"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."

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Last Night

Last night, I was listening to Iain Dale  (who was filling in for another presenter on LBC 97.3fm) and eating an avocado, black olive and chicken salad.  I had to switch off the radio before I started blubbing like a baby and re-decorating the walls.

With the greatest of respect to Iain, he doesn't have a voice for radio. Zzzzzzzzz.  Eric Pickles, Community Secretary was interviewed about localism and referenda in connection with the Council Tax but it was actually 'Peter from London' who made me reach for the tissues and the off-switch:  "We don't need referenda because we already vote for these people to do what we want so why should we do it for them?"

There was another gem a couple of nights ago too. It came from Tom Brake, the LibDem MP for Carshalton & Wallington, who said that it was "refreshing to be told what to do by the Whips because I don't have to think for myself anymore."

About Tom:
"From the age of eight years old, he lived with his family in France and attended the Lycee International in the western suburbs of Paris. Ten years later Tom returned to England to continue his education at Imperial College, London where he gained a BSc (Hons) degree in Physics. As a student he became actively involved in human rights issues. He joined Amnesty International and was chairman of the Imperial College students' group from 1981 to 1982.
After leaving University in 1983, Tom joined Hoskyns (now Cap Gemini) leaving the company as a Principal Consultant when he was elected to Parliament in 1997. He also became politically involved in 1983 when he helped William Goodhart, the Alliance Candidate in the London constituency of North Kensington, in the 1983 General Election campaign. In 1988 he became a Liberal Democrat Councillor in the London Borough of Hackney where the Labour Party had nearly 90% of the seats."
I've been angry, sad, astounded, belligerent, offended, contemptuous and a host of other adjectives in the last eighteen months of blogging, and I still am... but ...

Many thanks to Captain Ranty, Corrugated Soundbite, Grumpy Old Twat and SubRosa for keeping the blog going the last time I packed my bags and headed for home.  This time I hope I'll be luckier so, apart from the occasional post,  I'll see you on the other side of August.

I suppose I could keep you up-to-date with dealing with the Spanish authorities but I don't think it will be much fun and will probably involve lots of cash, many curses and posts entitled, "F*cking B@st@rds".

If anyone, particularly non-aligned non-bloggers, would like to try their hand at blogging, let me know: goodnightvienna2007@googlemail.com.  Old hands are also welcome and their help appreciated.

Tomorrow will be as usual - GP, round-up and reflection.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot

According to the Irish Times an asylum appeal case referred to the ECJ could set an important legal precedent affecting thousands of asylum claims in the EU (that includes us).

Five asylum seekers have launched an appeal against a transfer order to Greece made by the Irish Minister for Justice issued under the Dublin II regulation - the EU law that stipulates asylum applications should be decided in the EU state where a person first arrives.

The asylum seekers don't dispute arriving first in Greece but they argue that their human rights would be infringed if they were returned to Greece, because they argue it doesn't operate a 'fair or humane' asylum system.

The appeal against the transfer draws on advice issued by António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in December, which asked all EU states to stop transferring asylum seekers to Greece because of shortcomings in its system.  If the appeal is upheld it will limit member states' ability to send asylum seekers back to Greece and other member states - not that we'd notice the difference in England.   Our Court of Appeal has also referred a similar case to the ECJ.  Fat chance.

It all ties in with the Supreme Court (the one that replaced the House of Lords as the highest Court in the land) dismissing a Home Office challenge to an EU directive that allows asylum-seekers to look for work if their claim has not been processed within a year.  Asylum seekers aren't allowed to look for work when they initially submit claims but under the Reception Directive, which the Labour government signed up to in 2003, asylum applicants are entitled to work if their claim is still outstanding after twelve months.

The dispute centred on the rights of asylum-seekers who have already had one application for shelter rejected but then submit a new claim - individuals who the Home Office argued weren't covered by the Directive and therefore not entitled to seek work after twelve months in the UK.

However, Supreme Justices have now concluded the same rules apply to any asylum seeker who has already had at least one claim rejected but has submitted a fresh one. The Home Office estimates at least 45,000 asylum-seekers will be immediately affected by the ruling.

Happy Days!

Counties To Go

Royal Mail has announced that English counties will no longer be necessary in 2015 - they are to be phased out, abolished.  All the better to regionalise you, my dear.

I spot a link between this development and the severing of historic local ties between regiments of the Armed Forces and their Counties.  Why can't tptb just bloody well leave things alone and stop tinkering?




Telegraph view

Friday, 30 July 2010

Friday Post

 Work, buy, consume, die from Captain Ranty:



Don't miss out on the Affidavits - here

Guest Post: Demos

I rarely do guest posts but I thought I'd air this one from Dazed & Confused who's gone to the trouble of providing the links about Demos and Common Purpose.  I've thrown in a few asterisks but otherwise left it untouched.

I'd just like to add that no 'think-tank' is truly independent and many have far too much influence on government policy - in fact  governments seem to listen to think-tanks (and their quango spin-offs) far more readily than they listen to the voters.  It's unhealthy and anti-democratic.

Following one of the pic links below I came across this: Bubb's Blog. What the heck is the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations? It's another damned organisation that needs to see some kindling and a flaming torch.

Here's D&C's post:
"Demos, by their admission are the Open Left The f*cking Fabian Left who were founded amongst others, by an old friend of ours, that progressively democratic Comrade: Julia_Middleton As seen from Wikepedia:

 "She helped in the founding of DEMOS, an independent think tank, and Impetus Trust, developing venture philanthropy in the UK".[12]

So with that in mind, perhaps the writing has always been on the wall, concerning the tw@t Cameron and his buffoon of a sidekick Osborne, when they actively payed homage to this Fabian movement itself, and perhaps in reality submitting to their will, in launching their Progressive Conservative mantra, from deep in the heart of alleged enemy territory.

So much so, that the vile Fabians themselves recognised that fact by giving us the impression that we were now in the era of "redtoryvsbluelabour" and blathered on about Progressive Conservatism from the confides of Comrade Middleton's very own website.

Osborne too gets favourable coverage for no other reason that I can ascertain, that we may have changed government, but the same f*ckers are controlling everything from the top, and will continue to do so, until Britain is handed over to the all inclusive E.U. Superstate, in the not too distant future.

I would say it was a pact with the far left devil, but I don't really believe that to be true. Cameron came from nowhere to be installed as Tory leader almost overnight, beating at the time, a "shoe in" right wing Tory, David Davis by the proverbial landslide. Achieved after overtly favourable coverage, and by above all others at the time, the odious BBC.

I never understood why, as to me, the vile f*cker comes across as a pre programmed robot, who is fed his lines by those working in the background of his head....

What wonderful pictures for the Socialist Far left to parade here in Internet land: ONE - TWO - THREE - FOUR - FIVE - SIX"

Thursday, 29 July 2010

What Has Europe Done For Us?

"Unity In Diversity".  Have you ever heard such a ridiculous slogan before?

Nowadays I seem to spend most posts reporting about current EU activities rather than warning about them.  When I started the blog I said it had gone too far but now it's gone way over the top and is caught precariously on a ledge with a broken spine - one false move and the ground will be rushing up to meet us.

The members of the UK House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee have finally been announced.  The links lead to their taxpayer-funded websites, if they have one.

Bill Cash, Con, Stone.  Committee Chairman, despite Cameron's opposition
James Clappison Con, Hertsmere
Michael Connarty, Lab,  Linlithgow & East Falkirk
Julie Elliot, Lab, Sunderland Central
Tim Farron,  LibDem, Westmoreland & Lonsdale
Nia Griffith, Lab, Llanelli
Chris Heaton-Harris, Con, Daventry
Kelvin Hopkins, Lab, Luton North
Chris Kelly,  Con, Dudley South
Tony Lloyd, Lab, Manchester Central
Penny Mordaunt, Con, Portsmouth North
Stephen Phillips, Con, Sleaford & North Hykeham
Jacob Rees-Mogg   "At long long last, the Tories are to be returned to power!  Moreover, after 5 attempts, I am finally the Member of Parliament for somewhere or other."  Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg is the Conservative MP for North-East Somerset and I wish the constituency better luck next time.  I foresee a great career ahead for Mr Rees-Mogg within the EU.
Ian Swales, LibDem, Redcar
Jim Dobbin, Lab Co-op, Heywood & Middleton
Henry Smith, Con, Crawley

Here's a quick round-up of what's happening in our Parliament:

The EC has approved three new DG posts
It takes the number of people employed in Director-General posts in the executive to one hundred.  Directors-general are among the top officials employed in the Commission and it's estimated that each receives a monthly basic salary of €15,000 to €18,000.

The majority of Icelanders oppose entry to the EU
EU Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fuele, said,  "This shows that there's a need for more objective information about the EU and its policies,"
Sorry, I can't resist it and it has to be said - there's no fuele like an old fuele.

Ashton appoints Bergamini to SitCen
Patrice Bergamini has been appointed by EU Foreign Minister Cathy Ashton as the chief of the Joint Situation Centre (SitCen) - the EU's intelligence agency which is now part of the European External Action Service (EEAS).  Let's remember that Ashton is the wife of YouGov pollster Peter Kellner and was given her peerage by Blair for being such an excellent quangoista.

EU targets those opposing political reform in Bosnia
A confidential paper, tabled by Europe's FM (Cathy Ashton, just in case we forget) has urged the creation of a new and powerful European envoy to be based in Sarajevo, to push through a new constitutional order for Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Key to the political reforms, demanded as a condition of EU entry for Bosnia, is a strengthening of a multi-ethnic federal state, mainly controlled by Muslims and Croats, at the expense of Republika Srpska, the Bosnian-Serb government.  I can see why Cameron said what he said vis-a-vis Turkey.

Bastard
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has outlined plans to transform Britain's power system and cut carbon emissions to meet renewable energy targets, which are driven in part by EU legislation. The overall strategy could increase the price of electricity by up to a third and gas by up to a fifth, making the average UK family's bill rise by £300, to £1,100.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Silly Week 2010

Thank goodness for Man in a Shed who's reintroduced Silly Week to give us all a gasp of fresh air.  Now I'll have to dig myself out of this ditch and actually find something sillier than the concept of the UK giving up sovereignty to the EU.  Tough call.

Nothing To See - Move Along

funny penguin: pushes penguin in waterOnly one guess allowed - which penguin represents the EU and which the UK?


All we xenophobic Little Englanders are simply too nasty and ill-educated to understand how the European Union is nothing more than a mere trade agreement.  There'll be no political union; economic union; criminal justice union; social contract union or defence union;  apparently we're just idle, mischief-making conspiracy theorists without a braincell between us. That's funny, because I thought Cameron & Co were the deluded ones, until he attached provisos to the promised EU referendum and then threw his lot in with the LibDem.

So, Britain is now signed up to the highly controversial European Investigation Order, which gives foreign police forces the right to request that UK police officers seek out and share evidence on suspects in Britain within a 90-day deadline. The government's reasoning, according to Home Secretary Theresa May, is that by opting in at this stage "we have the opportunity to influence its precise outcome". Ha-de-bloody-ha - excuse my French.

The govt has signed up without knowing the detail of the proposal.  The final vote on the EIO (to be adopted by all twenty-seven countries) is by QMV, so Britain can be outvoted and have to adopt the measures regardless of whether it suits us or not.  It also means that info from the UK DNA database can be spread around Europe on request.

May also said:
"... [It will ] allow us to fight crime and deliver justice more effectively...  It does not amount to a loss of sovereignty.  It will not unduly burden the police.  It does not incur a loss of civil liberties.   It is in the national interest to sign up to it."
Perhaps if there weren't so many damned foreign criminals infesting our jails and our streets  there'd be no need to adopt such a measure but the damage has already been done.  We can't refuse them entry and we can't deport them.  They cost the country an arm and a leg and we're powerless because we have already given up sovereignty.  May is right on that - there can be no loss of sovereignty because we don't have any left.

I've blogged before that Cameron's localism fits the EU's jigsaw perfectly and I see no reason to change my mind.  We're already taxed on three levels:  local, national and EU.  It just goes on and on and on - it's all very Hegelian with one step forward, two steps back.

I think it's time for another Peasants' Revolt (though obviously with a much better outcome) or Peterloo (ditto).  People get out onto the streets at the drop of a hat these days - you name it: foxes, the price of petrol, troops home, global warming, fathers4justice, democracy village - everybody and his mother protests about everything under the sun except the paramount issue of national sovereignty.  I just don't get it.

By the way, regarding the UK government's 'triumphant & ground-breaking' trade deals with India - under the terms of EU membership, 'member states' can't make unilateral trade deals.  Let's sit back and see how far it gets before we're slapped down by the EU.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Captain Ranty for the link to Statewatch: EIO analysis.pdf

Condell: Video

I wonder if Cameron has even heard of Pat Condell?

Cameron supports Turkey accession to EU
Brief excerpt from Cameron's speech in Ankara
What Dan Hannan has to say



Related:

Cameron lifts ban on export of nuclear technology to India
Rioting Grenoble becomes no-go zone for Police

Monday, 26 July 2010

A Semblance Of Normality

Ah well! It's been a good ten days and I'm almost back to 'normal' here. The only giveaway is a mini-mountain of laundry, a back-log of hoovering, a weird & wonderful selection of cheeses in the fridge and the dark circles under my eyes.

After I put together yesterday's Sunday Round-up I began to wonder how much of it could have been foreseen.

The 'Minority Report' style policing certainly was. It was first reported last year though speculated upon for a while before then and has been discussed in the blogosphere for as long as my memory serves.

This, I think, has been on the cards for a long time. Public dissatisfaction with the Police has grown to unprecedented levels not only because of the CPS verdict on the Ian Tomlinson case but also because the police are perceived, rightly or wrongly, to have colluded with government in slapping down people & criminalising the law-abiding in myriad small ways. I think this is one of the worst outcomes for the country after Labour's thirteen years and shows that we're well on the way to 'harmonisation' with the European continent.

Senior Commanders have already looked into the use of water cannon as a means of policing demonstrations and they like it, I wonder why! They also like tasers and they'd have guns if they thought there wouldn't be a public outcry at the moment.  Routinely armed police are inevitable if we're to join forces with the likes of EuroPol and Eurogendfor.  Imagine the dissonance created by having armed EU police patrolling our streets while our own homegrown police sit behind the desks doing the paperwork :-)

One thing's for sure: if our police were armed I would expect the repeal of the handgun laws and every law-abiding British subject/citizen to be permitted to own a gun if they wished to do so.  Check out the Peelian Principles: the police are the public and the public are the police.

One other point arising from this is that, as Public Servants, the police will be immune from prosecution under the Lisbon Treaty - perhaps that's what's going on with Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson (and Sgt Delroy Smellie who struck the G20 girl) but no-one likes to spell it out for us. Perhaps tptb think it's preferable to have a day or two of public outrage & letter-writing to The Times rather than to tell the truth and face longer-lasting, and potentially violent, resistance.

I'm no lover of Bob Crowe (and, in fairness, he'd no doubt say the same about me if he knew me) but you have to wonder what's going on if what he said on last week's Question Time is true: that there have been a thousand deaths in custody in the past 50yrs yet no convictions.  If you think I'm talking c/waffle, take a look here.  A self-styled governing elite has been marking its territory for a long time.

The rest of the links were pretty self-explanatory and they just show how Labour's work continues under our present government. It's high time Clegg got his act together, literally, and introduced Hannan & Carswell's Grand Repeal Bill instead of taking over the idea and LibDemming it. Until this is sorted out everything they do to the economy, the Big Society, education, welfare and our Constitution will be meaningless and unworkable. A plan is only as good as the people who instigate and supervise it and we're still being run by Common Purpose, lefty fabianistas in think tanks & quangos and the EU.

The Digital Economy Bill with its hidden agenda is still going through; Clegg has already said that the smoking ban will not be reviewed and as for GMO & Spelman, honestly, what's the point? Looking at it in the round I'd go so far as to say that we don't actually need this government. Cameron has said that he hopes for 'a quiet year' in order to repair the economy, concentrate on welfare/education/ the Strategic Defence Review, but he won't get it - he must rise up to the twin challenges of Labour's abhorrent legislation and the EU before any of the coalition policies can have a positive effect.

If we can see what's around the corner, our government must also see but choose not to act because it's in broad agreement. I suppose the people won't act until the clock strikes 23.59.59, as usual.

PS:  Note the 'Power to People' slogan in the pic above - the pedant in me whispers that this definitely does not mean the same as 'Power to The People'Cameron's version of people power.

UPDATE: According to a "Home Office spokesman" the government is still considering whether or not to sign the European Investigation Order tomorrow. They certainly like to cut things fine and leave them until the last minute, don't they?
The power allows prosecutors from any EU country to demand details such as DNA or even bank and phone records on anyone they suspect of a crime. Officers in the UK would be almost powerless to refuse the request even if they believed it was disproportionate to the alleged offence being investigated. They could also be told to carry out investigations and live surveillance for their EU counterparts...


Foreign police officers would also be able to come to the UK and work alongside police here in investigating individuals, although they would not have any powers of arrest....

How the Daily Mail is reporting it.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Sunday Reflection

Sunday Round-up

I thought this was supposed to be the quiet season for news?

UK chasing India's economic coat-tail
Gordon mounts his political hobby-horse in Uganda
The KGB, MI5 and the "extermination" of David Kelly
The Chilcot Inquiry and the withholding of evidence
Hans Blix at the Chilcot Inquiry on Tuesday 27th
'Minority Report' software tested by UK police
Friends & family track paeodophile and rescue two tots - not the police
Prisons' Minister Blunt (Con, Reigate) and restorative justice
National Crime Agency to be launched tomorrow
ST investigation reveals details of NHS cuts
The other side of the NHS coin
Libya, Lockerbie & London
Salmond says 'No' to US senate
USA 'wanted al-Megrahi freed' but to remain in Scotland
BP begins drilling off Libya
Rawnsley gives an insight into the workings of the coalition
Keegan on the difficulties facing Osborne
White, middle-class & male? Don't waste ink applying to the FCO
Balls considers dropping out of contention for leadership
Balls, Black & Bilderberg connections
An outbreak of Milibanditis in Labour leadership battle
Questions raised over Harman's integrity in visa row
Former AofC's verdict on the Big Society - too much red tape
Man who leaked info on Blair's bodyguards is arrested under OSA
Social housing tenants "trapped"
Taxis for teens instead of police on the beat
Hollobone (Con, Kettering) warned of legal action re burqas
Tory sleaze returns: the adulterous Patrick Mercer

Out in the big, wide world:
The American soldiers captured by the taliban
Seven more American banks collapse
The "illegal" & debased Nobel Peace Prize
Pol Pot's executioner; Cambodia's killing fields
Active Denial System ('pain ray') won't be deployed in Afghanistan
Equatorial Guinea bids to join the Commonwealth

Pleasantries:
Woodland Trust Sites
The Mud Miners: not for the faint-hearted
How language shapes our thinking
Almost anything on this page
Coogan & Brydon back on BBC2

Friday, 23 July 2010

Wanted: An Expert In Constitutional Law...

... who is willing to step forward and deliver the truth.  Is the EU, as currently constituted, legal under the terms of the unwritten English Constitution?

I don't think it is but no-one in government refers to it except to say we 'don't have a Constitution'.  We do.  The fact that it's unwritten doesn't negate its effects or legality.  That's why we're getting all this tinkering with the Constitution and the House of Lords - see one thing, get another.

This is old news and it's time someone with constitutional authority stepped forward.  Every other country has a constitutional court which decides whether the EU can prevail or not; the UK only has MPs in the House of Commons - and people, of course; there'll always be the people.

I think they'll wait until their version of Jack Straw's Bill of Rights supplants our own 1689 Act before they enshrine new rules into law once and for all.

The sad thing is that it isn't even a question of 'now'; England has been b*ggered for so long that it seems to have forgotten that it isn't a very pleasant experience and that there's a different way to live.

It makes you wonder how many 'cold days in hell' England is willing to endure.

Have A Pasty

This is the rest/best of Bild.
Stick-on pasties to preserve your modesty in airports.

Tie a yellow ribbon round the old ...

German Defence Minister aborts visit -  apparently it's a bit dangerous in Afghanistan

Back to the UK, Telegraph-style:
St Helena's gets an airstrip
What's sauce for the goose - I'm moving to Yorkshire
Scottish taxidermists ahoy!  £500 bottle of beer sold inside bodies of dead animals
Deluded nutjob being placed on UK probation
Warner: on the button re Moat & the police
Germans 'harmonise' with Brits and say 'we're a drain on our NHS too'
I'd like to buy some but first I need an English garden

In the grand tradition of keeping a stiff upper lip and decrying the dangers, I've left the worst till last:

Britain can't defend itself from every threat

Well, hello Argentina, welcome aboard illegal immigrants, hello Spain (how much is Gibraltar worth?), come on Al-Qaeda, if you think you're hard enough.  And they will.  The government must sort this out now.  Already we're seeing US companies trying buy-outs of UK companies because of the pound/dollar rate - our country is being sold and globalised beneath us.

Here's one I almost forgot; it's from the Daily Mail:  £12m to prove that an apple a day keeps the doctor away 

Can't we retain just a little, tiny, itsy-bitsy bit of England, please Sirs?

Try this from the Spectator.

Tried &Tested

While looking around at the euronews I came across this in Bild, which, from the layout and headlines, is possibly the German equivalent of our Sun.

Honecker sold people to pharmaceutical companies in West Germany (Schering etc)  for drug tests in exchange for foreign currency.

Now, you tell me who is the most immoral?  The East for selling or the West for buying?
"Whether remedies for angina, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems – companies from West Germany, France, Denmark and Switzerland sent almost everything to the East,” Dr. Ulrich Moebius (72) told BILD yesterday. With other physicians, he wrote a secret report only now published in ‘Exakt’ magazine.
Hospital doctors all over the GDR – the German Democratic Republic – including the university hospitals of Jena and Leipzig, Charité in Berlin, the Bernburg psychiatric hospital and the Medical Academy of Magdeburg eagerly gave their patients the medications.
I expect it still goes on, behind closed doors.  Governments co-operate with multi-nats to the detriment of "the small people"; they wheel and deal in people's lives on a very grand scale.  I'm sorry but it's an inescapable fact, a fact of life; we really are just pieces on a chessboard to them and it's time they woke up.

I could bang on about sentient beings and humanity but we all know the basic, unaltering truths so I won't bore you.

Left; Right; Left-of Centre; Right-of-Centre; Liberal; Third Way; Eco-fascists; in/out EU; bring our troops home; British jobs for British workers - they're all the same.  Unless Cameron's coalition is trying to hold back the tide and intends to act at some later stage, the only ultimate surety you can have of your family's wellbeing is yourself.

Stressed & Tested

The 'big thing' today from a euro-zone point of view will be the results of the stress-testing of EU banks but I've nothing to add to what the press is already saying except for a comment at the end about how it all came about.

Telegraph:
Across Europe, from Germany to Spain, via Greece, local authorities have dropped heavy hints that even some of their most troubled banks have passed the tests. As one banking analyst who asked not to be named said, "if they can pass the test then it will mean nothing". In a note to clients yesterday, Credit Suisse warned its clients that a "no bank failing" situation was the most likely outcome in its view.
Independent:
Mark O'Sullivan, director of dealing at London-based foreign exchange firm Currencies Direct, also warned that if the tests were too weak they would "lose their credibility" but if they were too harsh this could "spook the market, making a fragile situation even worse. Whatever the outcome, it seems highly unlikely they will solve the confidence problem that still plagues the European banking sector," he stressed.
Wall Street Journal:
Industry and government officials in Greece, Spain and Germany have hinted this week that major banks in their countries will come through the tests without trouble. That optimism, especially given challenges facing a number of banks in each of the three countries, has raised questions about the rigor of the tests.
The EU was pushed into stress-testing the euro-zone banks by Spain during its recent presidency. The EU wanted Spain's banks to be stress-tested and Spain, in effect, said no problema, we will if you will, what are you scared of?   After initial reluctance the EU complied. The results are due to be released in full at 4pm BST/5pm CET. Whether the stress-testing is a PR exercise and a whitewash will be decided by the financial markets and no-one else.

For those whose lives won't be complete until they know the ins/outs, ups and downs of the stress-test results, The Guardian is running a live blog.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Cameron's Acorn #2

The Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, will be announcing the details of the National Citizen Service, part of Cameron's 'Big Society', later today.

In theory, it's a great idea - encourage more teens to participate in society and learn that 'service is its own reward' (something our Public Servants with their gold-plated pensions and high salaries would do well to remember).

In practice, it's going to be tricky - not because teenagers won't want to take part but because, like the rest of the Big Society project, it will be overseen by Common Purpose graduates and Civil Servants trained up by the government.  It's an extension of the state, not society.

Reasons why are here.

Somewhere To Send Them

At last the general feeling that most politicians are "not on this planet" may be more than wishful thinking.

Scientists have found water on the moon, raising the prospect of creating a sustainable lunar colony.

It also brings to mind those old sci-fi comics where the elite would destroy this world but hi-tail it in their rockets to another planet to begin all over again, leaving 'the small people' to their fate on Earth. Hmmm... if only we could get rid of them before they do too much damage here. Beam 'em up, Scottie.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

PMQs: Summary + Videos + Updates

The faces and names at the Despatch Box may have changed this week but the tribute to our Armed Forces has not.

Marine Jonathan Crookes, 40 Commando Royal Marines
Senior Aircraftman Kinikki (Griff) Griffiths, RAF Regiment
Sgt David Monkhouse, Royal Dragoon Guards
Staff Sgt Brett Linley, 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rgt, Royal Logistic Corps

It was all a bit of a mess this week.  Clegg and Straw faced each other and Straw reminded me of an old ham actor, patently past his best but offered one last chance to grab the limelight.  He milked it for all it was worth and, to my mind, didn't come out of it too well, having to look to the prompt box for his lines and still fumbling and stumbling his way through.  He mistook shouting and finger-pointing as a substitute for asking strong questions

Clegg stuck to coalition policy lines - blame the previous government, mention Mandelson, Liam Byrne, talk about the structural deficit.  I know they've only been in office for nine or ten weeks but I'm becoming tired of hearing them spout the same old lines of defence - just like Labour Ministers used to do.

The first question, from Ian Mearns, Lab, Gateshead, concerned the cutting of the Building Schools for the Future programme at the cost of five schools in his area .  Osborne's face at Mearns' mention of LibDem councillors 'fearing losing their seats' was a perfect picture of pained disdain.

David Burrowes, Con, Enfield Southgate, asked the second question which concerned the extradition of Gary McKinnon.  Clegg reported that the PM had had discussions with Obama and 'that notwithstanding the gravity of the alleged crime they hoped to find a way forward'.

Then it was time for Straw: his presence raised cheers and laughter from all sides of the House.  He first asked about the the Kabul Conference & the timetable for withdrawal of our AF from Afghanistan and the remainder of his questions related to the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters, which for some reason initially elicited groans.  The long-winded and shouting Straw really pushed and prolonged his questions and managed to also mention marriage tax breaks and Lord Ashcroft.

If nothing else, do watch the first ten/fifteen minutes of the exchange and see how many times both Clegg and Straw are self-referential and Bercow feels he has to intervene, in fact I heard his voice as often as I heard any other.   He almost denied Straw his 6th question too, which only added to the sense of confusion.

Questions asked by backbenchers included:

Civil liberties; Big Society; Sheltered Housing; the raising of VAT; the decline in social mobility; Disability Living Allowance; Crown Dependencies & Overseas Territories; investment in Sedgefield; detention of children (immigration); Afghanistan; funding to rural areas.

Is your MP here?

Claire Perry, Con, Devizes;  Ian Lavery, Lab, Wansbeck;  Margot James; Con, Stourbridge; Elfyn Llwyd, Plaid Westminster Leader;  Phillip Lee, Con, Bracknell;  Kate Green, Lab, Stretford & Urmston;  Andrew Rosindell, Con, Romford;  Phil Wilson, Lab, Sedgefield;  Julian Huppert, LibDem, Cambridge;  Jeremy Corbyn, Lab, Islington North;  Jesse Norman, Con, Hereford & South Herefordshire.

You only need to look at the comparatively short list of backbenchers who had time to ask questions this week to realise how long the Clegg/Straw exchange lasted.

UPDATE: Here are the videos - still incomplete I'm afraid but better than nothing. Clegg's first reference to the "illegal" Iraq War comes at 6:00 in the second video  (*watch Osborne sitting beside Clegg, mouthing exactly the same phrase as he speaks - foreknowledge would indicate a planned verbal attack); the second is in response to Claire Perry's question at 0:35 in the third video. Clegg's reference to the government's pledge to close Yarlswood Detention Centre comes at 1:15 in the fourth video. Unfortunately the majority of b/benchers' questions hasn't been recorded.









H/t: Liar Politicians for the videos

UPDATE #2: Here's what the DM is saying this morning (the 22nd) about Clegg's "illegal" gaffe   "The Deputy Prime Minister plunged Westminster into chaos by stating his personal view during Prime Minister's Question Time in the Commons as if it was Government policy...leaving British troops and Tony Blair at risk of war crimes trials brought by opponents of the war."

From The Guardian[Clegg] was tonight forced to clarify his position on the Iraq war after he stood up at the dispatch box of the House of Commons and pronounced the invasion illegal. The deputy prime minister insisted he was speaking in a personal capacity, as a leading international lawyer warned that the statement by a government minister in such a formal setting could increase the chances of charges against Britain in international courts.

From The Telegraph: In an attempt to defuse the row Number 10 said that the Iraq Inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot, would declare whether the invasion on March 2003 was illegal. But hours later a spokesman for the inquiry made it clear that Sir John would not make a conclusion on whether the America-led invasion, which was backed by 45,000 British personnel, was legal. However, Downing Street still chose not to distance itself from the comments as Tory MPs attacked Mr Clegg for his contentious remarks.

I think it will be a cold day in hell before Cameron again leaves the UK on a Wednesday and PMQs in the hands of Nick Clegg.

PMQs: reminder

It's the last PMQs for this parliamentary session and since Cameron is in the US we'll have the pleasure of seeing Nick Clegg take his place at the despatch box.

The fun and games begin at twelve o'clock.

Link to live Parliament

The Daily Politics hasn't updated since 7th July so I doubt there'll be the usual live chat or any decent videos but you could pop over to Guido's instead if you you can stand the heat.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Horowitz Plays Chopin



Music conveys history too - we should learn from it. Where are our free-thinking musicians today? Surely, they're not all supported by the Arts Council quango?

The Government's Big Society

The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

The headline was chosen with care - it isn't 'our' Big Society', it's their's.

Many people already volunteer their time, empathy and excess goods to those in need.  Many people already clear up the detritus blown in by the wind or left by unthinking people on communal areas.  Cameron's policy isn't his at all.  'Cameron's Policy' is Blair's and one which was stymied by Gordon Brown, simply because the idea came from Blair.

Today, in the Daily Politics, Frank Field said that the best way Blair could have an idea approved by Brown (then Chancellor of the Exchequer) was to propose the opposite.  That's an indication of how much damage personal animosity and the grab for power has done to our country during Labour rule.  Nothing has changed except the names of those in government.

One thing that's bothered me has been confirmed today: there will be 'civic leaders' trained by 'senior civil servants' .  It's just more of the same under a coalition govt that no one wanted but the media presented as inevitable. Cameron  has said that the Third Way must become the First Way. We have fake charities and Common Purpose graduates galore waiting in the wings.

Lo! and behold - look on my works ye mighty and despair, and, indeed, we do.

Homework: 2+2=?

Working on the basis that there's nothing new under the sun, that the concepts remain the same and only the labelling and the means of delivery change, I'm posting an extract and link to an interesting article about eugenics.  It very neatly pulls together organisations and topics such as the fabians, transhumanists, social engineering via learned behaviour, the bankers, self-styled global 'elite' - all touched on in the blog but in a much more accessible format, in greater depth and with more clarity.

Here's the intro to whet your appetite:
We are in the midst of the most explosive development in all of human history. Humanity is experiencing a simultaneously opposing and conflicting geopolitical transition, the likes of which has never before been anticipated or experienced. Historically, the story of humanity has been the struggle between the free-thinking individual and structures of power controlled by elites that seek to dominate land, resources and people. The greatest threat to elites at any time – historically and presently – is an awakened, critically thinking and politically stimulated populace. This threat has manifested itself throughout history, in different places and at different times. Ideas of freedom, democracy, civil and human rights, liberty and equality have emerged in reaction and opposition to power structures and elite systems of control.

The greatest triumphs of the human mind – whether in art, science or thought – have arisen out of and challenged great systems of power and control. The greatest of human misery and tragedy has arisen out of the power structures and systems that elites always seek to construct and manage. War, genocide, persecution and human degradation are directly the result of decisions made by those who control the apparatus of power, whether the power manifests itself as intellectual, ecclesiastical, spiritual, militaristic, or scientific. The most malevolent and ruthless power is that over the free human mind: if one controls how one thinks, they control the individual itself. The greatest human achievements are where individuals have broken free the shackles that bind the mind and let loose the inherent and undeniable power that lies in each and every individual on this small little planet.

Currently, our world is at the greatest crossroads our species has ever experienced. We are in the midst of the first truly global political awakening, in which for the first time in all of human history, all of mankind is politically awakened and stirring; in which whether inadvertently or intentionally, people are thinking and acting in political terms. This awakening is most evident in the developing world, having been made through personal experience to be acutely aware of the great disparities, disrespect, and domination inherent in global power structures. The awakening is spreading increasingly to the west itself, as the majority of the people living in the western developed nations are thrown into poverty and degradation. The awakening will be forced upon all people all over the world. Nothing, no development, ever in human history, has posed such a monumental threat to elite power structures.

This awakening is largely driven by the Technological Revolution, which through technology and electronics, in particular mass media and the internet, have made it so that people across the world are able to become aware of global issues and gain access to information from around the world. The Technological Revolution, thus, has fostered an Information Revolution which has, in turn, fed the global political awakening.

Simultaneously, the Technological Revolution has led to another unique and unprecedented development in human history, and one that is diametrically opposed, yet directly related to the global political awakening. For the first time in human history, free humanity is faced with the dominating threat of a truly global elite, who have at their hands the technology to impose a truly global system of control: a global scientific dictatorship. The great danger is that through the exponential growth in scientific techniques, elites will use these great new powers to control and dominate all of humanity in such a way that has never before been experienced.

Through all of human history, tyrants have used coercive force and terror to control populations. With the Technological Revolution, elites increasingly have the ability to control the very biology and psychology of the individual to a point where it may not be necessary to impose a system of terror, but rather where the control is implemented on a much deeper, psychological, subliminal and individual biological manner. While terror can prevent people from opposing power for a while, the scientific dictatorship can create a personal psycho-social condition in which the individual comes to love his or her own slavery; in which, like a mentally inferior pet, they are made to love their leaders and accept their servitude.

So we are presented with a situation in which humanity is faced with both the greatest threat and the greatest hope that we have ever collectively experienced in our short human history. This essay, the third part in the series, “The Technological Revolution and the Future of Freedom,” examines the ideas behind the global scientific dictatorship, and how it may manifest itself presently and in the future, with a particular focus on the emergence of ‘new eugenics’ as a system of mass control.

Free humanity faces the most monumental decision we have ever been presented with: do we feed and fuel the global political awakening into a true human psycho-social revolution of the mind, creating a new global political economy which empowers and liberates all of humanity; or... do we fall silently into a ‘brave new world’ of a global scientific oppression, the likes of which have never before been experienced, and whose dominance would never be more difficult to challenge and overcome?

We can either find a true freedom, or descend into a deep despotism. We are not powerless before this great ideational beast. We have, at our very fingertips the ability to use technology to our benefit and to re-shape the world so that it benefits the people of the world and not simply the powerful. It must be freedom for all or freedom for none.
The full article is here. Huxley, Russell, Brzezinski, Eisenhower, Galton, Rockefeller, Ford, Morgan, Vickers, Carnegie, Kellogg and Malthus are amongst those who are mentioned or quoted and Environmentalism as Eugenics has its own chapter.

Two small instances of how we are affected:
3 parents & no hereditary diseases
Blair's FASBOs live on - Target potential criminals before they're born

The not-so secret Bilderberg Group look increasingly like flak, thrown up to be a distraction.

Brief references for those who want to follow up:

Dysgenics
Eugenics
Human Genetic Engineering
The Council for National Policy   This last tends to throw up lots of wheat and chaff but they do provide the historical context and tie in loose ends with Cecil Rhodes, the fabians etc.

Another strand:


G K Chesterton defended "the common man" and common sense, the poor, the family and Christianity; these don’t appeal to acadaemia or the media and that's probably why he is neglected. The modern world prefers writers who have ultimately meaningless exotic and bizarre ideas, who applaud decadence, who scoff at Christianity and who think freedom means bearing no responsibility.

Chesterton argued against all the trends that eventually took over the 20th century: materialism, scientific determinism, moral relativism, and agnosticism. He also argued against both socialism and capitalism and showed why they have both been the enemies of freedom and justice in modern society.

On Obama and G K Chesterton

Probably Chesterton's most quoted poem:
Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget;
For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet.
There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.


The fine French kings came over in a flutter of flags and dames.
We liked their smiles and battles, but we never could say their names.
The blood ran red to Bosworth and the high French lords went down;
There was naught but a naked people under a naked crown.
And the eyes of the King's Servants turned terribly every way,
And the gold of the King's Servants rose higher every day.
They burnt the homes of the shaven men, that had been quaint and kind,
Till there was no bed in a monk's house, nor food that man could find.
The inns of God where no man paid, that were the wall of the weak.
The King's Servants ate them all. And still we did not speak.


And the face of the King's Servants grew greater than the King:
He tricked them, and they trapped him, and stood round him in a ring.
The new grave lords closed round him, that had eaten the abbey's fruits,
And the men of the new religion, with their bibles in their boots,
We saw their shoulders moving, to menace or discuss,
And some were pure and some were vile; but none took heed of us.
We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale;
And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.


A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people's reign:
And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and scorned us never again.
Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought,
And the man who seemed to be more than a man we strained against and broke;
And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.


Our patch of glory ended; we never heard guns again.
But the squire seemed struck in the saddle; he was foolish, as if in pain,
He leaned on a staggering lawyer, he clutched a cringing Jew,
He was stricken; it may be, after all, he was stricken at Waterloo.
Or perhaps the shades of the shaven men, whose spoil is in his house,
Come back in shining shapes at last to spoil his last carouse:
We only know the last sad squires rode slowly towards the sea,
And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we.


They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.


We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia's wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God's scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.
And, finally, this, which has nothing, yet everything, to do with the topics above.

Happy Homework and sweet dreams!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Sunday Reflection

Sunday Round-up


There's no shortage of news today:

Bill Shaw reunited with his family  [Karzai's] initiative coincided with the British Government publicly ordering him to take a stronger stance on corruption, and Mr Shaw, from Leeds, appears to have become a victim of the political posturing.
Leaked communique - Forces out by 2014   President Hamid Karzai will announce the timetable for a "conditions-based and phased transition" at the International Conference on Afghanistan to be held in Kabul on Tuesday.
Overseas aid to be diverted to Afghanistan  Detailed plans to boost aid funding to Afghanistan by 40% as part of a re-ordering of global priorities will be outlined tomorrow by the international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell.
Leave your job or we will cut off your head   One female teacher at a girls' school in a southern Afghan province received a letter saying: "We warn you to leave your job as a teacher as soon as possible otherwise we will cut off the heads of your children and will set fire to your daughter."
David Kelly's dental records 'stolen'  “Quite clearly his dental records were removed around the time of his death and then put back later. Who took them and why were they taken? The police obviously took this ­seriously but they did not get to the bottom of what had actually occurred.”
Blair could be called by US Senate   (Also Mandelson).  Megrahi, Blair, BP & Gaddafi. The then prime minister, Gordon Brown, denied giving any assurances to Libya's leaders that the bomber would be freed in exchange for oil contracts.
Blair's £6m pa security bill  With police forces facing drastic cutbacks, neighbours living near Mr Blair’s £4million town house in Connaught Square, London, are astonished at the array of firepower being used to protect him.
MoD Procurement in the firing line   General Sir David Richards said the Ministry of Defence should not ‘prop up ailing industries’ with lucrative orders for overpriced tanks and helicopters.
FoI request reveals brutal restraining measures   The disclosure of the prison service manual follows a five-year freedom of information battle. The manual was condemned last night by campaigners as "state authorisation of institutionalised child abuse".
Child abduction conspirator new child protection advisor to GMC   The GMC refused to explain its decision to The IoS but its chief executive, Niall Dickson, told the BMJ that Mrs Mellor was included in order to give the group credibility and that it was important to hear all perspectives.
1000% profit for drug firm   One of the medicines under the spotlight after a huge unexplained price increase is hydrocortisone tablets – a daily lifesaver for thousands of kidney patients. In June 2008, the cost to the NHS of a packet of 10mg pills was £5. Today, the NHS is paying £44.40 for the same course.
Paying illegals to leave before they arrive   Foreigners attempting to cross the English Channel at the French port of Calais are offered free flights and awarded up to £3,500 to help start businesses back home.
Dormant bank accounts targeted   Govt plans to raid bank accounts that have been "dormant" for up to 15 years and redistribute the money to fund enterprises that would otherwise struggle to secure funding amid the Government's austerity programme.
Byford's £400k pa pension   Byford’s pension pot, which the BBC values at £3.4 million, is one of the largest ever seen in the public sector. It exceeds the £1.75 million funds amassed by previous prime ministers.
Treasury tells IDS to think again   Ian Duncan Smith's plans for a welfare revolution have run into trouble after the Treasury rejected a series of proposals put forward by his department.

More:

UK burka ban ruled out
EIB loans to water companies set to rise
Soldier who beheaded Taliban fighter ordered back home
Somali's landlord is foreign national with off-shore a/c but severely disabled have benefits cut
Cameron tells b/benchers to attend more debates
Rioting in France
Shameful treatment of the spy who helped us

Friday, 16 July 2010

Just One Note...

... and you know it's Wagner.

The chords, crescendos, the key: they all add up to Wagner and politics has nothing to do with music. I see that even Stephen Fry is trying to rehabilitate Wagner via his programme on the BBC at the moment.  All artists sink or rise on their own popular merit and they mustn't be politicised or publicly- funded.

Transcribed for solo piano by Liszt and played by Joel Hastings
:

What Has Europe Done For Us?

First of all, let's hear from Anatole Kaltesky writing in the Times last Thursday:
"The construction of a federal Europe has never relied on democratic support, merely on acquiescence and the force of habit. The creation of a viable single currency, backed by a European federal budget, will merely be the next stage of this non-democratic process."
Force of habit and acquiescence - aka political steam-rollering - are something we know only too well in England since we've just emerged from thirteen years of state-of-the-art manipulation.  It's a hegelian/ fabian thing and it's so subtle it hasn't yet registered with the majority of the electorate.  Most people are too busy working, feeding their families, providing a roof and paying taxes to pay much attention to government; it's only when their lives go disastrously wrong that they question government.

What matters now is that the LibServative Coalition govt mustn't be allowed to continue down the same path of the Labour govt - no nudging and fudging.  Hasn't it occurred to tptb that things are in such a state of flux that events must be allowed to settle and the people should be given time to grasp the enormity of what is happening?   I suspect it has and this is why everything seems so rushed and we're given no time to draw breath between one 'administration' and the next.

Cameron brushed aside a question in this week's PMQs from Nadine Dorries (Con, Mid-Beds) about the UK's contributions to the EU's budget.  MEPs aren't too happy about national governments' attempts to halt a proposed 5.9% increase to the EU's 2011 budget. National ambassadors to the EU have agreed a draft budget for 2011 of €126.58 billion, which is €3.6bn less than the draft budget presented by the Commission in April.  The proposal would still mean that the EU's budget would increase by 2.8% next year compared to 2010's budget, but the Commission's proposal would represent a 5.9% increase.

Sidonia Jedrzejewska MEP, the EP's spokesman/spokeswoman/spokeschair/rapporteur on the budget, responded to national governments' offer by telling an EP committee that, "I take these cuts not only as a provocation but as an offence." Jedrzejewska suggested that plans to cut the budget for youth training programmes were "a slap in the face."

The negotiations are slated to be quite tough but don't hold your breath.  Seven member states - Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden & UK - oppose the compromise of a 2.8% increase, arguing that there should have been even deeper cuts to the Commission's proposal but I don't think it means anything.

Finance ministers (EcoFin) have agreed to give the EU financial supervisors power to bypass national regulators.   Although the UK was initially opposed to giving such powers to the European supervisors, it relented on this proposal. In exchange, national governments, rather than the EC for example, will have the last word on what constitutes an "emergency situation" in which the ESAs can use their powers of direct supervision. However, it is not yet clear under what voting system member states will decide on this!
The EP is calling for all three ESAs to be housed in Frankfurt, but this has been rejected by the UK, which insisted that the European Banking Authority (EBA) - the EU watchdog responsible for the banking sector - would be based in London.  There'll be further 'negotiations' (aka 'jollies') in the Autumn,

This year the EU will spend almost £1 billion on pensions, giving the average retired official an income of around £60,000.  The UK's contribution will be £135 million.  The average annual pension pocketed by the 17,471 retired officials benefiting from the scheme is £57,194, but the highest ranking officials can expect pensions of over £102,000.  In 2009, the average retirement age for EU officials was 60, falling to 58 for lower secretarial grades.  In Britain, the govt is raising the retirement age from 65 to 66 by 2016 so I think we know where we stand vis-a-vis the Lords of the Demesnes and the Villeins.

The UK's 72 MEPs have the worst attendance record of all 27 member states during key voting sessions, with an average 85% attendance rate over the last year. The three British MEPs with the absolute worst attendance record are the UKIP MEPs David Campbell Bannerman, Paul Nuttall and Godfrey Bloom, each averaging under 63 percent attendance.

The annual report of the EU's anti-fraud office,  (Olaf .pdf) notes that of its 133 investigations into cases of fraud, most concerned officials from the European Commission, the EU Parliament and EU agencies, as well as the Committee of the Regions, the Data Protection Supervisor, the EU Ombudsman and the European Investment Bank. The Olaf report identifies €1.8 billion in EU funding which was open to fraud and irregularities, which is €700 million more than in 2008. Structural Funds are thought to be most prone to abuse.

Fifteen MEPs have travelled to the Seychelles for a 2-day ACP-EU joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting so let's hope the water is clear, the sands warm and the jellyfish plentiful.

Our busy-bee govt must also decide on a quite controversial EU investigation order by 28 July.   The Home Office has until 28th of this month to decide whether to opt in to plans for a European Investigation Order, which would allow police officers from an EU country to demand information from UK officers on anyone they suspect of a criminal offence. The directive would see UK police almost powerless to prevent the handing over of personal details such as DNA, bank account or even telephone records.

So, there we have it for this week's record of incompetence, wilful neglect and economic, political & socio-engineering.  I'm going to check out some Wagner.

H/t: Open Europe, the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and diverse European sources.
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