Showing posts from July, 2019

Boris in Northern Ireland

Today the Prime Minister will visit Northern Ireland to stress the need for devolution to be restored as soon as possible.  Key facts :  The Prime Minister will meet the leaders of Northern Ireland’s five main political parties and hear from them on the progress of talks to restore the Northern Ireland Executive.  The Prime Minister also spoke with the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar yesterday about how the UK Government will continue to work with the Irish Government to deliver a successful outcome to Executive talks.  The visit also follows the announcement this week that Northern Ireland will receive a share of £300 million new funding, to help boost business and enhance opportunities for people in the region.  Why this matters : Northern Ireland’s citizens need and deserve the Executive to get up and running again as soon as possible so that locally-accountable politicians can take decisions on the issues that really matter to local people.

Second quote of the day 31st July 2019

Mercy Muroki has a column in the Times arguing that it is time the left stopped demonising ethnic minority voters who support parties other than Labour . The article is behind a paywall but you can register to read two free Times article online per week. It's located here . Making a similar point today, and this time not behind a paywall, Dr Rakib Ehsan, who is a spiked columnist and a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, has written at Spiked about how " The response to Johnson’s appointment of ethnic-minority ministers has been ugly and undignified ." His article, " How Boris and his cabinet broke the left " can be read here .

Quote of the day 31st July 2019


Next Saturday Chataway surgery on Saturday 3rd August in Holmrook

The next "Saturday Chataway" organised by Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, to give residents the opportunity to meet and raise concerns with elected representatives at all levels will be held in Holmrook this coming Saturday (3rd August 2019.) Councillors of all parties on the relevant local authorities for the area have been invited to join Trudy Harrison MP at the Holmrook Reading Rooms on Saturday to speak with constituents, listen to their concerns and suggestions and assist with any issues. Each month, these coffee morning style surgeries raise money for a valued local organisation or charity. The event will be held between 10am – 12pm. Refreshments will be available.

Boris in Wales

It's Tuesday, it must be Wales ... Following his visit to Scotland yesterday the Prime Minister is in Wales today where he is meeting farmers to talk about the opportunities and bright future awaiting them after we leave the EU by 31 October.  In South Wales, the Prime Minister is meeting farmers and workers and will listen to their hopes for the UK after Brexit.  When we leave the EU by 31 October, we will scrap the Common Agricultural Policy and sign new trade deals – meaning more opportunities for our food and farming sectors to sell around the world. In Scotland yesterday, the Prime Minister announced £300 million for Growth Deals across the UK, including the Mid Wales region.  Negotiations are already underway for a deal in North Wales.  The Growth Deals pledge follows the Prime Minister’s announcement over the weekend of a £3.6 billion Towns Fund supporting an initial 100 towns in England.

If No Deal is necessary

Writing in the Sunday papers yesterday, Sajid Javid and Michael Gove both set out plans to accelerate preparations to leave with no deal should the EU be unwilling to negotiate a new deal. The government's preferred option was and is to leave with a deal capable of getting through parliament, which means scrapping the backstop in anything like its present form. Those MPs who insist that they are strongly opposed to a "No Deal" exit but have three times voted against leaving with a deal will, if a "No Deal" exit is the only way to implement the referendum decision of the British people, share a large part of the responsibility for causing the very result they say they want to avoid. But there is a need to plan for a "No Deal" outcome, not because anyone prefers it, but in case the EU’s leaders will not agree to anything which could get through parliament.  All the necessary funding to prepare for no deal is being put in place, including 500 new

Quote of the day 30th July 2019


Boris in Scotland

The Prime Minister made his first official visit to Scotland today, where he announced the expansion of Growth Deals to open up opportunities across our Union so people in every corner of the United Kingdom can realise their potential.   The Growth Deals across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be backed by £300 million of new funding.   First launched in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2014, we have already committed £2.78 billion for these deals.   Through this new funding, the Conservative government will begin new deals in Falkirk, the Islands, Argyll & Bute, Mid South West Northern Ireland and Causeway Coast and Glens. We will also complete deals already in negotiation in North Wales, Mid Wales, Derry-Londonderry and Moray.   The Growth Deals pledge follows the Prime Minister’s announcement over the weekend for a £3.6 billion Towns Fund supporting an initial 100 towns in England.

Quote of the day 29th July 2019

"It is heartbreaking to read what Lord Bramall went through after the Met fell hook, line and sinker for fantasist Carl Beech’s child abuse claims.  This man, who served in Normandy in World War II and was head of the Army during the Falklands War, is a national hero. The police acted disgracefully in pursuing clearly ludicrous claims.  But they did it because they were cheered on by politicians desperate to take swipes at “the establishment”.  None more so than Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who is still yet to apologise. Speak up, Tom. Make sure they can hear you at the back." (' The Sun Says ' Editorial about the false claims made by Carl Beech as "Nick" about Field Marshall Lord Branall and others.)

You know it's the "Silly Season" when ...

You know it's the "Silly Season" when .. . The BBC breakfast news has an item on "Heavy Metal Knitting" There's a new PM and cabinet and a challenging national situation on Brexit but traditional and social media spill vast amounts of ink and electrons about a new "Style Guide" issued by the member for the 18th century in his new role as Leader of the House of Commons The country has the most ethnically diverse cabinet in history, in which every one of the four great offices of state is held by the grandson, daughter or son of immigrants, and a section of supporters of the party which calls itself "progressive" and "anti-racist" go on a targeted press and social media  attack against the BAME members of that government in a manner which comes very close to - and in certain cases crosses - the line where some of those attacks  become racist themselves. Postscript: another one The use of the words "War Cabinet to de

Quote of the day 28th July 2019


Boris's priorities

We will realise the benefits of Brexit and get our country back on the road to a brighter future by: 1. Getting Brexit done by 31st October, with a great new deal for Britain. 2. Making sure Britain is prepared for a no deal, as the best way to get a great new deal. 3. Making sure people start seeing the £20 billion in new NHS funding in their GP surgeries and local hospitals. 4. Hiring 20,000 new police officers and giving them the powers to keep our streets safe. 5. Properly funding our schools so that every child gets more guaranteed minimum funding, regardless of where they live. 6. Delivering a strong economy to fund the public services we all rely on.

Saturday music spot: "Dies Irae" from the Mozart Requiem

"The day of wrath, that dreadful day …" Sounds rather like the reaction of everyone in politics from the Lib/Dems leftwards to the arrival of Boris Johnson as PM!

Quote of the day 27th July 2019

"What's most disgusting is the coordination. The Corbynites have issued an attack order. 'Go for the black cabinet ministers' . They are overtly targeting BAME politicians for abuse, because of their ethnicity. As ever, it begins with the Jews, but it doesn't end with the Jews." ( Dan Hodges , former Labour and Trade union official who is now a columnist, on Twitter)

Putting more police on our streets

The Prime Minister has launched a recruitment drive to deliver 20,000 new police officers and make our streets safer.  People want to see more officers in their neighbourhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime.  The unprecedented drive to deliver more frontline officers will start in September with the launch of a national campaign, led by the Home Office, recruiting 20,000 officers over the next three years.  A new national policing board, chaired by the Home Secretary and bringing together key police leaders, will hold the police to account for meeting this target and drive the national response to the most pressing issues that affect communities right across the country.  In addition, as part of ongoing work to tackle serious violence, the Government will urgently review a pilot which makes it simpler for officers to use stop and search powers, with a view to rolling this out across all forces.

Second quote of the day 26th July 2019

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last seventy hours you probably cannot have missed that most of the British left in politics and the media alike have been throwing the most monumental collective hissy fit about the new PM and cabinet (see first quote above.) I have not seen anything like it since the day after the re-election of George W Bush, when one of the centre-left broadsheets - think it might have been the Guardian but the Independent's coverage was equally negative - published a pull out specifically for people to vent about how awful they thought the US Presidential election result was. It had a black front sheet with just the words "Oh God" in small letters and inside and on the back page was full of quotes people ranting about how terrible it was that Bush had been re-elected. If you think I'm exaggerating by suggesting that much of the left has gone equally bananas about the new government, take a look at this rant about the new

First quote of the day 26th July 2019

"You know, if I'd realised what a ridiculous temper tantrum the entire left was going to throw at the election of Boris as PM I would almost have been tempted to vote for him." (Grassroots Conservative party member in West Cumbria, who voted for Jeremy Hunt, in conversation yesterday.)

The new Prime Minister writes ...

" No more delay. It’s time to get on with Brexit – and create a brighter future for the UK. If we don’t, we risk letting Corbyn into Downing Street. We’ve delayed getting things done for too long. Every delay makes it more likely that Jeremy Corbyn will get into power. And our economy can’t afford a Corbyn government. So it’s time for change. We’ll leave the EU by the 31 st of October – whatever happens. That way, we can invest in our public services and put the UK on the road to a brighter future. If you back what I’m doing, then help me do it. Chip in to the Conservative Party and we’ll keep Corbyn out of power together. With your support, I’ll make sure the £20 billion investment in our NHS gets to GPs and hospitals. Invest in our schools. Give young people the chance to buy their own home. And get a grip on rising crime. These are our priorities for Britain. Jeremy Corbyn just couldn’t deliver them. A Corbyn government wo

The new cabinet

The Prime Minister has unveiled his Cabinet for Modern Britain, appointing Ministers who will get Brexit done by 31st October and ensure our NHS, schools and police get the attention they deserve. ·          The change in Cabinet is the first step towards delivering the change Boris Johnson wants to see for the country.   ·          Boris has appointed a record number of ethnic minority politicians around the Cabinet table, and increased the number of women attending as full Cabinet members.   ·          Using talent from across the party, the Cabinet looks more like the country it serves.   ·          The reshuffle is set to continue today where the rising stars of the Conservative Party will be promoted into the ministerial ranks.   ·          Boris’ new Cabinet met this morning to get to work and take a grip on the decisions we need to take to leave the EU on 31st October and energise our public services.

Boris v. Corbyn

The new PM in ebullient mode as he responded to questions from the Leader of the Opposition after his first statement to Parliament since taking office:

Quote of the day 25th July 2019

"As I start my first day as Defence Secretary I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Penny Mordaunt.  She is a wonderful colleague and did a great job at the MoD. Big shoes to fill!" (Rt. Hon. Ben Wallace MP , the new Secretary of State for Defence, on twitter this morning.)

Midweek music spot: Bach's Prelude & Fugue in E Minor "The Wedge"


Boris sets out his priorities as the new PM

Speaking outside Downing Street the new Prime Minster Boris Johnson set out his plan to get the country back on the road to a brighter future.   "Good afternoon.   I have just been to see Her Majesty the Queen who has invited me to form a government and I have accepted.   I pay tribute to the fortitude and patience of my predecessor and her deep sense of public service.   But in spite of all her efforts, it has become clear that there are pessimists at home and abroad who think that after three years of indecision, that this country has become a prisoner to the old arguments of 2016 and that in this home of democracy we are incapable of honouring a basic democratic mandate.   And so I am standing before you today to tell you, the British people, that those critics are wrong.   The doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters – they are going to get it wrong again.   The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts, because we are go

Quote of the day 24th July 2019


Boris elected leader

Boris Johnson has been elected today as the Leader of the Conservative Party. After an 87.4% turnout among the 160,000 members of the Conservative party, votes were cast as follows: Boris Johnson   92,153 Jeremy Hunt      46,656 Boris Johnson is therefore the winner with just under two thirds of the vote. Tomorrow afternoon, shortly after PMQs and making a final statement, Theresa May will go to the Palace to resign as PM and advise the queen to send for Boris. A statement issued by the Conservative party says that Boris Johnson "brings the energy, vision, and leadership to break the Brexit deadlock; bring the change that people want; and get the UK back on the road to a brighter future. The only way to bring the change people voted for in the referendum - strengthening our NHS with increased frontline spending,  raising funding for schools,  tackling crime with 20,000 more police,  and giving young people the best chance to get on the housing ladder  – is

Quote of the day 23rd Jul7 2019


Incredible and Untrue

Today a jury convicted Carl Beech, who under the pseudonym of "Nick" falsely accused a number of prominent figures of murder and of running paedophile rings, of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one of fraud. This was for making the perjured allegations which a senior Metropolitan Police detective mistakenly described as " credible and true ." The lies told by Beech led to the setting up of Operation Midland, a police operation which consumed vast resources in terms of both time and money and ended with no charges or arrests being made but the reputations of a number of completely innocent people being seriously damaged. Shortly after the death of Jimmy Savile in 2011, when the truth belatedly came out what kind of monster he had been, the penny finally dropped in the minds of the British public and establishment alike that up to that time there had been far too great a willingness to dismiss claims by vulnerable people that they had been abuse

Hypocrite of the decade

As Guido Fawkes reports, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has opined on the Conservative leadership election . Let us not forget that he obtained the position of PM when Tony Blair stepped down, not only without a General Election but without even a contested Labour leadership election, by getting such a high proportion of Labour MPs to nominate him that it was almost impossible for any rival candidate to be nominated. Apparently Mr Brown has told an audience at the IPPR , “More people voted for Ed Balls on Strictly than for our next Prime Minister.”  I do not claim to know who will be declared the winner tomorrow, But whether or not Guido's assumption about who wins is correct, I concur with the rest of his response: "Tens of thousands of Tories will have voted for Boris to become leader. The country made the Tories the biggest party and in Britain’s system of democracy that gives them the opportunity to form a government.  Precisely zero people voted for Gordon B

Helping schools to improve

The government is launching a new programme to help struggling schools to improve, so that we can raise education standards across the country.  Key facts:  The £17 million Trust Capacity Fund – launching in September – will be used by high performing academy trusts to provide support to communities and schools that need it most.  Last week, new data revealed that the last year has seen 80,000 more children studying in good or outstanding sponsored academies that were previously run by local authorities.  We will also introduce a £16.5 million package of support to help improve the leadership of 2,400 underperforming schools.  Why this matters: The most successful Academies have delivered significant improvements in education reforms, and we want to continue to give these charitable institutions the opportunity to turn around more schools, so that all children have access to the best education.

Quote of the day 22nd July 2019

This could well be the standard response to almost all conspiracy theories:

Curbing the misuse of Non-Disclosure Agreements

There can be good reasons for Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs.) They can enable companies to share information which is confidential for legitimate reasons, such as proprietary technical secrets, with suppliers or customers, and they are sometimes necessary to help ensure that  regulatory requirements, such as "Chinese walls" to ensure fair and equal treatment, are kept. (I've had to sign more than one NDA for reasons of customer confidentiality or regulatory compliance during the course of my business career.) What they should not be used for is to silence whistle-blowers or the victims of misconduct such as sexual harassment. So I'm pleased to see that the Conservative government has announced plans for new legislation to tackle the misuse of Non-Disclosure Agreements, creating fairer workplaces for all. Key facts : NDAs can be used by businesses for a number of legitimate reasons but in a minority of cases they are being abused and people who sign them

Shared parental leave

The Prime Minister is launching a consultation on shared parental leave to ensure greater equality and to better reflect our modern society.  Key facts :  This consultation will consider whether statutory Paternity leave for fathers and same sex partners should be changed, and for ways in which the shared parental leave policy introduced in 2015 could be improved.  The government is also looking to introduce a new Neonatal Leave and Pay entitlement, for parents of premature and sick babies who need to spend a prolonged period in neonatal care following birth. The entitlement would mean that fathers and partners will no longer need to take annual and unpaid leave if their child is in hospital for longer than their paternity leave period. They would also have additional time at home with their child to make up for the time spent in hospital.  Why this matters :  We want to make sure that government support for parents keeps up with changing attitudes to parenting – and changin

Egremont Road Whitehaven closed for two weeks from tomorrow

A section of the B5295 Egremont Road in Hensingham, Whitehaven, North from the hospital roundabout, past the Distressed Sailor to the Lincoln Road junction, will be temporarily closed for carriageway surfacing works. The work will start on 22nd July 2019 (tomorrow) and is expected to take about two weeks.

Sunday Music Spot: Oran introduction to Bach's Cantata 29, "We Thank Thee, God"


Quote of the day 21st July 2019


Saturday music spot: "Summer" from Vivaldi's "The Four seasons."

Each of the four parts of Antonio Vivialdi's "Four Seasons" sets a sonnet about that season to music, with specific lines from the poem for each of the three movements. On this sweltering summer's day, I have posted below a link to a Youtube clip of a wonderful performance of Vivaldi's "Summer" by the Trondheim Soloists. The violin soloist is Mari Silje Samuelsen. And here are the words of the poem which this music brings to life. SUMMER First movement (Allegro non molto) Beneath the blazing sun's relentless heat men and flocks are sweltering, pines are scorched. We hear the cuckoo's voice; then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard. Soft breezes stir the air…. but threatening north wind sweeps them suddenly aside. The shepherd trembles, fearful of violent storm and what may lie ahead. Second movement ( Adagio e piano - Presto e forte ) His limbs are now awakened from their repose by fear of lightning's fla