Showing posts from July, 2013

Conservative candidates for the European Parliament in the North West Region

  Following a ballot of Conservative party members in each region, the names of the candidates who will be standing in each region as Conservative candidates were announced at 2pm this afternoon by the party.   I would like to say 'thank you' to all those who took part in the postal ballot either by voting, as candidates or by helping to organise the selection proces s.    In my obviously prejudiced opinion there was a very strong field of candidates in the North West, and I believe that party members have chosen a strong team who will put up a good fight in next year's elections.   The candidates adopted in the North West region are:   1. Jacqueline Foster MEP 2. Sajjad Karim MEP 3. Kevin Beaty 4. Deborah Dunleavy 5. Joe Barker 6. Daniel Hamilton 7. Chris Whiteside 8. James Walsh

Quote of the Day

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” ( Thomas Jefferson )

Out of Purdah

From the day of the local elections until the close of the membership ballot to rank Conservative candidates in next year's European parliament elections, all Conservative MEPs who are seeking re-election and all other prospective candidates were in "purdah" which severely limited our ability to attend meetings, campaign, or send material to people. Voting in the ballot closed at noon last Friday and so the purdah period is finally over. Results in the ballot will be anmounced tomorrow.

The Energy Coast and the supply chain in Cumbria

Sellafield limited has categorically denied allegations from local Labour MP Jamie Reed that they are telling local firms in West Cumbria to move to Cheshire or lose Sellafield orders. A spokesman for Sellafield limited told the Whitehaven News last week that “This is categorically not our policy, or that of either of the partners involved in our Design Service Alliance – Axiom and Progressive. West Cumbrian firms have a fair and equal chance to win work under the framework.” Sellafield say that during the five years since Nuclear Management Partners took over running Sellafield, more than £1billion has gone into the local supply chain in Cumbria. If, and I say if, there is any truth in the allegation that companies were told to move 100 miles to win local business, this would be an absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable thing to have said to them. The key words here are "a fair and equal chance" and it must be a priority to make sure this is true. It is very imp

Quote of the Day

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” (James Bovard, from " Lost Rights: the destruction of American Liberty ")

Quote of the Day

"The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.”   ( Plato , from  The Republic )

EU polls: let electors vote for the person, not the party

The "Closed list" version of the D'Hondt system as currently used in Britain for electing Members of the European Parliament is one of the least democratic systems of election ever devised. In ny opinion, the best test of how effectively a system of election works in practice is very simple: How easy is it for the electorate, if they so desire, to "throw the rascals out?" Admittedly, the first past the post system (FPTP) often performs poorly on the same test. Just look at Copeland Council or most of the other councils where the same party has been returned for decades. Far too many of them, like Copeland, are among the worst run councils in the country. And when I say this about Copeland that is not just me scoring party political points, it is a matter of objective fact that Copeland got one of the half dozen worst scores in England for satisfaction among the council's own residents as found by a national survey commissioned while the previous g

Quote of the Day

"The taxpayer - someone who works for the government but doesn't have to tke the civil service examination" (Ronald Reagan)

Road Closures in Whitehaven next week (28 July to 2nd August 2013)

If you are driving through the northern part of Whitehaven town centre in the next week, be aware that there are some road closures, particularly in the George Street area, which may lead to some delay.

Quote of the Day - concluding Churchill week

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time-a tremendous whack.” (Sir WInston Churchill)

Quote of the Day

“Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.” (Sir Winston Churchill)

Quote of the Day (It's still Churchill week)

"If you are going to go through hell, keep going." Sir Winston Churchill

Quote of the Day: Churchill on Socialism

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy." Sir Winston Churchill

The NHS - it's about care, not just money

Last week I took an opportunity when I met a number of very senior figures in the Conservative party, including the Prime Minister, to discuss current events in the NHS, particularly the hospital trusts which have been placed in Special Measures, and especially those in Cumbria. The most depressing thing about the whole business is that nobody, but nobody, in West or North Cumbria, inside or outside the NHS and on either side of the political divide, is pretending to be surprised  by what the inspectors found. I know that people had been raising concens along the same lines with me since my first visits to Cumbia in 2004 during the selection process to pick the Conservative candidate for Copeland for the 2005 General Election. I duly raised those concerns with NHS leaders in private and was assured that they were being addressed. The first problem with raising them too forcefully was that everyone knew terrible morale in the local hospitals was one of the problems, and nobody w

Quote of the Day (Churchill week continues ...)

"The problems of victory are more agreeable than the problems of defeat, but they are no less difficult." Sir Winston Churchill

Quote of the Day

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." (Sir Winston Churchill)

Quote of the Day

"A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject." Sir Winston Churchill (This week is going to be Winston Churchill week for quotes.)

Patients Deserve better

"Patients deserve better" was the headline in the Whitehaven News this week after the trust which manages West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and the North Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle was put into special measures after a damning investigation report. There are plenty of competent, hardworking and caring people who do good work at both those hospitals, and it is important that we recognise their work and don't tar everyone at WCH or the North Cumberland with the same brush. But it is impossible to disagree with the Whitehaven News' headline.

Quote of the Day - a quote on quotations

" The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation." (Benjamin Disraeli)

Theresa May writes on cutting crime

Home Secretary Theresa May writes:   "Everyone has the right to be safe in their communities. So when we came into power, we swept away the bureaucracy that had been holding back the police, and gave them just one target: cutting crime. "They have risen to the challenge. The latest figures show that crime is down by more than ten percent since 2010, at its lowest level since records began. England and Wales are safer than they have been for decades. "Labour said that we couldn’t cut crime and reduce spending at the same time. They were wrong. Police reform is working and crime is falling.   Show your support for our police reforms by sharing this infographic on Facebook and on Twitter . Best wishes, The Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP Home Secretary

Quote of the Day

" The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps. " (Benjamin Disraeli)

Cumbria County Council's top job should be externally advertised

I entirely agree with John Stevenson MP that the post of Cumbria County Council's new Chief Executive should be externally advertised. If a candidate who already works for the County Council is the best, let him or her prove it in a fair contest against all comers. This job is far too important and the postholder will face too many severe challenges not to choose him or her from a wide range of possible applicants.

Quote of the Day

"Making the rich poorer does not make the poor richer, but it does make the state stronger—and it does increase the power of officials and politicians, power more menacing, more permanent and less useful than market power within the rule of law. Inequality of income can only be eliminated at the cost of freedom. The pursuit of income equality will turn this country into a totalitarian slum." (Sir Keith Joseph, Stranded on the Middle Ground? Reflections on Circumstances and Policies, published Centre for Policy Studies, 1976).

As the polls go all over the place

The opinion polls are all over the place at the moment with the results in the past few days varying from Tories and Labour neck and neck to an 11% lead for Labour. I personally suspect both of those are outliers and the real position at the moment is somewhere between them, but it doesn't really matter because the next general election is 21 months away and the majority of the electorate have not made up their minds. The main opinion pollsters always ask " how would you vote if there was a general election tomorrow" to force a choice, and the answers to that question provide the headline figure the press report. But there isn't a general election tomorrow - it will be held on the first Thursday in May 2015. And when opinion pollsters ask questions designed to elicit how likely people are to change their minds between now and the next election, the answers suggest that most people  - nearly sixty percent on the last set of polling data I have seen - either ha

North Cumbria and East Lancs among NHS trusts placed in Special Measures

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS trust, which runs my local hospital in Whitehaven, WCH, and the North Cumberland Infirmary at Carlisle, was among eleven hospital trusts placed in "Special Measures" yesterday by the Secretary of State for health following a review of the fourteen trusts which appear to have the largest gap in the wrong direction between actual mortality rates and the "erxpected" number of deaths. East Lancashire was another of the trusts affected. This action has been taken because review panels found serious issues at all eleven trusts, mostly going back many years. The fact that death rates at these trusts have been above those expected does not prove that poor care at the hospitals concerned caused these deaths, but it does indicate the strong possibility of a serious problem which needs urgent attention. There are many excellent people in the NHS who work hard for the welfare of patients, including many at the trusts affected, and

Quote of the Day

"Two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets. The rich and the poor."   ( Benjamin Disraeli  - from the novel "Sybil, or the Two Nations" - this was the origin of the expression "Two Nations" and the political idea of the "One Nation Conservative" wish to reform such a situation.)

Quote of the Day

“Of course it's the same old story. Truth usually is the same old story.” ( Margaret Thatcher  )

Well Done England

Magnificent cricket by England squeaked a narrow win in the first Ashes test yesterday, a game which saw some amazing play by both England and Australia. Well done to Alistair Cook and his team, particularly James Anderson who took ten wickets, including the final ones yesterday which enabled England to claim victory by just 14 runs.  But congratulations also to Australia for their part in a truly absorbing and remarkable sporting battle.

Quote of the Day

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life." (Sir Winston Churchill)

Stephen Hunt R.I.P.

Stephen Hunt, a fireman from Manchester and father of two, gave his life yesterday in the line of duty. Fortunately it is rare these days for a firefighter to be killed, but the possibility is always there, and the brave men and women of the fire service know that they take this risk whenever they are called out to deal with a fire. Stephen Hunt and a colleague were rushed to hospital after both of them got into difficulties while dealing with a fire in Oldham Street last night. Mr Hunt was later confirmed dead in hospital. A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service said that the other injured firefighter is not thought to have life-threatening injuries. County Fire Officer Steve McGuirk said: "We are devastated by the loss of one of our colleagues who has died in the line of duty. "We never expect to lose a colleague in this way and it brings home the dangers that our firefighters put themselves in every day to keep the community safe. "S

Quote of the Day

"If something seems too good to be true, it probably is." (Old Proverb)

EU Structural Funds and nailing Jelly to the Ceiling

First a question: can you think of a policy supported by the Conservatives, Labour, Nick Clegg (though not his MEPs) and UKIP (they say they only voted against the relevant motion in the European Parliament because it didn't go far enough?) Well, the answer is cutting the EU budget. Both David Cameron and Ed Miliband have said that it would be totally unreasonable at a time when every other public service throughout Europe is under financial pressure if the EU was the one area exempt. And, as recorded on previous posts, David Cameron and Angela Merkal managed to persuade other EU leaders to agree to this at an EU summit in February, and the European Parliament finally fell into line at the start of July, trimming next year's EU budget by nearly 6%. The net saving to the UK taxpayer over the next five years is £3.5 billion, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility. There is, of course, a downside: cutting the EU budget means - wait for it - cutting EU spending.

Quote of the Day: Goodhart's Law

Charles Goodhart, a former advisor to the Bank of England, and Emeritus Professor at the LSE, wrote in 1975 that "Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes." As a warning about the limits to activist economic or financial policy it can be put in more simple terms: Any economic relationship which has been seen to apply in the past is very likely to stop working if the government tries to use it to control the economy. 

Lee Rigby R.I.P.

Fusilier Lee Rigby, who was murdered on an ordinary street in London after serving his country in apparently far more dangerous conditions in Afghanistan, will be buried today. He leaes a widow and a baby son. Hundreds of well-wishers honoured Lee Rigby yesterday at a vigil on the eve of his funeral. Comrades, forces veterans and members of the public lined the route to Bury Parish Church where soldiers have kept a guard of honour over the body of Fusilier Rigby overnight before his funeral today. His family thanked the public for their "overwhelming support" ahead of his funeral today and said his death had united the country. Fusilier Rigby's mother, stepfather and widow said good wishes had flooded in from around the globe and from people of all religions in the past seven weeks. The 25-year-old had become "a hero" and the intentions of his killers had "backfired", said his stepfather Ian. His wife, Rebecca, 30, said: "There are so m

Quote of the Day

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.   (Abraham Lincoln)  

Public Inquiry told area is becoming a "Windfarm Lanscape"

Many residents of the North West, including some of the most beautiful areas in the region, will recognise the comments made to a Public Inquiry by a landscape expert this week. Derek Woolerton, a landscape consultant and environmental planning consultant, was giving evidence on behalf of Copeland Borough Council when he told a planning inquiry that the number of wind turbines in West Cumbria has reached the point where they are becoming a very noticeable feature of the landscape. "Their presence is widespread, wherever you go in West Cumbria you are likely to see a turbine" he told the inquiry. Many people in other parts of Cumbria, in Lancashire, and indeed in many districts in the North West would say exactly the same about their own localities. I support the development of renewable energy, but it is not sensible for too high a proportion of the power supply in any given area of the country to come from a source which only works if the wind is blowing at the righ

Equal Citizenship: a fair deal for Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England

Comments in a number of papers about the proposal to give MPs representing English constituencies a veto over legislation which only affects England have been misrepresented the plans as some kind of attack on Scotland and Wales. This is absolute nonsense. The proposals are part of a package which will also see further powers devolved to the Scottish and Welsh parliaments. They are designed to ensure Equal Citizenship. Cast your mind back to the disgraceful imposition of "Top up" fees on students in England by the Blair government in 2004. This did not affect students in Scotland because this aspect of education policy in Scotland had been devolved to the Scottish parliament. The majority of Members of the Scottish Parliament voted to make alternative arrangements for students from Scotland, and Top-up fees were not imposed at that time on students from Scotland. MPs from England had no vote on this and nor should they. But by the same token, fairness ought to have d

Quote of the Day

"We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." (Sir Winston Churchill)

For the worst killers, Life should mean life

I can recall a time when the abolition of capital punishment was much more recent in Britain and before the great majority of the "political class" in this country had accepted that it was permanent. Back then a Conservative with parliamentary ambitions who came out against the death penalty was taking a great risk with his or her chances of becoming an MP. Although there were plenty of brave people with the courage of their convictions who did just that. But almost every politician of whatever party who supported the abolition of capital punishment or opposed its' return at the time that was seen as a serious possibility defended this policy to the public - a majority of whom have always supported the death penalty - by making the following three promises. First that there must  be very serious punishment for those who deprived others of their lives, and second that these killers who were clearly a serious danger to the public should be locked away to protect the

Let Britain Decide

Conservatives won the first round last week in the battle to hold a referendum on Britain's EU membership. James Wharton's private members bill which would provide for an EU referendum in 2017 passed its' first hurdle in the House of Commons when MPs voted to pass it to the next stage of the legislative process by 304 votes to nil. The Labour and Liberal Democrat parties told their MPs to abstain and most of them did, although half a dozen Labour rebels voted for the bill. Although it has passed its first parliamentary hurdle, the bill will face much stronger opposition later and its passage through Parliament is far from guaranteed. Whether we are in or out of the EU, I believe Britain's position will be clearer and stronger if the people of Britain, rather than politicians on their behalf, have made the choice. If you want to support the campaign for a referendum, you can do so at the Let Britain Decide  website.

Quote of the Day

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom: It is the argument of Tyrants. it is the Creed of Slaves" William Pitt the Younger, 1793, arguing against the Fox/North government's bill to "reform" the East India company so as to provide that government with more powers of patronage. Fox had argued that the bill was necessary to save the East India Company from bankruptcy - Pitt responded with this resounding denunciation of actions taken in the name of necessity. An excellent modern illustration of the point William Pitt was making, which refers to this quote at the end, was the speech given by Dan Hannan MEP in the European Parliament on 4th July, arguing for a proportionate response and against the wholesale removal of liberties when there is a terrorist attack. You can see most of the speech at And the full text in the EU

A first time for everything ...

I think today is the first time in my life I'm aware of a school trip being cancelled because the weather was too hot. Certainly the first time since we've lived in Cumbria. My children were due to climb Skiddaw mountain today, but their teachers looked at the risk assessment and decided that today's weather is just too warm to make this a good idea for year 7 children. (That's the first form, e.g. 11 and 12 year olds, for people of my generation and older who don't have a direct connection with educational language as it is used today.) I can't blame the teachers or the school, it is exceptionally warm today in Cumbria and there really would have been some risk of heat exhaustion on the mountain. If a few children became ill in consequence, in today's Health and Safety climate the school would never hear the end of it. But I'm sure my parents' generation of the family, which included several teachers, would fall about laughing. Perhaps somewher

Quote of the Day

"The moment politics becomes dull, democracy is in danger." (Lord Hailsham)

Energy Policy

The Energy policy needed by Britain and Europe must meet the following four objectives 1)       Ensure we build enough energy capacity. Here in Britain, because of the utter incompetence and dithering of the last Labour government, we are at serious risk of major power cuts in this decade and the next one. We need new generation capability built, and we need to get going fast. Even if this is achieved the risk of power cuts before 2020 will have been mitigated rather than eliminated. 2)        Maximise our energy security. We cannot afford to be dependent on the goodwill of Vladimir Putin to keep the lights on and our businesses working 3)       Minimise damage to the environment.   All types of energy have an impact on the environment, but some do much more damage than others.We can't entirely eliminate that damage, but we must keep it under control. 4)       Maintain stable energy prices The price of energy should be high enough that the

Blast from the Past - A595 De-Trunking

A Blast from the Past this morning as viewing stats for this blog suggest that in the past 24 hours a significant proportion of the visitors to the blog have been looking at two old posts put up respectvely four months ago and eight years ago. The more recent of these posts related to the impact on Cumbria of the frozen weather which much of the UK experienced in March this year. Some parts of the county had perfectly normal weather while others were covered in snowdrifts which could be well over six feet high. The other post which seems to have caught attention relates to the plan put forward by the then Labour goverment, only a proposal back in February 2005 but which sadly was later approved, to "De Trunk" the A595 South of Calderbridge and A5092 to Greenodd. As I quoted in that post, the public inquiry inspector noted at the pre-meeting that it is very unusual for a road to have trunk status removed without a new or upgraded road replacing it. He asked the Highways A

Quote of the Day

"Labour don't get that the world has changed" (Edward Timpson MP, 7th July 2013.)

Well Done Andy Murray!

What a magnificent performance by Andy Murray to become the first British man to win a singles title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry seventy seven years ago. I thought Murray played brilliantly against Roger Federer in last year's final when he narrowly lost, and even better against Federer in the Olympics when he took the gold. Today Andy Murray was better still and the eventual straight sets scoreboard does not do justice to how well his opponent Novak Djokovic also performed. Murray didn't become the first British man to win Wimbledon for 77 years by accident, he did it by an amazing amount of determination, courage and sheer hard work. Dunblame, Scotland, and Britain can all be proud of him.

Well done Theresa May

After eight years of legal wrangles which have cost the taxpayer £1.7 million, Abu Qatada has finally been deported. This is a tribute to the determination of Home Secretary Theresa May who has achieved somehing which successive British governments, during the term of office of several home secretaries, have been trying to do for all that time. We have to be caeful not to simply dismiss the issues which were raised by the courts. One of the things which makes Britain a civilised country, and a place where most of us would want to live, is that there is a check on the absolute authority of those in power provided by independent courts. In particular, that our rulers cannot have anyone they dislike slung in jail or onto a plane out of the country without reference to those courts. The fact that we have an independent judiciary means, by definition, that they don't always take the decisions we would like. Nevertheless it is right that those the government want to deport shou

We are all Eurosceptics now

There was a time when the Conservative party was bitterly divided between pro-europeans and eurosceptics. This is no longer true. The Conservatives are now more united about Europe than either of the other main parties. The occasional disagreement about tactics has sometimes given our opponents and the press the opportunity to rehearse old headlines like "Tories split on Europe" but it isn't really true. To win elections it is important that Conservatives behave with discipline and avoid the kind of self-indulgent posturing which lets the press run "Tory split" headlines, not least because they interfere with our ability to get the message over about where we actually stand. And what we really stand for is a less centralised Europe, a more democratic Europe, a Europe of nations in which power has been given back to individual countries, a Europe which imposes fewer job-destroying regulations. I can remember the exact moment when I became a Eurosceptic:

Quote of the Day

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” ( Margaret Thatcher  )

Whitehaven Carnival 2013

Congratulations to Whitehaven Lions on a fantastic carnival today, which has taken place in magnificent sunshine and followed on a couple of weeks after the successful "Marratime Festival." Thousands of people have been out on the streets enjoying the parade earlier and there are still many people enjoying the fair at Castle Park. A certain amount of gridlock in the town but nobody really seemed to mind! It has been and I am sure will continue to be a wonderful summer of community events throughout Cumbria this year with a number of village and country shows next up in the coming days, weeks and months.

Victory on cutting the EU budget

In a historic triumph for David Cameron, the EU budget is set to be trimmed by nearly 6% next year. Back in February, David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel persuaded the Council of Ministers that, with every county in Europe facing extreme austerity, the EU should bear a share of the savings which have to be made. I strongly support this. At a time when individuals, families and businesses throughout Europe are short of money, and so are public services in every field, it would be crazy if the EU were the one organisation in Europe to be exempt. Unbelievably, the European Parliament initially failed to pass the cut in the EU budge ceiling. I will come back to who was to blame for this. But following talks between MEPs and the president of the commission, MEPs agreed not to blog a new agreement covering the EU’s budget from 2014 until 2020.   This new deal was approved by the European Parliament this week by 474 votes to 193.     Under the terms of the deal,

MEP's expenses

With public confidence in politicians of all kinds at an all-time low, it is vitally important that all elected MPs and MEPs should be completely honest and transparent in what they claim from the taxpayer. There has been a lot of concern about what is claimed by members of the Westminster Parliament. Our European representatives too should expect and welcome scrutiny. If I am elected to the European parliament I give a guarantee that I will publish every penny I claim in expenses online in a timely manner so that my constituents can see for themselves exactly what I have claimed.

End the Strasbourg Shuttle

I supported my first Euro MP, Derek Prag, when he attempted to end the "Strasbourg Shuttle" many years ago. Last year I supported Saj Karim, one of the Conservative MEPs for the North West of England, Ashley Fox MEP, and other Conservative members of the European Parliament when they launched an e-petition calling on the government to lobby for an end to this ridiculous waste of taxpayers' money. I still support it. As Saj wrote last year, "Where else in the world would you see a Parliament re-locate to identical facilities 250 miles away for 48 days a year and leave the same huge building complex empty for the remaining 317 days." It is absolutely ridiculous to have thousands of people move 250 miles from Brussels to France for the monthly plenary sessions held in Strasbourg. There is an identical chamber in Brussels where these sessions could take place. The cost to taxpayesr of moving MEPS, their staffs, documents and equipment from Brussels to Stra

A thank you to Sir Robert Atkins MEP

The ballot papers will have dropped through the letter box of Conservative members in the North West yesterday and today to rank Conservative candidates in this region for next year's European elections. Incidentally, if you are a fully-paid up Conservative party member and have been for three months, and don't get your ballot papers for the ranking of MEP candidates in the next week, you should raise the issue, initially with your local Conservative office. Obviously a lot of attention will have been paid to people who are standing, but I want to take the opportunity of saying thank you to someone who isn't: one of the three sitting MEPs, Sir Robert Atkins, is standing down at next year's election. As chairman of Cumbria Conservatives I have been grateful for support from all three of the sitting Euro-MPs: Saj Karim and Jackie Foster have also supported us. But today I want to say a particular thank you to Sir Robert for his unfailing support. In this year'

Views of the North West - Derwentwater

Another view of one of the most beautiful places in the world: Derwentwater, near Keswick in Cumbria.

Views of the North West - Wastwater

I've been planning a minor facelift for this blog for some time and even run a couple of testbed blogs to try out some alternative backgrounds, formats, etc. As I am fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet, I decided to use public domain views of North West England as backgrounds. A couple of the pictures which I either did not use because the text of the blog would not have been clear enough superimposed on them, or which I did use but but are not fully visible on the blog, were worth posting on their own so viewers can appreciate them. This is Wastwater in West Cumbria, which a few years ago was voted the most beautiful view in Britain.

Quote of the Day

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last." (Sir Winston Churchill)

Better Audit for the EU

UPDATE MAY 2016 The original wording of this post, which is given below, was first published in July 2013. Most of what I wrote then still applies today, but, while the auditors still make very similar criticisms on the spending of money contrary to EU rules as those to which I referred three years ago in relation to the 2011 accounts, the Court of Auditors have clearly stated that they regard the accounts of the European Union for the most recent year (2014) and indeed all years since 2007, as having been accurately prepared in accordance with international accounting standards. The Auditors' website specifically says that, quote  "the ECA have signed off the 2014 accounts of the European Union as they have done for every year since 2007." Therefore the statement which has regularly been made by "Leave" supporters from Boris Johnson down during the current EU referendum debate, that the EU accounts have not been signed off for twenty years (or whatever