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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

ID Cards

Take a listen to Radio 4's File on 4 programme tonight at 20:00 BST, repeated on Sunday 5 August at 17:00 BST. Should be an eye openner re the cancellation of iris recognition and the reversion to fingerprint technology. As Professor Daugman will say in the programme, "For the scheme as a whole it means that it can no longer deliver the goal of one citizen, one identity, because it cannot survive so many comparisons without making false matches - so there will be false claims of multiple identities."

The ID card system is a con and a sham, it will not prevent terrorism, it is being instituted so the Government and Authorities can track each of us from cradle to grave. The National Identity Register (NIR) is the main aim of the 'ID cards' scheme. Your NIR number would be the key to your whole life. Whenever your circumstances change you are compelled to have the register updated and of course it will be automatically updated every time you go on holiday, buy a car, visit the doctor, , possibly with a cost each time; that could be every time you move house, buy a car, go on holiday etc. When ANPR comes into force, every car journey could be logged.

Listen to the radio programme and then visit No2ID and get active.

The future's bleak, the future's Labour

I am getting very dispirited, it seems to me that this country will be ruled by a Labour Government from now until the EU becomes a single state and that is probably no more than 20 years away. The Labour Government backed by a proselytizing BBC, much of the press and the liberal establishment of this country will ensure that any Conservative politician of the right will be denigrated, if he looks like achieving a high position in the party, so as to make them and the Conservative party unelectable; the exception is to promote a right wing politician as a threat to his leader and as a conduit for dissent within the Conservative party. The media will also ensure that any centrist Conservative politician will be commented upon favourably until he is elected leader when he will be belittled and commented upon unfavourably until he and the Conservative party have their popularity diminished.

The British media and especially the BBC are, as Andrew Marr said in a Daily Mail article on 21 October 2006, "not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias". I truly believe that they see it as their duty to promote liberal values and to keep the forces of conservatism from ever regaining power in this country. The only reasons that David Cameron was built up by the BBC was first to put pressure on Tony Blair to leave office, Tony Blair was unsupportable by the BBC because of the Iraq war, the second reason was so as to have a more liberal face at the head of the Conservative party should Tony Blair's successor be a disaster and prove unelectable and thirdly so as to ensure that there would be a steady stream of unhappy right wing Conservative supporters available to proclaim their dissent. The BBC are always happy to bring up the comments of a few dissenting Conservatives at every opportunity but less happy to do so when a Labour supported complains about his party's direction, the exception being a left wing Labour supported criticizing Tony Blair.

Here's an article from the Telegraph in May 2005 showing how the Labour party manipulated the media during the last General Election. I am very politically aware and I do not remember hearing anything about this story at the time or afterwards. The reason why I didn't hear of it is that it didn't fit the "political narrative" of the time. There is always a political narrative and it is generally anti-Conservative, except (as I outlined above) when it is necessary to build up a Conservative leader so as to further damage a discredited Labour leader and so bring to power a more suitable Labour leader.

We right of centre bloggers can blog all we like and our readers can comment favourably and we can contribute to each other's forums snip bits of anti left wing consensus stories and we can all feel that we are achieving something worthwhile but at the end of the day the majority of the voters don't care. These people don't read our blogs, they don't read a serious newspaper; they get their news and views from The Sun or The Mirror (at best) and from a five minute watch or listen to the BBC news. The MSM mood music counts for so much more than all of our work and it doesn't matter a jot what we say. The BBC led MSM will ensure that this country is ruled by a left of centre government for as long as is necessary. Our work is interesting, challenging but essentially futile.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

HIPs are back on Wednesday

Take a read of these articles to bring yourself up to speed. How will the new Gordon Brown loving Daily Mail treat HIPs now? Don't forget they start for four bedroom and larger houses on Wednesday 1 August.

The US armed Sadam

One of the "truths" spouted by George Galloway and fellow travellers is/was that the US had no moral right to invade Iraq beacuse they were the country that had armed Iraq in the first place. This was rubbish but noone ever questioned George Galloway or any of the other proponents of this view. There a few things that pointed to the lie, first that Saddam Hussein's army was comprised almost entirely of various USSR T series tanks and the air force of various MIGs - that's Soviet built equipment. The second fact can be seen in the following graph that I finally tracked down at The dissident frogman, it shows who the main armourers of Iraq were between 1973 and 2002, the data comes from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) who are not exactly your average Bush/Cheney right-wing warmongers. Saddam's Iraq was armed mainly by the USSR (57%) with some help mainly from France (13%), China (12%), Czechoslovakia (7%)and Poland (4%). Where are the appaling USA and UK? USA supplied 1% of Iraq's arms and the UK less than 1%. Any comments George now you have some time on your hands whilst suspended from the House of Commons?

Sound familiar to anyone out there?

A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the shepherd, "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"

The shepherd looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his 3G cell phone. He surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email on his HP IPAQ that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulas. He uploads all of this data via an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1586 sheep."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my sheep." says the shepherd.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the shepherd says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my sheep?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a business consultant." says the shepherd.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the shepherd, "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew; to a question I never asked; and you don't know crap about my business. Now give me back my dog.”

The EU Constitution is dead, this is just an Amending Treaty

This is the Government line, Gordon Brown used this line at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday "Let me just read from the mandate agreed at the Council:
'The constitutional concept, which consisted in repealing all existing Treaties and replacing them by a single text called ‘Constitution’, is abandoned.'”. He is absolutely correct, that is what was agreed but that was because it was decided that since the EU Constitution had been rejected by those naughty real people who had been given the chance to vote; then why not drop the idea of replacing all the existing treaties with a shiny new Constitution and instead put the vast majority of the Constitution into another Amending Treaty. How outlandish, how ridiculous... Well no, take a look at this, "The new European Union Treaty has been designed to "keep the advances" of the old constitution "that we would not have dared present directly", a senior Brussels figure has admitted. Hans-Gert Poettering, president of the European Parliament and a close ally of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, made the admission in a letter to Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the architect of the discarded EU Constitution. Mr Poettering stressed that the new treaty, while complicated, would preserve the constitution by a different, more indirect method." The Government meanwhile are happily spinning this away as nothing to worry about and that the Constitution and the Treaty are as different as "fish and fowl" (more on that later). However Gisela Stuart, MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, a Labour MP who helped draw up the EU constitution, told the Commons it was "extremely misleading" to suggest that the Treaty gave more power back to member states than the abandoned constitution. She added "If we are so confident that it is good, we should have the confidence to ask the people."

What have they got to hide?

I am really getting very VERY angry about the way the EU Constitution is being implemented via the back door. Here's are some of the latest ways that the EU and our Government are trying to hide the truth from us. It appears that the "treaty text was tabled in Brussels on Monday in one language, French", but that's OK translations into other languages must be following shortly? Well no, "Normal EU rules stipulating that documents must at least be in German, French and English have been suspended."

"The Government, and EU officials organising negotiations, cannot produce an official English translation of the 145 pages of draft articles, 69 of protocols and 63 pages of declarations until next month, well after the Commons has finished for the summer. MPs will return to duty 10 days before Gordon Brown signs a final treaty agreement in Lisbon on October 18-19. Rejecting referendum calls, the Prime Minister will then press for parliamentary ratification on a treaty that will have been negotiated over the summer without proper scrutiny by MPs." Gordon Brown's democracy deficit makes an unwelcome appearance.

Then the real kickers, "Officials close to the organisation of negotiations have admitted that documents in all the EU's 23 languages are not expected until December, when a formal ratification text will be signed by Europe's leaders. "We believe it is a problem but we have a mandate that is tight. There is urgency. Doing all this within six months is unprecedented and there are going to be real limitations to the process," said an official." Democracy, pah, this is too important for that.

To cheer you all up

Not my usual thing, but we all need a bit of cheering up sometimes...

NSFW but nice.



“Show Them To Me” list of Movie Clips

Phoebe Cates - FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (1982)
Demi Moore – STRIPTEASE (1996)
Kelly Preston – MISCHIEF (1985)
Mary Louise Weller - ANIMAL HOUSE (1978)
Elizabeth Berkley – SHOWGIRLS (1995)
Natasha Henstridge - SPECIES (1995)
Madonna – BODY OF EVIDENCE (1993)
Betsy Russell – PRIVATE SCHOOL (1983)
Jennifer Connelly and Debra Cole – THE HOT SPOT (1990)
Amy Smart – ROAD TRIP (2000)
Angelina Jolie – GIA (1998)
Alyssa Milano – EMBRACE OF THE VAMPIRE (1994)
Kim Basinger – 9 ½ WEEKS (1986)
Jayne Mansfield - PROMISES! PROMISES! (1963)
Bo Derek – TARZAN, THE APE MAN (1981)
Heather Graham - BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997)
Colleen Madden – REVENGE OF THE NERDS (1984)
Nikki Schieler Ziering - AMERICAN WEDDING (2003)
Salma Hayek – ASK THE DUST (2006)
Cybill Shepherd – LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971)
Anne Hathaway - HAVOC (2005)
N. Zaim, I. Bozilovic, D. Baird & R. Sterling – WEDDING CRASHERS (2005)
Amanda Peet – THE WHOLE NINE YARDS (2000)
Pam Anderson – BARB WIRE (1995)
Chris Farley – SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (1990)
Charlize Theron – REINDEER GAMES (2000)
Lisa Donatz and Corinne Kingsbury - OLD SCHOOL (2003)
Denise Richards – WILD THINGS (1998)
Jaime Pressley – POISON IVY 3: THE NEW SEDUCTION (1997)
Joyce Hyser - JUST ONE OF THE GUYS (1985)
Halle Berry – SWORDFISH (2001)
Barbara Nedeljakova – HOSTEL (2005)
Molly Schade – EUROTRIP (2004)
Shannon Elizabeth - AMERICA PIE (1999)
Elle MacPherson and Kate Fischer – SIRENS (1994)
Candace Kroslak – AMERICAN PIE: THE NAKED MILE (2006)
Sharon Stone – BASIC INSTINCT (1992)

Watch this and think - Private versus Public systems

Thanks to Theo Spark for posting this on hi site. It's Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives and still possible contender for the Republican nomination for US President. The points he makes are based upon American experience but I think you could easily apply them to the UK experience.

"

Making fun of the terrorists

I wrote last Saturday how I was uneasy at the fashion for making light and even fun of the recent failed terrorist attacks, "I know laughing in the face of such a threat seems the clever and politically correct thing to do BUT I doubt if the same people will be laughing when we are mourning the dead.". I see that Ranting Stan has had similar thoughts and has criticized the usually incisive Matthew Parris for straying in this area with his article (which I originally missed) which included "terrorism is beginning to look a bit stupid. Those pictures of that idiotic and slightly overweight fellow with his clothes burnt off looked pathetic, undignified. It has occurred to even the meanest of intellects that concrete doesn't burn. And it isn't just the technical competence of alleged British terrorists that people are beginning to doubt: it's the whole jihadist idea. What world are they aiming for? Most British Muslims, just like most British everyone-else, think it's all pie in the sky: all rather silly. Yes, silly. Not "evil" as the red tops would have it. [...] We're not talking anything as clever as Evil here: we're talking Weird, we're talking Crackpot, we're talking Sad. The idea of using a Jeep to make a terminal explode was, in the latest lingo, a bit gay."

We are laughing now but I fear soon we will not.

English Regional Government

The Labour Government tried to foist Regional Assemblies on England but had to pause when the voters in the North East voted against an Assembly. The Labour Government then tried to rule via non-elected Regional Authorities and this will be persevered with. I see that Gordon Brown is trying a third wheeze, using Regional Ministers to "represent" each area, as The England Project say "Brown gets the best of both worlds. He abolishes the unelected and disliked regional assemblies but maintains a regional England. The same New Labour, just a little cleverer. Well, Prescott has gone. What did we expect?"

Double Counting

In the distant past I worked in accounts and was often involved in organising stocktakes. One thing that I always had to consider was how to avoid double counting, the act of counting something twice because it appeared under two different but not mutually exclusive categories. It appears that double counting is rife in the Government and the media just don't query it. There are loads of examples and some day I might even try and do a long list, but for now just the one example - Gordon Brown proudly announced the go ahead for two new aircraft carriers, the same two aircraft carriers that Tony Blair announced last year.

The Daily Mail and its love of Gordon Brown

Much of the political coverage by newspapers in this country has an obvious bias and I accept it and usually see through it. One that has confused me recently has been the Daily Mail's love fest with Gordon Brown. The Daily Mail was one of the few papers that seemed not to fall for Tony Blair and yet they can hardly get through an issue without a pro Brown article or two. Gordon Brown has recently seemed to be proposing policies that would specifically appeal the the Daily Mail's readership, such as cancelling the Super Casino, looking at reclassifying cannabis and looking at the 24 hour licensing laws. Much of the pro Brown tone has been set by the Editor Paul Dacre who is reputed to be a personal friend of Gordon Brown, see Wikipedia "In 2002, when Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer, Dacre commented: "I have an awful lot of admiration for Gordon Brown. I feel he is one of the very few politicians of this administration who's touched by the mantle of greatness"" I do wonder how this goes down with the Daily Mail readership who do tend to be rather less appreciative of Gordon Brown than Paul Dacre.

Today an interesting article at Iain Dale's Diary reports that "There is a growing sense of concern among some Daily Mail writers and editorial executives about their newspaper's devotion to Gordon Brown. "Some of us are starting to feel we're writing for a Labour paper like the Mirror," says one" Take a read of the comments to the article as well, much food for thought.


Whilst you ponder this matter, take a look at this
and thank Theo Spark for alerting me to the image.

Double standards

An article in last Sundays Sunday Times has been playing on my mind for the best part of a week. The article concerned the Chinese authorities clampdown on "Islamic Terrorism" to ensure they maintain control of Xinjiang, an "autonomous region" region of the Peoples Republic of China rich in oil and minerals. Interestuingly Xinjiang borders on that other benighted autonomous region of the Peoples Region of China, Tibet - invaded in 1950 and all opposition often brutally supressed since then. The Sunday Times article points to many dubious practices being undertaken by the Peoples Republic of China's authorities including "The same human rights abuses that exist across China - forced labour for peasants, children trafficked to slave as beggars, girls lured into sweatshops - deepen political tensions here and turn young men to violence. " and "“I was in the People’s Armed Police when the rebellion broke out in ’97,” said a burly Chinese driver, who proceeded to give a vivid and satisfied account of this barely known massacre.

“For a while we lost control,” he said. “The insurgents got into an armoury, killed our men and seized the weapons. There was chaos. We brought in the army - they changed into police uniforms - and then we got even. The central government ordered us to crush them without any hesitation. Believe me, we did. “We lost a few people but we killed - I don’t know exactly - thousands of them. These people know our strength. We taught them a good hard lesson.”"

This article is interesting for several reasons, first it shows how a brutal clampdown on Islamic terrorism is reported when it is not being done by the US or Europe or more to the point how little it is reported. Second it shows how the threat of Islamic terrorism is being faced in other parts of the world outside of the "Western World". Thirdly this is an almost unheralded article, it is an article in the normally totally pro Republic of China, Rupert Murdoch owned Sunday Times that is semi-critical of the regime.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

European Constitution reprise

Another article I found on the web and need to attribute correctly.

"Friday, July 20, 2007

Give us this day our referendum
Compare and contrast:

Speaking of the imminent EU 'Reform Treaty', the Foreign Secretary, the Rt
Hon David Miliband has said: 'The constitutional concept, which consisted in
repealing all existing treaties and replacing them by a single text called
"Constitution", is abandoned'. There is, therefore, no need for a
referendum.


But Valéry Giscard d'Estaing here, the god-father, architect, and creator of the Constitution for Europe, has declared: 'This text is, in fact, a rerun of a great part of the substance of the constitutional treaty... the public is being led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly'. He said that differences between the new treaty and the constitution 'are few and far between and more cosmetic than real'. In comparing his role here in drawing up the blueprint to that of America's founding fathers, he said the term 'constitution' had been dropped
simply to 'make a few people happy'.


Jean-Luc Dehaene MEP, the former prime minister of Belgium, noted that '95 per cent of the constitution was back'. He said it was no surprise that voters were confused: 'We drafted a treaty with a constitutional content and form. Now we have a treaty with a constitutional content without the form. But both are a treaty and neither is a constitution. The ambiguous use of words has led to misunderstandings'.


Giuliano Amato here, the former Prime Minister of Italy, has said that the revived EU constitution has deliberately been made 'unreadable' to help fend off demands for a referendum: 'EU leaders had decided that the document to be drawn up by an intergovernmental conference should be unreadable... If this
is the kind of document that the IGC will produce, any prime minister - imagine the UK prime minister - can go to the Commons and say "Look, you see, it's absolutely unreadable, it's the typical Brussels treaty, nothing new, no need for a referendum"... Should you succeed in understanding it there might be some reason for a referendum, because it would mean that there is something new.''


The three 'founding fathers' of the Constitution for Europe are in complete accord that the 'Reform Treaty' is nothing other than their creation. In its 2001 manifesto, Labour agreed that there would be a referendum on the EU constitution. The façade may have morphed into a 'treaty', but it is the assertion of its authors that the underlying character is completely unchanged. For Gordon Brown to insist with the pretence that it is just another 'unreadable' treaty is a lie.

At Westminster, there is emerging a cross-party campaign for a referendum
see here. It is said to include as many as 40 Labour MPs, and two huge unions (The Transport & General and Unison) are joining the demands. As the Prime
Minister glows in his two by-election victories, it is time to prepare for an autumn battle which even BBC bias such as this could not supress. There will not be a general election, because the
timetable for ratification of the 'Reform Treaty' would be imperilled. No, the battle must strategically orchestrated, and intensely focused on demands for a referendum, day after day, week after week. This is the time to be Churchillian. "

The European Constitution

The bulk of this article is taken from Archbishop Cranmer which I found when I was searching the web for articles about European Constitution related articles.

"The facts are clear:

In 2005, the Government promised a referendum on the 'Constitution for Europe'.

While this has morphed into a 'treaty', M. Giscard d'Estaing says that more than 90 per cent of the Constitution remains, and Jean-Luc Dehaene says that 95 per cent remains.

The President of the Commission refers to the EU as 'the world's first non-imperial empire'.

Labour's Trade Minister, Lord (Digby) Jones says: 'This is a con to call this a treaty; it's not. It's exactly the same: it's a constitution.'

Both friends and foes of the new 'treaty' deem it to be identical to the previous 'constitution'. Danish MEP Jens-Peter Bonde says that there is not 'one single difference in legal obligations'.

But the Prime Minister insists that 'The constitutional concept, which consisted in repealing all existing Treaties and replacing them by a single text called "Constitution", is abandoned.'

It is as though the constant recital of the mantra brings it into being; the words make truth. Democracy has been supplanted by glossocracy: government of the people, by the people and for the people, has been replaced by government of the word, by the word and for the word. And the more meaningless the word, the more useful it is for glossocrats. This is the impulse behind political correctness, which twists and obscures everyday language and terms, and enforces new words by changing the meaning of old ones. This totalitarian pursuit has been most effective in tearing down the
religious fabric of society and eliminating the Church and Judeo-Christian thinking as ideological competitors. Thus words become weapons of crowd control, and those who fail to use the acceptable terms or to comply with the new definitions are heretics.

'Europe' is one such word. It is now synonymous with enlightenment, progress, optimism, truth, future, and salvation. To be 'Euro-sceptic' is to incarnate the antitheses of backward-looking medievalism, lies, and damnation. Yet the ordinary voting public somehow senses that this is not the case. There is something in the psyche of the British people which knows, deep down, that 'Europe' is antithetical to 'British'.

If Mr Cameron were to make a manifesto pledge to a retrospective referendum on this 'treaty', there would, for the first time in a generation, be 'clear blue water' between the parties on Europe. The ordinary voting public would comprehend this, and be eternally grateful for the choice. Such a pledge would not only rally his own troops, it would bring back the errant UKIP vote by the thousand.

Trust the voting public, Mr Cameron: let the people decide."

Answer the f***ing question Gordon

Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday and David Cameron asked "The Irish Prime Minister says that 90 per cent. of the constitution remains in the treaty and the Spanish Foreign Minister says that 98 per cent. remains. What figure would the Prime Minister put on it?"
A fairly straightforward question to which Gordon Brown replied "I see, Mr. Speaker, that we are quickly back to the old agenda. I have to tell the right hon. Gentleman that, if he examines each aspect of the treaty and what we secured in our negotiations, he should support it, not oppose it. The first issue is the charter of rights—it is non-justiciable in British law, so we secured our negotiating objective. The second is justice and home affairs—we have an opt-in, so we secured our negotiating objective. The third issue is security, foreign affairs and defence policy, which remains intergovernmental, so we secured our objective. The fourth is social security—no expenditure affecting us will be made without an emergency brake that we can put on, so we secured our negotiating objective. National security will remain a matter for individual Governments, so we secured our negotiating objective. He might be better off, in the interests of unity within his own party, looking at what the chair of his democracy taskforce said only a few days ago. He said that, as a result of what we had negotiated, a European referendum would be “crackpot”, “dotty” and “frankly absurd”."
Not answered the question there Gordon, so David Cameron had another try "If the right hon. Gentleman wants to trade quotations from former Chancellors, I can tell him about a former Chancellor who promised a referendum and who put it in his manifesto. That former Chancellor is him. He talks about his red lines, but he had red lines with the constitution, and they are pretty much the same red lines. That is why the man who wrote the constitution says that the changes have been few and far between. That is why the President of the Commission is going round saying that it will usher in “the world’s first non-imperial empire”. Mr. Giscard d’Estaing says that more than 90 per cent. remains and Jean-Luc Dehaene, the former Prime Minister of Belgium, says that the figure is 95 per cent., so which is it? The Prime Minister claims to be a numbers man, so is it 90 per cent., is it 95 per cent. or is it 98 per cent.? Come on."
Go on Gordon give us a figure... or not as Gordon replied "Let me just read from the mandate agreed at the Council: “The constitutional concept, which consisted in repealing all existing Treaties and replacing them by a single text called ‘Constitution’, is abandoned.”"

This is true but also crap, what happened is that the idea of introducing a new all encompassing Constititution to replace the excisting Treaties was dropped and instead the majority of the elements of the Constitution were put into amendments to the existing Treaties.

Gordon continied "That was the decision made at the intergovernmental conference in Brussels. The Conservative party should recognise that that was achieved and that all our negotiating objectives, including the opt-outs, so that the charter is non-justiciable in English and British law, were also achieved. The Conservative party has got to wake up to the fact that we succeed when we negotiate in Europe, and we do not need to have an empty chair."

Still no answer to the question, so David Camero tried again "Why does the Prime Minister not wake up and read this quotation from his trade Minister? He said, “This is a con to call this a treaty; it’s not. It’s exactly the same: it’s a constitution.” That is the man whom the Prime Minister put in the House of Lords as his trade Minister. The right hon. Gentleman says that he wants to restore trust in a Government that he has been part of for 10 years; he says that he wants to involve people in the decisions affecting their lives; and he says that he wants the state to be the servant not the master. Yet on the key test of whether to honour the commitment that he personally gave to hold a referendum, he has failed. Why is he afraid to trust the people and hold that referendum?" .
Guess what, Gordon Brown fails to answer the question again, "The right hon. Gentleman is back to the old agenda. It did not take long after the Ealing, Southall by-election for him to retreat—the old agenda on Europe, the old agenda on grammar schools, the old agenda on spending and the old agenda on tax cuts. The wheels are falling off the Tory bicycle, and it is just as well that he has got a car following him when he goes out on his rounds."

Gordon Brown obviously thinks that if Tony Blair could avoid answering questions at PMQs then why shouldn't he and if Tony Blair could get in a few good digs at the Conservatives then why shouldn't he. Well I for one would like a straight answer to a straight question from mGordon Brown so I suggest that everyone who meets Gordon Brown asks him "Mr. Giscard d’Estaing says that more than 90 per cent. remains and Jean-Luc Dehaene, the former Prime Minister of Belgium, says that the figure is 95 per cent, so what figure would you put on it?" Keep asking him for a figure until he either gives one or walks off, I suggest that if Gordon Brown ever deigns to appear on Newsnight then Jeremy Paxman asks this question over and over again, a la the Michael Howard interview, until he actually answers the question.

All quotations above are from Hansard.

Punishment?

Take a look at this BBC article and wonder at the level of punishment.

"Shazad Akhtar, 34, of Bolton Street, was sentenced to 200 hours of community
service and ordered to pay £500 costs after pleading guilty to 22 counts of
obtaining and attempting to obtain driving licences by deception.
Mushtaq Ahmed, 37, of Roundthorn Road, was fined £200 for obtaining a
driving licence by deception."

But "The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) says impostors charge up to £500 and
can have taken more than 200 tests each."

So Shazad Akhtar accrued, let's say at only £250 per time not £500, £5,500 and was given 200 hours of community service (I wonder how much he will actually do) and ordered to pay £500 costs. Meanwhile Mushtaq Ahmed is fined just £200 for at least one offence.

Crime doesn't pay?

The BBC have another reason to support Gordon Brown and the Labour party and denigrate David Cameron and the Conservative party

The Conservative party's Shadow Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was interviewed by Gloria de Piero on GMTV; this is part of the interview:

"Gloria de Piero: Does what has happened over the last couple of
months make it harder for the BBC to justify the licence fee?

Jeremy Hunt: I think if they don't sort this out very very quickly
then yes, we will in the next few years be going back into the debate about
whether the licence fee can be justified. There are voices that say in a
multi-platform, multi-channel age the BBC should be a subscription service
that you should be able to opt-in to, not be forced to pay the licence fee
for and the justification of the licence fee is that the BBC does things
that the market alone won't provide. So I think the lesson from this is the
BBC has got to be behaving like a commercial viewer, a commercial channel
and it's got to start behaving like the gold-standard that we all want to
BBC to be.

Gloria de Piero: So the BBC should realise the future of the license
fee as far as you're concerned is at stake over all this?

Jeremy Hunt: Well I think it will affect the debate over the licence
fee if there are not able to restore trust very quickly."


The BBC will not take kindly to this and will be even keener to support Gordon Brown and denigrate David Cameron.

Burma

I have blogged before here and here about the problems in that benighted country. The article is in The Independent, please don't buy the newspaper, I never do, but do read the artcle here. Finally a British newspaper has devoted a whole three pages to the issue and here are some extracts -

"The people of Burma endure human rights abuses on an unimaginable scale. Rape, torture and forced labour are facts of their lives. So why does the world refuse to act?"

"Burma suffers a political, human rights and humanitarian situation as grim as any in the world today. The country is run by an utterly illegitimate government that spends 50 per cent of its budget on the military and less than a $1 (50p) per head on the health and education of its own citizens."

"The thugs and impostors who rule the roost practise some of the most egregious human rights abuses known to mankind. Rape as a weapon of war, extra-judicial killings, water torture, mass displacement, compulsory relocation, forced labour, incarceration of political prisoners, religious and ethnic persecution, and the daily destruction of rural villages are all part of the story of savagery that has disfigured Burma.

People lack access to food, water, sanitation and the most basic health and education provision. Twice over the past three years, I have met just a handful of the 500,000 internally displaced people in eastern Burma and the 100,000 living in refugee camps in Thailand, victims of the wanton savagery of the Burmese Army.

Harrowing accounts of children dying from malnutrition, women perishing in childbirth and people succumbing to HIV, malaria and tuberculosis will remain indelibly imprinted upon my mind if I live to be 100. Most shocking of all was the experience of meeting children who told me they had seen their parents shot dead and parents who were forced to watch their children's summary execution."


The regime in Burma disgusts me and should disgust you.

The Independent posits the question "Burma: A plight we can ignore no longer", well some of us haven't been ignoring the issue and if The Independent hadn't have been so obsessed by attacking the Iraq invasion and the "atrocities" perpetrated by Israel.

Interview with the Taliban

Watch this video and think on....

George Galloway's Respect Party

From More to life than shoes comes this lovely phrase - "respect (which I think stands for recently expelled scottish politician espousing communist tyranny"!

Spending on flood defences

Yesterday in the Commons Gordon Brown said "expenditure on flood defences is being increased from £300 million to £600 million, and it will reach £800 million by 2011" and I have heard the same line being repeated without challenge on the radio by other Labour spokesmen. I thought I would check, so here is an article from The Guardian in August 2006, I have reproduced much of the article as I find it so interesting and so much at variance with the Government line, the emphasis is mine. "The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was in financial crisis last night after being told to cut its budget by nearly £200m over the next six months. The Guardian has learned that the 7% savings are expected to bite deeply into flood defence work, nature conservation and canal repair schemes as well as a host of scientific bodies and research groups.
Some of the most swingeing cuts will be borne by the Environment Agency, which is expected to cut £14.9m on flood defences and £9m on environmental protection. Last night it emerged that many people living in vulnerable areas may not get additional flood defences this year and could end up paying higher insurance rates. The cost-cutting has been ordered largely to make up for losses incurred in a disastrous revamp of the farm subsidy system.

Leaked letters seen by the Guardian from Baroness Barbara Young, chief executive of the agency, show the government is seeking urgent cuts in budgets across the department. "The fact that they [the cuts] have to be achieved in just over half the financial year will mean that some of the reductions will involve delaying things we would really have preferred not to delay. The work we need to do is challenging", says Baroness Young in an email to senior staff. The cuts are expected to be mainly in the management and maintenance of flood defences, which can become weakened in storms and extreme weather, increasingly forecast for Britain. The agency has already had to cut its budget for flood defences heavily this year.An agency spokeswoman said details of where the cuts would be made had yet to be finalised, but that no capital projects would be cut. "It will be done in the least damaging way possible," she said."

Looks to me as though the flood defence budgets had already been heavily cut before this August 2006 leak and were then further cut. Why is this not put to Gordon Brown or his cronies? Why is the British press and media so supine? See my last article for the answer...

By Election blues

The Main Stream Media (MSM) were unanimous in declaring the Sedgefield and Ealing Southall by elections as disasters for the Conservative party. I thought it seemed pretty bad for Labour but decided it wasn't worth blogging about Labour holding two very safe seats albeit with a reduced vote, then I heard Jack Straw on BBC radio demanding the time he had been promised to denigrate the Conservative by election performance. Today I found a nice article on www.politicalbetting.com showing the results in a nice easy to follow table, that even a modern day A level Maths student could follow. In Sedgefield the Labour vote dropped by 14.1%, the Lib Dems rose by 8% and the Conservatives rose by 0.2%; seems somewhat more disastrous for Labour to me. More surprisingly the BNP took 8.9% of the votes up from nowhere at the General Election. In Ealing Southall, Labour lost 7.5%, the Liberal Democrats gained 3.3% and the Conservatives gained 0.9%.

I was about to type that I cannot see how this can be represented as a Conservative polling disaster and then I realised that that is how the Labour Government and hence the BBC want to portray it. The BBC hero worshipped Tony Blair from well before the 1997 election until just before the Iraq invasion, whilst dismissing all Conservatives as "nasty". The attacks on Blair whilst being slightly softer on David Cameron were merely a hiatus in the campaign. Now that Gordon Brown is safely in power, the arse licking of a Labour PM has re-started and the Conservatives must be ridiculed and put down at every opportunity.

Labour used to bleat that the Media was against them in the 1980s and it was true that most of the papers were, although not the BBC who longed for a Labour win, remember my previous post where the BBC's Jane Garvey said remembering election night 1997 "I do remember I walked back in...and the corridors of Broadcasting House were strewn with empty champagne bottles. [Hearty laugh from Peter Allen] I'll always remember that". Now the BBC still as Jane Garvey put it "was in love with Labour" as are much of the newspapers, especially the Daily Mail who seem to love Gordon Brown with an almost indecent passion.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Religion and the BBC

I have been looking around the BBC website again, I am a glutton for punishment, and found their religion section. A fascinating place to look for bias...

There is a list of world religions and each has its own section complete with a short introducing/summarising section. Let's have a look at these opening statements:

Christianity - "Christianity is the world's biggest religion, with about 2.1 billion followers worldwide. It is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ who lived in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago."

Hinduism - "Hinduism originated over 3000 years ago. Hinduism claims to have many founders, teachers and prophets who claim first hand experience of God."

Islam - "Islam began in Arabia and was revealed to humanity by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Those who follow Islam are called Muslims."

Judaism - "Jews believe that God appointed the Jews to be his chosen people in order to set an example of holiness and ethical behaviour to the world."

Sikhism - "Sikhism was founded in the Punjab by Guru Nanak and is a monotheistic religion."

There are other religions listed and detailed on the website but I have stuck to what I believe are the most relevant to the UK.

Let's compare the above sections, starting with Judaism and Islam. The statement on Islam is presented as fact, "and was revealed to humanity by the Prophet...", and the Prophet Muhammad is also a fact as he is given a capital 'P', also there is the "peace be upon him" which follows the usage of the Prophet Muhammad, a convention of Islam. Let's look at the section on Judaism, "Jews believe...", not a fact and the subtext is "Jews believe, but we know better", the rest of the opening section looks at one part of Judaism, nit even the main tenet and one that presents Judaism as a more self-righteous religion than it is "his chosen people...".
Maybe explaining that Judaism is a monotheistic religion might be a start, it was after all the first monotheistic religion. Jews never write the name of God, whether in Hebrew or any other language, in English the convention is to write G-d, the BBC ignore this convention whilst accepting the Islamic convention regarding following every mention of the Prophet Muhammad with the phrase "peace be upon him". I am not offended by either approach, following the religious sensibilities of the religion being explained makes sense and is respectful, but ignoring both makes a sort of sense as well.

Let's take a look at the section on Christianity, Jesus Christ is not described as the Messiah or the son of God. Sikhism is described as monotheistic unlike the others apart from Islam.

Interestingly, one other religion does mention the word prophet in the summary, that is for Zoroastrianism - "Zoroastrianism is one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions. It was founded by the prophet Zoroaster in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago." Poor Zoroaster is just the "prophet", whilst Muhammad is the "Prophet".

There is also the subject of the geographical source of the religion. Christianity comes from the "Holy Land", Islam from "Arabia", Hinduism from no stated place in the summary but "India" on the front page for all religions, Sikhism from the "Punjab", Zoroastrianism from "ancient Iran" and Judaism from ... no place mentioned. Does anyone else see an agenda rearing its head here?

The BBC really should take a look at the words they use or don't use when "explaining" religions to us. This site is meant as a resource, not a propaganda tool.


I have just seen the forums for each religion, I feel I may be posting about them soon...

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

US Democrats against Man Made Climate Change

There was a debate between the contenders for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the US and they were asked who travelled to the debate by private or chartered plane, watch the whole thing here -

Three hands go straight up, but I like the coy ones nearest the camera. When I was young I used to love a book called "The Water Babies", written by Charles Kingsley, there were two faries in that book called Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudidasa. I think with politicians such as these, it is more DoasIsaynotasI do.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Banoz Mahmood (more information)

I make no apologies for returning to this subject as it is a story that has a message for us all. Some more news has emerged from the trial of Banoz Mahmood's father and uncle for her murder, they were found guilty of this last week. The Reuters report tells us that Banoz Mahmood "was brutally raped, stamped on and strangled by members of her family and their friends in an "honor killing" carried out at her London home because she had fallen in love with the wrong man...Banaz Mahmod, 20, was subjected to the 2-1/2 hour ordeal before she was garroted with a bootlace. Her body was stuffed into a suitcase and taken about 100 miles to Birmingham where it was buried in the back garden of a house...In the recordings, transcripts of which were relayed to the court, Hama and his friend are hearing laughing as he described how she was killed with Banaz's uncle "supervising". "I was kicking and stamping on her neck to get the soul out. I saw her stark naked, only wearing pants or underwear," Hama is recorded as saying."

Remember this story the next time the phrase "Honour Killing" is used, there was not a lot of honour in this killing.

BBC - news you can rely on

Take a read of this article from the Sunday Herald. Apparently "presenter Jeremy Paxman had told SNP leader Alex Salmond that 'not one' of 50 firms, made up of 25 in Britain and 25 north of the border, supported the party's independence policy on a TV special shown before the Holyrood elections in May." Strictly speaking this was true but the facts were somewhat different to that which were portrayed, in fact "only seven of the 50 firms approached for their views on independence had replied...a majority had declined to express a view 'one way or the other, two had declared 'neutrality' and one leading business said 'it didn't care.'"

It appears the BBC have first owned up to fiddling phone-in competitions and now they have had to own up to misreporting opinion polls. Perhaps they should release the Balen report or we might have to conclude that they do have an unfair agenda within parts of their news coverage.

"Gestapo tactics"?

I read the comments of Sarah Helm with some amazement over the weekend. "The wife of Downing Street's former chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, has lifted the lid on the private fury felt by Tony Blair's inner circle over the cash-for-peerages inquiry, accusing the police of 'Gestapo tactics'." Good grief, what did the police do? All quotations from here on are from Wikipedia. Were they "investigate(ing) treason, espionage and sabotage cases", some would say they were. Were the police investigating "cases of criminal attacks on the ... Party and " country? I am sure that some in New Labour believe that any criticism of them is an attack on party and state. "Laws passed in 1936 effectively gave the Gestapo carte blanche to operate without judicial oversight. Nazi jurist Dr. Werner Best stated that “[a]s long as the Gestapo ... carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally.” The Gestapo was specifically exempted from responsibility to administrative courts, where citizens normally could sue the state to conform to laws." I don't think that anyone could claim that the police were acting against the Labour Government in this way, although some might claim it was heading towards acting in this way for the Government. As time moved on in Nazi Germany, the Gestapo were responsible for the setting up and the administration of the Concentration Camps where over 9 years around 7 million people were murdered. The Gestapo also murdered many thousands of anti-Nazi protesters having first arrested them.

Helm, a journalist and author, writes in the Observer: 'I know one shouldn't make these comparisons, but I was writing about Nazi Germany right then and I couldn't help think: Gestapo tactics! Pick on the vulnerable, preferably a single woman, living alone. No matter that you may have nothing on her that will ultimately stand up in court - give her a scare.' To compare the arrest of a woman with the presence of camera crews before 8am to the tactics of the Gestapo is a hideous comparison. Also the comment "Pick on the vulnerable, preferably a single woman, living alone" irritates me, women fought long and hard for equality with men, but here Sarah Helm seems to be calling for special treatment of women.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Sexual discrimination on the web

Sheilas's Wheels is an offshoot of esure.com and sells cheaper car insurance to women only. As their website says, "Sheilas' Wheels is a division of esure - one of the UK's leading direct insurers. esure has always recognised the importance of ensuring that women get a great deal when buying insurance. In 2004, esure strongly opposed an EU directive that would have seen women forced to subsidise men through their car insurance premiums. The idea for Sheilas' Wheels grew from research we carried out at that time.

We found that women claim less, are responsible for far fewer driving convictions and have attitudes towards cars, driving and other road users that are often more considered than those of their male counterparts. We wanted to reward these differences and decided that we needed a new brand and a whole new look at car insurance for women to make it happen...

Price was relatively easy. By focusing on women, we know that our customers are likely to make less costly claims and we have reflected this in our premiums. A Sheilas' Wheels quote should be competitive through and through.

We recognised that women are far more likely than men to carry a bag containing their purses and valuables with them when driving. Yet with most insurers there's limited cover to reflect this. Stolen, lost or damaged handbags often have to be replaced by very low "personal belongings" limits (often just £100). Sheilas' Wheels was designed with special handbag cover as standard and our limit goes up to £300."

Sheila's Wheels will cover male drivers, or at least their website will quote for a man with no female named driver, but this is at a higher price than for a woman with otherwise exactly the same details. How is this allowed, surely this is sexual discrimination? Wasn't there a fuss when men were quoted a lower price for annuities even though that was because men die younger?

The Cash For Honours "Scandal" or I don't believe it (part 2)

All becomes a little clearer, it would appear from today's Sunday Times that first David Perry QC declared that Sir Christopher Evans' "diaries would be inadmissible as evidence in a court case, or at least face significant challenges to their admissibility. They were, he said, merely “hearsay” - because the alleged meetings and discussions were disputed by Levy." These are the diaries that previously had "according to Whitehall sources, contained numerous references to discussions and meetings about honours with Lord Levy, a key adviser to Blair." Hmmm Circumstantial, "However, one CPS source alleged this weekend: “The Evans diaries are dynamite. They should have been enough for a case against Evans.”"

The second hurdle that Mr Perry put in the way of a prosecution was (as I predicted ) following Private Eye's City Slicker was the burden of proof, again from today's Sunday Times "Perry declared that for a case to succeed, the prosecution would have to show evidence of an “unambiguous” agreement to bestow and honour in return for funding. “He suddenly raised the burden of proof,” said a Whitehall source. “It was the first time he had mentioned unambiguous.”"

The Sunday Times article has some more comments regarding Mr Perry, "According to a well placed insider, the stumbling block was Perry who, as well as giving specialist advice on whether charges should be brought, also advised on which charges would be likely to lead to any prosecution. As a lawyer who acted for the government over Iraq, Perry was not known for taking an aggressive line against the Establishment. In the end he decided the evidence was not strong enough. His arguments effectively destroyed Yates’s position in one blow. It exposed the simple fact that the police case was, to use the words of one of those involved, “circumstantial”. One official said: “What I would probably say is that he [Perry] is a perfectly decent guy, but he’s risk-averse.”"

It all seems most peculiar to me, questions are being asked on various web site forums as to who might have put pressure on the CPS and how. Guido Fawkes has started a campaign to get a private prosecution launched, you can sign up to that here. Guido also makes a telling point on his blog here when he describes part of the case "One example will give you a flavour of the Loans for Lordships scheme - Gulam Noon has publicly stated that he made a £250,000 donation to the Labour party, which he correctly submitted (via Downing Street) on his vetting papers for the House of Lords Appointments Commission. Two days later on October 5, 2005 Lord Levy, Gulam Noon reportedly claims, telephoned him and referred to the £250,000 donation as a "loan" which need not be disclosed on his vetting papers. The Levy-intercepted and revised vetting papers were submitted to the House of Lords Appointments Commission, now without mention of the £250,000 "loan" / donation. When the Commission independently discovered the existence of the "loan" / donation they blocked the peerage - as presumably Lord Levy knew they would - why else would he intervene in the process? What was the Labour party's chief fundraiser doing intervening in the honours process anyway? Prima facie there is a case to answer. If the CPS won't bring it, they should at least not attempt to block others from doing so." The problem as I see it is that a private prosecution can be killed stone dead as the "Attorney General could, at any time, rule a private prosecution to be not in the public interest ("nolle prosequi"). This terminates the proceedings and this power is not subject to judicial control or judicial review." Now do you really think that this Government would allow any private prosecution to take place if there is any chance of success? Obviously the Attorney General (Baroness Scotland) should not block a private prosecution as one of the Attorney General's departments roles is described on the Attorney General's website like this "The Attorney General and Solicitor General (the Law Officers) are the chief legal advisers to the Government and are responsible for all crown litigation." Does the phrase possible conflict of interest come to mind?

Also I wonder if this pledge that I found here on the Attorney General's web site may be relevant "The Prosecutors' Pledge - From 21 July 2006, all major public prosecuting authorities will follow a new pledge to take into account and protect the interests of victims. The Attorney General has set out a Prosecutor's Pledge which requires all prosecutors to consider and support the interests of victims at every point in the case from charge to appeal in all types of case. Each prosecuting agency has looked at the commitments of the Prosecutors' Pledge and adapted it to their areas of work." Nice timing to introduce this pledge whilst a case against the Prime Minister and some of his closest advisers was in full swing.

You can read the full text of the CPS press release here. You can read Carmen Dowd's explanation as head of the CPS special crime division as to why she "advised by a team of independent counsel, led by David Perry QC" decided not to prosecute. She explains that "The Director of Public Prosecutions played no part in the decision-making process. In his stead, Carmen Dowd consulted the Director's Principal Legal Advisor, Chris Newell." It is arrangements like this that irritate me intensely. It is akin to saying that 'we know that X might be perceived as being biased so we have discussed it with X's close colleague instead' as though this removes any likelihood of a partial decision.

Many events over the past six years have led me to believe that this country is being run more and more like a banana republic and this matter does not dispel this thought. The trouble is that I cannot see how we, the people, will see any change for the better happen.

Sunday morning humour

The Onion is a good source of humour on the web and has been for many years. It is rather US-centric but still worth a regular look. I especially like this article about James Cameron's new film "Iceberg", which is the "New Titanic Film Told From Iceberg's Point Of View", take a read of the whole article, nicely done.

Remember last Summer's weather absolutes

I know I blogged about this before but I think, bearing in mind heavy rainfall and consequent flooding, it bears repeating.

Here are some of the statements made last summer as to how the existence of Global Warming would mean such weather would be the norm, the emphasis is mine, and my comments as to how I might have reacted then if I took these fools seriously.

1) From the BBC 20 March 2006:
"Paul Kent, regulatory manager for Southern Water, said: "We are not entering into this lightly. We are in the driest period we have had for 70 or 80 years and we need to conserve the water so that it is sufficient for basic hygiene throughout the rest of the year." He said it was "possible" that similar bans would be necessary next year and said water companies were ready to change their long-term policies if it seemed that global warming was permanently reducing rainfall in the UK."
Rainfall "permanently" reduced, wow that's serious, how will we cope in 2007?

2) From The Guardian 22 July 2006:
"Peering into the future is a tricky business, especially for something as volatile as weather and climate. But scientists know a lot about how events will unfold. They use giant computer programs, evolved from those that make weather forecasts, to work out how the atmosphere will react to the blanket of carbon dioxide we humans are steadily wrapping around the planet. As we do, and as more of the sun's heat is unable to escape, the air and the sea warm. But that takes time, which means that whatever we do, our climate destiny is fixed for the next few decades."
So it's a tricky business but the scientists with their clever computers can tell us what will happen, I'm interested and convinced, do tell what the future holds... "Here, we present a picture of what might happen in Britain over the next century if the world fails to take serious action, and global emissions continue to rise at about the same, or a slightly slower, rate. So what does it reveal?"
Yes, yes go on
"Rainfall will decline in the summer and the increased deluges in winter will struggle to replenish thirsty reservoirs because much of the water will run off the baked ground."
Oh no, I must go and buy water butts and Mediterranean type plants and cut back on water usage because summer rainfall is a thing of the past. Thank heavens this is so because Wimbledon have taken the roof off of Centre Court as they start to build the new movable roof. At least Wimbledon will be unaffected by rain in 2007!

Of course since 2006 Global Warming has become Man Made Climate Change, so any severe weather at all can be blamed on human actions and not on the general variability of the weather, especially in the UK. The UK has a temperate climate and floods in the summer, snowfall in July, hot weather in January are all unusual but not unprecedented happenings. This will of course be ignored by the campaigning bodies and the Government as there is sanctimonious control and tax raising opportunities to be enjoyed here...

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Mars Attacks has a lesson for us? Maybe...

Just watching "Mars Attacks" again, not a great film but it's Saturday night and I felt like watching a Hollywood parody with a message. Two bits really hit home, when the Martians first land their leader says "We come in peace" and then he and his entourage kill the Army general and the bystanders. Then when the Martians apologise the President and his "experts" are relieved and invite him to address Congress but the Martian ambassador kills the Assembled politicians and others. As one of the IMDB reviews puts it most succinctly, in part "Anybody who hated this movie missed the point. This is a fun little satire on the American culture of assimilation, the great cultural melting pot. It dares to ask the question: What if another group of people doesn't want to be adopted into the American consumerist culture?"

Just because people say they come in peace and seem reasonable it does not mean they are telling the truth. Adolph Hitler signed the Munich Agreement, "the settlement gave Germany the Sudetenland starting October 10, and de facto control over the rest of Czechoslovakia as long as Hitler promised to go no further" The British Prime Minister "received an ecstatic reception upon his return to Britain...he made the now famous "Peace for our time" speech and waved the agreement to a delighted crowd." "On 15 March 1939...Nazi armies entered Prague and proceeded to occupy the remainder of Bohemia and Moravia, which was transformed into a protectorate of the Reich. The eastern half of the country, Slovakia, became a separate pro-Nazi state. Prime Minister Chamberlain felt betrayed by the Nazi seizure of Czechoslovakia, realising his policy of appeasement towards Hitler had failed, and immediately began to mobilize the British Empire's armed forces on a war footing. France did the same. Although no immediate action followed, Hitler's move on Poland in September started World War II in Europe."

Do bear this in mind when people say they mean us no harm. Playing Slim Whitman music and Tom Jones may not be enough to save us in the future.

Banoz Mahmood

I blogged in June about the murder of Banoz Mahmood. I have just read that her father has received a "life sentence", of course life does not mean life so "Mahmod Mahmod was told that he would serve a minimum of 20 years for the murder of Banaz Mahmod. Her uncle, Ari Mahmod, was also jailed for life and told he would serve a minimum of 23 years" This report describes Mahmod Mahmod as "a strict Muslim father". The BBC however are still describing Mahmod Mahmod as "her Iraqi Kurd father", still the BBC cannot bring themselves to mention the 'M' word despite the following facts emerging during the court case (all quotes are from the Times on-line article referenced above) "A father of six and a strict Muslim, he ruled the family home with a rod of iron. When Bekhal, an older sister, wore Western dress her father called her a whore, beat her and demanded that she wear the veil...Because Mr Sulemani was not a strict Muslim and not from the Mirawaldy region, Miss Mahmod's father ruled that she would never marry him. To enforce this point, she was taken to a Kurdish home in Sheffield and beaten for two weeks. On her return, the couple continued to meet in secret...In January last year, Mohamad Hama, 30, along with other Kurdish men, attempted to bundle Mr Sulemani into a car. As Mr Sulemani escaped, Hama shouted after him: "We are Muslim and Kurdish. We are not like the English where you can be boyfriend and girlfriend.""

Why are the BBC so squeamish about the 'M' word? Don't worry, I will explain why they are so "squeamish" soon...

The terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow

I am afraid that making fun of the terrorists who tried to attack us recently has become common, take a look at this, this and also listen to the jokes on Radio 4's News Quiz and BBC 2's Mock the Week. However the fact that these terrorists fortunately failed in their attacks in London and Glasgow recently just isn't the answer. If the security services are right and there are 4,000 active plotters in the UK then one group will succeed and the results may be even more unpleasant than on 07.07.2005 or even 09.11.2001. I know laughing in the face of such a threat seems the clever and politically correct thing to do BUT I doubt if the same people will be laughing when we are mourning the dead.

More "Terrorist" activity in Europe

In Italy "Police in central Italy say they have uncovered a bomb school for Islamist militants after raiding a mosque in Perugia and making three arrests. Evidence of training in explosives and poisons, and instructions on flying a Boeing 747 were reportedly found. Police said the suspected cell had links to a group associated with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network...Chemicals - including acids and cyanide - were found in the mosque's cellar and equipment for remote detonation of explosives was also discovered, they added...The imam allegedly held courses, showed propaganda messages and made fiery sermons inciting a small group of disciples, some of them children, to join a Holy War. The imam at the central mosque in Perugia, which has a 10,000-strong Muslim community, said the Ponte Felcino group had not appeared dangerous. "Generally it's a quiet community," Abdel Qader told Italian news agency Ansa. "A few made some noise over the international situation but those were just words. We trust justice... and if any [of the suspects] has made a mistake, he will have to pay.""

UPDATE:
From World Politics Review some more information.

Do Turkeys vote for Xmas?

On Sunday Turkey holds a general election, the BBC report is here. "For 84 years, modern Turkey has been defined by a holy trinity — the army, the republic and its founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Each was linked inextricably to the others and all were beyond reproach." Thanks to the New York Times for that succinct comment.

This election could have repercussions for the whole of Europe. A victory for the AK Party (AKP) could mark the beginning of the end of secularism in Turkey and the Turkish army may feel forced to react and what ensues may not be pleasant to behold. If the AKP fail to win then the backlash by increasingly radicalised religious elements within Turkey also does not bode well. The end of Kemalism, the fiercely secular ideology that sought to extinguish religious networks and ultimately religion itself from society, may be nigh unless those Turkish liberals who have allied themselves with the AKP are right and they AKP really are not a threat to secularism. However, I find it rather tricky to know what set of circumstances will allow the Turks, the Kurds, the Muslims and the rest of the Turkish population to live in peace. Do bear in mind that what happens in Turkey may have repercussions in Iraq, the Middle East, Europe and the rest of the World.

If you want some background on the AKP's political power base then take a look at this.

Modern policing and Crime

You should read David Copperfield and his "The Policeman's Blog" - "A Journey into the mad, mad world of the British underclass and the Public sector, where nothing is too insane for it to be written down and copied in triplicate...This blog will do more to put people off calling the police than anything, other than actually calling the police." I do and I even purchased and read his book last year - "Wasting Police Time", an excellent read and one that I will be quoting from on my blog in the future.

David Copperfield also wrote an article for Friday's Daily Telegraph which included the following section the emphasis is mine:
"The police force, once trusted by the majority of decent folk, is fast becoming a joke. So why are we arresting people for throwing cucumber sandwiches or chalking on the pavement?

It's all about detections, and a big fraud that the Government is perpetrating on taxpayers. In our fast-moving society, people like simple headline figures; in 2005-6, the headline was that 27 per cent of crimes were detected.

Not much to brag about, but at least it's not absolutely pathetic. But look a little deeper.

We didn't detect 27 per cent of all burglaries, or 27 per cent of all assaults, or 27 per cent of all of the mindless acts of vandalism that went on - the kind where you wake up to find your car's wing mirror hanging on by its wires.

The actual burglary detection rate was 13 per cent (of which 40 per cent were "TICs" - offences "taken into consideration" - where an offender confesses to other crimes to get them off his slate).

In order to allow the Government to trumpet that 27 per cent headline (and to meet another key government requirement, that of "offenders brought to justice" - target, 1.25 million for 2007-8), the detections include lots of playground hair-pullings, minor school scuffles and over-the-fence rows.

So, we're arresting children, the perennially stupid, and the generally law-abiding over ludicrous matters in order to meet targets and cover up the fact that streetwise burglars and muggers are almost guaranteed to get away scot-free.


This links in with a passage that I just read in Peter Hitchen's book, "The Abolition of Liberty", when he is talking about how we now treat crime (the emphasis is mine) - "As the symptom of a social and economic disease, requiring treatment rather than penalties.. (so) the more the state will need to become an apparatus of repression. The more the police are required to treat individual offenders with care and consideration, the more the law abiding population will have to be restrained by the authorities from taking action in their own defence. The less free ordinary citizens are to use their initiative in dealing with wrongdoers, the more they will yearn to do so. The more bureaucratic and formal the criminal justice system becomes, the less use it will be against the disorderly and disobedient. Such people treat a prison record as a career risk, do not pay fines (huge amounts are uncollected, although the middle classes still tend to pay), fail to turn up at court or do not stay long at the same address. It is then simpler and more convenient for the police to pursue the settled and orderly members of society. They are easy to find, can have their regular earnings raided to pay fines and fear the stigma of a criminal record."

One phrase there reminds me of a quotation from a much earlier time, this is the narration at the start of every episode of Porridge (again the emphasis is mine) - "Norman Stanley Fletcher, you have pleaded guilty to the charges brought by this court, and it is now my duty to pass sentence. You are an habitual criminal, who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard, and presumably accepts imprisonment in the same casual manner. We therefore feel constrained to commit you to the maximum term allowed for these offences — you will go to prison for five years." That expression always made feel a little scared when I was growing up, how could someone really accept imprisonment so casually as an occupational hazard, were there really such people in the world. Unfortunately, today there are more and more of such people and we are not able to deter them by the prospect of detection or punishment.


This realisation has left many with an increasingly jaundiced view of the police who are increasingly viewed by their natural supporters as being a threat to their freedom rather than as protectors against crime. This means that scenes such as this recorded in Derbyshire become so popular to watch - If the police seek to curtail our freedoms whilst not deterring those who rob, mug and threaten us, then we will enjoy them being taken down a peg or two.

Labour cabinet and Canabis

I just read a nice article on this at Chicken Yoghurt which starts with the lovely line - "All these politician who smoked cannabis at university but didn’t like it: how unlucky were they? What are the odds that every single one of them scored rubbish gear? It’s damned unlucky, I reckon." Surely there must be a British politician who really enjoyed smoking weed when at University but who stopped when they started work because that was what was expected?

Friday, 20 July 2007

BBC bias identified

The trouble with alleging BBC bias is that the BBC still has a large legacy of goodwill amongst most of the public. I grew up listening to the comedy programmes on Radio 4, then the documentaries, followed by the news programmes, not to mention John Peel's radio shows and so I have a fondness for the BBC that is quite hard to totally dispel. HOWEVER, the political and cultural bias of the BBC has, as I have blogged before on many occasions has become more and more obvious. These biases include man made climate change, immigration, taxation, Iraq, nuclear power, taxation, education policy and Israel and the Palestinians where the BBC has swallowed the output of the Palestinian propaganda machine and regurgitates it almost daily. There is no anti-Israeli slur vile enough for the BBC not to repeat.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

I do not believe it...

I wonder if 'Slicker' of Private Eye's In The City column is psychic. Current Issue (1189), page 32, column 1, last paragraph.

The CPS explanation had better be good and should tell us what the chances of a successful prosecution were and what level the bar was set at.

The "Global Elders"

Nelson Mandela has setup a group of "12 wise men and women" to address global problems by offering expertise and guidance. Let's have a look at the members and the baggage that they will bring to the problem of conflict resolution, the "comments" are taken mostly from their Wikipedia entries, not the usual depth of research but less controversial than others:

Present at the launch:
Nelson Mandela - the former President of South Africa (and living totem) - Outspoken opponent of the United States involvement in Iraq ""What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." and "If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care." Nelson Mandela has also kept quiet about the atrocious activities of Robert Mugabwe's government in Zimbabwe.

Graca Machel - Nelson Mandela's wife - widow of Samora Machel, the former Mozambican president and ANC ally of Nelson Mandela.

Desmond Tutu - Archbishop of South Africa - Tutu has criticised human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, calling Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe a "caricature of an African dictator", and criticising the South African government's policy of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe. He also warned of corruption shortly after the election of the African National Congress government of South Africa, saying that they "stopped the gravy train just long enough to get on themselves." Tutu is, nonetheless, an active and prominent proponent of the campaign for divestment from Israel, and has likened Israel's treatment of Palestinians to the treatment of Black South Africans under apartheid. Tutu has made some controversial statements involving Israel. In 1988, he was quoted as saying that Zionism has "very many parallels with racism", Speaking in a Connecticut church in 1984, Tutu said that "the Jews thought they had a monopoly on God; Jesus was angry that they could shut out other human beings." In the same speech, he compared the features of the Temple in Jerusalem, Judaism's holiest site, to the features of the apartheid system. In conversations during the 1980s with the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Eliahu Lankin, Tutu "refused to call Israel by its name, he kept referring to it as Palestine," Lankin recalled. During a 1989 trip to Israel's Yad Vashem museum, Tutu said, "We pray for those who made it happen, help us to forgive them and help us so that we in our turn will not make others suffer." The Simon Wiesenthal Center called the statement “a gratuitous insult to Jews and victims of Nazism everywhere.” In another instance, Tutu said "You might even say that the gas chambers made for a neater death" than South Africa's resettlement policies. Some Jews objected the remark, arguing that the evils of apartheid had never extended to systematic annihilation of the blacks and pointing out that no rabbi in Nazi Germany was extended the freedom to criticize the regime as Archbishop Tutu had. Tutu's response was to describe this "as a kind of Jewish arrogance." "Jews seem to think that they have cornered the market on suffering," he said to interviewers

Jimmy Carter - Former President of the USA - Carter visited Cuba in May 2002 and met with Fidel Castro. He was allowed to address the Cuban public on national television with a speech that he wrote and presented in Spanish. This made Carter the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since the Cuban revolution of 1959.

A popular petition resulted in Venezuela holding a recall election on August 15, 2004, and Carter was there to observe it. European Union observers had declined to participate, saying too many restrictions were put on them by the Chávez administration. A record number of voters turned out to defeat the recall attempt with a 59% "no" vote. The Carter Center "concluded the results were accurate." On the afternoon of August 16, 2004, the day after the vote, Carter and Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General César Gaviria gave a joint press conference in which they endorsed the preliminary results announced by the National Electoral Council. The monitors' findings "coincided with the partial returns announced today by the National Elections Council" said Carter, while Gaviria added that the OAS electoral observation mission's members had "found no element of fraud in the process". Directing his remarks at opposition figures who made claims of "widespread fraud" in the voting, Carter called on all Venezuelans to "accept the results and work together for the future". However, a Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB) exit poll had predicted that Chávez would lose by 20%, and when the election results showed him to have won by 20% Schoen commented, "I think it was a massive fraud". US News and World Report offered an analysis of the polls, indicating "very good reason to believe that the (Penn, Schoen & Berland) exit poll had the result right, and that Chávez's election officials — and Carter and the American media — got it wrong". The Schoen exit poll and the government's programming of election machines became the basis of claims of election fraud. In March 2004, Carter condemned George W. Bush and Tony Blair for waging an unnecessary war "based upon lies and misinterpretations" in order to oust Saddam Hussein. He claimed that Blair had allowed his better judgment to be swayed by Bush's desire to finish a war that George H. W. Bush (his father) had started.In his book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, published in November 2006, Carter states that "Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land." While he recognizes that Arab citizens in Israel proper have equal rights, he declares that Israel's current policies in the Palestinian territories constitute "a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land, but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights." While some have praised Carter for speaking honestly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, others have accused him of anti-Israeli bias and of making significant factual errors and misstatements in the book.

Kofi Annan - former Secretary General of the United Nations - Oil-for-Food Program
and Conflict between the United States and the United Nations, I need say no more.

Muhammad Yunus - Nobel laureate economist and founder of the Bangladeshi Grameen Bank - Someone who has actually achieved something in the world outside of politics

Mary Robinson - former President of Ireland - Concerned with Human Rights since her fall from power. shortly before the September 11 attacks, as the UN’s High Commissioner on Human Rights, she presided over the infamous antisemitic conference in Durban, South Africa, with the Orwellian title “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.” "The hate literature distributed during the NGO conference included caricatures of Jews with hooked noses, Palestinian blood on their hands, surrounded by money, and Israelis wearing Nazi emblems. At the Government Conference, there was daily distribution by NGO participants of literature reading “Nazi-Israeli apartheid,” while inside the drafting committees, states such as Syria and Iran objected to the inclusion of antisemitism or the Holocaust on the grounds that antisemitism was a “complicated,” “curious,” and “bizarre” concept, and reference to the Holocaust would be imbalanced or “favoritism.”

Meanwhile, outside the conference hall, as one delegate reported in the Los Angeles Times, he and other representatives of Jewish groups were subjected to taunts and physical intimidation. At one point, thousands of South African Muslim demonstrators marched bearing banners proclaiming “Hitler should have finished the job.”

Thus, success on the political battlefield was to be accomplished by utilizing the language of human rights to demonize, and then dismember, the opponent. In this way, the Durban Conference provided rampant antisemitism with a global platform under UN auspices, in a conference allegedly against racism and xenophobia. It also revealed the malevolent antisemitism underlying the campaign to delegitimize the state of Israel." From http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp468.htm



Invited to join but not present or yet confirmed:
Li Zhaoxing - former Foreign Minister of China - Let's just say Falun Gong, supression of human rights and Tibet

Ela Bhatt - Indian activist - founder of India's Self-Employed Women's Association and a respected leader of the international labour, cooperative, women, and micro-finance movements. A great fighter against poverty and the oppression of women.

Gro Harlen Bruntland - former Prime Minister of Norway and director of the World Health Organisation - now very concerned with sustainable development

An empty chair will be at all meetings, reserved for Aung San Suu Kyi - the elected leader of Burma/Myanmar who has been under house arrest almost continuously since her 1990 victory.


So that's a collection of almost completely left of centre people with received opinion views of the USA, Israel and most other matters, Tibet might be a sore point so that will be brushed under the carpet whilst they concentrate on the really major issue in the world - Palestine and I think we can see how unbiased they will be on that issue.


Here's an image that Theo Spark has brought to my attention regarding this matter -

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Not at all Gorgeous George

George Galloway is not one of my favourite people. From the Telegraph report, "The Commons Standards and Privileges Committee, in one of its most damning reports against an MP, said today that Mr Galloway at best "turned a blind eye" to what was going on but was more likely to have been "complicit" in the concealment of the true source of funds for his Mariam Appeal." I have the utmost faith that George Galloway will spin this to his advantage...

Boris "bigged up" by the BBC

Boris Johnson is standing for London Mayor. Yesterday the BBC had right leaning pundits on the radio extolling the virtues of Boris. As I drove home last night I predicted to my wife that the BBC would "big Johnson up" for a few days so he could become the favourite for the Conservative nomination and then start the "Tory buffoon" attacks. It looks as though they couldn't wait "Boris Johnson's media scrapes". "Conservative MP Boris Johnson, who has announced he is running for London mayor, has created plenty of headlines. Here are a few of the controversies: ..."

I presume that for balance the BBC will also dedicate a page to "Shagger" Norris's indiscretions both personal and business; they probably will if he gets the Conservative nomination. Will the BBC do the same to "Cuddly" Ken Livingstone though? There's a lot there: the anti-Semitic remarks, the associating with terrorists and terrorist supporters, the junkets to (and support of) Socialist Dictatorships etc., but somehow I don't think the BBC will choose to list them.

This contest will be portrayed as the experienced, hard working, cheeky chappy, Ken against the ETON educated, POSH TOFF, Boris. Boris's formidable intellect will be ignored as he is painted as a buffoon. I am afraid that the media (and especially the BBC) will try to make mincemeat of Boris. You can expect much to be made of Boris's middle name "de Pfeffel" sounding like piffle. When Boris makes a gaffe, and he will, he will be pounced upon. The Labour left hate the Upper Classes and an old Etonian, sitting for the seat of Henley with a middle name of de Pfeffel who looks and sounds like a toff will be a target for all the bile they can produce. Ken will win easily as his frequent anti-Israel comments will endear him all the more to the ever increasing Muslim vote in London.

UPDATE:
I have just visited Boris's website and he writes "I suppose I will be pilloried for being a "toff", for representing a small section of society, and all I can say is, be my guest. I have in my 16 great-grandparents Muslims, Jews, and all manner of Christians, and speaking as a one-man melting-pot, I am convinced that in 100 years we will look back at the racism of our age and wonder, "what the hell was that all about?" just as we find it hard to understand the mindset of those who used to put "No Irish" on boarding-house doors." As ever Boris writes well and in an easy to read way BUT I am afraid the dogs of left wing righteousness are soon to be unleashed upon him, be ready Boris.

Red Lines, Whitewashed

Further to this, this, this, this, this, this and especially this, I read that the Conservative Party have claimed that "Europe's leaders will be able to use a little-noticed clause in the revived European constitution to extend and bolster the document's powers by stealth...The Tories voiced concern about the so-called "ratchet" clause that allows EU leaders to amend and strengthen the constitution without the need for further treaties or summits...They said the powers meant Brussels would be able to chip away at Britain's "red lines" in areas such as law and order or social policies." It seems that the European Elite have decided that once they have got this Constitution Treaty past the member Countries' Parliaments (avoiding referenda wherever possible) they will make all future expansions of European Empire power without reference to the member Countries' Parliaments at all.

"The European Parliament voted to pass the Leinan Report, which calls for swift steps to press ahead with a "further constitutional settlement for the Union" after the 2009 European elections...Mark Francois, the shadow minister for Europe, said: "The 'ratchet clause' will make the EU constitution self-amending. We could see constant salami slices of crucial powers and key vetoes transferred to Brussels...The fact that the revived constitution has kept this clause - which is not mentioned at all in the Government's red lines - has certainly not been lost on many Euro MPs. They are already arguing that it should be used as soon as possible to take even more power away from member states.".

This Constitution Treaty is the big one to fight, it could be our last chance to stay a Sovereign Country, sign petitions calling for a referendum in the UK (the Irish will have one), demand that your MP answers your concerns over this matter and if a march is organised attend it - Your Country Needs You.

Monday, 16 July 2007

The BBC come clean at last

I like Eddie Mair, I think he has one of the great radio voices and a sense of humour as well. However I think his current blog entry may be a bit too honest! Also I would hope that a BBC presenter/journalist could spell (or know how to spell check) embellish. If you can't be bothered to follow the link, here is the brief entry: "What shall we make up tonight? Eddie Mair 16 Jul 07, 10:52 AM Here at the BBC, we are masters at distortion and lies. If there's something you'd like us to embelish, or just make up from scratch - add it here, and we'll pop it on the air."