Saturday, 27 August 2011

The only thing worse than being talked about....... NOT being talked about (Oscar Wilde). Of course if you are involved in politics then most of what is said about you is untrue. The public however seem to be much more inclined to believe what they read on an anonymous website than they are to actually find out the real truth, especially f the anonymous website is full of bile and invective while the truth is much less titilating.

Anyway, the message board I am finding most amusing recently is one called "Junius" which proports to be an expose of the real UKIP. I find most of the rubbish posted on there to be exactly that...RUBBISH. When he (or she?) comments on events I know some of the background to, or have details about, I inevitably find he is so far off the mark that it is laughable. I therefore assume anything I do not know the details of, but upon which he pontificates, is similarly wide of the mark. I have just visited the site and he is ranting about the Ashford Call Centre. PLEASE! How long before he lets that go. I do occasionally find myself the subject of his bile. Just a few days ago, I was a Faragist Lickspittle who was put in place to manipulate and cheat to ensure a YES Vote in the PEP Ballot. Ensuring the "right" result would apparently be my route to a seat as an MEP next time! Strangely, there has been no comment from Junius about me since the NO Vote in the ballot! Am I still a Farage brown noser?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

UKIP Conference Program Eastbourne 2011

Thursday 8 Sept
Agents Training 14.00-16.30, Hardwick Suite, ILTC
YI Conference 14.30-16.30, Spencer Suite, ILTC
Freedom Association 'Free Spirits' 17.00-18.15, Spencer Suite, ILTC
YI Public Speaking Contest Final 18.15-19.15, Spencer Suite, ILTC
Chairman's Reception 19.30–22.00, Gold Room, Winter Gardens
Launch of Gadfly Club at Chairman's Reception

Friday a.m.
Session Chairman: Steve Crowther, Executive Party Chairman
9.15 Video: Small Business vs Petty Bureaucracy
9.45 John Wallace, Chairman, SE Committee
Cllr Carolyn Heaps, Mayor of Eastbourne
10.00 Cllr Lisa Duffy
Mayor of Ramsey
10.10 Cllrs Peter Reeve and Chris Adams
Towards 2015 – a strategy for success
10.30 Parade of UKIP Councillors
10.40 Sanya-Jeet Thandi
Standing for UKIP
10.50 Neil Hamilton
Political Commentator, Sunday Express
11.05 Tea & coffee break
11.20 Patrick O'Flynn
Chief Political Columnist, Daily Express
11.35 Barry Madlener MEP
Party of Freedom (PVV), Netherlands
11.50 Timo Soini
Leader, True Finns
12.10 Nigel Farage MEP
Party Leader

Freedom Association –
YI – The rise of Euroscepticism in Europe
Pat Bryant – Should drugs be decriminalised?
Care Asset Management – Funding long-term care
NEC Candidate Hustings
Tim Congdon and Gerard Batten: The Cost of the EU (Cavendish Hotel)

1.00 LEADER'S LUNCH, Gold Room

Friday p.m. Session Chairman: Lisa Duffy, Party Director
14.00 Nicolas Dupont-Aignan MP
Forward the Republic Party (DLR), France
14.20 The Euro Crisis – Economists Panel
Prof Tim Congdon
Dr Petr Mach
Godfrey Bloom MEP
14.40 Jon Gaunt
Director, The EU Referendum Campaign
14.55 Gerard Batten MEP
After the Riots: What Next?
15.10 Alex Singleton
[Former leader writer, Daily Telegraph]
15.25 Tea & coffee break
15.40 Paul Doyle
Policy Focus: Defence
15.50 Michael Heaver
Policy Focus: Education
16.00 Robert Elliott
Policy Focus: Long-Term Care
16.10 Andrew Charalambous
Policy Focus: Housing
16.20 Eddie Bone
Campaign for an English Parliament
16.30 Paul Nuttall MEP with Tim Aker
Policy Review

Freedom Association – Should the Death Penalty be reintroduced?
Marta Andreasen – The EU Budget: Why we should not pay one penny more
Electoral Reform Society –
Westonaprice –

7.00 for 7.30 GALA DINNER, Floral Hall

Saturday a.m. Session Chairman: Steve Allison, Party Vice-Chairman
9.15 Video: Europe's Ill Wind (25 mins)
9.45 John Tennant
Working in the European Parliament
10.00 Harry Aldridge
Young Independence in 2011
10.15 Tom Booker and Steve Fowler
YI at Freshers' Fayres
10.20 James Moyies
Branch Revival Programme
10.35 Sean Howlett
YI working in branches
10.40 London 2012
David Coburn, Chairman, UKIP London
London Mayoral Candidate
Parade of London Assembly Candidates
11.00 Tea & coffee break
11.15 Steven Woolfe
Campaign brief: City of London
11.35 Bill Etheridge
Campaign against Political Correctness
11.45 Inez Ward
Campaign brief: Justice for Landlords
11.55 Joe Rukin
Campaign brief: Opposing HS2
12.05 Ben Pile
Campaign brief: Fighting the Turbines

Freedom Association – Where next for the BBC?
Christian Soldiers in UKIP
UKIP Friends of Israel
NEC Candidate Hustings
Disciplinary Committee elections

Saturday p.m. Session Chairman:
14.00 Motions
Submit your Speaker Request slips to Member Services before 13.00.
[Motion 1]
[Motion 2]
[Motion 3]
[Motion 4]

15.15 Leadership Q&A
Submit your questions to Member Services before 14.00.
15.35 Tea & coffee break
15.50 UKIP Gold Medal Awards
Party Chairman
16.30 Steve Crowther
Chairman's closing address
16.45 Anthems
Introduced by Michael Corby
17.00 Close

We look forward to seeing you at the 2012 Spring Conference in Skegness, on 2-3 March.

Mafia Country

The P&O Aurora is docked in Mafia country this morning, Palermo, Sicily's capital, which perches at the foot of Monte Pellgrino at the heart of a large natural harbour. Founded in the 5th century, it has alternately enjoyed and endured one of the most colourful histories of any Mediterranean city. Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabs, Goths, Vandals have all come and gone, leaving their mark on the population as well as the architecture.

Despite being a lively modern city where the million inhabitants going about their daily business with the traditional Italian mix of style, noise and organised confusion, there is history at every turn from the Arab-Norman artistry of the fabulous, mosaic-laden Palazzo dei Normanni to the Capuchin Catacombs full of Palermitans mummified by the Capuchin monks.

Just outside Palermo is Monreale with its lavishly decorated cathedral one of the worlds ten most visited monuments.

Just so long as there is a fridge magnet shop! The collection for Grandma Aileen must be getting quite big by now!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Wind Farm Hub

I was pleased to read that Energy Minister Charles Hendry was very impressed with Hartlepool and the town is set to become the “Wind Farm Hub” of the east coast. Apparently the Mayor and Hartlepool MP are delighted that there are thousands of new jobs on the way to the town. Imagine my surprise when I was visiting Hull and discovered their MP was very enthusiastic over the Humberside special enterprise area and that it was going to make Hull the new east coast centre of wind turbine manufacturing. Some mistake surely?

Actually, according to Alex Samond, the east coast wind turbine centre is going to be in Aberdeen and is set to create 5,000 jobs in Scotland. I’m sorry to contradict him but the Isle of Sheppey in Kent is the favored site for Europe's biggest wind turbine factory with 2,000 new jobs. Of course the firm promising to build the plant in Kent is the same one who closed their plant on the Isle of Wight in 2009 due to lack of orders.

Wind turbines are currently being touted as the panacea that will cure all ills, bring 1,000s of well-paid manufacturing jobs and power a clean, green Britain. Unfortunately, not everywhere being promised these factories and jobs will actually get them. However, don’t worry, everyone knows that Hartlepool is set to be the hub of UK Wind Turbine Manufacturing! Energy minister Charles Hendry said so and if we in Hartlepool know one thing it's that the word of a government minister is rock solid! They never just say what people want to hear and then do the opposite! Do they?

It's all just a CON Trick

Elected mayors. New idea or a re-packaged Victorian initiative?

As the twentieth century drew to a close local government was in a perilous state. According to White “For more than fifty years English local democracy has come under sustained attack from governments of every political complexion” (White 2004). This had produced excessive oversight from the national government in Westminster and local government that was effectively moribund and being driven by edict from the centre.

The status of local government in the year 2000 was almost identical to that which had existed 125 years earlier. Victorian local government approached the last quarter of the nineteenth century in a similarly depressed state to its modern counterpart. According to Simon Szreter, the Victorian town hall was, in most towns and cities “in an almost farcical state of low aspirations and low standards” (Szreter 2002).

"where once-proud corporations led by the town's leading men of affairs had put through great town improvements such as widening roads and building hospitals in the eighteenth century, municipal administration had now fallen into a mean state of bickering and 'do-nothingism'." (Szreter 2002).

The answer of the Gladstone government to the Victorian local civic lethargy was to re-vitalise the prestige of local government by encouraging civic activism. This led to the emergence of new local civic leaders, including the managing director of the West Midlands' biggest screw manufacturer (which ultimately became G.K.N.), Joseph Chamberlain, father of the future Conservative Prime Minster, Neville Chamberlain.

Joseph Chamberlain was elected mayor of Birmingham in 1875, for the third consecutive year, on the back his programme of ambitious municipal spending! Gladstone’s reforms were actually so successful that they produced a complete reversal of fortunes, with local government expenditure even outstripping that of central government. (Szreter 2002).

This persisted until the Labour government’s nationalisation programmes in the 1940s and 1950s began a return to central control. Ironically, nationalisation was what ultimately allowed the cycle of national vs local control to return to national dominance through the final destruction of local control by the privatisations of the Thatcher era.

"Nationalisation, by weakening the power of local government and by gathering together industries and services under central control, eased the path for privatisation when the political tables turned thirty years on." (White 2004).

Rejuvenation of local government

It was against this background in the late 1990s that the Blair Government was seeking a means of rejuvenating local government, with renewed local civic activism and increased civic pride. The government hit upon the concept of directly elected mayors as a means of reviving local democracy. According to a government consultation paper “Modernising local government

"A mayor would be a highly visible figure. He or she would have been elected by the people rather than the council or party and would therefore focus attention outwards in the direction of the people rather than inwards towards fellow councillors. The mayor would be a strong political and community leader with whom the electorate could identify. Mayors will have to become well known to their electorate which could help increase interest in and understanding of local government." (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions 1998)

When the government’s proposals were translated into law, they actually gave local people the opportunity to have a real say in how local government was structured. Councils were made to undertake consultation with their residents over three types of alternative arrangements for their future council. The options were to have a directly elected mayor with a cabinet appointed by the mayor, a council leader appointed by the councillors with a cabinet appointed either by the council or the leader or a directly elected mayor and council manager (this last model was withdrawn in 2007).

An elected mayor is in post for four years and acts as the council’s political leader. This is a distinct and separate role from the current civic mayors, who change every twelve months and undertake a ceremonial role. Civic mayors are assumed to be non-political, although in reality it is unusual for the role to go outside the majority political party in a local authority.

Opinion polls have consistently shown that a directly elected mayor is an attractive proposition to between 55 and 75 per cent of the public (Market & Opinion Research International, 2008) but also that there is considerable confusion over the exact role and powers of an “executive” or directly elected mayor.

First elected mayors

A major change introduced by direct election is that a directly elected mayor need not be a councillor first. Anyone aged twenty-one years or older and satisfying certain residency requirements can stand as a candidate in a mayoral election.

This does rather open the door to “celebrity” and novelty candidates. Possibly the two most famous of these are Stuart Drummond, the “Monkey Mayor” in Hartlepool (British Broadcasting Corporation, 2002) and “Robocop" Ray Mallon in Middlesbrough.

The election of Stuart Drummond in particular was heavily criticized by the political establishment. Simon Hughes MP, then the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman, said on BBC Radio that Mr.Drummond's victory in Hartlepool highlighted the shortcomings in the system of directly elected mayors.

"We were against the idea of directly-elected mayors because we thought they allowed for gimmicks and superficial characters to succeed and we were clearly proved right." (Hughes 2002).

The monkey mascot's election success also lead Labour Party Chairman Charles Clarke, also speaking on BBC Radio, to admit the monkey mascot's success was "a serious issue" and that it may push the government into a rethink about the system of directly elected mayors. He further said,

"While there had been a positive mayoral result in Doncaster, where the Labour candidate won, the other end of it is the other guy elected in Hartlepool, the one in the monkey suit, who ridicules the whole system. Obviously we will have to weigh it all up ... but again like all these experiments, they are designed to encourage better ways of looking at local government and that is what we will continue to try to do." (Clarke 2002)

However, despite concerns about the electorate’s inability to vote for serious candidates, the mayoral programme was still felt by the Blair government to be the best way to meet its programme for “strong and prosperous communities” and to provide,

"transparent and accountable leadership which itself has important benefits. Such leadership firstly may provide a mechanism for regenerating interest in local politics. Secondly, a high profile local leader can potentially help create a more inclusive politics, providing an accessible focus point for businesses, the voluntary sector and interest groups, as well as voters." (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2006).

Despite central government’s support for the directly elected mayor model and the public interest generated by the election of individuals like the “Monkey Mayor” there were clear “No” votes rejecting the concept in vast majority of local authorities which held referenda on introducing the system. Since the post of elected mayor was created by the Blair government in the Local Government Act 2000 over 60 referenda have been held, resulting in the election of just 12 elected mayors, four of these being in London. (Hope and Wanduragala 2010).

The lack of public interest in a regenerated local government, via the elected mayor model, was even evident in the Prime Minister’s own constituency of Sedgefield. In a referendum in October 2001 the Sedgefield electorate voted 53% to 47% ((Turnout 33%) against the introduction of a directly elected mayor for Sedgefield District Council (BBC News 19 October 2001).

A review of the political progress of the elected mayors by Professor Colin Corpus concluded;

"The Blair government’s attempt to re-invigorate and refresh local political leadership, by introducing directly elected mayors, has resulted, by the way the mayoral model in England is currently configured, in little more than another route into the top local political post." (Corpus, 2009).

Continued Government support

However, despite the apparent failure of the elected mayoral system to catch the imagination of the general public the concept was included in the legislative programme for government published by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition in May 2010. (Cameron and Clegg 2010).

The coalition produced extensive proposals for a review of local government under the principles of “freedom, fairness and responsibility” which promised to create directly elected mayors in the twelve largest English cities, (subject to confirmatory referendums and full scrutiny by elected councillors). In a somewhat contradictory statement the coalition also promised to allow councils to return to the committee system should they wish to. The proposals to create more directly elected mayors while allowing existing elected mayors to be abolished illustrates the dichotomy that exists with the current mayoral system in England.

Since the field work was completed for this masters dissertation a new elected mayor, Peter Soulsby, has taken office in the City of Leicester but the concept has been rejected in towns as diverse as Welwyn (Kierenan 2010), Charnwood (Ashe, 2010) and Great Yarmouth (Pullinger 2011). In Charnwood only 32 people responded to a public consultation about the introduction of a directly elected mayor and most of them were in favour of a leader and cabinet model.

There are currently public consultations on-going in several major town and cities in the UK, most notably Birmingham, where two of the city’s MPs, John Hemming (Liberal Democrat) and Roger Godsiff (Labour) are leading a “No” campaign and a broad group of media, business and public sector professionals have formed the “Yes” campaign (Elkes 2011).

The involvement of members of parliament in campaigning for, or against, an elected mayor for towns in their constituencies has lead to some suggestions of a conflict of interest. The Tory MP for Castle Point, Rebecca Harris, signed a petition supporting a referendum on an elected mayor that resulted in an outcry from Castle Point council’s Conservative majority, who are opposed to the idea. Ms.Harris subsequently clarified her position as being opposed to the idea of an elected mayor “because it concentrates too much power in the hands of one individual”. However, she remains a supporter of the campaign to have a referendum on the question since she wants “allow people to have their say”. (Harris in Orbach 2010).

The Mayor of Mansfield expressed the opinion during the field work for this dissertation that “I think the big issue is of course, from the party political leaders viewpoint, is that they lose control, which is why they don’t like it.

I must get a life!

I just realised that the majority of my blog posts at the moment are related to Edward Stalking. I really must get a life of my own. Today I'm going to proof read the MA Dissertation. It needs to be at the printers by next Wednesday at the latest. I'll do a bit of work round the garden and then parents are coming for lunch. Rosie is due home in time for lunch so it might be an afternoon of "ticket to ride" or failing that "Penguin Game" Early night tonight, I really need some sleep then the next fun filled week commences bright and early on Monday morning. The current jobs list stands at: (in no particular order!)

1, New gas meter box at Duke Street
2. Finish Lister Street bathroom
3. Decorate Lister Street
4 Clear yard at Lister Street
5. Re-let Lister Street
6. Fight Council over Parking Ticket
7. Review UKIP Draft Constitution
8. Clean out and make secure ground floor at Milton Road
9. Repair rear window at Milton Road
10.Finish stripping upstairs bathroom at home
11.Strip and remove old caravans
12.Re-grout Milton Road Shower
13.Creosote paddock fences and gates
14.Tidy away and stack scaffolding
15.Level turnout paddock
16.Repair guttering and down comers round dog's kennel
17.Repair/replace damaged stable doors
18.New guttering along stable front
19.Paint house sofits and facia boards
20.Finish off box round heat pump pipework
21.Re-lay patio paving
22.Finish off exterior heat pump box
23.Infill where trenches have settled and level lawn
24.Cut grass every week
25.Take dog for daily walk
26.Re-felt both pet shed
27.Re-felt storage shed
28.Creosote pet shed
29.Creosote storage shed
30.Repair and re-paint chicken coop
31.Tidy playroom
32.Fit New Kitchen at Thornton Street
33.Finish interior boxing in Utility room
34.Fit mouldings round kitchen cupboards at home
35.Sort out wiring to utility room extractor fan
36.Clean and treat exterior window sill in big room
37.Box in extractor duct in Kitchen
38.Landscape pond
39.Hang mirror above fireplace in big room
40.Make and fit heat shield above wood burning stove in big room
41.Replace insulation in roof where slabs have slipped
42.Rebuild steps outside back door at home
43.Make proper doors for crawlspace access
44.Hinges and finish door on upstairs cupboard
45.Strip out old hot water cylinder
46.Replace Gate post Pillar cap at home
47.Creosote Gates
48.Level area where caravans have been removed
49.Erect fence along boundary from barn to pond
50.Plant willows along boundary near barn
51.Set up raised veggie beds ready for next year
52.Lay pavings stones to provide Newbie with more hard-standing area
53.Lay paving stones to path to chicken coop
54.SUBMIT my MA Dissertation
55.Do audit reports.
57.Tax Returns
58.Re-lay the Tiles on the steps at Beaconsfield Square
59.Re-assembly tread mill.
60.Fit new upstairs bathroom

Edward Stalk - Split Croatia

Today the boy has reached Split. Nestling on the sparkling Dalmatian coast, the medieval Croatian port of Split, faces the myriad magical islands of the Kornati archipelago which include Brac, Hvar and Vis.

Face the other way across Split’s waterfront and you will see Diocletian’s Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman palaces in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The pedestrianised centre of Split is easy to walk around. Wander around its huddle of alleys and piazzas and then, for a great view, climb the exposed steps to the top of the 200ft-high cathedral bell tower.

Sip a drink at one of the many cafés along the seafront Riva or pop into a Konoba (wine cellar) to sample the excellent locally produced reds and whites. Culinary specialities include smoke and wind dried ham, stewed beef with noodles and delicious lamb dishes.

Just three miles from Split are the ruins of ancient Salona, once capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Edward Stalk reaches Venice

This World Heritage city is just about the perfect cruise call because everything you want to see is so easily accessible whether the ship docks just down from St Marks Square or further up the Grand Canal at the main Venice cruise terminal complex.

Cars are banned from the maze of narrow cobbled streets and 500 historic bridges within the city centre so there are just the two choices for getting around: the vaporetto (water-bus) network or just plain walking. A gondola ride is really for fun and romance rather than transportation.

Start walking from St Marks Square, with its ancient Basilica, lavish Doges Palace and imposing bell tower, then follow signs for the shop-lined Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs. But wherever you walk, there are intriguing arty shops, museums and galleries plus some tasty cafés and restaurants along the way.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Dubrovnik today!

Son and heir is in Dubrovnik today, although if he's still on the 12 - 4 watch he probably won't be getting ashore much. Still he should have been able to be on deck to experience sailing into the beautiful 12th century Croatian walled city of Dubrovnik, apparently it is one of the great cruising experiences.

The spectacular Old Town – with its pretty harbour, towering ramparts, creamy stone pavements and red-roofed buildings – is crammed with architectural wonders like Onofrio’s Fountain - constructed in the 1430s – and the 14th century Franciscan Monastery, home to a wonderful statue of the Piéta carved in 1498, and the world’s oldest pharmacy (est. 1391).

Visitors can also see the magnificently Gothic Sponza Palace and the 18th century Baroque Church of St Blaise, Dubrovnik’s patron saint.

After you have had your fill of sightseeing there are numerous pretty restaurants and cafés tucked away on Dubrovnik’s narrow side streets – worth exploring as they also contain offbeat shops and art galleries.

Lacework, oil paintings and ceramics are good buys but take plenty of cash with you, as some shops do not accept credit cards.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Brad Pitt or a Tall contest!

A major Hollywood block buster is being filmed in Glasgow at the moment. A cast and crew of 1,200 will be involved over the next two weeks. According to Glasgow City Council “the positive impact of the production on the local economy is likely to be in excess of £2m” Obviously what Glasgow really needs is the Tall Ships Race? Two million pounds only chicken feed compared to the benefits of the Tall Ships. Let’s face it Brad Pitt is hardly going to generate the same level of publicity for Glasgow as the visit by a sailing ship is he!

One question I’d like to ask is, what are the Hartlepool Tall Ships Team doing now? After all it was vital that the expert events team built up in the town was kept together for the future. Exactly what major events have they put on in the last twelve months? What events are they building up to? If the UK Government applied the same logic as Hartlepool Council then the team who organized Wills and Katie’s wedding will all have been kept together, on full pay, ready to spring into action for the next time a future king gets married!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Success of Norway’s Fishing Industry Outside of the EU

Great Article from the Freedom Association.

The disaster of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for Britain’s fishing industry is well documented, but in complete contrast is the great success of Norway’s fishing industry – outside of the EU.
Norway's fisheries and aquaculture industry is one of the world’s largest exporters of seafood reaching over 150 countries and producing 3 million tonnes of seafood each year. For the seventh year in a row the Norwegians have hit record highs in seafood exports (53.8 billion kroner in 2010, a fivefold increase from the 1990’s).
Not being in the EU is no disadvantage for Norway’s fishing industry with the EU accounting for 58% of seafood exports (31 billion kroner) and France being the largest EU market (5.3 billion kroner). Outside of the EU, Norway’s booming seafood exports are seeing significant growth in all of the BRIC countries.
To prevent over-fishing and preserve the ecosystem, Norway has agreements with Russia, the Faeroe Islands, Iceland (also not in the EU), Greenland (which left the EU in 1982) and the EU. The Norwegians have recognised that in order to preserve fish stocks it is totally unnecessary and dangerous to give away control of your national independence and fishing waters to the EU. Norway’s success also nails one of the great lies made by the EU for the CFP- that “fish don't recognise borders”. Of course the EU forgets to mention that fish don’t recognise EU borders either especially when they swim into the waters of countries with successful fishing industries outside of the EU, like Norway and Iceland.
It is quite clear that Norway’s NO votes in two EU referendums (1972 and 1994) has saved both their national independence and fishing industry, enabling it to prosper in the 21st century.
Norway’s fishing success outside of the EU provides a stark contrast to the wrecking of Britain’s fishing industry inside the EU. A look at the shocking figures showing the decline of Britain’s fishing industry should deeply shame successive British Governments:
- In 1970 there were 21,443 fishermen in the UK. By 2009 there were 12,212 (43% less)
- 97,000 jobs have been lost: 9,000 in fishing and 88,000 in dependent industries
- In 2007 Britain had 6,763 fishing vessels compared with 8,458 in 1997
- 70% of the total EU catch comes from what were formerly British waters.
- The CFP costs Britain an estimated £4.7 billion per annum (excluding the costs of unemployment)
- £1 billion of discarded British cod
The CFP disaster has led to other bizarre consequences. Britain has to import fish to satisfy rising domestic demand, with the fish imported being caught in what were our own territorial waters. Spain has Europe's biggest fleet and the largest quotas with most of its fishing done in British and Irish waters. 75% of EU fish stocks are overfished and near extinction.
Insane doesn’t even begin to describe the fact that EU member Great Britain, at a costs of £4.7 billion per annum, has collapsing fishing stocks and a declining fishing industry whilst Norway, outside of the EU, has healthy fishing stocks and a very profitable fishing industry that exports to over 150 countries.
The blame for this disaster can and should be laid directly at the door of those responsible - Britain’s cowardly and deceitful political class who have consistently allowed the EU to ruin Britain’s fishing industry and for that we should truly despise them.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

coffee and adrenaline

Coming down from a few days living on coffee and adrenaline! Not a good combination for an overweight 50 year old! In the same week as supervising the UKIP P-EP ballot I am hitting a deadline for my MA Thesis and trying to do the ground work for setting up a new business. Still the first two are now done and I can concentrate on the third one. Where do you buy chemistry sets?

PS The "boy" is still at sea and on his way to the Greek islands. I hope he's not finding those 4 hour watches too exhausting!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Take a break! I wish!

Son and heir is currently on the high seas cruising to Cephalonia (the largest of the Ionian islands) so no need to stalk him for a couple of days. Just as well since next week is frantic busy. The future direction of the UK Independence party will be decided in Hartlepool tomorrow (Tuesday 16 August) when the UK Independence Party Chairman, Stephen Crowther, will be in Hartlepool to witness the completion of an internal party ballot, to decide on whether or not UKIP joins a Pan-European Party.

It's been my job to oversee the ballot, as the Party Vice Chairman, and I've been using the services of local Hartlepool Firm, Atkinson Print, in Church Street.

It has been a big job to organize the ballot and the services of Atkinson Print have been vital; they have the specialist printing capabilities to ensure the integrity of the ballots can be guaranteed. Something absolutely essential when the result is as important as this one to UKIP.

The result of the ballot will be announced sometime on Tuesday afternoon. A ‘yes’ vote will see the UK Independence party looking to form a party in the European Parliament which will be open to MEPs of any member country that wish to see the European Union broken up and sovereignty returned to the individual member states. A ‘no’ vote will see UKIP remain purely a UK based party.

Then I've got a couple of meetings regarding a possible new business venture I've become involved in and of course although the MA Dissertation is finished I still have to print two copies and get it handed in. That will take longer than I expect I'm sure. So busy, busy, busy!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Edward stalk - Virgo, Spain

Received a Blackberry Message from the boy at 8.13am (08.13 hours to the nautical out there) saying he was in Virgo, Spains busiest fishing port, Vigo sits on the rugged west coast of the province of Galicia. Over the centuries, this charming town and its resilient residents have been the target for many naval attacks including a couple from Sir Francis Drake.

In these more peaceful days, you will still find the best view of Vigo is from the fort (Castillo del Castro) built to defend it from the hill overlooking the harbour. Then walk through the steep, narrow streets of the atmospheric old town (Barrio del Berbes) to see (and smell...) the daily fish market.

Try one of the oysters which are fresh from beds in Vigos ‘ria’ - one of the sunken sea-filled valleys for which Galicias coastline is renowned.And a Vigo cruise call is also a chance to visit nearby Santiago de Compostela, the subject of pilgrimages since the Middle Ages.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


The Health Scrutiny Forum had to accept the worst they can do is refer Councillor Geoff Lilley to the standards board. Of course its a kangaroo court!

Campaigning councillor faces threat of legal action


Hartlepool Council Health Scrutiny forum adjourned its meeting today and Councillor Geoff Lilley was asked to leave the committee room while the rest of the forum heard legal opinions over whether or not Councilor Lilley could be suspended from membership of the forum and referred to the Standards Board over his alleged involvement with the leaflet branding some of the Scrutiny Forum Members as “Collaborators” over the closure of Accident and Emergency Services at Hartlepool Hospital.

The meeting is due to re-convene at 11.00am

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

More "Save the Prom"

The save the prom group were easily out manoeuvred by the civic centre bosses in their attempt to get option 4 removed by calling for a motion in council and a debate. The move has been rejected due to procedural problems. Well unfortunately that was always going to be the result since public question time is not the route to get a debate onto the agenda.

The route for a motion at council is under Part 4 Clause 12 of the Constitution of Hartlepool Council. This requires a notice of motion to be served, signed by at least 5 members, seven clear days before the date of the meeting. The Headland has three councillors? So there are three of the five (well maybe two!) and I'm sure three suitably supportive others could be found. The motion must then go on the agenda. I'm surprised that the chairman of the group, who is reportedly a lawyer? isn't aware of the need to follow procedure?

Actually public question time can be very useful but you again need to know the tactics. The question put down in writing a week in advance is the key but it only unlocks the door, it doesn't kick it open. This submitted question will receive a prepared answer and won't go anywhere. It is the supplementary questions, which DON'T have to be submitted in advance that are the real killers.

So the question submitted, and rejected, was:

Will the Mayor include in the agenda of the first available meeting of full council, a vote for council members with the following motion?:

“We the members of Hartlepool Borough Council vote to have option four removed from the possible options available for consideration from the Hartlepool Coastal Defences, Hartlepool Headlands Structures study.”

Well that was never going to fly for several reasons as were explained in the response in the Hartlepool Mail. However, if the question had been something like;

"Will the mayor confirm the timetable for the consultation on the future of the sea defences of the headland and identify who will be responsible for making the final decision"

Then this question could NOT have been refused. The supplementaries could then have brought in option 4 and the request for a debate. It would still have been refused but at least the matter would have reached the agenda and be minuted. Also councillors would have had the opportunity to comment and these remarks would have been on the record.

No matter what the rights and wrongs of your case you have to play by the rules of the arena in which you are fighting. The councillors and officers will use the rules to block you if you give them the opportunity to do so. Sorry to say it but the Save our Prom group once again showed their political naivety in their approach to this.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Rambling and stalking

Had a problem with the PC last week and it had to go to the doctors to be mended (OK I admit it, my dad fixed it for me) so I wasn't able to Edward Stalk as usual. Even more worrying was the thought I'd lost all my data, not just work and accounts related stuff but the first draft of my dissertation on erected mayors in the media.

However, all is now well and normal services can resume. I also have a little grey box, plugged into the side of my computer, which apparently is an external hard drive and is backing up my data files every night. It's wonderful what the pixies can do these days!

Rosie is getting some work experience at a local firm of solicitors and appears to be enjoying herself, Sandra is off doing whatever podiatrists do and I'm just waiting for the dish washer to finish so I can get on with my house work as a means of avoiding a riveting analysis of focus groups as a means of capturing social science data. I seem to have an almost instinctive distrust of focus groups, possible because Tony Blair and New Labour ran the country into the ground by doing what focus groups told them to do, well at least Tony did do that until his mate Bush (and of course God) started talking to him so he didn't need focus groups any more. Yesterday I avoided the focus group question by opening a strange suitcase in Edward's room and disciovering it contained clothes that had not been unpacked since a trip to Canada and the US east coast which we went on three years ago!

Well, that's the rambling over, time for the Edward stalk. The boy is in Gibraltar today, that British possession which so upsets the Spanish!

Apparently Britons love cruising to ‘home from home’ Mediterranean cruise port Gibraltar – and not just because it has some excellent pubs and tax free shops (good buys include glassware, china, leather goods, alcohol, perfume, silk and cashmere garments).

Gibraltar also offers wonderful views of Algeciras Bay and the Moroccan mountains from the Rock Restaurant, served by cable car from the Grand Parade.

Birdwatchers can spot more than 230 species and there are clearly marked nature trails you can follow to discover the country’s flora and fauna.

The most famous ‘fauna’ of course, are Gibraltar’s Barbary apes - get off the cable car at the halfway station to see these, then proceed to the top and hire an audio tape charting the Rock’s fascinating history.

Alternatively spend a day at the beach - Catalan Bay is the prettiest, with its colourful fishing boats and excellent seafood restaurants.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Hartlepool Hospital closure made inevitable in 1945?

Interesting to look into the historical precedent of the Hartlepool Hospital saga. Many people have argued, myself included, that Hartlepool was destined to lose its last hospital as soon as "North Tees and Hartlepool Trust" was formed. The clear senior partner being North Tees.

However, it could actually be said that the seeds for the demise of Hartlepool Hospital were sown in the 1940's. According to Jerry White (Winner of the Wolfson History Prize for 2001, visiting Professor at Middlesex University and one of the three Local Government Ombudsmen for England)

"Morrison fought hard for the National Health Service (NHS) to be devolved to, and run by, local government, losing out to a powerful cabinet coalition, at least one of whom had an unreasoning hatred of Good Old 'Erb and all his works. And also that the LCC passed over its hospitals to the Minister 'reluctantly' and 'with sorrow'. In its stead local 'accountability' in the new national service was manufactured through a network of local boards. Their members were placed there by the Minister and could be removed at his direction. It was the greatest creation of quangos in British administrative history. And it marks the true beginning of that withering away of local democracy recognised belatedly by the Royal Commission on Local Government in England in 1969: it called the loss of the hospitals a 'great misfortune' that ought to be reversed. But just five years later the remaining local authority health services were nationalised too."

Jackson’s Landing

Hartlepool Council has decided to spend an undisclosed sum (rumored to be £2,000,000) on the derelict shed that is Jackson’s Landing. “It’s a good investment. We may even make a profit on it” was reportedly the council’s line. In my opinion any profit will be taken by one of the “development partners” lined up ready to step in. If there was money to be made then private developers would already by making it. That’s how the system in this country operates.

Entrepreneurs see an opportunity, put their own money into it and if it makes a profit they are quids in. If it fails they have lost their money. The entrepreneur balances risk of failure against the possibilities of success and backs schemes he judges will give a decent return. Until now no private developer judged the scheme to be worth risking their own money on. However, now Hartlepool Council is throwing £2,000,000 of public money into the pot that changes the calculation. The risk of a developer losing his own money becomes effectively zero, but the chance of him making money, while still small, remains positive.

It’s a no lose scenario for developers. The only people likely to lose are Hartlepool Council and that’s just public money so what’s the problem? Plenty more council tax payers to extort money from. The next time Hartlepool Council pleads poverty just remember they had £2,000,000 of your money to give away on a scheme no private company would touch with a bargepole.


Got my PC back today, what a relief, collecting e-mails on the Blackberry is all very well and laptops are OK but I still prefer my trusty desktop machine. Anyway, amomgst other things I can get caught up with is "Edward Stalking"

Son and hier has been and gone from Barcelona and is now in Villefranche. Apparently the steeply terraced streets of this pretty centuries-old fishing village set against a densely wooded backdrop create a delightfully timeless picture. Despite its increasing popularity with tourists, Villefranche remains a small, relatively uncrowded resort with plenty of Gallic charm.

The centre is just behind Villefranche cruise terminal, across the road and up a series of steps. Along a maze of narrow cobbled streets, you will find chic boutiques and a choice of both cheap and expensive cafés and restaurants. Alternatively, walk along the seafront to a long narrow beach which curls around the bay. Up some steps is the way to the neighbouring, almost Victorian-style resort of Beaulieu-sur-Mer.

Villefranche is a convenient base from which to explore the French Riviera and Cote dAzur and the medieval villages of Eze and St Paul-de-Vence.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Through the Bay of Biscay

Well the boy has survived his trip through the Bay of Biscay and is now following the Atlantic coast of Portugal towards the straights of Gibraltar and the first port of call on this cruise, Barcelona.

Save the Prom 2

Well I've continued with my career of winning friends and influencing people......NOT. I blogged a couple of days ago that the Save the Prom group were being dangerously naive, in my opinion, if they thought they were going to save anything without becoming involved in politics. Of course some individuals in the group wouldn't agree with me if I said night follows day and I knew I was putting my head above the parapet to be shot off. Anyway, I've left the group. I'm sure they can manage perfectly well without me and many people will be glad to see the back of me. I've no doubt the group will succeed in getting option 4 taken off the table but still think they might find it's a pyrrhic victory.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Edward Stalk

The boy is at sea today on the way to discover the treasures of the Mediterranean including the iconic sights of Barcelona, Villefranche, Rome, Florence and Gibraltar.

Barcelona offers a vibrant mix of ancient and modern, with the extraordinary architecture of Gaudi at its heart, and the chance for a relaxing promenade through narrow streets and open squares.

Rome is one of the great historical cities of the world. With its rich heritage of fascinating buildings and monuments, it"s an essential destination for all lovers of Italy and the unforgettable highlight of this Aurora cruise.

Florence offers the artistic treasures of an elegant renaissance city, or you could choose to visit the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Of course he's beavering away in the engine room so how much will he get to see is the question?