Europe as An Actor on the Global Stage:

This is in the Top 4 items of the Lisbon Treaty At A Glance document on the Europa Website (link below). Is this what anyone in the UK voted for? Anyway enough with the prelude, what does this really mean for any of us?

It gives the EU itself the power to negotiate, implement trade agreements and treaties with other countries. Many people may have heard about the TTIP (Trans Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership) well you have no say over this now. As of 1st December 2014 the EU has the legal right under the Lisbon Treaty to negotiate investment & trade on behalf of the EU states without any permissions from any state.

The EU basically becomes a Limited Company & thus has all the rights, obligations, freedom to contract with anyone anywhere because it is a Legal Personality. So they can decide who to contract with, what for, how long & at what cost.

Questions arise from this include;

1) will the EU make contractual arrangements that are in the best interests of the people in the member states?

2) will they always ensure fair trading & allow tenders from around the world for any items/services they wish to procure?

3) how many new employees will the EU need to employ in order to facilitate this single trading arm?

4) will the EU be bound to purchase the best product at the best price?

5) who will monitor the EU procurement to ensure it is getting the best deal for the people of the EU?

This brings about for all intents & purposes EU PLC – it can do anything any other company can do. Some of us may not like what they do, do we have a right to challenge any contract?

Sort of is the answer, if 1million people throughout the EU get together to force a debate on any policy, trade agreement etc then they might get heard!!!

So basically this Treaty has signed away much of our rights to organise any free trade or other trade with any country.

The EU is now the all powerful behemoth which has now taken over our countries. “the EU is therefore able to speak and take action as a single entity”!

We have no way of changing this, we cannot veto anything. Our only choice now is to invoke article 50 and get out.

The EU is not run on the lines of a commercial entity. It hasn’t had its accounts audited & signed off for 19 years. So the EU PLC would have been shut down!

The EU can even take us to war!!!

Take a look for yourself;

http://www.ec.europa.eu/archives/Lisbon_treaty/glance/external_relations/index_en.htm

So folks we are essentially a small part of a company; our shares do not give us enough voting rights, will not allow us to rescind any contract negotiated by the EU, even if it is a bad deal for the UK.

Welcome to the United States of Europe.

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UKIP – Basic Manifesto Promises via BBC Website

Immigration

UKIP: Introduce an Australian-style points policy, used to select migrants with the skills and attributes needed to work in the country – covering people from inside and outside the EU. Bring net immigration down to 50,000 people a year. Priority lanes for UK passport holders. Increase UK border staff by 2,500. Tougher English language tests for migrants seeking permanent residence. Opt out of the Dublin treaty to allow the UK to return asylum seekers to other EU countries without considering their claim.

Tax & Economy

UKIP: Increase the personal allowance to the level of full-time minimum wage earnings, about £13,500, by 2020. Abolish inheritance tax. Introduce a 35% income tax rate between £42,285 and £55,000, at which point the 40% rate becomes payable. Set up a Treasury Commission to design a turnover tax on large businesses. Cut foreign aid budget by £9bn a year. Scrap HS2. Save £8bn a year in membership fees by leaving the EU.

NHS

UKIP: Ensure all migrants and visitors have NHS approved medical insurance as a condition of entry to UK, with £200m of the £2bn saved to be spent on ending hospital parking charges in England. Tougher regulation of NHS managers. Bring back state-enrolled nurses and return powers to matrons. Monitor and Care Quality Commission to be replaced with county health boards. Stop spending £90m a year on gastric band and breast enhancement operations.

Defence

UKIP: Leave the European Union. Remove the passports of any person who has gone to fight for a terrorist organisation and deport anyone who has committed a terrorist act. Cut foreign aid budget by £9bn. Create a Veterans Department to look after the interests of ex-service men and women.

Jobs

UKIP: Allow firms to offer jobs to British workers first “without the fear of being sued for discrimination”.

Education

UKIP: More grammar schools. Scrap sex education for children aged under seven. Scrap tuition fees for students from poorer backgrounds who take degree courses in the sciences, technology, maths or engineering. Greater emphasis on vocational education with new Apprenticeship Qualification Option. School governing boards must be made up of at least 30% parents of children at the school. Allow universities to charge same amount for EU students as non-EU students.

Housing

UKIP: Protect greenbelt land by incentivising the building of affordable homes on brownfield sites. Establish a UK Brownfield Agency to hand out grants, tax breaks and low interest loans. Major planning decisions to be ratified by local referendum.

Law & Order

UKIP: Repeal Human Rights Act and replace it with UK Bill of Rights. Withdraw from European arrest warrant. No votes for prisoners. Those responsible for criminal damage forced to carry out unpaid work in area where it was committed. Those jailed for offences affecting their community should be banned from returning to live in the area, as a condition of their release. “Complete overhaul” of police taking into account “best practice from other countries”.

Benefits & Poverty

UKIP: Only pay child benefit for the first two children for new claimants. Increase the Carers’ Allowance to the same level as Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) and pay a higher rate of JSA if you’ve been in work and already made tax and National Insurance contributions. Prevent anyone taking up permanent residence in Britain unless they’re able to support themselves and any dependents they bring with them for at least five years and stop them receiving benefits. Stop paying child benefit for children who don’t live in Britain. Scrap what UKIP calls the “detested bedroom tax”. Boost “credit unions”.

The other parties manifesto’s can be viewed at
http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29642613

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Greater Manchester IS the starting point of the EU Regions Development Strategy

Last week Mr George Gideon Osborne went to Manchester to provide the people with a new Mayor & promises of a New Northern Powerhouse to rival London.

Proceed With Extreme caution Mancunians

This is not some deal just put together to make the North-v-South divide disappear. This is part of regional development strategy that will see the
British Isles sliced up into regions. Yes the very regions you vote in for in the EU elections. I’m not joking about this. These plans have been slowly coming to fruition over the past few EU Parliamentary Terms.

It is assumed that we will all sit back & meekly allow not only our country but even parts of our geographical sense of who we are. For example Greater Manchester also covers Bury, Ramsbottom & Heywood. However, when I was growing up these old Mill towns were in the County of Lancashire. In fact since the change to Greater Manchester, that “new label” has never been used by the vast majority of native Lancastrians. We always have & always will refer to ourselves as being Lancashire folk because we are proud Lancastrians!

Only 2 years ago the good people of Manchester voted against having an elected mayor! Here we are 2 years later and not only has the Localism Bill fallen by the wayside but so to has the will of the people!

This has been coming for a long time yet the people have not been given a say, many most likely had no idea this announcement was going to happen let alone that they were going to be the guinea pigs of this great EU Venture.

We have heard that there is a Greater Birmingham proposal which is in the very near offing. To quote Dudley Labour Council Leader, Cllr David Sparks, “a greater Birmingham is Not Only DESIRABLE BUT is INEVITABLE!”

Wait just one cotton picking minute Mr Sparks what about what the people want? The residents of Dudley are proud of their Black Country roots, do you really believe that they will want to be part of a Greater Birmingham? I jolly well doubt it! Will they get a say? Is it too late to save them from this desirable & inevitable state of their Region?

Since the first draft of this blog it has happened! The discussions have been had and 5 authorities have now come together to form some sort of “alliance”! This is not the end of the scheme as soon as Coventry, Solihull & the Shires get on board that will bring about the EU Region as designed by the EU! You may think blimey she’s lost the plot. I can assure you I lost my plot years ago! I do not want my native Lancashire nor the Black Country, Cornwall, Kent or Essex, Middlesborough or Edinburgh becoming the big cities who feed down to the small town councils the crumbs they have left! I know Birmingham Council have to make £300 million of cuts! So if the proposals go ahead how much will these cities take from the budget? You have a think about it, sit and just ask yourself what is the most likely way these cuts will be met?

Sadly, I know of a door, deep inside the EU Parliament (Brussels Annexe) which has on its front not just a number BUT also has the name plate “Greater Birmingham Development Office” (Yes it’s over a few rows to fit on the door!).

Behind this door the Regional Development process for Greater Birmingham is being worked on as you read this! As Cllr Sparks is chairman of Local Government Association (or some such grandiose title which likely commands a hefty allowance too) he will be all to familiar and up to date with this yet he’s not provided the people he serves with full and frank disclosure on this matter.

It would seem to me that they will keep these secrets from us all until it is too late for any of us to change it! So I don’t expect any announcements relating to any of this until after the 2015 elections!

When you hear the plans in June 2015 or just after please remember this blog because you may find your local area being simply known as Region 3 or Region 4 etc!

http://www.agma.gov.uk/

http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/eia

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Anybody’s Child – ChatBack Production

Very busy evening last night. Two important functions attended. First of all the Premier of the latest Chatback Production.

This film group is made up of kids in care. The latest film “Anybody’s Child” was written & performed by kids from the group. A very emotive film about how easy, how fast & how kids can easily become embroiled in Child Sexual Exploitation.

The kids as ever did a fabulous job. The DVD will be no doubt for sale & it is something every family should be aware of. As soon as the DVD is out on sale I will let people know.

A close family friend is involved with the film so I will be quite happy to send people their way to get a copy. I really hope every school will be buying a copy to show to each year group.

I was very proud to be invited & to see the kids doing something very poignant. I’ve had the pleasure of attending the last 2 premiers. By the way Josie Lawrence has again given her time to be in the film. She is such a great supporter of the things the kids have done she’s been in every film I think

Then we were off to UKIP Stourbridge branch event at the Hare & Hounds. The ever lovely & thoughtful Margot Parker MEP gave up her time to speak at the event.

She told people about how she became involved in politics, the hardship endured by those who don’t have private means to fall back on however sheer determination can see you through on relatively little because you invariably still have more than those who come to you for help.

It was a message of hope. That no matter how financially poor you are, in UKIP you must graft, work with the intention of helping make life better for those locally, get involved nationally etc. The key message being that UKIP is an extended family whereby we all look out for each other.

We help people in all regions in every practical way possible whether it be sorting out ASB or the ever glamourous litter picks. There is always a way to help & help people a few at a time.

I’m with Margot & am fully on board with the UKiP family. It’s how we work, it’s how we can support each other to do what we do.

Ps; pain meds worn off so I’m awake waiting for time when I can take my next does. Must remember to get to the chemist later, I’ve run out out of a few of my meds so need to get them or I will be bonkers barmy with pain later!

Young Carers – The Invisible Care Givers

Young carers carry a heavy burden which many may not even be aware of especially teachers & other health professionals. This is because they and their parents unusually worry that the Social Services will break up the family.

Many youngsters care for their disabled/chronically sick parents in many ways.
They often have to care not only for the parent but also for younger siblings. There is a lot of work that goes into running a home and many school age children are running homes, caring for their family and still trying to keep up with school work

The strain this can cause to the young carer isn’t always evident. It can cause other problems for them especially with regard to their education. Many young carers miss school to take a family member to the doctors, hospital appointments, to collect medicines and a lot of the time it is to ensure their parent is cared for all day because there may not be anyone else to do it whilst the young carer attends school. I think it would be a good idea to make it safe for young carers to discuss the extent of the care they give without fear of family break up and so that they can get time off from caring. Time to be the young person they are.

It is essential to give young carers support & understanding. It is vital that young carers are identified early so they can be given this support. If there were a registration system which would reward the young carer & the parent; it may influence more families to come forward & register. Some carers are even of preschool age obviously they may simply help their parent or sibling by picking things up and carrying them. They will see it as a game when so young and in many instances there will be other adults around to care for them. The problem really start to be evident when the young carer gets to high school, they have the brain of the child but the responsibility of an adult. Everything to them is simply black or white, they will think that if they confide in someone that they will get taken away. If you read the newspapers or watch the TV news you hear of cases where kids have gone into care for a myriad of reasons. Many reasons may not even be about the child or children being a young carer but in their heads they will think and you can see the logic – parent can’t take care of children so children taken into foster care.. Be honest you would make a similar link.

Young carers do not get any reward or recognition for their vital role. Especially as they are essentially the hidden carers because they are too young to claim carers allowance so numbers are very sketchy. Lots of local authorities do operate a carers forum & try to assist young carers if they find out about them. If a registration process was put in place this could ensure the young carers are helped so they do not miss too much education. There are ways of ensuring the young carers are supported, there are ways of keeping the family together, there is a way of getting time off for young carers as they need respite as much as the disabled family member does.

We must help to encourage and promote the positive and vital work these youngsters do. We must praise them and slowly win the trust by helping one child at a time if need be, going to one school at a time and discussing the approach that may help the Head of Pastoral care to get an estimate of the numbers if youngsters who need help. Maybe a few weeks of short messages.

This is obviously a stream of consciousness and will require more detail or input from people who already help young carers and lord knows who else. The main thing is that somebody may read this and a light bulb clicks on so that they will give some ideas, proposals, approaches, rewards, target homework to suit the situation and to help devise something that will recognise the input that young carers give.

Each Council does usually have a Young Carers group and there are lots of charities out there to help BUT if the young carer doesn’t admit they are a carer then they go unnoticed, hidden, alone and can suffer with mental health issues. There are plenty of links and groups on the Internet but of we don’t know who is caring or why they are a persistent truant. Maybe it needs a change in the approach used so more youngsters feel comfortable in coming forward to tell their stories.

Oh well that’s all please leave comments on what you think would help, your personal experience of being a young carer and what you think will help others. So it’s over to you guys out there in the blogger/twitter sphere or wherever else to help develop this and maybe to tell me I’m bonkers whatever. Just think about the type of care some youngsters may need to give……could you do it???

The first photo is of me with one of my children, I’m very blessed that I have 3 children, fantastic family, a loving husband not all are as lucky as I am. I can’t thank my family enough for the care they give to me and I’m always trying to come up with ways to show them how grateful I am.

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Benefit Cap – Problems Inherent in the System, part 2

Hello everyone, here the latest instalment of my views regarding Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship benefit changes. The Benefit Cap, as with all the new benefits recently rolled out, was started in April 2013 but only in a handful of Boroughs around London. From DWP Website:

“How much is the benefit cap?

The level of the cap is:
a). £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)

b). £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them

c). £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them”

Any new claimant would be put on the Capped Rate with others being “migrated” over as and when their number is churned out on the DWP Lottery Computer.

On a TV news programme last week, there was a lady who had been receiving £582 per week for her and 8, yes EIGHT, kids.

She is no longer with their father and she is unable to work. “Imagine the child care costs!” It was not discussed whether the father contributes to the children’s upbringing but this is a factor worth looking into.

She was recently migrated over onto the Benefit Cap. If we look at this one family in essence they receive £82 a week less than they did prior to the changeover.

If she wasn’t a single parent and the father of her children was in paid employment, working over 24hrs they would not be, as a family, subject to the benefit cap.

Is this a cunning ploy to encourage the together but apart families, who can get more money under the current system, to become a “legitimate” family? Maybe not, BUT if this is an unintended consequence then the winners will be the children and the taxpayers.

It may be that this family of 9 will be “signposted” (this week’s new buzzword) or told where the foodbank is, given the voucher and sent on their not so merry way.

Clothing can be bought from charity shops, there will no doubt be hand-me-downs and school uniform for the kids in Junior school is quite cheap in the supermarkets these days. There may also be access to what was the “Social Fund”. This is no longer a cash benefit claimed via the DWP, it’s a new benefit given out by local councils. They can give vouchers to purchase food, clothing and necessities in the home such as beds, cookers and bedding.

There are some people and families who will not be subject to the cap. Some of you may remember Heather Frost, the Mother of 12. She has never worked, had her first child aged just 14.

What do these two Mothers have in common and what makes them different?

Well they both have 8 or 9 kids living at home, they do not live with the father(s) of their children. One has to manage on £500 per week but the other one does not because she falls into the category whereby the Cap does not affect her level of benefits.

It is a legitimate reason, for the difference being that one of Ms Frost’s children has a disability. Simply purchasing the most basic equipment to help make the child’s quality of life and possible ways towards some independence is eye wateringly expensive!

For Those Not Affected by the Cap, I’ll quote the DWP Website again:

“You’re not affected by the benefit cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:

1) Disability Living Allowance
2) Personal Independence Payment
3) Attendance Allowance
4) Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
6) Employment and Support Allowance, if you get the support component
7) War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension
8) War pensions
9) Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
10) Armed Forces Independence Payment”

I would keep the cap but would reduce the amounts payable BUT I would not want kids to suffer though. So for children already living I would recommend that the families who would lose most (those with the largest numbers of children) be exempt, implementing the measure with respect to children born after a given date.

Those who have 3 children are likely receiving around £500 so there would be no changes needed. However should a family decide to have a 4th child then they would not receive any more money in benefits.

This is likely to discourage people from having extra-large families in the future, who could once have been “paid” for simply having babies. That “Career Path” would be closed to them!

It’s no fault of the children if their parents decide to have so many of them. I just worry that the kids living in a capped household may suffer and it may limit their life choices in the future.

The Government will not have considered the wider macro repercussions. The impact on the Social Services budget will be phenomenal as it is likely kids who are not in any danger of abuse by their parents could end up being taken into care, simply because they’re hungry.

We are supposedly living in in the 7th Largest Economy in the world yet some of our most vulnerable people are having to go to food-banks so they don’t starve. It is what you’d expect to hear about in a Dickensian novel not in 21st Century Britain.

So as with Universal Credit bomb and The Benefit Cap scud missile about to go boom, I fear the children will be the unintended casualties of this badly drafted piece of legislation!

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Lies, Liars & the appeasers

This week has seen the culmination of a very long, very lengthy trial costing us the taxpayers in region of £5m pounds!

I am unable to comment on the person who was found guilty on one count & may well possibly face a retrial due to a certain person who should have known better! The concept of subjudicy appears to have escaped pone who should know better but of course the MSM too!

They have hounded, harangued & essentially, I could well be argued, put themselves & a certain person who is at the top of the political monkey puzzle tree; in a position to force a possible retrial or as is very likely to happen a complete vindication on 2 of the 3 charges they were being tried for!

So this £5m show trial has a scapegoat BUT the person found guilty of the first act is likely never to have to face any further criminal proceedings on 2 other very important & serious charges.

So the media have their sacrificial lamb but he won’t be sacrificed in the usual way he is likely to limp around the field with one of those little wheelchair harnesses for his back legs! So no likely he’ll face no prison time due to the actions of a former employer! Hack on Tag – possibly a new column in the Phoenix from the ashes “News Of The World”!

All of this sorry & distasteful costly trial could have been better used to get rid of the Under Occupancy Charge, sanctions on disabled people, big families caught in benefit cap (it shouldn’t have been retrospective as the children already exist & they will be the ones to suffer) and/or any manner of things. It would also have been better remaining, for the most part, in the Budget for Criminal Justice or better known as Legal Aid. So many people now do not qualify & are unrepresented in court! As happened to an octogenarian accused of murder in the past few weeks!

so much for the great work done by Garrow a few centuries ago which instead of assisting the accused to fight their case; it appears now to be sadly returning to the style of justice often portrayed in period dramas.

Sorry about that side step, as you regular readers will no doubt know I am a bit of an Anorak on certain things.

Back to the ex-employee of extremely high standing who could have possibly used his contacts or lists of who is who to seek out information which may or may not have allowed them access to the personal telephone number of others working in the same “Mother of All P_R_I_M_N_T’s” (bit of an easy crossword to break up the monotony of Sudoku – play on again now) whom they could hack then more easily? It’s possible, don’t you think??

Now back to our very prominent person, whom is disliked in all of the EU countries including the UK. Yesterday he knowingly gave an interview about how he had been taken in by this Swiss Tony of Fleet Street, given him a 2nd chance (wasn’t aware he’d been previously been caught, cautioned or indeed prosecuted when asked to do the job he did inside 10 Downing Street). It shows such people & an associated agencies (Not in an outside manner) in their true colours!

However, this interview has basically been given and has thus automatically has scuppered any chance of getting a “fair trial”! Or indeed a retrial! Funny how things pan out when your sibling is the Counsel for one of the accused, one could jump to conclusions of words possibly said over Sunday Lunch but we wouldn’t do such a thing because we mere functionaries and taxpayers wouldn’t dare think such a thing and if we did we know better than to comment.

I shall leave you to the inevitable media scrum or three to make your own views. For this is my mere 2p’s worth and no doubt some will likely reply saying it’s not worth tuppence, I take such “constructive criticism” with the pinch of salt each deserves by the rate of salt collection I dare say will keep my path free of snow for a while in the winter months.

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