Listen to my response to questions on jobs for young people and should 16 and 17 year olds be allowed to vote:
Distressing to see the claim of how racism and bigotry was a driving force behind a win for #Leave supporters in the EU Referendum. Of course, in their dismay that they lost a hard fought democratic campaign, the Remainians are quite entitled to link those who voted Leave to the isolationist ignorance and hate that has always existed amongst the scummier parts of our society. But the hundreds of Leavers I know voted that way for many good reasons – most of them to do with wanting an Outward Looking, Global Trading Britain. None of them based on racism and bigotry.
Interesting too that those who shout “racism, bigotry” use this UKIP poster as a way to illustrate their understanding of this phenomenon. In fact, the poster illustrates the result of Mrs Merkel’s disastrous open door asylum policy last summer and the fact that many of these refugee asylum seekers seen crossing through Croatia will have Free Movement of People (FMP) access to Britain over the next decade unless the UK changes our current migration arrangements with the bloc and opts out of its FMP Treaty obligations as a part of the Brexit renegotiation. This is the mandate that the Government has after the Referendum result.
The British people had the right to know the effects of Mrs Merkel’s unilateral decision during the Referendum campaign and this poster reflects this. Last year Germany accept roughly 1.1 million asylum seekers. German authorities have lost track of appx 100,000 of these which is surely a matter of concern given the present security situation across Europe. Under EU rules the remaining will have FMP rights after, on average five years, if they seek permanent residency from the date of being accepted for asylum depending on the EU country in which they were accepted.
There is nothing ‘racist of bigoted’ in pointing out that potentially some of these people will want to head to Britain if present trends are anything to go by. Evidence suggests that it is highly likely that a proportion of the 100,000 who the German authorities have lost track off are already trying to get to Britain illegally through French and Belgian ports. As Keynes is purported to have said: In the short run economics is all about incentives. In the Long run its about demography. Mass, uncontrolled, unplanned, unskilled immigration into Britain compresses wage incentives for those at the bottom rung of the ladder to work – that’s why so many end up on 'Benefits Street'. It also compresses ‘long run’ demographic economic trends which means that the UK economy faces housing shortages, lack of school places and an NHS at bursting point.
Of course, an elected British government may decide to accept all people like those shown in the poster in addition to the 20,000 Syrians the UK is plucking from refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey over the course of this parliament at a cost of £2 billion and the 30,000+ people who are granted asylum EVERY year in the UK.The British people may well vote for a government that proposes a migration policy where the UK welcomes more that the current 336,000 net migrants a year. But this should be explicitly spelled out and the people given that choice. It should not be influenced by unilateral decisions made by the German Chancellor.
Updated Post Monday 5 May 2014: No sign of David Cameron's 'Nutters' at UKIP's final, big, old style, public meeting in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, last Friday evening. Just a packed, standing room only crowd listening to Nigel Farage...
However, as a result of this meeting, UKIP got it's Fruitcake! Read here...
Why I'm Breaking A Habit of a Lifetime to Vote for a Vibrant, Outward Looking, Global Trading, Welcoming Britain!
Updated Post Monday 4 November 2013 1132hrs:
Finally got off my butt and decided how to vote in next year's Euro Elections. The catalyst was yesterday's announcement in the Sunday Times by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) that it would oppose any UK withdrawal from the EU and I have decided to break a habit of a Conservative Party lifetime and vote UKIP at next year's Euro elections.
Best part of this decision so far: It seems to have got my daughter, who is taking a Government and Politics A-Level, to ask a really intelligent question about it (if only on Twitter)! Awesome stuff...helping to restore my faith in the next generation of sleep-until-Noon, head in an iPhone, continually texting, "Whatever Ya!" sloppy thinkers! Here's yesterday's Twitter thread.
Of course, voting is not enough in this bun fight. Between now and the Euro Elections next May I will help my local UKIP party as much as I can with the aim of maximising their vote in this closed-list proportional representation contest because I believe:
a) As a top 15 global economy the UK can negotiate its own win-win bi-lateral trade agreements with other states or trading blocs like the EU (I say top 15 and not top 5 or 10 as we increasingly seem to be slipping in global economic rankings, not least because of some of the regulations coming out from the EU);
b) We have our own respected world currency which allows us to create an economic environment that makes use of our four biggest natural resources: i) the drive and intelligence of the people who live in Britain (whether born here or who emigrate here); ii) Our time zone which gives us a natural advantage in dealing with all parts of the world; iii) London, quite simply the most cosmopolitan, business orientated city in the world; and iv) the rule of English common law and the international advantage it gives the UK as it relates to company formation and commercial contracts;
c) That any coherent policy supporting the rights of nation states to govern their own affairs that is opposed by a) Big Unions; b) Big Corporations; c) Big Finance Institutions; and d) the major Lobbying and Advertising Groups that try to massage our thinking must be a good thing for SME's, sole traders and the general population at large!
I'm lacing up me boots....Watch this space!
"Don't Be A Follower, Be a Thinker!"...www.ThinkSURE.com
How UKIP are Clowning their Way To Changing the Face of British Politics
Updated Post Friday 3 May 2013 1026hrs:
Royston County Council Election Result 2013 - Con hold
Les Baker (Lab) 732
Karen Harmel (Green) 232
Fiona Hill (Con) 1,508
Mark Hughes (UKIP) 1,210
John Winder (Lib Dem) 157
Mark Hughes emailed the following :
"Herts was always going to be a tough nut to crack, I do however sense a 'I told you so!' moment with Nick Robinson [Chief Political Correspondent BBC] and many others this morning, repeating my observation of a few months ago that this is more than protest vote and is in fact a big 70-year change in UK politics!
"Clearly UKIP are now here to stay and this is now a good time leading up to the Euro Elections, next year. The next shock for the Conservatives is when an opinion poll shows UKIP ahead. Also, we keep coming second in Parliamentary seats, but are the challenger, North, South, East and West something the Conservatives have not done in 40 years.
"Winning the next General Election is impossible for the Conservatives. When they eventually accept that they might have to reach out to disaffected supporters it will be too late. The danger for them is the longer they leave it the more the UKIP franchise becomes deep routed. I believe that is already too late. I am UKIP and so is a third of Royston, this will not change anytime soon."
Posted Monday 1 May 2013: Back in January, I posted a piece on the interesting discussion about UKIP that has gripped the group that I dine with regularly twice a year - see below. I noted that one of the group had recently shocked us all by joining UKIP - the political party that is shaking up the political establishment and changing the face of politics here in the United Kingdom. I revealed that person as Mark Hughes, a man who manages a £100 million investment fund from his company offices in Royston in Hertfordshire - and by my calculation employs at least 8 people locally to boot.
I return to this topic since tomorrow is local election day here in England and Mark is standing as the UKIP County Council candidate in Royston and has found himself being backed by UKIP as taking the number one target seat in Hertfordshire. Nightly, he sends me updates from his street canvassing for comment (I have some form in this space) and I must say I have been impressed by both his commitment and the intelligence that he has applied to the task at hand. Mark's use of highly targeted eMarketing techniques on Facebook (which let's face it is still in its infancy in this regard) to target young people was an eye opener, even for this like-to-think-he's-seen-it-all 'Digital Strategist'. It looks like Mark and his team are 'political pioneers' in using this social media site in this way for local elections.
It is also interesting, that Mark has not forgotten old media and booked the now familiar local newspaper wrap-around during this last week of the campaign (see photo above). What is disturbing if you are the local incumbent Conservative candidate is that you didn't think of booking this for your own campaign! You have effectively been ambushed by a smart, credible opponent. Let's face it, if you get the basic allowance of £9,588 each year that you are on the council (plus petrol, meal expenses and other allowances for 'special duties') you might have thought that such a politician would save some of that money to shore up their electoral base each time they come up for election every four years! (Think these expenses are outrageous - so do I! See here)
Then again, the bewildered local Conservative candidate is in the same Party as pro-Euro Ken Clarke so maybe it's not surprising. This is also the same Party that I have voted for all my life. Within the Party I have been a Young Conservative Chairman (here), Constituency Chairman, a Local Conservative Councillor (here) and also Parliamentary (here) and Mayoral (here) candidates. And one thing I know for sure in all my years as a Conservative voter and activist, is that Ken Clarke is a complete Clown. Always has been and always will be. The extent of Ken Clarke being in touch with the average entrepreneur is a pair of dirty Hush Puppies!
In his most recent outburst last Sunday he branded members and voters of UKIP 'Clowns' and stated that the Party had no 'positive policies'. Since I had that same day mailed in my vote in the County Council elections I tweeted the following:
So I ask ole Ken: Is the man standing for UKIP in Royston a clown? How many jobs have you actually created through your own entrepreneurial flair as opposed to political flannel?
In short, Clarke's contribution would be idiotic from any politician, especially a Cabinet Minister. Simply by asking Google: "What Does UKIP Stand For?" brings up this. A short policy document bullet-pointing a range of policies that seem very sensible, positive alternatives to New Labour and the Liberals and more and more as an alternative to the Conservative Party. Does anyone know if Ken Clarke actually knows what Google is, or does? Does he have an Internet connection? Can he see a screen through all that cigar smoke? Does he actually know if he has a Facebook page?
As I grow older, I increasingly recognise the value of the Chinese Proverb "The enemy of my enemy is my friend". Ken Clarke is the enemy of both an independent, free market British economy and of decent political debate even at a 'knock about level'. In fact, he is the enemy of all long standing supporters of the Conservative Party who should now show this particular Clown the door by not selecting him as a Conservative candidate at the next election. He's not A-List he's the Circus List. In this election, his stupid comments have made him UKIP's friend!
But then, by any reasonable yardstick this Conservative Party looks doomed to face defeat again at the next general election not least because it is now so out of touch with its own supporters who are increasingly seeing that UKIP offers a clear alternative if not a winning one.
In the end, just voting for what you believe in rather than what commentators say makes "tactical sense", may just make tactical sense!
If nothing else, before you vote Conservative tomorrow compare the utterings of Ken Clarke with Nigel Farage's response in this BBC Radio 4 Interview. It is an interesting comparison. Also, follow the Royston result over the next few days for I will be laughing like a Clown if Mark Hughes is elected and ends up holding a casting vote on which political party should rule Hertfordshire. I bet the Leader of the Conservative Group won't be thanking Ken Clarke in this eventuality!
For many years, I have been attending two dinners annually with a group of men who I have known and greatly respected most of my adult life. We started politicking together in the early days of Mrs T (see our 'busy frisson’ here) when the fight was on for the soul of the Conservative Party between the 'statists' of Edward Health and the 'free marketers' of Keith Joseph. We put ourselves forward as candidates for posts in the Young Conservative movement and some of us went onto serve on councils and stand for the UK parliament (See the TOB Rule 5) later in life.
These dinners have always been events to look forward to. It is a time when we leave our wives/partners elsewhere and have a good chin-wag about the state of the world and how, if we were in charge, we would make the world a better place (and believe me the group has all the quality skills and experience required for running a modern country and/or global company). My favourite one of the two dinners is held later in the autumn when we get a good deal at a country house hotel and stay Friday overnight (the spring dinner is usually a simple upmarket London affair). The conversation and debate continue into breakfast the next day and we are normally joined by those attendees who have moved overseas or have to travel long distances, which makes the whole event a more compelling 'catch up' (want to know what it's like to live an expat life in Mauritius - I now know!). At some recent dinners we have even had some interesting foreign guests join us to broaden our outlook still further (it's amazing how language barriers fade away after a few bottles of wine!).
As we start 2013, things are not all well however. The state of the country and the Conservative Party under the leadership of David Cameron and George Osborne is stressing relationships among my dinner companions. At the last dinner, the arguments of The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) were put under the microscope both during dinner and afterwards. One attendee for example, had researched the UKIP policies on small business, which I like many others at the table found to be surprisingly appealing and well thought through. Unfortunately, to others all such discussion about a rival party to the Tories was 'treachery'. Round robin emails (BTW Guys, I hate this form of communication) during the first week of December exchanging points and counter-points on the intricacies of the UKIP platform made things worse and my friends seemed to exhibit passions that I had not seen in them for quite some time!
Then on 10 December came the bombshell that one of our number had 'defected' to UKIP. "Mark Hughes a former leader of North Hertfordshire District Council, who was Mayor of Royston in 1990/91, has joined UKIP..." read the web posting of a local paper (see Former Tory town mayor joins UKIP) and my dinner companions were off and running again with those damn emails!
Now, I know Mark as one of the most successful Independent Financial Advisers in the UK and someone whose economic and financial expertise should be incorporated into Treasury thinking (is there still such a thing?). I also know that he is not a man to do things without all due consideration and whilst not a shock to me, I understand that this was a big step for him. As well as his previous role in the local Conservative Party, Mark has also stood twice for the Party in parliamentary elections. Such commitment takes time and money so this was not the action of someone who is merely 'playing' politics. I will leave you to follow Mark on Twitter to hear of his most recent views on UKIP (follow Mark here on Twitter) but if people like Mark (monied, knowledgeable, energetic and passionate) are leaving the Conservative party, then they have much to worry about. So far, all the Prime Minister seems to be doing is insulting his potential UKIP supporters (here). Causing me even more disappointment is the once 'sound' Chairman of the Party, Grant Shapps, who seems to have backed himself and the Party into a corner on this issue (here).
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out both for my dinner friends and the Conservative Party as we run into the 2015 election. At present I am sticking with my local Conservative member of parliament (Richard Harrington MP) as in all my years in politics I have never known a better constituency MP who seems to broadly support a centre right, free market, agenda. But there are some big issues coming up before the election which he must be on the right side of to continue to receive my vote in this 3-way marginal seat (a clear cut referendum on Europe being one of them!). So even if no one else is, I will be watching this space!
The next dinner is scheduled for late April. If Ballsy Thinking (and compromise!) has ever been required, I fear it will be at this event. A subsequent blog piece will record generic developments for prosperity.
Are you thinking of switching, or have you switched, to UKIP from the Conservative Party? What advice can you give me for helping to get all my dinner companions back around the table (and, sorry since we are not in the officers mess NOT talking politics is NOT an option!)? Click on the comments link below and start typing...
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