Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Political Party Manifestos

Any time now our political parties will be publishing their manifestos, but are they worth the paper that they are written on? I'm just going to consider the Conservative party's manifesto, as logically with my education and lifestyle I should be a core Tory supporter.

Whilst I never read the actual Conservative manifesto before the last general election and relied upon reports in the media, I am far more concerned about what the manifesto doesn’t contain.

I don’t recall the Tories mentioning anything about Gay Marriage in the 2010 manifesto. Whilst I can appreciate that a manifesto can't cover every possible contingency and that events might make it necessary for any government to introduce unanticipated legislation, this was not so in the case of gay marriage. There was no reason for the hasty action with minimal consultation and it could have waited until the forthcoming election and been included in the party manifesto. But, in my view, the party took the cowardly approach, didn’t consult with the majority population, and pushed it through hoping that most of the electorate would have forgotten by the time of the election.

Nor did the manifesto mention entering foreign wars for the sake of regime change. Again the government rushed into action without any real thought. If it hadn't been for the rare event of Parliament acting to prevent the government going to war against Assad in Syria, we would now be fighting alongside the evil ISIS who happily decapitate any non-believer without a moment's thought. However you look at the situation, Assad is by far the lesser of the two evils.
Then, of course there is Libya. Our aerial intervention was designed to prevent civilian deaths resulting from the fighting between rebels and the forces of Gaddafi. Here, again we opted to support the rebels and the media rejoiced at Gaddafi's death, but has this improved things? Seemingly not, as we now have two "governments" in Libya busy fighting each other and civilian deaths, either due to fighting or starvation are never ending. And Cameron claimed this was a great success - I wonder what would have had to have happened for him to feel that we had failed?

Then what did the manifesto say about our military? Did it propose cutting them to the bare bones and relying on a part time army of reservists? Did it mention scrapping the Harrier. Did it mention aircraft carriers with no aircraft? I'm sure it didn't as I don't remember any coverage of the subject in the media at the time.

And then there is Scotland. Were the English offered any say in the decision to give extra powers to Scotland whilst leaving England at Scotland's mercy in the event of a coalition?

That's what the manifesto didn't say, now let's look at what it did say.
The most important promise for a majority of the electorate was to reduce immigration and Cameron even said he wanted it reduced to tens of thousands. This has been totally ignored with the current political line being that immigration is good for the country. Tell that to those trying to buy houses, get their children into English speaking schools or waiting for treatment on the NHS. I'm sure they will all believe that immigration is good for us!

What will I be looking for in the manifesto?
One priority is to ensure that Christians in this country are able to practice their faith without interference. Seemingly, you can be of any other faith, or even no faith, and can claim that you are being discriminated against if you are not allowed to practice it and wear its symbols in public. Yet Christians are being sacked because they wear a cross or are asked to carry out work which is contrary to their beliefs, such as assisting with abortions or registering gay marriages. This article in Breitbart is worth reading.

Another is the issue of unbiased and independent policing. The failure of the police forces in both Rotherham and Oxford to do anything about gangs of Muslims grooming young white females for fear of being called racist is symptomatic of the political correctness of our police. The "Police and Crime Commissioners" have done little, if anything, to change the situation as many are political hacks who failed elsewhere. One, who has now resigned, was actually a councillor in Rotherham whilst all the abuse was taking place! Even now the police seem more interested in historic crimes committed by so-called celebrities rather than dealing with present day abuse. Today's reports of the “closing down” of police investigations into a child sex abuse allegations in Cyril Smith’s time is clearly a scandal, and needs urgent government action, although, unlike gay marriage, I doubt if it will be seen as a Cameron priority.

I await the manifestos with interest, but I doubt if any of those from the major parties will dissuade me from supporting UKIP.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

"Jihadi John"

It seems rather strange to me, but there seems to be some sort of campaign in the media to rehabilitate "Jihadi John".  One of the leading lights of the organisation CAGE, which claims to be supporting human rights, describes him as a "beautiful boy", whilst school teachers and the like describe him as a model pupil. The BBC in particular seem to be leading this campaign to have us believe that Emwazi is somehow deserving of our sympathy. The approach seems to be that his "radicalisation" is all the fault of our Security Services.
If one follows that argument and considers the number of criminals in this country who have been stopped by the police and even convicted of crimes on numerous occasions, the country should be full of radicalised criminals who would seek nothing more than to be able to go around chopping of the heads of police officers! "It's not my fault, it's all the fault of PC Bloggs who questioned me about my bag of loot"

But let's look at a few details
Why did the Emwazi family had come to Britain from a rich country like Kuwait?
They fled Kuwait and claimed asylum here because they were suspected of assisting Saddam Hussein's Iraq.  Kuwait had just been invaded by Iraq and British troops were sent there as part of a coalition to oust Hussein's forces. So our immigration officials allowed a family into this country who had sided with our enemies. Why? As we were on the same side as Kuwait we should have refused them asylum - you don't give asylum to your enemies or even your friend's enemies.

But not only did our system aid the enemy by giving the family asylum when it should have extradited them to Kuwait, it also gave the family home after home in some of the most expensive areas of our country, together with benefits, which must be worth millions of pounds over the years. Then rather than sending them home to what is a friendly country, we gave this family, who were suspected of helping our mutual enemy, full British citizenship.

I believe our Security Services did the right thing in questioning Mohammed Emwazi about his activities, it seems quite clear from his upbringing and origins that he was very likely to be an enemy of this country.

If there is to be any enquiry into this matter, it should be into the actions of our immigration officials and of the Home Office who granted the family asylum and the subsequently allowed them British Citizenship.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Failures by the NHS, Councils and Police

Two reports have been published today into the failings of state organisations.
The first is into the failings of the NHS maternity care at Morecambe Bay Hospital which led to the needless deaths of a number of babies.
The second is into the failings of Oxfordshire County Council officials and the Thames Valley police who refused to take child sex abuse cases seriously.

In the first case, according to the Telegraph, the inquiry found that a band of midwives, who dubbed themselves the “Musketeers”, failed to call doctors when they were needed, in their determination that women should have a “natural birth” and then colluded to cover up critical blunders. In spite of some 19 deaths, of which 12 should not have occurred with the right care, no one has been prosecuted or struck off, although six cases are due to be heard by Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) later this year. One would have thought that colluding to conceal or give false evidence at an inquest was perversion of the course of justice, a criminal matter.
But even more appalling in many ways was the failure of those at the top of the NHS Trust to be aware that anything was wrong, and that the Care Quality Commission along with various other Authorities were either unaware of the situation or failed to take any action.

In the second case, also reported in the Telegraph, both the Police and Social Workers ignored the grooming of an estimated 370 girls in the Oxford area over the past 16 years. The police in some instances took the view that the victims were “prostituting themselves” and “deliberately” putting themselves at risk, whilst the Social Workers took the view that they should be "non-judgemental" about the girls' activities. Again there seems to be failings at the top of both the Police and the Oxfordshire County Council in that they failed to take any action. Whilst seven men have been jailed for child sex offences, there does not seem to have been any disciplinary action taken against either the individual policemen or council officials who ignored the problem. Why not prosecutions for failure of duty in a public office?

The thing that I can't understand is how those at the top of the NHS Trust, the Oxfordshire County Council and the Thames Valley Police can get away with saying "I didn't know" or "Nobody told me" that these things were taking place. Surely it is their job to know.

Now I worked as an Electrical Engineer, and our Chief Engineer made it very clear that he expected to be told about anything that might result in him having to answer questions from either the media or any of the Board members. He had maybe a hundred or more projects under his control, some outside the UK, and he expected all the project engineers to keep him fully informed of any aspect of the project which might give rise to any enquiries. Woe betide any project engineer who hadn't ensured that he had information about a problem should he find out about the problem from any other source. This is what he was paid for, controlling the projects, being aware of any problems and if necessary taking steps to correct the situation. Because of this, all the project engineers took a similar approach. I wanted to know from my staff immediately there were any problems in order that I could both inform the boss of the situation and tell him what was being done.

This was project management, what we were being paid to do, and it was no good any of us saying "Nobody told me", it just wouldn't wash. So why do those at the top of Social Services, the Police and County Councils get away with "I didn't know what was going on". Surely that is their job, a job for which they are very highly paid, a job where it should be their duty to know what is going on. The head of the NHS Trust should have known what was going on at the Morecambe Bay Hospital because the Head of the Hospital should have told him. The head of  Oxfordshire County Council should have known what was happening because the head of the Child Protection Services should have told him. The Chief Constable should have known what was going on because the various Chief Superintendents should have told her.

It's time the Government ensured that action was taken against those at the top in these cases; those at the top have failed all those mothers whose babies died and all those vulnerable girls who were groomed and abused. An apology is simply not enough; they should accept full blame and resign; if they are unwilling to do so they should be subjected to disciplinary proceedings and hopefully be fired. We've had more than enough enquiries, we want action.