Archive for the ‘parliament’ Category


My anxiety and sense of loss begins to subside. The one and I are now waiting to see what the future holds for us and our children. Exciting times.

I am slightly surprised that Jeremy Corbin has not stood down following the recent furore in the press and parliament.  But then again, he appears to have attracted about 100,000 new members, predominantly young people. Perhaps Jez is banking on a new wave of socially aware members to reform the Labour Party. Perhaps he wants to step left, away from Neil Kinnocks ‘New Labour’ and return to more socialist values. He would, perhaps, be able to form a proper Labour Opposition unlike the Labory party of Brown, Blair and Milliband.

A new socialism could sweep the country with the interests of the nation put to the fore rather than the interests of those in power. I can live in hope.

The other lot are arguing among themselves, should it be May or Leadsom. Now as an incumbent of the Sty I have no love for Mrs May. She may be a ‘local lass’ in that she was born where I now live, but she has not be fulsome in her support for my colleagues and I.

On the other hand Leadsom is a paid up member of the grab the money and run club for bankers. May is equally tainted with scandal so the choice for the Tories is bad or worse effectively.

Our friends in UKIP make the Lib Dems look irrelevant at the moment. However I understand that we are safe.  Whilst at this time there is no leader (bit of a theme, it must be the holidays) it has been announced to the public that UKIP will monitor negotiations to make sure we get what they want. Unfortunately it is not entirely clear what it is that they bring to the table.

So it is exciting times. There is no precedent for what is about to happen. Will the Tories elect the self confessed Thatcher mark 2 or the current Home Secretary. Will Labour keep Corbin or shuffle back to the right for more Tory nonsense. Will UKIP ever have anything positive to bring to the table or just shout about the evil immigrants. Will anyone come up with a plan, who will negotiate with Europe and what will the country look like in 10 years time. I hope I will not be too senile to comprehend.

I have a thought. It has been said that whatever happens there will not be enough time for the PM to run the country and negotiate our exit. If that is true perhaps a Brexiteer could be nominated to negotiate (Boris anyone?) while the PM deals with the country and navigating it and its citizens through this difficult time, ensuring there is no breakdown in law and order. By this I mean attacks on our current migrant population. The business of ensuring economic stability in the transition period and establishing closer ties with our Commonwealth friends, if we have any.

Overall my excitement is tarnished only by my own unease in leaving important decisions about my life and the countries future in the hands of people who have amply proved themselves, time and time again, to be dishonest, untrustworthy and corrupt.

I hope I am wrong.

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On the 8th May 1945 the war in Europe came to an end. VJ day was celebrated in August of that year. I have no first-hand knowledge of these events not being born until 1957. I was born three years after rationing ended in Britain although the effects of the war continued well into the 80’s so far as the dairy industry were concerned.Britain joined the European Community in 1973. At the time I was living at home with my parents and brother. We were a small family, living in a small home. Times were tough, there was little money to support the family even though both of my parents worked hard. But I felt loved and safe and cared for.

My memories of life, pre 1973, are smoky coal fires, a coke hot water boiler, the winter of 1962-63, shortages of everything, dark days, even in milder winters scraping ice from the inside of my bedroom window. Grey men in grey clothing happy but poor. Support from neighbours, even for the old and cantankerous Mrs White who lived next door.

Produce was scarce, fruit and veg poor quality unless it was home grown. Cheap cuts like Oxtail from the butcher. Local shops of questionable cleanliness selling bread, greengrocery, butchery and sweets. Sweets, but not as they would be recognised today.

Things did not improve overnight. But slowly, incrementally, my family’s lot improved. Wages rose, the family became better off. There was more to eat both in quantity and variety. Little luxuries became affordable. We were able to buy a car to go with the van my father used for work, we even got a telephone. We all learned to answer the telephone, ‘Horsham 61618’. As a family we had entered the modern era.

By 1975, the time of the referendum, I was a soldier. I was serving in Germany as part of the occupying British Army of the Rhine. I felt no animosity from our German cousins. I also served in Belgium and France with trips to Holland. Nothing from the population but friendly intercourse. Convivial sharing of food, wine, stories. Things seemed, to me at least, to be normal. Normal that is except for the ever present threat of annihilation from the Communist Block, which really meant the Soviet Union. We all lived under this threat. Some people chose to ignore what the potential was, this was not an option for me and my comrades.

When I returned home after my discharge, things were so much improved in these United Kingdoms. I accept that I am a soft Southerner. I have no links to t’North save by Marriage. I have no knowledge of the hardships of pit life, working in cotton mills, hill farming and the like. I do have experience of factory working, building work, small holding and small business life. It is true that our close connection caused ‘issues’. Increased paperwork blamed by the UK government on Europe. The disappearance of bent cucumbers and bananas. But life was good.

From a personal point of view, there was increased opportunity for me, if I was prepared to work I could be what I wanted to be. My father always saw this as a betrayal of his way of life I think. Certainly when I was born, when I left school, there could have been no thought of university. No thought of a gap year. No thought of travel. No thought of any kind of trade except building. There was no social mobility. I felt like Ronnie Corbett in the famous TW3 sketch with Ronnie Barker and John Cleese. Stuck in a rut. The only difference being I was not satisfied to accept my lot.

I have seen my parents and friends standard of living grow. Friends from school who stayed in trade, seized their opportunities and live a fulfilling life of a higher standard than any of us had any right to hope for. There were some who fell by the wayside. I met the brother of a boy I was at school with. ‘Paddy’ was always a person I shied away from. However, from living in the poorest part of town, coming from a troubled family, in his late 20’s he had done well for himself. Sadly Cancer took him but even weeks before his death he was fulfilling his stand up bookings. I saw him in an Indian restaurant he was joking and a pleasure to spend time with.

Paddy’s brother, that I was at school with, was a painter and decorator. He was less well off than Paddy, he made money but drank it away. My point is that people do have choices. Those people from my past that I remain in contact with have largely seized their opportunities. They have made a good life and have a standard of living that could not have been dreamed of in 1970. Some fell by the wayside but they were handicapped, not by their upbringing or their neighbours but by their own deficiencies.

My own immediate family, all working class people, born into a time of social stagnation, were released by the opportunities created by this country within a broader Europe. I have witnessed the breakdown of rigid social order which I admit began in the sixties, but was assisted greatly by the introduction of a more European way of thinking. Both of my children are successful in different ways. I am proud of my son, he chose not to indulge in further education and has made a good life for himself. My daughter is an academic, she is able to make her own choices. I honestly believe without the influence of Europe she would not be able to live the life she does.

I have always thought of myself as English first and European second. I have revelled in the company of a variety of people from a number of backgrounds. The cross pollination of ideas and beliefs is stimulating and enriching. My friend Salim said to me the day after the referendum, that he was scared. He said that our country is the only country where people are free to practice their own beliefs, religion and are able to express their sexuality without fear. He wondered if this would change.

I too have concerns. Concerns that this country may descend once more to the xenophobic land of the late sixties early seventies. Gangs of WASP’s rampaging the streets fighting anybody they thought might not be pure bred English. That in itself is an oxymoron. We are all out of Africa, by way of the Middle East and Europe.

I have always felt at home in Belgium and Germany. As this country plummets toward isolation my thoughts turn to whether a small flat in Berlin might be a nice place to spend my latter years. A little place in Brugge perhaps, or Dieppe or Lake Garda.

 

 


It has been proposed that the UK should have a cross party commission to plan for proper infrastructure investment and implementation. The idea seems to be to have an overall plan to ensure the renewal and improvement of infrastructure. In addition plans would be considered for new technology to be used for the benefit of the population and to ensure that the countries infrastructure does not wear out.

It seems that the Victorians were the last people to seriously plan in this way. What a sensible idea one might think. If the countries infrastructure is overseen by a cross party commission general elections would have no effect on the continuity of thinking. No need to start from scratch every four years or so. There will be implications from every election of course but the strategic overview would be in the hands of people who are involved for the long haul. People who could leave a lasting legacy to the future generations.

This sounds too good to be true. That’s because it is. Instead of seeing the grander picture the Tories immediately tried to score petty political points by blaming labour for the current state of the country. Now that may or may not be true, who knows. But is it not better to look forward rather than harking back to Mr Brown, or whoever. What is done is done. Parliament should be able to rise above squabbling about the past and plan to resolve the problems of tomorrow. Mistakes have been made on both sides of the house, they continue to be made on both sides of the house. Is it not better to try and resolve the big issues together?

Children will always want to chant ‘My team is better than yours’ but can this not be saved for the little arguments, not matters that effect the entire population? Of course, such common sense is unlikely to bear fruit. Infrastructure is not sexy, no names to be made just the quiet satisfaction of serving ones country. The Victorians would see this as reward enough but today the only desire appears to be for fame, publicity and as much money as can be garnered in a lifetime.

Put aside petty politics all you servants of the people in Westminster, actually come together and serve the country rather than your own self interest. There is no real difference between your parties just varying shades of grey. Accept this and work for a brighter future for this nation, not the US or any other part of the planet. When this broken land is restored to health then can we hold our head up and help those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

I am not a religious man, but our leaders purport to be. They feel the need to be seen at church and supporting the Christian myth. They should remember the actions of Jesus in the Temple when he confronted the traders and moneylenders. His attitude to wealth would be a lesson for our leaders. They should not forget that charity begins at home.


The silence weeps oozing into the days
Stretching out into weeks and months
The frackers come, smug, oily hands rub
The expectation of profit flows from there very pores
The nature recoils, trees sigh with sadness
The earth made to heave itself skywards
In shafts of despair

A yellow flowering on the trees and fences
A splash of joy and hope unleashed
Strange people garbed in hues both bright and somber
A gathering of ordinary minds joined as one
One purpose many minds power exponentially multiplied
The pawns of the state used to suppress freedom
A bad law misapplied a legacy of Thatcher

A week or two pass our masters gaze distracted
The people remain with their black clad chaperone
Cameron is diverted he smells oil in the air
Petty politics rises with votes to beat him
His cabinet wail at lost trips oe’er the pond
They have no clue of plebeian muses
Mutterings in corners not seen by the great

The drones are restless things fall apart
Money is worthless life beyond our means
The devil strides the world disguised corporate
Gekko the model, greed is the king
You fanfare destruction our green earth is dying
Small steps derided economy ignored
The way forward is spend buy and store.


I see today that our glorious leader, ‘Dave’ wide boy Cameron for those who hadn’t grasped the fact that he is not some second hand car salesman, is once again supporting the big cheeses.

Yesterday he distanced himself from debates concerning the Recommendations of the Leverson enquiry. He must be afraid that he won’t be able to carry on his cosy relationship with the Murdochs and their minions if he does.

However, today he has come out to say that he rules out the naming and shaming of large multinational companies who fail to pay their fair share of tax in Britain. Strange, Jimmy Carr was named and shamed but of course, he is just an individual, a little man when compared to the income potential through tax of the likes of Google et al.

Amazon, Starbucks and Google have been mentioned as corporations against whom there ought to be a more aggressive approach. The comments were made as a report was released by the Public Accounts Commitee saying that offenders should be named and shamed by the government as well as being prosecuted rather than being offered ‘sweetheart’ deals.

What does the government get out of this? Do the country benefit? I wonder if the money spent chasing benefit fraud is able to recoup as much as a similar amount spent chasing even one of the global players.

Mr Cameron said, ‘An important part of our tax system is taxpayer confidentiality.’ I heard not a single breast being beaten when Jimmy Carrs name came out. Not that I think he is deserving of any sympathy at all.


I see that Martin McGuiness is to relinquish his seat at Westminster.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-18396327

This is the man who refused to recognise the authority of a court in Eire, a quote from the ever reliable (?) Wikipedia

In 1973, he was convicted by the Republic of Ireland’s Special Criminal Court, after being caught with a car containing 250 lb (113 kg) of explosives and nearly 5,000 rounds of ammunition. He refused to recognise the court, and was sentenced to six months imprisonment. In court, he declared his membership of the Provisional Irish Republican Army without equivocation: ‘We have fought against the killing of our people… I am a member of Óglaigh na hÉireann and very, very proud of it’.

I wonder how it sits with Mr McGuiness to be fighting for a Free Ireland while refusing to accept the authority of the court in Eire. He also holds a seat at the mother of all Parliaments while at the same time abstaining from any involvement although presumably not too proud to accept the ‘Queen’s Shilling’ for his services.

Whatever my personal views of Mr McGuiness, at least there appears to be some sort of consistency in his views. Other MP’s seem to be sway in the breeze, changing their viewpoint like I change my socks.

I am glad that Mr McGuiness is giving up his Westminster seat. He should meddle in the Political institutions he has some belief in, but for my money there is no point in filling his seat with anyone else.  I increasingly form the view that Politics is just a different word for cronyism, corruption and self interest.


Following on from my post here:

     https://fromthepigpen.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/business-greed/

I have just been informed that the Police Service that I work for, we can no longer say Force due to its negative connotations, saved £22 million by the end of 2011/2012, a term vague by design I believe. Apparently the service will save another 8 million by the end of this financial year. In total the service in this area have to save £50 million by 2015. So from April 2013 until April 2015 the service needs to save a further £20 million.

In order to achieve this it seems that 400 Officers and 450 support staff will have to go.

We are told that the second phase of the operation to save money, yes it has an operational name and a team to match, is not just about saving money. Yes, that’s right, my Chief Constable has said so. Just because he earns £145,000 (November 2011) does not mean that he can treat his constables like idiots. This phase is apparently about modernising, with less money to cost less money at the same time as saving £20 million. But, of course, it is not all about saving money.

The chief opines that by 2015 ‘… we will look and feel like a very different organisation.’ He goes on to say that he cannot describe the plans in detail, probably because the May fairy hasn’t told him what they will be yet.

I CAN envisage our service in 2015. There will be fewer Police Officers. There will be fewer Police Stations. The Police Stations that do exist will be open for fewer hours. There will be less staff to manage ‘front offices’, custody and scene’s of crime officers.

We will modernise. That probably means another set of computer programmes that cost the earth, do not talk to other system’s within this service never mind those with common borders. No maintenance contract being taken out to save money so no updates provided. A change of personal equipment, different baton’s, … again. In all probability Cheaper handcuffs and less training in Home Office Approved Techniques for restraint.

To shed the 400 officers it is likely that the older more experienced officers will be shed because they are expensive, being at the top of the pay scale. The experience will be gone. The officers will, in all likelihood, be shed because they cannot complete the soon to be introduced fitness tests. I can run all day, I cannot complete the ‘shuttle’ run because this requires constant turning and after an active life my knees don’t like the strain. My job does not entail chasing people. I am a detective. Unlike Chief Superintendent Boyd (‘Waking the Dead’) Inspector Frost and many other TV Detectives, in the last 7 years I have not had to run after someone. I have arrested people, interviewed them, investigated serious crime and never once had to break a sweat. Some would say that is what experience does for you.

I joined the Police at a time when they were recruiting more mature people because there were so many youngsters ‘in the job’. Now, as a cost cutting exercise the more mature among us are likely to be targeted for removal. My pension has been worked for. I have paid 11% of my salary into the scheme. As a consequence of the contribution, in the early years, my family suffered financial hardship. Now, if I continue to work until I am 60, which the government will allow me to do, I will be forced to accept reduced benefits for increased contributions.

If the government do not want me to continue being a Police Officer, pay me off. I have already previously blogged about where money can be found. To the good people of England I would say, do you want a Police Service comprised of students, or would you like some experienced people. I appreciate experience does not equate to good, but new does equate to mistakes. Mistakes lead to wrongful convictions and wrongful acquittals.