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The News of the World
Definitely not doing anything dodgy at all.
Steve | A-Team
Barnstorming start as new PM SLASHES tax and AXES poll tax

[Image: Tristram-Hunt-parliament-008.jpg?width=6...4b969025a6]

The new Prime Minister has shoved aside questions about the Government's ability to lead and wrongfooted the opposition by slashing tax, pledging to support families through the recession, and AXING the poll tax - all in his first weeks in office.

The hated poll tax will be replaced next year, but in the meantime the Secretary of State for the Environment, David Blair, told the nation in a live address that no one would pay the charge at all this year - putting hundreds of pounds in every taxpayer's pockets.

There's been the classic refrain from the loony left leading the Labour Party. That it's too little, too late. But Britain has a new Prime Minister now, and the British people can judge for themselves - but for now, there is strong reason to be impressed by his bold, decisive action to support ordinary families.
Steve | A-Team
A new settlement for Scotland - The Conservative plan for a Scottish Parliament
by Dylan Macmillan

also published in the Daily Record

A consensus has formed in Westminster that Labour’s decision in 1979 to reject devolution on the grounds that the majority wasn’t big enough was wrong. Where the Conservatives led, laying out detailed policy proposals, other parties have trailed behind providing broad strokes of what one might charitably call a plan but might more realistically describe as a hope and a dream. The Conservative Party plan has come in for criticism which is, I suppose, only natural when such a bold plan is placed out in the open. I appreciate that the Conservative Party plan is bold, but it is a tailored response that provides both localism and unionism, furthering Scotland’s interests while ensuring that the Union that is our United Kingdom remains whole and intact. I will not apologise for taking this step forward, it is essential for our nation that our constitution evolves in a way that enables us to come together just as much as it empowers individuals and the constituent nations of our United Kingdom. It is my honour and pleasure today to write to the readers of the Daily Record, and to the rest of the UK in this Sunday’s News of the World, to outline why the Conservative Party plan for devolution is the only plan in town for devolution for Scotland that still works for the rest of the United Kingdom.

The Conservative plan for devolution is visionary. While Labour and the Liberal Democrats want to create a sixth layer of Government for the people of Scotland, lying atop, betwist, and between all the other various town, parish, borough, and county councils, not to mention the Westminster and European Parliaments, the Conservative Party want to empower the layers of Government we already have. Our plan is to create a dual mandate for MPs elected in Scotland. Your MP will retain their voice in Westminster for issues that are not devolved to Scotland but on issues we have devolved to Scotland their voice will be amplified because they’ll be the only show in town. A Scottish Parliament, manned by the Scottish MPs, led by a Scottish Government, and supported by a Scottish Civil Service, will have the final say on the issues devolved to it under our post-election Scotland Bill. That means that the Scottish Parliament and Scottish MPs will have the final say on Scottish Education, the Scottish NHS, Scottish Energy Policy, the Scottish Environment, Scottish Law, Domestic Affairs in Scotland, and Scottish Welfare. When the Government plans legislation for the rest of the UK in Westminster Scottish MPs will be able to travel to Edinburgh to debate the very same issues and pass their own laws on the subject, completely independent from the laws passed in London. Some, including the ever-absent Shadow Home Secretary Ruan Prescott, have questioned the need to travel Scottish MPs from Westminster to Edinburgh, personally I question the need to spend tens of millions of pounds hiring another layer of bureaucrats to man the Scottish Parliament while Scottish MPs in Westminster sit impotently as the Commons debates issues that do not affect Scotland. Questions about travel have been raised but I ask you whether a few week returns each from Edinburgh to London is more expensive than a year’s salary for 100 plus MSPs? Any new constitutional settlement we reach has got to provide good value for money to the Scottish taxpayer and it is simply not the case that a whole new assembly full of even more politicians than we already have can provide that value for money.

Then there’s the synergy of the Scottish Executive fusing accountability to the Scottish Parliament with access to the national decision making picture. Decisions made in Westminster on issues like trade, immigration law, military policy, and foreign policy will all continue to impact the lives of the Scottish people in a major way post-devolution, having a Scottish First Minister who is at those discussions and able to put across the Scottish viewpoint and the Scottish interest in these national discussions would be invaluable for the Scottish economy and people. A Scottish First Minister at the Cabinet table will be better able to put across views on subjects as diverse as whiskey and trident to the benefit and betterment of the Scottish people. Under Labour’s plan we would not have that access, the Scottish Parliament would be completely isolated from Westminster and Whitehall, it would be little more than a talking shop while all the important Labour politicians continue to play to the bigger crowd in Westminster. Can you see Ruan Prescott and Sir James McCrimmon packing it all in in Westminster to sit in Edinburgh? Under the Tory plan for devolution they would be an active part of Scottish decision making, with strong powers to guide the future of Scotland should they be re-elected and Labour retain a majority of the seats in Scotland, under their own plan they would have nothing to do with their own constituents on a wide range of issues. Got a school problem in Midlothian? Don’t contact Ruan because he’s too busy in Westminster. Got a substandard hospital in Glasgow Pollok? Don’t contact Mr McCrimmon because he’s all the way in Westminster. The Conservative plan keeps that essential link between MP and constituent on all matters, whatever your problem if it’s a national issue you can take it to your MP and know that they will help you solve it. Then again if you have Ruan and Sir James as your MPs maybe they aren’t helping you anyway if their Parliamentary attendance is anything to go by.

And then there’s the other national provisions of the Scotland Bill. It would be unjust for the rest of the United Kingdom if Scotland had control of its own devolved affairs and then also retained a say on those same provisions in the rest of the UK. That is why the Scotland plan as proposed by the Conservative Party ensures that MPs get a say on the matters that affect their constituents alone. For a Scottish MP that means that they vote on Foreign Policy in London but on Education policy in Edinburgh, for an English or Welsh MP they take both votes in London. This enables us to ensure not only that there is fairness but also that the system can work, giving Scottish MPs the ability to be away from Westminster and not miss anything because they will be in Edinburgh debating the exact same competencies from a Scottish point of view ensuring both equity and efficiency from the system.

Once upon a time the Scottish Parliament made laws that mattered, it legislated on matters of importance and all the top politicians in Scotland attended. The Labour and Lib Dem plan enables them to wash their hands of Scotland, the Leader of the Opposition can say he did his bit and then go back to Westminster. That wouldn’t fly under the Conservative Party plan. Scotland deserves a system which puts its interests first, a politically powerful but cost effective system that is fair for the whole UK. Your MP will remain your MP for everything that affects you unless you vote him or her out, this provides a single simple point of contact for constituents whilst also keeping the costs of the system down and ensuring that your MP retains a say in matters that affect you. It was my humble wish that the plan we have laid out, a plan to honour the 1979 referendum mandate and provide for unionist devolution to Scotland, a plan which would empower the Parliament and the Executive of Scotland together both in Scotland and in the United Kingdom, would be embraced by all sides. It may still be, but if you want proper devolution that empowers Scotland without any tricks, bells, or whistles, then I urge you to vote Conservative in the upcoming election so that we can implement our fully fleshed out plan for devolution. Mr McCrimmon can, on the rare occasions he actually appears, talk a somewhat decent, if uninspiring, game. But behind all the nationalist bluster he didn’t actually spell out what powers he would devolve, he didn’t spell out how the Executive would work, he didn’t really explain anything of any substance. Labour has no plan because they believe Scotland will vote for anything in a red rosette. This election send them a message, demand better, vote Conservative.
ROOK VS PIGEON: Education Secretary “booted” a pigeon into passer-by’s face, causing injury
by Patsy Chapman
The Liberal Democrats have long prided themselves on being a namby pamby, soft and cuddly, tucked up in bed for 8 o’clock party, attracting enough support from middle aged fishwives and pretentious poofters to claw their way into government after June’s election. Their leader, notorious do-gooder Alex Cardigan, has prided himself on being a friend to farmers and animals, a modern day Dr Doolittle. But that image will be sensationally shattered today, as the News of the World can EXCLUSIVELY REVEAL that his number two in Parliament, and Education Secretary Vivian Rook BRUTALLY “booted” a pigeon: directly into the face of an innocent bystander!
An exclusive source can reveal that in 1985 Dr Vivian Rook, then a National Health Service consultant, was involved in an incident in Trafalgar Square in London. For reasons that have eluded those who witnessed it to this day, Rook “violently booted” an unsuspecting pigeon into the face of City lawyer Zacharias Croft, who was knocked to the ground by the sudden assault and injured. The man was treated for cuts and grazes to his hands and arms at the scene by Rook herself, who was later questioned by the police but released without charge. Questioned by us today, Zack Croft confirmed the account of the incident, but said: “I don’t think she meant anything by it. She had clearly had a hard day, and chose to relieve it in a strange manner. I certainly don’t blame her for the connection with my face, but I’m sure she won’t have been eager to pull a Pele on any unsuspecting birds in the future after this experience. As far as I’m concerned, it’s old news.”
The question we must now ask is: is Viv Rook capable of discharging her duties in the Cabinet? Whilst she seems to have left her pigeon booting days behind her, it betrays a level of rage hidden behind the smug liberal exterior, one which could prove dangerous in a position where she is in charge of our children’s education. Whilst not as bad an offender as serial bender EFM, who once held the Education post, should someone who is willing to take out their rage on innocent animals be allowed such power. We say to Alex Cardigan: sort the mad woman of Trafalgar Square out!

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