Curly's Corner Shop, the blog!

South Shields premier political blog

Archive for the ‘Freedom’ Category

Another week dominated by Euro debt crisis

with 8 comments

What gives them the right?

Apologies for the lack of posts during this past week, it’s been a busy time at work and domestic disaster has struck too, not much has been going on in South Tyneside other than the production of posters invoking us to vote for Little Mix on ITV’s X Factor, however it has been another week dominated by the Eurozone debt crisis. Having seen Papandreou and Berlusconi removed from their premierships and replaced by Eurotechnocrats without so much as a referendum or a general election it is worrying to witness that the combined might of Germany and France appears to have negated the very principles of democracy and freedom that the Common Market was originally envisaged to protect. The Commission and the Council have already set their faces against the holding of referenda and have warned that any member state which fancies leaving the Eurozone would of necessity have to leave the EU too, it must have struck the Greek population as astonishing when Merkel and Sarkozy summoned Papandreou to a meeting to explain his idea of allowing the Greek people a say in the matter! Hence we now see  governments headed by a former ECB banker and a former Commissioner. Similarly the Irish people must be feeling rather shocked that their latest budget proposals were forwarded to all member states before ending up in front of the German Bundestag!

Just what is it about these EU empire builders that makes them feel they can stamp their authority  over people in a manner almost as heinous as some Arab states? I tend to agree with Gavin Hewitt, the questions need to be asked:

Perhaps the clearest definition of democracy was contained in the American Declaration of Independence in 1776. “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

In Europe “the consent of the governed” is in danger of going missing. When George Papandreou suggested putting the EU bailout to a referendum in Greece, France’s President Sarkozy, in a conversation with President Obama, had the Greek leader down as a madman, suffering from depression.

At the heart of the European project lies a suspicion of the people. It is often said that the European Union has been built in spite of the people, and not with the people. Those who argue the people’s case are dismissed as “populists”. It is the easy Brussels put-down.

Recently when a reporter challenged the perks of the EU commissioners his question was dismissed as “populist”. To question immigration policy even at a time of shocking youth unemployment is to risk the tag “populist”.

As we move inexorably towards a common European government with an elected President, we have to wonder just how much involvement will be granted to we “the people” in these processes. We also need to question just why our own political leaders in the UK are signed up to this club, and I refer equally to Cameron, Clegg, and Miliband. One has the distinct feeling that the Frankfurt Group, and possibly even the Bildergurg Group have already set out the agenda which our leaders are assigned to blindly follow. Oh for a party leader who has the “bottle” to call not for the renegotiating of certain powers from the EU, but the withdrawal of British membership, I realise that 50% of our exports go to the EU area, yet I cannot envisage that changing dramatically if we were no longer part of the club.

I am staunchly Eurosceptic, I no longer believe that the Common Market or EEC that we originally joined exists any longer, I have a great deal of sympathy with UKIP on this one issue, unfortunately they are popularly seen as a single issue party, whether or not they have any relevance to local politics in South Tyneside remains to be seen – for now we must await the first uttering of David Potts.

Better off out!

May I also recommend this excellent article by Dan Hannan, a true Conservative.

Please excuse me, I must now attend to my washing machine which will need either repair or replacement, the smoke emanating from its innards is smelling as awful as the Euro political project .

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Advertisements

Written by curly

November 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

Capstick – Freeman of the Borough

with one comment

cllr. jim capstickVeteran South Tyneside councillor to be honoured

Councillor Jimmy Capstick the leader of the small South Tyneside Progressive group of councillors is to be awarded the status  of Freeman of the Borough, having served the local community for an astonishing 44 years.

Jimmy is “old school” Progressive having stuck firmly to the party’s strictly independent view about the need for local councillors to serve their town first and not to allow the politics of national parties to dominate our affairs within the town hall. It is a remarkable achievement to have gained the respect and support, not only of his constituents over that period, but also of his fellow councillors from all of the other parties represented on South Tyneside Council. Jimmy is a self effacing and quiet family man with a calm demeanour laced with an impish wit, he has opposed Labour over four decades and faced a number of Leaders in debate including Ernest Mackley, Vince Fitzpatrick, Albert Elliott, Paul Waggot and current Leader Iain Malcolm, he has been the mainstay of the South Tyneside Progressive Association since the death of former leader Harry Marshall. I first met Jimmy in the mid 1970s and he was one of the more experienced of my colleagues when I joined the Council in 1980, often providing me with insights on procedure, strategies and tactics and a guiding hand on the Council’s constitution and confusing Standing Orders at the time. He has been almost an ever present member of South Tyneside Council since its formation in 1973, with a break of one year in 1990 and he has represented Cleadon Park, West Park, and Harton wards during that time. Seriously, you could not wish to meet a more friendly and helpful local representative (despite him being an avid Newcastle supporter).

The Freedom of the Borough is not awarded lightly and only one other local councillor has received the award since 1973, unlike the City of Newcastle it does not bestow any special rights or privileges, in other words he will not be able to graze sheep or horses on Cleadon Hills or drive them along the John Reid Road! The nomination for this award has full cross party support in the council and a special motion will be put to the full council next Thursday 20th. October in South Shields town hall  when it will be approved.

Current Labour Leader Cllr. Iain Malcolm has said:

“The Freeman accolade represents our thanks and appreciation to Jim Capstick for his outstanding and distinguished service to the people South Tyneside. I am confident that this nomination will be approved and a civic ceremony to bestow the honour will take place at a later date.”

Cllr. Capstick is currently not in the best of health, but I’m sure that this award will be well received and cheer him and his family enormously, he can look back at his life and achievements in the local community with a huge amount of pride.

The South Tyneside Progressives now have their own website – here

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Written by curly

October 13, 2011 at 9:35 am

So, your neighbour is a Muslim?

with 24 comments

Ever thought of getting to know them a little better?

Regular readers here will know that for some time I have been very concerned at how “The War Against Terror”, and the attendant changes in anti terror legislation introduced during the Blair/Brown era, affected the way we viewed ourselves, our civil liberties, and the way in which we approached others within our communities. I have to report that in South Shields, at least, the more general fears and stereotypical views about the followers of Islam have not been realised, although there have been a very few isolated incidents reported in the local press.

I have often criticised in this blog, the apparent failure of government to adhere to its own principles that terrorism would not alter the way of British life, government itself has managed to achieve that by regulating, legislating, monitoring, spying, and gradually eroding many of our centuries old civil liberties that we often take for granted. Following on from the major outrages of 9/11 and 7/7 government has managed to introduce an illogical sense of fear about Muslims in our communities and allowed sections of the press and media to highlight the most extreme extreme examples of expression from teachings and preachings to public demonstrations, yet in the majority of British communities, and most certainly here in South Shields, there is very little evidence at all to support these fears.

We have lived side by side with Muslims in our locality for over two hundred years here, with descendants of Yemenis and more recently Bangladeshis, educated in our schools, working in our community, and generally being normal “Geordies” enriching our lives with an infusion of diversity and culture. I stated in a previous post that I will be writing a little more about our Muslim neighbours during June and July to try and bridge that gap of understanding which still exists, and I am meeting some people who are keen on reaching out into the wider community to help us gain that understanding about their cultural and religious beliefs.

We all need to appreciate, accept and respect each other’s beliefs and be able to come together in those areas where we all share a common path, it strengthens us as human beings, engages us, and challenges us to move forward with greater social integration. We have been blessed in South Tyneside with many years of social, cultural, and religious harmony, but the history of recent more international events risks alienating a section of our community which has done little to deserve suspicion on any level.

The video above is taken from an American website which has broadly the same aims, My Fellow American is also reaching out to bridge that divide, caused by ignorance, and build stronger local communities with greater social cohesion. Just because your neighbour may have a different coloured skin, or may occasionally dress differently, or wear a beard, or eat different meals to you is no reason to view him with a wary eye. We didn’t necessarily do this with those speaking in an Irish brogue in the 1970s did we?

As we approach Ramadam I will be introducing some members of the Muslim community here in South Shields who will talk about their experiences and share them with us, I hope you will find their stories fascinating, interesting, entertaining, and engaging.

I hope that it may encourage you to reach out and get to know your neighbour a little better.

It’s part of what being a Sanddancer is all about.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Written by curly

June 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

New government only provides new management of torture

with one comment

Classified documents reveal no real libertarian intents

So David Miliband, the South Shields MP, may well continue to feel some heat over the last Labour government’s position on torturing our own citizens and “rendering” them to third countries where the real question remains whether “detention, rather than killing, is the objective of the operation”, but today’s article in the Guardian also reveals that despite Clegg and Cameron making all sorts of sweet sounds about liberal free thinking principles, in reality the status quo will be maintained.

Cameron also made clear that the sort of material that has so far been made public with the limited disclosure in the Guantánamo cases would be kept firmly under wraps during the inquiry. “Let’s be frank, it is not possible to have a full public inquiry into something that is meant to be secret,” he said. “So any intelligence material provided to the inquiry panel will not be made public and nor will intelligence officers be asked to give evidence in public.”

Right, let’s keep everything under wraps in case we are seen to be collaborating in various methods of torture, which historically have produced poor questionable evidence as those suffering are prepared to say whatever is required of them in order to escape the physical and mental pain and anguish. Surely as a liberal western democracy we are above these ridiculous medieval inquisitions, we surely have the intelligence resources and technologies to gather evidence without resorting to such sub human methods. To treat people in a manner as bad as that used to experiment on rodents in pursuit of the perfect lipstick is an anachronism which we all should condemn.

It (the coalition government) also wishes to preserve what it calls “liaison relationships” – operational links with overseas intelligence agencies, including those known to use torture – on the grounds that they are a vital part of the country’s counter terrorism strategy.

Vital? Oh really?
Perhaps that’s why they are embarking on a programme of seeking mediation with those British subjects who have suffered at the hands of brutal operatives in third countries and who have yet to face any real charges under British law, or even find themselves convicted.

The protection of the status quo does nothing at all to improve our reputation in the rendition business, nor anything at all to improve the perception that the new government is simply failing to manage the policy makers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Change of government = change of managers, not change of policy!

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Written by curly

July 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Essential equipment for holding councillors to account

with 4 comments

spy gear

Intelligence is the key these days

On the left is the digital voice recorder:

Half digital recorder, half portable memory device. Unlike most, the pocket-sized Olympus stereo digital recorder downloads without cables, docking station or special software. Just plug the digital recorder into just about any PC with a USB port and off you go. The digital recorder makes it so easy to record your thoughts, ideas, memos or even small meetings in superbly clear stereo sound.

Simple plug and play via USB no cables, cradle or software necessary
Allows the storage of any file type, not just voice files
Features an integrated stereo microphone for high quality recording
Offers four recording modes: SHQ and HQ mode for superior quality, SP and LP for extended recording
Recording times between 35hours. in High Quality and 138 hours. in LP mode
5 folders, 199 messages per folder for file management
Mac compatible

On the right we have the Video Eyewear Recorder:

1.3 mega pixels Eyewear Video Recorder with 2GB builit-in memory and TF card slot-Features

-Quality Polaroid Lens from brand makers.
-1.3 mega pixels pinhole CMOS camera for clear digital recording.
-User friendly operation button for easy control.
-Sleek and elegant design suits for both men and women users.
-A must equipment and highly recommended device for journalist, traffic police, travellers and etc.
-Easy connection with PC/Laptops, no driver needed
-Built in 2G memory for as long as 5 hours video recording.
-With extended memory slot for TF/Micro SD card.
-Real time recording, never let memorable moments sneak away from life.

-Specs

-Power Supply:built-in 550mAh lipolymer battery
-Power duration: 4-5 hours
-Power Adaptor: 5V DC/500 mAh
-Built-in 2GB memory, support TF card Max 2GB
-Camera hardware resolution: 1.3m pixels.
-Reading Speed > 700kbs, write >500Kbs
-Resolution:320*240
-Playing Speed: 30fps
-Audio:Stereo
-Power Consumption: <0.4W
-Video Format: 3GP
-Card Slot: TF/Micro SD card
-Physical weight 39g with battery

Next time you see your local councillors out and about doing a street walk on their patch in South Tyneside make sure you are well equipped to really know what they are talking about, these councillors are slippery you know, especially the Labour Party ones (real socialists are apparently even worse!) You cannot possibly be in opposition to your local Labour councillors unless you know exactly what they are talking about, who they are talking to, what they are getting up to, who they are meeting, and what their plans are, so get get yourself equipped to deal with opposition!

You know it makes sense!

Can I recommend The Spy Shop, one of the UK’s leading surveillance equipment suppliers, but a word of caution, if you are purchasing from South Shields make sure that your credit is good first, secondly, I’m not sure if they have a branch in Biddick Hall yet, so telephone before visiting the area eh?

Yes, I know, politics in South Tyneside used to be a simple battle of ideas, policies, and presentation, now it seems the whole game is just verging towards the sinister, and I even thought that the folks on the left were massively in favour of civil liberties and the protection of individual privacy and identities.

Remember folks, that being photographed when you are in a public place is not a crime, it is allowed, unless of course someone is poking a lens under your nose repeatedly, when it does become a crime (it’s called harassment), if you are not sure what a street photographer can get up to these days then download Linda MacPherson’s excellent guide – here

It might have made an amusing story if it wasn’t so bloody not funny (see, even I can empathise.)

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Written by curly

July 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm

28 day pre-charge detention is not necessary

leave a comment »

David Davis attacks coalition decision

Via Conservative Home

Former Shadow Home Secretary has attacked the new Home Secretary over her decision to renew the 28 day pre-charge detention period:

“Whilst it is welcome that she is having this review of Labour’s heavy-handed legislation, and whilst it is at least welcome that this is a six month rather than one year review, it is wholly unnecessary to extend further. There have been no cases in the last four years where it has been necessary to go beyond 21 days. Even the Heathrow plot, where innocent people were held for 28 days, it has now been proven that those that were charged after this lengthy period could have been charged in less than 14 days.

“This extension is therefore unnecessary and regrettable. It is to be hoped that after the 6 months review we will see an end not just to this unnecessarily authoritarian law, but also to control orders and their regime of house arrest, internal exile, and secret courts, all of which are an anathema of British standards of justice.”

Like Jonathan Isaby I’m a bit miffed that the coalition partners do not appear to be as libertarian as we first hoped, I’m also glad that (a) government backbenchers are not afraid to challenge the government on the issue and (b) that Conservative Home is proudly carrying it’s independent position during a period of government and not just behaving like the party puppy dog. Readers will appreciate that I have supported for a long time moves to remove some of the more draconian elements of legislation passed by the Blair/Brown governments in it’s so called “war against terror”.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Written by curly

June 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Best news of the day

leave a comment »

ID Card scheme to be scrapped within 100 days

Many in South Shields may not be bothered one way or another but this news is a huge relief to the few of us around here who have held the flag of liberty, freedom, and civil liberties over the years, even though we may have waived it around in differing directions. It is good to see the Conservative and Liberal Democrat partners in government moving ahead with projects to roll back the state and save our cash with such incredible speed and determination.

I note from the lack of howling protests coming from the left (ah yes, silence is golden) that apparently the whole idea wasn’t all that popular with them after all, just a pity that they couldn’t have called upon their principles and beliefs to prevent Blair, Brown, Straw, Clarke, Blunkett, Smith, Johnson et al from inflicting such a monumental infringement of our privacy and liberties upon us, and that’s without raising the issues of the horrendous costs and unproven effectiveness.

The BBC reports that:

Some £250m was spent on developing the national ID programme over eight years and its abolition will mean the government will avoid spending a further £800m over a decade.

If you were stupid enough to buy one of the National ID Cards then I’m afraid that this government will not be offering you a refund of the £30 you recklessly thought would save you from international terrorism. If you are desperate to get the cash back then can I suggest that you write to Unite the union who are the principle bankrollers of the Labour Party, I’m sure they’ll find the time to consider your request after they have finished their attempt to crash British Airways.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook