Nine years ago, the people of Scotland and Wales voted in favour of Labour’s proposals to devolve power from Westminster to new elected national legislature bodies. The Celtic peoples voted in favour of these proposals based on promises from Labour that these new legislatures would give both the Scottish and Welsh populations a greater say in the affairs of their nations than they had enjoyed up to that point from London. Nine years on, it seems that far from giving greater power to the people, devolution has instead created another impersonal, even redundant tier of bureaucracy, increased financial waste and inefficiency.
Since no party is proposing to abolish these devolved bodies for democratic and political reasons, the devolution settlement must therefore be reformed. The most practical reform would be to introduce a system of what I would term ‘dual representation’ whereby Celtic MPs would also serve as AMs or MSPs. General Elections and Westminster By-elections would double-up as Scottish Parliamentary and Assembly Elections. It is ridiculous that thanks to devolution, there are now two elected positions for the same tasks, especially since some AMs and MSPs also sit in Westminster such as David T. C. Davies in Monmouthshire, Wales. It would also be wise to merge the Cabinet positions of Scottish and Welsh Secretaries along with their departments with the portfolio of the Leader of the House of Commons, who would then act as a liaison official between Westminster and the Hollyrood and Cardiff Bay legislatures.
Such reforms would not only make the devolution settlement work more efficiently for the Celtic peoples and strengthen the legitimacy of the devolved bodies without undermining the political supremacy of the Commons (due to General Elections enjoying higher voter turnouts than the devolved equivalents), it would also help to solve the West Lothian Question.
On Monday during a speech to the King’s Fund health think-tank, the Conservatives’ Leader David Cameron proposed to transfer the day-to-day administration of the National Health Service from government ministers to an independent board. While Cameron is right to push for the liberation of the NHS from the traditional obsessive socialist dogma of rigid targets and excessive financial waste and bureaucracy, the National Health Service’s problems go well beyond political mismanagement. These problems are cultural engrained on the British psyche and are concerned with the entire purpose of the NHS itself.
When Clement Atlee’s first Labour government introduced the NHS during 1948, it not only intended to provide instant healthcare to the less fortunate members of society who were unable to afford private medical provision, it also sought to provide a health service so good that the better off would prefer the NHS over the private sector alternatives. Unfortunately, as the history of the NHS has consistently shown; this not only impossible, but also immoral as Sir Keith Joseph, Baroness Thatcher and Nicholas Ridley all realised. The primary functions of the NHS are to provide healthcare for those who cannot afford it privately and attend to medical emergencies at the taxpayers’ expense. The NHS should not subsidise the treatment of the better off whom whether they realise or not are consuming resources that are intended for the less fortunate out of a selfish desire for their own convenience over those who need it more. Not only that, but the NHS should not purchase and subsidise medical nonessentials such as Viagra tablets. If impotent men what an erection, they should pay for it out of their own expense!
If the NHS is to provide any real long-term improvement in health provision, then the nation must accept that the NHS cannot compete with the services provided by the private equivalents and as such, resources need to be better prioritised. Those who can afford private provision should be compelled out of moral obligation to the less fortunate to receive private treatment so long as it is not subsidised by the taxpayer and state.
"I've heard it said very aggressively that either 'the Jews' or 'the queers' run the BBC. But you are only treated with serious disdain if you suggest that 'lefties' run the BBC. Some groups are more in fashion (and more sensitive) than others...." - David Kendrick on Iain Dale's Diary
What do both George Galloway and Oswald Mosley have in common? Rather a lot as it happens!
Both men have represented the North East London working-class constituency of Bethnal Green in Parliament and extremely self-confident orators. Galloway, like Mosley is a twice-married philanderer and like Mosley is a close friend of senior officials representing foreign fascist regimes. Above all else however, both men were members of Labour until Mosley left and Galloway was expelled from the party’s ranks and who then quickly formed (Mosley and the New Party, later called the British Union of Fascists) or joined (Stalinist Galloway and the Trotskyite Socialist Workers’ Party and its RESPECT vehicle) racist and anti-Jewish ultra-left-wing political organisations.
Although Galloway is not the biological son of Mosley, he is a chip off the old block in almost every other respect!
"In the first year I had "good luck" cards stolen from the pigeonholes, and then some of my birthday cards.. which sucked. Luckily nobody who would send me cards is stupid enough to send me actual cash through the post."
That is rich coming from someone who stole a blue swivel chair from the University of Wales, Lampeter's University Computer Service.
"I *have* to pay membership fees if I want to be part of societies at Derby, it's compulsory!I never used to pay my membership in Lampeter, not even for the societies I was an exec member for (of which there were many..).."
Pregnant teenagers are deliberately smoking in the hope of having smaller babies so giving birth is easier, it has been reported.
Public health minister Caroline Flint spoke at a Labour Party conference fringe meeting about teenagers' attempts to reduce their labour pains, the Nursing Standard magazine reported.
Smoking can lead to low birthweight babies, meaning some teenagers smoke throughout pregnancy, the magazine said.
The Department of Health said Ms Flint had heard about the issue anecdotally from health professionals and young women she has met.
Ms Flint said: "It is important that we understand what stops young women making healthy choices so we can provide the right answers to their concerns.
"In this case, childbirth is no less painful if your baby is low weight. So smoking is not the answer, pain relief is."
Studies have shown that women who smoke during pregnancy are three times more likely to have a low birthweight baby. Smoking can also cause other problems, such as respiratory illness.
Women who smoke are less likely to carry their babies to full term and there is a 26% increased risk that they will miscarry or experience stillbirth.
Babies of smoking mothers are also an average of 200g (7oz) lighter at birth.
Royal College of Midwives (RCM) midwife Gail Johnson said there was no evidence that having a smaller baby reduced pain in labour. She said: "It is vital that the risks associated with smoking are highlighted and that women are then supported to make changes to their lifestyle but the RCM is very clear that there is no evidence that the size of the baby relates to the amount of pain the woman may experience."
Since David Cameron was elected the Conservatives’ Leader, one issue has dominated debate within the party, the subject of taxation. Cameron and his intelligent but inexperienced sidekick, Shadow Chancellor “Boy” George Osborne have repeatedly stated that economic stability takes priority over tax cuts. The Thatcherites, led by Baron Tebbit, have understandably attacked Cameron and Osborne for refusing to commit themselves in even the vaguest of terms to reducing the tax burden, despite clear evidence of a growing public backlash against almost nine-and-a-half years of tax increases (particularly stealth taxation) by Gordon “The Brooding Bully” Brown.
The political monetarists are right to press for tax cuts as the lower the tax burden, the more favourable the conditions are for businesses to invest resources within the nation and in turn the greater the overall tax returns are from this environment of increased prosperity. In 2005, the United States of America enjoyed its second biggest year for tax returns thanks to President George W. Bush and both Republican-controlled chambers of Congress’ programme of tax cuts. As the financier and World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar, John “Bradshaw” Layfield has often and rightly claimed, “tax cuts work"!
However, one of the perquisites for tax cuts is a stable economy, a fact that is not lost on Cameron and Osborne, nor would this be lost on Baroness Thatcher, the late great Nicholas Ridley or even JBL. Far too often, politicians have promised tax cuts before being elected to power, only to have then had to increase the tax burden because they have inherited an unstable economic environment caused by high and rising levels of inflation plus excessive and wasteful state expenditure. At a Conservative Party Conference fringe meeting on Monday, Baron Tebbit quoted promises from the Conservatives’ 1979 General Election manifesto to reduce taxation. However, what Baron Tebbit seems to have forgotten is that the tax burden increased during Baroness Thatcher’s first term in office because the dire economic circumstances she inherited from James Callaghan and Denis Healey. Baroness Thatcher’s inability to fulfil her promises to reduce taxation because of economic realities contributed to her low opinion polls ratings between 1979 and 1981.
In light of this precedent, Cameron and Osborne are right not to make promises to reduce taxation before achieving elected office, especially since as Osborne noted that there will not be General Election until 2009 at the earliest. To commit a prospective Conservative government to a programme of tax cuts two-and-half years before a General Election is not only rash, but allows New Labour and the other political parties to go on the offensive and undermined the Conservatives’ current momentum. Whatever ones’ concerns about Cameron and Osborne maybe (and I for one do have some, particularly of Osborne), in this case, their strategy is the right one and it is a strategy that both Baroness Thatcher and Mr. Ridley would approve of themselves. As Osborne quoted from the Iron Lady: “I am not prepared ever to go on with tax reductions if it meant unsound finance. Sound money is the only sustainable path to lower taxes.”
North Korea has said it will conduct a nuclear test in the future to "bolster its war deterrent for self-defence" but would never use an atomic weapon first.
The hermit kingdom added it remained committed to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and said it would "firmly guarantee" the safety of any test.
Analysts believe North Korea, which shocked the region in July with a series of missile tests, has enough fissile material to make at least six to eight nuclear bombs.
But it is thought the country probably lacks the ability to make a weapon small enough to mount on a missile.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said the UK would view any North Korean nuclear missile test as "a highly provocative act with serious consequences for the DPRK (North Korea)".
He added: "It would raise tensions in an already tense region and have repercussions internationally."
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said the nuclear test plan was "totally unforgivable."
He added that the possibility could not be ruled out and that if such a test did take place, Tokyo would react "harshly" in concert with the international community.
Any nuclear tests would probably be seen as a move to grab attention and force the US into direct talks.
In a statement, North Korea's foreign ministry said: "The US daily increasing threat of a nuclear war and its vicious sanctions and pressure have caused a grave situation on the Korean peninsula in which the supreme interests and security of our state are seriously infringed upon and the Korean nation stands at the crossroads of life and death."
Pyongyang accuses Washington of trying to topple its government through a crackdown on its finances. It wants this ended before it will return to international talks to end its nuclear weapons programme.
The US refuses to end the crackdown, which analysts said is causing Pyongyang's leadership real difficulties, or to hold direct talks with North Korea outside the six-country nuclear negotiations.
The talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have been stalled since November.
Western experts have said no one knows for sure whether North Korea has actually built a nuclear weapon. The country declared itself a nuclear weapons power in February 2005, without testing.
As a libertarian Conservative, if I were asked by someone to summarise in a sentence what socialism is and why I am opposed to it, I would confidently say, “socialism is the tyranny of conformity”. During the course of my education and interest in both history and politics (particularly the 1930s and the Second World War), I discovered that all forms of socialism share the same cancerous genetic code. All strains of left-wing ideology share (to various degrees) the same basic animalistic desire to impose a near universal conformity (with the notable exception of the socialist hierarchies themselves) upon humanity and have contempt for individuality and independent thinking. Why is this? Once someone begins to think for themselves instead of accepting the ‘conventional wisdom’ of the socialist elites without question, these said elites feel threatened by this sign of independence because it provides an alternative source of authority that challenges these ruling elites' legitimacy to hold and exercise power. To maintain their power to control the people, the socialist elites feel compelled by their nature to suppress and/or destroy any institution, person and symbol that rejects the status quo.
Individuality and independence of any kind are perquisites of liberty, which are the polar opposites of the imposed conformity promoted and pursued by socialists, from ‘social democrats’ to ‘democratic socialists’ to communists to fascists (do not be fooled by lies that fascism is the right-wing ideological counterpart of communism – particularly Stalinism, as Stalinism is really just another form of fascism). It is from this tyranny of conformity that all other forms of tyranny stem. Socialism is a hypocritical, inconsistent mongrel philosophy of lies and shameful euphemisms; with which words such as ‘progressive’ and ‘final solution’ take on coded double meanings to dupe and misinform humanity. In other words, to be socialist is to be anti-social!
The Angle signing, though, came with a bit of negative feedback. Fans questioned whether it was too soon following his departure from World Wrestling Entertainment because there were questions about his health status and a rumored drug-use problem.
"Am I shocked by some of the negative response? I’m more saddened by it – for Kurt," Carter said. "I know this has hurt him very much.
What about Angle's wife and children? How much hurt are they going through watching him kill himself?!?
"TNA would never sign a talent, or allow a talent to be in a situation to harm themselves more than the risk each of these guys takes every time they step into the ring. I truly believe that every TNA wrestler, referee, broadcaster and front-office employee knows that their health and their family come first. TNA is their livelihood, and they are all very passionate about it, but it is still just a job."
As far as you know, what is Kurt Angle’s current health status?
"Kurt has been cleared by his team of doctors to wrestle, and I have that verification from the doctors."
What did TNA do to make sure that problems in Kurt’s past, including anything drug-related, have been addressed?
"I have personally met with Kurt and his wife. All past medical and pain medication issues have been addressed in depth and to my satisfaction. We have assembled a team of doctors around Kurt to monitor past injuries and also oversee his health on an ongoing basis.
"Kurt will personally address specific questions about his past, not me."
Considering that Angle has a history of concealing the true extent of his health problems, that statement does not fill me with any confidence.
The issue of drug use in pro wrestling has been a problem for years, with several drug-related deaths. Does that worry you?
"It’s a huge concern, of course. First, one of the benefits of working for TNA Wrestling is the schedule that our talent has, which prevents the enormous, physical strain on a body. Second, our talent does not secure their spot on our roster by the mass of their bodies. If a TNA star is injured, or has personal issues that he or she needs to address, that talent will not be put in a situation where he or she has to wrestle. The talent might still be on-air in a different capacity, but we would never do anything that could lead to further injury. If a leave-of-absence is necessary for treatment, it is an option which we have utilized in the past."
What is the TNA Wrestling drug policy?
"TNA Wrestling has a very strict drug and alcohol policy, and each contracted talent signs an acknowledgement of the policy set forth. Drug use and alcohol abuse are issues we take very seriously. TNA has the right to conduct random drug-tests and other tests in accordance with government requirements. Violations of the policy are spelled out and failure to comply or failure of a test can result in mandatory drug counseling and treatment, suspension from work without pay, up to and including dismissal. We do not address the specifics of this policy publicly as we are a private company and our talent are independent contractors."
In other words, TNA does not have a drug policy. TNA just turns a blind eye in the majority of cases. They will not be able to turn a blind eye any longer when Angle dies in the ring during a live Pay Per View event.
I AM SIR-C4'! AS SEEN ON THE 1.11.2007 EDITION OF BBC ONE'S QUESTION TIME!!! I was born on 26 February and am the eldest of three siblings. I graduated from the University of Wales, Lampeter in 2005 with a B.A. Honours in History and studied for an M.A. in Political Theory at the marvellous Swansea University during 2005/6. My interests are reading, writing; ram raiding (laughs), politics, religion, history, public speaking, comedy, videogames and collecting. I have had an interest in politics since I was young and my ultimate ambitions are to be a great and influential international statesman and Cabinet minister. I am a libertarian Conservative because Thatcherism works! My role models are the 1996 Olympic Games 100kgs freestyle wrestling gold medallist Kurt Angle, the late great monetarist Nicholas Ridley, the former professional wrestler Warrior and of course St. Margaret Thatcher.