Friday, April 24, 2009

Calls For No Confidence Vote Grow Louder

Tories are being urged to show some guts and press for a no confidence vote in Beleaguered Brown's fag-end government, as a Downing Street e-petition calling on the PM to resign is launched.

The writing was on the wall for the doomed New Labour project even before Darling's fantasy budget bunkum blasted public confidence with its toxic mix of a broken New Labour tax promise and Brown's decade of debt starkly exposed, leaving voters angry, fed-up and demoralised.

Now, in a two pronged attack, a simple and brief Downing Street e-petition calling on Brown to resign has been launched, worded in a non-partisan way to neatly side-step Downing Street censors, which comes amid increasing calls for Cameron to force a vote of no confidence in the commons.

Ministers' sordid second homes fiddles, Smeargate and the squalid treatment of Damian Green led the Orange Party to ask here whether a vote of no confidence could bring down Brown.

Voters, saddled with billions of pounds of debt for decades, want honest answers to just how to get out out the fine mess created by the Brown and Darling comedy act. But instead the government used the budget for a squalid exercise in political posturing. As a fed-up Economist put it: "The public is losing patience with him, and so is this newspaper."

Riding on the back of a budget roundly condemned by all and sundry, a new Telegraph/YouGov poll shows a Tory double digit lead, leading Mike Smithson over at Political Betting to conclude: "I find it hard to see how Labour can come back."

The Orange Party has long believed Brown and the Downing Street spinners are working to a tightly controlled pre-election grid, obsessed with saving some of their skins in an election and not saving the country.

That would have been this June, riding on the back of a 'successful' G20 summit and a budget for their future. But events have a nasty habit of getting in the way.

Now it's only a question of whether the men in grey suits or white coats will come and take him away, whether bottling Brown will indeed bottle it again or whether they just sit tight until the bitter end when finally prised out of office, taking what's left of the Labour Party down with them.

What the arrogant bunch of chancers don't want is for someone or something to force their grubby little hands. But as Ian Martin at the Telegraph says: "The country is utterly exhausted with Labour."

With the shifting sands of squalid second homes allowances, Smeargate, a G20 summit exposed as a con and now the budget disaster, public confidence or rather the total lack of it, is the key to how the election run up will be played out.

Take away ministers and pay roll MPs who have a vested interest in propping up a discredited government and you are left with MPs who have a party allegiance for sure, but also many who are keenly aware of the 'mood' of the country.

The cancer is spreading and the prognosis is terminal. Financial wire service, Bloomberg, has laid bare Brown's fading legacy and election prospects to the world. The strange beast of parliament often takes a long time to swing around but in the end often captures that public mood.

The issue of confidence among voters should raise the issue of confidence in Brown in the house of commons. Frederick Forsyth at the Express is in no doubt what Dave should do: "I say to David Cameron: go for it. Table your motion. Even if you lose it on the floor of the House, we voters will remember who voted for what was best for their country and who for their wallets. And we will not forget."

To help Cameron and the Tories, a motion has already been drafted, thanks to blogger Stuart Sharpe, calling on Cameron to propose "a motion of No Confidence in Her Majesty's Government in Parliament", urging like-minded bloggers to flag it up.

Throw the disaster of a budget into the current mix of toxic scandals and brand Brown is doomed, however long New Labour tries to cling onto power. Cameron should grasp the political nettle. He may come up smelling of roses.


Tackling New Labour's Bad Booze Cruise

A failed government booze strategy is at the heart of the country's out of control alcohol problem, according to leading experts, who've lined up to roundly condemn round-the-clock drinking and availability of cheap alcohol in supermarkets, brought in as part of the shiny new New Labour brand. 

It's easy to blame drinkers as they plunge into depths of despair and sink into the oblivion. But like the failed New Labour booze project, they're just viewing the rosy world through the bottom of a beer glass and the eyes of a drunk. 

Friday night brings with it the now all too familiar sorry spectacle. Decent folk too scared to go out on the streets, policed and ambulance crews struggling with the carnage and hospital staff at their wits end trying to cope. 

Doctors and academics were desperate to tell MPs just how it is. Costly and useless education initiatives have been a miserable failure because no-one has the guts to speak up and tackle the root cause. Until now.

Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, told MPs he firmly blamed the government for the deteriorating situation, saying health department strategies on the one hand were useless when, with the other hand, the  home office brought in 24-hour drinking laws.

One witness accused supermarkets of having the 'morality of the crack dealer' for selling cut-price alcohol. 

The alcohol problem got out of hand because no one was brave enough to challenge the false assumptions of relaxed licensing laws or cheap alcohol pricing and the devastating effects which were starting to shows themselves. 

After all, to attack those policies was to attack the very heart of a misguided New Labour project.

The devastating effects, now plain for all to see, were brushed under the carpet, with few willing to raise their heads above the parapet in case they were branded as part of a reactionary backlash to the wild and wonderful modernising policies. 

For the government, to admit failure would be to admit the failure of a central plank of policy.

Instead the country was dragged down the slippery slope with hugely wasteful public relations education campaigns seen as the answer. As if a message on a bottle to 'drink responsibly' would make a blind bit of difference to someone blind drunk. 

Cut-price supermarket booze is at the heart of the problem. MPs were told cut-price supermarket deals led to the surge in binge drinking, sparking a trend for young people to drink cheap alcohol at home before heading to bars and pubs.

The solution is easy to see but for a government, using the price of alcohol as a tool for stealth taxes and firmly in the pockets of the drinks and supermarket industry and powerful lobby, difficult to follow. 

Ministers had been too lenient with the drinks industry, MPs were warned. The amount of "unrestrained and quite irresponsible marketing"  in the UK is possibly the worst in Europe.

Alcohol sales should be restricted to stand alone licensed premises for the over 18s quite separate from the supermarkets which simply use cheap booze as loss leaders to entice shoppers into the store. A return to the "off-licence" and public house as the only alcohol outlets coupled with licences restaurants where age could be relaxed is the solution. 

But central to any seed change would be a reversal of the relaxed 24 hour drinking laws which were brought in to try to emulate a Mediterranean wine drinking culture on a cold, wind swept island in northern Europe where swilling beer and spirits are the staple diet. 

Martin Plant, professor of addiction studies at the University of the West of England, didn't pull any punches: "Supermarkets at the moment are displaying the morality of the crack dealer. They have been told for several years that what they are doing is completely irresponsible. Cheap alcohol kills people."

But to flag up realistic and responsible solutions are swiftly condemned as retrograde Draconian measures, and that's exactly how the government wants them to be perceived. 

John Stuart Mill always argued for the freedom of the individual to do what they want as long as it doesn't effect anyone else. And that holds true. The disgusting spectacle of binge drinking does affect everyone. 

When will politicians realise that booze is one of Huxley's "chemical crutches" which people always turn to in times of desolation and despair. From the gin places of Hogarth (pictured above) to the current sad and destructive spectacle seen on the streets night after night. 

Alcohol in moderation is wonderful but in the hands and down the throats of young people in particular it can be dangerous. Alcohol is still a drug. And like all drugs, alcohol needs controls. It is the duty of a responsible government to bring in controls which reflect the prevailing mood of public opinion. 

The message to MPs was stark and simple: Over the last ten to 12 years, government-policy has led to an increase in the consumption of alcohol. So don't blame the kids, don't blame the parents, blame those at Westminster who hoodwinked the country and brought in the ludicrously lax licensing laws. 


New Labour Slave Labour?

Desperate and despairing youngsters could be forced out of the classroom and onto the streets as part of a half-baked slave labour plan to enlist them into community service. Working on Brown's chain gang is not cool for kids. 

Youngsters are having a hard time under New Labour, forced to stay on at school, taking worthless Mickey Mouse qualifications, without a cat in hell's chance of getting a job. 

Now help is at hand from the Supreme Leader, with a £146m community work scheme for England's 16 to 19-year-olds.

Fresh from his silly YouTube 'sensation' with a cunning political plan for MPs' expenses fiddles, the prime minister has once again upheld the finest traditions of our ancient democracy - by announcing a major community policy plan by podcast on his personal Downing Street web site. 

Launching the charm offensive in a tedious drone, Mr Cool said:  “I want everyone to have this opportunity and I want everyone to get involved.” Well bully for Brown. 

The pet project, run by 'smearing' Balls' stalinesque department for children, schools, families and back-stabbing, starting in September, includes "helping the elderly and the environment", leading to yet another useless piece of paper dressed up as a "professional qualification". 

But here's the rub: "It could eventually become a compulsory part of the school curriculum."

Forcing every youngster to do at least 50 hours of community service is all part of the Brown "good citizenship" drive, already trailed in the News of the Screws of all places, earlier this month. 

Good citizenship or indoctrination? Even Claire in the Community would be hard-pressed to dream up such a silly scheme.

Has anyone stopped to think this through? 

Forcing young people under 18 to do the work of the caring professions, unpaid, smacks of cheap labour. 

These are youngsters, under 18, going into the homes of the weak and vulnerable. Youngsters would be sent out onto the streets, cast adrift without a nod to a duty of care. 

What resources have been earmarked to back up the plan? How will hard-pressed teachers cope with the extra load of supervising and placing the youngsters without adequate and expensive support and resources. 

In the community, what extra resources will be given the social and community services already under fire as the care culture crumbles. 

People young and old will suffer in the recession depression. Extra help and training for young people is crucial. 

But where has the government been for the last ten booming bloomin' years? 

Turning a blind eye to the plight of the 16-19 year old Neets who are not in education, employment or training, they've been used as a pawn to  fiddle the dole figures. 

Young people need hope and they can get that through good, sound school education and the real chance of a proper job or meaningful further education at the end of it. 

But the plan is starting to unfold. Simple ply them with cheap supermarket booze and unrestricted licensing hours and let them sink into oblivion. Then round them up with a monumental hang-over, put them to work on the community chain gang and force them into slave labour to pay for their sins.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Let's Hear Cries For England And St George

St George has been begrudgingly let out of his British box for the day as the nation is urged to do more than just lie back and think of England. Marking England's patron saint and the English bard's birthday should be a cause for a double celebration. But only a national holiday will stop the cries for England and St George falling on deaf ears. 

St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday, should give the nation two very good reasons to feel cheerful and proud of this sceptred isle. 

But the Orange Party can't help feeling the flag of St George is still being hidden away, almost an embarrassment, left downcast in a cack-handed crusade against the nation. 

Government departments have been instructed to fly the flag. Church leaders too are delivering heartfelt rallying calls to ring out their bells in honour of St George. Celebrations are being held in English rebel strongholds up and down the country. 

Those pockets of English 'rebels' are fighting a rearguard action, refusing to be Brown-beaten but petty regulations still discourage local councils from flying the flag and holding street parties and celebrations, strangled by half-baked misguided political correctness, as the country is forced to buy into the shameful sham of Britishness.

The government still doesn’t get it. Respect for Englishness is just as important as Scottishness, Welshness and Irishness. 

England’s patron saint should be seen as a positive, powerful national symbol not a negative nationalist throwback. 

But it will take the recognition of his day as a public holiday, sitting alongside a St David's Day national holiday for Wales, to truly galvanise the public who are still unsure and uneasy about whether they are 'allowed' to celebrate. After all, Scotland and Ireland already have one for their patron saints. 

The Archbishop of York,  John Sentamu, reckons the time is right for St George to come on down from the football and rugby terraces and return to his rightful place at the heart of the nation, warning that it was vital for the country to find a sense of identity by looking deep into its largely Christian history using symbols such as St George. 

Today the Archbihop renewed his call for St George's Day to be made a public holiday. 

St George can be a potent symbol of modern Englishness. If it's good enough for the Bish, it's good enough for the Orange Party

Thankfully St George isn't dead. He's only resting. 

Not too long ago anyone flying the flag for England was instantly branded a racist as the wave of misguided multiculturalism swept the country and anyone whispering Englishness branded a bigot. 

But now the question is being asked: what's so wrong with a good old dose of English pride? Why can decent folk fly the flag or wear a cross of St George lapel pin without being branded a racist? 

Britishness can be viewed just as much a sign of exclusion tinged with racism, as the flag of St George, the saltire of Scotland or the Welsh dragon. 

Celebrations are being held today by schoolchildren and adults, men and women, minority and majority ethnic groups belonging to all faiths and religions. You cannot get more inclusive than that. 

Without this, more dangerous influences could fill the vacuum, whether it be the racist Islamic fundamentalism, the bigoted BNP or insidious institutional racism. 

Shakespeare placed St George at the heart of the national conscience. But Henry V's rallying call "Cry 'God for Harry, England and Saint George!'" still does not go down too well with the tosh of a modern, multicultural England. Apparently the Saint George's flag has too many memories of the Crusades, as if any one can remember that far back. 

Everyone needs a home. English history with its rich mix of cultures is the best way to fight the bigoted racist racial cults of whatever political persuasions.

Our children deserve a full account of the history of England, warts and all, so they can make an informed view of where the country came from and where together they are all going. 

It's time for the English to wake up. April 23rd should be a love-in for England and invitations sent out to all. The beginning of a rebellion against the false sham of Britishness. 

What hope is there if we can't celebrate “this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England”?

The Orange Party will stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood, celebrating St George's Day by settling down later to the cinema treat of Henry V - the patriotic, wartime, backs-to-the wall version - with the fetchingly camp Lawrence Olivier.

On this day the last words should go to the other Will and Harry: 

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Easter 'Bomb Plot' Bad News Buried

An Easter 'bomb plot' to blow up Britain which dominated the news headlines has turned out to be a damp squib, with the release of all the suspects buried on the day of all the budget hype. When the going gets tough, the tough get going or in the case of the beleaguered home secretary - play the terror card. 

There's nothing like a good old fashioned terror bomb plot to get the public pulse a-racing, the headlines a-spinning and ministers off the hook - and this was nothing like a good old fashioned bomb plot.

The Orange Party smelt a rat as Smith's pal, bungling Bob Quick, was forced to make a quick departure after exposing a dastardly bomb plot in the full glare of the media spotlight. 

That was swiftly followed by a massive police swoop equally played out in the full glare of the media to capture the headlines and bury Smeargate. 

Now all 12 men arrested have been released without charge. Eleven - all Pakistani nationals -  face deportation, presumably back to their tribal homelands.

Second-guessing the obvious question, Manchester police chief, Peter Fahy, defended the inquiry and said he was not "embarrassed or humiliated".

Well clearly someone should be.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to press charges or hold the men any longer. Lawyers for the men point out that they have not been charged and are innocent of any crime. 

In a masterstroke of political timing, the Easter 'bomb plot' came as Smith was up to her neck fiddling expenses. The Met too was coming under fire over police G20 thuggery and the unprovoked killing of bystander Ian Tomlinson. 

In the shady, murky world of plots and terrorism, it's impossible to get to the bottom of what goes on behind closed doors. 

But what seems to be clear is that there was  no bomb, no detonators, no nothing and significantly no paper or email trail which could make a conspiracy charge stick. Innocent until proven guilty.

Of the 12 men arrested in the raids, 10 were holding student visas. The sub plot did thicken however as the sorry state of UK border security and the incompetence of government policing of bogus colleges for overseas students was exposed. 

Only on Monday, home secretary Smith had the cheek to tell MPs that Quick's "error" had not damaged the operation and the raids had been brought forward only "by a matter of hours". That was a tad prejudicial, given today's outcome. 

In a remarkable example of stating the bleedin' obvious, the BBC's "security correspondent" Gordon Corera said: "I think there will be a sense of a need to learn some lessons from this in terms of public presentation." 

Quite. And the rest.


Balls' 'Sexed Up' Sats Cover Up

A tawdry trail of lies, deceit and cover-ups has been exposed, as the exam chief sacked for the Sats fiasco has rounded on schools secretary Balls and his side-kick minister, accusing them of misleading both parliament and the inquiry which whitewashed Balls part in the shambles.

The Orange Party had long suspected Balls of a cover-up over the Baby P scandal and the Sats cover-up, refusing to shoulder any of the blame. 

Already accused of 'running' a Number10 smear unit, the schools secretary has a knack of hiding behind the smokescreen of 'accountability and responsibility'.  Now his cover has been blown. 

The band of spinners tried to control the fall out from the summer Sats fiasco and shift the blame away from Balls. With some crafty footwork and shifty spin, the children's secretary managed to wriggle out of any responsibility.

Now in an explosive letter, Ken Boston, the sacked head of the QCA exams quango,  has rounded on Balls and his deputy Jim Knight accusing them of spin, smears and "deliberate falsehoods", saying evidence stacked up against him was "sexed up".

Ministers were let off the hook over the Sats shambles with a widely-leaked whitewash which laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of the government quangos and contractor. Nowhere did the report answer a simple question - what was Balls doing while the Sats fiasco was falling around his ears? 

As expected and highlighted by the Orange Party at the time, the Sutherland report, blamed the exam watchdog QCA and private contractor ETS Europe, under a tight remit drawn up by Balls, craftily crafted to get him off the hook. 

Now Boston has blown the cover, claiming the inquiry remit "protected the government from being brought to account for its role in the problems."

Disturbingly the former exam chief told a committee of MPs that accounts of his meetings with ministers were "false". Accusing ministers of putting a "protective fence" around themselves, he blasted ministers' version of what happened as "fiction".

In particular, he took issue with an account central to the Sutherland inquiry, where schools minister Knight had wrongly claimed Boston had been present at one meeting last June when the Sats tests were discussed - when he had not even been invited.

Significantly Boston also challenged the inquiry's finding - read out by Balls in the commons - that ministers had "usually pressed" him for answers about the Sats marking problems. "This too is fiction," he said.

Teachers, parents and children were left tearing their hair out, let down as the Sats fiasco unfurled. The least Balls should do now is to come to the house of commons to set the record straight. 

But with all the budget hype, this is a very good day to bury bad news. 

Here stands a cabinet minister once again accused of smear tactics, this time against a public official. If Balls has misled parliament then he has to come to the house, correct the record and apologise. If the allegations are borne out - he should face the music and quit.