Zimbabwe's white farmers
I was sad to see that one of the last of Zimbabwe’s white farmers has lost his appeal against Mugabe’s ‘land reform programme.’ Where there were once 4,000 such farmers making Zimbabwean agriculture the most productive and profitable in Africa, there are now only 300 left. They are under siege from the squatters and ‘veterans’ unleashed by Zanu PF to occupy their land. Their hopes were dashed this week when Colin Cloete, who had bought his farm after Zimbabwean Independence in 1980, failed to get the Supreme Court to agree that this exempted him from Mugabe’s land grab. He has been told to go back to Britain, even though he was born in Zimbabwe, has only ever held a Zimbabwean passport and has no British relatives. Sadly, no one will stand up for him and his ilk. Opposition leader Morgan Tsangvirai is scared to be branded a ‘British stooge’, judges lose their jobs if they find for a white farmer and to our enduring shame, the British gave up on Zimbabwe a long time ago.
Posted on 28 June 2011 by Richard Drax
Back door repatriation
The funeral corteges for our war dead will now leave via the back gate of RAF Brize Norton, newly designated the ‘repatriation centre’ for servicemen killed abroad. Until now, they left RAF Lyneham and travelled via Royal Wootton Bassett, which gave them the heroes’ welcome they deserved. Apparently, the powers that be now think the back gate is ‘most appropriate’ for these convoys, which otherwise might ‘disrupt normal operations.’ Sadly, if you send men and women to war, you can expect coffins. They are a reminder of the sacrifice our Armed Forces make on our behalf and should not be hidden away.
Posted on 26 June 2011 by Richard Drax
Tides of War
President Obama is suffering from unruly senior officers in his Armed Forces, just as our Prime Minister is here. When the UK chiefs of the Navy, Air Force and Army recently questioned the Prime Minister’s strategy in Libya, he told them, “You the fighting, I’ll do the talking.” Similarly, US Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate Armed Services Committee that there had been a significant breach between senior officers charged with defeating the Taliban and the politicians directing them. Additionally, General David Petraeus, commander of ISAF, accused Obama of “undercutting a strategy that works” by announcing the withdrawal of 33,000 troops earlier than planned. Similar complaints followed David Cameron’s plans for an accelerated withdrawal. So much for Obama’s conviction that the ‘tides of war are receding.’ I think it’s far more likely that the race for the White House is advancing.
Posted on 24 June 2011 by Richard Drax
Russian Air Crash
The crash of the ancient Soviet Tupolev 134 aircraft yesterday took on a sinister slant when it was revealed that five of Iran’s most senior nuclear physicists, all thought to be working on Iran’s secret nuclear weapons project, perished in the crash. Israel, already outed as the author of the Stuxnet virus which crippled the project’s vital centrifuges, denies all knowledge….
Posted on 22 June 2011 by Richard Drax
I was particularly struck by an excellent article in today's Daily Telegraph, written by Philip Johnston. Entitled, 'Confused? If you're a Tory, you should be', it sets out my concerns, and the concerns of many I meet, concisely and accurately. In fact, it's so good, I am going to place some of it here. A paragraph in the middle of the article goes like this: "For Tories, these are perplexing times. Foreign aid and the EU budget are going up while defence spending is being slashed; green taxes to meet unachievable climate change targets are subsidising the expansion of wind farms across the countryside; red tape continues to strangle commerce; high taxes stifle incentives and constrain growth; and Lords reform is being championed by Conservative ministers even though it will impair the governance of the nation. On the law and order front, Kenneth Clarke may have been forced to drop his 50 per cent sentence reduction for guilty pleas but his belief that prison does not work still holds sway. Volunteers continue to be put off by a stifling system of background checks that assumes everyone is a potentail criminal. Local councils spend a fortune on non-jobs and executive pay while protesting they no longer have enough money to collect the bins once a week. The Human Rights Act continues to produce perverse judgements, yet promises of a British Bill of Rights have been shelved." I could not put it better myself.
Posted on 14 June 2011 by Richard Drax
The government has been warned, and rightly so, about its policies on climate change. The Climate Change Act has already effectively shut down the UK's economy if its target of reducing our CO2 emissions by 80 per cent in 40 years are met. And now with planned green taxes and the country paying a fortune to subsidise things like wind turbines, we are going to end up in an unwholly mess. We need a common sense approach to ensure we can compete in the world markets and produce the wealth the country needs for our future prosperity.
Posted on 13 June 2011 by Richard Drax
Crime and Punishment
I am relieved to hear that David Cameron has had a word with Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. Though undoubtedly one of Westminster’s most experienced and knowledgable ministers, his laid back approach has caused more than a few palpitations amongst the police, prison officers and any conservatives who believe in law and order. I have said before and I will say it again, we must put those who have committed serious crimes behind bars so that they understand that what they have done is unacceptable. They should earn any remission on their sentences from within prison and they should not be given privileges until they have earned them, within a sensible discipline.
Posted on 9 June 2011 by Richard Drax
No exit for Gaddafi
Considering yesterday’s announcement by Foreign Secretary William Hague that we are bombarding Gaddafi with 50 airstrikes a day and that operations will be extended for a further 90 days from the end of June, it is surprising that we have not progressed further. This, after all, is a country of just 6m people, mostly living in a habitable strip along the edges of the Mediterranean Sea. If we are truly there to protect civilians, then giving Gaddafi a way out must surely prevent future bloodshed. The problem is, with the greatest villains of the last 30 years being lined up at the Hague for war crimes, there is no incentive for Gaddafi to back down. No wonder he appeared in defiant mode on Libyan state television yesterday. “We will not surrender,” he shouted. “We have only one choice – to the end. Death, victory, it does not matter. We are not surrendering.” I believe we have forced Gaddafi into a position where he can say nothing else.
Posted on 8 June 2011 by Richard Drax
Grand Prix in Bahrain
The controversial decision to hold the Grand Prix in Bahrain after all – announced this week - has today been reversed by the teams themselves. While the financiers find it impossible to imagine turning down so much money and kudos, the teams have no such trouble. Just four days after the governing body, the FIA, decided to reinstate the race for this October, the teams wrote to say they would not support the decision. The FIA is trying to find a way of forcing them to compete but, as Max Mosley, one time head of the FIA, pointed out on the radio yesterday morning, no amendments can be made unless all competitors agree. Considering the Bahraini Government’s brutal oppression of the shia protests earlier this year and the protestors’ promise to target any Grand Prix with a ‘day of rage’, I think they are well out of it.
Posted on 8 June 2011 by Richard Drax
IMF says cut taxes
Only a day after my blog suggesting that the quickest way out of the slowdown caused by our gigantic fiscal deficit would be for Chancellor to cut taxes, no less an organisation than the IMF agreed. Mr Osborne’s Plan A is the right way ahead, they say, but if our economy continues to struggle, we should boost it by cutting taxes.
Posted on 7 June 2011 by Richard Drax
Some economists are warning in today's Observer that the fragile economy is unable to withstand the Chancellor's cuts. A Plan B is called for and no doubt many will wonder what that is. In my view, we need to reduce taxation - both personal and business - drastically to re-ignite people's confidence and of course the economy. We did not go nearly far enough in our emergency budget last year, not least cut the top rate of tax. The trouble with tax is that it inevitably lies in bed with politics. To separate the two, and give common sense free rein, is to invite retribution from the Left, who see taxation as a form of punishment for those who work hard and achieve. The problem is that the more you hit these wealth generators, the more you stifle enterprise and investment, and ultimately drive business abroad. The sheets must be ripped back, tax dragged from its den of iniquity and established in a separate room where good minds can re-establish its purpose, which was not to pay for the countless number of people who can't be bothered to work. Finally, those who earn their money are surely best placed to spend it. This was Conservative philosophy.
Posted on 5 June 2011 by Richard Drax
EU stealth taxes
I really do wonder what sort of world these EU bureaucrats inhabit. According to the newspapers, they now want the power to introduce direct taxation on members. You'd imagine that the EU and the single currency were working as its deluded supporters hoped it might. But the fact is the EU nightmare is in the process of collapsing in front of our very eyes and yet these predominantly left wing commissioners carry on as if nothing was happening. Our very able Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan has warned us repeatedly about this rudderless EU supertanker and he and many of my colleagues in the House of Commons are absolutely right. The Prime Minister must take note of the electorate's feelings on this and other subjects, such as immigration, if the Conservatives are to remain in power. We just cannot go on ignoring those who elected us. You need courage and integrity to lead, to stand up for what you believe in, and it's time now to take a lead in this EU debacle and hold an in/out referendum. If out, as we all expect, we then re-negotiate a trade agreement with Europe, as was first intended.
Posted on 2 June 2011 by Richard Drax
German Nuclear Shutdown
Yesterday’s news that Germany is to shut down all her 17 nuclear reactors is a stunning reaction to the Fukushima meltdown. I have written before about how two German states had demanded that Angela Merkel review the replacement plans for several aging reactors as a result of the Japanese nuclear disaster. But this decision is on another scale, and for those of us who support nuclear power as the only viable solution left to our energy crisis, it’s an alarming one.
Posted on 1 June 2011 by Richard Drax