The lunatics who run the asylum

This week has seen austerity measures imposed by the Coalition Government the like of which have not been seen for over sixty years. Cuts to the armed forces, half a million public sector jobs to go, cuts in the welfare state – This is all a direct result, we are told, of the disastrous spending splurge under the last Labour government. Chancellor George Osbourne has stated that ‘we are all in this together’, and has urged for us  to stick together to get the country back on track.

A rallying call to patriots?

 

This is all fairly standard rhetoric from a Conservative chancellor when the country is in the mire – I seem to remember similar words being uttered when Thatcher came to power and had to pick up the ruins of the economy after the ‘Winter of Discontent’ which brought down Callaghan’s Labour government in the seventies.

The difference then was that although many disagreed with the measures taken, I think most believed in the sincerity of the politicians at the helm.We had a real sense of community, and pride in our country’s standing in the world.  This time round, I am not so sure, and I will point out part of my reasoning behind this.

 

The Destruction of our national identity

 

When time permits, I take part in gatherings in London with a group of patriots from an organisation called March for England. MFE are a non-political organisation, who celebrate English culture and attend events such as Armed Forces Day, Remembrance parades, 7/7 memorials and St George’s Day.

They have also been present at joint events to protest against the erosion of our culture, such as the handing in of petitions against Sharia Law in the UK and at the annual Al Quds march.

During these events, we are often confronted by organisations such as The Socialist Workers Party, Unite against Fascism (A real contradiction in terms!) and Anjem Choudhary’s MAC (Muslims against the Crusades, a very nasty group of Islamic Extremists who are an offshoot of several banned groups and frequently abuse our troops at homecoming parades).

 

What has this got to do with destruction of our national identity?

 

You would think that these groups are just a collection of small minority interests, and hold no real sway in how this country is run, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, this is not quite the case.

Unite against Fascism (The UAF) were supposedly formed to counter the racist threat of the BNP, and are now to be seen regularly opposing The English Defence League (EDL) up and down the country. If you read their mission statement, it all seems quite straightforward – After all, no sane person in our society today discriminates against another person because of the colour of their skin or their religion. Even their main target these days, the EDL, state on their site that they oppose Islamic Extremism, not Muslims in general.

 

Martin Smith

This is a video of one of the main organisers of the UAF, Martin Smith, at a Socialist Workers Party conference a couple of years ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLqd8vhaGkg&feature=player_embedded#!

 To describe either the Union Flag or the Cross of St George as ‘a sign of oppression’ is something I actually find quite insulting – I somehow think that the people of Europe didn’t quite share this view back in 1944 when the British Army were evicting the Nazi’s from their countries!

It is also interesting to see the list of speakers at the end of the video who were in attendance – Some quite big hitters there, including our local MP for Hayes & Harlington, John McDonnell. Last time I looked, wasn’t he a Labour MP, not a Socialist Workers Party member?

Still, there is one thing in the video that he disagrees with the odious Mr Smith about – Our very own MP has been on record as supporting the IRA mainland bombing campaign, whilst Smith says that no-one in their right mind supports terrorist atrocities.

Since this video was filmed, it is also worth pointing out that Martin Smith has been convicted of assaulting a Police Officer during the protest against the BNP appearance on BBC Question Time, and UAF leaders Rhetta Moran and Weyman Bennett are under Police Investigation for conspiracy to incite violent disorder – Hardly the behaviour of law abiding citizens who are trying to stamp out the scourge of racism!

Signatories to the UAF

 

So why do I think that this fringe organisation has any real influence in the destruction of our national identity?

Why do I think that this has any relevance to George Osbourne’s statement about us ‘all being in this together?’

Well, if you look down the list of Signatories to the UAF founding statement it includes following prominent members of our society who will be at the forefront of turning this country and our borough around……

David Cameron MP – Prime Minister

Ken Livingstone – Front runner in the London Mayoral Campaign

55 other MP’s across the old 3 political parties

Brendan Barber – General Secretary of the TUC

Prominent Union leaders – Dave Prentis,Mark Serwotka,Andy Gilchrist,Bob Crow – To name a few

8 MEP’s including Glenys Kinnock

With this in mind, how can we ‘all be in this together’ when so many people who are supposed to be turning things around are involved with an organisation that condemns our flag and encourages us to be ashamed of our heritage?

What is your view on this? Do you think that the ConDems are using our patriotism against us to justify cuts, when secretly they want to dismantle our national identity? Let us know YOUR views!

 

There is being a busy MP – Then there is being an expensive liability

On Page 2 of The Gazette last week, local Hayes Reporter Jack Griffith paid tribute to John McDonnell MP for submitting the most Early Day Motions in the House of Commons, and responding to the most, in the current parliament sitting – A grand total of 544, of which he was a primary sponsor on 20 and a sponsor on 113.

These figures look truly impressive – After all, in the wake of the expenses scandal, many of us look at MP’s as being overpaid and underworked windbags, even though in some cases the reality is far removed from the perception. Surely, Mr McDonnell is showing how hard he is working for the local community?

Actually, further investigation reveals a slightly different story. Early Day motions are a way of getting a subject that you care about brought in front of the house for debate – If you get enough respondents to an EDM, then the house has to debate what you have brought up in more depth.

So, what vitally important things has John McDonnell brought to the attention of the representatives of this country, and at what level of success?

EDM258A1 was brought about the state of the ticket office at Ealing Underground Station (Note, Ealing and NOT Hayes,Ruislip or Uxbridge) – This got 1 respondent (McDonnell himself)

EDM319 was about pay differences on board British merchant ships depending on race – This got 20 supporters.

EDM564 was about the first anniversary of the closure of a wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight, and got a massive 16 supporters.

EDM633 referred to the arrest of Reza Shahabi in Iran, a local union leader – This got 33 supporters.

The catalogue continues, with motions about Underground staffing, The UK Film Council, the Parliament Peace Camp, a congratulation of a media mogul – All of which got minimal support.

So why does this matter so much?Well, I can give you three reasons as follows….

Firstly, not one of the EDM’s that John McDonnell has brought up directly affects the people of Hayes and Harlington, who he claims to represent. Where are the EDM’s about lack of housing, rising crime, increase in class numbers and cuts to the budgets for education,the NHS and  housing?

Secondly, each EDM costs approximately £800 to put up – So 544 EDM’s equals £435,200 of taxpayers money, £16,000 of which was directly triggered by him and he co-sponsored £90,400 worth of expenses.

Finally, there was one EDM that I feel sure all English patriots would have liked further discussion on – That was EDM1083 that was put forward to debate a bank holiday for England on St George’s Day. John McDonnell, supposedly a ‘local MP for local people’, voted against this one, although he does like to celebrate St Patrick’s Day every year – Nothing wrong with that, but why then deny the English their day? Especially when you are supposedly the ‘only local candidate to stand for MP in Hayes & Harlington’.

To their shame, both John Randall (MP – Uxbridge) and Nick Hurd (MP – Ruislip and Northwood) also failed to back this EDM.

But then, having a sense of pride and community is not what any of the old three political parties want.

If you have children,an illness, or are elderly – You need to see this

In the late 70’s, a gentleman by the name of Joel Barnett developed a system whereby additional funding was transferred from England to Scotland to upgrade their services, which at the time were not as good as those in England. That system, ‘The Barnett Formula’, is still in place today, even though the architect of it has stated that it is unfair and needs to be reformed.

I will not go in to a lecture on how it works and why it should be scrapped, but the following video explains everything, and why anyone living in Hillingdon needs to know about the Barnett Formula and how it affects them…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnYlOxklT-g

When you have finished watching this, go to the Hillingdon Council website and look at the ‘over £500 list of expenditure’, and ask yourself – ‘Would my community charge be spent this way if I was in Usk rather than Uxbridge, or Raith rather than Ruislip?’

Local Issues – What really bothers you?

Many people say that politicians don’t listen to real people, that they aren’t interested in what matters to the average man or woman in the street.

Well, this party is listening, and we want to hear from you about what really gets your goat, and how you would like to see things changed for the better in the borough.

Whether it is to do with council cuts, the planned expansion of class sizes in our local schools, law and order – If it matters to you, let us know about it!

Fill in your details on the contact pages on the site, and we will be in touch with your own passwords so you can comment on this site and let us know what is happening where you are.

By all of us coming together and sharing our experiences, maybe we can start to make Hillingdon the place we all want it to be.

Do they really serve you?

The way local government works is a mystery to many people, and since getting involved in politics earlier this year I have certainly had my eyes opened about the realities of the way things are run in Hillingdon.

Regular visitors to the site will know that the English Democrats are pushing for a referendum on elected council leaders (Or executive mayors as they are known) throughout England in areas where they do not already exist.

Below is a quick rundown on how the system works, and how our current model of ‘strong leader’ works in Hillingdon…

INTRODUCTION TO THE

DIRECTLY ELECTED MAYORAL SYSTEM

 

The possibility of having directly elected Executive Mayors was introduced in the Local Government Act 2000.

THE UK currently has 12 directly elected mayors – the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has recently voted for a mayoral system but has not yet elected one.

Several Mayors are independents and are not beholden to an Establishment Party. Ken Livingstone won in London as an independent after the Labour Party refused to endorse him. Stuart Drummond, Hartlepool United’s club mascot H’Angus the Monkey, won in 2002 on the back of a jokey campaign. He has been re-elected twice since and is doing an excellent job for his town. Former senior policeman Ray Mallon won in Middlesborough as an independent in 2002 and won re-election in the recent election by a landslide. Two district councils have mayors: Watford and Mansfield.

The authorities for local governance are:-

1.         Councillor Committees

This is the old Committee system and has been widely criticised as being too slow and too lacking in transparency.

2.         Elected Mayor

The mayor is directly elected by all the local authority’s voters and serves for four years. He or she would choose up to 10 councillor as cabinet members. The mayor cannot be removed from office by councillors.

3.         Council leader

By contrast to the directly elected Mayor the Council leader is secretly elected by the councillors of the local ruling party. The council continues to carry out business through committees, chaired by Councillors chosen by the local ruling party. Whichever party has the largest number of councillors will also have a majority representation in each committee. All decisions made at committee meetings must be adopted at the next statutory council meeting. The Council leader can be removed by the council during his/her term of office by a majority vote and so is beholden for his position to the largest party on the Council and so answers to them and not to the wider electorate.

 

A directly elected Mayor can take decisions with a Cabinet of a few councillors appointed by the elected Mayor

 

The Mayor would be elected for a four year term by all residents eligible to vote in local elections.

The local authorities “Executive” (or “Cabinet”) would be made up of between three and ten councillors, including the elected Mayor. 

Elections for Councillors would be held as they are now.

Councillors would have a role in the scrutiny of the Mayor’s decisions on major issues, including the council tax and major policy decisions.  Committees of councillors would continue on planning, licensing and regulatory functions.  Otherwise the Mayor would be free to decide how decisions were made, and the Mayor and his Cabinet would take most decisions on a day to day basis instead of committees of councillors.

Councillors who are not members of the executive would continue to have some important functions, including representing their local communities.  They could monitor and comment on the performance of the Mayor and Cabinet – the scrutiny role referred to above. 

 

  • The new Mayor would provide local political leadership
  • The Mayoral system provides a single, accountable leader directly responsible to the voters
  • Faster decision making
  • Power to get policies into place quickly
  • A fixed four year term ensures some continuity with direct accountability to voters

 

 So, we now have a choice on how our local area is run – Except that the powers that be at the Civic Centre really don’t want you to know this.

I would like to say a big thank you at this point to Peter Silverman, who runs the Hillingdon Watch website. Peter has made it clear to me that he is not a supporter of The English Democrats, and does not share our vision for a devolved England and English Parliament. However, he is very passionate about local government accountability, and we all owe him a debt for his sterling work on the site, and his uncovering of how the local elite have tried to cover over the opportunity for local people to have their say. Both a council run survey, and one that Peter bankrolled from his own pocket, have shown that the people of Hillingdon would like a referendum on an elected council leader – However, the ruling party in Hillingdon have tried to cover over the opportunity for everyone to have their say by excusing it as being ‘not of sufficient interest’ and by running their survey in an underhand and slipshod manner.

Proof of this is evident on the website on the following link….

http://www.hillingdon-watch.org.uk/html/leader_or_mayor.html 

I don’t know about you, but I am one of the breed that bristles when people try to tell me they know best without giving me a say on the matter.

If you want to send a message to our arrogant council leaders, who insist that they know best irrespective of us not having been given a say, then please print off and sign the petition for a referendum on an elected executive leader for Hillingdon. Whether you think this is a good idea or not, surely you deserve to be heard?

Yet another iconic local firm to go?

Hillingdon has been home to many iconic English firms down the years, including Penguin Books,Technicolour and EMI – Indeed, even my favourite chocolate makers Cadbury’s had a presence in the Borough until recently.

Now we have received the news that United Biscuits( manufacturer of the classic Penguin biscuit)  who are stationed near to my family home in Hayes End, are on the verge of being taken over by a Chinese company, Bright Foods.

So what is the problem, you may ask, if it keeps people in jobs? Therein lies the problem – How many firms over the last ten years have been bought out by overseas owners, only to see their promises of keeping jobs locally betrayed?

BMW took over Rover, and destroyed it just to get their hands on the Land Rover and Mini brands, whilst the last 20 years have been rife with sellouts of our manufacturing firms to overseas companies, who have taken the corporate identities but switched their manufacturing abroad to make more profits.

When US giant Kraft took over Cadbury, they gave assurances about  protection of jobs for the English workforce – Since then, manufacturing at plants that have been a mainstay of local communities have been switched to Eastern Europe, whilst 150 people at the Uxbridge office in Sanderson Road were also made redundant.

Some maintain that ‘market forces’ will dictate that a brand needs to manufacture at a lower price to survive, whilst others quote that ‘you can get a better product at a lower price’ by moving your production out of the UK. In the case of Cadbury, this is blatantly untrue – My nephew lives in the USA at the moment, and the thing that he always asks my sister to get for him to take back when he visits England is ‘proper chocolate’ – Funnily enough, Cadbury’s is his favourite brand too!

The Germans have also shown that price is immaterial when it comes to brand and quality – If we all wanted a  cheap product, we would be driving Korean and Malaysian built cars, yet BMW,Volkswagen and Mercedes consistently top the sales figures, despite being more expensive to buy than Far East manufactured motors. The really funny part about this figure is that despite their reputations and brand loyalty, all three have been beaten in reliability tests recently by Honda,Nissan and Toyota – All of which are now built in England!

If United is to be sold off to the Chinese, then the government need to have assurances made regarding local jobs, and have these assurances written in to any takeover agreement. If not, then the sale should not be allowed to go ahead, especially as the company as it stands now is profitable and not in need of a takeover to prop it up on the stock markets.

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!