Robert Halfon: Mythbusting Common Market 2.0 | Conservative Home


In 2003, in her book Statecraft, Margeret Thatcher set out the case for EFTA. Her comments follow a long line of British tradition and strong Conservative support going back to Macmillan in 1959. It’s worth reminding ourselves of what Margaret Thatcher said:

“In 1992, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – that is the remaining EFTA countries, bar Switzerland – concluded negotiations with the EU which established a European Economic Area (EEA). These countries now enjoy free trade with the European Union…

“…They also enjoy the unhindered access guaranteed by the operation of the European Single Market. But they remain outside the customs union, the CAP, the CFP, the common foreign and security policy and the rest of the legal/bureaucratic tangle of EU institutions”.

So far from being alien to the British tradition, EFTA is very much a Conservative construct. That’s why, it is important to set the record straight.

 

Source: Robert Halfon: Mythbusting Common Market 2.0 | Conservative Home

‘I’ Newspaper: Rail Franchise System Not Working and Needs to be Changed


I agree the rail network could be much better and maybe the franchise contracts are to blame.

But when accounting blame which are purely down the train operators and which are down to rework Rail which is not a private company.

Before privatisation the Rail network, rolling stock, train stations and the line and signal infrastructure were need great need of investment.

The food was the butt of a joke, as the British Rail Sandwich was infamous as it curled up at the edges.

My own line was ‘The Midland, which was the poor relation in the industry as the rolling stock was secondhand, passed on from other regions.

In my 20 odd years of using British Railways and then British Rail I hardly ever got on and off a train that was to time.

The various Governments over that period showed a distinct lack of interest and investment into the industry. Hence all the new rolling stock was came about during Privatisation. This led to very outdated systems, not fit for the 19th century, let alone the 20th and then the 21st.

Who would have thought that Great Britain invented the Railways, through early train inventors who were Matthew Murray who created first steam powered locomotive, Richard Trevithick who popularized trains series of showcasing in London, George Stephenson who become famous for ‘The Rocket’ and for the coal transporting trains.

But were some of these private companies up to the job and this goes down to the Tender process and in many ways still does, the NHS, other parts of the health service, Local Government and other such services. As it appears any contract is given to the lowest bidder without any apparent investigation into the bids to ascertain if they are, in fact, viable.

This a fault of the tender process and the Governments administering the process.

Then what about the Contracts themselves are they effective and efficiently written?, do they meets the needs of the industry and the customers?, are the companies themselves sufficiently solvent? and many more investigative questions.

Here again the Governments are at fault.

There are indeed many problems, but to re-nationalise them, would this go back to British Railways and British Rail.

If it does, then the required investment needs to be guaranteed for way into the future and not be allowed to run on the whims of any Government as it was previously.

Much like the NHS and Social Care, especially Social Care today.

Governments need to realise that these industries and organisations are not there to be used for political purposes, but for the benefit of the population of the UK.

For until that realisation comes into any Government, these areas will continue to faulter to the whims of each and every Government, who only care for themselves, irrespective of its Party colour.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

I found this report in the I newspaper on our country’s failing rail network. The article states that a recent report has found that the current system of rail franchising doesn’t work and cannot continue as it is. The article, ‘Rail franchising ‘no longer delivers clear benefits’, on page 4 of today’s paper, 27th February 2019, by Neil Lancefield runs

Britain’s rail franchise system no longer delivers clear benefits and cannot continue in its current form, according to the man leading an official review of the network.

Keith Williams told industry leaders that operators were not adapting to changing consumer demands.

The contracting out of passenger services has drawn heavy criticism, with some contracts failing and customer complaints rising. The rail industry has said it accepts that the status quo cannot continue.

Mr Williams was appointed by the Government last year to lead its “root-and-branch” Rail Review. Speaking in London…

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Tories Set to Destroy NHS Dentistry with Majority Considering Leaving Health Service


As you say this is exceedingly worrying, especially as there is, currently, a shortage of NHS Dentists.

However, do these young dentists realise that if there is a sudden large influx of dentists into the private sector then this could diminish the profits they wish to receive. In many ways a constant flow of regular guaranteed income is more beneficial that the possibility of some form of private income. There is supply and demand in all areas and this applies to the private sector in the same ways as the public sector.

That been said any decisions for anyone to leave the NHS is not at all good for those of us who have to rely on the NHS as we do not have the funds to go private.

There is a need to keep a check on quality but are targets the best way, for when you are concentrating on meeting certain targets your attention could be diverted away from other areas, which are as of equal importance, but no targets have been set.
I do worry regarding the constant push in the NHS to privatisation, as will be the case in dentistry should there be a further reduction in available dentists this does not mean the population will follow them to the private sector, they will most likely not visit the dentists. In the longer term this will then create more pressures on an already pressurised NHS leading to a serious decline in the health if persons within the UK. This will then have a disastrous effect on employment and the attendance rates, which in turn will create a lack of sustainability in the economy of the UK. Everything is interrelated from birth to death and all the levels in between.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

I found this very worrying article by Rachel Burnett in Monday’s I, for the 2nd October 2017. Entitled ‘NHS dentistry facing ‘existential crisis’ with majority set to leave, it reads

More than half of dentists are planning to leave the NHS within the next five years, a survey has found.

A study by the British Dental Association (BDA) has revealed that around 58 per cent want to move on, mostly to private work. Others want to go overseas, retire or to move out of dentistry.

It also found that 53 per cent of young and newly qualified NHS dentists, aged under 35, plan to leave.

Henrik Overgaard, BDA chairman of General Dental Practice, called for government reforms to avoid a “crisis”.

He said: “These young dentists are the backbone of the dental workforce, and losing them at the start of their careers raises existential questions about the future of…

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Chris Smith: People Want the Advertising Standards Authority to Act on Political Claims


I agree with most of this post, however, in my 60 odd years of life on this earth I have found that there are not many politicians in who you can believe in, be they red, blue, green, purple, orange, yellow and others. However, there are some in which there is some form of belief and others practically none. They all promise the earth and unfound riches in their manifestos and only when they assume power can the truths be revealed.

You cast your vote and hope for the best.

Regarding Brexit nothing has come forth as we have not Brexited and will not be doing so until March 2019 or may be not, depending on whether there will be a transition deal or not.

Everything is so up in the air and no one on either side in the UK or Europe can be sure of the final outcome. We can all speculate on what the outcome or outcomes will or can be and who will be in power if and when we do or not do Brexit.

That length of string is getting longer or is it shorter, day by day.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

This is another fascinating little video from RT’s Going Underground. Host Afshin Rattansi talks to the former cabinet minister under Blair, Chris Smith, above his decision to oppose the Invasion of Iraq, his work in the Advertising Standards Authority, and Brexit.

Smith was Blair’s Culture Secretary, and the author of a book, Creative Britain. The cover showed him wielding a professional movie/TV camera. He states he opposed the Iraq invasion because it was ‘obviously the wrong the policy’. He also states that during his time with the Advertising Standards Authority, people wrote in asking them if they could possibly act against the misleading political advertising in elections. Smith states that this is sadly impossible. Their constitution limits them to commercial advertising only, and they have no power to prosecute or punishment politicians that lie.

On the subject of Brexit, he and Rattansi clearly hold different views. Smith appears…

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Books on the Criminal Psychology of Tony Blair


Blair was never a moderate and he certainly is not now, he was only interested in himself and his surge for power and he has not changed. Whether he was like this from the start, I can not say, but that is where he came to.

As for Trump, he is there from the start and no one knows what he will do next, perhaps, even himself.

We have been and still are in very worrying times.

Yon made reference to Dr David Kelly taking his own life, but did he, for we only have the word and reports from the establishment and they can and do alter facts and reports as they see fit. This is seen from the evidence produced by Blair re the weapons of mass destruction, they are all lies, lies and more lies, or is it Fake News as Trump states all the time. His news is fake and what he refers to as fake is correct news.

The world is a complete mess and I have not even mentioned Putin for he is a completely separate chapter.

If the prisons were full of corrupt leaders then there would be no room for the ordinary criminal.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Looking through the politics section of one of the secondhand bookshops in Cheltenham the other day, I also found two books arguing that Tony Blair was malign and psychologically unfit for office. One was by the Old Labour MP, Leo Abse, the other by the founder of the SDP and now Lib Dem, Dr David Owen. Abse’s book, the Politics of Perversion, used psychoanalytic theory to argue that Blair had the ruthless psychology of a clinical pervert. Owen’s book, the Hubris of Power, argued that Bush and Blair had spent so long in power, that they had become arrogant, believing they could get away with anything, no matter how unjust or despicable.

I only casually flicked through them, but just looking at Blair’s single-minded promotion of the Iraq Invasion, which in turn involved peddling lies, deceit and the persecution of dissenting officials – to the point where one…

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More Military Tension between NATO and Russia; Pat Mills Right in ABC Warriors


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Mike today put up a very chilling report about the escalation of military tensions between NATO and Russia. Russia has deployed Iskander missiles in its westernmost province of Kaliningrad. Formerly Koenigsberg, this is small Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania, was formerly part of Pommerania under the old Reich. The missiles are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and are presumed capable of reaching Berlin, or the various Baltic states.

Russia is believed to be deploying these missiles in response to NATO manoeuvres in eastern Europe, and the stationing of four more NATO battalions in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. These were in response to Russia sending troops into Ukraine.

Mike states that he recalls either Gorbachev or possibly Yeltsin receiving a promise from NATO that it would not expand into the Russian’s back garden. He is correct. That promise was given. And broken. NATO’s borders are now right up to…

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Jimmy Dore: Stop and Search Policing Now Shown to Be Rubbish


Persecute the innocent and eventually the innocent will want their revenge. By profiling you are demonising an entire race, religion or culture.

In every race, religion or culture there will be a minority who will not conform to what society expects for a variety of reasons, ignorance of the said rules or laws, a persecution complex, contempt for others, bullying, etc. Many of these persons could need educating or counseling to ascertain reasons for their behaviour and some a form of punishment. For we are in an assumed civilised society and should care for our fellow beings and show them respect and understanding in order that they may reflect on what they are doing.

But first we require an equalised society in that the controlling powerful forces, such as Government, police, media, etc. do not castigate, vilify or victimise sections of the community to further increase resentment and exclusion.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

This is another fascinating piece from the American comedian Jimmy Dore, who turns up regularly on The Young Turks internet show. In this video he discusses an article in one of the New York Papers, reporting a study that has shown ‘broken windows’ policing to be complete rubbish. ‘Broken windows’ policing is the name given to the police strategy of prosecuting people for minor offences – what are called ‘quality of life’ offences, like graffiti, riding your bike on the pavement and so on, in the expectation that cracking down on minor crimes will lead to a drop in major felonies. It includes ‘stop and frisk’ – what over here is called ‘stop and search’ – in which people are stopped and searched at random by the rozzers.

The ‘broken windows’ strategy takes its name from an official experiment, in which a car was left in the road with its…

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Counterpunch on NATO’s Preparations for War with Russia


Well, if Trump gets in war is inevitable, but possibly also if it is Clinton, so we are all doomed.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Okay, I’ve already blogged about one Counterpunch article today, by Garikai Chengu tracing the history of British imperial domination in Iraq. This is another article from the same magazine that needs to be read. It’s about the NATO conference yesterday and today, and the continuing build up of NATO forces along the borders with Russia. NATO troops, including British squaddies, are being sent to reinforce Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, against possible Russian aggression.

The 1980s Cold War

This was on the BBC news yesterday, which reported that there were fears about a possible Russian threat following Russian attempts to fly military aircraft over Estonian airspace. This is all extremely frightening, as it is all too much like the Cold War those of us, who are now middle aged, grew up under in the 1980s. It was a time when Thatcher and Reagan were ranting about the Soviet Union being…

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NHS Privatisation: Cuts to My Local Health Centre


The current

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NHS SOS pic

Visiting our local health centre the other day, my parents, along with the other local people enrolled there, were handed a letter, explaining that due to funding cuts the health centre was having to cut back on services. It also advised its patients that if they wanted to raise their concerns about the restriction in their service they could contact:-

1. NHS England at FAO Linda Prosser, Director of Assurance and Delivery, NHS England South West (BNSSG), 4th floor Plaza, Marlborough Street, Bristol BS1 3NX
2. your local MP who is Karin Smyth at the House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
3. Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, via his website http://www.jeremyhunt.org

Unfortunately, this is happening to the NHS and GPs’ services all the country. It is no accident, and it is certainly not the fault of the many dedicated doctors, nurses and other health professionals working in…

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Michelle on NHS Privatisation: Useful Info and Links


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Early this morning I put up a piece about how my local health centre in Whitchurch, Bristol, has fallen victim to NHS cuts, and has written to their patients explaining that they are having to cut back on services.

This is, scandalously, not an unfortunate accident, and it has nothing to do with the people running the health centre. It is the result of Cameron and co.’s campaign to privatise the NHS, a programme that has been carrying on since the days of Maggie Thatcher by successive right-wing administrations, including Blair and Brown, or as they should be regarded, Smarmy and Grumpy.

Michelle, another of the great commenters on this blog, posted up this piece in response to it, discussing an exhibition against the NHS’ privatisation she attended in Stroud, and giving links and information to people and organisations campaigning against it.

Here’s her post.

Really important post Beastie, yesterday…

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