Monday 30 November 2020

Why taking a vaccine is a sociable and sensible thing to do

 Why would you want to listen to me on this subject? I have no qualifications beyond an A level in biology taken 40 years ago and a short holiday work placement in the immunology dept of the National Institiute for Medical Research, as a lab porter, which I took over the Xmas holiday in 1979 to assist with a project. So in short, I know marginally more than someone who knows nothing at all. If you want to tell me I am talking nonsense and have a more impressive qualification, can demonstrate your argumenst with peer reviewed studies and research, I will quite happily update this blog. However I am thoroughly sick and tired of people who know even less than I do making pronouncements on Twitter and Facebook, talking with the faith of a Pope from the middle ages on the subject, claiming that we should not take the vaccine for a variety of reasons that at best are rather dodgy and at worst seem to be based on evidence posted with malicious intent to put people at risk. Here is my take on it.

1. Are vaccines safe? I doubt there is anything that is 100% safe for everyone. Every day someone is killed by bad reactions to peanuts, coffee, alcohol, flour etc. But the whole point of medical trials is to ensure that such reactions are extremely rare. Just about everyone in the UK has been vaccinated at some point and the eradication of diseases such as Polio is a direct result of this. My eldest brother had polio in the 1950's and still suffers as a result. My grandmother was killed by TB in 1960, two years before I was born. Vaccination has ensured that neither TB nor Polio will kill me. Several years ago I had to travel to India for work. I had all of the vaccinations required, mandatory and optional. A colleague didn't have the optional Japanese Encephalitus vaccination. He caught it and is now medically pensioned off. As an individual there is a small chance that you will have an adverse reaction to a vaccine. Should you catch the disease, there is a statistically far higher chance of severe harm or death. As far as I can see, the most sane and rational thing to do is to be vaccinated as whilst nothing is 100% safe it is far safer than the alternative.

2. Why should I have the vaccine if I am not at risk? There are three aspects to this. The first is that you have to ask yourself how you would feel if you passed it on to someone else, maybe a loved one who died as a result? I know if I did that and I could have avoided it with a vaccination, I would find it a difficult thing to live with. The second thing is that the higher the uptake, the quicker the population will have 'herd immunity' which means the virus will be deprived of hosts, on whom it can find new victims. The third is that not everyone who is vulnerable actually  realises they are vulnerable. Whilst it seems rare for young, fit, healthy people to die of covid, it is not unknown. I would take the view that if I was going to get a bad reaction to a vaccine, I may well get a much worse reaction to the real live virus. I have no way of knowing if that is a correct view, but it would seem likely to me that if there was some element of a deactivated virus that upset my immune system, the real thing would be worse. Of course if everyone else takes the vaccine, you won't be at risk. But that simply isn't going to happen.

3. Is the corona virus vaccine part of some massive conspiracy? This is the one that really gets me. I've yet to understand exactly what Bill Gates is supposed to want to achieve and what the "Bill Gates Vaccine" is meant to do, but if those 'in charge' really wanted to do some dastardly deed, I'm sure there are far easier ways. Given that we smoke, drink alcohol, eat all manner of illness inducing foods and sugary drinks etc, it seems to me that we don't really need Bill Gates help to harm ourselves. Any casual observer would conclude that Boris and his government are doing a fine job trashing the economy but I believe anyone who thinks this is anything other than ineptitude has been smoking something I could use right now. 

4. The vaccine cannot have been properly tested in such a short time? I'm not qualified to comment on how a vaccine can be safely tested, but science has moved rapidly over the last twenty years. Modern IT systems allow results to be collated and analysed far more quickly than when things such as the polio vaccine was developed. Scientists also know what they are doing to a far greater extent. Vaccines work by generating an immune response. For a vaccine to work, your body will have to develop some degree of immunity to whatever foreign agent is contained in the vaccine. I'm not aware of any cases where some monstrous side effect kicks in ten years after a vaccine has been administered as there is something 'lurking there'. 

5. Will the politicians be taking it? I have no idea. I hope so and I would not vote for any that didn't.As I beleive it is the sensible thing to do, I would have to conclude that any politicans who don't are not sensible people.

6. Do I need the vaccine if I've had corona virus. My understanding is that once you've had the virus, you are immune for a period. I doubt that people who have survived the virus will be offered it any time soon.But there may be reasons, such as different variants that make it desireable. I'd ask a doctor if you are unsure. 

7. The incidence of Corona virus is low in my area so why do I need it? I guess the answer to this is that it is a contageous disease, the incidence is low everywhere until it is not low. 

8. There is no proof the vaccine works, why should I take the risk? I've seen a few tweets claiming this. The amazing thing about science is that there is proof. The trials ensure there is. The science of vaccines has been developed over  acouple of hundred years. The rules for releasing vaccines on the public ensure there is evidence. It may not be good enough to satisfy you, but that is a different thing altogether. The gist of what I've read is that virus sceptics believe the results are somehow faked. Like the lunar landings, the death of Hitler and the round Earth. There are some people who will dismiss all of the evidence that doesn't suit their viewpoint. .

If the whole thing is a great big scam, then doctors, scientists, public health officials etc are part of the conspiracy. Members of mty family, friends etc are part of it and are allowing friends and family to fall victim. To me that is just too ridiculous a concept.

Sunday 29 November 2020

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 29/11/2020

 The last Sunday of lockdown, the last Sunday of November, the first Sunday of Advent, the Christmas season, the weather is grey, the football has been exciting. But what have the tweeters of the Borough of Barnet been up to? Find out here (some proper top nothc tweets this week).

1. Perhaps Mill Hills favourite son, friend of my Dad, a legend, tragically lost 45 years ago today. He has a blue plaque in Parkside. RIP Champ, still racing on the big circuit in the sky

2. This looks worth a watch for all of you transport history nuts. It always amused me that the Trolleybus to Burnt Oak was the 666!

3. Edgware used to be the world epicentre for manufacture of musical instruments. Sadly manufacturing i this part of the world is almost non existent now. Nice tweet!

4. If any of you are stuck trying to work out what to get me for Xmas, one of these will do. Looking fantastic in Hampstead

5. This reminded me, must head on down to Wing Yip soon. One of our local gems, if like me you fancy yourself as a bit of a Fanny Craddock (younger readers ask your Grandma what this means!)

6. Good to know that the pitch will be in top notch condition for the resatrt at our local football team. Head on down next Saturday to support the boys. Grassroots football must survive

7. Regular readers will know I love a good map and what could be better than a map of local pubs. If there are any budding mapmakers out there who want to make an updated version, let me know. This is wonderful

8. Wonderful picture of a Short Eared Owl at Darlands Nature reserve by Finchley Birder

9. I'm endebted to Mark Amies AKA @Time_NW for digging out this picture of me on my bike in the mid 1970's and Ian McGreevy for telling the tale of the the road contractor who couldn't go round corners! Classic tweeting!

10. We had proper reggae royalty in Mill Hill this week!

Thats all folks!

Saturday 28 November 2020

The Saturday List #288 - My top ten funny moments from the movies

 We all have favourite moments from the movies. As this is the final Saturday of the second lockdown, I thought it would be a good time to post these, as we all need a good smile. 

1. Life of Brian -  "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy" This film is full of great moments. I'm not a massive Monty Python fan, but this is classic.

2. The Producers - "Where did it all go right" - The original with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. An amazing film, I love the pathos of this scene. Couldn't find a good clip of this. Watch the film

3.  Kind Hearts and Coronets "The confession". The final scene where a reprieved Alec Guinness, remembers he's left a full confession in his cell. A classic twist. Coulnd't find this either, use the end of lockdown to check it out

4.  Some like it Hot - "Well nobody's perfect". The film ends with Jerry (Jack Lemon) revealing to Osgood (Joe E. Brown), who has the hots for his character (played in drag), that he is in fact a man. Osgood is totally undeterred, announcing "Well nobody's perfect".

5. Up in Smoke - "Lardass". As a teenager I loved the stoner humour of Cheech and Chong. There is a scene where they go to the Police station to buy weed off a bent cop. As the cop goes off to retrieve some from the stash of confiscated weed, the Cop who is supposed to be staking out Cheech and Chong radio's in to report. He is operating under the codename of "Hardhat". Having access to the radio Cheech replies "Hey Lardass!". The cop then repeats "This is Hardhat" to which the same response is received. It always makes me snigger.

6. Planes, Trains and Automobiles. There is a scene where Steve Martin and John Candy wake up in a double hotel bed, which circumstances have forced them to share. As they awake, they have forgotten who they are sharing the bed with, the scene is both embarrassing and extremely funny. There reaction when they realise is classic.

7. Stir crazy - The Jail Scene. Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder are put in a cell with some rather mean dudes. The first time I saw it, I nearly cried with laughter watching them arrive trying to look bad and the whole thing unravelling in a matter of seconds. 

8. Kes - The football scene. Brian Glovers performance as Mr Sugden, the over enthusiastic Manchester United supporting games master, who joins in with the kids game is comedy gold. 

9. Four Lions. The bleach  scene is classic. Very dark humour but hilarious

10. Crocodile Dundee. "That's not a knife". Hogan at his finest, a lesson in how to deal with muggers

That's all folks.

Friday 27 November 2020

Why we need a risk based approach to beating Covid

 Now we all know what tier we are in and how we will be spending Christmas. We have to recognise that the government has a nearly impossible job in balancing the measures needed to keep people alive against the needs of the population to exist and the needs of the economy to pay for the measures. I've restricted my criticisms to when it is absolutely clear that the government is making a terrible mistake, such as the 'eat out to help out' scheme. There are several things we've learned. The first is that lockdowns do work in their goal of bringing down the rate of transmisison of the virus. We all hate the concept but the reason we have to some extent contained the outbreak is because the government has made us all lock ourselves away. It is pretty clear to me that both times, the government did it too late in the day, meaning more damage was done to the economy and our mental health than needed. A lockdown is a very blunt instrument. It is like using a sledgehammer to bang in a nail, it will bang the nail in but there is bound to be all manner of collatoral damage. Any sane person would only use a sledgehammer to bang a nail in if the nail had to be banged in and there was no more appropriate tool. 

Given that the first lockdown was implemented in a panic when it was clear matters were getting out of hand, we can't blame Boris for grabbing the biggest tool in the toolbox and whacking away. For the second lockdown, the government sort of manufactured the crisis itself, with its cash bung to get us all socialising. As a business owner, I watched with horror as the government spent hundreds of millions getting us to do the least sensible thing possible in the middle of a pandemic. what bemused me was that the scheme was not tied in to the launch of the track and trace app. A cash bung to get us all using it would have mitigated to some extent the effects.

Having got us all merrily reinfecting each other, once again a lockdown was inevitable and once again it was done too late. Once again they haven't learned the lesson of "Eat out to infect your Granny" and are set to repeat the fiasco with the easing of restrictions over Christmas. Much as it would be lovely to see people, I can't see any way another spoke and another lockdown can be avoided, once we've all travelled around spreading the virus along with peace and goodwill. 

The more I think about it, the more I am reminded of Margaret Thatcher and her response to the AIDS epidemic. AIDS coincided with the period in my life when I was most sexually active. After the sexual liberation of the 60's and 70's, it was a very bad hangover. Thatcher never struck me as someone who felt comfortable publicly discussing sex. Her section 28 laws were highly repressive for the LGBTQ+ community. When it became clear that AIDS was a major threat to the population, Thatcher put her Victorian morality to one side and followed the science. Her government set about educating the nation about risky behaviour. They realised that telling promiscuous people not to have sex was ridiculously stupid, so they educated us with how to mitigate the risks. The condom was the primary weapon. Many people have different ideas abut what Thatchers greatest achievement was, but for me it will always be persuading sexually active people to wear condoms. Whatever you may think of Thatcher, that probably save half a million lives. 

Fast forward to late November 2020. Where is the condom (so to speak)? Well there are two main 'condoms' one is a facemask and one is sanitising your hands. These are the measures that scientist are advising are the best way to combat transmission. I don't really recall anyone saying that wearing a condom was an infringement of your rights back in 1984. What is clear is that the government has got the message about masks completely wrong. It spent months saying they were useless before doing a massive U-turn. I've read things that suggested that the initial reluctance was all about the lack of available PPE for health workers. If this is true, it is a damning indictment. They should have levelled up with us.

There seems to me to be a marked reluctance to 'trust the science'. I recall back in 1984 there were conspiracy theories about AIDS. It was allegedly manufactured by the CIA to wipe out Gay people and black people. I shudder to think what would have happened if Bill Gates made condoms back then. 

The reason the UK did well with the IADS epidemic and so badly with Covid is because back in 1984, the government treated us like adults, laid out the risks, told us sensible mitigations and spent a lot of money making sure the message got through. We learned what were 'risky behaviours'. My greatest criticism of the government of Boris Johnson is that we've not been treated like adults in the same way. Pubs are shut /opened not on the level of risk they pose but because they are in areas with a high transmission rate. The figures show that going to the supermarket is far more risky, but they've had no restrictions placed on them.

I regularly go to all sorts of pubs. Between the two lockdowns, I probably visited 20 different ones. A couple had no mitigations at all in place, some were completely covid safe (given my understanding of the rules) and some were somewhere in between. In my view, every establishment that is open to the public should complete a risk assessment and submit it to their local authority.They should have it readily available for customers to review and any that do not perform the mitigations properly should be closed. Establishments that are safe, conversely, should be open. It is far safer to meet friends in a regulated, safe pub than to sneak around to their house. The government should be able to identify risk hot spots. I would refuse entry to all public places if people do not have the track and trace app (unless they have a very good reason). By plotting peoples movements, hot spots should be identified. The app should also be able to identify where establishments are not enforcing social distancing rules.

The bottom line though is that most people will not die of covid, even if infected. Most will have symptoms no worse than a bad cold or flu. The vulnerable groups are well known. They have had no proper protection from day one. This is where the risk is. As our knowledge of the disease has evolved we should have improved our methods of keeping the vulnerable safe. We havent. Any risk assessment should identify how people at risk will be managed in any environment. If we knew the hotspots where people with the disease are most likely to pass it on and we identify those who most need protection, we should be able to mitigate these risks.

What we have is rules that state you can't drink eight pints of Guinness and eat a pickled onion in a pub, but you can sink six bottles of Malbec and have a pasty and chips. If you think that is a science based approach to managing the risks of covid, I'm afraid to say I think you are off your trolley.

Thursday 26 November 2020

Open letter to John Hooton - CEO at Barnet Council regarding problems with the Barnet Council pension scheme

 Dear Mr Hooton,

I have been contacted by several former employees of Barnet Council who are having serious issues with their Barnet Council pension. The scheme is administrated by Capita and it is clear to me that the mismanagement of the administration is causing real pain and financial hardship for people who dedicated their career working for Barnet. 

Unfortunately, much as I would love to be able to help these people directly, my only role in this matter can be as a blogger who is in a position to disseminate information and suggest to these poor unfortunate people how their issues can be resolved. It is quite clear that the 'usual channels' are not working, therefore can I ask you to do the following things.

1. Provide contact details for a council official who can act as a direct go between and will be in a position to actually resolve the problems rather than just fobbing people off.

2. Reslove to take whatever actions are necessary to resolve the issues with your suppliers. I would appreciate an update on this matter.

3. Provide a date by which you expect measures to be put in place to ensure that all former Barnet Council employees who receive a pension can expect the issues to be resolved. 

4. A personal assurance that you will personally accept responsibility for ensuring that these issues are resolved. 

I would appreciate an update that can be posted for the readers of my blog. If however this is not possible, please pass on whatever information you can, so that I can pass this back to the people who have contacted me. I am sure you appreciate that many people are under severe strain at present. It is most important that Barnet Council treats its former employees with the respect and courtesy they deserve and ensures that they receive pensions that they are entitled to in a timely manner.


Roger Tichborne

P.S. I have cc'd the Leader of the Council into this for information

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Don't feel guilty for being happy

 It has been a tough old year so far. In a months time it will be Christmas Eve. For our family Christmas Eve is a special time. We have developed a set routine. We meet up with family, go to Mass at the Sacred Heart for the Xmas service. This is always a joy. For me, hearing children sing 'Away in a manger' around the crib is special. It always brings a tear to my eye. It's been a long time since I was a small, innocent child, doing that, but it takes me to a special time and place. I feel close to my long departed parents and being surrounded by family is a lovely thing. After mass, we adjourn to a local restaurant. It always used to by Leyla's for a Turkish meal, in recent years, we moved over to Prezzo as there is a wider range (Leyla's shut last year) and some of thre group pereferred Pizza's etc. We then go home and exchange present with those we won't see on Xmas day. A few libations are despatched. I always have a note in my diary for today to remind me to order the Turkey, think of a present for Clare, arrange an Xmas beer with a couple of friends that I've not seen through the year. It gives me a month to get myself in order. 

As I am sure you are aware, this year that note is largely redundant right now. I doubt those beers will be had. It seems likely that London will be in tier 2 or 3 of lockdown. It seems that we might see the family, but mass and a meal at Prezzo seems unlikely. In a normal year, I'd be in the middle of planning a few things right now. Since the Barnet Eye became established, we've always had the Barnet Eye community awards and The False Dots Xmas party in December. That isn't happening. There is the annoual Pogues/Pogue traders gig. That isn't happening. There is the Xmas trip to The Etihad for a match. There is my sister in laws Xmas party in Notting Hill. There is our post Xmas break with friends. You get the picture. 

When the reminder kicked in, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I decided to laugh. As I'm writing this blog, I'm tucking into a rather tasty pasta dish prepared by Clare. I am seated in the reception of my studio, which has a few pro bands rehearsing and recording this week. There are a few with online streamed shows this week. The fact that clubs like the 606 club are having live streamed events is a very good thing and I've heard some of the artists rehearsing for the shows is a really positive and uplifting thing. 

I was thinking long and hard about the issue of no Pogues this year. It occured to me that the reason that humans are a successful species as we are clever and adaptable. There are a few rather good videos of the band in their pomp. There's no reason we can't watch these, even if it is with friends in the garden (of course observing the social distancing rules whatever they are) on our projector. Get the Guinness in and make the best. There is a law that says we can't do certain things we enjoy, but there is no rule that says we can't be happy. We just have to put some thought into it. I was chatting to a friend who is making a Christmas cake. He is feeding the fruit with Brandy. We deserve a good Christmas this year. This doesn't mean being irresponsible or stupid. But it should mean that we be happy. In some ways we are lucky. We can do the Zoom catch up. The power is still on. The lights are working. Boucharie Gerard are still selling Turkeys and Sausages. We can have the best feast we've had all year. Put in some planning. Have the nicest beer, the best bottle of wine, make up a play list of your fave songs. Put the extra effort in. Find everyones favourite Xmas songs and versions. 

But also spare a thought for those who might not be in such a good position. This is the time to donate to your local foodbank. Charities like the local Age UK are also doing great work with loneliness. We should never feel gulity for enjoying ourselves and feeling happy. Heaven knows this year has shown how much we need some laughter and joy. But lets spread it around a bit.

Sunday 22 November 2020

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet 22/11/2020

 Here's this weeks tweets. A few interesting nuggets in there, even if I say so myself. We live in a wonderful part of London, even in these strange and difficult times there is much of interest. Please follow any of these tweeters who tickle your fancy. 

1. Looking forward to the restart of grassroots football

2. Some things just make you smile. Not much good has come out of covid, but this might just catch on!

3. Nice bit of local history

4. Are you a beer fan? You can get beer brewed in Finchley delivered straight to your door!

5. Sadly the tour didn't make it to Finchley Catholic when I was there! I loved this

6. Need a calendar? This one looks pretty cool to me

7. Mark Amies has been on top form with his @Time_NW account this week. If you like local history, follow this account

8. Very nice shot of Golders Hill Park

9. Congratulations to Copthall School and it's wonderful head Evelyn Forde. My family has a long standing association with the school. They deserve the plaudits

10. We'll end it with a rather nice picture of Mill Hill from today. There are some great walks in the Borough of Barnet. Arrendene is one of the best.

That's all folks!

Saturday 21 November 2020

The Saturday List #287 - Ten reasons why I love the Pogues

 I will not be the only one having a rather low key Christmas this year. One key feature that will be missing will be my fix of The Pogues. For many years, the official start of my Xmas celebrations was to see the Pogues Christmas show. This was always a raucous night of drinking, dancing, singing and generally over celebrating. Following the passing of Phil Chevron and with Shane's health problems, the band stopped touring, but fortunately on of my friends, Paul Evans, joined a Pogues Tribute band, The Pogue Traders. I don't need much of an excuse to check out a band, and Paul joining was the perfect excuse. To my delight, they were rather good and their Xmas show at the Dublin Castle was a more than suitable substitute. The band are more a celebration of the bands music than a Tribute, where the band actually pretend to be the characters. The lead singer Lou has the voice of Shane, but doesn't pretend to be the man. Many only really know the band through that Xmas single and through the notoriety of Shane as a hard drinker. The amazing body of music the band produced has been over looked in the hubris. I know Spider Stacey as he's a good mate of Boy Boorer and has done a few recordings and rehearsals at the studio. I had a pleasant evening a while back watching The Rails with Boz, Spider and his wife a while back. He's been on the wagon for a good few years, but he's still good company. 

This week, the Pogues have been in the news for a crushing put down of right wing poster boy Laurence Fox. Fox had tried to whip up a storm about the BBC censoring 'fairytale'. It inspired me to put this list together.

1. Regular readers of the blog will know that my Dad was an Aussie WW2 bomber pilot. For him ANZAC's  day was a solemn day. He was born on 1st April 1917, as the war to end all wars raged. We were taught the story of Galipoli at his knee. We were taught that whilst we should be prepared to fight and if necessary die for democracy, justice and fairness, we should never trust the establishment that would sacrifice fine men in such reckless missions. Whenever I hear this song, I think of my Dad and I shed a small tear. I know they didn't, but I always feel that they played this song just for me.

2. I'm not entirely sure of the exact moment I wanted to play guitar in a rock and roll band, but when I was a small child and my two elder brothers were at home, back in the mid 1960's, they would have their friends around for a 'sing song'. My brothers are twins and had a sublime musical understanding. They would harmonise and bounce of each others playing. As we come from a Roman Catholic, North London background, Irish songs and skiffle were a big part of the equation. Songs like The Wild Rover and The Irish Rover were a massive part of my youth. When they got married and moved out at the end of the 60's that departed the house, but my love of what you could do with a guitar was firmly established. I lost touch with the music, when the Pogues first formed, I wasn't really interested, but given Shane's punk credentials, I went to see an early gig out of curiosity. I instantly got it. This song always transported me back to our living room, in 1967, my brothers and their mates singing songs and us all joining in.

3. My mum was born in Oldham, a suburb of Manchester. She moved to Kentish Town when she was about eleven, he father was seeking work. She still had aunties in Lancashire well into the 1980's. She would tell fascinating stories of her youth in Oldham, trips into Manchester with her brothers, bunking into Maine Road to watch the mighty Manchester City. My mum had no interest in football (unlike her brothers) but loved the atmosphere of the ground and the hot bovril. She told tales of deprivation, of not having shoes, of not having heating, of how her mother had her teeth removed as a 21st birthday present from her mum. This song, about Manchester, reminds me of my mum and her tales of youth.

4. Soho has been a part of my life ever since I became an adult. I've had good times and bad times there. It has changed since I worked around the corner from it in the early 1980's. Nowadays it is rather sanitised. But I still have a romantic love of it. No other song captures the feel of the area in the way this does. It is a fantastic piece of songwriting. Shane doesn't so much sing this song as live it.

5. The North London of my youth was a town of immigrants working on building sites, railways, roads and other trades. Friends Dads would come home in overalls. Pubs would have bars for the workers and separate bars for the posher clientele. The beer was cheaper in the public bar. The railways we use were built by Irish labourers. This song is a celebration of those fine people who made Britain great. The Pogues are one of very few bands that really celebrate the people who made us what we are.

6. If you are in a band and you have a platform, you should use it to fight injustice. There have been few worse miscarriages of justice than the Birmingham Six. To my mind, this is the sort of songs bands should write. Not all the time, but once in a while a band should nail it's true colours to its mast. The Birmingham six were 100% innocent and were fitted up by the Police. Supporting innocent men who have been victims of injustice is something we should all do

7. No celebration of the Pogues could possibly avoid the subject of alcohol. This just happens to be my favourite of their drink songs. I'm not a Whiskey drinker, but this is such a joyous celebration of the culture which has made our lives such fun.

8. Religion is a massive part of Irish culture. This song rather haunts me

'If I should fall from grace with God
Where no doctor can relieve me
If I'm buried 'neath the sod
But the angels won't receive me
Let me go, boys
Let me go, boys
Let me go down in the mud
Where the rivers all run dry'

I do think that anyone who was born in a family of Irish Catholic ancestry has a very difficult relationship with religion and faith. I happen to think that religion and faith are two very different things. I have a problem with religion, the Church has rather let us all down, but none at all with faith, that will see us through. It is a shame that the Irish People don't really have the church they deserve.

9. My missus has the most beautiful brown eyes. Nice of the boys to write this for her. It is one of those songs that won't change the world, but always makes me happy

10. This!

That's all folks - And no, I didn't include the Xmas song because I guess you know that and if you don't then I suggest you google it. I do love it, but it sometimes saddens me that it is the part of Kirsty's legacy that she is best remembered for. But that's another story

Friday 20 November 2020

The Friday Joke - Too Sexy?

 Whilst I was searching for a joke of the week, this popped up on my Twitter timeline. I just thought Job Done!

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Sick to death of the Angry Brigade

 Heaven knows I've had a few rants in my time. Not everything that attracts my ire is always 100% justifiable, but I like to think there is at least a rational basis for it. As we reach the end of the Trump era, it strikes me that we live in a society with anger levels at a height never seen.With a President who has spent four years tweeting bile at the world and with many of us stuck indoors with nothing to do, I guess that we perhaps shouldn't be too surprised. But there is rational anger, caused by injustice and there is just being angry for the sake of it, seeking out ever more trivial things to get the hump about. This morning I saw new heights of this ridiculous stupidity on Twitter. I've been following an account run by a lady in Portsmouth for a while, who tweets all manner of amusing and entertaining items. Some of it is slightly risque, most of it is very funny. It's the sort of thing that you follow because it appeals to your sense of humour and if it doesn't you simply don't bother. Quite a few people clearly have a similar sense of humour to me, as the account has nearly 50K followers. 

Today, for reasons I can't quite comprehend, a rather obnoxious soul decided to troll the account holder and its followers. I can only assume that it is something to do with the need to seek attention. I've had my share of deranged trolls, so I am not totally unfamilar with the process. I've learned that the best thing to do is to block and ignore. Todays  Troll account got a lot of ire and, rather strangely seemed to be positively revelling in it. I had a quick look through their post history prior to putting this blog together. It seems that trolling unsuspecting people, usually females, is a favourite passtime of the poor soul. He seems to delight in trying to upset people and ruin peoples day. I can understand that in politics and football, such banter is par for the course. I can't however understand why someone would want to troll an account that is purely there to put a smile on peoples faces. It does appear to me that there is a psycho-sexual aspect to it. I don't know the lady who runs the account, but it is pretty clear that she's not a shrinking violet who is prepared to take such nonsense. I suspect that this in some way challenges the insecurities of the sad individual in question. 

Social media, especially public platforms such as Twitter are a fertile breeding ground for keyboard warriors. In the current climate, empowered by the blatherings of people like Trump, who seemingly do not even comprehend the concept of good manners and civility, they have carte blanche to insult and offend.In a soceity where a premium is put on free speech, I guess we are lumbered with these lunkheads. There are three things we can do. 1. Block them. 2. Post statetments of support to those they insult (don't tag in the Troll) 3. Report them if they violate the platform rules.  


Monday 16 November 2020

Environment Monday - Changing the way we think about transport

2020 has been an unprecedented year for transport. There has been a huge decline in people's movement. We've seen a big increase in walking, a near total collapse of people using public transport and air travel and a marked reduction in car journeys, as people have been locked down. Meanwhile we've seen a massive increase in home delivery. I've long believed that the UK has an appalling track record of transport planning. It is nearly always driven by budget, special interest groups and expedience. There is little concept of taking a  holistic view and working out how the bigger picture fits together. If you look at some of the major schemes in the UK at the moment, you will see this exemplified. The government has embarked on a massive, short term fix for road congestion with "Smart Motorway" schemes, which in effect involve allowing people to drive on the hard shoulder and using technology to manage the risk to broken down cars. Then there is the HS2 rail project. Depending on which side of the divide you stand on, it will either lead to a massive increase in rail capacity, freeing up capacity on the rest of the network for freight and suburban commuter traffic or it will be a white elephant, with empty trains transporting non existent businessmen to meetings that won't be happening. Then there is Crossrail, which seems to exemplify the way the UK manages infrastructure projects. Years late, many times over budget and possibly serving a commuter market that has disappeared since it was devised. 

Lets start by looking at what the major users of our transport network are and what needs to be prioritised.

1. I started with school traffic, as this is largely what clogs our suburban roads for an hour each end of the working day.  There are three things to consider here. The first is whether we should be encouraging parents to drive miles for a school, where there is a perfectly good alternative on their doorstep. The second is, whetehr we should be encouraging children to walk or cycle to school. The third is whether the bus network is doing its job in facilitation the necessary longer journeys. I have long believed that education policy should be tweaked to remove as many unnecessary car journeys as possible for the school run. Human nature is always to want the best for our children, so a big part of this would be levelling up schools, so there is less desire to drive miles to get into the school with the best OFSTED rating. I don't believe that dumbing down schools is the way to go, I'd make the number of children walking to school part of the funding equation. The more who walk, the more cash the school gets. If there was a degree of self interest for schools in accomodating local kids, I believe this would lead to a big drop in parents making the school run, as schools tweak their admissions policies. As congestion and cars not moving is a big cause of pollution, this would make a massive difference. Where there is no alternative to longer journeys, buses usage should also be incentivised.

2. Local commuter traffic. In London, we have buses, trains, tubes, cycle lanes, walking and even river boats as alternatives to car journeys.I worked in Central London for 30 years and I'd never consider driving, as Thameslink provided a quick and mostly efficient means of transport. If I'd worked in High Barnet, then the opposite would have been true. We need far better radial links in London. The pandemic has changed the way many of us work. I do wonder what the rush hour will look like whenever the pandemic finally subsides. I doubt that the number of people working in offices will eve rreturn to the pre pandemic levels. Technology has been shown to work. Why would companies spend billions offices, when it is clear that people can work from home. I suspect that organisations like TFL will see huge stress on budgets, but London will still need a public transport network to function as a city. I suspect that it will need a different model to fund it, rather than the continual fleecing of passengers.

3. Regional people movements. Examples of this are young people travelling to Universities and colleges, football fans travelling to away matches, people accessing airports for holidays/coastal towns etc and attendance at conferences and other events. I choose these examples, as they all involve a large number of people accessing a specific area, often at a specific time. These flows are to some degree predictable and transport planning should be designed to ensure that this is done in the greenest and most sustainbable manner. We've seen many football ground developments in recent years, where public transport has had little or no improvement to deal with enormous growth in people movements. In Barnet, we've seen the development of Allianz Park for Saracens. It seems ridiculous that there is a largely intact disused railway line (from Mill Hill East) that could have been relatively easily reopened to accomodate match day traffic. This would serve a busy area with two major schools as well as the stadium. These are the sort of things that should be written in to planning permission for such schemes. I've always been amazed at just how poor interchange is in the UK between rail/airports/etc. Back in the 1970's we had football special rail services, providing cheap and accesible transport to major matches. Now we simply have extra traffic clogging the motorways. Often tube stations are actually shut for big events, such as the Notting Hill Carnival. This is not a signe of good management, it is a sign of atrocious forward planning. Every major people hub should have a proper traffic management plan, that constantly evolves and improves.

4. Local freight delivery. Ten years ago, there was no issue with traffic generated by delivery traffic. Now this is starting to become a significant part of the picture. The rise of services like Amazon have lead to exponential growth of deliveries. In urban areas, we see no reason why a significant proportion of this shouldn't be by bicycle. Many items are not heavy and there is no necessity for vans to deliver them. We'd like to see far more effort put into delivering sustainable parcels traffic. In a place like Mill Hill, there's no reason that parcels couldn't be sent on existing services, outside of rush hour, and collected by cycle couriers at stations. It is a total no brainer and would lead to significant improvements in air quality.

5.Regional bulk freight. Large, heavy items clearly need a portion of their journey to be by road. In some cases, it would be uneconomical to move these to rail, but there's no doubt that a lot more freight could be moved by rail, if the government had the will to make the investment. There are several disused rail routes that could easily and cheaply be reopened for freight services. There is currently a proposal to reopen a stetch of line between Matlock and Buxton, for aggregates traffic. This would shift many lorries on to rail and presumably would also add the option of increased local rail provision for the national park. We would like to see a national strategy for identifying such opportunities and using carbon taxes to incentivise such schemes. Once the investment has been made, the benefits will last for decades.

6. Isolated communities. There are still places in the Uk that have appalling transport links. These places generally are in terminal decline. Some are places that used to have decent public transport provision, but the Beeching cuts of the 1960's cut them off. There are plenty of communities that would greatly benefit from the reopening of these shut services. In recent years, the Scottish government reopened a section of the former Waverley route, rebranding it as the Border Railways. The traffic forecasts were very conservative and massively underestimated the demand for services. It is clear that the scheme should have been far more ambitious. If we want regeneration in a sustainable manner for these communities, we seriously need to make reopening these disused links a part of the plan. Light rail, hydrogen cell technology and digital signalling should make it easier and cheaper to get services back, that are non polluting and efficient. There are several schemes where trams are using the rail network for parts of their journey. We'd like to see non polluting hydrogen cell railcars used on such routes, as this would slash the need for expensive overhead electric cabling.

To sum up, we need to start planning our transport infrastructure with a degree of joined thinking. We need to stop doing things on the cheap, often after decades of debate. We need to encourage people to use the schools and services on their doorstep. We need deliveries to be done in a sustainable manner. We need to look at the infrastructure that we've let rot and see if it can be reprovisioned. We need better, safer scyle and walking routes. Where road transport is the only option, that should be recognised and motorists should not be penalised, but where there are other, more environmentally friendly options, I believe motorists should be surcharged for the priviledge.

Sunday 15 November 2020

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 15 November 2020

 Week two of lockdown. How are you coping? The second lockdown has a very different feel. We have football, take away coffee and we can have as much exercise as we want. We can't go to the pub, restaurant or the gym. In the last two weeks we've waved goodbye to Donald Trump, Dominic Cummings and we've heard that there is a vaccine on the way for Corona virus. Maybe 2020 will end on a high and 2021 will be a real rennaisance year. Lets hope so.

This week there have been some fine and rather interesting tweets. We do suggest following these tweeters if you like the cut of their gib. Interesting, informative and with genuine engagement.

1. Ever wondered where George Michael grew up? Now you know. This is why I love doing this, there are always little nuggets of interesting trivia to learn about our neighbourhood.

2. There are interesting and great tweets and there are fascinating threads, that start in one place and end up with a stack of almost unrelated stuff being unearthed. I will slightly break a rule that I don't select Barneteye tweets, as this thread started with a Barneteye Tweet, but where it went and the resulting stuff is worth a look so I hope you won't feel this too narcissistic. Thanks to Ian McGreevy and Nik Hunt who made this a truly wonderful thread


3. Nice pics of High Barnet

4. If you are interested in how Barnet may be decarbonised, this will be something you might want to attend

5. We rather like the arcade at Finchley. We beleive such things are worth preserving and with a bit of imagination and good design could be the centre piece of the plans. Lets never forget that British Rail wanted to demolish St Pancras, it is now the worlds best station (IMHO. A great blend of old and new.

6. This made me chuckle. I love a bit of photographic humour

7. Whilst we are in lockdown, the new Brent Cross West station is taking shape. This is a fascinating view of the work from a passing fast Intercity Train

8. Did you know that the RAF museum at Hendon was opened 48 years ago today by Her Majesty the Queen. I remember it well, my Dad as an ex RAF Officer blagged an invite. He took me down on the first day it was open to the public. I was fascinated to see the Wellington bomber, the last complete one left. He flew these in North Africa, Italy and the UK. I was disappointed I couldn't have a look inside

9. And 97 years ago Hendon Central Station opened to the public

10. This is perhaps the most intriguing tweet of the week. I'd quite like to know a bit more about this.

Saturday 14 November 2020

Saturday List #286 - Ten footballers who don't play for my team that I love

 This is a list I've been thinking of doing for a long time. I'm a Manchester City FC fan. I was thinking of footballers who I like, who have no association with my club. This was inspired by Marcus Rashford and his campaign for meals for kids. Try as I may, even though he plays for the enemy, I can't but help like him. It is quite unsettling to like a player for the sworn enemy and it is for non footballing reasons. I thought a list might be in orde.r

1. Marcus Rashford. How can you not like a bloke that has done so much for hungry kids. I just hope he gets a transfer!

2. Tony Currie. Local Lad, football genius, Englands, Sheff Utd, Leeds and QPR. Well known for joining in local kickabouts when out walking his dog and playing as a pro. Outrageously skilful. If England had sane managers, he'd have had a hundred caps. 

3. John Barnes. There are many things I like about Barnes. I have a soft spot for Watford, they are one of my second teams. But especially that goal for England v Brazil. The best thing was just how much it pissed off the National Front! To do that to Brazil in their own back yard was really something

4. Mickey Thomas. I've always had a soft spot for Wrexham. A good mate of mine is from North Wales and I've seen them many times. I consider myself and honoury S*********r for the day when I watch them. My favourite player was always the mercurial Mickey Thomas. I was gutted when he joined Man Utd, but I've forgiven him. This performance against Arsenal was one of my favourites.

5. Paul Gascoigne.  Paul used to buy pies from pie shop at the bottom of my road after training when Spurs trained at Chase Lodge. I saw him many times and he was always up for laugh and a bit of banter. I was later introduced to him at a pub in Gateshead by a work colleague. I said "Mr Anstee says you owe him a tenner for your pie tab from Mill Hill". He cracked up laughing and denied that he ate pies from Anstee, claiming it was buns. I said "You can't fool me Paul I was there". This goal for England vs Scotland was why we all loved Gazza

6. Matt Le Tissier. There was a period when there was no need to have a vote for who scored goal of the season, you just knew Matt Le Tissier would win it. As he stayed with Southampton, he was also someone who never upset the fans of the bigger clubs. Sadly it meant he never got the games for England and the trophies his talent deserved.

7. Roger Milla. How could you not like Roger Milla. He had the coolest name, he played the coolest football. He lit up the 1990 world cup. After England beat Cameroon, I was sad that he was going home. What a player.

8. Ossie Ardiles. A Spurs legend. I can remember when he first arrived with Ricky Villa. I made a special trip to Spurs to see what the fuss was all about. Watching him, you soon realised. He was rather good. I even forgave him and Villa for beating City in the FA cup final, because I knew it was great to see such amazing players. I didn't realise that within 30 years, the league would be full of imports, few as good as Ossie. 

9. Dave Beasant. The former Wimbledon keeper. I wanted to put a keeper in the list. There are a few I quite liked. Gordon Banks was the obvious one, but I was just a small kid in his peak. I went for Dave Beasant as his Penalty Save against Liverpool for Wimbledon in the Cup final was the key moment. There were many things I disliked about the way Wimbledon played football, but they exemplified the dream that any team can, on its day, win. There were a lot of sniffy comments from pompous press pundits that Liverpool had to win for the good of football. That was nonsense. It felt that if Beasant could save a penalty and win a cup, anyone could. That is the dream.

10. Glen Hoddle. Hoddle may have been no 1, had it not been for the fact that I didn't like how he behaved as England manager and he is an insufferable bore as a pundit. But as a footballer, he was without peer. I would go to Spurs at any opportunity to watch him. The England team should have been built around him. A genius. In terms of footballing genius, only David Silva surpasses him, of all the players I've seen. I just wish he'd not ruined his legacy.

That's all folks.

Friday 13 November 2020

The Heritage Party - What does Britains newest Political Party stand for?

 A new party has recently been launched, known as "The Heritage Party". Many of the the figures associated with it were previously associated with UKIP. It is a socially Conservative party. The Party is lead by David Kurten, formerly a UKIP candidate. I have been reading through their manifesto. My comments are in Red Italics

The party has issued its manifesto

The Heritage Party – A Manifesto for Social Conservatism

The Heritage Party seeks to preserve and promote life, liberty, prosperity and national sovereignty.

For a nation to thrive it must be connected to its roots. We as the living generation are responsible for looking after the heritage which has been passed to us from our forefathers, and we have a duty to pass it on to the generations which will come after us. The is the basis of social conservatism. Successive governments have eroded our freedom, given away our sovereignty and mismanaged our economy.

The Heritage Party exists to return to the principles of social conservatism, to reverse the cultural destruction wreaked by politically correct ideologies and to return to our true traditions and heritage. In embracing these principles, we believe the United Kingdom can once again become a great and prosperous nation.

Protecting our Culture and Heritage
The United Kingdom is a great country and we have much to be proud of: our system of Common Law, the development of democracy and liberty, the abolition of slavery, and numerous work-beating innovations in science and technology.
We have a great and proud history, but our culture and heritage are under severe attack by subversive ideologies in the guise of political correctness. This is a real and present danger to the fabric of our society. The slow corrosion of the ‘Long March Through the Institutions’ is now evident. Marxist groups and activists openly agitate to smash capitalism, disrupt the nuclear family, defund the police and close prisons while accusing British society of systemic injustice. (I would dispute that it is Marxists who have wreaked damage on British Society, given that we have not actually had a Marxist regime in the UK, but we have had ten years of Tory Rule, preceded by thirteen years of Blairism, preceded by seventeen years of Thatcherism and John Major, none of whom can realistically be described as Marxists, but who have all played the leading role in Britains 'long march' to our current predicament. It's nice to blame mythical Marxists, but there simply is no evidence to support this)

The Heritage Party rejects these false narratives and believes we should celebrate our culture and heritage. Our society based on liberty and enterprise balanced by individual responsibility allows the opportunity for citizens to prosper. Our Common Law based on Judaeo-Christian principles is the fairest system of justice in the world, and the United Kingdom is one of the best places in the world for members of minority communities to live. (One of the reasons that the UK is a good place for minorities to live is because we have had Centerist, fairly liberal governments. Prior to the era of Roy Jenkins liberalism, we had signs saying "No Blacks, no dogs, no Irish" openly displayed in London. As someone from Irish descent, I do not want to return to this)

Children should be taught British history in schools, both good and bad, but with a sense that on balance, we are a nation with a history and heritage to be proud of. (having had three children go through the education system, one of whom recently completed a history degree, I think teaching of history in schools is fairly balanced. My daughter, who completed the degree has a fair and balanced view of Britains role and certainly does not see our history as demonic. I'm not really sure of the concerns here. I suspect that it is a reaction to ill informed media commentary and the proliferation of  media commentators with pet obsessions about narrow aspects of British history)

Liberty and Free Speech
The Heritage Party will assert, promote and defend the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of belief and liberty of conscience.
The draconian coronavirus laws and regulations implemented for a disease no worse than a bad flu season are an egregious attack on our civil liberties. (My personal view is that the issues the NHS has with Coronavirus and its inability to cope is a result of bad management and systemic defunding. I think the Heritage Party may be on far more popular ground if they sorted this out, rather than obsessing on the symptom of it, which is the NHS not being able to cope, which has required  Lockdowns to  'protect the NHS'. I suspect they have avoided this thorny subject as it is expensive and difficult).

The Heritage Party opposes arbitrary restrictions on citizens and businesses, and will dismantle the legal framework which gives the government the powers to erode our liberty in this manner again. (I cannot see how a party can pass laws that a future Parliament won't repeal, this seems to me to be an undeliverable promise). 

There should be no law or penalty for expressing controversial opinions, making jokes, or engaging in banter. This means supporting the freedom of speech of people who have differing views to ourselves, even if we find such opinions offensive. Everyone has the right to freedom of belief, freedom of speech and freedom of expression, provided they are not inciting violence or crime, or directly threatening another person. (The Barnet Eye is all for freedom of speech and the right to offend, so long as there is no incitement to violence.  We would however like to see specific details of how this would be implemented before commenting further). 

Everyone must have the right to discuss and criticise all ideologies and texts without fear of being harassed by the state for their opinions. This right has been eroded over recent decades by the burgeoning concept of so-called ‘hate speech’, which is a term used to impose ‘repressive tolerance’, whereby only the prevailing ‘politically correct’ viewpoint is tolerated, and other views are stifled or sanctioned, even if they are held by the majority. (As per our previous comment, we would like to see a more detailed description of what legislation the Heritage Party would like to see repealed before we comment further. We suspect that what is being railed against here is social rather than legal intolerance of certain ways of speaking). 

Nobody should be dragged through the courts or fired from their jobs because someone has accused them of ‘hate speech’. The Heritage Party will repeal the legal framework which has led to repressive tolerance so that everyone can once again feel free to express themselves freely, whether in social settings or on-line. We will require that Codes of Conduct for employment allow freedom of expression outside the workplace and demand that Codes of Conduct at Universities encourage, rather than restrict, diversity of opinion. Digital social media platforms should be open to all and not be allowed to censor legal opinions simply because someone considers them to be ‘politically incorrect’; they should be classified as publishers if they engage in such arbitrary censorship. (Again, we need more detail here. The issue is where you draw the line between free speech and incitement. Our concern would be that social media platforms should not be allowed to be opened up as a platform for harrassment)

Liberty also means that individuals have autonomy over their own lives, as well as individual responsibility for their actions and choices. The state should not seek to impose its own ideologies on individuals, nor force or coerce individuals into making choices concerning themselves or any aspects of their life over which they should have rightful autonomy. Individuals have responsibility for their own finances. They also have responsibility for their own health, and no-one should be forced or coerced to take any medicine or vaccination without their consent. ( This statement needs clarification. Are they saying that people with serious mental illness who have been sectioned should not be medicated for their own safety and those caring for them?)

The technology now exists to create a dystopian 24-7 surveillance state where everyone and everything can be monitored continuously. It is therefore more important than ever to guarantee liberty and ensure that individuals continue to have the right to privacy and anonymity. The law should ensure that people can live a private life by default unless they choose otherwise. Personal information should not be held without consent. This principle should also apply to personal financial transactions. Cash must remain an option for purchasing goods and services at retail outlets for people who choose not to use electronic payment methods. We oppose any moves toward a ‘cashless society’ which would discriminate against many vulnerable, elderly and poorer people who do not have access to banking and electronic payments. (We support the right to pay by cash in the UK. However we are not sure how you could operate things like driving licences and passports without personal information being held. Are the Heritage Party calling for the abolition of Driving Licences and Passports? I cannot see how the UK could impose this on foreign sovereign nations). 

In addition, the state should not attempt to unduly interfere with family life or micro-manage families and relationships. Parents are the primary educators and carers of their children, and have the right to bring up their children as they wish, either through home education or in school. There has never been a requirement for parents to register children who are home educated or a compulsion to place them in school. These freedoms should not be removed by the state. (I was not aware of a plan to abolish home schooling. My personal view is that schools are a vital part of the process of socialising children. I am not sure that there is a major issue with home schooling though). 

Traditional Family Values
The Heritage Party will seek to maintain and strengthen the institutions of marriage and the natural family. The Party holds that the true and right definition of marriage is that of a covenant and union between one man and one woman.
While we uphold the right of individuals to make choices about how they conduct their personal lives, we believe that the institutions of marriage and the natural family are fundamental to the fabric of a good society and the transmission of values, customs, traditions and identity from parents to children through the generations.

The traditional nuclear family where a mother and father bring up their own children is the best and most successful model for bringing up healthy and well-balanced children, and building stable communities.

While there are many excellent single parents, carers and guardians who do their very best for the children in their care, the bell curve of success for children who are brought up by their own married mother and father is better than for any other model of family. Such children have better educational attainment, economic success and health, and lower rates of crime, suicide, depression, drug abuse or self-harm.

Children should not deliberately be denied a mother and a father. We will encourage and support the traditional family structure through the tax system and education, and we oppose the engineering of society in such a way that causes increasing numbers of children to be deliberately brought up without their own mother and father. ( This seems to me to be at odds with the statement that it is up to parents to choose the path for their childrens education. Would LGBTQ+ parents not have the same rights to opt out of this system? Would they be forced down the home schooling route?)

In particular, boys need fathers. Boys who have been abandoned by their fathers, or deprived of contact with them by an often discriminatory legal system, are far more likely to turn to gangs and crime than boys who are raised with a male role model. Refuting divisive notions of ‘toxic masculinity’, we will promote father figures and the nurturing of each boy to become a good man.

We will not allow schools to propagate anti-family propaganda which undermines the picture of the traditional nuclear family as the best model of family. We will also block teaching materials and lessons which encourage early sexual activity in children before they reach the age of consent, or inappropriate materials detailing non-reproductive sexual acts. (Again this seems to be at odds with the previous statement about home schooling, implying that LGBTQ+ parents will be forced down the home schooling route. I do not think this has been though through)

School children should not be exposed to unscientific nonsense like queer theory or gender fluidity. It is a scientific fact that there are two sexes: male and female, which are determined by anatomy and chromosomes. Previously on the fringe of radical thought, gender ideology has been mainstreamed to the detriment of children’s well-being. Transgender propaganda which confuses children about their biological sex and damages their natural development as boys or girls should not be allowed in schools. 

National Sovereignty
The United Kingdom should be governed only by her own citizens, and all legislation passed by Parliament should be formulated with primary respect to the national interest, and the liberty and prosperity of the British people.
The British people voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, but this has not yet been fully delivered. Although we left the EU in name only at the end of January 2020, we remain in a period of vassalage and subject to all the EU’s directives, regulations and rulings. We must leave the Single Market and Customs Union and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in full at the end of December 2020, and take back full control of our laws, borders, trade, fishing waters and armed forces from the EU. Without this, our national sovereignty will continue to be compromised. ( I suspect that by the time there is an election where the Heritage Party actually test this manifesto with the general public, this section will have to be redrafted)

It would of course be best to agree a mutually beneficial trade deal with the EU with zero tariffs and quotas on trade in goods and services between the UK and EU. However, this must not be achieved by agreeing to remain subject to EU directives, regulations and rulings, or by giving up our rich 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone for fishing. We must be free to make our own trade deals around the world, without sacrificing our fishing towns again or remaining subject to EU red tape. (see previous comment. It will be interesting to see what happens in January)

The EU is not the only organisation which has impinged on our sovereignty however. After we leave the EU’s institutions, we must ensure that we do not make any treaty or join any international organisation which involves in any way the surrender of any part of the United Kingdom’s sovereignty. The British people must never be subject to the imposition of a foreign legal or monetary system, or the jurisdiction of foreign courts. (I am disappointed that the Heritage Party does not see the benefits of International Law. If you take this to its logical conclusion, we could not have tried war criminals at Nuremburg).

To truly regain our sovereignty, we must re-think our membership and ties with other organisations and treaties of which we are members. We should remain members of international organisations which are beneficial to our national interests including NATO, the World Trade Organisation, the Five Eyes security and intelligence partnership, the Commonwealth, Interpol and the UN Security Council.

On the other hand, we should not continue to be part of globalist arrangements which dilute our sovereignty and interfere with our democracy by imposing conditions and policies on the nation which the people did not vote for. These include the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Paris Climate Agreement, and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). (The previous two paragraphs are contradictory, we did not vote to be part of NATO or the UN. The definition of what is beneficial is very subjective)

The original ECHR is a good convention which was drafted in 1950 by British lawyers to help restore human rights to a continent devastated by Hitler’s National Socialism. Seventy years on however, activist judges in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg impose all manner of rulings which prevent the UK government from imposing law and order here at home and carrying out the wishes of the British electorate. They have ruled that we cannot impose whole-life sentences on murderers, we must give prisoners the vote, and have blocked the deportation of terrorists on several occasions, leaving them free to roam the streets of Britain. If we wish to have full national sovereignty, we must leave the ECHR and trust that our own system of Common Law will better protect the human rights of our citizens without the interference of foreign activist judges. (Personally, I feel this will damage the UK's standing in the world. It will be hard do bring international pressure on nations like Russia and China if we do this.  I agree that not all judgments are splendid, but we need to be part of an international community)

The Paris Climate Agreement implements a significant portion of UN Agenda 21/2030 and demands that the UK government adheres to the false ideology of climate alarmism. It imposes restrictions on the nation’s energy policy and forces us to be bound by carbon trading systems from which other nations are exempt. It is already undermining our competitiveness and freedom. It will fundamentally alter our way of life as petrol cars, gas boilers and gas power stations are successively banned, and restrictions are placed on roads which prevent vehicles from travelling easily from one place to another. It is wrong to stay in such a far-reaching agreement whose effects were never explained to the British people. (My view is that this policy is backward looking. The UK leads the world in many green technologies, we should be pushing forward with these, not looking to pull back from polluting and unsustainable, outmoded technologies. I believe our future should be as world leaders in such areas. We are not major oil or gas producers, so we need to look at modern ways to become self sufficient in energy and ways to make money from exporting these technologies)

Low Immigration
Since 1997, a program of mass immigration has been imposed on the UK. The people were never consulted on this huge and rapid influx, which has caused unsustainable pressure on resources, overcrowding and cultural concerns.
The population of the UK rose officially by 9 million between 2000 and 2020, from 59 million to 68 million, mostly through ultra-high net immigration, but this figure does not include millions more undocumented illegal immigrants. It has been exacerbated by previous governments which signed the UK into the UN Global Migration Compact, the Barcelona Declaration, and the Marrakesh Declaration, which are globalist schemes designed to encourage and normalise mass immigration without a democratic mandate. The Heritage Party will withdraw from these three schemes, and bring the era of mass, rapid immigration to an end.

Legal immigration must be brought down to sustainable, balanced levels, with strict caps on specific classes of immigration such as students and low-skilled and unskilled workers. Skilled workers should be allowed to come to the country for specific jobs on time-limited work visas where there is a shortage of British workers, but this must not be at the expense of training up British young people with the skills they need in every profession. Sham marriages and chain migration must be stopped, and illegal immigration must be halted entirely and reversed. (Sham marriages are already illegal. I agree that we need better training and more opportunities for young British people, but I do feel that it is unfair to blame immigrants for the lack of sensible UK Govt policies to do this)

Substantial developments to protecting our borders and coastal waters are needed. More robust checks should be conducted at harbours and airports to prevent illegal immigration, and all means of forced entry to the country by migrants should be made unviable. There must also be an end to rewards and incentives which encourage spurious claims of asylum by illegal immigrants who have travelled through a number of safe countries to claim benefits in the UK.

It is the poorest communities which have borne the consequences of mass, rapid immigration. The political and economic beneficiaries of mass immigration do not have to share their resources, space or facilities with the millions of migrants they have let into the country, and they are shielded from the consequences of their decisions. These include unaffordable homes, wage compression, packed trains, a lack of school places and huge pressure on doctors’ surgeries and Accident & Emergency units in the towns and cities where immigration levels have been the highest, as well as a housing crisis as it has simply not been possible to build homes for 9 million extra people in 20 years. (I must note that most of the hospitals I've visited in the last 20 years have been staffed almost entirely by immigrants, so I am not entirely sure that this is a sustainable argument in the short or medium term)

Illegal migrant workers are often willing to work for less than the minimum wage, but some are duped and forced into enduring appalling slave-like conditions to enrich unscrupulous bosses who break the law. This has led to wage compression with honest hard-working British men and women unable to compete with illegal cheap migrant labour. We will beef up our Border Force to provide them with the resources they need to return illegal immigrants to their home countries. Anyone found to be using illegal cheap foreign labour or forcing others to work in slavery should be imprisoned and have their assets confiscated to pay compensation. (Without wishing to be cynical, isn't this what Conservative governments have been saying they will do for the last 40 years? Is there any evidence that the Heritage Party actually have the where withall to succeed where the Tories have failed?)

Preserving Our Environment
The beauty of our physical environment is a part of our heritage, and it is our duty to look after it and preserve it for future generations.
The Heritage Party will preserve what is left of the natural beauty of our countryside and our towns and villages, but this requires a drastic reduction in net immigration to protect both rural and urban areas from rampant ‘development’. (I am disappointed that the measures to preserve rural UK are based on immigration policies. There needs proper protection for the green belt etc). 

The United Kingdom is already over-populated and dependent on food imports to survive. We should aim to lower our dependency on food imports and ultimately become self-sufficient in food. The United Kingdom has some of the best agricultural land in the world which is a precious resource and should be preserved for agriculture. Despite this, there is huge pressure to concrete over large areas of our green belt and the countryside to build housing for artificially inflated population growth, or for solar panels and wind turbines to satisfy the false claims of green ideology. This pressure must be resisted. ( As someone with a keen interest in the countryside, I do not think that it is solar panels and wind turbines that are the major threat, it is greedy property developers, putting up luxury flats for foreign investors).

Our 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone for fishing is a precious resource and our control of it should never have been given up. This maritime zone should be managed responsibly to protect fish stocks while also reducing Britain’s food deficit and revitalising our coastal towns and fishing industry. Foreign trawlers should not be allowed to fish in our fishing waters, except by specific permission, and a fleet of cutters should be commissioned for the Royal Navy to prevent destructive fishing by foreign vessels and super-trawlers in our waters. ( The Royal Navy has been scandalously run down. It will take a generation to rebuild it to a level where this is feasable). 

It is as important to maintain beauty and harmony in our urban environments as it is to protect the countryside from rampant development. Once beautiful towns and cities across the country have been brutalised by depressingly ugly modernist architecture. This must end.

The Heritage Party will require all new homes and commercial buildings to be constructed in keeping with the traditional and historic character of the area. We will also create renaissance zones in towns and cities whose character has been spoiled by dehumanising buildings, in order to begin restoring and recreating the beauty of urban spaces which have been ruined. (We would like to see more detail in this. We do not support a ban on good modern buildings. The issue is low cost, shoddy design and construction)

Self-Sufficiency in Skills
Education in the UK has been run down and dumbed down. It needs a complete overhaul to tackle the red blob of Marxist activists which currently controls it.
The UK must become self-sufficient in skills rather than relying on importing skilled and unskilled labour from abroad. Education needs to be re-focussed onto fostering excellence and teaching pupils and students the skills they need to be self-reliant. We must train enough of our own young people to succeed and thrive in professional and technical careers, particularly as nurses, doctors, teachers, engineers, construction workers and IT professionals. (I am not quite sure where the obsession with Marxists comes from. The idea that governments in the UK have Marxists running education is unsustainable. There is massive scope for improvement, but such language simply makes what may be sensible ideas sound contrived)

The re-implementation of a tripartite system at secondary school level is a top priority with grammar schools for the academically talented, technical schools to train young people with an aptitude for practical and vocational skills, and general schools to ensure that all children of all levels have the personal skills, entrepreneurial skills and employability to succeed in the world of work if they leave formal education at 16. ( We would support the increase in provision for technical and vocational education for less academic students, so that they can have good careers in well paid industries. We are not convinced that the eleven plus is the best mechanism, as this discriminates against late developers and those born later in the academic year).
Universities need to become lean and mean again and focus on delivering high quality academic courses. Universities are not for everyone, particularly those who are talented in practical fields who would benefit more from following a non-academic route and would be better off getting a job at 16 or 18 and learning a trade. There should be parity of esteem between academic, technical and vocational training. (We agree that a rethink of University provision is required, but would suggest a Royal commission to devise a system that meets the UK's needs and requirements) 

Universities should be for the 20% or so of people who will benefit from rigorous, high-level academic courses. We would pay off the student loans of British students who have graduated in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, Medicine) subjects so long as they work in their field of study in the UK. (We are horrified at this proposal. It fails to recognise that the UK leads the world in creative industries and arts and seems to think that only hard degrees in sciences etc are of value. Clearly they do not understand the contribution of music, fashion, art etc to the economy). 

Poor quality courses and Universities which do more harm than good and are of little use to employers should be defunded, and failing universities should not be saved from going out of business. Too many academic institutions seem to believe that their role is to force-feed left-wing ideology and divisive identity politics, while stifling debate. Such institutions should not receive government subsidies or grants to continue their corrosive activities. ( We w.ould like to see some evidence to back up this thesis. We agree that there are poor quality degrees, but our concern is that students have run up huge debts with little to show for it. We believe these students have been mis sold and should be refunded. The emphasis here is all wrong)

For those who are more gifted in practical and vocational fields, we will invest in apprenticeships and bring back the Polytechnics which should never have been closed or converted, so that young people can learn high-level technical skills to succeed in practical trades. Our aim is to return to an era characterised by high-levels of employment, wide ranging skills sets and British manufacturing, where we as a nation are self-sufficient in skills, British youngsters are trained to do skilled jobs so that they can all earn a good living, and there is no longer a need to depend on an unsustainable flow of cheap labour from abroad. ( We are not entirely sure that there is a full understanding within the Heritage Party of how technology is changing the workplace. It certainly hasn't been addressed in their educational strategy and is a huge miss for them). 

Equality before the Law
Our British system of Common Law is the best in the world. All people are considered equal before the law, whether rich or poor, male or female, young or old, black or white.
All people are individually responsible for their actions. We hold that all crime should be treated equally seriously, and the same sentence should be given for the same crime regardless of the characteristics of the criminal. This understanding of equality before the law is today being subverted by a growing number of activist magistrates, judges and police officers. The invention of ‘hate crime’ has led to criminals with certain characteristics being treated more harshly than others for the same crime if they are considered to be ‘privileged’ by activists, and more leniently if they are considered to have a ‘protected characteristic’. ( We are not entirely sure what they are saying here. The statement "We hold that all crime should be treated equally seriously" is quite absurd. A paedophile, murderer or a rapist should clearly be dealt with in a far more serious manner than someone who drops litter, or has a drunken scuffle in a pub. Maybe the language is just badly used, but we do not believe that all crime is equally bad. Some is trivial and some is deadly serious). 

The notion that a more severe punishment should be given for a ‘hate crime’ should be rejected. Sentencing for violent crimes must be equally tough regardless of whether or not a criminal has a ‘protected characteristic’, so that the British people can be safe in our own country. ( I was surprised when I read this whole section. Most British people are far more concerned about their safety and their children having a safe environment than endless discussions about whether 'Hate Crime' is a serious issue or not. The ordinary man in the pub wants to see longer sentences for paedophiles, murderers and rapists, not discussions about this sort of thing being made a priority). 

Policing and criminal justice must be re-focussed again on arresting dangerous criminals and jailing them, rather than ‘understanding systemic injustices against minorities’. We would increase stop and search which is an effective tool for preventing crime and getting knives and guns off our streets, targeted in areas where there is the most violent crime.

There should be an end to automatic release from prison half way through a sentence for violent crime. Violent criminals must serve the bulk of their sentence in prison, with no more than a 10% reduction for good behaviour. (Will this be acheived by building more prisons or by shorter sentences for 'less serious' crimes?)

Judgements in criminal cases must be based on objective evidence and not subjective feelings. A defendant has the right of habeus corpus, the right to a fair trial, and is considered innocent until proven guilty. We reject new ‘hate speech’ laws which undermine these fundamental principles and are designed to criminalise speech based on whether a complainant feels offended or uncomfortable.

Political correctness has led to violent crime spiralling out of control, and a systemic failure to deal with certain classes of crimes committed by individuals with ‘protected characteristics’, particularly where there are patterns of criminal behaviour in specific ethnic minorities. It has allowed the problem of grooming and raping of tens of thousands of girls under the age of 16 to fester in hundreds of towns and cities across the country. This is a grave injustice and will be at the top of our priorities to set this country right again. Such heinous crimes do not need new laws; there just needs to be the political will to enforce the laws we already have. ( Again, we are not sure that the obsession with hate crime is one that the majority of the country share. I suspect that if the Heritage Party want to succeed they should be talking about the crimes that affect the real, day to day lives of voters)

The police force, prison service, probation service and courts must be properly financed so that the country has an effective policing and criminal justice system. The cutting of 20,000 police officers, the botched privatisation of the probation service and the disposal of hundreds of police stations and Magistrates Courts to housing developers in recent years are unforgivable. No more local police stations or Courts should be sold off, and new ones need to be opened to replace those which have been closed. (We agree with this 100%)

The Heritage Party wants an end to politically correct policing and justice. The job of the police is to protect us from murderers, grooming gangs, burglars, rapists, paedophiles, vandals, thieves and thugs; it is not to kneel before Marxists, make dancing videos for the internet, or hassle people for politically incorrect opinions. (Once again there is an obsession with Marxists, which is entirely unsustainable. We believe that such language does them no favours. Marxists do not run the Home Office). 

Financial Responsibility
Governments easily forget that they do not have their own money; the money raised from taxation belongs to the people and should be spent wisely, not wastefully or in self-interest.
The Heritage Party believes in fiscal responsibility. A sovereign nation should not spend beyond its means year after year and decade after decade, as has been the case in the United Kingdom over the last 40 years.

The first steps towards fiscal responsibility will be to stop wasting tens of billions of pounds every year on vanity projects like HS2, wasteful and unproductive ‘overseas development’, and subsidies for the ‘green economy’ and ‘green energy’ which is unreliable, sporadic and expensive. Taxpayers’ money should only be spent on items which benefit the people such as schools, healthcare, the police, the border force and honouring the military covenant rather than running down our armed forces. (There is a failure to recognise that energy security is a major threat to the UK's independence. Where do they think the fossil fuels we require will come from? New technologies are something we should be developing for energy independence. The dismissal of HS2 cannot be sustained without some nod towards an alternative transport policy as our roads and railways are full)

Monetary policy implemented by central banks must be responsible. It must not unnaturally inflate asset prices, which create ‘boom and bust’ bubbles that punish ordinary people by devaluing the currency as well as making house prices totally unaffordable for young people and families. The government should seek to ensure that monetary and taxation policy works in favour of ordinary British people who want to buy a home of their own, rather than leading to homes being sold off to speculators who often leave them empty further exacerbating an unnecessary housing crisis and hollowing out communities.

We must reduce the annual budget deficit to zero and get the nation’s finances back into balance otherwise there will be a heavy price to pay in the future. Countries which consistently rack up debt always end up with a debased currency and/or hyperinflation which disproportionately harms the middle and working classes. (Sadly a balanced budget is something we will not see for a very long time following the Blair/Brown/Cameron/May/Johnson years. Failure to recognise this is a failure to face up to the real world)

In the long term, we must aim to reduce our national debt and begin to build up a sovereign wealth fund which can provide a source of revenue for pension funding, rather than operating the state pension like a Ponzi scheme. The government of today must not squander the wealth which has been bequeathed to us by our forefathers. It is our duty to be good stewards of our economy and to leave it as an inheritance for future generations.

The burgeoning ‘third sector’ is another multi-billion-pound black hole, whereby the state has increased its control over the charity or non-profit sector. Instead of allowing people to make their own choices about which charities they choose to support, successive governments have steadily increased funding to the non-profit sector, and decides which charities, NGOs and QUANGOs to re-distribute our money to. Many of these NGOs and QUANGOs are politically active, and seek to influence government policy using government money. This is absolutely wrong and undemocratic. The entire NGO sector should be defunded by government, and QUANGOs should be disbanded. Essential government services should be brought in-house and run directly by government Ministries and Departments instead of QUANGOs, saving billions of pounds and leaving politically active NGOs to find their own funding. (Having volunteered for a Homeless charity that received state  funding for outreach work, all I can really say is that the third sector is so entrenched in the way the Government operates, that this would take decades to achieve, even if it was desirable. I am not sure it is. Having seen the work my charity did with ex servicemen living on the street, I shudder to think what would happen if such work was defunded).


Free Market Economy
A free market economy provides liberty and prosperity. Where individuals are rewarded for their endeavours, they have the incentive to work efficiently and avoid poor decisions.
In contrast, planned economies based upon Marxist ideology have always been disastrous, bringing poverty and hunger instead of prosperity, and are almost always accompanied by tyranny and oppression as well. (I could be glib and say that China has a planned economy and has not done too badly. Having been to China, it is not a system I'd like to live under, but it is a functional economy). 

The Heritage Party will support a vibrant low-tax economy where individuals and businesses can thrive and take advantages of the great opportunities our nation could offer us if it were well-governed.

It is our aim to lower the burden of taxation on individuals and businesses, while creating an economy where everyone who is able can provide for themselves and their families, rather than relying on the state for an income. However, large multi-national corporations must pay their fair share of taxation. Regulations which create loopholes that allow giant corporations with multi-billion pound global profits to pay less tax than a sole trader are odious. A better system needs to be put in place where businesses and corporations of all sizes contribute a fair share of their profits when the nation provides them with a framework of safety and security for them to carry out their business.  (I do agree that multi national corporations should pay their fair share of tax)

Unnecessary regulations should be reduced as much as possible to allow maximum freedom to trade, but well-drafted regulations are necessary to protect workers from exploitation, to ensure that the environment is not damaged, and to ensure a fair and level playing field between businesses of different sizes. Regulations which provide unfair advantages to large businesses and global corporations over small and medium sized businesses should be scrapped. (As someone who has run a business for over 40 years, it is not so much regulations that thwart small businesses as a bias towards larger companies. As an example, Barnet Council outsources huge amounts of work to Capita, whilst local small businesses never get a look in. The last time I sent Barnet Council an invoice for a supplied service they did not pay it. As it was only for £50 it was not worth chasing, but this is typical of their contempt for small suppliers). 

Recent governments have paid lip service to capitalism while implementing socialism by stealth using the concept of the ‘mixed economy’ or the ‘third way’. Governments have excessively interfered in the free market propping up zombie companies who conform to the latest politically correct ideologies, for example on climate alarmism. Many such companies do not produce anything of value and would collapse without government subsidies. This is unfair to businesses which do not receive government subsidies, and is a drag on the economy in the long-term. It is wrong for the state to interfere in the economy in this manner. ( I am really not sure what they are talking about. Thatcher used to say this about British Leyland, but I am not aware of any Zombie companies. Many decent, profitable firms have been laid to waste by the Lockdown, but it is unfair to describe them as Zombie Companies)

There are some sectors which should be wholly owned and operated by the state. These include the armed forces, the police force, the probation and prison services and public roads. There are other sectors which constitute natural monopolies which are at present part-privatised including rail, water and energy. Part-privatisation constitutes the worst of all worlds. Price capping in selected sectors means that businesses in those sectors are not able to operate freely in the market. In order to compensate for this the state then subsidises them for billions of pounds which is paid for by higher taxes. ( I tend to agree with this statement)

The owners and executives of these businesses have all the benefits of government subsidy, but none of the risks which come from making poor business decisions, and this is reflected in the extortionate transport, energy and water prices we are all accustomed to. The sectors which constitute natural monopolies and are vital for the nation should be either be fully privatised, or fully nationalised if they cannot survive without government subsidies: it is not right that taxpayers underwrite all the risks for no reward.  ( I tend to agree with this statement)

A Culture of Life 
The Heritage Party is pro-life. We believe in the dignity of every human being and that every life is infinitely precious. This includes the sick, the disabled, the elderly and unborn children, who all have an inalienable right to life.
There have been over 9 million abortions carried out in the UK since the Abortion Act in 1967, and now there are over 200,000 abortions per year in the UK. Unborn children are children. In every abortion a human life is ended.

We will actively seek to reduce the number of abortions in the UK by tightening the criteria for abortion, providing mothers with help, support and alternatives such as adoption, and encouraging personal responsibility to avoid the need for abortions in the first place. ( The Heritage Party need to say exactly what changes to the law they intend to make. Does this apply to abortions for medical reasons, will they cut the term limits, will they require more paperwork. I would certainly like to see proper proposals before commenting, as they have given themselves a lot of wriggle room here.)

We will completely defund UK government support for abortion programs outside the UK. ( Does this include for victims of rape in war zones?)

The Heritage Party is also concerned for the sanctity of life of older and disabled people. The elderly have as much right to healthcare as the young, and they should not be made to feel a burden. We shall emphasise the Hippocratic Oath and stop nihilistic elements in the medical profession from wreaking destruction. ‘Do not resuscitate’ orders are liberally applied in hospitals, often without consent. We will oppose any legalisation of assisted suicide, or any change to the medical code of conduct allowing arbitrary deprivation of treatment. 

There must never be a repeat of the traumatic cases of Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard, where these children were denied treatment offered to them because of the decisions of activist magistrates and medical practitioners who refused to allow these children to receive treatments offered by other hospitals. No medical practitioner or magistrate should have a right to decide to block a patient from receiving an offer of a potentially life-saving treatment, over and above the express wishes of the next-of-kin, especially the parents or spouse of a patient. (These are difficult cases. Whilst I am broadly sympathetic with their aims here, I am cynical as to whether this really is more than an excercise in headline grabbing. Forgive my cynicism of politicians)

David Kurten
Heritage Party Leader

October 2020

So there you go. This is what the Heritage Party stands for.  I don't suppose it will come as too much of a shock to learn that I will not be voting for the Heritage party. In truth, I was rather disappointed by the sheer number of own goals in the manifesto. There are plenty of contradictions, such as sticking up for the absolute right of parents to decide how they will educate their kids, unless they are LGBTQ+ for instance. I was disappointed that there was no coherent industrial, transport or educational policy. There is no acknowledgement of post industrial Britain. There is no plan to improve our roads and railways to make up for the cancellation of HS2. There are no plans to re invent our education system for a world run by technology. As to the environment. As the party is called the 'Heritage Party', the least I expected was some sensible and interesting proposals on protection of the countryside, wildlife, unique habitats etc. There seems an obsession with Marxists hiding under the bed. My view is that there is no evidence at all to support the thesis that the ailments of the UK are down to Marxists and a hell of a lot of evidence to support the notion that we have a ruling class that care nothing for the ordinary person in the street. The sections on law and order are crammed full of rants about political correctness, whereas the things ordinary people care about are the safety of them and their families. There are a few sensible ideas, but if they want these to be taken seriously, they really should go off and redraw this. I have seen many documents like this. Political activists making sure the axe they particularly like to grind is there for all to see. The reason the Conservatives are so successful at the ballot box is they manage to purge their manifesto's of all such references. I am all for politicians saying what they think, but this is a document light on detail, light on serious policies and overly heavy on rhetoric. My advice, for what its worth, is cut out the contradictions, the flag waving and the waffle and put easy to understand policies and funded, deliverable solutions. If you can't do that, you won't get elected. Even if you do, you most likely won't but at least you might start a debate.