Sunday, 20 January 2013

A learning exercise



I was minding my business the other day when I thought I'd look at the stats for the blog. I wasn't anticipating much as I haven't posted anything recently, but a surprise was waiting for me. The blog had been visited by somebody from Conservative Central Office no less! On the 14th January at 18:07:09 somebody in Tory HQ entered the following search query into Google: list of ukip candidates 2015

This blog came in at number 20 of addresses returned against that query. The web addresses above me were/are an esoteric mix of political and media sites, one or 2 of dubious provenance.

The first thought that crossed my mind, after I'd stopped laughing, was that someone in Tory HQ is really worried about UKIP and wants to find out who their opponents will be at the 2015 General Election. Labour are building up their list of candidates. I guess the Lib Dems are doing the same, although they have problems galore to overcome as their core supporters in many parts of the country are disillusioned.

UKIP are stating that they will fight every seat in the UK in 2015. The idea, however, that there might be a national list of UKIP candidates available online at the beginning of 2013 is risible. If the big 3 parties have yet to finalise their lists and to publish them then there is a certainty, poor little disorganised, and occasionally dysfunctional, UKIP will not have a clue who is standing. UKIP doesn't have branches in every constituency and will have real problems finding people to stand in far flung parts of our union - Anglesey, Western Isles, Fermanagh are not natural UKIP stomping grounds. Oddly there was a promising little branch in Orkney and Shetland a few years back, but that's an exception not a rule.

When I became the UKIP candidate at the 2005 General Election I was persuaded over a beer in a Witney pub only 4 or 5 weeks before the election date. I didn't appear on any lists until after that.

Anyway, having had a good smile, I thought others might be interested. I left messages with the Daily Mail and Private Eye, but they've yet to come back. I got through, however, to Hugh Muir, one of the Guardian's more readable writers (I gave him some stuff on Ashley Mote some years ago if my memory is correct). Hugh, God bless his cotton socks, took the story and wrote it into the Guardian diary (see link at the beginning of the blog) and so this blog became temporarily famous, or so I thought.

In the paper Guardian I am mentioned by name, but there is no link. In the electronic version a click through on my name brings you back to the page that the Tory search threw up, 'Count on UKIP' from 14th January 2010. From this I was able to see how many people might read a diary item and click through. Not many as it turns out. There were a total 8 clicks on my name from the Guardian online item. One was me, one was Niall Warry (a former UKIP candidate who found out about the link from the British Democracy Forum where I had posted details of the diary item) and a couple of others were BDF readers. This means that a well read online diary earned me a total of 4 clicks through to the blog! I'm not going to get famous on that throughput am I?

Of course the item did arouse some suspicion in other quarters and someone hosted at Times Supplements had a look to see what had interested the Guardian in my blog (not a lot, just me making a call). Also back for a second look (regular readers) were Tory Central Office who searched using the more predictable query Paul Wesson. I came top of that search. ;) The researcher also visited my Linked In page, my Youtube election address from Khartoum, Amazon (another couple of Pauls Wesson write books) and yournextmp.com where I was discussed during the 2010 General Election. I might not be world famous, but Tory Central Office are onto me.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Sorry

Sorry to those who keep stopping by, but I've not been keeping this blog up to date. I was busy working overseas for much of the summer and autumn (Georgia, Belarus and USA) whilst finishing off an essay on the Nuremberg Trials as victor's justice and a dissertation on election observation for my LLM (now complete and awaiting the final announcement of my results). I'm now playing hunt the doctorate and am applying for a 3-year research PhD which will fill my time nicely.

I might archive this blog and focus on a soon to be launched website/blog with my partner. We're setting up a research consultancy and will be uploading sample essays and research projects to attract business and provide people with material of interest to read. I will be writing longer and more detailed papers with either original material or cross referenced research material. My focus will be constitutional law, politics, democratisation etc. There will be a fresh announcement nearer the time.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Fruitcakes, loonies and closet numpties

Those who know me well are aware that I moderate the British Democracy Forum, BDF, a libertarian/right leaning political discussion group that is frequented by some very strange people. The left revel in giving the forum the soubriquet Loonies' Letterbox. It's not that bad, but sometimes we excel ourselves in the quality of fruitcake we attract. We have, periodically, supporters of various disaffected people.

There are some weird groups out there. For instance those obsessed with the training organisation Common Purpose, which is seen as some quasi-masonic power grab by public officials of a left leaning variety. The lead obsessive is Brian Gerrish, a former naval officer, who runs a newspaper called UK Column. Both the newspaper and Mr Gerrish himself are best avoided (I met him twice, but I think I got away with it). I am accused by many of his acolytes of being a 'graduate' of Common Purpose and therefore suspect. I've done loads of management training, but CP is very expensive and I personally wouldn't pay for their training. Nobody is ever likely to fund my participation.

There are the 'Freemen of the land', a group of serial lawbreakers who claim they are not part of our society based on a complete misinterpretation of Magna Carta 1215. It is their belief that Clause 61 is still in force. The fact is MC 1215 was never enforced being rejected by John, with the later support of the Pope, the moment he'd left Runnymede. Clause 61 didn't make it into MC 1216, nor, most importantly, MC 1297, the only version which has extant clauses (independence of City of London and the church in England as well as no delayed justice). The 'freemen' encourage their supporters to remove their number plates and establish themselves as independent persons - the police have crushed several of their cars. Undeterred, led by the unlettered John Harris, they persist in breaking laws and getting into trouble.

Then there are the supporters of Hollie Greig. So dangerous are these nutters that judges are needing police protection. One of their key players, Robert Green, has been sent to prison. The obsessiveness of their behaviour knows no bounds whilst the Downs Syndrome afflicted Hollie Greig is used as a pawn in their game.

Norman Scarth, a retired seaman who dwells on the wartime naval service he left a long time ago, is on the run from warrants and is in the Irish Republic. I'm not even certain what his point is, but he doesn't like abiding by the laws that guide the rest of us.

The Bilderberger obsessed David Barnby and the terminally bonkers Albert Burgess think that treason was committed by an elected government voting to join a trading arrangement with its allies. Burgess has videos and a website which are good for a laugh. He has written a supremely nutty letter to the Queen telling her that she knows nothing of the constitutional arrangements she has been central to for over 60 years. Unlettered and semi-literate Burgess knows better, of course.

Dr David Abbott also writes to the Queen and others. His website is full of misconstruction of the constitutional arrangements we labour under.

We've even had people trying to persuade us that a lump of rock in the Shetlands can legally become the newly independent Forvik!!!

I've given you a few key words, rather than a welter of links, as there is a lot out there. Happy Googling.

Today's key looney, however, is Roger Hayes. Mr Hayes is currently banged up for non-payment of his council tax.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/9795535.Wirral_man_jailed_for_refusing_to_pay_council_tax/

Mr Hayes heads up the misnamed British Constitution Group. In fact the last thing they know anything about is the constitutional law that governs our country.

Mr Hayes has already made a fool of himself trying to arrest a judge. This backfired as one of his supporters, patriotic but gullible fools in my opinion, was banged up for contempt of court. Note, it didn't backfire on Mr Hayes.

Mr Hayes has been deliberately 'withholding' (not paying) his council tax as he objects, as we all do no doubt, to some of the things the money is spent on. He claims a lawful right to do this. The courts think differently. For some reason BCG members think Mr Hayes, who has no legal qualifications, is better informed as to the law than the lawyers he keeps losing to.

Most people would steer clear of all these 'legal experts' who have no formal training and try to rely on out of date laws for their causes, but Gerard Batten MEP (UKIP - London) hasn't the wit to see that BCG are wrong. Rather than check with Wirral Council or Merseyside Police or Wirral Magistrates Court, Gerard Batten latched onto a press release/web statement by BCG and decided to raise the matter in the European Parliament.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJoxUdTG0ak&feature=share

Since most recent visitors to this blog seem to be London based I thought I'd give you all a reason not to vote UKIP in next year's EU elections. I'm a former UKIP PPC myself and I wouldn't have anything to do with the deranged BCG. I would encourage people to seriously consider what is the point of Gerard Batten when he publicly supports poorly thought out conspiracy theories. It won't be long before Mr Batten starts rabbiting on about Bilderbergers, lizards and Illuminati. No doubt he'll blow my cover, courtesy of one of the people named above, and out me as a reptilian alien member of the Illuminati and a key Bilderberger.

Go Gerald!!!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

It made oi smile......

After a few weeks doing a couple of essays followed by a few days election observing in Armenia I am passing through as it were. There's not been much traffic to this blog of late so I was surprised to see there had been a bit of a rush today. Why, I speculated, had the blog suddenly attracted attention? It's not as if I've been baiting other politicos (although there is a rich little girl in the SWP who has given me good cause), nor have I commented on the change of councillors on West Oxon District Council; I guess I'd better do that. Three Labour gains last week saw Duncan Enright take a seat in Witney and Robert Evans displace the always friendly Patrick McHugh in Chipping Norton. I can't comment on the other Labour gain in Witney as I don't know the victor, but Duncan and Rob will at least work for their constituents. Tory Ian Hudspeth lost his Woodstock seat to the Lib Dems, which is a pity as I always find him a pleasure to talk to. Still Ian retains his county seat for the time being and will be, IMHO, a very good Leader of Oxfordshire County Council. Ian Hudspeth and Duncan Enright were the representatives of their respective parties at the Woodstock hustings I spoke at during the 2010 general election. On that night David Cameron was otherwise engaged and Joe Goldberg made his excuses (his Tottenham seat was always a higher priority than we country bumpkins). Also missing, on an overseas jolly, that night was Count Nikolai Dmitrivitch Tolstoy-Miloslavsky. Nikolai was the UKIP candidate who, at UKIP's internal hustings, had promised he would not leave the country during the general election campaign. It is to Nikky T. that I owe the extra traffic. The Huffington Post, which we all read from time to time, has published the following linked article: www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/10/lying-bstard-bristol-mayor-mutch_n_1505411.html?1336649233" If you take the trouble to read through the item you will find reference to the good Count Nikolai in the final paragraph. I heartily recommend you click through. You'll be presently surprised to find yourself back in this blog. Well done Huff Post for finding my blog in the ether. Thanks for the passing trade.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

You do have to wonder don't you?

Some elitist tw@t, educated at the LSE, thinks themselves better than everybody else in the whole world. With a warped left-wing ideology based on hatred of those who work harder and train harder, this public-school educated rich person (own admission) has set out to ruin the lives of others. You would think that, having all of the privileges that wealth and good education can bring, the person concerned would have respect for their fellow man, but no.

The person's blog is childish in the extreme and encourages taxi drivers to rip off their clients, workers to set off fire alarms for no good reason and builders to install surveillance devices in clients' homes. The fact that people could be harmed, lose business or break the law is of no consequence. They would be part of some revolution led by the upper-middle class, public school educated, LSE trained left-wing elite.

Now I've nothing against people who went to public school (parent's choice, not theirs) or the LSE (favoured educational establishment of the families of Libyan mass murderers), but you do have to wonder about the heady mix of personal wealth and left-wing ideology. How could that combination produce a waste of space like Trenton Oldfield? I would like to think he is the only one.

Friday, 23 March 2012

World famous in Oxfordshire

I've been staying clear of my local newspapers for a little while as other things have been taking up my time.

I had, however, a brief, and inadvertent, flirt with local fame over the Xmas break. On Boxing Day I was at the Bell Inn in Charlbury dressed as a princess - wig, fake tin breasts, make up and beard - performing a mummer's play (in the 18th-19th century style, rather than in mediaeval fashion). The local press had sent a photographer to cover the annual morris dancing, but decided that King Stone Mummers, one of 2 groups I mum with, were far more interesting. Hence this small item in the Oxford Times:

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/news/yourtown/witney/9439984.They_made_real_killing/"

As you can see, I looked very attractive.

Now, all of a sudden, things are picking up . Although few people comment on this blog, there is a regular, albeit small, throughput of visitors who are looking for specific information about subjects that I have posted on. Because I have posted on issues concerning Carterton, the town I live in, I have recently been visited by the local newspaper group prior to being interviewed about changes in the redevelopment, or not as it seems, of RAF Brize Norton's married quarters (all of them in Carterton). There is a detailed article from last week's Oxford Times available here:

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/news/features/9586594.Acid_test_in_PM_s_backyard/"

The relevant bit, being vain, states:

Acid test in PM's backyard

Former RAF Flight Lieutenant and ex-West Oxfordshire district councillor for Carterton, Paul Wesson, said putting money into refurbishing Carterton’s large number of pre-fabricated homes would be a “big mistake”.

He said: “The Reema houses were built in the 1960s to last 10 years. They should have been demolished long ago. They are not structurally sound. They will not retain any value at all.”

Mr Wesson said he suspected that scrapping the house-building plans would free up large sites, including Northwood Crescent, which could then be sold to non-military developers.

But he said that it remained to be seen who would actually benefit from the release of land that had been earmarked for military homes because he did not believe that the Ministry of Defence owned it.

He said: “This is the largest RAF base in the country. The idea of not building 500 homes when two bases are being combined seems totally wrong.”

Of course, with the best will in the world, journalists won't quote you as saying something they're uncertain about. I therefore wrote a letter, with a minor correction, which was published yesterday:

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/forum/letters/9603088.Service_homes/"

Service homes

Sir

In last week’s feature (Acid test in PM’s backyard) you quote me as believing the Ministry of Defence does not own the land where married quarters were demolished and new housing will be developed. In fact I know the MoD doesn’t own the land.

In 1996, all married quarter estates were sold off to the Annington group of companies. The MoD then leased back the homes and paid for their upkeep. If homes were no longer needed, then Annington could sell them and retain the bulk of the profits. The same is true of the land in Carterton.

If the number of planned MoD houses is reduced from 780 to 200 then the remaining land reverts to one of the 20 or so Annington management, development or finance companies, subsidiaries of the Bank of Nomura.

The bulk of any profits remitted from the sale, or development, of the land will ultimately go to a Japanese bank.

Paul Wesson, Carterton

This correction was an opportunity to raise the issue of Annington Homes/Properties/Development and Finance. There is a complex set of arrangements between various Annington companies, of which there are some 20 or so in the group. I should write a blog post on the subject, but all the research work I have access to belongs to someone else and I wouldn't want her to be upset by my getting information wrong. As long as everyone realises that the service married quarters' ownership goes through a string of companies to a Japanese bank, that's fine by me The privatisation was under the auspices of the pre-1997 Tory government when Michael Portillo was Secretary of State for Defence. I'm surprised that a loss making sale should slip past him as I know, from personal experience, he was very astute on other matters, but that is another story.

You would have thought that would be the end of my local political involvement as it's not even an election year. You would be wrong. Apropos of nothing, I was minding my own business when something lit my blue touch-paper. I went onto Facebook to check my profile and I am still down as resident in Carterton, Wiltshire! This has irritated me for some time. Carterton has always been in Oxfordshire. I know a few other Carterton people find this annoying so I thought I'd start a Facebook group to get a feel for how many there are. The answer is a lot.

http://www.facebook.com/groups/196081627169655/?notif_t=group_r2j">


Tell Facebook that Carterton is in Oxfordshire, not Wiltshire!

The campaign cleared 1000 supporters within 24 hours, thanks to 2 of my daughter's mates dragging all of their FB friends into the group. With such support, I thought I'd contact Tom Jennings of the Witney Gazette/Oxford Times and Mail. A quick interview led to a small item, with link, being uploaded to all 3 online versions of the local newspapers:

Campaign over Facebook mistake

A MAN from Carterton is campaigning to change the town’s location on website Facebook from Wiltshire to Oxfordshire.

The social networking site currently lists users living in the West Oxfordshire town as being in the neighbouring county.

Now Paul Wesson, 54, from Shilton Park, has launched a group on the site demanding that the mistake is corrected.

The group already has more than 1,100 members.

The Facebook group is at tinyurl.com/74se2a9

I am waiting for BBC Radio Oxford to interview me in a few minutes time.

All this has been happening at the same time that I dropped a line (19th February) about pub closures, and my ideas to reduce them, to my MP, David Cameron:

Dear David,

I wrote to you some time ago concerning a way to help our beleaguered pub trade. In the current anti-bingeing climate (surely we were all students and binged to excess?) I fully understand the issues surrounding alcohol abuse having watched my daughter and her mates go through their teens in a small town with almost nothing for non-sporting young people to do. The problem I am sure you are aware of is the availability of cheap booze in supermarkets. The pub trade cannot compete and is fast being wiped out – less than 15% of alcohol sales are in pubs and, with the destruction of trade caused by the smoking ban, the industry is collapsing. Locally we have lost one of Carterton’s 3 pubs, Minster Lovell has lost one of 2, Bampton has lost 3 since I’ve been here, Chippy has lost the Albion, the Cotswold Arms (Off the Beaten Track) and the Bell in the last 2 years, the Lamb at Bladon is gone as is the Shepherd’s Hall at Long Hanborough, the Red Horse at Shipton is closed as is one of the pubs in Milton etc etc.

The traditional pub where people go for a pint with their mates is being replaced by gastro pubs where darts, cribbage, aunt sally etc are not welcome. This is not good for the long-term interests of our society, in my opinion.

My solution, which I have been advocating for years (to the extent that some people in UKIP ended up pushing it) is a simple, cost neutral one. It creates jobs, both part time and full time, in both rural and urban environments. The solution protects small British brewers in particular, but without harming the big enterprises which have the flexibility to adjust.

The simple solution is to remove all duties on draft real ales served in pubs and off-licences (you’re probably too young to have seen beer taps and buckets in the off licences in the mining areas). This has a cost that can easily be met by imposing a tax per unit of alcohol on off sales in supermarkets and off-licences and limiting cheap booze offers in pubs and clubs (invariably based on spirits or keg beers). The largest potential source of binge drinking – cheap supermarket booze - is tackled. Pub sales of traditional beers would increase, but I would hazard a guess that there would be an overall reduction in alcohol consumption. It is very difficult to binge drink by the pint and, in any event, most real ale drank in pubs is drunk responsibly.

The increase in beer consumption in pubs would save thousands of them from going bust in the coming years and might even encourage others to reopen their doors (this might be facilitated by removing all covenants, preventing the sale of alcohol, which have been imposed on pubs in the last 50 years). The effect would be to retain both part-time and full-time jobs in rural communities especially (a village local usually employs 2 full-time staff and 3-5 part-time staff), small breweries would be encouraged to increase production and take on additional staff, there would be less people making carbon expensive duty free runs if the duty free outlet is the pub, the big breweries could easily adjust production and marketing, the supermarkets would barely lose any staff although their loss-leading beer sales might slip. This doesn’t prejudice our EU partners – Belgium and Germany already ship real ales to the UK, whilst the real ale Carlsberg (Denmark) and Heineken (Netherlands) which we don’t currently get here might be shipped over when sales make it cost effective.

Personally, having seen how effective it is in Germany, I would also reduce the age for consumption of beers in pubs to 16 (with a limit set on alcohol content). Young people should learn to drink responsibly in a social environment.

Overall I see this as a win-win. You will still be seen as firm on the dangerous drinking, whilst protecting small businesses, pubs and breweries. You can be seen to be encouraging responsible drinking (unless the health nutters are driving you to ban alcohol altogether). Jobs will be created, small communities will retain a focal point and everyone will be happy (honest ;-) ).

I don’t suppose you’re going to raise the tax threshold to £10K plus are you? I get my full military pension in May and I need the cash to pay off debts I am incurring as I am doing a LLM in constitutional politics, law and theory at Birkbeck College, London University (I didn’t realise there were so many Marxists left, but academia seems to be full of them).

Cheers,

Paul Wesson

I received the official reply, dated 19th March, on the 22nd March. David still addresses me as Paul and signs himself off 'David', but then we have known each other since he first became the Tory PPC for Witney (a short time before I was expelled from the Tory Party - also covered in the local press in 2001). I've also met him during our respective campaigns. The reply is a standard form letter on the subject of alcohol with some personal touches. I reproduce it below, with the comment that it doesn't really deal with the issues. Nothing in the letter makes me believe that a single pub will be saved by the Government's actions - beer duty is still going up faster than the rate of inflation, a couple of singers every few days does not replace the customers lost to the smoking ban whilst no pub in a smart part of the country will ever lie derelict, the property is too valuable. Making scrumpy weaker won't change cider sales in pubs. No pub sells beer at below cost price, that's a supermarket loss leading issue. Alcohol abuse no longer takes place in pubs - it's too expensive. People drink cheap booze at home before going to the pub. Ho hum.

Thank you for your recent e-mail about the pub industry.

I have always believed the pub plays a crucial role in community life - both as a source of enterprise and a vehicle for community action - and am dismayed at the current rate of closure. I have noted your suggestions and would like to take the opportunity to explain what the Government is already doing to help support the industry.

We have introduced a community right to buy which will enable residents to save struggling pubs by taking them over rather than seeing them lie empty and derelict. We are also reforming the licensing rules so that it is easier for pub owners to attract new business by putting on live music events. This is on top of the doubling of the small business rate relief for another year, which will help publicans across the country during these difficult times. I have also appointed a specific minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government, Bob Neill as having responsibility for community pubs.

As well as acting to reverse the last Government's hike on cider tax, we have also taken action to promote responsible drinking by introducing a minimum juice content for cider. As you may also be aware, the Coalition Agreement is clear that we will ban the sale of alcohol below cost price. The forthcoming Alcohol Strategy will also provide more details of how we intend to tackle the problem of alcohol abuse.

Turning to your final point, Ministers significantly increased personal allowances in April 2011 and from April 2012 the personal tax allowance will increase to £8,105. Over one million low-paid people are being taken out of tax altogether and this is part of our longer-term aim to raise the allowance to £10,000.

I hope this is useful and than you again for taking the time to contact me.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Women's rights - a continuing theme.

Yesterday was International Women's Day, something not celebrated in our country. I've celebrated it on occasion in the former Soviet Union, where international observers, apart from giving female staff the day off (or paying them overtime if that's what they prefer) also give them flowers. This can be an art in itself since flower giving in the UK is different to eastern Europe. Half a dozen red roses would be taken very badly as the giving of even numbers of flowers is seen as portending death (even numbers are saved for funerals). Giving one decent rose is the norm and at the end of the day hundreds of working women are seen walking home with 18" of rose stem with a massive bloom on top.

Celebrating the achievements of women is laudable and most countries pay tribute to their ladyfolk in public, but under the surface the truth is that women's rights in many countries are worse than they have been for years and there is no acknowledgement of the situation. Things are not yet perfect in our country, but like so many western countries the situation is benign and society is evolving, albeit slowly, to a de facto equalisation of status to accompany the de jure one that already exists. Our country, however, is contending with an increase in honour killings and sexual abuse linked to a 'traditional' element within our Pakistani community.

In Pakistan, however, things are so, so much worse. There follow a number of links to the Asia Human Rights Commission website. The true horror of what is happening in the 21st century should sicken us all. The first 2 links refer to Pakistan:

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-044-2012

"http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-ART-019-2012

The rest of the sub-continent is not a good place to be a poor woman:

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-046-2012

http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-051-2012

The Asia Human Rights Commission has highlighted many other countries which are little better. Women are forced to marry rapists, they are murdered, disfigured with acid, whipped and paraded naked and the west seems silent or powerless to help. The feminists in London would rather demonstrate against designer vaginas (see earlier post) than fight for their South Asian sisters. A few plastic surgeons are easier targets than the embassies of South Asian countries after all.