Wednesday, 30 March 2011

"Where's The Salt?" "Ask the Left!"

Last Saturday saw the tantrum of the decade from Britain's left, with the protest/riot in London over the government's public spending cuts.  We are told time and time again just how "savage" the spending cuts are, that front line services are screwed if we carry on cutting and that the cuts are "too fast and too deep."

The fact that they aren't is clear to anyone that looks at the numbers.  By 2015 public spending will have been cut by ...wait for it... 3%!!  Oh the horror!  How will we survive, surely a Dickensian nightmare waits for all of us?  That would reduce public spending to 2008 levels - not exactly a fiscally responsible period when one considers that Labour had been in power since 1997 and spending like Paris Hilton in a shoe shop.

However, if you need more proof that the protesters on Saturday were either ignorant or lying through their teeth, then take a look at this story about my home City Council of Stockport - a Council with a Lib Dem majority, but also with a significant Labour contingent as well.

Although we are being told by the professional left that the budget cuts Councils are facing will certainly mean severe damage to health services, libraries, schools etc, apparently Stockport Council have somehow managed to find the money for a new "scheme" by the name of "Out of Sight, Out of Mind."  This scheme focuses upon that strange leftist obsession with salt.  The scheme spends lots of money "encouraging" business owners to hide salt from their customers - apparently we are all too stupid to regulate our salt intake, so we need the nanny state to do it for us!  Other parts of the scheme include providing stickers and posters to be pinned up in restaurants and takeaways reminding us that perhaps we don't need as much salt as we usually put on our food!  Bear in mind that this is the same council who changed salt shakers from having 17 holes to 5 in 2009.  What an excellent use of taxpayers' money!

Salt?  Say "Pwease!!"
This would be a ridiculous and misguided scheme in any situation; we know that salt is bad for us, and we all know that we should really try and limit it as much as we can if we want to stay healthy - we don't need massive posters everywhere telling us so, we don't need the number of holes limited in our salt shakers. and we certainly don't need to have to ask permission from our take away owners in order to indulge in a bit of sodium in our food!  However, this scheme becomes even more obscene in the context of lefty groups going insane over the "savage" and "Dickensian" spending cuts, that we are told will gut front line services.

In this context, this scheme means one of two things.  Either Stockport Council is siphoning money away from actually useful and vital services in order to promote this guff, or they are lying through their teeth about how bad these spending cuts really are.  Whichever one you choose to believe, it tells you a lot about our left-wing friends in Stockport!  In the meantime, I recommend that anyone who lives in Stockport boycott any stores supporting this ridiculous scheme.  If they want to encourage this sort of tomfoolery and make us pay for it, then make them suffer the consequences!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Fall of Nick Clegg and Cleggmania.

As regular readers of this blog might be able to tell, I am not much of a fan of Nick Clegg.  For me he has represented everything that is wrong with British politics.  Pragmatic without principle, a leftist presenting himself as a centrist, and with a whole bunch of screaming lefty cronies supporting him with mindless slogans and useless superlatives.

I was therefore horrified when Cameron's Conservatives united with Clegg's Liberal Democrats in order to form the present coalition government back in 2010.  As I have seen Clegg's popularity fall after that coalition, it has buoyed me somewhat that I was right after all, and that people have seen through the media image to view the festering pragmatist that lurks underneath.  It is this subject that I cover in my latest article for the Grapevine.

"It seems like such a long time since Cleggmania. Just think, it was less than a year ago that vast swarms of students and other trendy political types were jumping around, shouting about how they “agree with Nick”, that he was the future of politics, and how he represented a bold new middle ground between those satanic Tories, and outdated Labour.
Yet less than a year later and Cleggmania has not only faded away, it has plummeted like a lead balloon. The Liberal Democrats, once a party with over 30% support, now has its popularity in single digits according to some polls, and last week’s by-election in Barnsley was an unmitigated disaster that indicates that things are only set to get worse, not better for the once innocuous third party.
Things are not going much better for their “charismatic” leader either. Polling in Clegg’s constituency shows that there is a very real chance that he could be ousted at the next election. Should such a thrashing occur, it would be a Portillo moment of the kind that those of us on the right would relish in the same way we relished the ousting of Jacqui Smith in 2010.
Yet it is possible that the rejection of Cleggles is not just the public getting bored with a public figure, it is also the rejection of the “pragmatic” approach to politics that Clegg and many other politicians represent.
For Cleggmania did not fade out with the public getting bored of him; instead it died when he turned his back on the principles that he claimed to hold. His agenda in the election was firmly left wing, and by uniting with the Conservative Party, he showed that he would happily chuck that agenda if it suited his quest for power, and would drop key manifesto promises if it got him closer to Downing Street.
However, those of us on the right should not get too smug about the fall of Cleggmania. David Cameron is the same sort of politician, who has also sacrificed a great deal in order to gain power and push through an agenda that has tried to please everyone but has satisfied no-one. In the name of “pragmatism” and with vague superlatives about “common ground” and “the good of the nation”, we now have a coalition government based on few principles if any.
The fall of Clegg should not be seen just as the destruction of the Liberal Democrats – a party that has for too long tried to avoid solid principle in favour of jumping on whatever bandwagon comes along. Instead, it should be seen as the public’s rejection of the politician who abandons his principled convictions for some misguided pragmatism...."
The rest of the article can be read here.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Cameron's Leadership on Libya is Humiliating for Obama and America

Cameron speaks, Obama just watches

In a typical Anglo-American relationship, Britain and America stand side by side in the face of international danger, but with America standing as the bigger brother.  Yet with the Obama/Clinton incompetence over the Libyan situation, David Cameron has had to take the lead and direct the international community to fulfill its moral responsibilities.

The lack of voice from the Obama administration has meant that in this version of the Anglo-American relationship, it is not enough to just say that Britain has changed to the role of bigger brother, and America has reverted to the role of smaller brother.  Instead, Obama has reduced America to a helpless child that needs to be carried around by adult, responsible Great Britain.  The world is noticing.

Do not get me wrong on this, I do not believe that America lacks either the will or the resources to be a world leader, and to act in a strong, bold way on the crisis in Libya - it is just that its current leaders have deliberately chosen not to.  Obama is an old school 1970's pacifist, and hates the idea of America being the leader in any international conflict, even if it is a multilateral intervention.  He does not want to spend any money on helping freedom prosper throughout the world - he is too busy inventing new welfare plans back home!

Other countries have the luxury of being quiet for a while on international affairs - America does not.  America is known for being both the home and the defender of freedom.  As much as trendy lefties like Obama hate this role for America, the fact is that most people in the world want America to act like this, especially those under the iron fist of tyranny.  America's silence on this crisis in Libya is deafening as a result.

Although we certainly cannot be expected to intervene in every issue of human rights abuses all over the world, the fall of Gaddafi would be an enormous victory for the West.  Not only would the fall be a coup for Britain and America, it is vital that a good, pro-Western leadership replaces him, and it is for that reason that the West needs to guide this revolution in a way that will suit our nations' interests.

This silence from the Obama Administration on this issue is contrasted by the strong voice of British leader David Cameron - not known for his hawkish attitude towards foreign policy.  For the first time since the outbreak of World War II, it is Britain, not America that is leading on an international crisis.  Yet this does not show the strength of Britain, for Britain has very limited defence resources at the moment.  Instead it shows the weakness of America under Obama, and this sends out very clear messages to both America's allies, and to its enemies.

This crisis represents the fall of America as the international leader, and what is so tragic is that this fall has nothing to do with the might, the power, or the will of the United States as a whole.  Instead, its fall is solely due to the moral cowardice, and the outdated leftism, of the Obama administration that is forcing the nation to abandon its principles, its allies, and its status as the leader of the free world.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Left's Hijacking of "Gay Rights" Has Backfired.

The term "gay rights" is one we are hearing a lot on both sides of the Atlantic right now, and it is one of those warm fuzzy phrases that we are likely to implicitly agree with before we hear what it actually entails.  The term has progressed from referring to the right of people of a certain sexuality to live their lives in freedom without interference from the state, to a whole bunch of "issues" that always require state intervention, government funding, and the making illegal of opposing opinions.

This is what my latest article in "The Grapevine" is about, and specifically how such a conception of gay rights has actually backfired on the gay community.  The gay community needs to move away from this hard left sense of entitlement, as they are beginning to do in the USA, and come back to a true conception of liberty for all.

"The phrase “gay rights” is one of those slippery left-wing terms I have always been very suspicious of, just like “equality”, “compassion”, “community” and “development.” It is not that I am against equality, compassion, communities or development, or even gay rights, it is just that I don’t think that when left-wing special interest groups employ such terms, that they mean the same as what I mean.
Therefore when asked if I am “for or against gay rights”, I always answer in the affirmative, believing that all people should be free to believe and do whatever they wish to believe and do, as long as they are not harming others or infringing on the liberty of others. Yet it seems that – according to left-wing special interest groups – that if I state that I am “for gay rights”, then I must actively support – and want the government funding of – all sorts of flags, practices, schemes, initiatives etc, and must also support the illegalisation and censorship of anyone who dares disagree.
As you may be able to tell from the tone of this article, I do not support such nonsense. People should be left well alone whenever possible, and forcing other people to pay for various schemes that vary from the noble to the downright silly – and declaring people to be “homophobic” if they object – is not my idea of liberty. Additionally, the demand of “gay rights” groups not for actual equality, but for special treatment, will only harm gay people in the long term as their sexuality becomes a narrow political banner instead of a facet of their personality.
This has been shown predictably in the last week, where the latest “gay rights” crusade has backfired on the special interests groups and threatens to hurt everyone involved. Most people will remember the case a few months ago of the Christian Bed and Breakfast owners who catered only to married straight couples. A gay couple complained to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, won a load of compensation and had the B&B shut down. Cue much celebration from gay rights group “Stonewall”, who declared it to be a great day for gay rights.
Unfortunately, now the EHRC has noticed that if they follow their legal principle that businesses aren’t allowed to discriminate, then gay B&B’s could be shut down on the same principle. The same could also happen to apartment buildings that cater exclusively to gay people, as well as gay bars and restaurants that encourage a predominately gay clientele.
Of course this has caused much celebration from many people who were outraged that a Christian B&B was set to be shut down, feeling that the gay rights groups have got their just desserts. The gay rights groups are celebrating at the misery of the Christians, and Christian groups are celebrating at the misery of the gay rights groups.
Yet my question in all this is “Who wins?” Who wins by the Christian or a gay B&B being shut down? Would a gay couple really want to go to a B&B whose owners did not approve of them? Would a straight person wish to infringe upon a gay business that wished to cater only to people of a certain sexuality? Won’t Stonewall’s claims of moral victory sound slightly macabre when gay businesses all around the country are forced to disband, and the unemployment rate amongst the gay community increases?...."
The rest of the article can be found here.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Cuts? What Cuts?

My latest article in "The Grapevine" went up the other day, and therefore I am linking it to the blog.  This week's article focuses on the myth that Britain is entering an era of "savage" cuts and an "era of austerity".  Actually, spending is set to go up for the next few years, so the damage of these cuts is massively exaggerated.

However, what the reaction to these "cuts" also shows is that there is a deliberate political trick on the part of left wing special interests to make these cuts hurt more than they usually would, as well as showing the need that the public sector has to continually eat into an economy in order for it to remain workable.  If we are going to get our economy back in order, there needs to be a stop to these games and tricks - it is time to admit that public sector spending at such a large rate simply does not work!

"Apparently we are now in the era of austerity, the era of savage cuts! We are about to see the libraries closing, entire bands of nurses being thrown onto the unemployment line, schools being shut down and of course that old left-wing media catchphrase – “the poorest and most vulnerable being hit hardest.” Or are we?
The so-called cuts are being spun by the left as much as possible in order to create mass displeasure at “savage Tory cuts.” The lesson that the public is supposed to draw is that the cuts are harsh, cruel and are going to lead to a new Dickensian nightmare. Throw in a few snarky remarks about Eton and you have almost every Guardian editorial on economics for the last 9 months.
The problem with all this is that it isn’t really true. Despite the rhetoric there are no net spending cuts. Public spending is actually going to increase over the next few years, but will not increase as much as it otherwise would. Only then will it begin to shrink in real terms, and will eventually return to 2008-9 levels by 2016. Considering 2008-9 was not exactly a fiscally responsible period, it is tough to see what the fuss is all about.
So, why all the wailing and gnashing of teeth then? For it cannot be in doubt that there are serious predictions that services will take a hit, that there will be job losses, and that budgets will be cut due to the fact that the public sector counts on continued expansion. There are two explanations for this, neither of which makes the left look particularly good.
The first explanation is that there is a mix of opportunism and exaggeration involved here. Left-wing politicians, union officials and special interests see that there is a re-interpretation of the role of the state at play here, and they want it stopped. Therefore it is in their interests to make these “cuts” as painful as possible, and to exaggerate how difficult they will be...."

The rest of the article can be found here.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Public Sector Unions - Ugh!

Public sector unions are one of the best ways in which to destroy a country or state, and areas in the United States such as Wisconsin are currently discovering this.  Unions form unchallenged monopolies in major services in an area, get themselves control of the purse strings and the politicians, and then ruthlessly use their power for their own interests.  If anyone then dares to challenge that power, then they are viciously attacked, while the industry/service is brought to a standstill until the challengers (usually a mix of the public and elected politicians - how dare they?) back down and give in to even more of the public union demands.

Britain knows all about this.  Amongst the many times unions have screwed over Britain, the most notable in the Miners Strikes in the 1980's.  The country was dragged into what was essentially a civil war when the National Union of Coalminers - headed by Stalinist Arthur Scargill - tried to bring down the new Conservative government.  In fairness, they were pretty used to bringing the nation to a halt, as they had been doing it all through the 1970's.  It was only when they came head to head with new Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when they realised they had a real fight on their hands.

So, public unions are a pain.  Yet this has never quite got over to the public at large, and I think this is in part because people like the concept of "unions", but they simply haven't made the distinction between private sector unions, and public sector unions.  

The Heritage Foundation has released a video explaining the difference, and showing just how damaging public sector unions and collective bargaining can be.  I thoroughly recommend this video, and hope that you enjoy it!