Saturday, 24 July 2010

Why the palace shouldn't play politics

Monarchists have always argued that one of the biggest assets of the status quo is that we have a head of state who is apolitical and has no interest in the tribal battle at Westminster. If Prince Charles' forays into the discussion about GM crops, architecture and suchlike were not already clear and irrefutable evidence that this argument is null and void, then the farce this week with the BNP and its leader Nick Griffin should surely be enough to convince many that the palace and politics are like oil and water.

As an MEP, Griffin was invited to a garden party at the palace on Thursday and promptly turned up on television declaring that this was evidence of his party's 'legitimacy'. Now we all know this to be something of a spurious argument. Yes, they are legitimate in the sense that they exist (just about) legally and managed to acquire 1 million votes at the last Euro elections, seeing Griffin and Andrew Brons elected to the European parliament. However, they were invited just as members of every other represented party was as a matter of procedure. The invitation did not represent a ringing endorsement of the BNP from Her Maj, and Griffin was setting them a trap by insinuating that it did.

Unfortunately, the palace appears to have walked straight into this and given the BNP a far greater publicity coup than turning up and munching a few sausage rolls would ever have done. People like Griffin build their myth on the concept that they are 'the enemy of the political class' and with this elite group held in contempt by so many, some voters have been liable to conclude that 'my enemy's enemy is therefore my friend'. Look, nobody contributing to this board has any truck with the man's wacky and sometimes hilarious politics. But not only do I think it was bad form to refuse a democratically elected MEP entry to the event because of such politics, it was also giving the oxygen of publicity to a man who knows how to use it.

Remember at school, there was always a kid who said and did ridiculous things at the back of the class, becoming more and more extreme as others indulged him with the attention he craved? Of course, as you get older, you realise that ignoring them or just smiling and saying "yeah, whatever" tends to make them disappear. The political class have indulged Griffin for too long, and now the palace have assisted their self-sabotage. Maybe we should give ignoring him a go - after all it couldn't work out any worse?

The Leaflet War – Labour 2, LibDem 1

The next local election in Manchester isn't till next May, but as far as the big parties are concerned, the election campaign is already on. I've had three publications through the door in the last few weeks that can be considered election leaflets.

The first one was from Labour – an expensive looking glossy full colour leaflet with a picture of the local Labour mob on the front and a big “Thank You” headline. No need to thank me, I certainly didn't vote Labour – much more fun to run against them, even though the Labour candidate did manage to squeeze back in with a measly 2,247 more votes than me.

The next leaflet I got was one of those LibDem Focus things – simpler colour scheme but broadly similar layout. Another “Thank You” headline. A few more pictures of the local LibDems and also a bit more text. Also one of those standard bar chart diagrams that they like to stick on the front of their Focus leaflets, showing LibDems and Labour as “neck and neck” and discounting the other four parties with the words “The other parties Vote has Collapsed” - this is untrue by the way, as you can easily check by having a look at the 2008 election results. The Tory and Green paper candidates got about the same result as last time. The BNP loser got more votes than last time, despite doing no campaigning – I put this down to a combination of having the benefit of also having a General Election candidate, plus the incredible amount of free publicity those clowns get from the other party. And of course, me being the first Libertarian Party candidate to stand in Manchester, we don't know yet what a typical Libertarian election result is going to be.

I've got nothing against the opposition sending me this stuff. It's their right and the money to pay for it has been raised voluntarily. But the third publication that I've received is different.

This publication is not technically a party political leaflet, but it might as well be. It's the latest edition of the “Manchester People” – a newspaper-style publication printed and distributed by Manchester City Council and funded by the taxpayer. Sixteen pages of propaganda saying what a great job the council is doing. The front page is dominated by a story praising the Manchester Day Parade - £200,000 down the drain, but not one word of criticism. Another story is about the council's plans to blow £1,000,000,000 redeveloping St Peter's Square. There's nothing much wrong with it at the moment, that I can see – maybe the councillors are just bored with the view. Again, it's a completely one-sided story, not admitting any criticism, typical of this publication. Although it doesn't actually tell you to vote Labour at the next election, since it consistently praises everything the council does, and as the council is dominated by Labour, the message is clear. Local councils shouldn't be allowed to get away with this kind of thing, and hopefully when the Libertarian Party gets some councillors elected we'll be able to put a stop to it. But for the time being the working people of this city are being forced to pay for this publication to the tune of over £140,000 per year.

Friday, 16 July 2010

The EU-More Bull than Pamplona!

The European Union is at it again, indeed when does it ever stop? Its authoritarian march towards supreme power and total control of our lives carries on relentlessly. I am only really concerened about UK withdrawal from the monster, it's up to other countries what they do, but I sense an ever growing scepticism throughout Europe to the EU. So what has caused my anger today?

For starters it's their lack of acceptance that the private sector is just that, private, and should be interfered with by the state as little as possible, ideally not at all. But no, where the EU see human interaction they want to control, regulate and legislate against it.

The leviathan is now concerened that there are not enough wimmin in the boardrooms of private companies. So what? Most of my working experience has been in the charity world where, I would guess, women are at least as well represented in senior management positions as men, maybe even disroportionately better represented. Do I care? Not a jot as long as they can do the job. By the way, I wonder what the EU think about the proportion of male/female primary school teachers throughout Europe, not just here?

Of course the EU is only 'flagging up the issue' at this stage, confident that the private sector will change the perceived imbalance. But as with every dictatorship behind that 'flagging up' is the threat that under the Lisbon Treaty, they have the power to enforce 'equality' if it doesn't happen voluntarily, or naturally.

Then there is the prospect of EU police forces having access to all your records: DNA, bank accounts, telephone and email records, everything that the British state has access to. This proposal is being floated under the European Investigation Order. Then it's only a hop, skip and a jump to Inspector Cutabollockoff kicking your door down at 4-00am to drag you off to Bucharest Central for interrogation. The British police and the British state scare me, this really brought me out in a cold sweat when I read about it.

The hat-trick today was the EU announcing, in true Mussolini style, that they will get the trains running on time! How? By forcing member states (or vassel states if you prefer) to adopt their new railway timetabling software. Bollocks! The last time I had a train cancelled was because the driver was in bed with a hangover, or at least he hadn't turned up for work. We all know about the wrong type of leaves on the line, the old signal failure excuse and the engineering works that have been screwing up the West Coast Mainline since about 1880. Typical EU delusional bollocks.

So what's the answer? Well pressure groups are all very well but too often preach to the converted. We all know that a majority of people in the country today would be happy to see us withdraw from the EU, but they are unaware of a credible political party advocating that. Also, while 50%+ would probably like to see us out of the EU, only about 8%, if that, will vote in a general election on that single issue, they vote on a whole range of issues from health and education to tax, law and order and all the others.

Furthermore, and I know from experience, that politicians who, rightly or wrongly, bang on, and on, and on about nothing but the EU turn the electorate off. Withdrawal has to be part of a cohesive manifesto including the whole range of government activities, preferably hacking away at the activity of government, and freeing people from the current invasive, authoritarian state that is crippling freedom and liberty. That is the only way to get into Westminster where real change can become possible.

If you think that no such party exists then I suggest you visit the Libertarian Party website. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

North West Meetup, 7 August

Following some discussion about the location and timing of the next regional meet-up, it's been decided that we should carry on meeting every month at the Kro2 on Oxford Road, Manchester for the time being. It's the most convenient venue for most of our North West members, as our greatest concentration of numbers is in Greater Manchester, it's easy to find and public transport links are good.

The next meet-up will be on Saturday 7 August, starting about 12.30pm. For those who haven't been to one of these meet-ups before, we normally take a table close to the door and near the bar, or if the weather's hot we'll sit outside. For ease of identification, I'll have a document wallet with a Libertarian Party poster on the front.

These meetings tend to be very informal, but likely topics of conversation are likely to include increasing our membership and sharpening up our regional organisation in preperation for next year's local elections.

As usual, the meet-up will be open to interested non-Libertarian Party members.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Target For This Month

We need to start raising funds for the local Elections in 2011, I would like to appeal to all members and supporters to donate what you can this month.
Our account number is 92635313 Sort Code 40-28-20
Our immediate target is £2000. We are looking to open a permanent office to handle donations and all the other administration and membership applications.Times are hard but every £5 and £10 is income in the right direction.