Monthly Archives: December 2019

Lancashire Police Tactical Operations Division Report

“Our drones

were purchased thru the Proceeds of Crime Act – cash we’ve taken from criminals. Today our drone has assisted in providing aerial containment for multiple drug warrants in Preston where more drugs and more cash has been seized. Great job all round”.

Comments include “What a fabulous use of the funds! It’s poetic justice, love it. Thank you for all you do” and “Now buy a squadron of them”.

Why not? A squadron of visible police drones is modern crime fighting?

 

A Love Letter To Britain

Family ties can never really be severed

Writes Frans Timmermans, executive vice-president of the European Commission

“Since I went to a British school, you have always been part of me. Now you are leaving, and it breaks my heart. I recently read a delightful book of love letters to Europe. A Love Letter to Europe”

Is “An outpouring of sadness and hope. Great writers, artists, musicians and thinkers in British life say what Europe means to them”. [These are the remainer bleeding hearts brigade whose offerings are included, Mary Beard, Shami Chakrabati, William Dalrymple, Sebastian Faulks, Neil Gaiman, Ruth Jones, J.K. Rowling, Sandi Toksvig and others].

“And it made me contemplate my love for Britain. It has just occurred to me that when you joined the European Economic Community I was in one of your schools. Not on your soil, mind you, but in Italy. Saint George’s British International School in Rome, to be precise. I was 12 years old and still learning English. That year I also dressed up in a kimono, as one of the “gentlemen from Japan” in the Mikado, the school play. Mrs Alcock encouraged me not to sing too loudly, so that my false notes would be less audible. But she kept me on stage. I loved it. Like I loved being part of the chorus in My Fair Lady the next year and the Mock Turtle in Alice in Wonderland the year after.

“More than 40 years have passed since then. So much has happened. My family went back to the Netherlands, I studied there and in France. I got married and became a father, did my military service, worked as a diplomat, divorced and married again, got elected to parliament, served in government and am now in the European Commission [Gravy train!] Britain was always there. As part of me. Being in one of your schools made me more Dutch than before. Because there is no better way to be made aware of your own culture than by being immersed in another. And at the same time, that immersion leaves traces. What you inhale and absorb remains: as an extra layer, a sediment that partly merged with what was already there and partly remains distinguishable and unique.

“I know you now. And I love you. For who you are and what you gave me. I’m like an old lover. I know your strengths and weaknesses. I know you can be generous but also miserly. I know you believe yourself to be unique and different. And of course you are in many ways, but perhaps less than you think. You will never stop referring to the rest of us as “the continent”. It helps you to create the distance you think you need. But it also prevents you from seeing that we all need a bit of distance between us. All European nations are unique. Our differences are a source of admiration, surprise, discomfort, misunderstanding, ridicule, caricature and, yes, love.

“In the best of times these differences make us the most creative, productive, peaceful and prosperous of families. In the worst of times our differences are manipulated to instil fear, to propagate superiority, to set one family member against the other. Things then quickly get out of hand. We all are also very, very good at that. That is our legacy. That too is who we are. And as a family we have a duty to promote the best of times and keep the worst of times at bay. So far, for all its faults, the EU has been the most successful tool to achieve that goal.

“You have decided to leave. It breaks my heart, but I respect that decision. You were in two minds about it, like you have always been in two minds about the EU. I wish you had stuck to that attitude, it served you well and it kept all of us in better shape. Was it necessary to force the issue? Not at all. But you did. And the sad thing is, I see it is hurting you. Because the two minds will still be there, even after you have left. In the process so much unnecessary damage has been done to you, and all of us. And I fear more will follow.

“Truth be told, I felt deeply hurt when you decided to leave. Three years later I am just sad that a member of our family wants to sever our ties. But at the same time I find comfort in the thought that family ties can never really be severed. We’re not going away and you will always be welcome to come back”.

Timmermans also recently wrote “The EU has begun new infringement proceedings under article 7 against Poland for restructuring its supreme court by lowing the retirement age to 65 and so removing a group of judges. The Commission has asked the European court of justice to make an interim ruling to postpone the removal of judges, including the president of the supreme court”. He said that cases such as Brexit raised fundamental issues about the survival of the EU.

We in the UK are still facing another year of lessening subjugation by the EU, but the shackles will loosen and then we will have our own fully independent and sovereign country back again.  

How To Make Friends And Influence People, The German Method

There has been an “Epic rant on Boris & Brexit, on Germany’s version of BBC World Service”.

“If you think the BBC’s journalists are opinionated and anti-Brexit, try this from Germany, bearing in mind the UK has run a trade deficit with Germany in goods and services combined in every year since 1999. What’s more, the deficit is getting bigger over time, doubling from £41bn to £82bn between 2012 and 2016, and now exports to the United Kingdom from Germany increased to 7,190,556 EUR Million in September from 5,958,227 EUR Million in August of 2019.

“Brexiteers lied all the time, Boris is brainwashing the people, the UK is now the enemy”.

“On Friday, Germany’s state-funded broadcaster (DW) published an extraordinary article written by its senior Brussels correspondent. The article constitutes an epic rant against Brexiteers, Brexit, and the British Government.

BREXIT FACTS4EU.ORG SUMMARY

“Key points in article from German state broadcaster’s senior Brussels correspondent
• Almost all of what Brexiteers said were lies
• Boris Johnson “is trying to effectively brainwash the people”
• The PM “is inspired by the right-wing populist playbook”
• Boris “has peddled countless lies, deliberately misrepresented reality, persistently employed hyperbole and clouded peoples’ minds through propaganda”
• He “cannot be trusted, and neither can his Brexit negotiator, Michael Gove”
• “The [EU27] bloc will have to treat Britain like an adversary”

“From the outset we must make it clear that this appeared in the opinion section. Nevertheless it is written (in English) by the senior Brussels correspondent of this international media organisation, which is funded by the German federal government.

“As such it gives a rare insight into some of the thinking of the continental media regarding Brexit, and about the UK’s new Government. Key excerpts from article by German state international broadcaster’s senior Brussels correspondent.

The full article is available in English here

• “It was almost shocking to see how little impact arguments against Brexit, and for a close relationship with the EU, have had.”
• “Johnson’s talk of “Canada-plus” and striking a great deal with the EU is just empty rhetoric. In reality, this is simply the manifestation of the well-known right-wing Conservative project to further deregulate the UK and transform it into some kind of international buccaneer.”
• “Parliament no longer has a say…An ironic turn of events, given that Brexiteers had always argued leaving the EU was about returning power to their very own ‘mother of all parliaments.’ This was, simply put, a lie, just like almost all other arguments put forward for Brexit.”
• “Likewise, the bill no longer pledges to align British workers’ rights along EU standards, and has watered down the rights of refugee children to be reunited with their families.”
• “This marks a victory for those who want a hard Brexit, who want to sever all ties with the EU. They are ecstatic. And Johnson, it is now clear for all to see, is not the moderate Tory he masqueraded as during the election campaign.
• “Now that the path to a hard Brexit has been paved, Johnson is trying to effectively brainwash the people…Johnson wants to bring [the country] together again by telling Brits to stop discussing the matter”.
• “Typical populist behaviour”.

“Johnson’s behaviour so far is inspired by the right-wing populist playbook: He has peddled countless lies, deliberately misrepresented reality, persistently employed hyperbole and clouded peoples’ minds through propaganda. This is behavior we have seen by many other populist regimes across the world.

“And, in this populist vein, Johnson now wants to axe the funding for public broadcaster BBC. Its journalists, who could have done more to scrutinize and question Brexit, are in Johnson’s view too independent and lack loyalty towards the government.”

“Nobody, in short, should be lulled into thinking they can trust Johnson when he talks about “neighbours and friends” on the continent. This is merely part of his carefully cultivated facade, just like his unruly haircut”.

“It is a painful but simple fact that from now, one will have to be extremely careful in dealing with the British government and prepare for all kinds of trickery. Johnson cannot be trusted, and neither can his Brexit negotiator, Michael Gove. Both will do whatever they can to take advantage of the EU.

“The bloc will have to treat Britain like an adversary when it negotiates its future relationship with the country, a trade deal and other things, a tragic nadir after decades of good neighbourly relations”.

“About Deutsche Welle “Deutsche Welle is Germany’s international broadcaster. We convey a comprehensive image of Germany, report events and developments, incorporate German and other perspectives in a journalistically independent manner. By doing so we promote understanding between cultures and peoples.”

Observations

“In our view, ‘opinion’ pieces should be reserved for outside commentators, politicians, and experts in their field. When an opinion piece is written by a staffer of a media organisation – and published by that same organisation – then it inherits the authenticity and reputation of its publisher, whether intentionally or not. And when the funder of the publisher is the German state, this is not a good look.

“Call us old-fashioned but we believe that state-funded reporters should report. Their personal views should be just that, and these should not interfere in the reporting of facts.

“Deutsche Welle does in fact produce good journalism. It does a good job in reporting on a wide range of stories from Germany and around the world. That said, DW’s motto is “Made for minds.” Our Christmas message to DW and its reporters, just as it is to the BBC and its reporters, is not to come across as “Our minds are made up”.

“Please just report facts and let your readers’ and viewers’ minds do the rest. Finally, we suggest that DW journalists stop reading the Financial Times, the Guardian, and the Economist, (and stop watching the BBC) if they want to understand Brexit the and British people. We know that these are the primary sources for information amongst Brussels correspondents from EU27 countries. Instead perhaps they might wish to review the results of the general election to get a better idea of what is really going on in the United Kingdom”.

All We Want For 2020?

Are Brexit and a 1/3rd slicing of the number of elected members of WLBC what we want for 2020?

From the WLBC Extraordinary Council Meeting Of Wednesday, 10th July, 2019 7.30 pm. “That it be noted that a formal request to instigate an electoral review will now be made to the Boundary Commission”. It’s not restricting employee recruitment yet, as WLBC is advertising for a Business Support Manager, salary circa £39,782 to £41,675.

All over the country cuts in the number of elected council members are being reported, many to just one elected member for each ward. Just imagine what that will do to the Aughton 5?

We’ve been here before, as reported that Cllr D Westley agreed, in writing, some years ago we should have a smaller council but changed his mind the same day! Now, if cuts do take place some Halsall resident/Aughton councillors will be made redundant! Yes please!

The Local Government Boundary Commissioners, who make all these decisions, conduct reviews of English local authorities to improve levels of electoral equality, ensuring all councillors represent approximately the same number of electors. But theirs is an odd equality, applying only WITHIN individual authorities, with no comparative reference whatever, even to neighbouring councils.

Back in July it was reported that “One in five councils face drastic spending cuts within months. Cuts to local government funding mean many will be forced to act to stave off bankruptcy. The deteriorating financial prospects for local government mean that within months nearly one in five councils in England may be forced to impose drastic spending controls to stave off bankruptcy, council leaders have warned.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils had little confidence that they would be able to deliver the already tough savings targets they had set themselves for this financial year, and would have to go back for extra cuts to meet their legal requirement to balance their budgets.

A further one in three councils surveyed said prospects were so bleak that within three years they would be unable to meet their statutory obligation to provide an adequate service in core areas such as adult social care, child protection and homelessness prevention.

Last year Tory-run Northamptonshire county council in effect declared bankruptcy and imposed a ban on non-essential spending. Its failure to make planned savings after years of cutbacks and chaotic management left it unable to fulfil its legal requirement to meet its spending obligations and balance its budget.

It reportedly stabilised its finances early this year after selling its headquarters and spending £60m of the proceeds to balance the books. However, it has since reported a £6m overspend on its adult social care budget, just three months into the new financial year.

Councils have already had proposed cuts to statutory services such as libraries and Sure Start centres challenged and sometimes overturned in the courts on the grounds that the cuts breach the legal obligation to provide an adequate level of service. More judicial review challenges are expected.

The LGA estimates that between 2010 and 2016, local authorities will have lost 60p out of every £1 they received from central government. By next April the gap between council resources and demand will be £3bn, rising to £8bn by 2025, fuelled by wage inflation and the rising costs of adult and child social care. The LGA survey was completed by 141 out of 339 LGA member councils between 28 March and 5 June.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said “Councils are a vital link to meet the needs of residents. That’s why we’re providing local authorities with access to £46.4bn this year – a real-terms increase – including extra funding to support some of our most vulnerable groups”.

For 2020-21, the relevant basic amount of council tax of an authority like WLBC is excessive if the authority’s relevant basic amount of council tax for 2020-21 is (a) 2%, or more than 2%, greater than its relevant basic amount of council tax for 2019-20; and (b) more than £5 greater than its relevant basic amount of council tax for 2019-20. Otherwise we could call for a referendum! Police and Crime Commissioners are similarly restricted! No more of this, below, then? We hope!

Labour And Brexit

Austin “Maverick” Mitchell has treated us to his latest views on Labour and Brexit

“It’s difficult to know which of Labour’s three main problems, Corbyn, policy blow out, or Brexit were most ruinous. All were wrong but intertwined into the disaster. Corbyn was bullied into a baffling Remain strategy he didn’t believe in. The bonanza of promises was a pathetic attempt to buy back Brexit voters. We offered negativism and gloom against Boris’s boundless optimism.

“But Brexit was the most important. It widened the gulf between a party of metropolitan trendies and its regional class base. I always thought that the job of the Labour Party was to lift up the workers not lecture them and it doesn’t help to tell the people that they’re racist, stupid and un-educated in voting Brexit. Yet defeat can teach lessons, leaders can be changed and policy revised. So Labour’s main problem now is Brexit. It’s going to happen, however much Labour dislikes it. So having blundered into our naive folly on this issue, the crucial question is what are we going to do about it?

“Sadly our political Bourbons seem to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Some still preach listening to the people when we manifestly didn’t. Benn and the Blairites still believe they were right to have held up the nation’s wishes for so long. Second referendum addicts won’t admit that the election was it, and it’s gone against them. The failed trick of opposing a hypothetical “no deal” to make any deal impossible is already reviving and will become hysterical as Boris’s takes on his Sisyphean task of getting an acceptable settlement from a stultifying EU. On the other side of the argument more Labour MPs have now grown the guts to vote for Boris’s bill as the party, as a whole should have done for Theresa’s.

“The consolation is that Remainer warnings of death and hell fire haven’t happened and having failed in their efforts to delay their influence in encouraging EU obstinacy will be weaker in Brussels and actively resented in Britain. The strength of national feeling has been demonstrated. The people have voted to get it done. It’s time to stop standing in their way. So the real problem is not a revival of internal clan warfare but the attitudes of the leadership contenders.

“Two candidates have already declared themselves pro Remain. Two others look like Corbyn continuity candidates. Blairites have been damaged by self harm but others will try and pander to the assumed pro-European instincts of party members and Momentum. The real need is for a candidate of stature, but they’re few on the ground today. So Labour needs to settle on one who’s not strenuously committed on either side of an EU argument which is, after all, secondary to the party’s purposes. Such a candidate can do a Harold Wilson job and pull the Party together.

“So what do we do? Common sense has never played much part in Labour’s arcane policy processes but now it suggests going quiet on Brexit. Let Boris fulfill his mandate, back him when he runs against EU intransigence and stop affronting the national feeling demonstrated by the election. Protesting against a hypothetical “crash out” is really a cover for objecting to any form of Brexit and now dead in the water. The people have spoken. Boris has a majority. The time for stopping him, obstructing his efforts and hoping he’ll fail has passed.

“It will change only if Boris gets a bad deal and begins to bluster and betray. Britain has voted to give him his chance and he’s no longer vulnerable on Brexit. But he is if he fails to live up to his wider promises of a new deal, one Nation Toryism, ending austerity, boosting the North and building a better, fairer society to go back to the old grind Toryism of cuts for the poor, bungs to the wealthy and pathetic half measures. Then he becomes not just vulnerable to a full scale Labour attack but he’s failed and our volatile electorate will punish him for letting them down, as it punished Labour for the same reason this time. Until that happens shut up on Brexit”.