Monday, 15 August 2016

Former Villa star Dalian Atkinson dies after taser incident in Trench

Very sorry to hear of the death of former Aston Villa star, Dalian Atkinson, who died this morning after being tasered by police.

Officers were called to an address in Trench in the early hours of the morning after reports of a disturbance. Dalian Atkinson was shot with a taser and subsequently suffered a heart attack in an ambulance en-route to the hospital.

Atkinson's father is understandably distraught at what has happened but hopefully he'll find some comfort in the comments from friends, neighbours and other sporting stars who describe a good man who was great with the local kids and of course a football legend who scored Villa's first ever Premiership goal. Some of the biggest names in football have paid tribute to Atkinson but it is his impact on ordinary people that he will be remembered for.

Dalian Atkinson was born in Shrewsbury and grew up in Telford. He played for Aston Villa, Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday, Fenerbahce, Manchester City, Real Sociedad, Metz, Al-Ittihad, Daejeon Citizen and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors during his 16 year career and even scored for the England B team in a friendly against the Republic of Ireland.
No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.
- Terry Pratchett

Sunday, 14 August 2016

We don't need decriminalised parking enforcement, the police need to do their job

Telford's Conservative councillors are trying to convince their Labour colleagues to adopt a decriminalised parking scheme which would see the council take over responsibility for parking enforcement in the borough.

There aren't many local authorities left that don't run their own parking enforcement schemes and luckily for us, Telford & Wrekin Council is one of them. Parking enforcement on highways is the responsibility of West Mercia Police who take their job about as seriously as one of David Cameron's Cast Iron Guarantees™.

When you read those "funny" stories (they're funny when they happen to someone else) about hearses, broken down cars and fire engines getting parking tickets it's not a traffic warden issuing the ticket, it's someone working for the council. They do stupid things like this because they're entirely profit driven. Staff have targets to meet to raise as much revenue as possible, whether it's a private company working for the council or the council itself.

Rather than trying to inflict the same sort of scheme on us in Telford & Wrekin, the council should be summoning the new Police & Crime Commissioner to find out why the police aren't doing their job. It is West Mercia Police's responsibility to enforce parking restrictions in Telford & Wrekin and the council shouldn't have to take on decriminalised parking enforcement just because the police don't want to do their job properly.

Friday, 24 June 2016

We voted Leave and this is my personal experience

Last night (and into the early hours of this morning) I had the privilege of witnessing history being made. I nervously paced the counting hall at Telford, knowing that my branch would be something of a bell weather as one of the top 20 Eurosceptic local authority areas in the country.

We went into the count expecting to win in Telford but lose the referendum. Feedback from Vote Leave suggested large turnouts in Scotland and London which is a disaster for anyone other than what Nigel Farage often describes as the metropolitan liberal elite. That and other tidbits of information pointed to an impressive Leave vote but a convincing lead for Remain.

Just by watching the verification count it was obvious that we had won in Telford by a wide margin and the final result showed a 63% Leave vote on a 72% turnout. But what was interesting was the results from elsewhere in the country. The turnout in London and Scotland wasn't as high as expected and the Leave vote was not just holding up but very gradually nudging ahead. The metropolitan councils hadn't declared but we were finding it harder to convince ourselves that we didn't have a chance.

After we had finished in Telford I headed to Shrewsbury for the Shropshire Council results, expected to be one of the last to declare. As I was driving to Shrewsbury I heard Professor Curtis say that Leave was, in his opinion, the favourite to win. Sky had already called it for Leave but it was far from certain.

While we waited for the recounts to finish at Shrewsbury more results from round the country were coming in and Leave was steaming ahead. ITV and the BBC called it for Leave and Nigel Farage claimed victory.

I can't begin to describe the feeling of relief and excitement when we realised that we had won and would be leaving the EU. Even now, some 17 hours after accepting that we'd won I still have this overpowering sense of disbelief that we have  secured the result myself and thousands of others have worked so hard to achieve.

There have been some stock market and currency jitters as expected but nothing on the scale the Remainiacs predicted and both the pound and the FTSE are back to where they were a fortnight ago. The bond markets - a much better indicator of investor confidence - are performing admirably with record low yields, indicating a high degree of confidence in the UK's ability to pay its debts.

I'd like to personal thank everyone who went out and voted Leave yesterday. I'd also like to genuinely offer my condolences to those who voted Remain. That feeling they have now of despair and disappointment is certainly familiar to any UKIP activist. I really do know how you feel. However, you do need to take a leaf out of UKIP's book and learn to take defeat with some dignity.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Let's make June 23rd our independence day

Over the past few months I've walked miles, delivered thousands of leaflets to thousands of homes, stood out in the rain and the sunshine talking to passers by, handed out leaflets and discovered parts of Telford I didn't even know existed. All to try and give people the facts they need to make the right decision in tomorrow's EU referendum.

Twenty years ago I was on the other side - a Labour voter who supported the EU, supported mass immigration and thought the UK should join the €uro. A healthy dose of real life helped me to see sense and I've been firmly in the leave camp for a long time.

We are the world's 5th largest economy, the EU's largest export market, the world's 5th strongest military power, one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the centre of world finance. We may be small in size but we are a global economy, military and trading power.

We will not just survive but thrive outside of the EU. Our future is not shackled to a rapidly declining, bankrupt economic and political bloc but looking to the rest of the world, tapping into emerging markets and regaining our place as a global trading nation.

Don't be fooled by snake oil salesmen telling you that we can reform the EU from within, it is unreformable. Don't listen to the wormtongues telling you that we're not good enough to make it on our own. This is our one and only chance to get out of the EU and regain our freedom. I urge you to take this once in a lifetime opportunity and vote Leave and make 23rd June our independence day.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Some EU referendum facts

In just over 8 days the country goes to the polls to decide whether to leave the EU. The referendum campaign has been rigged in favour of the remain side by the government with millions of pounds of taxpayers' money being spent on pro-EU propaganda delivered through our doors, free advertising on government websites and government departments churning out increasingly outrageous propaganda.

I've spoken to a lot of people over the past couple of months when I've been out campaigning and about 70-80% of them intend to vote to leave. Of the few people that have a reason for voting to stay in, their concerns can be narrowed down to a few myths and misunderstandings.


EU citizens will have to go "home"
The EU citizens living in Brookside and Stirchley (there are actually quite a lot of them) are already home, they're not here on holiday. EU citizens won't be deported when we leave the EU, nor will English people living abroad. That would be illegal under English law, EU law and international law and more importantly, it would be immoral. Any immigrant living here, regardless of where they are from, gains rights just by living here legally.

It will be harder to travel abroad
There is a league table of countries with the most visa-free travel. We're joint top with Germany. The EU isn't going to impose visa restrictions on the UK and we're not going to impose restrictions on the EU. Visa restrictions are imposed when there are serious concerns about security or illegal immigration. Some countries like the United States make everyone have a visa because they're insular and don't travel abroad much. The UK has always been an outward facing country and that is reflected in our very liberal visa regime. It will be no more difficult to travel abroad when we leave the EU than it is now.

We won't get EU money to pay for things
The EU doesn't have any money of its own, it spends ours. We give the EU £50m a day and they give us about half of it back, tell us what we're allowed to spend it on and then we have to put signs all over whatever we've just spent our money on thanking the EU for giving us some of our money back. Take the box road round the town centre for example. It cost £11.8m and the EU gave us £750k of our own money to help pay for it. In exchange for contributing 6.3% of the cost using our own money, big signs have had to be erected on one of the islands thanking the EU for its generosity. You'd think the EU paid the £11.8m bill, there's no sign saying thanks to the Department for Transport or Telford & Wrekin taxpayers or any of the private developers that contributed almost all of the money for it. The point I'm making is that the money the EU gives us is our own money, it's less than half of the membership fee we have to pay and we don't get to decide what we spend it on. Outside of the EU we can decide what we spend that money on.

I work for a foreign company and I'll lose my job
Organisations like the CBI (over £1m of EU funding in the last 9 years), the London School of Economics (£14m of EU funding) and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (£5.6m of EU funding) told us that if we didn't give up the pound and join the €uro all these foreign businesses would leave the country and we'd all be poor and unemployed. They were wrong. They said that if we didn't join the Exchange Rate Mechanism all these foreign businesses would leave the country and we'd all be poor and unemployed. They were wrong. Now they're telling us if we leave the EU all these foreign businesses would leave the country and we'll all be poor and unemployed. They're wrong again. Companies come to the UK because we have a highly skilled workforce, it's easy to do business here and because the UK is a prestige location for multinational companies to do business. They aren't going to leave the UK because we're not in the EU and the likes of Nissan and Boeing who are investing heavily in the UK and saying that they don't care whether we're in the EU bear that out.

We can't trust the Tories not to abolish workers' rights if we leave the EU
Well no, you can't trust the Tories. You can't trust Labour either. Nor can you trust the EU Commission. Our fundamental workers' rights all predate the EU and almost all go above and beyond the minimum requirements set out by the EU and the EU average. Equal pay, anti-discrimination laws, maternity pay, paid holiday, etc are all rights that we gave ourselves before we were in the EU and in some cases, before the EU even existed. There is no EU law that says you have to have a minimum wage, we have more paid holiday than the EU requires, we have more maternity pay and leave than the EU requires, we have stronger laws on equal pay and discrimination than the EU requires. Abolishing these rights would be political suicide for the Tories or any other party in government and it's fear of election day that keeps politicians from doing things like abolishing workers' rights. But the EU Commission isn't elected and nobody can hold them to account, not even the government. If the unelected EU Commissioners decided to abolish equal pay laws or maternity leave nobody would be able to stop them.

The NHS is at risk if we leave the EU
Nothing could be further from the truth. The EU and United States are concluding a treaty called the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Programme (TTIP). As with every trade deal the US does they have included something called Investor State Dispute Service (ISDS) which is a mechanism that allows American companies to sue national governments for doing something that prevents them making a profit. Such as not allowing the NHS to be privatised and carved up between the big American healthcare companies, for instance. And of course this only works one way - a company in the UK wouldn't be able to sue the US government using ISDS. This is the biggest single threat to the NHS. The EU has a history of forcing the privatisation of public services in the name of "market liberalisation" and it's only a matter of time until the NHS is in their sights.

We need foreign workers to keep the NHS going
There are about 100k EU immigrants working in the NHS and other public services. There are 1.7m unemployed people living in the UK. Do the maths. It doesn't add up, does it?

We won't be able to trade with Europe if we leave the EU
We trade with the EU now and we will continue to trade with the EU when we leave just like every other country in the world that's not part of the EU does. There is a lot of talk about trade but let's put it into perspective. About 8.5% of our trade is done with the EU and about 9% with the rest of the world. The other 82.5% is trading with ourselves. Every time we do business we have to comply with EU rules and regulations and that costs money which ultimately gets passed on to the consumer resulting in higher prices. In fact, the cost of doing business as an EU member has been calculated to be higher than the highest tariffs that the EU could legally impose on our exports. But the most important economic statistic to remember is that we are the world's 5th largest economy and the EU's largest export market. The EU sells us twice as much as we sell them meaning that any trade barriers would hit the EU twice as hard as it would us. The EU can't afford not to do business with us.

The government says it'll cost my household £4,300 if we leave the EU
The government have said a lot of things, many of which contradict each other. This particular claim has been heavily criticised because the Treasury came up with a disaster scenario, did some maths, made some guesses and then pretended it meant something else. What they did was come up with the worst case scenario that sounded plausible which was that we would have no trade deal with the EU, that the EU would refuse to do business with us and that the economy would nosedive. They then estimated the cost to the economy in terms of GDP, divided it by the number of households in the UK, came up with the figure of £4,300 and said that that was how much every family stands to lose every year by leaving the EU. Ignoring the fact that their worst case scenario is never realistically going to happen, GDP is a measure of the size of the economy, not household income. The size of the economy has no direct relationship with household income and like all the pro-EU propaganda that's come out of the treasury this is a load of nonsense.

If you're still undecided watch Brexit the Movie. It's quite long but it's worth taking the time to watch. If you're wondering how many EU laws there are on pillows or teaspoons then this is where you'll find the answers!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Free BBQ, free refreshments and experts to help you take control of your future

Voter registration closes today

You have until the end of today to register to vote or you won't be able to vote to leave the EU. If you haven't already received your polling card through the post you're not registered.

Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to take back control of our country.