Saturday, 2 June 2007

Next General Election in 2009?

All of those hoping for a quick general election will be disappointed today. Although he did not intend to, Gordon Brown accidentally let slip that the next general election is planned for 2009. After realizing what he had said, Brown promptly backtracked on this comment.

"That is why, when I was asked about what we can do to make it possible for us to win more seats in 2011 (the next scheduled Scottish Parliament election) and win the general election in 2009, we have to be the Labour party listening and involved with the people of this country. "

The meeting came to an abrupt halt after this statement due to a fire alarm going off. When it resumed shortly after Brown backtracked on his previous statement. He told one questioner: "I was asked what we could do as a party to win the Scottish election in future and the general election - and I should say whenever the general election comes in the future".

So much for getting straight answers out of Brown. Blair's era of political deception continues.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Thank you for Your Support!

We want to thank all of our loyal readers for their support in the Central News Blog of the Month Competition. It was a fiercely fought race during which we were swapping the lead with Falkirk BNP who pulled ahead on the last day. Our congratulations go our to Falkirk BNP on their victory. We were also joined in the competition by Mr Chalk and Pommygranate, both excellent blogs, who received 1 and 11 votes respectively.

We had an amazing 211 votes and thank each and every one of you for taking the time to support our blog.

Immigration Damaging Education

Home Office figures show that 4,200 children were brought from the Eastern Europe to Britain by their parents in the first three months of this year, or 65 every school day. Schools have no option but to devote thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours to attempt to bring the immigrants up to the same standard as British children. The result of this is devastating of the education system.

David Green, director of the Civitas think-tank, said last night: "We do not have the capacity to cope with these numbers, but it is not possible to stop people from coming, so schools have to do the best they can. This must be having a detrimental effect on schools. We have seen in London that, where there are a lot of non-English speakers, the standards are very low."

Initially the influx of Eastern Europeans was mainly adults however due to the offering of free education as well as generous child tax credits significant numbers of young children are now arriving for the first time.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "The Government originally estimated that no more than 15,000 would come from the new Eastern European members of the EU. At least 600,000 came. Britain benefits economically from immigration, but not all or any immigration. There must be a limit to the amount of people who can come here, bearing in mind the ability of our public services and infrastructure to cope with new arrivals."

The entire position relating to immigration needs to be revised. It is bitterly unfair to British children to have the level of education they received degraded due to the amount of funds and time being spent on immigrants.

Thousands of Criminals to Escape Justice

The sentencing of criminals should be decided by the seriousness of the crime, not by prison capacity. This seems a fairly obvious statement unfortunately, despite Blair's "tough on crime" slogans the government does not agree.

It has emerged that the government will not keep building prisons which will result in thousands of criminals escaping jail. Justice Minister Lord Falconer said offenders currently given sentences of less than a year should in future receive community punishments instead. He added "More offenders who are not considered a threat to the public and who would face a term of 12 months or less must be dealt with in the community. Of course dangerous criminals should still be given custodial sentences, but we need to get to the point at which the prison service is able to meet the demands placed upon it by the courts."

On Tuesday, inmate numbers reached a record 80,846. There are fears the court service and Police cells, which are providing overflow cells could run out of space later this week. Lord Falconer is desperately seeking ways of solving the crisis, but is running into great difficulty with Downing Street which is desperately attempting to preserve what remains of Tony Blair’s legacy on crime, and is blocking the early release of up to 3,000 inmates to create space.

I hate to be the one to tell Downing Street but Blair's "legacy on crime" would be laughable if it was not so devastating.

Just to add to the position of overcrowding when the smoking ban comes in on July 1, doubling up in cells will be limited by a new right for nonsmoking prisoners to refuse to share a cell with a smoker. Now why people who are in PRISON should have any rights other than a cell, meals and clothing is a mystery to me. Prison is punishment for a CRIME they CHOSE to commit. If they did not want to be stuck in a cell with someone who smokes they should not have committed a crime in the first place. Pandering to prisoners cell requests should result in criminals who should be in prison being set free due to lack of space.

An estimated 60,000 to 70,000 criminals each year are given up to 12 months in jail. This will translate to 60,000 to 70,000 free criminals who will not serve any jail sentence. Burglars are one of the groups of criminals who will benefit most so I would not forget to lock your doors.

Blair's £1million Vanity Trip

The Conservatives have accused the Prime Minister of authorising a "self-indulgent" waste of public funds to promote his reputation at home and abroad. Nine official and political visits have been scheduled by Blair since announcing that he is to step down on June 27 and there is the possibility of more to be added. The Conservatives claimed last night that the total cost of the trips planned for the six weeks between his announcement and his departure will exceed £1million.

I can think of much better ways to spend £1million than on Blair's "farewell tour." Education, Health care .....

Foreign Office's Failure of Accountablility to Parliment

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett's reluctance to attend a session ahead of an EU summit, was "a failure of accountability to Parliament" according to the foreign affairs committee.
The summit will consider attempts by Germany to revive the EU constitution, vetoed by the French and Dutch in referendums two years ago.

"Deep concern" that MPs had not had a chance to question ministers was expressed by comitte chairman Mike Gapes. In a letter addressed to Beckett he said,"The committee regards the refusal of the [Foreign Office] to provide a minister to give oral evidence during this crucial phase of the discussions on the future of Europe as a failure of accountability to Parliament."

Since February Gapes has continually requested either Becket or Europe Minister Hoon to appear before the commitee "so that Parliament could be better informed on the government's approach to the discussions taking place and so that ministers could hear the views of the committee."

He also said that Mr Hoon had also refused to appear until June to which Gapes said"It is the strong view of the committee that an evidence session in June is too late.By then, decisions concerning the approach to be followed by government ministers and officials will effectively have been taken and the opportunity for Parliament to influence the debate will have passed."

A spokeswoman for Mrs Beckett said she and her ministerial term took their responsibilities to Parliament and the committee "very seriously". Of course she does, just not seriousley enough to spare 10 minutes of her time.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

5 Britons Taken Hostage from Government Building in Iraq

The British government convened an emergency meeting of its Cobra crisis management committee on Tuesday afternoon after Five Britons were taken hostage in Iraq. The Britons, an IT expert and his four bodyguards, were seized from the Iraqi Finance Ministry in Baghdad by heavily-armed men who arrived in dozens of police vehicles wearing police and commando uniforms.

As of yet no group has taken responsibility for the kidnapping although witnesses say the abduction was carried out by what appeared to be a police unit. The street was sealed off at both ends and the kidnappers, in police camouflage uniforms, passed through security checkpoints at the finance ministry building on Palestine Street by showing apparently-genuine identity papers.

The Foreign Office says it is in "urgent" contact with Iraqi officials in a bid to resolve the crisis. Blair, who is currently on a trip to Libya , said: "We will do everything we possibly can to help."

I would love to know Blair's definition of "everything possible." Does that include discussing the kidnappers demands over a cup of tea or does it mean definitive action especially as they were kidnapped from a GOVERNMENT building. My thoughts and prayers are with the hostages and their families as I can not begin to imagine what they are going through.

Tragically, 38 people were also killed yesterday in two separate bombings in the Iraqi capital . 23 died and 68 were wounded when a bomb exploded in a packed minibus in Tayaran Square and a further 15 people were killed by another car bomb in the southwestern Amil district.

More than 200 foreigners and thousands of Iraqis have been kidnapped since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003 although this is the first time Westerners have been abducted from inside an Iraqi government building.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Blog of the Month

UK News and Politics is the running for Central News Blog of the Month and would love your votes! Click HERE to visit the site and vote (the poll is on the sidebar). Thanks for Your Support :)

"Tony Blair wandering around the world doing nothing but indulging his vanity."

Blair claims important work is being carried out not just by him but by ministers acting "as a government" including international duties, such as the G8 summit in early June. However, to the rest of the country it appears Labour is in limbo.

Tory Leader David Cameron hit the mark when he said, "There are urgent problems in our country, like the crisis in the NHS, that need to be sorted out now. Instead we have to put up with the farce of Labour's 'non-election campaign', with Gordon Brown wandering round the country with nothing to do and Tony Blair wandering around the world doing nothing but indulging his vanity. In this country, we don't do 'farewell tours'. Tony Blair was elected to be the prime minister of this country, not a pop star."

I am not looking forward to Brown as Prime Minister but, as it is inevitable, it seems rather pointless to have this "transition period" where the government is essentially in limbo with Blair floating around the world and Brown twiddling his thumbs.

Hosptials Using Unqualified Support Workers to do Job of Midwives

Last month Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said maternity support workers were "not a substitute for midwives". However, a new report released today contradicts Hewitt's previous statement. The report which was commissioned by Hewitt says that the lives of mothers and their babies is being put at risk by NHS hospitals which use unqualified "maternity support workers" to do the work of trained midwives.

Research shows maternity support workers are carrying out internal examinations, ultrasounds, and pre-natal screening counselling and advising parents about important tests to detect foetal abnormalities. They are also being used as the sole night cover at some midwife-led birth units.

Prof Jane Sandall, lead author of the report by the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King's College, London said, "There is a danger that support workers could cease to become another pair of hands. Instead, they may be called upon to substitute care provided by midwives, without sufficient investment in their training or development."

There is no national training program for maternity support workers with most trusts insisting they take only an NVQ ( a qualification course lasting only 15 days) versus midwives who endure a rigorous 3 year training program. I would consider the birth of a child one of the most, if not the most, important event in a person's life.
It is completely unacceptable that these unqualified workers who are meant for jobs such as cleaning up are advising patients of the results of potentially devastating tests and being used as sole night cover for midwife led birth units.

Royal College of Midwives adviser Sue Jacob said it would be 'nothing short of scandalous' if support workers were left doing the job of midwives. "Women want nothing less than a midwife by their side when they are in labour. We know from all the research that's been done that continuous care from an experienced professional makes a huge difference to the safety of both the mother and the child."

In an attempt to mitigate the damage of this report a Department of Health spokeswoman said,"It is completely unacceptable if a hospital is using a maternity support worker as a substitute for a midwife, and the chief nursing officer has written to all trusts to clarify this and asked that they review the working practices of all support workers, ensuring maternity services are provided safely." However in the beginning of April, Hewitt admitted that midwives would probably not be present during the whole labour in any NHS hospital and campaigners said that costs could be cut by using "maternity support workers" not midwives during the majority of the labour process. This was unacceptable then and it is unacceptable now.

Perhaps if this Government spent less money on surveillance and spy planes they would have enough left to gives mothers and babies the care they deserve. Who knows, they might even have enough left over to improve the education they receive after birth to a reasonable standard. What the Government needs to realize is there are more important things then knowing when Joe comes home from work or having little Michael yelled at by a camera for dropping a chocolate wrapper on the sidewalk.


Telegraph Headline - Immigrants Need More Help To Adjust

I would suggest they need more help to leave.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Absurd News of the Week

The greatest concern of women prisoners in a Swedish Jail near Gothenburg is that the are not able to get a decent tan. A prison council has written to Sweden's Justice Ombudsmen to say the issue is one of sex discrimination. The female inmates complained that that, unlike their male counterparts, they are unable to take off their tops to enjoy the sun thus depriving them of a basic human right. They believe they should be allowed bikinis.

"It's a human right," said the women. "We want to be able to enjoy the sun just like everybody else in Sweden, whether they are in an institution or on the outside. How are we supposed to be able to sunbathe at all? The answer we have got is that we can sunbathe in shorts and sports top," the prisoners wrote, according to Sweden's Aftonbladet. "We are treated differently because we are in an institution and we are discriminated against because of our gender."

If these female inmates' greatest concern during their imprisonment is that they are unable to maintain a nice tan there is some fundamentally wrong with the jail they are in. Punishment for a crime should not be enjoyable. Prisoners' rights = food, water and a cell, not bikinis.

Since when is achieving the perfect tan a "human right?"

Government Considers Increasing Police Powers Under the Pretense Of "National Security"

The Government's newest proposal in their campaign against freedom is to give the police the power to stop and question at random without reason. Big Brother is becoming so prevalent in our country we should issue the following disclaimer to anyone entering:

WELCOME TO THE UK. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER. "Welcome to the fastest growing Police State in the World. You WILL be caught on CCTV hundreds of times a day and you may see spy planes flying above. Do not be alarmed if a CCTV Camera yells at your child for littering. Please be advised that the police may stop and question you for any reason. No probable cause is required. Finally please be aware that you may be profiled as a potential criminal if you have a too many drinks at the pub."

In the past weeks this Government seems to have been on a mission to take away the small amount of freedom we have left under the guise of "National Security" and "Anti- Terror" laws.
According to the Home Office, the government is now considering giving police officers across the UK the power to "stop and question" individuals without probable cause under new anti-terror laws. Police elsewhere have to have "reasonable suspicion" a crime has been committed before they can stop people. According to the Sunday Times anyone who refuses to co-operate, even if they were doing nothing wrong, could be charged with obstructing the police and fined up to £5,000. Greater powers to remove vehicles and paperwork for inspection are also believed to be part of the measures.

After it emerged Thursday that three men suspected of wanting to kill UK troops had disappeared, Mr Reid criticised his political opponents and judges for stopping the use of tougher measures against terror suspects and promised new anti-terror measures within weeks. It has been suggested that the new laws were to be rushed through before Tony Blair steps down as prime minister on 27 June, however The Home Office refused to comment on this. Campaign group Liberty Director, Shami Chakrabarti, reiterated this suggestion when she said, "This looks like political machismo, a legacy moment."
Blair has said the disappearance of the three suspects under control orders was a symptom of a society which put civil liberties before fighting terror. " The prime minister described this as "misguided and wrong" and said prioritising a terror suspect's right to traditional civil liberties was "a dangerous misjudgement".

The solution is not to penalise the whole of the British people for the error made by the courts. One of the three terror suspects who went missing while on control orders was granted bail by a senior district judge on at least two occasions. On both dates, prosecutors asked for him to be jailed, but were refused. If there is sufficient evidence to show suspects pose a serious threat they should not be allowed bail or more closely monitored if they are. Rather than take away the civil liberties of society as a whole penalise those who are reasonably suspected of planning or committing crimes. Why should our freedom suffer because of the legal system's incompetence.

Our "civil liberties" in the UK are being disregarded on a daily basis. We live in a true surveillance society that is very quickly becoming more and more of a police state. There are at least 4.2 million CCTV cameras some of which talk, spy planes are being introduced, the government is considering profiling possible criminals, biometric id cards will be introduced if Labour wins the next election and now they are considering giving police the power the stop and question at random without cause. I would not call that a country that puts civil liberties before fighting terror. I can not think of any other "democratic" country that has the same amount of government intrusion and lack of civil liberties that the UK does.

Since Blair has announced the date he will stand down, it seems the government is attempting to push one measure after another through under the pretense of National Security. Is this Blair creating a legacy, or is the Labour Party conveniently pushing unpopular measures in their agenda through in Blair's last weeks so Brown does not receive the public backlash?
At least we can sleep a little easier knowing that this particular plan will not come to fruition in the weeks before Blair leaves as the House of Lords will put a stop to it.

Tony Blair's Article in the Sunday Times

I just finished reading Blair's article in the Sunday Times and have suddenly developed a headache.

Blair began with, "First let us clear away some of the absurd criticism of the police and security service over the three individuals who absconded. " He then went on to blame British society for having the desire to retain some of the few civil liberties we have left. According to Blair because of this desire 3 terror suspects have gone missing," the fault is not with our services or, in this instance, with the Home Office. We have chosen as a society to put the civil liberties of the suspect, even if a foreign national, first. "

Blair continued to write,"Over the past five or six years, we have decided as a country that except in the most limited of ways, the threat to our public safety does not justify changing radically the legal basis on which we confront this extremism.

Their right to traditional civil liberties comes first. I believe this is a dangerous misjudgment. This extremism, operating the world over, is not like anything we have faced before. It needs to be confronted with every means at our disposal. Tougher laws in themselves help, but just as crucial is the signal they send out: that Britain is an inhospitable place to practise this extremism"

The main problem (out of a list of many) with Blair's logic is that although a police state may make Britain more "inhospitable" for terrorism it will do the same for the law abiding public.

Blair ending his article with, "This extremism can be defeated. But it will be defeated only by recognising that we have not created it; it cannot be negotiated with; pandering to its sense of grievance will only encourage it; and only by confronting it, the methods and the ideas, will we win. " - I guess he has changed his view on negotiating and pandering to terrorists since he dealt with the hostage situation in Iran.