Ten Predictions for 2010

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas. As expected my time on the computer has been rather limited, mainly due to nagging from my wife; “and I don’t expect to see you on that bloody computer all over Christmas”. That was me told!

Anyway as the new year is nearly upon us, here are my top ten predictions for 2010:

1. After consulting his giant well-thumbed ACME book of “how to create fake dividing lines and outwit the Tories”, Brown cunningly ums and ahs about the date of the General Election in order to try to smoke out Tory Policies. It, of course, backfires spectacularly badly on Brown and the election date is on May 6th anyway as widely expected.

2. Easter Sunday will be on 4th April.

3. Cameron will win the General Election with a 72 seat majority and the biggest swing in history. Brown takes defeat badly and ungraciously.

4. UKIP will win Buckingham and Ed Balls will lose his seat (hopefully)

5. Greece will go bankrupt plunging the Euro into crisis.

6. England reach the 2010 World Cup final and lose 3-2 to Spain. So near yet…

7. 2010 will be one of the coldest on record despite Met Office predictions at the start of the year that it will be a scorcher (well, they’re always wrong aren’t they?)

8. 19th August A-Level results are released, cue 2 days of frenzied press speculation that the exams have got easier.

9. 31st October the clocks go back and a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents announces its Single Double Summer Time campaign to prevent accidents.

10. 8 out of 10 of my predictions will be correct.

Advertisements

Sex Shops Set to Sue the Government

Today’s Telegraph reports (not online) that:

“A flood of sex shops and other businesses prosecuted for selling DVDS and videos illegally during the past 25 years are preparing to sue the Government.”

This relates to an admission earlier this year by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that prosecutions under the 1984 Video Recordings Act were no longer enforceable in UK courts because of a technical loophole.

The Act was passed 25 years ago in response to a moral panic over so-called video nasties, epitomised by a campaign by Mary Whitehouse, who showed a compilation tape of (out-of-context) “highlights” to shocked Conservative MPs at their 1983 party conference (The regulations actually had the opposite effect. For example videos banned under this law became a lot easier to get hold of, especially for schoolchildren like me at the time – that’s another story though).

One small problem, the then Thatcher Government failed to notify Britain’s real Government – the European Commission – under Directive 83/189 (now Directive 98/34), and so this makes any prosecutions under the Act invalid.

As a consequence, a number of those illegally prosecuted are now preparing to claim for damages, including those that sold pornography to children.

What a farce!

Merry Christmas

Blogging will become lighter and more sporadic over the next week, while I indulge myself with alcohol have a quiet one with the family, so I would like to take this opportunity of wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and a big thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

UK Still in Recession

Tucked away on the BBC website today is the news that Britain is still in recession:

The UK economy shrank by 0.2% between July and September, figures show.

Despite Alistair Darling saying in the 2009 April Budget (my emphasis bold):

And my forecast for GDP growth for the year as a whole will be –3 ½ per cent – in line with other independent forecasts.

But because of our underlying strength, the measures we are taking, domestically and internationally, I expect to see growth resume towards the end of the year.

Yeah, Merry Christmas Mr Darling, thanks for nothing!

UK Television Election Debates To Go Ahead

It’s been confirmed that the UK will have its first ever televised leader election debates after a deal has been struck between the three main party leaders.

I can’t pretend I’m happy, I think this development is an anathema to British democracy.

It creates a presidential-like atmosphere in British politics where no president is ever elected.

A popular but inaccurate criticism of Gordon Brown is that he is ‘unelected’. It’s true that he has no popular mandate via a general election, but no Prime Minister is ever elected directly by the voters. He achieves that position by winning a parliamentary seat, being part of a majority party and then elected by his party as Prime Minister – all of which Brown has done.

The voters do not directly elect Prime Ministers, as they didn’t with; Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Douglas Home, Callaghan or Major.

Having leaders’ debates is a direct challenge to this, as it reinforces the leaders as the priority and and undermines the principle of voting for a local representative.

Why is Nick Clegg being given equal billing? Labour is the Government, the Tory’s are the main opposition, but the Lib Dems are far behind with only 63 seats. Not fair. Especially considering their poor record in the local elections this year and that they came only forth in the Euro elections in June.

As Nick Robinson from the BBC puts it:

Nick Clegg will scarcely be able to believe his luck as the first leader of the third party to share top billing with his big two rivals.

Exactly, and what about the other parties fighting the next election, particularly the SNP who are the major party in Scotland, and currently running Holyrood albeit with a minority administration? Surely a legal challenge must be forthcoming?

And then there’s the other parties, such as the DUP, Plaid Cymru or even UKIP who are the main fourth party in the UK and came second in the recent Euro elections?

This process discriminates unfairly against those smaller parties fighting for seats at the next election and entrenches further the main parties in parliament, by virtue of vastly more exposure.

All three of them share the same views on many issues such as; the EU, MPs’ expenses and climate change – consensus is never good news – therefore the leaders’ debates, in my view, are going to achieve the opposite of their intention; diminish democracy even more in this country.

The French Run the EU

So says Ireland’s outgoing Commissioner Charlie McCreevy. It’s not a surprise of course but it’s nice to have it there in black and white.

In a speech on Friday to the Association of European Journalists in Dublin yesterday, Mr McCreevy said (my emphasis bold):

What President Sarkozy’s statement tells us is that like many of his fellow countrymen, he does not see the European Commission as a commission for the advancement of European interests, he sees it as a commission for the advancement of French interests.

And:

The influence of France in Brussels is impressive, though. People forget that the Brussels bureaucracy was designed by the French almost as a copy of how the administration in Paris works.

This has over the years given the French a huge advantage in knowing how to pull the levers of power. And if you look around the commission you will see that the French have been masters in getting their key people into some of the most powerful posts.

Time and again over the decades, France’s influence has been obvious, from fighting to set up the CAP which initally absorbed 90% of the Community budget for the sole benefit of French farmers, from tricking Britain into giving giving up sovereignty over its own fishing waters and from the farcical situation where the EU Parliament is based in Strasbourg as well as Brussels.

Mr McCreevy hasn’t always expressed these views. This was the same man who, although admitting that he hadn’t read the Lisbon Treaty, urged the Irish to vote yes in their first referendum:

Anyone who thinks that, as the reality and inevitability of EU enlargement has taken hold, that we can continue to tackle urgent problems without streamlining of the decision-making process is failing to face up to reality.

and on the second referendum:

Voting ‘No’ would be a gamble too far

It’s a bit late now complaining about French influence within the EU.

This is a joke right?

The Telegraph reports (in tomorrow’s paper) that Gordon Brown is drawing up plans for the European Union to become a global warming “policeman”, monitoring individual countries’ compliance with carbon-cutting targets:

Mr Brown and French President Nicholas Sarkozy now are working proposals for a “European monitoring organisation” that will oversee every country’s actions on emissions.

And it gets worse:

The plan emerged after US President Barack Obama suggested that monitoring could be done using spy satellites.

And worse:

[Brown] said: “I will work with President Sarkozy for a European organisation that will monitor the transparency that is being achieved not just in Europe and our own countries, but in every country around the world.

He added: “We’re in favour of transparency; we’re in favour of looking at what’s happening not just in our country and our own continent, but around the world.

Words truly fail me.