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T_i_B

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,465

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Ah, Irvine Patnick

I grew up in Sheffield Hallam, and as such Patnick was my MP during my formative years.

My (VERY right-wing) parents had dealings with him as a constituency MP and rated him highly. However, looking at his record as an MP it's difficult to concur.

Conservatism in Sheffield died in Patnick's time as an MP, he was one of the last Sheffield Tories to be booted out. He lost Hallam to the Lib Dems with an 18% swing against him. I think that might have been the biggest anti-tory swing of any constituency that election (and that took some doing even in 1997 when the Tories were decimated).

For some time now there have been no elected officials at any level from the Conservative Party in Sheffield. During Patnick's time they only ever seemed to campaign in the very poshest areas of the constituency, and these days the most you ever see of Sheffield Tories is anonymous bile on Sheffield Forum.

Patnick was not exactly sympathetic to people suffering due to Thatcher's economic polices. Given how badly a northern manufacturing town like Sheffield was affected that was an incredibly bad attitude to take. It should have served as a warning to the current Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg but sadly he's currently repeating many of the same mistakes made by Irvine Patnick.

Patnick was a government whip during John Major's government when the Tory Party was tearing itself apart over Europe. I remember him mainly as a loyal party man, although right now all anybody is noticing about him on Twitter is his support of Apartheid, the death penalty and opposition to gay rights. He was knighted in 1994 and a Labour MP (John Mann) has already written to the prime minister requesting that he be stripped of his knighthood over his porkies regarding the Hillsborough.

Apparently the press are outside his house right now waiting for an apology that may or may not be forthcoming. Even that scumbag Kelvin Mackenzie has offered an insincere apology, trying to pass the buck onto Patnick.

I am increasingly worried about the debate on EU membership in the UK

It's being dominated by people who have not got the slightest clue about international trade, which is the biggest benefit we get from EU membership.

Contrary to what the likes of UKIP would have you believe, leaving the EU would greatly increase red tape and taxation in the form of import duties, which would make UK businesses much less competitive as it would be much less easy to export and would drive up the cost of imports (which would be very bad for our economy given how much we do import).

There is a lot about the EU that I dislike, but I do wish that debate on the subject of Europe could be just a little more nuanced. The "Europe right or wrong" mentality of some pro-EU types doesn't help either if I'm honest.

It's time to demolish the myth about Tony Blair

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/owen-jones-its-time-to-demolish-the-myth-about-tony-blair-7808282.html

You will struggle to find more devout supporters of Tony Blair than those at the top of the Conservative leadership. "I can't hold it back any more; I love Tony!" Michael Gove once exclaimed. David Cameron famously described himself as "the heir to Blair", and senior Tories refer to him as "The Master". "His influence is very firmly felt," a senior Tory told The Times. "He's like the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo – gone but still greatly admired." Screaming teenagers at Take That concerts in the mid-1990s come to mind. Tories really love Blair not because of his undoubted political skills, but because they think he was "one of us", albeit trapped by the Labour Party. In his first joust with Blair after taking over as Conservative leader, Cameron offered to support him against his own party over his policy of marketising comprehensive education. "With our support, the Prime Minister knows there is no danger of losing these education reforms in a Parliamentary vote," Cameron crooned, mocking Labour backbenchers. "So he can afford to be as bold as he wants to be." And, in reality, Labour's current opposition to what the Coalition is doing is hobbled by the fact that Blair laid the foundation for so much of it.

Take the privatisation of the NHS. Under Blair, private sector involvement began to flourish and a commercial directorate was set up in the Department of Health. Gove is now expanding Blair's Academy schools programme, and free schools are a logical extension of them. The Coalition trebled the tuition fees that Blair introduced. Across public services, Blair expanded the role of the private sector – though not as fast as he would have liked, thanks to internal party opposition. But Cameron is taking this "reform" (the Blairite and Tory code word for "privatisation" ever further. "Public sector reform" has come up in the many conversations Blair has apparently had with Cameron, and I'm sure the ex-PM has had much advice to offer.

It was the murderous invasion of Iraq – described by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as "illegal" – that, for many, makes Blair unforgivable rather than a mere disappointment. It competes with the expenses scandal for the damage it did to faith in politicians. While in power, he courted despots like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, whom he described as "immensely courageous and a force for good" when the Egyptian people rose against him. Today, the man who partly justified the invasion of Iraq with Saddam's sickening human rights record is being paid $13 million to advise the brutal dictator of Kazakhstan.

His defenders argue that Labour could not have won without him. It is a myth. Black Wednesday in 1992 finished off the Tories, and Labour enjoyed subsequent massive poll leads under John Smith. Of the five million votes that Labour lost in its 13 years in power, four million went awol under Blair's leadership. It wasn't so-called "Middle England" that deserted the party. According to Ipsos MORI, while middle-class professional support for Labour declined by five percentage points between 1997 and 2010, support among skilled workers plummeted by 21 per cent.

Hatred of those on benefits is dangerously out of control

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/owen-jones-hatred-of-those-on-benefits-is-dangerously-out-of-control-7763793.html

Hatred against those receiving benefits is out of control in Cameron's Britain. The Tories transformed a crisis of capitalism into a crisis of public spending, and determined that the most vulnerable would make the biggest sacrifices. But taking away support from the disabled, the unemployed and the working poor is not straightforward. It can only be achieved by a campaign of demonisation – to crush any potential sympathy. Benefit recipients must only appear as feckless, workshy scroungers, living in opulent quasi-mansions with wall-to-wall widescreen TVs, rampaging around the Canary Islands courtesy of handouts from the squeezed taxpayer. Benefit fraud does exist – according to Government estimates, it is worth less than 1 per cent of welfare spending – but the most extreme examples are passed off as representative, or as the "tip of the iceberg". The reality is all but airbrushed out of existence.

Six of the biggest disability charities have warned that the campaign of demonisation – by both journalists and politicians – has led to a surge in abuse towards people with disabilities. According to Scope, two-thirds reported abuse in September last year, up from 41 per cent just four months earlier.

But this campaign helps sustain public acquiescence in a massacre of the welfare state. George Osborne plans £10bn of further benefit cuts; Cameron's parting spinmeister Steve Hilton has proposed £25bn. Half a million people are to have their disability living allowance taken away, even though the estimated fraud rate is just 0.5 per cent. People with serious illnesses are being stripped of their employment and support allowance, after undergoing the horrendous (and often humiliating) ordeal of a points-based assessment by French corporation Atos. One man with a degenerative lung disease, Larry Newman, was awarded no points – just a few weeks before he died of his illness. Under New Labour (let's not forget who started this), one woman had her benefits cut after missing an assessment appointment – because she was in hospital having chemotherapy for stomach cancer.

But we rarely see this reality: it is intentionally hidden from us. The Government and much of the media divert anger from those who caused the crisis, to your "scrounging" neighbour down the street. And so we end with Carole Malone arguing that a family whose children died in a fire brought it on themselves. It is beyond shameful. And it must be challenged.

From the Telegraph article.....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/9238358/MPs-phone-hacking-report-Rupert-Murdoch-not-fit-person-to-run-News-Corp.html

The report says: “On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications.

“This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International.

“We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”

George Washington named Britain's greatest ever foe

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9204961/George-Washington-named-Britains-greatest-ever-foe.html

The American was voted the winner in a contest run by the National Army Museum to identify the country's most outstanding military opponent.

He was one of a shortlist of five leaders who topped a public poll and on Saturday was selected as the ultimate winner by an audience of around 70 guests at a special event at the museum, in Chelsea, west London.

In second place was Michael Collins, the Irish leader, ahead of Napoleon Bonaparte, Erwin Rommel and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

George Washington named Britain's greatest ever foe

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9204961/George-Washington-named-Britains-greatest-ever-foe.html

The American was voted the winner in a contest run by the National Army Museum to identify the country's most outstanding military opponent.

He was one of a shortlist of five leaders who topped a public poll and on Saturday was selected as the ultimate winner by an audience of around 70 guests at a special event at the museum, in Chelsea, west London.

In second place was Michael Collins, the Irish leader, ahead of Napoleon Bonaparte, Erwin Rommel and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Local government, London Mayoral & London Assembly elections 3rd May

It's that time of year when I do the obligatory thread about the elections that are on this year.

We have a number of local elections as always, the London Mayoral race with Boris Johnson & Ken Livingstone as the frontrunners and London Assembly elections. A number of places are also holding referendums on whether or not to have an elected Mayor.

No local elections where I live so I'll be looking over the border to South Yorkshire to see if the Liberal Democrats continue their decline on Nick Clegg's doorstep. Sheffield is also one of those places having a Mayoral referendum, although I have yet to come across any interest in that matter whatsoever.

Come to think of it, I would expect voter turnout to be even worse then usual this year, which is never a good thing.

As always feel free to comment on what local elections are on where you live, any local issues and how much or how little campaigning is being done by political parties where you live.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_local_elections,_2012
http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/how_do_i_vote/registering_to_vote.aspx?

Premier league boss claims China stole egg foo yung from Sheffield

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/sport/sport-headlines/premier-league-boss-claims-china-stole-egg-foo-yung-from-sheffield-201203155013/

THE chairman of the premier league last night accused China of stealing great British recipes like egg foo yung and Szechuan chicken.

Sir Dave Richards insisted eggs were first mixed with foo and yung in Sheffield more than 1,500 years ago and then a 'Chinaman hypnotised everybody and made off with the pot'.

He said: "And 70 years ago my Uncle Eric invented spaghetti, went to bed and woke up the next morning to find he had been kidnapped by Mussolini." Richards then stepped on a roller skate and went hurtling through a jam factory before crashing head-first into a wasps' nest.

He added: "Pele's from Huddersfield."

Sheffield Wednesday 1 Sheffield United 0

THIS CITY IS OURS, THIS CITY IS OURS F**K OFF UNITED THIS CITY IS OURS

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17093412
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