March of the superstate

Regular visitors to this site will know that The English Democrats are trying to change the way local politics are administered, to make our councillors more accountable to local people.

Unfortunately, it is not just at a local level that the people are ignored, but also at the other end of the scale – Our national elected leaders are also impotent in the face of the march of the European Superstate, the EU project.

Since Ted Heath decided to join what was then the Common Market in the early 70’s, no-one has had a chance to voice their opinion on our ever greater integration in to the ‘European project’. In 1975, the electorate got their one chance to speak on the matter, when the idea of an open trade marketplace was put to the people, a loose alliance of trading partners with no barriers in the way of commerce between members – An eminently sensible idea, which the people of the UK endorsed. Unfortunately, the ‘free trade association’ was missold by the Politicians, whose real goal was ever closer political union between the member states. Nobody under 50 has ever had a say on our continued membership ever since, and those over 50 were lied to about the real aims of the project.

During the course of the weekend at our party conference in Nottingham, we listened to speakers who are determined to alter this obvious abuse of our democracy.

On Saturday, media personality Jon Gaunt spoke to the conference about The EU Referendum Campaign, a coalition of groups from across the political spectrum who are dedicated to forcing a referendum on our continued membership of the EU. Their campaign can be viewed at www.eureferendumcampaign.com , where you can sign the petition to give the people of England a voice on our country’s future.

Sunday saw further talks by UKIP MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Mike Nattrass, and independent MEP Nikki Sinclaire. Both sit in the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg, and see daily the way that our country is dictated to by people who have no mandate from our people to oversee our everyday lives.

Unlike our own MP’s, an MEP cannot submit a motion on behalf of their electorate on matters that concern them – Motions can only be put before the chamber by the 27 members of the EU Commission. We have just one representative on the commission, Baroness Ashcroft – A woman who has risen to her position via a series of quangos and a peerage, and has never had to face a public vote in her political career!

We now have the ridiculous situation whereby 75% of our laws are passed by people who are totally unaccountable to the people they claim to serve – What’s more, these laws are mooted by just 27 people in the whole of the EU, an even worse situation than we have at local level!

Nikki Sinclaire is also running a petition to change this injustice, which can be viewed at www.haveyoursay.eu

Whether you agree with the EU or not, it is an insult to our democratic rights that we have never had a say on the matter. To this end, whether you are for or against, I advise you to sign both of the petitions, and give the people of England a voice.

Common Sense – An Obituary

I received the following email today from my English Democrat colleague, Roger Firth, and thought I would share it with you all…

“Today, we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend,common sense,who has been with us for many years.

No-one knows for sure how old he was,since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as : Knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn’t always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common sense lived by simple,sound financial policies (Don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults,not children, are in charge) His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a 6 year old boy charged with harrassment for kissing a classmate: teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired forreprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common  sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common sense lost the will to live as the Churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realise that a cup of steaming coffee was hot.She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common sense was preceded in death by his parents,truth and trust,his wife discretion,his daughter responsibility, and his two sons reason and justice.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers – I know my rights,I want it now,someone else is to blame, and I am a victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone.”

If you still remember him, pass this message on – If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Many a true word…….

An Elected Mayor in Action

I have just spent a very pleasant weekend in Nottingham at our annual party conference.

The central themes of the conference, as already posted on this site, revolved around two of our core policies – A referendum on our continued membership of the EU, and the renewal of democracy at a local level, most notably regarding elected council leaders or executive mayors as they are known.

 The UK currently has 12 directly elected mayors, which will shortly become 13 after Tower Hamlets in London voted to have one – They are currently in the process of arranging the election.

Several mayors are independents, and are not beholden to any political party, so can address local issues from a local perspective. To give some examples, Ken Livingstone was elected London Mayor after the Labour Party refused to endorse him, whilst in Hartlepool the voters chose Independent candidate Stuart Drummond, better known as local football team mascot H’Angus the Monkey, in 2002. Stuart has proven so successful, he has been re-elected twice and is doing sterling work for his town – You could say that,in this case, a monkey could do the job better than some local councillors!

One of the most high profile of the elected mayors is my English Democrat colleague Peter Davies, Mayor for Doncaster. Peter inherited one of the most dysfunctional councils in England when he was elected, with a history of corruption and bureaucracy.

Peter spoke to the conference on Saturday, and ran through some of the initiatives he has spearheaded, and also pointed out some of the pitfalls of having to turn around a failing authority – Especially when you are in the spotlight of the national media, some of whom are willing you to fail!

Amongst the more high profile measures that you may have heard of in the national press, the first thing Peter did upon taking office was to reduce his own salary by 60%, and scrap the mayoral limousine!

The twin town scheme was swiftly dismantled   – ” Twinning is all about free holidays on the local taxpayer for the council and their staff” he has been quoted as saying. The local government free newspaper soon followed.

Then came the dismantling of the politically correct expenses, to the horror of the left wing press.

Peter cancelled the council grant to the local Gay Pride March, and also did away with council funded translation services. He elaborated on this at the Conference, and at the same time pointed out why this is a way forward, and not the return of the ‘dark ages’ that his critics have been referring to.

On The Gay Pride March – ” I am no homophobic, but I don’t see why the council should pay for a minority group to have a parade in Doncaster. I have no problem with it going ahead, but see no reason why it should be funded by the taxpayer”

On scrapping translation services – ” People should be encouraged to learn English. If we all speak the same language, we can all join in with the local community. Put it another way – In the council offices, we had one cue for people who could speak English, and another queue for those who could not. Effectively, you had segregation. If that had been South Africa thirty years ago, everyone would have quite rightly been up in arms about an apartheid regime, yet in Doncaster in the 21st Century this was happening on council premises!”

Strong words indeed – But Peter has revealed that he has even more in store to get better value for his local taxpayers.

 “In Doncaster we have over 60 councillors – To put that in to perspective, in Pittsburgh in the USA, a similar sized town, they have 9. Windsor in Ontario, Canada,has just 7. That is a lot of taxpayers money being spent on councillors that may not be needed – Many do the job on a part time basis, and have another job during the day. I am working to have this changed”

So how is the money saved being re-invested? For the first time in many years, new council properties are being built in Doncaster to ease the housing shortage. Front line services are being protected, whilst the high profile St Leger Race meet at Doncaster Race Course had an increase of 12% in the crowd this year, injecting £10 million in to the local economy.

Doncaster is not out of the woods yet, but their elected mayor is doing everything he can to make sure that his town is making progress. I was fortunate enough to sit with Peter at dinner, and asked him what would happen if he couldn’t deliver the change that he had promised to the people of Doncaster when he was elected.

” Then they will vote for someone else to try and do a better job” was his short answer.A pity that we can’t do the same in Hillingdon at the moment!

The Elected Mayor campaign gathers pace

The bright weather on Wednesday encouraged me to venture out from behind my PC and take the elected executive mayor campaign to the streets.

Wearing an appropriate suit with my trusty rosette in place and clipboard in hand, Hayes Town and it’s traders were my first target. Cue many lengthy conversations, discussions about what needs to be done in our community,and a flurry of signatures. My thanks go to Debbie in the needlework shop for a very much needed cup of tea after an exhausting few hours!

The English Democrats team will be out across the borough over the next few months promoting a referendum on an elected executive mayor, the first stage of our campaign to make government more accountable to the public.

If you would like to sign the petition, or get involved with collecting signatures, then please do not hesitate to contact us by email, click here

It is time to make local government work for you!

Housing Strategy – In need of a rethink?

Another week, and more confused messages in Hillingdon regarding housing. 

Recently, West Drayton and South Hayes were designated as ‘The Heathrow Opportunity Area’ by Hillingdon Council, enabling the building of offices and hotels with minimum requirements for planning permission to be sought, leading to fears of West Drayton High Street becoming a carbon copy of the A4 Bath Road. 

I have pointed out before that this is a flawed strategy – After all, we have an abundance of empty office space in the Borough, but affordable housing is at a premium due to the combination of an increased birth rate and mass immigration. 

However, if we take this on face value, and the Council strategy is to build up industry in West Drayton, then surely some of that excess office space in Uxbridge could be converted to residential use? Not according to the planners at Hillingdon Council, who have thrown out a plan to convert disused office space in Rockingham Road to flats, despite it having been empty for years and unlikely to be filled due to increased competition from newer office ‘parks’ on the Oxford Road.

Apparently, the planning committee felt that this would be an unacceptable loss of employment land, that it is mainly an industrial area, and that there were not enough local amenities for children.

With both Fassnidge Park and Rockingham Recreation Ground a short walk away, and substantial housing estates within a stones throw, it begs the question – Do they really know the area? 

Now we have the revelation that there are plans to loosen the laws governing houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s), encouraging small investors to buy up the remaining 3 and 4 bed housing stock on the market and then converting it to flats to make the maximum profit. This again decreases the amount of family orientated properties available, and encourages overcrowding and the breakdown of community ties. 

For once, I am in complete agreement with Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell, who has challenged this decision in The House of Commons, and called for the retention of the laws that mean planning permission must be sought before conversion of housing stock to HMO’s. 

So, what is the answer to our housing problems in the Borough? With straightened finances and cuts looming, I would at least suggest suspending mass immigration for now, with any new arrivals having to prove that they already have housing and employment arranged, and the means to support themselves. 

With new developments then coming on stream at the old NATS site in Porters Way, and the Hayes & Yeading football ground in Church Road, we really need to look at how ‘affordable’ housing is allocated to those on the waiting lists – The system has been abused for years, with hard working families penalised in favour of the feckless who play the system to get housed on ‘need’. 

Do the planners have the drive, direction and clarity of purpose to solve the problems? I hope so, but current events do not back up such optimism.

Guest speakers announced for The National Conference

With forty eight hours to go until our national conference at Nottingham, Operations Officer Steve Uncles has announced the list of guest speakers for Saturday.

Jon Gaunt – Outspoken talk show host and author, Jon has received several Sony awards for his radio shows.

Never one to shy away from controversy, his forthright style has earned a legion of fans who have followed him from BBC Local Radio, through national radio station Talksport and on line broadcaster SunTalk.

Currently commenting on the news on Sky, Jon has also been a regular columnist with The Sun and is a best selling author. His autobiography, Undaunted, is a moving account of triumph over adversity.

Professor Colin Copus – Professor of Local Politics at De Montfort University, Dr Copus is a leading authority on English national identity and English policy issues.

Published books include Leading the Localities – Executive Mayors in English Local Governance, and Party Politics and Local Government.

 

Nikki Sinclaire MEP – Member of European Parliament for the West Midlands, Nikki is an outspoken critic of the EU, and campaigns for more power for local people in her constituency.

Peter Davies – The Mayor of Doncaster, and that most unusual of people – A straight talking politician! Peter is the English Democrats first directly elected executive mayor.

It is not too late to book for the conference – Please contact 2010Conf@engdem.org

Say Non to the French Market!

Uxbridge Town Centre has undergone an expensive refurbishment recently, with the council putting in nearly a quarter of a million pounds of taxpayers money.

Now it would appear that this refit is to be ruined with the arrival of a ‘French Market’ for 3 days a week starting from Thursday.

Local traders in the Pavilions Market place have already seen trade drop since the opening of The Chimes, which has diverted customers from the older shopping mall. Now they will have to compete with more traders in prime position in front of their plots.

I spoke with a friend of mine who runs a stall in the Pavilions on Friday, and he was absolutely livid about the decision. He told me that the existing traders pay their rent to the council, are fully licensed, and subject to regular inspections – Many have been on their stalls for over ten years. Now they are having to compete with traders who are operating under the auspices of a private contractor,  and whose license terms are not known. I was told that many of the traders, who have to pay their council rents whether they are on site or not, are concerned that these new traders will be able to pick and choose when they open, selecting the best days and not turning up to offer choice for the consumer whenever it suits them. There also seemed to be anger that this market is opening in the run up to Christmas, a real make or break time for these local traders who have suffered so much in the downturn.

We all want to see our town centres being vibrant and successful, but if this new market puts the established traders out of business and then moves on itself, surely that is to the detriment of our community?

English Culture – Alive and kicking

We have many traditions in this country that are still respected around the world. Talk to tourists in London, and they flock to our Royal palaces, classic museums, landmarks such as Trafalgar Square, the list goes on.

Along with my English Democrat colleague, Ben Weald, we decided to leaflet outside the Albert Hall on Last Night of the Proms recently – After all, what better than the strains of Elgar to inspire a feeling of patriotism?

Much to our surprise, rather than a crowd arriving purely of English, Scots and Welsh, we were confronted with a mixed audience comprising people from our own island, Germans, Scandinavians and Japanese! A German couple that I spoke with said that they were really looking forward to sampling the atmosphere, whilst clutching a Union Jack!

We tend to overlook or take for granted the rich history of our country. I was impressed that our continental cousins wanted to learn more about our traditions, and soak in our culture. What a difference to our national leaders, who try to downplay our status in the world, rubbish our customs in the name of ‘multiculturalism’ and rush like lemmings to give away what little sovereignty we have left to unelected Brussels Eurocrats.

Standing outside this fine old building, steeped in the history of our land, I allowed myself a little smile – Whatever our Politicians try to push upon us at home, the culture of England is still with us, and respected overseas. We just need a little nudge sometimes to remember what a proud old nation we live in.

Retirement of a Hero

I read with sadness the announcment yesterday that Andrew Flintoff is retiring from cricket due to losing his ongoing battle with injury. ‘Freddie’ was a world class talent, a larger than life character, and a great advert for English Cricket.

True, he did have his run-in’s with authority, and the odd fall from grace such as the ‘pedalo’ incident during the World Cup in the Caribbean. But most people touched with genius also have a few flaws somewhere, and his achievements on the pitch and his fierce competitive streak surely outweighed the occasional error of judgement.

Fred is one of an elite band of English cricketers to have registered two Ashes victories over Australia, no mean feat.The second series victory must have been even more special after the 5-0 series whitewash inflicted by the Old Enemy in the previous series down under, a series where he stood in as captain for the injured Michael Vaughan.

The highlights of his career are many – The Ashes series of 2005, his 5 wicket haul at Lords against the Aussies in 2009 when he was clearly injured but his spirit would not let him stop, the caring side when he stopped to console a distraught Brett Lee when the player was in pieces at his side’s defeat by England – A lesser man would not have noticed whilst enjoying the cheers of the home crowd.

Strangely enough, my own personal favourite moment and the one that is etched in my memory is not one of his duels with the Aussies, but a much more downplayed series against South Africa in 2003. England were staring defeat in the face at Lord’s when Flintoff came out to bat. Playing with carefree abandon, Fred smashed 142 off of 112 balls, with 5 sixes and 18 fours. One over in particular was stunning, facing the immensely talented fast bowler Makhaya Ntini. The first two balls that came down were swatted in to the pavilion for huge sixes, followed by two more boundaries. On the final ball of the over, Freddie lined up to hit a huge six, but instead shattered his bat as he struck the ball! Ntini, having been so savagely treated, broke in to a huge smile and raised his arms in mock triumph, laughing.

Truly a special memory of a special player – So long Fred, and thanks for the memories…

Council Spending – Value for money?

I have not been very impressed with the new coalition government so far, but one thing I do applaud them for is the new legislation that states that the local council has to declare to the public what they are spending our money on.

I spent some time this afternoon going through the August list for Hillingdon on the website, www.hillingdon.gov.uk/over500

There is some interesting information on here – Such as a £7000 payment to Starbucks (UK) Ltd, and a payment of £5859.34 to The GMB union and another £12890.41 payment to UNISON.

£7000 on coffee? I know that it aids alertness (Especially in the mornings), but that kind of spending would wake up Rip Van Winkle! As for paying nearly £18000 to trade unions – I thought that the brothers paid for their membership , not the taxpayer?

Massive amounts are also spent on residential care for the elderly – This I do applaud the council for, as our senior citizens have paid their dues and deserve the best care that can be afforded for them. However, in Scotland this expense is paid for by central rather than local government, out of  taxation funded by the English via ‘The Barnett Formula’.

If Ray Puddifoot and his cabinet really do mean what they say when they claim to be getting the best value for our money, then they should challenge the coalition to release central funds for English pensioners in the way that they do for their Scottish counterparts – Along with establishing a ‘kitty’ for the employees to pay for their own coffee and union subscriptions!