Archive for February, 2014



Farage the policy-free zone

Guest post by Richard North

Richard North of the EU Referendum blog, who has done so much to expose the EU’s involvement and responsibility for exacerbating the extent of the flooding in the Somerset Levels, shares his assessment of Nigel Farage’s failure to use recent media opportunities to shine even more light on the EU’s role – and those who are defending this political error:

There is a certain constancy to the “Nigel can do no wrong” brigade. Whatever he does, ex post facto, his little claque will leap to his defence, saying he’s done exactly the right thing.

There is no getting away from the premise here, though, that Farage has scored a massive own goal. The EU dimension of the floods has, on my blog, been the most popular post I have ever written, attracting a massive level of interest. Yet “our Nige” has chosen to play a derivative game, all but ignoring the EU dimension. The sight of an anti-EU party leader ignoring the EU sends its own message.

Further, the populist dimension of the Farage message also sends a message. While there can be no doubt that more money will help in this growing crisis, above all else for the longer term, there is a massive policy deficit. You can throw money at a problem but if the policy framework is not right, the spending will have little effect or even – as we are seeing – a perverse effect.

Thus, it is absolutely essential that the deficiencies in policy are identified and corrected, which provides a magnificent opportunity for a focused and sustained attack on the EU. Farage, however, has walked away from the open goal. UKIP, as always, is out to lunch.

Nigel’s defenders can now blather all they want. But once again, Farage has shown himself to be a policy-free zone, a lightweight who is good for the “man-in-pub” routine but not a serious politician.

Latest Farage comments on floods indicate UKIP has abandoned anti-EU role

While it was not the press conference Nigel Farage referenced in his tweet to me yesterday, this morning he was interviewed for over 4 minutes by Sky News’ Dermot Murnaghan, in Somerset, about the floods there. UKIP have put the full interview up on their website.

Despite having days in which to take on board the extent of EU’s responsibility, for turning what would have been annoying floods into a major incident that has gone on for weeks, the sum total of Farage’s effort to explain it to Sky’s audience was this reference to the Environment Agency’s role in the matter:

They seem to want to follow European Directives to the letter of the law…

This from a man whose primary focus is allegedly fighting tooth and nail for the UK to leave the EU.  Presented with yet another golden opportunity to highlight who really runs Britain, following his Farage on Friday piece before the weekend, and help voters understand and reflect about whether this is in British interests or whether we should determine laws for ourselves, he again passed it up.

Thankfully, Christopher Booker published a valuable piece about the EU’s role in degrading Britain work on flood prevention in his Sunday Telegraph column today.  At least someone with a substantial profile has tackled this head on while the politicians and lamestream media tip-toe around it and do their best to avoid any mention of the part our supreme government in Brussels has played in making flooding in recent years far worse than it ever would have been.

With a sizeable number of UKIP members not seeing leaving the EU as the number one issue for the party, it seems the leader is one of their number and EUscepticism is being forced off the party political agenda to make way for other topics.

Somerset Levels flooding – when will Baroness Young be called to account?

The flooding in the Somerset Levels has seen substantial attention directed at Lord Smith, aka Chris Smith, the Chairman of the Environment Agency (EA) and at Owen Paterson, Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Smith has been in post since 2008 so he has a great deal to answer for as the EA’s plans have been put into effect.  But nowhere near enough attention is being directed at Baroness Young, aka Barbara Scott Young, former Chief Executive on the EA between 2000-2008.

Baroness Young, as Chief Executive of the EA, long had concerns that creating wildlife habitats, particularly of the wetland variety, could be very expensive.  With a biography that included former Chief Executive of the RSPB and former Chairman of English Nature, Vice President of Bird Life International, and President of the British Trust for Ornithology among others, wildlife habitats had long been something of a personal crusade.  But she had come to understand that by far the cheapest way was simply to allow natural flooding, on tracts of land that had been drained and claimed for use by people and agriculture. She coined a strategy that summed up the approach:

Instant wildlife: just add water!

So proud was she of this brilliant idea, she even went around delivering speeches under that very title.  She would have delivered one such speech to the Bedfordshire Natural History Society, but as you can see from the letter below, she was still recovering from an accident and had to be replaced by another EA specialist with something of a passion for wetlands and project manager of a range of initiatives on wetland/floodplain restoration in the Anglian Region, Dr Paul José.

In evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, the EU giving legal force to the wetland and river basin agenda Baroness Young was so enthusiastic about, she made clear the focus on the work in train, saying:

 …the Water Framework Directive is a misnamed directive; it should be the “Land Framework Directive”, because it is mostly about what happens on the land.

Exactly so. Land like the Somerset Levels among other places.  The levels had long since been drained and reclaimed and are now home to many farms in an area reliant on flood protection measures, including an array of pumping equipment to send any flood water back over the bank into the local rivers. But given Baroness Young’s preference for wildlife over humans, this is a state of affairs she could not bear.   Perhaps this accounts for the often repeated quote attributed to Baroness Young (as yet I have not found the original source of it) where she said:

I’d like to see a limpet mine put on every pumping station.

Of course, when one is head of the Environment Agency, it is far easier to divert spending and resources away from essential flood protection – in line with those EU directives – and put huge sums into birdlife habitats.  So it is in 2014 we see flooding in the Somerset Levels being far, far worse than it would have been if river dredging and proper flood protection measures had been maintained.  In fact, it has spiralled way out of control and communities that would not have seen flood water are now actually under it.  Baroness Young is squarely to blame for this because of an obsession with returning the area ‘to the wild’:

A significant element in the package of EU measures that have brought this about is the aforementioned Water Framework Directive.  It is one of those pro-wildlife, anti-human pieces of ecologist-inspired lawmaking that bears much of the responsibility for what is happening to so many people right now.  As such it is something that deserves substantial attention and scrutiny – if for no other reason than this that Baroness Young also said to the Lords Select Committee:

To be frank, however, if in 2015 we do a survey of the British public and there is even a minor proportion of them who can utter the words “Water Framework Directive”, I shall put a bullet through my head! It will have been the wrong thing to tell them. We want to tell them about outcomes, not about the processes.

Perhaps the flooded residents of Somerset would appreciate the chance to take just such a survey, give the appropriate answer that is so relevant to their current, manufactured plight, and then gather to see the architect of it, Baroness Young, honour her pledge.  It would at least rid us of one more self important , power crazed parasites who do so much damage in pursuit of personal preferences.

By way of a final thought, Baroness Young has been involved in the Commission on Assisted Dying.  In her biography page on the Commission’s website it is revealed that she has had an interest in Assisted Dying for 20 years. That is entirely believeable given her preference for wildlife over people.  Perhaps one wag would argue that she has gone even further and has been actively trying to assist in a death – of farming commuities on the Somerset Levels by helping to flood them off the land.

Farage channels his inner Shaw Taylor

Following on from my Open Letter to Nigel Farage yesterday, a brief exchange on Twitter this afternoon…

So, Farage seems to be promising that the issues he failed to mention in his Farage on Friday piece in the Express will instead be aired in a press conference.  We shall therefore, as Shaw Taylor always advised, keep ’em peeled.

What we can be sure of is that Farage had a platform to share these facts with over 600,000 Express readers on hard copy and many thousands more online via his column.  But now he will be reliant on media editors deciding whether or not to report that EU legislation contributed to the flooding on the scale seen in Somerset, and that Baroness Young’s comment in 2008 on restoring reclaimed land like the Somerset Levels to wetland was, ‘Just add water!’.

If as I suspect the press conference does not dramatically raise awareness of these facts then it will be, as I replied to Farage, an opportunity completely wasted. Patrick O’Flynn has his work cut out in his UKIP role, that’s for sure.

Open letter to Nigel Farage

Dear Nigel

There are many matters on which I could correspond with you and offer a viewpoint I doubt you will ever hear from the people you choose to surround yourself with in UKIP.  But for now I wish to content myself with addressing the issue of your ‘Farage on Friday‘ piece in today’s Daily Express and enquiring where on earth your mind was when you wrote it.

Your story selection of the floods in the Somerset Levels was entirely appropriate.  This is a major issue with enormous consequences for the lives and livelihoods of many people, deserving of proper examination of how such a dramatic, large scale event has been able to come about.  It therefore required someone with a high public profile to bring the facts to the fore, air them, and ensure that those who have contributed to this disastrous situation feel the discomfort of unrelenting scrutiny.

Presented with this golden opportunity, to add value by bringing little known but vital facts to a wide audience, you bungled it with a conflagration of superficial waffle.

As you are the leader of a political party that professes to oppose UK membership of the EU, and presumably therefore having a vested interest in highlighting where EU legislation has had a malign impact on British people, it defies belief that nowhere in your 759 words did you find space to reference and explain the role that EU directive 2007/60/EC, also known as the Floods Directive, has had in bringing about the conditions for this flooding.

The shift away from flood prevention to flood ‘management’ is detailed on the Commission website which underlines the priority being given to the ‘environment’, and calls in aid a number of EU measures, including the Water Framework Directive, the Habitats Directive, the Environmental Impact Assessment and the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive. The Floods Directive is part of the package and, the EU sternly warns, has to be implemented by 2015.  One would think this would be red meat for an EUsceptic party’s leader.  But not for you it seems.

The fact you are a leader of a political party that has railed against quangos suggests you would have an interest in exposing this complicity of quangocrats in making such serious flooding possible, particularly when they hand you a gift of a comment to hang around their necks.  But it seems that you did not feel the staggering comment of Baroness Young – as quoted in this segment of a Guardian piece from 2008 (emphasis mine) which explains the Environment Agency’s agenda with regard to land that was formerly marsh or wetland such as the Somerset Levels – was sufficiently important in putting the Environment Agency’s part in this debacle into its proper context:

If water truly is the stuff of life, then the world’s wetlands are the key to the survival of all living things on our planet. They provide a unique refuge for a wealth of plants and animals: a complex ecosystem which helps sustain life not just in the wetlands themselves, but in their surrounding habitats as well.

But wetlands have a problem. Because they are usually in low-lying areas, and easily accessible, they are prime targets for development. By draining a wetland, and building homes, roads and factories, a nation may boost its economic performance; but this is almost always at the expense of biodiversity.

Yet it’s not all bad news. Uniquely, wetlands can be created – or recreated – much more quickly and easily than other vital habitats such as ancient woodlands, hedgerows or rainforest. As Baroness Barbara Young, chief executive of the Environment Agency, says, “Just add water!”

These actions, or more correctly inactions, by the Environment Agency are germane to the situation in Somerset.  But instead you chose to focus your piece in terms of money rather than dealing with how this was allowed to happen and who oversaw the agenda that was followed.

It is with not a small amount of irony that UKIP rushes into print on its website and with comments to the media from your deputy, Paul Nuttall, to respond to inaccurate stories about supposed EU meddling in British matters, such as the use of flags on food packaging or the volume of water in toilet cisterns.  Yet when the EU actually has direct contributory involvement in the shocking scale of the floods in Somerset – a matter of real substance and appalling impact on British people – and a sustainability agenda has been vigorously pursued by your political opponents, whose placemen reference the restoration of wetlands in places where they used to exist, such as the Somerset Levels, with glib comments such as ‘Just add water!’, you are nowhere in the debate.

It will not come as any surprise to you that the details above were extracted thanks to the forensic research skills of your former colleague, Richard North.  One is moved to ask if it is because North is a former colleague that his valuable work is routinely passed over by UKIP, to the detriment of the EUsceptic movement?  If that were the case, then it would be a disgrace that you would put personal issues before doing all you can to realise your stated aim of getting this country out of the EU.

Your Express column was a terrible missed opportunity and has let down the people of the Somerset Levels, who deserve better for all they are suffering.

Regards

AM

The Carswell conversion gathers pace

At this rate Douglas Carswell, Europlastic extraordinare, will soon be fighting for the UK to remain in the EU, such is the pace of his efforts to toady up to Cameron and the Tory leadership.

A piece in the Telegraph reports on a study by Capital Economics (commissioned by Geert Wilders) into the likely impacts of the Netherlands leaving the EU.  It concluded that the Netherlands would be better off out of the EU, explaining:

Over that 21 year period, the benefits of Nexit to Dutch national income would have accumulated to between €1,100 (£913bn) billion and €1,500 billion (£1.3 trillion) in today’s prices.

This is equivalent to between €7,100 (5,893) and €9,800 (£8,134) per household each year. But even if the Netherlands is unable to negotiate a status akin to Switzerland’s, the economy would be better off out of the union than in.

Naturally the Telegraph scampered off to the prestigious Carswell for comment, and he didn’t disappoint Conservative HQ with his contribution (emphasis mine):

This report is significant because it has been produced by a credible City research group. It cannot be easily dismissed.

It shows we are no longer alone. It is not just us Brits who have come to realise that European integration is fundamentally flawed. We’re very like the Dutch, a small country that has prospered by trading globally. Think what countries like ours could be in a different type of Europe.

‘In’ a different type of Europe?  That’s not the same as leaving the EU, it sounds more like Cameron’s Deludophile ‘reform’ agenda at work.

It seems that when it comes to the EU, the Carswell residence is playing host to a huge exhibition of the hokey cokey.  One minute he wants out, then he wants in.  It’s amazing how the prospect of being outside Cameron’s wigwam of trust can focus the mind on career and electoral prospects.

But then, Carswell is a politician and the political class across Europe wants a piece of the EU action to service their own interests, regardless of what the voters think.

While 55% of Dutch voters surveyed say they would vote to leave the EU if the stated benefits could be achieved, the Dutch finance minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, immediately dismissed the idea as ‘very unwise’.  It seems he will soon be able to count Douglas Carswell as a kindred, pro-EU spirit.

Oh, fuck right off

PC Mike Baillon, 42, quit his job after becoming the butt of jokes from fellow officers over a YouTube video of him battering the Range Rover of a 74-year-old driver. The video of PC Baillon wielding his truncheon became a YouTube sensation – with the tribunal being told it has been viewed online thousands of times. The tribunal heard PC Baillon walked out of his job after being ridiculed every day by his colleagues at the police station where he worked, reports the Daily Mail.

So, lets get this straight.  Because he got the hump about the (richly deserved) ribbing he got from other coppers for his extreme, thuggish and violent behaviour – he didn’t even attempt to ask the driver to open the door and then take the key – he walks out of the job, sues the police, and the poor bloody taxpayer picks up a bill for £430,000.  Poor bloody lamb.  This seems to be a case of small man syndrome by a petulant little pillock who looks like the stroppy type who would attract ridicule like turds attract flies and who probably only joined the force because it enabled him to throw his weight around.  They say this prat would have made Sergeant.  I would have pitied any copper who had this buffoon for a skipper.

Despite the worst efforts of some officers, there are still some decent old style thief takers in the UK’s police forces that deserve our respect.  Some of them experience real traumas in the course of their duties, but still get on with the job rather than take the easy option of leaving with a big payoff.  Even those that can’t cope after intensely stressful and emotional incidents that can be truly horrific at least leave for understandable reasons.  But being mocked by colleagues because of their own ridiculously over the top actions isn’t one of them.  No doubt his reaction to the mockery fuelled its continuation.

I for one am sick and bloody tired of people like this self absorbed idiot abusing public money to fund a lifestyle change, or to simply cash in because they see an opportunity to do so.  Apologies for the language, but sometimes….

And in other news…

The 6-year-old boy who was suspended from school because his parents refused to fill his lunch box with tofu, lettuce, carrot sticks and wheaten bread as per the school’s dictatorial ‘healthy eating’ policy, preferring to give him a sausage roll, or scotch egg and mini cheddars or other snack type foods, has now been expelled from his school – and his younger brother’s funded sessions at the school’s pre school have been withdrawn.  The school said:

If we are faced with a situation where a parent threatens to send a pupil into school with insufficient food to sustain them throughout the school day, it is a risk we simply cannot afford to happen.

This is the usual demonising, twisted doublespeak we have come to expect from the control freaks who are determined to take control of the upbringing of our children.  The issue was not insufficient food, rather the parents did not conform to the kind of food the school decided should be provided.

The school had said that it was extremely disappointing that the media have been provided with such grossly misleading information which has resulted in them running a wholly inaccurate and potentially damaging story for the school, yet its subsequent comments do not correct any of the original assertions, instead they reinforce them – particularly when the statement adds:

…during the course of a recent four day exclusion, the pupil’s parents made it publicly clear that their child would not be following the school’s policy on healthy eating upon their return.

Welcome to the glorious fruits of the quiet, slowburn cultural marxist revolution in action.

UKIP’s failure will be due to flawed strategy

‘UKIP’s failure?’ I hear some UKIP supporters ask.  ‘We are rising in the polls, we’ve added 13,000 members since 2013, we are taking votes from the Tories and Labour, we are the main challengers in a number of seats, we are favourites to win most votes in this year’s Euro elections, the other parties running scared,’ are comments that are repeatedly made in threads on newspaper websites and blogs. But there is good reason to believe the foundations underpinning these claims are soft.

We will come to the polling in a moment, but first we need to set the scene and look at UKIP’s prospects in this year’s Euro elections.  Farage has talked up the party’s prospects and its members are highly confident that UKIP will win the most votes in the election.  However the Euro polls are still showing that UKIP is behind Labour and will likely only come second at best.  There is even still a chance the Tory vote could just squeak them into second at UKIP’s expense.  It’s worth remembering UKIP’s total vote in 2009 (2,498,226) actually fell from that in 2004 (2,650,768) despite a larger electorate.

This time around, if the party can’t secure the most votes in the Euros, even in these perfect conditions for a protest vote, huge media coverage and a core support that will definitely turn out while millions of Labour and Tory voters will not bother themselves with a trip to the polling station, then success in the 2015 General Election is a pipe dream. Don’t forget, just a year after the 2009 Euro elections, in 2010 at the General Election, UKIP’s total vote fell to 919,546 (with the BNP on 564,331).  That’s a lot votes loaned to the party in meaningless Euro elections that go somewhere else when people are asked to elect a government.  Although with UKIP hoovering up BNP supporters and votes along with disaffected Tories and previous non voters who wish to register their disgust at the three main parties, it would be realistic to see UKIP get well in excess of 1,700,000 in 2015 – possibly even clearing the 2 million mark with room to spare.  But that won’t translate into seats.

Back to polling then.  While polling in some marginal seats funded by Alan Bown has UKIP, when the figures include undecided voters and those who refuse to say who they will vote for, as high as 19% (Thanet South) and 16% (Great Grimsby), nationally the party is still rooted stubbonly around the 13% mark.  But the polls are not telling the whole story here because it is impossible to tell from them what the effect of the BNP’s collapse is.

We know a number of white working class Labour voters defected to the BNP.  With the BNP imploding we know anecdotally that many of their members have been attracted to UKIP as the next best alternative by the immigration message that has taken centre stage.   This 13% average UKIP polling figure is a lower percentage than before the May 2013 local elections in which UKIP won a number of district and county council seats.  There is no breakthrough at the moment and UKIP’s position, third in the national polls, is only that way because the Lib Dems are being punished by former supporters for being in coalition with the Conservatives and have seen a lot of their support desert to Labour. These numbers and other factors considered, we will not see UKIP win any Westminster seats in 2015.  Despite much bravado, it seems that UKIP is hitting a glass ceiling of support.

What does this suggest?  A failure of UKIP’s own making.  What voters are now seeing is a party of blatant contradiction they cannot trust, whose offering is nothing more than a dustbin for protest votes,  ‘vote for us because we’re not Conservative/Labour’, which is offering nothing positive or differentiated of its own.

In the south people see UKIP promoting itself as the alternative to the Conservatives and trying to appeal to those who want low tax, smaller government, shrinking welfare budgets, stronger defence etc. People who are attracted by Farage lauding Margaret Thatcher, in a clear message that he is positioning himself to them as Thatcherite.

In the north people see UKIP promoting itself as the alternative to Labour and trying to appeal to those who believe in government running most things, funded by higher levels of tax than the south want, preserving or even increasing welfare budgets, who would like strong defence because many young men and women from the region join the forces in the absence of other opportunities.  People who are attracted by pictures of Farage drinking bitter in a pub, in a clear message that he is positioning himself as an ordinary working class bloke.

The two are too mutually exclusive, and thanks to national media and 24 hour news, this ‘all things to all men’ strategy employed by Farage is all too visible to voters who will rightly feel it is nothing more than an electoral ploy, saying different things to different people based on what UKIP thinks they want to hear.

While some voters will feel moved to support UKIP regardless, when it comes to putting an ‘X’ on a ballot paper, will that be enough for UKIP to hold on to enough potential supporters in the north and south respectively, who see the party’s schizophrenic pronouncements in different parts of the country?  People who loathe the blue or red side so much they would vote tactically for whoever is best placed to form a government that would keep Cameron/Miliband out of Downing Street.  That’s the crux of the matter.

No matter whether the party is comprised of enthusiastic amateurs or professional political animals, as a strategy it may result in some short term gains.  But in the long term it is doomed to failure. Depressingly, as that happens, so the Eurosceptic cause as a whole will be adversely affected.

How the EU, last Labour government and Environment Agency agreed a plan to let the Somerset Levels flood

Allowing the flooding of the Levels was a matter of EU policy, introduced by a 2007 Directive and consciously adopted by the Environment Agency in 2008, which then sought to increase the frequency of flooding in the area.  Read on…

Brought to us courtesy of the EU, Greens, last Labour Gov't and the Environment Agency

Brought to us courtesy of the EU, Greens, last Labour Gov’t and the Environment Agency

As Richard North reveals on EU Referendum:

Unacknowledged by either government, the media or even Chris Smith in his current diatribe, this policy was given legislative force, not by the Westminster parliament but by an EU directive 2007/60/EC of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks.

There, in recital 14, we saw spelled out the requirement that flood risk management plans should focus on prevention, protection and preparedness. But, “with a view to giving rivers more space, they should consider where possible the maintenance and/or restoration of floodplains, as well as measures to prevent and reduce damage to human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity”.

There, writ large, was Defra’s “making space for water” policy and all that was needed for an already Green-dominated Environment Agency to abandon the Somerset Levels.

There’s more besides in the post, including how all this came into being, and the warnings of what was to come.  It really is a must read, particularly for journalists and those who like to comment on threads on the lamestream media’s websites.

Perhaps it’s time for Carswell and Hannan to update their book

Just in the interests of accuracy, of course…

The Real Plan
“The Real Plan”
from Deludophile Publications

Rise of the Deludophiles

One thing the Tories do realtively well is to spawn new breeds or tribes of politicians.

This is an essential process in their efforts to con voters into suspending reason and logic and ignoring evidence and, for a short time at least, swallowing the fiction that the party is not really pro-EU.

We’ve had the Europlastics.  They were characterised by their supposed scepticism of the EU, while continuing to vote for measures that advance the EU’s drive for ever closer integration.  The demise of the Europlastic is drawing near, thanks to one of their arch Judas Goats – Douglas Carswell – declaring his rebellion days are over and rejecting his internal opposition to David Cameron, because he claims he has been promised ‘a chance to quit the EU’.  As I wrote in a guest post on EU Referendum yesterday:

Carswell is referring to Cameron’s laughable promise to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership in 2017.  As Richard North has explained on [EU Referendum] many times, this is virtually an impossible commitment.

For that to happen Cameron has got to win an election in 2015 against hostile public sector interests, within a system that provides Labour with an in-built advantage in the number of seats won for every vote cast.

More importantly he has to initiate, without the power to do so, a convention that will discuss and agree a radical overhaul of the EU and its founding principles via a treaty, resulting in a return of significant powers from Brussels – all against a backdrop of the EU trying to resolve serious structural problems with its finances and the euro, which will require a new treaty of its own that will almost certainly be under negotiation during 2017.

Despite this, Carswell believes he has been offered the chance to quit the EU, which is why he is falling into lock step behind Cameron, the extremely enthusiastic Europhile.

This decline of the Europlastic marks the rise of the latest tribe.  Allow me to introduce the Deludophile.

The Deludophiles are characterised by a staggering capacity for deception giving rise to rank delusion, where they detach from reality to kid themselves and others that this radical overhaul of the EU and referendum in 2017 can actually be delivered.

Carswell has formally joined the tribe this week.  The leaden Leadsom is the matriarch of this breed getting disproportionate coverage from an unquestioning and lazy media for her ‘Fresh Start’ group, and this morning the group’s young prince and Cameron suck up, James Wharton, was on the Sunday Politics (link to follow when it’s released) explaining his plans to revive the Deludophiles’ ludicrous Tory election ploy known as the Referendum Bill.

The aim behind the Deludophiles’ efforts are a Tory election victory.  Nothing else matters.  It’s the only Tory agenda in town.  This effort to talk up the referendum-that-can-never-be is grounded in tricking voters into believing if they vote for the pro-EU Conservatives they will finally get their say on EU membership, thus buying into the delusion.

We will be seeing plenty more of these lightweights peddling their myths in the weeks and months ahead.  Conservative HQ will see to it.  Being wise to them and the reality about the supposed referendum will make it easier for people to refute their nonsense in comment threads.  Keep ’em peeled!

Raging shock as ‘the powers that be’ increasingly run out of control

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It was good intentions that saw healthcare professionals raise concerns about the food that some children were being given in their packed lunches.  It was good intentions that saw education professionals say they should therefore advise parents what a balanced packed lunch should contain.  It was good intentions that then saw education and healthcare professionals unite to dictate what food and drink should be in the child’s packed lunch, or else there would be consequences.  As surely as night follows day it was a certainty that these good intentions would be hijacked and transformed into an agenda to wield control over other people.

Two weeks ago a local news story from Dagenham, east London showed this control agenda in action and running into some scattergun resistance from confused and frustrated parents.  A water-only policy for the drink in a packed lunch has clashed with some parents’ desire to put sugar-free squash in the lunch instead, due to their young children – just fancy – not liking the taste of water.  It turns out the school has made an application for the London Healthy Schools Award, hence its zealous dietary restrictions.  The actions of the school have prompted some parents to keep their children off school, affecting what passes for an education there.

In fact, it is the desperation of Valence Primary School to achieve that award, that has seen staff have been removing drink cartons from children and throwing them away, and pouring out drink from containers to check the colour of the contents.  The school’s headteacher, Elizabeth Chaplin, said that the school had a policy where midday supervisors disposed of half-empty drinks and yoghurt pots to prevent spillages in lunchboxes, which makes things sound inocuous enough, until she goes on to say that children who were questioned over their drink contents were “more than happy to confirm or demonstrate the water content”.  The few reactions to the story from those of an authoritarian bias, prompted me to leave this response:

This local example of the powers that be running out of control has now been added to by a national story from the Daily Mail.  That paper reports that Colnbrook C of E Primary School near Slough, has suspended a six-year-old child because his parents refused to stop putting a pack of Mini Cheddars in his packed lunch, in contravention of their ‘healthy eating’ policy.  This follows a letter sent to all parents in mid January which included the following:

Chocolate, sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks are not allowed.

If your child’s lunchbox is unhealthy and unbalanced they will be provided with a school lunch for which you will be charged.

To be picky, Mini Cheddars arguably do not fall into the list of prohibited foods.  But regardless, such behaviour by this and other schools is another example of the machinations of the state taking ownership for the raising of children and imposition of constraints on parents.  That is unacceptable.

The state’s agents are out of control.  And as for the lack of perspective, for the sake of a cheesy biscuit snack comprising a small part of a child’s diet, that child is having his education, such as it is, adversely affected because the school wants to assert power over his parents.  This is more than wrong, it is perverse.  It would be wrong to describe this as the nanny state, nannies tend to be kind and affectionate rather than power crazed obsessives who abuse their positions to pursue an agenda set down by those who believe they know best and everyone has to fall into line with their viewpoint.  It’s time for parents to shake off their fear of officialdom and take back control of the raising of their children.


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