Monthly Archives: April 2019

Lords Want Stop To OAP Bus Passes & TV Licences

Unelected Lords

want to axe free bus passes and TV licences for OAPs because they are ‘outdated and unfair on young people’. In West Lancashire there are 16,924 over 65s, and 7,371 qualify for free TV licences. And, believe it or not, many of us still pay taxes!

You may recall the case of the Tory peer who was criticised for claiming up to £5,700 a month for walking to “work” from her £4.5million home just 200 yards away from the House of Lords.

Baroness Wilcox

a former Tory minister, was accused of exploiting a new tax-free payment of up to £300 a day which those who live in London benefit from the most.

But the 74-year-old former Cadbury Schweppes director, who has taken home £74,400 in parliamentary attendance allowances, has not broken any rules. An analysis by the Daily Mail newspaper found that 124 of the 161 Lords who live in London claimed the daily allowance.

So you will wonder

why these people have said pensioners should be stripped of ‘outdated’ perks such as free TV licences and bus passes to make Britain fairer for younger people, peers said.

The ‘triple lock’ on pensions which has seen the state pension “soar” in recent years should also be scrapped, the House of Lords select committee found. I’d like to know where it “soared to” by comparison with council tax bills?

They called on the BBC to phase out free TV licences for the over-75s, with only the poorest households receiving them without payment. The Corporation is consulting on whether to get rid of them and the report could make it easier to do so. The peers said free bus passes and the winter fuel payments should only be available five years after a person reaches state pension age.

They called for better-off elderly people to continue paying National Insurance if they work beyond the state pension age. The report, compiled by the Lords select committee on intergenerational fairness and provision, said these perks were no longer justified when younger people struggle to even get on the housing ladder.

To help younger adults, it called for town halls to be given more power to develop unused land as well as higher funding for vocational training.

Lord True, the committee chairman

said ‘We found that intergenerational bonds are still strong. However, there is a risk that those connections could be undermined if the Government does not get a grip on key issues such as access to housing, secure employment and fairness in tax and benefits.

‘We are calling for some of the outdated benefits based purely on age to be removed. Policies such as the state pension triple lock and free TV licences for over 75s were justified when pensioner households were at the bottom of the income scale but that is no longer the case.’
The committee said ministers needed to build a fairer society to prepare the country for the coming 100-year lifespan. The report said that while age-based benefits and allowances were justified in the past to tackle pensioner poverty, many pensioner households are now on average better off than many working age households both in terms of income after housing costs and household wealth. Many? How many?

The peers also called on the Treasury to publish a breakdown of the effects of each Budget by generation and said ministers should create ‘Intergenerational Impact Assessments’ for all draft legislation. Lord True said ‘Young people told us they feel short-changed by the housing market, so we are recommending policies to deliver a significant increase in the supply of social and private housing and recommended protections to give renters long-term security.

‘We also need to change how we view education and training. Longer working lives mean older workers need support to reskill and continue to contribute in the workplace and younger people, particularly those who do not go to university, need the Government to fund further education and vocational training.’

But charities for the aged did not accept all the committee’s recommendations.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said ‘Young people may need more help but we disagree that this should be at the expense of the older generation. Means-testing, for example, results in significant numbers of very poor older people missing out. ‘We reject the notion that helping younger and older people is an ‘either/or’; in practice, many at both ends of the age spectrum need our society’s support and an advanced economy like the UK is well placed to provide it.’

And now, abolish the unelected House of Lords, hold elections to it, and maybe we might end the tax free ripoff?

Just Another Wally Election Leaflet

Election leaflets for Wally Westley

are dropping through our letter boxes in what might seem desperation tactics against the Brexit drama. Has the local West Lancashire Tory Association dumped allegiance to Theresa? Wally offered us help with any issue, so here is one

Next, the Labour bins.

You ask “What about OAPs, disabled people” in 2019. But what about Tory OAP/disabled travel in 2011? YOU just didn’t care, did you, when  the £28 tokens were taken?

And the Local Plan.

Apart from the “Vote Conservative to stop the Labour Local Plan”, what other activity will you be involved in to stop development on Prescot Road?

Wally An Endangered Species?

Hullo, it’s me again

I am a member of an endangered species, a Conservative councillor standing for re-election on May 2. And I am worried!

I am in danger of extinction despite being in opposition to a Labour-led council for the last 3 years. During that time we have had regular increases in council tax. And their proposed potty local plan! But being seen with “terrible Theresa” is not good for my image, because the issue threatening to wipe me out is Brexit. Our only hope for survival will be the recognition by the voters that local issues have a more direct impact on their lives than Brexit.

Things like potholes.

OK, hands-up, Town Green is neglected and we did say we would fix it, but we promised Brexit too…you just can’t believe a word we say!

Council ‘Not Interested’ In Retailers’ Needs?

Council ‘not interested’ in retailers’ needs

The Borough Council has been accused of showing a lack of interest in the needs of the area’s retailers in stinging remarks from a long-serving councillor.

Cllr Adrian Owens made the remarks after the Council Leader ignored a request to meet with Independent retailers from the Concourse

in Skelmersdale. Independent retailers had approached Cllr Owens to request the meeting over their concerns about the Council’s plans for Skelmersdale town centre.

Cllr Owens said “The health of our shopping centres is a vital concern to local residents and it is astounding and very disappointing that the Council Leader won’t meet with local businesses that bring employment and variety to our centres. Unfortunately, this is a pattern with this council currently. I’ve had reports of several small retailers feeling their concerns were dismissed at the recent Ormskirk town centre meeting”.

“The priorities of the Council are wrong. In the past three weeks the Council’s Twitter Feed has promoted the £30 green waste bin scheme EIGHT times but not once tweeted support for local retailers. Worse, the Council-run Discover Ormskirk Facebook Page which exists to promote Ormskirk town centre has posted only once in the past two months and even then it didn’t promote Ormskirk!”

Cllr Owens concluded “The Council’s agenda for our town centres seems very one-dimensional currently. Our town centres will only thrive through fully coordinated efforts that recognise that shops must continue to play a vital role in ensuring vibrant town and village centres”.

The “Leadership” Of The Conservative Party

Many members of the Conservative party

are feeling let down that we are still not out of the EU, writes John Redwood. “They warmed to the Prime Minister’s approach that no deal is better than a bad deal, and accepted her assurance we would be out by 29 March 2019. Many Conservative MPs are unhappy about the plunge in the polls brought on by the news that we might be holding European elections after all, and by the fall in the general polls following announcement of delay in getting out. RIP the Tory Party 2018?

“There are moves to see if the question of the leadership can be revisited before the expiry of a year since the last confidence vote in Theresa May. Some MPs and some members of the voluntary party with their Associations are looking at what scope there is under the rules to test support again for the Prime Minister. It is reported that sufficient Associations have demanded the matter be examined by the party Board. Many MPs are sending letters to the Chairman of the 1992 Committee demanding action.

“Mrs May herself has said she would resign as leader after the Withdrawal Agreement has gone through. She said nothing about what she would do if it did not. It is looking increasingly unlikely it will go through, as Labour have many difficulties with the Political declaration and the future partnership which is an integral part of the Agreement. As a result there is doubt about her intentions. Nor has she stated a definite leaving date were the Agreement to go through. Her wish to get it through with Labour votes is also unpopular with many Conservatives.

“I do not favour the attempt to broker a deal for the PM to step aside in return for getting through a bad Agreement. I am urging the PM to lead us out on May 22nd, by cancelling the European elections. Under the Extension Agreement with the EU we would then automatically leave on May 22nd. We should offer further talks to secure more agreements on a range of things, led by tabling a free trade proposal, to start as soon as we leave.

“If the Prime Minister did this the difficult problem of the European elections vanishes, and the Conservatives would go back up in the polls as Leave voters returned, grateful that we will be out on May 22nd. If she does not do this a very unhappy party will look for a legal means under its constitution to force a meaningful vote of confidence in the Prime Minister”.

How Will Wally Vote?

Hullo, it’s me again.

I suppose you’ve heard that Theresa May is to face an unprecedented no-confidence challenge from the National Conservative Convention?

And I expect you are on tenterhooks wondering how I will vote as your local Conservative Association Chairman? Well, we chairmen do have to take these tough decisions, and I will have to give it some thought. After all, West Lancashire did vote to leave the EU.

The petition is clear enough. “We no longer feel that Mrs May is the right person to continue as prime minister to lead us forward in the [Brexit] negotiations. We therefore, with great reluctance, ask that she considers her position and resigns, to allow the Conservative Party to choose another leader, and the country to move forward and negotiate our exit from the EU”.

Of course, we local Tories shudder when Theresa goes on walking holidays.

She comes back thinking of elections. And what a cock-up she made after the last walking holiday. But this time it’s an election WE hold. I know it isn’t binding on Theresa to go if we vote against her. And let’s face it, she IS a remainer, remaining through vote after vote. Will we ever be rid of her?

I think I might do a “Farage” and stick £1,000 at three to one on her refusing to leave! Hmmm…good odds? Well, she is leading us to oblivion, which is something I seem to know a lot about too, here in West Lancashire!

Cheers, Wally.

Eurosceptic Tory Party Members Are The Anti-EU Taliban

In July 2013 on Conhome a Conservative MEP Sajjid Karim

discussing eurosceptic members of his own party, writing on twitter during a debate on Europe, said ‘It seems the anti-EU taliban find it difficult to accept a different point of view!’ He added ‘The Anti-EU Taliban don’t want an informed British public or an informed debate. Bring it on!”

Remainers for EU 2019

Conservatives who would happily describe themselves as anti-EU would be surprised to hear one of the party’s elected representatives label them an intolerant “Taliban”. It certainly isn’t a productive contribution to the debate, or helpful in improving relations between the party and its members.

Karim, who attacked the prospect of Brexit in the run up to the referendum and has since vowed to push for a “soft” exit and Single Market membership, has apparently been selected as a lead candidate for the party.

A recycled Libdem

he joined that party in 1989. Karim was elected a member of Pendle Borough Council in 1994 and served until 2002 representing Brierfield ward. He was elected to represent North West England in 2004 as a Liberal Democrat MEP.

On 26 November 2007 he changed horses and joined the Conservative Party and was re-elected to the European Parliament in June 2009. In May 2014 he was re-elected to serve a third term.

Seen here in Ormskirk with “guess who”!

Karim has claimed that he will be the number one candidate on the Conservative list for the North West of England in the European Elections. He goes on to say “Whilst Brexit is still going ahead though, I will be fighting for a ‘soft’ departure until the end, in both the interests of Lancashire, the North West and of the country. We hold this permanent seat on the UN Security Council as a United Kingdom. It is hard to imagine a scenario in which the likes of China and Russia (two other permanent seat holders) allow our seat to be maintained by England alone. The true cost of EU withdrawal then, will be a grave one”. Far from it, the true cost of our ongoing membership has been a grave one.

Karim is now questioning where funding for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is coming from. Sounds worried. Why are the Tories selecting such an anti-Brexit candidate to play a leading role in their EU Election campaign in the face of 17,410,742 leavers?

While Remainers might opt for anti-Brexit parties to voice their anger at Brexit, there will be some Conservatives standing in the European elections that oppose the UK leaving the European Union. Karim has campaigned for a People’s Vote to end the “madness”.

Karim previously claimed “The only way to stop this madness in its tracks is a parliamentary process leading to a People’s Vote. We want to be leading in our continent ideally through the European Union and projecting ourselves to the globe and winning, not falling down with a whimper”.

More of Karim’s bluster on Brexit in 2014 is classic hysterical Project Fear

He said “There are other major challenges that would arise from a British exit; some 2.2 million EU citizens who work in Britain, many in the City, and could be forced to leave. Given the significant contribution EU migrants make to the British economy, such an exodus would only exasperate the skills and labour shortage Britain already faces.

Just before the referendum in June 2016, he wrote: “If we end up with a vote for Brexit, the very existence of the United Kingdom as we know it is in peril. Who is to say that the Welsh and Northern Irish would not want to leave the UK also, particularly if their populations voted to Remain in the EU? Should Brexit lead to Scotland leaving and Welsh & Northern Irish discontent contributing to the same also, the UK’s permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council would undoubtedly be under threat”.

Perhaps some among us could care less about such an opinion? It might be the time to discuss English independence? Why not an English Parliament that carries out what England votes for?

So where does he stand? In April 2018 in an article on his website, Karim said “Regardless of how it happens Brexit is going to be bad for business, so limiting the extent of the damage is the best option we have right now and this means retaining our Single Market membership. Anything less would be senseless, damaging Lancashire and damaging the country”. Utter rubbish from someone who, after his “Taliban” sneer, brought forth some rational Conservatives taking the view that “It is one thing to disagree with people on your own side, and the Tory party is rightly a broad church, but it is quite another to go out of one’s way to insult them”.

Karim was evidently unrepentant, having put out a press release restating the slur “I have not used that term lightly, that’s exactly what they are. You are no longer allowed to hold a view unless it’s the same view as them.”

According to the release he particularly dislikes eurosceptics who “stifle debate by putting forward emotional and skewered arguments”. It seems bizarre to suggest emotion should play no part in politics, or that taking into account somehow closes down debate (though hopefully we can all agree no-one should be “skewered”).

It’s fair to say such a view will not be popular among members and activists, as much for its clumsy, insulting nature as for the pro-EU politics which lie behind it. Presumably that is why Karim has waited until just before the deadline for party members to rank his candidacy at next year’s elections before airing his view of them.

Quite why someone who so dislikes a sizeable chunk of the Conservative membership should seek to represent them is a mystery, but there should be a selection process which allows the members to make their views on such disdain clear, too. He said democracy is under attack and we must take responsibility for defending it [but not for defending the democratic 17,410,742!]. He is said to be a firm believer that decisions made by the EU should be taken as close as possible to the citizen.

It seems that Malik introduced a “Guide To Funding From The EU”. It detailed how to source funding from the EU. It might have been entitled a “Guide To Recovering Some Of The UK Funding We Donate To The EU”!

From the Telegraph

The year 2019 is already shaping up to be very strange indeed. A group of vegans has brought London to a shuddering halt. Politicians of all persuasions have ignored the largest democratic mandate in British history. Aston Villa has a serious chance of promotion. But perhaps the most astonishing development has been the sight of serial appointee Lord Adonis participating in the democratic process.

The Labour [unelected] peer, a former policy adviser to the Blair government, announced his attention to stand as an MEP in the South West, where he will face off against Annunziata Rees Mogg (expect fireworks). Hedging his bets, perhaps, Adonis has agreed to “suspend”, rather than “resign”, his bench-warmer seat [unelected! House of Lords].

Perhaps strangest of all is that the West Lancashire Tory party doesn’t mention Malik ever being a LibDem in its potted history published on its website. Probably ashamed of him?

In 2016 it was reported in the Telegraph Karim claimed £76,292 a year salary, plus £2,670 in pension contributions, and for the five years £159,858 in subsistence allowance, £189,420 in first class travel expenses, and £289,038 in UK office costs. Time to stop the EU gravy trains!