Saturday, 31 January 2009
I don't expect Labour will accept that the Social Chapter and minimum wage legislation they enforced on this country have down sides, as well as positives. In good times the positives provided great benefit to our communities and they were easy to defend, but the truth is they are too rigid in their design and when companies need some flexibility to navigate through difficult economic times the way this legislation is structured in the UK means they find it very difficult to do what is best for the employees they are able to continue to employ.
Our Trade Unions were quick to demand the introduction of many of the laws that are now disadvantaging their members and they must reconcile this with any decision to allow secondary strike action. Instead of reverting back to type perhaps UK Trade Union' should question why Gordon Brown's great claim of "British jobs for British workers" is proving to be nothing more than a hollow Labour soundbite?
Wildcat strikes in the power industry will ultimately mean only two groups of people suffer - the striking workers who lose pay and the public who will pay more for their power to compensate for any loses incurred by generating companies.
What our country needs now is a government prepared to stand up for British interests at home and abroad. Labour have failed to do this over the past 12 years and, whether you are a trade union member or not, we are all now suffering as a result.
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Sometimes I get a right good laugh out of the stories I am asked to comment on - (re-branding 'Librarians' as 'Audience Development Officers') - and sometimes the things the things I am told simply annoy me - (banning of the word 'husband' in maternity wards in case it offends the unmarried).
But today, I have to say, I was simply annoyed when asked to comment on Edinburgh City Council's decision to remove two children from the custody of their grandparents in order to enable a gay couple to adopt them.
Surely no one in their right mind thinks it is the best interest of these children to be torn from their biological family in order to be brought up in an environment where they will be under constant scrutiny because of the relationship of their guardians?
Edinburgh City Council even took the grandparents to court to remove their rights to care for them, placing them into foster care while the legal action took place over the past two years. These poor people eventually had to give up their legal fight because of rising costs, which is hardly surprising given the Council's seemingly endless resource.
Social workers have now placed the brother and sister with a gay couple and the grandparents claim they have been warned they risk never seeing the youngsters again if they continue with their opposition to the same-sex adoption.
As an adopted child myself, it offends me greatly to see a system that benefited me so greatly abused by a local authority in the name of political correctness and probably achievement of a target. It is surely now time for every politicians to do everything they can to protect the family in recognition of it being the heart of good society.
Children are the most precious gift our society are given and it is our duty to protect them as best we can not to pursue a politically correct agenda!
In the Scottish Parliament the SNP administration lost its vote on the Scottish Executive budget for the forthcoming year, on the casting vote of the Presiding Officer, despite controversial Conservative Party support.
At Westminster the Labour government won a vote to authorise a third runway at Heathrow Airport, along with a sixth terminal, by just 19 votes thanks to their whips - who cojoled every vote they could through the lobbies, including the unfit and unwell.
I celebrate living in a democracy but question sometimes whether the democracy I live in is actually serving the people of Scotland and the United kingdom in the way it should.
Surely it is Scotland's best interest to pass a budget that includes measures to regenerate Scotland's High Streets, to boost public expenditure at a time of economic woe and to insulate Scotland's homes to benefit our environment and reduce the cost of heating over the long term.
And across the UK we should question whether a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow is actually in the national interest. I believe Mayor Boris Johnson is right to encourage London to think out of the box about a new location for our major international air hub rather than expansion of Heathrow given its urban location. Look at Hong Kong where they moved their airport from the middle of their population, (you used to land in the middle of the skyscrapers), to a new rural location where planes take off and land without disruption to its population and to a location where there is enough spare land to create additional capacity in the future should this be required. This is the sort of blue print the UK needs to adopt, in addition to high speed railways connecting this international air hub to the rest of the UK.
So I feel that today our politicians let us down and our democracy is poorer as a result. My only consolation is that the Conservative Party was on the right side of the arguments today and long may that continue!
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
The media persist in battering us with more and more stories of job losses, business failures, financial loss by the government and taxpayer, further loss of business confidence and political sleaze. They do so, I am sure, in the interests of fairness and no doubt citing the public's right to know, but what they fail to understand is that as much as we all do want to be told the truth and how bad things are going to get we also want to hear that things will get better and that in time we can all expect better times to come.
So today it was terrific to hear that 1,000 new jobs are going to be created in the Clyde shipbuilding industry. Proper jobs are being created in manufacturing just as we lose thousands of jobs in the service sector. What a turn around! Welders, engineers, riggers, pipe fitters and crane operators are all to be recruited so that our shipyards can fulfil MoD contracts and are a welcome ray of sunshine on what appears to be a dark economic horizon.
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Even though the UK is in dire economic straights, of our own making, it appears a little-known clause in the European Union treaty may force Britain to chip in billions of pounds to rescue countries in economic crisis because of their membership of the Euro.
This clause gives the Commission in Brussels the power to propose bailing out a state in 'severe difficulties'. Such help could be agreed by a majority vote of states and Britain would NOT have a veto.
With countries such as Ireland, Spain and Greece plunged into economic crisis, largely as a result of being unable to devalue their currencies, there is the prospect of British taxpayers having to help fund expensive rescue packages - despite the UK never having joined monetary union.
An EC report last week highlighted the major problems facing some eurozone members, and ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Spain's credit rating. The Commission report said of Spain: 'Deteriorating labour market prospects, further tightening of credit conditions and adverse wealth effects are set to lead to a significant contraction in private consumption.'
It added that Ireland was 'particularly exposed' to the international economic crisis and that Greece is expected to be 'significantly affected'.
Under the Nice Treaty, signed in February 2001 and incorporated into the combined EU treaty, huge rescue packages can be approved on a majority vote. Britain disliked the proposal when it came up for negotiation and the Conservatives opposed it, but the Government gave way and agreed.
And the moral of the story? You can't trust Labour to get it right at home or abroad.
Sunday, 25 January 2009
Raising money to fund campaigns is a quite legitimate activity and if your own policies, or indeed those of your Party, are attractive to people who then help fund campaigns in the hope of seeing them enacted then that is democracy at work.
Today's news that four Labour peers have solicited money, for purely personal gain, in return for them amending legislation to suit the donor merely reinforces the public's view that politicians are in it for themselves and the money. Lords who act in this way, no matter the Party they affiliate themselves to, should be kicked out of the Lords and lose any right to help shape the country we live in.
If elected, I have promised to claim less and to spend less than the current Member of Parliament for East Renfrewshire when it comes to expenses and not to publish any political propaganda using any one of the various members allowances.
To restore the public's faith in democracy the public needs a new type of politician to represent them in the way they clearly aspire to be represented. In East Renfrewshire that will take an election and in the House of Lords that will take a few sackings.
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
The taxpayer pays MPs expenses and they have every right to know whether their money is being spent properly. Labour also wasted vast amounts of taxpayer’s money in Court proceedings and in parliamentary time trying to hide from the public full details of the expenses claimed by MPs, which after all are financed by us.
With Britain forecast to suffer the worst recession of any major economy surely it is the role of government to do everything possible to ensure what money we do spend is spent wisely. Neither MPs nor HMRC would think it acceptable if other public servants or ordinary taxpayers did not have to account for their expenses so it is incredible Labour MPs thought they could get away with this.
In trying to legislate to avoid MPs being subject to common good financial practise Labour brought politics into further disrepute. Is it any wonder the electorate are disenchanted with politicians and feel they are all in it for the money when bad apples act in such a dishonourable way?
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Alistair Darling started the day early having set his
(MADE IN JAPAN),
(MADE IN CHINA),
He put on a
(MADE IN KOREA).
and fruitless day checking his
(Made In Malaysia),
Alistair decided to relax for a while.
He put on his
a good paying job in the UK!
This was only an email round robin and I am sure it was sent as a bit of fun, albeit with a serious message.
The UK desperately needs a manufacturing industry to reinvigorate our private sector, creating real wealth, and to achieve this the UK needs to put Alastair Darling and his neighbour at No. 10 out of a job. In short we need an election now so that the next government can get the UK working again!
Could we be looking at bankrupt Britain? I very much fear we might be if the true level of toxic debt held by our big four banks is greater than the money now on offer. If it is they will surely go down - rendering our shareholding in them worthless.
If Plan B fails, (given this is his second attempt to bale out our banks), we should prepare ourselves for the IMF to declare us a basket case and to take over the running of our economy. The thought of external influences setting our levels of taxation, deciding how much capital and interest we repay to the world before spending anything that remains on the NHS, eduction or defence is simply frightening as a British patriot.
And what is the good news, I hear you ask? Well ,if there is nothing else to cheer me up before the Summer, I am to become a father for the first time in July - thanks to my beautiful wife Elaine. So, no matter how bad Gordon Brown makes the economy of our country and how difficult it becomes to make ends meet, I know there is something worth working for on the horizon and someone for whom I must fight to make our country better in the future!
Friday, 16 January 2009
Those old enough to remember Strathclyde Regional Council will shudder at the thought of a new monster authority combining East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire -as shown on the map of potential Council groupings published by The Herald.
If we need to fight, and win, a "Keep East Ren" campaign I and every local Conservative are ready to do so. Our economy is in crisis and leading politicians want to put us through the unnecessary expense of amalgamation and rebranding - not to mention making local government as remote as Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels. So bring it on SNP, Labour and any other group who want to make politics about bureaucracy and not about local people. I don't believe in large government and neither do ordinary people across the length and breadth of Scotland.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Given the position our economy is now in, it is not with any glee that Conservatives will welcome the business loans guarantee scheme the government are set to announce tomorrow. After all we have been calling on Labour to introduce such a scheme for months!
The real pity is that Labour are apparently to announce the value of this scheme will be less than £20billion over its lifetime. In contrast, George Osborne is calling for a £50billion scheme because we can't afford for this scheme to fail because government are not prepared to do what it takes to get credit flowing to businesses once again.
The truth is that no one really knows what it will take to get credit flowing to the business sector, but surely it is sensible to offer too much than too little if you are in government and really want to make sure you get the job done!
Saturday, 10 January 2009
So many people are already hurting in these difficult economic times and more are already worried they will join the ranks of the unemployed in the coming year. So a budget that provides for a Council Tax cut is something that would be widely welcomed and put real money into the pockets of everyone who is supposed to have disposable income to pay Council Tax.
The Scottish Conservative proposal to utilise the £281 million of savings identified by the SNP Scottish Executive to provide a Council Tax cut for every household now is something Scotland needs desperately NOW. Giving every household an extra £150 to spend can only be good for our economy and good for our own local community. After all, as a famous supermarket brand would say, "every little helps".
Thursday, 8 January 2009
Thanks to the efforts of Councillor Gordon Wallace and an ever increasing group of local residents, we are taking action to clean up this lane and get it back to a condition in keeping with the local area. Our local environment used to be a place people aspired to rather than something people aspired to make look better and I believe it is time for community action to show the Council that is failing us what we expect.
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Alex Salmond's claim that Scotland should adopt the Euro because Sterling is "sinking like a stone" completely misses the point. Scotland is in trouble not because our currency is weak or strong. We are in trouble because Labour's economic policy have led us to disaster and diverting public attention from this is simply letting Labour off the hook. Indeed, the only reason Sterling has devalued so massively against other currencies is our Labour Governments decision to print so much extra cash to pump into the banking system and as other countries follow suit Sterling has recovered slightly in recent days to more than £1 - €1.10 tonight from near parity a few days ago.
The second display of stupidity from the SNP today was the rejection of the Conservatives offer of talks on how to fund the new Forth road crossing. For a party who claims to want the best for Scotland to act is such a narrow minded way on an infrastructure project of such importance to the economy of Scotland is simply staggering.
If Alex Salmond wants the SNP to work for the people of Scotland he must stop the politics of gripe and division and work with everyone who has Scotland's best interests at heart. That is what difficult economic times demand of us all.
Monday, 5 January 2009
David Cameron Giving A Little Bit To Those Who Need It Most - And Setting An Example To Those Who Need One Most!
Sunday, 4 January 2009
Thursday, 1 January 2009
The problems we face are of course of our own and our Labour governments making. Individuals reliance on credit is borne partly out of our own greed but more significantly as a result of government policy. For years government statistics have pointed to our combined individual and state national debt rocketing to unsafe levels and yet government continued to encourage institutions and banks to lend lend lend. That the state now proposes to borrow massive sums to try and get us out of a recession caused by debt is truly staggering.
Here in East Renfrewshire we face a year in which our Labour led Council propose to invest massive sums of Council Tax money into pet political projects for which no real case can be made. Facing the loss of more than £1million in a high risk investment with a failed Icelandic Bank they now propose to spend more than £12.5million building a college in Barrhead despite their own figures showing the number of people attending adult eduction in Barrhead falling by more than 40% in recent years.
For me the answer to both local and national problems lies in political leadership. For years we have had local politicians who are seen at everything but ask yourself one simple question: what have they actually done for you or your family to make life better in East Renfrewshire? We need political leadership that will deliver spending on better roads and pavements, more police on local streets and a cleaner environment. These are the priorities of the people of East Renfrewshire and they are my priorities too!
East Renfrewshire, Scotland and the UK all need one thing to make them better - a General Election that delivers a new government. My mother always tells me the best things come to those who wait, but for me our country can't wait any longer for a new government and I hope 2009 brings us all the General Election we so richly deserve.