Thursday, 26 February 2009
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
The tragic death of Ivan Cameron at just 6 years of age brought the House of Commons together today, at the time normally reserved for Prime Minister Questions, in an atmosphere of grief and respect. To his credit our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, gave a most considered and respectful speech uniting the House of Commons in sending condolences to David and Samantha Cameron on the death of their son.
Elaine and I are awaiting the birth of our first child this July with a sense of excitement very similar to that of waiting for Christmas morning. We cannot imagine how David and Samantha Cameron must be feeling and can only hope that they know our thoughts and prayers, as well as those of millions of other decent people across the country, are with them.
The very human face of politics was on show today and for his part in demonstrating that there are some things that simply pull people together no matter how much they would normally disagree Gordon Brown has my utmost respect.
Friday, 20 February 2009
Let me help you!
Our stock market, in particular the FTSE 100, provides a fascinating insight as to how strong our companies are in good time and in bad. From Margaret Thatcher's election as Prime Minister in 1979 through to the end of John Major's premiership in 1997 the FTSE rose consistently - though admittedly with the odd peak and trough as markets reacted to national and international economic circumstances.
Having inherited a golden legacy, New Labour presided over a few more years of growth. There followed a massive correction in the market, between 2000 and 2003, before the FTSE shot back up to levels close to its peak through to 2008. The truth is that the markets knew the underlying strength of our economy was massively overvalued because our economy was based on a mountain of national and personal debt. What has followed over the past year is the product of a decade of borrowing in times of plenty instead of saving up for a rainy day.
So if you ever want to be able to show someone the truth about "Boom & Bust" show them this graph. The difference between good economic management and economic management based on rhetoric and debt is simply the difference between Conservative Government and Labour Government.
Let's hope we get back to some sound economic management before it's too late!
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
1) A man has just been sentenced to two weeks imprisonment for entering a drug dealers home, threatening the drug dealer (who has hooked one of his family members on heroin) and for taking the drug dealers heroin and flushing it down the toilet.
What an outrage! The gentleman in question admits to being no angel but if the police and procurator fiscal are unable to get drug dealers off our streets no one should be surprised if members of the community take matters into their own hands.
2) Sex beast John Cronin absconded from a probation hostel earlier this week and is now in the custody of West Midlands Police on suspicion of fraud. This man was sentenced to (and wait to you hear this) Life Imprisonment in 1992 for attacking a woman in her Edinburgh home, only to be released from prison in 1996. LIFE - someone is having a laugh at the expense on the safety of our public.
Since his release Mr. Cronin has been in custody in Sweden, Ireland and England for a string of offences and he remains a danger to the public wherever he goes. It was the Scottish justice system who let us down first when they released Cronin after just 4 years and it is surely time he was incarcerated for LIFE to protect people all over the world.
The PC Brigade will cry foul and point to the human rights of both the drug dealer and John Cronin. I say that as both have chosen to take NO responsibility for their actions they have no right to expect compassion from society given the threat they pose to us all. It's time to get tough on crime and that means stiffer sentences for those that are the causes of crime!
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
The Financial Services Authority warned today that Britain's recession could go deeper and last longer than expected, despite the government's fiscal stimulus and multi-billion pound economic rescue plans. Possibly more telling they say, about their own bosses, the impact of measures like reduced interest rates and the government's £12billion VAT cut remained unclear, and advise businesses and consumers to "plan for a greater degree of uncertainty than normal".
If this is the assessment of our own FSA you can only wonder what the OECD, IMF and World Bank are thinking. My greatest fear is that Labour are ignoring any economic forecasts they don't want to admit to favouring a scorched earth policy designed to leave the next government with nothing to work with. The only good news is that I am in doubt the energy, ingenuity and dedication of the British people will see us through to a prosperous future despite the actions of the current government!
Sunday, 8 February 2009
It is a scandal that in difficult economic times our Prime Minister and First Minister have not met since Spring of last year. This only goes to show that Labour have no idea how to handle a nationalist administration at Holyrood. Their lack of appreciation of the need to be seen to be doing everything they can from London to help Scotland only serves to add to the nationalists media machines claims that Westminster does not understand Scotland and is doing little to help it now times are tough.
What Scotland needs, if devolution is to survive and quash the advance of independence, is a Westminster administration that treats Holyrood with respect and that works with it to benefit Scotland. Regular meetings between Prime Minister and First Minister, as well as communication between their respective cabinets, is essential to foster an atmosphere of trust between Westminster and the Scottish Parliament. This will also prove to the Scottish people that our place as an integral part of the United Kingdom is worth retaining.
David finishes his article by saying, "This commitment to true partnership between our nations sets the Conservatives apart from the other parties in Scotland as much as our commitment to modern, centre-right ideas. We are the only party that can bring about the change Scotland needs."
I could not have put it better myself!
Saturday, 7 February 2009
My outrage comes because during a murder investigation I want the police officers in charge to be concentrating on getting violent, dangerous individuals off our streets and into custody not filling in forms and worrying about whether a penny here or there will be cast up and used against them at a future date.
The Herald covers this issue today as Hunting Murderers on Budget, http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.2487646.0.Hunting_murderers_on_budget_new_rules_for_police.php) , but for the general public I don't believe there is a value you can put on solving such serious crime.
It's time our Police became a Force in our society again and to do that we need to back them in good times and in bad and not to become preoccupied with cost. We won't make them a force by placing financial constraints on investigations and we must trust those in charge of our Police to hold themselves accountable for what their force spends.
Thursday, 5 February 2009
The problem we have today is not that interest rates are in any way the problem. Quite the contrary, and today's cut will only serve to penalise the millions of prudent savers with money deposited in banks and building societies - many of whom rely on interest payments to make ends meet.
Across the UK the problem faced by our economy is not the cost of borrowing - it is the reluctance of banks to lend!
Despite the taxpayer owning many of our banks it appears our government are unable to get them to relax lending criteria so that businesses can borrow to invest in our future.
Why? Simply because it is government policy that tells banks to pay us back as quick as they can and to reduce their exposure to bad debt as they do so.
So what are banks actually doing instead of lending to viable businesses? They are foreclosing on businesses in trouble and in homeowners struggling to keep up payments in compliance with government instructions.
In conclusion, today's interest rates cut will damage those who have done the right thing by saving and do very little to help those who need to borrow, because none of our lending institutions will take any risk. So despite hundreds of millions of pounds spent on bailing out our banks cuts in interest rates are simply not doing anything to help our economy recover.
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
The additional £1.8billion that will be released into the Scottish economy over the coming 12 months will be a vital shot in the arm for an economy in a dreadful condition after more than a decade of Labour mismanagement.
The interesting thing about the decision of the Lib Dems to vote for the budget tomorrow is that their support is being gained in return for one single penny of better public spending. They are simply being bought by a commitment from the SNP to lobby for Scotland to have greater borrowing powers under devolution.
With every one of us already set to owe more than £17,000 as our share of public sector debt the answer to Scotland's ills is surely not more public borrowing/debt. If we want to see public sector infrastructure projects start, to boost an economy in recession, the best way to deliver this is to seek private sector investment not to increase the national debt.
The problem for us all is that while the Lib Dems at Westminster have people like Vince Cable talking a lot of sense they are left at Holyrood with Tavish Scott saying a lot that makes no sense. If ever the Lib Dems in Scotland wanted to prove they are rapidly becoming an electoral irrelevance and a danger to the Scottish public their actions throughout the 2009 budget process is surely a good example of them being rebels without any cause.
Speaking to a friend in Canada today he laughed his head off at the thought of 8 centimetres of snow being anything other than good to look at. As he put it, they regularly have 6 feet of snow fall in a day and are able to get to their work the next day, to take part in leisure activities and to do so in relative warmth and safety.
As ever the reason is we are ill-prepared for anything other than a standard day and we really do need to take a good long hard look at ourselves and the preparedness of our local government to handle snow. If that means Council's investing in better snow clearing equipment and individuals ensuring they have snow chains for car tyres so they can move about safely (instead of skidding about as we watched so many cars do today on Seres Road) then that is what we all have to agree to.
I believe it is the CIA who have six P's as their motto - Plenty Practise Prevents Pretty Poor Performance. The trouble is that we, in the UK, so rarely prepared properly for anything!
Monday, 2 February 2009
What a load of complete and utter nonsense!
It should never be for the State to interfere in this way. What next, a cap on the number of showers you are allowed to take in a week on the grounds of water consumption? A requirement to inform the Government when you intend to use your car so they can decide whether to deny you authority in case of poor air quality? An automatic cut off for your gas and electricity if you exceed a maximum amount of energy consumption level set by a Government Mandarin?
Government must learn to trust its people to make good decisions for themselves. This includes allowing them to decide if they can cope with a large family, both emotionally and economically. At the ripe old age of 37 my wife and I are expecting our first child so I am not sure we will get round to having more than two children. One thing that is for sure is that it won't be the government who decides where we stop!