Welcome to Britain Watch

All the signs are that the governance of Britain is spiralling out of control: record trade and budget deficits; a swollen bureaucracy; an inadequate but costly education system; a government incapable of providing for our future energy needs; record emigration of native Britons, unprecedented levels of immigration; a mind-set putting the non-citizen ahead of the British citizen.

Britain Watch has been set up to highlight key examples of these trends and to promote practical reforms to reverse the incompetence and loss of national self belief they engender. All readers are invited to participate.

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Short News

More Electricity Madness
Reports in the Sunday Telegraph (19th October 2014) that the Prudential Insurance company is planning to invest in large infrastructure projects is encouraging, but its choice of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project will, if confirmed, prove disastrous for Prudential’s pensioners and the British taxpayer. [more »]

Is winning the next election more important to the Conservatives than keeping Britain in the EU?
Here is a real, momentous decision facing Prime Minister Cameron. He can have either of the above alternatives, but not both. If the Conservative manifesto contained two commitments: [more »]

Good News for Britain from Ineos
Ineos is one of those largely British industrial success stories rarely heard of by the British public (or even most of the British government). Instead of the miserly 1% of fracking revenues offered by the UK Oil and Gas Producers’ Association (UK OOG), Ineos will offer 4% to the owners of land where Ineos bores wells (most owners own the rights anyway) and 2% to the communities within a 39 square mile area of a 200 well cluster. Over a 30 year period, Ineos expects these payments to exceed £2.5 billion which will not only make some owners very well off, but ensure opposition to this vital development is minimal. Good News indeed. [more »]

Only a major expansion of manufacture and developing new indigenous energy will solve Britain's economic problems
As we have pointed out many times, right back to the first posts in 2008, and this author in TIME (The Importance of Manufacture to the Economy in 2000), at £110 billion per annum the goods trade deficit is an even bigger problem than the government’s fiscal deficit of about the same size. Why is this? Firstly the goods deficit is made up basically of imported manufactures, raw materials, and foodstuffs, offset to a degree by net services exports (principally technical and financial), aerospace, and oil goods, none of which the government feels it can do much about. Oil exports have declined by over 50% since the peak years 1998-2002 to a still very significant £30 billion or so, but as a result we are now, for the first time in our history, net importers of energy, getting worse as North Sea oil and gas production continue to decline. [more »]

Life in an Independent Scotland would be much worse
One of Scotland’s most prominent exports is Andrew Marr, the BBC commentator on all things Scottish and British (although he says he’s not sure what these terms mean, even after a career spent in the BBC). At Kings College London recently, in conversation with Mary-Kay Wilmers of the London Review of Books, he opined that Scottish people, in their view, “have to vote against the Union because frankly life could not be worse”. Well here are a few facts of life which would be definitely worse had Scotland voted for separation from the UK. See our post of 18th September (Referendum day) for 11 things which individual Scots citizens would definitely not be able to count on in their civic life, and 3 things which would be huge inconveniences for individual Scots in their personal lives. [more »]

Top

Retirement of Her Majesty the Queen

On November 14th 2014 (this Friday) HRH Charles, Prince of Wales will be 66, 63 years since becoming heir apparent and 46 years since his investiture as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle.  His apprenticeship is now longer than that of his great great grandfather, King Edward VII.  By comparison with his forebears, nobody surely could deny that Charles has worked harder at his largely undefined role of Prince of Wales than any other heir to the throne in British history.

On September 9th 2015, HM Queen Elizabeth II will pass her great great grandmother, Queen Victoria, as the longest reigning British Monarch.  The Queen’s reign will then be 63 years 7 months and 3 days old.  The sight (last week) of her son and heir wearing a funny hat in a drug ridden South American state – Columbia – does not do anything for his dignity, or that of the Crown, nor does it do any favours at all for the 16 countries including Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, owing allegiance to the Crown.

Would it not be timely therefore for the Queen to see her way to allowing Prince Charles to accede to the throne fairly soon after September 9th next year?  As she is said to shudder at the word “abdication”, could we not find an alternative, say “retire from” in line, in fact, with every single one of her subjects.

It is true there is a potential problem with the republican movements in Canada, Australia and New Zealand – all of which have tacitly agreed to keep quiet while the Queen herself is on the throne. But this is a challenge which official Britain and the governments of those countries must rise to.  A Britain freed from the restrictions of the EU would surely want to give much more attention to its kith and kin countries than it has done over the last 40 years.  In any event Queen Elizabeth II would still be around, we may hope, for many years to come as the most honoured and respected Queen Mother in all history.

In what truer way could Her Majesty serve her peoples, whom on April 21st 1947 she so movingly vowed to serve all her life, than to allow her son and heir a chance to show what he can do as King, while he still has the strength and vigour to do so?