Friday, 31 May 2013

Former British Army Officer Resigns Tory Whip

Former British Army Officer turned Tory MP Patrick Mercer has resigned the Tory Party Whip. Mr Mercer was being investigated by the BBC Panorama programme in relation to lobbying. Mr Mercer who rose to the rank of Colonel in the British Army was awarded an OBE for his service in the Six Counties.

In a statement, Mr Mercer said: “Panorama are planning to broadcast a programme alleging that I have broken Parliamentary rules.

“I am taking legal advice about these allegations – and I have referred myself to the Parliamentary commissioner for standards. In the meantime, to save my party embarrassment, I have resigned the Conservative Whip and have so informed Sir George Young.

Vote For Your Favourite LetsGetAlongerist

I have started a new opinion poll tonight. So please vote for your favourite LetsGetAlongerist you have plenty of candidates to choose from. They are all there. Thanks to the peerless Blogger FitzJamesHorse for giving me the idea. That and by the time opinion poll closes we should have the launch of a new Political Party in the North which embraces the same values of many of the candidates on the opinion poll. Remember it is just a bit of fun but no cheating and may the best man or woman win.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

More Than 500,000 People Need Help From Foodbanks In Order To Survive

According to a joint report by Oxfam and Church Poverty Action over 500,000 people need help from foodbanks in order to survive.

Mark Goldring, the chief executive of Oxfam, said: “The shocking reality is that hundreds of thousands of of people in the UK are turning to food aid. Cuts to social safety-nets have gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale. It is unacceptable this is happening in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet.”
The Trussell Trust, the biggest organiser of food banks in the United Kingdom, said almost 350,000 people received at least three days’ emergency food last year, compared with about 130,000 in 2011-12. But because there is an array of organisations distributing food, the new report conservatively estimates that well over 500,000 people are now relying on the charity handouts.
Niall Cooper, the chief executive of Church Action on Poverty, said: “The safety net that was there to protect people is being eroded to such an extent that we are seeing a rise in hunger. Food banks are not designed to, and should not, replace the ‘normal’ safety net provided by the state in the form of welfare support.”

The Trussell Trust runs 350 food banks across the UK with help from 30,000 volunteers. It is also opening three new foodbanks every week. It helps out people referred to it by Social Services and doctors as well as school liaison officers and Jobcentre Plus staff.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Don't Worry Be Happy

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Better Life Index for 2013:

1. Australia

2. Sweden

3. Canada

4. Norway

5. Switzerland

6. United States Of America

7. Denmark

8. Netherlands

9. Iceland

10. United Kingdom

11. New Zealand

12. Finland

13. Austria

14. Luxembourg

15. Ireland

16. Belgium

17. Germany

18. France
19. Slovenia

20. Spain

21. Japan

22. Czech Republic

23. Italy

24. Israel

25. Poland

26. Slovak Republic

27. Korea

28. Portugal

29. Hungary

30. Greece

31. Estonia

32 Russia

33. Brazil

34. Chile

35. Mexico

36. Turkey

Nice Work If You Can Get It

The MP's who are making the most money outside Parliament are:

Gordon Brown (Lab) £1.37million
Stephen Phillips (Con) £740,000
Geoffrey Cox (Con) £417,000
Nicholas Soames (Con) £305,000
Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Con) £276,000
Alistair Darling (Lab) £263,000
John Redwood (Con) £238,000
Jack Straw (Lab) £183,000.

But are they neglecting the needs of their constituents?

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Battle For Liberal Unionist Votes

The battle for liberal Unionist votes will begin in earnest next month. Basil McCrea will launch his new party no doubt to much fanfare in the local media and blogosphere. So far the Alliance Party has had the so called middle ground all to itself. But the fight for hearts and minds will be bitter and nasty. Basil will have to offer something new something that distinguishes him from the Alliance Party. All the other three Unionist parties seem to be right wing both on Social and Economic issues and fighting for the same votes. In fact the UUP seems to think it can out DUP the DUP if recent public statements by it’s leadership is anything to go by. Is to much to expect that Basil will have a greater cross section of society here at the Party launch?

Sunday, 26 May 2013

BBC Question Time Fair And Balanced?

Thursday nights edition of the BBC’s Question Time came from Belfast. And according to the floor plan featured John O’Dowd of SF/IRA and Ian Paisley Junior of DUP Goodies. And they say the BBC doesn’t have a Pro Unionist bias. As far as I know John O’Dowd was never a member of the IRA. And to accuse him of being a member is a thundering disgrace. As for Ian Paisley Junior being a Goodie I assume that means a good guy not a member of the 1970′s comedy trio made up of Graham Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie. Well you can judge Ian Junior for yourself as he seems very fond of judging others especially gays.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Who Are These People?

According to the recent Census along with British and Irish there is a third identity here. People who live here and who call themselves Northern Irish. But what does that mean exactly? Northern Ireland is not a Independent Country. Do they have a shared history no they don’t they are mixture of Catholic and Protestant. The history of the North is a one party police state run by the Unionists for almost 50 years. Then the whole place erupted in violence in the 1960′s. British troops were sent in to protect the Catholics from Protestant mobs intent on burning every Catholic family out of Belfast. The undeclared Civil War went on for more than 30 years leaving thousands dead and even more injured. And then came the ceasefires followed by all party talks bringing about the Good Friday Agreement. Now we have a power sharing government up at Stormont with North/South bodies. If you are British you no doubt vote DUP or UUP or maybe even TUV. If you are Irish you can vote for Sinn Fein or the SDLP. But who do the Northern Irish vote for? Do they even vote at all? Are they happy to just sit in the middle or can they be pursuded to pick a side.

Corporation Tax Will Be Slashed In A Independent Scotland

Corporation Tax will be cut if Scotland becomes a independent country says Alex Salmond. It will be 3% less than in the UK. Giving Scotland a rate of 17%. Which would be lower than Luxembourg’s 21%, where the likes of Amazon and eBay base some of their business operations.

It would also put Scotland way below Germany at 29% and France at 33%.

However, the Corporation Tax rate would still be higher than it is in Ireland, where companies are charged at 12.5% This has helped it attract computer giants like Apple and Dell and Microsoft, allowing Irish export levels to soar to more than €130bn – compared with just £24bn in Scotland.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Scottish People More Likely To Back Independence If UK Leaves EU

The Scottish people would be more likely to back independence if they think there’s a danger of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union a new panelbase opinion poll showed yesterday.

The poll showed that 44 per cent are against breaking up the UK, with 36 per cent in favour.

But when asked how they’d vote if a UK withdrawal from the European Union looked likely, the results were tied at 44 per cent each.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Health And Safety Gone Mad

Robert Baird was until recently the health and safety boss for a major hospital building project. He worked enforcing safety rules at the New South Glasgow Hospital site. But Mr Baird didn't have much concern for the safety of others when he was caught in Troon smuggling explosives and bomb making equipment to the UVF in 2002. He was then sentenced to eleven years in jail. Mr Baird was really unpopular with his fellow workers before his convictions for terrorism were known to them. He had a reputation for being a bit of a jobsworth. Always waving yellow cards at people.He has now been forced to resign after the Daily Mirror newspaper starting asking questions about him.

Simon And Nigel

Nigel Farage has accused SNP supporters of being fascist scum. Fascism is when Big Business gets into bed with Big Government. What evidence has Nigel got that this has happened in Scotland under the SNP. None what so ever. So Nigel is wrong on that one. Some of the biggest supporters of the UK leaving the EU work in the City of London. They don’t like regulation at all and that’s why they don’t like the EU. Another thing those in the City oppose is a cap on there bonus money. One serious media commentator Simon Jenkins recently argued that London should leave both the EU and the UK. As he believes London has more in common with New York than Paris. And London’s two major employers are finance and leisure. He also says and I quote: “Europe has not worked as a political construct. But nor has the United Kingdom. Most of Ireland has long gone. Scotland is girding its loins to go. Wales and Northern Ireland are special cases, but are winning progressively more autonomy. One day their representation at Westminster will be diminished.” I think what Simon is calling for should be discussed more. If London wants to leave the UK and EU it should be put to a referendum.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Little Englander Visits Scotland

Nigel Farage visited a Edinburgh public house yesterday and it wasn’t exactly a warm welcome he received. The UKIP leader so used to the London based media fawning all over him got the shock of his life. In fact he went down like a lead balloon. Protesters chanted “racist scum” and “homophobe” as well as “shove you’re Union Jack up you’re arse” at Nigel. In fact the police had to move into protect Nigel from the Scottish people. Nigel ended up being put in the back of a police van and driven away to safety. It seems that there are still some parts of the United Kingdom that the political message of the United Kingdom Independence Party is less than welcome. I mean the UKIP have managed to make the Tories look popular in Scotland. Which is no mean feat. Nigel would be better sticking to the English Shires were he is liked. I guess Mr Farage’s political honeymoon is over long may it continue.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Oh I Wish There Could Be Referendums Every Day

It seems the British Government has given up on trying to run the country. Instead all the important decisions are to be made by referendums. Scottish Independence well that poll takes place in September 2014. Next up is a referendum on should the United Kingdom leave the European Union. Mr Cameron seems to be keen on this idea. But Mr Clegg his partner in government does not. The Tory Tabloid press are pushing hard for a referendum and will I am sure be fair and balanced during any referendum campaign. Mr Cameron has not just a few back bench Tory MP’s to worry about over this at least two members of his cabinet say they would vote for the UK to withdraw from Europe in any future referendum. And then is a border poll on should Northern Ireland join the Republic Of Ireland as set out in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This could be called at anytime by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. And once it is called a border poll will take place every seven years until we get the right result. Just like in all referendums governments will keep calling them until they get the result they want. I am pretty sure the Tory Party will insist on calling referendum after referendum till the Country is as demented as UKIP on the subject of Europe. But will Scotland get another chance to vote on Independence or is this a once in a lifetime deal?

A Independent Scotland Would Be Debt Free

One of the arguements made by Unionists is that a Independent Scotland would be landed with part of the UKs massive debt. But the people of Scotland can walk away from the United Kingdom debt free. According to a constitutional law expert. Oxford University educated Dr Matt Qvortrup says that a Independent Scotland would not have to pay a penny of the UKs 125 Billion pounds debt. He said: “If Alex Salmond doesn’t want to share the debt and is happy to reapply to Europe, the default position in international law is that Scotland would not have to pick up the debt. “That has to be known to the people before the vote next year so that David Cameron will know we are starting negotiations from the position that UK (remainder of UK) is the successor state. That has consequences. The one that pays the debt is the successor state. “If you want to be the EU successor state and be in the UN Security Council, you can. You take all the spoils — but you also take the baggage.” He added: “In Yugoslavia, Serbia Montenegro wanted to be the successor country but they were deemed not to be — which meant they were not landed with the debt. The position Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and Prime Minister David Cameron have is that as long as they are the successor state it’s all good. “But the understanding about them having to pay the debt could be a good argument for the Yes campaign. “All other things being equal, Scotland does not have to pay its share of the UK’s debt.” These findings are also backed up by Professor David Scheffer of the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Identity Crisis

According to the Queen’s University Belfast academic Dominic Bryan we are now flying more flags here than ever before. Union flags and Irish Tricolours seem to still be the old favourites depending on where you live. But Israeli flags are also popular as are Palestinian flags. The Basque flag is also sometimes seen flying from lamp posts here. Also flying high are flags belonging to illegal paramilitary groups like the UVF and UDA. But is there more to this than marking out tribal territory. Even at the height of the troubles in the Town I grew up in the Union flags only flew from people’s houses for a couple of weeks every July. The rest of the year the flags were packed away. Is the Union flag some sort of comfort blanket to people who are insecure in their identity?