The Hard Choice Facing You In The General Election

FOR THE FIRST TIME in British politics, the electorate have been given the chance to witness their next potential Prime Ministers take part in a live TV debate. And, if nothing else, those events have made clear that there are only three parties that have any hope of achieving a mandate to lead this country out of its desperate financial crisis.

The choice facing us all at the general election is clear: it is between the three main parties. The likes of the BNP, and the Independent Save Our Green Belt Party, only offer an opportunity to register a negative protest vote and, moreover, neither of those candidates – or their respective political parties – offer any solutions to the difficulties facing this country and their consequent effects upon this borough.

Whoever wins the next election will be forced to introduce severe austerity measures. Measures far tougher than those introduced following previous recessions – because the UK’s finances have never been in a worse position.

There is only one question facing us all at this election: ‘Whom do you trust to make the best of a bad situation?’

This is not an election in which to cast a vote for uncertainty. If we are to navigate our way out of this crisis: we will need a government that has a clear mandate to act on our behalf. As much as many may like to see a hung parliament and send a clear message to politicians in the wake of the expenses scandal, a coalition or minority government will only hinder the type of decisive action needed to alleviate the situation.

None of the party leaders are providing a detailed economic policy in this election campaign. The Labour party could – because it holds the country’s books that contain full details of the situation; but they have chosen not to reveal those details to the opposition. The fact is that, releasing that information, would lead to widespread panic in the markets and a fatal run on the pound – the likes of which Greece is currently experiencing. But the main reason why Labour is not releasing the figures is because it knows it would stand no chance of winning the election were they to be published.

We can argue all day as to whether Labour is to blame for the current state of affairs, or if it is all due to the collapse of the sub-prime market; but it brings us no closer to solving the problem. Britain’s current situation is like that of a family which has exhausted its cash and bank accounts to rely entirely on credit-card spending to pay for essential food – whilst still maintaining their expenditure on entertainment and luxuries.

When the family runs-out of credit, they will have no choice but to beg from family and friends to bail them out. And the first action that will need to be made by any new PM is to ask the International Monetary Fund for help.

Two more crises are rapidly approaching for which the country has no funds left. The first is the impact of the Greek crisis on Europe and the knock-on effects it will have on Britain. The other is the second mortgage credit crunch that will send house prices into a tailspin from the beginning of next year.

Britannia’s ship is already holed below the water-line – and the two approaching waves will combine to produce another tsunami.

Whom you vote for in this election is likely to be largely decided by where you stand upon an appropriate strategy for the financial crisis.

Labour’s strategy is to do nothing until next year. It believes that making cuts now would remove precious funds from the economy, which could then lead to a double-dip recession. It proposes to continue nursing the economy this year and postpone cuts – along with a National Insurance hike – to next year. The strategy is equivalent to our example family continuing their profligate spending – and putting their tenant’s rent up to help compensate.

The Conservative strategy is to implement a limited package of cuts immediately, with a view to reducing the National Insurance hike due next year and provide more help to business. They argue that increasing National Insurance is a ‘tax on jobs’ that will hinder any economic recovery we may see in 2011. It is equivalent to having our hypothetical family cut-back on unnecessary expenditure and leave their tenant’s rent alone to ensure he does not leave.

The Liberal Democrats propose to introduce a fairer tax system which would mean that the first £10,000 of an individual’s income would be tax-free. To fund it they would look to cutting back on large capital projects and doing away with the UK’s nuclear Trident deterrent. The Lib Dem family would renege on sprucing-up the tenant’s accommodation and cancel their insurance policies to help stretch their income.

None of the above strategies provide a solution; but they do permit voters to judge the type of government that might be expected by electing  a particular party.

The Labour strategy is for more of the same laisez faire policies, which, it could be argued, are the main cause of our current position. The party continues to rely upon optimistic forecasts of the economy as a reason for doing nothing – just as our Labour family chooses to do nothing in the belief that their incomes will rise. During this recession, every forecast that the Labour government made for the economy was revised downwards.

Labour could be right. The economy may be returning to growth; but what if it is not? And their do-nothing strategy does not take into account the 2011 tsunami that will be breaking upon our shores.

The Conservative strategy indicates a government determined to take control of the situation and begin paying-down the country’s debt. It is the only strategy, amongst all political parties, that recognises the importance of planning for the unforeseen. Moreover, it is the only strategy that recognises the intimate connection between swingeing cuts, unemployment, and the necessity to ensure employers can afford to take-on staff. It also suggests a government that is prepared to be autocratic to deal with the situation it is faced with.

The Liberal Democrat strategy does not appear to be a real strategy at all. Instead it appears to be a promise of ‘committee’ driven, intellectual, government, which is mainly concerned with tinkering around with current legislation to produce a more equitable society. Such ambitions may be laudable; but they do not address the fundamental problem that this country now faces. It suggests a government that would spend most of its time discussing various options – rather than getting things done.

While Rebecca Focuses On Local Issues, The Echo Gives Its Front Page To Bob

THIS YEAR’S GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN is likely to be remembered by residents as that in which the main party candidates struggled to have their messages heard above Spink’s clamour for attention from the local press.

On Tuesday, the Echo duly obliged – choosing to ignore a national perspective on its Save Canvey Pool campaign that the Conservative candidate, Rebecca Harris, had provided the previous day.

While Rebecca was explaining to the Shadow Justice Secretary, Dominic Grieve, how fears over excessive Health and Safely legislation – and the growing compensation culture – had threatened the future of one of Canvey’s tidal pools; Gail Boland, Spink’s partner, was on the phone to the local police demanding that they arrest Bill Sharp over a ‘public order offence.’

It seems that Bill Sharp had waived an A3 poster of the Conservative candidate at Bob and Gail when they drove past him in their ‘battle-bus’ (proclaiming Bob Spink as an independent) on Sunday.

The two conspirators must have thought long and hard about using the incident when they returned home that night – and made their decision to get the police involved the following morning.

It appears that, to Spink and Boland, waiving Rebecca’s campaign poster at them is equivalent to a traditional English bowman’s salute, which I, and many other residents, may have performed in similar circumstances.

Of course, the Echo had a duty to report the incident – and had they had time they might also have considered the other point that Rebecca was making about a Conservative government: that it would bring an end to the culture of excessive litigation, while, at the same time, giving legal safeguards to those who really need them. But the appropriateness of her remark was apparently lost upon them as they devoted their whole front page, and a page-two column, to their ‘Tory’s arrest after spat with Spink’ leader.

On Wednesday, Sarah Calkin (an Echo staff reporter) decided to take-up space at the top of page-five to throw her own support behind Spink.

Casting around for a theme, she chose to report on UKIP’s support-ad for Spink in the Southend Standard. Bob could not have wished for more. UKIP had paid for the Standard’s advert – and now Calkin was reiterating its statements here (for nothing). She was even good enough to quote him in one of his biggest lies. (Can you spot it?.. Oh, no… There’s another one… Better make it: can you spot them?).

One thing is for sure, Bob Spink is spending a lot of money on his campaign. Unless I have been singled-out for special attention, his campaign literature was delivered to me by second-class post in a white Christmas-card envelope. (All my other candidate literature has been painstakingly delivered by hand to save on costs).

Is there a story here? His glossy A4 literature, which neither the Tories or Labour can match, certainly contains some whoppers – so perhaps he has no choice but to keep the envelopes’ contents concealed from postmen. But I particularly like the way in which he continues to promote his endorsement by John Mann MP.

Peas and a single pod come to mind…

‘Like children refusing to play a game because their arch enemy is more popular than they are’

THE QUOTE IS STOLEN from a comment made by a regular contributor to this blog, Cynical Observer, whom was referring to the Canvey Island Independence Party (CIIP).   

This week Bob Spink, our local MP, has maintained an uncharacteristically low profile whilst the CIIP and Neville Watson have been keen to muster the local press and disrupt local online forums. While Dave Blackwell, the CIIP’s leader, was misrepresenting himself here in an attempt to manipulate resident opinion, it now transpires that Anne Wood, the deputy CIIP leader, was abusing the Methane, Mud and Memories blog in a similar fashion.   

Meanwhile, in the Echo, Janice Payne was reported scorning the idea of any part of Canvey being used for 48 hours as an Olympic Park and Ride station; Dave Blackwell and John Anderson were photographed side-by-side in a piece about an ‘ex-cons’ hostel’ in Second Avenue (that both were apparently unaware of despite being town and borough councillors with their ears devoted to residents’ concerns); Nick Harvey had his photo taken with the backdrop of a sign he was complaining about, which the borough council had erected; Dave Blackwell made another print appearance attacking ‘the council and Natural England’ (Blackwell is keen to shorten his phrase to ‘council’ when the county council is concerned – just so there can be some confusion) over its plans for an invertebrate reserve; and Colin Letchford (Concord Pool report man – and totally unconnected with island politics) decided to start a petition for an elected Castle Point Mayor.   

The latter piece is interesting, because, as the Echo states in its article:-   

Elected mayors may choose their cabinet and then decide how much power they want to share with other members, but the buck ultimately stops with them.   

Here we go with the CIIP’s second front. If they cannot seize power via the election box they will again conspire with Spink (in the same way as they did for establishing a Canvey Town Council) to subvert the majority’s wishes. No doubt, if Spink is not re-elected, we will see him installed as mayor. The conspirators’ plan is obvious – wrench power at any cost.   

What Colin is apparently unaware of is that his proposals do nothing to change the current position where some decisions are taken by Cabinet. In other words: an elected mayor would appoint the Cabinet (in the same way as the Prime Minister appoints his) – rather than having full-council elect a leader whom then appoints their Cabinet, as is currently the case.   

The current system, because the leader is chosen by full council, is, in most people’s mind, more democratic.   

Now, I am not a political journalist. But what frustrates me, in this island’s politics, is the constant whining of the CIIP about the Cabinet – as though they have been denied some ‘right’ to participate in it.   

It is complete, utter, nonsense. And, were the CIIP ever to form a majority in the borough, you can be sure that their Cabinet would consist only of CIIP members.   

Margaret Thatcher had no Labour or Liberal members in her Cabinet. Gordon Brown has no Conservative or Lib Dem members in his. That is how British Democracy works. The majority are given the power to implement their manifesto, which the public has democratically chosen. And local government is no different in that respect.   

Letchford’s petition is a distraction; but, if he does obtain enough ‘signatures’ to force a referendum and residents vote ‘yes’ to an elected Mayor, we know who the ‘Independents’’ candidate for mayor will be: a defeated Bob Spink or his puppet Dave Blackwell.   

As the CIIP’s support begins to drain away, their thoughts now turn to seizing power by other means. They know they cannot win with empty pledges and a blank manifesto, so they attempt to introduce the alternative: a personality contest to elect an all-powerful mayor (and save themselves the trouble of establishing a new front with an Independent Save Our Green Belt Party force).   

Bob Spink may have been uncharacteristically silent in the local press; but he has been busy begging for funds to support his re-election campaign. The interesting point, in his email, is that he will apparently be standing as an Independent. He makes no mention of his new Independent Save Our Green Belt Party; but readers should note that his message was sent on April 1st (April Fools’ Day) – so anything could happen, I guess.   

Spink's Yellow Advertiser Advert

Apparently, Spink’s proposed press conference, for the 20th March (don’t set too much store by readers’ voting in the link – it has been heavily modified by the CIIP) did not go ahead. So he and his new ISOGBP candidates were spared the indignity of being questioned by journalists. Moreover, the anticipated follow-up for Bob’s new party in the Yellow Advertiser, planned for the 25th according to his email, did not materialise. Instead he seems to have changed his mind and launched himself on a purely independent platform. In his advert he resorts to using the same ‘What part of [X] don’t you understand?’ sound-bites that proved so successful for him in his last campaign – when standing for the Conservatives – on immigration.   

So what has happened to the ISOGBP? It appears that Spink and his cohorts have discarded the idea of another party altogether in preference to Colin Letchford’s campaign. The strategy would allow them to rule the borough with a single mayor appointing just eight other like minds to the Cabinet. (And you can be sure that ALL decisions would then be taken there – particularly concerning members’ allowances; salaries; and the council’s own Constitution).   

This is such an obvious ‘flanker’ that I am surprised at Colin Letchford’s involvement.   

Colin: you are an intelligent man. Please do not let yourself be used by these people. How can anyone vote for, and put their trust in, any party that refuses to answer all questions put to them by the people’s representative, the Press?..   

Meanwhile, Spink, on his site, berated Cameron and Brown for, apparently, not agreeing to debate with him. Bob has this to say:-   

Like David Cameron, Gordon Brown has now refused to debate issues that affect Castle Point people with Independent MP Bob Spink   

Bob says:
“Last month David Cameron said he was going to visit Castle Point during the election but he bottled out when I challenged him to a public meeting to face the questions that local people feel are important. Questions such as:
-Improving the state pension and a bit more respect for pensioners
-Our local NHS hospitals, dentists and doctors.
-Cutting Immigration
-Protecting our greenbelt and flood plains
-Canvey Island’s new road which the Conservatives are blocking
-Removing politics from Local Government and passing power back to each Castle Point community to make their own decisions [separation]
Neither David Cameron nor Gordon Brown have the guts to debate these with me. They have no answers to the important questions, they’re both running scared.”
Bob has often debated with Brown and Cameron at Westminster but they must feel unable to debate with him on his own turf. They do not want to take the risk of being embarrassed by a straight talking, honest, Independent MP, who believes that serving the people is more important than serving a political party.   

It is interesting to see how Bob is admitting to supporting Canvey Island’s separation from the mainland – without admitting to it. (If you see what I mean).   

But Bob does like the new Nature Reserve on Canvey Marshes. He gives no credit to the Tory-led Borough Council for instigating and championing the development, of course – Bob would rather let readers assume that he was the driving force for that particular project.   

Independent MP Bob Spink today congratulates all the partners who work together to make the West Canvey Marshes Reserve such a fantastic asset for all to enjoy.
Bob says:
“I particularly congratulate the RSPB and area manager David Hedges who worked tirelessly to create this new environmental asset that will raise the profile of Castle Point for years to come.
“Two windmills, (not wind farm), will sustainably pump fresh water to maintain the lakes and wet grassland for breeding waders.
“On the site I saw British Kingfishers, a fantastic sight, they are one of the most beautiful of our birds. Of course the key attractions will be the breeding lapwings, redshanks, oystercatchers, knots, dunlins, godwits, sandpipers and little egrets. There will be many breeds of birds and ducks and also many small mammals, including the renowned great crested newt.
Work has been delayed somewhat by the wet weather but I am hoping the site can open informally in April and I am very much looking forward to the official grand opening just before summer”.   

I feel it is appropriate to leave Bob Spink hereaway with the birds, as usual…

It’s All About Respect…

THERE IS A COMMON THEME running through articles and comments on this blog, and it has to do with ‘respect.’

Perhaps I am guilty for promoting the topic by refusing to allow the ‘Page that will not go away’ to be archived and disappear from its prime position; but two events this week have once again highlighted the Respect issue.

The first was a fairly innocuous piece entitled ‘Former Canvey Soldier Wins Her Case’ – taken directly from an impartial report by the BBC; and the second concerned my own angle on the old Concord pool affair.

Many more facts are yet to emerge in the case of our own Donna Rayment, about whose case against the Army the BBC report refers. But, fortunately, The Canvey Beat was first to publish locally, showing the BBC version of the facts alongside the Echo’s opening paragraph from its RSS feed. Many readers, therefore, read the BBC version before examining the Echo link or reading the printed article.

I do not buy the local Echo, for reasons which readers will know. But I do follow its reporting of Canvey on its Website.

Whomever wrote the piece about Donna did not provide a by-line. And that is probably because the piece was designed to curry favour with the ‘just for the money’ and ‘wretched single mums’ brigade. Indeed, its opening sentence even leads ‘A SINGLE mum…’ in preference to referring to Donna as a once-serving NCO in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

It was an amateurish attempt to copy the Daily Mail’s angle, aimed at their sedentary armed-forces supporters whom wish they can somehow achieve, for themselves, a particle of the Fallen’s Glory from the comfort of their well-worn, civilian, armchairs. Not only did they denigrate Donna’s attempts at righting the undeniable wrong done to her, some even went so far as to attack her regiment.

‘Sorry chaps,’ says Jim, ‘she’s unlikely to ever to be in the front line. She’s in the HAC. The HAC is TA and may become operational but their role will not put them under fire. They’re more like an exclusive club for City slickers.’

Tell the HAC’s Fallen that!

And as to her not putting herself in harms way: she was the Commanding Officer’s driver! But Jim appears to believe that COs simply conduct operations from their own armchairs – like him.

Like virtually all other contributors to the Mail’s offering, the nearest the reprehensible Jim has ever come to combat is probably changing the uniform on his beloved Action Man doll.

Donna was a lance sergeant, for goodness sake. Do these (predominantly sexist) male contributors think that the Army promotes individuals to such a rank because they have a pretty face?..

Gratefully, the Echo’s piece did not generate anywhere near the wannabe-soldier-but-was-afraid-to-apply feedback that the Daily Mail’s article did. But the Echo can take no responsibility for the respect paid to Donna by its silent readers. Indeed, the Echo has form when it comes to generating public outcries against the righteous. Their coverage of the Julie Abel affair was written from their position of support for Dave Blackwell, then leader of the Canvey Island Town Council. And the paper even reported that Bob Spink, our local MP, would be appearing at the disciplinary hearing on the former’s behalf (as if this was evident proof that Julie would lose her case).

But were residents informed of the Borough Council’s decision in that ‘newspaper’s’ pages? No. They were not.

Well, what a surprise

Respect was the theme of that second piece this week, regarding the Borough Council’s decision to fill-in the old Concord pool. In this case, there was no respect shown to islanders. And I am not referring to Tory Borough Councillors here (whom, with the exception of Ray Howard and Tony Belford, do not live on the island).

Ray has already made clear that he disagreed with the CPBC decision to lump-in a decision on the Concord pool with other motions he agreed with, and then be whipped into a voting position. Tory councillors should be admonished for taking their eye off the ball; but it is the Canvey Island Independent Party that must bear the majority’s criticism. It is they who are responsible for the lack of any intelligent, political argument in Castle Point – and their entrenched opposition to anything that is Tory proposed has fatally wounded democracy in this borough.

Readers will know, I hope, that I personally have no political affiliation; but that I am a strong supporter of the organised Party system, which, I believe, enables problems to be quickly resolved. I certainly have no time for a disorganised rabble with no detailed manifesto for this island or its inhabitants.

Colin Letchford emailed me his report on the two seafront pools on Tuesday, and I immediately decided to publish once I had confirmed what it contained. Unfortunately, I was unable to meet-up with him until Friday morning – and only made arrangements with him to meet-up late Thursday night. I was unaware that he had also emailed the Echo.

I knew the story was ‘hot,’ and was also worried that this Blog could not do it justice. So, when I saw Matthew Stanton’s piece in the Yellow Advertiser, I sent him Colin’s report to use as follow-up.

Embarrassingly (for those who wish to provide documents to the Yellow Advertiser) Matthew emailed me back, saying that he could not open .docx files. Could I supply them as .jpgs?

Eventually I did; but it was not until late that evening (and I was a bit peeved by having to grab various screen shots in Windows 7 and then stitch them together in Photoshop to enable a fellow journalist to do his job). Moreover, I had converted and sent Colin’s .docx files as old MS Word .docs – and provided them as an email grab. As a freelance, I work constantly in Word, and could not understand the problem.

Anyway, Matthew probably didn’t get the .jpg version until the next morning – by which time he was probably thinking: ‘Who is this fool of a blogger who has sent me this when the Echo has already published it?’

Mmm… A ‘news journalist’ who does not take the local paper…

Anyway, it was late the following evening when I arranged to meet-up with Colin and verify his facts. And, as I was putting down the phone, it occurred to me that I was proposing to do nothing more than blog the story. I was not taking an active part in trying to get the problem resolved.

‘Not a good example to set your readers,’ I thought. So, despite the late hour and an early meet set for 9.00am the next morning, I decided to test my own theories on the party-political system.

Normally I would have called the local MP; but, given facts revealed on this blog, I decided not to bother. I thought about contacting Pam Challis; but Collin had told me that he had already emailed her; so I thought about contacting Julian; but that would probably back-fire on me by creating a local election issue that would see the problem remain unsolved.

Could I instigate a speedy resolution to the matter by calling on the one Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) whom I have constantly criticised in these pages for being too feeble to speak?

Well, I was not prepared to have her hang-up on me at that late hour – and decided an email would better suffice (supplemented with a ‘you have mail’ text).

I simply asked if she could meet-up with Colin and me the next morning, and sent her a copy of his report. But I received no reply. She was probably, like all sensible people at that hour, firmly asleep.

I met Colin at 9:00am as promised, and we were some ten minutes into our discussion near the old pool when Rebecca Harris arrived.

She did not bring a photographer; and she was completely unaccompanied. Just Colin, Rebecca, and myself.

I took up observer status as the Conservative Party’s PPC immediately placed the surprised Colin at ease, and then accompanied us both around the two pools while allowing him to fully present his case. She was attentive and, from time to time, gently probed Colin’s extensive island knowledge to fully grasp the situation.

Rebecca is highly intelligent, with a firm grasp of all island matters. She even knew where the Concord Cafe was (which I thought I did; only to be proved wrong – and completely unassisted by locals I stopped to ask, whom had no idea of where it was either).

Fortunately for me, Colin had said he would be wearing a distinctive red coat!

I am not going to turn this into a ‘he said, she said’ piece; because it would not do justice to the intelligent and exhaustive discussion I was witness to. But I will say that Rebecca identified an extremely original way in which the problem, which basically rests in a technical ‘what is Council Revenue and what is Capital Expenditure’ issue, might be resolved.

This was not a PPC fighting a rearguard action over her party’s Council Members; and it was not someone trying to proclaim she could immediately solve the problem. As a mere PPC she has no power or authority; but she is in a position to mediate on islanders’ behalves with her fellow Tories and, like me, she is passionate about Democracy.

I had not expected Rebecca to turn-up. I had, most certainly, not expected her to turn-up on her own (providing a non-Tory journalist with the opportunity of taking any of her candid remarks out of context or ‘quoting’ things she did not actually say). And it bothered her not one jot that Colin might have arranged to be accompanied by a troop of angry islanders to ensure his message was taken-up by this blog.

The reason why Rebecca has so little press coverage is because she does not seek it. She just likes to get on quietly with matters and give them her full attention.

In the Labworth over coffee, afterwards, I could not get her to say one bad or controversial thing about her opponents. It seems she is determined to ‘just let the public decide.’

I walked Rebecca back to her car, and she stopped to look at three plaques, peering up from the earth and uncut grass on the seawall side of the road from the council car park.

The plaques were aged and weather-beaten, proclaiming the names of lifeguards that are no longer with us.

Mounted upon stubs of wooden board, just above foot level, Rebecca read: ‘This tree is dedicated…’

She stood there a little while, letting the full impact settle in. And then she read out loud, almost to herself: ‘This tree is dedicated…’

[For non-Canvey readers: there are no trees there. Just an expanse of grass.]

When she turned around there was a tear in her eye.

‘That is so sad,’ she said.

Her words resonated with me as I walked back along the seawall to my own car. They seemed to fit my view perfectly of the island’s political situation – and I was reminded of those numerous Town Council trees and plaques.

It is all about Respect…

… (22/02/2010) – If You Are Listening Ray: Rebecca Has An Idea…

… (Yellow Advertiser, 18/03/2010) – Plans for memorial to mark lost coastguards

The MEC’s Parry And The Telegraph’s Thrust

Sword duelTHE MEMBERS’ ESTIMATE COMMITTEE must have been feeling pretty pleased with itself at the beginning of the week when it emerged that Sir Thomas Legg, the retired ‘independent’ mandarin employed by the MEC’s six apparatchiks to investigate MPs’ Expenses, had largely confined himself to claims regarding household cleaning and gardening.

In response, Bercow and Harman were able to retreat from their previous anti-Legg statements; provide their puppet with unconditional support; and congratulate each other on parrying the Telegraph‘s attack. Legg, they could point-out, was independent, had combed through MPs’ expenses, and had demanded repayments from those whom had abused the system. The matter, therefore, was closed.

But the Members’ Estimate Committee had underestimated the intelligence of the British public, and the determination of the Telegraph to represent its readers’ interests. With a flick of its wrist, the newspaper drew blood from the complicit Legg’s findings and launched a combined thrust at the body of its opponent with an exposé of Wilshire and a call to the HMRC umpire to ensure that fairness prevailed.

In its final flourish of the week, the Telegraph smote its opponent’s buttocks with a flat blade, detailing MEP claims for relatives’ salaries and the infamous ‘British clause.’

It has not been a good week for British politics; but Britons’ champion has received a well deserved 27 points and a concerted round of applause from the public and its avid readers.

… (Telegraph, 17/10/2009) – Our MPs seem blind to the mortal peril they are all in