"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Sunday, 31 January 2010

What Has Europe Done For Us

A cut-and-paste job I'm afraid, gathered from Open Europe. The graphic to the left isn't part of a rorsasch test but if it were it would be a galloping horse.

Quote of the fortnight: "The European institutional public sphere is largely a public discourse for elites, it is a sphere in which citizens remain uninvolved. This has in turn contributed to the EU's democratic deficit... efforts must also be made to improving the EU's transparency - particularly its financial and accounting processes - and to reducing bureaucracy by taking subsidiarity seriously."
The Right Reverend Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford, in a report by the Church of England's House of Bishops' Europe Panel, 15 January 2010

1. MEPs vote to increase their allowances by €1,500 a month
MEPs on the European Parliament's Budget Committee voted on Wednesday in favour of increasing MEPs' allowances for hiring assistants by €1,500 a month. They are claiming that the additional cash is needed to help them deal with the new powers awarded to the European Parliament under the Lisbon Treaty. They also voted to hire an extra 150 staff to help with their increased workload.

This latest increase in MEPs' allowances will cost EU taxpayers an additional €13.3 million, and increase the European Parliament's budget to €1.6 billion this year. In total, MEPs already have around £360,000 available to them in salaries, and various allowances and expenses.

In response to the vote, European Voice Deputy Editor Tim King wrote an article arguing, "For 40 years, a near-secret agreement has governed how the three main institutions of the European Union divide up administrative spending...Forty years on, it is obvious to many outside observers that the Parliament has more money than it knows what to do with."

Separately the EP's Budgetary Control Committee published a document detailing the EP's budget in 2008/09, which reveals that the Parliament lost 54,000 sick days in 2008. It also reveals that the Parliament spent €2.3 million renovating its sports centre, €4.3million on a new visitor centre, despite the fact that it already has one, and hundreds of thousands of pounds on gas-guzzling luxury cars which emit as much as 260 CO2 g/km. It also shows that the cost of repairing the ceiling in the European Parliament's second seat in Strasbourg was €8.8 million.

2. EU opens 54 embassies across the world as Lisbon Treaty comes into force; EU desperate to set up new diplomatic service before UK election
54 EU embassies have opened across the world since the Lisbon Treaty came into force in December 2009, without any public announcement. Embassies in Beijing, Kabul and Addis Ababa, the seat of the African Union, will be headed by ambassadors who are empowered to speak on behalf of the whole EU.

The new embassies will co-ordinate member states' bilateral missions to the countries in question and have a mandate to carry out consular work, with an EU official saying that the EU embassies "are going to be a bit more political" than the European Commission delegations that they replaced.

Controversially, the Lisbon Treaty allows the EU to determine rules on diplomatic and consular protection by qualified majority vote, meaning that Britain can now be overruled on crucial diplomatic matters, such as on how to respond to human rights abuses in a conflict-ridden country.

There are fears that, with the EU embassies increasingly duplicating the work of national missions, member states may close their own embassies in order to save money.

Meanwhile, EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton has called on a group of advisors to help her with the establishment of the EU's new diplomatic service, the European External Action Service (EEAS), also brought in under the Lisbon Treaty. Some members of Ashton's team believe that negotiations will become bogged down if the Conservative Party wins the UK's General Election, likely to be held in May, and are therefore urging that the EEAS be fully established before then.

This tight deadline has given the European Commission more power over the formation of the new service, at the expense of national governments, with an internal Commission working group set up by Commission President Barroso already at work preparing documents for Ashton's group of advisors to 'rubber stamp'.

3. Greek deficit endangers eurozone
As Greece's economic difficulties continue, fears of a eurozone break-up have reached the point where the European Central Bank has issued a legal analysis of what would happen if a country tried to leave monetary union. The analysis argued that eurozone exit would also entail expulsion from the European Union.

Meanwhile, a leaked European Commission paper argued that soaring public deficits in eurozone countries such as Greece are a "matter of serious concern for the eurozone as a whole" which "can weaken confidence in the euro and endanger the cohesion of the monetary union".

There are widespread reports that France and Germany are drawing up plans for bailing out Greece. This has been denied by the French and the German governments, with Germany's Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle saying that there would be "no bail-outs" for struggling debtors.

However other EU leaders have indicated that Greece would in fact receive financial support if it faced the risk of a default, with high-level EU officials saying Greece would, in the last resort, receive emergency support in one form or another.

The EU treaties prohibit national governments from taking on the financial commitments of other member states (such as assisting in closing another member state's budget deficit). However, given the political prestige that is associated with the euro, EU leaders will probably find a way to bail out Greece rather than allowing the country default on its debts - a default that would have devastating consequences for the eurozone as a whole.

Should a bail-out take place, the EU will take a massive step towards a common economic policy, since taxpayers in one country would then effectively be liable for the failures and mistakes of a government in another country (over which they have no democratic control). Such a step is likely to further frustrate European citizens already fed up with the pace of EU integration - particularly in Germany, whose taxpayers are likely to shoulder most of the burden. A June 2009 poll commissioned by Open Europe showed that 71% of Germans are against using taxpayers' money to bail out another EU country.

But, as we've been reminded again and again, the EU is very good at both breaking its own rules and ignoring public opinion.

4. News in brief
Councils spend £5 million a year to maintain offices in Brussels. Almost all councils and development agencies in England and Wales, as well as the Local Government Associations, now have offices and permanent staff representing them in Brussels. Their operations, which have run for two decades, cost taxpayers at least £5million a year in staff and office costs alone, excluding trips to Brussels for meetings each year. The biggest spender is the Welsh Assembly, which employs 10 staff in Brussels at a cost of £880,000 a year.

Commission floats ideas for EU-wide driving laws. The European Commission has proposed ideas for drawing up EU-wide driving laws in a new "green" campaign on motorists, as part of its Action Plan on Urban Mobility. Measures being considered include a barrage of new maximum speed limits in towns and cities. British motorists could also be forced to undertake exams in "environmentally-friendly" road skills as part of an EU-wide overhaul of driving tests. Many heavy polluting vehicles could also face restricted access to newly-declared "green zones" in urban centres.

Commission plans to end UK opt-out from 48-hour week could cost £12bn a year. The new European Commission, due to take office on 10 February, is planning to revise the EU's Working Time Directive, which could lead to the UK losing its ability to opt-out of the 48-hour maximum working week. Open Europe research has found that the cost of the Directive to the UK economy currently stands at between £3.4 and £3.9 billion a year, and would rise to up to £12 billion a year if the opt-out were lost.

Labour and Lib Dems thwart attempt to introduce "referendum lock" on future EU treaties. The Conservatives unsuccessfully tried to make an amendment to the Government's Constitutional Reform Bill on 19 January, which would have meant that any future Treaty transferring power to the EU be subject to a referendum. The amendment was defeated by 303 votes to 183.

5,000 Britons face eviction from homes after Court upholds ECJ ruling. The UK Court of Appeal has upheld a European Court of Justice ruling saying that a British couple in Northern Cyprus must surrender their land to its original owner Meletios Apostolides, a displaced Greek Cypriot who fled the North during the Turkish invasion. The decision has implications for around 5,000 Britons with homes on the island.

Guy News

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Gordon Brown To Be Outsourced

Following hot on the heels of the recent news about Obama it appears, as with almost all trends, that the UK is about to follow suit. This report from the Times Online website. . .

click image to enlarge and read the full story


Special thanks to MicroDave
for the excellent copywriting ;-)

Thursday, 28 January 2010

FMQs, Scottish Parliament, 28 January 2010



Because I have a very heavy date with a pack of cards tonight, young Tris at Munguin's Republic has kindly posted on today's FMQs.

Bloggers Bollox Barmpots







That's right, Raj, think about what you did.
Bloggers, eh?
Individually, we whisper. When we unite, we roar.
Andrew Neil wrote a wonderful piece a couple of days ago.  He talks about the power of the bloggers to shift public thinking and I have witnessed this first-hand on a range of issues so I know he is right on the money.
Between us, we destroyed a myth. Like terriers with a bone, we wouldn't let go. We have to keep doing this. We have to hold them to account for the bile they vomit out on a largely unsuspecting and uncritical audience. No longer will we tolerate the "appeal to higher learning". Although in this case, Pachauri, bless 'im, is an ex-railway engineer. Back in the day, if a doctor or scientist said a thing, our belief was instant. No more. If they tell you that rain falls from the sky, double-check. Question everything, and believe no-one. Better yet, follow the money. That will tell you all you need to know about the scare de jour.
Do read the whole thing, but in the meantime, just to whet your appetite:
"The bloggers, too easily dismissed in the past, have set the pace with some real scoops -- and some of the mainstream media is now rushing to catch up.
The sceptics may be about to get their first scalp. Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman often wrongly described in the media as the world's leading climate scientist (he's actually a railway engineer), at first attacked those who questioned the IPCC's alarming glacier prediction as "arrogant" and believers in "voodoo science".

He's since had to retract the prediction but can't quite manage an apology -- and is now under mounting pressure in his Indian homeland to resign."
"We told you so" doesn't quite do it for me. I want ALL the money back that we wasted on these freaks. I want them all gaoled for shouting "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre.
If we don't punish them, they'll just do it again.
CR.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Why The Left Have Deliberately Degraded Our Society

I am hoping that GV will forgive this transgression. The following piece is a guest post by a regular reader of my blog (and probably GV's as well) and since I am a guest blogger here, and Marcellus is my guest blogger, it may well be the first guest guest post.

This then, is an utterly brilliant essay from Marcellus.

Here is a story that the Mainstream Media do not wish to cover

People have completely misunderstood the Left.

The Left do not want to improve society or make things work better. On the contrary, they actively want to degrade the conditions of life to create chaos, dissatisfaction and hopefully disintegration so they can impose a “new society”.

This “new society” means the State having uncontrolled power over the individual.

To this end our society has been intentionally changed, corrupted and degraded by the Left.

By their total control of broadcasting the Left has been presented as morally superior. How silly, when in fact the Left is a totally malign force. What wonderful words they spoke; but they never believed them. Their activities are characterised by shameless deceit and corruption, and systematic lying.

Because of the total control of broadcasting by the Left, very few people have realised that a long, subtle campaign has been conducted against our society and way of life by the Left who have wanted to change this society irreversibly to their own structures against the wishes of the people. This campaign is called the Project.

After the failure of the miner’s strike in the mid 1980s, the Left decided that English society was too strong, and too cohesive with traditions that were too deep. They realised that the people were too content for the Left to succeed with a forcible revolution to impose their new society on us. That is why they spit out the name “Thatcher” with so much hate - because for a short while she thwarted their plans.

The Left never went away however, they simply changed tack. They went into normal jobs, such as the media - particularly broadcasting - and as opinion-formers and columnists in the print MSM. They decided to play a long game and undermine society from within so it would decay, and then they could move to impose their “new society”. They never ever give up.

In short, the English had to be made less content and comfortable.

So although the Left have always talked the language of fairness, compassion, social justice and improving conditions for the under privileged, they were NEVER interested in making our institutions work or improving the living conditions of the people. That was the very last thing they wanted. They wanted more and more discontent. They emphasised every division and grievance in society and created new ones all the time, not to cure them but to create more and more discontent and division to corrode our society. They set group against group, fanning resentments. They promoted anything that weakened society. Now they emphasise and enhance ethnic divisions. They always divide, never heal. They destroy, never build.

I am not talking here about the enormous number of naïve, leftish people who consider themselves “better than” and like to wear a “Left” T-shirt because they are duped into believing the deceitful rhetoric of justice, equality and so on (“useful fools” as Stalin is reputed to have called them), but the leaders of the Left (in both the Labour Party and the LibDems), who are really wicked people and who will do anything to undermine the present order to impose the “new society” that their hard Left lecturers fired them up with at college during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Common Purpose is one of their main tools of quiet undermining, contamination and corrosion.

Do not underestimate this organisation.

In the early 1980s the Left was very much against the EEC (as was) as they thought that it would stop their intentions of being able to impose their views on the rest of us. Blair’s election address during the 1980s showed he was very much against the EEC. But then they realised that actually the hidden intention of the EEC - to destroy the existing societies of member states - was rather similar to their own, and so they abruptly changed in the mid 1980s and became true EEC believers. The federal European project therefore became their project. Anyone then against any part of the federal European project had to be silenced by the Left controlled media and was labelled mad and mentally ill.

All the dirty tricks of EEC, later the EU, to undermine our society were then added to their own dirty tricks to achieve the same aim.

Their first aim was to take over the broadcast news programmes. They (including Mandelson) succeeded in doing this spectacularly well and from then on these programmes were used ruthlessly to promote the Project.

● Every tradition, every national icon, in fact all the glue that bound our society so happily had to be undermined.

● Decent responsible people had to be discouraged from taking any action.

● The confidence of the individual had to be shaken. Uncertainty and fear was deliberately created by the introduction of unreasonable rules and unfair enforcement.

● By means of a target culture, all public services were corrupted and made to serve Labour’s PR needs and not the people.

● All institutions had to be “modernised” even though they worked fine, to tear away all traditions and roots.

● All patriotism, all pride in our country, all positive role models from the past, all our history, customs and traditions were sneered at and degraded so no-one could speak of them in a positive way.

"To destroy a people you must first sever their roots.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

There was a completely successful secret campaign to undermine our society, our culture, our institutions, our traditions. Peter Hitchens, himself a former communist, is well aware of the inside story here and of this campaign, and has written about it recently in a piece on ConHome.

This culminated in the audacious plan to even change the people of England who were so awkward. The aim was to deliberately destroy social cohesion - at whatever cost in human misery. Nothing less than cultural genocide. “The Final Solution to the English Problem”. Together with the support of the EU - who have the same aim - they embarked on a massive immigration plan using on the one hand the decency and tolerance of the English people and on the other hand their control of the broadcast media to brand anyone who objected as a racist. It was brilliant and supremely successful.

Interesting that both Labour and the LibDems reject any cap on immigration and that the LibDems have even called for an amnesty for illegal immigrants.

The strength of our society has always been its social cohesion and with this we have seen off all invasions for over 1000 years. This social cohesion has now been broken. Deliberately.

As the next stage in the imposition of the “new society” (the “post democratic age” as Mandelson calls it) our hard won civil liberties have been systematically and deliberately dismantled - to increase the power of the State.

The planning for the Project has been meticulous and detailed. Each stage, or click of the ratchet, has been kept very small so that it is not frightening on its own, and always some fake high principled reason is given for it - but cumulatively the increase in the uncontrolled power of the State over the individual has been colossal. Hitler used the same technique in the early 1930s.

This country is facing the most dangerous situation since 1940 and the job of the Labour controlled broadcast media is to send the people to sleep and stop them realising. Doing it very well too.

Brown’s work whilst in power for 13 years has not been to improve the conditions of the poor who trusted his lies and sweet words (apart from doing enough to stay in power), but to facilitate the imposition of this “new society”.

In this Brown has been a great success, as he has caused the most amazing and possibly irreparable damage, corruption and corrosion in every aspect of our society and in the lives of the people of this country - all done to impose the Project on the English. As the pictures of that time show, he has never smiled so widely as the day he nationalised the Banks; that for once was a genuine smile.

He has blighted the lives of countless millions of his own countrymen, simply to advance his own obsessions and interests.

Brown has been at the heart of this work, and he is a truly evil man.

Labour would not have survived nor would the Project have achieved all it has done in undermining our society, without the Left being able to control broadcasting.

This has only been done because the key people who control broadcasting have been part of the Project. They have planted their supporters in every position of power within all the news and current affairs programmes (and that is to say nothing about the subliminal messages given out in every soap and drama programme). These people must be removed from all positions of power and influence within broadcasting.

The only hope for democracy in this country is to destroy the Left’s stranglehold on broadcasting.

This power has enabled them to corrupt our whole constitution.

If that control is left intact, there is no hope.

After a busy, tiring day’s work, people are very relaxed when they watch the TV and so when they hear the drip, drip, drip of Left opinions, agenda manipulation and misinformation they are in what amounts to a light trance. This means the message of the programme is absorbed (and accepted) easier. A gentle brainwashing. Therapeutic hypnotism is really only different in the degree of trance. This is a mighty power in the hands of anyone.

It is not acceptable in a modern, information-based democracy that a few unaccountable, unrepresentative, unelected, self-appointed placemen are allowed to control the most awesome, influential, mind-bending power in the history of mankind. What are we thinking of, to allow such a situation to continue? There can be no genuine and free democracy while this continues.

They control virtually all the political information that probably 85% of people get; what is mentioned and how it is presented. They can manipulate it how they wish; and do so ruthlessly.

The astonishing power of broadcasting to influence political opinion is something completely new to our constitution and democracy. Constitutional checks and balances developed over centuries are routinely sidestepped by this new phenomenon and have been rendered useless.

Broadcasting is now part of the political process, whether the broadcasters like it or not.

There is no democratic legitimacy authorising the people who currently control broadcasting and our information, to continue to do so. They have simply been appointed by people who themselves were appointed . . . and so on.

If the Left's control of broadcasting is not destroyed, the broadcasters will destroy Cameron - however large his majority - and then the Left will be back again.

The first aim of our resistance to this process is therefore to destroy completely the monopoly power of Labour over broadcast news programmes. Remember, there is no democratic control over these programmes - we get what they allow us to have. This must change.

Control broadcasting, control the minds.

Control the minds, control the country.

Therefore the key battleground of the fight against the Left is now over who controls broadcasting. They know that - but the non-Left do not really understand it.

If the Left loses their monopoly over broadcasting - we have a chance. If not, then our society is lost.

One way of doing this is to open up the broadcasting infrastructure (like BT) to many, many news providers. This is an extension of localism. There is much more that can also be done.
It is not that it cannot be done, it is merely that there has not so far been the political will to do it.

However it is done, it must be done.

Marcellus.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Ferrari F1

NSFWish

I know GV is a big fan of motorsports, F1 in particular, and with a certain ex-ferrari driver making a return for the new season I thought that I'd dig this image out of the G.O.T archives . . .


Says it all really ;-)

G.O.T.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Hello

When GV invited me to help out on this blog whilst she was otherwise indisposed, I thought "great I'd be delighted" but my second thought was "are you sure?". Those of you that already know me will realise why I should ask that question and those of you that don't will need to understand that I can be a tad colourful with my use of the English language when it comes to the subject of Government, or anything else for that matter.

However, GV assures me that she is quite happy for me to help out here for a while, with a few others, as long as I would consider a prior warning to regular readers of any 'infected' posts. So, fair enough,  I will employ the time honoured tradition of issuing the initials NSFW as a prior notification to any impending language indiscretions.

Good, so that's fucking sorted then.

Having said all that, I've decided to break you all in gently with a couple of images from the Grumpy Old Twat archives which are Safe For Work.

Probably ;-)





Now I'm glad Brits don't riot

No, really.

We live in a nation with a State that assumes every adult to be a paedophile unless proven otherwise. They can take your kids away by simply deeming you "not bright enough", whilst knowingly leaving children in the hands of parents who abuse them until they die.

No riot.

They can destroy pubs in a thinly disguised mission to ruin British social culture and stop people talking to each other in an unmonitored environment. Thus "liberating" bar staff from smoke and their jobs and leaving what used to be social hubs, reduced to graffiti covered, derelict dumps. Or worse still, "affordable housing" that nobody can actually afford anymore.

And still no riot.

They can live the high life at your expense and mine, flipping and furnishing houses, and claiming for TV licences, Sky subscriptions and anything else not at all necessary for their duties. They can again deem you "not bright enough" when it comes to making decisions on what you want to see in your own life and the country in which you live. They can say it openly. You're stupid. They're not. Because they said so. So be quiet down there if you know what's good for you.

Still no riot. A few mumblings. Business as usual.

They can call you names for resisting attempts by them and their NWO pals to get richer at your expense. They can send the boys round to take away your hard earned possessions. You cannot defend your own home - not even if you're a slightly built woman with a small child. They can bribe your nextdoor neighbours to spy on you. They can engineer mass immigration displacing locals from jobs and putting immense pressure on the infrastructure, labelling you "racist" in public if you question it. They can deem you insane without the aid of a trial and proceed to lock you up. There are blogs about it. They can shoot you with a taser for being drunk in public, pulverise 90-somethings over parking tickets, unleash the rest of the world's criminals upon you so those countries' own authorities don't have to deal with them (yuman rites, innit?) and they can murder those seen as political opposition and hide the evidence until we're all dead.

Nothing. No riot. No saying "No!". No assassinations. Barely a shred of real disobedience from this downtrodden population.

And for now, I'm GLAD. Glad too many of us huff, puff and then switch on the TV.

If our elected and unelected "leaders" are going to bring in the Civil Contingencies Act, which they're dying to do, they're going to have to use "terror". Their operational scope has been reduced to this one single issue. Unintended consequences of softening up a population before time = no riots and no realistic justification for draconian control measures. Only unrealistic ones.

Then we'll have a riot. Maybe.

(Note: This is a guest post from Corrugated Soundbite)

Shed A Tear For (US) Democracy

(Guest post from Captain Ranty).

Courtesy of UKWebSpider we see that democracy is officially laid to rest in the United States.

Artificial corporations now determine who wins, and who loses, in American politics. In the name of "free speech", they can donate billions. The popular peoples vote, you know, that thing that so many have died for, is for sale to the highest bidder. The Almighty Greenback decides all.

Here's a snippet:

"In eviscerating, longstanding rules that prohibit corporations from using their own monies to influence elections, the court invites giant corporations to open up their treasuries to buy election outcomes. Corporations are sure to accept the invitation.

The predictable result will be corporate money flooding the election process; huge targeted campaigns by corporations and their front groups attacking principled candidates who challenge parochial corporate interests; and a chilling effect on candidates and election officials, who will be deterred from advocating and implementing policies that advance the public interest but injure deep-pocket corporations.

Because today's decision is made on First Amendment constitutional grounds, the impact will be felt not only at the federal level, but in the states and localities, including in state judicial elections."

Land of the Free?

Not really. Not any more.

When America sneezes, we all catch a cold.

Keep an eye out for similar shenanigins here soon.

CR.

Robert Burns 1759




No Scottish blogger or lover of Burns could allow the birthday of the Bard to go unnoticed so the following is my contribution to his memory. My grandparents were keen readers of Burns and gave us a life-long interest in his works. This poem always intrigued me as a child perhaps because, out of boredom, I too used to pass the time looking up the text of the sermon.

Epigram to Miss Ainslie in Church who was looking up the text during the sermon.

Fair maid, you need not take the hint,
Nor idle texts pursue:
'Twas guilty sinner that he meant,
Not Angels such as you.


One of my favourite Scottish singers and a favourite Burns song.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

A Parthian Shot

Regular readers may have noticed that the blog has gone from 'blog-lite' to 'blog-liter' over the past few month or two so I'm handing over the reins to a very special Gang of Four for a week or four until I sort out a few problems.  Ladies and Gentlemen, in alphabetical order, I give you the Dream Team:

Captain Ranty-Freeman
Corrugated Soundbite
Grumpy Old Twat
SubRosa

I'm very grateful to all of them for agreeing to cross-post and keep the blog alive; the only alternative would have been to shut down and I've grown quite attached to my 'baby'.

SubRosa you already know because she's been posting here about Scottish politics with particular reference to the SNP and the impact on relations with England since last November.  I feel it's time we English considered the impact the EU is having on the nine regions formerly known as 'England' and took Scottish sensitivities into account.  Perhaps there's a way forward for all of us in their policies?  SubRosa also holds the interests of our Armed Forces close to her heart and you can be sure she'll keep us up-to-date on that front.

Captain Ranty will possibly be pointing the way to legally free yourself from the over-weening machinery of state; Corrugated Soundbite will give you a good rant, and Grumpy Old Twat will be doing what he does best, ie taking the mickey out of arrogant and hubristic politicians with gusto.  So, all in all, the bases have been covered and the quality of the blog should be an improvement on what I've had to offer since November last year.

I'll be back in a month or so - unless the readership goes through the roof in which case I might just live quietly in Yorkshire and not tell anyone :-)

There are a few last-minute things I want to get off my chest so I'll leave you with the following:



Keir Starmer
MPs' expenses
Chaytor
Cohen
Brown
Blair
Ainsworth
The MoD
The MoD, Part Deux
Jim McCormick & ATSC
Porton Down
Campbell
Miliband, D
Harman & Dromey
Doncaster Council Children's Services
NHS Suffolk
Solicitors
PFIs
Local Councils
Local Councils, Part Deux
Pen-pushers
Drug-pushers
Martin Amis
Islamic sects
IPPC & Pachauri
The Renewables Obligation
Somali pirates
Hugo Chavez
The EU's open borders policy
The EU's Fishing Policy
The EU's new divorce laws
Argentina & The Falklands Islands
The UN
Bio-fuels

That's just a list compiled from this weekend's news! As you can see, it's not exhaustive so while you're making your own additions spare a thought for Save General Election Night
It will be the blog's first birthday in March so, with a bit of luck and a following wind, it will be cream cakes all round.

Sunday Reflection

Sunday Round-Up

There seems to be quite a lot worth reading in the Sundays this morning, from Mandelson to Brown to Miliband and beyond, so it's been hard to pick just a few. My apologies for the length of what's supposed to be a quick round-up this morning.

Why?  Why has Hutton imposed a 70-yr secrecy ban on Dr David Kelly's records? This is absolutely appalling and the restrictions should be lifted.  It seems the government's favourite mantra, 'if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear' doesn't apply to them, again.

Had enough yet?  I posted a heads-up on this some time ago:   Surveillance by military drones
And this: Do you want to vote? Blunkett admitted as much years ago.

The Conservatives are putting forward an amendment to the Constitutional Reform Bill to delay the final abolition of hereditary Peers in the House of Lords - too little, too late.  Why they supported this dog's dinner of a reform in the first place is beyond me.  Whatever the fault of the hereditaries they at least couldn't be bought and retained an independent mindset and challenge to bad government legislation - unlike the cabal of toadies now beholden to a corrupt government.  Kinnock?  Mandelson?  Ahmed?

Tebbit on the EU  "Our history has shaped our society to be different. We have suffered no invasion nor conquest since 1066 and no civil wars, revolutions nor military dictators since Cromwell’s time, and we have stopped one attempt after another to create a pan-European state. Philip of Spain, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin have all been frustrated by the people of these islands. In short, we have form as a destructive force against European political and military union."

Hungary Calling: Where the European Arrest Warrants falls down

Heaven forbid the Conservatives should have someone in Defence who actually knows anything about it - Cameron backtracks on Dannatt .  Can anyone explain to me what the difference is between Brown appointing Admiral Alan West as a PUS at the Home Office with responsibility for security and counter-terrorism, elevating him to the Lords as Baron West of Spithead, and the Cameron/Dannatt position?

More on the Conservatives: Cameron to keep Gus O'Donnell and Split over Conservative plan for prison ships, already. Even Alan Duncan is wading in.

Joseph Stiglitz puts the economy to rights. Time for the return of the Glass-Steagall Act?

And what will the Conservatives do about this situation? University students recruited by al-Shabaab.  One 'moderate' chap who works for the UK Somali Community Initiative said he 'treads a fine line between helping concerned families and identifying threats to the UK authorities'.  I don't understand why this should present such a moral dilemma to him - if he doesn't feel able to report threats by British nationals to British nationals in Britain, deport him as well.  Meanwhile, an Indian hijack plot is being blamed for the elevated terror alert in Britain.  Or it could be the upcoming summits on Yemen & Afghanistan due to be held in London this week!  Good old Gordon - when in doubt don't do anything, just call a summit or global conference.  In related news Al-Qaeda recruits women and there's been a scare at Manchester airport

'Devout man' spared jail by Cherie Blair.  I wonder if he's devoutly Christian?  Buddhist?  Sikh?  Nah... the religious man with the uncontrollable violent rages is a Muslim.

Nutjob released into British society rather than be deported because medication might not be available in Iraq: "The judgement, which was delivered in October but has only just been revealed, also states that deportation would breach the killer's right to a private and family life because he moved to the UK with his parents as a child."    Far too much is being hidden away - no doubt an indirect result of the Freedom of Information Act - the thinking seems to be that if the public don't ask they won't get.

It's going to be a busy week at the Chilcot Inquiry with Blair, Wood, Wilmhurst and Goldsmith due to give evidence.

Pull the other one: ‘Our gifts to President Obama have been well documented and were very well received.’

Oh-oh - Mandelson: "Look, I love my country. I love serving my country. That is regardless of the party or who is in Government."

We spoil you, Mr Ambassador

For sale: Millions of Ladbroke gamblers' personal details.

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr Leahy: Tesco have designs on the film industry.

UPDATE: I missed this jaw-dropping report from the News of the World, but Quiet Man didn't: Leaders' Live Debate. It seems Cameron and Brown are trying to block questions from the audience, insisting there is no applause which might indicate approval following answers and are at odds over the political composition of the audience. Is it worth it? If this report is true then I think we've already got a fair measure of both men.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

What It's Like Inside My Head

Let's hope it soon passes :-)

Aw! Boo-hoo


The BBC has a short article on the Conservatives' plans to reintroduce prison ships in order to accommodate more prisoners and put an end to Labour's early-release scheme.
Chief Inspector of Prisons [Dame]Anne Owers criticised HMP Weare at the time as being unfit for purpose, saying it restricted prisoners' access to fresh air and to exercise.
Sack her.  Let the pendulum swing freely.  To counteract thirteen years of Labour's vile socio-political engineering we need an equal and opposite reaction.  It will be bruising but no more difficult to ride than recent years have been.  Sack her and don't get a replacement.  Who cares if violent thugs lack access to fresh air and exercise?  They're not in there for the good of their health; they're in there to keep them away from society because they're no bloody good.  They're neither use nor ornament and the decent, hard-working majority of Britain need protection.

It's time that silent majority raised their voices and demanded better consideration from this government.  Thirty-three new laws or amendments to existing laws a month under Gordon Brown, most aimed at criminalising the innocent - it's a diabolical liberty; literally.  It's time to stand up and say, 'Thanks, but no thanks'.

Here are some more thoughts from Anne Owers

Friday, 22 January 2010

Friday Post


I love this; it's well-written, humorous and well-observed.  What more can you ask?

Extract only:
"It was here that I spotted my old pal. I sat down at the bar, ordered a beer and, with a furtive look around the half-full bar, lit a smoke. I needn't have bothered with the furtivity (if that isn't a word, it should be), as no-one in the bar gave a damn. Within a couple of minutes, I had relaxed fully, and I felt right with the world. It has been quite some time since I felt this way. It was, I have to say, bloody fantastic. How, I wondered, can such an innocent act have become so divisive in our country? How can such a small thing have created so much noise? I watched my fellow drinkers and eaters carefully. There was no outrage. There was none of that bizarre hand-waving and false-coughing so prevalent in my own country. There was no tut-tutting swiftly followed by those judgemental sneers. The demographics in the bar mirrored real life. Around twenty people in the place and six of us were smoking.

Still people watching, I was stunned when no-one died. I was amazed that no-one keeled over. There was no real coughing (not even from us smokers) let alone the fake kind. The bar, I noted, was using some sort of wizardry to clear the smoke. On investigation, this witchcraft turned out to be something called ven tee lay shun. Incredible stuff. I don't think we can get ven tee lay shun here. If we could, we would be able to smoke in our bars too. Maybe they only allow ven tee lay shun in Europe proper. It isn't for us late-comers. Perhaps if we behave ourselves this magic will be shared with us."

The whole thing can be found at: Captain Ranty

What Has Europe Done For Us?

EU President will cost taxpayers over £20m a year. The EU's new full-time President Herman Van Rompuy is due to cost taxpayers nearly £300 million. The total annual cost to EU taxpayers for Mr. Van Rompuy will be £22.5 million, including £2.1 million for security, £2.3 million for equipment, £6.2 million for summits and £5.2 million for 22 staff. In addition, the EU is spending another £252 million building a new facility to house the President's office. His salary is £273,814 a year - meaning he will earn more than US President Barack Obama, who earns £250,000.

Taxpayers pay for skiing holidays for children of MEPs earning £108,000. Taxpayers are to heavily subsidise a February skiing holiday in the Italian Alps for the children of MEPs and European Parliament officials. The holiday costs €920 and is subsidised by the Parliament's budget. Households receive different levels of subsidy depending on their monthly income, but even those on an income of over £108,000 get a discount. An MEP earning £86,000 is eligible for a subsidy of 45 percent.

50% of nurses warn EU's working time rules put patients in danger. A survey of nurses carried out by the Nursing Times has showed that 50% of nurses said patients were being put in danger due to the Working Time Directive's restrictions on junior doctors' hours, compared with 39 percent who said they were not. 71 percent said that additional work had left them with less time to carry out basic nursing duties, while 70 percent said it had led to gaps in medical cover.

Defra study says CAP costs UK consumers £3.2bn. A new 20-year food strategy report from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has found that consumers paid an extra £3.2bn, or £52 each, for food in 2007, because of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. The Government has said one of its food strategy aims is to reform the CAP.

EU taxpayers fund "slapstick acting workshops". As part of an £800 million EU programme to help people aged 13-30 'feel European', taxpayers are helping to fund basket-weaving and slapstick acting workshops for young people across Europe. The UK Government provides ten percent of the EU's budget, meaning it is likely that around £80 million of the cash used to run the 'Youth In Action' programme will have come from British taxpayers. One project in Finland received thousands to support a coffee house which offered 'everyone the chance to have a sleep for free', aiming to encourage afternoon naps to reduce stress.

Former Le Monde Editor: Lisbon Treaty has made EU more complex rather than more simple. In an article for Spanish newspaper El País, Jean-Marie Colombani, former Editor of Le Monde, criticised the Lisbon Treaty for making the EU more complex, writing: "Put ourselves in the place of European citizens, who were sold the idea that the Lisbon Treaty would simplify things... Now we realise that Europe will be run by a complex mechanism with at least four axes: the president and the European foreign minister; the country holding the rotating presidency; the president of the Commission and his team and finally the national heads of state and government."

The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister María Fernández, whose country holds the rotating EU Presidency, has also said that "The Lisbon Treaty has made the EU decision making process more complex".

H/t: Open Europe

'Scotland Will Do As It's Told' Says Scottish Tory Leader




Annabel Goldie, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, told her audience at the Royal College of Surgeons last night that a tory victory at the general election would give her party a mandate to govern in Scotland regardless of how many seats it won here.

She emphasised that winning seats here was not a prerequisite for a mandate to govern, as the Westminster election was British, not Scottish.

"Let me nail this nonsense now. This is a British general election, to elect a British government and a British prime minister. People in Scotland want devolution, but they also want to be part of Britain, and that means they want to be part of the Westminster democratic process.

"Whatever happens at this British general election, whoever wins, unionism will beat nationalism in Scotland."

She said it was "predictable" that the SNP, with its "obsession for independence", would claim the Tories had no mandate in Scotland. But, significantly, she also appealed to Labour not to return to its "nationalism with a small n" of the 1980s and 1990s, which, she argued, damaged the United Kingdom.

"I ask Labour what is more important to them – the short-term future of the Labour Party or the long-term future of the United Kingdom?"

Strong stuff Ms Goldie and I think we understand. One or two tory MPs, maybe a couple more, and Scotland has to do David Cameron's bidding should the conservatives win the Westminster election. I don't think so.

Angus Robertson, the SNP's Westminster leader, said, "For Annabel Goldie to say that the way Scotland votes in a general election doesn't matter shows the tories up in their old anti-Scottish colours. It is a return to their North British roots - which was out of time decades ago - and will be enormously damaging to them in the election campaign."

Don't say you haven't been warned Ms Goldie.



Thursday, 21 January 2010

First Ministers Questions, Scottish Parliament, 21 January 2010




Woeful, just woeful. I refer to the performance of Iain Gray, the leader of labour MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. His three questions centred on two paths which are part of the Cairngorm National Park but are close to the Balmoral estate. Mr Gray suggested the issue of whether the paths be noted on a map of the Park had been incorrectly handled.

The First Minister, in in his responses, robustly wiped the floor with Mr Gray who, for some strange reason, didn't seem to understand that after his first question was answered fully and succinctly he should change tack. He didn't and continued to dig himself into such a hole that he became the laughing stock of the whole chamber, other than his colleagues who, if you do watch the replay, displayed faces of incredulity.

As Mr Gray had also been on BBC radio Scotland this morning discussing the same subject and one which the Home Office had advised was a security issue concerning the royal family, Mr Salmond has asked the Home Office to investigate the leak of the security information.

Can I suggest if you want to see incompetence from the Scottish labour leader, please watch the first ten minutes of the replay. It shows, if nothing else, how inadequate and ineffectual the opposition is within the Scottish parliament and that is not good for our democracy.

Ms Goldie questioned the FM on walk-in surgeries. She appeared to be striving to push Scotland down the NHS privatisation route which England is speedily following. The FM was having none of it but one interesting fact did emerge from the exchange. Yesterday there was a report earlier this week from the Nuffield Institute which did a comparison study of the NHS is the 4 areas of the UK. The study was compiled on figures from 2006 and the Nuffield has now confessed they over-calculated the number of doctors in Scotland by 27%.Makes me wonder if any report is worth the paper it's written on these days.

The Libdem leader, Tavish Scott, in electioneering mode like the tories, asked about cutting the pay of top public service earners. Alex Salmond was quick to say he agreed with the principle but, as many of the contracts had been drawn up by the previous administration in which Mr Scott had been a minister, he would have difficulty enforcing them.

Jackie Baillie, the labour Health spokesperson, suggested the Scottish government were being slow to address any additional funding to the Thalidomide Association given that England had promised an extra £27m last week. The FM will discuss, with the Thalidomide Association, the needs of those affected by this tragic medical blunder and make extra funding available on a pro-rata basis with England.

That was FMQs for today. Many people would not believe Scottish labour could fall much further but they did and the Tories along with the LibDems are now obviously in full election mode. If you wish to watch it the programme is available on HolyroodTV and will also be available shortly on the BBC iPlayer. Do watch for the first 10 minutes or so and see the skill of a top-class politician and one I will gratuitously call second-rate.

Jack Straw At The Iraq Inquiry


Straw, Sec of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs between 2001 and 2006, is scheduled to appear before Chilcot this afternoon between 2pm and 5pm.

Iraq Inquiry Digest + Live Visual Feed

Straw: I considered resigning

*Feb/March appearance for Brown*

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Bright Side Of Life: Liszt & Borge

When Everything Is F@cked Up & Gone

Try this:

No? Well, it worked for me; it's one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever come across.

UPDATE: The original video and music has been removed by you.tube - this is a replacement.

PMQs: Summary

Brown praying for a job in the G20

I'd like to call it the 'The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland answers questions in a Parliament which represents the sovereignty of the people', but I can't.

Cameron has been weak against Brown at PMQs; he's let him off the hook for many months now.  Internal party reasons don't cut it with the electorate.

The bottom line is that unless the Conservatives come up with a manifesto pledge which is 'cast-iron', no-one will ever believe them and that's never going to happen since our High Court ruled that manifesto pledges aren't subject to 'legitimate expectation', courtesy of a submission by one, Gordon Brown.

Thanks Gordon, for propping up the past 13yrs of Labour government and all the socialist engineering;  thanks for f/king up our country on the scale you have.

Unless Cameron can show a bit more gumption at PMQs next week, this could be the last post about the ineffectuality of it all until after the GE.

Videos:




Sketch by Quentin Letts

*Reminder: PMQs & Live Chat*



The Daily Politics Live Chat at 11.30am & PMQs from twelve noon.

Live Parliament.

Governments Also Crumble


Thanks to Ollie at the Red Rag 
PS Not much is being made on the news that Kraft got a loan to buy Cadbury's from none other than the Royal Bank of Scotland - the 87% state-owned bank.  Nice one RBS - sh@fting British workers with British taxpayers' money.

Problems For Obama


Massachusetts has stunned Obama's Democrats and elected a Republican to the Senate for the first time in almost fifty years.  Scott Brown has taken the late Teddy Kennedy's seat in a shock defeat for Obama's Party and puts full implementation of his healthcare bill in doubt.  It's as significant a victory for the GOP as the LibDems winning a GE over here and Nick Clegg becoming Prime Minister.
Voter anger
About Scott Brown

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Constitutional Reform Bill


Another snappy, attention-grabbing title - I don't know how I come up with them!

The House has been debating Conservative amendments to the Constitutional Reform Bill which is now in Committee Stage.  When I say 'the House' I mean a draggle of thugs on the Labour benches (including the mouthy Denis MacShane) - maybe six or eight plus Chris Bryant, Min for Europe, on the frontbench plus fewer than that for the LibDems and rather more for the Conservatives.  You might have reasonably expected more to turn out to listen to the debates given that the amendments are a belated effort to curb the power of the European Union.  Many more are, of course, sitting out in the subsidised bars, cafes and restaurants of the House.

At the moment they're voting on an amendment which would require a referendum on further treaties transferring powers from Parliament to the EU.  There's little chance of it being passed - the last vote on ensuring any further transfer be debated and passed by both Houses failed by 45 votes - but Mark Francois, Shadow Minister for Europe has said that should this amendment fail, it will form part of the Conservative Party's manifesto.  There were great cheers from the Conservative benches.  I suspect they've got a vote-winner with this one.

The nitty-gritty of any such referenda still has to be worked out and it's going to be much harder than the Cons are letting on given the self-ratcheting nature of Lisbon, the full effects of which we still haven't seen.  But we will - this year is the year of confrontation as more people realise exactly what the European Union is and how this country has been sold out. 84% of our laws are now handed down from a committee of 27 unelected eurograndees in Brussels who have no interest in our national wellbeing.

Ayes: 183
Noes: 383 - majority: 120
PS: The LibDems were pasted by the Cons as was Chris Bryant who was dismissive, rude (he was asked to withdraw a remark) and shouty.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Question: Is it correct that soldiers' boots melted in the heat?
Hoon: "Some soldiers did not have the right boots."
So that's a 'yes' then.

It's what the majority has always maintained: it's one thing to fight a war but quite another to send in badly-equipped and under-funded troops.

And still the government persists in blaming the British people for 'not supporting' the Armed Forces engaged in Afghanistan. They just don't understand - we do, and that's why we're all so bloody angry that these feckless shysters in government have so comprehensively dumped on them.
UPDATE: Pressure grows on Brown as Hoon confirms he starved MoD of cash in run-up to war.
Not only that but:
"Mr Hoon said that when he became Defence Secretary in 1999 there was a belief in the MoD that they had never received the cash that they needed to fund the 1998 strategic defence review. When he pressed Mr Brown for additional funding, he was rebuffed."

Hoon At The Iraq Inquiry

Iraq Inquiry Digest + Live Visual Feed

It's Geoff Hoon's turn to be quizzed today. He'll be trying to avoid giving a straight answer to a straight question between 10am and 1pm and from 2pm to 5pm.

How Jonathan Powell performed yesterday.
Letters declassified & released today:
(1) Goldsmith to Hoon
(2) Hoon to Goldsmith

Simpletons United

Hundreds of signatures were collected and not one person asked a question, intelligent or otherwise:

Ban it!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Dan Hannan: Video

Prompted by this post from Dan Hannan on Withdrawal & Expulsion from the EU (more detail here) I thought I'd check out his latest videos.

DH was recently in New Zealand and gave a wide-ranging speech to the Auckland Business Round Table.  The first video is of the introduction given by Auckland's Mayor, John 'Banksy' Banks, in which he cracks a few jokes and takes a sideswipe at Al Gore as well as addressing New Zealand's financial problems.  The second is the first of seven parts in which DH discusses the level of British debt, parliamentary democracy, the concept of freedom in Europe, the erosion of sovereignty and the state machine.  He also throws in some wonderful anecdotes - the boy in a smoking jacket; Attlee/Churchill in the Gents at the HoC.  A Q&A session kicks in during the first part of Video 4 and we learn more from that. Taken all round it's another cracking speech from Hannan.




Part 2 Speech
Part 3
Part 4 Questions & Answers
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Each part is roughly 9-10 minutes long but well worth viewing.
Quoting Hannan quoting Burke: "Because half a dozen grasshoppers, concealed under a fern, make the field ring with their importunate chink while thousands of great cattle take their repose in the shade of the great British Oak and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make all the noise are the only inhabitants of the field."

Sunday, 17 January 2010

What Has Europe Done For Us?

It's going to be a busy year for the European Commission. There's a finger in every pie. FRONTEX is going to be particularly busy.
Opposing the Stockholm Programme
UPDATE: If you have problems opening the above .pdf try these links instead:
European Digital Rights
Swedish Presidency - Stockholm Programme

Sunday Reflection

One for Scotland this week:

Sunday Round-Up


French takeover bid for more British power plants. Government-subsidised GDF Suez is in talks to buy out International Power.  "The company [GDF] has appointed Rothschild, BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs to work on the structuring of a cash-and-share bid. "

Gordon Brown & No. 10: Weak, brutish & dysfunctional. The Sunday Times has seen interviews given to the institute that are considered too frank for inclusion in the final report, Shaping Up: A Whitehall for the Future, due out tomorrow. Lack of focus in the Treasury is also criticised. However, soppy Brits have given 'Underdog' Brown a 10-point increase in his personal ratings, suggesting that the Hoon/Hewitt incident may, perversely, have boosted his popularity.

Three things we'd never have guessed: Quangos fleecing the taxpayer;  Immigration has hit low-paid Britons, and Inaccurate data - criminalising the innocent.

More from Peter Watt, former General Secretary of the Labour Party: Donorgate, sick children as props, & Project Cake. "He wandered round the big open-plan room with a weird fixed grin on his face, shaking hands with the staff and saying ‘Thanks for everything you do’ over and again...It was all very wooden and embarrassing, especially when he forgot who he’d met and ended up shaking some people’s hands twice. They were forced to go through the whole ritual again, pretending they’d not met him just a few minutes before."

Despite the self-centred haggling and backstabbing, Brown offers election role to Blair.

Alastair Campbell writes to 'clarify' remarks made to Chicot Inquiry:  “Reading the bald words on the page gives the wrong impression of what I thought I was saying in response to what I thought I was being asked.”

Straw's 'Secret & Personal' warning to Blair on Iraq:  "The document clearly implies that Blair was already planning for military action even though he continued to insist to the British public for almost another year that no decision had been made." The Sunday Times asks the question we're all thinking: So why didn't you quit?

Not content with out-sourcing call centres to India, now it's the turn of NHS patients. "A two-way agreement would make it easier to guarantee high-quality treatment, good follow-up care and deal with malpractice or clinical negligence."

One-liners:
Baroness Uddin not fit for purpose
Intensive pre-election image makeover for Brown.
More protests looming.
110%?
Why London can't be used as a model for the rest of the UK.
Obama in trouble.
Treating privacy lightly.
Prospective Parliamentary Candidates?
I knew it!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Guy News


Guido also has a good write-up about the Fabian Society's conference: Causes to Fight For and reminds us of their eugenic past.

Friday, 15 January 2010

My Panem Et Circenses


Hands up! Who hasn't tried this stunt?

Friday Post

"Why is it that only 30% of the country (or more accurately the electorate) would vote Labour but 90% of the Question Time audience appear to?"
Here are some good videos of last night's Question Time in which the danger of having bears of very little brain in government was highlighted. Peter Hain is, of course, a bear who only wants to fill his tummy with honey.

Here's a taster:

As an aside, if I see another comedian on QT (Shappi Khorsandi?), I promise to mutter, grumble and make a cup of tea.

The Boys In Blue

Peelian principle No. 7: "...the police are the public and the public are the police..."

Po-faced Puritan, Superintendent Andrew Murray, Oxford City commander with Thames Valley Police, said:  'I have spoken to the officers concerned and reminded them in no uncertain terms that tobogganing on duty, on police equipment and at taxpayers' expense is a very bad idea should they wish to progress under my command.'
Wouldn't it be great to see all riot shields dusted off and deployed like this, rather than as offensive weapons at a protest march?
Story & more pics here
Contrast that article with this one  where two children were stopped & searched by PCSOs on the grounds of 'sledging downhill'.  Their details will be kept on the police database.  These f/nuts would probably be promoted if they were under Andrew Murray's command.

UPDATE: Try the following video instead. The one above has been removed, presumably because it used the theme music from Z-Cars.



UPDATE: Bastards.  Who's censoring this?
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