Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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Mass immigration is making British workers poorer

Census 2011 reveals immigration numbers are higher than we thought

There have been a flurry of news stories over the last few days, which are all intertwined.

On Monday I found myself agreeing with Labour’s Chris Bryant. I am almost nauseous in writing this but as I tweeted at the time Mr Bryant spoke a lot of sense. He was pointing out how big firms like Tesco and Next deliberately set out to recruit foreign workers over UK nationals. For all their weasel words about Corporate Social Responsibility, large companies couldn’t give two hoots about ensuring local people benefit from having the likes of Tesco, Next and any other business trading in their village, town or city. Their only concern is maximising profits and if that means busing in Poles in their early twenties with no family ties or dependencies to pack containers in a distribution warehouse for a much lower cost than a person with a family to support then so be it. What do the senior managers care? They are doing very nicely back at the mansion in Hertfordshire with their cheap immigrant nanny and gardener.

But the issue of immigrants undercutting the unskilled and semi-skilled indigenous workforce is not a simple one.

Later on Monday Channel 4 broadcast a documentary entitled ‘Benefits Britain 1949‘ which took three benefits claimants from 2013 back in time to the rules of the welfare state in 1949. The documentary demonstrated once again how ridiculously generous the welfare system in Britain has become. William Beveridge, the economist who designed the welfare state and was later implemented by the newly elected Labour government in 1945, did so for one main purpose: to stop people starving. If you fell out of work, Beveridge, rightly, stated people in a civilised country should not starve to death as a result. That is all it was meant to do.

William Beveridge

William Beveridge

But in 2013, millions of people receive handouts and in some families, three generations have NEVER worked. They have everything paid for by the State (i.e. the taxpayer) and we are not just talking about food and heating. Flat screen TVs, Xbox, Sky TV, cigarettes, alcohol, cars. The list goes on. We learnt from Channel 4’s documentary half the population of Nottingham are on benefits. Beveridge will be spinning in his grave.

On Channel 4’s Benefits Britain 1949 there was a woman called Karen who hadn’t worked for years and certainly didn’t look like she went without food. She pulled up at the Labour and Welfare Office (as the Job Centre was called back in 1949) in a shiny new car, paid for by the taxpayer through her Mobility handout. Karen then met the welfare officers who interviewed her for eligibility for out-of-work payment. Karen was keen to point out every part of her body had an ailment and so she was judged eligible for some form of handout from the 1949 UK state. But it was nowhere near as generous as she gets today in 2013. Karen’s 1940s weekly handout was deemed to be £38.48 (adjusted for today’s prices) — compared to the £155.34 she currently receives. The car she has courtesy of her Mobility allowance was also taken away. Karen’s immediate response was to hurl expletives saying: “I’ve done my f***ing share for Britain, I’m doing no more. They can f*** off.”

Later Karen has a medical assessment using 1949 criteria for determining her fitness to work. Karen is asked to lift a bag of potatoes which she fails to even lift off the floor so the doctor places just one potato on the desk in front of her and asks Karen to pick it up. She pauses and then reluctantly decides to pick it up but immediately complains of pain in her arm. The doctor then asks her to cut out the shape of a star from a piece of paper which Karen bounds up to do, until the doctor explains it will help assess if she is capable of tailoring work. Karen suddenly has a pain in her thumb.

The problem with Karen is there are millions more like her in Britain and this is one of the reasons why millions of other workers are fed ‘chicken corn’ by their employers or not even offered work at all. There is just no competition in the indigenous workforce as millions know they are paid more in benefits than work could offer them. The labour gap is then filled with cheaper, eager young workers from other EU countries with no family ties or dependencies enabling businesses to lower wages to maximise their profits. It is then the unskilled and semi-skilled UK nationals who suffer as they are caught between a rock and a hard place: many want to work but cannot afford to as wages are lower than benefits. So immigrants who are being paid, in some cases ten times what they could get paid for the same job back home, suck up the jobs and the vicious circle keeps on turning. There is a solution of course: cut and cut again the welfare bill. Lowering it to a cap of £26,000 (which is equivalent to earning £35,000 in work), as the Coalition have now done, is insulting not only to the taxpayer but to the unskilled and semi-skilled people desperate for a job.

Back in Benefits Britain 1949, Beveridge’s original inception was proving fruitful once more. Another claimant featured was Craig who has spina bifida and is confined to a wheelchair to move around. He is, rightly, on disability allowance, but in 1949 a person with a serious condition like Craig’s would not receive his current £171.25 a week and instead he would have been paid just £7.49 (adjusted for today’s prices) a week to stop him starving. I’m glad the system has progressed to offer Craig greater monetary assistance from the State today but the 1949 system was actually very generous indeed. In the documentary, Craig was offered a training course to help him get a job and if he accepted the course he would get £100 a week. Craig is provided with a training course in a call centre selling entertainment venue tickets. The office environment, desk, computer, telephone setup is ideal for Craig with his disability and he soons excels – to the extent the boss offers him a job. Craig is overwhelmed with happiness and tells the producers this is the first time he has ever been offered a job. In 1949, companies were compelled to take on disabled workers and they would be prosecuted if they failed to comply. The documentary presented a startling statistic which dismisses the notion everything was horrible and evil in the past and today is the enlightenment era: in 2013, only 46% of disabled people are in work; in 1949, 94% were.

Yesterday, the perversity of the way modern Britain allocates money was thrown into the spotlight once again when it was announced railway season tickets will be going up by as much as 9.1% from January. Whilst we are happy for ordinary workers to be squeezed of tax until the pips squeak to pay the likes of Karen to sit on her backside all day, the same workers are then hit AGAIN with exorbitant travel costs they MUST pay to get to work to PAY their taxes. Surely, we should be helping those who work hard and keep the country afloat and not assist millions to shy away from work?  I’m surprised us hard working people in this country haven’t revolted yet.

Of course the Government can get away with setting rules which allow train operators to impose inflation-busting ticket price increases as the workers who pay the country’s bills are a captive market. More and more people have to commute long distances to reach work because the cost of housing closer to their place of work is too expensive. On top of that because of mass immigration caused in part by an incredibly generous welfare system, overall competition for jobs is cut-throat, thereby keeping wages down as well.

It all comes back to immigration. No wonder EU-phile Chris Bryant has been forced to talk about it. It is the number one issue when voters are asked in surveys because the people know it is the reason why their pay is low, their son cannot get a job and the reason millions of idle work shy Karens sit at home all day feeding off the wages of those who have jobs. We know it must stop but the papers on Thursday tell us the political elite still don’t get it.

Quelle surprise, the number of Romanians and Bulgarians heading to Britain has increased by 37,000 since June last year taking the total to 141,000. How, you may ask, is this possible when the accession rules forbidding Romanians and Bulgarians from working freely across the EU is not lifted until next year? Ah, they use a well-known loophole in the rules and declare themselves self-employed so no work visa is required. Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of MigrationWatch, estimates 50,000 Bulgarians and Romanians will arrive in Britain each year for the next five years. So Tesco and Next can breathe a sigh of relief there profit margins aren’t going to be squeezed by the demands of local people wanting work quite yet. The peasants are back in their box for the time being.

It is time Britain was less tolerant. We pour £50 Million a day into Brussels but receive very little back. What does our EU membership fee get us? It allows millions of EU migrants, some from very poor countries like Romania and Bulgaria, to come over to Britain and look for work. The operative word being ‘look’. The likes of Tesco and Next might give them work – for less than they would pay the indigenous peasants population – but even if they don’t, the same migrants can board the great UK welfare gravy train and start claiming for housing allowance, income support, mobility handout, and, of course, the state pension.

I’m surprised Great Britain hasn’t sunk yet under the weight of the mass influx from East, West, South, North within the EU into our little island, which due to following an economic model which actually works (unlike the Eurozone), enacted by Margaret Thatcher, we became one of the richest countries on Earth, never mind Europe. But in typical socialist fashion, Brussels has dictated they will have our money thank you very much, and the mass redistribution of wealth from the UK to the other 27 EU states is now the order of the day.

Isn’t it time we put our own people first?


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The EU wants more of your money

EUSSR: You and I are being asked to give Brussels more money

I know – I am bit late to the party but I felt the need to at least say something about Wednesday’s vote on the EU budget in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening.

First off, I am not a sensationalist blogger unlike some of the mainstream newspapers who carefully forgot to mention Wednesday’s vote was not binding and was not even a vote on the EU budget at all. It was actually a “take note” vote on a report on the upcoming EU budget negotiations, with the catchy title Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020The report was tabled by the Government for the House of Commons to note the report but Conservative backbenchers took the opportunity to make a point about the profligacy of the EU and basically the corruption endemic in Brussels and Strasbourg by tabling an amendment to the report calling for a cut in the EU budget. The amendment was laid down by Tory MP Mark Reckless MP. Labour then duly backed the Conservative rebels as a text-book case of political opportunism.

In all, 53 Conseratives rebelled against the Government, and with Labour MPs voting with the amendment as well, the Government was defeated by 13 votes. Like I said, this was not a binding vote and therefore David Cameron and George Osborne can choose to ignore it but if they have the slightest political instinct they won’t.

53 rebels is a large swathe of the Tory Party and this will have worried Downing Street considerably. In fact, it would be fair to say the Government is in big trouble over it’s stance on Europe. The Prime Minister now needs to come back from the EU budget negotiations in Brussels later this month with some red meat for his restless backbenchers. He can’t veto the EU budget or the remaining 25 EU nations will just ignore the UK and instead of freezing the budget (plus 2% to keep up with inflation) they will increase it along with the UK’s contribution. This is just how corrupt and undemocratic the EU is. The sooner we leave the EU the better.

There is no way the Conservative parliamentary party, and for that matter the Labour Party, are going to allow any more money or power going over to Brussels – at least whilst this Coalition Government is in office.

Rebel: Mark Reckless MP

Let’s be sensible though. Labour haven’t suddenly become Eurosceptic – they would have abolished Britain as a sovereign state if they could have got away with it during their disastrous years in power from 1997-2010.  On Wednesday, they only backed Conservative MP Mark Reckless’ motion by traipsing through the No lobby with many Tory MPs to humiliate the Government and they will continue to do so as long as David Cameron and Nick Clegg are still in power. However, once Labour get back into power, which is likely in 2015, albeit in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, they will be back to their Europhile selves and will start the print run of cash to Brussels once again. Remember this when you come to vote in 2015.

I believe the Conservative rebels were speaking for the majority of the country. Brits are fed up with meddling from the EU. High energy prices are as a result of EU Co2 targets, 70% of our laws are made in Brussels, and dubious jurisdictions in far flung corners of Europe can have a British citizen arrested and extradited at the drop of a hat by deploying the European arrest warrant (police beatings are still part of the interview technique in some European states). To name but three.

The United Kingdom pumps £10 billion a year into EU coffers. Each MEP has the use of their own limo, they have special lanes at airports and for their cars on the roads of Brussels and Strasbourg, and the EU accounts haven’t been signed off for decades because so much money has gone missing. The EU parliament is a democratic front but our elected MEPs don’t even make the 70% of laws imposed on the UK: an unelected Commission does that – the same Commission Peter Mandelson once was a member of after he resigned from Blair’s Government for the SECOND time. A fiction writer couldn’t even make this up. Dictatorships are more democratic than the EU.

The UK economy may have its face out of the mud come the General Election in 2015 but she will still be on her knees. The best thing the Conservative Party can do is highlight the meddling and damage the EU does to our sovereign state during the election campaign, explaining how Labour gave back the rebate Margaret Thatcher won and how even more powers were ceded to Brussels by Gordon Brown sneaking into Portugal to sign the Lisbon Treaty. This campaigning strategy may be the only chance the Tories have of being returned to power.

Europhile: Ben Gummer MP

My MP, Ben Gummer, told Ipswich Spy after Wednesday night’s vote: “Very sad that the Conservative Party continues to do this to itself”. Sad, I’m delighted. At least some MPs represent the real views of the British public. Those on the Tory Far-Left, including Ben Gummer and Ken Clarke (I seriously can’t think of any more), think Europe is an unimportant topic. It is probably the most important topic there is in British politics today. Basically Britain is run by the EU – 70% of our laws are made in Brussels. In the 1990s, the Maastricht rebels were more concerned about British identity; identity politics is very important but the economy is even more important. Back in the 1990s, the European single market along with the US market WERE the economic powerhouses of the world. Not any more they aren’t. Europe and the US are very sick economies indeed. But in 2012, it is the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (the so called BRIC countries) which are booming. Can the UK form a trade treaty with any one of these nations unilaterally? No. Only the EU can form a trading agreement. We have given away our sovereign power to trade with anyone we like to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.

Therefore, frankly, Europe matters. It matters to every aspect of our lives: energy prices (which are going up because of make-believe EU Co2 emission targets), the right to a fair trial and humane treatment by police (which is not guaranteed because of the EU arrest warrant), jobs (Britain is banned for signing a unilateral trade agreement), and even the weeds growing in the pavement outside your house during the spring and summer are there because the EU has banned your council from spraying weed killer on them!

Like I said, the EU is the only topic in town. It will probably decide the next General Election.

Pretty important, eh?


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EU imposed wind farms need to stop

Wind farms: Next stop, Ipswich

Mixed in with the furore over the Ipswich Tory Group trying to ban Twitter, there were several wind farm questions at the Town Hall Council meeting on Wednesday.

This was the reason for the public gallery overflowing into the main chamber, with additional seating needing to be brought out to cope with the demand. There were lots of irate South West Ipswich residents.
The irritation was because it is possible in the coming months planning permission will be granted for two 130 metres tall wind turbines on land owned by Ipswich Borough Council between Belstead and Pinewood, known as Thorington Hall. The planning authority is actually Babergh District Council but I believe Ipswich Borough Council has a democratic duty to listen and support residents in the Borough who will be affected by these pointless monstrosities. The residents who turned out last night are not very happy at all with the prospect of noise and shadow flicker impacting on their quality of life.
You see wind turbines have very little impact on the electricity grid. For large parts of the day they either don’t turn at all or need to be switched off if the wind is too fast. They are merely the playthings of watermelon politicians (green on the outside, red on the inside) to meet Co2 targets imposed by Brussels to meet non-existent anthropogenic global warming. Wind turbines are great at putting energy prices up rather than increasing the amount of energy available in the national grid. A socialist’s dream: more money for less benefit!
A watermelon spoke last night in the form of Labour’s Cllr Sandy Martin – the Fairer and Greener Ipswich Portfolio Holder (now there’s a USSR title if there ever was one!) – who discourteously answered the questions and concerns from residents by saying the potential erection of the wind turbines had nothing to do with him or Ipswich Borough Council as Babergh District Council was the planning authority. I suppose as the land owner the Council has no say at all in how their land is used?  Of course they do, and that is why ‘green’ energy firm ‘Partnerships for Renewables’ has been given permission by the Borough Council to site the wind turbines on their land!
Cllr Martin even had the audacity to say it would be improper for the Borough Council to put its views and that of its residents to the planning committee at Babergh. Why? I thought we lived in a representative democracy? Basically the socialists in Ipswich love anything to connected to make-believe global warming and Co2 emission targets and if it causes grief to the masses then so much the better.
This is what living by a wind turbine is really like:


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Time to bust open the Energy Cartel

Profiteering: Electricity and gas prices are going up

Just as the Arctic blast arrives and we find ourselves reaching for the thermostat, the ominous white envelope  lands on the doormat. I wonder what that could be.

Ah, yes, it’s your “friendly” energy company. With all six energy firms trying to scrape every bit of profit off the bottom of the barrel, they ONLY ever spend money on writing to you when they are telling you your bills are going UP. Anything else: go online or wait three hours for a call centre agent to pick up the phone.

And so it happened this weekend when I received said letter from nPower telling me my electricity was going up by 18% and my gas was going up by 16%. But it’s not their fault you see. nPower even had three stock excuses for ramming my energy bill up by NINE TIMES inflation. The first one is the real killer:

“It’s costing us more in taxes and obligations to carry out government environmental and social schemes”

Pointless: the reason your energy bills are going up

What “government environmental” means is wind farms. The energy companies are being forced by law to invest in “renewable” energy, i.e. wind turbines that don’t turn because of a lack of wind or they turn too fast because it is too windy and therefore have to be switched off unless they break.

So instead of adding more energy to the network, wind farms add next to nothing and instead cost you and I more in additional electricity charges. This is all to meet EU-imposed Co2 emissions targets for non-existent anthropogenic global warming. This may be the wet dream of politicians like Tim Yeo and John Selwyn Gummer who are raking in cash from their various directorships of “green economy” companies but for us mere mortals all it means is a higher energy bill each month so our political elite can keep dining in Brussels. In fact, temperatures haven’t risen since 1997 and the last few winters have been perishing with the Met Office predicting another particular cold one this year.

On top of pointless green policies, which reek of a money-making exercise for the enlightened elite bordering on corruption, it is becoming clearer the big six UK energy firms may be in cahoots with each other. In other words, they may be operating a cartel. No real competition exists. Each firm puts up their charges by the same amount. If you switch, you might get an introductory bonus in the form of “cashback” but you will soon be dragged back into a punishing rate with the only option being to go through another painful switching process if you want to save a few pounds. Not worth the effort and the big six know this.

Of course, if any energy firm talks to another about their prices, they would be committing an offence under the Competition Act 1998. People can go to jail for breaking this law. My question is why are we seeing so little enforcement from the government regulator, Ofgem? Surely there is enough anecdotal evidence of wrongdoing. Ofgem did in fact start an enquiry into profiteering two years ago but since then they have gone very quiet.

Well the tipping point is coming as David Cameron saw when he quipped in the House of Commons energy firms will be compelled to give customers “the lowest tariff”. The PM then quickly backtracked when he realised the government hadn’t actually worked up a policy yet. But in any case, does he really think bills will come down if the big six are forced to offer the lowest tariff. All these profiteering firms will do is dump the majority of their price plans and offer one tariff at the highest charge they can with all six energy firms conveniently offering the same price: a big fat high price!

What we need is real competition. The market needs to be opened up to tens of more firms to dilute the influence the big six have. Currently, no free market exists and it is just another case of capitalism only working for the few, not the many.


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70% of Tory members want to exit EU

I think the Conservative high-command will soon have to wake up and smell the coffee. A poll commissioned by Channel 4 News from ConservativeHome has found 70% of Tory members would vote “Out” in an In/Out referendum on Britain’s continuing membership of the European Union.

This is not new information – most commentators would have reached for the 70% figure if not higher. But it is interesting how polls on an EU referendum are now being seriously reported on by the broadcast media and by an outlet – Channel 4 News – not exactly renowned for being on the Right of the debate. It is also a timely reminder that the Conservative leadership, especially after the decision by Cameron to jump into bed with Clegg, is way out of touch with its base. Unless something is said by David Cameron along the lines of “You know what? You’re right. I am off to Brussels to negotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU tomorrow”, then we can expect a haemorrhage of Tory supporters to UKIP in the European Elections in 2014. If that happens, then UKIP will overtake the Conservatives and come first in the poll. By then it may be too late for the Conservative Party to save their credibility on the subject as Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon reports here.

Polls also show the general public split 50:50 on the In/Out question. It is a British political fault line which has to be tackled by our political servants at some point and that time is fast approaching. You have to be over 55 years of age to have been given the opportunity to vote on our membership of the EU or the EEC as it was cunningly called in those days. To be denied a referendum despite 1975 being a generation ago is wholly unacceptable.
The EU is a political organisation and has a highly undemocratic Commission which makes 70% of our laws, stripping away the ability to run our own affairs. The technocrats in Brussels and Strasbourg (where the EU Parliament decamps to every month to appease the French) would rather the birthplace of democracy – Greece – go to hell in a handcart than admit the European Single Currency was a mistake with no economic grounding. I don’t want to be part of this “club” and would rather look out to the world to do business than primarily looking into the slowest growing economic bloc (the European Economic Area) in the world. At present our trade outside of the EU is heavily restricted by Brussels rules – once we had extracted ourselves from her clutches we could leverage our language (the world’s business language of choice), our historical links with the Sub-Continent and represent ourselves in the World Trade Organisation rather than be hidden under the banner of the EU.
That’s a Britain I would be proud to be part of: an independent country doing business across the world in the world’s language.


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EU protection racket

Just when you had heard it all from Brussels, they have spent our money on this advertisement. For an organisation that loves to bang on about human rights and how evil everyone else is in the world apart from the Brussels elite they seem to have a nasty xenophobic streak in them – who’d of thought it?

It also sums up their views on free trade, as in they don’t care very much for it.
The sooner we leave the EU and begin trading with everyone (including our European friends), the better.


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Senior Liberal Democrat advocates leaving EU

For a sign of how far we have come since Thursday you need look no further (if you are one of my local readers) than the latest view of senior Ipswich Liberal Democrat councillor, Andrew Cann. Cllr Cann has written on local blog Ipswich Spy that his view has moved towards the UK leaving the EU.  Let me say this again: a senior Liberal Democrat is advocating leaving the EU.

Cllr Cann poses a number of questions in his article which debunk the EU fanatics theory that we would all go to hell in a handcart if we took back our independence and forged our own way in the world (again). He goes on to say:

“Firstly we’d make our own rules again regarding labour flexibility, working time and continue to improve competitiveness vis-a-vis our European counterparts.
We’d be responsible for our own agricultural and fisheries policies.
We would be free to make our own bilateral agreements with states within the EU regarding movement of labour across borders (something I think benefits the UK).
We would save billions of pounds per annum in net contributions to the EU.
We would not elect Euro MP’s or take part in any of the European Unions institutions.
We would be free to make our own laws regarding public and private procurement subject to what agreements we come to with the WTO and bilaterally.”

So we have a Conservative Prime Minister who vetoes an EU Treaty for the first time in history to protect British interests. We have a Labour opposition who hate Britain so much they would rather side with the French than the British people. And now we have a senior Liberal Democrat who graciously admits he was wrong on the Euro and leaving the EU might be quite a good thing after all.

The political world has changed. It is now highly plausible the United Kingdom will leave the EU within the next decade.