Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Scots Better Off Than English Under A SNP Government

The gulf in state spending between Scotland and England has hit a record £1,600 per head. Government spending in Scotland averaged £10,212 per person last year – £1,624 per head more than in England. The figures, buried in Treasury documents, reveal the gap increased by more than 15 per cent in only a year. Figures in the Treasury's annual Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses show total public spending per head in Scotland last year was £10,212, compared to only.£8,588 in England. The gap widened from £1,409 to £1,624 – a amazing rise of 15.2 per cent in just one year.

Good Luck To Miss Belgium Justine De Jonckheere In The Miss Universe Contest In Brazil

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Small Is Beautiful

Size matters: 50% of differences in growth over the last thirty years in western Europe can be attributed to differences in country size;

Welsh people would be around 39% richer, and the Welsh economy would have grown by 2.5% a year had Wales achieved independence around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and followed a similar pattern to other small nations;

Small is richer: being small doesn't hamper a country's prosperity - in fact there is a 'small country bonus' amongst the EU's member states, with smaller countries growing at a more rapid pace;

Smaller countries are frequently the fastest to recover from recession;

Four key factors make small nations economically successful - openness to trade; social cohesion; adaptability; the EU's flotilla-like structure

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Glenn Mulcaire Names News Of The World Staff Who Asked Him To Hack Phones

Glenn Mulcaire has revealed the names of the News of the World staff who instructed him to carry out phone hacking, his solicitor has confirmed.

The information was passed in a letter to Steve Coogan's lawyers in accordance with a court order.

Mulcaire had applied for permission to appeal against the order, which was made in February, but this was denied and he was compelled to pass over the details by Friday.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Mind Your Language

The Government has used tax payers money to pay for language courses for Westminster Mps.In the last five years, the scheme has cost taxpayers £110,279.58 -spent by 39 MPs who took classes in 11 languages ranging from Spanish, French and Italian to Urdu, Arabic and Sylheti, according to the Daily Mirror. Jeremy Hunt the millionaire Tory Government Minister has taken a course in Manderin which cost more than £2,500.
Former Labour minister Sion Simon spent £10,269.10 on Italian classes -and a further £185.06 on French. Ex-Labour MP Fraser Kemp used £6,341.61 for Spanish lessons. Former transport minister Stephen Ladyman spent £7,065.24 learning the same language. Jim Fitzpatrick, shadow transport minister, spent £1,000.22 learning Sylheti, usually spoken in Bangladesh. Tory Daniel Kawczynski and Labour’s Mark Lazarowicz forked out £540.50 and £1,300 each learning Polish.

Doctor Alasdair McDonnell Writes A Letter To SDLP Chairs

Dr Alasdair McDonnell the SDLP Mp for South Belfast has written a letter to ask the party branch chairs to nominate him in any future leadership election election. He will need the nomination of at least 5 SDLP Branches. Dr McDonnell's letter is further evidence of his growing interest in the post. Dr McDonnell contested the leadership in 2010, but was narrowly defeated by Margaret Ritchie. Just under 350 people will be entitled to vote in any leadership election at the parties conference in November.

Friday, 26 August 2011

SNP Pledge £500,000 To Help The Homeless

The program is backed by £500,000 from the SNP Government to cover staff training and service development.

Housing Minister Keith Brown said: "Scotland has an important but challenging, homelessness target: that by the end of December 2012, all unintentionally homeless households will have the right to settled accommodation.

"The main priority of the hubs is to focus on the prevention of homelessness through a combination of sharing best practice, joint training and commissioning joint research.

"Councils across the country are to be applauded for the manner in which they have enthusiastically embraced prevention as the way forward in the fight to tackle homelessness."

And the results so far have been impressive. In North Ayrshire there has been a 57.5 per cent reduction in homelessness since 2003.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Behind Closed Doors

Tonight Castlereagh Council will meet in private. In order to recieve the full report into the leasing of the Lock Keepers Cottage to Kirk McCambley. Kirk was of course the teenager who had a affair with Iris Robinson. But why can't members of the public read this report as well? SDLP Castlereagh Councillor Brian Harvey says "I don't see any reason why it should not be made public, but this meeting will be the first opportunity that councillors will have had to see it. We were only given a verbal briefing on it before."

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Patsy McGlone Sets Out His SDLP Leadership Stall

“I have spoken to many people about the problems we face. It was that immediate change was absolutely vital if the future of progressive politics in Ireland is to be safeguarded,” he said.

“Our party is the only one committed to building a society where everyone has access to first class education, healthcare and employment. Our island is home to people from a huge variety of traditions and the SDLP respects each in equal measure.

“Uniting Ireland and its people is of central importance to our party and to me. My conviction is that we all benefit from the progressive stability of an innovative new Ireland; a frontier-free approach to the provision of healthcare, which means those in border areas are treated at the most appropriate local facility, whether North or South; closer co-operation at third level education, which means Ireland can avoid the fee inflation currently taking place in Britain; and a co-ordinated All-Ireland approach to attracting investment and jobs, in the same way we currently work together to attract tourists and visitors.

“My challenge, if elected leader of the SDLP will be to convince those that hold opposing constitutional and cultural views that our shared problems North and South are usually best faced together.

“To paraphrase the famous poet John Hewitt, I am proud of my Derry roots, my Ulster identity, and, like many Protestants and Unionists I know, to call myself Irish. We have more in common than which divides us.”

“Without a genuine engagement and partnership with others we can never deliver the transformation required to create a truly equal and just society. That is how the SDLP did it before, and how we will do it again,” he continued.

“To build this society, we must move beyond the sham “equality” of dividing resources evenly across our separated society and divided communities. The honest equality is the effective delivery of improvements to the lives of people based solely on need, not creed.”

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Andy Coulson Was Recieving Payments From News International While Working For The Tory Party

Andy Coulson was paid large sums of money by News International while working for the Conservative Party. He started work as David Cameron's Director Of Communications in July 2007 but was still recieving money from News International.Mr Coulson also recieved private health insurance and a company car from News International several years after leaving the Company. Labour MP Tom Watson, who sits on the culture, media and sport committee, said the money could be classed as a donation to the Tory party which should have been declared to the Electoral Commission.

"This is a remarkable revelation" Watson said. "Not only was Coulson being paid when he gave evidence to the committee, he failed to declare it. I will be writing to the electoral commission to invite them to look into this."

Under electoral law both the donor and recipient are obligated to report donations, meaning that if the payments are interpreted as donations in kind to the party, both News International and the party could face sanctions.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Who Ordered The Hacking Of Elle Macpherson's Phone?

A court case brought by the comedian Steve Coogan could reveal the names of those who ordered the phone hacking at the News Of The World. The private detective hired by the newspaper has been told to reveal the names by the end of the month by a judge. Those hacked include Max Clifford the PR Guru and Sky Andrew the football agent and Gordon Taylor the head of the Professional Footballers Association. As well as the Supermodel Elle Macpherson.

Dolly Parton Donates 40,000 Books To Scottish Children

More than 40,000 free books have been donated to children in Scotland by a foundation headed by country singer Dolly Parton.Her literacy programme,"Dolly Parton's Imagination Library", a part of the Dollywood Foundation, mails one book per month to each enrolled child from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten.The programme distributes more than 2.5 million books to children annually.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Fermanagh Tops Legal Guns League Table

It has been revealed that people in Dungannon and South Tyrone own 8,259 legally held firearms.

That total puts the Borough second highest in the weapons league table after Fermanagh who came out on top with 9,214 legally held weapons.

Third-placed Ballymena was closely followed by Armagh with 7,913.

In total there are 139,929 legally held firearms in homes throughout the North and, according to the PSNI, the guns are shared out between 61,565 owners.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Is Margaret Ritchie Ready To Quit As SDLP Leader?

According to Liam Clarke writing in the Belfast Telegraph Margaret Ritchie could quit as SDLP leader as soon as next month. But who will replace her as leader will it be Patsy McGlone or Alasdair McDonnell? Or maybe it will Conall McDevitt who is young media friendly and be maybe just the tonic for a party in serious decline.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Tom Hunter Backs The SNP On Corporation Tax

Leading Scottish Businessman Tom Hunter has backed the SNP on Corporation Tax. He said "We cannot and should not defend the status quo or we will confine our nation to a reverse gear that will hurt the most vulnerable. “Growth is stimulated not by austerity measures but by positive intervention. It is my belief ceding corporation tax control, alongside other measures, to the Scottish Government is just such an intervention.”

Monday, 15 August 2011

SNP To Set Up A Single Scottish Police Force

Scotland is to have a single police force replacing the current 8. This major shake-up will save money and help reduce crime. The SNP is supported in this move by the Labour and Conservative parties. A government spokesman said: "This government has delivered 1,000 additional officers to make our communities safer - helping drive crime to a 32-year low in Scotland - and our priority isto protect that strong frontline police presence. "It is precisely because of those 1,000 additional officers that Scotland's police forces were able to deploy officers to help their English counterparts at short notice last week, for example, and we are committed to maintaining those numbers despite budget cuts from Westminster."

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Gay Byrne Decides Not To Run For Irish President

The former TV and Radio star has decided not to run for Irish President.Despite being urged to do so by a media campaign whipped up to a frenzy by the Irish Independent and his friends at RTE. Who will they try to get to run next for the honour of being the next head of state?

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Red C Opinion Poll For Paddy Power On Who Should Be The Next Irish President

Gay Byrne 28%
Michael D Higgins 21%
Brian Crowley 13%
Gay Mitchell 13%
Sean Gallagher 12%
Mary Davis 7%
Dana/Rosemary Scallon 6%

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Alex Salmond Unveils New Jobs Boost Funded By The EU

Alex Salmond has unveiled a new jobs boost for Scotland. Over 2 Billion pounds will be spent to bring new jobs to Southern parts of Scotland. Mr Salmond said the investment package, which will create 164 jobs in the Dumfries and Galloway and Borders areas.A £400,000 grant was also announced to help to pay for three all-weather sports pitches in Stranraer, Dumfries and Annan.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

SNP MP Calls For Exclusive Focus On Scottish Independence Referendum

Pete Wishart the SNP MP said, "It's now three months since our historic victory in May and our total and exclusive focus must be now on winning the referendum.

"Our victory in May was substantially down to the perception that the SNP was trusted to govern effectively and offered effective leadership for Scotland.

"But, it also indicates that the public does not fear a debate about our national future and are prepared to back a party that has independence as its core ideal."

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sunday Independent/Quantum Research Poll Who Should Be The Next Irish President

Gay Byrne 34%
Michael D Higgins 24%
Gay Mitchell 15%
Sean Gallagher 10%
Mary Davis 9%
Dana/Rosemary Scallon 8%

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Paddy Power Next Irish President Odds

Michael D Higgins 8/11
Gay Mitchell 15/8
Mary Davis 9/2
Brian Crowley 10/1
Dana/Rosemary Scallon 16/1
Sean Gallagher 16/1
Gay Byrne 20/1
Eamon O'Cuiv 22/1
Martin McAleese 25/1

Friday, 5 August 2011

Crime In Scotland At Its Lowest Level In 32 Years

Figures from the nation’s eight forces show overall recorded crime was down 4.5% in 2010/11, the latest of four successive and significant annual falls. The figures come after the SNP’s flagship policy of putting a 1000 more police officers on the beat. The unadjusted figures show there were 323,060 crimes recorded in the year to March. That compares with 338,249 the year before, with the same figure topping 500,000 in the early 1990s. Scotland’s most senior frontline officer, Chief Superintendent David O’Connor, has welcomed “hugely significant reductions in crime” but warned cuts could make last year’s results hard to repeat. Mr O’Connor also referred to schemes, such as midnight basketball in Glasgow, which have helped cut youth disorder. Many of these projects face uncertain funding.

North Of Ireland Suffers From Poverty

According to a survey recently released by the Consumer Council.

An estimated 50% of households here suffer fuel poverty.

-Averages wages in Northern Ireland are £357.60. That's £39 less a week than UK average.

-The cost of filling a car with diesel and petrol jumped by around £200 between May 2010 & May 2011.

-72% of survey respondents on low incomes have no life insurance.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

SNP Condemn Tony Blairs Tapestry Of Deceit

SNP Mp Angus Robertson has welcomed the news that the Chilcot Report will be damning of Tony Blair in his conduct in the run up to the Iraq War. He said: "The tapestry of deceit woven by Tony Blair over the past decade has finally unravelled. Despite his best attempts to fudge the issue when he was called to give evidence, the Chilcot Inquiry has recognised the former prime minister's central role in leading the UK into the worst foreign policy disaster in recent history.

"The report is set to raise difficult questions for those Labour and Tory MPs and MSPs who backed Blair's illegal and immoral invasion. They are all jointly and severally liable for the disaster that occurred."

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

David Norris Pulls Out Of The Race For The Next Irish President

David Norris has pulled out of the race for Irish President. This follows the outrage over him writing a letter on Irish Senate notepaper calling for clemency for his then Gay partner after he was convicted by a Israeli court of sexual offences against a 15 year old boy.

David Norris Loses The Support Of Three TD's

Independent TDs Finian McGrath, John Halligan and Thomas Pringle have withdrawn their support for the embattled Presidential candidate David Norris.

Monday, 1 August 2011

SNP Still Want Full Devolution Of Crown Estate

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "While we welcome any increase in investment by the Crown Estate, this falls well short of what we could achieve with full devolution of Crown Estate assets in Scotland.

"Our progressive plans, backed by the Scottish Parliament, would see revenues from the Crown Estate invested directly back into local communities.

"Scotland is blessed with fantastic offshore-energy potential. It is completely contrary to the spirit of self-government to have Scotland's seabed and almost half the foreshore controlled by an unelected body, with no requirement to consider the will of local communities or consult the Scottish Government."

The value of Crown Estate property in Scotland increased by 13 per cent over the year to £207 million."