Posts

Further statement by Grant Shapps on the Iranian attack on Israel

Image
"Last night the UK intercepted and destroyed multiple one-way attack drones - launched by Iran and its proxies - that posed a threat to civilian lives in the Middle East.  Additional Royal Air Force  aircraft were deployed this weekend to bolster our presence. I thank our armed forces personnel for responding so quickly and effectively to such a serious threat. Their professionalism is second to none. All aircraft returned safely to base."

Grant Shapps on Iran's attack on Israel

Image
 

Quote of the day 14th April 2024

"I have a horrible feeling that very soon the lessons all states are going to learn from this world wide crisis is that if you have nuclear weapons, you are protected. If you don’t, you are made to suffer. And that means nuclear weapons will be developed wherever possible." ( Phillips O'Brien today on X, formerly Twitter,  here ).

Sunday music spot: "If ye love me" by Thomas Tallis

Image

MoD defence intelligence bulletin 13th April 2024

Image
 

Operation Prosper - supporting our veterans

The government has   announced Operation Prosper that will provide funding to support veterans into high-skilled jobs , championing the brave men and women who have risked their lives to protect our country and sticking to the plan to ensure a brighter future for all.  We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our veterans and they deserve our full support to continue contributing their incredible skills to the prosperity of our country. Whilst veterans' employment is at an all-time high at 89 per cent, there is more we can do.  That is why the government is  launching a dedicated employment support service, backed by £2.1 million, where they can hone the skills they developed in the military in key sectors like cyber and energy, guiding them into high-skilled high-paid jobs and helping to grow the economy.  The Conservatives are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to be both a veteran and a citizen, as we stick to our plan to grow the economy to ensure a brighter futur

Music to relax after campaigning: Gioachino Rossini, Overture from "The Barber of Seville"

Image
Out this morning in various parts of the former South Copeland area campaigning for Mike Johnson, the Conservative candidate to be Cumbria's next Police, Fire & Crime commissioner.  Mike himself was in Millom, I was out on his behalf in Ravenglass and Gosforth.)  A glorious piece of music by Rossini to relax to afterwards.

Music to start the weekend: Steeleye Span "All Around My Hat"

Image

UK economy returns to growth

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that the UK economy is returning to growth and has has grown for the second month in a row, as we work to deliver on our priority to grow the economy. These are of course provisional figure and may be revised - but UK economic statistics are at the same time some of the most accurate and most cautious (e.g. pessimistic) in the world, and they tend to be revised upwards . These figures are a welcome sign that the economy is turning a corner, and we can build on this progress if we stick to our plan. Last week our cuts to National Insurance for 29 million working people came into effect across Britain, as part of our plan to reward work and grow the economy.

NHS Waiting lists down

Image
After a very difficult period, there are signs that thanks to the hard work of NHS staff, waiting lists are starting to turn the corner. Overall NHS waiting lists have decreased by almost 200,000 since September. This is the biggest 5-month fall in over 10 years outside the pandemic Made possible by the hard work of NHS staff, who are helping us make access to care faster, simpler and fairer for patients.

Quote of the day 11th April 2024

“It is the greatest scandal that I have ever seen in the criminal justice process. “We’ve had many miscarriages of justice but nowhere as many as these we need to re-evaluate how we approach criminal cases of this kind.  “Something went very very wrong.” Sir Anthony Hooper , the retired High Court judge who had been brought in by the Post office  as chairman of a working group, which reviewed cases of sub-postmasters who believed they had been wrongfully blamed for shortfalls, giving evidence this week to the Inquiry into the Horizon scandal. He added that he had repeatedly told the then head of the Post Office, Paula Vennels, that he was concerned that there had been miscarriages of Justice and the Post Office case didn't add up. Addressing the inquiry, he said: “As I say in my witness statement, I tried to make it clear to Paula Vennells and to the chair [of the board] that the Post Office’s case didn’t make sense and I felt that throughout and no doubt Second Sight [forensic a

MoD Defence intelligence update 10th April 2024

Image
 

Monday evening music spot: "Gute Nacht" from JS Bach's motet "Jesu meine freude," BWV. 227

Image

MoD Defence intelligence update 8th April 2024

Image
 

Quote of the day 8th April 2024

Britain and France signed the "Entente Cordiale" a hundred and twenty years ago today. Before that Britain and France had often been opposed in the past, but for the last 120 years we have been friends. Long may this continue. To mark this anniversary, Britiah and French soldiers took part in ceremonies in each others' capitals. British soldiers have taken part in the traditional ‘changing of the guard ceremony' in front of the Elysée Palace in Paris for the first time, to celebrate 120 years of the Entente Cordiale between France and the UK. While in France today, 16 members of the UK Embassy's Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards - wearing their traditional ‘bearskin’ headdresses with black fur - took part in the ceremony, ‘replacing’ their French counterparts from two sections of the French 1st Infantry Regiment. The French Army Choir then sang the two national anthems, God Save the King and La Marseillaise, all in the presence of President Emmanuel Macron and th

State pension increased today under the Triple Lock

Image
Today, the basic state pension will increase by £900 as part of the Triple Lock guarantee. The Conservatives will always back British pensioners.

A Sunday reflection

Today is sometimes nicknamed "Low Sunday" which is the Sunday after Easter, where the attendance at church is usually contrasted with the peak attendance the previous week. To be honest, this morning it didn't feel like that. There were not quite as many people at St James' Church Whitehaven this morning as there had been on Easter Sunday - which had been the best attendance I remember seeing since the start of the pandemic but it was still a respectable turnout by the standards of the last few years - higher, I would say, than the post-pandemic average. Christianity is embedded deeply into the culture and society of Britain, to such an extent that Britain's leading atheist, Professor Richard Dawkins described himself recently as a "cultural Christian." Needless to say he took quite a bit of flak over those comments but I'm not going to add to it - it is perfectly possible to be influenced by a religion and find some of its' values and cultural p

Sunday music spot: "If ye love me" by Thomas Tallis, sung by The King's Singers

Image

MoD Defence intelligence bulletin 7th April 2024

Image
 

Action to help people in Gaza

Image
News from the Foreign Office today A Royal Navy ship will help get life-saving UK aid into Gaza as part of an international effort to set up a humanitarian maritime corridor in early May. Britain is also pledging £9.7 million for aid, equipment and expertise to help set up the maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza.

Quote of the day 7th April 2024 - PM's statement on the six month anniversary of the October 7th terrorist atrocities

Image
 

MoD Defence intelligence update 6th April 2024

Image
  I am reminded of a cartoon issued during the Falklands war, after Argentine soldiers on the Falklands accidentally shot down a fighter jet from their own air force.  The caption, which seems equally appropriate to this story of the Russians shooting down one of their own planes, was something like, "Nice shooting comrade - now try hitting one of theirs!"

Music to relax after campaigning: "Hark, all ye lovely saints above" (Thomas Weelkes)

Image
Out this morning campaigning with Andrew Johnson, Conservative candidate for Whitehaven and Workington, in support of Andrew's campaign and that of Mike Johnson, currently Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria and standing to be the PCFC in May's local elections. It was very windy with the afterblow from Storm Kathleen, but we got the job done.  And here is a cheerful madrigal to which to relax after campaigning ...

Consultants strike ends: Health Secretary's statement

Image
 

MoD Defence intelligence update 5th April 2024

Image
  Also: The UK Government continues to support Ukraine with the delivery of lifesaving medical equipment.  £2 million worth of surplus medical equipment, including ventilators, pumps and monitors has been donated to support vital medical care needs.

Music to start the weekend: "Hooked On Bach"

Image

MoD Defence intelligence bulletin 4th April 2024

Image
 

Quote of the day 4th April 2024

Image
  "In 1949, in the hope of avoiding another devastating war, the UK joined together with a handful of allies to sign the North Atlantic Treaty and pledge that we would always come to one another’s defence. 75 years later, NATO has become the most successful alliance the world has ever known – and it continues to grow in size and strength. The 12 founding members have now been joined by 20 others, including Finland and Sweden, bringing together 3.5 million uniformed personnel in our collective defence. The UK has been at the heart of NATO since the start. Today, faced with new threats in Europe, we continue to lead – through our incredible Armed Forces, our growing investment in defence, and our utter determination to stand by Ukraine – which has strengthened allied unity like never before. I say it once again: Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO.  This anniversary is the moment to renew our historic pledge to this Alliance and to say that no matter who tests us, we will not waiver

Midweek Music Spot: J.S. Bach: "Gute Nacht" (Good Night) from the motet "Jesu, meine Freunde"

Image

Midweek music spot: JS Bach's "The Great" fugue in G Minor BWV 542

Image
The music theorist and educator Ebenzer Prout wrote various unofficial lyrics to several Bach fugues. In response other people wrote a number of equally unofficial lyrics taking the mickey out of Ebenezer Prout for doing this. Having heard of one of these, I can never hear Bach's "The great" fugue click on the above to hear it without the lyrics of one of these repeating in my head: "O Ebenezer Prout, you are a clever man, for you make Bach fugues as easy as you can."