Wednesday, 29 April 2009


At the close of play on Friday, I was a pipped at the post, and fell into 7th place.....thats not great when its only the top 6 who are on the on the ticket for the real election. My hearty congratulations to the successful candidates...hopefully they will be in the vanguard of a new era in politics, where people rank above parties.

STOP PRESS.....the Jury Team website is only showing 5 candidates in the South West, so it looks like someone has dropped out? Does this mean I will be pulled off the subs bench?

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The reason we need change.....

There has been some interesting items in the news today. Has the political gravy train finally hit the buffers? For a quick recap of some of the most flagrent "troughing", have a look at .

The Government has just announced its proposals for reform of MPs pay and allowances .

In my view its too little, too late - in terms of the specific proposals:
a. A flat rate allowance is NOT the answer, and especially not at the rate suggested in the news ~£170 per day on top of salary!!! Outrageous - a mximum should be set to cover a reasonable hotel and meals if necessary, and payments should be only made against receipts;

b. What is the justification for a London allowance? The most I'd give would be a free Transport for London travel card;

c. ok

d. A good start, but not far enough. All staff should be recruited through fair and open competition, and be selected by an independent interview board;

e. There should be a requirement for receipts for all claimed expenditure, and these should be publically available online within 30 days of the claim;

f. No second jobs - full stop.

g. Why reinvent the wheel? There is a perfectly good Civil Service pension scheme, which surely if its generous enough for thousands of Ciil Servants, I can see no reasonable argument for MPs to have more generous provision;

h. Why is Northern Ireland dfferent to any of the other regions?

Another news item caught my eye - A British member of the European Parliament has been charged with false accounting and money laundering

Obviously this case is now before the Courts, so it would be unfair to comment on the specifics, but if the case is proven, then the abuse of trust should be punished to the full extent of the law. The UK public deserve better than this....

And finally..... here is an interesting link to a leaked EU internal audit report on MEPs allowances. I think it makes interesting reading.,_2008 While the content of the report is bad enough, the fact that it is not publically available (apart from WikiLeaks) is a travesty.

Its time to clean things up, and the power to do it is in the hands of the public.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Campaign news - Monday

Text voting closes in just 4 days, and currently I'm ranked 5th out of 12 in the South West region, with the next lowest candidate hot on my heels - please, if you haven't voted yet, text WILBAR01 to 86837 before Friday.

I've been quiet for a few days (which as anyone who knows me will agree is out of character) - I wanted to take stock on where we are with the poll, and where it could potentially go. I'll be updating the other website tonight with some thoughts and policies - please let me have your comments.

Remember, 4 days to go and every vote counts!!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Campaign News - Wednesday

A slight slip down the rankings to 5th place out of 11 - a new candidate on the South West list has made roaring progress since the weekend, and is slightly ahead....can I regain the lead? Only time and text votes can tell.

I've contacted a number of local papers in the region, and I'm hoping that this, allied with some general publicity from Jury Team will give my total a boost.

The other website is up and running, and contains my electoral pledges - please take a look and let me have your thoughts and comments.

Thanks for your continued support - remember to vote if you haven't already - just text WILBAR01 to 86837 - and keep spreading the word!!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

New Website

I'm setting up a new website which will have content on very shortly. This website will be written in a more serious vein that the beardy-blog, and will set out my commitments to the electorate, in the vent that I am successful in the European election.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

After the Bank Holiday......

Well, the long weekend break is but a distant memory, but it provided an opportunity to reflect on how things have developed over the last week or so. What started as a vehicle to rant at the system and its failings has subtly changed...I've been quite touched by the support I've received, and it confirms my belief that there is a mood for change.

This blog was always intended to be light-hearted, but I'm having a rethink about the best way to connect with a larger audience, so I'll soon be launching a more formal website. A quick look at the sums shows that to be elected, candidates need to poll around 200,000 votes.....a challenging target to hit I think you'll agree.

The good news is, we smashed the target for the weekend - I'd aimed for 40 votes, but at close of play tonight, we have the fantastic total of 45 - this keeps me in 4th place out of 11, although some of the other candidates are making real headway and collecting votes.

I understand from Jury Team that the final phone poll totals will determine the position on the election list, so to be in with a real chance, I need to make a concerted effort over the last 10 days of phone polling - so, if you haven't already done so, please, text WILBAR01 to 86837. Word of mouth can be immensely powerful - if you believe in what what I am trying to do, then please spread the word.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Bank Holiday Votes Bonanza!!

A huge thank you to you all for your support - I am now at 40 votes, which puts me at 4th place out of 11!!! This is fantastic news. We need to keep this momentum rolling over the next 11 days to keep in the top 6 of the South West candidates list.

More later

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Campaign news - Saturday

Text votes are still steadily trickling in, with my new total at 36 - still 5th out of 10. Our target for the bank holiday weekend is to move up the rankings to 4th place. At close of play tonight, 4 votes will do it, so please, if you haven't already voted just text WILBAR01 to 86837 - remember, spread the word to family and friends and ask them to show support, as every vote is vital at this stage.

There has been disturbing news developing today about a dirty tricks & smear campaign, apparently operating from the heart of Downing Street. I'm sure the Sunday papers are going to have a field day tomorrow, but there is one question at the heart of all this: Don't the public deserve better than this? Do you really want politicians who are so hooked on power and the privileges it brings, that they will lie and cheat and smear their opponents? Its time to show these jokers the door.....take the first small step in reclaiming democracy by shunning the parties, and supporting independent candidates who will serve the public, not exploit their positions.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Campaign news - Friday

A slight increase, and I'm now up to 34 votes, and we have a new contender in the South West race so I'm in 5th place out of 10. Its been less than a week since I decided to embark on this adventure, and I'm pleased with progress so far - thanks to you all for your support.

Don't U-KIP, open your eyes (groan...)

Apologies for the dreadul pun dear reader, but the first piece of election junk mail dropped on the mat at Beardy towers this morning, so I thought I'd subject it to some analysis....

UKIP's strategy is entirely based around exploiting people's fears with assertions rather than arguments - some of the wild statements in their leaflet could be lifted straight off the front page of the Daily Mail. This is lazy politics - but I guess its easier to point out problems than propose solutions (especially if the problems are largely presented with a very narrow, subjective slant....after all, why let the truth get in the way of a good story)

Let's look at some examples:
"Without Brussels red tape, British business would boom and create more jobs" - whats the evidence for this? Brussels doesn't just legislate for the UK, but for the whole EU...surely if the red tape is hampering british business, it would be equally effecting the industries of France, Germany and all the other member states.

"EU law allows foreign companies to buy our utility companies, who then over charge us" - yes, and it also allows British companies to buy foreign utility companies - unfortunately, british business has failed to seize this opportunity to compete aggressively abroad, preferring instead to sell-out and take short-term profits.

"We could stop unlimited EU immigration"...whoa there, that's a double edged sword - what about the thousands of Brits who choose to live in other EU countries? The pensioners who decide to enjoy some sun in their retirement years, and the business people who go abroad and work bloody hard? Guess what people....people from other European countries are not that different to us!! The ones I've met who live and work in the UK are hard working, honest, and contribute both economically, and socially. In my book, these are the people we want in the South West to drive the economy forward.

"Water bills are also rising by 20%, thanks to new EU regulations" - These will be reglations which improve the quality and cleanliness of our water supply? Erm...unless I'm missing something, that sounds like a good thing to me - I've no wish to drink water contaminated with raw sewage. The costs are set by the water companies who want to make excessive profits, not the EU.

"Car repair prices could double" Another scare statement - why not add "Your first born COULD be taken into slavery" for good measure?

I could give more examples, but I'm getting bored and angry - in fact every statement in the leaflet lacks evidence and objectivity.

I'm confused what UKIPs angle is in the elections for the European Parliament - as a party, they are committed to withdrawing Britain from the EU - yet this would be a decision taken in Westminster, not Brussels. So what exactly do the UKIP MEPs achieve, apart from milking the system in terms of allowances, just like the other parties. Still, who gives a toss about the electorate, providing the parties and their representatives are getting their snouts deep in the trough. It sickens me.

Withdrawal from the EU might be the right answer for the UK...but before we take that step I believe we have a responsibility to try and put things right from within the system. Please give me the opportunity to take on that responsibility. Text WILBAR01 to 86837

The Long Good Friday

"What I'm looking for is someone who can contribute to what England has given to the world: culture, sophistication, genius. A little bit more than an 'ot dog, know what I mean?"
Well Mr Hoskins, you've found someone...all you have to do is text WILBAR01 to 86837

I almost forgot

I was watching the local TV news this evening, and there was a report on the 40th Anniversary of Concorde's first flight from Bristol to Fairford. In my Jury-Team profile you'll see one of my main areas of interest is science & technology, and how this can be turned into high-tech jobs for the South West. Concorde is a shining example of a great technical achievement, so much so, that even 40 years on, there hasn't been anything that even remotely matches it. This is what can be done in this region, and we should be proud.

Campaign News - Thursday

Score at close of Play Thursday is 33 votes......many thanks for your support, which is keeping me in the 5th place slot, out of 9. I don't want to peak too early though (ok're making your own jokes now) and we've still got 2 weeks to run before the Jury Team call time on the text poll, and select candidates for the European Parliament elections in June. Please, tell your friends about the campaign to clean up politics, and ask them to read my profile, and if they like what they see, text WILBAR01 to 86837...

I'd also welcome your comments to my blog posts - do you have any questions or thoughts, views or opinions?

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Campaign News - Wednesday close of play - Gibraltar

Thanks for your continued support - at close of play on Wednesday night, my total stands at a massive 26 votes, and I'm still at 5th place out of the 9 prospective candidates for the South West region. Up to now, I have relied on family and friends for their support, but I guess I need to step things up a gear.....the only problem is how?? Having never done anything like this before, I'd welcome any ideas on how to reach a wider readership.

I have had a contribution from someone in Gibraltar (thanks, "All Seeing Eye" - I really appreciate the opportunity to engage with the residents of Gib), so I thought I'd set out my thoughts.

I must admit to being puzzled as to why Gibraltar is clustered with the South West of England - having visited the Rock a number of times (sadly quite a while ago, but I'm open to offers.....I vaguely remember a nightclub, near HMS ROOKE's all weather pitches, may have been called Captain Jacks? And one of the apes nicked my camera.....) I would say that it has a distinct and individual character - however I suspect that it is all down to politics rather than any sound logical reasoning.

On the sovereignty issue, although I understand that Spain may assert a territorial claim, in reality this is as much a nonsense as the Russians claiming the North Pole or the USA claiming the Moon. I have no wish to insult or upset any Spaniards (indeed, one of my oldest and closest friends lives in Madrid, which is a most wonderful city), but the position of the Spanish Government is brilliantly inconsistent, given the status of Cueta and Melilla. The fact is, Gibraltar has been seperate from Spain for almost 300 years. If there is any future change in Gib's status, it would be more logical for this to be more towards full independence, rather than re-integration with Spain. If eventual independence is the will of the Gibraltarian people, then I would hope that the bond of goodwill between Gib and the UK will remain strong, as has been the case with other former outposts of the empire.

Could an independent Gibraltar be sustainable? I don't see why not - within the EEA other small nations manage quite happily, examples being Malta & Luxembourg (within the EU, but larger populations than Gibraltar), and Liechtenstein (comparable in terms of population, and member of EFTA)

Rather than focussing on the past, the future for Gibraltar is potentially very exciting - the last time I visited in the late 80's, the dockyard underpinned the local economy, however new industries such as financial services and tourism have blossomed and now provide the bulk of economic activity. Even though we live in a period of financial turmoil, things will pick up and there is no reason why the new service industries should not continue to develop and prosper. People will always want financial services - especially in a safe, stable, well regulated and tax friendly country, and as for tourism, you have been blessed with a stunning piece of land, located in an ideal position (especially for Cruise ships) - who in their right mind would not want to visit, given the opportunity? Hotels, casinos, resorts...if you build them, they will come.

If I get through the primary (are text votes from Gibraltar accepted? They certainly should be...if not, let me know and I'll investigate with Jury-Team HQ) and I get the opportunity to campaign in Gibraltar, I would welcome the opportunity to take advice on the issues that matter to the Gibraltarian public.

If (and its a big if) I am fortunate enough to be elected, I would make a point of visiting Gib at the very earliest opportunity to discuss the way forward. If it is the will of the people that Gibraltar should have its own directly elected representative to the European parliament, then I give my word now that this is something that I will actively campaign for, and until that point, I will make every effort to represent the people of Gibraltar with the same diligence as other constituents in the South West region.

I hope that answers your question "All Seeing Eye" - I'd welcome any comments.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Welcome to my Wednesday blog dear reader (actually, its now the early hours of Thursday morning, but I've been doing a lot of thinking today).

I try to keep this blog light-hearted - but I would hate for this to be misinterpreted and cast doubt on either my sincerity or the seriousness of this campaign....I guess the way I deal with adversity is to use humour (after all, its difficult to be worried by things that make you laugh....with the possible exception of clowns, which actually proves my point in a roundabout way, as I don't find them funny). Unfortunately, the subject of tonight's blog isn't a laughing matter....

The primary reason I threw my hat into the ring (all of 4 days ago) is that I am saddened and angry at the poor standards evident in public life, and I believe we deserve better. Politicians make themselves easy targets, but todays news has got me thinking a bit wider.

You'll have all seen the news footage of what appears to be an unprovoked attack on Ian Tomlinson at last weeks G20 demonstration:
Make no mistake, I am a strong supporter of the police and I have a deep admiration for the thousands of police officers up and down the country who take their life in their hands every time they go on shift, and perform a vital public service. Its not a job I could or would want to do, but its a necessary job or society would descend into anarchy.

This footage makes me very uncomfortable - perhaps there is some context which isn't in the public domain yet, but on the face of it we have un-necessary force applied to a man who is no threat - he clearly has his hands in his pockets, and is walking away from the police lines. Listening to radio coverage today, the argument has been advanced that the police are young men, caught up in the adrenaline of the moment, and such events should be expected. I say NO!!! While they may be young, and under intense pressure, thats part of the job and they should have the discipline required to control their anger and not lash out. I was similarly disturbed by the TV show "Cops with Cameras" last week, where an officer in the Southwest (in Devon I believe) threatened to use CS spray on a suspect who was already restrained and in handcuffs, but was being gobby and generally obnoxious. While this may have been a macho threat for the TV cameras, I consider it just plain unacceptable.

Theres an old naval saying which applies here: "life in a blue suit", and it broadly means if you can't hack it, then change jobs. Police officers are granted certain powers to do their job, but there is a fundamental unwritten contract with the public that those powers should not be abused. Any officer who does abuse those powers disgraces and dishonours the thousands of coppers who work hard and take extraordinary risks on a daily basis in order to keep us safe, and damages the public trust which is necessary for a free society.

One thing that did strike me in the TV footage of the G20 demonstrations was that many of the police appeared to have their faces covered - perhaps one of the things I should try to advance if I am successful in being elected would be a requirement for police officers in uniform not to have their faces obscured, and for force numbers to be clearly visible and mandatory.

Here endeth the lesson.........

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

ooops nearly forgot..

Remember I need your text votes - txt WILBAR01 to 86837. It only costs 25p plus normal text charge which has got to make it the bargain of the year!!

“The omens are not favorable to your quest"

Don't worry dear reader, tonight's blog title is actually an extract from a new book by a friend of mine, Andrew Richardson - check it out at .

So, here we are on Tuesday evening and I've stormed up the polls to a massive 21 votes (checking my handy swingometer - oooh er missus - thats a 23% gain in 24 hours - I'd like to see Brown or Cameron match that!) which puts me in overall 5th place out of the 9 prospective candidates in the SW region.

So today's campaign news - I was featured on Daniel1979's blog , where my answers to his standard survey on attitudes to the EU were reported. I really do recommend his blog, and the post on the cabinet's voting record on matters of transparency provides excellent food for thought. Eagle-eyed readers may notice that I used the survey to subliminally assert my independence by answering YES/NO rather than TRUE/FALSE - yeah! politics really is the new rock and roll!! (Note to self: read the bloody instructions before filling in answers! Will I never learn? I did the same in my 'O' level maths, all those years ago. I would like to advance the excuse that it was late and I was tired from a hard day's campaigning)

So lets see what Wednesday brings.....

Monday, 6 April 2009

End of day 2......

Close of play on day 2 -

17 votes (thanks!), which puts me in 5th place in the SouthWest, so I'm in the running with 18 days to go. The Blog is up and running, and I may even get a Twitter (nay, nay and thrice nay, twitter ye not) so all in all, a pretty good day.

Your mission for tomorrow dear reader is to text WILBAR01 to 86837...if you've done it from your own phone, why not do it from the phone of a loved one, friend or colleague (you should ask the permission of the bill payer first, really you should....oh, and if Jacqui Smith or Geoff Hoon are reading this, don't put it on your expenses - that would be very naughty)

Setting off along the cul-de-sac to power....

So here we are, its 2230 on 6th April 2009 and I finally have my own blog!! Now all I need is some readers....

Anyway dear reader, welcome to my blog. I thought I'd put some thoughts down on paper ( should that be screen?) about how and why I have thrown my hat into the ring for a interesting little experiment in democracy.

If you are reading this either you've just surfed in randomly (wow.....what are the chances of that happening eh?) or more likely, you've seen my profile on and decided that before you commit yourself to investing a whole 25p (plus normal network charge) by txting WILBAR01 to 86837 you want to know a bit more.

So, how did we get here? I'm not by nature a political animal - I'm too busy getting on with enjoying my life - but I have been getting progressively more hacked off with the contempt that politicians of all persuasions appear to hold the public in. Now I don't know about you dear reader, but I don't like people taking liberties - especially when they are the hired help! Every time I pick up the papers, or look around the blogosphere (is that a real word?) there is yet another story of how the little piggies of politics have their noses deep in the trough - from the Home Secretary's husband's penchant for porn, to Hoon's multiple houses I'm getting a bit sick of it.......and as it looks like the opposition is every bit as bad as the Government, I figured that the best way to punish them is take away their toys. Unfortunately, politics seems to be a bit stitched up and you need the support of a party to get anywhere.......the price of that support however is to toe the party line and do what you are told, rather than what is best for your constituents. What we need is an "anti-party" that makes no demands and encourages independence.....and thats what I think we may have with jury-team.

I'm a chances of being elected are slim, in electoral terms I'm massively outgunned, but maybe, just maybe.......

Anyway, lets see where this goes. If I'm not successful, at least I will have had an interesting experience, and the purpose of this blog is to record the ups and downs along the cul-de-sac to power