Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas Come Early for The Bankers!

John Thurso

The crisis in the euro zone deepens and Davey Cameron has gone to Brussels to see what he can do to help. The truth is that the euro was doomed at its inception because Gordon Brown kept Britain out, it wasn’t a vote winner, and the people of Britain would never surrender the Pound.

All the Europeans had to do at the time was to call the euro “The Pound” and they would have succeeded in their attempt to introduce a Europe wide system which would thwart the currency speculators.

But have the people of Britain been the winners in all this? It would seem not!

Gordon Brown didn’t keep Britain out of the euro to curry favour with the British voting public, he did it to please the British banking industry, and Davey Cameron is on that same mission today.

He is in Brussels not to help the besieged economies of Europe, but to ensure a banking transaction charge, the so called Tobin Tax, is not enforced on Britain’s financial sector.

During Prime Ministers Questions this week no less than thirteen questions were asked relating to the euro debt crisis, and among his answers Mr. Cameron pointed out that 70% of Europe’s banking transactions were conducted through companies operating out of the City of London.

In other addresses, Messer’s Cameron and Osborne have told us that the City Financiers account for 20% of the Corporation Tax paid to the Treasury, and as such are crucial to the success of Britain. But how crucial is 20%?

Government Spending is in the region of £890 billion per year. By far the greatest drain on the public purse is the Benefits Agency with an annual spend in the region of £132 billion.

Income to the treasury in all forms be it Income Tax, National Insurance, VAT, Business Rates, Corporation Tax, or Duty on Booze, Fags and Fuel, comes to around £740 billion, which leaves the government needing to borrow around £150 billion to cover the deficit each year with no real prospect of ever paying it back.

But the figure we need to look most closely at is Corporation Tax, which currently nets the treasury around £53 billion, meaning the city only contributes about £10 billion to the British economy. Hardly the cash cow the Tories would have us believe. Indeed every penny that the banks pay in tax is given back to them five fold, as interest that the government is forced to pay to borrow our own money.   

The one scary question that was asked of Mr. Cameron on Wednesday which seems to have slipped under the radar, was put to the Prime Minister by one of his own MPs, who asked if it was time to break up the now publicly owned banks in order to provide the British Tax Paying public with greater competition in the Banking Sector. Mr Cameron of course agreed.

Whose side are they on? To break up the bailed-out banks now, would be nothing less than a crime against the people of this country and John Thurso Lib Dem MP, should, in a week when the roll of lobbyists has been called into question, be ashamed of himself for being duped into reading out such a blatant piece of banking propaganda.

The perceived wisdom among those in power, and think they know about these things, is that the private banking system we have today, and its control over the creation of our money supply, is the correct and only viable system available to us.

That isn’t true!

The Government could take over control of the creation of our money supply tomorrow, and the ownership of the Nationalised Banks would provide the perfect vehicle to do so.

It doesn’t have to be like this! But until the people of this country rise up and throw of the shackles of our slavery to the banks, and deny them their unfettered right to create our money supply as interest bearing debt. Then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Ed Bollocks

I can’t believe the stupidity of Ed Balls (Labour Shadow Chancellor) in the comments he made today to Radio 5Lives Dominic Laurie. I can only assume that Dominic was not in the same room as the wantwit Balls, otherwise he surely would have chinned the puttock!

Ed Balls’ assertion that the nation’s borrowing under the previous government was not troublesome, beggars belief. He told listeners (in response to Dominic’s very worthwhile questioning) that the only “real” way to assess national annual borrowing (the deficit), was as a percentage of the Nations “Gross Domestic Product”, and as such our historical borrowing was low compared to other leading economies.


The analogy he used too demonstrate the situation this Nation finds itself in today, was to suggest that an individual who had an annual income of £10,000 and found themselves at the end of the year with a credit card debt of £1,000 would be right in the ordure!

But someone with an income of £50,000 a year with a similar £1,000 on their credit card would only be ankle deep!
And there we have it! Those two simple sentences, spoken by a man who has for fifteen years skulked in the corridors of power, shaping this country’s fiscal policy, acting as an adviser on all matters monetary, with a voice in the ears of Tony, Gordon and Alistair, demonstrated his total lack of comprehension of the people’s horror at our economic situation.

His assertion is this: Greece as a country with an income of a modest nature, can not be trusted to borrow money; whereas Britain, with our more affluent resources, can.

If someone has an annual income of fifty thousand pounds, but spends all of it, plus a thousand pounds each year, they are no different to the man who has an income of ten thousand pounds and spends eleven thousand!

(However, if you were to ask someone in the city to bet on which of the two is most likely to pay back the £1,000 borrowing, then you’re into derivatives! That is a topic for another day)

There is a major fault in Ed’s argument!

His comparison of this Nation’s annual deficit, to that of a credit card bill, has to be qualified by a simple statement of fact. In the last fifty years this country has not been able to pay off any of its “credit card” debt.

We have for fifty years only ever paid the monthly interest on our national credit card bill.

Each government in turn over the last fifty years has been forced to acknowledge that our credit card borrowing has been unaffordable, and has had to resort to transferring it onto the country’s mortgage account, and as each year passes the interest on that debt increases to a point when one day the interest payments alone will be the whole amount of government borrowing!

There is one further horror that should not be overlooked in Ed’s bold accounting procedures. His claim that “national borrowing is low by comparison to the country’s GDP” needs to be examined.
Figures that he quoted in his interview gave the GDP as £1.533 trillion. Government borrowing over recent years has been in the region of £150 billion - 10%.

However government predictions of borrowing levels are usually quoted as being in the region of 5% of GDP because the Treasury does not include government annual spending of £890 billion in its calculation of GDP.
But GDP is the combined economic activity of the country and works like this.

A council worker has a take home pay of £1,000. He decides to have his bathroom improved with the addition of a shower, and so gives me the £1,000. I go to the bathroom shop and buy £600 of shower screen and fittings. Steve in the bathroom shop sends £450 of this to his suppliers, and uses the remainder to buy his weekly shopping in Tesco. Tesco use that money to pay the wages of the girl on the till who served Steve, and she spends some of it having her hair done, some on a new outfit and the rest on a night out in town.

For my part I use the £400 I have left to fill up the van for £60, similarly go to Tesco for the big food shop and part with £180, get a few other bits and pieces from Jewsons for the job, at the ridiculous cost of £60, and squander the rest on a good night out in the pub on Saturday.

Dave the Publiican  uses the hundred quid I put over the bar, to buy the crisps and peanuts from the crisp man, and puts what’s left towards Becky the barmaid’s, wages.

So £1,000 of government borrowed spending, (which is not included in the GDP calculation) is responsible for a total of £3,000 of the GDP figures without looking beyond Steve’s suppliers, the crisp man, Becky the barmaid, the girl who served me in Tesco, Jewsons paying for the things I had from them, the petrol station paying its suppliers and so on.
If any of us went into a bank and asked to take out a mortgage and tried to use such a system of calculate the monthly cost of the repayments as a proportion of our disposable income we would be laughed out of the place.

But this is how economists see the world we all have to pay to live in.

The United Kingdom's debt currently stands at £1.4 trillion, or £1,400,000,000,000.

According to George Osborn, the yield on UK Gilts is 3.6% costing us an annual “interest only” bill of £50.4 Billion

[Owing to Dave’s Tourettes, expletives in this blogpost have been customised by Charlie without Dave’s express consent. However, she considers the word bollocks to have had its case proven in court by John Mortimer QC on behalf of the Sex Pistols.]

Monday, 13 June 2011

Gromit's "Grafting" Gaffe

Some half-wit in the Labour party has today fondly imagined that it might be A Good Move to get poor old Gromit to declare that the party shall henceforth be the party of "grafters".

Clearly the posh intern who came up with this gem, imagined that he/she was employing a solid working class expression, which was same in sentiment, but groovily different from the hackneyed "hardworking families" phrase, tarnished by overuse in the Brown years.

While we all know that graft can mean hard work, with an etymology derived from the work involved in creating defensive earthworks, moats etc; hence the grafting tool which is a form of spade used by groundworkers to this day - and damned hard work wielding one of those is too by all accounts - it is a shame these fools didn't have a little residual knowledge or failing that - check the dictionary:

graft, n.5
colloq. (orig. U.S.).

The obtaining of profit or advantage by dishonest or shady means; the means by which such gains are made, esp. bribery, blackmail, or the abuse of a position of power or influence; the profits so obtained.

While it would be bad enough if it were only mere foreigners who understood the word to have negative connotations, unfortunately, it's not as though this usage is so American that it's unknown in this country.

A documentary about crack houses a couple of years ago, incensed my husband on many levels but no more so than when, the female announced she was off out "grafting".

Ironically her use of English was astonishingly precise and while immoral, it was not hypocritical. Better than Gromit! She was using the word quite correctly to mean that she was going out to rob, steal, con or otherwise obtain money by dishonest means, for her next hit.

Is there really no communications professional, speech-writer, or political advisor currently employed by the Labour Party, who has access to a dictionary? Or someone with more than a rudimentary grasp of the speech patterns of the lumpenproletariat?

Cross posted to Charlie's Blog.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Labour Leader Proposes Apolitical Approach to Social Care

The FT this morning flagged up the Labour leader's call for all the main parties to hold talks on how to resolve the thorny issue of social care, which has come to a head in the last week over the crisis at Southern Cross.
"Mr Miliband will now ask the Tories and Lib Dems to come to the table for apolitical discussions; the time has come for the parties to stop “playing party politics” with the issue."
The BBC confirms that the PM is all for it:
David Cameron welcomed Mr Miliband's call for cooperation on the issue.

He said: "This is a very difficult issue to get right as a country - the long-term costs of social care, how we share those costs, how we pay for them.

"If there is an opportunity for cross-party work on that, I thoroughly welcome it.

This is gratifying news indeed for those of us who have been banging this apolitical drum; and it is a rebuke to a certain Conservative local government leader who at the election count a month ago derided apolitical democracy as a foolish contradiction in terms.

The time for this movement is a-coming in.

Cross posted to Charlie Farrow's blog.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Voting Without Polling Card

The Lib Dem tellers have been refusing voters entry to the Newbury Waterside Centre polling station without their polling card.

They are NOT allowed to do this.

Voters have an absolute right to turn up at the polling station and state their name and address inside the polling station. A complaint from the Apolitical Democrats has been logged with the Returning Officer and the Lib Dem agent.

Also, you do NOT have to even speak to the Lib Dem activist on the door let alone tell them your name or polling number!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Standing here and only here

All Apolitical - Newbury Town Council, Northcroft Ward

The Conservatives have abandoned the town centre.
The Lib Dems have abandoned their principles.

All eight Apolitical candidates are standing in just two wards Northcroft and Victoria. Each voter can choose two councillors for West Berks District Council and four councillors for Newbury Town Council.

We believe it's important for a councillor who sits on both the District and Town Councils to represent the people of only one ward.

All Apolitical - West Berks District Council, Northcroft Ward

This may sound obvious, yet the Lib Dems are blatantly fielding candidates who are standing in two different wards.

This piece of vanity flies in the face of the work of the Boundary Commission which seeks to define the size of each ward in order to allow equality of access of the people to those who represent them.

Those Lib Dem candidates standing in two wards at once (one is standing for Northcroft in the District election and Falkland in the Town election; another is standing for Speen in the District and Northcroft in the Town) are showing arrogance and lack of respect for the electorate. In the unlikely event that they win, they will create a democratic deficit for those in all three wards.

Or it may be that yet again they are showing their disrepect for the electorate by merely making up the numbers on the party candidate lists in seats they don't believe they will win and do not wish to win.

Opposition for opposition's sake.

We are being asked why the Apolitical candidates are targeting the Town Centre wards. For the plain and simple reason that we all live here!

All Apolitical - Newbury Town Council, Victoria Ward

We're standing here and only here. We think it's important to be fair and local in local government.
All Apolitical - West Berks Council, Victoria Ward

Vote All Apolitical in Newbury Town Centre.

Representation not Confrontation

No more White Elephants!

The Lib Dems are claiming to be the only worthwhile choice of opposition to the Conservatives on West Berkshire District Council. We as Apoliticals don’t believe that the task of our councillors is to support or oppose the big name tribal parties just for the sake of it. We believe that our elected representatives should be exactly that - the representatives of the wishes of the people.

Lib Dem claims in this election:
  • They claim to have ‘negotiated’ the works on the new skate park and play equipment in Victoria Park.
    But these are enabling works to make space for the new Arts Pavilion that the Conservatives want to build! And why start works at the beginning of the school holidays?

  • They claim to be ‘investigating’ the installation of a new Hydro electric scheme on the tow path adjacent to the Lock Stock and Barrel and claim it will part-power the Library.
    It will never be connected directly to the Library, and it is not likely ever to provide enough electricity to keep the lights on in there. And it will take decades to recoup its own carbon footprint in green power generated.

  • They claim ‘to oppose’ green field development in favour brown field sites.
    Yet they brag about scuppering the redevelopment of the eyesore that is Sterling Mill.

  • They have ‘overseen’ a flood survey which identifies large flood danger Zones in Newbury.
    Yet requests direct to our elected representative for the roadside drains to be cleared in those High Risk areas have fallen on deaf ears. Another four years have passed and still some are untouched.

  • They’ve ‘identified’ that the roads are in a terrible state!
    As our elected representatives, why haven’t they done something about it before now?

  • They ‘claim’ to be pressing for more community wardens then show pictures of real policemen!
    We want to see more real police out from behind their desks and in our Town Centre.

  • They are about to ‘spend’ £5,000 “of our money” putting up signs on a ‘walk’ round the fields to the West of Northcroft.
    We are yet to find anyone who thinks this is a good idea!

  • They claim to be ‘fighting’ for ‘us’ here in the town centre!
    Yet on their watch they allowed the £750,000 of developers contributions, earmarked for the building of a new nursery at Shaw to be given to the Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre.
What we Apoliticals want for the Town:

We want the Council to understand that we are sick of living in a building site. The overwhelming concern of the people we have spoken to, is that Newbury is losing its identity as a small market town. People in the town centre want to stop the continual development; to see more market traders encouraged to the town; for conditions to be put in place that support small independent shops, and to have access to a diverse and vibrant social life.

In the face of cuts we need services, not more capital vanity projects.
We need local people to fight for our rights here in our Town Centre.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Bank holiday Parking Scam!

Cross posted from Charlie Farrow
I've just passed words (not very polite ones in my case) with a Parking Warden who is ticketing cars in the residents parking bay in Berkeley Road. I did the same with the Wardeness on Good Friday too!

Quite apart from the iniquity of paying this bloke £30 an hour (yes that's right!) to do this task on a Bank Holiday, who for heavens' sake do his council masters think they are serving by ticketing today in this quiet residential street?

Certainly not us residents. The only possible benefit to us from this unwanted scheme is to deter shopppers and office workers from hogging the spaces so that we can park near our homes.

But it's Easter Sunday! All offices are shut. Even that temple to capitalism, Tesco, is shut today! The only cars in Berkeley Road belong to the people who live here and to our friends and loved ones who have come to share a festival / holy day with us.

The scheme was introduced against the wishes of Berkeley Roaders who held a public meeting at the Library attended by Council Officers. We agreed unanimously to reject the project. But it was imposed on us anyway!

It's not hard to see why. From the Council's point of view it's a top idea. It is not about easing congestion or making life better for the residents. It is a straight forward revenue earner. It forces the office workers and shoppers into paying in the Town Centre Car Parks, thereby paying for itself. On top of this the penalty tickets are extra earners and the punitive late payement levies and collection charges are obscene.

So today we're paying extortionate overtime to a man to do something we didn't want in the first place, and that is totally inappropriate today, in particular, since there is no congestion to be eased!

Craven Road

It is a fallacy to call it a Residents Parking Scheme, since permits are being sold to people who are not even resident in the ward, as evidenced by the painting out of the word RESIDENT. So clearly even the Council sees that the scheme is not for the residents' benefit.

As the permit scheme is not applied to all roads in the ward, it can be therefore nothing other a local tax selectively and unfairly applied to some resident car users but not to all.

As Apolitical candidates we are pledging:
  • to issue all qualifying residents with two free car permits, as the scheme is self-liquifying from car park revenues;

  • to put a stop to the blatant revenue grabbing persecution of our guests on Sundays and Bank Holidays;

  • and to end this shameful squandering of over-time money on an inappropriate task.
And if Berkeley Roaders decide again to scrap the scheme we promise to abide by their wishes.

Any way, back to my Easter turkey-lurkey, I need to get the veg on!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Vote Apolitical in Newbury Town Centre because...

The Conservatives have abandoned the town centre.
The Lib Dems have abandoned their principles.

Genuinely Local - Genuinely Different

Eight Apolitical candidates are standing for election in Victoria and Northcroft - the Town Centre wards.
We are the only party whose candidates all live here, and are all only standing here!

The Tories are in power on the District Council, but until now it has been the Lib Dems who have control in the Town Centre. On May the 5th you have a chance to make a real difference for change.

What the Liberals have done to the Town Centre:

  • They’ve sat back & allowed the Primary Health Care Trust in Reading to send its addicts to be housed in Newbury as respite from ‘their’ dealers.

  • They’ve actively encouraged housing associations to destroy family homes & gardens, replacing them with blocks of so-called ‘affordable’ housing. These are then allocated, not to families, but to single people whose “disability qualification” for social housing is merely their drug or alcohol addiction.

  • On their watch, we’ve had a drop-in centre and needle exchange sited beside St. Nick’s primary school so addicts can get easy access!

  • They imposed a selective car tax on some of us, under the guise of resident permit parking. A scheme which was not designed to make parking easier for us, but to force people working in Newbury into the town centre car parks.
Over the last four years the residents of Northcroft and Victoria collectively have paid £20million in Council Tax, and in return we have been given cycleways used by smackheads on our kids’ stolen bikes!

In the twelve months since the formation of the coalition, the Liberals have not called in a single useful item for scrutiny at the Council. Their election manifesto does not contain the word Crime!

What we Apoliticals want for the Town:

  • A commitment to encourage Market trading in the Town by reducing stall holders rents.

  • The damage to Victoria park to be made good by the Parkway developers at no extra cost to us.

  • A proper commitment by the police to remove drug dealers from the Town, and to clamp down on anti-social behaviour and vandalism caused by users.

  • Residents who qualify for parking permits to be issued with two free badges for cars.

  • A reduction of traffic on the dual carriageway through town, by the simple alteration of the road sign at the Swan Inn roundabout on the A339, so it directs M4 and North bound traffic from Basingstoke to the A34 by-pass at Tot Hill. Wasn’t that the point of the by-pass?
In the face of cuts we need services, not more capital vanity projects. We need local people to fight for our rights here in our Town Centre.

We are local people standing on local issues of real importance to our community.

'Apolitical' describes a convention of impartiality amongst people active in politics, like the Speaker of the Commons, the Cross-Benchers in the Lords or most parish councillors, who are not subject to the party 'whip' or told what to think by a political party.

Being Apolitical doesn't mean apathy or lack of interest in democracy or local affairs.

We believe we should be guided by our electors' wishes, considered evidence, our real world experience and expertise, and our consciences.

In that order.

Printed, published and promoted by C Farrow on behalf of Apolitical Democrat candidates, all at 59 Berkeley Rd, Newbury RG14 5JG

Apolitical Candidates for Northcroft Ward

You have 2 votes in Northcroft ward
for West Berks District Council
Vote APOLITICAL ~ Vote Yates and Farrow

David Yates stood as Apolitical candidate in the General Election 2010.

He joined the army as an apprentice at age 16, and has lived locally since he first came to Newbury with the army in 1981. Army-trained as a land surveyor, he currently works as a builder.

David is turning 49 the day before polling day. He is married with 4 children, 2 of whom still go to school locally. David is an active parent governor at their school.

He is keen to get away from the kind of knee jerk tribal politics that can see a donkey elected simply for sporting a particular colour of rosette. He believes that a councillor should represent the wishes of the voters, rather than their own or their party's interests.

David's aim is to provide a counter balance to discredited, big-party tribal politics and a credible alternative to the usual out-of-touch politicians.

Charlie Farrow has a background as a marketing professional specialising in the Education sector and has worked in local government.

She has lived in Northcroft ward for twenty years. She is married to David Yates and they have four children, two of whom are still at St Barts School. She is a former Governor of Park House School, and is an active member of the Sustainable Newbury group on Newbury Town Council, for whom she is currently overhauling the website.

She has a love of the history of Newbury and is concerned that its heritage is being squandered with the ever greater needs of 'vanity projects'. She wishes to stop daft capital projects, while maintaining a sound level of service in the face of imposed cuts.

...and 4 votes for Newbury Town Council
Vote APOLITICAL ~ Vote Yates, Farrow, Dennis & Page

John Dennis (40) has lived and worked in the area for 15 years, where his daughter is currently at secondary school. He is a professional Chef currently working as Catering Manager for BUPA.

He is a keen allotment gardener and is passionate about locally sourced, grown and produced food. He cares deeply about the impact of 'food miles' on the economy and the environment, and is keen to see more edible crops planted on and harvested from municipal land. He would like to help promote the education of young people, regarding healthy eating, growing their own food, and to encourage the foraging and wildcrafting of food and herbs.

He has always had a lively interest in political issues but has before now found nothing that appealed to him in the existing parties. He is keen to bring a fresh, new view to the Town Council.

James Page (21) is from Newbury and lives in the town centre.

He achieved good grades from Park House in his GCSEs but chose to enter the world of work at the age of 16 rather than go on to further education.
He completed an
apprenticeship with Malone Roofing and now works full time as a roofing

He is concerned about there being enough opportunities for young people to learn a trade as he has been fortunate enough to do and then for them to be able to find worthwhile employment opportunities locally.

Apolitical Candidates for Victoria Ward.

You have 2 votes in Victoria ward for
West Berks District Council
Vote APOLITICAL ~ Vote Reid and Wallace

Dave Reid (61) has run a variety of pubs around the country. He was based in Cheltenham before moving to Newbury in August 2000 to take over the Coopers Arms. As a Town Centre business man he is well placed to understand trading conditions and issues affecting the town.

"I feel that the standards that I encountered when I first came to Newbury have been allowed to slip and I would like to think that I could help to restore some of these if I'm elected as a Councillor.

Behind my bar I am always accessible to people in the town centre and I have been listening for years to people's ideas and opinions, gripes and moans. I feel it's time for me to try and help to implement or put to rights issues that I have been made aware of."

Iain Wallace (27) has lived in Newbury for sixteen years where he grew up and went to school from the age of eleven. Currently he is Functions Manager at Newbury Rugby Club, prior to which, he managed several local pubs and a local taxi service.

From this highly customer-facing view-point, Iain has been well placed to have seen a lot of change in Newbury - and believes that much of that change has not been in a good way.

He's never got involved in politics before but he believes it's time for a change for the better. And he would like to think he can help with that by standing as an Apolitical candidate for both the District and Town Councils in Victoria ward.

...and 4 votes for Newbury Town Council
Vote APOLITICAL ~ Vote Reid, Wallace, Bell & Farrow

My name is Aaron Bell. I am 19 years old and have always held an interest in politics. I am currently attending Newbury College and am just completing my third year in Carpentry. I attended St Barts School for five years and did well in my GCSEs.

I have always lived and now work part time in Newbury and my main aim is to be a voice for the young people in this town.

Their views and experiences will mould Newbury in the future and it is vitally important that they are heard in order that the policies made for everyone benefit every age range.

Today's youth is tomorrow's parents and Newbury's future.

Alex Farrow is 23.

He has lived in Newbury almost all of his life. He went to St. Bartholomew's School where he was House Captain of Patterson and played an active role in school life. He graduated in Philosophy from King's College London in 2005.

He is now a secondary school teacher but will be familiar to many in the Town Centre as a recent Manager of the Farmers Market where he was frequently to be seen actively promoting the market and local produce on a tri-shaw or dressed as a free-range chicken!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Victoria Park playground shut for Easter hols

Today's Newbury Weekly News reports that the children's play area in Victoria Park will be closed from Monday for six weeks to install new equipment. Newbury Town Council services manager apologised for the inconvenience.

It would be a darn sight less inconvenient if he'd realised that the schools break up for the Easter holidays tomorrow.

Why on earth isn't this being scheduled for term time? It's not rocket science.

Cross posted to Charlie's blog.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

West Berks Local Elections 2011

A total of eight Apolitical candidates will be fighting it out for seats on Newbury Town Council and four Apolitical candidates are also standing for West Berkshire District Council.

Party Leader, and 2010 General  Election candidate, Dave Yates is standing for one of the two district seats in Northcroft Ward, alongside his wife Charlie Farrow. They are both also hoping to serve on Newbury Town Council alongside Apolitical running-mates John Dennis and James Page.

In Victoria Ward, local publicans David Reid, landlord of the Cooper’s Arms and Iain Wallace, of Newbury Rugby Club have teamed up in true Apolitical-style to run for the 2 district seats. They’re also looking to represent the town centre Victoria ward on Newbury Town Council alongside Apolitical running-mates Aaron Bell and Alex Farrow. What with Aaron being a student at the College and local barman and Alex, a former Manager of the Farmer’s Market, there’s not much these four don’t know about Newbury Town Centre.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

60 Second Guide to Monetary Reform

There are only 2 basic choices for who issues a nation’s money:
1. we the people; or
2. banks.

The second alternative -- believe it or not -- is the case today -- for nearly every nation on earth.
Think about this. Which do you want?

The issuance of the nation's money is the most important power – even the very definition of sovereignty.
• Without it, a nation CANNOT be sovereign.
• Without it, a nation must borrow.
• Without it, a nation must borrow all its money from bankers; and yes, they do charge interest on it.

Remember what Proverbs warns:
”… the borrower is servant to the lender.”

That’s why nations can never get out of debt under this system, because all our money is borrowed from bankers. To reduce the National Debt is to quite literally reduce the national money supply; in other words, create a money shortage. Politicians tend to ignore – or don’t understand - this embarrassing fact.

Governmental “austerity” measures will not work. Why? It’s the interest – the interest on the U.S. National Debt is growing faster than any likely cutbacks in spending. This never-reported fact is what is overwhelming every governmental budget everywhere around the planet. That's why 2011 in the U.S. will be the year of municipal and possibly even the first State bankruptcies in American history. Why? Because as interest rates rise on municipal bonds, interest payments owed by States are going to skyrocket. This is in addition to declining state tax revenues and certain reductions in Federal contributions to state budgets.

In 2011, we will reach the tipping point. Nothing can fix this short of a basic restructuring of our debt-based money system. No More National Debt.

From Bill Still's book page.

Bill Still's Speech at Bromsgrove 2010

Opening remarks from Bill Still at the Bromsgrove Monetary Reform Conference 29th October 2010.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Letter to the Editor of the Newbury Weekly News: 28 March 2011

Dear Sir,

It was with a wry smile that I read the many letters in last weeks paper from political representatives of the main parties, attempting to claim to be apolitical in their decision making, or protest organising, regarding the cuts to Day Care Centres, all of them avoiding the word. I wonder, have I struck a nerve?

It was my intention in establishing the Apolitical Democrats Party, to hold a light up to the hypocrisy of tribal party politics within Local Government.

I have for many years now, witnessed the process leading up to the Local Elections, where the two main parties on West Berkshire Council run around cajoling, pleading and sometimes bullying people into standing as candidates for the 52 seats on the District Council. Each side sees that the inability to field a full complement of candidates would be seized upon by the other as a weakness, a lack of support.

Agents and activists from both sides spend the final weeks running up to the deadline for nominations, pleading with reluctant potentials to allow their names to be put forward, sometimes to the point of promising that there is no chance of them being elected.

Once campaigning starts proper, the goal posts are moved, and these seats are actively targeted on behalf of a person who doesn’t want to win. Reason? To remove the big guns from the opposing benches.

Party HQ in London sends a celebrity big name MP, to come and be seen by the electorate as they flood the ward weekend after weekend with activists. Their intention is to oust the better person.

This process drives down the quality of our representation within the Council Chamber. Someone who may have devoted years to the community they represent, is replaced by someone, who is at best, a reluctant participant. This is beneficial to the Parties, as it leaves the Council Chamber full of yes men, half of whom couldn’t be trusted to sit the right way on a toilet seat, and the ruling executive can implement at will, directives sent down from their party masters in Whitehall. At which point Party Politics in Local Government becomes less about good governance than about control, and ultimately about power.

The promotion of Party Politics in local government is the worst expression of tribalism after racism.

Yours faithfully,

David Yates

Monday, 21 March 2011

Local Shop for Local People

I don't know why this has got up my nose to the extent of blogging it, but really!

My MP, Richard Benyon's website bears the credit "Designed and Hosted by Ravensloft". OK so I can live with not getting a chance to pitch for the business, but this Ravensloft proudly trumpets its credentials as offering:
Web design, web hosting and technical solutions in Cefn-coed-y-cymmer, South Wales. Specialising in web engineering, technical support and graphic design for small to medium sized business, organisations and charities.

Covering the areas of Merthy Tdfil, Abercanaid, Aberdare, Aberfan, Trodyrhiw, Pontypridd, Blaenau Gwent, Mid Glamorgan and all other surrounding areas.

In the light of the Conservatives' much vaunted localisation agenda, could Richard Benyon really not have found a local outfit to do the work? Local to us, not local somewhere else. Or at least a company outside the constituency that didn't actively brag about being local in another country?

But when one's estates are so very extensive, what meaning localisation ? Pip pip!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Prescription Charges

On Wednesday MSPs voted to scrap NHS prescription charges in Scotland. Wales and Northern Ireland have already removed the charges.

Today "The Government" announced that the cost of prescriptions in England will rise by 20p to £7.40 per item from 1 April.

Scottish government health minister Shona Robison said lifting the charge would reduce the long-term cost to the health service and would no longer put people off going to see their doctor. However, this argument appears not to apply to English people who are expected to pay up or die young to reduce costs!

If the Scottish government is discussing the risk of people in England travelling across the border to claim free prescriptions, then we have got to stop pretending that there is not a problem.

The news today is that Wales has had another devolution referendum and they've now voted to be able to pass laws on devolved areas without involving the British government. That's great for the Welsh, even if the turnout was pitifully low.

So why does the "British Government" refuse to give us equal rights in this so-called “United” Kingdom? It's time for England to have a referendum on devolution. May is looking good...

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Boris says 'BOGOF Cops'!

Gotta hand it to Boris, who else could launch a buy one get one free scheme for policemen?

For every new police officer a borough pays for, the Mayor will ‘match fund’ the post and recruit another officer. This means boroughs will effectively be given two police officers for the price of one – a huge boost to the numbers of uniformed officers patrolling local streets.

Boris, we who are about to die salute you!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Example AV Ballot Paper

Image "borrowed" from

Alternative Voting

So we are to have a referendum on the 5th of May!

To Vote or Not To Vote Alternatively?

Lord Winston has changed his mind in recent weeks, as to the usefulness of such a system! Initially he was in favour of such a thing, but now has concerns that it will lead to a constant state of flux, in which we will see ourselves stuck with coalition after coalition. Or put another way, he fears it will signal the end of tribal party politics!

On the same news bulletin, a Lib Dem MP commented that the Alternative Voting System was to be welcomed because it would ensure that a Member of Parliament would always represent at least 50% of his or her constituents!

And there we have it! That one little statement sums up all that is wrong with the system we have in place at the moment.

Too many of our MPs feel that they are the representatives of their parties, rather than the representative of their constituency. Regardless of the banner under which an MP considers he was elected, his job is to represent the views of all of the people in his constituency. We need to get away from this “us and them”, this ”winners and losers” mentality amongst our politicians.

We need to get away from opposition for opposition sake!

Having a referendum to decide between First Past the Post and Alternative Voting will do nothing to bring true democracy any closer to the people of this country. Democracy is not served by a system that sees a few nameless, faceless people deciding the fate of the nation in darkened rooms and then feeding their decisions down to the people by way of their party structure.

True Democracy is the unfettered will of the people.

If we are going to have a referendum on May the 5th, why not ask the people what we should do with our paedophiles? And if the people suggest that we nail them up, rather than concern ourselves with their human rights, then our government’s job should be to plant more trees, rather than trying to sell off our forests.

Perhaps we would be better served on May the 5th to vote for a candidate who will represent us, rather than voting for the nameless, faceless party oligarchs.

Vote Apolitical!  

Here endeth today’s lesson!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Downing Street launches the logo for National Citizen Service

Oh dear, some bright spark appears to have rather conflated Constructivism as a learning theory with Constructivism, the art movement.

Is it really possible that a Tory led government is seeking to flavour a flagship policy with the art of the Revolution as conceived by The Commissariat of Enlightenment, the Bolshevik government's cultural and educational ministry?

However Constructivism did have a great deal of effect on developments in the art of the Weimar Republic. And as the Weimar Republic is chiefly associated in our minds with hyperinflation, the choice might prove eerily prescient.

Cross posted from Charlie's blog.

Friday, 11 February 2011


Uninstalling dictator in progress ... ███████████████████████████░ ...99.9% complete

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

They’re Making Monkeys of Us

My wife tells a story from her younger days, of a man armed with a sawn-off shot gun, dressed in a gorilla suit, walking into the pub and demanding the contents of the till. While the regulars watched with some intrigue, the landlady simply shrugged her shoulders opened the cash draw, pulled out a worth-while wad of the folding stuff and handed it to the man saying “There you go Trevor, but what’s with the gorilla outfit?”

I was reminded today of another classic gorilla moment, when I heard that the top four banks in this country “were livid” at the news that George Osborne has imposed a further levy on them of £850 million, taking their collective charges to £2.5 billion for the year.

As the day unfolded we heard various comments from our political leaders. Outstanding amongst them was firstly Tim Farron, President of the Lib Dems, who told listeners of Victoria Derbyshire’s show on Radio 5 Live, that it was only right that the banks be made to pay for “causing the deficit” and then George Osborne himself saying that the banks had to “pay their fair share towards the deficit”.

The problem with having a government made up of young career politicians half of whom have studied PPE at uni, is that they have all been taught from the same old texts, they have all sat at the feet of the same old indoctrinated economists spouting the same old accepted wisdom that has gone before. But let’s get one thing clear. What ever their dusty text books and dry old lecturers may have told them at university, it is inexcusable for senior political figures in this country to give the impression that the banks have anything to do with the setting of this country’s budget.

I will say it again! The Deficit is the difference between what the government spends each year and what it receives through taxation. The Deficit, is the government not living within its means.

The National Debt increases each year by the amount of the Deficit – It’s Not Rocket Science.

All three main parties went into the general election last year, saying they would halve the deficit over the life time of the next parliament, from around £150bn per year to about £100bn per year at the end of four years (clearly maths is not a big part of the politics, philosophy and economics degree curriculum) a reduction of £11bn per year (and interest). George Osborne and David Cameron then decided to go at it like a bull at a gate and get it down by £83bn over four years. Yet government borrowing for November was £23.9bn which would indicate the deficit for this year being more like £250bn. Austerity isn’t going to work. It isn’t the answer.

It’s time to throw away the dusty old text books, and let the old duffers at Cambridge out to pasture. We need to change the system so that is suits us, the people, not the bankers.

The answer is to change the monetary policy of the country, so that instead of the banks creating the nations money for the government to borrow, the government creates the money, and if the banks want to borrow some to lend to us, then they can pay interest to the government for the privilege. The government shouldn’t need to lay off thousands of people from their jobs, and then go cap in hand to the banks to borrow the money to pay them a bit of job seekers twice a month.

David Cameron tells us we are paying £120million a day in interest on national borrowing. The banks create the money that they lend to the government (and us for that matter) out of thin air, by way of an accounting fraud on a computer screen, and lend it to us at 3% interest.

Interest payments for the government this year are £43.8bn, but when George says he’s going to claw back £2.5bn by way of a levy, the banks all scream like a troop of baboons.

The people in the gorilla suits on this occasion are the bankers. The government is trying to give the impression of having tamed them, and like Gerald in the “Not The Nine O’clock News” sketch when the interviewer asks were they wild when they were caught? They have replied “Wild? We were livid! But it’s the bankers who are laughing, because dressed in their gorilla suits, we can’t see the grins on their faces.

They’re getting away with it again.

In truth the bankers are more like Psycho Trevor from the pub. We all know who it is that’s robbing us, but we just let them do it anyway.

Thursday, 27 January 2011


It’s exasperating, if not particularly surprising, that the decision to scrap the EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) descended into petty jostling for electoral advantage against all common sense.

Labour made an attempt (that they no doubt hope will appear as a principled and progressive stand) to save an initiative that has been much touted as helping young people from low household income families to stay on at school or college after 16.

And principled it might have been, if only the circumstances were only so. Campaigners appear to be blithely unaware that the EMA has also been a pretty unsavoury conduit for shovelling tax payers’ money into the pockets of the spoiled offspring of the idle rich. By rights the Labour Party should have been baying for its root and branch reform.

Surely not? Isn't it a lovely progressive incentive to keep kids at school?

Well it would be if it was as it seemed. And it is great for families that genuinely need it. The rub lies in the way that money was awarded to the undeserving rich according to the champagne socialist way under which the scheme chose to determine ‘household income’.

To qualify for EMA it is only the income of the household in which the young person lives most of the time that counts. So if Mum and Dad have separated and the young person lives mostly with Mum, it is only Mum’s household income that counts (or vice versa obviously). So Dad could be a hedge fund manager sitting on squillions of ill-gotten gains, and yet his wealth is ignored for the purposes of the EMA. Not only that but when calculating Mum’s household income “maintenance received from a former partner” is specifically excluded.

So we have a situation whereby kids from the wealthiest and most privileged of backgrounds are in receipt of the full EMA even though their actual household income might be tens of thousands a month - so long as the householder doesn't work! The scheme saw affluent – even filthy rich - families living in mansions claiming the full £30 a week.

It’s plainly wrong. And surely anyone can see that reform was required.

But Labour won't say so, since that would be to admit that it was their cock up. The Conservatives aren’t pointing this out, because there aren’t many Tory votes in reminding the comfortable that they have been milking the system of money they didn’t actually need. The Lib Dems are silent, having been thrown a bone called 'enhanced discretionary learner support' which will never emerge since anything vaguely helpful would have already been marshalled in support of the coalition policy to scrap EMA at the time.

So as I say, exasperating but unsurprising. This is perhaps the right time and a good reason to be Apolitical.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Having it Both Ways

There was a lot being made yesterday of the latest inflation figures. 3.7%!!! Mervin King is really having to earn his bacon these days, yet another letter to the Chancellor.

So the Governor of the Bank of England (that’s Mervin from above) writes to George Osborne, top man at the Treasury, to explain why the cost of living has gone up by more than their agreed target of 2%. But will he mention in his letter to George, the monster that is lurking in the shadows which is the deflation being caused to the pound in our pockets by our national debt? (And I’m not talking here about the value of the pound against other currencies on the money markets.)

Inflation as we all know, is the percentage increase, year on year, in the cost of living. Simply put, if you go to Tesco this weekend (other reputable supermarkets are available) and buy your usual weekly shop, and that half filled shopping trolley cost you £100. Then this months inflation figure would suggest that when you go to Tesco one year from now, that exact same weekly shop will cost you £103.70, the year after that it will be £107.54, the year after £111.52 and so on, because don’t forget this figure is compounded. That element of inflation, I know is obvious to us all, but the bit which is not so obvious is the effect the cost of the national debt is now having.

Let’s not consider the cost of our own shopping for the next bit, but instead let’s consider the shopping trolley of a public sector worker. I’m going to choose for our example, Emma! A lovely hard working, married mother of three teenage boys, who is a ward sister, working in the special care baby unit of a large regional NHS hospital somewhere in the south of England, (lets say Basingstoke because I’ve heard good things about them in the past), someone that all of us can’t help but to love. And let’s assume for this example that such a responsible position as Emma’s, would attract the kind of salary that George at the Treasury considers to be average, £26,000 per annum. That is £100 a day, five days a week, fifty two weeks of the year. (And don’t all you SCBU ward sisters go ringing in to tell me you are on nothing like that much, and that you can’t feed three teenage boys for a £100 a week - I’m just trying to make the maths easy for us all to follow.)

Actually, while we’re on the subject of making the maths easy, and having just blown the lid off the average wage calculation, have you any idea how much effort Tony Blair’s government spent working out at what level to set the minimum wage at its inception? 

£10,000 divided by 52 weeks, divided by 37 hour/week = £ 5.20

You really do have to know your onions, to make it as a Permanent Secretary of State at the Treasury. Those six figure salaries, CBE’s, enormous pensions and eventual promotion to the house of Lords, don’t come easy.

Any way, back to Emma’s salary! For the first time ever, a new factor has crept into the calculations surrounding the loss of value of the pound in our pockets. For the first time in our history the national debt is equal to, or greater than the governments annual spend. That means that for every pound the government spends this year there is a pound out there that we as a nation are paying interest on.

Interest on the national debt is currently running at about 3%. So if George Osborn borrows £100 today to pay Emma her wages, a year from now he will have to pay back £103 (the hundred he’s borrowed and the interest on it) before he can borrow another hundred to pay Emma again (and it will only be a hundred, since Georges’ mate Dave announced his pay freeze for public sector workers). Put another way Emma’s £100 next year will only be worth £97, but the shopping at Tesco will still have gone up to £103.70, in short, this time next year Emma will be worse off to the tune of £6.70 per hundred, not the £3.70 that Merv is writing home about today.

But the reality is far worse because George is not borrowing the £100 to pay Emma for just the one year, he has had to borrow it for ten years, and next year he will have to borrow another hundred to do it all again. Which means that the year after next he will have to pay £6 interest to have Emma in work for one day and Emma’s shopping will be £107.54, Emma’s daily wage is only going to be worth £86.46, poor Emma.
Why then if we have this monster in our sights, as we clearly do, isn’t anybody taking the shot?