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 Surrender
The news today (22nd June) that Thornton’s, the last remaining British chocolate maker of any size, is to be sold to the Italian company, Ferrero Rocher, is yet another example of the sell-off of British capital assets, while the financiers of the City stand by and do nothing. In a day or so the government and its tame economic supporters will doubtless be telling us that this is another example of “inward investment” when it is nothing of the sort – it is a sale of assets with no suggestion that the buyer will actually bring cash into the country to increase Thornton’s production, which is the only increase which counts. [more »]

Tristram Hunt's "Gordon Brown" moment
On Wednesday 15th April, Tristram Hunt[1], the Labour Party’s “shadow” Education Secretary, made a widely reported visit to Howitt Primary School at Heavor in Derbyshire, a village in the heart of English England.  In his “man of the people” avuncular fashion, Hunt asked a six-year-old how he would vote.  The little boy replied that he would vote UKIP.  On being asked why by Hunt, the child said he “wanted to get all the foreigners out” to which Hunt (unlike Gordon Brown in 2010) wisely said nothing, at least in public. [more »]

Not taking sides: ISIL
One of Britain’s major avoidable handicaps is its principal Broadcaster’s news and current affairs managers.  These people, producers mainly, are right at the heart of the egalo-left tendency which sees Britain as just a part (a small part usually) of the world, not intrinsically more worthy in their eyes than say Mongolia or Argentina. Even confronted with manifest evil and danger to our (their) country, they find it next to impossible to take our side. [more »]

Ukraine, Russia and the EU
When at Yalta in February 1945, Stalin insisted on the “Curzon line” being the eastern boundary of Poland, with Poland’s western boundary with Germany being shifted west by 150 miles to the Oder-Neisse line, his objective was to keep European powers, particularly Germany, as far away from Moscow as possible.  The subsequent establishment of communist governments in Eastern Europe were seen by the Russians as an enormous safety band of countries protecting the Soviet Union from western invasions, the distance from the eastern edge of newly formed NATO (in 1949) to Moscow being about 1,100 miles. [more »]

Syrian Reality
As Vindex remarked before (Syria and the Arab Spring, January 20th 2014), President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime is the only functioning government in Syria, and sooner or later Western governments will have to treat with him if they seriously wish to tackle the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Lebanon (ISIL), and relieve the terrible suffering of the Syrian people.  BBC’s Jeremy Bowen’s interview with President Assad, broadcast on February 10th, surely underlines this fact. [more »]

Top

Good News

Amid the continuing news about the Greek-Euro turmoil, two under-reported news items perhaps signal two important turning points for Britain.

North Yorkshire Potash mine

On Tuesday last (7th July) the North York Moors National Park Planning Authority gave its agreement to the development of the world’s largest and highest grade deposit of potash.  Despite the wishes of 97% of the people living in the National Park, and the surrounding areas stretching north to Middlesbrough, blighted by unemployment, and their elected representatives, the 242 page planning report recommended rejection of the proposal by Sirius Minerals plc to sink a mine near Whitby and extract the potash in two phases.  Thankfully its recommendation to reject has in turn been rejected by the Park Authority (8 to 7).

Phase One

This will extract 6.5 million tonnes per annum (tpa) of granulated polyhalite and transport it via a 13 mile specially constructed underground tunnel to new handling facilities on Teesside (Wilton).

Phase Two

This is planned to scale up to 13 million tpa, at which level its production of polyhalite for the world’s fertilizer market will contribute about £1.3 billion to the UK balance of payments on a conservative price estimate of $150 per tonne.  Direct jobs created during construction at peak will be 1670 with 1040 skilled jobs for on-going operations.  Indirect jobs will be about equal to these numbers. …[more»]