Youth unemployment and immigration
Why am I not surprised that Migrationwatch UK has found that youth unemployment is higher in areas most affected by immigration? To be precise, their studies have shown that for every 1000 migrants in the 50 local authorities most affected by immigration, an average of 700 more young people were out of work. This contradicts a 2008 House of Lords report, which said the evidence was inconclusive.
Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch UK’s chairman, said ‘The case for getting immigration down to sensible levels, as the Government has promised, gets stronger by the day.’ I couldn’t agree more.
Posted on 19 August 2010 by Richard Drax
Dr David Kelly
Once again, the sudden death of Dr David Kelly, seven years ago last month, is causing a furore. He was the Government scientist who was ‘outed’ as the source of a BBC report describing how Tony Blair and his Government had ‘sexed up’ the weapons dossier as an excuse to go to war with Iraq. After Dr Kelly’s body was found in woods near his home in July 2003, an inquiry by Lord Hutton concluded he had killed himself by severing his ulnar artery and taking an overdose. The fact that if it was suicide, a good and honourable civil servant had been hounded to his death in a witch hunt by the Government was glossed over. Lord Hutton then – inexplicably - put the results of the post mortem beyond reach for 70 years.
This failed to lay matters to rest. MP’s Norman Baker and Peter Kilfoyle have consistently demanded an inquest. Last week, a group of doctors signed a letter stating that the official explanation of the death was ‘extremely unlikely.’ Others, including eminent psychiatrists and intimate friends, have agreed that suicide is most unlikely. Kelly had been threatened with loss of his position, his pension and his reputation. He was smeared as a fantasist. Yet he was in fighting spirits – he had told the truth about the dossier - and had arranged to see his daughter on the evening he died.
If it was not suicide, he was murdered – and here the conspiracy theorists are having a field day. Everyone from Iraqi agents to MI6 has been fingered. But nothing will be found out if the suicide verdict stands.
The whole thing stinks, so much so that I am relieved to see the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve is prepared to step in. He says he will order a full inquest so long as he finds convincing evidence that Dr Kelly did not commit suicide. That evidence can only be provided if Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary agrees to release a number of key documents, including the post mortem, used by Lord Hutton. The Ministry of Justice says the request is ‘under consideration’.
Normally, inquests are carried out on the requests of a deceased person’s family. The powers that be are hiding behind ‘concern’ for the feelings of Dr Kelly’s family, who so far have not asked for fresh investigations. We can only hope that this is exposed as the smokescreen that it undoubtedly is.
Posted on 19 August 2010 by Richard Drax
Keeping our promises
There was a clear moment during the televised leaders debates during the election campaign when Gordon Brown was made to squirm. His printed election literature was promising that an incoming Conservative Government would cut pensions, TV licences, bus passes and winter fuel payments for the elderly. He denied it until - when faced with the printed evidence - was forced to admit that his propaganda was baseless.
David Cameron used his advantage immediately. ‘We will keep the free television licences, we will keep the pensions credits, we will keep winder fuel allowances, we will keep free bus passes,’ he said in Bristol.
So why do I read that cuts to these benefits are now on the table? In particular, pensioners may have to wait six years longer, waiting from age 60 to 66 to receive winter fuel payments. First time claimants will get £50 less, while older claimants will receive £100 less. Eligibility for bus passes may move to age 75, in line with free television licenses.
The Liberal democrats campaigned on raising the qualifying age for benefits, not the Conservatives. In fact, during the campaign, I went from door to door reassuring the elderly that such cuts would never be entertained.
The Coalition describes these decisions as ‘unpleasant but fair.’ However, there is nothing fair about depriving an elderly person of basic necessities. No matter how hard up this country is, there are certain benefits, which must remain. Cutting these would be a cut too far.
Posted on 17 August 2010 by Richard Drax
Obama's Planning Problems
What began as a local planning dispute has put President Obama on the rack with the voters of the USA. His recent support of a proposed, 13 storey, £70 million Islamic cultural centre and mosque – to be sited just two blocks away from Ground Zero in downtown New York - was intended to show how liberal and humane he is. Certainly the right to freedom of worship is enshrined in the US constitution. But polls show 70% of the American people are against the centre. Right winger, Newt Gingrich likened the plans to planting a swastika at the holocaust memorial or building a Japanese cultural centre at Pearl Harbour. Over the top, certainly, but then, Ground Zero is hallowed ground to most Americans.
Obama has been attacked for his betrayal of those who died on 9/11 – and of those who survived. Even the police and firefighters are complaining that if he supported the compensation bill for sick and injured twin towers rescue workers in the way he’s supported the mosque, it would not now be stuck in Congress. There have been calls for investigation into the organizations backing the centre, most of which are from Saudi Arabia – which would never tolerate the building of a Christian Church in Riyadh.
So far, offers of an alternative site have been turned down, which in view of the extreme sensitivity of the issue, might seem provocative. Certainly, for Obama, already facing poor results in November’s mid term elections, it would be his best way out of a sticky situation.
Posted on 16 August 2010 by Richard Drax
It is a government's first solemn duty to protect our island. Everyone knows this, but history reveals we have failed on more than one occasion to have sufficient armed forces to meet the threat of the day. I fear we are about to make the same mistake again. There is no doubt that the UK is facing unprecedented times, with our economy in a mess of epic proportions. Huge cuts have been proposed and the pain will soon be felt as countless thousands of people - mainly in the public sector - lose their jobs. A defence review is under way and there are talks of cuts here, too, with our Trident nuclear deterrent also vulnerable. My own view, for what it's worth, is that we cannot and should not cut our armed services any further. I accept we must re-assess the threat and re-organise our forces to meet it. We no longer face a Cold War scenario, for example. However, this does not mean reducing our commitments, only re-shaping them. We are an island nation and depend on trade for our very survival. A cunning fella called Adolph Hitler nearly starved us into submission only half a century ago and you might have thought we'd learnt quite a lot from that experience. Since then hardly a year has gone by without our armed forces being committed to one trouble-spot or another. We still have responsibilities around the world, not least Gibraltar, Belize and the Falkland Islands. It was here in 1982 that our pared back navy was shown to be horribly vulnerable in the sense we did not have enough ships. Quite apart from the military value of having a fully functional and operational Navy, Army and Airforce, the hidden benefit to the nation is immense and probably worth billions of pounds which would otherwise be spent on the welfare state. Many servicemen and women are from poor backgrounds where opportunities are limited. A career in the services provides not only an escape route from their predicament, but equips them for a life outside uniform and in civvy street where their training makes them invaluable to employers and of course contributors to our nation's well being. Finally, you cannot measure our democracy and the safeguarding of it in pounds and pence. I would call on our government to consider very carefully the future of our armed services, which I believe to be sacrosanct.
Posted on 11 August 2010 by Richard Drax
No more taxes
I read with horror in today's Daily Telegraph that the EU is planning to "seek the right to levy direct taxes on Britons." No thanks. The budget commissioner, Janusz Lewandowski, wants to raise taxes on air travel and financial transactions to fill his pot for spending within the EU. I really am tired of the EU, this socialist nightmare, whose tentacles slither into every part of our lives. Fairness and common sense are the first victims as bureaucrats try and create this illlusion of a level playing field. It can never happen and it will never happen, and the sooner we renegotiate our place in Europe to a trading partner only the EU will continue to lead us up the garden path, with drastic consequences, as Greece exemplifies.
Posted on 11 August 2010 by Richard Drax