Tag: David Cameron

All change at 10 Downing Street!

Well, perhaps not completely all change!

There will be few who can’t have heard of the enormous changes going on in my old country, with Teresa May now Britain’s second female Prime Minister. Talk about out with the old and in with the new!

But as this lovely story recently published over on the Smithsonian Magazine website illustrates, it’s not total change.

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10 Downing Street’s “Chief Mouser” Is Keeping His Job Despite Brexit

Larry the Cat will outlast David Cameron at the Prime Minister’s residence
Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office (Her Majesty's Government)
Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office (Her Majesty’s Government)
By Danny Lewis  smithsonian.com
July 14, 2016

In the weeks since British citizens voted to leave the European Union in a national referendum, the government of the United Kingdom has seen its share of political turmoil. Following the results of the vote, then-Prime Minister and “Remain” supporter David Cameron announced that he would be stepping down, and has now been replaced by his successor, Theresa May. But while Cameron has officially left the Prime Minister’s residence and offices at 10 Downing Street in London, at least one of his appointees will remain in May’s service: a brown and white tabby cat named Larry.

“It’s a civil servant’s cat and does not belong to the Camerons—he will be staying,” a government official tells the BBC.

Larry first came to 10 Downing Street in 2011, when Cameron adopted him from a rescue home in hopes that the feline would help handle a mouse infestation plaguing the Prime Minister’s residence. As the first cat to hold the title of Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, Larry has become a familiar face in and around the building over the years.

“Larry spends his days greeting guests to the house, inspecting security defenses and testing antique furniture for napping quality,” an official government website detailing the history of 10 Downing Street writes. “His day-to-day responsibilities also include contemplating a solution to the mouse occupancy of the house. Larry says this is still ‘in tactical planning stage.’”

However, despite being touted as a “good ratter” with “a high chase-drive and hunting instinct,” some reports suggest that Larry is not as good at his job as official statements might lead one to believe. Indeed, Larry has faced harsh scrutiny for slacking on the job, as his love of long naps often gets in the way of his hunting duties, Jack Goodman reports for Atlas Obscura. In one incident, Cameron reportedly was forced to throw a silver fork at a mouse to shoo it away during a meeting with other government officials, even after Larry was brought on board to handle the problem. However, despite his lack of progress on the mouse problem, Larry has managed to continue to retain his position.

While Larry may be the first cat to hold this particular title, he isn’t the first cat to make his home at 10 Downing Street. During the 1920s, Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald brought along his cat, Rufus of England, and, in the 1930s and ’40s, the so-called “Munich Mouser” ran rampant throughout the residence, the BBC reports. In the 1970s, a cat named Wilberforce took up guard. Upon retirement, he was replaced by a stray who wandered into the offices during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership (he was called Humphrey). The last cat before Larry to hold court at 10 Downing Street was Sybil, who belonged to former Chancellor Alastair Darling. However, she reportedly did not care for city life, and later retired with Darling to his home in the Scottish countryside.

Whatever other effects the decision to leave the European Union will have on the United Kingdom’s government in the coming weeks, Larry’s position as “top cat,” at least, remains assured.

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 Well done, Larry!

The Great Unmentionable by George Monbiot.

A real pleasure and privilege to republish this article from Mr. Monbiot.

For some time now I have subscribed to the articles published by The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.  From time to time references have been made to PRI articles here on Learning from Dogs.

Recently, I read a PRI essay that had been penned by George Monbiot.  It was called The Great Unmentionable.  It blew me away.  So I took a deep breath and dropped George M. an email asking if I might republish it here.  George was very gracious in giving me such permission.

Mr. George Monbiot.
Mr. George Monbiot.

First some background to George Monbiot for those who are unfamiliar with his work and his writings.  As his website explains:

I had an unhappy time at university, and I now regret having gone to Oxford, even though the zoology course I took – taught, among others, by Richard Dawkins, Bill Hamilton and John Krebs – was excellent. The culture did not suit me, and when I tried to join in I fell flat on my face, sometimes in a drunken stupor. I enjoyed the holidays more: I worked on farms and as a waterkeeper on the River Kennet. I spent much of the last two years planning my escape. There was only one job I wanted, and it did not yet exist: to make investigative environmental programmes for the BBC.

After hammering on its doors for a year, I received a phone call from the head of the BBC’s natural history unit during my final exams. He told me: “you’re so fucking persistent you’ve got the job.” They took me on, in 1985, as a radio producer, to make wildlife programmes. Thanks to a supportive boss, I was soon able to make the programmes I had wanted to produce. We broke some major stories. Our documentary on the sinking of a bulk carrier off the coast of Cork, uncovering evidence that suggested it had been deliberately scuppered, won a Sony award.

Anyway, to the article in question that was published on the Guardian Newspaper’s website, 12th April 2013.

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The Great Unmentionable

April 12, 2013

We have offshored both our consumption and our perceptions

By George Monbiot

Every society has topics it does not discuss. These are the issues which challenge its comfortable assumptions. They are the ones that remind us of mortality, which threaten the continuity we anticipate, which expose our various beliefs as irreconcilable.

Among them are the facts which sink the cosy assertion, that (in David Cameron’s words) “there need not be a tension between green and growth.”

At a reception in London recently I met an extremely rich woman, who lives, as most people with similar levels of wealth do, in an almost comically unsustainable fashion: jetting between various homes and resorts in one long turbo-charged holiday. When I told her what I did, she responded, “oh I agree, the environment is so important. I’m crazy about recycling.” But the real problem, she explained, was “people breeding too much”.

I agreed that population is an element of the problem, but argued that consumption is rising much faster and – unlike the growth in the number of people – is showing no signs of levelling off. She found this notion deeply offensive: I mean the notion that human population growth is slowing. When I told her that birth rates are dropping almost everywhere, and that the world is undergoing a slow demographic transition, she disagreed violently: she has seen, on her endless travels, how many children “all those people have”.

As so many in her position do, she was using population as a means of disavowing her own impacts. The issue allowed her to transfer responsibility to other people: people at the opposite end of the economic spectrum. It allowed her to pretend that her shopping and flying and endless refurbishments of multiple homes are not a problem. Recycling and population: these are the amulets people clasp in order not to see the clash between protecting the environment and rising consumption.

In a similar way, we have managed, with the help of a misleading global accounting system, to overlook one of the gravest impacts of our consumption. This too has allowed us to blame foreigners – particularly poorer foreigners – for the problem.

When nations negotiate global cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, they are held responsible only for the gases produced within their own borders. Partly as a result of this convention, these tend to be the only ones that countries count. When these “territorial emissions” fall, they congratulate themselves on reducing their carbon footprints. But as markets of all kinds have been globalised, and as manufacturing migrates from rich nations to poorer ones, territorial accounting bears ever less relationship to our real impacts.

While this is an issue which affects all post-industrial countries, it is especially pertinent in the United Kingdom, where the difference between our domestic and international impacts is greater than that of any other major emitter. The last government boasted that this country cut greenhouse gas emissions by 19% between 1990 and 2008. It positioned itself (as the current government does) as a global leader, on course to meet its own targets, and as an example for other nations to follow.

But the cut the UK has celebrated is an artefact of accountancy. When the impact of the goods we buy from other nations is counted, our total greenhouse gases did not fall by 19% between 1990 and 2008. They rose by 20%. This is despite the replacement during that period of many of our coal-fired power stations with natural gas, which produces roughly half as much carbon dioxide for every unit of electricity. When our “consumption emissions”, rather than territorial emissions, are taken into account, our proud record turns into a story of dismal failure.

There are two further impacts of this false accounting. The first is that because many of the goods whose manufacture we commission are now produced in other countries, those places take the blame for our rising consumption. We use China just as we use the population issue: as a means of deflecting responsibility. What’s the point of cutting our own consumption, a thousand voices ask, when China is building a new power station every 10 seconds (or whatever the current rate happens to be)?

But, just as our position is flattered by the way greenhouse gases are counted, China’s is unfairly maligned. A graph published by the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee shows that consumption accounting would reduce China’s emissions by roughly 45%. Many of those power stations and polluting factories have been built to supply our markets, feeding an apparently insatiable demand in the UK, the US and other rich nations for escalating quantities of stuff.

gm1

The second thing the accounting convention has hidden from us is consumerism’s contribution to global warming. Because we consider only our territorial emissions, we tend to emphasise the impact of services – heating, lighting and transport for example – while overlooking the impact of goods. Look at the whole picture, however, and you discover (using the Guardian’s carbon calculator) that manufacturing and consumption is responsible for a remarkable 57% of the greenhouse gas production caused by the UK.

Unsurprisingly, hardly anyone wants to talk about this, as the only meaningful response is a reduction in the volume of stuff we consume. And this is where even the most progressive governments’ climate policies collide with everything else they represent. As Mustapha Mond points out in Brave New World, “industrial civilization is only possible when there’s no self-denial. Self-indulgence up to the very limits imposed by hygiene and economics. Otherwise the wheels stop turning”.

The wheels of the current economic system – which depends on perpetual growth for its survival – certainly. The impossibility of sustaining this system of endless, pointless consumption without the continued erosion of the living planet and the future prospects of humankind, is the conversation we will not have.

By considering only our territorial emissions, we make the impacts of our escalating consumption disappear in a puff of black smoke: we have offshored the problem, and our perceptions of it.

But at least in a couple of places the conjuring trick is beginning to attract some attention.

On April 16th, the Carbon Omissions site will launch a brilliant animation by Leo Murray, neatly sketching out the problem*. The hope is that by explaining the issue simply and engagingly, his animation will reach a much bigger audience than articles like the one you are reading can achieve.

(*Declaration of interest (unpaid): I did the voiceover).

On April 24th, the Committee on Climate Change (a body that advises the UK government) will publish a report on how consumption emissions are likely to rise, and how government policy should respond to the issue.

I hope this is the beginning of a conversation we have been avoiding for much too long. How many of us are prepared fully to consider the implications?

www.monbiot.com

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So very difficult to pick out the sentence that carried the most power, for the essay is powerful from start to end.  But this one did hit me in the face, “The impossibility of sustaining this system of endless, pointless consumption without the continued erosion of the living planet and the future prospects of humankind, is the conversation we will not have.

Finally, I can’t resist reminding you, dear reader, of the point made by Prof. Guy McPherson in his book Walking Away from Empire, which I reviewed on March 6th.  particularly in the first paragraph of the first chapter; Reason:

At this late juncture in the era of industry, it seems safe to assume we face one of two futures. If we continue to burn fossil fuels, we face imminent environmental collapse. If we cease burning fossil fuels, the industrial economy will collapse. Industrial humans express these futures as a choice between your money or your life, and tell you that, without money, life isn’t worth living. As should be clear by now, industrial humans — or at least our “leaders” — have chosen not door number one (environmental collapse) and not door number two (economic collapse), but both of the above.

Maybe this is why we seem unable to have the conversation because to do so means we have to look at ourselves in the mirror.  Each one of us, you and me, has to address something so deeply personal.  Back to Prof. McPherson and page 177 of his book (my emphasis):

It’s no longer just the living planet we should be concerned about. It’s us. The moral question, then: What are you going to do about it?

For my money, Mr. Monbiot is yet another voice of reason in the wilderness; another voice that deserves to be followed.  I say this because by way of introduction to his philosophy, he opens thus:

My job is to tell people what they don’t want to hear. That is not what I set out to do. I wanted only to cover the subjects I thought were interesting and important. But wherever I turned, I met a brick wall of denial.

Denial is everywhere. I have come to believe that it’s an intrinsic component of our humanity, an essential survival strategy. Unlike other species, we know that we will die. This knowledge could destroy us, were we unable to blot it out. But, unlike other species, we also know how not to know. We employ this unique ability to suppress our knowledge not just of mortality, but of everything we find uncomfortable, until our survival strategy becomes a threat to our survival.

“… until our survival strategy becomes a threat to our survival.”

I sense the growing of this threat to the point where maybe within less than a year the vast majority of open-minded, thinking individuals know the truth of where we are all heading.

A plea from the Executive Director of Greenpeace UK

Attention all UK-based Learning from Dogs readers: I received this email today and felt compelled to publish it on my blog – and now here as well (thanks Paul).

For the benefit of new readers (thank you – and welcome – to you all), when you read the email appended below, please bear in mind that I am (or at least have been) a supporter of the Conservative Party.  However, I am very upset by the way in which the Coalition government’s position regarding the Climate Change Act (and our commitments to invest in renewable power generation technologies of all kinds) is being undermined by climate change sceptics who have been encouraging people like John Hayes (Energy Minister) and George Osborne (Chancellor) to question the sense of investing in the Green Economy.

It is also worth pointing out that I do not agree with Greenpeace’s attitude to GMOs or Nuclear Power but, that does not prevent me from supporting them in their attempts to publicise the failure of our politicians to take a strategic long-term decision (to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels) and stick to it.  I therefore hope you will consider adding your name to the online petition to the Prime Minister to get him to face-down the sceptics in his own party; and stick to his election manifesto pledge to lead “the greenest ever government”.

**************************************************

Hi Martin,

I don’t normally email you, but this campaign you’re part of is making headlines.

It’s been front page of the newspapers for two days now and over 35,000 of us have told David Cameron to weed out the climate saboteurs in his party.

But we need many more in our movement if we are to overcome this new anti-climate ‘Tea Party’ trend infecting UK politics.

Please forward the email below to one person you know who will join us. If we all do that, we’ll be 70,000 strong by tomorrow.

Right now we have the opportunity to define our future. If the government does the right thing, we could be getting our energy from renewable sources which would create new jobs, stabilise our bills and help protect the rapidly melting Arctic.

But all that is in danger now as highlighted by our undercover investigation.

If we want a green and a peaceful world the most important thing we can do is source our energy in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. Our only choice is clean energy – let’s demand it from the government.

Please forward the email below to at least one person who will join us.

We’re only getting started,

John Sauven
Executive Director
Greenpeace UK

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Hi there,

Over 20,000 people have already told David Cameron to stop Osborne sabotaging progress on climate change.

If these Conservatives have their way, we’ll have more dirty, expensive gas power stations written into the Energy Bill. The bill is crucial in shaping the way our electricity is generated for the next 30 years.

Osborne wants to hand the Energy Bill – and our future – to the gas companies, allowing them to build dozens of new gas power stations. This dash for gas could lead to decades of unrestricted carbon emissions and increasingly volatile household bills, plunging more people into fuel poverty.

We need the opposite, so join the campaign for a future built on clean energy.

A clean Energy Bill would mean almost zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2030, a new wave of clean energy and a thriving green economy with tens of thousands of new jobs.

A majority of us – 64% of the British public – want renewable energy powering our lives.

Osborne knows he’s in the minority, and recent investigations shows he’s positioning climate sceptics and anti-wind MPs in key government roles – like pieces on a chessboard – to undermine the progress we’ve made.

But Osborne still answers to the prime minister.

It now falls to David Cameron to respond to the scandal we’ve uncovered and decide where his party – and our country – is going.

At the last election when looking for our votes, Cameron rebranded the Conservative party with the environment at its heart. Our undercover investigation shows he has a fundamental question to answer: will he side with the majority of the British public, or the dirty energy faction led by George Osborne?

Tell David Cameron to listen to the country on clean energy, and please watch the undercover report and share.

Thanks,

Pete and the Energy Team
Greenpeace

The end of an era, part one.

A review of David Kauder’s recently published book, The Greatest Crash.

Details of the availability of the book are included at the end of both parts of my review, part two is published tomorrow.

Extracts from the book included are with grateful thanks to Sparkling Books.

Personal introduction.

Back in the late 90s, when I was living in England, I attempted to bolster my self-employed income by investing and trading in equities. It was a frustrating game, game being the right word! One day I was lamenting this to a close friend and he gave me the name of David Kauders at Kauders Portfolio Management and suggested I might like to contact him.

I followed my friend’s recommendation and met with David. What he outlined at that meeting all those years ago was mind-blowing, no other way of putting it. Essentially, David predicted a financial and economic crisis of huge proportions. He convinced me of the likelihood of that crisis and in November 2001 I became a fee-paying client. As the world now knows that prediction came to fruition. My anticipated residency in the USA meant continuing to be a client was not possible, and I ceased being a client of Kauders Portfolio Management in June 2010.

Thus not only am I deeply indebted to my friend for referring me to David but also unable to write this review from an unprejudiced point of view.

The Greatest Crash

The book, released in paperback in England in October 2011, published by Sparkling Books, is subtitled ‘How contradictory policies are sinking the global economy‘. Frankly, that subtitle doesn’t do much for me. A clearer message that comes from the book is this: the economic world has reached a ‘systems limit’. Indeed, the term systems limit is used widely throughout the book.

In his introduction to the book, Professor D. R. Myddelton, Chairman of the Institute of Economic Affairs, writes,

Adam Smith said ‘There’s a deal of ruin in a nation’, and it would be a mistake to despair. But one of the things we need now is new thinking on the fundamentals. That is what David Kauders provides in his book ‘The Greatest Crash’.

Without doubt, David achieves that.

Starting with the first sentence, David sets out the core problem;

This book argues that it is impossible to expand the financial system much further.

expanding this a few paragraphs later,

This is the financial system limit: lack of new borrowing plus excessive weight of debt obligations from past borrowing combine to slow economies down. This is the barrier whichever way policy makers turn. It is like the lid on a boiling kettle. Enough steam can lift it for a while but it always snaps back into place. The financial system limit is a roadblock preventing growth.

A few pages later in this opening chapter ‘The roadblock preventing growth‘ this limit is explained thus,

Policy contradictions also show us that the financial system has reached a roadblock. The glaring conflict between bailout and austerity is at the core. Each bailout or stimulus requires creation of more credit, leading to false financial speculation, and for a short while markets recover their poise. The threat of inflation returns. Later, bad debts rise, the markets tumble again and a new crisis emerges. Austerity, the alternative policy, cuts spending thereby cutting the immediate level of economic activity and bringing economic decline more quickly than the stimulus alternative. Whichever way they turn, the authorities are damned.

In the next chapter, ‘Evolution by trial and error‘, David writes about economic cycles and reminds his readers that the long economic cycle is often “beyond the practical experiences of our working lifetimes“.  Then later suggesting that because we have seen the greatest period of inflation ever since the end of World War Two, ergo “the unwelcome lesson from history is that the greatest deflation should follow.

In Chapter 4, ‘An Era of Wishful Thinking‘, the spotlight is put on the horrific policy errors that have been made for decades, try these three examples (there is a longer list in the book),

  • Policy makers believed that debt could expand indefinitely, at no cost.
  • Nobody realised that interest rate rises would make existing borrowing unaffordable and cause a wave of defaults.
  • The world was swamped with so many detailed requirements and standards that nobody could understand how they all fitted together. It was assumed that ‘transparency’, i.e. extensive detail, would solve the inability to comprehend how the parts made the whole.

Part Two of the review, continuing with Chapter 5 is tomorrow.

Want to buy The Greatest Crash?  The ebook was published in October worldwide, the  paperback published in the UK on the 1st November UK, the hardcover being released any day now in the UK.  For North America both the paperback and hardcover versions are being published on 1st February, 2012.

Full details from the Sparkling Books webpage here.

Copyright © 2011 Paul Handover

What exactly is the truth?

What makes an open society function healthily?.

I suspect very few of you regular readers will recall that in 2009 (24th June to be precise) I ran a very short article under a similar title.  This is what was published.

A simple heading but, in truth, a very complex subject.  This was brought home by a recent article in The Economist by Bagehot.  That is “Politicians frequently lie. So does everyone else. Why all the fuss?”

Bagehot writes a Blog so those who don’t read the newspaper can read the rest of his thesis here.

Here’s some of that essay by Bagehot,

On lying

Jun 30th 2009, 14:43 by Bagehot

THE WORD “lie” means something very specific. It doesn’t mean a misleading statement, or an exaggeration, or a half-truth: it is a falsehood advanced intentionally and knowingly. That is why, in my column last week, I wrote that probably only Tony Blair and his crew could know whether they “lied” about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Only they can know what was in their heads, and how far their public utterances diverged from their inner convictions. For that reason the question of lying over Iraq seems to me a bit of a red herring and distraction. What can be proved about their sloppiness and embellishments, and has been, is bad enough.

Lying is back in the news this week. Gordon Brown stands accused by various newspapers and columnists of deliberately misleading the public about the government’s fiscal position. Ditto Ed Balls, the prime minister’s henchman, who evidently doesn’t take kindly to having his integrity impugned in this way. David Cameron is a bit more periphrastic, knowing that in political parlance the “l” word is a nuclear accusation; but he came pretty close to it yesterday with his talk of “a thread of dishonesty” running through Mr Brown’s premiership.

There are (at least) two big questions provoked by this revived interest in lying. First and most obviously, are Mr Brown, Mr Balls and others really and indisputably liars? Do the fiscal figures they cite and twist in any way support the interpretation they put on them–at least enough to make it credible that they believe what they are saying, even if no-one else does? If so, they may not be lying. They may be over-optimistic, incompetent or deluded. But they are not obviously liars.

Just re-read those last few sentences, “Do the fiscal figures they cite and twist in any way support the interpretation they put on them–at least enough to make it credible that they believe what they are saying, even if no-one else does? If so, they may not be lying. They may be over-optimistic, incompetent or deluded. But they are not obviously liars.

Delay your judgement for just a few minutes while we go to this next item.  This next item is a recent essay from John Maudlin, the financial expert, about the latest jobs report in the US.

What Happened to the Jobs?

By John Mauldin

July 7, 2011

The US jobs report came out this morning, and it was simply dismal. This week we look at not only the jobs report but also “what-if” proffers for the US and global economies. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump in.

First, there were only 18,000 jobs created in June, the lowest since September 2010. While private employment rose by 57,000, government workers dropped by 39,000, continuing a trend as governments at all levels work to cut their budgets. Long-time readers know I think it is important to look at the direction of the revisions, and we got no help. May was revised down by 29,000 jobs and April a further down 15,000.

I saw some headlines and talking heads in the mainstream media saying the poor number was due to “seasonals,” and I just shook my head. If you are that reflexively bullish when presented with what was clearly a bad report, how can you be taken seriously? You know who you are. And then Philippa Dunne of the Liscio Report sent the following note. She is one of the best data mavens there is on jobs and employment.

John M. then includes quite a long extract from Philippa’s note. You can read it and the rest of John’s article here.  Here’s how that extract from Philippa Dunne ends,

Also, there is no adjustment to the headline number – the sectors are adjusted separately (96 different industries at the 3-digit NAICS level, to be precise) and the total is the sum of those components. The whole argument is bogus.

Notice that last sentence, “The whole argument is bogus.” [My emboldening, Ed.]

OK, clearly not lying, in the strict definition of the term.  But still delay your judgement.

Back on the 25th June this year, I wrote a piece with the title of Lying is OK, that’s official! Duh!  I stated very clearly that lying is wrong!  Mind you, one could at least congratulate Jean Claude Juncker for honestly admitting being a liar. (Jean Claude Juncker is the Prime Minister of Luxembourg and the head of the Eurogroup council of eurozone finance ministers.)  Here’s that video clip with Juncker admitting that when it’s serious one has to lie!  (Listen carefully, the words are quietly spoken.)

Finally, I have long followed Yves Smith’s excellent Blog, Naked Capitalism. Just yesterday, Yves wrote a powerful piece,

MONDAY, JULY 11, 2011

More Proof That Obama is Herbert Hoover

Not only is Obama assuring that he will go down as one of the worst Presidents in history, but for those who have any doubts, he is also making it clear that his only allegiance is to the capitalist classes and their knowledge worker arms and legs.

It’s an angry essay that has, at it’s heart, an anger at the lack of true representative government, remember the one that Abraham Lincoln had in mind when he wrote, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.

Yves concludes in that article thus,

Even knowing how dedicated to bad ends Obama is, I still feel like I’ve walked into a parallel universe. He’s now determined to make these horrific entitlement cuts a sign of his manhood. This is “Change” for sure, to a more brutal, grasping, dog eat dog society, all administered by self serving elites. They will in the end reap the whirlwind they are creating, but not before it mows a path of destruction through our social order.

Right, time to draw it all together.

Despite my chest-beating on the subject of politicians and leaders deliberately lying in that recent piece about Juncker, there’s something much more fundamental.  What defines lying is really not that important.  It’s whether or not we trust that our leaders are doing their best for their constituents, to the best of their abilities.

Whether you support left-leaning or right-leaning policies is unimportant; indeed political differences and the ability to vote for one’s beliefs is at the heart of an open democracy.

But if we don’t trust that our leaders are doing their best for our country then that causes the destruction of faith.  If we do not have faith in those that lead us then the breakdown of a civilised social order becomes a very real risk.

These are such difficult times impacting us across so many fronts. Scarily, one seems to find many who have lost much faith in their leaders.

That, my friends, is the truth.

Maybe, just maybe ….

… David Cameron and Nick Clegg represent real positive change for the UK.

Another amazing day for British politics as Gordon Brown tendered his resignation to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and in less than an hour the Queen asked David Cameron if he would form a Government.

That wonderful unwritten constitution dealing with a change of Prime Minister in such a beautiful and dignified manner.

Nick Clegg

All I want to say is that these two men have my prayers and best wishes for delivering what so many millions want – a better and fairer way of running a modern democracy.

Rt Hon David Cameron

By Paul Handover

Stop Flaunting Sexuality Please

Oh, this is really clever! Not!

I was stunned the other day to read this:

In the latest development in his campaign to show how dramatically the Tories have changed, David Cameron has published the party’s first-ever official list of openly gay MPs.

The Conservatives say they have 20 openly gay candidates standing in the Election. Of those, 11 told party chiefs they were ‘happy’ to be named in the first authorised list of gay Conservative candidates.

David Cameron

Homosexuality is no longer – thankfully – a crime.  It has always existed and no doubt always will. It is therefore – logically – a normal feature of human society. Isn’t it time to accept it as such and stop flaunting it constantly in the media? Can we not keep private those parts of our lives which are private? Do heterosexuals go around flaunting their heterosexuality?

Why on earth does a potential government-forming party feel obliged to publish lists of people’s sexuality? Why do I suddenly feel as if I am bizarre in thinking that one’s sexuality should be something private? Personally I haven’t got the faintest interest in other people’s sexual inclinations. Like religion, it should be personal and not eternally flaunted in the media.

And it is all illogical. Either homosexuality is normal or it isn’t. If it is (as it is), then why the constant need to bang on about it, as for example in the Tory party? What on earth has it got to do with running the country? Are the Tories supposed to be better-qualified to run the country the more homosexuals they have? Is there a point at which having TOO MANY becomes a negative point? Would they then start to proclaim how many heterosexuals they had? On a personal level, I keep my sexuality to myself. It is nothing to do with you and certainly not with running the country.

It is analagous to sex in the media. It is overdone. The endless superficial titillation and flaunting of sexuality is demeaning of the Human Spirit. Sex is – or should be – a private matter. It’s better that way. It is more mature that way, but the media – and now the political parties – sink to the lowest denominator instead of focusing on what really matters.

Please, please give us some politicians with common-sense.

By Chris Snuggs