Ken Livingstone; The Politician that Time Forgot

Ken Livingstone

I suppose it should come as no surprise to anybody that Ken Livingstone should come across as something of a political dinosaur by the year 2012. He is, after all, a man who stubbornly refused to leave the political scene, even as he watched his views become progressively more and more obsolete over the course of thirty years. Remarkably though, even after his woeful performance as London Mayor for eight years and his subsequent defeat to a man who has already achieved greater progress and reform  in the city in less than half that time, today Ken has proven to the world he’s still got plenty more left to give.

By ‘more’, I of course mean more dated, backward, odious viewpoints that are simultaneously fatuous, irrelevant and broadly offensive in modern Britain. Drained and vacuous of any kind of new policy ideas after eight miserable and ineffectual years in City Hall, today Ken treated The New Statesman to a round-tour of some of his personal views and opinions.

On the subject of Thatcher, he described the former prime minister as “Clinically Insane” [in her time in office] and said he would refuse to watch The Iron Lady, saying he, “[does] not want to feel sympathy for her. I feel sympathy for the people whose lives she destroyed.” Naturally, one of her staunchest adversaries was never going to be complimentary. Branding anyone as ‘insane’ with no basis on which to make such a claim is, however, crossing a line even by Ken’s standards.

But it got better. Ken went on to talk about personal matters of his and Boris Johnson’s families. This led into a quip about “…hypocrisy, like some Tory MP denouncing homosexuality while they are indulging in it.” Naturally Ken gave no suggestion to whom, if anyone, he could be referring. One wonders whether this perceived hypocrisy actually happened in the real world or inside his own imagination. However he took this already unusual tone further, saying when pressed on his wording, describing the Tory party as “Riddled with [homosexuality], just like everywhere else is.

Even ignoring the spectacularly offensive manner in which his comments were worded, this very statement itself is bizarre; why Ken should find it surprising or unusual that gays exist in the Tory party is inconceivable. The Conservative party, like the Labour party, and the rest of the country has moved on a great deal since the 1970s where the rest of his mindset seems still to reside. Why Ken would feel the need to mention that in 21st century Britain an open and inclusive organisation would have gay members speaks volumes about his attitudes, as does the fact that his turn of phrase clearly fails to suggest he sees this as any kind of positive.

I sincerely hope this latest slip of the tongue is the final nail in the coffin for Ken’s run for the Mayoralty, and indeed for his agonisingly endless political career. In the year of 2012, when the London Mayor will come to represent the face of our capital and our country to the watching world, what we need is a man with some charisma and a grasp of reality, not a spectre from the past, dusting off his old political machine while the eyes of the world are upon him.

Editor

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Merry Christmas from BUCF

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On behalf of the committee, I would like to wish each and every one of our readers a happy, relaxing and enjoyable Christmas and a fantastic start to the new year, when we look forward to building on our successes and seeing BUCF through 2012 stronger than ever. Take care, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Owen Williams

 

So we’re all in this together, apart from the bankers and politicians right? Well how about London’s tube drivers?

Tube Strike

On Wednesday the biggest Union for train drivers on London’s underground network, ASLEF, voted for strike action on Boxing Day, with another 3 strikes planned for 16th Jan, 3rd Feb and 13th Feb. Bob Crow’s notoriously awkward RMT may soon follow or refuse to cross picket lines, effectively closing London Underground on what is often its busiest day of the year.

Why? Well it’s supposedly over “pay and conditions”. Tube drivers currently earn £45,545 per year, rising to over £52,000 by 2015; a deal brokered to try and stop further strike action. Drivers are also being offered a bonus (bribe) of around £1,200 for not striking during the Olympics (ie. doing their job). This equates to double the annual salary of a nurse (£25,000) and nearly triple the basic salary of a soldier (£18,000) and puts tube drivers not only on par with earnings of an Army Major but in the higher income tax bracket of 40%, earning over DOUBLE the average UK salary. Not your usual union minions eh? But it gets even better. With a strict 35 hour week and massive 43 days a year leave, tube drivers get what already amounts to one of the best reimbursement packages around.

The specific details in question are over pay for working Boxing day. Despite London Underground (LU) believing the previous pay settlement was in agreement of bank holiday work, ASLEF now demands triple pay and an extra day off in lieu for volunteering to work the shift. That would result in a pay cheque of £366 for a single days work. And is it hard or even necessary work? In reality…No. Almost no qualifications or previous experience are needed to drive a tube train, nor is the training programme long or rigorous. More importantly is the issue of automation of the entire tube system. Do trains even need drivers in the first place? Well considering Copenhagen, Dubai, Hong Kong, Washington, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Kobe all have fully automated metro systems the answer would seem no. Further more even parts of theLondon’s tube system are now computer driven, most notably the entire Docklands Light Railway or DLR. Automated trains would not only modernise London’s dated transport network but provide hundreds of millions of pounds of savings on wages that could be used to subsidise the soaring cost of public transport in the Capital. Of course, computers also tend to not go on strike that often…Ken Livingstone may blame Boris Johnson for rising tube fares, but in reality it’s his own union paymasters that are driving up costs.

So what’s the real story behind these strikes? If anything it shows what benefits a truly aggressive union can bring for its members, but at what cost and to whom? Trade Unions in this country are not especially well received on the whole, and the likes of the RMT are nothing short of despised, especially by Londoners. While ASLEF and RMT may try to claim it’s over genuine concerns over pay and conditions, the public overwhelmingly know better. The first answer is simply greed. Bob Crow may hark on and on about how bankers are not paying their way and are hoarding money slowing down the economy, but he himself receives a rather generous £145,000 a year on top of still keeping his council house, while his members earn double the average UK earnings.Londonis not being held hostage by desperate public sector workers trying to maintain a decent standard of living but by some of its highest earning residents! And this leads on to the final point. The real reason for these strikes is confrontation. Tube drivers don’t need any more money, even Crow knows that. But with a Tory led government and public sector strikes left right and centre it provides the perfect backdrop for causing as much agro as possible. An unashamed and active communist, the likes of Bob Crow have long been brandished the “awkward squad” of union leaders, caring not for the public or even their own members but for the simple satisfaction of feeding their already massively bloated political egos.

Charlie Winch

A New Start…

As you are aware BUCF has recently had its AGM, and a new committee has been formed. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the candidates, members elect, and especially Sophie Shrubsole, our new Chair. But also and foremost, all the members who came to the AGM and are BUCF!

As new blog editor my agenda is to give a new start to the BUCF blog and reestablish it as one of the leading conservative online communities for the sharing of ideas and views.

This goal will only be possible with a pluralistic approach, with the contributions of all our members. For this blog to remain a success it needs to represent the modern conservative movement in all its diversity. I hope therefore you will all partake in this endeavour, and appropriate this space during the oncoming year….

Maximillian Genoni

Blog Editor 10/11

Should a university education be a right or a privilege?

Helen Davies has again kindly contributed to the BUCF blog with a post on higher education.

This is a tricky one and I’m expecting a lot of debate on this one… Leaving aside definitions of rights and privileges, this is an overview of my opinions on this topic:

As we all know, a university education is expensive. We can take out loans and overdrafts and be awarded scholarships and grants to help cover the costs but, in my experience, we will still usually end up in debt by graduation. Expensive things are usually seen to be something of a privilege but with more employers asking for a degree as the first hoop to jump through in order to get on the career ladder is it fair for university education to be seen as such?

Of course not – university should be a way for people for people to broaden their horizons and create opportunities for themselves. Surely we can all see that if anyone wants to do a degree they should be able to. University opens up a whole new world of possibilities – career options, relationships – as it should for all of us.

Personally, I love the student life – learning in an environment such as this has been an absolute joy and I’ve made friends for life here. Do we as a society not have a duty to provide such an experience for anyone who wishes to get involved?

Today, Birmingham is playing host to a NUS Takeover in order to protest against potentially higher tuition fees. If these fees are allowed to increase then higher education will become even more elitist than it perhaps already is.

Maybe there is a more complex point – I think it is a privilege to have the right to study for a degree…

The future’s bright, the future’s blue…

Helen Davies’ second guest contribution to the BUCF blog discusses modern methods of communication as the key to persuasion.

Just has a ring to it doesn’t it? Blue is cool, calm and collected. Blue is relaxed without being foolish. Blue reminds you of summer days, the sea and looking up to the sky. A red future would spell danger and we certainly need no more of that.

But the challenge is to make everyone’s favourite colour blue. Complacency could lead to disaster so we need to prepare to fight for what we know this country needs – a shakeup! Confidence without arrogance is what we need.  We must engage the public before the Election. So many people have lost faith in politics and democracy – this is a tragedy. What is even more worrying is that many members of “Generation Y” – my peers – never have cared and don’t see how the result next year will affect them at all. British troops have for many years fought for democracy in other parts of the world and yet many Britons themselves seem to be losing sight of what have the power to vote actually means.

Televised debates? Yes please. Politicians using social networking sites? Yes please. Political podcasts? Definitely. The way forward, in my opinion, is communication. If you asked the average 18 year old who their MP is I reckon the majority would respond with a “don’t know” or, even worse, a “don’t care”. This has got to change! The young people of today are the taxpayers of tomorrow. We have to persuade them to care and to make change happen. Communication technology has leaped forward over the last 10-15 years and we need to exploit the “new media” to reach people who think politics doesn’t affect them.

I’m certainly up for the challenge of engaging and listening to the public and persuading voters to pick the right colour.

BUCF Attend Dinner With Lord Trimble

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Last night the great and the good of Conservative Birmingham and beyond gathered at the exquisite Botanical Gardens for the Edgbaston Gala Dinner with Lord David Trimble. The event marked the official committee handover from Dan O’Doherty to Sahar Rezazadeh and despite the exam period we were able to get a full table of BUCF’ers to mark the occasion. Lord Trimble spoke passionately about his experience of the troubles in Northern Ireland and how they were overcome. His words had special meaning given the current situation in regard to international terrorism. Following the speeches BUCF was able to pose for a photo with Lord Trimble and some of the main political leaders of Birmingham: (from left to right:) Cllr Dierdre Alden (PPC Edgbaston) Alex Yaffe (Blog Editor) Sophie Shrubsole (BUCF member) Helen Smyth (BUCF member) Vice President Dan Cole, Former President Dan O’Doherty, David Fazakerley (Former Chair of Edgbaston Assosciation) The Rt Hon Lord David Trimble, Joel Faulkner (BUCF member) President Sahar Rezazadeh, Max Genoni (BUCF member) Joseph Hollywood (Guild Liason Officer) Daniel Joplin (BUCF member) Cllr Mike Whitby (Leader of Birmingham City Council) Malcolm Harbour MEP.

President Thatcher

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Margaret Thatcher has recieved the extraordinary honour of being made President of the exclusive Carlton Club. Mrs Thatcher already made history as its first woman member in 1975, as all leaders of the Conservative Party are entitled to membership, however the membership was honorary as women could not then hold full membership of the exclusive club. Today however she was elected unopposed as its President a position not held since Tory legend Lord Stockton, Harold Macmillan, who held the position until his death in 1986. Mrs Thatcher wasn’t there in person to recieve the honour as she is in fragile health, however she will be attending a dinner at the club with David Cameron next month further showing the growing comfort between Tory high command and Lady T. Even in her 80’s it seems Mrs Thatcher is still a record breaker and if nothing else her lifetime and achievements should serve as an example for women that no barrier is to great to be broken. BUCF congratulates her on this extraordinary honour.

Random Video

One of my friends currently serving in Afghanistan directed my attention to videos showing the damage that can be inflicted by a roadside bomb. We hear about them all the time but to see the damage that they can do is truly fascinating and a real eye opener. So here are some random videos for you showing the dangers our troops face daily in warzones like Iraq and Afghansitan and the reasons why we should show them more respect…

Are young people disengaged from politics?

If there was an election tomorrow morning who would you vote for? A question I would love to ask many students at this University and many more across this country. I have always held that everyone should have some form of opinion when it comes to politics, whether you are involved in something like the BUCF, BULS or Lib Dems, a party activist or just the ‘Joe Bloggs’ student/young person. The quote of ‘I don’t really care, politics bores and doesn’t affect me’ I feel is the most immature and narrow minded response someone can say.
Let’s think about it, the computer you are looking at this on now will have been subject to UK and EU laws regarding health and safety, the money you paid for it, taxes will have been taken, those lovely clothes your wearing are imports which can be subject to tariffs. The University you attend and the debt you’re in, all of above are affected by Politics. So are young people disengaged from Politics? On a national level I fear yes, however I feel that a change is coming. We will soon get into general election fever where the young population actually will be able to make a difference.

The recent outrage of MP expenses, the economy, Student Top-up fees has sparked debate across all departments of study among young people which in my eyes will mean that young people will get an opinion and with the right tools and information will create a mood for those people to go out there, vote and make a real difference. The challenge now is to give these people the tools. Obviously I am Conservative and would never join another movement, however I feel that come election time all political parties and young people movements such as the BUCF and BULS will need to put aside any past problems and have a combined strategy in order to give all parties a platform in which to reach young people. I hope that come election time my job as Campaigns and Representation officer I will be able to work with all parties across this great university in order to create a real buzz about campus, get people informed, get people to get an opinion and go to the polling station and vote, only then will I feel that my job has been fulfilled. Why did I randomly write this blog, you tell me? It is a campaign I want to start now, get in there early, get the questions flying, after all equality of opportunity is a main Conservative trait isn’t it? Quite rightly so!

Go Fourth!

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In the shock poll above Labour are level with UKIP. To add insult to injury most polls are now showing that Labour will be beaten in to 4th place…Somehow I don’t think this is what John Prescott had in mind when he said ‘Go Fourth!’

End the Gutter Politics

Many of you will be aware that former BULS Chair Tom Guise posted a factually inaccurate and unbelievably childish post on the BULS website which contained unjust abuse directed at BUCF and its members. Having discussed with the committee elect and my own former committee we have decided that we will refrain from responding in kind. Thus we will not waste our time picking apart the inaccuracies and highlighting the contradictions within Mr Guises post, we’ll leave you to do that yourself. Our attitude is if Labour want to play politics in the gutter, let them. This is increasingly the difference between Labour and the Conservatives today. We are looking to the future, they are stuck in the past. People are sick and tired of the bitching and backbiting that occurs between the two major parties and its about time we didn’t sink to their level. The public are not fools. They can see quite clearly what Labour have done to this country and its faith in politics. We need to focus on the future and leave them and their dirty politics in the past. So our official response to Chairman Guise’s post is: we respectfully disagree.

Quote of the Day

 

Sky News presenter: Can I ask why a £800 massage chair is so important to you?

Labour MP Shahid Malik: You see, I’d have more respect for you if you were honest about the figures. You know full well it is £730!

US Congress Honours Margaret Thatcher

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The US Congress has in the last few minutes passed a motion honouring Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The resolution was passed by Republicans and Democrats alike with only 64 voting against. The resolution stated that the House of Representatives:

(1) acknowledges the 30th anniversary of the election of Margaret Thatcher as the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom;

(2) pays tribute to the remarkable professional achievements of Margaret Thatcher;

(3) recognizes Prime Minister Thatcher’s dedicated work in promoting individual rights and free markets around the world; and

(4) appreciates the strong diplomatic relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom fostered by Prime Minister Thatcher.

Im delighted that even a Democratic dominated Congress marked the special anniversary of this special lady.

Labour afraid of debate?

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As this is my first official blog as a fully fledged committee member of the BUCF let me take a small amount of time to say what I am about. I have been a Conservative for many years as my mind matured and coming from a family of Labour supporters this was no small step for Mark Harrop! I have worked with Nigel Evans, Ribble Valley and Fulwood MP who is Conservative and the theory itself as well as economic and foreign policies agree with me. (See my biography for all that!) Next to my blogs which I will be doing very often as I like to have my say on matters, first and foremost my blogs mean not to offend anyone from any background, the blogs are through my eyes and not necessarily those of the BUCF. I mean every word I say and will back them till the bitter end and hope to raise questions of what our great nation is and how it can be improved; you’re only as good as your last game!

As of 00:02 on Tuesday 12th of May 2009, one day before my first exam I have been a BUCF committee member for eight days and already I have been riled. For those who do not know, Jacqui Smith MP our fearless and resilient home secretary visited the University of Birmingham’s Guild of Students on Friday which would have been a great opportunity for political societies and the student body as a whole to question one of the most influential, and some may argue and others deny, potential leaders of this country. Now I for one believe that professionalism must be upheld in these situations so before I go on, No I would not condemn any throwing of bath plugholes or adult entertainment movies however amusing some reading this would find it. I was first told about the visit by Carnival VPI James Williams who, like myself was very excited about the prospect of meeting Ms Smith and asking burning questions any student keeping up to date with current affairs. I even made my question up on the spot and would have gone like:

“Gordon Brown and your party backed the commitment of the Government of no more boom and bust Britain, Labour oozed confidence and poll leads in the boom times and now shriek and stumble in the bust times leading to a budget that long after your honourable self and colleagues have left parliament , we will still be paying off and handicapping this country and future politicians, what would the honourable lady say is the proper way out and how would she have done differently”

Or something along those lines. However I and neither did anyone else get that chance, apart from those members of the Labour Party Society who were in the end the only people allowed into the Guild Council Chambers to see and ask Ms Smith questions.
I personally was riled at this fact that such as stint on democracy and freedom of speech and expression could have taken place anywhere, let alone the Guild of Students which prides itself on all students being equal in a safe and comfortable environment to express their views and of their peers. The previous BUCF administration have had speakers such as George Osborne , David Cameron, Michael Gove and other influential speakers come to visit and have always left the door open for anyone wishing to attend as that is exactly what politics is about, debate and opinion. However in the Labour societies view it is about hiding what they know could be an embarrassment to them, just like their government has been.

I have no qualms about saying this as I feel it is an utter shambles that firstly the Guild agreed to this (and why?!) and that the labour society let it proceed. An investigation has been launched into the matter and I will be bringing this point up at Guild Council on Thursday to see what can be found out, however eight days in and my confidence in the labour society to show respect to another party society is severely shaken. The results of my investigation shall be posted on my next blog. However already I see light at the end of the tunnel as apparently the first opening words from Ms Smith were along the lines of:

“I am so glad to see supporters of our party here and would like to extend my invite to all you members to come down to my constituency next May for even a few hours to help flyer post and overall campaign, you will be welcomed with open arms for whatever you can do –hint of desperation in the voice im told- “

400 majority, a failed government, no wonder Ms Smith, No Wonder!

On the Expenses…

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Alot of people have emailed me asking when I will be commenting on the expenses debarcle and the truth is the reason why you haven’t heard much from me is because 1) Im retired now (lol) 2) Its the exam period and 3) Im pretty neutral on the issue. Don’t get me wrong I think some of the things that have been claimed back are just bare cheek, e.g porn videos and plug holes, having said this I am loathed to admit I actually sympathise with the MP’s as a whole. Now I’m not condoning the behaviour of some. MP’s from all parties have indeed abused the system, however the system as it stands is unfair. Currently MP’s recieve £64,000 a year and I believe Lord Foulkes who was interviewed yesterday on the BBC hit the nail on the head. When berated, in typcial ‘holier than thou’ BBC fashion, for the expenses debarcle he point blank asked his interviewer “How much are you paid?!” To which she, to my suprise, replied £92,000. A relatively minor broadcaster is paid £92,000 for coming in to an office, sitting on a cushy chair, interviewing fascinating and important individuals and reading from a script. (Needless to say I’m thinking of a career change!)

MP’s by contrast get paid pittance and have to run both a constituency and a Westminster office as well as two homes. They do incurr huge expense in doing so and I believe that they have used the expenses system as a way to get as much as they can because quite simply they deserve it. MP’s as far as I am concerned have one of the toughest jobs in the country. Some are held unfairly with as much contempt as paedophiles or rapists by the public, they have to work lengthy hours and often have to criss cross the country to make official visits or complete constituency work. Anyone who has spoken publicly before will know what a daunting and draining experience it can be so as far as I am concerned to be an MP youve got to be a tough kind of person! But I think perhaps the worst part of an MP’s job is the lack of security. An MP can get in at one election and through no fault of their own be booted out at the next. You have no security as an MP and thus your earnings during that period will be realtively modest.

Naturally such a demanding and unstable job incurrs much cost not just financial but physical and mental. I think in light of recent events the public have a right to be angry and indeed some claims from some individuals are ludacris. But as far as I am concerned this situation is a reminder if we needed it of how flawed this system is. The system is a shambles and we can see just how easily it can be ‘exploited’. To get to the root of this problem you need to scrap it. I believe the solution to this is to raise MP’s salaries to £100,000 or a figure close to that amount, which is still modest compared to equally demanding professions. This, as far as I am concerned, negates the need for an expenses system. Of course you’ll have the public and the press up in arms in doing so, because theres nothing they love more than a good lynching session, but as a certain Tory once said ‘Dare to be unpopular’. In the short term this will create a furore (can it really get any worse?) but in the long term it will calm down and ensure we never have to deal with such issues in the future. Either way Lord Foulkes? Legend.

Poll Update

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> The Tories are on 45% which would give us over 220 seats, 200 of them Labour

> This is the lowest score for any major political party

> Labour are only 5 points ahead of the liberals

> Michael Foot even managed 23.5% !

;)

BUCF Elections Generate ‘Blog Buzz’

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The BUCF elections have recieved particular prominence on the blogsphere this week with interviews being conducted with both the Former President Dan O’Doherty and the newly elected President Sahar Rezazadeh. All this intrigue further highlights the strength of the society today which is something we should all take pride in…

Former President Dan O’Doherty final interview

President Sahar Rezazadeh – Pre election interview

Keep Right Online focus on AGM

The Young Conservative congratulates President-elect

The President’s Final Word

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Last night we held our Annual General Meeting and elected a new committee to serve in the next academic year. I was hugely impressed by the record turnout, well over 40, and extremely grateful for the incredibly kind words that were directed to me personally by so many. As I said in my speech, there is a different feeling to the society today. We’re more respected, more united and more confident than we have been at any time in our recent history. That is a record of which any President can be proud. In that light I want to wish my successor, Sahar, the very best of luck. She is an exceptional young woman and it was fitting that on the 30th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power BUCF elected its own ‘Iron Lady’ President. I wish her and her fantastic team all the very best. They are much more than my successors, they are firm friends and I shall eagerly watch from the sidelines as they take BUCF to even greater heights. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your President, it has been a great challenge but at the same time a great honour.

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                                                                                                                   The ‘Royal’ Family of BUCF

Cameron to Thatcher: Thanks for Saving Britain

Below is the text of the letter sent by Tory Leader David Cameron to Margaret Thatcher on the eve of the 30th anniversary of her election to power:

“I wanted to write and send my best wishes on this, the 30th anniversary of the great day when you first walked into Downing Street as our prime minister. I still find it awe-inspiring to think of the state of the nation you inherited and the immense achievements of your governments. Getting the country to live within its means, bringing the trade unions within the law, rolling back the tide of state ownership, standing steadfast with our allies in the cold war … but above all giving the British people back their pride and self-belief. The whole country owes you a huge debt. It is with huge trepidation that I attempt, 30 years on, to get rid of an exhausted Labour government and start the process of mending the national finances and tackling some deep and entrenched problems that we face. If we are elected as the next government, I know that it will be extremely difficult work – but in your life and your work you have given all of us an example of real courage to follow”

BUCF will be celebrating Thatcher’s 30th Anniversary at our AGM on Monday.

Ayyo Gurkhali!

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Yesterday Gordon Browns government was dealt a shocking, but just, defeat over their proposals for the Gurkha’s wishing to settle in the UK. The delight on the faces of everyone (bar Labour MP’s) after the motion passed was obvious. Afterward David Cameron joined campaigner Joanna Lumley and Nick Clegg outside Parliament to celebrate the vote in the House which, for a time at least, has restored some faith in the honour of the Commons. I congratulate the Lib Dems for tabling the motion, Cameron and the Conservatives for their support of it and those brave Labour MP’s who stood firm in the face of their governments threats and coercion. This was an issue that should have brought the nation together in condemnation of our governments brutal betrayal of those who have fought and died for us and for the most part it did. However I personally find it shameful that such a large majority of Labour MP’s still voted with their government when it is quite obvious to everyone else how much of a disgrace this government is. Some people clearly have no conscience.

Desperate Depths

Oh dear oh dear. It can’t get much worse for Labour can it? Im told that our Labour counterparts are already resigned to the fact that a victory at the next election looks unlikely, apart from a diehard few who can’t see the writing on the wall. Bless. Well they’re going to be a whole lot more peeved to discover the latest nugget of information that has just come to my attention. All readers Im sure will recall the Labour party’s sheer contempt for the Daily Mail? Well it will delight people from all political colours across the land to hear that the Daily Mail political correspondant Michael Lea has just become ‘Chief Writer to the Prime Minister’. May I congratulate our Labour compadres on their newest recruit. There was me thinking no-one was willing to enter the bunker ;)

A Response to the ‘Budget’

 

Its been long overdue but here is the official BUCF Response to the Budget.

What can we really say about this budget? In simple terms this budget wasn’t worth the paper it was written on and the public can see that so I’m not going to pick it apart piece by piece or go on my usual tyrade of abuse at a government I despise more than I ever imagined possible. This ‘Budget’ speaks for itself as the hostile public reaction to it demonstrates. We all can see, apart from our dear Labour counterparts, that we are in the worst economic situation in living memory which try as they might cannot be solely blamed on the bankers or the Americans. However the reality of this budget is much worse. Usually at times like this we could console ourselves an election was round the corner and the Conservatives could come in and sort it out (as we always do) but the fact remains that whoever does come in next and whoever comes after that is inheriting the worst economic legacy in living memory. This is down to the fact that what lies behind the numbers in this Budget is a set of assumptions that are ficticious. Darling confidently predicts that by 2011 the economy would have swung around to rapid growth, trampolining from a shrink of 3.5pc this year to a miraculous growth by that same amount in 2011. How exactly? By taxing higher earners more? Give me flaming strength… weve been there before and it failed!!!!

Indeed following the rise in public borrowing and the increase in taxes on the wealthy outlined in the budger there has been much talk of a return to ‘old Labour’ politics and this wouldn’t be an entirely outrageous statement. The ‘old’ Labourites that lurk on the governments backbenches never truly accepted ‘New’ Labour and have always yearned for a return to the divisive class concious politics that blighted the country. In that light the 50% tax hike on the highest earners, which incidently is the most productive part of the economy, will delight those ‘old’ Labourites who have always deomonstrated a ‘politics of envy’ and led our country to ruin. But this budget is far worse than ‘old’ Labour. Unlike new Labour, old Labour had the ‘honesty’ to outrageously tax the electorate at the time, rather than tax subsequent generations. Britain is going to be riddled with debt that will be all but impossible to pay back. Even by the governments own figures our national debt will soar to 79% of GDP in 2013/14, while Public Sector Net Borrowing will peak this year at 12% of GDP.  In sum, no matter how they try to spin it, this budget clearly shows our national finances are in a much worse position now than they were even at the point of maximum humiliation in 1976 when Denis Healey held out the begging bowl to the IMF for a £2.3bn bail-out. So this government and this budget can be summed up in 5 clear words: Labour have done it again.

The sick man of Europe is back. Enter ‘Thatcher’.

New Labour: The Shame of a Nation

After 4 months the government has finally issued the new rules of eligibility for Gurkha veterans to live in the UK. However todays announcement by the government is nothing more than a brutal betrayal of those brave soldiers who have fought and died for Britain. The Home Office has come up with yet more massaged figures to suggest that the new rules would let a further 4,300 Gurkhas settle in Britain however the Gurkha Justice Campaign has insisted the number is not even 100. Who are we to believe? The most dishonest and decietful government in our history that has squandered our future and pillaged our pensions or a group whose sole intention is to see that those who have fought and died for this country are allowed to remain in it. There have been many wise words on the situation today ranging from famed actresses, to ordinary people on the streets, to solicitors, but the message from all was clear: This government should hang their head in shame so low that their forehead should touch their boots. This is a disgrace and a betrayal of our armed forces and our veterans.

Welcome back boys….

David Cameron and George Osborne finally have taken the opportunity to throw out their previous pledge to match Labours unrealistic spending plans that have led us to economic ruin and are finally ‘talking Tory’. Gone are the pledges to match Labours unsustainable spending and in comes good old fashioned Tory thrift. Osborne told the Financial Times that sticking to Labours proposed 1.1% rise in spending was not only unrealistic but completely unaffordable. I was further delighted to hear his belief that spending cuts rather than tax rises were the best way to deal with the biggest peacetime budget deficit. We Conservatives have never flinched from taking the tough decisions neccessary to get this nation back on track when faced with dire a Labour economic inheritance. Over the last year in particular Cameron has sought to invoke Margaret Thatcher not only to reassure his core vote, but to revive the memory of a tough and decisive leader in the minds of the British public who yearn for such conviction when faced with what we have at present.

They may not have liked her personally but the vast majority of Britons, as poll after poll confirms, admired her determination and drive and her ability to be upfront and honest with the public. Cameron and Osborne are showing such honesty. They are looking at the nations finances and, like the housewife, reigning in their spending to suit. It has been overzealous spending and borrowing that has got us in to this mess in the first place and now only through tough Tory thrift can we get this nations finances back on track. It won’t be easy, of course it wont and we can no doubt expect Labour to throw our planned public expenditure cuts back in our faces. But the British public will not be fooled. They don’t believe a word that Labour say anymore and we must take their windy rhetoric on the chin. As Winston Churchill, that most Conservative and British of Icons, once said the British people “are the only people who like to be told how bad things are – who like to be told the worst” We are telling them the worst and we can have faith that they will respond to it.

Who Do You Trust?

Public faith in politicians has hit record lows with both Gordon Brown and David Cameron trailing behind other public figures including the Queen. When 2000 British people were asked who they trust over half chose Her Majesty while David Cameron scored 21% faring better than Gordon Brown who trailed with just 12%. Perhaps Dan’s dream of a return to absolute Monarchy is not as far fetched as one might assume! ;) On a political note its good to see that EVERY poll now confirms that Cameron and the Conservatives are leagues ahead of Brown and Labour.

New Labour Is Finished… Whats Next?

The outrageous events of the last week have shown all too clearly just what toxic individuals fester at the heart of the New Labour government. However these toxic individuals are merely a symptom of the wider disease that his crippled the government and the party that have led us for 11 years and it is a disease that is clearly terminal. You’d struggle to find many ordinary people in Britain today who believe the New Labour project has been successful or lament its demise. In fact if you ask people for their opinion of the last 11 years you’ll find responses which are far to obscene to write here! There is a general feeling amongst the public that the Tories are bad but Labour are worse because they’ve hidden their deceptions through their hyperactive spin machines and abandoned their own principles and philosophy for the sake of political power. “At least you knew what you were getting with the Tories” is a phrase I hear muttered alot and whilst I think the general publics attitude towards us is rather unfair and indeed 11 years out of date, I understand where it has originated from.

However the ironic thing about the whole New Labour project, as many of their own including former Deputy Leader Roy Hattersley have conceded, is that its greatest supposed ‘achievements’ have only been made possible through following Conservative, indeed Thatcherite, policy particularly in regard to economics. This is not to say they followed it to the letter or that it was flawless. No political platform, however much we might like to argue otherwise, is flawless. However their acceptance and development of privatisation and extension of neo-liberal economic inspired by the Thatcher years did indeed continue the already prevailing economic stability and prosperity that Britain was experiencing and it would be churlish of Labour’s greatest of critics to deny this. As one commentator put it New Labour in the economic sense “brought Thatcherism full circle”. However that circle has ended and as Jim Callaghan said every 30 or 40 years there is a sea change in British politics, we are experiencing such a sea change and it is up to the government of the day to initiate and equipt the country for it. That, amongst many other things, is where New Labour have failed.

They are a party and a government who are and have always been bereft of ideas of their own. They are sailing blind without, considering the weeks events, any hint of a moral compass. New Labour lacks the wherewithal to get out of its present dire situation because to do so would mean a radical reversal of political direction that would involve a repudiation of all that New Labour has supposedly stood for over the past decade. To change direction now would severely undermine the last 11 years and show them for the shameless and self seeking party they are. So like the headless chicken who doesn’t know it is dead, New Labour will continue to run around until it is finally cast on political scrap heap as one of the biggest political deceptions of the last century. For Conservatives and indeed for the country at large it won’t be a moment too soon.

BUCF Endorses YBF ‘Get Behind Our Troops’ Campaign

The YBF Campaign ‘Get Behind Our Troops’ launched in 2008 was formed in response to a nasty collection of anarchists and socialists who came together in campuses across the country with the intention of banishing all reference to our armed forces on university campuses, these groups include: Kick ’em off Campus. Such odious campaigns are designed to banish all references to the military from UK campuses and is an insult to those that have fought and died for their country. This ban were it imposed in Birmingham would ensure that military groups such as the OTC, URNU etc, military guest speakers and military recruiters would all be barred from campus. I am endorsing this campaign in order for BUCF to promote the work of our forces on campus ensuring such a motion never reaches our own Guild Council and if it does we have a campaign platform to fight it. My support for this campaign however extends for beyond campus politics and is concerned with the state of Britain’s relationship with its forces today.

Personally I find it disgraceful the way some politicians and swathes of the public treat our armed forces today with such indifference despite the fact we seem to be calling upon them more and more frequently to serve in increasingly dangerous situations with faceless enemies. That criticism  however is not exclusively held for New Labour. Indeed whilst I was heartened to hear Cameron pledge to restore the bond between armed forces and country which I wholeheartedly encourage, I was supremely disappointed to hear him refuse to explicitly condemn Labour’s scandalous treatment of our troops which extends far beyond insufficient funding levels and had hoped to hear him pledge to increase funding himself. Having said this I recognise he faces a similar dilema to Margaret Thatcher in 1979. When Thatcher came in borrowing was at record levels and she could not committ herself to increasing funding because frankly the country was on its knees (deja vu).

However not long after the election of Margaret Thatcher, the Chief of the Defence Staff was able to speak of “this government’s tremendous gut feeling for defence” and between 1979 and 1986 defence spending increased 26%. Were it not for the increase in spending, were it not for that gut feeling and that priceless boost to morale, the task force would not even have sailed let alone been able to retake the Falklands and I am confident that in time Cameron will put the forces back at the heart of Tory party policy. This New Labour government by contrast have an inexcusable contempt for our forces, despite their hollow rhetoric every PMQ’s when the names of another service man or woman who fell doing this governments dirty work are read out. The fact is funding for the Armed Forces has been run down progressively over the past ten years under New Labour’s stooges who produce what can only be described as bloodstained budgets cutting defence expenditure whilst at the same time committing them to overseas operations. Indeed by contrast to Thatcher’s spending hikes, as a percentage of national income defence expenditure is lower today than at any time since the early 1930s.

Now I can almost feel the critics amongst you almost jumping out of your chairs to say “but the Tories were cutting defence spending in the early 1990’s”… and you’d be right (although not to the same degree). The difference was we were operating in a different world. Our big threat, the Soviet Union, had collapsed we werent committed to lengthy wars abroad. All of a sudden the world looked forward to a New World Order post Soviet Union free of the scourge of war and communism. In hindsight it was a mistake to cut our funding, which I acknowledged above when I said this criticism is not mutually exclusive to Labour, but there is no justification for the cuts that we have seen since. The rundown in military spending has continued in earnest year on year, even after Britain had been committed by Labour to a war on two fronts in the Middle East. The Afghanistan war is now in its eighth year; it has lasted longer than the First World War and Second World War yet there has been no surge in funding to match the surge in commitments. Tony Blair was responsible for the original decision to support the US invasion of Iraq, but Gordon Brown, as Chancellor, was an assenting party. He accepted the arguments for the war, as many of us did, but would not agree to pay for it.

Labour have exploited and betrayed our troops. Just as they have exploited and betrayed our country. Therefore in that light I am delighted to endorse YBF’s ‘Support our Troops’ campaign which I hope will be one of a very long line in pushing for greater gratitude and support to be directed towards our brave men and women on the frontline. It is vital that we recognise the perilous and selfless work that our armed forces do to keep us safe and promote our ideals of freedom and liberty abroad. We, indeed the world, owe the British armed forces past and present an eternal debt of gratitude and BUCF will do all it can to ensure that the Universityof Birmingham will never accept abhorrent groups such as ‘Kick em off campus’ on our campus.

BUCF will be holding campaign days to ‘support our troops’ in the next term and the next academic year.

The Lady’s Not for Turning?

Earlier this week I found myself in a confrontation with regular BUCF reader Jack Matthew over a flippant remark I made regarding Thatcher’s attitude to terrorism. I am loathed to admit he might have more of a point than I first cared to admit. I am currently in the process of studying for my impending Topics in British Politics exam and am revising Thatcher. In order to revise effectively I am looking beyond the core texts toward more contemporary editorial analyses. One I have stumbled across this week, combined with some elements of the core reading, suggests that Mrs Thatcher was far more pragmatic than we were led to believe.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Mrs Thatcher was prepared to make concessions in a number of areas. For example documents have come to light which show, despite her harsh rhetoric, Thatcher was trying to negotiate over the hunger strikes but she was repeatedly blocked by the IRA. The hunger strike began in March 1981 when Bobby Sands began the protest over living conditions for IRA prisoners in the Belfast jail. By the time it ended in October, ten inmates, including Sands, had died. In July, with four men already dead, Richard O’Rawe, the IRA spokesman in the Maze, and Brendan “Bik” McFarlane, its commanding officer in the jail, withdrew a demand that the British government treat IRA inmates as prisoners of war.

In a document sent on 5 July the government reportedly responded with its own concessions. It gave in to a number of their demands, including one that the prisoners would be allowed to “wear their own clothes … provided these clothes were approved by the prison authorities”. According to Mr O’Rawe, he and Mr McFarlane agreed at the time that the British government’s concessions were enough to end the strike but were told that the IRA council had rejected them. Therefore it was the IRA that betrayed the hunger strikers and not Mrs Thatcher and her government as the myth has led us to believe.

Mrs Thatcher was a woman who surely made mistakes as do all great figures faced with less than desirable conditions. But what I have learned through my studies and something that suprised me, is that her strength lay not in her ‘bully boy nature’ but  in her collective attitude that in many ways stood at odds with the Iron Lady image she liked to portray. Don’t get me wrong, she was an Iron Lady. When she made her mind up, usually after consultation with her allies, she was intransigent. She was incredibly principled and formed her policies around those principles some of which she rightly refused to compromise on. She fought tooth and nail against opposition both within and outside her own party to get where she was and it was inbuilt in to her mentality to fight for her position because she always had to.

However it was when her principle over-rode her pragmatism and her ability to ‘bend’ that she sealed her own fate. The century’s most exceptional peacetime Prime Minister fell because she forgot what made her great in the first place; her ability to respond to public and private opinion and adapt her policy platform to suit. Thatcher, love her or loathe her, was the people’s Prime Minister. She wasn’t just liked by her grassroot supporters, she was adored and the grassroots never really recovered from her forced removal. She was seen as the first leader to truly represent them and their ideals and her removal denied them their champion.

Furthermore her policies, even those most divisive like the Miners and Trades Union policies, were supported by a clear majority of the public seeing her returned to office 3 times with large majorities which was unprecedented in modern British history. However it was when she defied public opinion with the Poll Tax, when she refused to bend that the country turned against her. Had she not imposed such a policy and refused to delpoy the pragmatism that had served her so well, Thatcher would surely have took us to victory in 1992 and her place in history would have been even more unquestionable than it is today.

If you think our Guild is bad! (Part II)

Thats right, after the shocking antics from Nottingham’s elected President that Jimmy mentioned in a previous post, it seems the President of the Edinburgh University Students Union is attempting to ban the Daily Mail from its campus. Frankly this is just another clear example of the left wing’s true feelings toward ‘freedom of speech’. They believe in freedom of speech alright as long as it’s their speech. If they don’t agree with you they are positively venomous and do all they can to discredit and silence you. If I were Guild President here at Birmingham, I would never dream of imposing a ban on papers I reagrd as left wing trash such as the Guardian or the Independent, even though I find their views utterly ridiculous. So the fact that this self righteous President at Edinburgh and his cronies have taken it upon himself to ban a perfectly legitimate, and indeed nationally popular, publication is beyond reproach.

You may not agree with everything that is written in it, indeed you wouldn’t be alone, but the students of Edinburgh University have a democratic right to buy whatever paper they wish. It is not the right of jumped up students to tell them what they can and can’t read. That my friend is nothing other than blatant censorship worth of Stalin’s Russia. As far as I am concerned people have a democratic right under the terms of free press and freedom of speech to make their own mind up. They can decide what paper they buy. They can decide what paper they don’t buy. It is not for any one individual to make that decision for them. Tory bear, who Im told resides in Edinburgh, has himself commented on this issue.

Thoughts on the G20 – The End of Thatcher/Reagan-omics?

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It was all very nice wasn’t it? Seeing the worlds leaders rub shoulders with one another, seeing Brown playing host and not cocking it up as much as I had suspected, seeing the Queen being warmly embraced by Barack and Michelle Obama, who was clearly unaware of protocol when she place her hand on the Queen’s back and pulled her in for a hug,  (although Her Majesty clearly did not mind as she responded in kind) so all in all it was a very nice spectacle. But I have a sneaky suspicion thats all it was; a spectacle and a bloody expensive one at that. I don’t know about the rest of you but I find the idea that we have just funded a multi million pound conference, which naturally drew huge protests incurring yet more disruption and cleanup cost to the capital, in the middle of a recession a tad bit irritating.

So what have we got out of it all? Well the photos are for keeps thats for sure. It also gave the leaders of the world a chance to get to know the Obama’s and certainly gave Brown his much sought after ego rub to be seen as the Saviour of the World alongside the Chosen One. But what will this summit really achieve? I suppose we are all meant to look on in awe at todays announcement that a deal has been reached between the supposedly irreconcilable leaders of the world, although I always suspected that the chasm between them was being over stated purely for political purposes, so that when they finally did come together the citizens of the world would be overwhelmed by the leaders’ brilliance. However the truth is what sane politician would look at what is happening in the world financial system and think something didn’t need to change? What credible politician would not look at the reckless action of the banks over recent years and think ‘we need more regulation’? There was more of an agreement that change was needed in the financial system than we were led to believe at times.

Furthermore lets call a spade a spade… all this talk of reforming hedgefunds, bonuses, tax havens etc… what is that going to do to help economic recovery today? Oh yes it all sounds very good; lets squeeze the rich a bit more and deny them tax havens, everyone (apart from the rich) likes to hear that during a recession when times are tough. But the question remains how are such measures really going to help the recession as it stands now? How is it going to help the British, the American, the German, the French taxpayer struggling to keep their home and struggling to get a job? The truth is it won’t. It’ll just stop the rich getting richer. So what else have the leaders got to tout about?… ah yes… the £500bn donation to the IMF. Well theres not much that needs to be congratulated there either as that was effectively agreed at the finance ministers’ summit last month, and has merely been held back in case the rest of the summit was a complete disaster, although having said this more money to the IMF is certainly required and a positive step forward…who knows we might have to go to it ourselves in the near future!

The biggest problem that came out of this summit and the pink elephant in the room that few seem to be noticing is the fact that the leaders have failed to come up with a solution for disposing of banks’ toxic assets which continue to impede a recovery. Until this question is settled no matter how much money is donated to the IMF, no matter how close and eye we keep on hedgefunds and bonuses and no matter how much we regulate and restrict tax havens the recession will continue, get worse until the question is solved and then we can begin more speedy recovery. One thing that is for sure however is that the age of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan style economics is over. It has served us well and provided up to present unprecedented stability and growth, reversing the 30 year slump that preceeded it, but as Jim Callaghan once said “every 30 or so years there is a sea change in politics” such a sea change is occuring. It remains to be seen whether it is one for the better.

Never give in to them…

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I was beyond appalled tonight to discover that a 13 year old boy has been hacked to death with an axe by a Palestinian attacker whilst a 7 year old boy is in a critical condition. You may find the fact that I have used the word ‘hacked’ a little disturbing, as do I, however the fact remains that such a shocking tone of phrase is an accurate and abhorrent reflection of this situation and a reminder of the enemy we face. I say ‘we’ because I am a passionate vocal and continued supporter of Israel and believe that Britain should stand by her side against this continued Palestinian aggression however much the liberal media might like to pin everything on Israel. I find the methods and motives of many Palestinian militants, and indeed politicians, beyond reproach and have always argued that their methods to achieve their ends are barbaric and inhumane. In simple terms I believe these people are sub-human and should be treated as such.

The liberals amongst you as always will call for restraint, will claim these attackers are not reflective of the majority of the Palestinian’s searching for a Palestinian state and I might be inclined to agree with you. Indeed not all Palestinians are like these wicked wicked creatures but that moderate majority have become silent even subservient to the will of this ever increasing cruel minority. The fact is we in the West have a duty to defend Israel in its fight against these militants. While they remain, Israel, Palestine indeed the world can never be free or peaceful. So long as we sit back and allow these wicked individuals an ounce of political legitimacy the peace process hasn’t got a hope in hell. We have to root them out and deal with them in the only language they understand: brutality.

The military wing of Islamic Jihad and Imad Mughniyeh Group have already admitted they carried out the attack and as usual basked in their own self righteous glory at the murder of this helpless child. Unless Hamas and other Palestinian political organisations come out completely against this action I would say Israel is justified in what ever methods it deploys in order to rid us of these cancers. There is no justification what so ever to accept such an attack on ones so young. Although in a curious way I hope Hamas and other Palestinian political groups do not come out against the killling because then perhaps the world can truly face up to the type of people we are fighting; people who make no distinction between man, woman and child, people who deserve to rot in hell.

Even Obama Loves the Queen….

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Im even more convinced, if I needed to be, that this country depends on its Monarchy. This afternoon Barack Obama, the ‘Chosen One’ or whatever you want to call him, met his ‘Chosen One’ it seems in the form of Her Majesty the Queen. Before the meeting, at the end of a press conference this morning, a clearly excited Obama said “There’s one thing that I should mention that I love about Great Britain, and that is the Queen. I’m very much looking forward to meeting her for the first time later this evening and as you might imagine, Michelle has been really thinking that through. I think in the imagination of people throughout America, I think what the Queen stands for and her decency and her civility, what she represents, that’s very important”. His words are an ever present reminder that this country would be largely insignificant without its monarchy. Her Majesty can turn the most powerful and influential men to mush with just a casual glance. She has an aura that is incomparible with any other living person. She is the most unique Head of State in the world and even the great Barack Obama isn’t immune to her mystique.

Do you want to be a Conservative Councillor?

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BUCF has been invited by City Branch and the Conservative Councilors’ Association to a drinks reception for people interested in becoming a local councilor. The event is open to everyone and is being held at The Repertory Theater in Birmingham on Thursday 2nd April from 17.30. A special guest is also scheduled to make an appearence. Anyone who is interested in attending please email me: bucfchair@hotmail.com or City branch: political@citybranch.org.uk stating that you are a member of BUCF and you wish to attend.

On This Day…

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30 years ago today on the 30th March 1979 Airey Neave, the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and one of Margaret Thatchers closest advisers, was assassinated in the Commons car park by an Irish Republican bomb planted in the front of his car. The reaction from friends and political opponents alike was one of deep shock at the loss of one of the most iconic politicians of that generation who in his military career managed to escape Colditz Castle. A visibly distressed Mrs Thatcher said: “He was one of freedom’s warriors. No one knew of the great man he was, how great a man he was, except those nearest to him. He was staunch, brave, true, strong; but he was also very gentle and kind and loyal. It’s a rare combination of qualities. There’s no one else who can quite fill them. I, and so many other people, owe so much to him and now we must carry on for the things he fought for and not let the people who got him triumph”

The despicable Irish National Liberation Army released a statement a few weeks later stating “In March, retired terrorist and supporter of capital punishment, Airey Neave, got a taste of his own medicine when an INLA unit pulled off the operation of the decade and blew him to bits inside the ‘impregnable’ Palace of Westminster. The nauseous Margaret Thatcher snivelled on television that he was an ‘incalculable loss’—and so he was—to the British ruling class” The election of Margaret Thatcher to power just a few weeks later would see the terrorists, and all those who use violence as a political weapon, laughing on the other side of their faces…

Principle over Party

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My decision to come out against Stuart Wheelers explusion from the party has prompted much debate and gained much attention, both locally and nationally, which I am very pleased about (the blog has been rather flat lately!). The truth is having absorbed some of the criticisms I stand by my claim that the expulsion of Wheeler was morally wrong although I accept that sadly today morality and politics don’t seem to work in sync with one another and sometimes what is morally correct finds itself subverted by what is politicially prudent. Whilst I disagree personally with Wheelers (relatively insignificant) donation to UKIP, I fully support his right to do it and am frustrated that the Conservative Party could not just ‘let it slide’.

We have to remember that the real ‘villain in this piece’ is not Wheeler but the party leadership who have done more to villify UKIP as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” than recognise that their views resonate with a large number of our own membership and the country at large. A Conservativehome survey found that 43% of surveyed members of the Conservative Party felt that UKIP was the closest party to their views (apart from the Conservative Party itself) with 66% either supporting or sympathising with the Better Off Out campaign. These are statistics that cannot be ignored. Europe is an issue never far from a Conservative heart, whilst I recognise we have to focus on our broken society and applaud Cameron and his team for doing so, I believe more can be said in regard to Europe and Britains position in Europe needs to be seriously re-evaluated in the face of Lisbon.

My hostility toward Europe is well documented  and I make no apology for it however I am certainly not alone in this party with my views and I fear that all the fantastic work that Cameron and his team have done could be squandered over his European policy or lack thereof. With Labour on the ropes, the country increasingly concerned in regard to European federalism in the face of the Lisbon Treaty, and the upcoming European elections this is a time when we Tories should be hitting the issue of Europe hard. We aren’t. Wheeler has lost patience and if we’re not careful he will not be the only one.

Moreover the fact is that this situation is indicative of another problem within the Conservative Party today. There is a feeling now that principle must play second fiddle to party and anyone who speaks out against the party ‘machine’ is disloyal. Don’t get me wrong I fully support this party in its stance on social policy and many other areas and I, like Wheeler incidently, will vote for the Conservatives in all the upcoming elections acutely aware of the fact that a Conservative government, Europe or no Europe, would be a hell of alot better than a Labour one! But I cannot pretent that I am not displeased at our party’s handling of the ‘Europe’ issue as closer European integration compromises the principles I, and I hope we, as conservatives hold.

True conservativism is more than a party or single ideology such as ‘Cameronism’ or indeed ‘Thatcherism’. Its principles. For the most part this party leadership adheres to the principles I hold dear. I would define my conservative principles as; less government intervention, social and individual responsibility, community, enterprise, strong defence, democracy, law and order, respect for tradition and heritage and nationhood. At least one of those principles is compromised in regard to the party’s silence on Europe.

Where a core conservative principle is compromised then we should not be afraid to speak out against those that have compromised it. That doesn’t mean that we have in some way defected or lost support for the party in question, it means we have a democratic right to air our concerns in the hope the ‘powers that be’ will take it on board. Debate is a sign of healthy internal democracy. Then we can be a party all conservatives can be proud of.

The video below shows 13 year old Jonathan Krohn, who has written… yes written… a book called ‘”Define Conservatism’ and he shared his thoughts on conservatism at the CPAC conference. Whilst I do not agree with everything he says I think he does hit on some interesting points.

EU’ve got to be joking!

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I want to make it abundantly clear that the views expressed in this post are mine and mine alone. In no way do they reflect the collective view of BUCF nor the Conservative Party…

I have just found out that one of our most prominent donors, Stuart Wheeler, has been expelled from the Conservative Party after donating £100,000 to UKIP. I for one am outraged by this action. Mr Wheeler has a democratic right to express his financial support for any party he so chooses and the Conservative Party has no right reacting in this way to a man who has given us such vital financial and loyal support over the years. Mr Wheeler’s contributions to our party run in to the millions and we react at what by comparison is an insignificant donation to a party such as UKIP, which in terms of European policy is not the far removed in its views from much of our own membership, in such an outrageously dramatic way.

Cameron and the Conservative leadership need to take note that there is genuine displeasure amongst the party faithful and the country at large at the way they are handling our European policy. We as a party and they as a leadership need to acknowledge this criticism. We need to be more direct, one way or another, in regard to our European policy. I personally, Chairman or no Chairman, have never been one to sit on the sidelines if something displeases me enough in regard to Tory party policy, and I too am nearing the end of my patience in regard to our European policy. Its about time we remember that we are a Conservative Party and we cannot stand idly by while the powers that be in Europe take an increasingly federal route. We need to stand up and speak out for what we believe to be right even if it flies in the face of party policy or lack thereof.

I have no doubt that Stuart Wheeler is as much of a conservative as you or I. I believe he donated to UKIP to give the Conservative Party a short sharp warning that they are starying off track in regard to the upcoming European elections when they should be hitting a harder tone. We need to remember we have a duty to be true to our conservative values. But in regard to this situation, when such a prominent and longstanding donor has been reprimanded in such an unustifiable and unforgivable way, we have to remember we have a duty to the people who make us what we are as a party. Stuart Wheeler is by no means alone amongst our membership in regard to his views on Europe. Cameron and his team will ignore that fact at their peril. We Conservatives have never been afraid of competition and we should not act out in such a Stalinist way against a man who has shown us more invaluable support as a party over the years than most of us could ever manage to do in a lifetime…

Dan the MAN

To interrupt briefly the ‘Most Iconic Speeches’ I couldn’t miss the chance to share with you a speech made by the fantastic Dan Hannan MEP on Gordon Brown’s recent visit to the EU. Pure gold.