"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."

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Furedi: Renouncing The Politics Of Representation

Renouncing the politics of representation

Extracts only:

"The tendency to depict democratic accountability as a deeply flawed, unpredictable thing is based on the belief that ordinary people lack the intellectual resources to deal with the complicated challenges facing policymakers. According to the traditional aristocratic version of this argument, since people will inevitably react against taking difficult decisions, it makes far more sense simply for someone else to take those decisions on their behalf.

In recent decades, this claim has been supplemented by a new thesis: that ordinary people are so misguided by the media or the church or some other institution that they simply do not know what is in their best interests anymore...

...Contempt for the intellectual and moral capacities of the multitude invariably leads many self-proclaimed ‘enlightened’ commentators to distrust the public. Such anti-public sentiments are often expressed by environmentalists, who regard ordinary folk as far too selfish or too in thrall to consumerism to vote for policies that will require them to make the kind of sacrifices that might ‘save the planet’...

...Thinkers who argue against democratic political accountability often assert that representatives of the people are far less able to deal with complex issues, certainly in comparison with technocrats and experts. Of course, every modern political institution requires and depends upon the advice and input of scientists, engineers and experts. But what the advocates of the current technocratic turn demand is not simply that politicians consider such advice, but that they defer to it, that they bow before the wisdom of the expert. In its more caricatured form, this technocratic turn assumes the character of an expert-dominated polity. So Joschka Fischer, the former German foreign minister and grand old man of the Green Party, has talked about the need for an ‘avant garde of the United States of Europe’.

Fisher’s avant garde would consist of 17 leaders of Eurozone countries who would de facto constitute a government of Europe. The main accomplishment of this scheme would be that ‘parliamentary powers of control would be taken along to Brussels from the European capitals’. In this way, the pretence of national accountability could be maintained while the brave 17 could govern Europe without the hassle of having to deal with political arguments and pressure. This proposed model of insulated decision-making is probably at the top of every EU technocrats’ wish list...."

A really good article worth ten minutes of your time.

H/t @WhiteWednesday

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Germany Calling

Germany has many of the problems that we do in getting people to wake up to what's happening. Karl Schachtschneider ('bless you') is Professor Emeritus in public and civil law at Nuremberg University. In this video he explains about the death penalty, military rearmament and debunks the EU's claim that it is responsible for, and promotes, peace in Europe. He warns his audience that, on the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty, the death penalty will be applicable in the event of riots, rebellion or facing the threat of war.

We're not alone but we need a pan-European movement to oppose the EU, perhaps we can then be called "Sour Little Europeans" by Cameron et al.




Here is Schachtschneider's wikipedia page and here is his website, if your German is up to it.

An sent Coe hamewart, tae think again

"So the good news is that Historic Scotland has said "no" to the preposterous idea of massive Olympic rings being placed on our castle."
Scots wha hae!

UPDATE: MPs refuse to allow pics of 'Olympic heroes' to be beamed on to Parliament

Friday, 25 November 2011

What If?

It's happening in front of our eyes. The mechanisms are in place in the form of loosely-worded, ever-changing and open to interpretation 'laws', regulations and directives. Thanks to the doctrine of spin, state education, a public sector that comprises more than 50% employment and a lickspittle media, we're truly fracked.


A tip of the trident to Fausty

What if Nigel Farage is our Ron Paul?

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Threat Of The Day

'It is necessary to force countries against their will.'
"Recent experience has shown that a member state normally wants to avoid a programme until the very last moment," he said in the EU capital. "This has caused the situation to worsen in the meantime both for the country concerned and for the whole euro area and increased costs to other member states and increased the financing needs as well. There are no volunteers for an EU-IMF programme...
... If the commission does not like what it sees, it can demand changes to the budget, as well as other mid-term plans a government may have for its economy...
... All eurozone states would also be forced to create independent fiscal councils - bodies of 'experts' unaccountable to parliaments - who would issue budgetary and economic forecasts.  A country's budget would in turn have to be based on the reports of these fiscal councils.
For countries in deeper troubles and facing serious financial difficulties, Brussels could send teams of inspectors - akin to the 'Troika' monitors sent to member states that have received bail-outs.
The overseers could be sent to any state that the commission decides, even if the county has not requested any international assistance.
The not-so final word goes to Barroso:
Questioned by journalists over whether the moves do not insulate decision-making from elected chambers, commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he did not wish to engage in "philosophical debates".
The solution to the eurozone's fiscal nightmare is, unsurprisingly, the failed  proposal the EU pushed for all twenty-seven member states: full fiscal union with budgetary oversight. Softly, softly...

I wonder how far this government's newly-created Office for Budget Responsibility meets the EU guidelines of  "All eurozone states would also be forced to create independent fiscal councils - bodies of 'experts' unaccountable to parliaments - who would issue budgetary and economic forecasts."

It looks like the UK is ahead of the EU game, as usual, yet successive governments have the nerve to pretend to be 'eurosceptic' and want to repatriate powers from Brussels; we're in it over our heads and probably leading the way.  Great Britain but, in particular, England, is the testing ground, the experimental zone, for one-world governance and coffee-coloured multiculturalism.

Source

PS:   George Osborne's leaked letter click to enlarge:

Pic from @chadnoble


UPDATE:  It was announced today that Italy's unelected government under Mario Monti, will also be creating an Office of Budgetary Responsibililty.  It seems the EU think Osborne & Cameron have done well and will be rolling out the trial across euro-zone member states.

Happy Thanksgiving

To all American readers



Wednesday, 23 November 2011

PMQs Video

I'm sorry for the lack of PMQs this week; I just didn't have the patience to sit through it when I came home. On the plus side, I do have a rather lovely pair of earrings to show for today's venture and shopping beats PMQs hands-down any day of the week.

I'll add the usual 'toad/independent thinker' & 'topics raised' tomorrow when I'm feeling more kindly. It doesn't help that I've recently seen the House of Cards trilogy for the first time and it seems only too plausible. I don't know why I missed it first time round - I was probably out somewhere, being young.


UK Parliament

UPDATE:

Your MP: Toad or Independent Thinker?
Andrew Bingham, Con, High Peak;  Richard Ottaway, Con, Croydon South;  Anne McKechin, Lab, Glasgow North;  Simon Kirby, Con, Brighton Kemptown; Elfyn Llwyd, Plaid Cymru, Dwyfor Meirionnydd; Edward Timpson, Con, Crewe & Nantwich; Malcolm Wicks, Lab, Croydon North; Mark Menzies, Con, Fylde;  Chris Bryant, Lab, Rhondda; Louise Mensch, Con, Corby;  Tom Greatrex, Lab, Rutherglen and Hamilton West;  Alan Reid, LibDem, Argyll & Bute;  Alan Whitehead, Lab, Southampton;  Stewart Jackson, Con, Peterborough; Helen Jones, Lab, Warrington North; John Whittingdale, Con, Maldon;  Gordon Marsden, Lab, Blackpool South;  Stewart Andrew, Con, Pudsey;  Jim Shannon, DUP,  Strangford.

Issues raised:
Public sector strikes; turnout in strike ballot; women's unemployment rate; Brighton council tax increase; stalking; housing shortage/localism/planning; Northern Rock; enterprise zones; unemployment;  public sector strikes; call for Inquiry into collapse of Arch Cru investment fund; cuts in military defence/police & Faslane; local authority contracts;  Thomas Cook; NHS; TPA report on motoring taxes; new penalties/protection for War Memorials; Children in Need/Pudsey Bear; withdrawal from Afghanistan.

HANSARD

In case anyone was wondering 'Where's Wally?', here he is - in the BA lounge at Lagos airport on the 17th.

Pic courtesy of @eyespymp

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Pro and The Con

The Pro:

Note the change of iconography (Cameron as Henry V, 'jousting', 'crusade', 'portcullis' - albeit with a Union Flag which didn't exist in those days - good old BBC) and tone.
Sopel: But isn't the real eurosceptic thing to do, which is what David Cameron and George Osborne will do is... to say 'we are fighting for Britain's interests within Europe and trying to get the best deal possible..."
After decades of reviling 'eurosceptics' the BBC is now carrying Cameron's torch that it's okay to be a eurosceptic and that we're no longer 'fruitcakes, nutjobs and Little Englanders' (even if you were Scottish, Welsh or Irish).  They're still one step behind the rest of us who know full well that there is no chance of renegotiation within the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, or any of the treaties our governments have signed on our behalf.

I'm unsure who the two commentators were because I didn't watch the programme. One is called Sarah, who smirked as Farage answered a question, and the other, I think (going by his voice and, if it is him, he's put on a bit of weight and grown a beard), is James Somebody-or-Other, an LBC radio phone-in host who is so pompous and arrogant that he never lets others finish their sentences and always interprets their views - "What you're saying is..." "What you mean is...").

Here's the Con (Artist):

Britain will have to join the euro, says Michael Gordon Richard Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine
"People have no idea of the scale of money British banks are owed by European banks. If the European banks start going it will be our banks that are on the line, our government on the line."
Oh, I think we do have an idea; we do know. We know the scale involved and we know you will make us pay for it. We also know that our taxes shouldn't be used to prop up bankers or governments. Nothing should be too big to fail.  The views of this failed and bitter politician are irrelevant.

Government has become far too big and unwieldy.  The government's proposal to cut 10% of MPs doesn't go far enough - that's only 50ish MPs lost (maths isn't their strong point).  You only have to look at the House during PMQs to see them fighting chunky haunch by well-fed jowl for a seat on the benches.  They're all tucked in very cosily and those who fail to find a place must elbow for room around the Speaker's Chair or in the doorway, shoulder to chippy shoulder.  Personally, I think it's become so rotten and corrupt that I'd like a clean break - slash it back to one MP for one County and re-build it from there.  I don't think that proposition is any more ludicrous than the system we now have in place.

Added Value: THIS, from 2006:
Mr Cameron also condemned the "ignorance" of English people about Scots and Scotland and the "embarrassing" English insensitivity on matters ranging from the acceptability of Scottish banknotes to "the inevitable aggressive Glaswegian drunk" in TV programmes.
"If I become the prime minister of the United Kingdom, I'll never, never take Scotland for granted," Mr Cameron said.
He also pledged to take on "sour Little Englanders" who wanted rid of Scotland. "I'll fight them all the way," he said.
 Well, at least the Scots weren't taken in by him.

By the way, I keep meaning to find the link but ... Voting rights in the EU are determined by the population count.  Nod/wink.

UPDATE:  Here's Heseltine talking about the great "European adventure". with an insert about the events of Black Wednesday:



Sunday Reflection


"Arrival to the Oxford market": Anonymous (XIII century)
MLpossible

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Jeux Sans Frontieres

Immigration into the UK has hit ludicrous proportions and impacted on England in particular. I just want to put these two graphs and a couple of links here for the record.

The Daily Mail So, let's hear it for the three main political Parties, the Lib/Lab/Con con-artists who've been in office for too long and put us way up there with Bangladesh and Rwanda. And it's not over yet -

Cecilia Malmstrom, EC Commissioner for Home Affairs, writes:
"The EU needs to boost its relationships with non-EU States to better reap the mutual benefits migration can bring. Although migration is high on the European Union’s agenda, the Arab spring and events in the Southern Mediterranean in 2011 has highlighted the need for a coherent migration policy for the EU. That is why today the European Commission proposes to strengthen dialogue and operational cooperation with non-EU partner countries in the area of migration and mobility."
For anyone not yet up to speed on EU-speak, the 'Southern Mediterranean' is what used to be called North Africa.

The International Organization for Migration is one of the 'actors' it's working with. It was originally set up after the Second World War to help the displaced people of Europe. When it had finished, rather than say 'job well done' and disband, it changed its name, found itself another role and continued to grow.

There are also ongoing discussions with Russia about visa-free travel across borders.
*****

Another blogger (Kevin Townsend) has a quote from Peter Kellner (Mr Cathy Ashton) and this graph:

It isn't clear whether the voters were English or just people living in England.  Yes, there is a difference and 'Yes', it does matter.
*****

THIS, by AN Wilson, is a great article.  He takes apart education policies and the demise of our manufacturing base over the past decades and offers suggestions for revitalisation.
If a Stoke pottery had taken on foreign workers in those days, it would have been considered mad - not for xenophobic reasons, but because everyone knew that British potters were the best in the world. The same would have been said in Sheffield about steel workers, or in Newcastle and Belfast about shipbuilders, or in so many other parts of the country...
...The working classes of Britain were the source of its power and wealth as a great trading nation. From them came the energy and resourcefulness which created our exports. And all over Britain, in working-class communities, there was a powerful sense of solidarity and community.
*****
Meanwhile, back at the EU, victory has been declared in the battle of the budget. The increase has been limited to "only" 2% . However,
"...while agreeing to limit their contributions to the EU budget to 129 billion euros next year, governments gave in to the European Parliament's demands to allow EU spending commitments next year to go up to 147 billion euros."
So they're going to have an increased budget of 129bn euros but commit to spending 147bn. That sort of budgeting explains why their accounts haven't been signed off for seventeen years.
*****

In other news Basil 'Dolly' D'Oliveira, RIP - a great cricketer, despite never playing for Yorkshire.

UPDATE:
See where the money goes: 'EU Budget at a glance'

Friday, 18 November 2011

Music




A Week of Cockwaffle

I used to apply the tag "cockwafflers extraordinaires" to any post mentioning EU hubris but I've been lax lately, mainly because there are so many of them.

TFIF is all I can say after a week like this. We're living in a time of lies and spin; a time of half-truths and evasions.

Apparently, it's Children in Need Night tonight. I used to donate but no longer bother since I discovered how much of the funds go in admin and consultants.  I'd rather give it in the form of "Oh, I've cooked too much" or "I've bought too much" to the oldster next door rather than see it wasted on admin and consultants. It's spectacular to realise that, despite what we're going through, this programme will probably raise another £25m or so. We do it year after year, on top of our own charitable commitments, yet nothing ever improves for those countries and their children.

Globalised finance, globalised corporations, globalised consumerism, globalised big pharma, globalised government, globalised poverty, globalised need.

Like I said, TFIF. I'll leave you with this wonderful summation of today's events:
There is something about Germany that brings out in the British media some of its least desirable characteristics. And when you have in Volker Kauder, the CDU's parliamentary leader a stage Hun with all the sensitivity of a plank, and an IQ to match two short versions, you have the stage set for a perfect storm...
... But at least The Boy has been given a hearing, given his brief moment in the limelight, in a carefully stage-managed press conference, and sent packing, where he can prattle in his own time, to his own venal media, without wasting any more of everyone else's time.
As the post points out, it's nothing new. The fight isn't only against the EU it's against the placemen and the system of governance that's evolved in the past six decades.

I said to Spidey that being in a state of hope is a natural human condition: we hope the sun rises in the morning, that the moon shines at night and that we're free to raise and take care of our families without undue interference.   So far, only the first two hopes have proved steadfast.  I don't know who said the following quote but he/she was right:
Government has what it takes to take all you have

And they will.  TFIF never seemed so hollow because Monday always comes around.

Cameron/Merkel Live Conference + updates

On Sky News

Merkel: "Limited" treaty change for eurozone members only - as expected, they will do everything possible to avoid a referendum in Britain. A sentence or two about Serbia, Iran & Libya.

Cameron: Good friends. Many areas we are in absolute agreement. Countries must deal with debts and deficits. EU budget rise must be linked to inflation rate. Share same plan for EU growth - greater competitiveness, greater agenda for growth, greater deregulation. Agree that a strong, successful & sustainable euro is in all our interests. We can address, accommodate and deal with differences. Britain/Germany has a strong relationship and friendship. Will work together.


Followed by a few questions but it's pointless looking for any hint of truth in the answers. Cameron said no progress was made in discussions on the FTT/Tobin Tax. Merkel said no-one should pretend to be more powerful than they are. I'll post the transcript and/or video later.

I don't know what they mean by "limited treaty change" - a treaty change is a treaty change and any changes require agreement from all 27 member states. It looks like Cameron will be coming back a Chamberlain and not a Churchill.

Debt crisis live

UPDATE:

From Anoneumouse at The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

More cartoons at Muffled Vociferation & Max Farquar and, if you haven't visited already, I recommend Fenbeagle Blog for some great artistry and storylines.

Short video clips from the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian

Also, Markets dip as Cameron, Merkel differ on key points


Thursday, 17 November 2011

That Island Mentality

I've just been listening to the radio. I have to admit I sometimes switch off when Iain Dale comes on, not because I don't like him but because I have a 'thing' about voices, and his voice just doesn't agree with my neurons. His first topic this evening was, "Italy has an unelected government: Can this happen here?"

Despite the differences between the continent of Europe and the UK of GB & NI, I think it could. Europe, it's true, has been subjected to dictatorships in one form or another for centuries, for example Portugal, Greece, Spain & Germany. If you include Russia & its former satellites, and North Africa (the 'Southern Mediterranean') in the equation, as the EU does, that adds up, very uncomfortably, to a high number of people who really don't share our concept of democracy. In that sense, we are isolated as much by mentality as by the sea. We simply have no concept of dictatorship; Cromwell was the last dictator and there's no consensual collective memory of that period in history.  As a nation, we wouldn't recognise a dictatorship or authoritarian government if it knocked on our door and demanded all our personal details, or allowed cctv and recording equipment in taxis, or if we were the most surveilled society in the western world.

However, the countries mentioned above all experienced dictatorships well into the 20thC and, let's be brutal, they don't know much else. On those grounds, the fact that a poll showing 78% of Italians welcomed the new corporate government where no-one has been elected and roughly half of them are professors and the rest banking apparatchiks shouldn't surprise us.
Seventeen is an unlucky number in Italy but that’s how many ministers there are. The last Berlusconi administration had twenty-three. Five ministries have gone. Twelve have portfolio responsibilities – including the economy, held by Mario Monti as caretaker – and five do not. Three women hold key posts (justice, employment and the interior) whereas there were six with Berlusconi. There are also seven academics, five doctors, a lawyer and a university lawyer. A banker, an ambassador, an admiral and a health law specialist are also on the list but no politicians.
So, Monti has slimmed down government departments, is intent on rooting out corruption and waste, and has booted out the lap-dancers and chancers. I'm beginning to think this EU take-over could work for them.  One other thing these countries all have in common is a history of coalition governments or 'governments of national unity' - you can see where this is leading, can't you?

Despite our differences and animosity to foreign rule I think that if Britain were ever in the same turmoil as Greece or Italy, the majority would also roll over and accept it - not only accept it, but welcome it, because we've been conditioned, cajoled and controlled.  We'd accept it until the scales fell from our eyes but, given how much we've endured from the EU over the years, I'm beginning to think those scales will need a pretty big whack to be dislodged.  I think this is one instance when it's fair to say: "Think of the children," so, once again, here's that small prayer:
"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. " Thomas Paine, 1776.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

EU Heritage Labelling

Be proud, citoyennes - or should that be 'comrades'? The motto of the European Union shouldn't be the laughable "Unity through Diversity" but the more appropriate, "What's yours is mine and what's mine's my own".

As if it weren't enough that our taxes fund this corrupt, shambolic, authoritarian, quasi-Marxist, pipsqueak of an outfit they've now decided on a logo for the EU Heritage labels fiasco (see above). Of course, it will be 'voluntary'. Voluntary in the same way that our membership of the Union is voluntary.
"The label will guarantee the unique European touch of selected sites such as monuments, natural, submerged, archaeological, industrial or urban sites, cultural landscapes, places of remembrance, cultural goods and objects or intangible heritage associated with a place."
...However "transnational" sites will benefit from special treatment, given their special symbolism for Europe's history. Member states will be allowed to apply for a "thematic" label for several national sites linked by a common theme.
Well, I'm sorry but they can just fuck the fuck off and then some. If they can get their heads out of their @rses for long enough they might be able to hear the rustling of the reeds at Runnymede.

(Pemf as usual.  I was going to use an asterisk but you all know the word anyway.)

More HERE

A Little Light Relief

Here's something nonsensical while we wait for the Cameron-Merkel meeting on Friday - and won't that be fun given Volker Kauder's intervention, to cheers from the German Parliament, today.
The Germans can't blame Britain .

While the EU construct is on course to achieve what it always wanted but remains deaf to the ramifications, I'm reading jokes.  The last laugh really will be on them.

"Paul always wanted a pair of authentic cowboy boots so when he saw some in the sales he bought them and wore them home.

He sauntered proudly into the kitchen and said to his wife, "Notice anything different about me?"

Pauline looked him over. "No."

Frustrated, he stormed off into the bathroom, undressed and walked back into the kitchen completely naked except for the boots.  Again he asked her , a little louder this time, "Notice anything different NOW?"

She looked up and said, "What's different? It's hanging down today, it was hanging down yesterday, it'll be hanging down again tomorrow."

Furious, he yelled, "And do you know why it's hanging down?"

"Nope. Not a clue", she replied.

"It's hanging down because it's looking at my new boots!!"

Without missing a beat she replied, "You should have bought a hat, Paul. You should have bought a hat."


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Serendipity

If you've ever had tear-filled eyes as Jenny Agutter cries, "Daddy, oh, my Daddy," and is swept up into her father's arms in The Railway Children, get the Kleenex ready.

Here's something from a blog, BabyBlueCafe, I stumbled upon. It's ten minutes of joy and tears.


"The song is Praan by Garry Schyman, based on Streams of Life by the poet Rabindranath Tagore.
"The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.
It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.
It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth
and of death, in ebb and in flow.
I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment
."

Sunday Reflection


Here dead we lie
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land
From which we sprung.
Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.


A E Housman.


GP: Abu Dhabi 2009




Saturday, 12 November 2011

Those Washed-Up, Cried-Out, Spied-On Stasi Blues

Yep, I've been to the doctor and he said that's definitely what I'm suffering from. He wrote me a prescription and said to go back in a few weeks if my symptoms hadn't eased. What he prescribed was "a weekly dose of riots and a change of governance."

Interestingly, he didn't advise a change of government; he thought that swapping one bloc of raging authoritarian job-for-life politicos for another wouldn't solve the problem. In short, ELECTIONS DON'T WORK ANY MORE. They used to, once upon a time. The country rubbed by after the war, we put up with austerity and rationing, mainly because of the sop of the NHS and child benefit payments, but the country has changed beyond recognition now. Now, everyone has the right to be offended but not to freedom of expression; everyone is equal in the eyes of the legislature, unless you're 'one of them' and can pay or circumvent the system; everyone is lectured, molly-coddled, chivvied and harassed into being a citizen worthy of The Big Society; we're all in it together.

My @rse.

If I thought one of my neighbours was spying on me I'd report them to the police for harassment.

THIS upset me so much this morning when I read it. How could they? How could they turn State informer? And they're not even being paid. I hope they're first 'onto the shuvvell' so they can join their heroes who first adopted this technique.

From The Morning Star, of all places.
Work from home:  Easy Income

But it's alright; we're in safe hands and can go back to sleep:
A Home Office spokesman said: "The first duty of the state is the protection of its citizens, but this should never be an excuse for the government to intrude into people's private lives.

"This is why we are changing the law to restore common sense and prevent local authorities using surveillance for trivial offences."
If you believe that, phone me, I've got a bridge for sale.

Here's one of the 'essential links' in the sidebar: Big Brother Watch.

Roughly one in fifty adults collaborated with the Stasi in East Germany:













Frau Merkel was born in West Germany but grew up and was educated in East Germany. I've no idea why her parents moved; perhaps it's a story worth telling on par with the Milibands, whose Polish grandfather packed up and left for Russia where he fought in the Red Army against Poland before things got too hot and he defected  to Belgium with son Adolphe Ralph (and thence onwards to Britain, albeit leaving his wife and younger children behind - it was for the good of the cause, comrades).

Just to tip everything nicely over the edge, here's an archive of East German propaganda. Spot the similarities.

Image courtesy of Max Farquar, WBUH.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

EUObs: Italian Bonds Shatter 7% bail-out Ceiling

Italian bonds shatter 7% bail-out ceiling



It will be a painful shock for us all but it will be short compared to continuing our membership of the EU. We need to withdraw.

PMQs: Summary & Videos

Cameron led tributes to Private Matthew Haseldin, 2 Mercian, who was killed in Afghanistan last Thursday.
***************************************
Not a rubber bullet in sight. The weapon of choice: the cane or umbrella.

Miliband used all six of his questions to ask about UKBA and immigration; he went on and on and on and ... ... round in circles, got no answers and had Labour's own record flung back in his face. He got nowhere. Cameron backed May & the Head of UKBA, and reeled off a list of 'achievements'. He even quoted Labour Peer Lord Glasman - 'Labour lied about immigration'. Miliband was trounced as usual.

Best, if you can call it that: groans from Con backbenchers when Bercow intervened about the noise and said last week's Youth Parliament was much better behaved.
Strangest: Cameron's support for the 19thC Chartist movement seemed out of place, particularly today when so many protests are going on in London. Anyone would think that the government hadn't just sanctioned the use of baton rounds against protesters. The movement has one parallel today: a petition of more than 5m signatures calling for voting reform was rejected out of hand by Parliament.

Your MP: Party Toad or Independent Thinker?

Julian Huppert, LibDem, Cambridge; Gary Streeter, Con, South West Devon; Lindsay Roy, Lab, Glenrothes; Edward Leigh, Con, Gainsborough; Gordon Banks, Lab, Ochill & South Perthshire; Peter Aldous, Con, Waveney; Gregory Campbell, DUP, East Londonderry; Andrew Selous, Con, South West Bedfordshire; Mark Durkan, SDLP, Foyle; Tessa Munt, LibDem, Wells; Christopher Leslie, Lab Co-op, Nottingham East; Tracey Crouch, Con, Chatham & Aysleford; Geraint Davies, Lab Co-op, Swansea West; Annette Brooke, LibDem, Dorset Mid and Poole North; Hazel Blears, Lab, Salford & Eccles; Karen Lumley, Con, Redditch; Cathy Jamieson, Lab Co-op, Kilmarnock & Loudon; Jo Johnson, Con, Orpington; Andrew Gwynne, Lab, Denton & Reddish; Alex Shelbrooke, Con, Elmet & Rothwell; Sir Stuart Bell, Lab, Middlesbrough; Bill Cash, Con, Stone.

Issues raised:
Job security/employment laws; RM 3 Commando homecoming in Plymouth; bonus payments for RBS; death of 2nd Red Arrows pilot/RAF Scampton; youth unemployment in Scotland; local school funding; Minute's silence on Armistice Day; marriage break-ups; no UK abstention on Palestine/UN; (closed question) winter fuel payments; publication of UKBA/immigration documents; FIFA/poppies; individual voter registration; rights for park home owners; parliamentary placement scheme/social mobility; GMB/union influence on Labour policies; unemployment in Kilmarnock; Italian bond yields @ 8% /eurozone; 34% youth unemployment in Thameside; FIFA/poppies; G20/EFSF/eurozone bail-out fund; structural re-negotiation of EU treaties.

Followed by Statement on North Africa/Middle East by Sec of State, FCO, William Hague.

VIDEOS TO FOLLOW

The DUP Channel is quick off the mark this week.  Here's Gregory Campbell and his question about 11/11:


More to come.

A taster on Chartism

PS Just a thought: If a petition in the 19thC can gather 5m signatures without the internet - what's gone wrong today? Some were fake or double-entries but, even so, a hefty proportion of the population must have signed it.

In full:


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Hitler Got It Wrong

Ireland, Greece, Italy and then Spain. No wonder we all make fun of him these days; what a lousy economist.





1688 And All That

EU Referendum: 1688 And All That

WARNING: Graphic pic:

Mussolini & Clara Petacci - Mussolini with the symbol of office in his hand.


Monday, 7 November 2011

Fiction and Fact

Otherwise known as That Was Then but This Is Now, aka "We didn't know before we took office."   Here's a very perky, media-friendly Theresa May on March 6th this year.

"We're delivering all the promises we set out in our manifesto."
"We are tackling immigration... we've introduced the annual cap on non-EU economic migration."
"We are restoring civil liberties."



Nothing in there to suggest that UKBA might have felt free to leave our borders open to all-comers. Nothing in there about bringing baton rounds/rubber bullets to mainland Britain.

Now:

"We will never know how many people got through without proper checks."

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, this would have prompted a resignation. In that land no-one clung on and waited to be sacked; in fact it was a matter of honour to go before they were sacked.  Usually, but not always, they tried to make amends by devoting the rest of their lives to charity, eg Profumo, or they just left their clothes in a little heap at the seashore, a la Stonehouse*, and disappeared.  However, there's no honour, no integrity now in politics.  If there were, they'd all examine their consciences and resign.

No Minister resigns for the big things these days.  The expenses cheats were dragged kicking and squealing to the courts - and then it's a piffling sentence -  but for the big, important stuff, the national security,  that they get wrong, no-one ever takes responsibility.  Even Fox has said he wants to make a comeback to the Front Bench once his mishaps with Adam Werrity have died down - in what capacity I don't know, since it's odds on that EUNavFor, EuroGendFor and EUAirFor will have overtaken us by then and any British Minister of Defence will be superfluous..

They betray us, they smile, and then they come back.  We must stop voting for the LibLabCon con.  (Keep an eye out for Party funding by the State aka taxpayer - do you want part of your taxes going to fund these misbegotten charlatans?)

Extract from Hansard:
Sheila Gilmore: Will the Minister tell us how many of those 5,200 staff are being cut from the front line of the border force?
Damian Green: The hon. Lady will know that later this afternoon my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will make a statement covering the issues that she is interested in. The reductions in staffing are not affecting the front line because we are improving the front line by, for instance, having airline liaison officers overseas. Over the past few years, that has prevented 60,000 people whom we did not want to travel from travelling in the first place. The use of facial recognition technology and e-gates also makes our borders more secure.
Topical Questions also makes interesting reading.  What the answer boils down to is that the govt doesn't have a clue and it loves cctv.
Philip Davies: Of all the people who were arrested and convicted as a result of the riots across the country in the summer, what estimate has the Home Secretary made of the number who were arrested and charged through the police use of CCTV and DNA?
Mrs May: My hon. Friend is returning to topics that I know he has pursued for some considerable time. Obviously, there was significant use of CCTV. That is why this Government continue to support its use.
Changes to immigration rules laid before the House today
The changes will take effect on 28 November and will reduce the minimum age at which a person may be granted entry clearance or leave as the spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a sponsor, and the minimum age at which a person may sponsor such an application, from 21 to 18 years. It will also delete references to a minimum age of 18 for entry clearance or leave as the spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried or same-sex partner of a HM Forces sponsor, and the minimum age at which a member of HM Forces may sponsor such an application. Guidance for those affected by the judgment will be published on the UK Border Agency website.
You already know what I think: I think we're well and truly fracked.

* I admit Stonehouse wasn't the personification of probity - cheat liar, philanderer - but at least he had the good grace to disappear.

UPDATE: On reading the words of Damian Green again - "that has prevented 60,000 people whom we did not want to travel from travelling in the first place."  Leaving aside the "airline liaison officers overseas", I wonder if any in that figure were people prevented from leaving the country, for football matches, for example.

1st Time For Baton Rounds In London

It was reported on the lunchtime news (LBC 97.3fm) that the Met will be using baton rounds/rubber bullets at the student demo in town this week. So far I've been unable to find any other corroboration but I see no reason to doubt the report; LBC are usually pretty fast & accurate with their news reporting.

This will be the first time that a police force has used rubber bullets in mainland Britain and is a fairly momentous step. I guess it puts an end to policing by consent and "the public are the police and the police are the public".

I'll add to the post as and when I learn anything more.

*****
It looks like it's Wednesday 9th - there's also a protest by London's cabbies in Trafalgar Square on the same day.
*****
And yet - Baton Rounds: Risks outweighed benefits
*****
4,000 Met police will be on duty to police an expected 10,000 students. It's confirmed that baton rounds will be issued. So, there we have it. Policing by consent has flown out of the window in Britain.

*****
An article has now been posted on the LBC website.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Shifting Ground

It won't be long now before the threshold for signatures to e-petitions is raised. It is, after all, just a trial run to see how things go. I suspect things haven't gone so well for HMG and they're finding the e-petitions a thorn in their side.

E-Petitions, just like the promise of referenda, should be viewed as circumspectly as possible but, in the meantime, let's not delude ourselves that they will make an impact, change laws or alter the direction of travel.

If somebody hasn't already done so, it's time to choose a revolutionary theme for 2012 - I suggest the bars of this, from 0:30 on:



Alternatives are welcome, as always.

A Retrospective

avatars: cats: suicide: kitty bats bodyAvatar Farm

I've been looking at a couple of .pdf files on my hardrive and thought I'd upload them for anyone who's interested in case I have to reformat the laptop given the problems I've had with it lately. Some of it is old and there's nothing revelatory that we didn't already know but they give an indication of how long everything has been in the planning and they may be of use to someone. Other .pdfs are more current.

The Rules of the Game, 2003 "Forget the climate change detractors. Those who deny climate change science are an irritant but unimportant."
Saif al Islam's thesis, 2007, which was written with a little help from his friends and won him plaudits from the LSE.
Extract from Hansard, European Arrest Warrant, 2001 immediately prior to signing The Laeken Declaration.
Statewatch 2010: An assault on human rights and national sovereignty The EAW: "Vague & general provisions... the combined abolition of dual criminality and territoriality requirements represents... a fundamental threat to the rule of law..."
The Anglo-French Pond, 2008/9 "A Franco-British cross-disciplinary research programme: Towards a shared vision of management of a crowded multiple-use space."
Towards a more secure society & increased industrial competitiveness, 2009 Check out the Table of Contents - Acronyms 'R Us. Covers ADABTS, AMASS, and surveillance & control in general. Special mention for BeSeCu - "Human behaviour in crisis situations: A cross-cultural investigation in order to tailor security-related communication".
Summary of the European Commission's PNR proposals. Passenger Name Record/Passenger Number Recognition. More surveillance.
Letter from Andrew Duff to Buzek, President of the EP (Click to enlarge, as usual)








(Website of Andrew Duff, LibDem MEP)
Living Together: Combining diversity & freedom in 21st Century Europe, 2011
EU Commission spending on private jets, luxury hotels and drinks receptions, 2011. They're surely on a different planet.
Peter Oborne's: Guilty Men, 2011
Last, but not least: A positive vision of Great Britain outside the EU.

I hope this works - I've used Google Docs. Tomorrow I'll be checking out my Politics pdfs so take cover :-)

Sunday Reflection





Quite by chance the second video has answered a question that's been bugging me for months: what's the tune the local ice cream van plays? I knew I knew it but I didn't know I knew it until I heard it - Swedish Rhapsody (@ 0.21).


Saturday, 5 November 2011

A Catch-Up

I'm having a 'just for the record moment' at the moment so here's a catch-up:

THIS completely passed me by when it was first published last month. Civitas is what it says on the tin - completely independent of Party politics or government funding and, on that basis, worth listening to. It helps that it's giving a message I like :-)
"As Europe's leaders gamble their nations' finances on saving the Euro, a new Civitas report reveals that the European Union is damaging Britain's economic recovery and sapping job growth. Time to Say No, by Ian Milne, shows that a break with the EU need not represent a drastic break with Europe itself. Instead, it will permit a pragmatic reform of trade and immigration relations. Existing international institutions can achieve this without the current burdens of bureaucracy in the EU. It will also revive democracy at home."
It's a press release (I didn't notice it being reported by the media) so only brief details are available. It goes on to highlight three areas - Norwegian, Swiss, Commonwealth - where Britain's 'leaders' can find inspiration for a more dynamic model of governance and it's worth reading.  If nothing else, it will place you a few steps ahead of Britain's 'leaders'.

Another 'fact' that's repeated endlessly via media and government is that millions of jobs rely on the EU.  Here's the truth from: FullFact:
Conclusion
Given this dearth of reliable information, we are left to choose between a dated estimate of jobs benefiting from EU-wide trade, but not necessarily dependent upon EU membership, and an EC estimate of jobs created across Europe, when looking at Mr Clegg's claim. Neither supports his assertion that three million jobs "rely directly" on the EU.
For facts on trade go to Autonomous Mind and reflect that our exports to the EU aren't 40% at all: they're a piddly 10%.  Reflect also that exports and import figures for the EU include goods for onward transmission to areas out of the EU and on to the rest of the world.

In Norway, support for the EU is at its lowest point.  In Iceland, Czech Republic and the PIIGS, people & governments are having second thoughts about this EU construct; an ideology which was founded in the dying days of World War 2.

Being an island nation, it shouldn't surprise you that 95% of trade comes via the sea.

Macedonia is upset.

Courtesy of twitter, @chadnoble tweets:
A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. - Lao Tzu
If you want to see my response you'll have to join twitter, but, to be honest, I wouldn't bother unless you're prepared to be very selective about your followers and those you follow,  otherwise you can end up with completely vacuous, inane, obscene twaddle.  You can always be discriminatory of course, if discrimination itself has come to be seen as 'a bad thing'.

I give up - my laptop keeps crashing and I've just lost the links for this post for the third time - I'm sure you'll read it in the msm, eventually. 

Here's Max Farquar's excellent video about the 5th November.

We know they lie, they know we know they lie, yet, still, we put up with it.  The time is coming when the majority will see 'the whites of their eyes'.  I leave you with this song, which is an anthem for me and this blog.  You wouldn't know unless you keep checking in, but this video has been censored beyond recognition - the words remain the same:



On a personal note, it's true that I haven't been a happy bunny lately but I'm hoping that next week will see threads coming together at last (though not in a disingenuous Troika way) so the blog could be back to normal in a week or three, fingers crossed.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Two Years On

"But if there is one political institution that needs decentralisation, transparency, and accountability, it is the EU.

For the past few decades, something strange has been happening on the left of British politics. People who think of themselves as progressives have fallen in love with an institution that no one elects, no one can remove, and that hasn't signed off its accounts for over a decade. Indeed even to question these things is, apparently, completely beyond the pale. Well, here is a progressive reform plan for Europe.

Let's work together on the things where the EU can really help, like combating climate change, fighting global poverty and spreading free and fair trade. But let's return to democratic and accountable politics the powers the EU shouldn't have."
All that glisters is not gold



Your Choice

This:


Or this:


Ball Of Confusion

I don't know if anyone managed to catch Newsnight last night - Kirsty Wark presented but I gritted my teeth and it wasn't so bad, mainly because of the interview with Liana Kanelli, a Communist MP in the Greek Parliament. Talk about a gutsy woman! I can't find a clip online but the programme is available on iPlayer and the i/view with her begins at roughly 8.30/32 and ends at about 13.25.

My confusion arises because I've always thought I was right-of-centre-ish-sort-of yet I agree with almost every word she said. The basis of her argument is that Greece would be better off out of the eurozone and, possibly, the EU itself. She attacked the unlimited credit and loans given by banks and the EU whereby the government was able to lie to the electorate about wealth and hiding from them the fact that that the hands of the government, the banks and the EU were filching not only their back pockets but those of their children and grand-children as well.  Sound familiar?  I think it just underlines the blurring of lines between Left and Right and how it's become people against Big State.

There was also a good i/view with Lee Hsien Loong, the PM of Singapore (17.43) where he praised the intent but criticised the lack of a plan. He almost laughed at the suggestion of bailing out the euro-zone: "They are past the White Knight stage now... No country is going to say 'I will sacrifice myself in order to put out somebody else's fire'."

All in all, it was quite an interesting programme. Something else that stood out, apart from all the rhetoric about gloom and Armageddon awaiting Greece and the eurozone itself, was the photo line-up. Between 18.55 and 18.57 note how the wide grin vanishes from Obama's face.  Now you see it, now you don't.

Papandreou or, as he's apparently known in the trade, G-Pap (!) told the Franco-German alliance about the referendum on the 26th October so a show is being performed for the benefit of the cameras. In offering the Greek people a referendum and then reneging within 24hrs, he's outdone even David Cameron but anyone who thinks the Greeks will let this go is delusional. Not only does Greece have soup kitchens, increased suicide rates and rioting but Medecins sans Frontier and Medecins du Monde have moved in to take over basic hospital services.

As always, we should be looking behind the curtain. Why did Papandreou first tell Markozy about the referendum two weeks ago in private and why, when it was presented as news yesterday, were they so publicly outraged despite having had prior warning?  I also wonder how long it will be before G-Pap is given a position within the EU Protectorate.

The Cameron/Osborne IMF rubbish has been covered elsewhere:

Witterings
Helen

On a different topic IanPJ has found this. It's a list of official sponsors of OWS - interesting reading and a timely reminder to always look below the surface to find those who finance and pull the strings. I wonder who's feeding #occupylsx now.  The people outside St Paul's should be protesting against corporatism, not capitalism.  If they did their homework instead of jumping on to any bandwagon going they'd know that.  Some do but, as always, it's too fragmented and the message isn't getting through.

Last but not least, MuffVoc points us to a new petition.

Greece:
Thousands of protesters have gathered
Live blogging, in English

In other news, life goes on: Blair's brother appointed to:
"The Joint Board of Appeal of the European Banking Authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority, and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority. The three organisations were established in January this year to supervise financial services in the European Union."
So, we're all in safe hands then.



Wednesday, 2 November 2011

PMQs: Summary & Videos

"Hello Pot, meet Kettle."

A nasty and bad-tempered PMQs today.  It could be my imagination but the Conservative backbenchers seemed to ask far more patsy questions than usual - priming Cameron to launch into positive spin about what the government has done.  Philip Hollobone was the only Con MP who could reasonably be said to challenge Cameron when he asked about the population explosion and immigration.

Bercow (Hair by Wreck of The Hesperus) intervened quite a bit.  At one point he called for silence saying "... it's called democracy and free expression."  No, it's not; it's called a charade.

Your MP - Party toad or independent thinker?
Marcus Jones, Con, Nuneaton; Jason McCartney, Con, Colne Valley; Nigel Dodds, SUP, North Belfast; Alun Cairns, Con, Vale of Glamorgan; Helen Jones,  Lab, Warrington North;  David Evennet, Con, Bexleyheath & Crayford;  Alistair Darling, Lab, Edinburgh South West; Philip Hollobone, Con, Kettering; Andrew Bingham, Con, High Peak; Mike Crockart, LibDem, Edinburgh West; Alan Whitehead, Lab, Southampton Test; Jonathan Evans, Con, Cardiff North; Katy Clark, Lab, Ayrshire North & Aran;  Simon Hughes, LibDem, Bermondsey & Old Southwark; David Lammy, Lab, Tottenham;  Graham Stuart, Con, Beverley & Holderness; Greg McClymont, Lab, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East; Jessica Lee, Con, Erewash;  Thomas Docherty, Lab, Dunfermline & West Fife; Guy Opperman, Con, Hexham; Caroline Lucas, Green, Brighton Pavilion; Tim Farron, LibDem, Westmorland & Lonsdale; Clive Betts, Lab, Sheffield South East;  Sir Peter Tapsell, Father of the House, Con, Louth & Horncastle.

Issues raised:
Public Sector pension reform; new legislation for cable theft;  rising cost of fuel/winter fuel allowance; Labour front bench support for strike action; Coroner in military inquests; reforms to public sector pensions; urgency of G20 meeting & its agenda/Greece; immigration/breaking link between right to work/right to citizenship; smoking ban in vehicles/children; green technology/Scottish independence referendum; solar energy/community renewables programmes; foundation schools; dangerous dogs legislation;  top directors' pay;  anomalies in the back-to-work programme; fire services in rural areas; schemes to help small businesses; National Adoption Week; re-opening the Strategic Defence Review; per pupil funding/education budget; 'Robin Hood' tax aka Tobin Tax aka FTT; Britain's capacity to feed itself /food security/farming; new house building/planning;  Britain's low borrowing rates.

Followed by a Statement on reform of Public Sector pensions from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.

Jones - Evennet incl. Cameron -v- Miliband


Darling - Farron


Betts (No Sir Peter Tapsell)

LiarPoliticians


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