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

Prince Charles as heir to the Canadian Crown
The absurd furore in the British media about private remarks which Prince Charles made to an elderly lady at a Victoria Day tea party[1] for War Brides and Second World War veterans in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 20th May, ignores the fact that Prince Charles was there in his capacity as heir to the Canadian Crown, not as a Prince of the United Kingdom. [more »]

Don't miss stephenbush.net
Stephen Bush’s personal website, stephenbush.net is now on-line. It contains four main sections, Science and Engineering, Industry and Economics, Politics and Education, People and Places. These contain published letters and papers and show the scope and development of his career and philosophy. Some of the introductory prefaces to subsections are still to be written or completed, but the archive is assembled and accessible. In the People and Places section Stephen is looking forward to receiving news and articles from past colleagues and friends.

Cameron's fantasy about Putin's Russia

Polish Borders

In February 1945, the leaders of the soon to be victorious allies – Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin – gathered in the Livardia Palace in Yalta to thrash out the post-war boundaries in Easter and Central Europe, and the final strategies for the defeat of Germany and Japan. Yalta is in the Crimea. With the equivalent of about 200 Western divisions on the Eastern Front with the 60 Anglo-American Divisions still to cross the Rhine about 400 miles to the West, Stalin held most of the cards.  His principal objective was to move Germany’s Eastern frontier about 300 miles further west away from the Soviet Union – as represented in the West then by White Russia (now Belarus) and the Ukraine.  The outcome was the White Russian border was moved 200 miles west to the Curzon line, which the British Foreign Secretary (Curzon) at Versailles in 1919 had defined as the proper, ethnically determined Eastern border of the new Polish state.  All of Germany East of the Oder-Neisse rivers was obliterated. [more »]

MPs' Expenses back in the news
Britain’s “Culture” Minister, Maria Miller, mainly known for her piloting of the Same Sex Marriage Bill through the House of Commons last year, has been investigated for claiming £90,000 in mortgage payments and other “running” expenses over 4 years (2005-2009) on a house lived in by her parents (Daily Telegraph report, 17th February 2014). [more »]

Energy Shambles Continued
No sooner had British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced that from April 2013 yet another tax would be imposed on industrial users of hydrocarbon fuels, than pressure has built up to get him to rescind the measure, or at least stop it rising to £30 per tonne of CO2 from its starting value of £14 per tonne.  Word is that Osborne will announce a freeze on the tax in his next budget in March. [more »]


Scotland Referendum (1): Mutual Gain

The referendum on the separation of Scotland from the United Kingdom on September 18th this year, will provide the Scottish electorate with a choice between the United Kingdom, with Scotland as part of it, and certain loss on all sides as two separate countries.

With all the arguments about Scotland’s being better or worse off from separation, the truth is that both Scotland and the rest of the UK will be worse off if Scotland separates.  One of the key issues in the referendum campaign has been the future of the UK oil and gas industry and tax revenue deriving from it.

Oil and Gas Production and Exports

At its peak in 1999 the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) produced around 240 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoes) split about 150 million tonnes of oil and 90 mtoes of gas (62 : 38)[1].  Much of the gas has been produced in the south section of the North Sea – off Lincolnshire and Norfolk – and from Morecambe Bay, i.e. not off Scotland.  In 2013 UKCS production was 44 mtoes (oil) and 32 mtoes (gas) – pretty much the same ratio (58 : 42) as in 1999, i.e. a combined reduction of 68%)[2].

Oil and gas production and exports affect the economy in four ways:

1  The Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

2  The Balance of Payments (total trade and financial transactions between the UK and foreign countries)

3  Government revenues (from taxes on energy producing companies)

4  Jobs in the industry and supporting industries (which also affect government income) …[more»]