Sunday, February 22, 2004

Our opinion of Matthew Parris 

Did anyone see Matthew Parris' return to the North East twenty years after the original progamme in which he attempted (and failed) to live on dole money for a week?

His opinion that life on the dole should be spartan had not changed, but he offered no insights as to what could be done to provide jobs for the unemployed. Basically, he shared a pint with these people in Newcastle, discussed their lives (one of the men he met twenty years ago had a son who comitted suicide, which was described in detail) and then left them behind to give his opinion that the wealth would "trickle down" as the plush new shops and galleries opened in the city centres.

It's all hit and miss, as most big employers seem to prefer to hire third world labour on a minimum wage than employ local people to do local jobs. Some Conservatives decry those who say that they shouldn't have to take low paid jobs, but we should remember that these are the descendants of the miners, shipbuilders, etc upon whom an empire was built. We owe it to them as a patriotic duty to ensure that we bring industries back to these shores by taxing imports and double taxing any firms that have branches employing workers overseas. Simply put, a policy of "Britain First" would get most of these people back to work and out of economic hardship.

Matthew Parris would have no conception of this policy. He was shocked to note that most people were on prozac in the estate he visited. It was pointed out that the young man who killed himself was not, and didn't drink or smoke. With the accompanying decline of religion, there seemed to be few outlets for people other than those which are addictive and health destroying. Matthew Parris criticised them for their lifestyle, but did not touch upon the fact that the Jarrow marchers, who in real terms were far poorer, had their dignity and were far fitter, considering their situation. Why not?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Politically Correct PC’s-the strong arm of liberal tyranny………….  

Populists are pro-police. We believe they do a good job, often under extreme stress and provocation. That’s why it gives us no satisfaction when we see them being turned into left-wing social workers, in order to suit the chattering classes. Recent news stories have confirmed our fears that they are now (as are the army) coming under scrutiny by the PC brigade, who would turn our legal system upside down to suit their political agenda. The plan is to eradicate all forms of "prejudice" from the force, so that all members of the public be they criminals, suspects or victims are dealt with fairly. Fair enough, a laudable aim, one may say. However, the police are human beings with prejudices based often upon real experiences, just like anyone else.

The liberal critics may say that the police should be above the baser emotions which may “cloud their judgement”, but I would say show me a man without prejudice and I’ll show you a liar! No one is immune from aspects of prejudice; it is the basis of most decision-making. If a policeman sees a group of black youths hanging around on a street corner for no apparent reason, when he knows from experience that they have a higher crime rate than other groups, does he pay no attention to the situation and ignore his instincts or does he take a decision to act quickly to avert far worse circumstances?

Last year the Metropolitan Police issued a guide to PC’s on the different ethnic groups in the capital. It had notes on gestures and vocal tones which minorities may find offensive. It may have its uses, who knows? Perhaps a criminal could previously claim that an officer raising his arm to deflect a lunging knife wielder was using what may constitute an offensive gesture in his native land? It’s what the Left call “racist body language”. Now they can’t! Yet, apparently there are still traces of bigotry in our police force. Nearly 3000 officers in the BTP (British Transport Police) are being forced to fill out forms asking if they are prejudiced against black or Asian people, homosexuals, gypsies, Arabs and vegetarians. The list extends to German tourists, fat people, those with ginger hair, smokers and even Manchester United supporters! The officers are expected to spend 4 hours (yes 4 HOURS!) wading through the booklet. Police chiefs expect as typical officer to tick up to ten boxes if they answer honestly. The BTP federation, which represents the officers, said they “feared a backlash against anyone whose answers met with disapproval from their seniors”. Presumably whilst the officers are spending hours on this form, our capital city is being laid to waste by fat German Manchester United fans, with earrings and ginger beards, eating lentils and wearing leather trousers!

This is a plea for realism. The Left believe that every PC that opposes politically correct diktats is a secret Ku Klux Klan sympathiser; such is the level of debate. The British people, however, simply want police officers who are able to make quick, sound, judgements in crisis situations, who are not afraid of countering criminals of whatever background, and who cannot be intimidated by the race lobby (or indeed any other sectional interest group).

Populism and the London Underground 

Save our tube!
By R White

Despite massive opposition from passengers and staff London Underground’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) has been approved by the government. There are two consortia, “Metronet” and “Tubelines”, which have won the contracts to control the engineering side of LUL (London Underground Ltd), yet the station management will continue to be run by LUL, as will the running of the trains. Thus, we have a repeat performance of the Railtrack disaster where the over ground rail network split between control of the track and control of the trains. Will the government listen? Not a bit of it! They dogmatically maintain that everything must “pay its way” and be “run as a business”. The public service sector has been relentlessly commercialised by both Tory and Labour governments. What is the Tory response to this latest assault upon the service ethos? They say that privatisation “does not go far enough” – that the whole system should be sold off.! Look at any privatisation and the same familiar pattern ensues. The industry is cut bare to the bone before the sale; jobs are cut and safety compromised. Once trimmed down to become “viable” the industry is floated on the stock market to be sold to shareholders with no interest beyond the profit motive. From then on a service which is essential – be it transport, water, gas, electricity etc – lines the pockets of the bosses of multinationals every time we the public use it. No effective boycott can be made – do we refuse to drink water, to have heating, to travel to work by train? No, it’s not an option, so we like it or lump it…

The PFI so far has been a story of chaos. LUL has been divided into 3 segments pending the sale; BCV (Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines), JNP (Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines) and SSL (Metropolitan and District Lines). These have assets such as Lifts, Escalators, Signs, Premises maintenance etc which have been farmed out to private contractors over recent years. The demarcation between different contractors is rife. LUL is now an accountant’s paradise. It’s all about contracts and cost cutting. The advantage is having a reduced payroll – the fitters and technicians are now largely employed from outside – the huge personnel offices of yesteryear are now slim line. A downside is that the contractors have control of the scheduling of jobs and the technical staff are now often out of LUL’s due restriction. The contractors have their own call centres and can decide upon who goes where and to fix which fault. An added complication is the fact that there is demarcation between lines at interchange stations such as Stockwell, where some of the station is BCV (Victoria Line) and some JNP (Northern Line). The automatic telephone (basic phones) is covered by one contract yet the Station to Station (Emergency) phone another. Determining whose cable runs into which terminal is a diagnostics nightmare given that many contractors may be involved when a piece of equipment breaks down. A system with so many fingers in the pie is also a logistical nightmare and actually costs the network money by employing umpteen contracts managers and slowing maintenance times as they battle it out over who owns the contract for the said equipment. As far as Populists are concerned safety on public transport is paramount. It is a natural monopoly and we say that it should once again be brought under one roof – publicly owned and run. Let’s take London Underground out of the hands of accountants and place it back into the hands of the railwaymen – to be run as a service.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Populists and the Economy 

The Populist Party sees business as the servant of the nation, not its master… we would create a dynamic small-scale economy. We will defend small business and the self-employed, small shops, farms and craftsmen against the big superstores, and their bulk buying and customer loyalty cards. We say that shopping is not just “business” but a part of our way of life. Small, locally run shops help retain an area’s individuality against modern standardised shopping malls. We oppose the trend of all High Streets looking the same. We would scrap business rates/tax for the smallest businesses, and pass the tax burden onto the multinationals and corporations. A National Investment Bank would be set up to give “debt-free” purpose-made money to new businesses and inventors.

We oppose Globalisation, which is as dangerous as EU integration, as it leads to multinational companies having greater power than governments – indeed much of the support (though not all) for the Euro has come from big business and banks. They stand to make bigger profits out of the scrapping of national economies and relaxation of labour laws. Giving ever more power to global companies is a policy fraught with danger – unlike politicians we can’t vote them out of power! Under the present economic set up we are a puppet state. We hold out the begging bowl in the hope that foreign firms will invest here. We allow our own companies to be bought by overseas businesses, giving ever more power to a global super class. It seems that we don’t make anything and we can’t sell anything (unless it is imported from abroad). Many high street stores are multinational. Populists believe it to be cheaper to employ British workers in British factories and offices rather than allow companies to sack British workers and replace them with 3rd world labour. Under Populism British industry would be largely British owned and controlled. If Britain were less reliant upon global trade, and produced goods to be sold and consumed locally the resulting full employment and job security would allow us to buy British and make long term plans for our futures- we just can’t compete with third world countries with lower labour costs. We would rebuild our manufacturing base by taxing imports that could be produced at home, and return ownership to British hands through a tax policy that strongly favours British companies.

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