Welcome to the Rudloe and environs website.


Here you will find news, articles and photos of an area that straddles the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north-west Wiltshire.


Contributions in the form of articles or photos are welcome. Even those with completely contrary views to mine!


Thanks to the website builder 1&1 and Rob Brown for the original idea.


Rudloescene now, in January 2014, has a sister, academic rather than anarchic, website about Box history here: http://www.boxpeopleandplaces.co.uk/

It contains thoroughly professional, well-researched articles about Box and its people.


Contact rudloescene through the 'Contact' page.


Latina nuclear power station. Eni (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi) Director General Enrico Mattei and other officials visiting the Latina site (south of Rome) in 1962. The contract to import/build the Magnox reactor was won by the Nuclear Power Plant Company (NPPC), a consortium of UK companies Parsons Reyrolle, Head Wrightson and Macalpine. Construction started in Oct 1958 and the unit was connected to the grid in May 1963. It was ordered by SIMEA, an ENI subsidiary. The UK Atomic Energy Authority consulted on safety features. Latina was shutdown in December 1987 and is being decommissioned by British Nuclear Group and Sogin (a State company in charge of the environmental remediation of Italian nuclear sites). In 1959, a contract for the Japanese Tokai-Mura nuclear power station was won by British company AEG also using a Magnox reactor. See the 26th November 2015 article.

12th June 2024 - the studied, considered, thoughtful views of a Conservative voter in Swindon revealed on tonight's Points West programme (go to minute 3:17): https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m00205qm/points-west-evening-news-12062024 (note, there is a problem with replaying this (and other) BBC Points West programme at the moment (16th June 2024) - I am trying to resolve the issue)

15th May 2024 - Email to James Gray and response (famous last words?)

Dear Paul,


There is no remote likelihood of a nuclear attack, so the Government will be taking no such steps which would if anything simply sow discord and concern amongst the citizenry.






(I responded with the following: "Remember the Great Storm of 1987? The night before, BBC weather presenter Michael Fish quashed rumours that a hurricane was on the way: "Don't worry, there isn't", he infamously told the nation.")


From: Paul Turner <wirepuller@hotmail.com>
Sent: Monday, May 13, 2024 7:18 PM
To: GRAY, James <JamesGrayMP@parliament.uk>
Subject: Nuclear War?

Evening James,

Rishi Sunak's electioneering speech today included the following:

"Putin’s recklessness has taken us closer to a dangerous nuclear escalation than at any point since the Cuban missile crisis. I’m convinced that the next few years will be some of the most dangerous yet the most transformational our country has ever known. So the question we face today is this: Who has the clear plan and bold ideas to deliver a secure future for you and your family?"

In the 60s and 70s, we were provided with advice, specifically through the 'Protect and Survive' series of short TV films (see the YouTube link below), on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. Here at Rudloe, the nuclear attack alarm (as heard in the YouTube piece) was tested every Friday at 10 o'clock (this was discontinued some years ago because the system failed, was accidentally 'disconnected' and not reinstated).


Fifty/sixty years on and, as far as I am aware, we have heard nothing from the Government about what we should now do in the event of a nuclear attack. So what is your "clear plan"?




Paul Turner


15th May 2024 - 76th anniversary of the Nakba


Today is the 76th anniversary of the Nabka ('Catastrophe' in Arabic). At least 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from or fled their homes in historic Palestine during violent events related to the creation of the state of Israel. This upheaval heralded decades of displacement, dispossession and marginalisation. Following the Nakba, thousands of displaced Palestinians settled in refugee camps in Lebanon. This is where the story of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) began: Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon.
On 16 September 1982, Lebanese Phalangist militants entered the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, and over the next 48 hours, killed and injured thousands of unarmed Palestinian and other civilians inside. The Israeli army, who had invaded Lebanon earlier that year and had surrounded the camp, had full knowledge of what was taking place inside, yet they never intervened. Instead, they illuminated the camp throughout the night by flares launched into the sky from helicopters and mortars. The camp’s residents were defenceless.
Dr Swee Chai Ang, an orthopaedic surgeon from London working in the camp's hospital, refused to leave and worked tirelessly to save the injured and protect her patients during the massacre. On her return to London, Dr Ang joined with fellow medical professionals and humanitarians to establish MAP, to ensure Palestinians affected by conflict, occupation and displacement had access to healthcare.
Press photographer Robin Moyer took the photograph which he described as 'The aftermath of the massacre of Palestinians directed by Lebanese Forces with the complicity of senior members of the Israeli Cabinet and Defence Forces and conducted by Christian Phalangists and members of the South Lebanon Army in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps'. Moyer saw flares burst above the camps and went there to discover piles of bodies. He photographed for hours surrounded by the smell of death, while soldiers joked around. The killers were never brought to justice.

1st April 2024 - the destruction of Al Shifa hospital, Gaza:

In the Times on Wednesday, 31st January 2024, we found the following 'News':

'Rishi Sunak comes under renewed pressure as soaring net migration is poised to send the UK’s population over 70 million by 2026. He has come under pressure to cut immigration as new figures suggest that Britain will need to build 156,000 homes a year just to cope with the number of people coming to the UK. Net migration will add an extra 6.1 million people to the UK population by 2036, according to new projections from the Office for National Statistics. An extra 541,000 will be added through natural growth — more births than deaths — according to the projections, which are based on current and past trends. It means that the overall population is projected to grow by about 6.7 million to reach 73.7 million in 2036, up from 67 million at the time of the 2021 census.' (My note: 541,000 through 'natural growth' and 6 million+ from immigration; one wonders ref the last para. below "...every one of those poor suckers would die on the field of battle to save his country...". Would they?).

From a 1st June 2017 article (News/Pickwick) on rudloescene we find the following (next three paras):

'The birthrate has not accelerated so much that we will need, according to government statistics, over 4.5 million new homes by 2033 (at an average of 2.3 people per home, that’s a population increase of 11 million). Take Corsham, Katherine Park’s 760 homes provided homes for more than 1,700 ‘new’ residents and the proposed 700 new homes in west Corsham will provide for a further 1,600 ‘new’ residents. That’s 3,300 people who will have taken root in this small market town since 2005/6!


We don’t have such population growth – these new residents will be outsiders using Corsham in order to commute elsewhere. Ask any London (East End) cabbie, well actually former East End cabbie – almost without exception, they all now live in Essex. This white flight caused by Johnny Foreigner (aaaargh, I’ve used the ‘f’ word) buying up swathes of London (and other) property, is the root cause of the supposed population explosion. Other countries don’t allow JF to buy property in bulk (and leave it empty), or in some cases any property at all. So why do our governments allow this to happen and continue to perpetuate the lie that ‘we’ need more housing? No matter how many more houses are built, JF will still be buying a significant proportion of them (for investment) and they will remain unaffordable for locals.


“We’re all bought, and what’s more we’re bought with our own money. Every one of those poor downtrodden bastards, sweating his guts out to pay twice the proper price for a brick doll’s house that’s called Belle Vue because there’s no view and the bell doesn’t ring – every one of those poor suckers would die on the field of battle to save his country from Bolshevism” (Coming Up For Air, George Orwell, 1939)'.


The Times? Six years behind the rudloescene curve!

21st December 2023 - in the deep midwinter of the Brexit scandal... Following fifty years of European integration, I heard yesterday of the Brexit experience of the family of a friend I hadn't seen for a couple of years. Her daughter and French partner had been living in England then moved to France in 2017; they are both university educated and have 'good' jobs. In 2022 they decided to return to the UK but fell foul of the visa system. Despite being partners for some years and married since 2017, the 'evidence' of their relationship was insufficient for the UK immigration service so his visa application failed. They had to use specialist immigration lawyers to fight their case at a cost of £10k and he now has a visa valid for two years. So in two years time, they will have to go through this ridiculous fiasco again. This is likely just one of thousands of similar stories where 50 years of progress has gone down the pan and is illustrative of the ludicrous state we are now in with a plethora of illegal immigrants crossing the Channel in small boats and being accommodated at a cost of £7million+ per day whilst waiting (no doubt for years) for  their asylum claims to be processed. An absolute shambles.

With regard to 'legal' migration, from a BBC article, we find:

  • Immigration into the UK was 1.2 million and emigration out of the country was 508,000 in the 12 months leading up to June 2023
  • The majority of the 1.2m arrivals were from countries outside the EU - 968,000
  • The population of England and Wales is growing at its fastest rate since the 1960s

From the story of a friend above, we see that European migration is 'problematic' since Brexit yet almost a million immigrants from outside the EU have descended upon the UK in the last recorded year (and 7million+ since the turn of the century). Just an aside, but no one mentions (because of the 'r' word) this elephant in the room when it comes to the UK's supposed 'urgent need' for more homes. 

17th November 2023 - the continuing, insidious intimidation and violence against Palestinians on the 'Other Front', the West Bank, is recorded in the Al Jazeera documentary to be found here: https://www.aljazeera.com/videos/documentary/ (the video is The Occupied West Bank: The Other Front which you will have to select from those offered). If you want to gain a deeper understanding of the situation in Palestine, Al Jazeera (Sky channel 511 & elsewhere) should be the channel of choice.

11th November 2023 - the latest 'powerful' speeech from Clare Daly, Irish MEP in the European Parliament: https://twitter.com/i/status/1722960579466244167. Further speeches by Clare Daly on the Palestinian situation may be found on YouTube.

1st November 2023 update regarding the emails below sent to James Gray. This is Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) latest bulletin on the Gaza situation, received last night: MSF update

28th October 2023 - following Rishi Sunak's outrageeous statements at his meeting with Netanyahu and James Gray's spurious pro-Israeli 'arguments' in his weekly bulletin in the Gazette & Herald, the following short emails were sent to Mr Gray (he hasn't responded):

Good morning James,
Reference Rishi Sunak's visit to Israel and the press conference alongside Netanyahu, Sunak's statement "We will stand with your people, we want you to win" is highly inappropriate. Who is this "we"? I stand with the Palestinian people given the years of insidious eradication of their rights as related in the Israeli human rights organisation B'tselem's website here: https://www.btselem.org/.
Good evening James,
Your 'arguments' smack of sophistry:
"So Israelis have a perfect right to defend themselves, but they must do so in such a way as to minimalise civilian casualties."
The figures (from Aljazeera) of Palestinians killed or injured in Gaza thus far are:
  • Killed: At least 7,326
    • Including at least:
      • 3,038 children
      • 1,726 women
      • 397 elderly
  • Injured: At least 18,967



17th September 2023 - does anyone fancy holding the other end of my 'banner' (flag) next Saturday, 23rd September 2023, on the National Rejoin March in London? Travelling by train, I'll probably be leaving at about 9:30. These events are great fun (honest - see links below). https://marchforrejoin.co.uk/route


People's Vote march - 2018

People's Vote march - 2019

2nd People's Vote march - 2019

See the story of the September 2023 march here: EU Rejoin March - Sep 2023

20th August 2023 - response sent to CPRE following their email on the 'State of the Green Belt':


Good morning Fortuna.
Your email references "UK's housing crisis" but like all commentators on the subject, you fail to mention the 'elephant(s) in the room':
  • An article in Friday's Times included "Since 2011, the number of babies born has been on an almost constant downward trend, falling each year from 2011 to 2020".
  • The Migration Watch organization's research shows: 'Immigration added around seven million to the UK population in the two decades up to 2020 – accounting for over four-fifths of total growth'
  • An ever-increasing number of UK properties, particularly those in London, are purchased by foreign or offshore entities, mainly for investment
There is no 'housing crisis' per se; there is a failure of government (of all shades) in policy, planning and action.

23rd April 2023 - the London Marathon - Raceism (just in case you don't get it, tis a play on words)

This young lady was 'selected' for interview by the BBC. During the 30-second interview, hundreds of runners passed by as shown in the photo above and in the gallery below.

If she was selected because of a certain aspect of her physical appearance, then this would constitute raceism (play on words again) would it not? More photos follow:

28th February 2023 - James Gray's trip to Ukraine was reported in his 27th February dispatch to constituents. My email response to his epistle follows:

Afternoon James,
Thanks for showing "support and solidarity" for and with the people of Ukraine on behalf of the people of North Wiltshire.
Yesterday, Rishi Sunak talked of "our precious Union". A year ago today, President Zelensky applied for membership of the European Union. Jens Stoltenberg has said that Ukraine will become a member of NATO in the "long term". All these 'unions' are not just precious but vital to demonstrate (Western) solidarity in the face of detractors and adversaries, malicious or otherwise.
If for no other reason, my EU 'remain' instinct was secured by the fact that two of the most egregious rogues on the planet, Putin and Trump, agitated in favour of Brexit. Their rationale was clear - the breakup of a western 'alliance' would be to their benefit politically and economically, the latter as the EU is one of the world's largest trading blocs. I would imagine that Putin would scarcely have been able to believe his good fortune that one of the principal members of the EU would bring about its abasement supported by people such as yourself.
Paul Turner

10th February 2023 and exposes (as in the French) of Tory incompetence and hypocrisy were revealed through articles in today's Times. A modest front-page article which indicates the UK governments' (all Tory) descent into banana republicanism follows:


Britain has paid a fine of more than £2.3 billion to Brussels for allowing Chinese gangs to flood Europe with cheap clothes and shoes. In an announcement slipped out before the parliamentary recess, the Treasury revealed it had paid the European Union to settle a long-running dispute over lax customs checks when Britain was a member of the bloc. The sum, which would be enough to give nurses a pay rise of about 3.3 per cent, has been paid in three instalments over the past seven months, and includes hundreds of millions of pounds in interest because the government did not settle earlier. Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the public accounts committee, described the sums involved as “shocking” and said MPs would demand answers from ministers and officials “about how this was allowed to happen”.

An EU fraud investigation found that over a six-year period HM Revenue & Customs failed to check impossibly low valuations put on Chinese consignments arriving into Britain. In one case it found that the average value declared at the UK border for women’s cotton trousers was €0.91 per kg, compared with an EU average of €26.09.

Customs duty is charged at 12 per cent of the declared value. This meant fraudsters could make huge savings by declaring the goods in the UK and exporting them to the rest of Europe, undercutting domestic producers

British ministers repeatedly denied liability, claiming they “did not recognise” the estimate of “alleged duty loss”.

The EU took its case to the European Court of Justice, which ruled last year that Britain had “failed to fulfil its obligations” under laws to combat fraud.

It found that more than half of all textiles and shoes imported into Britain from China between 2011 and 2017 were below “the lowest acceptable prices”. It ordered the UK to pay more than €2 billion, plus interest.

The Treasury minister John Glen revealed in a written statement that Britain had now settled what it described as a “legacy matter” from its time as an EU member state. “The government is keen to resolve this long-running case once and for all and is committed to fulfilling its international obligations,” he said. “These are substantial sums but represent the final payments.”

A government spokesman said that by settling the case now ministers had protected taxpayers “from the risk of further protracted legal proceedings and a potentially bigger bill”.

He added: “Outside of the EU we can set our own law, including tax and trade policies, that work for the UK. We take a robust approach to tackling fraud risk and evolve our response as any new potential threats emerge.”

When Britain was a member of the EU it had a responsibility to ensure that the correct duties were paid on all imports arriving in the country. However, all revenues were sent to Brussels as part of general EU funding which, critics have claimed, provided little incentive to carry out rigorous checks on the declared valuations of imported goods.


Another thought-provoking piece could be found in Times2 in Richard Morrison's weekly arts column writing about Rishi Sunak's (anag. Irish K Anus) current reshuffle:


The Tories have had 12 culture secretaries in 13 years, and the tenures are getting shorter. The new incumbent will be the fourth in 18 months. However, that doesn’t mean they haven’t got enough time to inflict chaos. Just consider the tragicomic spectacle of Arts Council England desperately trying to extricate itself from the mess created by the wacky diktats of Nadine Dorries when she was culture secretary last year.

Dorries’s successor was Michelle Donelan, who lasted all of five months before being moved on this week, probably because she was showing disturbing signs of rational thought, such as ditching the privatisation of Channel 4 — another of Dorries’s half-baked schemes. In the great tradition of Cabinet appointments, Donelan, who doesn’t have a smidgen of training or experience in science or technology, is now in charge of a new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

So in comes Lucy Frazer as culture secretary. There’s a character in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado called Pooh-Bah, whose job description is “Lord High Everything Else”, and I honestly think Frazer can outdo him for ubiquity. Formerly a barrister, and with a husband whose recruitment company handily supplies temporary staff for government departments (though of course there is “no conflict of interest”), Frazer has spent the past four years being, in lightning-quick succession, solicitor general, prisons minister, financial secretary to the Treasury, transport minister and, most recently, minister for levelling-up. All of which suggests that she’s either so good at mastering a brief that she’s constantly in demand for difficult jobs, or so bad that she’s constantly being shuffled sideways.


I'll leave you, the well-informed rudloescene reader, to guess which (ref the last question above). This reminds me of the bunkum and baloney which were prevalent at the time of the 2016 referendum. That itself was a prime example of banana-republic government when there was no defined precaution. The referendum could have been decided by a single vote! No minimum required vote of, say, 55% in favour of one option; no precaution of a state of affairs where some parts of the UK might vote against the 'winning' option as happened when both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted remain but their choice was denied by a lack of precaution embedded in referendum rules (of which there were none). Also, see webpage: Brexit? No, Remain! written at the time of the referendum.

15th October 2022 and unsurprisingly James Gray's weekly newsletter attempts to divert attention from domestic issues to the ongoing war in Ukraine. I couldn't resist another response (two in a row!) as follows:


Dear James,
Easy to say isn't it "... let's just put it all aside for the moment...". Let's put your agenda aside and look back a year or two when your mantra and that of other Brexiteers was that of 'Taking back control' of our borders, money and laws. 'We' always knew that these were grand deceits but the speed with which the deceits have come to be exposed is astounding - illegal immigration has skyrocketed and now the incompetence of the First Lord of the Treasury and her Chancellor has been spectacularly exposed in a hapless budget. What laws would you propose now that you are free from EU shackles (which I would say were brakes on British governments' excesses), in order to achieve a shambolic trinity?
Paul Turner

10th October 2022 - it's been quite a while since I responded to one of James Gray's weekly newsletters (in part because it's somewhat like bashing your head against a brick wall) so in an idle moment yesterday (Sunday), I put finger to keyboard as follows:


Dear James,
Your newsletter continues your and your party's tradition of blaming others for problems of your own making. Your statement: 'For many years now, economic policy has been hampered by two things:- First, a combination of the Coalition, Brexit, General Elections, Covid, and Russia’s war on Ukraine has prevented clarity of vision and thought.'  is a classic. You forgot to mention the mess you inherited in 2010, the EU (substitute Brexit), the weather and the state of affairs in Outer Mongolia.
You will, of course, know that your party has visions, not vision. Take Cameron's pre-2010 promise of putting local affairs into the hands of local people through local referenda (the very opposite has happened with local affairs being more and more determined by central forces whether it be government or big business). I wrote to the Times in 2012 as follows: 'Andrew Lansley's letter (Apr 5) continues a long tradition of British politicians using bluff and bluster. "We want to make the UK a world leader in tackling dementia" - a good start would be to lift the UK from the bottom of the European league table of Alzheimer's diagnosis which situation was reported in national newspapers just one year ago ("Delays were more than twice as long in Britain as in Italy and Germany, and nine months longer than in Poland"). My letter was published; the situation hasn't changed. And how many times during the Brexit debacle did we hear the mantra (from Johnson and many others, presumably including yourself) "Take control of our borders". Why don't we hear about that 'vision' now? You will know (again) that we have always had control of our borders (geographically, through our being an island; physically, through our continuation of border controls outside the Schengen Agreement and politically through having the wherewithal to put in place laws which controlled entry and exit from the UK). You will also know that on this last point, your governments have failed to put in place laws or systems which would enable such control.
The above are just examples; your 'visions' are almost countless and ongoing (ref your newsletter); as I said in my 2012 letter, they are merely bluff and bluster.
Paul Turner

From: James Gray MP <jamesgraymp@parliament.uk> Sent: 07 October 2022 13:55 To: wirepuller@hotmail.com <wirepuller@hotmail.com> Subject: From James Gray MP - Loyalist or economist?

Dear Constituent,

I’m no economist, nor any kind of tax expert. (What is the Laffer Curve anyhow?) So my views on Kwasi Kwarteng’s Mini-Budget, and the subsequent events carry very little weight. That never stopped me in the past, so here they are.

For many years now, economic policy has been hampered by two things:- First, a combination of the Coalition, Brexit, General Elections, Covid, and Russia’s war on Ukraine has prevented clarity of vision and thought. The Government has been “firefighting” for much of the time since they came to office in 2010. The commonest criticism in my mailbag was that there was no ‘vision’, no ‘direction’ no ‘long-term thought.’ Second, we have only, as a result, dared to take mini baby-steps; we were ’trimmers’. In particular we thought that subsidies and hand-outs were what the people wanted rather than growth and stimulus. The net result is an economy facing the doldrums and quite possibly a long and deep Recession, with all of the agony which comes with it.

I am ready to accept that the Mini-Budget sought to answer both problems. It lays out a vision for growth in the economy thanks to massively cut taxes and swathes of regulation removed. Only time will tell if it has been successful. Its presentation was pretty poor to say the least, enabling Labour and the tabloids to allege that it is ‘unfair’ and benefits the rich more than the poor. (And nothing annoys we Brits more than ‘unfairness’). But the fact is that everyone has benefitted from the vast Government expenditure in the Budget. No-one pays tax on income below £12500 (up from £6500 when Labour left office); a 1% income tax cut benefits all taxpayers; the National Insurance rise was reversed, and even the 7 pence a pint rise proposed was scrapped. The (possibly vastly expensive) cap on energy costs is exactly what we were all crying out for. Not only all of that, but the whole point of the Budget is to curb inflation, create growth and jobs, keep a lid on interest rates, all of which benefit everyone. A strong economy must be our aim.

It is perfectly true that the markets have not yet seen what a great idea it is (the jury is out), and there is no doubt that it’s a bit of a gamble. The huge Government borrowing the Energy price cap needs will only work if the international markets realise it’s inherent success; and the energy limit will only work if international prices turn round within 6 months. But to those whose knee-jerk reaction is so massively against it all, and who (believe it or not) are calling for yet another Tory Leadership change, I would simply say: “We do now have a vision, dramatic change, a plan for Growth. Dumping all that now would be a disaster, and equally a change at the top is both impractical and would be a huge political mistake.”

So for now, I plan to watch the markets, listen carefully to the economists who really do know what they are talking about, support the Conservative Government and our new Leader (despite her not being my first choice.) I shall press for it all to be better explained, and a significant change in our media and public opinion handling.

But I readily admit that I am not an economist- so I will be a Loyalist. For now.

James Gray MP

22nd November 2021 - Taking Back Control or should I say Die Kontrolle zurückgewinnen? A new parking payment system has been installed at The Podium in Bath. We have been using that parking for donkey's years and the old system worked perfectly well but all the old machines have now, presumably, been scrapped and new ones installed (it just goes to show that all this stuff about saving the planet, reusing things and so on is just hot air). But to the point, weren't we supposed to be taking back control? The new system is German and the first button on the machines gives us the option to use German. I sink it is ze Germans who are taking control.

5th October 2021 - the BBC and the London Marathon. The 40th anniversary of the London Marathon brought the usual plethora of people (40,000) of all ages running in support of their chosen charity. The event was covered by the BBC, the Black Broadcasting Corporation (as with many 'wisecracks', this carries an element of truth at its heart). For many years now, the BBC, other channels and now, since the advent of Black Lives Matter, other organisations and companies, have been pushing the 'black' agenda. In a country where the ethnic (all so-called 'ethnicities') minority population, according to the 2011 census, is about 13% across the country (regions vary of course - 55% in London - so here it is a majority!, only 7% in the South West), every TV advertisement includes a black person or family, every news item carries a black or ethnic minority story, many continuity announcements use black voices. Actually, this is racism isn't it - selection of people based on their so-called race or colour. It could be called positive discrimination (for a minority) but this brings negative discrimination (for the majority).


Any road up, on to the particular point of this article ... the London Marathon; London where the 'white British' (ONS description) are now very much in the minority. I recorded the race and expected to see significant representation from the (now majority) non-white British population of London. The first photo on this BBC page gives a flavour of the 'regular' (non-elite) race - people running for charity: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-58772404. I took a number of screenshots throughout the race - here they are:

If you can find a non-white British (again, ONS description) face amongst the runners or in the crowd then it is the exception that proves the rule. In spite of the BBC's politically-correct, (actually racist as I indicate), discriminatory attempt at advancement of the non-white British (black) agenda, they come a cropper here when faced with the real world. Where are the black people running for charity?


In a post-marathon interview, James Cracknell said "It really is the best thing about being British - people coming, supporting their mate, partner or charity and then staying and clapping everyone else". Or not.

23rd June 2021 - I was so p****d off by James Gray's newsletter this week that I couldn't resist penning a response. His view of the state of the UK as a 'world leader' is preposterous. UK governments but particularly his governments have sold off Britain's infrastructure to the highest bidders. In my response, I mention some, but by no means all, of the infrastructure which has been 'lost' to foreign investors or foreign governments thanks to a certain M Thatcher (and others). Britain's principal airports are in foreign hands; Heathrow is 'owned' by Ferrovial, the Spanish railway company; Gatwick is owned by VINCI, a French company (try VINCI's website and you should, if you have good security software, receive the response 'website blocked due to Trojan'). Associated British Ports (ABP) has a network of 21 ports handling around a quarter of UK's seaborne trade. ABP is owned by Canadian, Singaporean and Kuwaiti investment 'vehicles'. I concentrate more on railways in my response but I didn't mention railway maintenance. You (the rudloescene reader (singular!)) may have seen railway maintenance traffic on our local line, particularly during the electrification work: Hochtief (German) was the principal contractor for electrification: Colas Rail (French) was another. Even locally, on our verges, you will find that the contractor cutting the grass and doing other maintenence is idverde (French). My response to James Gray follows and you will find a .pdf version below.




I see your rose-coloured glasses are well burnished. At the other end of the bar, there will always be a man who plays fast and loose with fidelity in order to substantiate his view of the world and contrives high dudgeon (as an Irish friend of mine would say) at every concocted affront. "Everyone seems to agree ...", "The PM and Carrie had real status ...", "... the only nation in the world who until now has paid 2% of GDP on defence ..." (I presume that you mean the only full NATO nation (France spends 2.1%, others e.g. Russia, Saudi Arabia spend far more)), "... providing the world with this British-invented and (largely) manufactured vaccine" (the first MHRA-approved vaccine was the Pfizer; if you are talking of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, AstraZeneca is a Swedish company which manufactures the vaccine), "... great trading nation ..." (we see the results of unnecessary worldwide trade in 'normal' and accidental pollution (ref the recent container ship fire off Sri Lanka) and the enormous cost in terms of climate change (at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, we (and others) will presumably be paying lip service to climate change while increasing our global trade significantly) also see paras below). "All of these events and more mean that we are able to stand proud alongside the greatest nations in the world. We are the masters of our own destiny. We control our own currency and economy; we make our own rules. We are freeing ourselves of the shackles of European bureaucracy, leaving behind the mediocrity, the lowest common denominator which the EU is forced to beWe now have our moment in history - once again to be a true International Leader. So let’s cast aside the habitual British syndrome of ‘doing ourselves down’. No-one admires false modesty. Let’s salute these great early achievements; and thank and congratulate the ministers who are achieving them." (see paras below).


If we examine the real world rather than your dreamworld, then we find a different picture. Our national problems had little to do with our membership of the EU. Your final two paras, highlighted above, continue the trademark, Tory bluff and bluster many instances of which may be found across the years of Tory governments. You echo the sentiments of Captain Kydd, the first captain of HMS Queen Elizabeth, when he said that the purpose of the ship was to project Britain's power and influence across the globe. The reality in the home country is somewhat different. The basic requirements for a good life in a successful country are missing.


Starting with education, the chairman of John Lewis said recently "Young people starting work at John Lewis stores lack basic literacy and numeracy skills". She was incredulous that these youngsters had been in the education system for between ten and twelve years and lacked functional literacy and numeracy. At a personal level, we have found the same situation: recently, at the checkout of a local store, a youngster could not calculate 10% of £70.


A decent home should be a necessity in a civilized society. In 1972, we bought our first home, in Corsham, for £6,000. At that time, you could borrow up to 2.5 times your annual salary (so my salary would have been, incredibly, around the £2,500 mark!). Now, with the average salary at £26k and the average house price at £256k (ONS stats), any/all homes are unaffordable without taxpayer-supported schemes which provide only partial ownership (at Dickens Gate, one of our local greenfield developments, the prospective homeowner may acquire 40% of 3-bed home for £126k - this is still 5 times an average salary). The elephant in the room here is immigration (a subject of which politicians 'dare not speak its name'). According to Immigration Watch, since the turn of the century, the 6-7 million rise in the UK population has been driven by immigration. Your government's policy has been to limit annual, net immigration to 5-figures (what shall we say, 50,000?) but in reality, thanks to the lack of proper immigration controls (whether EU or non-EU), the figure has been getting on for an order of magnitude greater (313,000 in year-ended March 2020). Yet nobody makes the link between uncontrolled immigration, the requirement to build significant numbers of new homes and the cost of these homes both in terms of price and the environment (ref the Amersham and Chesham by-election result). Your government (not the EU) is at fault here. Apart from immigration, the other principal driver of house prices is purchase by overseas 'investors' (inter alia by oligarchs, crooks, money launderers). Hundreds of thousands of homes across the UK are foreign-owned; in a relatively small country, such purchases should be significantly limited (as Denmark does) - see infrastructure below..


'Everyone' (I'm taking your lead here!) knows that our care homes are in crisis. According to Age UK, "the care system is broken and needs immediate funding and long-term reform". My better-half worked in the care system for decades; she chronicled a significant change for the worse when 'ownership'/management passed from the local authority to private providers (and the profit motive became involved). The lack of coordination between the health system, social services and care homes is alarming. I have recently been involved in the case of a friend with significant mental health problems and special educational needs who was passed from pillar to post across the agencies involved with no one grasping the nettle to resolve his case (I forwarded his 'dossier' to you but you were unable to help - see the justice para below). The care of our elderly and those with mental health issues should be another fundamental requirement of a civilised society. 


The justice system is also in crisis - there is a massive backlog of cases. The reason (at least a significant contributory reason), according to the Law Society, "Between 2010 and 2019, over half the courts across England and Wales were closed". So your government closes half the courts as a money-saving exercise and then finds a system in crisis! Regarding the 'dossier' mentioned above, a contrived police case resulted in four magistrates court and three crown court appearances for my friend with mental health problems and his 94-year-old mother during the course of a year. He was entirely innocent but this contrived case must have cost many tens of thousands of pounds and an inordinate amount of police/CPS/court/solicitor/barrister time. And, thanks to the closure of the local multi-million pound, specially-designed structure (with anti-terrorist blast walls apparently), my friend and his mother had to travel to the out-of-date buildings of the Swindon courts seven times. How would they have been able to do this without friends to help? I was so outraged by the course of events surrounding this case that I wrote a 35,000-word screenplay (still waiting to see the light of day).


Prisons. A part of the justice system recently highlighted in the powerful TV drama Time. Liverpool was the location of this drama which gave a true-to-life representation of life behind bars in the UK. UK prisons are “inhumane and degrading” in the words of a court in Amsterdam in 2019, as it refused an extradition request. The judges were referring to HMP Liverpool. The cause of this damning judgment was the appalling conditions in prisons such as Walton (Liverpool), Bedford and Birmingham. Britain has the highest, per capita, prison population in western Europe. The programme highlighted the drug problem in prison with an officer being coerced into becoming a 'mule'. According to the official Government website (gov.uk), the UK has the largest opioid-using population in Europe.


Infrastructure. Of the 24 UK train operating companies (passenger TOCs), 13 are owned or part-owned by foreign (mainly European, state-owned) companies or are financed through foreign investment vehicles. If you look at the website of GB Railfreight, you will find that it is the third largest freight operator in the UK with 30% of the market; it is British owned. So which companies are at first and second spot with 70% of the UK market? In first place is DB Cargo (German of course) with Freightliner (American company Genesee & Wyoming) second. DB (Deutsche Bahn) also operates the royal train. How ironic. Of the Big 6 energy companies, four are foreign-owned. EDF (Electricite de France) is the largest UK electricity producer (and is constructing our 'local' nuclear power station at Hinckley Point with Chinese finance; all other UK nuclear power stations are operated by EDF; the four new nuclear power stations, including Hinckley, are being built either by EDF or by EDF along with Chinese company CGN - China General Nuclear Power Group); e.on, the second largest company is German; npower is a subsidiary of e.on; Scottish Power is owned by Spanish parent company Iberdrola. British Gas and SSE are nominally British. 'Our' water company, Wessex Water, is owned by Malaysian corporation YTL. And just an aside, if you live in Surrey, your water may be supplied by the Sumimoto Corporation of Japan. Much land and property in the UK is now foreign-owned. According to recent stats, more than 100,000 UK property titles are registered to overseas companies (never mind private individuals), with more than 36,000 properties in London owned by offshore firms. What could be more English than Paternoster Square in the City, adjacent to St Pauls? Paternoster Square is owned by the Mitsubishi Corporation. The largest landowner in Scotland is Danish.


With regard to healthcare, none of the significant infrastructure in our hospitals is British; all the scanners (CT, MRI etc) are foreign-manufactured, mostly German (Siemens), some Phillips (Dutch), others Japanese (I recently had a CT scan by a Hitachi scanner). An acquaintance has kidney failure and needs dialysis a number of times each week. Luckily, we have a local dialysis centre at Bathford - run by Fresenius, a German company.


This is the Britain that successive governments (principally Conservative) have bequeathed to the nation. A land sold off to the highest bidder. This is the reality behind the facade of your 'true international leader'. So where does 'projecting our power and influence across the globe' come in?




Paul T


From: GRAY, James <jamesgraymp@parliament.uk>

Sent: 21 June 2021 02:24
To: Mr P Turner <wirepuller@hotmail.com>
Subject: From James Gray MP - Britain in the World


 James Gray MP

Home | Contact James


Dear Constituent,

Easy – if sloppy - thinking denigrates a nation’s achievements. “We’re the sick man of Europe… It will never be the same again…. We’re a third-rate nation now…” You know the kind of thing. There’s always some old bore at the end of the bar mumbling about it.

Yet this week we have really started to show our colours on the world’s stage. Everyone seems to agree that the G7 meeting in Cornwall was a great success- from a social, diplomatic and even Cornish standpoint. The PM and Carrie had real status amongst the world’s leaders, and we should be proud of them. That President Biden took time to stop off at Windsor Castle to celebrate the Queen’s 95th birthday is a mark of great respect (although why he thought it diplomatic to liken HM to his Mother is anyone’s guess.) We took our place at the NATO Summit proud of being the second largest member after the US, and the only Nation in the world who until now has paid 2% of GDP on defence and 0.7% on overseas aid. (At 0.5% we are still the fourth largest donor in the world.)

Despite the sad necessity of extending Lockdown until 19 July, we can still be proud of leading the world in our vaccine programme (which would simply not have happened had we still been a member of the EU); only as a result of beginning to beat the disease here can we now look to providing the world with this British-invented and (largely) manufactured vaccine. And I was so glad to see our world-beating Oxford scientists being recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Meanwhile we should celebrate the fact that the Free Trade Agreement with Australia is the seventieth we have so far agreed (and the first negotiated from scratch) post-Brexit, the total value of the trade being about £1.4 Trillion. We are once again becoming a great trading nation in our own right, and we should be proud of it. There’s a long way to go, of course, and many a wrinkle to be smoothed out, starting with Northern Irish sausages. How dare President Macron seek to describe Ulster as a separate country from the UK? It’s as much a part of the UK as Brittany (despite its name) is a part of France.

All of these events and more mean that we are able to stand proud alongside the greatest nations in the world. We are the masters of our own destiny. We control our own currency and economy; we make our own rules. We are freeing ourselves of the shackles of European bureaucracy, leaving behind the mediocrity, the lowest common denominator which the EU is forced to be.

We now have our moment in history - once again to be a true International Leader. So let’s cast aside the habitual British syndrome of ‘doing ourselves down’. No-one admires false modesty. Let’s salute these great early achievements; and thank and congratulate the ministers who are achieving them.

Britain must once again be Great.

Best wishes,

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire

Member, Mr Speaker’s Panel of Chairmen
Chairman, All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces
Chairman, Armed Forces Parliamentary Trust
Chairman, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Polar Regions
Member, Commons Procedure Committee
Member, Environmental Audit Committee
Commander, Order of St John
Freeman of the City of London
Younger Brother, Trinity House
Veteran Member, Honourable Artillery Company
Member, Royal Wootton Bassett Royal British Legion
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
Patron, Operation Christmas Box
President, Chippenham Constitutional Club
Author, Poles Apart (2014); Who Takes Britain to War (2016); Full English Brexit (2018) and Wiltshire to Westminster (2020)

email to James Gray ref his weekly missi[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [697.9 KB]

30th April 2021 - Claims to Fame ...


Back in the early 70s, 'we' were thrown out of the Hare & Hounds in Pickwick by the then landlord Don Townsend ... you have to have a claim to fame, and this is one of ours.


'Our' 1970s incident had something to do with the consumption of alcohol but now, in 2021, we have reached the apogee of pub claims to fame when someone is thrown out of a pub for being too sober.


This, of course, happened to the Labour leader Keir Starmer when he was thrown out of the Raven in Bath by the owner (one of). This incident will probably do wonders for business as when pubs do fully reopen, tourists will no doubt want to pay a visit to this establishment as a 'claim to fame'.


Photo and cartoon (below) are from the current edition of Private Eye.

16th March 2021 - Innocence, Fear and Suspicion, an article on the way we live now including thoughts and anecdotes on the Meghan and Harry interview, racism, innocence, fear, suspicion and the taking of offence

Innocence, Fear and Suspicion.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [532.4 KB]

19th December 2020 - just twelve days to go until the end of the Brexit transition period and we still don't know how we will leave. But 17.4 million Brits apparently knew what they were voting for in 2016.


In 1969, we parked our car at Luton Airport for three shillings (15p) a day and travelled to Franco's Spain with Autair International Airways paying 24 guineas (those were the days) each. Travellers cheques were provided by Midland Bank. And, most unfortunately, we took in a bullfight in Barcelona - thankfully, bullfighting was banned in Catalonia in 2010.


In 1970, we travelled to Spain with friends in two cars along with a trailer whose load was a speedboat. Yeomans, Miller & Co of Chippenham arranged the travel. But neither the UK nor Spain had yet joined the EEC so for the travel through France we had to 'declare' the speedboat's engine via a customs carnet. This meant that we had to get the French customs to stamp the carnet at the entry and exit (on the Spanish border) points on the way out and do the reverse on the return journey. 


And after fifty years of security, health, education, scientific, space, travel and trade integration along with a wealth of other things, we are now taking an atavistic step which will see us return to the tortuous carnet days. But this will be the least of our worries - still 17.4 million knew what they were voting for.

1st November 2020 - beware slogans ... 'Take Back Control', 'Release Britain's Potential', 'Get Brexit Done', and across the Pond ... 'Make America Great Again', 'Lock Her Up', 'We're Gonna Build a Wall' and so on.


Did 17.4 million Brits really believe that bull? In a week when trade negotiations are winding up before our EU departure with or without a deal on 1st January 2021, the Government announced that it was about to give the green light to a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk to be built by ... the French (Take back control?). Knowledgeable rudloescene readers will be aware that Hinckley C in Somerset is also being built by the French.


I had to pick someone up from Chippenham Station on Friday. Whilst waiting on the platform, the track maintenance vehicle operated by Colas Rail and shown in the photograph below passed through the station.

Colas Rail? French, of course. Our governments have sold off our infrastructure to many foreign entities over the past decades and continue to do so. Take back control? Out walking on Saturday, I passed Rudloe Firs (see photograph below) where our local water company, Wessex Water, has a large tank and other infrastructure supplying water to Rudloe and Corsham. Wessex Water is owned by Malaysian company YTL. Take back control?

Rudloe Firs - home to Malaysian company YTL's (aka Wessex Water) tank and other infrastructure

And the grass verges here and elsewhere are maintained by Wiltshire Council's contractor idverde - French of course. Take back control?

6th February 2020 - retaining European citizenship. There are two campaigns underway whose aims are a. to implement an arrangement whereby individuals may remain European through an EU associate membership scheme or b. simply retain European citizenship (perhaps these campaigns will unite with a commom aim). The campaign websites are here:




4th February 2020 - an email today to James Gray MP about 'a new dawn' in British politics



Your party's pre-election reluctance to subject itself and its policies to examination (ref Boris Johnson being the only party leader to refuse to be questioned by Andrew Neil) continues. According to a front-page headline in today's Times, your government is boycotting the Today programme on Radio 4 and ITV's Good Morning Britain and yesterday subjected journalists to a selection line-up for a No 10 briefing. Thankfully respected journalists, such as Laura Kuenssberg and Robert Peston, refused to comply with this attempted censorship.

This kind of thing, we know, happens in communist states, fascist dictatorships and banana republics ... but now in a western democracy?  It would appear that Mr Johnson and his puppet-master Dominic Cummings are taking their lead from goings-on across the Pond where Trump cannot handle reasoned criticism or debate so blames the press and does not engage with them (can you imagine Trump performing at the annual White House Press Corps dinner where Obama charmed and captivated his audience?). Will the new dawn herald government by tweet?

With an 80-strong majority, what are you afraid of? Please explain.


Paul Turner

31st January 2020 - certainly not a night for celebration. Neil is drowning all our sorrows while Damien has gone to fetch the (vegan) sausage rolls.


This is the wake for the European Union at the Queens Head in Box. In their sorrow, an adjacent table ordered the vegan curry and vegan chips on vegan plates with vegan knives and forks.


7th January 2020 - on the assassination of Major General Quassem Soleimani ("a bad, bad man" according to the badder simpleton who supposedly authorised the killing but one wonders whose directions he was following) it might do to reflect on the litany of assassinations that go largely unreported by Western media:  Israeli assassinations. The Israeli assassination record does not include the assassination by an ultra-orthodox Jew of their own president, Yitzhak Rabin, because of his efforts towards a peace deal. While Iran has been labelled, by White House insiders, as part of the 'axis of evil', one wonders where the real evil lies. Child fatalaties, since 2000, in the Israel-Palestine conflict point to the real criminals. Palestinian fatalities are an order of magnitude greater (thousands against hundreds) as illustrated in the table below. At least 2,172 Palestinian children and 134 Israeli children have been killed by someone from the other side since 2000.

And significantly, returning to the assassination of Quassem Soleimani, two allies who were instrumental in the fight against and defeat of ISIS/Daesh, after five years of war, namely the Kurdish Peshmerga and Soleimani's Quds Force have now been shat upon (excuse the vernacular) from a great height by Trump and his puppet masters.


A section of the documentary Shadow Commander: Iran's Military Mastermind  broadcast on BBC2 last night, 6th January 2020 (and, apparently, available for a year on iPlayer), is instructive. The section starts with the 9/11 attacks (at around the 8 minute 30 second mark in the programme) and continues ...


Reporter Jane Corbin: "The attackers were Sunni Muslim extremists opposed not only to the West but also to Shia Iran. Iranians cried for the American victims of Al-queda".

Ambassador Ryan Crocker: "We all realised that this development opened up a moment in which the United States and Iran could cooperate effectively. We both had the same enemies in Afghanistan. Within a week I was on one of the first planes out, to Geneva".

Reporter Jane Corbin: "Secret talks began between Ryan Crocker and an Iranian diplomat". He had been sent by Quassem Solemaini to explore ways to defeat the Taliban, Al-queda's protectors in Afghanistan".

Ambassador Ryan Crocker: "He produced a map that showed the Taliban order of battle throughout Afghanistan and he accompanied that with the advice that we strike certain targets first. I asked if I could take notes. He said 'You can keep the map'. Some of these things we were doing and talking about clearly reflected Quassem Soleimani's ability to make things happen quickly".

Reporter Jane Corbin: "The Taliban, Sunni extremists like Al-queda threatened Shia Iran as well as America".

Ambassador Ryan Crocker: "There was none of this talk about the horrors of the past; what we had done to Iran, what Iran had done to us. He was all about 'Let's get on with this show, right now'".

Reporter Jane Corbin: "For months American diplomats were locked in talks with their traditional foe but then one speech changed everything".

George W Bush: "Our goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction".

Ambassador Ryan Crocker: "I was awakened by my staff saying something like 'Boss, you're really not going to like this. And right they were, I really did not like it".

George W Bush: "Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror. States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world".

Ambassador Ryan Crocker: "We moved literally overnight from a situation in which we were doing business with Iran on Afghanistan that was quite significant and that held open the prospect of a completely different chapter opening up in our relationship. 'Access of evil' slammed that door shut and it has not since reopened".

Reporter Jane Corbin: "Powerful voices within the White House insisted that Iran was their principal enemy in the region".


I will leave the discerning rudloescene reader (yes, you!) to determine to whom those powerful voices belonged. For my part, I believe that the real evil mentioned earlier was and is the puppet master (with Bush and Trump the puppets). One Barack Obama had the chutzpah (!) to stand up to this insidious threat to peace in the Middle East.

We saw Quassem Soleimani as very capable, charismatic, skilled and professionally competent - General David Patraeus

30th December 2019 - James Gray's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' post-election message to his constituents and yours truly's response ... (revealingly, he has not responded)



Thanks for your good wishes but ...

The Socialist dreams and Liberal schemes have included the welfare state and pensions, the national health service, (council) housing for the masses, nationalisation of vital infrastructure and the Open University.

Just what has the Tory party contributed to long-term national wellbeing? Your privatisations have caused much damage to the 'commons' to the benefit of your friends and foreign entities.

And I find Geoffrey Cox's voice quite disturbing.

Happy New Year

Paul T

Dear Constituent,

It would be hard to exaggerate what a great feeling it is to be back in Parliament - re-elected for the constituency I love, and with no reduction in the number of people voting for me. (Phew!) But even more important, it is the first time in my Parliamentary lifetime that we have been in power and with a worthwhile workmanlike majority.  The other parties (bar the SNP) are in disarray and will stay that way for some time. It is not for us to pry into their private grief.

As that great Conservative thinker, Macleod said “The Socialists may dream their dreams, and the Liberals may scheme their schemes, but WE have work to do. And it started this week with a large and rich and challenging Queens Speech, and then with a huge majority for the Brexit Bill. We have the mandate of the people- of al kinds of people from all over Britain- and we will now deliver on our promise with regard to Brexit (by 31 January) and then with regard to a wide and radical set of domestic proposals.

Its going to be very hard work. I will be chairing Bill Committees, starting with the massive Environment Bill, which will take up a great deal of time. I am continuing, and hope to develop further, my interest in the Armed Forces, security and defence, which of course are both  constituency and  personal interests; and I hope to play  my part in restoring the public’s faith in Parliament and the Constitution, and in running the House of Commons itself. It is so good to know that in those and so many other ways we will at last be able to do stuff. Parliament has been in gridlock- dither, delay, destruct- for three years. Now at last we can really get on with the things the people voted for.

For now, we are just glad to be back. Back representing the people of North Wiltshire, and back helpng to support a Government with a challenging agenda ahead of it, but for once with the majority necessary  to get things done.

So I wish you all a Very happy Christmas and New Year, and can do little better than leave you with  the mellow baritone of the Attorney General, Rt Hon Geoffrey Cox QC MP reading ‘Twas the Night before Christmas<https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/12/19/watch-geoffrey-cox-reads-twas-night-christmas/>. It is well worth a listen!

Best wishes,

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire

9th December 2019 - BREAKING NEWS - in zee light of zee British Government's discovery that Brexit vill “Get Our Country Back” unt "Unleash Britain's Potential" unt “Take Back Control” unt “Get Britain Out Of Neutral” unt “Take this Country Forward” Deutshland has decided to leave ze EU sru ‘Deutsch Ausfahrt’ (our Brexit equivalent).

Deutschland only has six of zee top ten European manufacturing companies (Britain has none) so vee are sinking zat sru Deutsch Ausfahrt vee vill be able to take control completely of zee top ten.


Unt vee only hef ze first and serd European best-selling car manufacturers (Volkswagen and BMW) at zee moment; vee vont Mercedes to push Renault out of second place sru Deutsch Ausfahrt.


Unt vee sink zat zee promised extra funding of zee NHS after Brexit vill enable a bigger market for Siemens CT unt MRI scanners (currently installed in all/most NHS hospitals) via Deutsch Ausfahrt (zere are only about 500 Siemens CT scanners and 500 MRI scanners in UK hospitals at zee moment).


Unt alzough vee operate much of British railway pessenger traffic, vee hef realised zet vee could do far more sru Deutsch Ausfahrt given zee list of British railway operators below:

Arriva: German state

c2c: Italian state

Chiltern: German state

Caledonian sleeper: PRIVATE

CrossCountry: German state

East Midlands: Dutch state

Eurostar: French state

Gatwick Express: French state

Grand Central: German state

Great Northern: French state


Greater Anglia: Dutch state

Heathrow Express: PRIVATE

Hull Trains: PRIVATE

LNER: British state

London Northwestern Railway: Dutch state

London Overground: German state

London Underground: British state

Merseyrail: Dutch state

Northern: German state

Northern Ireland Railways: British state

Scotrail: Dutch state

South Western Railway: PRIVATE (First Group) and Hong Kong state

Southeastern: French state

Southern: French state

Stansted Express: Dutch state

TfL rail: Hong Kong state

Thameslink: French state

TransPennine Express: PRIVATE

Transport for Wales: French state

West Coast: Italian state

West Midlands Railway: Dutch state

Unt vile vee hef a big British freight operating company, DB Cargo (zis iz Deutsche Bahn of course), vee vud like to make furzer inroads into British rail freight by taking over Freightliner (owned by American company Genesee & Wyoming) unt Colas Rail (French-owned). Zis could be enabled sru Deutsche Ausfahrt which could also enable expansion of ze Arriva (owned by Deutshe Bahn) bus network.

Unt (ya, another unt) it is outrageous zet vee only hef two energy companies (nPower unt e-on) in zee British top six - ve vill soon hef more after Deutsch Ausfahrt.

Vee hef seen recently zat Chippenham is zee ‘Home of Siemens Rail Automation’. Vee vud zink zet zee uzzer local manufacturer of braking systems, Knorr Bremse (Deutsch of course) vud hef objected to zis takeover but hey ho, it doesn't matter as Deutsche Ausfahrt will make Britain zee ‘Home of German Industry’.

We are sinking zat vezzer vizin zee EU or outside it, Boris unt his cronies vill continue to sell off zee family silver unt vee vill be ready to take advantage senks to ...

Deutsch Ausfahrt

2nd December 2019 - I presume the politically astute rudloescene reader will have seen Bozo's (yes Bozo, not Bojo) interview on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 yesterday morning? What an absolute buffoon this man is. He attempted to blunder his way through this interview but has refused to take part in Leaders' Question Time (where he tried to put up Gove in his place) and has refused to take part in the Andrew Neil leaders' interviews (Jeremy Corbin, Jo Swinson, Nicola Sturgeon and Nigel Farage have been or will be interviewed by Andrew Neil). And, given this interview, his reason for refusal is clear - he is clueless, he attempts to use bluff and bluster where knowledge, reason and diplomacy are needed. Clearly the Tory policy is to avoid themselves and their policies being exposed to ridicule (this, of course, is the reason Jacob Rees Mogg has been secreted away) during the election campaign. Unfortunately for us, it will only be after they are elected to office that we will discover the extent of their deceptions.

Buffoon Johnson on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 1st December 2019

Just one example of the man's facile responses ... When questioned about the accusation of racism in some of the newspaper articles he has written, part of his response included "My great-grandfather knew the Quran off-by-heart". What a ridiculous proposition - and he expects blusters of this type to be believed! Sadly, it seems, many in the Tory party and elsewhere do believe his nonsense.

11th October 2019 - N. Wilts and Chippenham pro-EU campaign group were canvassing support today in Corsham High Street ahead of the People's Vote march in London next Saturday, 19th October (12 o'clock, Park Lane to Parliament Square - it's an easy walk from Paddington across Hyde Park to the start point and on the return walk, via Hyde Park Mews, a pint or three at the Victoria in Paddington is 'de rigeur').

The humour of the march(ers) and the placards is a delight. I bought a fetching EU beret from the messieurs pictured which I will flaunt, at an appropriate angle, next week. Within the beret were a number of Brexit banknotes (see below) with such epithets as 'I PROMISE TO PAY MYSELF MORE THAN YOU' (on the 50 guinea note).

30th September 2019 - James Gray's latest missive is below along with my response:

Dear Constituent,

The problem with Parliament and the political system is that we have become fixated by ourselves and our inability to carry out the will of the people. The moment the rugby club becomes obsessed with its constitution is the moment it starts losing matches. And most of this week’s turbulence and acrimony has all of the hallmarks of a rugby club committee falling out with itself.

The Supreme Court’s judgement is important. Of course it is. But it disagrees with the Master of The Rolls, and a great many other very senior judges. It is in fact making a new law; and that it is a serious matter for our constitution. Who runs Britain? Parliament? Or the Government? Or the Judiciary? These are complex and delicate constitutional matters which great minds will ponder over for many decades to come. They are most certainly not the material for political knock-about as they have become this week.

I anyhow maintain my view that Proroguing was the right and the perfectly normal thing to do. We do it every year at this time, leaving time for the Party Conferences followed by a Queen’s Speech. The Labour and Liberal parties, having presided over a shambles of a Conference have now refused the Tory request to allow ours to continue as normal. Good democracy there, eh? The Supreme Court ruling means that there can be no certainty about a Queen’s Speech, making this the longest ever Parliament, and removing the Government’s right to legislate and run the country. The Judges may be legally correct; but their judgement will have very real consequences for our constitution and for future governments’ ability to govern.

In the meantime, Mr Speaker Bercow has allowed the whole principle of Parliamentary democracy to be undermined by one seemingly harmless or obscure change to Parliamentary procedure - namely allowing Standing Order 24 debates to have Executive authority. That has allowed backbenchers to take control of the Government. They did so in July and passed a law requiring the PM to write to the EU requesting an extension to Article 50. The PM is so far refusing to do so, although I suspect that the lawyers are preparing for another field day over it.

All of this is being discussed in an atmosphere of discord and acrimony of a kind I have never seen, and which does our Parliamentary reputation no favours. Its like a very bad-tempered football match – teams support Rangers or Celtic, and never the twain shall meet. It’s a binary choice - Remain or Leave - with often very little sane and balanced discussion entering into it. Only a General Election will lance the boil which is at the heart of our political discourse. Yet Labour and the Lib Dems will not allow us to call one. Is that because they are afraid that they would lose? Or is it because many parts of the Labour Party are terrified of the thought of their own Leader in No 10?

There is no way out of this impasse without a General Election. We have no majority; we are being hamstrung in our efforts to carry out the will of the people so clearly expressed in the Referendum; we cannot prorogue; and the Labour and Liberal parties are trying to prevent us going to the people in a General Election.

They would frustrate the will of the people. And apparently they do not think twice about doing so by scrapping so much that is good and essential about our laws and constitution and Parliamentary tradition.  The only truth is that the people voted to leave the EU. That is what we must now do.

Best wishes,

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire



Are you not hoisted with your own petard here? The stated purposes of leaving the EU were:

a. to be free from the jurisdiction of the European courts in order to make (and abide by) our own laws. Yet when the highest court in the land makes a decision that you don't like, you throw your toys out of the pram (apologies, there should be a  better metaphor) and your leader and others have stated, effectively, that they will somehow circumvent this decision. Some sovereignty eh! If only we were all in a position to circumvent laws we didn't care for.

b. to take control of our own borders. You will know that we have always had control of our borders (geographically, through our being an island; physically, through our continuation of border controls outside the Schengen Agreement and politically through having the wherewithal to put in place laws which controlled entry and exit from the UK). You will also know that on this last point, UK governments have failed to put in place laws or systems which would enable such control. This failure lies at our door, not the EU's.

c. to be able to do our own trade deals. With messieurs Johnson and Trump in each others pockets (to put it politely), we could be 'persuaded' to enter into unfavourable deals with our supposedly greatest ally.  Zac Goldsmith (a minister at DEFRA and and one of the key members of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation) hosted the launch of Phil Lymbery's book Farmaggedon (an excellent book) in Parliament. The book says, inter alia, "the threat Britain faces of a new wave of US-style industrial farming would spell the end of the British countryside as we know it". And what a threat to the environment in doing deals across the globe in place of deals with our closest, largest market.

Your trump cards of the '17.4 million people' and 'the biggest democratic vote in history' and 'the will of the people' were derived through a campaign of disinformation. The last election called in order to provide a majority in Parliament to push through Mrs May's deal simply exacerbated division. With Parliament having ruled out Mrs May's deal and no deal, there is no reason to suppose that another election will change the Parliamentary arithmetic (apart from, perhaps, the Brexit party gaining some seats in Leave constituencies).

With such a major decision on the future of our country, and having your trump card of 17.4 million Leavers, there should be no reason to fear a confirmatory referendum, when those 17.4 million can, once again, confirm that leaving the EU with no deal is what they voted for. Or did they? This is what we have been discussing in the country and in Parliament for three+ years. So, as I said in my previous email, the only way to resolve the issue is to hold that confirmatory referendum, again with no precaution (as you said on TV yesterday, a majority of one is enough! (Do you really believe this?)) when the 17.4 million can select their 'leave without a deal' which should hold sway against others who may wish to 'leave with a (Mrs May's) deal' or those who wish to 'remain in the EU'. This should put an end to the matter.


Paul Turner


3rd October 2019 update to the 30th September article above:



Thanks for your prompt response, dated 30th September, to my email, also dated 30th September, below - an impressive turnaround time!

However (did you sense this coming) ... you have ignored my first point regarding the law and Parliamentary sovereignty and have misinterpreted the fundamental point. You say "If you choose to try to overturn the outcome of one referendum with another then the entire purpose of the referendum is undermined" but I did not say that I wished to overturn the result of the 2016 referendum, my words were "With such a major decision on the future of our country, and having your trump card of 17.4 million Leavers, there should be no reason to fear a confirmatory referendum, when those 17.4 million can, once again, confirm that leaving the EU with no deal is what they voted for".

With Brexit displacing every other headline over the past three+ years, this is the most important decision on the future of our country for, perhaps 70-odd years. As indicated previously, you and others keep playing the trump card of the '17.4 million' and 'the biggest democratic vote' - but there was no 'deal' or 'no deal' option in the 2016 referendum. If, as you indicate, the 17.4 million wished to leave with no deal, then a confirmatory vote on this is imperative in view of the importance of the decision for the future of the country for, perhaps, the next 70-odd years.

Why should you fear a confirmatory referendum if this is, in fact, what the majority wanted? A new referendum could have your 'leave with no deal' as an option and the matter will be settled. In any case, given the material on the issue that has emerged over the last three years, people are in a much better position to make an informed decision on the subject now and perhaps your 17.4 million figure will increase.

This is a matter to be settled now in view of its importance (and in the light of three-year's worth of further education), not one for referendums on the subject every three years, ad infinitum.


Paul T

8th September 2019 – breaking news (as they say) - black is white, the circle is a square, war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength (the last three from 1984 of course).

On this morning’s Andrew Marr Programme Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said the following (in italics below) should Hilary Benn's bill become law tomorrow, requiring the prime minister to request a Brexit extension probably until 31st January 2020 (law is highlighted as it is Parliament that makes law*):

"We will obey the law"
"We will be leaving on 31st October, deal or no deal"

Andrew Marr asked him to explain this illogical position - he failed to do so. This takes the Tory tradition of bluff and bluster to the extreme. “I am very clear” Javid said. Good for him but his clarity is Trumpesque – is this what the future holds – politicians making blatantly illogical statements expecting the plebs to genuflect to their deceptions, evasions, misrepresentations, fictions?


And talking of fiction, we return to George Orwell and 1984 – ‘Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them’. And this guy not only holds these contradictory beliefs but also holds one of the four great Offices of State - is this what our country has come to?


* Once a bill has completed all the parliamentary stages in both Houses, it is ready to receive royal assent. This is when the Queen formally agrees to make the bill into an Act of Parliament (law).

8th January 2019 - Neil Macgregor’s Radio 4 series ‘As Others See Us’ travelled to Germany, Nigeria, Egypt, India and Canada to elicit views on Britain past and present. The Indian odyssey included an interview with Narasimhan Ram, an Indian journalist and prominent member of the Kasturi family that controls the Hindu Group of publications. Part of that interview and part of another with former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar are reproduced below. In spite of the broad brush question, the responses, inevitably, defaulted to the Brexit issue.


Neil MacGregor: Looking at Britain today, how do you see its place in the world?


Ram: I will be interviewing David Cameron who is coming to Chennai on January 20th. An obvious first question will be: “Why did you have to have a referendum? It’s not required by your constitution. It’s a non-binding referendum and yet that has created such instability, such uncertainty. I also had a personal engagement with it as my daughter is a journalist in the UK, she’s a British passport holder, her husband is German and they followed it very keenly, how it affected them. 52% is a shock, there’s a lot of uncertainty about it.


Manjrekar: Why was a referendum held on such an important issue because the whole purpose of electing political leaders is that they can make these kind of decisions on our behalf. India will never put out a referendum on the disputed issue of Kashmir. In our part of the world, whether Kashmir should be wholly with India or with Pakistan, a referendum like that will never happen.


Similar views were reflected throughout MacGregor’s travels.

5th October 2018 - once again James Gray's weekly missive (below) had me choking over my muesli. My response follows:



Just reading this week's missive over breakfast.

I see that instead of addressing the real issues you continue to adopt an adversarial approach towards others, whether parties or personalities. That's your politics I suppose. Full English Brexit? What about the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland* who chose Remain?

All you can offer us is "I hope that the PM leaves herself enough ‘wriggle-room’ to switch her allegiance to some kind of free-trade deal resembling that agreed by the EU with Canada". This is the sovereign government that will have supposed full control of our affairs following your Brexit - after 27 months all it has (and all you have) is wishful thinking. Some government.

I guess that your full English would include baked beans (or perhaps half-baked) which would give rise to quite a bit of 'hot air' continuing the long Tory tradition of bluff and bluster.

I'll continue with my continental ...


Paul Turner

(* I overlooked Gibraltar here, which voted 96% for Remain)


Dear Constituent,


Party Conferences are largely self-regarding, self-glorifying, alcohol fuelled jamborees for lobbyists and journalists. Little of real substance is discussed, the main target being not members of the respective parties, but the drooling vampires of the media, hanging on every split, U-Turn or gaffe. Do you remember the Lib-Dem one? Probably not, apart from poor dear Vince trying to make some smutty joke, but getting his words all mixed up. Talk about a dead parrot.


Labour were all over the place with regard to Brexit, being unclear as to whether or not they favoured a second Referendum, and producing a demonstrable fudge at the end of it. But theirs was nonetheless a pretty slick operation, designed to appeal to the largest number of voters, in the vain hope that they would not look too deeply into what they were being promised, nor how it would all be paid for. It was a real old piece of communism in some respects, but they managed to dress it up so that no one spotted it. A couple of slick Party Political Broadcasts rounded off a bit of a remodelling of Kington St Michael boy, Jeremy Corbyn, into something at least vaguely resembling a PM in waiting. Their uncosted promises will unravel pretty quickly, but for now they had a good week.


I managed to avoid the Tory Conference as I have done for some years now. By the time you read this it will have had wall-to-wall coverage. We can but hope that it’s better than last year’s which was a bit of a PR disaster. The only show in town – and I hope the outcome from the Conference – is the question of how dead the Chequers proposals are. (Just about as dead as the parrot and the Lib-Dems.) I hope that the PM leaves herself enough ‘wriggle-room’ to switch her allegiance to some kind of free-trade deal resembling that agreed by the EU with Canada. [Full English Brexit]<http://www.jamesgray.org/full-english-brexit/>


My new book, Full English Brexit, is out this week. Catchy title, don’t you think? It’s about my own views of Brexit, but perhaps more importantly it’s about what I think the UK should look like over the next 50 years. What can we contribute to the world? What will a post-Brexit UK look like? It’s meant to be a light and quite amusing read, and perhaps to stimulate a few lively debates. It’s a highly personal account, and I hope that you may enjoy it. In bookshops near you at £14.99, or direct from the publishers, Halsgrove in Somerset; or if you want a signed copy (at no extra cost) let me know - james@jamesgray.org<mailto:james@jamesgray.org?subject=Full%20English%20Brexit%20-%20signed%20copy>.


I hope we can now put the Conference Season behind us and get back to Parliament and some real hard work – not least, but not limited to, sorting out what really is the best kind of “English Brexit.”


James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire

1st October 2018 - James Gray's column in last week's Gazette & Herald (below) once again set me seething and elicited the following response:


Dear James,

We Rudloeites won't be taken in by your continuing, contrived indignation and insidious abuse about the EU.

It was your former leader who decided (in order to resolve divisions in your party, as you well know) to have the ill-advised referendum throwing any precautionary principle out of the window. The EU is a formidable, 28-nation block with much valued economic, social, scientific (etc) structures which rogues such as Putin and Trump (and others) would delight in seeing broken up in order to further their warped ambitions for their respective countries.

Your invective reminds me of a old saying regarding a mother watching her son in a military parade: "Everyone's out of step except our Johnny". Well, Johnny is the one that is out of step; as I say above, 'we' are not fooled by the spurious, disingenuous nonsense of this week's missive.


Paul Turner


Dear Constituent,

We should be proud (but perhaps not surprised) that all three winners in this year’s CPRE Best Kept Village competition are in North Wiltshire. Biddestone, Hullavington and Charlton may not necessarily be the prettiest villages in Wiltshire (although they must be close to it); but they have been adjudged to be the ‘best kept.’ Parish councils, parishioners of every kind, by taking a pride in their immediate neighbourhood; by keeping their own gardens and window boxes immaculate, and tidying up communal areas with litter-picking and more; these are ordinary people taking a real pride in their own and their immediate environment. That spirit of self-help, and of concern for our neighbours was celebrated in the Award Ceremonies last Sunday, two of which I attended.

I apologise to the villagers of Biddestone whose ceremony I missed owing to a previous commitment to reading a lesson at the lovely little service at Luckington church to rededicate two graves of those who had given military service. My reading, from the Gospel of St John was the famous old tale of Jesus telling the disciples about a grain of wheat. Unless it falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain. “If it dies, it bears much fruit.” Great Oaks from Little acorns grow. But not without them dying first.

Self-sacrifice for the greater good of the greater number is the spirit which lies behind the Best Kept Villages (and a fair number of great oaks round well-kept village greens too). And it is the spirit which permeates our armed services, where huge discomfort, and of course great risk to life and limb, are accepted for the greater good of the soldier’s mates and unit, and ultimately for the greater good of Queen and Country.

By contrast, the intonation from the Prayer Book at a graveside that “In the midst of Life we are in Death” has always struck me as being a bit negative, and also blind to the Resurrection. Surely “In the midst of Death we are in Life” is more positive, and also much more in line with the grain of wheat or the acorn, from which grow great oaks.

The British Bull-dog, whether or not in favour of Brexit will not tolerate our Prime Minister’s humiliation by a bunch of Europeans. We will not be bullied, nor patronised by the EU, who by that very action remind us of all we dislike about them. Salzburg has had the life-giving consequence of uniting almost everyone in support of Mrs May against the Eurocrats. So it may seem like an ‘impasse’; Chequers may be ‘dead’; the immediate outlook for the negotiations may be a little bleak. But in the midst of death, there is life. Chequers may turn out to be the acorn, from which a (wildly dissimilar) oak tree emerges. The annoying Europeans may just turn out to have been the rain and sunshine which makes it germinate and grow. President Tusk may well come to regret his vulgar little cake joke.

Best wishes,

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire

30th August 2018 - MP James Gray's weekly newsletter (in the first file 'link' below) received today prompted this response from yours truly: 'The subject is 'Brexit Can Revive Parliament' but you then go on to recount a number of UK parliamentary issues which have nothing whatsoever to do with the EU and Brexit. This is yet more deliberate befuddling of the EU/Brexit issue - as if we hadn't had enough already'.


I have included, for the rudloescene reader(s?) delectation, three further files on the subject of the EU referendum and the unfortunate (to say the least) outcome - Brexit. These are:

1. A short piece from Richard Dawkins on the EU referendum which was included in his book Science in the Soul

2. Jenni Russell's 7th September 2017 Times article (as Jenni says "What a miserable, avoidable mess")

3. A pre-referendum rudloescene article dated 15th April 2016 which asserts that our governments are culpable


The last item is a link to a file of London properties with overseas owners referenced in the 15th April 2016 article 

James Gray weekly missive - 30th August [...]
Adobe Acrobat document [208.0 KB]
Richard Dawkins - the EU.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [249.5 KB]
Jenni Russell article ref Brexit.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [143.8 KB]
rudloescene article on Brexit before the[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [293.6 KB]

7th September 2017 - Parliament resumed this week and the most important legislation in generations is being debated in the Commons. The Brexit tragedy was created by the decisions (or lack of them) by our own governments as expounded by Jenni Russell in her excellent, 7th September, Times article These Migration Curbs Are Years Too Late below. As she says, in her final paragraph: "What a miserable, avoidable mess."


Oh the irony. The Home Office intends to introduce tough new controls on immigration after Brexit. The tone could not be more aggressive. It is provoking fury and retaliation from the EU states whose goodwill we need for a successful deal.


The implication is that we have to be out of Europe to control immigration. That’s not accurate. Successive governments have simply failed to use many of the ways in which we could have limited immigration under EU law. If only they had been more thoughtful and careful about this, and had put in half the restrictions they now plan, we might never have provoked the anger that led to Brexit.


Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister, is withering about this. “Europe can’t understand why we’re blaming them for problems of our own making. So much of this was always in our own gift. If we move to checks on biometrics, or residence, that’s what lots of European countries have been doing for years.”


For a country that is so resentful about migration, we have been astonishingly careless about measuring or managing it. We didn’t know who was here for two decades, because Tory and Labour governments removed exit checks in the 1990s, meaning that we had no idea who was staying on. Those controls were only reapplied in 2015 because the Lib Dems insisted on it. The Home Office under Theresa May stubbornly resisted it, petrified about what the figures might reveal. They preferred public rhetoric to effective action.


Britain’s next major error was in 2004 when it allowed free access to its labour markets to new members of the EU, including Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia. It needn’t have done so. These countries had much lower wage rates and less developed economies than the EU norm. Britain had the option of restricting workers’ rights to move here for up to seven years. Every other EU country except Sweden and Ireland decided to move cautiously, restricting migration for between two to seven years.


The Blair government didn’t, basing its decision on a Home Office report that up to 130,000 people over a decade would move. The ONS calculates that in eight years net migration from the new countries was in fact more than 400,000. The 2011 census showed a large leap in Polish migration alone. In 2001 there were 58,000 Polish-born people here. By 2011 that was 579,000. A laissez-faire attitude was applied to finding out who had arrived in Britain, who had the right to live and work here, and who had the right to access public services. Unlike the majority of the EU, Britain basically neglected to apply most of those controls.

Under EU law there is no absolute right to freedom of movement. After three months any EU migrant must either have a job or a realistic chance of one, be a dependent of a family member who does, or have funds to support themselves, along with sickness insurance. If they don’t they can be sent home. Belgium, which registers every visitor within three months and issues them with residence cards, is increasingly strict about implementing these rules, ordering those who fail them to leave.


Britain has not implemented the policy for a simple reason: it has never bothered to get EU residents to register their presence here, has not, until the recent rollout of universal credit, asked welfare claimants their nationality, and has not had any system for requiring EU non-workers to take out health insurance. In 2013 Theresa May’s Home Office admitted it gave all EU citizens unfettered free movement rights and had no way of collecting data on EU welfare claims. Public anxiety about benefit and health tourism has been allowed to grow without any practical action taken to provide reassurance or redress.


In much of the rest of Europe there is less political unease about EU movement because there is more control over who is in the country and on what terms. France, Germany, Austria and Belgium have identity cards; Spain insists that everyone carries national ID. Most of Europe also has contributory health and welfare systems, meaning that only those who have paid in, and their dependents, can claim. Because Britain gives welfare and healthcare largely according to need, not contributions, and has much looser identity checks it is far easier for those not entitled to those services to use them. But all of those systems are within our power to change.


Other EU states are taking advantage of their scope to restrict the movement of cheaper, poorer workers, within existing rules. Germany is clamping down on the employment of Romanians and Bulgarians in the construction industry, arguing that they are not covered by pay-bargaining agreements between unions and employers.


President Macron, desperate to stop French workers being undercut by cheap Polish labour, is demanding that Poland agrees to restrict what he calls “social dumping”, where temporary workers are sent by companies to work in France but are paid in Poland at far lower rates. He wants similar jobs to get similar pay, saying anything else is a betrayal of European values.


Britain has been too careless about immigration; too slow to see that its many economic and cultural benefits must be balanced against its social and psychological costs. But it’s not the EU that’s the problem, it’s our own ineffectiveness and complacency. We are veering from too little control to a vengeful approach that could well sabotage our future relationship with the EU. What a miserable, avoidable mess.

17th October 2016 - Heathrow third runway decision due next week. The long-awaited decision on Heathrow expansion (or not) will be made by Theresa May (supposedly) next week. I thought the UK was a democracy not an autocracy! We have to keep growing apparently so its either Heathrow or Gatwick ... or both. This government (Mrs May) could be making one disastrous decision after another, first Hinckley C then Heathrow (perhaps) with the continuing disaster of the 'accidental' Brexit going on in the background. What Mrs M should have done and should be doing is saving £billions by scrapping Hinckley C and Heathrow expansion (and HS2) and rebuilding the Somerset and Dorset Railway powered by steam locomotives running on British coal. 


In his book Prosperity without Growth (2011) Tim Jackson includes the following in the chapter 'The Dilemma of Growth' ... "In Cuba, the formal economy (GDP) more or less collapsed after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989, partly because of the sudden removal of subsidized Soviet oil. But one recent study suggests that there were significant health improvements in the aftermath. Calorific intake was reduced by over a third. Obesity was halved and the percentage of physically active adults more than doubled. Between 1997 and 2002, 'there were declines in deaths attributed to diabetes (51%), coronary heart disease (35%) [and] stroke (20%)". Let's abandon the nonsense of never-ending growth! If every country grows like First World countries (including China now) have been doing, the Earth's resources, flora and fauna will be decimated within a generation.


Some say that the Heathrow option, if chosen, will be inordinately delayed (decades) by legal challenges. Good news for the owners/occupiers of the 800 or so properties that would have to be demolished in order to make it happen. One of those properties would be the 16th-century White Horse pub - website here White Horse. And the racket that all these residents currently have to put up with every minute of every day (except nighttime) can be heard in the YouTube video below. The Stop Heathrow Expansion website is here: stop Heathrow expansion.

The listed, 16th-century White Horse at Longford which would be demolished with 800 other properties if Heathrow expansion is sanctioned
The listed, half-timbered house across the road from the White Horse would also be demolished
Enjoying a pint or three of London Pride at the White Horse with my mate Mike before his return to the US of A

25th June 2016 - what a shambles


Enoch Powell's quip that "All political lives ... end in failure" has certainly come to pass with David Cameron following his misjudgment of the mood of the country. However, both major parties bear responsibility for the levels of immigration which fuelled the Brexit vote. When the Labour government allowed the eight Accession countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia etc) access to the British labour market in 2004, should they have foreseen that it would end this way?
What the Brexiters have failed to realise is that the vote to leave will have little effect on the levels of immigration as the proposed tariff-free access to the Single Market will require free movement of people. Brexiters were voting for a dream that has turned into a nightmare presaging: the break-up of the UK, no viable party or prime minister to take the helm, young against old and the casting adrift of Gibraltar.
And what voters who "want their country back" have failed to realise is that the country is no longer ours. For example, our energy, steel, railway, motor vehicle industries and even our chocolate makers are foreign-owned. What could be more 'British' than Cadbury's?
Want our country back? Thirteen of the twenty English Premier League football clubs are principally or entirely foreign-owned. We have prostituted ourselves to the philistine nouveaux riches.
Want the country back? Let our own governments have free rein? Just take the example of North Sea oil wealth - Norway's oil has sourced an almost $1trillion sovereign wealth fund through taxes levied on the oil companies. But as Aditya Chakraboryty put it in his 13th January 2014 article (see the 'link'/button below): "Dude, where's my North Sea oil money?". The answer? Our own, sovereign governments micturated (that's a posh word for piss) it down the drain.
Want the country back? It was our government (supported by our 'sovereign' Parliament) that took the UK into an illegal war with Iraq. Other EU countries were, wisely, wholly opposed to the war.
As stated elsewhere on these pages, it is our own governments that have been responsible for our woes not the EU. The EU has, in many respects, provided a brake against our governments' excesses.

30th May 2016 - Dawn's story


The following letter from Dawn Faizey-Webster through the auspices of the Open University tells of the fantastic work being done by this institution which was established under the Labour government of Harold Wilson.


The generosity of rudloescene readers (you will give won't you?) is now required in order to support disabled students as the present government will no longer be doing so from this summer - see the paragraph headed 'But students like me can't continue ...' and the postscript.

15th April 2016 - the EU referendum


The EU referendum is a diversion of the kind that governments employ to hide real issues. What has Westminster council tax got to do with it? Take a look at the 2016/17 Westminster council tax table below - how do the figures compare with what you, in Wiltshire presumably, are paying? Take band D - £668 in Westminster, £1,595 in Wiltshire. If you would care to check Rightmove, the first twelve pages for Belgravia are for properties over £5-million; the first page alone lists properties valued between £30million and £63million. And the council tax paid for these first-page properties is £1337 (band H).

A 14th April 2016 Times article included the following 'One hundred thousand properties in London have been bought through secret offshore companies. They include almost all the homes in Kensington Palace Gardens, Britain’s most expensive street, and 64 of the 76 apartments in One Hyde Park, London’s most expensive new development. The land owned by these companies across the UK covers an area three times the size of Greater London. Until 2013 these purchases even escaped the stamp duty that ordinary people had to pay. These anonymous buyers include friends of Bashar al-Assad, and an associate of a former Kazakh secret police chief accused of murder'. Criminal and laundered (principally foreign, non-European) money has poured into the London market, forcing prices up in every area, and snatching houses away from the people who live and work there. The movement of the white British is often characterised as white flight - the indigenous population forced out of their neighbourhoods by foreign money. According to census data, the capital's white British population fell by 620,000 between 2001 and 2011.


The Times article continued 'London house prices have doubled since 2007, and last year the head of the National Crime Agency, Donald Toon, warned bluntly that "the London property market has been skewed by laundered money. Prices are being artificially driven up by overseas criminals who want to sequester their assets here in the UK". It is staggering that we have allowed this to happen. Three quarters of under-35s in the capital don’t earn enough to buy a property here, because in the competition to buy homes they’re effectively competing with the richest and most corrupt people in the world. A whole generation either can’t move to the capital or can’t afford to live together and start families here, since anything beyond a shared room is unaffordable. And now foreign investors are moving into the regional cities too'.


The Government's pamphlet on the EU referendum states "The UK is a strong, independent nation". Really? Twenty years ago, less than a fifth of the UK stock market was foreign-owned; now the proportion has risen to 53% (ONS stats). For the first time in history, UK plc is majority‑owned by foreigners. And with the Asian and Russian invasion of London’s and now provincial housing market, UK's land, businesses and property are under the hammer as never before. Successive governments, since the 1980s, have squandered UK's assets (what happened to the UK's oil wealth when compared with Norway's?) and sold off the family silver. The EU is not the problem, our own governments have done a grand job in selling us down the river. 


There are a number of articles on this website about the ownership of British industries: our railway industry is largely run by foreign (nationalised, ironically) groupings; our utilities (electricity, water) are, largely, foreign-owned; our market-quoted companies are increasingly foreign owned (more than 50% of them as stated above); our steel industry is owned, principally, by Tata, an Indian company; Ferrovial of Spain has a considerable stakeholding in British airports (Heathrow, Aberdeen, Southampton, Glasgow) and so on. Pilkington Glass - British? No, Japanese. What could be more British than Cadbury's chocolate? Ha - now American-owned of course. Remember ICI? Following a takeover by Dutch firm AkzoNobel, 29 factories were closed, including many in the UK, with the loss of 3,500 jobs. Westland Aircraft? Now under the control of the Italian Leonardo Corporation.


Quoted in Britain for Sale by Alex Brummer (2012), the chairman of WS Atkins, engineering company, said the following: "Why does ownership matter? The key issues are those of basic control. Ownership inevitably affects strategy; investment; taxes and where they are paid; employment; prourement; group synergies; R&D; stock exchange listing; diversification and location of operations; choice of products and markets and prospects for senior management. The location and culture of controllers of the business are important and will, over time, and in various circumstances, have a fundamental impact on the future of the business".


Quoted in the same book, the veteran Evening Standard commentator Anthony Hilton took a similar view with "Apart from the massive loss of corporation tax revenue that usually follows a foreign takeover, the national interest is damaged in a host of other ways - by the loss of top jobs, the loss of high-end research and the fact that the loss of a local head office can rip the heart out of a community. Take the company out ot the town and you destroy the town".


Remember Hawker Siddeley and its British subsidiaries A.V. Roe (Avro), Gloster, de Havilland and their legion aircraft: Hurricane, Shackleton, Lancaster, Harrier, Hawk (Red Arrows), Hunter, Nimrod, Comet, Vulcan, the RJ Jumbolino (I have flown to Sarajevo in one of these a few times), Meteor and many, many more? On 29 April 1977, as a result of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act, Hawker Siddeley Aviation and Dynamics was nationalised and merged with British Aircraft Corporation and Scottish Aviation to form British Aerospace. However, this accounted for only 25% of the Hawker Siddeley business by this time. The 75% (principally now, non-aviation business) was acquired by BTR in 1992 which, in turn, was acquired by Invensys in 1999 which, in turn, was acquired by French giant Schneider Electric in 2013 (most of this information from Wikipedia). Get the picture ... Britain and British industry belongs to someone else.


In France, the loss of a Cadbury would be out of the question. Widespread state holdings in vital utilities act as a brake on proposed takeovers. The French have consistently resisted pressure to allow foreign energy companies to compete freely in their domestic market. They argue that it is in the national interest to prevent key technologies falling into foreign hands. Spain has worked hard to ensure that the country's energy companies remain Spanish.Germany believes that strength at home is the first step to success abroad. In Japan, selling a company over the heads of management is unthinkable. And in the United States, regulations exist to protect strategic assets. Given the resistance by other nations to overseas takeovers, why has Britain sold and is it continuing to sell the family silver? A principal reason, given in Britain for Sale, is Britain's love affair with banking and services and the fact that many financial institutions make much of their money from buying and selling companies.


But now, apart from our infrastructure and industry, our very homes are progressively being swallowed up by foreign buyers. Using Freedom of Information legislation, Private Eye obtained Land Registry data regarding property purchases by offshore companies between 2005 and 2014 (note: just offshore companies and just for a ten-year period!). That list of more than 100,000 properties is shown in the file 'link' below. And note that with this government's proposed sell-off of the Land Registry (see 25th November 2015 article below) and in spite of its pledges to openness, this kind of information will, if the Registry is privatised, become much more difficult to obtain (under Freedom of Information legislation). Not only that but perhaps, this register of British land will itself fall into foreign hands!


Do any of you out there watch TV soaps? Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Eastenders? Or did anyone manage to catch the programme Last Whites of the East End on BBC1 (Tuesday 24th May 2016) which reported on white flight from the East End to Essex. The East End is now almost entirely devoid of its former, white, working-class residents. Eastenders is no longer a soap reflecting life, it is now a historical drama. And in the metropolis, at the 2011 census, 36.7% of London's population was foreign born (including 24.5% born outside Europe). This figure represents just first-generation 'foreigners'; when second-generation is taken into account, this figure rises to over 50%.


The front page article in the 25th May 2016 guardian was headlined 'The London skyscraper that is a stark symbol of the housing crisis'. This told the story of The Tower, a 50-storey block of residential apartments in Vauxhall where: 62% of the apartments are foreign-owned, in 184 of the 214 apartments no one is registered to vote in the UK and ownership is hidden through the device of the offshore company or investment trusts such as Century Rich International, Capital Yield and Huge Success Management.


The guardian article quotes one traced owner, Mr Chong Meng Lai who runs a waste management business in Singapore and is trying to sell his apartment for £2.6m, "I used it a couple of times a year ... It was used for less than 60 days ... It is basically a holiday home". The article goes on to say that Mr Chong is one of the international rich who have several homes around the world. Another traced resident, Peter Young also from Singapore who lives at The Tower for less than two months a year said: "There's not much of a community, people come and go. Most of these types of places, including this one, are owned by people who don't live there".


The £51m, 5-storey penthouse is owned by the family of Andrei Guriev, a Russian billionaire and former senator. King Ebitimi Banigo, a former minister in the Nigerian government, purchased a flat for £2.7m. Vitaly Orlov, a Russian fishing fleet owner bought an entire floor for £13m (see this 2006 guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2006/feb/20/fish.food)Sharshenbek Abdykerimov, a former MP and vodka tycoon in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan also owns a flat.


As the guardian article illustrates, The Tower is merely a symbol of what is happening all over the capital. Malaysian developers are transforming Battersea Power Station into a housing development with prices of one-bedroom apartments ranging from £1/2m to almost £2m. Other properties in the former power station are for sale at up to £3m. Many have been sold off-plan to Chinese investors. On its website the agent, Knight Frank, has a 'bulk buy' button! The reader may have wondered, from the first few paragraphs of this article, what London council tax rates had to do with anything but my dear rudloescene readers, you may see that these millionaire/billionaire foreign owners/investors are paying less in council tax than you are for your property in north-west Wiltshire.


While foreign money and in many cases money of extremely dubious origin is pushing up prices by astronomical proportions in central London, indiginous Londoners are being pushed out to the suburbs where the central London prices are having a knock-on effect. Prices and 'market rents' here are also increasing to unaffordable levels. So what are the Government's solutions? Typically, instead of addressing the underlying problem of the essentially corrupt London property boom, they propose a 'market rent' bill which will force those ordinary, working-class Londoners who have perhaps lived in their rented accommodation for a lifetime to decamp to beyond the suburbs.


Let's take the example of a retired couple living in Shoreditch with total pensions of just over £40k (which is an arbitrary income threshold set in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, to make market rents compulsory for council tenants earning over £40,000 in London and £31,000 elsewhere) paying a monthly rent of £900. This couple has lived in Shoreditch for the whole of their married life; their 'world' is here - neighbours, friends, social life. The average market rent in Shoreditch is now, in 2016, £2500 per month. Clearly, this corrupted market rate is way beyond what the couple can afford. They will, therefore, if and when this Act comes into effect, be forced out of a home and community where they have lived all their working lives. This is nothing less than social cleansing by a government of and for the rich, powerful and, in many cases, corrupt.


Returning to the Land Registry now and to a previous epithet ... it is staggering that the Government would want to privatise such a fundamental part of England's (and Wales's) infrastructure. According to a Times report on 26th May 2016, two American private equity firms and a Canadian pension fund all with business links to tax havens or secretive jurisdictions are believed to be among the venture capital businesses interested in the Land Registry. This is yet another case of selling the family silver for short-term, financial gain (in this case £1.2bn) in an attempt to 'reduce the deficit'. If the Government gets its way with this and other sell-offs e.g. Network Rail, Ordnance Survey, NATS (air traffic control), there will come a time in the not-too-distant future when so much of our land and infrastructure will be in foreign hands that our 'owners' could rebrand Britain itself just as foreign owners of English Premier League and other football clubs use their wealth and power to rebrand their new whimsies.


This is our own government asset-stripping the very fabric of our nation for short-term and short-sighted objectives. A definition of asset-stripping found on the Web is as follows: 'asset-stripping is a method in which a company, known as a corporate raider, attains control of another company and then auctions off the acquired company's assets.The sold assets are often used to repay the debt of the corporate raider'. Ironically, our national corporate raider, our own elected government, has gained its position of power through our flawed electoral system. What the government is doing is no less invidious than Maxwell's raid on the Mirror Group's pension fund in order to shore up the company's share price - for pension fund read national assets, for share price read the deficit.


The most fundamental purpose of an elected government is, we are told, defence of the realm. But what realm? We are almost at a point now, never mind the future, when the realm is no longer ours. If and when we go to war, who and what will we be defending? A substantial part of Britain's infrastructure, its industry and its land is no longer British and not only that many supposed citizens are not, or don't consider themselves to be, British. A good read on this subject is James Meek's Private Island (2014) with the subtitle Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else.


I am reading a marvellous book at the moment called Underlands by Ted Nield. It is a social history of mining, quarrying and geology centred in South Wales where the author was born and grew up. A significant part of the book discusses Aberfan and the 1966 disaster when a slag heap slipped down a hillside engulfing a school with the loss of 144 lives, 116 of them children. The book quotes from the following tribunal's report ... there were 'no villains in this harrowing story of bungling ineptitude, by many men charged with tasks for which they were totally unfitted ... decent men led astray by foolishness or by ignorance, or by both in combination'.


Does this sound familiar? However, in the case of the present government I am not convinced that they are "decent men" (or women) who are pushing this country into an abyss. And markedly, their actions whilst foolish to say the least are deliberate. Why they would be following such a path is beyond comprehension. Ted Nield, again in Underlands, describes a walk taken at night on the outskirts of Aberdeen where "I found myself staring down a more or less vertical drop into the biggest, blackest abyss that I had ever seen". Britain is now on the edge of such an abyss.


And the abyss is of our governments' own making. Much has been made of the immigration issue in the EU referendum debate. But our own government, in 2004, at the time of the A8 accession (8 nations including Poland) decided to liberalise our immigration policy. The government took the decision to allow citizens of the new EU member states the right to work in the United Kingdom resulting in one of the largest migration flows in UK history. This was not of the EU's making, it was our own government that took this decision.


Allow me to quote from a letter to the Observer (5th June edition) from Laurence Perry of Burgess Hill: "David Mitchell argued (in an article) that the decision about membership of the EU is too complicated to determine in a referendum. It should be decided by the government. Okay, but only if the government is representative of the will of the people. The present government is not. Two-thirds of the electorate did not vote for this government which has forced us into this referendum for party political reasons. We face the most important political dcision of our generation but the debate has been reduced to over-simplification, wild assetions and a lack of historical perspective. For sustained peace and prosperity, give me the bureaucracy of the EU with its checks and balances and many voices (including our own). To allow my voice to be heard in the UK don't give me a referendum - give me proportional representation. That would provide a government fit to make the big decisions on our behalf."


Even in our current system, lacking in proper representation, on a free vote the majority of MPs in parliament would choose to remain in the EU. James Gray, our North Wiltshire MP, has made much of returning sovereignty to our parliament in Westminster. However, on the matter of leaving the EU, there will be no bill presented to parliament and no vote. The decision will be made, looking at the polls, by a tiny majority of voters one way or the other. At present (7th June now), the Brexit campaign appears in the ascendency. If we do vote to leave the EU by a small majority, this will be the precursor of endless wrangling about the legitimacy of the method and the decision.


The Cabinet briefing paper on the EU referendum, dated 12 May 2016, makes interesting reading. It says, inter alia, that: "the final result, once declared, will be final but it is not legally binding. The legislation makes no provision for a required threshold for turnout to be achieved or for a specific majority. It means that regardless of the turnout a majority of a single ballot is all that is required for one side to be declared the winner. The European Referendum Act 2015 does not include provisions to implement the result of the referendum; legally, the Government is not bound to follow the outcome. The Cabinet Office published a document in February 2016, The process for withdrawing from the European Union which states: The result of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union will be final. The Government would have a democratic duty to give effect to the electorate’s decision. The Prime Minister made clear to the House of Commons that “if the British people vote to leave, there is only one way to bring that about, namely to trigger Article 50 of the Treaties and begin the process of exit, and the British people would rightly expect that to start straight away.” As mentioned above there is no provision for a national or regional recount of votes. Once a local count has been declared by the counting officer no recounts can occur. A declared result (nationally, regionally or locally) can only be challenged by judicial review. This must be lodged within six weeks of the declaration being challenged".


It is quite possible that the result may be so close that, effectively, neither side could rightly claim victory. As the briefing paper says, a single vote one way or the other is all that is required for one side to be declared the winner. There is no provision for a recount of votes. This ain't no way to run a railroad never mind a country. I foresee that whichever side 'wins', the result will be challenged and a judicial review requested. The country and the EU will be in limbo for many months (perhaps years) while lawyers put their cases and charge extortionate fees. And the final outcome will be so contentious that no one will be satisfied. It is not beyond the bounds of possiblity that a general election will be called.


But to return to my assertions about UK governments, the Remain campaign's statement that "The UK is a strong, independent nation" is laughable. I reaffirm, the problem is not the EU, it is our own governments. I was reminded of this on 25th April 2016 by a question in the daily Times quiz ...Which BMW subsidiary's new car, Dawn, is a four-seat convertible? The answer? Rolls-Royce. Like Rolls-Royce, Britain is now a subsidiary nation.

23rd December 2015 - privatisation of Irish water


Related to the 26th November article on British Industry below and in particular the privatisation of our infrastructure, the text below, from The People's Convention illustrates the strength of feeling in Ireland about current proposals to sell-off Irish Water.


People are asking that we protest, again, against continuing efforts to impose Water Charges, install Meters and Privatise our water services.  Responding to this The People’s Convention (CPPC) have decided that January 23rd should be a day of protest in Cork.


Accordingly CPPC welcomes the decision of the Trade Union backed Right2Water campaign to call for both national and local protests on the 23rd January.  All of the groups involved in the water campaign should stand together and proclaim once again that the privatisation of our water is not the policy of the people.

Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, speaking for The People’s Convention, said that they would be inviting all interested groups and individuals to come together on the issue, he said:
“There will be a protest against Irish Water in Cork on January 23rd, the exact format of the events will be decided in early January – we are inviting discussion, but most likely there will be a march and protest rally in the city centre.”


Ó Cadhla said: “The protest against Irish Water is much broader than any single issue, it has come to represent all the disaffection people feel in general.  People know that the austerity, the homelessness, the hospital waiting lists, the emigration and unemployment are all part of an underlying problem.  That underlying problem is lack of democracy, policy is imposed on the people and successive Governments have sold-out our country to Banks and other vested interests”.

The People’s Convention will discuss the protest at a Public Meeting on January 5th at Ionad an Phobail, the Community Resource Centre on Douglas Street, Cork.

All are welcome to attend.

In the meantime, have a Happy Christmas and New Year!

26th November 2015 - British Industry


The title photograph shows Latina nuclear power station in Italy which used a British Magnox reactor. The turbine generators were from Parsons, a British engineering company based in Wallsend, which also supplied turbines to Royal Navy and US Navy ships amongst others. Charles Parsons launched his revolutionary Turbinia here in 1894 (see Wikipedia for more information). A rump of the Parsons organisation, in Newcastle, is now incorporated into the Siemens organisation (ve are all German now - see Chippenham railway station signs - 'Chippenham - home of Siemens Automation'). Wallsend was, of course, at the heart of British shipbuilding with its Swan Hunter shipyard (RMS Mauretania).


Anyway, British expertise in nuclear power stations, turbine manufacture, shipbuilding, motor vehicle manufacture, railway engineering and so on has gone to the wall thanks to the policies of successive governments since the war. We are now purely a proxy nation being used by the capital, technology, expertise and increasingly the labour of other nations, in vehicle manufacture for example: Germany (Rolls Royce, Bentley, Mini, Vauxhall (Opel/GM)), the US (Leyland), China (MG), India (Jaguar, LandRover), Spain (Dennis), Malaysia (Lotus), Canada (Bombardier trains) and then we have the Japanese car plants of Honda, Nissan (which is about 45% owned by Renault) and Toyota.


With regard to Bombardier mentioned above, British Rail Engineering which, along with everything else has gone to the wall, produced such well-designed and durable trains, the Inter-City 125 HSTs, that they are still, now, forty years after their introduction, the backbone of our railway service. Our new electric trains on the London- Bristol line are Japanese, designed and built by Hitachi. And how ironic that the royal train is hauled by locomotives bearing the DB (Deutsche Bahn) logo - see article 'Another type 67 diesel' under 'Beyond', 'Bath day out - Dec 2014' here Bath day out.


Our train operating companies are largely in the hands of foreign (ironically, nationalised) companies: London Overground Rail - Deutsche Bahn, Arriva Rail - Deutsche Bahn, Chiltern Rail - Deutsche Bahn, Cross Country - Deutsche Bahn, Heathrow Express - Ferrovial (Spain), Great Eastern - Abellio Rail (The Netherlands), Greater Anglia - Abellio, MerseyRail - Abellio, Northern Rail - Abellio, Southern Rail - Kelios (a SNCF (France) subsidiary), SouthEastern Rail - Kelios again and First Pennine (part-owned by Kelios). EWS freight is owned by Deutsche Bahn, Colas freight is French (both companies' trains are much in evidence on the infrastructure work for the London-Bristol electrification). So much of the profit from our rail operations ends up in foreign hands.


But not only that, our infrastructure (electricity and water companies for example and even the British Airports Authority (BAA)) is in the hands of foreign nations or companies. Wessex Water is owned by a Malaysian company, Northumbrian Water is Chinese, Anglian Water is principally Australian/Canadian, Sutton and East Surrey Water is owned by the Sumitomo Corporation of Japan, South East Water is Australian, Bristol Water is Spanish - 'Hasta la vister, my luvver'. Of the 'big six' electricity suppliers, EDF is French (and, of course, will be building the new Hinckley Point nuclear power station), e-on and npower are German, ScottishPower is Spanish and BAA is owned by Ferrovial, a Spanish company. Tis a sad state of affairs; a French friend of mine cannot believe that 'we' have put our infrastructure in the hands of the 'market' and foreign investors.


A book is required on where we went wrong - there are a number around for individual industries, for example The Decline of the British Motor Industry by Peter Dunnett. In his conclusion, Dunnett highlights government policy: "Almost whenever the government forced a policy upon the industry against its will, the outcome was dire. Stop-go, the export quotas, labour reform attempts, incomes policies and regional policy all illustrated the point". Our governments, trapped in five-year political cycles with names to be made and reputations to be built, have never been able to plan properly for the long-term. But also, without a good grounding in industry or technology, our 'leaders' would be incapable of making sound decisions; an Eton education is anachronistic.

26th November 2015 - email 'exchange' with Michelle Donelan


Dear Michelle,

I see from your email that you think that "postcode lottery" systems are unfair.
When will we start to see your campaign for a fundamental change to our current postcode lottery, first-past-the-post electoral system to a fairer PR system?
Paul Turner
29 Springfield Close

Michelle responded as follows: 


Dear Paul,

I do not think that the PR system is right for the UK. I prefer the constituency system and strong accountability of one MP to their constituents.

Best wishes,


Fair Funding for Wiltshire Schools announced
Yesterday, George Osborne set out departmental spending limits for the next four years and the government's taxation and deficit reduction plans. In the Spending Review, the chancellor cancelled controversial plans to adjust tax credits and doubled the housing budget to £2bn, while announcing £12bn in welfare savings.

Amongst the noise of the Spending Review was an announcement that is a huge step in the right direction in the campaign to get fair funding for Wiltshire schools.

I first started campaigning for this years ago as a candidate and since my election in May, I have spoken in Parliament, and written about this particular subject more than any other.

I raised this directly with the PM earlier this year and followed this up in October, I was one of 111 MPs who wrote to the Prime Minister to call for fairer funding to be introduced, and on Guy Fawkes night, I used a speech in Parliament to demand action as soon as possible, describing the current funding position as ‘ludicrous’.

As a Patron of the Campaign for Fair Funding I also organised a local petition for schools which attracted thousands of signatures from teachers, parents and pupils.

Yesterday’s commitment to introduce fair school funding almost certainly means more money for Wiltshire schools. The announcement signals an end to the current unfair system, which has lasted for decades and led to a situation where the ten best funded areas of England receive an average of £6,300 per pupil, while Wiltshire pupils receive over £2,000 less.

The money will enable schools to develop even more engaging curriculums, support good teachers, invest in more resources to support lessons and allow them to spend more on every pupil’s education. 

We should all be delighted with the announcement which will end the postcode lottery that means children in Wiltshire lose out for no good reason. As always, the devil will be in the detail and we will need to see the full detail of the consultation, but in principle this represents a huge step forward and is a decision of lasting significance.

Thank you to all those who have taken time to contact me and support this vital campaign. It really has made a huge difference and will be a permanent benefit to our schools.

25th November 2015 - hidden away in the spending review - a plan to sell off Britain's assets


Osborne: small print plan to sell off British assets


The following text from politics.co.uk

On Wednesday Osborne delivered the spending review. He spoke in parliament for an hour and a half. In all that time he barely mentioned assets. But when you dig down into the spending review documents, assets are mentioned a lot. And it's all about disposing of them.

Although he didn't draw attention to it, Osborne's plans to run a surplus this year rely on his decision to sell off our assets. As the Office for Budget Responsibility puts it: "As in July, asset sales make the difference between debt rising and falling as a share of GDP in 2015-16."

But selling off profitable assets doesn’t actually reduce indebtedness. Carl Emmerson, deputy director at the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said that selling assets "does reduce cash debt but you're not really improving the indebtedness of the country". The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) itself says: "Financial asset sales typically bring forward cash that would otherwise have been received in future revenues, in the shape of mortgage repayments and dividends, so they only temporarily reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio. In broad terms, financial asset sales leave the public sector's net worth unchanged". Or put simply (OBR again), sales "only reduce net debt temporarily".

So in the context of 'long term economic plans', selling off assets doesn't make sense. But never mind – once public assets have been privatised, once the value and public wealth have been transferred, it'll be almost impossible to reverse. That's the real objective. This year will see the biggest privatisation ever, dwarfing anything in Thatcher's time.

You'd think from the language used in the review documents that having an asset was a bad thing. Something to be got rid of as soon as possible. But by definition, assets are things of value that provide an ongoing benefit – whether that's profit that can be reinvested or an important service to the community. Assets are wealth – and so according to Osborne, they belong in the private sector, not the public.

Osborne’s gameplan is comprehensive and frightening. Here it is, in three parts.

1) Push local authorities to sell off our assets

The spending review says: "Local authorities in England hold £225 billion of assets, including over £60 billion in property not used for schools or housing. The spending review therefore encourages and empowers local authorities to dispose of potentially surplus assets."

Of course local authorities across the country have land and property. These assets are our parks, swimming pools, community centres, libraries, public spaces and facilities that make life liveable. As the chancellor decimates local authority budgets, he's encouraging councils to make one-off assets sales to plug the gap. He's offering them a bribe – if they sell off our local assets they are allowed to keep 100% of the proceeds.

This is the opposite of devolution. Hard-hitting cuts, followed by pressure to sell off local public spaces and services to soften the blow.

There will be knock-on effects to all this. For instance, selling parks or leisure centres is likely to have long term effects on the public's physical and mental health. This will have to be provided for, often by the same councils that are being bribed into selling these assets off in the first place.

Meanwhile, the government is also forcing local authorities to sell off valuable social housing through the housing and planning bill.

2) Push government departments to sell off our assets

At the same time as selling off our national assets, government departments are all being told to look at their own land and property and flog off as much as possible.

Departments have agreed to 'release' £4.5 billion worth of 'surplus' land and property by 2020. The Department of Health will sell off assets worth nearly £2 billion. The Ministry of Defence will raise £1 billion from asset sales.

The Government Property Unit is being introduced to 'centralise ownership' of the government estate and will charge departments market-level rents for freehold assets they currently own. The government plans for the new model to be in place by March 2017 and wants all government land and property to transfer to the new body by the end of this parliament. Let's watch this space for the legislation.

3) Sell off our national assets

In June this year Osborne announced the merger of UK Financial Investments and the Shareholder Executive into one organisation, with the explicit aim of transferring our public assets into the private sector.

This new organisation is responsible for managing the sales of everything from Ordnance Survey and the Land Registry, to RBS and Lloyds Bank. We Own It launched the Top Trumps campaign in response, to draw attention to the value of these national treasures. The spending review gives us an update on which of them are up for grabs now:


The review confirms that RBS, Lloyds and the mortgage assets from Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley (managed by UK Asset Resolution) will all be reprivatised. The New Economics Foundation argues that instead of selling RBS at a loss of around £13 billion, we could use the opportunity to turn it into a new network of local, accountable banks across the country.

Green Investment Bank

The review confirms that the government will press ahead with the privatisation of the Green Investment Bank. The bank provides a crucial role in supporting the low carbon economy and building green infrastructure. Privatisation would undermine this role.

Student loans

The government now plans to start selling off the pre-2012 student loan book from 2016-17. (They wanted to do it this year, but appear to be having difficulty finding a buyer). Interest rates could rise if this happens and the terms and conditions of a sell off mean the public would likely lose out while the companies involved take very little risk. Martin Wolf from the Financial Times described earlier privatisation of student loans as "economic illiteracy". The sell off plans were stopped under the coalition government and will need to be stopped again.


The review revealed that the government wants to "explore" selling off its 49% share in National Air Traffic Services (NATS). NATS keeps 220 million passengers safe and handles 2.2 million flights in UK airspace every year. If you take a flight, you're likely using the services of NATS. NATS sells its services to airports and airlines in 30 countries around the world. This helped it bring in £157 million in pre-tax profit last year, £82 million of which went straight back to us.  Government needs to keep its public interest share in NATS.

Land Registry

The spending review announced that the government wants to privatise the Land Registry from 2017. The Land Registry has a 98% customer satisfaction rate, doesn't cost taxpayers a penny and has returned money to the Treasury in 19 of the last 20 years. If it is privatised, this may threaten its neutrality, drive up the cost of buying a house and force small, local high-street solicitors out of business.  A successful campaign stopped it from being privatised last year and Vince Cable did a U-turn.

Ordnance Survey

The spending review also reveals plans to "develop options to bring private capital into the Ordnance Survey before 2020". We don’t know yet if that means an equity sale or new private partnerships. Ordnance Survey makes £32 million profit a year for the public purse. Its data has saved the government tens of millions of pounds, and underpins an estimated £100 billion of the UK economy. Ordnance Survey is a much-loved public institution at the cutting edge of data technology and it needs to stay that way.

Network Rail

Privatised rail has failed, yet the government seems keen to add more chaos to our already fragmented rail network. Privately owned Railtrack was held responsible for the tragic rail crashes in the late 1990s, and publicly owned Network Rail was created to replace it. The government is currently consulting on "full privatisation" and the spending review mentioned allowing Network Rail to sell off its assets.

All of these things are called assets for a reason. Osborne is putting at risk our future communities and the resources they will have available, and covering it up with a simple story. He's talking about the need to cut debt and increase housing but refusing to acknowledge the huge benefits public assets bring, and never mentioning the role the private sector could play in responding to these issues. If he succeeds, the impact of the sell offs will be devastating: loss of future revenue for government and a damaging effect on all of our public services. There will be very little left to save.

Print | Sitemap
© Paul Turner