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A plea for fairer Council Taxes

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Coalition needs to take action

Yes, I know the World Cup is on and most minds are on England’s underwhelming performance against the USA, not to mention Robert Green’s howler, and last night in South Shields Snooker Centre was probably noisier than any bar in Rustenburg, but here is something else to exercise our minds with as local Labour councillors in South Tyneside have already started moaning and whinnying about the government’s tightening of the financial belt, despite the fact that Alistair Darling, the former Labour Chancellor, had heralded “spending cuts more severe than the Thatcher years” had Labour won.

So please take the time to read this guest post from Christine Melsome, writing on behalf of Is it Fair who campaign for the reform of Council Tax.

Council Tax must be made fairer.

“Those in areas of high property values have no choice but to pay perhaps half as much again or maybe even double that paid in cheaper areas merely to get a roof over their heads. I say again, they have no choice if they want to stay in the area in which they work and where their families and friends live. They commit a far greater proportion of their income to servicing hefty mortgages. When the property is finally theirs, of course it is a valuable asset, but they have paid dearly for it. We have to remember that it is only an asset when sold – until then the value means little, one has to live somewhere. Why are they punished, then, by absurdly high council tax, both throughout their mortgage years and afterwards, totally out of proportion to that paid by those in similar properties elsewhere?

In his speech to the House of Commons on 21 March 1991 prior to the introduction of Council Tax in April 1993, Michael Heseltine said, “…the system should ensure that regional variations in property values do not lead to disproportionate bills in high price areas.” Something has plainly gone badly wrong. What is the new government going to do to put this matter right?

Perhaps the place to start would be Formula Grant?

The grant system is due for a make-over. A manipulative Government has used this as a tool to tighten the screw on councils not flying their flag. Many areas of the country have been starved of funding while others are awash with cash. The system must be made fairer, and the sooner the better.

There is little to indicate that incomes, especially for pensioners, vary much across the country. Here is one example (and there are many). It may surprise you to know that the median income for Sunderland and for Eastbourne is about the same, but the average council tax per dwelling in Eastbourne is hundreds of pounds more.”

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Written by curly

June 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm

So, we cannot buy as many anti-terror measures in Pakistan as we would like.

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It’s just another symptom of a bankrupt government.

What is it with all of the political hand wringing today?

Government ministers and opposition spokesmen and women all seem to be crying crocodile tears over the fact that we cannot get good value for our pounds in Pakistan. Well we can squarely lay the blame for the demise of our national currency at the door of Gordon Brown who has ruined our economy after thirteen years of unfettered spending and borrowing, and we can sneer at the apparent disjointed messages given by Brown and Baroness Kinnock respectively. Glenda bemoans the fact that Foreign Office budgets are under tight restraint, while Gordon says that:

the “crucible of terrorism” on the Afghan-Pakistan border remained the “number one security threat to the West”

Which is all rather odd considering that the Americans regard the UK as posing the worst Al Qaeda led threat in the western world. Perhaps we’d be better off spending what little money we have left on supporting our own Muslim communities in battling the radicalising of their religion, thus preventing large numbers of Britons heading off to Yemen or Somalia (for that is where the top intelligence people believe the most dangerous training camps have emerged recently).

With al-Qaeda’s leadership under intense pressure from Nato and Pakistani security forces, there are reports that scores of British activists are now travelling to Yemen and Somalia to attend al-Qaeda training camps and receive instructions for carrying out terror attacks against Western targets.

“The level of al-Qaeda activity in Britain is becoming a major source of concern,” said a senior State Department official. “The organisation’s ability to use Britain as a base to plot terror attacks constitutes a serious threat to the security of Britain and other Western countries.”

Unfortunately, we saddled ourselves with Tony Blair in 1997 who decided, for reasons still being investigated by Chilcott, to take us into a couple of wars riding along as George Bush’s partner. Blair, without realising, made Britain a target for Islamic fundamentalists by his actions and even threatens the security of the vast majority of decent average moderate British Muslims as they are psychologically profiled and generally demonised by other sections of society. After another of his Acts of Parliament strengthened the “no win no fee conditional arrangements” we find we cannot even freely talk about terror and it’s consequences in this country, freedom of speech has been seriously curtailed under Labour, and in another consequence of T.W.A.T. (The War Against Terror) we find our police forces spending their time fighting against photographers instead of misguided Islamic radicals.

All these damaging consequences arising from the so called War Against Terror are symptoms of a government bankrupt financially, strategically, and morally, they no longer command authority, are totally muddle headed, and have long passed their sell by date.

Problem is our next government is unlikely to change much in the way that we formulate our foreign policies and hang on to the shirt tails of the USA, President Obama has had a year in The White House, a year that he promised would bring “change”, there has been precious little of it, he promised he would end the war in Afghanistan, yet he has decided to do that by sending even more American troops there, and he promised to bring the troops home from Iraq within 16 months, time is fast running out on that one too. He promised to close Guantanamo Bay, yet it is still operating as his deadline looms.

Perhaps, just perhaps, with a more independent foreign policy and with a Prime Minister able to stand up to an American President, we may be able to divert more of our resources internally and not have to worry so much about the threats from abroad. Perhaps, just perhaps, with British involvement in Afghanistan brought to an end, our security at home may be much improved.

We must live in hope.

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Written by curly

January 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Brown wins sensational election victory

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senator brown

No, no, folks, don’t get excited – it was over there not over here! Click the picture for full story, looks like the Americans don’t care for healthcare. and looks like Brown knows who was responsible for losing the Democrat stronghold.

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Written by curly

January 20, 2010 at 11:29 am

I cannot take a joke!

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Joker, Gordon Brown

This is a disgrace!

Picture courtesy of An Englishman’s Castle

Of course it is a rebut to those who seem to have nothing better to do than divorce themselves from their own sense of humour about President Barack Obama, the producers of a poster labelling him as a socialist have immediately been branded as racists. More on this over at Mr. Eugenede’s place.

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Written by curly

August 7, 2009 at 11:02 am

Times journo prevented from taking photograph

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No photography


Picture by Sam Coates

Sam was on a public road in London, John Adam Street, parallel to the Strand, where a production team were filming Peter Morgan’s latest work “The Special Relationship”. They intend to make it look like Downing Street and when Sam tried to take a snap of the scene he was threatened with the police.

Not remotely similar to my experience 16 months ago?

Of course it is, and we should all cry “Stop!” before the interfering busy bodies in society ensure that nothing of our age is recorded for future generations to enjoy.

Ironically, seeing as they were making another film about Tony and Cherie Blair and their relationships with American Presidents, the incident (if filmed) would have added a touch of realism and reminded future generations of the way in which NuLabour have relentlessly removed civil liberties from our island population since the inception of the TWAT (The War Against Terror) under the urging of G. W. Bush.

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Written by curly

July 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm

England degrades all women

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Total Hoon, and her actions degrade women, soldiers of both sexes, America and it’s allies, and responsible authors all around the world.

The only consolation is that someone might just learn something from her repulsive exposures.

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Written by curly

June 13, 2009 at 10:04 am

Posted in News, United States

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D-Day 65th Anniversary

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A tremendous speech from President Reagan in 1984, better than anything that I’d heard today.

Via Iain Dale

(I’m still blaming Gordon Brown for the Queen’s absence)

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Written by curly

June 6, 2009 at 9:06 pm

French snub to the Queen?

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Sunday ExpressOr was it a Downing Street manoeuvre?

There has been much comment and disquiet over the fiasco about the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, for those remaining members of the Normandy Veterans Society in South Tyneside this will be the last ocassion when they travel together to revisit the beaches of Normandy where so many of their fellow brothers in arms fell in the defence of Europe from Nazi tyranny, yet the Queen, the only head of state to have served in uniform in WWll will not be there to represent one of those nations to whom the majority of the French are eternally thankful for their liberation. Instead, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown has taken it upon himself (as though he were a head of state) to represent us in her place.

Veterans gathered in Northern France next weekend will have to make do with saluting an MoD lackey at a memorial parade because the Queen, head of Britain’s armed forces, has not been invited.

Andrew Rosindell MP will ask to be allowed to pose an Urgent Question, demanding to know why the Prime Minister failed to follow protocol.

If Speaker Michael Martin agrees to the move, which is expected to have the backing of the majority of MPs, Mr Brown will be forced to attend the Commons and explain his actions.

“It is shocking and disgraceful that the Queen, who is not only head of state but also head of the British Army, has not been invited to France for such an important event,” said the Tory MP for Romford last night.

“There are two theories as to why this could be: hopeless disorganisation or a deliberate attempt to hog the limelight for himself.

“But I am not going to judge the Prime Minister until he is given an opportunity to explain exactly why and how this has happened.”

So did President Sarkozy, who the Queen entertained with his wife Carla Bruni at Windsor Castle recently, actually send an invitation via Downing Street to reciprocate that hospitality or not? France are claiming that it was up to Downing Street to decide who ought to represent us (which is just another illustration of their ability to surrender when under fire) and critics are claiming that the Brown bunker totally misread the situation and gloriously screwed up on what will probably be the last major event to mark the anniversary of D-Day.

“Normal protocol is for the Prime Minister’s Office to extend an invitation of this type to the Queen. After all, both Mr Sarkozy and Mr Obama are heads of state. Mr Brown is not,” said royal expert Margaret Holder.

Critics have accused Mr Brown of “sitting on the invitation” until it was too late to extend it to royalty.

“I think it is very evident that Mr Brown wanted the focus to be on him, standing with Mr Barack and Mr Sarkozy,” said one MP last night.

“Tony Blair would have basked in the reflected glory of standing side by side with the Queen but Brown feels threatened by this.”

Of course other Heads of State will be there including POTUS Barack Obama who Gordon Brown would love to be photographed next to, yet Obama himself ought to be reminded of the conversation between one of his predecessors and President Charles de Gaulle:

There is a story about a conversation between General de Gaulle, who, as president of the French Republic, telephoned his American counterpart Lyndon B Johnson, to inform him that France had decided to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty alliance.

Since its foundation nearly two decades earlier, Nato had had its headquarters in France. Now Nato would have to move.

Furthermore, de Gaulle added, it was his intention that all American service personnel should be removed from French soil.

“Does that include,” Johnson is said to have replied, “those buried in it?”

Just kind of reminds you starkly what these events are all about doesn’t it, and of the over 4500 allies who died on D-Day only 19 of them were French. If further reminder is necessary just go back to this famous Google search about French Military victories.

It seems to me that neither Sarkozy nor Brown will come out of this smelling of roses as both show a scant disregard for history, tradition, or real pride, the thoughts of Phil King, chairman of the Southport and West Lancashire Normandy Veterans Association stick in the mind as being telling and pertinent:

“First it was the Gurkhas, then the D Day veterans. This Government has proven again and again that it has no interest in history, no pride in those who have given or risked their lives to protect it in its time of need, unless there is suddenly media interest.

“As far as I’m concerned, we may have beaten the Nazis, but Mr Brown has proved to be the enemy within.”

Quite – just what is he playing at exchanging the importance an international day of remembrance for a photo opportunity without Her Majesty the Queen present?

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Written by curly

May 31, 2009 at 9:45 am

The Weekend Entertainment

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Barack Obama and ‘Words matter’ speech

“Junior” found this for me, he’s a bit of a fan of ‘Family Guy’ (something I don’t get the time to watch on TV) it had me creased, but only for a few seconds. I’m sure a few of my American readers will appreciate this little video


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Written by curly

April 26, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Miliband on renditions

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A couple of updates

On intelligence officers’ observations on the treatment of suspects held by the USA in Afghanistan

I’m saying nowt.

On whether he’d asked to be shown the 42 documents about Binyam Mohamed, I reckon the South Shields MP and Foreign Secretary said:

Well no, not exactly

You have to take a close look at the prepared wording that was given to Miliband in order to answer William Hague’s question, the FCO Legal Advisor back in February was informed that Obama’s administration in the USA was having a review of all state secret cases in the rendition process instituted by the Bush government, but he certainly DID NOT ask the Americans to release the 42 Mohamed related documents talked about in court. He intimated that we would have no objections to their release but made it quite clear that we would not be asking specifically for such action.

Clear diplomatic language which in a nutshell says

We’re doin’ nowt.

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Written by curly

April 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm