Thursday, January 31, 2008

Charles 1 and John Redwood

I commend John Redwood's blog yet again! This time it is for his piece on the anniversary of the execution of Charles 1 in 1649.

What a salutary reminder that we have had 11 years of the New Labour "revolution" and where it has taken us. Time for a modern-day "restoration"?

Interesting too that Charles 1 was born a Scot. They get everywhere don't they?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Truth Is The First Casualty....

If you watched Prime Minister's Question time today you would have heard Gordon Brown replying to a planted question from one of his London MPs by saying that Boris Johnson, the Conservative candidate for the post of mayor of London, had called for a reduction in the budget of the Metropolitan Police.

Boris Johnson was in the House and immediately after PMQs raised a point of order with the Speaker refuting Brown's assertion. In fact, he said that he had called for the exact opposite of what Brown had stated - see it here, courtesy of SkyNews.
The Coffee House blog continues the theme of deliberately distorting facts and statistics. Under Brown the lies and spin continue. When will Brown learn that we can see right through him.....?

Monday, January 28, 2008

This Dead Man Should Be Escorted Off the Premises

Derek Conway has not broken the law but he has been shown to use public funding in a questionable manner. He has apologised to the House of Commons.

However, in the current climate he will be perceived as just another MP (worse, another Tory MP) on the make. After the sport we've all had over Hain et al in recent weeks ("no ifs, no buts") it's hard to see how David Cameron cannot take immediate action to distance the Conservatives from this episode of "sleaze". After all it has been going on for a number of years according to the report on the affair.

Derek Conway is a dead man. Have no doubt about it - he should not be allowed to retain the Conservative whip and should be persuaded to declare his intention to stand down as an MP. Nothing else will do. "No ifs, no buts".
But if he won't walk he should be assisted to clear his desk - I'm sure the Conservatives can even give him a black bag - and be marched out of the Commons by David Cameron, personally if necessary!
Update 1: Many bloggers seem to agree. Mr Cameron please take note.
Update 2: An unscientific poll agrees!
Update 3: David Cameron has taken the right action. Good judgement!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"No More Resignations" says a Brownite

No, not Gordon this time but his old mate Des Browne.

According to the BBC, Browne has said that there will be no more Cabinet Ministers resigning over the donations scandal.

Oh dear! I hope that means he knows that the revelations about Alan Johnson's problem are easily explained. But of course, that does very pointedly exclude Wendy Alexander who leads the Scottish Labour Party. Perhaps he's not so confident about her.

Unfortunately, it does include Harridan (sic) Harman. Let's hope Des is wrong on this one. After all, he is wrong about most things!

Arthur Scargill is Responsible For All Our Ills!

I was really surprised that John Redwood was in favour of the employee buy-out of Tower Colliery in 1994 when he was Secretary of State for Wales.

Even more amazing is that Arthur Scargill is nearly seventy years old. So you may think it's a bit bizarre to blame him for so many of our current problems - rising energy costs, higher inflation, higher transport costs, the rise of the Labour Party in the 1990s and Gordon Brown as our Prime Minister. But there is a link... trust me!

I worked in the coal industry for over 20 years and remember the Labour Government's attempt in the 1970s (I think it was 1974, to be precise, when Tony Benn was in charge of Industry) to develop a UK energy strategy. With the complete agreement of the then chairman of the National Coal Board - Sir Derek Ezra, as he was then - this was summarised as COCONUKE - coal, conservation and nuclear power. (Probably not the exact acronym but near enough!)

At the time, it was said that we had over 400 years of coal supplies - based on known reserves - and it gave great impetus to finding ways of burning coal more cleanly. I seem to recall there was a "fluidised-bed combustion" plant at Grimethorpe that carried out much of the early research into how sulphur (that causes acid rain) could be removed from the emissions. Other countries were also involved in this area of research and, of course, South Africa - forced by the international trade embargoes at the time - had already developed SASOL which was a coal-based process that supplied them with the fuel they needed to replace oil and its petroleum-like products.

As as result of the 1983/4 miners' strike in the UK the importance of coal in our energy mix was relegated to the bottom of our priorities and all the funding for developing its (cleaner) use was cut. No politician, or at any rate no Conservative politician, was inclined to give Arthur Scargill and his ilk the chance to hold the country to blackmail ever again.

Whatever you think about that political decision, it was undoubtedly a mistake not to look to the future. Now we are are relying more and more on foreign (Russian?) supplies of gas to heat our homes, generate our electricity and which dictates the prices we have to pay (because of the link to dollar-priced oil) to drive our cars, run our railways and fly our planes.

If Arthur Scargill had not led a large part of the mining workforce into that disastrous strike over the modest level of pit closures that had been proposed, we might still have had a sizeable UK coal industry. Many new ways of mining it and burning it in a more environmentally-friendly way could well have been developed. In the event, the strike precipitated an even more rapid close down of the industry than had originally been proposed.
If Joe Gormley had still been President of the NUM there would never had been such a damaging strike. He had once said: "My members now have mortgages, take foreign holidays and enjoy a better standard of living then ever before. I won't put that in jeopardy."
But the real legacy of Scargill's strike is that it created deep divisions between north and south, polarised politics and led to the creation of the NuLabour Party. The rest, as they say, is history....

Friday, January 25, 2008

Brown is a Dead Man Walking! He's a Has-Bean!

In a week when Polly Toynbee, that erstwhile arch-cheer leader for Labour, has written his political obituary there has been much musing about Gordon Brown's ability to cling onto power. She is unequivocal: "For political vacuity and ineptitude, Labour has really excelled this week". With friends like this.......etc, etc.

Of course, she was more concerned about the perception and the spin that Labour had managed to put on its difficulties.

In contrast, Fraser Nelson in the Spectator here demonstrates how Brown is now being found out for his woeful performance over the last 11 years. The Tories must ensure that this is at the forefront of their attacks on Brown's incompetent, corrupt and hopeless government.

Update: Now Matthew Parris at the Times has hammered in another nail to Brown's coffin.