We've been in the 21st century for 18 years but you wouldn't think so from the way the Labour, Lib Dems and Tories who've been in charge during those years, have behaved towards the third world; and in particular towards Moslem countries in the Middle East and Africa. It's like their mindset is still back in 1930 - that we're some kind of 'mother country' and it's our divinely-authorised task to 'sort out' all the problems of our 'children ' in Africa and the Middle East. So Labour's Blair invaded Iraq to 'fix' their democracy by removing Sadam Hussein and 'bringing them' democracy. Cameron and Clegg did the same thing in Libya - taking sides in the Civil War; bombing Libya but of course, making sure we bombed only the 'bad' Libyans (the ones siding with Gaddafi).
Since then we've made military interventions in Mali and the Sudan; we've sent bombers and drones into Syria, taking sides in yet another Moslem civil war; and of course, we've never ever left Afghanistan where we've got a large military base and a lot of soldiers. ALL of these are Islamic countries. All of them are independent sovereign states, members of the United Nations and it is not our job to run their affairs or interfere in any way with the local inhabitants! They don't need or want our constant interventions, and they don't even want our advice. They just want to be left alone .
A MAINSTREAM government would GET US OUT and KEEP US OUT of all foreign moslem countries. We'd leave all middle-eastern and African wars to the local inhabitants. We'd concentrate our military here in Europe and for defence purposes only. We're in 2018 - not 1918.
This is called ENDING COLONIALISM. About time.
As we're leaving the EU's oppresive trade resrictions, which penalise any members who trade with countries outside the bloc - we'll be able to, and open to, trade freely with every country in the world. Of course our European neighbours are our most important trading partners, so a priority should be urgent individual trade agreements with our closest neighbours especially Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany. This can only lead to an increase in jobs here, cuts in the price of imported food, and a better standard of living.
NATO's resolve and forces have kept western Europe safe from war for over 70 years (The two post-war conflicts in Eastern Europe, in the Balkans and Ukraine, were nothing to do with NATO but were both caused by Brussels EU meddling). Now with Trump threatening to pull out of NATO there are doubts about our ability to stand up to outside agression. We need to re-inforce the bonds of this great defence partnership, increasing joint training excercises with member countries.
Use the £12 Billion Foreign aid budget, for our own children's higher education
"There's something utterly nauseating about the world's richest man telling us that our taxes should be given to other countries, instead of going to our own children's education ."
Bill Gates. The US billionaire who says British Taxpayers must keep on giving our money to Third-World countries.
The present budget of the so-called Department of International Aid is £12 Billion. This was because Tory David Cameron passed a law, setting an absurd figure of 0.7% of our GDP reserved for Overseas Aid. This was Cameron grandstanding his big vanity project , to get him brownie-points on the international stage. He gloats and boasts at every opportunity, how 'proud' he is of us, that we're the Europe's number one contributer to International Aid, how generous because we give £12 billion a year.
Hello ! Cameron (and Tory successor Theresa May) aren't giving THEIR money away: They're giving OUR MONEY - OUR TAXES - away to other countries. What is there to be proud of ? These politicians should be totally ashamed of themselves, not proud. And as for Bill Gates , the American billionaire who has a reputed £86 billion in his piggy-bank - there's something especially nauseating to hear the world's richest person lecturing our hard-working taxpayers, on how we choose to spend our taxes.
And look where this money actually goes: to Third-World dictators who use it to build palaces for themselves, and their friends; and to buy warplanes and cluster-bombs. To rich countries like India, who can afford to have nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers and send spaceships to Mars - but can't be bothered to feed their own starving people, or give them clean water and proper toilets. More and more, experts are agreeing that this overseas 'Aid' is counter-productive; it stops local businesses from developing, in effect stopping the country standing on it's own two feet. (Rather like, you keep giving pocket-money to your children when they are in their 20s - and wonder why they don't go out to work!)
Current UK annual overseas "aid" budget: £12 Billion
Current debt OWED by our students: £12 Billion.*
This is the amount our students have been forced to borrow, to pay their fees and maintenance, so they could study at University. (This after David Cameron's coalition government ended the previous grant system, after promising not to ). (* this is for England & Wales students - Scottish students are still funded by their taxpayers). Our students are forced to take out these colossal debts - for fees alone, over £28,000 - right at the start of their adult lives; in most cases, before they've actually earned any money. These are eye-watering debts - amounts that high-earners in their 30s or 40s, would think twice anout taking on. And our students (including my own daughter) are contracted to repay these vast amounts of money, from their future earnings in a future job - which they may or may not get.
A Mainstream government would scrap the 0.7% GDP rule for Aid, and instead ring-fence taxpayers' money only for spending on domestic purposes - no more giving away overseas. BUT as there are some taxpayers who WANT to keep supporting Overseas Aid from their taxes, we'd give them that choice with a new 'G.A.Y.E.' option on the tax form where taxpayers could OPT to pay an extra 0.5% tax , to go to Third-World Aid.
The UK government recently set up a system "allowing" our courts here, to "try" offences committed overseas in foreign countries, and several such 'trials' have taken place. How can this be possible? I know once Britain ruled about half the world, in the colonial days. We don't any more. We have no right to 'extend' our jurisdiction into foreign, third-world countries. These countries are independent and have their own legal jurisdictions. Claiming the right to have jurisdiction in other countries is insulting their independence and is the colonialist mentality at its worst. Mainstream would end this legal colonialism .
Equally, Mainstream would end the absurd notion that we can enforce a "worldwide ban" on the naming of criminals granted anonymity (like Maxine Carr or Jon Venables.) We can legislate to outlaw publication HERE - that's within our jurisdiction. But pretending these bans apply in other countries is colonialist, a total lack of respect for other jurisdictions, that belongs back in the 18th century.
Why are we sending £50 Million of taxpayers' money to combat FGM in Kenya? FGM is appalling - but it's not our responsibility to stop it happening in Africa. Where we should be acting to stop it, is right here in our country. Apparently cases of FGM are here soaring - why have there been only two prosecutions? How Kenya's citizens behave in Kenya, is the responsibility of the Kenyan government. Kenya is an independent sovereign state. Us lecturing the Kenyans to change their cultural practices, is colonialism just the same as when Columbus arrived in the Bahamas and told the Bahamian natives to "get dressed". (They had a culture of going nearly naked).
Incidentally the media keeps labelling FGM as an Islamic problem, associated or required by the Moslem religion. This is not true, many of the world's communities which practise FGM have been doing this for thousands of years - the Islam religion only started less that 1500 years ago, so we can hardly blame Moslems for FGM. It's just that they took over tribes, in Africa and Asia, who were already practising FGM, in many cases having circumcision for both girls and boys.
We've got 26,000 people sleeping rough this Christmas. Let's spend this £50 million on our own people - giving some of them a place to sleep. And leave African cultural issues for the Africans themselves to deal with, thank you.
We're just a few years away from what will be the sad 100th anniversary of the partition of Ireland. It's worth remembering that it's the politicians who divided Ireland, and it's only the politicians who are keeping her divided with the unnatural border between North and South. The Irish PEOPLE - if given the chance to have their say - might actually prefer if it was one country again. But of course no-one's ever let them give a democratic opinion. The only attempt at 're-uniting' Ireland in recent years, was a referendum in the NORTH, asking voters if they wanted their six counties to become part of Eire (the Republic of Ireland). As you would expect, the majority voted NO.
Why can't we consider a different and untried proposal - one which might break the deadlock? This would entail simultaneous referendums in Eire and in Northern Ireland, asking for a YES or NO to the following question:
"The North of Ireland will leave the UK; the Republic of Ireland will cease to exist; Both parts of Ireland will then JOIN to form a NEW political entity (a new country) called IRELAND."
The newly-born 'Ireland' would NOT be a 'republic'. It would be a Parliamentary democracy. The official language would be not be Gaelic , it would be English (the mother-tongue of 99.9% of the island's people). The national flag would NOT be the tricolour but the shamrock. There would be a new constitution. The new Ireland would join NATO and the currency, possibly the pound in preference to the doomed Euro. The 'new' country would feel very different from present-day Ulster. But it would also feel very different from the existing Eire. It would be a new start for North and South - a bit like German re-unification in 1990. And just to guard against the new country not working out for everybody - the new constitution would include a legally binding second referendum after twenty tears, in both North and South , to ask voters "do we stay united, or go back to as we were?"
Controversial - yes ! I'm sure many entrenched policians on both sides of the (present) border would be up in arms ! Extremist republicans in the south, and the Orange lodges of the North, would oppose it. But what about ordinary Irish voters? There would have to be 'Yes' majorities in both North and South to succeed. Maybe the Ulster people would say 'Yes' and the southerners 'No'. Maybe the 26 counties would vote 'Yes' and the six counties would vote 'No'.
But maybe, perhaps, just possibly, against all the pundit forecasts, against what all their politicians tell them to do - both sides might vote 'YES' - and if that were to happen - imagine the outpouring of joy, when the artificial 1922 border gets removed !
The only way we'd ever know what would happen - is if we try it (the referendums would need to be agreed and organised by both the British and Irish governments obviously) . If the initiative fails - at least we'd have tried.
Recently the Tory Overseas development minister Priti Patel, got sacked because she was in Israel trying to make some shady, secret arms deal with the Israelis behind the Palestinians' backs. Without Theresa May's knowledge. Or was it? We'll never know but it wouldn't be surprising. All our UK governments over the past 70 years - since Israel was created - have been openly one-sided in support of Israel. There needs to be more of a recognition that this dispute has two sides, the Palestinians live there too and they have rights. The holocaust and gassing of six million jews by the Germans was unforgiveable - but that doesn't give present day Israelites the right to do 'ethnic cleansing' against their Palestinian neighbours. All the violence and war in the Middle East, goes back to actions taken in 1948. There needs to be a solution which respects the people on BOTH SIDES of the Jerusalem wall.
The British 'Commonwealth' is a hangover from colonial days, and doesn't sit well in the 21st century. The basic structure is with Britain as the 'mother' country, and the various commonwealth states around the globe as our 'children' - hello! Nearly all these countries are now independent states and have been so for 60 years. The Commonwealth organisation has done a lot of good - as well as making the English language the world's Number One language. But now its time's up - let's just disband it gracefully, and use the money we save for our NHS and schools.