rights by the Government’s top scientist, it’s just crazy. American governments don’t get so involved in future gazing it seems, and take the role of stability, history and tradition, giving people the confidence to embrace the technology, without feeling it is in competition with tradition. In short, it’s not a threat – it’s progress, not a revolution.

But all is not lost for Britain. Technology is becoming loved. All we need now is better education, lower taxes, and free trade with the US… Oh, and to start being less pessimistic about technology and business.

Frank Field Vs The Bicycling Chameleon 7 January 2007

Posted by David in Uncategorized.
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GMTV’s Sunday programme had a fascinating interview with Labour MP Frank Field this morning. I didn’t see it, but poached this from Iain Dale, then added my nice blue comments. 

FRANK FIELD
Well the problem really is twofold. Firstly, English opinion has changed, and if you look at the polls now it’s not people in Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland saying they’re wanting independence. The strongest independence comes from people in England, and at some stage that wish will be granted. And for totally grubby reasons.
Yes, Labour screwing up devolution, fairly grubby.
I think the government should leave that debate rather than be frightened of it. The position the government now holds is no change on anything, and that clearly is not acceptable.
No, quite.
The second thing is that we live in a world now whereas in the last century capital moved about and became mobile, now people are.
Perhaps we should limit this?
And therefore people’s senses of identity becomes more, not less, important.
Very true
And I don’t think you can have an identity around Great Britain because it’s a bogus concept which has served us quite well of wrapping round the various countries, like a warm overcoat, making the countries feel secure. That is very untrue. Great Britain is not a bogus concept, it came about over many centuries, you could even include the Roman concept of Britannica. But certainly you can include the Union of the Crowns (James VI of Scotland became James I of England after the death of Elizabeth I) and then the Union of the Parliaments (Act of Union 1707). All nations are fairly new concepts, and GB is old by comparison.
The real identities are about England, about Wales, about Scotland and Ireland, and I think those identities need to be asserted if we’re going to successfully make this huge transition from a world where people didn’t move around to one where people move around in huge quantities, and make some people feel very insecure as a result of those changes.
These identies exist as well, and are part of being British.

STEVE RICHARDS
Although some argue that’s precisely why the Union should be retained, that the world is becoming a bigger place, you’re dealing with China, India, the United States, why suddenly separate into much smaller units?
FRANK FIELD
What’s so interesting, in where you’re chairing this Steve, is you’re the first person that I’ve heard for months put forward a positive reason for the Union being maintained.
Quite true, we need a campaign for unionism.
I always thought the reason why we were in Europe was that the voices of independent nations can be made effective on the national stage.
We do not need ‘Europe’.
STEVE RICHARDS
So you’d be happy, actually, for Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England to be four separate entities?
FRANK FIELD
I think there are two things.
Dodging the question? 
We’ve got to settle the English Question as far as legislation goes, and I think we should have an imaginative debate rather than the plonking debate we get at the moment over House of Lords reform, which has not changed for a hundred years. I would see the federal status of the old United Kingdom being trailed through a second chamber, whereas at the first tier level there would be individual parliaments in the interests of the constituent countries.
It’s a thought, but involves more politicians! Why not one UK House of Commons, with sepparate Scottish, English and Welsh votes for the devolved legislation?
 

Over the last 300 years, Great Britain has been a huge success. We should not turn our back on this just because Labour has made a mess of devolution.

Cameron Phase Two? 6 January 2007

Posted by David in Conservatives.
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Matthew Parris talks of David Cameron needing a more statesman like image to his second phase, having been through more than enough “Tory detox”. Those of us who cringed at hug a hoodie, the washing up episode, the NuLab style photo shoots, and the seeming provocation of existing Conservatives will certainly be hoping this new phase has a more “And theory” basis.

We have already been promised “more grit” from David Cameron, so how should this second phase go? And how will it go? We know it’s necessary, to stop the defection of voters to Ukip and to look more credible as a government, combined being the main reason for the party’s poll ceiling of around 38%. A solid lead of 8-10 points minimum is needed for a Tory majority, more if the election is before the new boundaries.

I expect we will continue to see the soft focus Cameron, but he must realise that a more reassuring, can-do, statesman like image must be built if he is to win. He has won over the liberal media, or at least shut them up, now he must win over real people. One success is the fact the BBC now reports on the Conservatives without a compulsory sneer. The skill will be in projecting a sufficiently electable image without upsetting the liberal media.

Getting policies out is also going to be a challenge. The public support conservative policies on immigration, tax, Europe and other areas. Before the last election, polling for Newsnight showed 82% supported controlling immigration, but this dropped to 65% when “Conservative plans to control immigration” was asked – thus proving the image problem they had. Cameron must wrap these policies in a sufficiently ‘caring’ way to make them acceptable to the liberal media, whilst not confusing or putting off the public.

We have already seen this with Davis’ support for the human trafficking convention, whereby victims would be given a one month restbite to recover before having (“being helped”) to return home. Davis had already launched a strict policy on immigration – expect to see immigration linked to rising unemployment, and building on the natural environment/greenbelt.

A sensible Cameron would also be wise to offer something fresh from Labour. The public didn’t understand spin in 1997, it was new, now they spot it miles off. People are looking for conviction and integrity. Cameron should find an issue, at first not hugely known about, and make it headline news. It could also mark a break with Tory past, something like the EU. Promising to leave the EU confronts the issue, and can be linked to free trade, fair trade, ending poverty etc. Stick to the argument, win the opinion over (it already is really), and look different, new, and fresh. It isn’t hard to look young and fresh compared to the Eurocrats, who he should invite to speak and fight their corner, knowing their technocratic jargon will lose them the argument if their sad image doesn’t.

So as we enter Phase-II, traditional Conservatives are mostly hopeful. Hopefully that will be the case.

A New Unionist Voice For Scotland? 4 January 2007

Posted by David in Uncategorized.
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Scotland is set to gain a new political party to fight the 2007 elections. Scottish Voice will be a pro-Scotland, unionist party. The political establishment has unsurprisingly already rounded on the new party. There’s general agreement that the party will harm the Conservatives most, although there is little to harm as the party remains at its catastrophic record low of 2001 in the polls.

I think this agreement may however be wrong, Scottish Voice will harm the SNP most. Look at the facts. Scotland has a large, small ‘c’ conservative population. It has a enterprising class as well. Indeed in the 1955 general election the Conservatives won 50.1% of the vote and 36 of the 71 seats.

The Conservatives do terribly in Scotland because they are seen as anti-Scottish (the early introduction of the community charge being a major bug-bear), with the decline beginning far earlier when the once autonomous Scottish Unionist Party merged with the English Conservatives and began to reuse the term ‘Conservative’.

Many SNP voters are small ‘c’ conservatives, in once Tory seats such as Perth. The Scottish Voice Party may be able to retake these moderate patriots, away from the separatist Nationalists, especially if they focus on the SNP’s commitment to a more powerful EU and dodgy budget.

It has been said before the Conservatives should revert to having the old autonomous Scottish Unionist Party, in the way Germany has the CDU-CSU. Perhaps this arrangement will end up happening without their input.