Thursday, 20 December 2012

Famous Belgian

French actor Gerard Depardieu has said he is leaving France and moving to Belgium to live. It is believed that the new 75% tax for the superrich is to blame. Many of the well off in France are following Mr Depardieu and leaving the as well. Mr Depardieu is setting up home in the wealthy Belgian town of Néchin, where he will evade the current Left-leaning government's tax hikes. Depardieu claims to have paid 145 million Euros over the years to the French Government.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Ulster Unionist Party 1905-2012 Rest In Peace

So Peter Robinson and Mike Nesbitt have set up a Unionist Forum together. Yet the street protests continue and show no end in sight. In fact the leader of the protests has said that the protests show the Unionist people have lost trust in their elected representives to lead. The agenda shows how far they have lost touch with reality. This Pan-Unionist Front is not going to deliver anything. Apart of course from bringing the Ulster Unionists even closer to the DUP. All these joint statements and joint press conferences and now pan-unionist front meetings are only leading in one direction. And that is one Unionist party with the DUP running the show and whats left of the UUP sweeping up after them. Yesterday Mike Nesbitt sounded the death notice for his party.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Irish Government Give Full Support To Scottish Minimum Pricing For Alcohol

The Irish health minister Dr James Reilly said: “I wish to express my full support for the Scottish proposals on minimum unit pricing of alcohol. This is an important policy measure to reduce the harmful consumption of alcohol and, in this regard, the Irish Department of Health is currently preparing proposals for similar legislation in Ireland.”

Friday, 14 December 2012

David Trimble Labels DUP Cynical

The former UUP leader turned Conservative peer told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "I am surprised there is a problem, because the issue could have been foreseen, a compromise was available. It seems rather strange the compromise has not been accepted. It's really strange that some parties who sit at Stormont and accept for government buildings the designated flag days, are out encouraging protests against designated days in other public buildings. It's a pity some parties are now not accepting that compromise." The former Ulster Unionist Party leader said it made him suspect parties had "other motives". "I cannot avoid looking at the fact that the Alliance Party, who provided the majority for this compromise at City Hall, is the party that defeated the DUP in east Belfast in the parliamentary election," he said. "I wonder if this is something to do with trying to regain support that went to the Alliance Party at that stage. In which case I think it's a really quite cynical thing for them to be doing."

Thursday, 13 December 2012

What Will Basil Do Next?

1 Join the Alliance Party a liberal unionist would fit in well but would he be able to hold on to his seat at the next election?

2 Join the NI Tories if he joined them he would lose a lot of liberal unionist support. Doing a reverse Enoch may not be that good a idea

3 Going Independent it has not done Lady Hermon in North Down or David McClarty in East Derry any harm could work out well

4 Start up a new Unionist Party maybe he could ask Lady Hermon and David McClarty to join him in forming a new liberal Unionist based on the Good Friday Agreement

Mike TV Removes The UUP Whip From Wee Basil

Mike Nesbitt has removed the Ulster Unionist whip from the Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea. Mr McCrea has been a thorn in the side of the party leader for some time. Basil has supported the Alliance party on designated days for flying the flag over Belfast City Hall. Speaking on the BBC Radio Ulster programme Talkback Mr McCrea says he is now considering his future in the UUP.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Monday, 10 December 2012

Man Of The Year Max Keiser

Watch "Keiser Report: God Hates Bankers (E372)" on YouTube

Well done to Max Keiser star of Russia Today's Keiser Report. You are hoboroads political highway Man Of The Year.

Woman Of The Year Kim Kardashian

Yes Kim Kardashian has won hoboroad's political highway woman of the year award. Well done Kim it is well deserved you look great.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

No Kidding Sherlock

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr, of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said: "Loyalist paramilitary groups are now actively involved in orchestrating this disorder and we've seen that in various parts of the greater Belfast area over the course of the last couple of nights." He said members of both the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) have been involved.

Alex Salmond Calls For Scottish Independence

The writer is the first minister of Scotland. When the United Nations was formed at the end of World War II, its membership comprised barely 50 independent countries. Today that number has grown to almost 200 — a sure sign that the right to democratic self-determination has been among the foremost prevailing factors in the world as we have moved into the 21st century. And the voice of the United States has often been instrumental in that process. As first minister of Scotland, I lead a country that once was independent and aspires to that status again. In autumn 2014, we will offer the people of Scotland the opportunity to vote to reclaim that independence. As part of the debate in the run-up to that referendum, it is important that the facts are laid out as clearly as possible, and that is why The Post’s Oct. 31editorial[“If Europe crumbles; An independent Scotland would be bad for the West”] was so disappointing. To begin with, the assertion that an independent Scotland would “withdraw from NATO” is quite wrong. The Scottish National Party voted this year for an independent Scotland to continue in NATO membership. Independence will certainly mean an end to the stationing of nuclear weapons in Scotland, that is true, but this will merely put Scotland in the same non-nuclear category as 25 of the alliance’s current 28 members. The claim that an independent Scotland would be “unable to contribute meaningfully to global security” also is untrue. Would the same be said of European nations such as Norway, smaller than Scotland, or Denmark, almost identical in size? As it happens, these two countries combined flew more air sorties in the internationally sanctioned action in Libya than did the United Kingdom. Further, the assertion that London might veto independent Scottish membership of the European Union and its use of the pound as a currency is not borne out by the facts. The recent Edinburgh Agreement, signed by myself and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, commits both our governments to respect the referendum and to implement the outcome, whatever the result. And it is likely that any London government would be keen to see an independent Scotland continue to use the pound, given the large sums that Scottish sources — not least North Sea oil and gas, the vast majority of which lies in our territorial waters — make to that currency’s balance of payments. Scotland and the United States share close ties stretching back centuries. Many U.S. presidents trace their ancestry to Scotland, while the Declaration of Arbroath, the 14th-century document asserting Scotland’s status as an independent nation, has been held by a U.S. Senate resolution as a direct influence on the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The long-standing ties between our two countries will only be strengthened once Scotland regains its place as an equal member of the global family of nations. After all, the Republic of Ireland gained its independence in the 20th century and enjoys the warmest of relationships with the United States. Does anyone in the United States seriously consider that this relationship would be improved by seeing Dublin return to rule from London? Former president Bill Clinton recently recognized that it is increasingly important for national identities to be accommodated along with the need to make common cause to tackle global problems. Independence in an interdependent world means that the 21st century can see just such a global partnership evolve hand in hand with the political self-determination of which the United States has so often been such a vociferous champion. Indeed, in considering the true interests of the United States, perhaps The Post would do well to reflect that democracy and self-determination must by their nature represent the real interest of America, because they are the core principles on which the country was founded. There is something else worth reflecting on in the Scottish civic debate. In a process of self-government that has taken the best part of the last century, not one person has ever died arguing for or against Scottish independence. The national movement in Scotland is peaceful, democratic and civic in its nature — something perhaps, in this troubled world, to be encouraged as in the true interests of both the United States and of Scotland.

DUP MLA Blames UVF For Trouble

Two hundred were at the DUP mayor of Newtownabbey's Christmas dinner and 400 were at a Christmas function involving singer Peter Corry.Around 30 to 40 loyalists who congregated at the gates hijacked and burned two cars and smashed the windscreens of other cars belonging to people attending the functions.People at the play were delayed and those at the Christmas dinner had their evening cut short because entertainers could not get into the premises.A situation arose where people inside could not leave and people attempting to enter were obstructed.DUP assembly member Paul Girvan attempted to speak to the protesters but was initially stoned.He was eventually recognised by the loyalists.He said that as far as he was concerned there was clear paramilitary orchestration.Mr Girvan blamed the Ulster Volunteer Force.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Most Corrupt Nations In The World

North Korea

Top 12 Least Corrupt Countries In The World

New Zealand

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Israel Should Open It's Nuclear Arsenal For Inspection says United Nations

The resolution, approved by a vote of 174 to six with six abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) "without further delay" and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those voting against were Israel, the US, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. Israel is thought to have at least 200 nuclear warheads.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Switzerland Is The Best Country To Be Born In

Switzerland is the best Country to be born in. Ireland comes in 12th while the UK is 27th.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Oh No Not Another Opinion Poll

I see the recent poll by Lucid Talk for the English Tory Party involved telephone interviews with 12,000 people in an area covering Belfast, Lisburn, Mourne, Bangor/Holywood, Newtownards/Ballynahinch and Larne/Ballyclare. Yes all along the East coast people were surveyed. But if you live in Cookstown or Strabane or Armagh City or Derry you need not worry about getting a phone call from Gerry Lynch and his pals.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The British Press Are Still Drinking In Last Chance Saloon

1. 1953. Four years after a Royal Commission told the press to start regulating itself, nothing had been done. Only the threat of legislation forced them to create the General Council of the Press. Withdrawing his Private Member’s Bill, C.J. Simmons MP told the Commons: ‘I give warning here and now that if it fails, some of us again will have to come forward with a measure similar to this bill.’

2. 1962. A second Royal Commission told the press to make self-regulation effective: ‘We think that the Press should be given another opportunity itself voluntarily to establish an authoritative General Council . . . We recommend, however, that the government should specify a time limit after which legislation would be introduced.’

3. 1977. The third Royal Commission on the Press urged radical changes to the Press Council and said that if nothing was done parliament should act. The report said: ‘We recommend that the press should be given one final chance to prove that voluntary self-regulation can be made to work.’

4. 1990. Parliament backed the Calcutt Committee recommendations for radical improvements to self-regulation, including the establishment of an effective Press Complaints Commission. Papers were given a ‘year of grace’ to make this work and the Home Secretary, David Waddingston, told the Commons: ‘This is positively the last chance for the industry to establish an effective non-statutory system of regulation.’

5. 1993. The Calcutt Review concluded that the PCC was ‘not . . . an effective regulator of the press’. It recommended a Press Complaints Tribunal backed by statute. A Major government with a slender majority failed to implement this.

6. 2011. Amid public outrage over the revelation that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked, David Cameron told the Commons: ‘I accept we can’t say it is the last chance saloon all over again. We’ve done that.’

Sunday, 25 November 2012

SNP Lead In New Opinion Poll

SNP           39% (+19.1%)
Labour        33% (-9.0%)
Tory           16% (-0.7%)
LibDem        6% (-12.9%)
Other            7% (+4.5%)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

DUP Leader Wants To Give Money To Loyalist Terrorists

Margaret Ritchie the SDLP MP for South Down has told the House Of Commons that the DUP would like to give money to Loyalist Terrorists.On the DUP she said: "The DUP leader, first minister of Northern Ireland and former member of this house, only recently complained to the Irish government that funding going into worthwhile North-South infrastructure projects should instead go to community projects for loyalists - because loyalist paramilitaries were getting restless and increasingly of a disposition to strike out."

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

I Guess Hes Not A Scientist

In a interview with GQ magazine Marco Rubio the Republican US Senator for Florida was asked the following question.

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Yes yet another great thinker from the party that brought you Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Charles Green Wants Rangers In The English Premiership Or La Liga

He said: “As a football club, if Rangers were in the Premier League only Manchester United would be bigger.

“Arsenal have not got more fans than Rangers. The fanbase is so big.

“I don’t believe the Premier League are hostile towards it. I think it’s a generalisation.

“Speak to Manchester United. They’re not hostile to Rangers joining.

“Why would Man United want to play Southampton? Why, when they could play Rangers? Look, 60 per cent of the Premier League don’t want Rangers. Of course they don’t want Rangers.

“Why would Wigan, Southampton, Swansea, Aston Villa? Why would any of them want Rangers or Celtic in their league. Why would they? It threatens their existence — but if you asked the big clubs, ‘would you like Rangers?’”

Green reckons the Old Firm would also be welcomed with open arms in Spain — as TV firms look to deliver the best product for fans worldwide.

He said: “Ask Barcelona and Real Madrid if they would like Rangers and Celtic in their league. They definitely would.

“Why wouldn’t Barca want to play Rangers home and away as opposed to playing Getafe? They’d sell those games out. What will change football over five-to-ten years is this insatiable demand for the big clubs to play each other. This is not the insatiable demand from the West Midlands or north London. This is the demand from the Middle East, Asia, the Far East.”

Sunday, 11 November 2012

James McClean Refuses To Wear A Poppy

The Sunderland winger and Republic Of Ireland International James McClean refused to wear a football shirt with a poppy on it. The man from Derry who upset Northern Ireland fans by choosing to play for the Republic of Ireland rather than Northern Ireland.

Ashley Judd Could Run For US Senate In 2014

Ashley Judd the movie star has not ruled out running for a seat in Kentucky in the US Senate in 2014."I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I'm very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election, so let's focus on coming together to keep moving America's families, and especially our kids, forward," she said.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Netanyahu Backs A Loser

Benjamin Netanyahu backed Mitt Romney to win the US presidential election. His key ally Sheldon Adelson spent millions of dollars in order to put Romney in the Whitehouse. But Barack Obama has won a great victory not just over the Republican Party but the Israel lobby in the USA.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Prosperity Index Top 25 Countries

1 - Norway
2 - Denmark
3 - Sweden
4 - Australia
5 - New Zealand
6 - Canada
7 - Finland
8 - Netherlands
9 - Switzerland
10 - Ireland
11 - Luxembourg
12 - U.S.A
13 - UK
14 - Germany
15 - Iceland
16 - Austria
17 - Belgium
18 - Hong Kong
19 - Singapore
20 - Taiwan
21 - France
22 - Japan
23 - Spain
24 - Slovenia
25 - Malta

Monday, 5 November 2012

Top Ten Most Prosperous Countries In The World

1 - Norway
2 - Denmark
3 - Sweden
4 - Australia
5 - New Zealand
6 - Canada
7 - Finland
8 - Netherlands
9 - Switzerland
10 - Ireland

Source Legatum Prosperity Index

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A Cancer In Foreign Affairs

Vincent Browne Ireland's top political interviewer has upset some people by attacking Israel. He said: “Israel is the cancer in foreign affairs. It polarises the Islamic community of the world against the rest of the world. “Unless you deal with the problem of Israel and the Palestinians in that part of the world, there’s going to be conflict and disharmony. It’s a massive injustice - they stole the land from the Arabs.”

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tories Lose EU Vote In House Of Commons

David Cameron's Tory/LibDem Government have lost a vote on the EU Budget.By 307-294 votes in the House Of Commons.Government loses by 13 votes.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Time For A Border Poll

Declan Kearney the Sinn Fein Chairman has called for a border poll. He has joined the Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams in calling for the poll. The Secretary Of State for Northern Ireland can call a border poll at anytime under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998. Interesting times ahead.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Global Gender Gap Survey

A new survey by The World Economic Forum shows Ireland coming fifth in gender equality. The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Ireland ranks fifth after Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and also Iceland. Britain is ranked 18th and the U.S. at 22nd.

Ireland ranks highly politically, having had a female head of state 21 out of the last 50 years serving as president.

Irish women earn 75 per cent of what their male counterparts do which is far higher than most countries.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

David Cameron Withheld Emails From Leveson Inquiry

Private emails between David Cameron and the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks have been withheld from the Leveson Inquiry after the Prime Minister sought personal legal advice.

The pile of documents, which runs to dozens of emails and is also thought to include messages sent to Andrew Coulson while he was still working for Rupert Murdoch was not disclosed after No 10 was advised by a Government lawyer that it was not “relevant” to the inquiry into press standards.
The contents of the private emails are described by sources as containing “embarrassing” exchanges. They hold the potential to cast further light on the close personal relationship between the Prime Minister and two of the media mogul’s most senior lieutenants.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Ian Paisley Junior Attacks Andrew Marr

A United Ireland Is Inevitable

A United Ireland is inevitable according to Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Mr Kenny told a investment forum in Cleveland that it would happen one day. Enda Kenny accurately stated the fundamental GFA principle that a United Ireland is potentially possible in the future. Of course political dinosaurs like Gregory Campbell are making there usual noises at this. Of course the DUP may need this as a distraction from Belfast getting its first abortion clinic and the Westminister Parliament being on the verge of making Gay Marriage legal in Northern Ireland.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Alliance Party And The Union Flag

Belfast City Council will decide in coming weeks how many days a year the Union flag will fly above City Hall. Unionist politicans want it to fly for 365 days a year. Nationalist Politicians want it to fly on only special days. This leaves the Alliance party in the difficult position on which side to come down on. The Alliance Party hold the balance of power on Belfast City Council and it will interesting to see what way the cookie crumbles.

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Fighting Irish

Joe Biden won tonights only vice-presidential debate. Congressman Paul Ryan didn't stand a chance against the old senate slugger. Young rookie Paul Ryan was found out tonight. I hope President Barack Obama was watching and learning tonight. I can't wait for the Romney/Obama rematch.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Corporation Tax Obsession

Ed Balls the Shadow Chancellor is on a two day visit to the North of Ireland. He has said that people in the North are obsessed with the possibility of devolution of Corporation Tax to the Assembly. He believes that there are far more pressing economic issues. Such as spending more money on construction projects and banking reforms.

Referendum Coming

The referendum on Scottish Independence is to take place in 2014.And Sixteen and Seventeen year olds will get the vote for the first time.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Scottish Tory Leader Says Nine Out Of Ten Scots Take More In Benefits Than They Pay In Tax

Ruth Davidson told the Tory Party conference “A year ago in Manchester, I came to conference as a newly-elected MSP, taking part in what became one of the most keenly-followed leadership election campaigns of recent years. Today, I come as the first leader of a reformed Scottish Conservative Party, one now fitter than ever for the challenges which lie ahead. In that year, so much has changed. Europe has changed, Britain has changed, Scotland has changed and the Scottish Conservatives have had to change too. At times it has been challenging, and there are more obstacles still to overcome, but overcome them we will. We must complete the transformation into a modern political force with the best interests of Scotland at its heart, but one which benefits from the strength of being part of a national movement. That’s why the programme of party reform I have embarked upon, reshaping the Scottish Conservatives – not from the top down, but from the bottom up - is so important. Because for far too long we have been talking to ourselves, we need to talk about our Conservative Values to the country – and, more importantly to listen. And it’s because we’ve listened we’ve made policies like more flexible childcare a priority, demanded fairer planning restrictions on windfarms and set up an independent rural commission to make sure we can fight for the whole country, not just the cities and suburbs. Scotland needs a strong Conservative party. So many Scottish communities are living with the effects of our opponents’ ideologically-driven vandalism which stretches back decades. Take Glasgow - Never mind the Science Centre or the Armadillo, go to Germiston, Springburn or Barmulloch and tell me Labour has looked after those who have dutifully lent their support over the decades. Yet Labour and the SNP still blame the Conservative Party for the problems they have created – and are continuing to create. They must start facing up to their responsibilities and it is our job not only to make sure they do, but to show there is another way beyond their depressingly limited view that the government must provide the solution to everything. Only the Scottish Conservatives genuinely believe that removing the restraint of government diktat is the best way to build strong communities and of lifting disempowered people out of the depression of dependency which has held back our country for so many years. And don’t let anyone tell you that the SNP is anything other than a centralising, big-state old Labour machine with a tartan trim waving a government-funded saltire. So little moves in Scotland without Government approval and anyone who dares challenge the status quo is deemed an enemy of the state. Maybe it’s because we stand up against the political establishment that some Scottish commentators have been indecently keen to write us off. But the rotten system of patronage which denies so many people real choices in their lives has created a corrosive sense of entitlement which suits its political gangmasters. It is staggering that public sector expenditure makes up a full 50% of Scotland’s GDP and only 12% of households are net contributors, where the taxes they pay outweigh the benefits they receive through public spending. Only 12% are responsible for generating Scotland’s wealth. There are people with household incomes of £50,000 who are paying thousands – indeed- tens of thousands of pounds in taxation, and even that doesn’t cover the amount of money government spends in their name. This isn’t about their contribution not being enough - their contribution is huge. It’s about the state spending too much and the SNP Government refusing to have an honest debate about where that money goes. It’s not just staggering, it’s frightening. We need to expand our private sector, not just to build prosperity but to increase opportunity. We need to encourage our entrepreneurs, reward those hiring more staff, hang out a big sign saying ‘Scotland’s open for business’. Instead, what do we have? A Scottish Government who’ve hammered business with £100million pounds of Scotland-only taxes. If the gangmaster state is the only provider people can see for their housing, education and employment, it’s no surprise those who seek to break the stranglehold find barriers in their way. And now we hear, the liberating right-to-buy policy which, thanks to the Conservatives, gave thousands of families real independence for the first time, is to stop. And who will that blanket ban benefit? Not those who strive to get on the housing ladder, nor the young couple wanting to know as their children grow up, they have more security and can offer more help and opportunity because of the commitments they’ve made. These are just some of the reasons a strong voice for the centre-right has never been so badly needed in Scotland as it is now. It’s not just about votes, it’s about making sure the left-wing consensus is subjected to the most forensic scrutiny - otherwise Scotland could end up making North Korea look like a beacon of free enterprise. And just before anyone thinks that’s an exaggeration, only today the SNP have asked me to apologise for the crime of using facts to support an argument. Facts supplied by the Scottish Parliament’s own information service, and based on the Scottish Government’s own figures. Welcome to Pyongyang. We must stand up with confidence for what we believe. Because no-one will believe in us if we don’t believe in ourselves. The time for sack-cloth and ashes is over. On the constitution and the economy, Scotland faces two big decisions and we need to make our voice heard loud and clear. I welcome Johann Lamont’s late arrival onto the ground we’re already occupying. While she was taking part in that disgraceful dutch auction before the 2011 election - as Labour and the SNP vied to see who could promise the most freebies that Scotland couldn’t afford – we were the party saying the council tax freeze couldn’t last forever, saying free prescriptions took money away from vital health services and that our universities would suffer unless graduates helped contribute to the cost of their degrees. It is simply wrong to fritter away tax-payers’ hard-earned cash on throwing electoral bribes at people who didn’t ask for them. Right-thinking people have long argued they were quite happy to pay for their aspirins if it meant vital cancer drugs could be made available for the chronically ill. And look at Scotland’s universities. With every spending decision skewed in order to cover up long term funding failures, all but one of our leading institutions are now tumbling down the world league tables. That means the international students upon whom Scottish universities now depend for so much of their funds are more likely to look elsewhere. What about Scotland’s schools? After years of SNP and Labour mismanagement, one child in every five goes to high school unable to read or write properly. What chance have they got? And with every family in Scotland currently paying £700 a year just to repay the interest on the debts run up by the last UK Labour government, I thought I’d see Ed Milliband growing up and coming to the same belated conclusion of his Scottish leader. Last week I was expecting a Mea Culpa…. Instead we got ‘me and my family tree.’ Well let me tell him – Scotland doesn’t want patronised by a champagne socialist in a million pound mansion, growing up with a bourgeois salon for Marxist intellectuals in the front room, telling people that he’s just like them because – hey- he went to a comprehensive. Well I can tell you, Primrose hill and Haverstock are a long way from Buckhaven High. Scotland’s grafters, those people that put in a shift to build a future for their family, they see you as nothing like them, Ed. They see the boy who made a mess and ran away and now whines from the sidelines as someone else clears up that mess. And as for the SNP – they are in complete denial that the situation they’ve created is unsustainable. We have demanded the SNP tell us how much their great giveaway is going to cost but they refuse to say. They refuse because they don’t trust the Scottish people with the information. They even use our money to take to the courts to keep people in Scotland in the dark. Isn’t it strange that in a country where the government tells us everything can be free, the Scottish people can’t be free to make their own choices. It is only by facing up to the choices the SNP are ducking, we can possibly afford to pay for the help and services for which those in genuine need are desperate. Yet the SNP wants to spend more taxpayers’ money, to borrow more in the future and when nothing is left then the blame lies not with them, but with Westminster. The danger posed by the SNP government is one of the reasons for the overwhelming support we have received for Conservative Friends of the Union. 50,000 people from across Scotland have written to me, asking to be involved, desperate to help us win the biggest battle in Scottish political history for generations and trusting us to take the fight to Alex Salmond. Let me tell you what I’ve learned about him in the last year. There is no bigger cheerleader for Alex Salmond than Alex Salmond himself – and no wonder given the booing he got in George Square and at the Ryder cup – he styles himself as one of the big big beasts of politics, apparently an unstoppable force. But let’s look at his record. When he first took over the SNP 22 years ago, an Ipsos Mori poll showed that support for independence stood at 37%. So, what has this goliath, leading his party for more than 18 of the last 22 years, achieved on the one issue he cares about most? A poll out today shows that support for independence has slumped by a quarter, to 28%. Support for independence has disappeared quicker than snow off a dyke. Whatever this snake-oil salesman is selling, Scotland’s not buying. But I’m taking nothing for granted, certainly not the Scottish people. We will stand with the people of Scotland - those from other parties and from none - and we will put forward the positive case for Scotland’s continuation in our United Kingdom. That work has already begun. I have been campaigning across Scotland with the message that we walk taller, shout louder and stand stronger as part of Team GB. On street stalls and at town hall meetings, people up and down our country tell me that they are ready to stand together and to fight. And because they know the Scottish Conservatives are key to winning this referendum – Labour can’t do it on their own – and because the vast majority Scottish people know we passionately believe, as they do, there’s no contradiction in being Scottish and British. They see us leading from the front. And as important as fighting for the UK, is demonstrating we have a real vision for Scotland beyond 2014. In recent weeks, Scottish Conservatives have stood up for our country’s communities by demanding reform of our penal system to make prison work, to ensure criminals serve the sentences the public expects and to end the vicious circle of offending and imprisonment. We have stood up for hard-working families by showing how the Scotland Act can be used to cut income tax and so provide a £560m boost for the economy, and of course for people’s purses and pockets. And we have stood up for Scottish business by arguing that Scotland needs better transport links long before a new island can be built in the Thames. But that is only the start. There’s a whole range of mountains to climb if Scotland is ever to become the most successful, compassionate but competitive nation we know it can be. A Scotland where those in need are cared for but where those who are able - take care of themselves. A Scotland where our health service can meet the needs of longer life and better treatments. A Scotland where our children receive the best education possible, regardless of where they live or how much their parents earn. A Scotland where those who need the support of government can count on it - but where they don’t have to wait for the government to tell them what to do. A Scotland where those who can pay their own way do not look to an already overstretched state for more. A Scotland where your work rewards yourself and your family, and not the tax collector and the government… A Scotland which reaps the benefit of being part of the most successful social and economic union of nations the world has ever seen. That’s a future worth fighting for and I’m up for the fight. I know you are too.”

Thursday, 4 October 2012

About Last Night

Last night the first live US presidential debate took place in Denver. Mitt Romney v Barack Obama. And Mitt Romney won the debate. He looked calm and collected and was full of facts and figures. Barack Obama on the other hand looked distracted and distant and stumbled a couple of times. All the statistics and facts made the debate very wonkish. And the debates chairman lost control on a number of occasions. With two more debates to go Barack Obama will have to improve on his performance. Mitt Romney did well but he should not allow himself to become overconfident as pride comes before a fall.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Catalonia Looks To Strike Out On Its Own

Catalonia is Spain's most wealthy region it makes up one fifth of the national economy and generates 30 per cent of its exports. Its 7.5 million people have always seen themselves as distinct from the rest of Spain, with their own language and cultural identity.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Sinn Fein Defend Irish Language TV Advert

"Irish language people pay taxes and they have rights. I don't have any Ulster Scots schools in my portfolio. I have numerous Irish medium schools in my portfolio. Thousands of pupils attend them every day and thousands have graduated from them.

"We have a responsibility under legislation, under the European Languages charter and I will continue to use resources properly to promote the use of the Irish medium sector."said John O'Dowd the Education Minister in the North.

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Speech That Cost John McCallister His Job

The centenary of the Ulster Covenant should be a time of pride for the Ulster Unionist Party; a time when we are reminded of the best values of our political tradition.

The Covenant did not invoke the narrow language of exclusion and sectarianism.

Rather, it speaks the language of civic unionism...of equal citizenship, of civil and religious liberties, of material well-being for all.

Other forms of unionism, of course, have delighted in sectarianism and exclusion.

But these have not been the values of Ulster Unionism.

Admittedly not always successfully, but when guided by the better angels of our nature, Ulster Unionism has sought to give voice to the civic unionism of the Covenant.

All of which makes it deeply ironic - and disappointing - that it has been at this time that reasonable observers are concluding that the UUP is sleep-walking into ‘unionist unity’.

The recently almost daily diet of shared initiatives with the DUP - shared commemorations, shared press releases, shared events, shared statements - has built up the unfortunate impression that the ‘unionist unity’ train has left the station.

In the driver’s cab a certain P. Robinson is smiling broadly, delighting that he appears to have the UUP as a passenger.

For many of us in the UUP, the prospect of ‘unionist unity’ represents a profound betrayal and rejection of the values of the Covenant.

It remains the case that the DUP is a very cold house for civic unionism - for the values of pluralism and liberalism.

Objective observers could use many terms to describe the DUP - disciplined; electorally successful; media savvy - but only a comedian with a gift for satire would attempt to describe the DUP as committed to liberal, pluralist values.

If we in the UUP have not always kept faith with these values, they have always been the soul of our party. And they have defined us at those moments when we have done most for Northern Ireland.

It is this fundamental difference in values which highlights what is at stake, both for the UUP and for Northern Ireland.

Not that long ago a UUP leader proudly spoke of “a pluralist parliament for a pluralist people”.

Those words summed up Ulster Unionism’s aspiration for Northern Ireland - a Northern Ireland shaped by the openness and pluralism of the contemporary United Kingdom; a Northern Ireland no longer always defined and held back by the politics of tribalism.

‘Unionist unity’ is the direct opposite of “a pluralist parliament for a pluralist people”.

It would permanently entrench tribalism in our politics and our institutions. Condemning daily politics and every election to a sectarian headcount.

Every policy proposal, every policy debate, would be reduced to a permanent unionist versus nationalist struggle.

An electorate already bored with the irrelevance of such politics would become evermore alienated from the democratic process.

And at a time when surveys consistently demonstrate that the constitutional issue is settled in favour of the Union, Unionism would once again be grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory.

‘Unionist unity’, rather than accepting the settled constitutional position, would ensure that every election became a sectarian border poll.

This is what ‘unionist unity offers.

In place of the vision of a pluralist parliament and pluralist politics, it would condemn us to the grubby reality of tribal politics.

Carson warned us against government of “faction and section”. But that is precisely what ‘unionist unity’ would permanently ensure.

A politics and a society shaped solely by the “faction and section” of unionist and nationalist.

A key part of a pluralist politics is choice. Not least, citizens having the choice of supporting an administration or an opposition.

Here we see another consequence of the deep freeze which would be forced upon our politics by ‘unionist unity’.

It would be impossible to move towards an authentic opposition in the Assembly to hold the Executive to account.

As ‘unionist unity’ inevitably led to ‘nationalist unity’, we would have the two sectarian

blocs forever sharing government, with no meaningful opposition to give voters an authentic choice.

At election time, voters would not be presented with alternative policies to consider and debate; they would merely be required to don the tribal colours and troop to the polling station to ensure ‘the other side’ didn’t come out on top.

Tribal government and tribal politics, with no alternative, no choice and no change.

What others rightly termed the “ugly scaffolding” of 1998 was never intended to be a permanent feature of our political landscape. It was a temporary necessity to repair our politics. But the deep freeze into ‘unionist unity’ would lead us would ensure that the “ugly scaffolding” became a permanent feature of our politics and our institutions.

Temporary features, designed to build confidence allowing Northern Ireland to move beyond the politics of tribalism, would inevitably be retained for generations to come.

A pluralist politics - the politics to which civic unionism is committed - aspires to a normalisation of our institutions.

Moving beyond designation, the abstract mechanics of d’Hondt, and government without opposition. An Ulster Unionism committed to pluralist values would offer authentic choice to the people of Northern Ireland, rather than an ongoing sectarian headcount.

Within the next few years, a new generation will be preparing to exercise political responsibility.

Those born in 1998 will very soon be voting for the first time.

We know from surveys that this generation increasingly does not define itself according to the political and cultural categories which have defined Northern Ireland politics.

In 2010, 66% of 18-24 year olds defined themselves as “neither”, rather than “unionist” or “nationalist” - only 14% of that age group supported a united Ireland.

And the favoured option in terms of identity was the Northern Ireland regional identity.

What exactly does the tribal politics of ‘unionist unity’ offer to this new generation?

Is this really the best unionism can offer to them - a politics defined entirely by the divisions of the past?

We see a generation growing up not defined by past divisions, not defined by the painful memories of the Troubles, not defined by a constitutional issue that they overwhelmingly believe is settled and it is seriously suggested that Ulster Unionism buys into a ‘unionist unity’ project which will enshrine past divisions, past hurts and keep alive the constitutional issue.

The results of such a decision by Ulster Unionism are obvious: A new generation would turn its back on a unionism mired in the divisions of the past.

The alternative is for an Ulster Unionism confident in its pluralist, liberal, pro-Union values.

To reach out to a generation very largely shaped by similar values.

It is this opportunity that our Party squanders if we consent to a re-heated politics of sectarian division under the guise of ‘unionist unity’.

At our party conference last week, Mike clearly defined Ulster Unionism: “I see us as a pluralist party. I see us as a progressive party.”

Perhaps events have resulted in the clarity of these words being obscured.

A pluralist party, a progressive party cannot countenance unity with a DUP in which pluralist, progressive values are ridiculed and opposed.

A pluralist party, a progressive party cannot reject Carson’s warning and condemn Northern Ireland to permanent government defined by “faction and section”.

Ulster Unionism’s ambitions and aspirations for Northern Ireland are much greater and more enduring than the false promise of ‘unionist unity’.

We want a pluralist politics for a pluralist Northern Ireland;

Political institutions that offer real choice to citizens;

An administration held to account by an opposition;

A future not defined by past divisions;

A region at ease with its place in the contemporary United Kingdom.

‘Unionist unity’ is a case of backward not forward. Of condemning our future to the past. The centenary of the Covenant is the best of times to reject such a suggestion.

And confidently reassert the pluralist and progressive values of Ulster Unionism.

New Blogger

John McCallister Sacked

John McCallister the South Down MLA has been sacked by Mike Nesbitt from his job as Deputy leader of the UUP. Mr McCallister who is seen by many as being on the parties liberal wing spoke out against Unionist Unity. McCallister says Unionist Unity will only entrench tribal politics in the North.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

SDLP Councillor Makes A Complaint Against BNP Leader To PSNI

SDLP councillor Nichola Mallon has made a complaint to the PSNI about a tweet made by BNP leader Nick Griffin in which he called catholics fenian bastards.She says "The complaint I have lodged cites Part III of the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987, which deals with actions or words which stir up hatred or fear," she said.

"By using the language he used, he has also proven himself unfit for elected office, and the authorities at the European Parliament should be taking advice on what action to take against him.

"His presence at Stormont was deeply unhelpful and should have been challenged - all Nick Griffin seeks to do is stir up discontent and sectarianism in Northern Ireland, and that is the last thing we need."

Friday, 28 September 2012

Mike TV Won't Save The UUP

What if the Ulster Unionist Party went out of Business? Well it's voters would go one of three ways the liberals to the Alliance Party the mainstream and career minded to the DUP and the extremists to the TUV. Of course the last 14 years have not been kind to the UUP from being the natural party of respectable unionism to becoming a party with no MP's no sense of direction no hope and no real leadership. To be honest if the UUP disappeared tomorrow very few people would miss it.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Queen Of England Voiced Her Concerns About Abu Hamza

The Queen of England has voiced concerns that Abu Hamza the radical Islamic preacher was not arrested. Frank Gardner the BBC security correspondent disclosed the information on Radio Four this morning. The Queen told Mr Gardner that she had spoken to the Home Secretary about the issue.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Will David Cameron Sack Andrew Mitchell?

Andrew Mitchell was reported to have said: "Best you learn your fucking place. You don't run this fucking government. You're fucking plebs." It seems that Andrew Mitchell the current Tory Chief Whips main problem is that he called a police officer a pleb. David Camerons tried very hard to distance himself and his party from elitism. And now Andrew Mitchells antics has reminded everyone this government is run by former English public school boys. Mr Mitchell at first denied swearing at the police but journalists who have claimed to have seen police notebooks say otherwise. Can Mr Mitchell survive this scandal or is he damaged goods?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Whats Behind The Increase Of The Population Of Dungannon And Craigavon

According to recently released statistics from the NI Census 2011 the population of Dungannon and Craigavon have increased since 2001.Moy Park is one of the largest employers in Dungannon and Craigavon. Moy Park is a leading Meat and Poultry processor employing more than 7,000 people worldwide.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Bad News For The Tory Chief Whip

London Mayor Boris Johnson says people who swear at the police should be arrested. Bad news for Andrew Mitchell the Tory Chief Whip.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Is Ryan Tubridy Worth A Million Dollars?

According to Gay Byrne Ryan Tubridy would be a multi-millionaire if he worked in the USA or UK. Mr Tubridy who is currently paid 520,000 Euros a year by RTE and is facing a pay cut. There of course is nothing stopping Mr Tubridy seeking employment elsewhere. But both the USA and UK are extremely competitive TV markets compared to RTE. And Mr Byrne needs to understand that ordinary people are going through hard times in Ireland and are unlikely to feel much sympathy for someone who is already well paid out of the public purse.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Mitt Romney Accuses Barack Obama Supporters Of Living Off The Government

In a secretly filmed video Mitt Romney says about Barack Obama: "There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it,”

Monday, 17 September 2012

42% Of Scottish People Support Holyrood Making All The Decisions For Scotland

42% of Scottish people support Holyrood making all decisions for Scotland according to a new survey. The British Social Attitudes Survey also shows support for Scottish Independence has increased by 9% in the past two years. 32% of Scottish people would vote Yes for Scottish Independence in a 2014 referendum.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Boycott ASDA

ASDA the supermarket chain have allowed Loyalists to build a shrine to convicted double killer Billy Hunter at its Shore Road store. The tributes to Mr Hunter include a poppy wreath from his former friends in the UVF. Mr Hunter who recently committed suicide by setting fire to himself in Millisle County Down once worked at the ASDA store on the Shore Road in Belfast. The family of the two brothers killed by Mr Hunter are understandably not happy with these events and have complained to ASDA. A boycott of ASDA stores is the only way to make clear such things are not acceptable.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Barack Obama Turns Down Meeting With Benjamin Netanyahu

The White House has declined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request on Tuesday to meet U.S. President Barack Obama during a UN conference in New York at the end of the month.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Pledge Of Office For Minister's Of The NI Assembly

Under the Belfast Agreement and under sections 16, 18 and 19 of the Act, it is a condition of appointment that Ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembly, including the First Minister and the deputy First Minister and junior Ministers, affirm the terms of the following Pledge of Office.
(a) to discharge in good faith all the duties of office;
(b) commitment to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means;
(c) to serve all the people of Northern Ireland equally, and to act in accordance with the general obligations on government to promote equality and prevent discrimination;
(ca) to promote the interests of the whole community represented in the the Northern Ireland Assembly towards the goal of a shared future;
(cb) to participate fully in the Executive Committee, the North-South Ministerial Council and the British-Irish Council;
(cc) to observe the joint nature of the offices of First Minister and deputy First Minister;
(cd) to uphold the rule of law based as it is on the fundamental principles of fairness, impartiality and democratic accountability, including support for policing and the courts as set out in paragraph 6 of the St Andrews Agreement;
(d) to participate with colleagues in the preparation of a programme for government;
(e) to operate within the framework of that programme when agreed within the Executive Committee and endorsed by the Assembly;
(f) to support, and to act in accordance with, all decisions of the Executive Committee and Assembly;
to comply with the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

Paragraph six of the St Andrews Agreement says:
“We believe that the essential elements of support for law and order include endorsing fully the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the criminal justice system, actively encouraging everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the PSNI in tackling crime in all areas and actively supporting all the policing and criminal justice institutions, including the Policing Board.”

Money Talks

Barack Obama's presidential campaign has raised more than 114 million dollars in August. Mitt Romney's presidential campaign raised 111.6 million dollars in August. For Romney's team August is the third straight month it has raised more than 100 million.Obama’s team reported that 98 percent of its donations were $250 or less; Romney’s team reported 94 percent of his were $250 or less. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Married Dermot Murnaghan Caught Kissing Another Woman In Public Park

Married man and father of four Dermot Murnaghan the Sky News presenter has been caught kissing another woman in a public park. The former Sullivan Upper pupil who also presents the BBC quiz Eggheads. Camilla Tew is the name of the other woman a make-up artist who is 23 years younger than Dermot.

RTE To Take Action On Diversity

RTE is taking action to improve the diversity on its channels. It follows complaints that not enough women or young people appear on its channels. But Steve Carson the Director of Programming has said "I don't believe you can run a station like Logan's Run" a reference to a science fiction movie in which people are killed when they reach 30 years old. RTE seems to be one of the few employers left in Ireland were once you get your foot in the door you have a job for life.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Is The US Bill Of Rights A Good Place To Start A Debate On A Bill Of Rights For The Six Counties?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
  • Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Naked And The Dead

So Prince Harry is being sent to Afghanistan.To serve as a British Army Helicopter pilot.The Helicopter he will be flying is the Apache Attack Helicopter.Its deadly arsenal includes: 16 x Hellfire missiles, 76 x 2.75 CRV-7 rockets, 1,200 x 30 mm cannon rounds, 4 x air-to-air missiles. The Apache Helicopter was orginally designed to hunt and destroy tanks. It can operate in all weather conditions and at night. So it is a powerful and deadly weapon of war.Prince Harry recently hit the headlines when he cavorting naked in Las Vegas with several woman.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Jim McColl Supports Scottish Independence

Jim McColl the chairman of Clyde Blowers had come out in support of Scottish Independence. Mr McColl who is worth around 800 million pounds. He also said he welcomed the Scottish Governments economic policies since 2008. But that Scotland needed full fiscal autonomy and that only Scottish Independence could deliver it.

Barack Obama's Speech To The DNC

Michelle, I love you. The other night, I think the entire country saw just how lucky I am. Malia and Sasha, you make me so proud . but don't get any ideas, you're still going to class tomorrow. And Joe Biden, thank you for being the best vice president I could ever hope for.

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for president of the United States.

The first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man; a senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope- not blind optimism or wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long.

Eight years later, that hope has been tested- by the cost of war; by one of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlock that's left us wondering whether it's still possible to tackle the challenges of our time.

I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you're sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me- so am I.

But when all is said and done- when you pick up that ballot to vote- you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace- decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children's lives for decades to come.

On every issue, the choice you face won't be just between two candidates or two parties.

It will be a choice between two different paths for America.

A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known; the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton's Army; the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

They knew they were part of something larger- a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world's best products, and everyone shared in the pride and success- from the corner office to the factory floor. My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their first home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America's story: the promise that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; that everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules- from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, D.C.

I ran for president because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas. And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn't; racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition; to put gas in the car or food on the table. And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings- a tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover.

Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn't have much to say about how they'd make it right. They want your vote, but they don't want you to know their plan. And that's because all they have to offer is the same prescription they've had for the last thirty years:

"Have a surplus? Try a tax cut."

"Deficit too high? Try another."

"Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!"

Now, I've cut taxes for those who need it- middle-class families and small businesses. But I don't believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit. I don't believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China. After all that we've been through, I don't believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home. We've been there, we've tried that, and we're not going back. We're moving forward.

I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one. And by the way- those of us who carry on his party's legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

But know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I'm asking you to choose that future. I'm asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country- goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That's what we can do in the next four years, and that's why I'm running for a second term as president of the United States.

We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs. After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we're getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best:

We're making things again.

I've met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they'd never build another American car. Today, they can't build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that's back on top of the world.

I've worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America- not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else.

I've signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers- goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years. And now you have a choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America. We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen. You can choose that future.

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We've doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day- more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.

Now you have a choice- between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we'll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country's energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.

We're offering a better path- a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that's right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet- because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They're a threat to our children's future. And in this election, you can do something about it.

You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.

For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading. Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.

And now you have a choice- we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school. No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don't have the money. No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn't find any with the right skills here at home.

Government has a role in this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning, and students, you've got to do the work. And together, I promise you- we can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next ten years, and improve early childhood education. Help give 2 million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next 10 years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America.

In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have. We've blunted the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al-Qaida is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm's way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I'm commander in chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you've served us- because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.

Around the world, we've strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We've reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings- men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.

But for all the progress we've made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe's crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel's security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.

So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we've seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

After all, you don't call Russia our number one enemy- and not al-Qaida- unless you're still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was "tragic" to end the war in Iraq, and he won't tell us how he'll end the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our joint chiefs don't even want, I'll use the money we're no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work- rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it's time to do some nation-building right here at home.

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class. Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion. Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending- because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so that it's leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people.

I want to reform the tax code so that it's simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000- the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.

Now, I'm still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. But when Gov. Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy- well, you do the math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I'm president, I never will.

I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire's tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled- all so those with the most can pay less.

And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we'll do it by reducing the cost of health care- not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it- not by turning it over to Wall Street.

This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can't do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can't afford health insurance, hope that you don't get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that's just the price of progress. If you can't afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent's advice and "borrow money from your parents."

You know what? That's not who we are. That's not what this country's about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights- rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative. We're not entitled to success. We have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system- the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known.

But we also believe in something called citizenship- a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.

We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can't afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people's homes, and so is the entire economy.

We believe that a little girl who's offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the founder of the next Google, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the United States- and it's in our power to give her that chance.

We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don't want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we don't want bailouts for banks that break the rules. We don't think government can solve all our problems. But we don't think that government is the source of all our problems- any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we're told to blame for our troubles.

Because we understand that this democracy is ours.

We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.

So you see, the election four years ago wasn't about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens- you were the change.

You're the reason there's a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who'll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can't limit her coverage. You did that.

You're the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he'd be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible.

You're the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she's ever called home; why selfless soldiers won't be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: "Welcome home."

If you turn away now- if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn't possible. well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.

Only you can make sure that doesn't happen. Only you have the power to move us forward.

I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed- and so have I.

I'm no longer just a candidate. I'm the president. I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn't return. I've shared the pain of families who've lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who've lost their jobs. If the critics are right that I've made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. And while I'm proud of what we've achieved together, I'm far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, "I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go."

But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I'm naïve about the magnitude of our challenges.

I'm hopeful because of you.

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter- she gives me hope.

The auto worker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife- he gives me hope.

The family business in Warroad, Minn., that didn't lay off a single one of their four thousand employees during this recession, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owners gave up some perks and pay- because they understood their biggest asset was the community and the workers who helped build that business- they give me hope.

And I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee. Six months ago, I would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and 20 pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face; sturdy on his new leg. And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled.

He gives me hope.

I don't know what party these men and women belong to. I don't know if they'll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of scripture, that ours is a "future filled with hope."

And if you share that faith with me- if you share that hope with me- I ask you tonight for your vote.

If you reject the notion that this nation's promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.

If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.

If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder- but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer- but we travel it together. We don't turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless these United States.