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Carol Thatcher – Mummy’s War 30 March 2007

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Last night Carol Thatcher presented “Mummy’s War”, an hour long look at the Falklands War through her visit to the islands. What struck me was the great regard the islanders had for Britain, and the love they clearly feel for Britain despite being 8,000 miles away. I knew they were very pro-British, but the extent (like the scenery) was breathtaking.

The bravery of the British forces, and the honour they felt in liberating the islands, was also amazing.  The story of one woman who moved to the Falklands after her son died on the invasion was particularly moving. The story of a female island farmer who helped lead the troops across the terrain was also incredible. “I just hope they keep them British,” she said.

Carol Thatcher then went to Argentina! Branded a pirate and shouted at, she took none of it. She met war veterans, who looked quite alarming, but it was the Mothers of the General Belgrano’s sailors who were the fiercest. They all denied that the Falkland Islanders have any rights to their home at all, and refused to accept they even started the war. “God will punish her [Mrs Thatcher],” one ended the meeting on.

Currently Argentina is getting stroppy once more. It has pulled out of a joint Anglo-Argentine oil exploration deal, imposed harsh fines on ships buying fishing permits from the islands, blocked the Chile-Falklands air service, and is using the 25th anniversary to step up diplomatic efforts to take the islands. The right to self-determination must be upheld.

May Have Blurred Reality And Fantasy 8 March 2007

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A man accused of a stealing underwear from a shop in a knifepoint raid believed he was a female elf at the time, Belfast Crown Court has heard.

Robert Boyd, 45, from Broadlands in Carrickfergus, is accused of holding up staff at the Orchid shop in Belfast disguised in a wig, hat and glasses. He told the court he had been involved in a role-playing game at the time, and his character was an elf named Beho.

He denies robbery but says he may have blurred reality and fantasy.

May have blurred reality and fantasy? May have? Bit beyond that I think. No doubt he is co-author of the Iraq WMD Dossier.

Chameleons On Bicycles Mentioned At Prime Minister’s Questions 7 March 2007

Posted by David in Chameleons on Bicycles Blog, EU, Europe, European Union, Uncategorized.
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Mike Gapes MPQ2.    [125430] Mike Gapes (Ilford, South) (Lab/Co-op): “As we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the European Union’s treaty of Rome, will the Prime Minister find time to read an article called Beware the Berlin Declaration, which calls for this country to leave the European Union? It can be found on the blog Chameleons on Bicycles.”

The Prime Minister: “First, it will be a very good thing for the whole of Europe to celebrate 50 years of the European Union, which has brought peace and prosperity to a continent that used to be ravaged by war. I think that we should celebrate our own position in the European Union. I look forward to going to the European Council tomorrow in order to bring forward proposals for climate change, where I am pleased to say that at least this Government will have some allies in ensuring that the battle against climate change is taken to a proper fruition.”

Thanks for everyone who contacted or posted to let me know, I totally missed it. As far as we know, we are the first blog to be mentioned at PMQ’s. I bet Guido and Iain Dale are upset, I hope not. But what a coup! Hello to all the new readers – huge number of visits today – including the rapidly growing number of Parliamentarians.

An Interesting Read 12 February 2007

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An interesting read, “A Letter to Posterity from Dennis Wheatley”. Wheatley was an author of rather odd books. Reproduced from the website of a BBC4 documentary. I don’t think I would agree with every word, but a lot of what he says about socialism is true (and the understanding of it very ahead of his time).

(Born Jan 8th 1897, a Naval Cadet 1908-1912, a Lieutenant of Artillery 1914-1918, a Wine Merchant 1919-1931, an Author from 1932, a Wing Commander on the Joint Planning Staff of the War Cabinet 1941-1944, and the owner of this property (in which I have planted over 1200 trees and bushes) from 1945)

 Thursday 20th November 1947

Today Princess Elizabeth was married to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten RN, the son of Prince Andrew of
Greece. As the eldest daughter of the King, George VI (he having no male issue), the Princess is the Heir Apparent to the Throne of the United Kingdom and the British Empire beyond the seas. Should she outlive her father, and remain sane, all historical precedent makes it appear inevitable that, in due course, she will become our sovereign, as Queen Elizabeth II.

 Yet our present monarch being just over 50, and in good health with a normal prospect of another 25 years of life, many people would lay heavy odds against his daughter, or any other member of his family, ever being crowned at
Westminster.

I am now of an age with the King, having been born while the reign of Queen
Victoria still had three years to run. At that time even the thought that one day the British Monarchy might be abolished was inconceivable. But in the 50 years of my life greater changes have been wrought in the habits and mentality of the world’s population than in any 500 years of previously recorded history.

 

When I was born electricity had been discovered but not yet adapted to practical every-day usage.
London had no electric light or telephone system. Wireless, radio recording, broadcasting and gramophones were still unknown, and the petrol engine was still in its infancy. There were no motorcars; on the streets all vehicles were still horse-drawn, and for travelling further afield, the steam train as yet without corridor coaches, was the only means of transport. Liners and warships were generally steam propelled but a great part of the world’s sea-borne commerce was still carried in sailing ships; and the idea of travelling by air was as remote and unreal with us as it was with the Romans.

 

The electric age, having its infancy while I was a schoolboy, reaching maturity during the First World War, and becoming a dominant factor in all our lives from then on, has revolutionised thought wherever it has penetrated.

 In the early years of the century the vast majority of the people of Europe and the
United States – and even more so those of the less progressive areas of the world – formed their opinions from personal contact with their fellows. The more advanced among them were neither lacking in intelligence or political consciousness, but their attitude towards their rulers was governed in the main by (1) any new laws which affected their personal well-being and (2) the
discussion of events at the centres of government – declarations of war, treaties of alliance, court scandals, royal marriages etc. these were often belatedly reported but formed the staple talk wherever men were gathered together; in the towns, in clubs and taverns, in the country, in public halls and inns. Thus, in those days, the ‘voice of the people’ was in fact the consensus of opinion arrived at after a vast number of free debates had taken place at every level of society and in all parts of the country, concerned.

This ‘voice’ was rarely raised; but when it was, rulers had good cause to tremble, and almost invariably, the result was a cessation of repression or a change of government; as the ‘voice’ was usually pregnant with both justice and commonsense.

But the ‘voice’ was stilled by the coming of the electro-machine age, as the new inventions enabled the professional politicians of all parties to get into direct touch with every community, however remote. First came the electric press, enabling a million or more copies of a newspaper to be run off in a single night – and enormously improved arrangements for distribution. Then came the wireless telegraph – which swiftly developed into radio, with a five times a day news service which, by means of a cheap receiving set, could be picked up in every home. And these were followed by the cinematograph which soon became one of the most insidious weapons for political propaganda.

The result was that instead of forming their opinions by quiet thought and reasoned discussion, the bulk of the people took them ready made (from so called ‘informed’ sources) and, in consequence, in the short space of the first two decades of the 20th century an almost unbelievable change took place in the mental attitude of the masses all over the world. The immense speeding up of means of communication brought the national and international picture so swiftly before them that it filled their thoughts to the exclusion of local conditions and the well-being of their own communities; political ideologies and abstract theories of government usurped in their minds the place which had previously been occupied by the selective prosperity of local industries and the prospects of crops. Worst of all, the masses came under the immediate influence of the political demagogues who labelled themselves as the ‘representatives of the people’, who held that ‘all men being equal’ all power should be vested in the majority rather than in the intelligent minority, as had been the case in the past.

For many centuries power had been vested in Priest-Kings who were usually members of an hereditary ruling house – but the authority of such rulers was nearly always circumscribed by a group of elders, or a feudal nobility, whose say in matters varied in accordance with the strength of personality of the reigning potentate. It was generally recognised that a throne could be permanently maintained only if it were the apex of a solidly supporting pyramid of aristocracy and thus as a general rule the Priests/Nobles/Senators exercised a power at least equal to that of the Priest-Kings. In the event of the ruler proving irresponsible or despotic they usually succeeded in either overthrowing or placing a check upon him – as was the case when the Barons of England forced King John to sign Magna Carta. Moreover, the Priesthood or Nobility was constantly being added to by the rise of men of exceptional ability and talent among the masses, as witness King Henry VIII’s great minister Cardinal Wolsey, who began life as a butcher’s boy.

Thus, until the dawning of the new age, the lives of the vast majority of the people in all countries were ordered in accordance with the will and beliefs of a comparatively small ruling-class – mainly composed of the boldest, cleverest and most energetic individuals in each nation.

Yet from time immemorial, idealists of all races have supported the doctrine that ‘all men are equal’. Saints and martyrs have preached it in all ages, the outstanding example being Jesus Christ, whose creed largely owed its far-reaching acceptance and prominence to the fact of its appeal to slaves and underdogs.

 

For two thousand years at least this conception has waged a mainly unsuccessful war against its opposite – the belief that the direction of human destinies should remain vested in a limited number of individuals who are, on average, better educated and more intelligent than the masses.

The aristocracies of Egypt, Greece and
Rome, clearly had no doubts at all that they were better fitted to govern than any committee composed of representatives of the common people. In the middle ages, both the Princes of the Church of Rome and the temporal Kings whom they so greatly influenced also took this view. In later times the European sovereigns and the supporting hierarchies of nobles likewise accepted the authority to rule as a natural commitment of this order. Yet it gradually came to be admitted that the Third Estate had a right to a voice in the direction of affairs, and more particularly, in how the money taken from them in taxes should be expended.
to the determination of ‘those who paid the piper to call the tune’. In the early seventeenth century the commercial classes of the Kingdom brought about the Great Rebellion and cut off King Charles I’s head. This drastic culmination of the revolution was, however, far from having the approval of the great majority of the people, and the resulting dictatorship by a bureaucracy proved so distasteful to them that 14 years later, in 1660, they gave overwhelming support to the restoration of Charles II.

Nevertheless, as a result of these troubles a new balance was achieved, and it became recognised that the best means of governing the realm lay in a fair distribution of power between King, Lords and Commons. For the following 200 years the balance was reasonably well maintained and, during them, Britain knew a greater well-being and prosperity that any nation since the fall of
Rome.

 

But from the latter part of the 19th century this balance gradually became undermined. The coming of the machine age enabled the politicians of the ‘all men are equal’ school to get into ever-closer touch with the masses. Under the banners of liberation they preached against every form of privilege, thus making the masses discontented with their lot; and later, as socialists, they openly advocated equality in all things. The English race, which has led the way in most things, was the first to give full expression …[text illegible] …with supreme power vested in the House of Commons.

By the opening of the 20th century this new political consciousness in the multitude, coupled with the long disuse of the power of veto by the Monarch, had already reduced the Throne to a cipher; and in 1911 a liberal majority in the commons passed a bill that reduced the power of the Lords to a negligible quantity. It was not, however, until the elections of 1945, that the ‘all men are equal’ propaganda resulted in the return of a Socialist majority to Westminster, where, the other two factors having been virtually eliminated, it has, in the past two years, given Britain her first taste of government by the representatives of the underdog, free from all unilateral or higher control.

 

Up to the end of the last century the difference in condition between the very rich and the very poor was obviously too great to justify on any count, but much had been done to bridge the gulf long before the socialists came to power. Successive governments had brought in ever-higher rates of income tax with a sharply rising scale according to income; so that by 1940 the great bulk of all taxation was borne by the moderately well off and richer classes. In fact, a married workman with 4 children could earn up to £400 a year without paying any tax at all, whereas a millionaire with an income of £50,000 had to surrender £44,000 in taxation. Again, under the old system there were many abuses of power, particularly through economic pressure, whereby workers were often compelled to labour overlong hours in unhealthy conditions; but here again, during the first 40 years of the present century an enormous amount had been done to redress these evils. Education and health services had been made free to all, hours of work restricted, minimum wages set for all types of labour, insurance of workers against accident made compulsory on employers, and both unemployment pay and old-age pensions assured to all below a certain income level.

 

It was far from being a perfect world, but the masses were no longer at the mercy of chance or the caprice of their masters, and were fully protected from either calamity or want. No one would seek to deny that the worker’s own representatives and the trade union movement played a great part in bringing about these reforms; yet the fact remains that the laws concerning them were mainly introduced and passed by just-minded and humane legislators drawn from the old ruling classes.

 

However, having agitated for such reforms for so long, the ‘all men are equal’ advocates were far from content and are now in the process of lightening the natural burden of the workers to a point where the wealthy and even the stability of the nation is threatened. Employers are now no longer allowed to run their businesses as they think best but have become the bond slaves of socialist state planning. The school leaving age has been put up to 16, and a 5 day working week has been instituted in the mines, the railways and many other industries.

 

This means that while workers are being protected and provided for, whether employed or not, from the cradle to the grave, they are no longer putting in a sufficient number of working hours to pay for the benefits they receive. To continue on these lines can only end in national bankruptcy, or a reversal of policy by which, as in Soviet Russia, the vast majority of the theoretically classless society are compelled to work appallingly long hours to maintain the state bosses and a huge non-productive bureaucracy.

 

The doctrine of ensuring every child a good start in life and equal opportunities is fair and right, but the intelligent and the hardworking will always rise above the rest, and it is not a practical proposition that the few should be expected to devote their lives exclusively to making things easy for the majority. In time, such a system is bound to undermine the vigour of the race. If the rewards of ability and industry are to be taken from those who rise to the top, they will cease to strive, and if the masses are pampered too much they will regard protection from all the hazards of life as their right, and become lazy. There is only a limited amount of wealth in each nation’s resources. If it is not added to year by year by vigorous enterprise, made possible by the majority of the people doing an honest day’s work, but instead, gradually drained away in bettering the condition of the masses without their making an adequate return, the nation that follows such a policy is bound to go into a decline; then the general standard of living will fall, instead of becoming a Utopia, as the ‘all men are equal’ theorists fondly imagine.

 And this is the slippery slope to which the new socialist government ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ has now brought a once rich and prosperous
Britain.

Socialist controls now make it impossible for any ambitious young man to start his own business. Socialist taxation operates against any man of initiative immediately his efforts place him in a higher income-tax group. Socialist laws actually forbid workers in all the great national industries to work overtime or better themselves by changing their employment. Socialist ‘planning’ forbids any man to kill his own sheep or pig, cut down his own tree, put up a wooden shelf in his own house, build a shack in his garden, and either buy or sell the great majority of commodities – without a permit. In fact, it makes all individual effort an offence against the state. Therefore, this Dictatorship of the Proletariat, instead of gradually improving the conditions in which the lower classes live, as has been the aim of all past governments, must result in reducing everyone outside the party machine to the level of the lowest, idlest and most incompetent worker.

Realising that, many thousands of our young people are planning to leave Britain for the dominions, colonies and other countries overseas, where unshackled by the bureaucratic socialist octopus, men are still free to carve out a fortune for themselves, and enjoy the rewards of hard work and enterprise.

 

Man began as a member of a herd. He became different from the animals only when the urge to become a real person – an individual – gave him the courage to back away from the herd. The desire to remain free and independent forced him to think and act for himself. In the process he developed his imagination, his ability to reason, his strength of purpose, his audacity, his powers of concentration, and his expectation towards a still greater freedom in some afterlife more perfect than the present. As an individual, often subject to the orders of others, but rarely reduced to a mere part in a soulless machine, men achieved a variety of great civilisations – a feat beyond the bounds of all probability had he always been regimented and had his thoughts moulded for him into a uniform pattern by state propaganda.

 

The triumph of communism means the reconverting of civilised men back to the herd. That has been proved in Russia where, since the revolution of 1917, in which the noble, moneyed and intellectual classes were almost entirely eliminated by organized massacres, the communist party has wielded absolute power. For the past 30 years, the truth about the past and about everything which goes on outside the borders of Russia, has been either deliberately falsified or withheld from the people. Even their party men have become only slightly larger cogs in the state machine. All but a very few are ignorant of the fact that the standard of living to which communism has reduced the Russian people is the lowest in the world; and they dare not express a doubt as to its rightness or efficiency, as to do so could cost them their lives. There is not a shadow of liberty left. Everyone is compelled to labour to the limit of their endurance in return for their bare subsistence. They can be arrested and imprisoned or shot without trial. There is no justice and no freedom of either thought or action. Few have any conception of the joys that go to make life worth living. The Russian people now know no other form of life than that of state slaves. Day after day they labour on like harnessed animals. From their dreary lot there is nothing to look forward to, no future and no escape.

And this is the ultimate outcome of the false, pernicious doctrine that ‘all men are equal’. Socialism is but a halfway house.

 Therefore, if when this document is discovered, the people of
Britain are bound to a state machine, my message to posterity is REBEL. All men are not equal. Some have imagination and abilities far above others. It is their province and their right to take upon themselves the responsibility of leading and protecting the less gifted.

We are sent into this world to develop our own personality – to use such gifts as we have been given and to set an example to others by our courage, fortitude, sympathy, generosity and self-reliance. Any state which controls the lives of the people and dictates where they shall live, what work they shall do, what they shall see, say, hear, read and think, thwarts the free development of personality, and is therefore EVIL.

It will be immensely difficult to break the stranglehold of the machine, but it can be done, little by little; the first step being the formation of secret groups of friends for free discussion. Then numbers of people can begin systematically to break small regulations, and so to larger ones with passive resistance by groups of people pledged to stand together – and eventually the boycotting, or ambushing and killing of unjust tyrannous officials.

Your life does not matter, but your freedom does. The age-old wisdom tells us that death is not to be feared, for it is but a release from life, leading to rebirth, and if one has lived and died courageously, as a finer, stronger personality. Therefore, if need be, fight for your RIGHT to live, work and love, how and where you will. If need be die for it. Your death will be an example to others that it is better to die fighting for your freedom and happiness than to live on as a slave.

May the courage and wisdom of the Timeless Ones, who order all things, be your support and guide. They will never fail you if you have faith in yourself. Blessings be upon you; freedom and love be with you.

Dennis Wheatley

What Happened To Property Rights? 8 February 2007

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In Zimbabwe, the evil government of Robert Mugabwe has been stealing farms, demolishing homes, and just being a really, really, really nasty piece of work. He would fit quite happily into Labour. They too have been stealing property (from the dead), demolishing homes, and becoming increasingly authoritarian.

Apart from demolishing 400,000 perfectly respectable homes needing just renoStanstedvation, the government is ordering building on green field sites in other areas. It’s also abusing compulsory purchase orders to build an Olympic Park (to be used for 3 weeks and then lay empty like the ones in Sydney, Athens and elsewhere); to buy the homes for demolition; and to expand Stansted Airport (which nicely contradicts government plans to reduce the growth in aviation).

I’m left wondering, what happened to property rights? It’s wrong that the state can ‘compulsory purchase’ our property. What if you don’t want to sell? You get compensation, but what if the compensation doesn’t match the value you put on your property?

The awful plans to expand Stansted Airport, in particular, must be stopped. It will destroy several beautiful villages and acres of our countryside, and blight hundreds of people. Why should the government have the right to ruin people’s entire lives, just so a few people can fly?

It’s time property rights were strengthened. I urge all my readers to join the campaign, it’s online and free.

Jade Isn’t A Racist, But She Is Foul 7 February 2007

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The Jade Goody Racism story is still going on with Shilpa Shetti, the winner of Celebrity Big Brother, now meeting Tony Blair and thanking him for his support. After CoB’slong absence, I thought I should join everyone else in commenting on this mega-story.

My thoughts are simple. I do not care if Jade Goody is a racist or not. She is a horrible, loud mouth, arrogant, foul and ignorant bully. It doesn’t matter why she acts this way, what matters is how she acts. The motivation – be it racism, jealousy or whatever – is neither here nor there. Bad behavour is bad behaviour, full stop, the end.

This leads me to a legal point, whereby race crimes are treated with extra severity compared to other crimes. This I think is wrong. Crime is crime, violence is violence, murder is murder. The law is meant to apply equally to everyone. What does it matter why someone was picked upon to be a victim of crime, whether it be race, hair colour, age, religion, newspaper readership, or anything? What matters is the crime.

Take two identical crimes by white thugs; an assault upon an elderly lady, and an assault upon an elderly Asian lady. The second would be punished far more seriously, why? Both are terrible crimes, and both should be punished equally severely. It doesn’t matter why the thugs discriminated to select their victim – be it racism, random selection or something else – the crime is the same.

We have got to move away from the racism obsession, and treat all bad behaviour equally. Racism is a horrible thing, but if people are racist, that is their belief. Politicians jumping on the bandwagon just looks pathetic, they cannot legislate people to have good thoughts and be nice. Being a victim of racism must be awful, just as any bullying/nastiness is awful, but we all have to be thick skinned and learn to give back as good as you get. If someone says something horrible, ignore them or say something back. Only when a crime is commited should the state get involved, and the state should not discriminate between crimes.

As for Jade, we should shun her not because she is racist, but because she is a horrible person. The possible racism is just a part of that.

Britain Lags Behind In High Tech World 7 January 2007

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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

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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.

A New Unionist Voice For Scotland? 4 January 2007

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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.

What’s Wrong With City Bonus Season? 4 January 2007

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There’s a craze sweeping Britain. Everyone is getting in on the collest act in town. Everyone has an opinion. Welcome to the Envyfest, formerly known as the City Bonus Season. You can read some of the Envyfest here. Even the Times Business Column is getting in on it, although from a different angle. It seems everyone is moaning about “fat cat pay” and “riddiculously highpay and bonuses”.

“That’s not fair,” the envy ridden say, “why should they earn so much?”The odd few try to disguise their jealousy by affixing the reasoning “when there are so many people starving” – as if City bonuses and World poverty are related.

People such as Ken Livingstone, extremist comedian Mark Steele, and even an assortment of seemingly ordinary looking people suddenly feel they have the right to dictate and offer opinion on the remuneration of other people, employed by private bodies to which they have no connection.

Unless you are a shareholder in one of these respective firms, the bonuses and salaries of its employees are none of our business, because we don’t own it. It is a matter for them and their bosses – who are the directors and, ultimately, shareholders.

Fifty million, so what? It’s not our money. We should mind our own business. If they want to reward that individual because they think he is worth it, that is up to them. Snouts in the trough? So what, it’s their trough.

So when someone says “it’s not right that they earn so much”, I simply ask “how much do you earn?” Very few wish to reply.