Sunday, 28 June 2009

Yet Another Local Tax

Yesterday I got home to find a letter from Lancaster City Council. It was informing me that I had to pay £45 for 'Second Hand Goods Registration', the tax in the title.

The reason the council are trying to rob me of even more cash is that I have a stall at Morecambe Antiques and Collectables. This is an indoor market where you pay rent, leave your goods on your stall and there is one payment desk where people pay for the goods. It's a great concept enabling people to develop a little sideline or even develop it as part of a bigger venture, but the key is you don't need to be there to sell your stuff. My stall has secondhand books on it and in six months plus, has barely broken even. Things are just picking up a little but it has been more a hobby than anything.

Lancaster City Council recently sent a member of their licensing stasi to snoop there, hence the letter demanding money with menace that I have recived. The menace being that if I don't cough up they will prosecute me. It seems that the Licensing Regulatory Committee agreed this form of theft on 25 March 2004.

As a consequence I have decided there is no point continuing my little venture. OK £45 wouldn't break the bank, but when I'm making no money from it anyway it is a point of principle.

Fair enough it's hardly on the scale of Woolworth's closing down. But it is my very own, very small experience of how the bureaucrats screw up business. And the few people who wanted to pay £1 for one of my quality secondhand books will now be deprived of that opportunity. I shall be taking my stock to a local charity shop.

I've been told that in Lancashire anybody who does two or more car boot sales in a week also has to pay this legalised theft.The licensing stasi tour the car boot sales clocking car registrations. And I thought traffic wardens/police were scum.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

No "bloody nose" for the opposition?

I have to say that I was wildly disappointed by the results of the recent British Euro elections. With the all-party corruption scandal fresh in voters minds, the electorate went to the polls. A bloody nose for the Labour Party was certainly no surprise. But the complete absence of a bloody nose for the snouts-in-the-trough opposition parties really showed a lack of political savvy on the part of the voter. While "minor parties" certainly did better than last time (especially UKIP), the fact that they didn't absolutely wipe the floor with the "big three" corrupt parties is pathetic. Looks like the public will have to learn the hard way.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Geraldine Smith-A Typical MP

Geraldine Smith, Member of Parliament for my constituency of Morecambe and Lunesdale, gets a bit gobby in the months leading up to a general election, and she's at it now.

But I have come across the following, from the Telegraph:

Geraldine Smith spent £235 on picture and £185 on mirror for London flat in August 2005. Bought Bali table lamp, floor lamp and three cushions for total of £620 one month later

The following are the Lancashire MEPs in a league table, from the Lancashire Evening Post, according to their annual expenses claims in 2007/08. Geraldine Smith is 37th out of 645:

4th...Ben Wallace (Wyre) - £175,523
8th...David Borrow (Leyland) - £172,706
37th...Geraldine Smith (Morecambe and Lunesdale) - £166,097
294th...Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley) - £148,685
368th...Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire) - £144,129
411th...Mark Hendrick (Preston) - £140,443
481st...Michael Jack (Fylde) - £134,316
570th...Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley) - £126,043

And this from the Lakeland Echo:

Geraldine Smith, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, estimated she claimed between £100 and £400 a month, but said that did not cover her total food spend.

She said the claims helped cover the costs of feeding guests in London, meals at the Parliamentary canteen and groceries from a shop near her London flat.

Funny how the mill and factory workers Labour used to represent had to pay for their food when working, even if it was from a subsidised canteen. Not these parasites it seems.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Election Fund Appeal

Now that the Libertarian Party has got its first local election out of the way, we need to be prepared for the next big event - which will be the General Election. That could still be a year away, or it may be imminent - at this point no-one can be sure, so we have to be ready now. We've got some candidates already, and others are currently going through the application process. But unfortunately, fighting general elections isn't something you can do on a shoestring. We need money, big huge piles of the stuff.

We urgently need to raise at least £10 000 to support our candidates. We're not the sort or outfit that has millionaire backers stuffing our pockets full of money, so we need to rely on our members and sympathisers. Please give £15 or whatever you can afford to make this happen, it will be going into a designated Election Fund.

The artwork and text for the leaflets is done and paid for.

Rob Waller and Andrew Withers are updating the database so that we can start putting out monthly newsletters and appeals letters.

If you can spare more please give more, if you are unemployed,an OAP or Student and cash is beyond tight, give that other form of capital, your time, it is just as valuable. You don't even have to be member of the Libertarian Party to donate.

Donate to LPUK link

Our first target is £10,000, but the more we raise, the more we can do.

How we would use your donations.

  • £10 lets us leaflet 1,000 people in areas where we are standing.

  • £50 allows us to organise a month's worth of Google Ads.

  • £100 helps to support for the activists on the ground for a week.

  • £200 will print 1000 posters for our supporters' windows.

  • £500 will pay for a month's worth of Facebook adverts.

  • £1,000 gives us the chance to hire halls and organise 10 open meetings for the public.

  • £2,500 pays for internet and blog newsletters and maintenance during the campaign.

  • £5,000 gives us the chance to rent a billboard in a town centre for a month.

  • £10,000 will pay for a full page advertisement in a national newspaper.

  • £25,000 lets us organise a candidate hustings in every constituency where we stand during the final week of the election.

  • £50,000 keeps the campaign up and running and increases the likely success of a return of Libertarian MPs.

  • £100,000 will get us the kind of media attention that only Stuart Wheeler has so far been able to generate elsewhere.

So please, be as generous as you can. Help us to help you to get the politics out of everyday life.

And remember, if you continue to vote the same, you will continue to get the same.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Our First Election Campaign - The Results

It looks like all the work put in by various members of the Libertarian Party to support our first candidate in the local elections has paid off. Here are the results of the election for the Wisbech South division of Cambridgeshire County Council:

Libertarian 140 (6.9%)
Conservative 930 (46.2%)
Labour 212 (10.5%)
"Liberal" Democrats 196 (9.7%)
UKIP 532 (26.4%)

That's not bad for an inexperienced candidate representing a fairly new, unknown party in what has traditionally been considered a rock-solid safe Tory seat. This is mostly due to the hard work of our candidate Andrew Hunt, who has shown what can be achieved using limited resources if you focus on the issues that local people care about. Nice one Andrew!

Not only has this campaign raised the Libertarian Party's profile but it has provided us with valuable experience of electioneering which should stand us in good stead when we start fighting election campaigns here in the North West - that could be this year or next, but it will be soon.