Friday, May 15, 2015

Labour's defeat

I don't wish to take anything away from the, frankly stunning, victory of David Cameron's Conservatives but the UK GE2015 election results are almost as much about the defeat of Labour as about the Conservatives.

The opinion pollsters will now conduct a post mortem into their abject failure to predict the outcome of the election.  Whatever, they now say, the polls that they published understated support for Conservatives and overstated that for Labour.  I like to think that they got it so wrong because the people that they asked consistently chose to fool the pollsters - otherwise known as lie to them, rather than give them straight, honest answers.   I am no psephologist but I always wonder how polling around a 1,000 people can give any kind of reasonable view or cross-section of the polling intentions of 46 million voters.

Anyway, no doubt the pollsters will enquire and conclude that it was the voters that were wrong and not them.  I can't see many people having much faith in their polls until they have re-built credibility.

So to Labour.

Ed Miliband resigned the leadership of Labour, once it became clear that they had soundly lost the election.  There are some, me included, that think his resignation was about four years too late but......

Now Labour does what it does best.  It will have a leadership election that will solve nothing.  Much as I didn't like Ed Miliband - he just didn't come across as sincere or honest - the biggest problem with Labour was their policies and over-riding that fatal flaw was their absolute unwillingness to accept any responsibility for the financial crisis that the UK faced, at the time of the 2010 General Election.  If I was a Conservative strategist, I would replay to the British public, time and time again, the part of the so called 'Leaders Question Time' where Miliband is asked if Labour overspent and he says no.  The audience reaction of utter disbelief, was surely reflective of the country at large.

Unless and until Labour say sorry for the financial mess, they will always lose on the economy, always.  They spoke, time and again, as did the odious SNP, about cuts and austerity and, did I mention savage cuts?  Yet people understand that while some of these did impact heavily upon some people, overall, these were essential and were handled sensitively.   Labour bang on about the NHS in some sort of proprietorial way but for me, people don't distrust the Conservatives anywhere near as much as Labour think they do or should.  I think that on the NHS, the discussion is moving more towards the Conservative side than Labour understand.  

The reason I mention some of the Labour election platform is that the current candidates for Ed Miliband's position seem destined to repeat the errors of his leadership,

The candidates are

Andy Burnham - I can state categorically that it isn't the whiny voice and his sense of  only he being able to 'really, really' understand and 'really, really' feel the pain of people, that bothers me about the 'emote at the drop of a hat' Burnham.  It his failure to take any responsibility for the 1,300+ unnecessary deaths which occurred in his beloved NHS, at Mid Staffs and elsewhere, when he was in-charge of the NHS.  Read the horror of Mid Staffs here  Simply put, Burnham has displayed very serious character flaws.  That and his allegiance to old-style Labour re-distributionist policies show him to be out of touch with the aspirations of people. Some other posts on the NHS are here  and here

Yvette Cooper - Can sound a little shrill at times but her most serious flaw, aside from being tied to out-dated policies, is that she is the wife of Ed Balls.  I can't speak to what attracted her to Balls nor what keeps her there but surely, at some recent point in their relationship she should have been able to convince Balls that he and Miliband needed to apologise for the financial mess and to take responsibility for it.  If she cannot persuade the man who shares a bed with her, of the massive errors of the party platform, then what faith can anyone have in her ability to negotiate on behalf of the UK or firmly deal with her union paymasters?  Every time I see Yvette Cooper, I think Ed Balls and I immediately think financial mess.  Maybe that's not fair, but that is my reality, and I would suspect that of many others.

Chuka Umana - Should narcissism be a qualifying condition for the leadership?  Every time I see Chuka, I see someone that seems more interested in how he looks and if his tie matches his suit and shirt etc.  Editor in Chief of GQ magazine  - maybe but far too lightweight to lead the Labour Party.  Imagine if you will, horror that it might be, that Labour is in power and Chuka has to face down Len McCluskey  of Unite regarding a series of public sector strikes and also to contend with aggressive moves from Putin's Russia and, at the same time, Daesh attacks in the UK.  Can you see that and see Chuka with any kind of the required knowledge and experience or gravitas?  Umana has been described (by himself?) as the UK's Obama.  Seeing how the former Community Organiser, Obama, has created great divisions within the US and promoted failed policy after failed policy, and destroyed America's standing in the world.  Should Labour elect someone with such aspirations?

The other declared candidates.  
Liz Kendall  I know little about, which maybe is a good thing because she maybe isn't painted into that 'we didn't overspend' corner and without such baggage may be able to provide Labour with a policy platform that focuses on the needs and aspirations of real people rather than a metropolitan elite.
Tristram Hunt - His opposition to Michael Gove's education reforms should automatically disqualify him - again, his adherence to party and union dogma seeks to override the aspirations of people.


Like many people, I find that Labour has nothing to offer me or my children.  Fundamentally, that is their problem.  The leadership is much less relevant.  Miliband's ineptitude with a bacon sandwich didn't help.  His inability to say sorry was a key factor - a clear character flaw. At the end of the day though, it always come down to policy and Labour had nothing to offer today's voters.  Until they get that right, it doesn't matter who they chose as leader!



Friday, May 8, 2015

GE2015 Part Four - Don't delay

Wow!, I mean Wow!

The Conservatives are on course to achieve an overall, though slim, majority.

Hats off to David Cameron, George Osborne, Lynton Crosby and all of the candidates and hard-working constituency workers.

As was predicted in the opinion polls (something that they did get right!), the Scottish National Party scooped-up almost all of the seats in Scotland, gaining 56 of 59.

The Lib Dems, until recently the Conservative's partners in Coalition,  have been severely reduced - they will likely end with 8 seats down from their 54 seats won in 2010.

Labour were all but wiped-out in their Scottish strong-hold and now have just one seat, there and have been hit by the Conseravtives and indeed, UKIP, in the North of England..

There have been some notable casualties along the way.  Obviously those Scottish Labour MPs that were Shadow Cabinet members but also Ed Balls the Shadow Chancellor.  Balls was a member of former Labour leader Gordon Brown's inner circle and intimately involved with Labour's profligacy and.  Throughout the 5 years of the Coalition and this campaign he, and Labour leader Ed Miliband, have steadfastly refused to either apologise for ruining Britain's economy nor for admitting that they overspent.

Also gone is Danny Alexander who spitefully leaked a welfare position paper and suggested it was a policy that the Lib Dems stopped.   The ever awkward Vince Cable has also gone and the promoter of foolish Green policies, Ed Davey has also left the House!

It is looking like Miliband and the Lib Dems leader, Nick Clegg, will resign.  Nigel Farage, of UKIP has already said he will resign as leader, if not elected, and that outcome is looking likely. Natalie Bennett of the Green Party was not elected and so other than the Ulster parties, David Cameron looks to be on course to be the only Westminster leader that survives this election.  Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, didn't contest a Westminster seat.

Now it is time to get back to work.

I know that there is a manifesto that lists out the policy programme but let's cut to the chase and start the ball rolling with the following:

  • Implement the Smith Commission proposals and give Full Fiscal Authority to Scotland.  In doing so, the much discredited Barnett Formula falls away and the money saved, can be used in England and Wales.

  • Implement the Boundary Changes that were put forward, by the independent Boundary Commission, a couple of years ago.

  • Deliver on the promise of a referendum on membership of the European Union by enshrining this in law - to the effect that it must occur on a date before the end of 2017

  • Set out a timetable for the re-negotiation of the terms of Britain's membership of the European Union.

  • Introduce legislation, that means that on devolved matters, MPs from non-English constituencies, cannot vote at Westminster.

  • Vote into law the Budget, that was presented, just before the last Parliament was dissolved.  Consider adding to that to include the changes on inheritance tax, with immediate effect.


These actions need to be put into place now.  With such a slim majority, there is every need to get these underway and while the opposition are focused on internal struggles, recrimination and power-plays, what better opportunity?



Friday, May 1, 2015

GE2015 Part Three

The one about Tactical Voting!  This was written before the latest TV Question Time

Before I get into the subject of voting tactically at this election, I need to pause so that I can summon up the courage to push that line.

In the meantime........, while the Conservatives continue to maintain a very slender lead over Labour, it is a cause of serious concern.  Labour appears to be heading for annihilation in Scotland and so if they are running an extremely close second (sometimes even in front) to the Tories, nationally, then this suggests that in the rest of the UK, they are doing reasonably well!  It can't be down to Welsh Labour dominance - there just aren't enough of the total electorate.

As said here , the current opinion poll position seems to defy logic given the major advances made by the country, under the Tories and their Lib Dem coalition partners, in the recent past.  Especially, when one considers the parlous state of the country's finances bequeathed by the last Labour government.

And so........Tactical voting.

I think that it is time, for the sake of the country to suck-it-up and vote tactically.

There is a wheel circulating (no pun intended) that shows which party to vote for in many constituencies, in Scotland.  This means Labour and Lib Dems putting their X against a Conservative candidate and Conservatives and Labour doing the same for Lib Dems.  The 'wheel' then advises for the non-specified seats to divert votes to Labour.   The 'wheel' looks at around 17 seats so if it was successful it would break the current Labour hegemony in Scotland but would leave them with a sizable 'rump' and, critically, would keep the SNP away from being a Westminster 'power-broker'

Embedded image permalink


This addresses what is needed in Scotland and I encourage any readers to strongly consider this and to work on other right-minded people to do likewise, for that country.

In England, the picture is somewhat more mixed and less straightforward.  I don't have a 'wheel' but here is my advice:

For the following constituencies, vote UKIP - Yes, Conservatives and Lib Dems and anyone else,, Vote UKIP in these constituencies.

Burnley
Cannock Chase
Clacton
Doncaster N
Dudley N
Great Grimsby
Heywood & Middleton
Plymouth Moor View
Redcar
Rother Valley
Rotherham
Thurrock
Walsall N


For the following constituencies, vote Lib Dems - Yes, Conservatives and UKIP and anyone else, Vote Lib Dems in these constituencies.

Bermondsey & Old Southwark
Birmingham Yardley
Bradford E
Brent Central
Bristol W
Cambridge
Cardiff Central
Carshalton & Wallington
Cheltenham
Colchester
Cornwall N
Eastbourne
Hornsey & Wood Green
Lewes
Manchester Withington
Sheffield Hallam
Sutton & Cheam
Thornbury and Yate

For the following constituencies, vote Conservative  - Yes, UKIPpers and Lib Dems and anyone else, Vote Conservative.  UKIPpers - If you want an EU referendum, you know it makes sense!


Amber Valley
Basildon S & Thurrock E
Bedford
Berwick upon Tweed
Birmingham Edgbaston
Blackpool N & Cleveleys
Boston and Skegness
Brecon and Radnorshire
Brentford & Isleworth
Brighton Kemptown
Brighton Pavilion
Bristol NW
Broxtowe
Bury North
Camborne & Redruth
Canmbridgeshire NE
Cardiff N
Carlisle
Carmarthen W and Pembroke S
Castle Point
Cheadle
Chester
Chippenham
Cleethorpes
Colne Valley
Corby
Crewe & Nantwich
Croydon Central
Derby N
Devon N
Dewsbury
Dorset Mid & Poole N
Dover
Dudley S
Ealing Central & Acton
Eastleigh
Elmet & Rothwell
Enfield N
Erewash
Finchley & Golders Green
Folkestone & Hythe
Gloucester 
Great Yarmouth
Halesowen & Rowley Regis
Halifax
Hampstead & Kilburn
Harlow
Harrogate & Knaresborough
Harrow E
Hastings & Rye
Hazel Grove
Hendon
High Peak
Hove
Ipswich
Kingston & Surbiton
Kingswood
Lancaster & Fleetwood
Lincoln
Loughborough
Milton Keynes South
Morecambe and Lunesdale
Morley and Outwood
Newark
Newton Abbot
Northampton N
Norwich North
Norwich South
Nuneaton
Oxford W & Abingdon
Pendle
Plymouth Sutton & Devonport
Portsmouth S
Pudsey
Rochester & Strood
Rossendale and Darwen
Sherwood
Solihull
Somerset North East
Somerton & Frome
South Ribble
southampton Itchen
Southport
St Austell & Newquay
St Ives
Stevenage
Stroud
Surrey SW
Swindon S
Taunton Deane
Telford
Thanet N
Thanet S
Torbay
Truro & Falmouth
Twickenham
Uxbridge and Ruislip S
Vale of Glamorgan
Warrington South
Warwick & Leamington
Warwickshire N
Watford
Waveney
Weaver Vale
Wells
Wirral S
Wirral W
Witney
Wolverhampton SW
Worcester
Wyre Forest

Indeed, if in any doubt and if your constituency isn't mentioned, Vote Conservative.





Friday, April 24, 2015

GE2015 Part Two

I hesitate to write this as I don't want to promote complacency but......

Not exactly scientific but in my recent travels around England and Scotland I have been struck by the almost complete absence of political posters in houses and front gardens.  Pleasingly, the ones I have seen most though, (please keep this from Lynton Crosby and George Osborne) are for Conservatives.

Driving in Scotland - through the Borders and on to Aberdeen - the ratio of Conservative posters, in fields usually, to those of other parties was quite significant.  I suppose that many of the 55% who voted against further independence for Scotland, in last year's referendum, worry about being intimidated by the thuggish Scottish Nationalist supporters and that is undoubtedly a factor but one has to wonder what else is causing this lack of political 'heart on sleeve' wearing.

Anyway, could it be a sign that the pollsters are wrong and the Conservatives might gain more seats, dare I say it, even a majority?  Let us hope so!

The Conservatives should really be in a much stronger position in the opinion polls.


  • Unemployment is low, certainly in comparison to our European partners (though still too high for young people).
  • Employment is at an all-time high and has, to some extent been re-balanced over the last five years.  A million less Public sector workers less and two million Private sector more.
  • The economy is growing quite strongly - please don't tell the Greens - they are anti-growth (except in terms of growing taxes and growing spending)
  • The Conservatives have promised a re-negotiation of the terms of membership of the European Union and a referendum on the outcome - realistically, this is something only they can offer.  UKIP cannot and Labour and the Lib Dems, won't.
  • Taxes are being cut and millions of low-paid people are being completely lifted out of taxation due to the raising of the tax-free allowances.
  • Public spending is back under control and projected to decrease further towards a healthier and more sustainable level.
  • The deficit is on a downward trajectory and, if the Conservatives are re-elected, should be essentially eliminated during the next Parliament.
  • The Conservatives even managed to pay-off some of the National Debt during the last Parliament - 1914-18 war debt.  Not a lot but a step in the right direction!

So why aren't the Conservatives in a commanding lead?

Labour is represented by people who are still intimately linked to the previous government that left Britain's finances in such a parlous state.  They are led by the seemingly buffoonish Ed Miliband ( check out YouTube - Ed Miliband and bacon sandwich!) however he seems to have escaped any more gaffes, so far, and clearly has a ruthless streak.

The big threat of course is the collapse of Labour in its Scottish heartlands and their replacement by the SNP.  Nicole Sturgeon has fought a good campaign and, if the polls are to be believed, stands a good chance of having the SNP as the 'kingmaker' at Westminster.  (See also here ).  There is a concerted effort, now underway, for people in Scotland, especially those 55% No voters, to vote tactically and switch their votes to the Conservatives or Lib Dems in an effort to keep out the Nationalists. If you see any tweets pushing the voting wheel, please encourage your Scots friends to vote tactically - you know it makes sense!

Again, so why aren't the Conservatives in a commanding lead?

UKIP is taking votes from Conservatives and will undoubtedly win some seats (my prediction is currently in the 8-15 range (with 10 being my best guess) but again, UKIP cannot hope to gain power and so, if you are a potential UKIP voter, do consider voting tactically and where UKIP are clearly splitting the vote such that Labour can come through the middle, then do the right thing and vote Conservative,  It is the only way you have a chance of an EU referendum!  Of course, this also requires Conservatives to act similarly responsible.  The mantra is ABEAN - Anyone but Ed and Nicola!

I do hope that post election, the Conservatives whether in power or not, will take the time to examine the media output from the BBC.  I have spoken previously of the left-wing bias of the BBC, as have many others - many of their commentators and interviewers are clearly left-leaning - but this time they have excelled and been very blatant.  They keep parroting the 'austerity' line pushed by the parties of the left - that is all parties except the Conservatives and maybe UKIP - when the BBC, know, particularly through their foreign correspondents, that what Britain has experienced is only the mildest form of cuts.  Look at youth unemployment in Greece or Spain, ask pensioners in those countries what has happened to their pensions and their living standards and then compare, as any decent news organisation would, against what has occurred in the UK!    Britain has categorically NOT experienced austerity but if we elect a Socialist government on May 7 or one that depends on SNP support, then it is surely only a matter of time, before the bailiffs come calling and Britain finds itself in a Greece-like position.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mediterranean migrants

The leaders of the European Union are meeting, just now, to try and come up with a solution to the problem of migrants who risk their lives fleeing Libya and heading to mainland Europe.

Surely the best solution, indeed, the only sensible solution is simply to turn-around the boats that leave Libya and send them back to Libya and to keep on doing this.  In effect, establish a naval blockade of Libya.  If the boats become un-seaworthy or are deliberately scuttled by the migrants or their traffickers, then rescue the people and put them back onto Libya's beaches.

Allowing these migrants to get into Europe, as has already been done, just tells others that this is a gateway.  This gateway must be closed.

Some other observations.

Why don't those Nigerians that are fleeing Boko Haram, move to the South of Nigeria?  There is no Boko Haram there!

Why don't those fleeing Eritrea and Somalia and so on, travel to Saudi Arabia or Egypt or Algeria?  All are co-religionists and in the case of Saudi Arabia, the migrants would have a found a rich country, in which to find work and happiness.

Have any of those that say that the EU must launch rescue missions, considered how many of these people might be Al Qaeda or Daesh supporters?

Why do so many of these migrants have a single destination - the UK -  in mind?  In addition to providing Royal Navy resources to close the Libya gateway, the UK government must impress upon France the need for them to better manage migrant camps in that country and the UK government must impose full- check border controls at the UK border ports and immediately deport, before these people enter into England, all of these migrants.  Yes it will cause some chaos at southern ports but the benefits far outweighs the inconvenience.  These people simply cannot be allowed to come under the auspices of the Human Rights legislation.  If they do, Immigration Tribunals and leftist Justices, who live far from the consequences of unfettered immigration, will continue to ride rough-shod over the wishes of the British people and our elected officials.

Oh, and a question for the biased BBC.  When you push the story of the plight of these 'poor migrants' maybe ask them how they can afford iPhones?  Your 'right-on' reporter in the Calais 'Somalia' camp seemed so en-amoured with them that she missed the obvious!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

GE 2015 - Part One

This is turning out to be a funny old General Election!  I will put some of my observations here and maybe some will resonate.

The opinion polls have so far been stubbornly almost static.  What small movement they show for a party's support, tends to be contradicted by the next poll.  No UK-wide party is demonstrating a clear and commanding poll lead.  Labour and the Conservatives are stuck around the 32-34% mark.

In themselves, these results are surprising.  Given the improving health of the economy, especially considering the almost Greece-like basket case that the Conservatives inherited, the Conservatives should be further ahead in the polls.  Partly some of reason for them not being ahead will be a natural left-leaning bias in the media but much of the reason is the short-term memory of the average voter and, let's be frank, their selfishness.

The latter point first.  If the polls are to be believed, then the average person doesn't care that parties like Labour and the Scottish Nationalists or the even more extreme Green Party are happy to impoverish the nation and mortgage the country's future for our children, our grand-children and our great-grandchildren (etc., etc.,)  rather than undertake the structural reforms and yes, cuts in spending, that are a requirement to the improvement of the health of the UK economy.

This 'I don't care about the future of my country or kids, I just want my wide-screen TV, three holidays a year and lots of tax-payer subsidies, even if it does mean increasing borrowings and therefore debt and the deficit' attitude, can only be described as selfishness.  

Let us be very clear.  The UK has not experienced 'austerity'.  Has any pensioner seen their pension cut three or four times (as has happened in Portugal)?  No, of course they haven't.  And perhaps that is why the Conservatives are not enjoying the fruits of the economic position in which the UK sits.  People didn't feel any real pain, weren't turned out en-masse to live on the streets, those streets were not full of begging and ill-clothed children and families hawking their meagre possessions for the price of a tin of beans or a loaf of bread.   People's view of so called 'austerity' is that 'it didn't really affect me personally, too much and with Labour now saying we can spend a little bit more but tax the super-rich in order to pay for it, well that sounds reasonable to me!'  Don't worry, I am not a hair-shirt wearer who gets off on experiencing the pain of real spending cuts or seeing others experience it but I really do want to see Britain overcome it's debt dependency, for the sake of my children, grandchildren, etc., etc..

Fact is that UK government spending, under the Conservatives, has increased, every single year during this parliament.  The Conservatives went into Coalition with the Lib Dems, in 2010/2011 and total spending was £674 Bn, which was £19 Bn higher than the previous year.  In 2013/14 total government spending was £725 Bn.  Not a huge increase I will grant but neither is it a sign of the allegedly 'savage' cuts that Labour and their left-leaning allies in the media, particularly the biased BBC, would have you believe.  I believe though that the actions taken by the Conservatives will have the long term effect of reducing government expenditure.  Remember, from 1999/2000 to 2009/2010, Labour increased spending from £339 Bn to £675 Bn.  Almost doubling government spending and taking it to 47% of GDP.  The Conservatives have now got this heading towards a sub-40% position and, if re-elected will get this into a more sustainable 25-30% range during the course of the next Parliament.  Before you ask, I say sustainable because such a level of spending then allows the government the flexibility or room, if you like, to deal with unforeseen events, should they occur - to increase public spending if absolutely required.

Now to the earlier point.  The anti-Conservative bias of much of the media and particularly the BBC.
The narrative, from the Labour party, in the run-up to the election was that Conservative leader, David Cameron was a 'toff'.  Someone who had attended Eton and Oxford and was wealthy and out of touch with the general public.  Someone who lacks the 'common touch'.  Well no big surprise from Labour, there.  They project Cameron as such since it puts them, in their narrative, firmly on the other side - alongside the 'man in the street' (or has that become the 'person in the street'?).

How Labour must have chuckled last Sunday.  Cameron was interviewed by the BBC's Andrew Marr, and was asked about an interview he gave to the Countryside Alliance magazine (Countryside Alliance is a lobby group that represents rural interests and was very prominent in galvanising support from those communities, in opposition to the Fox Hunting Bill).  Anyway, Marr declared that Cameron had stated, in the CA interview, that fox-hunting was his favourite sport. Simple fact is that Cameron said nothing of the sort.  When Marr made the comment, Cameron looked non-plussed, as well he might, given that he had never said anything like that.  Just to drive home the point though, Marr then repeated the lie.  Marr has since apologised for his error but only on Twitter and only after being found out.  So, a question for the BBC and Andrew Marr -  did you knowingly lie when you falsely quoted from the CA article?  Or was it that you or your researchers were too lazy to check out the factual nature of statements?  Or was it maybe that putting such a statement, however false,  out there, would resonate with people and bias some of them, especially in urban areas, to be anti-Conservative and to confirm the Labour narrative about Cameron being a 'toff'?  Okay, so that's three questions, but you get my drift.

This is just the most blatant example of the BBC bias but you could also  include the constant interruptions made by Evan Davis in the interviews he has conducted.  Not only are these rude, they show a clear disregard for allowing the Conservatives to put across their message and response in a coherent way.  The Conservative message keeps getting broken-up into smaller 'bites' and the speaker having to try to stay on message and also to consider how and when to respond to the latest accusation.  Very poor!  The sooner the £145 TV tax is repealed, the better!

More to follow on this but my advice to Cameron is ignore the staged events and photo-ops.  Do a 'John Major' and get out on a soapbox in the towns and cities of the UK and talk directly to the people.  Show them that Conservatives passionately believe in the UK and it's people and tell them that Conservatives have a plan for us and our children, grand-children etc..  Don't let Labour and their 'cut from the same cloth' SNP allies, steal the election and our country!




Monday, April 20, 2015

Reluctant Britons

Recently, the media in the UK have been pursuing stories about UK passport holders that leave the UK and then go to Syria to join the so called Islamic State.  Hereafter I will refer to this group of murderous thugs and terrorists as Daesh, since they are not a 'State' and hopefully will never be so.

So, back to these Britons.  There seems to have been a steady stream of young men who become so 'radicalised' at their mosque that they decide to take-up arms not in defence of their fellow-Muslims but against them.  Well I guess that at the end of the day, that is their choice to make.  From my perspective, I would then expect the UK government to revoke the passports of these individuals, as soon as the names become known - I would think that our NATO ally, Turkey, should be able to provide the names and numbers of British people traveling into Syria from Turkey - and then if legally possible, refuse re-entry to the United Kingdom, to these people or, if that is not legally possible, to imprison these people for their support of a declared enemy of the UK. If the UK can pursue journalists with a 700 year old law, I am sure that there must be laws that have been passed, which make the actions of these individuals illegal.

We are now seeing though, that it isn't just 'radicalised' young men that are going to join Daesh.  Recently there was a case where a family group was stopped in Turkey and returned to the UK.  This group included 4 children.  Late last week, we heard that the group have been released without any charges being brought against them.  Presumably that is because they didn't manage to actually get into Syria?

However, how on earth are these parents allowed to keep their children?  Surely there are laws that touch on reckless endangerment that  reflect on the actions of these parents?  They apparently wanted to take their children into a war zone!  We hear countless stories about the plight of Syrian refugees that are fleeing Daesh and yet the UK authorities do not punish these people for apparently trying to take their children, the opposite way?  Now there is a story of Asif Malik an apparent member of the banned Al Muhajiroun, taking his British partner and their 4 young children (eldest aged just 7 years old) to Syria.

I ask these questions because back in 2012, many people were shocked to hear of the story of a couple in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, who, though they had already been foster-parents for a number of years, had children taken away from them, because these people were supporters of the entirely legitimate United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).  This of course is the same Rotherham council  that allowed child abuse, on an almost industrial scale, to occur.  The council and the police ignored repeated claims from abused children that they were being sexually groomed and trafficked by gangs of men of Pakistan origin, in Rotherham.  Maybe they were too focused on targeting UKIP followers who were exercising their democratic rights, rather than addressing the evil within their midst?  Obviously, it was much more politically correct to deal with these UKIP people than to take on the politically powerful (certainly in South Yorkshire) Pakistani immigrant population.

How can it be that people who presumably care about children, have them taken away, while parents who take their children towards a war-zone are allowed to retain them?  WE have become used to there seeming to be one law for them and another for us but usually the 'them' is the political elite in London.  Are we now seeing that radicalised Pakistanis have been accepted into that 'club'?  That they are above the laws that are applied to normal people?

I can sort of understand why the Labour-run Rotherham council would act the way they did - as with many Labour-run councils, it is all about being politically correct rather than doing the right thing but how can those running for parliament be allowed to get away without being questioned and challenged about these things?  It's kind of a rhetorical question.  After all, Labour and their Health spokesman, the ever-emoting Andy Burnham, have managed to convince people that they are the party of the NHS, even after scandals like that at Mid-Staffordshire hospitals.

So I challenge UKIP and Conservatives and Lib Dem would-be MPs and their supporters to ask these questions and keep asking them.  Ask these questions of their Labour opponents and ask them of Theresa May, the (Conservative) Home Secretary.  These children are clearly in danger, while they remain with their parents, they should be taken into care.