The other Cllr Johnson (Mrs) has just had to calm me down, from shouting at the TV.

I was shouting, because the Argentinians were at the UN posturing, accusing the British of militarising the South Atlantic.

Had the Argentine regime of the 80’s not illegally invaded these British Overseas Territories with such violence, then perhaps we would not have to forcibly protect the 3,000 people living there, some for many generations, with our armed forces.

Perhaps the Spanish people living now in Argentina should consider giving their land back to the Charrúa, Mapuche and the Guaraní amongst others, who they stole the country from……

In the meantime, the residents of the Falklands, many whose families have lived there since 1833, have determined themselves to be British.

God and the Queen protect and watch over them!

I am a big supporter of Children in Need. I like the fact that it’s a charity that works soley in the UK and helps kids. As a Father I now understand that there is nothing more important than a child.

However I just screamed at the TV in anger when watching the “best of” Children in Need programme. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were racing karts round a track to help raise money for the charity. How dare these two men act so hypocritically!

Neither of these “stars” are UK residents and both have taken their sizeable incomes offshore to avoid paying UK tax, Lewis to Switzerland and Jenson to Monaco! When Lewis made the decision to go off shore, Christian Aid criticisedhim specifically along with other celebrities, claiming that millions of children’s lives could be made better with the tax that they were avoiding!

Now they both have the gall to appear on TV asking hard pressed tax payers to dig deep, whilst avoiding paying even a basic tax, a portion of which goes towards the health and education services that make up the backbone of the care packages that most of the Children featured in the programme receive.

They are all powerful superstars who earn Millions, yet don’t care enough about their country to support the tax system. Cheek!

One of the things I discussed last night, over a glass at the Churchillian Dinner, with Harlow’s MP is would there ever be a British Tea Party.

I like the Tea Party – anything that gets more people engaged with the political process is worth a look, but it really appeals to my natural conservative instincts. As a conservative (note the small c)  I support small and smaller government, low taxation and freedom of individuals to choose for themselves rather than the State choosing for them. I also like the libertarian streak that the Tea Party is bringing back to the Republican Party.

But can I ever see the Tea party or it’s equivilent here in Britain?

Dan Hannan tried to launch a Tea party earlier this year, and despite being well attended there was hardly the mass movement feel that the Americans have seen in their loosely collective movement.

I wonder if the key reason the British are not flocking to a TEA (taxed enough already) banner, is that key to the formation of the American Tea party was the feeling that Washington was not listening to the public with those who have been inside the beltway for years staying the same, whereas in Britain the recent General Election saw many of the long standing London insiders leaving Westminster and a whole swathe of new MPs in Parliament. Also the fact that a Coalition Government is in power in Britain representing the views of the Majority of the voters overall means that Westminster is now listening to more of the population than the previous Government did.

So I don’t think that a British Tea party will happen. However England is another issue….

For too long the English, despite being a majority in these islands have been at the mercy of the other countries. Highlighted more particularly recently when Scotland has kept free prescriptions and university education whilst those of us in England see more charges imposed. That kind of inequality will make people upset, and has certainly done so where I work. Will those people coalesce into a movement? Or like the spring of 1848 will the bad weather just make us all stay at home an watch the royal wedding on TV?

Sadly I think the latter, but if our politicians are not wary of the mood of the country and the English dissapointment at their unequal treatment sparks protests we could have trouble. Anyone for an English Parliament?

A friend forwarded me this story this morning from the Daily Mail, incensed and seeking my agreement.

Apparently a Judge extended a blokes bail curfew so he could go to the live results show of the X Factor rather than just watch it on TV.

Yes I found it ridiculous and infuriating, but the thing I found even worse was the comment:

A source close to the case said: ‘The judge had not heard of The X Factor but he allowed the variation for one day because it only involved extending the curfew by two hours.’
How on earth does anyone not know about the X Factor? Isn’t it time for judges to live in the real world??!!

Cllr Sue Livings the Chairman of Harlow Council held her Civic Service today.

It’s an annual event and an important one in the civic life of the town. We have Mayors and Chairmen from accross Essex come to the town to see and hear about the very best of HArlow.

This year the children of Downs School Choir were particularly good.

I was given the honour of being asked to give the first address.

Here is what I said:

  • It’s quite fashionable these days to be thankful. Actors, on winning an Oscar or a BAFTA thank their managers, their fans, their families and their loved ones. An MP winning a seat at a General Election thanks his agents and campaign team, the police, the people who counted and supervised the vote and, most importantly for us politicians who must never forget them, the new MP thanks the people who voted for him to get him in power in the first place. If someone buys you a present, you thank them (or at least, you should thank them, even if it’s your Aunt who’s bought you yet *another* horrendous jumper for Christmas).

    Here in Harlow who should we be thankful to? There are the obvious people – the men and women who look after Harlow and its people day after day. The street cleaners and refuse workers who work long into the night after we’ve gone to sleep to make the town tidy for us when we go to work. The bus drivers who get us to and fro where we’re going every day. The civil servants in the civic centre and elsewhere who make Harlow run on a day to day basis. The Armed Forces who put their lives on the line to protect our. Health professionals who keep us well or look after us when we’re not. Fire and Rescue people who help us in emergencies (and I think the residents of Berecroft are particularly thankful for their help these past twelve months) or the Police who try to keep the streets safe. Perhaps you’re thankful to your neighbours and friends, the ordinary men and women of Harlow who so often go out of their way to help an elderly person who needs their shopping doing or just provide companionship to those in need.

    Or maybe when we think of Harlow we should think of those like the architect Sir Frederick Gibberd who did so much work in the late 40s and early 50s helping to plan and design the wonderful town that we live in today. Over half a century later we are still the beneficiaries of his design to have a town where everybody could get to a park within walking distance of their front door, and where today we have one of the most extensive cycle networks in the country.

    Yes perhaps it is right to thank those who made the town in which we live. But if that’s so, then there’s someone far more important today to thank for Harlow. As I prepared this speech I was reminded of a joke I was told a while back which I think makes my point for me.

    Some scientists went to God and said, “God, we’re so capable now we don’t think we need you anymore. We think we can do all the things you can do. We can make humans in test tubes. We can recreate the Big Bang in a laboratory. We can see to the end of the Universe. We just don’t need you anymore”.
    “Alright then”, said God. “I tell you what. Let’s have a creation contest. If you can make a man like I did, out of the dust of the Earth, then I’ll agree that you no longer need me and I’ll go away and leave you to it”. The scientists had a quick discussion, worked out a way to make a human from some dust and quickly agreed to the contest.
    The next day God and the scientists met and in full view of the gathered TV cameras and newspaper reporters the contest began. The referee counted down, “Three, two, one” and blew his whistle.
    At that sound, the chief scientist crouched down to the ground and was about to scoop some of the dust off the floor into a test tube when God coughed loudly. The chief scientist looked up and God said, “Hang on a minute. You get your own dust”.

  • This afternoon, while I’m thankful to the men and women and children of Harlow who make this such a great town to work and live in, and while I’m thankful to those who lived in the years after the Second World War and planned and built this amazing place, I also want to give thanks to someone else. While we humans build with bricks and mortar, God builds with atoms and souls.

    Before the beginning of time God knew that we would be gathered here today and as the leader of Harlow Council I want to acknowledge and give thanks today for his love and care for us. While sometimes I don’t understand some of the things that go on in God’s world and why he lets evil things happen, I know that I’m thankful that he loves us and that he loves all the people. I’m thankful that through Jesus all things were created, all things in heaven and on earth, things invisible and invisible, all things powerful and things weak; our homes, our families, our friends – everything was created by him and for him. And I’m not ashamed to say that I’m thankful that through Jesus’ death and resurrection I can know him and that I can be with him forever.
    Thank you God for all that you have done, are doing and have still yet to do in Harlow and in the lives of the people of Harlow. Amen.