We have won one battle, but the war isn't over yet

The Government announced earlier this week that vaping should be allowed in offices and enclosed public spaces  in order to “maximise” access to safer alternatives to smoking. This is good news and follows on from our report last year on the vaping policies of councils, and the way councils treat their members of staff who vape.  The Government has also said that it will use our impending exit from the European Union to look again at the Tobacco Products Directive, with regard to electronic cigarettes. Again this is good news and one of the aims of this campaign is to get those restrictions removed.  Continue reading

BBC pay revelations highlight why the licence fee should be scrapped

We now know that Gary Lineker, apprentice Socialist and presenter of Match of the Day, earns somewhere between £1,750,000-£1,799,000 a year. Chris Evans earns even more. On the flip side, I can't believe how the BBC is getting away with paying Andrew Neil so little (£200,000-£249,000) in comparison to someone like Huw Edwards, who gets paid £550,000-£599,000 a year. There is also a perceived gender pay gap. On his LBC show yesterday, Iain Dale asked Theresa May if Gary Lineker was worth ten Claire Baldings. That is a question that's going to hang around for a long time.  Continue reading

BBC PAY REVELATIONS HIGHLIGHT WHY THE LICENCE FEE SHOULD BE SCRAPPED

We now know that Gary Lineker, apprentice Socialist and presenter of Match of the Day, earns somewhere between £1,750,000-£1,799,000 a year. Chris Evans earns even more. On the flip side, I can't believe how the BBC is getting away with paying Andrew Neil so little (£200,000-£249,000) in comparison to someone like Huw Edwards, who gets paid £550,000-£599,000 a year. There is also a perceived gender pay gap. On his LBC show yesterday, Iain Dale asked Theresa May if Gary Lineker was worth ten Claire Baldings. That is a question that's going to hang around for a long time.  The BBC, in its defence, says that it operates in a competitive market place, and has to pay its talent competitive rates of pay. Lord (Tony) Hall, Director-General, has stated that the BBC pays much of its talent below market rates.  The BBC published all of this information yesterday in its annual report because it was forced to by the Government. Kicking and screaming is an apt phrase to describe it. It is right, though, that the corporation has been forced to do this. It is a publicly funded broadcaster, and if you want to watch live television in the UK, you must pay £147 a year to the BBC, irrespective of whether or not you consume BBC content. During an interview yesterday morning, ahead of the report's publication, I was asked if I thought that I got good value from the BBC. (You can hear my response, and listen to the full interview, by click on the image below) Continue reading

We're taking bookings for next year's Freedom Festival

Anyone who has attended previous Freedom Festivals in Bournemouth knows how fantastic they are. The fifth Freedom Festival in March next year will have a new format, and a new location.  Yes, we are ringing the changes to help keep the event fresh, and judging by the comments we have received so far, regular attendees are really looking forward to their trip to Bournemouth.  Continue reading

Brexit blues for some Remainers who can't get au pairs

You have to feel for some people. For them, Brexit is an utter disaster. They moan about those ignorant working class people who voted to leave the EU last year. Those people living in the wastelands of the North and the Midlands are not educated; they don't understand the nuances; they don't understand the consequences. How could they? They are not as cultured as we are. They don't have second homes in France - they can't even speak French. We drink wine from some of the finest vineyards in the world - they drink strong lager. It really says it all.  Now the Remoaners have something else to moan about: a lack of au pairs.  Continue reading